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

New Year's Resolutions You Can Steal from Dogs

Community: Other good resolution ideas –
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Ready-or-Not Resolutions: Let's Focus on the Crocuses!

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) Relevant research and conventional wisdom alike suggest that, despite their irresistible perennial tug on our collective conscience, New Year's resolutions generally have about the staying power of Champagne bubbles. Pledged to ourselves and one another in the short, dark days of late December, sorrowfully few survive to see the crocuses come up. Some studies suggest 20 percent or so live that long. Frankly, I'm surprised the numbers are that good.
The lamentable life expectancy of resolutions should come as no surprise. The standard approach to them is all about the transient inspiration of cultural momentum, and not at all about preparation. Resolutions are a quintessential "ready or not, here we go!" kind of enterprise.
In contrast, the science of sustainable behavior change tips convincingly toward "don't go until ready." Among the better known constructs in this field is the "stages of change," an integral part of the transtheoretical model of behavior modification. This model was developed in the context of smoking cessation research, but has subsequently been applied to all of the prevailing challenges of behavior change, from weight loss to safe sex to exercise to domestic violence, and proven robust across all categories.
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More Tips for Making New Year's Resolutions Stick

(Huffington Post) [I]t could be that the reason all your other resolutions are failing -- and the reason you're having trouble making sound food choices or keeping weight off to begin with -- is you're ignoring a simple yet powerful component of total health: sleep.
(Donna Rockwell, PsyD) Resolutions usually made in desperation become another excuse for guilt and self-denigration, another opportunity to feel like a failure. How can resolutions be a point of positive self-growth, instead, where we make them, and keep them, and benefit from their healing and restorative powers?
(Mark Banschick, M.D., Psychology Today) 2013 is finally coming to an end! But when one chapter ends, another one quickly begins - so lets start the year off right! Check out six practical ways to make real changes in the new year!
(Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., ABPP, Psychology Today) Take a page out of the Thanksgiving playbook and spend the New Year listing all of the things and people that you are grateful for at the start of 2014. And perhaps tell those who matter to you how much you appreciate them too. Maybe being grateful is more important than trying to change your behavior in the long run anyway.
(Jen Kim, Psychology Today) Happy New Year! Check out 7 scientifically proven simple ways to make sure you keep your goals on track
(Mark Goulston, M.D., F.A.P.A., Psychology Today) If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail - Ben Franklin Show me someone who doesn't keep or even make New Year's Resolutions and I'll show you someone who will not follow plans and much less, often resists making them.
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Why We Celebrate New Year's Day: Survival

(David Ropeik, Psychology Today) At one second past midnight on Tuesday, the day will change to Wednesday, a normally unremarkable transition that happens every day, with no significance. But somehow this change, which will end one year and begin the next, is different. This unique tick of the clock has always prompted us both to celebrate, and to step outside the day-to-day living we’re always so busy with, and reflect; to look back, take stock, to assess how we did, and resolve to do better going forward…
Fireworks. Good luck rituals. Resolutions to give us the pretense of control over the future. Everywhere, New Years is a moment to consider our weaknesses and how we might reduce the vulnerabilities they pose, and to do something about the scary powerlessness that comes from thinking about the unsettling unknown of what lies ahead. And, as common as these shared behaviors are across both history and culture, it’s fascinating to realize that the special ways that people note this unique passage of one day into the next are probably all manifestations of the human animal’s fundamental imperative for survival.
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5 Ways To Prevent A Hangover

