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

PSA Test for Prostate Cancer Doesn't Save Lives: Study

(HealthDay News) Annual screening for prostate cancer doesn't save lives, finds a new study that is unlikely to quell the controversy surrounding routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening.
"Organized prostate cancer screening when done in addition to whatever background testing exists in the population does not result in any apparent benefit, but does result in harm from false positives and over-diagnosis," said lead researcher Philip Prorok, from the Division of Cancer Prevention at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
"Men considering prostate cancer screening should be fully informed of the implications of such testing before making a decision," he added.
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Resolve to Take Colon Cancer Test, Experts Say

(HealthDay News) If you're 50 or older, consider making it a new year goal to get screened for colorectal cancer, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy suggests.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because most cases arise from precancerous growths in the colon called polyps. These can be found during a screening exam and removed before they turn into cancer.
Recent research has confirmed that screening is one reason why colorectal cancer death rates are declining, according to an ASGE news release.
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Moderate Red Wine Drinking May Help Cut Women’s Breast Cancer Risk, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, providing a natural weapon to combat a major cause of death among U.S. women, new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows…
[The] study found that chemicals in the skins and seeds of red grapes slightly lowered estrogen levels while elevating testosterone among premenopausal women who drank eight ounces of red wine nightly for about a month.
White wine lacked the same effect…
[Co-author Glenn D. Braunstein, MD,] noted that large-scale studies still are needed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of red wine to see if it specifically alters breast cancer risk. He cautioned that recent epidemiological data indicated that even moderate amounts of alcohol intake may generally increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Until larger studies are done, he said, he would not recommend that a non-drinker begin to drink red wine.
Community: Many of the healthy ingredients in red grapes and red wine are available in food supplements.
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Prevent cervical cancer: Get screened, get vaccinated, don't smoke

(New York Daily News) January is cervical cancer awareness month, part of a global initiative to promote regular pap smears and to eradicate cervical cancer.
“This is a cancer that we can prevent and eventually wipe out through early detection,” says Chuang. “Globally, cervical cancer is probably the most common cancer killer of women, but the incidence has decreased dramatically in the United States thanks to routine pap smears.”…
The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is HPV, an extremely common virus mostly spread through sexual contact; as much as 75% of all Americans have been carriers of HPV, with the vast majority of people clearing the virus. Other groups at an elevated risk of having HPV progress to cervical cancer are people who have sex earlier in life or numerous sexual partners, smokers, HIV-positive patients, and immunosuppressed patients.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
Fresh herbs and pickled jalapeños brighten up these simple quesadillas. Serve with a tossed green salad and a side of black beans to round out the meal.
EatingWell:
Eggplant & Chickpea Stew
This tasty vegetarian stew, studded with plenty of eggplant and protein-rich chickpeas, is reminiscent of ratatouille. The eggplant breaks down and makes a saucier stew if you peel it before cooking, but you can certainly leave the peel on if you prefer. Serve over quinoa or soft polenta with sautéed spinach on the side.
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Energy drink market to target senior citizens

(New York Daily News) The energy drink market will experience a significant change in 2012, with beverage makers shifting their focus away from younger demographics to senior citizens, and consumers seeking out natural sources of liquid energy over sugar-loaded, canned beverages, predicts a consumer research institute.
Traditionally marketed towards younger consumers, the energy drink market will slowly wake up to the fact that it has been neglecting an even bigger consumer market in the over-60, retired crowd and become increasingly popular among seniors, predicts The Values Institute at DGWB in California…
Common ingredients include stimulants like caffeine and herbs like guarana, ginseng or gingko biloba.
Community: We don’t need “energy” drinks to boost energy levels. See below.
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Boost Your Energy Level in 11 Steps

