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

Fruit, vegetables tied to lower diabetes risk

(Reuters Health) People who get a range of fruits and vegetables in their diets may have a somewhat decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests… Diabetes risk was also lower among people who ate a wider variety of fruit and vegetables -- regardless of the actual quantity they ate.
That suggests people should not only focus on how many servings they get each day, according to senior researcher Nita G. Forouhi, of the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge, UK.
"The finding on variety of intake is new and exciting," she said in an email, "because it demonstrates that independent of the quantity consumed, we have the potential to gain additional and important benefits from choosing a mixture of different fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet."
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High Levels of Phthalates Can Lead to Greater Risk for Type-2 Diabetes

(Science Daily) There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors. Even at a modest increase in circulating phthalate levels, the risk of diabetes is doubled…
"Although our results need to be confirmed in more studies, they do support the hypothesis that certain environmental chemicals can contribute to the development of diabetes," says Monica Lind, associate professor of environmental medicine.
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Bonuses for docs do little to improve diabetes care

(Reuters Health) Small financial incentives aimed at getting physicians to make sure their diabetic patients receive recommended routine exams may not lead to changes in doctors' behavior, according to a new study from Canada…
Meredith Rosenthal, a health policy researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston who wasn't involved in the study … said financial incentives can affect medical care if they are accompanied by efforts to help doctors meet the goals. "I think there's a limited amount one can do just changing the fee structure around these things," she told Reuters Health.
Researchers and policymakers have been looking to pay-for-performance as one strategy to improve health outcomes.
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New therapy could reduce diabetes-related amputation

(Tribune Newspapers) Best known as an antidote for underwater diving disorders, [hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)] involves inhaling pure oxygen while reclining in a pressurized chamber.
The intense flood of oxygen to the blood can stimulate cell growth, promote the formation of new blood vessels and fight certain infections, said Dr. Alan Davis…
Swedish researchers have shown HBOT can help foot ulcers heal in certain patients with diabetes, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Diabetes Care. A review of other trials also found that HBOT seemed to reduce the number of amputations in people with diabetes who have chronic foot ulcers, according to a Cochrane Review of the literature.
But while the data on chronic wound healing are promising, research is also sparse and many physicians are still skeptical.
Community: We’ve also seen that HBOT may provide relief from chronic pain. And oxygen applied to broken bones may help them heal.
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Decoding the diabetic diet

(Tribune Newspapers) A crucial tool in controlling diabetes is being vigilant about what you put in your mouth…
"What matters most is how much people eat," said certified diabetes educator Marion Franz, a Minneapolis-based nutrition and health consultant. If people cut back on total daily calories, regardless of the food source, generally their blood glucose levels decrease, and some people lose weight, which also helps significantly, Franz said. Eating anything in excess, even healthy foods, can be harmful, she said.
It's generally recommended for people to eat less than 2,000 calories daily, though that depends on body size and level of physical activity, Franz said.
Diabetics shouldn't eliminate carbs completely, though they should limit them and choose nutritionally rich carbs (veggies, whole grains) over empty ones (sugars, refined grains), said Amy Campbell, manager of the clinical education programs at Joslin Diabetes Center, a research organization affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
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Healthy Mexican Recipes for Cinco De Mayo
Whether you’re throwing a Cinco de Mayo fiesta or cooking a Mexican-inspired meal for dinner, our healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes are flavorful, crowd-pleasing recipes. From tacos to enchiladas to burritos, our healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes are lighter versions of Mexican food favorites.
Lighter Chicken Piccata
Cheesy lasagna, buttery chicken piccata, fried eggplant parm, those are all Italian, right? So they qualify as Mediterranean and thus healthy. Unfortunately many of those Italian classics have been Americanized in a not-so-healthy way. Fortunately it’s easy to reinterpret such classics into dishes that can clearly be called healthy.
Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Serve a light and fresh turkey burger flavored with pesto and feta cheese. A spicy and creamy tzatziki sauce is great spread on the burgers or served on the side for dipping.
Make Over Your Salads
Tired of eating the same salad, day after day? Hit up your supermarket, food co-op, or the nearest farmers’ market for some fresh seasonal ingredients. Getting creative with toppings like olives, nuts, and seeds is also a great way to sneak extra nutrients into your salad bowl.
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Trick yourself into eating veggies

