Step by step by step by step. Walking, as it turns out, just might keep your brain sharp well into retirement age. So slip on those sneakers and read this.
New research shows that walking about six miles per week may protect brain size and, in turn, preserve memory in old age. The study was published in the latest online issue of “Neurology.” And what jumps out about that finding is that six miles a week is not an awfully significant distance!
The size of your brain shrinks in late adulthood. This can trigger problems with memory. Age-related memory loss is a common problem in society, but one misconception is that it’s something we all have to live with, because it happens naturally. In fact, this isn’t correct at all. There are many ways to help protect your memory as you age. And this study focuses on one: the exercise option. Continue reading →
In a prospective study involving 1,409 individuals aged 65 to 79 years of age, results indicate that regular consumption of coffee during midlife may reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) later in life. During an average follow-up of 21 years, 61 cases of dementia (48 with AD) were identified. After adjusting for confounders, persons who consumed 3-5 cups of coffee per day during midlife showed a 65% reduced risk of dementia in later life, compared to persons who drank little or no coffee per day. Thus, the authors conclude, “Coffee drinking at midlife is associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD later in life. This finding might open possibilities for prevention of dementia/AD.”
MADISON – A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has created the strongest form of collagen known to science, a stable alternative to human collagen that could one day be used to treat arthritis and other conditions that result from collagen defects.
“It’s by far the most stable collagen ever made,” says Ron Raines, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of chemistry and biochemistry who led the study, published in the Jan. 12 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, forming strong sheets and cables that support the structure of skin, internal organs, cartilage and bones, as well as all the connective tissue in between. For decades, doctors have used collagen from cows to treat serious burns and other wounds in humans despite the risk of tissue rejection associated with cross-species transplants.
In 2006, Raines’ team d out how to make human collagen in the lab, creating collagen molecules longer than any found in nature. Now, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the researchers have taken this line of inquiry one step further, creating a form of super-strong collagen that may one day help millions. Raines says this artificial collagen holds promise as a therapy for conditions such as arthritis, which is caused by a breakdown of the body’s natural collagen and affects more than 46 million Americans.
To make the new form of collagen, Raines’ team substituted two-thirds of the protein’s regular amino acids with less-flexible versions that stiffened the overall structure of the protein and helped it hold its form. “The breakthrough of this approach was the use of rigid analogues that have shapes similar to [the shapes the natural amino acids take] in the folded, functional form of the protein,” explains Raines.
The resulting collagen holds together at temperatures far above what it takes for natural collagen to fall apart. And although it’s built largely from amino acids that aren’t found in nature, X-ray crystallography confirms that the three-dimensional structure of the lab-made collagen is indistinguishable from that of natural collagen, according to UW-Madison bacteriologist Katrina Forest, a co-author of the study.
“This hyper-stable collagen is really a testament to the power of modern protein chemistry,” says Raines.
ROCHESTER – Paying attention to Mother Nature not only feels good, it also makes you a better person, says a new study.
The study has been published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“Stopping to experience our natural surroundings can have social as well as personal benefits,” says RichardRyan, coauthor and professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester.
While the salubrious effects of nature are well documented, from increasing happiness and physical health to lowering stress, this study shows that the benefits extend to a person’s values and actions.
Exposure to natural as opposed to man-made environments leads people to value community and close relationships and to be more generous with money, find Ryan and his team of researchers at the University of Rochester.
The paper includes four experiments in which 370 participants were exposed to either natural or man-made settings. Participants were encouraged to attend to their environments by noticing colors and textures and imagining sounds and smells.
In three of the studies, participants were shown a selection of four images on a 19 inch computer screen for two minutes each. Half of the subject viewed buildings, roads, and other cityscapes; the other half observed landscapes, lakes, and deserts. The urban and nature images were matched for color, complexity, layout, and lighting.
In a fourth study, participants were simply assigned at random to work in a lab with or without plants.
