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Health TO YOUR

Midvalley Mid dvalley Newspapers

November 2011

A guide to wellne wellness and healthy living in the Mid-Willamette Valley

STAT Quick reads about health topics in the news

Fear of Alzheimer’s is overwhelming seniors

The Mid-Valley Road Race encourages families to be active together Thanksgiving morning, before sitting down to a big holiday meal. This year’s race starts at 8 a.m. Nov. 24 in the North Albany Village Plaza. Mark Ylen | TO YOUR HEALTH

Fitting in a new tradition It can be hard to find extra time around the holidays for exercise, so why not make it a family affair and get active together? To park at a designated Winter Recreation Area, you need a permit. They’re sold at all DMV offices, and at sporting goods stores and ski areas. They cost $20 for an annual permit, $7 for a three-day permit, or $3 for a one-day permit. Leave the permit visible in your car’s window when you go out to play. Santiam Sno-Park, located 5 miles east of Santiam Junction on Highway 20, is the closest Sno-Park with a designated area for sledding or tubing. Go to www.tripcheck.com/Pages/SP entry.asp and click on the blue icons on the state map for detailed information about all Oregon’s Sno-Parks.

By JENNIFER ROUSE

T

he holidays are rolling around again, and if you’re like many Americans, you’re looking at the scale on one side of you (perhaps a little scary, after all the Halloween candy) and the calendar on the other side of you (jam-packed with activities) and wondering how you’re going to manage to fend off holiday weight gain this year. Instead of stressing about portion control or skipping out on family time to hit the gym, how about starting a new tradition or two this year? Something that includes your family, but is more active than your current tradition of standing around the buffet table snacking on fudge all afternoon? Here are few ideas to get you started:

Try a Thanksgiving day race “Turkey Trots” as they’re sometimes called, can be a great way to kick off your Thanksgiving Day, so that when the big meal comes around later, you can eat it guilt-free (or at least with lesser guilt) knowing that you’ve already worked off some of those calories. In the mid-valley, the fourth annual Mid-Valley Road Race is the nearest location for a Thanksgiving-morning event. It begins at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 24, in North Albany and offers a 2.5-mile walk, a 3.75-mile run, and a 5.2-mile “Scenic Challenge” course. Race Director Jim Abbott started the event after participating in a similar Thanksgiving Day road race in Connecticut. “There were some naysayers who didn’t think it was doable on Thanksgiving, but I knew different,” Abbott said. The race has grown by about 200 participants each year, and attracted 800 last year. Abbott encourages families to sign up together, to run or walk depending on their preference, and to come in costume if they’d like.

Anna Som of Albany pushes her daughters Maryanne and Amara along the 3.75-mile run last year. He said he knows of one participant who used to do the longer runs but now signs up for an easier course. “He says it’s more fun to go do it with his kids,” he said. Strollers are welcome on the course, and walkers receive a participation pin. “It’s something families can collect together over the years,” Abbott said. For more information about the race, you can go to www.omroadrace.org. And if you’re going to be out of town for Thanksgiving? Bend, Sherwood, Portland, Medford, Tigard and Hood River all have Thanksgiving Day races planned. Go to www.runningintheusa.com to search for races wherever your holiday plans take you.

Post-turkey nature hike Albany resident Heidi Scovel and her sister Holly came up with the idea for what they call “Green Friday” (rather than Black Friday and the shopping marathon that implies) three years ago. “We wanted to do something soul-refreshing on the day after Thanksgiving,” she said. “Green Friday was a way to involve the kids, stretch our legs, breath fresh air, and enjoy nature.” Scovel, her kids, and her extended family like to head to E.E. Wilson wildlife refuge just outside Adair Village, or to her sister’s family farm. As they walk, they

gather things like cedar boughs, rose hips, pinecones, twigs and berries, then use them to decorate their homes for the holidays. “It’s a pretty relaxed sort of walk since we’re gathering twigs and fallen apples and the kids are just enjoying being outside,” Scovel said. “We let the weather and the kids’ energy dictate how far we go.” Besides E.E. Wilson, the Bald Hill trail system in Corvallis, Dave Clark path or Swanson Park trail in Albany, or the Cheadle Lake trail system in Lebanon are other local options for close-by family hikes on Thanksgiving weekend. Visit www.cityofalbany.net/parks, www.ci.corvallis.or.us/parks, or www.ci. lebanon.or.us to find out more about local parks and trails.

