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

CDC: H1N1 down in 36 states

(UPI) Fourteen states reported geographically widespread influenza activity, down from 25 states a week earlier, U.S. health officials say.

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Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays

(HealthDay News) They're not Scrooges, but people with allergies and asthma can have bad reactions to certain holiday traditions and need to take special steps to prevent sneezing and wheezing, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Those who are allergic to live evergreens may choose to decorate with artificial plants, but both live and artificial trees can trigger symptoms, experts say. They offer the following hints to help people avoid allergy and asthma symptoms over the holiday season:

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Fitness items that are worth giving

(Los Angeles Times) Recommended: JadeYoga mats, Speedo Hydro Resistant Arm and Leg Trainers, REI Shuksan jacket, Petzl e+LITE, Lululemon Athletica's Brisk Arm Warmers and Swiftly Tech T-shirts.

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Community: I don’t know, I just use old stuff and don’t pay much for what I buy for doing my exercises. I go to discount stores.

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Fat in diet won't affect weight gain over time

(Reuters Health) People who want to maintain a healthy weight over time shouldn't obsess about their fat intake, new research shows.

The percentage of calories that a person got from fat, as opposed to protein or carbohydrates, had nothing to do with how much weight they gained in the coming years, the research team found.

The kinds of fat they ate didn't matter either, Dr. Nita Forouhi … and her colleagues found.

The findings, Forouhi noted in an email to Reuters Health, show that "it is more important to aim for a healthy lifestyle including a balanced healthy diet and regular physical activity, than to focus on fat intake alone as a factor for weight gain."

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The 7 Best Greens for You

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Research shows that eating dark greens may help maintain good health by reducing your risk of heart disease, some cancers, and several other illnesses. They're also rich in beta-carotene, folate, and vitamins C, E, and K, which help protect against free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules that can damage cells). Eating dark greens regularly may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promote normal eyesight, and improve gastrointestinal function.

Include these seven nutritional powerhouses in your diet:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • kale
  • Swiss chard
  • romaine and red-leaf lettuce
  • bok choy
  • brussels sprout…

The most recent dietary guidelines published by the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend consuming at least three cups of dark-green vegetables per week, but if you're like most Americans, you don't get enough.

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Lash lengthener has its pros, cons

Latisse, originally a glaucoma drug marketed under the name Lumigan, was approved separately at the end of last year for its eyelash-enhancing purposes, and its maker, Allergan, has reported sales of $47.7 million thus far. The company says 2009 sales could reach $70 million, exceeding projections of $30 million to $50 million. The national advertising campaign featuring model and actress Brooke Shields hasn't hurt.

The success of Latisse, however, concerns some ophthalmologists -- albeit medically conservative ones, who say it's important to see an eye doctor before taking any eye medication, especially if you've never had a full eye exam…

Besides stimulating lash growth, the drug can cause eye redness, itchiness, irritation, infection, darkening of the skin around the application area. It may even cause a change in eye color, especially in people who have any amount of brown pigment in their eyes.

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Tweaks to Breast Cancer Treatments Boost Outcomes

(HealthDay News) With a growing array of choices for breast cancer treatment, researchers are now trying to pinpoint the best combination of therapies or the best order in which to give cancer drugs to patients.

In some cases, combination therapies will improve survival and sometimes the order in which therapies are given does not matter, said experts presenting new data…

"The most dramatic finding [presented at the briefing] is that continuing Herceptin therapy after tumor progression improves survival," said moderator Dr. Edith Perez, director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. "It is the first time this has been shown."

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Stem Cells Turned Into AIDS Killers in Lab Tests

(HealthDay News) Researchers say they've shown that human stem cells can be turned into cells that can kill those infected by the virus that causes AIDS.

Potentially, they say, the approach could target other viral diseases…

The research lays "the foundation for further therapeutic development that involves restoring damaged or defective immune responses toward a variety of viruses that cause chronic disease, or even different types of tumors," [lead investigator Scott G. Kitchen] said.

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MRI Detects Breast Cancer at Earlier Stage, Study Shows

(Science Daily) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) coupled with mammography detects almost all cancers at an early stage, thereby reducing the incidence of advanced stage breast cancer in high-risk women.

"Earlier stage breast cancers are more likely to be curable," said lead researcher Ellen Warner, M.D., M.Sc…

"We can be fairly confident that if screening with MRI finds cancers at a much earlier stage, it probably also saves lives," added Warner.

