The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1034: How to Stay Healthy with Minimal Medications

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How can you stay healthy without taking lots of medications? Exercise and diet are key. Get the details on the latest research.

Americans take a lot of pills with the goal of staying healthy–pills to lower cholesterol, pills to control blood pressure, even pills to keep bones strong. How can we use fewer pills but still maximize our health?

What Is Exercise Good For?

It shouldn't be surprising to learn that both diet and exercise are important pieces of the puzzle. But what kind of exercise? What does it really do?

What Should We Be Eating to Stay Healthy?

And what should we be eating to stay healthy? For years, we've been told to watch out for butter and cheese, and turn instead to vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated fats. But was that advice ill-advised? We'll discuss the recently disclosed results of a study done decades ago that suggest concentrating on vegetable oil as the primary source of fat in the diet might not be as beneficial as the experts imagined.

Sleeping Pills and Allergy Drugs:

Commonly used prescription and over-the-counter medications can sometimes interfere with memory and cognitive function. A recent study of such anticholinergic drugs suggests that regular use may change the structure and function of the brain in older people. Could that increase the risk for dementia?

Listeners call in their questions and comments on utilizing exercise and diet to stay healthy.

This Week's Guests:

James Blumenthal, PhD, is J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He is also Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University Medical Center, an Assistant Professor in Medicine and a Senior Fellow in the Center for Study of Aging.

Website is

Shannon L. Risacher, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Risacher  specializes in neuroimaging of aging and dementia.

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