(Men's Health) Do you still act like the kid on the school lunch line who grumbles when he's served a pile of flaccid carrots? Here's a weird trick: Staring at a picture of a T-bone beforehand may make your vegetables more enjoyable, according to a new study…
When you view a salivating picture, your orbital frontal cortex, the region of the brain responsible for coding pleasant experiences, lights up and convinces your tongue that the bland food you're eating is tastier than it actually is, explains study author Johannes Le Coutre, Ph.D, head of perception physiology at Nestle Research Center in Switzerland.
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Should you be grossed out by 'meat glue?'

(Vitals, MSNBC.com) Transglutaminase, also known as "meat glue," can be used to stick pieces of meat together, or to help bacon, for instance, adhere to meat without toothpicks…
News reports across the country claimed that some restaurants have been using a bonding agent to stick together pieces of scrap meat and then dish it up as prime steak…
The reports suggested that glued-together meat might pose a food safety hazard if it’s not properly handled and cooked.
Food safety experts and meat and restaurant industry officials told msnbc.com that … while so-called “meat glue” is a real product, the outcry is another example of consumers not understanding what’s actually in their food.
“People simply don’t know you’re eating it,” said Michael Batz, food safety risk researcher at the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute.
“It is illegal to misrepresent one cut of meat as another,” said Joan McGlockton, Vice President for Food Policy of the National Restaurant Association.
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Does soy help cool hot flashes after all?

(Reuters Health) Despite a good amount of evidence to the contrary, a new research review suggests that soy supplements can indeed help women find relief from menopausal hot flashes…
When [senior researcher Mark] Messina's team pooled the results of 17 clinical trials, the researchers found that women given soy isoflavone extracts typically saw their hot flash frequency decline by about 60 percent. Treatment lasted anywhere from six weeks to six months.
The researchers found a similar decline when it came to women's ratings of their hot-flash severity. But placebo users also improved -- to a large degree in some studies. Still, overall, women given soy supplements had an advantage over placebo users: their hot flash frequency was 21 percent lower, and the severity of their symptoms was 26 percent lower.
And it seemed that extracts with higher doses of the isoflavone genistein worked best. Supplements that had about 19 milligrams of genistein or more were about twice as effective as lower-dose varieties. Messina thinks that differences in genistein content may help explain why studies on soy supplements and hot flashes have yielded different results.
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Caffeine not tied to worsening urinary incontinence

(Reuters Health) Women with urinary incontinence who also enjoy their regular cup of coffee or tea don't have to worry about the extra caffeine making their condition worse, suggests a new study.
The new research stands in contrast to the common recommendation that women with leaky bladders stay away from caffeinated foods and beverages.
"If a woman feels she wants to abstain from caffeine that's completely fine, but based on our results, women with moderate incontinence shouldn't be concerned," said Mary Townsend, the study's lead author…
Still, the findings cannot say whether caffeine might have a shorter-term impact by making women need to urinate soon after eating or drinking something caffeinated.
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Nutella maker to pay $3M in lawsuit over false nutritional claims

(Toronto Star) Nutella, the only chocolate spread that has its own world celebration day, has lost a $3 million class action lawsuit filed by a California mother shocked to discover it wasn't healthy.
Ferrero, makers of the chocolate and hazelnut spread, has agreed to pay $4 per jar to each consumer who applies for a refund under terms of the settlement. The refund only applies in the U.S., not Canada…
In her original lawsuit last year, San Diego mother Athena Hohenberg said she was “shocked” to learn in December 2010, from friends that the chocolate spread she was feeding her husband and 4-year-old daughter was full of sugar and fat.
“Ms. Hohenberg felt betrayed” when she learned the healthiest part of a Nutella breakfast wasn’t the Nutella, it was the bread and milk that children ate with it, the lawsuit said.
Veteran class action lawyer Ron Marron characterized Ferrero’s advertising as misleading for claiming Nutella could be part of a “healthy breakfast.”
Community: So why didn’t she, uh, READ THE LABEL?
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Death by Coca-Cola: 2-Gallon-a-Day Habit Cited

