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

Red Cross urges winter safety

(American Red Cross) If you live in a part of the country that may see winter storms, the Red Cross recommends steps you can take to be prepared before the storm hits. You can winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing. You can insulate your home and install storm windows, or cover the windows with plastic to keep cold air out. You should maintain your heating equipment, and have your chimney cleaned and inspected.
Other steps you can take to be prepared for winter include:
·         Dress in layers of lightweight clothing, and wear mittens and a hat that covers your ears.
·         Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
·         If a storm is coming your way, minimize travel. Keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
·         Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure their drinking water doesn’t freeze.
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Study: Snow shoveling can kill middle-aged

(UPI) There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that snow shoveling is linked to heart attacks, but Canadian researchers confirm snow shoveling can kill…
The team … identified three main factors that put individuals at a high risk when shoveling snow: 31 of the 35 patients were male, there was a family history of premature coronary artery disease, and about half were smokers. A history of regularly taking four or more cardiac medications was found to be preventative, the researchers added.
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How to Stay Flu-Free for the Holidays

(HealthDay News) Getting a flu shot is important, but other precautions can also reduce your risk of getting sick or of spreading illness to others, according to a Ryerson University news release.
Here are some tips for a healthy holiday:
·         When you have to cough or sneeze, do it in your sleeve or the inside of your sweater or jacket. That will prevent the spread of viruses to those nearby.
·         Wash your hands regularly and always after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose.
·         Use the air kiss or fake peck on the cheek instead of a kiss on the lips when greeting family and friends…
·         Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it before you eat any food or touch your face, particularly your nose and mouth. This will help protect you against viruses you may have picked up from doorknobs, shopping cart handles, handrails and faucets…
·         Make sure you get adequate sleep, which is important for keeping your immune system strong.
·         If you develop a cold or flu, stay at home until you feel better.
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7 easy ways to boost your immune system

(Prevention) [T]here are relatively simple steps you should take every day to strengthen your immune system, especially as we head into the sniffle season. Some of the best:
1. Eat lean protein at every meal
2. Shoot for 5 cups of fruits and veggies a day
3. Take a 10-minute walk a few times a day
4. Get your vitamin D levels checked… Many of us are deficient in vitamin D, which we can get from the sun and very few foods. Talk to your doctor; you may need a supplement to boost your numbers.
5. Reduce your stress levels[See the Many Years Young list of ways to reduce stress.]
6. Cook with olive and canola oils
7. Limit your drinks.
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Beef Sate with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Flank steak cooks quickly when thinly sliced. The dipping sauce is inspired by traditional Indonesian condiments that often accompany this dish.
Very Green Lentil Soup
Lentils seem to go with just about anything, and here they play well with a collection of greens and some cumin and coriander to add a gentle spicy note to this soup recipe. The result is a hearty winter soup with layers of flavor. Both French green lentils (available in natural-foods stores and specialty markets) and more commonly available brown lentils are delicious in this soup.
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Study to confirm safe way to grow greens

(UPI) A five-year national research initiative may help resolve a controversy over safety protocols for leafy greens and tomatoes, U.S. researchers say…
"Leafy greens and tomatoes remain the produce items most frequently responsible for outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, yet we still don't know what specific safety guidelines are justified scientifically," [lead researcher Robert] Buchanan said. "Guidelines, standards and regulations need to be based on solid science or we'll end up with legal wrangling rather than safer salads."
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Probiotics help with brain injury outcome

(UPI) Probiotics, added to nutrients supplied through a feeding tube to a patient with a traumatic brain injury, may improve outcomes, Chinese researchers suggest.
Professor Jing-Ci Zhu -- study leader … -- said traumatic brain injury is associated with a profound suppression of a patient's ability to fight infection. Probiotics, found in yogurt and supplements, are live microorganisms thought to be beneficial to the host organism…
[Study participants] who received the probiotics had increased interferon levels and a reduced number of infections, and spent less time in intensive care.
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Get the Benefits of Blueberries Every Day

