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

Food addicts: New study measures out-of-control eating

(USA Today) Research released this week … looked at food addiction among 134,000 middle-aged and older women, all of whom participated in the large-scale Nurses’ Health Study. Nearly six percent met the criteria for food addiction as established by the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which was developed in 2009 and validated in numerous trials…
Although addiction was strongly associated with a higher body mass index (BMI), the data also show that you can be an average-weight woman or even underweight and have a negative relationship with food. Geography seems to matter, too. Women from the eastern United States seem to have fewer problems with food addiction than those from the South or Midwest, although researchers don’t know why.
The foods of choice for these women were so-called “hyper-palatable” treats that are high in fat, sugar, salt and processing. These foods seem to trigger the brain’s pleasure and reward centers through increases in the transmission of the “feel good” chemical, dopamine.
Community: And there’s this, “Impulsive Personality Linked to Food Addiction.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Lower the thermostat, whittle your waistline?

(CNN) You may want to program the thermostat in your office down a couple of degrees today, despite the more-than-chilly temperatures outside. A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests doing so could help you lose weight.
Regular exposure to mildly cold temperatures help people burn more calories, according to the paper's authors, who have been studying this phenomenon for more than a decade…
[Lead author Wouter van Marken ] Lichtenbelt suggests varying the temperature in your house and your office by a few degrees over time. Letting the indoor temperature rise and fall will encourage your body to adjust its internal temperature accordingly, he says, increasing your energy expenditure.
"More frequent cold exposure alone is not going to save the world," from obesity, he says, "but is a serious factor to consider for creating a sustainable environment along with a healthy lifestyle."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Can Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?

(Appetite for Health) Probiotics, a.k.a.”good” live bacteria, have long been touted for helping to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. More recently however, researchers are investigating whether these microorganisms may help prevent or treat obesity…
While we don’t know the exact mechanisms, researchers believe that the guts of normal-weight people contain a different mix of the types and amounts of healthy bacteria than are found in the intestines of overweight folks. So it’s possible that imbalances of gut bacteria maybe play at least a small role in obesity.
Despite the early research, probiotics are certainly no magic bullet for weight loss.  Don’t quit the gym or skip a healthy eating plan (like ours!) just yet.  If you want to give probiotics a try – for digestive health – here are some simple tips:
·         Consume foods that contain diet probiotics, like yogurt (opt for non fat or fat free varieties)
·         If you have digestive issues, speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian about “pharmaceutical-grade” probiotics, which are the equivalent of prescription-strength good bacteria.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Drinking diet soda just makes you eat more

(TODAY) Don't depend on diet soda to help you lose weight. A new study shows that overweight and obese people who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food than heavy people who consume sugary drinks, according to a new Johns Hopkins study.
“When you make that switch from a sugary beverage for a diet beverage, you’re often not changing other things in your diet,” says lead researcher Sara Bleich…
Diet soda consumption has increased steadily since 1965, when just 3 percent of Americans were regularly drinking the stuff, the study authors write. Sales of diet soda actually declined 7 percent last year, but Bleich thinks that just means habitual diet soda drinkers are switching to the many flavored teas, juices and vitamin-enhanced waters currently on store shelves.
Our bodies fight to try to keep our weight stable, which is one of the reasons weight loss is so hard —and it could help explain why overweight diet soda drinkers may be consuming more calories from solid food. 
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How to Lose Weight (….our expert no-nonsense advice)

(Appetite for Health) This is our no-nonsense advice on how to peel off pounds–and keep them off. The tips below are based on reams of research from obesity experts and organizations… Focus your efforts on these habits to achieve your healthy weight goals
1.    Limit the amount of sugar you eat or drink, such as cookies, desserts, sweets or in soda…
2.    Do what you enjoy for your physical fitness…
3.    Don’t skip meals or go more than several hours without eating…
4.    Eat appropriate portions…
5.    Eat plenty of fruits or vegetables…
6.    Track what you eat and drink…
7.    Snack yourself Thin…
8.    Drink water (limit all liquid calories)…
9.    Use Nutrition Facts on food labels.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Weight Loss Tips

