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

Golden Years Coming? Here’s the Plan

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Women can do just fine in their 70s if they keep eating their fruits and vegetables and continue getting some daily exercise.
New findings from the University of Michigan School of Social Work show that maintaining good health in your golden years means doing more of the same things you did to get there. The research team … tested [study participants’] blood for carotenoids, which are believed to represent fruit and vegetable consumption. And they asked the women how much exercise they performed including walking, strength training, doing housework and outdoor chores and activities such as bowling or dancing.
The upshot? Compared to women who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables, those who had the highest carotenoid levels were 46 percent less likely to die during the study’s five-year duration. Those who were most active had a 71 percent lower death rate over the five years compared to the most sedentary women. And those who were most physically active and consumed the most fruits and vegetables were eight times more likely to be alive at the study’s end.
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99-Second Guide to Life's Major Agers

(RealAge.com) Here's an at-a-glance guide to life's 14 Major Agers.
1. Major Ager: Bad Genes and Short Telomeres
Help keep your telomeres -- and memory -- sharp with stress reduction, brain games, and regular exercise. Try this 20-minute workout.
2. Major Ager: Oxidation and Inefficient Mitochondria
Help counter oxidation and get the waste out of your system by taking 162 milligrams of aspirin a day (check with your doc first) and eating healthy foods like fish, fruit, and vegetables.
3. Major Ager: Stem-Cell Slowdown
Keep your stem cells intact by avoiding the things that damage them: Protect yourself from sunburn. If you smoke, quit. Reduce stress.
4. Major Ager: Declining Defenses
Try chi-gong (also spelled qigong), a series of meditative movements that help calm the immune system to reduce chronic inflammation.
5. Major Ager: Toxins
Don't live in fear of every chemical, but be aware of your environment, and make it as healthy as you can. Use this tool to detox your home.
6. Major Ager: Glycosylation … a form of cellular aging…
Keep your blood sugar levels under control by maintaining a healthy weight -- and waist size -- being physically active, and eating a balanced diet. If you're overweight, losing just a couple of inches around your middle will help reduce glycosylation.
7. Major Ager: Calorie Consumption and Sirtuin Slowdown
Limiting calories activates a protein in your body called sirtuin, which helps neutralize aging. Seriously. Here's how: Sirtuin is like sunshine -- it helps your cells thrive, divide, rejuvenate your body with new stem cells, which repair age-related damage, so you live younger…
8. Major Ager: Neurotransmitter Imbalance
Deep sleep helps your neurotransmitters fire more efficiently, which in turn helps you sleep better. Start the cycle with this Deep Sleep Plan.
9. Major Ager:Wacky Hormones
Try meditation to help calm hot flashes, review this plan for deep sleep, and get plenty of exercise and calcium to build -- and keep -- strong bones…
10. Major Ager: Not Enough Nitric Oxide
Activate the release of nitric oxide in your body through deep nasal breathing. Or head for the sauna -- the heat helps your body release N.O.
11. Major Ager: UV Radiation
Protect your peepers with sunglasses that have 99% UV protection. Since powerful rays can get to your eyes from above your glasses, it's also smart to wear a hat.
12. Major Ager: [Bone] Disuse Atrophy
Strengthen your bones by walking every day, doing the YOU2 Workout, and getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
13. Major Ager: Wear and Tear [on Hearing]
Protect your hearing by eating folate-rich foods -- found in leafy green veggies, egg yolks, and corn. And go easy on the heavy-metal concerts.
14. Major Ager: Unforced Errors
Make healthy lifestyle choices. Wear your seat belt in the car; wear a helmet when you go cycling or sledding; and reduce the likelihood of falls by working on your balance. [More here on balance.]
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Benefits of Learning a New Language

