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

Study Suggests 'Use It or Lose It' to Defend Against Memory Loss

(Iowa State University) Iowa State University researchers have identified a protein essential for building memories that appears to predict the progression of memory loss and brain atrophy in Alzheimer's patients.
Auriel Willette, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition; and Ashley Swanson, a graduate research assistant, say the findings also suggest there is a link between brain activity and the presence of the protein neuronal pentraxin-2, or NPTX2. The research … found a correlation between higher levels of NPTX2 and better memory and more brain volume. Lower levels of the protein were associated with diminished memory and less volume.
"NPTX2 seems to exert a protective effect," Swanson said. "The more you have, the less brain atrophy and better memory you have over time."
The discovery is encouraging as it offers an avenue to track the progression of Alzheimer's disease over time, but it also generates a lot of questions. Researchers want to know how best to boost NPTX2 levels and if there is an added benefit. They were struck by a trend in the data that points to a possible answer. Study participants with more years of education showed higher levels of the protein. Willette says people with complex jobs or who stay mentally and socially active could see similar benefits, supporting the notion of "use it or lose it."
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Exercise Results in Larger Brain Size and Lowered Dementia Risk

(University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences) Using the landmark Framingham Heart Study to assess how physical activity affects the size of the brain and one's risk for developing dementia, UCLA researchers found an association between low physical activity and a higher risk for dementia in older individuals. This suggests that regular physical activity for older adults could lead to higher brain volumes and a reduced risk for developing dementia.
The researchers found that physical activity particularly affected the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain controlling short-term memory. Also, the protective effect of regular physical activity against dementia was strongest in people age 75 and older.
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Alzheimer's – Infectious Or Infection?

(Science 2.0) Increased life expectancy in advanced societies has led to an increased number of old people and a corresponding increase in dementia. In particular, Alzheimer’s disease is a major problem and now lies in 6th place in the mortality table.
However, some intriguing recent findings suggest that infection may play a role in several supposedly non-infectious diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps some other neurodegenerative diseases. More is known about Alzheimer’s disease, so we will focus on this here.
Two totally opposite effects of infection have been found. Firstly, there is the alarming possibility that neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases, may be transmissible under some circumstances. Secondly, there is evidence that Alzheimer’s disease may be the result of a poorly controlled response to infection of the nervous system…
Perhaps it is not too far fetched to see the buildup of amyloid-beta plaques in Alzheimer's disease as “used ammunition” left over from anti-bacterial warfare. As you age, the blood-brain barrier gets more leaky. More bacteria get through and more amyloid-beta is made. Eventually, enough amyloid-beta accumulates to damage your own cells.
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Early drug tests show success treating Alzheimer's as 'diabetes of the brain'

(WCVB Boston) Are researchers close to redefining how Alzheimer's disease causes brain cells to fail?
A new drug known as T3D-959 treats the disease as though it's actually "diabetes of the brain" -- and many medical experts are encouraged by its results so far in drug studies.
"It's a unique molecule, a unique investigational drug which is designed to hit the very earliest stages before even the plaques and tangles develop and the memory problems develop in these patients," explained Dr. Warren Strittmatter, chief scientific officer at T3D Therapeutics and the former chief of neurology at Duke University Medical Center.
Strittmatter said the brain is dependent on glucose as an energy source. A reduction in glucose metabolism in the brain is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.
"Cells of the brain, like we see cells in the body of diabetes, are not able to use glucose as much," said Dr. Marc Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist serving as the drug's principal investigator. "The goal of the medication like T3D-959 would be to enhance brain cells' ability to use this fuel to enhance metabolism."
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More evidence in quest to repurpose cancer drugs for Alzheimer's disease

(Georgetown University Medical Center) An FDA approved drug to treat renal cell carcinoma appears to reduce levels of a toxic brain protein linked to dementia in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases when given to animals. This finding is the latest from Georgetown University Medical Center's Translational Neurotherapeutics Program (TNP) examining tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
The study … found that the drug pazopanib decreases levels of phosphorylated Tau (p-Tau) in animal models genetically engineered to produce human mutant tau throughout their brains.
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Arthritis Drug May Have Benefits Against Alzheimer's

(Well, New York Times) A drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may have benefits against Alzheimer’s disease, researchers report.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease believed to be driven in part by tumor necrosis factor, or T.N.F., a protein that promotes inflammation. Drugs that block T.N.F., including an injectable drug called etanercept, have been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis for many years.
T.N.F. is also elevated in the cerebrospinal fluid of Alzheimer’s patients…
[U]nlike patients treated with five other rheumatoid arthritis drugs, those who had been treated with etanercept showed a significantly reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
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New Neurons Created Through Exercise Don't Cause You to Forget Old Memories

