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States With the Happiest Campers
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— July 16, 2018

States With the Happiest Campers

By Allan Richter
States With the Happiest Campers

Some people feel right at home in the backcountry, and some states have more of these people than others. Residents of the following states go camping monthly at the highest rates, according to Hipcamp, a company that provides campers access to privately held land.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Linked to Cognitive Decline

Scientists have long known that vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays a crucial role in keeping nerve cells healthy. Now it appears that being deficient in B12 may cause problems in cognition.

A Turkish research team asked 62 people who were low in vitamin B12 and showed signs of cognitive decline, along with 40 healthy volunteers, to take a battery of tests designed to measure thinking ability. The participants also underwent a specialized scanning technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

According to results published in the journal Acta Neurologica Belgica, the DTI scans picked up microstructural damage in the brains of participants in the B12-deficient group, even if they showed no symptoms of deficiency such as tiredness, weakness and loss of appetite. These people also had lower test scores.

The study team concluded that “early treatment of the easily diagnosed and treated vitamin B12 deficiency may prevent possible irreversible damage in the future.”


Sojo Spa Club—New Jersey’s Temple of Wellness

I am being visited by a selfish urge to perhaps write a review with more criticism than praise. My motive for writing such a review of the Sojo Spa Club in Edgewater, New Jersey, would be greed, born of a fear that if enough people find out about this gem of a spa it will someday be too busy to enjoy. It is a fleeting thought, however, and any criticism of Sojo would be an outright lie. In fact, Sojo Spa Club is an eight-floor temple of wellness and relaxation—and one of the top spa complexes I have ever visited.

Just over one year old, Sojo Spa Club wins accolades on two key points: the sheer variety of pools, relaxation spaces and sauna rooms, and its evident devotion to hygiene and cleanliness. Microbes are impossible to see with the naked eye, of course, but Sojo’s spotless white floors and walls, and its minimalist design, evoke a welcome sense of sterility, especially given reports of less-than-stellar practices at other New York–area spas.

Attracted to the Japanese-garden vibe in one of the outdoor areas, with the mood set by tall bamboo plants, soft string lights and a white cedar wood canopy, I settled into the Hinoki bath and was soothed by its soft lemony fragrance, a scent known as hinoki thiol, from a natural antibacterial oil.

The Hinoki bath is one of several outdoor baths and pools. The crown goes to the rooftop infinity pool, offering a view of Manhattan’s Upper West Side across the Hudson River. Like the baths, there are choices among saunas and therapy rooms. A red clay sauna, for example, is said to deliver mood-enhancing negative ions while a session in a charcoal sauna, with lump wood charcoal from Korean oak lining the walls and ceiling, aims to help eliminate heavy metals and other chemical toxicity from our bodies. If you need a break from the heat, you can reset your temperature in the spa’s ice room.

Sojo Spa Club is well worth a visit despite its pricey admission—up to $75 for a day pass on weekends and holidays (though this rate was discounted to $60 during the winter). It is open from 9 a.m. until midnight daily. Access to saunas, pools and bath areas are included, with services, food and one or two other extras costing more.

I paid a small additional fee to spend some time in a halotherapy room, into which an ultra-fine salt mist, acting as a natural decongestant, was infused. I quickly fell into a deep sleep after sinking into one of the room’s lush lounge chairs, entertaining a group of young Russians with my snoring. 

My first visit to this spectacular spa gave me a surprise at every turn. And Sojo seems to want to keep surprising its guests with new offerings; coming soon is a Japanese volcanic sand bath. Still, I expect to become enough of a regular guest to know Sojo Spa Club so well that nothing will surprise me.

Fishing for Delays in Menopause

Filling your plate with fish (along with legumes, such as beans and peas) may help you put off menopause for a while, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Scientists at the University of Leeds used information taken from 914 participants in the UK Women’s Cohort Study, which involved more than 35,000 women between the ages of 35 and 69. The women estimated the amounts of various foods they ate every day and provided data on weight, physical activity and reproductive history.

Four years later, further information was taken from women who had undergone natural menopause (not related to artificial causes such as medical procedures) between the ages of 40 and 65.

The average age at menopause was 51. However, women who ate the most fish and legumes were found to have a delay in menopause of more than three years; higher intakes of zinc and vitamin B6 also appear to slow menopause.

However, refined carbs such as pasta and rice were linked to reaching menopause about a year and a half earlier than the average age. This result held even after other influencing factors, such as reproductive history, were taken into account.

“Our findings confirm that diet may be associated with the age at natural menopause,” the team concluded. “This may be relevant at a public health level since age at natural menopause may have implications on future health outcomes.”

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