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

Weight Loss Success in a 3-D Virtual World

(Science Daily) Participants in two weight-loss programs -- one involving traditional health club sessions and the other delivered online in a 3D virtual world -- lost similar amounts of weight and body fat, but the online contingent reported significantly greater gains in behaviors that could help them live healthier and leaner lives…
"The virtual world program was at least as beneficial as the face-to-face program and in some ways, more effective," [researcher Jeanne] Johnston said. "It has the potential to reach people who normally wouldn't go to a gym or join a program because of limitations, such as time or discomfort with a fitness center environment."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Hula-Hoop Might Help Shed Unwanted Pounds

(HealthDay News) The Hula-Hoop, a large ring that can be gyrated around the waist, gained intense popularity in the 1950s and now it seems to be re-emerging as a hot trend in weight loss, a new study has found.
"Hooping" expends the same amount of energy as walking 4 to 4.5 miles per hour -- enough to help a person firm up and slim down, according to a news release from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). And "it's becoming a popular form of choreographed group exercise," study author John Porcari, of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, said in the news release.
Community: I never was able to make a Hula Hoop rotate.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Stay Slim by Flicking This Switch

(RealAge.com) Talk about an easy way to lose weight . . . a new study suggests that you could avoid packing on extra pounds just by flicking a switch.
The switch in question? Your bedroom light. Or that patio light that always wakes you up at night. Or that alarm clock that's too bright. A new animal study suggests that being exposed to even just a little bit of light at night might make you fat…
Community: I’ve been sleeping much more soundly since I bought a sleep mask.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fit Doctors More Likely to Prescribe Exercise: Study

(HealthDay News) Medical students who are physically fit are more likely to encourage their future patients to exercise, according to a new study.
Researchers found that medical students who had normal cholesterol levels and who met the current U.S. physical activity guidelines often felt strongly that being active themselves would set a better example for the people they were treating.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

USDA works to address 'food deserts'

(UPI) The federal government is funding $10 million to increase locally grown food availability in so-called food deserts -- areas where fresh produce is hard to buy.
Part of first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, will expand the availability of nutritious food to food deserts -- low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food -- by developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores and farmers markets with fresh and healthy food.
"These grants will put resources into rural and urban economies to create and support direct marketing opportunities for farmers" Kathleen Merrigan, deputy agriculture secretary, says in a statement. "Consumer and farmer enthusiasm for direct marketing has never been greater. This year we will place emphasis on food deserts because America's low income and underserved communities need greater access to healthy, fresh food."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Pesto Halibut Kebabs
Make this fresh, colorful 15-minute meal with just 4 simple ingredients. Serve halibut with Israeli couscous tossed with toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and chopped fresh parsley.
EatingWell:
Jerk Pork Loin
“Jerk” isn't Jamaican for “as hot as you can stand it.” Instead, a jerk paste should be a carefully blended, aromatic melange, as much nose tickle as tongue spike. Here we use that flavorful paste on grilled pork loin… If you have time, marinate the pork the full 24 hours for the best flavor.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

3 Reasons to Eat More Carrots

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Carrots aren't just for rabbits - these inexpensive root vegetables are a versatile, delicious and nutritious addition to a healthy diet, and are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds. These familiar orange edibles also provide:
1.    Beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment important for healthy vision.
2.    High levels of biotin, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamine and potassium.
3.    A significant amount of dietary fiber.
Use these tasty snacks as a healthy alternative to potato chips and other unhealthy processed foods - add some to a salad, steam them as a side dish, and you might even try them as a low-calorie, nutritious treat for your canine companion!
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Omega-3 fats linked to lower diabetes risk

