As we get older, our brain cells show changes, and now a new study finds that certain changes happen so reliably that by themselves they can reveal a person’s age.
In the study, researchers analyzed brain tissue samples from 480 people who died between the ages 16 and 106. None of these individuals had experienced a brain disease before their death.
The researchers then examined whether they could find differences between the older brains and the younger ones by looking at the level of their expression of certain genes, meaning which genes were “turned on” and “turned off.”
They found that, with age, certain types of brain cells called glial cells showed a shift in their gene expression patterns in certain regions of the brain. In contrast, no such change was seen in the brain’s neurons, which are the “signaling cells” of the brain. Glial cells provide support for neurons.
What’s more, when the researchers looked at whether the gene expression pattern inside the different types of cells could be used to predict a
1 Apples out for blueberries: An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it may not keep IBS symptoms at bay. Apples areeliminated in a low FODMAP diet because they contain an excessive amount of fructose.Fructose is a type of sugar found in fruits. Foods that have excess fructose are considered high FODMAP and should be avoided by people who suffer from IBS. Such foods include apples, watermelon, cherries, mango, agave, and honey. Some fruits have less fructose than others though, and can safely be incorporated in a low FODMAP eating plan. Blueberries (20 blueberries), grapes (1 cup), orange (1 small), and kiwi (2 small) all make the low FODMAP list. Although these fruits are lower in fructose, people who suffer from IBS should still limit their overall fruit consumption as fructose in lower amounts can still add up when consumed in large quantities.
2 Artichokes out for eggplant: Foods high in fructan, a substance similar to fructose, and found in many vegetables and grains, are also high FODMAP and thus should be avoided.
Health officials said a California Bay Area woman’s death was likely caused by bacterial meningitis, which would make it the second fatality linked to the illness in one week. David Robson, Laura Robson’s brother, told a local news outlet that his sister had complained of a headache and a slight fever before her death.
Robson reportedly was already dead when she was found in the back of a San Francisco Muni bus, which was located in Daly City at the time, NBC Bay Area reported. A preliminary investigation said the 53-year-old’s cause of death was likely meningitis, David told the news outlet, but a complete autopsy is being conducted by the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office.
David and his 5-year-old son received antibiotic treatment as a precaution, NBC Bay Area reported.
On January 7, Seven Phillips, a 48-year-old San Rafael resident, died of bacterial meningitis. As a precaution, more than 200 individuals who attended classes at the SoulCycle location which Phillips frequented were contacted by the spin studio. Phillips contracted the infection between December 31 and
Major vitamin D deficiency. It doesn’t matter which vampire-ideology you subscribe to, most myths stick to this: Vampires and sunlight don’t mix. While some believe blood-suckers have a heightened sensitivity to sunshine, triggering extreme pain,Twilight’s Edward (and the rest of his vamp-fam, the Cullens) stick to dreary, dark locations because their extremely fair skin actually sparkles in the sunlight (which could out them as vampires, of course). Either way, there are real health risks to living sunshine-free. Daylight is a natural source of vitamin D, the powerful vitamin that promotes the body’s absorption of calcium — the mineral that keeps your teeth and bones strong. Without vitamin D, your risk of conditions such as osteoporosis skyrocket.
Fortunately for the Cullens, vitamin D supplements are available, and it can also be found in a number of foods, such as salmon, sardines, and dairy.
Sleep deprivation. No wonder vampires are so darn cranky! Twilight’s living dead never sleep (sounds like a big drawback to us, Bella); others walk the night (so we’re willing to bet their sleep habits aren’t very sound).
What does that mean for these fatigued freaks of nature? Along with about 30 percent of
Older people who drink heavily don’t necessarily have to fear dying of liver disease, a researcher said.
In a population-based Dutch study, only a handful of heavy drinkers in an older cohort died of liver-related causes, according to Jeoffrey Schouten, MD, of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The major causes of death were cardiovascular disease and cancer, but not hepatocellular carcinoma, Schouten reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
On the other hand, the study confirmed previous studies that suggest light and moderate drinking is protective, Schouten said.
He and colleagues followed 3,884 residents of Rotterdam — all 55 or older at the start of the study in 1990 — for a median of 15.2 years, until they died or until Dec. 31, 2008.
The participants were stratified by their drinking level, with the aim of understanding the causes of death for those who drank heavily, as well as the links between all-cause mortality and alcohol consumption.
