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

How Diabetes Swept The Nation

(Shots, NPR) Back in 1995, about 4.5 percent of adults in the U.S. had been diagnosed with diabetes. By 2010, the prevalence had zoomed to 8.2 percent. An interactive map shows how much worse diabetes has become in less than a generation.
More on the Diabetes Epidemic:
(UPI) Diabetes diagnoses increased by 50 percent or more in 42 states -- and 100 percent or more in 18 states -- between 1995 and 2010, U.S. health officials say.
(Bloomberg) The number of people living with diabetes is soaring in the U.S., as 18 states had at least a doubling in those with the illness since 1995, a government survey found.
(Reuters) Diabetes is running at record levels worldwide and half the people estimated to have the disease are, as yet, undiagnosed, according to a report.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Diabetes: Risk Factors, Prevention, and Free Toolkit

(USA.gov Team, via email) Did you know that more than 8 percent of Americans have diabetes? November is Diabetes Awareness Month, making it a good opportunity to learn about this increasingly prevalent disease.
Risk Factors - Family history, blood pressure, weight, and activity level are a few of the factors that can affect your chances of developing diabetes.
Prevention - The onset of Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented or delayed through moderate weight loss and exercise.
FREE Toolkit for Managing Diabetes - Get practical advice about medications, insulin, and glucose meters to help you manage your diabetes.
Statistics - Get some basic facts, including the number of Americans with diabetes; the prevalence of Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes; deaths linked to diabetes; and more.
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 Diabetes

(Reuters Health) Results of a large new U.S. study confirm that sugary drinks are linked to a heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but shed little light on whether caffeine helps or hinders the process.
(Science Daily) People with diabetes often develop clogged arteries that cause heart disease, and new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that low vitamin D levels are to blame… [The researchers] found that in diabetes patients with low vitamin D -- less than 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood -- the macrophage cells were more likely to adhere to the walls of blood vessels, which triggers cells to get loaded with cholesterol, eventually causing the vessels to stiffen and block blood flow.
(Science Daily) French researchers found that diabetic rats on a high protein diet with arginine and proline -- specific molecules found in protein -- showed better wound healing over rats fed either standard or high protein food without arginine and proline supplementation.
(Science Daily) Patients with diabetes have a significantly higher prevalence of hearing impairment than patients without diabetes, according to a recent study… Study authors note that the finding is likely to be independent of the effect of aging or a noisy environment.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Planning Meals Help People With Diabetes Enjoy the Holidays

(Science Daily) A figurative mine field of savory dishes and desserts await many this holiday season, from pumpkin pies topped with whipped cream, green bean and mushroom casseroles, pork tamales, cranberries and cornbread dressing to fruit salads and oven-roasted turkey.
Harris Health System experts warn that while most will indulge in these tasty foods and some will gain weight, people with diabetes will need a plan to stay healthy.
[They] say the strategy for people with diabetes is simple -- portion control, planning sensible meals and getting regular exercise.
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:
Flank Steak-and-Blue Cheese Quesadilla Salad
Beef up the standard array of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions with tortillas filled with flank steak and tangy blue cheese. To make slicing easier, let stand a minute or so after cooking, then cut the quesadillas with kitchen shears.
EatingWell:
Turkey & Leek Shepherd's Pie
The mashed potato-covered shepherd's pie was originally created to use up the leftovers from a festive roast. This version blends peas, leeks and carrots with diced turkey, all in a creamy herb sauce. The dish is a perfect way to create a second meal with the holiday turkey but if you like, use leftover roast chicken, duck or goose.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Stuffed Potatoes
It can be difficult to coax your loved ones into eating five servings a day of vegetables (as nutritionists recommend). That's why this recipe cleverly incorporates broccoli into a baked potato. Broccoli is an excellent source of fiber and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Potatoes are a universally loved vegetable loaded with vitamins C and B-6, potassium and fiber. You can make the stuffed potatoes ahead and reheat them when everyone is ready to eat.
Appetite for Health:
Five Waist-Friendly Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers
For many of us, Thanksgiving often lasts longer than one day—and it’s not uncommon for leftovers to supply a few days worth of meals.  While it’s perfectly fine to splurge on that once-a-year delicious Thanksgiving feast, the temptation of leftovers might sabotage your plan to get back on track.  To avoid the post-Thanksgiving bloat, try these five low-calorie leftover ideas.
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Money-saving grocery tips

