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

Philadelphia Insurer To Implement Pay-For-Performance Model

(Philadelphia Inquirer) The Philadelphia region's largest health insurer, Independence Blue Cross, will begin a pay-for-performance model that pays physicians more if their patient's health gets better. The program rewards primary care doctors who provide higher quality care at less cost…

Doctors interviewed about the new plan are pleased that an insurer is helping to strengthen primary care and preventive medicine through the way they finance medical care, but many hope that they will also consider helping doctors pay for their administrative work.

Practices that already follow the guidelines to be rewarded by Independence have already shown they improve the health of patients.

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How the Brain Benefits With Aging

(Reader’s Digest) Yes, the brain at middle age has lost a step. Our problems are not imaginary, and our worries are not unreasonable. But neuroscientists have found that the middle-aged brain actually has surprising talents. It's developed powerful systems that can cut through the intricacies of complex problems to find concrete answers. It more calmly manages emotions and information and is cheerier than in younger years. Indeed, one new series of fascinating studies suggests that the way our brains age may give us a broader perspective on the world, a capacity to see patterns, connect the dots, even be more creative.

"From what we know now," says Laura Carstensen, PhD, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity at Stanford University, "I'd have to say that the middle-aged brain is downright formidable."

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High Rates of at-Risk Drinking Among Elderly Adults, Study Finds

(Science Daily) A new study …A has found that more than a third of drinkers 60 years old and older consume amounts of alcohol that are excessive or that are potentially harmful in combination with certain diseases they may have or medications they may be taking…

At-risk drinking was assessed using the Comorbidity Alcohol Risk Evaluation Tool (CARET), which categorizes older adults as at risk if they display at least one of the following drinking behaviors: they consume more than two drinks on most days; they consume one to two drinks on most days and have certain comorbidities, such as gout, hepatitis or nausea; they consume one to two drinks on most days and take select medications, such as antidepressants or sedatives.

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Check blood pressure at home, not MD's office: study

(Reuters Health) Think you need to go to the doctor's office to check your blood pressure? Think again: The best way to predict your risk of stroke or heart attack due to high blood pressure is through systematic monitoring at home rather than periodic checks in the doctor's office, new research suggests.

"With home blood pressure monitoring you get a greater number of measurements and there is no white-coat effect," lead author Dr. Teemu Niiranen told Reuters Health, speaking of the tendency for anxiety to drive up blood pressure. "At home the patient is more relaxed and this seems to provide blood pressure values that reflect the patient's true blood pressure better."

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Community: When my doctor told me I had high blood pressure, I bought a blood pressure monitor for a reasonable price that had a digital readout. It helps me keep an eye on the situation.

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Many doctors don't discuss diet with obese patients

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) With the nation's high rates of obesity and the low odds of weight loss, perhaps weary doctors are just giving up. National statistics show that only about half of obese Americans were advised by their doctors to cut down on fatty foods. The rate, from a 2006 survey, has not changed from a survey taken in 2002.

The data, from the recently released 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report, found that doctors discussed food choices with 52% of their obese white patients compared to 45% of obese blacks and 42% of obese Latinos.

Poor adults and less-educated people were less likely to be told to cut down on high-fat and high-cholesterol foods. The report notes that any obese person would likely benefit from counseling about diet and exercise. It would be interesting to see a survey of doctors on why they would choose not to discuss diet with an obese patient. Do they feel it's useless?

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MyRecipes.com

Bow Ties with Tomatoes, Feta, and Balsamic Dressing
This recipe features a surprise ingredient–green grapes–that add the just-right amount of sweetness to the simple, two-step pasta dinner. Serve with pan-grilled asparagus.

5 to Try: Husband-Approved

Our Collection of Low-Calorie Recipes

10 Money-Saving Appetizers

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What Are Nut Butters?

(SouthBeachDiet.com) In a nutshell, nut butters are any creamy spread made from crushed nuts. These include peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and macadamia-nut butter… [N]atural nut butters are the best choice, but most can be used as long as they don't contain trans fat.

As with peanut butter, nut butters are a rich source of high-quality protein and monounsaturated fats. Also, like peanut butter, nut butters can be diet busters if eaten in large quantities. When adding nut butter to your daily diet, you can choose to treat it as a protein (eating it with a meal) or as a nut (eating it as a snack). Try to limit yourself to one serving per day, and avoid eating whole nuts on the same day.