(Texas A&M University) Research has found that exercise causes more new neurons to be formed in a critical brain region, and contrary to an earlier study, these new neurons do not cause the individual to forget old memories, according to research…
Exercise is well known for its cognitive benefits, thought to occur because it causes neurogenesis, or the creation of new neurons, in the hippocampus, which is a key brain region for learning, memory and mood regulation. Therefore, it was a surprise in 2014 when a research study, published in the journalScience, found that exercise caused mice to forget what they'd already learned…
This new research should provide some comfort to those who read the earlier research and worried that their nightly run is causing them to forget things.
"Exercise is not at all harmful," [said Ashok K. Shetty, PhD]. "It doesn't cause any memory problems, and there are many studies proving its benefits for making new memories and maintaining good mood. Now, our study showed that exercise does not interfere with memory recall ability. Keep exercising, and don't worry about losing your old memories."
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Among the Oldest Adults, Poor Balance May Signal Higher Risk for Dementia

(American Geriatrics Society) Previous studies have shown that poor physical performance is linked to increased odds for dementia in people younger than 85. But until now, we didn't know whether a link between poor physical performance and dementia existed for people 90 and older.
The researchers examined 578 people aged 90 and older who were participants in The 90+ Study, a community-based longitudinal study -- a research method that follows the same subjects repeatedly over a period of time -- of the oldest-old in Southern California…
The researchers observed a unique link between dementia risk and poor performance on two different physical performance tests: the standing balance test and the four-meter (about 13 feet) walking test.
The researchers suggested that, since walking and standing balance require complex brain activity, testing these functions may help doctors predict who among the "oldest-old" might be most at risk for developing dementia. The researchers also note that future studies could lead to the development of prevention programs and treatment strategies.
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Does hormone therapy after menopause affect memory? American Academy of Neurology

(American Academy of Neurology) Contrary to popular belief, taking estrogen after menopause may not affect the memory and thinking abilities of healthy women no matter when the treatment is started… The recent study is among the first large, long-term clinical trial to examine the cognitive effects of estradiol, a type of estrogen, on women both close to and long after menopause.
Millions of women take estrogen to treat hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms caused by menopause. Estradiol is the main type of estrogen produced by women in their reproductive years. Previously, researchers thought estradiol benefitted memory and thinking in women soon after menopause but not later, called the "timing hypothesis". Prior studies testing the theory have not found consistent results.
"This study fails to confirm the timing hypothesis," said study author Victor W. Henderson, MD, MS, of Stanford University School of Medicine in California and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "Our results suggest that healthy women at all stages after menopause should not take estrogen to improve memory. At the same time, women need not particularly be concerned about negative effects of postmenopausal estrogen supplements on memory when used for less than five years."
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Can a Brain Scan Early in a Period of Stress Predict Eventual Memory Loss?

(National Centre for Biological Sciences) Work pressures, money issues, exams, perhaps an illness in the family -- these are common strains in every person's life. But when such daily battles are fought over long periods of time, we become subject to chronic stress.
This chronic stress could be affecting a part of our brain known as the hippocampus -- the seat of factual and declarative memory. The hippocampus is a pair of curved structures at the base of our brains and encodes memories of facts and events -- names, phone numbers, dates and daily events that we need to run our lives.
New research now shows that even a brief period of stress can cause the hippocampus to start shrinking.This shrinking of the hippocampus -- a change in the brain's structure -- actually precedes the onset of a change in behaviour, namely, the loss of memory.
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New Dementia App Helps Memory Loss Patients Find Memories

(Cornell University) People suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of age-related dementia sometimes have trouble recognizing friends and family or knowing what to talk about when they visit. A new app created by a group of Cornell students offers to help patients stay connected to their memories -- and thus to their friends and family -- and perhaps will even help them keep a conversation going.,,,
[Remember Me!] is installed on the phones of the patient and friends, family and caregivers. Using GPS tracking and a connection to the cloud, the app can flash an alert to the patient when one of the group members is nearby. The phone tells the patient who is approaching and his or her relationship to that person, and it displays a slideshow of previously uploaded pictures. If the patient receives a text or phone call from someone registered in the app, a screen pops up with similar information.
"In anyone with a memory loss the first thing you do is to show them pictures and see if they are able to get back the memories," [one of the researchers] explained.
Once a conversation begins, the app can assist with reminders based on stored facts and previous conversations, perhaps suggesting questions to ask based on information it has about life events.
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Electric brain stimulation during sleep can boost memory

(University of North Carolina Health Care) When you sleep, your brain is busy storing and consolidating things you learned that day, stuff you'll need in your memory toolkit tomorrow, next week, or next year. For many people, especially those with neurological conditions, memory impairment can be a debilitating symptom that affects every-day life in profound ways. For the first time, UNC School of Medicine scientists report using transcranial alternating current stimulation, or tACS, to target a specific kind of brain activity during sleep and strengthen memory in healthy people.
The findings … offer a non-invasive method to potentially help millions of people with conditions such as autism, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder.
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Could Trashing Junk Proteins Quash Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS and Huntington's?

