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Dance away your incontinence

Dance and virtual reality: A promising treatment for urinary incontinence in elderly women, says new research. Virtual reality, dance and fun are not the first things that come to mind when we think of treating urinary incontinence in senior women. However, these concepts were the foundations of a promising study by Dr. Chantal Dumoulin, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Urogynaecological Health and Aging, a researcher at the University of Montreal (Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal), and an associate professor in the Physiotherapy Program of the Rehabilitation School at Université de Montréal, and her master's student, Miss Valérie Elliott.

Dance away your incontinence.
Anne Hart, photography.

Dr Eling D. de Bruin, Ph.D., researcher at the department of Health Sciences and Technology, Swiss federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland collaborated in this study for his expertise in the use of exergame in geriatric rehabilitation. The results of their feasibility study were published in Neurourology and Urodynamics. The new study is, ""Virtual reality as a treatment approach for older women with mixed urinary incontinence: A feasiblity study." Neurourology and Urodynamics, 2014. Authors are Valérie Elliott, Eling D. de Bruin, and Chantale Dumoulin.

For the study, the researchers added a series of dance exercises via a video game console to a physiotherapy program for pelvic floor muscles. What were the results for the 24 participants? A greater decrease in daily urine leakage than for the usual program (improvement in effectiveness) as well as no dropouts from the program and a higher weekly participation rate (increase in compliance).

According to the researchers, fun is a recipe for success

"Compliance with the program is a key success factor: the more you practice, the more you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Our challenge was to motivate women to show up each week. We quickly learned that the dance component was the part that the women found most fun and didn't want to miss. The socialization aspect shouldn't be ignored either: they laughed a lot as they danced!" explained a delighted Chantal Dumoulin, according to the January 14, 2014 news release, "Dance and virtual reality: A promising treatment for urinary incontinence in elderly women."

The dance period also served as a concrete way for women to apply pelvic floor muscle exercises that are traditionally static. "Dancing gives women confidence, as they have to move their legs quickly to keep up with the choreography in the video game while controlling their urine. They now know they can contract their pelvic floor muscles when they perform any daily activity to prevent urine leakage. These exercises are therefore more functional."

Although a lot of research already employs different aspects of virtual reality, this is the first time that it has been used to treat urinary incontinence. This successful feasibility study opens the door to a randomized clinical trial.

You also may wish to see articles such as, "To treat grandma's incontinence, buy a video game that makes her dance" or "Dance and virtual reality: A promising treatment for urinary incontinence in elderly women - Science Daily." Notice how many general consumer type infomericals or news and general magazine articles may in some cases, talk above the patient as if the patient wasn't there as in "to treat grandma's incontinence, buy a given product" instead of talking to the woman who has the incontinence.

Do ads for devices or services speak more often to the older adult or to the adult grandchildren?

Older adults are surprised at how many ads, news, or services for the aging person speak over an older adult's head, addressing her adult grandchildren, not the older adult. It's as if the decision-making ability of older adults are overlooked by numerous people, including various services or businesses that assume age brings helplessness when each person ages individually and often differently.

The average woman with adult grandchildren is capable of buying dance videos by herself or watching them on YouTube or joining a folk or square dancing, line dancing or other dancing class at a community center or senior center. Also you may wish to check out the site, "Incontinence 20 Years After Child Birth Three Times More Common After Vaginal Delivery."

The point is most adds for older adults' health needs or devices often speak to grandchildren instead of to the person herself (or himself). It's as if one's capability to buy what's needed suddenly gets relegated to relatives who may live across the country. Basically, the new study is about how certain dance exercises can help strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

The Incontinence & Aging Laboratory and Dr. Chantal Dumoulin

Chantal Dumoulin, PhD, is the director of the Incontinence & Aging Laboratory. She is a researcher at the IUGM Research Center and an associate professor in the Physiotherapy Program at the School of Rehabilitation at Université de Montréal.

She is also the Canada Research Chair in Urogyneacological Health and Aging. She focuses her research on urinary incontinence in older women to better understand, prevent and identify ways of addressing this condition.

How do geriatric health professionals care for their own aging relatives?

Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members, says a new study. In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that in addition to the well-known burdens of caring for an older family member, a further set of complex stressors is imposed on geriatric health care professionals serving in this capacity. These findings, which appear online in Gerontologist, highlight the critical challenges facing all caregivers, even those who deal with these patients daily on a professional basis.

