Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Beating Alzheimer's

 This is about “Happy Valley” and not about technology.


I am posting it here because we do not yet have and an unofficial site by residents for this community, as done commonly elsewhere.

So... 

It happens that there are two very different directions being taken to address the issues of dementia here, maybe even three.

There is unanimity here that action needs to be taken, even though this community is very well regarded in the way it handles dementia treatment already.

Views on dementia treatment are changing, however.     There is a groundswell of change.

The most current thinking is that there is a whole constellation of changes in the brain which can create dementia.       Basically the brain’s regulating system gets out of whack. It needs to be restored to proper functioning before serious problems start.

The causes are genes, diet, exercise, medications, and so on.

Prevention would address these issues by DNA analysis, exhaustive blood tests beyond those normally offered, and many other diagnostic procedures,

Then there would be corrective follow up treatment for the issues found in each individual case.

I am especially concerned about others because it happens that I have a copper deficiency resulted in muscle atrophy and loss of balance and leads automatically to Alzheimer’s, IF It had not been diagnosed and then treated.    The blood test that identified the condition is rarely done. Half a dozen neurologists failed to identify the problem until I got to the University of Pennsylvania. 

I'm grateful now that Happy Valley's outstanding physical therapy department was then able to put me on the road to recovery with intensive workouts on fitness machines with increasing weights.    Unfortunately it does not have the best equipment where it does physical therapy, 

And, unfortunately, it happens at Happy Valley that, while there has been new preventive outreach, the wellness and fitness program has deteriorated on one campus from what it was just a few years ago.

At this location all fitness classes have been discontinued, facilities reduced or eliminated, and essential equipment removed.       

Meanwhile, the main emphasis has been in building a new community for those already with advanced dementia.

I simply feel that this is closing the barn door after the horse has gone.    

Nowadays the efforts need to be to restore the brain to normal functioning by addressing those issues which created the problem in the first place.

If that is not done seniors will be more and more overwhelmed with the increase in dementia, as the treating facilities drown in costs.

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Tap or click for it.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Changing My Computer Ways

 There was a time when I would have assigned certain tasks to each of my computer devices.     Some would be done on PC. Others on the tablet. Yet others on the smartphone.

As time went by I disciplined myself to do more and more on the smartphone so I wouldn't have to save up a group of tasks for later.     I could get them done, off my to-do list, and out of mind now.

The end result of this progress was that I realized recently that I needed to be able to do all tasks on all devices.     

That final step took a bit of doing.

I reformatted my old PC and put only a few applications on it.     These included the browser, a DVD writer, windirstat, and Audacity.     These handled a few tasks I couldn't do elsewhere.

The main function left to my PC was then to be able to handle files, which it does better than any other device.

To get at these files from anywhere,  I installed the number of cloud storage apps.     These included iCloud, Drive, Google photos, Dropbox. OneDrive,  Amazon music and photos.     

For safety I allowed some duplication.      For example, my music appears in several different drives.     

Also, I saved everything on a $24 200gb SanDisk Drive in place of my PC's hard drive.     I also added such drives to smartphone and Walmart’s new $64 ONN 8” tablet.      

Eventually the PC, which takes up too much space, will be discarded.      I have an Intel Windows PC stick which will replace it. My display is actually also a TV, though all I really need for TV is a display with YouTube TV and no cable.

I also downloaded all my Amazon purchased music and put it on the 200gb drive.

To ease the process of getting at information on various devices, I used aggregator apps, such as CloudBeats for music.    I only need to go to one place to get access to music anywhere in the cloud.

As for books and documents, I access them from Kindle and Google Books.    These can also be downloaded for backup, but the process is more complicated.    For safety I simply duplicate uploading my own documents to each.

The iPad presented a somewhat challenging a problem.     Its weak point is file handling, but that is about to change.     I bought the newest iPad to be able to run iOS 13 for that reason.       I could simply have relied on Bluetooth access to WiFi drives. Or I could have bought an iPad was a lot more memory.

Done,













Friday, June 28, 2019

My Computer Devices


Going from the smallest to the largest, these are the computer devices I use.

First is my iPhone SE, which I always have with me. Since it works with my hearing aids, I use it for all audio.

For reading away from home, I have adopted a Nook. No sense in spending big bucks for a large smartphone.    It is less bulky than a Kindle Fire 7 and is not limited by Amazon's unique restrictions.

I will be switching also to a new Walmart 8" tablet for the same reasons.

Next is the iPad, which outperforms everything else at my easy chair.

A Chromebook is then my desk machine.

I avoid Windows wherever possible due to the annoyances of constant upgrades.    However, an old Windows PC does the heavy lifting on a large TV screen.

