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

Big Midsection May Up Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

(MedPage Today) Carrying too much weight in the belly -- having an apple shape -- may increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, researchers found.
In a cohort study, the risk of sudden cardiac death increased along with waist-to-hip ratio (P=0.009 for trend), according to Selcuk Adabag, MD… After accounting for numerous obesity-related comorbidities, however, other measures of obesity -- body mass index and waist circumference -- were not related to the risk of sudden cardiac death, Adabag reported at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting here.
Obesity "is a root cause of problems," he said in an interview. "People, particularly physicians, need to be paying attention to weight gain and should actively work on reducing weight."
The findings of the current study could be incorporated into the counseling that physicians give to patients, he said, although waist-to-hip ratio is not often measured in the clinic and the public is not as familiar with that index of obesity as it is with BMI.
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For defibrillators to save lives, people have to use them

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Chances are, if you’re out and about, you’ll pass by an automated external defibrillator, or AED. 
The machines, which check the heart's rhythm and can deliver a shock to restore the heartbeat to normal, are scattered about public places so that bystanders can deliver a jump-start to people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, keeping the heart going until the patient can make it to a medical facility for treatment. 
But two studies presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in Chicago demonstrate a key limitation of the machines: For defibrillators to save lives, people have to use them, and use them in time. All too often they don’t…
“If CPR and AEDs were employed for every cardiac arrest, hundreds of thousands of lives would be saved annually, in the U.S. alone,” said Dr. Roger Band, senior author of the study.
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Even at higher genetic heart risk, lifestyle helps

(Reuters Health) It's no secret that healthy habits do your heart good. But a new study helps confirm that lifestyle also matters for people who have a genetically increased risk of heart problems…
[R]esearchers found that among men with a parental history of premature heart attack, those with a healthier lifestyle were less likely to develop heart failure over two decades.
Healthy habits included not smoking, exercising regularly, keeping a normal weight and drinking alcohol in moderation.
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Heart Study Suggests City Center Pollution Doubles Risk of Calcium Build-Up in Arteries

(Science Daily)  City centre residents who took part in a study were almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery calcification (CAC), which can lead to heart disease, than people who lived in less polluted urban and rural areas, according to research…
Key findings included:
·         CAC was more common in people living in city centres, rather than urban or rural areas -- in men (69% v 56%), women (42% v 30%), 50 year-olds (48% v 32%) and 60 year-olds (61% v 53%).
·         When the researchers looked at the odds ratio, this showed that people living in city centres were 80% more likely to develop CAC than those living in urban or rural areas.
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AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! Partners With The Heart Foundation

(MarketWatch) American Idol Live! is partnering with The Heart Foundation and their One For The Heart campaign by donating $1 of every AMERICAN IDOL LIVE! TOUR 2012 ticket sold to support heart disease research. Tickets go on sale today, Friday, May 11, and you can purchase them via www.AmericanIdol.com , www.ticketmaster.com and www.aeglive.com . For full tour information, please go to www.AmerianIdol.com . The highly anticipated 45-city tour kicks off July 6 in Detroit.
"We are thrilled to partner with American Idol Live! on The Heart Foundation's One For The Heart campaign to fight heart disease - the #1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States," said Mark Litman, Chairman of The Heart Foundation and close friend of the late Steven Cohen, in whose memory the organization was founded. "This partnership will help raise awareness of heart disease and fund the incredible life-saving research being done by P.K. Shah and his extraordinary team of doctors."
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Coconut Curried Pork, Snow Pea, and Mango Stir-Fry
Adding tropical ingredients like chopped mango and coconut milk make this 15-minute stir-fry special. Red curry powder is a blend of coriander, cumin, chiles, and cardamom. Use it to give this quick stir-fry a hint of Thai flavor.
Lasagna with Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce
Slow-roasting the tomatoes gives the tomato sauce for this lasagna recipe an intense depth of flavor—which is then enhanced by the umami in onions, Parmesan and spinach. The lasagna noodles are layered into the lasagna uncooked; the moisture from the fresh spinach cooks them perfectly as the lasagna bakes in the oven.
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CDC: Foodborne illnesses show decline

