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

Quake-over

Pepsico: Larry, the Quaker Oats man, now looks slimmer and younger.
Community: Gone are the days when fat was equated with prosperity.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Stand Up: Your Life Could Depend on It

(Science Daily) Standing up more often may reduce your chances of dying within three years, even if you are already physically active, a study of more than 200,000 people … shows. The study found that adults who sat 11 or more hours per day had a 40% increased risk of dying in the next three years compared with those who sat for fewer than four hours a day. This was after taking into account their physical activity, weight and health status.
"These results have important public health implications," said study lead author Dr Hidde van der Ploeg… "That morning walk or trip to the gym is still necessary, but it's also important to avoid prolonged sitting. Our results suggest the time people spend sitting at home, work and in traffic should be reduced by standing or walking more."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Spring back into fitness

(Chicago Tribune) Spring is "gut check" time. And if those abs — or arms or thighs — aren't ready for public display, here are some ways to start a new workout routine:
If you are working out but have reached a plateau and are bored:
Spring clean your routine. Try one new cardiovascular workout each week for a month, said Mark Verstegen, founder of Athletes' Performance and Core Performance, which specializes in athletic training, nutrition and physical therapy…
Amp it up. "Increase your sets, reps or mileage," said Amanda Visek, an assistant professor of exercise science at the George Washington University. "In order to continue to see fitness gains you have to continually challenge your body.
Set a new goal: Sign up for a new event or work toward setting a personal record. It's much more fun to work out when you've got something to work toward…
Troubleshoot: Figure out why you quit working out so you don't repeat the pattern…
Plan ahead. Eliminate common excuses, said Verstegen. Pack your gym bag the night before or store extra workout clothes and an old pair of sneakers in your car so you can never say, "I don't have my gym clothes," said Verstegen.
If you've been sedentary all winter:
Change one thing at a time. "Don't both diet and exercise all at once," said Michele Olson, research director of the Human Performance Research Lab at Auburn University Montgomery…
Add basic — even mindless — activity to your day, said Verstegen. Start by taking the stairs, parking your car farther away in the lot, and walking a few laps around your son's soccer game rather than sitting the entire time…
Break it down. Several 10-minute bouts of exercise can be as effective as one 30-minute workout. 
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

20 exercise tips

(Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health) Try these ideas for fitting more activity into your day—and for getting more out of your daily activities.
1. Choose activities you like
2. Piece your workout together. You don't need to get all your exercise at one time…
3. Exercise with a friend. Finding a workout partner can help keep you on track and motivate you to get out the door.
4. Keep it brisk. When you walk, make it brisk, since this may help control weight better than walking at a leisurely pace…
5. Take lunch on the move. Don't spend your lunch time sitting. Grab a quick meal and hit the gym or take a 20-minute walk.
6. Try a pedometer
7. Take the stairs
8. Turn off the TV, computer, and smart phone
9. Walk an extra stop
10. Hunt for the farthest parking space
11. Make it your own
12. Make it fun
13. Make it social. Walk with a friend, your spouse, or your family in the morning or evening.
14. Sign up for a class
15. Turn sit time into fit time. When you get busy, try to combine your cardiovascular exercise with a sedentary activity that you do already…
16. Keep an exercise log. Monitoring the amount of activity you get each day will help to make you more accountable.
17. Walk or bike for errands around town
18. Ask the experts. Hire a personal trainer for a session or two to help you with your weight training and flexibility training. Then you'll have the confidence to branch out on your own.
19. Plan exercise into your day
20. Reward yourself. Set short-term goals—and reward yourself for achieving them. Try targeting a specific event, such as a road race or a walk-for-charity, to participate in—this can help keep you motivated. Choose fitness-focused rewards for reaching your goals, such as new workout gear or a heart rate monitor.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Gravity-defying workouts lift fitness routines

(Reuters) More exercisers are taking their fitness to the air these days, held aloft by technology borrowed from sources as far-flung as the space program and the circus.
Experts say if you adhere to the learning curve, going anti-gravity can be just the thing to relieve overused joints and revitalize an earthbound routine.
Stephen Csolak, fitness manager at a Manhattan branch of Equinox, the national chain of luxury fitness centers, uses an anti-gravity treadmill, called Alter-G, on a range of clients, from marathoners to the morbidly obese…
[M]arathoners can train for speed and endurance with reduced risk of injury, older adults can exercise with reduced pressure on their joints and the obese can work out unencumbered by their extra pounds.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

I was going to exercise but . . .

