Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Are 54 Today and Wiser....

The Zestzfulness Team wishes all fellow Malaysians at home and abroad Selamat Hari Merdeka ke-54!

We are Malaysians First, always.

Our nation Malaysia is dedicated to

  • Achieving a greater unity for all her peoples
  • Maintaining a democratic way of life
  • Creating a just nation shall be equitably distributed
  • Ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions, and
  • Building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology.

We, her peoples, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends guided by these principles:

1. Belief in God

2. Loyalty to King and country

3. Supremacy of the constitution

4. Rule of Law

5. Mutual respect and morality.

PS. This photo is also used in an earlier post.

Mind-Altering Microbes

Probiotic Bacteria Lessens Anxiety and Depression

Probiotic bacteria have the potential to alter brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders according to a new study by researchers in Ireland and Canada.

The research, carried out by Dr Javier Bravo, and Professor John Cryan at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) in University College Cork, along with collaborators from the Brain-Body Institute at McMaster University in Canada, demonstrated that mice fed with Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviours than those fed with just broth.

Moreover, ingestion of the bacteria resulted in significantly lower levels of the stress-induced hormone, corticosterone.

“This study identifies potential brain targets and a pathway through which certain gut organisms can alter mouse brain chemistry and behaviour. These findings highlight the important role that gut bacteria play in the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, the gut–brain axis, and opens up the intriguing opportunity of developing unique microbial-based strategies for treatment for stress-related psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression”, said John F. Cryan, senior author on the publication and Professor of Anatomy and Principal Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, at UCC. The APC researchers included Dr Hélène Savignac and Professor Ted Dinan.

The researchers also showed that regular feeding with the Lactobacillus strain caused changes in the expression of receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA in the mouse brain, which is the first time that it has been demonstrated that potential probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry in normal situations.

The authors also established that the vagus nerve is the main relay between the microbiome (bacteria in the gut) and the brain. This three way communication system is known as the microbiome-gut-brain axis and these findings highlight the important role of bacteria in the communication between the gut and the brain, and suggest that certain probiotic organisms may prove to be useful adjunct therapies in stress-related psychiatric disorders.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from University College Cork news release dated August 29, 2011

Journal Reference:

Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, Bienenstock J, Cryan JF. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1102999108

LACTO 5, which is available in our pharmacies, contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus

CLICK HERE for further information

See our reportTai Chi and your Psychological Health Tai Chi is believed to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, improve mood and enhance overall psychological well being…..

See also our report on “Mental Health and Omega-3 Long-term fish intake is associated with less severe depressive symptoms…

Erectile Dysfunction Strong Predictor of Death

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a strong predictor of death from all causes and of heart attack, stroke and heart failure in men with cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Michael Böhm, M.D., of the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken, Germany, and colleagues conducted a sub-study of 1,519 men enrolled in the ONTARGET and TRANSCEND trials.

In ONTARGET, patients were randomly assigned to receive ramipril, or telmisartan, or ramipril and telmisartan.

In TRANSCEND, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor-intolerant patients were randomly assigned to receive either telmisartan or placebo.

The researchers found that men with CVD and ED (compared to those without ED) were twice as likely to suffer death from all causes and 1.6 times more likely to suffer the composite of cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke and heart failure hospitalization. More specifically, they were:

  • 1.9 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease;
  • twice as likely to have a heart attack;
  • 1.2 times more likely to be hospitalized for heart failure; and
  • 1.1 times more likely to have a stroke.

"Proven risk-reducing medications such as ramipril, telmisartan, and the combination thereof did not have different effects on ED, but neither treatment adversely affected erectile function," the authors conclude. "The evaluation of ED in the medical history as an early symptom of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis and as a predictor of death and future cardiovascular events might be relevant to identify patients at particularly high risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event."

Journal Reference:

Böhm M, Baumhäkel M, Teo K, Sleight P, Probstfield J, Gao P, Mann JF, Diaz R, Dagenais GR, Jennings GL, Liu L, Jansky P, Yusuf S; ONTARGET/TRANSCEND Erectile Dysfunction Substudy Investigators. Erectile dysfunction predicts cardiovascular events in high-risk patients receiving telmisartan, ramipril, or both: The ONgoing Telmisartan Alone and in combination with Ramipril Global Endpoint Trial/Telmisartan Randomized AssessmeNt Study in ACE iNtolerant subjects with cardiovascular Disease (ONTARGET/TRANSCEND) Trials. Circulation. 2010 Mar 30;121(12):1439-46.

CLICK HERE for the complete paper.

It's known that diuretics (like frusemide and hydrochlorothiazide) and beta-blockers (like atenolol and propanolol) taken for heart problems can also cause erection problems. The Zestzfulness Team underscores the advice by Dr. Stephen Parker to seek expert advice if you experience erectile dysfunction as Viagra and other PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors can mask the problem

See also our earlier report The Penis as a Sentinel of Endothelial Health

The Penis as a Sentinel of Endothelial Health. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with most forms of cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure, peripheral artery disease, ...

Omega-3 Reduce Stroke Severity

A diet rich in omega-3s reduces the severity of brain damage after a stroke, according to a study conducted by Université Laval researchers. The team, co-directed by professors Jasna Kriz and Frédéric Calon, showed that the extent of brain damage following a stroke was reduced by 25% in mice that consumed DHA type omega-3s daily. Details of the study can be found on the website of the journal Stroke.

