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

Thriving Small Businesses = Healthier Community

(Science Daily) Counties and parishes with a greater concentration of small, locally-owned businesses have healthier populations -- with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes -- than do those that rely on large companies with "absentee" owners, according to a national study…
"What stands out about this research is that we often think of the economic benefits and job growth that small business generates, but we don't think of the social benefits to small communities," said Troy C. Blanchard, Ph.D., lead author and associate professor of sociology at LSU. "This study highlights not only the economic benefits of small business, but its contributions to health and well-being."…
[The] findings are a departure from the traditional conclusion that "bigger is better."
Community: Support your local businesses to improve your health!
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Mind Over Matter: Patients' Perceptions of Illness Make a Difference

(Science Daily) Whenever we fall ill, there are many different factors that come together to influence the course of our illness. Additional medical conditions, stress levels, and social support all have an impact on our health and well-being, especially when we are ill. But a new report suggests that what you think about your illness matters just as much, if not more, in determining your health outcomes…
Research confirms that brief, straightforward psychoeducational interventions can modify negative illness beliefs and lead to improvements over a range of different health outcomes. But this research is still new and scientists don't know much about how our illness perceptions develop in the first place. With mounting pressure to lower the costs of healthcare, continued research on illness perceptions will help practitioners design effective interventions that are able to reach a large number of patients.
Community: Tying, once again, a sense of efficacy to recovery and health.
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New Study Shows How to Boost the Power of Pain Relief, Without Drugs

(Science Daily) Placebos reduce pain by creating an expectation of relief. Distraction -- say, doing a puzzle -- relieves it by keeping the brain busy. But do they use the same brain processes? Neuromaging suggests they do. When applying a placebo, scientists see activity in the … part of the brain that controls high-level cognitive functions like working memory and attention -- which is what you use to do that distracting puzzle.
Now a new study challenges the theory that the placebo effect is a high-level cognitive function. The authors … reduced pain in two ways -- either by giving them a placebo, or a difficult memory task… But when they put the two together, "the level of pain reduction that people experienced added up. There was no interference between them," says Buhle. "That suggests they rely on separate mechanisms."
The findings … could help clinicians maximize pain relief without drugs.
Community: The placebo effect is very powerful, and the more we know about it, the better chance we have of using it to reduce pain and improving health.
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Achieving Emotional Well-Being

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It’s natural to have emotional ups and downs. What’s not natural – yet all too common in the modern world – is to feel persistently sad or anxious for no obvious reason.
My new website, SpontaneousHappiness.com, helps members find and sustain the emotional balance that’s needed to navigate and enjoy life in this complex, fast-paced world. In just eight weeks you will:
• Learn how ancient therapies – including specialized forms of meditation – can bring peace and serenity.
• Discover foods and supplements that can improve emotional stability.
• Explore the role of exercise in boosting mood.
• Feel better physically. The practices that help you achieve emotional well-being are also good for your body!
Weekly checklists, personalized tips, in-depth articles, and videos provide a variety of ways to keep you engaged and encouraged. In addition, we have tools to track your mood, breathing, physical fitness and other aspects of your personal journey through the plan.
Visit today to learn more about Spontaneous Happiness – I think you will find it a useful tool for achieving balance in the hectic world we live in today.
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Facebook doesn't help those with low self-esteem

(UPI) People with low self-esteem tend to bombard friends on Facebook with negative news of their lives -- making themselves less likable, Canadian researchers say…
[P]eople with high self-esteem [receive far] more responses when they post negative items, perhaps because these are rarer, the researchers said.
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Got creative block? Get out and go for a walk

(Medical Xpress) The next time you're in need of creative inspiration, try thinking outside the box—or cubicle.
New research … shows that engaging in physical acts and experiences enhances creative problem-solving…
In … five studies, the findings revealed that physically and psychologically embodying creative metaphors promotes fluency, flexibility and originality in problem-solving, [Jeffrey] Sanchez-Burks said.
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11 Healthy Super Bowl Snacks
The Super Bowl is one of the biggest calorie fests of the year for many Americans. The average football fan eats about a day’s worth of calories during the game, and the U.S. Calorie Control Council estimates that Americans pack away 11 million pounds of chips on Super Bowl Sunday. Instead, snack on these 11 delicious and healthy game day recipes. 
Garlic Chicken Pizza
In about 20 minutes you can serve your family a garlicky-good, three-cheese and chicken pizza that's just as good as what you'd get at a pizza restaurant.
Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Burgers
These tasty turkey burgers, served on toasted focaccia and dressed with marinara sauce, are reminiscent of a sausage pizza. Shredded mozzarella combined with fresh basil melts beautifully inside these gems.
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Soy isoflavone supplements did not provide breast cancer protections