(RealAge.com) Learning a new language actually adds grey matter. No matter what your calendar age, you can harness the power of language to develop and expand your brain -- and that makes your RealAge much younger.
Your brain doesn't have to shrink with age. Adults are actually better at learning new languages than kids -- if you can put aside linguistic habits (the brain gets trained to ignore sounds it doesn't need for comprehension) and embrace the nonsensical, which is how kids learn. Kids first associate sounds with objects, then recognize sounds and words as labels, and then link words with meaning.
To learn a new language, whether in class or with audio tapes, remember these tips:
·         Don't stress….
·         Practice listening -- and hearing. Tune in to TV channels with the language you are learning. Don't worry about understanding. Just let it wash over you. Understanding comes later.
·         Stay in top shape
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Mild mental illness 'raises risk of premature death'

(BBC News) People with mild mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression are more likely to die early, say researchers…
More serious problems increased it by 67%, the University College London and Edinburgh University team said.
The risk among those with severe mental health problems is already well documented.
But researchers said the finding among those with milder cases - thought to be one in every four people - was concerning, as many would be undiagnosed.
Community: Showing how important it is to get help even with low levels of anxiety and depression.
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Sick seniors find it hard to break habits

(UPI) U.S. seniors with a serious disease tend to not change their unhealthy lifestyle, although better habits could improve outcomes, researchers say…
The largest observed change in behavior was among those who were diagnosed with heart disease -- 40 percent of smokers quit. However, for every disease, smokers decreased the number of cigarettes consumed per day, but only 19 percent of those suffering from lung disease quit, the study said.
There were no significant improvements in those reporting regular vigorous exercise -- at least three times per week. In fact, the percentage exercising declined significantly for those with cancer, lung disease and stroke, which might be due to the physical limitations of the disease.
Community: It’s not easy to change habits, or even addictions, but building impulse control can help.
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It's in Our Genes: Why Women Outlive Men

(Science Daily) Scientists are beginning to understand one of life's enduring mysteries -- why women live, on average, longer than men…
[R]esearch led by Monash University, describes how mutations to the DNA of the mitochondria can account for differences in the life expectancy of males and females. Mitochondria, which exist in almost all animal cells, are vital for life because they convert our food into the energy that powers the body.
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Japanese women lose longevity crown after 2011 disaster

(Reuters) Japanese women lost their longevity crown last year after 26 years at the top of world life expectancy rankings, the government said on Thursday, blaming the 2011 earthquake and tsunami for the drop.
The health and labor ministry said the disaster, which left nearly 20,000 dead or missing, was mainly behind a decline in average lifespan by 0.4 years to 85.90 years. That put Japanese women behind Hong Kong, in the top spot with 86.7 years.
The ministry said a rise in the number of suicides last year also contributed to the decline.
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Prosciutto, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches
Update the traditional BLT sandwich with this scrumptious stacker. The grocery deli will slice prosciutto in very thin pieces, making three ounces of the good stuff more than enough for four sandwiches. For a zesty and pretty garnish, attach 1 small sweet gherkin pickle to the top of each sandwich with a toothpick. A toss-together fruit salad makes a speedy side.
Summer Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad
Fresh wedges of tomato, thinly sliced onion and sliced cucumber dressed simply with vinegar and oil makes the most simple salad possible—think of it as the Southern counterpart to the classic Italian tomato-and-mozzarella salad. It is best enjoyed at the height of summer, when tomatoes and cucumbers are fresh from the garden.
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Fruits of Summer

(Julie Upton, MS, RD, Appetite for Health) The best fruits of summer are fresh and readily available....so why aren't you eating them?
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Get a Health Boost With Blueberries

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Blueberries prove that good things come in small packages. Not only are they bursting with delicious flavor, but blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, thanks to their anthocyanins — the compounds responsible for their blue hue, according to the US Department of Agriculture. They are also an excellent source of ellagic acid and soluble fiber. Studies have found that blueberries may help reduce high blood pressure and total LDL cholesterol…
Most fresh supermarket blueberries are the cultivated kind, not the wild picked. You’re more likely to find the wild variety canned or frozen. Blueberries are typically available all summer long, and into September, though you may be able to purchase imported blueberries throughout the year. When buying fresh blueberries, look for those that are deep blue with a chalky white “bloom” that is a sign of freshness.
Community: Remember, we talked yesterday about how blueberries may even help prevent cognitive decline. I buy them when they’re on sale in the summer, dump them in freezer bags, and freeze them. I don’t wash them until I take them out to use them on cereal or in a recipe. I also take a blueberry/pomegranate extract supplement.
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Strawberry Extract Protects Against UVA Rays, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) An experiment has shown that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing its viability and reducing damage to DNA.
Developed by a team of Italian and Spanish researchers, the study opens the door to the creation of photoprotective cream made from strawberries.
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3 Reasons Why Coffee Is Good For You

