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

Can bribery be healthy?

(Reuters) [E]xperiments cropping up across Europe, the United States and parts of Latin America … use financial incentives -- cash payments, gift cards, shopping vouchers and the like -- to encourage or cajole people to drop their bad habits and live more healthily. "The underlying rationale of incentives is that healthier people are less costly to the system than sick ones," says Harald Schmidt at the Harvard School of Public Health…

The idea is simple: pay people to act now and governments will reap the rewards later in lower healthcare costs. Statistically speaking, people who shun harmful habits are more productive and have less need for expensive hospitals, doctors and medicines. By changing "habitual health-related behaviours," says Theresa Marteau, director of the Center for the Study of Incentives in Health and a psychology professor at King's College London, those behind the schemes aim to make more people healthier for longer. Specifically, "they're trying to tackle the big four that are responsible for most of the world's premature deaths and illnesses -- excessive eating, smoking, drinking and lack of exercise," says Marteau.

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Community: Another possibility is to reduce the premiums for health insurance, and even life insurance, for those who keep their risk factor indicators at healthy levels.

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Good Luck Charms Might Just Work

(HealthDay News) Nervous about an upcoming presentation at work, or concerned you'll strike out at the company softball game? Taking along a lucky charm might boost your performance, according to a new study.

So if you have a lucky rabbit's foot or an outfit that's landed you a job or promotion in the past, take advantage.

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Those To-Die-For High Heels May Alter Anatomy

(HealthDay News) High heels may turn heads, but new research shows the long-term cost of wearing them is even steeper than the sky-high price tag of some coveted brands.

Along with aching feet and a variety of foot deformities, years of high-heel wearing can actually alter the anatomy of the calf muscles and tendons, according to a study…

The fix for many of these conditions, podiatrists said, may come as bad news for those emulating "Sex and the City" fashionista Carrie Bradshaw: Box up your stilettos, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories if necessary, and wear more sensible footwear.

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Behavioral intervention to cut heart risk

(UPI) Combining behavioral programs may offer the best way to reduce heart disease risk, U.S. researchers suggest…

[Nancy] Artinian and colleagues reviewed … 74 studies involving U.S. adults from January 1997 to May 2007 and identified motivational interviewing technique to encourage patients to make healthier lifestyle choices, counseling patients that occasional setbacks are normal and scheduling recurring follow-up sessions as effective healthcare provider behaviors.

The most effective patient-controlled behaviors include setting specific goals for physical activity and dietary improvements, and keeping track of progress towards their goals, Artinian says.

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Less Salt for Everybody

(Science Daily) Restricting the amount of sodium chloride in food can lower the risk of cardiovascular morbidities…

People whose intake of dietary sodium chloride is in excess of 6 g per day increase their risk of cardiovascular morbidities and hypertension. This is particularly notable in view of the fact that in the Western industrialized nations, one in two deaths is due to a cardiovascular disorder and the average intake of sodium chloride is in the range of 8 to 12 g/d. Salt restriction may help not only to prevent cardiovascular morbidities but may also counteract other lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

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MyRecipes.com

Garlic-Rosemary Lamb Pita
Stuff whole wheat pitas with savory strips of lamb and a cool cucumber and yogurt tzatziki sauce for a fresh and flavorful meal from the Mediterranean. Try the recipe with chicken, too.

5 to Try: Zucchini Surprises

Summer Food Survival Guide: Food Swaps, Synergies & Secret Sources

Perfect Grilled Steak Recipes

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5 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Berries

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Like warm temperatures and flip-flops, summer wouldn’t be complete without enjoying berries. Whatever your favorites — strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries — you’ll find an abundant harvest of berry goodness from May to September. And best of all, fiber-rich berries … are a delicious source of disease-fighting antioxidants. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy these delicious treats this summer.

Berry Basics
At the grocery store or farmers market, choose dry, plump, and brightly colored berries with no obvious rotten spots. Avoid containers with juice stains — this is a sign that the berries either have been battered or are overripe. Also be on the lookout for moldy spots — mold travels like wildfire through berries, so avoid containers with signs of this blue-gray blight. After you've brought home your berries, store them unwashed in the refrigerator in a covered container. Fresh berries don't last long and are best used within a few days of purchase. Berries can also be stored in the freezer for up to four months; just spread the berries out on a cookie tray and freeze before consolidating into a smaller container.

