Regular readers know of my dealings in the skin cancer arena. Three appearances, three defeats, three basal cell carcinoma surgeries. If you want further details, you can find them here. I wanted to pass along this information to maybe save you from ill-considered do-it-yourself sunscreens. Skin cancer is serious stuff. Don’t risk it.
Social media and other online tools have changed the way people seek and share health information. Recent consumer interest in natural, organic, and ethically-made personal care products has led to an increase of shared recipes for homemade products including sunscreen. A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Brooks College of Health at University of North Florida examined how homemade sunscreens were portrayed on Pinterest.
The study, published in Health Communication, found that nearly all (95%) pins, or bookmarks, for homemade sunscreen positively portrayed the effectiveness of homemade sunscreens and most (68%) recommended recipes for homemade sunscreens that offered insufficient UV radiation protection. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) claims were made in a third of pins with a range of SPF 2 to SPF 50. This is concerning because the ingredients recommended in homemade sunscreen pins offer minimal scientifically proven broad-spectrum protection from UV radiation yet are widely shared and promoted as safe alternatives to commercial sunscreens on Pinterest. The average number of saves for a pin was 808, with one pin being saved more than 21,700 times.
Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. Like so many good ideas, it is simple, but not easy. Herewith some suggestions from The National Institute on Aging.
Exercise is good for almost everyone, but there are so many things that can get in the way of staying active. It’s time for some positive thinking. No more excuses!
Here are some tips to help you overcome those barriers and improve your health. Continue reading
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Perhaps, here is a laugh or two to get you started.
I am just back from Las Vegas. As regular readers know, when I go to Las Vegas, what happens there doesn’t stay there. I share my experiences, some anyway. My girlfriend and I stayed at Caesars Palace in the Augustus Tower. I like that tower because we get a view of the fountain at Bellagio. The photo below is what I saw out our windows.
These sprays dance to music.
We had some amazing meals there. Below is the soft shell crab roll at Nobu, Caesars’ superb sushi restaurant.
Significant reductions in the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI)*, and the combination of MCI and dementia**, have been shown for the first time through aggressive lowering of systolic blood pressure in new research results from the federally-funded SPRINT MIND Study reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Chicago.
“This is the first randomized clinical trial to demonstrate a reduction in new cases of MCI alone and the combined risk of MCI plus all-cause dementia,” said Jeff D. Williamson, MD, MHS, Professor of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology and Chief, Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Williamson reported these results at AAIC 2018.
The results of this large-scale, long-term clinical trial provide the strongest evidence to date about reducing risk of MCI and dementia through the treatment of high blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease worldwide.
“This study shows more conclusively than ever before that there are things you can do — especially regarding cardiovascular disease risk factors — to reduce your risk of MCI and dementia,” said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer. “To reduce new cases of MCI and dementia globally we must do everything we can — as professionals and individuals — to reduce blood pressure to the levels indicated in this study, which we know is beneficial to cardiovascular risk.”
Asking your opinion on aging is not just an idle query. Does aging mean decline and disability to you? Or do you consider aging to be a time of opportunity and growth?
According to the Wall Street Journal, your attitude about aging plays a key role in how well you actually experience aging.
“In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind,” Anne Tergesen wrote in the WSJ.
The good news is that there is a real physical and mental upside to aging with positive attitudes. On the other hand, negative stereotypes which are pervasive in America can to serious harm to all concerned. Continue reading
First of all, just what is the DASH Diet? The healthy DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).
The DASH diet emphasizes the eating of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products while reducing consumption of salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet but differs in recommending low-fat dairy products and excluding alcoholic beverages.
A diet proven to have beneficial effects on high blood pressure also may reduce the risk of heart failure in people under age 75, according to a study led by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.
The observational study of more than 4,500 people showed that those individuals under 75 who most closely adhered to the DASH Diet had a significantly lower risk of developing heart failure than those whose eating habits were least in keeping with the diet.
The research is published in the current online issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Continue reading
I scream, you scream. We all scream for ice cream.
Okay, summer season has officially arrived. Even here in Chicago where we have experienced the coldest spring in my memory. So, let’s talk about ice cream.
Ice cream was one of the highlights of my childhood summers and I can’t deny still feeling attracted to it at this time of year.
A waffle cone can double the calories in your ice cream treat.
For the most part, ice cream is empty calories, but with a little foresight, you can still enjoy some without getting into trouble. Just don’t overdo it. Continue reading
I am somewhat paranoid about my bike riding in the sun as I have had three skin cancer operations. Foolishly, because I am Italian and tan don’t burn, I never felt the need for sunscreen. Not one of my best decisions. As my dermatologist said, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.” I now lather up big time before riding in the sun.
Here is the sun rising over Lake Michigan on a morning ride.
