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

Device combats common cause of vertigo

(Reuters Health) So-called "benign paroxysmal positional vertigo" (BPPV) affects roughly 10 percent of the population over age 60, according to studies done in the late 1980s. It is characterized by intense vertigo (room spinning), which often occurs when looking up, rolling over in bed, or bending under things.

BPPV results from the build-up of crystals in the inner ear. Doctors typically treat BPPV with a physical maneuver to shift the crystals out of a canal in the inner ear where they cause the feeling of dizziness.

The so-called "Epley" maneuver is fairly simple and highly effective -- but difficult for patients to remember how to do on their own. So Dr. Matthew Bromwich and colleagues at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Canada developed a device to help them.

The device, which attaches to the brim of any common baseball cap, is called the DizzyFIX and costs $150.

Read more.

Community: I’ve been having these dizzy spells, but I read that exercise can help stop them, which made me think they’re due to lack of blood flow to the head. I’m exercising every day, of course, but I’m also working on getting in the habit of bending over and shaking my head three times a day. I’ve already noticed fewer instances of dizziness when making a sudden turn. No way I’m going to pay $150 and look silly in a baseball cap if there’s another way to solve the problem for free.

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Happier Often Means Healthier

(HealthDay News) Teens with sunnier outlooks also tend to be healthier, a new study finds.

University of South Florida researchers found that teens' positive emotions and moods, as well as their satisfaction with life, may be more important than either anxiety or depression levels for predicting physical health.

Read more.

Community: The happiness/health connection isn’t just for teens.

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As Weight Goes Up, So Do Heart Risks

(HealthDay News) People concerned about heart disease rightfully fret about their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, but there's another overarching problem that could eclipse all those risk factors…

"Obesity plays a role in almost all the coronary risk factors," said Dr. Vincent Bufalino, president and chief executive of Midwest Heart Specialists, medical director of Edward Heart Hospital in Naperville, Ill., and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

Obesity can boost your levels of bad cholesterol, raise your blood pressure and increase your chances of acquiring diabetes, Bufalino said. In other words, obesity ties directly into the three biggest risk factors for heart disease.

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Lack of zinc linked to diabetes

(UPI) A U.S. researcher says zinc may play a role in blood sugar regulation and in avoiding type 2 diabetes.

Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy of the University of Michigan suggests in type 2 diabetes -- a protein called amylin forms dense clumps that shut down insulin-producing cells. However, in the presence of zinc, amylin does not form clumps.

Read more.

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Recipes

EatingWell:

Steak & Potato Kebabs with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Steak kebabs get a Southwestern spin with poblano peppers and a creamy sauce spiked with cilantro,

Quick Dinners Packed with Vegetables
30-minute summer meals to help you pack in the produce.

Summer Slow-Cooker Recipes
Barbecue Pulled Chicken and more simple meals from your slow cooker.

Chicken Dinners for Two
Easy chicken recipes perfectly portioned for two.

MyRecipes.com:

Classic Italian Panini with Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella
Use this recipe as a template, and customize it to your liking. Use hollowed-out focaccia or ciabatta, or try different herbs and cheese, for example.

5 to Try: Scrumptious Shrimp

12 Easy Chicken Recipes from Real Simple

5-Ingredient Chicken Recipes
No grocery list required. These 8 simple chicken recipes can be prepared using common house-hold ingredients.

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Docs May Be Slow to Diagnose Arthritis of Back, Study Suggests

(HealthDay News) Doctors add as much as $10,000 to patient's medical costs by strictly following guidelines regarding the diagnosis of arthritis-related back pain, a new study suggests.

The study authors report that it isn't necessary to perform diagnostic nerve blocks to prove arthritis is a cause of pain. Instead, they recommend that doctors skip that step and turn directly to another treatment -- radiofrequency denervation -- when they think arthritis is the culprit.

Radiofrequency denervation, a common, noninvasive procedure, disrupts the nerve-pain signals in arthritic joints.