Go play in the snow When winter break rolls around and mid-valley residents find themselves with bored kids sitting indoors and staring at the rain outside, it’s time to head for the hills. The valley floor may not get a white Christmas very often, but Oregon’s mountains do. Oregon has 99 designated “Sno-Parks,” and many of them are within easy driving distance of the valley. An afternoon of sledding and snow-ball fights will get you active and create fun family memories.

Give a gift of a winter sport If you’re stumped for gift ideas, how about giving someone the chance to try a new winter activity? A pass to a ski hill coupled with a snowboarding lesson, or admission to an ice rink combined with lessons in figure skating or hockey might be exactly the kind of unique gift you’re looking for. Broke teens or college students might appreciate a gift that lets them do something they’d enjoy but couldn’t otherwise afford. Kids will love the chance to try out doing something like the winter athletes they see on TV. And even adults who haven’t skiied or been on the ice in years might like the chance to channel their inner Wayne Gretzky or Kristi Yamaguchi. Hoodoo is the closest local ski/snowboard facility; it’s located on Highway 20 about 50 miles east of Sweet Home. It offers day passes, annual passes, and lessons in both skiing and snowboarding. Visit www.hoo doo.com for more information. The Lane Ice Center in Eugene is the closest ice rink. It offers public skates and day passes, as well as private event rentals. Figure skating lessons and hockey lessons for both kids and adults are available through associations that use the facility; visit www.icerinkexchange.com for information on the Lane Ice Center.

Surveys show that fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease has become overwhelming to seniors. Fueling the concern: An increased life expectancy of 80 and beyond, and data concluding that one in every two people over age 85 exhibits some form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI — subtle but measurable cognitive changes — increases the risk that an individual will develop Alzheimer’s or other dementia, but a fourth of the cases never go that far. At least 5.4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and an additional 5.3 million by MCI. University of California at Irvine Professor Kim N. Green says the potential for developing Alzheimer’s (the sixthleading cause of death in the United States) is a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Genetics are inherited, of course, and account for 60 percent of the disease. “We cannot change our genetics but we can change our environment and lifestyle,” he said, urging attention to a healthy diet and both mind and body exercise. Even crossword puzzles help, he said. — McClatchy Newspapers

Hearing loss becoming more widespread Some 36 million people in the United States, about one in 10, have some degree of hearing loss, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. There’s evidence that hearing loss is becoming more widespread. About 40 percent of people older than 65 have some degree of hearing loss. Some studies show hearing loss is becoming more prevalent among the young. One in five teens has slight to mild hearing loss. The prevalence of hearing loss among ages 12 to 19 has increased 30 percent, from 14.9 percent in 19881994 to 19.5 percent in 20052006, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Everyone assumes iPods and other personal listening devices are the cause, but there is not enough data yet, so we don’t know for certain,” says the lead author of the study, Dr. Josef Shargorodsky, a clinician researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. — Detroit Free Press

Study: Ginger root supports colon health Ginger root supplements may help tamp down markers for colon inflammation, a study finds. The study, published online in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, included 30 men and women who were randomly assigned to take 2 grams of a ginger root supplement or a placebo for 28 days. The participants were at normal risk for colon cancer — they had no family history of the disease and no evidence of the disease. Ginger root is a popular supplement that’s often used to treat stomach ailments. The study subjects underwent sigmoidoscopies at the beginning and the end of the study. Researchers examined colon inflammation levels and found that those taking the supplements had a drop in colon inflammation markers as well as a tendency toward substantial decreases in other markers. More research is needed, the authors said, to see if taking ginger root supplements have any effect on colon cancer risk. — Los Angeles Times


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To Your Health

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Caffeine is a tricky habit to kick Nearly 90 percent of American adults drink coffee on a regular basis

MARK YLEN/TO YOUR HEALTH

Dr. Mari Goldner is a sleep medicine specialist at The Corvallis Clinic. She says lifestyle choices are often to blame for sleep problems.

