Diet Soda Alert: They actually make you fat!

Diet sodas, which Americans guzzle in hopes of reigning in our expanding waistlines, might do more harm than good, a new study has found.

The study adds to the growing suspicions of artificial sweeteners linked earlier this year to increased risk for stroke and dementia.

The Washington Post today reports that studies linked artificial sweeteners to increased belly fat despite their zero calories.

Meghan Azad, a researcher at the University of Manitoba, and others reviewed dozens of studies discovered little proof that diet sodas helped in weight management and that people who drank them routinely had increased body mass index and risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“I think originally it was calories were the problem, and we’ve made something that was zero calories, so we’re good,” Azad told The Washington Post. “But we’re learning that it’s not just about the calories.”

“We need more evidence from better quality studies to know for sure the cause and effect, but there does seem to be at least a question about the daily consumption of these drinks,” she said.

To read the whole Washington Post story click here.

FAU aims to prevent dementia with new program

Post-mortem studies confirm that 30 percent of Alzheimer’s disease case can be prevented.

Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton is aiming to find how – and will give patients a plan to follow.

FAU will launch the Dementia Prevention Initiative at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health. It will take a genetics, biology and the molecular approach to the disease, as well as a personalized approach and precision medicine to reduce risk.

The belief is that the innovative approach developed at Florida Atlantic University turns the “one-size-fits-all” approach on its head when it comes to battling Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other related disorders.

This center is one of only a handful of centers around the world that focuses on dementia prevention.

Dr. James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., a world-renowned neuroscientist,  designed the program to deliver a personalized prevention plan, tailored to each individual’s risk profile based on their genetic traits, biomarkers, socio-demographics, lifestyle choices, and co-existent medical conditions.

Galvin’s work supports the idea that there may be multiple pathways to develop neurological disorders –and therefore multiple ways to treat and prevent these diseases.

The photo above shows  Catherine Robson, a nurse practitioner observing as Dr. James Galvin administers a test using to measure eye movement. is used as an early biomarker sign of Parkinson’s disease.

Florida Supreme Court accepts guardianship case on marriage annulment

The Florida Supreme Court has officially accepted jurisdiction of Palm Beach County case on whether a court-appointed guardian can seek to annul a marriage of a senior citizen found to be incapacitated.

The annulment issue has surfaced recently in at least two guardianship cases in Palm Beach County – both involving elder law and special needs attorney Ellen Morris of Boca Raton.

 

Martinez
J. Alan Smith and Glenda Martinez Smith have fought to reverse the annulment of their 2011 marriage at the behest of a professional guardian. The case will be heard by the Florida Supreme Court.

Morris represented guardian John Cramer in the case in question involving 85-year-old J. Alan Smith. She also represented Elizabeth Savitt in the case involving senior Robert Paul Wein where she sought authority from the court to annul a 1959 marriage. Wein died before the issue was settled.

Concerns about Florida professional guardians in recent yearshave result in the state Legislature passing the state’s first regulatory authority over the industry that cares for adults and seniors found to be incapacitated by illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Robert and Vita Wein. Vita Wein says professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt has worked to break up the couple, who were married in 1958..
The late Robert  Wein with his and wife Vita last year. The couple fought to keep their 1958 marriage from being annulled by professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt.

The Smith case has already set precedent when the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that a senior’s advance directive naming a health care surrogate  must be followed by the court and not usurped by the appointed professional guardian.

Currently, Smith is being cared for by the woman he married, Glenda Martinez Smith. She is now fighting to reverse the decision by Circuit Judge David French to annul the marriage at behest of the guardian.

The 4th DCA in July certified a question of great public importance on whether incapacitated individuals can retain the rights to marry. The Supreme Court on Aug. 25 accepted the case and ordered attorneys to submit briefs by next week.

An annulment can be a fee generator for  guardians and the attorneys who represents them. The Post reported in its series Guardianship: A Broken Trust how annulment proceedings initiated by a guardian can drain the estate of the senior and cost loved ones tens of thousands of dollars in court fees fighting it.

