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

CDC: Doctors Increasingly Prescribe Exercise

(WebMD Health News) A new report from the CDC shows that more patients are getting prescriptions for exercise from their doctors.
In 2010, 1 in 3 adults who saw a doctor or other health care professional was advised to increase their physical activity as a means of maintaining or improving their health. That’s a significant increase over 2000, when less than a quarter of consultations included such advice…
Exercise lowers the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Yet, according to government estimates, only 3 in 10 U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week.
Community: The Centers for Disease Control has information on the recommended amount of exercise for older adults.
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Training in muscle power improves quality of life of older people

(Universidad de Navarra) Twelve weeks of training geared towards improving muscular power in older people are highly effective for improving their functional capacity and quality of life, as shown by … studies…
[Professor Mikel Izquierdo-Redin] explains, “It has been established how people between 60 and 70 years of age who participated in a four-month training programme to develop muscular strength and mass regained the functional capacity and muscle power of twenty years previously; in other words, they were the same as their peers who started the same training programme at the age of 40.”
In his view, there are two good reasons why we should encourage people to undertake regular physical exercise from the age of 50 onwards: “Firstly, because it is a cornerstone in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases; and secondly, because it plays a crucial role in preventing and treating the decline in functional capacity, which tends to emerge in a highly significant way at this age."…
[T]he researcher insists that physical exercise would be a plausible measure for improving the functional capacity of older people and for reducing healthcare expenditure.
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Exercise Triggers Stem Cells in Muscle

(Science Daily) University of Illinois researchers determined that an adult stem cell present in muscle is responsive to exercise, a discovery that may provide a link between exercise and muscle health. The findings could lead to new therapeutic techniques using these cells to rehabilitate injured muscle and prevent or restore muscle loss with age…
"These findings are important because we've identified an adult stem cell in muscle that may provide the basis for muscle health with exercise and enhanced muscle healing with rehabilitation/movement therapy," [kinesiology and community health professor Marni] Boppart said. "The fact that [Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)] in muscle have the potential to release high concentrations of growth factor into the circulatory system during exercise also makes us wonder if they provide a critical link between enhanced whole-body health and participation in routine physical activity."
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Some Surprising Benefits of Exercise

(SouthBeachDiet.com) [E]xercising regularly not only boosts your metabolism and helps with weight loss, but it can also reduce the risk of a host of obesity-related health problems, including prediabetes, diabetes, and heart disease. But there are some other benefits of exercise you may not be aware of:
Exercise can boost brainpower
Exercise can protect against many forms of cancer
Exercise can help prevent the common cold
[Cardiologist Dr. Arthur] Agatston recommends getting at least 20 minutes of either cardiovascular conditioning or core-strengthening exercise on most days of the week. Another way to work fitness into your day is to simply make moving a must whether you are at work, at home, or outdoors: Get off at an earlier stop on public transportation; take the stairs instead of the elevator; stand up to take calls; do some arm curls with hand weights at your desk; do leg lifts while washing the dishes; walk the dog (and bring your kids along). The less you sit and the more you move, the healthier you’ll be.
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Michelle Obama's 'fun' exercises effective

(UPI) A U.S. exercise expert said the non-traditional exercises Michelle Obama used to challenge NBC-TV's talk show host Jimmy Fallon were effective…
Anthony Wall, director of professional education of the American Council of Exercise, analyzed the workout and said some might think Hula Hoops or a Tug-of-War don't involve real exercise but they do.
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Untangling the benefits, and hype, surrounding yoga

(USA Today) William Broad, a New York Times science writer, has a lot of nice things to say about yoga. There's good reason, he says, that this mix of stretching, bending and deep breathing, with roots in ancient Indian meditation, has attracted as many as 20 million Americans. He also has some bad things to say…
[H]ere's a sampling of what the science, much of it detailed in Broad's book, [The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards,] says about yoga itself:
• It's not a total fitness plan…
• It's not a weight-loss plan…
• It may have heart health benefits. Most notably, it has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
• It has mental health benefits…
• It can ease some pains and inflict others.
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Tai Chi may improve Parkinson's symptoms: research

