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

The One Exercise Motivation That Really Works

[Previous excerpt censored by the originating website.]
(MORE Magazine) As someone who’s spent the last 14 years studying the exercise habits of midlife women, Michelle Segar,PhD, MPH, knows a thing or two about what makes us tick when it comes to working out. Here, the 42-year-old psychology researcher at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender shares what really works for us…
Q. Regular physical activity has proven health benefits for women. So why doesn’t that motivate us more?
A. This is one of my most fascinating findings: Midlife women who work fulltime and are currently healthy won’t stick with an exercise program just to protect their health. It has to do with priorities. If you don’t have a lot of leisure time and you’re feeling fine, you may not be able to squeeze exercise into your busy schedule.
Q. So what’s the best motivation for midlife women?
A. To improve your state of well-being — for example, improving mood and reducing stress. Only 26 percent of the women in my study said they exercised for mental health benefits, but those women exercised 30 percent more often than those who stated their top reason as physical health benefits or weight loss. Exercise can have a pretty immediate impact on your mood and stress level, and over time it also improves your memory and makes you physically healthier. So you get the instant payoff of your workout improving your day and the long-term benefits that make you want to keep doing it.
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Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Women may not be able to sidestep the two biggest risks for breast cancer - being female and getting older - but a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) lists strategies that may help protect against the disease.
The IOM focused on environmental contributors, including exposure to ionizing radiation from CT scans and other medical tests, and advised avoiding unnecessary ones. It views the current use of oral contraceptives by premenopausal women, as well as hormone replacement therapy and obesity among postmenopausal women as “clear links” to breast cancer risk. While evidence on chemical exposure is conflicting or contradictory, the IOM suggested avoiding benzene, 1,3-butadiene and ethylene oxide - chemicals found in the workplace, gasoline fumes, car exhaust and cigarette smoke.
The IOM also said, “the jury is still out” on a breast cancer connection to the chemical BPA (bisphenol A), pesticides, cosmetics, dietary supplements and shift work (here, some evidence suggests that exposure to light at night may pose a risk). But it saw no good evidence of risks from hair dyes, use of cell phones and other electronics.
To further reduce risk the IOM recommended that women increase their physical activity and minimize weight gain after menopause.
My take? This report might have benefited more women by having gone further in stressing the importance of physical activity. Exercise - at least 30 minutes a day - is a key protective measure… And I suggest increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines, using extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings and in cooking, eating more whole soy foods, drinking green tea, and limiting alcohol consumption (even modest amounts are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer).
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Experts Urge Public Action to Aid Cancer Prevention

(HealthDay News) Community support is essential for healthy behaviors that can reduce cancer risk, according to updated guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention released this week by the American Cancer Society…
The four major recommendations for individuals include: achieving and maintaining a healthy weight throughout life; being physically active; eating a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods; and limiting alcohol consumption…
The guidelines also include recommendations for community action to support individual cancer prevention lifestyle behaviors. Public, private and community organizations should work together at national, state and local levels to achieve policy and environmental changes that:
·         Increase access to affordable, healthy foods in communities, workplaces and schools.
·         Reduce promotion of and access to foods and beverages with low nutritional value, particularly to youth.
·         Create safe, enjoyable and accessible settings for physical activity in schools and workplaces, and for recreation and transportation in communities.
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U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program Might Avert 885,000 Cases

(HealthDay News) A national community-based diabetes prevention program in the United States could prevent or delay 885,000 cases of type 2 diabetes over 25 years, a new federal government study says.
Overall, the program would save $29.8 billion in medical costs. But, the program itself would require a $24 billion investment. Still, the researchers said, it would only take about 14 years to recoup the money spent on the program.
"The take-home message is that implementing screening and community-based lifestyle interventions can improve health and reduce health care costs over the long term. This is an efficient use of health care resources," said Xiaohui Zhuo, a health economist in the division of diabetes translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Community: Luckily, many of the same measures work for preventing both cancer and diabetes.
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Paula Deen expected to reveal she has Type 2 diabetes

(CBS News) All of the high-calorie, butter-intensive, fatty foods Paula Deen has whipped up over the years may have finally caught up with her.
The 64-year-old chef is expected to announce … that she has Type 2 diabetes…
Insiders say the Georgia native has started changing her cooking approach and will soon make healthier options available at her Savannah, Ga., restaurant, The Lady & Sons.
Her son, Bobby Deen, has already jumped on the healthier food bandwagon. Earlier this month, he launched the series, "Not My Mama's Meals," on the Cooking Channel, where he creates less fatty versions of his mother's old-fashioned Southern recipes.
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Follow a Nutrient-Rich Diet

