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

Half of Americans Will Suffer From Mental Health Woes, CDC Says

(HealthDay News) About half of Americans will experience some form of mental health problem at some point in their life, a new government report warns, and more must be done to help them.
Mental health issues run the gamut from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder to suicide, and many of those suffering presently do not get help, experts say…
The high cost includes care for the illness and lost productivity, [said Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC].
It isn't clear why so many Americans suffer from mental illness, Arias added. "This is an issue that needs to be addressed," she said, not only because of the illness itself, but because mental disorders are associated with other chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
And while having a psychiatric illness is tough enough, the stigma surrounding these diagnoses adds to the burden, experts said.
Community: Suicides rise and fall with the economy, so why aren’t our politicians bending heaven and earth to put the economy back on track?
And there are more suicides and homicides when a Republican is president.

Conservative Truths is no longer an active website, but it retained an archive of the misery-causing conditions in conservative U.S. states, including more suicides (click here and search the page for the word “suicide,” there are several applicable sections) than in liberal states. And here’s more recent evidence: “Suicide Risk Linked to Rates of Gun Ownership, Political Conservatism.” Yet for all their anti-government rhetoric, conservative states tend to be net takers from the federal trough. 

Conservative governments in Australia and Britain have the same effect. So why would we ever elect conservatives to office?
Millions of years of evolution living in hunter-gatherer tribes molded us into beings whose feelings of security and well being depend on being members of a cooperative group. But today’s right wingers want us to believe that we’re all on our own, and any cooperative effort to increase the common good is a catastrophic mistake.
I’d write a book about it if I could ever find a publisher.
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High Cost of Insomnia May Be Wake-Up Call

(HealthDay News) Lost sleep costs the average American worker 11.3 days, or $2,280, in lost productivity each year, and the total cost to the nation is $63.2 billion annually, a new study says…
"We were shocked by the enormous impact insomnia has on the average person's life," lead author Ronald C. Kessler, a psychiatric epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, said in a journal news release.
"It's an underappreciated problem. Americans are not missing work because of insomnia. They are still going to their jobs but accomplishing less because they're tired. In an information-based economy, it's difficult to find a condition that has a greater effect on productivity," Kessler noted.
Employers tend to ignore the consequences of insomnia because it's not considered an illness that results in worker absenteeism. But the high cost of insomnia identified in this study suggests that employers need to take it more seriously, Kessler said.
Community: It’s a sad commentary on our society that we don’t care so much about people’s misery. But put a cost on it, and suddenly it’s an important problem.
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Longer Allergy Season Means More Misery

(HealthDay News) A trend toward a longer allergy season may mean more sneezing, sniffling and misery for allergy sufferers, experts say…
Research suggests this prolonged window for allergies is the result of rising temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels, which help allergen-producing plants grow for a longer period of time, according to an [American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)] news release.
Getting a proper diagnosis and finding out exactly what patients are allergic to is the first step in managing symptoms that can include, in addition to the sneezing and stuffy nose, an itchy throat or a worsening of asthma symptoms, experts advised.
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Ozone in smog damages health even at current level

(Reuters) Health experts lamented a move by U.S. President Barack Obama to halt rules on limiting smog pollution, saying the decision could endanger many people already susceptible to respiratory problems.
Under pressure from businesses and Republican lawmakers, the Environmental Protection Agency had delayed issuing a rule on ozone limits several times. On Friday, Obama unexpectedly told the EPA to withdraw the clean-air initiative.
Even at current levels, doctors and public health groups warn that ozone, a key smog ingredient, is harmful, especially for those already suffering from lung diseases.
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Barbecue Sirloin and Blue Cheese Salad
Lean sirloin steak sits atop a bed of fresh veggies for an easy weeknight main-dish salad. Top with crumbles of rich blue cheese to bring out the bold flavors in the homemade vinaigrette.
Chicken with Whole-Grain Mustard & Zucchini in Packets
Mustard and thyme flavor chicken and veggies in this easy dinner.
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See Better with These Cataract-Fighting Foods

