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Newsletter. Issue 2009-14. July 04, 2009

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Health & Wellness

Older Skin Needs More Sunscreen, Extra Protection, Say Dermatologists
By IANS | Posted On Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Marburg: Whether gardening at home or vacationing at a beach resort, older people need to be aware that exposure to the sun without some kind of UV (Ultraviolet Ray) protection is a danger.

?Seniors should use the same kind of sunscreen as children,? advises Alexandra Renkawitz of the German Green Cross, a consumer health organisation. The extra protection is needed because older skin is particularly sensitive to sunlight.

?As you age, cell creation slows down. The skin gets drier and more sensitive,? she says. That also means older skin needs a longer time to recover from sun damage. It?s best to wear billowy, long-armed clothing, plus a sun hat and sunscreen with UV protection. These should all be part of an older person?s standard summer attire. ?And instead of getting direct sun, sit in the shade as often as possible,? advises Renkawitz.

The elderly need to keep an eye out for the effects of past sun damage, says Dirk Eichelberg, a dermatologist in the German town of Dortmund. Skin takes a long time to recover from every sunburn. It can take 40 years for damage to become evident in some cases. That?s why dermatologists assume that the number of elderly suffering from common skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma will grow.

?We?re counting up to 200,000 new cases every year. It?s growing explosively,? says Eichelberg.

That?s why, the older one gets, the more important it becomes to note changes in the skin, adds Herberg Kirschech, a doctor of dermatological diseases. Regardless of whether the symptoms are reddening, flakiness or a scab: ?As soon as you see anything unusual on your body, don?t delay. Go to your doctor.?

?Apply sunscreen half an hour before you leave the house,? he says. The sun protection factor (SPF) should be as high as possible. Older people with bald spots or thinning hair need to protect the top of their head with a hat or other head covering. ?Otherwise you run the risk of dizziness,? warns Kirschech. Clothing also offers some protection. ?A white T-shirt has an SPF of eight,? says Eichelberg. Renkawitz recommends clothing with a thick knit and dark colours. ?Then the least amount of sunlight gets through.?

Taking calcium or eating vegetables do not help build up natural protection from sunlight. ?The effect is almost zero,? says Kirschech. Special care also needs to be taken when taking medications, warns Renkawitz. ?Some beta-blockers and antibiotics can lead to sensitivity to light.?


A few extra pounds can add years to your life: study

Toronto (ECN) - A Canadian study has shown that having a little extra body weight might be good for the body and actually a few extra pounds may protect people from dying too early. Researchers have discovered that obese and underweight people are dying earlier than those who are at a normal weight. And people who are just a bit overweight are even living longer than those at normal weight.

Researcher, David Feeny says it is not a surprise to find that people who are very underweight or very overweight increase their risk of dying. It is a surprise, thought, to know that carrying just a little extra weight may provide longevity. Feeny works and has studied these finding at the Health Research Center for Kaiser Permanente. Feeny?s fellow researcher, Mark Kaplan, says that having a few extra pounds may protect people as their health begins to decline as they age, but wants to clarify that it does not mean that people of normal weight should try to add weight to their body for this reason.

Kaplan explains that these findings were found in a study that looked at mortality and not the quality of life. There many negative health results that can occur from obesity, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. This study was based on the correlation between death among 11,326 adults living in Canada and their body mass index. The data over a period of 12 years was taken from the National Population Health Survey.


Adult Obesity On The Rise In Canada

OTTAWA ? Obesity rates are going up, diabetes is increasing and blood pressure problems are worsening among Canadian adults. To top it off, more people are having trouble finding a family doctor ? the medical expert most likely to help prevent such health conditions from occurring.

Statistics Canada?s latest Community Health Survey shows that in 2008, more than 17% of adults ? or about 4.2 million people ? were obese. In the last five years, obesity rates among men have grown from 16% to 18.3%. Among women, they?ve bulged even further ? from 14.5% of the population to 16.2%.

Diabetes rates have also shot up, in just three years, from 4.9% of the adult population to 5.5%. And our blood pressure is continuing to climb. In 2008, more than 16% of Canadians had high blood pressure, a ?significant increase? from 2005, according to the survey. The data coincide with findings that only 84.4% of adults have a regular medical doctor, down from 85% five years ago. The greatest gap showed in the 20-to-34 age group, where 34% of men had no family physician.

Dr. Sarah Kredentser, president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, said since young men are the healthiest demographic, they don?t tend to see themselves as needing preventative care. Yet ?it?s something we need to be concerned about,? she said.

?We have lots of international research that shows that health outcomes are better in communities where everyone has a personal family physician.? Kredentser said one of a family doctor?s most important roles is helping clients improve their health and keep many kinds of illnesses from occurring in the first place.

?If people don?t have access to that type of service, then we?re going to continue to see increasing rates of chronic diseases.? The percentage of Canadians without a regular doctor translates to between four and five million people over the age of 18.

The community health survey does reveal some positive trends. For instance:

n Exposure to second-hand smoke at home has declined steadily in the last five years from more than 10% to 7.4%;

n Almost 44% of Canadians eat fruit or vegetables at least five times a day. In 2001, that number was only 37.6%;

n In 2008, 31.7% were vaccinated against influenza, a result Kredentser said was surprisingly good, given that not every provincial health plan fully covers flu shots.

