Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Fake Hug

I woke up to this morning listening to the below report on BBC.  And then I opened the Washington Post and saw the headline.  It was just another alarming post it note that makes breaking up by one seemingly innocuous.

I liver in almost total isolation and right now the only "conversation" I have is at my local coffee shops or in a retail outlet. I put the word conversation in quotes as that exchange is not a conversation it is performance art, where I am snarky, sarcastic and it is over in the time it takes to pull a Latte. I then sit down read my paper and leave. It extends for as long as I am out that day. A visit to the gym, a ride on the bus and that is my extensive contact with people here in Nashville on any given day. Imagine if I had a car, I would be in contact with people even less.

Now this is by choice and I tried. I take writing classes, which I neither need nor actually want but I decided against pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts as frankly I don't think that would do anything for me personally or professionally. I truly have shut down as this place is positively a breeding ground for social isolation. Nashville's idea of socializing is Church and then to some food dump to shove in food post preach. The average cost spent on dining out here is higher than the national average but the percentage of health related problems also higher. As surprise not as that equation does in fact lead to health problems.  It is not just the amount of food, but the type of food and  the liquor consumption which contributes to it.

I had to join the YMCA as that was the only game in town and it is centrally located which I appreciate; However,  it does nothing to build socialization however given the theme of Christ. Nowhere does. Joining a Church does not mean you automatically absorbed into the cult of personality that aligns the pews.

But as the saying goes:  "If that is the best there is then do it."   Sorry but even I can't manage that much hypocrisy.

So the next alternative was joining a Meetup.org group. I tried New to Nashville, Writers Groups and Art and Culture group.    The first one was the Gallery walk which the "host" neither introduced himself to me or me to others, barely coordinated the walk between gallery's or had any clue. The next was a writers meetup, actually two and no one attended but the hosts and they were so bizarre and discomforting that they have since disbanded. Few attend and why? Well writing is an isolating industry but it is also social, go figure.  My personal favorite was New to Nashville where the host posted the location and said well if we find each other great but go to this event and enjoy! If that makes any sense then you must be from Nashville. And yes he was a native and thought it was helping people learn their way around. Okay then!

Right now I am missing my entire upper roof of my mouth, I am swollen and we are in the middle of massive heat wave. The Community (I should put that in quotes) Garden invited me to their restoration project Saturday morning. I knew that these plots, which  I could see from the alternative dump bucket public school's windows where I sub,  that they must be the ones that are referred to in one of the ubiquitous murals that adorn every building/wall here.   And to say neglected would be insufficient, non-existent however... Sorry but passing on that one and going to Yoga.    A Garden here should have been planted in April, May or even early June. The next phase is September and that is regardless of where one lives but even more so here. I see this again as an attempt to build community, it will not succeed and here, as in the land of Jesus and food there is nothing else that unites people other than one's work and Jesus. Well other than functional illiteracy and shooting guns when enraged. There is a lot of both which the former explains the latter.

And all of this worries me to the point where in the article it discusses Depression. Well having massive dental problems, going through a failing appeal with not one but two Attorneys who never spoke to me unless I forced it over the past 5 years; Then in turn moving across country and getting verbally abused with belongings damaged and disappearing (thanks Allied Van Lines!), followed by working in perhaps the most dysfunctional school district that has an entire published well written book about the subject; Lastly having no one in the medical/dental community communicate with me in a consistent professional manner that ended up with me using the worst metaphor possible thatn led to the Police showing up at my door and finally performing surgery without telling me what happened during the course of the operation.  Well, as that saying goes: That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. No, it just doesn't kill you.

After all of this my trust level meter is at raging warning at level 10 consistently. When you know that the sell-by date is in the next two years or so, you finally throw in the towel and live in utter isolation. And that is not healthy. So I literally talk to myself daily. This land of Southern Hospitality is anything but. But I also think that Seattle was not much different as it's infamous Seattle Freeze has been well documented in varying mediums (Google it).  It comes from the former Swedish culture that dominated the history and culture of the City and in turn became ingrained in the same way Southern Hospitality dominates here. It is a superficial quality that everyone believes exists and in turn perpetuates it by thinking it exists and they have to do nothing to believe otherwise or change the status quo.

So what can you do? Speak to someone. Put down the phone, the laptop, the pad and actually look around you and ride a bus. Go to a Library, ask someone to lunch and listen. Don't just hear them - LISTEN. I would much rather someone talk with me (not to me as that is another Southern trait the lecture speak) and laugh with me than give me the fake two minute hug.




Healthier living could reduce worldwide dementia by a third, report says

By Tara Bahrampour  The Washington Post July 20, 2017

Up to one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by addressing factors such as education, hypertension, diet, hearing loss and depression over the course of a person’s lifetime, according to a new report presented Thursday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London.

The report was compiled by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care, which brought together 24 experts from around the world to review scores of studies and synthesize them into a model showing how lifestyle modification could reduce dementia risk.

Around 47 million people have dementia worldwide, and that number is projected to triple by 2050. The global cost of dementia in 2015 was estimated to be $818 billion, a figure also expected to rise with the number of cases.

The report identifies nine risk factors over a person’s lifespan, including years of education before age 15; hypertension, hearing loss and obesity in middle age; and smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes in late life. The Lancet team considered each factor separately and also looked at how they related to one another to calculate how much modification of each could potentially affect a person’s dementia risk.

In the past decade, research has increasingly pointed to controllable lifestyle factors as integral to reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Researchers believe that, as with heart disease, combating dementia is likely to require a multipronged, or “cocktail” approach combining drugs and lifestyle changes.

“The message is that conditions like dementia are not immutable and are substantially modifiable by the environment,” said Lon Schneider, professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and a co-author of the Lancet report.

Noting that modifying all nine factors could reduce the risk by 35 percent, he said, “Compare that to how we’re developing drugs to treat dementia. Dementia is not a condition that’s ever going to be such that a single drug can be considered a cure for the illness.” Lifestyle modification is inexpensive, he said, adding that a 35 percent reduction of risk is “far larger than anything you can ever expect for drugs.”

Last month a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine took a more cautious approach to the effects of lifestyle modification, finding that evidence of their efficacy derived from randomized controlled trials “remains relatively limited and has significant shortcomings.”

That report, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and used different methodologies than the Lancet Commission’s, found that just three types of intervention offered “encouraging but inconclusive” evidence: cognitive training, blood pressure management for hypertension, and increased physical exercise.

Ronald C. Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, who presented that report Wednesday at the conference, said large trials that are currently ongoing or forthcoming could provide more evidence to support the effects of lifestyle intervention.

One such study was announced Wednesday at the conference: in 2018 the Alzheimer’s Association plans to launch a $20 million two-year clinical trial to see if lifestyle changes can prevent cognitive decline.

Modeled after a larger 2014 study in Finland that showed positive results, the U.S. POINTER study will work with 2,500 older adults at risk for cognitive decline. It will test whether two years of intervention that includes physical exercise, nutritional counseling, social and cognitive stimulation, and improved self-management will help cognitive function in participants 60 to 79 years old.

Similar studies are also underway in Singapore and Australia.


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