Scientists have discovered changes in the human microbiome when compared to those of our closest relatives, the Great Apes.
Scientists who examined the bacteria in chimpanzee and gorilla faeces discovered that they have seasonal changes in the type of intestinal flora brought about by the changes in their diet at different times of the year. Whereas humans are now able to source all kinds of food throughout the year which means that the intestinal flora stays the same. According to scientists, who now place increasing emphasis on the importance on the role of gut bacteria in human health this could implications for our wellbeing.
The types and numbers of bacterial species that inhabit the human gut depend on what we eat. And, as humans have changed their diet over time, the microbiome has followed suit, according to a recent study published in Nature Communications.
The Western diet, in particular, is wholly different to that of our ancestors just 100 years ago — let alone early humans who walked the earth millions of years ago.
The human digestive system, though it does have differences from our closest relatives — the other great apes — is relatively similar. And, when our species first split and went off on our own evolutionary path, our diets probably had a lot in common, too.This means that the bacteria types living in our gut were, at least initially, pretty similar to our hairier cousins. There are still similarities today, but, as our diet has shifted, so has our microbiome.What this huge change in our diet means for our microbiome and related health is a tricky question to answer.
Researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, NY, investigated ape bowel waste. Specifically, they examined fecal samples from great apes living in the Sangha region of the Republic of Congo, collected by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Their sampling was spread over three years, in order to give them an idea of how gut bacteria populations shifted seasonally.
The authors noted that, in chimpanzees and gorillas, the microbiome changed significantly with the seasons, along with their diet. In the hot, dry summer, for instance, fruits are their primary food source, whereas for the rest of the year, their diet is mostly fibrous leaves and bark.
Brent L. Williams, Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology, explains one of the primary changes they evidenced: “Bacteria that help gorillas break down fibrous plants,” he says, “are replaced once a year by another group of bacteria that feed on the mucous layer in their gut during the months they are eating fruits.”
Interestingly, the changes mirrored those of the Hadza hunter-gatherer people from Tanzania, who similarly rely on seasonal food availability.
In contrast, as far as the average U.S. citizen’s microbiome is concerned, seasonal changes do not occur. We can access pretty much any food type we want at any point in the year.
The team noted other differences, too. According to first study author Allison L. Hicks, “While our human genomes share a great deal of similarity with those of our closest living relatives, our second genome (the microbiome) has some important distinctions, including reduced diversity and the absence of bacteria and archaea that appear to be important for fibre fermentation.” Do these differences matter to our health?
“The fact that our microbiomes are so different from our nearest living evolutionary relatives says something about how much we’ve changed our diets, consuming more protein and animal fat at the expense of fibre,” says Williams.
As mentioned earlier, during the fibre-poor summer months, the microbiome of the great ape is dominated by a strain that feeds on the gut’s mucous layer.”Many humans may be living in a constant state of fibre deficiency. Such a state may be promoting the growth of bacteria that degrade our protective mucous layer, which may have implications for intestinal inflammation, even colon cancer.”
As Hicks says, “Understanding how these lost microbes influence health and disease will be an important area for future studies.”
Researchers have found that pensioners aged between 80 and 100 who have a positive outlook on life can enjoy better cognitive function that people in their fifties.
Medical experts were stunned when they carried out research on ‘super-agers’, who despite having many symptoms associated with dementia, seemed not to be affected by the condition.
In spite of the fact many of the super-agers had unhealthy habits including smoking and drinking, researchers found what they had in common was a positive attitude in life and an unusually high proportion of the rare brain called called the von Economo neuron.
Professor Emily Rogalski, of the Northwestern University in Chicago, examined the brains of 10 super-agers who underwent examination while they were alive and after they had died. They were part of a group of 74 super-agers followed by the research.
Rogalski said in a paper she is presenting to the American Association for the Advancement of Science she is presenting today: “The findings suggest that super-agers have unique personality profiles.Excellent memory capacity is biologically possible in late life and can be maintained for years even when there is significant neuropathologic burden.'”
Her research found that 71 per cent of super-agers smoked and 83 per cent drank alcohol regularly. However Rogalski estimated that less than five per cent of the population are super-agers.
The von Economo neurons which were present in super-agers are only found in the brains of large mammals and are believed to offer highspeed connections between different regions within the brain. They are known to develop in the late stages of pregnancy and early childhood and could be down to luck.
Rogalski’s study could provide a breakthrough in dementia research. In contrast to much of the dementia research carried out to date, it does not focus on trying to reverse the spread of amyloid and tau, deformed proteins that form lumps in the brains of people with dementia.
Image result for woman playing with Celebrity hairstylist and Viviscal Ambassador Neil Moodie, who has styled the likes of Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, answers some of the most frequently asked questions stylists get asked about thinning hair.
Why can hair thin with age?
Neil: Hair is made up of many protein strands. The life span of a hair strand is anything between 2 to 7 years. Your genes determine a lot about how much hair we have on our heads and bodies.
As we age, hair strands become smaller and lose their pigment, some stands just don’t grow anymore and so our hair becomes thinner. Each strand of hair you have sits in a tiny cavity called a follicle. When the hair follicle shrinks over time this results in shorter and finer hair. Eventually the follicle doesn’t grow new hair. This doesn’t mean the follicle isn’t live though which suggests that it is still possible to grow new hair.
What’s the best way to cut thin hair?
Neil: In general if you have finer hair, don’t grow it long. The longer it gets, the weaker the hair gets and so it can tend to look lank and straggly on the ends. There’s nothing worse than long hair that doesn’t look healthy. I would be inclined to say to people with fine or thin hair to keep it shorter in length.
