Chuckles of the Day

Drinking Again

An Irishman had been drinking at a pub all night. The bartender finally said that the bar is closing. So the Irishman stood up to leave and fell flat on his face. He tried to stand one more time; same result. He figured he’d crawl outside and get some fresh air and maybe that would sober him up. Once outside, he stood up and fell on his face again. So he decided to crawl the four blocks home.

When he arrived at the door he stood up and fell flat on his face. He crawled through the door and into his bedroom. When he reached his bed he tried one more time to stand up. This time he managed to pull himself upright, but he quickly fell right into the bed and was sound asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

He was awakened the next morning to his wife standing over him shouting, “SO YOU’VE BEEN DRINKING AGAIN!”

Putting on an innocent look, intent on bluffing it out he said, “What makes you say that?”

“The pub just called; you left your wheelchair there again.”

* * * * * * *

A male gynecologist is like an auto mechanic who never owned a car.

– Carrie Snow

* * * * * * *

Super Bowl

A man received a free ticket to the Super Bowl from his company.

Unfortunately, when he arrived at the stadium he realized the seat was in the last row in the corner of the stadium…….closer to the Goodyear Blimp than the field!

About halfway through the first quarter he notices an empty seat 10 rows off the field right on the 50 yard line. He decides to take a chance and makes his way through the stadium around the security guards to the empty seat.

As he sits down, he asks the gentleman sitting next to him, “Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?”

The man replies “No”.

“This is incredible!” Who in their right mind would have a seat like this at the Super Bowl and not use it?”

The man replies, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me, I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we haven’t been together since we got married in 1967.”

“That’s terribly sad. But still, couldn’t you find someone to take the seat? A relative or close friend?”

“No,” the man replied, “They’re all at the funeral.”

The Southern Diet – Fried Foods and Sugary Drinks – May Raise Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

Regularly eating a Southern-style diet may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, while routinely consuming a Mediterranean diet may reduce that risk, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

The Southern diet is characterized by added fats, fried foods, eggs, organ meats (such as liver or giblets), processed meats (such as deli meat, bacon and hotdogs) and sugar-sweetened beverages. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and legumes and low in meat and dairy.

“While this study was observational in nature, the results suggest that diet may be a modifiable risk factor for sudden cardiac death, and, therefore, diet is a risk factor that we have some control over,” said James M. Shikany, Dr.P.H., F.A.H.A., the study’s lead author and professor of medicine and associate director for research in the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Improving one’s diet – by eating a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish such as the Mediterranean diet and low in fried foods, organ meats and processed meats, characteristics of the Southern-style dietary pattern, may decrease one’s risk for sudden cardiac death,” he said.

The study examined data from more than 21,000 people ages 45 and older enrolled in an ongoing national research project called REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), which is examining geographic and racial differences in stroke. Participants were recruited between 2003 and 2007. Of the participants in this analysis, 56% were women; 33% were Black adults; and 56% lived in the southeastern U.S., which is noteworthy as a region recognized as the Stroke Belt because of its higher stroke death rate. The Stroke Belt states included in this study were North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.

This study is the latest research to investigate the association between cardiovascular disease and diet – which foods have a positive vs. negative impact on cardiovascular disease risk. It may be the only study to-date to examine the association between dietary patterns with the risk of sudden cardiac death, which is the abrupt loss of heart function that leads to death within an hour of symptom onset. Sudden cardiac death is a common cause of death and accounted for 1 in every 7.5 deaths in the United States in 2016, or nearly 367,000 deaths, according to 2019 American Heart Association statistics.

Researchers included participants with and without a history of coronary heart disease at the beginning of the study and assessed diets through a food frequency questionnaire completed at the beginning of the study. Participants were asked how often and in what quantities they had consumed 110 different food items in the previous year.

Researchers calculated a Mediterranean diet score based on specific food groups considered beneficial or detrimental to health. They also derived five dietary patterns. Along with the Southern-style eating pattern, the analysis included a “sweets” dietary pattern, which features foods with added sugars, such as desserts, chocolate, candy and sweetened breakfast foods; a “convenience” eating pattern which relied on easy-to-make foods like mixed dishes, pasta dishes, or items likely to be ordered as take-out such as pizza, Mexican food and Chinese food; a “plant-based” dietary pattern was classified as being high in vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, cereal, bean, fish, poultry and yogurt; and an “alcohol and salad” dietary pattern, which was highly reliant on beer, wine, liquor along with green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and salad dressing.

