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The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Avoid the Wild Bunch

11 Dec

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do-over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

Recently, one piece of medical news about diet and children’s learning grabbed our attention…

In Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 classic Western, The Wild Bunch, Pike (William Holden), Dutch (Ernest Borgnine), and Deke (Robert Ryan) were former members of a bank- and train-robbing gang in the late 1800s. But the Wild West changed. By 1913 Deke was a bounty hunter pitted against his old gang. Bullets flew when Pike and Dutch tried one last heist. A pretty wild bunch for sure. But why the animosity, Deke?

According to researchers in Germany, what we eat has a lot to do with how we interact socially. For instance, they found a breakfast loaded with refined carbohydrates and few proteins increases “social punishment behavior.” Well, a morning donut might explain why Deke went after Pike and Dutch for trying to rob a bank. Maybe the conflict between old friends was a consequence of a Wild BRunch.

This new insight into the relationship of diet and behavior highlights the importance of a well-designed meal for school-aged children. It’s why healthy food efforts that promote meals that are low in simple carbohydrates, high protein, and contain more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and only low-fat milk and less cheese and processed meat products should be championed, instead of challenged. Healthy meals are one way to help kids achieve productive social interactions, avoid conflicts, and display what the researchers called “fundamental expressions of cognition.”

 So, if you want you and your kids to have more positive social and cognitive interactions, ditch the wild brunch and go with a better lunch.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions to AgeProoflife@gmail.com

Dr. Mike Roizen

 

PS: Please continue to order the new book by Jean Chatzky and myself, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip.

 

 

 

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.
This article is of the opinion of its author.
Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.
You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.
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Protect Yourself from Damaging Personal Care Products!

9 Nov

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do-over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course on what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

In the 1998 comedy, Something About Mary, Chris Elliot’s character (Woogie) breaks out in “love blisters” (hives) every time he encounters Cameron Diaz’s character (the titular Mary). Unfortunately for most folks, it’s much harder to predict what will trigger an unpleasant skin reaction—especially when it comes to encounters with personal hygiene products and makeup.

According to a new report in Jama Internal Medicine online, adverse reactions to personal care products are underreported and the industry is under-regulated. Dr. Steve Xu, the study’s lead author, notes in Europe they’ve banned 1,000 chemicals from personal care products while in the United States, only 10 are forbidden. An accompanying editorial points out that reigning in the industry is a daunting task: “The Office of Cosmetics and Colors within the FDA [Food and Drug Administration ]…is tiny…even considering its limited responsibilities and scope of authority.” At present time, the FDA cannot order a mandatory recall of a harmful cosmetic. In one case, the manufacturer of a hair care product had more than 20,000 complaints about “permanent” hair loss while the FDA only knew about 127 of them—and the product is still being sold!

The most common troublemakers (that we know about) are hair and skin care products that trigger rashes, hair loss, and other dermatological problems. However, there are reports of potentially more serious adverse events, such as cancer or severe allergic reactions.

A recent study by researchers at Northwestern University suggests that many moisturizers promoted as remedies for skin problems like eczema and labeled as `fragrance-free’ or `hypoallergenic’ may still contain chemicals that can cause irritation.  Researchers asked Amazon, Target, and Walmart to name their top 100 best-selling whole-body moisturizers sold online and then they assessed how well these popular products moisturized the skin and whether or not the ingredients within the products might trigger allergic reactions.

The study found that only 21 of the 174 individual products tested were free of allergens.  Roughly 83% of moisturizers labeled “hypoallergenic” contained at least one ingredient believed to potentially cause allergic reactions. Furthermore, 45% of products claiming to be “fragrance-free” actually contained a fragrance or a botanical ingredient.  Thus, for people with sensitive skin or problems like eczema or psoriasis, simply reading labels may not necessarily guarantee a safe or effective product. Many of the moisturizers contained fragrances and chemicals known as parabens, which can cause rashes and worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. This means you can’t assume that moisturizers marketed as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free or even dermatologist-recommended will actually help skin conditions.

For moisturizers, white petroleum or pure shea butter are lower risk, but trusting the labels is not enough. Moisturizers are a great solution for patients with skin disorders because they retain moisture in the skin, reduce inflammation, help prevent infection, are widely available, and can be more affordable than prescription skin remedies.

