How walking speed and memory might predict dementia

Dementia is predominantly associated with advancing age. So, as the average age of humans on planet Earth steadily rises, the burden of dementia is set to increase.

Currently, there is no cure; however, starting treatment early is associated with better outcomes. Because of this, researchers are focused on finding ways to predict who is most likely to develop dementia.

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Also, certain factors increase the risk of dementia, including hypertension and sedentary behavior. Understanding which groups tend to develop dementia helps scientists and doctors identify and manage further risk factors.

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Alcohol may be more risky to the heart than previously thought

Levels of alcohol consumption currently considered safe by some countries are linked with development of heart failure, according to research presented at Heart Failure 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

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“This study adds to the body of evidence that a more cautious approach to alcohol consumption is needed,” said study author Dr. Bethany Wong of St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. “To minimize the risk of alcohol causing harm to the heart, if you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, limit your weekly consumption to less than one bottle of wine or less than three-and-a-half 500 ml cans of 4.5% beer.”

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Gene-edited tomatoes could be a new source of vitamin D

Researchers used gene editing to turn off a specific molecule in the plant’s genome which increased provitamin D3 in both the fruit and leaves of tomato plants. It was then converted to vitamin D3 through exposure to UVB light.

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Vitamin D is created in our bodies after skin’s exposure to UVB light, but the major source is food. This new bio-fortified crop could help millions of people with vitamin D insufficiency, a growing issue linked to higher risk of cancer, dementia, and many leading causes of mortality. Studies have also shown that vitamin D insufficiency is linked to increased severity of infection by Covid-19.

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Consuming about 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day may lower blood pressure -AHA

Roughly 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids each day, in food or supplement form, may be the optimal amount needed to help lower blood pressure, a review of the research shows.

The analysis of dozens of studies, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked at the relationship between blood pressure and two omega-3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – which are found in seafood such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring and oysters. DHA and EPA can also be taken together in supplement form.

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While previous research suggests omega-3 fatty acids might help lower blood pressure, the amount needed to do so has been unclear.

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Insomnia in midlife may manifest as cognitive problems in retirement age

Long-term insomnia symptoms can pose a risk of poorer cognitive functioning later in life. This is why insomnia should be treated as early as possible, according to a new study.

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The Helsinki Health Study at the University of Helsinki investigated the development of insomnia symptoms in midlife and their effects on memory, learning ability and concentration after retirement. The follow-up period was 15–17 years.

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What about mixing intermittent fasting and exercise?

Fans of intermittent fasting say consuming fewers calories by skipping meals helps lose weight and leads to other health benefits. 

But what happens to your body when you add exercise to the mix? 

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“Finding ways to lose weight that are as simple as skipping a meal is very difficult because many people find it hard to manage their hunger while being in a caloric deficit,” Eric Williamson and Matthew Lees of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, say. “But, if they find that their hunger is well managed with intermittent fasting and they plan to exercise at the same time, then it can be an effective tool for losing fat.”

Here is what Lees and Willamson had to say about the benefits of complementing intermittent fasting with exercise. 

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Frivolous Friday …

As Monty Python used to say, “And now for something new and completely different.” Instead of the usual flotsam and jetsam I picked up surfing, I thought I would share this old email that I got some years ago. I apologize if you have seen it, too. But, for those who haven’t I think you will enjoy reading it.

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PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE WORDING AND SPELLING. IF YOU KNOW THE BIBLE EVEN A LITTLE, YOU’LL FIND THIS HILARIOUS! IT COMES FROM A CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEST.

KIDS WERE ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. THE FOLLOWING 25 STATEMENTS ABOUT THE BIBLE WERE WRITTEN BY CHILDREN. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN RETOUCHED OR CORRECTED. INCORRECT SPELLING HAS BEEN LEFT IN.

1. IN THE FIRST BOOK OF THE BIBLE, GUINESSIS. GOD GOT TIRED OF CREATING THE WORLD SO HE TOOK THE SABBATH OFF.

2. ADAM AND EVE WERE CREATED FROM AN APPLE TREE. NOAH’S WIFE WAS JOAN OF ARK. NOAH BUILT AND ARK AND THE ANIMALS CAME ON IN PEARS.

