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McCamy Taylor

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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 07:05 PM
Number of posts: 18,954

About Me

Here is my fiction website: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccamytaylor/ My political cartoon site: http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/

Journal Archives

Can We Keep Giving Our Nation's Veterans the Respect They Deserve?

Little bit surprised to see a thread about how our veterans are over rated climbing up the charts at DU just as the National Guard is being called out to fight COVID.

There are many reasons to respect our veterans.

Being in the military service means giving up your civil rights. Freedom of speech? Not happening. It might jeopardize national security.

OSHA and a safe workplace? That is strictly "Need to know." If it makes our nation's security even one iota weaker in the eyes of even one military expert you will never find out what chemicals you were exposed to when you served.

Mother-child bond? Father-child bond? Fiance-fiance bond? Country comes first.

If your superior officer tells you to push the button and launch the bomb, you do not get to try to decide how many innocent children might be hit. You are expected to do your job. Imagine the kind of moral crisis that can cause.

Not to mention if you are told "You are on point" you cannot contact your union rep and say "But I need better gear." If you showers electrocute you, then your only option is not to shower. If you are stationed in a country where you allies sexual harass and even rape you, you are expected to keep your mouth shut for the greater safety and good of the military alliance.

People who sign up to serve and who compete their services and get an honorable discharge have made sacrifices that most Americans would never be able to make. How many of you out there would be willing to let someone else make all your decisions for you? Where you sleep, what you eat, how your train? How many would allow yourself to be stationed in some of the most dangerous places on earth?



There are very good reasons why the usual laws do not apply when it comes to war. War is not the natural state of a society. All the rules are upended. And the people who serve are like Alice thrust into a very dangerous Wonderland. They did it for you and me, so we would not have to.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Mar 28, 2020, 09:57 PM (14 replies)

Sleep (yes) and Melatonin (maybe) to Balance the Immune System

Since I am a physician who also has a Masters Public Health, I am going to try to keep up with the article showing up in journals and also try to analyze them in a way that folks without this training may find useful. I am not advocating any particular treatments (unless a prospective double blind trial shows good results and there will be no prospective double blind trials coming out in the next few weeks on COVID because it is just not possible to do them)

The article below is a discussion rather than the results of a clinical trial but it is worth reading especially if you consider the natural course of melatonin production in humans is a graph that looks like this:



Here is the article:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320520303313

Here is the abstract:
This article summarizes the likely benefits of melatonin in the attenuation of COVID-19 based on its putative pathogenesis. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has become a pandemic with tens of thousands of infected patients. Based on clinical features, pathology, the pathogenesis of acute respiratory disorder induced by either highly homogenous coronaviruses or other pathogens, the evidence suggests that excessive inflammation, oxidation, and an exaggerated immune response very likely contribute to COVID-19 pathology. This leads to a cytokine storm and subsequent progression to acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and often death. Melatonin, a well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative molecule, is protective against ALI/ARDS caused by viral and other pathogens. Melatonin is effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Notably, melatonin has a high safety profile. There is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases and would also likely be beneficial in COVID-19 patients. Additional experiments and clinical studies are required to confirm this speculation.


This is not a study result. However if you read through the text there are some interesting points made about how melatonin has been shown to reduce CNS and nerve damage in lab rats given certain viral infections. And COVID appears to be an RNA virus that affects the central nervous system via the olfactory nerve which is adjacent to the nose and therefore a site where viruses can easily enter the brain.

There are also human studies showing that melatonin may decrease the level of cytokines and inflammation in people with other disease.

Although there is obviously no report related to the use of melatonin in COVID-19 patients, in subjects with other diseases and an increased level of inflammation, the application of melatonin showed promising results regarding the attenuation of circulating cytokines levels. In a randomized controlled trial, 8-week oral intake of 6 mg/d melatonin caused a significant decrease in serum levels of IL-6, TNF-α and hs-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in patients with diabetes mellitus and periodontitis [56]. In another trial of patients suffering with severe multiple sclerosis, orally 25 mg/d of melatonin for 6 months also promoted a significant reduction in serum concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β and lipoperoxides [57]. In the acute phase of inflammation, including during surgical stress [58], brain reperfusion [59], and coronary artery reperfusion [60], melatonin intake of 10 mg/d, 6 mg/d and 5 mg/d of melatonin for less than 5 days induced a reduced level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. A recent meta-analysis of a total of 22 randomized controlled trials suggested that a supplementary use of melatonin is associated with a significant reduction of TNF-α and IL-6 level [61]. This clinical evidence suggests that the use of melatonin as a supplement may effectively reduce the levels of circulating cytokines, and may potentially also lower pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in COVID-19 patients.


