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

Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction By Building Resilience

(Science Daily) People who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges, according to a new study…

“This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go,” said … the principal investigator… “Those small moments let positive emotions blossom, and that helps us become more open. That openness then helps us build resources that can help us rebound better from adversity and stress, ward off depression and continue to grow.”

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Community: I’ve had to train myself to appreciate the small things, small happinesses, like rubbing my cat’s stomach or playing with my dog. It’s not a new idea, by the way. It’s the lesson of the book of Ecclesiastes in the old testament, according to Rabbi Harold Kushner, in When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough (pp. 142-143 in the 1987 paperback edition):

What is life about? It is not about writing great books, amassing great wealth, achieving great power. It’s about loving and being loved. It is about enjoying your food and sitting in the sun… It is about savoring the beauty of moments that don’t last… There is no Answer, but there are answers: love and the joy of working, and the simple pleasures of food and fresh clothes, the little things that tend to get lost and trampled in the search for the Grand Solution to the Problem of Life and emerge, like the proverbial bluebird of happiness, only when we have stopped searching.

Apparently, I have to relearn this lesson almost every single day.

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Feeling Nostalgic? It's Good for You!

(RealAge.com) Family members and friends may live far away. Or a hectic lifestyle may leave you feeling isolated and make it hard to nurture relationships. So take time to comfort yourself by jotting down memories of supportive friends, favorite places, and unforgettable events (birthdays, weddings, vacations, etc.) from the past…

Having a good social support system of family and friends can make your RealAge up to 3.5 years younger.

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Community: One of the purposes of this blog is to provide a social support system for those of us who want to remain healthy.

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Active Video Games A Good Alternative To Moderate Exercise

(Science Daily) Scientists at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center have found that playing active video games can be as effective for children as moderate exercise…

[R]esearchers measured the heart rate, energy expenditure and self-reported exertion in children between ages 10-13 while they watched television, played active video games and walked on the treadmill at three different speeds.

Compared to watching television, the calories burned while gaming or walking increased 2- to 3-fold. Similarly, high rates of energy expenditure, heart rate and perceived exertion were elicited from playing Wii boxing, Dance Dance Revolution Level 2 or walking at 3.5 mph.

Wii bowling and beginner level DDR elicited a 2-fold increase in energy expenditure compared to television watching.

Read more.

Community: I should think the results would be similar for us older folks. But I don’t need to spend money on a gaming device and software to exercise when I watch TV. I do isometric exercises. How about you?

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Dietary Oils May Help Some Fight Fat

(HealthDay News) For certain people, dietary oil supplements could help ward off unwanted fat, according to a new study.

Obese older women with type 2 diabetes who added safflower oil or conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplements to their diet either decreased their body mass index or boosted their muscle mass, researchers found.

"I don't think it's a magic bullet, but I think it could have enhancing effects," said the study's lead author.

Read more.

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Clean Up Indoor Air with These Plants

(RealAge.com) Pick up these natural air allies from your local nursery: philodendrons, spider plants, and ivy.

They are just a few of the green friends that can help scrub harmful compounds from household air. Just one plant per 100 square feet of living space will help absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

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New Option for Correcting Nearsightedness

(HealthDay News) Nearsighted people who can't have laser-assisted eye surgery may benefit from implantable lenses made of a collagen-like substance, say Japanese researchers.

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A New Understanding of Glaucoma

(New York Times) Glaucoma isn’t simply an eye disease, experts now say, but rather a degenerative nerve disorder, not unlike Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease…

What’s clear is that glaucoma begins with injury to the optic nerve as it exits the back of the eye. The damage then spreads, moving from one nerve cell to adjoining nerve cells…

While scientists search for better treatments for glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness, people can take action to give themselves the best chance: get a regular glaucoma screening exam, and if glaucoma is diagnosed, take the treatment regimen seriously. Your sight depends on it.

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Set Of Genes Contributes To Stress; Possible Drug-Taking Behavior Discovered

(Science Daily) A ... researcher has found a set of genes that modulates stress responses that could cause some people to take drugs, specifically alcohol consumption…

The study is the first to pinpoint a region on the chromosomes that could be responsible for modulating stress responses involved in complex behaviors like drug abuse.