(Scientific American) Although clutter can be a nuisance, it does not typically pose a health threat—unless you’re an aging neuron. As brain cells get older, some proteins within and around the cell misfold. They twist into the wrong shape, unable to do their routine job. Then they glom together to form menacing clumps. If left to accumulate, this “junk” can overwhelm nerve cells’ quality control systems, triggering incurable brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
So whereas these diseases produce distinct symptoms and billions of dollars have been spent researching potential drugs that target their unique molecular culprits, some scientists are placing their bets on cross-cutting approaches that might work across multiple disorders. Rather than going after proteins such as amyloid beta for Alzheimer’s or alpha-synuclein for Parkinson’s, one researcher has set on a different approach: “I settled on the idea that perhaps we should just get rid of as many abnormally folded, nasty-looking proteins as possible,” says Karen Duff, a neuroscientist at Columbia University.
Strategies that boost the cell’s quality control programs, rather than disarm specific pathologic proteins, have looked promising in lab animals that serve as models for human neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia. Several molecules have entered human testing. It is still a long road to approved therapies but a growing body of basic research is fueling a search for drugs that interact with cellular cleanup processes to provide one-size-fits-all approaches for treating a megaclass of brain disorders.
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Scientists Keep a Molecule from Moving Inside Nerve Cells to Prevent Cell Death

(Case Western Reserve University) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) is a progressive disorder that devastates motor nerve cells. People diagnosed with ALS slowly lose the ability to control muscle movement, and are ultimately unable to speak, eat, move, or breathe. The cellular mechanisms behind ALS are also found in certain types of dementia.
A groundbreaking scientific study … has found one way an RNA binding protein may contribute to ALS disease progression. Cells make RNA to carry instructions for making proteins from DNA to protein-constructing machinery.
The culprit protein, TDP-43, normally binds to small pieces of newly read RNA and helps shuttle the fragments around inside nerve cell nuclei. The study describes for the first time the molecular consequences of misplaced TDP-43 inside nerve cells, and demonstrates that correcting its location can restore nerve cell function. Misplacement of TDP-43 in nerve cells is a hallmark of ALS and other neurological disorders including frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. Studies that characterize common mechanisms behind these diseases could have widespread implications and may also accelerate development of broad-based therapies.
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CDC: The average American has gained about 15 pounds since 1994

(Chattanooga Times Free Press) According to the federal government, the average American in 2014 weighed 15 1/2 pounds more than they did in 1994…
"The average portion size for any given meal is astronomically bigger," said Dr. Kevin Niswender, an expert on diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Dr. Richard Pigg, a family and internal medicine specialist at CHI Memorial's Primary Care Associates in Hixson, noted that prices have gone down, as well. "Over the last 20 years, it has become a lot easier to get junk food at a cheaper price," he said.
It's not just the food. It's also the lack of exercise.
Television sets are way bigger, and "binging" can mean watching a dozen episodes of your favorite show while packing in the chicken wings. And then there is this internet thing, that was barely getting started in 1994.
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Brain aging accelerated by 10 years with midlife overweight, obesity

(Medical News Today) Being overweight or obese in midlife may age the brain by around 10 years. This is the finding of a new study led by researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom…
[T]he study revealed that middle-aged adults who were overweight had reduced white matter volume in the brain, compared with their lean counterparts.
The research team - including senior author Prof. Paul Fletcher of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge - says this reduction in white matter represents around a decade of brain aging.
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Study Looks at Mindfulness-Based Eating for Obesity

(Dr Peter Yellowlees, Medscape) Obesity is an increasingly significant public health problem with few good nonsurgical treatments showing long-term success. Mindfulness meditation techniques are increasingly being used for a number of behaviorally related disorders, and now a team of investigators from the University of California–San Francisco have undertaken a study to determine whether adding mindfulness-based eating and stress management practices to a diet-and-exercise program improves weight loss and metabolic syndrome components.
A total of 194 obese adults were randomized to a 5.5-month program with or without mindfulness training and identical diet-and-exercise guidelines. At the end of the study, the two groups did not differ significantly on the primary outcome of 18-month weight change, although there were some metabolic improvements in the mindfulness group.
This is yet another study that, unfortunately, does not help us greatly in managing our obese patients, although mindful eating (slowing down and savoring the experience of eating) and related techniques have long been promoted on anecdotal evidence as a means of encouraging individuals to reduce food portion size and total intake. While there are undoubted benefits of mindfulness meditation approaches for stress management, and anxiety in particular, and obese patients may still benefit, they do not seem to make a substantial difference in leading to weight loss as a specific outcome.
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Weight Has Greater Impact on Diabetes Than Heart Disease

(Well, New York Times) Carrying excess weight may have a greater impact on the risk for diabetes than it does on the risk for heart disease or early death, a new study has found.
To look at the effect of obesity independent of genetics, Swedish researchers followed 4,046 pairs of identical twins whose average age was 58. One of the twins was overweight, and the other was not. Since identical twins have the same genes, their weight difference could not be attributed to genetics…
After accounting for physical activity, smoking and educational level, the researchers found that having a higher body mass index, or B.M.I. — even among those in the obese range of 30 or higher — was not associated with an increased risk for heart attack or death. But a high B.M.I. was associated with an increased risk for diabetes.
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CDC: Smoking rates still high among certain racial, ethnic groups

(The Hill) Despite a significant decline in cigarette smoking among adults, certain racial and ethnic groups are still smoking at higher rates, according to new study out Thursday…
“We know smoke-free policies, hard-hitting media campaigns, higher prices for tobacco products, and promotion of cessation treatment in clinical settings are proven to reduce tobacco product use,” said Corinne Graffunder, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a statement. 
“If fully implemented and enforced, these strategies could help reduce tobacco use, particularly among racial and ethnic populations with higher rates of use.” 
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Big Step Towards Cure for HIV and Other Lifelong Viral Infections

