Oct 26, 2009
Cheers and see you at Mind Gas
Oct 17, 2009
The Sacramento Bee, Calif.
Broccoli gets a bad rap. If it's not then-President George H.W. Bush disparaging the veggie, it's Homer Simpson getting killed by eating a sprout on "The Simpsons." Clearly, broccoli needs a better agent. Take our quiz about the positives of this member of the cabbage family.
1. A recent study by London researchers found that the compound sulforaphane found in broccoli activates a protein that reduces inflammation ... where?
c) Large muscle groups
2. University of Illinois researchers found that broccoli with enhanced bioactive contents helps detoxify enzymes and might result in what breakthrough?
a) Preventing cancer
b) Preventing heart disease
c) Preventing kidney failure
3. Broccoli sprouts, according to UCLA researchers, can reduce the incidence of which condition?
a) Kidney stones
4. In addition to helping reverse heart damage in diabetics, according to researchers in Britain, broccoli consumption helps people suffering from what?
a) Liver disease
b) Crohn's disease
c) Kidney disease
5. According to the Web site www.groovyvegetarian.com, Tom "Broccoli" Landers holds the world record for eating a pound of broccoli in how many seconds?
ANSWERS: 1: b; 2: a; 3: b; 4: c; 5: c
Sources: The journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the journal Clinical Immunology, the journal Diabetes
Sep 16, 2009
LIFESTYLE RELATIONSHIP FINANCES
Heather Compton &
Available at www.retirementrocks.ca $24.95
I’ve been looking forward to this book for several months and the wait was worth it. First of all, yes the book deals with the financial aspects of how much is enough, designing a lifestyle to suit your financial abilities, taking care of the legalities, tax savings, investments, expenses, planning, pensions and money management issues. And yes, this is done in a way that is professional, understandable, engaging and sensitive. If I stopped at that point, I would say the authors gave great value for the investment of $24.95 and that I would have felt much more knowledgeable and prepared to look at my financial future.
What pleased me most about this book is that the writers decided to offer so much more than financial advice and looked at some of the most important issues about retirement and the most challenging for many. We have all laughed at the story of the stay-at-home wife who lives in fear as the clock strikes down to retirement and HE is going to be around the house all day. We have also seen people who retired to a recliner and reruns of I Love Lucy and died 2 years later from boredom. More and more, we are hearing from relationship professionals about late life marriage breakdowns. Rarely would a top flight retirement planning book take on these issues as part of the process of a successful last phase of our lives, and it is high time that someone did. Thankfully, retirement rocks! has done just exactly that.
The authors place primary importance on our lifestyle and relationships by placing these sections first in their book and it makes such good sense. It is easy to see that Heather and Dennis have worked hard and successfully at their own relationship and we are the better for it. They share their personal experience and have called upon many other examples to provide us with a full range of thought provoking and soul searching methods to make sure we have the most important parts of our lives in place before the frying pan of retirement hits us on the head. The two sections on Lifestyle and Relationships make this a book that is valuable and useful to people everywhere and not just in
Buy this book for the financial planning but
read it for the glimpse at a life worth living.
Robert J. Bannon
Sep 10, 2009
Sep 9, 2009
Obesity is on a rampage, with the World Health Organization pegging the numbers at more than 300 million worldwide, with a billion more overweight. With obesity comes the increased risk for cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and hypertension (see also University of California - Los Angeles).
Now comes more discouraging news. In the current online edition of the journal Human Brain Mapping, Paul Thompson, senior author and a UCLA professor of neurology, and lead author Cyrus A. Raji, a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues compared the brains of people who were obese, overweight, and of normal weight, to see if they had differences in brain structure; that is, did their brains look equally healthy.
They found that obese people had 8 percent less brain tissue than people with normal weight, while overweight people had 4 percent less tissue. According to Thompson, who is also a member of UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, this is the first time anyone has established a link between being overweight and having what he describes as "severe brain degeneration."
"That's a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer's and other diseases that attack the brain," said Thompson. "But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control."
The researchers used brain images from an earlier study called the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study. Scans were selected of 94 elderly people in their 70s who were healthy not cognitively impaired-five years after the scan was taken. To define the weight categories, they used the Body Mass Index (BMI), the most widely used measurement for obesity. Normal weight people were defined as having a BMI between 18.5-25; overweight people between 25-30, and obese people greater than 30. The researchers then converted the scans into detailed three-dimensional images using tensor-based morphometry, a neuroimaging method that offers high resolution mapping of anatomical differences in the brain.
In looking at both grey matter and white matter of the brain, they found that the people defined as obese had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory, and in the anterior cingulate gyrus (attention and executive functions), hippocampus (long term memory) and basal ganglia (movement). Overweight people showed brain loss in the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, white matter comprised of axons, and the parietal lobe (sensory lobe).
"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than the brains of those who were lean, and in overweight people looked eight years older," says Thompson.
"It seems that along with increased risk for health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, obesity is bad for your brain: we have linked it to shrinkage of brain areas that are also targeted by Alzheimer's," said Pittsburgh's Raji. "But that could mean exercising, eating right and keeping weight under control can maintain brain health with aging and potentially lower the risk for Alzheimer's and other dementias."
Keywords: Alzheimer Disease, Bariatrics, Cardiology, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Neurology, Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Obesity and Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Urology, University of California - Los Angeles.
