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

Obese Brain May Thwart Weight Loss

(Science Daily) [N]ew research by Terry Davidson, director of American University's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, indicates that diets that lead to obesity -- diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar -- may cause changes to the brains of obese people that in turn may fuel overconsumption of those same foods and make weight loss more challenging…
If Davidson's findings apply to people, it could be that a diet high in saturated fat and refined sugar impacts the hippocampus's ability to suppress unwanted thoughts -- such as those about high-calorie foods, making it more likely that an obese person will consume those foods and not be able to stop at what would be considered a reasonable serving.
"What I think is happening is a vicious cycle of obesity and cognitive decline," Davidson said…
Davidson's findings are compatible with other studies finding a link between human obesity in middle age and an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive dementias later in life.
Community: We’ve spoken before about addiction to food. What this understanding means is that we have to use every trick and technique we can think of to combat the problem.
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New triggers found for weight gain

(Chicago Tribune) Although personal decisions and self-control certainly play a large role in weight gain, a burgeoning area of research suggests that other factors, from air pollution to sleep deprivation, might be subtly helping humans pack on the pounds.
Obesity, it turns out, is a complex condition that involves multiple genes and pathways. Scientists are finding that certain exposures or conditions can change the body's metabolism, disrupt the trillions of microbes working in the gut and alter hormonal levels in ways that affect a person's weight.
Studies have identified nearly a dozen factors besides overeating and inactivity that can help make people fat, including chemicals in the environment.
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Is Obesity Cultural?

(David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, U.S. News & World Report) There is food everywhere, all the time—and most of us are on the "see food" diet: We see food, we eat it.
Why? Because our culture encourages and endorses exactly that. And why, again? Because throughout most of human history, food was relatively scarce relative to our needs. By eating all we could, whenever we could, we just got by. It made sense.
But in modern context, Stone Age cultural impulses backfire rather badly!...
[I]magine flight attendants who—instead of dispensing calories almost no one needs at the first opportunity—led an isometric exercise routine instead. You could opt out if you wanted, and you could ask for a snack or a soda. If activity were the default, and calories the special request, the flow of culture would carry us toward health, rather than from it…
We made up culture, and we can change it.
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Weight Loss Tips

(RealAge.com) Want to lose weight fast, without changing what you eat? Quit multitasking. That's right. Sitting at your computer and catching up on e-mail and the latest video of crazy cat antics (yes, we like those, too) while you eat lunch could be making you fat. Not only do you eat more when you're in front of the screen (any screen), but you also eat more sweet stuff later.
Community: I’ve posted a lot of articles on mindful eating.
(Los Angeles Times) Moderately obese people who ate the Mediterranean diet lost more weight than groups of people who followed either a low-fat or a low-carbohydrate diet, researchers reported.
(Reader’s Digest) [F]ood writer Allison Adato set off to find the magic behind how so many chefs and people in the food industry juggle delicious food and healthy bodies… They eat the food they love… They don’t feel guilty about eating… [They] are aware when they eat… They know you never enjoy those last bites as much as the first… They stop eating after 20 minutes.
(UPI) A Virginia law librarian with two jobs says she lost 85 pounds on the "Starbucks diet," a diet she designed herself by only eating food from the coffee chain. Christine Hall … said she's eating a healthy variety of foods -- mixing protein, fruit and vegetables with her doctor's approval. For example, a daily menu could consist of oatmeal for breakfast and a 5-calorie cup of coffee, a "bistro box" with fruit and cheese for lunch and panini for dinner.
(Reuters Health) People who take part in a commercial weight-loss program may indeed shed some pounds - especially if they substantially cut calories, a new study from Sweden finds… The popular Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig programs are among the few that have been tested in clinical trials, with promising results: People in the programs lost more weight over two years than people assigned to "usual care" - generally advice from a doctor or dietitian.
More . . .

