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

Junk Food Makes Rats Lose Appetite for Balanced Diet

(Science Daily) A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, reports a study…
The study helps to explain how excessive consumption of junk food can change behavior, weaken self-control and lead to overeating and obesity…
Healthy rats, raised on a healthy diet, stopped responding to cues linked to a flavor in which they have recently overindulged. This inborn mechanism, widespread in animals, protects against overeating and promotes a healthy, balanced diet…
The researchers think that a junk diet causes lasting changes in the reward circuit parts of the rats' brain, for example, the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for decision-making. They say these results may have implications for people's ability to limit their intake of certain kinds of foods, because the brain's reward circuitry is similar in all mammals.
"The interesting thing about this finding is that if the same thing happens in humans, eating junk food may change our responses to signals associated with food rewards," says UNSW Professor [Margaret] Morris. "It's like you've just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by."
Community: In my experience, the taste buds can be recalibrated to prefer healthier foods. And it’s not just me:
(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) When we don’t buy junk, it will go away – along with our prevailing taste preferences.
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Does Food Advertising Make Us Eat More?

(Science Daily) On a daily basis we are surrounded with images of appetizing and often unhealthy food on TV adverts, billboards, in magazines and everywhere we go. With obesity on the rise, this article in Psychology & Health raises questions about constant exposure to food cues and its effect on eating habits. Does it encourage over-indulgence? Are overweight people more vulnerable? The research examines our cognitive processes, our motivators to eat, and the practical implications for the management of dysfunctional eating behaviors.
Two experiments were conducted, the first on a female group with average BMI. The group was split, the first half watched a mixture of food and non-food related advertising and a control group watched only non-food related ads. The groups were then asked to complete a list of unfinished words, all of which had the potential to be food related, and to record their level of desire to eat. The second experiment followed the same methodology, but participants had high BMI.
In both experiments, those shown food ads produced more food related words, suggesting that the advertising does activate increased food-related cognitions.
Interestingly, experiment 2 showed that overweight viewers of food ads reported stronger desire to eat than those in their control group.
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New Compound Suppresses Binge-Like Eating Behavior

(Science Daily) Binge eating, an eating disorder in which a person frequently consumes unusually large amounts of food in a short period of time, affects about 5 to 10 percent of U.S. adults and is more common in women than men. Researchers … found that the hormone estrogen can specifically trigger brain serotonin neurons to inhibit binge eating in female mice…
"Previous data has shown that women who have irregular menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to binge eat, suggesting that hormones in women play a significant role in the development or prevention of the behavior," said Dr. Yong Xu…, senior author of the paper…
Xu and colleagues used [a compound called GLP-1-estrogen]  to show that when a systemic injection of this compound is given in mice, there is increased activity of estrogen in the serotonin region of the brain, meaning the compound can deliver estrogen in the serotonin region where they believed binge behavior is regulated.
They further showed that actually substantially inhibits binge eating in mice, and their data showed that part of this effect comes from the estrogen and the other part of the effect comes from the GLP-1…
Xu notes that this provides a strong case for an interventional drug that specifically acts on estrogen receptor-α in the serotonin region of the brain to treat binge eating.
Community: I don’t know if the specific receptor is affected, but I’ve run across some natural ways to increase serotonin production in the brain.
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Are You as Old as What You Eat?

(Science Daily) Researchers from UCL (University College London) have demonstrated how an interplay between nutrition, metabolism and immunity is involved in the process of aging…
In previous [Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)] funded work, Professor Arne Akbar's group at UCL showed that aging in immune system cells known as 'T lymphocytes' was controlled by a molecule called 'p38 MAPK' that acts as a brake to prevent certain cellular functions…
In a new study … the group shows that p38 MAPK is activated by low nutrient levels, coupled with signals associated with age, or senescence, within the cell.
It has been suspected for a long time that nutrition, metabolism and immunity are linked and this paper provides a prototype mechanism of how nutrient and senescence signals converge to regulate the function of T lymphocytes…
"An important question is whether this knowledge can be used to enhance immunity during aging. Many drug companies have already developed p38 inhibitors in attempts to treat inflammatory diseases. One new possibility for their use is that these compounds could be used to enhance immunity in older subjects. Another possibility is that dietary instead of drug intervention could be used to enhance immunity since metabolism and senescence are two sides of the same coin."
Community: I asked Prof. Akbar via email if he had any specific dietary recommendations for keeping the immune system healthy, and this was his reply:
“It is too soon in our research to make any recommendations. What I can provide is some optimism that we are beginning to understand the details about the link between diet, immunity and ageing. We are desperate for volunteers who are over 70 years old and relatively healthy to participate in our research. If you can reach out to individuals who may be willing to participate that would be a tremendous help.”
If you would like to participate in this research, let me know.
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Eat Your Fruits, Vegetables for Skin With Sun-Kissed Glow