(RealAge.com) If you were choosing just one fruit to eat every day, a big handful of blueberries -- fresh or frozen -- would be hard to beat. Why?
They make high blood pressure take a nosedive. Eating blueberries daily for just 8 weeks can drop your blood pressure by 4% to 6%...
They could cut your LDL cholesterol almost in half. Blueberry researchers -- yep, there are people who do nothing else -- believe the berries activate certain genes in your liver cells that help flush out lousy cholesterol by 44%...
Meanwhile, there's also evidence that eating blueberries every day helps keep your colon healthy and shields your brain against Alzheimer's and premature aging.
Community: And there are more ways to prevent, delay or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s.
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Dye from lichen may treat Alzheimer's

(UPI) A red dye from lichens may reduce the abundance of small toxic protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease, researchers in Germany suggest.
[Researchers] said the dye, a compound called orcein, used for centuries to color fabrics and food, and a related substance, called O4, bind to the amyloid aggregates.
Amyloid aggregates are considered to be toxic and cause neuronal dysfunction and memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said…
"This is a new mechanism," [Professor Erich] Wanker said in a statement. "Up to now it has been considered to be very difficult to stop the formation of small toxic protein assemblies. If our hypothesis is correct that the small aggregates, which are precursors of plaques, indeed cause neuronal death, with O4 we would have a new mechanism to attack the disease."
Community: It will be a while before any possible drugs come to market based on these findings, but there are things we can do in the meantime to prevent, delay or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s.
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Violent video games alter brain function

(UPI) The brains of young men changed in brain areas associated with cognitive function after one week of violent video game play, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Yang Wang of the Indiana University School of Medicine and colleagues showed a direct relationship between playing violent video games over an extended period of time and a subsequent change in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control…
"The findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning," Wang said. "These effects may translate into behavioral changes over longer periods of game play."
Community: I post this article to show further evidence that our brains can be changed. We can choose to use that capability to lead a healthier life. I'm keeping a list of things we can do to improve impulse control.
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Meditation Can 'Turn Off' Regions of the Brain

(HealthDay News) A new study finds that people skilled at meditation seem able to turn off areas of the brain associated with daydreaming and psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
Learning more about how meditation works could help advance research into a number of diseases, according to lead author Dr. Judson Brewer…
The experienced meditators were able to co-activate the two brain regions both during meditation and while resting, which suggests they have developed a "new" default mode that's more present-centered and less self-centered, the researchers said.
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Colon Cancer Prognosis Worse for the Obese, Type 2 Diabetics

(HealthDay News) People who have been diagnosed with colon cancer have a poorer prognosis if they're obese or have type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.
Two new studies that looked at the impact that body-mass index (BMI) and a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes had on survival rates after a colon cancer diagnosis found that both factors influence whether or not someone survives colorectal cancer. In addition, both studies found that deaths from any cause, including heart disease, were also increased in those who were obese or had type 2 diabetes.
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Low "good" cholesterol doesn't cause heart attacks

(Reuters Health) Despite plenty of evidence that people with low levels of "good" cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks, a large new study suggests that the lacking lipid is not to blame…
"People with low 'good' cholesterol also have a whole bunch of other factors that relate to heart disease," said Dr. Christopher Cannon, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and editor of the American College of Cardiology's website.
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Combination Therapy Shows Potent Tumor Growth Inhibition

(Science Daily) Combining the investigational agents REGN910 and aflibercept yielded statistically significant improvements in antitumor effects in animal models compared with either agent alone…
"These preclinical findings suggest that combining REGN910 (SAR307746) and aflibercept in the clinic could be an attractive approach for future clinical research," said Alshad S. Lalani, Ph.D… "The rationale is that inhibition of tumor angiogenesis [creating new blood vessels] by combining antiangiogenesis treatments could translate into more potent and durable antitumor responses than those observed with single-agent therapy."
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Body Rebuilding: Researchers Regenerate Muscle Tissue in Mice

(Science Daily) A team of scientists … [has] regenerated functional muscle tissue in mice, opening the door for a new clinical therapy to treat people who suffer major muscle trauma.
The team used a novel protocol to coax mature human muscle cells into a stem cell-like state and grew those reprogrammed cells on biopolymer microthreads. The threads were placed in a wound created by surgically removing a large section of leg muscle from a mouse. Over time, the threads and cells restored near-normal function to the muscle.
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Patient sues dentist who charged him for bad reviews

