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

New Warning System Warns of Driver Drowsiness and Distraction

(Science Daily) Scientists have developed the latest version of a driving assistance system which controls the driver's attention level and helps to avoid accidents caused by drowsiness or distractions at the wheel…

Professor [José María] Armingol adds, "If the system detects that the driver is getting drowsy or that he or she is distracted from the road, the driver is warned by an audible signal to alert him or her to the dangerous situation."

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Wii Fit May Not Help Families Get Fit

(Science Daily) The Nintendo Wii Fit … may be great entertainment, but a… study indicates the console has little effect on family fitness…

[Researchers] found that children did display significant increases in aerobic fitness after three months with the Wii Fit. However, three months of home Wii Fit use produced no significant changes in daily physical activity, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance or body composition for families as a whole.

In addition, daily Wii Fit use per household declined by 82 percent, from 22 minute per day during the first six weeks to four minutes per day during the second six weeks, leading [study author Scott] Owens to conclude that the Wii Fit had little impact on daily fitness and that that "modest amounts of daily Wii Fit use may have provided insufficient stimulus for fitness changes."

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Psychologists Show That Future-Minded People Make Better Decisions for Their Health

(Science Daily) A pair of Kansas State University researchers found that people who tend to think in the long term are more likely to make positive decisions about their health, whether it's how much they drink, what they eat, or their decision to wear sunscreen.

"If you are more willing to pick later, larger rewards rather than taking the immediate payoff, you are more future-minded than present-minded," said James Daugherty, a doctoral student in psychology who led the study. "You're more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke and drink."

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Community: One of the purposes of this website is to keep us informed that aging need not be a swift decline. That knowledge can make us more hopeful for the future, and therefore more likely to do the things that will slow the decline.

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Scientists Take Important Step Toward 'Fountain of Youth'

(Science Daily) Going back for a second dessert after your holiday meal might not be the best strategy for living a long, cancer-free life say researchers… That's because they've shown exactly how restricted calorie diets -- specifically in the form of restricted glucose -- help human cells live longer.

This discovery … could help lead to drugs and treatments that slow human aging and prevent cancer.

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Eat These Treats, Live Longer

(RealAge.com) Getting older is inevitable. But how fast you get there is almost completely in your hands. So start putting on the brakes by eating more of these: nuts and berries.

Research shows that foods high in vitamin E (like almonds) and vitamin C (like strawberries) may help slow aging on a cellular level.

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3 More Reasons to Love Dark Chocolate

(SouthBeachDiet.com) As if you need another reason to eat chocolate! We know dark chocolate is one of a number of foods containing antioxidant-rich compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to improve heart health. Well, three studies now show that eating dark chocolate has even more health benefits. Here’s the scoop:…

Dark chocolate can decrease blood pressure and lower the risk of developing diabetes in healthy individuals…

[M]ay be an anti-inflammatory…

[M]ay keep you feeling fuller, longer.

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A Health Drink for Your Teeth

(RealAge.com) Think of enamel as armor for your teeth. Once that armor gets worn down or damaged, it can't repair itself. That's why acidic beverages -- soda, citrus juice, sports drinks -- are so bad for your pearly whites: They contain enamel-stripping acids (phosphoric, citric, malic, and tartaric acids, to name a few). But green and black teas don't attack enamel, and they even have a bit of tooth-friendly fluoride to boot.

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Community: But we now know there’s an amino acid that can help teeth to grow enamel.

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Tylenol May Ease Headaches AND Heartaches

(HealthDay News) Acetaminophen -- best known as Tylenol -- is usually taken to relieve physical pain, but a new study suggests that the over-the-counter drug may also help ease the psychological pain of rejection…

It's premature to recommend widespread use of over-the-counter pain relievers to get you through a break-up, [study author C. Nathan] DeWall said. Overuse of acetaminophen can cause liver failure and drinking alcohol while using the drug can raise the risk of overdose.

"We don't want our paper to be read as a widespread call to use acetaminophen to solve all your problems," DeWall said.

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Signaling Decreases Blood Pressure, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Blood pressure is controlled in part by changes in the radius of blood vessels; when the smooth muscle cells in the wall of a blood vessel contract, the radius of the blood vessel decreases and blood pressure increases.

