Do brain games lower dementia risk?
Yes and no.
Most brain or cognitive training apps divide their “games” into several categories, such as attention, memory, speed and flexibility.
However, a study recently published in an Alzheimer’s journal reports that only the speed games were associated with a lower dementia risk (29% lower!).
I was really interested in this report. My husband and I enjoy playing these games, even though I’ve posted before that there was no solid evidence supporting their role in lowering dementia risk.
The games are fun, and if you subscribe—as I do—to the “use it or lose … Continue reading
Fear-mongering and clickbait
While sipping a glass of wine with dinner last night, my ears perked up when I heard a teaser for NBC Nightly News: “New report links even light alcohol intake with increased risk of cancer.”
Oh, boy, I thought. Here we go again.
I don’t like network news because of this kind of lousy health reporting (I just wanted to see local election returns). Again and again, research is taken out of context or blown out of proportion simply to use as clickbait. Argh.
My favorite health news website, Health News Review, agrees with me, and … Continue reading
Carbs vs fats in the news…again
A few weeks ago, a study was published that resulted in a lot of dramatic headlines, such as “Your Low-Fat Diet Could Kill You!”
The media always make a big deal out of these nutritional studies because they know we need to eat, we like to eat, and we’re already confused about what we should eat. Or not eat.
Headlines that the one above are great clickbait.
Nutrition studies are notoriously unreliable because they are usually observational studies, based on questionnaires and food diaries, rather than the gold standard randomized controlled trials. … Continue reading
Rethinking LDLs (low-density lipoproteins)
I’ve posted a couple of times about my husband’s high LDL level and his attempts to lower it through diet and exercise.
I’ve also said that because he doesn’t have any other risk factors for heart disease, we aren’t too worried about it. But the engineer in him likes the challenge of seeing how low he can get his LDL.
When I saw this recent YouTube video, however, I had to ask him to watch it. What if everything we think we know about LDL levels is wrong? What if so-called bad cholesterol isn’t really … Continue reading
Good evidence for using turmeric to treat arthritis pain
I’m generally not a fan of supplements or herbal remedies.
There can be a lot of marketing hype behind these products, but not a lot of good science.
However…about a month ago I finally became so tired of living with chronic arthritis pain, mostly in my hands and neck, that I decided to research turmeric to see if there was any chance it could help me.
I wanted an alternative to ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which works great to control my pain, but it’s not only hard on my stomach, it’s a … Continue reading
HIIT for better health— and lower doctors’ bills
A few months ago my husband and I joined a local gym. We wanted to be a little more serious with our exercise routines.
Aging can be expensive. I believe one way to save money on health care as we age is to exercise. Exercise can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and possibly dementia.
I also want to keep my muscles and bones strong, to prevent falls and fractures.
I’m no exercise fanatic (quite the opposite, in fact), but aging healthfully is important enough to me that I worked with … Continue reading
The good news and the bad news
A few years ago my state, Washington, legalized marijuana. I voted in favor.
Since then I’ve wondered if that was a good idea. Tax windfall aside, what do we really know about the health effects of pot, good or bad?
Recently, one of my favorite health news sites, Healthcare Triage, posted this video: What we know about pot in 2017
Dr. Carroll presents a good summary of available research on the health effects of pot. Unfortunately, as he points out, there just isn’t enough quality research being … Continue reading
Scary headlines sell news
Last week the media blitzed us with headlines that linked cell phones with an increased risk of brain and heart cancers.
Don’t believe everything you read in a headline!
That news story was based on a study out of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that looked at the effect of cell phone radiation on rats.
Most journalists, if you bothered to read the entire article, did point out that the study was not perfect and it did use rats, after all, and not humans.
However, if you just read the headlines or skimmed … Continue reading
If, like me, you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, or a cold beer on a hot day, or a cocktail when out with friends, you probably think a small to moderate amount of alcohol is part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
So the continuous push-pull in the media about the benefits of alcohol (“Moderate drinking helps you live longer!”) versus the harms (“Moderate drinking increases your risk of death!”) must confuse you as much as it does me.
Why can’t these researchers decide??
Well, there are a lot of problems with this kind of research. First, these … Continue reading
Just in time for spring and summer fun in the sun, the results of a large and long-term study on the hazards of avoiding the sun were published last week in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Usually all we hear about are the bad things about too much sun exposure—skin cancer, melanoma, wrinkles, sunburns, etc.
But this study out of Sweden, which followed 30,000 women for 20 years, found:
Nonsmokers who stayed out of the sun had a life expectancy similar to smokers who soaked up the most rays, according to researchers who studied nearly 30,000 Swedish women over
… Continue reading