Researchers observed that the effects of stroke were less severe in mice that had been fed a diet rich in DHA for three months than in mice fed a control diet. In mice from the DHA group, they saw a reduction in the concentrations of molecules that stimulate tissue inflammation and, conversely, a larger quantity of molecules that prevent the activation of cell death.

“This is the first convincing demonstration of the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of DHA in the brain,” underscored Frédéric Calon of Université Laval’s Faculty of Pharmacy. This protective effect results from the substitution of molecules in the neuronal membrane: DHA partially replaces arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid known for its inflammatory properties.

“The consumption of omega-3s creates an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective environment in the brain that mitigates damage following a stroke,” summarized Jasna Kriz, of Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine. “It prevents an acute inflammatory response that, if not controlled, is harmful to brain tissue.”

Professor Calon believes that this anti-inflammatory effect is likely transferable to humans. “Since DHA is readily available, inexpensive, and reduces the risk of a number of health problems without causing significant side effects, the risk–benefit ratio tends to favor the regular consumption of fish or DHA,” he concluded.

In addition to Kriz and Calon, the study was co-authored by Mélanie Lalancette-Hébert, Pierre Cordeau, Carl Julien, Ivan Bohacek, and Yuan-Cheng Weng. The authors are all members of the CHUQ Research Center.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from the news release by Université Laval on August 25, 2011.

Journal Reference:

M. Lalancette-Hebert, C. Julien, P. Cordeau, I. Bohacek, Y.-C. Weng, F. Calon, J. Kriz. Accumulation of Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid in the Brain Attenuates Acute Immune Response and Development of Postischemic Neuronal Damage. Stroke, published online before print, August 18, 2011

See related Zestzfulness reports below:

Zestzfulness: DHA and Stroke

Dr. Bazan says "We are just now beginning to understand the significant impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids on stroke. There is no simple solution just yet, but each new discovery brings us closer to defeating stroke

Zestzfulness: Eating More Fried Fish May Contribute to Stroke

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish have been shown to have favorable effects on platelet aggregation, blood pressure, lipid profile, endothelial function, and ischemic stroke risk. The amount of fish consumed, and preferences ...

Wine Boosts Omega-3 Independently of Fish Intake

We know that moderate alcohol consumption, including wine, is associated with protection against coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke. A European study IMMIDIET published in the January 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1 found moderate alcohol intake increases the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells independently of the amount of fish consumed . The study further suggests that wine does better than other alcoholic ...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Zestfulness Team Wishes All Muslims

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Fish Oil’s Impact on Cognition and Brain Structure

Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center have found positive associations between fish oil supplements and cognitive functioning as well as differences in brain structure between users and non-users of fish oil supplements. The findings suggest possible benefits of fish oil supplements on brain health and aging. The results were reported at the recent International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, in Paris, France.

The study was led by Lori Daiello, PharmD, a research scientist at the Rhode Island Hospital Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center. Data for the analyses was obtained from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a large multi-center, NIH-funded study that followed older adults with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s Disease for over three years with periodic memory testing and brain MRIs.

The study included 819 individuals, 117 of whom reported regular use of fish oil supplements before entry and during study follow-up. The researchers compared cognitive functioning and brain atrophy for patients who reported routinely using these supplements to those who were not using fish oil supplements.

Daiello reports that compared to non-users, use of fish oil supplements was associated with better cognitive functioning during the study. However, this association was significant only in those individuals who had a normal baseline cognitive function and in individuals who tested negative for a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease known as APOE4. This is consistent with previous research.

The unique finding, however, is that there was a clear association between fish oil supplements and brain volume. Consistent with the cognitive outcomes, these observations were significant only for those who were APOE4 negative.

Daiello says, “In the imaging analyses for the entire study population, we found a significant positive association between fish oil supplement use and average brain volumes in two critical areas utilized in memory and thinking (cerebral cortex and hippocampus), as well as smaller brain ventricular volumes compared to non-users at any given time in the study. In other words, fish oil use was associated with less brain shrinkage in patients taking these supplements during the ADNI study compared to those who didn’t report using them.”

Daiello continues, “These observations should motivate further study of the possible effects of long-term fish oil supplementation on important markers of cognitive decline and the potential influence of genetics on these outcomes.”

The research team included Brian Ott, director of the Rhode Island Hospital and Memory Disorders Center, Assawin Gongvatana, Shira Dunsiger and Ronald Cohen from The Miriam Hospital and the Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Gonvatana and Cohen), and Department of Behavior and Social Sciences (Dunsiger).

Daiello is a research scientist at Rhode Island Hospital, a member hospital of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island and an assistant professor of neurology (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Direct financial and infrastructure support for this project was received through the Lifespan Office of Research Administration. The study was supported by career development grants from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (Daiello) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Gongvatana).

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from materials posted on Rhode Island Hospital Online Newsroom on August 17, 2011.

Zestz for Laughs - Hospital Stay

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A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital, wearing an oxygen mask over

his mouth and nose. A young, student nurse appears to give him a partial

sponge bath.

‘Nurse’, he mumbles, from behind the mask. ‘Are my testicles black?’

Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, ‘I don't know, Sir. I'm only here to

wash your upper body and feet.’

He struggles to ask again, ‘Nurse, please check. Are my testicles black?’

Concerned that he may elevate his blood pressure and heart rate from worry

about his testicles, she overcomes her embarrassment and pulls back the

covers. She raises his gown, holds his manhood in one hand and his testicles

in the other.

