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

Genes, Junk Food and Weight

(NIH Research Matters) Researchers gained new insight into how genetics may influence obesity by studying how the mouse equivalent of a fast-food diet affects different mouse strains… on genetics, age and other factors. Recent evidence also suggests that gut microbes play a role in obesity…
“Our research demonstrates that body fat responses to high-fat, high-sugar diets have a very strong genetic component, and we have identified several genetic factors potentially regulating these responses,” [Dr. Brian Parks] says. “Overall, our work has broad implications concerning the genetic nature of obesity and weight gain.”
The researchers now plan to explore the specific roles these genetic factors play in the interactions between diet and body weight.
Community: Some of us just have to work harder to achieve and maintain a reasonable weight.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Potential Conflicts of Interest Among Authors of Obesity Myths Paper

(Gary Schwitzer, MedPage Today) A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity,” drew lots of news attention…
The Associated Press (AP) reported:
“Independent researchers say the authors have some valid points. But many of the report’s authors also have deep financial ties to food, beverage and weight-loss product makers – the disclosures take up half a page of fine print in the journal.
“It raises questions about what the purpose of this paper is” and whether it’s aimed at promoting drugs, meal replacement products and bariatric surgery as solutions, said Marion Nestle, a New York University professor of nutrition and food studies.
“The big issues in weight loss are how you change the food environment in order for people to make healthy choices,” such as limits on soda sizes and marketing junk food to children, she said. Some of the myths they cite are “straw men” issues, she said.”
In an NBC story, Nestle said, “I can’t understand the point of the paper unless it’s to say that the only things that work are drugs, bariatric surgery, and meal replacements, all of which are made by companies with financial ties to the authors.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

There's No Cure for Obesity, Only Ongoing Treatment

(Yoni Freedhoff, MD, University of Ottawa) [Recently], the New England Journal of Medicine published a piece highlighting the myths, presumptions, and facts that surround our current understanding of obesity. Among the facts mentioned is this one: "Continuation of conditions that promote weight loss promotes maintenance of lower weight." The point can be expanded upon by some of my favorite weight-management truisms:
      The more weight you'd like to permanently lose, the more of your life you'll need to permanently change.
      If you can't happily eat less, you're not going to eat less.
      If you can't happily exercise more, you're not going to exercise more.
      Your best weight is whatever weight you reach, when you're living the healthiest life you actually enjoy.
So remember, whatever you choose to do to lose the weight, if you stop doing it, the weight's going to come back. What that means, of course, is that if you don't like your life while you're losing weight, you're going to gain your weight back…
[I]f you don't like the life you're living, you're not going to keep living that way. And for obesity, there is no cure, only ongoing treatment.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Study Questions Cost Savings of Weight-Loss Surgery

(MedPage Today) Bariatric surgery did not reduce healthcare costs over the long term when surgery patients were compared with matched obese patients who did not have surgery, a review of almost 30,000 cases showed.
Surgical patients had lower healthcare costs in the first year after surgery, averaging about $1,000 lower per case, according to Jonathan P. Weiner, DrPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and co-authors. During the next 2 years, bariatric surgery was associated with significantly higher healthcare costs. In years 4 through 6, costs stabilized but remained higher in the surgery cohort for 2 of the 3 years.
Community: Surgery is just too drastic a step, in my opinion.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Weight Loss Tips

(Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source) Since 1993, more than 5,000 women and men have joined the National Weight Control Registry. This select “club” includes only people who lost more than 30 pounds and kept them off for at least a year. What was their secret? They exercised… They ate fewer calories… They watched less television, limited fast food intake, cut back on sugars and sweets, and ate more fruits and vegetables.
(Los Angeles Times) It may seem a little obvious, but one way to eat less is to take smaller bites… People who took small sips consumed about 30% less than those who took big sips and those who decided the size of their sips. And, those who took larger sips underestimated how much they ate.
(Science Daily) How much chocolate would you need to eat to be satisfied? Less than half as much as you think, according to this recently published Cornell University snacking study… The results remarkably showed that smaller portion sizes are capable of providing similar feelings of satisfaction as larger ones.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Eating small, healthful meals throughout the day not only helps keep blood sugar levels stable and energy levels high in some people, it can also be the best strategy to help prevent overeating and promote a healthy weight. Start by making your main meals smaller in size and stocking up on healthy, satisfying snack items to round out your day. Good choices include: Fresh or lightly steamed veggies… Hummus with whole wheat pita… Seasonal fruit with good-quality yogurt and freshly ground flaxseed… Whole grain crackers with a small piece of cheese or smoked salmon.
(Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN, U.S. News & World Report) In my own practice, I've found that many of my weight-loss clients are able to employ dark chocolate "defensively" to prevent them from snacking on empty-calorie cookies, cakes, candy, and ice cream when the afternoon munchies strike or they crave something sweet after dinner. When I direct them to eat a specific dose of dark chocolate several times per week, many of my patients report that the permission to indulge in something so satisfying on a daily basis makes it easy for them to resist temptation by higher-sugar, higher-calorie snack foods that have been their undoing in the past.
(UPI) Many may have too much on their plate, but a new kind of dinnerware with circles painted for portion size may lead to weight loss, its Colorado creator says… [Sheila Kemper] Dietrich said she created dinnerware to fool Mother Nature by featuring circles of different sizes on the plate -- one for starch, one for vegetables, one for protein and one for sauce -- made to look like part of the plate design and suitable for company… Dietrich said she lost 50 pounds using the dinnerware…A four-piece set retails for $49.95 at livligahome.com.
More . . .

More Recent Research on Obesity and Weight Loss

(UPI) U.S. adults were as likely to be obese last year as they were in 2011, a survey indicated… Based on the self-reports, 3.6 percent of U.S. adults were morbidly obese last year, on par with 3.4 percent in 2011 and 3.5 percent in 2009 and 2010, Gallup said. [T]he percentage of Americans who were obese in all major demographic and socioeconomic groups stayed about the same in 2012 compared with 2011.
Men and women, particularly those categorized as obese, have grown increasingly likely over the years to underestimate their true weight,...
(The Supermarket Guru ) Fewer women are dieting, according to a new study from NPD Group. NPD has been tracking Americans’ dieting habits for three decades, and this most recent study finds dieting to be on the decline, with women leading the trend. In 1992, 34% of women were on a diet; today that number drops to 23%. The question is why? With more women in the workplace, and many taking over the role of the main breadwinner … – women may have less time to think about things like dieting. Role models are changing too. Celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Christina Hendricks and Jessica Simpson are celebrated for their curves… Also, Americans’ attitudes toward being overweight are evolving … – which may not be a good thing.
(Science Daily) New research from the University of British Columbia is shedding light on why enticing pictures of food affect us less when we're full… [Stephanie] Borgland and colleagues found that insulin -- prompted by a sweetened, high-fat meal -- affects the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which is responsible for reward-seeking behaviour. When insulin was applied to the VTA in mice, they no longer gravitated towards environments where food had been offered… The VTA has also been shown to be associated with addictive behaviours, including illicit drug use. Borgland says better understanding of the mechanism in this region of the brain could, in the long run, inform diagnosis and treatment.
(Science Daily) Past studies have suggested a relationship between neighborhood characteristics and obesity, as well as a connection between obesity and advertisements on television and in magazines. Now, new research from UCLA has identified a possible link between outdoor food ads and a tendency to pack on pounds. The findings, researchers say, are not encouraging.
(Reuters Health) People driving to work every day are packing on more pounds than their colleagues on trains, buses and bikes, according to a new study from Australia. "Even if you are efficiently active during leisure time, if you use a car for commuting daily then that has an impact on weight gain," lead author Takemi Sugiyama … told Reuters Health.
(Science Daily) Similar to talking about being fat, talking about being old is an important an indicator of body dissatisfaction, shows research… Body dissatisfaction is known to be correlated with, and predictive of, physical and mental health problems including binge eating, emotional eating, stress, low self-esteem, depression, and use of unhealthy weight control behaviours.
More . . .