Participants then answered a questionnaire assessing the importance of four life aspirations: wealth and fame (”to be financially successful” and “to be admired by many people”) and connectedness and community (”to have deep enduring relationships” and “to work toward the betterment of society”).
Across all four studies, people exposed to natural elements rated close relationships and community higher than they had previously. The questionnaire also measured how immersed viewers were in their environments and found that the more deeply engaged subjects were with natural settings, the more they valued community and closeness. By contrast, the more intensely participants focused on artificial elements, the higher they rated wealth and fame.
To test generosity, two of the studies gave participants a 5-dollar prize with the instructions that the money could be kept or given to a second anonymous participant, who would then be given an additional 5-dollar. The second participant could choose to return the prize money or keep it. Thus, subjects had nothing to gain if they chose to trust the other participant, and risked losing their money.
The result revealed people who were in contact with nature were more willing to open their wallets and share. As with aspirations, the higher the immersion in nature, the more likely subjects were to be generous with their winnings.
Lead author NettaWeinstein says that the findings highlight the importance of creating green spaces in cities and have implication for planners and architects.
The raw potato juice therapy is considered one of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The traditional method of preparing potato juice is to cut a medium-sized potato into thin slices, without peeling the skin, and place the slices overnight in a large glass filled with cold water. The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fresh juice can also be extracted from potatoes. A medium-sized potato should be diluted with a cup of water and drunk first thing in the morning.
Arthritis treatment using Other Raw Juices
One cup of green juice, extracted from any green leafy vegetable, mixed in equal proportions with carrot, celery, and red beet juices is good for arthritis. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues. A cup of fresh pineapple juice is also valuable, as the enzyme bromelain in fresh pineapple juice reduces swelling and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis treatment using Sesame Seeds
A teaspoon of black sesame seeds, soaked in a quarter cup of water and kept overnight, has been found to be effective in preventing frequent joint pains. The water in which the seeds are soaked should also be taken along with the seeds first thing in the morning.
Arthritis treatment using Copper
Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container accumulates traces of copper, which is said to strengthen the muscular system. A copper ring or bracelet is worn for the same reason.
Arthritis treatment using Calcium
Studies have shown that calcium can help arthritis. Several patients have discovered that joint pains have either been relieved or have disappeared entirely after taking calcium. This mineral should be taken in the form of calcium lactate. Two teaspoons of calcium lactate, each teaspoon providing 400 mg of absorbable calcium, may be taken three times daily in water, before meals for at least four months.
Arthritis treatment using Garlic
Garlic is another effective remedy for arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory property which accounts for its effectiveness in the treatment of this disease. Garlic may be taken raw or cooked according to individual preference.
Arthritis treatment using Bananas
Bananas, being a rich source of vitamin B6, have proved useful in the treatment of arthritis. A diet of only bananas for three or four days is advised in treating this condition. The patient may eat eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.
Arthritis treatment using Lime
Lime has also been found beneficial as a home remedy for arthritis. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of some types of arthritis. The juice of one lime, diluted with water, may be taken once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.
Arthritis treatment using Alfalfa
A tea made from the herb alfalfa, especially from its seeds, has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis. One teaspoon of alfalfa seeds may be added to one cup of water. Three to four cups of this tea should be taken daily by arthritics for at least two weeks.
Arthritis treatment using Green Gram Soup
Another home remedy found useful in relieving pains in the joints is the use of green gram soup. This soup should be prepared by mixing a tablespoon of green gram in a cup of water, with two crushed garlic cloves. It should be taken twice a day.
Arthritis treatment using Castor Oil
Treatment with castor oil has been found beneficial in arthritis. The procedure, as prescribed by a Spanish doctor, is to boil two tablespoons of castor oil over a stove burner. The oil should then be poured into a glass of fresh orange juice and taken before breakfast daily till the disease is cured. It was advised to patients to take it for three weeks, wait for another three weeks and then repeat it again for another three weeks. It is, however, essential that the patient must take an alkaline diet while adopting this mode of treatment otherwise the value of the treatment will be lost.
