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

Tips to Survive the Season of Gluttony

(Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, U.S. News & World Report) We've officially entered the season of gluttony—that period of time that begins with Halloween, and ends sometime around New Year's (or perhaps Valentine's Day). Candy bowls line countertops, cocktail parties fill the calendar, cool weather calls for all kinds of baking, and exercise is pushed off our crazy to-do lists. Many people end up gaining weight around this time of year, and studies indicate that these extra pounds tend to stay put. This season, arm yourself with these 10 tips to avoid the holiday weight creep:
1. Pay attention to hunger cues. One of the biggest sources of extra calories during this time of year comes from mindless munching and overeating. You can solve both these issues with one simple technique: Eat when you are pleasantly hungry and stop when you are comfortably full.
2. Be a food snob. We're presented with so many food and beverage options, but not all of them are worth splurging on…
3. Create "food-free" zones…
4. Keep it out of sight…
5. Build non-food-related traditions…
6. Make time for activity…
7. Start with soup. One surprising technique that researchers at Penn State University found helped curb overeating: starting meals with a broth-based soup…
8. Shave off some liquid calories. ..
9. Write it down…
10. Don't skip meals..
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Antidote to Emotional Eating

(Jean Fain, L.I.C.S.W., M.S.W., Licensed psychotherapist) 'Tis the season for all but the most dedicated dieters to engage in emotional eating. No dieter plans on eating emotionally from Halloween to New Year's Eve, and yet, that's what the overwhelmed majority end up doing year after year after year. If anyone is equipped to reverse this unhealthy trend, it's Jennifer Taitz, a supervising clinical psychologist and author of End Emotional Eating.
Taitz's approach to this everyday eating disturbance is based on a proven treatment for life-threatening eating disorders: dialectical behavior therapy. DBT, the mindful first cousin of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), sounds scary complicated, but it's actually an efficient, effective method for managing the emotions that fuel emotional eating. In effect, Taitz's timely antidote to America's seasonal affliction is more than diet-changing, it's life-changing…
[Taitz:] DBT is a treatment that teaches people how to both accept and change at the same time. A lot of therapies focus exclusively on changing or accepting, but DBT focuses on both. The therapy teaches practical skills to help manage emotions, improve relationships, practice mindfulness or present awareness, and cope with a crisis without making it worse. Once my patients learn to manage their emotions better, they not only live better lives, they lose weight.
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A Diet That Asks You Not to Lose Weight (at First)

(WebMD Health News) As anyone who’s ever been on a diet knows, losing weight is easier than keeping it off. “Long-term maintenance remains elusive,” the researchers write.
The problem, they say, is that people tend to abandon the changes they’ve made during a weight loss program, such as healthy eating, physical activity, and keeping a record of everything they eat. Typically, people regain 30% to 50% of the weight lost in the first year after stopping the program.
The researchers wondered what would happen if overweight or obese women got a chance to practice the skills needed to keep weight off without having to worry about slimming down first…
At the end of their 28-week programs, the women in both groups [“maintenance first” and “weight loss first”] had lost a similar amount of weight, about 17 pounds, or about 9% of their starting weight. The researchers then left the participants on their own for a year. When the women were weighed at the end of that year, the maintenance-first women had regained only three pounds on average, compared to seven pounds for the weight loss-first women.
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More Weight Loss Tips

