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

So This Irishman Walks Out of a Bar . . .

Happy St. Paddy’s Day, but please try not to overdo it:
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Excessive Drinking Costs the United States $223.5 Billion in One Year

Excessive alcohol consumption is known to kill about 79,000 people in the United States each year, but a new study released by the CDC and The Lewin Group shows that it also has a huge impact on our wallets as well…
The study analyzed national data from multiple sources to estimate the costs due to excessive drinking in 2006, the most recent year for which data were available. The study did not consider a number of other costs such as those because of pain and suffering among either the excessive drinker or others that were affected by their drinking, and thus may be an underestimate. Nevertheless, the researchers estimated that excessive drinking cost $746 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. in 2006.
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Heavy drinking increases days in hospital

(UPI) People who score highest on a key test for alcoholism experience longer post-operative hospital stays than those with lower scores, U.S. researchers say…
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, found men with high-risk drinking spent nearly a day longer in the hospital and 1.5 more days in the intensive care unit, and were twice as likely to return to the operating room compared with low-risk drinkers.
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Sobriety Monitoring to be piloted by U.K. government

(BBC News) Offenders who commit alcohol-fuelled crimes are to be monitored with ankle tags and breath-tested to ensure they stop drinking, under government plans.
Police will have powers to impose "sobriety orders" on drinkers cautioned for minor offences, such as criminal damage or public disorder.
There will be regular breath tests, with known weekend bingers tested then, and ankle tags to monitor movements.
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Wiping memories to tackle alcoholism

(Medical Xpress) Researchers at the University of Cambridge believe connections developed in the brain between the ‘drug high’ of alcohol and the situations in which it’s used create loaded memories that unconsciously trigger cravings – often leading to relapse in alcoholics.
New research using rodent models reveals that drug treatment administered when a memory is forcibly surfaced permanently deletes the unconscious ‘cues’ that spark yearning for alcohol. With experimental medical trials expected to start in the near future, the research could revolutionise approaches to the treatment of chronic alcoholism and addiction to other drugs of abuse.
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Childhood trauma exposure is very common among alcohol-dependent inpatients

(Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research) Accumulating evidence indicates that childhood trauma experience (CTE) may be an environmental susceptibility factor for a variety of psychiatric disorders, including alcohol dependence (AD). CTE can include sexual, physical, and emotional abuse as well as physical or emotional neglect. New research on single and multiple CTE among AD individuals undergoing inpatient detoxification and treatment has found significant rates of reported CTE among these individuals…
"We had four key findings," said [Markus Heilig, clinical director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)]. "One, patients being treated for AD are likely to have experienced one or more types of childhood abuse and neglect. Two, sexual abuse increases the likelihood of developing anxiety disorders in addition to AD, while emotional abuse increases the likelihood of developing depression. Three, alcoholics who experienced childhood physical abuse may be more likely to have a history of suicide attempts. Four, alcoholics who experienced more than one type of abuse or neglect are especially at risk for developing a psychiatric disorder or for attempting suicide."…
"Members of the public shouldn't take lightly the potential effects of emotional abuse in childhood or in any life stage," said Heilig. "Just because there may not be visible physical scars does not mean that no lasting damage has been done."
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Study: Adopted children more likely to abuse drugs if biological parent did

(CBS News) Adopted children are twice as likely to use drugs if their biological parents used them, according a study of more than 18,000 adopted children in Sweden.
But don't discount a child's environment in the nature vs. nurture debate just yet: The same study showed that adopted children who lived with families with problems, such as divorce, death or criminal activity, also had a high risk of drug abuse.
"For an adoptee, having a biological parent with drug abuse who did not raise you doubles your risk for drug abuse," said first author Dr. Kenneth Kendler, director of the VCU Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, said in the press release. "But we also found an important role for environmental factors."
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Alcohol Dos and Don'ts

