Weekend funnies …

Herewith the latest agglomeration of items from my web wandering in the past week. Have a great weekend!

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Tony

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Alzheimer’s Risk Impacted by Liver, Diet – Study

Reduced levels of plasmalogens—a class of lipids created in the liver that are integral to cell membranes in the brain—are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to new research presented this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2018 by Mitchel A. Kling, MD, an associate professor of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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Plasmalogens are created in the liver and are dispersed through the blood stream in the form of lipoproteins, which also transport cholesterol and other lipids to and from cells and tissues throughout the body, including the brain. Kling, and the multi-institutional Alzheimer’s Disease Metabolomics Consortium led by Rima F. Kaddurah-Daouk, PhD, at Duke University School of Medicine, developed three indices for measuring the amount of these lipids related to cognition, in order to identify whether reduced levels in the bloodstream are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), overall cognitive function, and/or other biomarkers of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. The three indices measured: the ratios of plasmalogens to each other; the ratios of plasmalogens to their closely-related, more conventional lipid counterparts; and a combination of these two quantities. Continue reading

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Physical activity cuts heart disease risk for seniors – AHA

Again there are echoes of our mantra, eat less; move move; live longer. 

Adults in their early 60s, who spend less time sitting and more time engaged in light to vigorous physical activity, benefit with healthier levels of heart and vessel disease markers, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Group of older mature people lifting weights in the gym

The results from increased physical activity were found to be particularly good among women.

Physical inactivity is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death from cardiovascular disease. Physical activity’s protective effect is likely due in part to its impact on biomarkers in the blood that help predict atherosclerosis risk.

“The 60 to 64 age range represents an important transition between work and retirement, when lifestyle behaviors tend to change,” said Ahmed Elhakeem, Ph.D., study author and senior research associate in epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. “It may, therefore, be an opportunity to promote increased physical activity.

“In addition, cardiovascular disease risk is higher in older adults. It’s important to understand how activity might influence risk in this age group,” Elhakeem said. “We found it’s important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity.” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, American Heart Association, Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise frequency, heart disease, heart problems, successful aging

Your amazing brain – Infographic

I confess, I am blown away by the brain. I took a course in it from The Great Courses and have published a number of posts on it. The direct connection between physical exercise and the brain never ceases to amaze me. You can check out my Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits) to read more.

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Tony

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Weekend funnies

Happy Friday! Herewith some funnies I stumbled upon in my web wandering.

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Have a great weekend!

Tony

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MBT Sandals – Kisumu’s – It’s Sandal Season

After more than seven years, I have just bought a fresh new pair of MBT sandals. I stand by everything I wrote positively about them previously. If you have high arches and have suffered with arch supports, you should try MBTs.

Tony

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

The fog comes on little cat feet, wrote Carl Sandburg in his famous poem. Didn’t he choose a wonderful image there? Little cat feet. What could be quieter? Can you imagine how cool it would feel like to walk on cat feet? Read on.

Last June I wrote about my new MBT shoes. MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology.

Now let me tell you about their sandals.

This is the Kisumu Khaki.

I live in a highrise building so I have plenty of neighbors that I see in the halls, on the elevators, walking outside, etc. Several of my neighbors have noticed my MBT shoes and wanted to talk about them, sharing their experiences. As I have suffered from bad feet and, worse, hard to fit feet, all my life, I was pleased to share my positive experience with the MBTs with them. I have high weak arches…

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Older People Less Apt to Recognize Their Mistakes – Study

The older you get, the less apt you may be to recognize that you’ve made an error. As a senior citizen I find that statement slightly annoying and also probably to a large extent true.

In a new study, University of Iowa researchers devised a simple, computerized test to gauge how readily young adults and older adults realize when they’ve made a mistake.

Older adults performed just as well as younger adults in tests involving looking away from an object appearing on the screen. But younger adults acknowledged more often than older adults when they failed to look away from the object. And, older adults were more likely to be adamant that they did not made a mistake.

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The research offers new insight how older people perceive their decisions, and especially how they view their performance–whether judging their own ability to drive or how regularly they believe they’ve taken medications.

“The good news is older adults perform the tasks we assigned them just as well as younger adults, albeit more slowly,” says Jan Wessel, assistant professor in the UI Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the study’s corresponding author. “But we find there is this impaired ability in older adults to recognize an error when they’ve made one.” Continue reading

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Heart structure and function may change for overweight young adults – AHA

Eat less’ move more; live longer – and, we might add, the sooner the better, according to the latest information from the American Heart Associaton.

