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

Keys to Long Life? Not What You Might Expect

(Science Daily) Cheer up. Stop worrying. Don’t work so hard. Good advice for a long life? As it turns out, no. In a groundbreaking study of personality as a predictor of longevity, University of California, Riverside researchers found just the opposite…
Many of the UCR [Longevity Project] findings fly in the face of conventional wisdom. For example:
· Marriage may be good for men's health, but doesn't really matter for women…
· Being divorced is much less harmful to women's health…
· "Don't work too hard, don't stress," doesn't work as advice for good health and long life. Terman subjects who were the most involved and committed to their jobs did the best…
· Starting formal schooling too early -- being in first grade before age 6 -- is a risk factor for earlier mortality. Having sufficient playtime and being able to relate to classmates is very important for children.
· Playing with pets is not associated with longer life. Pets may sometimes improve well-being, but they are not a substitute for friends.
· Combat veterans are less likely to live long lives, but surprisingly the psychological stress of war itself is not necessarily a major health threat. Rather, it is a cascade of unhealthy patterns that sometimes follows…
· People who feel loved and cared for report a better sense of well-being, but it doesn't help them live longer. The clearest health benefit of social relationships comes from being involved with and helping others…
It's never too late to choose a healthier path, [Howard S.] Friedman and [Leslie R.] Martin said. The first step is to throw away the lists and stop worrying about worrying…
"Thinking of making changes as taking 'steps' is a great strategy," Martin advised. "You can't change major things about yourself overnight. But making small changes, and repeating those steps, can eventually create that path to longer life."
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Insecurity in Relationships Binds People to Possessions

(HealthDay News) People who attach more value to their possessions may be less secure in their personal relationships than those who put less value on material goods, a new study reports…
"The take-home point from this study is that life satisfaction involves a great deal more than the acquisition of possessions," said Richard Morrissey, director for the Center for Psychological Services at St. John's University… "Things provide us with a sense of security, but if we feel secure in relationships, we can place less value on stuff."
Morrissey said therapy can help people change the way they're thinking and aid them in understanding that they don't need to purchase things to feel better.
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Text Messages May Help Smokers Kick the Addiction, Small Study Finds

(HealthDay News) Text messages may help smokers kick the addiction, particularly if they are tailored to the individual, according to researchers who conducted two studies on 27 heavy smokers.
In one study, functional MRI was used to pinpoint the brain regions most active in controlling urges to smoke, which researchers described as "a war that consists of a series of momentary self-control skirmishes." The study found that participants who had the most activity in the key regions of their brains during testing were also the most likely to resist their desire to smoke -- something that was documented in their responses to later text messages.
Since the MRI scans predicted a person's ability to control their responses to cravings, the researchers speculated that it may be possible to customize smoking cessation programs to a person's own capacity for self-control.
Community: This method should help with other addictions, too, including food addiction.
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Study challenges "carb counting" in diabetes

(Reuters Health) - How many carbs you eat might be less important for your blood sugar than your food's glycemic load, a measure that also takes into account how quickly you absorb those carbs.
That's the conclusion of a new study of healthy adults, which questions the way people with type 1 diabetes determine how much insulin they should take before meals…
Foods with soluble fiber, such as apples and rolled oats, typically have a low glycemic index, one of the contributors to glycemic load…
The glycemic load repeatedly trumped the carb count in predicting the blood sugar and insulin rise after a meal…
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the amount of carbs in grams per serving by the food's glycemic index divided by 100. The glycemic index for a variety of foods can be found at www.glycemicindex.com/.
Foods with a low glycemic index cause the blood sugar to rise slowly, and so put little pressure on the pancreas to produce insulin.
Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers say their findings also suggest that eating foods with high glycemic loads could be linked to chronic disease like type 2 diabetes - which does not require insulin injections -- and heart disease by raising blood sugar and insulin levels.
But that is not clear from the study, which only looked at blood sugar and insulin changes up to two hours after a meal, said [Dr. Edward J.] Boyko.
Community: According to the Glycemic Index website, mentioned above:
How to Switch to a Low GI Diet
The basic technique for eating the low GI way is simply a "this for that" approach - ie, swapping high GI carbs for low GI carbs. You don't need to count numbers or do any sort of mental arithmetic to make sure you are eating a healthy, low GI diet.
· Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
· Use breads with wholegrains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
· Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
· Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
· Use Basmati or Doongara rice
· Enjoy pasta, noodles, quinoa
· Eat plenty of salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing
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Add These Herbs to Meals to Prevent Hip Pain