(McClatchy Newspapers) Here's a refresher on the classic tips for saving money in the kitchen:
— Track your spending at the grocery store. You need to know your starting point to see savings or notice increases.
— Go to the grocery store with a plan: a week's worth of meals and a shopping list.
— Don't let leftovers go to waste. Eat them for lunch, or turn them into another meal.
— Join the Meatless Monday movement (meatlessmonday.com) and give up meat one day a week.
— Buy fruits and vegetables in season when they are at their lowest prices.
— Look to Italian or Mexican cookbooks for recipes made with humble ingredients.
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Can You Fight the Flu with Food?

(RealAge.com) Even if you got your flu shots (and we're hoping you got both), you can still be a statistic. So it makes sense to do everything possible to prevent the flu from hitting you. That means keeping your paws clean, exercising daily, getting enough ZZZs, controlling stress by meditating or calling friends, and eating right.
Although there's no single superfood that can protect you from this malevolent malady -- not even chicken soup (sorry, Mom; although the soup can shorten the flu's duration) -- focusing on the dietary big picture can help. Filling your plate with a horde of healthy foods can deliver the many nutrients you need in order to fortify your immune system against attacks of many types. These guidelines make it easy:
·         Give me an A. Vitamin A keeps the lining of your nasal and respiratory passages in tip-top shape so they can defend against invaders…
·         Power up with protein. Protein doesn't just help build strong muscles; it also provides the raw materials your body needs to manufacture disease-busting antibodies… But getting the right type is another story… [S]teer clear of steak, dark-meat poultry, and full-fat cheese, and instead stick with low-fat dairy, skinless white-meat chicken, ground turkey breast, tofu, fish, nuts, and beans.
·         C the light. You've heard vitamin C can help you get over a cold. Well, it may also protect your lungs from flu damage. How? By helping your body crank out protective immune cells known as chemokines and cytokines…
·         Defend with D. Vitamin D3 strengthens your immune system's capabilities, but 80% to 90% of us who live outside the Sunbelt come up short on this vitamin in winter. So select D3 off the shelf, and get 1,000 international units (IU) a day. Take it with a little fat so it will be absorbed.
·         Choose friendly fats. What do walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, olive oil, and avocados have in common? They're all healthy fats. And they help you absorb vitamins A and D. Plus, they decrease inflammation, meaning you'll suffer less with the flu if you've stoked your system with them.
·         Manage body fat. Eating more than you need doesn't just give you a muffin top; it can also weaken your resistance.
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Nurses can help improve vaccination rates: study

(Reuters Health) More elderly and at-risk adults get their flu and pneumonia vaccinations when the shots are coordinated and given by nurses instead of doctors, a new analysis suggests…
Jeffrey Johnson, who worked on the study, said there's been a recent effort to get public health nurses and pharmacists involved in giving vaccines - although policies vary by state in the U.S. He said shifting responsibility to non-doctors might be especially helpful for people with chronic diseases.
"The family physician has all of the responsibility to look after the patient, and so somebody with diabetes, for example, comes in and their first concern is their blood sugar and their blood pressure and pretty soon, the time for the visit is up," Johnson, from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, told Reuters Health.
"But for a nurse in the primary care setting, (vaccinations and other preventive care) might be the first thing they're responsible for," he added.
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Super Gonorrhea Bugs Spur New Treatment Regimen in Europe

(Bloomberg) Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s Zithromax or a generic version of the antibiotic pill should be added to the standard treatment for gonorrhea to fight multidrug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted bacterium, doctors in Europe said.
New European guidelines for sexually transmitted infections recommend giving azithromycin as well as the injected medicine ceftriaxone, which is beginning to lose its potency against gonorrhea. The guidelines also recommend patients be tested after finishing a course of treatment to check they are cured.
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Surprise origin for coronary arteries could speed advances in regenerative medicine