For those that have super thin hair you want to get layers in to get a bit more height and volume in the hair as opposed to the hair being all one length. I wouldn’t recommend really short layers because that can highlight the fineness of the hair. Personally I would recommend hair to be bob length or shorter and then to have some layers – the length of the layers would depend on what your hair is like. Ask your hair stylist – they’ll know best.
How can I style thin hair to make it look thicker?
Neil: Styling wise it really depends on what products you use and how you style it. Getting root lift will make hair look thicker rather than having it lying flat against the head. To get root lift that lasts using the correct tools and styling products is essential. There’s a lot of thickening hair products around and plenty to choose from. The Windle & Moodie Fortifying Spray is great for hair that’s not super thin but needs a bit of a boost as it’s a lighter thickening spray which has a little bit of hold. I recommend using Windle and Moodie Foundation Spray that acts as a detangler first as this will help distribute the thickening spray through the hair more evenly.
Is colouring bad for thin hair?
Neil: There is often the misconception that colouring is bad for your hair however I think that colouring is so sophisticated now that if it’s done right then I don’t think it is bad for your hair. Colour is good for making each individual hair shaft swell and make it feel a bit thicker. Having said that you have to be careful with colour as the finer the hair, the more delicate it is. If you want to start colouring your hair it’s good to start with a healthy base. I wouldn’t recommend starting colouring your hair when it’s already damaged as this is not going to help matters. Take Viviscal supplements for a few months before you plan to colour it to give your hair a boost and get it back to a healthy state.
In general colouring your hair these days is a lot better for your hair than it used to be however I’m not a fan of home colouring. My concern is that people don’t know what they’re doing and might for example put blonde on top of a dark colour not realising that this won’t work. It is a science. There are chemicals involved and colourists are rigorously trained to use those chemicals. Someone who’s worried about the condition of their hair is best off to go into a salon and get some professional advice to guide them in the right direction.
What products do you recommend for thinning hair?
Neil: The first thing I recommend to the models I work with is Viviscal, which contains biotin, zinc, a marine-based complex that promotes hair growth. This will get the nutrients working from the inside out and that’s the most important thing for getting the hair back on track. I always notice much healthier hair growth after women take Viviscal and I often see a slight increase in speed of hair growth, and reduction in shedding. If your hair’s really thin, try the Windle & Moodie Thickening Cream, which is a more heavy duty cream to make thinner hair feel fuller. Clients get excited when I use the product on them as the results are so good. I used it on a model the other day and she said that it made her feel like she had extensions in.
Neil is bla bla
Whether its accommodation or food I have discovered there is nothing like a quintessential English pub – and by that, I mean a pub that manages to balance local traditions of real ales but is also passionate about delivering a great dining experience and value-for-money.
One such place is the Mason’s Arms in Oxfordshire which also has rooms and is part of an embryonic chain of innovative pub restaurants. It was fairly easy to find in the middle of the countryside at least with a satnav. After turning off the M40 and taking the A40 towards Oxford I skirt round the city and head towards Gloucester. About 10 miles on I take a left down a lane leading to the village of South Leigh, just south of Witney and I soon see the thatched roof of the 16th century limestone inn called Mr Hanbury’s Mason Arms peeping over a wall.
The car park looks busy even around 2ish on a weekday so I take this as a good sign. I am a little late for my reservation (accident on M40) so they have put me on a lovely little table in the bar and given me a very warm welcome nevertheless. My table is outside the main restaurant but I am glad as there are some very rowdy fellows in there downing port. And it seems I am in pole position to hear the pub gossip, not far from the huge roaring fire – lovely and comforting on this cold wintry day.
So, glass of Rioja in hand I chose my food from the menu: a starter of smoked ham hock terrine, black pudding, pickles and garden herbs (£8); a main course of 32-day aged rump steak, roasted onion and bone marrow sauce, triple cooked chips (£25) and the irresistible sounding Blood Orange Cheesecake (£7) and to drink mineral water. There is also a Garden Menu which I suppose counts as the menu du jour with 2 courses for £20 or 3 courses for £25
I note the very large pink neon sign over the fireplace that reads “What Did I Do Last Night?”. Hmm I think that is a bit unusual in a village pub! but apparently its part of the owners’ desire to make their offering a little bit different – decadent I suppose!
With nothing else to do while waiting for my meal I sit and take in my surroundings. At the next table is an elderly and clearly well-heeled American man – kitted out English gent style in an expensive Saville Row tweedy country jacket and silk socks – who is conversing with a local. Although they are two tables away I easily overhear the conversation. The American is, he says, over on a regular jaunt to the Cotswolds and reveals that he frequently dines with “The Duke” and his wife while he is in the area. I don’t know any Duke’s personally but I do know there is only one of note around these parts and that’s the Duke of Marlborough of Blenheim Palace fame – Jamie Blandford as was. Enough said and my starter arrives. The American leaves – his chauffeur is outside luckily as he has been trying out the Malts and my first course arrives.
The food at The Mason’s Arms is a proverbial feast for the eyes. Beautifully presented with herbs from the kitchen garden, meat sourced locally etc. My starter did not disappoint although I could not get visability o the black pudding but I am sure it was there! The main of rump was perfectly medium done and the flavour not spoiled by the burnt taint of a flame grill as so many steaks are these days. The piste de resistance though was the desert. This is not something I would usually order as I am usually too full but my love of Sicilian blood oranges got the better of me…. these oranges develop their distinct colour/flavour as a result of the change of temperatures which can drop to freezing on the slopes around the volcano of Mount Etna even in summer.
The eatery and hotel in East Leigh is the fourth venture for owners Justin and Charlotte Salisbury who launched their brand Artist Residence in 2008 in rather more racy places such as Brighton, Penzance and London’s Pimlico with another planned for Bristol this year.
