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How to squash worry and grab more happiness

(Health.com) These days it can feel like the age of anxiety is winning over the pursuit of happiness. An uncertain economy and the swine flu are just the tip of our worry iceberg…

Here's your recipe for a more joyful life…

1. Find your joy
One of the keys to finding happiness in tough times is "simply being aware of what is happening right now, without wishing it were different," says James Baraz, a meditation instructor and founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. That may require a little less multi tasking and worrying and more stopping to smell the roses, says Lori Hilt, an anxiety specialist at the University of Wisconsin

2. Lighten up
Looking for joy means looking for reasons to smile. Happily, just the act of smiling makes you happy!...

3. Get moving
Physical activity is a power ful ally to greater well-being and joy. "Exercise, yoga, or any kind of regular movement helps get you out of your head," Baraz says. "In addition to being a healthy activity, it triggers endorphins that have a profound effect on lifting your spirits. It makes you come alive."…

4. Look for a joy buddy
It's harder to be happy when you're isolated. That's why Baraz suggests that you find a partner in your pursuit of happiness, what he calls a "joy buddy." Having someone rooting for your well-being and reminding you to look for the good in your life is a very effective way to stay on track, he says…

5. Practice being happy
Most people discover that happiness isn't related to objects or experiences, though those things can give us fleeting pleasure, says Baraz, whose book Awakening Joy will be out in January. "Studies show that happiness comes with certain states of mind and heart, such as generosity, kindness, or gratitude," he says. Getting there may take practice, but the more you consciously focus on the feeling of joy -- whether it comes from giving a compliment or laughing out loud with your kids --the more deeply that feeling will register and the happier you'll be…

6. Do a song or dance (really)
If an apple a day keeps the doc away, Baraz would say a song does, too. He believes that singing is one of the surest roads to finding joy.

"It's hard to stay in a funk if you're singing regularly," he says, and research bears him out…

7. Be very still
Regularly taking a little quiet time -- meditating or perhaps sipping a warm cup of tea -- helps you appreciate the moment and your life, Baraz says. "Being still reminds you that life isn't about racing as fast as you can to get to the end of your to-do list."

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Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving

(HealthDay News) Simple measures such as starting a walking group or creating pedestrian-friendly routes can encourage people to walk more, a new study has found…

"The built environment influences opportunities for physical activity through access to trails, parks, recreation centers and walkable streets, as does the social environment, such as having opportunities to walk with others," the researchers wrote.

Community design should take into account ways to encourage walking, the study authors noted, and interventions to change people's behavioral habits need to be considered.

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Weight lifting aids breast cancer patients

(UPI) Weight lifting has multiple benefits for breast cancer survivors, U.S. researchers said.

The study … found breast cancer survivors who lift weights regularly feel better about their bodies and appearance and are more satisfied with their intimate relationships compared with survivors who did not lift weights.

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Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right

(HealthDay News) Getting enough sleep can help you make healthier food choices, researchers say…

"Sleep duration and sleep quality are contributing factors to increasing chronic disease trends, in that insufficient sleep duration and sleep disruption have been linked to weight gain, diabetes and early mortality in the long term," the study authors wrote. "Our findings suggest that sleep adequacy, by enhancing [healthy] dietary choices, is one means by which workplace factors may influence chronic disease risk."

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Diet of colorful foods boosts immunity

(UPI) [A] study … found eight in 10 Americans are missing out on the health benefits of a diet rich in colorful fruits and veggies -- resulting in a phytonutrient gap…

Foods in the red category -- tomatoes, pomegranate, red cabbage, cranberries, even pink grapefruit -- boost immune systems and support heart health, [the report] says.

The health benefits of foods in the yellow/orange category -- carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and pineapple -- also boost immunity and help vision and heart health as well as maintain skin hydration.

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Steaming food may reduce chronic disease

(UPI) Inflammatory markers declined by as much as 60 percent in those eating poached, stewed or steamed meals, U.S. researchers found…

The study … suggested [that] inflammation linked to oxidants -- in particular those that proliferate in fried, grilled or baked food -- may overwhelm the body's defenses.

