How about standardizing units for cannabis to improve mental health – Study

I smoked weed around 50 years ago when I had a lot of jazz musician friends. I would also guess that there is little comparison between the marijuana that is available today with what we had back then.

Introducing and prescribing standard units for cannabis, which make people aware of the concentrations of THC in the product, could help improve mental health treatments and outcomes. Source: University of Bath

Despite widespread use of the drug around the world and increasing moves to legalize its sale for recreational consumption, standard units – which have been commonplace for alcohol for many years – have never been adopted in health guidelines for cannabis.

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The authors show that in countries where cannabis is legally sold, such as Canada, the number of standard units a product contains could be easily added to existing labels on product packaging. The image is in the public domain.

The researchers, from the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath with collaborators from King’s College London, UCL and the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, suggest that more needs to be done to make users aware of the dose of ‘THC’ – the drug’s main psychoactive component. Continue reading

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The danger of drinking more sugary beverages – Harvard

People who increase their consumption of sugary beverageswhether they contain added or naturally occurring sugar—may face moderately higher risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), like soft drinks, as well as 100% fruit juices, was associated with higher type 2 diabetes risk.

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The study also found that drinking more artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) in place of sugary beverages did not appear to lessen diabetes risk. However, diabetes risk decreased when one daily serving of any type of sugary beverage was replaced with water, coffee, or tea. It is the first study to look at whether long-term changes in SSB and ASB consumption are linked with type 2 diabetes risk. Continue reading

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Experiment hikes veggie consumption

Most people want to eat healthier, but efforts to encourage healthy eating by providing nutrition information have not changed habits much. A new study suggests that labels emphasizing taste and positive experience could help. In other words, changing the focus to form over substance.

Eating well isn’t always easy, and the reality is simply telling people which foods to avoid doesn’t do much to get them to eat better. What does work, Stanford psychologists now argue, is highlighting how tasty nutritious food can be. Evocative labels such as “twisted citrus glazed carrots” and “ultimate chargrilled asparagus” can get people to choose and consume more vegetables than they otherwise would – as long as the food is prepared flavorfully.

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“This is radically different from our current cultural approach to healthy eating which, by focusing on health to the neglect of taste, inadvertently instills the mindset that healthy eating is tasteless and depriving,” said Alia Crum, an assistant professor of psychology and the senior author on the new paper. “And yet in retrospect it’s like, of course, why haven’t we been focusing on making healthy foods more delicious and indulgent all along?” Continue reading

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What You Need to Know About Vaping-Associated Lung Injury

I have written repeatedly about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Vaping, however, is new to me and I am virtually ignorant about it. I did post on it previously – Harmful vapors found in tank style electronic cigarettes.

Federal and state public health agencies are urging people to avoid vaping after a rash of related respiratory illnesses have resulted in 18 deaths and 1,080 lung injury cases across the United States. There have been 25 reported cases in Connecticut and one person has died from a vaping-associated lung injury. Here’s what you need to know about vaping-associated lung injury (also called vaping-related lung injury) and what you should do if you or a loved one develops worrisome symptoms.

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What is vaping-associated lung injury?

Vaping is the act of inhaling the vapor created by liquid-filled cartridges used in battery-powered smoking devices called electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Vaping-associated lung injury is damage to the lungs related to use of these vaping products. Continue reading

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Weekend funnies …

Hello, and happy Friday. I hope you have wonderful things planned for this weekend. Here are some funnies to start you off …

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Tony

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Exercise benefits your heart, despite your age …

Eat less; move more; live longer – no matter how old you are. Yes, the mantra of this blog applies to all of us, especially the old and out of shape …

A new study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showed that older individuals have the most to gain and may gain the most from rehabilitation programs, but this need is often ignored.

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Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age, report investigators in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier. Their results showed that the patients who benefited most from cardiac rehabilitation were those who started out with the greatest physical impairment. Continue reading

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Craving junk food after a sleepless night?

I am a big believer in getting a good night’s sleep. When I was in the working world I thought of sleep as an unwelcome interruption in my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sleep is a wonderful chance for the brain to reboot and your body to repair any physical mishaps. To learn more about the value of sleep please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

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Sleep-deprived subjects gobbled doughnuts and potato chips
Brain zeroes in on smells of energy-rich food
After sleepless night, your ‘tired’ nose fails to talk to brain regions directing food choices

When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to reach for doughnuts, fries and pizza. A new Northwestern Medicine study has figured out why you crave more calorie-dense, high-fat foods after a sleepless night — and how to help thwart those unhealthy choices. Continue reading

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The coolest water bottle ever …

This post will not help you to exercise more, lose weight or live longer.  However, it may pique your interest. I just found this great water bottle for my bike ( or any other travels ) and I wanted to share the details with you.

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As you can read I got it at Starbucks in Las Vegas. I was staying at Caesars Palace. Just got back and may get around to posting the trip details later. For now, what happened in Las Vegas stays there.

Right now – the water bottle. As  you can see it has cheery free form designs that may be construed as suggestive of gambling in the form of spades, clubs and hearts … or not. I do think they look delightful. The material is some kind of composite, very light weight and also insulated. Ice cubes stay firm and the drink cool for the longest ride.

But, besides its lovely visual appeal, I considered its construction to be ingenious. Check out the next picture. IMG_8118.jpeg

The top unscrews to reveal a wide mouth suitable for loading in ice cubes. For me that is a sine qua non for water bottles. As you can see the top also converts to a charming little cup with a finger hole if you feel like drinking that way. Personally, I just tilt it back and drink out of the bottle like it was a big glass – yet another cool option. But wait, there is more ….

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Next, if you are so inclined, you can unscrew the top and just drink out of it like a regular water bottle. Tell me that is not cool!

