Culture

Some People Don’t Believe The Cuban Government Is Being Honest About The Number Of People Living To 100

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Longevity is both the question and the answer to experts seeking to understand communities that live longer than average. In the U.S., wealth is often more correlated to health, with greater access to both healthcare and self-care. Cuba, however, is not a wealthy country. With the average monthly income being publicly listed as $30 per month, experts are puzzled as to why there are 2,070 Cubans living over 100 years old on the island.

Like many other communities of centenarians, experts suspect a strong family system is a key to a long life. Other experts suspect Cuba is lying.

The data on thousands of people living to 100 is released by Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health.

@AFP / Twitter

The data itself is based on the first quarter of 2017, which showed that more than 1,200 of the centenarians were women. According to the communist nation, 19.8 percent of its people are 60 years and older.

“Centennials now represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the population, with very special socioeconomic and health implications,” Dr. Alberto Fernández Seco, director of the Ministry’s Department of the Older Adult, Social Assistance and Mental Health told Juventud Rebelde.

Dr. Fernández Seco credits Cuba’s free healthcare for the success of its citizens.

“Health care is free in Cuba, a country with has an average life expectancy of 79.5 years. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

What’s more is that Dr. Fernández Seco says the population isn’t demented, disabled or heavily dependent. The majority of those 100 years and older live with their family.

Rigoberta Santovenia, 102, credits her family for her ripe age.

“Rigoberta Santovenia, 102, at her home in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

She lives with her 68-year-old daughter, Regla, who takes care of her. “I’m very family oriented — I love my children, my grandchildren, my six great-grandchildren. I’ve never been alone,” she said.

Regla is convinced her mom will make it to the “120 Club.”

“Rigoberta Santovenia, 102, reads a newspaper at her house in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

In 2003, Fidel Castro’s personal doctor, Eugenio Selman-Housein, created the “120 Club,” which is promoted to this day. Dr. Raul Rodriguez, President of the “120 Club” maintains that “biologically, it has been proven that humans can live for 120 to 125 years.”

Regla thinks her mother was born to live to 120 years old. “Her great-grandmother was a slave. Slave blood seems to be stronger — that’s why she’s kept going so long,” Regla said. Rigoberta continues to read the newspaper every day without reading glasses.

Delia Barrios, 102, also says that it’s her family that keeps her going.

“Delia Barroso, 102, blows out the candles on her birthday cake at a party in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

“I don’t feel like I’m this old. I have a family … that loves me a lot. That helps me to feel good,” she said. Barrios uses a motorized wheelchair–one that her great-granddaughter Patricia likes to join for the ride.

When Barrios was 60 years old, she was diagnosed with colon cancer and moved to the U.S.

“Delia Barroso (left) receives a present at her 102nd birthday party in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

Twenty years later, she moved back to Cuba so she could be cared for by family. She lives with her granddaughter, Yumi, 59. Barrios says she spent her youth dancing, drinking, and smoking.

Plus, like most of our abuelas, she’s still dressed for success.

@newsroll / Twitter

For Cubans, reaching 100 isn’t the goal. They want to join the “120 Club,” and to live as you’ve still got two decades ahead of you, once you’ve reached 100 years old, certainly offers motivation.

Some experts, however, think Cuba is smudging the numbers for propaganda’s sake.

@EmbassyofRussia / Twitter

Robert Young, an expert with the U.S. Gerontology Research Group, does acknowledge the family support system as a significant factor. “We see that in Japan, too,” he says. On the other hand, he thinks the numbers are meant to propel “a myth that’s used for ideologic propaganda purposes.”

The methods of manipulation are shocking.

@AFP / Twitter

An expert on the matter for Cuba, specifically, Vincent Geloso, says that Cuban doctors “have targets to reach or they’re punished.” Geloso references a similar government’s strategy–the Soviet Union used to record infant deaths as miscarriages to keep down mortality rates.

Regardless, Cuba’s life expectancy relative to revenue is truly remarkable.