(Reuters) A New York City dentist is being sued by a patient who says he is being fined $100 a day for posting negative reviews of his treatment on two consumer websites, according to the lawsuit filed this week.
Robert Lee was compelled to sign a privacy agreement before the dentist, Stacy Makhnevich, would treat a painful infected cavity in his tooth in November 2010, said the class-action suit filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.
After filling the tooth, the dentist sent Lee a bill for $4,766, which he paid, and refused to send copies of his records to submit to his insurance company for reimbursement, it said.
In response, Lee posted a review on Yelp.com in August saying: "Avoid at all cost!"
"Scamming their customers!" he added. He posted similar comments on DoctorBase, a patient feedback website, the suit said.
The dentist began sending Lee invoices charging him $100 for each day the review was online, along with a notice threatening a lawsuit for breaching the privacy agreement, it said.
The dentist also sent legal notices to Yelp and DoctorBase insisting they remove the comments, the lawsuit said.
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Walgreen, others sue Pfizer over depression drug

(Reuters) Pfizer Inc and Teva Pharmceutical Industries Ltd were sued by Walgreen Co and four other large retailers, accused of violating U.S. antitrust law by conspiring to keep generic versions of a popular antidepressant off the shelves.
Walgreen, Kroger Co, Safeway Inc, Supervalu Inc and HEB Grocery Co accused Pfizer's Wyeth unit of conducting an "overarching anticompetitive scheme" to prevent and delay the approval and marketing of generic versions of the prescription drug Effexor XR, causing them to overpay.
In a complaint made public on Thursday by the U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey, the retailers said Wyeth kept generic equivalents off the market for at least two years after its marketing exclusivity for the original Effexor compound patent lapsed in June 2008.
They said Wyeth did this by obtaining fraudulent patents, engaging in sham litigation, and entering a price-fixing agreement with Teva to delay cheaper generic equivalents from reaching the market.
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Senators seek details of Pfizer Lipitor deals

(Reuters) Three leading senators are inquiring into drugmaker Pfizer Inc's efforts to limit the sale of generic versions of its Lipitor cholesterol drug, which lost U.S. patent protection this week.
Their concern was prompted by a newspaper report earlier this month that Pfizer had struck deals with leading insurers and pharmacy benefits managers, who negotiate prices on behalf of companies and insurers, to offer discounts on Lipitor if they block prescriptions for its generic versions.
Pfizer said it is providing Lipitor at prices equivalent to or less than generic versions as it tries to hold onto sales of its best-selling drug. The company denies it put any conditions on benefits managers.
Lawmakers from three Senate oversight committees said the arrangements could lead to limited access to generic drugs and push up healthcare costs for patients and U.S. government insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid.
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Preventing Lung Cancer

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) [I]n addition to prudent supplementation and a diet rich in beta-carotene and other antioxidants, simple lifestyle steps can help promote healthy lungs for a lifetime.
1.    Don't smoke. Tobacco addiction is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, greatly increasing the risks of developing lung cancer and respiratory diseases.
2.    Get regular exercise. It helps promote healthy lung function and optimal oxygen delivery throughout the body.
3.    Practice deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity, improve respiratory efficiency, and promote general relaxation.
4.    Maintain a normal weight. Excess pounds tax both the heart and lungs. If you're overweight, you're more likely to experience shortness of breath.
5.    Avoid exposure to environmental air pollutants. High ozone levels, smog, car exhaust, asbestos and metal dusts are unhealthy for lungs and can lead to lung disease. Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to reduce exposure to smoke and smog, and wear a protective mask when you are in close proximity to lung irritants such as drywall dust or fiberglass insulation fibers.
6.     Limit exposure to toxic household cleaners. Chlorine bleach, petroleum distillates, ammonia, formaldehyde and nitrobenzene can harm the lungs. Use safer alternatives for cleaning such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar.
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Smoking makes you look old