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Drug-laser combination proves effective for diabetic blindness

(Los Angeles Times) For the first time in a quarter of a century, researchers have identified a new treatment for diabetic macular edema, a potentially blinding disorder that affects about 1 million Americans, researchers said Tuesday.

The treatment uses a drug called ranibizumab, which when administered in combination with laser phototherapy is twice as effective at reversing vision loss as laser therapy alone.

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Voice Analysis May Allow Early Detection of Parkinson's

(HealthDay News) A new voice analysis technique can identify changes in speech associated with the early stages of Parkinson's disease, a new study has found.

"This is a noninvasive, reliable and accurate technique that only requires the patient to read out a few simple sentences," Shimon Sapir … said…

"Doctors and scientists agree that early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is important in order to slow down or even prevent the degenerative progress of this disease," Sapir said. "Today no treatment is available to this effect, but when treatment becomes feasible, early diagnosis is going to be crucial."

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Catching Multiple Sclerosis Before It Strikes

(Science Daily) Prof. Anat Achiron of Tel Aviv University … has uncovered a new way of detecting MS in the blood… The finding … is expected to pave the way for a diagnosis of MS before symptoms can appear, allowing for earlier treatment…

If doctors can predict the onset of MS early enough, intervention therapies using immunomodulatory drugs such as Copaxone or beta-interferon drugs that stave off MS symptoms, might be used.

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Cancer Tumours That Fight Themselves

(Science Daily) Cancer cells producing toxins that destroy tumours -- could this be a future treatment for cancer? Researchers at Lund University have achieved good results in tests on both cells and animals…

Two research groups, led by Katrin Mani and Ulf Ellervik, have utilised natural biological processes and tested their ideas in animal experiments, which show up to 97% reduction in tumour growth.

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'Killer' Fungus Not So Deadly

(HealthDay News) The new "killer" fungus spreading through the Pacific Northwest is part reality but also part hype, experts say.

"It's definitely real in that we've been seeing this [fungus in North America] since 1999 and it's causing a lot more meningitis than you would expect in the general population, but this is still a rare disease," said Christina Hull.

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Hand-Washing, Mask-Wearing May Limit Transmission of Pandemic Flu

(Science Daily) Practicing non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as hand-washing and mouth covering may help limit the transmission of the pandemic flu, but more research on these measures is critical, according to a new study…

NPIs include measures other than vaccines and antiviral treatments that reduce the harm and spread of disease. NPIs can be implemented at the border level, the community level, or the individual level. Examples of individual actions include frequent hand washing with soap, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, covering sneezes/coughs and wearing a mask. Social distancing policies (border and community level) involve things like closing schools, working from home or restricting public gatherings. These practices are specifically geared to limit the spread of the disease from person to person.

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An Underlying Cause for Psychopaths?

(HealthDay News) Mental impairments in psychopaths are similar to those in people with damage to the frontal lobes of the brain, a new study finds.

Callousness and a lack of remorse and empathy are among the personality traits of psychopaths, but the exact cause of these characteristics has been the subject of debate.

In this study, Israeli researchers compared the emotional and cognitive traits and abilities of healthy people, psychopaths, patients with frontal lobe damage, and patients with damage to other areas of the brain.

The[y] found that the pattern of impairments in the psychopaths was remarkable similar to those in patients with frontal lobe damage. This suggests that dysfunction in the frontal lobes may be the underlying cause of the behavioral problems in psychopaths, the researchers concluded.

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Community: Well I, for one, am not going to cut them any slack. Psychopaths have caused a huge amount of suffering (click and scroll down) in the world. If a cure is found, maybe they should be forced to undergo the curing therapy.

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Canadian boomers may have easy retirement

(UPI) Baby boomers say they are retiring healthy, are financially secure and want to travel, at least in Canada, a Montreal researchers says.

Jacques Legare, a demographer at the Universite de Montreal, says baby boomers -- born from 1946 to 1966 -- have few children and don't plan on counting on their children to look after them in their old age.

"They've been independent their entire lives. They won't stop being self-reliant when they get old and sick," Legare says in a statement.

