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

Music is good for you at any age

(Los Angeles Times) [Dr. Antonio Damasio says that] just the simple act of absorbing music may help keep older minds healthy, active and resilient against injury and illness.

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Even More Reasons to Get a Move On

(Jane Brody, New York Times) At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a new series of studies prompts me to again review the myriad benefits to body, mind and longevity of regular physical activity for people of all ages.

Regular exercise is the only well-established fountain of youth, and it’s free. What, I’d like to know, will persuade the majority of Americans who remain sedentary to get off their duffs and give their bodies the workout they deserve? My hope is that every new testimonial to the value of exercise will win a few more converts until everyone is doing it.

In a commentary on the new studies, published Jan. 25 in The Archives of Internal Medicine, two geriatricians … pointed to “the power of higher levels of physical activity to aid in the prevention of late-life disability owing to either cognitive impairment or physical impairment, separately or together.”

“Physical inactivity,” they wrote, “is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions to long-term care.”

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Tips to avoid gray hair (and stay healthy, too)

(Chicago Tribune) Massage your scalp

Extra rubbing during a shampoo should help stimulate blood circulation in your scalp, which nourishes hair follicles.

Stop smoking
Studies show cigarettes speed up the aging process throughout the body, including your hair.

Work to lower stress
While evidence isn't conclusive, many believe anxiety can help trigger graying. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, make time for enjoyable hobbies and try meditation or deep breathing exercises.

Don't drink too much
Excess alcohol and caffeine may be bad news for your hair.

Avoid too much heat
Shampooing with hot water and using a hairdryer on high heat may damage hair roots; the same goes for significant sun exposure (wear a hat).

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Community: Isn’t it interesting that the advice for staying healthy generally is much the same?

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Health claims on food packages are under fire, but more shoppers rely on nutrition labels

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) For the first time, more than half of shoppers (54%) told interviewers for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2008 Health and Diet Survey that they “often” read the nutrition label when they consider buying a product. Two-thirds of those label readers said they look for information about calories, fat, salt and vitamins. But only 46% of the 2,584 adults surveyed said they used the nutrition label to assess the calorie content of packaged foods, and 34% said they rarely or never do.

Declarations that products are “low fat,” “high fiber” or “cholesterol-free” sway only 38% of consumers, and 27% said they routinely ignore them. That might explain why marketers have been making ever-more-ambitious claims about the healing powers of their foods and beverages. If so, there’s evidence that the strategy has backfired: 56% of those surveyed said they doubted the accuracy of some or all of those claims.

Another surely unintended consequence: On Wednesday, the FDA revealed that it has sent warning letters to 17 food makers accused of printing false or misleading nutrition information on product packages. In the letters, Roberta Wagner, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, informs the companies, “Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in regulatory actions without further notice, such as seizure and/or injunction.”

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Processed Meat May Harm the Heart

(HealthDay News) Conventional wisdom has dictated that fat from red meat is a risk factor for heart disease, but a new analysis from Harvard researchers finds it's eating processed meat -- not unprocessed red meat -- that increases the risk for heart disease and even diabetes.

The term "processed meat" refers to any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting or with the addition of chemical preservatives. The researchers defined "red meat" as unprocessed meats such as beef, hamburger, lamb and pork.

"To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should avoid eating too much processed meats -- for example, hot dogs, bacon, sausage or processed deli meats," said lead researcher Renata Micha, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Based on our findings, eating up to one serving per week would be associated with relatively small risk."

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Community: Can I start eating steak again? I think I’ll wait for further studies.

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Increasing Soda Consumption Fuels Rise in Diabetes, Heart Disease

(HealthDay News) --Increasing consumption of sugary soft drinks contributed to 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of heart disease and 50,000 more life-years burdened with heart disease in the last decade, a new U.S. study finds.

"The finding suggests that any kind of policy that reduces consumption might have a dramatic health benefit," said senior study author Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo.

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Sugar shockers

(Chicago Tribune) Sugar has been blamed for a laundry list of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. But how do you know when you've had too much?

For the first time, Americans now have a benchmark: No more than 25 grams of added sugar a day for women and 37.5 grams for men, according to new guidelines established by the American Heart Association.

It's easy to soar past those limits. Downing just one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola will give you 39 grams of sugar, exceeding your daily ration. But a lesser-known problem with sugar is that it's hidden in everything from soup to nuts. It's lurking in your lunch meat. It enhances bread. And if a low-fat product or frozen dinner tastes good, you may have added sugar to thank.

