Teeth brushing may fight Alzheimer’s

As a person with no less than three cases of Alzheimer’s/dementia in his family, I have serious interest in anything relating to maintaining brain health and function. So, I was most interested in this item from the University of Bergen.

You don’t only avoid holes in your teeth by keeping good oral hygiene, researchers at the University of Bergen have discovered a clear connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

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The researchers have determined that gum disease (gingivitis) plays a decisive role in whether a person develops Alzheimer’s or not.

“We discovered DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain,” says researcher Piotr Mydel at Broegelmanns Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB).

The bacteria produces a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which in turn leads to loss of memory and ultimately, Alzheimer’s. Continue reading

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Happy Father’s Day!

My own father has long since passed away, but here’s to all you dads who are still around.

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Tony

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Tips on living a longer life – WebMD

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of WebMD. I often quote from them to share ideas with readers. They have just run an item on living longer that has some wonderful suggestions. By no small coincidence, I have also included many of the same suggestions in this blog over the past nine plus years. However, here are a few that were new to me:

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Profiles of two partners looking at each other while arm wrestling

“Be Conscientious – An 80-year study found one of the best predictors of a long life is a conscientious personality. Researchers measured attributes like attention to detail and persistence. They found that conscientious people do more things to protect their health and make choices that lead to stronger relationships and better careers. “

As a person who considers himself to be conscientious I was happy to learn that it may be instrumental in my living longer.

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Weekend funnies …

Here we are facing another weekend again. I hope yours proves to be a great one.

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Tony

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Reaching and grasping — Learning fine motor coordination changes the brain

When we train the reaching for and grasping of objects, we also train our brain. In other words, this action brings about changes in the connections of a certain neuronal population in the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain. Researchers at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum have discovered this group of nerve cells in the red nucleus. They have also shown how fine motor tasks promote plastic reorganization of this brain region. The results of the study have been published recently in Nature Communications.

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Simply grasping a coffee cup needs fine motor coordination with the highest precision. This required performance of the brain is an ability that can also be learned and trained. Prof. Kelly Tan’s research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has investigated the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain that controls fine motor movement, and identified a new population of nerve cells which changes when fine motor coordination is trained. The more that grasping is practiced, the more the connections between the neurons of this group of nerve cells are strengthened. Continue reading

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Of cats and dogs and cliches …

I thought this was a good subject to write about three years ago and I still think so. I hope you will agree.

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

I was reading this morning and ran into the cliche you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I have to tell you that this is one particularly annoying expression to me. This is another of the general negativity directed toward seniors.

By the time I retired, I had become something of an expert on markets. After 20 years spent writing about international markets for Reuters News Service I went on to write for the Investments Department of a major philanthropic organization. The final five years of my working life I actually managed the investment of $900 million in the debt market.

c2c616d5ae15f2c08c080737b4ea8d7d.jpgWho says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

After retiring, at the age of 70, I started writing this blog. It had nothing to do with markets or the economy. The primary focus was weight loss in the beginning, but after taking a number of…

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Why you should check out Unmasked

Regular readers know that I am a retired journalist. I worked for Reuters in Chicago and London for 20 years, then left to teach journalism at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

In the business of journalism, I remember how hard we worked to get our facts straight and present them clearly to increase the level of information to the public.

So, it is likely no surprise that the current state of what passes for journalism is disappointing to the point of heart-breaking for me. There seems to be not even a semblance of fair play or attempt to find out and put forward – the truth.

I would like to recommend that you check out Unmasked – Big media’s war against Trump pictured above. The authors give chapter and verse of the card stacking and outright lies put forth as journalism from no less than the Washington Post, New York Times, and all the major broadcast networks.

You already know that media doesn’t throw any cards off the top of the deck when it comes to the President, so why read an entire book about it? Here is a quote from the inside front cover, “In this fascinating examination of the media’s war on Donald Trump, Bozell and his co-author Tim Graham expose the weaponized and radicalized ‘news’ media as a direct threat to democracy and their unethical attempts to manipulate public opinion.”

Tony

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Weekend funnies …

I hope you have a great weekend coming up. Here are some items that might help get you in the mood.

