Could changes in thinking skills be reversible dementia? – Harvard

Regular readers know that I have had a number of Alzheimer’s and dementia occurrences in my immediate family. So, I am especially sensitive to anything related to dementia. The following is from Heidi Godman, Exetutive Editor, Harvard Health Letter.

We use the term “dementia” to describe a number of conditions that cause permanent thinking skills changes, such as memory loss and confusion. The most common kind of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by clumping proteins that get tangled in and around brain cells, eventually causing them to die. The second most common type of dementia is vascular dementia, caused by decreased blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis—the accumulation of fatty deposits on artery walls.

c80992a1012118373be3f673cecdf16bf4f6c32b_original

Once dementia strikes, the damage is permanent, and we don’t have many treatment options. So, before a diagnosis is made, it’s crucial to rule out whether the causes for dementia are actually reversible conditions. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under aging brain, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, brain, brain function, brain health, dementia

Some fitness funnies … Smoking

I mentioned perspective in a recent post. People see things from their own perspective and very often come to different conclusions given the same set of facts. Regular readers know I am an old guy, 77 years worth. And, I sometimes forget that I am seeing things way differently from my younger friends. Like smoking. I know how terribly damaging cigarettes are to our bodies. I have a whole Page on it – How many way does smoking harm you? But I grew up in a world that accepted smoking as a part of our daily lives.

So here are some ads from my younger days:

ee53d105efb1a99c35fec5f82e8d4ff2.jpg

f44ca48b25d9f07059f5143d0b9b991b.jpg

74426f9904a67bef1935a4a484b7bc8b.jpg

1957d6aae56861b989cdbc78963908ad.jpg

a237c3e7fe3e9e20d721a73c321f6e5d.jpg

cd212b16cdbe703c3eafc429f332dcca.jpg

c0ebed249645f75f6441458aa24c7bf7.jpg

Here are some of the cigarette ads from TV before they were banned:

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under cigarette ads, cigarette manufacturers, fitness, fitness funnies, fitness humor, impact of quitting smoking, smoking, Smoking dangers

5 ways to protect your eyes from AMD – Harvard

At 77, I have had minimal problems with my eyes. Sound of me knocking on wood. I get my eyeglass prescription boosted every so often so I can read the fine print, but other than that, no problemmo.  Here is Harvard Medical School on Age-related macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition in which the macula, the part of the eye that’s responsible for your sharpest and most detailed vision, begins to thin and break down, causing vision loss. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.

Macular-Degeneration-z.jpg

There is no surefire way to prevent AMD. However, there are things you can do to delay its onset or reduce its severity. Here are 5 of our favorites: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under age-related macular degeneration, aging, eye health, Harvard, Harvard Medical School, successful aging

What about Alzheimer’s in the family? Harvard

Regular readers know that my family has suffered at least one case of Alzheimer’s and one or two of general dementia. I think it is fair to say that mental illness damages the entire family either directly or indirectly. It also has implications on individuals’ future mental health.

Harvard Medical School offers some fine counseling on the subject.

Alzheimer’s disease represents a personal health crisis, but it’s also a family concern. What does it mean for your children or siblings if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? What does it mean for you if a close relative develops the condition?

100915_fobette-main

“People think that if their dad or aunt or uncle had Alzheimer’s disease, they are doomed. But, no, that’s not true,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Even though family history adds to the overall risk, age still usually trumps it quite a bit. It means your risk is higher, but it’s not that much higher, if you consider the absolute numbers.”

Family history by the numbers

Studies of family history say that if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease—the most common form of dementia in older adults—your risk increases by about 30%. This is a relative risk increase, meaning a 30% hike in your existing risk.

Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under aging, Alzheimer's, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, aging brain, Alzheimer's risk, successful aging

What Are Calories? How Many Do We Need? – MNT

When I started trying to eat healthy and control my weight, I found that counting calories was a very useful tool. It also happens to be quite easy to use now that I have a smart phone which is always with me. There are all kinds of apps that make calorie counting a snap to do. But, what are calories?

29-nutrition-label-calories.w640.h426.jpg

This item from Medical News Today gives a useful answer.

A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and everyday language, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity. For example, an apple may have 80 calories, while a one mile walk may use up about 100 calories.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under blood pressure, calorie counting, calorie equivalents, calories, calories in soft drinks

Are sugary drink interventions cutting consumption?

I have written repeatedly about the ill effects of soft drinks, both sugary and diet, on our bodies. You can check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for chapter and verse. So this item in Medical News Today citing efforts to curb sugary drink consumption caught my eye.

An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people’s habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

sugar

Nutritionists at the University of Leeds have carried out the first comprehensive review of interventions to reduce sugary drinks consumption. The team analyzed 40 studies with 16,500 participants across three age groups: children, teenagers and adults.

