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

The 3 Bs of healthy aging: brains, bone, belly

(Sheah Rarback, Miami Herald) We tackle the external signs of aging with lotions, dyes and other cosmetic tactics, but pampering the insides is just as important. Eating nutritious foods and staying physically active are the keys to health and vitality. Taking care of the three Bs — brain, bones and belly — benefits your entire body.
Our brains are 70 percent fat, and maintaining peak mental performance means feeding your brain its favorite fat — omega 3 fatty acids and specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)….
Maintain strong bones and good posture involves more than just calcium. Our bones need vitamin D to absorb calcium, magnesium for structural integrity and vitamin K for the formation of osteocalcin, a type of protein found only in bone…
Visceral fat is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, fatty liver and heart disease.
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Saving the Brain

(UPI) A drug that has Polynesian roots may help the elderly retain the ability to learn and remember, U.S. researchers say.
Veronica Galvan, assistant professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, part of the University of Texas Health Science Center, said rapamycin -- a bacterial product first isolated from soil on Easter Island -- enhanced learning and memory in young mice and improved these faculties in old mice.
(The People’s Pharmacy) People who eat foods rich in the mineral magnesium appear to be less likely to suffer strokes. That is the conclusion of a meta-analysis involving roughly 250,000 people.
Foods rich in magnesium include halibut, almonds, cashews, soybeans, spinach, and other dark green leafy vegetables as well as legumes like black-eyed peas and lentils. The more magnesium-rich foods people consumed, the lower the risk of experiencing a blood clot in the brain.
(Science Daily) We've all heard that eating fish is good for our brains and memory. But what is it about DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, that makes our memory sharper?
[Said the authors of new research on the subject, ] "What we discovered is that memory cells in the hippocampus could communicate better with each other and better relay messages when DHA levels in that region of the brain were higher. This could explain why memory improves on a high-DHA diet."
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Building Bone

‎(USA Weekend) These four steps can help protect your bones:
Get calcium and vitamin D…
Walk fast and lift weights…
Stop smoking and drink less alcohol…
Test your bone strength.
‎(KABC) The single most important mineral for maintaining bone density is, of course, calcium… And that calcium needs vitamin D for absorption… Another component assisting calcium absorption is protein. So get enough each meal…
Since exercise stimulates bone formation, putting stress on muscles puts stress on bones, and that's good. These moves should be weight-bearing - meaning step on it. Walking works, as well as lunges and pushups - anywhere that you use your body's weight for resistance.
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Shrinking the Belly

(Bloomberg) Sprinting, not jogging, helps men lose harmful belly fat faster, scientists in Sydney found.
Eight-second bursts of sprinting on an exercise bike repeated intermittently for 20 minutes helped overweight men lose 2 kilograms (4 pounds) of body fat over 12 weeks, researchers at the University of New South Wales said today. Importantly, there was a 17 percent reduction in fat stored around their liver, kidneys and other internal organs that is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
(RealAge.com)  Flavonoids -- those antioxidant-like compounds found in fruits, veggies, chocolate, tea, and wine -- seemed to help ward off belly fat in a 14-year study.
(RealAge.com)  Here are nine foods that help trim belly fat when you add them to your diet.
Black Beans…
Cold Potatoes…
Sunflower Seeds…
Apple Cider Vinegar…
Safflower Oil
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More tips for healthy aging

