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

Fears of a new superbug from Asia may be overblown, experts say

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) British researchers said Tuesday that a new bacterium resistant to most antibiotics is becoming more common in India and Pakistan and that it has been identified in 37 people in the U.K., primarily among people who have traveled to that region to receive cheaper medical care. U.S. authorities say that three cases of the infection have also been detected in this country…

However, experts said there is no evidence that the new resistant organisms, powered by a mutant gene called NDM-1 that confers resistance, is any more dangerous that the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that has become widespread in the United States or any of a number of other carbapenam-resistant organisms that have been observed previously…

Experts also said that there are at least two older antibiotics that can attack carbapenam-resistant organisms.

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Go ahead and argue, it's good for your health

(LiveScience) A little arguing now and then is good for you, if done for the right reasons, a new study suggests.

The results show when people experience tension with someone, whether their boss, spouse, or child, sidestepping confrontation could be bad for their health. Avoiding conflict was associated with more symptoms of physical problems the next day than was actually engaging in an argument.

Bypassing bickering was also associated with abnormal rises and falls of the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day.

"Relationships have important influences on how we feel on a daily basis, especially the problems in our relationships," said study researcher Kira Birditt, of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. "How we deal with problems affects our daily well-being," she said.

Previous research has shown married couples who avoid arguments are more likely to die earlier than their expressive counterparts. Another study found that expressing anger contributes to a sense of control and optimism that doesn't exist in people who respond in a fearful manner.

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Community: “A LITTLE arguing”, “NOW AND THEN” may be good for us, but long-term nursing of anger and resentment is a recipe for heart disease.

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Supplement may help people with depression

(Reuters Health) A small study suggests that a nutritional supplement sold over-the-counter may help some people with depression who haven't gotten better with any other drugs.

Researchers found that adding the supplement, called S-Adenosyl Methionine, or SAMe, to a patients' antidepressant treatment helped more people with major depression improve their symptoms than those that took an inactive placebo on top of their normal medication.

The supplement also had fewer side effects than medications that are approved by the FDA for people with depression who don't respond to antidepressants.

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Over-the-counter pill helps hurt feelings

(UPI) A U.S. researcher says social pain from hurt feelings could be relieved by the over-the-counter medication acetaminophen, better known as Tylenol…

[Study co-author University of Florida researcher Gregory] Webster and colleagues found people who took acetaminophen daily for three weeks reported less emotional suffering over time and showed less activity in regions of the brain previously shown to respond to social rejection than those taking the placebo.

"Even so, we don't want to tell people to go take Tylenol to cope with their personal problems until more research is done," Webster says.

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Generics As Good As Costly Blood Pressure Meds, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) Costly, brand-name blood pressure-lowering drugs are no better at preventing cardiovascular disease than older, generic diuretics, reveals long-term data from a large study…

Data from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) released in 2002 showed that after four to eight years of follow-up, the diuretic was better than the calcium blocker in preventing heart failure and better than the ACE inhibitor in preventing stroke, heart failure and overall cardiovascular disease.

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Label high five

(Chicago Tribune) The top five items that Americans are seeking to maximize when they scan the Nutrition Facts labels on packaged foods are, in descending order: whole grains, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin C and protein, according to a recent report from the NPD Group's Dieting Monitor.

Not a bad list, overall, but it includes protein, which is not lacking in most American diets, and excludes iron, one of the more common deficiencies…

The Dieting Monitor also found that the five nutrients that a large percentage of consumers are trying to avoid, ranked in descending order, are: fat, sugars, cholesterol, sodium and trans fatty acids.

And the top five items on the label we're most interested in overall are: total calories, total fat, calories from fat, sugars and sodium.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Soft Black Bean Tostadas
This hearty Mexican meal has countless variations. Fix the salsa and bean spread separately for snacks, roll the tortillas burrito-style, or make this dish vegetarian-friendly by omitting the chicken.

5 to Try: Seafood Classics

Launching a Lunch Club

Cooking Light:

Use Your Basil Bounty
The season's most versatile herb enlivens dishes from classic (pesto) to contemporary (sorbet?!). Use it with abandon.

