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

U.S. ranks last in preventable deaths

(UPI) The United States' preventable mortality rate was almost twice that of France, which lowered its rate to 55 per 100,000 in 2007, a report found.
The report by the Commonwealth Fund found in a ranking of 16 high-income, industrialized nations, the United States came in last in deaths that could have been prevented if effective healthcare was available…
"We spend far more than any of the comparison countries -- up to twice as much -- yet are improving less rapidly," said Cathy Schoen, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund in New York.
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Americans Spending More of Their Lives Struggling With Diabetes

(HealthDay News) Americans may be living longer than ever before, but they're not necessarily living better. And that's especially true for people who are obese, a new study finds.
An obese man can expect to live almost six more years of his life with diabetes, compared to the same estimate in the 1980s. For women, the extra time with diabetes is now 2.5 years…
"There are a lot of health care implications from our study," [study author Solveig] Cunningham said. "If we're going to be targeting diabetes as a preventable disease, which type 2 diabetes is, we need to focus on obese individuals. And, I think we need to take new approaches to try to lower diabetes risk in this group. The present efforts to curb diabetes have been successful for some segments of the population, but less so for the obese," she said.
Though it's not always easy, lifestyle changes tend to have the biggest impact on diabetes risk, she said. That means careful monitoring of the diet and regular physical activity. "Even for the highest-risk groups, lifestyle changes are effective," said Cunningham.
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Churches help cut hospital mortality rate

(UPI) U.S. hospitals are getting together with faith-based groups in an effort to improve care and cut costs, a health official says.
OhioHealth worked with 43 local congregations for 20 years -- each congregation has a volunteer nurse trained in diabetes, nutrition, communicating with doctors and living with chronic diseases, who then shares the information with the congregants, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.
Mara Vanderslice Kelly, acting director of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said another program at the Methodist LeBonheur Hospital in Memphis involves about 400 congregations.
Volunteer liaisons from each church are trained to help patients understand doctors' instructions and ensure they get the next steps of care.
The program saved the Memphis hospital $4 million, reduced mortality by 50 percent and reduced hospital re-admissions by 20 percent, Vanderslice Kelly said.
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Mental disability rose in last 10 years

(UPI) In the last 10 years, the number of non-elderly U.S. adults who self-reported mental health disabilities rose, but researchers aren't sure why.
Dr. Ramin Mojtabai of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and colleagues reviewed data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey and found the prevalence of self-reported mental health disability increased from 2 percent of the non-elderly adult population from 1997 to 1999 to 2.7 percent from 2007 to 2009.
Mojtabai said during the same 10-year study period the prevalence of disability attributed to other chronic conditions decreased, while the prevalence of significant mental distress remained unchanged.
Community: Maybe it has something to do with the rise of conservative dominance in the U.S.
There are more suicides and homicides when a Republican is president.

The now defunct Conservative Truths found that the rate of suicides is higher in conservative states and overall in the U.S. under conservative presidents. Some of their findings have been archived into a pdf document— click here and search the page for the word “suicide”. There are several applicable sections.

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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Steaks with Tuscan-Style Cannellini Salad
Cannellini, large white kidney beans, are common in Tuscan dishes. You can use any white bean, such as Great Northern or navy beans.
Bean & Butternut Tacos with Green Salsa
Beans and roasted butternut squash make an outstanding vegetarian taco filling. For the best flavor, use fresh, good-quality chili powder and Mexican oregano. Look for both at Latin markets or in the bulk spice section at well-stocked natural-foods stores.
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Five more states had Listeria-tainted cantaloupes, FDA says

(Reuters) Listeria-tainted cantaloupes were shipped to five more states than was previously known, bringing to 22 the total number of states affected by an outbreak that killed eight people, the FDA said on Thursday…
Officials have traced the outbreak to cantaloupe grown at Colorado-based Jensen Farms Inc and sold under the brand name Rocky Ford. The company has voluntarily recalled its cantaloupe shipped between July 29 and September 10, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
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Spice It Up: The Benefits of Capsaicin

