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

The Supreme Court and food politics

(Marion Nestle, Food Politics) The decision to overturn limits on corporate campaign contributions will affect every aspect of society, food included. I have long argued that campaign contributions are one of two major sources of corruption in government (the other is the way Wall Street requires corporations to report growth every 90 days).

If we want our congressional representatives to make decisions in the public interest, their election campaigns must be publicly funded. When corporations fund campaigns, representatives make decisions in the corporate interest. It’s that simple.

Those of us who care about creating a good, clean, fair, and sustainable food system will have to work harder now. But I can’t think of any more important work to do to protect our democratic institutions.

Source.

Community: Economist Mark Thoma says, “If a legislator votes for health care reform, to limit greenhouse gases, to impose tough regulations on banks, etc., there is nothing to stop corporations from using their billions in profits to target that individual with a blitzkrieg of negative ads. Legislators from small districts cannot match the resources that corporations have at their disposal, and even legislators from large districts would be quite vulnerable.”

The same would be true for the legislation of food safety. One way to change the dynamic would be to have public financing of political campaigns. Click here to sign the Fair Elections Now Act petition.

Another way to fight the decision is to demand an amendment to the Constitution.

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E. coli alert: Calif. company recalls 864,000 pounds of beef

(USA Today) A Southern California meat-packing firm has recalled some 864,000 pounds of ground-beef that might be contaminated with E. coli.

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Meat linked to urinary tract infections

(UPI) A Canadian researcher says she has discovered strong evidence of a link between eating contaminated chicken and the E. coli that cause urinary tract infection…

The research team is investigating whether livestock may be passing anti-microbial-resistant bacteria on to humans due to the use of antibiotics to treat or prevent disease in the animals.

Read more.

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Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging

(HealthDay News) Slaying orcs, charting military campaigns and gunning down bad guys might not sound like things seniors would be interested in pursuing for fun or exercise.

But they might want to start, some experts on aging say.

Research has found that off-the-shelf video games have the potential to help seniors age more gracefully, keeping their minds sharp and responsive through game play.

"There's a growing body of evidence that suggests playing video games actually can improve older adults' reflexes, processing speed, memory, attention skills and spatial abilities," said Jason Allaire, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-director of its Gains Through Gaming Lab.

With the advent of the Nintendo Wii, there's even the potential that video games could provide seniors with an outlet for physical exercise.

Read more.

Community: The problem is that people don’t stick with a Wii exercise regimen. Finding an exercise buddy gets much better results.

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A midlife crisis can be avoided

(UPI) An Israeli dismisses the prevailing myth that people between 40 and 60 have a midlife crisis adapting to diminished expectations…

To avoid a midlife crisis, [Professor Carlo] Strenger suggests to:

-- Realize you have more high-quality adult years ahead of you than behind you.

-- Think about what you've learned about yourself so far, your strongest abilities and about the things that most please you.

-- Don't be afraid of daunting obstacles in making changes.

-- Make use of a support network, colleagues, friends and families.

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Season's Best: Hearty, Healthful Winter Stews

(Cooking Light) Cheap, simple, and satisfying, stewing is a hands-off cooking method that makes inexpensive cuts of meat meltingly tender.

Watch the video.

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Recipe Makeover: Chili

(Cooking Light) Our version cuts 70 percent of the calories, 70 percent of the total fat, and 83 percent of the unhealthy saturated fat from traditional chili recipes.

Watch the video.

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Heart and stroke patients warned against use of weight-loss drug Meridia

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Sibutramine, a prescription weight-loss medication on the U.S. market since 1998, is a combination drug that increases the availability in the brain of serotonin and norepinephrine--a class of drugs also used as antidepressants and known as SNRIs. It is thought to aid in weight loss by helping to curb the appetite and enhance a patient's sense of fullness.

