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

''High-glycemic'' foods tied to diabetes risk

(Reuters Health) People who eat a lot of low-fiber and processed foods that quickly spike blood sugars may, not surprisingly, have a significantly higher risk of the most common form of diabetes, according to a new study.
"By raising blood sugar and demanding that the pancreas keep pumping more insulin, meal after meal, day after day, a high-glycemic diet can put people at risk over the edge," said Dr. David Ludwig, who studies obesity at Boston Children's Hospital but was not involved in the work.
The report analyzes 24 studies published since 1997 that tracked what 125,000 adults ate. The new study confirms links prior researchers made between those so-called high-glycemic foods - including white bread and potatoes - and diabetes.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of Type 2 diabetes.
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'Light' sodas may hike diabetes risk: study

(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) Artificially sweetened sodas have been linked to a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes for women than sodas sweetened with ordinary sugar, a French study … found…
Sugar-sweetened sodas have previously been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, but less is known about their artificially sweetened counterparts—often promoted as a healthier substitute.
Researchers led by Inserm's Francoise Clavel-Chapelon and Guy Fagherazzi dug into the data mine to look at the prevalence of diabetes among women who drank either type of soda, and those who drank only unsweetened fruit juice. Compared with juice-drinkers, women who drank both types of soda had a higher incidence of diabetes…
Drinkers of light sodas had an even higher risk of diabetes compared to those who drank regular ones.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of Type 2 diabetes.
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Taste Preferences Impact Health, New Study Finds

(Science Daily) Individuals who have a high preference for sweets and a high aversion to bitter flavors may be at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to a new study…
Researchers … analyzed how two tasting profiles, sweet likers (SL) and supertasters (ST), interact and affect dietary intake and health, particularly metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.
What researchers found is that those with both taste profiles or neither taste profiles were more likely to have an increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared to those who were only an SL or ST. The interaction between SL and ST was also significantly associated with fiber and beverage intake suggesting that tasting patterns may have an effect on both dietary intake and disease risk.
Community: We can’t change our genes, but we can overcome them to some extent. There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of Type 2 diabetes.
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NIH study shows big improvement in diabetes control over past decades

(NIH News) More people are meeting recommended goals in the three key markers of diabetes control, according to a study conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report … shows that, from 1988 to 2010, the number of people with diabetes able to meet or exceed all three of the measures that demonstrate good diabetes management rose from about 2 percent to about 19 percent.  Each measure also showed substantial improvement, with over half of people meeting each individual goal in 2010…
The measures are A1C — which assesses blood sugar (glucose) over the previous three months — blood pressure and cholesterol. They are often called the ABCs of diabetes. When these measures fall outside healthy ranges, people are more likely to be burdened by complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
Despite improvement, the results show continued need for better diabetes control. In particular, young people and some minority groups were below average in meeting the goals.
Community: How much better to prevent diabetes in the first place? There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of Type 2 diabetes.
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Mediterranean diet may be best for diabetes

(Reuters Health) Diets lean on meat and rich in healthy fats like olive oil were most effective at promoting weight loss and lowering blood sugar among people with diabetes in a review of evidence from the last 10 years…
Mediterranean diets, low-carb diets, high-protein diets and low glycemic index diets - which rank foods by how quickly their carbs turn into glucose - all lowered participants' blood sugar.
After following the diet for at least six months, the people on a Mediterranean eating plan also lost an average of 4 pounds. No other diet had a significant impact on weight, according to the findings
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the effects of Type 2 diabetes.
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More Recent News and Research on Diabetes