More News about Obesity and Weight Loss

(Daily Mail) Chocolate has an effect on the brain similar to opium, according to a study that found amazing comparisons between obese people and drug addicts. In the study, a natural brain chemical called enkephalin - an endorphin with similar properties to opium - surged as rats began to eat M&M chocolates.
(Science Daily) Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have found new links between a protein that controls our urge to eat and brain cells involved in the development of alcoholism. The discovery points to new possibilities for designing drugs to treat alcoholism and other addictions.
(U.S. News & World Report) Thanks to "smellvertising" and other nosey ploys—from artificial aromas that make us think a food is nutritious, to scents that trigger subconscious cravings (the toughest kind to resist, experts say)—companies are increasingly recruiting our nostrils to get us unwittingly hooked on not-so-healthy foods.
(Dr. Michael J. Breus, Clinical Psychologist) Overwork and little sleep can affect every aspect of our lives, from relationships, job performance and daily wellbeing to our fundamental health. A new study suggests that difficult and demanding work schedules also can contribute to obesity.
(Yoni Freedhoff, MD,  U.S. News & World Report) Food isn't simply fuel. We use food for comfort and celebration, and if you try to deny food those roles, well that's not a life, that's a diet, and we all know how long those last. Instead, try to live your life free of wrist-slaps. Make thoughtful, informed reductions rather than blind restrictions. Master this, and you'll be on your way to achieving your best weight—while still living the best life you can manage.
(Science Daily) [Results of a new study] show that the cells that are affected by interleukin-6 produce substances that not only affect our sense of hunger and fullness but also control the body's ability to burn fat. "Interleukin-6 increases levels of substances in the brain that trigger weight loss, which could explain why high levels of this molecule lead to weight loss," says doctoral student Erik Schéle.
More . . .

Recipes

Cooking Light:
Flavorful Fall Recipes
When the air is crisp and the leaves start to fall, you'll love these recipes that showcase the season's best flavors.
MyRecipes.com:
Noodles with Roast Pork and Almond Sauce
Serve this delicious Thai-inspired pork dish over noodles or, if you prefer, rice.
EatingWell:
Sauerkraut & Sausage Casserole
One bite of this hearty sausage casserole recipe—full of sauerkraut, apples and kielbasa—and you’ll be transported to a tiny pub in the Alsace region of northern France. Serve with extra mustard if you like.
U.S. News & World Report:
Salad for Breakfast, 4 Ways
4 ways to do salad for breakfast
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High-Sugar, High-Salt Intake Creates 'a Ticking Time Bomb of Health Problems'

(Science Daily) The fat- and sugar-rich Western diet leads to a lifetime of health problems, dramatically increasing the risk of stroke or death at a younger age, according to a study…
Researchers found that a high-calorie, high-sugar, high-sodium diet nicknamed the 'cafeteria diet' induced most symptoms of metabolic syndrome -- a combination of high levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and obesity -- in rats after only two months.
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Experts Challenge Super Food Claims

(Science Daily) While there's no doubt foods such as broccoli, blueberries and whole grains contain polyphenols - compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties - the academic experts contend that little of these health-giving properties actually make it past the gut…
Dr [Lucy] Jones and her colleague Dr Elizabeth Opara have taken a model developed in the early 1980s … and adapted it to see if and how medicinal Chinese herbs, known to limit the growth of cancer cells, are absorbed in the body. Known as the Caco-2, the model mimics the action of the small intestine, the principal place where nutrients are taken up. The Kingston researchers have used it to assess what does and doesn't make it through the gut…
"We found that while some compounds may have a local effect in the gut itself, in terms of the rest of the body the impact could be negligible."
Community: I’ll reserve judgment until I see evaluations of this study and further research in the area.
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Patients Vindicated! Generic Wellbutrin Withdrawn

(The People’s Pharmacy) On October 3, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was asking Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., to remove its generic version of Wellbutrin XL 300 from the market. The generic formulation, Budeprion XL 300, was deemed "not therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug (RLD), Wellbutrin XL 300 mg."
This is a huge victory for patients! Their heartbreaking stories about side effects and therapeutic failures linked to Budeprion XL 300 were finally heard. They should feel vindicated. We have never given up advocating for people who contacted us over the last five years complaining about problems with the Teva generic antidepressant.
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New Products Use Data Analysis to Predict Prescription Adherence

