All Pain Isn’t Created Equal: Head And Face Pain Experienced Differently

Pain is something that we’ve all experienced at some point in our life. The way that you deal with and suffer through pain can be greatly determined by where that pain is located on the body. Researchers have found that pain felt from the head and face can actually be more emotionally draining and disruptive than other types of pain. The reason there is such a notable distinction is because the sensory neurons that are wired from the face and head to the brain reside in an emotional signaling hub. The sensory neurons that are wired from the body to the brain have an indirect connection to this hub.

This is typically why many people loathe experiencing headaches or migraines, reasoning that it’s much more distressing to have to deal with that pain rather than from other parts of the body. In fact, individuals have categorically rated pain felt from teeth, ears, eyes, face and head as much more disruptive and emotionally taxing than pain felt anywhere else on the body.

Duke University scientists wanted to conduct research regarding these differences and to specify what brain waves may experience when face or head pain is felt. It goes much deeper than what our five senses may tell us about sensations but how the experienced sensation causes us to feel emotionally.

Emotional Aspects Of Pain

Due to the direct wiring from the sensory neurons into the brain’s primary and principal emotional signal hubs, this is why the prospects of chronic migraines and neuropathic face pain can be so debilitating. A professor of neurobiology and cell biology Fan Wang, who teaches at Duke explains: “Usually doctors focus on treating the sensation of pain, but this shows that we really need to treat the emotional aspects of pain as well. There has been this observation in human studies that pain in the head and face seems to activate the emotional system more extensively. But the underlying mechanisms remained unclear.”

Wang and his team of researchers wanted to pinpoint just how these two types of pains differed, and in order to do so, they tracked the brain chemistry and activity of mice after aggravating either their face or their paw. Aggravating their face lead to a much higher brain activity than any type of aggravation or pain inflicted onto their paw.

The amount of brain activity was seen in the parabrachial nucleus, commonly referred to as the PBL, which is the region that is directly connected to the brains emotional and instinctive centers. These insights and research findings can potentially help provide necessary insights that would encourage better treatment plans for those who do experience chronic face and head pain.

Understanding why the presence of conditions such as cluster headaches and migraines are so excruciating is better understood when both the chronic nature, as well as the interworking of the connections within the pain sensors that make them so debilitating and painful, are better explained. Identifying a new approach, now that the information on why things are this way for pain above the neck, can be largely helpful in better managing and treating said pain. Perhaps directly dealing with the emotional experience can help to manage the pain and discomfort more thoroughly.

Are We Slowing Down The Age Clock?

The rate of biological aging appears to be more delayed for all Americans – particularly men – which may extend their lives, says recent national heath data. Researchers cite advancements in medicine as one possible reason for the deceleration. A new study by University of Southern California and Yale University researchers suggests that at least part of the gains in life expectancy over recent decades may be due to a change in the rate of biological aging, rather than simply keeping ailing people alive.

“This is the first evidence we have of delayed ‘aging’ among a national sample of Americans,” says senior author Eileen M. Crimmins, University Professor and AARP Professor of Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “A deceleration of the human aging process, whether accomplished through environment or biomedical intervention, would push the timing of aging-related disease and disability incidence closer to the end of life.”

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers examined how biological age, relative to chronological age, changed in the U.S. while considering the contributions of health behaviors. Biological age was calculated using several indicators for metabolism, inflammation, and organ function, including levels of hemoglobin, total cholesterol, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, albumin, and C-reactive protein in blood, as well as blood pressure and breath capacity data.

Improvements Apparent At Older Ages

While all age groups experienced some decrease in biological age, the results suggest that not all people may be faring the same. Older adults experienced the greatest decreases in biological age, and men experienced greater declines in biological age than females. These differences were partially explained by changes in smoking, obesity, and medication use.

“While improvements may take time to manifest, and thus are more apparent at older ages, this could also signal problems for younger people, particularly females, who – if their improvements are more minimal – may not see the same gains in life expectancy as experienced by the generations that came before them,” added lead author Morgan E. Levine, assistant professor at the Yale Center for Research on Aging.

Slowing the pace of aging, along with increasing life expectancy, has important social and economic implications. The study suggests that modifying health behaviors and using prescription medications does have significant impact on the health of the population.

“Life extension without changing the aging rate will have detrimental implications,” Levine said. “Medical care costs will rise as people spend a higher proportion of their lives with disease and disability. However, lifespan extension accomplished through a deceleration of the aging process will lead to lower healthcare expenditures, higher productivity, and greater well-being.”

The Visible Signs Of Aging

Heavy drinking and smoking are linked to visible signs of physical aging, and looking older than one’s years, says research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Light to moderate drinking was not associated with biological aging, the findings showed. Nor was it linked to the slowing of the visible aging process as there was no difference in the prevalence of the signs of aging between light to moderate drinkers and non-drinkers.

They base their findings on information from more than 11,500 adults, whose heart health and visible aging signs were tracked for an average of 11.5 years as part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. This study, which began in 1976, has been monitoring a random sample of Danish people over the age of 20 living in the Copenhagen area from 1981 to 1983, from 1991 to 1994, and from 2001 to 2003.

Participants were quizzed about their lifestyle and general health and asked how much they drank and smoked. They were also checked for four signs of aging that have previously been linked to a heightened risk of cardiovascular ill health or death – earlobe creases, a grayish-opaque colored ring or arc around the peripheral cornea of both eyes – called arcus coneae, yellow-orange plaques on the eyelids – called xanthelasmata, and male pattern baldness.

The average age of the participants was 51, but ranged from 21 to 86 among the women, and from 21 to 93 among the men. Average alcohol consumption was 2.6 drinks per week for women and 11.4 for men. Just over half the women – or 57 percent – and around two thirds of the men – 67 percent – were current smokers. Arcus coneae was the most common sign of aging among both sexes, with a prevalence of 60 percent among men over 70 and among women over 80. The least common sign was xanthelasmata, with a prevalence of five percent among men and women over 50. A receding hairline was common among men, with 80 percent of those over the age of 40 affected.