So how can you know if a shampoo, face cream, moisturizer, or anti-aging potion is safe for you? Try an at-home patch test before using the product. The researchers suggest putting a small amount on the inside of your forearm and monitoring it for 24 hours. It’s not an overly sensitive area, so if the product triggers a reaction there, chances are you’re at risk for a true allergic reaction.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to  AgeProoflife@gmail.com.

 

Dr. Mike Roizen

 

PS: Please continue to order the new book by Jean Chatzky and myself, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip.

 

 

 

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

 

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

 

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Protect Your Ears, Protect Your Brain…

9 Oct

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do-over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course on what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

A few months back, I summarized some secrets from our new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip (released February 28th, 2017).  Some of you must have bought it as the book made it to #10 on the NY Times list and #3 on the Wall Street Journal List.  Thank you.

This month, I want to talk about small choices that can make a major difference in how long you live and your quality of life, or as I like to say, a small change that will make your RealAge much younger: Keeping Your Hearing!

International researchers recently published a study in The Lancet that shows one-in-three cases of dementia could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and being aware of some of the early warning signs—such as mid-life hearing loss—that you might not immediately associate with cognitive decline. For the 16 million people in the United States living with cognitive impairment, that means over five million of them could have dodged the decline. I think more than 30% is preventable, maybe as much as 80% (if you add eating our YOU Diet, stress management, physical activity, avoiding toxins, and doing a few speed of processing games, too).

One major problem for many with hearing loss: they isolate themselves.  Studies show lack of social interaction is linked with cognitive decline.

Your smart steps—get your hearing tested. If it needs help, get help. And keep trying different hearing aids until you find a set that works for you.  Then, stay involved with people—volunteer; reach out to friends and neighbors; and continue your education—that’ll build your cognitive reserve. Do that, and you may cut your chances of developing dementia by 30 percent (or more)!

While we’re on the topic of ears… According to Ohio State University researchers, an average of 34 children under 18 are treated in US hospital emergency departments every day for ear injuries related to the use of cotton-tipped swabs. Around 77 percent occur when a child is using a cotton-tipped applicator.

These common injuries are pushing ear wax further into the ear so it becomes impacted and damages the ear drum—which can cause hearing loss. True, occasionally ear wax does become too much of a good thing, making it hard to hear or just giving you an uncomfortable feeling. Then you need to see your doc to get it safely flushed out. To hear about the right way to clean your ears, Google “the right way to clean your ears Dr. Oz Show” or

So don’t disrespect your ears.  Keep the maximum level on earphones and other devices below the 2/3rds maximum point, too. You’ll live smarter, longer and have a younger RealAge.

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to AgeProoflife@gmail.com.

Dr. Mike Roizen

 

 

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese make great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Know Your Family History

11 Sep

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course on what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

Question: Every time I see a medical professional, I am asked about my parents’ diseases.  I even see ads on TV about getting my genes tested to know my family history. Why the attention to family, and don’t the diseases they have stay the same? Can’t they just get that from the record? And why would they ask me about my spouse since she’s not a blood relative?—Craig, from Dallas

Answer: Let’s first deal with why we care about your family history and why your spouse counts. And although November is Family Health History Month, any holiday (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, President’s Day, even a party on a non-holiday) is the perfect time to gather the information you and your healthcare team need to craft a roadmap for preventing disease. Your doctor asks about family history repeatedly because your family may have developed new problems (especially living brothers and/or sisters) or you may have remembered other ones you didn’t tell them about. And they ask about your spouse because your spouse lives with you (at least we hope so) and thus shares the same environmental exposures and likely, similar risks. Yes, she or he is a non-blood relative, but you serve as each other’s personal coal mine canary. Also, even though you don’t share DNA, your spouse influences your health far more than your aunt Sadie in Perth Amboy.  Auntie may have a cholesterol count that would bring a Guinness World Records rep to her door, but she isn’t filling your day-to-day life with cigarette smoke, bacon, beer, and lost-sock arguments.  The only thing worse for your health and longevity than having a spouse is not having one, in fact.

