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

Noninvasive brain stimulation limits calories consumed in adults with obesity

(National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) A National Institutes of Health study found that non-invasive brain stimulation decreased calorie consumption and increased weight loss in adults who are obese. The findings suggest a possible intervention for obesity, when combined with healthy eating and exercise…
Led by scientists at the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch, part of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the team studied a total of nine men and women with obesity who resided in the Branch’s metabolic ward on two separate visits, each for eight days. On each visit, the participants ate a weight-maintaining diet for five days. Then for three days, they unknowingly received either active or sham (fake) transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. Participants then ate and drank as much as they wanted from computerized vending machines. Applied to the scalp, the active tDCS targeted the brain region controlling behavior and reward.
The four people who got the sham stimulation during both visits consumed the same number of calories from the vending machines on each visit and did not lose weight. But the five people who got inactive stimulation on the first visit, and active tDCS at the brain target on the second visit, consumed an average of 700 fewer calories and lost an average of 0.8 pounds on the second visit…
More study is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of tDCS for weight loss.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
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Inherent Mindfulness Linked to Lower Obesity Risk, Belly Fat

(Brown University) A study of nearly 400 people finds that those who exhibited more 'dispositional mindfulness', or awareness of and attention to their current feelings and thoughts, were less likely to be obese and had less abdominal fat than people who did not exhibit as much of that awareness.
Dispositional mindfulness is not the same as mindfulness meditation, in which people make a conscious, focused practice of attending to their current state and sensations. Instead, it's more of an inherent personality trait, though it can also be taught.
"This is everyday mindfulness," said lead author Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health. "The vast majority of these people are not meditating."…
Mindfulness, which other studies have shown can help people overcome cravings and eat a healthier diet, Loucks said, may be the cognitive tool people need to overcome their instincts. Similarly, it may help people override an aversion to initiating exercise (research suggests that people feel great after working out but often feel ambivalent about getting started).
Community: There are many practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
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7 Common Weight Loss Mistakes – and How to Fix Them

(Sharecare) You exercise regularly and you think your diet is pretty good, so why won’t the scale budge? The fact is, we’re not all experts in everything weight loss, and those gaps in knowledge can derail our efforts to shed a few pounds. Find out if you make some of the most common weight loss mistakes – and learn simple ways to correct them. 
Deal-Making… Don’t swear off a favorite food completely -- that could create cravings…
Skipping Meals After a Slip-Up… Don’t waste time berating yourself for an extra helping or polishing off a pint of ice cream. Hit the “reset” button and continue to eat normally, making healthy food choices…
Avoiding the Scale… Psychologist Judith Beck, PhD, recommends removing any emotional association from stepping on the scale…
Pigging Out Post-Workout… Rewarding yourself for sticking with your exercise routine is great -- as long as the reward is something other than food…
Being a Perfectionist… Since setbacks occur, it’s better to have a plan in place to get back on track…
You Eat … Wherever… This may not be groundbreaking, but it’s proven to work: Designate certain spots as eating locations and allow yourself to only eat there. ..
You Eat … Whenever… Stick to regular mealtimes as much as possible.
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Neither low-fat nor low-carb diets better for success in the long term

(CNN) Some diets claim you must eat less fat to have any hope of losing weight. Others insist the only way to shed pounds is to shed carbs. A new study suggests that it doesn't much matter which diet you follow.
Researchers set out to answer this age-old debate: Are low-fat diets any better than all the rest? In a weight-loss contest between a low-fat diet and high-fat or low-carbohydrate diets, who would come out on top?...
Of all the diets they looked at, which emerged the lightweight champion? None…
"Long-term adherence is going to be what drives (weight loss), so identifying which of all the health foods you enjoy, which patterns you can stick to on a daily or weekly basis, will be what gives the best weight loss," [lead author Dr. Deirdre] Tobias said.
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Belly-Flattening Breakfast Choices

(Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD) Need weight-loss help? This will make a big belly difference: Start your day with a high-protein breakfast (think eggs, maybe in a frittata). This shifts your appetite into neutral, where it will idle happily till lunch. Add some fiber to the meal, such as whole-wheat toast, and you'll curb afternoon cravings. Imagine getting halfway through a day of healthy weight loss without needing any willpower! That’s because having plenty of protein and fiber early keeps you fueled and full for hours. (Discover why breakfast makes you happier as well as slimmer.)
Not an egg lover? Have oatmeal topped with walnuts (make it overnight in the slow cooker), or smear peanut butter on your whole-wheat toast. Ready to just grab the toast solo as you zoom out the door? Think again. You'll be elbow-deep in the candy bowl before lunch.
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7 Healthy Swaps for Unhealthy Snacks

(SouthBeachDiet.com) [T]he South Beach Diet is not just a diet, it's a lifestyle, and sticking to the tenets of each Phase is the key to long-term success. That said, we all have our weaknesses, so if you find yourself eyeing something starchy, salty, fatty, or sugary, your best bet may be a South Beach Diet–friendly "swap." Check out our suggested "swaps" for taming common food temptations.
Swap Potato Chips with Pita Chips…
Swap Candy Bars and Cookies with Healthier Sweets…
Swap Popcorn with Butter with Better Toppings…
Swap a Classic Meat Pizza with a Veggie or Lean Meat Version…
Swap Buffalo Chicken Wings with Buffalo Chicken Bites…
Swap French Fries with Baked Sweet Potato Fries…
Swap Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash or Whole-Grain Pasta…
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Gene variant tied to time sitting, body mass index

(Reuters Health) A common genetic variant may increase the risk of a high body mass index by increasing the amount of time a person spends sitting, according to a new study…
“There has been an explosion in our knowledge of the genes involved in susceptibility to obesity,” lead author Yann Klimentidis of the University of Arizona in Tucson told Reuters Health by phone.
For example, he said, genes “could modulate how hungry we get or how quickly we become full after eating, modulate how active we are, and some people can sit for hours on end without any problem, some cannot sit for more than a few minutes.”
“Those things probably have some genetic underlying factors,” he said.
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'Sensor' Protein Could Help Fight Against Obesity, Diabetes

(Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) In [a] study, researchers showed a protein called NLRP1 is switched on when increased dietary energy (food) intake triggers the cell to become 'unstable'. Activating the protein sets off a chain of events that instructs cells to use up their energy or fat stores to prevent excess fat accumulating…
Dr [Seth] Masters said NLRP1 was a biological sensor that could hold the key to developing new ways of treating obesity and type 2 diabetes…
The key to NLRP1 and its anti-obesity effects is how it controls an important lipid-regulating hormone called interleukin-18 (IL-18), Dr Murphy said. "We showed for the first time that NLRP1 is the key to IL-18 production, explaining how it acts to reduce obesity."
"Our long-term goal would be to develop a small molecule that activates the pathway to produce IL-18. In people who are obese, this would help the body to switch on this system and burn existing fat stores."
However the investigators cautioned that the treatment would have to be tightly controlled to avoid potential side-effects, Dr Masters said. "Our research showed that activation of NLRP1 could be exacerbated by some diets, and identified that there is a fine balance between increasing the cell's fat burning abilities and causing harm."
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Could a Drug Engineered from Bananas Fight Many Deadly Viruses? New Results Show Promise

(University of Michigan Health System) A banana a day may not keep the doctor away, but a substance originally found in bananas and carefully edited by scientists could someday fight off a wide range of viruses, new research suggests.
And the process used to create the virus-fighting form may help scientists develop even more drugs, by harnessing the "sugar code" that our cells use to communicate. That code gets hijacked by viruses and other invaders.
The new research focuses on a protein called banana lectin, or BanLec, that "reads" the sugars on the outside of both viruses and cells. Five years ago, scientists showed it could keep the virus that causes AIDS from getting into cells -- but it also caused side effects that limited its potential use.
Now, in a new paper…, an international team of scientists reports how they created a new form of BanLec that still fights viruses in mice, but doesn't have a property that causes irritation and unwanted inflammation.
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Sweetener in some sugarless gums can kill dogs