(Deanna Pogorelc, MedCity News) It's one of healthcare's great mysteries: How the heck do we get patients to take their medicines?
We're offering them cash rewards, giving them high-tech pill dispensers, and sending them mobile reminders. Soon we'll even be feeding them smart pills. But RxAnte is built on the idea that we should step back for a minute and do some analyzing.
The startup isn't trying to create interventions for medication adherence; rather, it's trying to help clinicians, payers, and pharmaceutical companies know which patients will be noncompliant and which interventions would be most likely to help them, according to CEO Josh Benner.
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Ninety-Day Refills at Community Pharmacies Could Improve Adherence, Minimize Wastage, and Control Costs

According to [a study]…, Medicaid patients with 90-day drug benefits at community pharmacies were more likely to take their medications as prescribed, had minimal drug wastage, and had cost savings.
Drug wastage due to leftover pills after patients change medications has been a concern of many Medicaid payers. This has often led them to limit medication dispensing to fewer than 90-day supplies. The present study lessens this concern by showing that patients utilizing a 90-day pharmacy benefit were 20% more adherent and 23% more persistent with their medications.
Read more (pdf).
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FDA cracks down on websites selling bad drugs

(Reuters) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it has cracked down on thousands of online pharmacies for selling potentially unsafe, unapproved or fake medicines, including the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and antiviral Tamiflu.
The FDA, working with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies from about 100 countries, said on Thursday that it took action against more than 4,100 Internet pharmacies, bringing civil and criminal charges, removing offending websites and seizing drugs worldwide.
The move was part of the fifth annual International Internet Week of Action, a global effort to fight the online sale and distribution of potentially counterfeit and illegal medicine.
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Another Use for Rapid Home HIV Test: Screening Sexual Partners

(New York Times) The first rapid home-testing kit for H.I.V. has just gone on sale for $40, marketed as a way for people to find out privately if they have the virus that causes AIDS.
But some experts and advocates say that another use, unadvertised, for the OraQuick test — to screen potential sexual partners — may become equally popular and even help slow an epidemic stuck at 50,000 new infections each year in the United States.
There are reasons to think that screening might make a difference. Studies have found that a significant minority of people who are H.I.V.-positive either lie about their status or keep it secret, infecting unsuspecting partners.
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Medical research funding tied to advocacy, study finds

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) The way medical research is funded in the United States has been vastly altered over the last 20 years by advocates asking that research be focused on particular diseases, according to a new study.
Since the 1980s, a growing number of health advocacy groups have lobbied Washington for research dollars. As these groups have grown in size, the new study says, they have begun to influence how the federal government, in particular the National Institutes of Health, allocates its dollars.
In the new report…, sociologist Rachel Best analyzed funding for 53 diseases over 19 years, looking to see whether there was any clear relationship between advocacy and funding. Unsurprisingly, she found that there were clear effects: The more advocacy, the more research dollars for specific diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.
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Climate linked to California ER visits

(Reuters Health) The risk of heading to the emergency room for certain conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease and low blood pressure rises slightly as temperature and humidity increase, according to a new study from California…
"What we know about climate change is that heat waves in California and throughout the world are going to become more severe and more intense," said Rupa Basu, the study's lead author and an epidemiologist at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. "With that, we're realizing this might implicate more health effects" from future temperatures.
That heat waves can lead to more deaths is already known, and one recent report predicts150,000 additional heat-related deaths will occur in U.S. cities by 2100 because of climate change.
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Study: Most Seniors’ ER Visits Could Be Avoided

(Kaiser Health News) Nearly 60 percent of Medicare beneficiary visits to emergency rooms and 25 percent of their hospital admissions were “potentially preventable”–  had patients received better care at home or in outpatient settings —  according to results of a study released Friday by a congressional advisory board…
The potentially preventable admissions or ER visits do not indicate the hospital acted inappropriately. Instead, they are a measure of a community’s outpatient care system that includes private physician offices, community health centers and urgent care centers, study co-author Nancy Ray, a MedPAC principal policy analyst, told commissioners. Ray said not every preventable ER visit or admission can be avoided. The study showed wide variation of these rates across the country and within cities.
Patients could avoid preventable ER visits by having health conditions treated by family doctors or urgent care centers or by making sure to take all their medicine. Hospital admissions could be prevented if conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart failure were better monitored by patients and their doctors, commission staff said.
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Authorities charge 91 in $430 million Medicare fraud