(Medical Xpress) Soy isoflavone supplements did not decrease breast cancer cell proliferation in a randomized clinical trial…
Lead researcher Seema A. Khan, M.D., … said the results of this study are consistent with the findings of previous studies that were designed to test cancer prevention benefits of dietary supplements.
"Simply put, supplements are not food. Although soy-based foods appear to have a protective effect, we are not seeing the same effect with supplementation using isolated components of soy, so the continued testing of soy supplements is likely not worthwhile," said Khan.
Khan said that beta-carotene and selenium supplementation have also been shown to lack benefit in lung cancer prevention studies.
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Regular Use of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Could Reduce the Risk of Colon Cancer, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) A study … found that rats given regular multivitamin and mineral supplements showed a significantly lower risk of developing colon cancer when they were exposed to carcinogens…
Rats fed a high-fat plus low-fibre diet and exposed to carcinogens developed pre-cancerous lesions; whereas, rats undergoing similar treatment, but provided with daily multivitamin and mineral supplements, showed a significant (84%) reduction in the formation of pre-cancerous lesions and did not develop tumours.
The authors conclude that "multivitamin and mineral supplements synergistically contribute to the cancer chemopreventative potential, and hence, regular supplements of multivitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of colon cancer."
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Alcohol ups colon cancer risk

(The Times of India) High levels of alcohol consumption can increase risk of colon cancer in people with a positive family history of such cancer, researchers have warned…
The results revealed that subjects with a family history, whose average alcohol intake was 30 or more grams per day (about 2 ½ typical drinks by US standards or 4 UK units), had an increase in their risk of colon cancer.
Those at greatest risk also ate the most red meat, smoked the most, and had the lowest intake of folate (suggesting they ate fewer green vegetables and cereals.
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New 'Biopsy in a Blood Test' to Detect Cancer

(Science Daily) Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Health, and collaborating cancer physicians have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of an advanced blood test for detecting and analyzing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) -- breakaway cells from patients' solid tumors -- from cancer patients. The findings, reported in five new papers, show that the highly sensitive blood analysis provides information that may soon be comparable to that from some types of surgical biopsies.
"It's a next-generation technology," said Scripps Research Associate Professor Peter Kuhn, PhD, senior investigator of the new studies and primary inventor of the high-definition blood test. "It significantly boosts our ability to monitor, predict, and understand cancer progression, including metastasis, which is the major cause of death for cancer patients."
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New screening method for prostate cancer

(UPI) Novel prostate specific antigen velocity risk count testing may be more effective for physicians to screen men for prostate cancer, U.S. researchers said…
An elevated PSA can indicate the presence of disease. However, PSA can also be elevated with benign prostate enlargement and one high PSA value does not always mean an aggressive prostate cancer is present, [lead author Dr. Stacy] Loeb said…
"The goal of risk count is to help identify the aggressive, clinically significant prostate cancers before advanced symptoms develop, while decreasing the diagnosis of insignificant cancers."
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Experts build crab-like robot to remove stomach cancer

(Reuters) Inspired by Singapore's famous chili crab dish, researchers have created a miniature robot with a pincer and a hook that can remove early-stage stomach cancers without leaving any scars.
Mounted on an endoscope, it enters the patient's gut through the mouth. It has a pincer to hold cancerous tissues, and a hook that slices them off and coagulates blood to stop bleeding.
With the help of a tiny camera attached to the endoscope, the surgeon sees what's inside the gut and controls the robotic arms remotely while sitting in front of a monitor screen.
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Pricey surgery robots lack clear benefits: study

(Reuters Health) As robots march into operating rooms across the nation, some doctors are getting worried that patients might not be better off with the costly machines.
In the latest study to cast doubt on the technology, researchers found similar complication rates among women treated for endometrial cancer whether or not surgeons got help from a robot.
Yet robotic surgery costs about $1,300 more than the low-tech approach, called laparoscopy, in addition to the upfront cost to the hospital of the machine itself.
"Robotic surgery is clearly associated with higher costs, without any clear advantages," Dr. Jason Wright, a gynecologic surgeon at Columbia University in New York, told Reuters Health.
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Emergency Contraceptive Pill Treats Fibroids With Fewer Side Effects

