Mental and Cognitive Health
My grandfather moved in with us last year. He is 86 years old and relatively healthy. He does not take any medication but says that eating asparagus is his “medicine.” He asks my wife to cook some every day but this is rather annoying. I know some foods have health benefits, does asparagus?
--C.Y. Nashville, Tennessee
I know many of you reading this may suffer from depression. And you may take an antidepressant to help control your symptoms.
But antidepressants aren‘t without their own pitfalls. A common side effect is weight gain. Some would say it‘s a small price to pay for regaining your mental stability. But gaining weight can also put you at risk for developing a whole host of other health problems.
Q: My daughter was recently diagnosed with depression. I hate to see her suffer, but am concerned about the serious side effects of prescription drugs. Is there anything else we can try?
Two studies in the July 2009 issue of Journal of Alzheimer's Disease show that five cups of coffee a day reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer's disease. The coffee also reduced blood and brain levels of beta-amyloid,the abnormal protein that may cause Alzheimer's disease in mice and people.
Years ago, a friend of mine lost her grandfather. He was 82-years-old and had been living in an assisted-living facility following a mild stroke. While he bounced back physically after the stroke, his cognitive abilities were never the same.
The researchers behind a startling finding that cats fed irradiated food developed “severe neurological disease” only reported it as an afterthought. They instead chose to focus on the fact that the cats were able to recover from the disease after their diet returned to normal -- a testament to the healing powers of your body, yes, but completely overlooking what caused the damage in the first place.
After being fed a diet of irradiated foods, the cats developed “mysterious” and “remarkable” severe neurological dysfunction, including movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis.
When they were taken off the irradiated foods, they slowly recovered.
Last week I got an e-mail blast from the FDA. Yet another FDA-approved drug is causing problems. And this time, it‘s a class of drugs prescribed to millions of kids and adults across the country. But they might not be as safe as we‘ve been led to believe. In fact, a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that these drugs may actually increase a child‘s risk of dying suddenly by 500 percent!
The most popular babysitter in America is dumbing down our children. I'm talking, of course, about television. That's hardly news, I realize. But here's what is: TV can be even more detrimental for babies than for any other age group because it can inhibit their social, cognitive, and language development.
These days the term "addiction" is tossed about so casually, it sometimes feels as though people don't believe they're complete unless they're addicted to something. When I was coming up through the medical ranks, addiction meant serious physical or chemical dependency - usually on some form of alcohol or drugs. But the term has since been broadened - and stretched thin, in my opinion - to include all manner of behaviors that don't really qualify as addictions.
Case in point: the "addiction" to the wildly narcissistic social networking sites and media that are now sweeping the nation. I've recently seen experts weighing in on the "signs" of these addictions to sites like Facebook.
Q: I was very disturbed when I heard my grandson’s pediatrician wants to prescribe an ADHD drug. Are there any other options I can tell my daughter about?