(Appetite for Health) Enjoying a cup of coffee while reading this story? Well, you should! It turns out that your morning brew may do a lot more than just taste good.
When I was growing up, coffee drinking was often considered a ‘not-so-good’ habit.  Not terrible, but certainly not ‘healthy’.
But it seems that a daily cup (or two) of joe may have some real health benefits.
1) You may live longer…
2) Lower Risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases…
3) It May Be Good For Your Heart
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Are You Eating the Healthiest Nut?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Walnuts are an excellent choice when it comes to healthy snacking, one I have consistently recommended as part of an overall healthy diet. It looks like I am not alone: Researchers from the University of Scranton compared the amount of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants, in nine different types of nuts, both raw and roasted. Walnuts came out on top, whether roasted or raw - they were found to have both the highest amount of polyphenols as well as the most potent polyphenols.
Some benefits of walnuts:
·         They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protective fats that promote cardiovascular health, help maintain optimal cognitive function, and tone down inflammation.
·         They provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
·         They help support a healthy immune system through ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound.
·         They contain L-arginine, an essential amino acid which promotes healthy blood pressure.
Try adding walnuts to your hot or cold breakfast cereals, eat them as a snack, use walnut oil in salad dressings, and add to pie crusts for a nutritional boost.
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Omega-3's and inflammation

(HHS HealthBeat) Inflammation is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Research at Ohio State University showed that omega-3’s may reduce proteins that cause inflammation. Participants, either overweight or obese, were given supplements in different doses. Some got placebos. Both higher and lower omega-3 doses helped reduce inflammation.
Janice Kiecolt-Glaser led the study. “If you can’t have fish that frequently or you’re not that fond of it, the supplements clearly have benefits for your immune response.”
Anyone can experience inflammation, but research at the National Institutes of Health shows it can be more a problem in the presence of excess body fat.
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Are there ways to prevent type 2 diabetes?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Research shows that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented in people who are at risk for the disease. Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
For more information, check out the short video, Preventing Type 2 Diabetes.
Community: And then there’s my list of things we can do to prevent diabetes.
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Industry: Generics Saved $193 Billion

(MedPage Today) Generic drugs saved consumers, state and federal governments, and healthcare systems more than $1 billion every other day in 2011, according to a report issued Thursday by the generic drug industry…
Savings could continue to skyrocket, since certain blockbuster products such as cholesterol drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) and antipsychotic olanzapine (Zyprexa) only became generic late in 2011, and other high-profile drugs such as the blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix) continue to have generic versions.
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Wal-Mart backs Democratic plan to cut healthcare costs

(Reuters) Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest private employer, endorsed a new Democratic proposal for controlling healthcare spending that would seek to keep the rising cost of medical services in line with wage growth.
The giant retailer said on Thursday that the plan co-authored by former Obama and Clinton administration officials contained "innovative methods" that could help slow healthcare spending and improve the quality of healthcare delivery…
The proposal appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, with 23 co-authors led by former Obama healthcare adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and backing from the progressive think tank Center for American Progress.
Community: I posted some highlights of the study yesterday. Ezekiel Emanuel is Rahm’s brother, and he has said that liberals don’t want to cut health care costs. I wonder if this means he has changed his mind.
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New Ads Promote Health Law’s Preventive Benefits

(Kaiser Health News) They aren’t campaign ads, but two new television commercials from the Obama administration that promote the president’s health law may also be boosting its image.
The ads, which began airing this summer, tout the law’s preventive services benefits, including coverage of vaccinations, mammograms and other screenings. For many people, these services will now be available through their health insurance without a co-pay or out-of-pocket costs.
“Right now, millions of Americans are using their preventive benefits from the health care law. You can, too,” says one of the ads’ voiceovers.
Asked about the campaign, a Department of Health and Human Services official noted that the health law itself called for an “education and outreach campaign.” Section 4004 says that, along with explaining the new preventive benefits, the campaign should describe “the importance of utilizing preventive services to promote wellness, reduce health disparities, and mitigate chronic disease.”
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Pine cones compound may slow Alzheimer's