(Albert Einstein College of Medicine) Each year, more than one million Americans undergo coronary revascularization which includes coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). During CABG, doctors remove a portion of a healthy vein, usually from a patient's leg, then bypass diseased areas of the coronary arteries. While the procedure has become routine and is considered relatively safe and long-lasting, the veins used during bypass do not completely mimic the arteries they bypass. They can sometimes re-clog, a process known as restenosis, requiring further procedures. Therefore, the ability to regenerate coronary arteries could usher in a new wave of more effective cardiac care…
In [a] study, Einstein scientists used a wide variety of research tools to show that the coronary arteries largely arise from cells of the endocardium, the heart's innermost cell layer. In particular, the arteries arise from endocardial cells lining the ventricles (the two large chambers of the heart)…
The Einstein researchers are now trying to identify all the signaling mechanisms that guide the development of the coronary arteries, with the aim of one day synthesizing healthy coronary arteries to replace diseased ones.
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Computer-Navigated Total Knee Replacement Provides No Advantage Over Traditional Surgical Procedure, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) For many years, the use of computer-assisted navigation has been touted as improving the positioning, sizing and alignment of replacement knee joints, resulting in greater durability of joints and overall improvement in patient movement. However, new research … found no difference in knee function, alignment or durability/survivorship between joints positioned and completed with the help of computer navigation, and those replaced with conventional total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures…
"Our mid-term follow-up data demonstrated no difference in clinical function or alignment and survivorship of the components between the knees that underwent computer-navigated total knee arthroplasty and those that underwent conventional total knee arthroplasty," said Young-Hoo Kim, MD.
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Laws don't curb pricey prostate cancer treatments

(Reuters Health) Laws meant to prevent the overuse of expensive healthcare services don't stop doctors from using pricey prostate cancer treatments, according to two new studies.
Researchers found doctors used robots and special radiation to treat prostate cancer regardless of whether their area had laws requiring government approval before money is spent on healthcare facilities and new equipment…
The U.S. government required states to implement the laws in the 1970s and early 1980s, but stopped a few decades ago. Still, some states continue to use the laws in an effort to control costs.
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Longer waits for breast cancer patients on Medicare

(Reuters Health) Women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer who are covered by Medicare are waiting longer and longer to get treatment, according to a new nationwide study…

Still, the study team noted, it's unclear how big a difference the extra week or two would make in women's long-term health.
"I don't believe the delays we're seeing here are problematic, (but) we're clearly going to need to keep any eye on it because if those delays keep increasing, they may become problematic," said the study's lead author, Dr. Richard Bleicher.
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New Test May Improve Cervical Cancer Detection

(Science Daily) Routine smear tests have considerably reduced the number of cases of cervical cancer, but despite intensive screening 250 women in Sweden still die from the disease every year. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have developed new methods of minimising the number of missed cases and making diagnosis more reliable…
"Around 70 per cent of all cervical cancer cases are caused by two specific virus types, known as HPV16 and HPV18. We have developed a method that identifies proteins of these oncogenic viruses in cells, enabling a more objective interpretation of the test results," explains Maria Lidqvist, a doctoral student, who presents the method in her thesis.
"This method can hopefully produce a more reliable diagnosis in uncertain cases and reduce the number of missed cancer cases, as well as the number of women who have to be re-called because of cell samples that are difficult to interpret."
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Step Forward in Regenerating and Repairing Damaged Nerve Cells

(Science Daily) A team of IRCM [Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal] researchers …  recently uncovered a nerve cell's internal clock, used during embryonic development. The discovery … could lead to the development of new tools to repair and regenerate nerve cells following injuries to the central nervous system…
For this research project, IRCM scientists focused on the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) protein, which gives cells important information for the embryo to develop properly and plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system.
Injuries to the central nervous system affect thousands of Canadians every year, and can lead to lifelong disabilities. Most often caused by an accident, stroke or disease, these injuries are very difficult to repair. New tools are therefore required to repair damage to the central nervous system, including techniques that could potentially regenerate nerve cells.
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FEMA provides for N.Y. Sandy counseling

(UPI) An $8.2 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide counseling for New Yorkers hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, the governor said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the New York Office of Mental Health applied for the grant which will provide outreach, crisis counseling and educational services to individuals in New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
As the state continues to recover from the storm, the program will receive additional funding to expand, Cuomo said.
Community: Cuomo has been surprisingly conservative as New York’s governor, but maybe the damage from this storm has opened his mind somewhat.
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Affordable Care Act a Wash in Election, Poll Finds