"They are usually well educated and have great financial means -- they benefited from generous pensions and have contributed to Registered Retirement Savings Plans for decades. They plan on taking advantage of that and they will."

Traditionally, when someone elderly gets sick their spouse or a child cares for them, but baby boomers may rethink caregiving and live together in larger houses where they share the cost and services of a private nurse, Legare forecasted.

Source

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Iceland has longest-lived men, U.S. scores poorly

(Reuters) AIDS, smoking and obesity are reversing progress made in helping people live longer around the world, with mortality rates worsening over the past 20 years in 37 countries, researchers reported on Thursday.

They found Icelandic men have the lowest risk of premature death, while Cypriot women do…

The United States, where 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, fell in overall rankings, from 34th in the world in female mortality and 41st in male mortality in 1990 to 49th for women and 45th for men in 2010 -- behind Chile, Tunisia, and Albania.

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Gene scan shows man's risk for heart attack, cancer

(Reuters) A California college professor who sequenced his own genome has had it analyzed -- and discovered he has a high risk of dropping dead of a sudden heart attack, as well as a high prostate cancer risk…

"Patients, doctors and geneticists are about to be hit by a tsunami of genome sequence data. The experience with Steve Quake's genome shows we need to start thinking -- hard and soon -- about how we can deal with that information," [Hank Greely, director of Stanford's Center for Law and the Biosciences,] said in a statement.

"Who will provide skilled interpretation of whole-genome sequence to millions of patients?" Greely asked.

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Community: Knowing our genetic risks could help spur us to take the steps necessary to mitigate those risks.

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New Approach to Degenerative Disease

(Science Daily) In studies on cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and other degenerative conditions, some scientists are moving away from the "nature-versus-nurture" debate and are finding you're not a creature of either genetics or environment, but both -- with enormous implications for a new approach to health…

"We believe that many diseases that have aberrant gene expression at their root can be linked to how DNA is packaged, and the actions of enzymes such as histone deacetylases, or HDACs," [professor Rod] Dashwood said…

In the case of cancer, tumor suppressor genes can cause cancer cells to die by acting as a brake on unrestrained cell growth. But too much of the HDAC enzyme can "switch off" tumor suppressor genes…

The good news -- for cancer and perhaps many other health problems -- is that "HDAC inhibitors" can stop this degenerative process, and some of them have already been identified in common foods. Examples include sulforaphane in broccoli, indole-3-carbinol in cruciferous vegetables, and organosulfur compounds in vegetables like garlic and onions. Butyrate, a compound produced in the intestine when dietary fiber is fermented, is an HDAC inhibitor, and it provides one possible explanation for why higher intake of dietary fiber might help prevent cancer.

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Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay

(HealthDay News) Women who are overweight or obese appear to have an increased risk of developing the chronic pain syndrome known as fibromyalgia, a new study suggests.

If they are also sedentary, the risk is even greater, said lead researcher Paul Mork…

Fibromyalgia is marked by widespread pain lasting more than three months. The pain strikes so-called "tender points" in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs.

The condition is also marked by fatigue without apparent cause, mood disturbances, sleep problems and headaches. More women than men have it, and experts don't thoroughly understand its cause.

The condition may be due to dysfunction in the nervous system and other problems, and it is thought to be affected by genetic susceptibility.

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Watch Your Cholesterol, Your Blood Pressure ... and This Enzyme?

(HealthDay News) An enzyme linked to inflammation boosts the risk of heart disease as much as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, a new study suggests.

Researchers think that by targeting the enzyme, which is known as lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, they may have another weapon to fight heart disease.

The enzyme is thought to be produced during inflammation, the body's immune response to damage and invaders. Its levels appear to be higher in people whose arteries are most affected by inflammation.

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Tart cherries reduce inflammation in rats

(UPI) In a study involving rats, tart cherries appeared to reduce inflammation and lessen heart disease risk, U.S. researchers said.

"Chronic inflammation is a whole body condition that can affect overall health, especially when it comes to the heart," study co-author Mitch Seymour said in a statement. "This study offers further promise that foods rich in antioxidants, such as cherries, could potentially reduce inflammation and have the potential to lower disease risk."