(RealAge.com) Everyone feels tired now and then, but are your energy stores totally depleted?... Before you reach for the big Cs to snap out of your sluggishness (you know . . . cookies, candy, carbs, and caffeine concoctions), we've got an 11-step plan to pep you up.
Consider Your Sleep Habits
[Y]ou need to get your ZZZs. Sleep loss is a major energy drain. Our bodies and brains need 6 to 9 hours of sleep to restore good brain-cell functioning (i.e., the ability to perform physically as well as mentally, since both coordination and thinking require those brain cells to work well). Getting on a regular bedtime schedule will help set your internal clock so your body knows when to sleep and when to wake…
Train Your Brain
Tell your body to move and it responds by giving you the energy to get moving. Your body teaches your brain. That's how healthy behaviors become automatic habits. This may be tough the first few times you try, but it gets easier.
Stay Hydrated
[B]eing even just a little dehydrated can lead to unpleasant feelings, such as fatigue, crankiness, and foggy thinking…
Cut Back on Sugar
A sugar-filled diet gives you about a birthday candle's worth of energy, while a healthy diet is more like an eternal flame. Work on limiting simple sugars (they end in -ose, such as glucose, sucrose, maltose, and dextrose -- ribose is OK), syrups, and any grain that's not 100% whole… Here's how to make cutting sweets easier.
Trade TV Time for Exercise
Exercise can do a world of good to boost your energy, so even on days when you don't feel up to it, try to do some kind of physical activity… Try the 10-minute rule. Make a deal with yourself to get moving for at least 10 minutes…
Spend Time in the Sun
Short days can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD) -- neurochemical changes in your brain due to lack of sunlight… To prevent SAD and get energized, try to spend some time in the sunshine. If there isn’t any, ask your doctor about light therapy, which involves sitting in front of a special box that shines ultrabright lights.
Sip Tea
Black, green, and white teas all contain the energizing amino acid L-theanine, which isn't found in coffee…
Get a Daily Dose of Magnesium
For a little extra get-through-the-day energy, top your veggies with toasted sesame seeds. They're loaded with magnesium -- a mineral that cells need in order to convert food to energy. Other magnesium-rich foods include: whole grains, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and cashews…
Take a Power Nap
Power naps, or "cat naps," can boost your mood, memory, and productivity. They also increase your alertness and energy while lowering your blood pressure… Can't take a nap? Opt for an afternoon walk or office-gym workout.
Eat More Mini-Meals
To stay energized all day, you have to eat often. That means shifting away from three big meals toward five to six balanced mini meals. To maintain steady energy levels, pair complex carbs that are high in fiber (e.g., beans, peas, and whole grains) with unsaturated fats (e.g., avocado, walnuts, or mixed greens with olive oil). Add protein, such as lean meat, nuts, fish, and edamame, as an accent rather than as a main dish…
Still Tired? Talk to Your Doctor
If you've tried everything under the sun to boost your energy but still feel tired, it's probably time to make an appointment with your doctor. Share how you've been feeling, when your fatigue began, and what factors may be causing it. Don't be afraid to ask questions and to find out what treatment options may be available to you. Here's how to make the most of your time with your doctor.
Community: The biggest change I’ve had in energy level in my life was when I stopped eating sugar and trans fats, reduced my intake of saturated fats, and started taking a morning walk. I had been what I thought was a naturally sluggish person, but I've really surprised myself.
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Diabetes Care Thwarted by Unstable Health Insurance: Study

(HealthDay News) Diabetes patients require continuous health coverage to ensure they receive recommended care, a new study concludes…
The researchers looked at whether the patients received four health services recommended at least once a year for diabetes patients: a lipid test for high cholesterol; a flu vaccine; a blood sugar level test; and a urine test that can detect kidney damage.
Among patients with continuous insurance, 48 percent received at least three lipid-screening tests during the three-year study, 25 percent received three or more flu shots, 72 percent received three or more blood glucose screenings, and 19 percent underwent three or more screenings for kidney damage.
Patients with interrupted or no coverage received far fewer of these preventive health services, the investigators found.
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Suffering from Seasonal Arthritis?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) f you experience aches and pains when the seasons change, consider Arnica (Arnica montana). This daisy-like mountain flower is used traditionally to help relieve discomfort associated with bruises, sprains, soreness and swelling/muscle spasms from sports activity, as well as general muscle and joint pain. Try rubbing tincture, ointment, cream, or gel on sore spots, but don't use on broken skin.
To make an Arnica compress, mix one tablespoon of Arnica tincture in one pint of purified water. Dip a gauze pad in the mixture, then put it on the troublesome joint or bruised area. Look for pure Arnica extract for preparing topical applications.
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Study finds e-cigarettes affect airways, and quickly

(Reuters Health) The electronic cigarettes marketed as a safer alternative to the real thing produce immediate changes in users' airways, a small study suggests.
Researchers in Greece saw changes in the lung function of healthy smokers who puffed on an e-cigarette for just five minutes -- although it's not clear what the long-term result of those responses might be in regular e-cigarette users, the team reports in the journal Chest.
"E-cigarettes" are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke. They were designed as a way for smokers to get their nicotine fix without exposing themselves, or other people, to the toxins in tobacco smoke.
But some scientists, including officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warn that too many questions remain about the safety of these products.
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Tobacco heir: It's never to late to quit