Looking Older Than Your Actual Age

Analysis of drinking and smoking patterns revealed a consistently heightened risk of looking older than one’s true age and developing arcus coneae, earlobe creases, and xanthelasmata among those who smoked and drank heavily. For example, compared with a weekly alcohol intake of up to seven drinks, a tally of 28 or more was associated with a 33 percent heightened risk of arcus coneae among the women, and a 35 percent heightened risk among men who had 35 or more drinks every week.

Similarly, compared with not smoking, smoking one pack of 20 cigarettes daily for between 15 and 30 years was associated with a 41 percent heightened risk among women and a 12 percent heightened risk among men. The occurrence of the visible signs of aging was no different among light to moderate drinkers than it was among non-drinkers. Male pattern baldness was not consistently associated with heavy drinking or smoking, possibly because it is strongly influenced by genes and circulating levels of male hormones.

This is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, particularly as the data on smoking and drinking relied on personal recall, which is subject to bias. And while the researchers took account of a range of potentially influential factors, they were unable to take account of stress, which is associated with cardiovascular disease risk, smoking, and heavier drinking.

This is the first prospective study to show that alcohol and smoking are associated with the development of visible age-related signs and thus generally looking older than one’s actual age. This may reflect that heavy drinking and smoking increases general aging of the body.

Eating Less Can Slow The Aging Process

Recent research published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics offers one glimpse into how cutting calories impacts aging inside a cell. The researchers found that when ribosomes – the cell’s protein makers – slow down, the aging process slows too. The decreased speed lowers production but gives ribosomes extra time to repair themselves. “The ribosome is a very complex machine, sort of like your car, and it periodically needs maintenance to replace the parts that wear out the fastest,” said John Price, Brigham Young University biochemistry professor and senior author. “When tires wear out, you don’t throw the whole car away and buy new ones. It’s cheaper to replace the tires.”

So what causes ribosome production to slow down in the first place? At least for mice it is reduced calorie consumption. Price and his fellow researchers observed two groups of mice. One group had unlimited access to food while the other was restricted to consume 35 percent fewer calories, though still receiving all the necessary nutrients for survival. “When you restrict calorie consumption, there’s almost a linear increase in lifespan,” Price said. “We inferred that the restriction caused real biochemical changes that slowed down the rate of aging.”

This research team isn’t the first to make the connection between cut calories and lifespan, but they were the first to show that general protein synthesis slows down and to recognize the ribosome’s role in facilitating those youth-extending biochemical changes. “The calorie-restricted mice are more energetic and suffered fewer diseases,” Price said. “And it’s not just that they’re living longer, but because they’re better at maintaining their bodies, they’re younger for longer as well.”

Ribosomes are expensive and important. They use 10 to 20 percent of the cell’s total energy to build all the proteins necessary for the cell to operate. Because of this, it’s impractical to destroy an entire ribosome when it starts to malfunction. Repairing individual parts of the ribosome on a regular basis enables ribosomes to continue producing high-quality proteins for longer than they would otherwise. This top-quality production in turn keeps cells and the entire body functioning well.

Despite this study’s observed connection between consuming fewer calories and improved lifespan, Price assured that people shouldn’t start counting calories and expect to stay forever young. Calorie restriction has not been tested in humans as an anti-aging strategy, and the essential message is understanding the importance of taking care of our bodies. “Food isn’t just material to be burned – it’s a signal that tells our body and cells how to respond. We’re getting down to the mechanisms of aging, which may help us make more educated decisions about what we eat.”

Eating Better Improves Physical Fitness In Old Age

People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don’t, says a recent study led by the University of Southampton. Scientists from the University’s Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Uni looked at the dietary patterns of a group of 969 British men and women whose lifestyles have been monitored since they were born in March 1946.

Using information collected at four points in their adult lives – between 36 and 60 to 64 years – they examined diet at different ages in relation to three standard measures of physical function at age 60 to 64 – chair rise, timed up-and-go speeds, and standing balance. The study, published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, is one of the first to look at the long-term benefits of healthier diets across adulthood for physical function in older age. It showed that those who ate more fruits, vegetables and wholegrain cereals, and fewer highly processed foods, across adulthood performed better in the three tests of physical function in older age.

In addition, the study found evidence of better performance in two of the measures – chair rise speed and standing balance time – among participants whose quality of diet had improved across adulthood. “Improving the quality of your diet can have a beneficial effect on health whatever your age,” says Sian Robinson, lead author and Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology at the University of Southampton. “However, this study suggests that making good dietary choices throughout adulthood – by cutting down on highly processed foods and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet – can have a significant beneficial effect on strength and physical performance later in life, helping to ensure a much healthier old age.”

The link between dietary patterns and frailty in older people will open the door to effective interventions against the age-related decline in musculoskeletal function, which is such a growing cause of disability in aging populations worldwide.

Air Quality: The Number One Environmental Threat

The state of our environment has been the source of much debate and discussion for the last decade with increasing regularity. This is because it has become apparent that the over consumption and irresponsible way many of us discard waste and overly pollute the environment causes real, lasting harm.

While it’s heart-wrenching when videos of ocean animals are seen combating materials never meant for the water, it seems that the number one threat to public safety, in terms of our health, is actually the state of air quality. This means that the ecosystem that we currently exist in isn’t properly supplying the kind of healthy air that our lungs actually need. This could be devastating in years to come.

Environment Suitability

A report, compiled by researchers from Yale and Columbia, who joined forces with the World Economic Forum, was able to rank environment suitability based on country. There are some countries that have stricter laws and practices to protect the environment and have better air quality as a result. Switzerland is the country that outranked all the rest with the strongest performance in both climate protection and quality of air. They have made long-standing commitments to preserving and emboldening natural resources, mitigating pollution, and protecting the health of the public.