(Science Daily) A study conducted at the University of Granada has revealed that there is a direct relationship between exposure to pesticides (Persistent Organic Pollutants, CPOs) in food, air and water and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults, regardless of age, gender and body mass index. These substances tend to concentrate in body fat, and they might be one of the reasons why obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, since the more fat the higher the COP concentrations in the body.
(Science Daily) Binge drinking causes insulin resistance, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the results of an animal study… The authors further discovered that alcohol disrupts insulin-receptor signaling by causing inflammation in the hypothalamus area of the brain.
(Science Daily) A first-of-its-kind study … indicates that healthy, obese, reproductive-age women who use long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) containing the hormone progestin have a slightly increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes when compared to those who use non-hormonal contraception. The research concludes that progestin-releasing LARC appears to be safe for use by such women but needs further investigation.
(Virginia Tech) A stomach bacterium believed to cause health problems such as gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer may play a dual role by balancing the stomach's ecosystem and controlling body weight and glucose tolerance, according to immunologists… Usually the villain in studies of gastric cancer and peptic ulcers, Helicobacter pylori infect about half of the world's population although most infected individuals don't get sick. The bacterium's dwindling numbers coincide with the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in developed countries.
(Reuters Health) A nutritional supplement called myo-inositol may help protect women at risk for gestational diabetes, according to a small pilot study. Previous studies have shown that inositol supplements may help restore fertility in polycystic ovary syndrome, but this is the first evidence that it may reduce the number of cases of gestational diabetes, lead author Dr. Rosario D'Anna told Reuters Health by email.
Community: One has to wonder if that supplement could reduce Type-2 diabetes risk.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Garlic Chicken Pizza
In about 20 minutes you can serve your family a garlicky-good, three-cheese and chicken pizza that's just as good as what you'd get at a pizza restaurant.
EatingWell:
Italian Wedding Soup
This Italian Wedding Soup recipe is Italian comfort food at its best, and this easy soup recipe lends itself to countless variations. Substitute spinach, chicory, chard or any other leafy green for the escarole or kale, and any leftover cooked (or canned) beans for the white beans in this healthy Italian wedding soup recipe.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Black Bean Soup
Black beans, also known as "turtle beans," are an especially tasty variety, and make a lovely soup. As with most dried beans, they are inexpensive while offering a bounty of fiber, protein, folic acid, potassium and magnesium…
Food as Medicine
A recent study … found that, of all beans and legumes, black beans are the most antioxidant-rich (they contain the same anthocyanins found in dark red fruits such as grapes and cranberries). The antioxidants in black beans prevent cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals in the bloodstream, a process that may, left unchecked, lead to plaque formation on blood vessel walls and, ultimately, atherosclerosis. Additionally, just one cup of black beans contains 20 percent of the Daily Value for iron; however, black beans also contain polyphenols known as tannins that prevent the full absorption of iron, so the amount of iron the body can actually use is somewhat lower.
Community: Lower iron absorption may be a good thing for us older folks.
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Menus labels may sway those who need them most

(Reuters Health) Showing diners how many calories are in restaurant food items may influence how much they eat - especially among the least health-conscious people, a new study suggests.
"It's encouraging because the information may help the people who will need it the most," said Lorien Urban, who has researched menu labeling…
Previous studies have found that people tend to eat less when they are told how many calories are in their food, but scientists have not looked at how that breaks down across different types of diners.
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U.S. health advocates seek safe sugar limits for drinks

(Reuters) Anti-obesity advocates who want to curb Americans' sugar habit on Wednesday asked the government to set a safe level for added sugars in soda and other beverages.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which is leading the regulatory push, has urged the government to take actions to reduce Americans' sugar consumption…
Sugar-sweetened drinks are a significant source of extra calories in the U.S. diet and are closely linked with weight gain, which often accompanies serious and costly illness such as diabetes and heart disease.
If history holds true, the latest request will not result in swift action from the FDA. The American Beverage Association (ABA) and other industry groups have aggressively, and often successfully, fought efforts to reduce sugary drink consumption via regulation or taxes. They say the industry is being unfairly blamed for the nation's obesity crisis.
Community: Uh huh. Remember when the tobacco companies complained that they were being unfairly blamed for lung cancer?
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Monster Rebrands As A ‘Drink’ Instead Of A ‘Dietary Supplement’ As Energy Products Face Scrutiny

(ThinkProgress) As public health advocates and federal regulators increasingly turn their attention to dangerous energy drink products, one of the industry’s most popular brands — Monster — is relabeling itself as an energy “drink” instead of a “dietary supplement,” the Denver Post reports.
Dietary supplement manufacturers have greater leeway over what types of ingredients they can include in their products, but also face more stringent reporting requirements when it comes to possible adverse effects on consumers. While it is unclear whether or not the labeling change — and the corresponding changes in the regulations Monster is subject to — will lead the company to drop controversial caffeine-like ingredients like taurine from its drinks, the decision reflects lawmakers’ recent inquiries into energy product safety.
Community: They’re all taking a page from the tobacco companies’ playbook. Don’t make your product healthier, just change the wording. And wage a PR campaign. And ridicule your detractors. And claim the entire economy will fail if critics don’t leave your product alone. And buy legislators. It’s a recipe, my friends.
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Popular Workout Booster Draws Safety Scrutiny