This article was prepared by Cardiovascular Device Liability Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2009, Cardiovascular Device Liability Week via NewsRx.com.
To see more of the NewsRx.com, or to subscribe, go to http://www.newsrx.com .
Sep 7, 2009
Sep 4, 2009
Prostate Cancer Risks: Age, Race, Family, And Now Weight Gain
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services -- Unrestricted
Patrick Walsh, M.D., author of Guide To Surviving Prostate Cancer and Distinguished Service Professor of Urology--The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, is the world's foremost authority on prostate cancer. His book provides some striking news for men:
--More than 200,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.
--27,000 will die in the U.S. from it this year.
--Prostate cancer is the most common major cancer in men.
--Because prostate cancer is silent, generally without symptoms, early detection is the key.
--Men should begin being screened for prostate cancer at age 40.
--When prostate cancer is small, it is curable.
--More than 95% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are alive ten years later.
Dr. Walsh evaluates the three major risk factors--age, race, and family history. Prostate cancer is the scourge of older men (age 60-79) with a risk rate of 1 in 7 developing the cancer. The cancer frequently takes time to grow, over the course of decades.
The highest risk of prostate cancer hits African American men. Why this is, is not completely understood, but may involve genetic susceptibility, diet, and lack of vitamin D. Their cancers are also more likely to be severe types and recur.
Risk of prostate cancer grows higher with familial links. In fact, the risk is 2.5 times higher if your father or brother had prostate cancer. Hereditary prostate cancer, (possible risk of 50%) is believed to occur when three first degree family members had it, the disease shows itself in three generations, or if two relatives developed the disease earlier (less than age 55).
The most important action to take is to get screened, beginning at age 40. The PSA test can provide a baseline for later years. Dr. Walsh adds that those between the ages of 50 and 64 who die of prostate cancer, could very well have been saved if the disease had been caught while in their forties.
A recently released study from the online journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention (Sep 2009) has found that weight gain plays a major role in the development of prostate cancer.
Dr. Walsh includes a prevention chapter in his new second edition. He recommends men eat a minimum of five fruits and vegetables a day, especially focusing in on the cruciferous vegetables as cited from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli are examples of the type of vegetables which contain sulforaphane--an important anticancer ingredient which helps to increase potent enzymes in the body. In turn, the body is assisted in creating its own antioxidants to help ward off cancer.
Why Healthy Men Are Having Sex To see more of Basil and Spice, go to http://www.basilandspice.com/ Copyright (c) 2009, Basil and Spice Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.
Aug 18, 2009
Tai Chi Master Hoping His "Moving Medication" Cuts Health-care Costs
The Kansas City Star, Mo.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Bill Douglas has two words for a country desperate to cut its skyrocketing health care costs.
He's not kidding.
"If you look at a Kaiser Permanente study that says that 70 percent of illnesses are caused by stress, you're talking about a potential savings of trillions of dollars, year after year if we teach our citizens effective stress-management techniques on a massive scale."
For decades Douglas has believed that the regular practice of the Chinese martial art, meant to unblock the flow of energy though the body, can be used to treat and even prevent a wide range of illnesses.
The medical world is beginning to agree with him.
In a few weeks, Douglas will give a presentation to the National Institutes of Health focusing on tai chi as a modern health solution, the first ever. And thanks to what he calls a "groundbreaking tectonic shift in health care," he's taking some persuasive ammunition with him: a stamp of approval from Harvard Medical School.
The May 2009 Harvard Health Publication said that tai chi, often described as moving meditation, should more aptly be called moving medication.
Douglas is the 52-year-old tai chi instructor who started World Tai Chi Day 11 years ago in Kansas City, Mo.; the celebration is now observed in more than 65 countries. He has written the country's No. 1 selling book on the exercise, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tai Chi." He teaches a tai chi class at the Landon Center on Aging at KU Medical Center and has been a national source on the ancient art for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Reader's Digest.
"There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice ... has value in treating or preventing many health problems," it said. "And you can get started even if you aren't in top shape, or the best of health."
The Harvard publication included the latest research on how tai chi could benefit patients with arthritis, breast cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Parkinson's disease, stroke, even sleep problems and low bone density.
"This is big," Douglas said. "It's like riding a tsunami wave into Washington, D.C."
Douglas thinks tai chi should be taught in hospitals, senior centers, even public schools. He's working on a grant to take tai chi classes to seniors around the city.
His students have felt the benefits.
Josephine Hicks, 57, of Kansas City, Mo., says tai chi has greatly reduced her pain.
"I've had arthritis in my knees and shoulders, and it has helped me be able to move easier," she said.
Nan Bowers of Shawnee, Kan., is also a tai chi fan.
"It's wonderful," she said. "I'm 82 years old, and it's helped me with balance and breathing. It just makes me feel relaxed. When Bill was giving the lesson it was almost like I was floating above myself looking down. It was just that I was in so much comfort."
There are other benefits. One study showed tai chi could boost immune system resistance to viral infection by 50 percent and improve sleep quality.
"Everything goes back to the fact that we are accumulating stress in our lives," Douglas said. "Instead of trying to treat the sick leaves on my tree, I decided to go to the root - the stress - and treat that."
