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

Binge eating may be linked to addiction

(UPI) People with a history of binge eating may be at higher risk of addiction-like behaviors, including substance abuse, a U.S. researcher says…
[Patricia Sue] Grigson and colleagues found a link between binging on fat and the development of cocaine-seeking and cocaine-taking behaviors in rats, suggesting that conditions promoting excessive behavior toward one substance can increase the probability of excessive behavior toward another.
Community: The sooner we recognize overeating as an addiction, the sooner we’ll develop the right strategies to fight obesity.
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Food 'Wanting' Following Television 'Junk Food' Commercials

(Science Daily) [New research] sought to investigate personality traits that make some people more vulnerable to over-eating and weight gain…
Dr. Natalie Loxton proposed reward sensitivity as a key trait predisposing some individuals to be highly attracted to cues linked with appetitive food -- such as a television commercial marketing junk food.
"We tested whether reward-sensitive individuals would experience greater pleasure and urge to eat after watching TV commercials featuring junk food, compared with those featuring healthy food or no food," Dr. Loxton said…
"As hypothesised, reward sensitivity was associated with an increase in urge to eat in the junk food condition. There was no association in the healthy food condition and a reduced desire to eat in the no food condition," she said.
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The Social Environment's Outsized Role in Obesity

(Jeff Nesbit, U.S. News & World Report) CCNY researchers studied the spatial patterns of the spread of obesity across the United States and concluded that "collective behavior" in certain areas was more responsible for the spread of the epidemic than either genetics or individual choices…
[They found] hot spots--places where a rapidly growing supermarket economy and an increase in food marketing led to a rapid increase in obesity…
The CCNY research could pave the way forward for new public health approaches on obesity. Heaven knows, we need something, because no prevention strategy anywhere in the United States has worked yet.
It's fine that shows like The Biggest Loser on NBC inspire us and make us aware of the hole we've dug for ourselves. But until we recognize some of the root causes of the epidemic, we may be doomed to constant and endless failure in our efforts to keep our collective waistlines, as well as a host of obesity-related health problems, under control.
Community: Actually, I think The Biggest Loser DIScourages people from losing weight. No one wants to undergo the kind of punishment depicted on that show.
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Why Lose Weight?

(Science Daily) Research … finds that prolonged exposure to a high-fat diet reduces the quality of sleep in rats.
(Reuters Health) Obese and overweight people are more likely to develop colon polyps, a possible precursor to cancer, than are slimmer individuals, according to a new review of past research.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch) A new study by the Mayo Clinic may have added another concern for physicians and their female patients …' that the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis may increase as a result of being overweight.
(Science Daily) Weight loss that occurs in conjunction with a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet may help to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause, according to a Kaiser Permanente Division of Research study.
Community: But some fats are good for us, and even help us absorb nutrients in our food. So low-fat doesn’t mean no-fat.
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Latest Research on Weight Loss

(ABC News) Keep a food journal. Don't skip meals, but do skip your afternoon lunch dates. Those recommendations come from research published Friday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
(Harvard School of Public Health) Evidence shows that obesity prevention policy and environmental change efforts should focus on facilitating a handful of key behaviors:
·         Choosing healthier foods (whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and protein sources) and beverages
·         Limiting unhealthy foods (refined grains and sweets, potatoes, red meat, processed meat) and beverages (sugary drinks)
·         Increasing physical activity
·         Limiting television time, screen time, and other "sit time"
·         Improving sleep
·         Reducing stress
(Science Daily) [New research] introduces novel cost-effective strategies to facilitate healthy eating among weight-conscious consumers. A number of experiments, by Esther Papies and colleagues of Utrecht University, The Netherlands, now suggest that simply adding words related to health and weight on posters, restaurant menu's, or recipe cards can stimulate healthy food choices among dieters and overweight individuals, in a variety of real-life settings.
(Appetite for Health) New studies reveal interesting new ways to cut calories…without even trying! These behavior changes will help you food yourself full and are designed to help fat-proof your body from the unhealthy food environment that we’re all exposed to every day.
(WebMD Health News) Call it the cut-up-food-diet: We feel full faster, and eat less later, when our food is served in small pieces.
(Science Daily)  Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have isolated a new type of energy-burning fat cell in adult humans which they say may have therapeutic potential for treating obesity.
Called "beige fat," the cells are found in scattered pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine in adult humans. Because this type of fat can burn off calories -- rather than store them, as "white fat" cells do -- beige fat cells might spawn new therapies for obesity and diabetes, according to researchers.
(FairWarning.org) The LipoTron, which targets fat with radiofrequency waves, has never been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which would make it illegal under federal law to sell or promote it for weight loss.
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Other Weight Loss Tips

