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

Do Your Genes Tilt You Toward Thrill-Seeking?

(HealthDay News) Scientists looking into this question have found a dozen gene mutations associated with the urge to do exciting things. This urge, called "sensation seeking" by researchers, has been linked to the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical that carries messages in the brain…

While sensation seeking has been linked to a range of behavior disorders, such as drug addiction, it can be a positive trait.

"Not everyone who's high on sensation-seeking becomes a drug addict. They may become an Army Ranger or an artist. It's all in how you channel it," [study first author Jaime] Derringer said.

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Boehringer pulls the plug on "pink Viagra"

(Reuters) German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim has stopped developing a drug dubbed the "pink Viagra" after failing to convince U.S. regulators the experimental pill could boost women's sex drive.

"The decision was not made lightly, considering the advanced stage of development," chief executive Andreas Barner said on Friday of the hoped-for moneyspinner aimed at premenopausal women with a persistent and unexplained lack of sex drive.

Boehringer's move marked the failure of the latest attempt to find a female counterpart to Pfizer's Viagra, the blockbuster blue pill for men. Drugmakers have tested various ways to boost female libido, but women's sex lives have proved difficult to target with medication.

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15 percent of middle-age women depressed

(UPI) Fifteen percent of U.S. women between the ages of 45 and 64 experience frequent depression, a U.S. researcher says…

At this stage of a woman's life she is usually experiencing transitions and wholesale changes including having children leave for college, doubts about relationships, juggling careers, marriage, aging parents and over analyzing and concerns about "life so far," [Katherine] Muller says.

"Genetics is a major risk factor for developing a psychiatric disorder" so people with a family history should pay special attention to their behavior, Muller advises.

However, depression is very treatable and getting help in a combination of therapy and medications is a crucial step, Muller adds.

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Weight-Loss Drug Meridia Pulled From U.S. Market

(HealthDay News) The obesity drug Meridia has been withdrawn from the U.S. market because of an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, federal health officials said Friday.

Pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories voluntarily agreed to pull the drug after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of data that showed a 16 percent increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death among people taking Meridia (sibutramine), compared with those taking a placebo…

Besides finding an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, the review trial … found only a small difference in weight loss among those taking the drug and those receiving a placebo, agency officials said.

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Worker obesity costs more than healthcare

(UPI) The per capita costs of obesity for full-time U.S. employees are $16,900 for women 100 pounds overweight and $15,500 for obese men, researchers say.

Study leader Eric Finkelstein of Duke University and Duke-National University of Singapore says the study quantified the per capita cost of obesity among full-time workers by considering employee medical expenditures, lost productivity on the job due to health problems, known as presenteeism and absence from work or absenteeism.

Read more.

Community: We learned from a Reuters article in June that “In 2007, health spending was $7,290 per person in the United States, more than double that of any other country in the survey.” That means obesity costs twice the average health care expenditure.

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Fewer than 1 in 20 in U.S. eat enough whole grains

(Reuters Health) People who eat plenty of whole grains have higher quality diets overall, new research shows; the problem is that, in the U.S. at least, these people are few and far between.

Less than 5 percent of the 19- to 50-year-old Americans surveyed in 1999-2004 said they ate at least three servings of whole grain daily, according to the report…

There is ample evidence that consuming whole grains-meaning the outer portion of the kernel has not been removed-is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even certain types of cancer, although the mechanism behind their beneficial effects is not clear, [Dr. Carol E.] O'Neil and her team note in their report.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Beef and Beer Chili
Cook a flavorful pot of
chili in just 40 minutes for a quick weeknight meal that's sure to warm the soul. You can easily double the recipe and freeze extra for later.

Spicy Skirt Steak Chimichurri and Corn Chili

Southwestern Chili

Vegetable Chili with Polenta

EatingWell:

Easy Salmon Cakes
If you are trying to boost your intake of omega-3s, try this simple favorite. It is a great way to use convenient canned (or leftover) salmon. The tangy dill sauce provides a tart balance.

Lemony Lentil Salad with Salmon

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze

Mustard-Crusted Salmon

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New Tool Shows Promise for Early Lung Cancer Screening

(HealthDay News) A new diagnostic tool that looks for signs of early stage lung cancer in the lining of the cheek show some promise in preliminary research…

"The basic idea is that smoking not only affects the lungs but the entire airway tract," lead author Dr. Hemant K. Roy [explained]…

While lung cancer survival is predicated on early detection and early surgical intervention, there are currently no recommended screening methods specifically aimed at uncovering the disease at an early stage, the study authors noted.