(Monash University) New research has taken us a step closer to finding a cure for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as other infections including the glandular fever virus, which is associated with the development of lymphoma. Some infections, such as HIV, cannot be cured with antiviral therapy because the virus effectively hides from the immune system.
An international team of scientists, led by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute researcher Dr Di Yu, and Dr Axel Kallies from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, have discovered that killer T cells, a specialised type of white blood cells, can find these "hidden" infected cells in tissue and destroy them.
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Drugs Already on Market Prevent Light-Induced Retinal Degeneration in Mice

(NIH, National Eye Institute) Combinations of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs protect against the loss of cells required for vision in a mouse model of blinding retinal diseases…
The drugs, which are currently used for a range of conditions, from lowering blood pressure to treating prostate disease, may eventually offer an option for preventing vision loss associated with the degeneration of cells in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The loss of retinal function causes blindness in diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt disease, the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. If the therapy's success is replicated in humans, it would represent an entirely novel approach to preventing visual impairment, said the study's principal investigator, Krzysztof Palczewski, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University.
The researchers selected the drugs because they act on G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a family of signaling proteins in various cell types throughout the body.
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The Keys to a Major Process in DNA Repair

(CNRS) The DNA of our cells is continuously damaged by numerous external agents, such as carcinogens contained in tobacco smoke or UV radiation emitted by the sun. If left unrepaired, this damage leads to mutations which ultimately favor the emergence of cancerous cells, which is why the cell must rapidly and efficiently repair its DNA. To do so, the cell employs a battery of enzymes which must act in a synchronous fashion to identify and repair the damaged parts of its genome. The complexity of this process has long stumped researchers trying to understand the mechanisms at play.
Thanks to new nanotechnologies, a team of scientists which brings together both physicists and biologists has been able to film, in real-time, the enzymes that repair DNA damage…
This work will ultimately lead to new applications, both in the fight against cancer and in efforts to treat pathogenic bacteria. 
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Climate Change Sparks Anthrax Outbreak, Killing Boy in Arctic Circle

(Newsweek) A 12-year-old boy in the far north of Russia has died in an outbreak of anthrax that experts believe was triggered when unusually warm weather caused the release of the bacteria.
The boy was one of 72 nomadic herders, including 41 children, hospitalized in the town of Salekhard in the Arctic Circle, after reindeer began dying en masse from anthrax.
Five adults and two other children have been diagnosed with the disease, which is known as “Siberian plague” in Russia and was last seen in the region in 1941.
More than 2,300 reindeer have died, and at least 63 people have been evacuated from a quarantine area around the site of the outbreak.
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Zika Vaccines Work in Monkeys, Boosting Hopes for People

(AP) Three experimental Zika vaccines protected monkeys against infection from the virus, an encouraging sign as research moves into studies in people.
The success in monkeys, which involved a traditional vaccine and two more cutting-edge ones, "brings us one step closer to a safe and effective Zika vaccine," said Dr. Dan Barouch of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "But of course, there's a lot more work to do."
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Kaine calls on GOP to cancel recess and pass Zika bill

(Politico) Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine called on Republican leadership to reconvene Congress to pass new Zika legislation after Democrats blocked a GOP proposal earlier this summer.
“Congress should not be in recess when Zika is advancing. We ought to go back and call an emergency session,” said Kaine, a sitting senator from Virginia…
Kaine praised the Senate for passing a bipartisan bill 89-8 earlier this year, but the House added language restricting the use of some funds for women’s health care and also shifted some money away from Obamacare to pay for the new funding. Democrats balked and blocked the House-passed bill before leaving for a seven-week recess.
“The House put what we call a poison pill in it. They cared more about Planned Parenthood than they did Zika. Folks, Planned Parenthood is not a public health emergency. Planned parenthood is an important health provider,” Kaine said to broad cheers from the crowd here.
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Trump Breaks Silence on Zika, Remains Mum on Federal Funds

(ABC News) In sharp contrast to new alarms over dwindling resources to fight Zika, Donald Trump broke his silence yesterday on the federal response to the mosquito-borne virus, but declined to say whether Congress should approve more money.
Trump also said Zika appears to be “under control” in Florida where the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week took the unprecedented step of advising pregnant women not to travel to certain areas of Miami, amid reports of 15 cases of the virus transmitted in the state.
Yesterday, Congress left for a nearly two-month recess without coming to an agreement on the president's $1.9 billion request for emergency funding to fight Zika
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Rep. Karen Bass Wants Donald Trump's Head Examined

(U.S. News & World Report) GOP nominee Donald Trump has made some questionable decisions of late, and one California congresswoman wants some answers – medical answers.
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., has launched a petition calling on mental health professionals to "publicly urge the Republican party to conduct an evaluation of Mr. Trump and officially determine if he is mentally fit to lead the free world."
Bass argues that Trump exhibits all the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.
"It is entirely possible that some individuals with NPD can successfully function in many careers, but not the Presidency of the United States," Bass wrote in the petition, which currently has more than 10,000 signatures. "We deserve to have the greatest understanding of Mr. Trump's mental health status before we head to the polls."
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Health system's 4 million patient data breach leads to biggest settlement ever

