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

Bad News for Night Owls

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) A new study from England suggests that early birds are slimmer, healthier and happier than people who stay up - and get up - later…
Other findings of the online survey showed that, on average, the early birds were out of bed a few minutes before seven a.m. on weekdays while the night owls typically arose a few minutes before nine. Both groups reported spending an extra hour in bed on the weekends.
But the lead researcher didn't have much to offer on why early birds do better: he suggested that perhaps getting morning chores out of the way and getting kids out of bed allowed the early risers to cope better with the hectic pace of modern life.
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5 Reasons to Nap

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Studies on sleep and the opinions of sleep experts are convincing: napping has value. People who nap generally enjoy better mental health and mental efficiency than people who do not. The quality of their nighttime sleep tends to be better as well. Unfortunately, finding opportunities to rest during daylight hours in our society is not so easy - the North American culture is actively opposed to the whole concept, bombarding us with stimulation in more and more places and times.
If you want to embrace the habit of napping - as many cultures worldwide do - consider the following:
1.    Accept napping as a positive thing. Remind yourself frequently that napping can make a day more productive - it is actually the opposite of being lazy.
2.    Do not fight the body's desire to nap. This will result in unpleasant or unproductive naps.
3.    Take naps when you can. If your schedule does not permit a nap every day, consider taking productive naps as a passenger in cars, trains and airplanes.
4.    Consider time and duration. Napping for too long, too often or at the wrong time of day can be counterproductive. See what length and schedule works best for you.
5.    Napping can mean just taking a break. Lying on a hammock or just staring into space is the essence of rest - it is not doing that refreshes you in body and mind.
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Some exercise is good, more is better

(UPI) Higher levels of physical activity were linked to reduced mortality, whether in job, daily living, leisure or active transportation, Austria researchers said…
Meeting the World Trade Organization's recommended level of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity of daily life or during leisure was associated with a reduction in mortality risk by 10 percent, but … 300 minutes per week … was associated with a reduction in mortality risk of 19 percent, while vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and sports was associated with a 39 percent reduction of mortality risk.
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Exercise helps increase cancer survival

(UPI) [R]egular physical activity is associated with reduced cancer rates and better survival rates for people who do get cancer, [Dr. David] Euhus said.
"There are dozens of cancer prevention diets being promoted right now, but not one of them has ever been shown to reduce cancer rates in clinical trials," Euhus said in a statement. "It's all about lifestyle. Fad diets work for a time, but it is important to actually change the way you live."…
Experts recommend avoiding simple sugars found in desserts and candy, never eating more calories than one can burn off, and exercising three to five times a week to break a sweat and elevate the heart rate, Euhus said.
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A Watery Way to Lose Weight

(RealAge.com) Wet workouts may change how you feel about exercise. In a recent study, people who did twice-weekly aqua-jogging sessions dropped both body fat and waist size -- without going on a calorie-restricted diet.
During the 6-week study, the pool joggers went from feeling embarrassed, reluctant, or afraid of suffering an exercise-induced injury to enjoying exercise. Other benefits included a big drop in appetite, along with perceived improvements in fitness, self-esteem, confidence, and quality of life. Some folks were even moved to start a healthier, calorie-restricted diet, in addition to their new workout routine.
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5 Ingredients of a Get-Skinny Meal

(Nicci Micco, EatingWell) I’m crazy about fall foods. I love apples and squash and most of all I love... chili. I honestly could eat it every day. No exaggeration. In my book, EatingWell’s Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili, with a green salad on the side, is not only a perfectly wholesome, yummy dinner—it’s an ideal get-skinny supper because it contains 5 ingredients that research shows help with weight loss. (Get a week of get-skinny supper ideas with our 7-Day Diet Meal Plan to Lose Weight.)
Here are the 5 key ingredients of my favorite get skinny supper.
Beans, beans... They’re good for your heart. They’re also good for keeping you feeling full and—according to recent research—blasting belly fat. The secret? Soluble fiber…
Whole grains are also rich in fiber (soluble and insoluble!) so adding things like wheat berries or barley to your chili gives it even more staying power…
Chile pepper: Research suggests that capsaicin, the compound that gives fresh chiles, and spices including cayenne and chipotle, their kick can boost metabolic burn…
Salad greens: Starting with a salad may prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later…
Vinegar: … In one 2005 study…, including 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a meal resulted in subjects eating 200 to 275 fewer calories through the day.
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Extra calcium not likely to help with weight loss

