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

Want to Find Love? Be Giving

(HealthDay News) Looking for someone to celebrate next Valentine's Day with? New research suggests you'll gain extra points with prospective mates if you give of yourself to others in activities like volunteering.

When it comes to romance, "being generous can pay off," said study author Pat Barclay…

The study found that both men and women were more attracted to an altruistic, giving person when seeking out a long-term relationship.

Read more.

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Wedding Band Makes Jealousy a Bigger Threat

(HealthDay News) Jealousy can dampen romance and damage sexual intimacy, especially if it occurs within a marriage, says new research that serves as a caution for couples as Valentine's Day approaches.

"Being married may 'up the ante,' because marriages tend to have higher levels of relationship commitment and joint investments [such as children, leisure, property and social networks]," said study co-author Anthony Paik…

The study … found that if jealousy wasn't a factor, three out of every four married people were highly satisfied with the emotional facets of their marriage. However, when the "green-eyed monster" entered the mix, levels of satisfaction dropped to less than half for married folk.

Jealousy didn't take quite the same toll on unmarried couples -- the study found that for these people, the odds of being very emotionally satisfied dropped only about 8 points when jealousy intervened.

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Valentine’s Day discount for STD test offered

(UPI) Some women may get flowers for Valentine's Day, but young U.S. women can also get a discount for a sexually transmitted disease test, a Web site says.

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5 Advances in Heart Health

(Reader’s Digest) There's always news about heart health, but is it news you can use? Here, for heart month, are important findings from the past year that you can act on—and benefit from—now.

TAKE THIS: Fish oil
It requires no prescription, but fish oil packs lots of power. According to a recent review of more than a dozen major studies, if you have high cholesterol, fish oil can lower your odds of cardiovascular problems by nearly 20 percent…

TALK TO YOUR DOC BEFORE SWALLOWING THIS: Aspirin
This heart hero helps ward off heart attacks in men and strokes in women, but experts have become more leery of its ability to cause serious stomach bleeding…

TREAT THIS: Depression
Sure, it's depressing to have heart disease, but evidence is growing that depression may also be a risk factor. In an investigation of 63,000 women, those who were depressed during the 12-year study were twice as likely to eventually experience sudden cardiac death…

DO THIS: Meditate
Studies have shown that this stress-taming technique decreases blood pressure and plaque buildup in arteries. Now it seems that meditation actually prevents heart attacks, strokes, and premature death in people with heart problems…

SUPPORT THIS: Smoking Bans
No Smoking signs started cropping up more frequently after the surgeon general endorsed bans on smoking in public places back in 2006. Now the Institute of Medicine reports that heart attack rates have dropped by as much as 47 percent in areas that prohibit lighting up in public.

Read more.

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Cold weather can be good for you

(Harvard Health Letters) Most of us spend the winter trying to stay warm and avoid getting cold, but a little bit of exposure may not be such a bad thing. It's been suggested, for example, that moderately cold temperatures could be good for the vasculature because it trains blood vessels in the skin to be responsive. (An added benefit: rosy cheeks.)

Brown fat is the heat-producing, calorie-burning fat that babies need to regulate their body temperatures. Most of it disappears with age, but PET scans have shown that adults retain some brown fat. Years ago, Finnish researchers reported that outdoor workers had more brown fat than indoor workers. Dutch researchers reported findings … in 2009 that showed that moderately cool temperatures of 61 degrees F activated brown fat in 23 of 24 study volunteers…

But before heading north in search of a more healthful clime, you may want to think about the toll that cold and winter takes.

Research documenting wintertime increases in blood pressure goes back decades. French researchers rounded out the record in 2009 with findings that showed the cold-weather increase in systolic blood pressure (the top number) was especially pronounced in those ages 80 and older. Cold may trigger the fight-or-flight response: Blood pressure goes up because the heart pumps faster and blood vessels tense up.

Cold weather and respiratory disease, including flu, also go hand in hand.

Read more.