As a result, we're regularly ingesting an average of 88.8 grams of added sugar a day, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey — more than three times what the AHA recommends.

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Do You Want a Frittata?

(Well, New York Times) Eggs are great for breakfast, but they can be even better for a quick and easy dinner. In this week’s Recipes for Health, Martha Rose Shulman extols the virtues of the oven-baked frittata.

Baked frittatas are easy to make and hold well in the refrigerator, and they’re equally good hot, cold or at room temperature. Make one for dinner, and pack up the leftovers for lunch.

Here are five new recipes for whisking up a healthful frittata.

Baked Tunisian Carrot, Potato and Tuna Frittata: Many Tunisian cooks add tuna to their omelets, but it’s important to make sure the tuna is packed in oil.

Greek Baked Squash Omelet: Yogurt lends this omelet a light, fluffy texture, not to mention calcium and protein.

Baked Frittata With Green Peppers and Yogurt: This beautiful bright yellow omelet will puff in the oven and then settle as it cools.

Baked Ricotta Frittata With Fresh Mint: This Italian frittata is delicate and easy to make.

Baked Tunisian Eggplant and Pepper Frittata: This Tunisian omelet can range from mildly spicy to very spicy, depending on your taste.

Source

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From Carnivorous Plants to the Medicine Cabinet?

(Science Daily) In the tropics, carnivorous plants trap unsuspecting prey in a cavity filled with liquid known as a "pitcher."

The moment insects like flies, ants and beetles fall into a pitcher, the plant's enzymes are activated and begin dissolving their new meal, obtaining nutrients such as carbon and nitrogen which are difficult to extract from certain soils. Carnivorous plants also possess a highly developed set of compounds and secondary metabolites to aid in their survival.

These compounds could serve as a new class of anti-fungal drugs for use in human medicine, says Prof. Aviah Zilberstein… [T]he unusual components from the plants' pitchers were found effective as anti-fungal drugs against human fungal infections widespread in hospitals.

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Newly Engineered Enzyme Is a Powerful Staph Antibiotic

(Science Daily) With their best chemical antibiotics slowly failing, scientists are increasingly looking to nature for a way to control deadly staph bacteria -- the culprit behind most hospital infections. Naturally toxic for bacteria, enzymes called lysins have the promising ability to obliterate staph, but the problem is producing large enough quantities of them to study how they work. Rockefeller University scientists have now overcome this barrier by engineering a lysin that not only kills multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in mice, but also works synergistically with traditional antibiotics that have long been shelved due to resistance.

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New Prostate Cancer Guidelines Aim to Empower the Patient

(HealthDay News) New American Cancer Society guidelines on prostate cancer screening mean that many men will be faced with a cascade of decisions, with a growing responsibility for those decisions falling on their shoulders.

The guidelines, issued Wednesday, de-emphasize routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and re-emphasize the need for patient-doctor discussions on whether such tests are appropriate for individual patients.

PSA tests, which measure levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen that's produced by the prostate gland, do detect cancers. But, they can make the situation worse by revealing malignancies that wouldn't cause a problem over a man's lifetime, leading to unnecessary treatments and undesirable side effects, such as urinary incontinence and impotence.

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Bans on Same-Sex Marriage May Affect Mental Health

(HealthDay News) Gay, lesbian and bisexual people living in states with institutional discrimination -- such as bans on same-sex marriage -- are at increased risk of psychiatric disorders, says a new study…

The researchers found a significant increase in the prevalence of mood disorders, generalized anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders among lesbians, gays and bisexuals after the states banned gay marriage. The greatest increase -- more than 200 percent -- was seen in generalized anxiety disorder.

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INSPIRATION

I must be what I want others to be.

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A happy life is filled with earnest talks

(UPI) A happy life is social and conversationally deep rather than solitary and superficial, U.S. researchers suggest…

The happiest [study] participants spent 25 percent less time alone and 70 percent more time talking than the unhappiest participants. In addition to the difference in the amount of social interactions happy and unhappy people had, there was also a difference in the types of conversations in which they took part.

The happiest participants had twice as many substantive conversations and one-third as much small talk as the unhappiest participants.

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30 Minutes to a Better Mind

(RealAge.com) You can boost the mind-protective HDL in your bloodstream just by doing this for 30 minutes a day: walking.

When researchers looked at the relationship between HDL and cognitive function in people ages 95 to 107, those with higher HDL had superior memory. And a daily walk is a great way to boost HDL…

(Think your memory has to decline with age? Here's why you should avoid this stereotypical thinking.)

