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More on Malnutrition in Seniors October 16, 2017 11:17

Seniors, Malnutrition, Vitamin Deficiencies

Malnutrition is seen in varying degrees in the elderly, along with varying vitamin deficiencies. Malnutrition is due to under nutrition, nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. Most physicians do not see frank malnutrition anymore, such as scurvy; but more milder malnutrition symptoms such as loss of appetite, general malaise or lack of overall interest and wellness.

Common nutrient deficiencies of dietary origin include inadequate intake of vitamin A, B, C, D, E, folic acid and niacin. Malnutrition may also be the result of some socioeconomic risk factors, such as the following:

  • Fear of personal safety (which affects their ability to go grocery shopping)
  • Financial concerns
  • Institutionalization or hospitalizations (that do not ensure adequate nutrition)
  • Lack of interest in cooking or eating alone
  • Loss of a spouse or family member

Clearly, nutrition plays a vital role in the quality of life in older persons. This is why preventative medicine and focusing on good eating habits is crucial. It is recommended to follow a preventative health maintenance nutritional program, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,  from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which describes two eating plans:

  1. The USDA food patterns.
  2. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan.

The USDA food patterns suggests that people 50 or older choose healthy foods every day from the following:

  • Fruits — 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups
    What is the same as 1/2 cup of cut-up fruit? A 2-inch peach or 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • Vegetables — 2 to 3-1/2 cups
    What is the same as a cup of cut-up vegetables? Two cups of uncooked leafy vegetable
  • Grains — 5 to 10 ounces
    What is the same as an ounce of grains? A small muffin, a slice of bread, a cup of flaked, ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • Protein foods — 5 to 7 ounces
    What is the same as an ounce of meat, fish, or poultry? One egg, ¼ cup of cooked beans or tofu, ½ ounce of nuts or seeds, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Dairy foods — 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
    What is the same as 1 cup of milk? One cup of yogurt or 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese. One cup of cottage cheese is the same as ½ cup of milk.
  • Oils — 5 to 8 teaspoons
    What is the same as oil added during cooking? Foods like olives, nuts, and avocado have a lot of oil in them.
  • Solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS) — keep the amount of SoFAS small 
    If you eat too many foods containing SoFAS, you will not have enough calories for the nutritious foods you should be eating.

Ensuring adequate nutrition and proper intake of vitamins and minerals will help keep our aging population feeling more vital and ultimately more healthy, thus using prevention rather than intervention.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services DASH eating plan to decide whether it’s right for you or a loved one.

Excerpted from Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born


Medicare Card Scams.... Be Aware! October 16, 2017 11:07


29% of older Americans use four or more supplements each day October 16, 2017 10:52

A new study reveals high use of dietary supplements by Americans 60 and older. In addition to their prescription medications, many older people are taking multiple preparations that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Nutrition, is based on data gathered by the government’s National Center for Health Statistics. It found that on a daily basis, 70 percent of older Americans use at least one supplement — preparations that include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes and other substances. Twenty-nine percent of older Americans use four or more supplements each day.

Multivitamins and mineral supplements (39 percent) are the most commonly taken preparations, followed by vitamin D (26 percent), omega-3 (22 percent), B and B-complex vitamins (16 percent), calcium-vitamin D combinations (13 percent), vitamin C (11 percent) and calcium-only supplements (9 percent). Nine percent also use various herbal or plant-based supplements.

The researchers found that supplement use tended to increase with age, and that people who took prescription medications were more likely to use supplements as well. Eight percent of older adults take three medications daily and at least one botanical supplement.

That’s potentially worrisome, because some supplements can alter the effects of medications. For example, use of the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba with blood pressure medications could cause a person’s blood pressure to drop too much, and can raise the risk of bleeding for users of prescription blood thinners such as warfarin, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The researchers wrote that health care professionals need to carefully monitor their patients’ supplement use. In a study published in 2010, only a third of patients said their doctors had asked whether they used supplements.

The study was conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and Tufts and Purdue universities.


Seniors Have Different Nutritional Needs October 05, 2017 20:21

Eating well is important at any age-  adequate nutrition is necessary for health, quality of life and vitality. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many seniors are not eating as well as they should, which can lead to poor nutrition or malnutrition, easily being mistaken as a disease or illness.

Our bodies change as we get older, including perceptual, physiological and and general age-related conditions — such as dental or gastrointestinal conditions. These changes all influence the performance of our body as a whole, which in turn, influences our eating, nutritional intake and overall health.

Perceptual Changes

Perceptual changes later in life can also influence our nutrition, such as changes in hearing, smell and taste:

Hearing: Diminished or loss of hearing also affects our nutrition and food experience. The difficulty and frustration from the inability to hold a conversation with our eating partner out at a restaurant or at a social function can limit one’s food experience.

Smell: The loss of smell can also have a huge impact on the types of food one chooses to eat as there is a loss of satisfaction that can lead to poor food choices.

Taste: One of the most common complaints is in regards to the diminished taste in food. As taste buds decrease, so does our taste for salty and sweet — often times making food taste more bitter or sour.

Physiological Changes

One reason nutritional needs change is due to physiological changes that occur later in life:

Energy: Expenditure generally decreases with advancing age because of a decrease in basal metabolic rate and physical activity, thus decreasing caloric needs.

Function: Our bodies also begin to experience a decrease in kidney function, redistribution of body composition and changes in our nervous system.

Other Aging-Related Changes

Other changes in body function may impact nutritional intake, such as:

Dentition: The makeup of a set of teeth (including how many, their arrangement and their condition). The loss of teeth and/or ill-fitting dentures can lead to avoidance of hard and sticky foods.

Gastrointestinal Changes: Chronic gastritis, constipation, delayed stomach emptying and gas, may lead to avoiding healthy foods, such a fruits and vegetables — the food categories that should be more emphasized rather than eliminated.

These factors alone may contribute to why 3.7 million seniors are malnourished and shed light on the importance of educating caregivers and aging seniors as to specific dietary need options, as well as, catered senior diets and nutritional needs.