(MyHealthNewsDaily) The rate of food-borne illness in the United States dropped by nearly a quarter since the late 1990s, according to a new report.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the overall incidence of six common food-borne germs was 23 percent lower in 2010 than in the years between 1996 and 1998.
"The 'big picture' is that we have seen declines in foodborne illness but there is still more that can be done to further drive down the incidence of these infections," said study researcher Olga Henao, leader of the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network Team at the CDC.
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Vitamin K2 may help treat Parkinson's

(UPI) Vitamin K2 may help treat Parkinson's disease, researchers in Belgium said…
"It appears from our research that administering vitamin K2 could possibly help patients with Parkinson's, but more work needs to be done to understand this better," [neuroscientist Patrik] Verstreken said in a statement.
Community: Dietary sources of vitamin K2 are “Vegetables like spinach, asparagus, and broccoli, Beans and soybeans, Eggs, Strawberries, Meat”, according to WebMD. It’s also available as a food supplement.
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Scientists Uncover Exciting Lead Into Premature Aging and Heart Disease

(Science Daily)  Scientists have discovered that they can dramatically increase the life span of mice with progeria (premature aging disease) and heart disease (caused by Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy) by reducing levels of a protein called SUN1…
[B]y inactivating SUN1 and reducing SUN1 levels in these mouse models, the scientists observed that the life spans of the mouse models for progeria and AD-EDMD doubled and tripled respectively.
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Cardiovascular Disease Risk of High Normal Blood Pressure Decreases in Old Age

(Science Daily) High normal blood pressure becomes less of a risk factor for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) with age, according to a new study…
The results showed that the risk of developing incident CVD and CHD was significantly higher in people with high normal blood pressure during middle-age (between 30 and 60 years of age) than for people with the same high normal blood pressure aged 60 years and older. Incident CVD and CHD risk was, however, similarly high in people with diagnosed high blood pressure across all age-groups.
"These results reinforce the fact that high blood pressure is a serious risk for CVD in all age groups," said Dr. F. Hadaegh, Prevention of Metabolic Disorders Research Center, Tehran, Iran. "However, the results also suggest that when looking to manage high normal blood pressure resources should be focused on those individuals that are in middle age."
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Blood cell breakthrough could help treat heart disease

(Phys.org) [R]esearchers at the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (ICMR) at the University of Reading have uncovered, for the first time, the mechanism by which platelets, the blood cells that cause clots, ‘communicate' with each other and the inner walls of blood vessels when clotting.
The clotting process helps the body to repair itself and stops wounds from bleeding. But inappropriate activation of platelets leads to the formation of clots in the bloodstream (thrombosis), which can lead to a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.
Currently, doctors treating heart disease can administer drugs which reduce the tendency of the blood to clot, and therefore decrease the risk of thrombosis.  However, such anti-thrombotic drugs are not effective for some patients, and can cause dangerous side-effects…
Professor [Jonathan] Gibbins said: "[This discovery shows a] very important communication mechanism for blood clotting and thrombosis.  Since we have found that molecules that block these channels reduce thrombosis this may pave the way for potential new avenues for the development of more effective anti-thrombotic therapies to prevent heart attacks and strokes."
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Heart Procedure More Effective Than Drug for Erratic Rate

(Bloomberg) A procedure that destroys part of the cardiac tissue responsible for the most common type of heart rhythm disorder is more effective than drug therapy at keeping the erratic rate in check, a study found.
The results … suggest the approach known as cardiac ablation should be considered as an initial treatment for atrial fibrillation, said lead researcher Carlos Morillo… It’s now used for patients who don’t benefit from standard drug therapy, he said…
More than 2.6 million Americans have atrial fibrillation, and the number is expected to soar to 12 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The condition can cause chronic fatigue and shortness of breath, and may make patients more vulnerable to heart failure and stroke.
While the results show ablation is more beneficial than drug therapy, it does carry rare and deadly risks, said Hugh Calkins… Drug therapy is easy to give and it’s generally clear within a couple of weeks if it will work, he said.
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Transforming Scar Tissue Into Beating Hearts