(Reuters Health) Despite previous studies hinting that calcium may help people lose weight, it doesn't seem to help teenagers shed pounds, a new trial suggests.
"The last 10 years of research hinted that calcium would bind to fat and take some of the fat out so you wouldn't absorb it," said co-author Connie Weaver, a nutrition professor at Purdue University. "We showed that didn't happen."
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Broiled Salmon with Peppercorn-Lime Rub
Spice up fish night by giving salmon a delectable 4-ingredient rub before cooking. A quick quinoa-vegetable salad rounds out the meal.
EatingWell:
Braised Paprika Chicken
Sweet Hungarian paprika gives this creamy braised chicken the best flavor. This is a good “pantry dish” since you should have the basics on hand and only need to purchase the chicken. You may vary the recipe by using cubed veal shoulder instead of chicken and mushrooms instead of peppers. Serve with whole-wheat orzo flavored with minced parsley or dill.
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EU starts new probe into painkillers' heart risks

(Reuters) Europe's drugs regulator is launching a new review of the safety of common painkillers in the light of fresh evidence about possible risks they may pose to heart health.
Five years ago the European Medicines Agency concluded that the overall benefit-risk balance of non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) remained positive.
Since then, however, a number of new cardiovascular safety studies have been published and the agency said on Friday its experts would weigh all the evidence once again "to clarify whether there is any need to update the opinion issued in 2006."
Increased heart risks from using Merck & Co's selective COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx led to its withdrawal from the market in 2004 -- but there are also worries about the potential risks of non-selective drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin.
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Universal flu vaccine may be on horizon

(Los Angeles Times) Scientists around the world are working to craft a universal flu vaccine that would train the immune system to identify and destroy flu, no matter what type it is. The key is to make a vaccine using the unchanging parts of the virus — its Achilles' heel, says Dr. Antonio Lanzavecchia, an immunologist at ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
That could happen by 2016, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said in July.
A couple of companies have already tested their formulations in people. BiondVax Pharmaceuticals in Ness Ziona, Israel, is working on a vaccine that could be ready as early as 2014, predicts Wayne Rudolph, the company's vice president for corporate development. Seek, a drug development company in London, hopes to have a market-ready product in three to five years, says Chief Executive Gregory Stoloff.
Other scientists are more circumspect. "My prediction is 10 years before we see this in people," says Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University in New York.
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Women Can Self-Test for HPV, Easily and Accurately, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A team of German researchers has shown that women can accurately test themselves for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, the most common cause of cervical cancer…
"The high sensitivity of this self-sampling method guarantees to identify nearly all HPV-infected women," says first author Yvonne Delere…
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, with half a million new cases and a quarter million deaths, annually, according to the World Health Organization. Virtually all cases are linked to certain strains HPV.
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More breast cancer diagnosed in women with diabetes

(Reuters Health) Women with recently diagnosed diabetes may be more likely to also get a breast cancer diagnosis than those without diabetes, suggests a new study from Canada.
It's not the first time diabetes has been linked to new cases of breast or other cancers. But the findings also hint that at least part of the reason why doctors find more breast cancer in diabetics is because they're looking harder -- and not necessarily because diabetes itself raises a woman's cancer risk.
Community: Whether or not diabetes increases the risk for breast cancer, it’s a good idea to avoid developing it.
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Breast Cancer Risk May Rise With High Hormone Levels

(HealthDay News) Elevated levels of hormones increase breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, and as the number of different elevated hormones rises, so does the risk, a new study has found…
"Elevated estrogens had the biggest effect on risk, especially for ER-positive cancer. However, androgens and prolactin also contribute to increasing risk of breast cancer. These hormones are known to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells in the lab and, while androgens can be converted to estrogen in the body, these hormones have also been found to stimulate cancer cell growth in the absence of ER," Shelley Tworoger, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, explained in the news release.
"Our results suggest that models used to assess breast cancer risk could be improved by taking into account multiple sex hormone and growth hormone levels," she added.
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Femara May Beat Tamoxifen at Preventing Breast Cancer's Return