That means that the majority of lung cancer patients -- 90 percent of whom are smokers -- are diagnosed at a late stage, contributing to a low survival rate of just 15 percent at five years. In fact, in the United States, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer fatalities.

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DNA Repair Capacity Identified Those at High Risk for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

(Science Daily) DNA repair capacity (DRC) measurements effectively identified individuals who were at high risk for non-melanoma skin cancer, and may be a useful method to evaluate the efficacy of preventive therapies, according to study results…

"Doctors could use DRC levels to monitor how non-melanoma skin cancer risk decreases in individuals taking cancer preventive therapies," [Manuel Bayona, M.D., Ph.D.] said.

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Doctors Evaluating Heart Problems Should Consider Checking Fat Deposits Around the Heart

(Science Daily) Cardiac imaging researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute are recommending that physicians not overlook fatty deposits around the heart when evaluating patients for risk of major heart problems.

Although abdominal fat is often considered in making these assessments, recent research suggests that measuring fatty tissue around the heart is an even better predictor, and noninvasive CT scanning may provide this important information.

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Neighborhoods Can Have Depressing Effect on Health, According to Study

(Science Daily) The nation's poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent… That means one in seven Americans now live in poverty, and that may have an especially depressing effect on people living in bad neighborhoods, according to two Iowa State University researchers…

[They] reported that negative neighborhood infrastructure can keep neighbors from forming social ties. And it's the absence of those social ties that have a small but significant impact on an individual's mental health…

"The effects of things going wrong in your own life are magnified when you live in one of these negative neighborhoods," said [Carolyn] Cutrona, who presented related research this month to staff members for Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin. "So it affects all of us to have a sick family member, or lose our job, or to be robbed. But when that happens to someone in these neighborhoods, it increases the probability that the person will be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder over the next two years. Yet if the same event happened and you were in a more benign neighborhood, your chances of becoming clinically depressed were less."

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U.S. sends $727 million to community health centers

(Reuters) The Obama administration on Friday announced $727 million will go to help fix up community health centers across the country, the first of $11 billion for the centers promised by the U.S. healthcare reform law.

The money will go to 143 community health centers -- which provide services regardless of patients' ability to pay -- in about 40 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, the Health and Human Services department said.

Healthcare reforms signed into law by President Barack Obama in March call for $11 billion in funding over the next five years for the centers, which HHS said currently serve nearly 19 million patients, about 40 percent of whom are uninsured.

Expanding the centers will allow nearly twice as many patients to get care at them, it said.

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Judge upholds key part of Obama healthcare law

(Reuters) A judge on Thursday upheld a key part of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law that requires Americans to obtain coverage, rejecting a challenge by a conservative interest group…

U.S. District Judge George Steeh ruled that Congress had the authority to enact the law under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and therefore could also impose a penalty for those who failed to obtain health insurance.

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Community: And that is the part of the law that many people are going to find onerous when it goes into effect. Being forced to pay for insurance company profits, since no public option was provided, will not make Americans happy.

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Real Price of Each Pack of Cigarettes Is Nearly $150

(Science Daily) Researchers from [Spain] estimate that each pack of cigarettes really costs €107 for men and €75 for women, when premature death is taken into account…

The study questions the axiom of classic economics on "consumer sovereignty," saying that those who smoke do not do so because the pleasure of smoking is greater than its cost, but rather because of the addictive power of nicotine and their failure to understand its true cost…

"The estimated cost of premature death from a pack of cigarettes is a key element in the cost-benefit analysis of policies designed to prevent and control smoking," the researchers say.

In this sense, the study indicates that the taxes and smoking restrictions imposed in public places strengthen smokers' self-control mechanisms. According to the study, "smoking prevention and control policies could generate considerable social benefits, since the wellbeing losses associated with tobacco consumption are much greater than suggested by the external costs."

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New York takes new aim at sugary drinks

(Reuters) New York expanded its anti-obesity campaign on Thursday with a proposal to ban the use of food stamps to buy sugary drinks, drawing beverage industry complaints that it is another government attempt to tell people how to behave.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor David Paterson asked the U.S. government to ban the purchase of soda pop and sweetened fruit drinks with food stamps -- the federal vouchers used by 42 million low-income Americans buy food.

