Are you thumbing your nose at thumb arthritis?

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Thumbs are an essential part of your hands and our language. On the positive side, a "green thumb" is a good thing. And "opposable thumbs" -- well, they're what differentiates you from other animals that cannot grasp or manipulate objects well. Just try writing your name, tying your shoelaces or hitching a ride without using your very agile thumb! But "sticking out like a sore thumb"? You don't want that.

Unfortunately, for many women (10 to 20 times as many as men) age 40 and older, thumb arthritis makes the basal joint at the bottom of the thumb swell and hurt, sometime severely. This form of osteoarthritis can happen because of overuse and stress from hobbies or a job; diseases that affect cartilage, such as rheumatoid arthritis; and obesity, which triggers inflammatory reactions that can damage tissue and bone.

If you've got sore thumbs (they usually come in pairs), you don't want to twiddle them!

-- You can opt for wearing a brace, using heat and ice packs, oral medications or corticosteroid injections, or get off-label hyaluronic acid injections. (Although approved for arthritic knees, the Food and Drug Administration hasn't given the thumbs-up for thumbs.)

-- ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiable) supplements sometimes work.

-- There are two surgeries: One fuses the joint, easing pain but limiting mobility. Another removes a bone from the base of the joint and reroutes a tendon to provide a cushion and stability.

Nothing guarantees you'll regain full mobility, and physical/occupational therapy is essential, but all three approaches ease constant pain and may make you able to hitchhike again!

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(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Not enough sleep may be because of stress

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The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk looks just like an ordinary Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it has a 707-horsepower supercharged V8 that can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. It's in a class of car Road and Track Magazine calls "sleeper cars." Well, if you want to be high performance, you should aim to be a super sleeper.

But is this you? You head for bed at a good hour, so you should be able to get seven to eight hours of sleep. But can't doze off. Well, there's a good chance you're bringing daytime stresses into bed: You worry about that task at work you didn't finish; you panic over an unpaid bill.

You're in luck. There are proven ways to deal with your disruptive stress response and cruise off into dreamland.

-- Eat a light, healthy dinner, three to four hours before turning in. Stay clear of fatty animal proteins and inflammatory processed foods that amp up your stress response.

-- Get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily (but not right before bedtime). Combine aerobics and strength training to dispel stress and ease depression.

-- Skip that nightcap. Your body needs a few hours to process alcohol before you snooze, otherwise, it may wake you later when it clears your system.

You exercised, ate healthfully, skipped that drink. Now slide between the sheets. It's time to try five minutes of mindful meditation (instructions at You'll learn to be in the moment, and in the next moment, you'll be asleep.

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(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Drinking Modest Amounts Of Baking Soda Can Help Relieve Fatigue, And Muscle Soreness

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Baking soda is very safe, but you should not exceed 200-300 mg per kilo of weight (diluted in one liter of water). Avoid taking it right after eating, as it interferes with digestion. The body's response to high-intensity exercise remains an issue that causes concern in the scientific community, as well as among coaches and athletes. Physical activity of high intensity can be maintained for short periods of time due to muscle fatigue of the muscles involved in the exercise, which generates dysfunctions and discomfort that culminate with stopping the exercise.

The mechanisms that produce muscle fatigue after a series of exercises are poorly known and can be caused by a decrease in nerve conduction, a failure in the excitation-contraction sites or certain metabolic alterations such as the decrease in intramuscular phosphocreatine (PC). Or the increase in lactate and the decrease in pH (acidosis).

Muscle fatigue is manifested by a decrease in the ability to generate a powerful muscle contraction and is caused, in part, by a decrease in intramuscular pH, as well as by a series of disturbances in the electrolytes of muscle cells.

After performing high-intensity exercise is common the appearance of discomfort or muscle pain that in some cases can be severe. This muscle pain is known as ¨Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness¨ (DOMS), usually occurs eight hours after the completion of the exercise, with a peak of painful intensity between 24 hours and 48 hours after having completed the physical activity, this pain can extend from 7 to 10 days.

One of the main theories that explain the cause of DOMS suggests that the accumulation of lactic acid in muscle fibers resulting from intense physical exercise causes the necrosis or rupture of muscle fibers. Also, lactic acid decreases the contractile capacity of the muscles.