(Science Daily) Forget sun beds, sunbathing and fake tanning lotions. The secret to a sexy, healthy glow lies in eating your five-a-day, reveals new breakthrough research from Taylor & Francis.
A new and innovative study … sheds new light on the importance of skin color as a determiner of facial attractiveness. It also shows that carotenoid coloration has the upper hand over melanisation when it comes to the rules of attraction.
"Skin coloration can arise as a result of two distinct processes," explain the team leading the research: through tanning (melanisation) or the assimilation of fruit and vegetables (carotenoid ingestion).
While it is known that red and yellow pigments found in bright fruit and vegetables increase skin yellowness, recent studies have shown that "carotenoid coloration is a more important factor in healthy appearance than melanin coloration," clarify the academics.
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More Food News

(The Supermarket Guru) Glycemic index and glycemic load offer information about how foods affect blood sugar and insulin. The lower a food's glycemic index (or glycemic load), the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. You can view an extensive list here.
(Sharecare.com) For a razor-sharp memory, give your mouth this 6-calorie snack to munch on: a stalk of celery. Celery is a top source of a high-powered flavonoid known as luteolin, and these compounds may help cool off destructive inflammation in the brain's memory center (otherwise known as the hippocampus). Not a bad trade for 6 calories.
(University of Bristol) Men who eat over 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests.
(Sharecare.com) The risk of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer could be cut by over a third with this side dish: a tossed salad. In a study, eating lots of raw salad veggies dropped HER-2-positive breast cancer risk by nearly 35 percent. HER-2 is a rare but aggressive form of the disease.
(The Supermarket Guru) While there are no losers produce – all fruits and vegetables are beneficial- there are clear winners. Here are the top winners in five colors. Blue: Blueberries… Green: Watercress… Orange: Sweet potatoes… Red: Strawberries… White: Popcorn.
(Food, Nutrition & Science) Current studies do not support the claim that increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables contributes to weight loss, according to a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham…. The study found that, while a common recommendation for weight loss is to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, there is no scientific basis to support this claim.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Halibut with Caper Salsa Verde
The robust salsa is a dominant presence on the plate. Sweet and mellow roasted fennel makes a particularly fitting side.
EatingWell:
Curried Pork Chops with Roasted Apples & Leeks
In this healthy oven-baked pork chop recipe, roasted apples and leeks lend a sweet-and-tart note. If you always chop the dark green tops off your leeks, don’t discard them this time—they have a delicious flavor and become meltingly tender when roasted.
Los Angeles Times:
Cooking Light:
Washington Post
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50 Years Later, SNAP Proves Its Continuing Vitality

(McClatchy-Tribune News Service) A lot has happened in the 50 years since LBJ signed the Food Stamp Act of 1964 into law. We’ve elected eight presidents, watched our population grow and shift, gained knowledge about health and nutrition, enjoyed economic booms and survived recessions. Through it all, food stamps have been there, steadfastly providing better nutrition to hungry Americans…
From the beginning, SNAP — like other core programs that comprise America’s social safety net such as Head Start, WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), school meals, Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security — has served a fundamental need for our nation’s poor and vulnerable.
In 2012 alone, SNAP lifted more than four million Americans out of poverty, including 2.1 million children. The program is also proven to reduce food insecurity, which we now know can be devastating through all phases of a person’s life. During pregnancy, food insecurity increases a baby’s risk of low birth weight. It increases young children’s risk of poor health, hospitalizations and developmental delays; and older children are more likely to have behavioral problems and low academic achievement. Food-insecure seniors are more apt to be in poor health and have poor nutrition status.
Clearly, SNAP is meeting a modern need, just as it has for five decades. Over the years, the program has retained and increased its value, in part because of its ability to adapt to our enhanced understanding of how to provide nutrition assistance in the most efficient and economically advantageous way.
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Quick Takes

