Friday, March 27, 2015

Acquired Psychoses of Autoimmune Origin ?

      

Certainly survival and life in general is better without a psychotic family member.  (Rendering: www.olympichottub.com )






         I have written a number of posts lately lamenting that people with whom I am acquainted appear to have gone mad.   Of course, some of my commentary was figurative, especially when discussing various aspects of present day politics.  However, in the case of a few people of whom I was thinking, my comments were quite literal.    What makes a person who was functional through half a lifetime become psychotic ?    Some would attribute this to the oddness of a ticking time bomb which was covered until present day stress finally unmasked "the real problem".  Some physicians would say that it could be an early Alzheimer's disease.   However, there may be yet another cause.

             I have always been interested in autoimmune diseases and disorders.  The idea that under some circumstances, the body and its systems can turn against itself and wipe out certain target organs and systems is fascinating.   In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, for example,  the body turns against the last organ to go online, the thyroid.  Eventually, following what may be periods of low function alternated with higher inappropriate function, the thyroid produces insufficient hormone, leaving the remainder of body systems from kidneys to white blood cells functioning at a sub par level, and producing a variety of symptoms the result of varietal organ and system insufficiencies.    In juvenile diabetes, a trigger of some type, often a virus, causes the body to destroy the beta cells of the islets of langerhans of the pancreas. The person is left without the ability to make insulin.  Until the advent of externally provided insulin, this autoimmune process was fatal, and most often afflicted the young.   Multiple sclerosis, Lupus, Crohn's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Guillain-Barre Syndrome,  Henoch-Schonlein Purpura, Narcolepsy and a host of other illnesses have all been proven to be of some type of autoimmune origin.     I have been aware that there is a disorder called PANDAS which is an acute psychiatric disorder in children which is triggered by a strep infection, and that this too is felt to trigger an autoimmune reaction.

             Recently, rather than mental illness being only rarely attributed to an autoimmune cause, more attention is being given to it.  Perhaps those who have a maturity onset psychosis simply have a new onset autoimmune disorder which fuels a severe separation from reality)  In her paper Dr. Belinda Lennox examines the relevance of new onset antibody mediated encephalitic autoimmune disorder.   Late last year Dr. Belinda Lennox, a psychiatrist at Oxford University in England published a paper in which she examined the prevalence of autoimmune antibodies in people who have psychosis.   (Psychosis, for the purpose of our blog post today, is a severe separation from reality.  She examines the new disorders of antibody mediated psychosis.  She discusses the challenges of treating those with psychosis with immunologic therapy.
This is a highly important revelation as it not only explains how some of the people with whom I am acquainted suffered devastating psychoses in maturity or middle age, but it provides a strategy for treatment for such.  Dr. Lennox has found some success in using steroids, intravenous immunoglobulins, and low dose immunosuppressives, which are not generally considered items in the tool box of the psychiatrist.

           This week, a twenty-seven year old co-pilot crashed a jet into the side of a mountain in France, killing all aboard.  There were no obvious signs of psychosis prior, and the pilot has spent twenty-seven years impressing a wide variety of  people of his intelligence, kindness, competence and calm.  I couldn't help but wonder what happened which caused him to cause the deaths more one hundred and fifty plus people, and himself.

 It will be interesting to see the results of the Lennox study, and to see if her results are duplicated in studies by other research physicians.



Sunday, March 22, 2015

ISIS publishes a US Military Kill List and Your Countermeasures

       
Picture of ISIS  http://www.youngcons.com/




     A number of news sources have published an article in which it is claimed that ISIS has published a desired "Kill list" of  US military employees.  ISIS claims to have hacked military servers in order to obtain records with addresses and family information.  ISIS hopes  to send individuals to "decapitate them in their own homes"  Let this be a "heads up" to you all.


                 Most military people have known for some time that it was a matter of time before Islamic extremists began to send agents after them and after their families.  Many of them have been arming and training wives, sisters, mothers, and improving the fire power they had at home.   This is also when internet operational security becomes essential.     Everyone,military and not,  stop listing your upcoming vacation and itineraries online.   Don't tell us that your son plays soccer at the Bent Fork Park on Saturdays !    The name of your daughter's ballet school, or even the fact that she takes ballet is a vulnerability.


                  Even if your name is not on the ISIS listing and you have never served in the US military, this news should be concerning to you.    What if John H. Smith the special ops soldier who lives in Glendale happens to match your name ?   The families, the relatives, the namesakes and every American is also therefore potentially under attack.