(RealAge.com) To keep cataracts from clouding your vision as you age, pluck these items out of your crisper drawer: bell peppers, broccoli, and oranges.
A recently published study revealed that people with higher blood levels of vitamin C may have a much lower risk of developing cataracts, while people with low C may suffer higher rates of the eye condition. Bell peppers, broccoli, and oranges are all super sources of this nutrient…
Cataracts affect over 20 million Americans age 40 and older. And by age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts. So why not make a few healthy changes to help keep your vision sharper longer? Red bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are all great sources of vitamin C. But you should also be a faithful wearer of sunglasses to help reduce your risk, and say no to tobacco. And see your eye doctor regularly for vision screening.
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80 percent don't use thermometer on meat

(UPI) Nine out of 10 U.S. adults cook burgers, but only 19 percent say they use a thermometer to determine if the burgers are safely cooked, a U.S. survey indicates…
"Meat and poultry companies use many food safety strategies to make our products as safe as we can, and it is our responsibility to empower our customers with the information that they need to ensure that the products are safe when served," Janet Riley, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Meat Institute, says in a statement. "Our poll reveals that a significant knowledge gap still exists about proper cooking temperatures and thermometer use. U.S. meat and poultry products are among the safest in the world, but like all raw agricultural products, they can contain bacteria, and that is why it is important to take time to remind consumers about safe handling and cooking practices."
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Salmonella Prevention

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Salmonella is transmitted to humans when foods are consumed that are contaminated with feces - either animal or human - usually by food handlers who did not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom. Contaminated foods are often of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk or eggs, but any food - including vegetables - may harbor salmonella.
When it comes to preventing salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests the following:
1.    Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal, so it is important to thoroughly wash all produce and cook all foods of animal origin. Avoid eating beef, poultry or eggs that are not cooked well, and do not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products.
2.    Avoid cross-contamination of foods - keep uncooked meats separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Thoroughly wash your hands, cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils after touching uncooked foods.
3.    Keep your hands clean - wash them before handling food, between handling different food items, and always after using the bathroom.
4.    Keep up-to-date on outbreaks - the website for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists outbreaks and the geographical areas that are affected.
5.    Anyone who has contracted salmonella should not prepare food or pour water for other people until their symptoms have been resolved.
In addition to contracting salmonella from contaminated food, the bacteria can be present in some species of companion animals, especially reptiles such as turtles, lizards and snakes, and in chicks and young birds. Make it a point to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with any of these animals.
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Salmonella Warning Signs

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that begin 12 to 72 hours after infection and can continue for four to seven days. While most people recover without treatment, some may experience severe diarrhea that requires hospitalization to prevent dehydration and the spread of the infection from the intestines to the bloodstream. Once the bacteria are in the blood, other sites in the body can become infected, which can be fatal without treatment.
If you think you or a family member may have contracted salmonella, contact your physician or local hospital - if you do have salmonella, it is important for the public health department to know about the case so it can identify the source.
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Resveratrol helps curb metabolic syndrome

(UPI) Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in food such as [red] grapes, prevents a syndrome in some people that can lead to later health issues such as diabetes.
Co-senior author Jason Dyck and Sandra Davidge of the University of Alberta and colleagues found giving resveratrol -- also found in fruits, nuts and red wine -- to the young offspring of lab rats after weaning, prevented the development of a metabolic syndrome characterized by glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and higher deposits of abdominal fat.
The study took advantage of the fact that "infancy is a potential window of opportunity to intervene and prevent the future development of metabolic diseases," the researchers say.
Community: Resveratrol is available as a food supplement.
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More Americans developing gout; obesity blamed

(Reuters Health) A growing number of Americans are being diagnosed with the painful form of arthritis known as gout -- thanks in large part, researchers say, to the national obesity epidemic.
Using data from a government health survey, researchers found that an estimated 4 percent of adults -- or 8.3 million people -- had gout in 2008. That compares with just over 1 percent between 1988 and 1994…
Gout is a very painful form of arthritis that causes the joints to periodically become swollen, red and hot -- most often affecting the big toe, though it also strikes the feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists.
The condition arises when uric acid crystals build up in the joints…
Factors that boost the body's production of uric acid, or slow the removal of it, also raise the risk of gout. Besides obesity and high blood pressure, those factors include diabetes, taking certain medications -- like blood pressure drugs called thiazide diuretics -- and heavy drinking.
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Experimental obesity drug beats placebo again