(Science Daily) [Dr. Deepak ] Srivastava presented [at a recent conference] the results of his latest studies using viral vectors to deliver genes directly into the hearts of adult mice that had experienced an MI…
In his original "proof of principle" study…, Srivastava was able to show that all that was needed for the direct reprogramming of fibroblasts (a major component of scar tissue) into myocytes (heart muscle cells responsible for beating) was the delivery of three genes…
In the latest study (currently in press), Srivastava explained, they have been able to take the process one step further by injecting a viral vector encoding the genes for Gata4, Mef2c, and Tbx5 directly into the scar tissue of mice who had just experienced an MI. "With these studies we've obtained even better results showing that the fibroblasts become more like cardiomyocytes and functionally couple with their neighbours. They could beat in synchrony and improve the function of the heart," he said.
The team have also shown that fibroblasts taken from the skin of mice (dermal fibroblasts) can be converted into muscle-like cells.
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CDC: U.S. influenza rates fall further

(UPI) U.S. influenza rates fell further last week in most of the country, but Alabama and Hawaii reported influenza-like illness, health officials said…
The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 1.4 percent. New York City and 48 states experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity, the CDC said.
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'Switch' to Boost Anti-Viral Response to Fight Infectious Diseases

(Science Daily) Singapore scientists … have for the first time, identified the molecular 'switch' that directly triggers the body's first line of defence against pathogens, more accurately known as the body's "innate immunity." The scientists found that this 'switch' called Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) when turned on, activates the production of interferons -- a potent class of virus killers that enables the body to fight harmful pathogens such as dengue and influenza viruses…
Said Professor Kong-Peng Lam …, "This study … brings us a step closer to understanding the mechanism of human diseases, and enables us to find more effective treatment strategies to combat deadly viral diseases, which we have yet to find cures for."
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Arthritis, Cancer: New Screening Technique Yields Elusive Compounds to Block Immune-Regulating Enzyme

(Science Daily) Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found the first chemical compounds that act to block an enzyme that has been linked to inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis, as well as some inflammation-promoted cancers.
The new study … describes new compounds that inhibit an important enzyme called PRMT1 (protein arginine methyltransferase 1). The new inhibitors will be useful to scientists who study PRMT1-related biological pathways in cells and who are developing drug treatments for PRMT1-related inflammatory conditions and cancers.
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FDA Gets Advice To Approve First Pill To Cut HIV Infections

(Shots, NPR) In what could mark a watershed in the fight against HIV/AIDS, a panel of experts recommended that the Food and Drug Administration give a green light to a pill that can cut the risk of infections.
The daily pill, Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. It's already approved as a treatment for HIV, but its use could soon expand to include protection of uninfected people.
The advisory panel concluded Thursday that the benefits to healthy people vulnerable to HIV infection outweigh the risks, including such side effects as kidney damage and a dangerous increase in acid in the blood.
The people the panel has in mind are gay and bisexual men and heterosexual couples in which one partner is positive for HIV.
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Final Rule Issued On Consumer Rebates And Notification

(Kaiser Health News) Most health insurers this year must at least inform policyholders that their coverage met the minimum spending threshold under the federal health law, even if they don’t owe consumers a rebate, a final rule out Friday says.
The rule splits the difference between industry, which did not want to send any notice to those not owed a rebate, and consumer groups, which said informing policyholders of the exact percent that each insurer spent on medical care would be valuable. Under the rule, the notices do not need to include the exact figure. The rule says such notices are a one-time effort to reflect spending in 2011.
Insurers are required to offer rebates if they fail to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care or quality improvements.
Community: Comments on this article are below.
Will someone please tell me why we need health care insurance companies? If we had single-payer health care we would not have to pay for the “middle man” who serves no other purpose than to scrape off their margin and fatten up their wallet..
It’s the money, Sam. In our society, making money isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Those of us who believe government can be the vehicle for pooling our risk at the lowest cost are elbowed out of the discussion by people blinded by love of greed and whose anti-cooperation beliefs approach cult status.
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Join the Food Revolution