‎(WebMD Health News) A new drug appears to be effective for shrinking uterine fibroids and controlling the heavy menstrual bleeding they often cause, according to new research from Europe.
In one study, the drug ulipristal acetate proved to be much more effective than a placebo for shrinking the non-malignant uterine tumors…
Ulipristal acetate is the active chemical in the emergency contraceptive sold in the U.S. as Ella, but the daily doses taken by the fibroid patients in the studies were much smaller than those in the contraceptive.
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Skin Cells Turned Into Neural Precusors, Bypassing Stem-Cell Stage

(Science Daily) Mouse skin cells can be converted directly into cells that become the three main parts of the nervous system, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding is an extension of a previous study by the same group showing that mouse and human skin cells can be directly converted into functional neurons.
The multiple successes of the direct conversion method could refute the idea that pluripotency (a term that describes the ability of stem cells to become nearly any cell in the body) is necessary for a cell to transform from one cell type to another. Together, the results raise the possibility that embryonic stem cell research and another technique called "induced pluripotency" could be supplanted by a more direct way of generating specific types of cells for therapy or research.
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Soaps, makeup and other items contain deadly ingredients, say consumer advocates

(Washington Post) Drugstore shelves are lined with shampoos, deodorants, moisturizers, soaps and makeup that contain potentially harmful ingredients, say consumer advocates. “Research has shown that many conventional personal-care products contain chemicals of concern that can disrupt your hormones, have been linked to cancer, cause allergies or can damage your skin,” explains Stacy Malkan, author of “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.”
She points out that because there are few safety standards for cosmetics in the United States, “companies are basically making their own decisions about what’s safe enough to sell.”
Industry officials contend that the risks of using cosmetics with trace amounts of chemicals are insignificant or nonexistent. The Food and Drug Administration does evaluate some ingredients used in cosmetics and has issued warnings, such as with formaldehyde in some hair straighteners. But the dearth of solid, large-scale studies on the effect of such chemicals at the levels found in conditioner or toothpaste, say, means it’s difficult to know what the risks are. “The fact is, none of us really know for sure,” said Malkan, “because a lot of these chemicals have not been properly assessed for safety.”
As a result, it’s your choice whether to use a fruity body wash, lipstick or after-shave that may contain lead, diethyl phthalate (a hormone disruptor that is widely used in plastics and has been linked to sperm damage and other reproductive problems) or 1,4-Dioxane, acarcinogenic byproduct that has been banned in Europe…
[Malkan] suggests doing some research and figuring out which ingredients you want to avoid — her advocacy group, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, maintains an online list of chemicals it says are dangerous — and then keep them out of your bathroom cabinet.
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Komen reverses decision to deny funding to Planned Parenthood

(Los Angeles Times) After three days of tumult, the breast cancer foundation Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced it had reversed its decision to deny further grants to Planned Parenthood Federation of America for breast-health services.
The decision follows an outpouring of criticism from politicians and other nonprofit organizations, as well as strong public reaction via Twitter, Facebook and other social media…
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards expressed relief in a Friday news conference after the Komen foundation's about-face, calling it "a victory for women and for women who rely on this care."
"I do believe that the Komen foundation has been the target of political bullying, the same forces that have been out trying to deny women access to birth control over the last year," Richards added, referring to pressure from groups opposed to abortion that the leading charity stop funding Planned Parenthood.
Community: The bullies have been much too successful, and not just on women’s issues. I still don’t feel inclined to support the Komen Foundation going forward, though. It’s become more of a commercial enterprise than an advocacy group, the same thing that happened to AARP.
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Excessive worrying associated with increased stroke risk

(American Heart Association) Harm avoidance — including excessive worrying, pessimism, fear and fatigue — may increase your risk of stroke, researchers said.
The researchers gave the 35-item Harm Avoidance Scale to 1,082 older persons without dementia. During 3.5 years of follow-up, 258 patients died, of whom 80 percent underwent brain autopsy…
The associations persisted after controlling for cognitive and motor function, cardiovascular risk factors and conditions, or neuroticism.
Community: I was a world-class worrier, until I realized that I never changed the outcome of any situation by worrying about it. After that, I started using relaxation techniques to stop worrying and reduce stress. Also, there are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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High Triglyceride Levels Increase Stroke Risk in Postmenopausal Women