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) What’s the best way to lose excess weight and keep it off? A study from Boston’s Children’s Hospital suggests that a low-glycemic-index diet is the best … with its emphasis on fiber-rich, natural carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, including nuts, avocados and olive oil. That diet is very similar to my anti-inflammatory diet.
(Reuters Health) Dieters who eat meals and snacks high in protein might lose a bit more weight than those who get less protein and more carbohydrates - all other things being equal, a new analysis of past studies suggests.
(Appetite for Health) Bottom line? Eat regular meals, limit time spent watching TV and don’t eat while watching the tube or doing anything else for that matter. Limit eating out to no more than two meals a week and try your best to think about what you’re about to eat or considering eating and whether or not it’s really worth the calories or if you can “afford” it.
(Appetite for Health) Here are 3 simple tips you can use to set your table for “slim”: 1) Small is beautiful.  [The research of Brian Wansink at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University] showed that going from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch plate can reduce how much you eat by about 22%... 2) Out of sight, out of mouth! Studies also found that people eat food that’s on a table much more frequently than food that’s off the table… 3) Break out the fine china! This one may not help you feel full with less food, but it may enhance the taste of what you eat.
(Science Daily) Low calorie foods may help people lose weight but there is often a problem that people using them do not feel full. New research … shows that subtle manipulations of texture and creamy flavour can increase the expectation that a fruit yoghurt drink will be filling and suppress hunger regardless of actual calorific content.
Community: Some healthy choices for thickeners are whole grain flours (available at reasonable prices in the bulk section at Whole Foods), wheat germ, tapioca flour and/or flakes, Greek yogurt, and pureed tofu.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
White Bean Soup with Gremolata
Pancetta adds bold flavor to this smooth, savory soup. Pair with toast or a small green salad for a light and filling weeknight meal.
EatingWell:
Green Vegetable Minestrone
Minestrone is sort of a catch-all Italian term for soup, but it’s always a welcome meal, especially when it’s fortified, as it is here, with plenty of vegetables and protein-packed chickpeas. If you want a little more bite, consider substituting mildly bitter escarole for the chard.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
How To: Roasting Root Vegetables
Dr. Weil demonstrates how to make his famous Roasted Root Vegetables in his kitchen in Tucson, Ariz. According to Dr. Weil, "this simple dish comes together so quickly you won't believe how delicious and healthy it is." Watch Dr. Weil roast veggies!
Community: Roasted vegetables are delicious.
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In Season: November Superfoods

(Huffington Post) You can incorporate some of these nutritional superstars into dishes for your own holiday parties and festive meals or detox with them as a way to balance out the celebratory eating. However you choose to eat them, these November superfoods are not to be missed.
Sweet Potatoes…
Cauliflower…
Cranberries…
Winter Squash…
Leeks…
Turnips
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Best Ways to Enjoy Greek Yogurt

(Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, Appetite for Health) Greek yogurt is one of my favorite foods that I enjoy every day.
I often eat it plain, as part of a fruit and granola breakfast or as a post-workout snack. But I love using it as an ingredient to make many of my recipes healthier. Check out the guide [below] for ideas and inspiration.
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Men’s Healthy Food Shopping Guide

(The Supermarket Guru) Here are SupermarketGuru’s shopping tips for men’s health.
Seafood, especially oysters…
Cold-water fish…
[L]ycopene-rich foods like cooked tomatoes, apricots, spinach, kale, mangoes, berries, and watermelon…
Avocados…
Fiber, both insoluble and soluble…
Nuts…
Eat to balance blood sugar! This is something we all need to do to keep our mood stable, age gracefully, and keep the weight off. Eating regular meals that include adequate protein and veggies is a sure way to keep blood sugar stable.
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Active Surveillance Can Reduce Suffering Among Men With Prostate Cancer

(Science Daily) With active surveillance many men with prostate cancer could dispense with radiation treatment and surgery, and thus avoid adverse effects such as incontinence and impotence. This is the outcome of a study of almost 1,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer…
The introduction of PSA tests, which are used to screen for prostate cancer, offers early tumour detection, reducing mortality rates. At the same time, prostate cancer is in many cases a slow-growing form of cancer. Many men may never develop symptoms during their lifetime, which means that they are being treated unnecessarily -- and may be forced to live with serious side-effects such as bowel disorders, urinary incontinence and impotence.
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New Finding Gives Clues for Overcoming Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) A University of Cincinnati (UC) cancer biology team reports breakthrough findings about specific cellular mechanisms that may help overcome endocrine (hormone) therapy-resistance in patients with estrogen-positive breast cancers, combating a widespread problem in effective medical management of the disease…
About 75 percent have estrogen-positive tumors and require adjuvant hormone therapy such as tamoxifen, a drug that works by interfering with estrogen's ability to stimulate breast cancer cell growth.
Despite advances in hormone therapy drugs, cancer surveillance research has shown that 50 percent of patients will develop resistance to the drug and experience a cancer relapse.
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Wide Variation in Radiation Use for Older Breast Cancer Patients

(MedPage Today) Older patients with early breast cancer were up to 10 times more likely to get adjuvant radiation therapy at some cancer centers than at others, even though all the centers adhered to the same clinical guidelines, an analysis of consortium data showed.
Although most women ages 70 or older received radiation therapy, the wide clinical practice variation among members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) suggested substantial institutional bias regarding interpretation of the data, as reported here at the American Society for Radiation Oncology meeting.
"The institution where the patient was treated was the most significant factor associated with radiation use ... suggesting significant provider bias in interpretation of this finding," said Stephen Edge, MD.
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Orthofix Will Pay U.S. $30 Million to Settle Kickbacks

