Good morning. Happy Saint Valentine’s’ day to our dear readers across the globe. At home we are celebrating with a dish of cheese ravioli with meatballs.. How does it look like?
If we continue prenticing our kitchen skills in earnest , one of these days, maybe (just maybe) we might find a lovely girl willing to finally marry us. As our dear Pope Francis says: “keep praying for me.”
Good morning. Happy Saint Valentine’s’ day to our dear readers across the globe. Thank you very much for expressing your affection and loyalty to our medical and literary web page and our dedicated team with so many different ways all year.
Please engage with the little details of honest attention to all the dear women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds that make our daily lives so, so much easier every day with their devotion, sacrifice and unparalleled affection. Thank you!!!
This image of William Adolphe Bouguereau’s The First Kiss was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Good morning and Happy Sunday. Today we are celebrating the 100the anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest Italian theater and film directors of all times. Gian FrancoCorsi Zeffirelli was born on February 12, 1923, in Florence and passed away on June 15, 2019, in Rome. He was well known for his extravagant mise en scène of the classical plays in his theater productions, which he repeated in his filmography.
Who will forget the magnificent 1968 film version of “Romeo and Juliet” starring a very young Olivia Hussey? Didn’t you fall I love watching the screen… We did. Let’s us put a link to one of the most bewitching versions of its central theme “A time for us” composed by Rota and played by Joslin and Henry Mancini. Here it is.
Close your eyes to allow its melifluous magic take over your spirit to refresh your hopes of Love plus make some space for Dreams.
Good morning. Today we are celebrating the International Day of the Pizza, to remember that historic day of February 9, 1889, when the owners of Pizzeria Brandi in Naples formally introduced this pie. When Umberto I , King of Italy, and his beautiful blonde wife the Regina Margherita, visited the city, Maria Giovanna Brandi and her husband Raffaele Esposito – founders of Pizzeria Brandi- were asked to provide a novel meal in honor of the royals. In Campania, land of our ancestors, there was a long tradition of fixing some cheap flatbreads with whatever toppings the poor peasants could lay their hands on when they took a lunch break from their brutal slogging in the fertile fields.
Note. This image of Poor Italians Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island was taken from WikimediaCommons.
Yes, those dirt poor but extremely proud co-nationals were the ones that really invented the simple pizza pie but the Brandis perfected it in their kitchen, for which they were asked to prepare the treat.
Note. This image of the wall plaque in the Pizzeria Brandi was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
At the palace of Capodimonte, the Brandis made a spectacular entrance by arriving in a cart pulled by a mule, which contained three varieties of the pizza, including the famous Pizza Margherita. It had the three colors of our dear National Emblem:
Note. This image of a fabulous pizza pie was taken from Pizza Rustica in Miami, Florida, USA.
Good morning. The Laplume family wishes our loyal readers and listeners a Very Happy and Prosperous 2023 in the company of our loved ones, the most precious gift GodAlmighty has endowed us with. Let’s raise our glasses for a toast.
Note. This picture was taken after Christmas Sunday’s mass in the fabulous Saint Patrick’s church of Miami Beach
Merry Christmas to all our readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:
Good afternoon and Happy Holidays to all of you. Just a few minutes ago, we took this selfie with our son Gian Luca, the very best friend we could possibly ask for.
We hope you are similarly spending these festivities in the company of your loved ones, the Godsent blessing for us.
We would like to warmly greet the brave Ukrainian people in this most sacred week as they are daily battling Evil. Moreover, they are engaged in the biggest cultural battle if our times. The faceoff of the Modern Democratic nations ruled by laws with Russia’s abject Authoritarianism that harks back to the Middle Ages. We firmly support you as our children’s world will be marked by that outcome.
No compromise with Fascism. Long live Ukraine. Hasta la victoria, siempre.
“We turned into the deep bed of a narrow street that ran between two sidewalks built high up off the ground. It had suddenly got dark; I heard quick, almost secret footsteps above me—I raised my eyes and saw a boy running along the narrow, broken sidewalk high above, as though running along the top of a narrow, broken wall. I recall the short, baggy trousers—like a gaucho’s—that he wore, the straw-soled cotton slippers, the cigarette in the hard visage, all stark against the now limitless storm cloud, Unexpectedly, Bernardo shouted out to him—What’s the timeIrineo? Without consulting the sky, without a second’s pause, the boy replied, Four minutes till eight, young Bernardo Juan Francisco. The voice was shrill and mocking.”
Funes, el Memorioso. Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley, Penguin Classics.
This image of Jorge Luis orges was located at Wikimedia Commos,
Did you ever feel so bored that time slowed down to almost a standstill?
Did you ever feel so happy that time was flying away almost in a rush?
Of course, you did. The possibility of selectively perceiving time is wired in humans.