The reason the food is so good at the Mason’s is down to chef Leon Smith who has a Michelin-starred background including working for Tom Aikens and Wild Honey in London and the Pony & Trap in Bristol. He is passionate about using the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Many of the vegetables in particular come from the pub’s kitchen garden
All in all, it was a perfect lunch with a warm welcome, great food and some entertainment for a lone but not lonely eater. Sadly, I was not able to stay as all the bedrooms were booked!
Mason’s Arms, Station Road, South Leigh, Oxfordshire OX29 6XN
T: 01993 656238
Rooms: Doubles from £130, B&B
Parking: on site car park, free of charge
Pets: £20 charge per dog, per night. Dog bowl and treats included
Benefit is known for creating innovative products that work with the latest trends and fashion and not just for younger age ranges.
A subtle change to your make up – such as foundation colour, lipstick and eyebrow definition can take whittle away the years and give you a refreshing new look.
Why not try something new especially since many products are now 50% off!
At last Benefit has launched is new volumising brow gel in the UK – Gimme Brow – our absolute favourite product
This video from Benefit shows you how to get eyebrows with volume – without looking scary.
We have sourced discounts on two of the products at House of Fraser in the images below which are actually cheaper. Unfortunately the Gimme Brow product is not available here in the UK until the New Year – so not long to wait!!
Prague’s Christmas markets are internationally renowned for their festive atmosphere, food and drink and sheer range of products. What better way to celebrate the festive season than perusing the stalls and picking up some unique gifts with a glass of mulled wine in hand? Stay with at the luxury Corinthia Hotel & Spa and enjoy transport to the markets, plus bed and breakfast in the beautiful Corinthia Prague from just €115
- Accommodation in a room of your choice (up to 2 guests)
- Buffet Breakfast
- Daily tickets for Prague’s transport system (1 per person/night of stay)
- Map of Prague’s Christmas markets
- Typical Czech Vánočka bread
- Unlimited access to the Apollo Day Spa
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Package is bookable until 24/12/2017
- Package is valid for stays 1/12/2017 to 28/12/2017 inclusive
- Offer is subject to availability and blackout dates may apply
- Minimum 2 nights stay restriction applies
- Reservations must be made at least 3 days prior to arrival
- Reservations can be cancelled free of charge up to 3 days prior to arrival
- Reservations must be guaranteed by a credit card at the time of booking
What you get
Living DNA is able to show you your ancestry in twice the detail of other tests. This is possible because of the scientific teams we work with, and the detailed ways in which they can explore your DNA. You can view your results online or in a personalised book, and this allows you to explore your DNA breakdown today, as well as the migration patterns of your ancestors dating back 80,000 years. Click here to find out more.
YOUR EXPERIENCE INCLUDES:
Full use of the Spa facilities, indoor pool, fitness centre and sauna gardens
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Rates are based on two guests sharing one bedroom
Rates include tax and are offered subject to availability
Blackout periods may apply
No refund can be given for unused services
Cancellation policy: free up until 6pm one day prior to arrival
Reservation must be guaranteed to a credit card at the time of booking
Late cancellations and no- shows may incur a charge
This delicious and easy recipe is also very cheap. It serves 6.
For the croutons
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, quartered
• 1 slice whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
• 6 cups water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
• 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth
To make the croutons, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor into the oil. Remove the garlic pieces and discard. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
In a soup pot over high heat, combine the white beans, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf. Place the cooked beans into a large bowl and save the cooking pot for later use.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans. Mash with a fork to form a paste. Stir the bean paste into the cooked beans.
Return the cooking pot to the stove top and add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and carrots and saute until the carrots are tender-crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, chopped rosemary, bean mixture and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stew is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the croutons. Garnish each bowl with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately.
Eating breakfast is supposed to lead to less calorie consumption during the day. But new research suggest that skipping breakfast may not cause us to overeat later.
Juggling the demands of modern life can leave little time for breakfast, despite it being hailed as the most important meal of the day. But contrary to previous research, a new study suggests that skipping breakfast may not necessarily cause us to eat more later on.
The study, which involved 40 teenage girls, found that participants consumed more than 350 fewer calories on days when they missed breakfast, compared with the days when they ate breakfast.
Lead study author Dr. Julia Zakrzewski-Fruer, of the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom, and colleagues say that their results challenge previous research suggesting that skipping breakfast may lead to overeating later in the day.
The researchers recently reported their findings in the British Journal of Nutrition.
For many, having breakfast is a major part of our daily routine. For others, those extra few minutes in bed are preferable to a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal. In fact, a 2015 survey found that only 47 percent of people in the United States eat breakfast every day.
But what effect does skipping breakfast have on our health? Previous research has linked breakfast omission to poorer heart health, while other studies have suggested that missing a morning meal may lead to overeating and increase a person’s risk of obesity.
For this latest study, Dr. Zakrzewski-Fruer and colleagues sought to find out more about the latter.
Fewer calories eaten after skipping breakfast
The study included 40 girls aged 11–15 years. Each subject was required to participate in two 3-day breakfast conditions. In one condition, participants consumed a standard, low glycemic index (GI) breakfast, which contained 468 calories. In the other condition, participants did not eat breakfast.
Dr. Zakrzewski-Fruet and team say that the aim of their research was to “examine the effect of 3 consecutive days of breakfast consumption compared with breakfast omission on free-living energy intake and physical activity in adolescent girls.”
As part of the study, each participant was required to keep a food diary, and their physical activity levels were monitored with an accelerometer.
The researchers found that on days when participants missed breakfast, they consumed a total of 353 fewer calories than on days when they ate breakfast.
Breakfast consumption appeared to have no influence on physical activity levels, the team reports.
“There are many reports,” says study co-author Dr. Keith Tolfrey, of Loughborough University said that show missing breakfast is associated with obesity, which may have led to premature assumptions that breakfast can be used as an intervention for weight control.
