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

Diabetes Research Made Significant Strides in Past Year

(HealthDay News) Even as the threat of diabetes continues to grow, scientists have made significant discoveries in the past year that might one day lead to ways to stop the blood sugar disease in its tracks.

That's some good news as World Diabetes Day is observed this Sunday…

"The magic bullet is prevention," said [Dr. Joel] Zonszein. "We have to give the message that prevention helps. If you're at risk of diabetes, or you're early in the disease, you need a plan to lose weight and exercise. Ask your doctor for help. With the right treatment plan, you may be able to delay diabetes for years," he said.

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Are You at Risk of Developing Diabetes?

(HealthDay News) Diabetes is a leading cause of death in the United States, and Americans need to know the risk factors and what they can do to prevent and treat the disease, says the American College of Physicians…

Diabetes warning signs may include: extreme thirst and/or hunger; fatigue; frequent need to urinate; unusual weight loss; blurred vision; tingling or numbness in hands or feet; frequent infections; and slow-healing bruises.

A simple blood test can diagnose diabetes.

Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes can keep the disease under control by: exercising regularly; eating a healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry and whole grains; losing weight; checking blood sugar levels and reporting them to their doctor; and taking medications every day.

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Exercise May Reduce Risk of Endometrial Cancer

(Science Daily) Women who exercise for 150 minutes a week or more may see a reduced risk of endometrial cancer, despite whether or not they are overweight…

"This study is consistent with other studies that strongly support the association between physical activity and lower risk of endometrial cancer," said Hannah Arem.

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Exercise: Stop the Excuses!

(SouthBeachDiet.com) [E]xercise is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle and achieving your weight-loss goals. There will be times, though, when your job, family, and hectic schedule may get in the way of your workout routine. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on your fitness goals altogether. The trick is to counter the excuses that keep you from exercising. Check out these easy strategies to offset some prime exercise excuses:

Excuse: “I’m too tired/busy!”
Solution:
Determine what time of day works best for you to exercise. If you can’t hit the gym or take a walk after work, wake up earlier and try an a.m. routine. Is getting out of bed in the morning the issue instead? Schedule a walk with a friend after work or try an evening group fitness class…

Excuse: “I can’t afford a gym membership.”
Solution:
There’s no reason you have to join a gym to exercise — there are many activities that can be done outdoors or in your own living room…

Excuse: “I’m bored with my routine.”
Solution:
Boredom is one of the major reasons people give up exercise. If you’ve done the same routine day after day for months, it’s time to try something new… Sign up for a new activity like tennis or golf lessons, or enroll in a fitness class you haven’t tried. Sometimes simply working out with a buddy can break the boredom. Another way to stay motivated? Listen to music while you exercise. Create a playlist for your portable music device and choose songs that will inspire you to get through a workout.

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'Stop Smoking' Ads That Target Reasons to Quit Seem to Work Best

(HealthDay News) Television ads that encourage people to quit smoking are most effective when they use a "why to quit" strategy that includes either graphic images or personal testimonials, a new study suggests.

The three most common broad themes used in smoking cessation campaigns are why to quit, how to quit and anti-tobacco industry, according to scientists…

"While there is considerable variation in the specific execution of these broad themes, ads using the 'why to quit' strategy with graphic images or personal testimonials that evoke specific emotional responses were perceived as more effective than the other ad categories," lead author Kevin Davis … said…

Davis and his colleagues also found that those who had less desire to quit and those who had not tried quitting in the past year had significantly less favorable responses to all types of smoking cessation ads. The same was true, to a lesser extent, for smokers with high levels of cigarette consumption.

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Community: Some of the self-psychology I used to quit smoking involved reminding myself over and over again of the reasons to quit.

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Sight of Meat Puts People at Ease, Study Suggests

(HealthDay News) That feeling of goodwill when family and friends gather for the Thanksgiving meal may be due to the fact that the sight of meat on the table calms people, a new study suggests.