(MyRecipes.com) The "get rich" way to eat emphasizes nutrient-rich foods and shifts the focus from foods to avoid to foods you canenjoy. These foods are familiar and easy to find so that healthy eating isn't difficult or stressful. Plus, these foods both nourish your body and give you pleasure.
The following food groups provide nutrients that many people are lacking in their diets, and, bite for bite, they offer the most nutritional bang for your buck.
Low-Fat Dairy
Nine important nutrients including calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin A are found in dairy. Penny for penny, dairy offers the best nutritional value – one glass of milk costs about $0.25.
Garden-fresh, frozen, or canned, vegetables contribute fiber, vitamins C and E, potassium, and a wealth of other nutrients to a healthy diet. Choose veggies for a healthy snack, a side dish, or an entire meatless meal.
Lean Protein
Include lean protein in the diet to help curb the appetite, improve heart health, lower the risk of chronic disease and aid in weight loss. Lean protein sources like chicken breasts, fish, low-fat dairy, pork, egg whites, and soy products are packed with B vitamins and iron.
Fruit is naturally delicious and promotes optimal health because it's low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Whole Grains
From oats and bulgur to brown rice and popcorn, whole grain ingredients are naturally low in fat and a good source of iron, fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium. This heart-healthy ingredient can also help with weight management, prevent high blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer.
Community: Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to see the proportions of these food groups that should be on your plate.
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Seared Lamb with Balsamic Sauce
Get a healthy taste of the Mediterranean when you serve these hearty sweet-savory chops over rice pilaf.
Slow-Cooker Picadillo
Picadillo, a Latin American-style hash, is usually made with ground beef. This one uses bison or lean beef and plenty of spices including chili powder, cumin, oregano and cinnamon.
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Grapes may help prevent blindness in aged

(UPI) Eating grapes over a lifetime may slow or help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in the elderly, U.S. researchers say…
"A lifelong diet enriched in natural antioxidants, such as those in grapes, appears to be directly beneficial for retinal pigment epithelium cells and retinal health and function," [principal investigator Silvia] Finnemann said in a statement.
Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition, leading to the deterioration of the center of the retina -- the macula -- and it is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
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Processed meat 'linked to pancreatic cancer'

(BBC News) A link between eating processed meat, such as bacon or sausages, and pancreatic cancer has been suggested by researchers in Sweden.
They said eating an extra 50g [1.8 oz] of processed meat, approximately one sausage, every day would increase a person's risk by 19%.
But the chance of developing the rare cancer remains low…
Eating red and processed meat has already been linked to bowel cancer. As a result the UK government recommended in 2011 that people eat no more than 70g [2.5 oz] a day.
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Salt, hypertension link clarified

(UPI) A U.S. review of studies refutes a widely held belief that high blood pressure results from excess salt causing an increase in blood volume, researchers say…
"The purpose of this paper is to correct an erroneous concept that has prevailed for many years, even though scientific evidence has mounted against it," said Irene Gavras, who is also a physician in Boston Medical Center's hypertension practice. "The body's circulatory system is a highly flexible vascular system with the capacity to open up new capillaries and distend veins in order to accommodate increased fluid volume."
The review, published in the Journal of Hypertension, demonstrated that excess salt stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to produce adrenalin, causing artery constriction and hypertension.
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Chlorophyll helps prevent cancer, but ...

(UPI) Chlorophyll in green vegetables may protect against cancer when tested against modest carcinogen exposure, U.S. researchers say…
"There's considerable evidence in epidemiologic and other clinical studies with humans that chlorophyll and its derivative, chlorophyllin, can protect against cancer," [researcher Tammie] McQuistan said in a statement. "This study, like others before it, found that chlorophyll can reduce tumors, up to a point, but at very high doses of the same carcinogen, chlorophyll actually made the problem worse. This questions the value of an approach often used in studying cancer-causing compounds."
Beyond confirming the value of chlorophyll, the research raises serious questions about whether traditional laboratory studies done with mice and high levels of toxic exposure provide accurate answers to what is a real health risk, what isn't, and what dietary or pharmaceutical approaches are useful, McQuistan said.
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China seeks to unlock secrets of herbs, roots

