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

A Walk in the Park Gives Mental Boost

(Science Daily) A walk in the park may have psychological benefits for people suffering from depression. In one of the first studies to examine the effect of nature walks on cognition and mood in people with major depression, researchers in Canada and the U.S. have found promising evidence that a walk in the park may provide some cognitive benefits…
"Our study showed that participants with clinical depression demonstrated improved memory performance after a walk in nature, compared to a walk in a busy urban environment," said [researcher Dr. Marc] Berman, who cautioned that such walks are not a replacement for existing and well-validated treatments for clinical depression, such as psychotherapy and drug treatment.
"Walking in nature may act to supplement or enhance existing treatments for clinical depression, but more research is needed to understand just how effective nature walks can be to help improve psychological functioning," he said.
Community: You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from being outside. Consider the following articles:
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Sunscreens Remain Safe, Effective Form of Sun Protection, Experts Say

(Science Daily) The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) has recently reiterated the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens to protect against the damaging effects from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. As one component of a daily sun-protection strategy, sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
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Natural Mosquito Repellants

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. Is there any herb I can take to make myself less attractive to mosquitoes without also making myself less attractive to the human race?
A. One indisputably effective repellent was originally developed for the military.
DEET is unrivaled in its ability to keep mosquitoes from biting. But there are concerns about toxicity, especially for young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using insect repellents with more than 10 percent DEET on little children. There have been a few reports of headaches, behavioral changes, disorientation and seizures.
Another approach to repelling mosquitoes is to take 100 mg of vitamin B-1 (thiamine). The original research on this was done in the 1940s and doesn't meet today's standards. But we recently heard from a reader who found it very effective…
Garlic capsules also have their enthusiasts, but the odor might discourage people as much as mosquitoes.
Home-made insect repellent can be put together using 1 tablespoon citronella oil, 2 cups white vinegar, 1 cup water and 1 cup Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil.
A product called Bite Blocker contains soybean, coconut and geranium oils. In a Canadian study, Bite Blocker repelled mosquitoes better than citronella and a brand with a low concentration of the effective chemical repellent DEET.
No insect repellent, even DEET, is one hundred percent effective. To relieve itching, a prescription-strength steroid cream may work, but applying hot water (uncomfortable, but not scalding) for a few seconds relieves itching for an hour or more.
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Laxative Doubles as Poison Ivy Remedy

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. I've used milk of magnesia to clear up poison ivy
A. Calamine lotion contains zinc oxide and ferric oxide. It is an old-fashioned mainstay for poison ivy treatment but there has been controversy about its effectiveness.
Other readers agree that topical applications of magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) can be helpful for soothing poison ivy rashes.
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How Exercise Affects the Brain: Age and Genetics Play a Role

(Science Daily) Exercise clears the mind. It gets the blood pumping and more oxygen is delivered to the brain. This is familiar territory, but Dartmouth's David Bucci thinks there is much more going on.
"In the last several years there have been data suggesting that neurobiological changes are happening -- [there are] very brain-specific mechanisms at work here," says Bucci, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
From his studies, Bucci and his collaborators have revealed important new findings:
·         The effects of exercise are different on memory as well as on the brain, depending on whether the exerciser is an adolescent or an adult.
·         A gene has been identified which seems to mediate the degree to which exercise has a beneficial effect. This has implications for the potential use of exercise as an intervention for mental illness.
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Working down the risk

(HHS HealthBeat) A study indicates that even if people can’t work off the weight, being physically active may reduce factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can affect their risk of cardiovascular disease. At the University of South Carolina, researcher D.C. Lee saw this in six years of weight and exercise data on more than 3,100 healthy adults. Lee saw a benefit even if people gained weight.
"Even though they gained fatness, if they improved or maintained their fitness level, they decreased their risk of developing those cardiovascular disease risk factors."
So Lee says people should keep active.
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Grilled Cumin Chicken with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce
Bring the heat of the southwest to the dinner table with a delicious take on the weeknight meal of grilled chicken. Serve with chipotle rice.
Lime-Honey Glazed Chicken
The sweet and tangy lime-honey marinade is simmered on the stovetop and then used as a sauce to baste and glaze the chicken. Don't let the chicken marinate any longer than 2 hours; overmarinating in soy sauce and lime juice can make the texture of the meat spongy.
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Are raspberry ketones a 'miracle' fat burner? Dr. Oz weighs in.

