The Mediterranean diet nonsense again
It is hard to know what to laugh at first in the report below. For a start, where did they find eaters of a Mediterranean diet in Scotland?
Secondly, Scottish food makes English food look gourmet. Scottish food is extraordinarily plain, with "mince 'n tatties" being the staple. So any departure from it should increase the range of nutrients consumed.
Thirdly, do we know that diet had anything to do with it at all? Scots who deviated from their traditional diet could well have been more health-conscious and done other things to keep themselves healthy -- like jogging and having a "doch 'n doris" (alcohol) less frequently.
Fourthly, if a Mediterranean diet is so good for you, how came Australians are exceptionally long lived? Foods such as hamburgers, steak, sausages, beef pies and sausage rolls are Australian staples and they are about as far from a Mediterranean diet as Australia is geographically far from the Mediterranean
The study tells us NOTHING about the Mediterranean diet
IT is never too late to start eating a Mediterranean diet, as a study shows it could stop the brains of people in their seventies from shrinking.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, and even a glass of wine a day, may protect the grey matter which declines as we age.
A study of pensioners with this diet found their brain shrinkage, associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s, was half of others their age.
The benefits are believed to come from the antioxidants found in vegetables, olive oil and even the glass of red every day which forms part of the Mediterranean diet. These are thought to reduce damage in the brain from oxidation, which leads to neural degeneration.
Lead author Dr Michelle Luciano, from the University of Edinburgh, said: 'As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory,
'This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.'
The latest study, published in the journal Neurology, gathered information on the dietary habits of almost 1,000 people in Scotland aged 70.
A Mediterranean diet was judged as one high in fruit and vegetables, beans and grains such as wheat and rice, including the mono-unsaturated fats found in olive oil, and even allowing for moderate consumption of up to the equivalent of a large glass of wine a day for women or two for men.
People of this age would be expected to lose around 18ml of their brain volume in the three years between 73 and 76. Up to two per cent of the brain is lost every year as we grow older.
But those found to have most closely stuck to a Mediterranean diet when questioned about it by researchers experienced less than half of that shrinkage, MRI brain scans showed.
This is important because a loss of brain volume as people get older affects their memory, increases the speed at which they process information and even the speed at which they speak and their attention span.
Dr Luciano said: 'In our study, eating habits were measured before brain volume was, which suggests that the diet may be able to provide long-term protection to the brain. Still, larger studies are needed to confirm these results.'
UPDATE: The academic journal article is "Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 76 years in a Scottish cohort". The only social controls applied were for education and IQ.
Trump seeks to repeal Obamacare quickly
President Barack Obama has exhorted fellow Democrats to preserve his legacy-defining healthcare law as Republicans moved ahead with their long-sought bid to scrap it in what Vice President-elect Mike Pence called the "first order of business" of Donald Trump's administration.
The emerging Democratic strategy is to warn that Republicans risk throwing the entire US healthcare system into chaos by moving to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, without a plan to replace it.
Republicans argue the system is already broken and that they will help more people gain coverage by repealing the law while working to minimise disruptions to those who depend on it.
Both Obama and Pence visited Capitol Hill for closed-door discussions on Obamacare.
Pence, the Indiana governor and a former member of the US House of Representatives, met Republican lawmakers to plot the path forward on scuttling the law.
"The first order of business is to keep our promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the kind of healthcare reform that will lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government," Pence told a news conference.
Down the hall from Pence, Obama, who hands over the presidency to Trump on January 20, urged Democratic lawmakers to protect his signature domestic policy measure. He told reporters his message was: "Look out for the American people."
Democrats acknowledge they lack the votes needed to stop repeal legislation being pushed by Republicans, who will control the White House and both chambers of Congress when Trump takes office. But they are warning of the risks of the repeal legislation in hopes of spurring a public backlash against it.
Without a replacement by Republicans, as early as 2018, the roughly 20 million people who gained insurance under the law could see their coverage in jeopardy.
"The Republican plan to cut healthcare wouldn't 'make America great again,'" Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters, invoking Trump's campaign slogan. "It would make America sick again and lead to chaos instead of affordable care."
Since the law was enacted, Republicans in Congress have voted more than 50 times to try to repeal all or part of it and conservatives have filed suits to try to invalidate it.
Republicans criticise Obamacare as an excessive government intrusion into the healthcare market and contend it is harming job growth by adding burdens on businesses.
Republicans on Wednesday stepped up their rhetorical attack on Obamacare, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying the law ruined the American healthcare system.