(HHS HealthBeat) Flexibility is important for basic everyday movements, like getting in and out of your chair, and maintaining your balance. When we’re not active, our muscles lose their integrity. Without muscle integrity, it becomes harder to move and maintain health, especially as you get older.
(Science Daily) Menopausal women who exercise may experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following physical activity, according to health researchers.
(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Score another point for caffeine? Perhaps. That most quotidian of wonder drugs can boost power to elderly muscles, a new study shows, making it potentially helpful in slowing age-related muscle deterioration.
As bodies age, muscles become weaker — a phenomenon known as sarcopenia — raising the risk of falls and injuries. But caffeine has been shown to help muscles work harder, which in turn helps maintain and even strengthen muscles. Perhaps caffeine, then, could make ailing older muscles exert more force and thus help keep the muscles stronger longer. 
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Shrimp Korma and Basmati Rice
Whip up this spicy and flavorful Indian shrimp korma in just 30 minutes. Top the dish with a spoonful of thick, tangy Greek-style yogurt to counter the heat.
Barbecue Pulled Chicken
Have sliced jalapenos, sliced red onions and some sour cream on hand to top this barbecue pulled chicken, which makes a hearty main course. You can turn it into an unbelievable sandwich or serve it on mashed potatoes or even whole-grain spaghetti. Serve with shredded napa cabbage tossed with low-fat mayonnaise, cider vinegar, celery seed and honey to taste.
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Study shows which diet is best to boost metabolism

(TODAY) Cutting-edge research from Boston Children’s Hospital suggests that the type of diet you eat may affect your metabolism, a finding that has important implications for weight maintenance… [T]he study looked at three popular diets (low-carb, low-glycemic, and low-fat) to see which combination of fat, carbs, and protein was the best for people trying to maintain a previous weight loss…
The low-glycemic diet emerged as the top-performing plan, giving people a significant metabolic boost without causing undesirable side effects… It helped stabilize blood sugar and metabolism, and also had a beneficial impact on inflammation, stress hormones, and other heart-health markers…
A typical breakfast for the participants adhering to the low-glycemic index diet consisted of a scrambled egg, whole grain cereal, 1% milk, grapefruit sections, and sunflower seeds.  A sample lunch includes a mixed salad with olive oil vinaigrette, chili with beans, orange slices and yogurt, while dinner might feature fish, green beans, a mixed salad and a small portion of pasta with olive oil. Snacks included fresh fruit and string cheese.
A low-glycemic diet is a smart, healthy, manageable way to lose weight and keep it off for the long-term. If you’re looking to give this plan a try, be sure to take advantage of this handy low-glycemic shopping list created by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital.
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Zebrafish Research Shows How Dietary Fat Regulates Cholesterol Absorption

(UPI) James Walters, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the Carnegie Institution for Science are using zebrafish to better understand the cellular mechanisms of cholesterol processing and have discovered a surprising link between dietary fat and cholesterol absorption…
"Because the larval zebrafish are optically clear, we can visualize fat transport and processing by looking right through their body wall into the intestine where the action is," Dr. Walters said…
Dr. Walters found that cholesterol was only absorbed when the fish ate a high-fat diet, not a low-fat diet. The fats and cholesterol were packaged into separate and clearly visible compartments within the cells. "You can tell which larvae had eggs for breakfast," he said…
Dr. Walters and his colleagues are now exploring the system's potential for studying and testing compounds that can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol, including one drug already on the market.
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Iced Tea: More Than Just a Refreshing Drink

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Iced tea may be a satisfying summer drink, but a nice, tall glass of it can do more than just help you beat the heat on a sweltering day.
All black, green, white, red, and oolong teas, iced or hot, contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Research suggests that polyphenols can help to combat free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that can damage cells and tissues and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and numerous other diseases. The polyphenols in white, red, green, oolong, and black tea have been found to help lower LDL cholesterol.
In addition, a recent study showed that regularly drinking green tea, which is rich in a type of polyphenol called catechins, may help promote exercise-induced abdominal fat loss. Catechins have also been shown to improve triglyceride levels and help protect against Alzheimer’s and certain forms of cancer.
To get the most from a glass of iced tea, brew it from loose leaves or a tea bag using boiling water. Perk up the flavor with sliced lemon and fresh mint or, for a complete change of pace, fiber-rich crushed raspberries or muddled mango or peach… If you like your iced tea sweet, add a sugar substitute. Decaffeinated tea is another option, as is unsweetened herbal iced tea (herbal teas don't provide the same health benefits from polyphenols as regular teas, however).
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Veggies in Diet May Cut Risk of Pancreatitis

