Stroke is a topic that hits me close to home since my mother suffered from a mild stroke a day before Ash Wednesday this year (2020).

As I searched online to learn more about stroke—from prevention, diagnosis to treatment, I wondered if I have ever written an article or e-book about it before. I found this.

I forgot to whom I wrote it. I think I wrote this in 2013. However, the details below can help us deal with (or even preempt) stroke from ever happening to our loved ones or us.

I’ve also created a short infographic about evaluating the signs of a possible stroke.

Stroke facts and stats

Ignorance kills, and this cliché applies even for stroke. Most people have mistaken perceptions of stroke. Here are some of the interesting facts and statistics about stroke.

Ø Stroke is the 3rd most common cause of death following cancer and heart disease. It is the most prominent cause of physical deformities.

Ø There are 2 types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood leaks into the brain tissue. An ischemic stroke happens when blood clots stop the blood flow to a specific area in the brain.  

Ø While a stroke can happen to anyone at any age, 2/3 of the victims are over 60 years old; thus, it is called the “disease of the elderly.”

Ø More than 43% of people whose age is more than 85 years old suffer from silent stroke.

Ø Only 20-25% of people who experienced signs and symptoms are admitted to a hospital within 3 hours from the first sign/symptom onset.

Ø About 1/5 of all the victims will die from a stroke within a month from the date of its occurrence. Approximately 50% of the survivors will become physically disabled.

Ø Approximately 40% of stroke deaths occur in men while 60% in women.

Ø About 80% of all stroke occurrences are preventable.

Ø Left brain damage causes paralysis on the right part of the body, and right brain damage causes paralysis on the left part of the body.

Ø Yearly, 700,000 people suffer from stroke, 500,000 of which are first incidences while the remaining are repeat strokes.

Ø Every 45 seconds, someone in the US suffers from a stroke. One sufferer dies from stroke every 3-4 minutes.

Ø In 1 second, about 32,000 brain cells die, and in 59 seconds, ischemic stroke has already killed 1.9 million of our brain cells. Human has 100 billion brain cells.

Ø Another 4 million people will suffer and die from stroke in 2030, about a 21.9% increase in the current (2013) prevalence rate.

Ø The top three risk factors are diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure, all of which are lifestyle-related.

Ø Black people face higher risk of stroke than White people.

Ø Eating green and yellow vegetables daily reduces the risk of death from stroke by 26%.

Ø Potassium-rich foods reduce the risk of stroke. Consuming more than 4,100 mg of potassium every day reduces the risk of stroke by 50%.

How to determine stroke

Fast treatment lessens the brain damage caused by stroke. One needs to know the signs and symptoms of the stroke, though.

There is a simple test to determine stroke: ask the person to smile, ask the person to raise both arms, and ask the person to repeat a simple sentence (that you are going to say). Facial weakness, arm weakness, and speech slurring can be determined through this.

Another simple test to determine stroke is by asking the person to stick his or her tongue. The tongue must not be crooked or appear on either side.

Remember: if you spot a stroke, BE FAST!

Our mouth can be the breeding ground for bacteria. A fact. Controlling the amount of bacteria and toxin level in the mouth is a must. Otherwise, the excessiveness of such will ultimately result in oral health problems.

You don’t want that to happen, and neither do we. So here are some natural remedies to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

Natural remedies for mouth detoxification

1) Oil pulling

Gargling with coconut oil removes the toxins from your oral cavity while keeping the breath fresh and the teeth white. A study claims that oil pulling reduces gingivitis and the presence of organisms that cause cavities.

2) Activated charcoal

Swishing activated charcoal (aka activated carbon) also absorbs toxins in the mouth. It also causes the stains on your teeth to go away, and no, the ingredient won’t stain them.

3) Non-toxic toothpaste

Using natural toothpaste (even homemade) acts as antibacterial. Mostly right if you are using natural antibacterial agents like licorice, eucalyptus and peppermint.

The Lovegood Shoppe sells natural mouthwash. Available in 170 ml and 400 ml

4) Oral probiotic

Taking oral probiotic reduces the risk of having cavities. It’s also a good way to guard against the proliferation of harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing infections in the process.