(Reuters) Chinese legends have long extolled the benefits of the Tian Shan Xue Lian, a rare white flower found in snowcapped mountains that is revered as a panacea, an elixir so powerful it can supposedly bring the dead back to life.
But in laboratories in Shanghai and Hong Kong, scientists are poring over this cusped, wrinkly flower the size of an avocado, from which they hope to develop a new drug to treat irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, a serious disease that raises the risk of stroke.
In the quest for better and newer drugs, scientists in China are re-examining traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) -- roots and herbs that have been used for thousands of years -- to find and reproduce the active ingredients so they may be made into drugs that can be easily manufactured and consumed.
But unlike many Chinese drugmakers who already sell TCMs in powders and capsules, scientists are going a step further by putting these experimental medicines through rigorous clinical tests so that they may find wider acceptance globally.
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Gut Bacteria Influence the Severity of Heart Attacks in Rats

(Science Daily) New research … suggests that the types and levels of bacteria in the intestines may be used to predict a person's likelihood of having a heart attack, and that manipulating these organisms may help reduce heart attack risk.
This discovery may lead to new diagnostic tests and therapies that physicians use to prevent and treat heart attacks. In addition, this research suggests that probiotics may be able to protect the heart in patients undergoing heart surgery and angioplasty.
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At More U.S. Workplaces, Smokers Need Not Apply

(HealthDay News) Following the lead of the Cleveland Clinic and a growing number of other hospitals, Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System will turn away job applicants who smoke starting next month.
"This is quite a trend. Hospital systems throughout the country are doing this increasingly," said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.
The move further flames a debate between workers' rights organizations and health advocates over whether denying jobs based on tobacco use is just. Some argue it's a form of employment discrimination, while organizations that adopt such standards, including Geisinger, say that turning away smokers reduces health care costs and absenteeism, and sets a healthy example.
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Walgreen sued for overcharging for generics

(Reuters) A union benefits fund filed a class action suit Wednesday, accusing Walgreen Co and generic drug maker Par Pharmaceutical Cos Inc of overcharging for various generic drugs in a bid to boost profits.
The complaint, filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Midwest Health and Pension Fund, alleges that Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, violated federal racketeering laws…
The drugs involved included generic versions of antidepressant drug Prozac and anti-heartburn drug Zantac, the complaint said.
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FDA unveils user fee program for generic drugs

(Business Week) The Food and Drug Administration would collect hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees from pharmaceutical companies to help speed up the review of generic drugs, under an agreement with industry released by the agency.
The FDA has used industry fees to hire extra staff to review regular prescription drugs since 1992. The proposal unveiled Friday would extend that approach to generic drugs, which have long had slower review times.
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Medicare shortchanges hospitals on stroke therapy

(Reuters Health) Treating stroke patients with clot-busting drugs costs U.S. hospitals substantially more than Medicare pays, a new study finds.
The results are potentially concerning, researchers say, because in the long run, some hospitals may get out of the business of treating strokes.
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Better care for 'dual eligibles' suggested

(UPI) Two U.S. researchers suggest a plan to improve care for dual eligibles -- retirees eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
[Researchers at] George Washington University outlined a proposed state plan option where states would choose qualified health plans to provide highly integrated care services for dual eligibles.
Dual eligibles are comparatively few in number -- about 9 million nationwide -- but they account for an outsized proportion of state and federal healthcare spending: roughly $230 billion between Medicaid programs and the federal government in 2006, or 36 percent of all Medicare spending and 39 percent of Medicaid spending.
Dual-eligible beneficiaries in most cases need a minimum of three cards to navigate their benefits -- one for Medicare, one for Medicaid and one for prescriptions, the study said…
"The new state plan option allows states to design a permanent program in partnership with federal officials that integrates financing and care across the Medicare and Medicaid programs to better meet the needs of dual eligibles," Thorpe said in a statement.
The paper is at www.communityplans.net.
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New York anti-obesity ads pair soda, leg amputations