Then, she takes a close look and says, ‘There's nothing wrong with them,


The man pulls off his oxygen mask, smiles at her and says very slowly,

‘Thank you very much. That was wonderful, but, listen very, very


A r e - m y - t e s t - r e s u l t s - b a c k?’

Health Tip: Antiviral Treatment for Chickenpox

Who May Need The Treatment

Chickenpox is a viral infection that causes itchy, fluid-filled skin blisters. Usually affecting children, the infection typically runs its course and clears up without treatment.

Adults and teens, however, may be at risk of more severe symptoms and may benefit from an antiviral medication, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says. An antiviral is most beneficial if begun during the first 24 hours of the skin rash.

The agency mentions these additional facts about use of an antiviral medication in a person with chickenpox:

  • Healthy children who don't have severe symptoms probably don't need an antiviral medication.
  • Adolescents who take regular aspirin may need an antiviral.
  • People with skin or lung conditions, or those who have recently taken a steroidal medication, may benefit from an antiviral.
  • People who have been exposed to chickenpox -- but haven't contracted the infection -- may benefit from an antiviral.

Complications of Chickenpox

Bacterial infection and Scarring. A common complication of chickenpox is a bacterial infection of the skin. A secondary infection may develop at sites which the patient has scratched. The infection is usually caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. Permanent scarring may occur as a result.

Reactivation of the Virus as Shingles (Herpes Zoster). The major long-term complication of varicella is the later reactivation of the herpes zoster virus and the development of shingles. Shingles occurs in about 20% of people who have had chickenpox

Chickenpox and Pregnancy. Other complications of chickenpox affect pregnant women. Chickenpox early in pregnancy can result in a variety of problems in a newborn, including low birth weight and birth defects, such as limb abnormalities. A greater threat to a baby occurs when the mother develops chickenpox in the week before birth. Then it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection in a newborn.

If you're pregnant and not immune to chickenpox, talk to your doctor about the risks to you and your unborn child.

Chickenpox, Pneumonia, Encephalitis. Chickenpox may also lead to pneumonia or, rarely, an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), both of which can be very serious.

Antiviral drugs such as aciclovir tablet (Acylete, Avorax, Dravyr, Hepirax, Herpevex, Virless, Zoral, Zovirax) can limit the severity of chickenpox. These drugs do not kill the virus, but stop the virus from multiplying.

However, treatment should be started within 24 hours of the rash first developing. If it is started after this time it is not likely to have much of an effect.

Dose for Adults: 800 mg 4 times daily for 5 days.

Chickenpox vaccine. It is possible that varicella vaccine may be useful in helping prevent zoster if it is administered to elderly persons who have had chickenpox. However, wider surveillance is need to confirm this (1).

1. Marietta Vázquez M, Shapiro ED. Varicella Vaccine and Infection with Varicella–Zoster Virus. N Engl J Med 2005; 352:439-440

Declovir in the background is the topical dosage form of acyclovir. Declovir Cream is indicated for the treatment of herpes simplex or cold sores.

Omega-3 Mengurangkan Kemurungan dan Keradangan Pada Pelajar Yang Sihat

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Satu kajian terbaru mengukur kesan pengambilan minyak ikan dalam jumlah yang banyak menunjukkan pengurangan yang nyata bagi kedua-duanya sekali iaitu dalam keradangan, dan menakjubkan, dalam kemurungan di kalangan kohort orang muda sihat.

Hasil kajian menunjukkan bahawa jika peserta muda boleh mendapat peningkatan daripada suplemen pemakanan yang tertentu, maka warga emas dan yang berisiko tinggi untuk penyakit tertentu mungkin memberi manfaat yang lebih banyak lagi.

Penemuan oleh pasukan penyelidik di Universiti Ohio disiarkan dalam jurnal
Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Ia adalah yang terkini daripada lebih dari tiga dekad penyelidikan ke atas hubungan antara tekanan psikologi dan imuniti.

Omega-3 asid lemak poli tak tepu, seperti asid eicosapentaenoic (EPA) dan asid docosahexaenoic (DHA), telah lama dianggap sebagai makanan tambahan positif kepada diet. Penyelidikan lebih awal mencadangkan bahawa sebatian itu mungkin memainkan peranan dalam mengurangkan tahap cytokines dalam badan, sebatian yang menggalakkan keradangan, dan mungkin juga mengurangkan kemurungan.

Tekanan psikologi telah berulang kali menunjukkan peningkatan pengeluaran cytokine, jadi penyelidik tertanya-tanya adakah dengan meningkatkan omega-3 mungkin meringankan proses itu, mengurangkan keradangan.

Untuk menguji teori mereka, mereka telah merujuk kepada kumpulan yang biasa dengan subjek penyelidikan - pelajar-pelajar perubatan. Beberapa kerja terawal ahli sains ini menunjukkan bahawa tekanan daripada ujian sekolah perubatan yang penting merendahkan status imun pelajar.

"Kami berhipotesis bahawa memberi beberapa pelajar suplemen omega-3 akan mengurangkan pengeluaran pra-radang cytokines, berbanding dengan pelajar-pelajar lain yang hanya menerima placebo," jelas Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, profesor psikologi dan psikiatri.

"Kami fikir omega-3 akan mengurangkan tekanan akibat kenaikan dalam cytokines yang biasanya timbul daripada rasa cemas yang lebih terhadap ujian."

