Posts made in November, 2009

The Roundup: November news and tidbits

Posted by on Nov 30, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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[Credit: Special thanks to artist Darryl Willison of Please visit his site and support his work.]

Time for November highlights. A new feature, a few guest posts and lots of controversy in this month’s mix:

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Battle of the middle-aged bulge: pick your poison

Posted by on Nov 27, 2009 in memory/learning, menopause, weight | 4 comments

That age old battle of the bulge just got more challenging.. Researchers are saying that middle-aged women who store fat around their mid section are twice as likely as their peers to develop dementia in old age. Yikes! More reason than ever to lose that belly fat, right?

Starting in 1960, researchers looked healthy and lifestyle risk factors in 1,462 women and then at various intervals for 32 years. They found that women who were broader around the waist than the hips by the time they reached middle-aged more than twice the odds of developing dementia if they lived beyond 70 years. However, a higher body-mass index did not infer a similar risk.

Whether it’s associated with aging, testosterone or declining physical activity, weight gain around the midsection has been linked with the metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.

So, we’re left with a choice – heart attack, stroke or losing our minds….Or, better yet, move your body. Exercise, start eating healthier and being more mindful of what’s going in and what you are putting out. Granted, we may not be able to fight the inevitable but we can at least try to stave it off or control it as much as possible. The bulge around the middle is the hardest area to attack. But it’s not impossible.

I’d love to get some fitness experts to weigh in on this. Anyone?

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Wednesday Bubble: Nutrafem promises much…will it deliver?

Posted by on Nov 25, 2009 in herbal medicine, hot flash, nightsweats | 4 comments

Not gonna burst this one. At least not yet. Because there’s a new botanical formulation in town and the evidence supporting its effectiveness looks pretty strong!

Nutrafem® is a supplement containing a proprietary blend of phytoestrogens – namely Eucommia ulmoides bark (a deciduous rubber tree whose bark has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine practice for centuries) and Vigna radiata (mungbeans).

In a study that appears in the Advanced Online Edition of Menopause, Nutrafem was shown to reduce the number of hot flashes and night sweats that women were experiencing by 26% over a 12-week time period. What’s more, among the 156 postmenopausal women studied, symptoms were reduced in almost half of the women. At the start of the study, participants were reportedly experiencing at least 21 or more hot flushes or night sweats weekly, and at least a third of these were described as being severe to moderate.

Earlier studies have also been favourable, suggesting that Nutrafem also leads to significant improvements in general health, body aches/pains, energy and fatigue, and emotional wellbeing.

This formulation appears to be safe and reported side effects during use have been minimal. Importantly, both of the key ingredients have a long history of as food or herbal medicines; the mung bean in particular has been used to address effects of radiation during breast cancer therapy, such as headache, fatigue or sleeplessness. Additionally, while Nutrafem appears to activate estrogen receptors, it does not promote the proliferation of breast cancer cells.

I have high hopes for Nutrafem. Have you tried it?

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News Flash! Just a spit away…

Posted by on Nov 23, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you ever wondered if  joint aches, memory lapses, dry mouth and other disorders are signs of aging or actually signs of pending illness?  Take heart. Scientists have learned that the protein content of the saliva changes as women age and that some of these changes may actually be markers of disease, in particular, diseases in which the immune system attacks itself, such as lupus.

In a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, researches analyzed proteins in saliva samples taken from 532 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 30 and 55 and 65.  They found that about half of the protein types were unique in the particular age group. What’s more, older women had almost twice as many immune-type proteins in their saliva than their younger peers. The results remained even after the researchers factored in such things as age, time that the saliva was collected and whether or not the women were menopausal.

Not only researchers hope that proteins in saliva will prove to be useful in diagnosing risk of certain diseases, but they are also investigating ways in which they might be used in tests that will make diagnosis and treatment of certain age-related diseases in women easier. Saliva for example, is far more accessible and less invasive than a blood prick.

Could easier disease diagnosis be only a spit away? What a salicious thought.

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Dem bones were made for dancing!

Posted by on Nov 20, 2009 in bone health, exercise | 0 comments


Get on your dancing shoes!

I was inspired to read that professional dancer Erin Boag from Strictly Come Dancing (the UK’s version of Dancing with the Stars), has teamed up with the International Osteoporosis Foundation to inspire all those armchair dancers to get off their butts and work their bones a bit.  In fact, many bone experts agree that dancing may be an excellent (and non-boring) way to strengthen bones and muscle,  prevent or at least slow osteoporosis.

Mind you, this program is being funded by DAIICHI SANKYO, a pharma company that manufactures drugs that treat osteoporosis. Nevertheless, it’s an important first step towards taking a cheesy premise that attracts millions of television viewers and repackaging some of its basic elements to help people who don’t normally like to exercise to change their habits. Currently available only in Europe and through doctors’ practices, the ‘Improvement through Movement’ DVD offers some easy waltz, rumba and quick step moves.

Osteoporosis is a tremendous problem as we age. In the US, it affects approximately 10 million people, 8 million of whom are women. Worldwide, more than 200 million women suffer from osteoporosis.

I’ve long been a proponent of more natural approaches to solving what ails. And bone health is one of those things that can be easily preserved through weight-bearing physical activity and a healthy diet that incorporates vitamin D and calcium-rich foods and isoflavones. You can read more about bone health in these posts.

In the meantime, this program sounds like a terrific idea that could be easily reproduced in this country as well. What say you ‘Dancing with the Stars?‘ Can we take a page from our European friends on behalf of our US bones?

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