(Reuters) A diabetic man with a penchant for sugary drinks who lost his legs to amputation is the latest posterboy in the city's hard-hitting anti-obesity campaign…
The advertising campaign has previously used such arresting images as consumers gulping from a frosty glass filled not with a beverage but with globs of fat.
The newest ad says that as portion sizes have grown over time, so too has the incidence of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which it says "can lead to amputations."
The tagline reads, "Cut Your Portions, Cut Your Risk."
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Penny-Per-Ounce Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Keeps the Doctor Away and Saves Money, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Over the past 10 years, Americans drank more sugar-sweetened beverages than ever -- as much as 13 billion gallons a year -- making these drinks the largest source of added sugar and excess calories in the American diet and, arguably, the single largest dietary factor in the current obesity epidemic. While many states have a sales tax on soda, experts believe they are too low to impact consumption.
In a study…, researchers estimated that if a higher, penny-per-ounce tax were imposed on sugar-sweetened beverages, it would result in an approximately 15% reduction in consumption and reduce the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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Diet Rich in Slowly Digested Carbs Reduces Markers of Inflammation in Overweight and Obese Adults

(Science Daily) Among overweight and obese adults, a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease, according to a new study… Such a "low-glycemic-load" diet, which does not cause blood-glucose levels to spike, also increases a hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar…
[Said lead author Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D., R.D.:] "Showing that a low-glycemic-load diet can improve health is important for the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese."
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New Evidence That Bacteria in Large Intestine Have a Role in Obesity

(Science Daily) Bacteria living in people's large intestine may slow down the activity of the "good" kind of fat tissue, a special fat that quickly burns calories and may help prevent obesity, scientists are reporting in a new study.
The discovery … could shed light on ways to prevent obesity and promote weight loss, including possible microbial and pharmaceutical approaches, the authors said.
Community: And maybe the kind of bacteria living in the gut are a reflection of the person’s diet. I can’t help but think that a change in diet could provide many of the benefits that proponents of bariatric surgery get so excited about.
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Nervous System Activity May Predict Successful Weight Loss

(Science Daily) A recent study of obese volunteers participating in a 12-week dietary weight-loss program found that successful weight losers had significantly higher resting nerve activity compared to weight-loss resistant individuals…
"We have demonstrated for the first time that resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is a significant independent predictor of weight-loss outcome in a cohort of overweight or obese subjects," said Nora Straznicky, PhD…, lead author of the study. "Our findings provide two opportunities. First, we may be able to identify those persons who would benefit most from lifestyle weight-loss interventions such as dieting. Secondly, the findings may also help in developing weight-loss treatments through stimulating this specific nervous activity."
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Certain Diabetes Drugs Might Aid Weight Loss

(HealthDay News) A class of newer diabetes drugs that includes exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon) might also be used to help the obese lose weight, Danish researchers report.
That's because weight loss and lowered cholesterol are often side effects of these drugs…, the team noted.
"If you use this treatment for 20 weeks, you have a positive effect on body weight," said lead researcher Dr. Tina Vilsboll… "The hope is that we have a new class of treatment for obesity, and not just for type 2 diabetes."
"It's not a wonder drug," Vilsboll stressed. "It doesn't make everyone normal weight, but it's a way of changing your lifestyle."
And she does not recommend using these drugs as a standalone treatment for weight loss. "Not right now, we need more details," Vilsboll said.
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How to Keep From Overeating When Eating Out

(HealthDay News) It's easy to overeat at restaurants. But researchers from University of Texas at Austin say they've come up with a strategy that helped a group of middle-aged women who eat out frequently avoid gaining weight and even lose a few pounds.
Calling it "Mindful Restaurant Eating," researchers taught the women to pay close attention to what they were eating and how they were feeling, with the goal of being satisfied with smaller portions and putting down their forks before they felt overly full…
For the women in the study, such techniques seemed to work. Although the intent of the study was only to prevent them from gaining weight, after six weeks, they'd actually lost an average of about 3 to 4 pounds. Food diaries showed they were also eating about 300 fewer calories daily.
Read more, including more specific and practical techniques to prevent overeating.
Community: Sounds like good advice for all eating, not just restaurant meals.
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Scallop Piccata with Sauteed Spinach
Serve these quick-cooking scallops over a bed of whole-grain pasta or brown rice for a filling (and impressive!) meal.
Green Couscous & Shrimp
This quick dinner recipe of couscous, white beans and shrimp is flavored with a potent parsley-and-basil dressing.
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Study: Why coffee reduce diabetes risk

(UPI) Drinking several cups of coffee daily reduces type 2 diabetes risk because it inhibits a substance linked to the disease, scientists in China suggest…
The study … identified two categories of compounds in coffee that significantly inhibited human islet amyloid polypeptide. The findings suggest this explains why coffee drinkers show a lower risk for developing diabetes.
"A beneficial effect may thus be expected for a regular coffee drinker," the researchers concluded.
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Slurp Tomato Soup for Healthy Arteries