                  What can we do ?   What we always could have done.   Improve your own situational awareness.   Notice the cars and people in your neighborhoods, and teach your family to do the same.   I know exactly who travels my area and who is gone by 8:30 am, and who is home all day.  When something is different, call someone.   Call their neighbor, or call your law enforcement.    Forget paranoia, it doesn't help in decision making.  Instead, learn to be mindfully alert.      Secondly, teach plain and simple concepts of situational awareness to your children.   I believe that 90% of people are good, and that 10% would do a child or a vulnerable person harm, but that we never know who the 10% is.   Of course, a lot of law enforcement would disagree with me on those percentages, but it doesn't matter.  Your children need to know that evil, both domestic and foreign,exists on the Earth and that they need to use their own observational skills and report to you and to others when something is different or to simply note it if it's just typical.  We are not sitting ducks. Even a child is powerful, and along with potentially frightening news, we need to convey the positives of our situation to them as well.


                  Next, understand that we all have a responsibility to protect our families.  If you are legally and physically capable, you need to arm yourself and train to remove a threat who enters your home.   Buying a weapon and storing it without training makes your family more vulnerable than you are now, and so you must take the extra step by arranging to train and use your weapon properly.  Its use must become a task you could do competently in a frightening or confusing situation. You must identify the person in your home properly.  It would be tragic to shoot a friend or family member inappropriately.  The mental work of weapon use and what you might do "if",  must be done.  For those of us who have focused for many years on saving lives rather than potentially damaging people or ending lives, this can be a tall order.  Most nurses would rather talk someone to death than shoot them.  Sometimes those of us in the "helping professions" are also arrogant enough to think that we could talk anyone out of almost anything.   The weapons training and mental preparation just has to be there.  You must train to reach a point in which someone who wishes you or a family member dead can be vanquished, because we are permitted to act in self defense.


                 Improve the security of your home.   Get doors reinforced.  Improve curtains and blinds.   People should not be able to see where everyone is in your home from the street at dusk.   Upgrade your deadbolts.  If your keys are out in the community with friends and neighbors, then change your locks.  If you need a locksmith, then take a class at Lowe's and learn how to change your locks.  I did.  I can change all the exterior locks here in an hour, and I have.   I have also changed deadbolt locks for friends, although my sons are clearly faster at it.


                    I also think that it is time, rather than the Obama administration taking guns away from people, to make handguns as defensive weapons more possible for those without mental health or legal constraints in Washington DC, New York and New Jersey.   With attacks looming from ISIS, we need to have trained citizens available, not just hamstrung.


                  In a free society we can never make the world completely safe.  However, there is a lot we can do in order to continue to live a life in the face of Muslim extremist terrorists or for that matter, domestic terrorists, as well.  We can certainly make the task as difficult as possible for them.







http://www.youngcons.com/isis-publishes-kill-list-of-names-photos-and-addresses-of-100-us-military-members/

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3005939/ISIS-publishes-kill-list-military-members-online.html












Monday, March 16, 2015

Putin Admits He Was Prepared to Use Nukes Against Us in the Recent Crimean Takeover

         
Putin, taken today.     Someone has either had some work done or had a number of liters of intravenous fluid with salt.





      First, I would like to say that I have spent time in Russia and have a great deal of admiration and fondness for the people of Russia and for the culture, and the Russian Orthodox Christian faith. I also have a number of Russian friends whom I admire.   But just as Barack Hussein Obama's policies do not represent me or a great many of the people I know, Vladimir Putin does not represent everyone in Russia, despite the propaganda which is presently being spouted to the opposite.

             I first heard of Crimea when I was a child.  Florence Nightingale who was a pioneer in the profession of nursing practiced her craft as she created it, in the Crimean War.  

              I listen to news on a great many foreign stations because what passes for professional journalism on television in the US is sanitized to the point that very little real information is conveyed to us.  There is bias in the foreign reports, but as I have said before, if something is stated on the Chinese News, and on NHK from Japan, and from Arirang in Korea, DW in Germany, BBC from the UK, and France 24, then it is likely true.

              Today, an interview of Vladimir Putin discussing the Russian takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, which occurred a year ago yielded some frightening and unexpected news.  Putin stated that he was ready and able to use use nuclear weapons had the US or Europe stopped him from reclaiming Crimea.   

Putin has claimed that Crimea is historically Russian territory and that Russian people reside there.  Therefore, he feels justified in reclaiming it.   Of course, the rest of the world, Germany, Britain, Canada and the US if its leaders still had spines, all see this as a violation of sovereign territory of the nation of Ukraine.   This is particularly shameful for us in the US because our present regime convinced Ukraine to give up its nuclear arms because "we would defend them" and then our present regime did absolutely nothing when they were attacked. Our present regime is still simply tossing around the possibility sending weapons to Ukraine.