Vita Wein told The Palm Beach Post that Savitt – who is married to Circuit Judge Martin Colin – aimed not only to generate fees but to cut her out of any of her husband’s inheritance and social security money in order to benefit relatives of her husband.

Elizabeth Savitt appears at a hearing with Attorney Sheri Hazeltine to discuss attorney fees for Albert Bach on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach. Elizabeth Savitt is the wife of Judge Martin Colin and also a professional guardian. (Madeline Gray / The Palm Beach Post)
Professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt  (Madeline Gray / The Palm Beach Post)

Fertilizer ban takes aim at algae blooms

In an effort to address algal blooms in Indian River Lagoon, fertilizer was banned in a five-county region, Health News Florida reports.

The Indian River Lagoon is a grouping of: Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida up along the Treasure Coast.

0010216A 071505 tc met river el 1 A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline Friday afternoon, July 15, 2005. The South Florida Water Management District held a media briefing and aerial tour of the conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River today, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Witham Field Airport, 2555 SE Dixie Highway, Stuart.  (Erik Lunsford/The Palm Beach Post) NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX PAPERS. OUT PALM BEACH, BROWARD, MARTIN, ST. LUCIE, INDIAN RIVER AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA. OUT ORLANDO. OUT TV. OUT MAGAZINES. OUT TABLOIDS. OUT WIDE WORLD. OUT INTERNET USE. NO SALES. ORG XMIT: MER0507151724509064 ORG XMIT: MER0706181400405571
A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows algae blooms.

Algal blooms have been tied to fish kills and now even diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Read the Palm Beach Post’s report on the finding by clicking here.

The fertilizer ban will apply to all of the region’s municipalities and run through September.

The ban comes in the wake of the first worst fish kill in the lagoon’s modern history. Experts said frequent rains wash fertilizers into the lagoon, feeding the blooms.

Duane De Freese of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program told Health News Florida that the bans are aimed at nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients at the heart of the lagoon’s problems.

“It’s a bad time to be fertilizing because it wastes fertilizer. But more importantly it transports those nutrients to the Indian River Lagoon, and we know those nutrients can fuel algal blooms.”

 

Scientists fear Okeechobee algae bloom with spread

Scientists worry that a large toxic algal bloom in Lake Okeechobee could spread through man-made canals to coastal estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon, according to a story published by Health News Florida.

Paul Gray of Audubon of Florida said he bloom likely will spread as water managers send large amounts of water from the rain-swollen lake to the estuaries. Lake O is a last ditch backup water supply for the city of West Palm Beach.

0010216A 071505 tc met river el 1 A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline Friday afternoon, July 15, 2005. The South Florida Water Management District held a media briefing and aerial tour of the conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River today, July 15, at 1 p.m. at the Witham Field Airport, 2555 SE Dixie Highway, Stuart.  (Erik Lunsford/The Palm Beach Post) NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE COX PAPERS. OUT PALM BEACH, BROWARD, MARTIN, ST. LUCIE, INDIAN RIVER AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA. OUT ORLANDO. OUT TV. OUT MAGAZINES. OUT TABLOIDS. OUT WIDE WORLD. OUT INTERNET USE. NO SALES. ORG XMIT: MER0507151724509064 ORG XMIT: MER0706181400405571
A view from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River shows fresh algae blooms off the shoreline in 2005.

 

“When you open the gate to flow water out of the lake they just flow right along with it,” Gray said. “And they tend to stay at the surface so they can stay viable all the way down the canal and into the estuary.”

Gray said it’s too soon to know how heavy rain this week impacted the bloom.

A toxic bloom of the same algal species three years ago gripped the southern Indian River Lagoon, prompting advisories that people stay away from the water.

And there is more evidence these algal blooms could be affecting humans in ways we are only now beginning to understand.

The Palm Beach Post in March published how algal blooms have been tied to ALS, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. Blue-green algae produce a toxin called BMAA that has been linked to the neurological tangles in the brain that are the hallmark of these neurological devastating disorders.