More on malnutrition soon.....


What is the 'Senior' Flu Shot? October 05, 2017 14:07

Basically, it's a stronger flu shot.  Four times stronger to be precise.

This flu vaccine could significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization among especially vulnerable seniors, a large, random clinical trial has found.

Vaccines typically don’t work very well in older people—a problem because the flu can lead to serious respiratory infections in frail patients such as elderly nursing home residents.

“…the rate of hospitalization for any reason, respiratory or otherwise, was significantly lower in the high-dose group…”

While a prior study showed that older individuals could respond better to the high-dose vaccine, it focused on relatively healthy older adults, says lead author Stefan Gravenstein, professor at both the Warren Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health at Brown University.

It still needed to be established that it would help even the frailest folks, like those who reside in nursing homes.

In this study, a quarter of the sample was over 90. DId the high-dose vaccine also work better than regular-dose vaccine in the population we consider least able to respond. This paper says yes, it can.

The study compared hospitalization rates among more than 38,000 residents of 823 nursing homes in 38 states during the 2013-14 flu season based on Medicare claims data. Just under half the homes, 409 to be exact, administered the high-dose vaccine while the other 414 provided a standard dose.

In the end, the hospitalization rate for respiratory illnesses among high-dose patients was 3.4 percent compared to 3.8 percent among standard-dose patients over the six months after vaccination. Statistical analysis revealed that the relative risk of hospitalization for respiratory illness was 12.7 percent lower for the high-dose group.

Moreover, the rate of hospitalization for any reason, respiratory or otherwise, was significantly lower in the high-dose group as well. For every 69 people given the high-dose vaccine vs. the standard-dose vaccine, one more person stayed out of the hospital during the flu season.

“Respiratory illness as the primary reason for hospitalization accounted for only about a third of the reduction in hospitalization that we measured,” says Gravenstein.

For many patients, the vaccine appeared to help prevent hospitalization for other problems also, including cardiovascular symptoms.

Nope, the flu vaccine won’t give you the flu

Gravenstein says the finding of a significant reduction in hospitalizations was particularly notable because the predominant flu strain during the 2013-14 season, A/H1N1pdm, was believed to be less virulent in older people who had spent a long lifetime building up immunity to similar strains.

“That there was differential protection in this context both underlines the potential importance of even low-virulence or less transmissible strains to older populations and the fact that vaccines may afford relevant effectiveness among frail older persons even when A/H1N1 predominates,” the authors write.

The study did not find a significant difference in the rate of death. Researchers speculate that while the standard-dose vaccine might not have been strong enough to stave off illness entirely, it may still have been sufficient to prevent deaths in combination with hospital care.

But a significant reduction in hospitalizations can still be a benefit, Gravenstein says, even though the high-dose vaccine is more expensive than the standard-dose vaccine. Especially for older, frail patients, reducing otherwise necessary trips to the hospital can maintain a higher quality of life.

Ultimately, Gravenstein says, the study should provide nursing home leadership with useful information to consider as they plan for future flu seasons.


Aging in Place by Rebalancing Medicaid Spending September 19, 2017 18:30

The state of Washington directs 65 percent of its Medicaid long-term spending to home and community-based services rather than to nursing homes.The national average is 41%.

Washington state has realized $4.4 billion dollars in savings over the last 18 years as a result of focusing on this more personal level of long-term care.


Glaucoma and cataracts are common eye conditions affecting seniors - Why? September 09, 2017 13:25

Eye problems and disorders are common in the elderly population. Laser surgeries and other treatments exist to correct and even reverse some of these aging-related conditions. The key is to detect them early. Regular eye exams will help detect vision problems before they become serious. Here is a list of common age-related eye problems that can affect people at various stages in life but often affect the elderly.

Cataracts

Your eye has a lens that helps it to focus. The lens is made of protein. When protein molecules clump, a cloudy spot (called a cataract) forms. This is common in older people. Because cataracts grow slowly, your eye doctor may simply monitor a cataract until it interferes with your vision. Cataract surgery is a very common procedure to remove the cataract from your eye. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you're not ready to have surgery.

Dry Eye

Your eyelids have lacrimal glands that produce tears, and they drain into your tear ducts in your lower eyelids. If your lacrimal glands stop working well, your eyes will become dry and uncomfortable. Eye drops can help, but have your eyes checked. There may be a simple procedure to partially plug your tear ducts (to keep tears from draining too fast).

Glaucoma 

The eye is filled with fluid. If too much pressure develops in the eye, it is called glaucoma. 

Over time, this build-up of pressure can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness. Luckily, this pressure develops slowly and routine eye exams can detect glaucoma before it becomes dangerous.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) 

This is a very long term for loss of central vision. The macula is a part of the retina that processes central vision.  Sometimes with aging, the macula deteriorates. This causes problems with driving, reading and many common tasks. Treatment can include laser surgery on the macula.

Diabetic Retinopathy 

Because of problems with diabetes, the tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the retina become less effective, which leads to vision problems. Treatment includes laser surgery and a surgical process known as a vitrectomy. All diabetics should have annual eye exams.

Retinal Detachment 

The layers of the retina can detach from the underlying support tissue. If untreated, retinal detachment can cause loss of vision or blindness. Symptoms include an increase in the type and number of "floaters" in your eyes, seeing bright flashes, feeling as if a curtain has been pulled over the field of vision, or seeing straight lines that appear curvy. Surgery and laser treatment can often reattach the layers of the retina.

Sources:

National Institute of Aging. Aging and Your Eyes. Bound for Your Good Health. Pages 69-72.


Turning 65 Soon? September 06, 2017 12:26

If you are, well, congratulations.  If you are planning on signing up for Medicare, here are the 'basic' basics to know before enrollment begins October 15th.  

Also, you should start browsing Medicare.gov


Is Your Doctor Aware of How Expensive are the Drugs He/She Prescribes? September 06, 2017 12:22

FYI...This is NOT medical advice. Talk to your health care provider.