Here are 5 fun ways to enjoy berries this summer:

Prepare a yogurt parfait, mixing in nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt or artificially sweetened yogurt with berries of your choice.

Add grilled berries to a salad of grilled veggies and chicken. Serve over romaine lettuce, mesclun, or spinach.

Create a strawberry-avocado salsa, and serve it as a topping for grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp. Or, puree strawberries with a [diet]–friendly barbecue sauce and brush it on your favorite lean meat.

Dip strawberries in semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate for a decadent dessert.

Whip up a refreshing summer smoothie with fat-free or low-fat milk, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, and frozen mixed berries. Or, concoct a cool summer “sparkler” using your favorite berry, lime juice, seltzer, and a sugar substitute.

Source

Community: I buy berries when they’re on sale. For all but strawberries, I just dump them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. I take them out a few at a time, wash them, defrost them, and put them on my oatmeal. Strawberries are more trouble because they’re so big. I wash them, slice them, put artificial sweetener on them, and pack them a serving at a time in freezer bags before putting them in the freezer. I wish someone would start selling smaller strawberries, so I could treat them the same way as the other berries.

Right now, we’re getting Michigan blueberries, and the sale price at the local grocery store is $1.28 a pint. I’m going to have plenty of berries through the winter!

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Model Predicts Individual's Vitamin D Needs

(Science Daily) Your skin tone and the amount of sunshine you receive--in addition to what foods you eat--all can influence the amount of vitamin D that your body has on hand for optimum health. In a preliminary and apparently first-of-its-kind study, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) research physiologist Charles B. Stephensen and colleagues have developed a preliminary model that predicts an individual's vitamin D requirements.

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Women at Greater Risk From Serious Angina Than Men: Study

(HealthDay News) Women with the most serious type of angina are three times as likely as men with the same condition to develop severe coronary artery disease (CAD), researchers have found…

[The] research found that women who have what the Canadian Cardiovascular Society defines as Class IV angina -- which means they are unable to perform any activity without symptoms and even suffer angina at rest -- "are significantly more likely to develop severe CAD than men with the same condition."

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Redundant Genetic Instructions in 'Junk DNA' Support Healthy Development

(Science Daily) Seemingly redundant portions of the fruit fly genome may not be so redundant after all. New findings from a Princeton-led team of researchers suggest that repeated instructional regions in the flies' DNA may contribute to normal development under less-than-ideal growth conditions by making sure that genes are turned on and off at the appropriate times. If similar regions are found in humans, they may hold important clues to understanding developmental disorders.

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Mice Cages Can Alter Rodents’ Brains and Skew Research Results, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Researchers at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus have found the brains of mice used in laboratories worldwide can be profoundly affected by the type of cage they are kept in…

[Professor of cell and developmental biology Diego Restrepo] discovered that the brains of mice are extremely sensitive to their environment and can physically change when moved from an enclosure where air circulates freely to one where it doesn't. Specifically, the portion of the mouse's brain responsible for its keen sense of smell, the olfactory bulb, is altered. Restrepo also found profound changes in the levels of aggression when mice are moved from one type of cage to another.

The results, he says, can greatly affect the accuracy of the research. Two labs doing the same experiments may get totally different results and never know why.

"This could explain some of the failures to replicate findings in different laboratories and why contradictory data are published by different laboratories even when genetically identical mice are used as subjects," said Restrepo.

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New Radiation Mechanism May Ward Off Cancer, Oil Spills and Terrorism

(Science Daily) Radiation similar to that used to treat cancer may someday help clean up environmental disasters such as the Gulf oil spill and detect explosive powder hidden underneath clothing.

The novel radiation mechanism developed by University of Central Florida physicist Richard Klemm and a team of scientists in Japan also could help doctors more directly target cancer and many other diseases, reducing the impact of treatments on healthy parts of the body.

The mechanism operates in the Terahertz gap -- the range between microwave and infrared frequencies. Until now, scientists have not been able to tap into these frequencies with much success.

