lundi 17 septembre 2018


There is a variety of reasons why people get high blood pressure HBP. 
The history of 130/80 as the normal (which was revised in 2017 to 120/80 as being the normal BP), as told during my medical education was that, the insurance actuaries in Connecticut in the 19th century noticed that people with a history of BP over 130/80 were dying younger on the average.

 In the USA, the rates of High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Income (or lack there of) all seem to cluster. The above the prevalence of High Blood Pressure 
This one is about Income. See how closely it resembles the one above for High Blood Pressure (and also the one below for Obesity)
Because the above graph is for each COUNTY, one can also clearly see the poorest areas along the Mexican Border in Texas. All Native American Indian reservations are also RED in colour denoting their poverty (except Florida)

In short, nearly half the USA is 

The following map is more explanatory .

The above map shows where most of the African-American (Black) population of the USA live, which also follows a similar pattern to the above maps.

It is also important to individualize the BP values. Native American Indians along with many other indigenous populations in the world have historically had lower BP values.
I have measured BP among various indigenous tribes in North, Central and South America and they are consistently lower than the BP for Europeans and American people of European ancestry.
I had the opportunity to visit GUNA indians living in GUNA YALA off PANAMA five times and measure hundreds of BPs. Consistently the adult BP were 100/110 over 60/70. Also measuring BP among the traditionally living Indians of South America as well as Tarahuamara in Mexico, I consider 120/70 to be the "normal" BP among the Indians of Americas.

As with Body Mass Index (BMI Kg/M2) that defines obesity and overweight ( for Europeans it is >25 considered overweight and > 30 considered Obesity) the BP Levels which are dangerous to Asians might also be different. Among Asians  BMI of > 22 is considered Overweight and >25 considered Obese. Studies have consistently shown that for Asian Indians for example, Diastolic Blood Pressure >80 mm Hg along with any Hyperglycemia makes them susceptible to Stroke.
So one has to INDIVIDUALIZE what is the BP for that person.

I decided to do an experiment on myself today. I would listen to 10 minutes of American Indian Flute music and would measure BP before and after and see what effect that soothing music has on me.
Flight of Eagle
considering the symbolic importance of the Eagle for the American Indians with whom I work , I decided to watch the video depicting the flight of the Eagle.
here are the results of my BP before and after listening to the 10 minute segment of this video

I am of asian ancestry and am more concerned about my DBP which is the lower number. It is incredible that just ten minutes of watching an Indian Flute video depicting the Eagle ! brought down the DBP by 9 points which most medications cannot achieve!

The role of anxiety or stress in the BP readings in the individual is very obvious. Whenever I visit a Doctors Office (something distasteful to me) my BP rises by 20-30 points! and I have to explain to them that it is due to my aversion to the office and not to take personal offence!

Whether you are trying to loose weight, find balance in your life or decrease your BP or increase your health parameters, always measures like listening to soothing music, meditation or yoga are helpful.

Good Luck

jeudi 13 septembre 2018


I am connected to the Wi-Fi on Qatar Airways Flight QR 777 from Doha to Miami. It is an Airbus 350 and I managed to obtain my favourite seat, 1 K
Yesterday I flew into Doha from Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv to Amman was on Royal Jordanian and Amman to Doha was on Qatar Airways.
I truly look forward to my QR flights. It is not just the flight alone, the competent pilots and brand new aircrafts but to me, it is the people who make my expectations about QR a reality.
Even though the flight from Amman to Doha was a short one, about the same time as Miami to New York, a full course meal with champagne and wine and other offerings from the bar. The aircraft was also an Airbus 350 and I was in seat 1 A enjoying fully my privacy.
The Senior Cabin Crew, another term for Purser? Of the flight was Miss K from Phuket.  The service that was to follow in that flight and on this one to Miami was nothing short of exemplary.
I remember reading a book by Alexander Frater, The Blue Skies about the London to Australia service of the British Airways (at that time called the Imperial airways). Each night the plane would land and a tent would be set up and people would dress for the dinner offered! It was the prime of long distance travel.
British Airways and their buddies Iberia and American Airlines seem to have forgotten this legacy. On a recent flight from Miami to Barcelona on American Airlines AA, I noticed that within one hour of reaching cruising altitude the crew had served the meals and disappeared for the rest of the flight. These Grandmas, as an eminent CEO had called them, are not suited for this rigorous job of looking after pleasant as well as cranky passengers over long distances.
Miss K was at hand throughout the flight and personally brought me the fish snapper dish as well as Champagne I had requested. She deserves a Qatar Star!
The arrival was seamless, immigration was taken care at the special lounge for arriving Business class travellers (in addition to the arrival lounge as well).
The infrastructure for travellers to Qatar is very good. Taxis to the central area cost 20$ and Uber around $10.
I stayed at the Marriott Marquis and I have written about the hospitality they offer in another blog. I repeated the journey back to the Airport this morning.
The separate check in facility for Business Class passengers is not just a counter or two but a whole section.
In Qatar, there is a diversity of workers from all the continents. Indian accents are the most common followed by Filipino way of speaking English by people who have Spanish names but don’t speak Spanish. An Indian lady issued my boarding pass and within minutes I cleared security, once again a separate facility and on to my favourite lounge in the entire world Al Mourjan.