(Science Daily) Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, researchers report. "It is essential for all drinkers, especially men of higher BMIs, to have a rule of thumb for self-serving, because eye-balling a serving size is a difficult task and will often lead people to pour too much," said one author.
(Medscape) For patients who have high-risk adenoma polyps removed after colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with colonoscopy, colonoscopic surveillance reduces CRC incidence and mortality, according to a new study. However, there is no reduction in those who have low-risk adenoma polyps removed.
(Science Daily) Stroke patients are 70 percent more likely to continue taking their stroke prevention medications one year later if they have a prescription in hand when discharged, according to researchers. After having a stroke or minor stroke, the risk of having another stroke is greater. The risk of recurrence, however, can be reduced by more than 80 per cent by following stroke prevention strategies such as rehabilitation and taking medications.
(Science Daily) An experimental drug designed to help regulate the blood's iron supply shows promise as a viable first treatment for anemia of inflammation, according to results from the first human study of the treatment. Anemia is a condition that occurs when red blood cells are in short supply or do not function properly. When an individual has anemia, the body does not get enough oxygen, since there are fewer red blood cells to carry the iron-rich protein hemoglobin that helps distribute oxygen throughout the body.
(Reuters) A Florida company plans to build what it believes will be the biggest medical marijuana factory in the country, hoping the economy of scale will lower the cost of the drug which is not covered by insurance.
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Men Who Are Uneducated About Their Prostate Cancer Have Difficulty Making Good Treatment Choices

(Science Daily) They say knowledge is power, and a new UCLA study has shown this is definitely the case when it comes to men making the best decisions about how to treat their prostate cancer.
UCLA researchers found that men who aren't well educated about their disease have a much more difficult time making treatment decisions, called decisional conflict, a challenge that could negatively impact the quality of their care and their long-term outcomes.
The study should serve as a wake-up call for physicians, who can use the findings to target men less likely to know a lot about their prostate cancer and educate them prior to their appointments so they're more comfortable making treatment decisions, said study first author Dr. Alan Kaplan.
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Educated Consumers More Likely to Use Potentially Unreliable Online Healthcare Information

(Science Daily) In assessing the factors that influence a person's likelihood to seek health-care information online, Chalil Madathil and coauthors Dr. Joel Greenstein and Reshmi Koikkara found that among more than 3,000 participants, younger consumers who attended four or more years of college were far more likely to reference online anecdotal information than were older individuals with a high school education or less. Additionally, respondents who reported poorer levels of health take to the Internet significantly more often than do those who are healthier.
The authors urge consumers to seek advice from a licensed medical professional and to use caution when searching for health information online.
"Consumers may be relying less on health-care providers, which creates the risk of receiving misleading, inaccurate, and untrustworthy information from unmoderated Internet sources," said Chalil Madathil. "It's critical for them to develop skills for accessing, comprehending, and effectively using this information."
Community: Most healthcare professionals have very little idea what’s available to us on the internet. I assure you that what you read on Many Years Young will always be from authoritative sources, but don’t expect your doctor to know what you’re talking about.
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Infectious Disease News

(Reuters) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and "continues to accelerate", the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. The epidemic in the region, the deadliest since the disease was first discovered in 1976, has killed nearly as many people as all the previous known outbreaks combined.
(Scientific American) Techniques used in the U.S. to treat symptoms and subdue the virus in patients could work overseas.
(Reuters) An experimental Ebola vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline is being fast-tracked into human studies and the company plans to build up a stockpile of up to 10,000 doses for emergency deployment, if results are good.
(Science Daily) Ebola is a rare, but deadly disease that exists as five strains, none of which have approved therapies. One of the most lethal strains is the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV). Although not the strain currently devastating West Africa, SUDV has caused widespread illness, even as recently as 2012. Researchers now report a possible therapy that could someday help treat patients infected with SUDV.
(LiveScience) The virus that causes MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) spreads among people within households at a lower rate than seasonal flu viruses, a new study suggests.
(Science Daily) The harmful and potentially deadly bacterium Listeria is extremely good at adapting to changes. Now research uncovers exactly how cunning Listeria is and why it is so hard to fight. The discovery can help develop more efficient ways to combat the bacteria.
(Scientific American) A fluorinated analogue of the naturally occurring aminoglycoside neomycin – well known as an over-the-counter ointment for minor skin abrasions – could lead to a range of much-needed antibiotics in the arms race against aminoglycoside resistant bacteria.
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WHO: Climate Change Brings New Health Threats