(CNBC) One of the nation's biggest health-care systems has agreed to pay the largest settlement ever by a single entity for potential violations of federal patient privacy law, related to breaches that compromised the electronic data of 4 million patients.
Advocate Health Care Network, which operates 12 hospitals and more than 200 other treatment locations in Illinois, will pay $5.55 million to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department as part of the settlement announced by HHS on Thursday.
Advocate Health Care, which remains under investigation for the data breaches at a subsidiary by the Illinois Attorney General's office, also will be required to adopt a corrective action plan for its data security. The breaches, two of which involved thefts of computers, occurred at a physicians' group that is the largest in the Chicago area.
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75 Percent of Americans Say They Eat Healthy — Despite Evidence To The Contrary

(The Salt, NPR) We're living at a time when more than 80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. At the same time, many Americans overeat refined grains and sugar.
This may help explain why the obesity rate seems stuck. The most recent estimate is that 36 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese.
But, as a nation, we seem to have our blinders on. Despite much evidence to the contrary, most Americans say they have a healthy diet…
Are Americans confused about what constitutes a healthy diet? Do they say one thing, but do another? Or perhaps it's a matter of portion size: We may be choosing foods that are healthy in moderation, but are eating too much of them.
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Quinn on Nutrition: Organic or conventional, choose more produce

(Monterey County Herald) Organic food is catching on in all segments of our food supply, reported Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association at the recent Organic Produce Summit in Monterey, Calif. And millennials — the generation born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s — seem to be leading the charge. This group chooses organic produce more than any other previous generation, says Batcha.
What if an organic alternative is not available where you shop? Or the price is higher than you want to spend? Don’t be afraid of other choices, says Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a science-based nonprofit organization that represents organic and conventional food producers (www.safefruitsandveggies.com.) “The one consistent message that health experts agree upon and that is confirmed with decades of nutrition research is that a diet rich in fruits and veggies — whether conventional or organic — leads to better health and a longer life.”
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Tumor In Ancient Foot Bone Suggests Paleo Diet Overrated

(Popular Science) A group of researchers from the University of The Witerwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute and the South African Centre for Excellence in PalaeoSciences published two papers on Thursday detailing a discovery of a foot bone with a large tumor protruding from its surface. Found in South Africa, the bone came from a bipedal human ancestor who lived approximately 1.7 million years ago…
This “caveman diet” is supposed to reduce your risk for what creator Loren Cordain ambiguously calls “chronic disease.” The paleo diet’s website is chock full of articles suggesting that the strict food choices can prevent and even fight cancer.
Although one cancerous bone can't actually prove that the paleo diet doesn't reduce your risk of cancer, this new evidence adds to the growing pile of challenges against the diet. Unfortunately for Cordain and paleo dieters, cancer's origins are a lot more complicated than what you eat--there are other components such as your genetics and your environment.
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Meat consumption contributing as much as sugar to global obesity

(University of Adelaide) [R]esearchers from the University of Adelaide … say meat in the modern diet offers surplus energy, and is contributing to the prevalence of global obesity…
"There is a dogma that fats and carbohydrates, especially fats, are the major factors contributing to obesity," [researcher Wenpeng] You says.
"Whether we like it or not, fats and carbohydrates in modern diets are supplying enough energy to meet our daily needs. Because meat protein is digested later than fats and carbohydrates, this makes the energy we receive from protein a surplus, which is then converted and stored as fat in the human body."
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Fish Oil Vs. Lard: Why Some Fat Can Help or Hinder Your Diet

(Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience) If people are looking to lose weight, stay clear of saturated fat. Consuming these types of fatty food affects a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate hunger.
The fat causes inflammation that impedes the brain to control the food intake. In other words, people struggle to control how much they eat, when to stop and what type of food to eat -- symptoms seen in obesity.
The study found, through tests in rats, that a meal rich in saturated fat, reduces a person's cognitive function that make it more difficult to control eating habits…
Consuming fish oil instead of lard makes a significant difference. The research shows that brain function remains normal and manages to restrain from eating more than necessary.
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Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, may aid healing after heart attack

(American Heart Association) Giving heart attack patients a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, daily for six months after a heart attack improved the function of the heart and reduced scarring in the undamaged muscle, according to new research...
Researchers said these results suggests that omega-3 fatty acids allow the heart to contract better, and also reduces the fibrosis in the region that is not damaged.
The researchers also observed a reduction in biomarkers for inflammation, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids have some anti-inflammatory properties.
Community: So shouldn’t there be a benefit to the heart even if we haven’t had a heart attack?
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High Fat Diet Improves Cartilage Repair in Mice

(Wiley) In a recent study in a mouse model of cartilage repair, a high fat diet and increased body weight did not negatively impair cartilage repair, and it could even accelerate it.
The effects of a high fat diet on cartilage repair are most likely related to inflammatory and metabolic changes, but the exact underlying mechanism is not clear.
"It also remains to be elucidated whether this phenomenon is particular for the mouse strain used in this study or is a more general phenomenon that also occurs in other genetic strains," said Dr. Gerjo JVM van Osch, senior author of the ... article.
Community: The article doesn’t say whether saturated or unsaturated fats are better for cartilage repair.
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Modified Rye Bread Helps Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