(Shots, NPR) Americans spent more than $100 million on products containing DMAA in 2011, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, which monitors the dietary supplement industry. But the widespread use of products containing DMAA is raising widespread concern.
"This is the most dangerous ingredient sold today in supplements in the United States," says Dr. Pieter Cohen, an internist at Harvard Medical School. Cohen says DMAA is a potent stimulant. It drives up heart rate and blood pressure, which means it can cause many health problems. "The common ones would be anxiety, panic attack, dehydration, and the life-threatening ones would be bleeding strokes and death — sudden cardiac death," Cohen says.
The Food and Drug Administration has received at least 60 reports of complications in people using DMAA, including at least two deaths. The U.S. military barred base stores from selling DMAA supplements after two soldiers died while taking them. DMAA was recently linked to the death of a British marathon runner.
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FDA: Dietary supplements may contain drug

(UPI) U.S. Marshals, acting for the Food and Drug Administration, seized tainted dietary supplements from Globe All Wellness LLC in Hollywood, Fla., officials said.
Howard Sklamberg, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said several of the seized products contain streaming hydrochloride, or streaming, the active ingredient in the obesity drug Meridian.
Meridian was withdrawn from the U.S. market in December 2010 after clinical data demonstrated the drug increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.
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Flu trending downward, but still hitting elderly hard

(USA Today) Last week the proportion of people visiting the doctor for influenza-like illness was 3.2% of all doctor visits, down from 4.2% the week before, the CDC's FluView report showed. For the last week of December, when the east coast was getting slammed with flu, the rate was 5.6%.
Last week 9.1% of deaths reported in the CDC's 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System were from pneumonia and influenza as of Feb. 9. That's well above the epidemic threshold of 7.2% and about where it was the previous week, 9.0%.
People over 65 especially are being hospitalized at "dramatically high rates," said CDC's [Lyn] Finelli. In general, about 30 to 40 seniors are hospitalized per 100,000 in the population during flu season. This year it's around 140 per 100,000. "That's the highest rates for seniors we have ever seen," she said. This year's flu strains include H3N2, which hits older people especially hard, she said. That's why it's important that seniors get early and aggressive treatment.
One thing they may not realize is that while fever is almost always a symptom of the flu in younger people, those over 65 can have a feverless flu.
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FDA warns of flu protection claims by supplement sellers

(Reuters) U.S. health regulators have sent letters to nine Internet distributors of dietary supplements warning them against making false claims about their products' ability to fight the flu…
In a letter to a company called Supplementality LLC, for example, FDA said the distributor was improperly offering products intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure the flu virus, and demanded the company "immediately cease marketing" in this way.
"There are no over-the-counter products that shorten the duration or severity of the flu," Gary Coody, FDA's national health fraud coordinator, said in an interview.
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Estrogen alternative eases sex pain for older women

(Reuters Health) A daily dose of ospemifene, an estrogen-like drug, helped lessen pain during intercourse caused by vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women, in a new study…
At the end of the study, women taking the drug had lower vaginal pH - which is abnormally high with vaginal atrophy - and reported significantly less pain during sex. They also used less lubricant, which indicated sex was more comfortable, according to results…
"It appears to be as effective as a low-dose oral estrogen," lead author Dr. David Portman told Reuters Health by email.
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Researchers Home in on Biological Ways to Restore Hearing

(Scientific American) [M]ost researchers think that within a decade they may have the tools that will eventually allow doctors to stop the progression of sensorineural hearing loss, including age-related hearing loss. Putting those tools into practice will take much longer. (Gene therapy, for people whose hearing loss has a genetic basis, will probably come sooner, possibly in the next decade.) The best guesses for hair cell regeneration—for the much larger group of people whose sensorineural loss is caused by noise or ototoxins or age—range anywhere from twenty to fifty years.
Until recently, scientists focused on the development of devices that would take the place of normal hearing: hearing aids and cochlear implants. The pharmaceutical industry, usually so quick to jump on the opportunity to medicalize a chronic age-related condition—dry eyes and wrinkles, trouble sleeping, lagging sexual function, bladder control, memory loss—has not paid much attention to age-related hearing loss, in terms either of prevention or cure. There are no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of hearing loss. Demographics alone would suggest they are missing a big opportunity.
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Computers, phones, iPads add to eye strain