(Voice of America) The World Health Organization (WHO)warned Wednesday that major killer diseases will spread and health problems will worsen with climate change.  
The WHO, which is holding the first global conference on health and climate in Geneva, urged nations to act quickly to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, which lead to climate change.  
Although some countries could see localized benefits from global warming -- cold countries could experience fewer winter deaths due to more temperate weather as well as increased food production -- the WHO says overall health effects are likely to be overwhelmingly negative.
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Medical Technology News

(The Salt, NPR) Some of us now monitor our steps, sleep and calorie intake with wristbands and apps. So why not track blood-alcohol levels? We explore the next frontier in the self-measurement movement.
(New York Daily News) Eaze, a San Francisco start-up, is promising prompt, professional delivery of pot from the dispensary to your door. Just think of it as Uber for herb.
(Science Daily) Algorithms to identify weak spots in tendons, muscles and bones prone to tearing or breaking have been developed by researchers. The technology, which needs to be refined before it is used in patients, one day may help pinpoint minor strains and tiny injuries in the body’s tissues long before bigger problems occur.
(Science Daily) The fly can pinpoint the location of a chirping cricket with remarkable accuracy because of its freakishly acute hearing, which relies upon a sophisticated sound processing mechanism that really sets it apart from all other known insects. Researchers have now developed a tiny prototype device that mimics the parasitic fly’s hearing mechanism, which may be useful for a new generation of hypersensitive hearing aids.
(ABC News) At Boston Children’s Hospital, doctors perform practice surgeries with replicas of their patients’ body parts. Though the hospital has had a simulation program for about a decade, it started 3D-printing children’s body parts about a year ago, said Dr. Peter Weinstock, director of the hospital’s simulator program. “They perfect what they want to do before ever bringing the child into the operating room or putting them to sleep,” Weinstock said.
(Science Daily) Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients who desperately need them. Scientists are reporting new understanding about the dynamics of 3-D bioprinting that takes them a step closer to realizing their goal of making working tissues and organs on-demand.
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Medical Research News

(ThinkProgress) The ongoing lack of diversity is ultimately undermining our ability to develop better health treatments.
(NIH Research Matters) Researchers induced human stem cells to create a 3-D retina structure that responds to light. The finding may aid the study of eye diseases and could eventually lead to new therapies.
(Science Daily) Mice missing two important proteins of the vascular system develop normally and appear healthy in adulthood, as long as they don’t become injured. If they do, their wounds don’t heal properly, a new study shows. The research may have implications for treating diseases involving abnormal blood vessel growth, such as the impaired wound healing often seen in diabetes and the loss of vision caused by macular degeneration.
(Science Daily) A research team has demonstrated a dramatically improved technique for analyzing biological cells and tissues based on characteristic molecular vibrations. The new technique is an advanced form of Raman spectroscopy that is fast and accurate enough to create high-resolution images of biological specimens, with detailed spatial information on specific biomolecules, at speeds fast enough to observe changes in living cells.
(Science Daily) Fever is a response to inflammation, and is triggered by an onset of the signaling substance prostaglandin. Researchers can now see precisely where these substances are produced -- a discovery that paves the way for smarter drugs.
(Science Daily) An imaging technology more powerful than anything that has existed before, and is fast enough to observe life processes as they actually happen at the molecular level, has been created by scientists. This technology will allow creation of improved biosensors to study everything from nerve impulses to cancer metastasis as it occurs.
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Wrong Diagnosis Leading Cause for Catastrophic Malpractice Payouts

(Science Daily) A study … reports that many huge malpractice awards can be prevented by targeted interventions by health care provider organizations to reduce patient safety risks, such as reducing diagnosis errors…
Results showed that the greatest percentage of catastrophic payouts occur from errors in diagnosis. The authors noted that errors in diagnosis have twice the odds for a catastrophic payout and that health systems should focus more attention on ensuring diagnostic accuracy.
"Factors associated with catastrophic malpractice payouts present opportunities for targeted risk management and quality improvement efforts," said co-author Martin A. Makary, M.D, MPH.
Community: Ab. So. LUTEly. It’s time the profession started putting forth more effort to prevent medical errors than to stop people from suing doctors for committing them.
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VA Inquiry Stops Short Of Linking Deaths To Delays In Care In Phoenix

