To My Patients,
Hope all is well. Winter is more than half over, but March sometimes has snowy surprises.
I'll be out of the office during the week of March 13 (that's Tuesday 3/15 and Thursday 3/17), back in the office the following week, usual schedule. We'll be enjoying the company of our Colorado gang that week.
Janine will be in the office during our regularly schedules hours "to check on things." I will take messages, emails and do necessary telemed virtual visits while away from the office. Please plan ahead, especially if you'll need medication renewals while we're away from the office.
A few brief medical notes, first COVID, then non-COVID
Things appear to be easing a bit. I won't go into detail and the various controversies, but please don't fall into complacency. Whenever you're in a COVID-suspect environment, wear a mask (preferably N95, even if not required), keep your distance, and make sure you've been fully vaccinated.
The beneficial effects of probiotics are well known (although sometimes overstated by retailers). They may play a significant role in alleviating symptoms of digestive conditions such as traveler's diarrhea, antibiotic-related diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. They are generally available as live microbes (fungi and bacteria), but there are major differences in makeup, potency, and efficacy. So, if you have a condition that you believe may benefit from probiotic treatment, contact the office, I may have specific recommendations.
Remember that yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, and Greek yogurt containing live organisms, preferably organic, is one of the best.
Prebiotics are the food source for the probiotic bacteria and fungi. They are familiar to most of us as the fiber and nutrient loaded foods you hear about every day - the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This is a short list of the best ones (some will surprise you): apples, bananas, avocado, onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, chicory root, oats, and, not to forget: Jicama root and dandelion greens. And that's only a start…
It is estimated that approximately 6 million Americans aged 65 or older have Alzheimer's disease dementia (AD) today. We also know that there are many beneficial lifestyles that can delay the onset of AD, including physical activity/exercise, eating abundant amounts of fruits, vegetables and nuts, using olive oil and eating fish - especially the fattier fish (essentially the Mediterranean Diet), having enough mental stimulation (talking to friends, doing puzzles), and keeping medical conditions under good control.
But are you, genetically or otherwise, predisposed to AD? There is intense ongoing research to develop and recognize biological markers to indicate predisposition to AD. Two easy-to-obtain markers today are blood tests for homocysteine and the enzyme APOE. People with an elevated homocysteine are predisposed to AD and also to a variety of cardiovascular diseases. People with the APOE enzyme are thought to be 2-12 times more predisposed to AD, depending on whether they have the one- or two-version of the enzyme. Having an increased risk of AD doesn't mean you'll get it, but if you do have the increased risk, it's a good time to emphasize the lifestyles that will reduce the chances of getting it.
Until next time, exercise, eat healthy food and stay well. Just do it!
Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.