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Nature's Insect Repellents Discovered

(Science Daily) In the battle between insect predators and their prey, chemical signals called kairomones serve as an early-warning system. Pervasively emitted by the predators, the compounds are detected by their prey, and can even trigger adaptations, such a change in body size or armor, that help protect the prey. But as widespread as kairomones are in the insect world, their chemical identity has remained largely unknown. New research by Rockefeller University's Joel E. Cohen and colleagues at the University of Haifa in Israel has identified two compounds emitted by mosquito predators that make the mosquitoes less inclined to lay eggs in pools of water.

The findings … may provide new environmentally friendly tactics for repelling and controlling disease-carrying insects.

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Two-step vaccine may offer "universal" flu jab

(Reuters) A two-step flu vaccine using DNA to "prime" the immune system and then a traditional seasonal influenza vaccine may be able to protect against all strains of the virus -- providing a long-sought "universal" flu vaccine, U.S. researchers said on Thursday…

[T]he goal is to come up with a universal influenza vaccine that could protect people from all flu strains for decades or even for life.

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Americans turn cold shoulder to sunscreen: poll

(Reuters Life!) Even as summer temperatures soar, Americans are turning a cold shoulder to sunscreen, according to a poll released on Friday…

Despite the attention of the healthcare industry on the role of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer, about 40 percent of Americans never apply sunscreen at all before going out and only 9 percent wear it everyday, the poll of 1,004 people, showed.

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More Americans Abusing Prescription Painkillers

(HealthDay News) Substance abuse treatment admissions for non-medical use of prescription pain relievers have increased more than 400 percent over 10 years, according to a new government study released Thursday.

The proportion of admissions for people age 12 and older increased from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008, and this rise was seen in all age, gender, race and ethnic groups, as well as in people of all education levels and in all regions of the country, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported.

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High-fat diet affects brain's reward system

(UPI) U.S. researchers say animal studies show high-fat diet-induced changes in brain chemical release.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago correlated prolonged exposure to a high-fat diet with changes in the brain chemical dopamine within the striatum -- a critical component of the brain's reward system.

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Community: Could there POSSIBLY be a connection between Americans’ high fat diet, which short circuits the brain’s feel-good system, and their abuse of prescription drugs?

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No-Shame Programs May Appeal to Obese

(HealthDay News) Obese people prefer lifestyle change programs to help them shed excess pounds, rather than strategies that focus only on weight loss, a new study finds…

"Importantly, participants supported public health interventions, which they perceived were non-judgmental, non-stigmatizing and empowered individuals to improve their lifestyles rather than focusing on weight loss per se. Participants in this study were less likely to view interventions as effective if they thought they were stigmatizing, or blamed and shamed individuals for being overweight."

Because of the use of scare tactics, commercial dieting programs and media campaigns were rated as particularly bad by the respondents. Many viewed the dieting industry as "greedy," "a scam," and "a rip-off," [Dr. Samantha] Thomas said.

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Insight Into Why Low Calorie Diet Can Extend Lifespan -- Even If Adopted Later in Life

(Science Daily) Research is giving scientists new insight into why a restricted diet can lead to a longer lifespan and reduced incidence of age-related diseases for a wide variety of animals. Scientists have known for some time that a restricted diet can extend the lifespan of certain animals but this work shows how it affects ageing mechanisms -- and significantly has also shown that the effects occur even if the restricted diet is adopted later in life.

The work could help scientists to better understand, and ultimately, prevent a range of age-related diseases in humans…

Chunfang Wang, the lead researcher on this project at CISBAN, said: "… Our research … suggests that a restricted diet can help to reduce the amount of cell senescence occurring and can reduce damage to protective telomeres. In turn this prevents the accumulation of damaging tissue oxidation which would normally lead to age-related disease."

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MyRecipes.com

Grilled Miso-Marinated Filet Mignon
The sweet, nutty marinade gives this choice cut of beef just the right amount of Asian flair. Enjoy this weeknight recipe for just over 200 calories.

One-Dish Chicken Dinners

Using an Ice Cream Maker Attachment

Our Best Grilled Pork Recipes

Easy Eggplant Entrées
Cook beyond eggplant parmesan with these seven savory main dish recipes.

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Reward Yourself!

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Success is measured in many ways. Maybe it’s how your clothes fit; maybe it’s how much healthier you feel or what the scale says. However you choose to recognize your achievements...t, you deserve a little reward from time to time — and it doesn’t have to mean taking a diet detour. Here are five guiltless ways to treat yourself for your accomplishments.