5) Green tea

Drink green tea promotes healthier teeth and gums. Its active ingredients like catechin (also an antioxidant) reduces periodontal diseases too.

6) Tea tree oil floss

Flossing is critical to oral health care, and with the added component, tea tree oil, a natural disinfectant, expect to see healthier gums. Tea tree oil reduces gum bleeding and ultimately, gingivitis.

7) Turmeric toothpaste

Brushing with turmeric toothpaste controls plaque and prevents gingivitis. The use of turmeric powder is okay, but for more effective results, opt for fresh turmeric extract.

8) Guava mouth rinse

Gargling with guava leaves mouthwash reduces the risk of periodontal diseases. Chew fresh, tender and well-washed guava leaves or boil and store the leaves for homemade mouth rinse.

9) Licorice mouthwash

Mentioned above, rinsing your mouth with licorice extract and water kills bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum diseases. Licorice powder and stick can also be used.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums naturally should not be that hard. Armed to the teeth and choose from any of these remedies. 

As a parent, you would want to teach your kids the sense of responsibility as early as possible. What better way to do just that by letting him have his own pet.

Before you invest in pet essentials, decide first if you want to have a dog or cat. This can be tricky especially if you have kids in the decision-making equation.

That’s one of the secrets—giving him a hand in choosing own pet. Consider these things.

Choosing a pet for your kids

1) Determine your child’s readiness

Ask yourself: Is my child ready for his first pet? A willing child would always say ‘ Yes, I am!’ but when the novelty wears off after a few weeks, it would be an entirely different story. Your child may start to lose interest, enthusiasm and start whining about the things that he needed to do.

Then, ask questions some more: Can you commit time supervising your child and his new pet? Are you ready for the additional expenses for pet food and care as well as pet supplies? Or, should you choose a low-maintenance pet for your kid? Pet health is the responsibility of the parents.

Indeed, it takes more than money, but also time and effort. For example, you may give your child responsibilities of feeding or walking the furry friend. However, it is your obligation to ensure that these tasks are accomplished. You also should know that your child is 100% onboard with the right mindset because having a pet is a long-term commitment.

2) Prepare him for the tasks ahead

Make him own the process of pet ownership by including him in the discussion especially those that directly involve him. Other than that, making him understand the advantages and disadvantages of owning a pet is necessary. In this way, he would anticipate the changes in the family dynamics since you will have a new life to attend to in a few days.

Since this is his, it would be wise to prepare him for what he needs to do when it arrives. If you want to ascertain your child’s readiness to play with and care for a pet, you may visit the pet store or a neighbor with the same pet as what he wants. Pet fostering is also an opportunity you can explore. Some pets need a place to stay while their owners are not able to care for them.

Whichever route you take, make sure that your kid is guided. Also, make him understand that his participation is paramount in ensuring that the new pet is well taken care of. Otherwise, skip the idea if he will be uncooperative.

3) Match your child’s personality

Now that your child is ready and well-prepared, it’s high time to select the right pet for him. It is best to pick a guinea pig for a cuddly kid and a hamster for a curious kid. A dog is perfect for an active kid while a cat is ideal for a kid who is independent enough.

For the parents, it means psyching your child before deciding on which pet he should choose among the top 10 best pets for kids. Guide your child which one to choose. After all, you know your kid better than he knows himself. Again, you may discuss why he should want a cat over a dog instead but be gentle about it. Do not impose. Just offer suggestions and insights.

If your kid is decided on a pet such as a dog, do your research on which animal breed is the most suitable for him. Dogs have temperaments and aggressive problems, depending on the breed and breed-type, and you don’t want your kid to get hurt for sure. If possible, invest in obedience training.

Pet ownership for kids should be a welcome idea. It develops a sense of responsibility and meaning in children. Have realistic expectations though. Don’t forget that even if your kid is the owner, it’s a family decision.

Ma, how did you give birth to us? Normal or CS?

Ma, when will you and Papa separate?

Ma, will you die too?

Sasha asked me those questions. At times (actually most of the times), I struggle to give her the answer that would satisfy her ever-inquisitive mind. But I had to answer her because if not, she’ll only ask more questions. 😆

Kids say, ask and do the darndest things in life. A fact of life that you cannot avoid or ignore. Well, you don’t have to. Just dig into the wonderful world that your child creates.