(UPI) A New York medical school and Humanetics Corp. in Minneapolis have been issued a patent for a compound from pine cones that may slow Alzheimer's, the firm says…
NIC5-15 -- a compound from in pine cones and grape seeds …. was found in preclinical studies and animal models to be effective in preventing the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, [said Ronald Zenk, president and chief executive officer of Humanetics].
Amyloid plaques are believed to be a leading cause of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said.
Community: We’ve already seen that grape seed extract may be effective in preventing cognitive decline. And there are many other practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s Disease.
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Dementia: Autoantibodies Damage Blood Vessels in the Brain

(Science Daily) The presence of specific autoantibodies of the immune system is associated with blood vessel damage in the brain…
The researchers' results suggest that autoimmune mechanisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis and progression of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia.
Antibodies are the defense molecules of the body's immune system against foreign invaders. If the antibodies cease to distinguish between "foreign" and "self," they attack the cells of the own body, and are thus referred to as autoantibodies.
Community: Inflammation is our enemy. And there’s this research: “ApoE4 Alzheimer's gene causes brain's blood vessels to leak, die”. So keeping our blood vessels strong may help prevent heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. Does that make blueberries the best fruit ever?
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Alzheimer’s Cognitive Decline Slows in Advanced Age

(Science Daily) The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is advancing age. By age 85, the likelihood of developing the dreaded neurological disorder is roughly 50 percent. But researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say AD hits hardest among the "younger elderly" -- people in their 60s and 70s -- who show faster rates of brain tissue loss and cognitive decline than AD patients 80 years and older.
The findings … have profound implications for both diagnosing AD -- which currently afflicts an estimated 5.6 million Americans, a number projected to triple by 2050 -- and efforts to find new treatments. There is no cure for AD and existing therapies do not slow or stop disease progression.
Community: Message to Dominic Holland, the lead researcher: “I think you mean that there are no MONEY-MAKING therapies to slow or stop AD. But there are many low- or no-cost things we can do.” And there’s this, from Consumer Reports: “Alzheimer's drugs do little to slow disease, our analysis shows
Why is there so little discussion of low- and no-cost PREVENTION????????????????
From Dr. Holland, via email: "I appreciate your interest. No, I me[a]nt exactly what I said, and it is correct. However, you are quite right: there are many things one can do to stave off AD, primarily remaining cognitively, physically, and socially active. There is no contradiction here."
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More Recent Research on Cognitive Decline

(UPI) Concussions and head impacts may hasten the brain's natural aging process, U.S. researchers suggest.
(Science Daily) An international team of scientists led by researchers at Mount Sinai School Medicine have discovered that a drug that had previously yielded conflicting results in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease effectively stopped the progression of memory deterioration and brain pathology in mouse models of early stage Alzheimer's disease.
(Science Daily) During Alzheimer's disease, 'plaques' of amyloid beta (Ab) and tau protein 'tangles' develop in the brain, leading to the death of brain cells and disruption of chemical signaling between neurons. This leads to loss of memory, mood changes, and difficulties with reasoning. New research … has found that up-regulating the gene Hes1 largely counteracted the effects of Ab on neurons, including preventing cell death, and on GABAergic signaling.
(MyHealthNewsDaily) Sleep may be more important for memory storage in young people than it is in older adults, a new study suggests. In the study, young people performed better on a memory test following a night's sleep, indicating that sleep was helpful in storing their memories. However, the same was not true for older adults, who performed about the same on the memory test regardless of whether they had slept before the test.
(Science Daily) A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer's disease.
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Reviled Substance Involved in Alzheimer's Can Reverse Paralysis in Mice With Multiple Sclerosis