(FindLaw.com) Investigators believe a 2-gallon-a-day Coke habit may have contributed to the death of Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old New Zealand woman. The mother of 8 died in February from what appears to have been a heart attack.
Harris was known by her family to eat little and smoke. But she also drank so much Coke that she was suffering from low potassium and caffeine toxicity.
Both of these nutritional imbalances are linked to the excessive consumption of soda, according to the Associated Press. They can also result in abnormal heart rhythms. Doctors therefore think the soda played a part in Natasha Harris' death.
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Gut Microbiota Transplantation May Prevent Development of Diabetes and Fatty Liver Disease

(Science Daily) [N]ew data … shows the gut microbiota's causal role in the development of diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), independent of obesity. Though an early stage animal model, the French study highlights the possibility of preventing diabetes and NAFLD with gut microbiota transplantation -- the engrafting of new microbiota, usually through administering fecal material from a healthy donor into the colon of a diseased recipient…
Lachnospiraceae was identified as the species most important in developing fatty liver and insulin resistance.
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Targeting Glucagon Pathway May Offer a New Approach to Treating Diabetes

(Science Daily) Maintaining the right level of sugar in the blood is the responsibility not only of insulin, which removes glucose, but also of a hormone called glucagon, which adds glucose. For decades, treatments for type II diabetes have taken aim at insulin, but a new study suggests that a better approach may be to target glucagon's sweetening effect…
The new study shows how glucagon's effect on glucose could be disrupted without disturbing glucagon's other duties, raising prospects for a safer anti-glucagon diabetes treatment.
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Sugar Production Switch in Liver May Offer Target for New Diabetes Therapies

(Science Daily)  In their extraordinary quest to decode human metabolism, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a pair of molecules that regulates the liver's production of glucose -- -- the simple sugar that is the source of energy in human cells and the central player in diabetes…
[T]he scientists say that controlling the activity of these two molecules -- -- which work together to allow more or less glucose production -- -- could potentially offer a new way to lower blood sugar to treat insulin-resistant type II diabetes. They showed, through an experimental technique, that this was possible in diabetic mice.
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House Lawmaker Seeks U.S. Probe of Accretive’s Debt-Collection Practices

(Bloomberg) A Democratic lawmaker asked U.S. health officials to investigate the practices of debt collector Accretive Health Inc. (AH), accused of demanding that emergency room patients pay their bills before receiving care at a hospital group in Minnesota.
Federal law prohibits hospitals from denying emergency care to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Minnesota’s attorney general, who is suing Chicago-based Accretive for its debt collection practices at hospitals in her state, said in a report issued April 24 that the company trained hospital employees to give patients the impression they wouldn’t get care before paying bills.
“This is corporate greed at its worst, abuse of patients’ rights to dignity and privacy, and I believe a violation of several laws,” Representative Pete Stark of California said yesterday in a statement.
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House Passes Student Loan bill With Health Fund Cuts

(Politico) The House on Friday approved a bill that would prevent a large increase in student loan interest rates, but only by wiping out a preventive health care fund in the health reform law — a nonstarter with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
The bill now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats would block the legislation — with the backing of the White House — because of the cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Instead, Reid has filed cloture to start debate on Senate Democrats’ version of the bill to prevent the rate hike, which would be paid for by closing certain tax loopholes.
The House approved the bill 215-195, with 13 Democrats joining Republicans in support of the measure. Thirty Republicans broke ranks and opposed it.
The White House said Friday that senior advisers would recommend that Obama veto the bill if it gets to his desk.
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Breaux: Bipartisanship Necessary To Fix Medicare Finances