Last, but not least, is the handy orange acrylic ring that doubles as a carry ring if you don’t happen to be using it on your bike which has a bottle holder.

If you find yourself falling in love with it, you might find one at your Starbucks.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, hydration, Las Vegas, Uncategorized, water, water bottle

Heart and brain health – Infographic

I have written about the brain benefits of exercise time and again. Here, is some further info on benefits for the brain and heart.

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Filed under alcohol, good night's sleep, heart, heart health brain health, relaxation, sleep

Omega-3 fish oil supplements linked with lower cardiovascular disease risk – Harvard

People who received omega-3 fish oil supplements in randomized clinical trials had lower risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) events compared with those who were given placebo, according to a new meta-analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Researchers found an association between daily omega-3 supplementation and reduced risk of most CVD outcomes, including heart attack, death from coronary heart disease, and death from CVD, but did not see benefit for stroke. In addition, higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements appeared to provide even greater risk reduction.

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The study was published online September 30, 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“This meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence regarding the effects of omega-3 supplementation on risk of multiple CVD outcomes. We found significant protective effects of daily omega-3 supplementation against most CVD outcome risks and the associations appeared to be in a dose-response manner,” said first author Yang Hu, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan School. Continue reading

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Weekend funnies …

Hope you are having a good week and looking forward to an even better weekend.

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Tony

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Walking patterns identify specific dementia type – Study

Walking may be a key clinical tool in helping medics accurately identify the specific type of dementia a patient has, pioneering research has revealed.

For the first time, scientists at Newcastle University have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia have unique walking patterns that signal subtle differences between the two conditions.

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Gait Lab photo

The research, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, shows that people with Lewy body dementia change their walking steps more – varying step time and length – and are asymmetric when they move, in comparison to those with Alzheimer’s disease.

It is a first significant step towards establishing gait as a clinical biomarker for various subtypes of the disease and could lead to improved treatment plans for patients.

Useful diagnostic tool

Dr Ríona McArdle, Post-Doctoral Researcher at Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences, led the Alzheimer’s Society-funded research.

She said: “The way we walk can reflect changes in thinking and memory that highlight problems in our brain, such as dementia.

“Correctly identifying what type of dementia someone has is important for clinicians and researchers as it allows patients to be given the most appropriate treatment for their needs as soon as possible.

Continue reading

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My ticket to ride …

I am reblogging this item that I posted last year on the anniversary of my retirement. Today marks the 19th year since then.

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One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I am thrilled to report that today marks the 18th anniversary of my retirement. On October 2 of 2000, I bade the financial world adieu and started my life as a guy who didn’t have to get up for work every morning.

I got my first job at the age of 10 sweeping the floor of a dry cleaner and continued to work till I reached 60. Although my degree is in Finance, I went into the publishing world writing and editing. I liked markets, but always knew I would write. I wrote and practiced journalism for most of my career, spending 20 years working for Reuters covering markets and then teaching journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University for several years. Because I had written about markets for 30 years, my boss at a major philanthropy asked me if I would like to manage some money…

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Nuts to us …

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Substituting unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, French fries, and crisps (potato chips) with a half a serving of nuts may be a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies the aging process, suggest the researchers.

On average, US adults pile on 1lb or nearly half a kilo every year. Gaining 2.5-10 kilos in weight is linked to a significantly greater risk of heart disease/stroke and diabetes.

Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre, but they are calorie dense, so often not thought of as good for weight control. But emerging evidence suggests that the quality of what’s eaten may be as important as the quantity.

Continue reading

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5 Weight loss tips from Tufts

Try these tips to avoid some common weight loss myths, according to Tufts Health & Nurtrition Letter.

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-Avoid refined starch and sugar, not all carbs. Cut back on or eliminate white bread, white rice, refined breakfast cereals and crackers, potato and corn chips, fries, bakery desserts, sweets, and soda.-Fill up with minimally processed, high fiber, phytochemical-rich foods. Seek out fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and less processed whole grains (steel-cut oats, cracked wheat, barley, millet). These healthy choices help stave off hunger.

-Enjoy healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and plant oils (olive, avocado, soybean, canola, etc.), as well as fish and unsweetened yogurt, are all great choices for weight and your overall health. Moderate consumption of cheese, eggs, and poultry is also better than choosing starchy and sugary foods.

-Maintain or build muscle. Keep active and eat adequate protein to preserve or even increase muscle mass. This will help to achieve healthy, long-term weight loss and maintenance.

-Combine diet and exercise. Physical activity is important for weight maintenance, but on its own isn’t likely to have as much impact as when you also change your diet.

-Time MEALS right. The ideal meal frequency is the one that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel and perform your best.

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Harmful metals found in vapors from tank-style electronic cigarettes

I have written about the dangers of smoking regular cigarettes for years. Smoking E-cigarettes is widely believed to reduce the damage to our systems compared with that of tobacco smokes. However, the tank-style ones may actually be more harmful.

A team of scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has found the concentration of metals in electronic cigarette aerosols — or vapor — has increased since tank-style electronic cigarettes were introduced in 2013.

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Electronic cigarettes, which consist of a battery, atomizing unit, and refill fluid, are now available in new tank-style designs, equipped with more powerful batteries and larger capacity reservoirs for storing more refill fluid. But the high-power batteries and atomizers used in these new styles can alter the metal concentrations that transfer into the aerosol.

“These tank-style e-cigarettes operate at higher voltage and power, resulting in higher concentrations of metals, such as lead, nickel, iron, and copper, in their aerosols,” said Monique Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, and the first author of the research paper that appears today in Scientific Reports. “Most of the metals in e-cigarette aerosols likely come from the nichrome wire, tin solder joints, brass clamps, insulating sheaths, and wicks — components of the atomizer unit.” Continue reading

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