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

2 Simple Ways to Boost Weight Loss

(RealAge.com) Here are two quick weight loss tricks that are so simple, they're almost too good to be true: Just read and walk.
Research shows that middle-aged adults who read food labels and also stick with a regular exercise program -- like walking -- are much more likely to succeed at weight loss than folks who practice just one of these little habits…
Knowing how to read and interpret food labels can help you judge portion sizes correctly, so you're less likely to overeat. In fact, in one study, patrons of a popular coffee chain consumed 6 percent fewer calories per transaction when the calorie counts for items on the menu were clearly displayed…
Combine label reading with regular exercise and you've got a powerful one-two weight loss punch. And you don't have to knock yourself out with marathon workouts at the gym. People who exercised for just 20 minutes a few times a week -- along with reading the labels on every food purchase -- were most likely to lose weight in the study.
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Fresh vegetables farthest away from densest areas

(UPI) If U.S. adults have access to a vehicle they have access to produce, but if they have to walk to get food, finding lettuce may be impossible, researchers say.
Phil Howard and Kirk Goldsberry, both of Michigan State University, developed interactive maps using geographic information systems that offer a visual perspective of urban food deserts -- areas where food, especially fresh food, particularly produce, is hard to find…
"The change in food environments is recurring all over the nation," Howard said in a statement. "The best selection of produce and the lowest prices have moved to the suburbs. So if you want lettuce in Lansing, (Mich.) or in most U.S. cities, you're going to have to drive to get it."
Community: Well, that’s not true in downtown Chicago. I’m within walking distance of four stores that sell fresh vegetables. Of course, what’s walking distance to me may seem a bit far to others. But I combine trips to the grocery store with my daily walk, which means I don’t mind the distance.
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Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk

(HealthDay News) A diet rich in foods that are loaded with potassium can reduce your risk for a stroke by 21 percent and may also lower your risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.
Good sources of potassium include bananas and other fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, poultry and dairy, the researchers noted.
And ounce per ounce, sweet potato and tomato paste top the list, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Community: Potassium is also available as a dietary supplement. If you want to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of stroke, here are some ways to do it.
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A Quick Guide to Beans and Other Legumes

(SouthBeachDiet.com) The versatility of beans and other legumes makes them an ideal choice for side dishes, soups, stews, and salads. Beans also make great dips and salsas: For example, chickpeas can be the basis for a healthy hummus and black beans are delicious in a tomato and avocado salsa.
Beans and other legumes are a good source of protein and fiber… Purchase them fresh, dried, frozen, or canned, and start with 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving. Avoid canned beans or other legumes that contain sugar, lard, or molasses, and look for lower-sodium versions as well.
Beans and other legumes are also extremely nutritious and can help improve your health profile. Here’s how:
All legumes are a major source of soluble fiber, which helps to remove cholesterol from the body before it's absorbed.
The fiber in beans and other legumes also slows digestion and, as a result, helps prevent a sharp rise in blood-sugar levels, which cans reduce cravings for sugary and starchy carbs.
In addition to fiber, legumes are high in protein, folate, potassium, iron, calcium, and B vitamins.
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Beef and Rice Noodle Salad
Think salads aren't filling? Then you haven't tried this one packed with rice noodles, fresh vegetables, and tender steak.
Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken
This cinnamon- and cumin-spiked couscous with chicken takes its inspiration from Morocco. It’s made mostly with pantry staples—all you have to pick up is some chicken thighs, a bunch of cilantro and an orange. The orange slices become tender after cooking—you can eat them skin and all. For a variation, substitute diced, boneless leg of lamb for the chicken. Serve with steamed green beans or a spinach salad.
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Potential Mechanisms for Future Anti-Obesity Drugs Identified