Purple Basil Lemonade

Basil Parmesan Dip with Pita Chips

Sicilian Pesto

Phyllo Pizza with Feta, Basil, and Tomatoes

Lime Basil Sorbet

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No Evidence Estrogen Causes Lung Cancer Post-Hysterectomy

(HealthDay News) Taking estrogen doesn't increase the risk of developing or dying from lung cancer among postmenopausal women who've had a hysterectomy, a new study has found.

Previous research about the effects of combined estrogen plus progestin therapy produced conflicting results and no studies have clarified the influence of the use of estrogen alone, the authors of the new study noted.

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New gel could speed wound healing

(AP) The gel, named Nexagon, works by interrupting how cells communicate and prevents the production of a protein that blocks healing. That allows cells to move faster to the wound to begin healing it.

Though it has only been tested on about 100 people so far, experts say if it proves successful, the gel could have a major impact on treating chronic wounds, like leg or diabetes ulcers, and even common scrapes or injuries from accidents.

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'Laptop-itis' Rx: A docking station

(UPI) A U.S. physician says back, neck, head or hand pain can characterize what he called laptop-itis…

For frequent laptop users, [Dr. Kevin] Carneiro suggests a docking station that links a laptop to another keyboard and monitor. For instance, a stand can raise the screen to a higher level, and a FireWire or USB cable can connect the laptop to an extra monitor or keyboard, which can be adjusted to the proper height.

An external mouse in which the wrist and elbow are supported can help avoid hand aches.

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Human Meds Are Pets' Biggest Poisoning Danger

(HealthDay News) Ingestion of over-the-counter and prescription drugs formulated for humans are by far the most common cause of pet poisonings in this country, veterinarians say…

Pets knock vials off countertops and nightstands, or owners mistakenly think they're helping their pets by giving them human medication to alleviate some sort of ailment.

That's a big no-no.

"Dogs' and cats' metabolisms are different from ours, so they can't always process the same drugs we can," explains Silene Young…

Keeping animal and human medications in separate drawers or cabinets is the simplest way to prevent those types of mishaps from occurring.

It's also a good idea, veterinarians say, for owners to take their medication in the bathroom with the door shut. That way, if a pill drops on the floor, they have time to retrieve it before the dog does.

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A Good Doctor's Visit Starts With a Little Homework

(HealthDay News) [M]edical services ought to be tackled the same way any other purchase would be, consumer experts say.

That begins with doing a little homework before going to see a doctor…

Write down as many details as you can about what's wrong with you, suggests Don Powell, president and chief executive of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine. And then take that sheet of paper with you to the doctor's appointment…

If you have some idea of why you're ill, you also should try doing some research on your own, using either online resources or a medical guidebook, [Arthur Levin, director of the nonprofit Center for Medical Consumers,] said.

"The more you know about your symptoms or your diagnosis, the more likely it will be that this will be a meaningful visit and you will be satisfied," Levin said. "The less you know, the less basis you have for evaluating what the physician is saying to you."…

By doing this research, you might learn that your problem could be treated at home without the aid of a doctor. Or, you might learn that an expensive emergency room visit is unnecessary and that the problem can wait until a visit to your family doctor the next day.

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Medicare Fraudsters Shift Targets A La 'Whack-A-Mole'

(Kaiser Health News) The Economist: In an effort to staunch the flow of up to $60 billion a year to Medicare fraudsters, federal officials are launching a series of new safeguards that target program areas favored by the con artists.

"The Department of Health and Human Services is setting up data systems to monitor payments. A telephone-monitoring programme, with voice-recognition, will verify that health-care workers really are making home visits. Since much of the fraud is conducted from fake addresses—empty shops, or in one case a broom cupboard—physical inspections are also being carried out. But the criminals have proved hard to deter. As they switch from one health programme to another, so they stay one step ahead of the law, in what the chief federal prosecutor in Miami, Wifredo Ferrer, has described as a frustrating game of 'whack-a-mole'"

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These People Can Help You Reach Your Goals

(RealAge.com) Like a cold, self-control is contagious. It spreads throughout social networks, and you can catch some of it from friends, coworkers, and significant others. Being around or aware of people who practice good self-control makes it easier for you to come up with thoughts and ideas on how to control your own behavior...