(The Telegraph) The ancient Chinese art characterised by slow controlled movements helped Parkinson's patients with balance and control and resulted in fewer falls, when compared with other exercises it was found…
Lead author Dr Fuzhong Li, from the Oregon Research Institute, found a tailored program of twice-weekly Tai Chi training resulted in improved postural stability and walking ability, and fewer falls.
He said: "These results are clinically significant because they suggest that Tai Chi, a low-to-moderate impact exercise, may be used, as an add-on to current physical therapies, to address some of the key clinical problems in Parkinson's disease, such as postural and gait instability."
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Filet Mignon with Port and Mustard Sauce
Port wine and Dijon mustard team up for a sweet-and-sharp sauce to top this 15-minute steak. Serve with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.
Slow-Cooker Stout & Chicken Stew
Chicken thighs can take plenty of cooking without getting tough or drying out, which makes them perfect for the slow cooker. Here we braise them in Guinness stout along with hearty vegetables, with just the right amount of bacon for added savoriness.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Poached Salmon
Salmon is often available fresh, and it also scores points as a food that's easy to cook but looks and tastes like the elegant work of a gourmet chef. Try this and Dr. Weil's other salmon recipes; they're easy enough for everyday dining, fine enough for a special occasion, and guaranteed to set you on the road to good health.
Food as Medicine
Salmon, like other species of fatty, cold-water fish, can be a potent ally in protecting heart health… But abundant omega-3 fatty acids are not salmon's only nutritional virtue. It is also an excellent source of selenium (75 percent of the Daily Value for four ounces of salmon), which helps to regulate thyroid function and support the immune system; and vitamin D (over 100 percent of the Daily Value in the same amount of salmon), which promotes bone health and strengthens the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency (most adults in the United States do not get enough of this essential vitamin) is associated with an increased risk of depression, cancer and other diseases.
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Women who eat fish have lower colon polyp risk

(Medical Xpress)  Women who eat at least three servings of fish per week have a reduced risk of developing some types of colon polyps according to a new study…
The … researchers believe that omega-3 fats in fish may reduce inflammation in the body and help protect against the development of colon polyps. Polyps are small growths on the lining of the intestinal tract that may develop into cancer…
Women who ate the equivalent of three servings of fish per week had about a 33 percent reduction in the risk for colon polyps. They also had a lower level of a hormone called prostaglandin E2 which is linked to inflammation.
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3 Super Foods for a Long Life

(RealAge.com) Prevent dementia, clear your arteries, and live longer with this trio of great-for-you edibles…
1.    Apples for a longer life… Well-washed apples are full of cell-protecting plant substances called polyphenols that increase life spans by 10 percent in the lab…
2.    Eat fish to fight dementia. Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, trout, and canned light tuna help reverse brain changes triggered by a gene that increases dementia risk [a gene carried by] 15 percent of humans…
3.    Pecans for clean-as-a-whistle arteries. Turns out this tasty nut is rich in gamma-tocopherols, a type of vitamin E that works to keep lousy LDL cholesterol from clogging your arteries with plaque. Bad LDL levels fell 33 percent after people ate 3 ounces of pecans.
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Potentially important new mechanisms found anti-aging effects of resveratrol

(Boston University Medical Center) A … study in mice has provided potentially important new insights into the association of the intake of resveratrol and like compounds with health benefits.
Resveratrol is a constituent of red wine and other vegetable products, and is being evaluated in high-doses as a pharmaceutical. The biologic mechanisms demonstrated in this study could provide key new approaches for the prevention or treatment of a number of chronic diseases in humans, especially those related to vascular and metabolic diseases and to the risk of mortality.
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Commonly used vitamin could help produce 'good' cholesterol, researchers find

