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

Don't Lose Sleep over Daylight Saving Time

(Northwestern Memorial Hospital) On Sunday, March 10, it will be time to once again change the clocks as Daylight Saving Time takes place at 2 a.m. central standard time. While "springing forward" means a loss hour of sleep that may cause some people to feel sluggish on Sunday and Monday, most will quickly adjust. However, for a significant number of Americans, losing just one hour of sleep and having to wake up when the timing of your biological clock has not yet adjusted can affect performance and safety.
"Sleep issues are on the rise and widespread, yet many people dismiss the problem and don't realize the consequences that can result," said Northwestern Medicine neurologist Hrayr Attarian, MD. "Even one hour of lost sleep can take a toll on one's health and many individuals experience grogginess, difficulty focusing, irritability and more seriously, drowsy driving. Statistically, the days following Daylight Savings there are more car accidents due to the lack of alertness."
To prepare for the time change, Attarian recommends going to sleep earlier on Saturday and Sunday night, and getting exposure to bright outdoor or indoor light in the morning, which will help acclimate your body's clock to the new time. Attarian also reminds people that Daylight Savings is not the only time when it's important to focus on sleep regimen. Prolonged sleep problems have been associated with high blood pressure, weight gain and trouble with memory and learning.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Ways that daylight saving time affects us

(Des Moines Register) Worried you'll feel a little groggy from missing an hour of sleep Saturday night? You're not alone. Daylight saving time affects us all in more ways than you might think. Here are [some] of them:
·         The time switch has mixed effects on people's health. Night owls tend to have more trouble than early birds, according to a Finnish study in 2008, but everyone's sleep patterns can be disrupted by the transition into or out of DST…
·         There is a spike in heart attacks during the first week of DST, as well as a slight drop in attacks during the first week after DST ends, according to another 2008 study…
·         No surprise here, but people are safer drivers during daylight hours. Information from U.S. News Health indicates that observing DST year-round could prevent 195 motor-vehicle deaths and 171 pedestrian fatalities per year.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Sleep Deprivation Effects

(Huffington Post) The average adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but most of us don't even get that much. But getting too little sleep -- generally understood to mean six hours or less a night -- can be serious…
Sleep Deprivation Can...
...Increase Stroke Risk…
...Lead To Obesity…
...Up Diabetes Risk…
...Fuel Memory Loss…
...Damage Bones…
...Increase Cancer Risk…
...Hurt Your Heart…
...Kill You
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Snoring: A Nuisance or Something More?

(Pharmacy Times) Snoring is often considered a mere nuisance, but it can be an indication of obstructed breathing or a condition such as sleep apnea that requires medical evaluation and treatment in order to avoid serious health consequences…
[P]atients who exhibit symptoms of sleep apnea should always consult a physician for further evaluation and appropriate treatment.
The nonprescription products available for reducing the incidence of mild snoring include drug-free nasal dilator strips such as Breathe Right Nasal Strips (GlaxoSmithKline) that open up the nasal passages. Throat rinses and sprays are also available. These formulations work by lubricating the tissues of the throat, which minimizes vibrations, thereby eliminating or reducing the incidence of snoring. Patients with sleep apnea should avoid using these products and should always seek proper treatment from their primary health care provider.
There are also a number of oral appliances that maintain an open, unobstructed airway in the throat during sleep. Studies have found that custom-made oral appliances are more effective than OTC devices.
Patients who suffer from episodes of mild-to-moderate snoring may also benefit from nonpharmacologic measures such as weight loss, smoking cessation, changing sleeping positions (like sleeping on one's side instead of one's back), avoiding alcohol intake before bedtime, and treating nasal congestion due to colds and allergies to increase airflow.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Serve a light and fresh turkey burger flavored with pesto and feta cheese. A spicy and creamy tzatziki sauce is great spread on the burgers or served on the side for dipping.
EatingWell:
Spinach Salad with Avocado-Ranch Dressing
This healthy spinach salad recipe uses one avocado two ways: half goes into a healthy creamy ranch dressing and the other half of the avocado gets chopped to top the spinach salad.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Chilled Lobster w/ Arugula, Fennel, Citrus, Tarragon & Avocado | Positano Coast, Philadelphia
With menu items like appetizers of Bison Carpaccio with Red Onion Compote and Kohlrabi, and Grilled Octopus with Charred Artichokes, Lemon Zest and Rosemary Pesto, and entrees of Sea Urchin Pasta with Black Squid Ink and Crabmeat, and Pan-Seared Branzino with Parsley Root Puree, Sauteed Leeks, Oyster Mushrooms and Truffle Oil, Chef Lamberti's modern take on classic Italian dishes make a visit to Positano Coast like a dream vacation meal in Italy.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Three Health Benefits of Nuts