(Reuters) Ninety-one people including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were charged criminally in a new sweep of Medicare fraud involving seven U.S. cities and $430 million in alleged false billing, officials said on Thursday…
The allegations include billing the government for unnecessary ambulance rides in California, writing prescriptions for patients in Dallas who did not qualify for them and paying kickbacks such as food and cigarettes to patients in Houston if they attended programs a hospital could later bill for.
The investigation is part of an effort by President Barack Obama's administration to find healthcare savings.
Read more.
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Insurers Get Ready For Exchanges, But Exchanges May Not Be Ready For Them

(Kaiser Health News) The attraction of the 2010 health law for insurance companies is obvious: Millions of new customers and billions in new spending. Those dollars will flow through state exchanges, online marketplaces where customers can shop for insurance…
Few states beyond Maryland and California seem on schedule to start enrolling exchange clients in October 2013. Even there insurers are still engaged in basic calculations of what to offer with which medical providers in which markets.
Elsewhere governors are delaying or refusing to even contemplate exchanges, increasing the odds that the job of running them will fall to a federal government that is also seen as behind schedule.  Only 16 states met Monday’s target date for defining which benefits will be considered essential in the new plans.
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Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: Clues, Hope Abound

(Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D., Cedars-Sinai) There is no magic pill to prevent the cruel degeneration of Alzheimer's disease…
[But] epidemiological or observational studies .... suggest associations, or links, between, say, a specific nutrient and increased or decreased risks. Keep in mind that such links aren't definitive proof. Still, they can help people worried about memory loss begin to try some things, especially those that are good for them anyway.
So for the umpteenth time, let me urge you to exercise… You also should eat sensibly… That means low intake of saturated fats, like cheese, butter and fatty meats, and high consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish.
Other lifestyle links to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's or dementia include having friends, a book club, a religious group or golf buddies. A spouse helps — people who have never been married have a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. Current smokers have a higher risk of memory loss, but the evidence on former smokers is unclear.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Is Alzheimer's disease akin to 'type 3 diabetes'?

(Boston Globe) Is Alzheimer's disease really a form of diabetes? Let's call it type 3, because that's what a Brown Medical School researcher dubbed it back in 2005 when she autopsied the brains of Alzheimer's patients and found that they had signs of insulin resistance -- an early indicator of diabetes.
Since then, however, we haven’t seen a sea-change in preventive treatments based on this idea. Those who carry the gene for hereditary Alzheimer’s aren’t given diabetes drugs to help stave off dementia. Nor are Alzheimer’s patients given insulin injections.
What has been getting attention, however, is whether we should make extra efforts to eat a low glycemic diet -- which is low in processed foods, sugar, and starchy carbohydrates that cause quick spikes in blood sugar -- to help protect our brains from developing those gunky amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Chewing Ability Linked to Reduced Dementia Risk

(Science Daily) Can you bite into an apple? If so, you are more likely to maintain mental abilities, according to new research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden…
[The researchers] found that those who had difficulty chewing hard food such as apples had a significantly higher risk of developing cognitive impairments. This correlation remained even when controlling for sex, age, education and mental health problems, variables that are often reported to impact on cognition. Whether chewing ability was sustained with natural teeth or dentures also had no bearing on the effect.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Eliminating Visual Clutter Helps People With Mild Cognitive Impairment

(Science Daily) A new study … suggests that memory impairments for people diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's disease may be due, in part, to problems in determining the differences between similar objects…
"Minimizing the degree of perceptual interference improved patients' object perception by reducing the number of visually similar features," said project leader Rachel Newsome…
The findings suggest that, under certain circumstances, reducing "visual clutter" could help MCI patients with everyday tasks. For example, buttons on a telephone tend to be the same size and color. Only the numbers are different -- a very slight visual difference for someone who struggles with object perception. One solution could be a phone with varying sized buttons and different colors.
People diagnosed with MCI weren't the only ones to struggle in the study. The researchers performed the same tests on candidates at-risk for MCI, people who had previously shown no signs of cognitive impairment. They performed the same as those with MCI, suggesting that the perception test could be used as an early indicator of cognitive impairment.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Taking low dose of aspirin to prevent heart disease could slow down memory loss