In 2013, pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts estimated that the United States wasted $418 billion on “bad medication-related decisions”—with $55.8 billion alone on high-priced medications when more affordable drugs could have been used instead.

Expensive is simply not always better.

Here are ten prescriptions that are usually very expensive, even with insurance. All of them have cheaper alternatives that work just as well.

  1. Vimovo. This is a mixture of the anti-inflammatory naproxen and generic Nexium, which is esomeprazole. Here’s an idea: instead of paying hundreds of dollars for this, get generic naproxen 500 mg tablets and 20 mg tablets of esomeprazole and there you have it: your own Vimovo for just pennies.

  2. Dexilant. This is a very expensive brand-name proton pump inhibitor (a class of drugs that includes Prilosecand Protonix). A number of studies have compared the various proton pump inhibitors to one another and while some differences have been reported, they have been small and of little clinical importance. Do yourself a favor and give lansoprazole or pantoprazole a try instead.

  3. Benicar. Used for high blood pressure, this is an expensive brand-name angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) in a class that has many generic options. Benicar is certainly no better than the cheaper drugs in the class (valsartan and losartan are examples). Plus, Benicar can produce a “sprue-like enteropathy” which gives you severe chronic diarrhea and weight loss, and can occur months to years after starting the drug. Hmmm.

  4. Vytorin. This is a mixture of simvastatin and Zetia (ezetimibe). Unless you’ve recently had a heart attack, you don’t need to waste money on this and here is why: statins, like the cheap generic simvastatin alone, are the first choice in virtually all patients with high cholesterol in whom the goal is reduction of cardiovascular risk. People have been paying for Vytorin for years and yet it remains “uncertain” whether the combo of simvastatin and Zetia that makes up Vytorin provides additional clinical benefit. A recent study showed benefit in people hospitalized after heart attack but for most people, stick with just the simvastatin part and don’t bother with the combo.

  5. Bystolic. There is no evidence this beta blocker is better than two similar generic options, metoprolol and carvedilol. Bystolic is what is known as a “beta 1 selective” beta blocker used for the treatment of high blood pressure and it does provide a survival benefit in patients with heart failure. Sounds great, right—but wait. In heart failure patients, there are three beta blockers that have shown survival benefit. You guessed it: metoprolol, carvedilol, and Bystolic. Metoprolol and carvedilol are generic and much cheaper so there is no reason to pay money here.

  6. Zafirlukast (Accolate). Though available as a generic, it is still much pricier than the other option in the same class, montelukast (Singulair). There is no proof that zafirlukast is any better than montelukast for asthma, and in fact, montelukast is usually preferred because it is used once daily and can be taken at any time in relation to meals.

  7. Celecoxib (Celebrex). Celebrex, used for arthritis, has just recently become available as generic celecoxib so it’s still quite expensive and many folks pay a high price for it. However, meloxicam (Mobic), another Cox-2 inhibitor similar to celecoxib, is much cheaper and also works well for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  8. Pristiq. This is an expensive brand-name SNRI antidepressant used for depression and fibromyalgia. There is no evidence that Pristiq is any better than the cheaper generic duloxetine (Cymbalta) for fibromyalgia. For depression, there are two generic SNRI options in this class, venlafaxine and duloxetine. You should try those first before paying for Pristiq.

  9. Pataday. These antihistamine eye drops are used for red, itchy eyes related to allergies. Patanol and Pataday are expensive brand name eye drops in this class which includes azelastine (Optivar) as a good generic option that is much cheaper. Pataday carries the advantage of once daily dosing compared to twice a day but is it worth the cost?

  10. Avodart. Two 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are approved in the US for symptoms related to enlarged prostate: Proscar (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride). One is cheap, one is not. In a large one-year study, finasteride and the more expensive Avodart worked just as well for reduction in prostate volume, urinary flow rate and urinary symptom scores, and adverse effects were similar. Don’t waste your money on Avodart when you can save on finasteride.


13 Benefits of Yoga That Are Supported by Science September 02, 2017 17:32

Evidence Based

13 Benefits of Yoga That Are Supported by Science

Derived from the Sanskrit word “yuji,” meaning yoke or union, yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body (1).

It incorporates breathing exercises, meditation and poses designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress.

Practicing yoga is said to come with many benefits for both mental and physical health, though not all of these benefits have been backed by science.

This article takes a look at 13 evidence-based benefits of yoga. I've listed the benfits at right here...the complete article is below.

1. Can Decrease Stress

2. Relieves Anxiety

3. May Reduce Inflammation

4. Could Improve Heart Health

5. Improves Quality of Life

6. May Fight Depression

 

7. Could Reduce Chronic Pain

 

8. Could Promote Sleep Quality

9. Improves Flexibility and Balance

 

10. Could Help Improve Breathing

 

11. May Relieve Migraines

12. Promotes Healthy Eating Habits

 

13. Can Increase Strength

The Bottom Line

Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga.

Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.

Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.

1. Can Decrease Stress

Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation.

In fact, multiple studies have shown that it can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone (2, 3).

One study demonstrated the powerful effect of yoga on stress by following 24 women who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed.

After a three-month yoga program, the women had significantly lower levels of cortisol. They also had lower levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression (4).

Another study of 131 people had similar results, showing that 10 weeks of yoga helped reduce stress and anxiety. It also helped improve quality of life and mental health (5).

When used alone or along with other methods of alleviating stress, such as meditation, yoga can be a powerful way to keep stress in check.

SUMMARY:Studies show that yoga can help ease stress and lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

2. Relieves Anxiety

Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety.

Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research showing that yoga can help reduce anxiety.

In one study, 34 women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder participated in yoga classes twice weekly for two months.

At the end of the study, those who practiced yoga had significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group (6).

Another study followed 64 women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by severe anxiety and fear following exposure to a traumatic event.

After 10 weeks, the women who practiced yoga once weekly had fewer symptoms of PTSD. In fact, 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD at all (7).

It’s not entirely clear exactly how yoga is able to reduce symptoms of anxiety. However, it emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and finding a sense of peace, which could help treat anxiety.