(MedPage Today) A vegetable-rich diet appears to be protective against non-gallstone-related acute pancreatitis, results of a cohort study showed.
Patients consuming the highest number of vegetable servings had a significantly lower risk of developing non-gallstone-related acute pancreatitis compared with those who ate the fewest servings…, according to Viktor Oskarsson, MD, … and colleagues.
The protective effect of higher vegetable consumption was more pronounced in patients who drank more than one alcoholic drink (>13 g) daily, and in overweight patients (BMI ≥25 kg/m2), Oskarsson and co-authors wrote.
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Pale? You May Need More Vitamin D

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Vitamin D deficiency is common in the developed world, and according to at least one study, people with very pale skin are most likely to be seriously deficient…
The possible reason? People with very fair skin tend to avoid the sun because they burn easily, making it difficult for their bodies to make sufficient “D” from sun exposure. This suggests that if you have fair skin and tend to avoid direct sunlight, supplementing may be especially important for you.
Dr. Weil recommends 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol) rather than D2 (ergocalciferol).
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B6 Deficit Tied to Cardiovascular Disease Risk

(MedPage Today) Low levels of vitamin B6 may play a role in the chronic inflammation that contributes to cardiovascular disease and other common conditions, researchers found…
"Low vitamin B-6 status, based on plasma concentrations of PLP, has been identified in inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes," the [researchers] wrote…
"This study, in combination with past findings, further supports our hypothesis that inflammation is associated with a functional deficiency of vitamin B6," they added.
Community: The NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements has more information on vitamin B6, including dietary sources.
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Brain Activity Reflects Pain in Fibromyalgia

(MedPage Today) A novel functional MRI approach that measures resting brain activity and connectivity may provide a much-needed objective measure of pain in patients with fibromyalgia, researchers suggested.
Pain treatment resulted in reduced resting, or intrinsic, connectivity between the brain's default mode network and the right anterior/middle insular cortex … in a group of 17 women with fibromyalgia, according to Vitaly Napadow, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.
At the same time, clinical pain scores on a sensory subscale fell from a mean of 10.71 to 6.06…, and the diminished pain correlated positively with the reduced connectivity between the default mode network and the anterior insula…), the researchers reported…
The study results suggest that imaging to assess intrinsic brain connectivity might be a sensitive candidate to serve as an objective marker for the assessment of treatment modalities.
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Novel Drug Helped in Fibromyalgia

(MedPage Today) Treatment with a novel selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor led to decreases in pain among patients with fibromyalgia and lessened the impact of the disease on their daily lives, a large multicenter clinical trial found.
Among patients receiving 4 mg per day ofesreboxetine for 14 weeks, mean change in pain score from baseline was −0.74…, according to Lesley M. Arnold, MD, … and colleagues.
And in patients receiving 8 mg per day, the change in pain score was −0.76…, the researchers reported.
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Good News for Aging Eyes: Debilitating Eyesight Problems on the Decline for Older Americans

(Science Daily) Today's senior citizens are reporting fewer visual impairment problems than their counterparts from a generation ago, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.
Improved techniques for cataract surgery and a reduction in the prevalence of macular degeneration may be the driving forces behind this change, the researchers said.
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Family Doctors Seen as Winners as High Court Upholds Law: Health

(Bloomberg) When the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health-care law yesterday, many interested parties had cause to celebrate. Among them were family doctors who stand to gain both influence and money from the decision.
Specialists such as cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons worry they will fall in the losers’ camp. These doctors say they face reduced reimbursements, loss of autonomy to hospitals and, ultimately, fewer patients receiving their care.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Affordable Care Act may cover more than 30 million uninsured people in the U.S. Keeping that care affordable means reining in medical and drug costs by reprioritizing some services.
Community: And the specialists are complaining. Of course.
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Time to Focus on Healthcare Costs

