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

Science Journal Takes Aim at ’Big Food’

(MedPage Today) The food and beverage industry has a huge influence in the obesity crisis, but "Big Food" is not met with the same skepticism as other industries that influence public health, according to the editors of PLoS Medicine.
"Food, unlike tobacco and drugs, is necessary to live and is central to health and disease," the editors wrote online in an editorial kicking off a new series on the interplay between the food and beverage industry and public health. "And yet the big multinational food companies control what people everywhere eat, resulting in a stark and sick irony: one billion people on the planet are hungry while two billion are obese or overweight."…
"To promote health, industry would need to make and market healthier foods so as to shift consumption away from highly processed, unhealthy foods," nutrition and public health professor Marion Nestle, PhD, from New York University, and sociologist David Stuckler, PhD, MPH, from Cambridge University wrote in an accompanying essay. "Yet, such healthier foods are inherently less profitable."
The public health arena and governments too often turn a blind eye to the role of processed foods in obesity, and the "uncomfortable reason" is that because taking action would require taking on the "powerful Big Food companies with strong ties to and influence over national governments," the authors wrote.
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How McDonald's uses Photoshop to touch up their menu burgers

(The Telegraph) McDonald's has disclosed how its most popular products look their tastiest best for advertising shoots and campaigns by using Photoshop.
The fast-food giant has disclosed the cinematic secrets around a laborious process called “food-styling”, which makes burgers appear bigger, juicier and tastier in public.
In a video posted online, it showed how technicians, photographers and McDonald’s executives spend hours ensuring the products are presented with absolute precision.
It lifts the lid on a McDonald's photo shoot that shows how they shrink cheese and shade the buns using Photoshop.
The subsequent tell-all video has become a viral hit, having been viewed more than two million times since it was uploaded on YouTube earlier this week.
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Senate Passes Farm Bill With Bipartisan Support

(New York Times) The Senate approved a sweeping new farm bill on Thursday that would cost nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years, financing dozens of price support and crop insurance programs for farmers and food assistance for low-income families.
The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, 64 to 35. It now goes to the House, where it faces a much tougher road because conservative lawmakers want to make deeper cuts in the food stamp program, which serves about 45 million Americans. “This bill represents significant reform,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan and chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “It cuts subsidies, it cuts the deficit and it creates jobs.”
Although the bill is known as the farm bill, the majority of the spending, about $80 billion a year, goes to the food stamp program. The Senate bill would cut a total of $23.6 billion from current spending levels, including about $4.5 billion from food stamps, but senators rejected several proposals that would have made even deeper cuts.
Ms. Stabenow said savings from the food stamp program would come mainly from changes including banning lottery winners from getting assistance.
Community: Yeah, go after those millions of lottery winners getting food stamps. That’ll save a lot of money.
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Politicians, health advocates seek restrictions in food stamp program

(Chicago Tribune) On a recent steamy holiday weekend, customers at a discount grocery store in Evanston loaded their carts with bags of chips, boxes of cookies, 2-liter soda bottles and jugs of fruit punch, among other items, then paid for it all with food stamp credit.
Although some might be surprised to see "nutrition assistance" dollars going to buy food with little nutritional value, it's perfectly legal under federal rules…
Lawmakers in several states, including Illinois, have unsuccessfully pushed bills to make soda, chips and candy ineligible for purchase with food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program…
Supporters of restrictions say they could divert billions of food stamp dollars from junk food to healthier choices, thus saving billions more in obesity-related health care costs, which are predicted by the government to reach $550 billion by 2030.
But just how many taxpayer dollars go to purchase soda, chips, snack cakes and candy each year? The USDA says it has no idea.
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Some towns try to loosen reins on food producers‎

(Boston Globe) Towns in several states are adopting local ordinances that exempt farmers from state and federal regulations if they sell their products directly to consumers, despite warnings that the ordinances are invalid.
Residents in Livermore and Appleton, Maine, approved so-called local food and community self-governance ordinances at town meetings this month, joining six other Maine towns that did the same thing last year. Residents in Fayette, however, voted down a similar proposed ordinance.
The votes should send a message that Maine residents want more local say on how to regulate small farms that process food ranging from poultry and milk to cheese and jam that are sold to people in their area, said Douglas Wollmar, a small-scale produce farmer in Blue Hill, which passed a similar ordinance last year…
Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, said he expects more towns to follow suit.
“Right now Maine is way ahead of the curve as far local food ordinances, but the trend is going in that direction,’ Kennedy said.
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GMO foods don't need special label, American Medical Assn. says

