Healthy Eating Habits May Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . . .

When you hear the word diet, you might think only of weight loss. But a lifestyle diet can bring even greater benefits.

One option that belongs on your radar is the MIND diet created by researchers at Rush University in Chicago.

MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It’s a hybrid of those two heart-healthy diets, both of which reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

In initial studies, the MIND diet offered a huge additional benefit — lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53% in participants who stuck to it rigorously and by about 35% in those who only did so moderately well. But the key is to start now, no matter your age, because it seems like the longer you follow it, the lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Do Eat:

  • Green leafy vegetables and other vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Blueberries or strawberries
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil
  • Wine

Do Limit:

  • Red meat
  • Butter and stick margarine to less than a tablespoon a day
  • Cheese, pastries, sweets, fried or fast food to one serving in total per week

The MIND diet isn’t complicated. Each day have at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable along with a glass of wine. On most days, make nuts your snack. Have beans every other day, poultry and berries at least twice a week, and fish at least once a week. Equally important is what not to eat. Keep solid fat under one tablespoon a day. Once a week it’s OK to choose one indulgence — cheese or a pastry or a fried or fast food.

Source: HealthDay

Sausages with Mushrooms, Bacon, Tomatoes and Cooked Bread

Ingredients

4 good quality herbed sausages
4 tbsp grated Cheddar cheese
4 unsmoked lean bacon slices
2 tomatoes, halved horizontally
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4-1/2 oz white mushrooms, sliced
4 slices bread, crusts removed and buttered on both sides
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Prick the sausages lightly, place in a roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes, or until just cooked. Remove and let cool.
  3. Make a slit in the sausages with a sharp knife and stuff each sausage with 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese.
  4. Wrap a bacon slice around each sausage, tucking in the ends to secure.
  5. Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked and the sausages are golden brown.
  6. place the tomatoes, cut-side up, on a baking sheet and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Melt the butter with the oil in a medium skillet over low heat, then add the mushrooms, stirring well to coat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft. Keep warm.
  8. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook the buttered bread in batches until golden brown on both sides. Keep warm.
  9. To serve, divide the cooked bread between 2 plates and top with the mushrooms. Add the sausages and tomatoes and sprinkle with parsley.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Brunch

In Pictures: Afternoon Tea

Another Reason to Get Cataract Surgery: It can Make you 48 Percent Safer on the Road

The ability of cataract surgery to restore sight is well known. People say they’re stunned by the vibrancy of color after surgery and the improvement in night vision. Some can even reduce their reliance on glasses. But can you quantify that improved quality of vision? To find out, researchers in Australia used a driving simulator to test patients’ vision before and after cataract surgery. They found that near misses and crashes decreased by 48 percent after surgery. The researchers present their study today at AAO 2019, the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Cataracts are a normal consequence of aging. They happen gradually over years, as the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The effects of a developing cataract are sometimes hard to distinguish from other age-related vision changes. You may become more nearsighted; colors appear duller and glare from lights make it harder to see at night. By age 80, about half of us will have developed cataracts.

Cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial lens. The surgery is low-risk, fast and effective. But not everyone has surgery right away. The decision is usually based on how much the cataract is interfering with daily life activities. Ophthalmologists typically operate on one eye at a time, starting with the eye with the denser cataract. If surgery is successful and vision improves substantially, sometimes surgery in the second eye is forgone or delayed. However, most people get significant benefit from having surgery on the second eye. Depth perception is improved, vision is crisper, making reading and driving easier.

To better understand the true benefit of cataract surgery to patients’ quality of life, Jonathon Ng, MD, and his colleagues at the University of Western Australia, tested the driving performance of 44 patients before they had cataract surgery. The driving simulator assessed a variety of variables: adjusted speed limits, traffic densities, uncontrolled intersections and pedestrian crossings. Patients were put through the driving simulator again after their first surgery and then again after their second eye surgery. After the first, near misses and crashes decreased by 35 percent; after the second surgery, the number fell to 48 percent.

While visual acuity – how well one sees the eye chart – is an important method to assess a person’s fitness to drive, it’s an incomplete assessment, Dr. Ng said. Quality of vision is also an important indicator. Improved contrast sensitivity and better night vision improves drivers’ safety on the road.

“In Australia and other countries, people may often wait months to receive government funded surgery after a cataract is diagnosed,” said Dr. Ng. “These results highlight the importance of timely cataract surgery in maintaining safety and continued mobility and independence in older adult drivers.”

Some things to consider, when considering cataract surgery:

  • Can you see to safety do your job and to drive?
  • Do you have problems reading or watching TV?
  • Is it difficult to cook, shop, climb stairs or take medications?
  • Do vision problems affect your independence?
  • Do bright lights make is harder to see?

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Vitamins, Omega-3 Supplements May Improve Autism Symptoms

Lisa Rapaport wrote . . . . . . . . .

Children with autism who take supplements of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids may have fewer symptoms than kids who don’t, a research review suggests.

Researchers examined data from 27 trials involving a total of 1,028 children with autism spectrum disorder. Kids were randomly selected to take various dietary supplements, including vitamins or omega-3s, or to take a dummy pill instead.

Omega-3s and vitamin supplements were more effective than the placebo pill at improving several symptoms, functions, and clinical domains, researchers report in Pediatrics. Gains varied in the trials but included improved language and social skills, reduced repetitive behaviors, improved attention, less irritability and behavior difficulties, and better sleep and communication.

“These results suggest that some dietary interventions could play a role in the clinical management of some areas of dysfunction specific to ASD,” said Dr. David Fraguas, lead author of the study and a researcher at Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon and Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain.

Even though the analysis was based on controlled experiments – the gold standard for testing the effectiveness of medical interventions – the individual studies were too varied in what supplements they tested and how they measured results to draw any broad conclusions about what type or amount of supplements might be ideal for children with autism, researchers note in Pediatrics.

“The underlying mechanisms involved in the potential efficacy of dietary interventions in autism spectrum disorder are unknown, Fraguas said by email. “Our study does not assess this important question and current literature is inconclusive.”

About 1 in 59 kids have autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s much more often diagnosed in boys than in girls.

Early symptoms of autism can vary but may include repetitive behaviors like hand flapping or body rocking, extreme resistance to changes in routine, and sometimes aggression or self-injury. Behavioral, educational, speech and language therapy may help reduce the severity of symptoms in some children.

There are no medications that can cure autism or treat the main symptoms, but there are some drugs that can help children function better by improving symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, depression, or seizures, according to the CDC.

While some therapists treating kids with autism advise parents to put children on special diets, rigorous scientific studies haven’t proven that there’s a good approach to recommend to all kids with autism, according to the CDC.

Complicating matters, children with autism may have a range of health issues related to food, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (bit.ly/2Vzw1Bg) They may, for example, be sensitive to the taste, smell, color, or texture of certain foods and eat a very limited selection of items or have difficulty focusing on meals. They might also be prone to constipation, or have medication interactions that impact their appetite.

Kids with autism shouldn’t go on a special diet without first seeing a registered dietician nutritionist to ensure they’re getting enough nutrients and calories to thrive, AND advises.

Even though vitamin and omega-3 supplements appeared to help children with autism in the current study, Fraguas agreed it’s premature to advise parents to start giving kids these supplements.

“Currently, we cannot make a specific recommendation regarding dietary interventions as treatments for autism spectrum disorder,” Fraguas said.

Source: Reuters


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