(RealAge.com) A cup of tomato soup does more than warm your insides on a cold winter day. It also helps protect your blood vessels from damage due to high blood pressure and inflammation.
You can thank the vitamin C and other healthy compounds in tomato soup for these artery-protecting-benefits. When people in a study ate 2 cups of a tomato-based soup every day for 2 weeks, they experienced higher blood levels of vitamin C and decreased markers of inflammation.
Tomato-soup nutrients keep inflammation at bay by helping lower high blood pressure, which -- if left untreated -- can nick the smooth inner lining of your arteries…
People in the study ate gazpacho -- the cold soup made of tomato, pepper, and cucumber that's popular in Spanish and other Mediterranean cuisines.
Community: Most days of the week, I drink a glass of tomato and other vegetable juices, and I put in other healthy ingredients that I might otherwise have a hard time fitting in to my diet: apple cider vinegar, turmeric, sage, ground red and black peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, and horseradish. It’s delicious.
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Grocery chains adopt healthy food ratings

(UPI) A growing number of U.S. supermarkets are contracting with food ratings firms to assist in evaluating and ranking food for nutritional content, officials say.
NuVal and Guiding Stars license their scoring systems to more than 3,000 U.S. grocery stores, USA Today reported. Guiding Stars uses three stars, and NuVal uses a 100-point system, to indicate which foods are healthiest.
The Institute of Medicine -- a non-profit in Washington that advocates for improved public health -- recommended in October that the federal government develop a nutrition rating system involving calories, saturated and trans fats, sugar and sodium amounts on the front label.
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Some 'Low-Gluten' Beer Contains High Levels of Gluten

(Science Daily) Beer tested in a new study, including some brands labeled "low-gluten," contains levels of hordein, the form of gluten present in barley, that could cause symptoms in patients with celiac disease (CD), the autoimmune condition treated with a life-long gluten-free diet, scientists are reporting…
[The] analysis of 60 commercial beers found that eight labeled "gluten-free" did not contain gluten. But many regular, commercial beers had significant levels of gluten. Most surprising, two beers labeled as "low-gluten" had about as much gluten as regular beer.
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Less Common in Sunny States

(HealthDay News) People who live in sunnier regions of the United States are less likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease, a new study says…
"A leading explanation for this north-south gradient in the risk of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease may be differences in exposure to sunlight, or UVB radiation, which is generally greater in southern latitudes," wrote Dr. Hamed Khalili, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.
"UV radiation is the greatest environmental determinant of plasma vitamin D, and there is substantial experimental data supporting a role for vitamin D in the innate immunity and regulation of inflammatory response," they noted.
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New Research May Lead to a Whole New Class of Vaccines

(Science Daily) Dr. [Elizabeth] Leadbetter's lab has discovered new properties of a potential vaccine adjuvant that suggest it could be useful for enhancing protection against a number of different infections…
Adjuvants increase the strength of the immune response and also allow for smaller amounts of antigens to be used in vaccine production…
Dr. Leadbetter's new studies advance her hypothesis that lipid [fat] molecules may serve as promising vaccine components… [Her] findings suggest a single lipid adjuvant could be used multiple times without losing its effect. 
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Tests Might Someday Help Spot Early Lung Cancer

(HealthDay News) Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the world, and only about 15 percent of cases are diagnosed at an early stage, when it's most treatable.
But two preliminary studies … suggest that scientists are moving closer to developing new screening tests that could potentially detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.
In one report, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City evaluated tissue samples from healthy smokers and were able to identify precancerous changes in the cells lining the airways leading to the lungs…
[Study author Dr. Renat Shaykhiev said] that the findings "may lead to the development of novel strategies to prevent lung cancer development at the very early stages, before the development of clinically detectable cancer."
In the second study, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston developed a blood test that can analyze and determine the exact genetic mutations of circulating tumor cells in a sample size as small as three cells…
[Dr. Paul] Bunn noted that other scientists are working on detecting early lung cancer based on proteins in the blood, as well as volatile organic compounds in breath, and that all of the research is still many years away from yielding commercially available tests.
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Unexpected Discovery Opens Up New Opportunities for Targeting Cancer

