DRS. OZ AND ROIZEN — TIPS
Tell lead-tainted toys to Buzz off!
Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 5:59 p.m.
If Buzz Lightyear, "Toy Story's" good-hearted space ranger, ever found a toy contaminated with lead, he'd make sure his boy Andy wouldn't have a chance to play with it. (If kids' bodies absorb too much lead, they may have attention difficulties, a lower IQ and gastrointestinal problems.) And at this time of the year, conscientious parents want to make sure Santa delivered toys that are as safe as they are fun. So here are some easy-to-follow tips that will help you make sure your kids have a great New Year!
To reduce the risk of exposure to lead in toys, jewelry and paint sets, buy North American. U.S. and Canadian manufacturers have safety standards set by federal, state and provincial governments. Although the Consumer Protection Agency has confiscated 8.5 million units of imported toys in recent years — the Canadian Product Safety bureau also monitors them — contaminated toys still slip across the borders.
If you want to use an at-home lead tester, Consumer Reports found:
■ The kits work for surface, not interior, lead levels (still helpful);
■ The cheapest and most expensive at-home lead testers were the most reliable;
■ Low lead levels (still a problem) can take a couple of hours to register, while high levels show up immediately.
Also, make sure art materials are labeled non-toxic, which means they're free of hazardous substances. Crayon and paint labels should say ASTM D-4236, which indicates that they've been tested for safety.
When you're careful — just like Buzz always says — "Evil never wins!"
GET SMART ABOUT STATINS
When Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) in the quirky movie "Silver Linings Playbook" refuses to take his meds, it's a setup for a manic comedy. OK for humor, not good for your health. No matter what medication you're prescribed, if you decide not to take it, you may miss profound benefits — benefits you amplify if you adopt a lifestyle upgrade, too.
That's why it's big news that statins — meds to lower lousy, LDL cholesterol — do double, triple, even quadruple duty. And we want you to listen up because 66 percent of people with statin prescriptions either don't take them or stop taking them.
Statins help millions of North Americans reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. And statins can do even more: If you have radiation for prostate cancer, they boost the eight-year "all-clear" rate from 74 percent to 80 percent. They reduce complications after hip-replacement surgery; help people with COPD breathe better; and improve outcomes of inflammatory breast cancer.
We don't know all the whys, but bet some of these benefits come from statins' overall inflammation-reducing powers. And we have even better news. You can slash inflammation by losing excess body fat, managing stress (everyone has it, just don't let it manage you), being physically active every day (10,000 steps a day works) and eliminating the five food felons (trans and most saturated fats, any grain that's not 100 percent whole, and added sugars and sugar syrups). Then, you may not need a statin — and you'll save money, feel better, look younger and have a much younger RealAge!
BRAIN BOOSTER BREAKTHROUGHS
From "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931) to "Inception" (2011), Hollywood always has been fascinated with what goes on in the human brain. But sci-fi doesn't do justice to the astounding three-pound supercomputer between your ears. It's got 100 billion neurons and 1,000 times that many connections. So it takes some TLC to keep it in tip-top shape. That's why it's so exciting that recent research reveals how to enhance your intellect, strengthen perception and protect your gray matter over the long haul.
Start with your 'tude, dude. When you think of yourself as "older" and associate aging with declining abilities, you're five times more likely to test positive for dementia than if you have a youthful sense of self. Luckily, you're never too old to renew your inner youthfulness. Three sure-fire ways: Touch and be touched — hugs, intimate contact or massage stimulate feel-good hormones; learn one new thing a day, as it keeps the brain young; and meditate 10 minutes daily to build resilience and manage neuron-damaging stress.
Build neurons and muscles. Physical activity stimulates the growth of new neurons and new connections between them. That preserves your memory and overall cognitive function.
Get some fat-isfaction. Your brain reacts to the fats you eat, and a new study found saturated fats (in meats and dairy) KO brain function. But cognitive, verbal and memory skills are amped up by monounsaturated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated (canola and safflower oil) fats, omega-3s in walnuts (six times more than other nuts), and DHA in fish and omega-3 supplements.
SEX: NOT REALLY AN OLYMPIC SPORT
A record was set at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. More than 150,000 condoms were given to athletes (50,000 more than in Beijing). Perhaps because it's the year that researchers supposedly found proof the G-spot exists (inside the vagina's upper edge, about 2/3 inch from the opening of the urethra.) So, youth was served, but hey! George Bernard Shaw said youth is wasted on the young; we say youth can be yours at any age!
Getting chronologically older does NOT mean you'll lose interest in or the ability to enjoy intimacy. For guys: Plummeting testosterone levels aren't an inevitable part of aging! And gals: You report more -- not less -- satisfaction as you age. (In one study, more than two-thirds of women were orgasmic into their 70s and 80s.)
So listen up! You can make lifestyle choices that will let you use it and keep it.
Good blood flow equals good sex. It delivers nutrients that stimulate your brain and sex organs. What helps the flow go? Daily exercise (add 30 extra minutes of walking), plus ginkgo biloba, lemon, citrulline, fruits, veggies and 100 percent whole grains.
Want an extra boost? Asian ginseng opens up blood vessels that supply your sex organs. Ashwagandha tea stimulates your libido. And Rhodiola extract helps maintain healthy levels of pleasure-enhancing brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. (Not great data on these, but they may work for you.)
Remember, sexual activity can make your RealAge younger and enhance your mood, but only if you practice safe sex and share intimacy with an open heart.
TIPS OF DA FUTURE
In a classic 1955 episode of "The Honeymooners," husbands Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and Ed Norton (Art Carney) go on television to promote the Handy Housewife Helper as a tool for the "Da Chef of da Future." After they bomb completely, Norton looks at the camera and says, "If my wife Trixie says, 'I told you so ...'"
Well, risking, "I told you so," from our wives Nancy and Lisa, we're going to let you in on some remarkable medical "inventions" that we bet you'll hear more about in 2013 ... and da future.
Cavity-proof teeth. There's a chemical out there that kills bacteria responsible for cavities. Designed by Chilean dentists and dubbed Keep 32 (as in 32 teeth), it's been undergoing tests for seven years and will soon begin human trials.
Scanning without radiation. Combination scanning technologies, such as the current omni-tomography -- an MRI with a CT scan -- greatly reduces radiation exposure. That's a good start. In the future, we're looking forward to further developments in 3D ultra-sound and MRI technologies. You get the picture!
Stem-cell treatments for personalized medicines. Using stem cells from your skin, docs will study your diseased cells in a lab and then tailor treatments that amplify your body's specific strengths and overcome its weaknesses.
A 3D printer that produces artificial cartilage. Using an inkjet printer and an electro-spinning machine, researchers have created a prototype of a low-cost fabrication process that produces personalized, artificial human tissue needed for your aching joints!
Bring on da New Year!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.