January 19, 2017
It is normal for it to become more difficult to recall certain types of information (like people’s names) as people age.
Mild cognitive impairment is memory loss that goes beyond the normal expectancy for a person’s age, but a person still can do daily functions while having this condition.
Dementia is a more serious type of memory loss that is characterized by a progression of memory impairment, which eventually hinders other parts of one’s thinking abilities. Alzheimer’s disease (a condition in which brain abnormalities are formed by a rapid brain cell loss) is a primary cause of dementia even though other conditions can cause it.
Can We Prevent Memory Loss?
There are several ongoing clinical studies aimed at discovering intervention strategies for memory loss. Current research data indicates that shifting progestin and estrogen levels caused the risk of dementia in women older than 65 to increase. To date, claims that ginkgo biloba prevents memory loss are unsupported by concrete evidence.
However, there are some strategies you can try to help reduce the potential for memory loss:
- Get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Research has proven that prolonged high cholesterol and high blood pressure increases the risk for vascular conditions (stroke and heart disease) that may lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or the development of vascular dementia (also known as multi-infarct dementia.
- Don’t smoke or abuse alcohol.
- Exercise regularly to keep your blood flowing properly to the brain, which will decrease your chances of dementia.
- Maintain healthy eating habits. A diet of less saturated fats and more leaf green vegetables is just what the doctor ordered for decreasing memory loss. Beneficial fats like a omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon and tuna are also great for brain health.
- Keep an active social life, which will help you relieve stress.
Researcher claim people need to stay mentally active via writing, reading, learning new things, playing games, and gardening stimulates brain cells and the connections between them for better cognitive function and less risk for dementia.
January 10, 2017
Migraine headache is one of the most common problems seen in the emergency department and in the doctor’s office. It is a type of headache that appears to originate in the blood vessels of the head.
Migraine headache typically lasts from 4-72 hours or longer without headache treatment and vary in frequency from one per week to one per year. Migraine headache affects about 15% of the population. Three times as many women as men have migraine headache. Over 80% of people with migraine headache have other members in the family who have migraines.
Different types of migraine headache are:
- Common migraine headache accounts for 80% of migraines. There is “aura” before a common migraine. An aura is a symptom that appears before the headache. Most often an aura is a visual disturbance (seeing outlines of lights or jagged light images).
- Classic migraine headache presents with an aura and is usually much more severe than common migraine. Headache treatment may be required in this case.
- Status migrainous headache is a persistent migraine that does not go away without headache treatment
A staggering range of potential migraine headache treatment exists. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be advised to take over-the-counter analgesics, prescription headache treatment medications designed to quickly relieve symptoms, or even long-term headache treatment medication to prevent headaches from developing
January 5, 2017
Many people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and has become the primary cause of dementia in people age 60 and over. Currently, over 5 million people in the United States have this condition, which gradually destroys memory and other cognitive abilities. The effects of this condition have proven to be irreversible as it gradually takes away a person’s ability to do daily cognitive functions.
Scientists have aggressively attempted to discover intervention strategies and treatment techniques for Alzheimer’s, but the results have been few. Over the past 20 years, the FDA has approved five medications for Alzheimer’s, and one of these was just discovered as recently as 2003. Drugs only provide so much benefit, so there must be more done to treat this disease.
Studies have shown that it takes several years for the brain abnormalities develop that characterize Alzheimer’s. In the past, the focus of study has been done after the symptoms were undeniable, but that is many years after the brain changes have already taken place. Researchers propose that the best treatment for the disease must occur during the early stages of the disease: either at the earliest onset of obvious Alzheimer’s symptoms or earlier than that.
That’s why medications for the disease have shifted the focus on treating the condition before the more serious stages of dementia have occurred. In 2013, the FDA approved of a draft guidance to assist companies that desire to do clinical studies targeting intervention strategies aimed at treating the condition before the onset of dementia, a stage in the disease that may prove to be more treatable.
Dr. Eric Bastings, Deputy Director of the Division of Neurology Products for the FDA claims that the best window of opportunity for aggressively treating the disease must occur before people start experiencing the more obvious symptoms.
The 2013 FDA draft guidance looks promising as a tool to assist researchers in creating clinical trials for early stage Alzheimer’s therapies. The guidance is designed to promote dialog between new drug sponsors, the FDA, the academic/research community and the public.
Neurologists in the Division of Neurology Products for the FDA agree that the earlier the diagnosis in patients during the earlier stages of brain changes, the better the success of the clinical studies. Therefore, the FDA’s intention is to discover efficient and safe early intervention methods to prevent extensive brain damage.
The FDA’s draft guidance hopes to influence clinical trials at the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s as possible—even if no obvious symptoms are present.
December 8, 2016
Several risks are involved with using indoor tanning products. For instance, if you use an indoor tanning booth or bed, you are exposing your body to UV (ultraviolet) radiation, which promotes skin damage, eye injuries, melanoma and other skin cancers.
