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

Prognosis poor for U.N. chronic disease meeting

(Reuters) Ten years after committing to fight AIDS, the United Nations is taking on an even bigger bunch of killers -- common chronic diseases -- in what is shaping up to be a bruising battle between big business, Western governments and the world's poor.
Tobacco, food and drinks companies are in the firing line for peddling products linked to cancer, diabetes and heart disease, while politicians in the rich world are accused of failing to set firm targets or provide funds for a decent fight.
"This is a once in a generation opportunity. We could save millions of lives here, and it's shameful and immoral that industry lobbying has put short-term profits in front of a public health disaster," Rebecca Perl of the World Lung Foundation (WLF) told Reuters. WLF has been involved in tetchy preliminary talks for several months.
A bit like climate change, preventing and treating non-communicable diseases requires wealthy nations and multinational firms to take a near-term financial hit to help prevent poor nations being overwhelmed in the future.
Community: Seems to me that our politicians have already shown that they will continue to put their ability to raise funds from big corporations ahead of what’s best for the citizens they represent. Where are the giants of yesteryear, the leaders? All we have now are sheepish followers of the status quo. Maybe too many narcissists have pushed their way to the top. See below.
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Narcissists Make Horrible Bosses, Politicians: Study

(HealthDay News) Narcissists' too-high opinion of themselves means they don't make good business or political leaders, according to a new study.
Traits such as high self-esteem, confidence and dominance often help narcissists rise to the top, but once they take over, their self-involvement and authoritarianism get in the way, the researchers explained.
The researchers' study of 150 people who were asked to make decisions in groups of three showed that narcissists' self-centeredness impeded the free and creative exchange of ideas, which is a crucial part of effective group decision-making and performance…
"Narcissists are very convincing," [said study author Barbora Nevicka]. "They do tend to be picked as leaders. There's the danger: that people can be so wrong based on how others project themselves. You have to ask: Are the competencies they project valid, or are they merely in the eyes of the beholder?"
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The High Cost of Workplace Unhappiness

(Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, authors of The Progress Principle) The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has been polling over 1,000 adults every day since January 2008, shows that Americans now feel worse about their jobs — and work environments — than ever before. People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations and detached from what they do. And there’s no reason to think things will soon improve.
Employee engagement may seem like a frill in a downturn economy. But it can make a big difference in a company’s survival. In a 2010 study, James K. Harter and colleagues found that lower job satisfaction foreshadowed poorer bottom-line performance. Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers…
Working adults spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else. Work should ennoble, not kill, the human spirit. Promoting workers’ well-being isn’t just ethical; it makes economic sense. Fostering positive inner lives sometimes requires leaders to better articulate meaning in the work for everyone across the organization. Sometimes, all that’s required is that managers address daily hassles and help with technical problems. If those who lead organizations — from C.E.O.’s to small-team leaders — believe their mission is, in part, to support workers’ everyday progress, we could end the disengagement crisis and, in the process, lift our work force’s well-being and our economy’s productivity.
Community: If you’re interested in how management could do a better job understanding what employees deal with, take a look at the CBS series, “Undercover Boss.”
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The Economics of Happiness

(Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Economics at Columbia University) We live in a time of high anxiety. Despite the world’s unprecedented total wealth, there is vast insecurity, unrest, and dissatisfaction. In the United States, a large majority of Americans believe that the country is “on the wrong track.” Pessimism has soared. The same is true in many other places.
Against this backdrop, the time has come to reconsider the basic sources of happiness in our economic life. The relentless pursuit of higher income is leading to unprecedented inequality and anxiety, rather than to greater happiness and life satisfaction. Economic progress is important and can greatly improve the quality of life, but only if it is pursued in line with other goals…
[T]o promote happiness, we must identify the many factors other than GNP that can raise or lower society’s well-being. Most countries invest to measure GNP, but spend little to identify the sources of poor health (like fast foods and excessive TV watching), declining social trust, and environmental degradation. Once we understand these factors, we can act. 
The mad pursuit of corporate profits is threatening us all. To be sure, we should support economic growth and development, but only in a broader context: one that promotes environmental sustainability and the values of compassion and honesty that are required for social trust.
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People happier with progressive tax system