(Los Angeles Times) Until recently, very few people had ever heard of raspberry ketones, the aromatic compounds that give the berries their distinctive smell. Today, health food stores have trouble keeping the capsules or drops of the stuff on their shelves. Almost overnight, an obscure plant compound became the next big thing in weight loss — and all it took was a few words from Dr. Oz…
The Dr. Oz television segment featured before-and-after pictures of women who said they lost significant weight while taking raspberry ketone supplements. But Oz noted that the women had also dieted and worked out. The Dr. Oz website says that raspberry ketones work best "when paired with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet."
Nothing discussed on Oz's show "should be considered as a substitute for the basic tenets of diet and exercise," [show spokesman Tim] Sullivan says. "Anything strong enough to help you is strong enough to hurt you" is something Oz says frequently, according to Sullivan.
Diet and exercise — the real secret to weight loss — are not much of a secret at all, [internist Dr. Peter] Lipson says. He adds that the old-fashioned approach doesn't make for great television, which is why he thinks Oz and other television personalities end up touting new, exciting products that may or may not work.
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Saturated fats can impact brain function

‎(ABC7Chicago.com) Bad fat could hurt your brain function over time.
A new study finds women who eat a lot of bad saturated fat may hurt their overall brain function and memory over time. But, in contrast, eating more good monounsaturated fats improved brain function and memory. Researchers add, this suggests that fats may have the same effect on the brain as they do on the heart.
Scientists … say, just like exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking may be another modifiable factor in the fight against mental decline.
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Not All 'Good Cholesterol' Is 'Good'

(Science Daily) A new paper … challenges the assumption that raising a person's HDL -- the so-called "good cholesterol" -- will necessarily lower the risk of a heart attack. The new research underscores the value of using genetic approaches to test biological hypotheses about human disease prior to developing specific drugs.
A team … explored naturally occurring genetic variations in humans to test the connection between HDL levels and heart attack. By studying the genes of roughly 170,000 individuals, the team discovered that, when examined together, the 15 HDL-raising variants they tested do not reduce the risk of heart attack.
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Statins Before Stenting Cut Risks

(MedPage Today) Statin treatment before percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) reduces cardiac injury from the procedure and boosts longer term outcomes, Italian researchers affirmed…
Major adverse cardiac or cerebrovascular events were 82% less likely over 1 year with statin preloading after adjustment for other factors (P=0.0001), Gennaro Sardella, MD, of the Sapienza University of Rome, and colleagues found.
However, the specific statin used didn't appear to make a difference, they reported
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Antibiotics prevent UTIs better than probiotics

(Reuters Health) Antibiotics are still better than probiotics at preventing urinary tract infections, but at least "good bacteria" don't add to a person's antibiotic resistance, a new study concludes.
Recurring UTIs are common among some women and low-dose antibiotics are sometimes used to prevent them. The worry is that overuse of the drugs also reduces their effectiveness by making disease-causing bacteria like E. coli resistant…
Before the study, about 20 percent to 40 percent of E. coli in samples from all the women's bodies were resistant to co-trimoxazole. At the 12-month mark, between 80 percent and 95 percent of the bacteria were resistant in the women taking the antibiotic. Rates of resistant E. coli were slightly lower at 12 months in women taking the probiotics than when the study began.
Similar changes in antibiotic resistance were seen for a range of other antibiotics.
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Z-Pak Heart Attack?

