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

New Strategy Needed for Fighting Obesity

(Science Daily) As the United States confronts the growing epidemic of obesity among children and adults, a team of University of Colorado School of Medicine obesity researchers concludes that what the nation needs is a new battle plan -- one that replaces the emphasis on widespread food restriction and weight loss with an emphasis on helping people achieve "energy balance" at a healthy body weight…
As [James O. Hill, PhD.] explains, "What we are really talking about is changing the message from 'Eat Less, Move More" to 'Move More, Eat Smarter.' "
The authors argue that preventing excessive weight gain is a more achievable goal than treating obesity once it is present. Here, the researchers stress that reducing calorie intake by 100 calories a day would prevent weight gain in 90 percent of the adult population and is achievable through small increases in physical activity and small changes in food intake.
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Brazil Has Laws That Protect Against 'Big Food' and 'Big Snack'

(Science Daily) Under pressure from civil society organizations, the Brazilian government has introduced legislation to protect and improve its traditional food system, standing in contrast to the governments of many industrialized countries that have partly surrendered their prime duty to protect public health to transnational food companies, argue nutrition and public health experts writing in this week's PLoS Medicine.
Carlos Monteiro and Geoffrey Cannon … explain that, in Brazil, traditional long-established food systems and dietary patterns are being displaced by ultra-processed products made by transnational food corporations ("Big Food" and "Big Snack") contributing to increases in the incidence of obesity and of major chronic diseases, and adversely affecting public health and public goods by undermining culture, meals, the family, community life, local economies, and national identity.
The authors argue: "The use of law to protect and improve food systems and supplies, and thus public health, may be difficult in parts of the world where governments have already ceded the responsibility of governance to transnational and other corporations. However, in Brazil protection of public health still remains a prime duty of government."
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Critic says 'Big Food' needs regulation to curb obesity

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) There’s been much hand-wringing of late over the role of major food manufacturers in the American diet and whether they bear some responsibility for the country’s obesity epidemic. On Tuesday, the Public Library of Science Medicine takes a look at what it calls Big Food in some other countries, including South Africa and Brazil.
In the third week of its series on Big Food, the journal also gave a platform to Kelly Brownell, director of Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and an outspoken critic of major food makers.
“The arresting reality is that companies must sell less food if the population is to lose weight, and this pits the fundamental purpose of the food industry against public health goals to prevent excesses and to protect the public good,” Brownell wrote in an article that calls for regulation of the food industry…
The authors conclude that the country needs a plan to educate the public and regulate food companies, as well as make produce and whole grains more “available, affordable and acceptable.”
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Cancer group asks U.S. to study sugary drinks, obesity

(Reuters) A leading U.S. cancer lobby group is urging the Surgeon General to conduct a sweeping study of the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on consumer health, saying such drinks play major role in the nation's obesity crisis and require a U.S. action plan.
In a letter to U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the American Cancer Society's advocacy affiliate on Tuesday called for a comprehensive review along the lines of the U.S. top doctor's landmark report on the dangers of smoking in 1964.
"An unbiased and comprehensive report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages could have a major impact on the public's consciousness and perhaps begin to change the direction of public behavior in their choices of food and drinks," American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network wrote.
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In U.S. soda scuffle, experts say it's no easy choice

(Reuters) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent plan to restrict cup sizes for sugar-sweetened beverages to 16 ounces (47 centiliters) has reignited debate over what health advocates call "liquid candy."…
Policymakers and health activists argue that consumers still have options but that government intervention is needed to help buyers make better decisions that improve public health and stem the nation's costly obesity crisis. The beverage industry has countered by stepping up its defense of consumer choice.
But nutritionists, marketing experts and others who study people's drinking habits say cutting back on sugary drinks is not so easy. Understanding drink labels and calculating serving size and calories is increasingly tricky, they say.
"It can be confusing," said Angela Ginn, a Baltimore-based dietician.
"The biggest thing is they don't understand 'What's good for me?' or 'What's bad for me.' They read the outside of the packaging but not the back of the label," said Ginn…, a registered dietician and part of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional group for dieticians.
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U.S. sugar program pitting growers against soda and candy firms