(Medical Xpress) Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can keep heart disease, heart attack and stroke away. And a commonly used vitamin could help by increasing production of “good” cholesterol in the body, researchers … have found…
Physicians have long prescribed a B-vitamin called nicotinic acid to help keep good cholesterol levels high. Early studies suggest that niacin prevents the removal of good cholesterol — known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL — from the body, and in so doing, raises the concentration of the substance. But the new results from studies of human cells suggest that niacin plays an even greater role, not just preventing removal, but actually boosting production of good cholesterol in the liver and small intestine.
“We’ve known the value of nicotinic acid for years, but this shows there could be even more benefits than we thought,” said the study’s lead author Michael Haas.
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How Cholesterol is Linked to Dementia and Alzheimer's

(RealAge.com) You probably know the connection between cholesterol and heart health, but you may be surprised to learn that your cholesterol levels can affect your memory, too.
High LDL (bad) and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels cause plaque to build up in your arteries, which slows blood circulation throughout your body -- including your brain. That increases your risk of dementia up to 46%...
A heart-healthy diet, exercise, not smoking, and taking your cholesterol-lowering medication as prescribed will help lower your LDL cholesterol and boost your HDL.
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New avenue for treating colon cancer

(University of California – Riverside) An international research team … has uncovered a new insight into colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The research provides potential new avenues for diagnosing and treating the disease.
Led by Frances Sladek…, the team analyzed about 450 human colon cancer specimens and found that in nearly 80 percent of them the variants of a gene, HNF4A, are out of balance…
Using human colon cancer cell lines and in vitro assays, the researchers found that the imbalance observed in the human tumor tissues seemed to be the result of a complex, multi-step process by an enzyme, Src kinase…
Sladek noted that drugs are already available for inhibiting the activity of Src kinase.
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Gauging hype during Heart Month: tests you might not need

(Reuters Health) February is American Heart Month and consumers will be bombarded with advice to keep their ticker healthy…
Doctors may suggest a screening test to make sure cardiovascular health is in top shape. But if a person lacks symptoms -- like chest pain or shortness of breath -- they might want to hit pause for a second and look closer at the costs and benefits.
The fact is, there is no good evidence that any of the common tests are that helpful if a person is symptom-free…
Still, groups with ties to drug and heart device makers often recommend the tests routinely, and several companies promote them, to the chagrin of experts in the field.
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Gene's potentially protective role in Parkinson's

(Medical Xpress) Treatments for Parkinson's disease, estimated to affect 1 million Americans, have yet to prove effective in slowing the progression of the debilitating disease.
However, University of Alabama researchers have identified how a specific gene protects dopamine-producing neurons from dying in both animal models and in cultures of human neurons, according to a scientific article…
"This gene represents a previously unexplored protein therapeutic target for Parkinson's disease," said Dr. Guy Caldwell.
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Shorter hospital stay for knee replacement linked with greater revision, mortality risks

(American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) In new research…, investigators identified Medicare patients who had undergone [total knee replacement (TKR)] between 1997 and 2009…
Compared to patients who had the standard of care 3-4 day hospital stay, the incremental payments for osteoarthritis costs at 2 years were - $6,964 (lower) for the outpatient group, - $3,327 for patients hospitalized for one day, -$1,681 for two days, and +$1,159 for five plus days. At 90 days, the outpatient group had less pain and stiffness compared to the standard care (3-4 day) group, but had a higher risk for mortality, readmission and dislocation.
Investigators recommend that hospitals that choose to implement shorter stay protocols for TKR patients, do so gradually and only with appropriate and sufficient capabilities.
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Medical center-based farmers markets improve health