Pasukan itu melibatkan seramai 68 orang pelajar perubatan tahun pertama dan kedua yang menawarkan diri untuk percubaan klinikal. Pelajar secara rawak dibahagikan kepada enam kumpulan, yang telah ditemuramah enam kali sepanjang kajian. Pada setiap lawatan, sampel darah yang diambil daripada pelajar-pelajar yang juga menamatkan kaji selidik psikologi yang bertujuan untuk mengukur tahap tekanan, kerisauan atau kemurungan. Para pelajar juga mengisi borang kaji selidik mengenai diet mereka pada minggu sebelumnya.

Sebahagian pelajar menerima suplemen omega-3 manakala sebahagian lagi diberikan pil plasebo.

"Makanan tambahan ini mungkin kira-kira empat atau lima kali ganda jumlah minyak ikan yang anda perolehi dari hidangan harian seperti salmon," jelas Martha Belury, profesor nutrisi manusia dan pengarang bersama kajian.

Sebahagian daripada kajian itu, bagaimanapun, tidak mengikut perancangan.

Perubahan dalam kurikulum perubatan dan pengagihan ujian utama sepanjang tahun, berbanding dalam tempoh tiga hari yang tegang sebagaimana yang telah dilakukan pada masa lalu, menghilangkan banyak tekanan yang pelajar-pelajar perubatan tunjukkan dalam kajian yang lalu.

"Pelajar-pelajar ini tidak gelisah. Mereka tidak benar-benar tertekan. Mereka sebenarnya tidur dengan selesa sepanjang tempoh ini, jadi kami tidak dapat mengesan tekanan yang kami jangkakan," kata Kiecolt-Glaser.

Tetapi kaji selidik psikologi dengan jelas menunjukkan perubahan penting dalam kemurungan di kalangan pelajar: Mereka yang menerima suplemen omega-3 menunjukkan pengurangan sebanyak 20 peratus dalam kemurungan berbanding dengan kumpulan plasebo.

Satu analisis sampel darah daripada pelajar-pelajar perubatan menunjukkan keputusan penting yang sama.

"Kami telah mengambil ukuran cytokines dalam serum darah, serta mengukur produktiviti sel yang menghasilkan dua cytokines penting, interleukin-6 (IL-6) dan faktor tumor necrosis alfa (TNFa)," kata Ron Glaser, profesor virologi molekular, imunologi & perubatan genetik dan pengarah Institut Penyelidikan Perubatan Tingkahlaku.

"Kami melihat pengurangan 14 peratus dalam jumlah IL-6 di kalangan pelajar-pelajar yang menerima omega-3." Oleh kerana cytokines menggalakkan keradangan, "apa-apa yang boleh kita lakukan untuk mengurangkan cytokines adalah perkara tambahan yang besar dalam berurusan dengan kesihatan umum bagi mereka yang berisiko untuk mendapat banyak penyakit," katanya.

Walaupun keradangan adalah tindak balas imun semula jadi yang membantu tubuh sembuh, ia juga boleh membahayakan dalam pelbagai penyakit yang bermula dari artritis hingga penyakit jantung dan kanser.

Walaupun kajian menunjukkan kesan positif suplemen omega-3 dalam peranannya mengurangkan kemurungan dan keradangan, penyelidik tidak bersedia untuk mengesyorkan kepada umum tentang pengambilannya dalam diet harian.

"Ia mungkin terlalu awal untuk mengesyorkan penggunaan meluas suplemen omega-3 kepada umum, terutamanya mempertimbangkan kos dan bekalan ikan yang diperlukan untuk bekalan minyak yang terhad," kata Belury. "Orang ramai hanya perlu mengambil kira peningkatan pengambilan omega-3 melalui diet mereka."

Beberapa penyelidik, bagaimanapun, mengakui bahawa mereka mengambil suplemen omega-3.

Sumber berita : Ohio State University news release, 13-Jul-2011

15 Minutes of Moderate Daily Exercise Lengthens Life

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Those who engaged in low-volume exercise had lower death rates than inactive people regardless of age, gender, health status, tobacco use, alcohol consumption or cardiovascular disease risk.

Health benefits of physical activity found to begin before people reach the half-hour standard

Taiwanese who exercise for 15 minutes a day, or 92 minutes per week, extended their expected lifespan by three years compared to people who are inactive, according to a study published in the August 16, 2011 online edition of The Lancet.

The authors reported that exercising at very light levels reduced deaths from any cause by 14 percent. The benefits appear to be significant even without reaching the WHO recommended 150 minutes per week.

They found that a person’s risk of death from any cause decreased by 4 percent for every additional 15 minutes of exercise up to 100 minutes a day over the course of the study. Those exercising for 30 minutes daily added about four years to life expectancy and these benefits were applicable to all age groups, both sexes and those with cardiovascular disease risk.

The prospective observational study involved 416,175 Taiwanese who participated in a standard medical screening program run by MJ Health Management Institution between 1996 and 2008. Participants were followed for an average of eight years.

For the exercise study, participants completed a questionnaire covering their medical history and lifestyle information. They characterized their weekly physical activity for the previous month by intensity – light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging) or high vigorous (running) – and time.

To account for occupational effects, participants also characterized their physical activity at work, ranging from sedentary to hard physical labor.

