Health News

Mayo develops screening for early memory problems

Seniors who run are
better at walking

One of the most terrifying things for aging adults is the possibility of losing cognitive ability as they grow older.

Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect a growing number of seniors. Knowing early on that you are likely to develop some form of dementia can help you to plan for your future. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have developed a scoring system to identify seniors at a high risk for memory and thinking problems that could lead to dementia.

The study they used to create this system looked at almost 1,500 adults between ages 70 and 89 who were given memory and thinking tests every 15 months for an average of almost five years. During the study, 28 percent of participants developed early problems with memory and thinking. From the study, researchers identified factors that can help predict risk of developing memory and thinking problems and assigned a scoring system that takes into account factors like education, history of stroke or diabetes, smoking and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Low-salt grocery selections popular

Breakfast is the new dinner

Many U.S. shoppers opt for low-salt fare, says a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Of the more than 3,700 adults surveyed, 36 to 58 percent reported buying foods labeled "low sodium" or "reduced sodium" when grocery shopping.

While the news is good, consumers also report feeling unsure about their sodium intake: Just under one-fifth of shoppers said they were confused trying to figure out how much salt is in the foods they eat, according to the report.

Here’s a look at how salt-oriented terms are defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

  • salt/sodium-free: less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
  • very low sodium: 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • low sodium: 140 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • reduced sodium: at least 25 percent less sodium than the original (keep in mind, however, the original product may be very high in sodium, and thus the reduced product may also still have a lot of sodium)
  • light in sodium or lightly salted: at least 50 percent less sodium than the original
  • no-salt-added or unsalted: no salt is added during processing

Why you should pick up the exercise pace

Breakfast is the new dinner

If you exercise, here’s good news: New research shows that regular exercise – even slow walking – helps you lose weight and take inches off your waistline. The better news? The results show if you pick up the pace a bit you may enjoy even more benefits, such as lower blood sugar levels.

Researchers selected 300 adults in their 40s and 50s who were abdominally obese and didn’t exercise. Participants were assigned to a control group or one of three exercise groups. The low-intensity group walked slowly for about a half-hour five days a week, a second group maintained the same intensity for hour-long sessions and the third group was assigned fasterpaced walking. After six months, while all three exercise groups lost weight and inches, only the "high-intensity" group boasted improved blood sugar levels, too.

Experts say just walking briskly is enough to help lower blood sugar (which may reduce the risk for diabetes) and improve cardiovascular fitness, decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. So go ahead: Take the dog for walk, challenge yourself to walk around the neighborhood or head to the local mall for some morning window-shopping laps!

The Diabetes Management Program at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas focuses on behavioral strategies to help people take control of their diabetes. To learn more, visit


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