Arthritis treatment using Coconut or Mustard Oil
Warm coconut oil or mustard oil, mixed with two or three pieces of camphor should be massaged on stiff and aching joints. It will increase blood supply, and reduce inflammation and stiffness with the gentle warmth produced while massaging. Camphorated oil is an ancient rubefacient used for the purpose.
Take fruits and vegetables in the form of salads
The diet of an arthritis patient should be planned so as to produce alkalinity in the blood. It should include fruits and vegetables in the form of salads, and, at least, two cooked vegetables. In severe cases, it would be advisable to put the patient on raw vegetable juice therapy three times a day, for about a week. Repeated juice fasts are recommended at intervals of every two months.
Other Arthritis treatments
Keep body warm, don’t bandage joints
The body should be kept warm at all times . Joints should not be bandaged tightly as this limits movement and interferes with the free circulation of blood.
Take rest, should have plenty of indirect ventilation
There should be plenty of indirect ventilation in the bedroom. Rest is advised when there is acute inflammation in the joints.
Sea bathing has been found valuable in arthritis. The natural iodine in sea water is said to relieve arthritis pain. As is well known, Iodine regulates the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues, helps to repair and regenerate worn out tissues and nourishes the skeletal structure. It enters into the thyroid gland’s secretion. The hormone uses the iodine to cleanse the internal toxins. If sea bathing is not possible, the patient should relax for thirty minutes every night in a tub of warm water, in which a cup of common salt has been mixed. The minerals in the salt,especially Iodine, will be absorbed through the pores of the skin. This will help correct an internal imbalance.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, so you get it through the foods you eat. Next to iron, zinc is the most common trace mineral in the body and is found in every cell. It has been used since ancient times to help heal wounds and plays an important role in the immune system, reproduction, growth, taste, vision, and smell, blood clotting, and proper insulin and thyroid function.
Zinc also has some antioxidant properties. Therefore it helps protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants such as zinc can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Your body doesn’t need a large amount of zinc; the recommended daily allowance for adults is 8 – 11 mg. A mild zinc deficiency isn’t uncommon but taking a multivitamin plus eating a healthy diet should give you all the zinc you need. It’s rare for people in industrialized countries to be seriously deficient in zinc. Low zinc levels are sometimes seen in the elderly, alcoholics, people with anorexia, and people on very restricted diets. People who have malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, may also be deficient in zinc.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, poor growth, weight loss, lack of taste or smell, poor wound healing, skin problems (such as acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis), hair loss, lack of menstrual period, night blindness, white spots on the fingernails, and depression.
Zinc lessens the amount of copper your body absorbs, and high doses of zinc can cause a copper deficiency. For that reason, it is usually recommended that you take 2 mg of copper along with a zinc supplement.
Some studies suggest that taking oral zinc supplements may help improve acne. However, most studies used a high dose of zinc that could have toxic effects, and not all studies found any benefit. There is some evidence that a topical form of zinc, used in conjunction with the topical antibiotic erythromycin, might be helpful.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Zinc is often recommended to slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that occurs when the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision, starts to deteriorate. A major clinical trial, the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS1), found that people who had macular degeneration could slow its progression by taking zinc (80 mg), vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 mg), beta-carotene (15 mg), and copper (2 mg). But not all studies have found zinc to be helpful. One 2007 study found that people with macular degeneration had deposits with high levels of zinc, leading some researchers to wonder if zinc actually contributes to macular degeneration. A new study, AREDS2, is examining exactly what role zinc plays in macular degeneration.
Many people believe that taking zinc lozenges or using zinc nasal spray when they first show signs of a cold can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms, but the evidence is decidedly mixed. More and better studies are needed that examine which kinds of zinc may be effective and against which kinds of cold viruses.
Zinc is necessary for a healthy immune system, and people who are deficient in zinc tend to be more susceptible to a variety of infections. For that reason, zinc supplements are sometimes suggested to improve your overall immunity and ward off infections, but that may only work if you are deficient in zinc to start with.
