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

Groups of friends key to changing health behaviors

(Reuters) When it comes to changing health behaviors, it takes more than a far-flung network of friends on Facebook egging you on. It takes a jostling herd, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Social scientists have assumed that changing behavior would spread like the flu, which transmits best via individuals with lots of long-distance contacts.

But to change behavior, you need to be surrounded by the message -- with neighbors, family and members in the community all reinforcing the same idea.

Read more.

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Antidepressant patch doesn't help smokers quit

(Reuters Health) An antidepressant drug delivered through a patch on the skin is no better than placebo for helping smokers kick the habit, new research shows…

However, the behavioral therapy administered along with the patches seemed to be the most effective treatment of all, the researchers note.

"Smokers in the placebo group did better than expected, and we think that the psychological treatment provided may have contributed to this result," [Dr. Joel D. ] Killen said via e-mail. "We would emphasize that successful smoking cessation treatments require both behavioral and pharmacologic components."

Twenty-one percent of U.S. adults - about 46 million people -- smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Often multiple attempts are needed before a smoker quits successfully.

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Study Contends Pot Isn't a Major 'Gateway Drug'

(HealthDay News) A new report casts doubt on the argument that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that plays a major role in leading people to try other illegal drugs.

Researchers found that other factors, such as ethnicity and stress levels, are more likely to predict whether young adults will use other illegal drugs.

Even unemployment appears to be more closely linked to harder illicit drug use than marijuana use, the study authors noted.

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Mouse Study May Help Explain Fish Oil's Benefits

(HealthDay News) By studying fat tissue in the mice consuming fish oil, researchers found omega-3 fatty acids seem to act on a particular receptor on cells, GPR120, which, when activated, blocks inflammatory processes.

Chronic inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

Therefore, "if we can fix the inflammation part, it's possible that we could prevent insulin resistance or even ameliorate diabetes," [study co-author Saswata] Talukdar explained.

Read more.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Blackened Grilled Flank Steak
Grilled steak is a favorite summer dish. Serve with grilled corn with lime butter and a simple salad of field greens and cherry tomatoes.

Brunch Recipes Under 300 Calories

20-Minute Heart-Healthy Meals

EatingWell:

Seven-Layer Salad
This makeover of a Midwestern classic tops layers of lettuce, peas, bell pepper and tomatoes with a creamy, tangy dressing. The salad stays fresh underneath until it's served and gets even better when held overnight.

Potluck Side Dishes

Southwestern Layered Bean Dip

Reader’s Digest:

Jerk Pork With Grilled Pineapple and Corn
Take a delicious foray into the spicy word of Caribbean cooking.

Balsamic Beets with Toasted Pecans
Think you don't like beets? This easy recipe will make you think again.

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Biotech salmon safe for eating: FDA

(Reuters) A biotechnology company's genetically engineered salmon are as safe to eat as other Atlantic salmon, U.S. regulators said as they weighed approval of the first DNA-altered animal for Americans' dinner plates.

The AquAdvantage salmon, developed by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc, are genetically modified to grow twice as fast as conventional Atlantic salmon. Environmental and food-safety critics plan to fight against approval.

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Hair Provides Proof of the Link Between Chronic Stress and Heart Attack

(Science Daily) Researchers at The University of Western Ontario have provided the first direct evidence using a biological marker, to show chronic stress plays an important role in heart attacks.

Stressors such as job, marital and financial problems have been linked to the increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease including heart attack. But there hasn't been a biological marker to measure chronic stress. Drs. Gideon Koren and Stan Van Uum developed a method to measure cortisol levels in hair providing an accurate assessment of stress levels in the months prior to an acute event such as a heart attack.

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Response Team Reduces Rate of Cardiac Arrests: Hospital

(HealthDay News) Having a rapid response team manage hospital patients whose condition is rapidly deteriorating sharply reduced the rate of cardiac arrests at a U.S. hospital, a new study found.

Researchers looked at a rapid response team, known as the eTeam, created at the VA Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2005. The team includes physicians specializing in intensive care, anesthesiologists, nurses and other health care professionals with special training in evaluating and treating patients in potentially unstable condition -- for instance, those experiencing a sudden decrease in heart rate or breathing, a drop in blood pressure, or a change in neurological condition.