A team of researchers … has now identified in mice a new signaling pathway that contributes to relaxation of smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls triggered by the molecule NO and thereby decreases blood pressure…

As defective blood vessel reactivity to NO contributes to the symptoms of diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and diabetes, the authors suggest that stimulating the pathway they have identified might be of therapeutic benefit in patients with these diseases.

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Progress Reported in Regenerating Blood Vessels

(HealthDay News) Researchers say they've stimulated the growth of blood vessels by using artificial polymers -- a process that could lead to improvements in regenerative medicine, which aims to help damaged body tissue heal itself and create new tissue.

The polymers, known as hydrogels, work well with animal tissue and "are a promising therapeutic delivery vehicle to improve treatment of peripheral artery disease, ischemic heart disease and survival of cell and tissue transplants," lead researcher Andres Garcia … said

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Video Games Could Boost Certain Thinking Skills

(HealthDay News) Video games have been blamed for everything from promoting youth violence to contributing to childhood obesity, but new research might change the minds of parents who planned on passing by the video game aisle this holiday season.

A new study shows that playing video games can sharpen certain thinking skills, increasing cognitive speed in those who play action games and boosting cognitive accuracy in those who play puzzle-solving games.

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Antibody-Guided Drug Shows Encouraging Activity in Metastatic Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) A new antibody-drug compound shrank or halted the growth of metastatic breast tumors in almost half of a group of patients whose HER2-positive cancer had become resistant to standard therapies, according to early data from a multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial.

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Who Gets Expensive Cancer Drugs? A Tale of Two Nations

(Science Daily) The well-worn notion that patients in the United States have unfettered access to the most expensive cancer drugs while the United Kingdom's nationalized health care system regularly denies access to some high-cost treatments needs rethinking, a team of bioethicists and health policy experts says in a new report…

Critics of the U.K. system say care there is rationed -- that patients are denied some expensive therapies so that better health care can be provided to the nation as a whole. Critics of the U.S. system say care is rationed here, too -- that only those with the very best insurance and those who can afford sky-high out-of-pocket expenses have meaningful access to any and all high-priced therapies, especially at the end of life.

The authors found that with regard to very expensive cancer drugs, both characterizations are largely correct. "The issue is not whether rationing is a good thing or a bad thing," [Ruth R. Faden, Ph.D.] says. "The issue is what we should do about extraordinarily expensive treatments, some of which do very little to improve how well or how long people live." At the same time, she adds, "there is no ethically defensible reason why some Americans have access to expensive cancer drugs and some do not."

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Further Progress Toward AIDS Vaccine

(Science Daily) Researchers … are one step closer to developing a vaccine against the AIDS disease…

[They] found that a rabies virus-based vaccine administered to monkeys protected against the simian equivalent of the HIV virus (SIV).

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Fight Infection by Disturbing How Bacteria Communicate

(Science Daily) Researchers … have clarified the structure of an enzyme that disturbs the communication processes between bacteria. By doing so they have laid the foundations for a new method of tackling bacterial infections.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

From the South Loop of Chicago


HEALTHY HOLIDAY RECIPES AND TIPS

From the Food Network.

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Role of Addiction Cannot Be Ignored in Obesity Epidemic

(Science Daily) The causes of obesity are complex and individual, but it is clear that chronic overeating plays a fundamental role. But when this behaviour becomes compulsive and out of control, it is often classified as "food addiction" -- a label that has generated considerable controversy, according to a McMaster University psychiatrist and obesity researcher…

Dr. Valerie Taylor … and her co-authors argue that food addiction in some individuals may be a reality and needs to be considered in the management of weight problems…

"The concept of addiction does not negate the role of free will and personal choice," Taylor and co-authors write. "It may, however, provide insight into why a some individuals with obesity continue to struggle."

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Community: Haven’t I been saying this?

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Is Niacine Overload a Trigger for Type 2 Diabetes?

(Science Daily) Facing the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes worldwide in the past few decades, one may ask what is wrong with humans. Geneticists tell us that the human genome has not changed markedly in such a short time. Therefore, something must be happening in our environment or diet. As a matter of fact, dietary pattern is known to be closely linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes following worldwide food fortification with niacin suggests that type 2 diabetes may involve excessive niacin intake.

