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

Super Bowl Stress Can Spark Heart Attacks

(HealthDay News) When the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts take the field for Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, emotions will be running high, so high that some fans can run the risk of a heart attack and even death…

The best way to avoid this unhappy consequence is, "don't take it so seriously. Don't get so excited about it," [Dr. Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist,] said. "Enjoy the game, have fun with it, but don't spend your life savings on betting on it and don't have your life invested in the outcome."

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Many women unaware of heart disease signs

(UPI) More than 430,000 U.S. women die each year of heart disease, but many women are unfamiliar with signs, U.S. researchers say…

Research shows 95 percent of women who had suffered heart attacks said they experienced symptoms a month or more before experiencing their heart attack, [cardiologist Dr. Khan] Hoang said. The symptoms most commonly reported were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, and shortness of breath, the researchers said.

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Study fails to link saturated fat, heart disease

(Reuters Health) The saturated fat found mainly in meat and dairy products has a bad reputation, but a new analysis of published studies finds no clear link between people's intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heart disease…

"No one is saying that some saturated fat is going to harm you...people should enjoy their food," said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.

But, he pointed out, many studies have shown that dietary saturated fat can raise people's cholesterol, and the new analysis is not going to change recommendations to keep saturated fat intake in check.

Perhaps more importantly, though, Eckel said that the thinking on diet and heart health is moving away from a focus on single nutrients and toward "dietary patterns."

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Men who eat soy may have lower lung cancer risk

(Reuters Health) Men who don't smoke and eat a lot of soy may have a lower risk of lung cancer, according to a new study.

Soy contains isoflavones, which act similarly to the hormone estrogen, and may have anti-cancer qualities in hormone-related cancers of the breast and prostate, the researchers… Cells in the lung have properties that suggest they may also respond to isoflavones.

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Celastrol: Plant compound may treat cancer

(UPI) U.S. researchers say a plant long used in Chinese medicine may become a cancer treatment…

"The celastrol induces the protein to form fibrils and clusters it together, which inactivates it," researcher Ahmed Chadli said in a statement. "When they are clustered, they're not available for other functions that help cancer grow."

Chadli envisions celastrol being used in combination with other therapeutic agents to help patients resist cancer.

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Genes may protect against alcohol issues

(UPI) U.S. researchers say a pattern of genetic markers seems to protect against alcohol problems…

The study … found [abuse victims] with the H1 haplotype had three times the risk of heavy drinking and alcohol dependence as those who had not been sexually abused, but abuse victims with the H2 haplotype seemed to be protected against the risks.

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Exercise won't boost endurance for 1 in 5

(USA Today) About one in five people can train all they want but, because of their genetic makeup, are not likely to see much improvement in their endurance levels, an international team of researchers reported Thursday.

Still, the authors caution, their findings shouldn't be an excuse to throw away the running shoes.

"There is a whole host of other physiological responses" to exercise, such as heart rate, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and insulin metabolism, that are related to genes other than those implicated in the aerobic response, says co-author Tuomo Rankinen…

Even if you're genetically predisposed to see little improvement in endurance, "it doesn't mean that you don't get any benefit from exercise," Rankinen says. "That's an important public health message."

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Dopamine Levels in Brain May Determine Social Status

(HealthDay News) The makeup of your brain may influence your social standing, a new study suggests.

Researchers conducted PET scans of the brains of healthy volunteers and assessed their levels of social status and social support. The results suggest that social status and social support are associated with the density of dopamine D2/D3 receptors in an area of the brain called the striatum, which plays a major role in reward and motivation…

"These data shed interesting light into the drive to achieve social status, a basic social process," said journal editor Dr. John Krystal. "It would make sense that people who had higher levels of D2 receptors, i.e., were more highly motivated and engaged by social situations, would be high achievers and would have higher levels of social support."

The study also may help improve understanding about why certain people are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs. Previous studies have suggested that lower levels of social status and social support contribute to the risk of substance abuse.

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Community: This is another one of those chicken or egg situations. Which came first, the greater number of dopamine receptors, or the social status?

