Monday, December 30, 2013

OMG!!! I'VE HAD LOTS OF THIS!! HOW ABOUT YOU? "Midlife Stress May Trigger Dementia, Alzheimer's in Women"

Common psychosocial stressors experienced by women during midlife may lead to a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD), new research suggests.

The population study included 800 women from Sweden who were first examined in 1968 and then followed up periodically for 38 years.

Results showed that the number of stressors, such as workplace problems, serious illness, divorce, and widowhood, experienced at baseline was associated with a 21% higher risk of developing AD and a 15% higher risk of developing dementia during the follow-up period. It was also associated with significantly increased later-life distress.

The findings show that accumulated stress from common events "may have severe and long-standing physiological and psychological consequences," write Lena Johansson, PhD, RN, from the Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at Gothenburg University in Mölndal, Sweden, and colleagues.

They add that these physiologic consequences can include adverse reactions in the central nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems.

However, the investigators point out that more studies are now needed for replication and to investigate whether interventions such as stress management and behavioral therapy should be started in patients who are experiencing these stressors.

The study was published online September 30 in BMJ Open.

Biological Response

Monday, November 25, 2013

Some Peanuts a Day Keep Cancer, CVD Away

Eating more nuts correlated with significantly lower mortality, both overall and for cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, according to data from follow-up in two large cohort studies.
As the frequency of nut consumption increased, the mortality hazard decreased by 7% with weekly intake to 20% for daily nut consumption, as compared with people who did not eat nuts.
The benefits pertained to any type of nut consumption, not specific nuts, Charles S. Fuchs, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and co-authors reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"We did look at subtypes of nuts, but I can tell you that we really don't see a difference between the various nut types," Fuchs told MedPage Today. "So, peanuts as opposed to other nuts seemed to confer the same benefit in reducing mortality."

Nuts have a high nutrient density and a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids. Observational studies have linked nut consumption to beneficial effects related to coronary heart disease and certain heart disease risk factors.

As a result of the evidence, the FDA in 2003 recommended consumption of 1.5 ounces of nuts daily as part of a low-fat diet that "may reduce the risk of heart disease."

More recently, a randomized trial of primary prevention in patients with a high cardiovascular risk showed that a nut-containing Mediterranean diet was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular events, as compared with patients assigned to a control diet.

Multiple observational and interventional studies have demonstrated favorable effects of nut consumption on various diseases (diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones) and in recognized mediators of chronic disease (oxidative stress, inflammation).

The accumulation of data has included minimal evidence that nut consumption reduces total mortality, the authors noted in their introduction. Additionally, the studies have been limited by small sample size, limited dietary information, and lack of adequate adjustment for confounders.
To examine the relationship of nut consumption to mortality, investigators analyzed data from 76,464 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study and from 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Both studies accumulated data from multiple follow-up visits and questionnaires over 20 to 24 years.

The final analysis comprised 3,038,853 person-years of follow-up, during which time 16,200 women and 11,229 men died. Comparison of the two studies showed no significant heterogeneity, so investigators combined the results into a single analysis.
As compared with study participants who reported no consumption, the mortality hazard declined significantly (P<0.001 for trend) as weekly nut consumption increased:
  • Less than once -- HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.90-0.93
  • Once -- HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.86-0.93
  • Two to four times -- HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.83-0.90
  • Five or six times -- HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.79-0.91
  • Seven or more -- HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.73-0.86
The mortality benefit with increasing nut consumption ranged from 6% to 21% in women (P<0.001) and from 9% to 20% in men (P<0.001). Among both sexes, each category of nut consumption had a significantly lower mortality hazard as compared with people who reported no consumption.
Subgroup analysis showed no difference in benefit among peanuts, tree nuts, and other types of nuts with respect to all-cause mortality or death from heart or respiratory disease or cancer.
Commenting on possible concerns about the fat and calories in nuts, Fuchs said the evidence still supports regular nut consumption.

"We really don't see a problem with it," he said. "In fact, one might argue that nuts are probably a very good source of calories, namely, calories that don't seem to contribute to obesity."
Wow! You have to read this! It's very interesting!

Mental Illness in Seniors Hits Healthcare System Hard
Aging adults with mental illness have significantly higher rates of healthcare utilization than their mentally healthy peers, new research shows.

An analysis of comorbidity levels and healthcare utilization in older adults with lifelong, serious mental illness shows that these patients have higher rates of emergency care, longer hospital stays, are more likely to fall, and have alcohol and substance abuse problems compared with mentally healthy control individuals.