Those who reported less than one hour a week of leisure time physical activity were classified as inactive – 54 percent of all participants. Others were classified as low, medium, high or very high based on the duration and intensity of their exercise.

Researchers calculated mortality risk and life expectancy for each group.

Thirteen other variables were analyzed: age, sex, education level, physical labor at work, smoking, alcohol use, fasting blood sugar, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension and history of cancer.

Those who engaged in low-volume exercise had lower death rates than inactive people regardless of age, gender, health status, tobacco use, alcohol consumption or cardiovascular disease risk.

The researchers note that the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. A third of U.S. adults meet that guideline; about 20 percent of adults in China, Japan or Taiwan meet it.

“A recommendation of 15 minutes of daily exercise should be promoted to East Asian populations,” the authors note.

“These findings can stimulate people to exercise as much as they can and to not be frustrated that they can't reach the 30 minute per day guideline.”

This is the first collaboration between Wu, Wen and the MJ Health Group, a major health screening company with more than 600,000 participants in its health database. They have formed the Asian Health Screening Cohort to conduct major research projects. Wu provides scientific expertise with Wen, who also is based at China Medical University Hospital, while MJ Health Group contributes patient epidemiological and clinical data as well as a biobank of tissue samples.

Two other ongoing collaborative projects include development of a liver cancer risk prediction model and a study of telomere length, genetic variation and cancer risk. The second project is funded by an MD Anderson Sister Institute Network Fund Grant. MD Anderson and China Medical University Hospital have a sister institution agreement.

The exercise project was funded by the Taiwan Department of Health Clinical Trial and Research Center of Excellence and the Taiwan National Health Research Institutes.

Senior author Xifeng Wu is professor and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Epidemiology. Co-lead authors are Chi-Pang Wen hails from the National Health Research Institutes and Jackson Pui Man Wai of the Institute of Sport Science, National Taiwan Sport University. The other participants are Min Kuang Tsai, Yi Chen Yang and Hui Ting Chan of the Institute of Population Science, Taiwan National Health Research Institutes; Ting Yuan David Cheng, University of Washington Department of Epidemiology; Meng-Chih Lee, Institute of Medicine and Department of Family and Community Medicine, Chung Shan Medical University and Hospital; Chwen Keng Tsao of MJ Health Management Insitution; and Shan Pou Tsai, The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston. Tsai and Yang also are with the China Medical University Hospital.

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from materials provided by University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Journal Reference:

Chi Pang Wen, Jackson Pui Man Wai, Min Kuang Tsai, Yi Chen Yang, Ting Yuan David Cheng, Meng-Chih Lee, Hui Ting Chan, Chwen Keng Tsao, Shan Pou Tsai, Xifeng Wu. Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60749-6

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dementia TEST no. 1 and Dementia TEST no. 2

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Concerned over our switch to biweekly publication of the Zestzfulness, SC Khoo sent us this to test if our mind has slowed down:


Question 1 : YOU ARE IN A RACE: You over take the 2nd person.. What position are you in?

Question 2 : YOU ARE IN A RACE You over take the last person. What position are you in?

Question 3 : TAKE 1000 and add 40 • add another 1000 to it • now add 20 • now add another 1000 • now add another 1000 • now add 30 • now add 10. What is the Total?

Question 4 : Mary’s father has 5 daughters: 1. nana, 2. nene, 3. nini, 4. nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?

Question 5 : A mute person goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done. Next a blind man comes into the shop who wants to by a pair of does HE indicate what he wants?

ANSWER to Question 1:

2ND POSITION If you answered 1st then you are wrong! Taking over 1st position would put you in 1st place. Try to get the next one right ok?

ANSWER to Question 2:

If you answered 2nd to last then you are wrong again! Tell me how you would over take the LAST person... Are you trying to get these right?? I wasn’t very good question...

ANSWER to Question 3:

DID YOU GET 5000? Too bad because the Correct answer is: 4100 Now check it with a calculator... Today just isn’t your day is it?

ANSWER to Question 4:

DID YOU ANSWER: NUNU? Wrong again. Her name is Mary; read the question again!

ANSWER to Question 5:


* This is NOT designed to diagnose in any way shape or form. It is for FUN.


Stung by SC Khoo’s concern, we decided to take the 15-minute online quiz called the Cognitive Function Test.

This test has been developed by an Oxford University team of scientists, which they claim can help detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosing the most common form of dementia, much earlier than it might be spotted.

The test has three sections using computer-based tasks and games for measuring different parts of the memory. It should be kept in mind though, the test does not replace a doctor’s check-up, which will need to be continued to be done to find out if the diagnosis is correct.

The instant result provided by doing the quiz will help set their minds at rest, or encourage a visit to their doctor for a check-up, much sooner than they would have.

Scientists are of the opinion, it will prove helpful for all those people who believe a stigma is attached to admitting suffering from memory problems. As well, lifestyle and diet guidance will also be provided for slowing down the condition from developing further.

The free test developed by British scientists follows a study published last year that credited a vitamin pill with reducing brain shrinkage associated with the disease, by up to five times.

According to the study, when taken early the vitamin pill proved to be most effective.

The computer-based interactive quiz is capable of spotting signs of the debilitating brain disease in people as young as 50 years, including helping in delaying or preventing the condition by advising simple diet and lifestyle changes.

Experts say delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years could halve the number of people who die of the condition, currently a third of whom are over-65 years of age. This has led to scientists worldwide working on developing blood and other tests for early diagnosis of the disease.