Countries that are near the bottom of the ranking are India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. These three countries’ populations are exceedingly high and they have low scores on numerous impacting entities – lack of sustainability, bad air quality, and high levels of breathable toxins in the air.

The United States is ranked 27th. This puts us much lower on the list than many developed, first-world nations. The U.S. is ranked behind the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and France. For all intents and purposes, we’re doing a terrible job at creating a sustainable and positive change for the environment. Some scientists say that the damage we’ve done to the earth has already reached the point of no return – and we can’t undo what has already been shown to have terrible, disastrous effects.

“As the world community pursues new sustainable development goals, policymakers need to know who is leading and who is lagging on energy and environmental challenges,” says Daniel C. Esty, director of the Yale Center of Environmental Law & Policy. “The 2018 EPI confirms that success with regard to sustainable development requires both economic progress that generates the resources to invest in environmental infrastructure and careful management of industrialization and urbanization that can lead to pollution that threatens both public health and ecosystems.”

This data also looks at areas that should potentially be included in additional research pieces – water resources, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and many other facets that would effectively and properly align the overall state of the environment with health, prosperity and functionality. We cannot continue to misuse resources and diminish the necessary ways that nature and the earth contribute to the air we breathe and our ability to live fruitfully.

The earth isn’t something that we can treat as some type of afterthought that bears no real consequence from humans’ rash and irresponsible actions. Science and data have been very clear about how neglecting to take care of the world already has potentially catastrophic outcomes. Clean air, water, and land are necessary for our very ability to survive.

Better Understanding Proteins And The Immune System

At the University of Birmingham, there is breakthrough research being done regarding the impact that specific proteins have on the immune system and even the ability to fight cancer. Amino acids can be found in proteins. Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of these acids form long chains. These specific proteins often do work within the cells as they relate to the regulation of the body’s internal organs and tissue.

The lead author of the research study, who is also a professor at the university, Paul Moss, explains the process and the hypothesis linked to the study. “We worked on a protein called ULBP6, which leads to the removal of damaged cells, and observed that there are two types of this protein found in people,” Moss said. “This is important as previous studies have shown that the type of protein that we inherit from our parents can influence our risk of auto-immune disease and affect how we respond to some forms of cancer treatment. The ULBP6 protein is found on the surface of damaged cells, including several types of cancer cells, and acts as a “flag” to signal to white cells in our immune system that the damaged cell should be killed.”

Two Types Of Proteins

There are actually two different types of proteins that would be considered common. It has been shown in various research studies that human beings who end up inheriting a specific subtype can have poorer outcomes after going through a treatment called stem cell transplantation.

This is typically the most common measure that is taken to treat cancers such as leukemia. It is also referenced as a bone marrow treatment. Those who have the specific genetic makeup may be more at risk of not reacting properly to these types of treatments.

The study found that the ULBP6 protein actually works really well with its receptor and forms a strong bond which helps to embolden the immune system. The research that was being done was to improve the ability of this type of treatment. The presence of protein seems like a good start.

Different types of cancers attack the body much differently. Stem cell transplants are largely used as a treatment protocol but there level of effectiveness definitely depends. Unfortunately, this is a condition of life or death. Understanding what could help the treatment work better and for more individuals is a worthy and necessary cause. In order to improve the success rates, more research like this would have to be completed.

The presence of the protein obviously shifts and changes the ways in which the process can best adhere to the body and blood, all via the immune system. Immune system strengthening is one of the foremost important aspects of many types of research because a compromised immune system is more susceptible to health issues while a strong, fortified one can more easily fight them off or not contract them in the first place.

Blood cancer is notoriously touch and go to fight, but it seems that the level and type of protein that can be found in the body can better set up the body to fight off the cancer cells that are present in the blood when exposed to transplant therapy.

Study: Diabetes Screenings And The Progress Made

Diabetes is a chronic condition that, if left untreated, can cause serious health complications and lead to greater risk of potentially fatal issues such as heart disease or stroke. Diabetes affects the way that the internal body processes sugar. Statistics gather that there are over 30 million adults that currently have diabetes and about 23 percent of cases that are actually undiagnosed. That is a staggering number considering the severity of the condition itself.

The number of sufferers who have been diagnosed has doubled in the last 25 years, which isn’t the type of health-improving news our society wants to hear. Despite the fact that the prevalence of diabetes is continuing to rise, there is good news in relation to proper screenings and diagnosis of the disease.

A recent study shows that the amount of cases of diabetes that are missed or diagnosed improperly has gone down from 16 percent to 10. This means that understanding the functions and symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes is becoming much more obvious to a wider range of medical practitioners. For those who haven’t had any routine health screenings in quite some time, or live in communities that have a preponderance of in-access when it comes to basic, fundamental health care options, the amount of cases that remain undiagnosed is staggering.

Diagnosis And Treatment

The study was conducted by researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and they concluded that their findings are indicative of greater opportunities for treatment. “Understanding the proportion of diabetes causes that are actually undiagnosed, and who those patient groups are, is really critical to allocation of public health resources,” says Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D. and the lead professor on the study. “Our results suggest that targeted screening in these populations and increasing health coverage could help make sure that persons who have diabetes receive a diagnosis and get the appropriate treatment that they need.”

The study used two sets of data from periods 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2014, which included over 7,000 and 17,000 participants, respectively. The information was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The researchers studied the diabetic threshold for further clarification on false positives regarding the undiagnosed population.

In order to inform the general public of the health concerns that diabetes can bring to sufferers’ lives, we must start to look at why certain foods are available in specific areas where those with a lower income and minority landscape are so affected. The influx of food that we are surrounded by as a culture is the top contributing factor to the onslaught of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Food is available to us in copious amounts and, because of how addictive many of these foods are made, people tend to have a fixation with and preoccupation with them. We’re not properly educated on food as we should be and for this reason many people continue to use food as a bandage or salve and have incredibly poor dietary habits as a result.