(SouthBeachDiet.com) If you’re following a healthy eating plan, what you drink is just as important as what you eat… It’s recommended that women limit their drinking to one alcoholic beverage a day, and men to one or two a day. More than that not only adds empty calories but can also sabotage your willpower. Before grabbing a drink, check out our dos and don'ts:
·         Do eat a nutritious meal or snack containing lean protein before you have a drink. The protein helps to stabilize swings in blood sugar and prevent cravings.
·         Don’t drink too early in the evening because you may be tempted to have several drinks, and then several more.
·         Do opt for red wine over white most of the time. Red wine is a better choice because it contains higher amounts of the powerful antioxidant resveratrol, which is found in red grape skins.
·         Don’t go for regular beer; stick with the occasional light beer and drink it with meals.
·         Do choose extra-brut champagne, which has no or very little residual sugar. Brut and extra-dry varieties of champagne, which have only slightly more residual sugar than extra-brut, are acceptable second choices.
·         Do choose sugar-free mixers for cocktails. Sugar-free sodas, flavored waters, vegetable juice blends, club soda, seltzer, or diet tonic are good bets. Be sure to avoid regular sodas, regular tonic, and fruit juices. Another tip: Use sugar-free powdered drink mixes to make punch or other fruit-flavored cocktails.
·         Do top your drink with garnishes like lemon and lime wedges, or add olives or celery sticks, but skip the maraschino cherries, which are packed with sugar.
Community: And if you find you can’t control your drinking despite this advice, get thee to an A.A. meeting.
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Eat Green for St. Patrick's Day
Pick and choose a few dishes for a dinner overflowing with the Luck O' the Irish. These naturally green dishes are sure to brighten any St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Corned Beef Hash
A comforting dish with a healthier profile.
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The Power of Porridge (AKA Oatmeal)

(PRI's The World) The Telegraph newspaper reports the London Olympic stadium and village were built by many overweight workers who were involved in more accidents than the norm on the job.
It turns out they ate heavy dinners and skipped breakfast. After those workers were fed porridge for breakfast, the number of accidents went down drastically.
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White Rice Linked to Type 2 Diabetes, Study Says

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Eating white rice regularly may raise your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.
The results showed that people who ate three to four servings of white rice a day were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who ate one to two servings a week.
And the more white rice eaten, the higher the risk of Type 2 diabetes…
The study suggested an association, not a cause-and-effect link. Neither doctors nor patients should take "large-scale action" based on the findings; more work is needed to substantiate the idea that white rice increases the chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, according to Bruce Neal, a professor of medicine at the University of Sydney in Australia, who was not involved in the research but who wrote an editorial accompanying the study in the journal.
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Blueberries and apples tied to lower diabetes risk

(Reuters Health) Eating more blueberries, apples and pears may be linked to lower risk of diabetes, according to a new U.S. study.
These fruits are loaded with flavonoids, a natural compound present in certain fruits, vegetables and grains, which some research has tentatively tied to heath benefits such as a lower risk of heart disease or cancer.
"People who ate a higher amount of blueberries or apples, they tended to have a low risk of type 2 diabetes," said An Pan, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health who worked on the study.
The findings show an association, he added, but don't prove the fruits, themselves, prevent diabetes.
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Scams target people with diabetes

(USA Today) If you have diabetes and you get a call from someone offering free glucose meters, diabetic test strips, lancets and other supplies, take note: You are almost certainly talking to a scam artist.
Hang up, says the federal government, which has put out a new fraud alert about such calls. Many of the scammers pose as employees of Medicare or legitimate diabetes groups, says the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Their aim: to get Medicare and social security numbers and other financial information. 
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Genetic study shows that inflammatory protein plays a role in heart disease

(University of Cambridge) A protein involved in inflammation, the interleukin-6 receptor (IL6R), is a contributing cause in the development of heart disease, new research led by the University of Cambridge has discovered. The research was published today, 15 March, in the journal The Lancet.
The findings suggest that targeting the IL6R signalling pathway might therefore be an effective way of combatting heart disease.
Dr Adam Butterworth, who co-led the study from the University of Cambridge, said: "Typically, it can take many years to make safe and effective drugs to target new disease pathways. However, in this case, drugs have been previously developed due to this pathway's involvement in autoimmune disease. In fact, one such drug, Tocilizumab, is already used for treating arthritis, and might therefore be a viable drug for preventing heart disease."
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Neighborhood can improve heart health

(UPI) Neighborhoods with grocery stores, healthy food, parks and pleasant places to walk are associated with ideal cardiovascular health, U.S. researchers say…
"The most significant neighborhood factors that lead to ideal health were access to recreational resources like parks and trails where people can walk in safety and comfort, and the availability of healthy foods," [study author Erin] Unger said in a statement. "This study demonstrates the importance of where we live. Our neighborhood can play a significant role in our health."
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Web-based support helps women with breast cancer