Trump wrote on Twitter that Republicans "must be careful in that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases."
Pence said Trump would work with congressional leaders for a "smooth transition to a market-based healthcare reform system" through legislative and executive action.
Can Trump and Putin Avert Cold War II?
BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN
In retaliation for the hacking of John Podesta and the DNC, Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and ordered closure of their country houses on Long Island and Maryland’s Eastern shore.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that 35 U.S. diplomats would be expelled. But Vladimir Putin stepped in, declined to retaliate at all, and invited the U.S. diplomats in Moscow and their children to the Christmas and New Year’s party at the Kremlin.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger,” reads Proverbs 15:1. “Great move,” tweeted President-elect Trump, “I always knew he was very smart!” Among our Russophobes, one can almost hear the gnashing of teeth.
Clearly, Putin believes the Trump presidency offers Russia the prospect of a better relationship with the United States. He appears to want this, and most Americans seem to want the same. After all, Hillary Clinton, who accused Trump of being “Putin’s puppet,” lost.
Is then a Cold War II between Russia and the U.S. avoidable? That question raises several others. Who is more responsible for both great powers having reached this level of animosity and acrimony, 25 years after Ronald Reagan walked arm-in-arm with Mikhail Gorbachev through Red Square? And what are the causes of the emerging Cold War II?
Comes the retort: Putin has put nuclear-capable missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania. True, but who began this escalation?
George W. Bush was the one who trashed Richard Nixon’s ABM Treaty and Obama put anti-missile missiles in Poland. After invading Iraq, George W. Bush moved NATO into the Baltic States in violation of a commitment given to Gorbachev by his father to not move NATO into Eastern Europe if the Red Army withdrew.
Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, says John McCain. Russia did, after Georgia invaded its breakaway province of South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeepers. Putin threw the Georgians out, occupied part of Georgia, and then withdrew.
Russia, it is said, has supported Syria’s Bashar Assad, bombed U.S.-backed rebels and participated in the Aleppo slaughter.
But who started this horrific civil war in Syria? Was it not our Gulf allies, Turkey, and ourselves by backing an insurgency against a regime that had been Russia’s ally for decades and hosts Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean?
Did we not exercise the same right of assisting a beleaguered ally when we sent 500,000 troops to aid South Vietnam against a Viet Cong insurgency supported by Hanoi, Beijing and Moscow? That’s what allies do.
The unanswered question: Why did we support the overthrow of Assad when the likely successor regime would have been Islamist and murderously hostile toward Syria’s Christians?
Russia, we are told, committed aggression against Ukraine by invading Crimea. But Russia did not invade Crimea. To secure their Black Sea naval base, Russia executed a bloodless coup, but only after the U.S. backed the overthrow of the pro-Russian elected government in Kiev.
Crimea had belonged to Moscow from the time of Catherine the Great in the 18th century, and the Russia-Ukraine relationship dates back to before the Crusades. When did this become a vital interest of the USA?
As for Putin’s backing of secessionists in Donetsk and Luhansk, he is standing by kinfolk left behind when his country broke apart. Russians live in many of the 14 former Soviet republics that are now independent nations. Has Putin no right to be concerned about his lost countrymen?
Unlike America’s elites, Putin is an ethnonationalist in a time when tribalism is shoving aside transnationalism as the force of the future.
Russia, it is said, is supporting right-wing and anti-EU parties. But has not our National Endowment for Democracy backed regime change in the Balkans as well as in former Soviet republics? We appear to be denouncing Putin for what we did first.
Moreover, the populist, nationalist, anti-EU and secessionist parties in Europe have arisen on their own and are advancing through free elections.
Sovereignty, independence, a restoration of national identity, all appear to be more important to these parties than what they regard as an excessively supervised existence in the soft-dictatorship of the EU.
In the Cold War between Communism and capitalism, the single-party dictatorship and the free society, we prevailed. But in the new struggle we are in, the ethnonational state seems ascendant over the multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial, multilingual “universal nation” whose avatar is Barack Obama.
Putin does not seek to destroy or conquer us or Europe. He wants Russia, and her interests, and her rights as a great power to be respected. He is not mucking around in our front yard; we are in his.
The worst mistake President Trump could make would be to let the Russophobes grab the wheel and steer us into another Cold War that could be as costly as the first, and might not end as peacefully.
Reagan’s outstretched hand to Gorbachev worked. Trump has nothing to lose by extending his to Vladimir Putin, and much perhaps to win.
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