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The calorie delusion: Why food labels are wrong

(New Scientist) [A]ccording to a small band of researchers, using the information on food labels to estimate calorie intake could be a very bad idea. They argue that calorie estimates on food labels are based on flawed and outdated science, and provide misleading information on how much energy your body will actually get from a food. Some food labels may over or underestimate this figure by as much as 25 per cent, enough to foil any diet, and over time even lead to obesity. As the western world's waistlines expand at an alarming rate, they argue, it is time consumers were told the true value of their food.

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Get Your Sex Drive Back

(Prevention Magazine) Can you remember the last time you couldn’t wait to get home and shimmy between the sheets?

Was it last week, last month? Last...year? We get it: Sometimes it’s easier to give into your excuses—I’m too tired, let’s just do it this weekend, it doesn’t even feel that great to begin with. But we don’t need to tell you that sex is essential for a healthy marriage—and also a healthy you. Research shows that a happy sex life can stamp out stress, reduce heart disease risk, and even improve immunity. But enough of the nonsexy talk. Try just one of these libido-lifting tricks today. You can thank us later.

Read more.

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5 All-Star Health Supplements

(Prevention Magazine) Dietary supplements have officially gone mainstream:

About two-thirds of Americans take them, and over three-quarters of doctors recommend dietarysupplements to patients, according to recent surveys. Among the dizzying array of natural products found on pharmacy and health food store shelves, we've uncovered five truly outstanding complementary treatments in pill form that hold up to scientific scrutiny just as well as prescription drugs do.

For Everyone: Fish Oil… Omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, more commonly known as EPA and DHA) found in salmon, tuna, and other fish appear to increase heart health and fight cardiac death by stabilizing the heart's electrical system. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure and triglycerides, slowing arterial plaque buildup, and easing systemic inflammation…

For Everyone: Vitamin D… More than 1,000 human and lab studies indicate that vitamin D not only augments calcium absorption but may also ward off breast, colorectal, ovarian, and other cancers. And getting too little vitamin D could cause premature death from heart disease, according to a recent study…

For People with High Cholesterol: Reducol… Plant sterol and stanol compounds in a healthy diet can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by as much as 20%--comparable to the effects of statin drugs. But the small amounts in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds aren't always enough to provide the 2 g daily of sterols and stanols the AHA suggests for people with high cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Foods containing manufactured sterol/stanol blends such as Reducol can help … but Reducol pills may help as well…

For People with Tummy Trouble: Culturelle… The only US dietary supplement containing the active culture Lacto- bacillus GG (LGG), it acts directly on the immune system and helps ward off viral illness; replaces good bacteria killed in the intestines during antibiotic therapy; and keeps harmful bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other infectious microorganisms in check…

For People with Joint Pain: Pycnogenol… This French maritime pine bark extract is cited in more than 200 studies and continues to impress researchers. In two recent trials, osteoarthritis patients who took Pycnogenol for 3 months reduced their pain and stiffness by 35 to 55% and needed fewer drugs such as NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors.

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Upping Intake of Omega 3s

(Arthur Agatston, MD, Everyday Health) According to a scientific statement published by the American Heart Association in its journal Circulation, members of the association’s nutrition committee concluded that “omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.” And studies have shown that eating a diet rich in omega-3s can help lower triglycerides…

Unfortunately, it is estimated that the average American consumes only about 23 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. This is far lower than the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommendation that adults get at least 650 to 950 milligrams of EPA and DHA and 2.22 grams of ALA daily. Moreover, for adults with coronary heart disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends getting 1 gram daily of EPA and DHA from an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (such as fish oils). And for those with high cholesterol levels, the AHA recommends getting 2 to 4 grams daily of EPA and DHA in the form of a fish oil supplement. For healthy adults, the AHA simply recommends eating fish at least twice a week, a number that seems way too conservative to me.