(UPI) Increasing use of smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs may expose the eyes to strain from long, uninterrupted screen time, U.S. eye experts say…
Eyestrain can be lessened or even prevented by making changes to the computer workspace and by visiting an eye doctor. The group suggests to:
-- Place your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level.
-- Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen. It should be close enough so you don't have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus.
-- Change your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections. Glare filters over your computer screen can also help.
-- Use an adjustable chair.
-- Choose screens that can tilt and swivel. An adjustable keyboard can be helpful.
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Medicare Drug Costs to Be Reduced for Seniors, U.S. Says

(Bloomberg) The elderly and disabled enrolled in Medicare will pay less for drugs next year and insurers that offer plans with extra benefits will see taxpayer subsidies reduced because of record low spending growth, the U.S. said.
The standard deductible for Medicare’s drug program, called Part D, will be $310 in 2014, about 4.6 percent less than this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement. Copayments also will be reduced for the program that began in 2006.
It’s the first time Medicare recipients have received an annual reduction in out-of-pocket costs for drugs, the government said. “Historically low growth” in health-care spending for the nation’s 50 million Medicare beneficiaries also led to a 2.2 percent reduction in government payments next year to Medicare Advantage plans.
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Low-Protein Diet Slows Alzheimer's in Mice

(Science Daily) Mice with many of the pathologies of Alzheimer's Disease showed fewer signs of the disease when given a protein-restricted diet supplemented with specific amino acids every other week for four months.
Mice at advanced stages of the disease were put on the new diet. They showed improved cognitive abilities over their non-dieting peers when their memory was tested using mazes. In addition, fewer of their neurons contained abnormal levels of a damaged protein, called "tau," which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
Dietary protein is the major dietary regulator of a growth hormone known as IGF-1, which has been associated with aging and diseases in mice and several diseases in older adults.
Community: Since meat prices are expected to explode, this would be a good time to start reducing protein intake. Most Americans eat too much protein, anyway.
Also, there are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Vitamin D3 to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

(RealAge.com) Vitamin D3’s immune-regulating powers can D-feat brain-destroying amyloid tangles that contribute to the mental deterioration that occurs with Alzheimer’s disease. While we await human trials of skin cancer drug bexarotene, which Case Western University researchers discovered can activate removal of Alzheimer's plaques in mice, we hope you add vitamin D3 to your brain-boosting playbook.
Eating fresh vegetables and fruit, 100% whole grains, and lean proteins -- especially omega-3/DHA-rich fish, such as salmon and trout -- are great ways to get heart-protecting, brain-enhancing, cancer-fighting vitamins, but eating good sources of vitamin D may not be enough. Half of all adults are vitamin D deficient…
To make sure you get enough, spend 15 to 30 minutes a day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (using a sunscreen with an SPF of 8 or less) in the sun. Also, take in 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day from food or a supplement (2,000 IU max without talking with your doc).
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline.
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Vascular Brain Injury a Risk Factor in Cognitive Aging

(Science Daily) Vascular brain injury from conditions such as high blood pressure and stroke are greater risk factors for cognitive impairment among non-demented older people than is the deposition of the amyloid plaques in the brain that long have been implicated in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, a study … has found…
[T]he study found that vascular brain injury had by far the greatest influence across a range of cognitive domains, including higher-level thinking and the forgetfulness of mild cognitive decline.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline. Also, the same measures that can prevent or minimize stroke risk can keep blood vessels strong and less likely to leak.
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Damaged blood vessels loaded with amyloid worsen cognitive impairment