Shikany noted that the patterns are not mutually exclusive. “All participants had some level of adherence to each pattern, but usually adhered more to some patterns and less to others,” he explained. “For example, it would not be unusual for an individual who adheres highly to the Southern pattern to also adhere to the plant-based pattern, but to a much lower degree.”

After an average of nearly 10 years of follow-up every six months to check for cardiovascular disease events, more than 400 sudden cardiac deaths had occurred among the 21,000 study participants.

The study found:

  • Overall, participants who ate a Southern-style diet most regularly had a 46% higher risk of sudden cardiac death than people who had the least adherence to this dietary pattern.
  • Also, participants who most closely followed the traditional Mediterranean diet had a 26% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than those with the least adherence to this eating style.

The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle recommendations emphasize eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fish, beans, legumes, nuts and non-tropical vegetable cooking oils such as olive and canola oil. Limiting saturated fats, sodium, added sugar and processed meat are also recommended. Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the U.S. diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Heart Association supports sugary drink taxes to drive down consumption of these products.

“These findings support the notion that a healthier diet would prevent fatal cardiovascular disease and should encourage all of us to adopt a healthier diet as part of our lifestyles,” said Stephen Juraschek, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee of the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council. “To the extent that they can, people should evaluate the number of servings of fruit and vegetables they consume each day and try to increase the number to at least 5-6 servings per day, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Optimal would be 8-9 servings per day.

“This study also raises important points about health equity, food security and social determinants of health,” he continued. “The authors describe the “Southern Diet” based on the U.S. geography associated with this dietary pattern, yet it would be a mistake for us to assume that this is a diet of choice. I think American society needs to look more broadly at why this type of diet is more common in the South and clusters among some racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups to devise interventions that can improve diet quality. The gap in healthy eating between people with means and those without continues to grow in the U.S., and there is an incredible need to understand the complex societal factors that have led and continue to perpetuate these disparities.”

This current research expands on earlier studies on participants from the same national stroke project, REGARDS. In a 2018 analysis, Shikany and colleagues reported that adults ages 45 and older with heart disease who had an affinity for the Southern diet had a higher risk of death from any cause, while greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause. And in a 2015 study, the Southern diet was linked to a greater risk of coronary heart disease in the same population.

The large population sample and regional diversity, including a significant number of Black participants, are considered strengths of the REGARDS research project. However, potential limitations of this study include that that dietary intake was based on one-time, self-reported questionnaires, thus, it relied on the participants’ memory. Self-reported diet can include inaccuracies leading to bias that could reduce the strength of the associations observed.

One usual association that remains unexplained is that among individuals with a history of heart disease, those who most adhered to the sweets dietary pattern had a 51% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than participants who followed that pattern the least. Researchers note that they found “no viable explanation for the inverse association of the sweets dietary pattern with risk of sudden cardiac death in those with a history of coronary heart disease.”

Source: American Heart Association

In Pictures: Popular Greek Food







As COVID Rules Ease, Common Colds Rebound Across America

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Infectious disease expert Ravina Kullar’s husband has a cold. So does her sister-in-law.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic’s waiting rooms are becoming much more frequented by folks with coughs, sneezes and sniffles, said family medicine physician Dr. Neha Vyas.

These folks are part of a nationwide trend occurring as COVID-19 vaccinations rise, masks drop, protective restrictions lift, and life returns to some semblance of normal, experts say.

“Face masks have protected us not only from COVID-19 infection, but also other respiratory infections such as colds, the flu,” said Kullar, a consultant with Expert Stewardship Inc., a California company that promotes infection prevention in long-term care facilities. “People now are more susceptible to catching these respiratory viruses that someone acquires through the nasal passage or the mouth. It’s right on par with lifting the restrictions.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory warning that one of these bugs — respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — has been on the rise in 13 states, mostly in the South.

At the same time, there’s been a strong uptick in sales of over-the-counter cold and flu medications, according to Catalina Marketing Corp., a company that tracks store purchases across the United States.

Among cough and cold remedies, there’s been a 564% increase for kids’ products and an 80% bump in medications aimed at adults compared to this time in 2019 and 2020, Catalina’s data shows.