Sickle Cell Disease
People who have sickle cell disease are often deficient in zinc. Studies suggest that taking zinc supplements may help reduce symptoms of the disease. Children who took zinc showed improvements in height and weight, and had fewer sickle-cell crises.
Some studies suggest that zinc may help speed the healing of gastric ulcers.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Some evidence suggests that taking zinc may cause a slight improvement in symptoms, reducing hyperactivity, impulsivity, and impaired socialization in children. However, there was no change in attention deficit symptoms, and zinc may only benefit children who are deficient to start with. Zinc may be most helpful to children with a high body mass index, low levels of free fatty acids in their blood, and low levels of zinc.
Topical preparations of zinc have shown benefit in relieving symptoms and preventing recurrences of oral herpes lesions (canker sores).
Zinc deficiency is common in people with HIV (even before symptoms appear) or AIDS. In people with AIDS, low levels of zinc may be a result of poor absorption, medications, and loss of this important nutrient through vomiting or diarrhea. Zinc deficiency leads to increased susceptibility to infection in people with AIDS (called an opportunistic infection). Some studies show that HIV positive people who take zinc have fewer infections, gain more weight, and have a better immune system response. But not all studies agree, and one even suggests that taking zinc may be associated with higher death rates. If you have HIV or AIDS, talk to your doctor before taking zinc or any supplement.
Some early research suggests that zinc may be beneficial in treating Wilson’s disease, a condition which causes copper to build up in the body. Because zinc lessens the body’s absorption of copper, it may help reduce levels of copper in people with Wilson’s disease.
Your body absorbs 20 – 40% of the zinc present in food. Zinc from animal foods like red meat, fish, and poultry is more readily absorbed by the body than zinc from plant foods. Zinc is best absorbed when taken with a meal that contains protein.
The best sources of zinc are oysters (richest source), red meats, poultry, cheese (ricotta, Swiss, gouda), shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. Other good, though less easily absorbed, sources of zinc include legumes (especially lima beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, soybeans, peanuts), whole grains, miso, tofu, brewer’s yeast, cooked greens, mushrooms, green beans, tahini, and pumpkin, and sunflower seeds.
Zinc is available in several forms. Zinc sulfate is the least expensive form, but it is the least easily absorbed and may cause stomach upset.
More easily absorbed forms of zinc are zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, zinc glycerate, and zinc monomethionine. If zinc sulfate causes stomach irritation, you can try another form, such as zinc citrate.
The amount of elemental zinc is listed on the product label (usually 30 – 50 mg). To determine the amount to take in supplement form, remember that you get about 10 – 15 mg from food.
Zinc lozenges, used for treating colds, are available in most drug stores. There are also nasal sprays developed to reduce nasal and sinus congestion. Nasal gels seem to work better than the spray.
How to Take It:
You should take zinc with water or juice. However, if zinc causes stomach upset, it can be taken with meals. Don’t take zinc at the same time as iron or calcium supplements.
A strong relationship exists between zinc and copper. Too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. Long-term use of zinc (including zinc in a multivitamin) should be accompanied by copper.
Do not give zinc supplements to a child without talking to your doctor.
Daily intake of dietary zinc (according to the U.S. recommended dietary allowances) are listed below:
* Infants birth to 6 months: 2 mg (AI)
* Infants 7 – 12 months: 3 mg (RDA)
* Children 1 – 3 years: 3 mg (RDA)
* Children 4 – 8 years: 5 mg (RDA)
* Children 9 – 13 years: 8 mg (RDA)
* Males 14 – 18 years: 11 mg (RDA)
* Females 14 – 18 years: 9 mg (RDA)
* Males 19 years and older: 11 mg (RDA)
* Females 19 years and older: 8 mg (RDA)
* Pregnant females 14 – 18 years: 12 mg (RDA)
* Pregnant females 19 years and older: 11 mg (RDA)
* Breastfeeding females 19 years and older: 12 mg (RDA)
Therapeutic ranges (elemental zinc):
* Men: 30 – 60 mg daily
* Women: 30 – 45 mg daily
You should not take high doses of zinc for more than a few days unless your doctor tells you to. Talk to your doctor before taking more than 40 mg of zinc per day.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
Research has shown that less than 40 mg a day is a safe amount to take over time, but researchers are not sure what happens if more is taken over a long period.