(Cynthia Sass, RD, Health.com) -- The start of the new year is the ultimate opportunity to undo the holiday damage, make a fresh start and resolve to avoid the indulgences that have left you feeling less-than-confident about your body. To get results that won't fizzle out before February, check out … the tips below for coping with the challenges that often go along with a new quest to shed pounds.
(Marcia Herrin, Ed.D., M.P.H., Psychology Today) Self-monitoring by recording eating behaviors and associated thoughts and feelings in daily food journals is basic to nutrition counseling and to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of eating disorders… For patients, self-monitoring increases awareness of eating problems and precipitating events… Some patients may have exaggerated the extent of their eating-disordered behaviors, and self-monitoring provides a more realistic picture that is reassuring.
(Dr. Susan Albers) Here are five psychological ways to deal with even the most intense cravings. 1). Use your mind to curb a craving. When a craving hits, imagine yourself engaging in a favorite activity… 2). Sniff! A 2012 study found that smelling jasmine (a non-food odor) reduced chocolate cravings… 3). Just Chew It! There's evidence that chewing gum can help squelch food cravings… 4). Get your sleep! Studies suggest … that not getting enough sleep/being sleep deprived makes us hungrier and crave high-calorie, nutrient-poor food… 5. Walk… A new study …e suggests that a short bout of exercise (eg a 15-minute walk) can reduce chocolate cravings.
(Ayala Laufer-Cahana, M.D.) A study … showed that the odds of being overweight were three times greater for people who reported eating quickly and until full than for people who ate slowly and stopped eating before they felt stuffed. There are several other studies that gather self-reported eating rates -- which can be unreliable.
Community: Click through to see the seven tips.
(CNN) Your metabolism is partly ruled by genetics, but you can rev it up naturally by eating right. Fill up on the following nine foods to increase your body's fat-burning power. Egg whites… Lean meat… Water… Chili peppers… Coffee… Green tea… Milk… Whole grains… Lentils.
(Appetite for Health) We all know diets don’t work, but changing your behaviors does for losing weight and keeping it off. There are obvious things like limiting screen time, eating out very infrequently, limiting alcohol, never skipping meals, eating lots of produce, weighing yourself frequently. A few recent studies, however, also reveal what we need to limit in order to lose more and gain less.
Community: Click through to see the list.
More . . .

More Information and Recent Research on Obesity and Weight Loss

(UPI) Americans blame individuals for being overweight, not the government, restaurants, grocery stores or farmers, U.S. researchers say.
Community: Yesterday, I watched a documentary about Martin Luther King, Jr. that I had recorded. It was nothing but film shot in the 1960s. I was really struck by the lack of obesity in these films—among black or white people. Some people were overweight, but most were not, and no one was obese. How did we get so fat over the last 50 years? At least some of the blame has to be on environmental factors. And blaming external factors, in addition to calling on personal responsibility, can be motivating for adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Watch the documentary, if you get a chance. It’s long (four hours), but it’s mostly bare bones footage, no narrator, and one of the most moving portraits I’ve ever seen of the struggle for civil rights. And it reminded me what a powerful person King was. He stood behind his words, unlike today’s poseurs.
(Science Daily) An experiment done in rats by scientists at the University of Granada, Spain, shows a high-protein diet increases the chance of developing kidney stones and other renal diseases.
(Science Daily) Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T) have found that the theory behind the popular blood type diet--which claims an individual's nutritional needs vary by blood type--is not valid… "The way an individual responds to any one of these diets has absolutely nothing to do with their blood type and has everything to do with their ability to stick to a sensible vegetarian or low-carbohydrate diet," said [Dr. Ahmed] El-Sohemy.
(Appetite for Health) Research … found that [study] participants who had sufficient levels of vitamin C were able to break down significantly more fat during exercise compared to those with suboptimal levels.  In other words, the participants’ vitamin C status influenced how much fat could be used during exercise. Similarly, researchers also demonstrated a slight connection between vitamin C status and body mass; those who had sufficient intake of vitamin C tended to have a lower body mass index then those who did not. While these findings are interesting, they don’t entirely support the idea that lemons help us lose weight.
More . . .


