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Aging and Risk for Dementia

Dementia means loss of brain function, and your chance of having dementia increases with age: it affects three percent of people ages 65-74, 17 percent of those age 75-84 and 32 percent of those age 85 or older. Doctors can now predict increased risk for developing dementia by ordering an MRI which can show decreased volume of grey matter in the brain.

Excess Weight Linked to Larger Plaques

Being overweight is associated with having larger plaques in the arteries leading to the heart and a marked increase and progression of these arterial plaques that cause heart attacks, even if a person does not have the risk factors that predict increased risk for diabetes and heart attacks.

New Heart Attack Prevention Guidelines

On November 10, 2018, heart specialists presented the latest recommendations for preventing heart attacks from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association: Treat all of their patients with recommendations for heart-attack-preventing lifestyle changes, and Treat all patients with significant heart attack risk factors with medications that lower blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol.

Stents and Bypass Surgery

Virtually all doctors agree that stents can save lives if used within three hours of the start of a heart attack. However, there is no good evidence that stents prevent heart attacks in people who have chest pain during exercise. The ORBITA study showed that in patients with medically-treated heart pain and severe heart artery blockage, stents did not increase exercise time more than a placebo procedure.

Healthful Lifestyle Reduces Risk of Dying from Prostate Cancer

Almost all North American men will develop prostate cancer if they live long enough. However, fewer than five percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from that disease and the 15-year survival rate is 96 percent. Data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study show that men who participated most frequently in vigorous exercise had a 30 percent reduced risk of developing advanced prostate cancer and 25 percent reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer than those who exercised the least.

Replacing Meat with Poultry or Fish Reduces Diabetes Risk

Most people know that eating a diet that includes a lot of added sugar markedly increases risk for diabetes, but a diet that includes regular portions of red meat also increases risk for diabetes, and if you already have diabetes, it can drive blood sugar levels even higher. Insulin drives sugar into cells, and it also drives the building blocks of protein (amino acids) into cells.

Healthy Aging and Senescent Cells

Extensive evidence shows that aging is associated with, and partially caused by, the accumulation of "senescent cells" in your body. Recent animal studies have shown that it is possible to extend the lives of animals by reducing the numbers of senescent cells, even if treatment is started late in life.

Junk Food Raises Cancer Risk

Results from the huge EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) confirm that eating a lot of junk food increases risk for many cancers. Researchers in Paris followed 471,495 adults in 10 European countries for an average of 15.3 years, and the participants developed 49,794 cancers. The participants' diets were scored using the British Food Standards Agency's Nutrient Profiling System (FSAm-NPS), which ranks foods according to their healthful and harmful components. Those who ate more of the harmful and less of the healthful food components were at significantly greater risk for developing cancers, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate, colon-rectum, mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, lung and liver.

Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when excess fat is stored in your liver. The most common cause of liver disease used to be alcohol, but now it is far more likely to be caused by eating sugar-added foods and drinking anything with sugar in it. Up to 12 percent of people with fatty livers keep on adding fat to their livers to develop Non-Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH), which is liver inflammation and permanent liver damage called cirrhosis and can cause liver cancer .

Risk for Dementia Goes Down with Steps to Prevent Heart Attacks

You can reduce your risk for suffering from dementia by up to 70 percent when you follow the same healthful habits that help to prevent heart attacks. A study of 6,600 people over 65, followed for 8.5 years, found that each lifestyle risk factor for heart attacks is also a risk factor for dementia, and that correcting each heart attack risk factor reduces risk for dementia.

Can Cell Phones Cause Memory Loss or Cancer?

Two recent studies show that non-ionizing radiation from cell phones may be associated with impaired ability to recall images, but not words, in teenagers; and at high levels, can increase brain and heart tumors in rats. Most studies on cell phone use have not shown increased cancer risk or memory loss.

High HDL Cholesterol May Not Protect You from a Heart Attack

Several recent studies show that high levels of HDL cholesterol are not always associated with preventing heart attacks. Today, doctors depend far more on the results of your LDL cholesterol test and how much plaque you have in your arteries.

Inactivity Increases Risk for Diabetes

Being inactive for as little as a few days makes muscles weaker and smaller, but that is not all you lose. Two new studies show that just two weeks of decreased physical activity brings you closer to becoming diabetic by decreasing your body's response to insulin, raising blood sugar levels after meals and making you fatter.

New Drug May Slow Down Alzheimer’s Disease

A study of 856 patients with a mild, early form of Alzheimer’s disease, found that a new drug called BAN2401 may reduce the amount of amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The drug reduced the amount of Beta-amyloid in sticky plaques that form around nerves in the brain to prevent messages being sent from one nerve to another.

Exercise and Plaques

Paul D. Thompson, M.D., an accomplished competitive international marathon runner as well as a respected cardiologist, has written an editorial on two studies that show how important regular vigorous exercise is to prolong lives and prevent heart attacks and strokes. The results of these studies should stimulate every able-bodied person to try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day for as long as they can.