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Triglycerides: 6 Tips for Managing Your Levels

(U.S. News & World Report) Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. They are found in the blood and serve as a primary source of energy. When you eat, your body stores excess calories as triglycerides to be used later, say between meals. If you regularly consume more calories than your body can burn, your triglyceride level may be high, putting you at risk for heart disease. Excess triglycerides in the plasma create a condition known as hypertriglyceridemia. Besides diet, certain diseases and conditions can contribute to high triglyceride levels, including poorly controlled diabetes, drinking too much alcohol, thyroid problems, and kidney disease. Medications that are thought to effect triglyceride levels include Tamoxifin, Beta-blockers, steroids, diuretics, and birth-control pills…

The best way to lower triglyceride levels is through lifestyle changes. Here are six steps to put you on the road to a healthier life:

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight…

2. Avoid Sugar…

3. Exercise Regularly…

4. Avoid Alcohol…

5. Choose Healthy Fats…

6. Avoid Trans Fats

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Vitamin D, Curcumin May Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found In Alzheimer's Disease

(Science Daily) [S]cientists … have found that a form of vitamin D, together with a chemical found in turmeric spice called curcumin, may help stimulate the immune system to clear the brain of amyloid beta, which forms the plaques considered the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

The early research findings … may lead to new approaches in preventing and treating Alzheimer's by utilizing the property of vitamin D3 — a form of vitamin D — both alone and together with natural or synthetic curcumin to boost the immune system in protecting the brain against amyloid beta.

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Colonoscopy Beats 'Camera Pill' at Catching Colon Cancer

(HealthDay News) Researchers had high hopes for a minimally invasive cancer-screening technique known as capsule endoscopy, but the "camera pill" appears to be less effective than standard colonoscopy at identifying precancerous polyps and cancer, new research from Belgium suggests.

Although able to identify many lesions and cancers, the relative underperformance of capsule endoscopy -- in which a patient swallows a tiny, battery-operated, excretable capsule fitted with a double-sided video camera -- suggests that for now the more invasive colonoscopy should remain the gold standard for colorectal cancer detection.

"Although this study shows encouraging results, the use of the colon capsule can not be recommended at this stage for colon screening," said study lead author Dr. Andre Van Gossum.

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Vein Removal Method Linked to Bypass Results

(HealthDay News) A study originally designed for a completely different purpose has unearthed a disturbing finding about coronary artery bypass surgery: The way that the vein used for the bypass is removed from the body appears to affect the long-term outcome of the surgery.

People whose veins are removed by the minimally invasive technique called endoscopic harvesting had higher rates of bypass failure, heart attacks and death, according to a report.

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Trojan Horse For Ovarian Cancer: Nanoparticles Turn Immune System Soldiers Against Tumor Cells

(Science Daily) In a feat of trickery, Dartmouth Medical School immunologists have devised a Trojan horse to help overcome ovarian cancer, unleashing a surprise killer in the surroundings of a hard-to-treat tumor.

Using nanoparticles--ultra small bits-- the team has reprogrammed a protective cell that ovarian cancers have corrupted to feed their growth, turning the cells back from tumor friend to foe. Their research … offers a promising approach to orchestrate an attack against a cancer whose survival rates have barely budged over the last three decades.

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Early-life Experience Linked To Chronic Diseases Later In Life

(Science Daily) People’s early-life experience sticks with them into adulthood and may render them more susceptible to many of the chronic diseases of aging, according to a new … study…

This pattern of responses might contribute to the higher rates of infectious, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases as well as some forms of cancer among people who grow up in low-SES [socioeconomic status] households, according to the interdisciplinary research team…

“It seems to be the case that if people are raised in a low socioeconomic family, their immune cells are constantly vigilant for threats from the environment,” says [researcher Gregory] Miller. “This is likely to have consequences for their risk for late-life chronic diseases.”

Read more.

Community: This study does not mean, however, that those of us who grew up in low-SES households must succumb to chronic disease. It only means that we need to be more vigilant than others in taking preventive measures, like eating properly, getting enough sleep and exercise, and so on. And doing that will also help stop cognitive decline (see below).

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'Heart Healthy' Diet And Ongoing, Moderate Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Decline

(Science Daily) Eating a "heart healthy" diet and maintaining or increasing participation in moderate physical activity may help preserve our memory and thinking abilities as we age, according to new research…

"We can't do anything about aging or family history, but research continues to show us that there are lifestyle decisions we all can make to keep our brains healthier, and that also may lower our risk of memory decline as we age," said William Thies … at the Alzheimer's Association.