(Gannett News Service) About 46 million Americans still smoke tobacco, according to the American Cancer Society, even though smoking is the leading cause of emphysema and lung cancer, and a primary cause of cancers of the throat, mouth and esophagus.
But if chronic breathing difficulties and cancer aren’t scary enough, know that smoking also can damage your looks…
Wrinkles: A 40-year-old smoker may have the same number of facial wrinkles as a 60-year-old. Smoke from cigarettes can stick to the skin, yellowing it and creating a lasting odor. Chemicals in smoke can suck moisture and vitamins out of skin, making it dry and brittle.
Stretch marks: Smoking hampers blood supply, depriving the skin of oxygen and nutrients, which can damage skin fibers and connective tissue and may cause stretch marks.
Skin cancer: Smokers are three times as likely to develop squamous-cell carcinoma, a common skin cancer, as are non-smokers.
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Patches, Counseling, Persistence Can Help Smokers Quit

(HealthDay News) Quitting smoking isn't easy for most people but medication and counseling can help them succeed, according to the results of two new studies.
In the first of the two reports…, a team led by Dr. Anne Joseph … tried helping people by keeping in touch with them and reminding them to quit smoking…
After 18 months, 30 percent of those who received calls and nicotine replacement hadn't smoked for six months compared with 23.5 percent of those who didn't receive long-term help, the researchers found.
In addition, people given long-term counseling tried to stop smoking more often than those who received only a few calls. And among those given long-term counseling, even those who did not quit smoked less than the people who received only a few calls.
Joseph's team assumed people would fail along the way and make several attempts to quit. The researchers reframed that into a positive step, she said.
Community: I tried many times to quit smoking before I finally quit for good 14 years ago.
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Tobacco control can save states big money

(UPI) A San Francisco economist says states are being shortsighted by shifting tobacco control programs to cut spending because smoking cessation saves so much money…
The study, published in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy, said the costs of smoking are felt by the states, mostly through medical costs, Medicaid payments and lost productivity by workers. The researchers used data from 1991 to 2007, when states paid for the tobacco control programs with the help of the tobacco taxes, public and private initiatives and funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between the nation's four largest tobacco companies and 46 states.
State tobacco control programs have a "sustained and steadily increasing long-run impact" on the demand for cigarettes, Chattopadhyay and Pieper said, but in tough economic times, many states have turned to tobacco control funds and taxes to help balance state budgets.
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Obama administration appeals cigarette warning ruling

(Reuters) The Obama administration on Tuesday appealed a U.S. judge's ruling and injunction that blocked rules requiring tobacco companies to display graphic images on cigarette packages.
Earlier this month U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided with tobacco companies and granted a temporary injunction, saying they would likely prevail in their lawsuit challenging the requirement as unconstitutional because it compels speech in violation of the First Amendment.
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Turkey Tamale Potpie
Capture the flavors of your favorite tamale recipe in a casserole. This hearty turkey tamale potpie takes under 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish.
Seared Scallops with Crispy Leeks
Herb-crusted scallops served with crispy baked leeks make an easy yet impressive dish to serve to friends. You may have seen “frizzled” or fried leeks on a restaurant menu before, but you might not guess how easy they are to make at home. Here we toss thinly sliced leeks with paprika- and garlic-seasoned flour and bake them until crispy. While the leeks bake you have time to sear the scallops. Serve with: Mashed potatoes and kale sautéed with garlic.
Jamie Oliver:
Corn chowder
Corn chowder is one of the ultimate comfort foods – I love it and it’s much easier than you think to make. You can adapt chowders and add all sorts of things from crab meat to smoked fish – the idea is really to be as hearty as possible.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Vegetable Stock
Vegetable dishes are greatly improved by using a vegetable stock instead of water. Use it as a gravy base or soup stock, or any time you'd otherwise use a broth. It is convenient to make stocks and freeze them in batches for later use.
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Great Greens

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Research shows that consuming dark greens may help you maintain good health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease. Dark greens are rich in beta-carotene, folate, and vitamins C, E, and K, which help protect against free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules that can damage cells).
Certain dark greens — arugula, beet greens, bok choy, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and turnip greens among them — are cruciferous vegetables. In addition to their heart-healthy properties, cruciferous vegetables have been found to protect against macular degeneration and reduce age-related memory loss. In addition, the sulfur compound called sulforaphane found in these vegetables may increase the activity of cancer-fighting enzymes in the body…
The most recent dietary guidelines released in 2010 by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend that Americans fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal, and that includes dark leafy greens… The real point is that all vegetables contribute to a healthy eating plan. So eat a wide variety — green and all the other colors — throughout the week, and you'll be on your way to getting many of the nutrients you need.
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Veggies, Fruit May Lower Women's Stroke Risk

