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

Ways to get motivated in 2010

(CNN) [I]n order to actually accomplish your goals, [experts] say, it's important to be realistic, specific, and accountable…

1. Set smaller goals with smaller steps…

2. Frame your goals positively…

3. Look at the pros and cons…

4. Get a resolutions buddy…

5. Be specific…
Figure out exactly what it is that's not working for you, and then formulate a strategy for solving individual problems…

The process of assessing the small actions you can take in the immediate future, and savoring the positive effects, can take a lot of pressure off and help you achieve larger goals…

Take it one incident at a time, one day at a time.

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Community: And when you fail, as you surely will, get back on that horse instead of giving up. Most people who quit smoking try several times before quitting for good, and so do many alcoholics. Changing behavior takes persistence.

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Exaggerating a Threat to Weight Goals May Help Self-Control

(HealthDay News) You know that holiday cookie that's calling your name? The one that will go straight to your waistline and stay there for life? A new study suggests the key to resisting temptation is to exaggerate the cookie's threat.

"Four experiments show that when consumers encounter temptations that conflict with their long-term goals, one self-control mechanism is to exaggerate the negativity of the temptation as a way to resist, a process we call counteractive construal," according to the study authors.

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5 tips for better eating in 2010

(Tribune Newspapers) Sarah Krieger, a personal chef and dietitian in Tampa, Fla., and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, offered five easy resolutions for healthful eating in 2010.

Lower your salt intake…
Eat protein in the morning…
Buy fruits and vegetables…
Use natural flavor boosters…
Cook at home more often.

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Champagne Is Good for Your Heart, Study Suggests But Only in Moderation

(Science Daily) Research from the University of Reading suggests that two glasses of champagne a day may be good for your heart and circulation. The researchers have found that drinking champagne wine daily in moderate amounts causes improvements in the way blood vessels function.

Champagne does this by increasing the availability of nitric oxide, a vascular active molecule which controls blood pressure. It is able to induce these effects because it contains polyphenols, plant chemicals from the red grapes and white grapes used in champagne production.

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Community: Polyphenols are also available as food supplements.

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Putting Limits on Vitamin E

(Science Daily) A research group from Tel Aviv University has done the most comprehensive and accurate study of clinical data on Vitamin E use and heart disease to date, and it warns that indiscriminate use of high-dose Vitamin E supplementation does more harm than good…

The researchers examined data from more than 300,000 subjects in the US, Europe and Israel. "Our major finding," says [study co-researcher Dr. Ilya] Pinchuk, "was that the average quality-adjusted life years (QALY) of Vitamin E-supplemented individuals was 0.30 less than that of untreated people. This, of course, does not mean that everybody consuming Vitamin E shortens their life by almost 4 months. But on average, the quality-adjusted longevity is lower for vitamin-treated people. This says something significant."

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Heel Pain Usually Relieved With Stretching Regimen

(HealthDay News) The term "overuse injuries" may bring to mind tennis elbow and jogger's knee, but the sole of the foot is also at risk of injury due to overuse, doctors warn.

The condition, plantar fasciitis, or inflamed tissue and swelling of the sole of the foot, can become chronic if steps aren't taken to relieve it, according to Dr. Benedict DiGiovanni…

[T]o treat plantar fasciitis, DiGiovanni recommends taking it easy until the initial inflammation subsides, icing the sore area for 20 minutes, three or four times a day, and performing exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon in the back of the lower leg and plantar fascia, or the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot.

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Nerve Stimulation Device Doesn't Ease Most Back Pain

(HealthDay News) If you're thinking of using the portable device called transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) to ease your chronic low back pain, the American Academy of Neurology has some advice for you: Don't bother.

There are no controlled studies showing that TENS is effective against back pain of unknown origin persisting for three months or longer, said Dr. Richard M. Dubinsky…

All but one of the studies excluded people whose back pain had known causes, such as a pinched nerve, severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine), displacement of a backbone or vertebra, or obesity. Those studies showed no benefit of TENS for chronic pain. The one study that looked at low back pain associated with known conditions found no benefit, the study authors noted.