(Penn State) Farmers markets at medical centers may contribute to greater wellness in surrounding communities while adding public health value to a market's mission, say Penn State College of Medicine researchers who have developed and evaluated a market created at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
"Farmers markets are serving public health by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, revitalizing neighborhoods, strengthening local economies and empowering community members to learn more about the items they buy," said Daniel George, Ph.D… "Markets are increasingly viewed as one part of the solution to national chronic health problems."
Efforts to promote healthy eating and lifestyle practices in the community in supermarkets, schools and worksites often show promising short-term effects. However, these programs often face personnel and resource challenges that stem largely from lack of long-term funding.
"To alter dietary and lifestyle choices over the long term, there is a need to establish settings that can provide a more sustainable supply of personnel and resources," George said. "Medical center campuses can be a promising venue for promoting healthful lifestyle changes."
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Cancer drug reverses Alzheimer's symptoms in mice, study says

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) A drug that has been approved for the treatment of a type of skin cancer since 1999 appears to reverse Alzheimer's symptoms -- in mice…
[N]euroscientist Gary Landreth and colleagues reported Thursday that bexarotene quickly cleared away beta-amyloid plaque, believed to cause the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's disease, from the brains of genetically engineered mice.
Mice who received bexarotene treatment regained memory and cognitive function, including improvements in their sense of smell, the authors said.
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Prion proteins like those that cause “mad cow” disease may be involved in Alzheimer’s

(Scripps Research Institute) Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a single prion protein that causes neuronal death similar to that seen in “mad cow” disease, but is at least 10 times more lethal than larger prion species…
In addition to the insights it offers into prion diseases such as “mad cow” and a rare human form Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the study opens the possibility that similar neurotoxic proteins might be involved in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases…
In prion disease, infectious prions (short for proteinaceous infectious particles), thought to be composed solely of protein, have the ability to reproduce, despite the fact that they lack DNA and RNA.
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Long-Lived Proteins May Provide Insight Into Neurodegenerative Diseases

(Science Daily) [S]cientists discovered that certain proteins, called extremely long-lived proteins (ELLPs), which are found on the surface of the nucleus of neurons, have a remarkably long lifespan…
"Most cells, but not neurons, combat functional deterioration of their protein components through the process of protein turnover, in which the potentially impaired parts of the proteins are replaced with new functional copies," says [Martin Hetzer, who headed the research].
"Our results also suggest that nuclear pore deterioration might be a general aging mechanism leading to age-related defects in nuclear function, such as the loss of youthful gene expression programs," he adds.
The findings may prove relevant to understanding the molecular origins of aging and such neurodegenerative disorders as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
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New Target for Alzheimer's Drugs

(Science Daily) Biomedical scientists at the University of California, Riverside have identified a new link between a protein called beta-arrestin and short-term memory that could open new doors for the therapeutic treatment of neurological disorders, particularly Alzheimer's disease.
Beta-arrestin is expressed in various cells of the body, including cells of the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is involved in learning and the formation of short-term memories. Beta-arrestin, the absence of which impairs normal learning in mice, is one of many "scaffolding proteins" -- proteins that support the connections between neurons in the brain…
"In some pathological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, loss of the old synaptic connections far exceeds the formation of new ones, resulting in overall loss of synapses and short-term memory loss," said Iryna M. Ethell…, lead author of the research paper. "Our work, done on mice, shows that if beta-arrestin is removed from neurons, this loss of synapses is prevented. But we also know that beta-arrestin is required for normal learning and memory; so a fine balance needs to be established. This balance could be easily achieved by pharmaceutical drugs in the future."
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US to Boost Alzheimer's Research Funding by $50 Million

(Bloomberg) The Obama administration is boosting funding for Alzheimer’s research by $50 million this year to further investigate the genetic underpinnings of the disease and test drugs that may arrest its development.
About 5.1 million Americans suffer from the condition and caseloads are expected to double by 2050, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The cause of the degenerative condition is unknown and there is no cure.
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Sauteed Halibut with Romesco Sauce
Highlight the sweet and subtle flavor of halibut with a smoky homemade romesco sauce.
Grandma Ginger's Fish Casserole
Recipe developer Katie Webster's grandmother used to make a version of this dish with fresh-caught smallmouth bass from Vermont's Lake Champlain. Our updated version requires no fishing; just a trip to the supermarket for Pacific cod or tilapia.
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Deciphering the Ailments Tied to Gluten