Treat yourself...
to a day at the salon or spa. A pedicure, facial, or massage can really keep your spirits high. Or better yet, treat yourself to a high-end haircut or new color to accentuate your newfound confidence.

Hit the stores...
and purchase something you’ve been eyeing, like an outfit, a new book, or a piece of jewelry. Or invest in something that will help you reach your goals, such as walking sneakers, workout apparel, or even a gym membership.

Have a "night out"...
that doesn't revolve around dinner. Instead, after a simple meal at home, go out to a movie or play. Another idea is to spend a day doing something active: Sign up for tennis lessons, try rock climbing, walk around a museum, or rent a bike and explore a new neighborhood.

Buy yourself...
some fresh-cut flowers to decorate your home or office. It’ll brighten up your day and serve as a reminder of your success.

Take a bubble bath...
and enjoy some quiet "me" time to help you focus and stay on track.

Source

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Diabetes Risk: Waist Circumference Gives Better Prediction Than BMI

(Science Daily) Waist circumference gives a better prediction of diabetes risk than does BMI…

Persons with a BMI of less than 25 points, but with a large waist circumference, have just as high a risk of developing diabetes, as pre-obese (25 <>

The development of diabetes is particularly influenced by visceral fat tissue, which is metabolically more active than non-visceral fat. Visceral fat can be more accurately assessed from the waist circumference with people of lower weight than with overweight people, as waist circumference in overweight people contains a high proportion of subcutaneous fat.

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Mechanism for Link Between High Fat Diet and Risk of Prostate Cancer and Disorders Unveiled

(Science Daily) Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men with an estimated 192,280 new cases diagnosed in the US in 2009. Diet is considered one of the most important controllable risk factors for inflammation and prostate diseases including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer…

"Our studies provide evidence that a high-fat diet increases the activation of … components which might lead to intraprostatic inflammation. This study strengthens the link between a high-fat diet -- typical of "Western style" high fat diet -- as a potential cause of prostatic diseases including [BPH] and prostate cancer," said [Sanjay Gupta, MS, PhD].

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New Arsenic Nanoparticle Blocks Aggressive Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) You can teach an old drug new chemotherapy tricks. Northwestern University researchers took a drug therapy proven for blood cancers but ineffective against solid tumors, packaged it with nanotechnology and got it to combat an aggressive type of breast cancer prevalent in young women, particularly young African-American women.

That drug is arsenic trioxide, long part of the arsenal of ancient Chinese medicine and recently adopted by Western oncologists for a type of leukemia. The cancer is triple negative breast cancer, which often doesn't respond well to traditional chemotherapy and can't be treated by potentially life-saving targeted therapies. Women with triple negative breast cancer have a high risk of the cancer metastasizing and poor survival rates.

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New Clues to How Cancer Patients' Genes Influence Treatment

(HealthDay News) Scientists are releasing the first results from a major study looking at how cancer patients' genes influence the success of the therapies they receive.

The findings are already confirming the role of several genes that predict the response of different types of cancer to treatment, researchers say…

Currently, insufficient understanding about the complexity of the interactions between cancer drugs and genes limits doctors' ability to optimize individual patient treatment, the researchers indicated.

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U.S. groups target 20 possible causes of cancer

(Reuters) The American Cancer Society and three federal agencies named 19 chemicals and shift work on Thursday as potential causes of cancer that deserve more investigation…

Most are familiar names, such as chloroform, formaldehyde and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, but the list includes indium phosphide, a relatively new compound used in making flat-screen televisions.

All have been classified as possible carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC, the United Nations cancer agency.

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Rescuing Fruit Flies from Alzheimer's Disease

(Science Daily) Investigators have found that fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) males -- in which the activity of an Alzheimer's disease protein is reduced by 50 percent -- show impairments in learning and memory as they age. What's more, the researchers were able to prevent the age-related deficits by treating the flies with drugs such as lithium, or by genetic manipulations that reduced nerve-cell signaling…

"The results from our study suggest a new route to explore for the treatment of familial Alzheimer's disease and possibly the more common sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease," notes [Thomas A. Jongens, Ph.D.]. "They also reveal that proper presenilin activity levels are required to maintain normal cognitive capabilities during aging."