(Science Daily) Scientists at the University of Leicester have opened up a whole new approach to the therapeutic intervention for a family of anti-cancer drug targets, thanks to a completely new and unexpected finding.
Professor [John] Schwabe and his colleagues … have published their research this week … detailing a new understanding of how transcriptional repression complexes work…
[Professor Schwab said:] "Our research identifies several new means to potentially target histone deacetylase enzymes therapeutically: either by using drugs to prevent IP4 binding to the enzyme or by interfering with the pathway through which the body makes IP4. Thus this work opens up a whole new area of research with potential for new drugs and a new approach to targeting histone deacetylase enzymes."
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9-1-1 Dispatchers Can Save More Lives by Coaching Bystanders in CPR

(Science Daily) More people will survive sudden cardiac arrest when 9-1-1 dispatchers help bystanders assess victims and begin CPR immediately, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement…
In the 2010 resuscitation guidelines, the association advised 9-1-1 dispatchers to help bystanders assess anyone who may have had a cardiac arrest and then direct them to begin CPR.
The new scientific statement provides more specific information about how emergency dispatchers should provide such help and highlights the importance of assessing the dispatcher's actions and other performance measures.
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Study needed on shale gas effects on health: group

(Reuters) The public health effects of shale gas development need to be rigorously studied as production rapidly spreads in the United States, public health professionals and advocates said on Monday.
Advances in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, drilling technique have revolutionized the natural gas industry, but researchers said more must be done to evaluate what the shale boom means for the those living near wells.
Health groups have concerns including possible air and water pollution from fracking, especially since some operations take place very close to homes and schools.
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Role of Exercise, Cars and Televisions on Heart Attack Risk

(Science Daily) A worldwide study has shown that physical activity during work and leisure time significantly lowers the risk of heart attacks in both developed and developing countries. Ownership of a car and a television was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, particularly in low- and middle-income countries…
[The researchers] conclude: "Although timely and highly relevant, the paper of Held et al. leaves clinicians with the Herculean task of translating this evidence into effective preventive care. If we want to support healthy longevity, we should put a stop to the pandemic of sedentarism.
"Staying physically fit throughout life may well be one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to avoid the coronary care unit."
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Covering Gym Fees Might Be Money Saver for Medicare

(HealthDay News) Paying the gym-membership fees of seniors joining private Medicare supplemental insurance plans -- which by law cannot deny coverage based on illness -- attracts healthier adults, potentially saving the U.S. insurer money, a new study suggests.
Analyzing 22 Medicare Advantage plans, including half that added fitness club memberships and half that didn't, Brown University researchers found that plans with fitness benefits had 6 percent more seniors who reported being in excellent or very good health…
Dr. Tamara Kuittinen, director of medical education in the department of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said some private insurance plans covering all ages also offer gym memberships, which she compared to a "carrot on a stick to living healthily."
"Aging is a complicated process, but I think [this practice is] a positive incentive for those who, say, need to join a gym or talk to their doctor about staying healthy," she said. "Studies show if you're active in your senior years, you live longer. It improves mental health as well as physical health."
Community: I’m not sure that healthier people choosing private insurance plans which cover gym memberships gives us any indication whether people on regular Medicare would be healthier if offered free gym memberships. Would sedentary people suddenly be motivated to go to the gym? Besides, if Medicare made that change, it would create one more member of the medical-industrial complex sucking at the teat of government largesse, leading to more lobbying of Congress and more opportunity for theft and corruption.
Why not, instead, offer a premium discount to people who engage in healthier practices, which they can then use as they choose?
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Mouse Study Give Clues to Why Exercise Is Healthy

(HealthDay News) Researchers have identified a protein in muscle cells that triggers some of the health benefits of exercise in mice…
Known as "irisin" (after the Greek messenger goddess, Iris), the protein acts as a chemical messenger and may eventually be used to develop new treatments for diabetes, obesity and possibly cancer, [the researchers said]…
Exercise causes irisin levels to rise, the researchers explained. They found the protein has "powerful effects" on adipose, or deposits of white fat under the skin that store extra calories and contribute to obesity.
After injecting the protein into sedentary mice that were obese and prediabetic, the protein activated genes that convert white fat into "good" brown fat, which burns more calories than exercise alone.
However, they noted that irisin does not build muscle so it can never replace exercise.
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'Couch Potato Pill' Might Stop Heat Stroke Too

