Put’in On The Ritz

When Irvin Berlin wrote “Put’in On the Ritz” in 1927 the roaring 20’s was in full swing. The days and nights of dapper sophistication was all the rage. Whit tie and tails as they say. Where this generation of women wore Flappers and Speakeasys is where the action was. The culture of the 20’s flourished and made Put’in on the Ritz the benchmark of society until the early 1930’s. Practically everywhere you looked at that time from New York to Chicago the gaiety and revelry transcended cultures and exposed the world to the dance craze of the Charleston.

The refinement of that era defined a nation. Sad, though the Great Depression soon griped the world where too many were trapped into a downward cycle toward poverty. Many sought refuge by watching the movies visualizing what it would be like to revisit those carefree days of yesteryear. Captivated by the performances of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and others made those days of misery more bearable.

As the world moved closer to World War II a new ear was emerging. The 1940’s where the sights and sounds especially in music moved society away from the dapper sophistication that prevailed 20 years ago. The swing age of Benny Goodman, Crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra set the tone for a departure of the times where people were putting on the Ritz. For us baby boomers it was our parents who experienced the gaiety the 1920’s, danced the Charleston, endured the tough times of the Great Depression and freed the world from the scourge of World War II who through it all managed to instill in their children much of the moral values, integrity, and social mannerisms that endured for more than 40 years.

Even though we were instilled with the same moral standards of our parents sad to say a sociological shift was already underway. As world War II ended the emergence of Rock and Roll was taking off and by the mid 1950’s another sociological shift was underway. Many can say the cause of the way society as a whole again shifted was linked to the emergence of a new acceptance in music, entertainment, and social norms. A gradual departure from the strict behavior and dress that was the accepted norm years ago also helped societies shift.

This sociological shift during the 50’s and again during the 1960’s displaced the refinement, the etiquette, and mannerisms that enabled society to avoid all the pitfalls that are embedded in our society today. Our schools were the first to show a deterioration of codes of conduct, respect, and discipline. The baby boomer generation faced almost insurmountable odds in trying to instill what they were taught only to find outside forces from the Dr. Spock mentality craze and entertainment. It has been the entertainment industry from much of the music like hard rock, hip hop and rap to the video games of today that have turned our society inside out. We have to also realize that the Viet-Nam War along with many Supreme Court rulings have undermined societies retrieval of a certain amount of the Dapper Sophistication when Put’in on the Ritz would not only be possible but more acceptable in our society today.

The accustomed norm of today is a far cry from the days of Irvin Berlin. When I look back to how my parents and those parents of the kids I grew up with all had the same qualities in the way they carried themselves. By today’s standard though it is such a shame because to many today could not fathom the way our parents behaved let alone dressed during the times of my youth. And, yet in our upbringing we managed to avoid so much of the violence, the lack of moral judgement and the lack of respect that is displayed today and not just by our youth either.

We all should remember and embrace Put’in On The Ritz for that craze and phrase symbolized a nation. The Dapper Sophistication America embraced is one aspect of our society that transformed our culture into refinement and elegance that has been lost. As my farther told me when I was growing up Chicago even with Al Capone the 1920’s was one of the best periods that shaped how my father was to become and how he instilled in me the values and moral integrity that made so many of us baby boomers able to as they say ” live long and prosper.”

Digital Medicine Platform for Treatment of Cognitive Disorder

Akili, a pioneer in therapeutic prescription digital medicine has closed successfully it’s $55 million financing Series C trial of medicine. This funding follows a successful trial, including study, developing and testing a novel digital medicine named AKL- T01. This flagship product of Akili aimed to treat a type of cognitive disorder- attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Once approved and launched commercially, it would be the first digital and standalone therapeutic medicine for ADHD. Company’s other product in the pipeline and research, AKL-T02 will treat autism spectral disorder (ASD) or what simply known as autism.

Autism refers to another type of cognitive disorder, particularly in children, making them difficult to interact socially. The repetitive behavior and underdeveloped speech and verbal communication render them vulnerable in society. The reason behind autism could be genetic as well as environmental influence.