(UPI) The diminishing progressivity of the U.S. federal tax code since the 1950s may account for some feeling less happiness, U.S. and Canadian researchers suggest…
The study … found, on average, residents of the nations with the most progressive taxation evaluated their own lives as closer to "the best possible" and reported having more satisfying experiences and fewer discomfiting ones than respondents living in nations with less progressive taxes.
[Psychologist Shigehiro] Oishi says the happiness was "explained by a greater degree of satisfaction with the public goods, such as housing, education and public transportation."
"If the goal of societies is to make citizens happy, tax policy matters," Oishi says in a statement. "Certain policies, like tax progressivity, seem to be more conducive to the happiness of the people."
In 1944, the top U.S. tax rate was 94 percent, in 2010, it was 35 percent.
Community: Please bear in mind that a 94% top rate doesn’t mean the whole income was taxed at 94%, only the income above a certain amount.
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Teriyaki Pork and Vegetables with Noodles
The sweet-savory flavor of teriyaki sauce is a centuries-old mixture of soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking wine). Over time, Japanese Americans added ginger, brown sugar, pineapple juice, and green onions—elements of the bottled teriyaki sauce Americans know today.
Pepperoni & Pepper Pizza
Using mini pepperoni slices (or chopping regular-sized slices) allows you to use less pepperoni, but still get plenty of flavor on this pepperoni and pepper pizza. Use green or yellow pepper instead of red, or swap out the pepper for your favorite veggie instead. No time to make homemade dough? Look for whole-wheat pizza-dough balls at your supermarket. Check the ingredient list to make sure the dough doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils.
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One, two drinks a day good for heart

(UPI) How and when a person drinks may be a more significant factor than how much one drinks in how alcohol affects the body, U.S. researchers say…
The study … found daily moderate drinking -- two drinks per day, seven days a week -- decreased atherosclerosis in mice. Binge drinking -- seven drinks a day over the weekend --– increased development of the disease.
Atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of arteries, is a serious condition that can lead to a heart attack or stroke…
However, scientists don't yet understand how moderate alcohol consumption benefits cardiovascular health or how binge drinking episodes hurt it, [study author John] Cullen says.
Community: Isn’t it possible that people who drink moderately also practice moderation in other aspects of their lives? Are they moderate eaters and moderate exercisers? Maybe it’s the moderation, or the mentality that causes the moderation, rather than the alcohol, that prevents the heart attacks and strokes.
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Process That Clears Cholesterol Could Reverse Major Cause of Heart Attack

(Science Daily) Researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) have discovered that an ancient pathway called autophagy also mobilizes and exports cholesterol from cells.
A team led by Yves Marcel, PhD … has shown that autophagy, a pathway preserved during evolution, functions to engulf and digest cholesterol accumulated in artery walls. This process facilitates the removal of cholesterol and may provide an entirely new target to reverse atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attack and stroke…
It is possible that some patients with [coronary artery disease] have an impaired ability to clear arterial cholesterol by the autophagy pathway, said Marcel.
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A Little Dirt May Be a Good Thing

(HealthDay News) Good hygiene has saved millions of lives, protecting people from countless bacterial and viral infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But there is growing concern that strict adherence to good hygiene, though a valuable means of protecting health, has left humans open to other forms of illness.
Proponents of the "hygiene hypothesis" believe that reduced exposure to bacteria, viruses and parasites have impaired the immune system's ability to properly respond to environmental challenges…
"We need to figure out how to replace what is good from the microbiological environment while maintaining the advances of good hygiene so we can get the best of both worlds," [Dr. Graham A.W.] Rook said.
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Fewer screening colonoscopies OK for some: study