Every four or five years, participants went through cycle of examinations, including clinical studies and questionnaires on various aspects of their lives, such as
Enfamil Newborn baby formula: Wal-Mart has pulled all 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder with the lot number ZP1K7G, after a 10-day-old boy in Lebanon, Mo., died from what doctors believe was a rare bacterial infection.
It is not yet known whether the boy contracted the infection from the formula, but Wal-Mart spokeswoman Diana Gee says the company isn’t taking any chances. All cans have been removed from shelves, and refunds or exchanges are available for any consumers who purchased the product prior to the recall.
Formal investigations are pending by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but Enfamil manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition says that the batch in question tested negative for any bacteria before it was shipped. Public health officials will retest samples from the same lot and also look for other possible causes of the infection, such as the water used to prepare the formula or anything else the baby may have consumed.
Motrin: Johnson & Johnson has issued a voluntary recall of about 12 million bottles of Motrin pain relievers from stores. The reason? The caplets may not dissolve as quickly when
Coffee lovers, rejoice. There’s more evidence that your morning mug won’t harm your heart, according to a new study from Sweden.
In the study, researchers found that drinking coffee was not associated with an increased risk of a condition called atrial fibrillation, which is a type of irregular heartbeat, in either men or women.
“This is largest prospective study to date on the association between coffee consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation. We find no evidence that high consumption of coffee increases the risk of atrial fibrillation,” Susanna Larsson, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and lead author on the study, said in a statement.
“This is important because it shows that people who like coffee can safely continue to consume it, at least in moderation, without the risk of developing this condition,” Larsson said.
The study comes on the heels of an earlier study from this year, which suggested that coffee may lower the risk of heart attacks.
In the new study, the researchers looked at data from about 42,000 men and nearly 35,000 women who were participating in two long-running studies, the Cohort of Swedish Men
1. Forgo meat. Jobs was a pescetarian — which means he eliminated meat and chicken from his diet, but he indulged in fish and seafood. In fact, in 2006 the health-conscious CEO (who also headed Pixar Animation Studios), cut ties with McDonald’s, which promoted Pixar films’ characters in its Happy Meals, because he wasn’t keen on the health implications of the meat-happy fast food chain.
Ditching meat (at least every once in a while) could benefit you, too — especially if you have a few pounds to drop. In a scientific review published in Nutritional Reviews, researchers found that vegetarian diets not promote weight loss, they also decrease risks of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
2. Indulge in ice cream. After his cancer treatment, the Apple co-founder turned to his favorite frozen treat when he wanted to gain weight after cancer treatment. “I’m eating like crazy,” he told a New York Times reporter. What was his guilty pleasure? “A lot of ice cream.”
3. Recycle your electronics. In 2005, Jobs responded to criticism of Apple’s poor recycling programs by announcing the company would take back iPods for free. Later, he expanded the program
The buzz about health-care reform hasn’t died down since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed by President Obama last year. But although the battle rages on, one thing is clear: The new law is not likely to curb health-care expenditures in the United States. In 2009, the total U.S. health-care bill was $2.5 trillion — about $8,000 dollars per person. And, partly as a result of the population aging, that figure is projected to be $4.5 trillion a year by 2019.
What does this mean for most Americans? A typical family of four covered by employer-provided health insurance now spends about $18,000 a year on medical expenses. And even for those lucky enough to have insurance, out-of-pocket expenses are steadily rising due to higher deductibles and copayments and other costs.
An Ounce of Prevention
It is possible to spend less and stay healthy, however. That’s the message of a new book co-authored by Cynthia Haines, MD, a family physician, professor at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, chief medical officer for the news service HealthDay, and a medical reviewer for Everyday Health. Written with Eric Metcalf, MPH, The New Prescription:
Even with good health insurance, a health emergency or a prolonged illness can be a financial disaster. Health insurance deductibles, co-payments, emergency room costs, and other costs of illness can add up in a hurry.
A health savings account (HSA) is one way you can put aside tax-free money for a health emergency. HSAs were established in 2003. If you are covered by a type of insurance known as a high-deductible insurance plan, you can make tax-deductible contributions to an HSA. Your employer may also make tax-deductible contributions.
“An HSA account is very different from having a general emergency fund account,” says Joseph J. Porco, managing member of the Financial Security Group, LLC, in Newtown, Conn. “An emergency fund is about more than just out-of-pocket medical expenses. If possible, it’s a good idea to have both.”
How Much of an Emergency Fund Do You Need?