The FDA's latest advisory notifies physicians that the agency has found an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in people taking sibutramine who have a history of heart attack, angina, heart failure, stroke or transcient ischemic attacks. Other groups warned against sibutramine use are those with a history of heart arrhythmia or peripheral artery disease, or uncontrolled high blood pressure--all conditions that put patients at greater risk of stroke.

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Common Heart Medications May Also Protect Against Parkinson's Disease, Study Finds

(Science Daily) UCLA researchers have discovered that a specific type of medication used to treat cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, angina and abnormal heart rhythms may also decrease the risk of developing Parkinson's disease…

By separately evaluating different classes of a variety of drugs prescribed for hypertension, researchers found that only calcium channel blockers of the dihydropyridine sub-class that cross the blood-brain barrier were associated with a significant decrease in the risk of developing Parkinson's. Other classes of anti-hypertension medications, and dihydropyridines that were not able to cross the blood-brain barrier, were not associated with a lower risk.

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Exercise, green tea may lessen breast cancer blues

(Reuters Health) Depression is a major health issue for breast cancer survivors, but new research hints that regular exercise and drinking green tea may help.

Read more.

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Breast cancer vaccine being developed

(UPI) Researchers … said they are working together to develop a breast cancer vaccine…

[They] said they are perfecting the vaccine in an animal model for ultimate use in humans.

"This is a very promising vaccine target, because if we are successful, it could be important to breast, colon, bladder and prostate cancer patients," [Kate] Rittenhouse-Olson said in a statement.

Read more.

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Malaria drugs may help patients with lupus

(Reuters Health) Drugs used to treat malaria may be useful for patients with lupus, a chronic debilitating "autoimmune" disease, according to according to a new report.

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Strength training aids stroke-weakened hands, arms

(Reuters Health) Strength training improves hand grip and arm function in people who have suffered a stroke without causing increased muscle spasticity or pain, according to combined data from multiple studies.

Read more.

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Obesity Tied to Common Kidney Cancer

(HealthDay News) Obesity increases the risk of developing a common and virulent form of kidney cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at 1,640 patients, average age 62, with kidney tumors and found that obese patients were 48 percent more likely to develop a clear-cell renal cell cancer (RCC) than those with a body-mass index(BMI) of less than 30, the cutoff for obesity. The odds of developing RCC increased by 4 percent for every extra BMI point.

Read more.

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Salt reduction could save 92,000 lives a year

(Reuters) Shaving 3 grams off the daily salt intake of Americans could prevent up to 66,000 strokes, 99,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths in the United States, while saving $24 billion in health costs per year, researchers reported on Wednesday.

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Blueberry Juice Improves Memory in Older Adults

(Science Daily) Scientists are reporting the first evidence from human research that blueberries -- one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants and other so-called phytochemicals -- improve memory…

In the study, one group of volunteers in their 70s with early memory decline drank the equivalent of 2-2 l/2 cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day for two months. A control group drank a beverage without blueberry juice. The blueberry juice group showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests, the scientists say.

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A Breakfast Staple That Blocks Heart Failure

(RealAge.com) Fruit, veggies, exercise -- they all make the heart-healthy list. And now, according to a new study, so does this breakfast staple: cereal.

But we're not talking about Cocoa Puffs. We're talking about whole-grain cereals -- like steel-cut oats, shredded wheat, or muesli. Men in a study who noshed at least once a week on whole-grain cereals were significantly less likely to experience heart failure…

Several studies suggest that it's the fiber in whole-grain cereals that may quell risk factors for heart failure, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity. The other heart-protective habits addressed in the study: maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking alcohol only in moderation, and not smoking.

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Salads Can Help Bone Density

(RealAge.com) A 4-year study found that older adults with the highest intakes of carotenoids -- think tomatoes, carrots, and leafy greens for major sources -- retained more bone mineral density than folks eating fewer fruits and veggies…

Fruits and vegetables are bursting with antioxidants called carotenoids -- including compounds like lycopene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, to name a few… [V]eggie-stacked salads will probably provide your daily needs and then some.

