Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Ten Strategies to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

I’m always watching myself for any sign of cognitive slippage. I had two dear aunts who became barmy, one in her sixties, and one not until her eighties. Thank you, Hayfa, for this great article:

UCLA on Alzheimer’s Disease – young or old should read
Food for Thought

“The idea that Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Centeron Aging. Researchers now know that Alzheimer’s, like heart disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.The big news: Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer’s.In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer’s and other dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of experts. The results in a new book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss

Here are 10 strategies I found most surprising.

1. Have coffee. In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic. A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer’s risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida researcher Gary Arendash credits caffeine: He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee’s antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn’t.

2. Floss. Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.

3. Google. Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA’s Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. The biggest surprise: Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.

4. Grow new brain cells. Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it’s believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency. Drink apple juice. Apple juice can push production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine; that’s the way the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts. He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.

5. Protect your head. Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer’s is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person’s odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don’t take risks.

6. Meditate. Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage – a classic sign of Alzheimer’s – as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.

7. Take Vitamin D. A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans’ risk of cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England’s University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.

8. Fill your brain. It’s called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences – education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities – makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer’s pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

9. Avoid infection. Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer’s to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer’s cases. The theory: Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid “gunk” that kills brain cells. Proof is still lacking, but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?

What to Drink for Good Memory: A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer’s is to drink the right stuff.

a. Tops: Juice. A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer’s odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Epecially protective:blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.

b. Tea: Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.

c. Caffeine beverages. Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer’s, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer’s researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.

d. Red wine: If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It’s high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer’s.

e. Two to avoid: Sugary soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer’s. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.

Ways to Save Your Kids from Alzheimer’s:

· Now, Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease that starts in old age. What happens to your child’s brain seems to have a dramatic impact on his or her likelihood of Alzheimer’s many decades later.

· Here are five things you can do now to help save your child from Alzheimer’s and memory loss later in life, according to the latest research. Prevent head blows: Insist your child wear a helmet during biking, skating, skiing, baseball, football, hockey, and all contact sports. A major blow as well as tiny repetitive unnoticed concussions can cause damage, leading to memory loss and Alzheimer’s years later.

· Encourage language skills: A teenage girl who is a superior writer is eight times more likely to escape Alzheimer’s in late life than a teen with poor linguistic skills. Teaching young children to be fluent in two or more languages makes them less vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.

· Insist your child go to college: Education is a powerful Alzheimer’s deterrent . The more years of formal schooling, the lower the odds. Most Alzheimer’s prone: teenage drop outs. For each year of education, your risk of dementia drops 11%, says a recent University of Cambridge study.

· Provide stimulation: Keep your child’s brain busy with physical, mental and social activities and novel experiences. All these contribute to a bigger, better functioning brain with more so-called ‘cognitive reserve.’ High cognitive reserve protects against memory decline and Alzheimer’s.

· Spare the junk food: Lab animals raised on berries, spinach and high omega-3 fish have great memories in old age. Those overfed sugar, especially high fructose in soft drinks, saturated fat and trans fats become overweight and diabetic, with smaller brains and impaired memories as they age, a prelude to Alzheimer’s.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Aging, Exercise, Generational, Health Issues | | Leave a comment

La Sur Consommation

Thank you, Hayfa, for sending this truly horrifying video about our food, and where it comes from . . .


La surconsommation from Lasurconsommation on Vimeo.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Diet / Weight Loss, Financial Issues, Food, Interconnected | , , , | Leave a comment

New Laws To Stop Reports of BAD Food

This is absolutely frightening. We know there are consequences for ignoring humane rules for our meat and food processing. We KNOW the absolute dangers of Mad-Cow Disease; I will never be able to donate blood because I was exposed to the possibility of Mad Cow in the 1980’s. How on earth are we allowing our legislators to pass these BAD laws???


Ag-Gag Laws Help Agribusiness Hide Health Risks in Your Food

By M. Joy Hayes, Ph.D., The Motley Fool
Posted 5:00AM 02/14/13

In 2008, an undercover investigation led by the Humane Society led to the largest beef recall in history — removing meat that may have been tainted with mad cow disease from school cafeterias around the country.

Now there’s a business-backed movement afoot seeking to prohibit investigations like these.

The so-called “ag-gag” laws are designed to prevent anyone other than regulators or law enforcement officers from investigating dangerous or illegal agricultural practices that lead to mad cow disease, salmonella or Listeria poisoning, and other food-borne illnesses.

Ag-gag laws have been proposed by politicians in Arkansas, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. And Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah already have such laws in place.