(U.S. News & World Report) In the last 10 years U.S. spending on healthcare doubled, from $1.3 trillion to $2.6 trillion a year. The figure is expected to reach an eye-popping $4.6 trillion in 2020, at which point per-capita spending on healthcare will exceed $13,000 a year. Today, healthcare accounts for about 18 cents of every dollar Americans spend. Even with the healthcare law in place, that number is expected to continue to grow, and if nothing is done, healthcare threatens to consume the entire economy.
For American families, the impact is very real. A 2011 RAND analysis determined that over the past decade, healthcare cost growth wiped out the real income gains of a typical American family. If healthcare costs had simply grown at the same rate as inflation, a median-income family of four would have put an extra $5,400 left in their pockets in the course of a year. That's enough to make two mortgage payments, enroll for a year of community college, or pay down a substantial chunk of credit card debt.
So what are the options for slowing health cost growth?
One is blunt rationing—essentially, providing people with less care… Another option is to provide the same amount of healthcare, but pay less for it… A third, more promising option is to cut administrative and clinical waste, and focus on delivering the most highly effective care…
The fourth basic approach is perhaps the most promising: Reduce the need for expensive care through prevention. This option gets little attention in Washington because prevention is less glamorous, and has a less powerful lobby, than high-tech healthcare. But the evidence supporting prevention is compelling. For example, regions that have strong primary care systems have lower costs and better health overall than regions where primary care is weak and patients tend to visit specialists. Public health pays big dividends in terms of lives saved and spending prevented, but public health officials rarely get credit for their work.
The bottom line is this: With or without the Affordable Care Act, the nation can no longer kick the can down the road on costs. 
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Survey: Wellness programs increasing

(UPI) U.S. employee healthcare premiums discounts for getting annual health risk assessments rose from 11 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2012, officials said…
"Organizations continue to look for ways to manage costs as the economy slowly improves," Mark J. Schmit, vice president of research at Society for Human Resource Management, said in a statement.
In addition, the survey found employers offering discounts for not using tobacco products increased to 20 percent this year from 8 percent in 2008.
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Supreme Court health-care ruling: A complicated win for consumers

(Consumer Reports) The bottom line is that all the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act survive intact. These include the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, the subsidies to help people afford coverage, the end to annual and lifetime limits on health benefits, the consumer-friendly exchanges where people can buy insurance, and the ability of young adults to stay on their parents' policies.
For this, consumers have Chief Justice John Roberts to thank. He provided the decisive vote that upheld the controversial mandate. Interestingly, he did so because he said he considered it part of the government's power to tax. But, along with the more conservative justices on the court, he also said that the government does not have the power to force people to buy a private product. But that's irrelevant to the overall outcome. Once the court upheld the mandate, it never had to rule on the associated parts of the law so they remain untouched…
The ruling limiting the expansion of Medicaid to cover all low-income households is more complicated and our experts are still thinking through the implications.
Community: The anti-consumer ads started DURING THE COVERAGE of the Supreme Court announcement on CNN yesterday. The ads claim that under the act, the government interjects itself between you and your doctor. It’s an out and out lie that was repeated by Mitt Romney in his reaction to the decision. Just so you’ll know, Romney promoted and signed almost the same exact legislation when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Do not trust these people, friends, they’re playing you.
HealthCare.gov has the information on the law and how it will affect you at “The Health Care Law & You”.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has a flowchart that shows how the mandate would affect you.
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Reactions to ACA Ruling Largely Predictable

(MedPage Today) President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wasted no time responding to Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that largely upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Romney was first to publicly respond. He blasted the Supreme Court decision and vowed to overturn the law if voters elect him to the White House in November. "If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we are going to have to replace President Obama," Romney said
"What the court did not do on its last day, I will do on my first day as President of the United States," he said, speaking from near the U.S. Capitol. "That is, I will act to repeal Obamacare."
However, Romney said he would keep some "essential" parts of the law, including preventing insurers from denying coverage on the basis of a preexisting medical condition.
The court, Romney emphasized, "did not say [ACA] is good law, or good policy."
When Obama spoke shortly after, from the White House, he called the ruling a "victory for people all over this country."…
He highlighted the parts of the law that the administration has touted since the beginning: that insurance will be more secure and affordable, insurers won't be allowed to charge sky-high premiums, or deny coverage for the sick…
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced just hours after the Supreme Court decision that the House would vote on July 11 to repeal the entire ACA.
That move was not greeted with open arms by the Democrats. "Take Yes for an answer, and let's move forward," was the response of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)…
Jeremy Lazarus, MD, president of the American Medical Association, a group which has supported the ACA from the beginning, said the group is pleased with the court's ruling…
American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said the law will "benefit America's heart health for decades to come."
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Sick Americans relieved at high court health ruling