SUMMARY:Several studies show that practicing yoga can lead to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety.

3. May Reduce Inflammation

In addition to improving your mental health, some studies suggest that practicing yoga may reduce inflammation as well.

Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of pro-inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer (8).

A 2015 study divided 218 participants into two groups: those who practiced yoga regularly and those who didn’t. Both groups then performed moderate and strenuous exercises to induce stress.

At the end of the study, the individuals who practiced yoga had lower levels of inflammatory markers than those who didn’t (9).

Similarly, a small 2014 study showed that 12 weeks of yoga reduced inflammatory markers in breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue (10).

Although more research is needed to confirm the beneficial effects of yoga on inflammation, these findings indicate that it may help protect against certain diseases caused by chronic inflammation.

SUMMARY:Some studies show that yoga may reduce inflammatory markers in the body and help prevent pro-inflammatory disease

4. Could Improve Heart Health

From pumping blood throughout the body to supplying tissues with important nutrients, the health of your heart is an essential component of overall health.

Studies show that yoga may help improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

One study found that participants over 40 years of age who practiced yoga for five years had a lower blood pressure and pulse rate than those who didn’t (11).

High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart problems, such as heart attacks and stroke. Lowering your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of these problems (12).

Some research also suggests that incorporating yoga into a healthy lifestyle could help slow the progression of heart disease.

A study followed 113 patients with heart disease, looking at the effects of a lifestyle change that included one year of yoga training combined with dietary modifications and stress management.

Participants saw a 23% decrease in total cholesterol and a 26% reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the progression of heart disease stopped in 47% of patients (13).

It’s unclear how much of a role yoga may have had versus other factors like diet. Yet it can minimize stress, one of the major contributors to heart disease (14).

SUMMARY:Alone or in combination with a healthy lifestyle, yoga may help decrease risk factors for heart disease.

5. Improves Quality of Life

Yoga is becoming increasingly common as an adjunct therapy to improve quality of life for many individuals.

In one study, 135 seniors were assigned to either six months of yoga, walking or a control group. Practicing yoga significantly improved quality of life, as well as mood and fatigue, compared to the other groups (15).

Other studies have looked at how yoga can improve quality of life and reduce symptoms in patients with cancer.

One study followed women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. Yoga decreased symptoms of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting, while also improving overall quality of life (16).

A similar study looked at how eight weeks of yoga affected women with breast cancer. At the end of the study, the women had less pain and fatigue with improvements in levels of invigoration, acceptance and relaxation (17).

Other studies have found that yoga may help improve sleep quality, enhance spiritual well-being, improve social function and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with cancer (18, 19).

SUMMARY:Some studies show that yoga could improve quality of life and may be used as an adjunct therapy for some conditions.
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6. May Fight Depression

Some studies show that yoga may have an anti-depressant effect and could help decrease symptoms of depression.

This may be because yoga is able to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression (20).

In one study, participants in an alcohol dependence program practiced Sudarshan Kriya, a specific type of yoga that focuses on rhythmic breathing.

After two weeks, participants had fewer symptoms of depression and lower levels of cortisol. They also had lower levels of ACTH, a hormone responsible for stimulating the release of cortisol (2).

Other studies have had similar results, showing an association between practicing yoga and decreased symptoms of depression (21, 22).

Based on these results, yoga may help fight depression, alone or in combination with traditional methods of treatment.

SUMMARY:Several studies have found that yoga may decrease symptoms of depression by influencing the production of stress hormones in the body.

7. Could Reduce Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a persistent problem that affects millions of people and has a range of possible causes, from injuries to arthritis.

There is a growing body of research demonstrating that practicing yoga could help reduce many types of chronic pain.

In one study, 42 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome either received a wrist splint or did yoga for eight weeks.

At the end of the study, yoga was found to be more effective in reducing pain and improving grip strength than wrist splinting (23).

Another study in 2005 showed that yoga could help decrease pain and improve physical function in participants with osteoarthritis of the knees (24).

Although more research is needed, incorporating yoga into your daily routine may be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain.

SUMMARY:Yoga may help reduce chronic pain in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.

8. Could Promote Sleep Quality

Poor sleep quality has been associated with obesity, high blood pressure and depression, among other disorders (25, 26, 27).

Studies show that incorporating yoga into your routine could help promote better sleep.

In a 2005 study, 69 elderly patients were assigned to either practice yoga, take an herbal preparation or be part of the control group.

The yoga group fell asleep faster, slept longer and felt more well-rested in the morning than the other groups (28).

Another study looked at the effects of yoga on sleep in patients with lymphoma. They found that it decreased sleep disturbances, improved sleep quality and duration and reduced the need for sleep medications (29).

Though the way it works is not clear, yoga has been shown to increase the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness (30).

Yoga also has a significant effect on anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress — all common contributors to sleep problems.

SUMMARY:Yoga may help enhance sleep quality because of its effects on melatonin and its impact on several common contributors to sleep problems.
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9. Improves Flexibility and Balance

Many people add yoga to their fitness routine to improve flexibility and balance.

There is considerable research that backs this benefit, demonstrating that it can optimize performance through the use of specific poses that target flexibility and balance.

A recent study looked at the impact of 10 weeks of yoga on 26 male college athletes. Doing yoga significantly increased several measures of flexibility and balance, compared to the control group (31).

Another study assigned 66 elderly participants to either practice yoga or calisthenics, a type of body weight exercise.

After one year, total flexibility of the yoga group increased by nearly four times that of the calisthenics group (32).

A 2013 study also found that practicing yoga could help improve balance and mobility in older adults (33).

Practicing just 15–30 minutes of yoga each day could make a big difference for those looking to enhance performance by increasing flexibility and balance.

SUMMARY:Research shows that practicing yoga can help improve balance and increase flexibility.

10. Could Help Improve Breathing

Pranayama, or yogic breathing, is a practice in yoga that focuses on controlling the breath through breathing exercises and techniques.

Most types of yoga incorporate these breathing exercises, and several studies have found that practicing yoga could help improve breathing.