(UPI) Patrick Reynolds, who says the family tobacco business has killed millions, including his own father, says it's never too late to stop smoking.
Reynolds, the grandson of R.J. Reynolds, the founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., was a smoker for 10 years until he quit in 1985 after five years of trying…
Reynolds advises those quitting smoking to:
-- Drink more water.
-- Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol for the first week of quitting.
-- Try a cigarette substitute. The e-cigarette has unknown health consequences, but cinnamon sticks or chewing gum are safe.
-- Start thinking of yourself as a non-smoker; write 10 good things about being a non-smoker and 10 bad things about being a smoker.
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Mice Exposed to Smoke Helped by Blood Pressure Drug: Study

(HealthDay News) The blood pressure medicine losartan [Cozaar] helped prevent lung damage in mice that were exposed to cigarette smoke for two months, researchers say.
Specifically, the drug prevented lung tissue breakdown, airway wall thickening, inflammation and lung overexpansion in the animals, according to the Johns Hopkins researchers.
The findings have led to a clinical trial of losartan in people with smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). About 12 million Americans have COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
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New Bandage Spurs, Guides Blood Vessel Growth

(Science Daily) Researchers have developed a bandage that stimulates and directs blood vessel growth on the surface of a wound. The bandage, called a "microvascular stamp," contains living cells that deliver growth factors to damaged tissues in a defined pattern. After a week, the pattern of the stamp "is written in blood vessels," the researchers report…
"Any kind of tissue you want to rebuild, including bone, muscle or skin, is highly vascularized," said University of Illinois … professor Hyunjoon Kong, a co-principal investigator on the study… "But one of the big challenges in recreating vascular networks is how we can control the growth and spacing of new blood vessels."
"The ability to pattern functional blood vessels at this scale in living tissue has not been demonstrated before," Bashir said. "We can now write features in blood vessels."
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Hepatitis C vaccine: Oxford researchers' trial 'promising'

(BBC News ) An early clinical trial of a hepatitis C vaccine has shown "promising" results, according to researchers at Oxford University…
The virus can go unnoticed for years, but during this time it can cause considerable liver damage…
It spreads through blood-to-blood contact such as sharing needles. While infection can be controlled with antiviral drugs, the Oxford University researchers say a vaccine "would be a major step forward".
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New System May One Day Steer Microrobots Through Blood Vessels for Disease Treatment

(Science Daily) Microscopic-scale medical robots represent a promising new type of therapeutic technology. As envisioned, the microbots, which are less than one millimeter in size, might someday be able to travel throughout the human bloodstream to deliver drugs to specific targets or seek out and destroy tumors, blood clots, and infections that can't be easily accessed in other ways.
One challenge in the deployment of microbots, however, is developing a system to accurately "drive" them and maneuver them through the complex and convoluted circulatory system, to a chosen destination. Researchers … now describe … a new navigation system that uses an external magnetic field to generate two distinct types of microbot movements.
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Don't believe hype about robot prostatectomy: study

(Reuters Health) Older men considering robotic surgery for prostate cancer shouldn't trust the rosy ads promoting the expensive technology over low-tech surgery.
That's according to a new survey that found complaints about sexual problems and urinary leakage were equally common after the two procedures.
"I wasn't surprised at all," said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, who wasn't involved in the study.
"Unfortunately, robotic prostatectomy -- like many things in prostate cancer -- has gotten a lot more hype than it should."
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US may regulate hand, face, other complex transplants

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) The U.S. government has proposed rules that could lead to the regulation of face and hand transplants, the Associated Press reported Thursday -- possibly making the tissues more widely available to needy patients.
The proposed rules, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, would add vascularized composite allografts to the list of tissues delivered through the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which manages the organ donation waiting list and matches organs to recipients, among other tasks.  
According to[an] Emory University website, vascularized composite allotransplantation involves transplanting multiple tissues (such as skin, muscle, bone, nerves and blood vessels) as a functional unit. Hand and face transplants are just a couple of examples of such procedures; according to the AP report, transplants of other limbs and tissues like windpipes, tracheas and even penises or uteruses, would also fall under the new rules.  
The changes should allow hospitals that perform the procedures to find better matches between donors and recipients, the report added.
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The Battle over California's Adult Day Programs