(Reuters) Americans who were relying on a U.S. healthcare overhaul to provide them with health insurance heaved a collective sigh of relief after the Supreme Court upheld the law, which aims to extend coverage to more than 30 million people…
John Seffrin, chief executive of the American Cancer Society, called it "a victory for people with cancer and their families nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition."
Seffrin said the decision preserves vital provisions of the law that are already in place, such as improving the ability of people to get preventive services including mammograms and colonoscopies at no additional cost to patients.
Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said the ruling is "good news for people with Medicare, the Medicare program, and the millions of families who could not otherwise afford health care coverage."…
The health overhaul law gives seniors in the doughnut hole a 50 percent discount on branded drugs and 7 percent on generics, with bigger discounts scheduled down the road. The plan has already saved more than $3 billion in Medicare prescription drug costs for older and disabled Americans.
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Hospital Stocks Soar As Court Upholds Health Act

(Kaiser Health News) Hospitals were the businesses with the most to lose from a negative Supreme Court opinion on the 2010 health law. Sure, insurers would have lost millions of potential customers. But if the act were struck down, they would have also been freed from restrictions on their profits, leading Wall Street analysts to predict mixed results for them in the event that the law failed.
For hospitals, on the other hand, such an outcome would have represented almost pure pain. While the act puts pressure on future Medicare payments, and the court gave states the choice to opt out of Medicaid expansion, analysts still anticipate substantial new revenue streams for hospitals via Medicaid and through the private market.
A decision to strike down the act would have maintained hospitals’ responsibility of caring for the uninsured while removing the means for patients to gain coverage, resulting in a severe financial pinch, analysts said. So stocks of for-profit hospital companies soared on Wall Street today even as the overall market fell.
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Ruling Puts Pressure On States To Act

(Kaiser Health News) The Supreme Court has given states a way out of expanding their Medicaid programs under the health law, and top Republican officials in several states were quick to say they want to take that step.
But governors will be under strong pressure to take the federal money that would pay for coverage for millions of low-income people.
The court’s landmark ruling upheld the most controversial provision, an individual requirement to have insurance, but gave states the option of not increasing Medicaid eligibility. Yet that is crucial to the main objective of the Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014 is projected to increase the number of insured Americans by 30 million -- 17 million via Medicaid, which serves the poor and disabled.
Medicaid would cover everyone with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level, about $31,000 for a family of four. Today, the Medicaid program covers fewer than half of people with incomes under poverty.
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Health insurers seek to soften their image

(New York Times) Over the past year, many of the largest insurance companies in the country, including Aetna, Cigna and Humana, have introduced elaborate marketing campaigns to reposition themselves as consumer-friendly health care companies, not just insurance providers. The insurers have been preparing for the possibility that the court may uphold the most controversial provision in the legislation — the individual mandate that would require people to buy health insurance or face a fine…
The new efforts include themed messages like a “Go You” campaign by Cigna, as well as loyalty and rewards programs that take a page directly from the marketing playbook of traditional retailers.
The campaigns represent a departure for insurers, who had previously directed their marketing to wholesale business accounts, not individual consumers. The shift in strategy may become necessary no matter what happens with the health care act, but it is fraught with challenges for an industry that is better known for causing consumer headaches than for curing them.
Community: You have a long way to go, insurers.
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Factbox: U.S. healthcare by the numbers