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Health Fears Are Nothing to Sneeze At

(HealthDay News) It may sound hard to believe, but just one sneeze is enough to increase your fear not just of contracting flu, but also of dying from a heart attack at an early age, dying from an accident or being the victim of a fatal crime, new research shows.

Of greater concern, however, was that people who'd just been exposed to a sneezing actor were three times as likely to want to spend $1.3 billion on the development of a flu vaccine instead of creating jobs in "green" industries than those who hadn't been near someone sneezing.

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Swine flu vaccine supplies are growing, but flu is still spreading

(Los Angeles Times) More than 38 million doses of vaccine against pandemic H1N1 influenza are now available for ordering, 11 million more than were available last week and double the number available two weeks ago, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today. Another 8 million doses are expected to arrive next week "if everything goes well," according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "That is progress. ... As supplies increase, things should go better."

About 91 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine have also been shipped, and manufacturers expect to ship a record 114 million doses before the season is over, she said.

Widespread influenza activity is being seen in 48 states "and virtually everything is H1N1," she noted. Influenza-like illnesses last week accounted for 7.7% of visits to doctors' offices last week, down slightly from 8% the week before. "That's way higher than we would normally see at this time of year."

More than half of the hospitalizations continue to be in people under are 25, and 90% of the deaths are in people under 65, she said. In a typical flu season, the vast majority of deaths are in those over 65.

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Testosterone relevant to women's health

(UPI) Higher levels of testosterone, the principal male sex hormone, but present in women, may put women at greater heart risk, U.S. researchers said.

The study … found women with the highest testosterone levels -- in the top 25 percent of this study group -- were three times as likely to have coronary heart disease compared to women with lower testosterone levels.

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Pay Less for Prescription Drugs

(HealthDay News) The recession has made it more difficult than ever before for many Americans to afford prescription medications, but several options are available, according to an expert from Butler University in Indianapolis.

First, talk to your pharmacist, advised Carriann Richey… Pharmacists may be able to recommend a lower-cost generic drug or an alternative, less expensive drug. Many pharmacies have low-cost options such as $4 generics or free antibiotics and prenatal vitamins. If your pharmacy doesn't have this program, ask if they will match other pharmacies' lower pricing, Richey suggested.

Read more, including additional strategies.

Community: Be sure to ask about the matching price, and you may have to ask every time you get a refill. At least that’s what I’ve found.

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FDA warns against erectile dysfunction supplement

(Los Angeles Times) The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that Stiff Nights, a "dietary supplement" used to promote erections, contains an illegal drug and is potentially dangerous.

Following a complaint, the FDA investigated the product and found that it contains sulfoaildenafil, an analog of sildenafil -- the active ingredient in Viagra -- that has not been approved. Sulfoaildenafil may interact with prescription drugs called nitrates, including nitrogylcerin, producing dangerously low blood pressure.

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Stem Cells May Offer Alternative to Lung Transplants

(HealthDay News) Belgian scientists who used embryonic stem cells to create lung tissue say this technique could provide an alternative to lung transplants for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis.

This is the first time it's been shown that embryonic stem cells can be converted into airway epithelial-like cells without the use of specific growth factors or embryoid body formation.

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1930s Drug Slows Tumor Growth: Gonorrhea Medication Might Help Fight Cancer

(Science Daily) Drugs sometimes have beneficial side effects. A glaucoma treatment causes luscious eyelashes. A blood pressure drug also aids those with a rare genetic disease. The newest surprise discovered by researchers … is a gonorrhea medication that might help battle cancer.

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Health-centered Weight Control Method Shows Promise

(Science Daily) Most weight-control strategies emphasize energy-restricted diets and increased physical activity – and most are not effective over the long term. In a study of a "weight-acceptance" intervention…, researchers found that there could be long-term beneficial effects on certain eating behaviors using a weight- acceptance intervention approach.