The above news has brought in a new ray of hope for an autism patient where there is no specific traditional medicine is available for its cure. This new development has the potential for treating this disorder, probably with more efficiency.

This funding will also help to advance products in the pipeline for treating multi sclerosis (MS) and depression. After approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it will be launched commercially for the patients. According to Akili AKL-T01 would be a standalone treatment for ADHD.

The company’s founder and CEO Eddie Martucci is quite happy with the response of investors and welcomed the financing. He said this financing indicates faith of people in his company’s potential in digital medicines and growth. According to him, the company will continue to grow and supply novel solutions in the redefined healthcare sector.

Akini Interactive is a company who believes in transforming healthcare through its digital therapeutics medicine solving Neuro-cognitive disorders. It believes in targeting specific cognitive area or nerve which has been suppressed by the dysfunction. The treatment includes, interestingly, not any pill, but customized action video games for patients to play.

Video games are designed by neuroscientists and entertainer engineered with algorithms to treat a cognitive disorder like depression. According to the company, highly-interactive and highly engaging games provide a therapeutic experience to patients which actually benefit them. Through high-end therapeutics interactive video games, the specific regions of the brain could become functional which has been suppressed by the disorder, improving the condition of the patient. There would second by second tracking of patient’s cognitive response and data available for any improvement in the patient’s condition.

AKL- T01 if approved by the FDA and then it would certainly indicate towards the acceptance of new healthcare solutions for patients. It has the capability to transform the whole healthcare process and system in coming years. This funding will boost the confidence of other investors, which are planning to invest or come together for such digital medicine research and development in the future and those patients who are searching for new areas to treat disorders like autism could be more than happy to read such positive news.

Sadness, Depression After Weight Loss Surgery – The Serotonin Connection

It is my nature to be an annoying Pollyanna personality. I am a “look at the bright side, find the silver lining, zippity-do-da” kinda gal. But you know, 2010 is bringing me down with round-the-clock news of the global economic crisis, wars, poverty, natural and industrial disasters. Feelings of sadness or depression overwhelm me at times and I find myself in search of my old comfort food friends: pasta, crackers, sweets.

What I have learned is that there is a very real biological reason I crave those highly processed carbohydrates: My body wants to use them to create the feel-good hormone, serotonin, so that I will not feel overwhelmed with feelings of depression or sadness. In understanding this I can forgive my “weakness” and seek other means by which my body can do a biological balancing act to bring harmony to mood and mind. Today I share that knowledge with you in hopes that you too will understand these feelings and have a means to help your body help you.

It is common for new post-surgery bariatric patients to feel confusion over their emotional state. “I expected I would be happier,” they tell me, “but I feel consumed by an overall sadness. Just sadness. What’s wrong with me?” they ask. I remember feeling the same way in the early weeks and months out of surgery. And nobody had the answer back then, it was just a bump in the journey that we all needed to work past. Patients of all bariatric surgeries including gastric bypass, gastric lap-band, and gastric sleeve report similar experiences.

Ten years and a great deal of study and observation later I have a theory (my theory alone, and I’m not a medical professional) that there is a physiological reason for this post-surgery sadness. Prior to obesity surgery many of us consumed copious amounts of processed carbohydrates including sugar, refined flour, starches and grains. In the body carbohydrates meet up with the amino acid tryptophan and make serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone that stimulates the brain as a comforting mood enhancer. Macaroni & cheese is an American favorite comfort food, and for good reason. It combines enough tryptophan with enough high-carb pasta to produce sufficient serotonin, which relieves symptoms of depression and boosts feelings of contentment.

Enter weight loss surgery and the protein first, limited fat,and low carbohydrate diet. Suddenly the biological process of serotonin conversion is out of order. We no longer have the means to self-medicate our mood with foods that boost serotonin levels, yet we continue to have the cravings because our body is crying for help. It does not know any other way to manage mood. It just makes sense that this extreme dietary change results in an altered mood and in some cases, a state of biological panic or emotional depression

Dr. Judith Wurtman, author of The Serotonin PowerDiet, and former MIT scientist says, “If you’re on a weight loss diet that emphasizes boosting protein and cutting down extremely on carbohydrates, that might explain your craving for high-carb food. When carb cravers eat the high-carb food, they feel better in about 20 minutes.” But after weight loss surgery we cannot eat enough high-carbohydrate food to boost mood and doing so works against the surgical tool. Most researchers agree that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression.

