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

'Magic Mushrooms' And Positive Personality Change

(HealthDay News) In new research that will almost certainly create controversy, scientists working with the hallucinogen psilocybin -- the active ingredient found in "magic mushrooms" -- have found that a single dose of the drug prompted an enduring but positive personality change in almost 60 percent of patients…
"[P]ersonality is considered a stable characteristic of the psychology of people. It's been thought to be relatively immutable, and stable across the lifespan.
"But, remarkably, this study shows that psilocybin actually changes one domain of personality that is strongly related to traits such as imagination, feeling, abstract ideas and aesthetics, and is considered a core construct underlying creativity in general," [said study author Roland R. Griffiths]. "And the changes we see appear to be long-term."
Griffiths said it's possible psilocybin could have therapeutic uses. For example, he is currently studying whether the hallucinogen might be useful in helping cancer patients cope with the depression and anxiety that often accompany the disease, and whether it might help smokers quit the habit.
Community: Maybe we should put it in the water supply.
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'Self-Compassion' Can Help People Heal

(HealthDay News) Self-compassion can help the newly divorced get through one of the most difficult periods of their lives, researchers suggest.
They explained that self-compassion -- a combination of kindness toward oneself, recognition of common humanity, and the ability to let painful emotions pass -- "can promote resilience and positive outcomes in the face of divorce."
Read more.
Community: I’ve found that self-compassion is important in all aspects of my life. I never once changed an unwanted behavior by being hard on myself, but I have made changes by treating myself the same way I’d treat a child who was misbehaving.
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Are Alpha Males Healthy?

(Wall Street Journal) While they may appear cool and calm, many human alphas thrive on adrenaline, the hormone that primes the body to fight or flee in times of danger. Those short bursts of power helped our ancestors outrun predators. But if the perceived threat never lets up, the chronic state of alarm increases cortisol, too, and can eventually weaken the immune system, raise blood-pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels, block arteries and spread inflammation…
Cardiologists, psychiatrists and executive coaches all say it is critical for alphas to find some way to manage excess stress—be it moderate exercise, sports, yoga, music, meditation, mindfulness training or downtime with family and friends. Some also advise simple deep-breathing exercises, with long exhalations, which can counteract cortisol and increase endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical.
Many alphas find they are happier, healthier and more successful if they learn to temper some of their competitive zeal.
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Aerobic Exercise Capacity Linked to Longevity

(Science Daily) Aerobic exercise capacity has proven to be a good indicator of health. A recent paper … uses a rat model to show that innate exercise capacity can be linked to longevity…
[The study] found that the average lifespan of rats with innate low exercise capacity was 28-45% shorter than for rats with an inborn high exercise capacity. Likewise, the peak oxygen uptake measured across adulthood was a reliable predictor of lifespan.
Community: I hate these genes-are-destiny kinds of articles. They make it seem that we can’t fight the inevitable. But we can increase our aerobic capacity, despite our genetic makeup.
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White Bean Soup with Gremolata
Pancetta adds bold flavor to this smooth, savory soup. Pair with toast or a small green salad for a light and filling weeknight meal.
Skillet Moussaka
In Greece, moussaka is made with beef or lamb, layers of sliced eggplant and a creamy béchamel sauce all baked together in the oven. This variation takes plenty of liberties to make it easy, quick and healthful. Serve over whole-wheat pasta or with potatoes.
Fall Crock-Pot Recipes
For a super-simple meal, try these healthy slow-cooker recipes that practically cook themselves.
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Low vitamin B linked to cognition problems

(UPI) Older people with low levels of vitamin B12 in their blood may become more likely to lose brain cells and develop cognition problems, U.S. researchers suggest…
The study, published in the journal Neurology, found having high levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smaller total brain volume.
"Our findings definitely deserve further examination," [study author Christine C.] Tangney said in a statement. "It's too early to say whether increasing vitamin B12 levels in older people through diet or supplements could prevent these problems, but it is an interesting question to explore. Findings from a British trial with B vitamin supplementation are also supportive of these outcomes."
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Small Study Links Surgery and Anesthesia With Alzheimer's