(WebMD Health News) Sudden heart death may be a new risk from the commonly prescribed antibiotic azithromycin -- better known as Zithromax or the Z-Pak…
Compared to patients who took no antibiotics, those taking the five-day course of azithromycin treatment had about a threefold higher risk of heart death. Compared to patients with infections treated with amoxicillin, another antibiotic, those taking azithromycin had twice the risk of heart death…
"It's a small risk. And if you look carefully, you'll see that all antibiotics have serious risks," study leader Wayne A. Ray, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, tells WebMD. "For most patients, this is a relatively small risk."
Ray says the study probably will make doctors think hard about prescribing azithromycin for patients at high risk of heart death.
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Test All Baby Boomers for Hepatitis C Virus, U.S. Health Guidelines Urge

(Bloomberg) Rising deaths among baby boomers from hepatitis C prompted U.S. health officials to declare the entire age group a risk factor for the liver infection and recommend that all of its members be tested for the disease…
Testing may help prevent cirrhosis and liver cancer, both of which result from infection, public health officials said. Baby boomers were infected in their teens and 20s, either through blood transfusions before HIV concerns prompted widespread screening in 1992, or with experimental injection drug use. Hepatitis C is often asymptomatic while it damages the liver, the CDC said in a statement.
“It’s a bold action that’s become necessary because there’s a large population that’s unaware of their illness, becoming ill, and dying in an era of effective treatment,” said John W. Ward, director of the division of viral hepatitis at the CDC, in a telephone interview.
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Free hepatitis C tests in some U.S. cities

(UPI) OraSure said it is working with Walgreens and health groups to provide free hepatitis C tests in New York, Chicago, Houston, St. Louis and Washington…
It is estimated up to 75 percent of those infected with the hepatitis C virus are unaware of their status, and they might also be unaware the hepatitis C virus can be treated with medications.
Community: I couldn’t find anything on OraSure’s or Walgreens’ websites about this program. If you find something, let me know and I’ll post it.
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Google Goes Cancer: Search Engine Algorithm Finds Cancer Biomarkers

(Science Daily) The strategy used by Google to decide which pages are relevant for a search query can also be used to determine which proteins in a patient's cancer are relevant for the disease progression.
Researchers … have used a modified version of Google's PageRank algorithm to rank about 20,000 proteins by their genetic relevance to the progression of pancreatic cancer. In their study…, they found seven proteins that can help to assess how aggressive a patient's tumor is and guide the clinician to decide if that patient should receive chemotherapy or not.
The researcher's own version of the Google algorithm has been used in this study to find new cancer biomarkers, which are molecules produced by cancer cells. Biomarkers can help to detect cancer earlier in body fluids or directly in the cancer tissue obtained in an operation or biopsy. Finding these biomarkers is often difficult and time consuming. Another problem is that markers found in different studies for the same types of cancer almost never overlap.
This problem has been circumvented using the Google strategy, which takes into account the content of a web page and also how these pages are connected via hyperlinks.
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Researcher Apologizes for Study of Gay Therapy‎

(AP) A prominent retired psychiatrist is apologizing to the gay community for a decade-old study that concluded some gay people can go straight through what's called reparative therapy.
Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, formerly of Columbia University, now says he no longer believes his work showed that.
For the study, Spitzer had interviewed 200 people who'd claimed some degree of change. The "fatal flaw" is that there is no way to judge the credibility of their accounts, Spitzer says in a letter he submitted last month to a journal that published his work in 2003…
"I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy," Spitzer wrote.
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Right Infighting Over Health Care