An exception was diabetic nerve pain, also known as diabetic neuropathy, which can cause symmetrical numbness, decreased sensation and a feeling of burning, usually involving the legs but sometimes affecting the hands, Dubinsky said. There is good evidence that TENS is effective in this condition, which develops in about 60 percent of people with diabetes, he said.

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Quitting smoking after heart attack extends lives

(Reuters Health) Confirming that it really is never too late to quit smoking, a new study finds that heart attack survivors who kick the habit live longer than those who keep puffing away.

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Body's Own Veins Provide Superior Material for Aortic Grafts

(Science Daily) A vascular surgical technique … designed to replace infected aortic grafts with the body's own veins has proved more durable and less prone to new infection than similar procedures using synthetic and cadaver grafts.

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Gene Increases Effectiveness of Drugs Used to Fight Cancer and Allows Reduction in Dosage

(Science Daily) Researchers … have found a suicide gene, called 'gene E', which leads to the death of tumour cells derived from breast, lung and colon cancer, and prevents their growth. The importance of this new gene is that its use to fight cancer can reduce the potent drugs that are currently used, so that could mean more effective treatment for cancer.

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Stem Cells Might Reverse Heart Damage From Chemo

(HealthDay News) Certain types of chemotherapy can damage the heart while thwarting cancer, a dilemma that has vexed scientists for years. But a new study in rats finds that injecting the heart with stem cells can reverse the damage caused by a potent anti-cancer drug.

The findings could one day mean that cancer patients could safely take higher doses of a powerful class of chemotherapy drugs and have any resulting damage to their hearts repaired later on using their own cardiac stem cells, the researchers said.

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New RNA Interference Technique Can Silence Up to Five Genes

(Science Daily) Researchers … report this week that they have successfully used RNA interference to turn off multiple genes in the livers of mice, an advance that could lead to new treatments for diseases of the liver and other organs…

[Daniel] Anderson and his colleagues believe the best way to do that is to wrap short interfering RNA (siRNA) in a layer of fat-like molecules called lipidoids, which can cross cells' fatty outer membrane. Using one such lipidoid, the researchers were able to successfully deliver five snippets of RNA at once, and Anderson believes the lipidoids have the potential to deliver as many as 20.

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Transcription Factors Guide Differences in Human and Chimp Brain Function

(Science Daily) Humans share at least 97 percent of their genes with chimpanzees, but, as a new study of transcription factors makes clear, what you have in your genome may be less important than how you use it.

The study … found that broad differences in the gene activity of humans and of chimpanzees, affecting nearly 1,000 genes, appear to be linked to the action of about 90 transcription factors.

Transcription factors are proteins that bind to specific regions of the DNA to promote or repress the activity of many genes.

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Community: Just this week, PBS aired a Nova episode that discussed these triggers in detail, “What Darwin Never Knew.”

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Losing brain plasticity = losing memory

(UPI) U.S. researchers are finding brain plasticity -- the ability to change and grow -- may be key to memory.

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Top Empowered Patient tips for 2010

(CNN) -- Being an empowered patient means doing more than the bare minimum. It means taking an active part in your own health care…

Here are the top lessons … that can help you to become a more empowered patient in 2010.

1. Don't believe everything you hear (get a second opinion)…

2. Ask a ton of questions…

3. If you are going to use the Web, search smart…

4. Free and discounted care is out there…

5. Paying attention can save your life
You know your body better than anyone else. If your gut tells you something just isn't right, then listen to it.

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Apple wins appeal over alleged iPod hearing loss

(Reuters) A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a class-action lawsuit seeking to hold Apple Inc responsible for possible hearing loss caused by using its popular iPod music player.

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U.S. issues standards to spur e-health records

(Reuters) U.S. health officials released standards for electronic medical records on Wednesday, seeking to spur the technology in hopes of cutting health costs and reducing medical errors.

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Retiree group pans Senate healthcare bill

(UPI) The Senate healthcare reform bill does not protect the earned post-retirement healthcare benefits of millions of workers, a U.S. retiree advocacy group says.