(RealAge.com) About 15 percent of older adults regularly deal with hip pain. But in a recent study of women, those who tended to eat lots of produce -- particularly herbs from the allium family, such as onions and garlic -- showed fewer signs of hip osteoarthritis in x-ray tests.
The study analyzed the diets of a large group of middle-aged adult twins, most of whom did not have symptoms of arthritis when the study started. Eating lots of allium herbs correlated with less arthritis in the hip…
Garlic and onions are probably the widest known allium produce. But there are also leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives to consider. Each adds its own unique flavor to savory dishes. Try topping baked potatoes with chives, slip some roasted garlic on top of that pizza, put some onions on your sandwiches, and give vegetable dishes extra herb flare with roasted leeks and shallots. (Find out what other foods help keep joints healthy.)
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Filet Mignon with Arugula Salad
Arugula, a peppery salad green, makes a tasty bed for pan-seared steak. Asiago garlic bread is a fitting accompaniment. 
EatingWell:
Seared Steaks with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola
We recommend seeking out good-quality Gorgonzola for the best flavor, but any will work. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.
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Aspirin May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer -- But Only in Certain People

(HealthDay News) Taking aspirin to protect against colorectal cancer may be effective, but mostly in people at increased risk for the disease due to elevated levels of an inflammatory biomarker in their blood, according to a new study…
[R]esearchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that elevated baseline levels of an inflammatory marker called "soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor-2 (sTNFR-2)" were associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer and also predicted who might benefit from taking aspirin or other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
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Aspirin, other meds linked to stomach bleeding risks

(Reuters Health) People taking low doses of aspirin to protect their heart may be at risk for stomach bleeding, and those taking both aspirin and other common drugs may have an even higher bleeding risk, according to a new study…
The results showed that people taking any daily dose of aspirin were at almost twice the risk of having stomach bleeding than people not taking aspirin. People taking both aspirin and Plavix were three to four times more likely to have a stomach bleed than those taking neither drug.
Patients who were taking aspirin in addition to a range of other drugs, including anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin), had a higher bleeding risk than those taking just aspirin.
Despite these risks, Rodríguez said that aspirin is an important drug for people who have already had a heart attack and are trying to prevent a second.
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Sunlight Can Influence the Breakdown of Medicines in the Body

(Science Daily) A study … has shown that the body's ability to break down medicines may be closely related to exposure to sunlight, and thus may vary with the seasons. The findings offer a completely new model to explain individual differences in the effects of drugs, and how the surroundings can influence the body's ability to deal with toxins…
[A]nalysis showed that the concentrations of drugs such as tacrolimus and sirolimus, which are used to prevent rejection following transplantation, vary throughout the year in a manner that closely reflects changes in the level of vitamin D in the body. The ability of the body to form vitamin D depends on sunlight, and the highest levels in the patients taking part in the study were reached during that part of the year when the levels of the drugs were lowest.
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Nanoscale Whiskers from Sea Creatures Could Grow Human Muscle Tissue

(Science Daily) Minute whiskers of nanoscale dimensions taken from sea creatures could hold the key to creating working human muscle tissue, University of Manchester researchers have discovered.
Scientists have found that cellulose from tunicates, commonly known as sea squirts, can influence the behaviour of skeletal muscle cells in the laboratory…
The method is both simple and relatively quick, which could lead to doctors and scientists having the ability to create the normal aligned architecture of skeletal muscle tissue.
This tissue could be used to help repair existing muscle or even grow muscle from scratch.
Creating artificial tissue which can be used to replace damaged or diseased human muscles could revolutionise healthcare, and be of huge benefit to millions of people all over the world.
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How Do People Respond to Being Touched by a Robotic Nurse?