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Blood lipids, depression, linked

(UPI) Depression in women is linked to low levels of high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol, increasing their heart risk, French researchers say…

"Our results suggest that clinical management of abnormal lipid levels may reduce depression in the elderly, but different treatment will be required according to sex," [study corresponding author Dr. Marie-Laure ] Ancelin says in a statement.

Read more.

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A Blood Test for Depression?

(Science Daily) Blood tests have been extremely important tools aiding doctors in making medical diagnoses and in guiding the treatment of many diseases. However, psychiatry is one area of medicine where there are few diagnostic blood tests…

Using [gene expression profiling, which measures the levels of RNA produced from DNA as an indication of the level of the "activity" of particular genes], Dutch researchers evaluated blood gene expression profiles in healthy individuals and patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, or MDD. They identified a set of seven genes in whole blood that was able to distinguish un-medicated MDD patients from healthy controls.

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Abnormal Cells in Blood Tied to Lung Cancer: Circulating Aberrant Cells Increase as Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Progresses

(Science Daily) A novel approach detects genetically abnormal cells in the blood of non-small cell lung cancer patients that match abnormalities found in tumor cells and increase in number with the severity of the disease, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report…

"We suspect additional research will show that these circulating abnormal cells are circulating non-small cell lung cancer cells," said study corresponding author Ruth Katz, M.D… "Blood tests for these circulating tumor cells could be used to diagnose lung cancer earlier, monitor response to therapy and detect residual disease in patients after treatment."

Read more.

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Nanoparticles as Destructive Beacons to Zap Tumors

(Science Daily) A group of researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is developing a way to treat cancer by using lasers to light up tiny nanoparticles and destroy tumors with the ensuing heat…

In laboratory experiments, the team showed that by using an MRI scanner, they could image these particles in living tissue, watch as they approached a tumor, zap them with a laser, and destroy the tumor in the process.

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Simple Screening Test Reduces Invasive Examinations for Suspected Bowel Disease

(Science Daily) A simple screening test identifies patients who are most likely to have inflammatory bowel disease and reduces the need for expensive, invasive and time consuming endoscopies, finds a study…

Despite some differences in the design and quality of the studies, they conclude that faecal calprotectin is a useful screening tool for identifying patients who are most likely to need endoscopic evaluation for suspected inflammatory bowel disease.

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Medicine from Moss: Bioreactor Technique May Offer Hope to People With Age-Related Blindness

(Science Daily) Diabetics use human insulin produced in bacteria in order to treat their metabolic disorder. Many other genetically engineered proteins are also on the advance. They are being used for diagnosis as well as for therapy.

Whereas insulin used to be extracted from slaughterhouse waste today it is produced genetically in bacteria. However, more complex proteins have to be synthesised in more complex organisms. This takes place mostly in bioreactors using animal cell lines. Biotechnologist Prof. Ralf Reski … has developed the moss Physcomitrella patens into a safe and inexpensive alternative supplier of medicine.

His group has now, under Dr. Eva Decker, for the first time succeeded in producing a human protein in a moss bioreactor… In many people the amount of this protein decreases with old age -- with severe consequences… Not enough of this protein in older people is the main cause of blindness for 50 million people worldwide.

Read more.

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FDA Panels Reject Plan to Curb Opioid Painkiller Abuse

(HealthDay News) Two advisory panels to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted Friday against the agency's plan to curb abuse of opioid painkillers…

The main stumbling block appeared to be that the panel members who voted against the plan wanted the training for prescribing doctors to be mandatory instead of voluntary, [said Dr. John Jenkins, director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research].

Jenkins noted the agency did not choose to make the training mandatory because it would have been too much for the agency to manage…

OxyContin is at the center of the problem, the agency said. Since 1995, when the drug was approved by the FDA, prescriptions have skyrocketed -- from some 821,000 in 1997 to about 6.2 million in 2002, according to the most recent statistics supplied by the FDA.