(University of Gothenburg) Every day 18 Swedish women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Although there is a real need for support and information, many women struggle and get lost in the deluge of information. In a study of 227 women, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have developed a web-based programme to guide patients all the way from diagnosis to rehabilitation…
Designed after interviews with women with breast cancer, the programme includes input from various experts (doctors, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, patient representatives), links to websites, book recommendations and glossaries of medical terms.
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Many with cancer pain aren't on strong painkillers

(Reuters Health) Despite suffering severe pain, about one in three older cancer patients do not end up taking opioids, the most potent of analgesics, according to a new study from Canada.
It's not clear why these patients are not getting their pain treated with opioids, which include morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. It could be that physicians are not prescribing the medications or that patients are getting prescriptions, but not filling them…
Older patients and women were less likely to have filled a prescription than younger patients or men…
In older patients in particular, concerns about drowsiness, falling down and delirium might lead to some hesitation in either prescribing the drugs or taking them.
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Cigna CEO Cordani Says Court Won’t Derail Health-Care Shift

(Bloomberg) A Supreme Court (1000L) ruling on whether the U.S. health-care law is constitutional won’t stop market forces transforming how Americans get their medical care, said Cigna Corp. (CI)’s chief executive officer.
Employers are increasingly pushing workers into plans where they share more of the cost and responsibility for managing care, the health insurer’s CEO, David Cordani, said in an interview…
Even if the 2010 law is overturned, “the problem still exists, the problem of affordability, eroding health status, an aging population,” Cordani said. “The good news is, a lot of change is unfolding in the marketplace today.”…
Cordani also said Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna, the fourth-biggest U.S. insurer, would increase the number of patients covered by joint ventures with doctors -- so-called accountable-care organizations -- by 10-fold over two years.
By 2014, the company plans to have 1 million patients in such arrangements, in which physicians and insurers work to better coordinate care and share in any cost savings, he said.
“We philosophically believe it is a big part of the solution” to rising health-care costs, he said.
Community: How about the PATIENTS sharing in the cost savings, too? Why does everyone keep forgetting about us ordinary folks?
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Walking May Lessen the Influence of Genes on Obesity by Half‎

(MarketWatch) Watching too much TV can worsen your genetic tendency towards obesity, but you can cut the effect in half by walking briskly for an hour a day, researchers report at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.
"While previous studies have looked at how physical activity affects genetic predispositions, this is the first study that directly looked at the effect of the sedentary behavior of television watching on the body mass index (BMI) of individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.
"In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent."
Community: About a third of us have that gene, and the more weapons we have to fight it, the better.
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Biologists find potential drug that speeds cellular recycling

(Medical Xpress) A University of Michigan cell biologist and his colleagues have identified a potential drug that speeds up trash removal from the cell's recycling center, the lysosome.
The finding suggests a new way to treat rare inherited metabolic disorders such as Niemann-Pick disease and mucolipidosis Type IV, as well as more common neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, said Haoxing Xu, who led a U-M team…
Xu cautioned, however, that the studies are in the early, basic-research stage. Any drug that might result from the research is years away.
In cells, as in cities, disposing of garbage and recycling anything that can be reused is an essential service. In both city and cell, health problems can arise when the process breaks down.
Community: Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for a drug to act as a cellular garbage disposal. Exercise will do it!
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Why Daily Physical Movement is Better than a Frappachino®

(Dr. Michelle Segar) What if we stopped thinking about moving our bodies as something we “should” do and started thinking about it as a better way to fuel energy and well-being than drinking a Starbuck’s Frappuccino®?...
In fact, there’s new research showing that physical movement is associated with higher energy and enthusiasm.
A recently published study … investigated the “feel good” effects from physical activity among190 young adults, 66% of whom were women. The study participants were asked to note their daily physical activity, sleep, and feeling states and return this information at the end of each day for eight days.
They reported that physical activity was associated with increased feelings of energy and enthusiasm. The study also found that these college-aged participants felt even more enthusiastic on the days that they moved their bodies more.
Community: I certainly feel more energetic since I started exercising regularly. But I also think my energy level has a lot to do with cutting way down on saturated fats and sugars in my diet.
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Motivation to Be Active May Lead to Impulsive Behavior