(Science Daily) An interdisciplinary group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has, for the first time, identified the neurological and cellular signaling mechanisms that contribute to satiety -- the sensation of feeling full -- and the subsequent body-weight loss produced by drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes…
While no pharmaceutical treatment for obesity currently exists, type 2 diabetes drugs targeting the hormone glucagon-like-peptide-1, or GLP-1, for insulin production may hold promise. These drugs were known to promote weight loss, simply as a result of patients eating less…
"Identifying both the site-of-action and mechanisms that accounts for the body weight loss of these GLP-1 drugs puts us one step closer to developing effective, FDA-approved, treatments for obesity," [Matthew] Hayes said.
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Stomach pacemaker could help obese lose weight

(AP) [A stomach pacemaker] works a bit like a cardiac pacemaker, and consists of a stimulator and a sensor surgically implanted onto the stomach.
The stimulator sends out electrical pulses meant to trick the stomach and brain into thinking the body is full…
Appetite is partly controlled by signals sent from nerves around the stomach to the brain; the stomach pacemaker taps into that communication system, sending a message to the brain that the body is full after a relatively small amount of food is consumed.
Community: I continue to be amazed at the lengths to which people will go to avoid using natural means like eating whole grains and legumes at every meal, to lose weight.
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Stroke Patients Benefit from Family Involvement in Exercise Therapy

(Science Daily) Researchers found that adding family-assisted exercise therapy to routine physical therapy after stroke improved motor function, balance, distance walked and ability to perform daily living activities. It also lowered the strain on the family member, who said participation lowered stress and was empowering.
"It's a win-win situation for everyone," said Emma Stokes, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator… "People with stroke, their families and healthcare providers share in the benefit."
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Ultrasound and Algorithms Could Lead to Better Breast Cancer Screening

(Science Daily) Recent research by doctoral student Sevan Goenezen holds the promise of becoming a powerful new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. His complex computational research has led to a fast, inexpensive new method for using ultrasound and advanced algorithms to differentiate between benign and malignant tumors with a high degree of accuracy…
This new technique uses ultrasound images of breast tissue to infer the mechanical properties of the tissue as it is compressed. The structure of collagen fibers within malignant tissues is very different from the collagen fiber structure in benign tissue. This method quantifies the non-linear behavior of the tumor tissue to determine whether it is cancerous…
Goenezen is confident that this new method could lead to less expensive, more effective, and safer diagnosis of breast cancer, which holds the potential to save many lives and significantly trim the screening costs for patients, doctors, and hospitals. Additionally, he said he believes this new method could be adapted to diagnose other diseases, including prostate cancer, cervical cancer, liver cirrhosis, and atherosclerosis.
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Chemo May Raise Risk of Falls in Breast Cancer Survivors

(HealthDay News) Breast cancer survivors may be at increased risk for falls and broken bones due to the combined effects of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy, a new study suggests…
Balance was the only difference between breast cancer survivors who fell and those who did not. The researchers said their findings also suggest that balance problems may be due to chemotherapy-related changes in the vestibular system, which is involved in balance and spatial orientation.
Community: I started having balance problems a few years ago, including dizzy spells, years after having had chemotherapy. But I’m discovering that I can regain balance by practicing standing, wearing walking shoes, on one foot at a time for one minute. A physical therapist told me not to use my hands to catch myself, but the raised foot, instead. She said catching myself with my foot sends a different message to my brain than using my hands. I haven’t had a dizzy spell in a while now.
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Constant Race-Based Discrimination Can Lead to 'Racial Battle Fatigue' for African-Americans

(Science Daily) Just as the constant pressure soldiers face on the battlefield can follow them home in the form of debilitating stress, African Americans who face chronic exposure to racial discrimination may have an increased likelihood of suffering a race-based battle fatigue, according to Penn State researchers.
African Americans who reported in a survey that they experienced more instances of racial discrimination had significantly higher odds of suffering generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) some time during their lives, according to Jose Soto, assistant professor, psychology.
Generalized anxiety disorder has both psychological and physical symptoms that are so severe that they can significantly affect everyday tasks and job performance. People with the disorder may have chronic worrying, intrusive thoughts and difficulty concentrating. Physically, the disorder may manifest such symptoms as tension headaches, extreme fatigue and ulcers.
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New Non-Surgical Autopsy Technique Set to Revolutionize Post-Mortem Practice