(CBS News) Xylitol is safe for humans but can cause severe low blood sugar, seizures -- even liver failure -- in dogs.
Sugar-free gum is the biggest culprit. But Xylitol is also used in some sugar-free candies, chewable vitamins, even some baked goods and peanut butter.
The number of products is on the rise and so are the calls to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center, from 82 in 2004 to more than 3,700 last year.
Some animal welfare groups are calling for warning labels on products with Xylitol.
Dr. Ashley Gallagher with the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington D.C. says the key is vigilance on the part of dog owners.
"You just have to be really careful because dogs are nosy little creatures and they are hungry all the time. I know my dogs are, and they are just looking for a treat. So you have to really watch them," Gallagher said.
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Treating Pulmonary Diseases Using Alaska Pollock Gelatin

(National Institute for Materials Science) In recent years, patients with pulmonary emphysema have been increasing mainly among middle-aged and elderly males due to aging and excessive smoking. Emphysema makes brittle lungs, and in severe cases, holes develop in the lung tissue, causing air leakage.
Researchers at NIMS developed a new sealant to close holes developed in lungs and blood vessels using Alaska pollock gelatin. In [a paper], they reported that the sealant is about 12 times stronger than conventional sealants and is able to resist pressure as high as approximately 2.8 times the normal blood pressure.
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Mini-Kidney Organoids Re-Create Disease in Lab Dishes

(University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine) Mini-kidney organoids have now been grown in a laboratory by using genome editing to re-create human kidney disease in petri dishes.
The achievement, believed to be the first of its kind, resulted from combining stem cell biology with leading-edge gene-editing techniques…
The work paves the way for personalized drug discovery for kidney disease.
The mini-kidney organoids were grown from pluripotent stem cells. These are human cells that have turned back the clock to a time when they could develop into any type of organ in the body. When treated with a chemical cocktail, these stem cells matured into structures that resemble miniature kidneys.
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Another Dimension: 3D Cell Growth Opens New Pathway for Spinal Cord Repair

(Griffith University) Griffith University researchers have opened a new avenue to advance a therapy to repair the paralysed spinal cord.
A paper … presents a novel technique to grow cells in three dimensions, without the traditional restrictions of matrix or scaffolds.
By using floating liquid marbles, cells can freely associate and form natural structures as they would normally within the human body.
"Allowing cells to grow in this 3D format dramatically increases their growth and function and is particularly useful for spinal transplantation repair in which cells are transplanted into the injury site," says research supervisor Dr James St John, from Griffith's Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery.
The technique was developed when neurobiology merged with microfluidic engineering technology.
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Countries could be sanctioned for public health failings: WHO boss

(Reuters) A U.N. panel is considering ways to hold governments to account for failing to stick to global health rules, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said on Tuesday.
"This goes back to governments. If they sign up to the international health regulations they need to honor their commitment. Because if they don’t do their part they pose a risk to their neighbors and beyond," she told a news conference.
A global health crisis review set up by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is looking at how to make them accountable, according to Chan.
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OECD warns high-priced drugs are stretching health budgets

(Reuters) Specialty medicines for which pharmaceutical companies demand high prices are straining wealthy nations' health budgets, the OECD said on Wednesday, with drugs accounting for some 20 percent of all health spending.
Across the 33 OECD countries, pharmaceutical spending reached $800 billion in 2013, and new drugs and rising demand are likely to continue to push that level higher, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said.
On average, one in every five health dollars is spent on pharmaceuticals in OECD countries, raising concerns about how long patients and governments can afford such expensive drugs.
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U.S. Senate panel probing Valeant, Turing over drug costs