Food Revolution Day is next week.
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To Live Longer, Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods

(RealAge.com) Just when you thought you'd heard everything about the health benefits of fiber (less constipation, lower LDL cholesterol, better blood sugar, easier weight loss), a new one crops up -- and this one's a big deal: longer life…
Eating high-fiber foods can also cut your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and breathing problems, and help you lose weight.
Convert refined-grain side dishes to fiber-rich 100% whole-grain versions and you'll also get the vitamins, minerals, and dozens of health-enhancing phytochemicals in grain's innermost part, the kernel. (Along with the fiber-rich bran layer, the kernel is usually processed out in refined-grain products.)
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Study: To eat better, buy a fruit bowl

(UPI) People who want to eat healthier might do well to use a fruit bowl, as it seems to promote consumption of some fresh fruits, U.S. researchers suggest…
[T]he researchers found when apples and carrots were left close to the participants, those healthy foods were more likely to be eaten.
Interestingly, making the food more visible to participants by placing them in clear bowls increased the intake of the apples but not the carrots, the researchers said.
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You can fit restaurant fare into a healthy lifestyle

(Environmental Nutrition Newsletter) Let's face it; given our busy lifestyles, people are not going to stop eating out.
"Eating in restaurants is part of our lifestyle, and telling people to not eat out or even to eat out less frequently is unrealistic advice," says [Gayle Timmerman Ph.D., R.N.]. "What people need are specific strategies and skills to overcome the barriers to healthful eating in the restaurant environment."
Practicing mindful eating may be one such effective strategy, according to a study published in the February 2012 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Researchers found that mindful-eating techniques, which focus on bringing full attention to the eating experience, combined with reducing calorie and fat intake were effective at weight management. The participants in the intervention group on average lost 1.7 kilograms and ate 297 fewer calories per day at the end of the six-week intervention.
Eating in restaurants is and will continue to be part of our social fabric. By using EN's healthful eating strategies you can enjoy restaurant meals without compromising your health. We asked Timmerman and other nutrition experts to share some of their best strategies for dining out healthfully:
1. Ask for a take-home box before you start eating and get half of the food off the table. That way, you won't be tempted to finish it.
2. Avoid "unloved" calories, unless they're fruits and vegetables. For example, if your meal typically comes with a side you feel neutral about--say, white rice--ask for a substitute that you do like so you don't mindlessly eat extra calories just because they're on your plate.
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Domino’s adds gluten-free pizza

(Gannett News Service) Domino’s, the world’s largest delivery-pizza chain, announced Monday it’s now offering pizza made with a gluten-free crust — the first national chain to do so.
The move comes as some of the biggest foodmakers and food sellers — including Frito-Lay, Subway, Anheuser-Busch and P.F. Chang’s — are jumping into the $6.2 billion market for people unable to consume products made with wheat, barley and rye.
Russell Weiner, a top Domino’s executive, notes that while the crust is certified gluten-free, the pizza is still prepared in ovens with pizzas that aren’t gluten-free, so people who are extra-sensitive need to be aware.
The gluten-free pizza comes only in a small — 10-inch — size and costs about $3 more.
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Gourmet Food Trucks Fight Inspectors’ ‘Roach Coach’ Perceptions

(Bloomberg) The new model being set by Porc Mobile in Washington and Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in New York has moved beyond hot dogs and ice cream to miso soup, lobster rolls and crepes. Mobile food- preparation businesses increased 15 percent over five years to make up 37 percent of the $1.4 billion of U.S. street vending revenue in 2011, according to researcher IBISWorld Inc.
“They’ve grown aggressively,” said Nima Samadi, a senior analyst at Santa Monica, California-based IBISWorld. “It’s at a heightened pitch at this point.”
With that increase has come more concern about safe food handling by regulators and complaints by restaurants without wheels.
New York is weighing letter grades that reflect inspection histories, and Boston now requires healthier menu items to be sold. A proposal in Washington to mandate shorter operating hours than restaurants at night has sparked a petition drive in protest, and California lawmakers faced a backlash in March over a pitch to ban roving eateries near schools in an effort to prevent children from buying less nutritious food.
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What to Eat When You Crave Sweets

