As a 78-year-old writing blog on diet, exercise and living past 100, I am keenly interested in everything that reflects on the brain and its part in aging, as well as the actual aging of the brain itself. Remember, I have three cases of dementia in my family including one certain one of Alzheimer’s.
This is a shot of my dog and me riding on the Chicago Lakefront last year.
While everyone gets older, not everyone feels their age. A recent study finds that such feelings, called subjective age, may reflect brain aging. Using MRI brain scans, researchers found that elderly people who feel younger than their age show fewer signs of brain aging, compared with those who feel their age or older than their age. Published in open-access journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, this study is the first to find a link between subjective age and brain aging. The results suggest that elderly people who feel older than their age should consider caring for their brain health.
We tend to think of aging as a fixed process, where our bodies and minds change steadily. However, the passing years affect everyone differently. How old we feel, which is called our subjective age, also varies between people—with many feeling older or younger than their actual age. Continue reading
Did you win? That’s always the question people ask when I mention having gone to Las Vegas. Please consider this a companion piece to what I posted May 12 –The agony and ecstasy of video poker.
Back 20 years ago when I was married, my wife and I had a subscription to Chicago’s famed Lyric Opera. A night at the opera would easily run in the neighborhood of $500, considering the ticket prices, well north of $100 each, cabs to and from, dinner out and a baby sitter. No one ever asked – Did you win? upon hearing that we went to the opera. How was the performance? What did you see? How was the production? Those were the kind of questions asked.
The fact is that my girlfriend and I played a lot of video poker on the trip. BUT, that wasn’t all we did.
Here is a shot of the beautiful fountain at Bellagio out the window of our room.
You can see the dancing waters of the fountains. At night the view was more spectacular.
Like any trip there were lovely meals out. Here are pics from a few of ours.
These were delicious baked clams at Rao’s on our first night there. New York readers are familiar with Rao’s.
This is kind of a yin/yang thing with exercise vs rest. Just as I write about the myriad benefits of exercise regularly here, it seems there are almost as many ways that not getting enough sleep damages us. If you would like to learn more, check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?
Losing just one night of sleep led to an immediate increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a small, new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid proteins clump together to form amyloid plaques, a hallmark of the disease.
While acute sleep deprivation is known to elevate brain beta-amyloid levels in mice, less is known about the impact of sleep deprivation on beta-amyloid accumulation in the human brain. The study is among the first to demonstrate that sleep may play an important role in human beta-amyloid clearance.
“This research provides new insight about the potentially harmful effects of a lack of sleep on the brain and has implications for better characterizing the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease,” said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study.
Beta-amyloid is a metabolic waste product present in the fluid between brain cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid clumps together to form amyloid plaques, negatively impacting communication between neurons.
While my ignorance of physics is nearly pristine, over the years, I have run across a number of quotes from Albert Einstein that I thought were really fine. Herewith, some birthday celebration ones:
As a bike rider, I couldn’t possibly overlook this one. I also have this poster framed in my living room.
These are just a few that I like. Please feel free to offer anything that you may know that he said particularly meaningful.
Clearly my ignorance of physics rivals my ignorance of Einstein as his B’day was March 14th.
Here in the Midwest, we have actually gotten some normal spring weather. I hope you have a lovely weekend and these little tidbits might give you a running start on it.
Master of the exercise ball
What I love about dogs
Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. Now, it seems that our bodies are taking it upon themselves to extend our life span.
Research shows a collection of small adaptations in stress activated proteins, accumulated over millennia of human history, could help to explain our increased natural defenses and longer lifespan.
Publishing in Nature Communications, the team of collaborators from the UK, France and Finland and lead by researchers at Newcastle University, UK explain the importance of a protein called p62.
Many cells in our body, such as those which make up our brain need to last us a lifetime. To do this our cells have developed ways of protecting themselves. One way is through a process called autophagy, which literally means self-eating, where damaged components are collected together and removed from the cell.
This is very important as accumulation of damage in cells has been linked to several diseases including dementia.
Lead author, Dr Viktor Korolchuk from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing explains: “As we age, we accumulate damage in our cells and so it is thought that activating autophagy could help us treat older people suffering from dementia. In order to be able to do this we need to understand how we can induce this cell cleaning.”
Here is a variation on the theme of fitness funnies. It is always fascinating (to me) to look at some of the old ads and the way goods and services were sold. Times have sure changed.
I hope that you and yours have a Wonder-ful Christmas! Thought you might enjoy this artwork that was actually sent by Wondy’s creators back in the 1940’s.
There is something universal about what occurs in the brain when it processes stories, regardless of a person’s origin or language, according to a study at the University of Southern California.
New brain research by USC scientists shows that reading stories is a universal experience that may result in people feeling greater empathy for each other, regardless of cultural origins and differences.
And in what appears to be a first for neuroscience, USC researchers have found patterns of brain activation when people find meaning in stories, regardless of their language. Using functional MRI, the scientists mapped brain responses to narratives in three different languages — English, Farsi and Mandarin Chinese.
The USC study opens up the possibility that exposure to narrative storytelling can have a widespread effect on triggering better self-awareness and empathy for others, regardless of the language or origin of the person being exposed to it.