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Community: But niacin can also help increase good cholesterol. Let’s put this in the “more study needed” category.

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High Lipoprotein Levels Can Cause Heart Disease

(HealthDay News) A genetic study proves that high blood levels of the fat-carrying molecule called lipoprotein(a) can cause heart disease…

One immediate impact of the research could be widened use of a blood test for LPA, which has been available for years…

And while at least one available drug, niacin, is known to reduce LPA levels to some extent, "we need a drug that selectively reduces LPA," [Dr. Sekar] Kathiresan said. "There is some effort to do that."

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New Pathway Discovered That May Prevent Tissue Damage Resulting from Inflammation

(Science Daily) Interferon gamma is a protein secreted by lymphocytes that is used to fight the bacteria in white blood cells that cause tuberculosis… [S]cientists … have discovered that in addition to white blood cells, other cells such as epithelial and endothelial cells, also respond to interferon gamma and also protect mice from uncontrolled tuberculosis infection.

This new pathway could lead to the developments of treatments that could limit or prevent tissue damage resulting from inflammation.

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Contraceptive Depo-Provera May Weaken Bones

(HealthDay News) In a study of women who received the "birth control shot" -- also known as depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera), nearly half lost at least 5 percent of their bone mineral density in the hip and lower spine within two years.

Women who were smokers, who had never given birth and who didn't consume much calcium were at highest risk, and they continued to experience significant losses in the third year of use, according to the report…

"[B]ased on these findings, clinicians have the information they need to recommend basic behavior changes for high-risk women to minimize bone mineral density loss."

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Brain Controls Formation of Bone, Researchers Find

(Science Daily) The brain acts as a profound regulatory centre, controlling myriad processes throughout the body in ways we are only just beginning to understand. In new findings, Australian scientists have shown surprising connections between the brain and regulation of bone mass…

It is now clear that the neural network which controls appetite and energy also alters bone density. When we are starving, our brains don't allow us to waste energy by reproducing, making fat or creating new bone. When we are eating too much, on the other hand, our brains make it easier to reproduce, store fat and create bone.

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Brain Training Can Help Improve Specific Abilities in Older People

(Science Daily) Many brain training products claim to be able to keep us mentally fit. Some products even claim that brain training can prevent dementia in old age. But there is no scientific proof that games or other brain exercises can have this effect. That is what the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) has discovered…

Research has not shown that brain training can keep up or enhance people's overall mental abilities. "So there is no need to feel bad if you do not enjoy brain training: there are no health reasons for doing it," says [Professor Peter] Sawicki. "But if you think brain training exercises are fun, you can try out different things. For example, completing sequences of letters can improve your logic skills. And practising word association techniques can help you to remember things better."

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Alzheimer's May Stave Off Cancer, and Vice Versa

(HealthDay News) Researchers have uncovered a bittersweet relationship between two major illnesses: cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

People who have had cancer are less likely to get Alzheimer's disease, just as having Alzheimer's disease reduces the risk for cancer, their study found.

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New Insights Into Mushroom-Derived Drug Promising for Cancer Treatment

(Science Daily) A promising cancer drug, first discovered in a mushroom commonly used in Chinese medicine, could be made more effective thanks to researchers who have discovered how the drug works…

Dr Cornelia de Moor [has] investigated a drug called cordycepin, which was originally extracted from a rare kind of wild mushroom called cordyceps and is now prepared from a cultivated form.

Dr de Moor said: “Our discovery will open up the possibility of investigating the range of different cancers that could be treated with cordycepin. We have also developed a very effective method that can be used to test new, more efficient or more stable versions of the drug in the Petri dish. This is a great advantage as it will allow us to rule out any non-runners before anyone considers testing them in animals.”

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How Do You Improve Mammogram Accuracy? Add Noise

(Science Daily) Members of a Syracuse University research team have shown that an obscure phenomenon called stochastic resonance (SR) can improve the clarity of signals in systems such as radar, sonar and even radiography, used in medical clinics to detect signs of breast cancer. It does this by adding carefully selected noise to the system.

The result has been a distinct improvement in the system's ability to correctly identify precancerous lesions, plus a 36 percent reduction in false positives.