(New York University Langone Medical Center) Postmenopausal women may be at higher risk of having a stroke than they think.
A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and colleagues found that traditional risk factors for stroke – such as high cholesterol – are not as accurate at predicting risk in postmenopausal women as previously thought. Instead, researchers say doctors should refocus their attention on triglyceride levels to determine which women are at highest risk of suffering a devastating and potentially fatal cardiovascular event.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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Erratic Heart Rhythm May Account for Some Unexplained Strokes

(Science Daily) Occasional erratic heart rhythms appear to cause about one-fifth of strokes for which a cause is not readily established, according to research…
"Identifying and treating these patients for irregular rhythm could reduce the recurrence of stroke by 40 percent compared to reducing the risk by treating them with aspirin," said Daniel J. Miller, M.D.
Community: We just saw that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of arrhythmia. And there are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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Sleep Apnea Linked to Silent Strokes, Small Lesions in Brain

(Science Daily) People with severe sleep apnea may have an increased risk of silent strokes and small lesions in the brain, according to a small study…
"We found a surprisingly high frequency of sleep apnea in patients with stroke that underlines its clinical relevance as a stroke risk factor," said Jessica Kepplinger, M.D., the study's lead researcher…
"Sleep apnea is widely unrecognized and still neglected. Patients who had severe sleep apnea were more likely to have silent strokes and the severity of sleep apnea increased the risk of being disabled at hospital discharge."
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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Severe, Rapid Memory Loss Linked to Future, Fatal Strokes

(Science Daily) Severe, rapid memory loss may be linked to -- and could predict -- a future deadly stroke, according to research…
"People who die after stroke may have worse underlying disease prior to stroke. This suggests early disease is accumulating and that something is happening to these people before they are diagnosed with clinical stroke." said M. Maria Glymour, S.D., senior study author…
"Even health conditions that are much more common at older ages may have roots earlier in life," Glymour said. "Your entire life course influences your health in old age."
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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Anemia May More Than Triple Your Risk of Dying After a Stroke

(Science Daily) Being anemic could more than triple your risk of dying within a year after having a stroke, according to research…
Based on the results, stroke patients with anemia and their doctors should be aware of the increased risk of death and treat any modifiable causes for anemia, [lead researcher Jason] Sico said.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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Clot-Busting Drugs Appear Safe for Treating 'Wake-Up' Stroke Patients

(Science Daily) Clot-busting drugs may be safe for patients who wake up experiencing stroke symptoms, according to preliminary research…
In "wake-up" stroke, the person wakes up with symptoms after going to sleep with none. Not knowing when the stroke began excludes these patients from anti-clotting drugs that must be given within 4.5 hours of the beginning of the stroke…
Sometimes, doctors are reluctant to give clot-busting drugs to patients in whom the time of stroke onset is not known, because the risks of bleeding are not known, [lead researcher Dulka] Manawadu said. However, a significant proportion of patients who have stroke symptoms on waking may have suffered stroke in the early hours of the morning and may still be within the window of time where clot-busting treatments are known to be effective.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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New Technique Successfully Dissolves Blood Clots in Brain and Lowers Risk of Brain Damage After Stroke, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Johns Hopkins neurologists report success with a new means of getting rid of potentially lethal blood clots in the brain safely without cutting through easily damaged brain tissue or removing large pieces of skull.
The minimally invasive treatment, they report, increased by 10 to 15 percent the number of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) who could function independently six months following the procedure…
Surgeons performed the … procedure by drilling a dime-sized hole in each patient's skull close to the clot location.
Using a CT scan that Hanley likens to "GPS for the brain," they guided the catheter through the hole and directly into the clot. The catheter was then used to drip small doses of the clot-busting drug t-PA into the clot for a couple of days, shrinking the clots roughly 20 percent per day.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the risk or severity of stroke.
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Shrimp Pad Thai
Make Thailand's most popular noodle dish in mere minutes. This lightened version is packed with vibrant ingredients such as crushed red pepper, sliced green onions, and dry-roasted peanuts to add great Thai flavor. Our online reviewers noticed that the Shrimp Pad Thai was even better on the second day, so make extra for leftovers.
Spicy Cioppino
San Francisco's Italian immigrants developed this stew to use the abundant local seafood. We've opted for farm-raised tilapia and scallops, but feel free to experiment with whatever is fresh.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Vegetable and Tofu Stir Fry
Why order in from your local Chinese place when you can make a restaurant-quality stir-fry in your own kitchen? Yours will be much healthier too!...
Food as Medicine
Cultures whose diets are rich in soy foods such as tofu generally have significantly lower rates of heart disease than those with low soy consumption. The protein in soy foods has been shown to decrease LDL ("bad") cholesterol by up to 40 percent, as well as decrease triglyceride levels.
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Why Red Wine Can Be Healthy