(Science Daily) A new non-surgical post-mortem technique that has the potential to revolutionise the way autopsies are conducted around the world has been pioneered by forensic pathologists and radiologists at the University of Leicester…
[Said Professor Guy Rutty,] "[W]e have successfully developed a quick and simple technique of 'minimally invasive targeted coronary angiography' where we inject contrast into the body of a deceased person through a small incision in the neck and then perform a full body CT scan. Using this method we are able to determine the cause of death in up to 80% of cases (in the series analysed to date).
"Basically, the technique is used to highlight and examine the vessels of the heart in people who have died. The technique is inexpensive, easy to use and applicable to natural and unnatural death, both single and mass fatalities."
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Fraud in drug studies investigated

(UPI) Millions of surgery patients in the United Kingdom were given controversial drugs on the basis of fraudulent research, authorities said…
Joachim Boldt, considered one of the world's leading anesthesiologists, is the focus of a criminal investigation amid allegations he may have forged as many as 90 crucial studies on the colloid drugs…
Boldt received funding from manufacturers of hydroxyethyl starch, the colloid he most strongly advocated, authorities said.
German medical authorities are examining 92 of Boldt's published papers amid allegations he forged documents, tested drugs on patients without their consent and fraudulently claimed payments for operations he never performed.
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More employees lose employer healthcare

(UPI) The percent of full-time workers getting healthcare from employers has steadily declined during the past three years to 45 percent in February, a survey says.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicates those covered by government healthcare -- Medicare, Medicaid, or military/veterans' benefits -- has increased during the same period. More than one in four American adults are currently covered by government healthcare.
The decline in employer-based coverage and increase in government healthcare has occurred as the number of unemployed increased.
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Early to Bed, Longer to Live

(RealAge.com) Get to bed a little earlier and you could extend your life. That's what a recent study suggests.
In the meta-analysis, where researchers pooled together the results of a body of research, it appeared that getting at least 6 hours of shut-eye each night was necessary for a long, healthy life. Any less than that was associated with a 12 percent increase in mortality risk…
Good sleep improves your mood, your immune system, and even your metabolism. But don't overdo a good thing. In the study, sleeping too much appeared to be even worse for longevity than sleeping too little. Getting more than 8 hours of sleep per night was associated with a 30 percent increase in mortality risk in the study participants. It's not clear why, but researchers suspect that underlying health problems may cause people to sleep extra long.
Community: If you have trouble sleeping, see RealAge’s Guide to Better Sleep.
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Lack of sleep takes a toll at work and while driving: study

(Reuters) Less than seven hours of sleep each night is leading to a host of sleep-related problems including drowsy driving and difficulty concentrating at work, according to two new studies released on Thursday.
Roughly one-third of adults in 12 states reported getting less than seven hours of sleep each night with about the same number saying they've unintentionally dozed off during the day, according to one of the studies on sleep-related behavior from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Stigma Often Adds to Burden of Obesity

(HealthDay News) Obese people are already at risk for a range of health issues, but their problems can be made worse if they feel they are being discriminated against because of their weight, researchers say…
Discrimination was reported by about 11 percent of participants who were moderately obese and 33 percent of those who were severely obese. These two groups had the sharpest decline over time in their functional abilities to perform daily activities, such as being able to climb stairs or carry items.
"Obesity is a physiological issue, but when people have negative interactions in their social world -- including a sense of being discriminated against -- it can make matters worse and contribute to a person's declining physical health," [ study leader Markus H.] Schafer said.
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Low Potassium Levels May Cause Type 2 Diabetes