You may wish to see the study's abstract, "Advantages and Challenges: The Experience of Geriatrics Health Care Providers as Family Caregivers," published online in the December 31, 2013 issue of the journal Gerontologist. Caregiving for older adults is a major social issue with enormous implications for health care and with an estimated cost of $450 billion in the United States alone.

More than 60 million Americans were family caregivers in 2009 that involved hands-on help and supervision, financial management/support, emotional support, medical and legal decision making and health care needs

The research team recruited 16 geriatric health care professionals who participated in 60- to 90- minute individual interviews, based on a semi-structured guide. Questions explored participants' dual experiences as geriatrics professionals and as family caregivers. The authors identified three major themes: dual-role advantages and disadvantages, emotional impact of dual roles, and professional impact of family caregiving.

All participants used their skills and knowledge as geriatric health care providers to aid in their caregiving role. However, because of the participants' professional backgrounds, they had high expectations for their own performance as caregivers, and many experienced conflicts and disappointment.

Participants described their health care expertise as a huge advantage in caring for older family members

Participants' professional experiences impacted their ability to intervene in ways other nonprofessional caregivers might not have been able to do so. And though the impact of their interventions were usually positive, respondents described internal angst over their use of health care knowledge.

"All participants described multiple ways in which the child/health professional dual role caregiving experience affected them emotionally. Caregivers gladly provided care and felt a strong sense of reward, but there was a significant theme of emotional struggle," explained lead author Clare M. Wohlgemuth, RN, GCNS-BC Nursing Director, Geriatric Services at BMC and a clinical instructor at BUSM, according to the January 14, 2014 news release, "Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members."

The researchers also found that the participants' experiences as caregivers resulted in using what they learned to improve the care of their patients and to reduce caregiver stress. "Although their expertise introduced a significant emotional intensity to their personal caregiving experiences, those experiences positively influenced their professional insight, empathy and advocacy for the caregivers of their own patients," added Wohlgemuth, according to the news release.

The participants experienced emotions common to all caregivers of any background: emotional exhaustion, guilt and stress from struggling with multitasking to provide and coordinate care

According to the researchers, given the challenges reported by experienced geriatric health care professionals, attention must also be focused on the lay caregivers who have more limited experience coping with aging and end of life.

"All caregivers need support in the use of communication and negotiation skills to effectively engage with providers regarding concerns about care. Both lay and professional caregivers would benefit from developing tools and techniques to discuss the many difficult issues and decisions related to increased frailty, dependence and dignity of risk. It is imperative to focus on empowering and teaching all caregivers and providers how best to have these difficult conversations with family members and with each other," she added, according to the news release. This work was supported by an Interdisciplinary Pilot Grant through the Section of Geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

What four stalks of celery might do for you

If you're a runner or doing exercise and have eaten a lot of celery, you could get hit with celery shock, a sudden drop in blood pressure. But on the other hand, four stalks of celery, a traditional Chinese medicine custom might help lower too high blood pressure.

Also see the book, Best Choices from the People’s Pharmacy, page 388. A section in the book mentions the celery remedy. But they note, 8 stalks of celery. Other sources reiterate 4 stalks of celery were used in Mr. Le's celery remedy brought to the attention of the University of Chicago investigation. Here's how the first research on celery and hypertension in a science research environment may have begun.

In 1992, at the University of Chicago Medical Center, Mr. Minh Le, father of a University of Chicago medical student, had been diagnosed with hypertension, decided that instead of cutting back on salt, as advised by his physician, he wanted to use a traditional Chinese remedy for high blood pressure.

Traditional Chinese medicine recommended eating about four stalks of celery (about a quarter pound) daily for a one-week stretch and cutting out the celery for the following three weeks before resuming the regimen. Mr. Minh Le also refused to take the standard blood pressure medications prescribed by his physician, according to the book, The New Healing Herbs, by Michael Castleman.

The New Healing Herbs, book also reports that Mr. Minh Le ate the four celery stalks for one week and took three weeks off. Within a week his blood pressure dropped from 158/96 to 118/82.

Mr. Minh Le, through his son, brought this ancient Chinese folkloric remedy to researchers to test at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where the investigators tested animals by injecting the mammals with a small amount of 3-n-butyl phthalide, a chemical compound that is found in celery. Mr. Minh Le's son, Quang Le, and University of Chicago pharmacologist, William Elliot, Ph.D isolated the compound,3-n-butyl phthalide and injected rats with the equivalent amount of what's found in four stalks of celery.