The researchers in the psychology department at McGill University in Montreal were surprised by their finding. They had expected that seeing meat would make people more aggressive…

"In terms of behavior, with the benefit of hindsight, it would make sense that our ancestors would be calm, as they would be surrounded by friends and family at meal time," [study author Frank] Kachanoff said. "I would like to run this experiment again, using hunting images. Perhaps Thanksgiving next year will be a great opportunity for a do-over!"

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Cincinnati Turkey Chili
Ladle bowlfuls of inspired Midwestern chili for your next casual dinner party or football gathering.

Chicken Chili with Pesto

Vegetable Chili with Garlic Rice

Mexican Black-Bean Chili

EatingWell:

Paprika & Red Pepper Soup with Pistachio Puree
Richly satisfying, this luscious-looking soup made with red bell peppers gets a touch of heat from Thai chile. For an extra-nutty flavor, puree an additional 1/4 cup shelled pistachios with 1/4 cup water and serve the soup with a dollop of this pistachio puree on top.

Red Curry with Vegetables

Saucy Gingered Shrimp with Zucchini & Red Peppers

Fresh Corn & Red Pepper Bisque

Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

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Enjoying Pumpkin

(SouthBeachDiet.com) When people mention pumpkins, what most often comes to mind is pie or Halloween. But there’s a lot more to this healthy hard-shelled winter squash than dessert or jack-o’-lanterns. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin C, as well as iron, fiber, and the carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein. And the flesh isn’t the only part that makes pumpkin such a superfood: Pumpkin seeds provide vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc, making for a healthy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack when toasted…

Like many vegetables, pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Check your farmers market for varieties that go beyond the so-called jack-o’-lanterns, which are better for carving than cooking. For example, Cinderella pumpkins are deep orange and look like regular pumpkins that have been squashed flat. Japanese pumpkins (also known as kabocha squash) are turban-shaped with deep green and pale green stripes, and they have a flavor reminiscent of sweet potato. (Mini pumpkins, however, serve more as ornaments or decorations than as a food source.) The best pumpkins for eating (sometimes referred to as “pie pumpkins” by purveyors) are those that have a lot of flesh and a small seed cavity. Fresh pumpkins that are sold during the fall are already ripe. Be sure to check for soft spots, especially in the area around the stem, and avoid those pumpkins.

To save time, you may prefer to use unsweetened, pre-spiced, solid-pack canned pumpkin puree in various dishes (do not confuse this with pumpkin-pie filling, which typically has a lot of sugar). It’s a good source of the nutrients found in fresh pumpkin.

To prepare fresh pumpkin, cut out the stem and remove the strings and seeds. Then, cut the pumpkin flesh into wedges, peel, and cut into chunks before cooking. Follow your recipe for baking, roasting, grilling, or pureeing.

Besides using pumpkin for pie (ours is made with a whole-wheat phyllo-dough crust), here are some other delicious ways to enjoy this healthy vegetable:

· Prepare a pumpkin soup. Add some chicken stock to canned pumpkin puree to thin it out. Then season with cumin or coriander, salt, and pepper, before heating. Top with a bit of reduced-fat sour cream and some finely chopped apple.

· Add diced pumpkin to a chicken or vegetarian chili.

· Cook up pumpkin pancakes. Add some pumpkin puree to a whole-wheat batter mixture.

· Use finely diced pumpkin as a healthy, flavorful ingredient for homemade muffins or breads.

· Roast pumpkin seeds and add them to a delicious nut and seed mix.

Source

Community: We use pumpkin to stop up the dog when she has diarrhea. Two tablespoons work like a charm (she weights 80 lbs). I’ve also started putting some pumpkin in the healthy cookies that I make.

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Herbal medicine may ease constipation

(Reuters Health) People suffering from serious constipation may get some relief from a Chinese herbal medicine consisting of hemp seed and other herbs, a new study finds.