There’s also been a 151% increase in vaporizer purchases, a 78% increase in chest rubs, a 48% increase in throat drops and a 19% increase in allergy or sinus remedies.

More people are also hitting the doctor’s offices with cold symptoms.

For example, the Cleveland Clinic has had a noticeable uptick in patients with respiratory infections and sinus infections, Vyas said.

“There are correlations between the fact we are opening up places and dropping mask mandates and interacting more and going to sporting events and going back to the gym, and the rise we are seeing in respiratory illnesses,” she said.

No cold/flu season last year

The fact of the matter is that masks and social distancing protected Americans from a lot more than COVID-19 during the pandemic, experts said.

Winter seasonal viruses — the flu, the common cold and the like — fell by more than 99% last year as Americans adopted practical measures to protect themselves against COVID, according to a University of Wisconsin study published June 21 in JAMA Network Open.

Essentially, the United States did not have a cold and flu season last year, researchers said. Cases in Wisconsin fell from an average 4,800 per month in previous seasons to an average 12 per month during the pandemic.

The fact that masks are coming off during the summer shouldn’t be any safer than if they came off during the winter’s cold and flu doldrums, said Dr. Stacey Rose, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“There are plenty of viruses, including the common cold, that continue to circulate during the summer months,” Rose said. “Enteroviruses are classically spread in the summer months, and coronaviruses are year-round viruses. RSV can definitely be seen in the spring. Even influenza, which we used to think of as a strictly ‘winter’ virus, I think we’ve seen a lot more in the spring over the last few years.”

A certain amount of infection risk comes from resuming “normal” life, which includes interacting with others in cramped locations.

“People are traveling so much more,” Kullar said. “I flew to LAX, and I’ve never seen that airport so packed, even in pre-pandemic days.”

Adding to the risk, many seem to be taking a break from the entire suite of protective measures that became instilled in us during the pandemic, Vyas said.

“I’ve noticed even in my office those very strict hand-washing and hand hygiene and social distancing measures that we took a year ago are really not being as followed as much,” she said.

Stick with routine hygiene

In addition, kids are returning to child-care centers that are major vectors of viral spread and were shut down during the pandemic.

“Those of us who have young kids know that when we first enroll our kids in day care settings they tend to get sick a lot and they bring things home, and I think that all was reduced during COVID-19,” Rose said.

If you want to avoid getting a cold, then you should consider tightening up your personal protections against infection, Vyas said.

Medical professionals “try to clean high-touch surfaces all the time. We wash our hands all the time. We avoid sneezing or coughing into our hands all the time,” Vyas said. “Those are the things that should never be dropped. Those are just basic hygiene measures.”

And even though many now have the freedom to doff their masks in a variety of public places, Rose said they might want to think twice before tossing them away.

“It is pretty remarkable how effective these masks are at preventing the spread not just of COVID-19 but of these other viruses and infectious particles,” she said. “If we were to get into a situation where we found that influenza was spiking or RSV was spiking and we wanted to put a stop to that, from a public health perspective, don’t throw away that mask.”

For her part, Vyas thinks she’ll continue to wear a mask in crowded situations.

“I don’t know how comfortable I would be without wearing a mask now in public transportation,” Vyas said. “If I’m in a situation where I’m around a lot of other people, it may make sense to maintain that social distancing, to try not to touch high-touch surfaces, to stay away from buffets, to do all of those things we were doing before — not just to limit the spread of COVID, but for respiratory viruses in general.”

Source: HealthDay

Chicken with Mustard Greens, Quinoa, and Oranges


1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 cups orange segments, drained, with juices reserved
2 cups water
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
olive oil cooking spray
4 (4-ounce each) boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
freshly ground black pepper
8 cups mustard greens, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon gluten-free, reduced-sodium soy sauce


  1. Place the mustard seeds and reserved orange juice in a small dish and set aside.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the quinoa and simmer until cooked, about 12 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and add to the skillet. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  4. Add the mustard greens to the skillet and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the orange segments and quinoa and cook until warmed through. Season with salt.
  6. Spoon the greens onto four plates.
  7. Add the orange-mustard seed mix, Dijon mustard, and soy sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and warm through. Serve the glazed chicken over the greens.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Negative Calorie Diet

Today’s Comic