Paul Miller, executive director of ProtectSeniors.Org, says the Senate bill actually penalizes companies that provide retiree prescription drug benefits. The House version would prohibit employers from making post-retirement cuts or doing away with people's earned health benefits after they retire.

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Take a personal inventory Jan. 1

(UPI) Instead of making individual New Year's resolutions, take personal inventory of your life, a U.S. psychologist suggests…

[Temple University psychologist Frank Farley says,] "Planning and knowledge are important antidotes to uncertainty and the fear that uncertainty can bring. Setting goals and personal strategies for your entry into the New Year can help reduce the uncertainty and thus the fear."

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Winter Exercise Can Lift Your Spirits

(HealthDay News) Winter can put a chill on even the most enthusiastic exerciser's plans. It's hard to get motivated to go jogging when you have to sidestep icy patches. And who wants to go to the gym when you have to scrape the ice off the windshield first?

But sticking to your exercise program throughout the colder months is beneficial for multiple reasons, experts say. Not only can physical activity lift your spirits during days of limited sunlight, it can help make sure you're in good shape when it's time to pull out those shorts and bathing suits again…

If the winter blues have extended to your feelings about exercise, get creative. Find an indoor pool or go to that Pilates class you've been wanting to try. Ice skating and cross-country skiing burn lots of calories. And there's nothing like a snowball fight with your kids to get your heart pumping.

Read more, including tips on dressing for the weather and making sure you remain hydrated.

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Caution Can Help Keep Elderly Safe During Winter

(HealthDay News) Winter's icy sidewalks and frigid temperatures can be challenging for anyone, but they pose extra hazards for elderly people, experts say.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for adults over age 65 in the United States. Some 1.8 million people aged 65 and older were treated in emergency departments for falls in 2005, and 15,800 died from their injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Something as simple as a fall can be devastating for older men and women," said Dr. Evelyn Granieri… She pointed out that it is important to prepare for the season and take steps to reduce the risks of falling.

Read more, including tips on preventing falls.

Community: I feel much better about walking on icy streets and sidewalks, now that I have grippers to put on my shoes.

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Aerobic Exercise No Big Stretch For Older Adults But Helps Elasticity Of Arteries

(Science Daily) Just three months of physical activity reaps heart health benefits for older adults with type 2 diabetes by improving the elasticity in their arteries -- reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Kenneth Madden [said]…

An improvement was seen in the elasticity of the arteries of the group that performed the activity compared to those who didn't exercise. "There was an impressive drop in arterial stiffness after just three months of exercise. In that time we saw a 15 to 20 per cent reduction."

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Energy Gap Useful Tool For Successful Weight Loss Maintenance Strategy

(Science Daily) According to James O. Hill, PhD, "This analysis indicates that to create and maintain substantial weight loss (ie, obesity treatment), large behavioral changes are needed. This is in stark contrast to primary obesity prevention in which small behavioral changes can eliminate the small energy imbalance that occurs before the body has gained substantial weight. Because the body has not previously stored this 'new' excess energy, it does not defend against the behavioral strategies as happens when the body loses weight."

The energy gap concept is useful for individualizing behavioral strategies for weight loss maintenance. For example, if the energy gap for a given weight-loss maintenance is estimated to be 300 kcal/day, this can lead to a specific individually tailored goal for changing diet and physical activity rather than generic advice to eat less and exercise more. This could be 300 kcal/day of additional physical activity, a reduction of 300 kcal/day from usual energy intake, or a combination of tactics such as adding 150 kcal/day of physical activity and reducing 150 kcal/day from usual energy intake.

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Obesity May Hinder Optimal Control Of Blood Pressure And Cholesterol

(Science Daily) Obese patients taking medications to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are less likely to reach recommended targets for these cardiovascular disease risk factors than their normal weight counterparts, according to new research…

"Although a direct cause-and-effect relationship cannot be proven, our data would suggest that pharmacologic treatment alone without achieving optimal weight may not be adequate," says senior author, Dr. Andrew Yan. "This is a potentially important message to get across to clinicians, especially primary care physicians who are on the front line managing these high risk patients in the long term."

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A burger or fried chicken with a side of diabetes?

