The Frisco Beat

Golden Gate Bridge Inspires!
Golden Gate Bridge Inspires!

SAN FRANCISCO BEAT — CHASING THE NEWS

Dusk to Dawn Deadlines

My journalism journey began on a tattered bar stool in a Tenderloin District dive.

“What will you have?” asked Les, an affable Filipino bartender who was browsing the Daily Racing Form.

“Uh, Bloody Mary, please,” I muttered, bellying up to a crowded bar of mostly dawn-to-dusk boozers after being shanghaied by a curmudgeon on my first day as a cub reporter for United Press International.

Les sized me up and returned seconds later with a shot and a beer. Without a blink, I chugged the shot and washed it down with the brew. A couple patrons guffawed and one clapped meekly. “Good,” I ventured in a raspy, but lighthearted tone. “Hit me again!”haight ashbury sign

“Let’s play for it,” chirped Donald Thackrey, a grizzled federal court reporter who had earlier burst into the newsroom, introduced himself and said abruptly: “Come on, I’m showing you around.” He meant, a round of drinks.

Richard ‘Dick’ Harnett, a Desk Editor who taught a writing class I was in at San Francisco State as Vietnam anti-war protests flared on campus, had astutely hired me as a summer temp.

Now, he warily nodded OK for my rookie initiation with a cantankerous UPI news veteran and we were out the door.

Looking down Filbert Street in North Beach.
Looking down Filbert Street in North Beach.

Don, who eerily resembled his two prize bulldogs, took me straight to the Polk Street Tavern and downed a waiting bourbon on the rocks before I’d even ordered. Les slickly poured another to take its place.

“Let’s shake for it,” snarled Don, gesturing for the dice cups. Five other tipsy patrons picked up dice cups on cue and the drinking games began.

After passing the tenderloin initiation and a ‘sink or swim’ training period of editing/rewriting rapid-fire news stories, I was assigned the night shift rewrite slot, where desk editor Bob Lurati rang a little bell at 5 p.m. sharp and announced, “Cocktail Hour.” He then mixed a stiff martini with a twist — on the rocks — before expertly tackling the major stories to be updated for the next news cycle.

It was a 24-hour “deadline a minute” newsroom with reporters and editors banging out breaking stories about City Hall scandals, Black Panther politics, airline hijackings, anti-war protests, the AIDs epidemic and Pacific League Triple A baseball games.

human be=in poster
Human Be-In poster

I relaxed and settled in for a wild, weird, and wondrous journalism journey in the psychedelic City by the Bay with a front row ticket to jumping frog contests, Silicone Queen Carol Doda’s topless show in North Beach, Grateful Dead and Santana concerts at Winterland,  wine tastings in Napa Valley, save the redwoods “tree huggers” in Mendocino and the annual squid festival in scenic Monterey.

Next stop: North Beach – pool, pizza, and paparazzi in colorful Babylon as the pool 8 balldaily list of American boys killed in Vietnam clicked away on the office teletypes and storm clouds shrouded besieged college campuses.

— By John “Boomer” Leighty

Also see: boomerbeat_HUMOR – It’s good for what nails you!


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Vitamin D study

Vitamin D may help reduce falls for homebound elderly

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –  Every year falls affect about one in three older adults living at home, with one in 10 falls resulting in serious injury. Even if an injury does not occur, the fear of falling can lead to reduced activity and a loss of independence.

Research has shown that vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining muscle integrity and strength and some studies suggest regular use of the vitamin may cut the risk of falls.

Homebound elderly, a generally vulnerable population due to poor dietary intake and nutrition-related health conditions as well as decreased exposure to sunlight, are at increased risk for low vitamin D levels, which could possibly lead to more falls.

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center set out to evaluate the feasibility of delivering a vitamin D supplement through a Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) program to improve the clients’ vitamin D levels and reduce falls.

The study is published in the early online edition (8/16/2015) of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“Falls in homebound older people often lead to disability and placement in a nursing home,” said Denise Houston, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study. “One of our aging center’s goals is to help people maintain their independence and live safely at home for as long as possible.”

Participants in the Meals-on-Wheels program in Forsyth County, North Carolina, were recruited to take part in a five-month, single-blind randomized trial.

prevent falls
Help prevent falls

Sixty-eight study participants received either a monthly vitamin D supplement of 100,000 international units or placebo delivered with their MOW meal. The study included the participants’ history of falls and their fear of falling, blood tests at the beginning and at end of the trial to measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D (biomarker for vitamin D in blood), and a monthly diary recording falls during the trial period.