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Sweat Lodges, Steam Rooms Aren't for Detox

(HealthDay News) The Web is filled with products and practices that promise to "detoxify" the body through various means, from extreme diets to spa treatments to sweating.

Though some may be relatively harmless, the desire to detox was brought to a tragic conclusion last fall when three participants died and several were made seriously ill during a pricey sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona. Self-help guru James Arthur Ray was arrested Feb. 3 and charged with three counts of manslaughter in the deaths.

Doctors say the notion that you can -- or should -- undertake special efforts to cleanse the body of impurities is not only not necessary but potentially dangerous. The body has evolved through time to detoxify itself through its own processes, said Dr. Rachel Vreema.

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Well: The Benefits of Bulgur

(New York Times) Bulgur, which is made from precooked wheat berries, takes only about 20 minutes to reconstitute by soaking or by simmering. It’s also a great substitute for rice because it has more fiber and nutrients and is also a low glycemic index food. Low glycemic index foods are better for you because they produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels compared with high glycemic index foods like rice and potatoes.

Here are five ways to cook with bulgur.

Bulgur With Swiss Chard, Chickpeas and Feta: Greens are layered over bulgur for a robust one-dish meal

Bulgur and Lentil Salad: Use French green lentils or black beluga lentils for this salad, as they are more likely to remain intact while cooking.

Bulgur Pilaf With Dried Fruit and Nuts: This pilaf is lighter than the traditional Middle Eastern version, but still plenty rich.

‘Cracked Wheat’ Bread: Despite its name, this moist, light bread is made not with cracked wheat but with bulgur.

Bulgur and Squash Kefteh: This mixture can be formed into patties, but it’s just as wonderful served by the spoonful from a baking dish.

Read more.

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Hydroxycut linked to other cases of liver damage

(Reuters Health) A new study strengthens evidence that the once widely advertised weight-loss supplement Hydroxycut caused serious liver damage in some users.

Read more.

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Too Much Mercury in Canned Tuna -- Or Is There?

(HealthDay News) A report last week that more than half of samples of brand-name canned tuna contained more mercury than deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised concern among tuna lovers everywhere.

Yet the same report found that only 5 percent of canned tuna samples contained mercury levels that exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) standards for safety, which are less stringent than the EPA's…

[Researchers] found "white" tuna, or albacore, consistently had higher concentrations of mercury than "light" tuna.

Read more.

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Low Levels of Natural Antibodies Behind Stroke

(Science Daily) The chances of suffering a stroke are linked to the presence of a certain type of antibody in the immune system, a new study from Karolinska Institutet shows. The researchers hope to be able to develop a vaccine that can mobilise the body´s own defence against arteriosclerosis and stroke.

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Scientists Synthesize Unique Family of Anti-Cancer Compounds

(Science Daily) Yale University scientists have streamlined the process for synthesizing a family of compounds with the potential to kill cancer and other diseased cells, and have found that they represent a unique category of anti-cancer agents…

The team studied a family of compounds known as the kinamycins, which are naturally produced by bacteria during metabolism and are known for their potent toxicity. For years scientists have guessed that a core structure common to the different compounds within the group was responsible for this toxicity. Until now, chemists could not study the core structure because there was no simple way to create it in the laboratory.

Now the Yale team has developed a new method to recreate this structure that allows them to synthesize the kinamycins with much greater efficiency than previously possible.

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Gay Men's Evolutionary Role May Be to Help Protect Young Kin

(HealthDay News) Homosexual men appear to have an important role to play in perpetuating the family genes, a new study suggests…

The researchers conducted their study on the Pacific island of Samoa, where homosexual males are recognized as a distinct gender category called fa'afafine.

Previous studies have shown that fa'afafine are much more likely than Samoan women or heterosexual men to behave altruistically toward their nieces and nephews through actions such as babysitting, providing tutoring and paying for medical care and education.

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Who owns your cells? New book tackles thorny issue

(Reuters Health) No one cares about the untold numbers of cells our bodies slough off every day. But imagine that someone got hold of your cells -- and the DNA they contain -- and used them to cure a disease, or somehow managed to make a lot of money off of them. Should you be proud? Could you claim royalties?