Why should this concern consumers? Due to funding limitations, regulators are only able to inspect a small percentage of the food we consume. As a result, we rely a great deal on journalists and activists to conduct additional investigations that prevent dangerous food from making it to market.

“Downer” Cows Dragged to Slaughter and Served to Children

We don’t have to look far to see how laws discouraging undercover investigation can limit consumer access to food safety information.

The 2008 massive beef recall came about from a Humane Society undercover investigation that provided a video of “downer” cows — animals too weak or sick to walk — being dragged to slaughter at Hallmark Meat, a supplier to the National School Lunch Program. This led to a recall because a cow’s inability to stand or walk is a possible indicator of mad cow disease.

Last year, activist group Compassion Over Killing released disturbing video footage from another National School Lunch Program supplier, Central Valley Meat. It shows cows, before slaughter, covered in feces, writhing on the ground in blood, and projectile-vomiting from the stress of being repeatedly struck by a bolt gun (a weapon that pierces the skull to stun or “euthanize” the animals).

Before the footage was released, Central Valley Meat also served as a supplier for McDonald’s (MCD) and Costco (COST). Both have since cut ties with the company.

Keeping You in the Dark

Let’s take a look at how 2013’s ag-gag bills may undermine investigations that expose unsafe and inhumane agricultural practices.

Arkansas’ SB 13 proposes outlawing animal investigations conducted by anyone other than a certified law enforcement officer, thus prohibiting journalists and activists from investigating possible food safety violations regulators may have missed.

Arkansas’ SB 14, would make it illegal for whistleblowers or undercover investigators to gather photographic or recorded sound evidence of illegal or unsafe agricultural practices with the intention to “cause harm to the livestock or poultry operation.” In other words, the proposed law would prohibit whistleblowers from releasing information that would make a company look bad and drive away customers.

Indiana’s SB 373 and Wyoming’s HB 0126 would also prevent whistleblowers from exposing food safety issues by making it illegal to take video or pictures without written consent of the property owner or representative of the property owner.

Nebraska’s LB 204 proposes making it illegal for journalists and activists to pose as employees to conduct undercover investigations. It suggests prohibiting job candidates from misrepresenting themselves during the hiring process when they have an intention of damaging or interfering with the operations of the business. Strikingly, the bill proposes felony charges in cases where the “violation” results in “economic damage” of $10,000 or more. That means that undercover employees who reveal safety issues costing a company more than $10,000 in lost sales could face devastating legal penalties.

New Hampshire’s HB 110 simply calls for requiring people with evidence of animal cruelty to turn it over to law enforcement. While nothing in the bill prohibits outside investigation of animal cruelty, some worry that this law would undermine investigations into animal cruelty by forcing journalists and activists to reveal their sources too early in the investigation.
Agricultural business advocates might argue that these undercover investigations unfairly put businesses’ reputations at risk by allowing individuals who aren’t trained to evaluate agricultural safety practices to gather and disperse misleading information, and that these ag-gag laws simply protect the ability of businesses to guard their reputations from unfair accusations.

After reviewing the behavior prohibited by the proposed ag-gag laws, are you concerned about their potential to undermine consumer safety? Or do you think they represent a legitimate corporate attempt to protect agricultural businesses against potential economic harm?

Motley Fool Contributor M. Joy Hayes, Ph.D., is the Principal at ethics consulting firm Courageous Ethics. She owns shares of McDonald’s. Follow @JoyofEthics on Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale and McDonald’s. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale and McDonald’s.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cooking, ExPat Life, Food, Health Issues, Lies, Living Conditions, Political Issues | , | 1 Comment

Catastrophic Vanishing Water in Middle East

I found this article in the Weather Underground News this morning:

DOHA, Qatar — An amount of freshwater almost the size of the Dead Sea has been lost in parts of the Middle East due to poor management, increased demands for groundwater and the effects of a 2007 drought, according to a NASA study.

The study, to be published Friday in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, examined data over seven years from 2003 from a pair of gravity-measuring satellites which is part of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment or GRACE. Researchers found freshwater reserves in parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins had lost 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of its total stored freshwater, the second fastest loss of groundwater storage loss after India.

About 60 percent of the loss resulted from pumping underground reservoirs for ground water, including 1,000 wells in Iraq, and another fifth was due to impacts of the drought including declining snow packs and soil drying up. Loss of surface water from lakes and reservoirs accounted for about another fifth of the decline, the study found.