In one study, 287 college students took a 15-week class where they were taught various yoga poses and breathing exercises. At the end of the study, they had a significant increase in vital capacity (34).

Vital capacity is a measure of the maximum amount of air that can be expelled from the lungs. It is especially important for those with lung disease, heart problems and asthma.

Another study in 2009 found that practicing yogic breathing improved symptoms and lung function in patients with mild-to-moderate asthma (35).

Improving breathing can help build endurance, optimize performance and keep your lungs and heart healthy.

SUMMARY:Yoga incorporates many breathing exercises, which could help improve breathing and lung function.

11. May Relieve Migraines

Migraines are severe recurring headaches that affect an estimated 1 out of 7 Americans each year (36).

Traditionally, migraines are treated with medications to relieve and manage symptoms.

However, increasing evidence shows that yoga could be a useful adjunct therapy to help reduce migraine frequency.

A 2007 study divided 72 patients with migraines into either a yoga therapy or self-care group for three months. Practicing yoga led to reductions in headache intensity, frequency and pain compared to the self-care group (37).

Another study treated 60 patients with migraines using conventional care with or without yoga. Doing yoga resulted in a greater decrease in headache frequency and intensity than conventional care alone (38).

Researchers suggest that doing yoga may help stimulate the vagus nerve, which has been shown to be effective in relieving migraines (39).

SUMMARY:Studies show that yoga may stimulate the vagus nerve and reduce migraine intensity and frequency, alone or in combination with conventional care.
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12. Promotes Healthy Eating Habits

Mindful eating, also known as intuitive eating, is a concept that encourages being present in the moment while eating.

It’s about paying attention to the taste, smell and texture of your food and noticing any thoughts, feelings or sensations you experience while eating.

This practice has been shown to promote healthy eating habits that help control blood sugar, increase weight loss and treat disordered eating behaviors (40, 41, 42).

Because yoga places a similar emphasis on mindfulness, some studies show that it could be used to encourage healthy eating behaviors.

One study incorporated yoga into an outpatient eating disorder treatment program with 54 patients, finding that yoga helped reduce both eating disorder symptoms and preoccupation with food (43).

Another small study looked at how yoga affected symptoms of binge eating disorder, a disorder characterized by compulsive overeating and a feeling of loss of control.

Yoga was found to cause a decrease in episodes of binge eating, an increase in physical activity and a small decrease in weight (44).

For those with and without disordered eating behaviors, practicing mindfulness through yoga can aid in the development of healthy eating habits.

SUMMARY:Yoga encourages mindfulness, which may be used to help promote mindful eating and healthy eating habits.

13. Can Increase Strength

In addition to improving flexibility, yoga is a great addition to an exercise routine for its strength-building benefits.

In fact, there are specific poses in yoga that are designed to increase strength and build muscle.

In one study, 79 adults performed 24 cycles of sun salutations — a series of foundational poses often used as a warm-up — six days a week for 24 weeks.

They experienced a significant increase in upper body strength, endurance and weight loss. Women had a decrease in body fat percentage, as well (45).

A 2015 study had similar findings, showing that 12 weeks of practice led to improvements in endurance, strength and flexibility in 173 participants (46).

Based on these findings, practicing yoga can be an effective way to boost strength and endurance, especially when used in combination with a regular exercise routine.

SUMMARY:Some studies show that yoga can cause an increase in strength, endurance and flexibility.

The Bottom Line

Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga.

Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.

Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.


Lowfat Protein in Your Diet August 31, 2017 16:29

Protein contains essential amino acids needed to maintain many aspects of your health, including regulating growth and development and supporting lean muscle mass. Unfortunately many good sources of protein are also high in fat. Fats that come from animals, such as saturated fat and cholesterol, can contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease and stroke. Choosing lean meats and other low-fat protein sources helps you get the amino acids your body requires without the added fat and calories.

1. Beans

Consider increasing your intake of garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils and soybeans. Good fiber, too!

2. Grains

Whole wheat bread, but watch for carb intake. Quinoa is easy to prepare and great in salads. Oatmeal is another good breakfast choice (not the sugary stuff.) Couscous, buckwheat, millet, brown rice and whole-wheat foods also provide low-fat vegetarian protein.

3. Lean meats

Such as chicken and turkey.

4. Seafood

Yes it can be pricey, but  a 3- ounce portion of bass, carp, cod, flounder, haddock or halibut provides you with 15 to 20 grams of protein!  Steam, bake or grill these seafood options to keep them low-fat.


Many Seniors Face Isolation, Hunger August 31, 2017 16:09

Even the most healthy and active among us, if fortunate to live long enough, may face some of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation and loss of independence. With an average life expectancy nearing 80, living longer means more years spent in the struggles that accompany old age. Add to that the increase in geographic separation of our families and the result is millions of seniors left behind, hungry and alone.

While we all celebrate the increase in lifespan, maintaining health while aging comes at a price. Without support from programs like Meals on Wheels, millions of seniors are forced to prematurely trade their homes for more costly alternatives.

THE REALITY

  • 10.2 million seniors in America face the threat of hunger - that's 1 in 6!
  • 15.2 million seniors are isolated, living alone
  • 18.4 million seniors have difficulty paying for basic living needs
  • The senior population is projected to double by 2050

Medicare panel gives low vote of confidence to weight-loss treatments August 31, 2017 15:53

A panel that advises the CMS on Medicare coverage decisions said there wasn't enough information available on whether weight-loss surgeries and devices are beneficial for the program's enrollees, making it unlikely Medicare will expand coverage for more of the treatments. 

The panel overall voiced confidence that there was evidence that weight-loss surgeries such as gastric bypass, lap bands and gastric sleeve surgeries were helpful in treating obese patients, but said the benefits for individuals 65 and older are still unclear. 

Hospitals are now reimbursed between $10,000 and $17,000 by Medicare for weight-loss surgeries and physicians on average receive $1,500.

Medicare now covers weight-loss surgery for only certain beneficiaries who have a body mass index of 35 or greater and at least one co-morbidity such as high blood pressure or diabetes. 