(Science Daily) A molecule widely assailed as the chief culprit in Alzheimer's disease unexpectedly reverses paralysis and inflammation in several distinct animal models of a different disorder -- multiple sclerosis, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have found.
This surprising discovery … comes on the heels of the recent failure of a large-scale clinical trial aimed at slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease by attempting to clear the much-maligned molecule, known as A-beta, from Alzheimer's patients' bloodstreams. While the findings are not necessarily applicable to the study of A-beta's role in the pathology of that disease, they may point to promising new avenues of treatment for multiple sclerosis.
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Grilled Scallop Salad
Grill scallops and cucumber for tasty toppings on this summer salad.
Basil, Shrimp & Zucchini Pasta
This quick-cooking, healthy dinner is a simple combination of zucchini, shrimp and pasta flecked with plenty of fresh basil. If you have leftover cooked pasta from another meal, use it and skip Step 2. Since the recipe combines a starch, vegetables and the shrimp, all you need is a fruit or vegetable salad to round out the menu.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Lemon Baked Halibut
The mellow flavor of this fish comes from marinating it in vigorous spices. After cooking, it is topped with homemade salsa rich with the flavor of tangy onions, fiery jalapeño peppers, and cool papaya. Make the salsa first, before you start preparing the fish. It is also best to make the marinade far enough in advance so that the flavors can blend together for at least 2 hours before you actually marinate the fish in it for 30 minutes. Keep this in mind when deciding what time you want to serve this dish. I couple this entrée with a side of steamed vegetables or Roasted Root Vegetables.
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Healthy Seafood Comes from Sustainable Fish

(Science Daily) When ordering seafood, the options are many and so are some of the things you might consider in what you order. Is your fish healthy? Is it safe? Is it endangered? While there are many services and rankings offered to help you decide -- there's even an iPhone app -- a group of researchers have found a simple rule of thumb applies.
"If the fish is sustainable, then it is likely to be healthy to eat too," said Leah Gerber, an associate professor and senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University.
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Iced Tea Can Contribute to Painful Kidney Stones

(Science Daily) This is the peak season for drinking iced tea, but a Loyola University Medical Center urologist is warning the popular drink can contribute to painful kidney stones.
Iced tea contains high concentrations of oxalate, one of the key chemicals that lead to the formation of kidney stones, a common disorder of the urinary tract that affects about 10 percent of the population in the United States.
"For people who have a tendency to form the most common type of kidney stones, iced tea is one of the worst things to drink," said Dr. John Milner.
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More supplements found to be adulterated with drugs

(Consumer Reports) Many dietary supplements, especially those that claim to enhance male sexual performance, are spiked with prescription drugs. That's one of the conclusions of our new report on 10 surprising dangers of vitamins and supplements.
Case in point: Mojo Nights, a sexual-enhancement product made by Evol Nutrition Associates, Inc. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration said tests it conducted on samples of the supposedly "all-natural" product found that it actually contained sildenafil and tadalafil, the active ingredients in the prescription drugs Viagra and Cialis…
Just three weeks earlier, the FDA warned another company, ABCO Laboratories, that samples of its Sexual Virility Max supplement contained synthetic chemical compounds that are structurally similar to sildenafil.
Those are just the latest in a stream of so-called "natural" products that have turned out to be spiked with powerful prescription drugs
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Plant-Based Compound Slows Breast Cancer in a Mouse Model

(Science Daily) The natural plant compound phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) hinders the development of mammary tumors in a mouse model with similarities to human breast cancer progression, according to a study…
Edible plants are gaining ground as chemopreventative agents. PEITC has shown to be effective as a chemopreventative agent in mice for colon, intestinal, and prostate cancer, by inducing apoptosis…
The authors also point out certain limitations of their study, namely that the results may be different in humans than in mice; also both the relevance of other altered proteins from PEITC and the mechanism by which PEITC causes apoptosis are unclear.
Community: The Linus Pauling Institute tells us that watercress is a dietary source of PEITC.
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Americans turn less to cigarettes, but find substitutes

