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

Aging Is Easier with Endurance Exercise

(MedPage Today) Endurance training such as that done for track competitions may protect against the effects of aging in older individuals, a study of telomeres -- the caps on chromosomes that include repetitive, noncoding DNA sequences -- suggested.
Among individuals ages 66 to 77, endurance athletes had significantly longer telomeres compared with their less active counterparts…
The results "suggest that endurance exercise training may regulate the telomeres in old age and results in slowing of [the] aging process by maintaining telomere length," the authors wrote.
Community: Maybe this finding explains this phenomenon: “Olympians Go for Gold, Get a Few Extra Years.”
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Holding back emotions may reduce lifespan

(UPI) German researchers say exercising self-restraint and holding back negative emotions -- what Britons call keeping a "stiff upper lip" -- may reduce lifespan.
Researchers Marcus Mund and Kristin Mitte at the University of Jena in Germany said the findings might explain why the generally more emotional Italians and Spanish live almost two years longer than the cool English who "keep calm and carry on," MedicalDaily.com reported.
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Study shows how red wine compound slows aging

(Reuters) A compound found in red wine, fruits and vegetables can help slow aging by making two anti-aging genes work together better, scientists in Hong Kong report. While they were working in mice, they hope their findings can shed light on efforts to slow aging in people…
Associate professor Zhou Zhongjun, who led the study, said healthy mice fed with concentrated resveratrol lived longer than healthy mice not given the compound. "We actually delayed the onset of aging and extended the healthy lifespan," Zhou said…
Asked if their study supported the notion that drinking red wine delays aging and reduces the risk of heart disease, Zhou said the alcohol content in wine would cause harm before any benefit could be derived. "The amount of resveratrol in red wine is very low and it may not be beneficial. But the alcohol will cause damage to the body," Zhou said.
Community: Fortunately, we don’t have to drink red wine to get resveratrol. It’s available in other foods and as a food supplement.
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8 Tips for Healthy Aging

(MyHealthNewsDaily) U.S. residents are generally living longer these days, but more and more of them are developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, that will shorten their lives and boost medical costs. Some 133 million adults — almost half the adult population — now have a chronic health condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Such a staggering statistic might lead you to think illness and impairment are synonymous with aging. But growing old doesn't have to bring disability and disease. Here are eight tips from experts on how to stay healthier, stronger and happier in your golden years.
Never too late
It's never too late to start leading a healthier lifestyle. Even well into their 60s and 70s, adults can take action to reduce their risk of developing chronic disease…
Amp up your fitness
If there's one step you should take for improving your health and helping you steer clear of chronic disease, it's exercise, experts say…
Stay limber
Daily stretching is important, Dyer said. Your muscles tend to shorten and stiffen when you aren't active, but stretching activities such as yoga will improve your flexibility…
Manage your weight
Sticking to a healthy weight by exercising and eating right has multiple benefits, studies show…
An ounce of prevention
Preventive measures, such as getting a yearly flu shot and getting screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, are also important for growing old gracefully…
Stay spiritual or optimistic
Attending religious services and having a generally sunny outlook on life have been linked to longer, healthier lives…
Volunteer to help others
[In a study,] those who volunteered out of a desire to help others had lower mortality rates than people who volunteered for selfish reasons or did not volunteer at all. ..
[A drink a day]
For middle-age women, having one alcoholic drink a day may improve health and pave the way to a long life, a new study shows.
Community: Also from MyHealthNewsDaily, “7 Ways to Stay Healthy After 40.”
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More Recent Research on Aging and Longevity