The fact that the occurrence of diabetes has grown to such numbers, and the main issue that brings about diabetes is an inability to process sugar, is no coincidence. Processed junk food is packed full of carbohydrates and sugar. Defeating the obesity and diabetes epidemic isn’t possible without educating larger society and giving everyone access to healthy options.


Great Nutrition And Healthy Aging

Improving dietary resilience and better integration of nutrition in the health care system can promote healthy aging and may significantly reduce financial and societal burden. This was the key finding of a paper called Nutritional Considerations for Healthy Aging and Reduction in Age-Related Chronic Disease.

The paper – published in Advances in Nutrition – reports that by 2050, the number of persons aged 80 years old and over will reach 392 million, about three times the 2013 population. An increasingly large portion of the population will be vulnerable to nutritional frailty, a state commonly seen in older adults, characterized by sudden significant weight-loss and loss of muscle mass and strength, or an essential loss of physiologic reserves, making the person susceptible to disability.

Nutritional Assessment Model

While increasing numbers of older adults are obese, many are also susceptible to nutritional frailty and, as a result, age-related diseases including sarcopenia, cognitive decline, and infectious disease. The review concludes that exploring dietary resilience, defined as a conceptual model to describe material, physical, psychological and social factors that influence food purchase, preparation and consumption, is needed to better understand older adults’ access to meal quality and mealtime experience.

“A nutritional assessment model that takes into consideration the effect of aging on muscle mass, weight loss and nutrient absorption is crucial to overall wellness in our elderly population,” said Gilles Bergeron, Ph.D., executive director, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences, New York, N.Y. “However, nutrition recommendations are usually based on that of a typical healthy adult, and fail to consider the effect of aging on muscle mass, weight loss, and nutrient absorption and utilization.”

A recent model to frame food intake included the addition of more randomized clinical trials that include older adults with disease and medication. This will help to identify their specific nutrient needs, biomarkers to understand the impact of advancing age on protein requirements, skeletal muscle turnover, and a re-evaluation of how BMI guidelines are used.

“Much greater emphasis needs to be placed on prioritizing research that will fill the knowledge gaps and provide the kind of data needed by health and nutrition experts if we’re going to address this problem,” added Simin Nikbin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Mass. “There also needs to be more education about on-going nutritional needs for those involved with elder-care – not only in a clinical setting, but also for family members who are responsible for aging adults.”

Tips To Stay Healthy

Here are five suggestions – offered by Paul Erwin, professor and department head of public health in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences – that may help you live a longer, healthier life. Keep up with clinical prevention. Stay up to date on immunizations, screening exams for specific types of cancer – colorectal cancer screening for men and women, and breast and cervical cancer screening for women – and screening blood tests for conditions such as diabetes and HIV.

Be physically active. Current recommendations call for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. If you are not into running, swimming, or yoga, try mowing the lawn with a push mower rather than a riding lawn mower. Park at the far end of the parking lot rather than the spot closest to the door. Take the stairs up to the second floor rather than riding the elevator.

Achieve good nutrition. Eating well can be both enjoyable and affordable, but it requires a level of thoughtfulness about foods of all types. What we eat is much more important than how much we eat. Be mindful about what you eat. Stay tobacco-free. This is the most important preventable cause of early disease and death. Model this good behavior for family, friends, and co-workers. If you currently use tobacco, make an effort to quit. Pursue balance. Practice and pursue harmony and balance in life – between work and play, between rest and activity, and across the spectrum of mind, body, and spirit.

Some Common Beliefs About Food And Health

Here’s the medical lowdown on a couple of widely held notions about food and health.

Fish is brain food. “Many long-term studies have found a correlation between improved cognition and the consumption of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA,” says Annette Frain, a registered dietitian at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. and the medical program coordinator at Wake Forest Baptist’s Weight Management Center. “This isn’t a speedy fix – you’re not going to get a higher score on your test or do a better job on your project at work because you ate fish last night. It’s rather the build-up over time. So the sooner you start, the better off you’ll be in the long run.”

The best seafood sources of these omega-3s that promote optimal brain function are fatty and oil-rich fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, sardines and herring. Flounder and tilapia appear more frequently on our plates and are good for you as well but just not as good. “They aren’t as potent in terms of omega-3s, and they’re often breaded and fried, which only adds calories,” said Frain. “Grilling is the best way to prepare fish.”

The Acne-Food Connection

Eating chocolate does not cause acne. “I remember hearing that when I was growing up and I still hear it when I see patients, especially teenagers,” said Sarah Taylor, M.D., a dermatologist at Wake Forest Baptist. “But it’s not true. Chocolate has been studied, and there’s no hard evidence it has anything to do with acne.”

Acne occurs when the skin’s pores become clogged with excess oil produced by hair follicles. This allows dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells to build up in the pores and form the lesions and blemishes of acne. What triggers this isn’t clear. Hormonal changes can prompt the overproduction of oil, and heredity can be a factor. But eating chocolate is not and that goes for pizza, potato chips, French fries and cheeseburgers, too.

Research, however, has identified one acne-food connection. “Non-organic dairy products can make acne worse, because the cows are treated with growth hormones,” Taylor said. “So we’ll tell patients that when they’re having yogurt, cheese, milk or ice cream to make sure it’s organic if they want to help their acne out.”

Eating carrots does not exactly improve vision. “Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, which is one of the nutrients necessary for good ocular health,” says Craig Greven, M.D., chair of ophthalmology at Wake Forest Baptist. “But they won’t improve your eyesight.” Their vision-friendly reputation notwithstanding, carrots are far from the only way to get vitamin A. Dairy products, eggs, fish and liver are prime sources, as are a number of fruits – peaches, mangoes, tomatoes – and vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, red bell peppers – that also provide other nutrients and antioxidants that contribute to good vision. “In general, a balanced diet, and really anything that leads to a healthy lifestyle, is good for your eyes,” Greven said. “But there’s not one specific perfect eye food.”