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If sweets are your dietary downfall, don't worry - you don't have to give up sweets entirely in order to achieve a healthy weight. It's the type of sweets you choose that is important.
Watch Dr. Weil discuss what to choose in lieu of sweet processed foods and diet drinks that have sugar substitutes.
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Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pancetta
Pancetta is cured unsmoked Italian bacon available at the grocery deli counter. It gives this elegant dish a deep, savory note. If you can't find gnocchi, substitute another short pasta.
Cashew Salmon with Apricot Couscous
Yogurt sauce flavored with lemon, cumin and cilantro tops this Indian-inspired grilled salmon.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Two-Colored Fruit Gazpacho
What is more pleasurable to eat than a fruit soup? This isn't only great to eat; it is good to look at because of the color. This gazpacho will cool you and your friends and family off on any warm afternoon.
Food as Medicine
The benefit of whole fruits (and vegetables) to cardiovascular health is incontrovertible. In a 2003 study, those who ate the most fruit were shown to have a 40 percent lower risk of stroke than those who consumed the least fruit. Kiwis are particularly heart-healthy, and may reduce triglyceride levels as well as blood clot risk. Kiwis are rich in heart- and blood vessel-protective vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, copper, magnesium and vitamin E.
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Fish tied to lower colon cancer risk: study

(Reuters) People who eat plenty of fish may have a lower risk of colon cancer and, even more, rectal cancer, according to an analysis of 41 studies from around the world…
Overall, regularly eating fish was tied to a 12 percent lower risk of developing or dying of colon or rectal cancer, the researchers found.
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Cherry Extract Eased Gout Pain

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. At 39, my brother … was diagnosed with gout. He couldn't afford prescription medicines, so he took pure cherry extract instead. Within three days, the knots and pain disappeared. His uric acid came down to normal and he has had no problems since…
A. Gout is a painful irritation of the joints due to excess uric acid accumulation. Many people agree that tart cherries or cherry extract can be helpful. Anyone who tries this remedy should seek genuine cherry extract. Imitation cherry extract used for cooking is unlikely to work.
Other readers have suggested dried cherries, frozen cherries, or even canned cherries. The cherries that work best are tart cherries, also referred to as sour cherries or pie cherries. Cherry concentrate or cherry pills may also help. For more information on remedies for gout, you may want to check our book, The People's Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.
Community: I never had gout until I had a Reclast injection for osteoporosis. I got a terrible pain in the base of my thumbs. It lasted so long that I finally looked for a natural remedy. Based on Dr. Weil’s recommendation, I started drinking tart cherry juice. It worked. No more pain in the base of my thumbs.
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Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Work?

(U.S. News & World Report) Vitamins and dietary supplements are big—more than 110 million Americans forked over a collective $28 billion in 2010 on little bottles of would-be health magic. Research is unclear, however, on whether shoring up your diet with extra vitamins, minerals, and other supplements helps or hurts—in the short run or in reaching for the century mark…
Most Americans are well-nourished (besides being amply fed). Because much of our food is fortified with nutrients, once-common deficiency diseases such as scurvy and rickets, caused by inadequate vitamin C and D, respectively, have nearly disappeared in this and other developed countries. Researchers generally believe that with a few exceptions, like pregnant women or the elderly, most people don't need supplements…
Still, some researchers maintain that the diets of many Americans fall somewhat short on certain key nutrients…
Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy…, worries that supplements give Americans license to continue their unhealthful ways so long as they pop a pill after the steak and hot fudge sundae. A balanced diet is still the best source of nutrients. Adding supplements—or fruits and veggies, for that matter—to a high-calorie diet is not going to work magic. Good health begins with physical activity and a balanced diet that is heavy on fruits, veggies, whole grains, "good" fats, and fish and light on red meat, "bad" fats, and processed food—and not too high in calories. "Nature," says Lichtenfeld, "is probably better than our manufacturers."
Community: I sometimes wonder if the studies showing that people who take vitamins and supplements have higher mortality rates than those who don’t, take into account those who also lead a healthy lifestyle vs. those who don’t.
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Arena’s Weight-Loss Pill Leads Push for Approval in Fight Against Obesity

