Getting stronger despite frailty

Disease, surgery, and Father Time all can make men become frail and weak, which increases their risk of injury and slows recovery. However, there are ways to protect against frailty and even reverse its effects by adopting a multipronged approach of sufficient aerobic workouts, progressive resistance training, balance exercises, and proper nutrition. (Locked) More »

Can vitamin K supplements help protect against heart disease?

Some research has suggested that eating foods rich in vitamin K, which helps the body make blood clotting proteins, can protect against heart disease. However, vitamin K supplements have not shown the same benefit and are not recommended for preventing heart disease. (Locked) More »

Should I be worried about a pancreatic cyst?

Q. I had a recent CT scan of my abdomen and was told I have a small pancreatic cyst. Should I be concerned? A. Cysts of the pancreas — the digestive organ that lies behind the stomach — are typically discovered by accident during a CT scan performed for other reasons. Although most pancreatic cysts are benign (noncancerous), some show features that are worrisome and require further evaluation. Most cysts do not cause symptoms, but very large ones may block ducts in the pancreas and cause pain. There are several different types of pancreatic cysts. A pseudocyst is not a true cyst and is caused by inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). It is never cancerous, but it can become enlarged and cause pain. The most common actual cysts — serous cysts and mucinous cysts — are defined by the fluid inside them. Serous cysts have clear thin fluid while mucinous cysts have thicker fluid. Most serous cysts are benign and don't require treatment or close follow-up. However, mucinous cysts are considered potentially precancerous and need further evaluation. (Locked) More »

Train your brain

Your brain has the ability to learn and grow as you age — a process called brain plasticity — but for it to do so, you have to train it on a regular basis. "Eventually, your cognitive skills will wane and thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve," says Dr. John N. Morris, director of social and health policy research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging Research. "Embracing a new activity that also forces you to think and learn and requires ongoing practice can be one of the best ways to keep the brain healthy." Research has shown that regular physical exercise is one way to improve cognitive functions like memory recall, problem solving, concentration, and attention to detail. However, it is not clear if the physical aspect alone boosts your brain or if a combination of other factors — like the mental challenge of the activity, the frequency you do it, and the desire to improve — also contribute. More »

The best meds for back pain

An estimated 80% of people will seek medical attention for back pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time over-the-counter pain relievers does the trick. But they may not be effective enough. Some people require stronger prescription drugs while they seek treatments to address the source of their back pain. (Locked) More »

A new approach to cancer diagnosis

Tissue biopsies are the standard test for identifying cancer, but another approach, called a liquid biopsy, may provide a diagnosis when a traditional biopsy doesn’t. It uses a person’s blood to detect cancer and can help determine the right therapy. More »

A closer look at heart disease risk

Sometimes the presence of atherosclerosis, the disease underlying most heart attacks, is not clear or easily recognized, especially before a heart attack or other crisis happens. In those instances, doctors may rely on a coronary artery calcium (CAC) scan, which measures the amount of calcium in the heart’s arteries, high levels of which are associated with cardiovascular disease. The CAC results can help predict a person’s risk for heart attack or stroke, even if that person doesn’t have obvious risk factors or symptoms. (Locked) More »