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Archive Health News: January 2009
  Back to 2009 Archives
  Total News For This Month: 14 records

   Eat less and remember a whole lot more
  - The New Straits Times, January 28, 2009


London (England) -   Eating less may help older people improve their memory and prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, a German study reported.  The findings suggest that simple lifestyle changes could help treat dementia and confirm benefits previously shown in animals.  For the study, the researchers divided 50 people with an average age of 60 into three groups in which one group’s daily calories was cut by 30 per cent  while another group had no eating restrictions.  The third group ate more food containing unsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil and fish, but this appeared to make no difference in boosting the memory, the researchers observed.  But those who ate less showed a 10 to 20 per cent improvement in a memory test three months later.  The researchers said decreased levels of insulin and inflammation might boost brain cells and improve memory.


   Parkinson’s disease puts bones, joints at risk
  - The New Sunday Times, January 25, 2009


A new study reported that people with Parkinson’s disease have an elevated risk of developing fragile bones and fractures over time.  Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder in which movement-regulating cells in the brain die off or become disabled, leading to symptoms like tremors, rigidity in the joints, slowed movement and balance problems.  These symptoms can lead to reduced bone mass and a greater risk of falls – which together put Parkinson’s disease patients at risk of bone fractures and joint injuries.  A key reason that Parkinson’s disease patient tend to lose bone mass is because they walk less than people their age without the disorder.  They also typically spend less time outdoors in the sunlight, which limits their bodies’ natural synthesis of bone maintaining vitamin D.  Lower boner mass, coupled with the disease-related movement and balance problems, puts them at particular risks of falls and injuries.  To help lower this risk, it is recommended that people with Parkinson’s disease should have their symptoms managed to the greatest degree possible with medication.


   Drinking coffee reduces Alzheimer’s risk
  - The New Sunday Times, January 25, 2009


Middle-aged people who drink moderate amounts of coffee significantly reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a study by Finnish and Swedish researchers showed.  The study, which was also conducted in cooperation with the Public Health Institute in Helsinki was based on repeated interviews with 1,409 people in Finland over more than two decades. Coffee-drinking habits of the subjects were noted when they were in their 50s and their memory functions were tested again in 1998 when they were between 65 and 79 years of age.  By then 61 people had developed dementia, 48 of whom had Alzheimer’s, the researchers noted. Although it remains unclear how moderate coffee-drinking helped delay or avoid the onset of dementia, the researchers pointed out that coffee contains strong antioxidants, which are known to counter Alzheimer’s.  Other studies have shown that coffee helped to protect the nerve system, which could also protect against dementia.


   Sleep can keep cold at bay
  - The New Sunday Times, January 25, 2009


In an experiment where volunteers were deliberately infected with a cold virus, researchers found that getting less sleep substantially increase the risk of catching one.
Researchers of Carnegie Mellon University monitored and recorded the sleep time of 153 healthy men and women aged 21 to 55, including scoring their sleep efficiency and the percentage of time in bed spent asleep. A solution containing rhinovirus was dripped into their noses and their health was monitored for five days.  Almost all the subjects became infected, and more than a third had cold symptoms.
The researchers observed that those who got less than seven hours of sleep a night were almost three times as likely to have clinical symptoms as those who got eight or more.  Those with a sleep efficiency score of 85 per cent or less were more than five times as likely to be infected as those with higher efficiency.


   Mouthwash link to cancer
  - The New Straits Times, January 20, 2009

  A new study has found “sufficient evidence” implicating alcohol-containing mouthwashes in oral cancer. The findings, reported in the Dental Journal of Australia, by an Australian scientist, said some  mouthwashes were more dangerous than wine or beer because they contain high concentration of alcohol, as high as 26 per cent.  The alcohol in mouthwash allows cancer-causing substances such as nicotine to penetrate the lining of the mouth easily.  It results in a toxic breakdown of alcohol called acetaldehyde – another carcinogen – which can accumulate in the oral cavity when swished around the mouth.
The evidence was based on an international study of 3,210 people, which found daily mouthwash a “significant risk factor” for head and neck cancer.  However, British Dental Association and Cancer Research UK cautioned that more research was needed to confirm the findings.


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