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Model for Implantable Artificial Kidney to Replace Dialysis Unveiled

(Science Daily) UCSF researchers have unveiled a prototype model of the first implantable artificial kidney, in a development that one day could eliminate the need for dialysis.

The device, which would include thousands of microscopic filters as well as a bioreactor to mimic the metabolic and water-balancing roles of a real kidney, is being developed in a collaborative effort by engineers, biologists and physicians.

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Vets With Stress Disorder More Likely to Develop Dementia

(HealthDay News) Military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are more likely to develop dementia than those without the disorder, according to researchers at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Texas.

The results were significant even after accounting for other risk factors for dementia such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke…

"Although we cannot at this time determine the cause for this increased risk, it is essential to determine whether the risk of dementia can be reduced by effectively treating PTSD. This could have enormous implications for veterans now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan," senior author Dr. Mark Kunik [said].

Read more.

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Pedestrian Death By Car More Likely Among Uninsured, Minorities

(HealthDay News) Pedestrians hit by a motor vehicle are much more likely to die if they're uninsured or a member of a racial minority than their counterparts who are white or insured, even if they sustain similar injuries, a new study shows.

It also found that minority pedestrians are far more likely than whites to be hit by a vehicle.

"It's a double whammy. Minorities are much more likely to get injured by this mechanism and much more likely to die by this mechanism," senior study author Dr. Adil H. Haider.

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Pain treatment as a human right

(UPI) Eighty percent of people with chronic pain do not get relief and there are those want pain treatment to be a human right, an Australian pain expert says…

In the developed world, part of the problem is that some patients are not believed when they complain of chronic pain and primary care physicians need more training because veterinarians get three times more pain training than doctors, [Australian anesthesiologist Michael] Cousins says. In the undeveloped world, many just don't have access to healthcare and most have low or no access to pain medication.

"About 70 percent of children in (Australia and the United States) the terminal phase of life with cancer had severe unrelieved symptoms and severe pain," Cousins tells the Gazette. "That's a shocking statistic for a so-called civilized society. It's disgraceful. It's cruel and inhuman."

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New Evidence That Fat Cells Are Not Just Dormant Storage Depots for Calories

(Science Daily) Scientists are reporting new evidence that the fat tissue in those spare tires and lower belly pooches -- far from being a dormant storage depot for surplus calories -- is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases.

They are reporting discovery of 20 new hormones and other substances not previously known to be secreted into the blood by human fat cells and verification that fat secretes dozens of hormones and other chemical messengers…

The scientists identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells. These include six new proteins and 20 proteins that have not been previously detected in human fat cells.

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Many Americans Don't Even Know They're Fat

(HealthDay News) Many Americans have skewed perceptions when it comes to their weight, often believing they are thinner than they really are, even when the scales are shouting otherwise, a new poll finds…

Thirty percent of those in the "overweight" class believed they were actually normal size, while 70 percent of those classified as obese felt they were simply overweight. Among the heaviest group, the morbidly obese, almost 60 percent pegged themselves as obese, while another 39 percent considered themselves merely overweight…

And that means that obesity may be becoming the new norm, raising the specter of increasing rates of health threats such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Read more.

Community: Well, if 68% of American adults are overweight or obese, isn’t that the “norm”? Not necessarily healthy, but certainly the norm.

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Link Between Everyday Stress and Obesity Strenthened

(Science Daily) Recent studies … tend to suggest that social stress--public speaking, tests, job and relationship pressures--may [result in] over-eating and weight gain. With the rise of obesity rates, science has increasingly focused on its causes and effects--including stress.

[One study] examined the effects of stress on the meal patterns and food intake of animals exposed to the equivalent of everyday stress on humans. The results suggest that, not only does stress have an impact on us in the short term, it can cause metabolic changes in the longer term that contribute to obesity.

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How Do Organisms Make Dietary Choices?