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Surgery on Beating Heart Thanks to Robotic Helping Hand

(Science Daily) If you've been waiting for the day to arrive when computers actually start performing surgery, that moment might soon be upon us. A French team has developed a computerized 3D model that allows surgeons to use robotics to operate on a beating heart, according to a report…

The robotic technology predicts the movement of the heart as it beats, enabling the surgical tools to move in concert with each beat. It means that the surgeon can perform a procedure as if the heart was stationary. This development could be very important for millions of patients who require less invasive surgical heart procedures, where stopping the heart from beating would cause unnecessary risk.

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Poorer Neighborhoods May Bring Worse Health

(HealthDay News) Americans who live in poor neighborhoods are more likely to have health problems and to die prematurely, regardless of their dietary and lifestyle risk factors, according to a new study…

The researchers found that a larger percentage of people living in the most socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods reported poorer general health, higher average body mass index and unhealthy diets. And as the level of poverty increased, so did the risk for early death, the study found.

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Italians living longer, have better health

(UPI) Italians are feeling better and living up to four years longer than they did two decades ago, health officials say.

A report issued in Rome by senior health officials says the average life expectancy for women is 84 years for women and 78.4 for men, ANSA reported.

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Community: The AP reported, just this week, “Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 78.1 years in 2007, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development… Total U.S. spending on health care was $7,290 a person in 2007, nearly two-and-a-half times the OECD average of $2,984. The figures include spending by both individuals and governments.”

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Chicago Residents: Free Swine Flu Shots for All

Restrictions lifted for H1N1 swine flu vaccine

All Illinois residents will be eligible to be vaccinated for H1N1 swine flu beginning next week as the Illinois and Chicago public health departments remove restrictions that had limited access to the vaccine to those deemed at highest risk.

The change in policy comes as both the city and state health departments, which have overseen the vaccine distribution, say they have seen demand for it ease up in the special clinics held for those at-risk population groups...

The city "free" clinics Saturday [December 12] and on December 19 are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at:

Kennedy King College, 740 W. 63rd St.,
Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.,
Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Rd.,
Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.,
Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave.,
Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave., and
Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren St.

Community: New York state has also opened up the availability of the vaccine to all residents.

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The holidays offer many salty food choices

(UPI) People with hypertension can not afford to loosen up on being vigilant about avoiding salty foods during the holidays, a U.S. hypertension specialist says…

Generally speaking, people with hypertension should eat no more than about 1,500 milligrams of salt each day and also need to take prescribed medication throughout the holidays, [Dr. Shawna] Nesbitt says.

"I tell patients to allow themselves one special meal for a holiday, but not to continue unhealthy eating habits for several days or weeks -- leftovers are what sabotage people," Nesbitt says in a statement.

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When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe

(HealthDay News) Despite [a] new emphasis on toy safety, researchers at U.S. PIRG still found in their Trouble in Toyland report toys on shelves in September and October that pose potential hazards to children. These include:

Choking hazards… Parents [and grandparents] should use a cardboard toilet paper tube or a choke tube to test individual pieces of a toy and see if they will pose a choking hazard.

Toys containing toxins. Despite the new federal laws, U.S. PIRG found a number of children's products that contained high amounts of lead or phthalates…

Loud toys. A new safety concern involves toys that could damage children's hearing…

Riding toys -- tricycles, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, scooters and the like… People who buy their child a riding toy need to buy the helmet, pads and other safety equipment necessary for safe use, [Nychelle Fleming, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission] stated.

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Delaying the Aging Process Protects Against Alzheimer's Disease

(Science Daily) Aging is the single greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. In their latest study, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that simply slowing the aging process in mice prone to develop Alzheimer's disease prevented their brains from turning into a neuronal wasteland.

"Our study opens up a whole new avenue of looking at the disease," says the study's leader… "Going forward, looking at the way we age may actually have more impact on the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease than studying the basic biology of the disease itself."

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Recession weighs on Americans' waistlines

(McClatchy/Tribune news) The economic downturn is busting wallets and bursting waistlines as consumers shift their eating habits to help their budgets.

With unemployment in the double digits, consumers who find themselves increasingly strapped have turned to cheaper means to feed their families. And those who have jobs are working longer hours, forgoing exercise and searching for foods that are economical and convenient.

As a result, more consumers are turning to processed foods, either prepared, frozen or canned and often filled with fat-generating calories, refined grains and sugars. Experts said that's making more Americans chubbier and prone to obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes in what has been dubbed "recession fat."