Participants who took 7.5 grams twice a day of hemp seed pill (HSP), which consists of six different herbs, reported some improvements in their symptoms of constipation and fared better than people taking a placebo pill. "We believe HSP works to alleviate constipation," study author Dr. Zhao-Xiang Bian of Hong Kong Baptist University told Reuters Health.

HSP is a classic formula in traditional Chinese medicine and has been used to treat constipation for more than 1,000 years. In theory, the herbs work in combination, acting as a purgative and laxative, and also improving the additional problems associated with constipation, such as dry mouth and trouble sleeping, Bian explained.

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Community: HEMP!!! Oh, no, somebody might get high! Gotta make it illegal.

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No link found between iron and breast cancer

(Reuters Health) While some prior research has hinted at a link between meat consumption and breast cancer, a large new study suggests that the iron in meat is probably not to blame…

After accounting for various other factors that could be associated with breast cancer -- including age, obesity, family history, smoking, use of hormone therapy and physical activity -- the team found no link between breast cancer and any form of dietary iron.

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Sleep Apnea May Shrink Brain's Gray Matter: Study

(HealthDay News) Obstructive sleep apnea may cause structural defects in the brain's gray matter, resulting in problems with cognitive functions such as attention and memory, a new study suggests.

These brain changes are likely caused by the intermittent oxygen deprivation that occurs in people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), who temporarily stop breathing many times each night…

However, the brain changes are partially or fully reversible with early detection and treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), said the Italian researchers.

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Vaccine for Urinary Tract Infections Is One Step Closer

(Science Daily) Urinary tract infections are a painful, recurring problem for millions of women. They are also getting more dangerous as bacteria develop resistance to the most common treatments.

Scientists from the University of Michigan have moved one step closer to a vaccine that could prevent a majority of urinary tract infections, which are caused by E. coli bacteria. Using a genetic technique rarely used to look at infections in human hosts, the researchers studied how the E. coli bacteria operate and discovered key differences between how the bacteria's genes behave in women and how they behave in mice used in experiments.

Their findings … could lead to developments that would save billions in health care costs and millions of doctors' visits and hospitalizations from urinary tract infections each year.

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Adults may not transmit whooping cough

(UPI) Transmission of whooping cough by adults may be minimal and adult vaccination is unlikely to be an efficient way to control the disease, U.S. researchers say.

University of Michigan epidemiologists … combined two independent sets of data from previous studies and found age-specific contact patterns alone can explain the observed shifts in prevalence and age-specific incidence.

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Community: The ad for whooping cough vaccine that’s been airing is very annoying. It says that babies are likely to get whooping cough from adults, but neglects to say that the babies aren’t likely to get whooping cough at all.

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Newly Discovered DNA Repair Pathway

(Science Daily) UC Davis researchers have found a new pathway for repairing DNA damaged by oxygen radicals…

"This new inducible pathway gives cells greater capacity to repair oxidative damage," said Peter Beal, … senior author of the paper…

Oxygen radicals are strongly linked to cancer and aging and are also formed during metabolism and upon exposure to environmental toxins and radiation. Understanding more about how this damage can be repaired could lead to a better understanding of the causes of some cancers.

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Social Class May Affect Outcome of Depression Treatment

(HealthDay News) Depression treatments appear to be less effective in helping poor and working class patients function at work, a new study finds.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago said this was especially important because depression takes a heavy toll on productivity, particularly among those in sales and service jobs, who often have less education and belong to the working class.

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Happiness Is a Focused Mind

(HealthDay News) New research shows that when people's minds drifted from the task or activity at hand, they reported being less happy than when they were fully engaged in whatever they were doing…

"Human beings seem to have this unique capacity to focus on the non-present. They have the ability to reflect on the past, plan for the future and imagine things that might never occur," [study author Matthew] Killingsworth said. "But at the same time, human beings are clumsy users of this capacity and it tends to decrease, rather than increase, happiness."