Find out why thinking of your goal in terms of bits and pieces will help ensure that you reach it.

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Community: The saying in 12-step programs is, “Stick with the winners.”

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Community heart disease risk programs work: study

(Reuters Health) Healthy heart programs do work and may cut the risk of heart disease by as much as 1 percent, a review of large community-based programs concludes…

For every one million people, lead author Dr. Mary Pennant told Reuters Health, the authors estimate that, on average, the programs prevented about 650 heart attacks or strokes per year…

The review did not shed light on whether one approach was better than another, however. It only "aimed to broadly say whether these types of programs work or not," Pennant said…

The study did not look at the cost of the community programs "because they were conducted at such a wide variety of places and at different times," co-author [Tom] Marshall said. "It's kind of hard to put a figure on the cost."

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Elevated Heart Rate Over Time Linked to Significant Risk of Death

(Science Daily) An elevated resting heart rate that develops or persists during follow-up is associated with a significantly increased risk of death, whether from heart disease or other causes, researchers … found studying outcomes in more than 9,000 patients…

In their study, researchers discovered that development of a heart rate of 84 beats per minute or greater that either developed or persisted in patients during the study's average five-year time span was linked to a 55 percent greater risk of cardiovascular death and a 79 percent greater risk of death from all causes… A healthy heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute.

Even incremental increases in heart rate were associated with increased risk of death…

To date, no medication has been approved in the United States that can reduce heart rate without side effects, although a drug (ivabradine) is being tested, he says. Exercise and diet have also been shown to lower heart rate. [Emphasis added.]

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Community: EXERCISE AND DIET will save your life. But rather than suggesting that you learn ways to change your lifestyle, these scientists want you to take a pill.

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Free Statins With Fast Food Could Neutralize Heart Risk, Scientists Say

(Science Daily) Fast food outlets could provide statin drugs free of charge so that customers can neutralise the heart disease dangers of fatty food, researchers at Imperial College London suggest in a new study.

Statins reduce the amount of unhealthy "LDL" cholesterol in the blood. A wealth of trial data has proven them to be highly effective at lowering a person's heart attack risk…

Dr Darrel Francis and colleagues calculate that the reduction in cardiovascular risk offered by a statin is enough to offset the increase in heart attack risk from eating a cheeseburger and a milkshake…

"Everybody knows that fast food is bad for you, but people continue to eat it because it tastes good. We're genetically programmed to prefer high-calorie foods, and sadly fast food chains will continue to sell unhealthy foods because it earns them a living…

"When people engage in risky behaviours like driving or smoking, they're encouraged to take measures that minimise their risk, like wearing a seatbelt or choosing cigarettes with filters. Taking a statin is a rational way of lowering some of the risks of eating a fatty meal."

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Community: What’s even more rational is to retrain our taste buds to prefer healthier foods. If we stop eating these unhealthy foods, the chains will stop making them. How irrational is it that we prefer taking pills to eating what’s good for us?

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Many Patients Say 'No' to Chocolate As Medicine

(HealthDay News) It sounds like a great prescription, but a new study finds that many heart patients aren't all that sweet on using chocolate as medicine.

Researchers in Australia discovered that patients more often preferred boring pills over antioxidant-rich chocolate to help control their blood pressure…

Several trials have found that the antioxidants in dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, including one that found that even 30 calories of chocolate a day could help (a little more than a Hershey's Kiss).

Read more.

Community: Considering all its health benefits, but wanting to avoid the sugar in candy, I started putting chocolate in the healthy cookies that I make. I eat one cookie a day, and don’t crave more because they’re not full of sugar.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Southwest Salsa Burgers
Chipotle chiles and fresh salsa give these burgers a Southwestern kick that will heat up the dinner table in less than 20 minutes.