Intense muscular contraction is accompanied by an increase in the water content of the muscle distributed in the intracellular and extracellular spaces. This influx of water can modify the concentration of ions in both compartments. The result of these changes in the intracellular ion concentration motivated by intense physical exercise, causes an increase in the concentration of intracellular hydrogen ions, producing acidosis (decrease in ph). This acidosis influences muscle fatigue, affecting contractile function, calcium regulation, and muscle metabolism. On the other hand, because the metabolic demands of high-intensity exercise are predominantly covered by the anaerobic degradation of glucose, this process produces lactic acid, resulting in the consequent lowering of the pH of the muscles that are exercised. Muscular fatigue and DOMS are associated with a rapid increase in the production of metabolic acids. Tolerance to high-intensity exercise may be limited by the body's ability to buffer the decrease in intracellular (muscle) and extracellular (blood) pH. In short, maximum efforts produce an acid-base imbalance in the body. This imbalance is compensated by an intrinsic buffer system.

Buffer System

The acidity or alkalinity of a solution depends on the concentration of hydrogen ions (H +). If the concentration of hydrogen ions is increased, the solution becomes more acidic; if the concentration is decreased, it becomes more alkaline. The amount of ionized hydrogen (H +) in a solution is indicated by the pH (the lower the ph, the greater the amount of ionized hydrogen). A solution with a pH of 7 is neutral; an acid solution has a pH value of less than 7 and an alkaline solution has a pH value of greater than 7. In humans, extracellular fluid is usually mildly alkaline, with a pH of 7.35 to 7.45. If the pH rises more than this, there is a state of alkalosis; if the pH falls below this value, there is a state of acidosis. The body's normal metabolism continuously produces acid radicals. This production increases during the exercises of maximum intensity. There are defense mechanisms that prevent changes in the pH of body fluids, this function is carried out by the body's buffer systems, in addition to respiratory regulation and elimination of H + through urine.

Baking Soda

By ingesting baking soda, an alkaline solution is created that helps cushion the level of acidity in the blood and muscles. As a result, lactic acid is extracted from the muscle cells, causing the pH of the muscles and blood to return to equilibrium. Also, taking baking soda before and during physical activity can help decrease the buildup of lactic acid and increase blood flow to the muscles. The baking soda is very safe, but you should not exceed the dose. Taking large amounts could produce unpleasant side effects. The appropriate dose is 200-300 mg per kilo of weight (diluted in one liter of water). Avoid taking it right after eating, as it interferes with digestion.

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Breakthrough Research Indicates Eliminating Retired Cells In The Human Brain Could Prevent Alzheimer's Disease!

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Being able stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and/or revert brain to a more youthful state would be one of the greatest discoveries in human history!

Scientists Darren Baker and Jan van Deursen announced in 2016 that they had discovered a new method that can prolong the life of mice, this method consists of cleaning the retired cells.

As the years go by, mammalian cells accumulate alterations in DNA, which predisposes to the formation of tumors. Some cells avoid this by remaining in a state of senescence, they do not die, but they stop growing and multiplying constantly.

As we age, the number of these retired cells increases, and despite what was believed, these cells are not inactive. These retired cells secrete substances that trigger inflammation in tissues and have also been linked to some of the diseases of old age. By removing these cells from rodents, Baker and van Deursen reduced the aging process in mice and, in some cases, prolonged their life.

Currently, it has been proven that this approach could be applied to prevent neurodegenerative diseases. By removing the senescent cells of mice with Alzheimer's disease, the accumulation of tau protein (a protein involved in nerve cell injury) was avoided, avoiding cell death and preserving the memory of rodents.

However, Baker warns that they have not yet proven if this method has the same results in other strains of mice with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, much less if it works in humans. Alzheimer researchers have an atrocious record of translating promising findings from rodent studies into actual treatments. After decades of false starts and failed clinical trials, they are understandably cautious.

Previously most of the research focused on implementing drugs that would eliminate another protein, Beta-amyloid protein, which is believed to play a major role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The approach of acting on senescent cells is innovative. "If these cells play an important role in people with a neurodegenerative disease, the implications for treatment could be quite significant," says Li-Huei Tsai of MIT, who was not part of the new study.