(HealthDay News) The breast cancer drug letrozole, marketed as Femara, may be more effective than tamoxifen at preventing the return of breast cancer and improving survival among older women with hormone-sensitive breast cancers, a new study reports…
Femara outperformed tamoxifen in terms of breast cancer recurrence and survival, the study found. Moreover, giving Femara alone to women was more effective than giving it sequentially following tamoxifen. The new study was partially funded by Novartis, the drug company that makes Femara.
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Steve Jobs regretted cancer surgery delay, biographer says

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Steve Jobs, who died of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer earlier this month, did not allow doctors to perform what could have been potentially life-saving surgery
Isaacson told "60 Minutes" that Jobs was "regretful" about the decision to pursue alternative therapies instead of immediately going under the knife, according to a preview clip.
"He tries to treat it with diet, he goes to spritualists, he goes to various ways of doing it macribiotically -- and he doesn't get an operation," Isaacson recalled.
Community: Alternative therapies can be good, but I don’t think we’re at the point where they can replace traditional treatments, especially when it comes to cancer.
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Blood-Pressure-Lowering Drug After Stroke Aids Recovery, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A commonly prescribed blood pressure-lowering medication [candesartan] appears to kick start recovery in the unaffected brain hemisphere after a stroke by boosting blood vessel growth, a new University of Georgia study has found…
"We tell patients the reason they go to rehab after they've had a stroke is to retrain and make new connections so that they can get function back. Maybe it's because the other hemisphere takes over," [team leader Susan] Fagan said. "If we could stimulate that with drug therapy and make it even more so, it would help lots of people."
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Inflammation Is Controlled Differently in Brain and Other Tissues

(Science Daily) A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has identified a new metabolic pathway for controlling brain inflammation, suggesting strategies for treating it.
The new report … focuses on the type of inflammation normally treatable with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen. The study shows this type of inflammation is controlled by different enzymes in different parts of the body.
"Our findings open up the possibility of anti-inflammatory drugs that are more tissue-specific and don't have NSAIDs' side effects," said the study's senior author Benjamin F. Cravatt.
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Medicare relaxes rules for coordinated care

(Reuters) U.S. health regulators on Thursday relaxed rules to make it easier for hospitals and doctors to receive financial incentives if they work together to coordinate patient care.
The so-called Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are an experimental part of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, meant to improve the quality of care while lowering costs in Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly and disabled…
The program gives hospitals and doctors financial incentives to band together to follow up on patients when they are sent to the hospital or prescribed a course of treatment.
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Cell Phones Don't Raise Brain Cancer Risk, Study Says

(HealthDay News) The 5 billion people worldwide who chat away on cell phones shouldn't worry about an increased risk of brain cancer, new Danish research contends.
One of the largest and longest studies on the subject finds no more brain tumors among people who had cell phones over 17 years than among people who had no cell phones.
Although no one study can rule out harm with absolute certainty, "the risk, if there is one, is extremely low," said Dr. Ezriel E. Kornel.
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Foreclosure Crisis Threatening Americans' Health: Study

(HealthDay News) A new study finds that falling behind on your mortgage payments hurts more than just your finances, as the stress and financial strain that come with the struggle can also harm your physical and psychological health…
"People are making unhealthy trade-offs when they're trying to make their mortgage," said study author Dawn Alley, an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We think it's a very serious issue."
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High to Moderate Levels of Stress Lead to Higher Mortality Rate

(Science Daily) A new study concludes that men who experience persistently moderate or high levels of stressful life events over a number of years have a 50 percent higher mortality rate.
In general, the researchers found only a few protective factors against these higher levels of stress -- people who self-reported that they had good health tended to live longer and married men also fared better. Moderate drinkers also lived longer than non-drinkers…
"People are hardy, and they can deal with a few major stress events each year," [lead author Carolyn] Aldwin said. "But our research suggests that long-term, even moderate stress can have lethal effects."
Community: Here’s a list of things you can do to alleviate stress.
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Food Nutrition Labels Must Be Made Simpler, Experts Say

