(photo credit: (www.genome.gov))
Now there is another reason to control your weight: The journal Neurology has
published Swedish research that has found that long-term obesity in older people
raises the risk of developing dementia by 300 percent. Prof. Andrei
Keidar, who is responsible for bariatric (stomach shortening) surgery at the
Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, says the new findings are
very important, and show that being overweight even in the elderly should be
Eight thousand five hundred pairs of identical twins over 65
participated in the study; 350 were diagnosed as having vascular dementia (from
blood vessel constriction), while 114 were suspected of having regular dementia.
The researchers concluded that there is a significant connection between
dementia and obesity.
Keidar explained that it has been known that
metabolic diseases of the overweight, such as type 2 diabetes, involve excess
sugar – the primary “fuel” of brain tissue. It may be that the disruption of
normal metabolism contributes to the increase in the prevalence of dementia
beyond the damage caused to the blood vessels, he suggested. Thus he concludes
that preventing obesity and treating it at a younger age could reduce the amount
of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Alzheimer’s affects some 100,000
Israelis – more than 6% of people aged 65, and up to half of those over
Health Ministry statistics show that 44.6% of Israeli adult men and
31.7% of women are overweight.
In the US and Europe, some 50% of older
people are overweight or obese.
Keidar suggested that the amount of time
for which people were heavy could affect their risk of
Exercise, diets, medical treatment and – as a last resort –
bariatric surgery can help people avoid a series of diseases that can harm the
quality and length of their lives, said Keidar. Some 5,000 bariatric operations
were conducted (it is included in the basket of health services for those
qualified) last year, compared to only 1,500 in 2006. After extensive study, two
international medical societies recently stated that the efficacy of bariatric
surgery in improving the health of the obese has been proven.
HOW TO LIVE RIGHT
Finally, the Education Ministry has decide to make “A
Healthful Lifestyle” the theme of the next school year. It will include
information about proper nutrition and weight, physical activity and sports,
disease prevention and not smoking, personal hygiene, strengthening body image
and promoting clean and esthetic surroundings.
Central to school
activities in September will be exercise and eating right. Pupils from first
grade will be taught what is good to eat – including plenty of vegetables and
fruits – in a society of plenty; preferring plain water to sweet drinks;
avoiding fatty foods; the dangers of unprotected sun exposure; dental hygiene;
and improving respect for oneself.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said
education on health can change habits. “I also believe that children have the
power to improve society by influencing their parents and the whole family,” he
said. Sa’ar set up steering committee headed by Irit Livneh, the ministry’s
health supervisor, that would prepare a plan for implementing the decision in
all the schools after consulting with public-health efforts.INTEGRATIVE
MEDICINE IN OB/GYN
An obstetrics/gynecology center for integrative medicine has
opened at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center that will combine conventional
medicine with proven complementary medicine techniques. The unusual center was
initiated by the hospital’s general integrative medicine center headed by
Dr. Menachem Oberbaum and the ob/gyn division, and will be run by a
senior gynecologist. Staffers in the new center will treat interested women in
delivery rooms, the in-vitro fertilization unit and the ob/gyn
WHY DNA BREAKS DOWN IN CANCER CELLS
The common denominator
of all kinds of cancer cells is damage to the genes’ normal DNA. Although it is
already known that cell damage is caused by stress to their DNA replication when
cancerous cells invade, the molecular basis for this remained
But now, reportedly for the first time, Hebrew University of
Jerusalem scientists have shown that in early cancer development, cells suffer
from insufficient building blocks to support normal DNA replication. It is
possible to halt this by externally supplying the “building blocks,” resulting
in reduced DNA damage and the cells’ significantly lower potential to develop
cancerous features. Thus, it is hoped that eventually this will provide
protection against cancer development.
Prof. Batsheva Kerem of the
Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences and her Ph.D. student Assaf
Bester showed that abnormal activation of cellular proliferation that drives
many different cancer types leads to insufficient levels of the DNA building
blocks (nucleotides) needed to support normal DNA replication.
using laboratory cultures in which cancerous cells were introduced, the
researchers were able to show that through external supply of those DNA building
blocks it is possible to reactivate normal DNA synthesis, thus negating the
damage caused by the cancerous cells and the cancerous potential. This work,
documented in the journal Cell, raises the possibility of developing new
approaches for protection against precancerous development, even possibly
creating a kind of treatment to decrease DNA breakage.