Read more.

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Dietary Formula That Maintains Youthful Function Into Old Age

(Science Daily) Researchers at McMaster University have developed a cocktail of ingredients that forestalls major aspects of the aging process…

Ingredients consists of items that were purchased in local stores selling vitamin and health supplements for people, including vitamins B1, C, D, E, acetylsalicylic acid, beta carotene, folic acid, garlic, ginger root, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, green tea extract, magnesium, melatonin, potassium, cod liver oil, and flax seed oil. Multiple ingredients were combined based on their ability to offset five mechanisms involved in ageing.

For [study author David] Rollo, the results go beyond simply prolonging the lifespan.

"For ageing humans maintaining zestful living into later years may provide greater social and economic benefits than simply extending years of likely decrepitude," he says. "This study obtained a truly remarkable extension of physical function in old mice, far greater than the respectable extension of longevity that we previous documented. This holds great promise for extending the quality of life of "health span" of humans."

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Lack of sleep increases disease risk

(UPI) If people usually wake up groggy and grumpy, they're probably not getting enough sleep and increasing their risk of disease, a U.S. report says.

A newly updated report from Harvard Medical School, "Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night's rest," explains how lack of sleep does more than make a person bleary -- it can put a person at risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other health problems.

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Self-control impaired in type-2 diabetics

(UPI) Type-2 diabetes, an increasingly common complication of obesity, is associated with poor impulse control, researchers in Japan suggest.
The study … suggests neurological changes result in this inability to resist temptation, which may in turn exacerbate diabetes.
Community: Which came first, the lack of impulse or the diabetes? The article doesn’t say, but I’m thinking the former. I’m thinking that we Americans aren’t really training ourselves for self control. And TV programs and movies aren’t helping us much. But we can do it if we're willing to work at it.
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Movies Loaded With Images of Junk Food

(HealthDay News) The next time you sit in a movie theater with your kid and polish off a tub of popcorn, give thought to a new study that finds popular movies are filled with images of junk food.

"We've had a long discussion about advertising to children, what's appropriate and not appropriate, but movies have fallen under the radar," said study author Lisa A. Sutherland…

References to the products and restaurants is "very subliminal, much more so than advertising on television," [she] said. They're "wound into the culture of the movie."

Read more.

Community: It’s not just children who are influenced by food ads and product placements.

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TV Dramas Can Be More Persuasive Than News Reports

(HealthDay News) Want to convince young women to use birth control? A new study says fiction may work better than non-fiction, at least when it comes to televised messages.

Women who watched an episode of "The OC" television drama about teen pregnancy were more likely to support using birth control afterward than those who saw a news report about the problems caused by teen pregnancy.

Women weren't moved to use birth control after watching the news segment, the researchers found.

Read more.

Community: Hollywood could help influence society for the better, if it chose to do so.

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Excuse-Proof Your Life

(RealAge.com) Whether you want to change your weight, your eating habits, or your physical activity level, it's easy to make excuses not to do it. Well, not any more. Use these workarounds to deflate your favorite excuses faster than you can pop a party balloon:

Excuse: I have no time to exercise.
Bust it: You need only 30 minutes a day to walk and 30 minutes a week to do some resistance training in order to boost your health and possibly reduce your waist…

Excuse: We're headed to a buffet.
Bust it: No need to lose control and gain weight. About 25 minutes before you eat, have a handful of nuts (6 walnuts works, as does 12 almonds or 20 peanuts) and a glass of water. Then, have 1 or 2 cups of soup before you eat anything else. That will fill you up so you eat sensibly…

Excuse: I have foot pain and can't walk.
Bust it: Try biking or swimming (there's more than one way to get your heart rate up!). See a podiatrist to diagnose what's wrong. And in the meantime, try doing this workout in a chair.

Excuse: I travel all the time and have to eat on the road.
Bust it: Rely on more snacks instead of pigging out on big meals. Travel with easy-to-carry baggies of snacks, including nuts, cut-up apples, or baby carrots, to take the edge off your hunger.