(Science Daily) Those motivated to actively change bad habits may be setting themselves up for failure, a new study suggests. The study … found that people primed with words suggesting action were more likely than others to make impulsive decisions that undermined their long-term goals. In contrast, those primed to "rest," to "stop" or to be inactive found it easier to avoid impulsive decisions.
"Popular views of self-control maintain that individuals should 'exert' willpower, 'fight' temptations, 'overcome' desires and 'control' impulses when they want to successfully control their own behavior," said University of Illinois graduate student Justin Hepler, who led the study with psychology professor Dolores AlbarracĂ­n…
"Overall, these experiments demonstrate that attempting to motivate oneself to be active in the face of temptations may actually lead to impulsive behaviors," Hepler said. "On the other hand, becoming motivated for inaction or calming oneself down may be the best way to avoid impulsive decisions."
Community: So the trick is to be easy on ourselves? That’s what I’ve found. I never changed a bad habit by being hard on myself, but I’ve changed quite a few by treating myself the same way I’d treat a child that I want to teach something to.
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Walking: The gateway to fitness

(James S. Fell, Body For Wife) Five reasons to start walking
1. Almost anyone can do it.
Activity levels are at an all-time low and sedentary behaviour is a leading cause of disease. Walking costs close to nothing, unless you need to get a specific pair of walking shoes. It is the single most popular form of exercise in the entire world. More people use walking for their physical fitness than anything else, so there’s got to be something to it.
2. It’s a lot healthier than you think.
Here is an excellent video by Dr. Mike Evans at the University of Toronto. It has attracted millions of views via social media. Though pretty long, it's tremendously enlightening. If you’re currently inactive, set aside 10 minutes and watch the whole thing. Really. Watch this video. I mean it.
3. It’s fun
It’s low stress, requires almost no planning and it’s not that physically or mentally taxing. It’s a break from all the tough stuff that life throws at you.
4. It’s social.
At least it can be. You can go with a spouse, a friend, a child or a dog. Walking is something that can easily be done together.
5. It can lead you to bigger things
Say you’re inactive and start walking, and you like it, and you keep doing it. You go further, faster, more frequently. You get good at it. You build confidence and establish a routine. Well, that confidence can lead you to try other things… Walking regularly has the ability to make you more mindful about your health in general. You may choose healthier foods, decide to cut back on alcohol or quit smoking.
In short, the walking path can be the path to a better, healthier life.
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Cool palms during workout may lead to a smaller waistline, study shows

(CBS News) Next time you workout, try keeping something cool in your hands - at least, that's what a new study suggests.
A Stanford University study … found that when obese women who never exercised wear a cooling device on their palms, they were able to reduce blood pressure, lose more inches off their waist and improve their overall speed compared to the control group.
"It works to reduce the sensation of being overly hot and sweaty," study author Dr. Stacy Sims, an exercise physiologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told NPR. "The idea is to allow those people to overcome the initial barriers that heat intolerance produces. It gives them positive affirmation to keep going."
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Do Statins Make It Tough to Exercise?

(New York Times) For years, physicians and scientists have been aware that statins, the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, can cause muscle aches and fatigue in some patients. What many people don’t know is that these side effects are especially pronounced in people who exercise…
Over all, the study data showed that working out while taking statins “exacerbated metabolic perturbations” in muscles, the study’s authors conclude. The drug made running harder and more damaging for the rats.
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Seared Salmon on Herbed Mashed Peas
Give mashed potatoes a break by serving salmon on a bed of brightly seasoned pureed peas. You may need to thin the pea mixture; add one tablespoon of water at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.
Poached Salmon with Fresh Herb Salad
Gently cooking salmon in a savory broth keeps the fish moist and tender. Serve it warm or chilled with the salad of fresh herbs.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Potato Pancakes
I have made these at the house of a friend who gives a party featuring potato pancakes every year. He loves making them and gets really creative, tossing in hot sauce or different herbs. You can be as creative as you like with yours. Mine are a simple version, and I like to serve them with fresh applesauce.
Food as Medicine
Potatoes are typically fried or drenched in fatty sauces, but a potato on its own is remarkably low in calories (at 132 per cup). This humble vegetable is also high in vitamins C and B6, providing about 25 percent of the daily requirements for each nutrient.
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Sauerkraut Juice Heals Canker Sores