(Los Angeles Times) Makers of sodas, candy bars and other sweetened snacks are taking aim at a long-standing federal program that keeps sugar prices high by restricting imports.
Doing away with the sugar program would be a "huge boost" to candy makers and help them grow, said Robert Simpson Jr., president of Jelly Belly Candy Co., which has factories in Fairfield, Calif., Chicago and Thailand. But the efforts of manufacturers are sparking intense opposition among lawmakers from sugar-growing states and the sugar lobby, as well as from some public health advocates.
"Is this where we need Congress to spend its time, trying to make cheap candy bars?" said Mark Muller, director of the Food and Justice Program at the advocacy group Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
The battle is focused on a farm bill that renews the decades-old sugar program. The Senate voted down efforts to repeal or roll back the sugar program when it passed the bill last month. But as the House takes up the legislation next week — a draft bill released Thursday proposes to keep the sugar program intact — candy makers and their allies are hoping for better luck in the Republican-controlled chamber.
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Obesity researchers study thin people for clues about hunger and metabolism

(Washington Post) For years, people have been told to diet, control their appetites, use a little willpower. But more and more scientists believe the obesity epidemic has been triggered by a combination beyond an individual’s control: genes, and how they interact with an environment of abundant, tasty, inexpensive and hard-to-resist food…
“We are hard-wired to be a bit more hungry than we need to, because until very recently — in evolutionary terms — the vast majority of our fellow humans had no idea whether the next meal would be available or not,” said Francesco S. Celi, a clinical investigator at the NIH research unit…
“There are people in the population who are skinnier or more slender with a different genetic response to the environment,” he said. That is why “just yelling at people and telling them it is sinful or gluttony is not a particular fruitful way to deal with the problem. It’s not very effective to insinuate that someone has moral failings when a behavior is involved.”
To try to unravel the complexity of all this, researchers at an NIH diabetes and obesity lab in Phoenix have begun to incorporate thin people into their studies. Why “some [people] tend to overeat more than they need more consistently and why this occurs is clearly complex and involves levels of behavior that we are just beginning to understand,” said Jonathan Krakoff, an endocrinologist at the lab.
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Groundbreaking Discovery of Mechanism That Controls Obesity, Atherosclerosis

(Science Daily) [S]cientists … have discovered a new signalling pathway that controls both obesity and atherosclerosis. The team demonstrated, for the first time, that mice deficient in the Wip1 gene were resistant to weight gain and atherosclerosis via regulation of the Ataxia telangiectasia mutated gene (ATM) and its downstream signalling molecule mTor.
These groundbreaking findings … may provide significant new avenues for therapeutic interventions for obesity and atherosclerosis.
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Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys
Serve a New Orleans classic featuring a homemade, five-ingredient tartar sauce made with pantry staples.
Five-Spice Shrimp & Vegetable Packets
Chinese five-spice powder makes this combo of shrimp, corn, snap peas and bell pepper sublime. Serve with quinoa or brown rice.
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Healthy dinner tip: Avoid the all or nothing mentality

(James Fell, Body for Wife) The environment we live in now is referred to as obesogenic and it’s practically designed to make us fat. We’re surrounded with overly tasty and incredibly convenient food. Sure, the super tasty stuff is addicting, but it’s more than just an addiction to the taste, it’s an addiction to the convenience. Because honestly, cooking can be a pain in the butt…
When it comes to limiting the amount of processed, fast and restaurant food you eat, I can offer one tip: Avoid the all or nothing mentality.
Just because you’re committed to making dinner at home with fresh ingredients doesn’t mean it has to be fancy, take a long time or a lot of ingredients. The other night I made grilled cheese sandwiches (using whole grain bread and real cheese, of course) and put a bowl of grapes and raw carrots on the table. Maybe not the greatest dinner, but better than pizza, burgers or a bucket of fried chicken. Scrambled eggs are easy too. Sometimes it’s just some spaghetti boiled up with butter and parmesan cheese on top.
Making sure the vast majority of your meals are cooked at home doesn’t mean it has to be a tremendous effort every time. Feel free to embrace the “good enough.”
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How a Protein Meal Tells Your Brain You're Full

