San Francisco city has approved a measure for the November ballot that would place a two-cents-per-ounce municipal tax on sodas and other sugary beverages.
San Francisco is hoping to become the first major city to successfully impose such a levy.
Other US cities have tried and ultimately failed to tax sugary drinks. Among them has been Richmond, California, across the bay from San Francisco, where a penny-an-ounce tax was defeated after a multimillion-dollar campaign by the American Beverage Association.
San Francisco’s plan, which was approved on July 22 by a 6-4 vote of the board of supervisors, would be applied to any nonalcoholic, sweetened drink with more than 25 calories per 12 ounces.
“I think the nation is watching what happens here,” said John Maa, a surgeon on the board of directors at two organizations that support the measure, San Francisco Medical Society and American Heart Association.
“It has been referred to as a last stand.”
Roger Salazar, a spokesperson with Coalition for an Affordable City: Stop Unfair Beverages Taxes, a project of the American Beverage Association, said that if the city wants to educate people about health issues it should do so without taxing the most needy.
“Taxing sugar sweetened beverages won’t alter lifestyle,” Roger Salazar said.
“All it really does is impact the very people that are struggling to get by in San Francisco at a time when they can least afford it.”
San Francisco’s office of economic analysis estimates that the tax would bring in $35 to $54 million per year and, if it’s passed directly on to consumers, as expected, it could reduce consumption by 31%.
Income from the tax would go towards funding city programs to improve food access, health and nutrition.
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Wine, glorious wine. From a cold, crisp glass of white on a sunny day to a hearty red by the fire in winter, this is the connoisseur’s tipple of choice. The only trouble is, although many people enjoy the complex flavors and aromas that this grape-based beverage boasts, enthusiasts often feel guilty when they pop a cork and pour themselves a glass. After all, everyone knows the health risks associated with consuming too much alcohol.
However, when drunk in moderation, wine can in fact be good for people. So, next time you reach for your favorite bottle or take advantage of the impressive wine deals now available, you needn’t feel bad!
Warding Off Dementia
Everyone knows that too much booze can result in short-term memory loss. However, when consumed sensibly, it seems wine can actually have the opposite effect and preserve people’s memories. A team from Loyola University Medical Center analyzed data from scientific papers on red wine since 1977. They found a statistically significantly lower risk of dementia among regular, moderate red wine drinkers in 14 of 19 countries.
According to those behind the research, the resveratrol in wine keeps blood vessels open and flexible since it reduces the stickiness of blood platelets. As a result, this maintains a good supply of blood to the brain.
Boosting the Immune System
We all want to avoid getting sick and, who knows, maybe there are some of us out there that want to live forever. Wine can’t help us with the latter, but it can certainly lend a hand with the former. A British study found that people who drink roughly one glass of wine per day reduced their risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria by 11%. This nasty little bacterium is a major cause of stomach ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer. Meanwhile, Spanish research has uncovered as little as half a glass to help to protect people from food poisoning caused by bacteria such as salmonella.
Building the Bones
Then there are the benefits for the bones. According to research, on average, women who drink moderately have a higher bone mass than non-drinkers. This may be because alcohol appears to boost estrogen levels, this hormone slowing the body’s destruction of old bone more than it slows the production of new bone.
Keeping Diabetes at Bay
Diabetes is becoming increasingly common in developed countries. However, experts have discovered that resveratrol (there it is again!) improves people’s sensitivity to insulin, thus lowering their risk of developing this blood sugar problem. Meanwhile, a ten-year study conducted by a team at Harvard Medical School discovered that premenopausal women who drink one or two glasses of wine a day are 40% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who don’t drink.
Now that you can feel that bit better about sipping a glass of your favorite wine, you might be looking for some healthy foods that go perfectly with the beverage. Red wine is a great accompaniment to a range of meals, including wholesome soups and stews. A light red, such as a pinot noir, works superbly with fish.
If you fancy something sweet, why not enjoy red wine with dark chocolate? This tasty treat is also known to have various health benefits.
Stronger bones, a more robust immune system and a mind that can stand up to the threat of dementia … just some of the wonders that a glass or two of wine can work. Then there’s the fact that it can decrease your exposure to potential diabetes. Maybe instead of an apple a day, it will be a glass of wine that keeps the doctor away!