(HealthDay News) New research adds to the growing evidence that anesthesia and surgery may be associated with the progression of chronic brain diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease.
"We have long sought a clearer picture of the true impact of anesthesia and surgery on the central nervous system," study author Dr. Roderic Eckenhoff [said]
"Although not definitive, this human biomarker study gives some credibility to the notion that anesthesia and surgery produce an inflammatory insult on the brain and accelerate chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's," Eckenhoff added.
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New Spin on Ibuprofen's Actions

(Science Daily) Ibuprofen, naproxen, and related non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- the subjects of years of study -- still have some secrets to reveal about how they work.
Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered surprising new insights into the actions of NSAIDs. Their findings … raise the possibility of developing a new class of inflammation- and pain-fighting medicines.
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Rates of diabetes-related amputation vary across U.S.

(Reuters Health) Rates of foot and leg amputations among Americans with diabetes may vary widely according to where they live, a new study suggests.
About 26 million Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 65,000 had a lower limb amputation in 2006, the most recent year with available data…
Amputation is a complication of diabetes because the disease often causes nerve damage over time. When people lose sensation in their feet and legs, they may more easily get a cut, blister or sore -- even from ill-fitting shoes -- and be less likely to notice it until it's infected.
Community: All the more reason to prevent diabetes.
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Heart Drug Offers Possible Treatment for Patients Facing Respiratory Failure

(Science Daily) Treatment with the calcium-sensitizing drug levosimendan may be effective in improving muscle function in patients with respiratory muscle weakness, which often accompanies chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure, according to researchers in the Netherlands, who studied the effects of the drug on healthy volunteers.
The drug, which is normally prescribed in patients with acute heart failure, increases the sensitivity of muscle tissue to calcium, improving the muscle's ability to contract.
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Powerful Antibody-Based Strategy Suggests a New Therapeutic Approach to Diabetes and Obesity

(Science Daily) The work of a team of scientists … led by Professor Nicholas Tonks FRS, suggests a way to overcome one of the major technical obstacles preventing a leading therapeutic target for diabetes and obesity from being addressed successfully by novel drugs.
The target is an enzyme called PTP1B, discovered by Tonks in 1988 and long known to be an important player in the signaling pathway within cells that regulates the response to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism by spurring cells, particularly in the liver and muscle, to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and store it away for later use…
[T]he team designed a strategy through which they generated recombinant antibody constructs that recognized specifically [an] oxidized, inactive form of PTP1B… [E]xpression of these antibodies resulted in the hoped-for enhanced and prolonged signaling response to insulin.
One major technical problem remains. Although these antibodies display the ability to promote insulin signaling, it is extremely difficult to deliver antibodies to the interior of cells as drugs using current biotechnology… Tonks says a small molecule must be found that has the same effect on PTP1B as the antibodies identified in the team's experiments.
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Woolly Mammoth's Secrets for Shrugging Off Cold Points Toward New Artificial Blood for Humans

(Science Daily) The blood from woolly mammoths -- those extinct elephant-like creatures that roamed Earth in pre-historic times -- is helping scientists develop new blood products for modern medical procedures that involve reducing patients' body temperature…
Compared to hemoglobin from Asian elephants and humans, the woolly mammoth protein was much less sensitive to temperature changes, which means it can still easily unload oxygen to tissues that need it in the cold, whereas the other hemoglobins can't. This is likely due to at least two of the mutations in the woolly mammoth hemoglobin gene. These insights could lead to the design of new artificial blood products for use in hypothermia induced during heart and brain surgeries.
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Yawning May Help the Brain Chill Out

(HealthDay News) Yawning may be a natural way of regulating brain temperature, a new study suggests.
U.S. researchers examined the frequency of yawns among 80 people in the winter and another 80 people in the summer and found seasonal variations…
The finding that people yawn less often in the summer, when outdoor temperatures often exceed body temperature, suggests that yawning could be a natural brain-cooling mechanism, said the researchers at Princeton University and the University of Arizona…
Yawning may help cool the brain through the deep inhalation of cool air and by enhanced blood flow to the brain caused by the stretching of the jaw.
Community: Maybe this study helps explain the beneficial effects of deep breathing exercises, too.
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Couples Counseling Improves Sexual Intimacy After Prostate Treatment