(Science Daily) Feeling full involves more than just the uncomfortable sensation that your waistband is getting tight. Investigators … have now mapped out the signals that travel between your gut and your brain to generate the feeling of satiety after eating a protein-rich meal. Understanding this back and forth loop between the brain and gut may pave the way for future approaches in the treatment and/or prevention of obesity.
Food intake can be modulated through mu-opioid receptors (MORs, which also bind morphine) on nerves found in the walls of the portal vein, the major blood vessel that drains blood from the gut…
Mice that were genetically engineered to lack MORs did not carry out this release of glucose, nor did they show signs of 'feeling full', after eating high-protein foods. Giving them MOR stimulators or inhibitors did not affect their food intake, unlike normal mice.
Because MORs are also present in the neurons lining the walls of the portal vein in humans, the mechanisms uncovered here may also take place in people.
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Plants may be key to diabetes treatment

(Swinburne University of Technology) With the growing worldwide incidence of diabetes, a new study reveals that traditional Aboriginal and Indian plant extracts show potential for managing the disease…
[Said researcher Associate Professor Enzo Palombo,] "More than 800 plants are used as traditional remedies in one or other form for the treatment of diabetes, but the management of the disease without any side effects is still a challenge."…
"The results obtained in this study showed that most of the traditional plant extracts have good potential for the prevention and management of diabetes."
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Algae Extract Increases Good Cholesterol Levels, Research Finds

(Science Daily) A Wayne State University researcher has found that an extract from algae could become a key to regulating cardiovascular disease.
In a study funded by Health Enhancement Products of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Smiti Gupta, Ph.D., … has found that dietary intake of ProAlgaZyme increased the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in an animal model.
While medications for the control of high plasma cholesterol levels such as statins and numerous dietary supplements primarily function by lowering levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or "bad cholesterol," Gupta's research explores the effects of raising levels of HDL, or "good cholesterol," which work in part by carrying cholesterol out of the arterial wall.
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Cat Litter Box Parasite Tied to Suicides

(ABC News) A common parasite that can lurk in the cat litter box may cause undetected brain changes in women that make them more prone to suicide, according to an international study…
The study found that women infected with T. gondii were one and a half times more likely to attempt suicide than those who were not infected. As the level of antibodies in the blood rose, so did the suicide risk. The relative risk was even higher for violent suicide attempts…
[Psychiatrist and suicide neuroimmunology expert Dr. Teodor T.] Postolache warns that even if a direct cause were found, no antibiotics for T. gondii yet exist and it could be a decade before effective vaccines or other agents that might stop the neurological damage are developed.
Right now, the most effective weapon against T. gondii is education about handwashing, the proper cooking of food, and not using a knife exposed to raw meat on cooked meat.
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Can You Hear Me Now? New Strategy Discovered to Prevent Hearing Loss

(Science Daily) If you're concerned about losing your hearing because of noise exposure (earbud deafness syndrome), a new discovery … offers some hope.
That's because scientists from Germany and Canada show that the protein, AMPK, which protects cells during a lack of energy, also activates a channel protein in the cell membrane that allows potassium to leave the cell. This activity is important because this mechanism helps protect sensory cells in the inner ear from permanent damage following acoustic noise exposure.
This information could lead to new strategies and therapies to prevent and treat trauma resulting from extreme noise, especially in people with AMPK gene variants that may make them more vulnerable to hearing loss.
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Patients Trust Doctors but Consult the Internet

(Science Daily) Patients look up their illnesses online to become better informed and prepared to play an active role in their care -- not because they mistrust their doctors, a new University of California, Davis, study suggests…
"We found that mistrust was not a significant predictor of people going online for health information prior to their visit," said Xinyi Hu, who co-authored the study as part of her master's thesis in communication. "This was somewhat surprising and suggests that doctors need not be defensive when their patients come to their appointments armed with information taken from the Internet."
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Medicare Tries to Cut the Cost of Its Most Complex Patients

(Wall Street Journal) Medicare is trying new tactics to cut costs for complex patients and keep them healthier, although some health-policy observers say they don't go far enough.
Under the 2010 health overhaul law, the agency is giving health-care providers incentives to band together and coordinate care for groups of patients. If their costs fall by a great enough percentage, the providers get to pocket some of the savings.
Another part of the law will allow Medicare to impose financial penalties on hospitals that readmit high numbers of patients within 30 days of discharge. Readmissions like these often signal a preventable post-hospital complication. Federal officials are working to help hospitals reduce infections and other ailments that patients acquire inside hospitals by 40% over a three-year period under a piece of the law.
"Better quality care with fewer complications is actually less expensive," says Paul McGann, a deputy chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services innovation center.
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Why the Supreme Court's Ruling on Medicaid Creates Uncertainty for Millions