Currently, there are several drugs that can eliminate senescent cells, these have already been approved to treat cancer. "If they prove to be effective in preventing or slowing down neurodegeneration, it would represent a truly important advance, especially in light of the continuing failures of clinical trials based on beta-amyloid protein," says Tsai.

The extraordinary growth of the population over 65 in developed countries, the increase in life expectancy in countries with unconsolidated economies, the increase in disability rates in the elderly population, the increase in social and health costs, and the personal concern of the families in which The cognitive deterioration associated with this disease is manifested, it has caused the public conscience and the governmental entities to worry about preventing and attending to the dramatic consequences that Alzheimer's disease has on the health of people and the economy of the countries.

The National Institutes of Health has drastically increased its spending on research on Alzheimer's disease, tripling its annual budget over the past three years to $ 1.9 billion. This important financial investment allowed to establish new research on Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Baker's research team conducted this study on a strain of mice that at six months of age had accumulations of tau protein in the neurons. At eight months, the brain cells of the mice began to die, the brain decreased in size and memory began to fail. The researchers discovered that these alterations appear after the accumulation of senescent cells and therefore can be prevented by eliminating these cells.

The elimination of the senescent cells was carried out in two ways, by genetic engineering of the bodies of the mice to destroy their own senescent cells when they are fed with a particular chemical; and by using a senolitic drug called "navitoclax" that kills those cells directly. Both methods prevented the accumulation of tau protein in the neurons.

Initially Navitoclax was used to treat cancer; To eliminate tumors, these medications must be administered in very high doses. However, to eliminate senescent cells, much lower doses can be used.

In the study it was observed that the cells that became senescent were the surrounding brain cells that protect and support the neurons (glial cells). Baker suspects that when the neurons begin to produce tau, they send distress signals to the glia. These signals lead the glia to enter a state of senescence, releasing chemicals that increase tau protein levels and accelerate neuronal injury and death.

Baker points out that during this study only senescent cells were eliminated in mice that had not yet lost their memory. Which leads us to ask ourselves the following questions: What would happen if we did this in mice that already have these problems? Could we stop the progression of the disease and/or revert it to a more youthful state? In order to answer these questions it is necessary that more studies be done in this regard, however the results obtained so far are encouraging.

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CBT benefits moms with kids who have special needs

To paraphrase something the actress Allison Janney once said: If June Cleaver [Barbara Billingsley] made women in the 1950s and '60s feel bad because they didn't measure up to her all-too-perfect mom character in "Leave it to Beaver," Janney's character on the TV sitcom "Mom" should make moms everywhere feel great!

Well, laughter is great medicine. But there's something else that can make moms, especially those caring for children with special needs, feel better about themselves: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

Researchers at the University of Louisville have found that brief CBT sessions -- just five 45-to-60-minute meetings -- significantly improved the mental state of women who take care of children with chronic health conditions, such as cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis. The therapists also believe that CBT works in any situation where mothers are emotionally stretched because of a child's complex health condition.

One therapist describes the women as feeling isolated and blue because they couldn't hire a babysitter who knew how to deal with their child's special needs, and consequently couldn't find a way to spend time with friends. But even if such situations didn't change, after therapy, the moms reported decreased depressive symptoms, such as negative thinking, and their sleep quality greatly improved.

So if you (or someone you know), find yourself in a similar situation, locate a CBT program near you. Contact the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies at to find a CBT therapist in your area.

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(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

The generic EpiPen is on its way

So what do the names Mark Sinclair, Caryn Johnson and Eric Bishop have in common? They sounded too generic -- even though they were the originals -- for their brands, which are better known as Vin Diesel, Whoopi Goldberg and Jamie Foxx.

But sometimes the generic version is a better choice. Take the original EpiPen from Mylan, which delivers lifesaving epinephrine to people suffering severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to thing like bee stings, peanuts and shellfish. The brand raised its price by 400 percent between 2010 and 2016. That led to a $465 million federal overcharge settlement against Mylan, and encouraged it to market an authorized generic version, which still costs a lot -- between $300 and $500 for a two-pack. Even with that, there's been a shortage of EpiPens lately, and the Food and Drug Administration has had to extend the expiration date on specific lots of 0.3 milligram versions of the EpiPen and their authorized generic by four months.