(Tribune Newspapers) Dozens of things can derail a workout… We asked a few experts how to fend off fitness saboteurs — and why it's so important to make the effort.
Stress: … "Studies have shown that exercise is as powerful or more powerful than any kind of medication or therapy to mitigate stress," says Gregory Florez, spokesman for ACE and chief executive of FitAdvisor.com. Even if it's a half-hour walk or quick run, the stress-lowering power of a workout is worth taking a little bit of time out of your day.
No time/competing commitments: Most of us are time-crunched, says Dr. Christina Geithner, chairwoman of Gonzaga University's department of exercise physiology and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. "But exercise is too important to your health and well-being not to make time for it," she said…
You're too tired: … "Find a time when your energy is highest," Geithner says. "If it's not after work, be a morning exerciser. Schedule it at a different point in the workday, like lunch, and bring your gear with you. Or try an activity that you feel you can accomplish even when tired." Or try working out anyway, even if it's for a short time. You'll most likely feel better once you get started and much more energized after you finish.
You're frustrated with your results (not getting any faster/fitter/thinner, etc.):"It's time to change your routine," says Florez. You may not be exercising hard enough, or your body has adapted to your routine…
Overtraining: … [T]he only remedy is to back off, says Florez. Substitute yoga, Pilates or meditation for a few days a week if doing nothing isn't an option for you.
Unexpected obstacles: … Take this as an opportunity to try something you've never tried…
Not in the mood: Commit to a short workout, says Geithner, and see what happens…
You're sick: If it's just a mild cold and you feel like working out, go ahead but dial things down a bit to avoid overstressing your body…
You're injured: If your doc says it's OK, or if it is just a mild strain or ache, use this as a chance to try other machines or routines that will avoid stressing the injury but will provide a good workout…
You're starving: Always carry a couple of energy bars or gel packs in your workout bag… [T]wo granola bars and a bottle of water should keep you going for at least an hour.
Community: When I get frustrated, it’s because I’m trying to do too much and expecting too much of myself. I have to dial back a notch or two—or six!
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Garlic Chicken Pizza
In about 20 minutes you can serve your family a garlicky, three-cheese and chicken pizza that's just as good as what you'd get at a pizza restaurant.
EatingWell:
Sweet-&-Sour Meatballs
These bite-size sweet-and-sour meatballs, drizzled with a pineapple- and soy-based sauce, make a great appetizer. Shredded carrot and finely diced pineapple keep the meatballs moist, while fresh ginger and Chinese five-spice powder amp up the flavor.
How to Cook 20 Vegetables
Get expert tips on the best ways to cook fresh asparagus and more vegetables.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Link Between Fast Food and Depression Confirmed

(Science Daily) A new study along the same lines as its predecessors shows how eating fast food is linked to a greater risk of suffering from depression…
[T]he results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression.
Furthermore, a dose-response relationship was observed. In other words this means that "the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression," explains Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, lead author of the study.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent or alleviate depression.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Vegetarian recipes for a Healthy Eating Plate

(Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health) "Go with plants" is one quick tip for following Harvard's new Healthy Eating Plate. To put that tip into practice, acclaimed cookbook author Mollie Katzen and Harvard University Dining Services have cooked up a meatless version of the Healthy Eating Plate.
Crispy coconut tofu or "cozy" mashed red lentils anchor the protein portion of the plate. Colorful vegetables and fruits--baby greens, eggplant, squash, dates, pomegranate, and more--offer delicious ways fill half your plate with produce. For whole grains, quick-cooking, fiber-rich bulgur gets dressed up with tomatoes, walnuts, and herbs. Try these six new recipes:
·         Cozy Red Lentil Mash 
·         Garlic-Braised Greens 
·         Roasted Squash with Pomegranate 
·         Simple Celery Date Salad 
·         Fantastic Bulgur Dish 
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Enjoying Yogurt