(Los Angeles Times)  On the same day President Obama pledged to regain veterans’ trust, Department of Veterans Affairs investigators reported that they had been unable to prove that delays in medical care caused any deaths at the VA medical center in Phoenix, epicenter of a national scandal over mismanagement in the veterans healthcare system.
In a report released Tuesday, however, the VA’s Office of Inspector General criticized the Phoenix VA for “troubling lapses in follow-up, coordination, quality and continuity of care.”
Investigators said they had examined the electronic health records and other information of 3,409 veteran patients and identified 40 who died while waiting for appointments from April 2013 to April 2014. But the review stopped short of linking their deaths to delays in care.
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Health Insurance News

(AP) Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul, but there’s still wiggle room for them to discourage the sickest and costliest patients from enrolling… There are three major ways insurers still might steer sick or expensive patients away from their coverage: FORM NARROW NETWORKS… CAUSE PRESCRIPTION STICKER SHOCK… ENTER MARKETS CAUTIOUSLY.
(Science Daily) Recent growth in health care spending for commercially insured individuals is due primarily to increases in prices for medical services, rather than increased use, according to a new study. Increases in health care spending for commercially insured beneficiaries were principally the result of increases in prices (how much medical services cost) -- especially for outpatient services -- rather than increases in utilization (how much medical care is received), researchers conclude.
(Fox News) Thought HealthCare.gov had problems? Another federal government-run website created under ObamaCare is suffering the same symptoms as the troubled federal health care exchange -- grappling with delays, data problems and other hiccups as the deadline to take it public nears. At issue is a database known as the Open Payments website. It was created under the Affordable Care Act to shed light on the financial ties between doctors and pharmaceutical companies as well as device manufacturers.
(Kaiser Health News) The state has one of the largest numbers of children who are Medicaid-eligible but still uninsured.
(Kaiser Health News) Reduced costs for medical services and labor have trimmed the 10-year projected cost of Medicare and Medicaid by $89 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Medicare spending is projected to drop by $49 billion — or less than 1 percent — from 2015 and 2024, while Medicaid spending is expected to drop by $40 billion — or about 1 percent — over the next decade, CBO said in an update to its April forecast.
(Kaiser Health News) Fear keeps many patients and doctors from talking to each other about end-of-life care. One company, hired by insurers, has made a rather unusual business fostering those conversations.
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Pomegranate extract may stem Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

(University of Huddersfield) The onset of Alzheimer's disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by a natural compound that is found in pomegranate. Also, the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson's disease could be reduced, according to the findings of a two-year project headed by University of Huddersfield scientist Dr Olumayokun Olajide, who specialises in the anti-inflammatory properties of natural products.
Now, a new phase of research can explore the development of drugs that will stem the development of dementias such as Alzheimer's, which affects some 800,000 people in the UK, with 163,000 new cases a year being diagnosed. Globally, there are at least 44.4 million dementia sufferers, with the numbers expected to soar.
The key breakthrough by Dr Olajide and his co-researchers is to demonstrate that punicalagin, which is a polyphenol – a form of chemical compound – found in pomegranate fruit, can inhibit inflammation in specialised brain cells known as micrologia. This inflammation leads to the destruction of more and more brain cells, making the condition of Alzheimer's sufferers progressively worse.
There is still no cure for the disease, but the punicalagin in pomegranate could prevent it or slow down its development.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Digital Literacy Reduces Cognitive Decline in Older Adults, Experts Find

(Science Daily) Researchers have found a link between digital literacy and a reduction in cognitive decline, according to a study…
The data measures delayed recall from a 10-word-list learning task across 5 separate measurement points. Higher wealth, education and digital literacy improved delayed recall, while people with functional impairment, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depressive symptoms or no digital literacy showed decline. The researchers' findings suggest that "digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve or leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline."
The authors write, "countries where policy interventions regarding improvement in DL are implemented may expect lower incidence rates for dementia over the coming decades."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Could young blood cure Alzheimer's?