For Douglas the struggle to get tai chi's full potential recognized is a personal one. He remembers when doctors dismissed it and remembers his mother and father, who both died in their early 50s from stress-related heart attacks. He plans to avoid a similar fate.
He tried to share tai chi with his parents, but there was no validation of its effectiveness at the time, and they didn't stick with it.
Douglas gave his mother a book on Chinese philosophy a day before she went in for a balloon angioplasty.
"Apparently she had a premonition of her death because after she passed away in surgery my sister found the book I had loaned her and there was a note in it that said, 'I wish I could go back a few years and learn the arts of relaxation junior had tried to teach me. I so would have loved to see my grandchildren grow up.'
"That note has steeled me to take tai chi into the halls of medical power when some people were kind of laughing at it."
Douglas began doing tai chi 30 years ago.
"I was going through a lot of what people are going through today - job changes, job stress and insomnia," he said. "I was feeling overwhelmed. Today on all levels of our life we are being pushed through faster and faster change, and that change is stressful - even good change."
Tai chi helps him cope.
"What tai chi is designed to do is to cleanse all the stress static out of the mind, the heart and the body," he said.
Douglas says he has found his peace and his power and has taught it to as many people as he can. Now he wants to make sure the medical community understands the full benefits of the ancient martial art, so that even more people can experience them .
ON THE WEB
At Bill Douglas' World Tai Chi Day Web site (www.worldtaichiday.org) visitors will find a medical research library where they can look up almost 100 common health conditions and find the latest medical research on how tai chi may help treat or prevent those conditions.
Aug 11, 2009
Studies associate Mediterranean diet with lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline
Studies published in the August 12, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveal a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cognitive decline among individuals who report greater adherence to a Mediterranean type diet. The diet includes high amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereal, fish, and monounsaturated fats, lower amounts of saturated fats, red meat and poultry, and moderate alcohol consumption.
In one article, Nikolaos Scarmeas, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center and his associates evaluated data from 1,880 elderly men and women who did not have dementia upon recruitment into the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project. The subjects received neurological and neuropsychological testing every 1.5 years for an average 5.4 year follow-up period, during which 282 participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Greater physical activity alone was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, with a 25 percent average reduction in risk associated with some activity compared to no activity. Those who were categorized as participating in "much" physical activity experienced a 33 percent average lower risk.
When adherence to a Mediterranean diet was considered, those in the middle third of participants had an average 2 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, while those in the top third had experienced a 40 percent reduction compared to those in the lowest third.
Having both high levels of physical activity and adherence to the diet were also associated with a protective benefit. “Compared with individuals with low physical activity plus low adherence to a diet, high physical activity plus high diet adherence was associated with a 35 percent to 44 percent relative risk reduction," the authors write. “In summary, our results support the potentially independent and important role of both physical activity and dietary habits in relation to AD risk. These findings should be further evaluated in other populations.”
In a second study published in the journal, greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduction in cognitive decline.
Catherine Féart, PhD, of the Université Victor Ségalen in Bordeaux, France, and colleagues evaluated data from 1,410 participants aged 65 years and older in the Three-City cohort, a study of vascular risk factors and dementia. Participants were assessed for cognitive performance during 2001-2002 and were re-examined at least once over the following 5 years. Dietary questionnaires were scored from 0 to 9 for Mediterranean diet adherence.
Although greater adherence to the diet was associated with fewer errors over time on one neuropsychological test, indicating a reduction in cognitive decline, the risk of developing dementia was not associated with diet adherence.
“A variety of approaches to mitigating cerebrovascular disease in midlife exist, including diet, exercise, treatment of hypertension, treatment of diabetes, avoidance of obesity, and avoidance of smoking," writes David S. Knopman, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in an accompanying editorial. "The findings of Scarmeas et al and Féart et al fit into a larger and potentially optimistic view of prevention of late-life cognitive impairment through application, at least by midlife, of as many healthy behaviors as possible, including diet. Based on these 2 studies, diet may play a supporting role, but following a healthy diet does not occur in isolation.”
“The scientific value of these studies cannot be disputed, but whether and how they can or should be translated into recommendations for the public is the question.”
Jul 28, 2009
Jul 21, 2009
Expect to See This More Often, Scientists Say
The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA
Number of people worldwide today who are 100 or older. Estimated number of people who will be 100 or older in 2050. Estimated growth of the world's population that is 80 and older, by 2040. By Hope Yen
The Associated Pres
It's starting to get crowded in the 100-year-olds' club.
Once virtually nonexistent, the world's population of centenarians is projected to reach nearly 6 million by midcentury. That's pushing the median age toward 50 in many developed nations and challenging views of what it means to be old and middle-age.
The number of centenarians already has jumped from an estimated few thousand in 1950 to more than 340,000 worldwide today, with the highest concentrations in the United States and Japan, according to the latest Census Bureau figures and a report being released today by the National Institute on Aging.
Their numbers are projected to grow at more than 20 times the rates of the total population by 2050, making them the fastest- growing age segment.
Demographers attribute this boom to decades of medical advances and improved diets, which have reduced heart disease and stroke. Genetics and lifestyle also play a factor. So, too, do doctors who are more willing to aggressively treat the health problems of people once considered too old for such care.
