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

Fitness may prevent age-related arterial stiffening

(UPI) Highly active middle-aged subjects appear to avoid the arterial stiffening that typically comes with aging, U.S. researchers said.
The researchers compared the arterial compliance of highly active swimmers with that of people who reported being only moderately active or completely inactive.
The study found the difference between the highly active participants and the others was significant.
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Exercise Helps Alleviate Nerve Damage Pain

(Science Daily) Exercise helps to alleviate pain related to nerve damage (neuropathic pain) by reducing levels of certain inflammation-promoting factors, suggests an experimental study…
The results support exercise as a potentially useful nondrug treatment for neuropathic pain, and suggest that it may work by reducing inflammation-promoting substances called cytokines.
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Exercise Has Benefit in Fatty Liver Disease

(MedPage Today) Brisk walking helped control some features of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, if only modestly, despite the fact that it didn't lead to weight loss, researchers found.
Participants who got the recommended amount of moderate-intensity exercise saw small declines in triglyceride levels in the liver -- 10.3% over 16 weeks -- compared with inactive controls…, Samuel Klein, MD…, and colleagues reported…
The exercise regimen also decreased plasma alanine transaminase (ALT) levels as a marker of liver injury but had no significant impact on the cholesterol abnormalities that also characterize the liver disease.
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Exercise tied to heart risks but don't quit the gym

(NBC News) About 1 in 10 people may actually experience higher blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease after exercising, concludes a survey of six studies that included a total of 1,697 volunteers…
The analysis from Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, and several other research centers reported that the scientists don’t know why a group would have adverse heart effects from exercise. It was not related to age or fitness of the participants at the start of the study.
Many experts say the 10 percent figure is hardly surprising. To put it in perspective, if a new drug were to be effective in 90 percent of the people studied, it would be called hugely successful…
To be fair, the authors of this latest study start their paper by saying that: “Physical activity level and cardio-respiratory fitness are strong and inversely associated with risk of cardiovascular, metabolic, and aging related morbidities as well as premature mortality.”  In other words, as we have heard for decades, exercise is good for you in many ways.
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Pedometers may help older adults move more

(Reuters Health) Using a pedometer might motivate sedentary older adults to fit more walking into their daily routines, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that giving older adults a pedometer along with exercise advice seemed to work better than advice alone -- at least as far as encouraging "leisure" walking. That refers to things like walking to the store instead of driving.
"Leisure walking is seen as a manageable form of physical activity for older adults, and hence should be more actively encouraged," said Gregory S. Kolt…, who led the study.
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Remedy for Sedentary Desk Jobs

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you’re overweight and spend your day at a desk job, you’re at increased risk for diabetes - but you may be able to reverse that trend and help control blood sugar simply by taking "activity breaks.”
New research from Australia found that regular, short breaks - as little as two minutes, three times an hour - during which you move around can result in a 30 percent improvement in the body’s response to high calorie meals…
My take? If the findings from this small study are confirmed by further research, they could be of enormous benefit to a lot of people who don’t get any regular exercise because they’re desk-bound all day. An active two-minute break every 20 minutes would add up to 48 minutes of exercise during an eight-hour working day. That could pay off even more than the 30 percent improvement seen in this study.
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Soft Chicken Tacos Recipe
Thigh meat makes these tacos especially moist, but you can use breast meat instead. Serve with Pico de Gallo or Tomatillo Salsa.
"Fajita" Burgers
This spicy burger is served on an oblong roll, slathered with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise and topped with roasted Anaheim peppers and a delicious slaw.
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Some nutrients can stave off vision loss and eye disease that occurs as we age

(Chicago Tribune) Studies over the last few decades suggest that people whose diets are high in specific antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, zinc, or carotenoid plant pigments such as beta-carotene or lutein are less likely to develop common age-related eye diseases, said Julie Mares, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
But Mares cautions that it's better to get these nutrients through whole foods, rather than supplements, which usually provide only single nutrients and may be lacking other critical compounds. Researchers are finding that those who eat a wide range of healthy foods "have much lower odds for having age-related diseases," said Mares an expert in nutrition and vision…
Nutritious diets may yield a higher density of macular pigment, according to a study co-written by Mares. This important yellow pigment contains the lutein and its sister compound zeaxanthin, which are thought to protect the back of the eye. Other protective nutrients and plant chemicals contained in fruits, vegetables and whole grains may help by reducing the breakdown of lutein and zeaxanthin, Mares said.
Community: As we saw recently, the kind of omega-3 fatty acid found in fish can also help prevent macular degeneration.
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Dark Chocolate Lowers Heart Attack, Stroke Risk