(Reuters Health) People who get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets may have lowered odds of developing type 2 diabetes, two new reports suggest.
In one study, of more than 3,000 older U.S. adults, researchers found that those with the highest blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- two omega-3s found in fatty fish -- were about one-third less likely to develop diabetes over the next decade than their counterparts with the lowest levels.
In the other, researchers found that among 43,000 Singapore adults, those who got the most alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in their diets had a decreased diabetes risk. ALA is an omega-3 fat found in certain plant foods, including flaxseed, canola oil and soy.
But before anyone runs out to buy fish oil pills, researchers caution that their findings do not prove that omega-3 fats, themselves, fight diabetes. The fats may, for instance, be markers for some other aspect of the participants' diet or lifestyle that influences diabetes risk.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Vegans may be at risk for low iodine: study

(Reuters Health) Some vegans may not be getting enough iodine in their diets, suggests a new study…
[Dr. Robert Smallridge, an endocrinologist who was not involved in the new research] said that this study tells doctors that they should be encouraging their vegan patients to get enough iodine, and possibly trying to identify vegetarian patients who may be at risk of iodine deficiency as well.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Nourish Your Blood Vessels with This Vitamin

(RealAge.com) Can you fend off heart problems just by popping a vitamin? Sounds too good to be true. But it isn't.
In a recent study, people who were D deficient had stiffer arteries and the cells that lined their arteries showed greater signs of dysfunction. But everything got better quickly -- and their blood pressure improved, too! -- once they got their D levels back to normal…
You don't want to go overboard with D. But most people don't get enough. RealAge recommends 1,000 IU per day -- or closer to 1,200 IU if you're over 60. It not only helps your body use calcium, but more and more research suggests D is a serious heart-helper.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Meditation May Help Women Cope With Hot Flashes

(HealthDay News) An easy-to-learn meditation technique can help ease the hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia of menopause, a new study says.
The University of Massachusetts research showed that mindfulness training, based on a Buddhist meditation concept, reduced the distress associated with hot flashes and improved physical, psychosocial and sexual functioning.
"The findings are important because hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopause symptoms in the past, has been associated with health risks," said study author James Carmody.
Community: You can train yourself in mindfulness meditation using an audio CD made by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., the founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Popular Blood Pressure Meds Not Linked to Cancer, FDA Says

(HealthDay News) A class of drugs widely used to treat high blood pressure doesn't boost the risk of cancer, as a recent analysis suggested, U.S. health authorities announced Thursday.
The drugs are known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and include medicines such as telmisartan (Micardis), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan) and candesartan (Atacand).
The determination comes from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which just concluded a safety review of the drugs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Bone Drug Reduces Odds for Breast Cancer's Return: Study

(HealthDay News) Early stage breast cancer patients can see their chances of the cancer's return drop by 32 percent when the osteoporosis drug Zometa is added to regular hormone therapy for three years after surgery, Austrian researchers report.
Women undergoing hormone treatment for breast cancer are prone to develop osteoporosis, so they are usually given a bisphosphonate such as Zometa (zoledronic acid), to build bone strength. However, Zometa appears to have the additional benefit of reducing the risk of cancer recurrence, according to Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Many Cancer Survivors Can't Shake Pain, Fatigue, Insomnia, Foggy Brain, Study Finds

(Science Daily) When people finish treatment for cancer, they want to bounce back to their former vital selves as quickly as possible. But a new Northwestern Medicine study -- one of the largest survivor studies ever conducted -- shows many survivors still suffer moderate to severe problems with pain, fatigue, sleep, memory and concentration three to five years after treatment has ended…
Cancer survivors seem to slip through the cracks in healthcare in terms of getting treatment for their pain and other symptoms.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Miniature Ventilator May Help COPD Patients Improve Mobility

(Science Daily) A miniature, easy-to-carry ventilation system with a simple nasal mask may help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) become more active, according to research conducted at medical centers in California and Utah…
Millions of patients worldwide with advanced COPD experience severe shortness of breath with activities of daily living, and even with treatment, many patients are unable to walk from their door to the mailbox, or up a flight of stairs, without stopping to rest, [Chris Garvey, FNP, MSN, MPA] said.
Although ventilator systems can help patients breathe more easily, most systems are large and heavy and use uncomfortable masks, she noted. The ventilator system tested in this study weighs only about a pound and features a smaller, more comfortable mask.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New Sound Synchronization Technology Holds the Key to Earlier Diagnosis of Heart Disease