Not only did the rat's blood pressure drop 13 percent in a week, but the rats' cholesterol levels also dropped by seven percent. The high fiber in the celery helped to lower the cholesterol levels in the animal experiment.

The chemical that reduced the animals' blood pressure readings turned out to be phthalide. It's known in scientific circles that phthalide relaxes the muscles and arteries that regulate blood pressure

In the local Sacramento and Davis area, the University of California, Davis has been studying the effects of vegetable juice on people's health. Can drinking vegetable juice lower your blood pressure and help you lose weight? If so, how much? Also, see the news article published in the October 18, 2010 issue of Epoch Times by Jack Phillips, "Blood Pressure Could Be Lowered by Eating Watermelon, Study Finds." This pilot study at the University of Florida found that eating six grams daily of L-citrulline/L-arginine amino acids, extracted from watermelon, lowered the blood pressure of all nine participants, four men and five postmenopausal women aged 51 to 57.

According to the study, arterial function improved, reducing aortic blood pressure, during the six week test period. The patients were healthy except all had prehypertension, which can precede cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, according to FSU professor.

The problem when you examine such a study is that the participants had prehypertension and were healthy. How would watermelon extract help older people with chronic hypertension, people who may rarely be studied in relation to foods and nutrition?

According to the article, watermelon is the greatest edible natural source of L-citrulline. The body converts this amino acid into L-arginine, which is required to maintain healthy blood pressure. Scientists noted that taking L-arginine directly as a supplement can cause gastrointestinal problems, while consuming the watermelon extract caused no adverse effects in the participants.

Additionally, watermelons are rich in fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, and lycopene. In another study, people who had recent heart attacks suffered a high death rate after taking arginine supplements. So you have to be careful before you take supplements apart from foods. Talk to your doctor.

Fresh foods and good nutrition may be helpful, but for most people over age 65, where are the studies that measure the effects of nutritional extracts or foods on older people with chronic hypertension who are not responding to medicines?

Researchers at the University of California-Davis a few years ago conducted a 12-week study with vegetable juices among adults ages 40-65 years. All of the people in the study who drank at least two cups of vegetable juice met daily vegetable recommendations. But only seven percent of the non-juice drinkers met the goal. The participants in the study with borderline high blood pressure who drank one to two servings of V8 juice lowered their blood pressure significantly.

Can Four Stalks of Celery Really Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Can four stalks of celery really lower your blood pressure if you eat it one week on and three weeks off? Check out the article, "Celery studies yield blood pressure boon - 3-n-butyl phthalide chemical contained in celery," Science News, May 9, 1992 by Carol Ezzell. This article has been referred to frequently when writing about using foods as medicine. Mention of the details contained in this article appear in the book, New Foods for Healing, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books, published by Bantam Books in 1998. References to some of the details of various research studies on celery appear on pages 171-173.

Celery is a traditional Asian folk remedy for high blood pressure. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center to put one man’s folkloric remedy to the scientific test. Researchers keep looking into foods that may inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Too many people still think the idea of celery helping lower blood pressure of people with high blood pressure not caused by tumors is an urban myth.

No, it's ancient Chinese medicine that has been tested. But does it work for most people? Perhaps it may work only if your high blood pressure is caused by too much renin in your blood produced by your kidneys or perhaps combined with salt-sensitivity, since celery still has some salt. But your body needs a little salt to survive. That's why celery has been tested and testing continues.

According to the September 7, 2010 article in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, by Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, "Test may better tailor blood-pressure meds: Studies find hypertension rises if drugs don't match hormone," how true this plays out. Also see the article, Debate over whether renin levels should be measured routinely.

Taking a drug that's not a match can trigger a jump in your blood pressure. What if you need treatment for high blood pressure in order to lower your kidney's too-high renin levels, but instead you're given a water pill, a diuretic as the first line of treatment? It could make your blood pressure soar even higher. Talk to your doctor before you're given the so-called first-line of treatment , which might be a "water pill" when you walk into a doctor's office and have your blood pressure measured. Find out first if the high blood pressure is caused by too much renin.

Doctors can't treat hypertension as if it is one condition. Different people have different reasons why their blood pressure is too high. It's going to be too high renin levels, a tumor, or too much salt and water. One of those three conditions needs to be verified by a blood test or other medical means. If a genetic variant in the kidneys are producing too much renin, a hormone in the blood stream, then the patient may have constricted arteries. That's why a test is necessary other than a general exam.