.....we forgot our results. Take your test but don't forget to send your result.

Too Much Salt In Diet And Too Little Exercise Increases Risk Of Cognitive Decline

Older adults with too much salt in their diet and too little exercise at greater risk of cognitive decline

Older adults who lead sedentary lifestyles and consume a lot of sodium in their diet may be putting themselves at risk for more than just heart disease.

A study led by researchers at Baycrest in Toronto – in collaboration with colleagues at the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, McGill University and the University of Sherbrooke – has found evidence that high-salt diets coupled with low physical activity can be detrimental to cognitive health in older adults.

The finding may have significant public health implications, emphasizing the importance of addressing multiple lifestyle factors that can impact brain health.

The study followed the sodium consumption and physical activity levels of 1,262 healthy older men and women (ages 67 – 84) residing in Quebec, Canada, over three years. The adults were recruited from a large pool of participants in the Quebec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging (NuAge).

While low sodium intake is associated with reduced blood pressure and risk of heart disease, this is believed to be the first study to extend the benefits of a low sodium diet to brain health in healthy older adults.

“We have generated important evidence that sodium intake not only impacts heart health, but brain health as well,” said Dr. Alexandra Fiocco, a scientist with Baycrest’s Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit (KLAERU) and the study’s lead investigator.

Health Canada’s sodium reduction strategy recommends that people 14 years of age and older consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day in their diet. In the Baycrest study, senior participants were assessed as low, mid or high level sodium consumers based on a food frequency questionnaire they each completed. Low sodium intake was defined as not exceeding 2,263 mg/day; mid sodium intake 3,090 mg/day; and high sodium intake 3,091 and greater (this went as high as 8,098) mg/day.

Researchers used a modified Mini-Mental State Examination to measure cognitive function in participants at year one (baseline) and annually for three additional years. Physical activity levels were measured using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly.

“The results of our study showed that a diet high in sodium, combined with little exercise, was especially detrimental to the cognitive performance of older adults,” said Dr. Fiocco.

“But the good news is that sedentary older adults showed no cognitive decline over the three years that we followed them if they had low sodium intake.”

“These data are especially relevant as we know that munching on high-salt processed snacks when engaged in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing in front of the computer, is a frequent pastime for many adults,” said Dr. Greenwood, a senior author on the study and internationally-renowned scientist in the field of nutrition and cognitive function in late life.

“This study addresses an additional risk associated with lifestyles that are highly apparent in North American populations.”

With brain failure rates expected to rise significantly as Canada’s large boomer demographic ages, educating the public about lifestyle changes that can help delay or prevent normal, age-related cognitive decline – including adopting a healthier diet – is a way to give people some control over how their brain health will hold up in later years, said Dr. Greenwood, a senior scientist with Baycrest’s KLAERU and professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto.

The study entitled “Sodium intake and physical activity impact cognitive maintenance in older adults: the NuAge Study” appeared online on 2011 Aug 18 in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, ahead of print publication. It was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Besides Drs. Fiocco and Greenwood, the other researchers in this study are Bryna Shatenstein, Guylaine Ferland, Hélène Payette, Sylvie Belleville, Marie-Jeanne Kergoat and José A. Morais.

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from materials obtained from Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

Affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest is a global leader in developing and providing innovations in aging and brain health. It has one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, dedicated centres focused on mitigating the impact of age-related illness and impairment, and unmatched global knowledge exchange and commercialization capacity.

The Vaseline Story

A man doing market research for the Vaseline Company knocked at the door and was greeted by a young woman with three small children running around at her feet.

"I'm doing some research for Vaseline. Have you ever used the product?"

She said, "Yes. My husband and I use it all the time."

"If you don't mind my asking," he said, "what do you use it for?"

"We use it for sex," she said.

The researcher was a little taken aback. "Usually people lie to me and say they use it on a child's bicycle chain or to help with a gate hinge. But, in fact, I know that most people do use it for sex. I admire you for your honesty. Since you've been so frank so far, can you tell me exactly HOW you use it for sex?"

The woman said, "I don't mind telling you at all. My husband and I put it on the doorknob and it keeps the kids out."

Both the joke and the picture were forwarded to us by Wai Yin, the unemployed (happily retired, actually) pharmacist of University Garden. The original author cannot be located but we wait with bated breath for Wai Yin’s spin on this Vaseline Lip Therapy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Omega-3 Reduces Anxiety and Inflammation in Healthy Students

Picture credit :

A new study gauging the impact of consuming more fish oil showed a marked reduction both in inflammation and, surprisingly, in anxiety among a cohort of healthy young people.

The findings suggest that if young participants can get such improvements from specific dietary supplements, then the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more.

The findings by a team of researchers at Ohio State University were just published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. It is the latest from more than three decades of research into links between psychological stress and immunity.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have long been considered as positive additives to the diet. Earlier research suggested that the compounds might play a role in reducing the level of cytokines in the body, compounds that promote inflammation, and perhaps even reduce depression.

Psychological stress has repeatedly been shown to increase cytokine production so the researchers wondered if increasing omega-3 might mitigate that process, reducing inflammation.

To test their theory, they turned to a familiar group of research subjects – medical students. Some of the earliest work these scientists did showed that stress from important medical school tests lowered students' immune status.

"We hypothesized that giving some students omega-3 supplements would decrease their production of proinflammatory cytokines, compared to other students who only received a placebo," explained Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychology and psychiatry.