"Our study illustrates the continuing vulnerability of seriously mentally ill patients as they grow older," Hugh C. Hendrie, MB, ChB, DSc, geriatric psychiatrist and health services researcher from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine and Center for Aging Research, both in Indianapolis, told Medscape Medical News.

"An integrated healthcare system that addresses both their medical and psychosocial needs will be required to care for these patients whose numbers are increasing by the year," Dr. Hendrie added.
Iqbal "Ike" Ahmed, MD, geriatric psychiatrist from University of Hawaii and Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, who was not involved in the study, agrees. "The older, and younger, mentally ill populations who often have comorbid medical and psychiatric illnesses beg for integrated care."

Friday, October 4, 2013

I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO DO THIS: "Virtual reality games can improve cognitive decline and are better than traditional exercise"

(R) ANNE ROBBS, Columnist & Editor

Chief Executive,
Barrow Neurological Foundation

There is research now claiming that virtual reality games can improve cognitive decline and are better than traditional exercise.   OK, ditch than exercise bike and invest in WII or PlayStation Move consoles with games like WII fit, bowling and cyber cycling.  These so-called “excergames” tend to increase the appeal of exercise by shifting away from some of the unpleasant aspects of working out and toward motivating features such as competition and 3-D scenery.  It’s fun while improving your body as well as you brain!

“We anticipated that seniors would enjoy cybercycling, which they did, but we did not anticipate such a robust and significant cognitive effect from cybercycling compared with traditional exercise,” lead investigator Cay Anderson-Hanley, PhD, from Union College, Schenectady, New York reported. “This gives us hope that more can be done to boost participation in exercise and increase the benefit of a workout through innovative excergames.”

Trials were completed on seniors and it showed that exercise can make a meaningful difference in brain health later in your life as well as yielding additional cognitive benefit.  In the study, older adults who cybercycled 2 to 3 times a week for 3 months had significantly greater cognitive benefit for the same effort as those who rode a traditional bike.  One explanation for the greater benefit found with cybercycling compared with traditional cycling is the added mental exercise required like navigating a 3-D landscape, anticipating turns and competing with others required additional focus, expanded divided attention and decision making.

This is hopeful for older adults since researchers have shown that slowing the onset of dementia by 1 year through excersice and diet can decrease the number of the 8 million people expected to be diagnosed in the US by 2050.

So pick up that remote control, get your friends together and play your heart out.  You can play by sitting or standing but play.  You will discover a new way to have a party!


Thursday, September 5, 2013


Older patients who undergo anesthesia and surgery have a significantly increase
d risk for dementia, a large population-based study shows.

Investigators at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan found that patients older than 50 years who underwent anesthesia for the first time had nearly a 2-fold increased risk for dementia, mainly Alzheimer's disease, compared with nonanesthetized patients.

"The results of our nationwide population-based study suggest that patients who undergo anesthesia and surgery may be at increased risk of developing dementia. Anesthesia and surgery are inseparable in clinical settings. Thus, it is difficult to establish whether the increased risk of dementia development we observed was attributable to the anesthesia per se, the surgical process, or both," principal investigator Jong-Ling Fuh, MD, said in a statement.

The study was published online July 25 in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Although generally considered safe, there is growing concern that anesthetic drugs may have neurodegenerative complications.

The investigators point out that in vivo studies and imaging studies have shown that "inhaled anesthetic agents can promote amyloid β peptide (Aβ) peptide oligomerisation and enhance Aβ-induced neurotoxicity."

Other potential mechanisms of anesthetic-induced neurotoxicity include calcium dysregulation.

The researchers note that postoperative confusion/decline is generally thought to be short-lived, with normal cognition returning within a few days. However, they add that in some cases, it can last for weeks.

Using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research database, the researchers retrospectively examined whether the risk for dementia increased after surgery with anesthesia. They also looked at possible associations among age, mode of anesthesia, type of surgery, and risk for dementia. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


An Aspirin Every Other Day May Help Reduce Colon Cancer Among Women

Women who took aspirin every other day as part of a massive study had a lower rate of colon cancer after 15 years compared with women who didn’t follow this aspirin regimen, according to results published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

But colon cancer rates were the same after 10 years of study, suggesting that there may be a long lag before any cancer-protective effects of regular aspirin use appear. In addition, the women who took aspirin had higher rates of gastrointestinal bleeding than their counterparts.