(HealthDay News) U.S. agencies should revamp the labels on the front of food and beverage packages to make it as simple as possible for consumers to figure out how nutritious a product really is, a new Institute of Medicine report concludes…
The report suggests creating a rating system that uses symbols to convey calorie counts by serving size, and a point system that tells consumers whether the levels of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and sugar in the products are more or less healthy than recommended.
Front-package labels have grown in popularity over the last decade, but because there are so many different nutrition symbols and rating systems, many shoppers have just become confused, [said Ellen Wartella, chair of the IOM committee that wrote the report].
The IOM committee recommends that front packaging labels be standardized and, at the same time, motivate food and beverage companies to reformulate products to be healthier and get food stores to prominently display products that meet healthier standards.
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U.S. Diet Still Has Too Much Salt, CDC Warns

(HealthDay News) Most Americans consume too much sodium, and new strategies and stronger efforts are needed to reduce the amount of dietary salt, according to a new study by federal government researchers…
The study authors pointed to an effort in the United Kingdom to show that population-level strategies can work. There, a food manufacturer-government partnership that established voluntary maximum levels of sodium in certain processed foods led to a 9.5 percent reduction in sodium intake over 7 to 8 years, they said.
In the United States, a similar reduction in sodium intake would save an estimated $4 billion in health care costs a year and $32.1 billion over the lifetime of adults aged 40 to 85, the researchers said.
Community: Adding potassium (more here) to foods with high salt content might be just as healthy as reducing the amount of salt, and a lot more palatable.
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Grab a Fistful of These for a Healthier Heart

(RealAge.com) Next time you're headed to the office vending machine, skip the chips and instead grab yourself a bag of almonds…
Besides offering an abundance of fiber, magnesium, polyphenols, and good-for-you monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), almonds may wrestle two known heart disease risks to the ground: insulin resistance and bad-for-you LDL cholesterol.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Chipotle Chicken and Tomato Soup
Just one chipotle chile (canned smoked jalape├▒o pepper) adds smoky heat to this top-rated soup. If you want to tame the spice, substitute 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika for the chile.
EatingWell:
Southeast Asian-Inspired Salmon Soup
A touch of chile-garlic sauce and hot sesame oil add heat to this delicately flavored salmon soup without being overpowering.
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Dry Eye Bothering You?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) One more reason to take your omega-3s: these essential fatty acids can help prevent dry eye syndrome, a painful condition in which not enough tears are produced to keep the eyes lubricated.
Dry eye syndrome affects about eight million Americans, mostly women, and research has demonstrated that a high daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids can protect against its uncomfortable symptoms. To support general eye health, try increasing your intake of oily, cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, herring and black cod, as well as walnuts and freshly ground flaxseeds. If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, you may also want to consider supplementing with a high-quality fish oil product.
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How Laughing Fights Pain

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) We all know that laughing makes us feel good, but research has never shown exactly how this happens or how laughter fights pain, which it definitely can. An interesting investigation from England has demonstrated that the physical act of laughing - the actual muscle contractions involved - lead to the release of "feel good" endorphins, the same brain chemicals responsible for the runner's "high."…
The results help us better understand something we've long observed and that earlier studies have shown: laughter can influence health by relieving pain, lowering stress and even helping protect against heart disease. When you're stressed, nothing works better to counter it than a first-class belly laugh. I recommend seeking out laughter whenever you're stressed or feeling down. Call your funniest friend, rent a video comedy or you can try Laughter Yoga (seriously, there are more than 6,000 clubs in 60 countries).
Bottom line: lighten up and laugh! It's good for you.
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Imaging Technology Might Help Doctors Determine Best Treatment for Crohn's Disease Patients

(Science Daily) It's difficult for doctors to tell whether a patient with Crohn's disease has intestinal fibrosis, which requires surgery, or inflammation, which can be treated with medicine. A new imaging method might make that task easier, according to a U-M-led study.
Ultrasound elasticity imaging, or UEI, could allow doctors to noninvasively make the distinction between inflammation and fibrosis, allowing patients to receive more appropriate and timely care…
Crohn's disease patients suffer from chronic inflammation of the intestines, which over time can cause scar tissue to form, resulting in intestinal fibrosis.
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Research Could Lead to New Treatments for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Viral Infections

