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Briefs: Stay sharp with crossword puzzles, wine

Stay sharp with crossword puzzles, wine

A recent report debunking ginkgo as a way to stave off Alzheimer's may disappoint those who take the supplement, but there are other preventive possibilities to consider. A physicians report posted at www.agehealthy.org says the key to reducing your risk for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's could be in leading a nutrition-conscious, active lifestyle. Some tips:

• Get plenty of omega-3s from eating fish regularly.

• Have a glass. Red wine — as well as green tea — has important antioxidants.

• Limit exposure to lead and pesticides. They are known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's and diabetes, which also comes with a risk of dementia.

• Stay socially and physically active, and exercise your brain with crosswords, word games, chess and other activities that require critical thinking. These measures reduce the risk of cognitive decline as you age.

Tired, irritable? Check testosterone

The male hormone testosterone begins to decline around age 35, and for some men, testosterone drops to subnormal levels. Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased bone and muscle mass, fatigue, depression and irritability. Testosterone therapy is effective at reversing symptoms. Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, a Harvard urologist and founder and director of Men's Health Boston (www.menshealthboston.com), is the author of the new book Testosterone for Life, (McGraw-Hill, 216 pages, $16.95). He explains how to recognize symptoms of low testosterone and how to diagnose the problem with simple tests, find appropriate treatment and explore options in conjunction with input from your physician.

What to ask about chemotherapy

If you or a family member have cancer and are considering chemotherapy that is unlikely to cure you but may extend the length and quality of life, here are some questions to ask health professionals and yourself, according to a review in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

• If I cannot be cured, will I live longer with chemotherapy? How much longer?

• What are the main side effects of the chemotherapy?

• Will I feel better or worse?

• Are there other options, like hospice or palliative care?

• Are there clinical trials available? What are the benefits? Am I eligible? What is needed to enroll?

Compiled from Times staff, wires

Briefs: Stay sharp with crossword puzzles, wine 12/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 5:30pm]

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