(Bloomberg) Orthofix International NV, (OFIX) a maker of spinal implants, agreed to pay the U.S. $30 million to settle claims that a subsidiary paid illegal kickbacks and provided prostitutes to doctors in return for orders.
The subsidiary, Blackstone Medical Inc., paid kickbacks to spinal surgeons in the form of phony consulting and royalty agreements, and travel and entertainment to entice them to use its products, the U.S. Justice Department said…
“Kickbacks to physicians are incompatible with a properly functioning health-care system,” Stuart Delery, the acting assistant attorney general for the civil division, said in the statement. “They can corrupt physicians’ medical judgment and cause misallocation of vital health-care resources.”
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Home Health Care Proves Resilient In Face Of Sandy Destruction

(Shots, NPR) One lasting image of Superstorm Sandy will be very sick patients being evacuated from flooded hospitals. But less visible are thousands of patients who rely on visiting nurses and home health aides for care ranging from bathing and feeding to oxygen and ventilators.
Remarkably, home care providers say they know of no patients who lacked for needed care in the storm's wake. Resourceful nurses, physical therapists, aides and other personnel somehow surmounted flood, impassable roads, downed trees and dwindling gasoline to get to their patients.
"It's just been incredible to see everybody step up, even though they themselves have been without child care, school's not in session, their homes are cold, they don't have much food, they're having to wait in line for hours and hours for gasoline," home care provider Dr. Steve Landers tells Shots. "I'm sort of speechless. It's just amazing."
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Red Cross urges blood donations

(UPI) The American Red Cross said more than 360 U.S. blood drives were canceled due to Hurricane Sandy and asked those not affected by the storm to give blood…
"People who are eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, are asked to schedule a donation appointment in the days and weeks to come," the Red Cross said on its website. "To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS, or 1-800-733-2767."
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Attention, Shoppers: Health Care Prices Go Online In Colorado

(Shots, NPR) If you need an MRI of your knee in Colorado, the price varies — a lot.
You can pay anywhere from $350 to $2,336. It's a huge range, but the truly remarkable thing about the prices is that we know them at all.
Prices for health care aren't public in most places, making shopping for the best deal nearly impossible. And patients pay different amounts for the same procedure based on their insurance coverage, too.
But about a dozen states have now established price databases to help people shop for health care. Colorado is the latest, launching its version on the same day a consortium of big purchasers of health care (including Wal-Mart, GE and the AFL-CIO) issued a manifesto demanding more price transparency.
Health care providers, insurers and the government in Colorado agreed to build the new database to try to drive costs down.
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Halvorson: Premium Costs In Exchanges Will 'Depend Entirely' On Participation

(Kaiser Health News) Preparing to participate in the [Affordable Care Act’s] state-based insurance exchanges tops the list of implementation challenges Kaiser Permanente will face, [CEO George C.] Halvorson says. The exchanges are envisioned as online, one-stop-shopping hubs for consumers to obtain health insurance.
If done right, he says, they will "create an opportunity" for individuals and small groups to choose among insurance plans. Key to success of the exchanges, Halvorson told KHN, is how well states do in getting people to enroll in coverage. If too few sign up, premiums could be high; conversely, large enrollments could help moderate costs going forward.
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Medicare Sets 2013 Physician Fee Schedule

(MedPage Today) Family physicians will receive up to a 7% boost in Medicare payments in 2013, and other primary care providers will receive 3% to 5% more, under a final rule announced Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Much of the increase in the physician fee schedule reimbursement will come from new added payments for coordinating a patient's care in the 30 days following a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. Under the rule, providers will for the first time receive a separate payment to help a patient transition back to the community following a discharge.
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In Swing States, Obama Leads On Handling Medicare