"My parents are 86 and 87 and they're going strong, with my dad driving all over the place, so I've already told my financial planners that I'm going to live to at least 96," said Susan Ryckman, 61, as she walked around New York City . "As long as I'm not mentally and physically infirm, I'd like to live as long as I can," she said.
Japan, known for its low-fat staple of fish and rice, will have the most centenarians in 2050 - 627,000, or nearly 1 percent of its total population, according to census estimates.
Japan pays special respect to the elderly and has created a thriving industry in robotics to cater to its rapidly aging population.
Italy, Greece, Monaco and Singapore, aided by their temperate climates, also will have sizable shares of centenarians, most notably among women.
In the United States, centenarians are expected to increase from 75,000 to more than 600,000 by midcentury. Those primarily would be baby boomers hitting the 100-year mark. Their population growth could add to rising government costs for the strained Medicare and Social Security programs.
"The implications are more than considerable, and it depends on whether you're healthy or sick," said Dr. Robert N. Butler, president and chief executive of the International Longevity Center, a New York-based nonprofit group specializing in aging. "Healthy centenarians are not a problem, and many are. But if you have a demented, frail centenarian, they can be very expensive."
Butler predicted a surge in demand in the United States for nursing homes, assisted living centers and other special housing, given the wave of aging boomers who will be at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. He said federal and state governments may have to re-evaluate retirement benefits, age limits on driving and Medicare coverage as they struggle to redefine what it means to be old.
"We don't have a major coordinating figure such as a White House counselor to reach across all departments, and we need one," Butler said.
Wan He, a Census Bureau demographer who co-wrote the aging report, said families also will face more pressure. She noted that because of declining birth rates, there will be fewer family members to provide support if an older parent gets sick.
"For the current middle-aged people, it will be comforting to think they can live past 80," she said. "At the same time, we might see 70-year-old 'kids' taking care of their centenarian parents. It's a very stressful job, it's not paid, and it can have a lot of psychological influences for the caretakers."
Census estimates show:
* Come 2017, it will be the first time there will be more people 65 and older than there will be children younger than 5.
* The population of people 80 and older is projected to increase 233 percent by 2040, compared with a 160 percent increase for people 65 and over and 33 percent for the total population of all ages.
* Childlessness among European and U.S. women age 65 in 2005 ranged from less than 8 percent in the Czech Republic to 15 percent in Austria and Italy. About 20 percent of women 40 to 44 in the United States in 2006 were childless.
* Due to low birth rates, Japan's median age will increase from 37 in 1990 to 55 by 2050. The median age for the world during that same period will rise from 24 to 37, slowed by younger populations in Latin America and Africa.
* The median age in the United States will edge higher from 33 to 39 during that period, kept low by higher rates of immigration.
In the United States, experts say rising rates of obesity for people who are more sedentary or eat too much junk food could take a toll on life expectancy. AARP and other groups are trying to promote healthier lifestyles.
AARP is conducting a 10-month pilot project in Albert Lea, Minn., aimed at extending the life spans of residents by two years. The group is working with the city to make it easier to get around on foot or bike, develop social networks and provide more healthful fast-food options .
A recent Pew Research Center poll of 2,969 adults found that Americans, on average, would like to live to 89; the current life span is 78. One in five people would like to live past 90, while 8 percent would like to pass the century mark.
Jul 11, 2009
5 ways to age gracefully
Jul. 5--Despite its reputation, aging doesn't have to be a miserable process. Though some factors -- our parents and the genes we inherit from them -- may be out of our control, we can greatly influence how we enter the golden years by doing simple things, aging experts say.
As it is, Americans are living longer than ever -- the average man can expect to survive 75.2 years. Women have a life expectancy of 80.4.
But if you want to make it to 100 -- or even 120 -- you have to want to live that long.
"Having a positive attitude toward aging is often overlooked," said Erdman Palmore, 79, a professor emeritus of medical sociology at the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Because of ageism, Palmore said, "many elders fear aging, deny it, and behave in stereotypical ways by becoming inactive and attributing ailments to 'aging' instead of trying to overcome them."
In addition to the usual anti-aging suggestions -- get more sleep and stop smoking -- the following five strategies can help boost your resilience. We can't guarantee you'll live to 100, but try these to make the journey more enjoyable.
1 Find a purpose. It will naturally bring you in contact with others and decrease isolation, which can cut years off your age. Helene Weinberger, 86, volunteers at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Cleveland, where she inspires residents to write their local politicians. Clarice Morant of Washington, D.C., who died in June at 106, took care of her ailing brother and sister -- both in their 90s -- when she was 100. "Research shows that those who stay more socially active -- getting together with friends and family, joining clubs, volunteering -- live longer and maintain better cognitive and physical functioning," said Teresa Seeman, a geriatrics researcher and professor of medicine and epidemiology in the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health.