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Make Over Your Salads

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Tired of eating the same salad, day after day? An easy fix: Try experimenting with new ingredients, which is a great way to sneak in extra nutrients and help prevent food boredom. Here are a few alternatives to typical salad fixings … which can turn your next salad into a healthy meal:

  • Choose a darker, more nutrient-dense green, such as baby spinach, arugula, or a spring mix, rather than iceberg lettuce.
  • Opt for squash, eggplant, artichoke, and zucchini grilled with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil, instead of (or in addition to) more traditional ingredients, like tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • Try avocado or olives for a touch of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
  • Toss in grilled salmon, tuna, shrimp, or even tofu, rather than grilled chicken.
  • Top with pecans, sunflower seeds, or another more exotic nut or seed, instead of buttery white-bread croutons.
  • Make your own salad dressing with a mix of extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. Store-bought dressings are fine, too, as long as they don't contain more than three grams of sugar per two-tablespoon serving.

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Community: We buy the baby spinach when it’s on sale. Otherwise, we get the cheaper variety.

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As Obesity Increases, So Does Stroke Risk

(HealthDay News) The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have a stroke, a new study reports.

The study, which followed 13,549 middle-aged Americans for 19 years, looked at stroke risk associated with several measures of obesity, emphasizing body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight and height, but also such measures as waist circumference.

"We found that the risk of stroke was increased with each measure of obesity," said Dr. Hiroshi Yatsuya.

Read more.

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Good health begins with heart health

(UPI) A U.S. metabolic cardiologist says good health begins with taking care of the heart…

[Dr. William] Lee suggests fending off heart damage by avoiding sugar, getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy diet and exercising. He recommends annual blood tests to screen for diabetes -- a possible indicator for heart degeneration.

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New 'Nanoburrs' Could Help Fight Heart Disease

(Science Daily) Building on their previous work delivering cancer drugs with nanoparticles, MIT and Harvard researchers have turned their attention to cardiovascular disease, designing new particles that can cling to damaged artery walls and slowly release medicine.

The particles, dubbed "nanoburrs," are coated with tiny protein fragments that allow them to stick to damaged arterial walls. Once stuck, they can release drugs such paclitaxel, which inhibits cell division and helps prevent growth of scar tissue that can clog arteries.

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Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer

(HealthDay News) Quitting smoking after a diagnosis of early stage lung cancer doubles the odds that a patient will live another five years, a new study finds…

"Certainly the American Lung Association pushes smoking cessation for everybody. We say over and over again -- it's never too late to quit. There's good evidence that you can get benefits if you're 70 years old," [Dr. Norman Edelman] said.

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Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk

(HealthDay News) High levels of vitamin D in the blood appear to be linked to lower risks of colorectal cancer, although it's not clear if higher intake of the vitamin actually prevents the disease, researchers say.

Still, the findings are food for thought: Scientists found that those with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had as much as a 40 percent lower risk for developing colorectal cancer than those with the lowest levels.

Read more.

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Radiation dose less with digital mammograms

(Reuters) Newer digital mammograms may deliver significantly lower radiation doses than conventional film mammograms, especially for women with larger and denser breasts, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

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Combo Test Might Spot Ovarian Cancer Early

(HealthDay News) The ability to detect early-stage ovarian cancer may be improved by using contrast-enhanced ultrasound combined with proteomic analyses of blood samples, a new study shows…

"Separately, proteomics and ultrasound are of limited value as early-detection tools. However, in combination, we will likely be able to shift from an era of diagnosing advanced-stage ovarian cancer to that of early-stage disease and, most important, save the lives of many women," [study co-author Dr. Arthur C. ] Fleischer said.

Read more.