(The Caucus, New York Times) President Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney on the question of who would better handle Medicare in the crucial swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, recent polls of likely voters in all three states found. But as Election Day nears Mr. Romney has narrowed the gap in Florida and Virginia…
Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have called for curbing the growing costs of Medicare by making major changes to the program. Their plan would change Medicare for people who are now under 55 so that when they are eligible for coverage they would no longer receive a government-guaranteed, fee-for-service health plan but rather a fixed amount of money each year that they would use to purchase private health insurance or buy into a version of the existing Medicare program. But they have not provided enough details of their plan to assess how much it might increase out-of-pocket costs for future beneficiaries. Mr. Obama has pledged to preserve Medicare in its current form, but has spoken less about its rising costs.
Mr. Romney now beats Mr. Obama on the Medicare issue among voters who are over 65 in all three states.
Community: Unfortunately, you can fool way too many of the people way too much of the time. Be assured that changing Medicare for those under 55 will create a wedge that will allow Republicans to start attacking benefits for those currently enrolled in the program.
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November Is American Diabetes Month

(American Diabetes Association) "Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes®. It is our responsibility to ensure that our youth have the right guidance and resources to get healthy," said Larry Hausner, CEO, American Diabetes Association. "It is through our awareness activities surrounding American Diabetes Month that we hope to call greater attention to this epidemic that is facing our nation."…
"Today, nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. have diabetes and an additional 79 million have prediabetes," said Geralyn Spollett, MSN, ANP-CS, CDE, President, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association. "This month, we hope to raise the profile of this insidious disease in the hearts and minds of people here at home, and around the globe."…
American Diabetes Month is sponsored by the CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes® savings program, a free offering that provides exclusive savings, prescription management services, recipes, and pharmacist tips developed exclusively for those living with the disease as well as their caregivers. To sign up and learn more, visit www.CVS.com/diabetes...
To learn more and submit your photo, visit facebook.com/AmericanDiabetesAssociation.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Prediabetes: More, Many, Millions

(Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, Food, Nutrition, & Science) Prediabetes … affects nearly 80 million Americans, and the number is on the uptick due, in part, to our obesity epidemic. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that's 35 percent of American adults over 20 years of age, 50 percent of adults over 65!... Research shows roughly 70 percent of people progress to type 2 diabetes…
Studies conducted around the globe over the last twenty plus years, including the famed U.S. based National Institutes of Health Diabetes Prevention Program trial, have repeatedly echoed consistent advice.
Goal one: shed some pounds – about 5 to 7 percent from a person’s starting weight – to lower blood glucose and blood pressure and correct abnormal lipids. The long term goal is to help people change their eating habits and increase their physical activity (ideally 30 minutes nearly every day) to keep as many of these pounds off as possible.
To lose weight people should taper their calorie count by reducing portions of sugary food and drinks, eat less fats and oils (especially saturated and trans fats), choose lean protein foods and minimize the serving sizes, and increase their consumption of vegetables, fruits, fiber-filled whole grains and low fat dairy foods. Yes, recommendations absolutely in sync with our Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
One more critical message: ACT NOW – as soon as the diagnosis is made. Why? Research shows that the earlier in the course of the progression from prediabetes to type 2 a person takes action, the greater the odds that they’ll prevent type 2 or slow the progression.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Outrun diabetes

(James Fell, Tribune Newspapers) [W]hat if you already have Type 2 diabetes? The first step is to optimize medications to jump-start treatment quickly, said Dr. Tim Church, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. And it's never too late to cut back on sugar intake, but it turns out that exercise is a much more critical component of fighting this life-threatening condition.
After that, "It's all about physical activity," Church said. "Our studies have shown the power of getting active. It makes sense because diabetes is the failure of the body to regulate sugar. And skeletal muscle is the biggest consumer of sugar in the body."
"Exercise is the most effective therapy for Type 2 diabetes, period," agreed Dr. Michael Joyner, a physician-researcher and expert in exercise physiology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. "If people with Type 2 diabetes start to exercise and lose just a little bit of weight, it is incredible what it will do in terms of improving glucose control."
Community: How much better not to get it in the first place. There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Integrated diabetes management program provides rapid improvements in patient care