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Herbals Not the Answer for Asthma, Study Shows

(HealthDay News) -- Many asthma patients who use herbal remedies experience increased symptoms and poorer quality of life, a new study shows…

"Results indicate patients using herbal remedies are less likely to take their prescribed medications. These patients report worse asthma control and poorer quality of life than patients who follow medication plans. Underuse of prescribed medication is one of the main factors contributing to poor outcomes in asthma patients," study author Dr. Angkana Roy [said].

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Obese People Lose Weight at High Altitudes

(LiveScience.com) Here's a possible future diet tip: Move to a mountaintop.

In a recent study, obese individuals who spent time at a mountain facility at high altitudes lost weight without going on a diet. And they kept the pounds off for at least four weeks once they returned to normal altitudes.

The researchers suspect part of the weight loss can be attributed to the thin air, which may have decreased participants' appetites and increased their metabolism, meaning they burned more calories sans a workout. While at high altitudes, the obese subjects also showed an increase in levels of leptin, a hormone that when present can make one feel full.

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Seniors aren't getting vital vaccinations, study finds

(McClatchy Newspapers) States require that children have all their immunizations before they can enroll in school. Veterinarians send reminder cards to pet owners when Fido or Tabby is due for a shot. No such safety net exists for adults, however, and especially for the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to many diseases that vaccines can prevent, according to a new report about the low rate of adult immunization.

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HPV Vaccines May Reduce a Wide Range of Genital Diseases

(Science Daily) High-coverage human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations among adolescents and young women may result in a rapid reduction of genital warts, cervical cell abnormalities, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, researchers report in a new study…

"Our results provide strong evidence to suggest that the ongoing HPV vaccination programs in adolescent girls and young women will result within a few years in a notable reduction of genital warts, cervical cytological abnormalities, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures related to precursor lesions in the cervix, vulva, and vagina," the authors write. "It is anticipated that these reductions will eventually translate into lower rates of cancer of the cervix, vulva, and vagina."

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Cheap, Quick Way to De-stress

(RealAge.com) In a study of premenopausal women, those who received the most hugs and massages from their significant others had the highest levels of oxytocin -- a hormone and brain chemical linked to happy feelings and security in relationships. And even better, oxytocin is related to lower heart rate and blood pressure…

Bust stress further with these relax-already strategies:

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Seeing a good deed makes others generous

(UPI) Seeing someone perform a virtuous deed -- especially helping another person -- makes people feel good, U.S. researchers say…

[P]articipants who viewed the uplifting TV clip spent almost twice as long helping the research assistant as participants who saw the neutral TV clip or the comedy clip.

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Community: Unfortunately, much of our news and entertainment media is geared toward stimulating feelings of excitement and/or anxiety, than toward making us feel good and willing to help others. They’re killing us.

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Untreated, Mild May Become Major Depression

(HealthDay News) For many people whose depression goes untreated, symptoms persist and worsen over time, eventually leading to a diagnosis of major depression, according to new research…

"These findings come in the wake of intensive focus by the media on a study reported in January, which showed that depressed patients with mild symptoms did not do any better with medication than with placebo, suggesting that patients with mild depression don't need treatment," the study's lead author, Myrna M. Weissman, [said]. "Of course, patients in a clinical trail are receiving a considerable amount of attention and are not untreated."

"Our findings suggest that mildly depressed, untreated patients do not have a benign course of illness," she said.

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Live Longer with This Protein

(RealAge.com) Which do you have on the menu -- chicken, beef, pork, or fish? Your answer just might affect your life span.

Your best bet: Choose two legs -- or a couple of flippers -- over four. In a recent study, people who ate the most red (beef, pork) or processed (hot dogs, bacon) meats had the highest risk of dying during the 10-year study…

The red-meat and processed-meat eaters also had a higher risk of dying from cancer or heart disease. Why? Researchers aren't exactly sure. Could be the preservatives in processed meats. Could be the artery-clogging fats found in beef and bacon. Or it could be that both red- and processed-meat eaters consume less body-friendly foods like whole grains, fruit, and veggies. In fact, other research shows that vegetarians fare best when it comes to heart disease mortality.