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Toward Making 'Extended Blood Group Typing' More Widely Available

(Science Daily) Scientists are reporting an advance toward enabling more blood banks to adopt so-called "extended blood group typing," which increases transfusion safety by better matching donors and recipients…

Most blood currently is typed for only a few of the 29 known human blood groups, even though some rare blood groups can affect the outcome of a transfusion.

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Researchers Cut Years from Drug Development With Nanoscopic Bead Technology

(Science Daily) New research … confirms that a revolutionary technology developed at Wake Forest University will slash years off the time it takes to develop drugs -- bringing vital new treatments to patients much more quickly.

Lab-on-Bead uses tiny beads studded with "pins" that match a drug to a disease marker in a single step, so researchers can test an infinite number of possibilities for treatments all at once. When Lab-on-Bead makes a match, it has found a viable treatment for a specific disease -- speeding up drug discovery by as much as 10,000 times and cutting out years of testing and re-testing in the laboratory.

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Scientists Create 'Malaria-Proof' Mosquito

(HealthDay News) In what might someday be a major advance against one of the world's most devastating diseases, researchers say they've created a mosquito that is unable to infect humans with malaria…

It may be possible someday to replace wild mosquitoes with lab-bred mosquitoes that can't infect humans with malaria, researchers said.

Read more.

Community: It had better be a sexy mosquito, if they want it to replace the wild ones.

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New Private Health Plans Must Offer Preventive Care

(HealthDay News) New private health plans must cover preventive services such as blood pressure tests and cancer screenings with no cost-sharing requirements for consumers, according to new U.S. regulations issued Wednesday.

Included in these services are basic tests such as blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol checks, many cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, prenatal care and regular wellness checkups for infants and children. The new rules are designed to make access to these services easier, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The new regulations do not affect existing health insurance plans but are expected to impact 88 million Americans in the future, according to a key presidential adviser.

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'Cool' Imagery Lowers Hot Flashes Through Hypnotherapy

(Science Daily) With an estimated 85 percent of women experiencing hot flashes as they approach menopause, researchers are concentrating on finding effective treatments that do not include hormonal or other pharmaceutical therapies. Now, a new Baylor University study has shown that women who specifically pictured images associated with coolness during hypnotherapy had a dramatic decrease in hot flashes…

"This is an interesting finding because it begins to shed light on what is it, specifically, about hypnotic relaxation therapy that reduces the hot flashes," said Dr. Gary Elkins…, who has conducted several studies on hypnotic relaxation therapy. "The finding may indicate that areas of the brain activated by imagery may be identical to those activated by actual perceived events. Consequently, it may be that while a woman suffering hot flashes imagines a cool place, she also feels cool rather than the heat of a hot flash."

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Community: Visual imagery can be VERY powerful.

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Brain Fitness Program Study Reveals Visual Memory Improvement in Older Adults

(Science Daily) A commercial brain fitness program has been shown to improve memory in older adults, at least in the period soon after training. The findings are the first to show that practicing simple visual tasks can improve the accuracy of short-term, or "working" visual memory. The research, led by scientists at UCSF, is also one of the first to measure both mental performance and changes in neural activity caused by a cognitive training program.

In the study, healthy older participants trained on a computer game designed to boost visual perception. After ten hours of training, they not only improved their perceptual abilities significantly, but also increased the accuracy of their visual working memory by about ten percent -- bringing them up to the level of younger adults. Few brain training programs have been subjected to such rigorous research evaluation to reveal such a transfer of benefits, the researchers say.

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Obesity Harms Women's Memory and Brain Function, Study Finds

(Science Daily) The more an older woman weighs, the worse her memory, according to new research from Northwestern Medicine. The effect is more pronounced in women who carry excess weight around their hips, known as pear shapes, than women who carry it around their waists, called apple shapes…

"The message is obesity and a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) are not good for your cognition and your memory," said lead author Diana Kerwin, M.D.