Because of the gradual impact of UV radiation, it places children, adolescents and young adults at a higher risk for eye and skin conditions in their later years. The FDA is determined to minimize the damage of UV radiation caused by indoor tanning products by prohibiting the use of these products by people under the age of 18. Also, indoor tanning sites are required to provide literature about the possible risks associated with using an indoor tanning product and have the consumer acknowledge the awareness of such risks by signing an acknowledgment form.
The FDA is also considering another rule that will require makers of indoor tanning products and tanning sites to create more proactive strategies to prevent injuries from using these products.
Dr. Markham Luke, dermatologist and deputy office director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health tells us that using indoor tanning products at a young age (childhood and young adulthood) increases the potential to develop melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Markham also states that several hundred youth each year in the US get injured from using an indoor tanning product.
The American Academy of Dermatology states that exposure to indoor tanning products make people 59% more likely to have melanoma than people who have never used an indoor tanning product.
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2003 to 2012 conclude that there are over 3,000 emergency room visits in the US alone due to indoor tanning product-related injuries. Interesting enough, over 400 of the patients were adolescents under the age of 18.
Things to Keep in Mind for those Still Planning on Using an Indoor Tanning Product
Now the FDA has taken steps to prevent injuries to minors who use tanning products. FDA-approved products will carry a disclaimer that prohibits the use of the tanning product by people under the age of 18. Indoor tanning products are required to have a visible, black-box disclaimer that people under age 18 should not use the product. Also keep these points in mind:
- Being exposed too long (like near the maximum time for the tanning device) can cause sunburn. Since it takes from 6 to 48 hours to realize your skin is sunburned, it’s going to be hard to tell if you’ve stayed exposed for too long.
- If you take medications or use certain cosmetics, it may make you sensitive to the sun (UV radiation actually), so consult your physician or pharmacist prior to using a tanning product.
- Neglecting to wear protective goggles while doing indoor tanning can cause temporary or long-term eye problems.
- Always follow the directions for the tanning product. If you have skin that easily burns or is hard to tan (or does not tan at all), then it is highly recommended you do not use an indoor tanning product.
November 28, 2016
About 2.7 million Americans have atrial fibrillation and are at a risk for having a stroke. Being over age 65, having a family history or past occurrence of diabetes, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, poor kidney function and high blood pressure, and being female are all factors that increase the chances of you having a stroke. However, the risk of having a stroke can be greatly reduced (by 50-60%) with the help of an anticoagulant (more popularly known as a blood thinner).
When blood flow is obstructed by a blood clot, cells in the brain can’t get enough oxygen, which causes a stroke. The top chambers of the heart of people with atrial fibrillation create a sluggish blood flow that often forms blood clots. If a part of these clots reaches the brain, a stroke can occur. Blood thinners are an ideal solution for this problem because they can reduce the formation of blood clots in the heart, which will decrease the risk for having a stroke.
Despite the success of blood thinners in reducing strokes, almost 50% of patients with atrial fibrillation fail to take blood thinners because of the potential for anticoagulants to cause bleeding and because they don’t feel noticeably better when taking the medication.
New Blood Thinners on the Market
In the past few years, the FDA has approved four new blood thinners called edoxaban (Savaysa) dabigatran (Pradaxa), apixiban (Eliquis) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto). Like the popular blood thinner warfarin, these new medications are also used to decrease the odds of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients. One difference in these new drugs compared to warfarin is the lack of need to do blood monitoring.
Even though blood thinners prevent strokes by reducing the occurrence of blood clots from the heart, they increase the risk of strokes caused by brain bleeds (also known as a hemorrhagic stroke). Warfarin has been known to cause bleeding when it’s weakened by certain foods and medications that interact with its effectiveness. The newer medications cause fewer strokes from bleeding incidents compared to the older medication Warfarin and tend to fare better overall for reducing strokes from either bleeds or blood clots.
Doing Your Part
Consult with your doctor to ensure the treatment of your atrial fibrillation includes stroke prevention. Just because you have a mild case of atrial fibrillation does not eliminate the need to use a blood thinner as a precautionary measure. The other factors already mentioned can increase your odds of stroke even with mild atrial fibrillation, so make sure you are honest about your health history with your doctor so you can discuss better treatment alternatives.
November 23, 2016
Do you want to reach your fitness goals without spending a ton of money on supplements? Supplements can have wonderful benefits and help you reach your goals, but they won’t just do it for you. It is possible to get stronger without supplements. You have to train, eat, and rest correctly in order to do this.
The problem with supplements is that they do such a good job of convincing everyone that they won’t be able to reach any kind of fitness goal without them. In reality, they are just supplements. They are supposed to SUPPLEMENT your training, diet, and rest. You can take all the supplements in the world, but if you don’t do anything else, you will be pretty unhappy with the results.
When you are looking to boost strength and build lean muscle mass, you need supplements that have supporting science and a long history of gains. These supplements have all been used by body builders, fitness models, and fitness enthusiasts for over a decade, and are time tested.
You do not need the newest and most “hip” supplement to build lean muscle mass and boost your strength. Stick with the supplements that are proven muscle builders or which effectiveness were proved by science studies.