This goes along with something I have been thinking. Youth does not necessarily protect us from new viruses. A disproportionate number of young people died from the 1918 flu pandemic.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022519311003894

However something appears to be protecting younger people from COVID 19's worst effects. Could it be a hormone that is present in higher levels in young people? Might not be melatonin. There are many hormones that vary by age.

Note that the doses used in the human test above are not huge. 3 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg. These are the usual recommended doses for normal function. The goal is not to kill the virus with melatonin. The goal is to achieve a pattern of sleep (which affects on the immune system) as much like that as a young person as possible. You are looking for normal.

Along these same lines, sleep hygiene--getting enough rest at the same time every day while limiting things which can affect sleep architecture (like alcohol and stimulants before bedtime) limiting things that can cause you to reflux in your sleep (like eating before bedtime, lying down flat on your back after eating) and using your sleep apnea treatment might also bolster the immune system.

Had to search long and hard for a review of sleep and in the immune system that is not behind a pay for view wall. Thank you NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) for sharing this one.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645929/

Inflammation modulates sleep and the effects of sleep loss and conversely sleep or sleep loss alters inflammatory responses including the production of inflammation regulatory substances activated by neuronal/glial use and immunologic pathogen recognition


PS: For those that want advanced reading, this is a fascinating study about how RNA viruses (like COVID) work in the immune system. Notice that some of them have a biphasic pattern. They do one thing in the initial infection and then later act differently. Full PDF available thanks to ncbi

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.mi.40.100186.001111
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Mar 28, 2020, 06:36 PM (10 replies)

Advice from a Doctor at Home (Test Pending): Don't Aspirate!

Test is not back and there is a 40% chance that even if I have COVID the test will not show it, but I am pretty sure that this must be COVID due to 1) worst cough ever (no lung disease history) 2) low oxygen saturation ( no lung disease history) 3) started with low grade fever and chills, not the high fever of flu 4) fatigue but no severe body aches of the type that comes with flu 5) gradual onset over 12-24 hours (flu is fast) 6) my sense of smell is shot, cannot smell the wisteria, COKE is just sugar water and 7) work at a health care clinic in a large metropolitan area where lots of people walk in with respiratory stuff and where we do not have PPE (except for a face mask I reuse time after time) because face it, no one in the industry has it now.

Anyway, this is anecdotal, may not apply to everyone. Think of it as a case study.

I have stopped eating any solid food, especially solid food with lots of little bits of hard stuff in it like rice, nuts, pepper, crumbs due to every time I do, I spend 15 minutes painfully trying to bring it back up from my airway like a cat coughing up hairballs. No matter how carefully I chew food with lots of little bits, some of it gets into my trachea without me being aware of it and then that triggers a cough reflex from hell.

I have also forced myself to remain sitting or standing after eating even my soft/mechanical mostly liquid diet because if I try to lie back at even a 45 degree angle, I start drowning. And the scary thing is I am not aware of having reflux. I have lost that sensation of taste at the back of my mouth when food tries to come back up. I notice the gastric contents adhering to my airway when I start to gurgle and cough. Then I have to stand up and go gargle and cough and gargle some more to get the slimy stuff off so I am can breathe.

Edited due to almost forget 3) I sleep on a wedge pillow to keep my airway higher than my stomach (less chance of aspiration) and 4) I have given up cough drops--don't need to numb up my throat more than it already is.

Why am I unable to direct the food down the correct passage--the esophagus? I dunno. Might have something to do with the fact that my airway from the back of my mouth down to my throat feels like it has been coating in menthol. It is numb. Why can't I feel myself reflux? Might be the same thing.

COVID is thought to cause a loss of olfactory (smell sensation) due to the virus goes through the top of the nose directly into the olfactory (smell) area of the brain. If it can do that, why can't it affect the nerves that allow us to detect food and liquid as they pass down the back of the throat? Swallowing is one of the most dangerous things that air breathing animals do. We have to keep the food in the GI tract and the air in the respiratory tract--even though they both use the same exit ramp to get to their two respective destinations.

The variable affects of COVID could, in part, be due to loss of airway protection. If people aspirate food or gastric contents they could be setting up lots of little pneumonias.