“Even given these fundamental differences in language, which can be read in a different direction or contain a completely different alphabet altogether, there is something universal about what occurs in the brain at the point when we are processing narratives,” said Morteza Dehghani, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC. Continue reading
Thought you might enjoy these little goodies I picked up in my web wanderings.
Hydration is important
Have a great weekend!
Eat less; move more; live longer has been the mantra of this blog nearly from the beginning. I believe that our actions and health results are all connected. So, I have never had much sympathy with the fat but fit concept. So, I was pleased to run across this research from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge.
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.
Researchers have found that being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by up to 28 per cent compared to those with a healthy bodyweight, even if they have healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that suggests being ‘fat but fit’ is a myth, and that people should aim to maintain a body weight within a healthy range.
Storing too much fat in the body is associated with a number of metabolic changes, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and altered cholesterol levels, which can lead to disease and poor health. (my emphasis)
I exercise regularly and I also suffer from severe arthritis of the hands, so the subjects of exercise and painkillers touch me where I live. Following is a very informative write up of painkillers in general and NSAIDs in particular by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications
“Not long ago, I took ibuprofen after a dental procedure and was amazed at how well it worked. Millions of people have had similar experiences with ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) when used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache. That’s why NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide.”
Coincidentally, I stumbled across NSAIDs by accident. You can read about it in my post – What about a bubble on my elbow?
“More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.
NSAIDs are fairly safe, but not risk free
“The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good, especially when taken in small doses for short periods of time. That’s why several of them, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are available in low doses over the counter in this country and elsewhere. Continue reading
Filed under arthritis, chronic pain, Exercise, hand arthritis, joint pain, muscular pain, NSAID, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, pain, Pain relief, Uncategorized
New research suggests that extra-virgin olive oil – a key component of the Mediterranean diet – may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Mouse experiments revealed changes in both cognitive performance and the appearance of nerve cells.
Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to affect approximately 5 million people in the United States. The neurodegenerative disease is progressive and cannot yet be cured or reversed.
But new research moves closer to a prevention – and potentially reversing – strategy, by studying the effects of extra-virgin olive oil on the cognitive performance and brain health of mice.
Extra-virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and nuts.
The new study – published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology – was carried out by a team of researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) in Philadelphia, PA.
Lead investigator Dr. Domenico Praticò – a professor in the departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and the Center for Translational Medicine at LKSOM – explains why several studies have singled out olive oil and hailed it as the main reason why the Mediterranean diet is linked to so many health benefits.
*I am a music lover, have been all my life, and I have written here about various compositions and productions that I enjoyed over the years. Exodus by Bob Marley is one of the most hypnotic pieces of music I have ever listened to. If it plays somewhere, I will hear it in my head for days later. I guess it has to be the beat because there seem to be only about eight words to the whole song.*
Exodus is the title song of a giant selling album of Marley from 1977. Rolling Stone reports, “The Marley Family, Island Records and UMe have announced a massive set of Exodus reissues to mark the 40th anniversary of Bob Marley & the Wailers’ landmark Exodus album, which was released on June 3, 1977.” So it is special to more than just me.
Here is part of what the Rolling Stone reviewer said of the tune back then. “Exodus doesn’t reach these heights, nor does it seem to aim for them, save on the seven-minute title performance, which sounds like War on a slow day and wears out long before it is half over. If I didn’t have more faith in Marley I’d think he was trying to go disco — the tune is that mechanical.”
The following is from the Oberlin College Library – Radical thinkers and movements in the Caribbean by David V. Moskowitz
“While the lyrics are very poignant, the structure of the song itself also enforces the song’s motivational purpose. Both the bass and guitar provide a driving groove that feels like it’s constantly moving forward. This stands in stark contrast to the float-y feel that many attribute to a stereotypical reggae song. Additionally, the song’s central repeating verse “Exodus: movement of Jah people” is sung by a chorus in addition to Marley which makes it easy to sing along. Singing along with a piece of music calls attention to the lyrics in a much deeper way than does passively listening. Repeating the lyrics to oneself forces one to analyze and interpret their meaning. Furthermore, many songs used politically have lyrics that are poignant but also easy to commit to memory and sing in a group. “Exodus” has a very simple song structure that lends itself to this purpose. It is unknown whether or not Bob Marley intended this song to become a political anthem, but the structure of the song implies Marley made it to be easily accessible.”
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do.
PS I published this originally on my other blog willingwheeling.wordpress.com but wasn’t able to reblog it here.
Really nice write up on this common element that we all include in our daily diets.
Focus on food safety
Sodium serves a vital purpose in the human body as it helps nerves and muscles to function correctly, and it is an important compound involved in maintaining fluid balance. Most of our dietary sodium intake is provided through the consumption of sodium chloride (common or table salt). About 80 per cent of this would come from processed foods and 20 per cent from salt used at the table or in home cooking. Table salt is made up of just under 40 per cent sodium by weight, so a 6 g serving (1 teaspoon) contains about 2,400 mg of sodium (note that some of the calculations below use the more exact 39 per cent of sodium).
Apart from table salt, it has been estimated that a further ten per cent of dietary sodium intake would be provided from naturally occurring sodium or sodium-containing food additives.
So far so good, but unfortunately high intakes of sodium can increase…
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Here are some more fun items I found in my web wanderings. I love the art masterpiece ones. Is your sense of humor as bent as mine? Enjoy!