Muscle loss linked to cognitive decline

I have written repeatedly about the benefits of exercise on both the body and brain. It turns out that there seems to be a link between loss of muscle mass, sarcopenia, and cognitive decline.

Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass, tends to happen naturally with age. So, in older people with sarcopenia, excess body fat may not be readily visible. But hidden fat, paired with muscle mass loss later in life, could predict Alzheimer’s risk, researchers warn.

A recent study — the results of which have been published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging — has found that sarcopenia and obesity (independently, but especially when occurring together) can heighten the risk of cognitive function impairments later in life.

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The research was conducted by scientists at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

“Sarcopenia,” explains senior study author Dr. James Galvin, “has been linked to global cognitive impairment and dysfunction in specific cognitive skills including memory, speed, and executive functions.” Continue reading

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Filed under cognition, cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, sarcopenia

Controlling attention with brain waves – MIT Study

Having trouble paying attention? MIT neuroscientists may have a solution for you: Turn down your alpha brain waves. In a new study, the researchers found that people can enhance their attention by controlling their own alpha brain waves based on neurofeedback they receive as they perform a particular task.

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Anne Trafton of the MIT New Service writes,  the study found that when subjects learned to suppress alpha waves in one hemisphere of their parietal cortex, they were able to pay better attention to objects that appeared on the opposite side of their visual field. This is the first time that this cause-and-effect relationship has been seen, and it suggests that it may be possible for people to learn to improve their attention through neurofeedback.

“There’s a lot of interest in using neurofeedback to try to help people with various brain disorders and behavioral problems,” says Robert Desimone, director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. “It’s a completely noninvasive way of controlling and testing the role of different types of brain activity.”

It’s unknown how long these effects might last and whether this kind of control could be achieved with other types of brain waves, such as beta waves, which are linked to Parkinson’s disease. The researchers are now planning additional studies of whether this type of neurofeedback training might help people suffering from attentional or other neurological disorders.

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Intermittent fasting yields broad range of health benefits – Study

As a guy who likes to eat and snack, I had a weight problem for most of my life, so the idea of fasting – prolonged and intermittently – isn’t so appealing. Nonetheless, this study from Texas State University shows positive effects.

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Intermittent fasting may provide significant health benefits, including improved cardiometabolic health, improved blood chemistry and reduced risk for diabetes, new research conducted in part at Texas State University indicates. Continue reading

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Suffering from Triskaidekaphobia?

Feeling blue on Friday the 13th? Perhaps you are triskaidecaphobic, which is to say, fearful of Friday the 13th.

Wikipedia says, “Triskaidekaphobia (from Greek tris meaning “3”, kai meaning “and”, deka meaning “10” and phobos meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”) is fear of the number 13 and avoidance to use it; it is a superstition and related to the specific fear of the 13th person at the Last Supper being Judas, who was said to have stabbed Jesus Christ in the back (metaphorically). It is also a reason for the fear of Friday the 13th.”

The publication Environmental Nutrition offers the following 5 foods that are super nutritious and might bring you good luck at least in terms of your general health.

Amazing avocados, is their first offering. “Ounce for ounce, they contain more blood-pressure lowering potassium than bananas. Avocados are rich in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, and cholesterole-lowering beta-sitosterol and cancer-protective glutathione, along with Vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and fiber.”

Brain-boosting blueberries come in second. “These little blue marvels are the antioxidant leaders, plump and nearly 4 grams of fiber per cup and a good dose of vitamin C. They also have cancer-protective ellagic acid, and may boost your brain health and vision.”

Anti-cancer Brazil nuts come in third. “This hearty tree nut is a ‘trigger food’ that may cause cancer cells to self-destruct. It’s a super source of selenium, a promising anti-cancer trace mineral that also promotes DNA repair and boosts immunity. Just two medium nuts contain enough selenium to perhaps reduce the incidence of prostate, colon and lung cancers.”

Good old Broccoli is number four. “Here’s an easy way to get two cancer-blockers that modify natural estrogens into less damaging forms and increase the activity of enzymes that fight carcinogens. Aim for three servings a week of broccoli or its cruciferous cousins.”