The patient also has to prove that they participated in at least one physician-supervised program in which they failed to lose weight.

Clinicians that specialize in weight loss estimate that about 2 million Medicare beneficiaries are eligible for the surgeries now. They hoped that CMS would expand the coverage to people with a BMI as low as 30, which would make an additional 1 million enrollees eligible.

There is evidence that people with a lower BMI number have greater long-term health benefits than those that have a higher one, as they tend to have fewer or less severe chronic illnesses, according to Dr. John Morton, chief of bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at Stanford School of Medicine.

If Medicare were to lower the eligible BMI for surgery, health insurance companies would likely follow suit, which could mean millions more could become eligible for coverage for weight-loss procedures.

As things are now, most insurance companies cover weight-loss surgeries for people with BMIs 40 or greater, or a BMI of 35 if there are significant medical problems associated with that person's weight, such as diabetes or heart disease.

"Medicare coverage decisions are very influential," Morton said. "If CMS' sneezes, the rest of insurers get a cold."

While it wasn't a specific voting question, several panelists mentioned they were especially unsure what clinical benefit gastric balloons provided.

"The evidence I heard today was not compelling," said Dr. Marcel Salive, panel member and health scientist administrator in the National Institute of Health's Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology.

Doctors say these devices are a low-risk alternative for patients whose health is too frail for surgeries. 

The balloons are inserted into the stomach through an endoscopic procedure. A doctor fills the balloon with saline solution to create a feeling of fullness, so patients lose the urge to overeat. After six months, it's deflated and removed. 

The FDA approved balloons from two different companies in 2015, but no insurers cover their use. On average, the total cost of the gastric balloon procedure is $8,150.


Do You Have an Exercise Buddy? August 28, 2017 08:37

Seniors program shows the benefits of socializing and exercise....

A seniors program that combines exercise and socializing for people in the early stages of dementia and their care partners is taking place weekly at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre.

Minds in Motion is currently being offered as part of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. First Link dementia support to create an opportunity for people with dementia and their care partners to connect with others, make new friends and have fun.

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise

First started in Victoria in 2009, the program made its way to Maple Ridge a year and a half ago.  The reason it was started, explained Kate Turnbull, Minds in Motion coordinator with the Alzheimer Society of B.C., is that there was a gap in programming for people with dementia.

“There is lots of programming that is for the person with dementia and there is programming for care givers. But not a lot that brings both together. That was the big thing,” said Turnbull.

“It’s evolved over time to be more specifically for people in the early stages of dementia,” she said.

The program starts off with 45 minutes of light exercise followed by another 45 minutes of social time.

Lori Briggs, B.C. Parks and Recreation Association supervisor of fitness leaders, heads up the fitness portion.

Briggs has specialized in seniors fitness for the last 35 years and has worked with a variety of groups including people with Parkinson’s, or stroke recovery and Osteofit.

For Minds in Motion, the exercises that are not any different than a normal seniors fitness class, it is Briggs’ patience and knowledge of dementia that makes the class unique.

If a person with dementia is getting confused she may stop the exercise early, if she sees someone getting frustrated or not being able to understand a movement, she will switch to another exercise.

Briggs has been trained by the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to recognize symptoms of dementia. She knows how to introduce exercises and is more aware about what might fluster somebody or make them more agitated.

If Briggs sees somebody kind of daydreaming and in their own zone she will say their name and suggest they try the activity being performed. If somebody doesn’t change legs or arms when they are doing an exercise she will make a suggestion that they try the other leg and if they don’t she moves on. If an activity is frustrating for an individual she will change the exercise completely for the whole group.

“I never say right or left I just say let’s take our leg and whatever leg they pick up and start with is fine with me,” said Briggs in a soft, calm voice, adding that the most important thing is that the participants feel successful.

“We want them to feel less stressed and just feel like they are part of the group and accepted. That is really important,” she continued.

Another thing Briggs does to make the participants feel comfortable is she always lets them know that if they are having a good day they can do whatever they can and if they are having an off day that it’s okay to stop when ever they want.

“It makes them feel like I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to,” said Briggs.

Briggs works the muscles that strengthen the core of an individual.

“What I try to teach are exercises that are designed to improve quality of life as well as balance and agility. Which is preventing falls and those kind of things,” she explained.

She teaches both sitting standing exercises and uses resistance bands and different sized balls for agility games such as throwing them up in the air and catching them or passing a ball around a circle.

During social time participants play a variety of games like Jenga, where you remove blocks from a tower without it falling over, the card game UNO, trivia and sometimes even ping pong.

Sometimes the games are modified slightly if there are persons in the group that are finding the games too challenging.

“Again with social time it is really about making that person feel successful, making them feel like a part of the group,” said Turnbull.

”In UNO there are all sorts of cards that do different things other than just the numbers and the colours. If I have somebody who is really struggling I will take those cards out so the game is more simplified,” she said.

Turnbull will also play a reminiscent activity with the group where she will ask them if, for example, they remember a time without car seats.

”For people with dementia the memories that normally go first are the more short term memories whereas they tend to keep their long term memory stuff from when they were kids longer,” said Turnbull.

“So those reminiscent games they tend to enjoy them because they have those memories from when their kids were young or from when they were kids themselves,” she said.

One of the great things about this program is everyone has training in how to deal with people who have dementia.

Also, Turnbull added, the care partner is also connecting with people in the same situation as themselves.

”There is a feeling of support. Even though it is not a support group, they are getting a bit of support from having other people around them,” said Turnbull.

Even if a participant does not want to participate in the activities they are also welcome to enjoy the refreshments and chat with other people.

Briggs always stays until the very end of the class even though she could leave after the exercise portion.

”I find it’s important for me so that I have that connection with them as well because I think it’s part of knowing the person’s past. I just enjoy it,” she said.

Minds in Motion takes place from 10:30 a.m. to noon every Friday except for holidays at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre, 12150 224 Street.