(Reuters Health) Avoiding "fast food" burgers and fried chicken may cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes -- the kind closely linked to obesity, new research hints.

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Nanoscale Changes in Collagen Are a Tipoff to Bone Health

(Science Daily) Using a technique that provides detailed images of nanoscale structures, researchers at the University of Michigan and Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital have discovered changes in the collagen component of bone that directly relate to bone health.

Their findings, published online Dec. 16 in the journal Bone, could lead to new methods of diagnosing osteoporosis and other diseases affecting collagen-containing tissues.

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Acupuncture Reduces Hot Flashes, Improves Sex Drive for Breast Cancer Patients

(Science Daily) Not only is acupuncture as effective as drug therapy at reducing hot flashes in breast cancer patients, it has the added benefit of potentially increasing a woman's sex drive and improving her sense of well-being, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Study results show that acupuncture, when compared to drug therapy, has a longer-lasting effect on the reduction of hot flashes and night sweats for women receiving hormone therapy for breast cancer treatment. Women also report that acupuncture improves their energy and clarity of thought…

Funding was provided by the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

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Ginkgo Won't Slow Decline of Aging Brain

(HealthDay News) Many older adults consume ginkgo biloba, hoping to keep their minds sharp, but a new study finds that the herbal product doesn't stave off cognitive decline.

"Measuring the effect of ginkgo in a big trial in older people, we didn't see any effect of the drug on slowing down or delaying normal age-related changes of cognition," said lead researcher Dr. Steven T. DeKosky.

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Brain Scans Show Distinctive Patterns in People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

(Science Daily) Scrambled connections between the part of the brain that processes fear and emotion and other brain regions could be the hallmark of a common anxiety disorder, according to a new study…

People with the disorder feel overwhelmed by emotion and don't believe they can feel sad or upset without coming completely undone. So, in an attempt to avoid facing their unpleasant feelings, they distract themselves by fretting. Such overthinking may work in the short term but becomes problematic over time.

Researchers can't say for sure whether the connectivity abnormalities came first or whether excessive worrying shaped the brain by reinforcing particular neural pathways. Still, the patterns uncovered by neurological scans could one day help psychiatrists diagnose and treat the disease.

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No Added Risk Seen for ICU Patients Monitored Remotely

(HealthDay News) Allowing doctors to monitor intensive care unit patients from remote locations, as a way to save money, doesn't appear to boost the risk of death in patients or make it more likely that they'll spend longer in the ICU, new findings suggest.

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Study Questions FDA Approvals of Cardiac Devices

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may not be as stringent in evaluating devices as it is in approving drugs.

According to a report in the Dec. 23/30 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association, approval of cardiovascular devices often sails through based on studies that are not randomized or blinded, and sometimes even on the basis of one study alone…

According to the study authors, device safety has largely slipped through the cracks, even as attention on drug safety mounts.

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'Spaghetti' Scaffolding Could Help Grow Skin In Labs

(Science Daily) Scientists are developing new scaffolding technology which could be used to grow tissues such as skin, nerves and cartilage using 3D spaghetti-like structures…

The new structures are being developed by scientists from the University of Bristol, using proteins from alpha helices – one of the fundamental ways that strings of amino acids fold - to create long fibres called hydrogelating self assembling fibres (hSAFs), or hydrogels. By learning how to build hSAFs from scratch, the researchers are starting to understand how they might use these 3D scaffolds to support the growth of nerves, blood vessels and cartilage tailored to the needs of individual patients.

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In U.S., Prescription Drug Abuse Is Growing

(HealthDay News) The overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson in 2009 drew new attention to the abuse of prescription drugs in the United States.

And with that attention has come acknowledgment that it's become a widespread phenomenon.

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Senior-citizen volunteers fight Medicare fraud

(AP) The Senior Medicare Patrol is one of the least-known forces in the government's effort to eliminate such fraud, which drains billions of dollars a year. But it is seen as a valuable part of the Obama administration's bid to overhaul health care and bring down costs.