(Science Daily) For people, being touched can initiate many different reactions from comfort to discomfort, from intimacy to aggression. But how might people react if they were touched by a robot? Would they recoil, or would they take it in stride? In an initial study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot's intent made a significant difference…
In the study, researchers looked at how people responded when a robotic nurse, known as Cody, touched and wiped a person's forearm. Although Cody touched the subjects in exactly the same way, they reacted more positively when they believed Cody intended to clean their arm versus when they believed Cody intended to comfort them.
These results echo similar studies done with nurses.
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Humans Age at Same Pace as Other Primates, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) New research challenges the belief that humans age at a slower pace than other animal species…
[R]esearchers who conducted the first-ever comparison of human aging patterns with those of other primates (including chimps and gorillas) found that they all have similar aging rates, which is the rate at which death risk increases with age…
The investigators also confirmed a pattern noted in humans and other animals -- as animals age, males die sooner than females. However, among primates, a species of monkey called the muriqui, which has been noted to have the least amount of male-male aggression, has the smallest death gap between males and females, the study authors noted.
Community: Scientific proof that aggression kills the aggressor?
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Banana Peels Get a Second Life as Water Purifier

(Science Daily) To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels -- which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants -- scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals. Their report, which concludes that minced banana peel performs better than an array of other purification materials…
Gustavo Castro and colleagues note that mining processes, runoff from farms, and industrial wastes can all put heavy metals, such as lead and copper, into waterways. Heavy metals can have adverse health and environmental effects. Current methods of removing heavy metals from water are expensive, and some substances used in the process are toxic themselves…
The researchers found that minced banana peel could quickly remove lead and copper from river water as well as, or better than, many other materials. A purification apparatus made of banana peels can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-binding properties, they note. 
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Invisible and Odorless, Radon Poses Risks to Lungs

(HealthDay News) It may be hard to think of radiation as a present and serious environmental health concern in the United States, much less one with the potential to affect nearly every home in the country.
But a radioactive gas known as radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute…
Radon gas is created by the breakdown of uranium in rocks, soil and water. It seeps up through the ground and into homes through foundation cracks and crawl spaces…
Outside, radon seeping up from the ground floats away into the atmosphere, causing no harm. But a building acts as a container for any radon seeping up from beneath it, capturing the gas and allowing it to concentrate.
Houses in the Northeast and Midwest tend to have higher radon levels than those elsewhere in the United States, [Dr. Michael] Thun said…
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers more information in A Citizen's Guide to Radon.
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U.S. to publish radiation data from airport screening

(Reuters) The Transportation Security Administration said on Friday it will start publishing radiation test results from airport passenger and luggage screening equipment in a bid to allay lingering fears about potential health risks…
"Independent third-party testing has confirmed that all TSA technology is safe," TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a statement. "TSA takes significant steps to ensure the safety and health of passengers and our workforce as we work to protect our nation from terrorist threats."
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Pressure, Radiation Rising at Japanese Reactors After Quake

(Bloomberg) Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it lost control of pressure building at three reactors at one of its nuclear power plants, and radiation levels are rising at another after a powerful earthquake shut down the plants’ cooling systems.
The company is venting radioactive vapor at the Dai-Ichi plant in Fukushima, Japan, to reduce the pressure building up from steam inside the reactor containment structure, Tokyo Electric Power said in a statement. It’s preparing to vent at the second plant, also.
Community: We need to concentrate on obtaining energy from sunlight, wind, thermal, and other renewable sources, not from nuclear fission. It’s just too dangerous.
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Daylight saving: Time for improving sleep