For an older adult, a health emergency might result in the need for long-term care, possibly for the rest of the senior’s life. For a young adult supporting a family, a medical emergency might be much more than just the cost of illness. Your health emergency could cause
Regular aerobic exercise such as walking may protect the memory center in the brain, while stretching exercise may cause the center — called the hippocampus — to shrink, researchers reported.
In a randomized study involving men and women in their mid-60s, walking three times a week for a year led to increases in the volume of the hippocampus, which plays an important role in memory, according to Dr. Arthur Kramer, of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Ill., and colleagues.
On the other hand, control participants who took stretching classes saw drops in the volume of the hippocampus, Kramer and colleagues reported online in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings suggest that it’s possible to overcome the age-related decline in hippocampal volume with only moderate exercise, Kramer told MedPage Today, leading to better fitness and perhaps to better spatial memory. “I don’t see a down side to it,” he said.
The volume of the hippocampus is known to fall with age by between 1 percent and 2 percent a year, the researchers noted, leading to impaired memory and increased risk for dementia.
But animal research suggests that exercise
Prostate cancer (PC) is the second leading cause of male cancer death in the United States with an estimated 26,000 deaths in 2016. Two-thirds of all PC deaths observed in the US are men with localized disease who developed metastasis. Several markers for dying from prostate cancer exist, but whether these are markers for telling who is likely to die early from any cause, and how their performance compares, is unknown. Identifying such a marker is important because we can then identify which men may benefit from new, more aggressive treatments for prostate cancer.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that a prostate specific antigen (PSA) nadir (the lowest level a PSA drops after treatment) greater than 0.5 ng/mL following radiation and androgen deprivation therapy (anti-hormone therapy), appears to identify men prior to PSA failure who are at high-risk for dying early as a result of treatment failure for their prostate cancer. The findings are published in the January 12 edition ofJAMA Oncology.
“By identifying and enrolling these men in clinical trials immediately, the hope is to take a prostate cancer that appears to be incurable and make it curable” stated Trevor
It can almost certainly ease chronic pain and might help some people sleep, but it may also raise the risk of getting schizophrenia and trigger heart attacks.
Those are among the conclusions about marijuana reached by a federal advisory panel in a report released Thursday.
The experts also called for a national effort to learn more about marijuana and its chemical cousins, including similarly acting compounds called cannabinoids.
The current lack of scientific information “poses a public health risk,” said the report , from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Patients, health care professionals and policy makers need more evidence to make sound decisions, it said.
For marijuana users or those considering it, “there’s very little to guide them” on amounts and health risks, said Dr. Marie McCormick of the Harvard School of Public Health, who headed the committee.
Several factors have limited research. While the federal government has approved some medicines containing ingredients found in marijuana, it still classifies marijuana as illegal and imposes restrictions on research. So scientists have to jump through bureaucratic hoops that some find daunting, the report said.
A federal focus on paying for studies of potential
A federal judge ruled Monday that the new U.S. health-care reform law is unconstitutional, saying the federal government has no authority to require citizens to buy health insurance.
That provision is a cornerstone of the new legislation, signed into law in March by President Barack Obama.
The judge’s decision was not unexpected, and both supports and opponents of the legislation anticipate the validity of the new health law ultimately will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling was handed down by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a Republican appointed by President George W. Bush who had seemed sympathetic to the state of Virginia’s case when oral arguments were heard in October, the Associated Press reported.
Last week, White House officials said a negative ruling would not affect the implementation of the law because its major provisions don’t take effect until 2014, the AP reported.
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, a Republican, had filed a lawsuit in defense of a new Virginia law barring the federal government from requiring state residents to buy health insurance. He argued that it is unconstitutional for the federal law to force citizens to buy
The study, “Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA,” published by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, is an effort by researchers Tara McKay and Stefan Timmermans to “broaden the conversation” about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Given the strain that uninsurance places on individuals, providers and health care markets, it is not unreasonable to imagine that the consequences of uninsurance are likely to go beyond health and health care and impact the social lives of individuals and communities,” said McKay, assistant professor of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University.
Timmermans is a professor of sociology at UCLA. “We find that living around a lot of people who have insurance makes you more likely to trust the people you live around, makes you more likely to have common goals and values and feel like those goals and values are shared,” McKay said of the results of the study. “That’s true for everyone in such a community, even those who don’t have health insurance. Conversely, low levels of insurance in a community strain relationships and trust among people who do live here.”
Going back for centuries, peppers and spices have been thought to be beneficial in the treatment of diseases, but only one other study — conducted in China and published in 2015 — has previously examined chili pepper consumption and its association with mortality. This new study corroborates the earlier study’s findings.