(Kaiser Health News) Louisiana Democrat John B. Breaux left the Senate seven years ago, but old habits die hard. Today he fell back easily into his former role of compromise builder as he stressed the need for political common ground to overhaul Medicare next year.
After a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing to delve into “premium support” models, Breaux held court with reporters and concluded that his own blueprint from 1999 might just do the trick…
The key, Breaux said, is to change the way that health care is delivered in Medicare, to make it more efficient, and then have private health plans and the traditional, government-run program compete, with  federal premium assistance tied to the growth of health care costs, which, he said, would decline over time under a premium support model.
This approach, he said, would make Medicare more like the health care program for federal employees. Beneficiaries would get subsidies from the federal government to join a private or government-run health plan. Indeed, he cited the federal employee plan and Medicare’s prescription drug program as examples of premium support models that work…
Breaux said that Ryan’s plan was a good start, but shared Democrats’ concerns that federal premium help would be insufficient for seniors. He made the case that the model he proposed together with then-Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist in the 1990′s would not shift costs to seniors and could lower overall Medicare costs 12 percent. Those were his own estimates, which he based on greater efficiency from competition between plans and organizing care better.
“The debate should be about a better delivery system that has benefits for seniors,” he said. “It’s not about changing Medicare. It’s about changing the way we give it to people.”
Community: Senator Breaux, you once did me a great favor, but I must disagree with you on a couple of things.
Medicare’s prescription drug plan is a success in its popularity, but it’s an abject failure at bringing down costs, which you say is important. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the insurance companies that provide Part D coverage are prohibited BY LAW from negotiating better prices from the drug companies for the drugs provided.
So I have to ask, sir, are you now a lobbyist for those drug companies? And if you are, why was that information not disclosed in the Kaiser Health News article?
Your statement at the end of the article is typical of the elitist attitude among the power brokers in Washington that you “give” things to us ordinary folks and that we should be grateful to you for your largesse. That, sir, is not the way a democracy runs.
We the people are the government, not you, the elite.
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Sick from Poor Sleep?

(RealAge.com) In a 2-week study, getting a little less sleep -- under 7 hours instead of 8 or more -- made people three times more likely to get sick after exposure to a cold virus…
Seems your immune system takes a hit from both lack of sleep and poor sleep. In fact, poor sleep may have an even bigger impact than short sleep. People in the study were five times more likely to get sick when their sleep quality dipped -- even if it just dipped a smidge.
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Sleeping Problems, Pollution and Alzheimer’s Risk

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Two separate studies have identified additional risks for Alzheimer's disease.
Preliminary results from an investigation performed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., suggest that disrupted sleep may be linked to Alzheimer's. After monitoring the sleep patterns of 100 men and women between the ages of 45 and 80, half of whom had a family history of Alzheimer's, the researchers found that those who awakened more than five times per hour were more likely to have the accumulations of amyloid plaque characteristic of the disease, than those who had fewer sleep disruptions…
Another study … found a faster, long-term decline in thinking and memory skills in women living in highly polluted areas although some of these geographic locations were considered "generally safe" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea's Damage Evident After One Month

(Science Daily) Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which there are recurring episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep with ongoing effort to breathe. OSA is estimated to affect 1 in 5 adults in America.
The serious nature of the problem was captured in a landmark study which found that middle-age and older men with even mild levels of OSA were in danger of increased risk of stroke and death. While a link between OSA and stroke is clear, OSA's effect on the cerebral (brain) vessels is not.
In an effort to shed light on this relationship, researchers in Texas have developed a novel model that mimics OSA in humans. Their model has found that after just 30 days of OSA exposure cerebral vessel function is altered, which could lead to stroke.
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Change in Attitude May Ease Chronic Pain by Aiding Sleep, Study Suggests

(Science Daily)  Chronic pain sufferers who learn to dwell less on their ailments may sleep better and experience less day-to-day pain, according to results of research conducted on 214 people with chronic face and jaw pain.
"We have found that people who ruminate about their pain and have more negative thoughts about their pain don't sleep as well, and the result is they feel more pain," says Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D…, leader of a study… "If cognitive behavioral therapy can help people change the way they think about their pain, they might end that vicious cycle and feel better without sleeping pills or pain medicine."
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30% of US Workers Don't Get Enough Sleep

