Smart Knee Brace — Mayo Clinic

Forty years ago Army Staff Sgt. Walt Myers was exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. Now he suffers profound muscle weakness in his legs. He was facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But thanks to a special knee brace developed at Mayo Clinic, Myers is walking tall.

Learn more about the new Mayo Clinic W. Hall Wendel Jr. Musculoskeletal Center by clicking here:


Warning Signs of Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest is frightening. But it’s a little less scary if you know that it’s really not that sudden. A new study found that about half of cardiac arrest patients had telltale warning signs for a month beforehand. But most people ignored them. Here are four signs that could signal sudden cardiac arrest and why you shouldn’t ignore them.

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Kung Fu Ballet Workout

Combine martial arts and ballet moves for a great full body workout. Here’s how.

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Cognitive Health and Older Adults


Cognitive health—the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember—is an important component of brain health. Others include:Indian and Asian women laughing

  • Motor function—how well you make and control movements
  • Emotional function—how well you interpret and respond to emotions
  • Sensory function—how well you feel and respond to sensations of touch, including pressure, pain, and temperature

This guide focuses on cognitive health and what you can do to help maintain it. The following steps can help you function every day and stay independent—and they have been linked to cognitive health, too.

Take Care of Your Health

Taking care of your physical health may help your cognitive health. You can:

Eat Healthy Foods

A healthy diet can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes. It may also help keep your brain healthy.

In general, a healthy diet consists of fruits and vegetables; whole grains; lean meats, fish, and poultry; and low-fat or non-fat dairy products. You should also limit solid fats, sugar, and salt. Be sure to control portion sizes and drink enough water and other fluids.

Researchers are looking at whether a healthy diet can help preserve cognitive function or reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. For example, there is some evidence that people who eat a “Mediterranean diet” have a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.

Researchers have developed and are testing another diet, called MIND, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. One study suggests that MIND may affect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Get more information about healthy eating for older adults.

Be Physically Active

Being physically active—through regular exercise, household chores, or other activities—has many benefits. It can help you:

  • Keep and improve your strength
  • Have more energy
  • Improve your balance
  • Prevent or delay heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases
  • Perk up your mood and reduce depression

Studies link ongoing physical activity with benefits for the brain, too. In one study, exercise stimulated the human brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to cognitive health. Other studies have shown that exercise increased the size of a brain structure important to memory and learning, improving spatial memory.

Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, is thought to be more beneficial to cognitive health than non-aerobic stretching and toning exercise. Studies are ongoing.

Federal guidelines recommend that all adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Aim to move about 30 minutes on most days. Walking is a good start. You can also join programs that teach you to move safely and prevent falls, which can lead to brain and other injuries. Check with your healthcare provider if you haven’t been active and want to start a vigorous exercise program.

For more information, see Go4Life®, NIA’s exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults.

Keep Your Mind Active

Being intellectually engaged may benefit the brain. People who engage in meaningful activities, like volunteering or hobbies, say they feel happier and healthier. Learning new skills may improve your thinking ability, too. For example, one study found that older adults who learned quilting or digital photography had more memory improvement than those who only socialized or did less cognitively demanding activities.

Lots of activities can keep your mind active. For example, read books and magazines. Play games. Take or teach a class. Learn a new skill or hobby. Work or volunteer. These types of mentally stimulating activities have not been proven to prevent serious cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, but they can be fun!

Scientists think that such activities may protect the brain by establishing “cognitive reserve.” They may help the brain become more adaptable in some mental functions, so it can compensate for age–related brain changes and health conditions that affect the brain.

Formal cognitive training also seems to have benefits. In the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial, healthy adults 65 and older participated in 10 sessions of memory training, reasoning training, or processing–speed training. The sessions improved participants’ mental skills in the area in which they were trained. Most of these improvements persisted 10 years after the training was completed.

Be wary of claims that playing certain computer and online games can improve your memory and other types of thinking. Evidence to back up such claims is evolving. NIA and others are supporting research to determine if different types of cognitive training have lasting effects.

For more information, see Participating in Activities You Enjoy.

Stay Connected

Connecting with other people through social activities and community programs can keep your brain active and help you feel less isolated and more engaged with the world around you. Participating in social activities may lower the risk for some health problems and improve well-being.

So, visit with family and friends. Join programs through your Area Agency on Aging, senior center, or other community organizations.

