Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gout may protect against Alzheimer's disease, or not

Articles like Gout May Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease have been around for quite some time. Indeed there's plenty of evidence for the protective effect of gout, or rather, uric acid, on Alzheimer's disease. I just want to point out that there does exist conflicting evidence from other researches, such as this 2-page report, No association between gout and Alzheimer's disease: results of a case–control study in older people in Taiwan(Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2013; 28: 1205-1206). In case you can't read it, here's one passage (emphasis added):

Both studies [in Italy and Portugal] have conveyed the message that high level of uric acid may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. In this present study, we found that no association is detected between gout and Alzheimer's disease in both gender, whether gouty patients had ever used urate-lowering drugs or not. Because conflicting results exist, further studies are required to confirm the association between gout and Alzheimer's disease.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tooth brushing

Some tips:

1. You're supposed to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes. But if you really don't have the patience, try brushing more on the trouble spots and less on the good teeth. Usually the molars need more of your attention. So repeatedly brush those, in both left-and-right, and back-and-forth directions, inside and outside. Given the same total brushing time, you've made best use of your time.

2. Tongue cleaning is healthful because it clears out germs and eliminates or reduces bad breath, but it's not commonly practiced. Instead of using special tools, why not just use your tooth brushes on the surface of your tongue, or even below it? A few seconds of doing it doesn't take long and brings great benefit.

3. Not really tooth brushing. But I find that the easiest way to remove stains on teeth, such as those left by coffee or tea, is, surprisingly, rubbing with a white rubber eraser! Try it. It works. No need to research for side effects, because there is none. The only problem is that it only works on the teeth in the front, incisors and maybe canines, and not even the inner side of them, and the effect is obviously not as dramatic as the real solution, which may shock your friends and coworkers by suddenly showing ghastly white teeth. Isn't it more pleasing to have just slightly whiter teeth than before? And you only show the front teeth to people you're facing anyway.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What and how much benefit is gained by what exercise

In my very old notebook, I hand-copied part of an article published in the Chinese newspaper, China Youth Daily (中国青年报), issue 3689, of March 22, 1981. The article is titled "Which exercises have more value" (哪些运动项目锻炼价值高). The part I copied is a table of 10 exercises with scores assigned to each on 9 criteria about health.

 jog- gingcyclingswim- mingskatinghand- ballbasket- balltennisgym- nasticswalkingsoft- ball
Cardio- pulmonary endurance2119211819191610136
Muscular endurance2018201718171613148
Muscular strength1716141515151416117
Weight control2120151719191612137
Muscle buildup1415141711131318115

Unfortunately, either the article did not cite references or I didn't copy them. So the source is unknown. But the data seem to be interesting and make sense. A Google search reveals a message in Chinese posted in 2001 and one message in Swedish probably posted a few years later. Other articles or online postings are probably copies from the first message.

Minor differences exist between my 1981 notes and the above two sources. My table lists 10 exercises while these two messages list 8, missing skating, basketball and gymnastics, but with golf which is missing in my table. The scores assigned to softball slightly differ between my table and the two messages. However, the sum, or overall rating, of each exercise is the same (or almost the same for softball) and so the order of the exercises from the most to the least beneficial remains the same.

[Update 3/4/2014]
Found it! James F. Fixx The Complete Book of Running, 1977, p.39

Not long ago seven exercise experts were asked by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to rank popular forms of exercise on the basis of how much they help cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, balance and general well-being. Each panelist was permitted to award a given activity anything from no votes (signifying no benefit) to three (maximum benefit). Thus twenty-one is a perfect score.

James Fixx's table lists 8 physical activities, everything exactly the same as in the two sources (Chinese and Swedish) I mentioned above. Since I translated, or rather back-translated, from Chinese in my notes to English posted here, some words are different, cardio-pulmonary instead of cardio-respiratory, muscle buildup instead of muscle definition, jogging instead of running, etc. Also, my note has softball while James Fixx's has bowling, definitely a different sport, which explains why I see slight difference there.

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, now President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, has a web site. I ran a few keyword searches on the site but failed to locate this table of 7 exercise experts' rating. In the Bibliography of Mr. Fixx's book, there's President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Administration on Aging, The Fitness Challenge... in the Later Years. If that book is this, published in 1968, I didn't find anything in it that looks like this panelists' rating with a few keyword searches.