Better memory: Use these simple tricks to help you remember

With aging, the brain processes information slower and it becomes harder to form new memories. Two types of memory tasks that most people notice slipping with age are remembering the location of possessions in the home and remembering the names and faces of new people. By being mindful of such age-related changes and compensating for them, most individuals can still perform daily memory tasks to their satisfaction. To remember the location of car keys or a wallet, it helps to place the items in the same place every day. To remember names and faces, it helps to mentally associate the person with someone else or to make up rhymes involving the new person’s name. These tricks form many new interconnections between brain cells to create more lasting memories. (Locked) More »

Loss of sense of taste

The sense of taste can decline with aging. In some cases, the change may be associated with a medical condition that can be treated and reversed. There are no medications or dietary supplements to improve taste. (Locked) More »

Coffee: What's the harm?

Many studies have examined the possible health risks of drinking coffee and found little strong evidence of harm from even heavy coffee consumption. To stop drinking coffee or cut down, do so gradually. (Locked) More »

Daily moves to prevent low back pain

Exercise prevents flare-ups of low back pain caused by muscle strain or spasm. Exercise daily to make back muscles more strong and flexible. When back pain is due to a problem in the spine, do not start new exercise without talking to a doctor. Severe back pain that gets worse or prevents you from ever finding a comfortable position for sitting or sleeping warrants immediate medical attention. Yoga shows promise for helping low back pain. Before starting yoga, clear it with your doctor and try it for a limited period to see if it works. More »

The pros and cons of statins

Statin drugs reduce bad cholesterol and lower the overall risk of heart attacks and strokes substantially, although taking the drug does not guarantee an individual will not have a heart attack at some point. Not all muscle side effects people experience while taking statins are because of the drug. Many people who stop taking a statin because of suspected side effects but then start again are able to continue taking the drug. Statin effects on memory are not proven. Statins can raise blood sugar somewhat and lead to diagnosis of diabetes in those who are already at risk. Statins also protect people with diabetes from cardiovascular problems, so the overall effect may be positive even when statins raise blood sugar enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. (Locked) More »

They found colon polyps: Now what?

Colonoscopy checks the colon for hidden signs of cancer, called polyps. Polyps are growths that could eventually develop into tumors, though relatively few do. The doctor removes polyps during a colonoscopy. After removal of polyps, a procedure called polypectomy, a person must return for a follow-up colon exam in three, five, or 10 years, depending on the number and types of growths that the doctor found and removed. A healthy diet can help prevent cancer. Daily low-dose aspirin, which many people already take to prevent heart attacks, and a diet rich in bone-strengthening calcium, may also reduce overall colon cancer risk. (Locked) More »

How to choose a healthy yogurt

Plain low-fat milk or soy yogurt provides lean protein and calcium without excessive amounts of fat and added sweeteners. Low-fat yogurt is made from milk with 0.5% to 2% milk fat. This strikes a balance between taste and fat calories. Regular milk or soy yogurt contains a moderate amount of protein, although many Americans already obtain adequate protein in their diets. Light yogurts are lower in calories and fat, but may contain more sweeteners and additives to make them more appealing to eat. Some sweetened yogurts deliver three or more teaspoons of added sugar. Use plain yogurt as a foundation for a nutritious, filling breakfast. Yogurt can also be incorporated into other meals. (Locked) More »

Pain beyond the prostate

Chronic pelvic pain is difficult to treat. If pain is related to a prostate infection, antibiotics can cure the condition. Most cases of chronic pelvic pain in men do not trace back to infections, and doctors have few proven treatments to offer. After exhausting the standard options, consider alternative therapies if they ease the discomfort and pain and do no harm. (Locked) More »

In the journals: Urologists update PSA guideline

Urologists issued an update to its 2009 guideline to doctors on which men should be screened for prostate cancer with a PSA blood test. Men 55 to 69 should discuss risks and benefits before being screened. Men younger than 40 should not be screened. (Locked) More »