He adds: “But we do not know why eating breakfast is associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight or obese, or whether eating breakfast can be used effectively as a weight control strategy.”
Hair loss is very common and may involve bald patches, complete baldness or gradual thinning. It can get worse as we age with changes in hormones.
Onion juice may be able to help because:
- Onions contain certain minerals, which may be good for the hair
- Anyone allergic to onions should not use onion juice on their hair
- If the smell is too much to stand, adding a little lemon juice or rose water helps
- Although a popular home remedy, more research is needed to conclude if onion juice works as a hair loss treatment
Hair loss causes
Hair loss and hair thinning is a common problem, and many seek natural treatments to encourage hair growth. Onion juice is one possible treatment.
The most common cause of hair thinning or loss is a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. Others reasons hair loss can develop include certain medical conditions, as a side effect of some medications, and hormonal changes.
Regardless of the cause, many people want to do what they can to regrow their hair and prevent further loss, and there are some medications that can be used to treat hair loss. One home remedy many people may not have heard of is onion juice.
Does onion juice work for hair regrowth?
The use of onion juice for hair regrowth has not been extensively researched. But one small study recently published in the Journal of Dermatology indicated that applying onion juice to the scalp might help hair regrow in some people.
The study involved participants who had alopecia areata, which is a non-scarring, patchy form of hair loss. Researchers found that hair growth started after 2 weeks of using onion juice, which was applied to the scalp twice daily.
Almost 74 percent of participants had some hair regrowth after 4 weeks, and at 6 weeks about 87 percent experienced hair regrowth. Both males and females participated in the study and the hair regrowth was higher among males. Although the study did indicate positive results, it was small with only 38 participants.
How onion juice may help hair
Onions have many potential health benefits. Onion juice may help to encourage the growth of thick, healthy hair.Nutrients in the onion juice applied to the hair may nourish the hair follicles, which might increase volume, shine, and improve hair strength. The extra nutrition may also minimize breakages and thinning.As well as conditioning, using onion juice may also promote new hair growth in some people.
The reason onion juice may help improve the health of the hair may be due to the following:
- Dietary sulphur
Sulphur is one of the most common minerals in the body. It is needed for adequate production of enzymes and proteins. Sulfur is also found in keratin, which is one of the components of hair.
The sulphur in onion juice may provide the hair with the nourishment it needs to grow. It may also increase the growing phase of the hair.
- Anti-microbial properties
Onions have anti-bacterial properties, which may help fight scalp infections.In some cases, a scalp infection can contribute to hair loss. A healthy scalp is more likely to have strong hair follicles.
Onions contain antioxidants, such as flavonoids. Antioxidants are believed to protect the body from free radicals.Free radicals are thought to contribute to the aging process. For example, free radicals may destroy the hair follicles and lead to thinning and loss of the hair. Cancelling out or decreasing free radicals may reduce damage to the hair follicles.
How to apply onion juice to the hair
For those who want to try using onion juice to improve hair health or promote regrowth, the process is simple.
To make onion juice, people should follow these steps:
- Peel about four onions and chop them into small pieces.
- Extract the juice out of the onion by either squeezing it or using a juicer.
- Another option is placing the onion pieces into a blender and blending into a paste.
- Place the paste in cheesecloth and squeeze all the juice out.
- Apply the juice to the scalp or the hair roots.
- A few drops of essential oil may also help decrease the potent odor of the juice. Peppermint, lavender, and rosemary essential oils can be good options to dilute the smell.
Currently, there are no commercial products, such as shampoos, that contain onion juice.
However, commercially prepared onion juice and onion liquid extract are available for those who do not want to make their own.
Are there any side effects?
Test the onion juice on a small patch of skin before applying it to the scalp, to ensure that an allergic reaction does not occur. Even though the onions are not being eaten, contact with the skin can cause symptoms in people who are allergic. Onion juice can also be irritating to the skin among people who are not allergic, causing redness and itching.To be sure that onion juice does not cause significant irritation, doing a patch test before applying the liquid to the whole scalp may be useful.
To do this, a person can apply a small amount of onion juice to the inner elbow or back of the ear and wait a few minutes. If irritation develops, it is best not to apply the juice to the scalp.
It is also important to avoid getting onion juice in the eyes. Onion juice that drips into the eyes can lead to burning and redness.
If onion juice does get into the eyes, it is important to rinse it away with cool water Although it is not a harmful side effect, onion juice can have a very strong smell.
The odour may dissuade some people from continuing with onion juice treatment, as it must be applied every day to have the best chance of being effective.
Some people might have success using onion juice for hair regrowth or conditioning while others will not.
Also, the use of onion juice is not going to grow hair quickly. It takes a commitment to applying the onion juice twice daily over the course of several weeks to see if positive results can be achieved.
Studies are limited, so it is not clear that hair growth will continue or if the hair will return to its original state if the use of onion juice is stopped.
The bottom-line is that the use of onion juice, as a hair treatment, is probably not a miracle cure for hair loss. However, it does appear to be safe for most people if they are not allergic to onions.
Side effects also appear to be minimal. It is also fairly easy and not too costly to make an onion juice rinse for the hair.
Even if the use of onion juice does not produce a full head of hair, it probably will not damage existing hair.
So, for some people with hair loss, the use of onion juice may be a possible natural remedy that is worth a try.
In a study that followed almost 3,000 older people with normal cognition, researchers found that a simple smell test was able to identify those at higher risk of dementia, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
They found that participants who could not identify at least 4 out of 5 odours in the simple smell test were twice as likely to have dementia 5 years later.
“These results show that the sense of smell is closely connected with brain function and health,” says Prof. Jayant Pinto, who is also an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
He explains that losing one’s sense of smell is a strong indicator of “significant damage,” and that this “simple smell test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those who are already at high risk.”