(Health Blog, Wall Street Journal) Researchers are making slow progress in understanding the numerous ailments that a growing number of people suffer after eating foods with gluten, a protein found in wheat…
A … fundamental mystery is why gluten, a staple of most human diets since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago, is creating more health problems now. Once considered rare, celiac disease is now believed to affect about 1% of the U.S. population, up fourfold over the last 50 years. “Has the staff of life become the stuff of illness for some?” asks Joseph Murray, a celiac expert at the Mayo Clinic.
Some experts suspect that genetic changes to raise the protein content of wheat may play a role, as could industrial baking procedures that shorten the time bread is exposed to yeast. Wheat also makes up a larger portion of human diets than in generations past, and wheat consumption is growing in Asia and the Middle East, along with gluten-related disorders. Still another theory holds that the bacteria that inhabit the human body may have evolved to be less hospitable to gluten over time.
Whatever the reason, says Alessio Fasano, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, “our environment is changing faster than humans can adapt, and some people are paying the price.”
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Path from Internal Clock to Cells Controlling Rest and Activity Revealed

(Science Daily) The molecular pathway that carries time-of-day signals from the body's internal clock to ultimately guide daily behavior is like a black box, says Amita Sehgal, PhD…
Now, new research from the Sehgal lab is taking a peek inside, describing a molecular pathway and its inner parts that connect the well-known clock neurons to cells governing rhythms of rest and activity in fruit flies…
The direct clinical implications of knowing the players in this complicated pathway are not yet clear. But we might be able to conclude, suggests Sehgal, that, if these mechanisms are conserved in humans, then disorders in which the … pathway isn't working properly, as in some immune disorders, physicians might also see problems with patients' sleep-wake cycle.
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New Non-Invasive Fat Removal Technologies

(Science Daily) For many people, getting rid of excess fat can be a lifelong battle. Whether it is undesirable love handles, excess fat around the knees or flabby upper arms, pockets of fat can be difficult to reduce and sometimes diet and exercise are not enough to make a noticeable difference. Now, dermatologists are finding that the introduction of non-invasive fat removal technologies is opening the door for more people who are not candidates for liposuction to remove stubborn fat, safely and effectively…
[Said dermatologist Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, FAAD,] "Most of the new technologies recently introduced for fat removal were developed based on this knowledge and, as a result, can target specific areas of body fat using energy delivered as either heat or cold."
Community: The techniques described in the article are radiofrequency, cryolipolysis (freezing), and ultrasound. We saw, though, that after liposuction the fat comes back in another part of the body. This article doesn’t say whether that happens with these techniques, as well.
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Heartburn drugs linked to serious infections

(MyHealthNewsDaily) The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers today that certain stomach acid drugs may increase the risk of a serious intestinal bacteria infection.
The drugs, including Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Zegerid and others, fall into a category called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They are prescribed to treat acid reflux, stomach ulcers and other conditions, and work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. 
The bacterial illness is called Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD), and its main symptom is diarrhea that does not improve, according to an FDA statement. The bacteria are commonly referred to as "C. diff."
"Stomach acid is a very important defense mechanism against pathogens. It kills them," said Dr. Edith R. Lederman.
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Heart Disease May Be a Risk Factor for Prostate Cancer

(Science Daily) In a large analysis of men participating in a prostate drug trial, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute found a significant correlation between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer, suggesting the two conditions may have shared causes.
If confirmed that heart disease is a risk factor for prostate cancer, the malignancy might be combated in part by lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet, which are known to prevent heart disease.
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Nanotube Therapy Takes Aim at Breast Cancer Stem Cells