Enough sleep is crucial for a healthy waking life It helps people stay on an even keel emotionally, and to produce clear thought BY ROGER PHELPS TO YOUR HEALTH

Having a sleep disorder is something most people don’t even dream about. However, it’s not necessary to have a sleep disorder to have symptoms that mimic it — symptoms such as impatience with other people, or forgetfulness, or jumping to conclusions. These days, common behavior patterns promote sleeping less — patterns like back-to-school, pushto-make-ends-meet and I-want-itall. Sleep maintains the body’s ability to regulate itself. That doesn’t mean just preventing you from yawning uncontrollably in someone’s face. Two functions of a properly regulated brain are holding the emotions at an even keel and producing clear thought. Without the regulation, craziness. In fact, a federal disease-control study already has shown sleepdeprived teens are 40 percent more likely to get into fights. Much worse, they are even more likely than others to consider suicide. “Public health intervention is greatly needed,” said researcher Lela McKnight-Eily, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control, going so far as to suggest that public schools drop early morning class hours. The U.S. problem with sleep apnea is probably due to worsen, said Dr. Mari Goldner of The Corvallis Clinic. “Shortsightedly, two major insurance companies have just slapped on a $500 fee, to be paid by the patient, on a test for sleep apnea,” Goldner said. “It’s effectively prohibitive, because apnea is strongly linked to socioeconomic status, because it’s linked strongly to obesity. Not many well-to-do people are overweight. The apnea sufferer is at risk to fall asleep on the way to work.”

Sleep deprivers The ability to sleep is a complicated beast. The list of factors that can deprive it is already so long that it’s a wonder anyone ever sleeps a full night. And the list of known sleep deprivers continues to grow. In fact, led by an Oregon researcher, a recent study found that infants of 9 months who perceived quiet, unspoken conflicts between their parents developed sleep difficulties months later, as toddlers. “By working with adoptive families, we are able to show that the associations we found between marital instability and child sleep problems

A FAIRLY NEW FIELD OF MEDICINE Dr. Mari Goldner of The Corvallis Clinic specializes in the comparatively new medical field of sleep medicine. The doctor, a graduate of Harvard, answers a few questions on the topic. Q. What does it take to be a sleep doctor? A. I was an internal medicine resident. Then I went into a pulmonary medicine subspecialty, because airways and breathing are very important to sleep health. The other half are neuropsychiatrists. The brain is the organ of sleep. Q. How has the field developed? A. The Association of Professional Sleep Societies just had its 25th birthday. Sleep health entered common medical practice — as a specialty, where other doctors would give referrals — during the last 10 or 15 years. It’s new enough that some doctors still don’t believe in it. Q. What do you see in your own practice? A. The bulk of what I see is obstructive sleep apnea (cessation of breathing during sleep). We see bad insomnia, bad restlessleg syndrome, narcolepsy, unusual behavior. For Seasonal Affective Disorder, we loan a light box for a month for free. Q. What is the newest development? A. There are lots of new sleep drugs, but I have doubts — insomnia has to do with how people live life. Then there’s the newest Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine, to treat sleep apnea. It’s still a blowing of air in your nose, but it’s a lot are not due to genes shared between the parents and the children,” said Anne Mannering, an instructor in Oregon State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Researchers tracked families in which parents reported, separately, that they’d been thinking of divorce. That was all it took for a child to lose ability to sleep well, the study found. Far from being a passive state of suspension — as it was thought to be only a few decades ago — sleep takes work to produce. This job falls to a hormone, melatonin. Melatonin functions to match body rhythms to earthly light-dark cycles determined by the sun. Employment on a nightshift basis has been found to be almost as bad as jet lag for disrupting melatonin’s work and unmatching one’s “body clock” — two tiny neurons specifically sited in the brain — with light-and-dark rhythms of the earth and sun. Although she works the 8:30 to 5 day shift at an Albany office, bookkeeper Jill Vanlydegraf said she has come to rely on a dietary supplement, extra melatonin, because it works, she said. “Even with coffee after dinner,” Vanlydegraf said. On the other hand, as fall begins, some sufferers from Seasonal Affec-