Using National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III data collected from more than 16,000 Americans who were followed for up to 23 years, medical student Mustafa Chopan ’17 and Professor of Medicine Benjamin Littenberg, M.D., examined the baseline characteristics of the participants according to hot red chili pepper consumption. They found that consumers of hot red chili peppers tended to be “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats . . . had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education,” in comparison to participants who did not consume red chili peppers. They examined data from a median follow-up of 18.9 years and observed the number of deaths and then analyzed specific causes of death.
“Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain, Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, which are primary
n just a few short weeks, 9-year-old Ciara Brills’ life has changed dramatically. First, it started with headaches that painkillers couldn’t relieve. Then, on Christmas, her family noticed she had a lazy eye. The following day, doctors diagnosed her with a malignant brain tumor.
Brills, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a type of tumor found almost exclusively in children, Fox 25 reported. DIPG tumors are notoriously aggressive, difficult to treat, and, due to their placement on the brain stem, affect breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
While their daughter’s life may soon be cut short, the Brills family plans to make what could be Ciara’s final days as fun and pleasant as possible by creating a bucket list for her.
“I want to show her the world, as much as we can,” Ciara’s father, Harold Brills, told Fox 25.
Family friends have started a GoFundMe pageto help the family cover bucket list expenses, as well as medical expenses and missed work. As of Friday, they had raised over $52,800 of their $100,000 goal.
Brills went home from the hospital on New Year’s Eve. On Friday, the family
1. Add fresh fruit. Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and oranges, are classic water enhancers, but other fruit flavors might also tempt your taste buds. Try crushing fresh raspberries or watermelon into your water, or adding strawberry slices. Cucumber and fresh mint are refreshing flavors as well — especially in summer.
2. Use juice. Any fruit juice can be a good base flavor for water, but tart juices, like cranberry, pomegranate, grape, and apple, are especially delicious. Go for juices that are all natural, with no added sugars. And remember: Fruits and their juices don’t just taste good — they contain vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit your health too.
3. Make it bubbly. Many people prefer sparkling to still water. If plain old water isn’t inspiring to you, try a naturally effervescent mineral water — which will give you the added benefit of minerals. Or try bubbly seltzer, a carbonated water. You can add fresh fruit or natural juice flavors to your seltzer, as suggested above, or look for naturally flavored seltzers at your local market. If you become a seltzer devotee, you might want to consider getting a seltzer maker for your
Seat Belt Safety: 5-Way Protection
“Seat belts prevent occupants of the vehicle from serious injury in five ways,” says Angela Osterhuber, director of the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project in Media, Pa. A seat belt:
- Keeps the occupants of the vehicle inside. “It’s clearly a myth that people are better off being thrown clear from the crash,” Osterhuber says. “People thrown from a vehicle are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside.”
- Restrains the strongest parts of the body. “Restraints are designed to contact your body at its strongest parts. For an older child and adult, these parts are the hips and shoulders, which is where the seat belt should be strapped,” Osterhuber says.
- Spreads out any force from the collision. “Lap-and-shoulder belts spread the force of the crash over a wide area of the body. By putting less stress on any one area, they can help you avoid serious injury,” Osterhuber says. A shoulder strap also helps keep your head and upper body away from the dashboard, steering wheel, and other hard interior parts of the automobile should you stop suddenly or be hit by another vehicle.
- Helps the body to slow
A blast of chilly water may do the body good—but are the shivers worth it? Of all the beauty trends out there right now, this one might take the cake: searches for “cold showers” are up 75% on Pinterest, according to the social platform. Proponents claim the brrr-inducing temps help increase metabolism, boost mood, and even lead to healthier skin and hair.
But showers aren’t just about getting clean (hello, relaxation!), so a cold one better offer real perks. But does it?
Well… maybe. First, let’s talk beauty benefits. In terms of your hair, “the cold will flatten the ruffled cuticles and lock in moisture to prevent breakage,” says Jessie Cheung, MD, a dermatologist in the Chicago area. Cold water will initially help constrict blood vessels in your skin to temporarily tighten pores and decrease redness and puffiness, she adds. What’s more, cold temperatures boost circulation (it’s your body’s way of keeping warm). For your face, that might mean a healthy glow.
A cold shower is also said to help boost mood, but the evidence for this is slim. One study from the International Journal of Circumpolar Health looked at the practice of “winter swimming,”