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Protein Shown to Be Natural Inhibitor of Aging in Fruit Fly Model

(Science Daily) Scientists… have identified a protein called Sestrin that serves as a natural inhibitor of aging and age-related pathologies in fruit flies. They also showed that Sestrin, whose structure and biochemical function are conserved between flies and humans, is needed for regulation of a signaling pathway that is the central controller of aging and metabolism…

In future work, the [research] group plans to examine whether the mammalian Sestrins also control aging and metabolism, and whether defects in proper Sestrin expression will provide the explanation to some of the currently unexplainable degenerative diseases associated with old age.

"Maybe one day we will be able to use Sestrin analogs to prevent much of the tissue failure associated with aging, as well as treat a number of degenerative diseases, whose incidence goes up with old age, including sarcopenia and Alzheimer's disease," said [lead researcher Michael Karin, PhD].

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Could germs be making you fat?

(Reuters) Germs that make their home in the gut may help cause obesity and a range of health-threatening symptoms that go along with it, researchers reported on Thursday…

"The obesity epidemic is driven by people eating too much, but why are people eating more?"

[Emory University’s Andrew] Gewirtz said the research suggests that bacteria may play a role -- perhaps a population of bacteria that thrive because other, competing organisms have been wiped out by antibiotics, access to clean water and other factors of modern life.

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Eat These Seeds to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

(RealAge.com) Metabolic syndrome. No one wants this diabetes segue. So here's a snack that just might help you thwart it: pumpkin seeds.

Also called pepitas, pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium. And a recent study found that the more magnesium a person's diet had, the lower his or her chances of developing metabolic syndrome…., [which] could lead to health woes like diabetes and heart disease.

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Community: According to the National Institutes of Health, the following foods are high in magnesium:

Avocado

Banana

Beans, including soybeans

Blackeyed peas

Bread (whole wheat)

Cereal (whole wheat)

Chocolate

Halibut

Lentils

Milk

Nuts

Oatmeal

Potato

Raisins

Rice (brown)

Spinach

Wheat bran

Wheat germ

Yogurt

Isn’t it interesting that the same foods keep showing up on list after list of foods containing healthy ingredients?

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Light helps keep spinach full of vitamins: study

(Reuters) Supermarket lights help keep spinach fresh and producing new vitamins, U.S. government researchers reported on Wednesday.

The surprising findings should apply to other fresh vegetables and may offer insights into how to keep produce fresher longer, the researchers reported…

They may also suggest ways to boost nutrients in fresh foods, said Gene Lester of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

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Your Complete Guide to Beans and Other Legumes

(SouthBeachDiet.com) The versatility of beans and other legumes makes them a flavorful side dish or addition to soups and salads. Some beans can be blended with other ingredients to make a dip: For example, chickpeas are the basis for a healthy hummus and black beans are delicious in salsa. Beans and other legumes are a good source of protein and fiber… Purchase them fresh, dried, frozen, or canned (without sugar) and start with 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving. Avoid canned beans or other legumes that contain brown sugar, lard, or molasses.

Beans and other legumes are also extremely nutritious and can help improve your health. Here’s how:

All legumes are a major source of soluble fiber, which helps to remove cholesterol from the body before it's absorbed.

The fiber in beans and other legumes also slows digestion and, as a result, prevents a sharp rise in blood-sugar levels, which helps prevent cravings.

In addition to fiber, legumes are high in protein, folate, potassium, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. And they contain no unhealthy fat.

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Community: Canned beans can also contain a lot of salt, so be sure to watch for that.

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Which Gives You More Salt: Bread or Potato Chips?

(RealAge.com) Okay, that's a bit of a trick question. When it comes to which food contributes the most salt to the diet (not foods that show the most sodium according to the label), bread is on the top-three list. (Find out what type of bread is best for blood pressure.) The other foods that dump the most salt into your body? Guess.

If you didn't say meat products and cereals, you're like most people in a recent survey. When asked to select the foods that contributed the most sodium to the diet (from a list of 10 items), only a few people got it right: 13% said bread, and 12% guessed cereals. About 36% of people did guess meat products to be among the top three sources.

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MyRecipes.com

Barbecue Chicken with Mustard Glaze
A five-ingredient rub and a three-ingredient basting sauce are all you need to take chicken from routine to off-the-charts good. An assortment of spices mixed with common condiments makes a thick, tangy-sweet glaze with a hint of smokiness. Grilled summer squash makes a light, fresh side.

Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto
In 45 minutes or less, this easy, delicious dish can be on your table.