more tolerable. The masks are smaller, lighter, and give better humidity. Progress really is just understanding the amazing brain. The hardest thing is that a lot of sleep problems relate to life problems, life choices. Q. How so? A. The stress of dysfunctional families, of job insecurity, of people working ridiculous hours — stuff I don’t have a pill for. Q. Are you saying something like the society is disordered and is depriving people of sleep? A. Yes, people up on the computer at all hours, the “I can sleep when I’m dead” mentality. People are choosing to do other things. It’s the lives we lead — stress, and the technology of blue light from television and computer screens. The brain seeing blue light is telling itself, “No, it’s daylight,” and shuts off the melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. It’s linked to the great amount of obese kids. No sleep, and the body feels stressed and in a hangonto-what-you’ve got mode. This produces a slowed metabolism. Statistically, the presence of a TV or a computer in a child’s bedroom means they’re getting one hour less sleep per night. Q. What might this mean for the future? A. It’s worsening measurably, by the month. No sleep, the eating crap. Activities that are all stress, no exercise, no just taking a good walk. Many people who can’t sleep just didn’t get good and tired — but they’re bad and tired. tive Disorder wish they felt less sleepy. They wish they saw the sun more. Some use light boxes.

Sleep until sunlight Accordingly, one lesser-known tip toward regular sleep is to sleep until sunlight; if possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning — light helps the body’s internal biological clock reset itself each day. For people having problems falling asleep, experts recommend exposure to an hour of morning light. In addition, if the body is given a fixed bedtime without a lot of late stimulation, it reliably can accustom itself to falling asleep at that time. Nightime worry is a particularly bad late-hour stimulation. Some people find it useful to fix a “worry period” during the evenings or late afternoons. Television is a stimulating device that tends to keep people up. Radio is a less-stimulating entertainment device. All this counts because “catching up on your sleep” is a bigger job than many people realize. If you get less than six hours of sleep a night for a week, for example, you’ll rack up a full night’s sleep debt — too much to make up for with a few hours extra sleep on the weekend.

Peppermint can ebb cravings Of course smell is important when it comes to eating. When we walk into a movie theater, our sense of smell is why we’re instantly dying for some popcorn — preferably drenched in butter. If glorious smells make us want to eat, is there a scent that could have the opposite effect and actually reduce our urge? Yes, there is, says psychologist Bryan Raudenbush, a professor at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. It’s peppermint.

His study showed that volunteers who sniffed peppermint scent every two hours were not as hungry as nonsniffers and — even better — they ate 2,800 fewer calories in a week. That’s enough to lose close to a pound. The peppermint smell, he says, “is distracting you from your hunger pains, and you don’t feel as inclined to eat as much.’’ (Eating peppermint candy or chewing peppermint gum doesn’t work as well.) — McClatchy-Tribune

To hear and see some of the day’s major news stories in motion, log on to democratherald.com or gazettetimes.com and go to AP Video on the paper’s home page.