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Cashew Seed Extract an Effective Anti-Diabetic, Study Shows

(Science Daily) Cashew seed extract shows promise as an effective anti-diabetic, according to a new study…
"Of all the extracts tested, only cashew seed extract significantly stimulated blood sugar absorption by muscle cells," says senior author Pierre S. Haddad…
Cashew tree products have long been alleged to be effective anti-inflammatory agents, counter high blood sugar and prevent insulin resistance among diabetics. "Our study validates the traditional use of cashew tree products in diabetes and points to some of its natural components that can serve to create new oral therapies," adds Dr. Haddad.
Community: And there are other ways to prevent or reduce the severity of diabetes.
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Arsenic Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Miss Marple notwithstanding, arsenic might not be many people's favorite chemical. But the notorious poison does have some medical applications. Specifically, a form called arsenic trioxide has been used as a therapy for a particular type of leukemia for more than 10 years. Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that it may be useful in treating a variety of other cancers.

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Tea May Contain More Fluoride Than Once Thought, Research Shows

(Science Daily) Black tea, a Southern staple and the world's most consumed beverage, may contain higher concentrations of fluoride than previously thought, which could pose problems for the heaviest tea drinkers, Medical College of Georgia researchers say…

Most published reports show 1 to 5 milligrams of fluoride per liter of black tea, but a new study shows that number could be as high as 9 milligrams.

Fluoride is known to help prevent dental cavities, but long-term ingestion of excessive amounts could cause bone problems. The average person ingests a very safe amount, 2 to 3 milligrams, daily through fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and food. It would take ingesting about 20 milligrams a day over 10 or more years before posing a significant risk to bone health.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com

Pan-Seared Scallops with Tomatoes and Pesto
For a golden-brown crust on the scallops, don't disturb them while they cook except to turn them over.

Champion Chicken Parmesan

What's the Difference Between a Crisp, Crumble, Cobbler, Slump, and Buckle?

No-Cook Side Dishes

Cooking Light

Quick & Easy Chicken Dinners
Versatile and quick-cooking, chicken is a staple of a healthy weeknight pantry. Find 13 complete dinner menus (with side dish recipes!) ready in 45 minutes or less.

Superfast Sandwiches
They're portable, easy to make, good for any time of day, and these 20 recipes all take 20 minutes or less.

Fitness-Friendly Snacks
Keep your energy levels steady by choosing one of these smart snacks before or after a workout.

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Fast Food Chains Have Significantly Decreased Trans Fats in Cooking Oils, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Five major fast food chains have significantly decreased trans fats in the oils they use to cook food, according to new research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

The latest research findings suggest that major fast food chains may have been responsive to health concerns from the public and that potential future marketplace shifts to watch for in response to current nutrition concerns include changes to sodium and energy content of fast food restaurant items.

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Brain Responses of Obese Individuals Are More Weakly Linked to Feelings of Hunger

(Science Daily) Research … finds that that feelings of hunger have less influence on how the brain responds to the smell and taste of food in overweight than healthy weight individuals…

An important new finding was that the brain responses of healthy weight participants were associated with their feelings of hunger, whereas the responses of overweight participants did not depend on whether the participants felt hungry or full…

In an environment that is rich in sights and smells of food, one factor that may contribute to overeating is whether eating serves to dampen the brain's responses to food cues that usually encourage eating… "For some people feelings of fullness may provide a good brake on eating behavior. For others, the brake may be less effective, resulting in more eating in the absence of hunger, with subsequent weight gain," [say researchers].

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New Pill Found to Cut Weight With Few Side Effects: Study

(HealthDay News) A weight-loss pill called lorcaserin not only helps people drop pounds but does so with few side effects, new industry-funded research reports.

A potential player in fighting the obesity epidemic, lorcaserin is a new type of weight-loss drug that works by acting on serotonin, a chemical associated with feelings of well-being and feeling full, and does not appear to increase blood pressure or cause any other heart problems, according to the researchers, whose work was sponsored by the drug manufacturer.

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Medications Found to Cause Long Term Cognitive Impairment of Aging Brain, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Drugs commonly taken for a variety of common medical conditions including insomnia, allergies, or incontinence negatively affect the brain causing long term cognitive impairment in older African-Americans, according to a study…

These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, and are widely-used medical therapies. They are sold over the counter under various brand names such as Benadryl®, Dramamine®, Excedrin PM®, Nytol®, Sominex®, Tylenol PM®, and Unisom®. Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil®, Detrol®, Demerol® and Elavil® are available only by prescription. Older adults most commonly use drugs with anticholinergic effects as sleep aids and to relieve bladder leakage problems.