Skin Cancer Treatments

Injections of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine into the multiple squamous and basal cell skin cancers of a 90-year-old lady got rid of all the cancers in 11 months. This is just one of many studies showing that some skin cancers can be cured by boosting a person's immunity against the HPV viruses. At one time or other, more than 70 percent of North Americans are infected with HPV, a class of more than 200 different viruses.

Vegetarian Diet Helps to Control Diabetes

A review of nine separate trials showed that diabetics who switched to vegetarian diets had significantly lower HbA1c (a measure of cell damage from high blood sugar levels), fasting blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, body weight and waist circumference. The studies included 664 diabetics who were taking oral sugar-lowering drugs, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and/or blood pressure medications.

Alzheimer’s Disease May Come From an Infection

Nearly fifty percent of people over 85 suffer from symptoms of dementia of which Alzheimer's disease, a progressive loss of brain cells, is the most common form. The second most common type of dementia comes from repeated strokes. This month researchers offer strong evidence that Alzheimer's disease may be started by an infection.

All Cancer Treatments Should Include Lifestyle Improvements

The recent medical literature shows that certain lifestyle factors are associated with developing prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic and many other cancers and that changing these same lifestyle factors should be part of every treatment for people who are diagnosed with any type of cancer. Up to 40 percent of human cancers are at least partially caused by modifiable lifestyle factors.

Cancer Treatment Should Include Lifestyle Improvements (Long)

The recent medical literature shows that certain lifestyle factors are associated with developing prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic and many other cancers and that changing these same lifestyle factors should be part of every treatment for people who are diagnosed with any type of cancer. Up to 40 percent of human cancers are at least partially caused by modifiable lifestyle factors.

FDA Warns Not to Use Sunscreen Pills

There are no pills or capsules that you can take to prevent the sun from damaging your skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to several companies illegally marketing and selling pills claiming to prevent skin damage from sunlight.

Flu Shots

It only takes one injection each year to protect you from the flu. The vaccine is very safe and cannot cause disease because it is made from killed virus. The most common side effect is a sore arm from the injection. Some people may suffer a few hours of fever, muscle pain, and chills.

What Do High Triglycerides Mean?

If your routine blood tests show that you have high triglycerides (greater than 150 mg/dl), this usually means that you are at high risk for diabetes and all of its side effects, including heart attacks. Your doctor measures blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol to predict your susceptibility to suffering a heart attack, but triglycerides are just as important in predicting your risk for a heart attack, diabetes and premature death.

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Joint Pain

Eighty percent of North Americans have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis by age 65, and 60 percent have significant joint pain. Researchers at Surrey University in England reviewed 68 studies on the effects of diet on osteoarthritis and found that osteoarthritis is associated with everything that increases inflammation, and that the joint pain can be reduced by everything associated with the control of inflammation.

Nuts Linked to Improved Colon Cancer Outcomes

A 6.5-year-long study followed 826 people who had been diagnosed with colon cancer that had already spread to their lymph nodes and been treated with chemotherapy and radiation. The researchers found that those who ate at least two one-ounce servings of tree nuts per week gained a 42 percent reduced rate of cancer recurrence and and a 57 percent reduced risk for death during the study period.

Colon Cancer May Be Caused by Bacteria

More than 1.3 million North Americans have had colorectal cancer, a disease associated with lifestyle factors that encourage cancer-causing bacteria to thrive in your colon. A new study shows that 992 people who were already diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread beyond the colon, who changed to a healthier diet and exercise program, had a 42 percent lower risk of dying over the next seven years compared to those who did not change their lifestyles.

Warnings from Impotence

The same lifestyle factors and diseases that cause impotence also cause heart attacks. Many impotent men have no idea they are at high risk for a heart attack and cannot even name any of the six factors that put them at high risk for both impotence and heart attacks: smoking, overweight, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and lack of exercise.

Meats Linked to Fatty Liver and Diabetes

Eating mammal meat or processed meats is associated with increased risk for diabetes, particularly if the meat is cooked at high temperatures. The authors showed that eating red or processed meat is associated with excess fat in the liver that can cause high blood sugar levels.

Slim Evidence for Stem Cell Treatment of Arthritis

Hundreds of stem cell clinics in the United States are promoting stem cell treatments for knee osteoarthritis without solid evidence that they help to relieve pain or repair broken cartilage. Stem cells are primordial cells that can become any tissue such as bone, muscle, cartilage and so forth. Very promising research is being done now at several medical schools in which the DNA in stem cells is altered to make them become cartilage cells.

Statin Drugs and Exercise

The evidence is overwhelming that statin drugs do help to lower cholesterol and to reduce risk for heart attacks. However, a new study confirms that statins interfere with the ability to exercise and to compete in sports, even in patients who report no symptoms.