Debunking myths about diabetes

Most people think that if you are at high risk for diabetes you may get it, but this isn’t necessarily the case.  According to an article published by the AARP in their November/December 2010 issue, “People who lost even a little weight and exercised consistently (a goal of 30 minutes five days a week) reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. (People 60 and up cut their risk by a whopping 71 percent).” This is just one example of the many myths that surround diabetes.

Myth #1: A special diet needs to be followed
That isn’t true anymore, “new research suggests that diabetics are best served by following the same healthy guidelines everyone else does: plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and dairy products, and sparing amounts of heart-healthy fats.

Myth #2: There is a cure
There isn’t a cure for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but it can be controlled without medication.  A study in 2008 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that 56% of type 2 diabetics could follow a Mediterranean-style diet and control their diabetes without the use of medication.

Myth #3: Being overweight causes diabetes
34% of adults 20 and over are obese but only 10.7% of them actually have diabetes.  Experts are saying that if a person is overweight and is genetically predisposed to diabetes, then there is more of a risk.

Myth #4: Insulin pills are the first step in the medication process
There are medications that can be taken before an insulin pill is prescribed. But, if exercise and a healthy diet are followed, then no medication is needed.

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Bilingualism could delay Alzheimer's

FROM Home Care Assistance Vancouver

The decidedly dual language nature of Canada’s citizens could mean up to five additional years of Alzheimer’s-free living. A study by the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto revealed that patients who spoke two or more languages consistently over a period of several years delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s by as much as half a decade.

While brain deterioration was essentially identical between those who spoke one language and others who spoke more, bilingual speakers experienced delayed symptoms of memory loss, confusion and difficulties with problem-solving and planning. There may still be no known treatment to prevent or indefinitely delay the development of Alzheimer’s, but studies like this could shed more light on how the disease affects the human mind and eventually lead to more groundbreaking discoveries.

Read more at the Vancouver Sun.

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10 tricks to play on your body

Clear Your Nose
To relieve sinus pressure, alternate between pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth and pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. Your vomer bone runs through the nasal passage to the mouth so pushing on these two points causes the bone to swing like a see-saw. This motion loosens congestion and can clear sinuses in under 30 seconds.

Hold It In
According to Larry Lipshultz, M.D., the chief of male reproductive medicine at Baylor College, the best way to hold it in when nature calls is to think about sex. Sex preoccupies the brain which makes your body more comfortable in those situations.

Resist Pain
The next time you get an injection cough when the needle sticks into you. According to German research, coughing causes a temporarily higher pressure in the chest and spinal canal which inhibits the part of the spinal cord that is conducive to pain.

Clear Your Throat
If you have a tickle in your throat scratch your ear. Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in New Jersey says that "when the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm...[that] relieves the tickle."

Ease Your Toothache
A Canadian study found that rubbing ice on the back of the webbed area between your thumb and index finger reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared the control group. The nerve pathways in that area of your hand stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

Relax Your Eyes
When your eyes are getting weary, perhaps after little sleep or too much time in front of a computer screen, perform this little trick as much as you'd like. Close your eyes, tense every muscle in your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. This action can trick involuntary muscles such as the eyes into relaxing as well.

Stop A Nosebleed
Most nosebleeds come from the front of the septum. If you put some cotton in front of your upper gums and press hard on it from the area below your nose, the flow from the septum will be slowed and often the nosebleed lessen significantly.

Wake Your Hand Up
The next time your hand or any other extremity falls asleep rock your head from side to side or walk around. This tingly sensation in your upper body is often caused by a bundle of nerves being compressed in your neck which can be loosened by stretching your neck. If a part of your lower body falls asleep walk around (as awkward as it may feel) and the nerves in your lower body will be sure to loosen up.

Take Someone Down
A person is at his sturdiest and strongest when standing up straight on two legs. However, if one foot is not even keel with the other by even half an inch, his or her hips will be mis-aligned offsetting the spine. When the brain senses that the spine is weak, it shuts off the rest of the body's physical defenses making it difficult for the person to exert force.

Last Longer Underwater
Before you are preparing to take a long dive under water, take several quick breaths beforehand. The sudden bursts of oxygen clears out the buildup of carbon dioxide in your lungs which lowers blood acidity. According to Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at Auburn University, "this tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen.", which can potentially add 10 seconds of air underwater.