Shrimp Pad Thai
Make Thailand's most popular noodle dish in mere minutes. This lightened version is packed with vibrant ingredients such as crushed red pepper, sliced green onions, and dry-roasted peanuts to add great Thai flavor. Our online reviewers noticed that the Shrimp Pad Thai was even better on the second day, so make extra for leftovers.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Fennel & Dill Salsa
Crunchy fennel gives great texture to this tomato-based salsa, which is itself a zippy, slightly sour complement to sweet, seared salmon. Make this dish a meal by serving it with some whole-wheat couscous and a glass of rose.
7 Mexican Dishes to Take the Chill Off
It may be cold outside, but you can heat up your kitchen and wake up your taste buds with some South-of-the-Border specialties that are satisfying, simple, and just spicy enough. From protein-packed breakfast burritos to savory pork fajitas and vegetarian tostadas, this collection of Mexican specialties is just what you need to beat winter's chill.
Mediterranean Foods Alliance:
Shells with Shrimp and Edamame
This easy dinner uses ingredients from the pantry and the freezer and adds a twist to regular pasta and sauce. 
Lentil Soup
Use red lentils to give this soup a lovely orange color. For a protein boost, serve each bowl topped with a diced hard-cooked egg.
Chickpea Hash and Eggs
This recipe works equally well for dinner or breakfast. If you cook the eggs over-easy the yolks make a delicious "sauce" for the hash.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Snowstorm Solutions

(Mediterranean Foods Alliance) On the days when it feels like your eyelids might freeze to your eyeballs or when icy snow pelts your face like little needles as you walk down the street, the last thing you want to do is bundle up and go to the grocery store. Sometimes you just need to make an easy dinner with what you have stashed in the pantry.
Of course being able to make something with pantry staples means regularly stocking those ingredients. Some things we like to keep on hand include:
·         Garlic, onions, carrots, celery, leafy greens
·         Bananas, apples, oranges
·         Canned tomatoes, frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen spinach
·         Canned peaches (in juice), canned pears (in juice), frozen berries, frozen pomegranate seeds
·         Pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, couscous
·         Canned beans, dried lentils, frozen edamame
·         Canned or pouch tuna or salmon, frozen shrimp
·         Nuts
·         Eggs, milk (dairy, soy, or almond milk are all great choices)
·         Olive oil
In addition to being simple to use, canned or pouch seafood is a great go-to source of lean protein and omega-3s. Stocking up on canned and frozen vegetables, as well as canned or pouch salmon or tuna, makes pulling together lunch or dinner a cinch when you can't get to the store.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Dr. Weil Recommends: The Healthiest Carb

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced, healthful diet. Instead of simply shunning carbs in your efforts to maintain a healthy weight, learn to make the right choices. Start by avoiding the more-refined carbohydrates, which rapidly convert into blood sugar, causing corresponding rises and falls in insulin levels, which can lead to overeating, weight gain and insulin resistance…
Instead, focus on healthy carbs such as those found in true whole grains. These minimally processed foods are digested more slowly than are refined carbs, and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Sweet enough? Separating fact from fiction in the sugar debate

(The Conversation) John Sievenpiper, a world-renowned expert from the University of Toronto, came to the conclusion that far from being harmful, small doses (up to 36 grams) of fructose per day may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, while having no adverse effects on body weight or blood lipids.
This quantity of fructose equates to 72 grams of sucrose, which corresponds to about 10% of total energy intake for a typical man (the current maximum intake recommended by the WHO).
However, some of our ingested fructose should be coming from fruit, so this finding doesn't constitute a suggestion that 10% of energy intake "should" come from sucrose, only that this level of intake may not be harmful.
So what can we conclude – from the current state of evidence – about the appropriateness of the reported proposal by the WHO to reduce recommended maximum sugar intake from 10% to 5% of total energy intake?
One prediction I can confidently make is that the sugar lobby will strenuously oppose any recommendation to further reduce sugar intake, as it did for the 2003 WHO recommendation.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

9 Essential Spices and Herbs

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to boost the flavors of your dishes. From savory herbs like basil and oregano to spices like red pepper flakes and black peppercorns that turn up the heat, a little goes a long way. In many recipes, fresh and dried herbs can be used interchangeably without sacrificing flavor. You'll just have to experiment. The rule of thumb is to substitute about 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh.
Use it in
: Sauces, baked goods, fruit compotes, and marinades. It's also the main ingredient in Caribbean jerk seasoning…
Use it in
: Basil is commonly used in Italian and Asian cuisine and makes a great addition to tomato sauces, pizza, and pestos… Basil works well in combination with garlic and oregano…
Bay Leaves…
Use it in
: Bay leaves' pungent flavor makes them an ideal seasoning for soups and stews …
Black Pepper…
Use it in
:… You can use it in soups, stews, salads, marinades, and even in some desserts. Keep a pepper mill on your dining table for those who want to add a little kick to their food…
Use it in
:… In America, cinnamon is usually used in baking, but it is also great with fruit or cereal…
Use it in
: Garlic is an indispensable ingredient in Italian, Asian, and Mexican cooking. It's also believed to have many medicinal properties…
Use it in:… Try adding it to meat dishes, sautéed vegetables, and tomato sauces. It can also be added to grilled fish and salad dressings. Crush the leaves before using to release more flavor…
Red Pepper Flakes…
Use it in
:… Red pepper flakes make a great addition to eggs, marinades, meat dishes, chili, and salads…
Use it in
:… Thyme makes a great addition to most meat dishes and adds flavor to tomato sauce and chili. It's commonly used along with garlic, basic, and oregano.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

What’s in Your Fish Oil Supplements?