Much of OxyContin abuse is among relatives and friends of people who have prescriptions. More than 40 percent of those who misuse this drug are relatives or friends of people with prescriptions, the agency said.

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FDA wants investigation into Avandia conflict: report

(Reuters) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether one of the panelists at a recent safety meeting on the GlaxoSmithKline PLC drug Avandia had a conflict of interest, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

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The Longer You Sit, the Shorter Your Life Span: Study

(HealthDay News) The more Americans engage in one of their favorite pastimes -- sitting around -- the shorter their average life span, a new study suggests… It's just one more reason to "get up and walk," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La.

"The message here is like everything in your life. People need to recognize that the things you do every day have consequences. And if you're in a job that does require sitting, that's fine, but any time you can expend energy is good. That's the key."

Read more.

Community: I recently posted some ideas for getting more exercise, even at work. A proposal that came from one of the First Lady’s conferences on combating obesity was to initiate recess programs for the workplace. And there are “Workouts to do while pumping gas.” Time to get creative!

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Varying Your Practice Moves May Help Improve Skills

(HealthDay News) Varying the types of skills you work on in practice sessions engages a different part of the brain than the one you use when focusing on a single task, researchers say.

The finding explains why variable practice improves the brain's memory of most skills better than working on just one type of task, according to the research team…

"In the variable practice structure condition, you're basically solving the motor problem anew each time. If I'm just repeating the same thing over and over again as in the constant practice condition, I don't have to process it very deeply," study senior author Carolee Winstein … said in a university news release.

"We gravitate toward a simple, rote practice structure because we're basically lazy and we don't want to work hard. But it turns out that memory is enhanced when we engage in practice that is more challenging and requires us to reconstruct the activity," she noted.

Read more.

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Could Diabetes Be in Your Bones?

(Science Daily) Our bones have much greater influence on the rest of our bodies than they are often given credit for, according to two new studies… Both studies offer new insights into the interplay between bone and blood sugar, based on signals sent via insulin and a bone-derived hormone known as osteocalcin…

The findings suggest that osteocalcin, or perhaps a drug that targets bone, might hold promise in fighting the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers…

"Bone is an organ that has to pay attention to where calories are going," [said] Thomas Clemens of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It talks to muscle, fat, the pancreas. It's a player in energy metabolism."

Read more.

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Cutting Fat and Calories Can Lower Cancer Risk in Dogs and People

(Science Daily) As many as 1 out of 3 cancer deaths in both humans and dogs could be prevented by reducing Omega-6 fatty acids and cutting calories, according to research…

Demian Dressler, DVM, known as the "dog cancer vet" because of his work in the study of canine cancer, recommends severely limiting snack foods for humans and dogs that contain ingredients rich in Omega-6, such as corn oil, vegetable oil and grain-fed red meat. Too much Omega-6 fatty acid can lead to inflammation, which creates an environment conducive to cancer in dogs and people, he said.

In addition, Dressler said studies show obesity in both dogs and humans limits the production of adiponectin, a hormone that has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. He recommended reducing calories, particularly those from sugar, which has the additional danger of not only causing obesity, but also feeding cancer cells and encouraging their growth.

Read more.

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Heart risk factors less common in fish lovers

(Reuters Health) Middle-aged and older men who eat fish every day are less likely than infrequent fish eaters to develop a collection of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, a new study suggests.

Whether a fishy diet itself is the reason for the benefit is not clear from the findings.

But, the researchers say, the results are in line with studies showing that omega-3 fatty acids -- found most abundantly in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna -- may have heart benefits.

Read more.

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Recipes

EatingWell.com:

Healthy Sardine Recipes
One fish that you should be eating (and probably are not) is the humble sardine. Sardines (Pacific, wild-caught) are one of the healthiest foods we can consume, according to health and environmental experts. These nutritional powerhouses are one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, with a whopping 1,950 mg/per 3 oz. (that’s more per serving than salmon, tuna or just about any other food) and they’re packed with vitamin D.