Spicy foods do not cause ulcers – and Jalapenos and habaneros aren’t to blame. Ulcers are sores on the inside lining of the stomach, esophagus or small intestine that develop when acid is able to penetrate the layer of mucus that normally protects the digestive tract. But spicy foods have nothing to do with that. Stress and alcohol also can be added to the list of things that don’t cause ulcers.

“About 75 percent of all ulcers are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori,” says Joel Bruggen, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Wake Forest Baptist. “Most of the others are caused by the use of aspirin and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications. Stomach ulcers can produce a burning pain in your stomach, and if you have a pain in your stomach after eating spicy food you might think you have an ulcer, or a doctor might even tell you have an ulcer, but you probably don’t.”

Golden Years And Good Health

People with no major heart disease risk factors in middle age live longer and stay healthy far longer than others, according to a 40-year study reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. “Good cardiovascular health in middle age delays the onset of many types of disease so that people live longer and spend a much smaller proportion of their lives with chronic illness,” said Norrina Allen, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

In the first study to analyze the impact of cardiovascular health in middle age on the duration of illness later in life, researchers examined data from the Chicago Health Association study, which did initial health assessments in the late 1960s/early 1970s and has followed participants on an ongoing basis using Medicare health records. Researchers determined how many participants had favorable factors: non-smokers, free of diabetes and normal weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels; versus those with elevated risk factors or high risk factors.

Comparing those who had two or more high-risk factors in middle age among the 17,939 participants who reached age 65 without a chronic illness, researchers found that those with all favorable factors: lived an average of 3.9 years longer; survived 4.5 years longer before developing a chronic illness; spent 22 percent fewer of their senior years with a chronic illness – 39 percent vs. 50 percent; and saved almost $18,000 in Medicare costs.

“Health professionals need to let young adults know that maintaining or adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle makes it more likely that you’ll live longer and still be healthy enough to do the things you love to do when you’re older,” Allen said.

Consider The Risk Factors

Looking solely at heart disease in 18,714 participants who reached age 65 without having a heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure, those with all favorable risk factors: lived 6.9 years longer without heart disease; and spent 46.5 percent fewer of their senior years with heart disease.

At the start of the study, when their average age was 44, only 5.6 percent of participants had all favorable factors. That data is even grimmer than a 2011-2012 national survey suggesting only 8.9 percent of U.S. adults age 40-59 had five or more “ideal” health factors, according to The American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2017 Update.

“We need to think about cardiovascular health at all stages of life,” she said. “The small proportion of participants with favorable levels in their 40s is a call for all of us to maintain or adopt healthy lifestyles earlier in life. But risk factors and their effects accumulate over time, so even if you have risks it’s never too late to reduce their impact on your later health by exercising, eating right, and treating your high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.”

What Causes Abnormal Mineral Accumulation?

The arteries are integral to our ability to process the minerals we ingest and how our blood is effectively pumped. A study that was conducted at McGill University wanted to gather a more complete understanding of how the calcification of these arteries happens after consistent and tempered mineral accumulation, which results in kidney disease and diabetes.

Genetically-modified laboratory mice were tested to find out why a hardening of the arteries occurs on a broader spectrum. It was found that elastin, which is what allows the arteries to stretch and allows adequate blood flow to get to the heart, is hugely compromised by the building of this calcification.

The study also found that collagen, which is necessary for the bones and teeth, does not affect arterial mineralization. Team leader Marta Cerruti further explains: “The first part that mineralizes in the arteries of our genetic model is the elastin part and not collagen. To me that was really surprising. The part that mineralizes in bone and teeth is collagen, which is also present in the arteries. You would think collagen must have really specific properties that aid that process, so why do the minerals instead get deposited in association with elastin in arteries?”

Initiatives And Interventions

Cerruti hopes that these findings are beneficial enough to push forward initiatives that will block this type of accumulation of minerals in the arteries. Added information, and a way to test patients who may be more predisposed to this condition, can be incredibly helpful in broadening the standard of care. It is believed that one way this can happen is to intervene in these cases before too much damage has been done. Intervening when the calcium phosphate minerals begin the process of crystallizing is a good tactic.

There isn’t a current structured course of action as far as treatment goes for this dangerous condition that can severely compromise the heart. There is a huge lack of understanding when it comes to the entire mineralization process that can occur by the arteries. What seems very imperative is that this process be halted as soon as possible because the heart getting properly pumped and circulated blood is one of the most crucial things the body needs.

Additional Questions

Of course, there needs to be much more research in order to make informed, complete decisions. The authors of the study believe that there is a direct correlation to the nucleation and the arterial mineralization. So an approach that would look into how much of these things have carried on in interplay with one another and an interdisciplinary approach would likely be the most successful. There is also additional questions regarding what actually causes this type of hardening to occur.

There are so many cardiovascular diseases that point directly to diet, lack of activity, and genes as the most impacting precursors for this type of condition. There is an inter-relational force that exists between them. Ultimately, while some things are completely outside of our control, there are ways that we can be proactive in managing our health and by extension our lives. We must pay attention to and alter the things we can control.

Important Tips For Seniors To Avoid Falling

The elderly are at a much greater risk of suffering from a fall than those that are younger. The scary aspect of them potentially falling is that their bodies and bones are more compromised at that age. This can lead to dangerous and disastrous consequences. Every single year the expenses tied to injuries sustained by a fall total a whopping $31 billion.

There are ways to help seniors prevent the occurrence of a fall by following certain steps and always being aware of what may cause falls to begin with. Here are some of the most critical ways you can secure your surroundings and prevent a senior from falling.

Don’t Live In A Cluttered Home

A large percentage of falls take place in homes. In order to prevent this from happening, removing hazardous clutter from your home is a necessity. Get rid of loose rugs or rugs that have a tendency of bunching up at the corners.

Also keep your hallways clear of clutter as it’s easy for a slower foot to get caught on an errant item which can cause a bad trip. Always have a clear path in hallways and floors. This is especially necessary at night when you may not see something and accidentally trip. It’s unfortunately very easy to suffer a fall in this way.

