Thursday Health Points: What's in the Papers?

The idea of preventing Alzheimer's and other forms of mental decline is immensely attractive -- and there is some early evidence that this may be possible. Recent research, including an article published two weeks ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that boosting mental skills with simple exercises can help slow the rate of decline as people age.
Dr. Lleras-Muney and others point to one plausible explanation — as a group, less educated people are less able to plan for the future and to delay gratification. If true, that may, for example, explain the differences in smoking rates between more educated people and less educated ones.

Smokers are at least twice as likely to die at any age as people who never smoked, says Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania. And not only are poorly educated people more likely to smoke but, he says, “everybody knows that smoking can be deadly,” and that includes the poorly educated.
In January 2006, a group of residents concerned about the town's health started a free program called "Get Lost in Jackson." Over the next year, participants checked in at monthly weigh-ins; attended classes on fitness, nutrition and health; and began exercising.
“In 19th Century China, being heavy was a sign of great wealth and success, both for men and for women. So this is really a change in the sense that . . . China has been a very poor country, and people are just very, very thin. Now, of course, China is doing very well, and many people have a very reasonable lifestyle and are not suffering at all, but it's not just something the eye is accustomed to seeing and the cultural norm is just that smaller is better.”
The legislation is part of a handful of sweeping bills that Kennedy and others will seek to pass as Democrats begin running Congress. Republicans like Tom DeLay , the former House majority leader who helped to thwart tobacco regulation, are no longer in office.
Low dietary calcium and vitamin D: Milk and other dairy products can provide a major source of bone-building calcium to most diets. Leafy green vegetables and soybeans are also high in calcium.
While some pundits rank radical feminism among the top threats to American manhood, James Rutz says we should shift some blame to tofu.

That's because tofu is made of soy. And soy consumption, writes the Megashift Ministries founder and religion columnist for conservative news site WorldNetDaily.com, "commonly leads to decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality."
Red tomatoes contain lycopene, which not only is good for your heart but also fights cancer and could boost prostate-gland health too.

Blue and purple fruits such as blackberries, black currants and plums promote urinary-tract health and memory function and could thwart the development of cancer. Cranberries have been shown to increase HDL, or good cholesterol, and they act as powerful antioxidants
Losing weight because you want to look good is an extrinsic motivation and one that usually won't take you very far. "Aesthetics can't drive it hard enough, like wanting to fit into your skinny jeans," Dixie Douville, a certified fitness trainer and co-founder of Active Weigh Health and Weight Loss Coaching in Flanders said. "The biggest reason it doesn't work is, a lot of people are unreasonable with the goals they set."
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