(Science Daily) Innovative UK technology is contributing to the development of a revolutionary digital stethoscope that could make it easier for GPs to spot the first signs of heart disease…
[A research] team has developed a computer-based technology that synchronises the various sounds collected by the new stethoscope and which make up a human heartbeat.
The sounds can then be analysed by an existing technique called ICA (independent component analysis), with data presented on a laptop or desktop computer in easy-to-understand graphs. These provide a visual representation of the heartbeat and any anomalies in it. Currently, such anomalies can be missed by doctors who aren't experts in cardiac care.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

U.S. Serves Up New Nutrition Guidelines on 'MyPlate'

(HealthDay News) In its latest effort to get Americans to eat healthier meals and fight the obesity epidemic, the federal government has introduced a new nutrition icon called MyPlate.
MyPlate replaces the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid, which was unveiled in 1992 but had become too complicated in ensuing years, many nutritionists contended…
The MyPlate logo suggests people eat balanced meals consisting of servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and a small amount of dairy. To help make healthy choices, the USDA is also introducing a website called ChooseMyPlate.gov.
The site is designed to provide consumers with practical information on healthful eating. For example, MyPlate recommends reducing portion size; making at least half of each meal fruits and vegetables; making at least half of grains consumed whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta; and switching to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

6 tips to make your plate match MyPlate

(EatingWell) If Americans make their plate look like this plate, it will propel us toward a healthier way of eating and, ultimately, a healthier nation. “I can’t help but look at my own plate differently,” said Michelle Obama at the unveiling. “We’re implementing this in our household.”
The plate delivers a reminder of what you should be eating—at every meal—to help you meet your daily nutritional needs. Here are 6 easy tips to make your plate match “MyPlate”:
2. A little over a quarter of your plate should be for grains. And at least half of those grains should be whole.
Related:  How to Cook Quinoa in 20 Minutes, plus 8 More Whole Grains
3. “Protein” (as in chicken and lean beef, fish and shellfish, eggs or vegetarian sources, such as beans, peas and soy) should occupy a bit less than a quarter of your plate. Also, about 2 servings (8 ounces) a week should come from seafood.
Don’t Miss: 6 of the Healthiest Fish to Eat, 6 to Avoid
4. Include low-fat dairy—or calcium-fortified soymilk.
5. Let the image guide you: it symbolizes what healthy eating looks like, but isn’t all-encompassing. For example, there’s room for treats, just keep them small in size and eat them less often.
Don’t Miss: 9 Bad-for-You Foods You Should Be Eating
6. Choose your plate wisely. A smaller plate will help you avoid oversized portions.
Wondering what a day looks like? Use the following guide to help you eat in nutritional balance. The specific amounts you should be eating every day vary depending on your age, sex and weight (to find out what you need, visit choosemyplate.gov).
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Food Lowers Cholesterol: New Studies

(Dr John La Puma) Wayward cholesterol levels are some of the easiest labs to treat with the right foods: I help my patients do it here in the office, have taped ChefMD videoblogs and spoken with journalists about it.
And the research continues to mount.
Last week, an Australian meta-analysis of 14 studies showed that, on average, the equivalent of 5 ounces of tomato sauce (25 milligrams of lycopene) or 2.5 ounces of tomato paste (ditto) lowered LDL cholesterol as much as small doses of statins–about 10%.
Lycopene from tomatoes is 4x better absorbed if the tomatoes are cooked, and eaten with a drop of luscious oil, btw. Thus, sauce and paste.
Two other studies … suggest that medication for this purpose, well, may not be all it is cracked up to be.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Super Foods

