Monday, March 21, 2011

Tai Chi Beats Back Depression in the Elderly, Study Shows

 The numbers are, well, depressing: More than 2 million people age 65 and older suffer from depression, including 50 percent of those living in nursing homes. The suicide rate among white men over 85 is the highest in the country -- six times the national rate.

And we're not getting any younger. In the next 35 years, the number of Americans over 65 will double and the number of those over 85 will triple.

So the question becomes, how to help elderly depressed individuals?

Researchers at UCLA turned to a gentle, Westernized version of tai chi chih, a 2,000-year-old Chinese martial art. When they combined a weekly tai chi exercise class with a standard depression treatment for a group of depressed elderly adults, they found greater improvement in the level of depression -- along with improved quality of life, better memory and cognition, and more overall energy -- than among a different group in which the standard treatment was paired with a weekly health education class.

The results of the study appear in the current online edition of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

"This is the first study to demonstrate the benefits of tai chi in the management of late-life depression, and we were encouraged by the results," said first author Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a UCLA professor-in-residence of psychiatry. "We know that nearly two-thirds of elderly patients who seek treatment for their depression fail to achieve relief with a prescribed medication."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Excessive Swimming Causes Cancer !!!!

Excessive swimming or taking long baths in chlorinated water may increasethe riskof developing bladder cancer , a new study has claimed .

A team of Spanish scientists found that cancer-causing chemicals called trihalomethanes (THM), which are created as a byproduct of chlorinating water , can be absorbed through the skin . And people who regularly swim in chlorinated pools or take lots of showers or long baths are actually absorbing too much THM, putting themselves at risk of developing cancer , the Daily Mail reported .
For their study , the researchers examined 1,270 people and found those, who drank more bottled water to avoid the health risks posed by drinking tap water , actually lose the beneficial effects by swimming more and taking more showers . "People with more money and more education may think that they're reducing their risk of exposure to water contaminants by drinking bottledwater ," saidGemma Castaqo-Vinyals from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Castilla La Mancha , Spain .
"However , despite being apparently cleaner andtaking more exercise , a result of taking more frequent and longer baths , and using swimming pools more often — they are actually increasing their risk of THM exposure ."
However Castaqo-Vinyals added that the additional risk of developing bladder cancer through the water contaminants was "small" . The new findings were reported in the online journal BioMed Central .

While it is true that chlorine water can be used to make water safe because it kills bacteria , it can also be dangerous . Water treatment plants use chlorine to kill bacteria , as well as algae that can clog up the pipes . However , it is used not because it is the most effectivesolution ,butbecauseitis the cheapest . It is also widely used by industry as a bleaching agent , which means that there is bleach in the water that comes out of the tap to be drunk or used in swimming pools . And chlorinated water does not have to be drunk in order to enter the body . It can be readily absorbedby theskin while swimming . Although chlorine is great for killing bacteria , it cannot differentiate between good bacteria and bad ones .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

JOKE !!!!

A motorcycle patrolman was rushed to the hospital with an inflamed appendix. The doctors operated and advised him that all was well. However, the patrolman kept feeling something pulling at the hairs on his chest. Worried that it might be a second surgery the doctors hadn't told him about, he finally got enough energy to pull his hospital gown down enough so he could look at what was making him so uncomfortable.

Taped firmly across his hairy chest were three wide strips of adhesive tape, the kind that doesn't come off easily. Written in large black letters was the sentence.

"Get well quick..... from the nurse you gave a ticket to last week."


According to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library, zinc supplements reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by the common cold.

The findings could help reduce the amount of time lost from work and school due to colds.

The common cold places a heavy burden on society, accounting for approximately 40 per cent of time taken off work and millions of days of school missed by children each year.

The idea that zinc might be effective against the common cold came from a study carried out in 1984, which showed that zinc lozenges could reduce how long symptoms lasted. Since then, trials have produced conflicting results and although several biological explanations for the effect have been proposed, none have been confirmed.

The review updates a previous Cochrane Systematic Review, carried out in 1999, with data from several new trials. In total, data from 15 trials, involving 1,360 people, were included.
According to the results, zinc syrup, lozenges or tablets taken within a day of the onset of cold symptoms reduce the severity and length of illness.

At seven days, more of the patients who took zinc had cleared their symptoms compared with those who took placebos. Children who took zinc syrup or lozenges for five months or longer caught fewer colds and took less time off school. Zinc also reduced antibiotic use in children, which is important because overuse has implications for antibiotic resistance.

“This review strengthens the evidence for zinc as a treatment for the common cold,” said lead researcher Meenu Singh of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India.

“However, at the moment, it is still difficult to make a general recommendation, because we do not know very much about the optimum dose, formulation or length of treatment.”

Further research should focus on the benefits of zinc in defined populations, the review suggests. “Our review only looked at zinc supplementation in healthy people,” said Singh.

“But it would be interesting to find out whether zinc supplementation could help asthmatics, whose asthma symptoms tend to get worse when they catch a cold.”