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Should foods containing genetically modified ingredients be specially labeled as such? The American Medical Assn. doesn’t think so, according to a policy statement adopted Tuesday at its annual meeting in Chicago.
The 500-ish-word statement, which is not yet up at the medical association's website, says among other things that as of this month, “there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education.”…
The AMA does want each new genetically modified organism, or GMO, product to be carefully assessed for consumption safety and potential environmental risks such as spread of insect-resistance or herbicide-resistance to a crop’s wild relatives. And the AMA would like to see better technologies developed for assessing health risks, such as the potential for eliciting allergic reactions.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast with Watermelon-Jalapeno Salsa
Sweet watermelon perfectly complements the earthy spices—oregano, chili powder, and cumin— used to marinate juicy chicken breasts.
EatingWell:
Oven-Fried Chicken on a Stick
Here’s a fun way to serve oven-fried chicken for a picnic: put it on a stick. It’s fabulous served with this homemade Vidalia onion and honey-mustard sauce, but it’s also great with barbecue sauce or Frank’s hot sauce. This is an easy recipe to double if you’re serving a crowd.
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An apple a day may help fight obesity

(MyHealthNewsDaily) A compound found in apple peels called ursolic acid may protect against obesity, a new study in mice suggests.
In the study, mice that ate a high-fat diet over several weeks that included ursolic acid developed more muscle mass, and more calorie-burning brown fat, than mice eating the same diet without the chemical.
"Since muscle is very good at burning calories, the increased muscle in ursolic acid-treated mice may be sufficient to explain how ursolic acid reduces obesity," said study researcher Dr. Christopher Adams, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa.
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When your diet tanks as the day wears on

(Prevention) Just as the last few miles of a marathon are the most arduous (or so we hear), your healthy-eating habits tend to break down as the day wears on, finds a new survey by the digital health company Massive Health…
The good news is that this eating pattern doesn't have to be your forgone conclusion. Here's how to beat those daily food demons:
Eat breakfast… Many women don't eat enough hunger-quelling protein for breakfast and end up reaching for junky treats before lunch, [says Susan Bowerman, RD]. Eggs, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are all good sources of breakfast protein.
Veg it up at lunch. And keep downing the protein, too. "Vegetables are healthy, filling, and low-cal," Bowerman says. Lunch selections like stir-fry with tofu or a salad with beans and hard-boiled eggs are a great way to mix protein with plenty of veggies.
Incorporate snack attacks. Think of healthy snacking as your chance to bridge the dangerous gap between meals, especially the long, perilous afternoon stretch between lunch and dinner, Bowerman says. Pack half a sandwich and fruit, a protein shake, or a bowl of lentil soup for an afternoon snack. "You won't be starving at dinner time, and you can keep the last meal of the day light," she says.
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Weight Loss May Depend on Brain Response to Food

(MedPage Today) MRI scans done after bariatric surgery reveal different patterns of brain activation in response to food cues according to a study…
Resistance to craving manifested in activation of multiple regions of the brain in patients who had successful weight loss, whereas unsuccessful weight loss had no consistent activation pattern, Rachel Goldman, PhD, reported…
Clinical experience with bariatric surgery has shown that some patients lose less weight than expected or regain weight after surgery. About 20% of patients have regained much of the weight within 18 to 24 months, said Goldman.
Reasons underlying successful and unsuccessful weight loss are unclear. Even less is known about changes in brain activity that occur as a consequence of obesity.
"Obese individuals may have heightened arousal to food cues," said Goldman. "Recent functional MRI findings have demonstrated variability in neural responses to food cues when comparing obese and normal-weight individuals."
Community: It would be interesting to include people going through some sort of cognitive therapy aimed at desensitizing participants to food cravings in the next study. We have to find less expensive and less risky ways to reduce the obesity epidemic than bariatric surgery.
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Testosterone Therapy Doesn't Boost Prostate Cancer Risk, Study Finds