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Eating dark chocolate every day may lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke for some people at higher risk of these conditions, a new study from Australia found…
Studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered over the short-term by eating compounds called flavonoids, which are abundant in dark chocolate. Flavonoids are known to have antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects, which relieve pressures on the heart, the researchers said.
The new study suggests that eating dark chocolate is a cost-efficient way to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes in this study population over a longer term, the researchers said.
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Get Thinner With Chocolate?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Actress Katherine Hepburn credited her famously slim build to "a lifetime of chocolate," and now a new investigation from California suggests that eating chocolate is "calorie neutral" and doesn't cause weight gain.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego set out to test the hypothesis that eating small amounts of chocolate on a regular basis wouldn't contribute to weight gain. They analyzed information from 1,000 overweight but not obese men and women and found that those who ate chocolate most often tended to consume more calories overall, including saturated fat, but weighed five to seven pounds less than people who didn't eat any chocolate. This held true regardless of age, gender or amount of exercise reported by the chocolate-eaters. The difference seemed to hinge on how often the participants ate chocolate, not how much they ate…
Chocolate has many health benefits - it is a source of polyphenols (the same type of antioxidants found in red wine), and the fat it contains, stearic acid, doesn't affect cholesterol levels. In addition, research has indicated that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may help reduce the stickiness of platelets, cells that play an important role in blood clotting… Chocolate's polyphenols also appear to boost levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and lower LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) at least in the lab.
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Study questions fructose role in hypertension

(Reuters Health) Following more than 200,000 men and women for up to 38 years, researchers found that regularly consuming sweetened drinks -- either containing sugars or artificially sweetened -- was associated with a rise of about 13 percent in the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Carbonated and cola drinks were most strongly linked to risk for hypertension, but fructose in drinks did not stand out as a driving factor, the group reports…
High consumption of fructose from foods, such as fresh fruits, was tied to lower odds of developing blood pressure problems.
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Raisins to Lower Blood Pressure

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Snacking on raisins a few times a day may help lower your blood pressure if you have pre-hypertension, a condition affecting one of every three Americans. Prehypertension is defined as having systolic pressure (the top number) from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic (lower number) pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg…
[Study results] showed reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure among the participants who snacked on the raisins but no significant change in the blood pressure of those who ate the other snacks.
Raisins are high in potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure. They also provide dietary fiber that may be helpful, the lead researcher noted, adding that more studies are needed to confirm these findings. The study was funded by a grant from the California Raisin Marketing Board.
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Opting for plain water might prevent diabetes

(Reuters Health) Women who chose plain water, instead of sweet drinks such as sodas or fruit juice, had a slightly lowered risk of developing diabetes in a large new study.
The results, based on more than 80,000 women followed for more than a decade, suggest that adding water to the sugary beverages a person drinks throughout the day won't make a difference, but replacing sweet drinks with water could help stave off the metabolic disorder.
"It is essentially not that water helps, except with hydration, but that the others hurt," Barry Popkin, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health.
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Alcohol May Trigger Serious Palpitations in Heart Patients

(Science Daily) The term "holiday heart syndrome" was coined in a 1978 study to describe patients with atrial fibrillation who experienced a common and potentially dangerous form of heart palpitation after excessive drinking, which can be common during the winter holiday season. The symptoms usually went away when the revelers stopped drinking. Now, research from UCSF builds on that finding, establishing a stronger causal link between alcohol consumption and serious palpitations in patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common form of arrhythmia…
[T]he UCSF researchers report that people with atrial fibrillation had almost a four and a half times greater chance of having an episode if they were consuming alcohol than if they were not.
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Study: Low carb diet doesn't harm kidneys

(ABC7Chicago.com) New research shows that high protein/low carbohydrate diets do not seem to affect the kidneys.
Experts worry that these diets might damage the organs. But, a new study in the "Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology" said the kidneys are not harmed by the increased protein.
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Review: 'Pink Ribbons, Inc.' is not a rosy picture