"We thought the omega-3 would reduce the stress-induced increase in cytokines that normally arose from nervousness over the tests."

The team assembled a field of 68 first- and second-year medical students who volunteered for the clinical trial. The students were randomly divided into six groups, all of which were interviewed six times during the study. At each visit, blood samples were drawn from the students who also completed a battery of psychological surveys intended to gauge their levels of stress, anxiety or depression. The students also completed questionnaires about their diets during the previous weeks.

Half the students received omega-3 supplements while the other half were given placebo pills.

"The supplement was probably about four or five times the amount of fish oil you'd get from a daily serving of salmon, for example," explained Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition and co-author in the study.

Part of the study, however, didn't go according to plans.

Changes in the medical curriculum and the distribution of major tests throughout the year, rather than during a tense three-day period as was done in the past, removed much of the stress that medical students had shown in past studies.

"These students were not anxious. They weren't really stressed. They were actually sleeping well throughout this period, so we didn't get the stress effect we had expected," Kiecolt-Glaser said.

But the psychological surveys clearly showed an important change in anxiety among the students: Those receiving the omega-3 showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety compared to the placebo group.

An analysis of the of the blood samples from the medical students showed similar important results.

"We took measurements of the cytokines in the blood serum, as well as measured the productivity of cells that produced two important cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa)," said Ron Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology & medical genetics and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

"We saw a 14 percent reduction in the amounts of IL-6 among the students receiving the omega-3." Since the cytokines foster inflammation, "anything we can do to reduce cytokines is a big plus in dealing with the overall health of people at risk for many diseases," he said.

While inflammation is a natural immune response that helps the body heal, it also can play a harmful role in a host of diseases ranging from arthritis to heart disease to cancer.

While the study showed the positive impact omega-3 supplements can play in reducing both anxiety and inflammation, the researchers aren't willing to recommend that the public start adding them to the daily diet.

"It may be too early to recommend a broad use of omega-3 supplements throughout the public, especially considering the cost and the limited supplies of fish needed to supply the oil," Belury said. "People should just consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet."

Some of the researchers, however, acknowledged that they take omega-3 supplements.

Source :

Ohio State University news release, 13-Jul-2011

Ya, Anda Boleh Mencegah Alzheimer

KC Khoo mengemukakan 10 strategi yang diperolehi dalam buku terbaru Jean Carper

"100 Perkara Mudah Yang Anda Boleh Lakukan Untuk Mencegah Alzheimer dan Kehilangan Memori Seiring Usia"

Minum kopi. Flip-flop yang menakjubkan, kopi adalah tonik otak yang terbaru. Kebanyakan kajian di Eropah menunjukkan bahawa dengan minum 3-5 cawan kopi sehari pada pertengahan usia mengurangkan risiko Alzheimer sebanyak 65% di usia lanjut. Penyelidik Gary Arendash dari Universiti South Florida yakin pada kafein: Beliau berkata, ia mengurangkan amiloid-penyebab demensia dalam otak haiwan. Yang lain pula yakin pada antioksidan yang terdapat dalam kopi. Jadi, Arendash menasihati, minumlah kopi, melainkan jika doktor anda melarangnya.

Floss. Menakjubkan, kesihatan gigi dan gusi anda boleh membantu meramalkan demensia. Penyelidik dari Universiti Southern California mendapati bahawa mempunyai penyakit periodontal sebelum umur 35 tahun empat kali ganda berkemungkinan mendapat demensia beberapa tahun kemudian. Kajian-kajian lain menunjukkan orang yang lebih tua dengan penyakit gigi dan gusi mendapat skor yang lebih rendah pada ujian ingatan dan kognisi. Pakar berspekulasi bahawa radang dalam mulut yang berpenyakit berhijrah ke otak.

Google. Membuat pencarian di dalam laman sesawang boleh merangsang penuaan otak lebih daripada membaca buku, kata Gary Small dari UCLA, yang menggunakan MRI otak untuk membuktikannya. Kejutan terbesar: pelayar internet Novice, berumur antara 55-78 tahun, mengaktifkan memori utama dan pusat pembelajaran di dalam otak hanya selepas seminggu melayari laman sesawang selama satu jam sehari.

Tumbuh sel-sel otak yang baru. Saintis pernah berkata ianya mustahil. Kini dipercayai bahawa beribu-ribu sel-sel otak dilahirkan setiap hari. Keajaiban tersebut untuk memastikan bayi yang baru lahir hidup. Bagaimana terhasil: senaman aerobik (seperti berjalan pantas 30 minit setiap hari), aktiviti mental yang berat, makan ikan salmon dan ikan berlemak yang lain, dan elakkan kegemukan, tekanan kronik, kurang tidur, minum beralkohol dan kekurangan vitamin B.

Minum jus epal. Jus epal boleh meningkatkan pengeluaran asetilkolina "memori kimia"; yang mana cara kerjanya mirip dengan ubat Alzheimer popular Aricept, kata Thomas Shea, Ph.D., Universiti Massachusetts. Dia terkejut bahawa tikus tua yang diberi epal jus melakukan ujian pembelajaran dan ingatan yang lebih baik daripada tikus yang menerima air. Dos untuk manusia: 16 auns, atau 2-3 biji epal sehari.