(Center for American Progress) The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was a huge victory for millions of Americans. But the Court’s ruling on Medicaid expansion creates uncertainty about whether Americans with incomes below the poverty line can access health insurance.
Each state largely determines eligibility for Medicaid, a federal-state partnership to provide health care to nearly 50 million low-income Americans. Although all states must meet minimum federal requirements, state Medicaid programs vary widely. In most states Medicaid only covers certain groups of low-income individuals—mostly working parents with incomes well below the poverty line.
To ensure that those who most needed health coverage could access care, the Affordable Care Act expanded the federal minimum Medicaid eligibility level to all people with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line—$14,856 for individuals and $30,657 for a family of four.* Estimates showed that, once implemented, this expansion would result in 17 million Americans gaining critical health coverage.
The federal government would cover the vast majority of this expansion.
Community: Blue states are committing, and red states are declining. Fine. Since red states tend to be net takers from the federal trough and we blue states tend to be net givers, maybe this act will help us start to change that imbalance. Thanks, red states!
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Best Exercise Motivation Technique? Fun Fitness!

(RealAge.com) Do you have more trouble getting up early to walk than a teenager on a Saturday morning? If you'd rather snooze than hop on a treadmill or take a walk in the park, change what you're doing. The difference between pulling the covers over your head and getting up ready to roll comes down to fun. When you do something you love, you get so distracted that you forget you're "exercising."…
Try skating, urban rebounding, taking a Zumba class, or all three. (Variety is spice for your mind and muscles.) Think back to activities you loved as a kid. Were you a double-dutch champ? Buy a beaded rope and start skipping; teach your kids how to do jumping jacks.
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Healthful exercise doesn’t require expensive equipment or a gym membership

(Consumers Union) Nothing beats the convenience of working out in your own home. And you don’t need to buy a $4,000 treadmill to get started. Standard floor exercises can provide a good cardio workout using little to no equipment.
Or you can take your workout outdoors. Try walking around a park, climbing steps, jumping rope, doing jumping jacks or even hula-hooping. “Thirty minutes of hooping is a very effective form of cardio-respiratory exercise,” says Jessica Matthews, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. “It brings you back to your childhood, it’s lighthearted, plus it’s as effective as many other forms of cardio.” Matthews also recommends that beginners enlist a professional trainer to ensure safe exercising and to maximize training time.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, five days a week, plus two to three days of resistance training using elastic bands or free weights to strengthen your muscles. Strength training should target every major muscle group, including your abdominals, arms, back, chest, legs and shoulders, says Michele Olson, a spokeswoman for the American College of Sports Medicine.
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Cook up a workout

(Tribune Newspapers) Don't have time to get to the gym? Become the ultimate multitasker by working out while cooking dinner. Zayna Gold, the Boston-based owner of five Pilates studios and creator of the DVD "Boston Body Barre" created this workout so that you officially have no more excuses. Bon appetit.
Simmering squats
Multitask: Cook pasta or steam your veggies…
Water-bottle arm circles
Multitask: Cook a microwave meal or heat up the leftovers…
Tabletop triceps
Multitask: Set the table…
Chair chest-presses
Multitask: Alternate with tabletop triceps as you set the table…
Can-of-bean buttocks
Multitask: Make a salad…
Stabilizing stirs
Multitask: Stir your muffin batter or soup…
Celery cardio crunch
Multitask: In between every vegetable you chop for salads
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Simple Exercises Are an Easy and Cost-Effective Treatment for Persistent Dizziness

(Science Daily) A professor from the University of Southampton has called on doctors around the world to give patients with persistent dizziness a booklet of simple exercises, after new research has shown that it is a very cost effective treatment for common causes of the condition…
[Professor Lucy Yardley] revealed that the exercises, such as turning your head right to left and back again or nodding your head up and down, led to reduced dizziness within a matter of weeks of starting, and the benefits lasted for at least a year.
Dizziness is a common condition, especially among older people, but it can affect any age. It can interfere with people's daily activities and cause stress. It also increases the risk of falling and fear of falling, which in turn, can result in substantial further limitation of activity, injury, and healthcare costs.
Community: Dr. Yardley was kind enough to send me a copy of her brochure in pdf format, which I posted on Google Docs, so we can all share. And don't forget that Dr. Carol Foster at the University of Chicago has also developed a treatment we can do at home.
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Age has no limits, unless it's a finish line

