vendredi 16 avril 2021

SO PROUD OF CUBA, A SMALL ISOLATED, ASPHYXIATED BY THE GIANT TO THE NORTH, HAS ITS OWN VACCINE


 Cuban Revolution, considered to be a classical example of People's uprising against tyranny and Imperialism, happened in 1959. The Giant to the north so used to the kowtowing of the countries to the south of them try to choke the newly revolutionary government . That asphyxiation continues with a short respite during the Obama Administration. 

Blockade of Cuba has been going on for nearly 60 years, the initial purpose was to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I and II, Clinton, Trump all have come and gone, THE REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT OF CUBA HAS NOT FALLEN ..

BUT the blockade has created enormous difficulties for ordinary cubans and it has gotten worse during the Covid Pandemic as the tourism was shut down and the US government stopped financial remittances by the Cuban diaspora in the USA from sending money to their relatives.

We try not to dwell upon the difficulties of every day life but this morning when I received this video from my good friends Annie and Luis in Barcelona, it did lift my heart a little bit .. I was standing line at a shop in Miami and I couldnt help myself dancing like I would do if I were in Havana..


Thank you, amigos Luis y Anna, nuestros queridos amigos, amantes de Cuba.

This video was made by Argentine musicians and actors and comedians, Ale Sanz and Rudy, part of the group, RS Positivo, accompanied by the pianist Humberto Spallina. and the cuban musician resident in BA, del valle.

For people who know the sociopolitical scene in this part of the world, names come of paying tribute.. Lula, and an array of Argentine politicians and also an indirect tribute to that great Argentine who became a cuban revolutionary, CHE.. tu querida presencia, denotes Che in the lyrics.


I listened to it again, and once again I felt good. In a very short time, millions are people are going to hear about this Cuban achievement, Soberania vaccine , and the lovely music.

Gracias hermanos argentinos..

mercredi 14 avril 2021

MARVELS OF TECHNOLOGY: THE FUTURE WHERE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MEETS HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

 This morning I received a message from an artist friend of mine from Teheran.

and included was a song

"I really love this song. I cant understand the meaning of that but I feel it can be about love."

I listened to the song, at first I did not even know what language that was being sung in. 

i listened to the beautiful song a couple of times, and each time I could distinguish words, even though I did not know the language of the song.

I picked up a word Zindagi, which is the same in Persian and Urdu/Hindi. Since she is from Iran, she would have known if the song was in Persian, so I assumed the song must be in Hindi.

In India, there is a culture of music in that many people will break into songs, and the worlds are universally remembered. Hindi is a North Indian language and most of my friends are in Cochin in Kerala where one hears a cacophony of languages with local language Malayalam dominating with Tamil being another.

I remembered the pharmacist who helps me, a young man who works in Bangalore and sent him the audio clip. He wrote back, very famous sir .. then i have to ask him the name of the singer and the name of the song. He knew it, and he told me that the singer was Arijit Singh and the song was tum hi ho.

Thanks to the Internet and You tube, the message had gone from Tehran to Miami to Bangalore. I also decided to send it to two friends in Cochin, Kerala







One of the friends I sent to, I knew she was a singer from her audio clips but an university student. 
Her reply:
Yes this song is from the film Aashiqui 2 (Hindi film) sung by Arjith Singh.   tum hi ho
and she sent a clip of her singing the song.



Another good friend of mine had this to say
Hindi. Language
I cannot live without you now.    title 
and you can guess the rest of the lines 
I hope somebody nice sent it to you.

This is how the world is connected .
A friend from Iran who does not know the song but liked the song sent it to me to find out where the song is from . I sent it to my friends in India and they immediately recognized the lyrics.

All in all, all of us felt good, an innocent sensation of pleasure and to know that we are all connected.. at this time eased by the technology.

I learned about a popular singer in India.
I talked about this with a friend of mine in Brasil. 

This connection around the world has really saved my sanity over the course of this past year.  I know i have to be a little bit more patient to see my friends from Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Iran.. but each day is ONE DAY LESS..
But the priorities are 
Bauru, SP, Brasil; Israel; Quiberon, France and of course, La Habana, Cuba,





vendredi 9 avril 2021

FATTY LIVER, WHAT CAN WE DO? DRINK SOME CUBAN COFFEE..

One of the simple pleasures in life is to sip a cup of Cuban Coffee. I walk to the nearest cafe, and order a Cortadito which is a Cuban style coffee with a little bit of milk. 

A question frequently asked by patients is that they have been told that they have fat in the liver and they should loose weight. If loosing weight was such an easy proposition as going to the store and buying a pair of shoes, we would have no Diabetes, no Hypertension and a slew of metabolic diseases.. But loosing weight, according to those trying to loose weight, is not easy.