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Parkinson's: Treadmill Training Improves Movement

(Science Daily) Treadmill training can be used to help people with Parkinson's disease achieve better walking movements, say researchers. In a systematic review of the evidence, Cochrane Researchers concluded treadmill training could be used to improve specific gait parameters in Parkinson's patients.

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Strength training aids stroke-weakened hands, arms

(Reuters Health) Strength training improves hand grip and arm function in people who have suffered a stroke without causing increased muscle spasticity or pain, according to combined data from multiple studies.

Read more.

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Promising Probiotic Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(Science Daily) Bacteria that produce compounds to reduce inflammation and strengthen host defences could be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Such probiotic microbes could be the most successful treatment for IBD to date.

Read more.

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Brewing Up a Civilization

(Der Spiegel) It turns out the fall of man probably didn't begin with an apple. More likely, it was a handful of mushy figs that first led humankind astray.

Here is how the story likely began -- a prehistoric human picked up some dropped fruit from the ground and popped it unsuspectingly into his or her mouth. The first effect was nothing more than an agreeably bittersweet flavor spreading across the palate. But as alcohol entered the bloodstream, the brain started sending out a new message -- whatever that was, I want more of it!

Humankind's first encounters with alcohol in the form of fermented fruit probably occurred in just such an accidental fashion. But once they were familiar with the effect, archaeologist Patrick McGovern believes, humans stopped at nothing in their pursuit of frequent intoxication.

A secure supply of alcohol appears to have been part of the human community's basic requirements much earlier than was long believed. As early as around 9,000 years ago, long before the invention of the wheel, inhabitants of the Neolithic village Jiahu in China were brewing a type of mead with an alcohol content of 10 percent, McGovern discovered recently.

Read more.

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Experts Push 7 Steps to Heart Health

(HealthDay News) Assessing whether you are in poor, moderate or ideal cardiovascular health takes just seconds, thanks to a new American Heart Association measure of health factors and behaviors…

For adults, the seven goals for achieving ideal cardiovascular health are:

  • Never smoked or quit more than a year ago.
  • Body mass index, a measure based on weight and height, less than 25.
  • Physical exercise -- at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity each week.
  • At least four key components of a healthy diet, such as fewer calories, more fruits and vegetables, and oily fish, such as salmon, four times a week.
  • Total cholesterol lower than 200.
  • Blood pressure below 120/80.
  • Fasting blood sugar below 100.

Read more.

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Get off that deadly chair: Sitting too long raises fatality risk, experts say

(AP) — Scientists are increasingly warning that sitting for prolonged periods — even if you also exercise regularly — could be bad for your health. And it doesn't matter where the sitting takes place — at the office, at school, in the car or before a computer or TV — just the overall number of hours it occurs…

While health officials have issued guidelines recommending minimum amounts of physical activity, they haven't suggested people try to limit how much time they spend in a seated position.

Read more.

Thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla.

Community: Maybe it would be a good idea to get up and walk around after so much time sitting.

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Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble

(HealthDay News) Slashing salt intake by just 3 grams a day -- the equivalent of half a teaspoon -- could dramatically cut the incidence of heart disease and death in U.S. adults, researchers claim.

According to the authors of a study…, the projected reductions would be similar to the benefits accruing from a 50 percent drop in the smoking rate and a 5 percent decline in body mass index among obese adults.

Read more.

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Even Mild Lung Disease Affects the Heart

(HealthDay News) Heart and lung function appear to be intimately intertwined, so that even mild cases of chronic lung disease affect the heart's ability to pump blood, a new study finds.

"It suggests that a larger subset of heart failure may be due to lung disease," said Dr. R. Graham Barr.

Read more.

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Asian Air May Be Worsening Ozone Over U.S.

(HealthDay News) Call it an unwanted gift from overseas: Scientists are reporting that springtime ozone levels above western North America are on the rise, in part because of air heading this way from Asia.

The boosts in ozone could make it hard for the United States to stay under pollution limits for ground level air set by the Clean Air Act, according to the researchers.

Read more.