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Tony

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Dietary supplements linked with severe health events in children, young adults – Harvard

For the most part I keep it natural. It is easy to avoid the products of Big Pharma, just don’t take any drugs, however, you need to watch out so you don’t get caught up in some of those lurking off the main drag under the guise of ‘supplements.’

Consumption of dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy was associated with increased risk for severe medical events in children and young adults compared to consumption of vitamins, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study found that, compared with vitamins, these types of supplements were linked to nearly three times as many severe medical outcomes in young people.

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“The FDA has issued countless warnings about supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building or sport performance, sexual function, and energy, and we know these products are widely marketed to and used by young people. So what are the consequences for their health? That’s the question we wanted to answer,” said lead author Flora Or, a researcher with Harvard Chan School’s Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders.

The study was published online June 5, 2019 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The researchers looked at adverse event reports between January 2004 and April 2015 in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System on the food and dietary supplements database. They analyzed the relative risk for severe medical events such as death, disability, and hospitalization in individuals aged 0 and 25 years that were linked with the use of dietary supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, or energy compared to vitamins.

They found that there were 977 single-supplement-related adverse event reports for the target age group. Of those, approximately 40% involved severe medical outcomes, including death and hospitalization. Supplements sold for weight loss, muscle building, and energy were associated with almost three times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins. Supplements sold for sexual function and colon cleanse were associated with approximately two times the risk for severe medical outcomes compared to vitamins.

Senior author S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, noted that reputable physicians do not recommend the use of the type of dietary supplements analyzed in this study. Many of these products have been found to be adulterated with prescription pharmaceuticals, banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals. And other studies have linked weight-loss and muscle-building supplements with stroke, testicular cancer, liver damage, and even death.

“How can we continue to let the manufacturers of these products and the retailers who profit from them play Russian roulette with America’s youth?” Austin said. “It is well past time for policymakers and retailers to take meaningful action to protect children and consumers of all ages.”

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The Facts about Gluten-Free Eating – Tufts

I confess to virtual total ignorance about the gluten-free eating going on. I only know that it is very trendy. Tufts did a nice job here on explaining it and I thought I would pass it on to you.

The gluten-free foods market has exploded in the past decade. It is important for people following or considering a gluten-free diet to know the facts.

Gluten Sensitivities: Gluten refers to a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten proteins give dough its elasticity. For the approximately one percent of the population with celiac disease (a genetically-based autoimmune reaction to gluten) following a gluten-free diet is essential to health.

Data suggest that approximately ten percent of people feel they have sensitivity to wheat, even though they do not have celiac disease. “There is a condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS),” says John Leung, MD, an allergist, gastroenterologist, and director of the Center for Food Related Diseases at Tufts Medical Center. “Patients present with no evidence of celiac disease in blood tests or biopsies, but they report their gastrointestinal symptoms improve with avoidance of gluten.” However, a large review of studies surprisingly found that most people who follow a gluten-free diet for self-diagnosed NCGS do not actually develop any symptoms after eating gluten. “A recent study published in the journal Gastroenterology provides evidence that many people who think they have gluten sensitivity may actually be reacting to fructans, short-chain carbohydrates found in wheat, onions, and a number of other plant foods,” says Leung. Continue reading

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Nuts to you … and me, too

I grew up in a family of ‘snackers.’ As a result I suffered from weight problems much of my life. Exercise is important, but you can dig your own grave with your knife and fork. You need to pay attention to the quality of your calories as well as the quantity.

Herewith a rundown on noshing on nuts for healthy and nutritious snacks in reasonable quantities.

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If you don’t want to be confined to nuts, please check out my Page – Snacking – The good, the bad and the ugly for lots more snack ideas.

Tony

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New research on ‘clean eating’ explores potential link to eating disorders

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Suman Ambwani, a noted scholar in the field of disordered eating and associate professor of psychology at Dickinson College, and a team of researchers, asked nearly 150 college students to define “clean eating.” The students also were asked to read five vignettes featuring different “clean” diets and rate whether they thought the diets were “healthy,” reflected “clean eating” and whether they might try them out. The subjects’ responses varied, but overwhelmingly favored “clean eating,” even if the so-called “clean” diets caused problems in work, social and emotional functioning.