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It Looks, Feels and Tastes Like Chicken, but It's Made of Soy

(Science Daily) [S]cientists at the University of Missouri have created a soy substitute for chicken that is much like the real thing. The new soy chicken also has health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and maintaining healthy bones.

[A]n MU professor of biological engineering and food science … is leading the project to create a low-cost soy substitute for chicken. His research… has led to a process that does more than just add color and flavor to soy. [He] has developed a process that makes the soy product simulate the fibrous qualities of a chicken breast.

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Community: Mmmmm..... Soy wings.....

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From MyRecipes.com

Creole Chicken and Vegetables

Enjoy the flavor of summer anytime by using frozen bell peppers and frozen okra in this speedy Creole dish. For a filling meal, serve over rice.

A Month of Heart-Healthy Recipes

10 Secrets to Fresh & Easy Cooking Host of Real Simple. Real Life. and A Lyon in the Kitchen, food expert Nathan Lyon believes the best tasting dinners come from fresh ingredients. Follow his 10 easy tips for getting the all the flavor of those ingredients from the grocery store to your dinner table.

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Biofeedback Now Seen as 'Regular' Medicine

(HealthDay News) Biofeedback used to be thought of as alternative therapy -- something that might help but wasn't considered a fully legitimized medical treatment.

No more.

U.S. soldiers returning from war now use biofeedback to help deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. People suffering from chronic pain often find relief in biofeedback. Even athletes are using biofeedback to gain better control over their bodies…

With biofeedback, someone is strapped to sensors that provide real-time readings of internal bodily processes, such as muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature and brain-wave activity. They then are taught strategies by which they can gain better control over those processes, which in turn can help them achieve certain health goals.

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Study Maps Effects of Acupuncture on the Brain

(Science Daily) When a patient receives acupuncture treatment, a sensation called deqi can be obtained; scientific analysis shows that this deactivates areas within the brain that are associated with the processing of pain.

Dr Hugh MacPherson … says: "These results provide objective scientific evidence that acupuncture has specific effects within the brain which hopefully will lead to a better understanding of how acupuncture works."

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Molecular 'Firing Squad' in Mice Triggered by Overeating

(Science Daily) Overeating in mice triggers a molecule once considered to be only involved in detecting and fighting viruses to also destroy normal metabolism, leading to insulin resistance and setting the stage for diabetes. The new study … specifically links together the immune system and metabolism, a pairing increasingly suspected in diseases that include -- in addition to diabetes -- heart disease, fatty liver, cancer, and stroke.

Understanding how to regulate the molecule through targeted drugs or nutrients could eventually change the way these diseases are prevented and treated in humans.

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Community: Did you catch that? Drugs OR NUTRIENTS. Scientists are finally starting to think in terms of nutrients as well as drugs.

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Hinting at New Treatments for Recovering Addicts

(Science Daily) The brain's innate interest in the new and different may help trump the power of addictive drugs, according to research… In controlled experiments, novelty drew cocaine-treated rats away from the place they got cocaine.

Novelty could help break the vicious cycle of treatment and relapse, especially for the many addicts with novelty-craving, risk-taking personalities, the authors said. Drug-linked settings hold particular sway over recovering addicts, which may account in part for high rates of relapse.

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Community: We train children by redirecting their attention. Cesar Millan trains dogs by redirecting their attention. One of the techniques I used while withdrawing from nicotine addiction was redirecting my attention (with deep breaths and getting up and walking around, whenever I felt a craving). Maybe the same technique could help fight eating addiction, as well.

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Nanofiber Gel May Spur Growth of New Knee Cartilage

(HealthDay News) A new nanofiber gel that promotes cartilage growth in joints has been developed by U.S. researchers.

The material is injected into the damaged joint and stimulates bone marrow stem cells to produce natural cartilage, without the need for expensive growth factors. No current therapy can do this, according to the researchers, from Northwestern University.