(Well, New York Times) Millions of Americans take fish oil supplements to promote heart and vascular health. But a new analysis suggests that some consumers may not always get what they are paying for.
The new research, carried out by a testing company called LabDoor, analyzed 30 top-selling fish oil supplements for levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a group of compounds with anti-inflammatory effects. It found that six of those products contained levels of omega-3s that were, on average, 30 percent less than stated on their labels.
The research found more problems when it looked specifically at levels of two particular omega-3s that are promoted for brain and heart health: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Tests showed that at least a dozen products contained DHA levels that were, on average, 14 percent less than listed on their packaging…
A number of studies suggest that regular fish consumption is protective against heart disease, and some research suggests it may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic conditions as well.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Further Limiting Bisphenol A In Food Uses Could Provide Health And Economic Benefits

(Health Affairs) There is mounting evidence that bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and the linings of aluminum cans, may have adverse health consequences.
The Food and Drug Administration has banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups but has deferred further action on other food uses—that is, uses in metal-based food and beverage containers. This article quantifies the potential social costs of childhood obesity and adult coronary heart disease attributable to BPA exposure in the United States in 2008 and models the potential health and economic benefits associated with replacing BPA in all food uses. BPA exposure was estimated to be associated with 12,404 cases of childhood obesity and 33,863 cases of newly incident coronary heart disease, with estimated social costs of $2.98 billion in 2008.
Removing BPA from food uses might prevent 6,236 cases of childhood obesity and 22,350 cases of newly incident coronary heart disease per year, with potential annual economic benefits of $1.74 billion (sensitivity analysis: $889 million–$13.8 billion per year). Although more data are needed, these potentially large health and economic benefits could outweigh the costs of using a safer substitute for BPA.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Some docs skeptical of home-generated data headed their way

(Modern Healthcare) An avalanche of patient-generated health data from electronic home-monitoring devices is heading toward clinicians and healthcare organizations within two to five years. Many doctors, already struggling with electronic health records, remain skeptical just how useful such home-generated data will be.
Purdue's regional extension center in West Lafayette, Ind., for example, is one of more than 60 federally funded centers across the country helping office-based physicians and small hospitals implement EHRs. Most of Purdue REC's 3,000 clients have been primary-care practices. Upward of 70% of these physicians are employed by hospitals, according to its director, Randy Hountz.
For these newbies, there remains a “healthy skepticism” that clinical decision support tools and analytics—even using data generated in-house—will improve quality of care, Hountz said, much less patient-generated data pouring in from patients at home or on the go…
Like it or not, though, data analytics is here to stay, Hountz predicts…
Experts in patient-generated data see patient demand, and lower costs, as key drivers that will force clinicians to deal with this new data stream.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Affordable Care Act News

(Reuters) Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced the preliminary tally in a blog posting. She forecast that enrollment through new federal and state health insurance marketplaces would continue to grow in coming weeks as a public outreach campaign accelerates.
(Shots, NPR) Much has been made of the need for young, healthy people to sign up if the Affordable Care Act is going to work. But it may be that the key word here is not young, but healthy. Insurance companies get paid more for older people, regardless of their health.
(UPI) A survey indicates many uninsured U.S. adults will likely remain uninsured this year because they don't know they qualify for a subsidy, or Medicaid.
(Fox News) Tom Gialanella, 56, was shocked to find out he qualified for Medicaid under ObamaCare. The Bothell, Wash., resident had been able to retire early years ago, owns his home outright in a pricey Seattle suburb and is living off his investments. He wanted no part of the government's so-called free health care. "It's supposed to be a safety net program. It's not supposed to be for someone who has assets who can pay the bill," he said.  And after reading the fine print, Gialanella had another reason to flee Medicaid -- the potential death debt.
(ThinkProgress) Critics are warning newly eligible [Obamacare] enrollees that the federal government could take their house and other assets once they die.
(Salt Lake Tribune) Utah will expand Medicaid to cover more of the state's uninsured, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday. "Doing nothing ... I’ve taken off the table. Doing nothing is not an option," the Republican governor said at his monthly news conference... Herbert did not indicate which of two expansion strategies endorsed by a legislative Health Reform Task Force he prefers — or whether he has another in mind. He said he will make his decision during the legislative session that begins next week.
(HealthLeaders Media) Insurers are dropping thousands of physicians from their managed care networks in response to growing pressures from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leaving many doctors to wonder what plans they will still participate in for 2014 and beyond. But that's not all. If the insurer lets you stay, reimbursement rates may be cut so much that you will wonder whether being dropped was the better outcome.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Group seeks Medicare data to increase health care efficiency