Kitchen And Bathroom Safety

Reaching for something and losing balance or having your equilibrium thrown off is a common way falls occur. Don’t unnecessarily crouch for things in the shower. Always have everything nicely within arm’s reach.

More slips than you may think are a direct result of stray bits of water that gather on the floor. Make sure a thin mat is placed under the fridge and the sink in the kitchen, which is helpful to absorb any water spills or leaks that may result.

It’s also a great idea to add stability bars in the shower or bath to assist seniors in getting in and out of a potentially slippery environment. These are sometimes also necessary and helpful near toilets, especially if the toilet seat is too low. This provides added stability that can often be lost in older age.

Have Your Doctor Review Medications

In the case of dizziness or imbalance, sometimes there is a deeper yet more obvious cause then you may think. Medications often have various side effects, and one of these side effects can greatly affect the ability to stand upright and balance. If you lose a bit of stability, or are experiencing even slight dizziness, it’s crucial that you speak to your doctor about these symptoms as they could be the catalyst to a detrimental fall.

Also, always tell your doctor if you’ve fallen, even if you don’t feel as if anything was broken or you weren’t hurt. No fall is normal and your doctor will perhaps need to look more thoroughly into what caused the fall. This could require tests and scans, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Do not neglect to alert your doctor if you do have a fall, however minor you may think it is.

U.S. Needs To Focus On Heart Disease Burden

A recent report furnished by the health committee is concerned about the United States’ lack of focus on noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease. The American College of Cardiology reported that there must be a reprioritization of health resources that go toward pressing specific health issues. While there has been an increase in resources allocated to the dismantling of infectious diseases, more needs to be done in reference to some of the health concerns that can’t necessarily be caught or transmuted.

The right global health strategies have the ability to save lives and increase the quality of life for those who are suffering from compromised health. The Committee on Global Health thinks a more efficient strategy to really address some of the health concerns in this country that aren’t linked to infections is necessary in order for the United States to maintain its status as a global health leader.

“These NASEM recommendations and this manuscript are among the most important efforts of my career, because if they are adopted by the U.S. government, they have the potential to enact true change for global health,” says author and Ph.D., Valentin Fuster. “The next step for the committee is to present these recommendations to the U.S. Senate,”

Implementing Better Strategies

Fuster believes in order for these mandates to work more securely and improve the overall health trajectory of this country, a few things need to be properly dealt with. Firstly, there needs to be a type of innovation that helps to galvanize development around medical products and increase the infrastructure of healthcare. Next, the employment of flexible and easily shifted financial mechanisms for additional funders and partners to help increase resources. Lastly, help to influence other nations regarding the importance of global health via evidence-based science and economic benefit which will potentially have a ripple effect.

Better strategies must be implemented specifically around cardiovascular disease and finding a way to manage and offer roadmaps in order to improve the quality of life for sufferers, offer early detection, and proper information regarding how to prevent the occurrence of the disease. There needs to be more truth-telling in regards to diet, portion size and the improper ways that we use foods in our society.

There is much to be said about how the ways in which our collective health is compromised can be better dealt with from various angles. There also needs to be more of a widespread initiative to talk about why many of the health concerns and conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are occurring in specific demographic locations. Those who have a lower economic standing who cannot have access to healthcare tend to live in areas that have limited resources and are surrounded by inexpensive food that has no nutritional value. These are often referred to as food deserts.

In order to have a full picture of those who are typically affected by the onslaught of these deadly conditions, we must also look at access and the fact that these diseases are developed based on the health choices that individuals make. Many individuals make their daily food choices based on their economic ability and their proximal access to healthy options. This is a nuanced and layered issue that must be looked at through various lenses.

Blueberry Activates Memory Cells

A weakened memory can be an incredibly taxing and difficult thing to manage on a day-to-day basis. Some people have great memories while others struggle with even some of the most basic questions they actually should know. With dementia and Alzheimer’s being so heavily pervasive in the elderly population, finding ways to strengthen, sharpen and improve memory is on the minds of many researchers and scientists.

Any type of information that can help to reverse or improve the complete disintegration that takes place when a person’s cognitive abilities start to diminish is something that should be studied completely. It was found that the fermented quality that blueberries take on when they are turned into vinegar has positively impacted mice who suffered from cognitive impairment or amnesia.

Researchers were able to surmise through experimental actions that blocking the acetylcholine receptors actually disrupts the brain’s ability to learn and remember. This becomes an issue for those with dementia as they have lower levels of its receptors and signals. There have been some experimental drugs recently introduced on the market, however, their side effects compromise the liver, and their overall effects can be less than desirable.

Blueberry Vinegar

Fermentation of a fruit like blueberries can boost the bioactivity within the natural organism. In order to thoroughly test out this hypothesis, researchers took mice with induced amnesia and administered blueberry vinegar. The molecules in the mice brains were then tested and this particular type of vinegar was able to breakdown acetylcholine and increase necessary levels of neurotrophic elements which allow the neurons to form healthily.

The researchers also had an interest in knowing how the blueberry vinegar impacted cognition. In order to properly test these findings, they took careful stock of the animals’ performances in things like mazes or how they performed on an avoidance test. The exposure to the blueberry vinegar resulted in improved performances on both of the tests.

Restoring Memory

This shows that this specific fermented fruit is a great way to activate and restore memory abilities in the brain. While further testing is needed, it is a good sign that there is an obvious special impact that this type of treatment has on the molecules of the brain that are expressly used to retain memory.

It is very possible that a multitude of fruits, vegetables, roots and minerals can be used to a positive end when it comes to some of the most challenging health crisis’ we face as a society. There needs to be more researchers and scientists willing to take on projects and experiments that deal specifically with natural remedies. While the money and the profit margin is much less in these types of situations and circumstances, the potential medical breakthroughs and advancements that could be made are tremendous.

So many illnesses absolutely tarnish and tear apart the framework of an individual. Oftentimes, the prescription medication that is given to them for management does the bare minimum and ensures that they are dependent on it indefinitely. This cycle only benefits the drug companies who profit from the continued prescriptions. There is no reason that additional benefits that come directly from the earth can’t have money-saving and symptom-reversing effects.