(Science Daily) The intestinal ecosystem is even more dynamic than previously thought, according to two studies by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers…
Taken together, these studies provide a new understanding of the unique intestinal environment and suggest new strategies for the prevention of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and viral infections, the researchers said…
Bacteria in the intestine normally work to help the body digest and deliver nutrients from food after eating. A 50-micron zone of separation, about half the width of a human hair, lies between the bacteria that live in the gut and the intestinal wall. In addition to mucous, that zone contains biologically active molecules like the protein RegIII╬│ that Dr. [Lora] Hooper's laboratory discovered in 2006.
Dr. Hooper and her colleagues showed for the first time how the protein works to police the intestinal demilitarized zone, preventing the naturally occurring bacteria from invading the wall of the intestine, where they can cause problems such as IBD.
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Alternating Training Improves Motor Learning

(Science Daily) Learning from one's mistakes may be better than practicing to perfection, according to a study… The study found that forcing people to switch from a normal walking pattern to an unusual one -- and back again -- made them better able to adjust to the unusual pattern the following day.
The findings may help improve therapy for people relearning how to walk following stroke or other injury.
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Rise in Vulvar Precancers Leads to New Guidelines

(HealthDay News) The number of American women with precancerous cells of the vulva increased more than fourfold between 1973 and 2000, and the increase has led to the release Thursday of new treatment guidelines by two major medical groups…
Much like precancerous cervical lesions, VIN is generally slow-growing, [Dr. L. Stewart Massad] said. "The quadrivalent HPV vaccine that helps prevent cervical cancer and genital warts has also been shown to decrease the risk of VIN," Massad noted…
Visual examination is the only way to diagnose [vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN)], and most lesions will need to be biopsied. If cancer is suspected, surgery is the preferred treatment. Laser removal is an acceptable treatment for VIN lesions that appear precancerous. Low-grade lesions can be monitored or treated with a topical cream (5 percent imiquimod) for 12 to 20 weeks, according to the guidelines.
The recurrence rate of VIN is high regardless of the treatment method, and women who've had VIN remain at risk for recurrent VIN and vulvar cancer for the remainder of their lives.
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Medtronic tests stent for erectile dysfunction

(Reuters) Medtronic Inc, a manufacturer of pacemakers, heart stents and spine products, has developed a device to tackle another common health problem: erectile dysfunction…
"ED is largely a vascular disease and that's why Medtronic was interested in this," said Dr. Jason Rogers of UC Davis Medical Center, one of the researchers of the company-sponsored trial.
There are an estimated 30 million men in the United States who have ED and 300 million worldwide.
Rogers said up to 50 percent of men discontinue drug therapy -- which includes Viagra, Levitra and Cialis -- either because it did not work or because they could not tolerate side effects, including lowering of blood pressure.
He also noted that men who take certain drugs for heart disease cannot use the popular pills.
"There's a real unmet clinical need," Rogers said.
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Genetic Aging Pathway Identified in Flies

(Science Daily) Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a set of genes that act in muscles to modulate aging and resistance to stress in fruit flies.
Scientists have previously found mutations that extend fruit fly lifespan, but this group of genes is distinct because it acts specifically in muscles. The findings could help doctors better understand and treat muscle degeneration in human aging.
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Can Aromatherapy Produce Harmful Indoor Air Pollutants?

(Science Daily) Spas that offer massage therapy using fragrant essential oils, called aromatherapy, may have elevated levels of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles, according to an article in Environmental Engineering Science…
Fragrant essential oils, derived from plants, may release various VOCs into the air. VOC degradation caused by the reaction of these compounds with ozone present in the air can produce small, ultrafine byproducts called secondary organic aerosols (SOAs), which may cause eye and airway irritation…
The authors compared SOA levels associated for the various fragrant and herbal essential oils tested and present their results in the article, "Characteristics of Air Pollutants and Assessment of Potential Exposure in Spa Centers during Aromatherapy." They conclude that the layout and ventilation within a particular spa may affect the level of indoor air pollutants produced during massage with aromatherapy.
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Republicans lay groundwork for healthcare repeal