(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) The cost of treating similar asthma patients ranged from $98 to $1,535 for care delivered primarily in 2007 and 2008. The variation was just as pronounced for patients with diabetes, with the cost varying from $251 to $3,750, and for patients with high blood pressure, with the cost varying from $149 to $1,469.
The figures, based on medical claims filed with UnitedHealthcare, illustrate how medical costs can vary wildly without any discernible difference in the quality of care provided. They also show how much information can be gleaned by analyzing medical claims.
Yet many analyses of this sort contain a glaring hole: They don't include Medicare claims data, because rules written by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services effectively prevent their use.
The Wisconsin Health Information Organization, founded about eight years ago, is hoping to change that.
"We have been working for two years to loosen access to the data," said Jo Musser, the organization's chief executive officer.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fish Oil May Help Preserve Brain Cells, Study Suggests

(Bloomberg) Women with high blood levels of fish oils have larger brain volumes then those with lower levels, suggesting the oils may delay the normal loss of brain cells due to aging, research found.
Those who raised their levels of two major omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish or taking supplements had larger total brain volume than those who didn’t, according to research…
As people age, their brains get smaller but the shrinkage is accelerated in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the authors said. While today’s findings suggest that larger brain volumes equal a one- to two-year delay in the normal loss of brain cells, more studies are needed to look at what that means for memory, said James Pottala, the lead study author.
There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of cognitive decline.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Do Carbs Cause Dementia?

(Medscape) In his new book Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar -- Your Brain's Silent Killers, Dr. David Perlmutter, Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine, advocates that lifestyle modifications, starting with a high-fat, nearly carbohydrate-free diet, can prevent or greatly lower dementia risk and progression…
Medscape: For those unfamiliar with your ideas, can you summarize the thesis behind your new book and how you arrived at it?
Dr. Perlmutter: Certainly. I'm a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. I've been very frustrated with neurology over the past 20 years, because we're trained in residency and practice to basically treat symptoms of neurologic disorders. I found that not to be satisfying and thought it was important to delve into causality as opposed to just focus on treating the smoke and ignoring the fire.
That said, with time we began seeing wonderful research citations that were drawing a link between risk for dementia, for example, and blood sugar levels appearing in our most well-respected journals. For example, a study published in Neurology in 2005 pointed a finger squarely at the most powerful metric being glycated hemoglobin…
This is a marker not just of average blood sugar, but more important, it's a marker of the degree of glycation that's going on in human physiology -- a process that increases inflammation and dramatically increases the production of free radicals and oxidative stress. So the idea that even subtle elevations of sugar, which is a dietary lifestyle choice, are related to risk for brain degeneration really began to crystallize.
This notion has gained traction and, I think, is profoundly supported by a couple of more recent studies. 
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of cognitive decline.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Meditation May Slow Progression to Alzheimer's

(Medscape) Meditation in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may slow progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD), new research suggests.
A small, randomized pilot study of adult patients with MCI showed that those who received mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy for 8 weeks had a greater increase in functional connectivity between brain regions related to both MCI and AD than those who received usual care.
These regions included the posterior cingulate cortex, the bilateral medial prefrontal cortex, and the left hippocampus.
In addition, there was "a trend" toward less bilateral hippocampal volume atrophy in the patients who received MBSR compared with the usual-care group.
"This study suggests that an intervention with meditation and yoga may impact the areas of the brain that are most susceptible to developing dementia," lead author Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, MPH…, told Medscape Medical News.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of cognitive decline.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Older ≠ Foggier