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Yoga's Ability to Improve Mood and Lessen Anxiety

(Science Daily) Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter, MD, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts) and colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

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Depression Linked to Altered Activity of Body Clock Gene

(Science Daily) Depression appears to be associated with a molecular-level disturbance in the body's 24-hour clock, new research suggests.

Scientists examined genes that regulate circadian rhythm in people with and without a history of depression. As a group, those with a history of depression had a higher level of activity of the so-called Clock gene, which has a role in regulating circadian rhythm, than did people with no mood disorders.

Higher expression levels of this gene suggest something is amiss in the body's 24-hour biological and behavioral cycle, which could affect sleep patterns and other physiological functions governed by circadian rhythm. Sleep disturbance is a common symptom of depression.

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Community: Lots of depression and lots of sleep disturbance in my family.

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Novel Target for Treatment of Sleep Disorders, Diabetes, and Cancer

(Science Daily) Scientists … have identified for the first time a novel mechanism that regulates circadian rhythm, the master clock that controls the body's natural 24-hour physiological cycle. These new findings could provide a new target not only for jet lag, shift work, and sleep disturbances, but also for disorders that result from circadian rhythm disruption, including diabetes and obesity as well as some types of cancer…

"It's well known that the nuclear receptors RORα and REV-ERBα regulate expression of the gene BMAL1, which is vital to virtually every aspect of human physiology and a core component of the circadian clock," said Tom Burris..

"As we understand more about the relationship between these receptors and their gene targets, we can consider the possibility of modulating the body's core clock, especially as we continue to develop synthetic ligands targeting these two nuclear receptors."

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Tetris Effect: Computer Game May Have Special Ability to Reduce Flashbacks

(Science Daily) The computer game Tetris may have a special ability to reduce flashbacks after viewing traumatic images not shared by other types of computer game, Oxford University scientists have discovered in a series of experiments.

In earlier laboratory work the Oxford team showed that playing Tetris after traumatic events could reduce memory flashbacks in healthy volunteers. These are a laboratory model of the types of intrusive memories associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In this new experimental study, the researchers compared the effectiveness of Tetris at reducing flashbacks with Pub Quiz Machine 2008, a word-based quiz game. They found that whilst playing Tetris after viewing traumatic images reduced flashbacks by contrast playing Pub Quiz increased the frequency of flashbacks.

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Keep Arteries Healthy with This Crunchy Snack

(RealAge.com) If your snack attacks have you craving something crunchy, do your arteries a favor and munch on pumpkin seeds.

Or sunflower seeds. Or sesame seeds. Or nuts for that matter…

A slew of medical studies [show] how crunchy nuts and seeds lower levels of two inflammatory markers -- C-reactive protein and interleukin-6… Research also shows that seeds and nuts can increase blood levels of adiponectin -- a hormone that helps keep blood vessel inflammation in check.

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Beef Steaks with Creole Rub
The kicky spice rub for the steaks is easy to make, and the results are dynamite. The steaks need to stand for a few minutes after cooking to allow their juices to reabsorb.

Blackened Chicken Breasts with Creole Mustard Sauce

Creole Red Snapper

Chicken Cakes with Creole Sauce

EatingWell:

Arctic Char on a Bed of Kale
Arctic char, related to salmon and trout, is sustainably farmed, making it a “best choice” for the environment. It has a mild flavor and cooks up quickly. We like the taste and texture of Lacinato (a.k.a. Dinosaur) kale in this dish. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Salmon over Warm Lentil, Apple & Walnut Salad

Fennel-Crusted Salmon on White Beans

Mediterranean Roasted Fish & Vegetables

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Study Finds Vitamins E and C Don't Reduce Cataract Risk in Men

(HealthDay News) Long-term use of vitamin E and C supplements doesn't reduce the risk of age-related cataracts in men, a new study finds…

"In summary, these randomized trial data from a large population of middle-aged and older, generally well-nourished men indicate that long-term supplementation with high-dose vitamin E and vitamin C, either alone or in combination, has little effect on rates of cataract diagnosis and extraction," the researchers concluded.