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you enjoy spicy foods, eat up - you may be helping your blood pressure. Capsaicin, the compound that adds the spicy zing to hot peppers, appears to help lower blood pressure.
Animal research suggests that long-term consumption of capsaicin helps relax blood vessels by increasing production of nitric oxide, a molecule known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction (the primary function of nitric oxide is really vasodilation). While follow-up studies will be needed to see whether capsaicin works as well on blood pressure in humans, other studies indicate that capsaicin may enhance the metabolism of fat, and help inhibit inflammation.
Even if you don't like spicy food, capsaicin has something to offer - a topical application can help minimize symptoms of shingles, eczema and arthritic aches.
Community: Capsaicin is also available as a food supplement, but watch out for stomach upset.
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Antioxidants Not Behind Red Wine's Healthy Effect on Heart: Study

(HealthDay News) Many studies have shown that a glass or two of red wine a day is heart-healthy, and much of the benefit has been attributed to the anti-hypertensive effects of antioxidants found in red wine called polyphenols.
But a new Dutch study suggests that these polyphenols, at least in isolation, may not lower blood pressure after all.
Study author Ilse Botden … said the new findings "do not support" a lowering of blood pressure by polyphenols as the source of red wine's benefits to the cardiovascular system…
"Red wine drinking may still be beneficial to prevent cardiovascular diseases. However, this apparently occurs in a blood pressure-independent manner," Botden said.
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Many Black Men in Cold Climates Lack Vitamin D

(HealthDay News) People's bodies build up vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, But a new study suggests black men who live in areas of the United States with low sunlight are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than whites who live in the same places.
The researchers say the findings show that current vitamin D recommendations need to change. "This study shows that across-the-board vitamin D recommendations just won't work for everybody," said study researcher Dr. Adam B. Murphy…
"With so many diseases linked to low levels of vitamin D, we should have more stratified recommendations to consider groups within the population instead of making monolithic suggestions," he said…
Deficiencies of the vitamin put people at higher risk of diseases like prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
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Vegetarian Diet and Digestive Disease

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) New evidence from Britain suggests that vegetarians are one-third less likely to develop diverticular disease than are meat eaters.
This disorder, affects the colon and has been associated with diets that are low in fiber…
After more than 11 years of follow up and adjusting for such factors as alcohol consumption, smoking and body mass index (BMI), the investigators found that the rate of diverticular disease among the vegetarians was one-third lower than that of other study participants. They also found that those whose consumption of dietary fiber was about 25 grams a day were at lower risk of being hospitalized or dying from diverticular disease than study participants who consumed less than 14 grams of fiber daily.
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Cannabinoids After a Traumatic Experience May Prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Rat Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Administration of cannabinoids (in the form of synthetic marijuana) after experiencing a traumatic event blocks the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms in rats, according to a new study…
"We found that there is a 'window of opportunity' during which administering synthetic marijuana helps deal with symptoms simulating PTSD in rats," said Dr. Irit Akirav…, who led the study.
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Liposuction May Lower Certain Blood Fats, Researcher Says

(HealthDay News) A new study suggests that liposuction -- which plastic surgeons often use to sculpt the bodies of people who aren't extremely overweight -- can lower levels of a type of blood fat called triglycerides.
"High triglyceride levels are known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease," study author Dr. Eric Swanson, a plastic surgeon, said… "The decrease in these levels after liposuction was surprisingly dramatic, and revealed that the permanent removal of excess fat cells by liposuction has a major impact on circulating levels of triglycerides."
The research doesn't definitively prove that liposuction caused levels to drop, however, and an outside researcher questioned the value of the study.
Community: But the benefit may only be temporary. We found out recently that the fat comes back in other places. Besides, liposuction seems pretty drastic to me.
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Researchers Identify Pathways Leading to Activation of 'Good' Fat

(Science Daily) Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have identified for the first time two molecular pathways that are critical to activating a type of "good" fat found in the body…
The fat, called brown fat, actually burns energy rather than storing it, which the more common white fat does…
"With this more detailed description of the pathways leading to (brown fat tissue), there can be more focused attempts to develop interventions using brown fat as a treatment for obesity and diabetes," the paper concludes.
One intervention could be to grow brown fat in a laboratory and transplant it into the bodies of people who need it. Another could be the development of drugs to stimulate brown fat growth.
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Many With Irregular Heartbeat Unaware of Raised Stroke Risk

