A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Refined Carbs Trigger Food Cravings

(LiveScience) Refined carbohydrates such as corn syrup could trigger food cravings not unlike the cravings that drug addicts experience, new research suggests.
The findings … suggest that the quick spike and subsequent crash in blood sugar that comes after eating highly processed carbs activates reward and addiction centers in the brain.
The study was small and looked only at overweight and obese men, but if the findings can be replicated in a larger population, they would imply that avoiding refined carbohydrates is a good weight-loss strategy because people would avoid not only the calories, but the strong cravings they induce.
"Refined carbohydrates seem to be able to provoke food cravings many hours after consumption, at least in susceptible people," said study co-author David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center in Boston. "Limiting these foods could help overweight people avoid overeating."
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5 Clues You Are Addicted to Sugar

(Mark Hyman, MD) Kelly Brownell from Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has created a validated food questionnaire to help you determine if you are a food addict. He recently also published a textbook, Food and Addiction, that lays out the science of how our hyper-processed, hyper-palatable, hyper-sweet industrial food has hijacked our brain chemistry and biology.
Here are five clues you may be addicted to sugar, flour and processed food:
1.    You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
2.    You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
3.    You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
4.    You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
5.    You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.
If you are among those whose brain chemistry, taste buds and hormones have been hijacked by the food industry (up to 70 percent of us, including 40 percent of children), then it is time to stop blaming yourself and consider food rehab or a sugar detox. It is time for all of us to take back our health and demand that our children be protected from addictive substances in our schools and from the insidious marketing practices directed at them from the food industry.
Community: I first discovered that sugar causes havoc with my metabolism in the 1990s through the book, Sugar Busters, written by a group of New Orleans doctors. It and its progeny are still worth reading.
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Is It Fewer Carbs, More Fat or Both That’s So Good For You?

(Dr John La Puma) One of the most important nutrition and lifestyle research studies was just published in JAMA (it’s about prostate cancer prevention and treatment with fewer carbs and more foods with plant fat): the take-away is this:
*instead of rice or pasta with a meal, have a handful of toasted almonds or walnuts
*instead of bread and butter as an appetizer, have a handful of olives and nuts
*instead of cheese and croutons on a salad, have a full fat extra virgin olive oil drizzle and a few slices of avocado.
*instead of sour cream in a chicken or tuna salad, use guacamole or hummus…
[S]oon we’ll be able to see if it’s the subtraction of carbs (easily the best weight loss diet, and the most palatable, even if you do nothing else) or the addition of good fats (also the most pleasurable flavors for people to eat) that makes the real difference in chronic disease.
In the meanwhile, I would do both, and find someone who can guide you: you’ll eat more happily and pleasurably, and live longer, more naturally and better. Such a life starts with guacamole!
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"Food Is a Wonderful Place to Hide"

(Terese Weinstein Katz, Ph.D., Psychology Today) For many, starting in childhood or beyond, food becomes a source of solace and a companion—not only in hard times, but at the end of even normally stressful days. It’s something to look forward to, something that’s reliably there. This powerful emotional bond may be fully conscious, or not. When it exists, as it does for many who overeat, it’s no wonder that the diet of the moment won’t work, or that new regimes don’t last. In the lists of which foods to eat and avoid, dealing with the loss of this sanctuary gets missed, and the cycle of dieting and overeating resumes.
As with any significant change, the first step in breaking this cycle is awareness…
Tools exist to aid in the process of boosting awareness—food logs, for example. Tools exist to aid in riding through emotions like boredom or loneliness—mindfulness, stress management, journaling, etc. These tools can all help the complicated process of change. How much more effective would all weight management efforts be, though, if we all understood from the start that food may well soothe, keep company—or offer a “place to hide”.
The newest diet book or plan won’t ever work without acknowledging how it will feel to lose that place, even if it does manage to stem hunger. People sometimes describe quitting smoking as losing a friend. A similar mindset, brought to diet, could only help. No one expects quitting smoking to be easy, no matter what the advice or strategy followed. But the spate of diet books and articles we face, daily, seems to suggest that all we need to do is eat this way, or that. Problem solved. Asking how it will be to lose that friend seems a much better starting point for many diet resolutions.
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The Continuing Debate on Obesity as a Disease