(The People's Pharmacy) Q. I have had a painful canker sore for a week. I had been using saltwater rinses to no avail.
Yesterday, when I heard The People's Pharmacy radio program I was prompted to search your website for a home remedy for canker sores. I found sauerkraut mentioned and I purchased a bag last night. (I was desperate!)
This morning, I awoke to find the sore has not yet healed but the pain is much, much better. I'm a believer! Now I just have to buy some hot dogs to eat with the sauerkraut.
A. Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are mysterious mouth lesions that can come and go for no apparent reason. Accidentally biting the cheek, tongue or lip can trigger an outbreak.
The sauerkraut juice remedy dates back at least to the 1930s. More than a decade ago, a caller to our radio show told us about this remedy his mother learned as a dental assistant. Swish sauerkraut juice around in the mouth several times a day, swallowing about a tablespoon each time. The sores usually start improving within a day or so.
Here's another testimonial: "My physician prescribed triamcinolone to treat a few canker sores in my mouth. It worked, but three weeks later another swarm got started, some of which could only be reached with difficulty. I tried the sauerkraut juice and it started working within a few hours on all the sores."
Community: Better lay off the hot dogs, though.
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CDC: Deaths from gastroenteritis double

(UPI) The number of people who died from gastroenteritis -- vomiting and diarrhea -- doubled in the United States from 1999 to 2007, federal researchers found…
Clostridium difficile and norovirus were the most common infectious causes of gastroenteritis-associated deaths, the report said.
"Gastroenteritis is a major cause of death worldwide," [lead author Aron] Hall said in a statement. "By knowing the causes of gastroenteritis-associated deaths and who's at risk, we can develop better treatments and help health care providers prevent people from getting sick."
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Researchers Identify Unexpected Player in Intestinal Immunity

(Science Daily) With every meal, immune cells in the intestine stand like sentries at a citadel, turning away harmful bacteria but allowing vitamins and nutrients to pass. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified the cells that chaperone food antigens, or proteins, in the intestine so that the immune system doesn't mount an attack.
Their discovery, in mice, sheds new light on the function of goblet cells that line the intestine, and provides scientists with a potential target for therapies against inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and food allergies -- disorders caused by an overactive immune system…
"We found evidence that goblet cells work the same way in people and mice," says co-principal investigator Rodney D. Newberry, MD. "We knew that if you eat a protein or antigen, it gets taken up in the intestine by immune cells called dendritic cells, and you become tolerant to it. But we didn't know how the dendritic cells and the antigens got connected. From our experiments, it appears that goblet cells act as the matchmaker, bringing the food you eat and the dendritic cells together. That means goblet cells could become a hot target for new therapies."
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Gastric Ulcer Bacteria Linked to Blood Sugar Control in Adult Type II Diabetes

(Science Daily) A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center reveals that the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is associated with elevated levels of … an important biomarker for blood glucose levels and diabetes. The association was even stronger in obese individuals with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).
The results … suggest the bacteria may play a role in the development of diabetes in adults.
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Scientists watch diabetes develop at molecular level

(San Francisco Chronicle) A team of Stanford researchers has unveiled the most detailed biological profile of a human being done so far: a peek at one man's genetic foundation, along with snapshots, taken dozens of times over the course of a year, of the millions of proteins and other molecules that are in constant flux in his body.
In a stroke of shocking good luck - for the scientists, if not necessarily the patient - the profile subject developed Type 2 diabetes during the study, allowing researchers to follow in real time the molecular changes that took place as the illness progressed.
It also allowed the subject, Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder, to catch his diabetes early and stop it, most likely months or even years before he would have been diagnosed without the genetic profiling.
"This is the first time someone's actually analyzed the genome of a healthy person, predicted disease risk, and then by following him, actually saw a disease develop," said Snyder, who in addition to being the subject of the study was the senior author…
The research provides some of the first proof that detailed genetic profiling - beyond just DNA sequencing - could be used someday not just to predict an individual's chances of developing disease, but also to identify the smallest molecular changes that show when a person starts to become ill, said experts in personalized medicine.
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Memory slips may be due to menopause