Here is what the Ct scan looks like in people with chronic aspiration pneumonia

Atelectasis, centrilobular nodules, bronchiolectasis, consolidation and ground-glass opacities occurred more frequently in patients with aspiration than in those without aspiration, with a pronounced tendency for distribution in the lower lobes.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5257317/

Here is what a COVID chest CT scan looks like

Known features of COVID-19 on initial CT include bilateral multilobar ground-glass opacification (GGO) with a peripheral or posterior distribution, mainly in the lower lobes and less frequently within the right middle lobe. Atypical initial imaging presentation of consolidative opacities superimposed on GGO may be found in a smaller number of cases, mainly in the elderly population. Septal thickening, bronchiectasis, pleural thickening, and subpleural involvement are some of the less common findings, mainly in the later stages of the disease.



Read More: https://www.ajronline.org/doi/full/10.2214/AJR.20.23034

If you are curious about what all these CT scan findings look like here is an article with pictures.
https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/full/10.1148/radiol.11092149


Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Mar 27, 2020, 07:57 PM (40 replies)

Begin at the Beginning: The Malayan Pangolin Hypothesis

How do you begin at the beginning if you do not know where the beginning is? You speculate. You check various bits of data, cross reference them with other bits of data and then you come up with a hypothesis. After doing the research for this, I am convinced that COVID 19 is the result of our mismanagement of tropical forests. I also have a hunch that the tropical forests in question might be on Borneo (but a hunch is not a hypothesis)

Here is a quick refresher on the origins of RNA viruses that infect humans:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6157708/

An important point: the ability to infect humans and the ability to be transmitted from human to human are two separate things, i.e. going from Level 2 to Level 3. There are whole lot more Level 2 than Level 3. And there is a stage beyond Level 3. It is not enough to simply be transmissible human to human. You have to have a perfect situation to transmit enough of the virus if you want to reach Level 4—and epidemic.

“Level 4 corresponds to the ability to transmit sufficiently well that the virus can invade human populations, causing epidemics and/or establishing itself as an endemic human pathogen. In epidemiological parlance this corresponds to the condition that R0 is greater than one within the human population, where R0 is the basic reproduction number, defined as the number of secondary cases generated by a single primary case introduced into a large population of naïve hosts. In contrast, Level 3 viruses have an R0 of less than one in humans, which implies that although self-limiting outbreaks are possible, the infection cannot “take off” and cause a major epidemic. Although R0 is partly determined by the transmissibility of the virus, it is also a function of the behaviour and demography of the human host population; for example, changes in living conditions, travel patterns, sexual behaviour (for sexually-transmitted viruses) can all greatly influence R0. This argument is reflected in the term “crowd diseases”, which implies that certain human viruses (and other pathogens) could only become established once critical host population densities had been reached [10]. Our best estimate is that there are 47 Level 4 RNA virus species in humans “


Since labs all across the world including China typically retain serum and tissue samples of people who have died of unknown causes, it ought to be possible to trace the current COVID 19 epidemic back to a source. Maybe it killed someone before the first known victim who shopped in the Wuhan Seafood Market where more than just seafood was sold

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-14/wuhan-doctors-tried-to-save-pneumonia-patient-with-life-support

Note that since there is a mild form of the infection, the victim did not necessarily catch it from a freshly butchered animal. It could have easily come from a human vendor of that animal.Or this could not have anything to do with the meat being sold in Wuhan Market. But, I have to start somewhere, I will assume that it does.

We have a newly identified disease-causing RNA virus, most likely it was a zoonosis before it got into our populations (since that where most RNA viruses come from). If someone died from it, the evidence is there, waiting to be uncovered in a lab.

If the first case did not die--say that person was basically healthy and brought a few sniffles home them to Wuhan China from who knows where---then things will get more difficult. How do you track down a virus that left no foot prints until it had passed from two to three to more people before leaving evidence of its passage (e.g. a fatality)?

Since this virus has already been well primed to infect humans, then it is likely that it already exists somewhere in the world as a well-controlled human (or, less likely simian) viral pathogen—much like the common cold is for most of us. People in that isolated part of the world get COVID 19 and get over it in childhood. But if you do not get your immunity at the right time, it can become deadly. (Has anyone seen how sick people get when they catch measles as adults, even young adults?) This implies that it exists in the wild—somewhere.

