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

Santa Should Get Off His Sleigh and Walk, Says Public Health Doctor

(Science Daily) Santa should share Rudolf's snack of carrots and celery sticks rather than brandy and mince pies and swap his reindeer for a bike or walk, says a public health expert…

Dr Nathan Grills, from Monash University in Australia, says the current image of Santa promotes obesity, drink-driving, speeding and a general unhealthy lifestyle. He argues that "Santa only needs to affect health by 0.1% to damage millions of lives" and that it would be better if his popularity was used to promote healthy living.

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Community: Bah, humbug!

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Negative Emotions Outweigh Intent to Exercise at Health Clubs

(Science Daily) Time and time again, it has been documented that regular exercise has many health benefits including lowering risks associated with the comorbidities of obesity. With only 30% of Americans trying to lose weight meeting the National Institutes of Health exercise guidelines of 300 minutes/week, a study … explores the paradox that exists -- an antidote for obesity and its comorbidities is exercise, but the majority of obese Americans do not exercise…

The researchers found overweight individuals believed exercise improved appearance and self image more than normal weight individuals. In addition, overweight individuals felt more embarrassed and intimidated about exercising, exercising around young people, exercising around fit people, and about health club salespeople than individuals of normal weight. Overweight and normal weight individuals felt the same about exercising with the opposite sex, complicated exercise equipment, exercise boredom, and intention to exercise…

[I]t would be wise for exercise professionals and commercial health clubs to help [overweight] people feel more comfortable around those who are different from themselves and to minimize the intimidating aspects of the exercise environment, while promoting the benefits of exercise to personal health and wellbeing.

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Self-help on par with therapy for binge-eaters

(Reuters Health) "Out of control" binge eaters who get help from a therapist do better in the short-term than people who use self-help techniques, new research shows.

But in the long-term, self-help and therapist-led or therapist-assisted approaches seem to have about the same effectiveness, Dr. Carol B. Peterson … and her colleagues found.

Binge eaters often eat large amounts of food while feeling a loss of control over their eating...

While medications can help reduce bingeing episodes among people with the disorder, psychotherapy is the most effective approach to treatment, Peterson and colleagues note in a report… Self-help interventions have also shown promise.

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Fake sugar may alter how the body handles real sugar

(Reuters Health) Combining artificial sweeteners with the real thing boosts the stomach's secretion of a hormone that makes people feel full and helps control blood sugar, new research shows…

[G]lucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) … is released from the digestive tract when a person eats as a "fullness" signal to the brain, curbing appetite and calorie intake…

Studies in humans and animals have shown that when artificial sweeteners are consumed without carbohydrates they do not trigger GLP-1 secretion. "However, our data demonstrate that artificial sweeteners synergize with glucose to enhance GLP-1 release in healthy volunteers," [Dr. Rebecca J.] Brown and colleagues report.

What this all means to the average diet soda drinker is not known, but the fact that the effect occurred with less than a single can of diet soda suggests it "may be relevant in daily life," the researchers say.

Future research is needed to understand the significance of enhanced GLP-1 secretion for health, they conclude, and studies should be conducted in people with type 2 diabetes and other abnormalities in metabolism.

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New Study Links DHA Type of Omega-3 to Better Nervous-System Function

(Science Daily) The omega-3 essential fatty acids commonly found in fatty fish and algae help animals avoid sensory overload, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington's disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system.

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Low omega-3 linked to mental illness

(UPI) Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids may be a factor in mental illnesses, U.S. researchers suggest…

The researchers suggest low omega-3 may be linked to the information-processing problems found in people with afflictions of the nervous system including schizophrenia and bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders.

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Eat Fruits and Vegetables for Better Vision

(Science Daily) Carotenoids, found in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, have been found to increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye diseases, according to a study…

After reviewing the various studies, the authors concluded that macular pigments, such as lutein and zeaxanthin do have an effect on visual performance. Lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce disability and discomfort from glare, enhance contrast, and reduce photostress recovery times. They can also reduce glare from light absorption and increase the visual range.

