Dr. Kevin Most: More Uplifting This Week
Ok, so last week I hit a few topics that were not very uplifting or positive and it is Monday am, so this week we will try to be a bit more positive, even if the weather is not.
Coffee and tea in place of the soda I took away last week
We have discussed many times the health benefits from coffee.
1.) Two cups of coffee following a tough work out can decrease the pain by 50%
2.) We know those who drink coffee thru the day have a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes
3.) Caffeine has been shown to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
4.) 4 cups of coffee a day shows a decrease in depression
5.) We have discussed the studies that show coffee can also decrease the risk of Parkinson’s
6.) We have discussed that coffee drinkers can lower their risk of heart disease
7.) When discussing colon cancer we discussed that coffee helps decrease our risk of colon cancer
Wait there’s more, a recent study that discusses the impact of coffee on brown fat in the body. The body has 2 types of fat, brown fat and white fat. Brown fat is found in humans and other mammals. It is thought mainly to be important in producing heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold temperatures. As the activity of brown fat is increased, blood sugars are in better control as well as fats in the blood stream drop. Until this study, we had no idea how to stimulate this in humans until recently when they had individuals drink coffee and then looked at cell activity they noted it increased. They are not sure if it is the caffeine or some other ingredient. As they study this more, this may be used as a part of weight management as well diabetes management.
Coffee has some great health benefits
Not a coffee drinker? Enjoy Tea instead? Well a study out this year has shown that regular tea drinkers have healthier brains and cognitive function when compared to non-tea drinkers. This study looked at seniors over the age of 60. They had neuro testing as well as MRI screens. The results showed that individuals who consumed tea at least 4 times a week had brain testing that suggests that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age related decline in brain function.
We know from other studies that tea helps with weight loss, protects your bone health, has powerful antioxidants, improves mood, and reduces your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Green tea is the tea that appears to have the greatest benefit from a cardiovascular view and bone health. Also Tea for the most part has less caffeine than coffee.
So last week I took away soft drinks from you as a health related concern, we have now replaced it with Tea and coffee for its health related benefits.
Get a dog
Who can’t find a dog story uplifting. We often think about adopting a dog as saving the dog, well we may have it backwards. We know that sedentary life style and loneliness are not good for our health and that that is really true for heart attack and stroke victims
We have discussed in the past that dogs help individuals minimize social isolation and actually improves physical activity and lowers blood pressure. Two studies that came out a couple of weeks ago showed that dog ownership is associated with longer life and better cardiovascular outcomes, especially in individuals who have suffered from a stroke or heart attack. This impact is noted by comparing the patients who owned a dog with those who did not, and even when compared to living alone with a dog or with a family with a dog the difference was substantial. They found that dog ownership was associated with a 24% decrease risk of death overall and a 33% decrease risk of death among heart attack survivors that live alone. These studies looked at over 3 million individuals
More studies need to be completed but the initial thought was the dog impacts their mood, is a motivator for physical activity so it works on the rehab of the heart, body and mind.
We also know the impact a dog can make with individuals suffering from PTSD, Depression, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They really are man’s best friend.
We know the mental health benefits of taking care of somebody besides yourself, maybe dogs do as well
Hate those reading glasses, an eye drop may replace them soon.
Ok, how many of you hate reading glasses? Or get to a restaurant and not be able to read the menu because you forgot your glasses? An Israel based company is in the final stages of testing an eye drop that will treat far sightedness. Far sightedness or senior associated vision changes is the change that makes us have difficulty reading or seeing items closely, thus we need glasses that magnify print allowing us to read normally printed items.
The eye drop being developed has been shown to temporarily reverses this change and allows for improvement in distance correction. The drops have thus far shown exceptional safety and tolerability. The study which was just completed Phase 2 studies in research centers across the US was quite encouraging. Phase 2 studies look at dosing and effectiveness on a small and the next step would be start a Phase 3 study where the drug would be tested on a large number of people to again show effectiveness in a larger setting. The drops are made of well-known ingredients that have thus far been safe. The drug reverses its effects after a short period of time, results on the dosing will determine how long the medication works.
If this pans out, individuals may not need their reading glasses and many may hold off on surgery like Lasik surgery to help correct the problem. More to come in the next few years.
The importance of a hug in all phases of life
We know an Apple a day keeps the doctor away, how about a hug a day? We all know the feeling that one gets when a warm embrace occurs, they are comforting, mood elevating, stress relieving and actually lowers our blood pressure. It has been also shown to increase our immune system as well, so although we often want to stay away from someone who is ill, a hug may actually be safer and better for you than a handshake.
In children we know the importance physical contact and this was noted in a very painful way. Orphanage’s in Romania had children that were provided food but not held or hugged, when studied later in life these same children had significant developmental and emotional delays as well as smaller brains. Those studied showed that the physical contact with these infants impacted not only the children’s behavior later in life but also in the development of their cognitive skills.
We also know that with premature babies a light massage over the course of a week causes significant weight gain. It is felt that this action as well as “professional cuddlers” in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units lower stress in the new born infants and speeds their growth. Think of the crying baby, what action do we take? We pick them up and hug them, often the crying stops immediately and the child falls asleep. The contact of the hug puts one into comfort and a relaxed state of mind. The beauty of this action is that individual providing the hugging to these infants gets a large benefit as well
A Study was done that showed that people seeing images of other individuals hugging actually showed changes in their EEG, or brain activity readings.
So a Hug a day may increase your immune system, decrease your stress, decrease your pain levels
Lower your chance of Alzheimer’s
5.8 million individuals in the US from Alzheimer’s, including 200,000 under the age of 65. It is frustrating to all that we don’t have a cure, don’t have many medications that slow or halt the progression of the illness. So without treatment we look to prevention.
A Study came out recently that showed 5 specific lifestyle choices that were linked to a 60% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s, the study actually showed if you even did 4 of the 5 your risk is still decreased by 60%. The study actually came out of Rush University.. The researchers thought there would be some correlation between lifestyle factors and cognitive outcomes but were surprised by the actual impact.
What are they…….
1.) Make sure to get 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous activity
2.) Do not smoke
3.) Limit yourself to one drink a day
4.) Do puzzles or other problem solving tasks daily
5.) Eat a good diet- nuts, veggies, whole grains, seafood, poultry and olive oil. Avoid pastries, sweets, fried foods and red meat or other saturated fats.
Now everyone was not as stringent in the 9 year research, but they found over the time of the study that as an individual added a healthier lifestyle choice to whatever they were currently doing, their risk dropped over 20%.
The same day this study was published another came out in JAMA and showed that a healthy lifestyle can be equally protective and that study looked at over 200,000 individuals.
So a change in your lifestyle will certainly decrease your chance of dementia in the future.
Hopefully this week was more uplifting with positive stories.