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

Workplace 'recess' ups productivity

(UPI) An Instant Recess Toolkit helps employers implement workplace "recess," breaks during the workday that benefit employers and employees, a researcher says.
Dr. Toni Yancey of the University of California, Los Angeles, developed the toolkit -- made available for free by KEEN, the manufacturer of hybrid outdoor casual footwear, bags and socks -- to help people who spend so much time sitting and attached to their electronics, at a time when obesity rates continue to grow…
"If employers offered and encouraged a paid activity break during the day, it would offer a real return on investment for them -- delivering $1.50 to $2.00 for every dollar spent implementing the program, according to our estimates," Yancey, author of "Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time," said in a statement. "Through workplace studies I've conducted with my team, the results clearly demonstrate that short activity breaks during the day, are beneficial for one's physical and mental health, improving productivity and aiding in arresting weight gain."
The new Instant Recess Toolkit, which was designed to help improve workplace health and productivity, and re-energize employees, is available now in a free download at corptoolkit.keenfootwear.com, Yancey said.
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Exercise Tips for Breast Cancer Survivors

(HealthDay News) To help mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the American Council on Exercise offered the following tips for breast cancer survivors interested in establishing a regular exercise program:
·         Engage in aerobic activities at moderate intensity for 150 minutes each week or strenuous physical activity for 75 minutes each week.
·         Choose activities that involve all the major muscle groups (lower and upper body) two or three times per week.
·         Stretch major muscle groups when engaging in aerobic and strength-training exercises to improve flexibility.
·         Before considering upper-body exercises, women who have had surgery should allow time to heal properly.
·         Exercise should be avoided when experiencing extreme fatigue or pain.
·         During chemotherapy, set short-term goals to maintain motivation. Also keep in mind that nausea may result in loss of appetite and lower energy levels.
·         Women undergoing radiation therapy should be sure to select comfortable clothing to avoid irritating any skin rashes or burns. Pools should also be avoided at this time.
·         Women receiving hormone treatment should drink plenty of water and avoid activities that increase the potential for falls, due to increased risk for broken bones.
For women who want an exercise program tailored to their needs, there are personal trainers who specialize in working with cancer survivors.
Following through on regular exercise has been shown to enhance immune system function; decrease fatigue and pain; reduce risk of fracture from the loss of bone mass; improve sleep and balance; lower blood pressure and resting heart rate; and lead to better mood, less anxiety and less stress, according to the American Council on Exercise.
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Yoga: To Prop or Not?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Even the ancient arts - including yoga - are not immune from evolution. While original yogis did not use props such as sticky mats (foam mats with non-skid backing), foam blocks (firm, pillow-like aids to cushion joints and assist in maintaining balance) or D rings (straps with D-shaped metal adjustment rings, used to help achieve or hold difficult poses), some modern practitioners find that props help them to ease into new moves, master more difficult poses or deepen their experience.
If you're a stickler for tradition, you can still benefit from age-old methods of stabilizing your body such as a wall or the assistance of another person to enrich your yoga experience. To learn more about yoga props, click here.
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Belly Dancing for Fitness

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If the treadmill has become tedious and the bike boring, why not liven up your fitness routine with belly dancing? This ancient art has evolved from traditional expressive movement to heart-pumping workouts offered in gyms across the country. Aside from working muscles that most people don't exercise in regular workouts, belly dancing is a great opportunity to learn about the music and traditions of unfamiliar countries and cultures.
In general, dancing of any kind is wonderful for your body. Aerobic exercise promotes general fitness, conditions your heart and respiratory system, stimulates immunity and increases stamina. It also tones your nervous system, reduces stress, helps with balance and coordination, increases oxygen flow throughout the body and gives you a sense of well-being and empowerment. Dancing is one of the best aerobic activities of all because it's upbeat and enjoyable, and provides a thorough workout.
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Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
Pair juicy pork tenderloin slices with boiled red potatoes and a fragrant white wine sauce, flavored with rosemary and cranberry chutney.
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
Cumin and chili powder season a filling of turkey sausage, tomatoes, black beans and Swiss cheese for creamy acorn squash. Serve this stuffed squash with warmed corn tortillas for wrapping up bites of all the tasty ingredients.
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Men Develop Diabetes With Less Body Fat Than Women: Study