(Science Daily) When given a choice, organisms will choose a diet that maintains a nutritional balance in tune with their needs. That choice, studied in fruit flies for the first time, is regulated by activity in a molecular pathway involved in aging, cancer and diabetes. The research undertaken in fruit flies at the Buck Institute for Age Research has implications for humans, who share the same molecular pathway…

"How an organism balances its intake of nutrients has a great impact on its health and survival," said Buck faculty member Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, the lead author on the study, who said that an imbalance of protein and carbohydrates has been implicated as a cause for both diabetes and obesity and influences the aging process…

"Dietary choices in humans play a critical role in the development of obesity and diabetes," said Kapahi. "This research can help us develop treatments that correct nutritional imbalances." As examples, Kapahi mentioned possible treatments for those genetically predisposed to diabetes or obesity. He also said it may be possible to develop treatments that would "reboot" the metabolism of people who have become accustomed to eating excess sugar and carbohydrates.

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How to End Emotional Eating

(SouthBeachDiet.com) As many of you know, it isn't always hunger that causes you to reach for your favorite foods. Our moods and emotions can play a big role in how we view food and in how well we are able to stick to a healthy eating plan.

Fatigue caused by a hectic daily schedule or being overwhelmed by responsibilities can set off emotional eating. Depression and loneliness are other causes: Many people eat to fill a void or use food to keep themselves company. Some look to food as a distraction from a traumatic experience, such as the loss of a job, a death, or a breakup. But most who resort to emotional eating find that it can't be traced to one specific cause — it's simply a well-established pattern to fall back on food when needing comfort.

However, the good news is that it is possible to change patterns of behavior. There are ways other than eating to deal with complicated emotions, and it's much healthier to process feelings than to bury them under a mountain of food.

Read more, including some specific ideas for dealing with cravings.

Community: The 12-step programs teach adherents to use the acronym HALT—never get Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired—because we tend to make really bad decisions when we’re in those states.

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Skirt Ulcers with This Salad Topper

(RealAge.com) There's a crazy-nutritious salad-bar topper that may have the power to thwart ulcer-causing bacteria: We're talking about broccoli sprouts.

In a study of people infected with the stomach bug H. pylori -- the bacteria linked to ulcers -- those who ate broccoli sprouts daily for 8 weeks had fewer signs of the bug and less stomach inflammation compared with another group who were given alfalfa sprouts.

Researchers credit the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts for the impressive study results. Sulforaphane is a powerful plant compound with innate antibacterial properties. And broccoli sprouts may help protect stomachs in yet another way: by ramping up protective enzymes in stomach cells that help defend against damage. (Add an olive-oil-based dressing to your salad for even more H. pylori protection. Here's why it works.)

The group didn't have to go overboard on the sprouts to reap benefits, either. Just 1/3 cup daily did the trick. Probably because broccoli sprouts are so packed with sulforaphane. One-third of a cup of broccoli sprouts boasts the same amount of sulforaphane that's in two to three servings of broccoli.

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Cranberry Juice Shows Promise Blocking Staph Infections

(Science Daily) Expanding their scope of study on the mechanisms of bacterial infection, researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have reported the surprise finding from a small clinical study that cranberry juice cocktail blocked a strain of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) from beginning the process of infection…

"Most of our work with cranberry juice has been with E. coli and urinary tract infections, but we included Staphylococcus aureus in this study because it is a very serious health threat," [professor of chemical engineering Terri] Camesano said. "This is early data, but the results are surprising."…

To cause an infection, bacteria must first adhere to a host, then gather together in colonies to form a biofilm… [A]nalysis showed that the urine samples from subjects who had recently consumed cranberry juice cocktail significantly reduced the ability of E. coli and S. aureus to form biofilms.

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Ancient Brew Masters Tapped Antibiotic Secrets

(Science Daily) A chemical analysis of the bones of ancient Nubians shows that they were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer. The finding is the strongest evidence yet that the art of making antibiotics, which officially dates to the discovery of penicillin in 1928, was common practice nearly 2,000 years ago.

Read more.

Community: And they enjoyed taking their antibiotics.

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Selenium may decrease bladder cancer risk

(UPI) A meta-analysis by researchers in Spain indicates selenium may help decrease bladder cancer risk.