(Weill Cornell Medical College) A team of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College has discovered that amyloid peptides are harmful to the blood vessels that supply the brain with blood in Alzheimer's disease—thus accelerating cognitive decline by limiting oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. In their animal studies, the investigators reveal how amyloid-β accumulates in blood vessels and how such accumulation and damage might be ultimately prevented…
"Our findings strongly suggest that amyloid, in addition to damaging neurons, also threatens the cerebral blood supply and increases the brain's susceptibility to damage through oxygen deprivation," says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Costantino Iadecola… "If we can stop accumulation of amyloid in these blood vessels, we might be able to significantly improve cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease patients. Furthermore, we might be able to improve the effectiveness of amyloid immunotherapy, which is in clinical trials but has been hampered by the accumulation of amyloid in cerebral blood vessels."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of cognitive decline. Also, the same measures that can prevent or minimize stroke risk can keep blood vessels strong and less likely to leak.
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More Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Science Daily)  Occupational exposure to magnetic fields (MF) may be associated with "moderately increased risk" of certain neurodegenerative diseases -- including Alzheimer's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, [say researchers]… Magnetic field exposure is common among workers in electrical occupations. The results suggested significant but weak associations between measures of MF exposure and the risk of Alzheimer's disease and MND. Other neurodegenerative diseases -- including Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis -- were unrelated to MF exposure.
(Science Daily) New Mayo Clinic research suggests that blood may hold clues to whether post-menopausal women may be at an increased risk for areas of brain damage that can lead to memory problems and possibly increased risk of stroke. The study shows that blood's tendency to clot may contribute to areas of brain damage.
(MedPage Today) A biomarker model of the progression of Alzheimer's disease is supported by a clinical study of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), researchers reported. In a multicenter prospective study, only one patient with none of the multiple biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology progressed to dementia, according to Giovanni Frisoni, MD, … and colleagues. But all patients with all biomarkers progressed, Frisoni and colleagues reported
(Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres) Cognitive decline in old age is linked to decreasing production of new neurons. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have discovered in mice that significantly more neurons are generated in the brains of older animals if a signaling molecule called Dickkopf-1 is turned off. In tests for spatial orientation and memory, mice in advanced adult age whose Dickkopf gene had been silenced reached an equal mental performance as young animals.
Community: The DICKHEAD gene? Sure, it should be turned off. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Salmon Croquettes
By pairing this superfast recipe with a light salad, you can impress guests and have time to enjoy the meal.
EatingWell:
Green Couscous & Shrimp
This quick dinner recipe of couscous, white beans and shrimp is flavored with a potent parsley-and-basil dressing.
Cooking Light:
Washington Post:
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Silver Cod in Hosho Paper | Megu Restaurant, NYC
This recipe was stolen with permission from Yoshio Shinohara, Executive Chef and his team of chefs at Megu, NY. Meaning "blessing" in Japanese, Megu presents modern Japanese cuisine, sushi, and sumibi aburiyaki.
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7 Food Swaps Science Says You Should Make Right Now

(John Whyte, M.D., MPH) Here are seven easy changes you can make today to help settle some of these health questions in your life, and start on the path to a longer, healthier life:
1. Put down that dinner roll and pick up the salt (kosher preferred!) shaker
Bread is the greatest source of sodium in the American diet…
2. Put down that diet soda and pick up a cup of joe
Drinking up to three cups of coffee a day has been shown not only to help with weight control, but also to reduce the incidence of diabetes and dementia.
3. Put down the candy and pick up a handful of almonds
Eating good fats, especially the monounsaturated fatty acids that are in nuts, can improve blood sugar control…
4. Put down the grape juice and pick up a glass of red wine.
One of the biggest problems with sugary foods, like juices and juice blends, is that they are low in nutrients. In addition, a high amount of sugar basically acts like a toxin in our bodies, causing problems with insulin release and fat deposits…
5. Put down that bacon and pick up that egg
Eggs do contain cholesterol, so many people are afraid to eat them (or at least the yolks) at all, but in fact, eggs have many health benefits. They are low in calories, high in unsaturated fat, and high in vitamins, minerals, and protein. As long as you don't eat more than four eggs a week, your cholesterol should be fine…
6. Put down the coconut oil and pick up the olive oil
I don't think the high number of calories and the high amount of saturated fat [in coconut oil] are good for you, so until there are better studies, I say save the coconut oil for when you're on vacation in a tropical paradise. We already have better options for cooking, such as extra-virgin olive oil.
7. Put down that mid-morning cookie and pick it back up again.
Sometimes you should simply give in. A healthy diet is not about denial. I don't want you to never eat something if you truly enjoy it. So, if you truly enjoy cupcakes, you should have one every so often. Once a week, perhaps, but not every day.
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Get on board with local foods: Study

(The Supermarket Guru) Supermarkets that support local food sources appeal to the vast majority of consumers—85.0% call this “very important” in their choice of a primary destination. This figure pauses a four-year uptrend that began at 79.0% in 2009 and peaked at 87.8% in 2012. People correlate closeness with better nutrition because food is fresher and traveled a short distance. They also like the idea of buying from nearby suppliers…
Indeed, among all the potential improvements consumers would like to see in primary supermarkets, “more locally grown foods” comes in second only to “price/cost savings.” More than one-third of respondents (33.5%) express this.
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Safe Cookware 101

