Caf­feine a brain food for women over 65

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health - Com­piled by Dr Chris­tine White

CAF­FEINE may pro­tect think­ing skills and me­mory in older women, ac­cord­ing to new re­search in Neu­rol­ogy . The study found that women aged 65 and older who drank more than three cups of cof­fee (or more than six cups of tea) per day had less de­cline over time on tests of me­mory than women who drank one cup or less of cof­fee or tea per day. The find­ings held true even af­ter ad­just­ing for other fac­tors that could af­fect brain func­tion such as age, ed­u­ca­tion, dis­abil­ity, de­pres­sion, high blood pres­sure, med­i­ca­tions and chronic ill­nesses. The study in­volved 4197 women and 2820 men whose brain func­tion and caf­feine con­sump­tion were recorded over four years. While caf­feine had no pro­tec­tive ef­fect on men’s brains, women with high rates of caf­feine con­sump­tion were less likely to show as much de­cline in me­mory. And the ben­e­fits for women in­creased with age — com­pared to those with low in­take, high caf­feine con­sumers were 30 per cent less likely to have me­mory de­cline at age 65, ris­ing to 70 per cent less likely over the age of 80. Neu­rol­ogy 2007;69:536-545 (Ritchie K, et al) RE­CENT fa­tal flu cases in Queens­land and Vic­to­ria are a stark re­minder of the dan­gers of the in­fluenza virus, even in the age of vac­cines and an­tivi­ral drugs. In the Jour­nalofthe Amer­i­canMed­i­calAs­so­ci­a­tion this week, sci­en­tists have stud­ied the great flu pan­demic of 1918 and found that two non-med­i­cal meth­ods used to­gether — school clo­sure and can­cel­la­tion of pub­lic gath­er­ings — can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the num­ber of flu deaths. They ar­gue that th­ese meth­ods should be part of our plan­ning for fu­ture flu pan­demics, to pro­vide more time for the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of vac­cines and drugs. His­tor­i­cal records from 43 Amer­i­can cities over a pe­riod of 24 weeks in 1918-1919 showed 115,340 deaths from in­fluenza and pneu­mo­nia. Each city used at least one of the non-med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions — school clo­sure, can­cel­la­tion of pub­lic gath­er­ings or iso­la­tion and quar­an­tine. Thirty-four cities used a com­bi­na­tion of school clo­sure and pub­lic gath­er­ing bans, with an av­er­age du­ra­tion of four weeks. Cities that im­ple­mented th­ese mea­sures ear­lier and en­forced them for longer had fewer flu deaths. JAMA 2007;298:644-654 (Markel H, et al) BREAST im­plants triple the long-term risk of sui­cide, claims a new study in the An­nal­sof Plas­tic­Surgery . The in­creased sui­cide risk from cos­metic breast en­large­ment — to­gether with a sim­i­lar in­crease in the risk of death from al­co­hol or drug de­pen­dence — sug­gests that women re­ceiv­ing breast im­plants should also have fol­low-up men­tal health checks, say the au­thors. They per­formed an ex­tended fol­low-up study of 3527 Swedish women who un­der­went cos­metic breast im­plant surgery be­tween 1965 and 1993. The av­er­age age at im­plant surgery was 32 years. Death cer­tifi­cates were used to com­pare causes of death be­tween women with breast im­plants and the gen­eral fe­male pop­u­la­tion. Over an av­er­age fol­low-up pe­riod of nearly 19 years, the sui­cide rate was three times higher for women with breast im­plants (based on 24 deaths among im­plant re­cip­i­ents). The risk was great­est — nearly seven times higher than in the gen­eral fe­male pop­u­la­tion — for women who re­ceived their im­plants at age 45 or older. An­nPlas­ticSurg 2007;59:119-123 (Lip­worth L, et al) HALF of all older adults suf­fer from a geri­atric con­di­tion, such as in­con­ti­nence, fall­ing or vi­sion im­pair­ment, that can af­fect their health as much as a chronic ill­ness would, say the au­thors of a new study in the An­nal­sof In­ter­nalMedicine . Re­searchers sur­veyed 11,093 Amer­i­can adults aged 65 years or older liv­ing ei­ther in the com­mu­nity or in nurs­ing homes. In­for­ma­tion was gath­ered on geri­atric con­di­tions, in­clud­ing cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment, falls, in­con­ti­nence, low body mass in­dex, dizzi­ness, vi­sion im­pair­ment and hear­ing im­pair­ment, as well as the abil­ity to per­form ba­sic daily ac­tiv­i­ties such as bathing, dress­ing and eat­ing. Over­all, 49.9 per cent of par­tic­i­pants had one or more geri­atric con­di­tions. Suf­fer­ers of geri­atric con­di­tions were just as de­pen­dent on oth­ers to per­form daily tasks as older pa­tients with chronic dis­eases, such as heart dis­ease, lung dis­ease, di­a­betes and can­cer. An­nIn­ternMed 2007;147:156-164 (Cigolle CT, et al) BAC­TE­RIA liv­ing in the in­tes­tine could be one of the causes of Crohn’s dis­ease — an in­flam­ma­tory dis­or­der of the di­ges­tive tract that af­fects around one in 800 Aus­tralians — pro­vid­ing an­other clue to pos­si­ble ther­a­pies. Re­search ap­pear­ing in the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety­forMi­cro­bialE­col­o­gyJour­nal this week has found an in­creased level of a par­tic­u­lar type of E. coli ( Escherichi­a­coli ) in more in­flamed ar­eas of the small in­tes­tine, sug­gest­ing that it could con­trib­ute to the in­flam­ma­tion that leads to symp­toms such as ab­dom­i­nal pain, di­ar­rhoea and weight loss. Sci­en­tists com­pared the bac­te­ria in the small in­testines of 21 pa­tients with Crohn’s dis­ease and seven healthy in­di­vid­u­als. The bug that was more com­mon in the Crohn’s pa­tients was a pre­vi­ously un­known type of E. coli con­tain­ing some of the same genes as sal­mo­nella, cholera and bubonic plague bac­te­ria. ISMEJ 2007;doi:10.1038/ismej.2007.52 (Baum­gart M, et al) HIV/AIDS pre­ven­tion pro­grams that only en­cour­age ab­sti­nence from sex (with­out pro­mot­ing safer sex be­hav­iours) do not re­duce the risk of HIV in­fec­tion in de­vel­oped coun­tries, con­cludes a new study in the Bri­tish Med­i­calJour­nal . Ac­cord­ing to the au­thors, their find­ings call into ques­tion the use of tax­pay­ers’ money to fund ‘‘ ab­sti­nence-only’’ pro­grams. The study com­bined the re­sults of 13 sep­a­rate tri­als in­volv­ing 15,940 young Amer­i­cans. Each trial used an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram aimed to pre­vent HIV in­fec­tion or HIV and preg­nancy, and in­for­ma­tion was gath­ered us­ing sur­veys. Com­pared to ei­ther no ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme or a pro­gram teach­ing safer sex be­hav­iours, none of the ab­sti­nence-only pro­grams had any ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on the in­ci­dence of un­pro­tected sex, num­ber of part­ners, con­dom use, sex­ual ini­ti­a­tion, in­ci­dence of preg­nancy, or in­ci­dence of sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions. BMJ 2007;335:248-252 (Un­der­hill K, et al) Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.

Caf­feine: Good for some

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