The 4,700 senior citizen volunteers who serve as the government's eyes and ears have been credited with saving taxpayers more than $100 million since 1997. The program relies on elderly people to apply a lifetime's worth of common sense and skepticism…

The patrol, which evolved from another program founded in 1995, now has at least one unit in every state…

"It really is detective work," said Barbara McGinity, director of the SMP in Houston.

Read more.

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New Year’s Dishes for Prosperity and Longevity

(Martha Rose Shulman, New York Times) I’ve always been curious about how people in other countries usher in the New Year.

Lentils and raisins are present on Italian tables because they resemble coins and swell when cooked. They’re usually accompanied by pork, a symbol of prosperity and abundance. In other parts of the world, different beans stand in for lentils — chickpeas in Provence, black-eyed peas in the American South — also because they’re small and round like coins, and expand when they cook.

Greens — spinach, collards, kale and cabbage — symbolize money (think greenbacks) and growth. Other foods that represent good fortune in the coming year include rice, golden foods like cornbread and saffron, and baked goods shaped like rings (often a coin is hidden inside).

Often sweets are eaten so that the year will be, yes, sweet. In Spain, Portugal and parts of Latin America, revelers dine on 12 sweet grapes, symbolizing the 12 months of the year, at midnight on December 31st. The Japanese believe in soba noodles, whose long, lean shape symbolizes health and longevity.

Fish symbolizes good luck in many cultures. Indeed, it strikes me that with the exception of some rich pastries, most of the good luck foods are also very good for you. Good luck does begin, after all, with good health.

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The mystery of Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet

(Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times) Taco Bell … has a new infomercial starring a woman named Christine Dougherty, who says she lost 54 pounds on what the company calls the Drive-Thru Diet – a nickname for the seven items, including tacos and burritos, that the chain is offering, each with less than 9 grams of fat.

Christine’s story is a little skimpy on the details – she says in her statement and video that she reduced her total daily calorie intake by 500 calories to 1,250 calories by choosing Fresco items and “making other sensible choices.”…

I’m guessing “other sensible choices,” such as eating carrots as a snack or holding the whipped cream on that caramel macchiato, had much more to do with Christine’s weight loss than the type of tacos that she ate…

[H]ealthful eating should not be all about the calorie counting — consumers could theoretically cut their calories in half while on a steady diet of milkshakes and pizza. Maintaining a healthy diet also requires keeping track of those pesky vitamins and minerals, which come from a balanced intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts and other protein. Take a look at the USDA’s revised food pyramid for a better idea of what ingredients a good meal should include, whether it’s home cooked or passed through a drive-through window.

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Why You Should Avoid Refined Foods

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Refined foods are highly processed foods that have been stripped of their original nutrient content and fiber. Refined white flour, white pasta, and white sugar are just some examples…

Consider a loaf of sliced white bread. First, the wheat is stripped of bran and fiber, and then it's pulverized into the finest white flour. The baking process puffs it up into light, airy slices of bread. No wonder your stomach makes such quick work of it. A slice of white bread hits your bloodstream with the same jolt you'd get by eating a tablespoon of sugar right from the bowl!

Genuine 100-percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, on the other hand — the coarse, chewy kind with a thick crust and visible pieces of grain — puts your stomach to work… [T]he sugars are released gradually into the bloodstream. If there's no sudden surge in blood sugar, your pancreas won't produce as much insulin, and you won't get the exaggerated hunger and cravings for more sugary and starchy carbs.

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Why Some Continue to Eat When Full

(Science Daily) The premise that hunger makes food look more appealing is a widely held belief -- just ask those who cruise grocery store aisles on an empty stomach, only to go home with a full basket and an empty wallet.

Prior research studies have suggested that the so-called hunger hormone ghrelin, which the body produces when it's hungry, might act on the brain to trigger this behavior. New research in mice by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists suggest that ghrelin might also work in the brain to make some people keep eating "pleasurable" foods when they're already full.

"What we show is that there may be situations where we are driven to seek out and eat very rewarding foods, even if we're full, for no other reason than our brain tells us to," said Dr. Jeffrey Zigman.

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Study Debunks Notion of 'Healthy Obese' Man

(HealthDay News) No man who is fat is truly healthy over the long term, a new study finds.