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Curcumin Nanoparticles 'Open Up' Resistant Cancers

(Science Daily) Pre-treatment with curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, makes ovarian cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Researchers … found that delivering the curcumin via very small (less than 100nm) nanoparticles enhanced the sensitizing effect.

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MyRecipes.com

7 Ways with Yogurt

Superfood: Berries

Get-Fit Smoothies and Shakes

Superfood: Oats

Weight Loss Recipes and Tips

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Scientists 'See' Molecular Signals of Eye Disease Before Symptoms Arise With New Tool

(Science Daily) Forget what you know about how diseases are diagnosed -- new research … details a noninvasive ground-breaking tool that detects signs of disease at early molecular stages before symptoms can be seen using traditional methods. Even better, this tool promises to detect some eye diseases so early that they may be reversed before any permanent damage can occur. Its use may well extend to other areas of the body in the future, and this tool may also give physicians a more precise way of evaluating the effectiveness of therapies.

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New Finding Could Mark Shift in Alzheimer's Research

(HealthDay News) New research could change the way scientists view the causes -- and potential prevention and treatment -- of Alzheimer's disease.

A study … suggests that "floating" clumps of amyloid beta (abeta) proteins called oligomers could be a prime cause of the disorder, and that the better-known and more stationary amyloid-beta plaques are only a late manifestation of the disease.

"Based on these and other studies, I think that one could now fairly revise the 'amyloid hypothesis' to the 'abeta oligomer hypothesis,'" said lead researcher Dr. Sam Gandy…

The new study could herald a major shift in Alzheimer's research, another expert said.

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Adding Surgery to Meds May Improve Life With Parkinson's

(HealthDay News) Parkinson's disease patients do better if they undergo deep brain stimulation surgery in addition to treatment with medication, new research suggests.

One year after having the procedure, patients who underwent the surgery reported better quality of life and improved ability to get around and engage in routine daily activities compared to those who were treated with medication alone, according to the study…

The study authors noted that while the surgery can provide significant benefits for patients, there also is a risk of serious complications.

In deep brain stimulation, electrical impulses are sent into the brain to adjust areas that control movement, according to background information in a news release about the research.

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Tiny Particles May Help Surgeons by Marking Brain Tumors

(Science Daily) Researchers have developed a way to enhance how brain tumors appear in MRI scans and during surgery, making the tumors easier for surgeons to identify and remove.

Scientists at Ohio State University are experimenting with different nanoparticles that they hope may one day be injected into the blood of patients and help surgeons remove lethal brain tumors known as glioblastomas.

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No link seen between stressful events, stroke

(Reuters Health) Despite the common belief that high stress can trigger a stroke, a new study finds no evidence that distressing life events raise the risk of a particularly deadly type of stroke.

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World First Remote Heart Operation Carried out in UK Using Robotic Arm

(Science Daily) A pioneering world first robotics system operation was conducted at Glenfield Hospital Leicester thanks to expertise at the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester.

Dr AndrĂ© Ng … is the first person in the world to carry out the operation remotely on patients using this system.

He used the Catheter Robotics Remote Catheter Manipulation System for the first time in a heart rhythm treatment procedure.

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CDC: U.S. smoking kills 440,000 a year

(UPI) More than 440,000 U.S. residents die annually from cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke, while 8.6 million are sickened by smoking, officials said.

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Record Number of Americans Got Flu Shots, CDC Says

(HealthDay News) Apparently spurred by concerns about the recently discovered H1N1 swine flu virus, a record number of Americans -- especially children and younger adults -- got seasonal flu shots during the just-concluded flu season, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

The increases in seasonal flu vaccinations -- which did not offer protection against H1N1 flu -- were largely driven by public programs instituted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get children and others to receive a seasonal flu shot, as well as the H1N1 vaccine.