You won't find a routine test yet for that renin hormone. And that's the problem in Sacramento and elsewhere. It's going to be some time, a long wait perhaps, before such a test is routinely given. Some doctors are still skeptical. If you look at the research over the past few years, there's no clear benefit, according to the September 7, 2010 Sacramento Bee (Associated Press) article, "Test may better tailor blood-pressure meds." Also check out the August 19, 2010 article published at the Severe Hypertension.Net site, "Blood pressure test may help guide treatment."

What Are Some Food Remedies To Slightly Lower Blood Pressure That Are Being Tested?

Scientists also found the ingredients in aged Gouda cheese may offer some benefits. Japanese investigators are researching fermented milk products such as kefir. The Chinese folkloric remedy is to eat four stalks of celery daily.

When arteries, blood vessels, and muscles are relaxed, the blood vessels then dilate, according to the researchers. Phthalide is a chemical that also reduced the amount of "stress hormones," called catecholamines, in the blood. Don't confuse 'phthalide' which relaxes muscles and arteries that comes from celery with 'phthalates,' which are chemicals leaching from plasticizers and plastics.

Interestingly, stress hormones also raise blood pressure since catecholamines constrict blood vessels. Even though there were no such invention as blood pressure monitors in ancient China, Asian folk medicine practitioners using traditional Chinese folk medicine, advised their own hypertension patients for the past thousand years to eat four to five celery-stalks every day for a week, then stop for three weeks.

Then start again for one week on celery and three weeks off celery. How did they know who had hypertension if high blood pressure doesn't show symptoms unless it's very serious? Be careful if you’re salt sensitive.

One stalk of celery does contain about 35 milligrams of sodium. Some people may be so salt-sensitive, then even a small amount of salt may cause blood pressure to go up rather than down. However, everyone needs a basic amount of salt found in whole foods.

You can’t live without a certain base level of salt. Talk to your doctor about how much sodium you need if you're salt sensitive. You can also take a multiple mineral supplement that contains sodium, but not sodium chloride.

It’s sodium chloride that raises blood pressure, not sodium, as found in baking soda, for some people. Find out which category you're in. But if you’re salt sensitive, talk to your doctor. Same goes if you have kidney disease or injury. By eating foods such as canned fish packed in water without added salt, you’ll still be getting some salt.

Then again, if you eat too much celery, it’s dangerous if you have salt-sensitive hypertension. Are four stalks of celery going to be helpful or too much? There’s also an herbicide built into the celery. It’s made of several compounds called psoralens, that protect celery from fungi.

The psoralens may also harm you. So don’t go overboard with celery because the psoralens could make your skin so sensitive to sunlight, that you’ll burn after spending a very short time in the sun.

Runners have been known to suffer from celery shock caused by exercising after eating celery. Be careful if you decide to eat four stalks of celery at a sitting. Can it help you? Find out by working with your doctor, naturopath, or nutritionist.

Celery Stops Tumor Cells from Growing

Celery contains acetylenics, compounds that stop tumor cells from growing. Also, compounds in celery called phenolic acids block the action of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Do prostaglandins encourage the growth of tumor cells? See the article, "Health Benefits of Celery."

According to the article, "Health Benefits of Celery." Studies found that "celery contains a at least eight compounds that help prevent cancer cells from spreading. Certain compounds called acetylenics have been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells."

Celery also contains compounds called "phonolic acids that block the action of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which encourage the growth of tumor cells." Coumarins, another phytonutrient in celery "helps prevent free-radicals from damaging cells and prevent the formation and development of colon and stomach cancers."

Can Celery Starve Cancer Cells?

Celery is known to contain at least eight families of anti-cancer compounds. A study at Rutgers University of New Jersey found that celery contains a number of compounds that help prevent cancer cells from spreading.

The researchers found that celery contains compounds called acetylenics shown to stop the growth of tumor cells. The phonolic acids in celery help to block the action of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which encourage the growth of tumor cells. Coumarins, another phytonutrient in celery helps prevent free-radicals from damaging cells and prevent the formation and development of the colon and stomach cancers. Read more on the healing effects of celery and celery juice in the article, "The Incredible Powers of Celery Juice," by Sheryl Walters, published in Natural, October 24, 2008 .