(Los Angeles Times) Republican activists, increasingly optimistic they can win the White House and Senate next year, are beginning to lay the groundwork for a multi-pronged campaign in 2013 to roll back President Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul.
The push includes an effort to pressure Republican candidates to commit to using every available tool to fully repeal the law, a tactic pioneered by conservative activist Grover Norquist, who made an anti-tax pledge de rigeur for GOP politicians.
Other conservative healthcare experts are developing an alternative to the law, an effort that could protect Republicans from past critiques that their healthcare plans left tens of millions of Americans without medical coverage.
Community: Obama’s “sweeping” health care plan was a Republican plan. It’s basically the plan Bob Dole pushed in the 90s. But today’s Republicans refuse to support anything passed by Democrats, even if it’s everything they’ve ever asked for.
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Taking healthcare costs into our own hands

(Los Angeles Times) While Democrats and Republicans tussle over whether to repeal the federal healthcare reform law, employers and individual consumers have to make choices about how to cope with the ever-increasing cost of health insurance and medical care. The Bay Area Council, an influential trade group for more than 275 large employers in Northern California, offered some guidance on that front this week, urging businesses to promote a more affordable, higher-quality healthcare system. The new federal law will help on that front, the council argues in its "Roadmap to a High-Value Health System," but there is much for employers, insurers and healthcare providers to do as well…
The answer to the problem isn't as simple as requiring doctors and hospitals to post their prices so that consumers can shop more effectively for healthcare. According to the report, "the vast majority of healthcare costs are accrued in emergency, end-of-life or chronic disease management situations" that make comparison shopping impossible or counterproductive.
Instead, the council … calls on insurers and self-insured businesses to give doctors and hospitals a financial incentive to keep their patients healthy, rather than rewarding them for treating patients who are sick. Consumers, meanwhile, should be prodded to do more to avoid chronic disease, possibly by offering them lower premiums or cash incentives for meeting fitness objectives. And state policymakers — especially those setting up a new insurance exchange for individual and small-group policies, as called for by the federal healthcare law — need to support the new models emerging in the private sector.
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Part of Social Security increase to go to Medicare Part B

(UPI) Many seniors welcomed the announcement of the first U.S. Social Security cost of living increase since 2009 but AARP says part the increase will go to Medicare.
Premiums for Part B, which cover doctor visits and out-patient services, are often deducted directly from a retiree's Social Security payment, but seniors will not know the exact amount until the Medicare Part B premiums for next year are announced. The announcement is expected by the end of October, AARP says.
Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of the AARP, said the first increase in three years -- 3.6 percent, or about $39 a month per average recipient -- will provide much-needed relief to millions.
"Ironically, some in Washington are calling for permanently reducing Social Security checks for today's seniors and future retirees. As part of a deficit reduction deal, many are calling on the 'super committee' to consider a new way to calculate the COLA [cost of living adjustment], which would cut Social Security benefits by $112 billion over 10 years," LeaMond said in a statement. "This so-called 'chained CPI,' through compounding, would cut seniors' benefits by thousands of dollars over their lifetimes -- and the older one gets, the larger the cut."
Social Security is the principal source of family income for nearly half of 55 million older Americans, who have incomes of roughly $20,000, and keeps nearly one-third of them out of poverty, LeaMond said.
Community: My Part B supplemental carrier also wants to raise my premium by 36%. I’ve protested to the state insurance commission, but haven’t heard back from them. It’s really frightening that they can keep gouging us as much as they want to.
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Long-Term Unemployment Can Tax Mental Health

(HealthDay News) Americans who were jobless for longer than 25 weeks in the past year were three times more likely than those who were continuously employed to suffer mental health issues for the first time, a new study finds…
The study involved people who had never had clinically defined emotional health issues in their life or who had their first bout of problems in the most recent year.
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With increased job insecurity, patients put up with pain

(Reuters) Orthopedic surgeon John Tongue sees more patients these days who are in pain and deciding to do nothing about it.
As it gets harder for them to walk, some find hip or knee replacement surgery a compelling option. But many of Tongue's patients have another worry, one that is causing some to delay treatment and live with the pain awhile longer.
"We have more people who are anxious about losing their jobs if they have elective surgery. They are anxious about returning to work," said Tongue…
With 14 million Americans searching for work, lack of health insurance is one reason some people are putting off medical procedures such as joint surgery.
For those who do have jobs and insurance, the fear of being expendable at work combined with sticker shock from rising out-of-pocket expenses is a deterrent to getting care. Some older patients are even waiting until they are eligible for the government-funded Medicare program at the age of 65.
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A long, steep drop for Americans' standard of living