(Science Daily) National Institutes of Health researchers and their colleagues have identified how resveratrol, a naturally occurring chemical found in red wine and other plant products, may confer its health benefits. The authors present evidence that resveratrol does not directly activate sirtuin 1, a protein associated with aging. Rather, the authors found that resveratrol inhibits certain types of proteins known as phosphodiesterases (PDEs), enzymes that help regulate cell energy.
These findings may help settle the debate regarding resveratrol's biochemistry and pave the way for resveratrol-based medicines. The chemical has received significant interest from pharmaceutical companies for its potential to combat diabetes, inflammation, and cancer.
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Potatoes Lower Blood Pressure in People With Obesity and Hypertension Without Increasing Weight

(Science Daily) The first study to check the effects of eating potatoes on blood pressure in humans has concluded that two small helpings of purple potatoes (Purple Majesty) a day decreases blood pressure by about 4 percent without causing weight gain…
[T]he researchers say that decrease, although seemingly small, is sufficient to potentially reduce the risk of several forms of heart disease.
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Coffee Consumption Reduces Fibrosis Risk in Those With Fatty Liver Disease, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Caffeine consumption has long been associated with decreased risk of liver disease and reduced fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease. Now, newly published research confirms that coffee caffeine consumption reduces the risk of advanced fibrosis in those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)…. [New findings] show that increased coffee intake, specifically among patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), decreases risk of hepatic fibrosis…
[Team leader Dr. Stephen Harrison:] "Patients with NASH may benefit from moderate coffee consumption that decreases risk of advanced fibrosis. Further prospective research should examine the amount of coffee intake on clinical outcomes."
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Stimulation of Brain Hormone Action May Improve Pneumonia Survival

(Science Daily) An international research team may have found a way to block a second wave of death that can result from pneumonia treatment. Antibiotics are effective at killing pneumococcus -- the cause of about 50 percent of pneumonias -- but as it dies the bacterium releases potentially lethal toxins.
Adding an agonist that mimics the action of growth hormone-releasing hormone -- which ultimately enables growth -- may stop that second wave, according to research…
As a result of the findings, extensive collaborative studies are being planned on the use of growth hormone-releasing hormone agonists to prevent edema in patients with bacterial pneumonia.
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Elevated Glucose Associated With Undetected Heart Damage

(Science Daily) A new study … suggests that hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) injures the heart, even in patients without a history of heart disease or diabetes…
The findings … suggest that hyperglycemia may be related to cardiac damage independent of atherosclerosis.
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Powering Pacemakers With Heartbeat Vibrations

(Science Daily) Though pacemakers require only small amounts of energy (about 1 millionth of a Watt), their batteries have to be replaced periodically, which means multiple surgeries for patients. Researchers have searched for ways to prolong battery life -- trying to generate energy to power a pacemaker using blood sugar, or the motion of the hands and legs -- but these methods either interfere with metabolism or require a more drastic surgery, such as passing a wire from the limbs to the chest area.
Aerospace engineers … from the University of Michigan … have developed a prototype device that could power a pacemaker using a source that is surprisingly close to the heart of the matter: vibrations in the chest cavity that are due mainly to heartbeats.
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'Life and Activity Monitor' Provides Portable, Constant Recording of Vital Signs

(Science Daily) Researchers have developed a type of wearable, non-invasive electronic device that can monitor vital signs such as heart rate and respiration at the same time it records a person's activity level, opening new opportunities for biomedical research, diagnostics and patient care.
The device is just two inches wide, comfortable, does not have to be in direct contact with the skin and can operate for a week without needing to be recharged. Data can then be downloaded and assessed for whatever medical or research need is being addressed…
[R]esearch is continuing to make it even smaller and less costly.
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No need to loosen conflict rules, U.S. FDA head says