They called sugar-sweetened beverages the largest single contributor to the obesity epidemic.

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Almost One-Quarter of U.S. Adults Have Arthritis

(HealthDay News) A new study finds that 22 percent of adults in the United States -- 49.9 million people -- have been diagnosed with arthritis and that 42.4 percent of those people experience arthritis-related limitations in activity…

The researchers note that the prevalence of arthritis could be reduced, at least in part, by greater promotion of effective physical activity, obesity prevention and self-management education programs in local communities.

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Urging Exercise at Faith-Based Meetings May Boost Activity

(HealthDay News) Faith-based programs can help encourage older black American women to exercise, a new study suggests…

By the end of the study, the women in the intervention group had increased their footsteps per week by 78 percent (from an average of 12,727 to 22,610) -- about three extra miles -- compared with a 19 percent increase (from 13,089 to 15,515) among those in the control group.

"Our findings suggest that interventions using faith-based strategies may be effective in changing behavior among older [black] women, which could improve health and potentially delay the progression to disability in this population," lead researcher Dr. O. Kenrik Duru, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

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Large Waist Size Linked to Higher Diabetes Rates

(Science Daily) A higher rate of diabetes seen among adult Americans when compared to peers in England is explained primarily by a larger waist size rather than conventional risk factors such as obesity, according to a new study…

Researchers say the findings offer more evidence that accumulating fat around the mid-section poses a health risk and suggests that studies of diabetes risk should emphasize waist size along with traditional risk factors.

Read more.

Community: Drs. Roizen and Oz, the advisors behind RealAge.com, have been ahead of the curve on the waist size issue, addressing it in their book, YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management, and also in a special on Discovery Health (next showing on October 10). Remember that we recently found out belly fat isn’t dormant. It’s “an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases.”

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Research Identifies the Herbal Supplements That Are Effective in Treating Anxiety

(Science Daily) A systematic review of research into the use of nutritional supplements for the treatment of anxiety disorders has found strong evidence for the use of extracts of passionflower or kava and combinations of L-lysine and L-arginine.

Researchers … pooled the results of 24 studies involving a total of more than 2000 participants, showing that some nutritional and herbal supplements can be effective, without the risk of serious side effects.

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A Spotlight on Quinoa

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Add a new and exciting grain to your meals — like quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). While it isn't actually new — quinoa has been grown for thousands of years in the Peruvian Andes and has been a staple in some South American diets for just as long — it’s only recently that this versatile grain has become more common on North American dining tables. Learn more about quinoa and how to add it to your meals.

The seeds of a leafy, spinach-like plant, quinoa was called the mother grain by the Incas because of its high protein content. Indeed, it has the most protein of all grains and is also a great source of vitamins (particularly riboflavin and vitamin E) as well as the minerals iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Preparing quinoa is a great idea if you’re pressed for time: It’s as easy to make and serve as brown rice, but cooks in less than half the time. You’ll need to rinse quinoa before cooking to remove any residue of saponin, a bitter coating that protects the seeds from birds and insects. When cooking, use one part quinoa to two parts water, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Serve quinoa as a side dish or as an addition to soups or stews.

Read more.

Community: Whole Foods is expensive for some things, but for seeds, flours, and spices it has a bulk foods section where you scoop your own and mark the item with a provided tag. The prices are amazingly low, showing that for most of these products you’re paying a lot for the packaging and marketing. Also, Whole Foods' store brand price on nuts is better than any prices I’ve found on the internet.

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Recipes

SouthBeachDiet.com:

Herbed Quinoa and Edamame
This light and savory meatless main dish is the perfect meal for vegetarians. In a large saucepan, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced scallions and slivered garlic cloves; cook until the scallions wilt. Add quinoa (1 cup), lime zest, salt, and water (1 1/2 cup) to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 7 minutes. Add shelled frozen edamame and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid and the edamame are tender. Add baby spinach, some chopped parsley and mint, and a little trans-fat-free margarine, and stir to combine.

MyRecipes.com:

Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples
Warm flavors like sage and cinnamon play up the contrast between the juicy chops and caramelized apples. Tart Granny Smiths and slightly sweeter Braeburn apples both work well for this dish.

