Health Scan

Give your brain a hand

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

AARP magazine and AARP Bulletin, July/August issues

The current issue of AARP magazine explores how folks over 50 can cope with information overload. "May I Have My Attention, Please?" asserts that normal brain changes that accompany aging -- such as small blockages to the brain's blood supply and a decline in working memory -- make it harder for the AARP demographic to tune out distractions. A sidebar to that article, "Tame Your Info Appetite," offers six tips that might be helpful to anybody who has caught himself or herself with 25 Internet browser tabs open at the same time. These hints include making a to-do list rather than jumping right into tasks, avoiding open-ended surfing online or on TV, and "exercising your concentration muscles" with books or meditation.

"Iranian Cure for the Delta's Blues," in AARP's newsier publication, AARP Bulletin, prompts readers to wonder if an Iranian model of health-care delivery could work in Baptist Town, Miss. Two doctors there, one Iranian and one American, are hoping that it could, though their unusual partnership is still in the early stages. A 77-year-old Mississippi pediatrician, Aaron Shirley, and Jackson State University's Mohammad Shahbazi are planning to deliver primary care in a setting that's similar to an Iranian "health house." (In rural parts of Iran, health houses provide basic services such as vaccinations and prenatal care; the staff refers patients with more-complicated health conditions to a regional health center.) Mississippi has some of the country's highest rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and infant mortality.

-- Rachel Saslow

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