Causes of different kinds of dementia vary, but about 40% are affected by risk factors a person can influence through lifestyle choices. Two University of Michigan neurologists offer 10 tips for modifying those risks. Keep blood pressure in check. Dr. Judith Heidebrink, a neurologist who is co-leader of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center’s Clinical Core, recommends aiming for a systolic blood pressure (the upper number) of 130 mm Hg or lower from around age 40. This helps reduce risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, heart attack and stroke. Guard your hearing. Wear ear protection around excessive noise to reduce the risk of hearing loss, center director Dr. Henry Paulson urged. Use hearing aids, if needed. A recent study found that older adults who got a hearing aid for their newly diagnosed hearing loss had a lower risk of dementia in the following three years, he pointed out. Support efforts to reduce air pollution. “There is growing evidence linking air pollution — such as the gases and small particles emitted by cars and factories — to cognitive decline and dementia,” Heidebrink said. “Encouragingly, sustained improvements in air quality appear to reduce the risk of dementia.” Prevent head injuries. Wear proper gear when playing contact sports, including a helmet while biking. Don’t forget to use a seat belt in cars. Head injury can disrupt normal brain function.…  read on >  read on >

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s heavily criticized tobacco program promised changes on Friday, including a five-year strategic plan to better outline priorities. “As we enter this era of declining use of combustible tobacco and continued innovation in the e-cigarette industry, the societal concerns are not subtle,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in an agency news release. “Our ability to keep pace with these changes will depend on immediate, short-term and long-term actions the center is taking that we believe will position the agency to more successfully implement our regulatory oversight of tobacco products.” The agency has faced criticism from anti-tobacco advocates, the industry and lawmakers for its past work in cigarette and vaping regulation, the Associated Press reported. An external review commissioned last summer released a report in December that called the FDA “reactive and overwhelmed.” Its workforce was struggling to manage tobacco and largely unauthorized e-cigarettes, the report stated. The FDA’s new strategic plan is expected to outline efforts on e-cigarettes, as well as to be more transparent about FDA decisions, such as mass rejection of applications from e-cigarette makers. Regulators would like to “better communicate” with companies about how the FDA makes decisions, said Brian King, tobacco chief for the agency. “Some things will take longer than others, but we’re committed to getting everything done that we’ve outlined as expeditiously as…  read on >  read on >

Confused about emergency contraception? The experts have you covered. Here’s a breakdown of what emergency contraception is, the different types that are available, the side effects you may experience, and how emergency contraception works. Plus, you’ll find out where you can get emergency contraception. What is emergency contraception? Emergency contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It must be used before a pregnancy occurs. Planned Parenthood states that emergency contraception is not the abortion pill, which is a way to end an early pregnancy. “When used correctly, emergency contraception works well to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It can be useful if birth control fails (like when a condom breaks or slips off), if birth control wasn’t used during sex, or after sexual assault or rape. But there’s a fairly short time in which to use it,” Mount Sinai obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Cynthia Abraham said in a recent blog. Types of emergency contraception There are two main types of emergency contraception, according to the ACOG. These are IUDs (intrauterine devices) and emergency contraception pills. IUDs Copper IUDs are currently the only type of IUD used in emergency contraception. They must be inserted into your uterus by a health care practitioner. The other type of IUD, the levonorgestrel (hormonal) IUD, is used for…  read on >  read on >

Regular exercise at some point in life is a key to better cognitive health in old age, researchers say. Starting sooner is better and sustaining it longer are, too. A new British study has found that exercising at least once a month at any time in adulthood is linked to better thinking and memory function in later life. People who reported being physically active at least one to four times per month in separate surveys at the ages of 36, 43, 53, 60 to 64, and 69 had the biggest benefit. The effect was greater than for those who said they exercised frequently (more than five times a month) during at least one of the study periods but who didn’t necessarily keep it up across several surveys. “Our study suggests that engaging in any leisure-time physical activity, at any point in adult life, has a positive effect on cognition. This seems to be the case even at light levels of activity, between once to four times a month,” said Sarah-Naomi James of the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Aging at University College London. “What’s more, people who have never been active before, and then start to be active in their 60s, also appear to have better cognitive function than those who were never active.” The biggest benefit for thinking and memory function was seen…  read on >  read on >

WEDNESDAY, Feb, 22, 2023Vaginal dryness. It happens to most postmenopausal women, but few talk about it and even fewer get treated for it. Vaginal dryness is a painful condition that occurs when the lining of the vagina does not produce enough lubrication. A healthy vagina has a thick discharge that keeps the tissues lubricated and healthy. When the body no longer makes adequate lubrication, the tissue becomes thin and dry, which may cause discomfort. According to an article in the International Journal of Women’s Health, approximately 50% to 60% of postmenopausal women suffer from this condition. Yet, only 25% receive treatment. Vaginal dryness can wreak havoc on a woman’s quality of life. Painful sexual intimacy can be challenging to navigate in a relationship. Vaginal dryness can also cause discomfort when sitting or exercising, and it can lead to an increase in urinary tract infections (UTIs). Vaginal Dryness Symptoms According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms of vaginal dryness include: Painful sexual intercourse/penetration Itching in the perineum Burning when urinating Irritation of the perineum Bleeding post intercourse Vaginal discharge Recurrent urinary tract infections Vaginal Dryness Causes The Mayo Clinic states that a decrease in the body’s production of estrogen is the primary cause of vaginal dryness. The body’s drop in estrogen levels may be caused by: Perimenopause Menopause Removal of ovaries (oophorectomy) Childbirth Breastfeeding…  read on >  read on >