(Wiley) Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are often concerned that certain foods may trigger or worsen their symptoms, which can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. In a new study, patients who ate rye bread that was low in so-called "FODMAPs" (fermentable oligo- di- and mono-saccharides and polyols) experienced milder IBS symptoms than patients who ate normal rye bread.
Patients with IBS who are considering a low FODMAP diet should first discuss it with their doctor. A low FODMAP diet cuts out most fruits and grains and would not, otherwise, be recommended or considered healthy.
"Our study shows that reduction of FODMAP content of a major food staple, such as rye bread, may reduce some symptoms of IBS but is not enough per se to reach adequate overall symptom control in IBS. It's likely that a holistic low-FODMAP diet is needed in most cases in order to reach adequate control of overall symptoms," said Dr. Reijo Laatikainen, lead author of the ... study. "Low-FODMAP rye bread seems to be one way to increase fiber intake of patients with IBS. Just like the rest of the population, IBS patients tend to have a lower than recommended intake of fiber," he added.
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Doctors not taught to discuss diet, nutrition with patients

(Chicago Tribune) Good diet and nutrition can put you on a path to health and wellness, but it's unusual to find doctors who are trained well enough and can spend the time required to have this conversation with patients…
A prominent California physician who practices personalized age management medicine, Brandon Colby says that when people reach their 40s, 50s and 60s, they sometimes find their energy and mental focus levels beginning to lag. Feeling that life isn't as great as it once was isn't unusual, but Colby says nutritional and dietary changes can reverse that sense of malaise…
The general practice of medicine, however, is still focused on sick care rather than health care. Unfortunately, Colby added, most doctors are trained and incentivized to treat disease once it manifests itself instead of focusing on the promotion of wellness.
There are signs that change may be slowly emerging. Medical school faculty members say that new, incoming students are more aware of the impact of diet and nutrition on health. 
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Which diet makes best use of farmland? You might be surprised.

(Ensia) Vegetarian? Omnivore? Vegan? What should we eat if we want to feed a growing population while minimizing the need to farm more land? We know that meat-based meals require more farmland than plant-based ones. But which diet is the best fit for the mix of croplands and grazing land that supports agriculture today? That’s a different question with a potentially different answer, since much of the land we use to produce our food is better suited for grazing livestock than growing crops.
A new study … explores this perplexing question of the “foodprint” of different diets. Researchers calculated how much land is needed to feed people under 10 diet scenarios ranging from conventional American to vegan…
The baseline diet — what Americans are eating today — required the most land at 1.08 hectares (2.67 acres, or more than two football fields) per person per year, followed by the reduced-fats-and-sweeteners diet at 1.03 hectares (2.55 acres) per person per year. Land requirements decreased steadily as the proportion of food derived from animals declined, with the three vegetarian diets requiring 0.13 to 0.14 hectares (0.32 to 0.35 acres) per person per year.
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Good attitudes about aging help seniors handle stress

(North Carolina State University) New research from North Carolina State University finds that having a positive attitude about aging makes older adults more resilient when faced with stressful situations.
"There has been a lot of research on how older adults respond to stress, but the findings have been mixed: some studies have found that older adults are less resilient than younger adults at responding to stress; some have found that they're more resilient; and some have found no difference," says Jennifer Bellingtier, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work. "We wanted to see whether attitudes toward aging could account for this disparity in research findings. In other words, are older adults with positive attitudes about aging more resilient than older adults with negative attitudes?"
The answer is yes.
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Sorry, Meat Eaters. Vegetarian Diet May Be The Secret To Living Longer

(Reuters Health) People who eat more protein from plants and less from animals may live longer even when they have unhealthy habits like heavy drinking or smoking, a large U.S. study suggests.
The findings suggest that when it comes to protein, where it comes from may be just as important as how much people eat, said lead study author Dr. Mingyang Song, a researcher at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Plants are a better source than animal products,” Song said by email.
“If people do have to choose among animal products, try to avoid processed red meat and choose fish or chicken instead,” Song added.
Community: If you decide to start a vegetarian diet for the first time, you might want to do some research first. It takes some planning to make sure you get all the amino acids you need.
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Sleep with the light on? It might be shortening your life, researchers claim

(Digital Trends) Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands exposed mice to artificial light for 24 weeks straight around the clock, with electrodes implanted its brain to measure changes in cells that control the internal body clock. The results were compared with a group of mice that were subjected to only normal day/night light.
In the mice under the 24-hour artificial lighting, researchers noticed its body clock shifted to a 25.5 hour daily cycle, and suffered from weakened muscles and reduced bone density at a far greater rate than the control mice. These are all signs of aging, and it appears as if these mice were aging quicker.
Researchers don’t yet know whether or not the advanced aging was due to the body clock changes or if it was due to poor sleep for such an extended period of time. 24 weeks is a sixth of a mouse’s life, so what’s happening here is the equivalent of an average human not getting a good night’s sleep for more than a decade.
This said, the mice were able to recover quickly once lighting patterns were returned to normal, indicating that in some way light exposure was leading to the health problems that the mice experienced.
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The 4 Foods That Are Aging You - And What To Eat Instead