(HealthDay News) Men develop type 2 diabetes at a lower body-mass index (BMI) than women, and this finding helps explain why men have higher rates of diabetes in many parts of the world, researchers report…
Fat distribution may explain why men develop diabetes with less weight gain than women. Men tend to have more fat in their abdominal regions and in their liver than women, while women have greater amounts of "safe" subcutaneous (beneath the skin) fat than men.
"It is worrying that men develop type 2 diabetes at a higher rate than their female counterparts. Research like this will help us understand reasons why and provide greater insight into what we can do to improve prevention of type 2 diabetes," Dr. Victoria King, head of research at Diabetes UK, said in a university news release.
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FDA Approves First Combo Drug for Diabetes, Cholesterol

(HealthDay News) A first-of-a-kind pill that treats both type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday.
Juvisync is a prescription medication that contains two previously approved medicines, sitagliptin (Januvia) and simvastatin (Zocor). Sitagliptin helps lower blood sugar levels, and simvastatin reduces the amount of "bad" low-density lipoprotein in the blood.
Many of the estimated 20 million people in the United States with type 2 diabetes also have high cholesterol, the FDA researchers noted. The two conditions are associated with increased risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness.
"This is the first product to combine a type 2 diabetes drug with a cholesterol-lowering drug in one tablet," Dr. Mary H. Parks, director of the division of metabolism and endocrinology products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the news release.
Community: It’s not clear from the FDA’s press release whether this combo will be sold at the price of a generic or not. UPI reports that Juvisync is a creation of pharmaceutical giant Merck, which makes me think it will be much more expensive than simply taking two generic pills.
In any case, you can avoid the expense and the side effects by preventing diabetes altogether. And there are natural ways to reduce cholesterol, too. Amazingly, many of the measures recommended for good health prevent or reduce both conditions, so it’s not as though there’s one regimen for diabetes and something else altogether for lowering cholesterol.
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Foods That Fight Prediabetes and Diabetes

(SouthBeachDiet.com) To reverse prediabetes (and prevent type 2 diabetes), try these smart-eating guidelines from the South Beach Diet:
·         Eat whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, wild rice, bulgur, slow-cooking oatmeal, and whole-grain breads and pastas. Quinoa is another healthy option.
·         Enjoy beans and other legumes frequently.
·         Enjoy plenty of vegetables, prepared without unhealthy fats (like stick margarine and butter) or sweetened sauces.
·         Consume whole, fresh fruits like berries, apples, and/or citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit halves. Avoid canned or jarred fruits with added sweeteners or syrups.
·         Include nonfat or low-fat dairy in your diet, such as fat-free or low-fat milk, plain or artificially sweetened low-fat soy milk, nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt, and artificially sweetened low-fat or nonfat flavored yogurt.
·         Focus on lean proteins, like fish and shellfish, skinless poultry breasts, and lean cuts of meat.
·         Use healthy cooking methods, such as baking, roasting, broiling, or grilling.
·         Avoid saturated fats and trans fats; instead, choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in olive oil and canola oil, for example, or foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish.
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Supplement users often get ample minerals in diet

(Reuters Health) People who take dietary supplements to boost their intake of minerals tend also to get more nutrients from their food than those who don't take supplements, according to a new study that suggests vitamins are often taken by the people who need them least…
Men and women who reported using dietary supplements containing eight important minerals -- calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, potassium and selenium -- were much less likely to be getting inadequate amounts of those minerals from the foods they ate than were people who said they didn't take supplements, the researchers found.
The link was strongest for women, who are more likely than men to take supplements.
Supplement users, in turn, tend to eat better and live healthier lifestyles than nonusers, [nutrition researcher Regan] Bailey noted.
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'Good' cholesterol reduces heart attacks

(UPI) Raising high-density lipoproteins, known as "good" cholesterol, reduces heart attack and stroke risk in diabetes patients, U.S. researchers say…
The study, published in The American Journal of Cardiology, found patients whose HDL levels increased had 8 percent fewer heart attacks and strokes than patients whose HDL levels remained the same, while patients whose HDL levels decreased had 11 percent more heart attacks and strokes.
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Residual Damage After Heart Attack No Longer Inevitable