(Howard Gleckman, Forbes) Want to see the future of adult day programs for the frail elderly and adults with disabilities? Just watch what is happening in California, where 26,000 participants and the centers that care for them are struggling to manage state budget cuts and huge uncertainty.
Adult day programs can be a key support for the frail elderly or other adults with disabilities who are trying to live at home. They provide much-needed meals, exercise, companionship, and often an early warning system for health problems. They can also provide critical respite for family caregivers. They may, although the evidence is not clear, make it possible for people to stay at home and, at the same time, avoid unneeded hospitalizations.
But adult day is often funded by state Medicaid programs. And Medicaid, which is under severe financial stress, is looking to squeeze dollars from its burgeoning budgets…
In the longer term, it is likely that at least some of those who are kicked out of the adult day programs will no longer be able to live at home, and may end up in nursing homes–at far greater cost to California.
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Stop Making Excuses and Learn How to Be Healthy

(RealAge.com) Excuses, excuses, excuses. They always seem to keep us from getting where we really want to be. Not this year! It's time to push excuses off for good so you can drop that extra weight, quit your junk food habit, or finally get in shape.
Use these workarounds to bust your favorite excuses so they don't rule you:
I'm too tired to exercise.
Tell your body you're too tired to exercise and you'll downshift your energy production (thanks to a mechanism called feedback loops). Tell your body you need to walk and you'll generate the energy you need to take a daily jaunt…
I'm a terrible cook so I eat out a lot.
Don't arrive at the restaurant starving! Eat a little healthful fat, such as six walnut halves, before you get there. The healthful fat in walnuts triggers a chain reaction that slows the rate at which your stomach empties, so you'll feel fuller faster. Also drink at least one full glass of water before you order…
I have foot pain and can't walk.
When you're in pain, exercising might be the last thing you feel like doing, but it pays to keep moving. Workouts encourage your body to release endorphins -- neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers. Try biking or swimming…
I travel all the time and have to eat on the road.
Rely on more snacks instead of pigging out on big meals. Travel with easy-to-carry baggies of snacks, such as nuts, cut-up apples, or baby carrots, to take the edge off your hunger.
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Plan a health improvement with a buddy

(UPI) People who plan to do something in advance are more inclined to follow through, and British researchers say planning with another person is better still.
Professor Mark Conner … at the University of Leeds said a "buddy system" could make a big difference to people following dieting plans or other health programs.
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How to Be Fun, Have Fun, and Stay Young

(RealAge.com) Feel like your life has done a number on your fun factor? You're not alone. Deadlines, bills, and crazy-busy schedules keep most of us from cutting loose and getting silly. All work and no play isn't just dull. It negates something that's hardwired into the human psyche, say "play experts." So we're giving you an assignment: Carve out some time for playtime. Find something that makes you feel like you're floating free, happy, and totally absorbed in your own play land.
Here are some ways that a busy grown-up can cut loose, play, and even learn something new along the way.
Find your inner artist…
Flex your green thumb…
Turn your workout into play…
Learn a new language…
Tapping into your spontaneous, inner-child packs big benefits for your health, mood, mind, and job, as well as relationships. A recent study shows it eases job strain, connects you with others, and makes you laugh. So what are you waiting for? It's fun time!
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The Surprising Power of Happiness

(RealAge.com) If you had to choose a theme song for your life, would it be, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" or "Don't Worry, Be Happy"? Great news if you picked the latter: You're less likely to have a heart attack.
New British research has found that the more satisfied you are with your life, the lower your danger of coronary heart disease. If you stay positive and increase your happiness, you will have a healthy heart…
While it's not yet clear exactly how feeling good about your life helps your heart, it's well established that happiness is vital to your health. Studies have repeatedly found that happy people produce fewer stress-related hormones, have stronger immune systems, and live longer.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Dijon Croque Monsieur
Instead of your usual grilled ham and cheese, try this French-style sandwich that's enhanced by the zip of whole-grain mustard.
EatingWell:
Fennel-Crusted Salmon on White Beans
Delicious warm white beans and fennel are topped with succulent fennel-seed-crusted salmon for a double hit of flavor. For an extra-fresh look, set aside some additional chopped fennel fronds to use as a garnish.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Grilled Fish With Tropical Relish
The tropical relish in this recipe is more to my liking than a pure fruit topping because the sweetness of the mango is offset by the robust tartness of the capers, vinegar, and salsa, and the basil provides an unexpected, spicy note.
Food as Medicine
Omega-3s, found in both cod and halibut (a four-ounce serving of cod contains 13 percent of the Daily Value and the same serving of halibut contains 26 percent), protect against fatal heart arrhythmia, or erratic heart rhythms. The omega-3s in cod, halibut and other fish also improve the ratio of HDL ("good") to LDL ("bad") cholesterol, as well as help to prevent cholesterol deposits on artery walls. Basil, a main component in the relish, is full of volatile oils such as estragole and limonene, known antibacterials.
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Ditch These 4 Foods to Clean Up Your Diet