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you are planning on attending a New Year's celebration, you may want to take a few precautions to lessen your chances of starting the New Year with an alcohol-related hangover. The surefire way to keep a clear head is not to drink at all and to be the designated driver for your friends who do drink. Alcohol is a strong toxin to both the liver and the nervous system, and it irritates the upper digestive tract and urinary system as well. If you do drink, remember: 
1.    Moderation is the best way to avoid hangovers - make sure to pace yourself.
2.    Eat food if you have more than a drink or two.
3.    Avoid dehydration (and cut down on alcohol intake) by drinking as much water as possible while you're drinking alcohol.
4.    Take a B-complex vitamin supplement plus extra thiamine (100 mg) to counter the B-vitamin depletion caused by alcohol.
5.    Choose beverages that are "cleaner." Some distilled beverages are rich in types substances called congeners - toxic impurities that can greatly add to your woes. Bourbon, rum and cognac are particularly "dirty," while vodka, which is alcohol and water with just trace amounts of impurities, is the "cleanest."
Community: But if you insist on overindulging, Appetite for Health has this for you: “Hangover Helpers that Actually Help!
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Turkey Tamale Potpie
Capture the flavors of your favorite tamale recipe in a casserole. This hearty turkey tamale potpie takes under 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish.
Savory Onion & Tomato Galette
In this savory tomato galette recipe the red onions are a little sweet from caramelization and a little sour from red-wine vinegar, but they complement the slow-roasted plum tomatoes perfectly. The result is rich and deeply satisfying. Serve this rustic tart with a green salad for a light lunch or a roast chicken for a hearty dinner.
Los Angeles Times:
Making the most of winter's hardy greens
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Healthy picks for holiday parties

(Consumer Reports) Advice on how to stick with healthy eating abounds this time of year. Unfortunately, much of it would have you nibbling crudités and sipping sparking water with lemon at parties. But you don’t have to miss out on the seasonal goodies. There are healthy choices that actually feel like a treat rather than a sacrifice—you just need to know what to pick. So to help you indulge healthfully and deliciously this New Year's, we’ve identified the best choice among five common party pairings.
Red wine vs. champagne
Winner: Red wine…
Chocolate bark vs. sugar cookies
Winner: Chocolate bark, provided it’s made with dark chocolate (70 percent or more cacao)…
Apple pie vs. pumpkin pie
Winner: Pumpkin pie…
Chips and salsa vs. mixed nuts
Winner: Mixed nuts…
Egg nog vs. hot cocoa
Winner: Hot cocoa.
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Tomatoes May Reduce Obesity and Breast Cancer Risk

(Appetite for Health) Tomatoes are often considered nutritional all-stars because they’re rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, fiber and lycopene, a carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant and is responsible for the fruit’s color.  What’s more, a medium-sized tomato is only 22 calories.
Several studies have suggested that the lycopene in tomatoes can help stop the growth and spread of breast cancer cells…
Risk for breast cancer increases with overweight and obesity, so diets rich in tomatoes and tomato-based products that may lower one’s risk for gaining body fat, thereby lowering risk for breast cancer.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Most Clinical Studies on Vitamins Flawed by Poor Methodology

(Science Daily) Most large, clinical trials of vitamin supplements, including some that have concluded they are of no value or even harmful, have a flawed methodology that renders them largely useless in determining the real value of these micronutrients, a new analysis suggests.
Many projects have tried to study nutrients that are naturally available in the human diet the same way they would a powerful prescription drug. This leads to conclusions that have little scientific meaning, even less accuracy and often defy a wealth of other evidence, said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute…
These flawed findings will persist until the approach to studying micronutrients is changed, Frei said. Such changes are needed to provide better, more scientifically valid information to consumers around the world who often have poor diets, do not meet intake recommendations for many vitamins and minerals, and might greatly benefit from something as simple as a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement.
Needed are new methodologies that accurately measure baseline nutrient levels, provide supplements or dietary changes only to subjects who clearly are inadequate or deficient, and then study the resulting changes in their health.
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New York City's Bloomberg Leaves Mixed Results On Health