Read more.

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Walking, biking to work linked with better fitness

(AP) Walking or biking to work, even part way, is linked with fitness, but very few Americans do it, according to a study of more than 2,000 middle-aged city dwellers.

In what may be the first large U.S. study of health and commuting, the researchers found only about 17 percent of workers walked or bicycled any portion of their commute.

Those active commuters did better on treadmill tests of fitness, even when researchers accounted for their leisure-time physical activity levels, suggesting commuter choices do make a difference.

For men in the study, but not women, the active commuters also had healthier numbers for body mass index,blood pressure, insulin and blood fats called triglycerides. Women walked or biked shorter distances and they may have done so less vigorously, the authors speculated.

Crumbling sidewalks, lack of bike paths and sheer distances all keep American commuters in their cars, experts said.

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Community: Provisions in the health care legislation now being considered in Congress would include money for parks and paths to facilitate outdoor recreation.

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Obesity Contributes To Rapid Cartilage Loss

(Science Daily) Obesity, among other factors, is strongly associated with an increased risk of rapid cartilage loss, according to a study…

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 27 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and, in severe cases, can completely wear away, leaving the joint without a cushion. The bones rub together, causing further damage, significant pain and loss of mobility.

The best way to prevent or slow cartilage loss and subsequent disability is to identify risk factors early.

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New Culprit Behind Obesity's Ill Metabolic Consequences

(Science Daily) Obesity very often leads to insulin resistance, and now researchers … have uncovered another factor behind that ill consequence. The newly discovered culprit—a protein known as pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF for short)—is secreted by fat cells. They also report evidence to suggest that specifically blocking that protein's action may reverse some of the health complications that come with obesity…

Elevated PEDF is also associated with increased release of fatty acids from fat stores, which causes blood lipid levels to rise. That "dyslipidemia" may be associated with other complications including cardiovascular disease.

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New Doubts About Fasting Leading To Longer Lives Based On Study In Flies

(Science Daily) [T]he results so far suggest that some skepticism might be in order regarding climbing aboard the caloric-restriction bandwagon, [one of the researchers] said. "There's evidence that caloric restriction seems to rev up various individual components of the immune system," he said, "but in the few studies where diet-restricted animals actually have been infected experimentally, they fared poorly."

In their study's conclusions, the authors write, "The work reported here should raise a cautionary flag, as it demonstrates that diet restriction can have complex effects on the realized immune response of a diet-restricted animal." Attempts to extend life span through dietary restriction, or mimicking this process by gulping a pill, could thus be counterproductive, as the value of diminished appetite to an animal's survival may vary with the infecting microbe.

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When Eating Disorders Strike in Midlife

(New York Times) No one has precise statistics on who is affected by eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, often marked by severe weight loss, or binge eating, which can lead to obesity. But experts say that in the past 10 years they are treating an increasing number of women over 30 who are starving themselves, abusing laxatives, exercising to dangerous extremes and engaging in all of the self-destructive activities that had, for so long, been considered teenage behaviors.

The recent surge in older women at eating disorder clinics is not a reflection of failed treatment, experts say, but rather a signal that these disorders may crop up at any age. But while some diagnoses, like Ms. Hodgin’s, are not made until these women are in their 40s, they may have battled food issues for years…

Unlike teenagers, who often must be coerced into treatment, many older women come on their own accord. One of the greatest motivators is having a teenage daughter, because many parents start to worry that their child may mimic their behavior, said Craig Johnson, director of the Eating Disorders Program at Laureate Psychiatric Hospital in Tulsa.

Another reason that older women may be more likely to enter treatment is that after years of anorexia or bulimia, they finally realize that their coping strategies backfired. What they thought would bring happiness never did.

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Small drinks promise big energy, but experts say effects unclear

(CNN) From supermarkets to the office supply store, it's hard to miss those tiny bottles of 5-hour Energy…

Each 2-ounce bottle contains zero grams of sugar, 4 calories and about the same amount of caffeine as a small coffee. It also contains about a dozen ingredients that are broken down into B vitamins (B3, B6, B9, B12) and what the manufacturer lists as an "energy blend."

