weekly blog--one for the ages
A Japanese physician who lived until the age of 105 shares the way he did so.
Don't retire. But if you must, do so a lot later than age 65.
Take the stairs and keep your weight in check.
Maintain a spartan diet. For breakfast, he drank coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. For lunch--milk and a few cookies, or nothing when he was too busy to eat. For dinner--veggies, a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat.
Find a purpose that keeps you busy. Since the age of 65, he worked as a volunteer, often putting in 18 hours seven days.
Rules are stressful; try to relax them. Richard Overton, one of America's oldest-surviving World War II veterans, would have most likely agreed. Right up until his death at age 112, the supercentenarian smoked cigars, drank whisky, and ate fried food and ice cream on a daily basis.
Remember that doctors can't cure everything. "Pain is mysterious and having fun is the best way to forget it," the physician said.
Find inspiration, joy and peace in art. Instead of trying to fight death, he found peace in where he was through art. He credited his contentment and outlook toward life to a poem by Robert Browning, called "Abt Vogler" — especially these lines:
There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before;
The evil is null, is nought, is silence implying sound;
What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven a perfect round.
The midwinter conditions at the South Pole station are so dark and isolated that NASA is studying their effects to help astronauts on a future Mars mission. No sunlight for long periods. No personal space. No escape from workplace conflicts. For many, especially in the northern climes, that description could easily define the gloom of a pandemic winter where we are confined mostly to our homes.
“You want to avoid what they call down there ‘getting toasty,’” says a Harvard astronomer and physicist, in a recent Boston Globe article, who has made 28 trips to the South Pole. Toasty derives its name from a piece of toast that’s burnt (out), and it sets in during the last half or third of the winter when personnel at the South Pole station become fixated on “When is it going to be over?"
How to fight the creeping grouchiness? The experts say find a mission and create events to look forward to. The more isolated we become the more likely we are to lose those crucial positive thoughts. And perhaps the best advice for dealing with things you have no control over—go with the flow and do not get aggravated.
This advice works for aging as well.
A day early for the weekly blog.
A recent article in the NY Times focused on how deeply racism is embedded in our daily lives, and how it affects life expectancies between Black and white people. In 2018, Black people died at higher age-adjusted rates than white people from nine of the top 15 causes of death. If Black people had died at the same age-adjusted rate as white people in 2018, they would have avoided 65,000 premature, excess deaths.
Perceptions of health in the US depends on who you are. A 2011 survey found that only 55 percent of white people knew about inequalities in Black and white health, compared with 89 percent of Black people. When confronted with disparities in Black health, Americans have been slow to acknowledge that those inequalities are “not a Negro affair, but an index of social condition,” wrote W.E.B. Du Bois, a pioneering sociologist, in 1906.
Let us imagine…A novel coronavirus emerges in Brazil, jumping from bats to pigs to farmers before making its way to a big city with an international airport. From there, infected travelers carried it to the United States, Portugal, and China. Within 18 months, the coronavirus had spread around the world, 65 million people are dead, and the global economy is in free fall.
This fictitious scenario played out in a New York City conference center before a panel of academics, government officials and business leaders last October. The exercises anticipated several failures that have played out in the management of COVID-19, including leaky travel bans, medical-equipment shortages, massive disorganization, misinformation, and a scramble for vaccines.
However, the scenarios did not anticipate some of the problems that have plagued the pandemic response, such as a shortfall of diagnostic tests, and world leaders who reject the advice of public-health specialists.
Most strikingly, biosecurity researchers did not predict that the United States would be among the hardest-hit countries.
Last year, leaders in the field ranked the United States top in the Global Health Security Index, which graded 195 countries in terms of how well prepared they were to fight outbreaks based on more than 100 factors. President Donald Trump even held up a copy of the report during a White House briefing on February 27, declaring: “We’re rated number one.” As he spoke, SARS-CoV-2 was already spreading undetected across the country.
Now, as COVID-19 cases in the United States surpass 4 million, with more than 150,000 deaths, the country has proved itself to be one of the most dysfunctional.