Source: Men's Health

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30 second test could identify Alzheimer's early

Researchers have found that many adults in their 40s have tiny lesions in parts of the brain where Alzheimer's patients typically have much larger lesions. The study, published in the journal PLoS One, indicates that the signs of brain degeneration can begin long before any Alzheimer's symptoms are noticeable and the appearnace of lesions in certain areas may be an early sign.

Doctors can use a simple test of physical reactions and memory to identify adults whose lesions could be related to early-onset Alzheimer's. Researchers believe that this test could be offered by general practitioners within two years.The test could help significantly with helping to treat Alzheimer's earlier and with younger people. According to The Alzheimer's Association, the average Alzheimer's sufferer dies within eight years of the first symptoms.

"The study lays open possibilities for screening, early detection and intervention. The earlier we can intervene with people vulnerable to eventual dementia, the greater the chances of preventing or delaying the disease onset. Although we cannot be certain that these middle-aged people will go on to get dementia, the results are important" -- Professor David Bunce of Brunel University in London.

Source: AOL News

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Which vitamins are important for seniors to take?

As we age, certain health conditions arise that require daily medication.  For instance, if you have hypertension, you take a blood pressure pill daily. If you have high cholesterol or another ailment, medication can be taken to keep your symptoms under control.  What we sometimes forget that is very important, is that many of these medications can affect the absorption of vitamins into our bodies.

The Cleveland Clinic claims that, “deficiencies in vitamins exist in about a third of the elderly.”  However, there are over-the-counter vitamins that we can take to correct these deficiencies such as, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Folate.

Vitamin D is especially important to take because it treats those with osteoporosis, which is common among seniors.  Taking vitamin D regularly keeps calcium levels high and lessens the bone loss that occurs with kidney failure.

Vitamin A is another essential supplement as it helps with good eyesight and a healthy immune system.  As noted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Vitamin A “is used in the treatment for cancer and to prevent heart disease.”

Vitamin C, on the other hand, works to limit the development of dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, glaucoma, arthritis and stroke, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine.

Vitamin B-12 helps to maintain our energy levels.  Folate, which is another type of vitamin B, helps with preventing stroke, heart disease, breast cancer and colon cancer for seniors.

Now that you have a rundown of all the important vitamins seniors should consume, remember to consult with your doctor first before you start taking any new supplements.

Courtesy of Home Care Blog

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Sports concussions worry neurologists; risk of Alzheimer's and dementia

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) released on Monday broad recommendations on how sports can deal with the issue of concussions. The AAN stated that sports where athletes have concussion risks should have a qualified athletic trainer on the playing area at all times - even for children's games and for practices. Currently, only 40% of high schools in the United States have certified trainers and many younger-aged programs do not have certified trainers at all. The AAN recommends avoiding contact sports entirely in your school if a certified trainer cannot be hired. However, the Academy recognizes that this is merely a golden standard to strive towards and may not be feasible. Rick Bowden, the assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, called the AAN's recommendations "a laudable goal" but added that "there is no way that could happen."

We understand completely that is undoable in today's environment, but we think that is a correct way to organize our priorities -- Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, chair of the AAN's sports neurology section
 The group said that an athlete with concussion symptoms should be evaluated by a specialist and should not take the field until medically cleared. Concussion symptoms include unconsciousness, unsteadiness, memory or concentration problems, dizziness and headaches. College football and professional football leagues have already taken greater measures towards dealing with concussed players even before this announcement by the AAN. This season, professional players - in particular quarterbacks - must pass a set of test before even being allowed to practice. The NFL has also increased fines and suspension time for helmet-to-helmet hits which often cause concussions. These changes are in the face of overwhelming evidence that concussions have long-term ramifications to the health of athletes. Research has shown that repeated concussions on NFL players may increase the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer's. Kutcher pointed out various long-term consequences of concussions such as decreased mental ability, depression, anxiety, and personality changes. Last week, a 17-year-old football player from Kansas collapsed on the sidelines and later died. While his cause of death has not been found, the boy had not been cleared to play by a doctor after suffering a concussion earlier in the season. In March, the National Hockey League banned shoulder hits to the head from the blind side.

It has long been known that repeated head blows can cause brain degeneration in boxers however more information is coming in on concussions in other contact sports such as football and hockey. Kutcher believes that standards for dealing with concussions will improve as society changes and that the new rules in the NFL and NHL are a good head start which will hopefully transcend down the the younger players.

Source: NPR

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