But don't expect superhuman results, one expert said…

The overall health impact of the shots' energy blend is a little fuzzy, according to some experts, because little data has been collected about the effectiveness or safety of the natural compounds.

Read more.

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Cancer and Supplements: What Vitamins, Herbs, and Botanicals Can (and Can't) Do

(U.S. News & World Report) Few things in medicine get simpler the more you investigate them, and the use of vitamins, minerals, and herbal and botanical supplements to prevent or treat cancer is no exception. Recent clinical trials, for example, suggest that supplements of single nutrients like vitamins B, C, and E and the mineral selenium do not, as once thought, prevent chronic or age-related diseases including prostate and other kinds of cancer. Some substances, like green tea and ginger, seem to have potential in preventing or helping to treat cancer, but they may also actually interfere with treatment or have other serious side effects. Meantime, countless substances that kill or slow the growth of cancer cells in a test tube have not shown that same success in human beings.

What's going on? As it turns out, the question of whether—and in what form—nutrients can be extracted from food or plants and used to fight cancer is quite complex. Researchers in this young field are probing the connections and contradictions but have not yet found answers to the question of what vitamins, herbs, or botanicals may help prevent, treat, or ameliorate symptoms of cancer.

Read more.

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Combination Therapy Best for Aggressive Prostate Cancer

(HealthDay News) Men with aggressive prostate cancer who have brachytherapy alone are more likely to die than those who receive a combination of treatments, new findings show.

In brachytherapy, radioactive "seeds" are implanted in the tumor.

"Despite the increasing numbers of men worldwide who choose to undergo brachytherapy alone for their high-risk prostate cancer, the evidence supporting this treatment method alone based on survival data from randomized trials is lacking," [the] lead researcher … said in a news release from the hospital.

"In order to get the highest cure rate for men with high-risk prostate cancer, it appears that five weeks of external beam radiation and at least four months of hormonal therapy should be added to brachytherapy," he added.

Read more.

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Hormone Therapy Increases Odds of Ovarian Cancer

(HealthDay News) -- Women who take hormone replacement therapy or have taken it in the recent past have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, suggests new research…

The absolute risk for any one woman is still quite small, however. The researchers calculated that for every 8,300 women, hormone therapy would result in one extra case of ovarian cancer a year.

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Condoms May Reduce Herpes Risk

(HealthDay News) People who use condoms regularly can reduce their risk of getting genital herpes by 30 percent, a new study finds…

"Condoms work for herpes," said study author Emily T. Martin…

"Even though the decrease is smaller than you would see with some other STDs, the evidence from previous studies has been unclear whether using a condom to prevent getting herpes was going to be effective, but this shows that it is," she said.

Using condoms reduces herpes transmission by only 30 percent because, unlike other STDs, herpes is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, Martin explained.

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Four-letter words may relieve pain

Cursing after you feel pain may help you bear it more, a small study of college students suggests.

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Citrus-derived Flavonoid Prevents Obesity, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A flavonoid derived from citrus fruit has shown tremendous promise for preventing weight gain and other signs of metabolic syndrome which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study … looked at a flavonoid (plant-based bioactive molecule) called naringenin.

In the study one group of mice was fed a high-fat (western) diet to induce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A second group was fed the exact same diet and treated with naringenin. Naringenin corrected the elevations in triglyceride and cholesterol, prevented the development of insulin resistance and completely normalized glucose metabolism. The researchers found it worked by genetically reprogramming the liver to burn up excess fat, rather than store it.

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Bust Your Rut!

(Prevention Magazine) You ate better, exercised more, and watched with joy as the pounds began to drop off—until, that is, the scale just stopped. A weight loss plateau is undeniably frustrating, but it's also normal. Our experts worked with three women stuck in the same rut to help them adjust their routines and restart their fat-burning engines. Their advice can help you reach your weight loss goals too.

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Keep Skin Smooth with This Salad Ingredient

(RealAge.com) Ever had a sinister little bump or growth removed from your skin? Eating these might help keep that spot from coming back: leafy greens.

