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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Israel Health Ministry Lists Electromagnetic Radiation as Possible Carcinogen

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

For the first time ever, Israel’s Health Ministry has issued a warning to the public about electromagnetic radiation in its newly published, updated list of carcinogens, based on recommendations by the World Health Organization and a ministry committee.

For the first time, the list includes exposure to electromagnetic radiation as a possible cause of cancer, advising the public to be careful and reduce contact as much as possible.

Different ministries are in charge of enforcing the laws on exposure to the various carcinogens.

The new list, available in Hebrew only, is located on the ministry website. www.health.gov.il/Services/Committee/malignancy_substance/Pages/default.aspx

Substances such as teratogenic materials, those that can cause birth defects in unborn babies, are also on the list.

Occupational hazards are also listed – those to which workers are exposed in their workplace – as well as substances to which the general public is exposed in the general environment.

USDA: Pregnant Women Should Limit Fish Intake

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have warned pregnant and breastfeeding women, those who might become pregnant and young children to avoid fish that is high in mercury.

Kosher fish that are high in mercury include fresh Tuna, orange roughy, grouper and mackerel. Low mercury species include snapper, carp, canned tuna, trout, flounder and salmon.

Previously, the FDA and the EPA recommended maximum amounts of fish that these population groups should consume, but did not promote a minimum amount. Over the past decade, the regulatory agencies said emerging science has underscored the importance of appropriate amounts of fish in the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.

“For years many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children,” said Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA’s acting chief scientist. “But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health.”

Israeli Startup Provides Home Care for Elderly

Monday, January 13th, 2014

An Israeli startup provides unusually comprehensive home care for seniors and peace of mind for their families.

According to an annual report released last September by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, Israelis are living longer, happier lives, and life expectancy for men now stands at 79.9 years, and 83.6 for women.

An inevitable consequence is that many elderly persons live alone. Spouses die, children marry and establish their own lives, some in distant cities and others abroad, and with passing years the number of close friends and relatives become fewer and fewer.

Because of the pressures of modern life and the demands of their own offspring, many adults feel guilty about being unable to give their parents the attention they deserve. In addition, those who live in distant cities or abroad become anxious about the increasing care required by aging parents.

According to a Pew Research Center survey of adults in the USA with at least one parent age 65 or older, 30% report that their parent or parents need help caring for themselves.

To meet the needs of this aging population in Israel, the Beth Protea non-profit retirement home has initiated Protea Home Care (PHC) to provide “at home” care not only for the frail or handicapped, but also for fit and active seniors, with 24/7 service.

Beth Protea, which began in 1992, operates at full occupancy, and the Home Care project was motivated by the limits in accepting the many applicants on its waiting list for accommodation.

A Case Manager visits each member once a week and a qualified social worker provides professional support where necessary. While one of the main goals is assisting and overcoming loneliness, boredom and helplessness, PHC also provides essential practical assistance such as meals, checking on adequate nutrition, attending to shopping, minor household repairs, laundry, an emergency call button and more.

In its initial stage, the project is aimed at English speakers in Kfar Shmaryahu, Herzliya Pituach, Herzliya, Ramat HaSharon and Ra’anana.

Netanyahu Passes Annual Physical

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Prime Minister Netanyahu just completed a routine gastrointestinal examination at Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem.

The examination was performed by Professor Eran Goldin, and during the exam, a small polyp was completely removed from the Prime Minister’s colon.

That was the final exam Netanyahu needed to complete for his annual physical checkup which included checking his cholesterol, fats and sugar levels (all normal). His blood pressure was 120/80.

The 64 year old Prime Minister, who is also a former officer in the IDF special forces, exercises regularly and eats healthy. He was found to be in good health.

While the Prime Minister was undergoing the exam, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was in charge, and the sky did not cave in.

Israeli Researcher: Chewing Gum Cause of Migraines in Teens

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Teenagers who love chewing, smacking and bubble-popping gum may be giving themselves a headache, according to research by Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center. His findings, published in Pediatric Neurology, could help treat countless cases of migraine and tension headaches in adolescents without the need for additional testing or medication.

Dr. Watemberg noticed at Meir’s Child Neurology Unit and clinics that many patients who reported headaches were daily gum chewers. Teenage girl patients were particularly avid chewers — a finding supported by previous dental studies.

He asked 30 patients between six and 19 years old who had chronic migraine or tension headaches and chewed gum daily to quit chewing gum for one month. After a month without gum, 19 of the 30 patients reported that their headaches went away entirely and seven reported a decrease in the frequency and intensity of headaches. To test the results, 26 of them agreed to resume gum chewing for two weeks. All of them reported a return of their symptoms within days.

“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said Dr. Watemberg. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

Aspartame, a common ingredient found in sugarless gum, has long been suspected of causing neurological damage. Prior to the European Food Safety Authority recently declaring the artificial sweetener as safe, studies have suggested it may provoke headaches in susceptible individuals. However, the Israeli researchers believe that the amount of aspartame released in gum is likely to be low because the flavor of gum is typically lost after the first few minutes of chewing. Rather, they believe the likely reason for the link between gum-chewing and headaches is the stress on the TMJ.

“Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” Dr. Watemberg said in a statement. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”

A possible explanation for the association that exists between chewing gum and headaches is the stress placed on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where the skull and jaw meet. Chewing gum causes unnecessary wear and tear of the cartilage that acts as a shock absorbent in the jaw joints, which can lead to pain and discomfort, Dr. Ben Kim, who is not not involved in the study. told the website Medical Daily.

Gum chewers use eight different facial expression when they chew. If used excessively, this can create chronic tightness in two of these muscles that are located near an individual’s temples. Therefore, the nerves that are on this area of the head feel extreme pressure, which can lead to chronic, reoccurring headaches.

Fertility Problems? Join the ‘Breakfast Club,’ Researchers Say

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

A new study by researchers at Tel Aviv and Hebrew universities reveals that eating a good breakfast can have a positive impact on women with problems of infertility.

In recent years, nutritional research has found that weight is affected not only by the level of calorie intake, but also by the question of when to consume large amounts of calories.

New research concludes that a big breakfast increases fertility among woman who suffer from menstrual irregularities, according to Prof. Oren Froy of Hebrew University and researchers from Tel Aviv University and Wolfson Medical Center.

The study examined whether meal times have an impact on the health of woman with menstrual irregularities due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which affects approximately 6-10 percent of women of reproductive age, disrupting their reproductive abilities.

This syndrome creates a resistance to insulin, leading to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), and can also cause menstrual irregularities, hair loss on the scalp though increase in body hair, acne, fertility problems and future diabetes.

The experiment was carried out at Wolfson Medical Center on 60 women over a 12-week period. The women, from the ages of 25 to 39, were thin with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 23 and suffered from PCOS.

The women were divided into two groups and were allowed to consume about 1,800 calories a day. The difference between the groups was the timing of their largest meal. One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories, at breakfast, while the other at dinner.

Researchers wanted to examine whether the schedule of calorie intake affects insulin resistance and the increase in androgens among woman suffering from PCOS. The women kept records of exactly what they ate.

The findings, recently published in the journal Clinical Science, showed improved results for the group that consumed a big breakfast.  Glucose levels and insulin resistance decreased by 8 percent, while the second group (“dinner”) showed no changes.

Another finding showed that among the “breakfast” group, testosterone (one of the androgens) levels decreased by nearly 50 percent, while the “dinner” group level stayed neutral. In addition, there was a much higher rate of ovulating woman within the “breakfast group” compared to the “dinner” group, showing that eating a hearty breakfast leads to an increase in the level of fertility among woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

“The research clearly demonstrates that indeed the amount of calories we consume daily is very important, but the timing as to when we consume them is even more important,” according to Prof. Froy.

Davening–Praying Can Be Good for your Health

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Davening – praying – may not top physicians’ prescribed regimens for boosting health, but it benefits both mind and body beyond the spiritual elevation that comes with it.

Davening provides mental stimulation that helps keep the brain healthy, as an active mind has less chance of memory loss over time. With prayer services of substantial length, davening requires focus, concentration, discipline, and proper articulation, not only to get through the prayers and passages but to finish them on time, since in a minyan you’re praying together with others.

It could be argued that with the repetition of the same prayers week after week, year after year, the congregant is more or less able to daven by rote. That may be true, but there are a lot of words to recall, so even when the prayers are recited by rote, the mind is still stimulated. Indeed, whether one davens from memory or finds new challenges with each recitation, davening, for those of us who do so regularly, is like a daily mental workout.

If Hebrew is not your native language or one in which you are fluent, carrying out this endeavor has additional mental benefits; the recitation is even more challenging and therefore provides a better workout for the brain.

Davening is not a sedentary act; there are specific motions that accompany particular passages. During the course of the service the davener stands, sits, stands, bows, straightens up, turns, takes steps backward and forward, sits, stands, sits, stands, bows, and so forth. It’s not running, it’s not bench pressing, it’s not a high-energy workout, but it’s movement – and that can only be counted as positive.

For some people, particularly the elderly, davening may be one of the few forms of exercise they get. Done multiple times daily or weekly, it contributes to the minimum daily exercise recommended by various health authorities to increase longevity.

There are ancillary benefits that may be associated with davening. How does the davener get to synagogue? Walking is, of course, always healthy, particularly at a brisk pace. Davening at shul is a communal activity, and the camaraderie can lead to higher self-esteem and well-being and thus to better mental health. Singing prayers as part of a group can have similar benefits.

Some who daven are able to read or recite the Hebrew in the siddur but don’t know what the words mean. It behooves the davener to be able to translate the words properly in order to get the full benefit of davening. This provides further mental stimulation.

Because the text has so many layers of meaning, even the seasoned davener who understands what is being recited may discover new interpretations or challenges, which also helps keep the mind active.

Of course, correlations have been made between faith and well-being, and some elderly people have attributed their long lifespan to their faith. So these are benefits on top of the act of davening itself.

Davening can be a conduit to a sharp mind and a limber body. For religious fulfillment and mental and physical stimulation, it is a win-win practice. It’s never too late to start davening your way to good health.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/davening-praying-can-be-good-for-your-health/2013/09/25/

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