Friday, February 27, 2009

78 Million American Baby Boomers Face Memory Loss

Cropped screenshot of Henry Fonda from the fil...Image via Wikipedia

Just last January the oldest of the baby boomers began to turn 62. For the next 18 years a member of the baby boomer generation (the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964) will reach that age every eight seconds. Boomers have long been famous for their desire to stay or at least act young. As an integral part of that effort to stay young is the ability to remember.

Many of us remember the Oscar winning performance of the late Henry Fonda in the movie On Golden Pond. In that movie he portrayed Norman Thayer. In the movie Norman learns not to take life for granted by enjoying it. He also learns not to be so crotchety, and not to dote on death. One unforgettable scene in the movie was when Norman got lost in the woods near his cabin. A place that he knew better than any other yet he became confused, lost and terrified

In an article written by Katie Hafner of the International Herald Tribune the global edition of the New York Times she reported the following “: When David Bunnell, a magazine publisher who lives in Berkeley, California, went to a FedEx store to send a package a few years ago, he suddenly drew a blank as he was filling out the forms.

"I couldn't remember my address," said Bunnell, 60, with a measure of horror in his voice. "I knew where I lived, and I knew how to get there, but I didn't know what the address was."

Bunnell is among tens of millions of baby boomers who are encountering the signs, by turns amusing and disconcerting, that accompany the decline of the brain's acuity: a good friend's name suddenly vanishing from memory; a frantic search for eyeglasses only to find them atop the head; milk taken from the refrigerator then put away in a cupboard.

"It's probably one of the most frightening aspects of the changes we undergo as we age," said Nancy Ceridwyn, director of educational initiatives at the American Society on Aging. "Our memories are who we are. And if we lose our memories we lose that groundedness of who we are."

The possibility of losing ones’ memory is freighting. Not too long ago it was believed that there was not much that could be done to prevent such an occurrence. Now we know that there are things that we can do and foods that we can eat that will help us.

In an article by Wendy Hodsdon, ND she shares that foods and supplements can support memory.

“A balanced diet with protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates can balance the activity in the temporal lobes of the brain. Eating protein at every meal can help stabilize blood sugar levels and help prevent the brain fog that sometimes happens after high carbohydrate or high sugar meals.”

Antioxidants play a pivotal role for memory improvement.Antioxidants in the diet can improve memory by decreasing the free radical damage that can occur with age. Foods highest in antioxidants include fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Some of the best antioxidants are found in berries (such as acai, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries), spinach, brussel sprouts, plums, broccoli, beets, avocados, oranges, goji, red bell peppers and cherries. Eating many colors of fruits and vegetables ensures a wide variety of antioxidants to nourish and protect the brain.

Supplements can improve memory, learning and verbal skills. Some of these Supplements that support memory include antioxidants such as alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin E and vitamin C. Ginkgo biloba is an herb that enhances circulation in the brain, which can improve memory and concentration. Phosphatidylserine is a nutrient that is found in food and in cell membranes in the body. In studies where it is given as a supplement, it increases the metabolic activity in the brain and improves memory, learning and verbal skills.

Sharon Begley wrote in an article dated Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:07 PM that “there is more than enough evidence that physical exercise is good for the brain, bringing benefits like lower cholesterol and blood pressure, but here’s more: it can increase the size of your hippocampus, the structure responsible for the formation and storage of new memories as well as for spatial navigation--finding your way around.

In a paper to be published in the journal Hippocampus, scientists report that elderly people who are physically fit generally have a larger hippocampus and better spatial memory than peers who are less fit. Previous studies have shown that challenging the hippocampus—exercising its spatial skills and its memory abilities—can increase its volume, too. London cabbies have bigger ones than your average Londoner, and experienced cabbies have larger ones than newbies, suggesting that making the hippocampus find its way through London’s labyrinth can boost its size. And exercising its memory-making skills seems to do the same thing: a study of German medical students found that the hippocampus got larger as they studied for finals. This is the first study, however, to show that plain old physical exercise, which does not engage the hippocampus to any real extent, can also give it a boost.”

