Mediterranean diet a recipe for strength in old age

It's believed that nutrition may play a role in frailty, so researchers reviewed data from four studies to determine if a healthy diet might reduce the risk for frailty. The studies included nearly 5,800 older adults in France, Spain, Italy and China.

They found that following a Mediterranean diet appears to be beneficial. That diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

The findings were published online Jan. 11 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"We found the evidence was very consistent that older people who follow a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of becoming frail," said researcher Kate Walters, from the University College London.

"People who followed a Mediterranean diet the most were overall less than half as likely to become frail over a nearly four-year period compared with those who followed it the least," she said in a journal news release.

However, it's unclear whether people who followed a Mediterranean diet had other factors that may have helped prevent frailty. And the study did not prove that a Mediterranean diet actually caused frailty risk to drop, just that there was an association.

"While the studies we included adjusted for many of the major factors that could be associated -- for example, their age, gender, social class, smoking, alcohol, how much they exercised, and how many health conditions they had -- there may be other factors that were not measured and we could not account for," Walters said.

"We now need large studies that look at whether increasing how much you follow a Mediterranean diet will reduce your risk of becoming frail," she concluded.

More information
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about healthy eating and healthy aging.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

More than 900 new HIV cases reported in Sept

MANILA – A total of 936 people were found to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) last September, the Department of Health’s (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau reported.
Of the figure, 806 did not show any symptom of HIV, 130 had full-blown Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and 40 had died of the disease, according to the latest HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) report.
Of the 936 HIV/AIDS cases, 904 were male and 32 were female, five of whom were pregnant. Their median age was 28 years old. Half of the cases or 469 belonged to the 25 to 34 age bracket, and 31 percent or 286 to the 15 to 24 age group. A total of 40 teenagers were reported to HARP.
Of the 40 who succumbed to the illness, 18 were aged 25 to 34 years old; 15 were 35 to 49 years; five were in the 15 to 24 age bracket; and two were more than 50 years old.
A total of 908 acquired the virus through sexual contact, 87 percent or 548 of whom were infected through homosexual contact; 246 through bisexual contact; and 114 through heterosexual contact. Some 23 cases were attributed to needle-sharing among injecting drug users.
The National Capital Region (NCR) logged the most number of cases with 348; followed by Calabarzon (147); Central Visayas (93); Central Luzon (87); Davao (56); Western Visayas (54); and 151 from the rest of the country.
The report also noted that of the recorded cases in September, 103 engaged in transactional sex, mostly male whose ages ranged from 18 to 61 years; and 65 were overseas Filipino workers.
That month, 746 patients started on anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
The September figures bring to 8,299 the total number of HIV cases reported nationwide in the first nine months of the year, with 1,021 AIDS cases and 374 deaths; and to 47,921 since HIV was first reported in January 1984, with 4,686 AIDS cases, and 2,343 deaths.
The DOH has been encouraging those at risk of contracting the disease to avail of free testing; and those who test positive for the virus to avail of free treatment.
A total of 23,307 persons living with HIV are on ART. -- PNA

Kale and other leafy vegetables may make your brain seem 11 years younger

This basket of kale may not look like a fountain of youth, but eating leafy green vegetables every day was associated with significantly slower decline in memory and thinking skills, according to a new study. (Jason Clark / Knight-Ridder Tribune)
Look into your salad bowl and think: If a fountain of cognitive youth were flowing in there, would you return every day?

In research that gives new meaning to the expression “salad days,” a study published Wednesday finds that older people who ate at least one serving of leafy greens a day had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than did people who rarely or never ate these vegetables.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

After almost five years, regular consumers of such veggies as kale, spinach, collard greens and lettuce enjoyed a mental edge that was the equivalent of 11 years in age.

To be sure, the top tier of leafy-vegetable consumers started with cognitive scores that were slightly higher than those in the bottom tier. That’s probably a testament to the power of lifelong eating patterns.

But over five years, the pattern of mental aging differed markedly in these two groups. Study participants who ate an average of roughly 1.3 servings of leafy greens a day experienced a decline in test performance that was about half as steep as that of participants whose daily consumption was near-zero.

Those stark differences were evident even after the researchers took account of a host of factors that are known to affect mental aging, including age, gender, education, exercise, participation in cognitive activities, smoking and consumption of seafood and alcohol.