2 Make exercise your job. First, redefine "exercise." Any movement is beneficial; you don't have to go to the gym four days a week, said John Rowe, who leads the MacArthur Foundation's Initiative on An Aging Society and co-wrote the book "Successful Aging." Even a fairly moderate 30-minute walk, several times a week yields 70 percent of the benefits of aerobic exercise, Rowe said. Family physician Don Kennedy, who specializes in geriatrics in Florida, tells his patients to head off to exercise in the same way they used to leave for work: same time, every day. "Keep it simple, do it for at least 20 minutes and prepare whatever you need to do the night before," he said. Movement is also critical nutrition for your joints. To sneak it into your day, opt for the less-convenient ways of getting things done -- walk whenever you might drive or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
3 Spread your meals, not your waist. Maoshing Ni, known as "Dr. Wow" on the television show "Sex and the City," tells clients to eat five or six little meals rather than two or three big ones. "It's portion control; that way you never over-eat," he said. "If you eat more frequently, your metabolism will naturally speed up." By the same token, Ni said, skipping meals or eating large ones causes the metabolism to slow. Obesity causes osteoarthritis and is the greatest risk factor of high blood pressure and stroke. "Under-eating promotes longevity and slows down the aging process," said Ni, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. You don't have to be a vegetarian, but eating less red or processed meat can also help reduce your risk of death, according to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
4 Embrace your inner otter. Lin Wellford, 58, was kayaking on a Florida river several years ago when she saw a group of otters frolicking. Otters, she realized, know how to have fun and seek out adventure. "I was more like a beaver -- always on task, bustling through my days and guilty if I was not accomplishing enough," she said. Once she made an effort to be more like the fun-loving otter, people began mistaking her grandchildren for her own kids. Grandchildren -- and younger people in general -- can have a significant anti-aging effect, Wellford has discovered. There's no better way to stay young than to nurture friendships with younger people, she said. They can benefit from your wisdom; you'll be invigorated with vitality and enthusiasm.
5 Get balanced. If you're worried about falling, it could be a red flag that you're headed for one. A hip fracture shortens your life expectancy by six years, said Dr. William Meller, an expert in evolutionary medicine. Mind-body exercises such as yoga and tai chi are excellent ways to improve balance to prevent spills, and they increase flexibility and strength. And, according to yoga philosophy, it's the flexibility of the spine -- not your birthday -- that determines your age. Moreover, we lose 1 to 2 percent of our strength each year, which makes us less active. In addition to improving strength, tai chi (or meditation in motion) has been shown to improve immunity, cardiac function, sleep quality and balance, said Yang Yang, director of the Center for Taiji and Qigong Studies in New York. A bonus? "Tai chi practice improves awareness -- of ourselves and of the rest of the world -- which leads to a tranquil and happy life," said Yang. "There is a famous saying: 'Smile one smile and you are 10 years younger, add more worries and you add gray hair.' "
Jul 7, 2009
Slow Aging with BlueBerries
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jul. 3--Millions of people enjoy blueberries because they taste good and are versatile enough to be part of many different menu items. Blueberries, however, are also nutrient-rich and offer a host of health benefits, one of which may be slowing down the aging process.
This isn't to say that blueberries can turn back the hands of time, but they may help slow down some of the typical side effects of aging, most notably diminished mental capacity. In a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center laboratory study, researchers fed blueberry extractions to lab mice. The extractions were the equivalent of a human eating one cup of blueberries per day. The mice were then run through a series of motor tests. The mice who were given the blueberry extractions performed better than the control group on motor functions and memory. They also showed an increase of exploratory behavior.
The antioxidant components of blueberries that give them their vivid colour help reduce oxidative stress, as observed after looking at the brains of the treated mice. Oxidative stress is damage to cell membranes and DNA from free radicals. Antioxidants are known to find and eradicate free radicals. Oxidative stress is thought to be a main culprit in many of the dysfunctions and diseases common to aging.
The research on mice bodes well for people, primarily because the senior population in so many countries continues to grow. By 2050 it is estimated that more than 30 percent of the population will be over 65. It's likely that these individuals will be interested in looking and feeling their best for years to come.
Because of their neurological, motor-function link, blueberries may be essential to reducing the severity of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Apart from anti-aging properties, blueberries and their antioxidants can help with general health as well. There have been links to diets rich in blueberries and urinary tract health due to reduction of the adhesion of bacteria. Plus, blueberries may play a role in preventing certain cancers and cardiac issues.
Individuals interested in adding blueberries to their diet can do so in many ways. Whether enjoying blueberries atop cereals, on muffins or simply straight out of the refrigerator, incorporating servings of this fruit into a diet can be beneficial and delicious.
Jun 29, 2009
Jun 22, 2009
Jun 14, 2009
I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, and I have even done it myself a couple of times unintentionally, but this one is real, and it's important.
Please send this warning to everyone on your e- mail list.
If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warm weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up,
DO NOT DO IT!! THIS IS A SCAM!!They only want to see you naked.
I wish I'd gotten this yesterday.
I feel so stupid.
Jun 11, 2009
Commencement address by Paul Hawken, author, environmentalist, entrepreneur. Commencement Address to the Class of 2009University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009
When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simpleshort talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean,shivering, startling, and graceful." No pressure there.
Let's begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation... but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don't poison the water, soil, or air, don't let the earth get overcrowded, and don't touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach,and really good food-but all that is changing.
There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn't afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world. The poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "So much has been destroyed I have cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world." There could be no better description. Humanity is coalescing. It is reconstituting the world, and the action is taking place in schoolrooms, farms, jungles, villages, campuses, companies, refuge camps, deserts, fisheries, and slums.