(Science Daily) Prostate cancer survivors and their partners experience improved sexual satisfaction and function after couples counseling, according to research… The article … revealed both Internet-based sexual counseling and traditional sex therapy are equally effective in improving sexual outcomes. Couples on a waiting list for counseling did not improve.
Men experienced a marked improvement in their sexual function for up to one year, and women who started out with a sexual problem improved significantly with counseling.
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Black Women Tend to Suffer Disabilities Earlier, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) Black women are likely to develop physical limitations earlier in life than others their age, according to a new study…
"We could not find the reason why African-American women developed limitations faster than other gender and racial/ethnic groups," said David Warner…
After their mid-60s, however, the rate at which disabilities occurred among black women began to decrease, and by age 75 the rate leveled off, the study found…
The study authors said future research should address the unique health experiences of older black women. Preventive efforts are also needed to eliminate racial- and gender-related functional health disparities, they said.
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Consumers can control health costs

(UPI) People with high-deductible health plans and a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement reduced healthcare costs, U.S. researchers say…
At least three factors influenced the cost of care once the patient had initiated care -- lower use of name-brand medications, less in-patient care and lower use of specialists. Researchers speculate patients may talk to their doctors about their higher deductibles and ask them to help keep costs low.
Community: And they may avoid needed testing and medications. Which may lead to higher costs later.
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Analysis: States lobby against Medicaid cuts in Congress

(Reuters) With billions of dollars in Medicaid spending at risk in Congress, states are forming a loose confederacy to oppose any federal cuts that could damage state budgets already awash in red ink.
The "red" and "blue" states that mark America's political divide between conservative and liberal sympathies are often far apart on issues involving healthcare, including Medicaid, the $420 billion-a-year program for the poor.
But lobbyists say governors, legislators and other state officials, Republican and Democrat alike, have found common ground in a push to convince a special congressional deficit panel that White House-backed Medicaid cuts totaling $41 billion will only weaken a system that already struggles to deliver care to 60 million beneficiaries.
The 12-member bipartisan panel, dubbed the "super committee" because of its powers, is tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in savings to cut huge U.S. deficits. The full Congress is due to vote on their recommendations by late December.
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U.S. to test workplace wellness programs

(UPI) The U.S. government is spending approximately $9 million to measure the effectiveness of comprehensive workplace wellness programs, officials say.
The initiative, funded by the Affordable Care Act, aims to help workplaces support healthy lifestyles and reduce risk factors for chronic diseases to improve the health of workers and their families…
Viridian Health Management in Phoenix was selected to work with 70 to 100 small, mid-size, and large employers in seven regions nationwide to help them develop or expand their workplace wellness programs involving promoting physical activity, proper nutrition and tobacco cessation -- the key lifestyle behaviors that reduce employees' risk for chronic disease, officials said.
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Middle-aged women happier with moderate exercise

(Reuters Health) Middle-aged women encouraged to exercise at moderate intensity were much happier and more likely to continue working out than peers who exercised more intensely, a new study found…
"Exercise makes you feel better but it is going to be more pleasant when performed at moderate intensity as compared to vigorous, especially when you have been previously inactive or may be overweight," lead author Dr. Steriani Elavsky, of Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, told Reuters Health.
She added that women need to learn ways to monitor their intensity levels while they exercise and do things they enjoy so that they stay active for the long term.
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Red Wine Ingredient Resveratrol Stops Breast Cancer Growth, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A new research report … shows that resveratrol, the "healthy" ingredient in red wine, stops breast cancer cells from growing by blocking the growth effects of estrogen. This discovery, made by a team of American and Italian scientists, suggests for the first time that resveratrol is able to counteract the malignant progression since it inhibits the proliferation of hormone resistant breast cancer cells. This has important implications for the treatment of women with breast cancer whose tumors eventually develop resistance to hormonal therapy…
"These findings are exciting, but in no way does it mean that should people go out and start using red wine or resveratrol supplements as a treatment for breast cancer," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D… "What it does mean, however, is that scientists haven't finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine."
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9 Foods for Breast Cancer Prevention