(Reuters Health) The experimental weight-loss drug lorcaserin may spur modest weight loss without the heart risks of some older drugs, a new clinical trial confirms -- though whether the medication will ever reach the market remains up in the air.
Last October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to approve lorcaserin as an obesity treatment, citing research in rats that suggested there could be a cancer risk…
Lorcaserin is believed to work by targeting a brain receptor for the chemical serotonin that is associated with hunger…
For now, the drug options are few for obese people who fail to lose weight through diet changes and exercise alone.
The only one approved for long-term use is orlistat (Xenical), which is also available as a lower-dose, over-the-counter version called Alli. But Xenical has its issues as well, including side effects of gas, uncontrolled bowel movements and cases of serious liver problems.
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Possible New Therapeutic Target for Acetaminophen Induced Acute Liver Failure

(Science Daily) NYU School of Medicine researchers have discovered that dendritic cells in the liver have a protective role against the toxicity of acetaminophen, the widely used over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer for adults and children…
Acetaminophen related liver failure by intentional or accidental overdose causes 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospital visits and 450 deaths annually. As a result, this year the FDA mandated drug manufacturers to start limiting the amount of acetaminophen in combination drug products and is currently exploring adding safer dosing instructions to children's acetaminophen products…
[Said  senior author George Miller, MD,] "Advanced studies are warranted to investigate further the protective role of dendritic cells in humans and their use as a possible new therapeutic target for liver failure prevention in the future."
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Third Genetic Link to Osteoarthritis Discovered

(Science Daily) Researchers have just revealed a new gene associated with osteoarthritis. This is only the third gene to be identified for this painful and debilitating disease that affects more than 40 per cent of people aged more than 70 years…
The newly identified gene, MCF2L, is found on chromosome 13 and regulates a nerve growth factor (NGF). It has been reported that when people with osteoarthritis in the knee are treated with a humanized monoclonal antibody against NGF, they experience less pain and show improvement in their movement. This suggests that MCF2L is involved in the development of osteoarthritis and provides a new focus for future research…
[Says Aaron Day-Williams, first author of the study,] "We hope the identification of this variant will lead to further insights into the biological processes at work and offer potential treatment targets."
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Unexplained encephalitis may be rabies

(UPI) Rabies exposure can vary and physicians should consider a diagnosis of rabies for any patient with unexplained progressive encephalitis, U.S. officials say…
"Obtaining information regarding exposure to animals in the United States and during foreign travel is a crucial component of the medical history," the report [from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] says. "Continued public education regarding the risk for rabies after exposures to wildlife, particularly to bats, is needed. Healthcare providers are reminded to use personal protective equipment when the possibility of exposure to infectious body fluids exists."
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Single vaccine covers ebola and rabies

(UPI) A new single vaccine protects against both rabies and the Ebola virus, U.S. researchers say.
Matthias Schnell … says the bivalent vaccines -- tested successfully in mice -- have several advantages over other Ebola candidates that could help speed up development for use in humans and primates.
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New Clues to Fighting Baldness

(HealthDay News) Molecular signals from stem cells within the skin's fatty layer trigger hair growth in mice, a finding that may lead to new treatments for baldness in people, researchers report.
"If we can get these fat cells in the skin to talk to the dormant stem cells at the base of the hair follicles, we might be able to get hair to grow again," senior study author Valerie Horsley…
Scientists are trying to determine whether the signals that promote hair growth in mice are the same needed to produce hair growth in humans.
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South Carolina passes on health exchange grants

