What’s the Secret to Longevity? Lessons from “Blue Zones” Worldwide – MPR

What’s the Secret to Longevity? Lessons from “Blue Zones” Worldwide – MPR.

I found this article interesting, although  it’s a few years old. I don’t know how the life span compares to communities surrounding the ones listed. The things each community does or has do sound a lot like the health advice given to patients to stay healthy and each community has things in common with each other.

The things that likely make a “blue zone” a blue zone are as follows:

1) They maintain a healthy plant based diet. With the exception of Seventh Day Adventists who don’t eat meat at all, meat is only eaten either in moderation or very rarely. In Okinawa people grow their own food, which also means they’re outside walking, bending, exercising, etc.

2) Exercise is done. It can be physical work, it can be walking. Current recommendations are for 2.5 hours of exercise a week (this works out to roughly 20-30 minutes daily).

3) People are part of  the community. Some have made the claim that regular church going helps you live longer. Given that there’s no empiric evidence for a higher power, it’s more likely the social contacts, the sense of belonging or being part of something greater than oneself that help maintain emotional health. I won’t ponder more about this at the moment. At this point I’m planning a post talking more about this because it deserves a post of it’s own (or two).

Of note, I haven’t been too active blogging here the past couple of years and am planning on becoming more active in doing so. I am considering adding another blog where I talk about self care things people can do to helps stay healthy and keep this blog to talk more about medicine itself, and  talk about specific illnesses. Let me know which (an additional blog about staying healthy/self care issues + this one or an “all in one” blog) you think would work better.

10 Biggest Nutrition Myths—Ever

>10 Biggest Nutrition Myths—Ever

I am a big fan of having people eat a healthy diet. The best of all possible worlds, doctors would know more about diet and have the time to talk with/educate their patients about this. Additionally everyone would have access to a nutritionist/Registered dietitian and access to healthy foods.  Lastly, people would not buy into fad diets or believe all of the mis information out there. Here is a list of some things to keep in mind.

Better Sleep May Be Incredibly Important to Alzheimer’s Risk

Better Sleep May Be Incredibly Important to Alzheimer’s Risk.

Sleep disturbances are common. Sometimes patients have come in with sleep problems that are clearly related to temporal issues (such as stressors like a death in the family, work stress, etc).

It is the people that come in with chronic issues which I think are challenging. Some patients have come on while on medications chronically to help with sleep. One concern is that they end up being too dependent on medications to sleep. When seeing things like this, it makes me wonder if patients on sleep medications chronically are altering their sleep architecture enough that it still puts them at risk for things.

Some sleep issues, such as obstructive sleep apnea, do put one at risk for things like high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, etc. luckily for that things like weight loss, CPAP machines, etc can help without the use of medications. This article does make the case for getting good sleep regularly!

The Wide-Ranging Role of the Microbiome

What goes in your stomach can influence countless disorders, from cancer to asthma. Dr David Johnson surveys the latest data underlining the ever-increasing importance of a low-fat, high-fiber diet.

Source: The Wide-Ranging Role of the Microbiome


Anyone who’s been reading my blog probably won’t be surprised by my linking to this article (you may have to subscribe to medscape to read the full article).

Basically, the gist is that diet effects the kinds of bacteria in one’s GI tract. The good kinds of bacteria (that promoted by a low fat, primarily plant based diet) helps reduce risk of diseases like colon cancer, breast cancer (the former by producing short chain fatty acids and the latter by altering the reabsorption of estrogen that has been chemically altered by the liver and secreted into the GI tract).


Facilitating Story-telling Leads to Patient Growth | Sarah Monahan, RN, QMHA | LinkedIn

Facilitating Story-telling Leads to Patient Growth | Sarah Monahan, RN, QMHA | LinkedIn.

I came across this article in linkedin.  It’s an interesting idea because when a physician uses the term “challenging patient” (s)he is likely referring to one of two kinds of patients. One kind is one with a lot of health problems, some of which interfere with the treatment of others (or perhaps just a couple complicated health issues).  However it is often used to refer to patients who are hard to reach/not very compliant/have poor insight to how their behavior affects their health.

Many times I ask myself how did the latter kind of patient get to where they are.  I haven’t yet used this with any of my patients, but it does seem like an interesting way to help patients.