(Reuters) A U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday launched a bipartisan probe into pharmaceutical drug pricing, seeking documents from four drugmakers including Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Turing Pharmaceuticals, two companies embroiled in controversy over price hikes on lifesaving drugs.
The Senate's Special Committee on Aging also requested information from Retrophin Inc and Rodelis Therapeutics, according to a statement from the panel's Republican Chairwoman Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill, its top Democrat.
"The sudden, aggressive price hikes for a variety of drugs used widely for decades affect patients and health care providers and the overall cost of health care," Collins said, adding that her committee is probing the increases given the potential harm to patients.
McCaskill added: "We need to get to the bottom of why we’re seeing huge spikes in drug prices that seemingly have no relationship to research and development costs."
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AstraZeneca, Teva reach deal with states in Medicaid pricing case

(Reuters) Drugmakers AstraZeneca Plc and Cephalon, a unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, reached a multistate accord on Wednesday over civil charges they overbilled state Medicaid programs, the New York Attorney General announced.
The settlement with the states comes after the U.S. Justice Department settled parallel civil charges with both companies in July.
The $54 million to be collectively paid was previously announced by the Justice Department. Of that amount, AstraZeneca is responsible for $46.5 million and Cephalon for $7.5 million.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Wednesday the New York State Medicaid Program will collect nearly $7.5 million from AstraZeneca and a little more than $996,000 from Cephalon as part of the deal.
“Many New Yorkers rely on Medicaid for essential health care services, and when companies overcharge Medicaid, it harms taxpayers and patients alike,” he said in a statement.
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Thousands Who Didn’t File Tax Returns May Lose Health Care Subsidies

(New York Times) Tens of thousands of people with modest incomes are at risk of losing health insurance subsidies in January because they did not file income tax returns, federal officials and consumer advocates say.
Under federal rules, anyone who receives an insurance subsidy must file a tax return to verify that the person was eligible and received the proper amount of financial assistance based on household income.
When the federal insurance marketplace opens for the third enrollment season next Sunday, users will see a new question: “Did your household file a 2014 tax return and reconcile any premium tax credit you used?”
If the answer to that question is no, consumers risk losing the subsidies they receive to help pay premiums. Without such assistance, many would find insurance unaffordable.
Many of the people potentially affected have incomes so low that they would not otherwise have to file tax returns. But if they received insurance subsidies in 2014, they were required to file this year.
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Better Diets Prevented 1.1 Million Premature Deaths In The US, Study Finds

(Tech Times) Healthier diets have prevented more than 1.1 million premature deaths in the United States, a new study revealed. Experts believe that these findings contradict the notion that Americans are consuming more unhealthy food.
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that since 1999, better diets have actually saved people from dying prematurely, and these diets have slightly reduced cases of heart disease and diabetes as well as cancer…
Dong Wang, lead author of the study, said that the findings suggest that eating healthier reduces the risk for death in several ways. Healthier diets lowered the risk for chronic diseases, and a year or two of healthier diets have an impact on patient survival rates, he said.
However, Wang said that the data is no cause for celebration.
"The overall American diet is still poor," said Wang. "Huge room exists for further improvement."
Wang explained that the intake of healthy omega-3 fats and vegetables did not increase, but the consumption of trans fat had decreased by 72 percent and the consumption of beverages with sugar decreased by 36 percent.
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Cutting processed sugar for just 9 days has a 'striking' effect on health

(TODAY) Kids who cut processed sugar from their diets for just nine days had lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar — a finding that supports the idea that sugar itself is a major culprit in heart disease and diabetes, researchers said Tuesday.
And it suggests that it doesn't take long to reverse the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar.
The study's not meant to be the last word on the health effects of sugar, but it joins a growing body of evidence that suggests processed sugar itself can have a cascade of effects on the body.
While other researchers were critical of how the study was done, they said it does open some important questions about how sugar affects metabolism.
Community: Presumably, we could all benefit from reduced sugar intake.
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Soy Protein May Protect Against Osteoporosis

