(BPT) – Everyone knows aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and lifting weights keeps muscles strong. But when it comes to keeping the brain healthy, most people are unsure what to do.
As you age, brain health and maintaining memory functions becomes a top concern. Turns out, these issues may begin sooner than you think.
“We tend to think about memory decline as an older person’s issue, but that’s not the case at all,” says Dr. Aimee Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor specializing in women’s health and family medicine. “There was a study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal that examined cognitive function in people age 45 to 70. The researchers did not expect it, but they found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-year-old participants as well as the older participants.”
She notes there are two basic pathological processes that cause degeneration of the brain: oxidative stress and inflammation. Basically, the standard American diet and lifestyle contribute to those processes. No matter your age, you can take charge of your brain health by following these five smart steps from Dr. Shunney:
“A Mediterranean-type diet that focuses on whole foods, good fats and foods high in antioxidants is a great place to start,” says Dr. Shunney.
She encourages her patients to focus on getting omega-3 fats from fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds. She also recommends increasing fruits (especially berries) and beans (they’re packed with antioxidants). What’s more, research shows a little cocoa, coffee and red wine can act as antioxidants and are beneficial in low to moderate amounts.
In addition to a quality multivitamin, Dr. Shunney recommends an omega-3 supplement. “Getting enough omega-3s is one of the most important measures we can take,” she says. “DHA is the dominant omega-3 in the brain.”
Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline. “Studies show both sleep deprivation and sleeping too much impact cognitive performance,” Dr. Shunney says. “A good goal is to go to bed around the same time each night, sleep for 7-8 hours, and get up around the same time every morning.”
“I recommend anything that keeps your mind working,” says Dr. Shunney. “Activities that require things to be arranged or puzzles that have to be put together. Crossword puzzles, word games and board games are all great.”
“Social isolation has been linked with cognitive decline,” says Dr. Shunney. “In one study, people who were lonely experienced cognitive decline at a 20 percent faster rate than people who were not lonely.”
Make time to take a foreign language class, join a Toastmaster’s Club, take a watercolor class — anything that connects you regularly to other people.
Massive HIV-AIDS Info Drive Yields High Number of Screened Persons
The provincial health office’s aggressive campaign in the past couple of years on the deadly virus that weakens the immune system in man resulted in a rapid rise of individuals voluntarily submitting themselves for screening.
Last year, the HIV-AIDS campaign that was waged in schools and parishes all over the province encouraged 56 people for a check-up, more than double the 26 screened in 2016, and eight times more than the number 7 in 2015.
Although showing widespread awareness for those with questionable lifestyles, the trend was alarming, said Eunice Aida Batalon, provincial HIV-AIDS coordinator.
Out of the 56 screened in 2017 “the youngest was 12 years old, the oldest 72 years old, and two are females,” Batalon said in an interview at the Salvacion Oppus Yniguez Memorial Provincial Hospital (SOYMPH) at barangay Dongon, this city, January 10.
Samples of the blood taken were forwarded for confirmatory testing at San Lazaro hospital in Manila and the results were tellingly shocking: 4 out 7 screened in 2015 were confirmed positive; 4 out 26 in 2016 positive; and 7 out of 56 in 2017 were positive as well.
Those who had contacted AIDS in 2015 and 2016 already passed away, while 1 out of 7 in 2017 had expired, Batalon told PIA, although other sources said that 3 died in 2017.
Invoking confidentiality, Batalon would not state the whereabouts of those screened and those who perished, adding that not all were from the province alone as there were also those coming from the nearby towns of Leyte province.
While most of those afflicted cited poverty as reason for the infection, some well-off individuals also got infected, by way of men having sex with men (msm), Batalon said.
This year the continuing advocacy will focus on Parent-Teachers Community Associations (PTCAs), as parents and the family have vital roles to play to prevent the further spread of HIV-AIDS, Batalon declared. (ajc/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)
Duque Welcomes P1.4-B Refund for Unused Dengvaxia
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has welcomed Sanofi Pasteur’s move to refund the government Php1.4 billion for the unused doses of the controversial dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, in the health department’s public immunization program.
“We will ask for a full refund eventually. But for the meantime, we want the immediate withdrawal of all (Dengvaxia) vaccine vials stored in our cold chain facilities,” Duque said in an interview Monday.