(Reuters Health) People who've had a colonoscopy with no signs of cancer may be able to delay the next one or not have it at all, German researchers suggest.
Guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a federally supported expert panel, currently recommend that people at average risk of colon cancer start screening for the disease at age 50, using one of a number of tests that have all been found to cut the risk of dying from colon cancer.
The advantage of colonoscopy, which costs around $3,000, is that it only has to be repeated once every ten years, as opposed to every year for the much cheaper stool test.
Although the German study isn't definitive, it does suggest that doing even fewer colonoscopies might be reasonable in some cases.
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Risk for COPD Higher Than Thought: Study

(HealthDay News) People are at much higher risk for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than previously thought, according to a new study.
Canadian researchers found that one out of every four people 35 and older is likely to develop COPD, which they called "one of the most deadly, prevalent and costly chronic diseases." COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and the overall risk for developing it surpasses that of heart failure as well as breast and prostate cancer.
"Our novel findings draw attention to the huge burden of COPD on society... and can be used to combat the disease [and] justify the continuation of smoking cessation programs," the study's authors wrote.
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Possible New Option to Increase Transplantable Lung Supply

(Science Daily) Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center have transplanted the first lungs treated in the United States with an experimental repair process before transplantation. The procedure is part of a five-center national clinical research trial to evaluate the efficacy of repairing, before transplant, lungs that might otherwise have been passed over as unsuitable for organ donation. The results of this study, if successful, could significantly expand the number of transplantable lungs available to patients awaiting transplants.
Currently, only 15-20 percent of donor lungs are transplantable; most do not meet transplant criteria. The research focuses on an external perfusion technique.
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Scientists find gene that controls chronic pain

(Reuters) British scientists have identified a gene responsible for regulating chronic pain, called HCN2, and say their discovery should help drug researchers in their search for more effective, targeted pain-killing medicines.
Scientists from Cambridge University said that if drugs could be designed to block the protein produced by the gene, they could treat a type of pain known as neuropathic pain, which is linked to nerve damage and often very difficult to control with currently available drugs.
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States Get Creative in Raising Money for Breast Cancer Programs

(HealthDay News) Fundraising methods such as a state lottery, selling specialty license plates and offering the ability to make a donation on state income tax forms have raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research and prevention programs in the United States, a new study says…
"We found that revenue-generating breast cancer initiatives can be a successful strategy for states to raise funds, or 'pink ribbon dollars,' for prevention and early detection programs," said [researcher] Amy A. Eyler.
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Liquor store density linked to homicides

(UPI) U.S. researchers say violent crime would drop if local ordinances limited the number of neighborhood liquor stores and ban single-serve containers of alcohol…
 "These results suggest that alcohol control can be an important tool in violence prevention," [sociology professors Robert N.] Parker says in a statement. "Policies designed to reduce outlet density can provide relief from violence in and around these neighborhood outlets. And banning or reducing the sales of single-serve, ready-to-consume containers of alcohol can have an additional impact on preventing violence."
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Over Half of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitals Are Preventable: Study

(HealthDay News) More than one-half of all adverse drug reactions treated in hospitals and emergency care are preventable, according to a new study.
In addition, prior research has shown that many preventable drug reactions -- which include drug overdoses and internal bleeding associated with the improper use of blood thinners and painkillers -- are life-threatening, said the Swedish researchers…
"But our finding that they are so common means that it is imperative to create a climate in which they are not hidden, and that there is no 'blame and shame' involved," [said pharmacist Katja Hakkarainen]. Human error is inevitable, she said, "thus, safety measures need to be incorporated into the health system."
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FDA Advisers Call for Revised Labels for Osteoporosis Drugs