(WebMD Health News) Getting plenty of soy protein from food, or taking soy supplements, could help protect older women from osteoporosis, early results from a new study suggest…
[W]omen on the soy diet with isoflavones [30 grams (about an ounce) of soy protein with 66 milligrams of isoflavone every day] had lower levels of one particular marker than the women on soy alone. This suggests that their rate of bone loss was slowing down and lowering their risk of getting osteoporosis. Women taking soy protein with isoflavones also had fewer signs of a risk of heart disease than those taking soy alone, the researchers say.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to build bone density.
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Processed meat can cause cancer, red meat probably can: WHO

(Reuters) Eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer in humans while red meat is a likely cause of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said on Monday in findings that could sharpen debate over the merits of a meat-based diet…
"For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal (bowel) cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed," Dr Kurt Straif of the IARC said in a statement…
The preparation of the IARC's report has already prompted vigorous reactions from meat industry groups, which argue meat forms part of a balanced diet and that cancer risk assessments need to be set in a broader context of environmental and lifestyle factors…
If the cancer link with red meat were confirmed, diets rich in red meat could be responsible for 50,000 deaths a year worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease Project.
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Report has stunning revelations for contents of hot dogs

(CBS News) Clear Foods, which "uses genomic technology to analyze the world's foods at a molecular level, ingredient by ingredient," released a report recently that it said was designed to look at the accuracy of the content labels of several major hot dog brands.
The company analyzed 345 hot dog and sausage products from 75 brands and 10 retailers, and said they found "human DNA in 2% of the samples, and in 2/3rds of the vegetarian samples."
Additionally, 10 percent of all vegetarian products appeared to contain meat.
Despite some of the shocking findings, Clear Foods reports "there are a number of hot dog manufacturers, large and small, that are producing high-quality hot dogs with integrity."
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You've Gouda be kidding me: Scientists discover cheese is as addictive as drugs

(New York Daily News) Next time you reach for another slice of cheese, don’t be so hard on yourself. Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered cheese is as addictive as drugs…
The scientists discovered pizza topped the "addictive" list – because of its cheesy, fatty topping. The study determined that the more processed and fatty the food was, the more it was associated with addiction. And they say a chemical called casein, found in dairy products, was the reason why cheese was so addictive.
Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said that casein "breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates called casomorphins."
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Foods That Cure, Skin Division

(Robin Miller, MD, Sharecare) Every winter, my hands get painfully dry and cracked, and my lips start flaking. I was complaining about it to a friend, who told me that coconut oil is the only thing that makes her dry, itchy skin stop cracking. I found a jar at the local health food store for under $10 and decided I had nothing to lose. It worked like a charm! My hands are soft and my lips are no longer rough and flakey. I even noticed that some of my wrinkles are less obvious.
That got me thinking: Are other kinds of foods helpful for skin problems? After looking into the research, I can say – boy, are there! Here are three that seem effective for a broad range of problems.
Coconut Oil
There are many studies looking at the therapeutic benefit of coconut oil. In patients with atopic dermatitis or eczema… Studies have also found that coconut oil effectively moisturizes the skin and improves its appearance…
Honey
Honey has been used as medicine for thousands of years, and now scientists are taking it seriously…
Garlic
Garlic has surprisingly potent antifungal properties, which makes it a very effective treatment for athlete’s foot.
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How Diet May Affect the Progression of Multiple Sclerosis

(Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum) Today, researchers assume that autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis are caused by an imbalance between weakened regulatory and pro-inflammatory autoimmune mechanisms. Still, the large majority of approved immunotherapies aims at weakening or blocking pro-inflammatory components of the immune system.
By strengthening regulatory pathways, for example by using propionate as a supplement to established drugs, therapies could be further optimised. [R]esearchers … now plan to employ the gained insights to develop innovative dietary add-on therapies to established immunotherapies in multiple sclerosis.
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Diners Don’t Care About Calorie Counts, But Restaurants Do