In a shift from the traditional "weight-centered" approach to a more "health-centered" approach, a new weight paradigm called "Health-At-Every-Size" (HAES) argues that health is related to behaviors independently of body weight status. HAES approaches do not focus on weight loss and instead focus on a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on size acceptance and non-dieting.

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How Saturated Fatty Acids 'Anger' The Immune System

(Science Daily) Researchers have new evidence to explain how saturated fatty acids, which soar in those who are obese, can lead the immune system to respond in ways that add up to chronic, low-grade inflammation. The new results could lead to treatments designed to curb that inflammatory state, and the insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes that come with it.

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Genes Linked to 'Pot' Belly

(HealthDay News) -- New research sheds light on the possible link between the genes you inherit and the size of your belly…

The researchers followed 1,754 French people for seven and a half years, tracking what they ate. They found that having any one of five genetic traits doubled the risk that a person would have abdominal obesity, and that eating a lot of saturated fats boosted the risk even more. But they also found that having one of the genetic traits didn't boost the risk of metabolic syndrome…

When it comes to obesity, the factors of genetics, diet and exercise -- or lack thereof -- are indeed "highly entangled," said study co-author Dr. Richard Planells.

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Community: But as we’ve seen, genetics isn’t destiny when it comes to heart disease. Even if it were feasible to test us for this gene, it would only confirm that we’d have to work harder to stop its effects.

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Sleep Apnea Therapy Improves Golf Game

(Science Daily) Golfers who undergo treatment for sleep apnea may improve their golf game as well as their overall health, shows new research.

A new study … found that golfers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who received nasal positive airway pressure (NPAP) for their disorder improved their daytime sleepiness scores and lowered their golf handicap by as much as three strokes. Researchers suggest that the possibility of improving your golf game may be a significant motivator to improve NPAP compliance rates among golfers.

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Green Tea Shows Promise As Chemoprevention Agent For Oral Cancer

(Science Daily) Green tea extract has shown promise as cancer prevention agent for oral cancer in patients with a pre-malignant condition known as oral leukoplakia, according to researchers.

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Neural Stem Cells In Mice Affected By Gene Associated With Longevity

(Science Daily) A gene associated with longevity in roundworms and humans has been shown to affect the function of stem cells that generate new neurons in the adult brain, according to researchers… The study in mice suggests that the gene may play an important role in maintaining cognitive function during aging.

Unlike your skin or your intestine, your adult brain doesn't make a lot of new cells. But those it does are critical to learning, memory and spatial awareness. To meet these demands, your brain maintains two small caches of neural stem cells, which can both self-renew and give rise to neurons and other cells known as oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Properly balancing these functions allows you to generate new nerve cells as needed while also maintaining a robust neural stem cell pool.

As mice and other organisms age, the pool of neural stem cells in the brain shrinks and fewer new neurons are generated. These natural changes correlate with the gradual loss of cognitive ability and sensory functions that occur as we approach the end of our lives. However, the life span of some laboratory animals can be artificially extended by mutating genes involved in metabolism, and some humans outlive their life expectancy (about 70 years for someone born in 1960) by decades. [The researchers] wanted to know why.

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How Aggressive Cells Invade The Brain

(Science Daily) In diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cells of the immune system infiltrate the brain tissue, where they cause immense damage. For many years, it was an enigma as to how these cells can escape from the bloodstream. This is no trivial feat, given that specialized blood vessels act as a barrier between the nervous system and the bloodstream. Until now, tissue sections provided the sole evidence that the immune cells really do manage to reach the nerve cells.

Now, a team of scientists … has witnessed the movements of these cells "live" under the microscope for the very first time. In the process, they discovered several new behavioural traits of the immune cells. The consolidated findings mark a significant step forward in our understanding of this complex disease.

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Survival Of The Healthiest: Selective Eradication Of Malignant Cells

(Science Daily) The ultimate goal in cancer research, a treatment that kills cancer cells whilst leaving healthy cells untouched, is brought nearer by the success of a new therapeutic approach. The potential therapy … targets proliferation of cancer, but not normal, cells.