(The Chart, CNN) A study published Wednesday … analyzed the memory performance of 75 middle-aged women who were transitioning into menopause. Approximately two-thirds of women complain of memory problems or lapses during this time, said study author Miriam Weber…
By memory, Weber doesn't mean recall ability. Her study showed no direct correlation between the memory complaints and the women's ability to retain information.
However, the study did show a deterioration in the perimenopausal women's "working memory," or their ability to take in new information and manipulate it… The study also showed a decline in attention capabilities among these women.
"Women think that they have forgotten the appointment, etc., but in reality, they probably had difficulty focusing their attention enough to really register that appointment," Weber said. "They may be helped by trying to focus on one thing at a time, eliminating distractions or repeating the new information a few times to successfully 'encode' it."
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Eye Disease Linked to Memory Decline

(WebMD Health News) A new study suggests that people with even minimal eye damage involving the blood vessels of the retina, due to vascular disease, have a higher risk for memory and thinking declines.
Researchers say problems with the blood vessels in the eyes may be an important clue that the blood vessels in the brain are not functioning properly.
If this proves to be the case, eye screening to check for damage to the blood vessels of the retina, or retinopathy, could potentially help identify people at risk for dementia.
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Doctors with good habits advise patients

(UPI) Physicians who practice healthy habits personally are more likely than other doctors to recommend lifestyle modification to patients, U.S. researchers suggest…
The healthy lifestyle included eating healthy, limiting sodium, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption and becoming more physically active.
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Quality and cost of medical care vary widely among local areas

(Los Angeles Times) The Commonwealth Fund, a New York foundation that studies the U.S. healthcare market, ranked 306 communities nationwide on key areas of health system performance, such as whether patients are getting timely preventive care and avoiding unnecessary hospital stays and whether healthcare is affordable…
Overall, more prosperous areas tend to fare better on a wide range of health measures…
"This report shows where you live in the country largely determines, better or worse, the kind of healthcare you will receive," said Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund's president.
Davis said she hopes policymakers and healthcare industry leaders will examine the best practices from high-performing areas and use them to improve patient care and slow down rising costs.
Community: If you’re of the opinion that nothing can be done to improve health in poor neighborhoods, you need to read the results of two recent studies: “Food stamp customers buy more at farmers' markets when point-of-sale system is available” and “Children in low-income neighborhood with special walking/bike trail exercised more”.
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Big Business Wants All or Nothing Court Ruling on Health

(Bloomberg) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the leading Washington lobbyist for big corporations, spent $86 million two years ago trying to keep the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul from passing Congress.
Now, as the Supreme Court is set to begin reviewing a key provision of the law, the group’s message is different: If you can’t kill it, don’t maim it, the chamber said in a legal brief filed separately with the court.
The chamber is among lobby groups for large companies caught between their own distaste for the law and the self- interest of members who have won concessions since it was passed. They say that ending the provision mandating that all Americans be insured would increase the cost of the rest of the law. The concern has split the business community, and could aid the law’s defenders, said Neera Tanden, president of the Washington-based Center for American Progress.
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CDC ad: "Allow extra time to put on your legs"

(USA Today)  [T]he U.S. government is set to launch its first paid anti-tobacco media campaign that graphically depicts the suffering of former smokers.
The ads aim to encourage smokers to quit and prevent kids from taking up the habit. They will run for 12 weeks beginning Monday in newspapers as well as on billboards, TV, radio and social networking sites. Public service announcements likely will run longer.
The campaign shows people struggling with life-altering diseases because of smoking, including paralysis from stroke, lung removal, heart attack and limb amputations. The former smokers offer tips on how to quit, such as throwing away their ashtrays. The ads cite free resources available via a toll-free number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) or website (www.smokefree.gov).
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C$27 billion suit versus Big Tobacco starts in Montreal

(Reuters) Canada's three biggest tobacco companies, all with multinational parents, face C$27.25 billion ($27.43 billion) in damages and penalties as the largest civil lawsuit in the country's history to go to trial started on Monday…
The plaintiffs say they were hoodwinked into buying an addictive product and have since developed a range of smoking-related illnesses, including lung cancer and emphysema.
The tobacco firms say the suits amount to "an opportunistic cash grab" as the risks of smoking have been known for decades.
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Tobacco control programs work, says study