(EatingWell) Plums & Peaches. Researchers at Texas A&M recently found that plums and peaches have antioxidant levels to rival “superfood” blueberries—and that they contain two types of polyphenols (antioxidants) that may help kill breast cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact…
Walnuts. Recent research in the journal Nutrition and Cancer suggests walnuts may thwart the growth of breast cancer…
Broccoli. Sulforaphane—a compound in broccoli—reduced the number of breast cancer stem cells (which cause cancer spread and recurrence) in mice, according to research from the University of Michigan. Eating broccoli may not deliver enough sulforaphane to achieve the same effect, but to get the most you can, eat your broccoli raw or briefly steam or stir-fry the green florets. (Boiling destroys some of the sulforaphane.)
Salmon. Taking fish-oil supplements for at least 10 years can shrink your risk of ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer, according to a study…
Olive Oil… [R]esearchers in Barcelona … found that … olive oil’s antioxidants and oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated fat) quelled growth of malignant cells…
Parsley. University of Missouri scientists found that this herb can actually inhibit cancer-cell growth…
Coffee. Drinking about two 12-ounce coffees a day may lower your risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer, says a May 2011 study…
Beans. According to a new report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, upping your fiber intake may help lower your risk of breast cancer—and the more you eat, the more your risk decreases… Other foods packed with fiber include barley, bulgur, lentils, peas, artichokes, dates and raspberries.
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Clear Brain Plaques with This Nutrient

(RealAge.com) If your mother gave you vitamin D-rich cod liver oil when you were a child, she may have been way ahead of her time.
A new animal study from Japan suggests that vitamin D may help clear the brain of amyloid beta, a toxic protein-like compound that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
This animal study validates the results of a previous study done in human Alzheimer's patients. In the human study, vitamin D together with curcumin -- a chemical found in turmeric spice -- appeared to stimulate the immune system in a way that helped clear the brain of toxic amyloid beta. But this new animal research suggests that vitamin D alone may be able to do that job 
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Herb-Crusted Chicken and Parsley Orzo
Sprinkle the chicken with a mixture of fines herbes, salt and pepper, brown in the skillet with butter, and serve over orzo for a one-dish dinner.
Pad Thai
This Thai-restaurant favorite comes together at home in less time than you'd ever imagine possible.
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A Tangy and Healthy Vegetable Dish

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Supermarkets are loaded with a wide variety of greens year-round. If you've never really experimented much beyond spinach, now is the time to do so. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Some greens do have strong tastes that take getting used to; beet greens and chard, for example, contain oxalic acid, which imparts a sharp flavor. Older leaves have more of this flavor than younger ones, and some varieties are stronger-tasting than others. On the other hand, kale is generally mild and good-tasting, as long as it is prepared properly. Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage, has a mild spiciness that adds great flavor to many dishes. Many cultures add vinegar to complement the flavor of greens, and this Asian-flavored dish is no exception.
Food as Medicine
It's an unfortunate misconception that citrus fruits are the best sources of vitamin C. This vital nutrient is abundant in vegetables, especially greens. One cup of cooked chard, for example, provides 52 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C.
Try this healthy side dish.
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Smoking Linked to Chronic Pain in Women

(Science Daily) Kentucky women who smoke heavily may experience more chronic musculoskeletal pain, suggests a new study led by University of Kentucky researchers.
More than 6,000 Kentucky women over the age of 18 were surveyed on their smoking habits and symptoms of chronic pain. Syndromes included in the analysis were fibromyalgia, sciatica, chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, joint pain, chronic head pain, nerve problems, and pain all over the body.
Results showed that women who smoke, or who were former smokers, had a greater chance of reporting at least one chronic pain syndrome in comparison to nonsmokers.
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Big Tobacco Knew Cancer Risk but Kept Quiet, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Tobacco companies knew that cigarette smoke contained radioactive alpha particles for more than four decades and developed "deep and intimate" knowledge of these particles' cancer-causing potential, but they deliberately kept their findings from the public, according to a new study by UCLA researchers.
The analysis of dozens of previously unexamined internal tobacco industry documents, made available in 1998 as the result of a legal settlement, reveals that the industry was aware of cigarette radioactivity some five years earlier than previously thought and that tobacco companies, concerned about the potential lung cancer risk, began in-depth investigations into the possible effects of radioactivity on smokers as early as the 1960s.
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No One Treatment for Acid Reflux Clearly Better Than Another: Study