Seafood Cioppino
Don't be intimidated by the name: our cioppino is easy to make and it features fresh Italian flavors such as basil, oregano, and tomatoes. If you already have it on hand, feel free to substitute chicken broth in place of vegetable broth.
Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas
Pickled jalapeños, cilantro and avocado perk up convenient canned salmon for a quick tostada topping. Skip store-bought and make your own crispy shells in the oven. Serve with: Brown rice cooked with diced tomatoes and onions or salsa.
The Supermarket Guru:
Winter Compote of Fruit
This is a dish that is made for the dried fruits of winter, deeply delicious, sweet, yet balanced with the lovely acidic quality of good quality coffee.  Nearly any kind of citrus and dried fruits will do; we suggest quite a few but use whatever you like best. Mix just a few or a lot, as available.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Salmon Teriyaki
This wonderful, easy main dish makes a delicious meal when served with a green salad, rice or rice noodles and steamed vegetables…
Food as Medicine
Salmon, like most cold-water fish, contains an abundance of omega-3 essential fatty acids that may lower the risk of heart disease. Omega-3s have been shown to lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels, minimize inflammation and clotting, and increase HDL ("good") cholesterol. Daily consumption of omega-3-rich salmon can significantly reduce the risk of coronary disease.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Pump Up Potassium Intake for Heart Health

(The Supermarket Guru ) [W]atching your sodium intake might not be enough to protect and promote cardiovascular health - contrary to what many of us have heard. A study … found that those whose diets were relatively equal in sodium and potassium were at the lowest risk of dying from cardiovascular disease…
There are easy ways to reduce sodium and increase potassium in your diet. Head to the produce section of your market! Choosing fresh, whole foods over those that are packaged, and processed is a great start. Some of the best sources of potassium include yam, lima beans, swiss chard, winter squash, soybeans, avocado, spinach, crimini mushrooms, cantaloupe, blackstrap molasses, pinto beans, apricots, bananas, lentils, papaya, and more.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Natural Treatments for Heartburn

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you suffer from frequent heartburn - twice a week or more - you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This condition occurs in people whose lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close properly, allowing stomach acid to backflow into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest and neck areas. It can also cause nausea, coughing, belching, a bitter taste and respiratory problems, including aggravation of asthma. Diet, stress, smoking and pregnancy can all trigger or worsen symptoms.
If you think you have GERD, see a doctor to rule out other concerns, such as angina, which has similar symptoms. Discuss any medications you are taking: some can trigger reflux. If you want to naturally treat GERD try the following.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Magnetic Collar Slows GERD

(MedPage Today) A string of magnetic beads placed around the esophageal sphincter helped most patients reduce acid reflux and cut back on medications for the condition, results of a small, uncontrolled trial indicated.
With 100 patients having the device implanted via laparoscopic surgery, 64 achieved the primary endpoint for treatment success, defined as either normalized acid exposure in the esophagus or a reduction in acid exposure of at least 50% after 1 year, according to Robert A. Ganz, MD, … and colleagues.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Could Traditional Chinese Medicine Cure Metabolic Syndrome?

(Science Daily) Obesity might be a very modern problem, but a team of scientists from Taiwan and China is turning to the age-old principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to help fight it…
Metabolic syndrome, a collective disorder characterised by obesity and multiple clinical disorders, is on the rise. Obesity itself is an endocrine disease caused by the body's inability to handle excessive energy intake. It can lead to serious chronic diseases like hypertension, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, stroke and type-2 diabetes.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are key regulators of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism… Because of these roles, [they] are also important drug targets for treating metabolic syndrome.
TCM compounds have long been recognised as potential lead candidates in creating anti-viral, anti-tumour and anti-inflammation agents…
[A new search of a TCM database has identified] two TCM compounds as potential lead compounds in developing agonists targeting multiple PPARs: (S)-tryptophan-betaxanthin and berberrubine.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Aspirin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Work Together to Fight Inflammation

(Science Daily) Experts tout the health benefits of low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like flax seeds and salmon, but the detailed mechanisms involved in their effects are not fully known. Now researchers … show that aspirin helps trigger the production of molecules called resolvins that are naturally made by the body from omega-3 fatty acids. These resolvins shut off, or "resolve," the inflammation that underlies destructive conditions such as inflammatory lung disease, heart disease, and arthritis.
"In this report, we found that one resolvin, termed resolvin D3 from the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, persists longer at sites of inflammation than either resolvin D1 or resolvin D2 in the natural resolution of inflammation in mice," explains senior author Dr. Charles Serhan…
[R]esearchers will be interested in determining which inflammation-associated diseases might be treated with this newly identified resolvin.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Cochlear Implants Boost Hearing in Adults