Research is ongoing and promising pointing in the direction that celery could lower your blood pressure and at the same time block tumor cells from growing in your body. Keep reading the latest research to see how many human trials compared to animal research studies have been done using celery compounds to see whether or how they block tumor cell growth.

Celery works cooked or raw. An eight-ounce cup of celery, raw or cooked, contains about 9 milligrams of vitamin-C, 15 percent of the Daily Value (DV); 426 milligrams of potassium, 12 percent of the DV; and 60 milligrams of calcium, 6 percent of the DV. Also helpful as a cooking spice or fragrant salad dressing alternative to salt and pepper are celery seeds.

Celery-Hibiscus "Ice Cream" (Frozen Dessert) Recipe

4 stalks celery, clean and scraped

4 oz. dried edible hibiscus flowers

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 cup cherry juice

1/2 cup almonds

1 cup frozen pitted dark, sweet cherries

1/2 cup frozen mango chunks

1 banana

2 tablespoons lecithin granules

1 teaspoon of barley green powder (optional)

1/4 cup chopped dark green kale

1/4 cup peeled chopped carrots

Steeping the hibiscus: (Hibiscus sabdariffa). Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add hibiscus blossoms and allow to steep, covered. When cool and steeped for ten minutes, add the lime juice. Mix and add to the other ingredients. If you have left over hibiscus, it can be used as a tea.

See the culinary art FAQs at the recipe site for cooking with hibiscus (the edible portion). Don't put the flowers in the cookies, just the hibiscus tea liquid from which you steeped the petals and then strained them out. View more information at this site about Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Blend all ingredients together in a high-power blender such as a Vita-Mix. Set on liquefy or ice crush. If more liquid is needed, add more fruit juice.

Pour into dessert bowls. Cover and place in freezer. When frozen solid enough to taste like sherbet, ice cream, or frozen dessert, serve. You won't really taste the celery or carrots, but the texture is great. What will come through is the cherry, mango, and banana flavor with the slight tartness of the cherry and pomegranate juice and the texture of the almonds and liquefied carrots.

All those vitamins and nutrients will be in that frozen dessert. Ice cream refers to a product that has at least 16 percent butterfat. So the best way to refer to celery frozen dessert is as a nondairy alternative frozen dessert. The almonds in liquid create an ambiance of almond 'milk.'

Vegetable Juice Helps

Currently statistics say almost eight out of 10 people worldwide fall short of the daily recommendation, according to the article, "Vegetable Juice Aided in Dietary Support for Weight Loss and Lower Blood Pressure," published October 21 in Medical News Today. Research presented at the International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables suggests the best approach may be to focus on the factors that are often behind this vegetable gap: convenience and enjoyment.

According to the World Health Organication (WHO) and (FAO) fruit and vegetable promotion initiative, "Low fruit and vegetable intake was identified as an important risk factor for chronic diseases in the WHO World Health Report 2002. Overall, it is estimated that up to 2.7 million lives could potentially be saved each year if fruit and vegetable consumption was sufficiently increased." Currently, studies around the world continue.

For example, two studies presented at this year's symposium on human health effects of fruits and vegetables found that the addition of vegetable juice in people's diets was a successful strategy to help them reach the vegetable guidelines (at least 4 servings per day).

The goal is to get people to carry vegetable juice with them to work or school when they are not at home. Studies found that "the addition of a portable drink, such as V8® 100% vegetable juice, was more successful than an approach that focused solely on nutrition education, or offering dietary counseling on ways to increase vegetable intake," according to the article, "Vegetable Juice Aided in Dietary Support for Weight Loss and Lower Blood Pressure." Or see: Twitter: Can celery really lower your blood pressure and starve cancer cells?

Also please check out and/or subscribe (free) to any or all of my 8 various nutrition, health, or cultural media columns such as my Sacramento Nutrition Examiner column, Sacramento Healthy Trends Examiner column, Sacramento Holistic Family Health Examiner column, Sacramento Media & Culture Examiner column, and my national columns: National Senior Health Examiner column, National Children's Nutrition Examiner column, National Writing Examiner column, and the National Healthy Trends Examiner column. Check out the slideshow on of 50 of Hart's 91 paperback book covers.

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For more info: browse some my books, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues (2009). Or see my books, How to Safely Tailor Your Foods, Medicines, & Cosmetics to Your Genes (2003) or How to Open DNA-driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting

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