Darnedest/darndest is a euphemistic form of damnedest, the superlative of damned; also means “surprising, remarkable, amazing.”

And while at it, there are interesting facts about babies and kids that I bet you didn’t know. At least not yet. Read on.

Interesting facts about pregnancy and childbirth

interesting facts about pregnancy and childbirth

  • Fathers determine the child’s height while mothers their weight.
  • Maternal stress affects fetal development. Also, stress hormones released by the mother reduce the placenta’s natural ability to protect the fetus from stress hormones in the future.
  • At around the 23rd week, babies begin to startle upon hearing a new sound. Repeating the same noise often would stop the startling.

At around the 28th week of pregnancy, babies begin to smell. They start smelling the same smells as their mothers.

  • Even before birth, the brain of a baby develops differently for both boys and girls. However, there is no wholly male or female brain.
  • The first three months of a baby is also called the ‘fourth trimester.’

Interesting facts about newborn babies

interesting facts about newborn babies

  • Babies are cute because of what scientists referred to as ‘baby schema.’ It refers to certain features such as rounded head, big forehead, large eyes, protruding cheeks, round body and soft surfaces.
  • Humans are evolutionarily programmed to appreciate the baby’s cuteness to ensure that babies are well-taken cared of.
  • The baby’s brain reaches an adult size when he or she turns one year old; 80% is achieved when the baby turns 2.

Full size is reached by kindergarten although the brain would not stop developing until the mid-20s. After which, the brain never stops developing – either for better or worse.

  • A baby’s brain is like a lantern – it’s not aware of anything. On the other hand, the adult’s brain is like a flashlight – it focuses consciously on specific objects, but tends to ignore the background. Creative people think like a baby, scientists claim.
  • Crying is the ability of a baby to survive. A baby’s cry is exceptionally unique. The sound that crying creates trigger emotional responses in the human brain which responds differently to any other sound.
  • Also, babies cry with the intonation of their mother tongue.
  • The eyes of a newborn baby are about 75% of the size of the adult eyes. However, their vision is blurry. A baby’s vision from 20/400 improves to 20/20 at six months old.
  • Newborn babies can taste sweet, bitter and sour. They get to taste salt when they are four months old when receptor proteins that are sensitive to sodium begin to emerge in the taste buds.
  • Babies exhibit palmar grasp – a natural ability that happens when you someone touches or strokes an infant’s palm or puts anything on it.

Interesting facts about infants

interesting facts about infants


  • Babies are born with a “moral blank slate,” but they tend to know right from wrong at six months old.
  • Educational shows for infant do not promote intellectual development. Infants can only respond to things that respond to them. Playtime with your baby is far more valuable than letting them watch ‘educational’ videos or shows on TV.
  • Infant TV watching is directly associated with poor language development. Two or more hours of watching TV everyday increases the chance of language delay by 6x.
  • Babies would know less than 300 words when their parents rarely talk to them. A child from a professional family hears a million or more words than a poor child.

A toddler often says “mine,” but it’s not a selfish declaration. Experts refer to this as the cognitive achievement to selfhood. The child is beginning to understand that he or she and other kids are separate entities.

  • At one year and six months old, a toddler learns a new word every two waking hours. By age 6, the child can understand about 13,000 words although he or she may not necessarily say the word.

Interesting facts about parenthood

interesting facts about parenthood

  • Parents who respond to emotional cues as quickly as possible tend to raise kids who can better regulate their own emotions.
  • Parents respond to 50 to 60% of a baby’s vocalization. But scientists discovered that parents should do so 80% of the time or learning will decline. Language development can be also sped up through this process.
  • When parents especially mothers hold and stroke their babies, hormones essential for the baby’s growth are released.
  • Authoritative parenting, or the parenting style which is more democratic than authoritarian, tend to result in happier, more capable and more successful children.

Children do best when they have at least three loving adults in their lives. These people will be their most important support system.

  • Spanking impacts intellectual development. Corporal punishment is linked to lower IQ.