(The Fresno Bee) Move it or lose it.
Chuck Freuler lives by this simple credo. Which explains why, at age 84, he still does triathlons.
Freuler doesn't just "do" them either. The Fresno, Calif., man is ranked as one of the top racers in his age group by USA Triathlon.
"At my age, I need a goal or a catalyst to keep fit," Freuler said. "If I wasn't doing a lot of athletic things, I think I'd lose my interest to keep fit. So I compete.
"Some of the guys I know that are my age, they get so sedentary," he continued. "Being a couch potato doesn't do much for your quality of life."
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Cutting Calories Might Help You Live Longer, but Not Without Increased Physical Activity

(Science Daily) Fruit flies on dietary restriction (DR) need to be physically active in order to get the lifespan extending benefits that come from their Spartan diet…
"This study establishes a link between DR-mediated metabolic activity in muscle, increased movement and the benefits derived from restricting nutrients," [said Pankaj Kapahi, PhD], adding that flies on DR who could not move or had inhibited fat metabolism in their muscle did not exhibit an extended lifespan. "Our work argues that simply restricting nutrients without physical activity may not be beneficial in humans," said Kapahi.
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Thai-Style Stir-Fried Chicken
Curry paste and coconut milk spice up a simple chicken and vegetable stir-fry. Once the ingredients are prepped, the cooking goes quickly, so have everything ready before you heat the pan.
Blackened Salmon Sandwich
Blackened salmon is great in a sandwich with a spread of mashed avocado and low-fat mayonnaise plus peppery arugula leaves, cool tomato slices and zesty red onion. We grill our Cajun-style salmon so there is no need for any added cooking oil. Catfish makes an excellent stand-in for the salmon but you'll want to use a grill basket if you have one to keep the fish from breaking apart.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Lemon-Garlic Hummus
A savory dish with bright flavors of lemon and garlic, this hummus is great for dipping pita chips or raw vegetables. To use as a spread, be sure to thin slightly with extra olive oil.
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Pistachios may reduce cancer risk

(UPI) All nuts are good for the heart, but researchers found pistachios in a varied and balanced diet may reduce the risk of some cancers, a U.S. food expert says.
A study conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Women's University found the presence of gamma-tocopherol in pistachios -- a form of vitamin E -- is thought to be responsible for the benefits, said Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com.
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Strawberries: The Superfruit

(Science Daily) Strawberries, the traditional summer treat associated with Wimbledon could be serving up some unexpected health benefits…
Professor Paul Thornalley from Warwick Medical School heads the team that discovered extracts from strawberries positively activate a protein in our bodies called 'Nrf2' which is shown to increase antioxidant and other protective activities. This protein works to decrease blood lipids and cholesterol, the very things which can lead to cardiovascular problems.
Eating strawberries has previously been found to counter post-meal blood glucose and low density lipoprotein, or 'bad' cholesterol and therefore decrease risk of diabetes and heart disease, but this is the first time that strawberry extracts have been proved to actively stimulate proteins that offer us protection against disease.
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Digging a Vegetarian Diet

(NIH News in Health) Vegetarians miss out on lots of foods. No grilled burgers or franks at picnics. No holiday turkey or fries cooked in animal fat. Strict vegetarians may even forego honey made by bees. But vegetarians also tend to miss out on major health problems that plague many Americans. They generally live longer than the rest of us, and they’re more likely to bypass heart-related and other ailments.
The fact is, eating a more plant-based diet can boost your health, whether you’re a vegetarian or not…
Vegetarian diets tend to have fewer calories, lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, and more fiber, potassium and vitamin C than other eating patterns. Vegetarians tend to weigh less than meat-eaters, and to have lower cancer rates…
[R]esearchers have found that the closer people are to being vegetarian, the lower their risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome (a condition that raises your risk for heart disease and stroke).
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Pfizer Pulls Breast, Colon Health Claims From Centrum Labels

(ABC News) Pfizer, accused of deceptive advertising, has agreed to remove the "breast health" and "colon health" claims from the labels of Centrum vitamins.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, threatened to sue Pfizer, insisting "those claims of breast and colon health implied that the supplements would prevent breast and colon cancer -- disease prevention claims that supplement manufacturers can't legally make," CSPI said in a press release…
Pfizer also agreed to change the wording on the labels containing the heart and energy claims. The company will add "Not a replacement for cholesterol-lowering drugs" along with the "heart health" wording, and on packages with statements about energy, there will be additional information to make it clear that the product does not boost energy.
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Patients, and Their Meds, Need to Keep Cool