(Reuters) Congress should not loosen conflict of interest rules to expand the pool of potential U.S. government health advisers, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.
Lawmakers had proposed bills that would change the rules to make it easier to find more qualified people and speed the review of drugs or devices.
The head of the FDA's drugs division testified in August that the agency was struggling to recruit highly qualified people for its advisory panels.
The FDA uses advisory panels of outside experts to provide input on new therapies and other medical issues before it makes a decision.
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Judge: health labels may stem tobacco co rights

(Reuters) A federal rule requiring large graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging and advertising may violate the free speech rights of tobacco companies, a U.S. district court judge said at a hearing on Wednesday.
In a case that could wind up before the Supreme Court, five cigarette makers are suing to overturn a Food and Drug Administration rule requiring companies to label tobacco products with images of rotting teeth, diseased lungs and other images intended to illustrate the dangers of smoking…
"There's nothing on the record to suggest that Congress gave any clear and thoughtful analysis on the First Amendment implications of this," the judge said.
Community: Someone forgot to tell this judge that companies are not people, they are legal constructs that are allowed to exist only on the sufferance of we the people. They have no First Amendment right. Or any other right. They're not entitled to sell us poison without restriction.
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Why the Brain Is More Reluctant to Function as We Age

(Science Daily) New findings … reveal a novel mechanism through which the brain may become more reluctant to function as we grow older…
The research … identified a novel cellular mechanism underpinning changes to the activity of neurons which may underlie cognitive decline during normal healthy aging.
The brain largely uses electrical signals to encode and convey information. Modifications to this electrical activity are likely to underpin age-dependent changes to cognitive abilities…
[Said Professor Andy Randall,] "[B]y identifying sodium channels as the likely culprit for this reluctance to produce action potentials, our work even points to ways in which we might be able modify age-related changes to neuronal excitability, and by inference cognitive ability."
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the effects of cognitive decline.
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Fish for a Healthy Brain

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Here’s more good news about the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and the vitamins found in fresh fruits and vegetables: seniors with high levels of these nutrients did better on tests of mental acuity and had less of the brain shrinkage that signals Alzheimer’s disease. (If you want the opposite effect, the researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University said that their study suggests that the best route is to eat a lot of junk foods.)…
We know from clinical research that the Mediterranean diet appears to help protect against the mild cognitive impairment that can develop with age, and that this style of eating may also delay the transition from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease. The Mediterranean diet provides its benefits by moderating inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation in the brain precedes the changes in the central nervous system that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
My anti-inflammatory diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet in its emphasis on high quality fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, yogurt, fresh fish and on vegetable rather than animal protein, and I believe following an anti-inflammatory diet may be the most effective strategy to preserve brain health as we age.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the effects of cognitive decline.
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Path Is Found for the Spread of Alzheimer’s

(New York Times) Alzheimer’s disease seems to spread like an infection from brain cell to brain cell, two new studies in mice have found. But instead of viruses or bacteria, what is being spread is a distorted protein known as tau.
The surprising finding answers a longstanding question and has immediate implications for developing treatments, researchers said. And they suspect that other degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s may spread in a similar way.
Alzheimer’s researchers have long known that dying, tau-filled cells first emerge in a small area of the brain where memories are made and stored. The disease then slowly moves outward to larger areas that involve remembering and reasoning.
But for more than a quarter-century, researchers have been unable to decide between two explanations. One is that the spread may mean that the disease is transmitted from neuron to neuron, perhaps along the paths that nerve cells use to communicate with one another. Or it could simply mean that some brain areas are more resilient than others and resist the disease longer.
The new studies provide an answer. And they indicate it may be possible to bring Alzheimer’s disease to an abrupt halt early on by preventing cell-to-cell transmission, perhaps with an antibody that blocks tau.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s.
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Scientists Decode Brain Waves to Eavesdrop on What We Hear

(Science Daily) Neuroscientists may one day be able to hear the imagined speech of a patient unable to speak due to stroke or paralysis, according to University of California, Berkeley, researchers.
These scientists have succeeded in decoding electrical activity in the brain's temporal lobe -- the seat of the auditory system -- as a person listens to normal conversation. Based on this correlation between sound and brain activity, they then were able to predict the words the person had heard solely from the temporal lobe activity.
Community: We know that they can reproduce what we’re seeing. How long before they can read our minds altogether?
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The ethics of brain boosting