(Huffington Post) “As you get older, inflammation becomes the biggest problem,” [Dr. Erika] Schwartz said. “Inflammation creates aging and disease. An anti-inflammatory diet is the way to beat it.”
Research has linked many chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and more to inflammation. Simply put, Inflammation is your body’s response when your immune system is fighting off harmful things like certain bacteria and disease…
Avoid: Alcohol...
Instead, try water with lemon...
Avoid: Processed foods...
Instead, opt for healthy fats like avocados. They can improve your cholesterol, keep you feeling full with their fiber content and contain antioxidants. They’re also rich in carotenoids, which help to fight inflammation.
Avoid: Sugar substitutes...
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, you might try yogurt and fruit, as yogurt is high in calcium, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Fruit, of course, is full of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Avoid: Dairy
Instead, eat more leafy green vegetables.
Community: Sorry, no way am I giving up dairy products. I don’t believe I have any intolerance to them.
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Even Mild Vision Impairment Has Influence on Quality of Life

(The JAMA Network Journals) [Researchers] examined the association of visual health (across the full acuity spectrum) with social determinants of general health and the association between visual health and health and social outcomes.
Blindness is known to have a broad-ranging adverse influence on affected individuals, their families, and the societies in which they live and is exemplified by its association with impaired quality of life, worse general and mental health, curtailed life chances, and increased all-cause mortality. It is unsurprising that international policies and research relating to ophthalmology and visual sciences have prioritized this end of the spectrum of impaired vision. An unintended consequence of this prioritization is that less attention has been focused on the much larger population with mildly impaired or near-normal vision that also may affect activities of daily living…
"We demonstrate that visual health is associated with known key social determinants of health acting independently in the axes of social differentiation captured by age, sex, ethnicity, area or community-based deprivation, and educational experience and with a trend across the full spectrum of visual acuity," the authors write.
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What 50000 Swedish twins can teach us about education and longevity

(Vox) Studies consistently find that people with more education tend to live longer. But scientists aren’t exactly sure why…
There’s another hypothesis for why school may yield longer lives. It’s that education builds “human capital,” or a systematic way of thinking that benefits every decision. Those tiny good decisions add up to a protective factor that helps you live longer.
“Education is likely to provide general human capital that can be used to maintain and improve health in a wide range of circumstances,” David Cutler, Angus Deaton, and Adriana Lleras-Muney — Harvard and Princeton economists — write in a 2006 paper… This human capital, they say, will aid long-term survival “whenever there exists a mechanism or technology that more knowledgeable and educated people can use to improve their health.”
A new study from researchers in Sweden adds compelling evidence to the human capital argument.
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Low Rate of Internet Use by Seniors for Health Purposes

(The JAMA Network Journals) The sickest, most expensive, and fastest growing segment of the U.S. population are seniors 65 years and older. Digital health technology has been advocated as a solution to improve health care quality, cost, and safety. However, little is known about digital health use among seniors. For this study, the researchers analyzed results from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older…
By 2014, although cell phone and computer use were stable, small statistically significant increases were noted in other every day technologies. Use of 3 of 4 digital health technologies increased. The proportion of seniors who used any digital health increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 25 percent in 2014.
"Digital health is not reaching most seniors and is associated with socioeconomic disparities, raising concern about its ability to improve quality, cost, and safety of their health care. Future innovations should focus on usability, adherence, and scalability to improve the reach and effectiveness of digital health for seniors," the authors write.
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Designing Communities For An AgingAmerica

(WBUR) Our nation’s 65-and-older population is growing rapidly, but most U.S. cities are totally unprepared for that demographic shift. We don’t simply need more public transportation and affordable housing. We could also use more benches at bus stops, longer crosswalk signals, and more homes with master bedrooms on the first floor.
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Biotech dives into Sardinia gene pool for secret of long life

(Financial Times) In the quest to find the secret to a longer life, a British biotech group has bought the genetic data of almost 13,000 residents from a Sardinian province where an unusually large number of people live past their 100th birthday.
Tiziana Life Sciences, a British drug company focused on cancer and diseases of the immune system, said it had acquired a “biobank” containing the DNA of residents of the Ogliastra province in Sardinia, home to one of the world’s highest proportions of centenarians…
Gabriele Cerrone, chief executive of Tiziana, said the group hoped the trove of data would help the company identify whether there were any particular genetic traits linked to longevity.
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Japanese women lose longevity crown to Hong Kongers

(Japan Times) Japan’s women relinquished the top spot for average life expectancy in 2015 to Hong Kong, the new leader at 87.32 years, data released by the welfare ministry showed Wednesday.
Japanese women now have an average life expectancy of 87.05 years, while Japanese men live for an average of 80.79 years, dropping them to fourth place from third in 2014, the data said.
Nevertheless, Japan’s longevity figures last year broke records for both sexes, with women adding 0.22 year and men 0.29 year…
An official at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry credited the improvement in both sexes to “progress in medical treatment and drugs” that improved survival rates for cancer, one of the major causes of death.
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No link between erectile dysfunction drugs, prostate cancer