(Science Daily) A new treatment could revolutionize the treatment of patients after a heart attack. Hendrik Jan Ankersmit from the Medical University of Vienna has developed a protein solution which can be used to reduce the scarring of tissue caused by inflammation after a heart attack…
Ankersmit has used white blood cells to create a protein solution (APOSEC™) that can be used as a drug during the acute therapy phase following a heart attack. In laboratory tests, the solution was administered as an intravenous infusion 40 minutes after an experimental infarction. As a result, there was virtually no scarring of the heart muscle…
Like blood in a blood bank -- available at all times APOSEC™ contains soluble proteins that are excreted by white blood cells. Harvesting white blood cells for use as 'bio-reactors' is as simple as taking blood. "With protein concentrates, there is little or no defence reaction from the body's immune system. APOSEC™ can therefore be obtained even from unrelated donors," says Ankersmit.
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Leukemia Survivor Credits Her Life to Tiny Blood Donors

(HealthDay News) Jennifer Jones Austin works as a lawyer and child advocate in Brooklyn, N.Y., devoting her talents to protecting at-risk children. So it may be fitting that in Austin's own hour of need, her life was saved by donations from two newborn children.
Austin survived leukemia in 2010 because she received transfusions of stem cells donated from umbilical cord blood that had been drawn shortly after the children's birth.
"I would not be here today, sharing my story, if it weren't for those children," Austin, 42, said.
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Biological Fingerprints Improve Diagnosis of Dementia

(Science Daily) Differentiating between the various forms of dementia is crucial for initiating appropriate treatment. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy have discovered that the underlying diseases leave different "fingerprints" in the cerebrospinal fluid, paving the way for more reliable diagnoses.
The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia…
Because the different diseases are treated differently, it is important to be able to make the correct diagnosis.
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Blood Tests May Hold Clues to Pace of Alzheimer's Disease Progression

(Science Daily) A team of scientists, led by Johns Hopkins researchers, may have found a way to predict how quickly patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) will lose cognitive function by looking at ratios of two fatty compounds in their blood. The finding, they say, could provide useful information to families and caregivers, and might also suggest treatment targets for this heartbreaking and incurable neurodegenerative disorder.
Past research has shown that cognitive function declines at different rates in AD patients, with roughly one-third not declining at all in five years, one-third declining at a moderate rate, and the other third declining quickly. Accurately predicting the pace of cognitive decline would help patients and caregivers better prepare and, if treatments are developed, help doctors aggressively target those whose descent into dementia is likely to be accelerated. Currently there are no predictably effective treatments that prevent, slow or stop AD.
Community: To the medical industrial complex, if there’s no drug, there’s no treatment. But to the rest of us, there are ways to prevent or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s.
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Doctors concerned over 'Low-T' treatments

(UPI) Doctors are urging caution as middle-age men seeking to restore their energy and sex drive are flocking to South Florida clinics for testosterone injections.
They're responding to television commercials, Internet ads and billboards asking if they have "Low-T," the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Friday…
There are several potential dangers of the testosterone injections including stroke, testicular atrophy and prostate cancer, Dr. Angelos Manganiotis, a urologist and chief of surgery at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, said.
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Canada alters energy drink regulations

(UPI) Canadians think of energy drinks as foods, not health products, and as a result the government is changing how it regulates them, officials said.
The change from considering the drinks as natural health products to treating them as foods means the popular beverages will have to carry labels listing their ingredients, allergens and nutrition information, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported.
The regulation changes announced Thursday by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq ignored the advice of an expert panel that had recommended banning the sale of energy drinks to young people and restricting where they can be sold…
"I firmly believe it is up to individuals as well as parents to make their own decisions when it comes to what they eat and what they drink," Aglukkaq said. "That's why our focus is on giving people the information they need to make good, informed decisions.
Community: Is there no regulation of alcohol in Canada? How about marijuana? Cocaine? Barbiturates? Sometimes regulation of what people eat and drink and where they do it is in society’s best interest. Those who don’t like it can go live on an uninhabited island somewhere.
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Doctors tend to not report errors

(UPI) U.S. physicians say they often fail to use online error reporting systems designed to improve care because of fear of trouble and embarrassment, a survey says…
Few nurses and physicians reported routinely submitting online reports, compared with physicists, dosimetrists (determines radiation doses) and radiation therapists who reported most errors and near-misses. Physicians and residents say they are reluctant to report near misses or errors because of fear of getting colleagues into trouble, liability and embarrassment in front of colleagues.
Community: Doctors’ refusal to police themselves is one of the reasons why medical malpractice suits are so prevalent. Imagine if airline pilots said they didn’t want to “report near misses or errors because of fear of getting colleagues into trouble, liability and embarrassment in front of colleagues”?
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U.S. advisers: keep health benefits affordable