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Consumers Over Age 50 Should Consider Cutting Copper and Iron Intake, Report Suggests

(Science Daily) With scientific evidence linking high levels of copper and iron to Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and other age-related disorders, a new report … suggests specific steps that older consumers can take to avoid build up of unhealthy amounts of these metals in their bodies…

[Those steps include] avoiding vitamin and mineral pills that contain cooper and iron; lowering meat intake: avoiding drinking water from copper pipes; donating blood regularly to reduce iron levels; and taking zinc supplements to lower copper levels.

Read more.

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20-Minute Pork Dinners

(Cooking Light) Start with lean, flavorful pork for a quick and healthy meal ready in 20 minutes or less.

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Community: We buy pork loins. The whole loin is often on sale at a great price per pound. We cut it up and freez it.

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5-Ingredient Chicken Recipes

(MyRecipes.com) No grocery list required. These 8 simple chicken recipes can be prepared using common house-hold ingredients.

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Study links thyroid disease to non-stick chemicals

(Reuters) Scientists have linked a chemical used in consumer goods like non-stick pans and water-resistant fabrics with thyroid disease, raising questions about the potential health risks of exposure to the substance.

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Going to the Gym Shouldn't Be a Workout for Your Eardrums

(Science Daily) Listening to an iPod while working out feels like second nature to many people, but University of Alberta researcher Bill Hodgetts says we need to consider the volume levels in our earphones while working up a sweat…

The researcher found that the study participants, who were in a gym-like setting, listened at potentially dangerous levels while working out, likely due to the presence of background noise. But he says it isn't the listening level alone that's risky, it's how long a person listens at that level.

Read more.

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Use of Mail-Order Pharmacies Use Could Improve Patients' Medication Adherence

(Science Daily) In a first-of-its-kind study, ... found that patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol who ordered their medications by mail were more likely to take them as prescribed by their physicians than patients who obtained medications from a local pharmacy…

The researchers found that 84.7 percent of patients who received their medications by mail at least two-thirds of the time stuck to their physician-prescribed regimen, compared with 76.9 percent of those who picked up their medications at traditional "brick-and-mortar" … pharmacies.

Read more.

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Older Brains Make Good Use of 'Useless' Information

(Science Daily) A new study has found promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts…

"We found that older brains are not only less likely to suppress irrelevant information than younger brains, but they can link the relevant and irrelevant pieces of information together and implicitly transfer this knowledge to subsequent memory tasks," said [study lead author Karen] Campbell.

Read more.

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Blood Test Spots Colon Cancer, Polyps

(HealthDay News) The first blood test to reliably detect early-stage colorectal cancer and polyps may help identify patients who would gain most from colonoscopy, say Israeli researchers who developed the screen.

The blood test checks for levels of CD24 protein, which is produced early in colorectal cancer development and may play a role in the spread of tumor cells, say the team.

Read more.

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Roche drug keeps patients cancer-free longer

(Reuters) Roche's cancer drug Xeloda enabled elderly patients being treated for colorectal cancer to live free of the disease for longer, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs said on Thursday.

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Glaxo offers free malaria research, vaccine nears

(Reuters) GlaxoSmithKline Plc hopes to seek approval by 2012 for its experimental malaria vaccine and said on Wednesday it would seek only a small profit and ensure it is widely available in hard-hit countries.

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Reasoning Through the Rationing of End-of-Life Care

(Science Daily) Acknowledging that the idea of rationing health care, particularly at the end of life, may incite too much vitriol to get much rational consideration, a Johns Hopkins emeritus professor of neurology called for the start of a discussion anyway…

John Freeman, M.D. … asks the Obama administration to consider rationing end-of-life care as an initial step towards healthcare reform.

[His] article starts with the premise that futile and expensive care at the end of life is widespread, that it has been a major contributor to the increasingly unaffordable cost of healthcare and that the nation is unable to provide it equitably to all.