(Hank Cardello, Hudson Institute) The American Medical Association’s announcement this week that it regards obesity as a disease is terrible news for food companies, public health advocates, and, most of all, the very people it intends to help, obese Americans. It could ignite new wars between the food industry and its antagonists; provide destructive new tools to hardcore food activists; derail the progress that the food and restaurant industries already have made in introducing healthier and lower-calorie options; and give consumers one more reason not to care about what they consume.
(Lee M. Kaplan, M.D., Campaign to End Obesity) The significance of the American Medical Association’s designation of obesity as a disease is not as a “new blunt instrument” with which to batter the food industry, nor should it be used to give a “hall pass” to our neighbors with obesity. Rather, its significance is that it highlights an important clinical reality and can lead to increased access to the very tools that patients, clinicians, family, and community members need to confront this public health catastrophe.
The simple fact is that obesity is a disease, a chronic, frequently progressive, and rarely remitting disorder that triggers an additional 65 or more other conditions ranging from arthritis and sleep apnea to many forms of cancer.
(Bill Cassidy, Lisa Murkowski, Tom Carper, Ron Kind) We recently introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill that takes important new steps in the fight against obesity. First, our bill encourages Medicare to expand access to weight management counseling for those who are obese or overweight… Second, our legislation lifts the ban on obesity drugs under the Medicare Prescription Drug program.
(Abigail C. Saguy, PhD, UCLA) [M]ore than half of "overweight" and almost one-third of "obese" people have normal profiles, according to a 2008 study. Moreover, almost one quarter of "normal weight" people have metabolic abnormalities. Treating obesity as a disease thus implies the overtreatment of 20 million obese (or 56 million overweight and obese) Americans who have no metabolic abnormalities and the undertreatment of 16 million "normal weight" Americans who have such abnormalities.
(Joe Nadglowski, Obesity Action Coalition) If we look at other diseases, such as alcoholism or mental illness, we can easily see how these groups struggled before their illnesses were classified as a disease… Obesity is a serious disease and it is our hope that the recognition of the complexity of obesity will reduce the significant and often far-reaching bias and discrimination associated with it and also encourage increased availability and access to the treatments of obesity for those who desire them.
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Weight Loss Tips

(Judith J. Wurtman, Ph.D., Psychology Today) There seems to be some sort of metabolic disconnect among the Dutch. They routinely snack or dine on take-out heavily salted French fries covered with mayonnaise. Yet walking around the streets of Amsterdam, as we did in a recent work/pleasure trip, it was hard to find more than a few who were obese… But the reason one does not see the more than 40% obesity that characterizes our country must be due more to their transportation, rather than their eating, habits. As a recent New York Times article described, it seems that everyone rides a bike. There are more bikes in Amsterdam than people. 
(MSNBC.com) Dieters who can’t stomach the idea of going hungry seven days a week just got good news: You might be able to drop more weight if you cut back on carbs just two days a week. British researchers found that women who essentially gave up carbs for two days and ate normally the rest of the time dropped about 9 pounds on average, as compared to the 5 pounds lost by women who cut back to around 1,500 calories every day.
(Bloomberg) Eating two large meals a day yielded more weight loss than consuming six mini-meals with the same number of calories, according to a study that challenges the common wisdom on appetite control. Over 12 weeks, people with Type 2 diabetes who ate just breakfast and lunch lost an average of 1.23 points in body mass index, or BMI, compared with a loss of 0.82 point for those who ate six smaller meals of the same nutritional and energy content.
(Obi Obadike, U.S. News & World Report) Here are some of the most important fat-burning foods, which will help you inch closer to your fitness goals. Making these foods a normal part of your diet regimen, along with a sensible training routine, will help you stay lean and fit. 1. Oatmeal… 2. Plain, old-fashioned chicken breast… 3. Egg whites… 4. Good old brown rice… 5. Fish oil… 6. Asparagus… 7. Almonds… 8. Garlic… 9. Tomatoes… 10. Apples…  Other fruits with great fat-burning characteristics are oranges, peaches, grapefruit and other citrus fruits.
(Mark Hyman, MD) What works best is really very simple: eating real food; cutting out junk, sugar, and processed foods; and eating sensible portions. If you look at the science of metabolism and weight, it says these basic things: 1. We should stop the SAD diet (or Standard American Diet, which is heavy in processed foods, meat, dairy, flour, and sugar). 2. We should eat more whole plant foods (veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains—not whole grain flour). This helps us eat in a way that balances our blood sugar and insulin, which is the hunger and fat storage hormone.
(Appetite for Health) Meal plans are one of the best ways to get your diet back on track is to use a meal plan designed to provide the right amount of calories that will promote steady weight loss.  It’s a lot easier to a better, reduced calorie diet by following a meal plan. A meal plan will take care of the planning and portions and all you need to do is purchase your groceries and prepare your meals and snacks.
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More Recent Research on Obesity