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Physicists Kill Cancer With 'Nanobubbles'

(Science Daily) Using lasers and nanoparticles, scientists at Rice University have discovered a new technique for singling out individual diseased cells and destroying them with tiny explosions. The scientists used lasers to make "nanobubbles" by zapping gold nanoparticles inside cells. In tests on cancer cells, they found they could tune the lasers to create either small, bright bubbles that were visible but harmless or large bubbles that burst the cells.

"Single-cell targeting is one of the most touted advantages of nanomedicine, and our approach delivers on that promise with a localized effect inside an individual cell," said Rice physicist Dmitri Lapotko, the lead researcher on the project. "The idea is to spot and treat unhealthy cells early, before a disease progresses to the point of making people extremely ill."

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Medicare cuts damage cancer care, group finds

(Reuters) Changes to Medicare, the federal health plan for the elderly, may be damaging important aspects of cancer care in the United States, according to a study released on Thursday.

They found that many centers offering cancer care are losing money on patients and predicted that some may be forced out of business.

The Community Oncology Alliance, which commissioned the report, said the findings have implications for healthcare reform in Congress but also require immediate attention from Medicare.

"For some patients, particularly in rural areas, it means the infusion clinic that is close to them will close," the group's Dr. David Eagle said in a telephone interview.

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Government to Pay for More Than Half of U.S. Health Care Costs

(HealthDay News) As jobless Americans lost private health insurance coverage and joined the Medicaid rolls during the recession, U.S. health spending jumped 5.7 percent to $2.5 trillion in 2009, government projections show.

That means that American taxpayers will foot the bill for more than half of U.S. health care expenditure by 2012, the report's authors said.

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Why people forget resolutions by February

(UPI) Millions make New Year's resolutions to exercise more or lose weight, but by February many of those commitments are forgotten, a U.S. psychiatrist says…

To help resolutions become new habits, [Dr. Timothy] Wolff suggests setting small goals, finding activities you enjoy that can help in attaining these goals and communicating your objectives to others, so as to be more accountable.

"As the proverb goes: The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step," Wolff said. "So, make sure the first step is doable."

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Community: And it’s important to persist. When I fail I start again.

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Winter Sun Warrants Sunscreen

(HealthDay News) "Some people may think that protecting the skin from the sun in the winter is not as important because they are not feeling the heat as much in the winter," said Dr. April Armstrong… "As a result, some people may not be as diligent putting on sunscreen during the winter."…

"Winter sports can be hard on the skin," Armstrong said. "Winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing often leave a person exposed in the sun for long periods of time."

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Discounts may fuel the purchase of healthier foods

(Reuters Health) Reducing the price of healthy foods could land more whole grains, carrots and bananas in shopping carts, even months after the discounts are removed, according to a new study.

As rates of obesity continue to rise in much of the developed world, so does the urgency to improve people's food choices…

According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, after six months of intervention, participants receiving price discounts bought approximately 1.7 more pounds (790 grams) of healthy food per week compared with those not randomized to pay the lower prices.

This was an 11 percent increase from purchases made prior to the study and included just over a pound (480 grams) more fruits and vegetables per week, or about six servings.

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Super Bowl Food Makeovers

(Cooking Light) The traditional game day foods are crowd pleasers, but they can also be some of the worst foods for you health-wise. With these simple makeovers, you don't have to find new foods to serve on Super Bowl Sunday.

Creamy Dip
Beefy Chili
Loaded Nachos

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A Hearty Breakfast Sandwich

Oven-baked tomatoes, smoky Canadian bacon, and a touch of mustard make an outstanding breadless, low-fat twist on eggs Benedict. A little vinegar is the simple secret to a perfect poached egg.

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Cholesterol-Lowering Snacks

(Dr. Arthur Agatston, Everyday Health) Fortunately, the same foods that can help lower LDL may also improve HDL and triglycerides. So instead of snacking on chips and doughnuts, consider these healthier options:

Nuts and seeds

Apples

Oat bran

Grapefruit… But this snack is not for everyone. Because grapefruit can interfere with the breakdown of certain medications, including statins and calcium channel blockers, don't eat a lot of grapefruit or drink the juice as a snack if you're on these medications.