(U.S. News & World Report) For many households, an outdoor barbecue could resemble an all-you-can-eat buffet. Like it or not, some seasonal dishes can cause you to want to reach for your cover-up. Here's how to help ensure your barbecue has a lasting impact on your palate and not on your pant size.
(U.S. News & World Report) Believe it or not, you can eat out 365 days a year and still maintain a healthy body weight. It all comes down to the choices you make—like watching portion sizes and ordering a piece of fish grilled, not fried. Try these 15 simple suggestions to make dining out a healthier, yet still fun, experience.
(U.S. News & World Report) [E]xperts say there's no shortage of strategies to get fit and drop pounds with your pet in tow—yes, even if he's a canine couch potato. "Plus, exercise is a bit more fun when accompanied by your favorite pet," says Robert Kushner, clinical director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity in Chicago, and coauthor of Fitness Unleashed!: A Dog and Owner's Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together.
(U.S. News & World Report) These eight great kitchen hacks will make your home more diet-friendly.
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Chicken Cordon Bleu
This lightened version of Chicken Cordon Bleu remains tres délicieuse despite a modest amount of butter. Fix mashed potatoes and a side of green beans while the chicken bakes.
Poblano & Skirt Steak Fajitas
This variation on fajitas pairs fresh poblanos with steak and scallions. Skirt steak has fabulous flavor but tends to be chewy, so slice it thinly across the grain.
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5 Secret Smoothie Ingredients

(U.S. News & World Report) [W]hen you control the ingredients, smoothies are a fantastic way to get a no-cook, nutritious meal or snack that you can take on the run.
Consider these five interesting ingredients to shake up the typical "fruit, yogurt, ice" smoothie recipe:
1. Cinnamon…
2. Fresh herbs…
3. Cottage cheese…
4. Avocado…
5. White beans.
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FDA warns about Mexicali brand products on listeria concerns

(Reuters) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers on Friday against eating products of the Mexicali Cheese Corp because the deadly listeria bacteria has been found in some of them.
Mexicali Cheese, of Woodhaven, New York, has failed to comply with a May 1 court order to stop making and distributing food until safety steps have been carried out, the FDA said in an emailed statement.
The tainted food was distributed in the New York area and in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The FDA is asking retailers to remove any Mexicali products from their shelves, the statement said.
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U.S to Map Genetic Codes of 100,000 Foodborne Pathogens to Speed Response

(Bloomberg) U.S. scientists plan to map the genetic codes of 100,000 foodborne pathogens, including salmonella, listeria and E. coli, in a five-year effort to find faster resolutions to outbreaks that sicken consumers…
The project will provide information that may help improve rapid, non-culture tests medical professionals use when foodborne illness is suspected in a patient, as well as tests used by public health for tracking disease, John Besser, deputy chief of the CDC’s Enteric Diseases Laboratory Branch, said in an interview. The genomes will be available to commercial developers of the tests.
“This information will allow us to better understand disease, which in turn will allow us to better detect and control it,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”
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Bacteria in guts of elderly differ from those of the young

(Los Angeles Times) [A] new paper … offers a more detailed look at the gut flora of those 64 and older…
The scientists were particularly interested in learning if diet was linked to the structure of the gut flora and maybe to disease and frailty…
All in all, [the] findings in the paper (and in others) point toward an influence of microbial flora on health as we age, the authors write.  Or, as they put it, “The clear association between diet and microbiota outlined in this and previous studies argue in favor of an approach of modulating the microbiota with dietary interventions designed to promote healthier aging.”
Specifically, they suggest dietary supplements that are carefully designed to improve microbial health.
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Migraine Sufferers Scramble for Relief After Excedrin Recall