(Scientific American) The gut bacteria of obese mice unleash high levels of an acid that promotes liver cancer, reveals one of the first studies to uncover a mechanism for the link between obesity and cancer.
(Science Daily) A landmark study investigating the long-term effects of weight loss on the risks of cardiovascular disease among patients with Type 2 diabetes has now concluded…"While the findings from the Look AHEAD study did not support that engagement in a weight- loss intervention was effective for reducing the onset of cardiovascular disease incidence or mortality, this does not mean that overweight adults with diabetes should not lose weight and become more physically active," said [principal investigator John] Jakicic. "Rather, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence from this study to date that has shown that weight loss and physical activity were associated with numerous other health benefits.
(Consumer Reports) Our recent recommendation that you might want to skip the new weight-loss drug Belviq has generated a lot of buzz. To follow up, we commissioned two Dartmouth professors to look at the evidence and prepare a Drug Facts box for Belviq, similar to the Nutrition Facts box found on packaged foods, that details the benefits and harms of the drug. Their findings support our earlier report.
(MedPage Today) A pathway involved in the production of bile acids may play a role in the remission of type 2 diabetes often seen after bariatric surgery, researchers reported.
(Science Daily) Adults with a disability are more likely to be obese or extremely obese than those without a disability according to a study… According to the study, adults with a disability had a higher prevalence of several chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. People with disabilities were twice as likely to have prescribed medication for hypertension and lipid-lowering medicine.
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Appetite for Health:
Looking for a skinny chicken recipe? Here's a great one to try. This recipe is from our friend, Nancy Fox, of Skinny Kitchen, where you can find … 
Salmon with Hoisin Glaze
This five-ingredient salmon recipe requires just over 15 minutes to prepare and is guaranteed to please friends and family. Enjoy garlicky-spicy snow peas on the side.
Thai Grilled Beef Salad
This zesty Thai grilled beef salad recipe is seasoned with fresh herbs, lime and hot peppers. It is fabulously easy to make at home and great for parties. Toasted rice powder, which you make by toasting then grinding rice in Step 3, adds a pleasant, nutty flavor to the dish. Sliced cucumbers and tomatoes are a traditional cooling counterpoint in this Thai salad. For the best flavor, grind the peppercorns fresh for this recipe.
Mediterranean Foods Alliance:
Hawaiian Tuna Salad
This no-cook recipe incorporates many Mediterranean staples: leafy greens, seafood, olive oil, and nuts. Your elementary-school student can measure ingredients, use the can opener, chop celery and nuts with adult supervision, and build the salad.
Pick Up Sticks
This quick and easy snack recipe is perfect for little ones who are just starting to explore working in the kitchen. You do the chopping and make holes in the fruits and cheese, then let the young chefs thread them onto pretzel sticks to make their own snack.
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3 Reasons to Eat Carrots

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Carrots aren't just for rabbits - these inexpensive root vegetables are a versatile, delicious and nutritious addition to a healthy diet, and are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds. These familiar orange edibles also provide:
1.    Beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment important for healthy vision.
2.    High levels of biotin, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamine and potassium.
3.    A significant amount of dietary fiber.
Use these tasty snacks as a healthy alternative to potato chips and other unhealthy processed foods - add some to a salad, steam them as a side dish, and you might even try them as a low-calorie, nutritious treat for your canine companion!
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Coke to sell 'natural' mid-calorie cola in Argentina