(MyHealthNewsDaily ) Men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy due to a drop in testosterone levels might not be at an increased risk of getting prostate cancer as previously thought, a new study from the U.K. suggests.
Researchers looked at nearly 1,400 men receiving testosterone replacement therapy for up to 20 years, and found that 14 cases of prostate cancer developed over the study period.
That number equates to one prostate cancer diagnosis yearly per 212 men; in the general population of U.K. men between ages 65 and 69, rates have been reported to be slightly less than one in 200 per year.
Community: And recent studies have shown some health benefits to the therapy.
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Blood pressure drug linked to GI problems‎

(UPI) The blood pressure drug Olmesartan is linked to gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, said after he pulled several patients off Olmesartan their gastrointestinal symptoms dramatically improved.
Eventually, all 22 were taken off the drug, and all showed improvement, Murray said.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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Blood Pressure Pills and the Blahs

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. [L]ast year my doctor diagnosed high blood pressure (170/90). He prescribed triamterene/HCTZ and atenolol… The medicine has brought my blood pressure down to around 130/63, but I feel extremely fatigued. My doctor has also informed me that a test shows I'm getting very close to diabetes. I can't help wondering if my medicine is contributing to the trouble I now face.
A. Your medicines seem to be controlling your blood pressure, but they could be causing your current problems. Atenolol may cause fatigue also known as the "beta blocker blahs" or the "beta blocker blues." There is also growing reservation among cardiologists in the know about the advisability of relying on beta blockers like atenolol, metoprolol or propranolol as first-line blood pressure medications. British experts in hypertension save beta blockers for the last line of defense, using other kinds of medications first.
Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) is a diuretic that has been associated with elevated blood sugar. This drug may actually tip the balance for some people and bring on diabetes. Such diuretics may also raise uric acid levels high enough to trigger gout…
Blood pressure control is essential, but you need to ask your doctor if some other medications would be appropriate. There are many options for lowering blood pressure, and some are less likely to cause the side effects you are experiencing. We have a comprehensive chapter on problems with beta blocker blood pressure pills and discuss many alternative medications as well as non-drug treatments for hypertension in our book, Best Choices From The People's Pharmacy.
You may also find our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment of value.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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Statin Side Effects Stymie Compliance

(MedPage Today) Experiencing side effects such as muscle-related pain or weakness was the top reason why patients stopped taking statins, according to results from a large survey…
Muscle pain or weakness was reported by 29% of all survey respondents, but the rate was higher among former users compared with current users (60% versus 25%).
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Liver Risk Found with Arthritis Supplement

(MedPage Today) A botanical product sold as help for osteoarthritis may carry risk of liver injury, researchers found.
In a prospective study, flavocoxid (Limbrel) was associated with four cases of liver injury that halted once the agent was discontinued, Naga Chalasani, MD, … and colleagues reported…
Flavocoxid is a blend of two flavonoids, baicalin and catechins, which are derived from the botanicals Scute-Ilaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu. It is available only by prescription as 250- or 500-mg tablets to treat osteoarthritis.
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Older Americans reporting fewer vision problems

(Reuters Health) Despite a general increase in health conditions like diabetes that can harm vision, Americans over 65 are about half as likely as their counterparts a generation ago to report having seriously impaired vision, according to a new U.S. study…
"There are many possible explanations" for the significant decline in impaired vision said the study's lead author, Dr. Angelo Tanna, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "Improved techniques for cataract surgery may be a major driving force," he said.
Changes in nutrition and lifestyle over the decades may also be reducing the rates of other eye diseases, Tanna told Reuters Health in an email.
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Device Calms Parkinson's Tremor for 3+ Years

(WebMD Health News) For some people with Parkinson's disease, deep brain stimulation can have immediate and dramatic effects on tremors, rigidity, balance, and other motor symptoms.
Now new research shows that these benefits may last at least three years…
Deep brain stimulation uses a battery-operated device to deliver electrical impulses -- similar to a pacemaker for the heart -- to areas of the brain that control movement. The impulses are thought to block abnormal signals that cause many of the movement problems (motor symptoms) of Parkinson's. This procedure is typically reserved for individuals who no longer respond to their Parkinson's medications or who experience unacceptable side effects from them.
According to the new findings, this treatment helped with motor symptoms such as tremor, but individuals did show gradual declines over time in their quality of life, ability to perform tasks of daily living, and thinking skills.
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Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, more -- due to infectious proteins?

