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Loneliness can be a big factor in getting good nutrition




Flo Elliott was never a big eater, but her appetite plummeted when her husband died.

Suddenly alone after 54 years of marriage, Elliott says she lost interest in food and would routinely skip meals.

It would take about seven years to recover that appetite, says the now 89-year-old.

“It’s really, really hard after living with someone for so long to be alone,” she says from her home in the eastern Ontario hamlet of Wilberforce.

“That was the worst of it. I think I couldn’t seem to enjoy food. I didn’t care, I guess.”

Loneliness is a big factor in getting good nutrition, say experts in the field of senior health.

Many, including nutrition professor Catherine Morley, are applauding a section of Canada’s new food guide that encourages people to eat with others when possible, to prepare more foods at home and to plan their meals.

Being together allows us to slow down, to focus on the culture of eating and being around food to spend time together preparing food, learning about food, building food literacy.– Kate Mulligan

Morley, who teaches at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., notes seniors often have lower appetites but “when they are with other people they do eat more.”

A good mood, attractive plating, and colourful, delicious-looking food all play a role in encouraging eaters to savour a meal, she notes.

But finding fellow diners can seem like an insurmountable challenge for those grappling with depression, mobility issues or poverty, Morley adds, arguing that this portion of the guide’s suggestion shouldn’t entirely rest on the individual.

“The evidence is absolutely there that cooking together as families and eating together as families builds stronger communities, that’s been documented for quite a long time,” says Morley.

Suddenly alone after 54 years of marriage, Flo Elliott says she would routinely skip meals. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press)

“The responsibility that I’m feeling isn’t resting with the person who’s the old person, it’s resting with the community around them.”

She cites a 2015 study by the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force that found 45 per cent of older adults admitted to hospital for a non-nutrition diagnosis were malnourished.

Families less tight-knit

Aside from financial hurdles, seniors may have mobility and health issues preventing them from grocery shopping, or visually determining whether a piece of fruit is fresh or rotten, experts say. Arthritis can make holding a knife well enough to chop vegetables difficult, while back trouble can limit ability to stand at the stove or sink.

“It takes a village in a situation like this,” says Carol Greenwood, an emeritus at the University of Toronto in nutritional sciences and a senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute.

“Families are not tight-knit the way they used to be four generations ago when people moved a block away from one another.”

Elliott credits her friends and various activities — a book club, historical society, and a community cooking group — with keeping her mindful of healthy eating.

Foster connections between generations

She considers herself a “plain cook” but tries to eat well by limiting meat and favouring vegetables. She will buy frozen prepared meals, such as the meat pie she had recently with a baked potato and carrots. Back trouble makes it hard for her to stand for long periods in the kitchen.

“The last two or three years I’ve come to realize you have to take care of yourself because you’re not doing anybody any good being sick,” she says, noting that her adult son lives in Peterborough, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive away.

Elliott goes out to lunch regularly with two senior friends who are also living alone, and they call each other nearly every day.

“It’s almost like family,” she says of their relationship. 

Of course, experts say the benefits of eating with others extend to all age groups. The food guide encourages people to foster connections between generations — especially children who learn from behaviour modelled by parents and caregivers.

U of T social and behavioural health sciences professor Kate Mulligan says social isolation is known to put health at risk.

“All kinds of things happen when we eat alone — we may be in a rush, we may not be focusing on the foods we’re eating, and we may eat standing up, eat at our desks,” says Mulligan, whose work includes drawing links between social well-being and nutrition with the Alliance for Healthier Communities.

“Being together allows us to slow down, to focus on the culture of eating and being around food to spend time together preparing food, learning about food, building food literacy.”

Morley encourages people to consider the hurdles facing older neighbours and family members who may not be as fortunate as Elliott.

 “I’d like to see us as a whole culture do that better,” she says.

 “Let’s think about the people who you’ve seen or live close by. Simple things like: ‘Do you need a lift to get to that church lunch?’ That would be all that’s needed.”

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high





(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine





(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states





In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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