(HealthDay News) Half of the 2.7 million Americans affected by an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, deny or do not know they are at greater risk for stroke, according to a new survey from the American Heart Association (AHA)…
The AHA surveyed 502 people living with atrial fibrillation. Despite being the third-leading cause of death in the United States (behind heart disease and cancer), the survey revealed that just 8 percent of those polled considered stroke to be their greatest health concern. On the contrary, 25 percent said they were not at risk for stroke and another 25 percent didn't know if they were at risk…
"Patients need to be aware of this risk and have serious conversations with their health care providers about what they should be doing to prevent stroke," concluded [Dr. Mark Estes III].
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Breast Cancer Rates Jump Worldwide, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) The number of new cases of breast cancer has jumped dramatically worldwide, from about 640,000 in 1980 to more than 1.6 million in 2010, University of Washington researchers report.
Over the same period, the number of cases of cervical cancer has crept up much more slowly and deaths from that cancer have declined, although in 2010 it still killed 200,000 women around the world…
"The world used to think of breast cancer as a problem that only high-income countries had and cervical cancer as a problem mainly for developing countries," said coauthor Dr. Rafael Lozano…
"What we have found is that while countries such as the United States and United Kingdom have been able to greatly lower the risk of women dying from breast cancer, through better screening and treatment, countries with fewer resources are seeing their risks go up," he said.
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More Mammograms Equal More Mastectomies: Study

(HealthDay News) One of the goals of mammograms is detecting breast cancer early enough to avoid needing a mastectomy. But a new Norwegian study suggests that mastectomy rates climb higher as more women undergo the screening test…
While scientists did not investigate why mastectomy rates climbed in screened groups, study author Pal Suhrke said the main reason is likely "cancer overdiagnosis," or the detection and subsequent treatment of tumors that might grow very slowly and not pose much of a risk…
The researchers … noted that some Norwegian women in the study didn't live near a radiation center, [Dr. Stephanie] Bernik said, making mastectomy a safer option because follow-up radiation treatments were not otherwise accessible. Breast reconstruction techniques have also improved greatly in the past decade, she added.
"I think it's true, if you screen more you're going to find more cancers. That ultimately should lead to better survival for these patients," she said.
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Most Patients Want Experienced Surgeons, Not Trainees

(HealthDay News) Hospital patients want to know whether medical trainees are participating in their surgery, according to a new study.
Researchers found that although most patients would allow residents and medical students to be involved in their operation, rates of consent vary depending on the type of surgery and the trainee's level of participation. The findings, they concluded, could have a significant impact on teaching programs…
"Although most patients express an overall willingness to participate in surgical education, wide variations can be observed in the actual consent rates for specific training situations. This decreased willingness to consent and the potential effect on training programs must be considered when discussing policy initiatives aimed at improving informed consent," the authors wrote.
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Hospital privacy curtains laden with germs

(Reuters Health) The privacy curtains that separate care spaces in hospitals and clinics are frequently contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria, researchers said in Chicago this week.
To avoid spreading those bugs, health care providers should make sure to wash their hands after routine contact with the curtains and before interacting with patients, Dr. Michael Ohl … said…
"There is growing recognition that the hospital environment plays an important role in the transmission of infections in the health care setting and it's clear that these (privacy curtains) are potentially important sites of contamination because they are frequently touched by patients and providers," Dr. Ohl told Reuters Health.
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Science supports man flu theory

(News.com.au) British researchers have found evidence that men really do suffer more than women when they get a cold.
The male immune system is less effective at fighting infections than that of females, scientific results … reveal…
"We found that the females had around twice as many white blood cells than males which was a huge surprise," Dr Ramona Scotland, head of the research team, [said].
"When we started to look at how these white blood cells behaved we found that not only were there more cells, but that the cells were more responsive to bacteria and other invaders - and that they worked more effectively.
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CDC Urges Americans: Get Your Flu Shot

(HealthDay News) With plenty of influenza vaccine available, U.S. health officials urged Americans Wednesday to get a flu shot…
The CDC also recommends a three-step approach to protect yourself and family from the flu. First, get a flu shot. Second, use everyday preventive measures, such as hand washing and covering your mouth when you cough.
Finally, if you do get the flu, use antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) to help reduce the risk of complications.
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Sick Body, Vigilant Mind