(Reuters) Coca-Cola Co announced plans on Wednesday to introduce a cola that is sweetened with sugar and the naturally occurring, no-calorie sweetener stevia, the latest move in the high-stakes race to turn around the soda industry.
Coca-Cola Life will have about half the calories of regular Coke. It will go on sale this week in Argentina, where Coca-Cola has 50 percent of the soda market, compared with PepsiCo Inc's 16 percent, according to industry newsletter Beverage Digest, which was first to report the news…
PepsiCo CEO Indra … Nooyi told a conference hosted by Bernstein Research in May that a breakthrough in sweetener technology could help reverse the decline in sodas in the United States and that it needed to occur sooner rather than later.
"If you let this go too long, another three or five years, the consumer will walk away from (carbonated soft drinks)," she said at the conference. "But if we can address the barriers to consumption, we can actually bring back the lapsed users."
Community: I like to see the food companies bow to consumer pressure instead of spending money convincing us that what isn’t good for us is really good for us.
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The Myth of Healthy Processed Food

(Melanie Warner, U.S. News & World Report) The Egg McMuffin Delight I ate for breakfast this morning was fluffy on the inside and doughy and springy on the outside. It was a quick and satisfying (if temporarily) way to start the day, offering a subtle mix of savory flavors. But most importantly, it was healthy. Made with egg whites only and delivering just 250 calories and 7 grams of fat, this new addition to McDonald's menu stands as a prime example of a cheap, hyper-available, healthy processed food.
Or so argues David Freedman in The Atlantic's July/August cover story entitled "How Junk Food Can End Obesity." In this 10,000-word piece, Freedman tries to make the case for why the food industry – specifically the processed food industry – is the answer to our prayers for a less obese and less-disease stricken nation. His view is that the arugula-munching elitists in the food movement are deluding themselves into thinking that the "obese masses," as he puts it, are going to put down their large fries and Doritos Locos Taco Supremes and start eating kale and grilled salmon any time soon.
It's a fun, contrarian argument – too much so for its own good. In his defense of processed food, Freedman relies on a flawed understanding of nutrition, food processing and what the so-called food elites, "the Pollanites," really stand for. As a result, his argument comes off as naïve as he accuses real foodists of being.
Read more for the specific arguments.
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Specialized Treatment Helps Cholesterol Patients Who Suffer Side Effects from Statins

(Science Daily) Up to 15 percent of patients who take cholesterol-lowering statin medications experience muscle pain or other side effects, and many patients simply stop taking the drugs.
But a Loyola University Medical Center study has found that "statin-intolerant" patients still can significantly reduce their cholesterol by going to a lipid clinic staffed with physicians specially trained in treating cholesterol problems.
Among 22 statin-intolerant patients referred to Loyola's Lipid Clinic, total cholesterol dropped from 257 mg/dl to 198 mg/dl. LDL ("bad") cholesterol dropped from 172 mg/dl to 123 mg/dl, the study found.
By comparison, in a control group of 21 statin-intolerant patients who were not referred to a lipid clinic, total cholesterol dropped by only 3 points, and LDL cholesterol dropped by only 1 point.
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Antidepressant Gets FDA OK for Hot Flashes

(MedPage Today) The FDA has approved paroxetine (Brisdelle), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), to treat moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause.
"Today's approval provides women with the first FDA-approved, nonhormonal therapeutic option to help ease the hot flashes that are so common in menopause," said Hylton Joffe, MD, director of the division of bone, reproductive, and urologic products at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The safety and efficacy of the drug in this condition was established in two randomized, double-blind, controlled studies in 1,175 postmenopausal women with moderate to severe hot flashes.
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Britain plans world's first go-ahead for '3-parent' IVF babies

(Reuters) Britain is planning to become the first country in the world to offer controversial "three-parent" fertility treatments to families who want to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children.
The methods, currently only at the research stage in laboratories in Britain and the United States, would for the first time involve implanting genetically modified embryos into women.
Critics said the technique was ethically suspect and would eventually lead to a eugenic 'designer baby' market.
It involves intervening in the fertilization process to remove faulty mitochondrial DNA, which can cause inherited conditions such as fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy.
Community: The most recent episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, on the Science Channel, discussed the possibility of three-parent babies. It’s set to be shown again on Monday, July 1 at 10 PM ET, and it’s available free on demand on my cable provider’s lineup. From the press release:
Every single person who has ever lived was created from the genes of one man and one woman. But human sexual reproduction, unchanged for millions of years, is about to undergo a radical revolution. Technology is on the brink of making children from two fathers, or two mothers. Marine biologists are using mechanical wombs to birth live sharks, and humans could be next. We may soon cure diseases by making children with more than two genetic parents, or even give our offspring genes from the animal kingdom. If this is the case, will sex become extinct?
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Aerial Mosquito Spraying Study Finds No Immediate Public Health Risks