(Shots, NPR) [Michael] Bloomberg helped the city rebuild after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. And he led the charge against smoking…
There were some protests, but the smoking ban passed by an overwhelming margin in the City Council.
Resentment festered, though. Take 60-year-old Elizabeth Lane of Harlem. "That Bloomberg. I was so angry at him," she says. "If he was in the same room as me, I could have choked him! I thought he was a dictator. I said, 'Is this right? Can he really tell people what to do and how to do it?' "
Lane had smoked for 40 years and couldn't quit. But the high tobacco taxes got to her, and she found herself dropping hundreds of dollars a month on cigarettes.
Lane says family pressure and a lot of prayer moved her to put on a nicotine patch. It worked. She quit, which has helped her indefinitely postpone surgery to open her blood vessels and reduced her risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. It has also potentially saved taxpayers tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. And quitting smoking changed Lane's mind about Bloomberg.
"He knew what he was doing. He did the right thing. And I'm thankful to him now," she says…
But the dramatic success with smoking has been difficult to replicate.
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Some current, former smokers should get annual lung scans: US panel

(Reuters Health) Heavy smokers and former heavy smokers should get annual lung cancer screening tests, according to final guidelines issued on Monday by an influential U.S. panel.
The final recommendations, issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, apply to people aged 55 to 80 whose smoking has put them at high risk of cancer. That includes former heavy smokers who have quit within the past 15 years. Heavy smokers are considered to be those who smoked a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years.
According to a comprehensive review of medical evidence since 2004, the panel found the benefits of screening high-risk individuals with low-dose computed tomography, or CT scans, outweigh the potential harms of overdiagnosis and increased exposure to radiation, which also contribute to cancer risk.
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Decision aids reduce mammograms among older women

(Reuters Health) Women over 75 who learned more about the risks and benefits of mammogram screenings were less likely to go through with the test in a new study.
Women should have a mammogram - an X-ray of the breast tissue scanning for early signs of cancer - every two years between ages 50 and 74, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed expert panel, there isn't enough evidence to recommend for or against mammograms for older women.
A woman's choice to have a mammogram past the age of 75 should be based on her life expectancy, risk of disease and personal preference, study author Dr. Mara A. Schonberg told Reuters Health.
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$1,000 Pill For Hepatitis C Spurs Debate Over Drug Prices

(Shots, NPR) Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV…
The drug sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi) will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.
Hepatitis researchers call the drug a landmark in the treatment of this deadly infection. More than 90 percent of patients who get the new drug can expect to be cured of their hepatitis C infection, with few side effects…
[But] some activists are beginning to complain about the company's decision to charge so much for the drug. "For Gilead, we have outrage, pure and simple," Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation told Business Wire
Andrew Hill, a researcher in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Liverpool, says $84,000 per cure is too much, based on his estimate of Gilead's cost to produce the drug.
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Unreported Robot Surgery Injuries Open Questions for FDA

(Bloomberg) The use of complex medical devices is exploding. Last year, Intuitive’s da Vinci robotic surgery system alone helped doctors perform more than 350,000 surgeries in U.S. hospitals. Yet patients like Wilson, whose lives depend on the proper use of increasingly complex high-tech medical equipment, often can’t get a complete picture of potential problems.
While a U.S. database lists reports of deaths and injuries sent to the Food and Drug Administration, the agency has no authority to force doctors to contribute. And while hospitals are supposed to report, they often don’t, critics say.
Indeed, a Bloomberg review of reports for operations with Intuitive’s robotic system found dozens of injuries that went unreported for years. Meanwhile, details of other patient problems involving use of the company’s product, cited in legal papers or in interviews with patients, were missing entirely.
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Most minority patients cared for by non-white docs

(Reuters Health) More than half of U.S. minority patients are cared for by doctors who are also minorities, according to a new analysis.
Using data from a 2010 U.S. survey, researchers found that about 54 percent of minority patients report their doctors are not white. That number was even greater - about 70 percent - among non-English speaking patients.
"Among patients who fell into one of our disadvantage categories . . . These individuals were more likely than other patients to be served by a minority physician," Dr. Lyndonna Marrast said.
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Affordable Care Act News

