Women -- Losing Pounds, OK; Losing Gray Matter, Not

The snickering "only in America!" applies to just about everything from Hollywood bimbos to NFL bruisers. We're a society that keeps pushing envelopes in search of ....? well lets see now, in search of whatever public behaviors can shock and profit us the most. Some would say this is largely because we've become too comfortable and bored.

Whatever the reasons, there's always another college research team ready to get some funding to "study the situation." Take Stanford and the University of California for example.

Stanford researcher Michela Kiernan worked with 250 overweight women testing what dieting works best. "The best plan is the one where you learn not just to lose the weight, but to keep it off." Most dieters have learned this the hard way, so Kiernan says, "First you need a trial-run." She had one group simply practice good eating habits for 8-weeks, and only then did she have them begin an actual diet. "Those who first learned healthy weight maintenance were far more successful with their dieting."

Meanwhile down at the University of California, researcher Charles S. DeCarli found that, "Hypertension ages the brain." Until recently high blood pressure has been studied by itself, but his team argues, "Hypertension in the 30s & 40s tends to diminish the gray matter in the brain." As a result, high blood pressure means more brain related problems later in life starting with Alzheimer's and dementia. "The silent disease speaks loudly with serious consequences long after it's been controlled."

OK, so what do we know now that we didn't before....?

Unless we do something about these matters, not much. For instance a cynical friend my age sniffed: "If you keeping reading all this health stuff, you'll go nuts." So I asked Charlie, "What have YOU given up...?" He grabbed another eclair: "Reading!"

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