(Science Daily) In what researchers say is the first public health study of the aerial mosquito spraying method to prevent West Nile virus, a UC Davis study analyzed emergency department records from Sacramento area hospitals during and immediately after aerial sprayings in the summer of 2005.
Physicians and scientists from the university and from the California Department of Public Health found no increase in specific diagnoses that are considered most likely to be associated with pesticide exposure, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, skin, eye and neurological conditions.
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Bringing Long-Term Intensive Care Within Hospital Walls Shows Promise for Cost Savings and Improved Patient Care

(Science Daily) A new study shows that hospitals with specialized units combining the compassionate care of hospice and the level of care offered in medical-surgical units may provide efficient, cost effective assistance to patients with advanced chronic illness or terminal disease…
"Acute Palliative Care Units, APCUs, are really a new frontier in managing patients with end-stage chronic disease," said study co-author Marlene McHugh, DNP, FNP… "In an APCU, patients receive acute and palliative care regardless of prognosis, the technology required to keep a patient alive, or end-of-life wishes. In addition, these units are primarily managed by palliative medicine specialists, working with medical management." McHugh is one of the first Nurse Practitioners in New York City to move palliative care into the acute care hospital setting.
"We are creating the future by bringing palliative care units within hospital walls," says co-author Serife Eti, MD…"Consequently, going forward, nurses and medical personnel will need specialized palliative care training to assist patients with chronic, advanced and terminal illness in APCUs."
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The Drug Trade

(Reuters) Legalizing drugs was no "silver bullet" that would make organized crime disappear, President Barack Obama's drugs policy chief said on Wednesday, as Latin American countries explore relaxing penalties for the personal use of narcotics. Gil Kerlikowske, a former police chief, told an international meeting in Vienna that arresting more users and building prisons to put them in was also not the answer to the drug problem in the United States.
Instead, this year's U.S. National Drug Control Strategy presented a "third way ... rooted in a science-based approach to drug addiction as a disease of the brain that can be prevented, treated and from which people can recover."
Community: Third way. Uh huh. Taking the exorbitant profits out of the drug trade will definitely reduce crime. We’re just so afraid to do anything that makes sense.
(Shots, NPR) The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado cracked down on more than 1,600 websites that the feds say are breaking the law in the way they're selling prescription drugs, some of them counterfeits.
(Shots, NPR) Mail-order foreign pharmacies became less popular after a 2006 law helped seniors get Medicare coverage for medications. But many seniors still have trouble paying for drugs. The Maine legislature just approved a new law so its citizens can once again order drugs from Canada and Europe.
(Reuters) Americans on Medicare prescription drug plans do a better job of taking their medicines on time compared to other insured patients, and if more people followed their lead, it could save billions of dollars in healthcare costs, a report by CVS Caremark Corp concluded.
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Medicare to Add New Features in Doctor-Rating Website

(Kaiser Health News) Medicare Thursday added new features to its Physician Compare website as it prepares to start including quality data on thousands of doctors.
The federal health care law requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to publish performance data on doctors, including how patients rate them, how well the physicians’ medical interventions succeed and how well they follow clinical guidelines for basic care. The site has been up since 2010, but contained only basic information about doctors and group practices, such as their addresses, specialties and clinical training.
The updated site expands the way people can search for doctors. Along with searching by specialty, patients can now look by body part and medication condition. The site displays a silhouette of a body and users can click on the part for which they are seeking medication attention.
The site also taps into Medicare billing data to more reliably identify the active practice locations of doctors.
CMS expects that next year it will begin adding quality data for group practices as it begins to meet Congress’ mandate that the website provide “a robust and accurate portrayal of a physician’s performance.” CMS has not announced when it will add ratings for individual doctors.
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Diet Affects Alzheimer-Linked Brain Proteins