(Christian Science Monitor) Think life is not as good as it used to be, at least in terms of your wallet? You'd be right about that. The standard of living for Americans has fallen longer and more steeply over the past three years than at any time since the US government began recording it five decades ago.
Bottom line: The average individual now has $1,315 less in disposable income than he or she did three years ago at the onset of the Great Recession – even though the recession ended, technically speaking, in mid-2009…
What has led to the most dramatic drop in the US standard of living since at least 1960? One factor is stagnant incomes: Real median income is down 9.8 percent since the start of the recession through this June, according to Sentier Research…, citing census bureau data. Another is falling net worth – think about the value of your home and, if you have one, your retirement portfolio. A third is rising consumer prices, with inflation eroding people's buying power by 3.25 percent since mid-2008…
The so-called misery index, another measure of economic well-being of American households, echoes the finding on the slipping standard of living. The index, a combination of the unemployment rate and inflation, is now at its highest point since 1983
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Antidepressant Use Skyrocketed in Past 20 Years: CDC

(HealthDay News) The rate of antidepressant use among Americans of all ages increased nearly 400 percent over the last two decades, and 11 percent of Americans aged 12 and older now take antidepressant drugs, according to a federal government report released Wednesday.
The analysis of 2005-2008 data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys also showed that antidepressants are the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages and the most frequently used by those aged 18 to 44.
Community: Maybe our economic decline and increased need for mood altering substances to counter the misery has something to do with the rise of conservative dominance in the U.S. over the last 40 years.
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 will turn us all into lazy, good for nothing bums.
I’d write a book about it if I could ever find a publisher.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Spicy-Sweet Pork Tenderloin
Spooning the soy sauce mixture over the top of each piece of pork lets it soak into the meat like a quick marinade. Round out the meal with mashed potatoes and steamed baby carrots.
EatingWell:
Stuffing-Topped Chicken
Here's a one-skillet version of chicken and stuffing made with wholesome ingredients. We use chicken thighs because we love the rich flavor of dark meat, but boneless, skinless breast works too. Serve with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
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Dirty facility tied to deadly U.S. melons

(Reuters) Unsanitary conditions at a packing plant that handled fresh cantaloupes from a Colorado farm likely contributed to one of the deadliest listeria outbreaks in U.S. history, health regulators said on Wednesday.
The most lethal outbreak of the foodborne bacteria in more than two decades has killed at least 25 people and sickened 123 others, also causing one woman to have a miscarriage, regulators said…
The packing plant is part of Jensen Farms, the source of the tainted melons that were first investigated in late August and have infected people in 26 states.
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BPA again tied to diabetes risk

(Reuters Health) Adding to the mixed bag of research on bisphenol A [BPA] and diabetes, a new study suggests that people with higher urinary levels of the controversial chemical do have a higher risk of diabetes…
BPA has been used for decades to make hard plastic containers, as well as linings for metal food and drink cans. Research suggests that most people have some amount of BPA in their blood, including about 95 percent of Americans.
Recent animal studies have hinted that the chemical could play a role in certain cancers, heart disease and abnormal brain development in children. But BPA's true effects in humans remain unknown.
Two large studies have found a link between higher BPA levels and higher heart disease risk. And a 2008 study found that of Americans in a government health survey, those with higher BPA levels showed a higher diabetes risk.
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Neighborhood Can Affect Obesity, Diabetes Risk

(HealthDay News) Women living in poor neighborhoods are more likely to be obese and have type 2 diabetes than those who move into more advantaged areas, new research suggests.
In the first randomized trial of its kind, researchers provided women living in high-poverty areas with vouchers and counseling so they could move into better neighborhoods. After 10 years of living in the new areas, those women were 19 percent less likely to be morbidly obese, and 22 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes compared to the control group that stayed in high-poverty neighborhoods.
"Investments outside the health care system can be really important complements to spending within the health care system," noted study author Jens Ludwig…
"The initial aim of the study was to help families be safer, but it turns out there's an effect on these really important health outcomes that's in the ballpark of lifestyle and medical interventions."
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