You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power. Like Mercy Corps, it works behind the scenes and gets the job done. Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. It is made up of teachers, children, peasants, businesspeople, rappers, organic farmers, nuns, artists, government workers, fisherfolk, engineers, students, incorrigible writers, weeping Muslims, concerned mothers, poets, doctors without borders, grieving Christians, street musicians, the President of the United States of America, and as the writer David James Duncan would say, the Creator, the One who loves us all in such a huge way.
There is a rabbinical teaching that says if the world is ending and the Messiah arrives, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," is Mary Oliver's description of moving away from the profane toward a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.
Millions of people are working on behalf of strangers, even if the evening news is usually about the death of strangers. This kindness of strangers has religious, even mythic origins, and very specific eighteenth-century roots. Abolitionists were the first people to create a national and global movement to defend the rights of those they did not know. Until that time, no group had filed a grievance except on behalf of itself. The founders of this movement were largely unknown -- Granville Clark, Thomas Clarkson, Josiah Wedgwood - and their goal was ridiculous on the face of it: at that time three out of four people in the world were enslaved. Enslaving each other was what human beings had done for ages. And the abolitionist movement was greeted with incredulity. Conservative spokesmen ridiculed the abolitionists as liberals, progressives, do-gooders, meddlers, and activists. They were told they would ruin the economy and drive England into poverty. But for the first time in history a group of people organized themselves to help people they would never know, from whom they would never receive direct or indirect benefit. And today tens of millions of people do this every day. It is called the world of non-profits, civil society, schools, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organizations,and companies who place social and environmental justice at the top of their strategic goals. The scope and scale of this effort is unparalleled in history.
The living world is not "out there" somewhere, but in your heart. What do we know about life? In the words of biologist Janine Benyus, life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. I can think of no better motto for a future economy. We have tens of thousands of abandoned homes without people and tens of thousands of abandoned people without homes. We have failed bankers advising failed regulators on how to save failed assets. We are the only species on the planet without full employment. Brilliant. We have an economy that tells us that it is cheaper to destroy earth in real time rather than renew, restore, and sustain it. You can print money to bail out a bank but you can't print life to bail out a planet. At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. We can either create assets for the future or take the assets of the future. One is called restoration and the other exploitation. And whenever we exploit the earth we exploit people and cause untold suffering. Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.
The first living cell came into being nearly 40 million centuries ago, and its direct descendants are in all of our bloodstreams. Literally you are breathing molecules this very second that were inhaled by Moses, MotherTeresa, and Bono. We are vastly interconnected. Our fates are inseparable. We are here because the dream of every cell is to become two cells. And dreams come true. In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a "little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven."
So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.
This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn't stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn't ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn't make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.
Jun 9, 2009
A review published in the June, 2009 issue of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that consuming high amounts of fruit and vegetables while avoiding excessive red meat, fat, dairy products and calories, may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer as well as help manage the disease.
Robert W.-L. Ma of the University of New South Wales and K. Chapman of the Cancer Council New South Wales in Kings Cross, Australia reviewed studies concerning the prostate cancer preventive effects of tomato and lycopene, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, green tea, soy, long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, selenium, and weight loss. They also included studies concerning the effects of meat, dairy products, calcium, beta-carotene and fats in increasing prostate cancer risk.
A separate review of dietary measures employed as therapeutic interventions for prostate cancer included studies that utilized plant based foods, lycopene, vitamin E, soy, and a low fat diet.
In their summaries of the preventive effects of the individual dietary components, the authors conclude that lycopene, soy, vitamin E supplements, and selenium may help protect against prostate cancer, and that cruciferous vegetables and green tea could help protect against advanced disease. In regard to omega-3 fatty acids, they note that some evidence suggests that only individuals with a specific variation in the COX-2 gene may benefit from their increased intake. Concerning dietary factors that have been proposed to increase prostate risk, the authors agree that high fat and meat consumption, particularly processed or charcoaled meats, could increase prostate cancer risk. The evidence available for dairy products and calcium, although mixed, suggests that high amounts of either might increase risk, although calcium at levels of 1000 milligrams per day or less does not appear to be associated with risk elevation. Regarding beta-carotene, the authors "concur with the WCRF/AICR report that beta-carotene is 'unlikely to have a substantial effect on the risk of prostate cancer.'"
"Although conclusive evidence is limited, the current data are indicative that a diet low in fat, high in vegetables and fruits, and avoiding high energy intake, excessive meat, excessive dairy products and calcium intake, is possibly effective in preventing prostate cancer," the authors write. "The dietary recommendations for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer are similar to those aiming to reduce their risk of prostate cancer."
"In patients with prostate cancer, dietary therapy allows patients to be an active participant in their treatment," they note.
Jun 4, 2009
One area of Boomer Health that is extremely important is healthy finances and in these times it is more important than ever to concentrate on our personal affairs. It is easy to get caught up in all of the shenanigans eminating from Washington, Ottawa and other political centers and use that as an excuse to ignore our own money. I know that many of you simply left the unopened bank and broker statements in a drawer and hoped the nightmare would soon be over. It is time to open them and take the time to face reality and decide what to do. I am really looking forward to a new book that will be released later this summer that was written by two friends of mine. It is about retirement planning and will deal with financial reality as well as lifestyle issues. These are two very smart people who got it right and have the ability to help you and I do the same. I will pass on the information when it is available.