(Reuters) While more Americans than ever before are quitting their cigarette habit, a growing number are also turning to large cigars and pipes, suggesting that gains in curbing tobacco consumption may be more elusive than previously thought.
The findings were outlined in a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall consumption of smoked tobacco products declined 27.5 percent between 2000 and 2011, but use of noncigarette smoked tobacco products increased by a whopping 123 percent in that same time.
One major culprit for the trend is likely price, particularly in the latter part of the decade as Americans grappled with a weak economy and high unemployment.
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Kicking the Habit: Sex Differences in Smoking Cessation

(Science Daily) A recent study challenged an enduring belief that women were less successful than men in quitting smoking. The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, found convincing evidence that across all of the age groups, "there [is] relatively little difference in cessation between the sexes."…
According to the study, "below age 50, women were more likely to have given up smoking completely compared to men, while among older age groups, men were more likely to have quit than women." Different age groups had sex differences in smoking cessation but the authors are not sure what accounted for the finding.
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Appeals court upholds Philip Morris sanctions

(Reuters) A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling banning tobacco company Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group Inc, from making false or deceptive statements about cigarettes…
The court had previously upheld injunctions placed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, but the cigarette company brought a new challenge after Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009.
Philip Morris said the newest act, which increased restrictions on the actions of cigarette companies, made the injunctions redundant.
But the company's history of non-compliance led the three-judge panel to agree with a lower court that there is no assumption Philip Morris will comply with the new law.
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Pro-Mammogram Statistics Draw Challenge

(MyHealthNewsDaily) A breast cancer awareness campaign by the research advocacy group Susan G. Komen for the Cure overstated the benefit that mammograms have on survival rates of women with breast cancer, researchers say in a new editorial.
Komen's messages in its 2011 campaign stated that 98 percent of women who get the screening tests survive at least five years, while 23 percent of women who do not get mammograms survive that long — a difference of 75 percentage points.
In an online editorial in the British Medical Journal, however, two researchers argue that randomized controlled trials have shown mammograms reduce the risk of dying from the disease by far less. For example, among those with breast cancer who are in their 60s, the risk of dying over a 10-year period is reduced from 83 percent to 56 percent — a difference of 27 percentage points.
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Forget Blizzards and Hurricanes, Heat Waves Are to Die for

(Science Daily) In the pantheon of deadly weather events, heat waves rule. When it comes to gnarly weather, tornadoes, blizzards and hurricanes seem to get most of our attention, perhaps because their destructive power makes for imagery the media can't ignore. But for sheer killing power, heat waves do in far more people than even the most devastating hurricane. Ask medical historian Richard Keller.
Keller, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical history and bioethics, is compiling a detailed account of the epic 2003 heat wave that broiled parts of Europe that summer and killed an estimated 70,000 people.
During the course of three excruciating weeks in August of that year, a massive high-pressure system parked over Europe, producing the hottest summer weather in more than 500 years and leading to most of those fatalities. It was so hot electrical cables melted, nuclear reactors could not be cooled, water pumps failed, and museum specimens liquefied.
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Can't Stand the Heat? Stay-Cool Tips

(RealAge.com) [W]hen the summer sun cranks up its power, you need to be on the outlook for more than betrayal and deceit. You need to avoid getting overheated so you can prevent heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other hot-weather health issues.
If you're active outdoors, hydrate regularly (don't wait until you're thirsty), don't take salt tablets (unless your doc says you should), take breaks to cool down every 30 minutes.
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How can I buy insurance on an exchange if my state won't set one up?

(Consumer Reports) Q.  I'm thinking about retiring in 2014 but I won't be old enough for Medicare yet. Will I be able to buy health insurance through an exchange here in Louisiana? Our governor has done nothing to get our state ready. Also, will I have to buy COBRA for 18 months before enrolling through the exchange?
Wow, you're really up to speed on the Affordable Care Act! For readers who may need a refresher, starting in 2014, every state will open an exchange, an insurance marketplace, operated mostly online, where individuals can shop for health plans and qualify for income-based subsidies. The federal government has been handing out millions of dollars to states to help get this done, but Louisiana is one of a handful of states that has refused even to take the money, let alone set up an exchange (the others are Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Texas).
Perhaps anticipating something like this, the authors of the law specified that if a state declines to set up an exchange, the federal government will do it instead, which is what presumably will happen in these six states. So the answer to your question is yes, you'll be able to buy a health plan in Louisiana, on an exchange run by the federal government.
And no, you won't have to run out your COBRA benefits first, although you certainly can if you want to. When the time comes, you should probably compare the cost and quality of coverage on the exchange with your COBRA plan before deciding which option to take.
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Experts Release Plan To Reduce Health Spending