The prevalence of fatty liver in the USA is between 25 and 33 per cent, let us say 30 %. The coffee culture in America is abominable despite the well off population trying to make Starbucks richer. Coffee sold in most places in the USA or "brewed" at workplaces is an insult to Ethiopia the birth place of coffee. 

But there is always a good cup of Cuban coffee for me. I do not suffer from Fatty liver but I can never resist a Cortadito.

I do recommend at least two to three cups of coffee per day for my patients with NAFLD," said Abdelmalek, professor of medicine and a gastroenterologist at Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Her thinking on this recommendation has been influenced by a meta-analysis of 16 studies including more than 3,000 coffee drinkers and 132,000 nonconsumers; the meta-analysis concluded that coffee drinkers were 39% less likely to develop cirrhosis. There was evidence of a dose-response effect: Consumers of two or more cups daily had a 47% reduction in the risk of cirrhosis, compared with the nondrinkers, while more modest consumption was associated with a 34% reduction. Moreover, the investigators found that coffee consumption was also associated with a 27% reduction in the likelihood of developing advanced hepatic fibrosis, compared with that of non–coffee drinkers.

"What's even more provocative is the evidence that coffee decreases risk of hepatocellular carcinoma," the gastroenterologist said.

Suddenly it occurred to me , what is the level of Fatty Liver in Cuba? 

During the Periodo Especial I am sure it was zero, but since then?

A cross-sectional, multicenter study was carried out in 6601 adults seen at gastroenterology outpatient clinics of nine hospitals in seven Cuban provinces from September 2018 through May 2019. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound. The study included 1070 patients who met the diagnostic 

that is 16% prevalence , 

ie a 45 % reduction than the people of Yuma (estados unidos)

I can vouch to you that it is rare to meet a cuban who does not drink at least few cups of coffee per day, so following the logic and thoughts of the Gastroenterologist from Duke University, this reduction must be due to the habit of imbibing the good coffee in Cuba!

Thank you Cortadito

My sister in Havana can brew a mean cup of cuban cofffee and I add the milk into it to make it a Cortadito, whereas most Cuban seem to prefer the Cuba without milk.

mercredi 7 avril 2021

EXCESSIVE EXERCISE IN THE ABSENCE OF NUTRITION ( NOT PROCESSED FOOD LIKE SUBSTANCES) MAY ACTUALLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH

 


When asked to accompany an European-Australian to go for a run around a football field, an Australian aboriginal person accepted the invitation and ran with him around the ground. When they came to the starting point, the Euro Australian wanted to run again, a puzzled indigenous australian asked him: will you come back here at the end of the run? Yes, said the Euro-Australian enthusiastically. Then, said the Indigenous australian, more relaxed now, I will wait there for you.

Most indigenous people do not understand "Exercise" while they know very well what it means to be active, the first one in their eyes, does not have a specific destination or immediate result whereas the second one, being active, you can get your tucker (food), go back to your country (land identified to them).

I am an Endocrinologist and I usually try to persuade sedentary people to move around a little bit. But more than once, among my own colleagues, I have come across the metabolic dysfunction caused by excessive exercise.

Excessive exercise training causes mitochondrial functional impairment and decreases glucose tolerance in healthy volunteers

Published:March 18, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2021.02.017


Highlights

  • Here, we investigate the dose-response effects of exercise training in healthy subjects
  • Excessive exercise training induces substantial mitochondrial respiratory impairment
  • Mitochondrial impairment is associated with impaired glucose tolerance
  • Despite excessive training, markers of global oxidative stress were unchanged

Summary

Exercise training positively affects metabolic health through increased mitochondrial oxidative capacity and improved glucose regulation and is the first line of treatment in several metabolic diseases. However, the upper limit of the amount of exercise associated with beneficial therapeutic effects has not been clearly identified. Here, we used a training model with a progressively increasing exercise load during an intervention over 4 weeks. We closely followed changes in glucose tolerance, mitochondrial function and dynamics, physical exercise capacity, and whole-body metabolism. Following the week with the highest exercise load, we found a striking reduction in intrinsic mitochondrial function that coincided with a disturbance in glucose tolerance and insulin secretion. We also assessed continuous blood glucose profiles in world-class endurance athletes and found that they had impaired glucose control compared with a matched control group.

Graphical abstract

So, excessive training load we will leave to the athletes. We the ordinary ones, will be active, not sitting at the same place for hours on end, sleeping soundly and also calm your mind and mindfully walk  and enjoy the sunsets.

We live at a time when good nutrition is almost impossible to get. Half the americans get their calories from highly processed food. No amount of exercise will mitigate the damage done to your body by bad food.

Currently I am very content and inspired by an indigenous friend of mine and his able wife. He decided to change his nutrition, stick to that change and she expertly prepares the meals which they both enjoy together and the effect on his body metabolism has been nothing short of miraculous.

