Monthly Archives: February 2013

Baby Boomer Health and Wellness Starts With a Healthy Brain

You are a baby boomer and you desire health and wellness throughout your senior years. You know that you need some sort of a plan, but how do you get started? I propose that you start at the top…the head…and focus on keeping your brain sharp. Although this focus has the added attraction of perhaps reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s (a HUGE bonus for starting here), you begin with the head because you need a brain that functions well in order to reach your goal of overall health and well-being. Also remember that medical research has linked cardiovascular problems to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, so things that are good for your heart will also be good for your brain.

Now grab a piece of paper and start to write your brain health and wellness plan down.

1.  Assess your heart’s health – Write down the following conditions. Place a P beside each condition you do not have – you will take steps to prevent developing the condition. Place an A next to the conditions you have – you will take steps to address the condition.

*  Heart disease

*  High blood pressure

*  Diabetes

*  Stroke

2.  Find out some numbers that indicate heart and brain health. Write down the following and place your numbers beside each. Maintaining healthy numbers can improve brain performance. If any of your numbers are not in the healthy range, take steps to correct them.

*  Cholesterol – needs to be less than 200 mg/dL

*  Blood sugar – needs to be less than 100mg/dL (fasting)

*  Blood pressure – needs to be less than 120/80

*  Weight – compute your body mass index, BMI, to learn if your weight is in a healthy range. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal weight. The BMI formula is: weight / [height (in inches)]2 x 703. First change the height to inches and then square the results (5 feet five inches becomes 65 inches; then 65 x 65 = 4225.) If you weigh 140 pounds, this is the calculation: 140 / 4225 = 0.033136 and then .033136 x 703 = 23.295. Your BMI is 23.295.

3.  Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids – All of the foods listed below are good for the brain. Read the suggested foods and then write down four or five foods you need to eat less often and four or five you need to eat more often. Remember that a healthy diet avoids saturated fat and cholesterol while it includes:

*  Dark-skinned fruits and vegetables – eggplant, red bell peppers, beets, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, red grapes, cherries, oranges, and all kinds of berries (blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries). Dark-skinned fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidants and protect the brain from free radicals.

*  Cold water fish – tuna, mackerel, anchovies, trout, herring, salmon, sardines, and whitefish. With omega 3 fatty acids that are beneficial to cell membranes.

*  Other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids – green leafy vegetables, avocados, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, canola oil, flax seed oil, olive oil, and peanut oil. Nuts also contain vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant.

4.   Exercise your body — Physical activity makes the heart pump faster and increases blood flow to the brain. This increased flow brings more nourishment to brain cells so that they function better. Any kind of exercise is acceptable as long as it is a moderate to vigorous activity, like brisk walking, yoga, biking, or gardening, and you do it for 30 minutes every day. Write down 2 or 3 kinds of exercise you want to try and the time you plan to exercise each day.

5.  Exercise your brain – staying mentally active will generate new brain cells and connections (even in the older brain). Try new things: play mind games, do crossword or number puzzles, take a class, go to a play, read challenging articles and books, get a new hobby. Now get your paper, list 3 things you do to stay mentally active, and write down one new thing you will try.

6.  Stay socially active – research has shown that the lonely, isolated individual is more likely to eventually develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. Stay plugged in to social activities like joining a club, seeing friends often, volunteering, traveling, etc. Grab your paper and write down one new way you will try to connect with other people socially.

7.  Work to reduce stress – Learn a relaxation technique like meditation or yoga and perform it regularly. Grab your paper and write down which technique you will learn and the time you will set aside to practice the technique.

8.  Stop unhealthy behavior – Substance abuse damages the brain and other systems in the body. Write down the following unhealthy behaviors. Place an A beside each behavior you do not participate in – you will continue to Avoid it. Place an E beside each behavior you take part in – you will take steps to Eliminate it.:

*  Smoking

*  Too much alcohol use

*  Use of illegal drugs

*  Abuse of prescription drugs

Take a look at your paper and you will see a workable plan for improving brain health. Remember that empowering the brain is very important if a baby boomer is going to achieve health and wellness. Follow the plan you have created. Change it when the need arises. You will find that you are on your way to health and wellness – baby boomer style.

Health Insurance – Medical Underwriting – How to Make the Process Easier

If there is one thing that people hate to do, it is to shop for health insurance. The truth is that when people think of looking for medical insurance, the first thing that comes to mind is hours and hours of sitting on the phone. They also think of having to deal with brokers or agents who are trying to sell them certain plans. On top of this all is the endless paperwork that people expect from their insurance plans. Yes, the truth is that health insurance can be incredibly difficult to deal with, especially if you are not insured through your employer. Most people dread going through the medical underwriting process, in which a specialist looks at your medical history and develops rates.

The first thing you have to understand about health insurance and the medical underwriting process is that the insurance business is a business, which means that there are certain steps that they must take to assure that they are making the best decisions for their company. You may not want to hear this, and you may not even feel that this is right, but this is the way the business is run. In other words, instead of getting angry or upset about it, your first step should be to make the process of getting insurance as easy as possible.