(Science Daily) Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers have again proven that injecting multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) into tumors and heating them with a quick, 30-second laser treatment can kill them.
The results of the first effort involving kidney tumors was published in 2009, but now they've taken the science and directed it at breast cancer tumors, specifically the tumor initiating cancer stem cells. These stem cells are hard to kill because they don't divide very often and many anti-cancer strategies are directed at killing the cells that divide frequently.
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New Targets in Fight Against Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) Reviving a theory first proposed in the late 1800s that the development of organs in the normal embryo and the development of cancers are related, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have studied organ development in mice to unravel how breast cancers, and perhaps other cancers, develop in people. Their findings provide new ways to predict and personalize the diagnosis and treatment of cancer…
[The] findings suggest that cancer cells subvert key genetic programs that guide immature cells to build organs during normal growth.
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Mammogram Readers Could Take a Cue from Film-Making

(MyHealthNewsDaily) The accuracy of a person reading a mammogram is improved when their gaze is subtly shifted toward suspicious areas, and nudged around to ensure that they look at every part of the scan, according to new research.
Such "gaze manipulation" is often used in the making of movies, but could be of real value in helping to catch breast cancers, the study found.
"Using this subtle gaze direction, we can draw someone's eye around an image without distracting their viewing," said study researcher Cindy Grimm, a computer engineer
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New method tests arterial stiffness

(UPI) Japanese researchers have developed a new method to measure arterial stiffness, a contributor to heart disease that has been difficult to assess…
Arterial stiffness is also associated with type 2 diabetes and is involved in the development of the circulatory problems.
However, arterial stiffness can be addressed, if caught early enough, by diet and exercise so early detection is essential. Typically arterial pressure is measured using tonomography or ultrasound but both of these are difficult to perform and consequently are often inaccurate, [Hidehiko] Komine said.
Community: Science Daily reports that this new method can also measure blood pressure at the same time.
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First-of-its-kind Head Patch Monitors Brain Blood Flow and Oxygen

(Mayo Clinic) A research team led by investigators at Mayo Clinic in Florida has found that a small device worn on a patient's brow can be useful in monitoring stroke patients in the hospital. The device measures blood oxygen, similar to a pulse oximeter, which is clipped onto a finger.
Their study … suggests this tool, known as frontal near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), could offer hospital physicians a safe and cost-effective way to monitor patients who are being treated for a stroke, in real time.
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Financial Burden of Prescription Drugs Is Dropping, U.S. Study Finds

(Science Daily) The financial burden Americans face paying out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs has declined, although prescription costs remain a significant challenge for people with lower incomes and those with public insurance, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Despite the improvement, more than 8 million nonelderly Americans lived in families with high drug-cost burden in 2008 and one in four devoted more than half of their total out-of-pocket medical spending to prescription drugs, according to [the] findings…
The primary reason for the drop in consumers' prescription drug costs is an increased use of generic medications, according to researchers. Over the last decade, changes in health care benefits encouraged consumers to use generics and many high-demand medications became available in generic form.
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Buying health insurance to become a little less nightmarish

(Consumer Reports) [B]uying health insurance can be a frightening and baffling experience, especially for consumers who have to shop on their own instead of getting coverage through an employer group plan.
But starting later this year, every health plan is going to have to explain its benefits in a standard, consumer-friendly information label that will spell out exactly what’s covered, what is not, and how much of the bill you’ll have to pay. And you won’t have to wait until after you’ve signed up for the plan to see it.
This label is required by one of the many consumer-friendly provisions tucked away in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The final rules on what the label will look like, and who has to provide it, issued [Thursday] by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, survived intense efforts by large employers and the insurance industry to water them down, according to DeAnn Friedholm, director of health reform for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.
“The final label is a huge win for consumers,” Friedholm said. “Insurers will no longer be able to hide the costly parts of their plans in fine print scattered around documents hundreds of pages long.”
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Two Steps to Rebooting Your Resolutions

(Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.) We are about a month into the new year, so it's a good time to check in on your 2012 goals. How are they going? Probably not as well as you hoped. If so, you're far from alone -- in fact, studies suggest that more than half of the people who made New Year's resolutions this year will have broken them by now.
Real change can be hard to come by, and it's tempting to want to start lowering expectations, or throw in the towel on your goal completely. But don't despair, because it's not too late to push the reset button and try tackling those goals again…
Here are two scientifically-tested strategies that can spell the difference between another year of disappointment, and the significant, lasting changes you have been looking for.
1. Get Specific. No, Really. Very Specific
Thousands of studies have shown that getting more specific is one of the single most effective steps you can take to reach any goal…
2. Think About What You Want and What Stands In The Way. Mentally Go Back and Forth.
This strategy is called "mental contrasting," and in a nutshell, it involves thinking optimistically about all the wonderful aspects of achieving your goal, while thinking realistically about what it will take to get there.
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Physical Activity Yields Feelings of Excitement, Enthusiasm

(Science Daily) People who are more physically active report greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less physically active, according to Penn State researchers. People also are more likely to report feelings of excitement and enthusiasm on days when they are more physically active than usual.
"You don't have to be the fittest person who is exercising every day to receive the feel-good benefits of exercise," said David Conroy, professor of kinesiology. "It's a matter of taking it one day at a time, of trying to get your activity in, and then there's this feel-good reward afterwards."
Conroy added that it often is hard for people to commit to an exercise program because they tend to set longterm rather than short-term goals.
"When people set New Year's resolutions, they set them up to include the entire upcoming year, but that can be really overwhelming," he said. "Taking it one day at a time and savoring that feel-good effect at the end of the day might be one step to break it down and get those daily rewards for activity. Doing this could help people be a little more encouraged to stay active and keep up the program they started."
Community: We saw recently that the best motivation for exercise is to think about how it helps us feel good now, rather than any long-term benefit.
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A brain training exercise that really does work

(University of Michigan) Forget about working crossword puzzles and listening to Mozart. If you want to improve your ability to reason and solve new problems, take a few minutes every day to do a maddening little exercise called n-back training…
University of Michigan psychologist John Jonides presented new findings showing that practicing this kind of task for about 20 minutes each day for 20 days significantly improves performance on a standard test of fluid intelligence - the ability to reason and solve new problems, which is a crucial element of general intelligence. And this improvement lasted for up to three months…
The n-back task involves presenting a series of visual and/or auditory cues to a subject and asking the subject to respond if that cue has occurred, to start with, one time back. If the subject scores well, the number of times back is increased each round. The task can be done with dual auditory and visual cues, or with just one or the other…
"In some ways, this is much like training a muscle in the body."
Community: You can find out more about this technique and download a free application to practice it at this link.
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Care to downsize that order? Many want smaller portions

(TODAY  Show) What if the server at your favorite fast food joint asked if you wanted to downsize your order, instead of asking you to supersize it?
That’s a strategy that might make some patrons happier – and a lot thinner, a new study suggests.
When people were asked if they wanted to downsize portions of their side dishes at a fast food restaurant, as many as a third opted for the smaller – and thus lower calorie - option, according to the report published in the journal Health Affairs.
The whole notion seems counter to our natural bargain-hunting instincts: less food for the same price. But consumers apparently are ready to tighten their belts, literally.
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Pork and Edamame Fried Rice
Thai chili sauce, cilantro, and roasted peanuts add zip to this easy dish. For the best texture and flavor, use leftover rice, which has less moisture than fresh-cooked grains.
Black Bean-Garlic Catfish
This dish is great for folks who are on the fence about catfish because the pungent black bean-garlic sauce balances the fish’s strong flavor. Serve with udon noodles or brown rice and sauteed broccoli with ginger broccoli.
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As Trans Fats Left Food Supply, Levels in the Body Dropped