(UPI) Daylight saving time, which begins Sunday, gives people an opportunity to practice good sleep habits that they should retain all year, a U.S. sleep expert says…
To practice good sleep habits, [Dr. Aparajitha] Verma suggests:
-- Sleep in a quiet and dark environment and set the thermostat at a slightly cooler temperature.
-- Don't allow pets in the bed.
-- No reading, eating or watching TV in bed.
-- Don't watch the clock if you can't fall asleep.
-- Set a "wind down" time prior to going to bed.
-- Don't take over-the-counter sleep aids and avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime, because they can disrupt sleep. Instead, try drinking warms tea or milk to increase your body temperature, which helps induce and sustain sleep.
-- Exercise is good for sleep, but not within two hours of bedtime.
Community: I'm sleeping much more soundly since I started wearing a sleep mask.
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Fat Alone, Not Where It Sits, May Be Key to Heart Problems

(HealthDay News) In a finding that contradicts earlier research, an international study suggests that being obese boosts the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke regardless of where the excess fat is stored in the body…
Complicating matters, however, is the study's additional finding that the standard diagnostic measurements of fat -- such as body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio -- are not the most reliable tools for assessing heart disease risk.
Better indicators, it says, are blood cholesterol measurements and blood pressure readings.
"While excess fat level does remain a very important risk factor, for [doctors] who really want to predict cardiovascular risk in patients, it is enough to look at cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking background, regardless of the patient's obesity status," [Dr. Emanuele] Di Angelantonio said.
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Blood pressure drugs feeding the obesity epidemic?

(Reuters Health) Blood pressure drugs known as beta-blockers could be helping to fuel the obesity epidemic, by dampening the body's ability to burn calories and fat over the long term, researchers say in a new report.
Weight gain is a known side effect of beta blockers, particularly older ones such as atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL). Newer versions, like carvedilol (Coreg), appear to carry less risk of added pounds.
Beta-blockers are not the only medications that promote weight gain. Antidepressants, corticosteroids and some diabetes medications are among the other culprits.
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Redefining normal blood pressure

(UPI) Some 100 million U.S. adults may be misclassified with abnormal blood pressure, but they may not be more likely to die prematurely, researchers said…
The research team said those with abnormal blood pressure are not more likely to die prematurely than those with normal blood pressure -- below 120/80 below millimeters of mercury…
[Dr. Brent Taylor said,] "If we cannot reliably see an effect on mortality in a large group of individuals followed for nearly 20 years, should we define the condition as abnormal?"
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Can Coffee Cut Stroke Risk?

(HealthDay News) Women who have at least one cup of coffee -- or even five cups -- daily may be reducing their risk of stroke by as much as 25 percent, new Swedish research shows.
And women who don't drink coffee at all may actually be increasing their risk for stroke, the researchers noted.
However, the researchers added, these findings are preliminary and should not cause any change in coffee-drinking habits.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Stir-fry a zesty shrimp dish for a quick weeknight dinner. Spoon over basmati or jasmine rice. Try the recipe with chicken or steak, too.
EatingWell:
Pistachio-Crusted Tuna Steaks
Pistachio crust teams up with a savory mustard-dill sauce for an exceptional tuna dish. Choose “sushi grade” tuna steaks if you prefer a milder flavor. Make it a meal: Serve with brown rice and steamed broccolini.
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Engineered Protein Has Potential for New Anti-Inflamatory Treatment

(Science Daily) Researchers from across multiple disciplines at NYU Langone Medical Center created a new protein molecule derived from the growth factor progranulin may provide the basis for new therapies in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis…
"The development of this protein extends our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive the growth factors and cytokines control of cartilage development and arthritis," said Chuan-ju Liu, PhD, the lead researcher… "Whether the protein accounts for all of the anti-inflammatory effects we observed in the study needs to replicated, but we are very encouraged by these initial results."
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Newly Discovered Role for Enzyme in Neurodegenerative Diseases