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Nutritious and delicious, yogurt is a versatile food that can be utilized in a variety of ways for meals and snacks throughout the day… In addition to adding tangy flavor and a creamy texture to dishes, yogurt is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and calcium.
[Y]our best bet is to choose nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt … (we like 0% Greek yogurt) or artificially sweetened low-fat or nonfat flavored yogurt.. Greek-style yogurt is thick and creamy because it is strained to remove the water content. It has a much tangier flavor, so a little goes a long way in recipes. To help you identify yogurt that’s been artificially sweetened, look for the words “light” or “lite” on the label. Read labels carefully and avoid brands that contain high-fructose corn syrup…
Here are some … healthy and tasty ways to enjoy yogurt:
1.     In place of sour cream, use yogurt…
2.    Prepare a flavorful cucumber-mint yogurt dip…
3.    Enjoy a refreshing smoothie or shake…
4.    Whip up a delicious vanilla frozen yogurt.
Community: I started buying Chobani Greek yogurt (plain, no fat) when they did an ad campaign featuring John Stamos, one of the best looking doctors ever on ER. It really does taste like sour cream. But it doesn’t hold up well in a cooked dish, or at least it didn’t for me. But it’s great in smoothies.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

African American Women Claiming their Power in Fight Against HIV

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) As part of its comprehensive efforts to address the HIV prevention needs of African American women, CDC has launched Take Charge. Take the Test.™ (http://www.hivtest.org/takecharge). This public education campaign encourages HIV testing and awareness among African American women, who are more severely affected by HIV than women of any other race or ethnicity…
Take Charge. Take the Test. messages remind women that they have the power to take charge of their health and protect themselves from HIV through testing, talking openly with their partners about HIV, and insisting on safe sex. In each city, campaign messages will be disseminated through radio, billboard, and transit advertising as well as community outreach efforts.
Read more. (pdf)
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Female condom prevents HIV transmission

(UPI) A female condom program in Washington prevented enough HIV infections in one year to save $8 million in future medical costs, researchers said…
"These results clearly indicate that delivery of, and education about, female condoms is an effective HIV prevention intervention and an outstanding public health investment -- for every dollar spent on the program, there was a cost savings of nearly $20," [Dr. David R.] Holtgrave said in a statement. "Similar community HIV prevention programs involving the female condom should be explored for replication in other high risk areas."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

US FDA denies petition to ban common chemical BPA

(Reuters) U.S. health regulators denied a request to ban a chemical used in water bottles, soup cans and other food and drink packaging, saying there is not enough scientific evidence it may cause harm.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied the petition from an environmental group to ban the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, which has been used for decades to harden plastic or make the epoxy resin that lines tin cans.
But BPA can also leach into food and water from these protective coatings, and environmental and consumer groups argue it can interfere with hormones in humans and cause health problems.
U.S. regulators said studies showing harm have been inconclusive so far, although they continue to review the evidence.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

BPA and health: What the science does and doesn't yet say

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Scientists are still working to ascertain exactly what effect BPA has on human health once ingested.  They know that it is metabolized quickly and that it has been shown to have negative effects in mice, including developmental and reproductive abnormalities, precancerous changes in the prostate and breast, and other health problems.  In epidemiological studies, researchers also have reported correlations between BPA levels in people and higher risk of ailments including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and liver problems. 
For consumer advocates, concerns like these are enough to justify banning BPA.  But the findings don’t meet the scientific threshold that many regulatory bodies — including the FDA — require to remove the substance from use. Certain details of experiment design, as well as other factors, give regulators pause.
In a letter written to the Natural Resources Defense Council, acting FDA associate commissioner for policy and planning David  H. Dorsey explained that the agency looks for studies to satisfy several scientific principles.  For example, the FDA wants studies’ dosing to reflect the amount of BPA a person might get through food and sample sizes to be large enough to provide confidence in results, he wrote.  
The studies cited by the council’s petition, he added, didn’t make the cut.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