Study leader Dr. Nuria Malats … says dietary sources of this essential micronutrient include plants grown in selenium-rich soils or animals that graze on the soils -- as well as selenium-enriched products.

Read more.

Community: According to the NIH, Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Grilled Peaches and Pork
Pairing peaches with succulent pork is the ultimate summer supper. Balsamic vinegar and turbinado sugar bring out the sweetness of the peaches, while grilling the fruit caramelizes the sugars.

Eat Healthy at the Beach

13 Delicious Beef Slow-Cooker Recipes

EatingWell:

Sausage, Pepper & Mushroom Pizza
This sausage, pepper and mushroom pizza is just a little more work than calling for delivery (but not by much), but there’s no tipping required when you make it yourself. Plus you get it fresh from your oven, and with whole-wheat dough and a generous amount of vegetables on top it’s far better for you.

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Easy Salmon Cakes

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Chili Pepper Component Linked to Skin Cancer

(Science Daily) A study … links capsaicin, a component of chili peppers, to skin cancer. While the molecular mechanisms of the cancer-promoting effects of capsaicin are not clear and remain controversial, the new research has shown a definite connection to formation of skin cancer through various laboratory studies…

Capsaicin, widely consumed worldwide in foods that contain chili peppers, is also used in topical creams for pain relief and its role in cancer development is controversial. Capsaicin has been shown to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. However, research findings have also shown that it can also act as a carcinogen, especially at the tumor promotion stage.

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Computer Technique Could Help Partially Sighted 'See' Better

(Science Daily) Thousands of people who are partially-sighted following stroke or brain injury could gain greater independence from a simple, cheap and accessible training course which could eventually be delivered from their mobile phones or hand-held games consoles, according to a new study.

The new research has found that a computer-based technique developed and assessed by Durham University improved partially-sighted people's ability to 'see' better. It may eventually improve and broaden the portfolio of rehabilitation techniques for partially-sighted patients.

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Molecules Involved in 'Touch' Identified: Could Lead to New Treatments for Pain, Deafness and Cardiac Function

(Science Daily) Scripps Research Institute scientists have identified two proteins with potential to be important targets for research into a wide range of health problems, including pain, deafness, and cardiac and kidney dysfunction…

In the study, the Scripps Research scientists identify two proteins, which they named Piezo1 and Piezo2 from the Greek meaning "pressure," involved in the cellular response to mechanical stimulation.

"We are very excited about this finding," said Scripps Research Professor Ardem Patapoutian. "Piezo1 and Piezo2 could have a critical function in many biological systems and diseases. Scientists studying a variety of fields -- pain and touch, hearing, sensing blood pressure, and so forth -- have been hunting for these types of proteins for a long time."

Read more.

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Health Care Reform Helps Small Businesses Offer Coverage: Report

(HealthDay News) As the provisions of the Affordable Care Act begin to be implemented, many small businesses in the United States will be able to take advantage of new tax credits, a new report shows.

During the first phase of the act, some businesses employing some 16.6 million workers will be eligible for these tax credits, according to the report released Thursday from the Commonwealth Fund…

Many small businesses find health insurance is not affordable so they do not offer coverage, [Commonwealth Fund president Karen] Davis noted. But, provisions of the Affordable Care Act target small businesses, she said…

By 2013, as many as 3.4 million workers may work in companies that take advantage of the tax credit. These credits increase in 2014, from 35 percent of the employer's premium contribution to up to 50 percent, she noted.

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'Charitable' Behavior Found in Bacteria

(Science Daily) In studying the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, … researchers found that the populations most adept at withstanding doses of antibiotics are those in which a few highly resistant isolates sacrifice their own well being to improve the group's overall chance of survival.

This bacterial altruism results when the most resistant isolates produce a small molecule called indole.

Indole acts as something of a steroid, helping the strain's more vulnerable members bulk up enough to fight off the antibiotic onslaught. But while indole may save the group, its production takes a toll on the fitness level of the individual isolates that produce it.

Read more.

