JUNE 2012
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Health & Wellness



5.  Sleep: Memory lapses are common among those who do not get adequate amounts of restful sleep. A good night’s sleep is important to for you to do your daily activities efficiently. The recommended duration is about 7-8 hours for all adults. Sleep disorders, including ‘sleep apnea,’ (when your breathing actually stops for a few seconds during sleep) can be injurious to your health. More about it later. 

6. Cross-training your brain: "Our brains can be made stronger through special exercises," says Andrew Carle, assistant professor of in the Department of Health administration and policy at George Mason University. "In the same way, physical exercise can delay many of the effects of aging on the body, there's some evidence that cognitive exercises can at least delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. And what do they involve? Lots of reading, memorizing, crossword puzzles and other mental games, intellectual discussions and more. One of the reasons I always sign up for community lectures and discussions at our hospital is because it is a good way to read up on the subject, memorize and then present it to the audience. Your mind, just like the rest of the body, needs exercises; I mean “mental aerobics or brain gymnastics” to keep it stronger and healthier. “Mental exercises are helpful in processing, rationalizing, organization and execution of new ideas. A lively curious mind leads to better job performance and longer living.” So say the pundits.

7. Regular exercises: Did you know that regular physical exercise can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer's disease by up to a stunning 50 percent? Moreover, studies have shown that women from aged 40 to 60 years who exercised regularly were seen to have a dramatic reduction in cognitive decline. Exercise is always beneficial for every system in the body, especially heart and lungs. So, start walking or swimming or dancing or whatever pleases you but keep the body moving. 

8. Stress reduction: Balancing your daily stress is a vital part of any Alzheimer's prevention strategy. Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and/or high ‘cortisol’ (a hormone in the blood, the level of which increases during stressful situations) and the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

9. Coconut oil controversy: Recently, you may have seen some articles extolling the virtues of coconut oil in improving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Coconut Oil Research corporation says, “Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy, because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties.” Dr. Mary Newport, a neonatologist in Spring Hill, vouches for its beneficial role in Alzheimer’s because of the remarkable improvement of her husband who is suffering from the disease, after giving coconut oil. She has written articles on the subject and appeared on TV shows talking about it. However, cardiologists feel the high saturated fat content of the oil contributes to atherosclerosis. Studies have shown that coconut oil widely used in cooking may be one factor responsible to the high rates of heart disease prevalent in South India, especially Kerala. Apparently one way to produce atherosclerosis in experimental animals is by giving coconut oil! The neurologists whom I asked for an opinion said that there is little or no benefit in Alzheimer’s disease from usage of coconut oil.

10.  Omega 3 fatty acid: Low levels of this nutrient in the blood has been tied to smaller brain volume and poor performance on tests of mental acuity, according to a recently published study in the journal Neurology. Hence, take Omega 3 supplements, either in the capsule form or by eating more fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, etc.

Also, keep in mind, any concomitant health problems such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, chronic respiratory problems, vascular disease, etc., can lead to memory impairment and hence should be adequately treated and controlled. Here is a final thought for you: If you are struggling with memory problems, don’t worry. More often, it may not be Alzheimer’s, but do get a medical checkup. Don’t fall for advertisements like “Age proof your brain with our special product,” “Instant memory booster, just take one pill a day,” etc. However, if you want to remain alert, focused and ‘fog-free’ as you get older, follow all the above suggestions. It will pay off in the long run.

This concludes the series

Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan is a Brooksville cardiologist.




Congratulations! You have cataracts. An opportunity to see the best you ever have for the rest of your life. A cataract is the clouding of our natural lens within the eye. Very much like the graying of our hair, a cataract most commonly is an age-related change and not a disease.

Just like the lens in a camera, you are born with a clear and soft natural lens, which over time (with age) becomes cloudy and hard and is now called a cataract. Since this cataract was a lens to begin with, it needs to be replaced by an artificial lens implant (intraocular lens or IOL).

Known through centuries of human existence, we still do not have a cure for cataracts besides surgically removing them. Modern-day cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure using the “No Needles,” “No Patch” and “No Stitch” technique with computer-programmed high-speed ultrasound along with diamond edge, micro-instruments. The cataract once removed is replaced with an artificial lens implant (IOL) that is inserted into the space of the original cataract and it stays in the eye for the rest of your life (you do not feel this new lens).

In most cases, you are back in action the next day and can plan for your second eye surgery in about one to two weeks.

Bringing in a new era: Raising the bar
Though millions of cataract surgeries are performed throughout the world every year and it is called a routine procedure, “No cataract surgery should be routine.”

At the World Congress for Eye Surgeons, Berlin, Germany, 2010, I stated, “Cataract surgery is an endeavor to help patients see what they have been missing and also an opportunity to plan for the best vision they can have, for the rest of their life.”

With such an outlook, eye doctors are encouraged to classify every cataract patient into four categories and then individually plan to address all of their correctable visual issues using custom-designed cataract surgery with new generation lens implants and/or staged lasik laser vision surgery.

I. Cataracts with associated refractive errors (i.e. nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
II. Cataracts with previous eye surgery (i.e. RK, Lasik, etc.)
III. Cataracts with associated pathology (i.e. Fuchs corneal disease, corneal scar, Keratoconus, etc.)
IV. Enhancing previous cataract surgery (i.e. reading glass correction, halos, glare, etc.)

Custom cataract surgery and new technology lens implants (IOLs)
Exciting advances in IOL designs give patients the option of a Monofocal, Toric (Astigmatism correcting), Multifocal (Progressive) and Accommodating Presbyopia-Correcting IOLs ((like bifocal/multifocal/progressive glasses), which provide a range of vision at near and distance, thereby allowing a person to perform most of their daily activities with reduced or no dependence on glasses.

Now, if you combine the analogy of a camera to a cataract patient, most cataract patients do wear some glasses or contact lenses for associated nearsightedness or farsightedness and or astigmatism and of course, they all have Presbyopia (since they are usually more than 40 years old).

To be continued...

Arun C. Gulani, M.D., M.S., is director and chief surgeon of Gulani Vision Institute in Jacksonville. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.gulanivision.com

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