             The takeover of Crimea might be more understandable if it had not occurred in tandem with continuing Russian occupation of the Donetsk region of Ukraine.  It also occurs during a time in which Russian jets are now violating both Canadian and British airspace intermittently.   Russia has also paid down its debt and is building quite the military machine.  They are also developing quite a propaganda machine using RT in Arabic, English and Spanish.  Biased though it may be, much of it is better journalism than mainstream American news.    There is also a growing nationalism in Russia.  In Moscow there is a rude light display of Barack Obama which implies that he is homosexual.  This is not being done for amusement.  Alleging that our president is depraved in some manner is part of a formula of progressive readying of war against the US and the West.

             These are very dangerous times indeed.   Both Russia, the US and Europe are targets of militant Islamists.  It makes sense for us to work together in order to vanquish or at least reduce the threat.   Instead, our present regime is reducing military spending, retiring many of our sharpest high ranking military officers, stopping breakfasts for active military, providing second class quality weaponry for active military, and running our diplomatic corps like a hobby business.   While Russia gears up, our nation gears down.

             The saddest thing I see here is that although I disagree with the actions of Vladimir Putin, he consistently acts as someone who passionately loves Russia and what he believes she should be.   Our primary leader dislikes our nation and calls for its "fundamental transformation" at every opportunity.   And of course, we inch toward World War III.

             About all we as citizens can do is prepare for very bad times to come, and work to be as self sufficient and perhaps as mobile as possible.




Information on Mr. Putin's willingness to use nuclear weapons

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vladimir-putin-says-russia-was-preparing-to-use-nuclear-weapons-if-necessary-and-blames-us-for-ukraine-crisis-in-crimea-documentary-10109615.html

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/16/europe/russia-putin-crimea-nuclear/

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Revisiting Valuables Hidden Behind Walls


This bookcase has hidden shelves in which one must know the secret in order to access.  If you had this, would someone in your family know ?  (Photo:  barefootfloor.com)
    
   I first wrote this and published it here in June of 2012.   Since this continues to be an issue for many people in many parts of the world, I am reprising it here today.

 
   

       I have been meaning to mention this to all of your for some time.  A friend of ours used to work for a company which dismantles old homes and then sells the salvaged doors, stained glass windows, wood floors, etc.  A number of times, his crews have had to stop working because they have discovered valuables hidden in walls, sometimes from a very long time ago.  When this happens, our friend's company stops all work, and the owner must come down to remove the articles before they continue with the dismantling of the home. If this were rare, it might be amusing, but it happens far too often.

              Robert Spann was a man who lived in a Phoenix Arizona suburb and who died in 2001.  He apparently did not trust banks and he placed over $500,000 worth of gold, bonds, cash and other items in the walls of his home.  After he died, his daughters sold the home as is, and new owners discovered the cache.  The police seized these assets leaving the courts to decide who the rightful owner is. Judge Maurice Portley found this week that the assets were the property of Mr. Spann's heirs.   I know of other cases where the police did not step in, and the new owners enjoyed the objects found in the walls.
             This raises a very important question for you.  If you have hidden a safe or two, or had a secret room or hiding place constructed within your home, have you told anyone ?  If you and your wife pass, how would your children know about these areas.  How would you tell them, and how would you direct them to such a treasure ?   Don't forget that elderly people, and not-so-elderly people, often forget what they have hidden or what arrangements they made prior in terms asset management and estate decisions.



This is designed to hide long guns and other valuables.  (Photo:  tactical-life.com)
   Their website:   http://www.bedgunsafe.com/

         There are wonderful commercial concealment safes.  There are lower tech hiding places which even a moderately gifted carpenter may construct, but please be careful to leave a treasure map for your loved ones.  For many of us, the reason we strive hard to survive natural disasters is that we wish to care for our families and pass our family heirlooms and valuables on to them.  If they don't know about them, they may never receive them.   Please consider this part of your concealment plans for just a moment or two.

     

This is a hidden drawer below a bookcase   (Picture and item:  stashvault.com)
     


Monday, March 9, 2015

Sugar Is a Prominent Contributor to Hypertension

      




          For years, physicians and nurses have placed those with higher than average blood pressure determinations on salt restricted diets.  This practice has persisted despite the fact that a reliable medical study by DiNicolantonio and Lucan indicated that a salt restricted diet reduces blood pressure by only 5 mmHg. There is also some indication that some subgroups of patients, (those with heart failure, and diabetes) may actually be more likely to be hospitalized when their salt is restricted. For a few patients, salt restrictions can be catastrophic.