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Post-Surgical Risks Highest in Older Adults

(HealthDay News) The approximately 2 million older adults who undergo common abdominal operations each year are at higher risk than others of suffering complications and early death, researchers find…

"Older adults may be less able to adapt to the stress of surgery or to the added stress of any postoperative complication, greatly increasing their risk of early mortality," the researchers added. "These effects appear to be additive, highlighting the need for interventions to both prevent decline among older patients and avoid postsurgical complications."

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Bacteria Make Artificial Blood Vessels of the Future

(Science Daily) The cellulose produced by bacteria could be used for artificial blood vessels in the future as it carries a lower risk of blood clots than the synthetic materials currently used for bypass operations, reveals a thesis.

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As Swine Flu Wanes, So Does Public's Fear

(HealthDay News) The good news on the H1N1 swine flu front is that the number of cases of infection continues to decrease and the vaccine supply is now plentiful…

While cases of swine flu infection continue to diminish around the country, the H1N1 virus is still the dominant flu strain, [Dr. Anne] Schuchat said. "Disease is at a better state around the country, less virus is circulating," she said. "But still everything we are seeing in terms of the flu strains is the H1N1 virus. So it's not gone at all."

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The Poor Face Greater Health Burden Than Smokers or the Obese

(Science Daily) The average low-income person loses 8.2 years of perfect health, the average high school dropout loses 5.1 years, and the obese lose 4.2 years, according to researchers… Tobacco control has long been one of the most important public health policies, and rightly so; the average smoker loses 6.6 years of perfect health to their habit. But the nation's huge high school dropout rate and poverty rates are typically not seen as health problems…

"While public health policy needs to continue its focus on risky health behaviors and obesity, it should redouble its efforts on non-medical factors, such as high school graduation and poverty reduction programs," according to Peter Muennig, MD.

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Study Redefines Placebo Effect as Part of Effective Treatment

(Science Daily) Researchers used the placebo effect to successfully treat psoriasis patients with one quarter to one half of their usual dose of a widely used steroid medication, according to an early study… Early results in human patients suggest that the new technique could improve treatment for several chronic diseases that involve mental state or the immune system, including asthma, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

By designing treatment regimens that mix active drug and placebo, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center hope to maximize drug benefits, reduce side effects, increase the number of patients who take their medicine and extend the use of drugs otherwise limited by addiction risk or toxicity.

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Community: Yep, haven’t I been saying that we should be studying and taking advantage of the placebo effect?

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Warm Up With Hot Chocolate

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Most traditional hot cocoas contain a lot of added sugar, so be sure to choose a mix that is made with an artificial sweetener instead. Also, opt for a hot chocolate mix that is trans-fat free; be sure to check the label before purchasing…

If hot cocoa is not your thing, but you're looking for a warm drink with a little more pizzazz than regular tea or coffee, try a cup of chai tea. Remember to choose a brand without added sugar or honey (those packaged in tea bags are usually best), and enjoy the chai with a touch of nonfat or low-fat milk, or plain or artificially sweetened soymilk.

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Is vinegar good for the arteries?

(Harvard Healthbeat) If you believe the stories written about apple cider vinegar, it is a miracle cure for just about anything that ails you, from curbing the appetite to detoxifying the body, boosting the immune system, treating arthritis, and improving circulation. That’s a tall order for a brew made from fermented apples. But there’s no evidence to back up most of these claims. So far, the only decent studies in humans suggest that daily doses of apple cider vinegar may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar…

Apple cider vinegar is a terrific ingredient in foods, sauces, and dressings. It isn’t medicine. Taking too much can lower blood potassium levels and may not be good for your bones. If you choose to take a tablespoon or so a day, rinse out your mouth afterward — straight apple cider vinegar can erode the enamel on your teeth.

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Community: I put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in my daily 6-ounce glass of vegetable juice (low sodium kind). I also stir in some turmeric, which HAS been shown to be good for the arteries, among other benefits, and I crack some black pepper on top.

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Added Sugar in Raisin Cereals Increases Acidity of Dental Plaque

(Science Daily) Elevated dental plaque acid is a risk factor that contributes to cavities in children. But eating bran flakes with raisins containing no added sugar does not promote more acid in dental plaque than bran flakes alone, according to new research.