(Reuters) An advisory group urged U.S. officials to formulate a set of essential health benefits under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul that is in line with cost of insurance in a typical small employer plan.
The Institute of Medicine report issued on Thursday also recommended the Department of Health and Human Services be as specific as possible in deciding what health benefits should be required in individual and small group plans as the reform rolls out in 2014…
The institute said policymakers should ensure the benefits get routinely re-evaluated to stay in step with inflation and medical advances, and suggested creating a National Benefits Advisory Council.
Insurers and employers seemed relieved that the report did not recommend a large scope of coverage and reflected their call to balance costs and benefits.
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Task Force to Recommend Against PSA Test

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is preparing to recommend that men no longer get screened for prostate cancer by undergoing prostate specific antigen -- or PSA -- testing, CNN reported Thursday evening, citing a "source privy to the task force deliberations."…
The test has been controversial for some time. Many doctors contend that the screen often uncovers tumors that are small and slow growing, and will never cause a man to die. On the other hand, treating the disease can often leave a patient impotent or incontinent.
Some prostate cancer patients were disappointed with the task force's decision.
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FDA OKs Impotence Drug Cialis to Treat Enlarged Prostate

(HealthDay News) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday that it had approved using the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis as a treatment for enlarged prostate.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, enlarged prostate -- clinically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) -- is a "common part of aging" for men. In fact, the NIH estimates that "more than half of men in their 60s, and as many as 90 percent in their 70s and 80s, have some symptoms of BPH."
The condition often leads to urinary incontinence and can raise the odds for urinary tract infections and even kidney damage.
"BPH can have a big impact on a patient's quality of life," Scott Monroe, director of the division of reproductive and urologic products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. "A large number of older men have symptoms of BPH. Cialis [tadalifil] offers these men another treatment option, particularly those who also have ED, which is also common in older men," he said.
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The Best Place for Healthy Eating

(RealAge.com) For the healthiest meal, eat in.
Recent research suggests that you make better food choices in the comfort of your own home.
Scientists asked 160 women to log their emotional states and eating habits over a 10-day period, and found that women tend to eat healthier foods when they're happy and at home. And it sets up a brilliant chain reaction: Eating a healthy meal triggers even more positive emotions, which makes you choose healthier foods at the next meal, creating a cycle of positive reinforcement. And this cycle is more pronounced at home. Why? Scientists suspect it's because home is where you feel most content, and there's more comfort and happiness associated with a home-cooked meal. That happiness triggers healthier eating.
This supports the belief that healthy eating habits are based on more than just knowing what you're supposed to eat. Your emotions play an important part too.
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Foods that can help do a number on bad cholesterol

(Gannett News Service) Nutrition experts have known for years that some foods, such as oatmeal, nuts and soy products, lower cholesterol.
Now, a new study shows that eating a diet with several of these foods can decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly…
All participants in the study were following heart-healthy diets low in saturated fat (butter, beef fat) and rich in fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains, Jenkins says. Those in the control group continued to stick with their healthy diets.
Others in the intervention group were taught how to incorporate four cholesterol-lowering types of foods into their eating plan, including nuts; soy products; foods rich in viscous fiber (a type of soluble fiber), and plant sterol-enriched margarine…
“We fed people cholesterol-lowering foods, they worked, and you can buy them at the supermarket,” Jenkins says. “If you enrich a good diet with these foods, you get a very respectable reduction in cholesterol.”
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A Sweet, Super-Healthy Treat for Diabetics

(RealAge.com) Got diabetes? Here's something easy and delicious you can do to avoid complications: Eat a handful of strawberries.
A recent lab study found that there's a whole lot of something called fisetin in the red, juicy berries that reduces the kidney and brain complications associated with type 1 diabetes.
The scientists believe that fisetin increases the production of an enzyme that helps remove a toxin known as AGE from the blood. There's a strong correlation between high levels of AGE in the blood and diabetic complications. Less AGE, less complications. Bingo.
In order to consume the fisetin levels equal to those given to the study subjects, you would have to eat 37 strawberries every day. That's a lot of fruit! But researchers hope that more studies confirming the benefits of fisetin will lead to a fisetin supplement for diabetics. Until then, get your fill of strawberries.
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Beef and Beer Chili
Cook a flavorful pot of chili in just 40 minutes for a quick weeknight meal that's sure to warm the soul. You can easily double the recipe and freeze extra for later.
Pureed Broccoli Soup
Try this easy broccoli soup as alongside grilled cheese sandwiches or as a starter to a simple fall meal.
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Food safety precautions advised

