ParentCare » Vol. 1

ParentCare News

By Christina P. O’Neill

A beautiful woman in her fifties staying fit by eating healthy.

A beautiful woman in her fifties staying fit by eating healthy.

Mediterranean Diet benefits arthritis and Alzheimer’s sufferers

The Mediterranean diet, which favors vegetables, fish, cheese, yogurt, legumes, olive oil and cheese over meat and poultry, has been shown to alleviate arthritis symptoms and to extend the lives of Alzheimer’s patients, according to two separate studies reported earlier this year.

The arthritis study, conducted at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland, ran for six weeks and involved 130 subjects, women aged 30-70, who had had long-term, active rheumatoid arthritis. All were taking non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs to treat their symptoms. Seventy-five subjects attended weekly cooking classes and received written information; 55 subjects got dietary information only. They were reviewed at the beginning, third, sixth and 12th weeks. The group receiving the cooking classes and support reported reductions in pain, morning stiffness and overall health at the study’s end, compared to the control group. The study was published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.
The Alzheimer’s study, conducted by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, involved 192 Alzheimer’s patients for 4 ½ years. While 85 of the subjects died during the study, those who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 76 percent less likely to die compared to those at the other end of the spectrum,

who followed it the least. Those who followed the diet closely lived 4 years longer on average than those who followed it least; those who followed it moderately lived an average of 1.3 years longer than those who followed it least. Researchers said more data is needed to determine whether the diet slows down cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients and helps maintain their daily living skills. The study was published in the September issue of Neurology.

Common antacids may raise risk of cognitive impairment

People who regularly take widely-used, over-the-counter or prescription antacids for two years or more are 2.5 times more likely to develop age-related cognitive impairment, according to a study conducted at Indiana University. The five-year observational study included 1,558 African-American adults aged 65 and older. The medicines targeted in the study ~ Zantac, Pepcid, Tagemet and Axid ~ treat acid reflux, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal disorders. After allowing for other factors, nearly 18 percent of those who took the

medicines frequently showed signs of cognitive impairment. But the study’s lead researcher says its findings must be confirmed by additional studies. Researchers cautioned against making the assumption that these widely-used drugs should be considered a cause of cognitive decline. They advised that no one should take medication frequently without a doctor’s advice, but that people should not let gastrointestinal problems go untreated by ceasing to take medication. The lead researcher of the study says more work is needed to determine how the link occurs, and if it only affects African-Americans. The study was published in the August Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Exercise may create new heart blood vessels

An active, happy senior couple on the tennis courts.

An active, happy senior couple on the tennis courts.

Heart-failure patients who exercised for 30 minutes a day over four months produced more small blood vessels in their muscles and new stem cells in their bones, a small study finds. Research presented at a recent meeting of the European Society of Cardiology determined that the exercise helped even weak hearts repair themselves. The study was small, involving 37 patients in Germany. Those who exercised showed the benefits ~ those who did not had no change in blood vessels or muscles. The findings are important since no drugs exist to produce new stem cells.

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