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Nearly a third of workers in the U.S. aren't getting enough sleep, according to a new government report.
Overall, 30 percent of employed U.S. adults reported getting less than six hours of sleep a night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults get seven to nine hours of sleep…
"Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for fatigued workers and others around them," the CDC wrote. An estimated 20 percent of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving.
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Shift workers 'risking' diabetes and obesity

(BBC News) Shift workers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of diabetes and obesity, according to researchers…
Lead researcher Dr Orfeu Buxton said … "The evidence is clear that getting enough sleep is important for health, and that sleep should be at night for best effect."
The research group called for more efforts to reduce the health impact of shift working.
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Good night's sleep contributes to healthy eating

(Chicago Tribune) [A] recent Harvard study does suggest that people who get a good night's rest find it easier to resist overeating — especially when it comes to gorging on high-calorie foods…
"Daytime sleepiness was positively related to greater hunger and elevated preference for high-calorie foods," concluded the study, led by researcher William Killgore, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.
MRIs of study volunteers showed why. Sleepier people had less activity in the self-control part of the brain — the prefrontal cortex. That's the area "that puts the brakes on and slows you down from doing things you shouldn't do"— like eating too much fattening, unhealthy food, says Killgore.
"If you're sleepy, you're more likely to reach out and take a few extra bites of food or go for that extra dessert or say yes to something you wouldn't have," says Killgore.
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10 Eats for Better Sleep

(RealAge.com) The secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours? About 90 minutes before you want to nod off, head for the kitchen and make yourself a sleepy-time snack. Keep it light (around 200 calories), so you don't overload your digestive system. And include one or two foods from the list below. All help to relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones -- serotonin and melatonin -- flowing. Yawning yet?
1. Bananas…
2. Chamomile tea…
3. Warm milk…
4. Honey…
5. Potatoes…
6. Oatmeal…
7. Almonds…
8. Flaxseeds…
9. Whole-wheat bread…
10. Turkey
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Chicken Fried Rice
Make your own fried rice that's way better and way healthier than take-out.
Salmon Burgers with Green Goddess Sauce
The key to perfect salmon burgers is to handle the fish delicately: don't overseason, overhandle or overcook it. Cutting the salmon into small pieces by hand takes a little while, but you want it in tender little bits. Serve over a bed of salad greens with the Green Goddess Sauce dolloped on top.
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Pomegranates: The crown jewel of fruits

(Karen Kolowski, R.D., Baltimore Sun) One of the earliest cultivated fruits, the pomegranate can be traced to 3,500 B.C. It is believed by some scholars to be what tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden rather than an apple. Ancient Egyptians used to bury their dead with the fruit because it was thought to provide eternal life. Greeks break one open at wedding ceremonies for prosperity. And the Chinese eat candied seeds for good luck.
Scientists have now discovered what the ancient Persians always knew: The pomegranate is a superfood, full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Antioxidants are scavengers that neutralize harmful free radicals, unpaired molecules that can cause damage found in your body… The antioxidants that pomegranates specifically contain are polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins.
These antioxidants are also found in wine and green tea but not in the abundance contained in the pomegranate. Current studies have shown that consuming pomegranates may help reduce cardiovascular disease by reducing LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. The antioxidants help prevent arteriosclerosis, or hardening of arteries. They have also been shown to help maintain proper blood flow.
The fruit has shown some preventative qualities when it comes to prostate and breast cancer, although more research is needed. Another study suggests the pomegranate could also help lower blood pressure. This beneficial fruit is a rich source of potassium, folic acid, vitamin C and fiber.
Community: Pomegranate extracts are available. I take a combination pomegranate and blueberry extract.
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Probiotic Bacteria Protect Against Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