(Science Daily) We know that in keeping the body physically healthy, the mind both conscious and unconscious is a principle actor. Indeed, research has shown that the biological, or physiological, immune system that fights pathogens once they've entered the body can be kick-started by the "behavioral immune system," with which we notice, feel repulsed by, and act to avoid people who might make us sick…
The findings have implications beyond the scientific. "When we're sick, we tend to show biases against people stereotypically associated with disease -- the obese, the elderly, foreigners," says [psychologist Saul] Miller. Avoiding people who might make us sick is hardwired behavior when we ourselves our ill, he says. But we're taught to be repelled by certain people -- like the obese, old, or foreign -- who present no threat of contagion. While scientists learn the pathways between psychological and physiological immunity, he suggests, the rest of us can unlearn our fears and treat people better.
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Certain Heavy Metals Boost Immunity, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) One of the well-known strategies employed by our immune system to destroy microbes consists in depriving them of essential nutrients such as heavy metals, particularly iron. For the first time, an international study … has shown that the reverse is also true: the immune cells are capable of mobilizing reserves of heavy metals, especially zinc, to poison microbes…
Zinc, although toxic when ingested in too high quantities, is therefore beneficial for the immune system, particularly because it is used by macrophages to poison microbes. Equivalent mechanisms could exist for other heavy metals such as copper. These results have very concrete clinical implications. In particular, they re-open the debate on dietary supplementation (e.g. with zinc) and they may also lead to new antibiotics that would block the action of microbial pumps on metals or to new attenuated vaccine strains, which have already been tested as vaccine candidates.
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Newly Identified Antibodies May Improve Pneumonia Vaccine Design

(Science Daily) Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered how a novel type of antibody works against pneumococcal bacteria…
Until recently, scientists thought that antibodies work against pneumococcal bacteria by killing them with the help of immune cells. However, several years ago, Einstein researchers discovered antibodies that were very effective against experimental pneumococcal disease in mice even though they were not able to induce bacterial killing by immune cells. In the current study, the researchers examined how these antibodies interact with pneumococcal bacteria and found that they cause the bacteria to … express genes that could kill some of their siblings.
Fortifying current pneumococcal vaccines to stimulate antibodies that make pneumococcal bacteria less able to protect themselves -- or kill them directly -- could enhance their effectiveness.
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Pertussis booster for those age 65-plus

(UPI) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Tdap vaccine -- tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough -- in those age 65 and older.
The report, published in the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said BOOSTRIX by GlaxoSmithKline has been available to people ages 11-64 years and is now approved for use in adults age 65 years and older.
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Veracruz-Style Red Snapper
Adding fresh cilantro and olives to bottled salsa and canned beans gives you fresh-from-the-garden taste without much chopping. Feel free to use your favorite canned beans for variety. The salsa is also great with grilled chicken. To chop cilantro quickly, wash and dry the entire bunch while it's still bound together. Starting at the top of the bunch, chop only the amount of cilantro leaves you need. (Don't worry about including the stems; they won't affect the flavor.) This method also works for parsley.
Rustic Parsley & Orzo Soup with Walnuts
This soup recipe is based on a traditional pasta dish that consists of lots of parsley, garlic, chopped walnuts, hot chile and olive oil, all fried up and tossed with pasta. We amped up the greens, made the pasta a nutritious supporting player and turned the recipe into a soup. It’s best served immediately, because the orzo will absorb liquid as the soup is held. Thin any leftover soup with more vegetable broth, if desired.
Jamie Oliver:
Crunchy Garlic Chicken
The crumbing technique is so versatile – you can prepare pork, turkey or even cod in exactly the same way. As there is olive oil in the crumb mixture, you can grill, fry, roast, or bake the meat dry in the oven and it will go lovely and golden.
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This Turkish Delight Could Save Your Heart

(RealAge.com) When you're in the mood for a sweet bite but want to be kind to your heart, feast on this Turkish treat: apricots.
Turkey is now the world's leading producer of this wonder fruit, and recent research shows that the heart-healthy potassium in dried apricots gives people a major leg up in the fight against heart disease.
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Cardiac Rehab May Cut Risk Factors After Mini-Stroke

(HealthDay News) A cardiac rehabilitation program appeared to reduce some of the risk factors for a second stroke among patients who have suffered mild strokes or the mini-strokes known as transient ischemic attacks (TIA), researchers have found.
"Overall, following the cardiac rehab intervention, the TIA and mild stroke patients improved significantly in their risk profile," study senior investigator Neville Suskin … said.
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New Report Casts More Doubt on Virus' Link to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