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Fast Eating Limits Gut Hormones That Induce Fullness

(HealthDay News) Eating too fast can lead to overeating because gulping down food limits the release of hormones in the gut that trigger the feeling of being full, Greek researchers have found.

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Stairs boost fitness, balance, strength

(UPI) U.S. fitness experts say climbing up stairs -- and going down them too -- have multiple health benefits such as improved balance and strength.

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Community: Yes, but I hate stairs. I think it’s more important to exercise consistently, which for me means doing what I enjoy doing, than to slavishly follow the recommendations of the experts.

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Three Killer Indicators Identified That Are Even Worse Than High Cholesterol

(Science Daily) Researchers at the University of Warwick have identified a particular combination of health problems that can double the risk of heart attack and cause a three-fold increase in the risk of mortality.

The team … has discovered that simultaneously having obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar are the most dangerous combination of health factors when developing metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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Reducing Risk Of Chronic Disease

(Science Daily) Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine report that cutting back on the consumption of processed and fried foods, which are high in toxins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body's natural defenses regardless of age or health status. The benefits of a diet lower in glycotoxins are present even without changing caloric or nutrient intake…

AGEs are harmful substances that are abundant in Western diets, and proliferate when foods are heated, pasteurized, dried, smoked, fried or grilled. Once absorbed in the body, AGEs adhere to tissues and oxidize them, causing inflammation which in turn can lead to disease.

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Risks of daily aspirin may outweigh benefits

(Health.com) -- Taking a low-dose aspirin every day can help prevent heart attacks in people who've already had one. But if you've never had a heart attack (or stroke), the risks of taking a daily low-dose aspirin outweigh the benefits, according to a U.K. report…

[Dr. M. Sue Kirkman, vice president of clinical affairs for the American Diabetes Association] stresses that people with diabetes who are taking aspirin--and have no history of heart attack--should talk to their doctor and see if he or she recommends continuing the therapy.

"There isn't a strong rationale to take people off it if they're doing fine," she explains.

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Statins may help prevent blood clots

(UPI) Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may prevent blood clots in patients with cardiovascular disease, U.S. researchers found.

The study … found patients not receiving statins were three times as likely to develop venous thromboembolism than patients receiving statins -- 26.3 percent versus 8.3 percent.

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U.S. Hip Fracture Rate Could Drop 25 Percent With Aggressive Osteoporosis Prevention

(Science Daily) Aggressively managing patients at risk for osteoporosis could reduce the hip fracture rate in the United States by 25 percent, according to a Kaiser Permanente study… The first step must be a more active role by orthopedic surgeons in osteoporosis disease management, researchers say.

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Will New Anemia Drug Top Current Treatments?

(HealthDay News) A new drug designed to treat patients with a rare form of anemia could possibly have wider applications, perhaps replacing other anemia treatments that have been linked to an increased risk of death, cancer and stroke, experts say.

The drug, Hematide, was successful in treating patients who have pure red-cell aplasia…

But the real breakthrough is being able to make drugs in a new way that could have wide application for many diseases, he said.

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Obesity linked to specific cancers

(USA Today) About 100,500 new cases of cancer are caused by obesity every year, according to the most comprehensive attempt ever to estimate the cancers attributed to extra weight.

The analysis … is based on updated cancer data and a report released earlier this year by a panel of experts.

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Experimental Agent Reduces Breast Cancer Metastasis To Bone

(Science Daily) Researchers have reduced breast cancer metastasis to bone using an experimental agent to inhibit ROCK, a protein that was found to be over-expressed in metastatic breast cancer.

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Lung Tissue Generated From Human Embryonic Stem Cells

(Science Daily) Scientists in Belgium have successfully differentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESC) into major cell types of lung epithelial tissue using a convenient air-liquid interface. The technique … could provide an alternative to lung transplants for patients with lung injury due to chronic pulmonary disease and inherited genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

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Sugar Shortens Life Span in Worms

(HealthDay News) For a certain kind of worm, the sweet life may also be the short life.

