The Coronavirus Variants Reveal a Troubling New Pattern – The Atlantic

A good read! The article provides a clear explanation for 

  • What COVID-19 genetic mutations actually are

  • How mutations may affect transmission

  • How mutations may affect vaccine efficacy and

  • How mutations come about 

I was particularly intrigued by the suggestion that long haul covid infection might be a source of mutated virus. What does that mean for at-home caregivers?

We have a lot to learn.


The most concerning versions of the virus are not simply mutating—they’re mutating in similar ways.
— Read on www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/01/coronavirus-evolving-same-mutations-around-world/617721/

Tough Decisions – #FTF in Covid

What to do?

Many parents have asked for my opinion on allowing their child to participate in various face-to-face activities from daily school attendance to swimming lessons and visiting grandparents.

There are a million individual factors that may determine what the BEST custom decision is for any one child at any one activity. Here are a few things to consider if you face this decision yourself:

1) 📣 Communication 📣

  • Does the activity leader have a reliable communication mechanism 
  • Have they shared what their plan is, do they have a plan, 
  • Are they prepared to communicate in a timely manner?

2) 📝 The Plan 📝

  • Is there an international standard? A governing body? A national association that has spoken on matters of risk and safety? What did they say?
  • Has the activity leader devised and shared a plan with all the participants? 
  • Is the plan feasible? Realistic? 
  • Who is in charge of monitoring compliance?
  • Is someone keeping track of local figures and recommendations? 

3) 🤩 Your Child 👶🏼

  • Is there an underlying health issue that causes you concern – have you discussed it with the child’s primary physician? Why are the risks? Can you mitigate against them?
  • Is your child able to assess their own environment? Will they follow the rules? Will they report problems to the group or to you?

Side Note

Well-controlled chronic illnesses do not automatically make physical activity a “high risk” for children.

Encourage your child to participate fully in appropriate movement and exercise: it’s good for the body, the mind and the soul.

4) 🙏🏽 Your GUT 🧐

  • As a parent you may doubt and worry and cross-check yourself but the truth of the matter is your gut instinct is a GIFT.
  • Tune in and listen carefully.
  • Trust yourself!!

You will know what to do.

Yesterday I bought a cake

🎂 Yesterday I bought a cake

A white chocolate cheesecake, from Chocolate Dreams (yeah! Big up Michelle and her team) It was the day before Mom’s birthday and it’s one of her favourite cakes.

The soft, rich flavour reminds me so much of my Mother’s love for people, for Life in all its chaos and glory. She was soft and rich and she nourished my soul.

✝️💕 Today I celebrate!

It is the fourth Sunday of Advent and I was fully decked in purple with a hint of pink – celebrating the day and the season of active waiting in every possible way, down to the outfit, just as my Mom would. She was Joy, she was Life, she was Love.

📝 Tomorrow I will go to work

Another Monday, battling traffic and pondering how I can possibly eliminate half of my to-do list while still contributing meaningfully to my society. I marvel at how much my Mom was able to do, I desperately try to remember all the little tips and tricks she taught me, purely by her own actions. The only thing I remember with vivid clarity is:

I am forever enveloped in the joyful love she poured out upon me.

Happy Birthday Mommy 😍

White chocolate cheesecake from Chocolate Dreams

Thoughts and Prayers

I went to Mass – first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Jamaica and I had some apprehension, not a fear of crowds or “the virus” to be honest, but rather I had gotten used to the convenience of live-streams. So many things are different: I have in a mask in Church, there’s no sacramental Holy Water, the pews are separated and marked for us to be separate also. I was forced to pause and consider- why did I even come? Isn’t God everywhere. Truth is I yearned to be with the community of believers. It was like an invitation to visit a friend I had been chatting with on the phone, but hadn’t seen or hugged for a long time.

Wearing a mask took new meaning for me in the House of God. Covering my expressions, making me think I was hidden and yet anyone looking on could see and sense what was going on in my heart. Taking off the mask to receive the Holy Eucharist, then quickly recovering my face, as though I needed to protect this gift, the precious food, this source of life. I discovered I was equally free with or without the mask in place; for no mask could hide my heart from my God.

The dry stony stoup was a stark symbol of my own spiritual font – an unwatered garden in need of running waters to soften the crispness. Sitting in the Church, I felt the cool streams of peaceful waters restoring my parched soul through gentle silence and in the soft a capella of song. Why did I stay away?

Six-feet apart! The markers on the pews, the doubling of benches declared that we MUST BE SEPARATED. And yet I joined my heat to every heart with me in that Church. My soul grieved with every soul that has lost a loved one all over this planet. My spirit rejoiced with every child who has been blessed with the love of good parents, my spirit sang with everyone – here in earth and those in Heaven – who praised God for the gift of my Father’s life. I was surrounded I was lifted up!!! I was NOT alone.

Although I walk in the valley of the shadow of Death I will fear no evil for You are with me 🙏🏽 Your rod and Your staff comfort me. (King David. Psalm 23)

Chocolate is its own reward

When Mrs. Bennett, my Prep school principal, called to tell us my results for the common entrance exams she screamed and howled in delight. I had gotten 100 on every test. Wow! I remember well how absolutely thrilled she was and that excited me more than the result itself – I felt I must have done a good job if she was so pleased 😀. The whirlwind of joy and preparation for high school is long forgotten, but I distinctly remember my father giving me a WHOLE entire LARGE Highgate dairy milk chocolate for myself. Not to share. For myself. Heaven.