(HealthDay News) U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers recommended Friday that osteoporosis drugs such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast come with revised labels, clarifying how long a patient should take a drug before potential health risks set in.
The drugs, known as bisphosphonates, are taken to prevent fractures related to postmenopausal osteoporosis. But researchers have linked long-term use with a small risk of unusual fractures of the thigh bone, death of the jawbone (osteonecrosis of the jaw) and possibly esophageal cancer…
The revised labels should "be very clear that efficacy may fall off after a period of time, perhaps five years," panelist Dr. Lewis Nelson … said after the vote, Bloomberg News reported. "Serious concerns have been raised about risk, and those need to be continually evaluated as well."
The FDA is not compelled to follow the recommendations of its advisory committees but it usually does so.
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Snap analysis: What latest healthcare ruling means

(Reuters) President Barack Obama won a victory over his signature healthcare law from a U.S. appeals court on Thursday but Republican critics may only be emboldened in their efforts to undo the reforms.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled the state of Virginia did not have the right to sue to block the law. A lower court in Virginia had found a mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance was unconstitutional…
The ruling is a win for the Obama administration, which has vigorously defended the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance. Democrats who were badly wounded by the healthcare law in November 2010 elections for Congress and state legislatures may find confirmation from the decision and more boldly resist moves by Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, to chip away at the law.
Still, Republican politicians vying to become their party's presidential candidate in 2012 have turned up the rhetorical heat on the healthcare law and this decision could turn into a rallying cry against what they all describe as a costly and unnecessary government expansion. It could galvanize supporters of Michelle Bachmann and other conservatives who believe states should have more independence from the federal government.
Community: What’s amazing is that Obama’s health care initiative is basically a Republican plan, more conservative than what Richard Nixon proposed, or what Bob Dole wanted, and essentially the same as what Mitt Romney instituted in Massachusetts. I guess those Republicans are conservative enough for today’s Republican Party, since they call Obama a socialist.
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Healthcare costs rose while insurance coverage fell, studies show

(Los Angeles Times) U.S. workers whose wages stagnated over the last decade also saw their health insurance degrade, even as medical costs gobbled up a growing share of their income, two new studies show.
An estimated 29 million adults who had health insurance lacked adequate coverage in 2010, leaving them exposed to medical expenses such as high deductibles that they couldn't afford, according to a survey by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund…
The erosion in insurance coverage, which hit middle- and low-income Americans hardest, meant higher medical bills for U.S. families. The typical family of four with employer-based coverage saw its total monthly healthcare tab almost double between 1999 and 2009 — from $805 to $1,420 — researchers at the Rand Corp. found.
Over the same period, total monthly income grew only 30%, barely keeping pace with inflation, which pushed up prices 29% over the decade.
"Even a typical family with employer-provided insurance is just barely treading water," said David Auerbach, the lead author of the study.
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Big Health Plans Can Negotiate Lower Costs: Study

(HealthDay News) The bigger the health plan, the lower the hospital costs, a new RAND Corp. study finds.
The researchers found a roughly 12 percent drop in hospital prices in cities with the fewest health plans. The reason for this decline, they said, is that larger health plans are better able to negotiate lower prices from health providers. This consolidation, the study concluded, may be an advantage for consumers.
Community: Indeed. We should all be covered by one insurance company that negotiates lower health care  prices. Medicare for everyone!
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Virginia court rejects two challenges to Obama's healthcare law

(Los Angeles Times) A federal appeals court in Virginia rejected two challenges to President Obama's healthcare law, saying the legal dispute over whether the government can require Americans to buy medical insurance should be put off for three years until the first taxpayers are hit with a penalty.
The decision injects a new element into a brewing election-year court showdown over Obama's signature accomplishment. Though the Supreme Court is poised to take up the issue early next year, the Virginia-based court decided that federal law forbids judges from ruling on tax challenges until a tax penalty has been levied.
"This ruling has the potential to throw the mandate litigation for a big loop," said University of Richmond law professor Kevin C. Walsh, a former Supreme Court clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia. "It could delay a ruling on the merits."
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"Food insecurity" falls, still affects millions