(Houston Chronicle) U.S. tobacco-control programs prevented nearly 800,000 lung cancer deaths in the last quarter of the 20th century, but another 1.7 million fatalities would have been averted had the entire population stopped smoking in 1965, according to a landmark new study.
The study … shows that taxes on tobacco products, restrictions on smoking in public places and awareness campaigns about risks reduce lung cancer incidence and deaths.
"Screening is good secondary prevention, but this study shows the primary preventative impact of anti-smoking programs and policies," said Olga Gorlova, an M.D. Anderson epidemiologist and one of the study authors. "Many lives were saved, but not as many as could have been."
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Addicted? Brain Functions That Lead to Bad Decisions

(PR Newswire ) Sex, food, alcohol and drug addictions may be more of a brain-health problem than a bad habit gone wrong, according to a new study…
"The SPECT [single photon emission computed tomography] images help the clinician understand what parts of the brain may be troubled so they can give a more accurate diagnosis and more targeted, effective treatment," said [Daniel G. Amen, M.D.], founder and CEO of Amen Clinics, Inc. and perhaps the world's foremost expert on applying brain imaging science to clinical psychiatric practice. "But the scan also motivates the patient when they realize they are hurting their brain."
Dr. Amen said the irony of the mental health profession is with mental disorders, many psychiatrists will prescribe medications without examining the organ responsible. "I want to change that," he said.
Community: Fortunately, there are practical things we can do to build impulse control.
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Opioid use after minor surgery can create problems

(Los Angeles Times) Opioid medications such as codeine and oxycodone often are prescribed after surgery to relieve post-operative pain. The availability of such drugs is also well known to be a major factor in increasing rates of addiction and addiction-related overdose deaths. A new study suggests that giving opioid prescriptions after simple operations may create some of those problems…
Doctors may want patients to try non-opioid pain relievers first after minor surgery, said the author of a commentary accompanying the study. When it comes to opioid use for minor surgery, the editorial noted, “less is more.”
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Ten percent of U.S. adults in addiction recovery

(UPI) Ten percent of all U.S. adults -- 23 million -- consider themselves to be in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse problems, a survey indicated…
The self-reported findings include:
-- 12 percent of men said they were in recovery versus 7 percent of women.
-- More adults ages 35-44 report being in recovery, compared with younger adults ages 18-34 and adults who were 55 years of age or older.
Community: That’s a pretty amazing number, since I’ve always heard that ten percent of the population is addicted to some substance. Does it mean that all addicts are in recovery, or is the addicted population a lot larger than we’ve been told?
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Cooking Light:
11 Ways to Cook with Guinness
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we've gathered a few recipes featuring—what else—Guinness!
Our Best Meat Loaf Recipes
Moist, flavorful new takes on a classic: from an All-American loaf to even a vegetarian version
All About Asparagus
How to choose, prepare, store, and serve this quintessential spring vegetable.
Caramel Pork
Give pork tenderloin an Asian twist by cooking in a sweet and spicy sauce. Serve alongside a mixture of sushi rice and green peas for a complete meal.
Chicken Shawarma
Shawarma is a Middle Eastern sandwich made with sliced seasoned meat. This version features chicken, along with a cucumber-yogurt sauce, fresh tomato and crunchy romaine lettuce.
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Spring Foods to Help You Shed Your Winter Weight

(Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., EatingWell) As spring nudges its way forward, some of us are left with an unpleasant souvenir of winter—an extra "layer." Though that winter coat might have kept us warm through the long, cold season, by spring it's time to shed the padding. The good news is many springtime foods promote weight loss naturally, and not just because they're lighter than those hearty winter dishes.
Here are my top picks for spring foods to help you slim down.
1. Strawberries
Strawberries' fiber content makes them a good choice for weight loss…
2. Eggs
Eggs are packed with protein, which staves off hunger…
3. Salad Greens
Filling up on fiber- and water-rich foods first can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later…
4. Mushrooms
Mushrooms taste meaty, but have only a fraction of the calories and fat of red meat.
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Pickle juice touted as way to relieve heartburn

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q: Recently, I had heartburn that was painful but not devastating. I planned to wait until the burning stopped on its own.
I took a sip (no more than a tablespoon) of pickle juice (from sweet pickle sandwich slices), and to my amazement, the pain went away and didn't recur…
A: Pickle juice seems like the last thing you would want to swallow if you had heartburn. Nevertheless, we have heard from many readers that vinegar, the main ingredient in pickle juice, helps ease indigestion. One reader cited apple cider vinegar, which seemed to help with acid reflux.
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