“Ang importante kasi mai-withdraw na nila lahat ng mga vials because they are also eating up our space. Hindi kami makatanggap ng bagong bakuna sa cold chain facilities and RITM and regional storage facilities (It is important that they withdraw the remaining vials, which are eating up space in our cold chain facilities. We could not accept new vaccines in these facilities, as well as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and regional storage facilities),” he added.
The health chief said they also requested Sanofi to provide test kits developed by the University of Pittsburgh to conduct serotesting on children who received Dengvaxia, especially if they had no previous history of infection before receiving it.
Meanwhile, Sanofi said that their decision to reimburse the government for unused doses “is not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia”.
“Rather Sanofi Pasteur hopes that this decision will allow us to be able to work more openly and constructively with the DOH (Department of Health) to address the negative tone towards the dengue vaccine in the Philippines today,” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement, maintaining that Dengvaxia’s overall benefit remained positive in high endemic countries like the Philippines.
DOH: Eat Iodine-Rich Food to Avoid Goiter
The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) here urged the public to consumer food rich in iodine to avoid goiter.
NNC-7 Regional Director Parolita Mission disclosed in a recent Association of Government Information Officers-Philippine Information Agency (AGIO-PIA7) Forum that 92 percent of goiter cases is due to lack of iodine.
Mission urged the public to eat iodine-rich food such as seafoods and only use iodized salt with enough quantity of iodine content.
“Iodine can be taken from seafoods and iodine function is for processing metabolism,” Mission said.
She also said that iodine helps regulate the thyroid hormones.
Aside from iodine deficiency, the excessive intake of foods such as cauliflower, cassava, and broccoli can also cause or trigger goiter.
Dr. Anessa Patindol Medical Officer III of DOH-7 said that those who experience symptoms of neck enlargement should immediately seek medical attention as this is one of the common indications of goiter.
Although goiter commonly occurs among women, Patindol said it is still best for everybody to regularly take foods rich in iodine and avoid foods that may trigger goiter.
Patindol added that the treatment of goiter may be costly but DOH is providing assistance to those that seek medical attention.
“We are just requesting the public to seek early consultation if ever they have unusual changes in their body such as neck enlargement, and difficulty in breathing” Patindol said. (ays/PIA7/AGIO-PIA7 Forum)
Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag-amuma Soon to Head South Cebu
After its successful implementation in San Remigio town, north Cebu last year, the feeding program of the Provincial Government and its partners will be heading south.
Initial talks on the implementation of the Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag-amuma (KKP) has been done with mayors of Samboan, Aloguinsan and Dumanjug by officials of Gawad Kalinga (GK), the Capitol’s lead partner for the feeding program project.
KKP is the Visayan counterpart of GK’s Kusina sa Kalinga and aims to reduce hunger, as well as help in the development of the child’s well-being by providing free meals to targeted 5,000 kindergarten and grade 6 pupils for 120 days.
The KKP is also implemented in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) – Cebu Province, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 and the local government unit where the feeding program is to be implemented.
Funding for the program comes from the Capitol, the LGU and all these government agencies.
“This is a continuation of the San Remigio Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag-amuma and part of Gov. (Hilario) Davide’s six key development agenda,” said Mrs. Jobel Davide, the governor’s wife and the adviser for the KKP feeding program.
Roy Soledad, head of the Cebu Investment Promotion Office (CIPO), said that according to GK officials, Samboan is receptive of the project, as well as Aloguinsan.
But Aloguinsan mayor Ignatius Moreno told them that he needs to consult first with his councilors on the details of the project.
Soledad added that Dumanjug mayor Rainero Asentista, who just assumed office, told them that he has yet to consult his councilors on the program.
KKP expansion is directed to these towns with high incidence of malnutrition.
In Samboan, KKP is targeting 3,546 children with Capitol shelling out P2.6 million as its counterpart fund, while there are 1,904 children for Aloguinsan and will have a budget of P2.548 million from the Capitol.
Soledad said he will have the figures from Dumanjug as soon as local officials pledge their commitment.
Soledad and GK officials will again meet with the mayors of these towns next month to finalize the plan to replicate KKP in their respective LGUs. (Oscar Pineda)
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