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Food Additives: The "Natural" Fake-Out

(RealAge.com) [N]atural doesn't always mean safe. (Cyanide is natural!) Some FDA-banned food additives come from "natural" plant sources. And some, such as Red Dye #5 and Red Dye #6, cause a lot of angry intestines. In fact, "natural" doesn't mean much of anything, because it is not a regulated food term (so it has no legal definition). And it definitely doesn't mean "organic."…

[Y]ou should eat as few unnecessary ingredients or highly processed, nutrition-poor foods as you can… That means opting for fresh whole foods that look like they did when they were harvested.

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3 New Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate

(RealAge.com) Chocolate has all but been elevated to superfood status. And the good news keeps rolling in…

Chocolate makes you smarter. Ample research suggests that the flavonols in dark chocolate increase cerebral blood flow, which in turn may trigger the creation of new blood vessels and brain cells… (Here's why opting for semisweet or unsweetened chocolate may be even better for your brain.)

Chocolate weakens heart attacks. Although more research is needed to confirm this one, a new study showed that regular chocolate eaters who had heart disease were less likely to die following a heart attack compared with the people who didn't treat themselves to the dark and dreamy stuff. (Here's more on chocolate's heart-smart qualities.)

Chocolate has a cavity-fighting compound… [N]ew research shows a compound in chocolate -- theobromine -- may be just as good as fluoride at hardening tooth enamel. So the compound could find its way into toothpastes and mouthwashes one day. Until then, keep in mind that most commercially prepared chocolate has lots of sugar in it…

Despite chocolate's benefits, you don't want to o.d. on it lest you do your waist and blood sugar more harm than good. Learn why just one Hershey's Kiss worth of chocolate may be all you need to lower your blood pressure.

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Stroke Drug Kills Cancer Cells and Leaves Normal Cells Intact

(Science Daily) A never-approved drug developed to prevent the death of nerve cells after a stroke can efficiently kill cancer cells while keeping normal cells healthy and intact, an international team led by a Tel Aviv University researcher is reporting…

Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon … found that the stroke drug -- a member of a family of phenanthridine derivatives developed by an American drug company -- worked to kill cancer in mice which had been implanted with human breast cancer cells.

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Bone Drugs May Beat Back Breast Cancer

(HealthDay News) Bone-building drugs used by tens of millions of women to fight osteoporosis also cut the risk of breast cancer, suggesting the drugs may play a dual role in keeping women healthy.

"Bone loss and potential fractures are a known complication of breast cancer therapy. Our feeling is that bisphosphonates may actually prevent disease recurrence through a variety of mechanisms," said Dr. Adam Brufsky…

Because the study was not a randomized, controlled one, said lead investigator Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, a professor and medical oncologist with UCLA, "the findings are not definitive but they do provide a strong signal."

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Too Much Drinking, Eating Tied to Breast Cancer Recurrence

(HealthDay News) Overeating and drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol may be bad news for women with breast cancer, new research suggests.

Drinking alcohol is already known to boost breast cancer risk, and a new study finds even moderate drinking may increase the odds of breast cancer recurrence. Another study confirms that overweight or obese women with breast cancer have a worse prognosis over time than thinner patients.

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Asymmetrical arm swings may signal Parkinson's disease

(Los Angeles Times) In[a] small study, researchers from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Pennsylvania State University did a gait analysis among 12 older people with early stage Parkinson's disease, and eight people without the disease, who served as a control group…

The Parkinson's group showed more arm-swing asymmetry than the control group in the normal and fast walking variations. But trunk rotation was basically the same for both groups, showing that it didn't factor into the arm-swing asymmetry. Arm-swing magnitude was the same for both groups as well.

"Our data suggests that this could be a very useful tool for the early detection of Parkinson's," Xuemei Huang … said in a news release. Huang, the study's co-author, added: "There are wide scale efforts to find drugs that slow cell death. When they are found, they could be used in conjunction with this technique to arrest or perhaps cure the disease because they could be given before great damage has occurred."

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Fruit Fly Neuron Can Reprogram Itself After Injury

(Science Daily) Studies with fruit flies have shown that the specialized nerve cells called neurons can rebuild themselves after injury.

These results [are] potentially relevant to research efforts to improve the treatment of patients with traumatic nerve damage or neurodegenerative disease…

The scientists said that the reprogramming was particularly surprising because once formed, neurons normally are relatively staid and stable, and because the injured part of the neuron was "replaced" by a very structurally and functionally different component of the same cell.