Number five is Butternut Squash. “This tasty fruit (yes, fruit) is an exceptional source of beta-carotene, the antiooxidant tyour body converts to vitamin A. But it’s also an overlooked source of bone-building calcium.”

So, look on the bright side and focus on the great nutritional benefits you can derive from these five super foods and forget about the fact that today is Friday the 13th. Just don’t walk under any ladders.

Tony

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Weekend funnies …

Well, we are rounding third and heading for home these days as we bring another decade to its end. Hopefully, here are some giggles to end your week.

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Tony

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Happy Birthday, Gabi!

I am reblogging my dog’s happy birthday post from last year. I have updated her age. She turned 14 today.

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

Gabi, my miniature poodle and canine companion, turned 14 years old this week. She has lived with me for the past 13-1/2 years. In that period I can’t remember a day in which she didn’t bring a smile to my face or make me laugh out loud.

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Also, in the course of our three daily walks, I have met hundreds of people that I never would have encountered otherwise. Some came in and out of my life like raindrops, but many have remained and become a part of my life.

Celebrating her birthday is personal for me and isn’t going to help anyone to lose any pounds or inches. However, a pet can play an important part in one’s happiness. Check out the post – Owning a pet can benefit your mental and physical health.

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Although she is a part of my life now, I didn’t have a dog for…

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How playing the drums changes the brain

People who play drums regularly for years differ from unmusical people in their brain structure and function. The results of a study by researchers from Bochum suggest that they have fewer, but thicker fibers in the main connecting tract between the two halves of the brain. In addition, their motor brain areas are organized more efficiently. This is the conclusion drawn by a research team headed by Dr. Lara Schlaffke from the Bergmannsheil university clinic in Bochum and Associate Professor Dr. Sebastian Ocklenburg from the biopsychology research unit at Ruhr-Universität Bochum following a study with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results have been published in the journal Brain and Behavior, online on 4 December 2019.

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Drummers were never previously studied

“It has long been understood that playing a musical instrument can change the brain via neuroplastic processes,” says Sarah Friedrich, who wrote her bachelor’s thesis on this project. “But no one had previously looked specifically into drummers,” she adds. Continue reading

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Filed under brain, music, brain health, brain function, musicians, drums

Women, exercise and longevity

Women who can exercise vigorously are at significantly lower risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and other causes. The research was presented 7 December at EuroEcho 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

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Study author Dr Jesús Peteiro, of University Hospital A Coruña, Spain advised women: “Exercise as much as you can. Fitness protects against death from any cause.”

Exercise is good for health and longevity, but information on women is scarce. Women generally live longer than men, so dedicated studies are needed. This study examined exercise capacity and heart function during exercise in women and their links with survival. The study included 4,714 adult women referred for treadmill exercise echocardiography because of known or suspected coronary artery disease. Continue reading

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Manuka Honey ‘sandwich’ could be the key to fighting infections

Here’s a sweet story from Newcastle University. Layering minute amounts of Manuka honey between layers of surgical mesh acts as a natural antibiotic that could prevent infection following an operation, new research has shown.

Meshes are used to help promote soft tissue healing inside the body following surgery and are common in operations such as hernia repair. However, they carry with them an increased risk of infection as the bacteria are able to get a hold inside the body by forming a biofilm on the surface of the mesh.

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Skin and soft tissue infections are the most common bacterial infections, accounting for around 10% of hospital admissions, and a significant proportion of these are secondary infections following surgery. Continue reading

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CoQ10 and its dosage

I have to admit that I have been seeing items and ads about CoQ10 for years and never paid it much attention. I stumbled across this rundown in Medical News Today and was amazed at its functionality. I thought it would interest you.

CoQ10 is an antioxidant that exists in almost every cell of the human body. CoQ10 deficiency is associated with various medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.cells.jpg

 

Although the body naturally produces CoQ10, some people may benefit from taking supplements. Overall, CoQ10 supplements appear relatively safe and cause few side effects. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for purity or verified for labeling accuracy, so purchase only those products that have been tested by an independent lab.