(University of Ottawa Heart Institute) Heart Institute staff recognized that hospitalization for heart disease provides a valuable opportunity to identify patients with uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes and connect them with the care they need—similar to how the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation uses hospitalization as a unique opportunity to help smokers quit.
In May of 2011, the Institute rolled out a pilot program to identify and manage every patient with diabetes admitted as an inpatient. The program trained 15 nurses to serve as "diabetes champions" on the wards, led by a newly hired Diabetes Nurse Specialist, Kim Twyman.
These champions in turn provided peer-to-peer training to other nurses, doctors, dietitians, and medical and surgical residents, centered around a new guideline and educational 'tool box' designed to walk staff through the steps to identifying and managing diabetes with every patient. In February 2012, this optional guideline became a mandatory medical directive. By March, the number of patients referred to the diabetes nurse specialist had doubled.
The effort paid off: for example, after implementation of the program 85 percent of patients had their doctors notified of their diabetic status compared with only 26 percent before the program. Thirty-four percent received a referral to a community diabetes management program compared to none before the program started.
And most importantly, average blood sugar levels in diabetic inpatients dropped by almost 2 points, to the target level considered reflective of adequately managed diabetes, "which is amazing," recounted Amy Charlebois, one of the program's nurse champions.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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More Recent Research on Type 2 Diabetes

(Science Daily) Growing evidence suggests that there may be a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, but the physiological mechanisms by which diabetes impacts brain function and cognition are not fully understood. In a new study…, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies show, for the first time, that diabetes enhances the development of aging features that may underlie early pathological events in Alzheimer's.
(Washington Post) Losing a small amount of weight doesn’t appear to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with diabetes who are already getting good medical care, according to a long and expensive clinical experiment… While modest weight loss has benefits in how overweight diabetics feel, sleep and move, whatever benefit it may confer in preventing cardiovascular disease — which is what most diabetics die from — is too small to measure, the study found.
(Science Daily) A University of Illinois study suggests avoiding cooking methods that produce the kind of crusty bits you'd find on a grilled hamburger, especially if you have diabetes and know you're at increased risk for cardiovascular disease because of your diagnosis.
(Science Daily)  Diabetic patients who suffer from a common complication of diabetes called gastroparesis may find that chronic electrical stimulation (ES) at specific acupuncture points could relieve gastroparesis symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, early satiety, abdominal fullness, upper abdominal pain and bloating, according to study results.
(United Concordia Dental) United Concordia Dental, one of the nation's largest dental insurers, wants people with diabetes to know that medical costs are lower when they receive treatment for gum disease. Earlier this year, United Concordia conducted a landmark study … that showed an annual reduction in hospitalizations (33 percent), physician visits (13 percent) and overall medical costs ($1,814) is possible when individuals with diabetes receive treatment for gum disease.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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National Native American Heritage Month

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) [HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:] Each November we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month – the history, culture, and character of American Indian and Alaska Native people.
This year’s theme, “Native Families Moving Ahead: Together We Strengthen Our Nations,” speaks to the importance of continuing on the path to a healthier future for all American families…
We are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of all Americans, which is why we are working to reduce the health disparities that have burdened American Indians and Alaska Natives. Historically, for example, American Indians and Alaska Natives have been more likely to die from diabetes than other racial and ethnic groups.
The Affordable Care Act includes the permanent authorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which makes it possible for IHS to update and expand health care services. An IHS report to Congress this year showed how the Special Diabetes Program for Indians has done a tremendous job of fighting this disease by increasing preventive services and access to treatment in Tribal communities.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Asian Chicken Salad
Use a rotisserie chicken to make dinner prep a breeze in this delicious, Asian-inspired main-dish salad.
EatingWell:
Salmon with Toasted Israeli Couscous
You need only one skillet for this meal of wild salmon fillets and Israeli couscous pilaf. For added fiber, look for Israeli couscous made with whole-wheat flour. Serve with roasted carrots and broccoli with cumin.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Slow-Baked Tofu with Stir-Fry
This dish is great because you get your helping of vegetables in and they are all tossed and cooked in a delicious marinade. This stir-fry is great over Toasted Grain Pilaf topped with peanut dipping sauce to add more flair, protein, and flavor.
Food as Medicine
Regular intake of soy protein in the form of tofu or other soy foods has been shown to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels by up to 40 percent, reduce blood triglyceride levels, and decrease the risk of blood clot formation. Although nowhere near as rich in omega-3s as salmon and other cold-water fish, four ounces of tofu still provide 15 percent of the Daily Value of the heart-healthy essential fatty acid.
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3 Foods To Eat in Fall