(Nicci Micco, M.S., EatingWell) “Everything in moderation” has long been my eating motto. As a weight-loss expert, I know small treats often help people stick to an overall healthy eating style. And the philosophy has always worked well for me. Until recently. For whatever reason (I’m blaming stress), my “moderate” treats, lately, have morphed into... more. Example: I’ll dish out a half cup of ice cream, then decide I need another quarter cup. Ten minutes later, I’ll revisit the freezer for just one more spoonful, which turns into another and another...
I’m not normally one to ban “bad” foods, but I think my taste buds need a reboot, so I’ve decided to “spring-clean” my diet. For one week, I am ditching refined grains and foods with added sugars, as lately eating them seems to lead to eating more of them. While I’m at it, I’m also going to scale back my intake of salt and saturated fats (by giving up cheese)…
Adieu, added sugars.
Why?
... [H]igh intakes of added sugars are linked with risk factors for heart disease, including increased risks for high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels. And, like I said, lately, for me, eating sweetened foods seems to be linked with craving more sweet foods…
Out with you... refined grains.
Why?
... Processed grains are stripped of many key nutrients, including fiber. Plus, upping your whole-grains intake could lengthen your life by reducing your risk of cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, suggests [a study]…
Sayonara, sodium (or least some of it).
Why?
 I get too much sodium. And so do you, probably: Americans, on average, eat 3,400 milligrams of sodium in a day, about 1,000 mg more than we should. And if we cut that much out of our daily diets, we’d lower our risk of heart disease by up to 9 percent, according to a study…
So long, saturated fats (from cheese).
Why?
 Most experts agree that saturated fats raise levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood, which can damage the heart and arteries… (Remember, this is just for a week!) It is, by far, the biggest source of saturated fat in my diet, since I don’t eat much butter or meat or many fried foods and I drink low-fat milk. I’ll use healthy fats in place of cheese (avocado in my burritos and almond butter on my toast) to help keep me satisfied.
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8 Foods That Fight Pain

(RealAge.com) No single food can zap chronic pain, but a healthful diet is an important part of your pain-management strategy. The Mediterranean diet, for example, is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthful unsaturated fats. These edibles can help build strong bones and muscles, and -- in some cases -- can even short-circuit pain. A wholesome diet also helps prevent pain-aggravating weight gain and boosts your energy levels and mood so you can cope more comfortably.
Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in fiber, a good-for-you ingredient that curbs appetite and helps you manage your weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to keep chronic pain at bay. Another benefit: Whole grains are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that has been shown in animal studies to short-circuit muscle pain…
Hook Some Salmon
Salmon is rich in ache-busting omega-3 fatty acids, but it's also a great source of another potential pain fighter: vitamin D…
Pour on the Olive Oil
Olive oil … is rich in antioxidant polyphenols that help inhibit a common pain-causing mechanism in the body. Plus, olive oil makes a great substitute for butter, which is high in saturated fat. That's great, because too much saturated fat in the diet has been shown to erode bone strength and trigger pain…
Spice Is Nice
When it comes to spices with potential pain-relieving properties, go for the gold: ginger and turmeric. Ginger contains a quartet of substances (gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone) that have analgesic qualities similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. Turmeric -- a spice used in Indian and Thai curry dishes -- contains curcumin, another ginger-family member that may also help nip pain in the bud…
Be Sweet with Strawberries
These red treats are chock-full of vitamin C, an antioxidant with powerful pain-reducing properties, according to research…
Get Your Greens
Toss a spinach or arugula salad for a jolt of vitamin K -- a nutrient with potential pain-soothing properties, according to some preliminary research…
Dive Into Dairy
Can yogurt and other dairy foods dampen pain? Not directly, but they do contain two bone-building nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D do more than buoy bone strength, it may also play a role in diminishing chronic pain, according to some study findings…
Sip a Glass of Vino
The resveratrol in wine, grapes, and grape juice may have an analgesic effect similar to aspirin, according to a handful of animal studies.
Community: Resveratrol is also available as a food supplement.
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Dried Licorice Root Fights the Bacteria That Cause Tooth Decay and Gum Disease, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Scientists are reporting identification of two substances in licorice -- used extensively in Chinese traditional medicine -- that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults.
In a study…, they say that these substances could have a role in treating and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
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Vitamin D lack linked to depression

