Alzheimer's disease

  1. "Breaking" news for sound older minds

    "Breaking" news for sound older minds

    The darker side of sleep-sawing

    It has been a while since I've written about the importance of good sleep - and today there are some timely news items that give me an opportunity to remind you of this core component of good health

    I've said a million times (at least) that a restful night's sleep pays healthy dividends in a thousand different ways. And I'm not just talking about the sheer hours spent in slumber. A lot of people think that if their eyes are closed for 8 hours, they're doing all they can to get good sleep. This isn't always true, especially for snorers.

    Snoring may seem harmless, but sometimes it signifies medical conditions that are far from innocuous - or can lead to them over time

    According to a recent article in the UK Daily Mail, researchers at Britain's Leeds University have concluded that years of heavy snoring could be causing ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE among many of those over 65 afflicted with the condition. The reason: Oxygen deprivation.

    Few people seem to know this, but heavy snoring - especially if related to a disorder called sleep apnea - can cause dangerously low levels of blood oxygen. The Leeds scientists have linked this oxygen deprivation to dementia.

    Interestingly enough, the snoring correlation appears to have been one that was accidentally discovered. The research was originally aimed at studying how the oxygen deprivation associated with things like strokes, angina, heart attacks, and emphysema affected the development of Alzheimer's

    The article's sources claim that heavy snorers are more than twice as likely to be men as women. This does NOT correlate with the numbers on the development of Alzheimer's, which affects women at a slightly higher rate than men when adjusted for age (women live longer, and therefore account for many more cases than men in raw terms).

    However, if this research is right in concluding the oxygen deprivation can be a major contributing factor to Alzheimer's, you may want to take some measures to stop snoring just in case. I'll give you all the details in the next Daily Dose.

    But speaking of senior citizens' mental states

    Depressing to the (brittle) bones

    Lots of people (especially my readers) know all about the risks of antidepressant drugs for teens and young adults. But I'll bet the downsides of these drugs for the elderly aren't nearly as well known. Here's just one of them

    According to the Archives of Internal Medicine and other sources, a pair of American studies have concluded that certain drugs within the most popular class of antidepressants (SSRIs like Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac) can contribute to a higher risk of osteoporosis in both men and women.

    Both an Oregon Health and Sciences University study of nearly 6000 men over 65 and a University of Minnesota study of over more than 2700 women with an average age of 80 found that hip fractures were measurably more common among those taking SSRIs

    As it turns out, the same protein that carries a chemical these drugs inhibit in the brain (serotonin) also exists in high concentrations in the bones. Clearly, inhibiting it in the whole body - which is what happens with anti-depressant taking - makes one's bones more prone to breakage.

    No studies have yet concluded whether or not this is as depressing to someone on Prozac as it would be for an un-medicated senior citizen

  2. High-fat foods may reduce health problems

    High-fat foods may reduce health problems

    On burgers - and buns

    In defense of the all-American food

    Except the kind you get at the drive-thru (which are nothing but soy-filled junk-patties), I'm a big fan of the cheeseburger - especially one made with fresh, high-quality grass-fed beef and cheese made from raw, un-pasteurized milk, served sans-bun, of course

    And finally, such a glorious meal is getting at least a little bit of decent press, albeit in the "trades" of the medical field. According to Dutch research published in the October 17th issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, high-fat foods (cheeseburgers were used as an example) helped reduce stomach inflammation, which in turn helps keep the gut resistant to penetration by harmful bacteria.

    In layman's terms, here's what this means: The intestinal tract of an intelligent American cheeseburger-eater - with plenty of healthy animal fat - is MORE IMMUNE to bacterial assault (like deadly post-traumatic septic shock) than the digestive system of a vegan tofu-eater.

    But that's not all the good "cheeseburger" news

    Another recent study has indicated that a higher fat content in the diet (coupled with lower carbohydrates) may have a beneficial effect in the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease. This runs contrary to widely held notions about the relationship between diet and dementia. But that's because previous research correlating high fat to increased Alzheimers' risk also featured diets high in carbohyhdrates! This new study would seem to squarely implicate the carbs, not the fats.

    Previous research has shown both a cognitive improvement and a decrease in mental decline from a diet high in fats - especially Omega 3's (plentiful in beef) and fish oils, which slowed dementia's progression by an impressive 10% PER YEAR in at least one body of research.

    What this all means is: You'd have to have lost your marbles NOT to chow down on a cheeseburger or two for optimum gastric and mental gymnastics.

    And speaking of fat and buns


    Maximus gluteus

    In past Daily Doses, I've written to you about the super-sizing of medical equipment to meet the needs of our growing public. At various points, I've reported on new EMT stretchers and hospital beds meant to carry and hold at least 600 pounds - I've even made mention of the trend in outsize coffins (we certainly do need them)

    And in the latest story of that vein, there's this recent headline from Reuters health:

    Longer needles needed for fatter buttocks

    Yup, that's right. European researchers have concluded that standard needles used for injecting liquid forms of common drugs are of insufficient length to reach the muscle tissue buried under the blubber of many of today's plus-sized people.

    In their 50-person study group (including 23 of the 25 women involved), a full dose of one liquid drug failed to reach the bloodstreams of two-thirds of patients via injections with standard-sized needles into their gluteus maximus regions. Instead, the drugs became lodged in pockets under their fat.

    What's the solution? Of course, it's to cut out the refined grains, simple sugars, soy products (or by-products) and nutrition-less vegetables - and eating a few bun-less cheeseburgers instead. But if I know anything about the mainstream, they'll warn us to cut animal fats and cholesterol-heavy foods even further

    Oh, and they'll buy bigger needles, too.

    Always "needling" the establishment,

    William Campbell Douglass II, MD

  3. Eradicate West Nile Threat

    That's right: We have the technology and the resources to virtually eradicate the West Nile threat. But because of our politicians' fear of the militant "green" faction of the modern-day political left…

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