(Daily Mail) Scientists are hopeful that injecting the blood of young people into the bodies of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, could reverse some of the damage caused by the debilitating condition.
A human experiment due to take place in October and will build on years of animal research, which suggests the transfusion of young blood can improve organ health, including the brain. 
Researchers will give blood plasma transfusions, from donors under the age of 30, to volunteers with mild Alzheimer’s…
Clive McCay of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, stitched together the circulatory systems of an old and young mouse more than 60 years ago to discover that the cartilage in the older mice looked younger than expected.
Since then, experiments using the same technique have proved that young blood can rejuvenate the liver and skeletal stem cells of old mice and that young blood can reverse heart decline in the animals.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Sensors let Alzheimer's patients stay at home, safely

(CNN) SmartThings is a DIY home automation system that connects sensors and smart devices with a wireless hub. In addition to sensors like those in Mary Lou's home, the system can loop in smart thermostats, smart plugs, door locks and surveillance cameras.
SmartThings is highly customizable and works easily with third-party sensors, which makes it appealing to people like Cathy Johnson. It also doesn't require a monthly fee, unlike many other systems. (Samsung recently purchased the company for $200 million.)
The elder care tech industry is still young, but Laurie Orlov, an industry analyst, predicts it could be a $20 billion business by 2020. This means that both startups and big-name brands are getting in on the action.
Lowe'sHome DepotBest BuyAT&T and Staples all have their own connected home systems and sell starter kits that you can expand by purchasing sensors à la carte.
Systems Lively and BeClose offer senior-specific accessories such as bed, toilet and pillbox sensors. GrandCare offers connected blood pressure, weight and glucose monitoring devices.
Wearable devices can also track health and behaviors, and built-in accelerometers can pick up on physical changes or tell when a wearer has fallen. Tempo is a wristband for seniors that picks up on lapses in routine or changes in gait that might indicate mental or physical deterioration. The device is due out this winter.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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What's the difference between vascular dementia and Alzheimer's?

(Boston Globe) Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most common cause of dementia (a significant loss of memory and cognitive functions), but vascular dementia is one of several other forms of dementia. In Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells throughout the brain die off, and abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain for reasons not entirely known. Vascular dementia, in contrast, is the result of impaired blood flow to the brain, usually by a series of small, imperceptible strokes. Avi Almozlino, chief of neurology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, says that people may not be aware of having strokes, “but over time there is accumulating damage to the brain.”
He says that Alzheimer’s disease largely affects the gray matter (the main bodies of nerve cells), while vascular dementia affects the white matter (the connecting fibers in the brain)…
We don’t know how to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia, but vascular dementia involves the same risk factors known to increase your risk of heart disease or stroke, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and lack of physical activity. Addressing these risk factors could potentially help to prevent or slow the condition.
Community: As we saw yesterday, some of the practices that can preserve vascular health are exercise, eating blueberries, and eating chocolate—but skip the sugar.
There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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People With Down Syndrome Are Pioneers In Alzheimer's Research