Apple and Corn Bread-Stuffed Pork Loin

Memphis Pork and Coleslaw Sandwich

Spanish-Style Brined Pork Tenderloin

EatingWell:

Fennel-Crusted Salmon on White Beans
Delicious warm white beans and fennel are topped with succulent fennel-seed-crusted salmon for a double hit of flavor. For an extra-fresh look, set aside some additional chopped fennel fronds to use as a garnish.

Baked Cod with Chorizo & White Beans

Tuna & White Bean Salad

Salmon on a Bed of Lentils

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Ultrasound Device Improves Poor Bone Healing

(Science Daily) Ultrasound can speed the healing of fractures. A randomized controlled trial … has found that the use of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) in patients with tibial fractures which showed inadequate progress toward healing resulted in 34% greater bone mineral density (BMD) in the fracture area after 16 weeks than use of a sham device.

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Reducing hypertension may aid kidneys

(UPI) U.S. researchers say keeping blood pressure in check may ease proteinuria -- excess protein in the urine -- which can be a marker for kidney disease…

[The study] finds keeping blood pressure readings at about 130/80 millimeters of mercury reduced the risk of proteinuria progression by 27 percent.

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Neural Responses Indicate Our Willingness to Help

(Science Daily) Witnessing a person from our own group or an outsider suffer pain causes neural responses in two very different regions of the brain. And, the specific region activated reveals whether or not we will help the person in need…

Should a person from an ingroup suffer pain, brain regions associated with empathy for others' pain are activated. A greater degree of activation in these regions correlates with a greater willingness to help. If, however, test subjects saw a member of an outgroup subjected to pain, brain regions motivated by reward were activated. A high degree of reward-related activation corresponds to a negative perception of the person belonging to the rival team, and the willingness to help decreases as brain activation rises.

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Most Americans Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Poll

(HealthDay News) Americans overwhelmingly support embryonic stem cell research, and that backing stretches across a broad range of demographic groups, including Republicans, Catholics and born-again Christians, according to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.

Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of the adults surveyed believe that scientists should be allowed to use embryonic stem cells left over from in vitro fertilization procedures to search for potential treatments or ways to prevent diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes and other conditions.

Only 12 percent oppose using stem cells for biomedical research, numbers that mirror those from a similar poll conducted in 2005.

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Consistent Evidence: Speed Cameras Do Reduce Injuries and Deaths, Australian Study Finds

(Science Daily) Placing speed cameras on roads reduces the number of road traffic injuries and deaths, concludes a team of researchers from … Australia…

After searching available literature, they identified 35 relevant studies. "While there is variation in the results, the overall finding is clear -- speed cameras do reduce injuries and deaths," says lead researcher Cecilia Wilson.

Compared with controls, the average speed fell as did the percentage of vehicles that exceeded local speed limits. The numbers of crashes in the areas of the cameras also fell, as did the numbers of people killed or injured.

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Dems leaders urge HHS to crack down on Medigap rate hikes

(The Hill) Top Senate Democrats on Wednesday called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect seniors in Medigap plans from "excessive" rate hikes.

"We are hearing disturbing stories from beneficiaries across the country about excessive premium increases for Medigap supplemental insurance policies," Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Max Baucus (D-Mont) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The lawmakers cited some Medigap plans offered by United of Omaha, which will see premiums increases around 40 percent next year.

Read more.

Community: My friend in Washington has some juice. This letter to HHS is a direct result of my recent complaint. Other recent headlines on cost and outcomes in U.S.: Reuters – “Poor healthcare may shorten American lives: study”, UPI – “Cancer patients rationing drugs, therapy” [due to the high cost].

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Americans Trailing World in Steps-Per-Day

(HealthDay News) Americans need to step it up when it comes to walking, experts say.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee found that Americans average just 5,117 steps per day, far fewer than people in Australia (9,695), Switzerland (9,650) and Japan (7,168)…

"The health benefits of walking are underappreciated. Even modest amounts of walking, if performed on a daily basis, can help to maintain a healthy body weight," lead author Dr. David R. Bassett, Jr. … said in an American College of Sports Medicine news release.

The study findings help explain why obesity rates are much higher in the United States than in other developed countries, the researchers noted. Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults are obese, compared with 16 percent in Australia, 8 percent in Switzerland and 3 percent in Japan.