Their study, published in the Obesity Reviews journal, found that children participating in these programs reduced their sugary drink intake by around 30%, removing nearly 2.5 teaspoons of sugar from a child’s average intake of 16 teaspoons per day.

Interventions aimed at teenagers saw sugary drink consumption reduced by nearly 10%. However, there was almost no measurable change in adults participating in these programs. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under childhood obesity, diabetes, obesity, prediabetes, sugar, sugary soda, sugary soft drinks, Type 2 diabetes

Physical benefits of yoga – Harvard

I am a great believer in the benefits of yoga, both physical and mental. You can search yoga in the tags at the right for any of my posts on the subject. Here are two I consider worth seeing: Why should I do yoga? and Are there immediate physical benefits to yoga?

4082f0d86636929ea59679129b75a8ee

Sorry, I couldn’t resist rerunning this charming little piece of art.

Here is what Harvard Medical School has to say on the subject: Yoga promotes physical health in multiple ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.

Following are some of the physical benefits of yoga that have a growing body of research behind them. In addition to the conditions listed below, preliminary research also shows that yoga may help with migraines, osteoporosis, balance and mobility issues, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and ADHD.

Back pain relief

Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Four out of five Americans will suffer from it at some point. But yoga appears to help. A 2013 meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials found “strong evidence for short-term effectiveness and moderate evidence for long-term effectiveness of yoga for chronic low-back pain.” In fact, since 2007, the American Society of Pain guidelines have urged physicians to consider recommending yoga to patients with long-term pain in the lower back.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Harvard Medical School, yoga, yoga benefits

Do you think you are fit? – MNT

“It’s all a matter of perspective”

Who hasn’t heard that quote? But, the reason it still exists is that its applications are very widespread and persistent. Here’s how it applies to fitness and our feeling of being fit.

Exercising and staying fit is, of course, important for living a long and healthy life. However, almost 1 in 10 premature deaths worldwide are attributed to physical inactivity, according to Medical News Today.

In the United States, around 80 percent of adults do not meet the recommended levels of exercise, despite the efforts of media, school, and workplace programs.

Although the struggle to get people moving is ongoing, over recent years, another important factor has come to the fore: our perception of our own activity levels.

12652ca521810a0c5599a25d89812cb4

Think yourself fit

Our perceived activity levels may not reflect our actual activity levels. In fact, study author Octavia Zahrt, Ph.D., says, “If you live in an area where most of your peers are really fit, you might perceive yourself as relatively inactive, even though your exercise may be sufficient.”

“Or, if you believe that only running or working out at the gym count as real exercise, you may overlook the exercise you are getting at work or at home cleaning and carrying kids around.”

A study conducted in 2007 by Dr. Alia Crum (also involved in the present research), of Stanford University in California, illustrates this surprising psychological interaction.

That study concentrated on 87 hotel room attendants working across seven hotels. Each of the participants routinely met exercise guidelines, purely through the work that they carried out each day at their respective hotel.

The researchers conducted a 20-minute intervention: in a nutshell, they informed an experimental group of workers that they were all were meeting their daily exercise needs through their physical jobs, explaining the benefits of such an active lifestyle. A control group of hotel workers were given information about recommended exercise levels but were not informed that they routinely met the required physical activity levels. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, fitness, fitness facts

Sleep aids can be risky – Harvard

Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of living a healthy life. I felt strongly enough about it to devote an entire Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? to it. My assumption was that you are using no extraneous methods of getting yourself down. I don’t recommend taking any kind of drugs to help yourself get to sleep. There are a number of relaxation methods that work wonders and have no ill effects. The Harvard Health Letter warns about taking sleep aids.

100915_fobette-main

Millions of Americans rely on prescription sleep medications, called sedative hypnotics, to fall asleep. While the drugs can help people get a decent night’s rest, they are not designed for long-term use. “Each of the pills has its own risks,” says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Types of sleep aids

Sedative hypnotics fall into three categories.

Melatonin-receptor agonists such as ramelteon (Rozerem) leave the body quickly. They target melatonin receptors in the brain and are not thought to be habit-forming. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under good night's sleep, harvard health letter, sleep, sleep aids

Diet and fitness funnies

Hope you might enjoy these as much as I did.

6c9a43df701342e01eb7ada24ae349d3.jpg

 

8e0bb9696508f3d4733e0c173a91ff74.jpgdf096cdcb7ba49e84fb20f6ffcbf4e0b.jpg

e99284bd0d78c5c07443fe77129aa072.jpg

Have a great weekend!