CDC Ad Campaign Reveals Harsh Reality of Smoking-Related Diseases

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) A hard-hitting national ad campaign that depicts the harsh reality of illness and damage suffered as a result of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke was launched by CDC. Ads began Monday, March 19, and  will run will run for at least 12 weeks on television, radio, and billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines, and newspapers nationwide.
The “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign features compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities, and the toll smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones. The ads focus on smoking-related lung and throat cancer, heart attack, stroke, Buerger’s disease, and asthma. The campaign features suggestions from former smokers on how to get dressed when you have a stoma (a surgical opening in the neck) or artificial limbs, what scars from heart surgery look like and reasons why people have quit. 
The ads will be tagged with 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or the www.smokefree.gov web site, which provides free quitting information.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

E-Cigarettes, Snuff Face Proposed Rules for Marketing From U.S. Regulators

(Bloomberg) Tobacco companies will have to begin reporting the amount of unsafe chemicals in their products and prove their so-called lower-risk alternatives to smoking such as snuff are actually safer, U.S. regulators said.
The Food and Drug Administration moved [Friday] to implement pieces of a 2009 law giving the agency the authority to regulate tobacco products. The FDA released preliminary guidelines for the industry that it says can educate consumers on exactly what is in cigarettes, such as ammonia and formaldehyde, and police claims that certain tobacco products may be safer than others.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How the Affordable Care Act Helps the U.S. Economy

(David Brodwin, American Sustainable Business Council) This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether President Obama’s healthcare legislation is constitutional. It’s easy to get lost in tedious legal details, but let’s not neglect the critical patient at the heart of this case: the U.S. economy. If we don’t take bold steps to reinvent our healthcare system, that patient will decline and die.
The current healthcare system threatens our prosperity in three ways: It burdens the overall economy; it undermines individual businesses and the jobs they provide; and it saps the productivity of American workers. These threats confront both those of us who have insurance and those of us who don’t.
Our current healthcare system burdens the overall economy because it is far too expensive compared to the health benefits it delivers. In fact, the United States spends about 50 percent more on healthcare than any other developed country (as a fraction of our total national economy) and we get less for it on the measures that matter. What matters is how long people live and how healthy they are, not how many coronary bypasses were performed. As a former management consultant, I can tell you that no CEO would tolerate a division that spent 50 percent more than its competitors, and didn’t have much better results to show for it.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Is healthcare a privilege or a right?

(David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times) One of the most striking take-aways from this week's U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the healthcare reform law was the steadfast insistence on the part of Republicans to deny affordable and accessible medical treatment to as many people as possible.
The party is determined to maintain the status quo of healthcare being a privilege and not a right — putting us at odds with just about every other developed nation on the planet and, not coincidentally, resulting in about 50 million people being uninsured…
[T]he attorney representing 26 Republican-led states argued that the law's expansion of Medicaid violates states' rights and represents an act of coercion by the federal government, even though the federal government, and not the states, will foot the bill for nearly all of that additional coverage…
[He] argued that the federal government is twisting the arms of state officials by putting current Medicaid funds on the line. In other words, if states don't agree to expand coverage, they could lose the billions they now receive for the program.
This is a breathtaking assertion on a number of levels. First, no one forces a state to participate in Medicaid. If it doesn't like the federal government's terms, it can walk away from the program.
Second, if a state participates in Medicaid so it can insure some people, why wouldn't it be in favor of any move that allows it to insure more people?
Then there's the core belief among Republicans that the public sector has virtually no role to play in extending health coverage to as many people as possible, even when the private sector has failed miserably in meeting this responsibility…
If we can all agree that having tens of millions of people uninsured is not just a national disgrace but also an unfair financial burden for people who do have insurance, then one of our priorities must be to extend coverage to as many people as we can…
Needless to say, all these problems would be moot if the United States followed the example of its economic peers in Europe and Asia and adopted some sort of Medicare-for-all system guaranteeing universal coverage.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Traumatic Stress Linked With Elevated Inflammation