(Politico) Thirty minutes.
That’s roughly the time it took for conservatives to jump all over Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team after the GOP’s game plan for dealing with President Barack Obama’s health care law leaked to the media.
Their gripe? Republicans would try to replicate popular parts of Obama’s health care law if the Supreme Court overturns the law this summer.
Rather than sending out news releases or rushing to cable TV for a rant, conservatives blasted House Republican leadership on a private Google email group called The Repeal Coalition. The group is chock- full of think tank types, some Republican leadership staffers, health care policy staffers and conservative activists, according to sources in the group.
The behind-the-scenes fight among Republicans richly illustrates why House GOP leadership is so cautious, sensitive and calculating when it comes to dealing with the conservative right. POLITICO obtained the email chain, the contents of which show that health care reform remains just as emotional an issue as ever.
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It's time to serve up some big incentives to curb obesity

(David Lazarus , Los Angeles Times) Now comes word from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that, if current trends continue, about 42% of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030… These levels of pudginess will translate to nearly $550 billion in annual medical expenses, researchers estimate…
Something has to be done.
I know, I know: People should be able to eat whatever they want, and government officials have no business passing nanny-state rules that meddle in basic notions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, blah, blah, blah.
If only it were that simple. The harsh reality is that millions of Americans can't be trusted to look after their own well-being, and the rest of society gets stuck with the tab for soaring rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and other serious ailments…
We need to acknowledge that much of what we put in our mouths is very bad for us and accept new rules intended to foster healthful behavior and discourage the endless noshing that's turning us into a herd of porkers…
How about a cigarette-style tax on such foods and beverages, with the proceeds going toward obesity research and wellness programs?
How about higher insurance rates for the overweight, just as smokers typically pay more for health coverage?
Community: You can watch the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation” here.
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Study: 96% of restaurant entrees exceed USDA limits

(USA Today) If you plan to chow down tonight at a big chain restaurant, there's a better than nine-in-10 chance that your entree will fail to meet federal nutrition recommendations for both adults and kids, according to a provocative new study.
A whopping 96% of main entrees sold at top U.S. chain eateries exceed daily limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reports the 18-month study conducted by the Rand Corp. and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"If you're eating out tonight, your chances of finding an entree that's truly healthy are painfully low," says Helen Wu, assistant policy analyst at Rand who oversaw the study. It examined the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items from 245 restaurant brands across the USA. "The restaurant industry needs to make big changes to be part of the solution," she says.
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Healthy food no more costly than junk food, government finds

(USA Today) Contrary to popular belief, many healthy foods are no more expensive than junk food, according to a large new government analysis.
In fact, carrots, onions, pinto beans, lettuce, mashed potatoes, bananas and orange juice are all less expensive per portion than soft drinks, ice cream, chocolate candy, French fries, sweet rolls and deep-fat fried chicken patties, the report says.
"We have all heard that eating a healthy diet is expensive, and people have used that as an excuse for not eating a healthy diet, … but healthy foods do not necessarily cost more than less healthy foods," says Andrea Carlson, an economist and co-author of the report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service…
Adam Drewnowski, director of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington and lead author of a 2010 study that showed calorie-for-calorie junk food is more cost-effective than eating healthy, said he stands by his findings that a healthier diet generally costs more.
But Phil Lempert, editor of supermarketguru.com, says that with just a little preplanning before going grocery shopping, you can save at least 25% on your bill and eat healthfully. "The tradeoff may be that you have to spend a few more minutes in the kitchen doing food preparation."
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Supermarket intervention prompted shoppers to buy more produce

(Booster Shots , Los Angeles Times) Researchers in Arizona looked at whether a little education could change what goes in the supermarket basket. They recruited 153 people who were randomly selected at a supermarket in Phoenix.
Some shoppers got counseling from a nutrition educator, who offered an overview of labels and shelf signs in the store that tagged products as being a “healthier option” or “immune booster” or “calcium rich,” among other attributes set out in federal and American Heart Assn. guidelines. The educational sessions lasted last than 10 minutes.
The rest of the shoppers were left to use the shelf signs and labels on their own…
After the volunteers shopped, researchers assessed their choices for fat, saturated fat, trans fat, fruit, vegetables, and dark green and bright yellow vegetables. The sessions didn’t have any effect on the total servings of vegetables purchased, nor did they influence the amount of total fat, saturated fat or trans fat they put in their carts. But the shoppers who got the counseling did buy twice as many dark green and yellow vegetables and 75% more fruit.
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When you eat matters, not just what you eat