@ANTICONQUISTA / Twitter

It doesn’t add up to other countries. Experts have a range of theories ranging from the low rate of car ownership and resultant accident deaths to even the 1990’s food rationing that kept diabetes rates down while other countries’ skyrocketed.

Whatever the case may be, many feliz cumple’s a Cuba.

READ: A Brazilian Social Security Worker May Have Discovered the Oldest Living Person Ever

A Judge In NY Has To Decided If Unvaccinated Children Should Be Allowed In School Risking The Lives Of Other Children

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A Judge In NY Has To Decided If Unvaccinated Children Should Be Allowed In School Risking The Lives Of Other Children

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Just two months ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that mandates vaccination for children old enough to attend schools, and participate in education with other children, unless otherwise advised by a doctor. The legislation came after the spread of misinformation about vaccines caused a series of measles outbreaks in the spring. Scientific literature based on decades worth of data from tens of thousands of children has proven vaccination safe and effective for the public.

Attorney’s Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Michael Sussman filed a class action suit for about three dozen parents who claim that vaccinating their children goes against their faith. Wednesday, Albany courtrooms were packed with over 1,000 anti-vaxxers who wanted to hear how the judge would rule in a debate around religious freedom vs. public health.

The crowd of anti-vaxxers wore white in reference to the Argentine mothers who wore white as they protested their government’s brutal killings and disappearances of their liberal children.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

The anti-vaxxers feel that the implication of the government forcing them to vaccine their children from measles is tantamount to the Argentine government killing or “disappearing” 30,000 young, leftist political activists from existence in the 1970s. 

In April 1977, 14 mothers, wearing images of their missing children’s faces around their neck, marched around the Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. They took a stand against a violent government in a defiant act to demand justice for their children.

These New York parents also feel the law doesn’t allow enough time to find proper education for their children. 

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

The demonstrators told Gothamist reporters, Gwynne Hogan and Claire Lampen, that “the new law effectively disappeared their children from the school system.” If the religious exemptions aren’t upheld, their alternative would be to homeschool their children or move to a different state.

“[We’re] hoping that our kids are granted the right to go back to school. Our children have been kicked out,” Long Island mother Amy McBride, 41, told Gothamist. “We’ve all been meeting, trying to look at curriculums, understand how to make it work, what the regulations are, understanding what it takes to actually do that…Our beliefs are steadfast and sincere and true and we’re not going to cave.”

The lawyers in the case argued that legislators demonstrated “active hostility toward religion.”

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

“[These children] are going to have nowhere to go to school…They have no idea what they are going to do with these children,” Sussman said. New York State attorney Helena Lynch refuted that claim. “The actual legislative record is so clear that the motivation was public health,” Lynch said. “The right to religious expression does not encompass the right to place others in danger.”

Lynch also expressed that legislators aren’t targeting religious groups but are genuinely “skeptical” that those choosing not to vaccinate their kids were expressing personal beliefs rather than religious ones. The crux of the argument seems to rest on public health risk for allowing the religious exemption, especially when an approximate 26,000 children would be unvaccinated in New York schools.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman from Manhattan, specifically wanted to eliminate the religious exemption as the key reason for the recent spread of measles.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

You have a First Amendment right to practice your own religion, but you do not have the right to endanger your children or worse other people’s children,” he told a press conference. Already, 14 percent of pre-school aged children in Williamsburg are estimated to be unvaccinated for religious reasons or otherwise. Another 28 percent in Rockland County were unvaccinated.

The anti-vaxxers expressed that they wished New York followed in California’s suit by allowing a year for the law to take effect. But public health advocates cite a sense of urgency for public safety measures, “This needs to be done, not tomorrow, not in a week, not in a month, and not in a year,” said one activist. “It must be done immediately, the numbers are gaining strength.”

Crowds packed even this overflow room as they waited for the judge’s answer.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

They never heard it. Judge Hartman hasn’t made her decision yet about whether to allow 26,000 unvaccinated children go to New York schools in time for school start dates just three weeks from the hearing. The anti-vaxxers want her to put a stay on the state law which would allow those children to go to school while she continues to hear the case and make a final, permanent decision.