(MedPage Today) Adults with sensorineural hearing loss had significant improvement in communication-related outcomes and quality of life after cochlear implantation, a meta-analysis of published studies showed.
The results showed that 11 of 16 studies involving unilateral implantation led to significant … improvement in speech-related outcomes compared with controls. None of the remaining five studies showed deterioration in scores associated with the outcomes.
Bilateral implantation led to significant improvement … in at least one communication-related outcome in 12 of 15 studies included in the analysis.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Surprise: New specs may fix colorblindness

(NBC News) [Russell] Belding is among [the] first fans of new glasses that were made to boost the vision of health care workers, but appear to have a side effect of correcting for the genetic condition known as color blindness…
For people with red-green colorblindness, using the Oxy-Iso lenses produces a striking effect -- but there’s also a downside. The glasses may boost red-green hues, but they do it at the expense of blue-yellow hues…
Ophthalmology experts say this is hardly the first time that glasses that filter light have been suggested as a cure for color blindness -- and they’re not pleased that the subject has come up again.
“It’s not new and it doesn’t work,” is the blunt assessment of Dr. Michael Marmor, a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University and a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The glasses may boost discrimination enough so that people with color deficiencies can pass the standard Ishihara color vision test for the disorder. But they don’t do anything to correct the condition itself, and it’s not clear they need to, Marmor adds.
“They can see colors,” Marmor says, noting that the hue problems range widely. “It’s not a huge issue for most people.”
Community: The ability to see colors better could be vitally important to certain creative people—clothes designer Anthony Ryan Auld (video), for example.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

In U.S., flu vaccine worked in just over half of those who got it

(Reuters) A U.S. government analysis of this season's flu vaccine suggests it was effective in only 56 percent of people who got the shot, and it largely failed to protect the elderly against an especially deadly strain circulating during flu season.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the findings underscore the need for more effective weapons in the fight against influenza, which kills between 3,000 and 50,000 people in the United States each year depending on the severity of the flu season.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Influenza Study: Meet Virus' New Enemy

(Science Daily) Simon Fraser University virologist Masahiro Niikura and his doctoral student Nicole Bance are among an international group of scientists that has discovered a new class of molecular compounds capable of killing the influenza virus.
Working on the premise that too much of a good thing can be a killer, the scientists have advanced previous researchers' methods of manipulating an enzyme that is key to how influenza replicates and spreads.
Their new compounds will lead to a new generation of anti-influenza drugs that the virus' strains can't adapt to, and resist, as easily as they do Tamiflu.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Medicare drug costs to fall in 2014, but donut hole widens

(Reuters) There will be good and bad news next year for seniors using Medicare's prescription drug program.
Overall, enrollees can expect a year of flat or decreasing Medicare prescription drug costs, according to data released last week by the federal government. The government said Medicare's per-beneficiary drug costs fell 4 percent last year. As a result, some of the most important numbers in the program's 2014 Part D will drop by roughly the same amounts.
The number that will matter most to seniors is the standard annual plan deductible. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Medicare, said last week that it will be $310, down from $325 this year (the numbers are proposed, and still could be revised).
And insurance plan premiums - which won't be known until this fall - could reflect the decline in drug prices.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

5 Ways The Sequester Could Make You Sick

(ThinkProgress) In just a week, the United States will hit the deadline for the sequester — the automatic spending cuts that were negotiated during the 2011 debt ceiling deal. The spending cuts will begin going into effect on March 1 unless lawmakers broker a compromise to avert sequestration, as they did at the beginning of this year when they agreed to push the deadline back two months. But so far, there’s no sign of a deal.
The sequester’s across-the-board indiscriminate cuts were designed to force lawmakers to reach a deal to reduce the deficit, and if they end up going into effect, they could have disastrous consequences on Americans’ health. Here are the top five ways that sequestration will make the nation a less healthy place:
1.    More Americans could be put at risk for foodborne illnesses…
2.    Medical researchers will be forced to delay the development of treatments that could help sick Americans…
3.    The government will have fewer resources to provide Americans with health coverage…
4.    Thousands of Americans living with mental illnesses could go untreated…
5.    Fewer Americans will get screened and treated for HIV.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Can Men Get Osteoporosis?