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Feeling old and blue? Green tea may help

(Reuters Health) Elderly men and women who sip on several cups of green tea a day may be less likely to have the blues, hint findings of a study from Japan…

[Researchers] found men and women aged 70 and older who drank four or more, versus one or fewer, cups of green tea daily were 44 percent less likely to have symptoms of depression.

Several prior studies have linked green tea consumption to reduced levels of psychological distress.

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More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate

(HealthDay News) Pomegranate rind can be turned into an ointment to treat common hospital infections, including those caused by highly dangerous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) bacteria, English researchers report.

In a series of experiments, the team … found that the infection-fighting power of pomegranate rind was boosted by combining it with vitamin C and metal salts.

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Shift Working Aggravates Metabolic Syndrome Development Among Middle-Aged Males

(Science Daily) Shift work exposures can accelerate metabolic syndrome (MetS) development among the large population of middle-aged males with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (e-ALT) is a common abnormality of health examinations in middle-aged working populations.

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Blacks Have Less 'Bad Fat' Than Whites

(HealthDay News) Blacks tend to carry around less of a particularly unhealthy type of abdominal fat than whites, even though they suffer more from obesity-linked illness, researchers report.

The new finding suggests that body-mass index (BMI) guidelines may need to be tailored to specific racial groups to better reflect risk, experts say.

"The study clearly shows we have these racial differences in body fat, not just in the type of body fat but where the fat is stored, and these are important differences," said study author Peter Katzmarzyk, a professor of population science.

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'Smart' Nanocapsule Delivery System Created for Use in Protein Therapy

(Science Daily) Protein therapy -- the delivery of healthy proteins directly into human cells to replace malfunctioning proteins -- is considered one of the most direct and safe approaches for treating diseases. But its effectiveness has been limited by low delivery efficiency and the poor stability of proteins…

In what could signal a major advance in protein therapeutics, researchers … have developed a new intracellular delivery platform that uses nanocapsules made up of a single-protein core with a thin polymer shell that can be engineered to either degrade or remain stable based on the cellular environment…

The new study has shown that multiple proteins can now be delivered to cells with high efficiency and activity but low toxicity, allowing for potential applications in protein therapies, vaccines, cellular imaging, tumor tracking, cancer therapies and even cosmetics.

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Marijuana, Alcohol Addiction May Share Genes

(HealthDay News) The genes that make people susceptible to alcoholism also make them prone to becoming addicted to marijuana, a new study suggests…

About 60 percent of the likelihood of becoming a heavy drinker, a frequent marijuana user or of becoming dependent on marijuana can be attributed to genes, according to the study, while about half of the likelihood of being an alcoholic can be traced to genetics…

Still, that means between 40 percent and 50 percent of the cause of alcohol or marijuana dependence may be due to environmental influences. Despite a genetic tendency, no one is predestined to abuse either substance, [study author Carolyn E.] Sartor noted.

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Mastery of Physical Goals Lessens Depression and Fatigue

(Science Daily) Physical activity is known to reduce depression and fatigue in people struggling with chronic illness. A new study indicates that this effect may stem from an individual's sense of mastery over -- or belief in his or her ability to achieve -- certain physical goals…

"We base our arguments on fatigue being a symptom of depression," said Edward McAuley, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois and lead author of the study. "Interventions to reduce depression have consistently resulted in reductions in fatigue. The opposite is not always the case."

Depression and fatigue also are highly susceptible to changes in a person's sense of his or her own ability to achieve a certain goal. This belief in one's own abilities is called self-efficacy, McAuley said. The conviction that you can jog down the block or climb several flights of stairs without stopping is an example of self-efficacy.

Previous studies have shown that increases in physical activity also increase self-efficacy. The effect is almost immediate, McAuley said.

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Community: And I believe that taking control of our health can have exactly the same effect.