Top Grilled Chicken Recipes

7 Ways With Fresh Tomatoes

Perfect Potato Salad

EatingWell:

Tomato-Herb Marinated Flank Steak
In this recipe, we make a dual-purpose sauce from garden-fresh tomatoes, shallot, marjoram and rosemary. We use half the sauce to marinate the steak and use the other half as a basting sauce. Pasture-raised, grass-fed beef is gentler on the environment, free from growth-promoting hormones and typically lower in fat and calories than grain-fed beef. Marinating grass-fed beef for a full day helps make it tender. Look for it at natural-foods markets or find it online.

Farmer's Market-inspired Recipes
Use all that ripe, in season produce in these delicious summer recipes.

SouthBeachDiet.com:

4 Healthy Lunch-on-the-Go Suggestions
Brown-bagging it to work can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan… Keep these ideas in mind for healthy on-the-go lunches:

1. Choose healthy breads…

2. Enjoy lean deli meats…

3. Prepare a salad…

4. Consider bean-based soups.

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Make Onions Even Healthier with This Storage Trick

(RealAge.com) Onions are fairly bursting with antioxidants and other nutritious goodies. But you can get even more out of them if you tuck them away for a spell.

Storing red onions for several months may boost their levels of cancer-fighting, heart-disease-diminishing quercetin by up to 30 percent, according to a new study.

Thick-skinned storage onions are the perfect pantry addition. Not only do they make a great addition to savory soups, spinach salads, and crusty-bread sandwiches, but they store well, too. So snap up whatever you can find this summer, and keep the extras until fall. Choose a cool, dry, dark location, and store them in a mesh bag, a nylon stocking, or a container that allows the onions to breathe. (Try these other nutrition-boosting tips for fruits and veggies.)

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Burning Candle at Both Ends Harmful?

(HealthDay News) Less than four hours of sleep on five consecutive nights may affect the brain in a way similar to that of acute total sleep deprivation, a new study suggests.

The finding, from animal research, adds to growing evidence about the negative effects that lack of sleep has on both the brain and the body, said study leader Dr. Chiara Cirelli, an associate professor of psychiatry…

"Even relatively mild sleep restriction for several nights can affect an individual's ability to perform cognitive tasks," she concluded.

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Women Experience More Chronic Pain Than Men, Research Finds

(HealthDay News) Chronic pain occurs more often, is more intense and lasts longer in women than in men, a pain expert reports.

Women are also more likely to experience multiple painful conditions at the same time, which can lead to greater mental stress and increased risk of disability, according to Jennifer Kelly, of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine…

"Women tend to focus on the emotional aspects of pain," she explained. "Men tend to focus on the physical sensations they experience. Women who concentrate on the emotional aspects of their pain may actually experience more pain as a result, possibly because the emotions associated with pain are negative."

Among other things, Kelly encouraged practitioners to allow patients, especially women, to take an active role in their treatment, to provide psychological support and to offer relaxation techniques and biofeedback.

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Docs Shying Away From Drug That May Prevent Prostate Cancer

(HealthDay News) Even though a major study found that the drug finasteride could reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 25 percent, it is still not being widely prescribed for that purpose, Veterans Administration researchers report…

In 2003, the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), involving more than 18,000 patients, found that finasteride cut the incidence of prostate cancer by 25 percent -- the first drug to do so.

But a much-publicized follow-up analysis undercut that good news when it suggested that the drug might actually boost the odds of particularly aggressive prostate tumors…

Upon a re-analysis of the data, however, that uptick in risk for more aggressive tumors turned out to be false: finasteride did not raise the risk for an aggressive tumor, it simply helped make prostate screening more sensitive, so these tumors were spotted more readily.

But the reassuring results of that 2008 re-analysis may not have trickled down to doctors and patients today.

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New Drug Reduces Tumor Size in Women With Advanced Hereditary Ovarian or Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) Understanding the underlying genetic weakness of certain types of cancer may lead to targeted therapy and provide the key to effective treatment, a new study suggests. An international consortium of researchers has shown that an investigational drug, Olaparib, can reduce the size of tumors in women with advanced hereditary ovarian cancer with BRCA gene mutations…

"These are significant new studies. Olaparib is the first single-agent, non-chemotherapy treatment to show benefit to patients with cancers that result from BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations," said William Audeh, M.D., an oncologist specializing in cancer genetics…

The study was supported by AstraZeneca.