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Dark, Leafy Greens
Want to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins (including C, the provitamin beta-carotene and folic acid) and add calcium and magnesium to your diet? Then reach for the greens! Produce stand staples such as kale, collards, beet greens and bok choy are tasty, inexpensive sources of vital nutrients. In addition to containing antioxidants and fiber, they help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and protect the immune system.
Look for organic varieties of these three greens at your local grocer or natural foods store:
Kale. Try it sautéed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil with garlic, or try my Tuscan Kale Salad.
Collards. With a taste similar to that of kale and cabbage, this traditional vegetable from the South makes a wonderful side dish. For the best texture, consider sautéing in olive oil, then covering with water, bringing to a boil and briefly simmering.
Spinach. Spinach ranges in taste from mild to bitter, baby spinach being the least bitter. It can be used raw (be sure to wash raw spinach in cold water before using) as the base of a salad, or steamed or sautéed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Keep in mind that fresh spinach reduces to about half its size when cooked.
If leafy greens aren't your thing, try increasing the amount of broccoli in your diet - this cruciferous vegetable provides abundant nutrients and has cancer-preventing properties.
If you are looking for a delicious way to add fiber and antioxidants to your diet, look no further than berries. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are sweet, easy to pop into your mouth as a snack and a much healthier choice than a candy bar. All are anti-inflammatory, rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, offer immune-boosting antioxidant activity and:
1. Are an excellent source of phytonutrients, and a good source of vitamin C and fiber.
2. Provide folate, vitamins B2 and B3, magnesium and other essential nutrients.
3. Contain ellagitannins, natural health-protective compounds that appear to have potent anti-cancer activity.
4. Have a lower glycemic load than tropical fruits.
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is one of my favorite foods. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s offer protection against:
· Heart attack and stroke
· Cancer
· Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
· Mental and emotional problems
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Grilled Peaches and Pork
Pairing peaches with succulent pork is the ultimate summer supper. Balsamic vinegar and turbinado sugar bring out the sweetness of the peaches, while grilling the fruit caramelizes the sugars.
EatingWell:
Chilled Maine Shrimp with Cabbage & Peanuts, Vietnamese-Style
This Vietnamese-inspired shrimp salad is perfect if you’re looking for something different to bring to a summer potluck or a light dish for warm-weather entertaining at home. This recipe calls for Asian hot chile sauce. The different styles and brands of sauce have varying heat levels, so taste as you go.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Beet salad
Beets are a colorful source of anthocyanins, the purple pigments also found in blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage. They are powerful antioxidants and may help protect against cancer and heart disease. This dish brings to mind pickled beets - with a grown-up slant. It keeps well in the refrigerator, as does our recipe for Pickled Carrots. Enjoy!
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Healthy Ways to Make Over Your Pizza

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Pizza on the South Beach Diet? You bet! In fact, if it’s made with the right ingredients, pizza can be one of your healthiest lunch or dinner options on any Phase of the South Beach Diet. Check out these healthy ways to enjoy pizza:
Make a portobello “crust.” Meaty, flavorful portobellos make a great base for pizza toppings because they hold up well during baking…
[T]opping: Top each portobello with a fresh tomato slice or choose a prepared tomato sauce, then sprinkle each mushroom cap with some shredded or thinly sliced reduced-fat mozzarella. Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of all tomato-sauce products and avoid varieties with added sugars.
Choose white whole-wheat flour to make your own pizza dough…
Use vegetables for a topping. Vegetables are a healthier alternative to the fatty cuts of meat usually found on pizzas…
Make a mini pizza. For a quick pizza on a rushed night, use a whole-wheat pita, whole-wheat tortilla, or whole-wheat or whole-grain English muffin as the crust…
Try whole-grain frozen pizza crusts on occasion. These usually contain small amounts of white enriched flour for tenderness but are a great convenience.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New Bitter Blocker Discovered

(Science Daily) Although bitterness can sometimes be desirable -- such as in the taste of coffee or chocolate -- more often bitter taste causes rejection that can interfere with food selection, nutrition and therapeutic compliance. This is especially true for children. Now, scientists … describe the discovery of a compound that inhibits bitterness by acting directly on a subset of bitter taste receptors…
[T]he researchers found that probenecid, a molecule frequently used in receptor assays, is an inhibitor of a subset of bitter taste receptors. Probenecid also is an FDA-approved therapeutic for gout.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Low-fat chocolate milk best post-exercise