(The Supermarket Guru) Nonstick cookware is almost a must for any chef or home cook who wants to make healthy food. The surface does not necessitate as much oil or other fat to be used in the cooking process, and when you’re finished cooking, clean up is a cinch.
The safety of nonstick cookware has been the subject of debate due to concerns that the surfaces might emit toxic fumes, harmful to our health, and our pets, specifically birds. One thing we do know is that if a nonstick pan is heated too quickly or too hot, there is a risk of chemicals being emitted. In terms of the chemicals getting into our foods, the FDA suggests it’s very unlikely that a significant amount of chemicals migrate from pans into food.
Read more, including specific recommendations for using nonstick cookware safely.
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Even a drink a day boosts cancer death risk, alcohol study finds

(NBC News) The first update of alcohol-linked cancer deaths in the U.S. in three decades shows that booze can be blamed for nearly 20,000 deaths a year -- and it’s not just the heavy drinkers.
Certainly those who downed three or more drinks a day accounted for most of the deaths from seven kinds of cancer, up to 60 percent, according to a new study…
But consuming just 1.5 drinks a day -- or less -- was associated with up to 35 percent of those cancer deaths, suggesting that any alcohol use carries some risk.
“For non-drinkers, it’s another reason to feel happy they don’t drink,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi, the study’s director and an associate professor at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health.  “For drinkers, it shows that when it comes to cancer, the less you drink, the better.”
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The Latest in HIV Research

(BBC News) The origins of HIV can be traced back millions rather than tens of thousands of years, research suggests. HIV, which causes Aids, emerged in humans in the 20th Century, but scientists have long known that similar viruses in monkeys and apes have existed for much longer. A genetic study shows HIV-like viruses arose in African monkeys and apes 5 million to 12 million years ago. The research may one day lead to a better understanding of HIV and Aids.
(Science Daily) New research … shows that a handheld mobile device can check patients' HIV status with just a finger prick, and synchronize the results in real time with electronic health records. This technology takes a step toward providing remote areas of the world with diagnostic services traditionally available only in centralized healthcare settings.
(MedPage Today) Treating HIV in the first weeks and months of infection is associated with slower disease progression and better recovery of the immune system, according to two studies… Taken together, the studies add "more fuel to the fire" of increased interest in early treatment, commented Michael Saag, MD… The bottom line, he told MedPage Today in a video interview, is that "these studies underscore that by starting (treatment) early, especially in the setting of acute or recent infection, you can get a lot of clinical benefit."
(Science Daily) Replacing the combination of brand-name, antiretroviral drugs currently recommended for control of HIV infection with soon-to-be-available generic medications could save the U.S. health care system almost $1 billion a year but may diminish the effectiveness of HIV treatment… "The switch from branded to generic antiretrovirals would place us in the uncomfortable position of trading some losses of both quality and quantity of life for a large potential dollar savings," says Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH.
(ThinkProgress) A team of Spanish researchers say they have made an important breakthrough in HIV research, developing a new vaccine against the virus that is significantly more effective than earlier attempts… Researchers tested the vaccine on randomly selected HIV-positive individuals who were already taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) medications, the most scientifically advanced form of treatment currently available to combat the virus. They wanted to see if, rather than simply suppressing the effects of the virus with outside treatment, their vaccine could lead the human immune system to coordinate its own defense against HIV — and they succeeded, seeing some subjects’ HIV viral loads drop more than 90 percent after 12 weeks of the trial:
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U.S. Approves First Method to Give the Blind Limited Vision

(New York Times) The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the first treatment to give limited vision to people who are blind, involving a technology called the “artificial retina.”
With it, people with certain types of blindness can detect crosswalks on the street, burners on a stove, the presence of people or cars, and sometimes even oversized numbers or letters.
The artificial retina is a sheet of electrodes surgically implanted in the eye. The patient is also outfitted with a pair of glasses with an attached camera and a portable video processor. These elements together allow visual signals to bypass the damaged portion of the retina and be transmitted to the brain. The F.D.A. approval covers this integrated system, which the manufacturer calls Argus II.
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Vision Restored With Total Darkness in Kittens With Amblyopia