(UPI) Being able to sit and then rise unaided from the floor is remarkably predictive of all-cause mortality, researchers in Brazil said… Each of the two basic movements -- sitting down and getting up -- were assessed and scored from 1 to 5, with one point subtracted from 5 for each support used such as a hand or knee. Subjects were assessed by a composite score of 0 to 10. The findings, published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention, found the majority of these deaths occurred in people with low test scores.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) According to Bruce Ames, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley, when certain vital micronutrients are in short supply, the body undergoes slow, insidious changes that undermine health and increase the risk of chronic disease. One such crucial micronutrient is selenium… Even “modest” selenium deficiency appears to be associated with age-related diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease and immune dysfunction.
(Science Daily) Flying is a very energy intensive activity that also produces toxic by-products, and bats have developed some novel genes to deal with the toxins. Some of these genes, including P53, are implicated in the development of cancer or the detection and repair of damaged DNA. "What we found intriguing was that some of these genes also have secondary roles in the immune system," Dr [Chris] Cowled said. "We're proposing that the evolution of flight led to a sort of spill over effect, influencing not only the immune system, but also things like ageing and cancer."
(Science Daily) [S]cientists at the Salk Institute have discovered a new characteristic of human cell division that may help explain how our DNA is organized in the nucleus as cells reproduce. They found that telomeres, molecular caps that protect the ends of the chromosomes, move to the outer edge of the cell's nucleus after they have been duplicated… [T]he findings may shed light on how our genes are regulated and how gene expression programs are altered during cell division, an important step in understanding aging and diseases that stem from genetic mutations, such as cancer.
(Science Daily) The gonad is well known to be important for reproduction but also affects animal life span. Removal of germ cells - the sperm and egg producing cells - increases longevity of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms were a mystery. Now scientists at the Cologne-based Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, have discovered that germ cell removal flips a "molecular switch" that extends the life span by using components of a "developmental clock."… The question now is whether humans also possess a similar microRNA-controlled switch system.
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Los Angeles Times:
Appetizer recipes
Get the party started with chicken and pesto turnovers, cheese beignets, smoked salmon and shitakes on toast -- and much, much more.
Drink recipes
A variety of beverages, such as iced Vietnamese coffee, hot chocolate, aquas frescas and Mother's Ruin punch. Cheers!
Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples
Warm flavors like sage and cinnamon play up the contrast between the juicy pork chops and caramelized apples. Tart Granny Smiths and slightly sweeter Braeburn apples both work well for this dish.
Sweet & Savory Beef Stew
This beef stew for two replicates the flavors in tzimmes, a sweet stew traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah to start the New Year. This version gets natural sweetness from cherries and butternut squash.
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EU scientists may have cracked the Christmas hangover

(Reuters) European academics, winemakers and food researchers have discovered two extracts contained within wine to replace sulphur dioxide, a natural chemical which preserves wine but can trigger headaches and asthma attacks in those allergic to it.
"European researchers have made progress towards finding an alternative to adding sulphur dioxide to red wine and other foodstuffs, such as dried fruit, holding out the hope of making future festive seasons healthier for millions," said the European Commission, which contributed 3 million euros to the project that started in 2009.
Consumer tests of the first red wines made using the extracts showed that wine lovers noticed no difference to standard wines.
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Surprisingly Healthy Foods

(Katherine Brooking, MS, RD, Appetite for Health) As a dietitian, one thing that drives me crazy is when good foods get a bad rap.  I’ve heard potatoes maligned as “fattening,” coffee as “toxic” and watermelon as “just sugar water.”  Here’s a list of six foods with surprising health benefits.  I hope it sets the record straight!
True, watermelon is 92% water but it’s much more than just water — it’s practically a multi-vitamin unto itself, containing excellent levels of vitamins A, B6 and C. Two cups of watermelon has just 80 calories, no fat at all, and is full of satisfying flavor. Plus its water content and fiber can help keep you full for longer…
One medium-sized potato (with skin) has just 110 calories and is one of the best sources of potassium and fiber in the produce section…
Studies show that drinking coffee regularly may reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and even headaches. Scientists also believe that coffee may play a role in improving memory and decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes…
Once demonized as an artery-clogging food, eggs have been exonerated by new research and now have a place in most diets. Packed with nutrients, one egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, and healthy unsaturated fats for just 75 calories…
Pistachios offer more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients including lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration. Worried about the fat and calories? Pistachios are one of the nuts lowest in calories and fat…
While avocados are higher in fat, most of it is “heart healthy” mono- and polyunsaturated fat… [T]hese versatile fruits are nutrient-rich, containing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.
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Caffeine: How Much is Too Much!

(Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, Appetite for Health) I couldn’t imagine life without my daily dose of caffeine.  I often have 1-2 cups of tea in the a.m. and a latte as a pick-me-up later in the day. When I’m competing in a race or event, I always drink more coffee to get the additional boost it provides.
While everyone is different, experts suggest that 200-400 mg of caffeine (the amount in 2-4 cups of brewed coffee) a day is ok, and is linked to health benefits…
Caffeine jolts your central nervous system and metabolism, helps alleviate fatigue, increases wakefulness and improves concentration and focus. It’s also associated with reducing risk for some chronic diseases and it’s well known as a performance-enhancer among athletes.
But if you’re daily intake gets too high—more than 500 or 600 mg per day—that’s when problems may arise.
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Cider, the golden apple of brewers' eyes

(Reuters) Almost a thousand years since the Norman conquest made cider popular in Britain, brewers are launching cider invasions of their own, with the United States the main battlefield…
[Hard cider] tends to draw drinkers away from wine rather than eating into beer sales, attracts more women than does beer and commands a higher profit margin…
In Britain, where cider need contain no more than 25 percent apple juice, shop sales of fruit-flavored ciders have grown by 80 percent in the past year, with additions of ginger, honey, rhubarb, cloudberries, red berries or lime…
For a flavor of the future, the Stassen cider plant in eastern Belgium offers clues… Stassen's orchards are seeking to develop an apple with red flesh that will produce a red cider, richer in tannins and more akin to red wine.
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Bioethicist: 'Frankenfish' less scary than fast food

(Art Caplan, Ph.D., NYU Langone Medical Center) The genetically altered “AquAdvantage”’ salmon is Atlantic salmon made from an egg, which has been injected with a gene from a Chinook salmon. That gene, which is stuck to a bit of DNA from another fish—the ocean pout, carries instructions for making more growth hormone than an Atlantic salmon ordinarily makes. More growth hormone means faster growth and, thus, more salmon to eat much more quickly.
This genetic concoction was first used in 1989, to create a “founder” genetically modified (GM) salmon.  The GM salmon is now in its tenth generation. Many people have eaten it.  No nasty side-effects have been observed…
It is time for some straight talk when it comes to genetically engineered foods. Americans are offered a mountain of jumbo-sized salty, fatty food every day. These foods are killing and disabling them at a very high rate. Making more salmon more cheaply is a far better option than ignoring the crap that too many people are currently eating every day. 
Those who claim to be worried about what we eat should worry a lot less about people eating more genetically engineered salmon and a whole lot more about the number of Americans who eat fast food daily. Those who care about public health should not target bigger fish but the drive-thru.
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Generic Drugs Often Have Incorrect Safety Labeling, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Despite U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations requiring generic medications to carry identical warnings to those on corresponding brand-name products, a study by Regenstrief Institute researchers has found that more than two-thirds of generic drugs have safety-warning labels that differ from the equivalent brand-name drug.
The investigators reviewed 9,105 product labels for over 1,500 drugs available on DailyMed, an online repository of labeling information maintained by the FDA and the National Library of Medicine. Of the 1,040 drugs with more than one manufacturer's label, 68 percent showed some discrepancies within their safety information.
The majority of generics showed relatively small differences across their labels, but nine percent showed differences of more than 10 side effects.
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Broader Background Checks and Denial Criteria Could Help Prevent Mass Shooting Catastrophes, Expert Says