(Science Daily) Greater lifetime exposure to the stress of traumatic events was linked to higher levels of inflammation in a study of almost 1,000 patients with cardiovascular disease led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.
In the first study to examine the relationship between cumulative traumatic stress exposure and inflammation, the scientists found that the more traumatic stress a patient was exposed to over the course of a lifetime, the greater the chances the patient would have elevated levels of inflammatory markers in his or her bloodstream.
Community: There are many techniques we can practice to reduce stress.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Diabetes Drug Can Prevent Heart Disease, New Study Suggests

(Science Daily) The widely used diabetes medicine metformin can have protective effects on the heart, reveals a new study…
The study … reveals that metformin helps increase pumping capacity, improve energy balance, reduce the accumulation of fat, and limit the loss of heart cells through programmed cell death.
The results were compared with animals treated with another diabetes drug, which proved to have no positive effects on the heart.
Community: Metformin may also prevent cancer.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Hot Pepper Compound Could Help Hearts

(Science Daily) The food that inspires wariness is on course for inspiring even more wonder from a medical standpoint as scientists have reported the latest evidence that chili peppers are a heart-healthy food with potential to protect against the No. 1 cause of death in the developed world…
The study focused on capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed "capsaicinoids." The stuff that gives cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers their heat, capsaicin already has an established role in medicine in rub-on-the-skin creams to treat arthritis and certain forms of pain. Past research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people with that condition, reduce blood cholesterol and ease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form.
"Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health," said Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., who presented the study. "We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Complicated link between diet soda, health: study

(Reuters) Some studies have suggested that diet soda lovers could face higher risks of diabetes and heart disease, but one recent U.S. study of several diet drink consumers found that overall eating habits may be what matters most in the end…
The lowest risk of metabolic syndrome was seen in people who drank no diet beverages and stuck to a "prudent" diet, one rich in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
Meanwhile, people who also ate a prudent diet but did drink diet beverages had a somewhat higher rate of metabolic syndrome - but not by much…
Participants with the highest rate of metabolic syndrome, at 32 percent, were those who drank diet soda and downed the typical "Western" diet including lots of meat, processed foods and sugar.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Citrus fruits may help reduce stroke risk

(UPI) Health officials routinely advise people to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables but British and U.S. researchers say oranges may help reduce stroke risk…
"Citrus flavonoids, called flavanones, seemed to be associated with a reduction in risk," [Aedin] Cassidy said in a statement. "Our data suggest that if you eat more citrus fruit, it may modestly reduce your risk of stroke."
Cassidy said more research is needed and people should check with their doctor if they are taking any medications.
Community: There are a number of other practical things we can do to prevent or reduce the severity of having a stroke.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Crispy Herbed Shrimp with Chive Aioli
Fresh herbs brighten up crispy shrimp for an indulgent yet lightened take on traditional fried shrimp.
EatingWell:
Sugar Snap Pea & Shrimp Curry
This dish is best done at the last minute so the snap peas keep their crisp texture. The pink of the shrimp and the green peas make it as pretty as it is tasty.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Foods for a Healthy Heart

(RealAge.com) If you think eating a heart-healthy diet means bland, boring food, your taste buds are in for a shock. With a few smart and simple substitutions, you won't even miss the unhealthy fats, salt, and extra calories making your heart old before its time. In fact, you can still eat some of the old standards if you modify them -- and when you add foods that lower cholesterol, you’ll have new, healthy, delicious options to choose from as well.
To help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and prevent inflammation and arterial aging, eat these delicious foods:
1. Strawberries …
2. Rye bread…
3. Avocado…
4. Salmon…
5. Nuts…
6. Dark chocolate…
As you add more heart-healthy items to your daily menu, you also need to curb the foods that age your heart. That means minimizing unhealthy saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugar.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fish oil in chili and lime flavored yogurt

(UPI) Fortifying omega-3 fatty acids into savory-flavored yogurt might provide heart protection in a single serving a day, U.S. researchers said…
"The international popularity of yogurt and the health-promoting properties associated with probiotics, minerals, vitamins, and milk proteins suggest yogurt could be an excellent vehicle for the delivery of omega-3 fatty acids," [lead author Susan E.] Duncan said in a statement. "We tested different levels of fish oil in a savory chili and lime flavored yogurt, and found that a 1 percent concentration of fish oil, which provides more than the suggested daily intake, could be acceptable to a large proportion of the general population."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Too little calcium, water linked to kidney stones