The FDA hopes the expiration-date extension will be timed to coincide with the release of a newly approved, truly generic version of both the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. It took a while for this generic to be developed because the delivery system was very difficult to duplicate. Once the device was proven to work (it took two years), the FDA gave Teva Pharmaceuticals permission to market its version. We hope everyone will breathe easier once the generic is available -- and (hopefully) affordable -- to all who desperately need it to protect themselves from anaphylaxis.

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(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Strength training? What to eat when, to lose weight

[Image 1] Last May, 27-year-old Icelander Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, renowned for his role as "The Mountain" Gregor Clegane, in "Game of Thrones," won the World's Strongest Man competition. At 6 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing over 390 pounds, Bjornsson eats eight meals a day, while lifting tons of weights.

His meals consist of lean meats, grains, vegetables and healthy fats found in avocados and peanut butter. He's said: "I eat quite healthy for a big guy ... but you get sick of eating all the time. Today, I was supposed to have chicken with sweet potatoes and greens. Because I didn't want that, I had salmon. We have very good fish in Iceland."

It's true that high-protein foods are good to eat after resistance exercising to encourage muscle building. But did you know that eating protein after working out --if you eat the right amounts -- also can help you lose weight? That is effective because refueling with protein after your muscle-strengthening activities increases the amount of energy-burning muscle mass you build, and that uses up extra calories. Just make sure you don't eat ever-more total calories as you exercise more!

To take advantage of the muscle building and weight loss:
-- Eat protein up to two hours after working out to take advantage of the protein synthesis it fuels.
-- Enjoy protein from salmon, trout and skinless chicken.
-- Eat 20-30 grams of protein (it's the equivalent of 4 ounces cooked salmon or 3.5 ounces grilled chicken breast).

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(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Taking the right steps to live longer and healthier

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Betty White turned 96 this year and claims that her long-term good health is the result of hot dogs and vodka, not necessarily in that order!

Well, some people's genes are programmed to defy the odds (never worth betting on) -- either that or Betty's just a great comic who's not afraid of a politically incorrect joke (that's the smart bet)!

You may have a sense of humor, too, but although laughter is good for the heart, soul and brain, it's essential to make healthful choices if you want to forge a reliably healthy, longer life and a younger RealAge. Smart nutrition is essential (no nitrate- and nitrite-packed processed meats like hot dogs). But to really live well longer, you have to stir in a healthy exercise routine.

Case in point: A new study from the University of Buffalo in New York has found that walking, the most common form of physical activity in older women (no surprise), is especially heart-loving. And, say the researchers, more is better: "Higher levels of recreational physical activity, including walking, are associated with significantly reduced heart failure risk ..."

So if your days of 5K runs are behind you, don't fret. You (and this goes for guys, too!) can still get exercise's heart-healthy benefits with 10,000 steps three or four times weekly -- or aim for whatever you can do. Betty's routine: "I have a two-story house and a very bad memory, so I'm up and down those stairs." In short, establish an exercise routine you can stick with, but do skip the well-marinated hot dogs!

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(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

To fight an aging brain, cool it!

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In mid-September, the National Interagency Fire Center reported that firefighters continued to battle 89 large blazes across the Western states and Alaska; in Canada last August, British Columbia alone had more than 500 separate wildfires. You could say that both the U.S. and our northern neighbor were an in-FLAME-nation!

But you don't need timber and lightning to witness the ravages of inflammation firsthand. Your own brain is a potential target, according to researchers from Germany's University of Bonn. They've done a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, that pinpoints how poorly regulated inflammatory responses affect certain neurons and can lead to loss of brain cells -- especially as you get older.

Major triggers are inflammatory foods like added sugars and saturated fats, hormone-disrupting phthalates and BPA/BPS, and fiery habits like smoking, excess drinking and lack of sleep. If you have Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer or chronic stress, your body's battling excess inflammation. So call out the fire brigade.

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Quick Coolers: To put out your fires NOW try these three steps:

-- Take 900 milligrams daily of DHA omega-3 from algae.

-- Take a probiotic.

-- Floss your teeth daily.

Long-Term Fixes: To banish destructive inflammation adopt these habits:

-- Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week (walking 10,000 steps or equivalent and strength building).

-- Sleep seven to eight hours nightly.

-- Eat inflammation-fighting foods, like salmon, olive oil, 100 percent whole grains and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower).

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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