(Reuters) The U.S. Supreme Court's healthcare ruling on Thursday has far-reaching implications for a healthcare system that, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is highest in spending but just 31st in providing coverage to its people among the OECD's 34 members.
The following information ranking the United States by category against the OECD's other members comes from the November publication "Health at a Glance 2011 - OECD Indicators."
* 1st in Spending - Annual healthcare spending totals $2.6 trillion, equal to 17.9 percent of U.S. annual gross domestic product, or $8,402 for every man, woman and child…
* 1st in Obesity - More than one-third of American adults are obese, up from 15 percent in 1980.
* 2nd in Prevalence of Diabetes - 10.3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes, surpassed only by Mexico's 10.8 percent. The OECD average is 6.5 percent.
* 3rd out of nine in Waiting Time for Specialists …
* 25th in Preventing Death from Heart Disease - At 129 deaths per 100,000 people, the U.S. heart disease mortality rate is below an OECD average of 117 per 100,000.
* 27th in Life Expectancy - Americans can expect to live 78.2 years on average, below the OECD average and just behind Slovenia and Chile…
* 31st in Preventing Premature Death - The number of years lost in the United States to premature death is surpassed only by Hungary, Mexico and Russia. The main causes are accidents, violence, cancer and circulatory disease.
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Grilled Chicken Sliders
Mini sliders are a fun weeknight meal the whole family is sure to love. Dijon mustard gives the apricot chutney the perfect amount of peppery tang to complement the grilled chicken.
Sauteed Haddock with Orange-Shallot Sauce
In this easy haddock recipe, the fish’s delicate flavor is wonderfully balanced by the sweet and savory combination of orange, shallot and mustard. You can also make this haddock recipe with flounder or sole from the Pacific
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Cold Vegetable Pasta Primavera
Cold pasta dishes are often overlooked, perhaps because we are used to seeing them looking tired in a deli counter. When the noodles are made fresh and tossed with seasoned, grilled vegetables and homemade sauce, it makes all the difference.
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Think frozen yogurt is a light dessert? Think again!

(Sharecare) The frozen yogurt craze has taken America by storm, fueling a billion-dollar industry. One reason for the dessert's rise in popularity is the common belief that frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream. Sharecare nutrition expert and Dr. Oz Show guest Samantha Heller sets the record straight:
1. Serving size matters. The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing a frozen dessert that contains 3 grams or less of fat per 4-ounce serving (1/2 cup). Some popular frozen yogurt shops offer cups in only one size -- large -- and charge by the ounce. Left to their own devices (and cravings), many people dish up a portion that easily equals the sugar contained in a candy bar.
2. Think of toppings like candy…  If you want to top off your frozen treat, opt for fruit and nut selections (in moderation).
3. Don't bank on probiotics…  The freezing process affects the amount of probiotics in the finished product.
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Watermelon Extract for Healthier Blood Vessels

(The People’s Pharmacy) As people age, their arteries often become less flexible. Atherosclerosis is associated with heart disease and high blood pressure. New research from Florida State University shows that people at risk of high blood pressure get benefit from an unexpected source.
Watermelon extract was studied in a 6-week randomized placebo controlled trial with overweight volunteers. The watermelon extract significantly improved measures of artery flexibility. The extract lowered blood pressure as much as many antihypertensive medications.
The researchers believe that citrulline in the watermelon extract is converted to L-arginine, which increases nitric oxide production in the blood vessels and improves endothelial function. The 6 grams of extract given each day would be the equivalent of just over two pounds of raw watermelon.
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Ethnic food often spicier and healthier

(UPI) U.S. adults are choosing more ethnic foods and ingredients that not only offer unique flavor and texture, but a variety of health benefits, a researcher says.
"Very authentic and regional cuisines are becoming very popular," Janet Carver, senior culinary team leader at Ingredion Inc., said in a statement. "Not just Chinese, but Thai, Korean, and foods from other countries and regions."…
"Ethnic foods and ingredients offer powerful, distinct flavors, as well as unique nutritional and health benefits, Carver said. "Everyone wants to enjoy their food; they also want it to be flavorful and healthy."
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Dietary Fiber Alters Gut Bacteria, Supports Gastrointestinal Health