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Alcohol Can Damage Much More Than Just the Liver

(Science Daily) Alcohol can do much more harm to the body than just damaging the liver. Drinking also can weaken the immune system, slow healing, impair bone formation, increase the risk of HIV transmission and hinder recovery from burns, trauma, bleeding and surgery…

Studies at Loyola and other centers could lead to therapies to boost the immune system or otherwise minimize the effects of alcohol, said Elizabeth J. Kovacs, PhD…

"Of course, the best way to prevent the damaging effects of alcohol is to not drink in the first place," Kovacs said. "But it is very difficult to get people to do this."

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Increasing alcohol sales hours ups crashes

(UPI) An independent, non-federal body of public health experts recommends retaining limits on days or hours during which alcohol can be sold in the United States.

Two reports by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services shows increasing the number of hours and days when alcohol can be legally sold in bars, restaurants and liquor stores leads to greater alcohol use and related harms -- especially motor-vehicle crashes.

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Which Is More Sanitary: Hand Towels or Air Dryers?

(RealAge.com) When you're in a public restroom, do you go for the paper towels or the air dryer after you wash your hands? To get your paws cleanest, choose the towels.

A recent study put each drying method to the test and revealed that rubbing hands thoroughly dry with paper towels may give people the best chance of walking out of the restroom with germ-free mitts.

No matter which method you choose, you won't be rid of germs unless you dry your hands thoroughly. Germs love water. It's their ideal medium for multiplying and getting around. And the recent study found that putting in the time and effort to really dry hands completely will mean way fewer germs.

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Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Helps Improve Motor Function in Stroke Patients

(Science Daily) A noninvasive electric stimulation technique administered to both sides of the brain can help stroke patients who have lost motor skills in their hands and arms, according to a new study…

[P]atients who received bihemispheric transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) coupled with a regimen of physical and occupational therapy had a three-fold greater improvement in motor function compared with patients who received only physical/occupational rehabilitation and a placebo form of stimulation.

"We think that the key to this therapy's success in improving stroke patients' motor function is based on its ability to affect the brain activity on both the stroke-affected side of the brain and the healthy side of the brain as patients work to re-learn lost motor skills," says senior author Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD.

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Health overhaul should press ahead: industry

(Reuters) Repeal reform? No thanks, say health insurers, drugmakers and others looking for a clearer picture of the healthcare market after the bruising passage of the controversial overhaul law.

Company executives at the Reuters Health Summit this week said the law is far from perfect and said they will push for more steps to tackle stagnant health information technology and skyrocketing costs.

But after two years of debate over the issue, they need to move forward with clear steps on how to realign their businesses…

Few executives and industry experts anticipate any substantial changes to the overhaul despite the heated debate.

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Cheap obesity steps could have major health impact

(Reuters) Taxing junk food, limiting food adverts and making labels clearer could be the best way to curb rising obesity levels in countries like India and China, where increasing prosperity is creating ever heavier consumers.

The average annual cost of tackling obesity with these measures could be less than $1 per head, and global experts said in a study on Thursday that emerging economies should take immediate action to reverse rising obesity rates before the problem reaches levels seen in the industrialized world.

Researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) studied possible strategies to combat obesity in six emerging economies and also in England…

The study … found unhealthy diets and a lack of physical inactivity were pushing obesity rates in these seven nations rapidly toward the average of all OECD nations, where half of the population is already overweight and one in six people is obese.

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FDA Proposes Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs

(HealthDay News) A series of gruesome pictures depicting emaciated lung cancer patients, a dead body in a morgue, a baby confined to a respirator (presumably the result of secondhand smoke) and other consequences of smoking that will appear on the outside of cigarette packages will hopefully shock people into quitting the habit or not starting in the first place, U.S. officials announced Wednesday.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said a new "comprehensive tobacco control strategy" would include not only these graphic photos but bold statements such as "Smoking Will Kill You."

