Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Research on Mild Cognitive Impairment

On September 7, 2010, the National Institute of Health reported that older men may be at greater risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than older women.

MCI is often a precursor to Alzheimer's Disease.

The results of a study of almost 2,000 men and women indicated that:

1. MCI was more prevalent in men than women.

2. Most of those affected by MCI were much more likely to have a form of MCI referred to as amnestic MCI.

3. MCI was higher among seniors with the APOE e4 gene. This gene is a known risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's Disease.

4. MCI is prevalent more with those who have attended fewer years of schooling.

5. MCI is higher in never-married people.

Information taken from MedlinePlus, health information from the National Library of Medicine

For more on MCI, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reversing the Effects of Aging Skin

The 2010 Summer Academy meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology released good news to those who want to reverse aging skin non-surgically.

There are new deeper, thicker skin fillers that can recreate cheek volume which gives a more youthful appearance.

In addition, new technology shows promise for skin tightening and moderate lifting by using what is called fractionated bipolar radiofrequency energy (RF). This process causes thermal skin damage that stimulates wound healing with new collagen forming thicker, more elastic tissue.

Information taken from MedlinePlus, health information from the National Library of Medicine

For more on aging skin, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nutritional Supplements Help With Major Depression

Up to 10% of people will suffer from some major depressive disorder some time in their lives.

A small study lead by a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. George Papakostas, found that adding a costly nutritional supplement to a patient's antidepressant treatment improved their symptoms.

Called S-Adenosyl Methionine or SAMe, the supplement that is sold over-the-counter had fewer side effects than some FDA-approved prescribed medications.

Information taken from MedlinePlus, health information from the National Library of Medicine

For more on depression and nutritional supplements, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Monday, September 20, 2010

Help For Thinning Hair

Thank you, American Academy of Dermatology, for addressing an aggravating condition I am dealing with now--thinning hair. Fortunately, there are many different hair care products, or hair cosmetics, that can help conceal my balding spots.

For women who don't want to resort to medical or surgical treatment, here are a few tips to make your hair appear thicker:

1. Pressed powder matched to your hair color and applied to the scalp with a eye-shadow-type applicator

2. Keratin fiber hair cosmetics can be sprinkled over the hair to thicken its appearance--these are safe and effective and add volume to areas of thinning hair

3. Avoid "conditioning shampoos" and use "volumizing shampoos

4. Look for "fine hair" conditioners and apply primarily to the ends rather than the scalp

Test a number of shampoos and conditioners to find the formula that is right for you.

Information taken from MedlinePlus, health information from the National Library of Medicine

For more on thinning hair, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cancer Breath: New Cancer Research

All cancers are much easier to treat in early stages--when they haven't spread to other parts of the body.

An "electronic nose" may be used in the future to discover cancer.

Israeli researchers are using a simple breath test to detect lung (the leading cause of dancer death in both women and men in the United States), breast, bowel and prostate cancers.

Hopefully, this will lead to the development of a cost-effective, easy-to-use, portable test that will enable physicians to diagnose and treat cancer early.

Information taken from MedlinePlus, health information from the National Library of Medicine

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stroke Patients Stop Taking Medications

Stroke patients who implicitly followed doctors orders generally understood why they were taking their medications and/or had adequate health insurance to pay for them.

However, one study recently published noted that 25% of stroke patients "stopped taking one or more of their stroke prevention medications within three months after their stroke." And patients who are either more severely disabled or without insurance are even more likely to discontinue medications.

Doctors need to be aware of this event so that they can properly handle medical incidences.
According to a lead researcher both patients and caregivers need clear streamlined instructions and follow-up on new risk factors.

Over the last 15 years, there has been very little improvement in the use of medical therapies that have been shown to improve outcomes in outpatients with heart failure. Certain medications such as ACE inhibitors and beta blockers need to be prescribed more. Why doctors are not prescribing them as much as they once did is a mystery. Perhaps doctors are getting tired of using the same old drugs in favor of the newer, more expensive ones.

Information taken from MedlinePlus, health information from the National Library of Medicine

For more on strokes, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prayer Healing

In a sight and hearing-impaired study in Africa, many reported that when the healer is in close proximity to the patient (often touching or hugging them), the patient shows remarkable improvement--even more than previously seen using hypnosis.

Candy Gunther Brown, associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University, reported that significant progress was made with patients with moderate to severe auditory and visual impairments.

"Placebo effects are certainly the best known of these kinds of mind-body interactions that take place," said Brown. "The effects could also be attributable to subjects being more motivated simply because they are being studied.

One physician believes that prayer and the power of touch and human connection may have some as-yet unexplained power to heal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Belly Fat Can Damage Blood Vessels

Even a little belly fat can hinder the function of blood vessels causing higher blood pressure, blood vessel disease and other problems. It doesn't take much of a weight gain (like around the holidays) to produce these potentially harmful effects.

The damage occurs when the abdominal fat interferes with blood vessel's contracting and dilating.

