January 17, 2014

Health Roundup: Vitamins E and D, probiotics, coffee and memory, exercise

The health news that caught my eye this past week.

A megadose of vitamin E 'slows down' Alzheimer's: Patients able to cook, wash and stay independent for six months longer

High doses of vitamin E could help people with Alzheimer’s retain their independence for longer, claim researchers.
A new trial showed that daily supplements slowed the functional decline of patients by around six months.
Professor Kenneth Davis, a US expert on brain disease who was involved in the study, said the trial showed that vitamin E should be offered to patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s…..Over a period of 2.3 years, patients who took the supplements alone had an annual 19 per cent reduction in the extent to which Alzheimer’s affected their daily lives compared with the placebo group.

Vitamin D Reduces Pain in People with Fibromyalgia

Taking vitamin D supplements may alleviate chronic pain in people with fibromyalgia who have low levels of the vitamin, according to a new study from Austria.

This pill could give your brain the learning powers of a 7-year-old

Your brain is like a sponge when it is young. Studies have shown that kids pick up up foreign languages faster than adults (though that is up for debate), and that some skills — like "perfect pitch," which allows gifted vocalists to sing notes with unerring precision — are best nurtured from a young age….. Takao Hensch, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, who is studying a drug that may make it dramatically easier for grown-ups to absorb new skills and information — almost as if they were seven years old or younger.

The key ingredient here is valproic acid. Normally, it's used to treat neurological disorders like seizures and epilepsy, and various other mood disorders. But Hensch claims it may help restore plasticity in the adult brain.  In a new experiment, Hensch used valproic acid to bestow the gift of perfect pitch to a group of adult males between the ages of 18 to 27.

Will taking a probiotic pill make you feel less anxious? Scientists suggest that the bacteria in our guts may affect our brains and mood

Now, increasingly, studies are providing evidence that the bacteria in the gut may 'communicate' with the brain, improving mental health and behavior in conditions such as anxiety, and possibly even autism and Asperger's syndrome.

Is gut bacteria the secret to a LONG LIFE? Friendly flora reduces inflammation and prevents disease, claims study

Having the right balance of gut bacteria could be the secret to a long life, new research suggests.  U.S. researchers say age-related changes to gut bacteria, that result in an imbalance between 'friendly' and 'unfriendly' bacteria, are associated with cancer, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

Coffee perks up your memory: Drinking a strong mug after a learning session can improve recall

Dr Michael Yassa, of the University of California, Irvine, said: ‘Caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories. ‘We have always known caffeine has cognitive enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans. We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours.’

Exercise works. People with MS can improve their energy levels with short bursts of walking or cycling

Short bouts of moderate exercise improve quality of life and reduce fatigue.  Even just three five-minute bouts of exercise is enough to improve energy

Want to avoid diabetes? Take up yoga or weight lifting: Study finds 3.5 hours of exercise a week nearly HALVES the risk

This amount of exercise can reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40%. Even just an hour's workout every seven days can cut the risk by 13%

The Blood Type Diet debunked: Study confirms that fad regime has no scientific evidence behind it

  ‘The way an individual responds to any one of these diets has absolutely nothing to do with their blood type and has everything to do with their ability to stick to a sensible vegetarian or low-carbohydrate diet,’

Alzheimer's Self Test Works Surprisingly Well

Posted by Jill Fallon at January 17, 2014 3:59 PM | Permalink