(MedPage Today) A low-fat, low-carb diet altered levels of lipid-depleted beta-amyloid peptides in a small trial, suggesting a biochemical explanation for past observations connecting lifestyle factors to risk of Alzheimer’s disease…
In addition, the decreases in lipid-depleted beta-amyloid levels in participants on the "low" diet were associated with healthy increases in CSF insulin levels, [Suzanne Craft, PhD] and colleagues indicated.
The researchers concluded that these effects of diet on lipid-depleted beta-amyloid "may be one of the mechanisms for how diets impart Alzheimer's disease risk or protection."…
Previous studies have shown that insulin resistance and diabetes are risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, and that the Mediterranean diet and others considered relatively health are associated with lower incidence of the disorder.
But the causal links, if any, have been harder to establish. Such studies were unable to rule out the possibility that diet and diabetic status were simply markers for other, less obvious factors that influence risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Community: It’s a shame that these researchers didn’t differentiate the types of fats and their effects. Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in fish and some plants, may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

And eating healthy fats isn't the only thing we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the risk of cognitive decline.
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Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On

(Shots, NPR) Depression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they're more likely to develop dementia in old age.
But the link between depression and dementia remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia…
Dementia can be caused by different diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, which follows a stroke or series of mini strokes. In a recent study, Butters found that the risk for both of those types of dementia nearly doubled among people who had suffered depression after the age of 50.
There are some clues as to why that may be. Depression is associated with inflammation in the body, and inflammation also appears to play a role in cardiovascular disease. Scientists are trying to figure out if the inflammation in the two disorders is linked.
Community: I suffered from severe depression some years ago, and I am working very hard to prevent a return engagement. And I am fighting with many of the tools at my disposal, to prevent dementia.
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Stress hormone could trigger mechanism for the onset of Alzheimer's

(Temple University) A chemical hormone released in the body as a reaction to stress could be a key trigger of the mechanism for the late onset of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study by researchers at Temple University.
Previous studies have shown that the chemical hormone corticosteroid, which is released into the body's blood as a stress response, is found at levels two to three times higher in Alzheimer's patients than non-Alzheimer's patients.
"Stress is an environmental factor that looks like it may play a very important role in the onset of Alzheimer's disease," said Domenico Praticò, professor of pharmacology and microbiology and immunology in Temple's School of Medicine, who led the study. "When the levels of corticosteroid are too high for too long, they can damage or cause the death of neuronal cells, which are very important for learning and memory."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce stress, and to prevent, delay, or minimize the risk of cognitive decline.
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An Artificial Sweetener Is a Potential Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

(Science Daily) Mannitol, a sugar alcohol produced by fungi, bacteria, and algae, is a common component of sugar-free gum and candy. The sweetener is also used in the medical field -- it's approved by the FDA as a diuretic to flush out excess fluids and used during surgery as a substance that opens the blood/brain barrier to ease the passage of other drugs.
Now [researchers] have found that mannitol also prevents clumps of the protein α-synuclein from forming in the brain -- a process that is characteristic of Parkinson's disease.
These results … suggest that this sweetener could be a novel therapy for the treatment of Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
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Antioxidant Shows Promise in Parkinson's Disease

(Science Daily) Diapocynin, a synthetic molecule derived from a naturally occurring compound (apocynin), has been found to protect neurobehavioral function in mice with Parkinson's Disease symptoms by preventing deficits in motor coordination…
In a specific type of transgenic mouse called LRRK2R1441G, the animals lose coordinated movements and develop Parkinson's-type symptoms by ten months of age. In this study, the researchers treated those mice with diapocynin starting at 12 weeks. That treatment prevented the expected deficits in motor coordination.
"These early findings are encouraging, but in this model, we still do not know how this molecule exerts neuroprotective action. Further studies are necessary to discover the exact mode of action of the diaopocynin and other molecules with a similar structure," said Dr. [Balaraman] Kalyanaraman.
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More Recent Research on Cognitive Decline