(Science Daily) Lower potassium levels in the blood may help explain why African-Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as whites, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers.
The findings, if confirmed, suggest that part of diabetes prevention may someday prove as easy as taking a cheap potassium supplement.
"This research doesn't mean people should run out and start taking potassium supplements," says Hsin-Chieh "Jessica" Yeh, Ph.D… "But we now know lower serum potassium is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that African-Americans have, on average, lower potassium levels than whites. What remains to be seen is if increasing potassium levels through diet or supplementation can prevent the most common form of diabetes."
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Spice in curry may help treat cancer

(UPI) Turmeric, a bright yellow spice in curry and what makes mustard yellow, may help treat cancer in combination with an arthritis drug, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari … and colleagues found that curcumin -- turmeric's active ingredient -- can fight cancer when used in combination with a popular anti-inflammatory drug used to treat arthritis -- Celecoxib, which also inhibits proliferation of colon cancer in laboratory settings -- in alleviating the inflammatory response caused when cancer takes root in the body. The treatment has had promising results in human clinical trials, the researchers say.
Community: Other potential benefits of curcumin include: reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, preventing fatty liver disease, relieving pain, suppressing various cancers, reducing inflammation in conditions like psoriasis, reducing fat absorption, and reducing arterial plaques.
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Fiesta Chicken Tacos with Mango and Jicama Salad
Add fresh fruits and vegetables to spicy chicken tacos for an inspired Mexican meal.
Tuna-&-Tomato Mac & Cheese
Tuna mac & cheese takes a trip to the Southwest with spicy tomato and festive blue tortilla chips on top. Canned tomatoes with green chiles and ancho chile powder add a peppery kick, but if you like, you can keep it mellow by using a 14-ounce can of drained petite diced tomatoes and mild chili powder.
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Top 20 Unexpected Antioxidant-Rich Foods

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Practically daily, there’s some new news on the benefits of antioxidants, the cell-protecting nutrients found in a wide range of foods that can help combat heart disease, cancer, the effects of aging, and other conditions. To help you add more disease-fighting antioxidants to your diet, we’ve created this quick alphabetical list of 20 foods you may not have realized are excellent sources.
Note: To get the most from your meals, be sure to eat a wide variety of these foods…
Apples (such as Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Delicious, with skin)
Artichokes (cooked)
Beans (such as black, red kidney, pinto)
Blueberries (cultivated, wild)
Cherries (sweet)
Chocolate (dark)
Cranberries (cooked)
Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale)
Plums (black, red)
Sweet potatoes
Tea (black, green, white, oolong)
Wine (red)
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New Cell Therapy a Promising Atherosclerosis Treatment

(Science Daily) Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have shown in a new study on mice, that cell therapy can be used to reverse the effect of 'bad' LDL cholesterol and reduce the inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis. The new cell therapy, which is presented in the  scientific journal Circulation, can open the way for new therapies for stroke and myocardial infarction if the results prove translatable to humans.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammation of the blood vessels. Cholesterol is transported in the blood in particles called LDL ('bad' cholesterol) that can accumulate in the vessel walls. This triggers the body's immune system to react against LDL, which then cause inflammation in the vessels, and eventually thrombus formation. If such a thrombus forms in the coronary artery, the patient suffers a myocardial infarction; if it forms in the brain, a stroke can result.
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Liver, Not Brain, May Be Origin of Alzheimer’s Plaques

(Science Daily) Unexpected results from a [new] study could completely alter scientists' ideas about Alzheimer's disease -- pointing to the liver instead of the brain as the source of the "amyloid" that deposits as brain plaques associated with this devastating condition. The findings could offer a relatively simple approach for Alzheimer's prevention and treatment…
Gleevec [imatinib, an FDA-approved cancer drug] dramatically reduced beta amyloid not only in the blood, but also in the brain where the drug cannot penetrate. Thus, an appreciable portion of brain amyloid must originate outside of the brain, and imatinib represents a candidate for preventing and treating Alzheimer's.
Community: So maybe it’s no accident that curcumin helps prevent liver disease and Alzheimer’s, as reported above.
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U.S. team makes key memory cells in lab dish