(Science Daily) When it comes to weight gain, when you eat might be at least as important as what you eat. That's the conclusion of a study reported [recently].
When mice on a high-fat diet are restricted to eating for eight hours per day, they eat just as much as those who can eat around the clock, yet they are protected against obesity and other metabolic ills, the new study shows. The discovery suggests that the health consequences of a poor diet might result in part from a mismatch between our body clocks and our eating schedules.
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Curing a Fatty Liver

(RealAge.com) In the last 20 years, your chances of developing a fatty liver have doubled. They're now at least 1 in 9, and maybe as high as 1 in 3.
Fatty liver is no joke. It ups your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and serious liver damage, not to mention dementia, impotence, and cancer. How did the liver get so endangered? Although overdoing alcohol consumption is the classic cause of liver problems, the fallout wasn't from the martini and microbrew-beer crazes.
Instead, blame the usual suspects for causing liver damage: eating too much and exercising too little. Both increase weight and waist size. Also, belly fat increases your risk for a fatty liver as much as 90%...
Slowly losing just 10% of your weight is all it takes to greatly improve your liver's health.
Do it the smart way: Increase your fiber intake (more fruits, vegetables, and 100% whole grains), and replace foods high in saturated fat (e.g., meat, full-fat cheese) with lean protein, such as fish, skinless poultry breasts, eggs, beans, and low-fat/no-fat dairy. Add some extra omega-3 fat from nuts (especially walnuts), canola oil, olive oil, and a DHA omega-3 supplement (900 milligrams a day).
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Water With Meals May Encourage Wiser Choices

(Science Daily) Water could change the way we eat. That's the conclusion of new research…
Preschoolers ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or red peppers, when accompanied with water rather than when accompanied by a sweetened beverage…
Serving water, [Anna R.] McAlister said, could be a simple and effective dietary change to help address the nation's growing obesity problem, which has seen increasing number of diabetes cases in young adults and a rise in health-care costs in general. 
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Classic Steak House Rubbed Filet Mignon
This simple steak house rub uses the perfect combination of seasonings to turn an ordinary steak dinner into a memorable meal.
Grilled Halibut Salad with Beet-Carrot Slaw
The halibut doesn’t stick or fall apart in this salad recipe because you grill it on foil. A beet and carrot slaw with tarragon-lemon vinaigrette makes this meal a standout.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Summer Melon Soup
This cool, refreshing soup captures the essence of summer. The addition of the jalapeños adds a surprising spark. Serve this soup with a cool entrée or as a pleasant dessert.
Food as Medicine
Like all fruit, melons help protect vision. Studies have shown that eating at least three servings of fruit - such as the cantaloupe and watermelon in this recipe - per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration by over 35 percent. Cantaloupe and watermelon are also heart-healthy, thanks to their high concentrations of the vital antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C.
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Drug Before Surgery Clears Prostate Cancer

(MedPage Today) A third of men with localized, high-risk prostate cancer achieved pathologic complete response or near-complete response following neoadjuvant therapy with abiraterone (Zytiga) and leuprolide, results of a preliminary clinical study showed…
The regimen resulted in a low rate of systemic toxicity, Mary-Ellen Taplin said during a telebriefing…
"The rate of complete response and near-complete response in the prostate at prostatectomy was very high in these high-risk prostate cancers," said Taplin,… "The long-term significance of obtaining a complete response like this needs to be validated in larger studies."
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Want to Avoid Erectile Dysfunction Following Prostate Cancer Surgery? Find an Experienced, Gentle Surgeon

