More on weight in old age: How is body-mass index calculated?

The body-mass index (BMI) is a way of assessing people's weight while taking into account their height. You can think of it as how much a person weighs per inch of height. The BMI is a single number because it is a ratio — in this case, the ratio between weight and the square of one's height. The basic equation uses metric units. It is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters and looks like this: Your weight in kilograms (your height in meters)2 = your body-mass index (Locked) More »

All about gout

Many people think of gout as an archaic and uncommon affliction, but it is becoming more common, mainly among older men who eat a lot of meat and seafood and drink a lot of alcohol, particularly beer. The diuretics ("water pills") that many people take to control high blood pressure are another contributing factor. Gout can also be a problem for transplant recipients. Cyclosporine, the immunosuppressant taken to reduce the chances of organ rejection, is to blame. The encouraging news is that almost all cases are treatable. In fact, gout is one of the few curable forms of arthritis, an umbrella term for dozens of conditions that cause inflammation in the joints. The trouble is making sure people get the care they need and follow through on taking medications. More »

It's time to really get the ticks off

Deer tick nymphs are most active in the warmer spring and summer months. A tick bite can lead to Lyme disease or other illnesses. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station published an excellent handbook about tick management several years ago. Here are eight tips for protecting yourself from ticks, culled mainly from that handbook. (Locked) More »

Is hefty the new healthy?

Some studies have suggested that a little extra weight may be beneficial to older people. Bigger people tend to have thighbones (femurs) with higher bone mineral density readings, an indication of bone strength. A number of studies show that heavier women are less likely to break a hip than women who would generally be considered closer to a healthy weight. And some data suggests that overweight, and even obese, people do better than their normal and underweight counterparts after coronary artery bypass surgery. (Locked) More »

From our follow-up files

Additional information about recently published articles on a possible alternative treatment for migraines, avoiding the need for hip replacement, and the effect of high blood pressure on executive function. (Locked) More »