(Reuters) The percentage of households where adults sometimes go hungry or cannot put enough food on the table fell last year, but the problem still affects millions, government data released Wednesday shows.
In 2010, 5.4 percent, or 6.4 million households, had "very low food security," defined as a reduction of food intake by at least one household member and a disruption of eating patterns because the household lacked resources for food…
Despite the near stagnant rate of food insecure households, 14.5 percent is still one of the highest recorded levels since national monitoring of food security began in 1995.
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Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta
Ripe, late-summer tomatoes are juicy and delicious in this pasta dish, with no seeding or peeling necessary.
Curried Scallop-Apple Salad
Curry complements seared scallops, tart apples and sweet dried cranberries while toasted almonds add crunch in this quick fall dinner salad. Serve with toasted whole-wheat baguette and a glass of sauvignon blanc.
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Remember This Date for Better Colon Health

(RealAge.com) Want to have a fit and healthy colon for years to come? Then make a daily date with this food: dates.
Dates have been enjoyed in the Middle East for millennia, and for good reason. Research shows that eating a handful of these sweet, chewy treats every day may help protect the colon from a painful gut disorder known as diverticulitis…
If you're adding lots of fiber to your diet, do it slowly, over time. And be sure to drink plenty of water. This will help your body adjust gradually. And if you have diverticulitis, talk with your doctor about what kinds of fiber-rich foods are safest for you. 
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Grape seed shows small effect on blood pressure

(Reuters Health) Grape seed extract is marketed as a way to guard your heart health, but clinical trials so far suggest the supplement has small effects on blood pressure and heart rate, a new review finds.
Pooling the results from nine clinical trials, researchers found that on average grape seed extract shaved about 1.5 points from people's systolic blood pressure -- the top number in a blood pressure reading.
The supplement also slowed users' heart rate down by an average of 1.4 beats per minute compared with a dummy pill.
Those effects are modest -- though still potentially meaningful, according to senior researcher Craig I. Coleman.
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An Inexpensive Way to Look Younger Fast

(RealAge.com) You don't need eye cream, injections, or plastic surgery to look younger and more attractive. There's a free way to get there. Just spend more time between the sheets.
When people in a study got at least 8 hours of sleep, they were deemed by outward appearances to be healthier folks compared with when their looks were evaluated after a bout of little sleep…
A lack of sleep isn't bad news for just your looks. It affects the way your brain, endocrine system, and immune system work, too. And sleep deprivation can contribute to serious health problems, including high blood pressure and weight gain.
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Scientists Discover Blood Factors That Appear to Cause Aging in Brains of Mice

(Science Daily) [S]cientists have found substances in the blood of old mice that makes young brains act older. These substances, whose levels rise with increasing age, appear to inhibit the brain's ability to produce new nerve cells critical to memory and learning.
The findings raise the question of whether it might be possible to shield the brain from aging by eliminating or mitigating the effects of these apparently detrimental blood-borne substances, or perhaps by identifying other blood-borne substances that exert rejuvenating effects on the brain but whose levels decline with age, said associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, the study's senior author.
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Cancer: Antibodies Can Suppress Aggressive Cancer Growth

(Science Daily) Scientists … have made a landmark discovery in the battle against the rapid spread of aggressive cancers associated with PRL-3 oncoprotein.
Contrary to the current accepted theory that antibodies can only bind to cancer proteins found on the cancer cell surface, the [research team] is the first to discover that antibodies can in fact directly target intracellular oncoproteins like PRL-3 that reside within the cancer cells to suppress cancer growth successfully. This breakthrough finding will pave the way for more targeted solutions for cancer treatment and also offers hope for cancer prevention.
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New Substances Accelerate Drug Transport Into Cells