(Reuters) South Carolina does not want any more federal money to set up an insurance exchange, the state's health regulator said on Thursday, citing fears about the strings attached to the funds.
South Carolina joins a handful of other Republican states rejecting millions of dollars in federal grants tied to insurance exchanges that are a key aspect of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration's healthcare overhaul.
The exchanges are envisioned as open marketplaces for competing insurance plans where uninsured people and small businesses can band together to negotiate cheaper rates.
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Less Smoking, Unhealthy Eating Reduces Death Rates Within Months

(Science Daily) A study by the University of Liverpool has found that a decrease in smoking rapidly reduces mortality rates in individuals and entire populations within six months…
The study found that policies that reduce smoking consistently have a rapidly positive effect on mortality rates and hospital admissions in countries and communities around the world. After smoke-free legislation was introduced in Scotland in 2006, hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome decreased by 17% with a 6% decrease in out-of-hospital cardiac deaths.
Similarly, when smoke-free legislation was introduced in Helena, an isolated community in the US, it resulted in a 40% drop in admission rates for acute coronary syndrome within six months in one hospital. When the law was repealed the coronary admissions returned to previous levels within six months.
Changes to diet also have a rapid and positive impact on the reduction of mortality rates for coronary heart disease. 
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Habit Makes Even Bad Tasting Food Too Easy to Swallow

(Science Daily) Do you always get popcorn at the movies? Or snack while you're on the couch watching television? A new paper by USC researchers reveals why bad eating habits persist even when the food we're eating doesn't taste good. The study also reveals the surprisingly simple ways we can counter our habits to gain control over what we eat…
"The results show just how powerful our environment can be in triggering unhealthy behavior," [lead author David] Neal said. "Sometimes willpower and good intentions are not enough, and we need to trick our brains by controlling the environment instead."…
"It's not always feasible for dieters to avoid or alter the environments in which they typically overeat," [corresponding author Wendy] Wood said. "More feasible, perhaps, is for dieters top actively disrupt the established patterns of how they eat through simple techniques, such as switching the hand they use to eat."
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More beans, less white rice tied to less diabetes

(Reuters Health) Beans and rice are a classic combination throughout the western hemisphere, but a study in Costa Rica finds that the bean half of the equation may be better for health.
Among nearly 2,000 men and women, researchers found that people who regularly swapped a serving of white rice for one of beans had a 35 percent lower chance of showing symptoms that are usually precursors to diabetes…
They found that people who ate more white rice over time had higher blood pressure and elevated levels of sugar and harmful fats in their blood as well as lower levels of "good" cholesterol.
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Walnuts may help lower breast cancer risk

(UPI) Mice that ate a modest amount of walnuts as part of their regular diet had a significant decline in breast cancer risk, U.S. researchers say….
[They] compared the effects of a typical diet and a diet containing walnuts across the lifespan of the mice -- through the mother from conception through weaning and by eating the food directly.
The amount of walnut in the test diet was equal to about 2 ounces a day for humans, [study leader Elaine] Hardman said.
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Drink Tea, Get 5 Years Younger

(RealAge.com) Here's a pleasant little pastime that takes about 5 minutes to do each day but could make you up to 5 years younger if you're faithful to it: drinking tea.
In a Chinese study, the cells of enthusiastic tea drinkers showed about 5 fewer years' worth of wear and tear compared with the cells of people who drank little tea.
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Seared Pork Tortas
Torta is Spanish for "sandwich"—and is usually a hefty stack of meat, beans, and veggies. Our lightened version packs pork, beans, and veggies between fresh baguette slices for a super sandwich that can feed the whole family.
Bean & Salmon Salad with Anchovy-Arugula Dressing
This simple bean and salmon salad becomes something truly exciting when dressed with a bold dressing flavored with anchovies and arugula. Canned wild Alaskan salmon is a healthy and environmentally sound choice.
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A Perfect Brunch Idea

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Frittatas, or Italian omelets, are a bit easier to make than omelets, though the techniques are similar. I like frittatas because they are a substantial dish - dense with eggs, vegetables, and seasonings. You can eat a slice or two for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, or you can warm up a slice for a quick dinner on those evenings when you get home late from work. I like to serve the frittata with a mixed green salad.
Food as Medicine
In addition to providing 5.5 grams of protein each, eggs are a valuable source of choline. Choline, found in egg yolks, is a micronutrient vital for optimum brain health, nerve signaling, cholesterol transport, energy metabolism and maintenance of cell membranes.
Try our frittata this weekend!
Community: More information on choline here, including additional dietary sources and adequate intake levels.
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This Nut Has Fewer Calories Than You Think