(UPI) In light of the 18 deaths due to the foodborne pathogen listeria, U.S. health officials are advising consumers always to take precautions with raw produce.
The Web site FoodSafety.gov advises consumers only purchase produce not bruised or damaged, and when selecting fresh-cut produce choose items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
Bag fresh fruit and vegetables separately from meat, poultry and seafood products to prevent cross contamination from meat juices, health officials said.
The Web site also advises to:
-- Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, lettuce, herbs and mushrooms in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees F or below.
-- Refrigerate all produce purchased pre-cut or peeled.
-- Wash hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing produce.
-- All produce should be thoroughly washed in warm water.
When it comes especially to melons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises:
-- Any bacteria on the outside of the fruit or vegetable can be pulled to the inside when a knife slices through.
-- After washing hands, scrub the surface of melons, with a clean produce brush or dish cloth and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting.
-- Cut melon should be promptly eaten or refrigerated for no more than seven days.
-- Cut melons at room temperature for more than 4 hours should be thrown away.
-- Unlike some other bacteria, listeria can thrive in refrigerators and health officials suggest thoroughly cleaning any refrigerator drawers or shelves that might have held tainted food.
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Oxygenating Blood of Hospitalized H1N1 Flu Patients Saved Lives: Study

(HealthDay News) Technology that directly oxygenates the blood reduced the risk of death in patients who were severely sickened by the H1N1 flu virus, a new British study shows.
The researchers cautioned that their study had limitations, and they noted that debate continues about the use of the technology, which is expensive…
Those who received the treatment were roughly half as likely to die as those who didn't.
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Tanning Beds May Be Even Riskier Than Thought

(HealthDay News) Indoor tanning beds may be even more likely to cause skin cancer than previously believed.
New research … suggests that the main type of ultraviolet rays used in tanning beds -- UVA1 -- may penetrate to a deep layer of skin that is most vulnerable to the cancer-causing changes caused by UV rays.
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Breast cancer drug tied to diabetes in older women

(Reuters Health) Older women taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen may have an increased risk of developing diabetes, a new study suggests.
The findings, reported in the journal Cancer, do not prove that tamoxifen directly leads to diabetes in some women.
But researchers say it is plausible that in women with known risk factors for diabetes -- like obesity or family history of the disease -- tamoxifen furthers the risk somewhat.
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Pancreatic Cancer: A Stubborn Foe

(HealthDay News) The death of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs has once again focused attention on cancers of the pancreas, which have claimed the lives of several high-profile celebrities…
Because the pancreas is positioned deep inside the body, it's often difficult to diagnose tumors early because they have yet to interfere with the function of nearby organs such as the stomach, liver or gallbladder, according to Johns Hopkins University…
While Jobs lived eight years with his diagnosis, the average survival time for advanced pancreatic cancer is much worse, roughly only eight or nine months, said Dr. Maged Rizk, a gastroenterologist with the Cleveland Clinic.
Because traditional pancreatic tumors tend to be diagnosed later, rather than sooner, that's a big reason why they're so deadly, Rizk added…
Risk factors for neuroendocrine tumors are largely unknown. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include not only age, but cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes and race -- blacks are more likely to develop the disease than whites.
Community: One of my grandmothers died of pancreatic cancer when she was in her forties or fifties.
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Monkeys 'Move and Feel' Virtual Objects Using Only Their Brains

(Science Daily) In a first ever demonstration of a two-way interaction between a primate brain and a virtual body, two monkeys trained at the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering learned to employ brain activity alone to move an avatar hand and identify the texture of virtual objects.
"Someday in the near future, quadriplegic patients will take advantage of this technology not only to move their arms and hands and to walk again, but also to sense the texture of objects placed in their hands, or experience the nuances of the terrain on which they stroll with the help of a wearable robotic exoskeleton," said Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D.
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Texting while driving more dangerous than thought: study