Fiona Griffin is a wine connoisseur who loves a drop of merlot. Along with her glasses of wine, she likes to enjoy the crime fiction of Lynda La Plante.
According to a New Zealand study, first-born children may be more likely than second-borns to be overweight in later life.
A small study of middle-aged men living in New Zealand found children born first into their family were about 14 lbs heavier and had a bigger BMI than second-borns.
They also had more insulin resistance, which can lead to health problems.
Birth order may affect the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, say researchers.
Larger studies are needed to fully evaluate this link, they add.
There is some evidence to suggest birth order may influence the body’s fat make-up and metabolism, from infancy to the teenage years.
However, the potential impact in mid-life is unknown.
Prof. Wayne Cutfield and colleagues at the University of Auckland studied 50 overweight but otherwise healthy men between the ages of 40 and 50.
“First-born men were heavier and had lower insulin sensitivity than second-borns,” they report in the journal, Scientific Reports.
“Thus, first-born adults may be at a greater risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.”
Prof. Wayne Cutfield said the risk of developing obesity or diabetes occurs when enough risk factors come together.
“Being first born is one such risk factor, it does not mean first-borns will become overweight or diabetic, being first-born simply increases the risk.”
The researchers say the study needs to be repeated in pairs of siblings and with more subjects.
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Google has announced it is testing a “smart contact lens” that can help measure glucose levels in tears.
The lens uses a “tiny” wireless chip and a “miniaturized” glucose sensor embedded between two layers of lens material.
Google said it is also working on integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed certain thresholds.
But it added that “a lot more work” needed to be done to get the technology ready for everyday use.
“It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype,” Google said in a blogpost.
“We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”
Google’s latest foray with the smart contact lens is aimed at a sector where consumer demand for such devices is expected to grow.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), one in ten people across the world’s population are forecast to have diabetes by 2035.
People suffering from the condition need to monitor their glucose levels regularly as sudden spikes or drops are dangerous. At present, the majority of them do so by testing drops of blood.
Google said it was testing a prototype of the lens that could “generate a reading once per second”.
The company said it was working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring the product to mainstream use.
It added that it would look for partners “who are experts in bringing products like this to market”.
Google said it would work with these partners to develop apps aimed at making the measurements taken by the lens available to the wearer and their doctor.
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According to a new study, women who lift weights in the gym cut their risk of developing diabetes.
The study tracked the health of nearly 100,000 US nurses over a period of eight years.
Lifting weights, doing press-ups or similar resistance exercises to give the muscles a workout was linked with a lower risk of diabetes, the work in PLoS Medicine shows.
Adults are already advised to do such exercise at least twice a week.
The benefit seen in the study was on top of any gained from doing aerobic workouts that exercise the heart and lungs – something which adults are meant to do for at least 150 minutes a week.
Women who engaged in at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity and at least an hour a week of muscle-strengthening activities had the most substantial risk reduction compared with inactive women. They cut their odds of developing type 2 diabetes by a third.
Experts already know that regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, brisk walking or swimming, can help stave off type 2 diabetes.
The Harvard Medical School researchers point out that their work is not perfect – it looked at only nurses who were mostly Caucasian and relied on the study participants reporting how much exercise they did rather than directly measuring it.
But they say their findings chime with similar results they already have for men.
They believe the explanation may be partly down to maintaining a greater muscle mass to act as a buffer against diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly.
Insulin enables the body to use sugar as energy and store any excess in the liver and muscle.
Our genes and lifestyles influence our chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Carrying excess weight increases a person’s risk.
US scientists have recently identified a possible genetic link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
It has been known for some time that people with diabetes have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but not why this is so.
Now researchers writing in Genetics say a study of worms has indicated a known Alzheimer’s gene also plays a role in the way insulin is processed.
Dementia experts said more work in humans was now needed.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.
There are medications which can slow the progress of the disease, but none that can halt its progress.
A key indication of Alzheimer’s, which can only be seen after death, is the presence of sticky plaques of amyloid protein in decimated portions of patients’ brains.
Scientists have already found mutations in a gene involved in the processing of amyloid protein in Alzheimer’s which run in families.
