A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Happy Head, Happy Heart: Positive Emotions May Promote Heart-Healthy Behaviors

(Penn State) People with heart disease may benefit from maintaining positive emotions, according to health researchers.
Over the course of five years the researchers tracked more than 1,000 patients with coronary heart disease. Patients who reported higher positive psychological states were more likely to be physically active, sleep better and take their heart medications and were also less likely to smoke, compared to patients with lower levels of positive states.
"Negative emotions and depression are known to have harmful effects on health, but it is less clear how positive emotions might be health-protective," said Nancy L. Sin, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Healthy Aging and in the department of biobehavioral health at Penn State. "We found that positive emotions are associated with a range of long-term health habits, which are important for reducing the risk of future heart problems and death."
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Low Physical Activity Responsible for 17 Percent of Cardiovascular Deaths in Argentina

(European Society of Cardiology) "Argentina has high rates of physical inactivity," said Dr Roberto Peidro, a leading member of the Argentine Society of Cardiology and vice-president of the Argentine Foundation of Cardiology. "Lack of free time is the most important excuse given by sedentary people. On the other hand, doctors give insufficient advice about exercise."…
The researchers found that engaging in less than 600 MET[metabolic equivalent tasks]/min/week (ie the minimum recommended level of physical activity) was responsible for 17% (7 278) of total cardiovascular deaths in Argentina in 2010…
Dr Poggio [sic] said: … "Our analysis suggests that engaging in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week would reduce cardiovascular mortality at any age, especially in women and those younger than 70 years of age. Our findings have public health implications and emphasise the importance of women in particular being more physically active."
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High Strain Job Increases Stroke Risk

(MedPage Today) People working in high demand, low control jobs appear to be at increased risk of stroke, a meta-analysis of six prospective cohort studies has revealed.
The association between exposure to high job strain and an increased risk of stroke was particularly pronounced in ischemic stroke and in women but not in hemorrhagic stroke or in men, according to Dingli Xu, MD, of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, and colleagues.
"Individuals exposed to high job strain had a 22% higher risk of all stroke (relative risk 1.22, 95% CI 1.01–1.47) and 58% higher risk of ischemic stroke," the investigators reported… On the other hand, the risk of stroke was not increased in those with any other category of job stress
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Loud noise exposure linked to heart disease risk

(Reuters Health) People with long-term exposure to loud noise at work or in leisure activities may be at increased risk of heart disease, a U.S. study finds.
Researchers found the strongest link in working-age people with high-frequency hearing loss, which is typically the result of chronic noise exposure.
“Compared with people with normal high-frequency hearing, people with bilateral high-frequency hearing loss were approximately two times more likely to have coronary heart disease,” said lead author Dr. Wen Qi Gan of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in Lexington.
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Heart effects of saturated fats may depend on overall diet

(Reuters Health) While experts continue to debate the health effects of saturated fat, a new U.S. study suggests its link to heart disease depends on what else a person eats…
People who replaced 5 percent of saturated fat calories in their diet with an equivalent amount of polyunsaturated fats - like those in fatty fish and flax seeds - had a 25 percent decreased risk of heart disease compared to those who didn’t.
Those who replaced 5 percent of saturated fat with monounsaturated fats like olive or peanut oil, or whole nuts, had a 15 percent reduced risk of heart disease.
Replacing 5 percent of saturated fat calories with an equal amount of whole grains was tied to a 9 percent reduced risk of heart disease.
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Refreshing Ways to Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

(Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD) Want a delicious and easy way to help your blood pressure? Research shows that if you take up drinking tea regularly, you can expect to see your top blood pressure number (systolic) dip by around 2.6 mmHg…
The researchers … concluded that if such improvements happened to everyone with high blood pressure the stats for related stroke risk would fall by 8%, for coronary artery disease mortality by 5% and for all-cause mortality by 4%. Green tea seems to have the most powerful effect on blood pressure; black tea is second; and it makes no difference if it’s caffeinated or decaffeinated.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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5 Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Adopting prudent lifestyle habits and eating a healthy diet are the best ways to achieve optimal health. You can help minimize risks of heart disease and promote a strong cardiovascular system by adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet: 
1.      Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts, cashews and macadamias contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat…
2.      Whole soy protein…
3.      Fresh garlic…
4.      Green tea…
5.      Soluble fiber.
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More Information and Recent Research on Cardiovascular Disease