Dementia is a collection of diseases
Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that erodes many aspects of cognitive function – for instance, it diminishes a person’s ability to remember, reason, solve problems, and hold a conversation.
As it progresses, dementia encroaches on daily life, eventually robbing people of their independence and personality.
Memory loss is not the only sign of dementia; many people can experience it without having dementia. Dementia is not a normal part of aging, although it is much more common in older people. To be diagnosed with dementia, a person must show impairment in two or more core mental functions, of which memory can be one.
Dementia is not one disease, but a collective term for several diseases that affect the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal disorders. It is quite common for people to have more than one type.
The number of people worldwide with dementia is growing. Currently, around 47 million people are thought to be living with the disease. This number is likely to approach 75 million by 2030 and 132 million by 2050.
At present, there are no treatments that can cure dementia or alter its course, but there are some in clinical trials that might have an impact. In the meantime, much can be done to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, as well as the people who love them and care for them. In this respect, early diagnosis is essential.
Humans sense smell through the olfactory nerve, which links the cells that detect odours in the nose directly to the olfactory bulb located at the base of the brain. This is the only cranial nerve exposed to the outside world, offering a potential route through which the central nervous system might be harmed by pollution, pathogens, and other hazards in the environment. The olfactory system has self-generating stem cells and the researchers suggest that perhaps loss of sense of smell is an early sign that the brain is losing its ability to self-repair. Loss of sense of smell is often an early indicator of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
In the new study, a “nationally representative sample” of 2,906 men and women aged between 57 and 85 underwent home interviews and completed a simple smell test.
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For the “validated five-item test,” they had to identify five odors, one at a time, by sniffing a device similar to a felt-tip pen. Each time, they were given four choices, from which they had to pick out the correct one.
The five different odours were: peppermint, fish, orange, rose, and leather, with peppermint being the easiest, and leather the hardest, to identify.
The researchers found that the vast majority of participants were able to correctly identify at least 4 out of 5 odors. Of the rest, 7 percent identified 2 or 3 out of 5 smells, 2.2 percent identified just one, and 1 percent could not identify any of them.
‘Important early sign’ of dementia
After 5 years, the participants were interviewed again to find out if they had been diagnosed with dementia. A proxy stood in if the participant was too sick to be interviewed or had died during the follow-up.
The team analysed the results of the smell test against the follow-up information, adjusting them to rule out any effects from age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, other illnesses, and level of cognition at study baseline.
They found that the participants who had not been able to identify at least 4 out of the 5 odours at baseline were more than twice as likely to be among those who had developed dementia during the 5-year follow-up.
They also found that the lower the number of odors correctly detected at baseline, the higher the chances of dementia being diagnosed during the follow-up period.
On the findings, Prof. Pinto says, “We think a decline in the ability to smell, specifically, but also sensory function more broadly, may be an important early sign, marking people at greater risk for dementia.”
In a linked editorial, Dr. Stephen Thielke – from the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle – acknowledges that problems with sense of smell may be “easier to quantify across time than global cognition,” and that this could make it easier to assess early decline in the brain.
However, Dr. Thielke also notes that this does not mean that “smell testing would be a useful tool for predicting the onset of dementia.”
Prof. Pinto accepts this point, noting, “Our test simply marks someone for closer attention.” He and his colleagues say that more work is now needed to turn the test into one that can be used in clinical practice.
Nevertheless, he believes that the test could help to find patients who might be at higher risk for dementia, who can then be put forward for trials of treatments to prevent dementia in the early stages.
“Of all human senses, smell is the most undervalued and underappreciated – until it’s gone,” said Prof. Pinto
More than one third of people in the developed world have metabolic syndrome, an insulin-resistant state in which borderline high blood sugar and other metabolic abnormalities indicate an increased risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and other ageing diseases.
Sugar-lowering drugs are not usually prescribed by doctors until a person has diabetes, which means many people are in a dangerous pre-diabetic state without any prevention treatments.
Natural supplements have demonstrated that they are able to help reduce the risk by lowering blood sugar.
These include cinnamon, chromium, alma, shalajit and seaweed and should be used to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Women aged 50 plus spend an average of £1,783 a year on looking glamorous, a study has found.
The typical older woman annually splashes out £117 on make-up, £378 on clothes and a whopping £1,288 on nights out.
The study of 1,800 females aged 50-70 revealed, far from being over the hill, they are living life to the full – spending money on looking great and spending their free-time socialising with pals.
In a typical month they enjoy a minimum of three evenings out on the tiles – with cocktails and wine bars among the most popular activities.
Over the same period respondents fine dine twice, go on two clothes shopping sprees, catch-up with friends four times – and visit their local hair salon every other month.
While seven in ten women revealed they receive compliments about their appearance during nights out as a matter of course and a fifth are regularly approached by potential suitors.
Commissioned by Peter Hahn, specialists in fashion for the mature woman, the research also found a quarter consider themselves to be glamorous.
And over half say they have experienced a new lease of life since turning 50.
A spokeswoman for Peter Hahn said: “With this research we want to get some indication of what the typical woman in their 50s and older is like.
“Our research suggests many older women like to lead quite a classy and glamorous lifestyle – enjoying nice food, looking good and having a great time with their friends.
“They appear to have refined their tastes over the years and know what they like – and what they want out of life.”
Fifty-one per cent of women said it takes years of experience to truly master being glamorous – and 28 per cent think newer generations of females are less glam than they are.
However, many put this down to younger women not having had as much life experience as them – with one respondent admitting it takes time to feel comfortable as who you are.
While another said older females are less inclined to follow fads – and instead they take the best fashions from different eras in order refine their sense of glamour.
More than a third of respondents believe glamour can be found in a piece of exquisite designer clothing or a handbag.
And the average female over 50 owns two designer handbags and one pair of designer sunglasses – with a third owning up to three pairs of designer shoes.