(RealAge.com) The world's going nuts. And we YOU Docs think that’s good. Why?
·         The omega-3 fats in nuts, especially walnuts -- which have six times as much as the next nearest nut -- protect against heart disease.
·         The fiber richness of nuts helps you lose weight. A small handful about 30 minutes before a mealtime fills you up enough to keep you from overeating.
·         And (news flash) it turns out that these crunchy treats help tame type 2 diabetes.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New Bill in Utah Increases Tax On E-Cigarettes

(KUTV) A Utah lawmaker is looking to make some revenue on popular “e-cigarettes” – the alternative to smoking, which has become extremely popular in Utah.
Representative Paul Ray say they are too popular, and that kids and teenagers rare getting into the act. A new bill outlaws people under the age of 19 from going into smoke shops, but more importantly, it hikes up takes on e-cigarettes. And, for the growing entrepreneurs who say e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoke, the bill would smoke their growing businesses.
E-cigarettes are battery powered and heat up a nicotine solution, which creates a vapor – not smoke that you can inhale.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

CDC: Flu down, especially in the South

(UPI) Influenza activity remained elevated in the United States, but decreased in most areas especially in the South, federal health officials said Friday…
Four states experienced moderate influenza-like illness activity: Illinois, Michigan, Vermont and Virginia.
Thirteen states and New York City experienced low influenza-like illness activity: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah.
The remaining 33 states experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity.
Widespread influenza activity -- more than 50 percent of the state reporting flu activity -- was reported by: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Flu vaccine reduces flu hospitalizations

(UPI) Flu vaccination can vary in effectiveness, but it reduces the risk of older adults being hospitalized with complications, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University Medical Center said the study found flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-related hospitalization by 71.4 percent among adults of all ages and by 76.8 percent in study participants age 50 and older during the 2011-12 flu season.
"This study is reassuring in light of recent reports that flu vaccination can be less effective in older adults," Talbot, the study's lead author, said in a statement. "This study showed that the flu vaccine can offer significant protection against serious illness resulting in hospitalization for adults of all ages."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Bee sting venom could prevent the spread of HIV, doctors claim

(Daily Mail) Doctors have sensationally claimed chemicals found in bee stings could help prevent the spread of HIV. Toxins in the insects' venom can destroy the virus and leave surrounding cells unharmed, it has been found…
The bees' chemical, melittin, destroys the HIV virus by puncturing its protective outer layer. Scientists inserted the toxin into tiny nanoparticles, which are fitted with special 'bumpers' so they can bounce off normal cells. But when the smaller HIV virus makes contact with them, it slips between the bumpers and is attacked by the toxin.
Study expert Dr Joshua L Hood … said the toxin could be used in a vaginal gel to prevent HIV spreading. He said: 'Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventative measure to stop the initial infection.'
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Key to Tuberculosis Cure Could Lie Underwater

(Science Daily) The search for a cure for deadly infectious diseases has led Brian Murphy deep underwater.
Murphy, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is collecting actinomycete bacteria from water throughout the world in a hunt for new antibiotics…
From his collection, he and [Scott] Franzblau have identified eight aquatic actinomyces strains that target non-replicating tuberculosis. A promising new class of compounds with drug-like potency emerged from their screenings and is the focus of the new grant, Murphy said. It was isolated from sediment collected 260 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan.
"Freshwater environments are a new frontier for drug-lead discovery," Murphy said. "Actinomycetes have the ability to produce molecules that have a high potential for use as medicines, and very little is known about these bacteria in such environments."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Putting HiFi Into Cochlear Implants