(HealthDay News) Researchers have shot another arrow through the credibility of claims that a virus likely causes chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
This time, results from nine different labs around the United States failed to differentiate patients with CFS from healthy controls solely on the basis of whether they tested positive for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV).
The study was published … along with a partial retraction from the authors of the 2009 study that first fingered XMRV as a probable culprit behind CFS.
This is the 17th study to repudiate the 2009 findings.
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Bioengineers Reprogram Muscles to Combat Degeneration

(Science Daily) Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have turned back the clock on mature muscle tissue, coaxing it back to an earlier stem cell stage to form new muscle. Moreover, they showed in mice that the newly reprogrammed muscle stem cells could be used to help repair damaged tissue.
The achievement … "opens the door to the development of new treatments to combat the degeneration of muscle associated with muscular dystrophy or aging," said study principal investigator Irina Conboy.
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In Older Men, Prostate Biopsies Can Raise Risk of Hospitalization

(HealthDay News) Almost 7 percent of men 65 and older who have a prostate biopsy are hospitalized within 30 days of the procedure, a new study indicates.
By comparison, only about 3 percent of similarly aged men who do not get prostate biopsies can expect to be hospitalized, according to the report…
[T]he increase in hospitalizations wasn't just for reasons that are clearly related to the biopsy itself. While the rate of infections increased significantly, there were also some hospitalizations related to flare-ups of heart failure and pneumonia, [senior author Dr. Edward] Schaeffer noted.
"That means that something about the biopsy is causing people to get sick and need admission to the hospital. We've always thought of prostate biopsy as a simple outpatient procedure, but it does stress the body," said Schaeffer.
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Private insurance, better prostate surgery outcome?

(Reuters Health) U.S. men who have surgery for prostate cancer seem to fare better if they have private insurance rather than public coverage through Medicare or Medicaid, a new study finds…
After surgery, 13 percent of Medicare patients had a complication, such as heart or breathing problems or incontinence. That compared with just under 10 percent of men with private insurance.
There were similar gaps when the researchers looked at men covered by Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor: 13 percent had some type of post-surgery complication.
Few men in the study died, but the risk was higher for those on Medicaid, 0.3 percent of whom died in the hospital.
The reasons for the findings cannot be pinned down, according to lead researcher Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh, a urologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
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Poor women get more unneeded breast cancer surgery

(Reuters) Old, poor and Hispanic women are all more likely to have unnecessary breast cancer surgery despite 2005 recommendations for gentler treatment, according to a U.S. study.
Based on a California state cancer registry, researchers whose findings were published in the Archives of Surgery found that more than a third of some 18,000 women who had undergone a mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer had had lymph nodes under the armpits removed as well.
Yet for these women, their cancer had not yet spread beyond the breast.
"The women that were getting this unnecessary surgery were more likely to be of lower socioeconomic status, were older, or were Hispanic," said Sharon Lum, a breast surgeon at Loma Linda University in California, who worked on the study.
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Lung cancer linked to risk of stroke

(Reuters Health) People recently diagnosed with lung cancer are at higher risk of having a stroke than those without lung tumors, suggests a large new study from Taiwan…
Some evidence suggests that excessive bleeding and blood clots, both of which can be caused by tumors, as well as chemotherapy side effects, could partly explain the apparent link between cancer and stroke, researchers note…
Most of the study population were blue-collar workers such as farmers, fishermen and vendors, who tended to have high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
"There's a higher rate of high blood pressure and diabetes and pulmonary disease in patients with lung cancer," said [Dr. Andrew Russman, a stroke specialist at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who was not part of the study]. "I think this reflects the heavy burden of smoking and smoking related risk factors in the population," he said.
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Cigarette makers, FDA clash over new graphic ads

(Reuters) Cigarette makers clashed with regulators in U.S. federal court over new graphic labels and advertising that use pictures of rotting teeth and diseased lungs to warn consumers about the risks of smoking.
The tobacco industry asked Judge Richard Leon on Wednesday for a temporary injunction to block the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's requirement for the labels, pending a final decision on whether the labels are constitutional…
The industry says the new graphic warnings, due to go into effect by September 2012, force them to "engage in anti-smoking advocacy" on the government's behalf.
"Never before has the government required the maker of a lawful product to tell consumers not to buy it," said Noel Francisco, a lawyer arguing on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Community: That’s easy, let’s just make tobacco products illegal. Smoking costs us taxpayers a ton of money, and our interests outweigh those of the tobacco companies.
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French judges probe maker of discredited diet pill