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Keep Legs Healthy When Traveling

(RealAge.com) A recent study showed that during extended travel, pear-shaped women and apple-shaped men may have an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- a dangerous clotting condition that often starts in the legs. But there are lots of things you can do about it…

[T]ry these simple healthy-leg strategies during long car, train, or plane rides:

Take a break. Get up, walk, and stretch your legs every hour or so if you can. If you have to remain seated, do ankle rolls, and alternately point and flex your toes 10 times every half hour. (Here are five exercises for improving circulation.)

Take a drink. Keep the nonalcoholic fluids -- water, tea, etc. -- flowing, because dehydration ups the risk of DVT. (Find out the signs of DVT.)…

Take it off. Your belt, that is. Avoid tight clothing, and don't cross your legs. They can inhibit blood flow.

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Obesity, Inactivity Keeping Heart Health Stats Down

(HealthDay News) While physicians and surgeons are getting better at treating heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, too many Americans are ignoring the basic rules for preventing them, according to new statistics from the American Heart Association.

Topping the list: too little exercise, too much weight.

In fact, 59 percent of adults surveyed last year reported no activity vigorous enough to prompt sweating and a significant increase in breathing or heart rate, according to the update.

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Wide Array of Stores Now Sell High-Calorie Snacks

(HealthDay News) If you're hungry while shopping for a new sofa, don't despair: 22 percent of U.S. furniture stores now sell sweet or salty snacks, a new report finds.

In fact, the sale of high-calorie snack foods has moved far beyond grocery stores to hit most segments of the retail market, say the authors of the study… The easy availability of snack items might be contributing to America's obesity epidemic, the researchers said.

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Community: There’s another study showing that child obesity is greater the closer the child lives to a convenience store. And other studies show that there is less obesity in neighborhoods that In some cities, convenience store owners are being encouraged to carry healthier foods in addition to the not so healthy.

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Ways to Eat Fresh During the Winter

(SouthBeachDiet.com) During the winter months, it may seem a little more challenging to find fresh produce. And oftentimes, some of your favorite, out-of-season fruits and vegetables are more expensive. Fortunately, there are cost-effective ways for you to still reap the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter. Here’s how:

1. Buy seasonal produce. Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines, are at their peak during the winter months, as are winter squashes and dark leafy greens, such as collards, kale, and brussels sprouts.

2. Get to know your local farmers markets and grocery stores…

3. Shop the frozen-food aisle….

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Community: Frozen is usually better for you than canned. Canned food is often so cheap that I’m tempted to buy it, but when I look at the salt content, I put down the can. I don’t know why food producers think they have to put so much salt in canned vegetables. But there’s another possibility not mentioned in this article. You can buy fresh produce when it IS in season, and cheaper, and freeze or can it yourself.

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Eat This, Drop Your Cholesterol

(RealAge.com) Sometimes, it’s not what you take out of your diet but what you add to it that has the power to lower your lousy LDL cholesterol, raise your healthy HDL cholesterol, and maybe even chip away at your risk of diabetes.

The newest addition to your power arsenal (and your plate): Chickpeas -- also known as garbanzo beans -- the luscious legume that's pureed to make hummus (and that tastes great whole, too). People eating roughly 25 ounces of chickpeas per week -- that's a little more than 3 ounces a day (just a hill of beans, not a mountain of them) -- saw their total cholesterol and lousy LDL levels decrease and healthy HDL levels increase compared to 4 weeks on a chickpea-free diet. That's not all: Their insulin levels also improved, and they lost a small amount of weight -- without dieting OR exercising.

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Community: I started eating hummus every day when I was trying to reduce my cholesterol (see my writeup on that process here). My doctor recommended Israeli style hummus. I found it to be much lighter than the Greek style, and I like it very much. I pile it on a stalk of celery and eat it with my daily salad. I used to hate celery, but this combination of light hummus and celery is really good tasting.

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Eat This Tuber for Smoother Skin

(RealAge.com) [T]he beta carotene in sweet potatoes helps combat rough, scaly winter skin. And the nutrient may protect against UV damage, too. But you need to eat your sweet potato mash, not apply it. Studies showed benefits working from the inside out…

Seems beta carotene helps balance pH and encourages skin cell turnover -- both of which can mean smoother, softer skin. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, another skin-friendly nutrient that can combat aging and dryness.

