Health Points: Wednesday
- Apparently our healthcare system is not ready for the incoming surge of Baby Boomers. The Associated Press reports:
The Institute of Medicine report found there are only about 7,100 doctors certified in geriatrics in the United States, 1 for every 2,500 older Americans.
The report urged that all health care workers be trained in basic geriatric care and that schools increase training in the treatment of older patients.
And it said pay for geriatric specialists, doctors, nurses and care workers needs to be increased.
A doctor specializing in elderly care earned $163,000 on average in 2005 compared with $175,000 for a general internist, even though the geriatric specialist required more training.
- Japan is preparing to stick workers with bird flu vaccinations. More from Reuters:
If approved, vaccination will take place before the end of the fiscal year in March 2009, and mark the first case in the world in which the vaccines -- based on strains of the H5N1 virus from China and Indonesia -- have been given to such a large group of people prior to a possible pandemic.
Japan has stockpiled vaccines for 10 million people using strains of the H5N1 virus from China, Indonesia and Vietnam. So far the government's stance has been to use them only after a breakout.
- Sunlight is important for getting vitamin D, even on a cloudy day. The National Institutes of Health offer up some decent advice. From The New York Times:
Complete cloud cover halves the energy of ultraviolet rays, and shade reduces it by 60 percent, according to the National Institutes of Health…
…To strike a balance between useful exposure and protection, the N.I.H. recommends an initial exposure of 10 to 15 minutes, followed by application of a sunscreen with an S.P.F. of at least 15. The institutes say this much exposure, at least two times a week, is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D, though some researchers suggest it may not be enough. At the earth’s northern latitudes for much of the year, and at the midlatitudes in winter, the sun does not stay far enough above the horizon (45 degrees) for the angle of the sun’s rays to guarantee an efficient ultraviolet-B bath. Northerners may have to rely on the vitamin D synthesized in the summer or on foods and supplements.
- Could going to the dentist be partly to blame for all this mercury pollution? More from Reuters:
Dental practices may be a source of a dangerous form of mercury contamination in the water supply, a small study suggests.
In tests of wastewater from two dental practices, researchers at the University of Illinois found high levels of methylated mercury -- a chemically altered form of the metal that is toxic to the brain and nervous system.
Mercury is part of the silver dental fillings that have long been used to treat cavities; in this form, mercury is believed to be safe.
- CookingLight has ranked the 20 fittest cities in America. Here’s the top five:
- Seattle, Washington: An abundance of fresh local foods, walker-friendly streets, and inclusive attitudes helps make Seattle America's best city for healthy living.
- Portland, Oregon: Life is good in our second-ranked city, thanks to its seemingly endless supply of outdoor activities, cutting-edge restaurants, and vibrant environmental consciousness.
- Washington, D.C.: Our capital city sets an accommodating agenda with farm-fresh dining, diverse cultures, and ample opportunity for exploration on foot.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota: In our fourth-ranked best city, lush parks and shimmering lakes provide a natural backdrop to a rich cultural landscape.
- San Francisco, California: Our fifth-ranked city steps up with one of the world's most unforgettable settings–along with great cuisine and an energetic spirit.
So why is belly fat so bad for your brain? Although it makes up less than 5% of total body fat, belly or visceral fat is nestled around the heart, pancreas, and other organs, according to Tongjian You, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.
And it's different from other types of fat because it produces all kinds of inflammatory compounds that can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and now, potentially, dementia.
"Visceral fat releases higher amounts of those cytokines, especially interleukin 6, that cause cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says Dr. You, who was not involved in the dementia study. But what's the brain connection? "Inflammation is a contributing factor to dementia, so that's a reasonable link," he says.
- Ali Hale of Diet Blog has some tips to avoid eating out of boredom. Here are a few good ones:
- Cravings can be beaten, just by sitting them out. Force yourself to wait 20 minutes before getting that snack, and nine times out of ten, you'll no longer want it.
- Find something to do - ideally, an activity that makes it hard to eat at the same time.
- Find a hobby or interest to occupy you, if you've got too much time on your hands
- We can all sleep soundly now. Big pharma promises to show drugs still sell. Reuters reports:
Roche Holding AG <ROG.VX> will aim to reassure that big-selling drugs can keep driving profit when it kicks off the European earnings season, as big pharma's blockbusters face growing threats.
Weakness in sales of top products will be a theme for European drugmakers, reflecting ageing portfolios, safety issues with certain products and tough conditions for promoting new drugs.
Roche's local rival Novartis AG <NOVN.VX> -- digesting a $39-billion move for eye care company Alcon <ACL.N> to broaden its business as it faces loss of exclusivity on top-seller Diovan for blood pressure -- will likely highlight some of those problems when it reports next week.
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