It was 6 30 AM
I have to stagger my eating for the coming 24 hours I thought to myself.
On one section there is a European buffet, I don’t even go near it, interesting to watch that the Qataris were lining up there, as were East Indian travellers.
I went to the Asian section: mee hoon, which I had not tasted in a while, paratta with mushroom, raita and chana. A cup of Latte appeared soon after one of the workers greeted me, I recognized him from one of the multiple previous visits.
7 15 am slowly meandered to the gate C2 close to the Lounge and the Ugandan security people made the process easier with their broad smiles.
I boarded immediately and at the door was welcomed by Ms. M who is Filipina but grew up in Austria.
A lady from Poland, Ms. Z welcomed me and Ms. C from Philippines came over with warm towel and ginger-lime drink.
One minute before the expected time of departure of 8 am, we left the gate with the Spanish Female Captain comforting us with the prognostication that a pleasant flight is to be expected.
I joined the Wi-Fi, which costs 20 dollars for the entire journey of 15 hours and soon connected with a companion from Vietnam, the time difference suitable for slow, leisurely conversation, as the Wi-Fi sometimes fades away.
I chose a simple breakfast of omelet and complemented it with Karak Cardomon Chai. Before I knew it two hours had flown by.
Both Ms. M and Ms. C spent time chatting with me in between begging me to have more food or drinks but I wanted to limit my intake. But Pommery Champagne was not included in the limited items!
Ms. M has been with QR for ten years and as is the case with all the Crew I have interviewed, she loves her job and enjoys the interactions with the travellers.
Who are the travellers in this section of QR?

I am flying from Doha to Miami and in the front section there are about 20 people, a couple from India/Pakistan, a young Qatari? And the rest were European Americans of a certain age. The passengers were a well-behaved crowd. I am into the 12th hour of the flight; I can tell you I have not heard any speaking voices above a whisper!
It is a long flight and the Cabin Crew gets to rest as well, in incremented fashion, 2 hours here and 2 hours there or 5 hours. They go away and reappear looking chirpy bright and immaculate in their uniform and the hair in place.
I appreciate the fact that QR uses the same uniform for all its employees in the service sector, whether they are checking you in or greeting you at Al Mourjan or on board.
The flight 777 flew westwards 
Iran Iraq were all history beneath us, I woke up from a slumber to see Bulgaria passing by and then on to Serbia, westward on to Spain and Lower France and on to the great Atlantic Ocean.
There was a threatening storm; the storm of the century, which fortunately decided to keep itself quiet, and I can see that flights were going around the hurricane Florence.  I imagine we would fly to the south of it.

Ms. C would appear and another flute of champagne consumed.  Then she went off to her rest and Miss A from Nagoya took over. Because of my fascination with Japanese nutrition and cultural habits we had things to talk about. She was full of Japanese graciousness. Made me think of the intense cultural experiences in the back roads of the main island of Japan some years earlier.

Long silences, filled with reading and writing and yet another surprise! Ms. K whose namesake hurricane destroyed Louisiana coast was exactly opposite, calm and collected and soft-spoken, I waited for her to pour the last flute of champagne. 

I ask them, my stock question: How do you like working for QR? The answer always is an enthusiastic YES! It is a great compliment to the CEO of QR, HE Akbar Al Baker.
The time now is 2000 in Doha exactly 12 hours after our take off.
In one hour, I will request my repast (at Qatar Airways you can eat whatever you want whenever you want)
Tiger Prawn Salad with crunchy endive and red pepper mango salsa
Pan Seared Cod on a potato puree
I might try the dessert
Sticky toffee and date pudding (served hot with butterscotch sauce)
I already told Ms.A of Nagoya of my choices.
We would be passing through the areas affected by Hurricane Florence now downgraded to a Category 2, hope that does not interfere with the meal. There is a Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough on offer; I think I will stick to Champagne Pommery.