(Bloomberg) Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA)’s weight- loss pill gained the backing of an advisory panel, putting two obesity drugs in line for U.S. approval almost two years after regulators rejected them as too risky.
Food and Drug Administration advisers voted 18-4 yesterday that the benefits of Arena’s pill, known as lorcaserin, outweigh the risks. The FDA is scheduled to decide by June 27 on lorcaserin, and doesn’t have to follow the panel’s advice.
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Could the Ways Animals Regenerate Hair and Feathers Help Restore Human Fingers and Toes?

(Science Daily) The latest issue of the journal Physiology contains a review article that looks at possible routes that unlock cellular regeneration in general, and the principles by which hair and feathers regenerate themselves in particular…
While the concept of regenerative medicine is relatively new, animals are well known to remake their hair and feathers regularly by normal regenerative physiological processes. In their review, the authors focus on (1) how extrafollicular environments can regulate hair and feather stem cell activities and (2) how different configurations of stem cells can shape organ forms in different body regions to fulfill changing physiological needs.
The review outlines previous research on the role of normal regeneration of hair and feathers throughout the lifespan of various birds and mammals. The researchers include what is currently known about the mechanism behind this re-growth, as well as what gaps still exist in the knowledge base and remain ripe for future research.
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High-level trauma care may limit disability

(Reuters Health) People treated for severe injuries at a specialized trauma center may survive with fewer disabilities than those at other hospitals, a study from Australia suggests.
The findings, researchers say, add to evidence that patients fare better when they're treated under an organized trauma system -- where hospitals, emergency services and state governments have coordinated plans for getting the right patients to the appropriate treatment.
So-called Level I trauma centers provide the most comprehensive care for traumatic injuries and have to meet certain requirements -- like having a specific number of surgeons and other specialists on duty 24 hours a day.
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Medicare Spotlights Hospitals With Especially Costly Patients

(Kaiser Health News) The government has identified hundreds of hospitals whose Medicare patients are incurring especially high bills, a first step toward using bonuses and penalties to encourage more efficient care.  
The new Medicare figures show wide variance among hospitals around the country, even ones just a few miles apart…
Experts offered various possible explanations for the gaps. Some hospitals have more specialists working on a case, which drives up costs. If a hospital did a subpar job, a patient could end up getting more tests and procedures afterward or be readmitted, also running up Medicare’s costs. Others said some hospitals might be more likely to discharge patients to expensive places to recuperate, such as long-term care hospitals…
Nancy Foster, a vice president at the American Hospital Association, said the data do not answer key questions: Did the patients that got more services fare better than others? Could the patients that cost Medicare less actually have benefitted from more care? "What we don't know is if those additional investments yield differences in outcomes," Foster said.
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HHS finalizes new rules to cut regulations for hospitals and health care providers, saving more than $5 billion

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced significant steps to reduce unnecessary, obsolete, or burdensome regulations on American hospitals and health care providers. These steps will help achieve the key goal of President Obama’s regulatory reform initiative to reduce unnecessary burdens on business and save nearly $1.1 billion across the health care system in the first year and more than $5 billion over five years.
“We are cutting red tape and improving health care for all Americans,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Now it will be easier for health care providers to do their jobs and deliver quality care.”
The new rules are being issued today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The first rule revises the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs). CMS estimates that annual savings to hospitals and CAHs will be approximately $940 million per year.
The second, the Medicare Regulatory Reform rule, will produce savings of $200 million in the first year by promoting efficiency. This rule eliminates duplicative, overlapping, and outdated regulatory requirements for health care providers.
“These changes cut burdensome red tape for hospitals and providers and give them the flexibility they need to improve patient care while lowering costs,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.  “These final rules incorporate input from hospitals, other health care providers, accreditation organizations, patient advocates, professional organizations, members of Congress, and a host of others who are working to improve patient care.”
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House passes bill that cuts health programs while sparing defense