(Reuters) U.S. researchers have coaxed stem cells into becoming a type of brain cell that dies off early in people with Alzheimer's disease.
The new technology would provide a ready supply of cells for use in testing new drugs or even transplants to help restore lost memory, the team reported on Friday.
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Fluorescent Peptides Help Nerves Glow in Surgery

(Science Daily) Accidental damage to thin or buried nerves during surgery can have severe consequences, from chronic pain to permanent paralysis. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine may have found a remedy: injectable fluorescent peptides that cause hard-to-see peripheral nerves to glow, alerting surgeons to their location even before the nerves are encountered…
"The analogy I use is that when construction workers are excavating, they need a map showing where the existing underground electrical cables are actually buried, not just old plans of questionable accuracy," said [Roger Tsien, PhD]. "Likewise when surgeons are taking out tumors, they need a live map showing where the nerves are actually located, not just a static diagram of where they usually lie in the average patient."
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Red eyes in photo OK, but not white eyes

(UPI) White spots in eyes that show up in a photograph mean it's time to see a physician, a Dallas ophthalmologist advises…
[I]f a white or iridescent pupil is noticeable in a photograph, a visit to an ophthalmologist or a pediatrician for evaluation may be of value, [Dr. Nick] Hogan says.
"Leukocoria, or white pupil, is caused by something blocking the red reflex," Hogan says. "Absence of blood in the retina would have to be extreme to reduce the red reflex and that would be enough to kill the retina, hence no reflection."
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New CPR Method Increases Survival Rate by 50 Percent, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A five-year clinical trial led by University of Minnesota Medical School researchers has led to a new method of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that improves long-term survival rates with good brain function by 50 percent.
The new technique goes beyond the standard hands-only compression-decompression method to include to two devices that increase blood circulation. Researchers found that the new device combination caused the heart and brain to receive nearly three times more blood flow during each compression-decompression cycle when compared to standard CPR.
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Heart Devices Not Tested Enough in Women: Study

(HealthDay News) On top of criticism that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves medical devices with too little oversight comes another troubling finding: Many heart-related devices win FDA approval without being adequately tested on women, despite an agency directive to do so.
This means that heart valves, pacemakers, defibrillators and stents get implanted in women without evidence that they benefit this population, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco say.
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White Patients Most Likely to Get Kidney Transplants: Study

(HealthDay News) Minorities have a significantly lower chance of getting a kidney transplant than whites do, claims a new study that calls for changes in the formula used to decide who gets which donated organs.
The research, conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle, found that once "waitlisted" for a needed kidney, white patients were 40 percent more likely to receive a transplant than blacks, Hispanics, Asians and others. Lack of health insurance, poverty and cultural barriers were partly to blame for the disparity, the researchers found.
"Unfortunately, the disparities that we describe largely mirror racial or ethnic disparities in general health care in the United States," said study author Dr. Yoshio Hall.
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Chimps, Too, May Use Laughter for Social Gain

(HealthDay News) Just like humans, chimpanzees mimic the laughter of others in order to strengthen social bonds, say researchers who studied 59 chimpanzees living in four groups in a sanctuary in Zambia…
"These sorts of responses may lead to important advantages in cooperation and social communication ... qualities that help explain why laughter and smiles have become integral tools of emotional intelligence in humans," [lead author Marina Davila-Ross said].
The study, being published in the journal Emotion, also found that chimpanzees in newer groups mimic the laughter of their companions more often than those in established groups, where the chimpanzees know one another well.
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Diabetes Ups Death Risk Overall, Study Shows

(HealthDay News) People with diabetes are 80 percent more likely to die prematurely than those without the disease -- and it's not just diabetes that's killing them.
Besides dying from vascular problems caused by diabetes, people with the blood sugar disease are also more likely to die prematurely from many other causes, including cancer, infections, falls, liver disease, mental disorders and even suicide, a new British analysis finds.
Community: So why not reduce the chances of getting the disease? 
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Diabetes out of control in many countries: study