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Addiction Meds May Help Gamblers

(HealthDay News) Drugs used to treat substance addictions could prove effective in treating pathological gambling, U.S. researchers say.

They tested medications designed to decrease urges and increase inhibitions in two groups of male and female pathological gamblers: those driven by urge (they gamble when the desire becomes too strong to control) and those who don't have normal inhibition of impulsive behaviors (they're unable to control the desire to gamble even when the urges are minimal or nonexistent).

The first group -- those driven by urge -- responded well to medications that block the brain opioid system (such as naltrexone) or certain receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate (such as memantine). Gamblers with a family history of the problem responded especially well to the opioid blocker, the study found.

The second group -- those unable to control any impulse to gamble -- responded well to medications that target an enzyme called catechol-O-methyl-transferase (COMT), which plays a major role in the function of the prefrontal cortex.

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Training can re-do brain connectivity

(UPI) -- Brain connectivity can be improved with behavioral training, U.S. researchers found.

[They] found poor readers initially showed lower quality connectivity than average readers.

However, after six months of training the poor readers showed significant increases in brain connectivity. Children not receiving the training did not show this increase, suggesting the remedial group changes were not due to natural maturation of the brain.

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Community: I’ll bet that we all have this capability, not just young ‘uns.

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Fast Method for Preparing Flu Vaccine

(Science Daily) A shortage of flu vaccines may soon become a problem of the past. Researcher Manon Cox has developed an alternative process for producing large quantities of safe and effective vaccines at twice to four times the usual speed. The process is based on using cells in bioreactors instead of fertilised chicken eggs, which have a limited availability.

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Ubiquitous Health: Enabling Telemedicine to Cut Hospital Visits, Save Money

(Science Daily) A ubiquitous health monitoring system that automatically alerted the patient's family or physician to problematic changes in the person's vital signs could cut hospital visits and save lives, according to Japanese researchers…

The vital monitor would keep check on specific facets of the patient's health. In the development device, temperature, pulse, and waist size are monitored. The data is transmitted through the cellular telephone network and on to a web database that is accessible via a browser and flags up any problems for the patient's family or doctor and sends an emergency alert if necessary.

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Your bod's big enemy? Hint: You're sitting on it

(Women’s Health) When you sit for an extended period of time, your body starts to shut down at the metabolic level, says Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri. When muscles — especially the big ones meant for movement, like those in your legs — are immobile, your circulation slows and you burn fewer calories. Key flab-burning enzymes responsible for breaking down triglycerides (a type of fat) simply start switching off. Sit for a full day and those fat burners plummet by 50 percent, [James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic] says.

That's not all. The less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses; research shows that for every two hours spent on your backside per day, your chance of contracting diabetes goes up by 7 percent. Your risk for heart disease goes up, too, because enzymes that keep blood fats in check are inactive. You're also more prone to depression: With less blood flow, fewer feel-good hormones are circulating to your brain…

Fortunately, it's easier than you think to ward off the perils of prolonged parking. Just ramp up your daily non-exercise activity thermogenesis — or NEAT. That's the energy (i.e., calories) you burn doing everything but exercise. It's having sex, folding laundry, tapping your toes, and simply standing up…

Fidgeting, standing, and puttering may even keep you off medications and out of the doctor's office.

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Adequate sleep tied to healthier diets in truckers

(Reuters Health) Getting plenty of sleep not only helps keep truck drivers safe and alert on the road, it also seems to fuel healthy eating habits, new research hints.

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Foods to Fight Inflammation

(Lifescript.com) The typical Western diet – high in processed foods, refined starches, added sugars and animal fats and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids – fuels inflammation, according to a 2006 paper…

But people in Greece, Italy and France have better eating habits and less chronic disease. In those Mediterranean countries, sweets, eggs and beef don’t star on the plate as often as in the U.S.

Their diet is naturally anti-inflammtory and includes low-fat and nonfat dairy foods, olive oil, potatoes, nuts, poultry, legumes, olives and wine, says Demosthenes Panagiotakos, a leading researcher on the Mediterranean diet…

So what does this mean for us in the West? Eat like a French, Italian or Greek woman — lots of fruits, veggies, green salads and fish — and drink red wine in moderation (up to 4 ounces daily for women and 8 ounces for men).

But lettuce and green beans alone won’t do it. To get a wide variety of nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, chow down on fruits and vegetables of all kinds and colors.

And start at breakfast. If you wait until dinner to eat the 5-9 servings (a half cup each) recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you’ll be at the table a long time.