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Community: What I need in a snack I a hunger stopper. For me, that means some protein and fat. I’m most likely to snack on low fat cheese sticks or Israeli style hummus on celery. Nuts are good, too, but I limit the nut intake since I want to lose more weight.

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Weight-Loss Supplement Has Potential to Burn Fair Amount of Calories

(Science Daily) A new weight-loss supplement … has the potential to burn as many calories as a 20-minute walk, according to Joel T. Cramer, assistant professor of exercise physiology.

Cramer says General Nutrition Centers contracted with OU to test the weight-loss benefits of the nutritional supplement called the tri-pepper blend, which contains black pepper, caffeine and a concentrated form of capsaicin -- the ingredient that makes red peppers hot. The OU study showed energy expenditures of three to six percent, results which are statistically significant enough to validate product weight-loss claims, Cramer said.

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Community: No need to pay extra for a supplement to provide those nutrients.

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Baker's Yeast: A Promising, Natural Therapy for Cancer?

(Science Daily) A researcher … is investigating the potential use of non-pathogenic baker's yeast as a promising, natural therapy for cancer…

"There is a possibility that we could find a way to treat not only the local tumor, but the tumor that has spread throughout the body," said Dr. Gus Gill… "As a surgeon, I always thought that a better way was to try to get rid of surgery (as a necessity) when dealing with cancer."

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Tobacco Plant-Made Therapeutic Thwarts West Nile Virus

(Science Daily) A new therapeutic made from tobacco plants has been shown to arrest West Nile virus infection, according to a new study…

There are currently no available vaccines against West Nile, nor effective therapeutics for human use, so the current findings are a considerable advancement and may offer the best hope thus far that the West Nile virus infection can be stopped, even several days after viral infection.

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Excessive Internet Use Is Linked to Depression

(Science Daily) People who spend a lot of time browsing the Internet are more likely to show depressive symptoms, according to the first large-scale study of its kind in the West…

Researchers found striking evidence that some users have developed a compulsive internet habit, whereby they replace real-life social interaction with online chat rooms and social networking sites. The results suggest that this type of addictive surfing can have a serious impact on mental health.

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When Counseling Costs, Response Dwindles

(HealthDay News) Whether response to counseling programs on obesity and smoking is positive depends on whether the programs are free, a new study has found.

And the cost of the counseling makes a difference not just to people who might participate but also to the doctors or health-care providers who refer them to the programs, according to the study…

People responded well to free counseling programs on weight loss or smoking cessation, the study found, but participation fell dramatically when services were no longer free.

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Recent Immigrants May Have Lower Risk of Early Stroke

(Science Daily) New immigrants to North America may be less likely to have a stroke at a young age than long-time residents, according to a study…

There are several theories why immigrants may be healthier than long-term residents: Those willing to undergo the stress of immigration are usually in good health prior to immigrating; the medical examination required of all potential immigrants screens out unhealthy candidates; and immigrants who experience poor health may return to their home country for support.

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Very Obese People May Be Missing Genes

(HealthDay News) Adding more evidence to theories linking DNA to weight, European scientists report that a genetic variation seems to virtually guarantee that a person will become obese.

The genetic variation in question robs people of about 30 genes and appears to be found in seven of every 1,000 severely obese people, the researchers report. The same variation also may be linked to mental retardation and learning disabilities.

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Brain Damage Seen in People With Severe Sleep Apnea

(HealthDay News) People with severe obstructive sleep apnea have reduced concentrations of gray matter in multiple areas of the brain, new research shows.

Gray matter refers to the brain's cerebral cortex, where the majority of information processing takes place. These changes in brain structure may help explain the memory, cardiovascular and other problems experienced by people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the study authors explained.

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Kidney Function May Be Tied to Bone Loss

(HealthDay News) Even a slight loss of kidney function is associated with increased loss of bone mineral density and greater risk of disabling fractures that can lead to premature death, researchers say.

"Our findings highlight the importance of estimating kidney function when evaluating patients for fracture risk," Dr. Sophie A. Jamal.