Interesting facts about toddlers

interesting facts about toddlers

  • Children and even adults cannot remember much about before they turn three years old because of what psychologists described as ‘infantile amnesia.’
  • Children who have more than 3 hours of screen time has a higher chance of conduct and relationship problems. They also tend to experience more emotional symptoms by the time they are seven years old compared to children who do not.

A 3-year-old’s voice is louder than about 200 adults inside a crowded restaurant.

  • Between the ages 3 and 8, a child’s brain tissue uses much twice energy compared to that of an adult’s brain’s. A 5-year-old child needs 860 calories per day, half of that energy is used up by the brain.
  • Children begin organizing information related to memory at the age of 7.
  • On average, a 4-year-old child asks about 390 questions a day.
  • A child’s sense of privacy typically begins when he or she is around 8 or 9 years old.

Play is the most efficient way for a child to learn valuable life skills.

  • Parentese or baby talk, which is critical to the development of an infant, is an instinctual response of the parents. It helps babies grasp new words.

I was writing an article for a client yesterday about play-based learning. I am aware of this concept since Sasha’s school, Joyland Playschool Childcare and Learning Center, is an advocate of such. Play is a fundamental part of the school’s curriculum. Hubby and I couldn’t agree more that’s why we chose this school for Sasha (and for Adele too this coming school year).

We believe that play supports the development – physical, mental, emotional and social – of a child. It saddens me to read the move to push for early academics at the expense of play-based learning in the US and New Zealand. Why?

In the Philippines, the concept is not widely implemented. If at all, the adaption is concentrated on private schools. The truth is the country doesn’t have a proper early childhood program. This makes ‘learning through play’ such a foreign concept among public schools.

Ma. Lourdes de Vera-Mateo, Chief of Education of UNICEF Philippines, has good things to say about the promotion of play-based learning.

In enhancing the curriculum, schools create a stimulating learning environment for the children. It doesn’t only provide and promote positive learning experience, but also ignite the children’s natural curiosity while developing the sense of exploration and creativity among them. These two are treated as solid foundations in basic literacy and numeracy.

Through play, children were able to develop focus, learn group dynamics and share with others as well.

In other words, the eagerness to learn and love for learning may spring from allowing the kids to play. So if we want our children to learn, we need to provide an environment conducive to learning. It’s that simple.

Would it be nice to have preschool classrooms that look like this?


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What play-based learning is

While there is no concrete definition of play when taken from pedagogical context, the concept of learning through play is easy to understand.

pedagogy [noun]

the method and practice of teaching

Whether free, structured or purposeful play, it refers to “a context for learning through which children organize and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations.” As defined by Early Years Learning Framework in its 2009 report.

Put simply, play is the language of the children. It’s the only currency they know of. It levels the playing field for them. They make sense of the world we live in through play.

Foundations of play-based learning

There are specific aspects unique to play-based learning. These are:

  • active
  • voluntary
  • pleasurable
  • symbolic
  • process-oriented
  • self-motivating

Play is a freely-chosen activity that engages the physical, verbal and mental development of the child. With the help of materials (props like toys) and the environment, the students themselves create a world with a meaning that is not often evident to the teachers. Play may not be goal-oriented or have an end in sight. Although it can be regarded as a reward, the teacher cannot force the child to engage in the activity.

Without the presence of these attributes, it can be counterproductive for the students. The same reason why even though free play is implemented inside the classroom, the presence of the teacher (as an observer) is still needed. After all, teachers are the planners, supporters and facilitators of learning.

One pitfall of play-based learning

Some plays may not be inclusive wherein some students tend to exclude other students from the circle. It’s a lose-lose situation for all the students involved. For those who are included, they may fail to imbibe the right learning. And for those who aren’t, the feelings of disconnectedness may lead to disengagement in learning.

Not only that. It may also lead to the failure to develop empathy among students as well as other foundational factors such as self-confidence, curiosity, cooperation, persistence and concentration.

This is where the role of the teacher becomes more relevant. She needs to interfere to correct the dispositions of the kids before play-based learning turns into an awful experience for all the students.

There is an interplay between play and learning. With this in mind, play must also be encouraged at home. Learning needs must not only be met in school, but more particularly at home. Busy moms need not supervise their kids’ playtime all the time although it would be okay to observe from afar and butt in whenever necessary.

There it is. Let kids be kids! Let them play!

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