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Interval Walking Burns More Calories

(SouthBeachDiet.com) You don’t have to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of interval walking. In this form of exercise, you alternate bursts of fast, intense walking with periods of slower and less-intense walking that allows your body to recover. In fact, by doing interval walking for a mere 20 minutes every other day, you can shift your metabolism into high gear so that you burn more calories and fat in less time than if you were working out at a steady pace.

And there’s a bonus: With interval walking, the higher the intensity of the exercise, the longer the afterburn; that is, you will continue to burn more fat and calories even after you stop exercising!

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How doctors talk affects weight loss

(UPI) Patients of U.S. physicians who communicate in a motivational style about losing weight lost an average of about 3.5 pounds in three months, researchers say…

[P]atients whose doctors spoke in judgmental/confrontational style did not lose weight.

Lead author Kathryn Pollack and colleagues analyzed the recorded conversations of 40 primary care physicians and 461 of their overweight or obese patients over an 18-month period -- saying only they wanted to record how doctors talked about health.

"Patients don't like to be told what to do, and they are generally not going to question or talk back to their doctor," Pollak said in a statement. "But what happens when doctors use reflective statements or a more motivational and empathic approach, it changes the relationship; the patient becomes more of an equal, more of a partner in care."

Read more.

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Protect Your Coffee's Antioxidants with This Serving Style

(RealAge.com) You could be putting a stranglehold on coffee's health perks by stirring in the wrong stuff. So consider these rules: no nondairy creamer, and go easy on the sweet stuff.

In a recent small study, sugar and nondairy creamers seemed to undo a big chunk of the health benefits of drinking coffee by binding up the good-for-your-body antioxidants in the brew…

[M]ore research is needed to confirm the effect and also clear up remaining questions about milk (other research has shown that proteins in milk bind with CGAs in tea, making the antioxidants unavailable to the body). But the bottom line is that the less you put in your coffee, the better it probably is for you. No sugar means no extra calories. And if you must have milk, choose just a splash of fat-free. Whole milk and many nondairy creamers add saturated fat.

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Get Glowing Skin with This Fall Treat

(RealAge.com) Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons, thanks to changing leaves and autumn harvests. And you can have beautiful skin to match with this fall treat: pumpkin.

This festive orange squash is rich in key nutrients that help keep skin healthy and fend off wrinkle-causing damage, according to Allison Tannis, author of Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles.

Just a quarter cup of canned pumpkin provides over 4,000 micrograms of beta carotene. Canned pumpkin also provides you with a little iron, another skin-supporting nutrient. It's necessary for the formation of collagen, a protein that helps skin stay firm and smooth. And as a bonus, pumpkin also serves up wrinkle-fighting vitamin C. (Here's a list of top foods for your skin.)

Find out why pumpkin is so good for the rest of your body, too.

Read more.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Chicken-Penne Salad with Green Beans
To quickly prepare the beans in this recipe, trim just the stem ends, leaving the tapered blossom ends intact. Line up 5 or 6 beans at a time and cut them roughly the same length as the pasta. You can have an entire meal ready in about 35 minutes.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

EatingWell:

Sesame-Seasoned Spinach
In Korea there is an entire category of side dishes called namul. These are boldly seasoned vegetables from the land and the sea. This particular recipe reflects Korea’s love of both spinach and sesame seeds. The seeds are always toasted before serving for a boost of flavor. This namul can be served alone or as one of the colorful elements in bibimbap.

Wilted Spinach with Garlic

Simple Sautéed Spinach

Catalan Spinach Sauté

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Vitamin D Deficiency Rampant in Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery, Damaging Patient Recovery

(Science Daily) Almost 50 percent of patients undergoing orthopedic surgery have vitamin D deficiency that should be corrected before surgery to improve patient outcomes, according to a study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. Vitamin D is essential for bone healing and muscle function and is critical for a patient's recovery…

"In the perfect world, test levels, fix and then operate," said Joseph Lane, M.D…, who led the study. "If you put people on 2,000-4,000 [milligrams] of vitamin D based on what their deficient value was, you can usually get them corrected in four to six weeks, which is when you are really going to need the vitamin D. If you are really aggressive right before surgery, you can correct deficient levels quickly, but you have to correct it, measure it, and then act on it."