(RealAge.com) Guys can get bone problems like osteoporosis, too. An estimated 12 million men are at risk for the disease.
Calcium and vitamin D help protect you. So do weight-bearing exercises like lifting weights and hiking. And here's another thing you can do for your bones: Eat some crab salad. Why?
When men with osteoporosis were studied, it turned out that many of the guys with brittle bones were low on zinc. Your body needs zinc at many points in the bone-building process to help move things along…
Crab has about 4.6 milligrams of zinc per 3-ounce serving. Here are some other good food sources of zinc: Baked beans, … Chicken, … Turkey, … Cashews… Find more food sources here.
Both men and women need zinc for strong bones. How much do you need? Check out the RealAge Optimum dose here.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to maintain, and even increase, bone density.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Bone Health: Not All Dairy Products Are Equal

(Science Daily)  A study … has found that dairy intake -- specifically milk and yogurt -- is associated with higher bone mineral density (BMD) in the hip, but not the spine. Cream, on the other hand, may be associated with lower BMD overall… [T]hese findings suggest that not all dairy products are equally beneficial in promoting bone strength.
"Dairy foods provide several important nutrients that are beneficial for bone health," says lead author Shivani Sahni, Ph.D… "However, cream and its products such as ice cream have lower levels of these nutrients and have higher levels of fat and sugar. In this study, 2.5 -- 3 servings of milk and yogurt intake per day were associated with better bone density. More research is needed to examine the role of cheese intake (some of which can be high in fat and sodium), and whether individual dairy foods have a significant impact in reducing fractures."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to maintain, and even increase, bone density.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Calcium Without Dairy?

(RealAge.com) Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, and it helps prevent arthritis. But that's not all this mineral is good for. Calcium helps your brain communicate with your nerves and regulates blood pressure, and it may reduce the symptoms of PMS and the risk of colon cancer…
Good Sources of Calcium…
Community: There are many practical things we can do to maintain, and even increase, bone density.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Pathway That Stimulates Bone Growth Uncovered

(Science Daily) Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have discovered that a protein called Jagged-1 stimulates human stem cells to differentiate into bone-producing cells. This protein could help both human and animal patients heal from bone fractures faster and may form the basis of treatments for a rare metabolic condition called Alagille syndrome…
This finding aligns with other evidence linking Jagged-1 to bone formation. Patients with a rare disease known as Alagille syndrome frequently have mutations in the gene that codes for Jagged-1. Individuals with this condition have problems with their metabolism that severely affect their livers but also tend to have challenges with their skeletal system and break bones easily…
[Researcher Kurt] Hankenson has multiple collaborations with other researchers at Penn to further investigate how manipulating the Jagged-1 protein may one day help patients.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Recent Research on Bone

(Science Daily) [Inorganic chemistry professor Matthias] Epple's team has now created a bone repair paste by coating synthetic nanocrystals of calcium phosphate with nucleic acids -- in other words, with DNA… The … researchers expect that the paste will have a long-lasting effect since the nanoparticles are released successively and thus continuously stimulate the surrounding cells. They have demonstrated that the paste works in three different cell types.
(ScienceDaily) Researchers from North Carolina State University have for the first time successfully coated polymer implants with a bioactive film. The discovery should improve the success rate of such implants -- which are often used in spinal surgeries.
(University of Southampton) Artificial bone, created using stem cells and a new lightweight plastic, could soon be used to heal shattered limbs. The use of bone stem cells combined with a degradable rigid material that inserts into broken bones and encourages real bone to re-grow has been developed… Researchers have developed the material with a honeycomb scaffold structure that allows blood to flow through it, enabling stem cells from the patient's bone marrow to attach to the material and grow new bone. Over time, the plastic slowly degrades as the implant is replaced by newly grown bone.
(Science Daily) The form and structure of bones change as a result of the forces to which they are subjected. Researcher Patrik Christen of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has used this fact to determine the load using the bone structure. This knowledge can be important in predicting the progress and treatment of bone diseases, as well as for understanding the walking behavior of extinct species.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]


Cooking Light:
15 Kale Recipes
Bursting with nutrients, kale makes a tasty addition to soups, casseroles, or even simply sautéed as a side dish.
Sesame Pork Rice
Brightly flavored with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, this pork fried rice recipe is faster than take-out, ready in just 15 minutes.
Beef & Bean Chile Verde
Chile Verde, usually a slow-cooked stew of pork, jalapeños and tomatillos, becomes an easy weeknight meal with quick-cooking ground beef and store-bought green salsa. Make it a Meal: Serve with fresh cilantro, red onion and Monterey Jack. Add your favorite hot sauce.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Top Foods for Oral Health