(Science Daily) Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in the U.S., and radical prostatectomy, the surgical removal of the prostate gland, remains the most popular therapeutic option, accounting for half of treatments.
The procedure, however, is not without possible side effects, primarily erectile dysfunction and incontinence. But a good nerve-sparing surgical technique can lessen the likelihood of these undesirable outcomes, as can the skill and experience of the surgeon, according to a new UCLA study.
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Public pays for unhelmeted motorcyclists

(UPI) Numerous studies have shown the costs to the healthcare system of unhelmeted motorcyclists are astronomical, a U.S. trauma expert says…
[Dr. Thomas Esposito said:] "The study authors of that study suggest that legislation mandating motorcycle helmet use should be considered as a viable alternative to raising taxes."
However, nearly $5 billion was absorbed by the non-riding public in the form of increased taxation, higher insurance cost and lost taxes, Esposito said…
"Repealing helmet laws infringes on the general public's right to expect government to control healthcare costs and protect the public's safety," Esposito added.
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New Advice on Medication Disposal: Trash Beats Take-Back, New Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Returning extra medicine to the pharmacy for disposal might not be worth the extra time, money or greenhouse gas emissions, according to a University of Michigan study that is the first to look at the net effects of so-called take-back programs.
The new evidence suggests that discarding unused drugs in the trash is a better option to limit the risk of poisoning and at the same time curb pollution of both water and air.
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Docs Win Most Malpractice Cases at Trial

(MedPage Today) Plaintiffs hardly ever win medical malpractice cases that go all the way to a jury verdict, and only 4.5% of claims filed ever go that far, researchers said.
Of those that do get to a jury, 79.6% of the verdicts favor the physician, a team led by Anupam Jena, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found.
Their analysis of more than 10,000 closed malpractice claims from around the U.S. indicated that, overall, 54.1% of those ending up in court were dismissed and the remainder were settled, they reported
Community: So what’s all the hoopla about malpractice verdicts? It’s part of the right-wing propaganda campaign to convince us that there should never be any regulation on the front end of any business or professional practice, but if there is regulation we should starve the regulators, and there should be no recourse on the back end for businesses and professionals who harm or kill us. In other words, businesses and professionals should be free to harm us without restriction or penalty.
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Safety inspections don't hurt businesses-study

(Reuters) Random inspections of U.S. industrial workplaces lower the risk of workers being injured on the job and have no measurable negative effect on the companies inspected, according to a study…
Companies chosen for random inspections by California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration recorded 9.4 percent fewer worker injuries than those that were not inspected, the study found.
The study, to be published on Friday, also found that the companies inspected were no more likely to cut jobs, lose sales, have their credit ratings cut or go out of business than those that were not inspected.
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Specialty drug costs a major employer worry: survey

(Reuters) Employers want to step up programs to encourage healthier behavior among their workers and to control spending on expensive injected specialty medicines, according to a survey by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co…
Five years ago, 57 percent of respondents said their prevailing philosophy for a pharmacy benefit was "providing the broadest coverage." But now that number has fallen to 14 percent, while 78 percent now support "balancing cost with care," up from 41 percent five years ago.
"The market in a lot of different places has said more choice is not necessarily better," Tim Wentworth, Express Scripts' president of sales and account management, said in an interview.
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Republicans Probe Drugmaker Political Support for Obama’s Health-Care Law

(Bloomberg) House Republicans are probing whether the White House and Democrats in Congress were promised political support from drugmakers in exchange for limiting what the industry would be asked to contribute under the 2010 health- care overhaul, according to a memo…
“The investigation has confirmed the existence of a deal between the White House and PhRMA that explicitly bound both parties to certain commitments,” the House Republican memo said. “The important question to answer is what did the White House get in return.”
Community: We don’t need investigations to prove that our legislators are bought and paid for by big donors. And that goes for Republicans as well as Democrats. I’d like to say the Republicans are opening a can of worms here, but we’ve seen that we can’t count on Democrats to throw these kinds of accusations right back in the Republicans’ faces.
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Health Care Reform: GOP Preps Plan For Ruling On Law