(Science Daily) A University of Illinois study shows that dietary fiber promotes a shift in the gut toward different types of beneficial bacteria.
And the microbes that live in the gut, scientists now believe, can support a healthy gastrointestinal tract as well as affect our susceptibility to conditions as varied as type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
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What You Eat Can Prevent Arsenic Overload

(Science Daily) Millions of people worldwide are exposed to arsenic from contaminated water, and we are all exposed to arsenic via the food we eat.
New research … has demonstrated that people who ate more dietary vitamin B12 and animal protein had lower levels of arsenic (measured by deposition in toenails). Total dietary fat, animal fat, vegetable fat and saturated fat were also all associated with lower levels of arsenic, while omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, were associated with increased arsenic.
Long term exposure to high levels of arsenic is known to cause skin lesions, cancer and cardiovascular disease, and also affects fetal development. Even low concentrations of arsenic are potentially dangerous.
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Can You Overdo Vitamin D?

(RealAge.com) [A]lthough enough D helps bones, older women who took gigantic 550,000 IU doses every fall or winter for 3 to 5 years in one study had morefractures and more falls than those who got no extra D. Same goes for blood vessels: Too much not only nixes benefits, it stiffens your arteries.
Why can excess D double cross you? Big doses seem to steal calcium from your bones and spew it into your bloodstream, interfering with muscle function and putting your arteries and kidneys in peril.
By now we bet you're saying, "Okay, docs, what's too little, what's too much, what's just right?" Coming up.
Aim for 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Total. Include what's in your multi, your calcium-D3- magnesium tablet, your D-fortified milk or other fortified foods. Yes, we've seen the Internet buzz about taking super-high doses on your own. Don't do it. The Institute of Medicine says over 4,000 IU per day can be harmful; we say don't go over 2,000 IU without talking with your doc. Superpills packing 10,000 IU should only be taken under medical supervision, usually by those who don't absorb it well or who need a special regimen.
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Gut-On-A-Chip, The Latest In Scientists’ Attempt To Mimic Organs In The Lab

(Singularity Hub) The … gut-on-a-chip, attempts to mimic the physiology, structure, and mechanics of the human intestines.
It is roughly the size of a thumb drive and contains a central chamber that houses a pliant, porous membrane lined with human intestinal epithelial cells, producing an artificial intestinal barrier. It can even harbor the microbes normally abundant in our gut’s luminal space. Not only does the 3D chip mimic organ anatomy, the membrane is controlled with a vacuum pump to produce the peristaltic motions that occur during digestion.
Although the gut-on-a-chip is not yet ready widespread for use, it could potentially provide a relatively cheap way to study intestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. And the safety and efficacy of any treatment for gut disorders could be tested on the chip.
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Ozone Exposure Linked to Potential Heart Attacks

(Science Daily) Young, healthy adult volunteers exposed for two hours to ozone developed physiological changes associated with cardiovascular ailments, according to a small study…
Study participants showed evidence of vascular inflammation, a potential reduced ability to dissolve artery-blocking blood clots, and changes in the autonomic nervous system that controls the heart's rhythm. The changes were temporary and reversible in these young, healthy participants.
Ground level ozone is created when pollutants from vehicles, power plants, industry, chemical solvents and consumer products react in the presence of sunlight. Recent epidemiology studies have reported associations between acute exposure to ozone and death
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Heart attacks more likely where traffic is louder

(MyHealthNewsDaily) The louder the traffic near people's homes, the greater their risk of heart attack, a new study from Denmark says.
The researchers tracked more than 50,000 study participants for nearly 10 years and found that for every 10 decibels of added roadway traffic noise, the risk of heart attack increased 12 percent.
"We think traffic noise  during the night is especially dangerous, because it disturbs sleep," said lead researcher Mette Sorenson of the Danish Cancer Society. But anytime you’ve been exposed to high levels of noise, "you have increased concentrations of stress hormones in your body,” which could explain the increased heart attack risk, Sorenson said.
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Senate Passes FDA User-Fee Compromise

