Health Tips

Health Tips for everyone from teens to seniors!

How Often Should Women Have Bone Density Tests?

It is recommended that older women be screened regularly for osteoporosis, but exactly how often is “regularly?” The US Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women age 65 and over be screened for bone density, and if bones appear in good health, to be rescreened every 15 years. Fifteen years for re-screening was determined by scientists who published a study in the January 19, 2012 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Women were divided into four groups based on bone-density tests (normal, mild, moderate, or advanced bone-density loss). The researchers found that less than one percent of women who had normal or mild bone-density loss developed osteoporosis, and that women with greater initial bone density loss did develop osteoporosis at a much higher rate.

The research team leader, Dr. Margaret Gourlay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says, “If a woman’s bone density at age 67 is very good, then she doesn’t need to be rescreened in two years or three years, because we’re not likely to see much change. Our study found it would take about 15 years for ten percent of women in the highest bone density ranges to develop osteoporosis. That was longer than we expected, and it’s great news for this group of women.”

Manganese May Prevent Toxin Damage

The Shiga toxin, a type of cellular protein found in Shigella or E.coli foodborne illnesses, is a rare, yet deadly, toxin. However, new research has found that manganese may be effective in treating Shigella or E.coli.

Shiga toxin uses GPP130 protein to pass a healthy cell’s defense and thus cause damage. Manganese destroys GPP130 protein and thus weakens the ability of the Shiga toxin to permeate and destroy healthy cells.

Manganese is an inexpensive and readily available mineral throughout the world. Shiga toxin affects individuals who live primarily in developing countries. This discovery will save thousands of lives.

A Glass of Milk a Day Could Benefit Your Brain

Pouring at least one glass of milk each day could not only boost your intake of much-needed key nutrients, but it could also positively impact your brain and mental performance, according to a recent study in the International Dairy Journal. Researchers found that adults with higher intakes of milk and milk products scored significantly higher on memory and other brain function tests than those who drank little to no milk. Milk drinkers were five times less likely to “fail” the test compared to non-milk drinkers.

Researchers at the University of Maine put more than 900 men and women ages 23 to 98 through a series of brain tests—including visual-spatial, verbal and working memory tests—and tracked the milk consumption habits of the participants. The highest scores for all eight outcomes were observed for those with the highest intakes of milk and milk products compared to those with low and infrequent milk intakes. The benefits persisted even after controlling for other factors that can affect brain health, including cardiovascular health and other lifestyle and diet factors.

In addition to the many established health benefits of milk from bone health to cardiovascular health, the potential to stave off mental decline may represent a novel benefit with great potential to impact the aging population. While more research is needed, the scientists suggest some of milk’s nutrients may have a direct effect on brain function and that “easily implemented lifestyle changes that individuals can make present an opportunity to slow or prevent neuropsychological dysfunction.”

New and emerging brain health benefits are just one more reason to start each day with low fat or fat free milk. Whether in a latte, in a smoothie, on your favorite cereal, or straight from the glass, milk at breakfast can be a key part of a healthy breakfast that help sets you up for a successful day. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk daily for adults and each eight-ounce glass contains nine essential nutrients including calcium and vitamin D.

T’ai Chi and Postural Stability in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease affects balance and increases risk of falling. A study published in New England Journal of Medicine states that participants with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease, who practiced t’ai chi in 60-minute exercise sessions twice weekly for 24 weeks, greatly increased their postural stability. The researchers believe the unique stretching motions that t’ai chi requires allows people with Parkinson’s disease to increase balance and thus reduce falling incidents.