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Fatty foods can weaken the immune system

(UPI) A study in mice found a diet of fatty foods can weaken the immune system, researchers in Sweden said…

The mice on the high-[lard] diet got fatter, but the more surprising result was that their immune systems was less active -- the white blood cells got worse at dealing with bacteria in the blood, which could have contributed to many dying of sepsis, [Doctoral student Louise] Strandberg said.

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H1N1 flu can't be caught from ham or pork

(UPI) The H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, has some who feast on holiday ham wondering if it is safe, but a U.S. nutritionist says no one gets the flu from ham.

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Soy compounds may not prevent bone loss

(Reuters Health) Supplements containing soy isoflavones may do little to preserve women's bone mass after menopause…

The findings … add to a conflicting body of research on soy and postmenopausal bone health.

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Caffeine Doesn't Sober You Up

(HealthDay News) Downing a cup or two of coffee after a few belts of liquor won't sober you up enough to get you safely behind the wheel of a car, new research concludes.

Alcohol may lessen the effects of caffeine, but caffeine doesn't mitigate the impaired decision-making brought on by alcohol, the study found.

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States Slash Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs

(HealthDay News) States cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent in the past year, even though they're receiving record amounts of money from tobacco taxes and from the 1998 state tobacco settlement, says a report released Wednesday.

"Fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs stop addiction before it starts, and improve the health of our nation's communities. States must do better at funding programs that help reduce tobacco use and protect the health of children, 3,500 of whom try their first cigarette every day," John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in a news release.

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Beer Ingredient Eyed in Prostate Cancer Prevention

(HealthDay News) An ingredient of beer may someday help ward off prostate cancer, new animal experiments suggest.

The compound in question, xanthohumol, is found in hops -- the bitter flavoring agent in beer -- and is known to block the male hormone testosterone, which plays a role in the development of prostate cancer…

Not everyone believes that beer looks like a potential solution to this disease, which affects one out of six American men and will kill more than 27,000 of them this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Durado Brooks, director of prostate and colorectal cancer at the American Cancer Society, said that if beer could prevent prostate cancer, we would already see lower rates of it…

Drinking a lot of beer is "not one of the things we recommend," Brooks said.

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Delivering Medicine Directly Into a Tumor

(Science Daily) Researchers … have identified a peptide (a chain of amino acids) that specifically recognizes and penetrates cancerous tumors but not normal tissues. The peptide was also shown to deliver diagnostic particles and medicines into the tumor. This new peptide, called iRGD, could dramatically enhance both cancer detection and treatment.

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Potential New Target Found for Alzheimer's Disease

(HealthDay News) The low-density lipoprotein receptor may help reduce brain damage caused by Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.

Accumulation of amyloid beta-protein (A-beta) plaques in the brain plays a major role in Alzheimer's, and previous research has implicated apolipoprotein E (apoE) in the accumulation of A-beta plaques, according to background information in the study…

"Modulating the function of proteins that control apoE metabolism in the brain will likely alter the extent of amyloid deposition and ultimately affect the disease process," Dr. David M. Holtzman … said… "We know that low-density lipoprotein receptor binds to apoE, yet its potential role in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis remains unclear."

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Bone Marrow Cells May Significantly Reduce Risk of Second Heart Attack

(Science Daily) Cells from heart attack survivors' own bone marrow reduced the risk of death or another heart attack when they were infused into the affected artery after successful stent placement, according to research…

Among the study's results:

  • At two years, no patients from the bone marrow cell group had suffered a heart attack while seven patients from the placebo group had -- a statistically significant difference.
  • Compared with placebo patients, cell-infused patients were less likely to die (three vs. eight in placebo group), need new revascularizations (25 vs. 38), or be rehospitalized for heart failure (one vs. five).

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Coaxing Injured Nerve Fibers to Regenerate by Disabling 'Brakes' in the System

(Science Daily) Brain and spinal-cord injuries typically leave people with permanent impairment because the injured nerve fibers (axons) cannot regrow. A study … shows that axons can regenerate vigorously in a mouse model when a gene that suppresses natural growth factors is deleted.

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New Skin Stem Cells Surprisingly Similar to Those Found in Embryos

(Science Daily) Scientists have discovered a new type of stem cell in the skin that acts surprisingly like certain stem cells found in embryos: both can generate fat, bone, cartilage, and even nerve cells. These newly-described dermal stem cells may one day prove useful for treating neurological disorders and persistent wounds, such as diabetic ulcers.