Where Can You Find the Best Health Care in the US? August 14, 2017 22:44

50 states are graded for healthy living based on 

35 measures of cost, accessibility and outcome. The measures included monthly insurance premiums, cost of visiting a medical professional, quality of hospitals, life expectancy and rates of cancer and heart disease.


Great Story of a Man with MS Who Remains Active July 23, 2017 13:28

Charles Wienbar was an avid outdoorsman until he started losing feeling in his legs and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

 

 

Chair Yoga


These States Provide the Best Tax Breaks for Retirees July 18, 2017 13:39

Kiplinger reports that these 6 states are among those with lowest levies

New Hampshire heads a list of 12 states that offer the most favorable tax breaks for retirees, in a recent ranking by personal finance website Money and Career CheatSheet. South Carolina is ranked number 2, followed by Hawaii, South Dakota and Nevada.

Rounding out the top 12 are Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Puerto Rico (actually a territory, not a state), Florida and Alaska.

Best States for Retirement 

The ranking, which draws on data from sources such as the Tax Foundation and state departments of revenue, doesn’t just rely upon state income taxes as a measure.  While seven states — Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Wyoming and South Dakota — don’t have an income tax, some have high real estate or sales taxes that can cut into retirees’ finances, CheatSheet noted.

New Hampshire, the top-ranked state, taxes dividend and interest income above $2,400 at a 5 percent rate for individuals, but not other income, and it offers residents 65 and older a $1,200 exemption against those levies. The Granite State also is one of five states that don’t have a state sales tax, according to Money magazine.

South Carolina ranked second in large part because of a state law passed in 2016 that exempts as much as $30,000 of military retirees’ income from state taxes once they reach age 65.

A ranking by Kiplinger picked Alaska as the most tax-friendly state for retirees in 2016 because it lacks income and sales taxes and pays a dividend from oil revenues to defray high property taxes.

36 other tax-friendly states

 


Physically active women age slower, study proves July 14, 2017 13:13

Exercise makes you age slower

A recent study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine concluded that cells of elderly women who remain inactive for more than 10 hours per day age much faster compared to those of women who remain active throughout their late life.

On a related study, researchers from the University of California reported that exercise and physical activity are known to trigger growth development and well-being, while they also help prevent heart and vascular disease, and aid the mineralization of growing bones, which helps delay osteoporosis in late ages.


STAY HEALTHY AND HYDRATED IN THE SUMMER HEAT July 12, 2017 08:05

We Americans love summertime and with good reason. It is the best time for outdoor fun and travel with family. Many people enjoy outdoor activities such as bicycling, kayaking and hiking, and kids are more active with sports. 

 

One thing to keep in mind when out and about in the summer heat is to stay properly hydrated. Unfortunately, many of us are not drinking enough water. In fact, 36 percent of adult Americans drink only three or fewer cups of water per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are some tips for healthy hydration.

One thing to keep in mind when out and about in the summer heat is to stay properly hydrated. Unfortunately, many of us are not drinking enough water. In fact, 36 percent of adult Americans drink only three or fewer cups of water per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are some tips for healthy hydration.

Replace your electrolytes

Engaging in physical activity when it is hot outside means you lose water which has to be replaced. You are also losing electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate) which need to be replaced. Very high temperatures — especially for a prolonged period — can be dangerous, especially for seniors.

Ideally, anyone engaging in outdoor activity in the heat or even an indoor exercise program should drink 8 to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during a session. If exercising exceeds an hour, a beverage that contains electrolytes is preferable to plain water. That is why most sports drinks contain salt. Of course anyone can easily make their own sports drink by adding a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt per liter or 32 ounces of water.

Replacing lost electrolytes is important because they help to regulate cardiovascular and neurological functions, fluid balance and oxygen delivery.

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise Video Programs


Talking to Your Doctor About YOUR Healthcare July 03, 2017 08:28

Here are ways to put your priorities at the top of your doctor's agenda..

How do you make sure that your preferences and priorities get on the agenda with your health care providers? And how do you make sure they stay on the agenda beyond a single office visit?  Find out here...  http://www.nextavenue.org/make-care-person-centered/


Prevalence of Obesity and Diabetes in the US 1994-2004 June 30, 2017 15:54

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2009-10, an estimated 68% of the U.S. Population was considered obese or overweight.

The high prevalence of obesity is a concern, because it increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.


7 Ways Cherry Juice Benefits You June 28, 2017 14:49

cherry juice

Cherry juice is not only refreshingly delicious, but it provides some solid health benefits, too. With about 120 calories per 1-cup serving, it is rich in nutrients like potassium and iron. Read on for eight reasons to sip and savor.

1. Helps Post-Workout Recovery

Cherry juice may help recovery post-exercise. It is naturally high in potassium, which conducts electrical impulses throughout the body. This mineral also helps maintain blood pressure, hydration, muscle recovery, nerve impulses, digestion, heart rate, and pH balance. Cherries contain about 330 mg of potassium per cup, which is almost 10 percent of how much you need each day.

2. Fights Inflammation and Arthritis Pain

Research shows that the antioxidants in tart cherry juice can reduce pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis. A 2012 study showed that drinking cherry juice twice a day for 21 days reduced the pain felt by people with osteoarthritis. Blood tests also showed that they suffered from significantly less inflammation.

3. Reduces Swelling

When people experience pain from swelling, they often turn to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, the effects of these drugs can be harmful, especially when you take them too often or have allergies. A 2004 study found that cherry juice supplements can reduce inflammation and pain-related behavior in animals, showing promise as a treatment for swelling in humans. 

4. Boosts Immunity

Like all fruits and vegetables, cherries pack a powerful antioxidant and anti-viral punch. Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant in cherry juice, are made by plants to fight infection. Research shows that these chemicals can have a significant impact on immune system function.

5. Regulates Metabolism and Fights Fat

Did You Know?
  • Most cherry tree varieties are chosen for how pretty they are. Many don’t even yield actual cherries!
  • Cherries are also a good source of vitamins A and C

There is some evidence in animals that tart cherries can help adjust your body’s metabolism and your ability to lose abdominal body fat. One study showed that anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid responsible for cherries’ red color, act against the development of obesity. Another study in rats found that tart cherries can help reduce inflammation and abdominal fat, and lower the risk of metabolic syndrome.