(TIME) Knowing how many calories are in our fast food cheeseburger may not influence whether we get it anyway, but it might impact how many calories were in the burger in the first place. New research published Monday on the effect of calorie counts on consumer and industry behavior shows the impact may not be where we expect it.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, chain restaurants in the U.S. with more than 20 locations—and other places like movie theaters—will have to list calories on their menus starting in December 2016. In the meantime, many restaurants have already started providing this data, and researchers have been studying what role this has on people’s food choices. Two new studies published Monday fall in line with prior work that suggests calorie labels may actually have a bigger impact on restaurants than the people who eat in them.
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Subway shifting all U.S. meat supplies to no-antibiotics

(Reuters) Sandwich chain Subway will start serving antibiotic-free chicken and turkey at its U.S. restaurants next year, and within the next nine years will stop selling any meat from animals given antibiotics, the company said on Tuesday.
Competitors such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N) and McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) have announced similar supply-chain shifts, adding pressure on U.S. livestock producers to cut human antibiotics from their beef, hogs and poultry production. Advocacy groups said they were about to present Subway with a petition demanding the company set a timeline for its restaurants to stop serving meat from animals that had been treated with antibiotics.
Subway said customers would be able to start buying chicken raised without antibiotics at its more than 27,000 fast-food restaurants starting in March. The company did not state when antibiotic-free turkey would become available.
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Senate committee set to examine GMO labeling law

(Reuters) The battle over whether states can mandate that food containing genetically engineered crops must be labeled moves to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.
The hearing in the Senate agriculture committee comes after the U.S. House of Representatives in July passed a measure that would block any mandatory GMO labeling by states and instead set a national voluntary standard.
The House bill potentially nullified a measure scheduled to take effect next year in Vermont, which would be the first such mandatory state labeling law. The food manufacturing industry is worried new laws will create consumer confusion and boost costs.
Community: Label the stuff. Give people the choice. End of controversy.
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European lawmakers reject national bans on GM food, feed imports

(Reuters) The European Parliament on Wednesday rejected a draft law that would have allowed member states to ban the use of EU-approved genetically modified food and feed on their territory, a step welcomed by the GM industry.
GM crops are extremely divisive in Europe and a majority of the 28 European Union nations has requested opt-outs from authorizations to grow GM crops under a separate law agreed in March.
Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said in a statement Europe found itself in a "very paradoxical situation", as EU citizens were skeptical about GMO while livestock producers were dependent on GM feed imports for their animals…
Monsanto's GM maize MON 810 is for now the only crop commercially cultivated in the EU.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

Reduce Nighttime Urination (Nocturia) With a Handful of Raisins
Nighttime urination may seem like a minor annoyance, but it can be potentially life threatening. Could the raisin remedy be a solution to nocturia?
Vinegar as a Remedy for Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
Science is discovering the reasons to use vinegar as a remedy to keep blood sugar and cholesterol from rising out of control.
Decolorized Iodine for Treating Nail Fungus
Home remedies for treating nail fungus are less expensive than most prescription options. Decolorized ("white") iodine is a popular option for this problem.
White School Glue for Kitchen Burns
I use white school glue for kitchen burns. It works great to remove almost all the pain and redness and prevent blisters.
Support Hose for Man’s Varicose Veins
Even men can benefit from support pantyhose designed to ease varicose veins and help tired legs. Standard stocking-style compression hose may be stronger.
Stopping Cetirizine Suddenly Leads to Unbearable Itching
Stopping cetirizine suddenly can lead to long-lasting itching. It may take six weeks without the antihistamine to get through this withdrawal syndrome.
Stopping PPIs Suddenly Triggers Heartburn That Makes Withdrawal Harder
When stopping PPIs suddenly, symptoms of heartburn may push a patient back to the drug. Tapering may be more comfortable and successful.
Did Levaquin Antibiotic (Levofloxacin) Cause Lethal Aortic Rupture?
Levaquin (levofloxacin), like Cipro, is a commonly prescribed antibiotic. Are these drugs misused? What are the potential complications of fluoroquinolones?
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Popular cholesterol drugs may make flu vaccine less effective