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Who hasn’t heard of mad cow disease? Maybe there are a lot more diseases like that than we recognize -- such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s  -- that are caused by a rogue, mis-folded piece of protein that seeds other bits of protein to mis-fold as well.
So argues Stanley Prusiner, a UC San Francisco professor, in a commentary in the journal Science.
Prusiner won a Nobel Prize for finding that a class of neurodegenerative diseases (of which mad cow is one) is caused by such infectious proteins, dubbed prions. Diseases in this class include Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which occurs sporadically, as well as a few inherited disorders, such as Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome and fatal familial insomnia…
The point of Prusiner’s opinion piece is not to say that these disorders were picked up from something people ate or from another person. He is arguing that a broader range of brain diseases than we have appreciated may be due to prions. The protein culprit in each case could be different -- but all of them could mis-fold and make other, normally shaped proteins in a cell mis-fold as well, in a disease-causing cascade.
And if this is true, that implies a new approach to treating the disorders.
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Recommendation for Summer Heat: Water, Rest, Shade

(Scientific American) Hot weather is more than uncomfortable; it’s a killer. In fact, heat is the number one weather-related cause of death in the U.S. In an average year, heat kills more people than floods, hurricanes, lightning and tornadoes combined, according to the National Weather Service…
What to do? Three simple words: water, rest and shade. This is particularly true for the thousands of people whose jobs require them to be outdoors, whether farmhands or traffic cops. Drink water often, whether you’re thirsty or not. Wear a hat. Take periodic breaks to cool down in the shade. Know the symptoms of heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses (heat cramps, heavy sweating, weakness, fainting and/or vomiting, rapid pulse).
And see if you can acclimate. While this particular heat wave may not be linked directly to the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it is typical of the type of extreme weather we can expect more and more of as the climate changes. Ironically, that trend probably means we’ll burn more of the coal that is the leading cause of climate change as we rely more and more on electric-powered air conditioners, or at least fans, to beat the heat.
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Stay-cool tips for hot days and nights

(Consumer Reports) [S]uper-hot weather can be dangerous or even deadly for some people, namely older adults and people with heart disease or other chronic conditions.
These tips can help you prevent heat-related illness and stay comfortable in general when the mercury soars.
·         If possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment on hot, humid days, especially if an air-pollution alert is in effect. Don't have central air? Check our Ratings of the coolest air conditioners.
·         If you don't have air conditioning or access to an air-conditioned environment, take cool showers or baths and keep shades or curtains drawn during the day, especially on south- or west-facing windows. Use table or ceiling fans to circulate air. If possible, open windows on opposite sides of your home to create cross-ventilation.
·         Avoid exercising outdoors when it's hot.
·         Dress in light colors and breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen. Synthetic materials like polyester can trap heat.
·         Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
·         If you venture into the hot sun, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to provide shade. To ensure your sunscreen will really shield out harmful rays, check out our most recent sunscreen Ratings and buying guide.
·         Get immediate medical help if you or someone you're with develops symptoms of heat-related illness, including confusion, lethargy, agitation, intense muscle aches, fever, nausea, or convulsions.
·         Dozens of children die of heat stroke each year when they are accidentally left in a car on a hot day. For more read Summer heat wave brings the danger of children in hot cars, and watch this Consumer Reports video, which warns of the danger.
Community: Don’t leave dogs in the car, either.
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Avoid injury if exercising at temperatures over 90 F

(UPI) With high U.S. temperatures forecast and a heat wave set to hit cities from Boston to Atlanta in the next few days, exercise experts advise caution…
One way to avoid heat injury while exercising in hot weather is to stay adequately hydrated, [Dr. Cedric X.] Bryant said…
Bryant advised exercisers to become acclimatized to the environment. Acclimatization, the body's gradual adaptation to changes in environment usually takes 10-14 days of heat exposure combined with exercise. Following acclimatization, people sweat sooner, produce more sweat and lose fewer electrolytes in their sweat.
People should also lower the intensity level of exercise, especially during the acclimatization period, and avoid wearing clothing that is impermeable to water, such as rubberized sweat suits.
Community: Lots of air conditioned malls open their doors early so that people can get their exercise by walking the halls. Heat is no excuse not to exercise.
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Summer Weather Dangers: How to Stay Safe