Read more.

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Hunger Versus Cravings?

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Hunger is natural, but cravings can hit from time to time, and if you're like many people, it's not always easy to tell them apart. Here are some simple guidelines that can help you determine the difference…

Hunger is the feeling you get when you experience a normal and gradual drop in blood sugar about four or five hours after a meal. It's your body's way of telling you that eating is overdue. Hunger signals can come from your stomach (in the form of growls, pangs, or a hollow feeling), as well as from your brain (which may include feeling headachy or fatigued)…

Cravings, on the other hand, happen within a couple of hours of your last meal. Ironically, eating some foods can make you hungry! "Cravings can be caused by exaggerated spikes and dips in blood sugar that occur after you eat highly processed carbohydrates like white bread or cake or other highly refined baked goods, or white rice or white pasta…

The good news is that eating the [Mediterranean style diet] (which means enjoying wholesome, fiber-rich foods, lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy and heart-healthy unsaturated fats) can actually help you curb your hunger and cravings by reducing spikes in blood sugar.

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Open Your Arteries with a Bowl Full of These

(RealAge.com) Regularly eating oatmeal appears to boost people's endothelial function. That's a fancy way of describing their arteries' all-important ability to dilate and keep blood flowing freely to the heart and other body parts…

Unfortunately, endothelial function often deteriorates in folks who are overweight or obese or who have glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. But in a 6-week study of overweight adults, a daily bowl of oats helped improve the way endothelium -- that thin layer of cells lining the inside of blood vessels -- functioned. Researchers speculate that the phytoestrogens and beta glucan in oats had something to do with the effect.

Read more.

Community: Are you reading this, President Clinton?

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Can Chocolate Lower Your Risk of Stroke?

(Science Daily) Eating chocolate may lower your risk of having a stroke, according to an analysis of available research that was released February 11 and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010. Another study found that eating chocolate may lower the risk of death after suffering a stroke.
Community: But remember that we get the most benefit from the least processed chocolateIf you want to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of stroke, here are some ways to do it.
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Baked Rhubarb Could Help Fight Cancer

(Science Daily) Eating rhubarb baked in a crumble is not only tasty it may also be the best way to take advantage of its health benefits, and could lead to the development of new cancer treatments.

Researchers have found that baking British garden rhubarb for 20 minutes dramatically increases its levels of anti-cancerous chemicals. The findings from academics at Sheffield Hallam University, together with the Scottish Crop Research Institute, were published in the journal Food Chemistry.

These chemicals, called polyphenols, have been shown to selectively kill or prevent the growth of cancer cells, and could be used to develop new, less toxic, treatments for the disease, even in cases where cancers have proven resistant to other treatments.

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The Magic Drink That Boosts Energy

(RealAge.com) A new study shows that slight dehydration can send your energy into a nosedive. And it puts people in a foul mood, too…

When water was withheld from a group of college students who were working out, they reported not just greater feelings of thirst but also more fatigue, anger, depression, and confusion than the group of well-hydrated exercisers. And the researchers suspect that dehydration would probably cause these same side effects in folks who aren't exercising but are water deprived -- although more study is needed to say for sure. Bottom line: Check your fluid intake if you need a pick-me-up.

Read more.

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Common Cholesterol Drugs, Statins, Fight Cataracts, Too

(Science Daily) Statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels, have been successfully fighting heart disease for years. A new study from Tel Aviv University has now found that the same drugs cut the risks of cataracts in men by almost 40%.

Read more.

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Hormone May Prevent Aggressive Breast Cancer

(HealthDay News) A hormone responsible for milk production blocks a gene that makes breast cancer more aggressive, according to new research by U.S. scientists.

The discovery, they say, could lead to better diagnostic tests for breast cancer and new treatments for the disease.

The researchers found that the hormone prolactin, which normally stimulates breast development and milk production, reduces levels of an oncogene called BCL6. Previous studies had shown that BCL6 plays a role in poorly differentiated breast cancer. Women with this type of breast cancer have a poor prognosis.