ounces of water. This strategy seems to slow coffee consumption and also works if you have a morning diet or regular soda habit, said Brian Wansink, founder and director of the Cornell UniBY JULIE DEARDORFF versity Food and Brand Lab CHICAGO TRIBUNE and an expert on psychology For most people, a morn- and food consumption. • Choose your approach. ing cup of java isn’t harmful. But if you rely on coffee Some people can go cold to get you out of bed, to turkey; others need to gradstave off midmorning ually reduce. “There’s no evidence that headaches and to avoid the 3 p.m. crash, you may be either approach is supehooked on one of the most rior,” said James Lane, a popular drugs in the world. caffeine researcher and Nearly 90 percent of professor in the departAmerican adults drink cof- ment of psychiatry and befee on a regular basis. More havioral sciences at Duke than 50 percent of adults, University Medical Center. If you’re a heavy coffee meanwhile, consume just over three cups of coffee a drinker — eight cups a day — gradual withdrawal can day. But caffeine is a tricky help prevent the dreaded stimulant to shake. Though headaches and fogginess. tolerance levels vary, drink- If you drink two cups, you ing just 100 milligrams per may be able to bite the bulday — the amount of a let. “Withdrawal symptoms small cup of brewed coffee — and then giving it up can most likely disappear in two lead to withdrawal symp- or three days,” said Lane. • Taper: To minimize toms ranging from headaches and depression withdrawal symptoms, to flulike nausea and mus- gradually reduce the cle pain, according to the amount of caffeine by National Institutes of drinking half regular and half decaffeinated and Health. Caffeine may have some gradually increasing the health benefits, but so far amount of decaf, said Ling research is weak. Some Wong, a Santa Monica, kinds of headaches cause Calif.-based nutrition and blood vessels to widen; caf- wellness coach. “You can also try tea — feine temporarily causes them to narrow. Coffee may black or yerba mate — which also help reduce your risk of has the richness of coffee without that much cafParkinson’s disease. But coffee — like sugary feine,” Wong said. “Rooibos breakfast foods — can cre- is an herbal tea that has a ate a cycle of extreme en- rich body similar to black ergy swings. The National tea, without any caffeine. Institutes of Health also re- Green tea and white tea are also great ports that cafchoices,” she feine raises blood pressure ‘You can also try said. • Fruit juices and increases tea — black or might seem like feelings of yerba mate — a healthy option stress, anxiety which has the to coffee, but it’s and road rage. It can leave you richness of cof- better to avoid all sugar-sweetfeeling wired 12 to 16 hours after fee without that ened beverages, the last cup, much caffeine. whether it’s or high wreaking havoc Rooibos is an added natural sugar. on sleep. And it “The stomcan exacerbate herbal tea that ach doesn’t feel health condihas a rich body full so the brain tions such as diabetes by similar to black can’t know it, making blood tea, without any and you keep eating,” said sugar rise faster caffeine. Green physician and than usual. To start tea and white chef John LaPuma. “Because weaning yourtea are also they boost self off the joe, figure out how great choices.’ glycemic load, they inflame armuch caffeine LING WONG teries, disable you’re ingesting NUTRITION AND insulin and clog during the day, WELLNESS COACH up the betaincluding soft drinks and energy drinks; if cells in the pancreas, where you can’t track it, it’s too insulin is made. They can also make the liver store fat. much. Also try the following Not a pretty picture.’” A better alternative? tips: • Wake up and drink 8 Sparkling water.


To Your Health

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FIVE TIPS

NUTRITION QUIZ: DIET DETECTIVE

Wives more apt to gain weight

1. Don’t match him bite for bite ... Men often are taller and more muscular than women and can eat more without gaining weight. While women generally need 1,600 to 2,200 calories a day — the higher number is for younger, more active women — the range for men is 2,200 to 2,800. 2. ... or sip for sip. Women have lower amounts of an enzyme that breaks down alcohol and less body water to dilute it. Stick to one drink a day. 3. Don’t gobble food. Men tend to eat faster than women. Put down utensils between bites, chew food thoroughly and use smaller forks and spoons (a teaspoon for cereal, say, rather than a soup spoon). 4. Know your needs. Talk to a registered dietitian or find an online calculator for calorie recommendations based on gender, age, size and exercise habits. Consider a genderspecific multi-vitamin; women often need more of certain substances (iron) and less of others (protein). 5. Be a creative cook. Tweak favorite “manly” foods: bake chicken with bread crumbs rather than frying it, for example, and grill with olive oil instead of butter.