Bats are speculated to be the world’s biggest carrier of coronavirus. However, the disease is not thought to jump straight from bat to humans. Instead there is likely to be an intermediate host. It has been reported that COVID 19 resembles a virus found in the diseased lungs of a pair of Malayan pangolins. It is not a full match suggesting that the disease did not jump straight from the two dead pangolins to humans. Since pangolins are eaten and used for medicine in China, a logical step to look would be those who make a living hunting Malayan pangolin.

https://www.cell.com/pb-assets/journals/research/current-biology/CURBIO_CURRENT-BIOLOGY-D-20-00299-compressed.pdf

Or, if you go back to the first article, look for simians in the region where the region where the Malayan pangolins are naturally found since

“Although humans share their RNA viruses with many different mammalian taxa, those from other primates appear most likely to be capable of spreading through human populations”


We do no know that COVID 19 came from Malayan pangolin. But say it does. South Asian and South East Asian Pangolins are endangered. Their forest habits are being cut down. Humans poach them for food and medicine and their scales. According to this recent article, South Asian and Southeast Asian pangolins are now the most trafficked mammals around the world. Local bow and hunter hunters in some region have been squeezed out by poachers who have come in armed with rifles, driving on new roads through forests that have been newly leveled. A perfect storm if there is a well-controlled animal origin RNA virus to which the locals have adapted. So yeah, the timing is right.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26393255?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

More on how clearing tropical forest land is associated with increased rates of viral disease. Note the ten times higher viral diversity in coronaviruses in bats in tropical forest which have been highly disturbed.

https://pmac2018.com/uploads/poster/A11-ZAMBRANA-TORRELIO-5600.pdf

Different coronaviruses have been show capable of exchanging their RNA in vivo.

“RNA-RNA recombination between different strains of the murine coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) occurs at a very high frequency in tissue culture. To demonstrate that RNA recombination may play a role in the evolution and pathogenesis of coronaviruses, we sought to determine whether MHV recombination could occur during replication in the animal host of the virus. By using two selectable markers, i.e., temperature sensitivity and monoclonal antibody neutralization, we isolated several recombinant viruses from the brains of mice infected with two different strains of MHV. The recombination frequency was very high, and recombination occurred at multiple sites on the viral RNA genome. This finding suggests that RNA-RNA recombination may play a significant role in natural evolution and neuropathogenesis of coronaviruses.”


Meaning cleared tropical forest which is also being targeted by poachers might have two things going for it if your goal is accelerated mutation and spread of a new coronavirus pathogen.
https://jvi.asm.org/content/62/5/1810.short

If the Malayan pangolin is the (original source) of COVID 19, then checking the indigenous populations of the areas where the pangolin live and have been hunted by locals might detect antibodies to the virus. Or turn up local remedies that have been used to limit its virulence. And checking for mysterious illness and death among those who poach pangolin and then carry them back to China might also be fruitful.

Oh, and about the simian intermediary hypothesis. The proboscis monkey is on the top ten list of most desirable poached wild animals in China—along with the pangolin. So be sure to check Borneo where both proboscis monkeys and pangolin live--and are threatened with extinction.

https://www.borneoecotours.com/blog/the-disappearing-wildlife-of-borneo/

But watch out. Heavy deforestation in Borneo is giving rise to a bunch of disease.

Mosquitoes are not the only carriers of pathogens from the wild to humans. Bats, primates, and even snails can carry disease, and transmission dynamics change for all of these species following forest clearing, often creating a much greater threat to people.


https://e360.yale.edu/features/how_forest_loss_is_leading_to_a_rise_in_human_disease_malaria_zika_climate_change

And being an island with some pretty unique animals (like the proboscus monkey) Borneo would have had a very long time of relative isolation in order to cook up an RNA virus that we, the rest of the world, are not prepared for.

Edit. The video tagged on YouTube is not the Wuhan Seafood Market as was posted below. I found several different videos online all claiming to be The Wuhan Market but which were actually filmed elsewhere. Films taken in Wuhan are very brief and show little detail so maybe filming was discouraged. But there are stories confirming that bats, pangolin and other animals were sold there.




Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Mar 26, 2020, 10:32 PM (13 replies)

Finally humor from COVID 19. Trump send "cease and desist letter" to his big fat mouth.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=2456680

This ad is nothing but Trump's unedited words about COVID 19. He should not be sending a cease and desist letter. He should be looking for that sock that the GOP used to keep around in order to plug up Rep. Dan Burton's mouth (when he got diarrhea of the mouth) in order to stop his own verbal diarrhea.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Mar 26, 2020, 01:16 PM (0 replies)

Trump's Declaration "Well by Easter" Spells Serfdom for Working Americans

Business owners are pissed. How dare city and state government tells them that they cannot run a titty bar or casino or Christian themed craft store (Hobby Lobby) during a pandemic! The nerve of them! It isn't as if the owners are at any risk. They can retreat to their summer homes in places like Nantucket to ride out COVID 19.