We don’t know for sure yet if any of these actions can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease and age–related cognitive decline. But some of them have been associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

See more resources about cognitive health.

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How to Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection

UTI might be a woman’s least favorite acronym. Half of all women will get one… and it could be getting worse. Doctors are finding it harder and harder to treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. Here’s what you can do to avoid the infection altogether.

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How to Get Rid of Ear and Nose Hair

Hair in your ears and nose is a good thing. It keeps junk in the air from getting in your body. It can start getting a little crazy as we get older, though – and no one knows why exactly. If you’re tempted to trim that unruly nose and ear hair, here are some of the best tips on how to go about it.

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How to Get Relief for Joint Pain

Osteoarthritis causes pain in your joints and can make it hard to move. Although OA can be painful, you can get relief with a number of treatments from pain relievers to surgery. Find what these treatments are and how they work.

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Bronchitis – The Basics

What exactly is bronchitis? And it is contagious? Learn more:

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The Basics: How Birth Control Pills Work

Birth control pills do more than prevent pregnancy. Find out what else they can do and possible side effects.

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Pain in the Ear | NIH News in Health

October 2018

Fending off Ear Infections

Being up all night with a child crying from the pain of an ear infection can be a nightmare. But it’s not uncommon. Most children in developed countries get at least one ear infection by the age of five.

Most ear infections happen in the middle ear, the part of the ear behind the eardrum. The middle ear is connected to the upper part of the throat by the eustachian tube. It normally lets fresh air into your middle ear and lets fluid drain out.

After a cold or other infection, the virus or bacteria that caused the illness can spread to the middle ear. When this happens, the eustachian tube can swell up or become blocked with mucus. This can trap the germs and cause an ear infection. The trapped germs can cause more swelling and fluid buildup. That’s what causes the pain of an ear infection.

Why do so many young children get ear infections? “In younger kids, the eustachian tube, as well as the immune systemThe system that protects your body from invading viruses, bacteria, and other microscopic threats., are still developing. Some kids might also have an underactive immune system that can’t fight the infection,” explains Dr. Michael Hoa, an ear, nose, and throat specialist and researcher at NIH.

In older children and adults, the eustachian tube is large and slanted to drain fluid from the middle ear. In younger children, this tube is narrower and more level, so it’s more likely to get blocked.

If the pain won’t go away or your child has fluid coming out of their ear, you should visit a doctor. Ear infections can also make a child fussy, cause a fever, or create trouble hearing.

Many ear infections don’t need to be treated. They often clear up on their own.

“There is a huge push not to overprescribe antibiotics,” Hoa says. Bacteria can become resistant to the effects of these drugs. So doctors try not to give them, except for severe cases.

When drugs are necessary, it’s important that they be taken for the full time your doctor tells you. But it’s not always easy to get young children to take medications.

A recent NIH-funded study tested whether antibiotics could be taken for less than the standard 10–day treatment. Unfortunately, the shortened treatment didn’t work as well and had no benefits.

NIH-funded researchers are now looking for better ways to treat an ear infection. One group is testing injectable gels to deliver medication right into the ear canal.

One major cause of ear infections is a type of bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae, or H. influenzae. These bacteria can cluster together to make a biofilm, a thin, slimy coating that your body has a hard time getting rid of. Even antibiotics can be ineffective against them. Ear infections that keep coming back often involve biofilms.

A vaccine introduced in 1987 already prevents ear infections caused by one strain of H. influenzae. Researchers are working on developing vaccines to protect against other strains. They’re also looking at what specific nutrients H. influenzae needs to grow the biofilms. Restricting those nutrients may be a new way to fight these bacteria.

If your child has repeated ear infections or trouble hearing, your doctor may suggest draining your child’s ear with small tubes to help maintain a healthy environment.

Ear infections aren’t contagious. But there are things you can do to lower your chances of getting one. See the Wise Choices box for tips on preventing ear infections.

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The Basics: Hemorrhoids

Most people will get them at least once. How can you feel better?

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Are My Nipples Normal?

Nipples are just like people – they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of hairiness. Yes, nipples can be hairy. They can also be bumpy, point in instead of out, be flat or puffy. Point is, everybody’s nipples are different, so it gets kind of hard to define what’s “normal.” But there are a few things that aren’t normal. Here’s what may be cause for concern.

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