(Reuters Health) Older women whose diet include too little calcium or water -- or too much salt -- have an increased risk of developing kidney stones, a study confirms…
Kidney stones develop when the urine contains more crystal-forming substances -- like calcium, uric acid and a compound called oxalate -- than can be diluted by the available fluid.
People prone to developing kidney stones have long been told to boost their fluid intake; that helps dilute the substances that can lead to stones. Cutting down on salt can help because too much sodium boosts calcium levels in the urine.
Since most kidney stones contain calcium, it was once thought that cutting down on calcium could help.
But studies in recent years have suggested that dairy foods may actually be protective -- though calcium supplements may not be wise for "stone formers."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Breast Cancer Risk May Be Higher With Just One Drink a Day

(ABC News) Consuming as little as one drink a day or less may raise a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study published this week.
European researchers analyzed data from more than 100 studies that looked at the relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer and found that having up to one drink per day raised women's risk for the disease by 4 percent. Three or more drinks per day increased risk by 40 to 50 percent.
"Women should not exceed one drink [per] day, and women at elevated risk for breast cancer should avoid alcohol or consume alcohol occasionally only," concluded the authors, led by Helmut K. Seitz of the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany.
Previous research has also found a link between light alcohol consumption and elevated breast cancer risk.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Software detects breast cancer earlier

(Vancouver Sun ) Researchers at the University of Calgary have developed a software program they say can detect early signs of breast cancer months before the formation of a tumour…
Using their newly developed software program to examine the mammograms again, the team was able to identify suspicious areas that were missed the first time - on average, 15 months before lumps or other signs of cancer were clinically diagnosed.
"There is cancer there, but no tumour yet," said lead researcher Raj Rangayyan. "There is no mass or lump. - What we are identifying is what we call 'architectural distortions.'"…
The Calgary researchers believe their software system could ultimately save lives, by leading to earlier detection of breast cancer.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New doubts about prostate-cancer vaccine Provenge

(Reuters) Marie Huber, a trained scientist and former hedge-fund analyst, made it her mission in the last year to analyze what she believes are deadly flaws in the studies that led to the approval of Provenge by the FDA.
She argues that the main reason Provenge seemed to extend survival - a crucial factor in the FDA's decision - was that older men in the study who did not receive Provenge died months sooner than similar patients in other studies.
She raises the possibility the "placebo" they received was actually harmful and made Provenge, known scientifically as sipuleucel-T, look better by comparison.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Dental plaque bacteria may trigger blood clots

(Society for General Microbiology) Oral bacteria that escape into the bloodstream are able to cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening endocarditis. Further research could lead to new drugs to tackle infective heart disease, say scientists…
Streptococcus gordonii is a normal inhabitant of the mouth and contributes to plaque that forms on the surface of teeth. If these bacteria enter into the blood stream through bleeding gums they can start to wreak havoc by masquerading as human proteins…
Infective endocarditis is treated with surgery or by strong antibiotics – which is becoming more difficult with growing antibiotic resistance. "About 30% of people with infective endocarditis die and most will require surgery for replacement of the infected heart valve with a metal or animal valve," said [Helen] Dr Petersen. "Our team has now identified the critical components of the S. gordonii molecule that mimics fibrinogen, so we are getting closer to being able to design new compounds to inhibit it. This would prevent the stimulation of unwanted blood clots," said Dr Steve Kerrigan.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New Way to Abate Heart Attacks Before Patients Get to the Hospital

(Science Daily) Paramedics can reduce someone's chances of having a cardiac arrest or dying by 50 percent by immediately administering a mixture of glucose, insulin and potassium ("GIK") to people having a heart attack, according to research…
The study showed that patients who received GIK immediately after being diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome -- which indicates a heart attack is either in progress or on the way -- were 50 percent less likely to have cardiac arrest (a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating) or die than those who received a placebo, although the treatment did not prevent the heart attack from occurring. Over the first month following the event, patients who received GIK were 40 percent less likely to have cardiac arrest, die or be hospitalized for heart failure.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Obesity drugs need heart studies, US advisers say