In people with a history of squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, a diet high in leafy greens was associated with a reduced risk of another round of the disease.

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Cholesterol???How Low Should It Go?

(Arthur Agatston, MD, Everyday Health) If you have established heart disease or are at high risk, aggressive cholesterol lowering is beneficial no matter what cholesterol levels you start with. There are a number of studies that demonstrate this…

Despite these studies, some physicians and researchers believe that using medications to lower cholesterol to very low levels may be dangerous. As far as I'm concerned, there is a danger, but it is from the high levels of cholesterol caused by our modern lifestyle, not the low levels we get by using cholesterol-lowering drugs. Newborns and people living in most preindustrial societies have a "normal" total cholesterol level of 120 mg/dL or less. In the United States, our "normal" is about 200 mg/dL. From my perspective, one could say that aggressive statin therapy simply reduces cholesterol to "natural" levels…

The ultimate level, of course, varies from patient to patient. One patient with an LDL cholesterol of 160 mg/dL might have little or no plaque and not require a statin. Another with the very same cholesterol level but a more significant amount of plaque might benefit from aggressive statin treatment.

However, you can get some idea of what your doctor might advise by referring to the NCEP guidelines for LDL cholesterol. The higher your LDL level, the greater your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. (You are at the highest risk if you have diabetes or known heart disease.)

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Pesticide Levels In Blood Linked To Parkinson's Diseasen

(Science Daily) People with Parkinson’s disease have significantly higher blood levels of a particular pesticide than healthy people or those with Alzheimer’s disease, researchers … have found.

[They] found the pesticide beta-HCH (hexachlorocyclohexane) in 76 percent of people with Parkinson’s, compared with 40 percent of healthy controls and 30 percent of those with Alzheimer’s.

The finding might provide the basis for a beta-HCH blood test to identify individuals at risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. The results also point the way to more research on environmental causes of Parkinson’s.

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Tips To Help Parents Who Want To Age In Place

(The Best Life, U.S. News & World Report) [F]rom a Boomerater member: “My mom and dad are in their 70's and are in good health. They have told me they would never consider leaving the home they have lived in since they were married and raised all five of their children. With the high cost associated with assisted living and the loss they will probably take in the real estate market, I can also see the financial benefit of their staying in their home. I’d like to hear from other boomers who have helped their parents stay in their homes successfully. What are the modifications to make the home safe and what else should be considered?”

Make a strategic plan. They should consult a financial planner and develop a budget for current and changing financial needs…

Carefully review the floor plan of the house. If they can’t do this objectively, hire an architect, residential designer or accessibility contractor to look at the existing floor plan and see how it could be made fully accessible through retro-fitting modifications…

Tackling Transportation. Another Boomerater member wrote that one of the biggest dilemmas their parents faced while they stayed in their home was losing the ability to drive to doctors, veterinarians, senior centers, etc.

Read more.

Community: There’s a good resource for for aging in place, Aging Home Health Care.

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Enzyme Important In Aging Identified

(Science Daily) The secret to longevity may lie in an enzyme with the ability to promote a robust immune system into old age by maintaining the function of the thymus throughout life, according to researchers studying an "anti-aging" mouse model that lives longer than a typical mouse.

The study, led by Abbe de Vallejo, Ph.D…, reports that the novel mouse model has a thymus that remains intact throughout its life. In all mammals, the thymus―the organ that produces T cells to fight disease and infection―degenerates with age…

"These findings give us hope that we may one day have the ability to restore the function of the thymus in old age, or perhaps by intervening at an early age, we may be able to delay or even prevent the degeneration of the thymus in order to maintain our immune defenses throughout life," said Dr. de Vallejo.

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How to De-Stress a Recession-Riddled Life

(HealthDay News) Recessions are bad for the stress level, as many in the midst of the current economic situation know and surveys prove.

Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly half of the 1,791 adults polled for the American Psychological Association's latest Stress in America survey said that their stress had increased in the past year. As a result, more than half reported fatigue, 60 percent said they were irritable or angry, and more than half said they lie awake at night because of stress.