In this study, a team from the City College of New York looked at a similar gene in the nematode worms (C. elegans).
These worms are often studied because they, perhaps surprisingly, a useful model for human research.
The researchers, led by Prof. Chris Li, found the gene in the worms also affected the insulin pathway – the chemical reactions involved in its production and processing.
Prof. Chris Li said: “People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of dementia.
“The insulin pathways are involved in many metabolic processes, including helping to keep the nervous system healthy.”
She said more work was needed to investigate this potential link and its effects further.
Mark Johnston, editor-in-chief of the journal Genetics, said it was “an important discovery”.
“We know there’s a link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but until now it was somewhat of a mystery.
“This finding could open new doors for treating and preventing the disease.”
An anonymous author who works in the pharmaceutical industry wrote several anonymous editorials in this weeks British Medical Journal in which they claim:
“Some of the [post-marketing] studies I worked on were not designed to determine the overall risk/benefit balance of the drug in the general population. They were designed to support and disseminate a marketing message.”
According to the writer the process begins as doctors are recruited to find patients who will demonstrate the best results for the company. The doctor is told exactly what to tell patients they should expect and that information is meant to plant the seed of support in the patients mind.
What’s worse, the whistleblower claims that the studies are often molded to fit the expectations of the drug company.
“We occasionally resorted to <<playing>> with the data that had originally failed to show the expected result,” he says.
“This was done by altering the statistical method until any statistical significance was found.”
Negative results are then omitted when it comes to harmful side effects since post-marketing studies do not face the same public scrutiny of pre-approval studies.
The other notes that the false reports are based on a company’s desire to make money over the ten-year period in which their drug is under control of strict patent laws.
Nature examined the authors work and believes they may come from a diabetes background as the editorials focus on post-marketing studies involving insulin drugs meant to fight diabetes.
News of bait-and-switch campaigns involving “post-marketing” studies are nothing new, researchers for years have complained about these so-called “studies” which attempt to overturn accepted problems with drugs that were discovered in pre-study tests.
In the meantime, the companies involved in the authors attacks such as Norvo Nordisk continue to stick behind their products, claiming that their studies involved real-world case studies.
A new study, published this week in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, indicates that bowel may play an important role in the development of diabetes.
This is a new and somehow surprising approach to diabetes, since until now most of the studies have focused on pancreas and liver. Pancreas produces insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar (glucose) blood levels and liver is the main organ where the sugar is stored.
Normally, a mucus layer lines inside the intestines (small intestine and colon) to protect the organism from infection (with bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) and to keep the balance, or homeostasis of the host-microbiota (good bacteria). The bacteria that naturally live in the colon (host-microbiota, or gut flora) help digest food and synthesize vitamins.
On the other hand, bacteria from intestines can produce toxins and carcinogens, and cause multisystem organ failure, sepsis, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Intestinal bacteria also influence the BMI (body mass index). Obese persons have especially bacteria called Firmicutes in their bowel, while lean people have Bacteroidetes. These bacteria are involved in the digestion of fatty acids and polysaccharides. In other study obese mice were transplanted into germ-free recipient, and as a result they gain weight despite a decrease in food consumption.
An important factor in health is the balance of bacterial numbers.
The integrity of the intestinal mucus barrier, made of lipids, proteins and glycoproteins, may play a role in developing insulin resistance and in diabetes.
The researchers of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, including specialists in gastroenterology and genome sciences, have tried to determine what happens in mice that were unable to produce fatty acid synthase (FAS) in their intestines.
The enzyme FAS is essential for lipids production, therefore essential for mucus secretion, it regulates the production of a mucus component Mucin 2.
FAS secretion is regulated by insulin, and as a consequence people with diabetes have faulty FAS.
“Diabetes may indeed start in your gut. When people become resistant to insulin, as happens when they gain weight, FAS doesn’t work properly, which causes inflammation that, in turn, can lead to diabetes,” said Dr. Clay F. Semenkovich, study author.
Mice became sick, they had diarrhea and other symptoms. The changes in their gut flora made the mice sick, thought the scientists at the beginning, but after a detailed analysis those changes did not prove to be the cause.
Mice have developed chronic inflammation in their guts. Intestinal inflammation is a powerful predictor of diabetes.