(Daily Mail) There have been conflicting results from studies about whether long-term use of Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin protects against declining brain power and dementia.
But research … found regular low-dose aspirin did slow cognitive decline…
The majority of women [in the study] were at high risk of heart disease and stroke. Decline in brain power was found to be considerably less among those who took aspirin every day over the entire period.
It is thought the same effect would be found in men.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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More Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Science Daily) Georgia Tech researchers have created a tool that allows adults to screen themselves for early signs of dementia. The home-based computer software is patterned after the paper-and-pencil Clock Drawing Test, one of health care's most commonly used screening exams for cognitive impairment. [Said project leader Ellen Yi-Luen Do,] "Our ClockMe System helps older adults identify early signs of impairment, while allowing clinicians to quickly analyze the test results and gain valuable insight into the patient's thought processes."
(The People’s Pharmacy) Anti-anxiety agents and sleeping pills may put older people at increased risk for dementia. That is the conclusion of a long-term French study of senior citizens… Almost a third of the people who began taking anti-anxiety drugs during the study had developed dementia by the end of it. 23 percent of those who did not take such medications were diagnosed with cognitive impairment. The investigators concluded that "new use of benzodiazepines was associated with a significant, approximately 50% increase in the risk of dementia."
Community: That’s not to say that anti-anxiety drugs cause dementia. It could be that the changes in the brain leading up to dementia cause anxiety, leading to taking the drugs.
(NIH News) Researchers investigating a known gene risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease discovered it is associated with lower levels of beta amyloid — a brain protein involved in Alzheimer's — in cognitively healthy older people. The findings suggest that a mechanism other than one related to beta amyloid accumulation may influence disease risk associated with the gene.
(Science Daily) New research proves the validity of one of the most promising approaches for combating Alzheimer's disease (AD) with medicines that treat not just some of the symptoms, but actually stop or prevent the disease itself, scientists are reporting… They discovered one compound that appeared especially effective in relieving nerve inflammation and in improving learning and memory in lab mice widely used in AD research.
(Science Daily) A research report … describes an entirely new class of antibody discovered in camelids (camels, dromedaries, llamas, and alpacas) that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, diffuse into brain tissue, and reach specific targets. Having such antibodies, which are naturally available, may be part of a "game changer" in the outcomes for people with brain diseases that are poorly diagnosed and treated, at best, using today's tools.
More . . .

Recipes

U.S. News & World Report:
Apples for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Enjoy apples all day long with these recipes, perfect for fall
MyRecipes.com:
Southwest Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Pair quesadillas with a rich and creamy shrimp corn chowder for a delicious meal in about thirty minutes.
EatingWell:
Almond-&-Lemon-Crusted Fish with Spinach
Coating fish with nuts and baking it is an easy, foolproof way to cook it elegantly. And it is especially nice with a mild white fish like cod or halibut. The spinach turns a little yellowy because it’s cooked with the acidic lemon juice, but what you lose in green color is more than made up for in great flavor.
Washington Post:
Peppers, stuffed with vegan flavor
A gluten-free main course puts protein-rich quinoa inside vibrant vegetables.
The Supermarket Guru:
Chef Jamie's Roasted Artichoke Pesto
Chef Jamie says: Use this delicious pesto as a spread on crostini, as a dip, on a baked potato, as a topping for fish or chicken and for so much more.
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Meatless Monday improves meal nutrition

(UPI) Meatless Monday can be an effective tool to meet the goal of U.S. families eating fewer servings of meat and saturated fat, a survey indicates.
An online survey conducted by FGI Research found Meatless Monday not only influenced people to reduce meat intake, but encouraged them to incorporate healthier alternatives -- 73 percent said they ate more vegetables, 64 percent ate more fruit, 42 percent ate more beans and 47 percent ate more whole grains.
Community: Not to mention lowering food costs.
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Study Affirms Indoor Tanning, Skin Cancer Link

(MedPage Today) Indoor tanning with lamps and beds boosts the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, especially among younger people, a meta-analysis suggested.
Patients who had ever used a form of indoor tanning had a significantly increased risk of basal (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
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Prostate-Cancer Test May Reduce Repeat Biopsies: Study