(MedPage Today) After 2 years of noise and stridency on the 2010 healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act ended up being a wash in the presidential election, a recent poll found.
Both President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney ended up getting equal support among voters who said the law was a "major factor" in their vote for president, according to the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted shortly after the election…
This shouldn't come as a surprise since the public remained consistently split about the law throughout the election season. Even after Obama was declared the winner, the public's view about the law remains about evenly divided: 43% favor it and 39% oppose it. "Not even a presidential election can disturb the relatively stable opinion trend on the Affordable Care Act," the pollsters wrote.
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Boehner Wants 'Obamacare' In Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

(ABC News) House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in the country, told ABC’s Diane Sawyer just after election day that plans to do away with the national health law were changed by the election and that Obamacare was the “law of the land.” He later clarified over twitter that “Our goal has been and will remain, #fullrepeal.” That may be the goal, but his arsenal of political tools makes it a long shot.
Where Boehner does have some room to negotiate is on the fiscal cliff – that cocktail of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending hikes set to kick in at the end of the year. Lawmakers are engaged in harried negotiations on a way to avoid all of the spending cuts, although Republicans want to keep some of them, and allowing all of the tax cuts to expire, although Democrats want higher taxes for the wealthy.
The Speaker argued that the President’s healthcare law is too expensive and that any serious deal to tackle the deficit should include talks of a full repeal.
“If we’re serious about getting our economy moving again, solving our debt and restoring prosperity for American families, we need to repeal Obamacare and enact common-sense, step-by-step reforms that start with lowering the cost of health care,” said Boehner.
Community: Being Republican means never giving up, no matter how many times you’re shot down. I have to admire the persistence, even though I disagree vehemently with their goals.
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Black Friday psychology: Inside the minds of shoppers

(NBC News) [A]n estimated 147 million Americans plan to go shopping sometime this weekend, according the National Retail Federation. But who are these people, what motivates them to rise before dawn in pursuit of a deal -- and have they really never heard of online shopping?
"The deals are part of it, but I don't think it's the bigger piece of it," says Jane Thomas, a professor of marketing at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. "This is the family ritual, as much as eating turkey and dressing is -- it's going shopping as the start of the holiday season together." 
Last year, Thomas and her Winthrop colleague Cara Peters published a study in the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management that sought to explore those rituals that have sprung up around Black Friday, in order to understand more about this intense subculture and its disciples. Over two years they conducted interviews with 38 "experienced female Black Friday shoppers." (They stuck with women-only because it tends to be the females of the family who handle holiday traditions, including shopping, they explain in the report.) And they found something kind of surprising: Interviewees repeatedly used military metaphors to describe their Black Friday adventures -- the strategic planning, the mission accomplished, and the subsequent bonding with your fellow survivors. This is how seriously these families take it.
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After Thanksgiving, most want turkey

(UPI) A U.S. survey indicates the favorite breakfast for the day after Thanksgiving was more turkey.
Most people want something from Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast the next morning, but the favorite was turkey.
Community: I want turkey the next day, but not for breakfast. For breakfast, I want leftover Waldorf Salad.
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$282 million of good turkey meat trashed

(UPI) This year, Americans will toss an estimated $282 million of uneaten turkey into the trash this Thanksgiving, a U.S. environmental group says.
The trashed turkey contributes to the $165 billion in uneaten food Americans waste every year, the Natural Resources Defense Council said.
"Along with trashing uneaten turkeys, they'll be wasting the resources necessary for its production -- meaning 105 billion gallons of water -- enough to supply New York City for more than 100 days -- and greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 800,000 car trips from New York to San Francisco," the council said in a statement.
Community: You can use the recipes below to waste less turkey.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Hot Turkey Sandwiches
Serve these quick-to-make sandwiches whenever you have turkey leftovers and crave a hearty sandwich. Cranberry-shallot chutney adds a sweet, tangy flavor.
EatingWell:
Crispy Turkey Tostadas
Shredded leftover turkey tops homemade tostadas in this Tex-Mex favorite. Making your own tostada shells from fresh corn tortillas is easier than you might think—crisp them up in the oven while you prepare the toppings. Choose either regular petite diced tomatoes or those with added jalapeƱos, depending on your inclination for spicy food. Serve with black beans, rice and extra salsa or hot sauce on the side.
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Delicious Turkey Leftover Ideas
One of the benefits of hosting Thanksgiving is having lots of leftover turkey to eat over the weekend. Here are some great meal ideas for two that utilize healthy skinless white meat.
Cooking Light:
Global Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers
There's nothing finer than a turkey-and-stuffing sandwich. But when that's been munched, turn to turkey with hominy and Mexican spice, or cranberry and Champagne.
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Colorful autumn produce fights cancer

