Not the best idea?
New demand for knee replacements at ages 40 and 45
In the past, older people wanted knee replacements
for pain relief so they could live a normal life.
Today, people ages 45 to 64 and even age 40 and
younger, want them so they can continue to participate in sports like
skiing and activities like dancing. The number for knee replacements is
At the orthopedics and arthritis center of Brigham
and Women's Hospital in Boston, doctors say the demand has shifted
toward the young. But those who want it at an early age should know that
many will need a do-over later in life, especially if they participate
in sports, according to the National Heath Interview Survey.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says the
report will help the nation grasp the health burden posed by early
replacements. An initial surgery costs $20,000. Revisions cost far more.
They are complicated and risky.
Manufacturers say some prosthetic joints will last 30
years, but there are no studies to support that claim. The academy
believes older people's knee replacements will last for their lifetime.
Younger people need to discuss what they can expect
in terms of longevity of the prosthesis and whether they would be better
off delaying surgery. They should focus on the two major risk factors:
obesity and playing sports.
At the same time, their doctors should consider other
treatments for knee pain and not be so quick to recommend knee
replacement, the simplest answer.
'Super broccoli' developed, coming by year end
After 14 years of research and testing, British
scientists have hybridized the standard broccoli plant with a wild
variety found in Sicily. The new "super broccoli" has increased amounts
of glucoraphanin, a natural compound that breaks down fat in the body,
keeping it from clogging arteries.
The new broccoli has two to three times as much
glucoraphanin and also tastes slightly better and sweeter.
Right now, it's marketed in some areas of the United
States as Beneforte, but the new broccoli will probably be available
nationwide this fall.
Skin patches are more convenient than allergy shots
Only about 5 percent of allergy sufferers take
advantage of immunotherapy (allergy shots) to prevent seasonal symptoms.
The shots must be taken for some time before immunity is developed.
Doctors have long wanted an easier method, one that
sufferers can use without going to a doctor's office for each shot.
A study reported in the Journal of Allergy and
Immunology shows that a skin patch developed in Switzerland was
effective. Patients received six weekly patches prepared with grass
allergens, patches they could apply themselves.
Patch therapy appears to be safe, convenient and
effective for most hay-fever sufferers, but it won't be available in the
United States for some time.
How to get enough B12 to keep your thinking sharp
If you're not getting enough B12 in your diet, your
cognitive ability score might not be as high as it could be.
Doctors at Tufts University say evidence on vitamin
B12 and thinking ability have been linked for a long time. Some of the
earliest research at Tufts Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory connected
low B12 levels to central nervous system problems.
A new study reported in the journal Neurology shows
that a low B12 score is connected with performance in organization,
speed of thought and memory. In older people, it also predicted
decreased total brain volume.
The National Institutes of Health say the richest
source of B12 is beef liver, which has eight times the recommended daily
value (DV) requirement; 3 ounces of clams have more than five times the
Other sources of B12 include trout with 90 percent of
the DV, and 3 ounces of salmon with 80 percent.
A cup of plain yogurt has 23 percent, the same DV as
3 ounces of broiled sirloin steak. A three-ounce serving of tuna has 17
A cup of milk has 15 percent of the DV, and a large
egg has 10 percent.
People age 50 and older are advised to eat foods fortified with B12 or
take supplements. At that age and beyond, they absorb less from natural
Fortified foods and supplements use a form that is more easily absorbed.
Diet, lifestyle can help preserve vision
The National Eye Institute acknowledges that the
greatest risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is age.
But they also say diet and lifestyle play important roles in preventing
or slowing the progression of this sight-robbing condition.
A Peking University study on effects of dietary
intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin shows a 26 percent
reduction of later-stage AMD and a 4 percent reduction of early-stage
Contributing food sources identified in the study
included spinach and other dark leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini,
Romaine lettuce, corn and peas, along with egg yolks. The study included
only foods, but supplements are also recommended.
As early as 1994, Harvard researchers concluded that
consuming food with these carotenoids lowered the risk of AMD. The
studies were reported by Tufts University
Lutein and zeaxanthin provide the yellow pigmentation in the center of
the retina of the eyes. With aging, levels of these pigments decrease.
The yellow color blocks harmful blue light from the retina, which can
damage vision cells.
Other preventive steps suggested by the institute
include maintaining normal blood pressure, watching your weight, and not
One study reported in the British Journal of
Nutrition online shows that eating foods containing lutein may protect
the eyes from problems caused by long-term computer use.