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Organ Transplant Drug Keeps Immune System in Check

(HealthDay News) Adding a new drug to the heavy regimen of immunosuppressant drugs given to organ transplant recipients not only prevented rejection of the new organ but also cut down on the amount of immunosuppressant drugs needed, a new study finds.

Researchers hope the experimental drug will eventually preclude the need for any immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant.

Read more.

Community: I wonder if this drug could be effective against some of the autoimmune diseases.

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Severe Complications of Diabetes Higher in Depressed Patients

(Science Daily) Depression raises risks of advanced and severe complications from diabetes, according to a prospective study… These complications include kidney failure or blindness, the result of small vessel damage, as well as major vessel problems leading to heart attack or stroke…

As the incidence of type 2 diabetes soars, the clinical and public health significance of these findings increases, the authors noted. Further research is needed, the authors added, to clarify the underlying biological mechanism for the association between depression and complications of diabetes, and to test interventions which might be effective in lowering the risk of complications among patients who have both diabetes and depression.

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Older Female Cancer Survivors Have Added Health Issues Compared to Their Counterparts

(Science Daily) A recently published study … found 245 older married women who survived cancer had more health problems as compared to a sample of 245 married women without cancer…

Overall the cancer survivors had more health problems than for the women without cancer. The survivors also reported higher levels of fatigue, physical limitations, more doctor visits and more days in bed for health reasons than the other group.

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10 small steps for better heart health

(Harvard Healthbeat) Instead of undertaking a huge makeover, you might be able to improve your heart’s health with a series of small changes. Once you get going, you may find that change isn’t so hard. This approach may take longer, but it could also motivate you to make some big changes.

Here are 10 small steps to get you on the road to better health in 2010.

1. Take a 10-minute walk. If you don’t exercise at all, a brief walk is a great way to start. If you do, it’s a good way to add more exercise to your day.

2. Give yourself a lift. Lifting a hardcover book or a two-pound weight a few times a day can help tone your arm muscles. When that becomes a breeze, move on to heavier items or join a gym.

3. Eat one extra fruit or vegetable a day. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, taste good, and are good for everything from your brain to your bowels.

4. Make breakfast count. Start the day with some fruit and a serving of whole grains, like oatmeal, bran flakes, or whole-wheat toast.

5. Stop drinking your calories. Cutting out just one sugar-sweetened soda or calorie-laden latte can easily save you 100 or more calories a day. Over a year, that can translate into a 10-pound weight loss.

6. Have a handful of nuts. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and other nuts are good for your heart. Try grabbing some instead of chips or cookies when you need a snack, adding them to salads for a healthful and tasty crunch, or using them in place of meat in pasta and other dishes.

7. Sample the fruits of the sea. Eat fish or other types of seafood instead of red meat once a week. It’s good for the heart, the brain, and the waistline.

8. Breathe deeply. Try breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes a day. It can help you relax. Slow, deep breathing may also help lower blood pressure.

9. Wash your hands often. Scrubbing up with soap and water often during the day is a great way to protect your heart and health. The flu, pneumonia, and other infections can be very hard on the heart.

10. Count your blessings. Taking a moment each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life is one way to start tapping into other positive emotions. These have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being, just as their opposites — chronic anger, worry, and hostility — contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Source.

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Smoking Cessation Significantly Increases Cardiac Health Later in Life

(Science Daily) [R]esearch found that quitting smoking after a heart attack has about the same positive effect as other major interventions such as lipid-lowering agents like statins or more invasive procedures.

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Experts say 40 percent of cancers could be prevented

LONDON (Reuters) - Forty percent of the 12 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year could avert the killer disease by protecting themselves against infections and changing their lifestyles, experts said Tuesday…

The experts said the risk of developing cancer could potentially be reduced by up to 40 percent if full immunization and prevention measures were deployed and combined with simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating healthily, limiting alcohol intake and reducing sun exposure.

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Healthy Adults May Need Less Sleep as They Age

(Science Daily) A study ... suggests that healthy older adults without sleep disorders can expect to have a reduced "sleep need" and to be less sleepy during the day than healthy young adults…

"Our findings reaffirm the theory that it is not normal for older people to be sleepy during the daytime," said principal investigator Derk-Jan Dijk, PhD... "Whether you are young or old, if you are sleepy during the day you either don't get enough sleep or you may suffer from a sleep disorder."