READ: A 12-Year-Old Mexican Boy Hilariously Trolled Anti-Vaxxers In This Viral Video

This Horrifying Story Of A Woman Losing Her Hands And Legs Will Make You Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Kiss You

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This Horrifying Story Of A Woman Losing Her Hands And Legs Will Make You Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Kiss You

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We all love our puppies. There’s a reason they are called man’s best friend. They are adorable, loyal and sweet little pals who only want our affection and attention. However, giving them that much-deserved affection can sometimes backfire in a life-changing way — as it did for one Ohio woman earlier this year.

After nine days in the hospital, a woman woke up to find her hands and legs amputated and the reason behind their loss was a rare infection caused by puppy kisses.

The nightmare started after the woman returned home from a vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Twitter / @cnni

When  Marie Trainer returned from her trip, she experienced a backache and nausea that caused her to take time off of work. Soon, her temperature began fluctuating wildly — spiking and dropping sporadically. The sudden changes to her temperature and her worrisome symptoms landed her in the local emergency room on May 11.

When first admitted, Trainer was delirious and she soon fell unconscious. Doctors first suspected that the problem was some sort of tropical disease picked up from her travel to the Caribbean. However, this wasn’t the cause. It took the hospital seven days to eliminate that possibility and find the real cause of Trainer’s illness.

Trainer had contracted a rare infection from the bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

Twitter / @KXXVNewsNow

Doctors say bacteria was probably introduced into Trainer’s body when her German shepherd puppy, Taylor, licked an open cut somewhere on her body. As the infection took its course, the Ohio woman’s skin began quickly changing to a purplish-red color before progressing into full-blow gangrene in her extremities. She soon developed a blood clot that threatened Trainer’s life. The discoloration also spread to the tip of her nose, ears, and face.

While being hospitalized at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, Trainer was treated by Dr. Margaret Kobe, the medical director of infectious disease. Kobe shared with CNN the process of identifying and treating Trainer’s illness.

“It was difficult to identify, We’re kind of the detectives,” Kobe explained. “We went through all these diagnoses until we could narrow things down. She didn’t lose parts of her face. But her extremities is what she had to have surgery on. This is off the scale, one of the worst cases we have seen in terms of how ill people become with infections. She was close to death.”

However, Trainer’s family wanted to get a second opinion before they made the life-changing decision to amputate.

Twitter / @WVTM13

Hoping to save Trainer’s legs and hands, her family reached out to see if they would get a less severe diagnosis. However, the damage was too extensive and had already corrupted the tissue in her extremities. Doctors confirmed the diagnosis of Capnocytophaga through the use of blood tests and cultures.

Trainer’s family then gave permission for her treatments. Trainer has now had eight surgeries and will soon be fitted for prostheses on her arms and legs. Gina Premier, Trainer’s step-daughter and a nurse at the same hospital she was treated at, spoke with CNN about the prognosis

“That was a pretty hard pill for us to all swallow,” she admitted. “To say she was fine a couple days ago on vacation and now she’s actively getting worse by the minute and now her hands and feet aren’t alive, like this doesn’t happen, it’s 2019.”

While this is a cautionary tale for all dog-owners, Trainer’s cause is a rare one.

Twitter / @ConLaGenteRos

This news has us seriously rethinking how we show our pups affection and vice versa. According to the Center for Disease Control, the bacteria is present in as many as 74% of dogs. However, most people who come into contact with infected dogs and cats don’t get sick themselves. The bacteria poses a greater risk to people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and children. Once contracted, symptoms of the infection usually manifest in three to five days. Three in ten of those who develop a severe infection will die because of Capnocytophaga.

Though changed forever, Trainer is grateful to still be living and is ready to move on to the next chapter of her life.

Twitter / @beshade1977

Though the bacteria was introduced via one of her dogs, Trainer has no intention of giving her pups away. In fact, she was eager to see them while she was still hospitalized. She asked doctors if her two furry friends could visit and they were happy to accommodate the request.

“They brought them here two times at the hospital so I can see them and that just put the biggest smile on my face,” Trainer told CNN.

It just goes to show that nothing can stop puppy love — not even a major bacterial infection.

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