Greek Salad with Sardines

Tomato Toast with Sardines & Mint

Spring Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Bread & Tomato Salad

Sardines on Crackers

Garden Pizza
Bell pepper, zucchini and a fresh tomato sauce give this vegetarian pizza a taste of summer.

Easy Dinner Sandwiches
Make a satisfying meal everyone will love with these healthy sandwich recipes.

What Does 1,500 Calories Look Like?
Most of us can lose weight on 1,500 calories a day. Find out what a day of meals looks like.

MyRecipes.com:

Pecan-Crusted Tilapia
A weeknight favorite, this pecan-crusted tilapia serves up moist fish with a crunchy crust.

Budget-Friendly Grilling Recipes

5-Ingredient Chicken Recipes
No grocery list required. These 8 simple chicken recipes can be prepared using common house-hold ingredients.

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Gene Linked to Aging Also Linked to Alzheimer's

(Science Daily) MIT biologists report that they have discovered the first link between the amyloid plaques that form in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and a gene previously implicated in the aging process, SIRT1…

The results … indicate that drugs that activate SIRT1 could be a promising strategy to combat Alzheimer's, says Leonard Guarente, the MIT biology professor who led the study.

Read more.

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'Working Memory Capacity' May Determine Music's Virtuosos

(HealthDay News) While practice helps improve your musical talents, it's working memory capacity that may determine if you become a virtuoso, according to a new study.

Working memory capacity is the ability to keep relevant bits of information active in your mind, the study authors explained in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science. Musicians use working memory when they read music, and it allows them to play their instrument while reading ahead to the notes that are coming next to keep the music flowing…

"Practice is absolutely important to performance. But our study does suggest that cognitive abilities, particularly working memory capacity, might limit the ultimate level of performance that could be attained," study co-author Elizabeth J. Meinz, of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, said in the news release.

Read more.

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Taking to the Stage to Battle Mental Illness

(HealthDay News) In small theater spaces across the United States, people fighting psychiatric illness are learning that acting can be a powerful form of therapy, while the shows they put on help educate audiences through deeply personal accounts of mental health issues.

"Theater arts can really give patients a very valuable additional opportunity to piece their lives back together," said David A. Faigin, department of psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. He believes the approach works by "focusing on the same things that standard interventions focus on: community reintegration and social reintegration."

Read more.

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Beach umbrellas: Only partial sun block

(UPI) Thirty-four percent of ultraviolet radiation gets underneath canvas beach umbrellas, researchers in Spain say.

Researchers from the University of Valencia in Spain explain canvas has a very high capacity for absorbing radiation and intercepts most full direct sun rays. However, they say, the umbrella does not protect from the diffused radiation that penetrates through from the sides.

Read more.

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Pool disinfectants may affect health

(UPI) Negative health outcomes can occur when disinfection byproducts form reactions with organic matter in swimming pool water, U.S. researchers suggest…

"The best method to treat pool waters is a combination of UV treatment with chlorine as compared to chlorination alone," [Michael Plewa of the University of Illinois] says.

Having swimmers shower and banning urination in the pool is also important.

Read more.

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Gulf Oil Dispersants Unlikely to Be Endocrine Disruptors and Have Relatively Low Cell Toxicity, Tests Find

(Science Daily) Government scientists are reporting that eight of the most commonly used oil dispersants used to fight oil spills, such as the massive episode in the Gulf of Mexico, appear unlikely to act as endocrine disruptors -- hormone-like substances that can interfere with reproduction, development, and other biological processes.

The tested dispersants also had a relatively low potential for cytotoxicity (cell death)…

With an urgent need for such information in the Deepwater Horizon spill, the scientists applied a rapid screening method using mammalian cells to determine the eight dispersants' potential to act as endocrine disruptors and relative toxicity to living cells. The dispersants included a type widely being used to treat the Gulf oil spill. None of the substances showed significant endocrine disruption activity and cytotoxicity was not seen until dispersants were tested at concentrations above 10 parts per million, the scientists said.