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Community: Of course, it wouldn’t be a good idea to pile on the butter. But I’ve found I like the taste of the sweet potato without either butter or salt. I like it baked in the oven, without being wrapped. There are recipes for oven baked sweet potato “fries” that are also good, and could be a healthy snack. I even thought about asking for a French fry cutter for Christmas.

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Sugar Intake Linked to Cell Lifespan, Cancer Development

(Science Daily) Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have discovered that restricting consumption of glucose, the most common dietary sugar, can extend the life of healthy human-lung cells and speed the death of precancerous human-lung cells, reducing cancer's spread and growth rate.

The research has wide-ranging potential in age-related science, including ways in which calorie-intake restriction can benefit longevity and help prevent diseases like cancer that have been linked to aging, said principal investigator Trygve Tollefsbol, Ph.D., D.O.

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Community: Excuse me, Prof. Tollefsbol, but restricting GLUCOSE intake doesn’t necessarily mean restricting CALORIE intake. I don’t think we have to starve ourselves to improve our chances at greater longevity.

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New Weapon in Battle of the Bulge: Food Releases Anti-Hunger Aromas During Chewing

(Science Daily) A real possibility does exist for developing a new generation of foods that make people feel full by releasing anti-hunger aromas during chewing, scientists in the Netherlands are reporting after a review of research on that topic. Such foods would fight the global epidemic of obesity with aromas that quench hunger and prevent people from overeating.

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Community: Call me a skeptic, but I can’t think of any aromas that quench hunger that don’t put us off the food altogether. Who’s going to want to eat a bad smelling food?

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Christmas Cholesterol Epiphany: 'Myrrh' May Have Cholesterol-Lowering Properties

(Science Daily) Laboratory experiments suggest that the resin of certain trees of the Middle East, known commonly as the "myrrh" of the Christmas story, may have cholesterol-lowering properties…

Myrrh is a rust-coloured resin obtained from several species of Commiphora and Balsamodendron tree, native to the Middle East and Ethiopia. It is perhaps best known as one of the gifts of the Magi offered to the infant Jesus, along with gold and frankincense. At the time, myrrh was revered as an embalming ointment and is also an ingredient in incense.

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Community: So these supposedly wise men brought a cholesterol lowering embalming ointment to a newly born infant? They should have let their wives pick the gifts.

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Could Omega-3s Boost Blood Fat Levels?

(HealthDay News) In a surprise finding, Canadian researchers report that the immediate effect of the fish oil fatty acids that are good for the heart is a short-term increase in blood fats and the molecules that help them form clots…

However, the study results shouldn't affect the current recommendation for eating more oily fish to get the omega-3 polyunsaturated acids that reduce the risk of blood clots that can cause heart attacks and stroke, Robinson said.

"The recommendation to increase intake is very well-studied, and this doesn't change it," [Prof. Lindsay E. Robinson] said.

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Painkiller Undermines Aspirin's Anti-Clotting Action

(Science Daily) Millions of Americans take Celebrex for arthritis or other pain. Many, if they are middle-aged or older, also take a low-dose aspirin tablet daily to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Yet they may be getting little protection, because Celebrex keeps the aspirin from doing its job effectively, a new study suggests.

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Enzyme May Create New Approach to Hypertension Therapy

(Science Daily) New research from the Northwestern University … has found that an alternative therapy may be possible for treating some types of hypertension using an enzyme called ACE2…

According to [Daniel Batlle, M.D.], while current hypertension therapies such as ACE inhibitors work to block the formation of angiotensin II -- a protein that causes blood vessels to constrict and drives blood pressure up -- the approach with ACE2 is novel because it focuses on breaking down angiotensin II already in the system.

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Breakthrough May Pave the Way for Therapeutic Vaccines

(Science Daily) It should be possible to use therapeutic vaccines to create both cheap and effective drugs for diseases like cancer and allergies. One problem in developing such vaccines has previously been the lack of adjuvants, substances that make vaccines more effective. However, there has now been a major breakthrough in this area…

"We have made a very important breakthrough by managing to identify a substance that is biologically degradable and that exhibits considerably higher activity than the adjuvants that have been used in the past," says Lars Hellman.