(UPI) Higher vitamin D levels are linked with a significantly decreased risk of depression, especially among those with a history of depression, U.S. researchers say…
The study, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms, particularly those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels.
However, the study did not address whether increasing vitamin D levels reduced depressive symptoms, [senior author Dr. E. Sherwood] Brown said.
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Could Daily Aspirin Harm Seniors' Eyes?

(HealthDay News) Daily aspirin use among seniors may double their risk of developing a particularly advanced form of age-related macular degeneration, a debilitating eye disease, a large new European study suggests.
The possible link involves the so-called "wet" type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a significant cause of blindness in seniors.
Aspirin use was not, however, found to be associated with an increased risk for developing the more common, and usually less advanced, "dry" form of AMD, according to the report…
While the study uncovered an association between aspirin use and AMD, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
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Chronic Heartburn a Growing Problem in U.S.

(HealthDay News) Heartburn and acid reflux strike many people as an annoying and painful but ultimately harmless problem -- a result of overindulgence and gluttony that must be endured, much like a hangover after a night of drinking. But frequent bouts of heartburn and reflux constitute a real medical condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and GERD is on the rise worldwide…
If left untreated, GERD can lead to bleeding or ulcers in the esophagus, a buildup of scar tissue that makes swallowing difficult and, in extreme cases, esophageal cancer, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health…
[L]ifestyle changes can usually reduce the possibility of reflux, the two experts said. These include:
·         Making a concerted effort to lose weight, by exercising and adopting a healthy diet.
·         Learning which foods are more likely to trigger excess acid or reflux, and then avoiding them.
·         Eating the final meal of the day two to three hours before bedtime, thus reducing the amount of food in the stomach that would press against the esophageal valve.
·         Elevating the head of the bed, if nighttime reflux is a problem, as this can reduce the pressure of stomach acid and contents on the valve.
If reflux symptoms persist, however, [Dr. Kenneth R.] DeVault stressed that more needs to be done to avoid damage to the esophagus. "If they have frequent heartburn symptoms, more than weekly, and have had it for many years, they need to see a physician," he said.
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Emerges as a Global Disease

(Science Daily) The incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are increasing with time and in different regions around the world, according to a new study…
Researchers found that the highest prevalence of IBD worldwide was reported in Canada and Europe, whereas Asia had a lower prevalence of IBD. In developing nations, IBD was a rare occurrence; however, as these nations have become more industrialized, the incidence of IBD has increased.
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Drug Eases Gout Flare-ups in Some Patients: Study

(HealthDay News) Preliminary findings suggest a drug used to treat another disease might also reduce painful flare-ups in gout patients starting new medication regimens.
In a new study, the protein-inhibitor drug rilonacept (Arcalyst) appeared to markedly lower the risk of gout flare-ups during the first few months of treatments aimed at lowering uric acid levels.
Community: I never had gout until I had an infusion of Reclast for osteoporosis. Dr. Weil recommends tart cherry juice, which has really helped. The gout pain is completely gone.
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Couch Potato or Elite Athlete? A Happy Medium Keeps Colds at Bay

(Science Daily) Battling colds and doing (or pledging to do) more exercise are familiar activities for most of us in January. But different levels of exercise can actually significantly increase or decrease your chances of catching a respiratory infection, says Professor Mike Gleeson from Loughborough University.
While regular moderate exercise can reduce the risk of catching cold-like infections, prolonged strenuous exercise, such as marathons, can make an individual more susceptible…
"The heavy training loads of endurance athletes make them more susceptible to URTIs and this is an issue for them as infections can mean missing training sessions or underperforming in competitions."
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Mental Decline Can Start at 45, Study Finds