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Community: And raisins themselves may help prevent tooth decay. But not, as we see here, if they’re swimming in sugar.

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5 most overrated health-food trends

(Chicago Tribune) Looking back on the year, some foods seemed to take the country by storm…

We asked nutrition experts to tell us what foods they thought did not live up to the hype…

1. Super juices
You're paying more for the marketing than the value of what's inside the bottle, said dietitian Leslie Bonci…

2. Tropical oils
While it's true that some of the fatty acids in coconut oil are different from those found in animal products, there is no evidence to suggest coconut oil is better for you than other saturated fats, said Alice H. Lichtenstein, a nutrition researcher…

3. Enhanced waters
Scores of new foods and beverages boast about the lack of refined sugar, yet they contain "natural sweeteners" such as agave nectar or evaporated cane juice… The body treats all of these sugars the same, said Liz Applegate, who teaches nutrition…

4. Miracle seeds
While flax-fortified products may offer some benefits, flax seeds (pictured) are not a reliable source of omega-3 because the potency is much weaker compared with what you'll find in fish, said Evelyn Tribole, a California-based dietitian…

5. Natural sugars
The body treats all of these sugars the same, said Liz Applegate… All forms are virtually the same and should be consumed in moderation.

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Lower back pain? Yoga therapy can help.

(Harvard Healthbeat) According to a study…, [Iyengar] yoga therapy can reduce pain and improve function in people with chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain—defined as pain that lasts more than three months—is notoriously difficult to treat…

Six months after the trial ended, 68% of the yoga group was still practicing yoga — on average, three days a week for at least 30 minutes. Their levels of functional disability, pain, and depression had increased slightly but were still lower than those of the control group.

The study had limitations — a small number of participants, as well as reliance on the participants’ own reports of symptoms and disability. Also, the control group, on average, had been suffering back pain longer than the yoga group. Still, the results are consistent with findings from other studies of yoga for low back pain.

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Ultrasound-Guided Cortisone Injections May Help Treat Severe Hip Pain

(Science Daily) Ultrasound-guided cortisone injections may be an effective treatment method for gluteus medius tendinopathy, a common, painful condition caused by an injury to the tendons in the buttocks that typically affects middle-aged to elderly women and young active individuals, according to a study.

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Discovery of New Gene Called Brd2 That Regulates Obesity and Diabetes

(Science Daily) The chance discovery of a genetic mutation that makes mice enormously fat but protects them from diabetes has given researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, USA, new insights into the cellular mechanisms that link obesity to Type 2 diabetes…

Commenting on the findings, Dr [Gerald] Denis said, "The strong influence of Brd2 levels on insulin production and action suggest that Brd2 is likely to be a promising target for diabetes treatment, but also imply that overactive Brd2 might cause diabetes. The ways in which Brd2 affects the immune system may also play a part in Type 1 diabetes, further studies to determine this are needed."

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New study sharpens focus on problems of obesity

(AFP) Cardiovascular disease linked to obesity may be worse than thought while health problems associated with being underweight may have been overstated, according to a study…

The findings are important, because they imply that obesity programmes could yield major health benefits, says the study.

"Suggestions to the contrary are probably misguided," it adds.

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'Good' cholesterol less protective with diabetes

(Reuters) Diabetes may lower the heart-protective benefits of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol, but giving diabetics niacin, a drug that raises HDL levels, might restore the benefit, researchers said on Tuesday…

[P]atients who got the niacin had increased HDL levels, and markedly improved protective functions of HDL in laboratory testing as well as improved vascular function.

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Community: Niacin is a B vitamin, and is available as a food supplement. But it is possible to take too much.

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Medical Team's Support of Terminal Cancer Patients' Spiritual Needs Improves Quality of Life

(Science Daily) In a new study of terminally ill cancer patients, researchers … found support of patients' spiritual needs by the medical team is associated with greater use of hospice, less aggressive care, and greater quality of life near death.

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People can trick mind to do hated things

(UPI) People tend to approach pleasure and avoid pain, but humans can trick the mind into doing beneficial things they don't like, U.S. researchers suggest…

[The researchers] say human inclination is to avoid -- or try to avoid -- anything immediately aversive even though it may be beneficial for us in the long term…

However, the authors demonstrate an approach often used to try to cure phobic patients -- asking them to mentally simulate approaching the objects they fear -- can also create more favorable evaluations of "yucky" products and behaviors…

"What was surprising was that merely simulating physical approach resulted in a more favorable evaluation of the product," the authors say in a statement. "One way for us to overcome aversions is to trick our minds."