“It is concerning that our respondents had positive attitudes toward extreme ‘clean eating’ diets that cause distress and disruption,” said Ambwani. “We know dieting can create an increased risk for developing eating disorders, so we need to better understand how ostensibly healthy diets may devolve into disordered eating.”

Definitions of “clean eating” typically include elements such as eating local, “real,” organic, plant-based, home-cooked foods, but frequently also tout more extreme strategies, like eliminating gluten, grains or dairy. Trendy, “clean eating” diets are often highlighted on social and popular media, typically by non-expert celebrities, but there is no scientific consensus around what constitutes “clean eating.”

The study’s results “highlight the need to train consumers to better distinguish between trustworthy and fraudulent sources of information on nutrition and health behaviors,” said Ambwani. “‘Clean eating’ also appears to bestow an element of moral superiority,” she noted. “It can also signify status and is importantly linked with health-related attitudes and behaviors.”

Tony

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7 Days makes one weak …

I am now entering my eighth day of no bike riding. Regular readers will find this unusual. Not as much as I do. Unfortunately, I have come down with a bronchial infection that completely wipes out my energy. It started last Sunday during Chicago’s famous Bike the Drive ride. I wrote about Bike the Drive earlier this year. I rode the last eight miles of the ride last week against the wind while fighting a fever. It was a v e r y long eight miles – the dog rides in her basket, so we are talking about a 50 pound bike. When I got home I slept for three hours, but that was just the beginning. I wasn’t able to get to the doctor until Wednesday. By then the fever had gone, but the coughing and low energy remained. Because it is viral there isn’t any medicine I can take to fight it.

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My biggest problem these days, besides getting some walking in, is the annoying cough spasms. I found the following cough remedies at Medical News Today for anyone else who may be suffering from a summer cold.

Coughs play a role in clearing irritants and infections from the body, but persistent coughing can be annoying. The best treatment for a cough will depend on its underlying cause. There are many possible causes of coughs, including allergies, infections, and acid reflux. Continue reading

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How to boost brain health and fight Alzheimer’s

At the risk of being repetitious, I just wanted to pass along some good information on keeping your brain intact while you are pursuing a life of healthy eating and regular exercise. That’s why you’re reading this blog, right?

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The seven guidelines to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
  • Eat plant-based foods. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should replace meats and dairy products as primary staples of the diet.
  • Consume 15 milligrams of vitamin E, from foods, each day. Vitamin E should come from foods, rather than supplements. Healthful food sources of vitamin E include seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Note: The RDA for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day.
  • Take a B12 supplement. A reliable source of B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at least the recommended daily allowance (2.4 micrograms per day for adults), should be part of your daily diet. Note: Have your blood levels of vitamin B12 checked regularly as many factors, including age, impair absorption.
  • Avoid vitamins with iron and copper. If using multivitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
  • Choose aluminum-free products. While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, those who desire to minimize their exposure can avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contain aluminum.
  • Exercise for 120 minutes each week. Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking, three times per week.

Other preventive measures, such as getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night and participating in 30 to 40 minutes of mental activity most days of the week, such as completing crossword puzzles, reading the newspaper, or learning a new language, can only help boost brain health.

Before you leave, just wanted to pass on a reminder about my Page – Important facts about your brain – and exercise benefits.

Tony

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Today is World No Tobacco Day – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decreed that today is World No Tobacco Day

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Around 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

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Leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Around 80% of the 1.1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.

Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of healthcare and hinder economic development.

In some countries, children from poor households are frequently employed in tobacco farming to provide family income. These children are especially vulnerable to “green tobacco sickness”, which is caused by the nicotine that is absorbed through the skin from the handling of wet tobacco leaves.

Amazed that anyone who can read will smoke, I am a dedicated anti-smoking person. Check out my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you? for further details.

Tony

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Some more librarian funnies …

I still don’t know where or how these originated, but they crack me up every time I run across one. As a guy who used to be in the paperback book business, I think they are really funny while pointing out some of the trials and tribulations of those under-appreciated ladies. They also forever alter any ideas you might entertain about staid ladies of the stacks.

 

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Tony

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