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Early diagnosis can cut Alzheimer's costs: study

(Reuters) Identifying dementia early can cut the cost of care by nearly 30 percent, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday, a finding that may reduce the heavy financial burden of the disease on the health care system.

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Sniffing insulin may help memory lost to Alzheimer's

(Reuters) Squirting insulin up the noses of patients with early forms of Alzheimer's disease showed signs of improving their memory, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

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Avandia Raises Heart Risk But Should Stay on Market, FDA Panel Finds

(HealthDay News) The controversial diabetes drug Avandia does raise the risk of heart attack more than other medications of its kind but should stay on the market with tightened controls, a U.S. government advisory panel recommended late Wednesday.

By a complex series of votes, the 33-member panel of experts rejected the option that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remove Avandia from the market for safety reasons.

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J&J to submit plan to fix Tylenol quality problems

(Reuters) Johnson & Johnson is expected to outline for U.S. regulators on Thursday a strategy to fix quality-control problems that have led to repeated recalls of Tylenol and other consumer medicines since last year.

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Future heatwaves forecast, to hurt health

(UPI) Future heat waves may threaten U.S. health through heat-related mortality and morbidity, more infectious diseases and malnutrition, U.S. researchers say…

"In the next 30 years, we could see an increase in heat waves like the one now occurring in the eastern United States or the kind that swept across Europe in 2003 that caused tens of thousands of fatalities," lead author Noah Diffenbaugh says in a statement. "Those kinds of severe heat events also put enormous stress on major crops like corn, soybean, cotton and wine grapes, causing a significant reduction in yields."

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Allergist: How to rid a home of mold

(UPI) Lots of rain and lots of summer humidity can increase exposure to allergenic mold spores -- an important trigger of allergies, a U.S. allergist says…

To rid a home of mold, [Dr. Henry] Legere suggests:

-- Repair leaking roof and pipes.

-- Maintain a low level of humidity -- between 35 percent to 40 percent. If necessary, use a de-humidifier.

-- Use a solution of warm water, liquid detergent and 5 percent bleach to clean mold on washable surfaces.

-- Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and wipe down the shower.

-- Remove items such as carpeting or wallpaper if mold is visible.

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Tart cherry juice may reduce insomnia

(UPI) Drinking tart cherry juice daily may help fight insomnia because it contains melatonin, which moderates the body's sleep-wake cycle, U.S. researchers suggest…

"When consumed regularly, tart cherries may help regulate the body's natural sleep cycle and increase sleep efficiency, including decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep," Russel J. Reiter, a biomedical scientist…, says in a statement. "And, because cherries are so rich in other antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, you get other important health benefits."

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Community: Melatonin is also available as a supplement.

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Drug plus counseling boosts weight loss: study

(Reuters Health) An experimental obesity drug, taken along with formal counseling on lifestyle changes, may spur greater weight loss than counseling alone, a new study finds.

The study of nearly 800 obese adults examined the effects of a drug called Contrave -- which combines the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin) and naltrexone, a medication used to treat alcohol and drug addiction…

The current findings support the previous results, and suggest that combining the medication with counseling on diet and lifestyle would provide further benefits, the researchers report.

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Community: Is this another indication that eating can be an addiction? I’ve been saying so for years.

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Could Our Minds Be Tricked Into Satisfying Our Stomachs?

(Science Daily) Research …suggests that the key to losing weight could lie in manipulating our beliefs about how filling we think food will be before we eat it, suggesting that portion control is all a matter of perception.

Test subjects were more satisfied for longer periods of time after consuming varying quantities of food for which they were led to believe that portion sizes were larger than they actually were.

Memories about how satisfying previous meals were also played a causal role in determining how long those meals staved off hunger. Together, these results suggest that expectations before eating and memory after eating play an important role in governing appetite and satiety.

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Community: Israeli researchers have found that cigarette cravings may be more a matter of mind that physical addiction. Maybe the findings from these studies will give us better ways than drugs and surgery to help people overcome addictions.

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FDA may approve obesity drug Qnexa

(UPI) Review documents released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicate the obesity drug Qnexa may be approved, but there are side-effect concerns.

The federal agency acknowledges the drug has met standards for approval, including a reduction in body weight of 5 percent or greater compared with a placebo -- but the FDA has articulated concerns about the cardiovascular, psychiatric and cognitive side effects, Medpage Today and ABC News reported.

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