(MedPage Today) A daily soda habit might do more than cause weight gain -- it could eventually lead to diabetes, a heart attack, or even a stroke, according to a review… The leading culprit involved is fructose, an added sugar with unique metabolic properties whose chief dietary source is sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), said co-authors Vasanti Malik, ScD, and Frank Hu, MD, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
(University Herald) New research suggests women who drink beer a few times a week modestly reduce their risk of a heart attack. Swedish researchers found that consuming beer at most once or twice per week run a 30 percent lower risk of heart attack, compared with both heavy drinkers and women who never drink beer.
(MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) Researchers have shown that people with high blood pressure develop changes in their hearts even before symptoms appear. These changes are known to put people at risk of dying early, and the new work suggests it is possible for doctors to recognize such signs of heart disease earlier than they can today -- by examining detailed images of the heart.
(Boston University Medical Center) Researchers have developed and validated a new tool to help identify unstable or high risk atherosclerotic plaques--inflamed fatty deposits in the artery wall and a main contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD). This breakthrough may lead to better identifying which plaques are considered at the highest risk for rupturing and causing a heart attack or stroke… Using an experimental model, researchers … have validated two novel, targeted fluorescent probes known as Activatable Cell Penetrating Peptides (ACPPs), for detecting the severity of atherosclerotic plaques.
(Reuters Health) A new blood test might help doctors figure out faster whether someone’s having a heart attack. The test reliably told doctors which patients were not having heart attacks after only one blood sample, compared to the current method that requires several hours and multiple blood samples, researchers found… The test could move about two-thirds of the people with chest pain through the ER faster and ultimately save time and resources.

Knee replacement surgery works, but so can nonsurgical techniques

(Reuters Health) Total knee replacement can usually relieve pain and improve function, but a nonsurgical regimen can also be effective in some people without posing the complication risks that can plague people who choose surgery, according to a new study.
The test found that while 85 percent of patients who underwent surgery showed clinically-significant improvement after one year, so did 67 percent assigned to a combination of supervised exercise, use of insoles, pain medication, education and dietary advice.
"It won't do any harm trying the nonsurgical treatment," chief author, Dr. Soren Skou of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, told Reuters Health. "I hope this will give a more balanced discussion of whether or not to have the surgery."
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Powerful Plastic Microscope Brings Better Diagnostic Care for World's Rural Poor

(The Optical Society) In a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative, a research team from Rice University has recently developed a plastic, miniature digital fluorescence microscope that can quantify white blood cell levels in patients located in rural parts of the world that are far removed from the modern laboratory.
"One of the driving aspects of the project is the cost of the sample or sample preparation," said Tomasz Tkaczyk, associate professor, Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas. "Many systems which work for point-of-care applications have quite expensive cartridges. The goal of this research is to make it possible for those in impoverished areas to be able to get the testing they need at a manageable price point."
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Biomarker Finder Adjusts on the Fly

(Rice University) A Rice University laboratory has developed a continuously tunable method to find and quantify DNA and RNA biomarkers.
Rice bioengineer David Zhang and his colleagues have developed a unique way to adjust their nucleic acid probe reagents on the fly and take a reliable count of target sequences…
The ability to identify DNA or RNA sequences, especially mutations, has become critically important for the detection of diseases and design of therapies to treat them. But finding a specific biomarker in a massive amount of genetic code is hard.
Zhang and his team at Rice's BioScience Research Collaborative have become specialists in finding such needles in haystacks.
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Microbiologists Create ‘Starry Night’ And Other Art With Bacteria For First Microbe Art Competition

The American Society for Microbiologists recently hosted its first international ‘Agar Art’ challenge in which microbiologists from around the world used various microbes and germs to create beautiful works of art in petri dishes. The submissions included recognizable paintings like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ as well as original microbe paintings.
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Nurse Kaci Hickox sues Gov. Chris Christie over Ebola quarantine

(MSNBC) A little over a year ago, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie essentially dared a nurse to sue him after she was placed under mandatory quarantine in Newark, even though she tested negative for Ebola. And now, she’s doing just that.
Kaci Hickox, 34, has filed a lawsuit in federal court – with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union – against Christie and other state officials, alleging she was unconstitutionally held against her will and was deprived due process.
Hickox had been in Sierra Leone treating Ebola patients with the group “Doctors Without Borders.” When she flew back to the U.S. last October through Newark International Airport, en route to her home state of Maine, she was quarantined under a brand new policy under Christie and Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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Survey: Half Of Food Workers Go To Work Sick Because They Have To