Tony

1 Comment

Filed under fitness funnies

9 Facts about bones – infographic

I wanted to include this for two reasons, first, it has excellent information about our bones and a lot of people are pretty ignorant about them, myself included. Second, I thought it was really beautiful, very creatively constructed.

Let’s face it most people take their bones for granite (sorry, couldn’t resist it). But, it is important to realize that we need to work to strengthen our bones, too. Make sure you include weight-bearing exercise in your life. It will keep your bones strong.

b3b25c9613b5e9c97ced51d7484bc39d.jpg

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under bones, healthy bones, weight-bearing exercise

Electrolytes vital for good health – Rush

Most often linked to sports drinks, electrolytes are vital for good health

You’ve probably seen those ads for sports drinks that claim to offer better hydration than water during or after an intense workout. The reason, they say, is that sports drinks replenish electrolytes; water does not.

Are these claims valid, or are sports drink companies just trying to sell you their products? What, exactly, are electrolytes? And is it really so important to replace them?

dehydration-source-of-electrolytes.png

It turns out, there is some truth in advertising. According to Lynne Braun, PhD, CNP, a nurse practitioner with the Rush Heart Center for Women, electrolytes are a health essential.

The essence of electrolytes

You’re probably familiar with most or all of the electrolytes, even if you didn’t necessarily know they were electrolytes:

  • Bicarbonate
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphate
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under electrolytes, Exercise, exercise benefits, salt

Healthy eating may reduce risk of dementia – AAIC Conference

Because of the Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia in my family, I have been an avid student of ways to protect myself as I age. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for more. Regarding our general physical health I know that diet contributes about 70 percent and exercise 30 percent. It turns out that diet also provides important elements of brain health, too.

Results from four large population-based studies support a connection between good dietary practices and better cognition in old age. Study results were reported at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2017) in London.

brain-diagram.jpg

A group of U.S. scientists found that, among nearly 6,000 older adults in the Health and Retirement Study, those who consistently followed diets long known to contribute to cardiovascular health were also more likely to maintain strong cognitive function in old age. They found that sticking to the specially designed MIND diet and Mediterranean diet was associated with 30 to 35 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment in healthy older adults. In fact, the investigators discovered that those with healthier diets exhibited meaningful preservation of cognitive function.

  • The Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets were originally developed or codified to help improve cardiovascular health.
  • A hybrid of these diets, called the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, or MIND diet, is gaining attention for its potential positive effects on preserving cognitive function and reducing dementia risk in older individuals. A 2015 study found that individuals adhering to this diet exhibited less cognitive decline as they aged (Morris et al. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2015; 11:1015-22).

Other diet-related studies reported at AAIC 2017 included:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Exercise, Mediterranean Diet, MIND diet

Cholesterol may affect brain functions – Study

Having lost three family members to Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, I was fascinated by this information from researchers in Berlin.

A study led by researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics at the Faculty of Medicine in Charité Hospital, Berlin, published in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrates that the cholesterol present in cell membranes can interfere with the function of an important brain membrane protein, through a previously unknown mode of interaction. Specifically, cholesterol is capable of regulating the activity of the adenosine receptor, by invading it and accessing the active site. This will allow new ways of interacting with these proteins to be devised that in the future could lead to drugs for treating diseases like Alzheimer’s.

2-brain

The adenosine receptor belongs to the GPCR family (G Protein-Coupled Receptors), a large group of proteins located in cell membranes, which are key in the transmission of signals and communication between cells. GPCRs are therefore involved in the majority of important physiological processes, including the interpretation of sensory stimuli such as vision, smell, and taste, the regulation of the immune and inflammatory system, and behavior modulation. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, brain, brain function, cholesterol, dementia

15 health benefits of pomegranate juice

I have to confess a great deal of ignorance when it comes to the pomegranate. I haven’t had one in years. I have had some of the juice the comes in very cool shaped bottles.

Today, pomegranate juice is being studied for its many health benefits. It may help with cancer prevention, immune support, and fertility.

aid335955-v4-728px-Make-Pomegranate-Soup-Step-7.jpg

Here are some of the potential benefits of pomegranate, according to Medical News Today.

1. Antioxidants

Pomegranate seeds get their vibrant red hue from polyphenols. These chemicals are powerful antioxidants.

Pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It also has three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Alzheimer's disease, anti inflammatory, anti oxidant, arthritis, pomegranate juice, Vitamin C

Where people walk most

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of walking. If you want to learn more about the benefits of the superb, and under-appreciated, exercise, please check out my Page- Why you should walk more.

Herewith chapter and verse from USA Today on where people in the world walk most. Sorry to see that the U.S. was so far down the list.

636354533096130346-071217-Walking-Distance-ONLINE.png

Leave a comment

Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, walking