Community: So perhaps we can generalize that, in nature, preservation of the species (or the genes of the species) is more important than preservation of the individual organism. This research adds evidence to Richard Dawkins’ much misinterpreted “selfish gene” theory (which doesn’t give us permission to be selfish).

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Increased Risk of Death in Men With Insomnia and a Short Sleep Duration

(Science Daily) A [new] study … found an elevated risk of death in men with a complaint of chronic insomnia and an objectively measured short sleep duration. The results suggest that public health policy should emphasize the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of chronic insomnia.

Compared to men without insomnia who slept for six hours or more, men with chronic insomnia who slept for less than six hours were four times more likely to die during the 14-year follow-up period… Results were adjusted for potential confounders such as body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, depression and obstructive sleep apnea. Further adjustments for hypertension and diabetes had little effect on the elevated mortality risk… No significant mortality risk was found in women with insomnia and a short sleep duration of less than six hours.

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Mindfulness Meditation Increases Well-Being, Study Finds

(Science Daily) 'Mindfulness', the process of learning to become more aware of our ongoing experiences, increases well-being in adolescent boys, a new study reports.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed 155 boys from two independent UK schools, Tonbridge and Hampton, before and after a four-week crash course in mindfulness. After the trial period, the 14 and 15 year-old boys were found to have increased well-being, defined as the combination of feeling good (including positive emotions such as happiness, contentment, interest and affection) and functioning well…

"Another significant aspect of this study is that adolescents who suffered from higher levels of anxiety were the ones who benefitted most from the training."

Read more.

Community: It’s not just adolescents who need relief from anxiety.

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Brain Exercises May Slow Cognitive Decline Initially, but Speed Up Dementia Later

(Science Daily) New research shows that mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, reading and listening to the radio may, at first, slow the decline of thinking skills but speed up dementia later in old age…

"Our results suggest that the benefit of delaying the initial signs of cognitive decline may come at the cost of more rapid dementia progression later on, but the question is why does this happen?" said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD…

According to Wilson, mentally stimulating activities may somehow enhance the brain's ability to function relatively normally despite the buildup of lesions in the brain associated with dementia. However, once they are diagnosed with dementia, people who have a more mentally active lifestyle are likely to have more brain changes related to dementia compared to those without a lot of mental activity. As a result, those with more mentally active lifestyles may experience a faster rate of decline once dementia begins.

Read more.

Community: I think I’d prefer a delay and then a faster decline, if I do get dementia.

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Willingness To Exercise Can Be Inherited

(Science Daily) Biologists … have found that voluntary activity, such as daily exercise, is a highly heritable trait that can be passed down genetically to successive generations…

"Our findings have implications for human health," said Theodore Garland Jr., a professor of biology, whose laboratory conducted the multi-year research. "Down the road people could be treated pharmacologically for low activity levels through drugs that targeted specific genes that promote activity. Pharmacological interventions in the future could make it more pleasurable for people to engage in voluntary exercise. Such interventions could also make it less comfortable for people to sit still for long periods of time."…

"We have a huge epidemic of obesity in Western society, and yet we have little understanding of what determines variation among individuals for voluntary exercise levels," Garland said.

Read more.

Community: As I’ve said many times, biology doesn’t have to be destiny. I used to hate moving any muscles. And considering my lineage, the feeling could have been inherited. But all it took was a change in attitude and a change in eating habits to help me enjoy moving. I didn’t need a “pharmacological intervention”, which would undoubtedly be expensive and have side effects, such as those discussed below.

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Diet Pill Meridia Ups Heart Attack Risk: Study

(HealthDay News) A new study is linking the popular weight loss drug Meridia to an increased risk of non-fatal heart attacks and stroke, although taking the drug did not seem to up the risk of death in patients with a history of heart problems…

According to the authors of the trial, which was funded by Meridia's maker, Abbott, the findings are generally in line with what has been known about the drug and shouldn't change how it is used.

"The only time you've got an increase in heart attacks or strokes were in those patients who had had previous heart disease or strokes, in other words, the people who . . . should never have received the drug in the first place," said Dr. Philip T. James, … first author on the paper.

Read more.