Three quarters of respondents said they enjoy getting glammed up for special occasions – and nine in ten said it’s important they look their best where possible.
Medicinal plants have long been valued for their role in treating numerous diseases. Yet pinpointing the exact molecules from an array of compounds that comprise the majority of plant species has proved quite difficult. University of Toyama researchers in Japan have created a means of isolating and identifying the important active compounds within plant medicines. Their methodology has been published in Frontiers in Pharmacology. The project was spearheaded by University of Toyama associate professor of neuropharmacology Chihiro Tohda, Ph.D.
How they found the evidence
The research group used a new technique to identify numerous active compounds from a traditional plant medicine known as Drynaria rhizome. These compounds boost memory and decrease disease characteristics. Although the work was performed on a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease not humans.
Scientists usually screen plant medicines with lab experiments over and over to determine if specific compounds display an effect on cells raised in vitro. If a compound displays a positive effect in the cells or test tubes, it has the potential to be used in the form of a drug. Such compounds are subsequently tested in animals. Yet this is a painstaking process that does not take into account the alterations that occur when drugs enter the body. As an example, enzymes within the blood and liver metabolize drugs into several forms referred to as metabolites. Certain areas of the body like the brain aren’t easily accessible by most drugs. Only a handful of drugs or their metabolites can access such tissues. Dr. Tohda’s group developed more efficient methods to pinpoint authentic active plant compounds to take such factors into account.
The research team made use of mice with a genetic mutation that acted as an Alzheimer’s disease model. This mutation provided mice with characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease such as limited memory and an abundance of specific proteins within the brain like tau and amyloid proteins.
The research team determined Drynaria rhizome enhances memory function and facilitates AD pathologies in mice. Biochemical analysis allowed for the identification of bioeffective metabolites like glucuronides and naringenin that are transmitted to the brain. The research group combined immunoprecipitation-liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis with drug affinity responsive target stability to pinpoint the collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) protein as a naringenin target.
It was determined the plant extract decreased memory impairments as well as the level of tau and amyloid proteins within the brains of mice. The team studied the mouse brain tissues five hours following treatment with the extract. It was determined three plant compounds made it to the brain: two naringenin metabolites and naringenin.
When mice were treated with pure naringenin, it was found that the same boosts in memory deficits and decreased tau and amyloid proteins occurred. This is a sign that naringenin and its associated metabolites are the active compounds in the plant. The research team also found a protein referred to as CRMP2, that naringenin binds within neurons, spurs growth. This might be the mechanism through which naringenin improves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
A Look at the Future
The research group hopes its new technique will be used to identify additional treatments. They will apply the method to discover new drugs for an array of diseases ranging from depression to sarcopenia and even spinal cord injuries. In summary, the findings show that the biochemical analysis combined with pharmacological methods described above prove useful in the quest to identify new targets for Alzheimer’s disease intervention.
Swedish health care company Mölnlycke has launched a new 150g size Epaderm Cream in a handy-sized bottle with pump dispenser. Epaderm emollient is recommended by doctors for the treatment of a range of dry skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis.The new 150g bottle provides people living with dry skin a convenient ‘on-the-go’ sized bottle to ensure their skin receives the best possible care at all times, despite busy lifestyles.
Barbara Page MBE, Dermatology Nurse Advisor and Chair of the Psychodermatology sub group of the British Dermatological Nursing Group (BDNG) said: “I am confident that this new size of Epaderm Cream will be a welcome addition for the many people throughout the UK who regularly use an emollient on a daily basis to manage their dry skin conditions and are looking for a convenient option to keep up their regime when they are out and about.”
Kieran Gormley, Epaderm Marketing Manager at Molnlycke added: “Epaderm Cream is clinically proven to significantly improve skin hydration and smoothness after just two weeks, outperforming other leading emollient creams. Epaderm Cream is free from fragrance, colouring and sodium lauryl sulfates (SLS), making it ideal for new-borns to those in their advancing years and people with living with dry and sensitive skin.
“We specifically developed the new ‘on-the-go’ 150g Epaderm Cream to be able to offer people living with dry skin conditions a convenient choice for their holiday suitcase and becomes the bottle they choose to throw into their handbags, gym bags or their festival backpacks.”
The new Epaderm Cream 150g is currently available in Boots and Superdrug stores with a recommended retail price of £6.99. Epaderm Cream 50g and 500g and Epaderm Ointment in 125g, 500g and 1kg sizes, are available on prescription and also in most pharmacies throughout the UK.
Read more about this helpful product here: : http://www.epaderm.com/
To win one of these very useful samples just answer the simple question below!
Please note that this competition closes on Sunday 4 June 2017 at midnight. The 10 winners will be informed within 48 hours of the close. The Editor’s decision is final and no monetary equivalent is being offered.
Luxury skincare brand, Guinot is offering a rare chance to get our hands on their wonderful products with a discount of up to 65% on their products – the offer lasts until 7 May. Click here to see what is on offer!
Snap up these anti-ageing hair treatments – up to 65% off while products last. Offer closes at midnight on 7 May. Click here to see what’s on offer.
Make this tasty meat free recipe below and vote for your favourite organic product!
This year you can get involved with organic too, the BOOMs Nation’s Favourite Award asks the people to find and vote for the most popular organic product. Nominations are open NOW until to Wednesday, May 31st – make sure you have your say here by voting – click on this link.