(Bloomberg) Beginning with the New Year, insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover people because of sickness, charge them more than healthy customers or drop them when they fall ill. In return, most Americans are required to have a health plan. Some of the 19 million Americans who buy insurance on their own will find their new plans are more expensive with fewer treatment options than before as insurers seek to contain costs.
“Millions of people will now be covered for the first time. Benefits will be expanded,” Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry’s Washington lobby group, said in a phone interview. “But these new benefits bring new costs.”
(Accenture) More than 1 in 4 employees are likely to select a lower priced health insurance plan on a private health insurance exchange, according to Accenture research.
(Reuters) Walgreen, the largest drug store chain in the United States, said customers who have enrolled in Obamacare, but don't have an ID yet from an insurer, can bring proof of their enrollment from now through the end of January to a Walgreen's pharmacy. The pharmacy staff will verify their enrollment and provide up to a month of generic medication at no upfront cost, the company said in a statement.
(Reuters) U.S. health official Michelle Snyder, who oversaw the building of the troubled Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov, is retiring from her job as chief operating officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)… CMS is the agency responsible for implementing much of the new healthcare law, including the construction of the federal website, HealthCare.gov, that allows consumers in 36 states to buy insurance through an online marketplace.
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Hospice firms draining billions from Medicare

(Washington Post) Hospice patients are expected to die: The treatment focuses on providing comfort to the terminally ill, not finding a cure. To enroll a patient, two doctors certify a life expectancy of six months or less.
But over the past decade, the number of “hospice survivors” in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying, a Washington Post investigation has found. Healthier patients are more profitable because they require fewer visits and stay enrolled longer…
In 2011, nearly 60 percent of Medicare’s hospice expenditure of $13.8 billion went toward patients who stay on hospice care longer than six months, MedPAC, the Medicare watchdog group created by Congress, has reported.
Some of those patients simply outlived a legitimate prognosis of six months.
But much of the data suggests that the trend toward longer stays is a response to the financial incentive.
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Up All Night, Down All Day

(Karen Barrow, Psychology Today) [I]nsomnia, long recognized as a symptom of depression, now appears to transmute itself into the mood disorder. Recent evidence indicates that persistent sleeplessness can actually instigate depression—suggesting that taking sleep routines seriously can be a powerful intervention against major mood disorders.
For 40 percent of adults in the United States, each month will bring at least one night of staring at the ceiling, tangling with the blanket, and counting sheep into the thousands as the alarm clock prepares its vengeful cry. Fortunately for most, a bout with sleeplessness—caused, say, by anxiety about a big project or presentation—will pass in a day or two. But for others, a few days of insomnia stretch into a week or more, causing further stress, exhaustion during the day, and even depression.
Almost any sleep disorder can mess with mood. But insomnia—nightly sleeplessness for three weeks or more—has the strongest link to major depression. According to one study, people with persistent insomnia are 40 times more likely to develop depression within a year than are those who sleep well.
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Sleep And Dementia: A Study In Mice

(KDKA) In mice, researchers found that during sleep, their brains turned on the wash cycle.
Brain cells shrink slightly and waste products get flushed out. Clean up went faster in sleeping mice compared to awake mice.
“Sleep is almost a reset phenomenon, where connections you make during the day that aren’t necessary, you don’t need, it gets rid of them, dumps them, so that the memories you need are stronger,” says Dr. [Daniel] Shade.
The study in mice provides an avenue to explore when it comes to why Alzheimer’s disease and other similar illnesses develop.
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10 Unexpected Things That Can Ruin Your Sleep