(Los Angeles Times) Based on Samantha King's book of the same name, Canadian filmmaker Léa Pool's trenchant critique of breast cancer "culture," "Pink Ribbons, Inc." questions the lucrative partnership between the pink ribbon campaign, corporations and cause marketing.
Exploring how companies selling "everything from handguns to gasoline" — including those whose own products contain carcinogens — have cozied up to the movement, the film concludes they've bought a lot of good publicity but little in the way of medical progress.
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Debt Collectors In The ER

(Kaiser Health News) Former patients as well as top executives from Fairview and its former debt collector, Accretive Health, testified before a U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday in St. Paul, called by Sen. Al Franken…
Deb Waldin of Edina testified that while curled up in a fetal position on a Fairview Southdale emergency room gurney last July, alone and waiting for a doctor, a billing agent came in and asked her to pay $750.
"I couldn't believe he was asking me this at the foot of my bed as I'm laying there," Waldin said. "I said, 'I've got insurance, I don't know what you're talking about.' And to be clear, I didn't have any debt with Fairview. And he was asking for this money right then. And I just ultimately told him to get out of the room and go away, and he did."
Another patient, Tom Fuller of New Brighton, told the committee about visiting a Fairview hospital for a procedure a couple of months after a lung transplant. Unlike other visits, he was escorted into a small room, where a man checked him in and put a bill for $500 in front of him.
"I just felt badgered, extremely upset," said Fuller. "Finally he said, 'I'll take a check or a credit card, however you want to pay it.'
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Ex-Medicare Administrator: Premium Support "Is Going To Have To Happen"

(Kaiser Health News) No matter which party dominates Washington after November's election, policy makers will have to agree to big changes in the mammoth Medicare program to limit federal spending, says Thomas Scully, senior counsel at Alston & Bird, and a former Medicare administrator under President George W. Bush.
In an interview with Kaiser Health News, Scully urged Democrats and Republicans to set aside partisan differences and take a closer look at the controversial premium-support model, which would give beneficiaries a set amount of money to purchase coverage.
Community: Well, Mr. Scully, there’s no evidence whatsoever that premium support will lower medical costs. It will most certainly, however, make us completely helpless in the face of medical cost increases, which consistently outpace increases in our incomes. In fact, there’s research predicting that if current trends continue, health insurance premiums will surpass household incomes by 2033. Do we even have to ask what kind of work Scully does for Alston & Bird?
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'Obesity Genes' May Influence Food Choices, Eating Patterns

(Science Daily)  Blame it on your genes? Researchers … say individuals with variations in certain "obesity genes" tend to eat more meals and snacks, consume more calories per day and often choose the same types of high fat, sugary foods.
Their study … reveals certain variations within the FTO and BDNF genes -- which have been previously linked to obesity -- may play a role in eating habits that can cause obesity.
The findings suggest it may be possible to minimize genetic risk by changing one's eating patterns and being vigilant about food choices, in addition to adopting other healthy lifestyle habits, like regular physical activity.
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Fighting fat genes

(HHS HealthBeat) A researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health says even people with fat genes can control their weight.
Qubin Qi looked at data on about 12,000 people. He and his colleagues calculated, based on what’s known about genes, the predisposition toward weight – and looked at lifestyles that affect weight.
People with a predisposition added weight if they were sedentary – lots of TV, for instance. But the equivalent of brisk walking for an hour a day cut the predisposition effect in half.
So Qi advises more activity and less sitting:
"Overall, these are very important in prevention of obesity, particularly in people with a high genetic risk."
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Understanding Complexities of Taste, Smell Could Lead to Improved Diet

(Science Daily) As an evolutionary survival mechanism, humans are wired to prefer sweet-tasting foods and avoid bitter substances. In the distant past, that helped us avoid poison and find food that provided energy. Now, it just makes us fat.
In several publications…, scientists have outlined exactly how humans use the nose and tongue to recognize the flavor of foods that are safe to eat…
"Many people say they don't like the 'taste' of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower or brussel sprouts, for instance," [Juyun] Lim said. "But what they are mainly reacting to is the smell of these vegetables, which includes a defensive compound that makes even other animals shy away from eating them. Find a way to help improve their smell, and you'll find a way to make people enjoy eating them."
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Shift Your Focus to Make Dieting Easier

(Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.D./N., The Nutrition Diva) I think our appetites are pretty much like toddlers. When we’re told—or even when we tell ourselves—that we have to cut back or give up a favorite treat, it’s hard not to feel deprived. It can be hard to stop thinking about that thing we can’t have. And all that thinking about whatever-it-is we’re trying to go without can make avoiding or resisting it feel even harder.
This reminds me of a dietary study that came out a couple of years ago. They took a few hundred overweight adults who had just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and divided them into two groups…
Group #1 was taught how to limit their intake of fat to no more than 30% of calories and to keep their saturated fat under 10%.   They were also told to avoid sweets and refined grains. This is the standard prescription for a “reduced-fat, low-calorie” diet.
Lucky Group #2, however, got a different prescription. They were told to increase their intake of vegetables, fish, and poultry, to choose whole grains, and to use olive oil as their primary source of fat. This is the standard Mediterranean diet prescription.
Four years later, Group #2 had lost more weight and was also only half as likely to need medication to control their blood sugar. In the paper, the researchers talk a lot about the nutritional differences between the two diets—which, quite honestly, weren’t all that dramatic—and how they may have contributed to the different outcomes.
But I was struck by something else: Group 1 was told what not to eat and Group 2 was told what to eat more of.  And look who fared better.  I suspect that focusing on the positives rather than the negatives might be a much better strategy for handling that inner toddler—a strategy that we could use to make our efforts to eat healthier just that much easier.
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Clean Up Your Diet

(Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.) The warmer weather inspires me to take a close look at my eating habits and simplify my diet by eating the things that really make my body feel best and limit foods that are not so good for me.
Here are 10 healthy eating habits I am focusing on right now to detox my diet.
1. Cut Down On Alcohol…
2. Cut Down On Sugar…
3. Cut Down On Salt…
4. Cut Down On Saturated Fat…
5. Cut Down On Refined Grains…
6. Cut Down On Processed Foods…
7. Have More Fruits and Vegetables…
8. Have More Water…
9. Have More Green Tea…
10. Have More Whole Grains
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Pesto Halibut Kebabs
Make this fresh, colorful 20-minute meal with just 4 simple ingredients. Serve halibut with Israeli couscous tossed with toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and chopped fresh parsley.
Grilled Calamari & Potato Salad
This summery salad recipe matches grilled squid and potatoes with a pungent dressing inspired by salsa verde, an Italian sauce made with capers, anchovies, parsley, lemon and olive oil.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Shrimp and Mango Ceviche
Sweet mango, salty shrimp and tart lime balance each other beautifully in this light dish - great for a quick meal or as an elegant appetizer!
4 Simple No-Cook Salads
Step away from the stove — it’s too hot to cook! When the temperature rises, crisp, refreshing salads are perfect for lunch or a light dinner. And with an array of fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs in abundance at supermarkets, local farmers’ markets and farm stands (not to mention your own garden) all summer long, it’s easy to switch up your salad routine. Keep your kitchen cool and try these healthy no-cook salads; they all feature summer’s freshest produce.
Arugula, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Ricotta Salata Salad…
Shrimp, Radicchio, and Fennel Salad…
Greek Feta Salad…
Tropical Black Bean Salad
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Tart cherries may help with joint pain

(UPI) Tart cherries may have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food and may help people with osteoarthritis, U.S. researchers say…
The study found that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks led to significant reductions in important inflammation markers -- especially for women who had the highest inflammation levels at the beginning of the study.
Community: Tart cherry juice didn’t reduce the osteoarthritis in my hands, though it took away the pain in my thumbs that I think may have been gout (that I only got after having an infusion of a bone density building drug). I recently started taking boswellia, which seems to be helping the osteoarthritis.
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Bone Meds, Esophageal Cancers Linked

(MedPage Today) The esophageal cancer risk with bisphosphonate bone drugs may be a bigger problem than thought, particularly with use of alendronate (Fosamax), an adverse event surveillance study suggested.
Overall, 128 cases of bisphosphonate-associated esophageal cancer were reported to the FDA's adverse event reporting system (AERS) from 1995 through 2010, Beatrice J. Edwards, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues found…
"Esophagitis has been associated with oral bisphosphonates," Edwards' group noted. "Erosive esophagitis and persistent mucosal abnormalities have been noted with crystalline material (similar to ground alendronate)."
Community: Fortunately, there are a number of practical, non-medicinal, ways to increase bone density.
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Many at risk of acetaminophen overdose

