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Posts Tagged ‘Immunology’

Hallelujah! The Grands got their first jab of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid 19. Sounds like I could write a country song about this day!

“Their daddy piled them in the car, drove for miles to a Walgreens store

Rolled up their sleeves with a great big smile, no tears, all style

They got the Pfizer Vaccine

Gonna help them fight off Covid 19″

Maybe I’ve been living in Nashville too long? But I swear I got all teary when I saw their little red band-aids on their arms. To celebrate, I cooked a big pot of goulash and offered free delivery since the Bride was working all weekend and the Groom was on dad duty. She had made plans for tacos, so we combined our Mexican/Hungarian menu to the delight of all.

Then I read this article about a different kind of immunity. It’s something for your brain that won’t let you end up at the other end of a rabbit hole.

“Here’s the idea: false, baseless, and destructive ideas are mind-parasites. Some are infectious and harm the minds that host them. But minds have defenses — “mental immune systems” — that offer some protection. These are natural systems, and we can study them like we do other natural systems. We can learn how they work and why they sometimes fail. Then, we can apply what we learn to prevent mental immune system breakdowns.

Cognitive immunologists are making strides. We’ve identified the mind’s antibodies. We know the basics of how mental immune systems work. (A healthy mind deploys questions and doubts to ward off problematic ideas; in unhealthy minds, this “mental immune function” is suppressed, misdirected, or hyperactive.)”

https://medium.com/@andynorman/why-arent-we-all-conspiracy-theorists-d14c7ac2b123

My Daddy Jim used to tell me on a drive in the country, that a large field of telephone poles is where they grow telephone poles. And I actually believed him, that phone poles shoot straight up out of the ground in their perfectly round-hewn condition. Because kids believe what their parents say for awhile, like ducking your head in the car when your dad drives under a bridge.

But eventually kids grow up and begin to doubt that a bridge could actually hit your head encased inside a car. They begin to separate their ideas from their parents, along with their music. But not everybody grows up in the same order, some take longer and some never quite get there. If a child grows up in a very strict, ‘my way or the highway’ house, they may never be allowed to wonder or ask questions.

This child may decide that he doesn’t eat Chinese food because he’s not Chinese because that’s what he’s heard in his house. And when another culture is feared or derided all the time, it multiplies xenophobia and hatred.

What if you grow up in a house that learns to make sushi, and doesn’t mind if your nana brings over pizza dogs for a birthday party even though your family has decided to be vegetarian. With some fish. In hindsight, I could have tried to make pizza fish sticks.

Our generation was the last to suffer with polio and measles. I studied deaf children in college, babies who were born deaf because their mothers contracted German measles during their pregnancies. Infants today are automatically vaccinated for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. But technology has helped spread some pretty medieval thinking around vaccine drives and public health with divisive ideologies; many being steeped in Anti-Semitism as I learned on CNN Lisa Ling’s “The Conspiracy Effect.” https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2021-10-06/lisa-ling-cnn-this-is-life-connects-hate-racism-in-american-history

Never, did I EVER expect to wake up this morning to see Big Bird getting cancelled by a Republican who looks like Uncle Fester. That sweet big yellow bird was telling parents and children to get vaccinated, you would think he was Big Brother telling us how to think. When the problem is too many people refuse to think, to analyze, to engage their brain. Too many have done “their own research” on Facebook. A place that will only amplify conspiracy thinking and science denial if it makes them more money.

We are not fighting a culture war with the Republicans. They would like us to define this gap in rational thinking as simply a cultural divide. But it’s not. There is no alternative view of the Holocaust. There are no chips being implanted in arms. Spreading false and misleading information and insisting we debate with them is insane. Our country must recover from a presidency that fed on conspiracy theories like it was manna from heaven.

We are better than that. Instead of spreading lies about children being trafficked, we can spread the word that vaccinations actually save lives. We can take back the conversation, and we must.

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Don’t you just love it when scientists prove some theory you’ve held your whole life, contradicting years of previous recommendations? Bob’s reaction yesterday to the news about peanut allergies was mixed, but mostly he was annoyed. Here is the gist of yesterday’s news from pediatricians:

“The new guidelines say most babies can try a little peanut paste or powder — never whole peanuts — at home. High-risk infants are defined as those with severe eczema or an egg allergy. … “That’s a whole generation of children who never have to develop this allergy.”

The Love Bug still has to bring only a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich to her preschool. This news is too late for her little classmate who couldn’t eat one of her cupcakes on her birthday. I felt so sorry for that little girl, who knew Publix made their cupcakes in a factory with peanuts? I truly believe labeling is disabling. When we learned that the Bride has a severe allergy to cats, we just tried to screen which house was suitable for a playdate.

But this new study makes perfect sense. Introduce peanuts early, like mixing some powder into baby’s yogurt around four months of age, and your offspring will gradually build their immune system. It makes sense, if having a dog in your house (ostensibly bringing more dirt and germs inside) helps build a child’s immune system, why shouldn’t this work? When I kept getting poison ivy as a child, I eventually landed in a doctor’s office getting shots with guess what? Small doses of the poison ivy compound to build my own natural immunity!

Bob was naturally smug yesterday. He didn’t actually say, “I told you so,” but you could see it around his eyes. He is partial to free-range parenting. If it fell on the floor, the 5 second rule applies. The baby finds an old piece of quesadilla behind the Christmas tree while you’re dismantling it, sure go-ahead and take a bite! What’s a little dirt? Bob has felt this way his entire life, whereas I am a hand-washing maniac. The Bride’s style takes after her Dad, the Rocker leans more toward hand sanitizers. And strangely enough, my son is just fine with cats!

“Childhood peanut allergies in the U.S. have increased dramatically over the last decade: In 1997, 0.4 percent of children reported an allergy to peanuts, and by 2008 that number was 1.4 percent, or more than 3 million people.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guidelines-babies-peanut-allergies_us_586eab12e4b099cdb0fc3947

While in Nashville, serving apple slices dipped into peanut butter, I downloaded a little learning App on my Ipad. PopBob was trying it out with the Baby Boy, who is now a hefty two year old who eats just about anything. I could hear Bob complaining about computer programmers who don’t think like a child; I also heard them laughing and bonding. After that, we went out on a walk to collect pine cones, and rocks and bottle caps. So go ahead people, kick off your shoes, get outside and play in the dirt this year. And don’t forget to pack a PB and J!

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