(Reuters) Texting or emailing while driving is more dangerous than previously thought, according to a new study of the behavior…
Drivers were asked to stop when they saw a flashing yellow light, and their reaction times were recorded, [study leader Christine] Yager said.
The typical time it took a driver who was not texting to respond to the flashing light was one to two seconds. But when the driver was texting, the reaction time extended to three to four seconds, and the texting motorist was 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether.
Yager said the reaction time was the same whether the driver was typing a message or reading one.
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Marijuana Use May Double the Risk of Accidents for Drivers, Study Finds

(Science Daily) To examine the link between marijuana use by drivers and risk of a car accident, researchers at Columbia University did a meta-analysis of nine epidemiologic studies and found that drivers who test positive for marijuana or report driving within three hours of marijuana use are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes. The researchers also found evidence that crash risk increases with the concentration of marijuana-produced compounds in the urine and the frequency of self-reported marijuana use.
According to the investigators 8 of 9 studies found that drivers who use marijuana are significantly more likely to be involved in crashes than drivers who do not. Only one small case-control study conducted in Thailand, where the prevalence of marijuana use is far lower than reported elsewhere, was the exception.
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More Evidence Minorities in U.S. Get Poorer Hospital Care

(HealthDay News) The United States' so-called "worst" hospitals are home to a significantly larger pool of elderly, poor and minority patients than are the nation's better quality/lower cost institutions, new research says…
The study team also warns that the situation among the country's most beleaguered facilities is poised to get worse, given the reward system outlined in the new U.S. health care law, which will empower Medicare and Medicaid to cut payments to hospitals that don't meet designated quality standards.
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Strategy for improving care for uninsured

(UPI) A non-profit group says a set of strategies it has developed could improve the way the U.S. healthcare system serves vulnerable populations and the uninsured…
"Our current economic situation has increased the number and proportion of people who are vulnerable, leaving even more families at risk of suffering from our healthcare system's inequities," Dr. David Blumenthal of Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System and Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. "The recommendations in this report can encourage policymakers to focus on the unique issues facing these populations, and work toward creating a high performance health system for all."
For example, to alleviate the shortage of providers willing to serve Medicaid patients, the commission recommends considering payment reforms to reward high-quality networks of providers for providing optimal care for Medicaid beneficiaries, the report said.
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Trying Out New Ways to Deliver Health Care

(New York Times) At Village Health Partners, patients receive a year’s worth of wellness exams in a single visit; get their e-mails answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; and have their mammogram and M.R.I. results logged into their electronic medical records by the time they pull out of the parking lot…
As the United States grapples with rising health care costs and a system that rewards doctors and hospitals for how sick their patients get, not how healthy they become, Texas health care providers are increasingly experimenting with new payment and care delivery models — joining forces to emphasize efficiency and outcomes.
These new models present a culture shift for the state’s physicians. But they have provided an intriguing benefit for patients, drawn to the convenience and comfort of a system financially motivated to keep them as well as possible…
Health care experts say the leading contributor to escalating costs is the dominant fee-for-service payment system, in which doctors and hospitals are paid per treatment or procedure and make more when patients get infections or complications. But they fear returning to the health maintenance organization model that limited patient choice and gave doctors a financial incentive to ration care.
The solution, health care providers including Village Health Partners and Kelsey-Seybold believe, is clinical integration — in which groups of family physicians and specialists share electronic patient information, the costs of case management and care coordination, and the latest research on best practices, all with the symbiotic goal of keeping costs low and patients well.
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Some Medicare plan prices drop: now is time to shop

(Reuters) If you're a senior on Medicare - or if you help out aging parents with their money matters - it's time to get ready to shop. The annual enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug and Advantage managed care plans is about to begin, and it's one of the best opportunities of the year for seniors to save money…
[T]he enrollment period is earlier this year. The 2010 health reform law moved up the annual enrollment period by several weeks, starting this year. Enrollment will be open from October 15 to December 7 - a sensible move intended to get this time-consuming chore away from the busy holiday season.
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Gauging General Health as 'Poor' May Point to Dementia Risk

(HealthDay News) Older adults who think they're not in tip-top health may have a greater risk of developing dementia than folks who believe they're healthy, French researchers report…
Someday, "having people rate their own health may be a simple tool for doctors to determine a person's risk of dementia, especially for people with no symptoms or memory problems," Dr. Christophe Tzourio … said.
Community: All the more reason to get and stay healthy.
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Exercise for 15 Minutes: Live Longer