(UPI) Although there has been some suggestion in studies that erectile dysfunction drugs can lower the risk for prostate cancer, a recent study showed little effect on rates of the disease, researchers report.
Roughly the same number of people using drugs for erectile dysfunction were diagnosed with prostate cancer as those not prescribed the drugs during in a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Between 20 percent and 40 percent of men in their 60s and nearly 75 percent of men in their 70s experience erectile dysfunction, with a range of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, or PDE-5is, drugs available to treat the problem.
Some studies with mice have suggested an anticancer effect of using the drugs, though researchers involved with the study note this has been seen to a lesser extent with humans.
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Generic Drugs vs Brand Name: Johns Hopkins Researchers' Biologic Study Looked At Cheaper Options

(International Business Times) A new study indicates that generic biologic drugs — a cheaper option — are as just as effective as their brand name counterparts. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that "generic forms of a biologic drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis" seemed to be just as safe and effective, according to a press release. 
This is an important development, United Press International points out because "concerns about the ability to create generic biologic drugs close enough to the brand name originators has slowed their creation."
Biologics are medications that are made from living cells. They're typically difficult to manufacture and companies that make the brand-name versions say that generic, cheaper versions aren't the same as the original product, according to HealthDay. Effective generic versions, or biosimilars, could save patients and the healthcare system a lot of money.
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Wait, Does Dental Floss Even Work?

(Gizmodo) From a very young age, it’s drilled into us that we need to floss daily to prevent gum disease and cavities. But as a recent investigation by the Associated Press reveals, the benefits of dental floss are largely unproven.
It sounds blasphemous, but flossing may not yield the protective benefits we’ve been told to expect. Since 1979, the federal government in the US has recommended daily flossing, but by law these dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years, have to be supported by scientific evidence. Surprisingly—and without any notice—the federal government dropped flossing from its dietary guidelines this year, telling the Associated Press that “the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required.”
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New York attorney general targets phony Zika-protection products

(Reuters) New York state's top prosecutor said on Wednesday his office has sent cease-and-desist letters to seven companies accused of deceptively marketing ineffective Zika-protection products as concern grows over the mosquito-borne virus.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also issued an alert warning consumers against the companies' advertisements, which mainly promote ultrasonic and botanical oil-based mosquito repellants.
Those products, mostly sold online with some at discount and local stores, "simply don't work," Schneiderman told a news conference.
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Exercise is good for brain, heart

(Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff For The Oklahoman) The heart is a muscle, and exercise makes the heart exercise. But the brain? We don't think of exercise as requiring a lot of brainpower. In fact, some people like exercise because it's a time when they can turn off their brain…
[But] what's the evidence that regular exercise [protects] the brain?
There are many studies. As an example, a study published in February … links better cardiovascular fitness to improved thinking skills in older adults…
How does exercise contribute to brain health? We know of several ways, and there are surely more we haven't discovered. One possible way is by improving the blood supply to the brain.
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How Exercise Makes You More Resilient to Mental Fatigue

(New York Magazine) Life, as you may have heard, is not always so easy, and so it’s important to practice being comfortable with being uncomfortable. One of the most reliable ways to do that — as Science of Us reported last month — is by pushing yourself physically: People who undertake and endure exercise challenges tend to perform better in hard, yet ostensibly unrelated, areas of their lives, such as quitting smoking or remaining calm during final exams.
The scientific theory underlying this phenomenon is called the “cross-stressor adaptation hypothesis.” In layperson’s terms, exercise — likely due to its unique combination of being hard on the body (this hurts), being hard on the brain (I want to quit but I’ll keep going), and the physiological changes it elicits (e.g., decreased blood pressure) — makes people more resilient not only to physical stress, but also to emotional and cognitive stress. It is for these reasons that scientists have written that “exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults” and that exercise has been called a keystone habit, or an activity that leads to positive changes in other areas of life.
A new study … lends further support to the spillover benefits of exercise.
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How Exercise Keeps Your DNA Young

(TIME) [R]esearchers have found that exercise can help keep DNA healthy and young. In a small study…, Anabelle Decottignies, from the de Duve Institute at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, and her colleagues found that just moderate-intensity physical activity helps hold back cell aging.
They studied a specific part of DNA that keeps track of how many times a cell has divided. Each time a cell divides, it copies its DNA (which is packed into chromosomes) and this section of the chromosomes, called telomeres, gets shorter. In the study, Decottignies identified a molecule that’s responsible for directing this telomere-shortening…
Based on analysis of [samples from the study], the researchers found that a compound called nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1) regulates the production of a factor that in turn controls the shortening of the telomeres. Exercise boosts levels of NRF1, which protects the telomeres from being snipped away. “Think about NRF1 like varnish on nails,” says Decottignies. “You cannot change the nail, but you can change the varnish again and again. What you’re doing is refreshing and replacing the old section with new protective molecules at the telomeres.”
With each bout of moderate exercise, she says, the protection to the telomeres is refreshed, thus helping the DNA, and in turn the cells, to remain “younger” and hold off the aging process. “The protection is constantly renewed upon exercise,” says Decottignies.
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