              I first began to receive some personal evidence of this when I was expecting my third child and  I experienced some carpal tunnel syndrome.  The obstetrician explained that particularly during pregnancy, salt would cause fluid retention and could cause pressure along wrist nerves, particularly in those of us with small wrists.  I was told to restrict my salt.  I did and it made absolutely no difference to the numbness and pain in my hands. The carpal tunnel syndrome did abate however, when I severely restricted my intake of sugars, which I did independently of my physician.The carpal tunnel symptoms departed, and they never returned, even during a fourth full term pregnancy, or afterward.

           DiNicolantonio and Lucan also concluded that perhaps rather than restricting the salt intake of hypertensive patients so severely, that we should look to their sugar intake as a causation or contributor to hypertention.  We know that hypertension is a major risk factor in everything from stroke, to myocardial infarction (heart attack), kidney disease, ruptured aneurysm, and even atrial fibrillation, for some patients.   Physicians have been focused on the "salt causes hypertension" for so long that they have not fully considered the role of sugars, and they have certainly not brought this knowledge to the doorstep of the American public.

            In the US, sugars are added to everything from drinks to bread.  Baked beans are covered in brown sugar while sweet potatoes are baked with marshmallows. The average salad uses a dressing with 200-300 calories worth of often a sugared dressing. Sugar is added to tomato sauce for spaghetti. Meatballs may be marinaded in thick syrups.  Meats are glazed or painted with a sugar enriched sauce.  Many teens drink multiple sugared sodas daily.   The problem isn't the occasional dessert, piece of birthday cake, candy bar, or cookie.  The problem is that in order to sell whatever it is, it is enriched with high fructose corn syrup or covered with icing sugar !    Americans are so accustomed to the taste of sugar that food doesn't taste quite right unless it is adulterated with it !

          Also according to the study, three hundred years ago human beings ingested naturally occurring sugars. Their annual intake per year was two to three pounds of sugar per year.  When studied, the average American ingests 77-152 pounds of sugar per year.   This means that some of them are getting 25% of their daily calories from pure sugar.

             We know that high dietary sugar causes fluid retention.  We know that it is a contributor to hypertension.  We know that high sugar intake is implicated in dyslipidemia.   (Discontinue someones sugared sodas and watch their triglycerides plummet !)   We also know that sugar increases the myocardial need for oxygen.  We also know that sugar increases inflammation.     As an endocrinologist once told me, 

 "Sucrose is rocket fuel for human beings."   In the long term it is poisonous to human beings.  It just kills diabetics sooner !

           As I have said many times, one size fits all is not a way to practice public health.  If your salt is restricted and your hypertension has diminished, then you should not make changes.  If you are taking anti-hypertensives and they are working, then don't abruptly discontinue a drug which is preventing a stroke.  However, if you are beginning to lose the battle with hypertension, and you are finding that you need more and more drugs in order to keep your blood pressure in just above the normal range, then download the study I mentioned in the first paragraph, make an appointment with your doctor, and get him to refer you to a dietician who can help you craft a diet with less sucrose. I can promise you that with less sucrose in the machine, that you will indeed feel better and that you will function better.

           I can also promise you that when you leave out a lot of the sugar that used to be in your diet that relatives won't want to spend Thanksgiving at your house.  You may well also notice an improvement in both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.

           If you are a serious prepper or survivalist then perhaps, rather than stocking all that sugar and those drugs for hypertension, you should stock more fruits and vegetables and less sugar.





Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Benefits of Diesel Vehicles and Block Heaters Particularly to Preppers

             
This shows the placement of a heating element portion of a particular type of block heater.  A cord would be attached.  (Rendering: www.autorepairinstructions.com  )    




     I own a diesel car, a diesel truck and we have gasoline powered automobiles also to cover the bases should diesel fuel be difficult to get in an emergency.   Diesel cars and trucks have many benefits particularly to those with an interest in preparedness.   The positives are that a properly maintained diesel engine in a car can yield a million miles of travel, and therefore it can be economical in the long term.  Secondly, my car gets incredible fuel mileage and has an 800 mile range on one tank full of diesel fuel.   The negatives to driving a diesel car are that one must have access to a fine and reasonably priced diesel mechanic and to the parts needed to regular maintenance and replacement of key engine parts which age.  Secondly, there are a number of places in which diesel fuel stations are far and few between and so one must pay attention as to where they are on long trips.  (Nova Scotia comes to mind, and New Jersey law does not permit you to pump your own fuel which means at midnight when driving through you might need to stay overnight until you find a diesel station open.)   In addition, a diesel needs a strong battery and in Winter could benefit from a block heater.   A block heater is a device which you or your mechanic can order and install on your car  There are some that can be permanently installed in your car and others which can be applied and used episodically.  There are a variety of types of these and they may replace an engine core plug. These help to keep the engine warm enough to keep the engine warm.  If you live in a cold climate or even one which is only seasonally cold, please investigate the types of block warmers or engine heaters which are available to your vehicle.  These can lengthen the life of your starter, your battery, and your car as they help the car to start and warm more quickly on subzero mornings.  Remember never to race a cold engine, diesel or a gasser.  Start them with enough time to idle slowly allowing the oil to circulate to all the parts of the engine before subjecting the car to the demands of street or particularly highway driving.