(Bloomberg) A new gene-based test for prostate cancer may reduce the need to repeat painful biopsies that can also cause serious infections, according to a study…
The ConfirmMDx test, sold by MDxHealth SA (MDXH) and based on technology developed at Johns Hopkins University, examined samples from biopsies and confirmed whether a patient was clear of cancer with 90 percent accuracy, according to the study of 498 men who underwent a second biopsy within 30 months.
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Novel MRI Technique Could Reduce Breast Biopsies

(Science Daily) Water diffusion measurements with MRI could decrease false-positive breast cancer results and reduce preventable biopsies, according to a new study…
Researchers said the technique also could improve patient management by differentiating high-risk lesions requiring additional workup from other non-malignant subtypes.
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Benefits seen in hormone use early in menopause

(USA Today) Women who start low-dose hormone therapy in the first few years of menopause get relief from hot flashes and improve their mood and sexual health, without raising their blood pressure or harming their arteries, a much-awaited new study shows.
The study offers some reassurance to women who want that symptom relief, researchers say, but it was too short and too small to answer some big questions, including how the therapy affects risks for breast cancer, stroke and heart attack.
And it did not find evidence that early hormone use actually helps prevent hardening of the arteries – something the researchers thought possible.
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Botox bladder injections may stop the 'gotta-go' urge in women

(NBC News) If you feel like you need to run for the restroom all the time, maybe you should try Botox. A new study suggests that the injections more often used to fight facial wrinkles might prevent bladder leaks just as well as commonly prescribed oral medications.
In fact, the study showed that compared to a daily anticholinergic pill, an injection of onabotulinumtoxinA -- the drug most commonly used against those pesky lines -- was more than twice as likely to completely fix urgent, leaky bladders, according to the report…
The procedure could be performed by a urogynecologist, a gynecologist who specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction, about every 12 months, [lead author Dr. Linda] Brubaker says.
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Medication tied to rare meningitis outbreak may have reached 23 states

(Reuters) A steroid medication linked to the death of at least five people from rare fungal meningitis may have been administered to patients in 23 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on Thursday, raising fears the rare outbreak could spread…
The steroid is administered to patients, usually by injection, primarily to control back pain.
All the cases have so far been traced to three lots of Methylprednisolene Acetate from a pharmaceutical compounding plant in Massachusetts, according to the briefing…
Patients who received the injections were at risk of developing fungal meningitis for at least a month after their last exposure, [infectious disease expert Dr. William] Schaffner said… "Over the next few weeks, we are going to see a progressive accumulation of cases," he said.
Fungal meningitis is rare and life-threatening, but is not contagious from person to person. Meningitis can be passed to humans from steroid medications that weaken the immune system. Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting, according to the CDC web site.
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Many heart attack patients don't refill their meds

(Reuters Health) Older people who've suffered a heart attack often don't stick with the drugs their doctor prescribes, although the medications have been proven to save lives, according to a new study.
Seniors filled prescriptions for the clot-buster drug clopidogrel (Plavix) less than half the time on average, for instance. And the less diligent they were at getting their meds, the more likely they were to have health problems and die early, researchers found.
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Lower Copays for Heart Meds Cut Doctor Visits

(MedPage Today) Employees of a large company that reduced copays for statins and clopidogrel were less likely to use various healthcare resources and had lower out-of-pocket costs, researchers found.
Lower copays were associated with 20% and 13% reductions in physician visits for users of statins and clopidogrel, respectively, and 10% and 11% reductions in hospitalizations and emergency department admissions, respectively, according to Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD, … and colleagues.
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More insured, fewer via private healthcare

(UPI) Employment-based health coverage is the dominant source of U.S. health insurance, but it has been steadily shrinking since 2000, a non-partisan group says…
[A]mong the non-elderly population, employment-based coverage is trending down -- 58.4 percent had employment-based benefits in 2011, down from the peak of 69.3 percent in 2000 -- while government coverage trended up -- accounting for 22.5 percent of the non-elderly population, up from the low of 14.1 percent in 1999.
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Many Insurance Plans Heap Healthcare Costs on Consumers