6. Helps You Sleep

The anti-inflammatory properties of cherry juice combined with a dash of sleep-regulating melatonin may help you sleep better, according to a recent study. The results suggest that tart cherry juice has similar effects as insomnia medications like valerian or melatonin on older adults.

7. Blocks Cancer Growth

In a 2003 study, researchers pitted cherry juice against the NSAID sulindac, which is the most common preventive anti-inflammatory treatment for colon tumors. Although an animal study, it is notable that cherry juice — unlike the NSAID — reduced the growth of cancer cells.

Even without its antioxidants and nutrients, cherry juice is deliciously tart and refreshing. Try replacing sodas and sports drinks with something that can really make a difference to your health.


7 Keys to Growing Old in Your Own Home June 26, 2017 11:02

Aging in place requires planning ahead.

Want to live in your home for the rest of your life? Boost your odds by "future-proofing" now. Older adults who are most likely to remain in their homes have successfully arranged their houses and lives in ways that maximize their ability to weather the physical and practical setbacks often associated with getting older -- setbacks that can make living independently more challenging.

Here are seven ingredients you'll want to have in place in order to age in place:

  1. A single-story floor plan

Sure you can get up and down stairs easily now. And sure, many spry octogenarians can do the same. But what if you break a bone and require extended bed rest? What if you become confined to a wheelchair? It's possible to convert a downstairs room to a bedroom, but not so easy to live on one floor if the only shower is on an upper floor.

Think ahead about how you can convert to all-on-one-floor living, should the need arise. You may need to remodel to add a full bath on the ground level, for example, or insert a door to provide privacy in a downstairs room.

The living space also needs to be all on one level. Split-level homes can be problematic because wheelchairs and walkers can't easily navigate from one room to the next.

  1. Basic safety upgrades

One's risk of falling increases with age, often due to medications or certain health conditions. Installing secure grab bars and wall-to-wall carpeting (or bare wood floors, no throw rugs) are smart safety upgrades that will help you avoid broken hips -- one of the most common reasons older adults are forced to leave their homes.

Familiarize yourself with the basics of bathroom safety and other home care safety, and start to slowly make your home safer for future needs.

Don't overlook good lighting. Dark hallways and burned-out bulbs are a common contributor to accidental falls. Did you know an 85-year-old needs about three times as much light as a 15-year-old does to see the same thing?

  1. Accessible utilities

Sure you can reach tall cupboards, stacked washer-dryers, and back burners easily now. But it's likely that won't always be the case. Even something as simple as a doorknob may be difficult to open if you develop arthritis or other disabilities.

At least one lower countertop, a taller toilet, and a front- (rather than top-) loading washer and dryer raised up from floor level are all examples of slightly modified household items that become easier to use later in life.

Lever-type door handles, paddle faucets, and curbless showers make these devices easy to use even in the event of arthritis or other disabilities affecting mobility.

4. Update doors and doorways.

At any age, you want to be sure you can get from room to room without trouble. Specifically: * Replace doorknobs with levers, which push down easily. * If possible, keep door frames at 36 inches (or more) wide to allow wheelchair access. * Zero threshold doors are easiest to navigate for those in wheelchairs or using walkers. * Install a ramp to at least one entryway into the house, if necessary. A simple wooden ramp is the least expensive option, but add slip-resistant material to prevent accidents.

5. Add accessible outlets and switches.

The most accessible homes have easy-touch light switches about 42 inches off the ground. Ample electrical outlets throughout the house can handle any necessary medical equipment; outlets should be 18 inches from the floor for optimal accessibility.

6. Modify stairways.

To allow for the possibility of a chairlift in the future, stairways should be four feet wide. The steps should be deep enough to accommodate the entire foot, and you’ll want to install treads.

7. Install grab bars and handrails.

One important way to prevent accidents is to install handrails on both sides of stairways. In the bathroom, put in grab bars by the toilet and in the bathtub and shower. A tub transfer seat can be useful, though the best option is to remove the tub altogether and instead make sure the shower is safe to use.

8. Add light.

Because eyesight tends to worsen with age, it’s a good idea to add more and brighter lights in the house, for better visibility.

Familiarize yourself with the principles of universal design, for a home you can live in forever -- bringing together safety, convenience, and style for residents of any age.

 

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise DVD Programs


Elderly Can Hold Off Alzheimer's with Light Exercise June 23, 2017 08:56

LONDON, June 23 — Physical activity at a moderate level of intensity boosts glucose metabolism in the brain according to new research, which could help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Carried out by a team from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, the study looked at data from 93 members of the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP).

All participants were in late middle-age and had a high genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, although at the time showed no cognitive impairment.

The team measured the daily physical activity of participants over a one-week period using accelerometers, also looking at how much of this physical activity was performed at a light, moderate, or vigorous level.

Light physical activity is equivalent to walking slowly, moderate is equivalent to a brisk walk and vigorous a strenuous run.

The team also measured brain glucose metabolism — a measure of neuronal health and activity — using a specialised imaging technique called 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).

The data gathered on the different intensity levels were then statistically analyzed to see how they corresponded with glucose metabolism in the areas of the brain known to have lower glucose metabolism in those with Alzheimer’s disease.

The results showed that moderate physical activity — but not light-intensity physical activity — was associated with higher, and therefore healthier, levels of glucose metabolism in all the brain regions analyzed.

The team also found that more time exercising had an even greater benefit, with those who spent at least 68 minutes per day engaged in moderate physical activity showing better glucose metabolism profiles than those who spent less time.

“This study has implications for guiding exercise ‘prescriptions’ that could help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease,” said first author Ryan Dougherty. “While many people become discouraged about Alzheimer’s disease because they feel there’s little they can do to protect against it, these results suggest that engaging in moderate physical activity may slow down the progression of the disease.”

The team is now planning their next study to investigate whether physical exercise can slow the progression of early memory problems caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings can be found published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.