More than the usual forgetfulness

Age-related memory loss is common, but forgetting things like significant dates or events could be a sign of mild cognitive impairment, which increases the likelihood of progression to dementia. The problem is that doctors really don't yet have a reliable way of predicting who is going to "progress" to dementia and who isn't. Moreover, memory impairment is a symptom of many conditions that affect older people that are unrelated to Alzheimer's disease. People with mild cognitive impairment are often aware of their memory problems, but self-reporting can be unreliable. Worriers may fret that they're impaired when they're experiencing completely normal forgetfulness, while others with true problems may try to bluff their way through them.  By briefly discussing current events or family matters with a patient, a doctor can sometimes get a sense of the person's memory and cognitive shortcomings. Information from family members and loved ones is extremely important. More »

Adult food allergies

Sometimes adults suddenly develop allergies to foods they have eaten since they were children. Experts have two explanations for food allergies that crop up in adulthood. They may be the result of a delayed or extended period of sensitization to an allergen or a cross-reaction to some other allergen, such as pollen. The body's immune system mistakes a protein for the pollen and initiates a reaction. (Locked) More »

Stress and overeating

Stress hormones trigger increased appetite in general, and cravings for fatty, sugary foods in particular. Once ingested, fat- and sugar-filled foods seem to have a feedback effect that inhibits activity in the parts of the brain that produce and process stress and related emotions. So part of our stress-induced craving for those foods may be that they counteract stress.   (Locked) More »

Fiber on a winning streak

Eating high-fiber foods helps lower cholesterol, and research is now suggesting that it may also help protect against respiratory and infectious diseases. (Locked) More »