(HealthDay News) Diets rich in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and whole grains appear to lower a woman's odds for a stroke, even if she has a prior history of heart disease, new research shows…
Among women with no history of heart disease, those with the highest levels of diet-based antioxidants had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke than those with the lowest levels.
Benefits extended to women who'd already suffered heart disease. Among this group, women with higher levels of dietary antioxidant capacity had up to a 57 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke compared to those with the lowest levels.
According to the study authors, fruits and vegetables contributed about 50 percent of antioxidant capacity in women with no history of heart disease who had the highest TAC. Other contributors included whole grains (18 percent), tea (16 percent) and chocolate (5 percent).
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More fruits and veggies don't help lung disease

(Reuters Health) Adding extra daily servings of fruits and vegetables didn't improve lung function or other markers of lung health in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a new study from Northern Ireland.
The lung disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is one of the most common causes of death in the U.S., with a yearly death toll of more than 100,000.
Previous research has shown that people who eat lots of fruits and veggies may have less severe lung symptoms, or be less likely to die from COPD -- possibly because of the antioxidants in that food group and its anti-inflammatory effects, the theory goes.
But those studies were observational, meaning that scientists compared people who were already downing fruits and vegetables to those who avoided them. That kind of research doesn't prove that nutritional habits, themselves, are driving lung changes, because scientists can't take into account every other health and lifestyle variable that affects breathing and airway function…
"People taking a lot of antioxidants may also exercise a lot more than people who don't eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Maybe they smoke less, maybe they are more compliant with their medications, and the list goes on," [Dr. Don Sin] told Reuters Health.
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Age-Old Remedies May Be Beneficial, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Age-old remedies could hold the key to treating a wide range of serious medical problems, as well as keeping skin firmer and less wrinkled, according to scientists from London's Kingston University. A collaboration between the university and British beauty brand Neal's Yard Remedies has seen experts discover that white tea, witch hazel and the simple rose hold potential health and beauty properties which could be simply too good to ignore.
The research suggests a number of naturally-occurring substances may offer the hope of new treatments to block the progression of inflammation…
Inflammation is credited with a major role in both the initiation and development of diseases ranging from cancer, diabetes and arthritis through to neuro-degenerative conditions and cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. It is also implicated in premature aging and early death. "Inflammation is a secret killer -- helping arrest its development, or being able to stop it happening at all, would clearly be of benefit," Professor [Declan] Naughton explained…
[Naughton’s team] tested 21 plant extracts for evidence of their efficiency in fighting cancer and also in the battle against aging. Of the 21 extracts, three -- white tea, witch hazel and rose -- showed considerable potential, with white tea displaying the most marked results. "Indeed it appeared that drinking a simple cup of white tea might well help reduce an individual's risk of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or even just age-associated wrinkles," Professor Naughton said.
Community: I drink a mug of white tea every day, and I put some of the brewed tea on my skin directly. Along with other things I do for skin care, it has helped reduce my wrinkle quotient. Don’t laugh. Appearance is important. Looking good is part of feeling good.
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Probiotics Reduce Infections for Patients in Intensive Care, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Traumatic brain injury is associated with a profound suppression of the patient's ability to fight infection. At the same time the patient also often suffers hyper-inflammation, due to the brain releasing glucocorticoids in response to the injury.
New research … shows that including probiotics with nutrients, supplied via the patient's feeding tube, increased interferon levels, reduced the number of infections, and even reduced the amount of time patients spent in intensive care.
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Probiotics Effective in Combating Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea, Studies Find

(Science Daily) In four different studies…, researchers explored the effectiveness of probiotics for antibiotic-associated diarrhea [AAD]; as an anti-inflammatory agent for patients with ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome; and for people with abdominal discomfort and bloating who have not been diagnosed with a functional bowel disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)…
Probiotics are bacteria, or even sometimes yeast, which may alleviate common GI symptoms and are found in many commercial products including yogurt, juices, soy products, fermented milk, tempeh and other dietary supplements. They also come in capsule, tablet or powder formulations…
"Overall in twenty-two studies, probiotic prophylaxis significantly reduced the odds ratio of developing AAD by approximately 60 percent. This analysis clearly demonstrates that probiotics offer protective benefit in the prevention of these diseases," said principal investigator Rabin Rahmani, MD.
"These findings suggest that all patients who are at high-risk for these infections demonstrated by recent antibiotic useage, old age, recent hospitalization, low albumin, and immunosuppression should be considered for probiotic therapy," said [Steven Shamah, MD].
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Group says Quorn fake meat may cause illness