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Immune System Overreaction May Enable Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

(Science Daily) The immune system may open the door to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) by overdoing its response to an initial infection, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found…

"We found markers in the mice that may one day help us identify patients vulnerable to recurrent infection and refine our treatment strategies," says lead author Thomas J. Hannan, DVM, PhD. "There were infection-fighting elements in the immune responses of some mice that we may, for example, one day be able to trigger with vaccines for vulnerable patients."

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U.S., states work to shut down fake healthcare plans

(Reuters) U.S. regulators are cracking down on the growing number of companies that fraudulently sell so-called medical discount plans by telling consumers they work like health insurance and cover medical costs…

The FTC along with several state attorneys general have filed lawsuits against companies that they say mislead consumers by selling medical discount plans that offer some savings but marketing them as insurance accepted by doctors, hospitals and others…

The companies targeted by the FTC and states are mostly privately owned. They include Health Care One, Consumer Health Benefits Association, and United States Benefits.

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Mobile clinics seen as way to cut U.S. health bill

(Reuters) Every Monday afternoon, a 40-foot (12-meter) motorhome converted to serve as a mobile health clinic pulls into Boston's gritty Roxbury neighborhood and opens its doors…

The nonprofit clinic affiliated with Harvard University provides simple tests that can give an early warning of an impending health problem or help manage an existing condition, such as diabetes…

"Our medical system in this country is focused on illness. What we are doing is helping people when they're sick," said Jennifer Bennet, executive director of the Family Van, which is backed by Harvard Medical School.

"It would be a lot less expensive and people's quality of life would be vastly improved if we as a society and as a country start to look at addressing these problems long before they get to that acute stage."

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Building Muscle Doesn't Require Lifting Heavy Weights, Study Shows

(Science Daily) Current gym dogma holds that to build muscle size you need to lift heavy weights. However, a new study conducted at McMaster University has shown that a similar degree of muscle building can be achieved by using lighter weights. The secret is to pump iron until you reach muscle fatigue…

"Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can't lift it anymore," says Stuart Phillips, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. "We're convinced that growing muscle means stimulating your muscle to make new muscle proteins, a process in the body that over time accumulates into bigger muscles."

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Focusing on Immediate Health Effects May Improve Weight Loss Success

(Science Daily) Most weight loss programs try to motivate individuals with warnings of the long-term health consequences of obesity: increased risk for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma. New research suggests the immediate health benefits -- such as reduced pain -- may be the most effective motivator for helping obese individuals shed extra weight and commit to keeping it off…

Researchers say their results indicate that even small weight loss can relieve pain and reduce the burden excessive weight puts on the musculoskeletal system.

"By focusing on an immediate benefit that can be felt -- like pain reduction -- instead of the future health impact of obesity, weight loss programs may be able to inspire overweight individuals to lose weight," says Susan Kotowski, PhD, study collaborator.

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Video Study Finds Restaurant Risky Food-Safety Behavior Common

(Science Daily) How safe is the food we get from restaurants, cafeterias and other food-service providers? A new study from North Carolina State University -- the first study to place video cameras in commercial kitchens to see how precisely food handlers followed food-safety guidelines -- discovered that risky practices can happen more often than previously thought…

"We found a lot more risky practices in some areas than we expected," [Dr. Ben Chapman, assistant professor and food safety specialist,] says. For example, most previous studies relied on inspection results and self-reporting by food handlers to estimate instances of "cross-contamination" and found that cross-contamination was relatively infrequent. But Chapman's study found approximately one cross-contamination event per food handler per hour. In other words, the average kitchen worker committed eight cross-contamination errors, which have the potential to lead to illnesses, in the course of the typical eight-hour shift.

Cross-contamination occurs when pathogens, such as Salmonella, are transferred from a raw or contaminated source to food that is ready to eat. For example, using a knife to cut raw chicken and then using the same knife to slice a sandwich in half. Cross-contamination can also result from direct contact, such as raw meat dripping onto vegetables that are to be used in a salad.

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Community: Even more reason to do our own cooking.

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Food Questions for Better Health

(Reader’s Digest) A packed lunch or a purchased lunch?