3 tbsp organic olive oil
Sprig of thyme
1 tbsp parsley stalks
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 small organic swede, peeled and diced
150g tinned plum tomatoes
1 tbsp good red wine vinegar
200g organic kale, stalks removed (reserved and chopped), leaves shredded
100g orzo Parsley and chervil, to garnish Grated lemon zest, to garnish Organic cheddar, to garnish Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of coriander seed
Pinch of rye seed
10g grated parmesan
1 garlic clove, grated
100g pistachios, toasted and chopped
Zest of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tbsp light organic spelt flour
Freshly grated nutmeg
To make the soup:
Heat the olive oil over a medium to high heat. Add the thyme, bay leaf and parsley stalks and stir, cooking for a minute or two to infuse the oil, then add the diced veg and cook, stirring for 10–15 minutes, until softened and smelling good. Add the plum tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes before adding a litre of water, vinegar and the kale stalks, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10–15 minutes, allowing all the flavours to infuse. During this time, make the dumplings.
To make the dumplings:
Dry fry the spices in a frying pan until they start to crackle. Remove and grind in a pestle and mortar. Wash the spinach and then wilt in a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. There should be enough residual water on the spinach to mean that you don’t need to add any oil or water. After a couple of minutes, once wilted, transfer the spinach to a sieve and leave over the sink to drain. Press down on the leaves with a wooden spoon to squeeze out any excess water. Once cooled and drained, chop finely. Place the ricotta in a bowl and add all of the other ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine and incorporate all the ingredients. Oil your hands lightly with olive oil and shape them into meatball sized balls.
Poach them in the minestrone. Alternatively you could bring a pan of water to the boil and cook them in the boiling water for 5 minutes, until they float – removing them with a slotted spoon.
Taking Music to the Mountains is a festival of 24 concerts in magnificent natural settings which takes place between July 7 – August 31, 2017.
Each summer, the Sounds of the Dolomites music festival is held in the beautiful Trentino Dolomites, and features a musical programme that is both eclectic and wide-ranging. This year, the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker, singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti, and jazz legend Chick Corea are all on the menu.
Now in its 23rd edition, the Sounds of the Dolomites festival offers both musicians and audiences an intriguing proposition. How would their music sound if it were played outdoors, in one of the world’s most famous mountain landscapes?
Each summer, in July and August, they come to the Trentino Dolomites to find out: and discover a unique and unforgettable event.
Almost every concert begins with a walk
The key to the festival’s success is its willingness to seek out the most stunning venues. The concerts are not staged down in the valleys, with the cliffs and crags a distant backdrop: they’re up on the slopes – performed in lush Alpine meadows, or on the shores of remote mountain lakes. Usually, there’s a mountain refuge nearby, and a switchback road or cable car to take the sting out of the climb. But in most cases, audiences and musicians need to do a little walking to get there.
It’s well worth the effort. Each setting has its own special qualities: but every one of them is magical. Up in the mountains, the music breathes like nowhere else – and begins an fascinating dialogue with its surroundings. Violins and cellos flicker in the breeze, and the silences are as meaningful as the songs. It’s no wonder, then, that the festival has become a widely-anticipated event amongst both musicians and music lovers – and is reviewed in both the Italian and international media.
From classical recitals to singer-songwriters
This year’s festival begins with a performance by the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Rifugio Fuciade – a serene and lovely spot near the San Pellegrino pass. The ensemble was established in 1972 and over the years it’s played for the Emperor of Japan and the President of the United States. On July 7, it will perform works by Boris Blacher, Julius Klengel, Astor Piazzol and José Carlia, while the audience gazes across the trees and meadows towards the Pale di San Martino: one of the most dramatic of all the Dolomite massifs.
It will be a fitting start to a mouthwatering programme, which mixes world music, jazz, and classical recitals with performances by singer-songwriters such as Jack Savoretti. Savoretti’s “Written in Scars” was a permanent fixture in the UK album charts in 2015, and he’ll be playing songs from his latest release, “Sleep No More” in Madonna di Campiglio on August 28. Meanwhile, on July 12 at the Villa Welsperg, you can see Jazz legend Chick Corea, who’ll be duetting with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck: an unlikely combination perhaps, but one which has already produced intriguing results, and received rave reviews.
Another highlight comes courtesy of the Tunisian oud virtuoso, Anouar Brahem, who’ll be playing on August 2, in the dramatic setting of the Passo Sella. But for raw mountain atmosphere, it will be hard to beat the recital on July 26 by the Kelemen Quartet at Laghi di Bombasèl – a series of remote and magnificent mountain lakes, high above the town of Cavalese.
A festival within a festival
One striking feature of this year’s event is the “festival within a festival”, which runs from July 17-23 in the Brenta Dolomites. Here, you’ll be able to see a concert a day in spectacular locations around the resort town of Madonna di Campiglio.
They’ll be performed by one of the musical directors of the Sounds of the Dolomites, cellist Mario Brunello, with members of Kremerata Baltica orchestra – and the programme promises to be innovative in every way. From 18-20 July, for example, Brunello will be trekking through the mountains with fellow cellist Peteris Sokolovksis, stopping en route to perform music by Offenbach and Boccherini – as well as the “Lux Aeterna”, Kneifel’s mystical work, in which they’ll accompany their cellos with song.
Throughout this event Brunello will be playing a prestigious 17th-century Maggini cello, made with wood from the forests just east of Paneveggio in Trentino. Here, the mountain valleys are home to Italian Red Spruces, which grow straight and slow in the chilly, sheltered microclimate. Their dense, consistent timber makes near-perfect soundboards for musical instruments – and Maggini wasn’t the only master craftsman to understand its properties. Stradivarius also used wood from these forests for his violins.
Nearly all the concerts are free
If you’d like to join Mario Brunello and Peteris Sokolovksis for their three-day trek through the Brenta Dolomites, the price is €360, which includes two nights accommodation in mountain refuges (limited spaces – bookings from 9 am on May 8 on +39 0465 447501). But otherwise, all the concerts in the Sounds of the Dolomites festival are free. New this year: with your Trentino Guest Card or if you have a local guest card, you can also join in one of the mountain guides leading walks to the venues for free.