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Immune System Linked With Accumulation of Toxic Tau Protein

(Science Daily) Cells that help to protect the central nervous system may also contribute to pathological changes in the brain. New research, published by Cell Press in the October 7th issue of the journal Neuron, provides mechanistic insight into a link between the immune system and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease that are associated with abnormal accumulation of tau protein.

Tau is a protein found inside of neurons that acts almost like a skeleton, providing a supportive framework for the cell. However, abnormal tau sometimes clumps into filamentous deposits that damage neurons.

Read more.

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New Findings Pull Back Curtain on Relationship Between Iron and Alzheimer's Disease

(Science Daily) Massachusetts General Hospital researchers say they have determined how iron contributes to the production of brain-destroying plaques found in Alzheimer's patients.

The team … report[s] that there is a very close link between elevated levels of iron in the brain and the enhanced production of the amyloid precursor protein, which in Alzheimer's disease breaks down into a peptide that makes up the destructive plaques.

Dr. Jack T. Rogers … said the findings "lay the foundation for the development of new therapies that will slow or stop the negative effects of iron buildup" in patients with the progressive neurodegenerative disease, symptoms of which include memory loss, impaired judgment, disorientation and personality changes.

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Air Pollution Linked to Breast Cancer, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Air pollution has already been linked to a range of health problems. Now, a ground-breaking new study suggests pollution from traffic may put women at risk for another deadly disease. The study … links the risk of breast cancer -- the second leading cause of death from cancer in women -- to traffic-related air pollution…

Dr. [France] Labrèche [said] "Some studies published in the US have also shown possible links between cancer and air pollution. At the moment, we are not in a position to say with assurance that air pollution causes breast cancer. However, we can say that the possible link merits serious investigation. From a public health standpoint, this possible link also argues for actions aimed at reducing traffic-related air pollution in residential areas."

Read more.

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Noisy workplace linked to heart disease

(UPI) A study of more than 6,000 U.S. workers found a persistently noisy workplace more than doubled serious heart disease risk, Canadian researchers say…

The blood tests of the workers who worked in nosier places, did not indicate particularly high levels of cholesterol or inflammatory proteins -- both risk factors for heart disease -- but diastolic blood pressure, was higher than normal, a condition known as isolated diastolic hypertension, an independent predictor of serious heart problems.

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What Makes Us Age?

(Science Daily) Like cats, human cells have a finite number of lives: once they divide a certain number of times (thankfully, more than nine) they change shape, slow their pace, and eventually stop dividing -- a phenomenon called "cellular senescence."

Biologists know that a cellular clock composed of structures at the chromosome end known as telomeres records how many "lives" a cell has expended…

[T]his study suggests that aging itself is infinitely complex: that progressive telomere shortening hastens chromosomal aging by changing the way genes entwine with histones, so-called "epigenetic" changes…

Rescue experiments in which the team cosmetically enhanced aging cells confirmed that signals emitted by eroding telomeres drove epigenetic changes. When aging cells were engineered to express telomerase, the enzyme that restores and extends stubby telomeres, those rejuvenated cells showed histone levels reminiscent of "happy, healthy chromatin," and a partial return to a youthful chromatin profile…

"The flip side of elongating telomeres is that you enable cells to grow for much longer periods and can generate what are called "immortal" cells," says [Jan Karlseder, Ph.D.]. "That takes you one step closer to cancer cell development."

Read more.

Community: As readers of Many Years Young already know, exercise can help slow the shortening of telomeres. And here are more articles on telomeres.

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Amino Acid Supplement Makes Mice Live Longer

(Science Daily) When mice are given drinking water laced with a special concoction of amino acids, they live longer than your average mouse, according to a new report… The key ingredients in the supplemental mixture are so-called branched-chain amino acids, which account for 3 of the 20 amino acids (specifically leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that are the building blocks of proteins.

"This is the first demonstration that an amino acid mixture can increase survival in mice," said Enzo Nisoli of Milan University…, noting that researchers last year showed that leucine, isoleucine, and valine extend the life span of single-celled yeast…

The benefits of the amino acid supplements appear similar to those earlier ascribed to calorie restriction, Nisoli said.

He says a large clinical trial is needed, but there is little incentive for companies to do such trials for dietary supplements as opposed to drugs.

Overall, Nisoli said the new work supports a "general philosophy of a nutritional approach to disease, aging, and problems of energy status."