(Lauren Kessler, Counter Clockwise) As we age, our memory worsens. Period.
Or does it?...
[A] group of researchers compared memory performance in younger and older people under two experimental conditions. In one, the instructions stressed the fact that memory was the focus of the study. The experimenter repeatedly stated that participants were to “remember” as many statements from a list as they could and that “memory” was the key. In the second, instructions were identical except that the experimenter emphasized learning instead of memory. Participants were instructed to “learn” as many statements as they could.
Now GET THIS: Age differences in memory were found when the instructions emphasized memory, but no age differences were observed in the experimental situation that instead emphasized learning
“The human brain does not operate like a computer”, [writes Dr. Linda Carstensen]. “It does not process all information evenly…. We see (and I would add, we remember) what matters to us.”
And what matters to us at 50 may not be what mattered to us at 20.  At least let’s hope not.
Community: For more on this topic,
There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of cognitive decline.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How to Save Your Brain

(Nikhil Swaminathan, Psychology Today) The vast majority of Alzheimer's cases—over 99 percent—occur spontaneously; they are not linked to genetic factors. But they are linked to obesity. Researchers find that the same lifestyle choices that lead people to become obese or develop heart disease also increase the risk of developing dementia.
It comes down to this: Choices we make throughout life about what we put in our bodies may protect against Alzheimer's, or delay its onset. At the very least, says neuroscientist Gary Wenk, "We can slow down the time that it takes for someone to get symptoms." Professor of psychology, neuroscience, and molecular virology, immunology, and medical genetics at The Ohio State University, Wenk is author of the book Your Brain on Food.
Heading off dementia, he insists, starts with what we eat. Food should be thought of the same way as the drugs we put in our body. They're all made up of chemicals. Everything we consume prompts a reaction in the brain. Picking the right foods can minimize damage to neurons and preserve a healthy mind as you age.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of cognitive decline.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Information and Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Science Daily) A new study from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) offers insights into how aging affects the brain's neural circuitry, in some cases significantly altering gene expression in single neurons. These discoveries could point the way toward a better understanding of how aging affects our cognitive ability and new therapeutic targets for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease.
(LiveScience) Identifying early signs of cognitive impairment in patients who have Alzheimer's disease, dementia or other cognitive problems may now be as simple as having them complete a short, self-administered test that only requires a pen and the paper it is printed on. It's called the SAGE test, or Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination, and it is an inexpensive measurement tool that can be just as effective as other costlier, and more time-consuming, tests.
(UPI) The film "Alive Inside," shows patients with dementia visibly light up when they hear songs from their youth, says the Sundance Film Festival in Utah… Some who haven't [listened] to their music for decades are brought to tears hearing a tune they haven't heard for decades, while others speak freely for the first time after years of agitation and being dulled by anti-psychotic medication.
(Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., Psychology Today) Several training facilities are now training dogs to assist individuals suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia. They compensate for failing memory and disorientation such as when the person can no longer find their way home. They also help structure the patient's life and provide social support.
(Science Daily) [A] scientific journal … published results on the Roche-designed Brain Shuttle technology that efficiently transfers investigational antibodies from the blood through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain in preclinical models. Roche Pharma Early Research and Development (pRED) scientists found that such enhanced transfer of antibodies through the BBB was associated with a marked improvement in amyloid reduction in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
(Los Angeles Times) Two biological therapies designed to improve the clearance of sticky plaques from the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease have failed to slow the steady loss of cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate forms of the degenerative disorder.
(Medscape) Although the phase 3 trials of the antiamyloid therapies bapineuzumab (Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson) and solanezumab (Eli Lilly) failed to meet their respective primary endpoints in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD), the new research nevertheless adds important information in the search for a successful treatment for this debilitating and increasingly prevalent disorder, according to study authors.
More . . .


Cooking Light:
Comfort Food in 20 Minutes
Whether it's soup, stew, sandwiches, mashed potatoes, or mac 'n cheese, if it puts a smile on your face, there's a 20-minute recipe for it here.
Seared Scallops with Tuscan Beans
Pair this one-dish seared scallops meal with a side of garlic bread. It's perfect for sopping up every last drop of the delicious sauce.
Orange & Black Pepper Shrimp Salad
A blend of bitter Treviso (a long, thin type of radicchio), spicy arugula and sweet romaine lettuce forms the base of this healthy main-course shrimp salad recipe. Pairing the mix of greens with savory shrimp, tart oranges and briny capers brings everything into bright and flavorful balance.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]