“The first striking thing we saw was that the mice began losing weight. They had diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, and when we looked closely at the tissue in the gut, we found a lot of inflammation,” said Dr. Xiaochao Wei, study author.
“The mice had substantial changes in their gut microbiome. But it wasn’t the composition of microbes in the gut that caused the problems,” said Dr. Clay F. Semenkovich.
The mice were sick because of a defect in fatty acid synthase. They had lost the protective lining of mucus in the intestines and bacteria could invade intestinal cells.
Those gastrointestinal effects were similar to inflammatory bowel disease. Helpful bacteria can be very harmful to the organism if they get outside of the digestive tract (when the intestine is perforated, or becomes permeable, in disease like cirrhosis).
Prior to this observation, other reports have shown that colon biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis had low amounts of fatty acid synthase.
“Fatty acid synthase is required to keep that mucosal layer intact. Without it, bad bacteria invade cells in the colon and the small intestine, creating inflammation, and that, in turn, contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes, ” said Dr. Xiaochao Wei.
Inflammatory substances can cause insulin resistance and inhibit the secretion of insulin, and may lead to diabetes. On the other hand, insulin resistance promote inflammation.
Lots of people with diabetes not only have inadequate FAS, but they also have gastrointestinal disorders, said Dr. Clay F. Semenkovich.
“Abdominal pain and diarrhea are some of the most common problems we see in people with diabetes. We could only connect these ‘dots’ because other experts at the university could help us link what we observed in these mice to what occurs in patients with diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease,” he said.
FAS and Mucin 2 may be potential targets for diabetes therapy. However, further studies are needed, and the scientists plan to study how the secretion of FAS is affected in people with diabetes.
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Guinea-Bissau’s leader Malam Bacai Sanha has died at 64 in hospital in Paris, national radio reports.
President Malam Bacai Sanha had travelled to France for medical treatment in late November after being taken seriously ill.
He was the president of Guinea-Bissau since 8 September 2009. A member of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Malam Bacai Sanhá was President of the National People’s Assembly from 1994 to 1999 and then served as acting President of Guinea-Bissau from 14 May 1999 to 17 February 2000, following the ouster of President João Bernardo Vieira. Standing as the PAIGC candidate, he placed second in the 1999–2000 presidential election as well as the 2005 presidential election before winning the June–July 2009 presidential election.
The nature of Malam Bacai Sanha illness has not been made public but he was known to suffer from diabetes.
In early December 2009, he was due to visit Portugal but delayed the visit due to health problems. After fainting, he was taken to Dakar and then Paris for medical treatment. While in Paris, he said that he had suffered a drop in hemoglobin; although he insisted that his diabetes was “not as serious as people want to make out”, he also said that he intended to be more attentive about his health. Malam Bacai Sanhá spent ten days in Paris and subsequently stayed in the Canary Islands for a time before returning to Bissau on 30 December 2009. His chief of protocol stated that he had recovered and was in good condition
This time, before being hospitalized in Paris, Malam Bacai Sanha had been treated in intensive care in a h.ospital in neighbouring Senegal.
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The circadian rhythm (time clock) of human body has to be respected in order to be in a good state of health. Repeated lack of sleep, working at night can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Researchers from Boston, Massachusetts, have conducted a study that enrolled two groups of women, for almost 20 years. The study, which appeared this December in PLoS Medicine, showed that women who worked rotating night shifts had greater risk of type 2 diabetes than women with regular hours. The risk increases in time, longer they have worked, greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“The association is quite strong and very consistent between the two cohorts. For nurses who spent a couple of years working rotating night shifts, there was a minimal increase in risk. But, for those with a very long duration of rotating shifts, the risk was almost 60 percent higher. This provides pretty strong evidence that the longer the rotating night shift work, the greater the risk of diabetes,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
In the study, rotating shift work means working three or more nights a month, plus days and evenings. An Pan, Eva S. Schernhammer, Qi Sun, Frank B. Hu conducted the U.S. Nurses’ Health Studies I and II. In NHS I 69,269 women aged 42–67 were enrolled, and 107,915 women aged 25–42 in NHS II. They had no diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer and were followed for almost 20 years. In this period of time, 6,165 women in the NHS I and 3,961 women in the second group developed type 2 diabetes.