(UPI) Drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a tough workout provides the right mix of carbohydrates and high-quality protein, U.S. researchers found.
Lead researcher John L. Ivy … says researchers in three related studies compared the recovery benefits of drinking low-fat chocolate milk after exercise to a carbohydrate beverage with the same calories -- similar to a typical sports drink -- and calorie-free beverages.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Health Benefit of Green Tea: New Approach to Autoimmune Disease

(Science Daily) One of the beneficial compounds found in green tea has a powerful ability to increase the number of "regulatory T cells" that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease, according to new research in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
This may be one of the underlying mechanisms for the health benefits of green tea, which has attracted wide interest for its ability to help control inflammation, improve immune function and prevent cancer…
In this study, OSU scientists did experiments with a compound in green tea, a polyphenol called EGCG, which is believed to be responsible for much of its health benefits and has both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer characteristics. They found it could cause a higher production of regulatory T cells. Its effects were not as potent as some of those produced by prescription drugs, but it also had few concerns about long-term use or toxicity.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Experimental Vaccine Made from Frozen Immune Cells Shows Promise for Prostate Cancer Patients

(Science Daily) Metastatic prostate cancer patients who received an investigational vaccine made from their own frozen immune cells lived 10 months longer than those not treated with it, according to data…
APC8015F is made from immune system cells taken from a patient with prostate cancer; however, unlike sipuleucel-T [a similar, FDA-approved cancer vaccine], which is never frozen, APC8015F is cryopreserved at a time before the disease progressed.
Results from the analysis showed that patients treated with APC8015F had improved survival relative to the patients who were not treated in the control arm.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Stroke Patients Get Clot-Busting Drug But Barriers Remain

(HealthDay News) Use of a life-saving clot-busting drug to treat ischemic strokes nearly doubled from 2005 through 2009, but the rates still remain too low, a new study finds.
Acute ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot cuts off blood supply to the brain. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only thrombolytic (clot-dissolving) drug approved to treat this type of stroke in the United States, and it can stave off death and lasting disability, but only if it is administered within 3 to 4.5 hours of stroke onset…
[Said study author Dr. Opeolu Adeoye,] "The delayed hospital arrival in the majority of stroke patients is probably the most important factor contributing to low treatment rates."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Researchers Develop Strategy to Improve Patient Adherence

(Science Daily) Physicians can help their patients follow prescribed treatments and achieve healthier results -- particularly in chronic disease management -- by using a three-pronged strategy developed by a team of researchers…
The model identifies three categories to guide providers and patients toward adherence: Information, Motivation and Strategy.
• Information -- … Communicate information effectively to patients. Build trust and encourage patients to participate in decision-making and to be partners in their own health care. Ask patients to share why and how they will carry out their treatment recommendations. Listen to patients' concerns and give them full attention.
• Motivation -- … Help patients to believe in the efficacy of the treatment. Elicit, listen to and discuss any negative attitudes toward treatment. Determine the role of the patient's social system in supporting or contradicting elements of the regimen. Help the patient commit to adherence and to believe that they are capable of doing it. Be aware of and sensitive to patient's cultural beliefs and practices, and view treatment through a cultural lens to make sure that recommendations do not conflict with cultural norms.
• Strategy -- … Help overcome practical barriers that make it difficult for patients to effectively carry out a course of action. Identify individuals who can provide concrete assistance. Identify resources to provide financial aid or discounts. Provide written instructions/reminders. Sign a behavioral contract. Offer links to support groups. Provide electronic reminders or follow-up phone calls.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Group provides data on dental products

(UPI) The Seal of Acceptance area on the American Dental Association Web site provides U.S. consumers with information on about 300 dental products, officials say.
Dr. Ada Cooper, an ADA spokeswoman and a practicing dentist in New York, says the Web site area will allow consumers and dentists to review detailed information on all ADA-accepted products by product name, category or manufacturer.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Massachusetts health reform didn't cut ER visits