(UPI) The Quorn line of meat substitutes causes gastrointestinal distress and may even cause a life-threatening allergic reaction, a U.S. non-profit group says.
Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, asked Michael Taylor, the deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to revoke Quorn's "generally recognized as safe" designation for the meat substitutes made from fermented fungus -- Fusarium venenatum.
If the agency intends to allow Quorn's "mycoprotein" to remain on store shelves, it should at least require a prominent warning label, Jacobson said.
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Lower Antioxidant Level Might Explain Higher Skin-Cancer Rate in Males

(Science Daily) Men are three times more likely than women to develop a common form of skin cancer but medical science doesn't know why. A new study may provide part of the answer.
Researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC -- James) have found that male mice had lower levels of an important skin antioxidant than female mice and higher levels of certain cancer-linked inflammatory cells.
The antioxidant, a protein called catalase, inhibits skin cancer by mopping up hydrogen peroxide and other DNA-damaging reactive-oxygen compounds that form during exposure to ultraviolet B light (UVB), a common source of sunburn and cancer-causing skin damage. Studies by others have linked low catalase activity to skin cancer progression.
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Clogged Arteries Pose Different Dangers for Men, Women: Study

(HealthDay News) Not all clogged arteries are created equal, with women and men facing different heart risks even when they have the same amount of coronary plaque, a new study suggests.
Analyzing the results of coronary CT angiographies -- non-invasive tests that look for coronary artery blockages -- in 480 patients with acute chest pain, scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina found that the risk of major cardiac events was significantly higher in women when they had a large amount of plaque buildup and extensive hardening of the arteries.
On the other hand, men faced greater risks of heart attack or coronary bypass surgery when their arteries contained "non-calcified plaque," fatty deposits that accumulate deep in artery walls.
While the study didn't specifically quantify the risks of each scenario for men and women, it may be valuable to physicians ordering tests for heart patients in distress, said study author Dr. John Nance Jr.
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Gelatin-Based Nanoparticle Treatment May Be a More Effective Clot Buster

(Science Daily) A targeted, nanoparticle gelatin-based clot-busting treatment dissolved significantly more blood clots than a currently used drug in an animal study of acute coronary syndrome…
The new drug-delivery system used gelatin to deactivate the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, to treat acute coronary syndrome. Soundwaves were then used to reactivate tPA once it reached the blood clot. It is considered a stealth approach because tPA doesn't act until it has reached its target.
[Localizing the activity of the blood thinner reduces] "bleeding complications," said Yoshihiko Saito, M.D., senior author…
This gelatin-based drug-delivery system could potentially treat patients with chest pain en route to the hospital via ambulance.
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Court: Some bone marrow donors can be paid

(AP) A father who believes a lack of bone marrow donors contributed to his son's death from leukemia says a federal court ruling allowing most bone marrow donors to be paid will save lives and drive down treatment costs.
The appeals court ruled Thursday that most bone marrow donors can be paid, overturning the government's interpretation of a decades-old law making such compensation a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
In its ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a technological breakthrough makes donating bone marrow a process nearly identical to giving blood plasma.
It's legal — and common — to pay plasma donors. Therefore, the court ruled, bone marrow donors undergoing the new procedure can be paid as well and are exempt from a law making it a felony to sell human organs for transplants.
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Most insurers met spending limits under law: GAO

(Reuters) Most U.S. health insurers last year would have satisfied the much-disputed spending rules under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, according to a new report by a congressional watchdog agency.
The rules require insurers such as Aetna and UnitedHealth to spend most of customers' premium payments on medical care, not administrative costs or profit, or risk paying patients a rebate.
Community: Much ado about nothing, as usual.
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Medicare anti-obesity initiative triggers treatment debate