(UPI) Many U.S. adults might be at risk of unintentionally overdosing from over-the-counter pain medication containing acetaminophen, U.S. researchers said…
The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found nearly 25 percent of the participants were at risk of overdosing on pain medication using a single over-the-counter acetaminophen product by exceeding the dose of four grams in a 24-hour period; while 5 percent made serious errors by dosing out more than six grams. In addition, nearly half were at risk of overdosing by "double-dipping" -- taking acetaminophen along with another medication that contains acetaminophen.
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Many Doctors Plan to Keep Screening PSA

(The People’s Pharmacy) The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended that doctors drop routine PSA screening for prostate cancer. This decision was based on large, long-term, prospective trials that showed PSA screening did not improve overall survival.
But a new survey from Johns Hopkins shows that many primary care physicians are reluctant to follow the recommendation. Three fourths of these doctors say their patients expect annual PSA tests. Although most doctors now believe in the concept of evidence-based medicine, only 2% said they would change their practice to omit routine PSA screening.
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'Simple and Effective' Injection Could Offer Hope for Treatment of Autoimmune Disease

(Science Daily) Australian researchers have uncovered a potential new way to regulate the body's natural immune response, offering hope of a simple and effective treatment for auto-immune diseases…
The new approach involves increasing good regulating cells in the body, unlike most current research which focuses on stopping "bad" or "effector" cells, says lead researcher Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson…
The team cloned II-5 cytokine and injected it into rats with the neurological condition Guillain-Barré syndrome. These rats recovered much quicker and, if treated as a precaution, did not fall ill. The method has also shown promise in animals with multiple sclerosis, with kidney disease nephritis and trying to overcome organ transplantation rejection.
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Novel Approach to Stimulate Immune Cells

(Science Daily) Researchers at Rutgers University have uncovered a new way to stimulate activity of immune cell opiate receptors, leading to efficient tumor cell clearance.
Dipak Sarkar, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and his research team have been able to take a new pharmacological approach to activate the immune cells to prevent cancer growth through stimulation of the opiate receptors found on immune cells.
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Immune system may protect against Alzheimer's changes in humans

(University of Exeter) Recent work in mice suggested that the immune system is involved in removing beta-amyloid, the main Alzheimer's-causing substance in the brain.
Researchers … screened the expression levels of thousands of genes in blood samples from nearly 700 people. The telltale marker of immune system activity against beta-amyloid, a gene called CCR2, emerged as the top marker associated with memory in people…
The previous work in mice showed that augmenting the CCR2-activated part of the immune system in the blood stream resulted in improved memory and functioning in mice susceptible to Alzheimer's disease.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Lundbeck says Alzheimer's drug effective in trial

(Reuters) Danish drugmaker Lundbeck said patients who took its Alzheimer's drug candidate Lu AE58054 in a phase 2 clinical trial achieved statistically significant improvement in cognitive performance when the compound was added to donepezil.
Lundbeck said the clinical study in 278 patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease had achieved its main target and that Lu AE58054 was also well-tolerated in combination with donepezil.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Rat Paralysis Rehab Method Holds Clues for Aiding Humans

(Bloomberg) Rats paralyzed by spinal cord injuries walked and ran after nerve-stimulating chemicals combined with electricity helped restore movement, according to a study that may provide clues to rehabilitating injured humans.
The therapy helped stimulate new connections in the spinal cord and brain, allowing nerve signals to reroute around the site of the injury, said study author Gregoire Courtine…
The research demonstrates that new connections can be formed to the brain and it’s possible to do this through rehabilitation therapy, said V. Reggie Edgerton, a specialist in spinal control … who last year helped a paraplegic man named Rob Summers stand for the first time with the aid of an electronic stimulus device.
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Sleepy, drunken drivers equally dangerous: study

(Reuters Health) Being sleepy behind the wheel is almost as bad as drinking and driving, suggests a new study from France.
The study, published as a letter in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that drivers who were either drunk or sleepy were at least twice as likely to be responsible for a vehicle accident compared to their well-rested or sober counterparts.
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Drug Firms, Journals Tackle Credibility Gap

(MedPage Today) In a bid to dispel suspicions about industry-sponsored research, eight big pharmaceutical companies and representatives of several major medical journals have agreed on 10 steps to increase the transparency of such research.
Among them: publish all results in a timely way, report adverse events comprehensively and uniformly, describe fully the protocols and statistical analyses, and provide reviews of rejected manuscripts when submitting them to other journals.
The recommendations emerged from a 2010 roundtable discussion organized under the Medical Publishing Insights and Practices (MPIP) initiative, which was formed two years earlier by a group of large pharmaceutical companies to "develop a culture of mutual respect, understanding, and trust between journals and pharma," according to the group's mission statement.
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HHS funding to help older adults thrive in their communities