Being overweight may cause higher blood pressure and changes to the heart’s structure, even in young adults.

Even as a young adult, being overweight may cause higher blood pressure and thicken heart muscle, setting the stage for heart disease later in life, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

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The study is the first to explore if higher body mass index (BMI) – a weight-for-height index – results in adverse effects on the cardiovascular system in young adults.

While observational studies can suggest associations between risk factors or lifestyle behaviors and heart disease, they cannot prove cause-and-effect. Here, investigators triangulated findings from three different types of genetic analysis to uncover evidence that BMI causes specific differences in cardiovascular measurements. Continue reading

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Exercise: Better starting later than never – Harvard

Eat less; move more; live longer. It’s never too late to start.

Exercising regularly throughout life is the best way to keep your heart healthy. But starting to exercise even in late middle age may lessen the risk of heart failure, according to a report in the May 15 issue of Circulation. Heart failure, a gradual decline in the heart’s ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, affects about 6.5 million people in the United States.

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The study involved more than 11,000 people who were part of a long-running project begun in the late 1980s, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Every six years, participants got medical testing and filled out questionnaires about their physical activity.

People who followed federal recommendations for physical activity (see How much physical activity do you need?) for the first 12 years of the study had the lowest risk of heart failure—31% lower than people who didn’t exercise at all. But people who increased their physical activity levels starting around age 60 over a period of just six years lowered their risk by 12%.

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Filed under aging, aging brain, aging myths, brain, brain function, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, how much exercise, successful aging

Weekend Funnies …

I hope you have a lovely Friday and a fun weekend. Think of these as an overture…

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Nothing to it….

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Tony

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Had a crepe time in Las Vegas

My girlfriend and I went to Las Vegas last week. Had a really good time, playing and dining on some of the best food around. It’s always fun to leave the mundane activities of our daily lives to fly away to the adult version of Never Never Land. The only downside was the 110+F temps. I have been in Las Vegas in July previously, but I never remember being as pressured by the temperature as I was this year. Maybe my age is showing. On the positive side, all the casinos and restaurants have excellent air conditioning. We spent most of our time inside.

I have previously discussed my play in Las Vegas. You can check out The agony and ecstasy of video poker if you want to read about that. This  time I am focusing on the culinary pleasures available on my recent trip.

Before getting into the food, however, I wanted to share this picture of a new Wonder Woman slot machine in the Las Vegas airport. I am a giant fan of Wondy as regular readers know. What fascinated me about this new Wonder Woman machine is that it features Lynda Carter of TV fame in the 1970’s and not Gal Gadot who starred in last  year’s Wonder Woman blockbuster movie.

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In the airport.

Now for the food. The Paris casino is right across the Strip from Caesars Palace where we stayed. I like to go to Paris for their authentic Parisian crepes – at least to my taste.

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This was a fresh berry crepe which proved to be berry delicious. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

After enjoying that crepe from the casino across the Strip, I stumbled across the following sign in the food court at Caesars.

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Voila! A new crepe vender at Caesars!

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As you can see there is a striking similarity between our home-grown crepe and the one from Paris.

The crepes from both casinos were equally delicious. So much so that we decided to have one for lunch too.

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The lunch crepe featured ham and gruyere cheese. Delicious!

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Tufts on the Mediterranean Diet

Among the dietary patterns specifically recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is the Mediterranean-style diet, which has been linked to reduced risks of heart disease and cognitive decline.

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A healthy Mediterranean-style diet includes many of the same key ingredients found in MyPlate for Older Adults. The chief difference between a Mediterranean-style diet and other healthy-eating plans is the emphasis on unsaturated fats found in plant foods, especially monounsaturated fat in the form of olive oil. All healthy diets recommend limiting foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats and full-fat dairy, minimizing added sugar, and avoiding processed foods.

Eating More Like a Mediterranean

To move your diet in a Mediterranean-style direction, try these suggestions:

1 Eat plenty of vegetables.
Try a simple plate of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, or eat salads, garlicky greens, fragrant soups and stews, or oven-roasted medleys.
2 Change the way you think about meat.
If you eat meat, have smaller amounts – small strips of sirloin in a vegetable saute, for example – or substitute skinless chicken breast or fish for red meat in a few meals each week. Continue reading

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Filed under dairy products, dessert, meat, Mediterranean Diet, seafood, vegetables

Cognitive and motor training combined may slow progress of dementia or even reverse it – Study

I have written repeatedly about the benefits of exercise on the brain’s health. Now, it seems that you can combine exercise with cognitive training for positive results.