(Reuters Health) Health care reform in Massachusetts only had a small impact on the number of trips residents took to the emergency room, according to a new study.
Contrary to expectations that easier access to primary care would reduce ER use, the total number of ER visits at 11 hospitals increased slightly after reform was implemented -- a pattern similar to that seen in other states…
To assume that insuring more people will drastically cut down on the need for emergency care "is a dangerous policy choice," [study lead author Dr. Peter] Smulowitz said, partly because there are many different factors that influence statewide use of ERs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Americans still avoiding doctors, insurers say

(Reuters) Americans' use of medical services has not yet rebounded during the weak economy, health insurers say, in a trend that keeps the companies' costs down and could bolster their profits further this year.
Low healthcare utilization was a major reason behind the health insurers posting first-quarter profits well above analyst forecasts earlier this year.
The companies have been factoring increases into their pricing for their plans, but executives at an investor conference this week said utilization continued to stay low.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Seniors may swing 2012 vote on Medicare revolt

(Reuters) Elderly voters who turned against President Barack Obama's Democrats last year for tampering with Medicare are now threatening to punish Republicans in 2012 elections over their plans to scale back the health care program for seniors.
The shift will likely be most pronounced in important swing states with older populations such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and New Mexico -- some of which have the potential to determine presidential elections, experts say.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Global war on drugs a failure, high-level panel says

(Reuters) A high-profile group of global leaders declared the "war on drugs" a failure on Thursday and urged governments to consider decriminalizing drugs in a bid to cut consumption and weaken the power of organized crime gangs.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, said a decades-long strategy of outlawing drugs and jailing drug users while battling cartels that control the trade had not worked…
The commission recommended that governments experiment with the legal regulation of drugs, especially cannabis, referring to the success in countries such as Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands where drug consumption had been reduced.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Deadly E. Coli Strain in Europe Should Serve as Warning, Experts Say

(HealthDay News) The emergence of an unusually dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria in Europe should serve as a red flag for U.S. health officials, experts say.
"Bacteria are constantly mutating and changing. They're not necessarily becoming more severe, but they are becoming more different," said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an attending physician in infectious diseases… "The fact that a strain can pop up like this and cause hundreds of cases and scores of mortalities [shows that] we have to be ever ready for the emergence of new strains."
Hirsch added that he thought it was "extremely unlikely" that this particular strain of E. coli would cross the Atlantic. One possible reason: little produce -- believed to be the source of the contamination -- is imported to the United States from Europe.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Reinventing the American Medical System

(Science Daily) In a feature article in The New Republic, Daniel Callahan and Sherwin Nuland propose a radical reinvention of the American medical system requiring new ways of thinking about living, aging, and dying. They argue that a sustainable -- and more humane -- medical system in the U.S. will have to reprioritize to emphasize public health and prevention for the young, and care not cure for the elderly.
An interesting twist on their argument, which would aim to bring everyone's life expectancy up to an average age of 80 years but give highest priority for medical treatment to those under 80, is that Callahan and Nuland are themselves 80 years old…
"We need to change our priorities for the elderly. Death is not the only bad thing that can happen to an elderly person," the authors write. "An old age marked by disability, economic insecurity, and social isolation are also great evils." They endorse a culture of care, not cure, for the elderly, with a stronger Social Security program and a Medicare program weighted toward primary care that supports preventative measures and independent living.
Community: When I read the first paragraph of this article, I thought, “Okay, just put us all on ice floes.” However, I agree that we need more emphasis on prevention and prolonging independent living. We need a health care system in addition to what we have now, which is a disease care system.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