(Science Daily) Research suggests that microglial cells -- the nerve system's primary immune cells -- play a critical part in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The over-activation of these cells in the brain can cause inflammation, resulting in neuronal death.
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet and Seville University, working in collaboration with colleagues at Lund University, have now found a way to prevent the activation of the microglia and consequently the inflammation they cause. The key is the blocking of enzymes called caspases, which the team has shown control microglial activation.
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Patient's Own Bone Marrow Stem Cells May Provide Treatment for Brain Injuries

(Science Daily) Stem cells derived from a patient's own bone marrow were safely used in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to results of a Phase I clinical trial…
"Our data demonstrate that the acute harvest of bone marrow and infusion of bone marrow mononuclear cells to acutely treat severe TBI in children is safe," said Charles S. Cox, Jr., M.D., the study's lead author…
All the children were treated within 48 hours of their injury with their own stem cells, which were collected from their bone marrow, processed and returned to them intravenously…
As a Phase I trial designed to look at feasibility and safety, the study did not assess efficacy. However, after six months of follow-up, all of the children had significant improvement and seven of the 10 children had a "good outcome," meaning no or only mild disability.
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Cerebral Spinal Fluid Guides Stem Cell Development in the Brain

(Science Daily) Cerebrospinal fluid -- the clear and watery substance that bathes the brain and spinal cord -- is much more important to brain development than previously realized.
[I]nvestigator Christopher Walsh [and] colleagues have discovered that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contains a complex mix of proteins that changes dramatically with age. In the lab, CSF by itself is enough to support the growth of neural stem cells, and this effect is particularly robust in young brains…
Because CSF is made in the choroid plexus -- the tiny knob in the brain's chambers that forms the interface between the bloodstream and the brain -- it could explain part of the mystery of how changes in the body link up to the brain. For example, if you exercise a lot, you form more brain cells.
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Synthetic Compound May Lead to Drugs to Fight Pancreatic, Lung Cancer

(Science Daily) Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a chemical compound that may eventually lead to a drug that fights cancers that are dependent on a particular anti-viral enzyme for growth…
The investigation, which lasted three and a half years, revealed how activation of the natural virus-fighting protein TBK-1 is hijacked in cancer cells to support growth and survival.
More than 250,000 compounds were screened to find one that would inhibit the enzyme's cancer-protection mechanism. The most effective, a compound called 6-aminopyrazolopyrimidine developed in collaboration with pharmaceutical company Amgen, blocked TBK-1's effects in 40 percent to 50 percent of the non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer tissue cultures tested, reducing cancer growth.
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Medical Microcamera the Size of a Grain of Salt Gives Razor-Sharp Images, Very Inexpensively

(Science Daily) There have been gloves and shavers for one-off use for a long time. In future, there will also be disposable endoscopes for minimally invasive operations on the human body. A new microcamera is what makes it possible. It is as large as a grain of salt, supplies razor-sharp pictures and can be manufactured very inexpensively…
It is not only medical technology, but also the automotive industry that is interested in this tiny camera. Presently, they are researching the possibility of replacing outside rearview mirrors on cars with microcameras. This would reduce flow resistance and energy consumption. Beyond this, installed in fittings, this camera would be able to calculate the driver's eye movements and prevent him from nodding off for a few seconds. 
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Hospital Safety Varies Widely Nationwide: Report

(HealthDay News) Certain types of medical errors are 46 percent less likely to occur at top-rated U.S. hospitals than bottom-ranked hospitals, according to a new study…
Nationwide, hospitals varied widely in their performance, according to the annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals report, but some hospitals have made significant improvements, said study co-author Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality service…
"[T]here are huge, life-and-death consequences associated with where a patient chooses to seek hospital care," May said in a HealthGrades news release. "Until we bridge that gap, HealthGrades urges patients to research the patient safety ratings of hospitals in their community and know what steps they can take to protect themselves from error before being admitted."
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Patients offered safe drug disposal