Women who did rotating shift work were compared with women who did not. Women who did one to two years of shift work had a 5 percent increase in type 2 diabetes, those who worked shifts for 3 to 9 years had a 20 percent, and nurses who worked for 10 to 19 years on rotating shifts had a 40 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes. Women with more than 20 years on a rotating night shift had the highest risk, with a 58 percent increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The medical scientists adjusted the data to account for body mass index and the linkage between shift work and type 2 diabetes was reduced. Overweight and especially obesity appeared to be greater risks for diabetes.
The researchers said “results suggest that an extended period of rotating night shift work is associated with a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, which appears to be partly mediated through body weight. Proper screening and intervention strategies in rotating night shift workers are needed for prevention of diabetes“.
An association between varying or unusual work schedules and obesity and metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, was pointed out by some studies. Those factors are linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Several studies on Japanese men showed a link between working the night shift and type 2 diabetes, but the linkage for men is still to be documented.
An Institute of Medicine report on breast cancer and environmental factors cited this week “growing evidence” that rotating shift work is “probably associated with increase risk for breast cancer“. They said more research is needed to establish the linkage and to find out what measures (aside from renouncing rotating shifts job) could lower these effects.
Why rotating shift work can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and breast cancer?
Probably there are biological and behavioral reasons. Rotating shift work unbalance the body’s circadian rhythm (its natural time clock), the body’s ability to balance its need for energy is affected. This can lead to high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance, both the key notes of type 2 diabetes.
Working on rotating shifts also disrupts eating and sleeping behaviors, and there was a tendency to smoke more between those who worked rotating shifts.
The hormonal balance (their secretion and their function) is disturbed by irregular sleep patterns, scientists think. Also “clock genes” are affected by lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns, and this may set off cancerous cell growth in the breast tissue.
Obesity is a common factor in type 2 diabetes and in breast cancer, and shift workers appear to be at greater risk of weight gain, cause they eat at night.
“Shift work is an important risk factor for obesity and type 2 diabetes. This study increases the awareness of diabetes risk among people who work on a rotating shift, and the importance of diabetes screening, detection and prevention in this high risk group,” Dr. Frank Hu said.
However, more research is needed to confirm the findings, the scientists said.
Around 346 million persons have diabetes worldwide. Lots of them have type 2 diabetes, commonly caused by excess body weight, sedentary life, and lack of exercise. Untreated diabetes can damage eyes, arteries, heart, kidneys and nerves.
Apparently rotating shift work is becoming more common in an industrial society, thus is necessary to find a balance between work an rest, sleep and activity, to try to exercise at least two times a week, to have healthy meals and to see a general practitioner regularly.
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There were studies suggesting that diabetes increases a person’s lifetime risk of developing thyroid cancer, and a new report published shows this linkage for retirement-age Americans.
The medical scientists found that if a person between 50 and 71 years old has diabetes the 10-year risk of thyroid cancer is increased by one-quarter.
The researchers founded their conclusions on data collected from the around 500,000 men and women who participated in the NIH-American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Diet and Health Study, that was performed in 1995 and 1996.
In the first survey, the statisticians gathered health information using questionnaires. Volunteers were asked about their pancreatic health, body mass index, diabetic status and other physical health related issues.
Ten years later, scientists conducted follow-up diagnostic tests on lots of participants.The new study used the values found during these visits.
On the first questionnaire, about one in 10 subjects reported having diabetes. Years later, these persons developed thyroid cancer with higher average frequency than those without the diabetes.
Overall, the participants with diabetes were 25 percent more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and the risk was found higher in women.
The men with diabetes had only 4 percent increment in the likelihood of developing thyroid tumors, but in diabetic women their risk climb by 46 percent.
The study appeared in the journal Thyroid, and was conducted by epidemiologists associated with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
These data confirm the results that were published over 10 years ago in the journal Clinical Diabetes. In an article appeared in 2000, Patricia Wu, an endocrinologist from the University of California, San Diego, gave an estimated 6.6 percent of the U.S. population with various type of thyroid disease and she said 10.8 percent of diabetics suffer from thyroid illnesses.
There are no doubtless information regarding the association between diabetes and the development of thyroid cancer.