(Science Daily) Biologists at the Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt have discovered means for speeding the transport of the active ingredients of drugs into live cells that might allow drastically reducing drug dosages in the future.
Drugs do not exhibit their effects until they have been taken up by the associated cells of the organ involved and become available for metabolism there. Although there are numerous, widely differing types of cells, every cell, regardless of its type, is enclosed by a membrane that is permeable by particular substances or particulates only. Biomedical researchers have thus been urgently seeking new means for selectively introducing drugs into cells.
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Scientists Overcome Major Obstacle for Stem Cell Therapies and Research

(Science Daily) Stem cells show great potential to enable treatments for conditions such as spinal injuries or Lou Gehrig's disease, and also as research tools. One of the greatest problems slowing such work is that researchers have found major complications in purifying cell mixtures, for instance to remove stem cells that can cause tumors from cells developed for use in medical treatments.
But a group of Scripps Research scientists, working with colleagues in Japan, have developed a clever solution to this purification problem that should prove more reliable than other methods, safer, and perhaps 100 times cheaper.
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'Open Wide' for New Stem Cell Potential

(Science Daily) While highly potent embryonic stem cells are often the subject of ethical and safety controversy, adult-derived stem cells have other problems. As we age, our stem cells are less pliant and less able to transform into the stem cells that science needs to find breakthrough treatments for disease.
An exception to this can be found in the stem cells of oral mucosa, the membrane that lines the inside of our mouths. These cells do not seem to age along with the rest of our bodies. In his lab at Tel Aviv University…, Prof. Sandu Pitaru and his [colleagues] have successfully collected cells from oral mucosa and manipulated them into stem cells.
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New Method to Grow Synthetic Collagen Unveiled

(Science Daily) In a significant advance for cosmetic and reconstructive medicine, scientists at Rice University have unveiled a new method for making synthetic collagen. The new material, which forms from a liquid in as little as an hour, has many of the properties of natural collagen and may prove useful as a scaffold for regenerating new tissues and organs from stem cells.
"Our work is significant in two ways," said Rice's Jeffrey Hartgerink, the lead author of a new paper about the research… "Our final product more closely resembles native collagen than anything that's previously been made, and we make that material using a self-assembly process that is remarkably similar to processes found in nature."
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Hand washing, procedures would save $33B

(UPI) Simple, inexpensive infection control adopted in U.S. hospitals may reduce thousands of preventable deaths and save billions of dollars, a researcher says…
The study tested three interventions aimed at preventing hospital-acquired infections.
The first intervention was strict enforcement of standard hand hygiene practices on the unit -- everyone is expected to wash hands with soap and running water or an alcohol-based rub on entering and leaving a patient's room, before putting on and after removing gloves, and before and after any task that involves touching potentially contaminated surfaces or body fluids.
The second intervention involved several measures aimed at preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia such as elevating the head of the patient's bed while receiving breathing assistance from a ventilator.
The third intervention ensures compliance with guidelines for the use and maintenance of central-line catheters such as using catheters impregnated with antibiotics whenever possible.
The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, showed patients admitted after these interventions were fully implemented left the hospital an average two days earlier, hospital costs were $12,000 less and the number of patient deaths dropped by 2 percentage points.
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National Forests Can Provide Public Health Benefits, U.S. Study Finds

(Science Daily) "We examined the extent that national forests might provide public health benefits by estimating the net energy expended for a range of outdoor activities engaged in by visitors to national forest lands," explains research forester Jeff Kline…
Key findings from the study include:
·         Hiking, walking, downhill skiing, fishing, relaxing, camping, relaxing, and driving for pleasure are among the primary activities accounting for about two-thirds (68 percent) of all visits to the national forests.
·         Annual energy expenditures in national forest recreation represent 6.8 million adults and almost 317,000 children…
The distribution of these health benefits may vary with proximity and income. Fifty-two percent of recreation visits are by people who live within 60 miles of a national forest. These "local" visitors are more likely to come from lower household income groups than non-local visitors, with 45 percent earning less than $50,000 per year versus 25 percent for non-local visitors.
National forests in the Western states account for the greatest share of all outdoor recreation visits (75 percent) and associated net energy expenditures (75 percent). However, national forests in the Northeast and Southeast yield proportionally greater net energy expenditures because they are closer to major population centers compared to the west, and their visitors tend to engage in more intensive physical activities.
Community: Energy expenditure isn’t the only benefit (see here also) from spending time in green spaces.
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Health research stagnant at $140 billion