"There appears to be no such thing as metabolically healthy obesity," said a statement by Dr. Johan Arnlov…

Previous studies have found no increased cardiovascular risk in obese men who did not have the metabolic syndrome, giving rise to the notion that there was a "healthy obesity."

But the new report indicates that those studies didn't follow the participants long enough. Problems only become more evident after 15 years or so, the researchers found.

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Obesity may be linked to DDT exposure

(UPI) Researchers … looked at daughters ages 20-50 of 259 mothers who had eaten fish caught in Lake Michigan during pregnancy.

The expectant mothers were exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and DDE as a result of eating the lake fish from 1973-1991…

The study … finds a statistically significant association with prenatal DDE levels and increased body fat. PCBs did not seem to affect weight, the study says.

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Placebo beats black cohosh for hot flashes

(Reuters Health) Black cohosh and red clover are widely promoted as helping to ease menopausal and aging-related symptoms, but a rigorously performed study has found they are no better than placebo for treating hot flashes and night sweats.

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Study says tailored music therapy can ease tinnitus

(Reuters) Individually designed music therapy may help reduce noise levels in people suffering from tinnitus, or ear ringing, German scientists said on Monday.

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Brain training for fun, not mental fitness

(UPI) Brain training -- crossword puzzles, for example -- is recommended for those who enjoy it, researchers in Germany say.

The researchers … say brain training can lead to improvement in the specific ability it is aimed at but there is no scientific proof brain training improves overall mental fitness.

The study … concludes there is no need for people to push themselves to do brain training if it is not enjoyed.

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A stimulating suggestion for treating cocaine addiction

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Cocaine-addicted rats treated with deep brain stimulation were about half as willing as their untreated counterparts to press a lever over and over again to get a hit of the drug. When the researchers switched the two groups and began stimulating the brains of the “control” rats, they were the ones who lost some interest in pressing the lever, according to a study…

The scientists also found that untreated rats preferred to hang out in the place where they had previously gotten cocaine but had no particular preference to the area where they received food. In contrast, the rats who got deep brain stimulation were indifferent to the area associated with cocaine and instead hung around the place where they expected to be fed.

Deep brain stimulation is already used to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and is being tested for an array of problems, including traumatic brain injury, obesity, Alzheimer’s and chronic pain… Perhaps cocaine addiction will soon join that list.

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Vitamin C Boosts the Reprogramming of Adult Cells Into Stem Cells

(Science Daily) Famous for its antioxidant properties and role in tissue repair, vitamin C is touted as beneficial for illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer and perhaps even for slowing the aging process. Now, a study … uncovers an unexpected new role for this natural compound: facilitating the generation of embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells…

Although the reprogrammed cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), have tremendous potential for regenerative medicine, the conversion is extremely inefficient…

The researchers found that adding vitamin C, an essential nutrient that is abundant in citrus fruits, enhanced iPSC generation from both mouse and human cells…

"Our results highlight a simple way to improve iPSC generation and provide additional insight into the mechanistic basis of reprogramming," concludes Dr. [Duanqing] Pei. "It is also of interest that a vitamin with long-suspected anti-aging effects has such a potent influence on reprogramming, which can be considered a reversal of the aging process at the cellular level. It is likely that our work may stimulate further research in this area as well."

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Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture

(AP) Researchers say the overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has led to a plague of drug-resistant infections that killed more than 65,000 people in the U.S. last year — more than prostate and breast cancercombined. And in a nation that used about 35 million pounds of antibiotics last year, 70 percent of the drugs went to pigs, chickens and cows. Worldwide, it's 50 percent…

The rise in the use of antibiotics is part of a growing problem of soaring drug resistance worldwide, The Associated Press found in a six-month look at the issue. As a result, killer diseases like malaria, tuberculosisand staph are resurging in new and more deadly forms.

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Don't believe medical advice from Internet, celebs when ...

(USA Today) Before following any medical advice from the Internet, a celebrity or any other source, ... experts suggest that people think critically and talk to their doctors.

