More evidence that exercise can help fight Alzheimer's disease

olderLenny Bernstein in the The Washington Post shared that evidence continues to accumulate that physical activity can help hold off the changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and perhaps the devastating symptoms of the disease itself.

The latest information comes from researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, who looked at 317 late-middle aged adults and determined that those who exercised five times a week or more had fewer of the age-related changes in the brain that are associated with the disease, and did better on cognitive tests.

Age remains the single greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, greater even than having the gene found in many people with the disease, the study confirmed. But “what we have shown here is that physical activity diminishes the deleterious influence of age,” said Ozioma Okonkwo, an assistant professor of medicine at the school who led the study.

People who exercised had less accumulation of “beta amyloid plaque,” the proteins that build up in the brains of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. They had less shrinkage of the hippocampus and less reduction in use of glucose in the brain, two other symptoms of the disease. And they had fewer neurofibrillary tangles, twisted fibers inside brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s. When researchers tested the people who worked out, they did better on memory and visual-spatial tests.

An increasing amount of research has shown that exercise can help hold off Alzheimer’s disease, including this July study that The New York Times called “inspiring.” The University Wisconsin research, published in November in the journal Neurology, adds strong evidence from examinations of the subjects’ brains to support that conclusion.

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Where does the fat go when you lose it?

body-fat-measureLenny Bernstein from The Washington Post shared that you’ve lost a pound of fat. Congrats, that’s not easy to do during the holidays. But where exactly does it go when you manage to get rid of it?

First, some possible answers:

A. The fat fairy came and took it. That’s why you always weigh less in the morning.

B. You converted it to heat and radiated it into the atmosphere.

C. It’s not really lost, it’s just delayed in Cleveland.

D. You released it as carbon dioxide and water through your lungs.

E. You melted it and excreted it in your urine and feces.

If you didn’t answer D, don’t worry too much. Neither did a bunch of doctors and biochemistry students whom Ruben Meerman queried before writing about all this in a short paper released in the British Medical Journal this month.

“We’re going to remove the mystery,” Meerman said in an interview from Sydney, Australia, where he lives. “Right now, most people, including doctors, have got an idea that’s scientifically incorrect. It’s literally impossible to do what they think is happening.”

Meerman is a former physicist who abandoned that career to take up “science communication,” including work for a popular Australian television show, “Catalyst.” Last year, he lost some weight and began to think about what happens on a molecular level to the kilograms of fat he was shedding.

“I had a little bit of understanding you can’t just turn fat into heat,” he said, though that turned out to be a popular answer when he started asking the question.

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Tis The Season for STRESS!

staying-healthyVirgin Heath shared in its 2014 Survey on “The holidays’ impact on employees’ health happiness (& what it means for employers) that it looks like the stress – not to mention all that turkey and eggnog – is weighing on employees’ health.

Sixty-two percent said eating healthy is the hardest aspect of well-being to maintain during the holidays, with 71 percent of respondents saying they eat unhealthily between two and five days a week.

Employees are also have trouble finding time to exercise and aren’t logging enough sleep. Fifty-one percent and 46 percent, respectively, said these were the aspects of well-being they found hardest to maintain during the holidays. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they sleep poorly and 51 percent said they skip exercising between two and five days during the holidays.

Encourage your employees to maintain their healthy habits during the holidays, and all year long. With exercise, sleep, and proper nutrition all proven to have dramatic impacts on people’s performance.

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Rethink Your Drink Campaign

RTYD_Banner2-1024x317One of the objectives in the IAPO Obesity Action Roadmap is to “increase consumption of healthy food and beverages in relation to consumption of unhealthy food and beverages that have minimal nutritional value, such as sugar-sweetened beverages and calorie-dense, low-nutrition fast foods.”  More

Passing a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugary drinks is a long-term goal the coalition defined to help reach the over-arching objective. IAPO members have focused on mobilizing, educating, and advocating with community residents, leaders, and policymakers to reduce access to and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages since the start of IAPO.

A Rethink Your Drink 2014 campaign was kicked off with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declaring February, 2014 as “Rethink Your Drink Month” in Illinois.  More

In the fall of 2013, IAPO developed its first ever legislative agenda for the spring 2014 session of the Illinois General Assembly. Included on the agenda was the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Act, which placed a penny per ounce excise tax on sugary beverages with revenues going to community prevention (50%) and the Illinois Medicaid program (50%).

Governed by a state Council of Agencies with input from an Advisory Board, the funds would help support nutrition and physical activity initiatives, local food systems, school health and wellness, public health departments and infrastructure, active transportation, oral health, and expansion of Medicaid prevention services. While the bill did not pass in the spring 2014 legislative session, IAPO will continue to advocate for this legislative proposal as one tool that could reduce obesity in Illinois.

For quick and fun ideas on how to participate, view the IAPO Rethink Your Drink Toolkit.

Rethink Your Drink Tools and Resources

Join us by hosting educational events in your community and/or sending out educational messages about the health impacts of sugary beverages and how people can take steps to rethink their drinks and reduce consumption of sugary beverages through policy and environmental strategies.