(The Supermarket Guru) Taking care of our teeth, is important to our overall health and well being; without teeth it would be difficult to enjoy a variety of foods of different textures as well as obtain nutrients to maintain and promote health. The foods we choose as fuel and how often we eat affect our general health as well as our teeth and gums.
Plant foods that require a lot of chewing like apples, celery, and carrots help clean and may even whiten teeth. Chewing increases saliva production, which helps restore the pH balance in your mouth, a low pH can cause damage to your teeth. Celery and parsley are also thought to help freshen breath…
According to recent research, probiotics in yogurt (and other probiotics rich foods) help battle bad breath, plaque, and gum disease by creating an undesirable environment for bad bacteria in your mouth…
Cheese, particularly cheddar, is also great for your teeth…
Dark green leafy vegetables have good amounts of chlorophyll, phosphorous, vitamins A and C, all of which are needed for calcium absorption.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Blueberries and strawberries

(HHS HealthBeat) Researchers think blueberries and strawberries may be good for the heart. They saw this in 18 years of data on 93,600 U.S. women ages 25 to 42. Women who had three or more servings a week had a one-third lower risk of heart attack.
The berries have flavonoids, which can help to counter changes in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks. At the University of East Anglia in England, Aedin Cassidy says other fruits and vegetables also have flavonoids:
“If you add more red and blue colored fruits and vegetables to your normal diet, you can reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Start incorporating these berries into your weekly shop.”
Community: You may not want to shop for berries weekly, considering their cost. What I do is buy them when they’re in season and freeze them. For all berries other than strawberries, I just throw them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. I take out enough for a serving and only wash them just before defrosting.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Organic Tomatoes Accumulate More Vitamin C, Sugars Than Conventionally Grown Fruit

(Science Daily) Tomatoes grown on organic farms accumulate higher concentrations of sugars, vitamin C and compounds associated with oxidative stress compared to those grown on conventional farms, according to research…
According to the authors, organic farming exposes plants to greater stress than conventional farming. They suggest that this increased stress may be the reason organic tomatoes had higher levels sugars, vitamin C and pigment molecules like lycopene, an anti-oxidant compound -- all of which are associated with the biological response to stress. Based on these observations, the authors suggest that growing strategies for fruits and vegetables should aim to balance plant stress with efforts to maximize yield and fruit size, rather than trying to eliminate stress to increase yields.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Learn to Eat the Anti-Inflammatory Way in Just 8 Minutes!

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is the basis of Dr. Weil's nutritional recommendations. It is a blueprint for a lifetime of optimum nutrition. Making simple changes in how you eat can help counteract chronic inflammation, a root cause of many serious age-related diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and many cancers.
If you still aren't on this "eating plan for life," watch as Dr. Weil outlines the fundamental elements of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Everything you need to get started - including what to eat, what not to eat and other essential bites of food wisdom - is in this video!
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Adults cut back fast food, but U.S. kids still eat too much fat: CDC

(Reuters) American adults have made a little progress in recent years in cutting back on calories from fast food, but children are still consuming too much fat, U.S. health researchers say.
French fries, pizza and similar items accounted for about 11 percent of U.S. adults' caloric intake from 2007 to 2010, on average, down from about 13 percent between 2003 and 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in one of two reports released on Thursday.
Younger adults, black Americans and those who are already obese consumed the highest amounts of such food, which is often high in fat, salt and calories that can doom waistlines.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

(Michael Moss, investigative reporter, New York Times) The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control?
It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.
I talked to more than 300 people in or formerly employed by the processed-food industry, from scientists to marketers to C.E.O.’s. Some were willing whistle-blowers, while others spoke reluctantly when presented with some of the thousands of pages of secret memos that I obtained from inside the food industry’s operations. What follows is a series of small case studies of a handful of characters whose work then, and perspective now, sheds light on how the foods are created and sold to people who, while not powerless, are extremely vulnerable to the intensity of these companies’ industrial formulations and selling campaigns.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Diet drinks may not fuel your appetite: study