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Hormone Spray Improves Male Sensitivity, German Research Finds

(Science Daily) Many women have no doubt been waiting a long time for this: the neuropeptide o[x]ytocin enhances male empathy. This substance also increases sensitivity to so-called "social multipliers," such as approving or disapproving looks. This is revealed in a [new] study…

48 healthy males participated in the experiment. Half received an oxytocin nose spray at the start of the experiment, the other half a placebo. The researchers then showed their test subjects photos of emotionally charged situations…

In summary, Dr. RenĂ© Hurlemann … was able to state that "significantly higher emotional empathy levels were recorded for the oxytocin group than for the placebo group."…

One of the effects of the hormone oxytocin is that it triggers labour pains. It also strengthens the emotional bond between a mother and her new-born child. Oxytocin is released on a large scale during an orgasm, too. This neuropeptide is also associated with feelings such as love and trust. Our study has revealed for the first time that emotional empathy is modulated by oxytocin, and that this applies similarly to learning processes with social multipliers, says Hurlemann. This hormone might thus be useful as medication for diseases such as schizophrenia, which are frequently associated with reduced social approachability and social withdrawal.

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Canadians Lead Longer, Healthier Lives Than Americans

(Science Daily) Compared to their neighbours south of the border, Canadians live longer, healthier lives. Research… has found this disparity between the two countries, suggesting that America's lack of universal health care and lower levels of social and economic equality are to blame…

Canadians have a universal 'prenatal to grave' health service, which is free at point of care, while Americans' access to health insurance is typically based on employment, income (Medicaid), or age (Medicare), and is not universal. The degree of social inequality is also more pronounced in the US.

The researchers found that Canadians can expect 2.7 more years of 'perfect health' than Americans -- more than half of the gap found between the richest and poorest people in Canada.

Read more.

Community: President Obama said after the introduction of health care legislation last year that going to a single payer system like the one Canada has would be too drastic a step for us to take. What that means is that helping Americans to lead longer, healthier lives is too drastic a step for us to take. That can only be interpreted as meaning that it’s more important for the insurance companies to keep their profits than it is for Americans to be healthier.

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Critical Care Outcomes Tied to Insurance Status, Systematic Review Finds

(Science Daily) Among the general U.S. population, people who are uninsured are about half as likely to receive critical care services as those with insurance, according to systematic review of the literature by the American Thoracic Society's Health Disparities Group. They also found that once admitted to the hospital intensive care unit, uninsured patients are less likely to have invasive procedures or pulmonary artery catheterizations and more likely to have life support withdrawn.

"Patients in the United States who do not have health insurance and become critically ill receive fewer critical care services and may experience worse clinical outcomes," said J. Randall Curtis, M.D., M.P.H.

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UnitedHealth to stop dropping policies of sick

(Reuters) UnitedHealth Group Inc said on Wednesday it would immediately stop terminating healthcare coverage for policyholders after they become ill, to comply with a new healthcare law months ahead of schedule.

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Communities With Active Participants Demonstrate Lower Levels of Crime and Lower Death Rates

(Science Daily) In a set of papers just published in two leading scholarly journals, LSU sociology professor Matthew Lee reports that both violent crime and all-cause mortality rates are on average substantially lower in communities with a vibrant civic climate...

The first paper … report[ed] that rural communities that were more civically robust had lower average violent crime rates and experienced less change in violent crime during the 1980 -- 2000 period. Conversely, high rates of population growth weakened this effect because rapid growth is a socially disorganizing force…

Using methods and measures similar to those implemented in the paper on crime rates, [the mortality] study reports that county levels of all-cause mortality are substantially lower in places where the civic climate in terms of institutional infrastructure, civic engagement and small scale business activity are more widespread. Lee argues that this is because communities with a strong civic climate are more capable of providing social supports to people and are better able to secure health related infrastructure in the form of hospitals and clinics, as well as doctors and other medical personnel.

"In essence, both papers underscore the need for people to feel involved in a community setting," said Lee. "When people are disconnected or disenfranchised, the potential for violence escalates, and the rate of dying from myriad causes goes up as well."

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Panel Finds Insufficient Evidence for Alzheimer's Disease Preventive Measures

(Science Daily) Many preventive measures for cognitive decline and for preventing Alzheimer's disease -- mental stimulation, exercise, and a variety of dietary supplements -- have been studied over the years. However, an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health determined that the value of these strategies for delaying the onset and/or reducing the severity of decline or disease hasn't been demonstrated in rigorous studies.

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Community: There are plenty of reasons to stay mentally stimulated, to exercise, and to take some dietary supplements, even if they don’t help to stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

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Grapes lessened metabolic syndrome in rats

(UPI) Grapes seem to protect overweight rats from metabolic syndrome, U.S. researchers suggest.

