Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Scene Around


February 22, 2019

Dr. Eitan Okun

One of my greatest fears...

I know getting old is not the greatest, but at least I want to grow old gracefully, and I want to recognize my loved ones and friends. You guessed it. One of my greatest fears is developing Alzheimer's disease! But reading about the following has given me much hope. Read on:

"Alzheimer's Disease, affecting some 47 million people worldwide, for now remains an irreversible and fatal brain disorder... but... a Bar-Ilan University (Ramat Gan, Israel) brain researcher is developing a vaccine against this devastating disease. Dr. EITAN OKUN created a vaccine that targets clusters in the brains of people affected by the deadly disease.

Most vaccines work by mounting an immune response toward a weakened pathogen to boost the immune system's ability to fight the real pathogen. Professor Eitan Okun's vaccine primes the body to attack amyloid beta protein accumulations in the brain, one of the signature signs of Alzheimer's disease. Experiments on mice reportedly have shown great promise.

He is now preparing to design human trials on people at known risk for developing the disease in their 50s or younger: those genetically inclined toward Alzheimer's and people with Down Syndrome.

'These critical trials will determine whether the vaccine actually works in humans,' said Okun, who also is investigating why people with Down Syndrome are more apt to develop Alzheimer's.

The mice he used in his experiments were engineered to mimic Down Syndrome. 'Depending on the success rate and side effects from human testing, we will be able to know how much more time is needed to make the vaccine available on a global scale. I am convinced that a vaccination approach is the way to go with neuro-degenerative diseases,' said Okun.

In addition to his potentially groundbreaking vaccine, Okun is investigating new ways to diagnose Alzheimer's earlier and more accurately using advanced MRI technologies to detect initial signs of amyloid protein clumps in the brain. 'My researchers and I have been seeking to construct a protein that could enter the bloodstream, make it through the blood-brain barrier, bind to the amyloids and then be visible in an MRI scan,' he said.

'I am always looking for new angles to attack this disease. I have never been more optimistic that prevention of the disease will be achieved.'"

Aside from his vaccine, he advises that a combination of physical exercise and environmental stimulation can help the brain ward off Alzheimer's disease by increasing and strengthening the connections of the dendritic spines, which mediate our capacity to generate memories.

(Wow... thank goodness for Israeli scientists! They are also close to cures for Cancer, Parkinson's, Dementia, etc. Now all I need is a cure for wrinkles!)

Watching Ed Sullivan on television...

(Yes, I watch Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson almost every night. That's the only way I know who the guests are!)

Okay... guess who I'm writing about? As a child born and raised (like me) in Brooklyn, NY, she attended Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva, then to Public School 89 (I attended PS 233) and then she went to Erasmus Hall High School (a rival to my Tilden High). She has earned an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Kennedy Center honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, nine Golden Globes, four Peabody awards and much more!

Of course you know I am referring to the fabulous BARBRA STREISAND. She was a recent guest on the show. Of course she was much younger in that old show, but even today, she still sounds like an angel!

More about super talent...

The next C.O.S. Senior's meeting will be held on Sunday, March 3, starting at 2 p.m. at Congregation Ohev Shalom, 613 Concourse Pkway, South in Maitland.

Entertainer, singer, guitarist, and one man band, PETER CHARLES, provides a great sound for a solo entertainer by using the latest technology to provide backing instrumentation of bass/drums and keys for a full band. He also does vocal impressions!

This super-talent specializes in oldies music. (Hooray!)

Admission is only $5 for COS Seniors; $8 for non-members. All are welcome!

Prior to the start of the performance, there will be a complimentary nosh. (Yum! My no calorie cookies!)

For more information, contact COS Senior's president, JERRY LEIBMAN, at 407-694-0546 or email him at :

(Hope to see you there!)

Sounds like a fun evening...

The young adults of The Roth Family Jewish Community Center in Maitland are invited to "A Party of 8": Dinner experience for young adults.

Meet other young adults with the TRIBES party of 8... and experience some of Orlando's best restaurants. You get matched with seven others (or three couples) and get sent details about your dinner reservation.

This fun evening takes place on Saturday, March 2, from 7:30-11 pm. Followed by an after party with everyone mingling together.

Contact chelseaq@orlandojcc.org or phone 407-645-5933 ext. 288 for further details.

(See you there... oh wait! I'M NOT A YOUNG ADULT!!!!)

JCC 39ers Meet & Mingle Mondays...

On Feb. 25th there will be a luncheon and presentation on Senior Living by Brookdale at Lake Orienta.

Phone the JCC at 407-645-5933 for details.

JCC39ers Dine Around Town...

On Thursday, Feb. 28, beginning at 1 p.m., there will be lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in the Winter Park Village.

(I'm really going to try to make this. I love chocolate cheesecake!)


Recently, I was prescribed a breathing aid by one of my doctors. Of course I didn't know how to use it... but when I picked it up at the pharmacy in the Publix at Casselberry Commons, a great guy (with movie star looks) who was tall, handsome, kind and sharp, spent some of his time demonstrating it for me. His name is JUSTIN and I can't thank him enough.

(Too bad I'm too old for him. I can dream, can't I?)

One for the road...

Old Emanuel dies. All of his life he'd been dealing in second-hand cuff links and never got rich as a result. But one month after Emanuel's death, his widow Leah gets a shock, and surprise, when 3 checks arrive in the morning's mail-one check for each of the 3 life insurance policies Emanuel had taken out without her knowing. She adds up the 3 checks and, Oy Veh, she's rich-they total more than $175,000. She immediately phones her daughter. 

Barbra Streisand

"Suzy," she says, "your dear father, God bless his soul, worked long and hard all his life to provide for us. We lived poor but contented. But now, just when we get some real money, Emanuel is not around to enjoy any of it."


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