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Do It for Your Brain

1) Be a social butterfly. People who have strong ties to family and friends tend to stay sharp as they age. 2) Pop some gum. The act of chewing may stimulate areas of the brain that are associated with memory. 3) Do the tango. Research indicates that the physical and social aspects of dancing may help ward off dementia. 4) Get a massage. Anything that helps you de-stress may improve your mental function. 5) Don't skip meals. Low blood sugar has been linked to impaired memory.-Weight Watchers Magazine, October 2005

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Considering Medical Missions?

Mercy Ships Medical Education department/Mercy Teams offer medical professionals the opportunity to spend a week in training (in March, August and October) at the International Operations Center in east Texas, followed by an optional week of outreach in Honduras. Students will look at motivation for ministering to others, responsibility to the poor and needy, diseases common to the developing world, care, treatment and prevention of tropical diseases, preparation for, living on and returning from the mission field, dental care, water and sanitation, and integrating faith with health care skills. CEUs are available. A four-week "Preparation for Medical Missions" course is offered in May, which will include a community health education component. E-mail [email protected] or call 903/882-0887.


Walk Better with Tunes

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, take a hike!! Overweight people who lost and kept off 25-30 pounds walked briskly for about 50 minutes/day five days/week, according to the longest clinical study ever done on exercise's effect on weight loss and maintenance. John Jakicic and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh worked with 191 adults, most of whom were obese. Dieters were advised to follow a low-fat, low-calorie eating program, and were assigned different amounts of activity and levels of intensity. At the end of two years, the group that exercised the most, 270-309 minutes/week, lost the most, 25-30 pounds. A smaller study showed that those who listened to music while walking adhered more closely to the walking program than the non-music group. Christopher Capuano, director of the school of psychology, says "These data suggest that listening to music while exercising enhances adherence and weight loss."-USA Today, October 24, 2005


Rescue or Adversity?

"God may see fit at times to miraculously rescue his children from the throes of fiery trials, but other times he chooses not to do so [horizontal ellipsis]. We must remember that God has marked us for adversity in this life, even as our Lord Jesus was marked for adversity."


Mary Thrasher


Finding Hope in the Valleys of Life


Cutting Surgical-Site Infections

By focusing on practices like administering antibiotics within 60 minutes of surgical incision, using and discontinuing appropriate antibiotics within 24 hours post-op, 56 hospitals representing all 50 states significantly cut surgical site infection rates by 27 percent, from 2.3 to 1.7 percent, in a one-year demonstration project. The results of the study involving 35,000 patients were published in the American Journal of Surgery by the National Surgical Infection Prevention Collaborative, sponsored by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and led by Qualis Health, the Quality Improvement Organizations for Washington, Alaska and Idaho. Also factors in the good results were training and wide sharing of information about the implementation of measures, barriers encountered and lessons learned.-Nursing Spectrum, August 1, 2005


Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Hopeful

Stem cells may protect the brain and nervous system against damage from tumors and conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at Milan's San Raffaele Scientific Institute found. Experiments with mice with a disease similar to MS showed that stem cells injected into the blood stream migrated to inflamed areas in the brain and spinal cord, killing inflammatory cells. Gianvito Martino, MD, lead researcher, said adult neural stem cells were used, not embryonic stem cells. "The interesting thing is that adult stem cells growin vitrowithout becoming specialized; they are injected and then find the damaged organ by themselves and decide autonomously how to treat it," researcher Stefano Pluchino, MD, said. "This means cells can be harvested from one's own body and used for oneself with far fewer complications," according to Holly G. Atkinson, MD, editor in chief ofHealthNews.-Health-News, September 2005


Bans on Cell Phones?

The latest cell phones interfere with medical equipment less than older ones; but constantly changing technology requires periodic study, a Mayo Clinic researcher said in the clinic's October 2005 journal, Proceedings. In 510 tests of six models of cell phones and 16 medical devices, researchers found interference in seven medical devices, or 44 percent. But none was affected at a distance of more than 32 inches. Noise interference most commonly affected EKG or EEG displays. Regulation of cell phone use is set by individual hospitals; Mayo bans them in ICU, OR and cardiac cath labs.-Nursing Spectrum, November 7, 2005


Noninvasive Fibroid Rx

In 2004 the Food and Drug Administration approved a new technology that makes it possible for women to receive a completely noninvasive, outpatient treatment for symptoms of uterine fibroids. Eight medical facilities (including Mayo Clinic) now offer the treatment, MRI-guided focused ultrasound ablation. Fibroids are destroyed by high-frequency, high-energy sound waves; neither hospitalization or pain medication are generally necessary. The non-cancerous tumors affect about 40 percent of women over age 40, causing them to experience heavy bleeding and pelvic pain or pressure, and prompt hysterectomies in 200,000 women annually.-Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, December 2005