(Science Daily)  Some lactic acid bacteria can alleviate inflammation and therefore prevent intestinal disorders. Scientists have now decoded the biochemical mechanism that lies behind the protective effect of the bacteria. In experiments with mice, the researchers succeeded in demonstrating that lactocepin -- an enzyme produced by certain lactic acid bacteria -- selectively degrades inflammatory mediators in diseased tissue…
In experiments with mice, the scientists observed that lactocepin -- an enzyme produced from the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus paracasei -- can selectively interrupt inflammatory processes.
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Botox May Treat Nighttime Teeth Grinding

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Botox may help prevent teeth grinding at night, results from a small study suggest.
In the study, patients with nighttime teeth grinding, or nocturnal bruxism, who were given Botox injections reported greater improvement in their condition compared to those given a placebo.
The findings suggest Botox could be used to treat nighttime teeth grinding, a common condition for which there is no established treatment, said study researcher Dr. William Ondo… Although dental guards are used to prevent damage to teeth, they do not prevent the grinding itself, Ondo said.
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Allergies may actually protect against natural toxins

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Humans and other mammals have two major types of immunity… Type 1 immunity involves the defense against viruses, bacteria and the like. It is an active defense in which cells from the immune system engulf and destroy the invaders. Type 2 immunity is traditionally held to be directed against larger parasites, such as helminth worms and biting spiders. It is more of a passive defense in which the body erects barriers against invasion…
[Immunobiologist Ruslan] Medzhitov argues that type 2 immunity actually evolved against a broader variety of stimuli, including venoms, natural toxins and irritants. Most of the allergic reactions can then be viewed as efforts to rid the body of such substances. A runny nose and sneezing help flush such irritants out of the nose and lungs. Scratching promotes removal of toxins from the skin. Such reactions also serve as a signal to avoid places where stinging insects or environmental toxins are common.
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Manipulating Molecules in Heart Protects Mice on High-Fat Diets from Obesity, Affects Metabolism

(Science Daily)  UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the heart can regulate energy balance throughout the body, a finding that may point to more effective treatments for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease…
Using mice fed a high-fat diet, researchers found that manipulating a heart-specific genetic pathway prevents obesity and protects against harmful blood-sugar changes associated with type 2 diabetes…
"Obesity, diabetes, and coronary artery disease are major causes of human death and disability, and they are all connected to metabolism. This is the first demonstration that the heart can regulate systemic metabolism, which we think opens up a whole new area of investigation," said Dr. Eric Olson.
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Scar Tissue Turned Into Heart Muscle Without Using Stem Cells

(Science Daily)   Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have shown the ability to turn scar tissue that forms after a heart attack into heart muscle cells using a new process that eliminates the need for stem cell transplant.
The study … used molecules called microRNAs to trigger the cardiac tissue conversion in a lab dish and, for the first time, in a living mouse, demonstrating the potential of a simpler process for tissue regeneration.
If additional studies confirm the approach in human cells, it could lead to a new way for treating many of the 23 million people worldwide who suffer heart failure, which is often caused by scar tissue that develops after a heart attack. The approach could also have benefit beyond heart disease.
"This is a significant finding with many therapeutic implications," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, a senior author on the study… "If you can do this in the heart, you can do it in the brain, the kidneys, and other tissues. This is a whole new way of regenerating tissue."
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HHS announces new Affordable Care Act options for community-based care

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) New opportunities in Medicaid and Medicare that will allow people to more easily receive care and services in their communities rather than being admitted to a hospital or nursing home were announced today by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
HHS finalized the Community First Choice rule, which is a new state plan option under Medicaid, and announced the participants in the Independence At Home Demonstration program. The demonstration encourages primary care practices to provide home-based care to chronically ill Medicare patients…
The Independence at Home demonstration, which is voluntary for Medicare beneficiaries, provides chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries with a complete range of in-home primary care services.  Under the demonstration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will partner with primary care practices led by physicians or nurse practitioners to evaluate the extent to which delivering primary care services in a home setting is effective in improving care for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions and reducing costs. Up to 10,000 Medicare patients with chronic conditions will be able to get most of the care they need at home.
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Respite Programs For Family Caregivers Face Cuts