(Science Daily) Garen Wintemute, a leading authority on gun violence prevention and an emergency medicine physician at UC Davis, believes broader criteria for background checks and denials on gun purchases can help prevent future firearm violence, including mass shooting catastrophes such as those that occurred at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Columbine.
"To reduce the number of deaths and injuries from firearms in the United States, we need to develop policies that require background checks for all firearm purchases, including private-party sales -- the most important source of firearms for criminal buyers and others who are prohibited from purchasing guns," said Wintemute…
"We need to prevent individuals with a previous conviction for a misdemeanor violent crime, such as assault and battery, from purchasing or possessing a firearm. We also need to develop better data and criteria that allow us to distinguish between those with a treatable mental disorder who do not have a history of violence from those with a history of violence or substance abuse," he said.
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Sense of Security Most Important for Older People Receiving Care at Home

(Science Daily) Older people living at home believe they get more effective healthcare services when they have a sense of security and continuity of care through a key or specific professional, according to a new study…
[Said Professor Claire Goodman,] “Older people taking part in our study said that services are most effective for them when there is continuity of care through a specific professional.  This gives a sense of security and trust, and brings in other services and treatment at points of crisis.  More importantly, with a key professional to speak to about their healthcare, the older person and their family can be more involved in reviews and decisions.”
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Nurse Practioner's Care Equal to Doc's, Review Finds

(MedPage Today) Expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners would not diminish quality of care, a literature review found.
In fact, states struggling to meet the growing demand for primary care services should expand scope-of-practice laws for NPs and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), the National Governors Association said in its review of the issue…
"Most studies showed that NP-provided care is comparable to physician-provided care on several process and outcome measures," the report … stated. "Moreover, the studies suggest that NPs may provide improved access to care."
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Shopping for a Hip Replacement in Florida? Go by the Numbers

(U.S. News & World Report) [D]ata that are recent and decent can help patients make informed choices about where to get surgery. Yet few patients can look at these important statistics. Few hospitals reveal them, and most states don't publish hospital-specific data, often blaming tight budgets and pushback from local hospitals and doctors.
Florida is an exception. Its Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) posts charge, length of stay, readmissions, and mortality data on FloridaHealthFinder.gov. U.S. News decided to examine Florida hip-replacement data as part of a long-term project that will assess how well the nation's hospitals perform relatively routine procedures. In previous reports, we've examined heart surgery data from New York and Cesarean-section rates in Virginia. We hope to learn from states that are leading the way in informing the public about hospital performance.
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Americans Support Physician-Assisted Suicide For Terminally Ill

(Shots, NPR) Voters in Massachusetts were the latest to weigh in on whether it should be legal for doctors to prescribe drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives.
The measure was controversial, and on Election Day it fell just short.
Before the vote, we wondered how Americans viewed physician-assisted suicide. So we asked in early October.
The results from the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll show that most Americans favor physician-assisted suicide for people with less than six months to live.
Overall, 55 percent of respondents favored it, and 45 percent were opposed. Those proportions were unchanged from July 2011, when Truven asked the same questions.
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Medicare Cuts Loom Large as 'Cliff' Nears

(MedPage Today) It's looking less and less likely that Congress and the White House will strike a deal to keep the country from falling over the "fiscal cliff" next week, so physicians are preparing for a 28.5% cut in Medicare payments that will take effect on Jan. 1.
That figure includes a 26.5% cut under Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) reimbursement formula and a 2% cut mandated by the Budget Control Act, the piece of legislation that outlined the tax increases and spending cuts that define the fiscal cliff.
"Given the current progress with the legislation, CMS [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] must take steps to implement the negative update," the agency said in a Dec. 19 notice on its website.
CMS will continue to pay claims for services rendered on or before Dec. 31 at current rates.
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If your blood pressure is high, try an early night

(Metro.co.uk) People showing early signs of high blood pressure restored their readings to healthy levels in just six weeks with the extra hour of sleep each night…
'These preliminary findings have to be interpreted with caution,' the study's authors write.
'But future investigations should look at whether increasing sleep duration serves as an effective strategy in the treatment of hypertension.'
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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Yogurt and Cranberry Juice for Blood Pressure