Jeffrey White of the National Cancer Institute says consumers also should watch out for these red flags:

1. A treatment is touted as a "cure," "miracle" or "breakthrough."…

2. There's no mention of side effects…

3. The promoter relies on anecdotes and personal testimonies…

4. There are no results from published clinical trials.

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Scientists Changing the Definition of 'Old'

(U.S. News & World Report) If there were a pill that could add two decades to your life, would you swallow it? Not if you're like most people scientist Matt Kaeberlein asks—they see it as an invitation to purgatory. "Why would I want to be old for an extra 20 years?" they say. But when the University of Washington longevity researcher dangles the prospect that those extra years would be spent spry and hale, not enfeebled and ill, they listen up.

Researchers like Kaeberlein are learning that the aging process—not only how long we live but how well—is remarkably elastic, and that it can be manipulated. The lives of lab animals have been dramatically stretched in several ways—by tweaking their genes, feeding them drugs, changing their diets—that seem to make them age more slowly while prolonging good health.

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Neutralize LDL with This Party Snack

(RealAge.com) [A]lmonds not only improve cholesterol levels but also help make LDL -- the bad cholesterol -- less likely to oxidize…

[O]xidized LDL is even more likely to gunk-up your arteries than the unoxidized kind, recent study results on almonds and LDL oxidation helped secure the nut's position in a heart-healthy diet. When older adults with high cholesterol ate a daily handful of almonds as part of a 4-week cholesterol-friendly diet, not only did the nut eaters suffer less bad-for-the-arteries LDL oxidation, but their LDL levels took a nosedive as well…

Other good news for the almond eaters: The study subjects' healthy (HDL) cholesterol rose. How do almonds do it? Researchers suspect that the vast array of flavonoids and phenols in the skins play a role -- so be sure to buy whole almonds with the skins on.

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The Fruit That Fights Metabolic Syndrome

(RealAge.com) There's a tart and juicy breakfast fruit that might help keep metabolic syndrome in check. We're talking about grapefruit.

In a study, obese people who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals showed improvements in two important measures related to the syndrome -- weight, and insulin response. Not only did the grapefruit eaters shed pounds, but their insulin resistance improved, too…

Metabolic syndrome is … characterized by a combination of five serious health problems that can jack up your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Insulin resistance -- where the body fails to use insulin properly -- is one of the more serious markers because it can lead to high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, and abdominal obesity make up the rest of the formula for metabolic syndrome…

You can improve every single metabolic risk factor with simple lifestyle changes, like these:

Move along. Yep. Exercise is an all-in-one tool for giving all five metabolic syndrome factors the heave-ho. Find out how exercise can help you even if you're new to the game.

Be regular. With your meals, that is. Here's how noshing throughout the day may keep belly fat and metabolic syndrome away.

Eat fat. The monounsaturated stuff. It can boost your healthy cholesterol levels in no time. Read this ultimate guide on good fats and bad fats.

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Five Exercises Can Reduce Neck, Shoulder Pain

(Science Daily) Strength training exercises using dumbbells can reduce pain and improve function in the trapezius muscle, the large muscle which extends from the back of the head, down the neck and into the upper back. The exercises also improve the muscle's ability to respond quickly and forcefully among women suffering trapezius myalgia, a tenderness and tightness in the upper trapezius muscle. The results are the latest findings from an ongoing Danish study aimed at reducing repetitive strain injury caused by office work.

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Want a great workout? Try drums

(McClatchy/Tribune News) Rock drummers, some claim, are finely tuned athletes, as fit as any long-distance runner…

A recent study by two British sports scientists measured the heart rate, oxygen consumption, lactic acid buildup and peak endurance of Blondie drummer Clem Burke over a 10-year period ending in 2007 to find out just how much energy he used in a gig.

The researchers from the University of Chichester and the University of Gloucestershire found that Burke's exertion rate during a 11/2-hour concert equaled that of a 10K runner or a professional soccer player.

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Community: But you might want to build a sound proof room to do it in.

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Resolution: Get a Deal on a Gym Membership

(New York Times) As health clubs ratchet up promotions during their busy season for new memberships, it pays to shop around.

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Community: Whereas walking in my neighborhood doesn’t cost anything.

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