(HealthDay News) Sorry, Boomers, but a new study suggests that memory, reasoning and comprehension can start to slip as early as age 45. This finding runs counter to conventional wisdom that mental decline doesn't begin before 60, the researchers added.
"Cognitive function in normal, healthy adults begins to decline earlier than previously thought," said study author Archana Singh-Manoux…
"Previous research shows small differences in cognitive performance in earlier life to predict larger differences in risk of dementia in later life," she said.
Understanding cognitive aging might enable early identification of those at risk for dementia, Singh-Manoux said.
Community: Fortunately, Many Years Young readers have access to information on practical ways to prevent, delay, or reduce cognitive decline.
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Potential Herpes Vaccine Disappoints Researchers

(HealthDay News) A potential vaccine for genital herpes has shown only limited effectiveness in thwarting one type of the sexually transmitted virus and no ability to stop a second type from spreading, a new study shows…
The experimental vaccine was 58 percent effective at preventing genital disease stemming from HSV-1, but completely ineffective against HSV-2…
While other potential vaccines are in the pipeline, [study author Dr. Robert B.] Belshe said, the one that works probably needs to be "more complex" than the one recently studied, which contained a single surface protein of the herpes virus. The chicken pox vaccine, which has been widely used in the past decade, is a good example of a herpes-related virus that has been brought under control, he said.
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Novel Brain Tumor Vaccine Acts Like Bloodhound to Locate Cancer Cells

(Science Daily) A national clinical trial testing the efficacy of a novel brain tumor vaccine has begun at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the only facility in the Southeast to participate. The vaccine will be tested in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive and highest grade malignant glioma. Wake Forest Baptist will treat a minimum of 25 patients in this randomized, placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial of ICT-107. A total of 20 sites across the country are participating in the trial to test the safety and efficacy of this novel cancer vaccine.
All patients enrolled in the study will receive the current standard treatment for GBM, which includes surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Two thirds of the participants will then also get the experimental vaccine treatment, which will be administered in the post radiation phase of treatment, while the others will get a "dummy," or placebo vaccine in addition to standard therapy.
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Finding Cancer Cells Before They Become Tumors

(Science Daily) Early detection of melanoma, the most aggressive skin cancer, is critical because melanoma will spread rapidly throughout the body.
Now, University of Missouri researchers are one step closer to melanoma cancer detection at the cellular level, long before tumors have a chance to form. Commercial production of a device that measures melanoma using photoacoustics, or laser-induced ultrasound, will soon be available to scientists and academia for cancer studies. The commercial device also will be tested in clinical trials to provide the data required to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for early diagnosis of metastatic melanoma and other cancers.
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Conquering Obesity Is a Campaign, not a Single Battle

Today’s top articles at Many Years Young form a series on obesity.
The first one, “The Fat Trap”, discusses the difficulty of losing weight and keeping it off, for those who are already obese.
The following article, “Obesity-Induced Brain Changes May Be Reason Weight Control Is So Hard.” provides further evidence that changes in the brain are what make losing weight and keeping it off so difficult for obese people. However, it doesn’t mention whether a gradual effort to change habits can change those brain circuits back to normal.
And the next story, “The Obesity Mountain”, is by someone who, like me, has made more gradual changes than those discussed in the first two articles, and how that has worked for him.
Then the next article, “A Writing Exercise That’s Good for Your Waistline”, is another brick in the foundation I’m building in my own mind about how important a sense of efficacy can be in leading a healthy, happy life.
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The Fat Trap