(Health Blog, Wall Street Journal) Trans fat bans may just work.
That’s what a research letter … suggests. Levels of the four major trans fatty acids in white adult Americans fell 58% from 2000 to 2009, according to the research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That was a decade during which public criticism and government regulation led to the removal of mountains of trans fats from the food supply.
The sharp decrease “may lead to a decrease in risk for cardiovascular disease in this subpopulation,” the research letter concludes.
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Consumer groups want tougher probe of engineered salmon

(Reuters) Three U.S. consumer groups petitioned the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to subject a new genetically engineered salmon to a more rigorous review process than is now in place before the fish can be approved as safe to eat.
The fish at issue, AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage salmon, is currently classified as a new animal drug for the purposes of FDA review…
AquaBounty is seeking U.S. approval to market its engineered Atlantic salmon, which contains a gene from another fish species, the Chinook salmon, to help it grow twice as fast as normal.
The consumer groups' petition says the way these salmon are created substantially alters their composition and nutritional value, and so they should be treated as a food additive. Under this standard, they said, the company's data would have to overwhelmingly prove AquAdvantage salmon are safe to eat.
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Short fasting cycles work as well as chemotherapy in mice

(Medical Xpress) Man may not live by bread alone, but cancer in animals appears less resilient, judging by a study that found chemotherapy drugs work better when combined with cycles of short, severe fasting.
Even fasting on its own effectively treated a majority of cancers tested in animals, including cancers from human cells.
The study … found that five out of eight cancer types in mice responded to fasting alone: Just as with chemotherapy, fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumors.
And without exception, "the combination of fasting cycles plus chemotherapy was either more or much more effective than chemo alone," said senior author Valter Longo.
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Zinc control could be path to breast cancer treatment

(Medical Xpress) New research by Cardiff University and King's College London has identified the switch which releases zinc into cells, with important implications for a number of diseases.
Zinc has long been known to play a vital part in human health. Too much zinc, or too little, can cause cell death. A growing body of evidence links zinc to disease states including neurodegeneration, inflammation, diabetes and cancer…
Dr Kathryn Taylor … said: "We know that zinc, in the right quantities, is vital for development, our immune systems and many other aspects of human health. But when something goes wrong with the body's zinc delivery system, it looks as though disease can result. In particular, our research has shown a link to highly aggressive forms of breast cancer. Our better understanding of how exactly zinc is delivered suggests if we can block malfunctioning transporter channels, we can potentially halt the growth of these forms of cancer. We believe this makes zinc, and zinc delivery, a high priority for future cancer research."
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Pfizer’s Breast-Cancer Drug Worsens Bone Loss in Older Women

(Bloomberg) Pfizer Inc.’s breast-cancer drug Aromasin worsened bone loss in post-menopausal women, raising the chance of fractures and calling into question whether the pill’s prevention benefits outweigh its risks…
The result contradicts earlier studies that suggested Aromasin, also known as exemestane, may help stimulate bone growth. It may also cause doctors and patients to question whether the cancer-preventing benefits associated with the drug outweigh the risks in healthy women, said Jane Cauley, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.
“One might not be too reassured about the use of exemestane in the prevention setting,” Cauley wrote in an editorial accompanying the research.
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Treating dogs’ spinal cord injuries could help humans, too

(Gannett News Service) Some pet dachshunds, beagles and corgis with spinal cord injuries will undergo an experimental treatment that could, if proven effective, be used on people with similar injuries.
The drug treatment has proven so effective in mice studies that the U.S. Department of Defense has granted $750,000 to support the three-year dog study, launching this spring, with the hope that it can ultimately treat military personnel and others with spinal cord injuries…
“It’s a win-win” if the study helps animals and also makes “a much stronger argument that this could work with humans,” said Professor Linda Noble-Haeusslein].
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