ANSWER: A PACKED LUNCH.
It'll be healthier, it'll probably have fewer calories, it'll be cheaper and it'll save you lots of time that you can use for walking, reading or socializing instead.

Lunch or graze?
ANSWER: GRAZE.

Nibble food throughout the day, rather than having a large, formal lunch…

Coffee or tea?
ANSWER: TEA.

Choose black or green tea. These are jammed with heart-healthy antioxidants that provide more than just an energy-boosting punch; as well as contributing to healthier arteries; they may also help to prevent cancer…

Fruit juice or fruit?
ANSWER: FRUIT.

Get the real thing. Not only are most fruit juices loaded with sugar, they've been stripped of an important element found in fruit – fiber.

Natural sugar or white sugar?
ANSWER: NEITHER.

They're both sugar. Neither has any nutritional benefit or is any better than the other. Here's a case where the brown color does not imply a healthier version…

Fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce?
ANSWER: TOMATO SAUCE.

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant believed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and possibly several other cancers. But only by cooking it will you release the lycopene from the tomato cell walls so that your body can absorb it. What's more, lycopene is fat-soluble, meaning your body is better able to absorb and use it when you get it with a bit of fat – such as the olive oil found in most tomato sauces.

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Recipes

Cooking Light:

6 Simple Sandwich Makeovers
Build a better (and healthier) sandwich. We show you six key ingredients that enhance both nutrition and flavor.

All About Sweet, Summer Melons
Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and more! Learn how to choose the best at the store and find recipes that incorporate these summer-fresh fruits.

Quick Pork Dinners
Quick-cooking and easy to work with, lean pork stars in these healthful meals.

MyRecipes.com:

Chipotle Chicken and Tomato Soup
A chipotle chile (canned smoked jalapeƱo pepper) adds smoky heat to this soup. If you want to tame the spice, substitute 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika for the chile.

Cooking in College
Beat the freshman fifteen and skip cafeteria lines with these dorm room-ready recipes and gadgets that make eating college-style a pleasing experience.

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Stomach Ulcers Sending Fewer Americans to the Hospital

(HealthDay News) Recent advances in understanding the cause of severe peptic ulcers, along with better treatments, may be driving a decline in their incidence, a new study indicates…

The drop in severe ulcers could have multiple causes, she said. "Some of this decrease may have been because over time the proportion of individuals infected with H. pylori is decreasing, perhaps because of better sanitation and hygiene. However, some of this decrease is likely due to the increased use of antibiotics to treat peptic ulcer diseases," [lead researcher Lydia B.] Feinstein said.

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Chemical System in Brain Behaves Differently in Cocaine Addicts, Scientists Find

(Science Daily) UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a chemical system in the brain that reacts differently in cocaine addicts, findings that could result in new treatment options for individuals addicted to the drug.

"We found that the amount of blood flow in areas of the brain known to be involved in the rewarding effects of cocaine and craving was different in cocaine addicts, compared with healthy subjects," said Dr. Bryon Adinoff, professor of psychiatry… "Now we have a new target for pharmacologic intervention."

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Study Finds Similar Personality Types in Male and Female Domestic Violence Perpetrators

(Science Daily) New research published in the August edition of the American Psychological Association's Journal of Abnormal Psychology, is providing a better picture of the roles played by gender, personality and mental illness in domestic violence…

"Although both men and women engage in substantial levels of domestic violence, fewer studies have examined female perpetrators," says [lead author Zach Walsh, assistant professor of psychology]. "These new findings are among the first to highlight similarities between subtypes of domestically violent men and women."

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Menstrual Cramps May Alter Women's Brains

(HealthDay News) Menstrual cramps are often dismissed as a mere nuisance, but new research suggests the monthly misery may be altering women's brains…Even when they weren't experiencing pain, women who had reported having bad cramps had abnormalities in their gray matter (a type of brain tissue), said study author Dr. Jen-Chuen Hsieh, a professor of neuroscience…

Those differences included abnormal decreases in volume in regions of the brain believed to be involved in pain processing, higher-level sensory processing and emotional regulation, as well as increases in regions involved in pain modulation and regulation of endocrine function…

"A long-term bombardment by peripheral pain can elicit plastic changes in the central brain as a reactive adaptation," Hsieh explained. "It can also be a crucial mechanism that perpetuates the 'chronification' of pain" -- that is, a mechanism that can turn pain into a lingering affliction.