(UPI) Officials at the National Community Pharmacists Association say [that the] 40 percent of prescriptions not taken by patients generates some 200 million pounds of unused pharmaceuticals each year.
Robert J. Greenwood, president of the NCPA and a pharmacy owner in Waterloo, Iowa, says unused medications are a contributor to accidental poisonings and deaths, which in a recent six-year period increased by 80 percent.
Greenwood and other pharmacists are encouraging patients to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medications -- other than controlled substances -- at a local independent community pharmacy as part of its "Dispose My Meds program."
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Massachusetts health plan gets high marks: poll

(Reuters) A large majority of Massachusetts residents are satisfied with the commonwealth's subsidized health plan, which has components similar to the Obama administration's federal plan, according to a poll released on Thursday.
The poll by Market Decisions, a research and consulting group, found that 84 percent of residents are satisfied with the Massachusetts plan, which requires most adults to have health insurance. A similar requirement in President Barack Obama's health plan has been challenged by a group of states in the courts and the case is working its way through appeals.
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Americans Have Worse Health Than English Peers, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) From birth through old age, Americans have poorer health than their British counterparts, a new study finds…
After all the numbers were crunched, Americans had higher rates of nearly all chronic diseases and markers of diseases than people of a similar age in England.
Those diseases and signs of poor health included: obesity, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high overall cholesterol, high C-reactive protein (a sign of inflammation), diabetes and asthma…
[N]ot only were the American poor worse off than the English poor, the affluent in the United States were worse off than the affluent in England.
Likewise, the obese in England were generally healthier than the obese in the United States, and so on…
The worse health comes in spite of consuming far more health-care dollars than other countries, according to Mauricio Avendano, a research fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, who co-wrote an accompanying editorial.
Americans make up just 5 percent of the world's population, yet they represent more than half of every medical dollar spent on the planet, Avendano said…
The relative weakness of the U.S. social safety nets may mean less security and more stress, and that can also take a toll on health, Avendano suggested.
Community: Sounds like a little bit of socialism may be good for human health.
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High-Volume Portable Music Players May Impair Ability to Clearly Discriminate Sounds

(Science Daily) Growing numbers of people enjoy listening to music on portable music players or cell phones, and many tend to turn up the volume, especially in noisy surroundings.
[In a study,] researchers demonstrated that listening to loud music through earphones for extended periods in noisy surroundings can cause neurophysiological changes related to clear discrimination of sounds, even if the hearing threshold is normal. This auditory abnormality concerns "the vividness of sounds" and cannot be recognized by the usual hearing test in which subjects are examined using a series of individual tones in a silent environment. These results may support a future auditory assessment plan for long-term portable music player users.
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Ways to Naturally Prevent Chronic Headaches

(Reader’s Digest) Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Try one of these natural methods to keep your headaches under control.
Book appointments for acupuncture.
Numerous studies attest to acupuncture’s benefits in treating and preventing chronic headaches…
Have your feet rubbed.
Reflexology–which involves massaging or pressing specific points on the feet–improved headaches in 81 percent of 220 chronic headache patients who participated in a clinical trial testing it…
See a chiropractor.
One review of eight clinical trials found that spinal manipulation improved chronic tension and migraine headaches as well as, or better than, aspirin or a placebo…
Decline that drink.
Alcohol is a known headache trigger…
Cut out any food triggers.
Some foods can provoke headaches, including citrus fruits, chocolate, dairy, and foods that contain tyramine, like aged cheese and cured meats. So can some food additives…
Improve your posture.
If you sit in front of a computer all day, eye and neck strain can lead to headaches…
Get a good night’s sleep.
Insomnia or restless sleep can land you with a headache the next day.
Swallow fish oil supplements.
Because inflammation contributes to headaches and fish oil counters inflammation, try taking 3 grams fish oil a day to relieve frequent headaches.
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Curbing Cholesterol Could Help Combat Infections, Study Shows