Read more, including recommended coping strategies.

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Older men with bladder issues at risk of falling

(Reuters Health) - Elderly men with moderate or severe bladder problems are at increased risk of suffering a fall, new research suggests.

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14 Medical Pioneers on the Cutting Edge

(U.S. News & World Report) In 25 or 50 or 75 years, maybe today's scourges—cancer, heart disease, diabetes—will have receded into medical lore as 21st-century versions of childbirth fever (it once killed a quarter of the women who delivered at some hospitals) or tuberculosis (the cause of 1 in 4 deaths in Europe in the first half of the 20th century).

If so, thanks will be owed to medical pioneers like the 14 you can read about here—smart, imaginative, and impatient with conventional boundaries. Such cutting-edge scientists are also increasingly well funded, thanks to the new emphasis by the White House and Congress on research. The National Institutes of Health is pumping $10 billion in stimulus funds into the nation's labs, along with some $24 billion already budgeted. Much of the money will go to programs that face steep odds but that, like all long shots, will pay off big if they succeed.

These 14 pioneers have long been deep into such projects, from searching for a way to erase traumatic memories to building new body parts from scratch—long enough that some, like the use of an electromagnet to treat severe depression, deserve a term that researchers hate to use: breakthrough.

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Savoring Happy Moments Helps Build Emotional Strength

(HealthDay News) Taking time to appreciate the positive things that happen in your daily life can help boost your overall satisfaction and build resilience to cope with tough times, study findings show.

Read more.

Community: Feeling good doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to make a point of doing things that make me feel good. Do you have that problem? If so, what are some of the things you do to promote your feel-good brain chemicals?

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Obesity emerges as risk factor in severe flu

(Reuters) People who are obese but otherwise healthy may be at special risk of severe complications and death from the new H1N1 swine flu virus, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

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Diets Bad For The Teeth Are Also Bad For The Body

(Science Daily) Dental disease may be a wake-up call that your diet is harming your body.

"The five-alarm fire bell of a tooth ache is difficult to ignore," says Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel… Beyond the immediate distress, dental pain may portend future medical problems. It may be a warning that the high-glycemic diet that led to dental problems in the short term may, in the long term, lead to potentially serious chronic diseases.

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Elevated Insulin Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk

(Science Daily) Elevated insulin levels in the blood appear to raise the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to researchers…

While these results require confirmation from other studies, [Geoffrey Kabat, Ph.D.] notes that the current recommendations for reducing breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women — including maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical exercise — can help to reduce insulin levels.

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Quit Smoking: Pre-cessation Patch Doubles Quit Success Rate

(Science Daily) Using a nicotine patch before quitting smoking can double success rates, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers. They say their latest data suggest changes should be made to nicotine patch labeling…

The current labeling resulted from concerns that using a patch while smoking could lead to nicotine overdose. However, a literature review found concurrent use of a nicotine patch and cigarette smoking appears to be safe.

"People who use the patch before quitting are likely to spontaneously reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke because the patch satisfies their need for nicotine and makes the act of smoking less enjoyable," he says. It also decreases withdrawal symptoms.

"Yet people are afraid to try a pre-cessation patch because the current labeling recommends users not smoke while on treatment," [the lead author of the paper] says. "That's why our study is so important. It reinforces the findings of previous studies, which show the value of pre-cessation patch therapy, and demonstrates that using a pre-cessation nicotine patch can make a significant difference in a person's ability to quit."

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Community: Don’t try this on your own, considering the risk!

What the patch did for me was to get me used to an even level of brain chemicals, rather than the rush I got when (sometimes) smoking a cigarette. I decided that the smoke was worse for me than the nicotine, and I gave myself permission to stay on each level of the patch as long as I needed to. I stayed on each of three levels for about two months, and after two months on the lowest level, I started forgetting to put the patch on in the morning. I decided then that I could quit the patches.

I have to say that eating, especially a craving for sweets, has been more of a problem since I quit smoking 11 years ago, so now it’s time to deal with that! It took many tries to quit smoking, and I’m assuming it will take many tries to adopt better eating habits.

Did you quit smoking? If so, what worked for you?

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