However, researchers advanced the theory that the linkage is given by the conditions’ similarities as endocrine disorders. Thyroid Today emphasizes thyroid cancer and diabetes are in connection to autoimmune disturbances, body mass index variation and age-related risk.
Lots of adults have small nodules in their thyroids, but under 5% of these nodules are malignant. Yet the most frequent first sign of thyroid cancer is a nodule, or sometimes an enlarged lymph node. An ultrasound confirms the presence of the nodules. Thyroid nodules found under age of 20 are alarming because the potential for malignancy is far greater. Later symptoms are pain in the anterior region of the neck and changes in voice.
National Cancer Institute estimates 48,020 new cases and 1,740 deaths from thyroid cancer in the U. S. in 2011.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a very aggressive primary thyroid malignancy, represents less than 2% of all thyroid cancers, but causes up to 40% of deaths. Median life expectancy is about three months for newly diagnosed patients. The overall 5-year survival rate of anaplastic thyroid cancer has been given as 7% or 14%.
Hoping to slow or stop the thyroid cancer progression Fosbretabulin (Zybrestat), bortezomib (Velcade) and TNF-Related Apoptosis Induced Ligand (TRAIL), are being trialed.
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A report of Alzheimer’s disease International (ADI) published in 2009, said there were 35.6 million people were with dementia and Alzheimer’s and it was expected that the number would increase to 65.7 million by 2030.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes. They affect memory, thinking, behavior, intellect, personality and emotion. Symptoms may include loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying, difficulty in performing previously routine tasks, personality and mood change. In the last stage of Alzheimer’s a person is totally dependent of care-givers and might have swallowing difficulties, is very thin and dies of infections or other diseases.
Although age, family history, and genes play a major role in determining Alzheimer’s risk, there are several ways to prevent Alzheimer’s or slower its progression.
Sleep. Getting enough sleep helps to consolidate memory, and an afternoon nap might lock-in long-term memoires faster. Sleep deprivation could stimulate the production of amyloid plaques and cause the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of sleep also affects hormones’ balance and metabolism, leading to diabetes, weight gain, and making a person to look older. Sleeping less than eight hours a night also increases risk of heart attack, stroke, and depression and weakens immune system, so one gets cold much easier.
Music. The capacity for music tends to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease differently than other brain functions. “It appears that words to a song get encoded in a different place in the brain than the words we use in speech, and it appears that people with Alzheimer’s actually preserve the music, and the words that go to music, long after much of the rest of the brain is not functioning well,” said Elaine Bearer, professor of neuroscience at the University of New Mexico. Also listening to relaxing melodies, singing or playing an instrument keep the brain in a good shape.
Intellectual activities. People who keep their brains active may be at less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Reading, engaging in a hobby such as playing bridge or chess, or doing crosswords and word puzzles may help to reduce risk.
Wine. A glass of wine a day appears to reduce the risk of cognitive decline that occurs with normal aging as well as Alzheimer’s. A study found that those who had a drink a day through the years had about a 25 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s in old age compared with those who didn’t drink at all. Heavier drinking increased the risk of cognitive decline more than non-drinking. A glass of wine could also prevent heart and vascular illness and help you to relax and sleep better. However, if you have Alzheimer’s, a liver condition, or other diseases that get worsen by alcohol, you should avoid it.
Stop smoking. Smokers have a 72 percent greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s found the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco after excluding studies sponsored by the tobacco industry. Industry-funded studies found that smokers had a lower risk. Besides lowering lung cancer’s risk, quitting smoking also can help you to sleep better, thinking more clear, being relaxed. Stopping smoking improves your complexion, reduces your wrinkles, and lowers heart attack and stroke’s risks. Being non-smoker also means better breath, better erectile function, better sex.
Control blood sugar. A Japanese study showed that diabetes could raise Alzheimer’s risk up to three times. Those with higher than normal blood sugar levels, or prediabetes, also have a higher risk. High blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) could be reverse through eight hours a night sleep, weight loss, daily walks, and a reduction in sweets and other processed foods.