Lindungi kepala anda. Pukulan ke kepala, walaupun perlahan yang berlaku diawal usia, boleh meningkatkan kemungkinan terjadinya demensia dikemudian hari. Pemain bola sepak pro mempunyai sebanyak 19 kali kadar biasa penyakit yang berkaitan dengan ingatan. Alzheimer adalah empat kali ganda lebih biasa terjadi pada warga tua yang mengalami kecederaan kepala, menurut Universiti Columbia. Dalam kajian yang lain, tidak sengaja terjatuh berkemungkinan menyebabkan dimensia pada orang tua dua kali ganda selepas lima tahun kemudian. Jangan mengambil sebarang risiko, pakailah tali pinggang keledar dan topi keledar, elakkan dari terjatuh semasa di rumah.

Imbasan otak menunjukkan bahawa orang-orang yang bermeditasi secara tetap kurang mengalami penurunan kognitif dan pengecutan otak - tanda klasik Alzheimer – seiring usia. Andrew Newberg dari Sekolah Perubatan Universiti Pennsylvania mengatakan meditasi yoga12 minit sehari selama dua bulan meningkatkan pengaliran darah dan fungsi kognitif pada warga tua yang menghadapi masalah ingatan.

Ambil Vitamin D. "kekurangan serius" vitamin D meningkatkan risiko kemerosotan nilai kognitif sebanyak 394% terhadap warga tua Amerika, satu kajian membimbangkan yang ditemui oleh Universiti Exeter England. Dan kebanyakan rakyat Amerika kekurangan vitamin D. Pakar mengesyorkan dos harian vitamin D3 sebanyak 800 IU hingga 2000 IU.

Isi Otak anda. Ia dipanggil "rizab kognitif". Kayakan diri dengan pengalaman hidup - pendidikan, perkahwinan, pergaulan, kerja yang merangsang, kemahiran bahasa, mempunyai satu tujuan dalam hidup, aktiviti fizikal dan mental menuntut aktiviti masa lapang - membuat otak anda lebih baik untuk bertolak ansur menghadapi masalah. Anda juga boleh mendapat patologi Alzheimer yang ketara dan tidak ada tanda-tanda demensia jika anda mempunyai rizab kognitif yang tinggi, kata David Bennett, MD, dari Chicago Rush University Medical Center.

Elakkan jangkitan
. Bukti terbaru menunjukkan hubungan antara Alzheimer dengan "cold sores", ulser perut, penyakit Lyme, radang paru-paru dan selsema. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., Universiti Manchester di England menganggarkan virus herpes simplex "cold sores" melibatkan 60% kes Alzheimer. Teori: Pencetus jangkitan yang berlebihan beta amiloid "gunk" membunuh sel-sel otak. Bukti masih kurang, tetapi kenapa tidak mengelakkan jangkitan biasa dan mengambil vaksin, antibiotik dan ejen antivirus yang sesuai?

Minuman Untuk Memory Yang Baik

Satu cara yang terbaik untuk mengekalkan memori seiring usia anda agar tajam dan mengelakkan Alzheimer adalah dengan minum minuman yang betul.

Tops: Jus. Segelas jus buah-buahan atau sayur-sayuran tiga kali seminggu mengurangkan kemungkinan Alzheimer sebanyak 76% menurut penyelidikan dari Universiti Vanderbilt. Contohnya dengan perlindungan terutamanya: blueberry, jus anggur dan jus epal.
Teh: Hanya secawan teh hitam atau teh hijau seminggu mengurangkan kadar penurunan kognitif pada orang yang lebih tua sebanyak 37%, menurut laporan Persatuan Alzheimer. Hanya teh yang ditapai berkesan. Hindari teh botol, yang tidak mengandungi antioksidan.

Minuman berkafein
. Menakjubkan, kafein melawan hilang ingatan dan Alzheimer, menurut berpuluh-puluh kajian. Sumber terbaik: kopi (salah satu penyelidik Alzheimer minum lima cawan sehari), teh dan coklat. Berhati-hati dengan kafein jika anda mengandung, mempunyai tekanan darah tinggi, insomnia atau kemurungan.

Wain merah: Jika anda minum minuman beralkohol, sedikit wain merah paling sesuai untuk memberi manfaat kepada penuaan otak anda. Ia tinggi antioksidan. Hadkan kepada satu gelas sehari untuk wanita, dua gelas untuk lelaki. Alkohol yang berlebihan, terutamanya sewaktu pesta minum-minum, membawa kepada Alzheimer.

Dua hal perlu dielakan: minuman ringan yang mengandungi gula, terutamanya yang mengandungi pemanis sirap jagung fruktosa yang tinggi. Mereka membuat haiwan makmal terabai. Air dengan kandungan kuprum yang tinggi juga boleh menyebabkan kemungkinan anda mendapat Alzheimer. Gunakan penapis air yang menghilangkan mineral yang berlebihan.

Jean Carper pengarang jualan terbaik New York Times, menyumbang editor untuk Majalah Weekend Amerika Syarikat (700 akhbar-akhbar di seluruh negara dan 50 juta pembaca) dan pihak berkuasa utama kesihatan dan pemakanan. Beliau adalah penulis 24 buku, termasuk “Your Miracle Brain, Miracle Cures, Stop Aging Now!, Food-Your Miracle Medicine, The Food Pharmacy, Jean Carper’s Complete Healthy Cookbook” dan kini, yang terbaru- 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss,” dimana dia menulis mendapati bahawa dia membawa gen utama untuk Alzheimer.