Monthly Archives: June 2013

Leaving for Skokholm Island…

Well, our departure date for Wales (UK) has finally sneaked up on us. Stefano and I planned this trip months ago…We’re taking a advantage of a long holiday weekend to which we’ve attached some holiday time… 

I must confess that, with all the last-minute, urgent stuff (read: workworkwork!!!) that I’ve had to do in the past week or so, I ALMOST forgot to write a quick post for the blog. Gee, I must be TIRED!!! 😉 So here I am, at 11 PM at nightzzzz, writing this post…after setting my alarm clock for 5 AM tomorrowzzzzzz…

We’re going to Skokholm Island, which is Skomer Island’s sister island. Skomer hosts the biggest puffin colony in southern Britain AND a third of the world’s population of Manx Shearwaters during their breeding season. And, as you may recall, Stefano and I are hopping mad about puffins!!! 10.07.01-UK-Wales-1567

We’ve been to Skomer a couple of times, but never to Skokholm, which has opened to the public only in the past couple of years and has more “primitive” living accommodations…no showers, etc. No Internet and no phone service, either. No technology…at all! And…no work!!!

I can’t wait! :)

Anyway, I wanted to write a quick thingy for the blog, just to explain that I’ll be gone until the end of the month.

In July, things should cool down, though, and I should be able to finish a couple of posts. Mamma mia! Sorry about that, but of course I have to choose paid work over writing for the blog, as much as I love being here with you…

Soooo, please take care, everyone! Ciao! :)

The ceiling fan monster

IMG_7413

It’s finally HOT in Florence…hot enough to use my ceiling fan in the study.

A couple of days ago I managed to take photos of the first time Prezzemolo (who is about a year old now, I guess) set eyes on a moving ceiling fan.

(Too bad about the flash reflection in his left eye, but the flash-less photos I took came out a bit fuzzy.) 

Yes, I know…

He’s adorable!

:)

Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia

A blog reader alerted me to a Japanese Alzheimer’s case study published in October 2012. Here is the link to the abstract in PubMed: http://goo.gl/66V82. I hadn’t come across it, since I don’t really monitor curcumin for anything other than myeloma, MGUS or SMM. But I thought it was extreeeeeeeeemely interesting and decided to post about it today.

The full study, available for free online (just click here: http://goo.gl/mX5OQ), tells us that turmeric, not curcumin, was used in this study. The three Alzheimer’s patients involved in the study were given a daily dose of 764 mg of turmeric (= containing to 100 mg of curcumin, according to the authors). And even on such a tiny dose (of TURMERIC, to boot), the spice had a huge impact on their quality of life (QOL)…nothing short of amazing, in fact…For example, after a year of the turmeric treatment, they began to recognize family members…One woman started singing and laughing and knitting again…And so on.

You can read the patients’ stories in the full study. Impressive!

I do have a question, though: I wonder how much these (and other) patients would improve if they were given a higher dose of straight curcumin (not turmeric, i.e.)? Now that would be super interesting to know!!!

***Note: you will come across a few typos and mistakes in the full study. There is a huge one, for example, at the end of the Discussion part, where the authors write “impair” instead of “improve.” Obviously, they meant to write that curcumin improves cognitive function, not that it impairs it! However, in spite of its occasional creative use of the English language, the study is clear enough… :-)

Goodbye…

I was going to post something about our weekend trip to the region to Umbria…with photos, glorious photos of beautiful places, but I just couldn’t pretend that everything is okay. No. It just isn’t right. 

When Stefano and I got home yesterday, I got some very bad news. Bad news for the myeloma community/family. Bad BAD news, period. But I wasn’t sure what to do with it, to be honest…should I post it here on the blog or not? What would she, a very private person, have wanted me to do? Well, this morning I decided to go ahead and post a tiny tribute…a tribute to my friend…a tribute to Hanna. 