Let’s say you and your neighbor are both 75 and similar in most every way: You both completed the same amount of school, take regular walks together, don’t smoke, and gather with friends over an occasional beer.

But while you enjoy a little more than a bowl of greens every day, your pal barely touches the stuff.

This long-running study would predict that at 75, your memory and thinking skills are a notch stronger than your neighbor’s. Over the next five years, hers will decline twice as fast as yours.

By the time you’re both 80, a battery of exercises that test several types of memory, as well as the speed and flexibility of your thinking, may show that your mental age is typical of a 75-year-old’s. Meanwhile, your neighbor’s performance on the same cognitive tests may look more like that of an 86-year-old.

“It’s almost unbelievable,” said Martha Morris, the senior author of the study who studies nutrition and brain health at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Eating these leafy greens was independently associated with slower cognitive decline. That tells you this single food group contains so many nutrients it could be brain-protective.”

Morris and her colleagues identified a small cluster of specific nutrients that appear to offer anti-aging benefits. The leafy greens that participants were asked about are generally rich in vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin K1, lutein and beta-carotene. While inconsistent, research has suggested that some or all of these nutrients may play some role in protecting the brain against inflammation, the accumulation of toxic proteins such as beta-amyloid, and neuronal damage and death.

For lifelong avoiders of leafy greens, the study doesn’t show that a late-life conversion to kale salads and spinach shakes will keep dementia at bay. But Morris said she thinks about nutrition the same way she thinks about exercise.

“You do get immediate benefits from eating healthy foods and exercising,” she said. ”And you get long-term benefits.”

Dr. Lon Schneider, a specialist in dementia at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, says the new study offers important insights into which nutrients in the Mediterranean diet help support health in aging. But it also underscores the complexity of dementia and cognitive aging — and the absence of a “silver bullet” to counter them.

“Dementia is a complex illness, as so many chronic illnesses are,” Schneider said. “It’s clearly not caused by one thing, and surely its onset and severity are not caused by one thing. This shows the environment is really important. Diet matters.”


Move over, upper-arm waddle: The ‘arm vagina’ is the new problem spot

Defined by Urban Dictionary as ‘that fold of skin where a woman’s arm joins her torso,’ it’s the latest source of insecurity–even in Hollywood
 Time was when designer vaginas, a vagina facelift of sorts, were all the rage. Then came surgically implanted dimples.

Throughout history, women have been made to feel bad about their bodies—thunder thighs, cellulite, stretch marks, muffin tops, cankles.

Even men had their share of this absurdity when we saw this year the rise of scrotox, where Botox was injected into the scrotum to tighten the area.

But the latest body part women feel insecure about might be the most ridiculous one yet. Apparently, Hollywood thinks that that little skin spilling over your bra strap, also known as the very normal human armpit, is now unsightly.

Called the “arm vagina,” the fold of skin that’s created when your armpit meets your torso, this perfectly normal bulge, is now one of the top worries of Hollywood A-listers.

This was revealed by Hollywood stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray to UK’s The Times last week. Corbin-Murray dresses famous ladies, including Emma Watson, Sophie Turner and Lily James. Pressure on the red carpet still exists, such that many actors do the classic hands-on-hips pose to disguise the arm vagina.

“Sometimes it’s the weirdest part of their body. They say, ‘I’ve got this horrible blah-blah,’ and you think, ‘What are they even talking about?’ The one that comes up all the time is the arm vagina,” Corbin-Murray told The Times.

The pressure to get the armpits more toned, or getting “pit fit,” is so palpable that cosmetic surgeons are now reporting a “slow and steady” rise in women seeking removal of excess armpit fat.

“A number of these requests have been from young, active women in their 20s, 30s and 40s who probably notice it more from wearing sleeveless activewear,” Hagen Schumacher, a consultant plastic surgeon at MyAesthetics, told UK’s The Metro.

The term “arm vagina” is believed to have originated at the 2014 Screen Actors Guild Awards when Jennifer Lawrence sashayed on the red carpet in a tight, sequined Dior dress. Talking to TV personality Giuliana Rancic, Lawrence made a disparaging remark about the arm creases the dress created.

Rancic complimented her on her dress. “I know I have armpit fat, it’s okay… it’s armpit vaginas,” Lawrence said.