In all, I spent little for any of these devices, the iPad most at $250.

With them, I have at hand anywhere: my email (news), library, music, YouTube, browsing, and even control of my Roku TV.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Streaming to iPads and iPhones

 In spite of my enthusiasm for the iPad and iPhone, there is a problem in that you cannot stream to these devices from Apple’s iCloud.

That is just plain unsatisfactory.

You need a place where you can safely keep files and also stream them.    Ideally you also need a backup place for them away from internet.

Using Amazon music, streaming is fine, but it is complicated to download and keep a backup.

On the other hand, Google offers such a cloud space.

There is also another nice choice.      It turns out that Microsoft's OneDrive can also be used for the purpose.     

On OneDrive you establish a folder called Music, and simply upload to it.      

So both Google and Microsoft offer least cost cloud storage options.

A Cure for Copper Deficiency

 This posting is a little outside the mission of this website, but I believe it is important.

I accidentally came across a cure for copper deficiency, a very serious condition with which I was diagnosed two years ago.

A number of neurologists had failed to identify the condition until a dedicated PennMedicine physician finally nailed it.

After working for an hour to identify all the symptoms, this neurologist asked me to take a short walk with him in the hallway.      He expressed surprise that I had literally no balance whatever, one of the main symptoms. I said tell me about it.

He then asked me to go up and get a blood test immediately.    I asked him what he thought the condition was. He said he was not telling until he saw the result.

The blood test for copper is rarely given to anyone simply because the condition is rare among the general population, in spite of the fact that it may affect as much as 20% of the senior population.

Copper deficiency not only results in loss of balance and loss of muscle, but is also associated with eventual Alzheimer's.     (Nobody knows if it is a major contributor to Alzheimer's because the test is rarely given.)

The condition had been treated experimentally at Mayo Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh with infusion into the bloodstream.   Unfortunately I could not find a doctor willing to do infusion. It can be dangerous.

I resorted to copper supplement pills which never worked over a period of 2 years as symptoms became worse..

Then a strange thing happened.

I happen to love cashews, and spying large can of them in Costco led me to try a can.    I went overboard and finished them off in a few days, after which I coincidentally had my regular copper blood test.

My copper had moved up almost toward the edge of normal.

I don't have a regular doctor, but my nurse practitioner suggested that I explore copper rich sesame seeds.

I bought a $24 blender, two bags of sesame seeds, and started making sesame milkshakes with a quarter of a cup to 1/2 a cup of seeds per day, using almond or cashew milk, plus a little chocolate to make it tasty.    I refrigerate for a day before using.

In 10 weeks my blood test for copper was middle of normal.

My nurse practitioner then sent me out to restore muscles with physical therapy, starting with gradually increasing weights on a mat, and eventually moving on to a variety of exercise machines, mainly to strengthen the weakened core muscles.

I think we had high hopes, but very limited expectations.

However, the machines became easier and easier for me as I increased the weights,  as can be done methodically with exercise machines as opposed to other more limited physical therapy.     Pain subsided.

I am cured of copper deficiency and gaining strength.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Resurrecting an old Tablet


 I recently was given two old 10”  Android tablets. I sold the non-working tablet on eBay for $25 to someone who knew better than I how to fix it.

I then bought a working tablet for the same $25.      It worked, but slowly.

Turns out there is an easy fix.       You hold down start and volume down until you got the choice to clean out the cache, volume down again to select, volume up to confirm.    Fixed.



The old tablets then worked as well as they did the day they were sold for 5 years ago for $400.


They had just gotten bottled up with numerous updates.

I came across two more such tablets at giveaway prices, one at $27, one $35.

While they cannot match an iPad, all these can do most everything except stream CBSN  or Reuters live. They do stream YouTube, but not YouTube TV.

While they cannot run the newer apps, they can usually run an alternative from the browser.     Once a browser shortcut is set up on the home screen, the shortcut performs just like an app.

While a bit slow on Wi-Fi, that shortfall does not show up on email subscriptions to media.

They come into their own mainly as nice big readers for Kindle, Google Play, and library books via Overdrive, plus Gutenbooks. Librivox, and Moon Reader.   Pandora and Spotify and Google Music also run fine.

These can be set up for easy use by anyone.






Tapping brings up choices and searches.

The best browser is often the browser that came with them such an old tablet, but also Opera and Firefox on a few.    

Running the Internet Archive from the browser then opens up an enormous wealth of media of all kinds.    This is a wonderful and underused resource.

So they are still great media machines, even though they are slow in browsing.    

The devices I evaluated were three Asus Eee Pad Transformers and one Samsung.   Despite their age, battery life was still excellent, They all run office apps.

Left is a page from Crime and Punishment for reading or listening.