I met Hanna via my blog a number of years ago. She wrote me a glowing fan message, and from that moment we began corresponding and building a friendship. We never managed to meet in real life (she lives in Canada, I live in Italy), but we found that we had many things in common…reading, traveling, listening to classical music and also…a rather wacky sense of humor (okay, so mine is wackier!!!), and so I’d frequently forward to her the funny messages and links that you send to me and that keep my immune system happy…It kept hers happy, too…

But Hanna and I would also discuss things of a more serious nature…mainly natural, non-toxic myeloma treatments. And I often turned to her for advice, even before she became a co-administrator of our Facebook MM, MGUS and SMM support group. Wise, thoughtful Hanna always found the perfect solution to any issue…

Well, three weeks ago, after much worry on my part (she’d essentially “disappeared” and wasn’t answering my messages…I just knew something was wrong…), I and a few select others in the above-mentioned Facebook support group received a brief message from her, informing us that she’d decided to stop all treatments (conventional, yes) and go home to be with her family and to enjoy her garden. We all knew what that meant…

She didn’t answer any further communications. 

And yesterday, when Stefano and I got home from Umbria, I read a message from her husband informing me (and the same few, as above) that she had died on June 7th. 

On Saturday Stefano and I heard this song, “Over the valley,” while having a quick bite to eat in a wine bar in the town of Assisi. Such a pretty little song…I think Hanna would have liked it…and so I dedicate it to her today. [youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO2AIpZAunA’]

Oh Hanna dear, I’m going to miss you so much…

Ciao, mia cara…

Stilt chicks!

IMG_5821Well, I admit that right now I have too much to do before Stefano gets home from work and we leave for our long weekend (just to mention a couple of things, I still have to change all the cat litter boxes and clean up the kitchen…ehm…), so I won’t be able to publish my research post. That will have to wait till we get back from Perugia (see previous post)…

But I decided to go ahead and post a photo I took about ten days ago of the newborn black-winged stilt chicks. Aren’t they the cutest, fluffiest little critters you have ever seen??? Awwwww…

This year the vegetation on the tiny islands (where the stilt nests are located) is reaaaaally thick and quite tall, too, so it’s much more difficult to get a good shot of these adorable babies than last year. I had to wait patiently for, oh, a couple of hours to get this photo, which isn’t half bad, methinks… :) Oh, and what you see is what you get. I mean, I don’t use (or even know how to use!!!) Photoshop or anything similar…

Okay, I must be off. The litter boxes await (= one of the, er, not-so-great-joys of having a bunch of kitties in the house…but hey, a VERY minor one, I would hastily add!)…

Have a great weekend, everyone! And don’t forget to laugh! :-)

Perugia!

I’ve had some trouble accessing my blog in the past few days. In a nutshell, my “login” button hasn’t been working (and still doesn’t work, but I can login a different way now, phew). This happens from time to time but doesn’t worry me at all because I know that eventually the fabbbulous Healthblogs manager will fix the problem. As she did this time, too. But this delay has meant that I haven’t been able to post anything. For example, I now have photos of the 2013 black-winged stilt chicks, the cutest fluffy little things I’ve ever seen (except for kittens, of course!). But right now I don’t have much time…so this is going to be quick.

  1. Stefano is going to be 50 years old on Friday. :)
  2. Tomorrow afternoon after work, we’re heading off on a long weekend (as usual, our lovely cat-maniac friend is moving into our house to take care of our cats for a few days).
  3. The birthday boy chose our destination (a 1.5 hour drive from Florence, not too bad): Perugia = the capital city of the region of Umbria…

For any Etruscan fans out there 😉 , Perugia was one of Italy’s main Etruscan cities…we’re talking 11th and 10th century BC, here…

But Stefano’s main interest in Perugia right now is not its history or its attractions. It’s Perugia’s Canon camera repair shop, which has a very good reputation. Since, at the end of this month, we are leaving for Wales (UK) to go see the puffins on Skokholm Island, he wants to make sure that his camera is shipshape. So he’s going to leave it at the Canon shop all day Friday and test it all day Saturday…

We’re staying in a hotel that used to be a Benedictine monastery (parts of it date to the 11th century!), located just outside Perugia…a lovely place with a huuuuuuge park (with beautiful flower gardens and woods and whatnot) and, I hope, also many interesting birds and animals that will happily pose for our cameras…

We also plan to travel around the region on Saturday to test Stefano’s newly calibrated camera…We are thinking of visiting the ancient hilltop town of Gubbio, among others…

Anyway, I hope to take some great photos that I can post on the blog next week. I also have a couple of serious posts up my sleeve…I’ll try to finish editing one today and publish it later today or tomorrow.

That’s about it for now…I must get back to workzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Ciao! :)