They send me photos of their blood sugar readings before, one hour and two hours after breakfast, lunch and dinner and I tell them that they have become members of the Century Club, maintaining their blood sugars around a 100 all day long.

Before Breakfast:


Breakfast
One hour after, above and two hours after, below.

Before Lunch, above, and the Lunch below

One hour after, above, and two hours after, below

Before Lunch and the Lunch 

One hour after Dinner, above and two hours after, below.


For a person who was in the Emergency Department (A and E) at the local hospital with sky high metabolic numbers, this is more like a miracle.

The miracle here is the FOOD as pictured, thanks to his expert chef wife. Congratulations to both of you, my dear friends.

When we started working together, I realized that I had to put aside certain prejudices of the doctor (medical education does make you prejudiced about other people's knowledge and wisdom) and embrace what the Indigenous Americans have taught me : Respect the person and acknowledge their knowledge.

In short order, we agreed that he can go off his medications, Metformin and Long Acting Insulin and also his medications for high cholesterol. These are what I call the Diseases of Civilization. 


Coming back to the title of the blog, exercise is necessary, but have an active mind as well, excessive exercise may damage your metabolism but in my opinion, the major aspect for your health is your Nutrition (way more than your exercise). 

and here is one example, of my Lakota friend and his wife, both of them have become members of the Century Club.

PS I am a member of another Century Club, a person who has travelled to 100 countries or territories, but I wanted to join the Century Club of Brave Thunder Journey. 

I am happy to report that my blood sugar during the day fluctuates only slightly around the 100 mg/dl mark. A proud distinction!

MY ADVICE TO MY PATIENTS 

PREPARE YOUR OWN FOOD 

dimanche 28 mars 2021

A TIME TO BE HAPPY WHETHER IN ISRAEL OR IRAN


I am very attracted to the music in Israel of Yemenite origin. I hold the humble opinion that what we see in the Yemenite Israeli faces are the faces of our earliest ancestors.

There is no jewish community left in Yemen, thus joining a long list of Muslim or Arab countries that got rid of their jewish population. 

It is a little known fact that nearly One million Jews from Arab countries were thrown out their millenial long residences after the establishment of the State of Israel and they are all well integrated into Israel, to which the majority went (there are no  Jewish refugee camps in Israel) or France (Most Algerian Jews went to France, thus gave us Jacques Derrida, Attali etc). 

Today a good friend of mine from Iran sent me photos of the wedding of her niece and was nice to note that the symbolism had pre-islamic Zoroastrian origins.

Sofreh Aghd (wedding table)

There is a very elaborate floor spread set up for Aghd, including several kinds of food and decorations, this is called Sofreh Aghd (Persianسفره عقد‎). Items in the table include:

  • The Herbs: Khashkhash (poppy seeds), Berenj (rice), Sabzi Khoshk (Angelica), salt, Raziyane (Nigella seeds), Cha'i (black tea leaves) and Kondor (Frankincense).
  • The PastriesNoghlBaklava, Toot (Iranian marzipan), Naan-e Bereneji (rice cookies), Naan-e Badami (almond cookies) and Naan-Nokhodchi (chickpea cookie) are placed on the spread and traditionally served to the guests after the ceremony.
  • Mirror of Fate and two candelabras, symbols of light and fire. When the bride enters the room she has her veil covering her face. Once the bride sits beside the bridegroom she removes her veil and the first thing that the bridegroom sees in the mirror should be the reflection of his wife-to-be.
  • The Blessed Bread: A specially baked bread with calligraphy written on it.
  • "Naan-o Paneer-o Sabzi": Bread, feta cheese, and greens are also placed on the spread to symbolize the basic food that is needed to sustain life. They are traditionally served to guests after the ceremony.
  • Symbols of Fertilitydecorated eggsalmondswalnuts and hazelnuts.
  • The Heavenly Fruitspomegranatesgrapesapples.
  • Coins: A bowl of gold or silver coins representing wealth and prosperity.
  • The Sacred Text: The AvestaQur'anBible, or Torah is placed in front of the couple on the spread. Some families also add a poetry book such as Rumi's Diwan-e Shams-e TabriziHafez's Divan, or the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi.
  • Prayer Rug: A prayer rug (Jaa-ye Namaaz) or a traditional Iranian Termeh is placed in the center of the wedding spread. The spreadprayer rug, open in the Aghd-cloth is to remind the couple of the importance of prayer to God. The prayer carpet also includes a small cube of clay with prayers written on it (Mohr) and a rosary (Tasbih). Non-Muslim families may or may not omit the prayer kit.




I was drawn to the white cloth held over the heads of the bride and groom. Reminded me of the Chuppah under which a Jewish bride and groom stand during the ceremony.

