Information to Help Live and Feel Better – August, 2013

Benefits of Cholesterol 

Cholesterol is not only the most common organic molecule in the brain, it is also distributed intimately throughout the entire body. So how did cholesterol come to have such a bad reputation? 

Does Being a Bookworm Boost Your Brainpower in Old Age? 

New research suggests that reading books, writing and participating in brain-stimulating activities at any age may preserve memory. The study is published in the July 3, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. 

Exercise Reorganizes the Brain to Be More Resilient to Stress 

Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function, according to a research team based at Princeton University. 

Banned Fountain of Youth Drug May Be Making a Comeback 

Despite it being more than 30 years since the “fountain of youth drug” Gerovital H3 was banned in the United States, it may be making a comeback. In an editorial published in this month’s Journal of the American Geriatrics Society BUSM researcher Thomas Perls, MD, points out that a few U.S.-based anti-aging and longevity clinics have begun to advertise Gerovital H3 in pill form and as intravenous infusions despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned it in 1982. 

Older Women Who Quit Smoking Can Cut Heart Disease Risk Regardless of Diabetes Status 

Postmenopausal women who quit smoking reduced their risk of heart disease, regardless of whether they had diabetes, according to a new study conducted by Juhua Luo, an epidemiologist at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. 

Single Men, Smokers at Higher Risk for Oral Human Papillomavirus Infection 

Smokers and single men are more likely to acquire cancer-causing oral human papillomavirus (HPV), according to new results from the HPV Infection in Men (HIM) Study. Researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, Mexico and Brazil also report that newly acquired oral HPV infections in healthy men are rare and when present, usually resolve within one year. 

Aging Stereotypes Can Hurt Older Adults’ Memory 

Of the many negative stereotypes that exist about older adults, the most common is that they are forgetful, senile and prone to so-called “senior moments.” In fact, while cognitive processes do decline with age, simply reminding older adults about ageist ideas actually exacerbates their memory problems, reveals important new research from the USC Davis School of Gerontology. 

Visits To Nana’s May Keep Toddlers From Developing Negative Age Stereotypes 

It’s easy to list the negative stereotypes attributed to the elderly: they are considered forgetful, hard-of-hearing, absent-minded and confused. 

Think Memory Worsens With Age? Then Yours Probably Will 

Thinking your memory will get worse as you get older may actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that senior citizens who think older people should perform poorly on tests of memory actually score much worse than seniors who do not buy in to negative stereotypes about aging and memory loss. 

Long-Term Cannabis Use May Blunt the Brain’s Motivation System 

Long-term cannabis users tend to produce less dopamine, a chemical in the brain linked to motivation, a study has found. Researchers found that dopamine levels in a part of the brain called the striatum were lower in people who smoke more cannabis and those who began taking the drug at a younger age. 

Low vitamin D levels may speed up bone aging 

Vitamin D deficiency may not only reduce bone density, but also detrimentally affect bone quality, and speed up the aging of human bone, says a new study. 

Get Vitamin D3 here 

Do Antibiotics in Animal Feed Pose a Serious Risk to Human Health? 

As fears rise over antibiotic resistance, two experts on the British Medical Journal website today debate whether adding antibiotics to animal feed poses a serious risk to human health. David Wallinga from Keep Antibiotcs Working: the Campaign to End Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Agriculture, believes that physicians and policymakers have “overlooked the critical role played by the ongoing overuse of antibiotics in livestock and poultry.” 

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Accelerated Aging of Bones 

Everyone knows that as we grow older our bones become more fragile. Now a team of U.S. and German scientists led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley has shown that this bone-aging process can be significantly accelerated through deficiency of vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin. 

Weekly And Biweekly Vitamin D2 Prevents Vitamin D Deficiency 

Boston University School of Medicine researchers (BUSM) have found that 50,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D2, given weekly for eight weeks, effectively treats vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D2 is a mainstay for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in children and adults. Continued treatment with the same dose of vitamin D2 every other week for up to six years after the initial eight-week period prevents vitamin D deficiency from recurring with no toxicity. 

Get Vitamin D3 here 

The Dark Side of Artificial Sweeteners: Expert Reviews Negative Imact 

More and more Americans are consuming artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but whether this translates into better health has been heavily debated. An opinion article published by Cell Press on July 10th in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism reviews surprising evidence on the negative impact of artificial sweeteners on health, raising red flags about all sweeteners — even those that don’t have any calories 

Acid Reflux Drug May Cause Heart Disease, Study Suggests 

Drugs that help millions of people cope with acid reflux may also cause cardiovascular disease, report scientists from Houston Methodist Hospital and two other institutions in an upcoming issue of Circulation (now online). It is the first time researchers have shown how proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, might cause cardiovascular problems. 

Sleep Deprivation Linked to Aging Skin, Study Suggests 

In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center found that sleep quality impacts skin function and aging. The recently completed study, commissioned by Estée Lauder, demonstrated that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Poor sleepers also had worse assessment of their own skin and facial appearance. 

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