(Reuters) People with diabetes in the United States and several other countries do not get effective treatment to control their disease, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday, and health insurance, not personal wealth, plays a big role in determining which diabetics get good care.
The findings suggest millions of people with diabetes are undiagnosed or poorly treated, putting them at risk of an early death from heart disease or significant complications of diabetes, such as blindness, chronic kidney disease and foot problems that can require amputations.
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Unemployment: A Health Risk

(Science Daily) Compared to people in employment, men and women who are unemployed suffer more often and longer from both physical and emotional complaints…
The health consequences of unemployment result from loss of income, loss of social contacts in the workplace, or loss of social reputation. Unemployed men and women who are supported by their partners, family members, or friends are less frequently affected by these complaints.
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Ibuprofen May Protect Against Parkinson's Disease

[Previous excerpt censored by the originating website.]
(AARP Bulletin) People who take ibuprofen two or more times a week are considerably less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who don't take the drug, according to a study…
The finding suggests this common over-the-counter painkiller (sold under brand names that include Advil, Motrin and Nuprin) may actually protect the brain against the degeneration that produces the symptoms of Parkinson's, including shaking, muscle stiffness and other difficulties with movement and coordination.
But lead author Xiang Gao, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health, says more research is needed to confirm a cause-and-effect link and to understand how the effect works before doctors should consider recommending ibuprofen to slow or prevent Parkinson's.
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Signaling Path in Brain May Prevent That 'I'm Full' Message

(Science Daily) Researchers … have identified a signaling pathway in the brain that's sufficient to induce cellular leptin resistance, a problem that decreases the body's ability to "hear" that it is full and should stop eating…
Leptin is a hormone released by fat cells that is known to indicate fullness, or satiety, in the brain. If the body is exposed to too much leptin, however, it will become resistant to the hormone. Once that occurs, the body can't "hear" the hormonal messages telling the body to stop eating and burn fat. Instead, a person remains hungry, craves sweets and stores more fat instead of burning it.
Leptin resistance also causes an increase in visceral, or belly, fat, which has been shown to predispose people to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
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Cooking Light:
Get Cooking!
March's Healthy Habits challenge is to cook at least 3 more meals per week than you are now. Find tips and recipes to accomplish your goal.
Lighter Beef Stroganoff
Our trimmed-down version cuts 30% of the calories and more than half the total fat from this classic beef-and-noodles dish.
Slow-Cooker Favorites
The slow cooker promises ultra-easy food preparation and these succulent recipes earned top marks from our staff and readers alike.
Twenty-Minute Chili
Try a Texas take on this cool-weather comfort food by serving it over rice with warm corn bread sticks on the side.
Tomato Soup
This simple tomato soup is perfect paired with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich. Make a double batch and freeze the extra for rainy-day emergencies.
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Blood Pressure Drugs May Help Heart Patients Without Hypertension

(HealthDay News) In people with heart disease, the use of blood pressure-lowering medications can be beneficial, even in those who don't have high blood pressure, new research suggests.
The study found that when people without high blood pressure were given blood pressure drugs, their risk of congestive heart failure, stroke, all-cause mortality and a combination of cardiovascular disease outcomes were reduced.
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New Hope for Lowering Cholesterol

(Science Daily) A promising new way to inhibit cholesterol production in the body has been discovered, one that may yield treatments as effective as existing medications but with fewer side-effects…
[A] team of researchers … report that an enzyme -- squalene mono-oxygenase (SM) -- plays a previously unrecognized role as a key checkpoint in cholesterol production. ..
[M]edications already widely used for treating fungal infections have been shown to work by inhibiting the fungal enzyme equivalent of SM. Anti-cholesterol drugs that target SM for human use still need to be tested.
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Use of Virtual Colonoscopy on the Rise in U.S. Hospitals