(RealAge.com) Even though nuts are brimming with excellent nutrition, sometimes you shy away because of the calories. But here's a nut that may have fewer calories than you think: pistachios.
A new study suggests that human bodies don't absorb all the calories in pistachios, because the fat from this nut isn't readily absorbed by the intestinal tract…
Here are two more reasons you should stock your pantry with pistachios:
You'll breathe easier. A clinical trial revealed that eating 2 ounces of pistachios per day raised serum levels of gamma-tocotrienol, a member of the vitamin E family linked to a decreased risk of lung cancer. (Related: Find more food sources of vitamin E.)
You'll improve your cholesterol profile. In a study where 20 percent of people's daily calories came from pistachios, the participants experienced significant improvements in their cholesterol profiles. (Video: Discover why pistachios are good for the heart and the lungs.)
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A pinch of doubt over salt

(Reuters) Recent scientific papers suggest the basis for a global crackdown on salt is not what you'd call rock solid. Two 2011 studies indicate that the evidence is inconclusive, or that reducing salt may even be harmful.
"There's a view that salt is the root cause of all high blood pressure worldwide and some people religiously hold on to that belief," said Tony Heagerty, head of the cardiovascular research group at Britain's Manchester University and a former president of the International Society of Hypertension. "But the evidence for that is actually pretty flimsy."
It's a debate that has flared over the past few months, with each side harnessing a legion of experts in hypertension, heart disease, nutrition and scientific analysis. The salt industry has, naturally, jumped on studies that question the conventional wisdom, and at least one food manufacturer has started to add salt back to some of its processed foods.
Community: Remember what we learned recently, that too little potassium may the problem, rather than too much salt in the diet.
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Poverty a risk factor for heart disease

(UPI) Poor people are more at risk than others for heart disease even after addressing risk factors including smoking and high blood pressure, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Peter Franks, a professor at the University of California, Davis, says, "Being poor or having less than a high-school education can be regarded as an extra risk when assessing a patient's chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
"People with low socioeconomic status need to have their heart-disease indicators managed more aggressively," Franks says in a statement.
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'Smelling' Heart Failure: Evaluation of an Electronic Nose

(Science Daily) A German team has developed a completely new non-invasive method to identify heart failure. It consists of an "electronic nose" which could make the "smelling" of heart failure possible…
Heart failure is a common, costly, disabling and potentially deadly condition. In developed countries, around 2% of adults suffer from heart failure, but in those over the age of 65, this increases to 6-10%. Mostly due to costs of hospitalisation, it is associated with high health expenditure. Heart failure is associated with significantly reduced physical and mental health, resulting in a markedly decreased quality of life. Although some people survive many years, progressive disease is associated with an overall increased mortality and morbidity.
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Scientists Use Stem Cells for Blood 'Self-Transfusion'

(HealthDay News) Researchers report that they used stem cells to create cultured red blood cells and then successfully injected the blood cells back into the human donor who provided the stem cells in the first place.
The findings raise the possibility of creating individualized blood supplies without making people donate their own blood for storage before they need a transfusion, a potentially dicey situation if someone is ill.
The researchers said that the cultured red blood cells created with the help of stem cells from the donor -- and then inserted back into the donor -- lived about as long as regular blood cells normally do.
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More evidence hormone patch is safer than pills

(Reuters Health) A new study adds to evidence that skin patches offer a safer alternative to pills for women who want to treat their menopausal symptoms with hormones.
The study, of 54,000 women who used hormone replacement therapy (HRT), found that those who used estrogen patches were one-third less likely to develop blood clots in the legs or lungs.
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Some Older Breast Cancer Patients Can Skip Hormone Therapy: Study