A scarf or shawl made out of silk or any other fine fabric is held over the bride and bridegroom's heads (who are sitting by the Sofreh) by a few unmarried female relatives (bridesmaids). Two sugar cones made out of hardened sugar are used during the ceremony. These sugar cones are softly ground together above the bride and bridegroom's heads by a happily married female relative (and/or maid of honor) throughout the ceremony to shower them in sweetness. The sugar drops in the held fabric, not on their heads.

My friend informed me that it is called 

SOFRE GHANDSAB


So it is time to be happy , celebrating this young couples wedding in Iran and also to remember various customs of the people around the world, celebrating happiness 


MAZEL TOV 

samedi 27 mars 2021

LACK OF FREEDOM, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A REFUGEE ?

The Nation of USA, has become much gentler under their new President, Mr Joe Biden. He has welcomed the children arriving at the border by themselves rather than throwing them into the claws of the wolves on the other side in Mexico. Even those Venezuelans who called him names and made a mockery of his gentleness has been granted Temporary residence status in the USA.

Leaders can mislead its people. The gullible do not realize that they are being made even more gullible by demagogues. If you do not check the source of the news and check for its authenticity, very soon you would be spewing idiotic claims about Covid Vaccines and epithets of racial superiority and fill your mouth with vituperation.

Trump

Bolsanaro 

Bangladesh is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its leader is becoming more and more autocratic, joining her neighbour, India.

Myanmar has become brutal, over 100 men and women and children were shot dead by the military today in just one city..

Why are the people leaving Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, undertake a perilous journey through Mexico to reach the USA border ? 

Oppression in their own countries and lack of opportunities and government which are not responsible to the needs of the population. 

My heart sink each time I hear about a ferry or a boat sinking in the Mediterranean carrying sub saharan refugees ..

Eritrea 

Lebanon is slowly sinking into anarchy

they are fighting over a pound of powdered milk while Hezbollah boasts that it has hundreds of rockets aimed at its neighbour

Syria where 500 000 citizens have been killed by their own government and its allies 

Iraq

Afghanistan 

Pakistan 

Egypt Libya Algeria ..Sudan.. the list is long 

of course IRAN where a theocracy chokes the intelligent inhabitants of that ancient land 

You cannot be proud of  a country where they do not respect the women, do not allow them to study or advance. It is a fear of being over taken by women, in all fields of study and endeavour, that they resist so much.

It is becoming accepted that all around the world Girls are outperforming Boys in all subjects at the School and University!




Women are not chattels, they are not property, they are our partners, they are our sisters, our mothers, our daughters. 


Who wants to be a refugee ?






I have seen refugees in all parts of the world, while a large proportion of them would like to reach countries where rules of law and democracy prevail..you see economic refugees even when they are not welcome in their brother countries : Rohingyas in Malaysia and Indonesia.

We complain if our bath water is tepid, but what if you do not have water ?

All the human beings are capable of simple pleasures, but currently the majority of the population of this planet is not allowed to be so.



While I have no connections to Lebanon, other than the memory of a teacher, Fouad Ashkar and some colleagues at the university, Gibran Houche, I am very fond of the music of that tiny nation full of so much artistic talent.





I had to trim the video a little bit to fit. it is Fairouz singing Li Beirut.

To my Lebanese Brothers and Sisters 

To my Iranian brothers and Sisters 

The collage of double image is by a Turkish digital artist from Istanbul, yet another capital yearning for freedom. Do not forget your history, do not forget Kemal Ataturk 

thank you Ugur

thank you, MCA in Bauru.  Your gift is ready. 



CELEBRATION OF PESACH DURING COVID

 We are a people of very long memory.

We were slaves in Egypt in the 13th Century BCE.

3300 years ago.


Jews/Israelites as slaves to the Pharoah of Egypt. Painting by Edward Poyntor 1867.

3300 years ago we were able to flee from the tyranny of Egyptian rulers.

Each year , 15th day of the Hebrew Lunar Calendar month of Nisan, the jewish people celebrate the liberation from Slavery. 


we are free..

But are those close to my heart 

IRAN

MYANMAR 

I can think of so many ... millions


For the second year in a row, I am all alone in Miami. No seder or the ritual order of asking questions and drinking wine and eating.

I have been some unusual places on a night like this :

Rhodes, Greece 

Siem Reap, Cambodia where no one knew anything about Pesach

Baracoa, Cuba where getting the ingredients especially the wine was difficult and I made a great friend who helped me get it, Dr. Jesus Alvarez.

Cochin, India with long reading of the Haggadah 


L shanah haba ah bi yerushalayim
we end the ritual with this plea
Next Year in Jerusalem..
But I cannot wait until next year..

Once I finish writing this blog I am going to book a flight to Tel Aviv, realistically in July 2021.

Wishing all those celebrating this special day all around the world, our hearts are united, our futures are united ..If we can remember fervently what happened 3300 years ago, we will make sure that 3300 years lay ahead for our people, but this time in Freedom
Am Israel Chai..



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