(UPI) Autumn offers a cornucopia of cancer-fighting foods and they should end up on the dinner table often this season, a U.S. nutritionist says.
There may be something to the adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," because studies suggest eating at least one apple a day can help prevent throat, mouth, colon, lung and possibly breast cancer. Apples also contain quercetin, a nutrient that protects the cell's DNA from damage that could lead to the development of cancer…
Fall is a time for colorful in-season vegetables such as beets, carrots and parsnips. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale lower the incidences of lung, prostate and stomach cancer.
"The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of cancer fighting nutrients," [the nutritionist] said.
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Could Fruit Help to Improve Vascular Health?

(Science Daily) Scientists at the University of Warwick and consumer goods manufacturer Unilever are joining forces to identify whether the nutrients in everyday fruit and vegetables could help to improve people's cardiovascular health and protect them from Type-2 diabetes.
The research collaboration has been set up to better understand if the nutrients and bioactives in fruits like grapes, strawberries and olives -- in the right combination -- could have a greater impact on people's heart and vascular health.
The study's hypothesis is that the nutrients found in fruit help to trigger cell defence mechanisms in the tissue walls of blood vessels which not only protect them from the damage caused by the ageing process, but also help to prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. If proven, it would be the first time a direct association has been made between eating fruit and improving heart health.
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Real men eat meat?

(NBC News) As red-blooded Americans dig into their Thanksgiving meals this week, it’s safe to say most are eating turkey. It’s also likely there will be some manly activities – watching football, maybe even playing some football.
The two aren’t unrelated, says Hank Rothgerber of Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. In fact, some research he’s done suggests that eating meat is deeply intertwined with American perceptions of masculinity.
“There is a group of manly men who swear off what they call chick food, and they seek a double whopper to declare their manhood,” Rothgerber told NBC News…
“Meat consumption is a symbol of patriarchy resulting from its long-held alliance with manhood, power, and virility.”
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How Often Should You Eat?

(Yoni Freedhoff, MD, U.S. News & World Report) Should you eat six, four, or two times a day? How about eating once daily? Truthfully, there is no right answer. And yet, at the same time, we're all right. As individuals, we've each found ways to control our calories and our weight within the contexts of lives we honestly enjoy. And therein lies the rub.
While you'll readily find any number of diet book authors and weight-loss gurus who'll tell you that it's their way or the highway, the truth is that what works for them may well be different than what works you. And so, to those folks who think that there's only one "right" way to do things, I'm here to tell you that I think you're wrong. Moreover, I'm here to tell you that even if one day there's definitive proof of the perfect way to eat, I wouldn't recommend it if you didn't enjoy living that way. You need to enjoy your life. Simply tolerating a lifestyle isn't enough, and perfect on paper is certainly not the same as perfect in practice.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

Community: Suzy Cohen, “America’s Pharmacist,” has a list of foods to avoid if you have chronic pain.
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Colonoscopy: An easier way to go

(Chicago Tribune) CT colonography is less invasive than a colonoscopy, doesn't require sedation and can pick up problems outside the colon. But the bottom line: It still requires bowel preparation, insurance rarely pays for it, and the actual procedure can be more uncomfortable because patients aren't sedated.
Still, "about 30 percent of people who went for virtual colonoscopy wouldn't have been screened for colon cancer at all, so it's a nice option to throw in there," [said Andrew Spiegel, head of the Colon Cancer Alliance, a patient advocacy and education group].
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Study questions value of mammography screening

(Los Angeles Times) About a third of all tumors discovered in routine mammography screenings are unlikely to result in illness, according to a new study that says 30 years of the breast cancer exams have resulted in the overdiagnosis of 1.3 million American women.
The report, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, argues that the increase in breast cancer survival rates over the last few decades is due mostly to improved therapies and not screenings, which are intended to flag tumors when they are small and most susceptible to treatment. Instead, the widespread use of mammograms now results in the overdiagnosis of breast cancer in roughly 70,000 patients each year, needlessly exposing those women to the cost and trauma of treatment, the authors wrote…
The study adds to a long-running controversy over screening mammography. Its conclusions are based upon an increasing recognition that sophisticated screening can detect ever-smaller groups of cancer-like cells that would never become dangerous if left alone.
Community: Here we go again. The overtreatment is the problem, not the screening.
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Cartilage Made Easy With Novel Hybrid Printer