(USA.gov Team, via email) Summertime can bring a range of weather challenges and potential dangers. Some of these threats can occur with little warning, so do what you can to prepare by assembling an emergency kit and forming a plan of action.
Find out what you should do if faced with the following weather dangers:
Lightning: In the U.S., lightning kills more people each year than tornadoes and hurricanes. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should seek shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. While indoors, don't use a corded phone, a computer or other electrical appliances; and avoid contact with plumbing (don't shower, wash hands, do laundry, etc.). Learn more about lightning safety and get tips on what to do if you're outdoors during a thunderstorm.
Floods: If you have time, move essential items to an upper floor. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk through moving water that is six inches or higher. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a flood.
Hurricanes: If you can't evacuate, get inside and secure external and internal doors. Stay away from windows and doors and take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.
Tornadoes: Storm cellars and basements are the safest locations, but if they aren't available, go to an interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows, doors, outside walls, and corners. If you are in a trailer or mobile home, go to a sturdy, nearby building. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a tornado.
Extreme Heat: Stay indoors as much as possible. Consider spending the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned public building, such as a library or shopping mall. Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Learn more about what to do in extreme heat.
Wildfires: If your home is threatened by a wildfire, you must evacuate. If you have time, bring an emergency kit that includes copies of important documents. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
Earthquakes: If you are indoors, stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls and get under a sturdy table or desk. If you are outside, keep away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. If you're in a moving vehicle, safely stop the vehicle in an open area and stay inside. Learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Beef and Sugar Snap Stir-Fry
Serve a veggie-laden stir-fry dinner that's ready in minutes. The best part? It cooks in one skillet, so clean up is a snap. Serve over steamed rice with green onions.
EatingWell:
Zesty Shrimp & Black Bean Salad
Loaded with fresh tomatoes, peppers and cilantro and seasoned with cumin and chile, this shrimp and black bean salad recipe has all the flavors of a great fresh salsa and is a quick and easy no-cook recipe. Serve with tortilla chips or fresh corn tortillas.
RealAge.com:
6 Super Ingredients for Your Summer Smoothies
Green tea, tofu, kefir, and other smoothie-recipe additions boost health benefits.
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a lean boneless piece of meat that is usually sold in packages of two. Here, we’ve prepared both tenderloins with a garlic-rosemary rub, which gives a blast of flavor and forms a nice crust on this tender meat.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Sashimi Tuna Salad
True Food Kitchen restaurant exclusive! In this recipe, your simple tuna salad is given an Asian flair with the additions of edamame, sesame seeds, wasabi peas, and ginger miso vinaigrette. Full of vibrant flavors, this salad won't disappoint.
Food as Medicine
Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improved cardiovascular health and which tend to be deficient in the American diet.
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Hot Water to Ease Itch

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. Hot water works for itches! I used the hottest water I could stand for a few seconds on my mosquito bites. It gave much more relief than scratching and lasted for hours. Why isn't this technique common knowledge?
A. We have been writing about hot water (hot enough to hurt but not so hot as to burn) for itchy bug bites for 36 years. We first learned about this remedy from a 1961 edition of the textbook, Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment. Perhaps it is no longer mentioned in medical school, since dermatologists now have potent corticosteroid creams to ease itching.
Hot water can also be helpful in easing the itch from poison oak or poison ivy. It should never be used for hives, however, as it can make them worse. 
Community: And Reuters reports that “Hot water, not pee, eases jellyfish stings”.
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Vitamin D Tests Not Accurate

(The People’s Pharmacy) Research on vitamin D and its importance to health has convinced many doctors to order blood tests for this vitamin. It is now one of the most frequently ordered tests in the US. Unfortunately, a new study shows that the current tests are not as accurate as one would like. Investigators at the University of Chicago discovered that 40 percent of the samples tested with Abbott's vitamin D test and 48 percent of the samples analyzed with Siemens test were off by 25 percent or more…
These false positive results could lead to overtreatment for vitamin D deficiency with high doses of the vitamin.
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Pot Popular for Pain in Fibromyalgia