Knowing funny stories about your relatives makes for great fun at family gatherings — but knowing that three of your ancestors had diabetes or that your grandmother had breast cancer at an early age may help you and your children live longer healthier lives. That is right: When you know what you are most likely to get, you can tailor preventive care for conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate.

The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait website (familyhistory.hhs.gov) helps you here. Start with the info you know off-hand. You want to record each relative’s birth date and (if applicable) death date, the jobs they performed (as certain occupations can strongly affect health), and—most important—any diseases they had that may have a genetic link.  Your doctor can clarify this if you aren’t certain about the disease or if it was never diagnosed.  Just list the symptoms the person had (memory loss, for example).  While you’re at it, you might as well jot down any other interesting tidbits in case your kids get curious about their roots one day.

If you’re like most people, it’ll be about 14 percent complete when your brain is tapped.  You’ll need to do some investigating, Columbo-style, so see the ideas (below) for the family interrogation protocol. Hopefully, you won’t have to interrogate more than a handful of relatives in this manner.

If you hail from a litter of fourteen and have more aunts than a cartoon picnic, however, just remember to keep your radar sharp for two factors:  serious illness or death before age sixty and potentially fatal conditions.  Either can be more important than how close you and your relative are in the bloodline.  For example, your uncle’s pancreatic cancer at age fifty-three would likely be more alarming to us than your mother’s heart fibrillations at age seventy.  At a bare minimum, you need to know why your parents and grandparents died, if they’re now gone.

No family picnic or Thanksgiving bash? No problem. First search for your family’s historian.  Most families have at least one great storyteller—a grandfather or an aunt who knows all about the family’s past. Identify that person, and ask him or her to give you details about medical conditions that are common in your family.

No family historian and no bash?  Still no problem. Shaking down family for health details needn’t always be a horribly awkward task.  Remember that half will always talk about the other half, so go the gossip route if it’s easier.  If you want to be direct, just grab your reporter’s pad and pen, dial the phone or meet the relative at the early-bird diner, and repeat this checklist (feel free to ad-lib).  You might consider an opener like this:

“Hello, (relative).  I know you haven’t heard from me since (year), but I’m putting my family health history together to see if I’m at risk for anything genetic, and I thought you could tell me a few things I just can’t find anywhere else.  (Another relative he or she dislikes) said you probably wouldn’t help me or wouldn’t be able to remember, but I thought I’d try anyway.”

  • When were you born?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any diseases? When?
  • What kind of treatment did you get?
  • Any cancers? Diabetes?  Heart problems?  High blood pressure?  Do you take any medications or supplements?  If so, why?
  • Any surgeries? When, and for what?
  • Ever have a bout of depression, anxiety, or other emotional health problems? (Ask relative this family member dislikes for an immediate answer.)
  • Any miscarriages, stillbirths, or infant deaths? 
  • Any heart attacks or strokes? (Pretend you suddenly remember and ask if the flowers made it.) 
  • How’s your hearing? (Whispered.)
  • Do you or did you smoke or drink?
  • What jobs did you have?
  • Has your memory deteriorated?
  • So, that thing growing on (another relative)—is that skin cancer or what?

Once you have a good family history in place, don’t keep it to yourself—talk to your healthcare team about it—it is a springboard for discussions about your and your family members’ health.  In the old days, you couldn’t do much about your family health history but wring your hands and worry. Now, because of research, you can take action. Genetic counselors and genetic physicians can evaluate you for risks, diagnose diseases early and seek appropriate treatments or preventive measures. Family health history can and should be empowering.

And your bottom-line question to your doctor is always the same:  If there’s a genetic link associated with this condition, how can I prevent it? Genetic testing will get more accurate but isn’t there yet.  Until it is, a robust and accurate family history can help, but remember it is you that have to do the work to prevent the potential problem.  But believe us, prevention works, and it is fun.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to AgeProoflife@gmail.com.

Dr. Mike Roizen

 

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Think Before You Ink and How Rosemary Can Improve Your Thinking…

10 Aug

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

In recent months, I’ve shared secrets from of our new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, released February 28th, 2017).  Some of you must have bought it as the book made it to #10 on the NY Times list and #3 on the Wall Street Journal List.  Thank you.  This month, I want to share two tips that may help you live younger and become more Age Proof…

TIP 1 — Think Before You Ink: In 2006, Lucky Diamond Rich was declared “the world’s most tattooed person.” Ink covers every inch of his body—private parts included. For him, it’s too late to think about the downsides, but for those just starting out —or still tattoo-free—this recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning is worth paying attention to.