However, they note that "there are other routes by which chemicals can cause endocrine disruption, as well as other types of toxicity that have not been tested for here."

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Inequalities in Mortality in Britain Today Greater Than Those During 1930s Economic Depression, Study Finds

(Science Daily) The level of inequalities in premature mortality between different areas of Britain has almost surpassed those seen shortly before the economic crash of 1929 and the economic depression of the 1930s, according to a new study…

The gap in health inequalities has widened over the past 10 years, reflecting widening inequality in wealth and income.

Read more.

Community: Income inequality results in health inequality in the U.S., too. And income inequality has been growing here, too. In other words, income inequality is killing us.

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Blue Cross reaps surpluses while rates rise: report

(Reuters) Blue Cross Blue Shield's nonprofit health plans raised insurance premiums even as they set aside millions of dollars in surpluses over the past decade, according to a report published on Thursday.

For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona policyholders faced double-digit rate increases in recent years while the company's surplus grew to seven times the regulatory minimum.

The surpluses -- mandated to ensure the payment of all medical claims -- were built up partly to fund business expansion and new products, said the report from Consumers Union, the nonprofit watchdog and publisher of Consumer Reports.

"These are nonprofit companies," said Sondra Roberto, a report co-author. "The priorities should be to provide affordable health care coverage to the greatest extent possible.

Read more.

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Meditation Appears to Boost Attention Span

(HealthDay News) In research inspired by Buddhist monks, a new study has found that meditation can seemingly help increase a person's attention span…

[Study] participants showed improvements in their ability to sustain visual attention. This improvement continued for five months after the retreat had ended, especially among those who continued to meditate every day, the study authors found.

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Why Does Everything Look Gray When You Feel Blue?

(Science Daily) Regardless of culture, language, era, or individual artist, the arts consistently depict depression using darkness. Scientific findings now lend empirical support to this representation of depression that everything looks gray when you feel blue.

Researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany showed previously that people with depression have difficulty detecting black-and-white contrast differences.

Publishing a new report…, these scientists combined neuropsychiatric and ophthalmologic investigations to focus on the response of the retina to varying black-and-white contrasts.

Read more.

Community: William Styron’s book about his year of depression was entitled Darkness Visible, and I can attest that the world does indeed look dark when you’re depressed. Remember that Dr. Steven Ilardi has given us The Depression Cure, the non-medication approach to stopping depression.

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Feeling Insecure in Relationships May Predispose People to Later Cardiovascular Problems, Says Research

(Science Daily) People who feel insecure about their attachments to others might be at higher risk for cardiovascular problems than those who feel secure in their relationships, according to a new study…

After adjusting for demographic variables that could account for the health conditions, the authors found that avoidant attachment was positively associated with conditions defined primarily by pain (e.g., frequent or severe headaches). Anxious attachment was positively associated with a wider range of health conditions, including some defined primarily by pain and several involving the cardiovascular system (e.g., stroke, heart attack or high blood pressure).

The authors also adjusted for lifetime histories of common psychological disorders and found that people with anxious attachments were at a higher risk of chronic pain, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure and ulcers.

Read more.

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Natural Substance NT-020 Aids Aging Brains in Rats, Study Finds

(Science Daily) A combination of nutrients called NT-020 promoted adult neural stem cell proliferation in aged rats and boosted their memory performance, reported University of South Florida researchers studying natural therapeutic approaches to promoting the health of neurons in the aging brain…

The NT-020 formula was patented by USF and licensed to Natura Therapeutics, Inc.

"Aging has been linked to oxidative stress, and we have previously shown that natural compounds made from blueberries, green tea, and amino acids, such as carnosine, are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activity," said Sandra Acosta, MS, the study's lead author…

"The notion that aging is a stem cell disease has been gaining popularity," said study senior author Paula Bickford, PhD…

The researchers concluded that increased inflammation in the brains of the aged animals led to reduced production of stem cells, but that stem cell renewal created a rejuvenating effect. They found that NT-020 treated animals had fewer activated inflammatory cells in the brain, reflecting a decrease in factors that reduced the production of stem cells…

[Some of the researchers] are co-founders of Natura Therapeutics, Inc.