Right Brain Vs. Left Brain: The Way The Two Sides Communicate Promotes Creativity

There is a culture of self-help books that like to talk about how essential the right brain is for creativity integration, and that the left brain is purely logical and can’t have much say in a creative process. Recent research is showing that this long-held belief is much more simplistic than we may have recently understood. Research from Duke University has found that highly creative people have more significant correlation of communication between each hemisphere of their brain. This means that the way the left side of the brain interacts with the right side, and vice versa, is what properly influences creative thought and action.

Statisticians David Dunson of Duke University and Daniele Durante of the University of Padova studied the white matter connections that the brain makes to find any conclusive evidence of these claims. They found over 68 separate brain regions in the averaged-aged college volunteer. The white matter of the brain typically resides underneath the outer grey matter and is composed of axons and wires that allow over a billion different neurons to connect and carry signals between the two.

Making The Connections

Neurologists were also present during the study as the exact processes of the brain were examined by looking at various tensor imaging, MRIs and other types of brain tests. Problem solving entitled divergent thinking was assessed to understand the importance of the two sides conversing with one another. The people who scored in the top 15 percent on the tests that were made strictly for creativity achieved the most connections between the right and left hemispheres.

The brain is much more interconnected than we think. Many of the differences that were found were in the frontal lobe which deals mostly with thinking through a problem or issue prior to taking any definitive action. Dunson also found that this specific approach could be used in order to predict the probability an individual is deeply inclined towards identifying as a highly creative person.

Searching For More Information

This new wave of thinking decides that instead of focusing solely on specific regions of the brain, that the best use of testing and what the data shows is the dance in conversation that both hemispheres do with one another in order to reach peak creativity. The researchers are now searching for any type of correlative information that can tell them if this type of connectivity matters or differs based on I.Q.

This type of testing can also potentially be used in the testing of Alzheimer’s disease and can have a hand in greater early detection. It would help to distinguish the forgetfulness and normal signs of aging with the early signs of the disease that can be devastating to family, friends and sufferers. These types of studying patterns can also be helpful when finding out more information about diseased brains – to better understand neurological conditions, mental illnesses, epilepsy, and overall health within the brain space.

If this type of information can be beneficial in the treatment of serious brain issues, such as coma or chronic traumatic encephalopathy – otherwise known as traumatic brain injury – it could be huge for the medical community and their ability to better treat these devastating issues. Additional research has to be done.

Study Shows Why You Shouldn’t Exercise When It’s Scorching Hot

The way that the body responds to external temperature was uncovered in a recent study which looked at how prolonged exposure to high temperatures can raise the core and skin temperature fairly easily. This leads to an inability to exercise for longer periods and reduced the blood flow to the limbs and the brain. Proper blood flow is of paramount importance at all times – especially when exercising. The effects on the skin and the internal effects on temperature are documented in the study.

The study follows nine male volunteers who all rode stationary bicycles after being exposed to a hot climate by wearing a body suit that circulated 122 degrees via water filtration. The participants were exposed to the heat in increments of 13 minutes. Another test dealt with 52 minutes of heat exposure where the core body temperature of the participant was increased. Then the researchers took specific tests of blood flow to both the legs and the brain during such exposure.

Temperature Stressors

The findings showed that this type of temperature exposure while exercising decreased the blood flow. This obviously impacts the type of workout a body would be able to safely complete.

Researchers found that “the combination of multiple stressors triggered by whole body hyperthermia, however, resulted in a compromised aerobic capacity.” When we truly contemplate the findings of this study, it can’t be that surprising. Just as the body reacts poorly to falling below a certain temperature for an extended period of time, it does the same when exposed to high temperatures in conjunction with using the body in a heightened and elevated state.

This is likely what contributes to all of the heat warnings that go out in various warm climates. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very serious. The body isn’t meant to deal with those levels of heat for long periods of time. Even with the aid of water, the body can become dehydrated faster than the water can be adequately replenished.

It’s also important to note that these subjects were in relatively sound health. It wasn’t their lack of health that made their bodies react so poorly to the influx of heat and elevated amounts of exercise, it was the heat itself coupled with the activity.

Listen To Your Body

It is crucial that we realize our bodies are not invincible and that we act accordingly. There is no need for us to exercise outside in over 100-degree heat for extended periods of time. This can easily turn into a medical situation waiting to happen, regardless of how fit and in shape you are. Our bodies can overheat, and when that happens, our internal valves and bodily functions may be compromised. This is why exercising in ideal conditions is your best bet.

Make sure you are aware of how your body reacts to regular and consistent workouts. Be mindful to avoid the sun or heat for extended periods of time. Make sure you are remaining as hydrated as possible. Do not over-exert yourself or workout too long. Listen to your body and understand the potentially disastrous effects of prolonged heat exposure.

Why You Should Try Ramtil Oil

Ramtil oil is likely not very familiar to you based on name alone. If you have heard of it, you’ve likely known it by a more popular name which is niger seed oil. This oil has tremendous benefits in a whole host of areas. The herb that ramtil oil is derived from comes from different parts of the world, but mostly countries in Africa and India. The best ways to get the oil extracted from the herb itself is through a process of extremely high heat. Due to its high content of linoleic acid and fatty acids, it’s a great oil to use towards the betterment of your health.

Increased Heart Health

This oil is very healthy and productive for your internal system. Your heart and other organs will benefit from the presence of necessary fatty acids and linoleic acids, which will help to balance out your cholesterol levels. Something that isn’t clear to some people is the difference between bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. Ramtil oil helps to foster and encourage the good type of cholesterol that keeps your lipids and triglycerides in a healthy range. This type of oil will help to mitigate health crises like heart attacks and strokes. We recommend you purchase a food-grade type of ramtil oil which allows for safe ingestion.