Factors associated with metabolic syndrome and higher risks of heart disease and diabetes -- including high levels of triglycerides and glucose -- were lowered in the grape-fed animals, although there was no change in body weight.

The University of Michigan researchers suggest phytochemicals -- naturally occurring antioxidants -- in grapes may be the reason.

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High doses of vitamin B linked to less kidney function in diabetics

(UPI) Those with diabetic nephropathy, kidney disease caused by diabetes, who took high doses B vitamins had more kidney function decline, Canadian researchers say…

"Given the recent large-scale clinical trials showing no treatment benefit, and our trial demonstrating harm, it would be prudent to discourage the use of high-dose B vitamins as a homocysteine-lowering strategy outside the framework of properly conducted clinical research," the study authors said in a statement.

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Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease

(HealthDay News) A new study has identified vitamin E as a treatment that can provide relief for many of the estimated 10 million Americans who have the most common chronic liver disease.

"This clearly shows that vitamin E is effective for treatment of patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis who don't have active diabetes," said study author Dr. Arun J. Sanyal…

"Vitamin E will be a weapon in the arsenal that doctors have to treat patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis," said Patricia R. Robuck…

"But should everyone start taking vitamin E? Absolutely not. It should be done under a doctor's care and with careful supervision."

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Dark chocolate may be good for your liver

(Reuters) Cocoa-rich dark chocolate could be prescribed for people with liver cirrhosis in future, following the latest research to show potential health benefits of chocolate.

Spanish researchers said on Thursday that eating dark chocolate capped the usual after-meal rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels in cirrhotic patients and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture.

Antioxidants called flavanols found in cocoa are believed to be the reason why chocolate is good for blood pressure because the chemicals help the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen.

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MyRecipes.com

Pizza Provencal
Upgrade pizza night by making a pie loaded with fresh basil, rotisserie chicken, and all the best of Italian-inspired ingredients. A food processor makes quick work of the homemade sauce. Serve with artichoke–green bean salad.

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce

Chicken Tamale Casserole

MyRecipes $5,000 Grocery Giveaway

Great Tips for Fresh Produce
Learn how to prepare all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, from melon and mushrooms to fried okra and turnip greens.

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Even Moderate Drinking Puts Many Older Adults at Risk

(HealthDay News) Although one to two alcoholic drinks a day is often considered safe or possibly even beneficial for health, this habit may put many older adults at risk, a new study has found.

Older adults are considered "at risk" if they have at least one of the following drinking behaviors: they consume more than two drinks a day; they consume one to two drinks on most days and have certain health problems, such as gout, hepatitis or nausea; they consume one or two drinks on most days and take certain medications, such as antidepressants or sedatives.

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Drug a New Treatment Option for Diabetic Eye Disease

(HealthDay News) A new drug may be the first new treatment in 25 years for a common diabetes-linked eye condition called diabetic macular edema (DME), researchers report.

Lucentis (ranibizumab) was originally developed to treat age-related macular degeneration. But researchers say it can also improve vision in people with DME, a common form of diabetic retinopathy.

Read more.

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Breakthrough in Predicting Invasive Breast Cancer

(HealthDay News) A new way to predict whether women with the most common form of breast cancer are at risk of developing more invasive tumors later in life will help those women be more selective about their treatment, U.S. researchers report.

They analyzed the medical records of 1,162 women, aged 40 and older, who were diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and underwent lumpectomy, which is surgical removal of the tumor and some of the surrounding normal tissue…

As a result of the research, doctors can better predict whether women treated with a lumpectomy only are at a very low or a high risk of developing invasive cancer later.

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Muscle and Bone Diseases Affect Each Other, According to New Theory

(Science Daily) [R]ecent evidence supports the notion that bones and muscles are more interconnected than previously thought. It seems that bones and muscles can release signals that directly affect one another's function or disease state. Even more remarkable is that these systems seem to produce secreting factors that communicate to distant parts of the body…

For the many diseases that target muscles diet, exercise and hormone therapy are the only treatments. Unfortunately, many patients have health conditions that prevent them from exercising limiting their treatment options. [Dr. Marco] Brotto is hopeful that following the new line of research studying the communication between muscles and bones will identify novel therapies and potentially help millions of people.