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Relax and enjoy your yogurt - it may help you avoid high blood pressure. Results of a 15-year study with 2,000 volunteers revealed that when at least two percent of daily calories come from yogurt, you’re 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than people who don’t eat yogurt…
Another study … showed that drinking low-cal cranberry juice regularly resulted in a significant drop in blood pressure in participants who drank the juice compared to those who received the placebo. At the end of the eight-week study, the researchers found that blood pressure dropped an average of three points, from 121/73 mmHg to 118/70 mmHg, in the study subjects who drank the cranberry juice; no changes were seen in the blood pressure of those who drank the placebo.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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How to Lower Blood Pressure: Eat a Pomegranate

(RealAge.com) If someone you love (you?) has high blood pressure, heart-threatening high triglycerides (over 100), or low heart-protective HDL cholesterol (under 50), put pomegranate juice on your weekly grocery list. Drinking just 10 ounces of it a week for a year could impressively improve all three. We say this because pomegranate juice did exactly that in people who need all the heart help they can get: kidney dialysis patients, who are intensely vulnerable to cardiac trouble…
No wonder the pomegranate juice biz is booming. (Buy 100% pure juice, no sugar added.) But this is peak season for poms, so try the real fruit. Just wear black.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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More Recent Research on Blood Pressure

(MedPage Today) Older hypertensive patients may be at risk for hip fracture after initiation of blood pressure-lowering therapy, researchers found. The risk for hip fracture was a relative 43% greater in the month-and-a-half after starting on any antihypertensive compared with other time periods…, according to Debra Butt, MD.
(MedPage Today) The single-pill combination of benazepril (ACE inhibitor) plus the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide was associated with increasingly fewer cardiovascular events as patients' body mass index (BMI) rose, according to Michael Weber, MD…, and colleagues. However, BMI did not influence efficacy in patients taking benazepril plus amlodipine (calcium channel blocker), they reported.
(MedPage Today) A patient’s insightful question led to the identification of almost two dozen cases of severe enteropathy associated with use of blood pressure medication, investigators reported… All of the cases involved use of the angiotensin receptor blocker olmesartan (Benicar), which has since been linked to more than 60 probable cases of severe sprue-like enteropathy.
(Reuters) Xoma Corp said its experimental combination of two drugs met the main goal of lowering hypertension better than a treatment based on either of the drugs alone in a late-stage study… The combination of perindopril arginine and amlodipine besylate showed statistically significant reduction in sitting systolic and diastolic blood pressure after six weeks of treatment, compared with either drugs alone, Xoma said.
(Science Daily) A minimally invasive procedure lowered blood pressure in patients whose condition failed to respond to medication. Catheter-based renal denervation was found to be safe and effective in lowering blood pressure up to one year after starting treatment, and did not show any lasting harm to the kidneys or heart.
(Science Daily) When the heart works too hard, the brain may be to blame, says new Cornell University research that is changing how scientists look at high blood pressure (hypertension). The study … traces hypertension to a newfound cellular source in the brain and shows that treatments targeting this area can reverse the disease.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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Roasted Cod with Warm Tomato-Olive-Caper Tapenade
The Mediterranean flavors of a warm tomato tapenade will brighten all kinds of white fish as well as chicken. Make It a Meal: Orzo and sauteed spinach will round out this meal.
Harvard School of Public Health:
Pasta with Seafood, Chickpeas, and Greens
Recipe courtesy of Joyce Goldstein and The Culinary Institute of America
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce
Neutral-tasting canola oil allows the flavors of orange juice, honey, ginger, and chiles in the sauce to shine. It can also withstand the heat of stir-frying in this tasty take on sweet-and-sour shrimp. Serve over rice or udon noodles.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Seared Salmon with Orange Glaze
Not an ounce of flavor escapes this dish! The salmon is seared, trapping its rich flavor, briefly baked, and then drizzled with a thick, lightly fragranced orange ginger glaze - a balanced companion for a fish as flavorful as salmon. Salmon provides ample amounts of protein, B vitamins, vitamin A, and omega-3 oils.
Food as Medicine
Salmon are one of the richest dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids… Oranges are rich in free radical-neutralizing vitamin C (just one orange contains 116 percent of the Daily Value), and can help prevent the dangerous oxidation of cholesterol.
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Don't Fear That Expired Food