3. LOTS WIFE WAS A PILLAR OF SALT DURING THE DAY, BUT A BALL OF FIRE DURING THE NIGHT.

4. THE JEWS WERE A PROUD PEOPLE AND THROUGHOUT HISTORY THEY HAD TROUBLE WITH UNSYMPATHETIC GENITALS.

5. SAMPSON WAS A STRONGMAN WHO LET HIMSELF BE LED ASTRAY BY A JEZEBEL LIKE DELILAH.
 

6. SAMSON SLAYED THE PHILISTINES WITH THE AXE OF THE APOSTLES.

7. MOSES LED THE JEWS TO THE RED SEA WHERE THEY MADE UNLEAVENED BREAD
, WHICH IS BREAD WITHOUT ANY INGREDIENTS.

8. THE EGYPTIANS WERE ALL DROWNED IN THE DESSERT. AFTERWARDS, MOSES WENT UP TO MOUNT
 CYANIDE TO GET THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

9. THE FIRST COMMANDMENTS WAS WHEN EVE TOLD ADAM TO EAT THE APPLE.

10. THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT IS THOU SHALT NOT ADMIT ADULTERY.

11. MOSES DIED BEFORE HE EVER REACHED CANADA THEN JOSHUA LED THE HEBREWS IN THE BATTLE OF GERITOL.
 

12. THE GREATEST MIRICLE IN THE BIBLE IS WHEN JOSHUA TOLD HIS SON TO STAND STILL AND HE OBEYED HIM.

13. DAVID WAS A HEBREW KING WHO WAS SKILLED AT PLAYING THE LIAR. HE FOUGHT THE FINKELSTEINS, A RACE OF PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN BIBLICAL TIMES.

14. SOLOMON, ONE OF DAVIDS SONS, HAD 300 WIVES AND 700 PORCUPINES.

15. WHEN MARY HEARD SHE WAS THE MOTHER OF JESUS, SHE SANG THE MAGNA CARTA.

16. WHEN THE THREE WISE GUYS FROM THE EAST SIDE ARRIVED THEY FOUND JESUS IN THE MANAGER.

17. JESUS WAS BORN BECAUSE MARY HAD AN IMMACULATE CONTRAPTION.

18. ST. JOHN THE BLACKSMITH DUMPED WATER ON HIS HEAD.

19. JESUS ENUNCIATED THE GOLDEN RULE, WHICH SAYS TO DO UNTO OTHERS BEFORE THEY DO ONE TO YOU. HE ALSO EXPLAINED A MAN DOTH NOT LIVE BY SWEAT ALONE.

20. IT WAS A MIRICLE WHEN JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD AND MANAGED TO GET THE TOMBSTONE OFF THE ENTRANCE.

21. THE PEOPLE WHO FOLLOWED THE LORD WERE CALLED THE 12 DECIBELS.

22. THE EPISTELS WERE THE WIVES OF THE APOSTLES.

23. ONE OF THE OPPOSSUMS WAS ST. MATTHEW WHO WAS ALSO A TAXIMAN.

24. ST. PAUL CAVORTED TO CHRISTIANITY, HE PREACHED HOLY ACRIMONY, WHICH IS ANOTHER NAME FOR MARRAIGE.

25. CHRISTIANS HAVE ONLY ONE SPOUSE. THIS IS CALLED MONOTONY.

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Health Benefits of Coffee – Johns Hopkins

Ah, coffee. Whether you’re cradling a travel mug on your way to work or dashing out after spin class to refuel with a skinny latte, it’s hard to imagine a day without it. The caffeine perks you up, and there’s something incredibly soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe. But is drinking coffee good for you?

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Good news: The case for coffee is stronger than ever. Study after study indicates you could be getting more from your favorite morning beverage than you thought: Coffee is chock full of substances that may help guard against conditions more common in women, including Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease, say nutrition experts from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

What are the top health benefits of drinking coffee?