With heavy heat suffocating much of the country, physicians aren’t just warning patients to keep themselves cool -- they also want patients to prevent their medications from overheating.
Temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit can render some medications useless, according to Robert Glatter, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
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Single Dose of Radiation at Time of Surgery for Early Stage Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) INTRABEAM radiotherapy [is] an innovative radiation treatment delivered in a single dose at the time of surgery.
Women with early stage breast cancer often have breast-conserving surgery, otherwise known as a lumpectomy, to remove a cancerous tumor. Lumpectomy is followed by a regimen of daily doses of radiation therapy to the entire breast, generally lasting six to seven consecutive weeks.
"INTRABEAM Radiotherapy may be an effective alternative to a six to seven week regimen following surgery for select patients because it allows us to precisely target any remaining cancer cells right inside the tumor bed, where the tumor is most likely to recur," says Dr. Mary Katherine Hayes.
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Nanoparticles Bust Heart Attack-Causing Clots in Early Study From Harvard

(Bloomberg) Scientists found a way to use the body’s natural clot-producing mechanisms to deliver targeted medicine in a study that may have implications for treatments of heart attacks and stroke.
Obstructions in blood vessels lead to a force called shear stress, attracting platelets that form blood clots. Researchers designed a drug-delivery method that activates only in those conditions, potentially enabling more targeted delivery of clot- busting medicines in lower doses that can be given before a patient gets to a hospital, they wrote.
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With CPR, two bystanders are better than one: study

(Reuters) When somebody suffers cardiac arrest in a public place, the odds of survival are better when more than one bystander comes to the rescue, according to a Japanese study.
But the researchers, whose report appeared in the journal Resuscitation, said that there was no survival advantage to having multiple rescuers for cardiac arrests suffered at home, which is where most take place…
The American Heart Association (AHA) and other groups say that everyone should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, which generally means "hands-only," or just chest compressions without any mouth-to-mouth breathing.
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Video games can improve employee health

(UPI) Employers are using health wellness video games to promote health and save employers direct and indirect healthcare costs, U.S. researchers say.
Bill Ferguson, editor-in-chief of Games for Health Journal wrote in an editorial that wellness programs using health games could have a significant impact on human well-being and the costs, pain and suffering of preventable illnesses and conditions.
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Poll: Employers insuring fewer employees

(UPI) The percentage of U.S. adults ages 26-64 with health insurance dropped from 56.7 percent in 2011 to 55.9 percent in June, a survey indicates…
The percentage of all U.S. adults with employer-based health insurance was 44.2 percent in the second quarter of 2012, a percentage that has been decreasing since the recession began in 2008.
Government-based health insurance -- Medicare, Medicaid and military/veterans' benefits -- was at 25.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012 -- much higher than it had been in 2008 or 2009, Gallup said.
Community: The sooner employers get out of the insurance business, the sooner we’ll have single payer health insurance.
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The Problem with American Politics

(James Kwak, The Baseline Scenario) Or, How the Republicans Get Away with It:
“When Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed ‘ending Medicare as we know it’ — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.”
From Robert Draper’s article on Priorities USA Action.
Community: You had better believe it, friends. Today’s Republican leadership is absolutely determined to take us back to the pre-Teddy Roosevelt, robber baron days, where the rich can rob us all blind and we have no recourse against them.
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What foods contribute to healthy aging?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Many foods can have a positive impact on your health as you get older. Learn about nutrient-dense foods and the benefits they provide. Also, watch Eating for Health to see how eating a nutritious diet can delay or lessen the effects of some chronic diseases.
The information on Eating Well as You Get Older was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
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Diet of fresh food fights BPA, chemicals

(UPI) Fresh foods and limited use of products likely to contain environmental chemicals reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers … examined individual behavioral choices and community lifestyle practices and analyzed urine samples from a group of Old Order Mennonite women in mid-pregnancy and determined they have lower levels endocrine-disrupting chemicals than the general population in their systems…
[Said lead author Shanna H.Swan,] "The Mennonite community provides us with a natural comparison group because they eat mostly fresh, unprocessed foods, farms without pesticides, applies no cosmetics and uses personal care products sparingly."
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5 Foods to Reduce the Risk of Stroke