10 Mexican Entrées Under 300 Calories

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Plant-focused diet may curb breast cancer risk

(Reuters Health) Diets high in vegetables, fruits and soy might cut the risk of developing breast cancer by 30 percent, new research suggests.

Even though the researchers identified and analyzed dietary patterns among Chinese women from Singapore, [Dr. Lesley M.] Butler believes the findings are relevant for American women.

The diets "aren't that different from patterns seen in US populations," the lead investigator told Reuters Health.

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Niacin may help treat stroke

(UPI) U.S. medical researchers suggest niacin -- or vitamin B3 -- may be used to treat stroke in the future.

The researchers … gave niacin to rats with ischemic stroke -- an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.

The brains of the rats given niacin showed new blood vessel growth and nerve cell improvement that helped improve neurological outcomes.

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New Hope for Migraine Patients

(HealthDay News) A hand-held device that delivers a magnetic pulse to the head may offer relief for some migraine sufferers, researchers report.

The findings, which apply to migraine sufferers who experience "aura," expand on previous research by using a device that could work at home instead of only at the doctor's office…

At stake are patients who suffer from migraine with aura, meaning they experience visual disruptions, tingling, numbness and weakness before a headache begins.

The device uses single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is thought to prevent aura by disrupting the brain's electrical system.

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Offering Hope for Tissue Regeneration

(Science Daily) Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital have discovered how cells communicate with each other during times of cellular injury. The findings shed new light on how the body repairs itself when organs become diseased, through small particles known as microvesicles, and offers hope for tissue regeneration…

Among the practical implications from their findings is an understanding of the mechanism of tissue repair and determining whether or not microvesicles can be used in a therapeutic fashion…

Based on their findings, the researchers also hypothesize that microvesicles could potentially be mediators of cancer metastasis. It is known that in cancer there are higher levels of circulating microvesicles, and these microvesicles may be responsible for transferring the traits of the cancer to other organs. [Lead author Jason Aliotta, MD] notes, "If we can define the microvesicles that are shed from cancer cells, we can identify unique characteristics, which might help us to block their uptake into normal cells. This could, in theory, stop the metastasis of cancer."

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Nuclear Physics Promises Earlier Detection of Brain Tumors With Just One Scan

(Science Daily) Time taken to detect brain tumours could soon be significantly reduced thanks to an ongoing pioneering project… Project ProSPECTus is developing the technology for next generation SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging that is set to revolutionise the medical imaging process, improving future diagnosis of cancer and the probability of successful cancer therapy whilst enabling a higher throughput of patients in hospitals.

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Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure

(HealthDay News) Long-term exposure to the air pollution particles caused by traffic has been linked to an increase in blood pressure, U.S. researchers say…

This link between long-term exposure to traffic air pollution particles and higher blood pressure readings may help explain the association between traffic pollution and heart attacks and cardiovascular deaths reported in previous studies, study author Joel Schwartz … and colleagues noted in the news release.

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Air Travel Could Raise Risk for Heartbeat Irregularities

(HealthDay News) Air travel could raise the risk for experiencing heartbeat irregularities among older individuals with a history of heart disease, a new study suggests…

"People never think about the fact that getting on an airplane is basically like going from sea level to climbing a mountain of 8,000 feet," said study author Eileen McNeely… "But that can be very stressful on the heart. Particularly for those who are older and have underlying cardiac disease."

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GE plans new American export: outdoor smoking ban

(Reuters) General Electric Co is known for exporting American products like washing machines and jet engines, and the biggest U.S. conglomerate is getting ready to ship out another American trend - the outdoor smoking ban.

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Salmonella Scare Prompts Wide Product Recall

(HealthDay News) A wide array of food products are being recalled after traces of salmonella were discovered in a common ingredient, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday.

Salmonella Tennessee has been found in a widely used brand of hydrolyzed vegetable protein, a common flavor enhancer that is added to processed foods, the FDA said.

Products such as dips, salad dressings, pre-packaged meals, snacks and soup mixes from a variety of makers are included in the recall. A full list of the items involved in the recall can be found at Foodsafety.gov.

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Research: How You Think About Your Age May Affect How You Age

(Science Daily) The saying "You're only as old as you feel" really seems to resonate with older adults, according to research from Purdue University.

"How old you are matters, but beyond that it's your interpretation that has far-reaching implications for the process of aging," said Markus H. Schafer, a doctoral student in sociology and gerontology who led the study. "So, if you feel old beyond your own chronological years you are probably going to experience a lot of the downsides that we associate with aging.