(Kaiser Health News) Some of the nation’s top health care experts, several of whom helped write the 2010 health care law, released a strategy Wednesday to take the next step — curbing spending…
The group was convened by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank, and met in January for a daylong session to discuss policy options for slowing health costs.
Among the group’s ideas:
– Creating independent panels made up of medical providers, employers, consumers in each state that would set spending targets, which would ultimately be tied to that state’s average growth in wages.
– Encouraging negotiations among public and private insurers along with hospitals, doctors and other medical providers, to set payment rates that would apply to all providers in a state.
– Extending competitive bidding in Medicare, which is now limited to some medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, to many medical devices, lab tests and imaging services.
– Moving rapidly to get Medicare and private insurers to move away from paying piecemeal for each test or procedure to a model that “bundles” payments that would cover a broad range of care.
Community: Once again, I have to ask about PREVENTION of chronic illnesses. It could save trillions, and stop a lot of suffering, too.
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Stem cell findings point toward new cancer treatments

(Los Angeles Times) When cancers are treated, tumors may shrink but then come roaring back. Now studies on three different types of tumors suggest a key reason why: The cancers are fueled by stem cells that chemotherapy drugs don't kill.
The findings — made by independent research teams that used mice to study tumors of the brain, intestines and skin — could change the approach to fighting cancers in humans, experts said.
Properties of these so-called cancer stem cells can be investigated so researchers can devise strategies for killing them off, said Luis F. Parada, a molecular geneticist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and senior author of one of the studies published Wednesday.
"Everything has a soft underbelly once you understand it well," Parada said. "With all the modern molecular techniques and modern approaches we have, we should be able to find their soft underbelly."
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Potential Breast Cancer Metastasis Roadblock Found

(Science Daily) When breast cancer metastasizes, cancer cells break away from a primary tumor and move to other organs in the body, including the lungs, liver and brain. In work published recently…, MSU researchers Kathy Gallo and Jian Chen show a protein called MLK3 (mixed lineage kinase 3) is a critical driver of breast cancer cell migration and invasion.
More importantly, Chen and Gallo showed that in triple-negative breast tumor cells, which are more aggressive and for which targeted therapies are needed, it is possible to thwart that cell migration and invasion.
"While the classical approach to cancer drugs has been to find drugs that kill tumor cells, there recently also is an interest in finding drugs that interrupt metastasis," said Gallo, a professor in MSU's Department of Physiology. "The hope is that such drugs in combination with conventional therapies may lead to better outcomes in patients."
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Two Viruses Link to Prostate Cancer

(Science Daily) Two common viruses known to be associated with human cancers are both present -- and may even be collaborating with each other -- in most male prostate cancers, a new study suggests.
The research involved examination of 100 specimens of normal, malignant and benign prostate samples from Australian men.
It revealed that both the human papilloma virus (HPV) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV) were present in more than half of the malignant cancers, as well as in a high proportion of benign and normal prostate samples.
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8 Ways to Prevent Cancer

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) A healthy diet can help the body in its efforts to heal itself, and in some cases, particular foods can lessen the risks of serious illness. To help reduce your risk of some types of cancer, try the following:
1.    Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils and all foods that might contain trans-fatty acids (such as deep-fried foods).
2.    Minimize or eliminate consumption of foods with added sugar.
3.    Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating more cold-water oily fish, freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts.
4.    Reduce consumption of animal foods and try replacing them with plant-based proteins such as whole soy products.
5.    Use hormone-free, organically produced products whenever possible.
6.    Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
7.    Eat shiitake, enokidake, maitake and oyster mushrooms frequently.
8.     Drink green tea daily.
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