(ABC News) Many migraine sufferers swear by their Excedrin Migraine. Some openly pine for it on Twitter and Facebook. Others are turning to eBay to scoop up whatever stock is available at hugely inflated prices. One recent auction of 50 tablets had a high bid of $60. Another seller is offering a dispenser of 100 tablets for $150…
Doctors warn about purchasing medication from eBay, since there are no guarantees about its safety.
"These medications are being passed on by private individuals, and there's no control over where that particular medication has been or if there's been tampering," said Dr. Charles Flippen, a professor of medicine at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine.
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Older adults overlook prescription warning labels, study suggests

(Los Angeles Times) Reading the fine print on prescription drug warning labels can be hard enough. But a new study suggests that many people, especially older ones, don’t notice these advisories at all. Colored warning stickers, which pharmacists often slap on pill vials in addition to the standard white pharmacy labels, highlight key safety instructions, such as “Avoid smoking while taking this drug” or “Do not drive while taking this medication.”
The study findings suggest that the design and placement of these labels needs an overhaul to better prevent patients from making possibly harmful medication errors.
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For Some Men, Propecia's Sexual Side Effects May Be Long-lasting

(ABC News) Researchers from George Washington University interviewed 54 men under age 40 who reported side effects for three months or more after taking Propecia, also called finasteride, to treat their hair loss. None of the men reported having any sexual, medical or psychiatric problems before they took the drug. Some of the men took the drug for a few weeks, others took it for years, but all of them reported side effects such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sexual drive, problems with orgasms, shrinking and painful genitals, even some neurological problems, such as depression, anxiety and mental fogginess.
For 96 percent of the men, the sexual problems lasted for more than a year after they stopped taking the drug.
"Our findings make me suspicious that this drug may have done permanent damage to these men," said Dr. Michael Irwig, the author of the study. "The chances that they will improve? I think it's lower and lower the longer they have these side effects."
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Cardiac arrest survival improving in U.S. hospitals

(Reuters Health) More Americans hospitalized for cardiac arrest are surviving now compared with a decade ago, a new study finds.
Researchers are not sure of the reasons for the improvement. But they suspect it's changes in how hospitals treat cardiac arrest, and possibly the way bystanders respond when they see someone suddenly collapse.
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6 tips for staying safe in the hospital

(Consumer Reports) At least 180,000 people a year die in the hospital each year in part because of medical harm, and another 1.4 million are seriously injured by it, according to government projections. Our new safety Ratings might help you avoid the same fate, by allowing you to compare the hospitals in your area…
Our Hospital Survival Guide provides advice for a safe hospital stay, from check-in to discharge. Here are six of the most important tips:
1.    Bring a friend or family member…
2.    Guard against infection…
3.    Watch your drugs…
4.    Get moving. That can help prevent bedsores and blood clots that can form in leg veins, and also helps get your bowels moving…
5.    Get ready to go home…
6.     Check our hospital Ratings. Our updated hospital Ratings include safety scores for 1,159 hospitals nationwide, based on six key categories: avoiding infections, unnecessary readmissions, and unnecessary radiation from CT scans; communication about new drugs and discharge plans; and rates for serious complications and mortality from certain diseases.
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Warren Buffett Says Health-Care Law Is Step to Fix ‘Tapeworm’ in Economy

(Bloomberg) The health-care law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last month is a step toward addressing the “tapeworm” of rising health costs consuming American businesses, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said…
“The health-care problem is the No. 1 problem of America and of American business,” Buffett [said]. “It’s the tapeworm, essentially, of the American economy, and we have not dealt with that yet. Obamacare is a step in the right direction in many ways.”…
Health costs now account for about 18 percent of the U.S. economy, compared with 10 percent in some countries, said Buffett.
Community: In my opinion, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t go nearly far enough in controlling costs. We pay twice or more per person for health care than other countries, and have worse outcomes in most areas of health.
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How can I find if I'm getting a rebate on my health-insurance premium?