"But if you are older and maintain a sense of being younger, then that gives you an edge in maintaining a lot of the abilities you prize."

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Potassium-Rich Foods Do a Heart Good

(HealthDay News) Eating plenty of potassium-rich foods such as leafy greens, potatoes and bananas may reduce the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease, according to Italian researchers…

Higher potassium intake was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of stroke and an 8 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. The findings support global recommendations for people to increase their consumption of potassium-rich foods in order to prevent vascular disease, said Dr. Pasquale Strazzullo, of the University of Naples, and colleagues.

Other foods high in potassium include soybeans, apricots, avocados, plain non-fat yogurt, prune juice, and dried beans and peas.

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Apples, nuts, oats boost immune system

(UPI) An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away by reducing inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases, U.S. researchers say.

Gregory Freund, a professor at the University of Illinois, says soluble fiber found in oats, apples and nuts reduces inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases and strengthens the immune system.

"Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cells -- they go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection," Freund said in a statement.

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Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk

(HealthDay News) Brown rice is better than white rice at reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but whole grains are the most effective at lowering the risk, study findings show…

"We estimated that replacing 50 grams/day intake of white rice with the same amount of brown rice was associated with a 16 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas the same replacement with whole grains as a group was associated with a 36 percent lower diabetes risk," wrote Dr. Qi Sun, of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues.

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A Cheek Swab to Choose Your Diet Plan?

(HealthDay News) Wondering if you'd do better to cut carbs or fats to lose weight? A DNA test using a cheek swab may reveal which approach would work best for you, new research suggests…

Women assigned to the correct diet based on their genotype lost two to three times more weight at 12 months than those who were assigned to a diet that was inappropriate. When the researchers looked at only the most extreme diets (Atkins versus Ornish), the results were even more stark. Women assigned to their correct diet for their genotype lost five times as much weight as those on the incorrect diet, the study found.

The women on the correct diets also showed improvements in their "good" (HDL) cholesterol and decreases in harmful triglycerides.

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Cooking

MyRecipes.com:

Halibut with Caper Salsa Verde
The robust salsa (more of a leafy, less saucy sauce) is a dominant presence on the plate. Sweet and mellow roasted fennel makes a particularly fitting side.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!: Green Eggs and Ham
Cave into Sam-I-Am's urgings and give this unique breakfast option a try. The "green eggs" get their green accent from fresh basil, which adds fresh flavor to the all-in-one meal.

SouthBeachDiet.com:

A Delicious Vegetable Side Dish
You know eating vegetables with lunch and dinner is important for your weight-loss goals. So the more veggie recipe ideas in your repertoire, the better. Here we pair green beans with healthy almonds for a delicious side dish that can easily be served with a poultry, beef, pork, or seafood main dish.

Garlic and toasted slivered almonds make ordinary green beans extra special.

Community: We like canned unsalted cashews on top of our green beans.

The 15-Minute Main Dish Collection

Cooking Light:

The 25 Most Common Cooking Mistakes
Learn how to avoid these common mistakes for success every time.

You make unwise substitutions in baking
You boil when you should simmer
You pop meat straight from the fridge to the oven
You put all the salt in the marinade

See All 25 Mistakes

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Don't store vitamins in the bathroom

(UPI) A U.S. food scientist warns humidity -- storing vitamins in the bathroom or kitchen -- may eliminate the benefits of some vitamins.

Lisa Mauer of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., says subjecting some vitamins to humidity can chemically change their composition -- even if the lids are on tight.

Read more.

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Newer Blood Test Predicts Diabetes, Heart Disease

(HealthDay News) The newer hemoglobin A1C test predicts diabetes as well as the traditional fasting blood sugar test, but it beats that old standard in predicting a patient's future risk of heart disease and stroke, new research shows…

The A1C test is also known as a glycated hemoglobin test, and using a small blood sample, it measures your average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months…

"Diabetes is like high blood pressure -- the consequences don't come right away. And, sometimes that makes people think, 'Why do I need to be on this medicine?' So, this is further evidence, and may be a good way to get people's attention," [said Dr. Rafael Gonzalez].

Read more.

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Deadly blood clots can be prevented

(UPI) The widow of David Bloom, of NBC-TV news, who died of a deep-vein thrombosis-related blood clot while covering the Iraq war, wants to prevent similar deaths.

"The goal of Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness In Motion is to use movement as a way to continue to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of deep-vein thrombosis, to help assess personal risk and to encourage dialogue with a healthcare professional," Melanie Bloom, national patient spokeswoman for the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis, said in a statement.