(Shots, NPR) Because their bodies produce extra amyloid, most people with Down syndrome develop problems with thinking and memory by the time they reach 60. [Researcher Michael] Rafii has chronicled the decline of one of his patients, a woman named Irma, by collecting her signatures from medical forms over the years.
The first one is from 1999, when Irma was in her mid-50s. "You can see her signature is on the line, it's clear, she wrote it in script," Rafii says. By 2005, though, she has switched to large block letters. By 2009, Irma is misspelling her name. By 2011, "there are only a few characters written that resemble letters," Rafii says. "And in the very last year it's completely blank."
People like Irma used to be rare because the medical problems associated with Down syndrome meant they rarely lived long enough to get dementia. Today, though, better medical treatments mean people with the disorder often live into their 60s.
And that has created a huge opportunity for Alzheimer's research, says William Mobley, chairman of the neuroscience department at UCSD. "This is the one group in the world that you could argue would benefit most by the institution of early therapy," he says.
Early therapy means starting people on drug treatment years before the symptoms of Alzheimer's appear. The approach has been hard to test because, in the general population, there's no good way to know who is going to develop Alzheimer's. But for people with Down syndrome, it's a near certainty.
Finding a drug that prevents Alzheimer's in people with Down syndrome could help millions of people who don't have the disorder, Mobley says. "This approach to treating Alzheimer's disease might apply to all of us," he says. "Imagine someday a drug that we all start taking when we're 25 so we never get Alzheimer's disease."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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More Information and Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Science Daily) Mindfulness training for individuals with early-stage dementia and their caregivers together in the same class was beneficial for both groups, easing depression and improving sleep and quality of life. Just eight sessions of training made a positive difference, resulting in more joy, less worry.
(Reuters Health) The stress of caring for a family member with dementia may take a toll on health over time, but a new study suggests that even one day off can shift caregivers’ stress levels back toward normal. Based on measurements of the stress hormone cortisol, researchers found that caregivers had healthier stress responses on days when the dementia patient went to adult daycare. Even anticipation of the day off had an effect on cortisol levels.
(Science Daily) A loss of cells in the retina is one of the earliest signs of frontotemporal dementia in people with a genetic risk for the disorder -- even before any changes appear in their behavior -- scientists have found. Although it is located in the eye, the retina is made up of neurons with direct connections to the brain. This means that studying the retina is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to examine and track changes in neurons.
(Science Daily) People with cognitive impairment are significantly more likely to have a stroke, with a 39 percent increased risk, than people with normal cognitive function, according to a new study. Cognitive impairment and stroke are major contributors to disability, and stroke is the second leading cause of death world-wide. Although stroke is linked to the development and worsening of cognitive impairment, it is not known whether the reverse is true.
(Science Daily) Weight loss surgery can curb alterations in brain activity associated with obesity and improve cognitive function involved in planning, strategizing and organizing, according to a new study.
Community: Oh, puhleeze! The doctors who perform this surgery must have formed an organization they contribute to that has all these rosy findings. It’s not the surgery that brings the health benefits, it’s the dietary restrictions and exercise the follow the surgery. So maybe it’s better to embrace the lifestyle changes and forego the risks of surgery.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto
Use the vegetables you have on hand with chunks of chicken for a 20-minute family-friendly meal.
EatingWell:
Cheddar-Stuffed Mini Meatloaves with Chipotle Glaze
Individual meatloaves not only take the guesswork out of portion size, they cook quicker than a large loaf. Look for ground chipotle in the spice section of the market—it gives the glaze a hit of smoke and spice. Serve with roasted broccoli and brown rice tossed with cilantro.
Appetite for Health:
A Healthy Grilling Guide to Labor Day Weekend
Use this healthy grilling guide to fire up flavor–not calories–in your Labor Day cookout menu.
Los Angeles Times:
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Provolone Chicken Melts
These cheesy open-faced sandwiches are so gooey you’ll want to eat them with a knife and fork. You can use grilled, baked, or poached chicken instead of sautéed, if you prefer.
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Fibre-Based Satiety Ingredient Shown to Make You Eat Less

(Science Daily) Scientists from the University of Liverpool have demonstrated the effectiveness of a fibre-based dietary ingredient that makes people feel less hungry and consume less food.
Hunger is a major barrier to successful weight control and consumers need healthy foods that will help them control their appetite. Although fibres have the potential to modulate appetite without adding additional calories, they can make foods less appealing. Moreover, most studies employing fibres have failed to demonstrate positive effects on either appetite or food intake, and certainly no effects lasting the full day.
Psychologists from the University's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society tested whether the new product (Weightain® satiety ingredient), consisting of a combination of dietary fibre sources including a viscous hydrocolloid and a whole-grain corn flour rich in resistant starch, made people feel fuller for longer and influenced the amount of food they ate.
Community: No need to wait for an expensive source of resistant starch. There are plenty available in the food supply.
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More Food News

(Reuters) A new method for removing allergens from peanuts means help could soon be on the way for the roughly 2.8 million Americans with a potentially life-threatening allergy to the popular food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
(The Supermarket Guru) Retailers seem well versed in how music, lighting, scent and other store-design elements correlate to shopper moods and purchase behavior, as well as to bigger baskets, longer trips and likelier repeat visits. That’s why stores often play slow-tempo music at moderate volume, and intensify smells of fresh-baked breads and tortillas, rotisserie chickens, and fragrant fruits and vegetables. They could do more too: sample foods they sell that are known to improve moods, such as chocolate, tea and berries, and omega-3 rich fish and flaxseed.
Community: They’ll do anything to get us to buy more. Try not to fall for it, friends.
(The Supermarket Guru) Are food coupons on the decline? Recent data from New Marx, seems to signify this may be the case.  According to their numbers there's been a  3.9% drop in food coupons distributed during the first half of 2014, with the most pronounced drop occurring in refrigerated categories.  In addition to this, coupons also had a shorter shelf life with expiration dates dropping to about 8.2 weeks, down 1.3%. The thinking behind this may be to build more shopper urgency as well as higher weighted average face values (80 cents, up 6.4%) to appeal more to shoppers.
(Reuters Health) When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up charging the restaurant in question with a violation.
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