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) A varied diet, rich in vegetables and fruits, is the foundation of optimum health. By incorporating all the colors of the rainbow on your plate, you add ideal sources of health-protective vitamins and phytonutrients to your healthy lifestyle. The following fruits and vegetables are in season during fall in North America – add them to your meals today!
1. Apples… They are a good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, and provide vitamin C, which helps support healthy immune function…
2. Lima Beans. Also called butter beans, lima beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and promote stable glucose levels. They also provide insoluble fiber - good for people with constipation and gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to quality protein, they contain folate and magnesium - two essential micronutrients important to heart health…
3. Onions. Onions should be a staple in every kitchen, and not just because of the wonderful flavor they add to foods. They are also just plain good for you: allicin, a phytonutrient found in most varieties of onions, may contribute to its health benefits, including lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure. Onions are also an excellent source of chromium, vitamin C, folate and dietary fiber…
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Adding Soy to Diet Does Not Affect Onset of Menopausal Hot Flashes

(Science Daily) A team of investigators led by UC Davis found that eating soy products such as soy milk and tofu did not prevent the onset of hot flashes and night sweats as women entered menopause…
The main dietary factor of interest in this study was phytoestrogens, also known as plant-based estrogens. Predominantly found in tofu, soy milk and other soy-containing foods, phytoestrogens have a chemical structure similar to estrogen and are believed to mimic the effects of the female hormone in the body. Since estrogen levels drop during menopause, the investigators hypothesized that a diet high in phytoestrogens would reduce menopause symptoms. They also evaluated the participants' consumption of fiber, because it is thought to increase the availability of estrogens in the body.
The study found no consistent correlations between dietary phytoestrogens or fiber and the onset of menopausal symptoms in women who were not yet postmenopausal when they started the study.
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Report: USDA Should Regulate In-School Snacks

(U.S. News & World Report) Earlier this year, new USDA regulations on school lunches stirred up a major controversy in Washington—including a debate about whether pizza could be considered a vegetable. Now, a new report suggests the USDA should begin regulating snacks offered in school vending machines and snack lines.
The report, issued Thursday by PEW Charitable Trust, says that high school students consume as many as 336 calories per day through snacks, and that few states offer healthy alternatives to candy, potato chips and soda…
But any attempts to further regulate in-school food options is likely to have plenty of critics. Steve King, a Republican Congressman from Iowa, says it'd be "another overreach of the nanny state."
Community: How dare the gummint keep us from condemning our children to a life of disease and an early death?
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Cartilage may be created using stem cells

(UPI) U.S. researchers say they engineered cartilage from adult stem cells to use in tissue repair and possibly treat cartilage injury and osteoarthritis…
Because articular cartilage has a poor capacity for repair, damage and osteoarthritis are leading causes of impairment in older people and often requires joint replacement.
The researchers developed a technique to grow a continuous supply of cartilage in a dish and these stem cells might be a viable source of patient-specific articular cartilage tissue, [senior author Farshid] Guilak said.
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How can you keep track of your medications? See suggestions here.

(NIH Senior Health, via email) If you take medications, it’s important to make sure that you use them correctly, store them properly, and have them refilled on time. Follow these simple strategies to help you keep track of your medications.
Also, take this short quiz to learn more about managing your medications.
The information on Taking Medicines was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
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Sandy Leaves Long List Of Health Threats

(Shots, NPR) Public health officials are warning that people in areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy face many risks in the aftermath and are urging people to protect themselves from health threats in the water, air and even their refrigerators.
As millions of people try to put their lives back together, the most obvious threat is the floodwaters themselves. In many places, the water could be a toxic stew… In places where drinking water supplies may be contaminated, people have to boil their water for a minute before it's safe to drink…
A much bigger worry is what might be in the air. One of the most common killers after a big disaster is carbon monoxide poisoning among people misusing generators. "They can't be used indoors. They have to be properly vented. And while people are desperate for power, they sometimes take shortcuts or don't really understand the risks associated with that," [New York City environmental health deputy commissioner Dan] Kass says…
Downed wires can electrocute people. And people needing dialysis or other life-sustaining care often can't get to what they need. For example, many people lose their prescription drugs.
"They may not have critical belongings that they need not only for sort of physical health but also for mental health. And so that's something that's a huge challenge for people," Kass says.
There are other dangers for people who are still home. And that's in their refrigerators. Tom Frieden, who heads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says food poisoning is a common problem after disasters…
Frieden says food in the fridge stays cold for only about four to six hours without power. Food in the freezer holds for maybe 24 to 48 hours. After that, don't risk it. "Bottom line is: If in doubt, throw it out," Frieden says.
Once the waters recede, mold could start growing in a lot of homes, triggering allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Community: And there are people parasites to watch out for, too: “Criminals Who Love Disasters: 10 Ways To Spot Construction Fraud.”
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Hospital generators fail again, raising questions

