Health: Lessons learned in disastrous 2020

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones

How carefully have you been reading our column over the past year? Take our true or false quiz.

1: Excessive amounts of fructose, one of the main carbohydrates in refined sugar, is converted by the liver into fat. Glucose, the other component of sugar, is burned up as energy by all cells.

2: It’s prudent to brush the tongue after eating, not just your teeth, as this removes bacteria, fungi, and even protozoa from deep fissures with benefits for your overall health.

3: Magnesium found in dark leaf greens and whole grains helps to dilate arteries and lower blood pressure.

4: The World Health Organization and 15,000 scientists have signed a petition warning humanity to cut back on eating meat, citing the environmental harm of methane-emitting cattle.

5: Light therapy releases morphine-like substances, helps with the formation of new-blood vessels, and cures 60 per cent of patients with degenerative changes in the lumbosacral region of the spine and compression of spinal nerves.

6: Artificial intelligence developed by a Canadian company is assisting in early diagnosis among the 425 million patients worldwide who have diabetes, complicated by retinal atherosclerosis, and stand to lose their sight.

7: Men suffering from chronic obstructive lung disease are more often correctly diagnosed than women with the same problem who are more likely to be labelled as having a psychiatric problem.

8: There may be 2,000 ticks in an acre of forestland. A classical tick bite rash looks like a bull’s eye with a clear center, but only three people in ten get this rash.

9: Keep the toilet seat down when flushing. A report in Physics of Fluids advises it’s better to keep viruses in the bowl. Spray, they say, can fly as high as three feet and in public toilets even higher.

10: Dr. Charles Matthews of the Nutrition Cancer Institute in the U.S. pooled data from nine studies which analyzed how activity affected 15 types of cancer. Those who engaged in 7-15 hours of physical activity a week showed significantly lower risk of seven of the 15 cancers.

11: Authorities say that the safe limit for canned goods such as acidic foods like canned tomatoes and other fruit is 18 months. For canned vegetables, beans, meats and poultry, it’s two to five years. A dented or rusty is a red flag. A swollen can means harmful bacteria are present and the can must be thrown away.

12: A Gifford-Jones law states that one degenerative disease often leads to another and another. This is why the epidemic of obesity often leads to type 2 diabetes and the complications of blindness, kidney failure and amputation of legs due to atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

13: For baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) having hepatitis C, it most likely was transmitted long ago through contact with contaminated blood before robust controls were in place.

14: A study at Boston University showed that cortisone injections for knee arthritis should be limited to 2-3 a year to decrease the risk of cartilage damage.

The answers? All items are true.

We close out this disastrous year of 2020 with a wish to all readers for your good health and a better year ahead.

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones can be reached at

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