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Scientists Find Way to Heal Broken Bones Faster

(HealthDay News) Stanford researchers have found a way to significantly speed up the healing of broken bones in mice, a feat which, if replicated in humans, could mean people with fractures would be free of their casts a lot sooner…

The technique could help in fusing bones as well, and many other surgeries that rely on bone growth and bone healing to succeed…

"It isn't limited to bone injuries," said Dr. Jill Helms, senior author of the study… "There's a lot of interest in the role that [the protein used in these experiments] plays in tissue repair and tissue regeneration."

That also includes blood, neural and cardiac cells, added Helms, who is a professor of surgery and of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine.

The research borrowed a chapter from the lives of animals that can regenerate on their own, such as zebrafish and flat worms.

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Simpler medical billing saves $7 billion

(UPI) Simplifying and standardizing administrative procedures for medical bills could save about $7 billion a year, U.S. researchers estimate.

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Americans losing confidence in healthcare

(Reuters) Americans are steadily losing confidence in their ability to get healthcare and pay for it, despite the passage of healthcare reform legislation, according to a survey published on Wednesday…

The survey, published here, finds a steady erosion in confidence.

"I think it may have something to do with the reform legislation," [Gary Pickens, chief research officer at Thomson Reuters,] said in a telephone interview. "Getting legislation through hasn't reassured Americans," he added. "People are being unclear about what it means for them."

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Community: Why do we call it “health” care? Our whole system is geared toward “disease” care.

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Early Death by Junk Food?

(Science Daily) New research … shows that high levels of phosphates may add more "pop" to sodas and processed foods than once thought. That's because researchers have found that the high levels of phosphates accelerate signs of aging. High phosphate levels may also increase the prevalence and severity of age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular calcification, and can also induce severe muscle and skin atrophy.

"Humans need a healthy diet and keeping the balance of phosphate in the diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity," said M. Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., Ph.D…. "Avoid phosphate toxicity and enjoy a healthy life."

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Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain

(HealthDay News) Eating a Mediterranean diet may help keep your brain healthy as you age, findings from an ongoing study show…

Rather than asking people to avoid certain foods, the study found data that "adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times and other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols and numbers," [study author Dr. Christy] Tangney said…

"We [also] want older adults to remember that physical activity is an important part of maintaining cognitive skills," Tangney added.

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Community: I think Dr. Tangney’s stress on eating more of some kinds of food rather than prohibiting other kinds is a good way to approach the challenge of encouraging behavioral change. Long-term change is more likely to be successful if taken in small doses, and voluntarily, rather than being drastic, and imposed from the outside. Has anyone ever been inspired by programs like The Biggest Loser to implement real change in their lives?

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Osteoporosis in women — and men?

{Harvard HEALTHbeat) Most people think of osteoporosis — a condition characterized by a loss of bone mass and density — as mainly a health problem for older women…

But men are by no means immune…

Osteoporosis is associated with some male-only conditions — for example, abnormally low testosterone levels (hypogonadism). Both women and men can get the skin condition psoriasis, but research suggests it is linked to loss of bone density in men. Androgen deprivation therapy, which is one way to treat advanced prostate cancer, usually involves drugs that interfere with testosterone. But testosterone promotes bone formation, so those drugs can wind up weakening bones.

Some medications affect bones in both sexes…

Lifestyle and health habits also are a major factor in osteoporotic risk, for both men and women. Smoking and heavy alcoholic drinking weaken bones. Interestingly, men are more likely than women to engage in those behaviors.

Keeping bones strong is yet another reason to exercise. Vitamin D is also important for bone health — as well as overall good health. Many experts now say we should be getting at least 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, especially during the winter months in the northern latitudes when limited sunlight reduces the amount of the vitamin produced naturally by the skin.

But when it comes to perhaps the most familiar prevention tip — keep your calcium intake high — the recommendations for men are cloudier.

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'Kitchen counter diet' cuts calories

(UPI) A New York researcher says the "kitchen counter diet" can result in people eating 20 percent less -- by keeping serving bowls in the kitchen.

Professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think," said the study involving 78 adults found the adage "out of sight, out of mind" was true when it came to food.

"We looked at whether serving foods from the kitchen counter, instead of at the table, would reduce the number of times a person refilled his or her plate," Wansink said in a statement.

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