(USA Today) The decision that Medicare will pay for screening and counseling services to help obese patients lose weight has opened an old debate about who can best help people slim down…
The rule means that doctors can now be paid for weight-related counseling, and therefore may seek out training…
Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, … said he believes that CMS should consider reimbursing a range of weight-loss options, including telephone- and Internet-based programs, which have been shown to be effective. "Such programs could be coordinated with primary care providers efforts and delivered at a far lower cost than having physicians or nurse practitioners deliver lifestyle counseling."
Several other large clinical trials show that dieters who followed intensive weight-loss programs with trained professionals and a lot of one-on-one counseling lost an average of 9% of their starting weight, [said Donna Ryan, an obesity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge].
However, most physicians can't spend huge amounts of face time with their patients, she said. "The physician should probably be part of the assessment team and the primary motivator, but someone else in the office should teach the lifestyle changes that will lead to weight loss.
"The problem is going to be how to make this efficacious and affordable. It's a question of economics," Ryan said.
Community: From a recent post:
(HealthDay News) A new British study finds that commercial weight-loss programs are more effective and less costly than primary care-based programs led by specially trained staff.
But God forbid that we should go with what works best, as opposed to what costs the most.
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MAKS: Drug-Free Prevention of Dementia Decline

(Science Daily) New research … shows that a regime of behavioral and mental exercises was able to halt the progression of dementia.
Researchers led by Prof. [Elmar] Graessel … included in their study patients with dementia from five nursing homes in Bavaria. After random selection, half the patients were included on the year-long MAKS 'intervention' consisting of two hours of group therapy, six days a week. In addition all patients maintained their normal treatment and regular activities provided by the nursing home.
The MAKS system consists of motor stimulation(M), including games such as bowling, croquet, and balancing exercises; cognitive stimulation (K), in the form of individual and group puzzles; and practicing 'daily living' activities (A), including preparing snacks, gardening and crafts. The therapy session began with a ten minute introduction, which the researchers termed a 'spiritual element' (S), where the participants discussed topics like 'happiness', or sang a song or hymn.
After 12 months of therapy the MAKS group maintained their level on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and, even more importantly maintained their ability to carry out activities of daily living, while the control group all showed a decrease in cognitive and functional ability.
Prof. Graessel explained, "While we observed a better result for patients with mild to moderate dementia, the result of MAKS therapy on ADAS (cognitive function) was at least as good as treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors.
Community: And there are other ways to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Yoga may ease insomnia, menopause problems

(Reuters Health) A couple of yoga sessions a week could help ease sleep problems and other effects of menopause, a small study suggests…
"We are not saying that yoga can cure postmenopausal symptoms," Dr. Helena Hachul, one of the study authors, wrote in an email to Reuters Health. "But it can improve and relieve them."
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Those allergic to eggs should get flu shot

(UPI) People with allergies to eggs should be vaccinated against influenza, U.S. allergists say, citing new medical recommendations.
Dr. Stanley Fineman, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said the organization has changed its recommendation concerning the influenza vaccine because research showed few adverse reactions to the vaccine to those allergic to eggs.
"The very low risk of reacting to the injection is greatly outweighed by the risks associated with the flu," Fineman said in a statement. "The flu can be especially severe for people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses."
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Study: Apple a day may keep colitis at bay

(UPI) U.S. researchers say anti-inflammatory polyphenols in apple peels could lead to treatments for disorders related to bowel inflammation, such as colitis.
The findings … suggest antioxidants in apple peels can suppress T cell activation in mice.
"Our results show that a natural product found in apple peels can suppress colonic inflammation by antagonizing inflammatory T cells to enhance resistance against autoimmune disease," said David W. Pascual, a researcher involved in the work
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Spanish Spaghetti with Olives
Update spaghetti night by adding a fresh new ingredient: pimiento-stuffed olives.
Quick French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a favorite but it usually isn't substantial enough to make a complete meal. We've solved this problem by adding fiber-rich chickpeas to a broth flavored with sherry and three kinds of onions. Of course, we didn't forget the gooey topping, we've just made it a little lighter and a lot easier to prepare at home—simply top toasted whole-wheat bread with cheese and pour the soup on to melt it.
Cooking Light:
Superfast Comfort-Food Recipes
Whether it's soup, stew, sandwiches, mashed potatoes, or mac 'n cheese, if it puts a smile on your face, there's a 20-minute recipe for it here.
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