He goes on to say that while administering such care -- as ordered through a living will, next of kin or parent -- should be respected, he advocates that the ethical imperatives of "patient autonomy" and "surrogate autonomy" (passing responsibility for decision-making to next of kin when a patient no longer is competent to make his own decisions) should be weighed against the societal impact and costs of such care in futile circumstances.

Read more.

Community: I think most of us don’t want extreme measures taken for little benefit, but we’re just not sure we want non-family members making the decisions for us.

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Complex Weight-Loss Plans Erode Dieters' Resolve

(HealthDay News) The more complex a person's diet plan, the sooner the person will abandon it, a new study finds…

"For people on a more complex diet that involves keeping track of quantities and items eaten, their subjective impression of the difficulty of the diet can lead them to give up on it," Peter Todd, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, said in a university news release.

The effect endured even after the researchers accounted for the influence of significant social-cognitive factors such as self-efficacy -- people's belief that they're capable of achieving a goal, such as adhering to a diet regimen to lose weight.

Read more.

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Friendly Bacteria Love the Humble Apple

(Science Daily) Why does an apple a day keep the doctor away? New research … contributes to our understanding of why eating apples is good for you…

"In our study we found that rats eating a diet high in pectin, a component of dietary fiber in apples, had increased amounts of certain bacteria that may improve intestinal health," said co-researcher Andrea Wilcks. "It seems that when apples are eaten regularly and over a prolonged period of time, these bacteria help produce short-chain fatty acids that provide ideal pH conditions for ensuring a beneficial balance of microorganisms. They also produce a chemical called butyrate, which is an important fuel for the cells of the intestinal wall."

Read more.

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Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart

(HealthDay News) Scientists think they have uncovered at least one of the reasons why omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart.

The more omega-3 that patients with coronary heart disease consumed, the slower their telomeres shrank. Telomeres are structures at the end of a chromosome that get shorter the more times a cell divides, making them a marker of biological age.

"We're certainly not saying that this is the reason for all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but it is a new pathway linking omega-3 fatty acids to biological aging in these patients," said study lead author Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far.

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The secret to better health — exercise

(Healthbeat, Harvard Medical School) Millions of Americans simply aren’t moving enough to meet the minimum threshold for good health — that is, burning at least 700 to 1,000 calories a week through physical pursuits. The benefits of exercise may sound too good to be true, but decades of solid science confirm that exercise improves health and can extend your life. Adding as little as half an hour of moderately intense physical activity to your day can help you avoid a host of serious ailments…

In a nutshell, exercise can:

  • reduce your chances of getting heart disease. For those who already have heart disease, exercise reduces the chances of dying from it.
  • lower your risk of developing hypertension and diabetes.
  • reduce your risk for colon cancer and some other forms of cancer.
  • improve your mood and mental functioning.
  • keep your bones strong and joints healthy.
  • help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • help you maintain your independence well into your later years.

Read more.

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Painless Plasma Jets Could Replace Dentist's Drill

(Science Daily) Plasma jets capable of obliterating tooth decay-causing bacteria could be an effective and less painful alternative to the dentist's drill, according to a new study.

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Breakthrough Breast Cancer Therapy Reduces Mastectomies, Saves Breast

(Science Daily) A new treatment developed and tested by University of Oklahoma researchers not only killed large cancer tumors, but reduced the need for mastectomies by almost 90 percent…

"This therapy is a major advancement for women with later stage breast cancer. Right now, most patients with large tumors lose their breast. With this treatment along with chemotherapy, we were able to kill the cancer and save the breast tissue," said William Dooley, M.D.

Read more.

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Tobacco Toxin Helps a Protein Cause Lung Cancer

(HealthDay News) New research offers insight into how a carcinogen in tobacco known as NNK contributes to the formation of lung cancer tumors.

Researchers … report that NNK contributes to the accumulation of a protein, called DNMT1, in the nucleus of cells. In turn, DNMT1 turns off genes that keep tumors from forming.