Read more.

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Few Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Take Tamoxifen

(HealthDay News) Only a tiny fraction of women at high risk of developing breast cancer take tamoxifen to prevent the disease.

This news comes despite the fact that experts have known since 1998 that tamoxifen can cut the risk of developing breast cancer by almost 50 percent.

Read more.

Community: Maybe they’re influenced by studies like that reported below.

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Cognitive Skills May Shrink With Tamoxifen

(HealthDay News) The breast cancer drug tamoxifen -- used for three decades to treat the disease -- appears to affect cognitive abilities, including some types of memory, a new study has found.

"Our results are important for breast cancer patients because intact cognitive functioning is known to be an important precondition for well-being," said study author Christien Schilder.

Read more.

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Short-Term Radiation Therapy Successful on Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) An intense three-week course of radiation therapy is just as effective as the standard five-week regimen for women with early-stage breast cancer…

Women who receive a three-week treatment -- called accelerated hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation -- have a low risk of side effects and recurrence of the cancer more than decade after treatment. It is just as effective as the standard five-week course of radiation following surgery to remove the malignancy.

Read more.

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MRI May Not Add Value to Routine Breast Cancer Care

(HealthDay News) -- Adding expensive MRI scans to diagnose breast cancer won't budge rates of repeat operations or the need for further mastectomy procedures, a new British study suggests…

"In view of the similar clinical and health related quality-of-life outcomes of patients in both groups, we conclude that the addition of MRI to the conventional triple assessment might result in extra use of resources at the initial surgery period, with few or no benefits to saving resources or health outcomes, and the additional burden on patients to attend extra hospital visits," [the study authors] wrote.

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Blood Clotting Finding May Lead to New Treatments

(Science Daily) A key protein that causes the blood to clot is produced by blood vessels in the lungs and not just the liver, according to new research published in the journal PLoS ONE,led by scientists at Imperial College London.

The findings may ultimately help scientists to develop better treatments for conditions where the blood's ability to clot is impaired, including deep vein thrombosis, where dangerous blood clots form inside the body, and haemophilia A, where the blood cannot clot sufficiently well.

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Being bored could be bad for your health

(AP) [E]xperts say there's a possibility that the more bored you are, the more likely you are to die early.

[But the researchers] caution that boredom alone isn't likely to kill you — but it could be a symptom of other risky behavior like drinking, smoking, taking drugs or having a psychological problem.

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Physical Changes in Brain Linked to Altered Spirituality

(HealthDay News) Damage to specific parts of the brain boosted levels of spiritual thinking and feeling in patients, a finding that adds new insight into the connection between religious attitudes and the physical makeup of the mind, researchers say…

In a statement, Dr. Salvatore M. Aglioti, from Sapienza University of Rome, said that if self-transcendence can change quickly as a result of brain damage, "it would indicate that at least some personality dimensions may be modified by influencing neural activity in specific areas. Perhaps novel approaches aimed at modulating neural activity might ultimately pave the way to new treatments of personality disorders."

Read more.

Community: Studies have shown that spirituality and happiness go together. But I don’t think we have to physically damage our brains to enhance our spirituality. Nor is organized religion required. The 12-Step programs recommend the spirituality enhancing practices of living in the moment, helping others, and believing in a power greater than ourselves, even if we don’t want to define that power.

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Intense Sweets Taste Especially Good to Some

(Science Daily) New research from the Monell Center reports that children's response to intense sweet taste is related to both a family history of alcoholism and the child's own self-reports of depression…

Liking for intense sweetness was greatest in the 37 children having both a positive family history of alcoholism and also reporting depressive symptoms.

Read more.

Community: So THAT’s where I get it from—my family history includes lots of alcoholism and lots of depression.

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Artificial sweeteners may not be the solution to shedding pounds

(MyRecipes.com) Research psychologists at Purdue University report that rats given food sweetened with saccharin ate more, gained more weight, and stored more fat over time than the rats that were given regular sugar. "What the results suggest is that consuming artificially sweetened products by themselves may not in fact contribute to weight loss - and to the contrary, may sometimes lead to weight gain," says Dr. Susan Swithers, one of the authors of the study.