(HealthDay News) Medications are effective for most patients with acid reflux disease, but some surgical options may be just as effective, according to a review of studies on current treatments for this common condition.
Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, occurs when the contents of the stomach -- including burning acid -- chronically spill up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms such as a persistent cough, laryngitis and asthma.
Acid reflux disease may afflict as many as 4 percent of Americans, resulting not only in a sometimes significant financial drain but also more serious long-term consequences such as esophageal cancer, according to background information in the report…
Obesity, which is widespread globally and growing, probably ups the risk for GERD.
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Diabetes again linked to colon cancer risk: study

(Reuters) People with diabetes have a somewhat increased risk of colon cancer, an international study said -- but the reasons for the connection, and what should be done about it, remain unclear.
Researchers headed by Hiroki Yuhara, at the University of California, Berkeley, combined the results of 14 international studies and found that, overall, people with diabetes were 38 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer than those who were diabetes-free.
There was also a 20 percent increase in the risk of rectal cancer, though that appeared to be confined to men, according to the findings.
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Singing May Help Some Stroke Victims Regain Speech

(HealthDay News) Singing helps some stroke patients suffering from non-fluent aphasia -- severe difficulties with speech -- re-learn how to speak, according to a new study.
Researchers in Germany pointed out, however, it's the rhythm and formulaic phrases associated with singing -- not the melodies -- that seem to make the difference.
The lyrics and phrases the patients were most familiar with had the biggest impact on the their articulation -- even when they were just spoken and not sung, the investigators found. They concluded that the findings could lead to the development of new therapies for speech disorders.
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Commonly Used Supplement May Improve Recovery from Spinal Cord Injuries

(Science Daily) A commonly used supplement is likely to improve outcomes and recovery for individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury (SCI), according to research conducted by University of Kentucky neuroscientists…
[They] discovered that in experimental models, severe spinal cord injury can be treated effectively by administering the supplement acetyl-L-carnitine or ALC, a derivative of essential amino acids that can generate metabolic energy, soon after injury.
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Knockout of Protein Prevents Colon Tumor Formation in Mice

(Science Daily) A protein that regulates cell differentiation in normal tissue may play a different role in colon and breast cancer, activating proliferation of damaged cells, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
The protein, called PTK6, is found in normal skin and gut cells -- and in cancerous, but not normal, breast tissue…
[Professor Angela] Tyner and her colleagues developed a mouse that lacked the PTK6 gene. Based on their observation of increased growth in the intestine, Tyner's group suspected that mice lacking PTK6 would be more susceptible to cancer.
Using a carcinogen, the researchers induced colon tumors resembling human sporadic colon cancer in mice lacking the PTK6 gene and in normal mice.
"Mice lacking PTK6 were highly resistant to the carcinogen and developed fewer tumors," Tyner said. "It was an unexpected result."
Tyner's laboratory is continuing to investigate the role of PTK6 in cancer, which may provide a future target for therapies not only for colon cancer but breast cancer as well.
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Researchers Explain Hormonal Role in Glucose and Fat Metabolism

(Science Daily) Hormone researchers at the University of Houston (UH) have their sights set on providing long-term treatment options for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases by better understanding estradiol, the most potent naturally occurring estrogen…
[Dr. Rodrigo] Barros says that part of their research is dedicated to understanding how estradiol regulates feeding and food metabolism, explaining that this hormone is involved with several metabolic diseases, including eating disorders, obesity and diabetes.
"We believe that all the systems in the body involved with food consumption and metabolism, which include the brain, liver, pancreas, heart, muscles and fat, are connected by estradiol, resulting in a 'metabolic network' regulated by the hormone," Barros said. "Our evidence shows that when too much or too little estradiol is available, this delicate network loses its balance and metabolic diseases set in."…
This comes into play when people use alternative forms of hormones, such as natural plant derivatives, that may be harmful if used inappropriately.
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Biochemists Identify New Genetic Code Repair Tool