(ModernHealthcare.com) Despite a veto threat from the White House, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would prevent $78 billion in defense spending cuts next year and supplant them with steep cuts to domestic programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program…
On Wednesday, the American Public Health Association sent a letter to House members that urged lawmakers to vote against the bill, which includes provisions to repeal the healthcare reform law's Prevention and Public Health Fund; reduce funding for both Medicaid and CHIP; and cut about $36 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which the association said would eliminate benefits to about 2 million Americans.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in an interview … “They seemed to do this whole bill for the purpose of protecting the wealthy from higher taxes and making sure we put money back in the military at the expense of health programs, safety net programs—programs that are vital for the middle class and people with low incomes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), a physician who co-chairs the GOP Doctors Caucus, applauded the bill’s passage in a statement that noted the legislation would save about $328 billion over 10 years.
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Lawmakers Propose A Permanent 'Doc Fix'

(The Hill) Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Joe Heck (R-Nev.) introduced a bill Wednesday to reform how Medicare pays healthcare providers and to avoid a cut to reimbursement rates on Jan. 1.
The bipartisan measure would repeal Medicare's current reimbursement formula and replace it with a new system of payment models. It would also give doctors small boosts in payment rates for four years. Money for the changes would coming from war savings from troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan — a move Republicans have opposed in the past as a "Ponzi scheme."…
"Now is the time to fix the broken system once and for all," Schwartz said in a statement. "For far too long we failed America's seniors and created a long-term fiscal nightmare for Medicare by maintaining the status quo."
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What works in weight loss

(UPI) U.S. researchers analyzed data to find what works in weight loss and confirmed quick fixes, fad diets, diet foods and supplements do little good.
[Jacinda] Nicklas said diet and exercise were the big factors that worked.
"Americans with obesity are having success with some of the tried-and-true methods of weight loss -- eating less fat, exercising more and also using other techniques, like prescription weight loss medicines and commercial weight loss programs," Nicklas said in a statement.
Community: SouthBeachDiet.com, for a limited time, is offering a book for just the cost of shipping and handling ($4.95) and a two-week free trial membership. After that, there’s a cost to join the South Beach Diet program, but SlimKicker is free. And the NIH has a Weight-control Information Network (en Español).
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Why 'Fat Talk' is Bad for Reaching Weight Loss Goals

(RealAge.com) Those who regularly trash talk their body weight are more likely to have a poor body image, higher levels of depression, and feel more pressure to be thin, according to a new study…
Engaging in fat talk about your own body and weight tends to blossom into broader negative feelings about yourself and adds to feelings of helplessness…
How to break the cycle? Camilla Mager, a clinical psychologist in New York City who specializes in the psychology of women and eating disorders, offers the following tips for improving poor body image:
·         Avoid reading magazines or looking at images that reinforce the body image problem.
·         Pay attention to the tone you use when talking to or about yourself. Would you talk that way to anyone else? Probably not. Try not to be so critical of yourself.
·         Focus on what your body is capable of -- your strengths -- instead of what it's not doing.
·         If you find yourself in a fat talk conversation with friends, commit to not engaging in those types of discussions.
Community: I’ve had to change the way I talk to myself. When I was hard on myself for every little thing, I never changed any behavior. Now that I’m treating myself the same way I’d treat a child, I’m able to make small changes, one at a time, that build up to a healthier lifestyle.
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Expert offers random weight-loss tips