Read more.

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Beware Free Trials of Anti-Aging Products Sold on the Web

(U.S. News & World Report) A flood of cosmetics and other elixirs advertised as magic against old age is pulling in consumers on the Internet these days, often to their later dismay. Complaints from consumers like Cole about tactics often used to sell the products—the so-called free trials, the monthly commitment, an often complicated and difficult cancellation process—have caught the attention of federal lawmakers, who are looking into the problem. "When an anti-aging company says 'free trial, give us your credit card,' it's almost always a 'gotcha,' " says Joe Stanganelli, a lawyer in Boston…

Often, the companies that sell the cosmetic concoctions, colon cleansers, and supplements make anti-aging claims backed by little or no scientific evidence. In some cases, the pitches even come with phony celebrity endorsements…

Nationally, the Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies have heard so often about bogus free trials that the Federal Trade Commission is now in discussions with Congress about requiring online retailers to clearly disclose what the deals involve, according to Leonard Gordon, director of the FTC's northeast regional office. At the moment, retailers can impose monthly charges as long as they disclose what they're doing in their terms and conditions, he says, which they often bury in "mouseprint" on their websites.

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Downside of work flexibility: More work

(UPI) Employees who have control of their work schedule tend to work more, blurring the boundaries between work and the rest of their lives, U.S. researchers say…

The work-family conflict is critical because "a substantial body of social scientific evidence demonstrates its link to poorer physical and mental health outcome," [sociology professor Scott] Schieman says.

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Companies Can Motivate Families to Live Healthier

(HealthDay News) A small cash incentive from an employer might be enough to prompt healthy lifestyle changes in families, new research suggests.

IBM offered its employees $150 to participate in a 12-week program where they were given a list of health-promoting activities to choose from -- such as adding more vegetables to the family diet, exercising more as a family and reducing family TV and computer time -- and found that more than 50 percent of the employees who chose to participate in the project completed the program…

More than 11,000 -- 52.2 percent of those enrolled -- employees completed the program. Those that finished it reported increased physical activity, reduced time spent on electronic entertainment and more healthy family meals.

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Community: I’m thinking they didn’t do it for the money.

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Fish Oil Linked to Increased Risk of Colon Cancer in Mice

(Science Daily) Fish oil -- long encouraged by doctors as a supplement to support heart and joint health, among other benefits -- induced severe colitis and colon cancer in mice in research led by Michigan State University…

Jenifer Fenton, a food science and human nutrition researcher at MSU, led the research that supports establishing a dose limit for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil, particularly in people suffering from chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Pasta with Sausage, Leeks, and Fontina
Whole wheat pasta makes this hearty. The flavors meld and provide just enough of each element in every bite to keep you wanting more.

Pasta with Ham and Herbed Cheese

Giant Butternut Squash Ravioli

Pasta with Shrimp and Veggies

EatingWell:

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with Pepian Sauce
Tomatillos and pepitas form the basis for pepian sauce--one version of Mexican mole.

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Blackberry Mustard

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Spice-Crusted Chicken with Citrus Salsa

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Sleep Apnea Mask May Cause Subtle Facial Changes

(HealthDay News) The breathing masks often prescribed to treat sleep apnea can subtly alter the shape of a patient's face with prolonged use, a new study suggests.

The common treatment, called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can help relieve the interrupted breathing of sleep apnea. However, "my research found possible craniofacial change [as a result of] long-term CPAP use," said study author Hiroko Tsuda…

However, the team concluded that for now the benefits of CPAP for sleep apnea patients outweigh concerns raised by the potential for what appears to be a risk for relatively minor facial structure changes.

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'Hands-Only' CPR May Work Best for Cardiac Arrest

(HealthDay News) Among adults whose heart had stopped beating, those who received 'hands-only' cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from a bystander were 60 percent more likely to survive than those who received no CPR or conventional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing.

This is good news, researchers said, because not only is 'hands-only' CPR -- in which the rescuer does rapid, uninterrupted chest compressions -- easier for the public to learn and remember, research shows bystanders are more likely to act when they don't have to do mouth-to-mouth…

Researchers stressed the findings apply only to adults given CPR by the lay public. Children should still usually receive rescue breathing, Bobrow said, as well as anyone who was choking, drowning or having breathing trouble before becoming unconscious.

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