Malnutrition and the elderly

A new national survey of older Americans suggests that lack of knowledge about nutrition and misconceptions about cholesterol contribute to inadequate diet for many senior citizens.

That's according to the American Egg Board, which commissioned the research. It found that as many as one-fourth of older Americans may suffer malnutrition and as many as half are at moderate to high risk.

"Research now shows that many of the signs of growing older that we used to attribute to aging are actually due to diet," said Jeffrey Blumberg, professor of nutrition and senior scientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. "Therefore it's important to choose nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables and eggs to help prevent chronic disease, promote optimal health and, thus, independence in our later years.

Vitamin E is good for your heart

Scientific researchers in France have found that vitamin E reduces ventricular fibrillation, which can hurt the heart, and combats free radicals, harmful molecules linked to various diseases. They have been linked to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia and brain damage.

Researchers in Dijon, France, did a two-part study of the effects of vitamin E. They used rats to record heart rates and fibrillations and found that ventricular fibrillations were reduced in the hearts treated with concentrations of vitamin E.

"Our results show that water-soluable analogues of vitamin E are effective in prevention of coronary arrhythmia under our experimental conditions," the team of six scientists reported.

And in the study of free radicals, scientists found that vitamin E helps fight off the damaging molecules.

The results were published in Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology.

Some helpful hints on avoiding bug bites

While people bemoan the after-effects of El Nino, the weather pattern has been good news for mosquitoes, ticks and other insects. They're thriving. But according to Tender Corp., which makes insect-protection products, there are common-sense things you can do to avoid bites - or reduce their sting.

Cover up. Wear shoes, long sleeves and long pants in bug country. And remember that males are favored targets of mosquitoes.

Be color conscious. Wear khaki or neutral colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blues.

Use repellent. Follow the directions. If using with sunscreen, reapply 30 minutes to an hour after the sunscreen. Don't use it on irrated skin. And wash it off when threat of exposure to insects has passed.

Avoid spots that are popular with bugs. And be alert to the time of day when certain insects are most active, like mosquitoes at dawn and twilight.

Check for bites and if you find them, clean them off.

Don't scratch.