(Reuters) The head and founder of France's Servier laboratories was placed under investigation on Wednesday in a probe of the drug Mediator, which officials say has caused at least 500 deaths in France, and has sparked a public furor over drug regulation.
Jacques Servier, the company's president, is being investigated in Paris on suspicion of dishonest practices, deception over the drug's quality, and of falsely obtaining authorisation to sell it, said his lawyer, Herve Temime.
Five companies under the umbrella of Servier are also under investigation.
Mediator -- an anti-diabetic drug that was mostly prescribed by doctors as a weight-loss pill -- was sold to as many as 5 million people between 1976 and November 2009, when it was withdrawn, years after being pulled in Spain and Italy.
State health inspectors have said the drug should have been withdrawn in France a decade earlier.
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China "stem cell therapies" offer heartbreak for many

(Reuters) Desperate for help, patients with incurable diseases are admitting themselves into hospitals in China for "stem cell therapies" but experts say such treatments are backed by little or no scientific evidence and are at best experimental.
Some of these cases involve large general hospitals where patients pay thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars for treatments that are advertised online. Patients have come away with little or no improvement and a number have died, according to patients, doctors and relatives of patients who spoke to Reuters…
Experts have raised the alarm on patients turning up at clinics and hospitals in China, Mexico, India, Turkey, Russia and elsewhere for stem cell therapies that have not undergone clinical trials and which are not recognized as standard treatment.
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Proteins Believed To Increase Lifespan Don't

(Science Daily) Sirtuins, proteins believed to significantly increase lifespan in a number of organisms -- and the claimed target of some anti-aging creams -- do not, in fact, affect animal longevity, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the European Union.
Sirtuins had previously been linked to aging and longevity in yeast, the nematode worm and the fruit fly, organisms commonly used as models for the biology of human aging. Researchers had shown that when the organism's genes overproduced sirtuin, its lifespan was significantly extended, in nematodes by as much as 50%.
Further research also highlighted a connection between sirtuins and dietary restriction…
[Dr David] Gems and colleagues … examined two different strains of nematode worm, each from a different prior study. The worms had been genetically manipulated so that the sirtuin gene was overactive.
As expected, these worms lived longer than the control 'wild-type' worms (that is, worms that had not been genetically manipulated). However, after precautions were taken to ensure that the only difference between control and test worms was the elevation of sirtuin levels, they found that the longevity disappeared. This implied that some other genetic factors must have caused the longevity initially seen. In one of the two original strains, they identified this as a mutation in a gene involved in the development of nerve cells.
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Older adults make better decisions

(UPI) Some think getting older results poor decision-making but U.S. psychologists say older adults are adept at making good choices that lead to long-term gain.
Todd Maddox of the University of Texas at Austin and Darrell Worthy of Texas A&M University and colleagues found 60-year-old adults were better at strategizing decisions than those in their late teens and early 20s, who tend to focus on instant gratification.
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Stopping Smoking Boosts Everyday Memory, Research Finds

(Science Daily) Giving up smoking isn't just good for your health, it's also good for your memory… Research … reveals that stopping smoking can restore everyday memory to virtually the same level as non-smokers.
Participants were asked to remember pre-determined tasks at specific locations on a tour of a university campus. While smokers performed badly, remembering just 59% of tasks, those who had given up smoking remembered 74% of their required tasks compared to those who had never smoked who remembered 81% of tasks.
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Natural Therapies: Cardiologists Examine Alternatives to Halt High Blood Pressure

(Science Daily) In an effort to better educate health care professionals and patients, [hypertension expert John Bisognano, M.D., Ph.D.] Bisognano and Kevin Woolf, M.D., a cardiology fellow…, conducted the most comprehensive review to date of the evidence behind a wide range of non-drug interventions for the treatment of high blood pressure…
Woolf and Bisognano … emphasize that all patients with hypertension should adhere to the low-salt DASH diet, which is high in fiber, low in fats and incorporates lots of fruits and vegetables, and follow an exercise and weight loss regimen -- lifestyle modifications recommended by the American Heart Association. Any alternative options should be considered for use in addition to these lifestyle changes…
Woolf noted that "Coenzyme Q10 has a pretty profound effect on blood pressure, but whenever research is based on a collection of other data you have to have some skepticism." Woolf said he still thinks the compound is promising.
Woolf also found that potassium helps lower blood pressure, and there is evidence that increasing the amount of potassium we get through the foods we eat could carry some of the same mild benefits as taking supplements.
The potential herbal remedies Woolf identified include mistletoe extract, used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat hypertension. Mistletoe extract reduced blood pressure in animal studies, but Woolf cautions that it may be toxic at high doses. The extract from Hawthorn, a type of tree, is also used, but provides only a slight reduction in blood pressure. Conversely, Woolf uncovered a handful of herbal remedies -- St. John's wort, ephedra/ma huang, yohimbine and licorice -- that may increase blood pressure.
Woolf and Bisognano stress that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary and herbal supplements the way they regulate traditional pharmaceuticals. They say health care providers and patients need to be aware that the safety of these products is not always rigorously established and that formulations can vary.
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Best diet: One-third protein, carbs, fat