Read more.

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Current Smoking Can Worsen Lung Cancer

(HealthDay News) Not only does cigarette smoke cause lung cancer, it worsens the disease by increasing lung inflammation, U.S. researchers have found.

Read more.

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Overdoses From Prescription Painkillers on the Rise

(HealthDay News) Overdoses from prescription painkillers are increasing in the United States, a new study shows…

The risk of overdosing increased with the amount of drug prescribed, according to the study. Those given higher doses had nearly nine times the chance of overdosing as those given lower doses of opioids.

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Compounds Identified That Might Treat Nerve Diseases

(HealthDay News) Researchers report that they've developed a new way to find compounds that could become treatments for degenerative nerve disorders such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases.

The diseases cause proteins in nerve cells known as neurons to "misfold." In the new research, scientists say they've found molecules that play a role in the body's efforts to "chaperone" the molecules that fix the broken proteins.

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Stem Cells Become Functioning Neurons in Mice

(HealthDay News) Transplanted neurons grown from embryonic stem cells were able to form proper brain connections in newborn mice, U.S. scientists report.

Researchers from Stanford Medical School say their study was the first to show that stem cells can be directed to become specific brain cells and to link correctly in the brain. The findings, they say, could help in efforts to develop new treatments for spinal cord injuries and nervous system diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

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Compulsive Dogs Yield Clues to Human OCD, Autism

(HealthDay News) A study of obsessive-compulsive Dobermans might someday help explain similar repetitive behaviors in humans.

Scientists have identified a region on chromosome 7 in obsessive-compulsive dogs that may correlate to the human version of the psychiatric disorder.

The gene is the same in humans, said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, first author of the study…

"[E]ven if this particular finding is not directly relevant, it still gives us clues as to the pathways and processes that may be going on in humans as well as some possible targets for intervention and treatment," he added.

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Monkey Brain 'Hardwired' for Simple Math

(HealthDay News) A German team of neurobiologists has found that rhesus macaques can engage in abstract mathematical reasoning using specific brain cells dedicated to the comprehension of math rules and relationships.

The finding could provide insight into the neurology behind human ability to comprehend much more complex mathematics, German scientists said.

Read more.

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Most unhappy with eating habits of others

(UPI) Some 80 percent of U.S. adults say they are satisfied with their eating habits, but 73 percent say others don't have healthy eating habits, a survey found…

"It's clear from this survey that people recognize poor eating habits, such as mindless or emotional eating, on a societal level and in other individuals, but they don't identify the problem in themselves -- even though they admit to specific unhealthy eating habits," said Brad Lamm, founder and president of Intervention Specialists who helped design the survey for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

"We need to help people connect the dots so they see their own poor eating habits and mindless eating, identify the causes, and address them with sustainable solutions."

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Healthier big game snacking options

(UPI) For those who are still trying to follow through on New Year's resolutions or looking for healthier Super Bowl snacks, a chef and dietitians have suggestions…

Instead of wings and blue cheese dressing, a smarter substitution is shrimp and cocktail sauce…

Instead of munching on potato chips, choose lightly salted pistachios. Although the two snacks have the same amount of calories, pistachios provide 6g of protein vs. 2g per serving of potato chips -- about eight potato chips -- and pistachios provide 3g of the daily value for fiber per serving vs. 1g in potato chips.

Pistachios are also packed with copper and manganese as well as anti-oxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Traditional spinach and artichoke dip is laden with high-calorie ingredients like sour cream, mayonnaise and cheese, but white bean dip uses garlic, lemon juice, scallions, pistachios and coriander seed for its flavoring. Serve up whole wheat crackers or cut-up vegetables.

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Community: Most nuts come in unsalted versions, as well. And another possibility is Israeli style hummus served with celery and carrot sticks. For sweets, fresh fruit is a possibility.

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