(Science Daily) Lowering cholesterol could help the body's immune system fight viral infections, researchers have found. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have shown a direct link between the workings of the immune system and cholesterol levels.
"What we have discovered is that a key immune hormone stimulated upon infection can lower cholesterol levels and thereby deprive viral infections of the sustenance they need to grow," said Professor Peter Ghazal…"Drugs currently exist to lower cholesterol levels, but the next step would be to see if such drugs would also work to help bolster our immune systems."
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Recipes

Cooking Light:
Grab-and-Go Quick Breakfast Recipes
Eating a smart breakfast leads to healthier choices all day long. Make any one of these quick breakfast recipes ahead, and that's one less thing you have to do tomorrow morning.
Superfast Chicken Recipes
Quicken your chicken with these dishes that require only 20 minutes or less to prepare.
Comforting Casseroles
These classic comfort food dishes are great any time of year, but their warm heartiness make casseroles ideal for colder months.
MyRecipes.com:
Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
Fresh spinach, chicken, and a combination of cheeses make this pasta dish comforting enough for the last days of winter yet fresh enough for the first days of spring.
EatingWell:
Orzo with Lamb, Olives & Feta
Sure, orzo is good in soup, but there's no need to stop there. Here it's a base for a bold blend of spices, tomato sauce and flavorful ground lamb. The optional pinch of crushed red pepper will add the heat that many crave.
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As We Sleep, Speedy Brain Waves Boost Our Ability to Learn

(Science Daily) Scientists have long puzzled over the many hours we spend in light, dreamless slumber. But a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests we're busy recharging our brain's learning capacity during this traditionally undervalued phase of sleep, which can take up half the night.
UC Berkeley researchers have found compelling evidence that bursts of brain waves known as "sleep spindles" may be networking between key regions of the brain to clear a path to learning. These electrical impulses help to shift fact-based memories from the brain's hippocampus -- which has limited storage space -- to the prefrontal cortex's "hard drive," thus freeing up the hippocampus to take in fresh data. Spindles are fast pulses of electricity generated during non-REM sleep, and they can occur up to 1,000 times a night.
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Aspirin's Ability to Protect Against Colorectal Cancer May Depend on Inflammatory Pathways

(Science Daily) The reduced risk of colorectal cancer associated with taking aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be confined to individuals already at risk because of elevations in a particular inflammatory factor in the blood…
"These findings suggest that a blood biomarker may be helpful in deciding whether individuals should take aspirin or NSAIDs to reduce their cancer risk," says Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, of the MGH Gastrointestinal Unit, the paper's lead author. "They also indicate that chronic inflammatory pathways are quite complex and further studies are needed to understand which facets of the inflammatory response are most associated with the development of colorectal cancer."
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FDA Approves 1st New Lupus Drug in More Than 5 Decades

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday gave lupus patients their first new treatment option in more than 50 years when it approved Benlysta as a way to ease the painful symptoms of this debilitating autoimmune disorder.
Injected directly into a vein, Benlysta is the first drug designed to target a protein that may reduce the number of abnormal B cells believed to be at the root of lupus, the FDA said in a news release.
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New Drug May Trim Insulin Injections

(HealthDay News) A preliminary study reports that people with diabetes were able to get injections of a new insulin drug just three times a week without major ill effects.
The findings still need to be confirmed in another phase of research, and it's not clear how much the drug would cost if it were approved for this use.
But those caveats aside, the study raises the possibility that people with type 2 diabetes might be able to escape the difficult regimens that require them to inject themselves with insulin as often as four times a day.
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Newly Identified Spider Toxin May Help Uncover Novel Ways of Treating Pain and Human Diseases

(Science Daily) Spider venom toxins are useful tools for exploring how ion channels operate in the body. These channels control the flow of ions across cell membranes, and are key components in a wide variety of biological processes and human diseases.
A newly identified toxin from the American funnel web spider acts on T-type and N-type calcium channels, researchers from the University of California at Riverside have discovered. The toxin offers a new target for studying T-type channels, which play a role in congestive heart failure, hypertension, epilepsy and pain.
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