High-Risk Surgeries Getting Safer: Study

(HealthDay News) Undergoing an operation can be scary, but University of Michigan researchers offer some reassuring news: Deaths among those having high-risk surgery have fallen substantially in recent years.
Much of this is due to many high-risk cancer operations being done in hospitals that do a lot of them and to overall better compliance with safety guidelines, the researchers noted.
"Overall, surgery in the United States is getting safer," said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan F. Finks, an assistant professor of surgery at University of Michigan Health Systems. "However, there is still room for improvement. Our focus should be on strategies that improve outcomes across all procedures."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Poll: 60 pct. of U.S. adults take vitamins

(UPI) Most U.S. adults who take a vitamin or supplement say they mainly take it because it makes them feel more confident about their health, a survey indicates.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted by Wakefield Research for The Vitamin Shoppe, indicates of those who take a vitamin or supplement, 75 percent of the respondents say they take a multivitamin regularly, while 52 percent say they take vitamin D, 49 percent say vitamin C, 45 percent say calcium, 43 percent say B vitamins, 42 percent say fish oil and 25 percent say iron.
Nearly half -- 46 percent -- started taking a vitamin based on the recommendation of an expert.
Community: I started taking vitamins and supplements when I was in my 50s, when my gynecologist told me I should start taking a calcium supplement.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

CDC: Over 50? Heat cold cuts to 165 degrees to avoid listeria

(USA Today) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been saying for at least 11 years now that people over 50 and especially those over 65 should avoid hot dogs, lunch meats, cold cuts and other deli meats unless they are reheated to 165 degrees — "steaming hot" in CDC's words. The government also says you shouldn't keep an open package of sliced deli meat more than five days, all to reduce the risk of infection from a bacteria called listeria…
The threat from listeria is real and not to be ignored, CDC and USDA emphasize.
"About one of five patients with listeriosis dies," says Benjamin Silk, with CDC's Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch. That's why CDC is concerned about it, although the numbers that fall ill are still relatively low. The CDC estimates there are about 1,600 cases of listeriosis and 260 related deaths each year, only half of which are diagnosed and reported — so people are getting sick, but may not know what sickened them.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Low-Carb, Higher-Fat Diets Add No Arterial Health Risks, Studies Suggest

(Science Daily) Overweight and obese people looking to drop some pounds and considering one of the popular low-carbohydrate diets, along with moderate exercise, need not worry that the higher proportion of fat in such a program compared to a low-fat, high-carb diet may harm their arteries, suggests a pair of new studies by heart and vascular researchers at Johns Hopkins.
"Overweight and obese people appear to really have options when choosing a weight-loss program, including a low-carb diet, and even if it means eating more fat," says the studies' lead investigator exercise physiologist Kerry Stewart, Ed.D.
Community: But high fat diets may increase the risk of developing diabetes.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Tips for Staying Motivated

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Hitting a plateau can make losing weight seem like a never-ending journey. If you find yourself getting discouraged, remember that it was your enthusiasm and spirit that made you want to lose weight in the first place. Since staying motivated and inspired for the long haul is crucial to reaching your goals, it’s important to try to reestablish the drive and momentum you had when you started. Stay on the right track with these key tips for maintaining your motivation — particularly when you hit a slump!
1.    Become your own personal cheerleader. If you slipped on your healthy eating plan and ate a cookie or two, don’t beat yourself up over it. Having a negative attitude about your mistakes only sets you up for failure…
2.    Make a commitment. We all get bogged down with work, family matters, and life in general, but it’s essential to make time to focus on what you want and need. If you’re having trouble committing to your healthy eating plan or your new exercise routine, just remind yourself about why you want to lose weight, and then find ways to keep your goals firmly in mind…
3.    Return to the basics… Make sure you’re eating three balanced meals a day (that means never skipping breakfast!) and all your snacks. To avoid getting bored with your meals and snacks, be sure to include variety. Learn new cooking techniques, try different foods, and experiment with a range of flavors and seasonings.
4.    Take on a Challenge… Challenges [run] the gamut from incorporating fitness into your schedule to surviving the holidays and learning summer cooking techniques.
Community: When I fall off my healthy eating plan, I have to stop and re-evaluate what I’m doing. Usually problems arise when I start to do too much or expect too much of myself. When I back off, I can get started again.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]