If the tattoo parlor isn’t sanitary, you may be at risk for contracting an infection, which may require months of antibiotics or hospitalization to treat. Even the cleanest of places, says the FDA, may use unsterile water to dilute pigments or they may have pigments (marked sterile and sealed) that are nonetheless contaminated with mold or bacteria. (It happens more often than you’d think.)

And then there are the inks themselves… Some contain pigments used in printer toner and car paint. The FDA hasn’t approved any pigments for injection into the skin for cosmetic purposes—so it’s the Wild, Wild West when it comes to knowing exactly what’s being pumped into your body. You also risk an allergic reaction to the inks—and allergic rashes can persist for years. Experts also say allergic reactions can pop up—seemingly out of the blue—years after getting a tattoo.

Tattoos can also make you allergic—and sensitized—to other products, such as hair dyes, if they both contain phenylenediamene (PPD). PPD was designated the contact allergen of the year in 2006 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society!

So think before you ink—your skin has to last a lifetime!

TIP 2 — Enjoy the Fragrance of Rosemary and You May Get Smarter: Rosemary has long been thought to have memory-boosting properties, and now modern science is backing up this theory. In a study presented recently to the British Psychological Society, researchers found that children in a room scented with rosemary did significantly better on memory tasks than those who didn’t get a whiff of the herb. These findings line up with an earlier study the team did that found when adults were exposed to higher concentrations of rosemary aroma, they performed better on cognitive tests. Scientists think a compound called 1,8-cineole found in the plant might help boost an important neurotransmitter in the brain.

If you want to see if you benefit from this aromatic herb, you can make rosemary oil by adding a sprig of rosemary to a bottle of olive oil. Use on salads and chicken. Or grow a houseplant or outdoor bush and enjoy the fragrance. Or get an aromatherapy diffuser and use only an essential oil (no phthalates, please). However, pure rosemary essential oil should be used carefully. If applying topically, first dilute in a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation. Pregnant and breastfeeding? No essential rosemary oil for you. And never ingest it!  The essential oil can be toxic if taken internally, even at low doses.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to AgeProoflife@gmail.com.

Dr. Mike Roizen

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: One Regulation You Should Keep…

10 Jul

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course on what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

In recent months, I shared a summary and some secrets from of our new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip (released February 28th, 2017—thank you to all of you who bought a copy). This month, I want to bring up a concern that may help you (and the rest of America or whatever country you’re from) be AgeProof: Don’t let them ruin your food by doing away with the regulation on Trans Fats.

In 2013, New York banned trans fats in restaurants.  As the ban rolled out over a three-year period, counties that went with the new rule right away experienced a 6.2 percent decrease in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke compared with counties that hadn’t yet adopted the restriction.

A United States-wide ban on trans fats would save about a $150 billion dollars a year in just hospital costs, not to mention the productivity loses that would be averted by fewer people having cardiovascular events. The federal government itself would book over $60 billion in savings.

Thanks to the FDA listing trans fats as not generally regarded as safe (GRAS), as well as docs and healthy eating advocates getting the word out that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (that’s what trans fats are) are unhealthy, Americans now consume 80 percent fewer trans fats than they did a decade ago! And in 2018, we’re set for a nationwide ban.

Trans fats got into the food supply as a way to extend the shelf life of packaged edibles by infusing hydrogen into vegetable oils, transforming them into a more solid state and extending the shelf life of prepared foods and baked goods (and shortening yours—maybe that’s why they call it shortening).

So get trans fats off your plate now. How? Read labels. Don’t eat or buy foods with “partially hydrogenated ” anything on the ingredients list. Understand that the labeling law allows products to claim “0 grams of trans fats” if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. Eating several portions of foods containing some trans fat may boost your total intake to a level high enough to affect your health. Your best bet: Stay clear of prepared and packaged baked goods and foods. You’ll be living with more energy and a younger RealAge.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to  AgeProoflife@gmail.com

Dr. Mike Roizen

 

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.