(Consumer Reports) Q. Who gets a rebate from insurance companies and what companies give it? I haven't been able to find out.
A. Good news: As of [Friday] morning, there's a new tool from the Department of Health and Human Services to help you look up the answer…
[J]ust scroll down to the state you live in, start typing the name of your insurance company, and select from the choices you see.
For instance, Connecticut residents with Aetna insurance will learn that the average subscriber to an individual plan will get a $151 rebate later this summer, because the company only spent 75.6 percent of its premium dollars on health care and health improvement, instead of the required 80 percent. However, people in large or small group Aetna plans in Connecticut won't see rebates, because those plans actually spent more than the minimum on health care.
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Aging, go for it, because really, the alternative sucks.

(Tara Linn,Naples Daily News) Perhaps I have I lived too long.
Most recently, my age was brought home to me when I was watching a 60’s Pop-Rock Reunion special on PBS.
When I tuned in, they were interviewing some old guy in Colonial garb wearing a tricorn hat. With long gray locks of hair hanging out from under the hat, he seemed a little silly and dull as he smiled his senior citizen smile.
As I watched the interview a great old song was playing in the background, “Good Thing” by Paul Revere and the Raiders and it was at that moment I realized the geezer under the tricorn hat was front man, Paul Revere himself.
Just when I’ve convinced myself that I have one foot in the grave, I’m driving down the road with my seven year old granddaughter. I put in my new sassy “Adele” CD and to my surprise, my granddaughter starts singing along. She knows every word.
This pleases me very much and gives me a new attitude. I’m not old, I’m contemporary.
I’m a contemporary woman of a certain age who carries old baggage.
Yeah, that works.
Community: When we went to my recent high school reunion, Mr. Many Years Young turned to me and said, “There are a bunch of old people here.” Well, you’re as young as you feel, and I’m feeling younger every day by taking care of my health.
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High Anxiety Linked to Sign of Faster Aging

(MyHealthNewsDaily) High levels of anxiety might really make you age faster, a new study suggests.
The study found a link between a common form of anxiety called phobic anxiety — an unreasonable fear of certain situations, such as crowds, heights or the outside world — and shorter telomeres in middle-aged and older women. Telomeres are caps on the ends of chromosomes that protect the genetic material from damage.
"Many people wonder about whether — and how — stress can make us age faster," said study researcher Dr. Olivia Okereke, a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "This study is notable for showing a connection between a common form of psychological stress — phobic anxiety — and a plausible mechanism for premature aging," Okereke said.
Community: Fortunately, there are practical things we can do to reduce stress.
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Spend Time with Friends to Live Longer

(RealAge.com) "Make two friends and call me in the morning." The next time you ask us how to get healthy and live longer, that may be our answer…
Having friends is as powerful as quitting smoking (and way more fun). Not having them is even more life-threatening than becoming obese or so inactive that just getting off the couch involves grunting. So making new friends and keeping the old ones near should be at the top of your healthy to-do list. If your posse is small, or you just don't see each other much anymore, try this:
·         Exercise together. Take yoga classes together, help shovel each other's sidewalks, do early morning laps around the mall. You'll catch up and work out.
·         Volunteer. Need a bigger social circle? Volunteer for a community center, a hospital, or a park cleanup. You'll connect with people who care about the same things you do. Here's another great health benefit of volunteer work.
·         Organize a reunion. Don't wait for a funeral to get together; have a happy gathering. Family pals are some of the closest friends you'll ever have.
Keep these important relationships alive. They'll do the same for you.
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Center for Productive Longevity Organizing Events to Stimulate Entrepreneurship Among Baby Boomers

(MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) The Center for Productive Longevity (CPL), which serves as the bridge between people 55 and older and opportunities that enable them to continue in productive activities, is organizing three more meetings this fall in the "Spotlight on Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Baby Boomers" series. The meetings are designed to contribute to a national momentum for new-business creation, which enables Baby Boomers to remain productively engaged and also facilitates national economic growth.
The events will be held for people 50 and older at Babson College in Wellesley, MA on September 14, Northwestern University/Kellogg School of Management in Chicago on October 11, and the University of Denver on November 15. To register and view preliminary agendas, visit http://www.ctrpl.org/entrepreneurship-meeting/overview . Sponsors of upcoming meetings include AARP, CPL, and a number of other organizations.
Each of the meetings will have presentations by three successful entrepreneurs. The meetings will also include two rounds of interactive breakout sessions on topics relating to new-business creation and how to become an entrepreneur, including: risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur, strategies for identifying and selecting potential business opportunities, developing a business plan or business concept statement, and exploring funding support.
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Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak
For an easy al fresco meal, head outdoors and fire up your grill to prepare this budget-friendly cut of meat.
Maryland Corn & Crab Cakes
This corn and crab cakes recipe tastes like summer by the shore. The tomato and corn salad that accompanies them is a lively addition.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
White Beans and Fusilli
This makes a great lunch as well as an entrée for dinner. I make this pasta dish with beans because they provide a bit of protein. Serve with a green salad and a sliced French baguette brushed with olive oil and toasted.
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Hot Peppers Help Headaches

(The People’s Pharmacy) Q. My husband has been plagued with headaches from an early age, so we're always on the lookout for something new. Although it is early in our trial of using hot salsa with chips at the onset of a headache, it has definitely stopped two headaches..
A. The people who have shared their experience with fast headache relief have used soups that are both hot and spicy. The substance in hot peppers that gives them their kick is capsaicin, and we suspect this is responsible for the pain relief.
We don't know if cayenne pepper capsules would work as well as piping hot spicy gumbo or salsa, but they certainly are more portable. You might try them and let us know if they work--or carry a tiny bottle of Tabasco for emergencies away from home.
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Selenium Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer

(The People’s Pharmacy) Confusion continues about prostate cancer screening and treatment. That's why there is so much interest in prevention strategies. Some men have heard that selenium may have a protective effect. Now a meta-analysis confirms it.
The investigators analyzed 12 studies including more than 13,000 volunteers and found that as blood levels of selenium rose, the risk of prostate cancer dropped. In another three studies, toenails were used to assess selenium status. The risk of prostate cancer dropped nearly 30 percent in men with optimal toenail concentrations of the mineral.
The researchers pointed out that supplemental selenium in a man who already has sufficient selenium in his diet probably won't offer any additional protection. Too much selenium can cause toxicity, so any man who considers supplements should discuss the proper dose with a physician.
Community: The NIH’s fact sheet on selenium lists dietary sources. The cancer prevention capability may depend on the type of selenium ingested, however.
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Anti-Alzheimer’s Diet

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) The more omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, the lower the blood levels of a protein related to Alzheimer’s disease.
A study from Columbia University Medical Center in New York looked at blood levels of 10 nutrients in more than 1,200 seniors over the age of 65, none of whom had dementia. Just over a year later, the participants’ blood was tested for beta-amyloid, the tell-tale protein that relates to Alzheimer’s. The researchers also looked at levels of saturated fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acid, beta-carotene, vitamins B12, C D, E, and folate.
Results showed that the more omega-3 fatty acids participants had in their diets, the lower their blood levels of beta-amyloid. The researchers concluded that consuming one gram of omega-3 daily more than average consumption was associated with 20 to 30 percent lower levels of beta-amyloid. No other nutrients were associated with blood levels of beta-amyloid.
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Doctors use hormones more often than prescribe them

(Reuters Health) Doctors may be more willing to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or recommend it to their wives, than to prescribe it to their patients, a study of German gynecologists suggests…
The survey, which includes responses from more than 2,500 doctors, was done in 2010, eight years after the Women's Health Initiative hit the news.
The WHI was a large U.S. clinical trial that found that women given estrogen-plus-progesterone HRT had higher risks of blood clots, heart attack, stroke and breast cancer than placebo users did.
Up to that point, HRT had commonly been prescribed to prevent heart disease, which is generally not advised anymore.
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One in eight with fibromyalgia uses cannabis as medicine