Interoceptive perception of time is a critical bodily function that processes a myriad of sensorial inputs from our immediate environment, our physiological functions, our memories of experiences and even our emotional baggage attached to those instances of living, all synchronized and fully integrated in our Central Nervous System to illuminate our path in the world, and even predicting the future.
Human awareness is inextricable tied to our perception of time. In an excellent article, Danielle di Lerma et al., researchers at the Department of Psychology from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milano, said: “Our consciousness, our ability to perceive the world around us, and, ultimately, our very sense of self are shaped upon our perception in loop connecting of memories from the past, present sensations and expectations of the future… Scalar Expectancy Theory (Gibbon et. al 1984) is one of the most accepted frameworks of time perception (Church, 1984; Treisman et al., 1990) A core tenet of SET is an internal clock with a pacemaker-accumulator component. Pulses emitted by the pacemaker are stored in the accumulator. and the amount of units stored in a finite span influences sample frequency and our time perception. A high pulse rate will store more units in the accumulator, therefore leading to overestimation in subjective perception, whereas a low pulse rate will produce opposite effects. Recent developments of SET included memory and decision-making components along with the pacemaker-accumulator unit, providing a more efficient neurocognitive framework for time awareness (Gibbon et al., 1984; Lui et al., 2011)”
This image of Aiale Carracis’ Allegory of Truth ad Time was located at Wikimedia Commos.
Perception of time is solidly rooted in our physiological matrix as not only bodily functions and emotions alter it, but also a state of physiological arousal can increase the pulse frequency of the pacemaker, creating overestimation of subjective time perception. The movements of our bodies and its sensory-motor integration in our cerebral cortex can distort our awareness of time, producing different outcomes. Recent neurophysiological studies have identified an interoceptive matrix located in the anterior cingular cortex (AIC) that receives input from small diameter sensory fibers from the Lamina I spinothalamocortical pathway, which receives sensory information form multiple organs and systems of our body to maintain homeostasis.
Friston et al. studied the interoceptive buffer, which processes and compares the actual information with previous ones to make rational predictions about the system’s functioning and thus optimize its efficiency, just like a “little internal chip” Considering that this buffer has small dimensions and can be easily filled up to saturation levels by incoming stimuli, Craig et al. proposed that: “ high rate of salient stimuli can saturate the finite dimension of the buffer, speeding up the sampling frequency, effectively slowing (Tse et al., 2004; Campbell and Bryant, 2007; van Wassenhove et al., 2008; Wittmann and Paulus, 2008; DroitVolet et al., 2011) the perception of time, which will appear to ‘stand still to the subjective observer’ (Craig, 2009). Contrary, when the interoceptive buffer is not filled up ‘large intervals of time in the objective world can appear to pass quickly’ (Craig, 2009)”
Recent studies of the AIC showed that in paradoxical situations where high rates of high salience stimuli can produce opposite effects, there is an asymmetric activation of the buffer. The parasympathetic impulses are processed by the left and mid insula of the AIC and the sympathetic impulses are in its right side. “According to Craig’s emotional asymmetry perspective, when we experience a dominant sympathetic arousal, stimuli processed in the right AIC speed up the sample rate frequency, accumulating pulses in the internal clock, leading therefore to overestimation of subjective time perception. Conversely, when we are engaged in a parasympathetic (e.g., affiliative) activation, stimuli are preferentially processed by the left AIC, leading to underestimation of time due to a lack of sympathetic activity.” There is ongoing research about the functioning of this interoceptive buffer, especially when it is overloaded with parasympathetic stimuli that foster a distorted time perception.
It has critical importance in pathological situations where there might be interference with the perception in time according to the person’s load of sympathetic or parasympathetic stimuli. Daniele di Lermia et al studied the following: “we hypothesized that depressive symptoms (Dunn et al., 2007, 2010; Pollatos et al., 2009; Paulus and Stein, 2010; Wiebking et al., 2015) and eating disorder tendencies (Pollatos et al., 2008), will interfere in a negative direction, while anxiety symptoms (Whyman and Moos, 1967; Pollatos et al., 2009, 2014; Dunn et al., 2010; Paulus and Stein, 2010; Yoo and Lee, 2015) and other sympathetic stimuli (Ogden et al., 2015a) in a positive one.”
– “I moved to X. because of the war and I am lonely here, can you help me cope with loneliness?”
This incredible message was sent to us a few days ago by a knockout-blue-eyed- blonde professional lady from the Ukraine that we had met online in a chat space. How is it possible that she could not find a romantic partner anywhere she chose to settle? And if I were to tell you that she cooks. And she knits too.
Loneliness is a major scourge of all nations that crosses all the socioeconomic, ethnic, age and cultural segments of our modern societies, significantly worsened after two years of social isolation and profound anxiety due to the Covid pandemic. The social and economic consequences have been progressively subsiding, but the mental and psychosomatic sequelae are not only resiliently persisting but for many individuals have even worsened. There are new triggers of anxiety and depression.