(HealthDay News) Some breast cancer patients over the age of 60 who have small, early-stage tumors can skip hormone therapy without increasing their risk of death, a new study says…
In recent years, the trend has been to give all women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer hormone treatment after surgical treatment, said study author Dr. Peer Christiansen… "But based on this study, benefit is not expected in the low-risk group in question."
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Modified Sea Bacteria Byproduct Is Potential Cancer Drug

(Science Daily) University of Florida researchers have modified a toxic chemical produced by tiny marine microbes and successfully deployed it against laboratory models of colon cancer…
When the scientists gave low doses of the compound to mice with a form of colon cancer, they found that it inhibited tumor growth without the overall poisonous effect of the natural product. Even at relatively high doses, the agent was effective and safe.
"Sometimes nature needs a helping human hand to further optimize these products of evolution to treat human diseases," said Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D.
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Biological 'Computer' Destroys Cancer Cells

(Science Daily) Researchers … have successfully incorporated a diagnostic biological "computer" network in human cells. This network recognizes certain cancer cells using logic combinations of five cancer-specific molecular factors, triggering cancer cells destruction.
Yaakov (Kobi) Benenson … has spent a large part of his career developing biological computers that operate in living cells. His goal is to construct biocomputers that detect molecules carrying important information about cell wellbeing and process this information to direct appropriate therapeutic response if the cell is found to be abnormal. 
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Cheap, Portable Microscope Uses Holograms, Not Lenses

(Science Daily) To serve remote areas of the world, doctors, nurses and field workers need equipment that is portable, versatile, and relatively inexpensive. Now researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) have built a compact, light-weight, dual-mode microscope that uses holograms instead of lenses…
Their prototype weighs about as much as a medium-sized banana and fits in the palm of a hand. And, since it relies in part on mass-produced consumer electronics, all the materials to make it add up to between $50 and $100 USD.
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Old-Age Tremors May Be Caused by Brain Lesions

(HealthDay News) Microscopic brain lesions that are too small to be detected using brain imaging technology may be the cause of many common age-related problems such as shaking hands, stooped posture and difficulty walking, a new study says…
The researchers noted that Parkinson's disease occurs in only 5 percent of older people, but at least half of people 85 and older have mild symptoms associated with the disease.
"Often the mild motor symptoms are considered an expected part of aging," Buchman said. "We should not accept this as normal aging. We should try to fix it and understand it. If there is an underlying cause, we can intervene and perhaps lessen the impact."
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Trust in Your Neighbors Could Benefit Your Health

(Science Daily) A new study from the University of Missouri shows that increasing trust in neighbors is associated with better self-reported health…
In the study, [Eileen] Bjornstrom examined the 2001 Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey. Contrary to expectations, she found that respondents with a higher income, relative to their community, were more likely to be distrustful of their neighbors. Simultaneously, while taking into account factors such as level of education, income, and age, people who reported that "their neighbors can be trusted" also reported better health on average.
Community: It’s at least possible that trust in one’s neighbors is a result of being better grounded  mentally, which can be a cause and/or result of good health.
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Biological Basis for Delayed Gratification

(Science Daily) A landmark study in the late 1960s and early 1970s used marshmallows and cookies to assess the ability of preschool children to delay gratification. If they held off on the temptation to eat a treat, they were rewarded with more treats later. Some of the children resisted, others didn't.
A newly published follow-up revisits some of the same children, now adults, revealing that these differences remain: Those better at delaying gratification as children remained so as adults; likewise, those who wanted their cookie right away as children were more likely to seek instant gratification as adults. Furthermore, brain imaging showed key differences between the two groups …
The results showed that the brain's prefrontal cortex was more active for high delayers and the ventral striatum -- an area linked to addictions -- was more active in low delayers.
Community: Fortunately, there are ways to increase impulse control.
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For heart health, every bit of exercise counts

(Reuters Health) People who walk or jog for just a couple of hours each week are at lower risk of heart disease than those who don't exercise, suggests a new study.
And among people already accustomed to getting the blood flowing, those who go above and beyond on physical activity seem to have the best heart outcomes, said researchers who analyzed past data on exercise and heart disease risks.
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Speedy eaters likely to be heavier

