Site Search


Other Sites for More Information




Weight Training for Senior Strength

When you reach your 50th birthday, figure on losing 0.4 pounds of muscle in each year ahead of you - unless you begin lifting weights. A new analysis of 49 studies concludes that older adults can gain an average of 2.42 pounds of lean body mass (mostly muscle) after 20 weeks of strength training. That will compensate for the 0.4-pound annual loss you would face if you were sedentary, according to a report published in the February, 2011, issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the scientific journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Counteracting the natural loss of muscle mass can improve quality of life and boost your chances of living independently longer, the University of Michigan research team concluded. When to start? The sooner, the better, the investigators advised. And as with all weight training, as you accustom yourself to your program, you’ll have to increase the amount of weight you lift or the number of sets you do in order promote and sustain long-term growth of muscle mass.

More on aging gracefully.


Turkish Spinach Salad (Video)

In my new kitchen in Tucson, Ariz. I demonstrate how to make a Turkish Spinach Salad - a dish that highlights the natural flavors and simplicity of the Mediterranean diet. Be sure to use a good-quality extra virgin olive oil in the dressing. Enjoy!

Here is the full recipe for reference.


Boosting Broccoli's Anti-Cancer Effect

The disease-fighting effect of broccoli is due in part to the activity of myrosinase, an enzyme needed to form sulforaphane, the component credited with broccoli's anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory effects. You won't get these benefits if you overcook your broccoli, a process that destroys the crucial enzyme. You'll also miss out if you use broccoli powder supplements in cooking – it lacks myrosinase altogether. Now researchers at the University of Illinois have come up with evidence showing that adding broccoli sprouts (they're rich in myrosinase) to broccoli powder gives you plenty of sulforaphane. They tested the combination on four healthy men who ate meals containing broccoli sprouts alone, broccoli powder alone or a combination of the two. Measurements of marker compounds in the men's blood indicated that the combination of powder and sprouts doubled levels of sulforaphane compared to either alone. Other foods that will give broccoli the same kind of anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory sulforaphane boost are mustard, radishes, arugula and wasabi. The research team added that you'll get the most out of broccoli - the enzyme as well as the nutrients it contains - by steaming it for just two to four minutes.

Enjoy lightly steamed broccoli - rich in sulforaphane - in my recipe for Broccoli Salad with Avocado.


What Is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animal assisted therapy (AAT) uses trained companion animals to promote optimal health for mind, body and spirit for people experiencing a wide range of physical and mental challenges.

I have recommended companion animals in part because research has demonstrated they can have a calming effect on people, help reduce blood pressure and anxiety, and can encourage socialization. AAT supports these effects. Unlike animal-assisted activities (such as seeing-eye dogs for the visually impaired), AAT emphasizes psychological support and physical healing. One of the most fundamental advantages of animal assisted therapy over other therapeutic modalities is that it provides the patient a much-needed opportunity to give affection as well as receive it. It is this reciprocity - rare among medical therapies - that makes AAT a unique and valuable route to healing.

There are many different animals used in AAT, from dogs and cats to horses and even dolphins, and therapy may take place in an institution such as a hospital, nursing home, school or library.

Learn more about animal assisted therapy, including who it can benefit and what to consider before trying it out.


Want Women’s Health Information?

If you are a woman, you know that your health needs are different than men’s. From gender-related health concerns and managing stress to finding balance and eating healthfully, our Women’s Interest Newsletter has simple tips that provide the perfect base for improving your overall health and wellness. Click here to learn more about this free weekly newsletter!

Sign up here!


Sap Zaps Some Skin Cancers

Don't try this at home, but British researchers have reported that sap from a common garden weed may help eliminate some non-melanoma skin cancers. The weed in question is "petty spurge" often found in landscaped urban gardens. The investigators, whose findings were published online on Jan. 27, 2011, by the British Journal of Dermatology, said that they treated 36 patients who had a total of 48 non-melanoma skin cancers once a day for three days. They noted that 41 of the 48 cancers they treated showed a complete response a month later. Patients who had only a partial response received a second round of treatment. After 15 months of follow up, 30 of the 48 treated lesions had not recurred. Because this was a small study, more research is needed to confirm the results. The investigators suggested that the treatment could prove an alternative to surgery for patients with superficial, non-melanoma skin cancers.


Are Laptops Bad for Men's Health?

If you or a loved one has wondered if the heat that radiates from a laptop to your lap could have health consequences, you aren’t alone. Investigators at the State University of New York at Stony Brook carried out and published (in the journal Fertility and Sterility online Nov. 3, 2010) a study of 29 young men and how laptop heat affected their scrotal temperatures. (An increase in scrotal temperature by more than one degree Celsius [1.8 degrees Fahrenheit] can have damaging effects on sperm quality.)

The study showed that scrotal temperature increased within 10 to 15 minutes of holding a laptop computer on the lap; after an hour of this, scrotal temperature rose by 2.5 C - even when the men placed a lap pad under the computer.

Overheated testicles can be caused by:

  1. Sitting with legs spread wide and a laptop computer placed on the lap, with or without a lap pad (with the lap pad, scrotal temperature will remain cooler for a while, but may edge up in less than 30 minutes)
  2. Prolonged bicycling
  3. Frequent use of saunas or hot tubs

However, a laptop is not the greatest threat to male fertility - the major causes are defects in reproductive anatomy or physiology, such as a damaged vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm from the testes), disease (including sexually transmitted diseases), hormonal disorders and chemotherapy. In addition to heat, environmental exposures to toxins and some chemicals can impair sperm production. But if you are trying to conceive, keep the laptop on a table or desk - not in the lap - just to be safe.

Condition Care Guide for female fertility, infertility and pregnancy.


Connecting with Japan

The devastating earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan on March 11 has already killed thousands of people, and the full effects have yet to play out. The long-term damage to human health from radiation leaks at the Fukishima nuclear power plants will take years, perhaps decades, to manifest.

I feel this tragedy deeply. Since my first visit to Japan as a teenager in 1959, I have felt a powerful connection to its culture, aesthetics and people. In the years since, I have been back more times than I can recall. As much as I enjoy the vibrant cacophony of modern, urban Japan, I am particularly drawn to its venues of timeless serenity.

I am encouraged that the hallmarks of the Japanese character - a reverence for hard work, family, tradition and beauty - will ultimately bring that great nation back from the horror that now engulfs it. Please do what you can to help by donating at the American Red Cross website.

In the meantime, here are some photos of trips I have been fortunate enough to make to Japan in recent years: Shrines and Serenity in Japan