The researchers do not feel that the results are limited to saccharin alone but include all types of artificial sweeteners.

But how can this be? The researchers believe that when your body takes in something sweet, your metabolism "revs up" to start burning off the calories that should follow. But when the calories do NOT follow, as in the case of artificial sweeteners, your body gets confused. So the next time real sugar enters your system, your metabolic response just might not kick in like it should. This might explain why some of the heaviest consumers of artificial sweeteners are also some of the heaviest Americans.

Read more.

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Simple Ways to Cut Calories

(Health.com) Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight knows it takes work. But it may not require as much as you think. Throwing everything at the problem might, in fact, be exactly why you fail at the latest plan you’ve sworn you’ll stick to. “You have to start small,” says Holly Wyatt, MD, a clinical researcher at the Center for Human Nutrition in Denver. “People tend to launch on a weight-loss program and try to change everything in their lives all at once.”

Therein lies the problem, experts say. Such drastic attempts rarely ever work. The simple solution? Make incremental adjustments to your eating and exercise habits that can shave calories here and there for maximum impact.

For example, consuming just 100 fewer calories each day is enough to avert the 1 to 2 pounds the average person gains each year, says Wyatt, who co-authored a study in the journal Science on battling obesity. To lose weight, you have to go a step further, she says, downsizing by 500 calories a day. But you don’t have to slash them all from your plate. “You can eat 250 calories less and then burn 250 by walking for 30 to 45 minutes. Over a week, that will produce about a pound of weight loss,” Wyatt says. You won’t see dramatic changes immediately, but small tweaks … can, and will, pay off over time.

Read more, including some very practical suggestions for reducing calorie intake and increasing output.

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MyRecipes.com

Mini Meat Loaves

Cooking meat loaf in single-serving portions cuts cooking time in half and keeps the meat juicy. The tangy ketchup and mustard glaze helps these loaves brown nicely, too.

Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce
In 45 minutes or less, this easy, delicious dish can be on your table.

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Obesity: It's Not the Amount of TV, It's the Number of Junk Food Commercials

(Science Daily) The association between television viewing and childhood obesity is directly related to children's exposure to commercials that advertise unhealthy foods, according to a new UCLA School of Public Health study…

Among all children, commercial viewing was significantly associated with higher BMI, although the effect was stronger for children younger than 7 than for those older than 7, the study found…

Non-commercial viewing, including watching DVDs or educational television programming, had no significant association with obesity.

Read more.

Community: It’s not just children who are affected by these commercials.

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Using Nitroglycerin to Treat Prostate Cancer Shows Potential to Halt Disease

(Science Daily) Treatment of prostate cancer using a very low dose of nitroglycerin may slow and even halt the progression of the disease without the severe side effects of current treatments, Queen's University researchers have discovered.

Read more.

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For Some Breast Cancer Patients, Shorter Radiation Works Well

(HealthDay News) -- Women who need radiation after breast cancer surgery do just as well with three rather than five weeks of treatment, a new Canadian study suggests.

"We consider this [finding] a win-win situation, both for women with breast cancer and the health-care system," said study author Dr. Timothy J. Whelan… Women can have a shorter, more convenient treatment schedule, he said, and the course of treatment is less costly to them and their health-care providers.

Read more.

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People With Anxiety Disorder Less Able to Regulate Response to Negative Emotions, Study Shows

(Science Daily) People with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, have abnormalities in the way their brain unconsciously controls emotions. That's the conclusion of a new Stanford University School of Medicine study, and the study authors say the findings could open up new avenues for treatments and change our understanding of how emotion is regulated in everyday life.

Read more.

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Scientists find clue to anxiety drug addiction

(Reuters) Valium-like drugs use the same potentially addictive "reward pathways" in the brain as heroin and cannabis, scientists said on Wednesday, findings which may help in the search for non-addictive alternative anxiety drugs.

Read more.