"These new and highly promising findings are an important step toward developing more cost-effective drugs for some of our major public health diseases," he says.

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Stratifying Breast Cancer Without Biopsy: Researchers Identify Possible Imaging Method

(Science Daily) Scientists from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have discovered a possible way for malignant breast tumors to be identified, without the need for a biopsy…

Current imaging modalities miss up to 30% of breast cancers and cannot distinguish malignant tumors from benign tumors, thus requiring invasive biopsies. Approximately 5.6 million biopsies performed in the United States find only benign lesions. These biopsies cause substantial stress for the patients and have significantly high costs.

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Community: Not to mention the damage a biopsy can cause. I’m convinced that I had no lymph node involvement from my breast cancer until after the biopsy. I think the biopsy help cancer cells spread to a nearby lymph node.

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Chemo's Toxicity to Brain Revealed, Possible Treatment Identified

(Science Daily) Researchers have developed a novel animal model showing that four commonly used chemotherapy drugs disrupt the birth of new brain cells, and that the condition could be partially reversed with the growth factor IGF-1…

"It is not yet clear how our results can be generally applied to humans but we have taken a very significant step toward reproducing a debilitating condition and finding ways to treat it," said Robert Gross, M.D., Ph.D.

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Umbilical Cord Could Be New Source of Plentiful Stem Cells

(Science Daily) Stem cells that could one day provide therapeutic options for muscle and bone disorders can be easily harvested from the tissue of the umbilical cord, just as the blood that goes through it provides precursor cells to treat some blood disorders, said [researchers]…

Umbilical cord tissue cells can be expanded to greater number, are remarkably stable and might not trigger strong immune responses.

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Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High

(HealthDay News) Average life expectancy in the United States has reached almost 78 years, a record high, federal health officials said Wednesday.

From birth in 2007, women can expect to live to 80.4 years on average and men to 75.3 years, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But even though Americans can expect to live longer than their parents, life expectancy in the United States is still lower than in many other industrialized countries, including Canada and Japan.

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Community: And yet health care costs more than twice as much in the U.S. as in those other countries.

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U.S. study: 1 in 5 lost health insurance in past year

(Reuters) Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population -- or almost 60 million people -- went without health insurance at some point since January 2008, according to government estimates released Wednesday.

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New Technique Detects Proteins That Make Us Age

(Science Daily) Chemists and biologists from the University of Bath have developed a new technique that could be used to diagnose and develop treatments for age-related conditions like Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and cancer.

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For Older Adults, Participating in Social Service Activities Can Improve Brain Functions

(Science Daily) Volunteer service, such as tutoring children, can help older adults delay or reverse declining brain function, according to a study… Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that seniors participating in a youth mentoring program made gains in key brain regions that support cognitive abilities important to planning and organizing one's daily life.

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Community: Not to mention the feel good factor.

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Diet High in Methionine Could Increase Risk of Alzheimer's

(Science Daily) A diet rich in methionine, an amino acid typically found in red meats, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a study by Temple researchers…

Still, [the researchers] emphasized, methionine is an essential amino acid for the human body and "stopping one's intake of methionine won't prevent Alzheimer's. But people who have a diet high in red meat, for instance, could be more at risk because they are more likely to develop this high level of circulating homocysteine."

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Treating depression helps with blood sugar control

(Reuters Health) Treating depression may help people with diabetes get their blood sugar under control.

In a study of low-income minorities with poorly controlled diabetes, researchers found that antidepressant therapy was associated with improved long-term blood sugar control and reduced blood pressure.

Rates of depression in people with diabetes are double those in the general population, and even higher among minorities, who are more prone to worse blood sugar control, more diabetes complications, and more severe depression, the researchers point out.

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Community: It would be interesting to know if Dr. Ilardi’s depression cure would work as well as antidepressants at improving blood sugar control, especially since following that program could also improve other symptoms of diabetes.