(Reuters Health) Middle-aged women who scarf down their meals tend to be heavier than those who savor each bite, a new report from New Zealand shows.
The study doesn't prove that speed-eating will necessarily cause women to pack on extra pounds, but researchers believe it might influence how much food people ingest…
The women at the slowest end of the scale had the lowest body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of a person's weight relative to their height.
For each step up the speed scale, the BMI rose by 2.8 percent. That translates to nearly six pounds for an average U.S. woman.
Community: Don’t forget Paul McKenna’s advice on how to eat.
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Americans Getting Too Many Calories From Sugary Drinks: CDC

(HealthDay News) Almost half of Americans get a substantial amount of their calories from sweetened drinks, a new report indicates.
Recent dietary guidelines have called for reducing the amount of sugar in one's diet, and for many, sugar-sweetened drinks are a major source of sugar. Excess sugar has been linked to obesity and related illnesses such as diabetes, experts say.
The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 450 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages per week, [report author Cynthia L.] Ogden pointed out.
Community: At 150 calories per 12-oz. can, that recommendation would be three cans per week.
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Labor Day Recipes
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Potatoes May Be Good for the Heart After All, Study Says

(HealthDay News) French fries and potato chips may have given potatoes a bad rap, but new research finds the lowly tuber -- when cooked correctly -- may actually be good for the heart.
A small, pilot study suggests that a couple of servings of potatoes per day can lower blood pressure as much as oatmeal without causing weight gain, researchers said…
[Chemistry professor Joe] Vinson pointed out that potatoes can be a healthy food when they're not in the form of French fries or chips, or covered in high-fat toppings such as cheese and sour cream.
Purple ones, in particular, have high amounts of antioxidants, although red-skinned or white potatoes may have similar effects, he said.
The golf ball-sized potatoes used in the study were microwaved, which Vinson called a "benign" cooking method that doesn't add fat or calories or destroy healthy substances in potatoes.
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Smoking After Menopause May Increase Sex Hormone Levels: Elevated Sex Hormone Levels Associated With Chronic Disease Risk

(Science Daily) A recent study … found that postmenopausal women who smoke have higher androgen and estrogen levels than non-smoking women, with sex hormone levels being highest in heavy smokers.
Previous studies have shown that high levels of estrogens and androgens are potential risk factors for breast and endometrial cancer as well as type 2 diabetes. Cigarette smoking is a well established risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but earlier studies examining the relationship between smoking and sex hormone levels have yielded inconsistent results. This new cross-sectional study in a population-based sample of postmenopausal women suggests that sex hormones may provide one plausible mechanism through which cigarette smoking influences chronic disease risk.
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Newly discovered breast cancer gene may help predict risk

(Reuters Health) Screening for mutations in a gene known as CHEK2 may help determine a woman's odds of breast cancer if the disease runs in her family, Polish scientists suggested Monday.
A woman harboring a CHEK2 mutation, for instance, would have a 34 percent risk of developing breast cancer if her mother or sister had the disease, they estimate.
But U.S. experts said the test isn't ready for prime time yet, and emphasized that Polish women might be different from Americans.
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Genetic cancer test often urged for wrong women

(Reuters) Doctors are too quick to recommend expensive genetic counseling or testing for ovarian cancer, but at the same time often fail to refer women at high risk for the disease, government researchers said.
Ovarian cancer isn't very common -- it strikes just one in 71 women, many of them elderly, whereas one in eight women get breast cancer. But because there aren't any good screening tests for ovarian cancer, it's usually not discovered until it's too late…
For those women at high risk, getting genetic counseling and possibly testing may help them decide how they want to deal with that risk.
For instance, 57 percent of women with BRCA 1 mutations get breast cancer by age 70, and 40 percent get ovarian cancer. Choosing to have the breast and ovaries removed, or taking certain medications, will cut that risk, said [Jacqueline Miller at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
The most important lesson from the new findings are to make sure that women at high risk are identified so they can get the right counseling, she added.
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