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Deathstalker Scorpion Venom Could Improve Gene Therapy for Brain Cancer

(Science Daily) An ingredient in the venom of the "deathstalker" scorpion could help gene therapy become an effective treatment for brain cancer, scientists are reporting. The substance allows therapeutic genes -- genes that treat disease -- to reach more brain cancer cells than current approaches.

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Scientists use salmonella bug to kill cancer cells

(Reuters) Treating tumors with salmonella bacteria can induce an immune response that kills cancer cells, scientists have found -- a discovery that may help them create tumor-killing immune cells to inject into patients.

Researchers from Italy and the United States who worked with mouse and human cancer cells in laboratories said their work might help in developing a new drug in a class of cancer treatments called immunotherapies or therapeutic vaccines, which harness the body's immune system to fight disease.

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Delay in Surgery Not Likely to Worsen Tumors in Men With Low-Risk Prostate Cancer, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Johns Hopkins experts have found that men enrolled in an active surveillance program for prostate cancer that eventually needed surgery to remove their prostates fared just as well as men who opted to remove the gland immediately, except if a follow-up biopsy during surveillance showed high-grade cancer.

Active surveillance, or "watchful waiting," is an option open to men whose tumors are considered small, low-grade and at low risk of being lethal. Given the potential complications of prostate surgery and likelihood that certain low-risk tumors do not require treatment, some men opt to enroll in active surveillance programs to monitor PSA levels and receive annual biopsies to detect cellular changes that signal a higher grade, more aggressive cancer for which treatment is recommended.

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Some Monkeys Naturally Resist AIDS, Research Shows

(HealthDay News) A natural mechanism that may help prevent the development of AIDS in sooty mangabey monkeys has been discovered by scientists…

These monkeys may be able to avoid developing AIDS because they are better at regenerating T cells -- a type of white blood cell that allows the immune system to fight off microbial invaders…

The finding may help explain why SIV and HIV lead to AIDS in other types of monkeys and nonhuman primates and in humans, according to the researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta.

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Video Game Technology Embraced by Med Students: Survey

(HealthDay News) The vast majority of medical school students believe that technology in the form of virtual reality exercises could help them to develop the skills they will need as future doctors, a new survey reveals…

Four out of five of those polled said that video games can have educational value, while more than three-quarters said they would be willing to engage in an online role-play in a virtual health-care setting alongside other student players, if it could help them meet educational goals, the survey found.

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WHO chief says H1N1 flu pandemic is over

(Reuters) The H1N1 pandemic is over and the global outbreak turned out to be much less severe than was feared just over a year ago, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

WHO director-general Margaret Chan once again rebutted criticism that the United Nations agency had hyped the first pandemic in more than 40 years, whose mildness left some Western governments holding huge stockpiles of unused vaccines.

The Hong Kong public health expert said the world had been lucky the H1N1 virus had not mutated into a more deadly form and that a safe vaccine developed in record time remained effective against it.

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Walking outside has positive impact

(UPI) A meta-analysis suggests natural environments -- parks or college campuses -- may have direct and positive impacts on well-being, researchers in Wales say…

The review included 25 studies -- mostly crossover or controlled trials that investigated the effects of short-term exposure in "natural" environments, such as public parks and green university campuses, and synthetic environments, such as indoor and outdoor built environments.

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Stereotyping Has a Lasting Negative Impact, New Research Finds

(Science Daily) Aggression. Over-eating. Inability to focus. Difficulty making rational decisions. New research … shows prejudice has a lasting negative impact on those who experience it…

"Even after a person leaves a situation where they faced negative stereotypes, the effects of coping with that situation remain," says [Associate Professor of Psychology Michael] Inzlicht. "People are more likely to be aggressive after they've faced prejudice in a given situation. They are more likely to exhibit a lack of self control. They have trouble making good, rational decisions. And they are more likely to over-indulge on unhealthy foods."

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