But their serfs are sitting at home, trying to stay alive and praying for extended unemployment benefits so they do not starve or lose their homes or cars. Ordinarily, hunger would drive many of these people back to work. However their kids have no school to attend--meaning no daycare, meaning that most minimum wage employees would see no net income if they had to pay for daycare in order to go back to work.

What happens if Trump declares "There is no emergency!"?

People will be forced back to work. They will not have the option of saying "No, I don't want to die!" Schools will be forced to reopen. Teachers will die. Malls will open. Salesclerks will die. (Trump) casinos will reopen. The maids who change your sheets (that we now know can harbor Covid 19 for up to 17 days!) will die. The stimulus money will not flow into workers hands, because there will be plenty of "safe" jobs for them---we know that they are "safe" because Dr. Trump says so.

The really insidious part of this--those who are 40 or older or who have underlying health problems will resist the call to return to their "safe" jobs. They will be declared AWOL and fired for cause--meaning no unemployment benefits. And then the employers will replace them with lots of workers in their older teens and early twenties--those who are least afraid of COVID 19. Meaning we will see a repeat of 2008 when employers used the recession as an excuse to enact "First hired first fired"--eliminate the job positions of those with seniority and chronic medical conditions so that the could replace them with a bunch of youngsters.

Here is an idea. If Trump decides to force all workers back to their jobs, the owners and CEOs and administrators should be placed on the front line, waiting tables, serving as airline stewards, teaching kindergarten classes. I want to see Trump changes sheets in one of his hotels.

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Mar 25, 2020, 10:49 AM (13 replies)

Why Do Casinos Need a Bailout?

What essential function do they serve? There are better ways to encourage tourism than feeding an addiction like gambling.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/world/coronavirus-news-maps.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Shares of companies likely to receive bailouts, such as airlines, cruise lines and casinos, soared.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Mar 25, 2020, 01:49 AM (7 replies)

Interesting article about neurological effects of coronavirus

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jmv.25728

I have a hypothesis that the sudden worsening that some patients experience at day 8 could be due to affects on the central nervous system triggering dysphasia—-difficulty swallowing which’s leads to aspiration which in turn can cause pneumonia and respiratory failure. Note the coronavirus can affect the medulla and strokes of this area can affect the ability to swallow safely.

What does this mean for those infected? Sleep with your head elevated to prevent aspiration at night, do not lie down immediately after you eat, eat small portions and consume a mechanical soft diet——yogurt, soup, while avoiding tough foods that could get stuck in the airway (like meat)

There is nothing dangerous about a diet designed to prevent aspiration and it could improve survival rates. Someone should do swallowing studies on people with Covid. They should also do demographic studies to see if the risk factors for aspiration—-neurological disease, frailty, obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse—-are also risk factors for Covid death.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Mar 24, 2020, 02:44 AM (5 replies)

Fox is worried --about the health of the big corporate bailout.

After weeks of poo-pooing Corona-virus as democratic hoax, seven days ago, Fox's TuckereCarlson suddenly changed his tune.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/media/fox-news-coronavirus-reliable-sources/index.html

Why? Could it be because the Senate was working to sell a huge "stimulus" package that would allow Trump to funnel half a trillion dollars to his friends in the casino industry, hotel industries as well as anyone else willing to kick back a portion of their "stimulus" to the RNC or directly into Trump's pocket? Maybe some of that money is earmarked for Fox.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Mar 23, 2020, 08:55 PM (0 replies)

Why The Hell Is So Much Science Research Pay for View Only?

Seriously. I am trying to do my part as a physician who also has a masters public health to search the medial literature for hints about how COVID kills and how we could stop the deaths. However, I keep stumbling across roadblocks in the form of "You have to pay us if you want to read this." One article even blacked out most of the abstract! Grrr! How do you know if you want to pay for it if you don't know even know what the study is about?

I know what I have to do. I am part of a huge healthcare organization so I just have to sign up for our system's online library, something I have been putting off because it is a hassle. But what about people who are retired?

Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Mar 21, 2020, 12:08 PM (12 replies)
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