(ProPublica) New York University Langone Medical Center had to evacuate all 215 of its patients when its power went out and both of its backup systems didn't work. Staff had to hand pump oxygen to critically ill patients until patients could be taken by ambulance to another hospital.
In New Jersey, patients at Palisades Medical Center had to likewise be evacuated in recent days after two generators failed. A hospital spokesman said today that officials were working to bring the "plant up to speed" and could not immediately answer questions about the generators.
And [Wednesday] afternoon, Bellevue Hospital in New York City [evacuated] hundreds of patients because of failing power and deteriorating conditions. "It's Katrina-esque in there," one nurse told ABC News.
Experts say such failures are troubling but not entirely surprising. Dr. Arthur Kellermann founded the emergency department at Emory University and headed it from 1999 to 2007. Now, he's Paul O'Neill-Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis at RAND Corporation think tank.
The other night, as the NYU evacuation was unfolding, he tweeted, "Hospital preparedness and well-functioning backup systems are a costly distraction from daily business, until they are needed. Like now."
In an email interview with ProPublica, Kellermann elaborated: "I have no doubt when the hospital assured the Mayor that their backup systems were ready, they believed they were. They were wrong. What I find most remarkable about this story is that [more than seven] years after Hurricane Katrina, major hospitals still have critical backup systems like generators in basements that are prone to flooding."
Community: And it’s not just the patients we need to worry about: “Cancer, Heart Research Threatened By Power Outage At NYU Hospital.”
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Recent News on Health Care Costs

(Kaiser Health News) On Thursday, a consortium of major companies and labor unions, including GE, Wal-Mart, Boeing and the AFL-CIO issued a manifesto demanding price transparency from both health care providers and insurance companies. Consumers “have the right to know the price and quality of their health care choices,” the consortium said in a statement — especially as health care costs continue to rise and high-deductible health care plans become more common.
(Science Daily) In the United States, the cost paid for statins (drugs to lower cholesterol) in people under the age of 65 who have private insurance continues to exceed comparable costs paid by the government in the United Kingdom (U.K.) by more than three fold… [According to Hershel Jick, MD, these results] "yield critical insight into the difference in drug costs between the U.S. private sector compared to the U.K. government that can lead to creation of policy that provides greater efficiency and large cost savings."
(Wall Street Journal) The American Hospital Association sued the agency that oversees Medicare, saying an audit program aimed at trimming improper payments is unfairly depriving hospitals of reimbursement for care they provide. The suit focuses on the Recovery Audit Contractors program, which involves third-party contractors that review Medicare payments to hospitals. According to the suit, many hospitals have faced rulings by the auditors that care provided and billed on an inpatient basis should have been performed in an outpatient setting. Hospitals are then forced to return the money paid for the services.
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Recent News on Changing Healthcare Models

(MedPage Today) State legislatures will continue to debate the role advanced-practice nurses should play in the delivery of primary care as physician groups push for greater oversight of their work, a policy brief stated.
(Reuters Health) The health clinics in pharmacies and other retail stores may be convenient, but they may also take a bite out of the traditional doctor-patient relationship, a new study suggests.
(Forbes) [The Affordable Care Act] encourages doctors, clinics, hospitals and insurers to join forces and beef up prevention-oriented services. It incentivizes doctors to work as primary care physicians and encourages health systems to make it easy for patients to see them. It encourages health care providers to ensure that people at risk of developing conditions like diabetes are followed closely and counseled regularly about their diet and need to exercise. The vehicle is a new version of a “social impact bond” that would pay the cost of a prevention program with the goal of saving money on treatment. Those savings, if they materialize, would be used to repay the investors and provide them a small profit.
(Kaiser Health News) Last Thursday Dr. L. Markham McHenry, a family physician, held a meeting with some patients to tell them about changes he was planning. After 15 years of working in a private practice, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based doctor is in the process of transitioning to a subscription-based model. His patients, who he said come from a range of economic backgrounds, will pay an annual fee of $3,000. In return, McHenry will limit his capacity to 400 patients a year, spend more time with each one, and be able to focus on preventing and treating chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity.
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