On this trip from Amman to Miami via Doha on QR, I have gotten to know
Ms. K from Phuket
Ms. M PH from Austria
Ms. C from Manila
Ms. K from PH
Ms. A from Nagoya

At Marriott Marquis did make two new friends at the Executive Lounge, Mr. W as well as Ms. L from PH.

As a Cultural Anthropologist and a doctor with a Psychological orientation, I ask myself this question: Why do I look forward to my QR flights?
It is definitely the pro-active service on board, not to mention the quality of food and wine as well as the comfort of the aircraft. Al Mourjan is a definite draw.

I hold highest level of Frequent Flier Status on American Airlines (Executive Platinum) as well as QR (Privilege Club Platinum) as well as Star Alliance Gold. My next trip on QR would be (in six weeks)
Miami to Doha with a deliberate long layover so that I can have a nice shower and a sit down meal and renew acquaintances with some workers and then on to Cochin for a two-day stay at the Bristow Bungalow Hotel facing the Arabian Sea. (I am the Unofficial Cuban Ambassador to Fort Cochin!)
Then on to Kuala Lumpur and unexpected pleasures.

Thank you everyone at QR I have spoken to, for your generous and kind treatment of this traveller. I will try to reciprocate your hospitality if ever you visit La Habana, Cuba

dimanche 9 septembre 2018


I have nurtured a love for smaller jewish communities around the world ever since I became aware of them and was able to visit them.
Currently I live in an apartment in La Habana, it was built by a Itzhak Grinsman who left to go to Miami after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. The President(a) of the Jewish Community lives in the next building from the one I stay at.
I frequently visit my good friends Mathew, Rockey and Elias in Cochin. Elias I consider him to be the Last Jew of Cochin and over the years I was able to do a fair bit of historic research on the origin of the Malabari Jews of Cochin, also the Paradesi Jews (so called because they were late comers, having arrived around 1602).
I am very emotionally attached to IRAN, a country I have some connection to (the same with Burma and the last of the Jews there) and hopefully when Israel and Iran becomes friends, we could travel there without any fear.
(sunset in Haifa)
I am in Haifa with my family here and as the sun goes down tonight we will celebrate the Jewish New year 5779.. family and of course, lots of different kinds of traditional and symbolic foods.
I think of my friends in isolated Jewish communities, such as Sami Weisselberger in Iquitos, Peru; the Samuels family in Rangoon, remnant Jews of Kingston, Jamaica, and also Elias and his wife Ofra in Cochin, India. and the remnant Jews of La Habana and Camaguey and Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba in Cuba.
Also a good time to remember with gratitude the teachers who are no more: Lessner, Miami; Hellman, Cape Town and London among others.
This morning my friend Elias, the last jew of Cochin sent me a clip from a newspaper in India talking about the foods prepared for this time of the year by the three distinct jewish communities of India: Iraqis, Bnei Israel and Cochini.

I wish all people, scattered around the globe, on this beginning of the Jewish New Year 5779  Health and Happiness, Peace and contentment.
Being Jewish, we would like to argue what Happiness means, what Contentment means but we all agree on Health and Peace.
I especially wish Jewish people of Melbourne and Australia a Happy New Year 5779

I am leaving for Qatar on the third day of the month of Tishrei 5779
Kol Nidre would be spend with good friends M/G in Miami.

a very special shanah tovah to LBGS.

vendredi 7 septembre 2018


It is so nice, my first ever time, that I am in the Land of Israel for the Jewish New Year
I came across an article by a Jewish Journalist from USA whose father had been a rabbi at the Calcutta Synagogue. I thought it was erudite and enjoyable an article. So I am reproducing some parts of that article.

Before eating dates (tamar): May it be your will, God, that enmity will end. (Tamar resembles the word for end, yitamu.)
Before eating pomegranate: May we be as full of mitzvot as the pomegranate is full of seeds.
Before eating apple: May it be Your will, God, to renew for us a good and sweet year.
Before eating string beans (rubia): May it be Your will, God, that our merits increase. (Rubia resembles the word for increase, yirbu.) Instead of string beans, Jews from Libya mix sugar and sesame seeds to symbolize plenty, because the grains are so tiny and numerous that they can’t be counted.

Other Blessings

Before eating pumpkin or gourd (k’ra): May it be Your will, God, to tear away all evil decrees against us, as our merits are proclaimed before you. (K’ra resembles the words for “tear” and “proclaimed.”)
Before eating spinach or beet leaves (selek): May it be Your will, God, that all the enemies who might beat us will retreat, and we will beat a path to freedom (Selek resembles the word for retreat, yistalku).
Before eating leeks, chives, or scallions (karti): May it be Your will, God, that our enemies be cut off. (Karti resembles yikartu, the word for “cut off.”) Jews from Persia tear the scallions and throw them behind their backs and over their shoulders. Sometimes they then say the actual names of the enemies they want to destroy.

