Ageing Linked To Appearance

If you are a Daily Mirror fan then you may have read in December a report on long life penned by Emily Cook the Daily Mirror Health Correspondent.

Young Looking Elderly Woman

Young Looking Elderly Woman

Well how about this headline as a pick-me-up ‘Ageing linked to appearance’ so, if you are among that certain number of people that hate their bodies for one reason or another I guess a headline like that would only make you feel worse about yourself.

A study based on 387 twin pairs led by Professor Kaare Christensen from the University of Southern Denmark has revealed that

“Perceived age was significantly associated with survival. and the bigger the difference in perceived age within a twin pair, the more likely it was the older looking twin died first.

The twins lived in an everyday environment taking this along with age and sex in to account Professor Christensen went on to say:

“Health hazards, such as smoking and sun exposure, low soci-economic status and high depression score are associated with perceived age. This strengthens the notion that perceived age is a biomarker of ageing.”

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Coffee and Prostate Cancer

Coffee Grains

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If there is one thing I have learned about writing various health subjects, when I have dried up, I can depend upon Emily Cook the Daily Mirror Health Correspondent coming up with yet again, another very interesting piece of health news.

Her story (Daily Mirror 08/12/09) is wrapped around the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. It appears those clever researchers have added another plus to drinking coffee, this time it’s to the benefit of us men.

Over the past twenty years researchers from Harvard Medical School have studied some 50,000 men on their coffee intake and have come up with some exciting news. Men who enjoy a regular cup of coffee each day are arming themselves against prostate cancer. Yes, would you believe it, men enjoying a regular intake of coffee are 60% less likely of developing prostate cancer, as opposed to men who avoid the drink altogether.

However, as with most of these type of findings, British experts are po pooping the research and want to see more results, before they commit themselves. To be fair to them, the UK boffins worry more about a high caffeine intake which can cause a lot of problems so hopefully, more research will show a positive swing toward coffee intake (in moderation).

With prostate cancer being the most common male cancer in the UK, over 47,000 diagnosed each year, Any positive research is good news.

Dr. Kathryn Wilson did say she thought it unlikely that caffeine played a key part in the protective properties of the coffee. “Very few lifestyle factors have been consistently associated with prostate cancer risk, especially with the risk of aggressive disease, so it would be very exciting if this association is confirmed in other studies.”

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Milk and Alzheimer’s

Want to stave off dementia? Drink just two glasses of milk daily! For a new study has suggested that milk can help protect against memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease in old age.


An international team led by Oxford University, has found that milk is actually one of the best sources of the key vitamin B12. B12 is said to reduce the neurological damage to the brain which can lead to forms of dementia. Moreover, the study has revealed that elderly patients with low levels of vitamin B12 suffer twice as much shrinkage of the brain as those with higher levels of B12 in their bodies.

What do milk, liver, seafood, and meat have in common? The answer is vitamin B12, with meat being the biggest provider. However, vitamin B12 is tightly bound to proteins in the meat. This means that the body relies on acid in our stomachs to break down the protein before the body can make use of B12. Milk on the other hand while having a lower content of B12 is more readily absorbed by the body.

What is the point of this post? Well, it appears that scientists from Oxford University believe that vitamin B12 can reduce the brain damage that leads to dementia. They found during their studies that elderly individuals with a low count of the key vitamin, B12, suffered twice the amount of brain shrinkage as those people, with higher levels of the vitamin. The scientists found in their study, around 55 percent of the vitamin in milk entered the bloodstream; fish provided the second highest source of the vitamin, followed by other dairy products.

The findings of the team lead by Professor David Smith, whose findings appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is reported as saying:

“There are 550 people who come down with dementia every day in the UK… it is a major epidemic. It is unlikely we are ever going to find ways of repairing that damage. We have to look at preventing it in the first place.[sic] Our study shows that consuming around half a litre of milk or more per day, and it can be skimmed milk, could take someone who has marginal levels of B12 into the safe range. But drinking just two glasses a day can protect against having low levels”.– The Daily Telegraph

So the moral of this story, according to scientists, is that drinking two glasses of milk a day could help protect you against Alzheimer’s disease.

Image 1: Danilo Rizzuti /

Behavioural Therapy (Local Health News)

Behavioural Therapy Office

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As far as mental health issues go there is a new team on the block in South Shields, South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear. The South Tyneside Primary Care Trust (PCT) is taken part in a new Government-funded initiative with an aim to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. There are six psychology experts on hand to treat individuals based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and the programme has also been approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Work carried out in this area by Dr. John Teasdale and Dr. Melanie Fennell shows evidence to suggest that cognitive therapy is as effective as antidepressants in depressed individuals

You do not need to be referred by your GP as you can refer yourself. After your first meeting, you can choose to continue with the programme via. your home computer. Doing it this way you will receive eight one-hour sessions with telephone support. You can also opt. to attend up to six or eight one-hour, one to one sessions with a member of the team.

There team leader is reported as saying:

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are the biggest cause of absence from work. There are also lots of ordinary people who are functioning below par because they have sunk into depression or are trying to deal with anxiety. [sic] If we can help them early enough then we can, hopefully, prevent their condition from becoming more serious and complex and affecting their lives even more. – Mr Stewart Ingram, PCT

If you live locally and you would like to contact the team you can do so by ringing 283 2134 or 283 2152 between 8.30am and 5 pm weekdays only.

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