Vital health news

CBD oil – a social risk

            Enterprising business entrepreneurs in the United States and in other countries are capitalizing on the liberalization on the use of Marijuana, not only for its medicinal value but for recreational use. Now being advertised like wildfire as a magic oil against all human ills, pains, and suffering, this modern-day snake oil, unlike the one in the past centuries, is really effective in soothing pain and making people feel “good.” The old version, simply an ordinary scented oil touted to be a cure-all miracle substance sold to uninformed and gullible victims, had no efficacy for any disease, except, perhaps, for dry skin, but at the same time it did not have any serious side-effects and complications like the current version of this marijuana-related CBD oil.

Of course, marijuana and related substances have medicinal effects, the reason they should be accepted as a drug option for those resistant to present day standard or conventional therapy. But its use as a recreational substance is not only unhealthy and unsafe, but in the long run a threat to the brain function and personality of the individuals using it. This is highly addictive and dependence on any chemical substance enslaves the person, who would eventually steal and even kill, if needed, to sustain the addiction.

Alcohol alone, as a recreational substance for society for centuries, has already taken its destructive toll in a wide circle in human history, destroying countless personal and family life and facilitating useless deaths from drunk driving accidents, etc. To add another mind-altering recreational drug to society, for financial profit, is unconscionable, irresponsible, unhealthy, and dangerous. All we have to remember is how Opium has led to two trade wars and the eventual downfall and destruction of the Empire of China in 1939, with many of the members of the royal family addicted themselves.  We seem to have a short memory and refuse to learn from history.

Electronic cigarettes

E-cigarettes was originally designed to be a safe replacement for cigarette smoking, but its negative impact on health, especially on the upper respiratory tract and the lungs, are no less dangerous as shown by new studies. In other words, long term use of e-cigarettes could also lead of frequent upper respiratory track infection, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and lung cancer, besides increasing the risk for cancers elsewhere in the body.

Lately, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported findings in a new research in UK that shows the use of e-cigarettes as a bridge to quit smoking appears to be more effective than the so-called nicotine replacement therapy. The effectiveness is about double in favor of the use of e-cigarettes.

However, we must never forget that while it helps smokers to quit, e-cigarettes are themselves very toxic and should be avoided, especially by children. Its short term use should be relegated as an aid to quitting tobacco for good.

Age ceiling plateau

 

The quest for the fountain of youth to attain the longest human longevity has eluded man in the romantic sense. But in realities today, with all the mind-boggling advances in science and technology and by living a healthier lifestyle, millions of us seem to have found a semblance of it. In the 1900, American man lived to an average of 48.3 and women, 51.1. Today, life expectancy for males is 80 and for females, 84. Women are, indeed, the stronger sex in more ways than one. The testosterone in man explains why men live shorter. The estrogen in women could be their “secret weapon.”

            But it seems that we have hit a maximum ceiling plateau several decades ago and no matter how brilliant we are as a species in our quest for immortality, it appears we could only advance so far. The accepted human age ceiling is 114.1 years for men and 115.7 years for women.

A study of 75,000 deceased person who died between 1986 and 2015 revealed no change in the maximum age ceiling…the existence of a ceiling, a barrier, a wall that does not budge.

Emma Morano, an Italian woman born in the 19th century died at the age of 117 on April 15, 2017. A French woman, Jeanne Clement, passed away in 1997 at the age of 122. How they got through the ceiling barrier of 115.7 no one knows, except considering them as statistic outliers.

If you have reached 90, you have obviously been blessed with discipline, perhaps a pair of good genes too, and you have been living a healthy lifestyle. Living to a 100 is not impossible these days. My mother is 101, and her mind is still very alert, with a memory better than mine, doing her own daily blood sugar (glucometer) testing, blood pressure monitoring, and adjustments in her medications. She even exercises daily by navigating the length of the corridor by her bedroom using a walker, back and forth 8 times.

If you aim to maximize your longevity, start pushing yourself away from the table LESS than full (about 20 percent less food), a strategy my wife’s and my mentor in medical school, world-famous Dr. Fe Del Mundo, used till she passed away about three months shy of a hundred, practicing Pediatrics in a wheelchair till age 95. Being a little hungry every day is healthier than being stuffed up after each meal. Actually, two meals of healthy food items a day would provide enough calories for our average needs. Eliminating rice from our diet has also been found to reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and other major diseases.

Two suspects in Alzheimer’s

            Most diseases known to man are initiated by the process inflammation. Alzheimer’s dementia, is a devastating progressive mental deterioration that can suddenly appear in middle or old age, with non-stop brain degeneration, causing premature senility and eventually total memory loss. High cholesterol has been suspect in the amyloid deposition in the brain tissues causing havoc in its electrical system. In some other type, gene defect has been blamed. Recent studies have implicated alternation in the microbiome in the gastro-intestinal flora, and other researches have zeroed in on Porphyromonas gingivalis, the commonest bacteria in periodontitis, causing inflammation around the teeth, leading to shrinkage of the gums and loosening of the teeth. The same bacteria is found in 25 percent of people with no gum infection. P.gingivalis and toxic proteases from a bacterium named gingipains were both identified in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, according to an abstract in Science Advances January 23, 2019. More studies are needed to replicate and confirm these two findings.

Since oral health is also vital to cardiovascular health, it is prudent for us to watch our diet and maintain good oral hygiene daily as a part of our heathy lifestyle strategy to protect not only our heart but our brain.


Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian and anti-graft foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com, philipSchua.com   Email: [email protected]