(Huffington Post) You've heard it all before: Don't watch TV or use the computer in bed. Have your last cup of coffee at noon. Don't work out in the evening... and yet you're still not sleeping! If you struggle with snoozing check out this list of unexpected sleep snatchers. Some of your healthiest habits may be keeping you from drifting off to dreamland.
1. You're an inconsistent eater
Studies show inconsistent eating habits later in the day can negatively affect sleep…
2. Your mouth is minty fresh
Research suggests the scent of peppermint stimulates the brain, making you feel more awake…
3. You love a good book
Exciting, emotional and intellectually demanding activities before bed can result in poor quality sleep…
4. You smoke before bed
[N]icotine is not just a depressant but a stimulant, making it harder for you to fall asleep…
5. You splash cold.
Sure, washing your face with cold water helps close pores -- but it also stimulates the body, releasing energy to keep warm and stay awake…
6. You charge up at night
Even the handy light that indicates your items are charging is bright enough to disrupt sleep -- especially if it happens to glow blue (blue wavelengths have the greatest impact on circadian rhythm)…
7. You get warm and cozy.
Cuddling up in a nice warm bed may seem like a good start to a restful night, but an increase in body temperature can disrupt sleep…
8. You love lemons.
Tea with lemon might sound like a great alternative to an after-dinner espresso, but it might keep you up just the same…
9. You pop meds before bed.
It may be easiest to remember to take pills before bed but some vitamins, such as B6 and B12, and certain medications, including steroids, have been shown to affect sleep…
10. You don't DVR
[M]ore nighttime television means less sleep for many Americans.
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Be Cautious with Sleep Medications

(Shots, NPR) About one-third of American adults say they have problems falling asleep. And prescriptions for sleeping medications are on the rise, with about 4 percent of people using the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But sleep specialists say people should exercise caution before deciding to take medication to help them sleep…
[C]ognition is slowed, coordination interfered with and memory impaired. The medication is "working in all different parts of the brain, in many different systems and in particular on the system that is most important for inhibition," says [sleep specialist Dr. John] Winkelman…
Health officials also worry that medication levels can remain high enough in the blood that people can have trouble driving the next morning…
While there's no evidence that sleeping pills are addictive, Winkelman says people can become psychologically dependent on them.
Community: Fortunately there are lifestyle changes that can improve sleep without medication. Here are tips from the Mayo Clinic, Sharecare.com, WebMD, and Dr. Andrew Weil.
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Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Improve Your Looks

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Here’s a study that developed as a result of staffer observations at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center: they noticed that sleep apnea patients coming in for their check-ups looked better than they did before treatment with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices to help them breathe better during sleep…
The researchers then asked a panel of 22 independent raters to look at the photos and rank the individuals for attractiveness, alertness and youthfulness – and to pick which picture they thought showed the patient after sleep apnea treatment. About two-thirds of the time, the panel picked the “after” photos as showing the patient more alert, youthful and attractive; and they also correctly identified “after” pictures two-thirds of the time.
The research team said a larger study will be needed to confirm the results.
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More Information and Recent Research on Sleep

(Huffington Post) Two in five Americans don't get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night, according to a new Gallup report. Gallup researchers surveyed 1,031 U.S. adults and found that 59 percent of Americans reported getting seven or more hours of sleep in a typical night in 2013… [T]he figure is a stark contrast to 1942, when 84 percent of Americans said they got seven or more hours of sleep a night.
(Charles Sophy, D.O.) Your body needs sleep to operate at its highest level. Set aside the same seven to nine hours a night for sleep. The increase in productivity you feel will more than make up for any lost late night work hours.
(Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Further research shows how disruptive caffeine is to sleep even when consumed 6 hours before bedtime.
(Dr. Michael J. Breus) Researchers … found that eating kiwi on a daily basis was linked to substantial improvements to both sleep quality and sleep quantity.
(Katie Gilbert, Psychology Today) Whether you're a lark or an owl affects much more than the amount of coffee you need to start the day. Your circadian type affects cognitive functioning… An increasing body of evidence also links one's inner clock to mood fluctuations and fitness; it's even linked to personality. Morning people tend to be introverts who are conscientious and driven, while night owls are more often impulsive extroverts. Owls also tend to score more highly on intelligence tests and are more likely to be depressed…
The best way to make your inner clock work for you? Don't fight it.
(Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., Psychology Today) [Researchers] found that compared to early risers and intermediates, night owls showed reduced integrity of white matter in several areas of the brain. White matter is fatty tissue in the brain that facilitates communication among nerve cells. Diminished integrity of the brain’s white matter has been linked to depression and to disruptions of normal cognitive function. 
More . . .


Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta
Sicily was ruled by Arabs in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and their culinary legacy lives on in the use of ingredients like saffron, raisins, and pine nuts in the island’s cooking. Here all three are combined with the humble cauliflower to create a memorable pasta dish.
Vegetarian Fried Rice
Bring a favorite takeout dinner packed with fresh veggies and tofu to the table in about 15 minutes.
Potato-Leek Bisque
It’s hard to believe how rich and creamy this potato-leek soup is even though there’s not a drop of cream in it. Croutons topped with anchovy, olives and leek are a crunchy, savory foil to the soup. But skip them if you like and incorporate all the cooked leeks into the soup instead.
Los Angeles Times:
Easy dinner recipes: 3 filling recipes for Meatless Monday
Looking for rich and filling ideas for Meatless Monday? You might never guess these hearty recipes are vegetarian.
Easy dinner recipes: Wild mushroom frittata and more for Meatless Monday
You can't beat the rich flavor to be had from these dishes, each ready in 45 minutes or less. They're just a few of the many vegetarian options available in our new recipe database.
Washington Post:
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Top Healthy Eating Stories of 2013

(Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health.com) There were so many great food-related stories throughout 2013, I had a hard time narrowing my picks, but the following 15 are among those I found to be the most compelling. Here's a synopsis of each, along with my takeaway advice.
Eating fat can make you thin…
Your diet directly affects your mood…
It's time to detox from sugary drinks…
The truth about chicken nuggets revealed…
You can get too much of a good thing…
It's more important than ever to control your blood sugar level…
Make sleep a major priority…
Ditch the diet stuff…
Curb your inner carnivore…
Anti-inflammation can outweigh weight…
Eat chocolate for weight loss…
Listen to your gut…
Keep your salt tooth in check…
Screen your sushi intake…
Go organic whenever you can
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Mediterranean Diet is Heart Healthiest

(Appetite for Health) [R]esearchers in Spain followed nearly 7,500 subjects for five years in a multi-center diet and cardiovascular risk factor clinical trial…
The authors conclude that a diet rich in plant-based fats is healthier than a low-fat diet that is carbohydrate-rich. Since unsaturated fats, which are found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, don’t negatively impact blood cholesterol levels and they don’t produce any type of blood sugar or insulin spikes like carbohydrate-rich foods do. A Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains; nuts and seed; beans; and lots of seafood and lean protein sources.
The authors of the study cite many advantages to eating a Mediterranean diet, including better blood sugar control, lower levels of inflammation and reduced risk for metabolic syndrome, excess abdominal fat, and type 2 diabetes.
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5 Foods that Sound Healthy But Aren’t

(Appetite for Health) Do you make your foods choices with health in mind? Buyer beware!  Cafes, deli counters and grocery shelves are filled with foods that sound healthy, but really aren’t.  Here’s a list of 5 foods that may be real diet disasters if you’re not shopping carefully. 
Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
Both regular and reduced-fat peanut butter contain about the same amount of calories, but the reduced-fat variety has more sugar…
Prepared Salads
Prepared tuna salads, chicken salads, and shrimp salads are often loaded with hidden fats and calories due to their high mayonnaise content…
For the most economical and healthy smoothies, check out these great mix-and-match smoothie recipes
Flavored Yogurt
Choose plain, low-fat yogurt and stir in a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or all-fruit spread for a hint of sweetness…
Granola Bars
For the most economical and healthy smoothies, check out these great mix-and-match smoothie recipes.
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Personalizing Prices

(The Supermarket Guru) When you shop at a supermarket, you tend to think of the shelf price as the be all and end all. But what if it wasn't? What if customer relations with the store meant more when it came to how much people paid?
What if there could be special custom deals arranged to not only reward the customer but drive trips and basket size? At The Lempert Report, we think this model could become the way of the future.
Here's why we think it would work.
Community: Safeway’s Dominick’s stores have such a program, but they’ve sold or closed all their Chicago stores. I shopped there a lot because of their low prices on products that I buy consistently.
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Gallup: Using skills and talents may be the best medicine