A high protein diet is rich in amino acids including tryptophans. But when we eat a high protein meal there are so many amino acids competing for brain time that there is little opportunity for the tryptophan to enter the brain to trigger the serotonin conversion. On the other hand, a carbohydrate-rich meal triggers the release of insulin, which causes tryptophan in the bloodstream to rise and ultimately boost serotonin levels. Knowing this, it is easy to understand our carbohydrate cravings when we, by way of surgery, eliminate carbs from our diet.

This tells me that we are often sad or depressed because our body, following surgery, is in a state of biological confusion. Rather than suffering feelings of failure or inadequacy we are better served by knowing our body is in distress and seeking treatment options to facilitate healing and biological balance.

Pro Gun Control

We should not have to worry whether or not we will be shot or whether a loved one will be shot every time we step out of our house. We should not have to watch the amount of people shot increase by 315 every single day. The amount of people that are shot every year is approximately 6 times the population of Monaco.

It is obvious that the average civilian in the United States should not own a gun. Although, we should have self defense, we wouldn’t need to protect ourselves if an average civilian did not own a gun.

So many more people would be alive if average civilians did not own guns. According to a thought experiment on “howstuffworks” conducted by Christian Sager on January 19, 2017, 11,000 more people would be alive the year guns weren’t allowed. Moreover, over one mass shooting happens everyday. That does not even look into the amount of people who have committed suicide due to the fact that a family member has passed away. Imagine one of your closest family members or friends has passed away. You would feel sad, at least you should feel sad because if you do not you are just lying. Guns do not just hurt each person shot, it hurts everyone around them and it does not stop there.

Furthermore, owning a gun makes killing yourself too easy. 5.1% of suicides are successful from cutting yourself. 7.4% of suicides are successful from poisoning yourself. However, 96.5% of suicides are successful from firearms. A lot of the times, we forget to think before we do something and think about all the people who are now dead because they were not sure whether they wanted to take their life or not but still did take their life. 13% of Americans have major episodes of depression. That approximately means that in each household of 7 people there is at least one person who has major episodes of depression. And, 90% of the United States live in a household with at least one gun. Think about the statistics. Can the government really trust us with guns?

Every single person should be able to protect themselves. In fact, from 2007 to 2011, 29,618,300 people have shot firearms to protect themselves. Texas Church Shootings, 25 people dead they did not have guns to protect their lives. However, less than one percent of gun owners use their guns for self protection. The majority of people own guns for that useless reason. If you already think there is some gun control, the gun control is weak. According to an article on Independent by Emily Shugerman on the 28th of September, a three-year old finds a gun in a household in Dearbook, Michigan and shoots two other toddlers. This is what happens when you keep guns in your household. Moreover, this is an example of the weak gun control in the United States.

All of these statistics show that the United States obviously needs stricter gun control. Average civilians should not own guns. I would suggest you to not buy a gun or at least not keep a gun in your household. Think about your family and friends and what harm keeping a gun in your house causes. I very strongly believe having a gun in your house is a terrible idea. Although, you may think having a gun is good for self protection. Think about, how easy it is to kill yourself and if an average civilian is not allowed to own guns there would be nothing to protect yourself from. Take my word for advice.

Good Vices That Benefit Our Health

VICE #1: Sleeping in.

It’s free, natural and has no drawbacks. More than giving you energy, getting enough quality sleep boosts your immune system, your memory and might even help you manage your weight. Lack of sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and belly fat, all known to be risk factors for heart disease. You should aim for the research supported 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. If you always seem to drag yourself out of bed, no matter how much sleep you get the night before, talk to your doctor. A good night’s sleep is not a luxury… it’s necessary to your health and well-being.

VICE #2: Mental health days.