Control cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are associated with changes in the brain that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. A study that examined the brains on autopsy found that participants who had high total cholesterol levels (over 224 mg/dL) in mid- to late life were seven times more likely than those with low cholesterol (under 173 mg/dL) to have the beta-amyloid plaques in their brain when they died a decade or two later. Eating low-fat or fat-free dairy products and limiting your intake of red meat can help lower cholesterol levels. The onion and garlic consumed daily are great helpers in prevention of atherosclerosis, by reducing cholesterol level. Also the goal can be reached through weight loss and daily exercise.
Weight loss. Losing weight can also prevent the Alzheimer’s since a study showed that obesity duration increased type 2 diabetes risk, and other study said the diabetes could raise the risk of Alzheimer’s. Weight loss makes the penis to look bigger, can alleviate erectile dysfunction, help you to sleep better, by allowing you to breath better, so it means better breathing, better sleep, better sex.
Exercise. A daily walk is good for the brain, and getting yourself sweaty several times a week is even better. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise (brisk walking, biking, swimming, or dancing) can reduce the risk of dementia and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in old age. After the age of 65, at every five years, the number of people with Alzheimer’s doubles.
US Against Alzheimer’s said one in eight 65-year-old already has the disease, which has no effective treatment, and is ultimately fatal.
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The data that show association between Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes increased over the years. Japanese scientists make the evidence stronger with a study (Glucose tolerance status and risk of dementia in the community) which has been published this week in the journal Neurology.
The prospective cohort study of dementia was performed in Hisayama by scientists from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. All subjects underwent a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Volunteers, ages 60 and older were followed for 15 years, 1,017 people (437 men and 580 women) were enrolled. The doctors checked their medical history, and gave them mental exams.
Compared with those with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) the incidence of dementia (Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia) was significantly higher in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or with diabetes. This association remained unchanged in subjects with diabetes and not related with age, sex, hypertension, EKG abnormalities, body mass index, waist to hip ratio, total cholesterol, history of stroke, education, smoking habits, alcohol intake, and physical activity.
The medical researchers demonstrated that diabetes that was assessed 15 years earlier was a significant risk factor for the development of all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia. Those with the most severe diabetes at the beginning had a more than threefold increase in the rate of dementia.
“Our findings emphasize the need to consider diabetes as a potential risk factor for dementia. Diabetes is a common disorder, and the number of people with it has been growing in recent years all over the world. Controlling diabetes is now more important than ever”, lead researcher Yutaka Kiyohara said.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.4 million people in U.S. have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number could reach 16 million within 40 years. The number of persons with diabetes is around 24 million.
“The fact that Type 2 diabetes is increasing, and it’s a risk factor for Alzheimer’s would only make those numbers bigger. It’s already a disaster that’s going to come to us, if we don’t do something better about treating Alzheimer’s disease.” said Dr. William H. Thies, medical and scientific officer for the association.
Alzheimer’s disease “is one of the most feared conditions for people who are entering their later years,” said Thies. “[The new study] gives us an extra piece of information that may move people from considering changes in their life to actually making those changes.”
A Lancet review shows the mechanisms for hyperglycemia-induced dementia: atherosclerosis, microvascular disease, glucose toxicity leading to the accumulation of advanced protein glycation and increased oxidative stress, and changes in insulin metabolism resulting in an insulin-resistant state and distorted amyloid metabolism in the brain.
Last year researchers found a gene that increases both the risk for Type 2 diabetes and for Alzheimer’s.
Medical researchers presented results of a study showing that insulin could slow Alzheimer’s progression. Insulin is the hormone that controls glycemia and it is used to treat diabetes. Delivered through a special inhaler (nasal spray) insulin seemed to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
These findings emphasize the importance of controlling glycemia (blood sugar level) for diabetics, as a measure to prevent Alzheimer’s.
September 21 was declared World Alzheimer’s Day, and this year theme is “Faces of dementia”.
Lots of events take place all over the world, memory walk, forums, conferences, films, workshops, symposia, seminars, fund raising, “2 Bike 4 Alzheimer’s” in Netherlands, Alzheimer’s picnic at Alzheimer’s Centrum in Poland, the launch of the National Alzheimer’s Alliance and memory testing in pharmacies in Romania, a traditional World Alzheimer’s Day concert and the opening of the Dementia Service Centre in Sri Lanka, a range of events across the country for World Alzheimer’s Month and Alzheimer’s Action Day “Go Purple” in USA.