It didn’t go unnoticed that one of my classmates who did NOT get 100 on every paper was gifted with a trip to Disney World 😒 When I brought this up, I was told “You will not be rewarded for doing what you ought to do” and this set a serious tone for me for the rest of my life. Achievement is it’s own reward.

When I sat O’Levels and CXC exams in 5th form, I fared pretty well. One’s, A’s and profiles looking good 🤓. I was given a LARGE bar of Highgate dairy milk chocolate for myself, from my Dad. I was well pleased.

A levels were different, I though my results were ho-hum, certainly not up to the standard of previous external exams. However, I was awarded the Jamaica Scholarship for Girls and a straight pass to Med School. My parents were well pleased. In recognition of their approval that summer before University I accompanied Daddy to Toronto (he was attending a scientific conference) my first trip to Canada 🇨🇦 and upon returning, I was gifted … wait for it … a LARGE bar of Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate. For myself. Not to share. Clearly, I had arrived.

Time passed and soon I was able to afford to buy chocolate for myself, I still enjoyed a bar, or a bite as a special treat. Dad’s chocolate gifts became more frequent, Cadbury Roses for a birthday, Milk Tray for Christmas, and the occasional unexpected Toblerone or Ferrero Rocher to mix things up. This birthday, Dad was under isolation restrictions and not able to go shopping for chocolate so he asked my younger sister to purchase and deliver a bar for me.

The last bar of chocolate from my Daddy eaten the day after he passed away.

It was delicious. I miss him terribly.

Food Allergies and Immunity

Image from bio.libretexts.org

In my never ending quest to better understand tummy troubles and belly pain, I have been spending a lot of time reading and researching food allergies. I recently (2018) did a course on allergy testing: the science behind the tests, administration and interpretation. It was a nerd fest 🤓!!! My mind is still buzzing. What is the true definition of an “Allergy”. Why do we outgrow many and yet others are dangerously life long afflictions? How do the immune cells of the skin interact with the immune cells of the gut, both are “external” surfaces, do they communicate and teach each other?

The immune system is so complex and diverse, I doubt we humans will ever truly understand the multiple, symbiotic worlds of organisms that we carry around on and in ourselves every day.

This article touches on the possibility that

“The immune system is more than just a defense system, and antibodies are more than just defense weapons”

We often hear about “good bacteria” but here we are discovering “friendly” antibodies may be essential to that relationship. So much to learn! Enjoy this short piece, click the link here:

A gut bacterium’s guide to building a microbiome.

Belly vs Brain: who’s in charge here?

I am intrigued by the relationship between the gut and the brain. This study that demonstrates outright behaviour changes is one example of our slowly growing understanding:
CBC News – Gut feeling: How intestinal bacteria may influence our moods
http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2701037

Even good old serotonin is now understood to be mostly produced by our ever-present friendly gut bacteria:
Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut
http://www.caltech.edu/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495 Medicine, nutrition and psychology are intimately intwined. Traditional means of understanding and teaching these disciplines will soon change forever.

Technology and health. I love where this is going! Constipation and GERD affect many Jamaican kids.

Is there a new tool coming to the tool-box for those children who don’t respond to diet, behavior change and current options for medication?

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation: Micro metal beads and magnets help deliver a biologic where it’s needed to improve constipation or rectoanal incontinence in animal models of the disorders. — ScienceDaily

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180116222453.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fhealth_medicine%2Fgastrointestinal_problems+%28Gastrointestinal+Problems+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Thoughts on Why Homicide is Increasing in Jamaica 2017

Using violent means to  curb violence is guaranteed to fail. It can backfire with more violence.

Beating a child into submission, beating a child until you the adult are exhausted, will not bring about positive, sustained behavior change.

The same goes for lock downs and mass detainment. The article below gives an interesting global perspective on state-led crackdowns.

Why Jamaica’s Homicide Rate is Increasing

Grassroots, on-the-ground social intervention can transform communities. We desperately need sustained support for these programmes. Sustained social intervention has been proven time and time again to be cheaper and more effective than punitive aggression. 

Image

Fermented foods

reuben sandwich

In med school my close friend and study partner always had yogurt culture at home. I was spoilt by the creamy deliciousness of this “real” live food. NOTHING  from a store tastes the same.

In recent times as I read all I can find about gut science I see more and more articles singing the praises of fermented foods. Everything from acne to constipation has allegedly been cured by the Lactobacilli that thrive in these foods. I’ve decide to try my hand at homemade sauerkraut. I will keep you posted!

Does anyone make their own yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha or kimchi? That’s a lot of Ks. Have you seen anything for sale in Kingston? Are there any mommies out there who found a fermented food made things better for their little ones tummy troubles? Please share your tips and discoveries.

LINK 1: Why you should eat more fermented foods https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/2017/03/why-you-should-eat-more-fermented-foods/

LINK 2: How to make a jar of sauerkraut for the beginner or skeptic. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-193124