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Statin may be prescribed to healthy

(UPI) A panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend the cholesterol lowering drug Crestor be approved for those with inflammation.

If the FDA follows the panel's recommendation -- which came on a vote of 12-4 -- rosuvastatin, or Crestor, would be approved for patients with no history of heart disease but who had elevated levels of the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein.

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Community: Fortunately, rosuvastatin is available in generic form.

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Scientists crack 'entire genetic code' of cancer

(BBC) Scientists have unlocked the entire genetic code of two of the most common cancers - skin and lung - a move they say could revolutionise cancer care…

The scientists found the DNA code for a skin cancer called melanoma contained more than 30,000 errors almost entirely caused by too much sun exposure.

The lung cancer DNA code had more than 23,000 errors largely triggered by cigarette smoke exposure.

From this, the experts estimate a typical smoker acquires one new mutation for every 15 cigarettes they smoke.

Although many of these mutations will be harmless, some will trigger cancer.

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Heart Drugs Show Promise for Fighting Colon Cancer

(Science Daily) Scientists in Sweden are reporting for the first time that a group of drugs used to treat heart failure shows promise for fighting colon cancer…

[Researchers] note that cardiac glycosides are a family of naturally-derived drugs used to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. Scientists have suspected for some time, based on previous research, that these heart drugs may have promise for fighting many different types of cancer…

[They] tested five of these heart drugs against laboratory cultures of human colon cancer cells and found that they were all effective, to varying degrees, at killing the cancer cells.

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New Stroke Tool May Predict Early Recurrence

(HealthDay News) Researchers have developed a tool to predict whether a patient will suffer a second stroke within 90 days of a first stroke.

"This is an important new tool because studies have shown that people who have a second stroke soon after a first stroke are more likely to die or have severe disability," Dr. Hakan Ay … said… "This tool can help doctors identify people who are at high risk of having another stroke and need immediate evaluation based on information typically available at the time of initial evaluation."

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Synthetic Platelets Put the Brakes on Blood Loss

(HealthDay News) Hoping to improve on nature, researchers have built and tested synthetic versions of the blood-clotting cells called platelets, to be used in trauma or other cases where blood just won't stop flowing…

The hope is that the artificial platelets can replace or augment the activity of the currently used clotting medication, known as factor VIIa…

[F]actor VIIa must be kept in refrigerated form and has a short shelf life, Lavik said. And it cannot be used for head or spinal cord injuries, for fear of complications.

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Most Stem Cells Used in Research Come From Whites

(HealthDay News) Human embryonic stem cell lines currently used for research come mostly from white donors, a new report finds.

That could mean that nonwhites will benefit less from any medical breakthroughs that emerge from that research down the line, experts say.

Blacks could be especially affected. In fact, none of the most widely used stem cell lines studied showed any traces of recent African ancestry, the team reported.

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Pros and Cons of Electronic Medical Records Weighed

(HealthDay News) U.S. physicians support the use of electronic medical records, but widespread concerns exist about privacy problems, two new studies show…

"Designers of future systems will need to enhance electronic file security and simultaneously maintain legitimate accessibility in order to preserve confidence in psychiatric and other [electronic health record] systems," the researchers concluded.

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More Effort Needed to Crack Down on 'Secret Remedies', Expert Argues

(Science Daily) The medical establishment and politicians must do more to crack down on alternative medicine, argues a senior scientist…

[T]he response of the medical establishment to the resurgence in magic medicine that started in the 1970s "looks to me like embarrassment," says Professor David Colquhoun from University College London in an editorial in this week's Christmas issue.

Homeopaths regularly talk nonsense about quantum theory, and "nutritional therapists" claim to cure AIDS with vitamin pills, he writes.

