Cognitive decline and memory problems of Alzheimer’s disease may be related to a failure in the brain’s stress response system. The protein (REST) is found in the brains of developing fetuses and regulates by switching off genes to keep fetal neurons in an immature state until enough development is needed for proper brain function. REST is the most active gene regulator in elderly brains and appears to protect neurons in healthy older people from age-related stresses. People with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, and other types of dementia have a depletion of REST in the key brain regions associated with memory. Dr. Yankner, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and lead author, and his team discovered REST switches off genes that promote cell death, protects neurons from normal aging, inflammation and oxidative stress. The researchers analyzed the brains of young adults ages 20 to 35 and found they contained little REST, while healthy adults between ages 73 to 106 had plenty. Possible development of new drugs for dementia may be seen in the future once more research and findings are established for REST protein. What are your thoughts about this research?
For additional information, please see The New York Times.
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1. Plan ahead. Plan excursions, travel and accommodations ahead of time.
2. Craft a budget. Figure out how much you want to spend prior to leaving therefore you can enjoy the vacation and not think about budget.
3. Choose your companions wisely. Vacation with family and close friends to minimize frustration.
4. Allow time to unwind. Be able to incorporate room for some down time between activities.
5. Try new things. Experiment with something new mentally and physically, like taking a walk down the beach.
6. Remember to refuel and stay hydrated.
7. Take a deep breath. Unexpected delays or miscommunication may arise, instead of feeling miserable, relax and enjoy your time away.
What strategies do you typically recommend your patients to unwind stress-free?
For additional information, please see Fox News.
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A recent article published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization compared the number of fast food transactions in 25 high income countries with changes in the average body mass index of each country. Between 1999 to 2008, the average number of fast food transactions per capita increased from 26.61 to 32.76 and the average BMI increased from 25.8 to 26.4. In addition, researchers found a correlation between the country’s economic freedom and the number of fast food transactions. Countries that are more economically free have a greater increase in the average number of fast food transactions. Government regulation of fast food intake can potentially prevent the rise in obesity especially in developing countries. What are your thoughts about this article? How do you encourage your patients to limit food from fast food restaurants?
For additional information, please click BMJ.
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In an 11 week trial recently published in The Journal of Physiology, researchers at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo assessed the effect vitamin C and E have on exercise endurance. 54 participants received either 1,000 mg of vitamin C plus 235 mg of vitamin E or placebo and they exercised up to four times a week. Researchers found no difference in performance between the two groups. However, those who took vitamin C and E seemed to produce less of a specific mitochondrial marker in their muscle cells, which suggests of a decrease endurance. What are your thoughts about this study? What are your typical recommendations to patients looking to enhance their exercise endurance?
For additional information, please click BCC.
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In a five year study sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reduce childhood obesity in the United States, an estimated 6.4 trillion calories were reduced in food and beverages by some of the nation’s largest food companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Campbell’s. This resulted in an average of 78 calories cut out of an American’s daily diet. What are your thoughts about this research? How great of an impact do you think this will have on the struggle to eliminate childhood obesity?
For additional information, please see NY Times.
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A longitudinal observational study published in the journal Neurology associated exercise in the late 70s with the reduction of brain shrinking. Researchers at Edinburgh University concluded that physical activity was associated with less atrophy and white matter lesion. These findings suggest that exercise may be neuro protective and lead to a decrease in cognitive decline. How much exercise do you recommend to your patients on a daily basis? How do you think this information will affect the elderly population at risk of dementia?
For more information see Neurology.
A perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine states that not all food related decisions are consciously made. Food choices are automatic and may even be the opposite of what the person deciding would consciously prefer. Vendors pay a slotting fee in order for retail markets to guarantee their products to be placed in prime consumer locations. How do you think placement of goods impacts your grocery shopping trip?
For more information see NEJM.
A randomized double-blind,placebo-controlled trial published JAMA evaluated the use of Vitamin D supplements for 18 months for the prevention of the common cold. The study concluded that vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the number, duration or severity of upper respiratory tract infections. The results did not change due to seasonal variation or baseline Vitamin D levels. How do you protect yourself from the common cold?
For more information see JAMA
Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, has once again succeeded in introducing new public health policies. In an effort to reduce the country’s increasing obesity rate, the New York City Board of Health approved a ban on sale of sodas and sugary drinks in container larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters on Thursday September 13th. This policy is a first of its kind in the country, but the spokesman for New Yorkers Beverage Choice opposes the decision and adds that this restricts the consumers freedom of choice. What are your thoughts about this policy? What measures can be taken to reduce obesity in this country?
For more information, visit New York Times.
A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Diabetes looked at more than 12,000 children and found that singletons are more likely to be overweight than children with siblings. In addition, siblings with larger age gap differences also show that the older child is more likely to be overweight. This interesting phenomenon is not clearly understood, but there is a definite association between being an only child and the risk of being overweight. Thus, more research needs to be conducted to unravel this mystery. What can parents do to help their singletons maintain a healthy weight?
For more information, visit Nutrition and Diabetes.