Later this year, health authorities hope to have an additional vaccination available for the H1N1 swine flu virus. ?It?ll be interesting to see what happens, whether H1N1 has an effect on personal choices in regards to flu vaccines,? Kredentser said.


How Eating Less Can Help Boost Lifespan
Thursday, June 25, 2009

London: Scientists have long known that a restricted diet extends life. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified two enzymes that provide a new molecular explanation for how eating less leads to living longer.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Andrew Dillin and colleagues identified two proteins, WWP-1 and UBC-18, that link dietary restriction to longevity in roundworms. Dillin says when researchers removed the two enzymes from the test animals, the benefits of a restricted diet disappeared. And when those enzymes were enhanced, longevity and disease resistance increased.

The scientists say understanding how these molecules influence longevity could have implications for developing new treatments for age-related diseases.

"The only other known factor regulating longevity in response to diet restriction operates at the very end of the signaling cascade," said Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and senior author Andrew Dillin, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory.

"These two enzymes are further up the ladder, bringing us closer to the receptor that receives the signal for throwing the switch to promote a healthy lifespan," Dillin added.

The study has been published in the June 24, 2009, advance online edition of the journal Nature.


Warning: Never Mix Javex With Any Other Cleaning Compound!!!
Sent by Juliet Rebello

Local woman nearly killed after mixing cleaners

A Terra Cotta woman who recently had a near-fatal accident with household cleaning agents wants to share her story with the public in order to hopefully prevent a similar incident from happening to someone else.

Laura Fiander, 50, was cleaning the upstairs bathroom of her rural residence near the Terra Cotta Conservation Area around 2 p.m. on July 8, while husband Mike Witt was outside painting. A quiet day of doing chores around the house soon turned into a nightmare that nearly resulted in Fiander's death and sent her to hospital for several days.

"I had a shower and then I decided to clean the tub afterward and I noticed some hard-water deposits on the shower mat that looked like mildew, and I dumped some Javex in the tub and let the water run," said Fiander, her voice still breaking from damage to her larynx. "Then I noticed some deposits on the shower curtain, so I got a spray bottle with CLR and sprayed it. All of a sudden there was a hissing sound and the fumes overwhelmed me. It felt like a blow torch was instantly going down my throat."

Fiander was able to make it to the front of the house before collapsing to alert Witt to the situation, but by this time she was foaming at the mouth and gasping for air as her oesophagus was swelling shut. The only word she was able to blurt out was "chemicals." After several minutes of trying to resuscitate her, Witt called 911 when her eyes and skin turned a ghostly blue colour.

"I kept hoping that with some fresh air she might catch her breath, but she went into convulsions, gagging intensely, and twice I was able to revive her, but there was nothing I could do. It was horrifying," he said. "It's amazing she's still with us. We're fortunate that an ambulance was just 10 minutes away in Caledon, and the two female paramedics did a fantastic job."

After being stabilized at Georgetown Hospital, Fiander would remain there for another five days as doctors flushed the toxins out of her body. Her lungs were literally burned, and it may take several years for them to return to normal, and she has been basically confined to her home because of the susceptibility of contracting an illness or developing an infection. Fiander uses a puffer six times a day to help her collapsed lungs expand to their former size and faces a lengthy recovery period with several more trips to see specialists.

"I'm not sure of the exact contents of the CLR, but I'm guessing it contains ammonia, and when that is mixed together with bleach it gives off a noxious gas, a form of chlorine gas," said Emmanuel Adianas, a spokesperson for Colgate-Palmolive Products Ltd. "We strongly recommend not to mix Javex with any products, period...As far as I am aware, this is not a common occurrence, but it certainly can happen."

Witt, who operates a freight-forwarding business out of the couple's home, would like to see changes in the labelling of such potentially deadly household cleaners that would more effectively alert consumers of their danger.

"I've spoken to literally hundreds of people since this happened, and yes they do know of the danger from these chemicals, but most don't know it's fatal, and that should be played up more in the packaging," he added. "These things should be locked up in cupboards like prescription drugs, or at least have a better labelling system. There needs to be better public awareness, especially in households with children."

Fiander is also circulating a letter, which tells her frightening story and warns of the deadly dangers of household cleaners.

"I was told that this chlorine gas is similar to mustard gas that was used in the First World War," Fiander said. "My throat literally closed up. What a horrid way to die. Who would ever think that just a quick whiff like that could kill you?"


Calling All White Blood Cells
By Stephanie Pappas | ScienceNOW Daily News | 3 June 2009

Anyone who has felt the sting as hydrogen peroxide foams and fizzes on a scraped knee knows about the compound's antiseptic properties. But new research suggests that hydrogen peroxide does more than just kill microbes. It may also call for reinforcements, summoning an army of bacteria-fighting cells to cuts and wounds.

Punctured skin sets off a chain reaction of chemical signals that activates blood-clotting and attracts an array of immune cells to guard against intruding microbes. Some of these cells, known as leukocytes, or white blood cells, kill by initiating a "respiratory burst," which releases highly reactive antimicrobial molecules, including hydrogen peroxide produced by the body itself.

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