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Music and the Arts Fight Depression, Promote Health

(Science Daily) If you paint, dance or play a musical instrument -- or just enjoy going to the theatre or to concerts -- it's likely that you feel healthier and are less depressed than people who don't, a survey of nearly 50,000 individuals … shows…

"There is a positive relationship between cultural participation and self-perceived health for both women and men, "says Professor Jostein Holmen… "For men, there is also a positive relationship between cultural participation and depression, in that there is less depression among men who participate in cultural activities, although this is not true for women."

But what surprised the medical researcher was that these findings held true no matter the individual's socio-economic status -- whether truck driver or bank president, participating in some way in the arts, theatre or music, as player or participant, had a positive effect on that individual's sense of health and well-being.

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Community: But we don’t want music and the arts in our schools, oh no! That’s just mollycoddling. There should be nothing but readin’ ritin’ and rithmatic. Oh, and football.

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Link Between Sirtuins and Life Extension Strengthened

(Science Daily) A new paper from MIT biology professor Leonard Guarente strengthens the link between longevity proteins called sirtuins and the lifespan-extending effects of calorie restriction…

Guarente and others believe that drugs that boost sirtuin production could help fight diseases of aging such as diabetes and Alzheimer's, improving health in later life and potentially extending lifespan. Drugs that promote sirtuin production are now in clinical trials in diabetes patients, with results expected next year.

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Appetite hormone leptin plays role in Alzheimer's

(Reuters) People who have higher levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone produced by fat cells may be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia than others, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.

They said people in a study who had the highest levels of leptin were far less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or any sort of dementia than those in the study with the lowest levels of leptin.

Read more.

Community: Leptin isn’t available as a dietary supplement, but apparently obese people are resistant to its effects, anyway. A number of books claim to have information on overcoming that resistance and increasing leptin levels in the body. I have no idea if they work or not.

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Normal Cholesterol Doesn't Guarantee Healthy Heart

(HealthDay News) People with normal levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol still need to be screened for a marker of inflammation in order to identify those who may benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin therapy to reduce their long-term risk of heart attack, stroke and death, say U.S. researchers…

The researchers demonstrated that a simple screening test -- age plus CRP [C-reactive protein] -- can identify patients who may benefit from statin drugs.

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More Than 90 Percent of People With Periodontal Disease Are at Risk for Diabetes, Study Finds

(Science Daily) An overwhelming majority of people who have periodontal (gum) disease are also at high risk for diabetes and should be screened for diabetes, a New York University nursing-dental research team has found. The researchers also determined that half of those at risk had seen a dentist in the previous year, concluded that dentists should consider offering diabetes screenings in their offices, and described practical approaches to conducting diabetes screenings in dental offices.

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Tighter Blood Sugar Control Not Best for Some Diabetics

(HealthDay News) Tight blood sugar control needn't be the end-all factor for people with type 2 diabetes who have other medical problems, a new study indicates…

Blood glucose levels below 6.5 percent were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events in people with low to moderate levels of accompanying problems, but not in those with a high level of such problems, the study found. The same was true for a glucose blood level of 7 percent.

"The message for people with lots of other medical conditions is that their life can be easier, they can ease up a bit on blood glucose levels and focus on the other medical conditions they have," [the study author] said.

But for those people, he quickly added, "you don't want blood sugar to be very high. It should be between 7 and 8, at least moderately controlled."

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Exercise ups colon cancer survival rates

(UPI) Men with colorectal cancer were more likely to survive if they exercised regularly, U.S. researchers found…

[They] studied 668 men with colorectal cancer and found those engaged in moderate physical activity were 53 percent more likely to be alive and free of the disease than those who were less physically active.

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Nanoprobes Hit Targets in Tumors, Could Lessen Chemo Side Effects

(Science Daily) Tiny nanoprobes have shown to be effective in delivering cancer drugs more directly to tumor cells -- mitigating the damage to nearby healthy cells -- and Purdue University research has shown that the nanoprobes are getting the drugs to right cellular compartments…

"Each nanoparticle acts like a deliverer of a mail package, or dose, of the drug directly to the appropriate location," [researchers] said.

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Community: When I was undergoing breast cancer treatment, they had to almost kill you to cure you. Targeted treatments like this will be fantastic.

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