(UPI) U.S. health research as a percentage of healthcare spending was stagnant from 2005 to 2010, hovering at 5.5 percent of healthcare costs, researchers say.
Research!America's latest annual estimate of health research says the U.S. public and private sectors invested $140.5 billion in 2010 on research to find new ways to treat, cure and prevent disease and disability -- 5.5 percent of the $2.6 trillion healthcare spending in 2010.
"These findings are alarming," John E. Porter, a former member of Congress and chairman of Research!America, says in a statement. "When health research funding stays flat, medical progress stalls, our innovation economy is affected and American jobs are lost."
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Scores charged in massive healthcare fraud scams

(Reuters) Ninety-one suspects, including doctors and nurses, have been charged in connection with a new rash of healthcare fraud schemes aimed at bilking the government out of about $295 million, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.
Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry announced the charges in Washington, saying they resulted from strikes targeting crime rings in eight U.S. cities that preyed on Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for the elderly and disabled.
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Volunteering to Help Others Could Lead to Better Health

(Science Daily) People who volunteer may live longer than those who don't, as long as their reasons for volunteering are to help others rather than themselves, suggests new research…
This was the first time research has shown volunteers' motives can have a significant impact on life span. Volunteers lived longer than people who didn't volunteer if they reported altruistic values or a desire for social connections as the main reasons for wanting to volunteer, according to the study… People who said they volunteered for their own personal satisfaction had the same mortality rate four years later as people who did not volunteer at all, according to the study.
"This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay," said the study's lead author, Sara Konrath, PhD.
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Healthier living could cut 2.8 million cancer cases

(Reuters) Healthier lifestyles and better diets could prevent up to 2.8 million cases of cancer each year, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said on Wednesday, calling on governments to "avoid a public health disaster."…
In a report released two weeks before a United Nations summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the charity said political leaders had a "once in a generation" opportunity to tackle a wave of cancer and other lifestyle diseases.
Global health experts say many deaths from NCDs, including around a third of all common cancers, could be prevented by curbing excessive alcohol intake, improving diets, discouraging smoking and promoting more physical activity.
But these measures often need government action such as taxation, regulation and advertising curbs, bringing politicians into conflict with tobacco, food and alcohol industries.
"With millions of lives at risk around the world, the stakes are incredibly high," said Martin Wiseman, WCRF's medical and scientific adviser.
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Aerobic Exercise May Reduce the Risk of Dementia, Researchers Say

(Science Daily) Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition's progression once it starts, reported a Mayo Clinic study…
The researchers broadly defined exercise as enough aerobic physical activity to raise the heart rate and increase the body's need for oxygen. Examples include walking, gym workouts and activities at home such as shoveling snow or raking leaves…
More research is needed on the relationship between exercise and cognitive function, the study's authors say, but they encourage exercise, in general, especially for those with or worried about cognitive issues.
Community: Exercise is so good for us in so many ways, that everyone can benefit, no matter what health risks or concerns we have. And there are lots of ways to stave off dementia, too.
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Genetic Cause for Lack of Resolve to Exercise?