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Biochemical Pathway May Link Addiction, Compulsive Eating

(Science Daily) Ezlopitant, a compound known to suppress craving for alcohol in humans, was shown to decrease consumption of sweetened water by rodents…

"This finding suggests a possible link between the neurochemical pathways for addiction and compulsive eating," says principal investigator Selena Bartlett, PhD…

In the study, rats given ezlopitant showed significantly decreased motivation to consume water sweetened with sugar, water sweetened with saccharin, and an alcohol solution.

Read more.

Community: As I’ve been saying, eating can be an addiction.

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Recipes

Cooking Light:

Plan Your Labor Day Cookout
Make this year's cookout the best ever with delicious grilled entrees, easy appetizers, scrumptious burgers, and more.

Our Best Grilled Recipes

Quick and Easy Appetizers

Tasty Grilled Burgers

Summer Sides

1-Cooler, 1-Weekend Getaway
We've got five easy meals that are perfect for a weekend getaway—or even a weekend at home. It's a foolproof plan for packing and cooking.

MyRecipes.com:

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs
One of the most popular Cooking Light chicken recipes, these sweet and spicy grilled chicken thighs are flavored with chili powder, cumin, garlic and cider vinegar.

5 to Try: Goat Cheese Classics

Top 20 Tailgating Appetizers

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Double-Dose Plavix Benefits Certain Patients, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) Two reports on the data find that high doses of Plavix are good for some patients, but not all, while high-dose aspirin is no better than a low dose for preventing new heart attacks, other cardiac problems, stroke and death…

The researchers found that patients undergoing angioplasty benefited from a double dose of Plavix, with their risk of heart attack, stroke or death reduced 14 percent, compared with patients who were given a standard dose. Moreover, the risk of clotting in the stent was cut 46 percent among those receiving the double dose.

However, the double-dose patients had a 41 percent increased risk of bleeding compared to those getting the standard dose. This led the researchers to recommend a standard dose for patients not having angioplasty.

As for aspirin, no difference in adverse events was seen among patients taking a high (300 or 325 mg) or low (75 to 100 mg) dose. The researchers concluded that low-dose aspirin is best, since it reduces the risk of bleeding without increasing the risk of clotting.

Read more.

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Diabetes Drug Metformin Linked to Lower Lung Cancer Rate in Mice

(HealthDay News) A drug widely used to treat high blood sugar in type 2 diabetics may hold some promise in the prevention of tobacco-induced lung cancer, according to extremely preliminary findings in a mouse study…

"The evidence in diabetic humans is very convincing and very strong," [said] Dr. Phillip Dennis, a senior investigator with the U.S. National Cancer Institute and senior author on the lung cancer paper. "Almost every epidemiological study I can think of found a decreased cancer incidence in diabetics taking metformin. The reduction is real and ranges from 30 to 70 percent."

Read more.

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Even After Leaving Abuser, Moms' Mental Health Declines

(HealthDay News) Even after escaping a violent or controlling relationship, a mother's mental health may continue to decline, a new study finds…

The study found that women who left an abusive relationship after the first year became more depressed and still had high levels of anxiety over the next two years. In terms of mental health, these women were no better off than women who stayed in abusive relationships, according to the researchers.

But they did find that abused mothers who had more social support did better after the end of their relationship than those with less help from family and friends.

Read more.

Community: Well, duh! Mothers with more help did better. What a surprise.

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People happiest/saddest from relationships

(UPI) Individual achievements like schooling or career may take most of one's effort but our best and worst experiences involve others, U.S. researchers say…

"Most of us spend much of our time and effort focused on individual achievements such as work, hobbies and schooling," [study co-author Shira] Gabriel says in a statement. "However this research suggests that the events that end up being most important in our lives, the events that bring us the most happiness and also carry the potential for the most pain, are social events -- moments of connecting to others and feeling their connections."

Read more.

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Active Lifestyle May Help Counter Obesity Genes

(HealthDay News) Exercise can reduce a person's genetic predisposition to obesity by 40 percent, finds a new English study.