(Science Daily) The printing of three-dimensional tissue has taken a major step forward with the creation of a novel hybrid printer that simplifies the process of creating implantable cartilage.
The printer … was used to create cartilage constructs that could eventually be implanted into injured patients to help re-grow cartilage in specific areas, such as the joints.
The printer is a combination of two low-cost fabrication techniques: a traditional ink jet printer and an electrospinning machine. Combining these systems allowed the scientists to build a structure made from natural and synthetic materials. 
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New at the Dentist: 3D Printing “Dental Crowns While You Wait”

(Singularity Hub) The trip to the dentist just got a little less painful, at least in terms of time spent there. A new system is being used by a handful of dentists to scan patients’ teeth and create crowns for them while they wait. A process that normally takes two weeks, now only takes an hour.
Instead of making a mold and sending it to a lab for scanning, dentists are now using a small camera to scan the misshapen teeth directly. The digitized scan is then sent to an on-site milling machine that carves the crown from a block of porcelain – in about an hour. After about 15 minutes of preparation the crown is ready to be implanted. No need to walk around for two weeks, waiting, with a temporary filling. Read a few magazine articles while the crown’s prepared, and soon you’re on your way.
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Blind patient reads words stimulated directly onto the retina

(Frontiers) For the very first time researchers have streamed braille patterns directly into a blind patient's retina, allowing him to read four-letter words accurately and quickly with an ocular neuroprosthetic device. The device, the Argus II, has been implanted in over 50 patients, many of who can now see color, movement and objects. It uses a small camera mounted on a pair of glasses, a portable processor to translate the signal from the camera into electrical stimulation, and a microchip with electrodes implanted directly on the retina…
"In this clinical test with a single blind patient, we bypassed the camera that is the usual input for the implant and directly stimulated the retina. Instead of feeling the braille on the tips of his fingers, the patient could see the patterns we projected and then read individual letters in less than a second with up to 89% accuracy," explains researcher Thomas Lauritzen, lead author of the paper.
Similar in concept to successful cochlear implants, the visual implant uses a grid of 60 electrodes—attached to the retina—to stimulate patterns directly onto the nerve cells.
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Why Older People Struggle to Read Fine Print: It's Not What You Think

(Science Daily) Unique research into eye-movements of young and old people while reading discovers that word recognition patterns change as we grow older…
The researchers conducted experiments that used very precise measures of readers' eye movements to assess how well they read lines of text that had been digitally manipulated to enhance the salience of different visual information. For instance, sometimes the text was blurred and other times the features of the individual letters were sharply defined.
The results showed that whereas young adults (18-30 years) found it easiest to read lines of text when the fine visual detail was present, this was more difficult for older adults (65+years), who found it easier to read more blurred text. These findings support the view that older adults use a different reading strategy from younger adults and that they rely more than young adults on holistic cues to the identities of words, such as word shape.
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Re-Timer ready to reset sleep

(Flinders University) Re-Timer [is] a wearable green light device invented by Flinders University sleep researchers to reset the body's internal clock.
The portable device, which is worn like a pair of sunglasses and emits a soft green light onto the eyes, will help to counter jet lag, keep shift workers more alert and get teenagers out of bed by advancing or delaying sleeping patterns.
Psychologist Professor Leon Lack, the device's chief inventor, said that the light from Re-Timer stimulates the part of the brain responsible for regulating the 24-hour body clock.
Community: I ran across this information recently in Science Daily: “Several rare gene mutations have been found that can adjust [the body] clock in humans, responsible for entire families in which people wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and cannot stay up much after 8 at night.”
Many people in my family have this misalignment of the body clock, and there’s also a lot of depression, alcoholism, and obesity. I think it’s all related.
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The Latest from the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex

(USA Today) The FDA updated its list of contaminated drugs produced by New England Compounding Center after finding unknown fungal growths and bacteria in two steroids.
(The People’s Pharmacy) This sad story just won't go away because the numbers just keep climbing. At the time of this writing almost 500 people have been sickened by contaminated shots of the steroid methylprednisolone. Over 30 have died. It is a black mark on American medicine and regulatory authorities at both the state and federal level… The feds seemed slow to react and eventually passed the buck to the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy… Compounding pharmacies are great for making one prescription for one patient. They should not be formulating thousands of products for shipment to unknown patients in clinics or hospitals across the country. It's past time for the FDA and the boards of pharmacy to live up to their responsibility to protect the American public from companies that may be taking short cuts with quality.
(Reuters) A federal judge on Wednesday denied a motion to freeze the assets of the owners of the compounding pharmacy at the heart of the deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak, but said the company may not make extraordinary cash transfers or pay dividends or bonuses to the pharmacy's owners.
Community: So we see that criminal behavior can be shielded from redress by simply incorporating, creating a fictitious “person,” who can lose all of his assets but who can’t be executed, or even imprisoned.
(Reuters)  Roche has offered an olive branch to scientific critics in a bid to end a bitter fight over blockbuster flu drug Tamiflu that has led to calls for a boycott of the Swiss drugmaker's products… Roche's pharmaceuticals head said on Thursday he had written to the Cochrane Collaboration, a non-profit group that reviews trial data to assess the value of drugs, offering to set up a multi-party advisory board to review all the Tamiflu data.
(Scientific American) In the past few years the pharmaceutical industry has come up with many ways to funnel large sums of money—enough sometimes to put a child through college—into the pockets of independent medical researchers who are doing work that bears, directly or indirectly, on the drugs these firms are making and marketing. The problem is not just with the drug companies and the researchers but with the whole system—the granting institutions, the research labs, the journals, the professional societies, and so forth. No one is providing the checks and balances necessary to avoid conflicts. Instead organizations seem to shift responsibility from one to the other, leaving gaps in enforcement that researchers and drug companies navigate with ease, and then shroud their deliberations in secrecy.
Community: It’s the same process that’s removing dispassionate thought and research in all aspects of our lives.
(Reuters Health) A new study ties advertising for breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors to a slight increase in the total number of prescriptions for those medications.
Community: Uh huh.
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Administration Releases New Health Law Rules For Insurers, Employers

(Kaiser Health News) Long-awaited details on how insurers can structure health benefits and premiums for policies that will cover tens of millions of Americans starting in 2014 were released by the Obama administration Tuesday.
The three proposed rules reaffirm key elements of the 2010 federal health law, including its requirement that insurers accept all applicants, even those with health conditions, and not charge higher rates based on health, gender or occupation.
But the proposals add additional details on how premiums can vary based on age and tobacco use, including allowing tobacco users who enroll in programs aimed at helping them quit to be exempted from extra premium costs set out in the law.
While insurers and consumer groups were cautious about issuing an immediate assessment of the proposals, a quick review showed that no one group won everything it wanted. For example, insurers did not succeed in getting the government to phase-in a requirement that limits their ability to charge older applicants more than younger ones. And consumer groups, which wanted specific details on the benefits required in 10 broad categories, instead saw continued discretion given to state regulators to pick "benchmark" plans and benefits.
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Happy Thanksgiving

From the South Loop of Chicago

Improve Your Health by Giving Thanks

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) When you thank your friends and family this holiday season, the reasons to do so may extend beyond good wishes, and actually benefit you and your health. Study after study has shown that social connections - through family, friends or with companion animals - seem to pay off in terms of good health, longevity and even prolonged survival among patients with very serious diseases. Some evidence linking good health with strong ties to family and friends includes:
·         The immune system's natural killer cell activity is negatively affected by three "distress indicators" - one of which is lack of social support.
·         One study of 75 medical students found that those who were lonely had more sluggish natural killer cells that help destroy cells infected with virus and cancer cells than students who were social.
·         Research has shown that people who care for companion animals have less illness than people who do not. Companion animals' owners also recover from serious illness faster.
·         Susceptibility to heart attacks appears to correlate with how often people use the words "I," "me" and "mine" in casual speech.
·         Believe it or not, studies show that people who get out and spend more time with others during cold and flu season actually get fewer episodes of colds or flu than those who choose to be alone.
·         Being grateful - and expressing that gratitude - for what you have has been associated with both physical and emotional health.
Community: From USA.gov: “As you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, check out USA.gov's Thanksgiving page. You'll find cooking and food safety tips, travel resources, volunteer opportunities, and historical information.”
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