(Politico) House Republican leaders are quietly hatching a plan of attack as they await a historic Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care law.
If the law is upheld, Republicans will take to the floor to tear out its most controversial pieces, such as the individual mandate and requirements that employers provide insurance or face fines.
If the law is partially or fully overturned they’ll draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions in place — like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Ripping these provisions from law is too politically risky, Republicans say.
Community: And the cost of health insurance, which is already too expensive, will skyrocket.
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Healthy Women's Action Kit Featured in "Dear Abby"

(USA.gov) Between juggling the joys and challenges of home life and staying productive at work, it's easy for women to make quick decisions now that could affect their health later on, or to miss early signs of medical problems altogether.
To help you take control of your health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health and the General Services Administration's Federal Citizen Information Center created the free Healthy Women's Action Kit. Get the information you need to:
·         Manage your cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk for diabetes
·         Stay safe using cosmetics and getting tattoos
·         Recognize and avoid online health scams
·         Confidently talk to your doctor about menopause and hormones
·         Find the stop-smoking method that can work for you
·         And more!
For the quickest service, just fill out the online order form … to get free kit(s) of publications for yourself and the women in your life. You can also order by mail or phone; just send your name and address to Healthy Women's Action Kit, Pueblo, CO 81009 and add the quantity you want to order (up to 5 kits), or call (888) 8-PUEBLO (that's 888-878-3256), weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Or you can read the publications online in PDF format, save them to your computer, and print them.
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Study suggests lower risk of death for coffee lovers

(Reuters Health) In a new study of 400,000 older Americans, those who reported drinking a few daily cups of coffee were less likely to die over the next 14 years than were those who abstained from the beverage or rarely drank it.
But that finding should be interpreted with caution, researchers said, because coffee habits were only measured at one point in time -- and it's unclear what ingredients in java, exactly, could be tied to a longer life.
"For those who do drink coffee, there's no reason to stop… I think this strengthens the view that it's not harmful," said Dr. Lawrence Krakoff, a cardiologist…
Research on the long-term effects of coffee on various diseases has come to conflicting conclusions. Some studies suggest coffee drinkers are less likely to get diabetes, but others hint they may have a higher risk of heart disease.
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Brain Circuitry Is Different for Women With Anorexia and Obesity

(Science Daily) Why does one person become anorexic and another obese? A study recently published by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher shows that reward circuits in the brain are sensitized in anorexic women and desensitized in obese women. The findings also suggest that eating behavior is related to brain dopamine pathways involved in addictions…
"It is clear that in humans the brain's reward system helps to regulate food intake" said [Guido Frank, MD].
Community: There are ways to raise your dopamine levels naturally.
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Drugs from Gila Monster Lizard Saliva Reduces Cravings for Chocolate and Ordinary Food

(Science Daily) A  drug made from the saliva of the Gila monster lizard is effective in reducing the craving for food. Researchers … have tested the drug on rats, who after treatment ceased their cravings for ordinary food and also chocolate.
An increasing number of patients suffering from type 2 diabetes are offered a pharmaceutical preparation called Exenatide, which helps them to control their blood sugar. The drug is a synthetic version of a natural substance called exendin-4, which is obtained from a rather unusual source -- the saliva of the Gila monster lizard (Heloderma suspectum), North America's largest lizard.
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, have now found an entirely new and unexpected effect of the lizard substance. In a study with…, Assistant Professor Karolina Skibicka and her colleagues show that exendin-4 effectively reduces the cravings for food.
"This is both unknown and quite unexpected effect," comments an enthusiastic Karolina Skibicka: "Our decision to eat is linked to the same mechanisms in the brain which control addictive behaviours. We have shown that exendin-4 affects the reward and motivation regions of the brain."
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Why Do Male Consumers Avoid Vegetables?