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Auto Exhaust Linked to Thickening of Arteries, Possible Increased Risk of Heart Attack

(Science Daily) [R]esearchers have found that particulates from auto exhaust can lead to the thickening of artery walls, possibly increasing chances of a heart attack and stroke…

"For the first time, we have shown that air pollution contributes to the early formation of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which is connected to nearly half the deaths in Western societies and to a growing proportion of deaths in the rapidly industrializing nations of Asia and Latin America," said study co-author Michael Jerrett… "The implications are that by controlling air pollution from traffic, we may see much larger benefits to public health than we thought previously."

Read more.

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Cell-Phone Bans While Driving Have More Impact in Dense, Urban Areas

(Science Daily) A new study analyzing the impact of hand-held cell phone legislation on driving safety concludes that usage-ban laws had more of an impact in densely populated urban areas with a higher number of licensed drivers than in rural areas where there are fewer licensed drivers…

The team found that after banning hand-held cell phone use while driving, 46 counties in New York experienced lower fatal accident rates, 10 of which did so at a statistically significant level, while all 62 counties experienced lower personal injury accident rates.

Read more.

Community: Well, duh! I think the takeaway here is that banning cell phone use while driving does reduce auto accidents.

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Junk food gets spotlight in many movies: study

(Reuters Health) A majority of the top-grossing films in recent years have featured food and beverage product placements -- with junk food and fast-food restaurants grabbing most of the starring roles, a new study finds.

Read more.

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Butter Leads to Lower Blood Fats in Short Term Than Olive Oil, Study Finds

(Science Daily) High blood fat levels normally raise the cholesterol values in the blood, which in turn elevates the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack. Now a new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that butter leads to considerably less elevation of blood fats after a meal compared with olive oil and a new type of canola and flaxseed oil. The difference was stronger in men than in women…

"The findings provide a more nuanced picture of various dietary fats. Olive oil has been studied very thoroughly, and its benefits are often extolled. The fact that butter raises blood cholesterol in the long term is well known, whereas its short-term effects are not as well investigated. Olive oil is good, to be sure, but our findings indicate that different food fats can have different advantages," emphasizes Julia Svensson.

"Finally, all fats have high energy content, and if you don't burn what you ingest, your weight will go up, as will your risk of developing diseases in the long run," she reminds us.

Read more.

Community: I hope we get more good news on the butter front. I’d love to start eating it again.

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Little Effect of Soy Isoflavones Found on Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women

(Science Daily) A previous six-month study by Iowa State University researchers had indicated that consuming modest amounts of soy protein, rich in isoflavones, lessened lumbar spine bone loss in midlife, perimenopausal women. But now an expanded three-year study by some of those same researchers does not show a bone-sparing effect in postmenopausal women who ingested soy isoflavone tablets, except for a modest effect at the femoral (hip) neck among those who took the highest dosage.

Read more.

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MyRecipes.com

Chicken and Mushroom Panini
Gooey cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and earthy mushrooms join chicken for a tasty sandwich you can quickly prepare in a grill pan or panini press.

Spinach Salad with Spiced Pork and Ginger Dressing
Crisp flatbread can round out this satisfying salad supper. You can also serve the seasoned pork as an entrée without the salad, if you wish.

Week Two: 1 List, 5 Meals
Hit the supermarket armed with this shopping list and get five delicious dinners on the table in no time.

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Acupuncture found lacking for fibromyalgia

(Reuters Health) Acupuncture may provide some temporary pain relief for people with fibromyalgia, but does not help with fatigue, sleep problems, or physical function, according to a new research review. However, the results are too inconsistent to recommend acupuncture as a treatment fibromyalgia, the reviewers conclude.

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Anesthetic Approach Stops Pain Without Affecting Motor Function

(Science Daily) One of the holy grails of local anesthesia is the ability to achieve a long-lasting nerve block that eliminates pain sensation while not affecting motor function. Now, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have discovered an anesthetic approach that seems to do just that.