If you think about the medical insurance process, as well as pains such as medical underwriting, and decide that there is no way to make these processes easy, then you are giving up too soon. What you need to do is make sure first of all that you are using the internet for your research. There is no longer any reason to go to the broker or agent office and sit there and wait. You can do all of the research you need from the comfort of your home. The truth of the matter is that you will probably get better results to.

What you also need to know is that you can make the medical underwriting process easier for yourself by getting free quotes online. What you need to do is first gather the necessary information, such as your income, your expenses, and your medical history, and then you need to get your free quote. It’s important that you are prepared and that you have accurate information. Then you will be ready to get your free quote. As a matter of fact, you can start right now.

Medical Research Excellence – Health-e-Child

A European Project.

The work, which lasted about 2 years, is developed with the collaboration of the Pediatric Hospital Giannina Gaslini of Genoa, the London Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and the Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris. Since January 2006 Health-e-Child was financed by several partners for a total budget of almost 17 million, most of them from the European Union.

Current limits.

Many diseases that affect childhood are particularly complex both for diagnosis and for treatment: a difficult situation made worse from the rarity of certain diseases. The search for a appropriate cure can become a real ordeal for young patients.

Health-e-Child aims to facilitate the overcoming of these obstacles, helping to optimize the existing procedures, many times unsatisfactory.

Share excellence.

Health-e-Child is an integrated research project, funded under the Sixth Framework Program of the European Union, in order to develop a computerized system supporting clinical diagnosis and research in pediatrics, based on the vertical integration of medical statistical data and biomedical knowledge: from anamnesis to diagnostic imaging, from genetics to epidemiology; simplifying the clinical practice through modeling of disease and activation of knowledge discovery automatic systems.


Based on the concept of knowledge sharing to enhance the intellectual capital, the system allows to bring together all the clinical data of young patients, read and interpret them thanks to an innovative model of distributed computing, linking the major European pediatric hospitals and gradually enlarge the network and the entire system everywhere, increasing the number of diseases treated and the action fields (beyond the original areas: cardiology, oncology and rheumatology), and make this platform a valuable tool to help diagnosis, built on knowledge gained in clinical centers of excellence.

In this way is reduced the risk of diagnostic errors and improved the recovery of information and surgical equipment skills.

The wind tunnel of medicine.

How explains in fact one of the responsible of the project:

“If Ferrari has to test a shock absorber for the Canadian Grand Prix obviously does not bring the car and shock on the racing track of the North American country, but tries to rebuilt in its laboratories all conditions that can be created. With Health-e-Child is the same. Instead of studying what can happen to various parameters of the heart, such as its ability to contract or the activity of a valve, the professional works virtually on his computer perfectly recreating the event to be verified.”

Practically, referring to documentation recorded in the database, you can formerly establish what will be the actual response of the most important organ of body.

Not only. Using simulation to see a specific detail, for example the contraction of the left ventricle, which must pump blood into aorta, you can virtually see what is happening on the patient, acting consequently.

Quality, efficiency and universality.

The impact of a so important technology on diagnostic quality and efficiency is established. We can only hope for a rapid and widespread dissemination of “model” on international scale to enable the creation of the largest universal platform for biomedical knowledge and the development of new methods that can positively influence medical procedures, thus saving many lives.

Grapefruit and Medication Interactions

Many people may not be aware of it, but the consequences of certain drug interactions with grapefruit juice can be life-threatening, if not fatal. Affecting the effectiveness of many types of medications, grapefruit side-effects can range from low energy to kidney failure.

It has been observed that it does not take much grapefruit juice to alter the benefits of certain medications. A 47% decrease in the effectiveness of medications from grapefruit juice can be seen after consuming just one glass. Additionally, it can take more than 24 hours for the effects of a single glass to wear off. This is why people who drink one or more glasses of grapefruit juice daily and take certain medications have become seriously ill.

So what exactly is it about grapefruit juice that causes such serious side-effects. Studies have shown that grapefruit inhibits a crucial enzyme, sometimes with fatal results. It has been noted that the same enzyme in the liver that is responsible for breaking down drugs also is responsible for metabolizing grapefruit into useful components. When there is an interference with drugs and grapefruit juice, it is often a scenario where the presence of grapefruit juice overloads the system thereby preventing the drugs from being broken down properly and dispersed throughout the system. The following offers a brief overview of drugs that may be compromised by the presence of grapefruit: Depression, cholesterol, cancer, impotence, pain, and high blood pressure.

Researchers who have been studying this phenomenon have seen cases of grapefruit juice interactions occurring in a wide demographic range. Two of the most susceptible groups however include snowbirds and those who are beginning diets to lose weight. Most northerners who pack-up and head south for the winter are usually unaware of this condition, and learn the hard way resulting in trips to the emergency room. Similarly, many people who want quick weight loss often try crazy diets that usually include drinking a large quantity of grapefruit juice. While their intentions are to lose weight, they are often faced with more serious health problems. These weight loss issues could be prevented by seeking online herbal remedies advice.

In closing, remember to discuss all medications and dietary patterns with your doctor. Being honest and open can save your life.