(The Salt, NPR) Fifty-one percent of food workers — who do everything from grow and process food to cook and serve it — said they "always" or "frequently" go to work when they're sick, according to the results of a survey released Monday. An additional 38 percent said they go to work sick "sometimes."
That's a practice that can have serious public health consequences. For instance, as The Salt reported last year, the vast majority of reported cases of norovirus — the leading cause of foodborne disease outbreaks and illnesses across the country — have been linked to infected food industry workers.
But it's not as if these sick food workers are careless. Nine out of 10 workers polled in the new survey said they feel responsible for the safety and well-being of their customers. Yet about 45 percent said they go to work sick because they "can't afford to lose pay." And about 46 percent said they do it because they "don't want to let co-workers down."
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Imprimis Pharmaceuticals forms subsidiary to help combat the high prices of sole source legacy generic drugs

(PRNewswire) Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMMY), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of proprietary compounded drug therapies, today announced it has made available a customizable compounded formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin available for physicians to consider prescribing for their patients as a low cost alternative to Daraprim®.
Last month, Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, the sole supplier of Daraprim, increased the price of this prescription drug from $13.50 per tablet to a reported $750.00 per tablet.  The FDA-approved label for Daraprim indicates that it is prescribed for toxoplasmosis and other types of infections.  Toxoplasmosis can be of major concern for patients with weakened immune systems such as patients with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women and children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pyrimethamine works to block folic acid synthesis in the parasite T. gondii, the cause of toxoplasmosis, and leucovorin helps to reverse the negative effects on bone marrow caused by this mechanism of action.
Imprimis is now offering customizable compounded formulations of pyrimethamine and leucovorin in oral capsules starting as low as $99.00 for a 100 count bottle, or at a cost of under a dollar per capsule.  Compounded medications may be appropriate for prescription when a commercially-available medicine does not meet the specific needs of a patient. For ordering information, please visit www.imprimiscares.com.
Community: My tweet to Martin Shkreli, who bought Turing Pharmaceuticals and raised the price of this medication. It was favorited by Imprimis.:
@MartinShkreli Your pill soon to be available for $1 (http://bit.ly/1Ns0wyI). Hope you go broke.
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US drug prices should reflect value to patients: expert panel

(Reuters) A panel of medical experts said on Friday the prices of prescription medicines in the United States need to be brought in line with the value they bring to patients instead of continuing to let drugmakers set any price they choose.
"Americans at the same time are getting tremendously ripped off with drugs and also getting tremendous value and we almost never know when we're getting ripped off and when we're getting real value and that has to change," said Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), an independent non-profit group that evaluates clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines.
Panelists taking part in Drug Pricing: Public Health Implications, presented by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with Reuters, saw serious limitations in solutions being proposed by politicians to rein in prices that are vastly higher than what the rest of the world pays.
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Maverick candidate Ben Carson's 'no-brainer' offer

(CNBC) Dr. Ben Carson, the most unorthodox candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential field, said he doesn't aspire to be a politician. And he's not kidding.
He proposes, for example, to replace more than just Obamacare with his plan for health savings accounts. He also wants his plan to replace all health insurance except for catastrophic coverage. He even wants it to replace Medicare—the extraordinarily popular health program for the elderly.
"When people are able to see how much more freedom they will have, and how much more flexibility they will have, and how much more choice they would have," he explained in our interview, "I think it's going to be a no-brainer."
Community: The no-brainer is that Ben Carson will not be the Republican nominee.
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For 61st time, House passes anti-Obamacare bill

(Reuters) Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Friday targeting President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act that, like 60 other attempts before it, stands little chance of becoming law.
The measure uses special budget rules that give it a greater chance of passing the Senate and reaching Obama's desk than previous efforts, but Obama has said he plans to veto it.
The bill, which also would cut off federal funding for women's healthcare group Planned Parenthood, was approved by a vote of 240 to 189, largely along party lines.
Under a budget rule known as "reconciliation," Republicans can pass the bill through the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority, rather than the 60-vote threshold that has stymied other attempts. Even so, the bill may fail in the Senate.
Three Republican senators, including presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, have said they will vote against it because it only repeals some aspects of Obamacare.
Community: PLEASE don’t vote for any Republicans, friends, ANY of them. Republicans are hazardous to our health.
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