business news in context, analysis with attitude

A couple of interesting stories this week connected personal lifestyle choices and their implications in terms of physical and mental health:

Reuters Health reports on a new study out of McGill University Health Center in Montreal that suggests eating lots of fish is one way for men to reduce the risk of dying from prostate cancer, even though it may not prevent them from contracting the disease. The study found that “men who ate more fish were 44 percent less likely to develop metastatic prostate cancer, meaning disease that had spread beyond the prostate gland. Higher fish consumption also was associated with a 63 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer,” Reuters writes.

“In the United States, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer over their lifetime,” says Dr. Konrad M. Szymanski, one of the study's authors. “One in six of these men will die of prostate cancer. Our study findings suggest that the number of men who die once diagnosed is lowered by more than 50 percent among men eating lots of fish.”

It has been previously reported that fish consumption helps to reduce the likelihood of stroke and heart attack, but the impact on prostate cancer is seen as new and even a little controversial.

• The New York Times reported this week on a new study - conducted, intriguingly enough, by two economists - suggesting that “the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline.

“The implication, the economists and others say, is that there really seems to be something to the ‘use it or lose it’ notion — if people want to preserve their memories and reasoning abilities, they may have to keep active ... Researchers repeatedly find that retired people as a group tend to do less well on cognitive tests than people who are still working. But, they note, that could be because people whose memories and thinking skills are declining may be more likely to retire than people whose cognitive skills remain sharp.”
KC's View:
I’m perfectly happy to eat as much fish as I can get into my body. As for the retirement question, I’ve always felt that my dad, who spent his entire career as an elementary school teacher and administrator, only began to age when he retired.

My dad was actually the first male elementary school teacher in the Larchmont/Mamaroneck school system back in the early fifties. And as a principal, he used to spend lunch hours on the playground with the kids, shooting baskets and playing ball, while the teachers were in having lunch. Not only did this keep him vital, but it kept his fouls hot skills pretty was rare that I could beat him in 21. (Which may say as much about my skills as his...)

That’s a pretty good metaphor. You only stay sharp if you keep shooting.