(Medical Xpress) Recent research in Oxford and elsewhere has shown that one type of brain stimulation in particular, called transcranial direct current stimulation or TDCS, can be used to improve language and maths abilities, memory, problem solving, attention, even movement.
The technique is painless, all indications at the moment are that it is safe, and the effects can last over the long term…
"This research cuts to core of humanity: the capacity to learn," says Professor Julian Savulescu. "The capacity to learn varies across people, across ages and with illness. This kind of technology enables people to get more out of the work they put into learning something."
He adds: "This is a first step down the path of maximizing human potential. It is a very exciting development but we need to control the release of the genie. Although this looks like a simple external device, it acts by affecting the brain. That could have very good effects, but unpredictable side effects."…
The researchers consider whether brain stimulation could be thought of as cheating, with the idea that we can get extra cognitive abilities for no effort. Here they offer a resounding ‘No’…
They also look at access to this technology, and will it further benefit the well off. But they suggest the TDCS kit is simple and cheap enough to be available to all in schools.
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Encouraging Results With Stem Cell Transplant for Brain Injury

(Science Daily) Experiments in brain-injured rats show that stem cells injected via the carotid artery travel directly to the brain, where they greatly enhance functional recovery, reports a study…
The carotid artery injection technique -- along with some form of in vivo optical imaging to track the stem cells after transplantation -- may be part of emerging approaches to stem cell transplantation for traumatic brain injury (TBI) in humans, according to the new research.
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Pork Tenderloin Studded with Rosemary and Garlic
Tender, moist, and fragrant, this hearty pork tenderloin with rosemary and garlic is a breeze to prepare.
BBQ Chicken Tenders
These crispy chicken “wings,” made with boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, stay crispy with only a light coating of oil—no deep-frying needed. Serve as an appetizer or try them for dinner with crunchy vegetables and dip on the side.
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Why 'people pleasers' feel pressured to over-eat

(Daily Mail) Being sensitive to others' needs and worrying about hurting those around you may lead to social snacking and over-eating.
And, as unavoidable as over-indulgence may be this Super Bowl Sunday, social snacking is a surefire path to regret, according to new research.
'People pleasers' - those who do not wish to pose a threat and make others feel uncomfortable - tend to snack when others snack as a way to ease tensions, says Case Western Reserve University's Julie Exline, lead author of the study…
[T]he report found that people ate more when in groups and the people pleasers, who match what others eat, tend to later feel bad about giving into social pressure.
'Those who overeat in order to please others tend to regret their choices later. It doesn’t feel good to give in to social pressures,' said Ms Exline.
At the time, though, she said that 'they don’t want to rock the boat or upset the sense of social harmony.'
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Omega-3s tied to lower risk of heart arrhythmia

(Reuters Health) In a new study of some 3,000 older adults, those with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood were 30 percent less likely to develop an irregular heartbeat over the next 14 years than peers with the lowest blood levels of omega-3s.
"A 30 percent lower risk of the most common chronic arrhythmia in the United States population is a pretty big effect," said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author of the new report and a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
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Walnuts top list for antioxidant value

(UPI) Walnuts ranked best for having more antioxidants -- polyphenols -- and a higher antioxidant potency in an analysis of nuts, U.S. researchers found…
"Walnuts rank above Brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, almonds, macadamias, cashews and hazelnuts," [chemistry professor Joe] Vinson said in a statement…
"Nuts are high in fiber, low in saturated fats, high in beneficial unsaturated fats and very high in antioxidants," Vinson said. "Nuts are a nutritious snack and food additive providing both nutrients and bioactive antioxidants which provide significant health benefits to the consumer."
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Societal Control of Sugar Essential to Ease Public Health Burden, Experts Urge

(Science Daily) Sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health, according to a team of UCSF researchers, who maintain in a new report that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Non-communicable diseases now pose a greater health burden worldwide than infectious diseases, according to the United Nations. In the United States, 75 percent of health care dollars are spent treating these diseases and their associated disabilities.
[The researchers] argue that sugar's potential for abuse, coupled with its toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet make it a primary culprit of this worldwide health crisis.
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