(UPI) The more U.S. adults with health issues use their skills and talents to do what they do best, the less they report pain, worry, stress or anger, a survey says…
U.S. adults with health problems, who can use their strengths for at least 10 hours per day were much less likely to say they experience pain -- 50 percent -- than those who used their strengths for 3 hours or less daily at 69 percent.
The same relationship exists among those without health problems, only with a somewhat smaller difference in experiencing pain between those who use their strengths for 10 or more hours (13 percent) and those who use their strengths for 0 to 3 hours (17 percent).
This pattern holds true for anger, stress, sadness and worry, and is consistent across all age, gender, education, and income groups, Gallup said.
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Should The US Track Cigarettes Nationally?

(Reuters Health) A federal program that let law enforcement trace cigarette packs from manufacturer to consumer would reduce interstate trafficking and boost the public health benefits of state cigarette tax policies, researchers say.
Without a national tracking system in place, smokers evade taxes, there's less of a barrier to youth smoking and local governments miss out on revenue, the authors of a new study contend.
[The researchers] calculated that the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Washington, DC, combined, could collect between $690 million and $729 million per year in cigarette taxes if trafficking stopped.
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'Faulty' DNA discovery could point to cure for arthritis

(The Independent) Scientists have identified DNA associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, holding out hope of a new treatment or even a cure.
The researchers found 42 “faulty” areas of DNA by comparing arthritis patients to people without the disease…
Lead researcher Professor Robert Plenge, of Harvard Medical School, said: “What this offers in the future is an opportunity to use genetics to discover new medicines for complex diseases like rheumatoid arthritis to treat or even cure the disease.”
The team discovered that an existing drug could treat a weakness that was produced by one of the faulty areas.
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Ultrasound Helps Guide Arthritis Treatment

(MedPage Today) Incorporating musculoskeletal ultrasound into disease activity assessments helped inform treatment decision-making in early rheumatoid arthritis, Scottish researchers found.
In 29% of clinical evaluations that included a musculoskeletal ultrasound, the imaging study provided information that altered the decision of whether a change in disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy was appropriate, according to James Dale, MBChB, and colleagues.
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Surgery vs. non-invasive treatment -- Which is better for herniated discs?

(Wolters Kluwer Health) For patients with herniated discs in the lower (lumbar) spine, surgery leads to greater long-term improvement in pain, functioning, and disability compared to nonsurgical treatment, concludes an eight year follow-up study…
"Carefully selected patients who underwent surgery for a lumbar disc herniation achieved greater improvement than non-operatively treated patients," according to lead author Dr. Jon D. Lurie … and colleagues. The results add to the evidence for surgical treatment of herniated discs—but also show that nonsurgical treatment can provide lasting benefits for some patients.
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MitoQ Antioxidant Drug Knocks Down Multiple Sclerosis-Like Disease in Mice

(Science Daily) Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that an antioxidant designed by scientists more than a dozen years ago to fight damage within human cells significantly helps symptoms in mice that have a multiple sclerosis-like disease.
The antioxidant -- called MitoQ -- has shown some promise in fighting neurodegenerative diseases. But this is the first time it has been shown to significantly reverse an MS-like disease in an animal.
The discovery could lead to an entirely new way to treat multiple sclerosis, which affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.
Read more.                     
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Patient doing well with French company's artificial heart: report

(Reuters) A 75-year-old Frenchman was feeding himself and chatting to his family, more than a week after becoming the first person to be fitted with an artificial heart made by French biomedical company Carmat, one of his surgeons said.
"He is awake, feeding himself and talking with his family. We are thinking of getting him up on his feet soon, probably as early as this weekend," Professor Daniel Duveau, who saw the patient on Thursday, told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
A more detailed account of the patient's health would be made public on Monday, the paper wrote.
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