Friday, November 28, 2014

Coffee may cut Alzheimer's risk

Finally, slurp, slurp, some good news. Or at least news I prefer to think is good, solid, and valid.

They had a big Alz conference in Europe and did a giant overview of studies--and moderate coffee drinking seemed to cut the incidence of Alzheimer's by 20%.

This means 3-5 cups a day.

Another plus: The Mediterranean Diet--dish, fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil, and red wine--is also associated with less risk of Alz.

Notice the word "associated." This means it is not a lead pipe cinch (where did that expression come from, I wonder).

In the case of java, the caffeine and polyphenols may prevent formation of those gooey amyloid plaques, which stop signal transmission along nerves. Coffee also reduces inflammation.

I once went on a press trip to Majorca and learned about the health benefits of olive oil.

Both coffee and more wine and olive oil seem like reasonable approaches to me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Are your fingernails a mess?

Winter is tough on nails--according to Loyola dermatologist Rebecca Tung, MD. Stress, poor eating, cold weather--and pretty soon you are a mangled mess.

Some tips:

Don't overdo buffing--it can make nails thinner and weaker. No more than once a month.

Apply a base coat--prevents staining and gives polish something to cling to.

Don't use quick-dry polish. It can make nails weaker.

Also use a top coat--reduced chipping.

Use non-acetone removers. Moisturize the nails themselves.

No toluene, formaldehyde, and bibutyl phthalate.

If your nail person uses UV rays to dry no-chip gel polishes, at least use SPF 30 on your hands. The dangers of this sort of drying, if any, are not yet well known.

I am allergic to nail polish, so go bare. But I do take biotin when my claws get particularly flaky and brittle. It seems to make a diff.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Yikes, deep frying turkey can be a hot time!

Guess what--there are more than double the number of home fires on T-Day as a normal day (US Fire Administration, whatever that is).

Splashes, spills, burns, cuts--it's not pretty in the kitchen. This according to a burn surgeon at Loyola.

Burn surgeon--shudder.

The new trend of deep frying turkeys has accounted for a rise in injuries. Plunging something heavy into boiling fat--what could go wrong?

Sometimes people even try to do this INDOORS!!! No no no no!

The turkey must be moisture free--meaning at very least, not still frozen.

One guy "basically fried himself," as he put it--spilling thirty quarts of hot oil on his leg. He tripped.

Also, $15 million in property damage is done by fryer accidents.

--Get a new fryer with a sealed lid.
--Keep the fryer in full view while in use.
--Keep it away from walls, fences etc
--Never use in a garage or under a carport.
--Never cook in short sleeves or with bare feet.
--Make sure the turkey is completely thawed. Be careful with marinades.
--Don't overfill--the oil can ignite if it overflows.
--Don't do this while drinking.

So the choice is yours--nice dinner or trip to the ER?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Do you want the good or bad news first?

OK--the good news. They did a survey of eleven countries--Health Affairs (Dec). Older, sick Americans can get a specialist appointment faster than in any other country surveyed--except Switzerland. Still, the average wait was four weeks.

The bad news? Well, there is a lot. First, only 57% of older Americans can only get same-day or next-day appts when they are sick.

And older Americans are sick, sick, sick. Sixty-eight percent had two or more chronic conditions. Fifty-three percent took four or more meds.

Still, good news dept, 83% had a treatment plan they could carry out in everyday life.

Hardly earth-shattering news to us creakies...

Add in docs falling in and out of our insurance plans, skyrocketing medication costs, medication reactions--and arg--it's enough to MAKE you sick.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meet "Normal Barbie"

Her real name is The Lammily Doll...and her creator is a Pittsburgh graphic designer named Nickolay Lamm.

She is sturdily built, a few extra pounds around the hips, and comes with stickers of zits (see pix) and stretch marks that realistic tots can affix.

He is working on Normal Ken, too--chubby with some dirt stains, maybe. (Guys are grosser, Lamm notes, there are more things he could add.)

Lamm had his own body issues, trying like mad to get a 6-pack while being only 5'2" in HS.

His Mom loves Normal Barb.

No, you can't get it this Christmas at Toys R Us--but he has raised half a million and has 22,000 orders. Stay tuned.

To me, Abnormal Barbie's problem was she was nine "heads" high--and living people are about seven heads high. Elongated.