(The Salt, NPR) Those "sell by" dates are there to protect the reputation of the food. They have very little to do with food safety. If you're worried whether food is still OK to eat, just smell it…
According to [John Ruff, president of the Institute of Food Technologists], most products are safe to eat long after their expiration date. In fact, even meat or milk that's clearly starting to spoil is not necessarily dangerous. "Very often, you won't eat it because of the smell, and you probably won't like the taste, but in a lot of cases, it's unlikely to cause you illness," he says.
That's because it's not the food that sat on the shelf too long that makes you sick, Ruff says. It's the food that got contaminated with salmonella or listeria bacteria, or disease-causing strains of E. coli. And that food might not smell bad as it might have arrived in the store only yesterday.
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4 Ways to Eat Fresh During the Winter

(SouthBeachDiet.com) During the winter months, it may seem a little more challenging to find fresh produce. And oftentimes, some of your favorite, out-of-season fruits and vegetables are more expensive. Fortunately, there are cost-effective ways for you to continue reaping the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter.
Buy seasonal produce…
Get to know your local farmers' markets, CSAs, and food co-ops… Consider joining a CSA, in which you purchase a share (or membership) in a farmer's harvest, and every week, you receive a basket of seasonal produce and/or meat or poultry, from that farm. Search for a CSA near you at localharvest.org/csa
Shop the frozen-food aisle…
Grow your own herbs indoors.
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Breakfast Foods Booming Among U.S. Consumers

(Progressive Grocer) The breakfast foods category has experienced solid growth during the recession, with a 20 percent sales increase in recent years -- from $10 billion in 2007 to $12 billion in 2011 – according to the latest research from Mintel on the U.S. breakfast food market.  The breakfast category is forecast for continued growth by nearly 26 percent from 2012-17 to reach a predicted $15.7 billion.
“Eating at home to save money and the convenience of many products in the breakfast category likely aided in its impressive sales growth,” said Carla Dobre-Chastain, food analyst at Mintel. “While price will continue to play an important role when it comes to breakfast foods, Mintel’s research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality breakfast products. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers need to strike a balance between price and quality in order to stay at the top of the market.”
The majority of consumers (69 percent) who eat breakfast foods regularly during the week consider “low cholesterol” and “heart-healthy” claims important.  Additionally, 65 percent of consumers think “low-fat” and “high-fiber” are significant health-related attributes when selecting their morning meal.
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Americans eating more turkey

(UPI) Perhaps it was the studies that found roasting frozen turkey was safer than defrosting the big bird, but Americans are eating more turkey, U.S. researchers say…
Poultry in general might also start pulling in some consumers from the red meat market.
"The growth of other poultry products over 2011 and 2012 is partly attributed to the increasing popularity of Heritage turkeys, which are bigger, take longer to reach maturity and sell for more than standard turkeys," John N. Frank, category manager for Mintel Food and Drink, said in a statement. "However, if other poultry products, like turkey, want to continue their impressive growth and not just be seen as the festive centerpiece, they will need to provide the level of innovation that is being seen in the chicken parts segment."
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Barrier to baby boomer food marketing

(UPI) With baby boomers retiring, the U.S. older population is getting larger, but most food is produced and marketed to those ages 18-49, food experts say.
Baby boomers often say they want to live active, healthier lives as they age, yet relatively few food and drink products have been actively targeted to these aging consumers, which means this segment of the population represents both a challenge and an opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers, Food Technology Magazine reported.
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Food Insecurity and Obesity