— Newport News Daily Press

BY SAM MCMANIS MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

JARRAD HENDERSON/DETROIT FREE PRESS

Adil Siddiqui talks about his fight with vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease that causes the skin to lose color and develop white patches.

ERASING EMBARRASSMENT Skin transplant surgery gives patients new lease on life BY JEFF SEIDEL DETROIT FREE PRESS

DETROIT — Adil Siddiqui was reluctant to go out in public because he thought everybody was staring at the patches of white skin on his face. Siddiqui suffers from vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease that affects about 2 million Americans. The white patches appear when pigment cells, called melanocytes, are attacked and destroyed by the body’s immune system. The reason is a mystery. The white patches, which are called lesions, developed after Siddiqui graduated from Novi High School in 2006. “It’s an awkward stage when you are that age,” said Siddiqui, 23, of Canton Township, Mich. “I was just getting over acne. It was not cool.” One of the white spots was under his lower lip on the left side of his face. There was another white patch to the right of his mouth. “I’m not naturally an outgoing person,” he said. “I was even more reserved and less self-confident after I developed the lesions. I was always worried that people were looking and me and thinking,

‘What the heck happened to this guy?’ It was disconcerting to me mentally.” The color on Siddiqui’s face has returned and the patches of white are almost all gone since he underwent skin transplant surgery at the Vitiligo Treatment Center, a unit of the Multicultural Dermatology Center of Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Dermatology. Siddiqui had two procedures. The first was performed in summer 2007, but the area right below his mouth didn’t come back with color. So he repeated the treatment about eight months later. Now, he’s thrilled with the results. “It’s been a tremendous success,” he said. He developed more confidence after the surgery: “It’s no longer a distraction for me. That’s the greatest gift that it has given me. I don’t have to be selfconscious. I feel as normal as I’ve ever felt.” Henry Ford is the only hospital in the U.S. that offers the transplant surgery, according to Iltefat Hamzavi, a senior staff physician in Henry Ford’s Department of Dermatology. The surgery is known as melanocyte-keratinocyte transplantation or MKTP.

Don’t fall for fitness myths BY JULIE DEARDORFF CHICAGO TRIBUNE

If you still think sit-ups will reduce your belly flab, we’ve got some depressing news: You’ve fallen for one of the all-time great exercise myths. Fitness misconceptions are rampant, in part due to misleading infomercials, but also because scientific results are mixed on some commonly held beliefs. Meanwhile, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily benefit another. Some fitness myths are harmless half-truths. Others, however, scare people away from working out or lead to injury. The spotreduction myth — which holds that you can, for example, flatten your stomach by doing crunches — wastes time, effort and can even add size to your middle. Ab exercises can strengthen muscles. But they don’t remove fat because from a metabolic standpoint, fat isn’t connected to the muscle it covers. That means working certain muscles might make them bigger, but it doesn’t necessarily burn calories from the fat covering them. The problem with fitness science is that while we want simple answers, “humans are really complicated,” said

Alex Hutchinson, the author of the book “Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?” a comprehensive sciencebased look at fitness myths. Some things you think you know may be misguided. Here are some common fitness myths: Myth: When you stop exercising, your muscle turns to fat. Truth: Rocks don’t turn into trees. Likewise, muscle won’t morph into fat because they’re different types of cells, said Brian Udermann, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Although you can lose muscle mass, one doesn’t replace the other. When you gain muscle mass, the muscle fibers or individual cells get bigger, Udermann said. If you stop lifting or have your leg in a cast, the muscle fibers don’t go away, they just shrink. The same thing happens when you gain fat; the existing cells get bigger. If you lose weight, the fat cells decrease in size. Try this: Incorporate two resistance training sessions a week. This could include using body weight, free weights, resistance bands, kettlebells or machines. Myth: You can sit for long periods if you exercise.