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced a new $25 million funding opportunity made possible by the Affordable Care Act to help states strengthen and expand their ability to help seniors and people with disabilities access home and community-based long-term services and supports.  Over the next one to three years, funding will support Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) in nearly every state.
Each year, more seniors, people with disabilities and their families are confronted with often challenging decisions about how to obtain the long-term services and supports they need.  Choices range from care in their home to care in a nursing home; social supports for daily living to home health care; transportation to physical therapy to name a few.  ADRCs will make it easier for people to learn about and access the services that are available in their communities and best meet their needs. 
“We are pleased to make it easier for Americans to get the care and support they need where they need it,” said Secretary Sebelius. “This opportunity, supported by the new health care law, will help states continue to improve their long-term service and support systems.”
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Kicking 2 Unhealthy Habits May Bring Big Results, Study Says

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Among the deluge of advice on how to be healthier, a new study suggests changing just two particular habits would go a long way toward helping people shape up: Get off the couch, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
People in the study who were told to follow those two bits of advice not only did so but changed other unhealthy habits in the process. Meanwhile, those in the study who were working toward other combinations of goals, such as exercising more and eating less fat, fared less well overall.
"Americans have all these unhealthy behaviors that put them at high risk for heart disease and cancer, but it is hard for them and their doctors to know where to begin to change those unhealthy habits," said lead study author Bonnie Spring, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "This approach simplifies it."
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Mediterranean Diet Benefits Mind and Body, Study Finds

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Eating a plant-rich Mediterranean diet might not only be good for losing weight, it may have positive effects on general mental health and physical well-being as well, according to a new study from Spain.
Researchers tracked more than 11,000 university students and found that those who adhered more closely to a Mediterranean diet scored higher on tests of mental and physical well-being. The correlation was highest between the diet and physical well-being, the researchers said…
Following a Mediterranean diet has previously been associated with a lower mortality rate over a given time, and a reduced chance of chronic illness.
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Exercise, Fruits & Veggies May Lengthen Life, Even at 70

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Eating fruits and veggies and getting plenty of exercise may be just as important for women in their 70s as it is at other times in their lives, a new study suggests.
The researchers studied 713 women between age 70 and 79, and found that women who ate the most fruits and vegetables and got the most exercise were eight times less likely to die over the next five years, compared with those who did little exercise and ate few fruits and vegetables.
"Given the success in smoking cessation, it is likely that maintenance of a healthy diet and high levels of physical activity will become the strongest predictors of health and longevity,” said lead author Emily Nicklett, of the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
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10 Healthcare Trends for Older Americans

(U.S. News & World Report) The goals of improved health and financial security are to live longer and, presumably, more fulfilling lives.
Increases in longevity have certainly been impressive. Not only has 60 become the new 40, but we're well on our way to the day when 80 becomes the new 60. While the victors in the longevity race have many spoils to enjoy, they also have many aches, pains, and other unpleasant reminders of their continued existence. The government pulls together an impressive array of statistical snapshots in its recent compendium, "Health, 2011," an exhaustive record of the state of the nation's well-being. Here are some of its most compelling findings about the health of an aging America.
1. Healthcare use. Among people 65 and older, only about 5 percent managed to get through the year without seeing a doctor, going to an emergency room, or having a healthcare professional treat them at home…
2. Life expectancy… Millions of us will live well into our 90s.
3. Causes of death. Nearly 2.5 million Americans died in 2008, including 1.8 million people age 65 and older. Among this older group, the five leading causes of death were heart disease (28 percent), cancer (22 percent), respiratory disease (7 percent), strokes and other blood-vessel issues in the brain (6 percent), and Alzheimer's disease (5 percent). Over time, Alzheimer's will move toward the top of this list.
4. Auto accidents. Death rates from auto accidents continue to drop, due to safer vehicles and, more recently, from people driving less because of high gasoline prices…
5. How we feel. Nearly one-fourth of Americans age 65 and older said their health was only poor or fair in 2010…
6. Chronic health problems… As of 2010, the most recent data year, 59 percent of people 65 and older said they had to limit their activities in some way because of a health problem…
7. Fitness… Over time, fewer older Americans are meeting aerobic guidelines but more are achieving the strength standards.
8. Stress. In our stressed-out nation, hypertension is the norm for older people, not the exception…
9. Cholesterol. Nearly 49 percent of men ages 65 to 74 had high cholesterol in 2010, as did about 45 percent of men age 75 and up. Rates among women were higher—roughly 53 percent for all women 65 and older…
10. Weight… About 40 percent of Americans ages 65 to 74 are clinically obese, defined as having body mass indexes above 30. That's up several percentage points from a few years ago.
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Healthcare Workers Get Healthy