(Science Daily) Clemson University researchers recently reported finding a new class of DNA repair-makers…
DNA is constantly assaulted by various stresses. A common type of damage is modification of three out of the four building blocks for genetic code…
To ensure the integrity of the genetic material, cells are equipped with a "molecular toolkit" for repairing DNA damage. The toolkit is composed of a variety of different molecules -- called enzymes -- that have evolved to repair different types of DNA damage…
"What we learned from this work is that DNA repair toolkits have an amazing ability to evolve different repair functions for different kinds of DNA damage," [Clemson biochemist Weiguo] Cao said.
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Instead of Defibrillator's Painful Jolt, There May Be a Gentler Way to Prevent Sudden Death

(Science Daily) Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people have a cardiac defibrillator implanted in their chest to deliver a high-voltage shock to prevent sudden cardiac death from a life-threatening arrhythmia. While it's a necessary and effective preventive therapy, those who've experienced a defibrillator shock say it's painful, and some studies suggest that the shock can damage heart muscle.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins believe they have found a kinder and gentler way to halt the rapid and potentially fatal irregular heart beat known as ventricular fibrillation… [T]hey report success using lower amplitude, high-frequency alternating current at 100-200 Hz to stop the arrhythmia in the laboratory. They say this approach also may prove to be less painful for patients because of the lower amplitude and different frequency range than what is used for standard defibrillator shocks.
Community: I doubt many people whose lives have been saved by defibrillation are complaining about the pain it causes.
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FDA Warns LASIK Providers: Stop Making False Claims

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is once again cracking down on eye care professionals who make false safety claims and promises about the popular LASIK eye surgery.
The agency's Letter to Eye Care Professionals, issued this week, follows an earlier warning from May of 2009. In its latest salvo against deceptive, potentially harmful advertising, the FDA is now giving eye doctors 90 days to get in line and update any advertising or promotional materials that make false claims. After this time, the agency will take regulatory action, said FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson.
"It's about the false claims and not adequately providing consumers with information about the risks associated with the procedure," she said.
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Drug Companies Must Report Clinical Trial Results, Even When They Won't Lead to a Product, Experts Urge

(Science Daily) Drug companies sponsoring human trials of possible new medications have ethical responsibilities to study participants and to science to disclose the results of their clinical research -- even when product development is no longer being pursued, says a commentary co-authored by a leading UC Davis drug researcher …
"Disclosing negative results from drug and device clinical trials benefits the entire scientific spectrum," [commentary co-author Howard J.] Federoff says. "Such reporting would lead to greater patient safety, improve treatment research strategies, and allow a more efficient use of limited resources. The HHS has within its power the authority to require such reporting and doing so would positively impact health outcomes."
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Analysis: Open-access R&D one answer to drug industry woes

(Reuters) Drug companies are learning how to share.
In a bid to save both time and money, some of the industry's biggest names are experimenting with new ways to pool early-stage research, effectively taking a leaf out of the "open-source" manual that gave the world Linux software.
If it takes off, the approach could break the mold of current drug research and speed the development of tomorrow's life-saving medicines for diseases from cancer to autism.
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Even Slightly Higher Blood Pressure May Boost Stroke Risk

(HealthDay News) Having blood pressure readings that are just slightly above normal -- a condition known as prehypertension -- appears to raise the risk of stroke, new research finds.
Normal blood pressure is a systolic blood pressure (top number) below 120 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) below 80 mmHg.
Prehypertension is slightly above that -- systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 mmHg…
"The message for patients is that stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, and if you do fall into [the prehypertensive] category you should take it very seriously and strongly consider a change in lifestyle to try and reduce your risk of stroke," said senior study author Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele.
Community: There are a lot of things you can do to lower your blood pressure.
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Exercise and Your Heart: A Little Bit'll Do It

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It doesn't take much exercise to help reduce your risk of heart disease. A new review of 33 earlier studies on the benefits of exercise found that people who get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week reduce their risk of heart disease by 14 percent compared to inactive people (150 minutes comes out to 30 minutes a day, five days a week).
Of course, more is better, and with additional physical activity (five hours of exercise per week) you can lower your risk by as much 20 percent (again, compared to inactive folks). The review found that women benefit more from exercise than men, but the researchers aren’t sure why and have suggested that the difference may be due to a statistical quirk. You might also achieve an additional risk reduction of five percent if you're up for exercising 12.5 hours per week, but the researchers conceded that the extra five percent may not be worth all that added effort.
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Study Suggests Link Between Sleep Deprivation, Alzheimer's Risk