(Reuters) Heart safety studies should be required for new obesity drugs, U.S. drug advisers said on Thursday, possibly adding a new hurdle to the drugs' approval.
An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 17-6 that regulators should make companies conduct heart impact studies in order to sell their drugs in the United States, even if clinical trials do not initially show evidence of increased heart risk.
"Anti-obesity drugs have a bad track record of cardiovascular risk," said Dr. Marvin Konstam, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and panel member.
The FDA usually follows panel recommendations, although it is not required to, and will make a final decision later.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Electronic health records mean fewer tests: study

(Reuters Health) Doctors order fewer lab tests when they have access to a patient's electronic medical records, according to a new study, but the efficiency may be confined to state-of-the-art records exchanges for now…
"We found that the number of lab tests went down after the introduction if there were recent lab tests available," said Dr. Alexander Turchin, one of the study's authors.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Mid-life Britain opens doors for disease research

(Reuters) The world's biggest and most detailed biomedical database opened its doors to researchers on Friday, offering scientists a unique glimpse into the health and lifestyles of 500,000 middle-aged Britons.
The UK Biobank - with more than 1,000 pieces of information about each participant plus samples of blood, urine and saliva - will be available to researchers worldwide, on the condition they put their findings back into the public domain.
The organizers said they had already received expressions of interest from both drug companies and academics, including the National Institutes of Health in the United States, which has no such equivalent biobank.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The GOP's Healthcare Hypocrisy

(Brad Bannon, U.S. News & World Report) There’s always hypocrisy in Washington but past and present Republican presidential candidates have used the debate on healthcare to take it to heights unimaginable even in the nation’s capital. This week the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Affordable Care Act and the GOP tried again to cripple Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors…
All of them say they oppose the Affordable Care Act because they claim it is “government run healthcare.” But don’t panic, because they’re wrong. Since President Obama decided not to fight for a single payer plan or even for the public option, healthcare is still in the deadly clutches of the insurance companies.
Even if the Republicans candidates were right, they have some nerve even making the argument. While they all criticize government run healthcare and Medicare, as members of Congress they took full advantage of the gold plated healthcare insurance provided by the United States government. What the Republicans are really saying is that government run healthcare is fine for them but too good for working families.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Smoking May Restore Tapped-out Self-Control Resources

(Science Daily) Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., have found that when they deplete a smoker's self control, smoking a cigarette may restore self-control…
"Our goal was to study whether tobacco smoking affects an individual's self-control resources," said lead author Bryan W. Heckman, M.A…
"We found that smoking did have a restorative effect on an individual's depleted self-control resources," said Heckman. "Moreover, smoking restored self-control, in part, by improving smokers' positive mood."…
This study suggests that smokers wanting to quit may benefit from learning such alternative self-control restoration strategies as a way to reduce their dependence on tobacco. The authors concluded that smoking cessation treatments would benefit by further research aimed at identifying how smoking restores self-control, as well as identifying additional alternative strategies for strengthening or restoring self-control.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to strengthen our self control muscle.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Smoking linked to perceived discrimination

(UPI) Poorer members of racial and ethnic minorities who perceive themselves to be targets of discrimination are more likely to be smokers, U.S. researchers say.
"As expected, everyday smokers were more likely than occasional smokers, and occasional smokers were, in turn, more likely than non-smokers, to report being the target of perceived discrimination in both healthcare settings and the workplace," Jason Q. Purnell, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, said in a statement.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Smokers Could Be More Prone to Schizophrenia

(Science Daily) Smoking alters the impact of a schizophrenia risk gene. Scientists from the universities of Zurich and Cologne demonstrate that healthy people who carry this risk gene and smoke process acoustic stimuli in a similarly deficient way as patients with schizophrenia.
Furthermore, the impact is all the stronger the more the person smokes.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]