Read more.

Community: As we’ve discussed before, imagery, or creative visualization, can be used to actually change our minds in some ways. When I was preparing to quit smoking, I took the advice of a former smoker and started purposely thinking about the bad things about smoking and the good things about not smoking, and even imagining myself as a non-smoker. Which was very difficult at first, since I’d smoked for so many years. I still needed patches to handle the nicotine withdrawal cravings, but I’m convinced that the imagery helped me quit.

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An Amino Acid Helps Grow Tooth Enamel

(Science Daily) A simple amino acid that is repeated in the center of proteins found in tooth enamel makes teeth stronger and more resilient, according to new research…

The new discovery, [Tom] Diekwisch said, will give new clues to engineer tooth enamel.

"We hope that one day these findings will help people replace lost parts of the tooth with a healthy layer of new enamel."

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Inhibiting A Cellular Process Makes Mice Leaner

(Science Daily) Recent data have indicated that the more brown fat cells a person has the lower their body mass… It has been suggested that manipulating the development of fat cells so that they become brown fat cells rather than white fat cells might be an approach to treat obesity…

New research … has now identified a cellular process that regulates the formation of the distinct fat cell types in mice…

Specifically, in mice with fat cells unable to perform the cellular process known as autophagy, there were fewer white fat cells and more brown fat cells than normal. Further, these mice were leaner than normal.

The authors therefore conclude that autophagy has a critical role in determining the type of fat cell formed and suggest that this information might provide a new avenue to explore for those looking to develop therapies to treat obesity.

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Facial Symmetry May Be Best Beauty Secret

(HealthDay News) Women with facial proportions that are closest to average are considered the most beautiful by their peers, research suggests.

Researchers ... asked college students to view digital photos of women's faces that were identical except for slight alterations in certain facial proportions, including placement of the eyes and the relationship between the eyes and mouth.

Female faces that followed certain proportions were judged more attractive by their peers -- specifically, a vertical distance between the eyes and mouth that's 36 percent of facial length, and a horizontal distance between the eyes that's 46 percent of facial width. Researchers are calling it a "golden ratio."…

Since only white female faces were included, the authors noted that there may be a different set of ideal proportions for other racial groups, male faces or children's faces.

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Community: So symmetrize your faces, ladies!

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Twin Study Identifies Factors Associated With Skin Aging

(Science Daily) Smoking, being heavier, not using sunscreen and having had skin cancer appear to be associated with sun damage and aging of skin on the face, according to report based on a study of twins.

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Depressed People Can't Hold Onto Happiness

(HealthDay News) It's not that depressed people can't feel good, it's that they can't hang on to that feeling, a new study claims.

The novel notion upends previous beliefs that depressed people don't even start out with positive emotions, and that they have no or little response in the areas of the brain related to good feelings.

Read more.

Community: That was not my experience. When I was clinically depressed, I couldn’t feel good at all.

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Elderly Most at Risk for Major Depression Identified

(Science Daily) University of Rochester Medical Center researchers have pinpointed the prime factors identifying which elderly persons are at the highest risk for developing major depression…

"People with low-level depressive symptoms, who perceive that they have poor quality social support from other people, and with a past history of depression, were at particularly high risk to develop new major depression within the one-to-four year time period of the study," [Jeffrey M.] Lyness said. "This is good news, as we in the field are just learning how to prevent depression in particular high-risk groups. Future work will be able to test whether any of a variety of treatments -- perhaps psychotherapy, perhaps medication, perhaps other things such as exercise -- will help to prevent depression in persons suffering from the risks we identified in this study."

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Gene Therapy Makes Mice Breath Easier: Preventing Progression of Emphysema

(Science Daily) Researchers … have discovered a new gene therapy that may prevent the progression of emphysema. The study … describes a method to express therapeutic genes in lung tissue for a lifetime after only a single treatment.