Sunscreen can reduce the sun’s adverse effects, but there are concerns that it might inhibit the body’s production of vitamin D. In a new British Journal of Dermatology study, however, investigators recorded an increase of vitamin D in participants during a week of cloudless weather, with very high UV index, even when sunscreens were used properly and prevented sunburn.
Sunlight contains UVA and UVB radiation, and the latter is essential for vitamin D synthesis. Two sunscreens with the same SPF were compared. Sunscreen with a high UVA protection factor enabled significantly higher vitamin D synthesis than a low UVA protection factor sunscreen, likely because it allows more UVB transmission.
The findings indicate that the benefits of sunscreen use can be obtained without compromising vitamin D levels.
“Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Sunscreens can prevent sunburn and skin cancer, but there has been a lot of uncertainty about the effects of sunscreens on vitamin D,” said lead author Prof. Antony Young, of King’s College London. “Our study, during a week of perfect weather in Tenerife, showed that sunscreens, even when used optimally to prevent sunburn, allowed excellent vitamin D synthesis.”
You can read more about skin cancer in general and my three skin cancers here.
Full disclosure. I am a senior who lives alone. I do have a girlfriend and a dog whom I consider to be constant companions, so that may temper the damage of living solo as reported by Medical News Today.
A new study has concluded that living alone is linked to common mental disorders. The authors have also identified the main driver of this worrying relationship.
Some common mental disorders (CMDs) include mood disorders, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
According to some studies, almost one-third of people will experience a CMD in their lifetime.
These conditions can have a significant impact on the individual, of course, but due to their high prevalence, they also affect society at large.
Due to the widespread influence of CMDs, scientists are keen to understand the full range of risk factors that feed into mental health.
In recent years, scientists have investigated whether living alone might be one such risk factor. Continue reading
I got my first two wheel bike when I was seven. My uncle found it in an alley and fixed it up it for me. It was an original ‘fixie’ – no brakes, the pedals just kept going. I flew all around the neighborhood on it for years.
I got my first real bike – one with 26 inch wheels – when I was 10. Santa Claus brought it and because we had a cold snowy winter in 1950 here in Chicago I wasn’t able to ride it outside for a month. So, you can see that I have pretty much spent my life behind bars – handle bars.
It has been nearly a month since my oral surgery on April 11. You can read the details here. I have been clocking my recovery since then. In the past week I managed a couple of 30 mile days, so I had pretty much concluded that my body finally made it back to normal. My night’s sleep had returned to around the usual seven hours from more extended hours, too. Continue reading
Most people have heard or read about calorie restriction being a technique for living longer. This is the first I have heard of it affecting cognition.
Several studies have reported that actively cutting down on calories – not simply “watching your weight” – might also be an effective strategy against cognitive decline, according to the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.
One German study found a connection between a restricted-calorie diet and improved memory among participants divided into three groups: One aimed to reduce calorie intake by 30 percent, mostly by eating smaller portions; a second group kept calories the same while increasing intake of healthy fats by 20 percent; and a third, the control group, made no dietary changes. Continue reading
As regular readers know, I have Alzheimer’s Disease or some form of dementia on both sides of my family, so I entertain a strong interest in the subject, particularly since I am a senior citizen.
A brain disorder that mimics symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease has been defined with recommended diagnostic criteria and guidelines for advancing future research on the condition. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center and scientists from several National Institutes of Health-funded institutions, in collaboration with international peers, described the newly named pathway to dementia, limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or LATE, in a report published today in the journal Brain.
“We proposed a new name to increase recognition and research for this common cause of dementia, the symptoms of which mimic Alzheimer’s dementia but is not caused by plaques and tangles (the buildup of beta amyloid proteins that Alzheimer’s produces). Rather, LATE dementia is caused by deposits of a protein called TDP-43 in the brain,” said Dr. Julie Schneider, senior author of the Brain paper and associate director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Continue reading
Here’s hoping you are about to have a great weekend. Enjoy! May the fourth be with you!
This is actually my dog, Gabi, checking the microwave lid for snacks.
There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride more than 100 miles a week here in Chicago, all year ’round. So cycling is a labor of love for me.
I have tried to explain to myself first, as well as others, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.
Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago
I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.
This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading
If you believe that great scientists are most creative when they’re young, you are missing part of the story.
A new study of winners of the Nobel Prize in economics finds that there are two different life cycles of creativity, one that hits some people early in their career and another that more often strikes later in life.
In this study, the early peak was found for laureates in their mid-20s and the later peak for those in their mid-50s.
The research supports previous work by the authors that found similar patterns in the arts and other sciences.
“We believe what we found in this study isn’t limited to economics, but could apply to creativity more generally,” said Bruce Weinberg, lead author of the study and professor of economics at The Ohio State University. Continue reading