(Science Daily) Restoring vision might sometimes be as simple as turning out the lights. That's according to a study … in which researchers examined kittens with a visual impairment known as amblyopia before and after they spent 10 days in complete darkness.
Researchers Kevin Duffy and Donald Mitchell … believe that exposure to darkness causes some parts of the visual system to revert to an early stage in development, when there is greater flexibility.
"There may be ways to increase brain plasticity and recover from disorders such as amblyopia without drug intervention," Duffy says. "Immersion in total darkness seems to reset the visual brain to enable remarkable recovery."
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Common Chemicals Linked to Osteoarthritis

(Science Daily) A new study has linked exposure to two common perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) with osteoarthritis. PFCs are used in more than 200 industrial processes and consumer products including certain stain- and water-resistant fabrics, grease-proof paper food containers, personal care products, and other items. Because of their persistence, PFCs have become ubiquitous contaminants of humans and wildlife…
"We found that PFOA and PFOS exposures are associated with higher prevalence of osteoarthritis, particularly in women, a group that is disproportionately impacted by this chronic disease," said Sarah Uhl, who authored the study.
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Eco-Safe Antibacterial Fiber Discovered

(Science Daily) Researchers … have discovered an antibacterial polymer that can be used in everyday products such as sportswear, diapers and bandages, without causing resistant bacteria.
"We have managed to find an antibacterial polymer that attaches stably to cellulose and therefore cannot be released into the environment," says Josefin Illergård…
The discovery could be an important breakthrough in the search for environmentally-friendly ways to control bacteria while preventing antibiotic resistance and resistant bacteria.
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Residential care options

(NIH Senior Health, via email) There may come a time when an older adult can no longer live independently due to illness or frailty. See what type of housing options exist for people who need residential care. To learn more, watch this short video, "Living in a Continuing Care Community."
The information on Long Term Care was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the Administration on Aging (AoA) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
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Study: Expanding Medicaid Cheaper Than Not In Colorado

(Kaiser Health News) Opponents of the Medicaid expansion called for in the Affordable Care Act say states can’t afford it, even with the federal government picking up most of the tab. But a new analysis says it would actually be more expensive for Colorado to not expand Medicaid.
“While Medicaid expansion is not free, the combination of federal support for expansion populations and state savings in [other health and human services] programs makes full expansion less costly to the General Fund than no expansion until FY 2020-21,” concludes the analysis, by Denver economic consultant Charles Brown. Brown’s report was commissioned by the Colorado Health Foundation, a nonprofit, grant-making foundation endowed by the 1995 sale of non-profit hospitals to for-profit hospital giant HCA. It no longer has ties to those hospitals…
Colorado is expected to adopt the expansion.
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House Republican aims to repeal Medicare doctor pay cuts

(Reuters) Republicans in the House of Representatives will seek a permanent solution to scheduled steep cuts in physician payments from the federal Medicare health insurance plan for retirees and disabled people, a House committee chairman said on Wednesday.
Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told doctors he hopes to send so-called "Doc Fix" legislation to the House floor this summer that would repeal payment reductions enacted in 1997 as part of a law to balance the federal budget.
The 16-year-old "sustainable growth rate" (SGR) provision calls for reductions in doctor pay as a way to control spending by Medicare. Congress has prevented the SGR from taking effect through temporary measures, but that has run up the fiscal and political costs of finding a permanent solution.
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Men are from ... Earth, women are from ... Earth, study says

(University of Rochester) For decades, popular writers have entertained readers with the premise that men and women are so psychologically dissimilar they could hail from entirely different planets. But a new study shows that it's time for the Mars/Venus theories about the sexes to come back to Earth.
From empathy and sexuality to science inclination and extroversion, statistical analysis of 122 different characteristics involving 13,301 individuals shows that men and women, by and large, do not fall into different groups. In other words, no matter how strange and inscrutable your partner may seem, their gender is probably only a small part of the problem.
"People think about the sexes as distinct categories," says Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and a co-author on the study…
But the handy dichotomy often falls apart under statistical scrutiny, says lead author Bobbi Carothers… For example, it is not at all unusual for men to be empathic and women to be good at math – characteristics that some research has associated with the other sex, says Carothers. "Sex is not nearly as confining a category as stereotypes and even some academic studies would have us believe," she adds.
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