Who doesn’t enjoy sneaking off for a well deserved time out? Turns out taking time off has been shown by research to relieve stress, lowering your blood pressure and thus your risk for heart disease. It also aids creative thinking, and may help with symptoms of depression. The good news is that the length of the vacation doesn’t matter one bit in terms of how happy it will make you. The best part is the anticipation.

VICE #3: Enjoying intimate pleasures.

A vice in some eyes to be sure… sex is, after all, the most pleasurable form of activity there is. It releases feel-good endorphins and oxytocin, the hormone that helps promote attachment, which very much benefits mental health. One study found that those who were sexually active one or two times a week had raised levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A that is thought to protect from colds and infections. As with many vices, sexual activity brings the chance for unintended consequences like infections and pregnancy, which is why it does not top the list.

VICE #4: A daily serving of chocolate.

A worthy, well loved vice. A square or two of the dark kind, without as much sugar and fat as milk chocolate, will do wonders. Dark chocolate and cocoa (75% cocoa content) might help lower blood pressure, cut the risk of stroke and bring other cardiovascular benefits according to more than one study. Dark chocolate has flavonoids that are believed to improve the flexibility of blood vessels, making them more resistant to plaque buildup.

Another study published last year found that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate a day for 14 days reduced the stress hormones in highly anxious people.

VICE #5: Girls/Boys nights out.

Finally, research to back up a vice we all enjoy. A number of recent studies have shown how big an impact friends and family have on our behavior. From what we eat and drink, to how much we weigh (for better or worse). Strong social ties have also been found to bring benefits like fewer colds, better brain health and a longer life. Friendships are so good for you, as long as you’re in a well-balanced relationship with give and take being equal. Avoid those who are toxic to you.

VICE #6: Full fat dressing/sauces.

When it comes to vices, full fat anything is sure to be on the list. The thing is, there’s really no need for you to deprive yourself of the full fat variety of your favorite dressing or sauce. These “loaded” versions not only taste better, but they remind us that fats serve a real health purpose, as long as you get the right kinds in the right amount. Try for 10% (no more than 30%) of your daily fat intake to come from monounsaturated fats (vegetable oils, avocados, many nuts and seeds) that cut your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and tuna, flaxseed and walnuts) also reduce the risk of heart disease and might even help ease symptoms of depression, rheumatoid arthritis and other problems. A meal that has a little fat leaves you feeling more satisfied, so you end up actually eating less.

VICE #7: Your morning coffee.

One of the most well known of the vices, coffee continues to be popular. If you’re like many who need that cup of coffee to get going in the morning, don’t feel guilty. There’s a lot of research that suggests coffee doesn’t just pick you up, it also fights heart disease and some cancers. It might also help you perform harder, longer workouts. Moderate coffee drinking in midlife has been linked to lower risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s. What’s more, every added cup of coffee you drink a day drops your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 7%.

VICE #8: Getting a massage.

They may be an expensive indulgence, but massages (by a pro or a loved one) are a vice that is well worth the guilt. Being touched regularly leaves you healthier. Women in a 2008 study noted less pain, depression, anxiety and anger when they got weekly massages by their partners. Their partners reported better mental health too.

VICE #9: Basking in the sun.

Though we all know the dangers of too much sun, this vice, in moderation, has its good side. Those sun filled days act as a natural anti-depressant, really working to improve moods. It triggers our bodies to cut production of the sleep stimulating hormone melatonin so we feel alert, energized and ready to take on the day. Letting the skin soak up the sun (without sunscreen) also triggers the natural synthesis of vitamin D, believed to reduce risks for cancer, heart disease, brittle bones and other conditions.

VICE #10: Wine with dinner.

Last but not least, the ‘good’ vice that most hinges on moderation. Though researchers don’t know precisely why it works, wine does have some impressive heart healthy properties. The antioxidants may keep blood vessels flexible, or alcohol could help boost HDL (the good) cholesterol. All you need is one 5 ounce glass a day to enjoy the benefit, more than this can up your blood pressure and cause you to pack on pounds. Women who drink heavily also boost their risk of breast cancer.