(Science Daily) Why are men generally more reluctant to try vegetarian products? According to a new study…, consumers are influenced by a strong association of meat with masculinity…
In a number of experiments that looked at metaphors and certain foods, like meat and milk, the authors found that people rated meat as more masculine than vegetables. They also found that meat generated more masculine words when people discussed it, and that people viewed male meat eaters as being more masculine than non-meat eaters.
Most of the studies took place in the United States and Britain, but the authors also analyzed 23 languages that use gendered pronouns. They discovered that across most languages, meat was related to the male gender.
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Greek Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto
Sweet onion, rich feta cheese, and fresh dill provide dynamic flavor in this easy weeknight meal. The hardest part about making risotto is the constant stirring, so grab a magazine or plan to call out homework while you let this dish simmer, about 30 minutes. Balance the plate with a lively fennel salad.
Beef Chow Fun
Brown sugar added to black bean-garlic sauce is what gives this stir-fry its unmistakable Chinese takeout flavor. The recipe for beef chow fun works equally well with tofu for a vegetarian meal or boneless, skinless chicken breast. Serve with sliced cucumbers tossed with rice vinegar, sesame seeds and a pinch of salt.
Cooking Light:
The Best Foods For All-Day Energy
Put the energy drink down and keep your engine revved throughout the day by filling up on our picks for the best energy-packed whole foods.
25 Healthy Chicken Dinners
We revisit America's favorite weeknight staple: 25 fresh new ways to deliciously moist and tasty chicken breast.
Gluten-Free Snacks & Appetizers
These delicious gluten-conscious light bites are ideal between meals or to satisfy pre-meal munchies.
Season's Best: Strawberries
Strawberries are one of the brightest, sweetest flavors of spring. Find out our favorite ways to enjoy strawberries this season.
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Why Omega-3 Oils Help at the Cellular Level

(Science Daily) For the first time, researchers … have peered inside a living mouse cell and mapped the processes that power the celebrated health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. More profoundly, they say their findings suggest it may be possible to manipulate these processes to short-circuit inflammation before it begins, or at least help to resolve inflammation before it becomes detrimental…
"There have been tons of epidemiological studies linking health benefits to omega-3 oils, but not a lot of deep science," said Edward A. Dennis, PhD, distinguished professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry. "This is the first comprehensive study of what fish oils actually do inside a cell."…
"We've been able to look inside a cell, see what fish oils do and determine that the process of inflammation at this level may be manipulatable," [Edward A. Dennis, PhD,] said. "Now, we need to learn if we can fine-tune that process so we can use omega-3 oils to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and boost the production of anti-inflammatory resolvins."
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High Doses of Certain Dietary Supplements Increase Cancer Risk

(Science Daily) Beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid -- taken up to three times their recommended daily allowance, these supplements are probably harmless. But taken at much higher levels as some supplement manufacturers suggest, these three supplements have now been shown to increase the risk of developing a host of cancers.
"It's not that these nutrients are toxic -- they're essential and we need them, but we need them in a certain balance," says Tim Byers, MD, MPH…
"We need to do a better job as a society in ensuring that the messages people get about value versus risk is accurate for nutritional supplements," Byers says. "My conclusion is that taking high doses of any particular nutrient is more likely to be a bad thing than a good thing."
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J&J’s Zytiga Helps Eliminate Prostate Cancer When Given Early in Treatment

(Bloomberg) Johnson & Johnson’s Zytiga, approved last year to treat metastatic prostate cancer, helped eliminate tumors in high-risk patients whose malignancy hadn’t yet spread, a small study found.
The pill was given as an initial therapy before surgery to 58 patients with aggressive tumors that were confined to the prostate gland, a group typically treated with radiation. These patients are rarely cured by surgery and previous studies using older drugs failed to improve survival, said Mary-Ellen Taplin, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School…
One-third of those on Zytiga for six months showed no cancer or only trace levels when the prostate gland was removed, said Taplin, who is the lead researcher.
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