Read more.

Community: NEED less, or just tend to GET less? I’ve slept less and less as the years have gone by, but haven’t liked the way it made me feel. I take a couple of supplements to help me get seven to eight hours of sleep.

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How to Enjoy an Avocado

(SouthBeachDiet.com) The creamy flesh of an avocado gives this food — which is botanically a fruit — an indulgent quality. However, ounce for ounce, avocados are actually one of the healthiest foods around. Not only are they rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, they also contain large amounts of potassium, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and vitamin B6.

Read more, including information on buying, storing, and preparing avocados.

Community: They tend to be expensive, so I only buy them when they’re on sale.

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Cinnamon-Spiced Pork and Plums

(MyRecipes.com) Described as "juicy, flavorful, and tender" in an online review, this dish dresses up pork chops with dried plums. Serve with couscous for a one-dish supper.

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Easy Freezer Meals

(Southern Living) Sharon Gray needed to change the way she prepared family meals. Unwilling to pay extra for the new generation of convenience products, such as marinated or seasoned frozen meats, Sharon created her own method of "investment cooking." She takes advantage of grocery meat specials and invests time cooking in large quantities and freezing food in various stages of preparation. With her freezer stocked, Sharon and her family can quickly and easily prepare their nightly meals.

Read more, including some specific cooking tips.

Community: We never buy meat at regular prices. And when we cook on the weekend, we always prepare much more than the two of us can eat at one meal. We eat the rest over the next few days and/or we freeze the leftovers.

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Fat-Burning Chemical Points to New Weight-Loss Drug

(HealthDay News) American scientists say they may have found a new way to trick the body into burning more fat.

Mice that were given a chemical that blocks the function of an enzyme called Fyn kinase burned more fatty acids and expended more energy, which made them leaner. This and other metabolic improvements, including increased insulin sensitivity, were because of higher levels of the "master energy switch" AMPK in the rodents' fat and muscle tissue.

The findings suggest that Fyn kinase may offer a target for a new kind of weight-loss drug, said the researchers.

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Why the Mirror Lies

(Science Daily) Everyone checks themselves in the mirror now and then, but that experience can be horrifying for individuals suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, a psychiatric condition that causes them to believe, wrongly, that they appear [disfigured] and ugly. These people tend to fixate on minute details -- every tiny blemish looms huge -- rather than viewing their face as a whole.

Now researchers at UCLA have determined that the brains of people with BDD have abnormalities in processing visual input, particularly when examining their own face. Further, they found that the same systems of the brain are overactive in both BDD and obsessive-compulsive disorder, suggesting a link between the two.

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New Brain Research: Hunger for Stimulation Driven by Dopamine in the Brain

(Science Daily) Our need for stimulation and dopamine's action upon the brain are connected, which explains why people who constantly crave stimulation are in danger of addictive behaviour such as drug abuse and gambling…

Measurement of dopamine showed that the test subjects who had the strongest urge to seek out new and thrilling experiences had both more dopamine in the brain and more areas in the brain where dopamine was active, explains Professor of Neurobiology and Pharmacology Albert Gjedde.

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Community: So there you go, doubters, there really are such things as addictions to sex, shopping, and thrill sports like bungee jumping. And, to my mind, overeating can be an addiction.

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Relationship Recall: Attachment Style May Affect Memories of Relationship Events

(Science Daily) Following an argument or a particularly heated discussion with our partner, they may remember details of the conversation very differently than we do. This may lead to even more arguments, as we try to convince the other that our recollection of the argument is more correct then theirs. It can be frustrating when our partners remember things differently than we do, but according to new research…, they are not trying to be difficult, but personality may affect how they (and we) remember relationship events…

Less anxious individuals remembered being more distant than initially reported if they had been distressed during the discussions. More anxious individuals remembered being closer to their partners than they initially reported if they were distressed during the discussions. The authors note that these results are consistent with anxious individuals' need for closeness and security.

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