(MedPage Today) Use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes -- particularly for pain relief -- is popular among patients with fibromyalgia, who either smoke marijuana or take synthethic prescription formulations, a Canadian study found…
Numerous therapies have been tried and advocated for use in fibromyalgia, but no single approach has proven reliably successful, so many patients turn tononmainstream remedies.
The rationale for the use of cannabinoids in pain conditions lies in the endogenous cannabinoid system, which consists of a variety of receptors and ligands widely distributed in the central and peripheral nervous system.
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New health IT effort aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Existing prescription drug use data will be made available to providers and pharmacists when treating patients in ambulatory and emergency departments through a new pilot program… The pilot projects, which will take place in Indiana and Ohio, will measure the effects of expanding and improving access to prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and are part of the Obama administration’s comprehensive efforts to reduce the prescription drug abuse epidemic. 
PDMPs are statewide electronic databases designed to be used as a tool by health care providers to identify and intervene in cases of potential prescription drug abuse.  The databases collect, monitor, and analyze electronically transmitted prescribing and dispensing data submitted by pharmacies and dispensing practitioners.
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Light at Night Bad for Health, Docs Say

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Lighting up the night is essential to a 24/7 society, but it may have intended consequences for human health, doctors say.
This week, the American Medical Association adopted a policy recognizing that exposure to excessive light at night, including lights from computer screens and other electronic media, can disrupt sleep, particularly in children and teens.
The wrong type of light at night can cause unsafe driving conditions, and too much night light may even increase the risk of cancer, experts say.
Community: Sleep masks are cheap. I got one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
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Disease-Mongering of Low Testosterone

(MedPage Today) Two articles in the Medical Journal of Australia point to disease-mongering of low testosterone.
In the June 4th issue, David Handelsman, PhD, of the University of Sydney, reports that there has been at least a twofold increase in total expenditure on testosterone prescriptions in Australia over two decades.
Barbara Mintzes, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, and Agnes Vitry, PharmD, PhD, of the University of South Australia, publish a piece in the same issue, “Disease mongering and low testosterone in the tale of two regulatory failures.” (subscription required for full access)
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Group Backs Bone Screening for Men

(MedPage Today) Men need bone density scans to watch for osteoporosis, too, the Endocrine Society urged.
In a new set of clinical guidelines, the society recommends dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) imaging for men ages 70 and older, as well as for those ages 50 to 69 who have risk factors like low body weight or smoking.
Vitamin D, calcium, and pharmacologic treatment along similar lines as is suggested for women were also recommended in the guidelines.
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Hepatitis B vaccine protects for 25 years: study

(Reuters) Vaccination against hepatitis B seems to protect against the virus for 25 years, suggesting that booster shots are unnecessary, according to a study from Taiwan that covered several thousand people.
Taiwan began compulsory hepatitis B virus immunization for all infants in 1984, in response to extremely high rates of infection, and the study - which appeared in the Journal of Hepatology - suggests other countries might benefit from a similar move.
"Universal vaccination in infancy provides long-term protection," wrote lead author Yen-Hsuan Ni, from the National Taiwan University in Taipei.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and is a prime cause of liver cancer. The virus is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person.
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Rudimentary Liver Grown in the Lab

(Nature) Japanese scientists have used induced stem cells to create a liver-like tissue in a dish.
Although they have yet to publish their results and much work remains to be done, the achievement could have big clinical implications. If the results bear out, they would also constitute a significant advance in the ability to coax stem cells to self-organize into organs.
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Trauma surgeon: Violence is public health problem

(UPI) Homicides in Chicago have risen about 35 percent in 2012 compared to this time in 2011, creating a burden on hospitals, a trauma surgeon said…
Dr. Hieu Ton-That, a trauma surgeon at Loyola [University Medical Center], said violence, like cancer, is a disease and needs to be treated with constant education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
"Since 2008, Loyola has partnered with CeaseFire, a national, non-government program dedicated to violence prevention," Ton-That said. "CeaseFire works! Their people are connected to the community and communicate effectively to help end violence. In cases of violence, Loyola chaplains connect with CeaseFire and they put the right members in contact with everyone involved to try to interrupt the cycle of violence."
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8 billion saved by reducing medical billing errors