New research suggests that added sugar in their diet robs the creatures of 20 percent of their life span.

It's unclear what the findings mean for humans, but they raise questions about the impact of diets high in sugar, according to the study authors.

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Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss

(HealthDay News) If you want to lose weight, exercise and diet are crucial. But a new study says other factors appear to play a role, too -- including the number of TVs in your house and the presence of exercise equipment…

Those who lost weight and kept it off were about three to four times more likely to exercise than those who were obese or overweight. They were also about 1.4 to 1.6 times more likely to spend time thinking about restraining their food intake, considering things like calories.

Those who lost weight had fewer televisions in their home and less high-fat food on hand. They also had more exercise equipment in their homes, the study authors noted.

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More screen time may mean less lean time

(Los Angeles Times) Watching hours of television isn't the best thing kids and teens can do. Studies have shown a connection between high screen time volume and obesity rates.

A new study found a correlation between longer hours of television watching and lower levels of muscular fitness in young adults, but that connection was true regardless of how much physical activity they were getting.

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Community: But what about those of us who watch TV WHILE exercising? No mention of us in the article.

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Phys Ed: Why Doesn't Exercise Lead to Weight Loss?

(New York Times) For some time, researchers have been finding that people who exercise don’t necessarily lose weight … without changing their eating habits…

This does not mean that exercise has no impact on body weight, or that you can’t calibrate your workouts to maximize the amount of body fat that you burn, if that’s your goal.

“If you work out at an easy intensity, you will burn a higher percentage of fat calories” than if you work out a higher intensity, [Dan Carey, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise physiology] says, … “Heart rates of between 105 and 134” beats per minute … represent the fat-burning zone. “It’s probably best to work out near the top of that zone,” he says, “so that you burn more calories over all” than at the extremely leisurely lower end.

Perhaps just as important, bear in mind that exercise has benefits beyond weight reduction. In the study of obese people who took up exercise, most became notably healthier, increasing their aerobic capacity, decreasing their blood pressure and resting heart rates, and, the authors write, achieving “an acute exercise-induced increase in positive mood,” leading the authors to conclude that, “significant and meaningful health benefits can be achieved even in the presence of lower than expected exercise-induced weight loss.”

Finally and thankfully, exercise seems to aid, physiologically, in the battle to keep off body fat once it has been, through resolute calorie reduction, chiseled away.

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Health Discovery: Preventing Diabetes

(AARP Bulletin) Want a diet to prevent diabetes? How about a couple of cocktails, balsamic marinated pork and a cup of espresso? Those are among many foods that can help lower type 2 diabetes risk, says the updated “Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes.” The Harvard Medical School report notes that drinking coffee cuts diabetes risk by up to 42 percent and that drinking alcohol drops diabetes risk by up to 43 percent.

We all know that weight control is key to preventing or managing diabetes, “but if you feel like you’re being deprived, it doesn’t work,” says David Nathan, M.D., director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center. “You need a diet you can live with.”

That means basic—but not boring—healthy eating. The American Diabetes Association’s Sue McLaughlin recommends: lots of produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats; and minimal amounts of refined sugars, refined starches, red meat and salt.

Source.

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Weight loss, medication can delay diabetes

(UPI) U.S. researchers say a little weight loss and activity go a long way in helping prevent or delay diabetes.

The study … found a 34 percent reduction in new diabetes cases compared to a placebo in those who lost some weight and took part in physical activity…

The study is a long-term follow-up involving 88 percent of those in the Diabetes Prevention Program… The original study found modest weight loss combined with increased physical activity reduced the rate of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent compared to a placebo and an oral diabetes drug -- metformin -- reduced the rate by 31 percent.

The sustained lifestyle changes had multiple benefits -- including improved cardiovascular function -- especially pronounced among older people. Those age 60 and older lowered their rate of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years by about half.

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Low Cholesterol May Help Prevent Cancer

(HealthDay News) Low blood cholesterol levels reduce the risk not only of heart disease but also of cancer, two new studies show.