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Community: So what do you think? Is this going too far? Too much government intrusion?

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'Desktop Medicine' Will Transform the Practice of Medicine

(Science Daily) [A] new approach to medicine, called "Desktop Medicine" is emerging, in which the emphasis shifts from diagnosing diseases and treating symptoms to identifying risk-factors for medical conditions such as hypertension and osteoporosis, and intervening before they develop…

"Desktop medicine," a model defined by Jason Karlawish, MD, … involves clinicians continuously gathering risk factor information -- from a patient's medical history, electronic medical records or recent office visit -- and combining it with clinical studies about disease risk. Once the patient's risk has been assessed, the physician can provide the appropriate intervention to prevent the onset of disease, rather than treat the disease once it is fully developed.

"Desktop medicine has substantial implications for how we ought to educate, train, and practice medicine," said Dr. Karlawish. "For example, medical training should teach how to help patients appreciate their relevant risks and manage these risks, as many patients fail to adhere to a long-term intervention intended to prevent disease."

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Positive Attitude, Planning May Help Women Through Menopause

(HealthDay News) A positive attitude and a little preparation can help women deal with menopause, according to an expert.

Women should start preparing when they experience perimenopause, the stage before menopause. Perimenopause typically begins in the 40s, but can start as early as the 30s, according to Dr. Karen Deighan…

Deighan offered the following tips:

  • Start exercising in order to prevent the 5- to 10-pound weight gain typical of menopause. Fluctuations in hormones can contribute to this weight gain. It's more difficult to prevent or lose those extra pounds if you wait until menopause to begin an exercise program.
  • Begin pelvic-floor-strengthening exercises such as kegels. Proper kegel exercises contract the pelvic-floor muscles, not the abdomen, thighs or buttocks.
  • Do weight-bearing exercises to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of fractures.

Read more.

Community: I had a positive attitude about menopause because I so looked forward to no longer having periods. It’s the best midlife present a woman can receive.

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Food, Sex Reduce Stress, Research Shows

(Science Daily) Whether it's food or sex, pleasurable activity provides more than just pleasure, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers say. It actually reduces stress by inhibiting anxiety responses in the brain…

"Our research identifies key neural circuits underlying the comfort food effect," notes [Yvonne Ulrich-Lai, PhD]. "Further research is needed, but identification of these circuits could provide potential strategies for intervening to prevent or curtail increasing rates of obesity and other metabolic disorders."

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Omega-3's linked to a lower risk of gum disease

(Reuters Health) People who consume a good amount of omega-3's -- the fatty acids predominantly found in oily fish -- may have a lower risk of developing gum disease, suggests a new study.

However, the researchers are hesitant to give omega-3's full credit just yet, as other factors might be involved, too.

Advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, is a chronic inflammation caused by the accumulation of bacteria at the gum line. The condition can lead to bone and tooth loss.

"The bacteria involved seem to need inflammation to grow," senior researcher Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal of Harvard Medical School, Boston, told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "Indeed, anti-inflammatory treatment with omega-3's seems to help experimental periodontitis in rabbits. Our hope was to extend that to humans."

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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:

Chicken with Sherry Vinegar Sauce
Sherry vinegar lends sauteed chicken breasts a complex tang in this simple but luxurious one-pan dish. If you don't have sherry vinegar on hand, substitute dry sherry wine or balsamic vinegar.

Filet Mignon with Sherry-Mushroom Sauce

Sherry-Glazed Salmon with Collard Greens

Morel Mushroom and Oloroso Sherry Gratin

EatingWell:

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
This zesty Cajun-style pasta is full of lean chicken, peppers and onions. Serve with sautéed green beans.