Read more.

Community: We don’t have to pay extra for a special formula to enjoy the benefits of blueberries, green tea, and other foods high in antioxidants.

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Recipes

Cooking Light:

5-Ingredient Seafood Recipes
Fish and shellfish are quick cooking, nutritious, and delicious when prepared simply. These 17 recipes offer shortcuts that don't skimp on taste.

Almond-Crusted Tilapia
Chili-Garlic Glazed Salmon
Halibut with Quick Pesto
Scallops in Buttery Wine Sauce

Ask Our Dietitians: Your Nutrition Questions, Answered
Our dietitians dig into your questions and dish real-deal nutrition advice from healthy snacking to daily iron needs.

Use Your Zucchini
Zucchini and other summer squashes are abundant in backyard gardens and grocery stores this time of year.

MyRecipes.com:

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
Leftover salad is also good the next day for lunch; stir in a handful of arugula to add a fresh touch, if you have extra on hand. Serve with pita wedges.

Top 10 Iced Tea Recipes

Main-Dish Chicken Salads

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Novel Anti-Diabetes Mechanism Uncovered: Findings Could Lead to Next Generation of Improved Therapies

(Science Daily) In a joint study, scientists … have uncovered a novel mechanism that dramatically increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These findings offer a potent new target in the continuing search for new and improved anti-diabetic treatments…

The collaborative studies showed obesity causes a modification on PPARĪ³ that leads to alterations in the expression of a number of genes, including a reduction in the production of an insulin-sensitizing protein (adiponectin). This leads to an increase in insulin resistance.

Read more.

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Good cholesterol may mean little for statin users

(Reuters) People with high levels of the so-called good cholesterol HDL tend to have fewer heart attacks but HDL may offer little protective benefit in people who take statins to lower harmful LDL cholesterol, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

"HDL is a very powerful predictor of future risk" of heart disease, said Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, whose study appears in the journal Lancet.

But "once we get LDL into these very low ranges with very potent statins, HDL no longer predicts future risk of heart disease," he said in a telephone interview.

The findings raise questions about drugs in development to raise HDL to prevent heart attacks, he said.

Read more.

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Procedure Rejuvenates Aging Arteries in Pigs

(HealthDay News) A two-step procedure that uses nanoparticles to first scrub plaque out of arteries and then inserts stem cells to promote healing of those arteries may one day help individuals with atherosclerosis, new research suggests…

Six months after the procedure, plaque volume was reduced an average of 56.8 percent in the pigs receiving nanoparticles vs. an increase of 4.3 percent in the control group.

Pigs who had received both nanoparticles and stem cells showed the greatest improvements, along with signs of artery healing, the study authors found.

Read more.

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Engineered Stem Cells May Limit Heart Attack Damage, Improve Function

(Science Daily) Implanting tiny plastic scaffolds seeded with genetically engineered stem cells reduced organ damage and led to better cardiac function after a heart attack, according to an animal study.

Read more.

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New Study Finds HPV Vaccine Protects Against Genital Warts

(HealthDay News) A new study finds that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects not only against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, but also helps prevent genital warts and low-grade cervical growths…

In the big picture, the study authors wrote, the vaccine "provided strong and sustained protection" for four years against various types of warts and low-grade female genital growths.

The study was funded by Merck Research Laboratories, a division of Merck & Company, maker of the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

Read more.

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English ivy nanoparticles as sunblock

(UPI) English ivy nanoparticles may be key to more effective sunblocks, U.S. researchers suggest.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville say tiny particles secreted from the rootlets of the ivy plant that enable the plant to cling to fences and walls show great promise for use in adhesives and drug delivery and, due to light dispersal qualities, in sunblocks.

Read more.