Information and Type of Block Heaters


               For several reasons diesel cars and trucks can be difficult to start in sub- zero weather. Due to simple physics, a battery particularly one which is less than new, has a diminished storage capacity in cold or freezing weather. In addition, in cold weather oil is very thick and this means that the engine itself can be three times more difficult to start even with a new battery !   Both the diminished storage capacity in cold weather and the viscous oil issue can compound to create a real problem on cold mornings.   Please consider what I have written concerning block warmers in the paragraph above.

              
               This is one respect in which our Alaskan friends are streets ahead of us !


                 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why You Should Think Twice Before Disconnecting Your Landline

          

This is an inexpensive landline telephone.   Wal-Mart sells these for under ten dollars.

 

           Of course, all of us are looking for ways to shave operating costs from our households, if just to have extra cash for preps.   Although I can certainly understand the choice to economize or to disconnect cable or dish, I have great reservations for most people in terms of permanently disconnecting their home's landline.

                   In the US, Canada and in many other places in the world, when we call 911 (or 999 in some other countries) from our landline,  the dispatcher instantly sees the address location on screen.  If you call and tell the dispatcher that you are hiding in a closet and that someone has just entered your home, they will know where to send the police.   If you call 911, and tell them, "I'm doing CPR, please come !" they will.  However, this is not true from a cellular phone.  When you call for help from a cellular phone, the number and often the name of the caller comes up, but no address is provided.   You may have to take the extra step of providing an address when you have little time to do so, or worse,  when for some reason, you can't speak  If the dispatcher does not hear clearly the number you said then essential time is lost stopping at the wrong address. Although it is possible to triangulate a location from a cellular phone, this is by no means an automatic process, and the police may, or may not be able to do this for you, depending upon the type of phone you have, and your location.   Police friends of mine have indicated that sometimes, it is not at all possible to obtain an address location from a cellular phone, depending upon the location.

                 In addition, in a grid down emergency, the battery back up at the cell phone tower will work for only a few hours to a day, leaving you with no communication in a widespread outage.  A landline provides an extra means of communication, and if you have a landline which on each floor, is connected directly to a phone outlet, it will work even during power outages, because the small amount of power needed to power the phone, even during an outage, is provided with phone service..   Cordless phones are notorious for not working during power outages.  In the area in which I live most people have cordless phones as landlines.  When the power goes out, no one can report the outage.  Therefore, in our own very rural area, we are often the only ones reporting an outage. Others simply cannot.


        In communications, and in all types of preparedness, you should layer your preps


                  The best way of preparing for emergencies is by layering preparations.   Therefore, the best way of layering communications is to have a landline phone.   You should have a corded phone on each level of your home in order to make calls during power outages.   You should also have at least one cordless phone which would enable you to bring communications outside your home or to an outbuilding during a medical or other emergency.   It's certainly been helpful for me to being a cordless phone down to the barn, on occasion.   You should also have a cellular phone, even if it is a pay-as-you-go plan, in the event that you need to communicate with someone when you are en route, or away from your home, or camping.   You don't need to have phones with internet access, or smart phones, although these are nice to have.  You do need to have a layered strategy of basic communications for your home.     You also need to have the phone numbers of your family members written somewhere other than the phones themselves, in the event that in an emergency, the phones, or one in particular, malfunctions or is lost.  Of course, having a HAM radio in addition, and having a technicians level license or higher is also an excellent idea in terms of emergency communication preparations.

                 Rather than disconnecting your landline, call your phone company and ask how much a very basic landline for low use costs in your area.   In some areas, a low use line especially designed for people with medical issues can be had for twelve dollars a month.    Some companies offer a measured use rate of seventeen dollars a month.   Such lines may not be enabled to call coast to coast, but they will get 911.   A lot of local phone companies will become quite flexible when you indicate that you are considering shutting down your landline entirely.

                  Preparedness is about living prepared,  frugally and safely, and for teaching your children to do the same.