“This rate of water loss is among the largest liquid freshwater losses on the continents,” the authors wrote in the study, noting the declines were most obvious after a drought.

The study is the latest evidence of a worsening water crisis in the Middle East, where demands from growing populations, war and the worsening effects of climate change are raising the prospect that some countries could face sever water shortages in the decades to come. Some like impoverished Yemen blame their water woes on the semi-arid conditions and the grinding poverty while the oil-rich Gulf faces water shortages mostly due to the economic boom that has created glistening cities out of the desert.

In a report released during the U.N. climate talks in Qatar, the World Bank concluded among the most critical problems in the Middle East and North Africa will be worsening water shortages. The region already has the lowest amount of freshwater in the world. With climate change, droughts in the region are expected to turn more extreme, water runoff is expected to decline 10 percent by 2050 while demand for water is expected to increase 60 percent by 2045.

One of the biggest challenges to improving water conservation is often competing demands which has worsened the problem in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins.

Turkey controls the Tigris and Euphrates headwaters, as well as the reservoirs and infrastructure of Turkey’s Greater Anatolia Project, which dictates how much water flows downstream into Syria and Iraq, the researchers said. With no coordinated water management between the three countries, tensions have intensified since the 2007 drought because Turkey continues to divert water to irrigate farmland.

“That decline in stream flow put a lot of pressure on northern Iraq,” Kate Voss, lead author of the study and a water policy fellow with the University of California’s Center for Hydrological Modeling in Irvine, said. “Both the UN and anecdotal reports from area residents note that once stream flow declined, this northern region of Iraq had to switch to groundwater. In an already fragile social, economic and political environment, this did not help the situation.”

Jay Famiglietti, principle investigator of the new study and a hydrologist and UC Irvine professor of Earth System Science, plans to visit the region later this month, along with Voss and two other UC Irvine colleagues, to discuss their findings and raise awareness of the problem and the need for a regional approach to solve the problem.

“They just do not have that much water to begin with, and they’re in a part of the world that will be experiencing less rainfall with climate change,” Famiglietti said. “Those dry areas are getting dryer. They and everyone else in the world’s arid regions need to manage their available water resources as best they can.”

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Doha, Environment, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Interconnected, Iran, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Middle East, News, Political Issues, Qatar, Statistics, Technical Issue, Turkey, Weather | , | Leave a comment

Stitching Together A Move?

I had a troubling dream which woke me early this morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I dreamed I was working on a very large quilt, and I had promised to hand quilt it. I remember seeing it was not made as a usual quilt is made, with a top and a bottom, and a layer of batting (wadding) in between, but of 12 – 13 layers of cotton cloth, a very difficult quilting challenge, and it seems to me that the quilt was like 15 feet by 15 feet, a huge quilt, a size I have never even seen done. I remember having accepted to quilt a very complicated pattern, and as I awoke, I was stitching and stitching and stitching, hand stitch after hand stitch, but feeling utterly defeated and overwhelmed at the task I was facing.

I am confounded. In terms of quilting, I will never be caught up, but it doesn’t bother me, I just keep on. I finish most quilts; I do just fine. I don’t have any project deadlines, I don’t have any feeling of urgency on completing any of my quilts. I very rarely do any hand quilting; machine quilting gets the job done and hand quilting is hard on my hands and fingers.

My life, too, in this so-called retirement, is orderly. I take on what I can take on and complete the task. I don’t feel like I am behind in anything. I keep up with things. I feel no urgency.

So where did this dream come from?

I believe God calls to us in many ways (“Let he who has ears listen!”), through his word, through the voices and actions of Godly people, through a book one might be reading, through a friend, or a homeless person, or even through a dream. Being who I am, I prefer a clear message; interpretation is so fraught with personal prejudices, so filtered by what we know, by our particular dogma or belief system. I am praying now for clarity, and for the meaning of this dream to be made understandable so that I might know what I am needed to do . . . If I am meant to keep chipping away at something, please, let me do it with a joyful attitude, not this feeling of being faced with an overwhelming task.


And as I go through the categories,getting ready to post this entry, choosing those words that best apply, I see “Moving” and I have to laugh; moving is that huge quilt, that elephant that one can only eat one bite at a time, that many layered monstrosity, and it has been three years since I have moved. Three years living in one country, one city, in one house. It may be that the dream is one of those anxiety dreams like your college exam dreams, a dream that is no longer relevant but a hangover from another time, another life. My subconscious is getting ready for a move, feeling overdue, LOL.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Aging, ExPat Life, Faith, Lent, Movie, Random Musings, Spiritual | Leave a comment