Your brew gives you benefits beyond an energy boost. Here are the top ways coffee can positively impact your health:

  1. You could live longer. Recent studies found that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from some of the leading causes of death in women: coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
  2. Your body may process glucose (or sugar) better. That’s the theory behind studies that found that people who drink more coffee are less likely to get type 2 diabetes.
  3. You’re less likely to develop heart failure. Drinking one to two cups of coffee a day may help ward off heart failure, when a weakened heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to the body.
  4. You are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine is not only linked to a lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, but it may also help those with the condition better control their movements.
  5. Your liver will thank you. Both regular and decaf coffee seem to have a protective effect on your liver. Research shows that coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee.
  6. Your DNA will be stronger. Dark roast coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands, which occur naturally but can lead to cancer or tumors if not repaired by your cells.
  7. Your odds of getting colon cancer will go way down. One in 23 women develop colon cancer. But researchers found that coffee drinkers — decaf or regular — were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
  8. You may decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. But the caffeine in two cups of coffee may provide significant protection against developing the condition. In fact, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop dementia in general.
  9. You’re not as likely to suffer a stroke. For women, drinking at least one cup of coffee a day is associated with lowered stroke risk, which is the fourth leading cause of death in women.

For the record, I love coffee. I confess that the caffeine part scares me, so I drink decaf. My favorite snack, which I have every day, is a cup of hot coffee and a handful of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds in the shell. Don’t know how this came to be, but I have been doing it for years and look forward to it every afternoon. Tony

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Risks of an Expanding Waistline – Tufts

I have a page on The Dangers of a Big Waistline.

Forty-four percent of U.S. adults 50 and over have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of interrelated health issues that increases risk for heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It also raises the risk of poor immune function and severe disease due to viral infections. The good news is, metabolic syndrome can be reversed, according to the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

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Metabolic Syndrome: A large waistline, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar are all part of metabolic syndrome (see Metabolic Risk Factors for more information).An astounding 88 percent of U.S. adults age 20 and older have at least one of these conditions. Each component on its own increases risk for health problems, but together, risk is even greater.

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Dementia and Weight Gain (Yes, Gain)

Thought this aspect of cognitive failure might be of interest to you. I certainly found it fascinating.

When Dementia Knocks

I spoke to a woman recently who lost her husband to frontotemporal dementia. She shared something with me that many people don’t recognize as related to dementia…weight GAIN.

Yes, gain. Weight loss is quite common as well, so when I talk about dementia and weight, I usually say dementia can be related to a change in weight.

Frontotemporal dementia is a type of dementia that impacts impulse control. When she mentioned that one of the first “odd” things she noticed was that he was eating more, I wasn’t surprised it was a sign of frontotemporal dementia. When she told told me how much weight he gained, I was surprised.

He gained over 100 pounds in 9 months. She said that the weight gain didn’t seem to bother him, although he was becoming more irritable overall. She tried to help…they went on Weight Watchers together, but it turned into a fight…

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What are Two Good Yoga Stretches for Cyclists?

I am rerunning this post from 2015 because I know that a lot of bike riders are just now beginning to ride again and I consider these two stretches to be superb for cyclists. I hope you agree.

I ride my bicycle virtually every day here in Chicago. Last year I averaged just over 17 miles per day for all 365 days for a total of 6350 miles for the year.

As you can imagine in a four season city like Chicago, I am not always able to ride at all, so I end up with some longer rides to compensate.

As a senior citizen riding the bike every day can sometimes stiffen up my leg muscles. I have found two wonderful stretches that do a super job of rejuvenating my legs on long rides. I usually do them after about ten miles so the muscles are warmed up. Every time I do them, I can always feel the energy flow back into my legs when I finish.

