Berry good for health

Berries contain antioxidants, vitamins, and a generous amount of fiber, making them an excellent component of a more healthful diet. Evidence for berries having health benefits has come from three sorts of studies. First, a variety of lab and animal experiments have shown that berries or their extracts halt or interfere with disease processes of various kinds. A typical example is a report in 2010 that a blueberry extract protected rat brain cells from the toxic effects of a protein that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. Second, short-term studies in people have demonstrated positive effects on cholesterol profiles, blood sugar levels, and the like. And third, a handful of epidemiologic studies point to a correlation between high berry consumption and some favorable health outcomes. (Locked) More »

Deactivating the ICDs of hospice patients

Hospice patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators may choose to turn off the shock function of the devices to avoid a potentially painful shock. Turning off an ICD does not mean removing the device or any kind of surgical procedure. It's a matter of reprogramming the device electronically through the skin, an entirely painless procedure.  If an ICD hasn't been turned off and starts to fire, holding a magnet right over the device will temporarily disable it and keep it from delivering multiple shocks.   (Locked) More »

Diagnosing Alzheimer's disease

New guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease aim to identify changes in the brain that are associated with the development of the disease. The guidelines put a new emphasis on tests that measure changes in the brain that are, at the very least, associated with Alzheimer's disease and may play a role in causing it. These tests — grouped under the heading "biomarkers" — include positron emission tomography (PET) scans of the brain as well as tests of the cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and spine and may contain clues to what is going on in the brain. No one is saying that the tests can be used by themselves to diagnose Alzheimer's. But there's the suggestion in the guidelines that PET scans and other tests could be used to improve predictions about whether someone with mild cognitive impairment is going to develop full-fledged dementia. They might also be used to make the diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimer's more reliable. More »

9 things that can affect your vitamin D level

Many factors influence the body's production of vitamin D, including age, weight, and air quality. Figuring out all the factors that can affect a person's vitamin D levels is complicated. You can get the vitamin from food and by taking supplements , but vitamin D is also produced by the body in a complex process that starts when rays in the invisible ultraviolet B (UVB) part of the light spectrum are absorbed by the skin. The liver, and then the kidneys, are involved in the steps that eventually result in a bioavailable form of the vitamin that the body can use. A review paper about the many factors influencing a person's vitamin D levels appeared in 2011 in Acta Dermato-Venerologica, a Swedish medical journal. We don't have room to cover every factor discussed, so we selected nine that are interesting, important, or both: (Locked) More »

Bypass vs. angioplasty

  Studies comparing bypass surgery to angioplasty found that, for those with more serious heart disease, there is little difference in eventual outcome between the two methods.   (Locked) More »