The findings should help ease longstanding fears that low cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of cancer, said Dr. Demetrius Albanes.

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Switch to 'Light' Cigarettes Makes Quitting Tougher

(HealthDay News) Experts have long known that "low-tar" and "light" cigarettes aren't any healthier than regular cigarettes, and new research suggests they have another drawback: People who switch to them are less likely to quit, even those who switch specifically because they want to stop smoking.

In fact, "switching to ['light' cigarettes] for any reason is associated with continuing to smoke," said [the] study author.

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Common Pain Relievers May Dilute Power Of Flu Shots

(Science Daily) With flu vaccination season in full swing, research … cautions that use of many common pain killers -- Advil, Tylenol, aspirin -- at the time of injection may blunt the effect of the shot and have a negative effect on the immune system…

"What we've been saying all along, and continue to stress, is that it's probably not a good idea to take common, over-the-counter pain relievers for minor discomfort associated with vaccination," [Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D.] said.

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Heart Attack Myth: Women Do Have Same The Heart Attack Symptoms As Men, Study Shows

(Science Daily) The gender difference between men and women is a lot smaller than we've been led to believe when it comes to heart attack symptoms, according to a new study…

[The] study of 305 consecutive patients undergoing angioplasty − which briefly causes symptoms similar to a heart attack − found no gender differences in rates of chest discomfort or other 'typical' symptoms such as arm discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, indigestion-like symptoms, and clammy skin.

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New Activity Found For A Potential Anti-cancer Agent From Marine Sponges

(Science Daily) Pateamine A (PatA), a natural product first isolated from marine sponges, has attracted considerable attention as a potential anti-cancer agent, and now a new activity has been found for it, which may reveal yet another anti-cancer mechanism.

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Philips betting on remote healthcare for future

(Reuters) Dutch Philips Electronics is betting it can help doctors monitor patients remotely to keep an aging population healthier and battle rising medical costs…

Home monitoring is at the heart of Philips's home healthcare unit, which reported more than 1 billion euros of revenue in 2008 and is expected to grow at double digit percentage rates in the coming years.

The unit provides services and products that help doctors monitor patients' health remotely but also offers products for people who suffer from respiratory diseases for use at home.

"It is all about expanding care beyond its current boundaries, like the hospital," Walter van Kuijen, general manager at Philips' home monitoring healthcare, told Reuters.

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Two U.S. deaths may be linked to bad beef

(Reuters) An outbreak of food-borne illness, linked to dangerous bacteria in ground beef, sickened 28 people and may have caused two deaths in the U.S. Northeast, health officials said on Monday.

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Bad boss can increase employee heart risk

(UPI) The longer a person has a "poor" manager, the higher his or her risk of suffering a heart attack within a 10-year period, a researcher in Sweden found…

The study found male residents of the Stockholm area ran a 25 percent greater risk of suffering myocardial infarction -- heart attack -- during the 10-year follow-up period if they had expressed displeasure with their managers at the start of the study. Moreover, the level of risk increased more sharply with time of employment for subjects that reported poorer leadership.

However, men and women who rated their managers as inspirational, positive and enthusiastic reported less short-term sick leave.

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Community: I once had a boss who almost killed me. It was the most horrible experience of my life.

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Chronic Inflammation: Reduce It to Protect Your Health

Cancer, diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's—these seemingly diverse diseases are increasingly thought to have a common denominator: inflammation. While our genetic predisposition for disease can't be changed, we can do something about this other major player…

Normally, inflammation is part of a healthy immune response, an orchestrated onslaught of cells and chemicals that heal injury and fight infection—think redness, pain, swelling. But the process also has a quiet, dark side. Chronic "hidden" inflammation occurs throughout the body when something kick-starts the immune system and disengages the shut-off button. What ignites the fires differs from person to person: repeated or prolonged infections, smoking, or gum disease, for example. Obesity, too, makes you prone to inflammation, as fat cells churn out inflammatory proteins called cytokines. But the end result is the same: An endless trickle of immune cells interferes with the body's healthy tissues, triggering genetic mutations that can lead to cancer or the bursting of plaque in an artery wall…