I have pictures of each stretch, but I want to explain how I do them as that makes the difference. I did yoga for years and when I stretch, I always do diaphragmatic breathing which sends lots of oxygen-rich cells down to the aching muscles.
For the first bent-knee, extended leg stretch, please do it as follows. The picture in this case isn’t perfect. Try to create a straight line from the bottom of your stretched out leg to the top of your head. Don’t bend your body and lay your head down as the cyclist in the photo is doing. With your bent leg, make sure that the knee is perpendicular to the ground. That way you have all straight lines and right angles. Once you are in the stretch breathe in through the nose for a count to five, hold it, then release it through your mouth for a count of five. Do this four or five times and then release the position gently. Assume the same position only with the legs reversed. If the right leg was stretched, now it will be the bent one. Repeat the breathing. Continue reading

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Dog treats … or 30 pieces of silver?

So there is no misunderstanding, I use the ’30 pieces of silver’ reference as a symbol of betrayal. I was raised a Catholic kid and grew up hearing the story of how Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. So, betrayal is what ’30 pieces of silver’ means to me.

As regular readers know, I have recently adopted a dog. Boots is a lovely mixed breed, three years old who weighs 20 pounds. I lost my beloved canine companion, Gabi, after nearly 17 years together at the end of March of this year. Gabi was, in fact, my first dog.

To the untrained eye, these are dog treats.

So, having lived with a dog for that many years I thought I knew something about dogs. Turns out that just because I knew a lot about one dog, that didn’t mean I knew a lot about all dogs in general, or my new dog, Boots, in particular.

When I wanted to leave home and not take Gabi along, I would go to the cabinet and get out a couple of dog treats to give her as I brought her to the back bedroom. Gabi was a smart pooch and as soon as she saw me go to the cabinet for the treats, she would run to the bedroom and wait for me/them. I would then give her the treats, close the door and leave.

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Social media break improves mental health – Study

Asking people to stop using social media for just one week could lead to significant improvements in their wellbeing, depression and anxiety and could, in the future, be recommended as a way to help people manage their mental health say the authors of a new study.

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The study, carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Bath (UK), studied the mental health effects of a week-long social media break. For some participants in the study, this meant freeing-up around nine hours of their week which would otherwise have been spent scrolling Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

Their results – published, Friday 6 May 2022, in the US journal ‘Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking’ – suggest that just one week off social media improved individuals’ overall level of well-being, as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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Celebrate World Bicycle Day

As regular readers know, biking is my daily go to exercise. I think it has helped me to achieve my current state of mental and physical health at the ripe old age of 82.

“It all started when U.S.-based Professor Leszek Sibilski initiated a grassroots campaign with his sociology class to promote a U.N. resolution that would designate a day for the advocacy and celebration of the humble bicycle all over the world. In 2015, Sibilski dedicated himself to an academic project, exploring bicycles and their role in development. His project catapulted into a massive movement backed by ‘Sustainable Mobility for All,’ and eventually resulted in a dedicated international day set by the United Nations for the promotion of bicycling. On April 12, 2018, the resolution declaring June 3 as World Bicycle Day was unanimously adopted by all 193 member states of the UN General Assembly. The resolution was greatly supported by Turkmenistan and co-sponsored by around 56 countries,” according to National Today.

Tony

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Too Much Self-confidence Can Endanger Health of seniors

Older people who overestimate their health go to the doctor less often. This can have serious consequences for their health, for example, when illnesses are detected too late. By contrast, people who think they are sicker than they actually are visit the doctor more often. This is what a new study by Sonja Spitzer from the Institute for Demography at the University of Vienna and Mujaheed Shaikh from the Hertie School in Berlin found based on data from over 80,000 Europeans aged 50 and older. The results were published in The Journal of the Economics of Aging.

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Our confidence affects our behavior. People who overestimate their abilities earn more, invest their money differently, and are more likely to be leaders. But they also act riskier, have more accidents, and live less healthy by drinking more alcohol, eating less healthily, and sleeping too little.

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Frivolous Friday ( a day early )

Welcome to June! Do the months seems to be flying by for you, too? I hope this dollop of frivolity gives you a good start for the weekend.

Tony

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