Archive for June, 2010
June 29th, 2010 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Senior citizens can preserve their memory and cognitive abilities longer if they keep their minds and bodies active, according to a number of experts and researchers.
A recent study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that volunteer activities appears to delay or reverse declining brain function in older people. Although this study was small, it adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that mentally stimulating lifestyles may help maintain or improve cognitive function in aging people.
Another study has found that people who were free of Alzheimer’s disease in later life were more likely to have engaged in mentally stimulating leisure activities when they were younger. These activities included playing chess, reading books, playing a musical instrument, or learning a foreign language.
An active social schedule also appears to be key to healthy mental stimulation. A 2008 study from Harvard found that elderly people in the U.S. who have an active social life have a slower rate of memory decline.
SOURCE: “Volunteering Keeps Older Minds Sharp”, MedPage Today, December 18, 2009
SOURCE: Carlson M, et al “Evidence for neurocognitive plasticity in at-risk older adults: The Experience Corps Program” J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2009: 64; 1275–82.
June 16th, 2010 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
White is bad, at least when it comes to weight control and a healthy diet. White bread, white, flour, white rice, white sugar, and even white pasta are all highly refined, have less fiber, and are thought to contribute to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
The more you substitute whole grain carbohydrates for the white, highly processed foods, the easier it’ll be to control weight and avoid such diseases as Type 2 Diabetes.
A recent study from Harvard found that having more than five servings a week was associated with a 17% higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes, whereas having two servings of brown rice a week was associated with a decreased risk of developing diabetes.
In an article by MedPage Today, Carl J. Lavie, MD, who was not involved in the study, cautioned that the data is “not strong enough to suggest to patients to increase their consumption of brown rice. Rather, the data is stronger to suggest that instead of consuming high quantities of white rice, it would be preferable to replace this with either brown rice and even better to replace white rice with other whole grains that have even lower glycemic indices.” Another obesity researcher added that “whole grains are likely more important than brown rice alone”.
SOURCE: Sun Q, et al “White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in U.S. men and women” Arch Intern Med 2010; 170(11): 961-69.
SOURCE: “Brown Rice over White to Cut Diabetes Risk”, MedPage Today, June 14, 2010
June 10th, 2010 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
A diet heavy in animal protein appears to increase women’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to researchers from Paris.
This study adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that diet might play a role in inflammatory bowel disease.
Also there have been several studies linking vitamin D deficiency to IBD.
Inflammatory bowel disease is a general term for diseases that are marked by severe inflammation in the digestive system such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Meat could contribute to inflammatory bowel disease risk because digestion of animal protein produces many potentially toxic “end products,” such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, the lead researcher said in an interview with Reuters Health. Also, a high-protein diet could alter the mix of healthy bacteria that live in the colon.
SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology, online May 11, 2010
SOURCE: “Meat, fish protein linked to women’s bowel disease”, Reuter’s Health, June 7, 2010
June 1st, 2010 by Nina Thompson, ARNP
Cleveland Clinic researchers report promising results with the development of a vaccine that may not only treat, but prevent breast cancer. Dr. Vincent Tuohy and his team have worked for the last eight years, testing a potential vaccine for breast cancer.
The single vaccination prevents breast cancer tumors from forming and also stops the growth of existing tumors, according to the researchers. The drug makes the immune system attack a particular protein found in most breast cancer cells and in the mammary tissues of breastfeeding women.
To date the treatment has only been tested on mice, but these results have been ”overwhelmingly favorable” according to Dr. Tuohy, an immunologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, in an article by Fox News. “If it works in humans the way it works in mice, this will be monumental,” he said.
Clinical trials on women are planned to begin next year, but it may be as long as 10 years before the vaccine is available.
SOURCE: “U.S.-Developed Vaccine ‘Could Eliminate’ Breast Cancer”, FoxNews.com, June 1, 2010
SOURCE: “Breast cancer vaccine successful in mice” CNN Health, May 31, 2010