The two women laughed, then bonded the way many women do—by sharing with each other mutual body-image issues.

Since then, “arm vagina” has been listed as a phrase in the Urban Dictionary, defined as “that fold of skin where a woman’s arm joins her torso. Can be present even in relatively fit women.”

It goes on to say that alternative phrases given are chicken skin, labia pit, fungus fold, armpit waddle and rooster arm.

Our often twisted body standards originate from the red carpet, where Hollywood seems to select which body part we ought to feel insecure about next. With the disconcerting fascination of teenagers and young women with something as normal as the armpit, we hope this worrying cosmetic trend ends in 2017.



House approves mental health bill on final reading

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday, November 20, approved on 3rd and final reading a law that would establish a national mental health policy in the Philippines.
The vote was made as Congress resumed session after a 5-week break. 223 lawmakers voted in favor of the measure, while none voted against it or abstained.
"Akbayan welcomes the passage of the Mental Health Bill on 3rd and final reading. This brings us a step closer toward tackling mental health issues not just as individuals, but as a society, given that social conditions significantly contribute to a person’s mental health and well-being," said Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin, among the advocates of the bill.
The Senate had earlier passed its version of the measure in May 2017.
House Bill Number 6452 or the “Comprehensive Mental Health Act” also states that “every person” should have access to “the best available” mental health care.
The bill’s sponsors in the House include Quezon 4th District Representative Helen Tan, Antipolo City 1st District Representative Cristina Roa-Puno, Marikina City 2nd District Representative Romero Quimbo, and Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles.
Now that it has passed both houses of Congress, differences in the two versions, if any, will be reconciled by a conference committee. Both houses will then approve the consolidated version, which will be forwarded to the President, who can either sign the bill into law or veto it.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, sponsor of the bill's Senate version, said she would work with her colleagues from the House to make sure the measure is signed in law before the year ends.
"I laud the House of Representatives for passing on 3rd and final reading its version of the Mental Health Bill. After being one of the few countries left without a mental health policy, the [Philippines] is now one step closer in implementing a policy that will respond to the mental health needs of Filipinos. Once enacted into law, the measure will integrate mental health into the general healthcare system," Hontiveros said.
"The burden of mental health illness is real. But so is hope. With the eventual passage of the Mental Health Bill, help is finally on its way," she added –

Study the law, Sotto tells DOH chief on medical marijuana

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday advised Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to study the law over the latter's position on a proposal allowing the “compassionate use” of medical marijuana.
“He should review RA (Republic Act) 9165,” Sotto said, referring to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“Compassionate use if allowed. No need for a bill...Aralin muna nila yung [RA] 9165,” Sotto added, saying he will object to the position of Duque during the Health Secretary's confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Duque, appointed last week by President Rodrigo Duterte, said he is in favor of medical marijuana for “compassionate use.” Duque was referring to House Bill 180 or otherwise known as the proposed Philippine Medical Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.
The proposal, approved at the House committee level last month, seeks to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Senator Gringo Honasan, chairman of the CA health committee, echoed the position of Sotto, saying the compassionate use of marijuana is “already in the law.”
“Technically, it's already in the law that with a doctor's certification that it's for medical/compassionate use, it is allowed,” Honasan said in a text message.
RA 9165 states that the government should “achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”
Senator JV Ejercito, chairman of the Senate health committee, meanwhile, said he is “open” to the proposal legalizing marijuana for medical use.
“If it will help in saving lives, why not? As long as parameters are in place to prevent its abuse, I am open to the idea,” Ejercito said.
“Of course, any substance abuse is a concern. We need to put safeguards to prevent abuse,” he added.
A bill filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros seeking to provide a comprehensive public health approach to the country's drug-related policy is also proposing the use of marijuana upon the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under the proposal of Hontiveros, “the delivery, possession, transfer, transportation, or use of cannabis and other dangerous drugs intended for medical use or to treat or alleviate a patient’s medical condition or symptoms associated with his or her debilitating disease...shall be allowed upon application to and approval of the Food and Drug Administration.”
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, for his part, warned of users who could take advantage of a policy allowing medical marijuana.
“We currently have very weak enforcement against the illegal drug trade. Because of this inherent weakness, unscrupulous users will take advantage of this liberal policy on marijuana use to make money and sell it to the market,” Gatchalian said in a text message. — GMA News

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