For families who do not wish to recite these blessings, they can be adapted to reflect positive wishes like friendship and harmony. For instance, the wish for karti (scallions, chives, or leeks) might be, she-yikaret me-aleinu kol ra ve-nitbarekh b’shalom that all evil should be cut off from us and we should be blessed with peace. Participants can suggest concrete steps towards achieving these goals: thanking a teacher or co-worker, honouring parents, paying a  call, or respecting the environment.
Gratitude  Humility Responsibility 
Good Human Qualities for every one and not just for Jews. And not only at the New Year Celebrations but throughout the Year.
I am in Israel with the family of my younger brother and it does feel special. We had breakfast by the beach and it reminded me so much of the Acland street of my youth and Miami Beach of my student days..

Ever since my youth, I had taken a special interest in the vanishing or vanished Jewish Communities of this planet and have been lucky to have visited living and extinct jewish communities 
Fort Cochin, Ernakulum in India as well as synagogues in Mala, Parur and Chendamangalam
Jewish Cemetery in Penang Malaysia 
The Last Jews of Rangoon Burma 
The functioning synagogue in Singapore 
Mellahs of Essaouira, Marakkech and some mountain Berber tombs and synagogues, Morocco
Various Jewish cemeteries and the synagogue in Jamaica 
The dwindling jewish communities of Cuba, the ashkenazi and sefardic synagogues in La Habana (also the orthodox one) plus the synagogue and community in Santiago de Cuba
Explored the Jews along the Amazon River in Brasil and Peru. In Colombian amazon I could not find any remnants.
Looked for Jewish History in Easter Island and Zanzibar.
I remember meeting an isolated jewish photographer on my way to see the birthplace of Timurlane and an isolated shopkeeper where Finland and Norway meet on the road from Ivalo in Lappland.
Strangely enough I have no desire to explore into the lost tribes of Israel in any part of the world. I don't wish to go to see the Menashe tribe of NE India when I can be with the descendants of Menashe tribe in Israel. 
I would love to explore the Jewish communities of Iran and the tomb of Queen Esther but I am not welcome there. Perhaps one day when Israel and Iran become friends.. OJALA!
It was a pleasure to explore the houses that belonged to the jewish merchants in Iquitos, Peru (Cohen and Sons for example), visit active synagogues in Panama City and Buenos Aires
and collect stories about individual jewish merchants in far away places, such as Piedras Negras in Coahuila, Mexico or the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska, USA.
The person serving us this morning had finished her military duties and hopes to become a Nurse and I wished her well. Looking around the many people all up and down this portion of the beach, I felt an immense satisfaction and a pleasure of belonging to this Nation.

Good and Happy and Prosperous New Year to all, especially to my 
Special friends in Cochin, India
My mischpochah all around the world 
My good friends in Cuba

mardi 4 septembre 2018


Effects of n−3 Fatty Acid Supplements in Diabetes Mellitus
·       The ASCEND Study Collaborative Group

AUGUST 26, 2018
Increased intake of n−3 fatty acids has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in observational studies, but this finding has not been confirmed in randomized trials. It remains unclear whether n−3 (also called omega-3) fatty acid supplementation has cardiovascular benefit in patients with diabetes mellitus.
We randomly assigned 15,480 patients with diabetes but without evidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease to receive 1-g capsules containing either n−3 fatty acids (fatty acid group) or matching placebo (olive oil) daily. The primary outcome was a first serious vascular event (i.e., nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke, transient ischemic attack, or vascular death, excluding confirmed intracranial hemorrhage). The secondary outcome was a first serious vascular event or any arterial revascularization.
During a mean follow-up of 7.4 years (adherence rate, 76%), a serious vascular event occurred in 689 patients (8.9%) in the fatty acid group and in 712 (9.2%) in the placebo group (rate ratio, 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87 to 1.08; P=0.55). The composite outcome of a serious vascular event or revascularization occurred in 882 patients (11.4%) and 887 patients (11.5%), respectively (rate ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.09). Death from any cause occurred in 752 patients (9.7%) in the fatty acid group and in 788 (10.2%) in the placebo group (rate ratio, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.05). There were no significant between-group differences in the rates of nonfatal serious adverse events.
Among patients with diabetes without evidence of cardiovascular disease, there was no significant difference in the risk of serious vascular events between those who were assigned to receive n−3 fatty acid supplementation and those who were assigned to receive placebo. (Funded by the British Heart Foundation and others; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN60635500; number, NCT00135226.)