Many of us in the Boomer generation are beginning to realize that retirement may require having an active source of income in addition to investment income. In upcoming blogs I will introduce you to some sources of money that you may not have considered before and that are ideal for people who want to create more freedom of time and less stress about how to enjoy it. Stay tuned for that information but in the meantime, take care of your health and fitness so that you can actually spend your money!
May 28, 2009
There is a bit of a disconnect between what our bodies were originally designed to accomplish and what has evolved into modern fitness practices. I started working out in high school and have sporadically dragged myself into a gym or out on a roadway or hiking path since then with the goal of "getting into shape." I always thought that the right approach was to continually push myself to lift more weight more frequently, jog further and more often, to the point where workouts would run into an hour and more, not counting travel time. Like so many others, I would simply get tired of doing this every day or other day, get pressed for time to fit it in or injure myself from the repetitive strain and eventually the whole process would grind to a halt.
Dr. Al Sears, MD is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Youth Sports Coaches Association and an ACE certified fitness trainer. In addition, he has a worldwide readership of millions from over 123 countries and has appeared on over 50 national radio programs, ABC, CNN amd ESPN. He lives in Florida where he has helped transform the lives of over 20,000 patients. I originally heard about him from another doctor whom I highly respect for his commitment to functional medicine and began to read Dr. Sears' reports and research. He made so much sense when he described how and why our bodies respond to workload (physical training) stress and why it is so often counter-productive and entirely too time consuming. Here's the crux of his program: our bodies are designed for short bursts of intense energy and strength based on our ancient need to escape the many dangers that lurked around us. When ancient homo sapiens began walking upright, we weren't the most dangerous animal in the woods. We didn't have guns, bows and arrows, smart bombs and night vision binoculars. We had 2 things - our wits and our legs, and they both needed to work very fast or we became dinner for some sabre toothed tiger. We have been smart enough, as a species over the centuries, to change the landscape and climb to the top of the food chain based on our intelligence, but our bodies are still designed for escape. This is why the largest muscles in our body exist in our legs and why we need to make sure they remain the strongest.
Dr. Sears presents a program designed to use the inherent qualities of our body rather than fight against our natural needs by forcing our muscles into performing long and damaging training routines that are actually doing more harm than good. Here's the good news - he offers a series of excercise modules that are done in 10-12 minutes - and that's 10 minutes per day! In addition to specific recommendations, he gives his readers all sorts of options and skills to create the strong, lean bodies that are hiding inside each of us. He includes charting formats to track progress and keep us not only on track but always changing the elements of a workout routine to keep us fresh and more importantly, healthier, stronger and happier. You will learn and experience why it is better to spend 90 seconds in intense exercise and then 2 minutes of rest. You will see why our bodies continue to use up fat stores hours after our routines have ended when we set them up to do so. I know this to be true because I have experienced it personally. Following Dr. Sears' program along with a diet that is very low in processed foods has allowed me to lose 40 pounds in 4 months and I am now stronger and healthier than I was when I hiked the 45 mile West Coast Trail, 5 years ago.
I strongly recommend going to Dr. Sears' website and checking out his book - Rediscover Your Native Fitness. I had been spending a little over an hour a day in a combination of aerobic and weight training and must admit, I was making some progress but sometimes the time commitment made it very impractical. I could see myself falling into an old rut of changing my routine to every other day and then missing a long weekend and so on and so on until I was back to waving a golf club at a ball once a week and calling it exercise. The PACE program, introduced in Dr. Sears' book, made the whole "getting into shape" deal manageable and realistic. Honestly, I no longer dread going down to the basement and slugging it out on the treadmill for an hour or worse, getting in my car, going to the gym (with all of those annoyingly athletic hard bodies), changing my clothes, finding a machine, cleaning it, changing the weights to a lighter number, doing a set, watching while someone else claims and adjusts it, cleaning it again, doing set number 2 and after an hour or so of this, changing my clothes, driving home and making dinner. I'm exhausted just writing about it! Now, I hit the exercise mat or the treadmill for 12 minutes, relax on the deck afterwards while soaking up a little vitamin D and I'm getting better results, feeling better, looking better and losing weight.
I've dialed up the intensity and dialed down the time spent. This program works for me and I know it will work for you too. It is ideal for people who are a little more mature (in years) and who want to get on with life and don't require the social "possibilities" of working out in a gym...not that there is anything wrong with that. Let's face it, we could still go to the gym, pay our money and use this program to get incredibly fit and have a little more time to stand around and admire ourselves and others. Perhaps I should install a mirror in my basement.
May 27, 2009
The results of a meta-analysis published in the May 1, 2009 issue of the American Heart Association journal Stroke revealed that men and women who consumed at least three cups of green or black tea per day had a lower risk of stroke than those who consumed less than one cup.
For their review, Lenore Arab, PhD and her colleagues at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine selected 9 epidemiological studies that included data on tea intake and fatal or nonfatal stroke outcomes. The studies included a total of 194,965 participants in 6 different countries, among whom 4,378 strokes occurred.
The pooled analysis uncovered a 21 percent lower risk of fatal or nonfatal stroke among those who consumed three or more cups of tea per day compared to those whose intake was reported at less than one cup per day. The findings involved participants from diverse geographical areas and were consistent whether green or black tea was consumed.