At the beginning of this pilot study, the research team found that more than half of the participants had insufficient concentrations of vitamin D in the blood (less than 20 ng/ml), while less than a quarter had concentrations in the optimal range (30 ng/ml or more).

The study showed that the monthly vitamin D supplement was effective in increasing the concentrations of vitamin D in the blood from insufficient to sufficient levels in all but one of the 34 people who received it, and to optimal levels in all but five people. In addition, people in the vitamin D group reported approximately half the falls of those in the control group.

“Although these initial findings are encouraging, we need to confirm the results in a larger trial,” Houston said.

The Wake Forest Baptist team currently is conducting a clinical trial to try to determine how vitamin D affects risk factors for falls such as balance and muscle strength and power.

via press release:  Vitamin D supplements could help reduce falls in homebound elderly | EurekAlert! Science News.

Also See: Preventing Falls – A Guide for Seniors

 

Social Poem – NEW ORK, NEW ORK!

BOOMERBEAT FLASH POEM

NEW ORK   NEW ORK.com

(to a Sinatra beat)peace-music-symbol:sm

They’re tweeting the news
It’s binging your way
Tune in with social apps
 Click peeps all day

Don’t pause to check mail
Don’t go out and play
Don’t waste your cybertime
 Cruising E-bay!

Just tweak, scan and optimize
Streaming bytes of truth and lies
See filtered views on world woe
                                  By blogging sites that come and go

If when your eyes are tired and red
Emoticons dance in your head
Browse down and slowly ease away
From online chatter night and day

Take time to stretch and touch the sky
Go walk the dog or bake a pie
Log off, don’t let your brain explode
From online content overload!

By John “Boomer” Leighty
… on the Boomer-beat Cloud

About author

About John “Boomer” Leighty

As a deadline journalist focused on the San Francisco beat, my gaze has seen a once laconic landscape turn into a profit-driven Westernized juggernaut that virtually no one can afford to step into. In the recent economic maelstrom, the healthcare sector has

Peace Dove
Peace Dove

thrived with Boomers paying most of the bill. While many prospered in an inflationary bubble during the 1990s, a numbing number of Boomers are now hobbling toward the pearly portal with multiple chronic conditions and depleted resources from a reversal of fortune due to the fleecing of the economy by corrupt corporations, industry-backed oil wars, Wall Street greed, and overt government deceptions. I covered the Barbary Coast scene as a maverick reporter and national feature writer for United Press International during the stoned seventies and zippy eighties and currently write about a range of issues that impact the boomer experience.

Check out my Boomertrip Top 10 Lists of topics and activities that enhance or influence healthy aging goals. Tune in, turn on and sound off to help compile and share resources for an eclectic generation that created ‘counterculture’ values and is flashing the peace sign as the sun slowly sets on a burgeoning new world order

Senile sea snails give clues to memory loss

Clue to memory Loss comes from sluggish sea snails

Just in case sea snails aren’t slow enough, new research has found that they get more sluggish when they grow old — and the discovery is helping us to understand how memory loss happens in humans.

It turns out that the sea snail, which has a one-year life span, is actually a good model to study nerve cells and how the nervous system works in people. How neurons work is fundamentally identical in almost all animals, and the simplicity of the snail’s body gives researchers the chance to view how different the system works more directly.

“You can count the number of nerve cells that are relevant to a reflex,” said Lynne Fieber, a professor at the University of Miami who leads research with the snails at the school.

Researchers have been using the slimy molluks to learn how nerve cells respond to electric shock. They “taught” the snails to quickly contract their muscle tails after an electric shock or “sensitization” treatment and recorded their responses at various ages.

The study published in the journal PlOS One, found the elderly specimens do not learn to contract from the shock very well. As the snails grow older, their tail startle reflex lessened, and then disappeared.

Scientists studying the reflexes of older sea snails were able to pinpoint the exact cells in the nervous system that stop working, which may help us understand the mechanics of age-related memory loss in humans.

“It’s a thrilling discovery,” Fieber said. “It’s like pinpointing the source of the problem.”

The plan is to continue the research, possibly to collaborate with other facilities to test human neurons, such as with stem cells.

See original tweet