Researchers at York University’s Faculty of Health found that just 30 minutes of visually-guided movements per week can slow and even reverse the progress of dementia. Those in the early stages of dementia who were exposed to 30 minutes a week to a game which used rules to make visually-guided movements, were able to slow down the progress of dementia and for some, even reverse their cognitive function to healthy status.

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Previous approaches have used cognitive training alone or aerobic exercise training alone. This study published in Dementia and Geriatric Disorders, is the first to investigate the impact of combining both types of approaches on cognitive function in elderly people with various degrees of cognitive defects.

“We found cognitive-motor integration training slows down the progress of dementia, and for those just showing symptoms of dementia, this training can actually revert them back to healthy status, stabilizing them functionally,” says lead researcher, Lauren Sergio, professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science and Centre for Vision Research at York University. Continue reading

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The Importance Of Self Acceptance – Stop Resisting And Find The Peace

There are some really excellent ideas here. I have written about various aspects of positivity a number of times. Check out my Page – Positive Psychology – What’s it all about? for more.

Tony

Our Better Health

You’re taking a 12-question biology test. You get 10 questions right and 2 questions wrong. You decide, “I’m stupid.” You tell a joke that your friends don’t quite get. You decide, “I always play the fool.” Your boyfriend breaks up with you. You decide, “I’m unlovable.”

When we lack self acceptance we bully ourselves into a rigid pursuit of perfectionism. We mercilessly judge, critique and flog ourselves into an impossible quest that dooms us to failure, guarantees unhappiness, and even induces physical and mental health problems. According to Richard Holden’s book, “Happiness Now!”, “Happiness and self acceptance go hand in hand.”

HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR FINDING SELF ACCEPTANCE:

LAUD YOUR STRENGTHS
Many people scrutinize perceived weakness and are dismissive of their strengths. The more we think about these shortcomings, the more ingrained they become, until they cast a long shadow over our merits. You can focus on your virtues…

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Exercising to relax – Harvard

This is perfectly in line with our mantra of eat less; move more; live longer. Besides all the health benefits of exercise on the brain and body, Harvard Health Publishing says that it also reduces stress.

How does exercise reduce stress, and can exercise really be relaxing?

Rest and relaxation. It’s such a common expression that it has become a cliche. And although rest really can be relaxing, the pat phrase causes many men to overlook the fact that exercise can also be relaxing. It’s true for most forms of physical activity as well as for specific relaxation exercises.

Exercise is a form of physical stress. Can physical stress relieve mental stress? Alexander Pope thought so: “Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.” Plato agreed: “Exercise would cure a guilty conscience.” You’ll think so, too — if you learn to apply the physical stress of exercise in a controlled, graded fashion.

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 As you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise, then enjoy it

How exercise reduces stress

Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart. You may not agree at first; indeed, the first steps are the hardest, and in the beginning, exercise will be more work than fun. But as you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise, then enjoy it, and finally depend on it. Continue reading

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Enjoying the outdoors safely …

I have written time and again about the benefits of exercising and doing it outdoors. When I visit a a health club I feel like a prisoner. Of course, I live on the shores of Lake Michigan with the wonderful Chicago lakefront outside my door. So, in that regard, the outdoors is an integral part of my life. But, for those of you who are in town, or in the burbs, there is some preparation necessary to enjoy nature in a safe way.

If you’re heading for the great outdoors, be sure to bring along some common sense.

That’s the best way to reduce the chances that a bite, sting, cut, scrape, burn, blister, rash, sprain, strain, more serious injury or other mishap will spoil your outdoor adventure.

“Knowing your limits, not trying to do too much, knowing where you’re going and what you might encounter there and being aware of the environment you’re in are the best ways to avoid problems outdoors,” said Henderson McGinnis, M.D., an associate professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, medical director of its AirCare emergency transport service, a recognized expert in wilderness medicine and an experienced outdoorsman.

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I shot this on a recent bike ride.

“Doing a little preparation before you go and being sensible while you’re out there can make all the difference.”

That advice applies to veteran hikers, bikers, campers, climbers and paddlers, but it’s essential for people with no or limited outdoors experience. And there are lots of them these days.

That’s because Americans in general and children in particular simply don’t spend as much time outside as they once did. Consequently, overall familiarity with nature just ain’t what it used to be.

This byproduct of our high-tech, indoor-oriented society even has a name: nature-deficit disorder. Continue reading

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