(Charles Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H., DietDetective.com) I don't go to a lot of parties, but when I do, I find that because I'm in the "diet" business and a professor of public health, I get asked all kinds of questions about how to lose weight. So here's the advice I find myself giving most often.
- The desire for and commitment to weight loss must come from you. Friends and family are important sources of support, but not motivation.
- Understand that YOU are responsible for you - and that it's YOUR choice to be overweight or not. When you take responsibility for this concept, it not only feels wonderful, it means you have a greater chance of being able to manage your weight.
- Responsibility simply means that you respond ably to those things in life that can stop you or set you back. When you act responsibly, you figure out what went wrong, determine how you can fix it, and even incorporate the setback into a well-thought-out plan of action…
- Successful weight loss isn't possible unless you take the time to assess what's tripped you up in the past and develop strategies for dealing with those situations. You must commit to planning and organizing your weight loss.
- Making drastic or highly restrictive changes in your eating habits may help you to lose weight in the short run, but those restrictions can be hard to live with permanently…
· Remembering that even though we all have "slip prone" situations and temptations, goal-planning helps us handle them.
Read more, and there’s lots, lots more really good stuff.
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Sleep 9 hours a night to lose weight

(UPI) Sleeping too much does not make one fat -- in fact, sleeping more than 9 hours a night may suppress genetic influences on body weight, U.S. researchers say…
For twins averaging more than 9 hours of sleep, genetic factors accounted for 32 percent of weight variations, with common environment accounting for 51 percent and unique environment 17 percent, the study said.
"The results suggest that shorter sleep provides a more permissive environment for the expression of obesity related genes," [Dr. Nathaniel] Watson said in a statement. "Or it may be that extended sleep is protective by suppressing expression of obesity genes."
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A new candidate pathway for treating belly fat

(Brigham and Women's Hospital) Brown seems to be the color of choice when it comes to the types of fat cells in our bodies. Brown fat expends energy, while its counterpart, white fat stores it. The danger in white fat cells, along with the increased risk for diabetes and heart disease it poses, seems especially linked to visceral fat. Visceral fat is the build-up of fat around the organs in the belly.
So in the battle against obesity, brown fat appears to be our friend and white fat our foe.
Now a team of researchers … has discovered a way to turn foe to friend. By manipulating the metabolic pathways in the body responsible for converting vitamin A—or retinol—into retinoic acid, [Jorge Plutzky, MD,] and his colleagues have essentially made white fat take on characteristics of brown fat. Their findings put medical science a step closer in the race to develop novel anti-obesity therapies.
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Testosterone injections can aid weight loss: study

(AFP) Obese older men with low testosterone levels can lose weight by taking supplements of the male hormone, according to the findings of a study released Wednesday.
"Raising serum testosterone to normal reduced body weight, waist circumference and blood pressure, and improved metabolic profiles," said a statement on the study led by Farid Saad of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer Pharma.
The improvements were progressive over the five years of the study.
"Increased testosterone levels improve energy and motivation to do physical exercise and more movement in general; testosterone also increases lean body mass (fat free mass), increasing the energy used by patients," the statement said.
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To lose beer belly, first quit beer

(UPI) A U.S. sports medicine doctor says people who want to lose a beer belly before summer arrives should first stop drinking beer…
"To lose a beer belly you have to stop drinking beer, eat less food and exercise more," [Dr. Robert] Dimeff said in a statement. "It's where most men store their fat, especially as they age."
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Easy Baked Fish Fillets
Looking for a simple fish dinner? Try this easy recipe for baked fish fillets. You can use any firm white fish: cod, haddock, or grouper work well.
Korean-Spiced Pork Chops & Slaw
Chili powder and garlic, both of which star in Korean cuisine, season grilled pork chops and a cool, tangy slaw. If you can find Korean chili powder use it, otherwise conventional chili powder is fine.
Cooking Light:
Superfast Mediterranean Recipes
From Morocco, to Italy, to Greece, to Turkey, to the Middle East, these recipes are tasty and none take more than 20 minutes to make.
How to Cook Grilled Sirloin and Broccoli Rabe
Top pan-grilled sirloin with a soft, savory anchovy-lemon butter and serve with sautéed broccoli rabe for a tasty 20-minute meal.
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