(Reuters Health) One in eight people with the painful condition fibromyalgia self-medicate with pot and other cannabis products, according to a new Canadian study.
"That is not unusual behavior, in general, for people with chronic medical illnesses for which we don't have great treatments," said Dr. Igor Grant, who heads the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California and was not involved in the study.
"People start looking around, they look for other types of remedies, because they need the help," he told Reuters Health.
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Measuring HDL Particles as Opposed to HDL Cholesterol Is a a Better Indicator of Coronary Heart Disease, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Until recently, it seemed well-established that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the "good cholesterol." However there are many unanswered questions on whether raising someone's HDL can prevent coronary heart disease, and on whether or not HDL still matters.
A team of researchers [has] discovered that measuring HDL particles (HDL-P) as opposed to HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) is a much better indicator of coronary heart disease (CHD), and that HDL does indeed, still matter…
Most previous studies of HDL have looked at the cholesterol to assess CHD risk, not many have examined the particle count
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Decline of Immune System With Aging May Have a Genetic Cause

(Science Daily) Important insights that explain why our ability to ward off infection declines with age are published in a new research report… A team of U.S. scientists identified genes responsible for this decline by examining fruit flies -- a model organism often used to study human biology in an experimentally tractable system -- at different stages of their lives. They found that a completely different set of genes is responsible for warding off infection at middle age than during youth.
Many of the genes identified are also present in humans, so this study opens doors to understanding genetic interactions that underlie why older people have more trouble fighting off infections than do younger people.
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Celgene psoriatic arthritis drug effective in trial

(Reuters) Celgene Corp said on Thursday its experimental treatment for psoriatic arthritis was effective in a late-stage clinical trial, with no significant safety issues.
The company said it expects to file for marketing approval of the drug, apremilast, in the first half of next year.
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Merck osteoporosis drug seen effective

(Reuters) Industry analysts on Thursday predicted annual sales of up to $3 billion for a Merck osteoporosis drug shown to be effective before its clinical trial was completed, and said the development could provide a needed jolt of faith in Merck's overall drugs pipeline.
Merck, the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker, on Wednesday said outside monitors recommended that its late-stage study of odanacatib, a new type of treatment, be stopped early because data has already shown it reduces fractures…
"Odanacatib's excellent tolerability profile would make it the drug of choice in the 20 to 30 percent of patients intolerant to bisphosphonates," [Leerink Swann analyst Seamus] Fernandez said in a research report.
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Discovery of Chemical That Affects Biological Clock Offers New Way to Treat Diabetes

(Science Daily) Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered a chemical that offers a completely new and promising direction for the development of drugs to treat metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes -- a major public health concern in the United States due to the current obesity epidemic….
[Steve Kay, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego,] and his team have discovered a small molecule -- one that can be easily developed into a drug -- that controls the intricate molecular cogs or timekeeping mechanisms of cryptochrome in such a manner that it can repress the production of glucose by the liver. Like mice and other animals, humans have evolved biochemical mechanisms to keep a steady supply of glucose flowing to the brain at night, when we're not eating or otherwise active…
Kay said the next step for the research group is to understand how KL001 and similar molecules that affect cryptochrome function in living systems, such has laboratory mice. The scientists also plan to probe how such compounds affect other processes besides the liver that may tie the biological clock to metabolic diseases. "As with any surprise discovery," he notes, "this opens the door to more opportunities for novel therapeutics than we can currently imagine."
Community: Steve Kay is no relation to me, that I know of.
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Widespread Exposure to BPA Substitute Is Occurring from Cash Register Receipts, Other Paper

(Science Daily) People are being exposed to higher levels of the substitute for BPA in cash register thermal paper receipts and many of the other products that engendered concerns about the health effects of bisphenol A, according to a new study…
Kurunthachalam Kannan and colleagues point out that growing evidence of the potentially toxic effects of BPA has led some manufacturers to replace it with BPS in thermal paper and other products. BPS is closely related to BPA, with some of the same estrogen-mimicking effects, and unanswered questions exist about whether it is safer.
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Smartphones may aid eye diagnoses in emergency room