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Researchers in Taiwan followed more than 400,000 people for an average of eight years and found that 15 minutes of exercise daily can boost life expectancy by three years.
Compared to inactive individuals, participants who exercised for just under 15 minutes per day were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause during the eight years of the study, and 10 percent less likely to die of cancer. Beyond that, each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise lowered the risk of death - from any cause - by four percent, and the extra physical activity cut the risk of death from cancer by one percent.
Earlier this month, a review published online in Circulation showed that people who get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week reduce their risk of heart disease by 14 percent compared to inactive people and that exercising five hours per week can lower heart disease risk by as much as 20 percent.
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Lift Weights, Eat Mustard, Build Muscles?

(Science Daily) If you are looking to lean out, add muscle mass, and get ripped, a new research report … suggests that you might want to look to your garden for a little help. That's because scientists have found that when a specific plant steroid was given orally to rats, it triggered a response similar to anabolic steroids, with minimal side effects. In addition, the research found that the stimulatory effect of homobrassinolide (a type of brassinosteroid found in plants such as mustards) on protein synthesis in muscle cells led to increases in lean body mass, muscle mass and physical performance.
"We hope that one day brassinosteroids may provide an effective, natural, and safe alternative for age- and disease-associated muscle loss, or be used to improve endurance and physical performance," said Slavko Komarnytsky, Ph.D.
Community: Debora Esposito, one of the researchers, told me via email that members of the Brassicae family other than various mustards also contain this steroid. Among them are turnips, cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi.
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Health consumers make deficit fight personal

(Reuters) The numbers are devastating: almost 2,000 poor kids in Texas with cancer, another 18,000 with diabetes and more than 350,000 suffering from chronic lung disease, heart disease or stroke.
What sounds like a grim statistical report on poverty and disease is actually a lobbying message from Medicaid advocates to Texas congressman Jeb Hensarling, Republican co-chairman of a special congressional panel charged with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the U.S. deficit over 10 years.
The message is in a 14-page electronic brochure titled "Medicaid's Impact in Texas," sent to Hensarling and other Texas lawmakers by the health consumer advocacy group Families USA, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Lung Association.
The aim is to remind Congress of the potential human toll from tens of billions of dollars in federal Medicaid spending cuts that the groups expect Hensarling and his fellow "super committee" members to consider in the coming weeks.
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Poorer Women More Likely to Die From Breast Cancer

(HealthDay News) Less-affluent women now face a greater risk of dying from breast cancer than wealthier patients, a new American Cancer Society report finds.
The trend represents a reversal of a previous trend, in which women with greater means had been at a greater risk for dying from the disease.
"In general, progress in reducing breast cancer death rates is being seen across races/ethnicities, socioeconomic status and across the U.S.," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, in a society news release. "However, not all women have benefited equally."
"Poor women," he noted, "are now at greater risk for breast cancer death because of less access to screening and better treatments. This continued disparity is impeding real progress against breast cancer, and will require renewed efforts to ensure that all women have access to high-quality prevention, detection and treatment services."
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Hunger effects costs all in U.S. $542 each

(UPI) It cost every U.S. citizen $542 in 2010, or a total of $167.5 billion, for the far-reaching consequences of hunger in the nation, researchers calculated…
U.S. hunger costs at least $167.5 billion due to the combination of lost economic productivity per year, more expensive public education because of the rising costs of poor education outcomes, avoidable healthcare costs and the cost of charity to keep families fed, the study said.
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Halibut with Spicy Mint-Cilantro Chutney
Traditional Indian cuisine provides the theme for this speedy menu. A fiery sauce accompanies fish that's coated in a fragrant spice blend.
Pork & Bok Choy Stir-Fry
In this zippy pork stir-fry we cut the bok choy into long, thin strips to mimic the long noodles. We like Japanese soba noodles because they are made with buckwheat, which gives them a nutty flavor and a boost of fiber. You can also use mild-flavored rice noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti. Serve with sliced cucumbers dressed with rice-wine vinegar and a glass of sauvignon blanc.
Cooking Light:
Soups, stews, gazpachos, and purees – there is bound to be something for everyone (and every season) on our extensive list of favorite, healthy soups.
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