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Want to help reduce your odds of having a stroke? Besides minimizing common risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy stress, consider adding magnesium-rich foods to your grocery cart.
Researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institute found that the risk for ischemic stroke - the most common type of stroke in older people, which is when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain - was reduced by 9% for each additional 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumed each day… Next time you are at the grocery or farmer's market, buy these magnesium-rich foods:
·         Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens, as well as broccoli
·         Nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, and peanuts, almonds and cashews are good nut choices
·         Whole grain products such as brown rice, oat bran cereal and whole grain breads
·         Beans. Black beans are a particularly good source, providing 120 mg in one cup
·         Fish. Halibut, oysters and scallops are all good sources of magnesium. Choose sustainably raised when possible
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of stroke.
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Diet, exercise key to cancer prevention

(UPI) Healthy nutrition and exercise have just as much, if not more, impact on lowering cancer risks and mortality rates as screening, a U.S. nutritionist says.
Dr. Jo Ann Carson … said whether a person wants to avoid cancer or prevent its return, it is wise to move toward a healthy weight.
"Do so by combining a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains with regular physical activity," Carson said in a statement. "Maintaining an energy-balanced diet is not only a good preventive measure, but also benefits patients after cancer treatment, especially in breast and colon cancer cases."
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Naked Mole Rat May Hold the Secret to Long Life

(Science Daily) Compared to the average three year life span of a common rat, the 10 to 30 year life of the naked mole rat, a subterranean rodent native to East Africa, is impressive. And compared to the human body, the body of this rodent shows little decline due to aging, maintaining high activity, bone health, reproductive capacity, and cognitive ability throughout its lifetime. Now a collaborative of researchers in Israel and the United States is working to uncover the secret to the small mammal's long -- and active -- lifespan.
Dr. Dorothee Huchon [and colleagues] are working together to determine whether the naked mole rat's unusually high levels of NRG-1, a neuroprotecting protein, is behind the naked mole rat's three-decade life span. Because rodents have an 85 percent genetic similarity to humans, it may hold the key to a longer and healthier life for us as well.
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Diving Seabirds: Working Hard and Living Long

(Science Daily) Scientists have found that diving birds reach their 30s and then die quickly and suddenly, showing few signs of aging prior to death.
Their findings … could help us understand the aging process, providing critical insights for our aging population…
Kyle Elliott, a PhD student at the University of Manitoba and the study's lead author, said, "Most of what we know about aging is from studies of short-lived round worms, fruit flies, mice, and chickens, but long-lived animals age differently. We need data from long-lived animals, and one good example is long-lived seabirds."
Elliott also said, "Not only do these birds live very long, but they maintain their energetic lifestyle in a very extreme environment into old age."
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Bees Can 'Turn Back Time,' Reverse Brain Aging

(Science Daily) Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia…
In general, researchers are interested in creating a drug that could help people maintain brain function, yet they may be facing up to 30 years of basic research and trials.
"Maybe social interventions -- changing how you deal with your surroundings -- is something we can do today to help our brains stay younger," said [study leader Gro] Amdam. "Since the proteins being researched in people are the same proteins bees have, these proteins may be able to spontaneously respond to specific social experiences."
Community: Readers of Many Years Young already know that social interventions (and other practical actions) can help prevent or delay cognitive decline.
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Ikarian Longevity Stew
Great recipe from the Blue Zones region, Ikaria, for a rainy day (or any day). It’s also perfect for anyone following the Mediterranean diet.
Cooking Light:
Perfect Pasta Salad Recipes
Pasta salad is a perfect dish for versatility; it's easily portable and can be served either hot or cold. Try one of these 15 healthy pasta salad recipes.
Slider Recipes
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Find our top 7 picks for the best American cookbooks of the past 25 years.
Snapper with Grilled Mango Salsa
Keep the kitchen cool and grill your entire main dish tonight. Grilling the mango brings out the sweetness, which perfectly balance the flavor of the fish. Serve with orange-scented couscous.
Melon Panzanella
Traditional panzanella, Italian bread salad, was the inspiration for this dish. This variation uses sweet, ripe melon instead of tomatoes, plus peppery arugula and a touch of sizzled prosciutto to complement the taste of the melon. Try firm-textured orange- or green-fleshed melons, such as honeydew, casaba, cantaloupe or Galia. We even like it with watermelon
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