(UPI) Meals made up of one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydrates allow the body to function best, researchers in Norway found…
"Both low-carb and high-carb diets are wrong," [professor of biology Berit] Johansen said. "But a low-carb diet is closer to the right diet. A healthy diet shouldn't be made up of more than one-third carbohydrates -- up to 40 percent of calories -- in each meal, otherwise we stimulate our genes to initiate the activity that creates inflammation in the body."
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Pork Chops Stuffed with Feta and Spinach
These Greek-inspired spinach- and feta cheese-stuffed pork chops have earned rave reviews from our users.
Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples
Celebrate the flavors of fall with chicken cooked in a fast apple-cranberry sauce. If you prefer a less tart flavor, try dried cranberries instead of fresh. Serve with quick-cooking wild rice and roasted Brussels sprouts.
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Pistachios for Weight Control

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Pistachios in the shell may not be as popular as traditional choices like carrots for a healthy (practically no-cal) snack, but as one of the lowest calorie nuts, they have another advantage: shelling them slows down snacking - and a growing pile of shells shows may remind you of how much you've eaten.
A study from Eastern Illinois University found that students given unshelled pistachios ate 41 percent fewer nuts (an average of 125 calories per sitting) than those were given shelled nuts (they averaged 211 calories per sitting). The researchers also learned that when given a bowl of pistachios and a bowl for the shells for the day, the students ate 22 percent less when the shells accumulated all day than when the bowls were emptied every two hours.
This study supports results from earlier investigations suggesting that pistachios can be a healthy "diet" food: UCLA researchers found that snacking on pistachios was better weight-wise than snacking on pretzels. And a U.S. Department of Agriculture study found the body may not completely absorb the fat in pistachios, which would make the nuts even lower in calories than we think.
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Overweight Older Women Have Less Leg Strength, Power

(Science Daily) A new study from the University of New Hampshire finds that the leg strength and power of overweight older women is significantly less than that of normal-weight older women, increasing their risk for disability and loss of independence…
Older adults who are overweight can improve their strength-to-weight ratio by either losing weight or gaining strength. Perhaps surprisingly, data suggest the latter is the easier route. While most people are not successful at losing weight, "even the oldest old people can have dramatic increases in strength," says [lead author Dain] LaRoche. The key to building strength is to fatigue the muscle with eight to fifteen repetitions, an aspect many new to weight training overlook.
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5 Ways to Prevent Falling

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It is estimated that a third of Americans over the age of 65 suffer one fall per year; two-thirds of those will fall again within six months. Falling can cause serious injury (such as broken bones) and may significantly damage self-confidence.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help prevent dangerous falls in your home:
1.    Install safety devices, including grab bars in the bathroom.
2.    Eliminate or reposition items that are potential hazards such as throw rugs, floor clutter, and exposed wires.
3.    Recover or replace slippery floor surfaces with materials that allow good traction.
4.    Try to have a landline phone that's accessible from the floor in case you do fall and cannot get back on your feet.
5.    If you have a companion animal, train it to stay away from your feet as you walk.
In addition, you can help to prevent falls by remaining physically active. Simple daily exercise will help improve and maintain muscle and bone strength; while practicing balance and coordination disciplines such as tai chi and yoga will help prevent falls. Also, be aware of any medicines that may affect your balance and seek appropriate alternatives. In addition, there is a substantial amount of research suggesting that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may help prevent falls, perhaps through improving muscle strength.
Community: There are also special (and very easy) exercises you can do to improve your balance. I’ve gotten a lot more confident about getting on my bicycle since I started doing them.
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