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Health Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Disaster on Coastal Louisiana Residents Surveyed

(Science Daily) LSU Sociology Professors Matthew Lee and Troy Blanchard have conducted a survey to gain an understanding of the health impacts the ongoing Deepwater Horizon disaster is having on people living in Louisiana's coastal communities…

Prominent findings include:

  • Self-rated stress has more than doubled since the oil spill, as compared to a year ago.
  • Nearly 60 percent of the sample population reported feeling almost constant worry about the oil spill during the week before being interviewed.
  • More than eight out of 10 respondents worry over family, friends and community survival due to complications caused by the oil spill. Seven in 10 are worried about having to move because of it.
  • More than 35 percent reported experiencing headaches or migraines or feeling sick to their stomach some of the time or almost constantly in the week before the interview because of their worry over the oil spill; nearly 43 percent reported being unable to focus on their usual jobs or tasks because of their worry over the situation in the Gulf.

"The indication is, at least at this point, that the human health impacts are real and substantial," said Blanchard. "Right now, the data suggest that significant public health resources may be required to assist residents in the coastal parishes of Louisiana in dealing with the consequences of this disaster."

Read more.

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'Get Moving' Can Be Vital Advice for Older Adults

(HealthDay News) A birthday card on the market for older adults, meant to be humorous, shows a vulture on a tree branch, with the admonition to "Keep moving."

Though some might find the humor unsettling, the blunt message is right on target: It's never too late to start exercise, and any amount is better than none, exercise experts say…

"The medical evidence that's coming out now about the value of exercise for everything we worry about as we age, including cognitive disorders, is compelling," [Dr. William] Hall said.

Staying active can reduce the risks for heart disease and help maintain a healthy weight, according to research, and it can help those with existing health problems such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.

And body image is still a motivator, whatever a person's age, Hall said. When he coached 200 older adults in a triathlon training program, the participants were initially self-conscious when they showed up on the swim deck, he said. But soon, as exercise led to shedding of pounds and a feeling of well-being, confidence grew. "The women started showing up in much more svelte swimsuits," he said.

Other tips from [Amy] Ashmore and Hall to help seniors keep moving include:

  • Focusing on "process goals." Ashmore said that means focusing on the current exercise session. "I am finishing 15 repetitions on the triceps press-down," for instance, not: "I need to lose 20 pounds."
  • Buying a new bathroom scale. Get one that also gives body fat percentages, Hall suggested. Set a goal to reduce body fat and use the scale to periodically track the results of exercise.
  • Thinking of exercise as social time. Socialization is linked with health benefits, so why not combine the two?
  • Rediscovering your inner competitor. One participant in Halls' triathlon training program told Hall his goal: "I want to beat Bill Hall." Hall, a senior himself, said he laughed -- but said it motivated him to do better in the triathlon, too.
  • Accepting a realistic goal. Hall said he reassures seniors that they don't have to run a marathon or even do his triathlon training to reap benefits. "If they can give us 150 minutes of exercise a week, that's probably as therapeutic as you need," he said. That's just 2½ hours a week -- and, he says, housework counts, too.

More information
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on exercise for older adults.

Read more.

Community: I, however, can’t concentrate on “I need to lose 20 pounds”, because if it doesn’t come off immediately, I get angry. Instead, I think about how good I feel when I exercise, and how it’s helping to keep me healthy and strong.

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Bone Cells Need Stimulation to Make New Bone

(Science Daily) A long-standing question in bone biology has been answered: It is the spindly extensions of bone cells that sense mechanical stimulation and signal the release of bone-growth factors, according to research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The study … offers an important clue for developing therapies to treat the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and bone loss associated with aging, said Jean Jiang, Ph.D., senior corresponding author…

Regular physical exercise is highly beneficial in maintaining bone health and in prevention of bone loss and osteoporosis. Mechanical stimulation of the bone through weight bearing is critical for promoting bone remodeling, said Sirisha Burra, Ph.D., lead author.

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