(MedPage Today) The Senate voted 92-4 to pass a compromise bill to reauthorize FDA user-fee programs, sending the measure to President Obama’s desk for his signature…
The House-Senate agreement would reauthorize the FDA to collect user fees under its prescription drug and medical device approval processes for 5 years. The current user-fee agreements with the drug and device industries are set to expire at the end of September.
To keep the prescription drug process going, the user-fee bill would reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), the popular program that charges drug companies fees that help fund the FDA's drug approval programs. Since PDUFA was first passed in 1992, it has become the major revenue stream for the FDA's drug review programs, with user fees funding 62% of the agency's drug review expenses in 2010.
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Chronic stress Linked to Depression

(Bloomberg) Chronic stress appears to block a gene that guards against brain atrophy associated with depression, according to a study in rats that may help guide new treatments for mood disorders.
The gene, called neuritin, appears to be responsible for keeping healthy neuron connections in certain parts of the brain, according to the study… Rats whose genes were suppressed were more anxious and depressed than those whose genes weren’t, an experiment found. Further, activating the gene led to an antidepressant response.
The research adds evidence to the idea that depression may be caused by atrophy in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for mood and memory…
“This is based on findings that basically stress and depression have been shown to cause atrophy,” said Ronald Duman, a study author
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent or minimize the effects of depression.
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Internet Usage Patterns May Signify Depression

(Science Daily) In a new study analyzing Internet usage among college students, researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have found that students who show signs of depression tend to use the Internet differently than those who show no symptoms of depression…
[Dr. Sriram] Chellappan is now interested in using these findings to develop software that could be installed on home computers to help individuals determine whether their Internet usage patterns may indicate depression…
"The software would be a cost-effective and an in-home tool that could proactively prompt users to seek medical help if their Internet usage patterns indicate possible depression," Chellappan says. "The software could also be installed on campus networks to notify counselors of students whose Internet usage patterns are indicative of depressive behavior."
Chellappan also believes the method used to connect Internet use and depression could also help diagnose other mental disorders like anorexia, bulimia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or schizophrenia.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent or minimize the effects of depression.
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Brain Response to Guilt May Help Understand Depression

(Bloomberg) People with a history of depression respond differently than others to feeling guilty, brain scans show, a finding that may begin to explain how the emotions are processed by the brain.
Patients who had recovered from depression were more likely to show activation in areas of the brain associated with guilt, even when primed with scenarios where someone else was at fault, according to a study…
A century ago, Sigmund Freud proposed that excessive guilt was part of depression. Today’s study may point to how the brain experiences guilt and depression, said Roland Zahn, a study author and senior lecturer at the University of Manchester in the U.K. Though the study doesn’t say whether added sensitivity to guilt causes depression, the imaging may lead to new ways to diagnose vulnerability.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent or minimize the effects of depression.
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Latest Research on Treatments for Depression

(Many Years Young) I suffered from severe depression years ago, with two hospitalizations. No medication ever helped, nor did electro-convulsive therapy. So I made a lot of changes in my life, including some of those listed below, and haven't had that level of depression again.
(Science Daily) Women with moderate to severe depression had substantial improvement in their symptoms of depression after they received treatment for their vitamin D deficiency, a new study finds.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Looking for a quick mood booster and something to relieve pain? Consider SAMe… Talk with your doctor about taking SAMe with prescribed antidepressants or other medications. It may be especially useful for people who suffer from pain as well as depression - a common combination of problems.
(Science Daily) BA group of researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health, led by Dr. Carlos Zarate, previously found that a single dose of ketamine produced rapid antidepressant effects in depressed patients with bipolar disorder. They have now replicated that finding in an independent group of depressed patients, also with bipolar disorder.
(Science Daily)  Commonly prescribed anti-depressants appear to be doing patients more harm than good, say researchers who have published a paper examining the impact of the medications on the entire body.
(Science Daily)  Scientists have discovered that plant compounds from a South African flower may in time be used to treat diseases originating in the brain -- including depression. At the University of Copenhagen, a number of these substances have now been tested in a laboratory model of the blood-brain barrier.
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