(Tara Parker-Pope, Well, New York Times) Anyone who has ever dieted knows that lost pounds often return, and most of us assume the reason is a lack of discipline or a failure of willpower. But [Australian weight-loss physician Joseph] Proietto suspected that there was more to it, and he decided to take a closer look at the biological state of the body after weight loss…
While researchers have known for decades that the body undergoes various metabolic and hormonal changes while it’s losing weight, the Australian team detected something new. A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost…
While the findings from Proietto and colleagues … are not conclusive — the study was small and the findings need to be replicated — the research has nonetheless caused a stir in the weight-loss community, adding to a growing body of evidence that challenges conventional thinking about obesity, weight loss and willpower…
The National Weight Control Registry tracks 10,000 people who have lost weight and have kept it off. “We set it up in response to comments that nobody ever succeeds at weight loss,” says Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, who helped create the registry…
There is no consistent pattern to how people in the registry lost weight — some did it on Weight Watchers, others with Jenny Craig, some by cutting carbs on the Atkins diet and a very small number lost weight through surgery. But their eating and exercise habits appear to reflect what researchers find in the lab: to lose weight and keep it off, a person must eat fewer calories and exercise far more than a person who maintains the same weight naturally. Registry members exercise about an hour or more each day — the average weight-loser puts in the equivalent of a four-mile daily walk, seven days a week. They get on a scale every day in order to keep their weight within a narrow range. They eat breakfast regularly. Most watch less than half as much television as the overall population. They eat the same foods and in the same patterns consistently each day and don’t “cheat” on weekends or holidays. They also appear to eat less than most people, with estimates ranging from 50 to 300 fewer daily calories.
Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, says that while the 10,000 people tracked in the registry are a useful resource, they also represent a tiny percentage of the tens of millions of people who have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight. “All it means is that there are rare individuals who do manage to keep it off,” Brownell says. “You find these people are incredibly vigilant about maintaining their weight. Years later they are paying attention to every calorie, spending an hour a day on exercise. They never don’t think about their weight.”…
So where does that leave a person who wants to lose a sizable amount of weight? Weight-loss scientists say they believe that once more people understand the genetic and biological challenges of keeping weight off, doctors and patients will approach weight loss more realistically and more compassionately. At the very least, the science may compel people who are already overweight to work harder to make sure they don’t put on additional pounds. Some people, upon learning how hard permanent weight loss can be, may give up entirely and return to overeating. Others may decide to accept themselves at their current weight and try to boost their fitness and overall health rather than changing the number on the scale.
For me, understanding the science of weight loss has helped make sense of my own struggles to lose weight, as well as my mother’s endless cycle of dieting, weight gain and despair. I wish she were still here so I could persuade her to finally forgive herself for her dieting failures. While I do, ultimately, blame myself for allowing my weight to get out of control, it has been somewhat liberating to learn that there are factors other than my character at work when it comes to gaining and losing weight. And even though all the evidence suggests that it’s going to be very, very difficult for me to reduce my weight permanently, I’m surprisingly optimistic. I may not be ready to fight this battle this month or even this year. But at least I know what I’m up against.
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Obesity-Induced Brain Changes May Be Reason Weight Control Is So Hard

(Medical News Today) The biggest obstacle to the successful treatment of obesity is the tendency to regain weight lost through diet and exercise, and evidence is increasing that this could be due to physiological causes. Recently, an Australian study [see above] reported that after large weight loss, appetite-regulating hormones appear to reset to levels that increase appetite.
Now a new study … offers further evidence. Senior author Dr. Michael W. Schwartz , professor of medicine at the University of Washington, and colleagues, report how rodents and humans with diet-induced obesity have structural changes in an area of the brain that regulates weight control…
[A]nother study in the same issue of the journal … reports finding that turnover of nerve cells in the hypothalamus of mice is inhibited by obesity, adding further weight to the argument that physiology, rather than lapsing back to old eating habits, could be the reason for weight regain following a period of successful weight loss in obese people.
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The Obesity Mountain

(Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic) I thought Tara Parker-Pope's piece on obesity [see above] was fascinating, and worked best as a corrective to the notion that weight-loss can be easy and fast. (Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.) But I thought her basic conclusion--that weight loss is essentially impossible for majority of humans--was underserved by her reliance on studies that looked a lot like crash diets. 550 calories a day, much of it coming from shakes sounds insane, as does 30 pounds over eight weeks. It isn't shocking that someone on that diet would gain it all back, and then some. In another case the subjects were on a liquid diet of 800 calories a day.
I'm not a scientist, but I have lost roughly a quarter of myself. I've done it at a glacial pace--almost eight years. So glacial in fact that I wouldn't even call it a "diet.": I've gained some in that time, but never yo-yoed back to the heights of my girth. The pattern has been more like lose lot, gain a some, lose some gain a little, lose a lot etc. 
Obviously I wish this had happened faster and smoother. But the upshot of taking the long way is that I've learned a lot about how to negotiate  world where, at almost every step, cheap high calorie food is at the ready. You can't get that understanding in a lab and you're unlikely to get if your trying to burn of 3-4 pounds a week. That sounds like masochism. 
It would have been nice to see Parker-Pope incorporate studies of people who didn't lose weight through crash dieting. Perhaps those studies don't exist. I don't know.
Community: I’m with you, Ta-Nehisi. It’s about behavioral change, not dieting. It’s about overcoming an addiction. It’s been a long road for me, and it doesn’t take hyper-vigilance or suffering. But it does take attention and persistence.
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