(Reuters Health) Sending patient images to ophthalmologists via smartphone may be an option for emergency room doctors looking to make a quick eye-related diagnosis, a new study suggests.
Two ophthalmologists gave higher quality ratings to inner-eye photos when they looked at the images on an iPhone as compared to a desktop computer, according to results…
That may mean the phones can be used to diagnose and plan treatment for more obvious eye conditions - even when an ophthalmologist isn't available at the hospital, researchers noted.
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Medicaid patients turn to hospitals for emergencies, not routine care

(Reuters) Most people covered by government health insurance for the poor visit hospital emergency rooms for perceived emergencies, not for routine care, much like those with private insurance, according to a study released on Wednesday.
Researchers said the study helps dispel the notion that poor patients are clogging hospitals for routine treatment - for a bad cold, for example - that others receive at lower cost in a clinic or at a doctor's office.
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Reducing Your Risk for Alzheimer's

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) While the exact cause of Alzheimer's remains unclear, the greatest known risk factor is increasing age: the chance of developing Alzheimer's seems to double every five years after age 65. After age 85, the risk of developing Alzheimer's is about 50 percent. While you can't do anything about getting older, there are some simple measures that can help:
1.    Challenge yourself. A growing body of medical evidence suggests that lifelong stimulation is the key to building and maintaining brain cells, staving off memory loss and maybe even preventing Alzheimer's disease. Try doing interesting work (paid or volunteer), pursuing hobbies, engaging in an active social life, taking music or language lessons, or learning a new computer program.
2.    Take a daily low-dose aspirin. Some studies link the use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) with reduced risk of Alzheimer's.
3.    Use healing spices in your cooking. Turmeric, ginger and red pepper can add zing to meals and are all natural anti-inflammatories.
4.    Eat a diet rich in omega-3s, including wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts.
5.    Incorporate plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in your meals.
6.    Reduce your intake of polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as sunflower, corn and safflower oils), replacing them with extra virgin olive oil.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce our risk of cognitive decline.
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Researchers identify gene protective against Alzheimer's

(Los Angeles Times) Researchers have found the first gene mutation that protects against Alzheimer's disease, a finding that supports a now-controversial theory about the cause of the disease and that could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to treat the disorder. The gene mutation also protects against normal dementia of aging, suggesting that the two diseases have mechanisms in common.
Alzheimer's affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans, and the prevalence increases with age: 13% of those older than 65 and 45% of those over the age of 85 have it. The disease is characterized by the buildup in the brain of particles called amyloid plaque, which are composed of a protein called amyloid beta. Amyloid beta is produced by the breakdown of a larger protein called amyloid precursor protein, or APP. Researchers have so far identified at least two dozen variants of APP that produce early-onset Alzheimer's disease in people younger than 65. The new variant … is the first that protects against Alzheimer's…
Surprisingly, the variant also seems to protect against other risk factors for the disease. At least 90% of people with two copies of a gene called ApoE4 normally get Alzheimer's by age 80. But Stefansson observed 25 people in the study with the new variant and two ApoE4 genes, and none had Alzheimer's.
Community: We don’t have to wait for a drug to be developed. There are many practical things we can do to reduce our risk of cognitive decline.
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Alzheimer's early detection may help develop healing drugs

(Reuters) The first Alzheimer's-related changes begin to develop some 25 years before memory and thinking problems appear, according to a new study that may offer a valuable guide for companies looking to test new treatments in people at an earlier stage.
The study … offers a timeline of changes in spinal fluid, brain size, the appearance of brain plaques and other factors that precede the onset of Alzheimer's in people who are genetically predestined to develop the brain-wasting disease.
Community: We don’t have to wait for a drug to be developed. There are many practical things we can do to reduce our risk of cognitive decline.
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Mixed Results for Alzheimer’s Nutrient Cocktail, Again

(MedPage Today) A new clinical trial of a liquid nutrient cocktail billed as improving cognition in Alzheimer's disease again yielded mixed results, bettering placebo on a few measures but not on many others…
[O]n a host of secondary measures of cognition -- the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale, the Letter Digit Substitution Test, and the the Wechsler Memory Scale -- patients drinking the cocktail did not fare any better than those assigned to placebo, the researchers reported.
Community: We don’t have to wait for a drug to be developed. There are many practical things we can do to reduce our risk of cognitive decline.
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