(Science Daily) In a new study…, scientists discovered what they believe is one of the first drugs to combat heat stroke. AICAR -- an experimental therapy once dubbed the "couch potato pill" for its ability to mimic the effects of exercise in sedentary mice -- protected animals genetically predisposed to the disorder and may hold promise for the treatment of people with enhanced susceptibility to heat-induced sudden death…
[Said study author Robert T. Dirksen, Ph.D.:] "Our study takes an important first step towards developing a new drug therapy that may be part of the standard treatment regimen for heat stroke in the future."
The finding comes as heat stroke cases are on the rise. 
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My workplace fitness resolution

(Vicky Hallett, Washington Post) [M]y new year’s resolution: I’m starting a daily activity that’ll get all my office mates out of their chairs, raise their heart rates and limber up stiff muscles.
If the concept sounds familiar, maybe you read my May 2010 column about Instant Recess, an accessible aerobics program developed by UCLA’s Toni Yancey to promote a culture of physical activity at workplaces…
UCLA’s Toni Yancey and D.C. Department of Health staffers mapped out a few first steps for me to get my Instant Recess program started:
Get the boss on board…
Ask around…
Recruit a team…
Start small…
But think big…
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Creamy Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy macaroni and cheese is a recipe for comfort, while mustard, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce add some zip. Try making the stove-top dish with any short pasta, such as fusilli, farfalle, or cavatappi, or experiment with different cheeses.
Chorizo Migas
Migas, scrambled eggs with strips of tortillas, is a tasty breakfast or quick dinner. Poblano peppers, onion and salsa on top ensure you get some veggies in your eggs.
Cooking Light:
Superfast Pork Recipes
Make a quick and healthy meal using tender, lean pork with these 20-minute recipes.
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8 Healthy Office Snacks

(Cooking Light) Don't get caught in front of the vending machine again. Pack these eight healthy snacks (each less than 200 calories) to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the work day…
Whole Wheat Crackers and Peanut Butter…
Popcorn with Parmesan…
Instant Oatmeal…
Choose plain oatmeal and add your own flavorings to control the calorie and sugar content. Top with a 42 calorie mini box of raisins for a sweet flavor and added nutrients or sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mini Pitas with Hummus…
Snack Bars…
Veggies with Ranch
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Natural trans fat may not boost "bad" cholesterol

(Reuters Health) The artificial trans fats that once abounded in processed foods have become notorious for their undesirable effects on cholesterol levels. But a small clinical trial suggests that natural trans fats may not do the same damage.
When 61 healthy women followed a diet with a hefty dose of natural trans fats for four weeks, researchers found there were no changes in the women's LDL ("bad") cholesterol and only small changes in HDL, or "good," cholesterol, in some women…
[S]ince food manufacturers have been removing the artificial kind from their products, the natural variety is becoming our main source of dietary trans fat, said Benoit Lamarche, a professor of food sciences…
"The question is, 'is this a problem?'" said Lamarche, the senior researcher on the new paper. "This study suggests it's not."…
So does that mean a healthy, normal-weight woman can eat all the meat and butter she wants?
No, according to Lamarche.
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Frequent red meat eaters at higher risk of stroke

(Reuters Health) A high-protein diet might benefit health in some ways, but depending on what kind of protein a person consumes, it could raise their stroke risk too, suggests a large new study that finds eating lots of red meat ups the likelihood of having a stroke while poultry lowers it.
"The main message from this paper is that the type of protein or the protein package is really important for the risk of stroke. We have to consider protein in the context of the foods," said Dr. Frank Hu, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of the study.
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Artificial trans fat still in many food

(UPI) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration required trans fat to be listed on food labels, but many foods still contain trans fats, a food advocacy group says.
Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said trans fat is a potent cause of heart disease, and the federal government and the American Heart Association urge consumers to avoid foods containing it.
The FDA required trans fat to be listed on food labels and most large manufacturers removed partially hydrogenated oil -- the source of artificial trans fat -- from their products, possibly leaving many consumers thinking the problem has been solved.
However, several large companies continue to market products containing unhealthy and unnecessary amounts of trans fat, including Marie Callender's Lattice Apple Pie, which contains 5 grams of trans fat per serving, Pop Secret microwave popcorn at 4 or 5 grams of trans fat per serving, and White Castle's doughnuts with 8 or 9 grams of trans fat per serving.
The American Heart Association recommends people limit their trans fat intake to no more than 2 grams per day. Since small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in beef and dairy products, that leaves very little, if any, room for artificial trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil, Jacobson said.
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