Common side effects of zinc include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and a metallic taste in the mouth. High doses of zinc can cause dizziness, headache, drowsiness, increased sweating, loss of muscle coordination, alcohol intolerance, hallucinations, and anemia.
Very high doses of zinc may actually weaken immune function. High doses of zinc may also lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol and raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use zinc without first talking to your health care provider.
Amiloride (Midamor) — Amiloride is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that may increase the levels of zinc in your blood. Do not take zinc supplements if you take amiloride.
Blood pressure medications, ACE Inhibitors — A class of medications called ACE inhibitors, used to treat high blood pressure, may decrease the levels of zinc in your blood. ACE inhibitors include:
* Captopril (Capoten)
* Benazepril (Lotensin)
* Enalapril (Vasotec)
* Lisinopril (Zestril)
* Fosinopril (Monopril)
* Ramipril (Altace)
* Perindopril (Aceon)
* Quinapril (Accupril)
* Moexipril (Univasc)
* Trandolapril (Mavik)
Antibiotics — Zinc may decrease your body’s absorption of two kinds of antibiotics, quinolones and tetracyclines. These include:
* Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
* Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
* Ofloxacin (Floxin)
* Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
* Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
* Gatifloxacin (Tequin)
* Minocycline (Minocin)
* Demeclocycline (Declomycin)
However, doxycycline (Vibramycin) does not seem to interact with zinc.
Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) — This drug, used for chemotherapy to treat some types of cancers, may cause more zinc to be excreted in your urine. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, do not take zinc or any other supplement without talking to your oncologist.
Deferoxamine (Desferal) — This medication, used to remove excess iron from the blood, also increases the amount of zinc that is lost in urine.
Immunosuppressant medications — Since zinc may make the immune system stronger, it should not be taken with corticosteroids (such a prednisone), cyclosporine, or other medications intended to suppress the immune system.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Zinc interacts with NSAIDs and could reduce the absorption and effectiveness of these medications. Examples of NSAIDs, which help to reduce pain and inflammation, include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naprosyn (Aleve), piroxicam (Feldene), and indomethacin (Indocin).
Penicillamine — This medication, used to treat Wilson’s disease (where excess copper builds up in the brain, liver, kidney, and eyes) and rheumatoid arthritis, decreases the levels of zinc in your blood.
Thiazide diuretics (water pills) — This class of medications lowers the amount of zinc in your blood by increasing the amount of zinc that is passed in your urine. If you take thiazide diuretics, your doctor will monitor levels of zinc and other important minerals in your blood:
BOSTON – Women who put on weight as they approach middle age are likely to reduce their chances of enjoying a healthy old age, according to new research.
The study suggests that women who have a high body mass index in middle age (height to weight ratio) are more likely to suffer from major chronic diseases like cancer and coronary heart disease and poor quality of life.
OscarFranco, clinical professor of public health at Warwick Medical School collaborated with researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
The research team found that for every kilo gained since the age of 18, the odds of healthy survival into old age decreased by five percent.
They also found that women who were overweight at the age of 18 and continued to gain weight as they grew older were most at risk of developing a major chronic disease.
The research team used the Nurses’ Health Study, which has gathered data from more than 1,20,000 female registered nurses living in 11 US states since 1976.
Follow-up questionnaires were sent out every two years to update information on disease incidence and lifestyle factors.
Franco said those study participants who had reached the age of 70 and were free of major chronic disease, had no major impairment of cognitive function and no major limitation of physical function were considered examples of ’successful aging.’
The study was published in the British Medical Journal.