(Science Daily) You may think your lack of resolve to get off the couch to exercise is because you're lazy, but McMaster University researchers have discovered it may be you are missing key genes…
"When you exercise you get more mitochondria growing in your muscle. If you don't exercise, the number of mitochondria goes down. By removing these genes we identified the key regulator of the mitochondria is the enzyme AMPK," said [researcher Gregory] Steinberg…
Steinberg said the findings are important for individuals who find it difficult to exercise, such as the obese, asthmatics and people in wheelchairs. Their inability to exercise may lead to other complications such as diabetes and heart disease.
The study, he thinks, has a message for couch potatoes. "As we remove activity from our lives due to emerging technology, the base level of fitness in the population is going down and that is reducing the mitochondria in people's muscles. This in turn makes it so much harder for people to start exercising."
Community: But as we’ve seen before, genes aren’t destiny. If I can fight through the gene deficit to form a habit to exercise every day, believe me, anyone can do it.
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Can't Find Time to Exercise? Schedule It, Experts Say

(HealthDay News) It would be hard, these days, not to have heard that regular exercise can provide innumerable health benefits and help people enjoy longer, happier and more active lives.
What's more, fitness experts have determined that people don't have to work themselves to exhaustion or set aside large chunks of time to reap the benefits…
So why aren't more people getting off the couch and moving?
A lot of it has to do with time, said Michael R. Bracko, a sports physiologist… Not just the amount of time people have, but also the amount of time they think they have…
To fit exercise into daily life, Bracko and [professor of exercise and wellness Barbara] Ainsworth suggested:
·         Taking a step back and understanding that fitness is as important a priority as other leisure activities, such as television or reading. "We're busy because we choose to do certain things," Ainsworth said. "It's about making different choices."
·         Realizing that exercise can be broken into blocks of 10 to 15 minutes that can be fit in throughout the day. Bracko gives the example of soccer moms who take their kid to games. "They don't realize that's a great time to exercise," he said. But for those who do, "instead of standing on the sidelines, they're walking around the field or running intervals or something," he said.
·         Recruiting an exercise buddy who will help maintain motivation. "If you make a date with someone to go on a walk, you don't want to disappoint that person," Ainsworth said.
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Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches
Prosciutto and fresh figs are a classic Italian combination. Here, along with the cheese and jam, they create a sweet-savory sandwich that's simple yet memorable. Great ingredients make all the difference here, so look for a fine loaf of artisan bread and quality prosciutto. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to shave the Manchego, a Spanish cheese similar to pecorino Romano (which you can substitute).
Ham-&-Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Making a pocket in the chicken breast to hold the stuffing is easy with a good, sharp, thin-bladed knife. Browning the chicken in a skillet before baking gives it a beautiful golden color, and finishing in the oven ensures that it cooks evenly throughout.
Cooking Light:
We squashed out half the calories and three-fourths of the sat fat by using a new trick in the sauce. Learn how we made over this comfort food classic.
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A Guide to Whole Grains

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Grains are an essential part of [a] healthy eating plan because carbohydrates provide fuel for the body. But not all carbs are created equal. Whole grains (as opposed to refined grains) are considered “good carbs” because they contain important nutrients like fiber, which helps slow down digestion, stabilize blood-sugar levels, and ward off hunger and cravings. Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains can help lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and high triglyceride and insulin levels. Here’s more on this important food group…
Refined grains, on the other hand, like those found in white bread, white rice, white pasta, and certain snack foods, are highly processed, which means that the healthful bran and germ have been removed. While processing increases a product’s shelf life, it also strips the grain of fiber and other nutrients. Not only are refined grains less nutritious, they are digested more quickly. The result? Swings in blood-sugar levels, cravings for more refined carbs, and constant hunger…
[W]hen buying whole-grain pastas, breads, and other products, be sure to check that the label says "100% whole wheat," “100% whole oats,” or “100% whole rye.” If the label uses words like “whole wheat,” "multigrain," “3-grain,” “10-grain,” or "100% wheat," there’s no guarantee that the product is truly whole grain. Avoid breads containing “enriched wheat,” “enriched white flour,” “flour,” or “unbleached flour” because they’re most likely made with refined flour. Also make sure that the product contains no more than 3 grams of sugar per serving, has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, and contains no trans fats.
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