(Reuters) Take another sip of that Diet Coke without fear that it may be spurring your appetite. Apparently, diet soda drinkers don't eat any more sugary or fatty foods than people who stick with water instead, according to a U.S. study.
Some researchers have proposed that drinks sweetened with artificial sugar might disrupt hormones involved in hunger and satiety cures, causing people to eat more. Others hypothesized that diet beverages could boost the drinker's preference for sweet tastes, translating to more munching on high-calorie treats.
"Our study does not provide evidence to suggest that a short-term consumption of diet beverages, compared with water, increases preferences for sweet foods and beverages," wrote lead researcher Carmen Piernas in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition…
The research was partially funded by Nestle Waters USA.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Resveratrol Shows Promise to Protect Hearing, Cognition

(Science Daily) Resveratrol, a substance found in red grapes and red wine, may have the potential to protect against hearing and cognitive decline, according to a published laboratory study…
"Our latest study focuses on resveratrol and its effect on bioinflammation, the body's response to injury and something that is believed to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss," says study lead author Michael D. Seidman…
"Resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body's inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing loss."
Community: Resveratrol is available as a food supplement.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Healthcare plans raise price after quote

(UPI) Eighty percent of U.S. health insurance plans raise premiums above the original quoted price for a portion of their applicants, a health consumer firm says…
"Consumers cannot objectively compare health insurance premiums prior to application because insurers base their initial rates on the healthiest applicants, and for many these rates would not apply," [said Kev Coleman, head of research & data at HealthPocket]. "When insurers wait until an application is reviewed to reveal the true monthly premium, it is impossible for consumers to know what health insurance plan is the least expensive for their circumstances."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Waiver In Hand, Florida's Rick Scott Backs Medicaid Expansion

(Kaiser Health News) Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he would back expansion of the Medicaid program under the federal health law. At a hastily-called press conference, Scott, a Republican, said he supported expanding Medicaid for three years — the amount of time the federal government picks up the whole cost.
“Expanding access to Medicaid services for three years is a compassionate, common sense step forward. It is not the end of our work to improve health care,” Scott said. “And, it is not a white flag of surrender to government-run health care.”
The move makes Scott the seventh Republican governor to back Medicaid expansion…
Earlier Wednesday, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted Florida a waiver that will allow the state to enroll almost all of its Medicaid patients into private managed care plans.
Community: Didn’t Rick Scott make his fortune in managed care? Will this move benefit him personally? At least one report says that managed care for Medicaid recipients doesn’t save any money. So the only reason to make that change is to put money in the pockets of the already privileged. When are we going to stop this kind of corruption?
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

U.S. issues final word on essential benefits under "Obamacare"

(Reuters) The Obama administration on Wednesday issued its long-awaited final rule on what states and insurers must do to provide the essential health benefits required in the individual and small-group market beginning in 2014 under the healthcare reform law…
Wednesday's rule included few changes from previous administration proposals…
Insurers including UnitedHealth Group Inc, Aetna Inc and Cigna Corp will use the government's final word on these required benefits as they design plans and set premium prices ahead of the exchange launches. They have each said they will sell plans on some of the exchanges, but have not yet committed to which ones.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How colonoscopies will be covered under Obamacare

(WonkBlog, Washington Post) We’ve known all along that colonoscopies count as one of the preventive services that insurers must cover without copayment, as they are a screening recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force.
What we haven’t known though, was what would happen if, during a colonoscopy, a doctor discovered a polyp and removed it. Would that still count as a screening—or would it cross the line into a treatment that the patient would need to pay for..
[Wednesday], the administration resolved this issue: It decided that insurance companies cannot charge patients for the removal of a polyp during a recommended colonoscopy…
Colonoscopy patients will not wake up to a surprise, post-operative bill.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Age Slows Pope, but Not All Octogenarians

(MedPage Today) With the average human lifespan pushing 80, there are more octogenarians in the world than ever before -- but it's impossible to predict whether someone that age who is still working will need to retire because of health problems, like Pope Benedict XVI, or, like Betty White, will still be gainfully employed and going strong well into their 90s…
According to the World Health Organization, there are about 100 million 80-year-olds in the world today, and that figure is expected to almost quadruple to 395 million by 2050…
[Researchers nave] found some associations between a longer life and certain behaviors such as exercise, moderate alcohol intake, and a "sweet spot" for caffeine consumption of about 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day…
Based on the latest figures from the CDC, an 85-year-old in the U.S. has about an 8% likelihood of death over the next year -- not terrible odds for Pope Benedict.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]