Researchers looked at 20,430 people in Norwich and focused on genetic variants known to increase the risk of obesity. Most people had inherited 10 to 13 of these variants from their parents, but some had more than 17 while others had fewer than six…

Overall, each additional obesity-related genetic variant was associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) equivalent to 445 grams (0.98 pounds) for a person 1.70 meters (5 feet, 6 inches) tall. BMI is a measurement that takes into account a person's height and weight.

However, this effect was greater in sedentary people than in active people, the researchers found…

The study shows that adopting a healthy lifestyle can benefit people at increased genetic risk of obesity, the authors explained.

Read more.

Community: As I’ve been saying, genetics doesn’t have to be destiny.

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Certain Exercises Benefit Arthritic Dogs

(HealthDay News) Certain types of exercise may help ease stiffness and pain in dogs with arthritis, a new study suggests.

Using a special treadmill and a computer program, Austrian researchers examined the movements of joints in the front and back legs of dogs as they did three types of exercises: walking uphill, walking downhill and walking over low obstacles.

They concluded that walking downhill doesn't appear to provide much benefit but walking uphill and climbing over low obstacles could both help dogs with arthritis.

Read more.

Community: Maybe it could work for the dogs’ owners, too.

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DASH Eating Plan Lowers Long-Term Heart Attack Risk, Especially Among African-Americans

(Science Daily) The DASH eating plan, known to reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol, also reduces the 10-year risk of heart attack, especially among African-Americans, according to research…

The DASH eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products as well as whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. The plan also calls for a reduction in fats, red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages. It is recommended by the U.S. government and American Heart Association. The study researchers found that the DASH plan:

  • lowered the participants' 10-year risk of having a heart attack or other coronary heart disease event by about 18 percent compared to those eating a typical American diet;
  • reduced bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) an average of 8 percent; and
  • reduced systolic blood pressure overall by 6 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

In addition, glucose levels did not change significantly, likely because the study's participants did not have diabetes.

"This study provides further evidence that we can make a significant impact on the heart health of the general population by promoting the DASH eating plan," said Nisa M. Maruthur, M.D., M.H.S., study co-author.

Read more.

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Can Fruits, Veggies Help Ward Off Lung Cancer?

(HealthDay News) Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables may help protect some smokers from lung cancer, a new European study suggests.

But, the researchers stressed that quitting smoking will do far more to reduce risk than "an apple a day" or having a salad for lunch.

In the study, participants who ate a diet that contained a diverse mix of fruits and vegetables appeared to have a 27 percent lowered risk of a common type of lung cancer, the researchers reported.

Read more.

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Tip of the Week: Surviving the Big BBQ Without Getting Bigger

(Shrink Yourself) Labor Day Weekend brings a close to the summer season, with family barbecues and lots of mayonnaise-laden salads. Here are three quick tips to prepare yourself for the holiday festivities so they don't have to undo all the hard work you've done to maintain your healthy eating habits.

Plan Ahead - By planning ahead you can indulge yourself on the holiday without going overboard. Planning ahead can work in one of two ways. You can start cutting back early in the week to allow for some treats at the BBQ. This doesn't mean you're going to have a planned binge, it just means you're going to balance things out a little. Or you can decide now what you're going to eat or not eat. Put it down on paper. When you have had what you decided you were going to have, walk away from the other foods.

Create a New Association - Many people come to associate the fun of a holiday with certain foods. They look forward to those foods, and they couldn't possibly imagine enjoying the day without large quantities of particular foods. This year, create new associations. What else can delight you during this day off? Maybe it will be the excitement on a child's face visiting with friends and relatives. Maybe it will be the relaxation of a three-day weekend. Maybe it will be a great conversation with a friend or family member. BBQ's can be associated with fun, not just food.

Give Up the Fight - If you tend to get into family struggles about how to do things or how to spend time, give up the fight. Getting into a power struggle can send you looking for the comfort of food. But if you simply decide not to get into it with anyone, you can steer clear of getting so aggravated that you need to eat for emotional reasons. Let people do it their way.

This year, do things differently. You might find you get a different result. End your summer feeling empowered, not defeated with these three tips.

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Recipes

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