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Memories That Make Your Heart Race Can Be Defanged

(HealthDay News) A new study suggests that people might be able to reduce the power of fearful memories that cause physical symptoms when they're triggered.

The research is preliminary, and study co-author Elizabeth Phelps cautioned that it doesn't provide an immediate cure for such conditions as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. But it does offer some hope for new ways to treat them in the future, said Phelps…

The key, she said, is to interfere with a memory "at a particular time when we know it may be vulnerable or susceptible to being changed."

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Australia to lift ban on animal transplants

(Reuters) - Australia will lift a five year ban on animal-to-human transplant trials at the end of 2009, the National Health and Medical Research Council said on Thursday…

Australia will join some 14 other countries -- including Japan, New Zealand and the United States -- in allowing xenotransplantation, the transplanting of animal organs and cells into humans to substitute for human organ donors and to treat diseases like diabetes.

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US tops world in health care spending, results lag

(AP) The United States ranks near the bottom in life expectancy among wealthy nations despite spending more than double per person on health care than the industrialized world's average, an economic group said Tuesday.

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Community: Yet our so-called leaders, in their infinite need for funds to continue their careers, have seen fit to pretend to reform the current system while preserving it.

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'Listening to Prozac' author feels 'vindicated' by new antidepressant study

(Los Angeles Times) Peter D. Kramer, the psychiatrist and author of the path-breaking 1993 book "Listening to Prozac," said in an interview today that he felt "vindicated" by a newly published study ("Personality Change During Depression Treatment," by Tony Z. Tang et al) finding that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants cause dramatic personality changes in depressed patients who take them.

"It's hard not to feel justified" in the view--offered long before it became fashionable--that antidepressants now taken by 7% of American adults do more than lift depression: They nudge underlying personalities--even those of healthy people--into brighter, more appealing territory, and in so doing, raise ethical concerns about "cosmetic psychiatry."

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Community: Are such antidepressants our version of Soma?

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Casual sex may not be emotionally damaging

(UPI) A U.S. study of sexual encounters of young adults outside a committed romantic relationship found no differences in psychological well-being, researchers say.

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Community: Another myth about sex bites the dust, but will continue to be believed by billions.

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Food Attitudes Affect Obesity Risk in Middle-Aged Women

(Science Daily) A small study of middle-aged women finds that "guilt-ridden dieters," impulsive eaters and those too busy to focus on food are the most likely to show signs of obesity.

Half of women fit into two other categories, the study says, and were found to be the least likely to be leaning toward fat. Both types of women in those groups are concerned about nutrition and like to eat healthy.

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Community: Just to make sure you got the point—EATING HEALTHY is the best way to get or stay slimmer.

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Organic vs. Non-Organic

(Mayo Clinic) When deciding whether to purchase organic produce, one factor many people consider is nutritional content. The perception is often that organic fruits and vegetables are considerably more nutritious than non-organic. If you look at recent data on the health benefits of organically grown fruits and vegetables, there are a few studies that suggest that the nutrient content of organic produce may be slightly superior to non-organic, but the evidence isn't conclusive…

If you're concerned about pesticides on non-organic produce, you may want to peel your fruits and vegetables and trim the outer leaves of leafy vegetables in addition to washing them thoroughly. But, keep in mind that peeling fruits and vegetables may reduce the amount of nutrients and fiber you get from them.

These health considerations aren't the only reasons that may influence your decision to buy organic produce. For example, there's no question that organic farming protects the environment in ways that conventional farming does not. If that's important to you, organic may be the best choice.

Cost may be a factor, too. Organic produce often costs more than non-organic. Higher prices are due to more expensive farming practices, tighter government regulations and lower crop yields.

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Testosterone Gets Bad Rap: Study

(HealthDay News) People associate testosterone with aggressiveness, but the male sex hormone actually encourages a sense of fair play, a new study finds.

Testosterone does not cause aggression, said lead researcher Michael Naef… But it does lead to "status-seeking behavior -- or trying to secure one's own status," he said.

Such status-seeking behavior can include aggression, as well as other behaviors appropriate to particular situations, the researchers said.

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Coffee Consumption Associated With Reduced Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer

(Science Daily) While it is too early for physicians to start advising their male patients to take up the habit of regular coffee drinking, [a new study reveals] a strong inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of lethal and advanced prostate cancers…

[Researchers] found that men who drank the most coffee had a 60 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than men who did not drink any coffee.

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