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Light at the End of COVID Tunnel

From eNewsletter 4/20/2020

DID YOU KNOW that cigarette smokers who aren't even smoking in front of you can still make the environment around you toxic? For the last decade, third-hand smoke has been described as the residual contamination from cigarette smoking that adheres to walls and other surfaces in places where smoking has previously occurred. Now, for the first time, third-hand smoke has been found to travel in large quantities into indoor, non-smoking environments by way of humans. The research suggests that even if someone is in a room where no one has smoked, that person could still be exposed to many of the hazardous chemical compounds that make up cigarette smoke, depending on who else had entered the room or previously visited it. The results were published in Science Advances. The researchers tracked thousands of compounds over the course of a week in a movie theater. A diverse range of volatile organic compounds found in tobacco smoke were found. The gas emissions were equal to that of being exposed to 1-10 cigarettes of secondhand smoke in a one-hour period. Now aren't you glad you're homebound?!


Light at the end of COVID tunnel? Discussion of how to safely remove shelter at home orders has begun.

While this should give us reason for optimism, we need to prepare ourselves for the new normal. Many aspects of our lives will still be temporarily, and in some cases permanently, altered. Pandemics have a way of doing this.

Remember last week we mentioned that socially, humans are amazingly adaptable? Taking this a step further, we'd like to ease your worry about young people having too much exposure to screens, smartphones and social media.

According to a new study from American Journal of Sociology, young people today are just as socially skilled as those from the previous generation.

Researchers compared teacher and parent evaluations of children who started kindergarten in 1998, six years before Facebook launched, with those who began school in 2010, when the first iPad debuted. Results showed both groups of kids were rated similarly on interpersonal skills such as the ability to form and maintain friendships and get along with people who are different. They were also rated similarly on self-control, such as the ability to regulate their temper. In virtually every comparison they made, either social skills stayed the same or actually went up modestly for the children born later. There's very little evidence that screen exposure was problematic for the growth of social skills.

Please do not get the wrong impression about the impetus of this study. Young people still need to be physically active, avoid screen time at least one hour before bedtime, and have hobbies. But at least socially, "the kids are all right".

LIFESTYLE CHANGE: IF NOT NOW, WHEN? Bonnie and Steve: A staggeringly amazing study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine emphasizes lifestyle factors that allow us to live longer without chronic disease.

The study, examining 116043 participants from all over the world who were disease free, found a significant association between overall healthy lifestyle score and an increased number of disease-free life-years.

Of the lifestyle profiles studied 18 years later, the four that were associated with the greatest disease-free life years included body mass index lower than 25 and at least 2 of 3 factors: never smoking, physical activity, and moderate alcohol consumption. These lifestyle profiles were associated with extended gains in life lived without type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancer between ages 40 and 75. We have always promoted quality of life, not quantity. This study could not have said it better. Comparing the best lifestyle score with the worst lifestyle score was associated with 9.9 additional years without chronic diseases in men and 9.4 additional years in women. Participants with the four aforementioned lifestyle profiles reached age 70.3 years (males) to 71.4 years (females) disease free. Most of us would take that. What we'd really like to see is a study that includes all the proactive wellness techniques that we employ, such as stress management, dietary supplementation, environmental toxicology reduction, and preventing negative genetic expression. The most important takeaway? It does not matter how old you are. Whether COVID-19 jumpstarts your will to change your lifestyle, or a study like this showing you can get an extra decade of quality of life by changing your habits, doing it is what matters most.


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