As we have repeatedly said in our previous articles and recent book, despite having the most advanced means of communication that mankind has ever known, we are more isolated and lonelier than ever in the history of societal communities. The terms loneliness and social isolation are related but not interchangeable. Social isolation is usually defined by objective measures like the number and depth of family relationships, social networking, participation in social institutions, etc. Loneliness is usually defined by subjective measures like personal perceptions of emotional deprivation and absence of inclusiveness plus the void of personal rapports.
Dr. Neil Charness, Director of the Institute of Successful Longevity, said: “Important risk factors for loneliness and social isolation are age (older people are more likely to report being lonely), physical and mental health (greater disability is associated with greater loneliness), lack of access to mobility options (driving, public transportation), lower income levels and living arrangements (living alone). Taking on the role of full-time caregiver for a loved one can also led to social isolation.”
Note. This reproduction of Le Penseur by Auguste Rodin was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
Recognizing the deleterious effects on the mental and physical health of patients of modern nations, the United Kingdom, the very first Western nation to institute a National Health Service after World War II, took the initiative by creating a new Ministry of Lonelinesswith Baroness Barran as its first designated functionary.
In June 2021, inaugurating the Loneliness Awareness Week, Baroness Barran said: “Although life is beginning to feel closer to normal for many people, we are still in a critical stage when it comes to tackling loneliness. There is a large number of people who felt lonely before the pandemic and will continue to do so as lockdown restrictions ease.” There is generous funding to set initiatives to foster the following.
a) Check in with a neighbor, recognizing that some people will be keen to get together in person once possible, while others might be more cautious.
b) Keep in touch with friends, family, and neighbors – for example calling someone or writing a letter, asking how they feel about getting out and about again, and considering whether going together would help both of you feel more confident.
c) Contact organizations – there’s a list of organizations on the Let’s Talk Loneliness website, which can offer support.
d) Set a routine with online activities, regular tasks or by volunteering. Rejoin groups that might not have met for some time, and think about how you can welcome others back, especially people not feeling very confident.
An online survey of 950 Americans carried out in October 2020 showed that: “36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children—feel ‘serious loneliness.’ Not surprisingly, loneliness appears to have increased substantially since the outbreak of the global pandemic.” However, the loneliness epidemic in the USA not only concerns the elderly, but also younger generations like the Baby Boomers, who have started to retire in droves since the begging of the 21st century, and the still employed Gen X.
In a November 27, 2022, New York Times article Dana Goldstein and Robert Gebeloff said: “in 1960, just 13 percent of American households had a single occupant. But that figure has risen steadily, and today it is approaching 60 percent. For households headed by someone 50 or older, that figure is 36 percent. Nearly 26 million Americans 50 or older now live alone, up from 15 million in 2000. Older people have always been more likely than others to live by themselves, and now that age group—baby boomers and Gen Xers—makes up a bigger share of the population than at any time in the nation’s history.”
However, there are encouraging signs that older people are positively reacting to their loneliness at home by reaching out for civic institutions in society to do voluntary services and even opt to become partially employed as caregivers. In our book Emotional Frustration—the Hushed Plague, we discuss it extensively.
Dear readers, listeners, fellow bloggers and podcasters;
Today, December 3rd, we celebrate the Day of the Physician the Americas in honor of all the dedicated and hard-working professionals tending to the health care needs of people from Alaska in the extreme North to Ushuaia in the extreme South.
The Panamerican Health Organization, or Organización Panamericana de la Salud in Spanish, designated this day in honor of Carlos Juan Finlay Barres, a Cuban physician and researcher who had discovered in 1881 that the Yellow Fever was transmitted through an insect vector like Aedes aegypti; he was born on December 3, 1833 in Puerto Principe, Cuba, and studied Medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Note. This image of Dr. Carlos Finlay was taken form Wikimedia Commons.
Dr. Finlay, dubbed as “the mosquito doctor” by his detractors, had a hard time to prove his hypothesis but he finally collected enough clinical data to submit to the “Yellow Fever panel” headed by Dr. Walter Reed that finally accepted his findings in 1901. That medical breakthrough prodded the Panama Canal authorities to set up the proper sanitary conditions in the workers’ camps in order to finish the humongous project. In 1902 Dr. Finlay headed the precursor office of the present day PHO. Dr. Remo Bergoglio, an Argentine physician acting on behalf of the “Sociedad Médica de Cordoba”, submitted a proposal to celebrate this day on the floor of the PHO congress in Dallas in 1953.
To my dear colleagues of the Americas, thank you for your devoted daily work.
A mes collègues de l’Amérique, felicitations pour votre travail dévouée de tous les jours. Salut!
A mis queridos colegas de las Américas, gracias por su trabajo abnegado de todos los días. Salud!