Creamy Scallop & Pea Fettuccine

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

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Long-Term Statin Use Won't Raise Cancer Risk: Study

(HealthDay News) Long term use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins does not increase the risk of cancer and may even decrease users' risks for lymphoma, melanoma and endometrial tumors, a new study finds…

[T]he new 10-year study suggests that "even long-term statin use is unlikely to increase the risk of common cancers," according to lead researcher Eric J. Jacobs.

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Trojan Horse Ploy to Sneak Protective Drug Into Brains of Stroke Patients

(Science Daily) Scientists are reporting development of a long-sought method with the potential for getting medication through a biological barrier that surrounds the brain, where it may limit the brain damage caused by stroke…

The researchers found an antibody that can go through the blood brain barrier and linked it to erythropoietin to make a hybrid protein. Tests showed that the approach worked in laboratory mice, with the hybrid protein successfully penetrating the blood-brain barrier. The advance will allow scientists to begin testing erythropoietin's effects on mice with simulated stroke and other brain disorders, so that scientists can establish the most effective dose and best timing for possible future tests in humans.

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Stem Cell Transplants in Mice Produce Lifelong Enhancement of Muscle Mass

(Science Daily) A University of Colorado at Boulder-led study shows that specific types of stem cells transplanted into the leg muscles of mice prevented the loss of muscle function and mass that normally occurs with aging, a finding with potential uses in treating humans with chronic, degenerative muscle diseases.

The experiments showed that when young host mice with limb muscle injuries were injected with muscle stem cells from young donor mice, the cells not only repaired the injury within days, they caused the treated muscle to double in mass and sustain itself through the lifetime of the transplanted mice…

"We found that the transplanted stem cells are permanently altered and reduce the aging of the transplanted muscle, maintaining strength and mass," said [Professor Bradley] Olwin.

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Bowel Cancer: Eight Years of Colonoscopy Screening in Germany Pays Off

(Science Daily) By the end of this year, colonoscopy screening will have prevented bowel cancer in approximately 99 000 people since it was introduced in Germany…

The study showed that advanced adenomas had been identified and removed in more than 300 000 screening participants in the first eight years of the screening colonoscopy program. The projections showed that this had prevented approximately 99 000 cases of bowel cancer. If they had not been removed, these advanced adenomas would have become clinically manifest a median of 10 years after screening colonoscopy. Over the same period, approximately 50 000 colorectal carcinomas were detected early as a result of screening colonoscopy, mostly still at a curable stage.

In the authors' view, still more cases would be prevented if the participation rate could be improved, using targeted invitations for example.

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Portable Microwave Sensors for Measuring Vital Signs

(Science Daily) Current medical techniques for monitoring the heart rate and other vital signs use electrodes attached to the body, which are impractical for patients who want to move around. Plasma physicist Atsushi Mase … [has] developed a new technique to disconnect people from their electrodes by using microwaves.

The work, which could lead to the development of non-invasive, real-time stress sensing in a variety of environments…

"We plan to apply the system to various conditions, including for clinical use -- such as for the overnight monitoring of human vital signs -- and as a daily health monitor, including detecting signs of sleepiness in drivers and preventing stress-related illnesses," he says. In the future, the system could even be used as a security monitor to distinguish the subtle signs of stress in potential terrorists.

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Hospital Checklists Reduce Surgical Complications, Deaths: Study

(HealthDay News) Hospitals that used checklists to prevent errors involving surgical patients dramatically reduced both complications and in-hospital deaths, a new study finds…

A comparison of about 7,600 patients -- half of whom underwent surgery before the checklists were being used and half who had surgery after implementation of the checklists -- found that checklists reduced complications by one-third. In-hospital deaths were cut in half…

"This study confirms previous research that showed the use of checklists can have a dramatic effect in both reducing the risk of dying after surgery and suffering other types of complications," [Dr. John] Birkmeyer said. "There is enough evidence that has accrued about the effectiveness of checklists that I believe they have crossed a threshold beyond just being a good idea and to becoming a standard of surgical care."