(HealthDay News) A new study shows that levels of amyloid beta, a byproduct of brain activity that is considered a marker for Alzheimer's disease, normally rise during the day and decrease at night.
While the finding is preliminary, it could suggest a possible link between sleep deprivation and people's risk for developing the brain-robbing disease, researchers say.
"We've known for some time that significant sleep deprivation has negative effects on cognitive [brain] function comparable to that of alcohol intoxication," Dr. Stephen Duntley … said… "But it's recently become apparent that prolonged sleep disruption and deprivation can actually play an important role in pathological processes that underlie diseases. This connection to Alzheimer's disease isn't confirmed yet in humans, but it could be very important."
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Healthy Aging: Eating Right

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) With growing evidence that prolonged inflammation raises the risk of many diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, there is no doubt that diet is an important factor. The following are healthy ways to reduce inflammation through diet, courtesy of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging:
1.    Eat a diet rich in omega-3s, including wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts.
2.    Incorporate plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into your meals.
3.    Reduce your intake of polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as sunflower, corn and safflower oils), replacing them instead with extra virgin olive oil.
4.    Use healing spices in your cooking: turmeric, ginger and red pepper can add zing to meals and are all naturally anti-inflammatory.
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Chicken with Artichokes and Lemon
You only need to use one skillet for this simple citrusy chicken thigh and artichoke entrée.
Southwestern Sauté with Salsa Grits
Cheesy, salsa-flavored grits are the base for this easy bean and vegetable sauté. Use fresh salsa (found in the market near other dips) to keep sodium in check. Look for quick grits near oatmeal and other hot cereals or near cornmeal in the baking aisle. Serve with a romaine and red cabbage salad with avocado and pepitas.
Cooking Light:
Breakfast for Dinner Recipes
Moving rise-and-shine favorites to the evening time slot feels both fun and indulgent. We've dressed up those favorites.
And there are lots more.
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The Must-Have Fall Fruit

(SouthBeachDiet.com) They’re tart and sometimes sweet. Red, green, and sometimes yellow. When you think of the fall season, what’s the one fruit that comes to mind? Apples, of course! This month, apples are in abundance, so take advantage of the bounty and try some of the approximately 7,500 varieties available worldwide, such as McIntosh, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious. Apples are a great source [of] fiber (particularly when eaten with the skin) and they also contain some vitamin C and the flavonoid quercetin, which has antioxidant properties…
Apples can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three months. They should be kept in a plastic bag with holes for ventilation. Check them frequently and remove any that are bruised or brown. One bad apple can spoil the rest. When storing your apples in the refrigerator, try to keep them away from strong-smelling foods such as onions, as they will absorb the odor. If you keep your apples out of the refrigerator, put them in a cool, dry place and eat them as soon as possible.
Always clean the skins thoroughly before eating. Washing will remove dirt and pesticides. (If you prefer to remove any wax coating, however, you should probably use a produce cleaner.) Don't cut an apple until just before you're ready to eat it: Once cut, apples turn brown through oxidation after just a few minutes of exposure to the air. You can prevent this by dipping the slices into a bowl containing one part lemon juice to three parts water.
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Wine & Grapes May Protect Skin

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) No joke: researchers in Spain have suggested that drinking red wine or eating grapes may help defend your skin against the damaging effects of sunburn.
The investigators report that antioxidant compounds found in grapes can protect skin by undermining formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). If left unchecked, these byproducts of normal metabolism set off a chemical reaction that kills off cells and as a result, damages skin exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Researchers at the University of Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council studied the chemical reaction that leads to sunburn and then looked at the effects of flavonoids on this process. They suggested that grapes could protect against both burns and skin cancer.
Don't be too quick to trade your sunscreen for a bottle of Spanish red: the grapes may turn out to work best when incorporated into skin creams to guard us from sunburn.
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Potato cheapest source of potassium

(UPI) White potatoes are the largest and most affordable source of potassium per serving of any vegetable or fruit, U.S. researchers said.
Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues at the University of Washington -- in a study funded by the industry group the U.S. Potato Board -- merged nutrient composition data from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion national food prices database…
Potatoes were the lowest-cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet.
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