Truth: Unfortunately, you can’t exercise away the effects of sitting for 10 hours at your desk, Hutchinson said. Long stretches of sitting are associated with cardiovascular disease, independent of how much exercise you get. Researchers think being motionless for long periods of time without a break causes changes in the enzyme levels in your muscles, allowing for more fat storage. “The muscle says, ‘I’m not needed!’” Hutchinson said. “So it helps to take short breaks throughout the day.” Try it: Get up at least once every hour; pace around your desk or do five jumping jacks to remind your muscles that you’re not dead. Prompt yourself by setting an email reminder. Myth: To tone muscles without bulking up, lift light weights and don’t push hard. Truth: There’s actually no such thing as toning, said Hutchinson. If you’re poking a muscle that feels soft even when it’s flexed, that means you’re poking fat, not “untoned” muscle, he said. Try this: To make your muscles stand out, you either have to lose fat or make your muscles bigger. Light weights won’t help you do either unless you do enough reps to reach or get close to failure (exhaustion).

Henry Ford doctors learned how to do the transplant surgery after collaborating with experts in India and Saudi Arabia. “We showed them some of our techniques,” Hamzavi said. “We showed them how to do photo therapy. They started showing some of their surgical techniques. Then we had to modify the techniques to U.S. standards. Over a two-year period of time, we were able to work out some of the kinks, bring it up to U.S. standards and start offering it.” Other hospitals around the country now are rushing to learn the techniques, he said. “The surgery is an advance, and it’s a cure for some people,” Hamzavi said. “We don’t want a young man or woman, who is 22 years old, crying in (the doctor’s) office knowing they are so disfigured by this disease. Psychologically, it can be devastating. You hate seeing people suffer.” Several other treatment options can bring the color back, including light therapy and steroid creams. “You want to treat vitiligo as a two-step process,” Hamzavi said. “You want to calm the immune system down, and then you want to bring the color back.”

Frustrated dieters out there may ask,“When is someone gonna write a weight-loss book that allows me to eat at 7-Eleven?” Their wish has been granted by none other than Charles Platkin, the “Diet Detective” syndicated columnist and assistant professor at the CUNY School of Public Health. His new book, set for release in January by Rodale Books, is “The Diet Detective’s All-American Diet.” Take our quiz based on food choices at quintessential American establishments. 1. It’s late in the dark night of a di eter’s soul. You find yourself at a 7Eleven. Caloriewise, which is the best choice? a) 7-Eleven Fresh To Go Chicken and Bacon Cobb Salad b) 7-Eleven Chicken Tenders (three pieces) c) 7-Eleven Corn Dog Roller 2. You’ve been driving all night. What’s that up ahead? Sunrise? No, it’s the yellow Denny’s sign. Which breakfast side dish should a calorieconscious dieter select? a) Bacon (four strips) b) Turkey bacon (four strips) c) Hash browns 3. You’ve tried to resist the lure of KFC. But you’re only human and have succumbed. Yet you’re trying to be good by ordering from the grilled chicken menu. Which is your best caloric choice? a) drumstick b) breast c) thigh 4. You went running today, so you figure you can “reward” yourself with dessert in the freezer aisle. Which is the best caloric option? a) Skinny Cow Vanilla Low Fat Ice Cream Sandwich b) Weight Watcher’s Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich c) Smart Ones Key Lime Pie ANSWERS: 1: c (corn dog: 320 calories; cobb salad: 350 calories; chicken: 540 calories); 2: a (bacon: 140 calories; turkey bacon: 150 calories; hash browns: 210 calories); 3: a (drumstick: 80 calories; thigh 160 calories; breast 210 calories); 4: b (Weight Watchers: 120 calories; Skinny Cow: 140 calories; pie: 190 calories).