As we progress through this mortal experience there is no escaping the effects of time and age. However there are things that we can do to optimize our health so as to take full advantage of our own allotted time. Staying fit with regular exercise and eating foods and utilizing dietary supplements rich in antioxidants can help us keep our minds sharp and our memories active as we make the most of our life experience.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Facts About Colon Cleansing and Health

Diagram of the Human Intestine.Image via Wikipedia

Over the last couple of years I have noticed in a passing manner a particular set of infomercials and internet ads targeting colon health. They usually have some individual who has absolutely no credentials, no understanding of anatomy or physiology and no real life medical or surgical experience validating their claims. I hope to provide a voice of reason amongst all this marketing.

One of the myths promoted is the idea that your colon is lined with dry packed on fecal material that is contributing simultaneously to two very separate actions; absorption of toxins and the blocking of absorption. And they want us to believe that this is the reason we are fat, sick and tired. As a student both in undergraduate and medical school study from accredited and highly respected universities I had the opportunity to dissect many cadavers. I can tell you that not a single cadaver ever presented with fecal debris packed onto the lining of their respective colons or their small intestines. I never saw this phenomenon as described by our TV and internet marketing friends during my surgical residency or practice. While it is true fecal impaction can and does occur it occurs in the form of a blockage and not an intestinal wall build up. The graphic pictures of large lobulated black masses purportedly removed from a colon as a result of colon cleansing are used to frighten good people into using a product. Those pictures are not true or consistent with the so called “colon cleanse” products being sold. Those are photos of large impactions and or blockages that had been surgically removed. I have assisted in thousands of colonoscopies and never once did we find fecal matter collected or impacted along the wall of the colon.

An important and conveniently overlooked fact that our friends fail to explain is the true function of the colon. Although the large intestine harvests vitamins made by bacterial flora and reclaims most of the remaining water and some of the electrolytes, absorption is not the main function of this organ. The primary functions of the large intestine are propulsive activities that force the fecal matter toward elimination. Here is another interesting fact; while the large intestine is important for our comfort it is not essential for life. If the colon is removed as may be necessitated by colon cancer, then the terminal portion of the intestine is brought out through the abdominal wall in the form of an “ostomy”. Often we find with people obsessed with colon cleansing is a blackening of the colon wall and a lack of protective mucousa. Sometimes in the process of these ritualistic colon cleansings the colon wall can be torn or ripped creating a true medical emergency with possible fatal consequences. Remember that it is in the small intestines that absorption occurs.

So it is not necessary to take colonic cleansing aids as a means to “clean the walls of your colon” to achieve weight loss or avoid sickness. It is however a means to dislodge a lower intestinal blockage, stimulate the peristaltic action of the intestinal wall and or alleviate constipation. Some people find this sensation of cleaning their colon as “refreshing”. However a diet with fiber will do more for you than any of these so called colonic cleansing aids. And to think that the reason you may be overweight is due to poor absorption or a toxic build up in your colon is unfounded and untrue. First look at what you eat. For a one or two week period keep a log of what you eat and drink both quantity and frequency. Then make the appropriate adjustments to your diet. Avoid fads. Use high quality dietary supplements. Get regular moderate exercise. Drink plenty of water and get as close to 8 hours of sleep at night. Avoid eating after 8:00 PM. Acai can act as a detoxifying agent due to its high antioxidant level, polyphenols and fiber content.

If you feel compelled to clean your colon then be informed. Do it sparingly, perhaps once a year but certainly not more than twice a year. If you are constipated, have blood in your stool or are otherwise concerned about your colon seek professional advice.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dr. Tim's Juices is now part of "Utah's Own"

Dr. Tim's Juices is now a part of Utah's Own, an organization sponsored by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food that promotes food and produce which has been produced or grown in the state of Utah. We are happy to be a part of this great organization! If you live and/or shop in Utah, please tell your grocer that you'd like to see our product in their store. Thanks!