[P]eople with poor health habits tend to have higher levels of inflammation. And the latest science suggests that we can take action…

Go Mediterranean. Consuming a Mediterranean-style diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and fish—is known to protect the heart, and that's probably because it lowers the level of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. The diet may also protect against depression by increasing levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants used by the body to manufacture anti-inflammatory chemicals that increase blood flow to the brain…

Get active, but don't overdo it. There's no question that physically fit folks produce less inflammation than couch potatoes, since regular exercise protects against metabolic syndrome. But research also suggests that superlong workouts can cause inflammation levels to spike for a day or two afterward…

Reduce stress and get adequate sleep.

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Unhealthy habits often hard to break

(Chicago Tribune) [W]e inhabit Fred Flintstone bodies in a George Jetson world, so overcoming our natural tendencies takes persistent effort. To ensure good health, some experts say, we need to learn the science of behavior change -- that the body part people most need to contend with is not their beer bellies or love handles, but their brains.

Dr. James Prochaska, director of the cancer prevention research center at University of Rhode Island and co-author of the book "Changing for Good," said most behavioral changes, such as losing weight and stopping smoking, involve six stages.

A person who denies or fails to recognize the problem is in a stage he calls pre-contemplation. After that comes contemplation (acknowledging the problem without being ready to change it), preparation (getting ready to change), action (changing behavior) and maintenance (not falling off the wagon). The final stage is termination, meaning the behavior has been tamed and no longer poses a threat.

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Nicotine Patch Plus Lozenge Best for Quitting Smoking

(HealthDay News) The first head-to-head comparison of different quit-smoking products finds that a nicotine patch combined with a nicotine lozenge had the most success.

More than other methods, including antidepressants, this combination best mimics the actual highs and lows of smoking to help smokers kick their habit, experts said.

"The study shows that, yes, one therapy came out on top, the patch and the lozenge [together]," said Dr. Jonathan H. Whiteson…

"The reasoning behind it is that the patch supplies a steady supply of nicotine replacement and the lozenges give a boost of nicotine which you can use when you have an extra craving. It gives people control," said Whiteson, who was not involved in the research.

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Americans Get Failing Grade on Diabetes Awareness

(HealthDay News) Though someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 20 seconds, many Americans lack basic knowledge about the potentially life-threatening disease, according to a new survey from the American Diabetes Association…

[O]nly one-third of the people surveyed knew that too much sugar did not cause diabetes. And more than half of the respondents wrongly believed that anyone who was overweight or obese would eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

But the opposite belief -- that you won't get diabetes even though you're overweight -- can be a problem, too, experts say…

"This is a serious disease, and something that causes a lot of deaths," McLaughlin said. "We hope the Stop Diabetes campaign will raise awareness about how important it is to be educated about diabetes and to get screened if you're at high risk."

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Cholesterol-lowering Medicines May Be Effective Against Cancer

(Science Daily) Millions of people around the world use medicines based on statins to lower their blood cholesterol, but new research from the University of Gothenburg, shows that statins may also be effective in the treatment of cancer.

Statins lower cholesterol by blocking certain enzymes involved in our metabolism. However, they have also been shown to affect other important lipids in the body, such as the lipids that help proteins to attach to the cell membrane (known as lipid modification). Because many of the proteins that are lipid-modified cause cancer, there are now hopes that it will be possible to use statins in the treatment of cancer.

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New Method Targets Cancerous Tumors Without Harming Healthy Cells

(Science Daily) [Researchers] have discovered a technology that can detect cancerous tumors and deliver treatment to them without the harming the healthy cells surrounding them, thereby significantly reducing side effects…

[O]ne day their detection method could be used as a universal procedure, similar to mammography or colonoscopies. Their harmless imaging test could locate a problem before the patient ever feels ill.

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