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Diabetes Insight Could Lead to Better Treatments

(HealthDay News) Scientists have identified a protein that may be involved in the development of type 2 diabetes…

The authors of this study … started their exploration with the NLRP3 inflammasome, which has been linked with different inflammatory diseases…

"The inflammasome sense situations that are dangerous to our body," added study senior author Jurg Tschopp… "This includes pathogens (bacteria, viruses), but also endogenous 'danger situations,' such as uric acid crystals found in gout, high circulating glucose found in diabetes or beta-amyloid [plaques] found in Alzheimer's disease."

Until now, scientists were unable to figure how out the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated. With that information now in hand, researchers might have another promising route to developing treatments for type 2 diabetes.

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With Cardiac Rehab, More Is Better: Study

(HealthDay News) Cardiac rehabilitation sessions for elderly people with heart disease can lower their risk of heart attack and help them live longer, new research finds…

But while Medicare will pay for 36 cardiac rehabilitation sessions, about half of those in the study only attended 24 or fewer…

Those who attended all 36 sessions had a 12 percent lower risk of heart attack and 14 percent lower risk of death than those who went to 24. The gap was even greater when compared to those who attended 12 sessions or only one.

The rehab programs emphasize education about heart disease, exercise, stress, nutrition and medication use, among other things.

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Dietary estrogens have little effect on cancer risk

(Reuters Health) Dietary "phytoestrogens" -- plant substances that have weak estrogen-like activity -- have little impact on the risks of developing hormone-sensitive cancers like breast and prostate cancer or colorectal cancers, new research suggests.

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Women with high breast cancer risk refuse MRIs

(Reuters) As many as 42 percent of women who are at intermediate or high risk of getting breast cancer decide not to get recommended MRI screening, even if it is offered for free, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

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Experts Say CPR by Untrained Bystander a Good Idea

(HealthDay News) The risk that an untrained bystander can do harm by giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, to someone who collapses in public is almost vanishingly small, a new study indicates.

And so the dispatchers who send emergency medical help when 911 is called should routinely tell the caller to start CPR, said Dr. Thomas D. Rea.

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New Aging Studies Improving Vaccine Efficacy For The Elderly

(Science Daily) A new study … demonstrates that immune system cells important for both pathogen resistance and vaccine efficacy live longer in older animals but because of this longevity acquire functional defects. The work may provide new targets for boosting immune system function in older individuals.

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The brain may feel other people's pain

(Reuters Health) If you've ever thought that you literally feel other people's pain, you may be right. A brain-imaging study suggests that some people have true physical reactions to others' injuries.

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Be Careful What You Wish For This Holiday Season

(HealthDay News) Think twice before you put that waffle maker or other "must-have" item on your holiday wish list. You may get it and find out you don't really need it or use it as much as you thought you would, a new study suggests.

That's because "sometimes the reality of owning an object doesn't quite measure up to our expectations. The cappuccino machine is a hassle to clean, the fancy navigation system is not necessary for most driving, and no one has time to play the new piano," study author Jeffrey Vietri.

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Your Health: Winter can be tough on the body

(USA Today) Happy winter. It's cold in much of the country and a perfect time for a brisk walk, a bracing run or a giddy trip down a ski slope. But winter also can be hazardous to health — and may be especially tough on hearts, hips, hands and hides (your skin).

Here are the chilly facts and a bit of advice to get you through the season.

Hearts: Take it easy, take it slow…

Hips: Walk carefully, beware fractures…

Hands: [Protect them from the cold]…

Hides: Don't skimp on moisturizer.

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Diners eat fewer calories when menu lists entrees' contents

(USA Today) Diners consume far fewer calories at dinner and afterward when the calorie content of entrees is listed on the menus along with information on how many calories they should consume in a day, a new study shows…

It's "crystal clear" that menus should include both the calories and the 2,000-reference number to make it easier for consumers to make healthful choices, [Kelly Brownell, director of Yale's Rudd Center] says.

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Get Fit Faster with This One Easy Rule

(RealAge.com) The deceptively simple path to a fit bod begins with the easiest activity in the world: walking.

Every get-fit plan should start with a basic 30-minute daily walk for 30 days. It will prime your body for the muscle-toning and stamina-building exercises you need in order to go from couch potato to hot tamale. Cheat or skip this simple step and you run the risk of injuring yourself and falling off the fitness wagon.

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