(UPI) The American Medical Association says efforts by its members and private health insurers to reduce billing errors saved the healthcare system $8 billion.
Dr. Robert M. Wah, chairman of the AMA board of directors, said efforts to transform the health insurance billing and payment system cut in half the number of medical claims paid incorrectly by large health insurance companies -- from 19.3 percent in 2011 to 9.5 percent in 2012 -- resulting in billions in savings due to a reduction in unnecessary administrative work to reconcile errors, Wah said.
Despite the improvement, the commercial health insurance industry still paid the wrong amount for nearly 10 percent of medical claims and the AMA estimated an additional $7 billion could be saved if insurers consistently pay claims correctly, Wah added.
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U.S. health insurers to pay $1.1 billion in rebates: HHS

(Reuters) U.S. health insurance companies are due to pay out $1.1 billion in rebates to employers and individuals this summer, under a new industry regulation imposed by President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration said on Thursday.
But whether the rebates actually reach those recipients depends on if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a ruling expected by the end of next week, experts said.
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'Rest Of The Country Should Take A Good Look At The Situation In Texas'

(Kaiser Health News) They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the problem of the uninsured is no exception. The Houston metropolitan area has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in America, and a health safety net imploding under the demands of too many people and too few resources.  Almost one in three residents – more than a million people -- lack health insurance, and about 400 are turned away every day from the county hospital district's call center because they can't be accommodated at any of its 23 community or school-based centers.
Those seeking care at the public hospital's ER, meanwhile, arrive with blankets and coolers full of sandwiches and drinks in anticipation of waits that may go 24 hours or longer.
"If the Affordable Care Act is overturned, the rest of the country should take a good look at the situation in Texas, because this is what happens when you keep Medicaid enrollment as low as possible and don't undertake insurance reforms," said Elena M. Marks, a health policy scholar at Rice University.
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Eating Disorders: Not Only for the Young

(MedPage Today) Women 50 and older are not immune to eating disorders and potentially harmful weight control behaviors, an online survey showed.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were currently attempting to lose weight (71.2%) and roughly 13% reported having at least one current eating disorder symptom, Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, … and colleagues reported…
Some 62% of the women said concerns about eating, weight, or body shape occasionally or often had a negative impact on their lives, and 79.1% said weight and body shape had a moderate to "most important" role in self-perception.
Besides trying to lose weight, 41.2% said they checked their body size or shape once or more a day, weighed themselves once or more a week (40%), or spent half or more of their time over the past 5 years dieting (35.6%).
Among those who reported a current eating disorder symptom, the most common was purging in the absence of binge eating, reported by 7.8%, followed by binge eating (3.5%). Close to 20% of participants admitted to having intentionally maintained a low BMI in the past.
Other maladaptive weight control behaviors included use of laxatives or diuretics (7.7%), use of diet pills (7.5%), excessive exercise (6.8%), and vomiting (1.2%).
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Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It's tempting to resort to weight-loss supplements in the daily battle against the bulge, but there are indeed no shortcuts. 
A study …concluded that there is no sound research evidence showing that any single product results in significant weight loss. A handful - including green-tea and fiber-based supplements - were associated with a modest loss of three to four pounds, but most were tested as part of a reduced-calorie diet, making the contribution of a supplement difficult to tease out.
The article's author concluded that the ultimate key to weight loss is not supplements, but rather eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats and exercising regularly. Vegetables, in particular, should be added to virtually every dish - they add vital nutrients and fiber while contributing very few calories.
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7 Steps to a Healthful Weight

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) We all know the "secret" of successful weight loss: Eat less and exercise more. It's not always easy, but by adopting healthy eating habits and a regular exercise routine, you are sure to lose weight without depriving yourself of nourishing, satisfying food. And if you continue those good habits after you reach your goal, you will have an excellent chance of maintaining your desired weight. Here are some tips for successful weight loss:
1.    Avoid artificial sweeteners and synthetic fat substitutes…
2.    Dietary supplements or "fat-burning herbs" are usually just stimulants - don't rely on them…
3.    Build lean body mass. Strength training burns excess calories and influences the way your brain regulates hunger, making you less susceptible to food cravings…
4.    Kick up your heels. Dancing is another great way to expend calories…
5.    Pay attention to the mental and spiritual aspects of weight control. Use relaxation exercises - instead of food - to combat anxiety.
6.    Avoid late-night eating…
As you lose the weight, don’t become too impatient to reach your goal. You may be dissatisfied with your body, but it is beautiful just the same.
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