(Food, Nutrition & Science) Food insecure adults have a much higher chance of being obese compared to food secure adults, according to a recent study… Researchers found that one in three food insecure adults were obese…
More research is needed says [Liping Pan, MD, MPH], but this study suggests a need to increase access to affordable healthy foods for all adults. Pan says intensified nationwide efforts to address obesity will be supported by recent federal initiatives such as the Let’s Move! Campaign and Communities Putting Prevention to Work program. These initiatives mobilize public and private resources and partnerships, provide guidance and funding to states and communities to change state and local environments and policies related to diet and physical activity, and help reduce financial barriers to adopting healthy lifestyles.
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The Latest from The People's Pharmacy

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Celebrity bad science: Dried placenta pills and oxygen shots

(Reuters) Pop guru Simon Cowell carries pocket-sized inhalable oxygen shots, America's "Mad Men" actress January Jones favors dried placenta pills, and British soap star Patsy Palmer rubs coffee granules into her skin…
In its annual list of the year's worst abuses against science, the Sense About Science (SAS) campaign also named former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney for spreading misinformation about windows on planes, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps for false justifications for peeing in the pool…
To encourage more vigilance among celebrity pseudo-scientists in the future, SAS provided a checklist of "misleading science claims" it suggests should be avoided:
* "Immune boosting" - you can't and you don't need to
* "Detox" - your liver does this
* "Superfood" - there is no such thing, just foods that are high in some nutrients
* "Oxygenating" - your lungs do this
* "Cleansing" - you shouldn't be trying to cleanse anything other than your skin or hair.
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Avoid Winter Falls

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Winter is here, and that means snowstorms, freezing rain and plenty of ice on sidewalks, steps and driveways. It also means the risk of slipping and falling is very real. So is the likelihood of injury…
"People fall because they lose their balance," said Dr. Ronald Grelsamer, an orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. "Someone with good balance will catch themselves, but someone with poor musculature will fall."
Strong muscles are the key to better balance. That's why Grelsamer recommends strengthening muscles in the butt, abs, hips and legs. Balancing exercises, such as standing on one leg at a time or standing on your toes, will also help…
Teresa Shea, a physical therapist at the University of Wisconsin Health Rehabilitation Clinics emphasizes the importance of proper footwear to help maintain footing.
Do the "Shuffle"
If there's no other choice but to walk on that ice or snow, shuffle rather than stride. That means take baby steps…
Go Sideways on Inclines
When walking up or down an incline that’s coated with ice or snow, turn sideways, then take a step with the foot that is leading, and bring the other foot alongside it. Continue this motion until you reach the top or bottom…
Focus, Focus
Pay attention to surroundings and watch out for black, or invisible, ice and wet leaves, Greslamer advised.  Also exercise caution when exiting cars, buses and trains or when walking up and down outdoor stairs, he added.
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Hospitals still order too many CT scans

(Consumer Reports) Radiation exposure from a CT scan is about 350 times higher than from an ordinary chest X-ray. Yet some hospitals, including several large, well-known ones, continue to order too many of them, exposing patients to needless risk and expense, according our updated hospital Ratings.
We focused on "double scans," or two scans ordered for the same patient, one with a contrast agent (which can make the image clearer), and another without. Such double scans are rarely necessary, and expose patients to 700 times as much radiation as from a standard chest X-ray…
The bad news is that far too many hospitals still do double scans: In 250 hospitals that were poor performers in our first analysis, with double-scan rates of 15 percent or more, rates for abdominal scans, chest scans, or both stayed the same or rose.
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Changes in Emergency Department Care Result in Higher Bills