(NIH News) NIH-funded study finds neither benefit nor risk to cognitive function years after treatment.
(MedPage Today) A testosterone gel applied daily may improve cognitive performance in postmenopausal women, a randomized trial suggested.
(Science Daily) [R]esearchers at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) point to a newly discovered system by which the brain removes waste as a potentially powerful new tool to treat neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease. In fact, scientists believe that some of these conditions may arise when the system is not doing its job properly… "Understanding and ultimately discovering how to modulate the brain's system for removing toxic waste could point to new ways to treat these diseases."
(Science Daily) A new class of experimental drug-like small molecules is showing great promise in targeting a brain enzyme to prevent early memory loss in Alzheimer's disease, according to Northwestern Medicine® research… The novel drug-like molecule, called MW108, reduces the activity of an enzyme that is over-activated during Alzheimer's and is considered a contributor to brain inflammation and impaired neuron function.
(Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute) The first experimental drug to boost brain synapses lost in Alzheimer's disease has been developed by researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. The drug, called NitroMemantine, combines two FDA-approved medicines to stop the destructive cascade of changes in the brain that destroys the connections between neurons, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline… "These findings actually mean that you might be able to intercede not only early but also a bit later." And that means that an Alzheimer's patient may be able to have synaptic connections restored even with plaques and tangles already in his or her brain.
(Science Daily) Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have demonstrated that a protein called caspase-2 is a key regulator of a signaling pathway that leads to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. The findings, made in a mouse model of Alzheimer's, suggest that inhibiting this protein could prevent the neuronal damage and subsequent cognitive decline associated with the disease.
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If you're an Alzheimer's caregiver, what services can help with home care?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Taking care of a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging, but there are services that a caregiver can turn to for help. See what types of services are available to help with at-home care of a person with Alzheimer’s.
Also, watch the video, “Adult Day Care,” to learn more about this helpful service.
The information on Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.
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More Recent Research on Parkinson’s Disease

(MedPage Today) Parkinson’s disease patients showed improvement in multiple symptoms of the disease after being treated for Helicobacter pylori infection, researchers reported here… "We believe that H. pylori infection is making it more difficult for Parkinson's disease drugs to work, so by eradicating the infection, we appear to be speeding up the drugs' activity," [explained researcher Norlinah Mohamed].
(MedPage Today) Smoking cannabis appeared to reduce tremor and pain and improve sleep among Parkinson’s disease patients, researchers from Israel reported here.
(MedPage Today) A new study demonstrated that subtle changes in speech can impact the ability of Parkinson’s patients to communicate and may result in further isolation from the community, researchers said.
(MedPage Today) Nonmotor symptoms such as depression and anxiety appear to be more frequent among patients with Parkinson’s disease who also are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, researchers reported.
(MedPage Today) A high percentage of patients newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease already meet criteria for mild cognitive impairment, researchers reported.
(MedPage Today) Parkinson’s disease patients who have impaired cognition appeared to benefit from the Alzheimer’s disease medicine donepezil (Aricept) with no detriment to their motor skills, researchers reported.
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Jerk-Spiced Shrimp
Season fresh shrimp with a homemade jerk seasoning mix and grill over medium-high heat for three minutes on each side. Serve with a sweet fruit salsa made from chopped pineapple, chopped cucumber, sliced red onion, chopped cilantro, and cider vinegar.
Caribbean Chicken & Pineapple Kebabs with Banana Salad
A Caribbean-inspired marinade for these chicken-and-pineapple kebabs is flavored with pineapple juice, soy sauce, plenty of spices and spiked with rum. It’s moderately spicy from the use of jalapeño, but not nearly as spicy as the well-known jerk marinade, which uses the extremely hot Scotch bonnet chile. If spicy-hot is not your thing, leave the jalapeño out or use half.
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Omega-3 in Fish May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

(LiveScience) A large review of studies concludes that women who consume more omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish were at a lower risk of having breast cancer.
The researchers in China analyzed the results of 26 international studies involving almost 900,000 women, including 20,000 who had breast cancer. The scientists found that those women who had the consumed the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish were 14 percent less likely to have breast cancer, compared with those who ate the least.
The results also showed what researchers call a dose-response relationship: each 0.1-gram increase in omega-3 per day was linked with a 5 percent lower risk of having breast cancer. For comparison, a serving of an oily fish such as salmon contains about 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish are those that have high concentrations of omega-3.
Consuming the type of omega-3 found in plants, however, did not appear to reduce the risk.
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Could a Diet High in Fish and Flax Help Prevent Broken Hips?

(Science Daily) Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood may reduce the risk for hip fractures in postmenopausal women, recent research suggests.
Scientists analyzed red blood cell samples from women with and without a history of having a broken hip. The study showed that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids from both plant and fish sources in those blood cells were associated with a lower likelihood of having fractured a hip.
In addition to omega-3s, the researchers looked at omega-6 fatty acids, which are generally plentiful in a Western diet. The study also showed that as the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s increased, so did the risk for hip fracture.
Though the study did not define the mechanisms for these relationships, the researchers hypothesized that inflammation may contribute to bone resorption, the breaking down of bone caused by the release of cells called osteoclasts.
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