If it proves to work in humans as well as it did in rats, it could be useful in a variety of medical applications, providing, for example, a local anesthetic for childbirth that would block pain without interfering with the mother's ability to push, or for musculoskeletal disorders in which it is important to maintain mobility.

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New Approach to Treating Breast and Prostate Cancers

(Science Daily) In a new approach to developing treatments for breast cancer, prostate cancer and enlarged hearts, … researchers are zeroing in on a workhorse protein called RSK…

It was previously known that the regulatory protein that binds RSK is also associated with another enzyme known as PKA. PKA is critical in maintaining normal body functions including heart rate, contraction of the heart, blood pressure, hormone release, learning and memory. PKA also is involved in modulating tumor growth and progression. Because RSK and PKA compete for binding with the same regulatory protein, they end up modulating each other's activities.

These fundamental findings could point toward new approaches to developing drugs to keep RSK or PKA in check. Such drugs would, in effect, do the job of the regulatory protein. This could prove useful in treating conditions in which RSK is activated, such as breast and prostate cancer and heart enlargement.

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FDA Seeks Reduction in Radiation From Medical Scans

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled a plan Tuesday to reduce radiation exposure from three types of increasingly widespread imaging procedures: computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine studies and fluoroscopy.

These three imaging techniques are the largest contributors to total radiation exposure among Americans. They use much higher radiation doses than other imaging procedures -- such as standard X-rays, dental X-rays and mammography -- potentially increasing the lifetime risk of cancer, the agency said.

In addition to the cancer risk, accidental radiation exposure can result in injuries, such as burns, hair loss and cataracts.

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UK firm gets final green light for stem cell trial

(Reuters) British biotech company ReNeuron and a team of doctors in Scotland have won final approval to start a pioneering clinical trial to assess whether stem cell therapy can help patients disabled by stroke.

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Hot chocolate a better Valentine's choice

(UPI) Consider skipping the box of chocolates and replace it with a healthier cup of dark hot cocoa for Valentine's Day, a U.S. dietitian suggests.

"Research suggests that drinking a cup of dark hot chocolate can be equated with drinking a glass of wine in protecting the heart," Lona Sandon … says in a statement.

Pure chocolate, made from cocoa beans, is rich in flavanol, an anti-oxidant that may help protect arteries from damage, maintain healthy blood flow and fend off heart disease, Sandon says.

Dark chocolate and baking cocoa retain most of the original cocoa bean and are excellent sources of polyphenols, a class of compounds that includes flavanols. Chocolate in its more processed form, however, is loaded with extra oils, milk and sugars that combine to lower its level of polyphenols.

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Being religious may not make you healthier after all

(Reuters) A number of studies over the past two decades have shown that religious people tend to be healthier. But a new study suggests that when it comes to heart disease and clogged arteries, attending religious services or having spiritual experiences may not protect against heart attacks and strokes.

This study suggests "there's not a lot of extra burden or extra protection afforded by this particular aspect of people's lives," said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones…, who led the study.

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Online programs boost produce consumption

(UPI) An apple day online -- or at least an Internet program that provides tips for eating more produce -- may keep the doctor away, U.S. researchers found.

Senior author Christine Cole Johnson … found that when given access to an online program about fruits and vegetables, participants increased their daily fruit and vegetable intake by more than two servings.

"People already know the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, but they often don't know how to incorporate them into their diet," Johnson said in a statement.

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Mediterranean Diet May Help Keep You Smarter

(HealthDay News) Eating a Mediterranean-style diet -- one rich in olive oil, whole grains, fish and fruit -- may protect aging brains from damage linked to cognitive problems, a new study finds

Other studies have already found that such diets also lower risks for depression, cancer, heart disease and premature death.

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Beer Is a Rich Source of Silicon and May Help Prevent Osteoporosis

(Science Daily) A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon…

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dietary silicon … may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, and beer appears to be a major contributor to Si intake. Based on these findings, some studies suggest moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.

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Community: Those of us who don’t drink alcohol can get our silicon from beets, bell peppers, brown rice, leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, seafood, soybeans, and whole grains.

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