People who are interested in trying CoQ10 supplements may want to consult a healthcare professional first. Experts do not recommend CoQ10 for people taking blood-thinning medications, insulin, or certain chemotherapy drugs. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, heart disease, inflammation, statin drugs, anti oxidant, Alzheimer's disease, successful aging

Choosing Healthy Meals As You Get Older – NIA

Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Food provides nutrients you need as you age. Use these tips to choose foods and beverages for better health at each stage of life, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

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1. Drink plenty of liquids

With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. Learn which liquids are healthier choices.

2. Make eating a social event

Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.

3. Plan healthy meals

Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eat, how much to eat, and which foods to choose, all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Find sensible, flexible ways to choose and prepare tasty meals so you can eat foods you need.

4. Know how much to eat

Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. When eating out, pack part of your meal to eat later. One restaurant dish might be enough for two meals or more.

5. Vary your vegetables

Include a variety of different colored, flavored, and textured vegetables. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber.

6. Eat for your teeth and gums

Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Don’t miss out on needed nutrients! Eating softer foods can help. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.

7. Use herbs and spices

Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook! Maybe your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both have changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.

8. Keep food safe

Don’t take a chance with your health. A food-related illness can be life threatening for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid certain foods that are always risky for an older person, such as unpasteurized dairy foods. Other foods can be harmful to you when they are raw or undercooked, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat, or poultry.

9. Read the Nutrition Facts label

Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know as well as calories, fats, sodium, and the rest of the Nutrition Facts label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients and nutrients you might need to limit or to increase.

10. Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements

Food is the best way to get nutrients you need. Should you take vitamins or other pills or powders with herbs and minerals? These are called dietary supplements. Your doctor will know if you need them. More may not be better. Some can interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.

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Use of diet pills, laxatives for weight control linked with later eating disorder diagnosis

Among young women without an eating disorder diagnosis, those who use diet pills and laxatives for weight control had higher odds of receiving a subsequent first eating disorder diagnosis within one to three years than those who did not report using these products, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital.

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“We’ve known that diet pills and laxatives when used for weight control can be very harmful substances. We wanted to find out if these products could be a gateway behavior that could lead to an eating order diagnosis,” said senior author S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School and director of STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders). “Our findings parallel what we’ve known to be true with tobacco and alcohol: starting harmful substances can set young people on a path to worsening problems, including serious substance use disorder.” Continue reading

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Weekend funnies …

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and a pleasant post holiday week. Some items that tickled my funny bone ….

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Have a great weekend!

Tony

 

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Brush your teeth to protect the heart …

Here is a link that does not immediately jump to your mind. Brushing teeth frequently is linked with lower risks of atrial fibrillation and heart failure, according to a study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.

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Previous research suggests that poor oral hygiene leads to bacteria in the blood, causing inflammation in the body. Inflammation increases the risks of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure (the heart’s ability to pump blood or relax and fill with blood is impaired). This study examined the connection between oral hygiene and occurrence of these two conditions. Continue reading

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The Happy, Healthy Holiday Plate – Tufts

It’s possible to make healthy choices and still enjoy the holidays. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter has some useful suggestions.

Celebrations often lead to overindulgence, unhealthy choices, and unwanted weight gain. Here are some tips for keeping holiday meals happy and healthy:

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Make new traditions…and update the old: Many holiday dishes are high in added sugars or salt. Consider making new traditions: try roasted string beans with slivered almonds in place of creamy string bean casserole, for example. Or look for recipes that substitute ingredients to “lighten” traditional dishes. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, holiday eating, holiday weight gain, overeating, portion control, portion size

High screen use tied to symptoms of anxiety in adolescence

A new study, by researchers Drs. Boers, Afzali and Conrod who are affiliated with CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal, reveals that social media use, television viewing and computer use, but not video gaming, are linked to an increase in anxiety symptoms among adolescents.

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The study, published in academic outlet the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, shows that a higher than average frequency of social media use, television viewing and computer use over four years predicts more severe symptoms of anxiety over that same time frame. Over and above a potential common vulnerability to both sets of behaviors, the study demonstrates that if a teen experienced an increase in their social media use, television viewing and computer use in a given year which surpassed their overall average level of use, then his or her anxiety symptoms also increased in that same year. Furthermore, when adolescents decreased their social media use, television viewing, and computer use, their symptoms of anxiety became less severe. Thus, no lasting effects were found. Continue reading

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