Lara Evans Bracciante

Emotional Health in Alzheimer’s Patients

News Note

Rather than trying to challenge an Alzheimer’s patient’s delusions, caregivers should empathize and connect emotionally, according to Joanne Koenig Coste, author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). This is especially relevant because patients have strong emotional memories, even after they’ve lost the ability to remember current events.

Following are some tips for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, as reported in a recent issue of the Harvard Health Letter.

Indulge

Chocolate Treats the Body and Soul

Chocolate and skin care aren’t words often used together in the same sentence unless there’s a warning involved, as in: For a healthy complexion, avoid chocolate. But perhaps that premise should be questioned.

Hurricane Katrina — Reaching Out

News Note

Massage therapists and bodyworkers are a giving profession by trade and are often ready to donate their talented touch whenever and wherever needed. Relief activities in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are no exception. Of course, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA; www.fema.gov) is advising against reporting directly to the affected areas unless directed by a voluntary agency.

Be Strong, Live Strong

News Note

The Pink Bracelet Fund has raised more than $200,000 so far in its quest to reach $1 million for the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation for breast cancer research. Created after singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer last October, the fund sells pink, plastic bracelets for $5 each, inscribed with the words, “Be Strong MLE,” referring to Etheridge.

Downhill Exercise Has Merit

News Note

Downhill hiking has a host of health benefits, including reducing blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance, say Austrian researchers. Uphill exercise shortens muscles as they work, while downhill walking requires muscle groups to actively resist stretching. This is especially good news for those with, or at risk for, diabetes, which can make aerobic forms of exercise more difficult. Diabetics can still get exercise that will help manage their disease, and downhill walking may provide a springboard for more vigorous workouts down the road.

Organic Diet Yields Healthier Results

News Note

Rats raised on an organic diet had healthier weights and stronger immunity than those on a conventional diet, according to researchers from the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences and the University of Newcastle. A group of 36 rats were fed a diet consisting of potatoes, carrots, peas, green kale, apples, and rapeseed oil, and supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Green Tea’s Anti-Cancer Agent Revealed

News Note

A compound in green tea has been singled out by Spanish and British researchers for its ability to fight certain types of cancer. The active agent, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is found in high concentrations of green tea. EGCG has long been known as an anti-cancer beverage, but it wasn’t understood exactly why. Now, researchers have discovered that EGCG binds to and inhibits the proliferation of an enzyme called dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which is found in both healthy and cancerous cells and appears to contribute to cancer cell growth.

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