Little and Late Sleep Linked to Higher Calorie Consumption and Weight Gain

It looks like catching only a few hours of sleep contributes to weight gain because burning the midnight oil is often accompanied by snacking. The finding appears online today in Sleep, the journal published by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. READ MORE

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


'Exergaming' Helps Older Adults Improve Cognitive Function

Virtual reality–enhanced exercise can delay cognitive decline more
than traditional exercise, report investigators. The technique combines physical training with a computer-simulated environment and interactive videogame features.

Woman viewing 3-dimensional landscape while cybercycling.
Virtual reality–enhanced exercise games such as the Wii Fit and PlayStation Move have become popular and tend to increase the appeal of exercise. These so-called "exergames" have the potential to increase fitness by shifting attention away from some of the aversive aspects of working out, and toward motivating features such as competition and 3-dimensional scenery.

In this multisite cluster randomized trial, investigators compared a new approach using this concept, called "cybercycling," with the standard stationary bike.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Anne Robbs, Columnist & Editor,

NEW STUDY: Cocoa, Even With Few Flavonoids, Boosts Cognition

Drinking cocoa, whether rich in flavonoids or not, appears to boost the effect of blood flow on neuronal activity in the brain, known as neurovascular coupling (NVC).

A new study shows not only that drinking flavonoid-rich or flavonoid-poor cocoa improves NVC but also that higher NVC is associated with better cognitive performance and greater cerebral white matter structural integrity in elderly patients with vascular risk factors.

As researchers search for ways to detect dementia at the earliest possible stage, the study results could pave the way for using NVC as a biomarker for vascular function in those at high risk for dementia, said lead author Farzaneh A. Sorond, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, Stroke Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Aging, Medications and Your Hair. Tips that can help.

More hair in your comb or brush?  Is your hair now dryer then ever before?   Are you going grey? Do you now have thinner hair or bald spots? You feel ugly and changing hair styles just doesn't work. Taking medication can also cause these changes and not taking them is an option most people can not avoid.  All of these are signs of aging hair.  But these changes can be treated -it just takes changing your relationship with your hair.  

Going Grey...The first while strand of white hair is a sign of aging hair.  The average person sees this in their 30's with most people in their 40's and beyond.  Hair grows grey when cells stop producing pigment naturally.  By 50, 50% of people have grey hair.

Using permanent hair dyes can be harsh on your hair; choose wisely. There are new over the counter hair dyes that are rich in Argan oil or use a semi-permanent hair dye.  Most are very good for your hair but lose its color in time, so if you don’t mind the hassle this is also an option.  Your hair stylist also has great products that can do wonders as well.  I have a friend that dyes my hair with a new permanent hair dye which lasts 6 months and adds highlights where the grey was.  It looks great and makes me feel so young so have a sit down with your stylist.

Just remember, there is nothing wrong with going grey.  We have seen this now in many people, especially celebrities and they look fabulous! 

Dryness...Oil glands shrink over time and they don’t produce oil efficiently.  When you were younger, oil coats your hair naturally.  When you are older, you are not producing as much oil which leaves your hair dry.

The best "fix" for this is to put oil in your hair.  Argan oil works great to hydrate your hair and you can find this ingredient in many hair products on your store shelves.  Remember, avoid hot heat, which can strip the oil in your hair.

Brittleness...This can be a sign of damaged hair and aging.  This can be the worse thing ever in the world; it quickly can lead to hair loss. 

 Your hair loses elasticity causing it to become brittle.  But there is hope; it is more often due to products you use.   Hair that is treated with chemicals like bleaches, straighteners or permanent dyes is more prone to breakage.  Give you hair some TLC by using protein rich hair treatments instead that can be found on your store shelves. Foods that have relatively high biotin content (Swiss chard and eggs) are a great source of vitamin D as well as a great way to help put oils back into your hair.

Hair Loss...For women, hormonal changes can affect hair growth patterns.    It’s not uncommon for menopausal women to experience hair thinning as well as hair loss.

 Nuts are good for fighting hair loss.  They have oils which contribute to the elastin in your hair and promote growth.  If you don’t have enough oil in your hair it will snap, but don’t overdo.
Iron deficiency is the second cause for hair loss.  Spinach and bok choy are rich in iron, beta carotene, folate and vitamin C, which keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.  Carrots are also rich in vitamin A which helps produce the oils for your hair as well.  Halibut and other kinds of fish are rich with magnesium and help with hair growth.  Greek yogurt can also help with your hair; low fat versions have vitamin B5 and vitamin D which is linked to hair health.  Use it as a substitute in your recipes instead of sour cream or add it to your morning cereal.  Be creative; it is yummy!