(HealthDay News) The use of virtual colonoscopies at U.S. hospitals is on the increase even though the procedure is not covered by Medicare, a new study finds.
Also referred to as computerized tomographic colonography (CTC), virtual colonoscopy uses virtual reality technology to provide doctors with a 3-D image that enables them to conduct an evaluation of the entire colon and rectum. CTC is an alternative to colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening.
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Hair Dyeing Poised for First Major Transformation in 150 Years

(Science Daily) Technological progress may be fast-paced in many fields, but one mundane area has been almost left in the doldrums for the last 150 years: The basic technology for permanently coloring hair. That's the conclusion of an analysis of almost 500 articles and patents on the chemistry of permanent hair dyeing, which foresees much more innovation in the years ahead, including longer lasting, more-natural-looking dyes and gene therapy to reverse the gray…
Future hair coloring techniques include nano-sized colorants, for instance. Composed of pigments 1/5,000th the width of a human hair, they will penetrate the hair and remain trapped inside for longer-lasting hair coloration. Scientists also are developing substances that stimulate the genes to produce the melanin pigment that colors hair. These substances promise to produce a wider range of more natural-looking colors, from blond to dark brown and black, with less likelihood of raising concerns about toxicity and better prospects for more natural results. Other new technologies may stop graying of the hair or prevent its formation altogether, the scientists say.
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Full Bladder, Better Decisions?

(Science Daily) What should you do when you really, REALLY have to "go"? Make important life decisions, maybe. Controlling your bladder makes you better at controlling yourself when making decisions about your future, too, according to a study…
The researchers found that the people with full bladders were better at holding out for the larger reward later. Other experiments reinforced this link; for example, in one, just thinking about words related to urination triggered the same effect.
"You seem to make better decisions when you have a full bladder," [researcher Mirjam] Tuk says. So maybe you should drink a bottle of water before making a decision about your stock portfolio, for example. Or perhaps stores that count on impulse buys should keep a bathroom available to customers, since they might be more willing to go for the television with a bigger screen when they have an empty bladder.
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Scientists Generate Pluripotent Stem Cells from Horses

(Science Daily) In a world first, pluripotent stem cells have been generated from horses by a team of researchers… The findings will help enable new stem-cell based regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine, and because horses' muscle and tendon systems are similar to our own, aid the development of preclinical models leading to human applications…
"The horse is an excellent model for a range of human degenerative diseases, especially those involving joints, bones, tendons and ligaments, such as arthritis," said Dr. Sheila Laverty… "Bone fracture, as well as damaged cartilage, tendons and ligaments heal poorly in horses. Therefore, the use of iPS cells in these animals may help enhance long-term tissue repair." Further research will be required to develop clinical treatments.
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Human Stem Cells from Fat Tissue Fuse With Rat Heart Cells and Beat

(Science Daily) If Dr. Doolittle is famous for talking to animals, then here's a story that might make him hold his tongue: According to new research…, scientists have successfully fused human stem cells derived from subcutaneous adipose (fat) tissue with muscle cells from rat hearts. Not only did these cells "talk" to form new muscle cells altogether, but they actually beat.
"Recovery of regenerative cells located in the stromal vascular fraction of a patient's own subcutaneous tissue is relatively simple and can be used for self-healing," said Christopher Alt, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work… "A patient's quality of life can be improved by application of those recovered regenerative cells to the heart, as well as to bone, tendons, non-healing wounds and joints."
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Learning from Old Bones to Treat Modern Back Pain

(Science Daily) The bones of people who died up to a hundred years ago are being used in the development of new treatments for chronic back pain. It is the first time old bones have been used in this way…
The data generated, on different spine conditions and on how spines vary in size and shape, is playing a key role in the development of innovative computer models. This will enable the potential impact of new treatments and implant materials (such as keyhole spinal surgery and artificial disc replacements) to be evaluated before they are used on patients.
Ultimately, it will also be possible to use the models to pinpoint the type of treatment best suited to an individual patient.
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