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Housing Woes May Contribute to Poor Health

(HealthDay News) Americans who struggle to afford housing are at increased risk for poor health, according to a new study…

People who were having difficulty paying for housing had a significantly higher incidence of high blood pressure and arthritis. The study also found a distinct difference between renters and property owners.

"If you were a renter, you were more likely to report poor self-rated health," [lead author Dr. Craig] Pollack said.

He believes this is because renters tend to have less money and have limited means to pay for health care.

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Nearly 59 million lack health insurance: CDC

(Reuters) Nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance coverage for at least part of 2010, many of them with conditions or diseases that needed treatment, federal health officials said on Tuesday.

They said 4 million more Americans went without insurance in the first part of 2010 than during the same time in 2008…

The findings have implications for U.S. healthcare reform efforts. A bill passed in March promises to get health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans who currently lack coverage.

But Republicans who just took control of the House of Representatives last week have vowed to derail the new law by cutting off the funds for it, and some want to repeal it. Experts from both sides predict gridlock in Congress for the next two years in implementing healthcare reform's provisions.

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Community: The Republicans aren’t going to touch the mandate. It’s the part of the health care law that health insurance companies wanted the most. And they want to keep that provision. But the companies now want to reduce the benefits the law provides to policy holders.

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Soy may hinder prostate cancer spread

(UPI) Genistein, a natural chemical found in soy, may prevent the spread of prostate cancer, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago say…

A recent phase II randomized study of 38 men with localized prostate cancer found genistein, given one month prior to surgery, had beneficial effects on prostate cancer cells, [Dr. Raymond] Bergan says.

Another phase II trial will see if the non-toxic drug can stop the cancer cells from moving out of the prostate and spreading.

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Soy Chemicals May Lower Risk for Invasive Breast Cancer

(HealthDay News) The more isoflavone-containing soy products a young woman eats, the lower her odds for developing invasive breast cancers, according to research…

The soy study looked specifically at isoflavones, organic compounds found in certain foods. These compounds contain antioxidants that are thought to be protective against breast cancer…

"Eating isoflavones seems to be associated mainly with breast cancer characteristics that are more treatable and less severe than other types," said study lead author Anne Weaver.

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To Best Fight Cancer, New Guidelines Urge Exercise

(HealthDay News) People undergoing cancer treatment traditionally have been told to rest as much as possible and avoid exertion, to save all their strength to battle the dreaded disease.

But a growing number of physicians and researchers now say that people who remain physically active as best they can during treatment are more likely to beat cancer.

The positive evidence for exercise during and after cancer treatment has piled so high that an American College of Sports Medicine panel is revising the group's national guidelines regarding exercise recommended for cancer survivors.

The panel's conclusion: Cancer patients and survivors should strive to get the same amount of exercise recommended for everyone else, about 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Resistance training and stretching also are recommended.

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Community: And there’s evidence that exercise can help prevent cancer, too.

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Stress Reduction

(Dr John La Puma) Chronic stress interferes with memory, concentration, judgments and decisionmaking…
Stress is a complex emotional and physiological reaction. It is a natural feeling, one that involves hundreds of biochemical changes which are fatiguing…
But like eating healthfully, people know what they should do, but don’t usually have the tools or skills to do it. That’s why teaching tools are essential.
For example, rhythmic breathing can be relaxing. But it doesn’t neutralize stress over the long term What does is actively adding a positive feeling like those above.
I’m going to be teaching on-the-job ways to manage stress around the country next year, and I can’t wait. Because effectively managing stress can:
1.    Increase resilience – ability to prepare for, and recoup from challenge
2.    Improve blood pressure, depression, asthma
3.    Reduce fatigue, burnout, hostility, anxiety, distress and anger.
4.    Increase brain clarity, focus, attention span, accuracy and learning ability
5.    Improve decisionmaking, (reduction of decision fatigue)
6.    Improve communication skills
7.    Improve work/life balance
Community: Some stress reducers are listed here.
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