Is there anything that aspirin can't do? Well, maybe

aspirin_2945793kJill U. Adams, Special To The Washington Pos, shared with the Daily Herald Newspaper that aspirin is one of the oldest drugs out there. And yet researchers are still learning what it can — and cannot — do.

It’s clear that daily aspirin can be beneficial for people who have had a heart attack or an ischemic stroke. Scores of studies have shown that this simple treatment reduces the chance of having a repeat heart attack or stroke.

Researchers have long wondered whether the drug might also prevent first heart attacks or first strokes. A new study followed 14,000 Japanese people age 60 and older who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes — three major risk factors for atherosclerosis, which can block arteries and cause heart attack and stroke.

The results, published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no overall benefit to taking an aspirin a day. The study hardly puts the question to rest, however.

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Get smart about antibiotics Nov. 17 – 23

3495411871-1Infections caused by resistant bacteria have become more common, and many bacteria have become resistant to multiple antibiotics. In fact, each year more than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result.

The DuPage County Health Department is joining public health partners across the United States to encourage everyone during Get Smart About Antibiotics Week (Nov. 17-23) to be more aware of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing.

Here is what is known:

  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health threats.
  • Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat lifethreatening bacterial diseases, but antibiotics can have side effects.
  • Antibiotic overuse increases the development of drug-resistant germs.
  • Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, not viral infections. Treating viruses with antibiotics does not work, and it increases the likelihood that you will become ill with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.
  • Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving antibiotic use – ultimately improving medical care and saving lives.

Here is what you can do:

  • Take the antibiotic exactly as the doctor prescribes. Never skip doses or stop taking an antibiotic early unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific types of infections. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
  • Do not save antibiotics for the next illness. Discard any leftover medication once the prescribed course of treatment is completed.
  •  Prevent infections by practicing good hand hygiene and getting recommended vaccines.
  • Do not ask for antibiotics when your doctor thinks you do not need them. Remember antibiotics have side effects. When your doctor says you don’t need an antibiotic, taking one may do more harm than good.

Health Track Holiday Event – Register NOW!

HealthTrack is hosting a free event for members and guests!!  “Healthier Holiday Treats & Party Ideas” takes place Monday, December 1st from 7-7:45pm.  Jess Krauser is leading the event and registration ends November 28th.

htswholidayClick on this link to download the flyer:  HealthyHolidayTreatsFlyer1114


Lunches packed at home are generally not as nutritious as school lunches

unhealthy lbThe Daily Herald also shared this information on November 17, 2014:

Researchers compared more than 750 school meals with more than 560 packed meals given to pre-K and kindergarten students in three schools, analyzing them for nutritional value over five days, CBS News reports.

“We found that packed lunches were of less nutritional quality than school lunches,” said lead researcher Alisha Farris, a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech University.

The packed lunches had more fat, and included more desserts and sugary drinks than the school lunches did, the researchers found.

“There was a spectrum,” Farris said. “There were some really healthy packed lunches. But overall, they were pretty unhealthy.”

The study is published in the November-December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

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The germiest public places

germThe November 17 edition of the Daily Herald Newspaper shared this information:

Cold and flu viruses can live outside of the human body for about 24 hours, Joseph Rubio, the director of microbiology at RB, the makers of Lysol, told So, anytime you’re out in public, it’s likely there’s a cold or flu virus lurking on a surface nearby.

But there are steps you can take to avoid getting sick — washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching public objects, and being wary of commonly germy spaces.

Watch out for these germ-laden hot spots:

Grocery store cart handles: Anything a lot of people touch is going to be dirty, Rubino said. Grocery store shopping carts are one of the worst offenders, especially because you alternate between cart handles and fresh food. Wipe down the handle with a portable cleansing wipe if you can, or at the very least, don’t touch any food directly while you shop, he suggested.

Restaurant table surfaces: When you come in contact with restaurant tables and chairs, “you’re touching something a lot of other people touch,” Rubino said. The heath problems start when you then put your hands to your mouth, eyes or ears.

Salt and pepper shakers or condiments bottles: Rubino said he doesn’t go so far as to only handle such things with a napkin, but it’s a good practice to wash your hands before and after eating and to avoid touching food with your hands after you’ve handled public property, he said.

Take control of your health

Healthy Eating

photo2jAs part of a healthy diet, it is important to get enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Protein is especially important and essential for the health of the immune system.1 Healthy fats, (including EPA and DHA) are important to the immune system as well.2

When choosing foods, make sure you focus on fruits and vegetables because they contain nutrients your body needs such as antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals such aszinc and magnesium.


Mushrooms (shiitake, matsutake, and others) have a long history of helping support the immune system, especially the reishi mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern science has shown that mushrooms contain substances (such as beta-glucans and others) that can enhance immune system function.3

Garlic and onions not only taste great but have research supporting their ability to modulate immune function.4

Herbs such as turmeric,5 ginger,6 and others have long been used as spices and to preserve foods; these herbs also have benefits for our immune system.


Vitamins and minerals can also affect the immune system.7 Vitamins B6, B12, folate, C, E, and minerals zinc, copper, and iron all support an effective immune response.8

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