Holiday Blues? 7 Ways to Cheer Up

The winter solstice — and the shortest day of the year — will soon be upon us (Dec. 21), and not everyone is feeling the holiday spirit. Illness, loneliness, financial troubles, family problems and depression can make many dread the “most wonderful” time of the year and endanger both mental and physical health. A recent University of Chicago study found that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to increased stress, higher blood pressure and other health problems. Here are some things you can do …

5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick This Winter

It’s that season again. The one with lots of coughing, sneezing, sniffling, aching and carrying around large wads of tissues. So how do you protect yourself from colds and the flu, other than staying home from now through May? Obviously, getting a flu shot should be first on your list. Although no one can predict whether this flu season will be as severe as last year’s, a new study that looked at flu rates among those age 60-plus for the …

Low Vitamin D May Double Risk of Dementia

As with so many other perplexing questions about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, researchers are unsure why there seems to be a link between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of developing these brain diseases. Now one of the largest studies yet finds that link is even more worrisome: Too little of the vitamin may, in fact, double the risk of developing the devastating conditions. The new research, which followed nearly 1,700 adults over the age of 65 for …

Bone Up on Bone Health In May

May is National Osteoporosis Month – a good time to assess your risk of breaking a bone and figure out the best way for you to avoid osteoporosis down the road. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), where I am honored to serve as Bone Health Ambassador, 52 million Americans have osteoporosis. And thanks to population dynamics, the numbers rise each year: By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 are expected to be affected. >> Sign up for …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun … 1. Scientists have built the world’s first bionic man. (Learn more at Today.com) 2. The U.S. Postal Service won’t issue stamps it’s already printed to promote the government’s “Let’s Move” campaign because some depict kids doing things that may not be safe. (Learn more at New York Times) 3. An Oxford University researcher who led a study of kissing is “still not exactly sure why it is so widespread or what purpose it serves.” (Learn more …

New Study: Vitamin D Pills Don’t Strengthen Healthy Bones

Almost half of American adults take extra vitamin D to help strengthen their bones. But a new study published online today in the Lancet concludes that for healthy older adults, taking those pills to prevent osteoporosis is simply a waste of money. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter “Most healthy adults do not need vitamin D supplements,” said study leader Ian Reid, M.D., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Reid’s conclusion is based on a review of all …