Although the analysis did not break down stroke according to type, the authors believe that the association observed is likely to be due primarily to tea's effect on ischemic stroke. In their discussion of possible mechanisms for tea against stroke, they note that although tea's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions are frequently cited, green and black tea have also been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure in an experimental model of hypertension, a condition that is a strong risk factor for stroke. Additionally, tea has been shown to enhance endothelial function, which, when reduced, impairs cerebral blood flow. Furthermore, a compound found in tea known as theanine readily crosses into the brain, where it may provide a neuroprotective effect.
"The observational, epidemiological research in humans is strongly supportive of the hypothesis that tea consumption, at the level of greater than or equal to 3 cups per day, either as green or black tea, reduces the risk of occurrence of stroke, stroke volume, and mortality from stroke," the authors conclude.
May 25, 2009
This advice comes from a friend of this corner, Dr. Al Sears. For daily stretching, you should focus on three areas of the body. These are the areas that tend to get the most strain from your daily activities, such as sitting at a desk all day:
The front of your shoulders
The front of your hips
Here are my favorite three stretches from The Stretching Institute that are great for your shoulders, hips, and back. Try them out for yourself.
Reverse Shoulder Stretch: You need to stretch these muscles because they shorten from most types of work like lifting, throwing, running, walking, jumping, and swimming.
How To: Stand upright and clasp your hands together behind your back. Keep your arms straight and slowly lift your hands upward.
Lying Crossover Knee Pull Down Stretch: You need to stretch your hips because sitting causes shortening of the muscles of the front of the hip, particularly if you sit for long periods. And stretching your hip flexors muscles several times a week will also help prevent lower back pain.
How To: Lie on your back and cross one leg over the other. Bring your foot up to your opposite knee and with your opposite arm gently push your raised knee down towards the ground. Repeat with the other leg.
Lying Knee-to-Chest Stretch: Stretching your back gives you more mobility, which improves athletic ability. And, it helps to eliminate back pain by improving posture.How To: Lie on your back and keep one leg flat on the ground. Use your hands to bring your other knee into your chest. Repeat with the other leg.
For maximum benefit you should hold your stretches for at least 20 seconds. And do 3 to 5 reps for each muscle group.
There you have it - todays good health lesson.
May 23, 2009
WHO: You can check my profile for some of the more mundane things but here's the deal; I don't think I ever really left school even though there are a few periods in my life when I thought that I knew everything. For a large part of my 60+ years I have been an addicted reader. It started at the breakfast table with cereal boxes and has become a progressively more compulsive behaviour as the years have passed until I discovered the internet. Now, it rages in my hormones like a drug addiction - I can't seem to get enough. As I get closer to that so-called retirement age, my reading has begun to focus on things related to our health - all kinds of health, physical, mental, fiscal, spiritual and anything else I can squeeze into that category. I read a very wide variety of sources and find connections, opportunities and information that present some very exciting and valuable possibilities for people to explore.
WHAT: The HEALTH FULL BOOMER is a place to present this information in language that takes the mystery out of research, the complexity out of technology and the hours out of boring investigation so that you can find what you need to know in your own life to be full of health. As often as possible, we will offer free reports that distill the facts about all sorts of things including exercise, nutrition, money, travel and whatever else strikes my fancy or yours. Send your request through the "comments" format of this blog.
WHERE: Somehow or other you have found yourself here and if you feel that what is reported in this space is, or will be valuable, then add this site to your favourites and come back every few days. There are much easier ways to access this spot though and without having to remember to do so. If you use Google, then on the homepage of your search engine, look for a link that says "Reader" where you can create an automatic feed from this site - follow the directions you find there but you might want to save this address first. Other search engines have similar programs. We will soon be adding an option, depending on response, that will allow you to add your email address to our subscription program and receive each and every posting absolutely FREE.
WHEN: I don't expect to publish a post on a daily basis but only as valuable information becomes available that you will find is important and worthwhile. There are millions of words added to the internet daily and just as much published by conventional means and it is impossible to digest all of it and introduce it to you every single day. That is why we will do so only when it makes sense and we have something that is important enough to access your valuable time. That is why opting into our subscription program will be your best way to utilize this service.
WHY: Here are my 5 main strengths according to a very recent assessment that I did;
Input - "...craving to know more...collect and archive all kinds of information."
Ideation - "...fascinated with ideas...finds connections between seemingly disparate phenomena."
Intellection - "...intellectual activity...appreciate intellectual discussions."
Empathy - "...sense feelings and imagining themselves in others' lives or situations." a need to help.
Futuristic - "...inspired by what could be..vision of the future."
Those characteristics of who I am really sum it all up and provide the reason I am presenting this forum to you. I especially love to read information that is both cutting edge and controversial and we now live in a time when technology makes it possible to find it without endless treks to libraries and long lists of magazine subscriptions. The fact that I don't have a PHD in some esoteric area of study means that I have to keep asking or researching a subject in order to understand it - it also means that you get to leverage my efforts by eliminating the need to do the same thing yourself. We will cut through the jargon to find out how revolutionary research affects our lives and what we can do about it right now. Mostly, we find out how we can benefit from all of this information about health - all kinds of health. Welcome to your life as a HEALTH FULL BOOMER !
If you find the prospect of what is in these pages interesting, then please forward our efforts to a friend - the more the merrier.