(Reuters Health) Millions of people who take statins to lower cholesterol may not get maximum protection from flu vaccines, two new studies suggest.
Both studies looked at the effectiveness of flu vaccines in people who were or were not using statins. Taken together, the results connect statins to a dampened immune response to flu vaccines and greater odds of respiratory infections during flu season…
But until more research confirms exactly how statins interact with the vaccines, older patients should stay the course with both their medications and vaccinations, said Dr. Robert Atmar, an infectious disease researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston who wrote an editorial accompanying the studies.
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Cryotherapy death calls benefits of the health trend into question

(CNN) Chelsea Ake-Salvacion was hoping to soothe her aching body at the end of the day by taking a quick dip in one of the cryotherapy tanks at the spa in Nevada where she worked. But the session ended tragically when the 24-year-old was found dead the next day, her body "rock-hard solid," according to a family member.
Although the details of Ake-Salvacion's death last week are not clear yet, advocates of cryotherapy — which involves short exposure to very cold temperatures — say the treatment is safe when used correctly. For example, cryotherapy centers generally do not allow people, even employees such as Ake-Salvacion, to go into the machines without supervision.
Ake-Salvacion's death may highlight the real risks of cryotherapy and also raise questions about whether it has real benefits.
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Hospitals Mess Up Medications in Surgery—a Lot

(Bloomberg) About half of all surgeries involve some kind of medication error or unintended drug side effects, if a new study done at one of America’s most prestigious academic medical centers is any indication.
The rate, calculated by researchers from the anesthesiology department at Massachusetts General Hospital who observed 277 procedures there, is startlingly high compared with those in the few earlier studies. Those studies relied mostly on self-reported data from clinicians, rather than directly watching operations, and found errors to be exceedingly rare.
“There is a substantial potential for medication-related harm and a number of opportunities to improve safety,” according to the new study… More than one-third of the observed errors led to some kind of harm to the patient.
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Hospital routines may be making patients sicker

(Reuters Health) Interrupted sleep and withholding of food can make hospitalized patients sicker, according to three U.S. physicians who say patient safety in hospitals is not just a matter of preventing falls and infections…
[T]hey point out that adequate sleep and nutrition are key to keeping the immune system strong, but noisy hospital conditions and long wait times may be compromising the body's defenses.
The authors, all from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, say poor nutrition, present in up to half of all hospital patients - can contribute to inflammation, muscle breakdown and organ damage.
Sleep and nutrition have always been an issue in hospitals, but longer wait times make the problem worse, said coauthor Dr. Martin Makary, a surgeon, health policy researcher and author of “Unaccountable,” a book about transparency in medicine.
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Green Public Housing May Reduce Health Risks from Environmental Pollutants

(Harvard School of Public Health) Low-income housing residents who live in "green" buildings that are built with eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient features appear to have fewer "sick building" symptoms (SBS) than residents of traditionally constructed low-income housing, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Asthma outcomes--hospitalizations, attacks, and missed school days due to asthma--were also significantly lower for children living in the green buildings…
"Green design incorporates many aspects that could reduce environmental exposures and improve health, such as the removal of pollution sources and the addition of exhaust ventilation," said lead author Meryl Colton, a researcher at Harvard Chan School when the study was done and now a medical student at the University of Colorado. "Our study is unique in that it is the first green housing study large enough to examine changes in some important outcomes such as children's asthma attacks and hospital visits."
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