(Kaiser Health News) Family caregivers provide 80 percent of long-term care needs in the U.S., but many need time away from that job so they can continue to care for their loved ones. Respite can provide short-term relief through several options, including a paid home care worker or providing temporary stays for patients at a residential care facility or adult day care center. Some families pick up the cost of such care out-of-pocket, but many must rely on state and community programs.
However, as states face tough budget decisions, such programs are increasingly on the chopping block.
“These services have just come under pretty serious attack at the state level,” said Jill Kagan, program director of the Access to Respite Care and Help (ARCH) National Respite Network and Resource Center. “The current economic climate that we’re in and that every state is facing has made it really difficult to expand any services at all. This comes on top of the fact that there was not enough respite for family caregivers to begin with.”
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Checks In The Mail: Millions Expected To Receive Insurance Rebates Totaling $1.3 Billion

(Kaiser Health News) Millions of consumers and small businesses will receive an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates from their health plans this summer under a provision of the health care law that effectively limits what insurers can charge for administration and profits, a new study projects.
Almost one third of people who bought their own insurance last year will get rebates averaging $127, according to an analysis of state data by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation…
Under the federal law, insurers must spend at least 80 percent of premium revenues on medical costs or quality improvements; the remainder can go toward administrative costs, sales commissions and profits. If companies set premiums too high, rebates in the form of checks or discounts off future premiums are due consumers and businesses by Aug. 1.
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Unhealthy lifestyle riskier than genetics

(RealAge.com) Q. Mom, Dad and my grandparents all passed in their early 60s from either heart attacks or strokes. I’m 35 and scared. What can I do to avoid the same fate?
A. … You can … cut your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke during the next 20 years by more than 60 percent if you adopt some smart-living steps.
--Don’t smoke or hang around people who do.
--Be physically active; walk 10,000 steps a day!
--Keep blood pressure at 115/76.
--Keep your triglycerides at 100 or less; HDL at 60 or above, LDL under 100, and hs C-reactive protein at 1 or less.
--Keep blood glucose level around 85 in the morning before breakfast.
--Floss regularly and see a dentist every six months.
-- Maintain a healthy weight, a body mass index of 18.5-24.9.
--Avoid the five food felons: trans fats, saturated fats, added sugars, any syrups, and any grain but 100 percent whole grain. If they’re in the first five ingredients on a nutritional label (excluding parentheticals), don’t eat that food.
--Talk with your doc about taking two baby aspirins every day: for guys 35+; gals 40+.
--Have a hobby/activity you really love.
Although middle-age children of parents with heart disease are more likely to have cardio problems, an unhealthy familial lifestyle is more risky than genetics. So put aside your fears, and pick up your sneakers; put down that doughnut and pick up an apple — you are going to have years and years [more than your parents].
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Live Longer by Volunteering

(Ames Patch, a Blue Zones Project) When we think of the benefits of volunteering, most of us tend to focus on measuring the impact of the volunteer activities on the health of the community and those being served. However, a growing body of research indicates that volunteering also provides significant health and social benefits to the volunteer. According to a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service, “The Health Benefits of Volunteering”, those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression in later life than those who do not volunteer…
Volunteering, whether giving a few hours a day, or a few hours a month, reinforces and assists others within several of the Blue Zones Power 9 Principles. And, as stated in the article cited above, the volunteer experiences strong social and psychological effects, such as enhancement of one’s sense of purpose, the heart of Blue Zones Principle #2 (Know Your Purpose). People who know why they wake up in the morning live up to seven years longer than those who don’t.
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Clue to Centenarians' Longevity: A Mediterranean Diet

(MyHealthNewsDaily) The Mediterranean diet may be one of the keys to long life, a new study suggests.
Researchers in Italy found that people living in mountain villages on the island of Sicily, who had lived to the age of at least 100, adhered closely to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red meat, refined carbohydrates and sweets…
The study showed an association, not a cause-and-effect link between the diet and a long life, and more work is needed to confirm the findings.
Still, "to reach successful ageing, it is advisable to follow a diet with low quantity of saturated fat and high amount of fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals," which are compounds found in plants, the researchers wrote in their conclusion.
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Eating More Berries May Delay Memory Decline As People Age, Research Shows

