Cute animals decrease stress and anxiety

I just published this post on my cat blog but decided to publish it here, too, since it is linked to a health issue that some or many of us might have, especially nowadays–stress, that is.

Watching cute animals is good for our health. We probably already knew that from personal experience, but now science has confirmed it…once again, I should add…I mean, I’ve seen similar studies before.

A new study, recently published by CNN, in fact shows that “watching cute animals may contribute to a reduction in stress and anxiety.”

Here’s the link to the CNN report:

And so, here’s a photo of baby Pixie, who was little more than two months old in this photo. Incidentally, I don’t touch up my photos, so it’s a bit on the dark side, but still…how adorable she was (and is), don’t you think? Awwww…

An excerpt from the article: “In all cases, the study saw blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety go down in participants, 30 minutes after watching the video.”

The study found that videos worked better than still images. Hmmm. I’ll have to learn how to upload some of my cutest cat videos. Yeah, I still don’t know how to do that…It will be a project for the near (I hope) future…! 🙂

Too much licorice may kill you

This morning, thanks to a friend’s post on Facebook, I read an Associated Press article, picked up and published by NBC News, that REALLY shocked me. Here’s the link:

Is it possible for someone to DIE from eating too much licorice??? The incredible answer is…yes.

It happened to a 54-year-old man in Massachusetts, U.S.A. He had been eating A LOT of licorice, a bag and a half apparently!!!, every day for a few weeks before he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Even though he was revived, he died the following day. His doctors found his levels of potassium to be very low, which is very very dangerous for the heart, in particular.

Here’s an excerpt from the article: “Eating as little as 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could cause a heart rhythm problem, especially for folks over 40, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.”

Yikes! I personally do not care for the taste of licorice, so I’m not in any danger…But I decided to write this post as a warning to others who might love licorice.

Coincidentally, I wrote about glycyrrhizic acid in 2007 (my July 29 post) because of its anti-cancer properties, mainly. I’d seen the warnings about the low potassium problem and made a note of that in the post, and I also included this: “…ingesting too much glycyrrhizin may not be such a good idea if you suffer from hypertension, heart disease or have water retention problems.” Well, I will revise that sentence to “ingesting too much glycyrrhizin could be fatal to you if you suffer from…etc.

Incidentally, I have noticed that many of my old links DO NOT WORK anymore (for instance, the TINYURLs that I used many years ago). I apologize for that. Over the years, I have tried and used different shortening devices because sometimes my links happen to be miles long, which I find to be annoying. From now on, though, I will probably post the full links (like the link to the above NBC article, which takes up three whole lines, as you can see. Oh well.).

Someday, when I retire, I may take the time to check and get rid of all the blog’s old links, replacing them with the original links, however long they might be. But that won’t be for a while yet, and…well…I wouldn’t count on it.  😀

A new curcumin-myeloma study

Unfortunately, the full study, just published in the journal Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, is not available online for free, but the abstract gives us a good idea of its content:

The abstract begins with a description of multiple myeloma, stuff we already know or should know…But then I noticed two words in the following sentence: “MM is almost incurable, and patients faced to this disease eventually relapse.”

Did you see that?

“Almost” and “incurable.”

That “almost” suggests that there is a form of myeloma that is curable. Hmmm. News to me!!! And, in fact, the words that follow, “patients…eventually relapse,” negate that “almost.” Perhaps a problem with the translation…?

Because, let’s be clear: myeloma is incurable…That said, it is treatable. And for some, it’s “just” a chronic disease.

Anyway, moving on…Then we have a description of the therapeutic properties of curcumin. Again, stuff we know or should know. 😉

Now, not that we needed any more evidence that curcumin is no friend of myeloma, but it’s always good to come across a NEW study confirming its ability to kill myeloma cells by interfering with, and I quote, “…various signaling pathways and cell cycle checkpoints, and with oncogenes.”

Yeah, that’s always good…really good.

Masked reunion

Yesterday, for the first time since the middle of February (!), I met with my card-playing girlfriends. I mean, we’re in touch on a daily basis…text messages and so on, but I’ve seen only one of these friends in the flesh since February.

Anyway, we had a lovely visit, complete with tea and birthday cake made by yours truly, but it felt really surreal. No hugging, no kissing, no close contact. For Italians, this is MOST unusual…

In addition to keeping our distance, we all wore our surgical face masks…sitting in our friend’s living room.

Weird…really weird.

But…necessary, of course.

Margaret’s Cats. Living with cats in Florence, Tuscany

Potter in a pot! August 2020

Well, recently I’ve had a bit of extra time on my hands, which I’ve devoted to organizing sock and undie drawers (no, really, I’m not kidding…I have photos of my incredibly neat drawers if you need proof. 😀  ), and, right now, not much desire to dive into medical/scientific articles, to be super honest…even though I do keep my eyes open and continue to read anything of myeloma interest. 

Anyway, this is how I came up with the idea of creating a separate blog, a CAT blog. I’d actually been thinking of doing something like that for years, but didn’t have the time. Well, now I do have the time…sort of…but mainly, I have the inspiration

My inspiration comes mainly from Potter, who is THE cutest kitten on Earth (yeah, yeah, I know, everyone who’s had or has a kitten thinks exactly the same thing…and my Pixie and Pandora were absolutely adorable kittens and very entertaining, too, but Potter is really something else…). 

Potter inspired me to begin writing again. I mean, he gives me so much joy that I wanted and want to, yes, to share it with others…

“What, a cat blog? You’re out of your mind!” Pixie and Pandora, September 2020

So yes, my most recent endeavor is super original (hehe!), I mean, there are only about a zillion cat blogs out there, right?

But this is my “escape” blog. Whenever I need five minutes to get away from the news or myeloma or whatnot, I can go write and publish a story about felines. Purrfect! 

Incidentally, this doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning my beloved Corner. No way! I’ll continue to read and post about interesting and potentially beneficial stuff concerning myeloma, and I’ll continue to answer your questions.

My cat blog will just a place where I can retreat to when I feel like writing something else, something cat-related.

So, please visit my new blog, titled “Margaret’s Cats, Living with Cats in Florence, Tuscany” and, if you’d leave me a comment or two, that would be great. Here’s the link:

I hope you will enJOY it! Ciao!

Coronavirus can damage your heart, even if you’re asymptomatic

Wow, I just realized that I didn’t write or publish anything in August. How did so much time go by? Oops!

All’s well…I’ve just been busy…as you know, we have a new kitten (more on that story soon!) who keeps me quite occupied…I also had a bit of a holiday with Stefano, spent at his aunt and uncle’s home in southern Italy, where for the first time I tasted (and liked!) fried anchovies…We were very careful and didn’t even go to the Amalfi Coast this year. We just stayed in their very nice home, relaxing , cooking, eating, sleeping!, enjoying their company and Stefano’s cousin’s 5-month-old baby, born just a few days after the lockdown in Italy back in March.

And that takes me to the point of this post, a serious post about Covid-19…

In addition to all the scientific articles I’ve read in the past few months, this morning I read a Scientific American article on the damage that Covid can do even to asymptomatic folks: :

This article is therefore a MUST READ for those who don’t wear masks or practice social distancing, in the belief that Covid-19 is a hoax or an exaggeration. It’s not. Coronavirus can really hurt you, even long-term, or hurt someone you love (or anyone, really). So…please be super careful: wash your hands a million times a day, practice social distancing and, most of all, wear a MASK…I mean, it’s such a simple thing to do that could save so many lives…Why some people are so stubbornly against it is beyond my comprehension, way beyond…

So be smart: be safe and wear a mask!