Women are more likely to gain weight after marriage, according to a recent study from Ohio State University. One solution: understand your nutritional needs. “Don’t think you and your significant other can eat the same amount of food,” says Jessica Levinson, a registered dietitian in New York City. Here are five tips to keep in mind for couples:

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— Source: “The Diet Detective’s All-American Diet,” By Dr. Charles Platkin (Rodale Books, $19.99, 266 pages, on sale in January)


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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Your Health

Older people often more able to handle stress BY MIKE MCINALLY TO YOUR HEALTH

Here’s some bad news about stress: A new study concludes that men who experience persistent moderately or high levels of stressful life events over a number of years have a 50 percent higher mortality rate. But here’s some good news about older people and stress, from the OSU professor who was the lead author of that study: In general, although older people use fewer coping strategies to deal with stress, the ones they use tend to be effective. Even better, said Carolyn Aldwin, a professor of human development and family science at OSU and the study’s lead author, older people are more likely to organize their lives to avoid or reduce stressful situations. “They’ll arrange their lives

to decrease or mitigate” stressful events, she said in an interview with To Your Health. A l dw i n ’s recent study, published in the Journal of Aging Research, focused on older men in particular — a population Carolyn that hasn’t Aldwin been studied much in terms of stress, she said. And the study was designed to focus on major life events that lead to chronic, long-term stress — events that often cannot be avoided, such as the death of a spouse or putting a parent into a retirement home. There’s no doubt, Aldwin said, that the sort of chronic long-term stress caused by

events like those is unhealthy. “It can affect just about every cell in the body,” she said. Long-term chronic stress has been linked, for example, to heart disease and many autoimmune diseases. “It doesn’t create the disease,” she said. “It can interact with diseases to make them worse.” Aldwin’s most recent study is the first to show a direct link between so-called “stress trajectories” and mortality in an older population. In fact, the study was modified to document major stressors that affect middleaged and older people. Aldwin said most stress studies are geared to younger populations and focus on issues such as graduation or having a first baby. In the study that looked at older populations, researchers

were able to identify only a few protective factors: • People who self-reported that they were in good health tended to live longer. • Married men fared better: “For men in this context,” Aldwin said, “their wives tend to be the biggest cause of social support. … It’s important to have someone to tell you to take your heart medicine, or just be there when you’re facing problems.” • Moderate drinkers also lived longer than nondrinkers — and that, Aldwin said, could be because of the health benefits that come from, say, a glass of wine or also because of the generally relaxed environments in which that consumption is likely to occur. While this study looked at major life events, Aldwin

said her research group next will explore chronic daily stress and coping strategies. The latter is a topic of some fascination to Aldwin — and it’s an area in which older people may have an advantage. In coping with stress, she said, it helps if people can get some perspective on the stress-causing event. It also helps if they can get help when needed and also if they can give support to those in need. On all of those counts, older people may have an advantage over the young ones. In addition, Aldwin said, older people may have gained enough experience to avoid at least some stressful situations. An example, she said, might be fretting over balky audiovisual equipment when giving presentations: Experienced presenters know to bring hard-copy

backups as protection against such events. Older people may be better-suited to cope with stress in some additional ways, Aldwin said: • They have a better sense of how bigger problems can be broken into smaller components. “Divide a problem into small bits,” she said. “Figure out the parts you can start on and start doing that.” • After a lifetime of experience, they have different tools — methods for coping with stressful situations — in their toolkits, and knowledge of which tools work best in which situations. • They have a better sense of what’s outside of their control. “Young people blame themselves,” she said. “Older people say, ‘It’s not my fault,’ but still go ahead and fix the problem.”

To Your Health Nov 2011  

A guide to wellness and healthy living in the Mid-Willamette.

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