(U.S. News & World Report) A first-ever U.S. News analysis of nearly 6,000 health insurance plans marketed to individuals and families reveals that many of the consumers who enroll in these plans may confront budget-wrecking out-of-pocket costs that deplete their savings.
Large numbers of plans severely limit coverage for such services as prescription drugs, maternity coverage, mental health treatment, and rehabilitation therapy. To help consumers make more informed choices, U.S. News … launched Best Health Insurance Plans, an interactive consumer tool, to help those who are not covered by an employer or a government plan find a health plan that best meets their individual or family needs.
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"Sometimes You Have to Live with It" and Other Myths About Pain

(RealAge.com) For persistent pain like the stuff that comes with migraines, arthritis, and back trouble, what you don't know might be hurting you. Let's clear up some myths so you can get the relief you need:
Myth #1: Pain is always a sign that some part of your body is hurt or damaged.
Fact: Not all pain can be easily linked to a physical condition or injury. Sometimes pain develops for no apparent reason, but you can manage it…
Myth #2: Medication is the only way to really relieve pain.
Fact: P…[T]here are many other options that lessen pain, including mind-over-matter techniques such as positive self-talk, visualization, biofeedback, and relaxation training.
Myth #3: If OTC medication relieves your pain, it's nothing to worry about.
Fact: …Minor ailments normally heal in about a week, so talk with your doc if your pain sticks around longer than that…
Myth #4: Pain is an inevitable part of aging, and you just have to live with it.
Fact: Older people are more likely to experience pain, but it's definitely not a symptom of aging. Let your doctor know about any aching, soreness, or discomfort. The truth is, you don’t have to be dead to have no pain -- you should never accept that you "just have to live with it."
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7-Step Chronic Pain Management Plan

(RealAge.com) You can't get chronic pain relief with a single treatment. It takes a combination approach. First step: work with your doctor. But don't stop there. Try every trick in the book to relieve pain until you've developed a comprehensive action plan that works for you. From adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine to using massage or acupuncture for pain, check out this array of pain relief remedies.
Break Habits That Make Pain Worse
Here are 4 painful habits and strategies to break them.
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Joint Health Benefits of Garlic and Onions

(RealAge.com) Pungent or subtle, earthy or spicy . . . garlic, onions, and other members of the allium family are staples in every top chef's kitchen. They should be in yours, too, because these flavor-uppers could help prevent joint pain…
Not a total fan of in-your-face raw garlic or onions? Here's how to get more on your plate:
Mellow the taste. Simmer them in soup or stew or slow-roast with chicken or vegetables.
Get to know the other alliums. Milder leeks, shallots, and scallions are all part of this clan. Try a pot of potato-leek soup, served hot or cold. Grill leeks this summer. Spike crisp salads with unsliced scallions.(Try these other foods to soothe inflammation and joint pain.)
Add 'em to other veggies. Women who eat lots of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) also have a lower risk for early arthritis and the joint pain that comes with it. Pairing onions or garlic with these good guys (add a splash of balsamic vinegar, too) makes culinary and cartilage sense. Worried about your own aroma afterward? Mix in some fresh parsley or basil. Nibbling these greens releases breath-freshening oils.
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More Pain Relief Tips

(RealAge.com) With the huge number of options available for managing fibromyalgia, it can be tough knowing where to begin. Choosing from the dozens of available fibromyalgia medications, determining the most effective self-care remedies, and knowing what lifestyle changes will work best for you may feel confusing at times. Although it's certainly important to try everything possible until you get better control of your fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, you may feel less overwhelmed if you start off with baby steps.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Many of us will experience the effects of normal wear and tear on our joints as we age. While we can't keep from growing older, small preventive measures can help keep joints healthy for a lifetime - consider these nutrition and lifestyle tips.
(Gannett News Service) [Back and knee]pain could be linked to your hips, in particular a group of muscles called the hip flexors… “When we sit all day, the hip flexors shorten,” says Jim Thornton, [an] athletic trainer… “When they’re shortened, it impacts how we perform and can cause all kinds of problems, from our lower backs down to our feet.”… When it comes to warming up the hips, he recommends gentle stretches such as lunges with one knee bent in front and the other leg straightened behind you.
(RealAge.com) The key to managing chronic pain is not being still but rather moving in ways that soothe your body. Control your aches with these five exercise videos.
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