Stop buying or using Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Eye Ointment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday. The over-the-counter product is made by the same company that makes eye drops that were recalled earlier this year amid an outbreak of a highly drug-resistant bacteria that has hospitalized and blinded patients. Those products, which include EzriCare and Delsam Pharma artificial tears, are manufactured and exported by the Indian company Global Pharma Healthcare Private Limited. The FDA faulted the company for multiple violations, and has banned imports of the company’s items into the United States, CBS News reported. It’s not clear what prompted the most recent warning, CBS News said. At least 16 patients had been hospitalized earlier for an outbreak of the “rare, extensively drug-resistant” Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, a strain that had not been seen in the United States before. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a nationwide health alert about the bacteria. The outbreak involved patients in 12 states. Five were permanently blinded. One had to have an eyeball surgically removed, CBS News reported. A patient in Washington state died when the infection spread to the bloodstream. Federal investigators found opened EzriCare eye drops contaminated with the bacteria at the homes of multiple patients. However, three unopened bottles did not have signs of contamination. Investigators are testing more bottles. Most patients…  read on >  read on >

Combining breathing exercises with gradual aerobic activity may benefit teens who are recovering slowly from a concussion. New research found that while the two therapies each offer benefits, together they led to even greater improvement in thinking and memory skills, depression and mood. The findings are scheduled for presentation in Boston and online at the meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 22 to 27. “When someone has a concussion, it can affect the body’s autonomic nervous system, and it is increasingly clear that this underlies the inability to tolerate exercise, problems with thinking skills and mood issues in those with persisting symptoms,” said study author R. Davis Moore, an assistant professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina. “Our study used a handheld biofeedback device to help people train their breathing to match their heart rate patterns,” Moore said in a meeting news release. “This can help balance the autonomic nervous system and manage symptoms.” Recovery from concussion is considered slow when it takes more than one month for symptoms such as headache, dizziness, depression, mood problems, memory and concentration issues to resolve. Heart rate variability is the range of time between heartbeats. For example, a person may have a range of 60 to 100 beats per minute. After a concussion, all patients have changes in this rate, then typically return…  read on >  read on >

It’s a worry for every man: While in the throes of passion, he experiences premature ejaculation. “Premature ejaculation is the most common male sexual disorder,” Waguih IsHak, a psychiatry professor at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said recently in a health blog. Luckily, it’s also the easiest to treat. “The problem is that some men don’t address it, and it ends up complicating relationships,” IsHak added. The Cleveland Clinic states that between 30% and 40% of men are affected by premature ejaculation, and about 1 in 5 males between the ages of 18 and 59 say they’ve experienced it. Premature ejaculation is typically defined as reaching climax within one minute of penetration, and there are several psychosocial factors that can contribute to the condition — many linked to anxiety. Money troubles, job stress and relationship problems can all contribute to premature ejaculation. To make matters worse, anxiety can be both a cause and an effect. To better understand premature ejaculation, it is important to learn about its causes and some key treatments you can try to better manage the condition and lower the likelihood that it happens in the future. What is premature ejaculation? “The official definition of premature ejaculation is controlled and unwanted ejaculation within a minute or less of penetration. Personally, I think this definition is too limiting,” Harvard Health chief…  read on >  read on >

Parents are role models who can teach their kids about healthy food and exercise habits in childhood to help avoid future health problems. “Children who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes, experience feelings of isolation and struggle with self-esteem,” said Dr. Asma Khan, a pediatrician at OSF HealthCare in Rockland, Ill. Khan offered some tips for giving kids an early start on good health. First, teach them about hunger and fullness cues. It’s easy to eat because of boredom or sadness, but important to recognize when you’re hungry or full. “Starting healthy habits early is the best way to maintain a healthy weight,” Khan said in an OSF news release. Use child-sized plates to make it easier to gauge how much food your child needs in a meal. Half the plate should be filled with fruits and veggies. The other half should be a lean protein, such as fish, chicken or beans, and a whole grain, which might be oatmeal, whole wheat bread or brown rice. Choose healthy snacks such as carrots and hummus, an apple or kale chips. Skip snacks that are high in sugar and fat, such as soda, juice, sports drinks, chips, cookies, candy and cupcakes, except on special occasions. “I also tell parents to limit the junk food that comes into the house. There isn’t as much temptation to…  read on >  read on >