But there's good news: The dysfunction is entirely reversible once the person loses the excess weight and abdominal fat.

1. Think about what you eat and why

2. Cut down on portions

3. Resolve stress and negative feelings

4. Get support from family and friends

5. Get a buddy to give you moral support

6. Don't be hard on ourself if you slip every once in a while

Friday, September 10, 2010

Having Surgery? What You Need to Know

Every year more than 15 million Americans have surgery. Most operations are not emergencies.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRC) has a document that may help you and your family understand more about your surgery--whether it has to be done immediately or whether it can wait. Don't be afraid to bombard your physician with questions. Make sure you understand your instructions when you return home. This will increase your chances for a good and steady recovery.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Why do I need an operation?

2. What operation are you recommending?

3. Are there alternatives to surgery?

4. How much will the operation cost?

5. What are the benefits of having the operation?

6. What are the risks of having the operation?

7. What if I don't have this operation?

8. Where can I get a second opinion?

9. What kind of anesthesia will I need?

10. How long will it take me to recover?

10. What are your qualifications and how much experience do you have doing this operation?

11. At which hospital will the operation be done?

12. How long will I be in the hospital?

13. Will you mark the site of the surgery with a marking pen the day of the surgery?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Heart News: The Latest in Heart Research

What do Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the San Joaquin Valley, California, Birmingham, Alabama, Salt Lake City, Utah, Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan have in common? They are among the most polluted cities in the United States.

According to an American Heart Association Report, July, 2010, there is a scientific evidence that ozone might trigger cell death in the heart.

Tests on rats overseen by Rajat Sethi, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and other researchers proved that ozone or O3 negatively affected a heart-protective protein. In other words, ozone which decreased levels of the good protein also makes a chemical available that is known for "telling the heart cells to die."

In another July,2010, report by the AHA, researchers in Germany found that rats that were implanted with genetically engineered stem cells may have less heart damage and improved cardiac function after a heart attack. More research is needed before human testing can begin.

According to the July 28 HealthDay News (taken from the New England Journal of Medicine), "if you haven't been well-trained in CPR and you see someone having what appears to be a heart attack, just doing chest compressions to help keep the blood flowing can be as effective as CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth breathing."

It is now hoped that bystanders might be more willing to attempt CPR, doubling the chances for survival. Emergency dispatchers can provide instructions on where to place your hands. Dr. Thomas Rea, medical director of the Emergency Medical Services for Seattle and King County, WA, hopes that lay people will start doing chest compressions in an emergency. "You don't have to be perfect," he said, "Your actions can save a life."

Heart patients who have needed an aortic valve transplant from a dead donor now have another option. Researchers are showing that use of the patient's own pulmonary valve to replace the malfunctioning aortic valve may be a better way to go. A dead donor's pulmonary valve can then be transplanted into the heart patient.

An Italian study found that personality is linked to a thickening of the neck (carotid) artery walls. If you're hostile and tend to be manipulative or aggressive, you have a 49% greater risk of causing your arteries to narrow--thus increasing your chances for cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Elderly Have Difficulty Administering Eyedrops

Buildup of internal eye pressure (Glaucoma) is one of the main causes of vision damage. Standard treatment relies on the patient administering pressure-lowering drops to each eye.

In a recent study patients frequently applied drops to their eyes incorrectly by either adding too few or too many drops or by touching the eye with the applicator. Many of those participants who thought they were applying the drops correctly were in fact not, according to numerous videos of their home routines.

Eye care providers need to teach their patients the best procedure to administer the drops, "which is usually with a mirror, tilting the head back and placing the drop in the eye while holding down the lower eyelid."

For more on eye disorders, including "How to take eye drop medicine," visit 50somethinginfo.com

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fibromyalgia: Pain At Its Worst

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by widespread pain. It strikes about 10 million (90% women) Americans. There is no cure and pain medications are of little help. And for years it has been highly misunderstood.

Insomnia and fatigue are common. Heart conditions and overweight plague sufferers because exercise causes muscle pain and tender joints. Women with fibromyalgia die of liver disease and strokes at a higher rate than the general population.

The syndrome can also bring on psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, memory and concentration problems. Suicide urges occur to fibromyalgia sufferers more than others.

Researchers have discovered lately that those afflicted with fibromyalgia feel a given amount of pain more intensely than the average person even when there is no obvious cause. This is because of abnormalities in the brain's pain-processing centers.

If you are plagued with this condition, make sure your physician is aware of both your mental as well as physical health.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doctors Notes At Your Disposal; Know What Your Physician Is Entering In Your Records

How much would you like to read what your primary doctor is entering on your chart?

In an effort to improve and expand dialogue between doctor and patient, 3 hospitals are participating in a trial called OpenNotes project.

With a click of a mouse, patients can retrieve notes, eliminating the often-laborious efforts currently in place.

Participants and physicians will be asked after the 1-year trial how they like the system.

It is hoped that patients will become more involved in their own care.

What do you think?