The coalition is partnering with Mary Ann Wilson, a registered nurse and host of the PBS-broadcast, "Sit and Be Fit," to present Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness In Motion. The program demonstrates simple movements that can be done anywhere -- a hospital bed, an airplane or at the computer -- that may help reduce the risk of blood clots by encouraging blood circulation.

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Some painkillers have more bleeding risk than others

(Reuters Health) When it comes to gastrointestinal side effects, particularly bleeding into the stomach, not all painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are created equal, new research shows…

Drugs that were active in the body for longer, either because they were slow-release formulations or took a longer time to be broken down, were riskier, the researchers found.

Drugs that are broken down quickly in the body and can be used at low doses, such as ibuprofen, as well as newer drugs such as celecoxib are the safest in terms of gastrointestinal bleeding, [Dr. Luis A.] Garcia Rodriguez said. He added that older people and people who have had stomach ulcers are at particularly high risk of these side effects.

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Shingles of the eye tied to stroke risk

(Reuters Health) People who have had an attack of shingles involving the eyes may have a heightened risk of stroke for a year afterward, a study published Wednesday suggests.

Shingles is a painful condition caused by a reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox, known as varicella-zoster virus. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus goes into a dormant state, dwelling in the body's nerve fibers.

Some people -- including adults older than 50 and people with compromised immune systems, from conditions such as HIV -- are at increased risk of having the virus reactivate and cause shingles.

Read more.

Community: I didn’t even think I’d had chickenpox, but I had shingles. And they’re not kidding when they say it’s painful. This study provides even more reason to get vaccinated against shingles.

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New Drugs, Approaches Offer Hope Against Prostate Cancer

(HealthDay News) Scientists are making headway in finding ways to treat and detect stubborn forms of prostate cancer.

The new hope comes from three studies being presented this week at the annual Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco…

The first study, led by Dr. Oliver Sartor of Tulane Cancer Center, New Orleans, found that a new investigational drug called cabazitaxel improved overall survival in men whose prostate cancer had progressed despite being treated with hormone therapy and docetaxel-containing chemotherapy…

A second group of researchers reported that the PCA3 urine test, which measures levels of prostate cancer gene 3, can predict when a biopsy of the prostate gland will come out positive.

The PCA3 gene is overexpressed in men who have prostate cancer, but not in men with benign disease, raising the possibility that the finding may cut down on the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies…

The final prostate cancer study found that short-term hormone therapy -- either before or during radiation therapy -- could help men with intermediate-risk, early-stage prostate cancer live longer and live longer without a recurrence.

Read more.

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Freezing Breast Tumors Helps Stop Cancer’s Spread in Mice, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Freezing a cancer kills it in its place, and also appears to generate an immune response that helps stop the cancer's spread, leading to improved survival rates over surgery, according to a new study in mice.

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Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Increased Lung Cancer Risk

(Science Daily) Women aged 50 to 76 who take estrogen plus progestin may have an increased risk of lung cancer, according to a new study…

While the risk of developing lung cancer for women using estrogen plus progestin HRT 10 years or longer was approximately 50 percent more than women not using HRT, this risk is actually quite small compared to the risk from smoking.

"Although HRT use has declined and is not recommended except for short-term treatment of menopausal symptoms, our results indicate millions of women may remain at risk of developing lung cancer," said Chris Slatore, M.D…

"These findings may be useful in counseling women about their risk of developing lung cancer and prompt further research into the mechanisms underlying HRT and increased lung cancer risk," said Slatore.

Read more.

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New Technique Fights Against Cause of Peptic Ulcer Disease and Gastric Cancer

(Science Daily) A breakthrough in decoding gene regulation of Helicobacter pylori has been made by an international research team led by Jörg Vogel of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. Using a newly developed sequencing technique, the researchers discovered 60 small ribonucleic acids (sRNAs) -- tiny RNA-particles which can regulate genes -- in the genome of this human pathogen. These findings could facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies against this wide-spread pathogen…

Besides cancer, these bacteria are linked to other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

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People Still Trust Their Doctors Rather Than the Internet

(HealthDay News) The Internet has made vast amounts of health information available to the general public, but all that virtual "noise" has made people more likely than ever to trust their doctor with medical decisions, a new survey finds…

Some people had been concerned that the Internet would supplant people's need to visit the doctor, much as Web sites have replaced local travel agents and print newspapers for many, [researchers] said.

This latest research reveals the opposite is occurring.

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