Digestive Issues

A great oil to keep around for those days when you find you’re eating a bit too much or of the wrong thing. When you experience the discomfort of cramping, bloating and constipation, that type of experience can really ruin your day. There’s no need to opt for the over-the-counter antidote for these digestive issues when all you really need is some ramtil oil. Take a few drops of ramtil oil orally or even rub the oil on your lower stomach. The external dose will penetrate the cells of the skin and make its way directly to the intestines, increasing their productivity and allowing for the natural occurrence of digestive enzymes.

Resolves Insomnia

There are few things worse than being unable to get a good night’s sleep. Some people can only manage a few hours of sleep a night that would be described as anything but restful. In these cases, it’s hard for them to function in their day to day lives. Sleep is inherently necessary and when our bodies don’t get a good amount, the ways in which we operate and function often suffer. Due to the amount of potassium, magnesium and zinc within ramtil oil, it makes for a great aid for sleep. You can try rubbing some on your wrists before bed. You can also soak a cotton ball in the oil and set it on your bedside table.

Heals Scars

Because of the high amount of antioxidants present in the oil, it’s perfect for helping to accelerate the healing of your burns, scratches or scraps. If you have a skin condition that is known to leave specific scaring from the irritation that it causes, definitely keep some ramtil oil on hand. It helps to foster and stimulate the process of healing, which will help to eliminate any unnecessary scarring on your body.

You can purchase ramtil oil online from several companies at

What Is Pennyroyal Oil?

Pennyroyal is a substance that comes from bees and has a significant amount of protein inside. The protein, in conjunction with some of its other elements, makes it very impressive. Natural honey has been touted as a remedy for many things – nature seemed to know what we needed long before we did. Here are some specific ways pennyroyal oil is so effective.

Helps Boost Immune System

The immune system – one of the most important systems within the body – regulates the overall susceptibility to threats and diseases. The immune system is designed to ward off harmful entities. In a 2001 study it was found that royal jelly helps to fortify the immune system, which helps to ward off the symptoms of seasonal allergies by strengthening the system intrinsically itself.

Improves Memory

Royal jelly can improve those memory lapses and blocks you may be experiencing. In a study conducted and published in Advanced Biomedical Research, it was found that royal jelly has an influential and positive impact on neural functions. The brain tissue we need and value can be vulnerable to the free radicals that exist everywhere – they surround us perpetually. Thankfully, royal jelly can help to strengthen the receptors and tissues in the brain that often fail in the beginning stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

Improves Digestion

For many years there has been this new push to inform the masses about gut health. The gut is directly linked to all other organs and the way the body functions is heavily dependent on this. Royal jelly is actually a source of bifidobacteria, which means it helps to realign your gastrointestinal tract. Many people have issues with their digestive system or their intestines and they continue to ignore it. This is done by eating a poor diet and leading a stressful lifestyle. The probiotic within the royal jelly provides great benefits to your tummy and digestive process.


There are few things more frightening than beginning to look old. Our bodies don’t hold on forever and because of this natural progression, there are certain signs that someone is getting old. Lines, wrinkles, dark spots, or drab skin are all indications that the skin is starting to look less and less youthful. Thankfully, royal jelly helps to reverse this by promoting collagen production. Collagen helps the skin to appear smooth, supple and soft. It also allows for the skin to obtain more epidermal thickness within the skin tissue, which improves the overall state of the skin as well as the look and feel of it.

You can purchase pennyroyal oil online from several companies at


Consistent Exercise Will Keep Older Adults’ Lungs Strong

Our organs change and shift as we become older. There is more attention that must be paid to keeping them as healthy as possible. With certain environmental factors as a conduit to lung issues, a study found that consistent exercise has shown to keep the ability of lungs at a healthy level in aging adults. There is an exchange of gases that the lungs partake in: one being oxygen and the other being carbon dioxide. Oxygen is for the body and carbon dioxide is expelled from the body.

When lungs begin to deteriorate, which is a normal sign of aging, the circulatory system becomes faulty. The surface area of the air sacs tends to decrease and the blood vessels also get smaller. This reduction is known to compromise the necessary exchange that oxygen and carbon dioxide undergo.

Lung Study

A team in Rochester, Minn. set out to make some determinations about lungs, age and activity as they took four sample groups of varying ages and fitness levels. All individuals participated in an exercise test that measured their exertion and stamina. Aspects such as heart rate, lung capacity and intensity were measured. The hypothesis going into the study was that the older group would likely have impaired lung function after such activities but that wasn’t necessarily the case. Given the exercise level, lung diffusing capacity was the strongest and most notable in the groups that stayed relatively active.

It turns out that the correlation between healthy aging and fitness is incredibly strong and that the lungs respond positively to steady and consistent exercise. There isn’t a need to exercise very vigorously or intensely in order to get the benefits of leading a healthy, active, fitness-filled life. The age-related changes presented in pulmonary circulation are diminished when the lungs are used to their full capacity regularly.


There are a few outliers that may compromise the lungs such as environmental factors and lifestyle habits. Obviously, the presence of smoke and regularly smoking is bad for your pulmonary mechanisms so if you are a smoker, quitting is definitely in your best interest.

Not only can smoking negatively affect your lungs and various other aspects of your health, it can make working out and maintaining a certain level of fitness increasingly difficult. We use so much more lung capacity and dexterity when we are working out. This is why smokers can’t necessarily be very fit because so much of their lung capacity has already been used and compromised from their smoking habit. This is especially true if they smoke several cigarettes a day.


Once giving up this very bad habit, exercising may seem difficult as your lungs start to understand what it means to not be filled with smoke. The lungs can come back from being in such unsavory situations, but consistent exercise is absolutely key to this transition.

Establishing an activity plan, whether it be brisk walks, cycling or yoga, will help to refashion the way that your lungs displace carbon dioxide and ingest oxygen. All of these things beget the overall health and ability of the lungs and the body as a whole. Keep them in good shape and use them often. Even breathing exercises while doing physical activities will help in this way.