Most concerts begin at 1pm. However, on two mornings – July 15 and 23 – they begin with the sunrise, at 6am. Each has a back-up venue at lower altitude, in case of inclement weather.
The Festival will of course provide the perfect excuse for a longer holiday in the Dolomites, which were recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2009. The best places to stay will be in the towns and villages of the Val di Fassa and the Val di Fiemme, in San Martino di Castrozza, or – for Mario Brunello’s mini-festival of July 17-23 – Madonna di Campiglio. For details of accommodation, visit www.visittrentino.info/en/booking/all-accommodation.
For more information about the Sounds of the Dolomites, visit www.isuonidelledolomiti.it/EN/.
For many years, apple cider vinegar has been linked with an array of health benefits, according to an article in Medical News Today.
These have ranged from aiding weight loss to relieving cold symptoms. But does taking it help people with diabetes?
The majority of the health claims around apple cider vinegar have yet to be supported by clinical research. However, evidence has been emerging to suggest that apple cider vinegar may have certain benefits for the management of type 2 diabetes.
This article will discuss the research behind this claim and how apple cider vinegar should be taken, if at all.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar derives from cider or fresh apples and is produced after a slow process that breaks down sugars.
Vinegar can be made from nearly any carbohydrate. Apple cider vinegar is derived from cider or freshly pressed apple juice.
Like most vinegars, apple cider vinegar is produced after a slow process spanning several weeks or months in which sugars are broken down.
Mother of vinegar is a cobweb-like substance made from yeast and bacteria that builds up during this period. Mother of vinegar gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance and it is only present in unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It is thought to boost the vinegar’s nutritional value.
However, most vinegar is pasteurized. This heating process kills bacteria but prevents mother of vinegar from forming.
Apple cider vinegar and diabetes
In 1980, there were around 108 million people with diabetes worldwide. Its prevalence has increased greatly over the past few decades to an estimated 422 million. Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by an inability to manage blood sugar levels appropriately.
The hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels is called insulin. People with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce this hormone. People with type 2 diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin or respond appropriately to the hormone.
People can also develop a related condition known as prediabetes. This is where an individual may have blood sugar levels that are high, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Developing methods that help the body to regulate blood sugar levels efficiently is the most effective strategy in managing diabetes. Maintaining a healthful, balanced diet and regular exercise are crucial lifestyle factors that can help to achieve this.
Some evidence also suggests that consuming apple cider vinegar may be useful in helping people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.
One study demonstrated that apple cider vinegar reduced blood sugar levels and had a positive impact on cholesterol in rats with and without diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
Studies suggest that a small amount of apple cider vinegar may help to reduce blood sugar levels after a spike following a meal high in carbohydrates.
In humans, researchers have looked at how consuming apple cider vinegar alongside a meal high in carbohydrates affected blood sugar levels in participants who had type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or neither condition.
Meals high in carbohydrates typically cause a spike in blood sugar levels immediately after eating. However, less than an ounce of apple cider vinegar significantly reduced blood sugar levels across all three groups following the meal, compared with the consumption of a placebo drink.
Another study in patients with type 2 diabetes compared apple cider vinegar with water. The authors found that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a cheese snack before bedtime was enough to significantly lower blood sugar levels the following morning.
This finding suggests that apple cider vinegar could also help to reduce fasting blood sugar levels. This refers to blood sugar levels after 8 hours without eating or drinking anything except water. Fasting blood sugar levels serve as a baseline measure of a person’s blood sugar levels.
It is thought that a component of apple cider vinegar called acetic acid may slow down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream.
This provides more time for sugar to be removed from the bloodstream, allowing the body to keep blood sugar levels constant and limit spikes. This is also a theory underlying the effects of several different diabetes drugs.
Type 1 diabetes
While consuming apple cider vinegar could help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, it could be harmful to those with type 1 diabetes.
The inadequate digestion of food is a common complication for people with diabetes. Called gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying, it means that food can remain in the stomach for an abnormally long period of time without being digested.
These delays in the digestive process make it harder for the body to consistently control blood sugar levels. A team of Swedish researchers found that apple cider vinegar increased the time in which food remains undigested in stomach of people with type 1 diabetes.
It is important to note that a majority of the studies within this area have been conducted using small sample sizes and findings have not always been consistent.
A large-scale, randomized control trial to find out how apple cider vinegar affects blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes has yet to be conducted.
Any impact that apple cider vinegar might have on the regulation of blood sugar levels is likely to be relatively small compared with maintaining a healthful, balanced diet and regular exercise.
Based on the available evidence, apple cider vinegar could help people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. More research is needed for large-scale recommendations. Its consumption in moderation has yet to be linked with any significant harms or side effects.
How is it consumed?
Apple cider vinegar may be consumed diluted in water or used in marinades and salad dressings.
People who wish to consume apple cider vinegar are best diluting 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water. It should be consumed before meals and there may be benefits associated with consuming it just before bedtime.
As with most vinegars, it is not recommended to consume undiluted apple cider vinegar. When drunk on its own, it can cause stomach irritation or damage to tooth enamel.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a versatile cooking ingredient. It is suitable for use in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and soups. It works well with many meats and fish.
People are most likely to see the distilled varieties of apple cider vinegar on sale, which has a clear, see-through appearance. However, it is better to search for the unfiltered, cloudier varieties as they contain mother of vinegar and are more nutritious.
People with type 2 diabetes may want to consider diluted apple vinegar cider given that it is safe to consume and may provide some benefit to blood sugar level control. However, the evidence behind its benefits is still lacking.
It is important for people to note that apple cider vinegar should not be considered a quick fix for diabetes. Eating a balanced diet low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and exercising regularly are the most effective methods of controlling diabetes.