(Bloomberg) Berries are good for the brain, according to a study that suggests the fruits can help fend off the mental decline of aging.
Women who ate one or more servings of blueberries or two or more servings of strawberries a week over two decades had minds that, based on memory tests, were 2.5 years younger than those who ate little to no berries, research … showed.
Blueberries and strawberries are rich in a type of flavonoid called anthocyanidins, which are known to cross from the blood into the brain and locate in the parts involved in learning and memory, said lead study author Elizabeth Devore. Flavonoids also may help mitigate the effects of stress and inflammation that could contribute to cognitive decline, she said. More studies are needed to confirm the findings, she said.
Community: And there are many other practical things we can do to prevent or delay mental decline.
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Cooking Light:
Strawberry season
10 Restaurant Dishes Made Healthy
We took classic restaurant dishes, kept the meal appeal, and cut the calories by a huge amount. Here are the ingredients and techniques that make that possible.
Superfast Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs (video)
Watch Allison Fishman make family-friendly spaghetti and meatballs in a fraction of the time.
Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts
This chicken recipe is filled with Mediterranean flavors and pairs well with couscous. Use mozzarella or provolone for a milder kid's dish.
Bell Pepper & Beef Curry
A combination of green beans, red bell peppers and sweet mango makes this beef curry recipe colorful. The heat and salt level can vary widely in red curry paste depending on the brand—taste as you go. Serve with noodles and a basil-and-j√≠cama salad.
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4 Reasons to Eat Quinoa

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you've been hearing more about quinoa lately, it's not a surprise. Considered a "super food," quinoa, ("KEEN-wah") is a relative of beets, spinach and Swiss chard, but its seeds resemble a whole grain and are prepared and eaten in much the same way. Available in light brown, red and even black varieties, quinoa is light yet filling and has a mellow flavor.
Quinoa is:
1.    High in magnesium - magnesium helps relax blood vessels, which may result in fewer headaches for migraine sufferers and decreased risk of hypertension and stroke.
2.    A good source of manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals.
3.    The richest source of protein of any grain. It is especially high in lysine, an amino acid that is typically low in other grains. Quinoa's protein is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids - a rarity in the plant kingdom.
4.    Gluten-free and easy to digest.
Once available only in health food stores, quinoa is becoming more mainstream by the day and is easily found in major grocery stores as well.
Community: I finally discovered how to prepare quinoa so that it doesn’t taste like mud. I wash it, soak it, then wash it again before cooking. The cheapest place in my neighborhood to buy quinoa is in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods.
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Watercress Helps Prevent Damage Caused by a Workout, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Though regular moderate exercise is known to be good for us, the increased demand on our bodies can cause damage to our DNA.
According to a new study…, eating watercress can prevent some of the damage caused by high intensity exercise and help maximise the benefits of a tough workout.
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High salt intake linked to higher stroke risk

(Reuters Health) Older adults with salty diets may have an increased risk of suffering a stroke, a new study suggests…
"We can't definitively draw conclusions about cause-and-effect," said Hannah Gardener, a researcher at the University of Miami School of Medicine who led the study. People who keep their salt intake in check may be healthier in a number of other ways, too, according to Gardener.
Still, she and her colleagues accounted for study participants' smoking habits, exercise levels, education and health conditions that can contribute to strokes -- like diabetes and high blood pressure. And there was still a strong correlation between sodium and stroke risk, the study found.
"I think our findings absolutely support the [American Heart Association] recommendation of[no more than 1,500 milligrams a day]," Gardener told Reuters Health in an interview.
But right now, few Americans may be meeting that goal. It's estimated that the typical U.S. man gets 4,000 milligrams of sodium a day, while women typically get 2,800 milligrams.
Community: Well, we’ve seen that sodium doesn’t have as much of an effect on blood pressure when potassium intake is increased, so maybe the balance between those two elements could affect this finding, as well.
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