(MedPage Today) Increased billing for more expensive procedures by emergency department physicians is not solely related to a greater use of electronic health records and the consequent ability to capture more charges, according to one researcher.
For instance, the role of the emergency department in medical care has changed, and the average age of Medicare patients discharged from the ED has fallen, an indicator of worse health and potentially tougher cases, according to Stephen Pitts, MD, MPH, of the emergency services department at Emory University in Atlanta.
"The EHR is one reason behind increased ED billing, and fraud may be facilitated by these new systems," Pitts wrote… "However, this simple explanation does not capture the broader story of what happened in U.S. EDs during the [last] decade."
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Drowsy & Dangerous: New Study Reinforces the Dangers of Driving When Drowsy

(InsuranceQuotes.org) Many people who have undergone surgery have worried about doctors making mistakes due to being tired, or in severe cases, being intoxicated. As it turns out, though, the operating table isn’t the only place to worry about drowsy doctors.
The Mayo Clinic recently released a new poll based on their own doctors in training (or what Grey’s Anatomy fans know as “residents”). The poll discovered that because of the stress associated with a resident’s strenuous schedule, 43% of respondents reported almost getting into a car accident because of drowsy driving, and 11% actually did report having traffic accidents. Medical residencies are known for long hours and stressful environments, but this finding could be more encouragement that prompts evaluations of current systems…
The Mayo Clinic’s study doesn’t mean doctors are the only ones who drive drowsy. Everyone leads busy lives, and sometimes busy lives require being on the road a lot. Doctors may work long hours, but these new findings further validate that whether one is a traveling salesman, a truck driver, or soccer mom in a van, people are tired and that’s incredibly dangerous.
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States Cracking Down on Text Offenders

(InsuranceQuotes.org) In 2011, at least 23% of car crashes involved cell phones, according to the National Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That equals out to 1.3 million crashes last year, meaning the likelihood of having accidents with someone using a cell phone is highly probable…
Unfortunately, any bans on cell phone use while driving typically don’t cause great change. According to the IIHS, 10 states have outlawed talking on handheld cell phones while driving, and in every one of those states except Maryland, you can be pulled over solely for using your cell phone. In Maryland, driving while on a cell phone is considered a secondary offense. So far, 39 states have banned texting while driving and in most states, it can be considered a primary offense.
Perhaps current state laws haven’t done the trick, but no one is giving up and some states are implementing extra initiatives.
This is precisely why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that they’re providing a $550K grant to Connecticut and Massachusetts to help them come up with a better method to enforce anti-texting bans.
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Too much eating like jet lag to body clock

(UPI) Excessive eating and drinking disrupts the body's clock similar to jet lag, U.S. researchers say.
The findings have implications for understanding the molecular basis of diabetes, obesity and other metabolic syndromes because a desynchronized food clock may serve as part of the pathology underlying these disorders, [Dr. Louis] Ptacek said.
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New study finds link between overfeeding and high blood pressure

(City College of New York) A new study … shows conclusively that overfeeding causes increases in sympathetic nerve activity (SNA)—part of the fight or flight reflex—which can lead to the development of high blood pressure…
Over a three-week period, the researchers fed seven of the rats a diet high in fat that included vanilla wafers, crackers, buttered popcorn, cheetos and other high-caloric nutrients, while the other seven rats were fed a low-fat diet. The results were immediate—within fifteen days the rats consuming the high-fat diet gained weight and their fat mass doubled, activating lumbar SNA, which in turn caused their heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
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Obesity and overeating during menopause together promote breast tumor growth and progression

(American Association for Cancer Research) Obese women might be able to eliminate their increased risk for postmenopausal breast cancer by taking measures during perimenopause to prevent weight gain and to therapeutically control the metabolic effects of their obesity, according to the results of a preclinical study…
"If our findings in rats translate to humans, it means that the perimenopausal period is a critical window of time for determining breast cancer risk later in life," said [Paul S. MacLean, Ph.D.]… "This, in turn, means that an obese woman's risk for postmenopausal breast cancer and poor clinical outcome could be reduced by perimenopausal lifestyle modifications, such as restricting food consumption and increasing exercise, and/or perimenopausal use of drugs, such as metformin, to improve metabolic control."
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