(Los Angeles Times) No one sees the connection between unhealthy lifestyles and rising medical costs more clearly than healthcare workers, and yet they're hardly models of vim and vigor — a Thomson Reuters Healthcare report last year found hospital employees to be "generally sicker than the rest of the U.S. workforce."
Now the giant healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente and a coalition of unions led by the United Healthcare Workers are trying to tackle this problem. They recently signed a contract that creates a novel incentive for workers to get in better shape, testing the notion that peer pressure may be a more effective way to promote healthy lifestyles than individual rewards or penalties.
The Kaiser deal reflects a widespread effort by employers to slow the growth of healthcare expenses, in part by shifting more of the cost onto their workers, in part by reducing the demand for treatment. A survey by the National Business Group on Health found that almost three out of four employers offered workers incentives last year to participate in health improvement programs; the average incentive has increased from $260 in 2009 to $460 in 2011.
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Chipotle Chicken Cheesesteaks
This sandwich packs in gooey cheese, smoky spices, and chunks of chicken for a comforting family-friendly dinner.
Thai Chicken Pizza
Serve this Thai twist on pizza as is or with optional toppings, such as thinly sliced basil, cilantro, chopped peanuts and/or crushed red pepper on the side.
Cooking Light:
100 Pasta Recipes
Reliable and versatile, find 100 reasons to love spectacular pasta.
Choose the Best Healthy Cereals
Do you get confused when cruising down the cereal aisle? To save you time, money, and sanity, we developed nutrition criteria to help you choose the right cereal for you and your family.
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Fish fatty acid protects vision in seniors

(UPI) An omega-3 fatty acid found in fish -- DHA -- prevented age-related vision loss in laboratory tests, researchers in Canada found.
Yves Sauve and his team … discovered laboratory models fed DHA did not accumulate a toxic molecule at the back of the eyes. The toxin normally builds up in the retina with age and causes vision loss, Sauve said.
"This discovery could result in a very broad therapeutic use," Sauve said in a statement. "In normal aging, this toxin increases two-fold as we age. But in lab tests, there was no increase in this toxin whatsoever. This has never been demonstrated before -- that supplementing the diet with DHA could make this kind of difference."
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New York mayor seeks ban on sale of big sugary drinks

(Reuters) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to propose a far-reaching municipal ban on sales of large-size sugary beverages by restaurants, mobile food carts, movie theaters and delis, his administration said on Wednesday.
A document outlining the proposal said it was aimed at fighting an epidemic of obesity, citing public health statistics showing that 58 percent of New York City adults and nearly 40 percent of city public school students are obese or overweight…
Americans consume 200 to 300 more calories every day than they did 30 years ago, according to the Bloomberg administration's analysis.
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Corn Syrup Makers Rebuffed by Administration in Bid for ‘Corn Sugar’ Label

(Bloomberg) Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Cargill Inc. and other makers of high-fructose corn syrup can’t call their product “corn sugar” in advertisements, U.S. regulators said.
“Use of the term ‘sugar’ to describe HFCS, a product that is a syrup, would not accurately identify or describe the basic nature of the food or its characterizing properties,” Michael Landa, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a letter denying the industry’s petition. Regulations permit use of the term “sugar” only to describe “solid, dried and crystallized” foods, he said.
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Powerful New Approach to Attack Flu Virus

(Science Daily) An international research team has manufactured a new protein that can combat deadly flu epidemics.
The [study] demonstrates ways to use manufactured genes as antivirals, which disable key functions of the flu virus, said Tim Whitehead, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University.
"Our most potent design has proven effective on the vulnerable sites on many pandemic influenza viruses, including several H1N1 (Spanish flu, Swine flu) and H5N1 (Avian flu) subtypes," said Whitehead, the paper's co-lead author. "These new therapeutics are urgently needed, so we were especially pleased to see that it neutralizes H1N1 viruses with potency."
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