(Science Daily) Imagine suddenly being able to hear the words and tone of the person across the table from you in a crowded restaurant when once you only heard overwhelming noise. Or speaking on the telephone with confidence because what you hear is now crisp and clear. Longtime cochlear implant users are reporting such dramatic improvements in their hearing, thanks to new image-guided programming methods developed by Vanderbilt University researchers.
Using Vanderbilt's patent-pending nonsurgical process, audiologists are able to fine-tune and customize cochlear implant programming, providing improved sound quality and clarity. "Our automated image-guided programming method can dramatically improve a person's hearing with a cochlear implant, even if implantation happened a long time ago. Study subjects have called it life-changing," said Benoit M. Dawant.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New Thermoplastic Makes 3-D Printed Skull Implants a Reality

(Wired) OsteoFab is the coolest 3-D printed material you’d never want to use. Invented by plastics research firm Oxford Performance Materials (OPM), this first-of-its-kind polyketone can be used by 3-D printers to repair large sections of a damaged skull. It was recently cleared for use by the FDA and is being used in critical surgical procedures all over the world.
The typical OsteoFab customer has been in a car accident or suffered other physical trauma. In the emergency room, doctors stabilize the patient and and get a CAT scan. The OPM engineering team builds on the data from the scan and creates printable CAD files that feature screw holes and scaffolding necessary for implantation. A surgeon approves the design and it’s printed at OPM using a selective laser sintering 3-D printer. A technician laser-scans the final part for quality control and ships it to the hospital where it’s sterilized and implanted.
The treatment can take several months and and costs $8,000-15,000, but also provides benefits no other process can match. Since the implant is custom built to fit the patient, it makes surgery quicker which saves money and can help reduce the chance of complications. It also reduces cosmetic defects caused by off-the-shelf parts.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New Opportunities for 3-D Technology in Medicine

(Science Daily) Thanks in particular to improved 3D-glasses and screens, practical tests have recently shown that 3D systems used in medical technology have benefits that were once believed to be purely theoretical.
The researchers showed that even experienced physicians could benefit from the latest generation of 3D devices. In the past, doctors have been rather skeptical of 3D images. In tests conducted over the course of the study, however, some 50 surgeons responded positively to 3D systems both with and without glasses.
"While the technology still requires some fine-tuning, technology that does without the need to wear special glasses will increase the popularity of 3D systems in operating rooms. In the past, surgeons were hesitant to use the technology precisely because of the glasses," says Dr. Ulrich Leiner.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Some docs miss test results with electronic records

(Reuters Health) Lab results sent directly to doctors' computer screens sometimes get lost in a flood of other alerts, according to a new study.
Researchers, who surveyed over 2,500 doctors at U.S. veterans hospitals, found that doctors received several dozen electronic alerts every day, and nearly a third said they've missed lab results and that ended up delaying their patients' care.
"You can easily miss one or two, because the signal gets buried," said Dr. Hardeep Singh, the study's lead author.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Strategies for Patient Safety Outlined

(MedPage Today) There are 10 ways to prevent nosocomial infections and overt medical errors that have been proven to work and that should be followed in all healthcare facilities, researchers said.
They range from simple hand hygiene to presurgical checklists and use of ultrasound to guide central line placement, according to Paul G. Shekelle, MD, PhD, of the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., and colleagues…
The effort was sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as a follow-up to two seminal reports [that] found high rates of preventable harm to patients, including medication errors and wrong-site surgeries. They prompted considerable soul-searching among healthcare administrators and planners and a major research push to identify prevention strategies.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Health Insurers See Big Opportunities In Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion

(Kaiser Health News) For industry titans such as UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint, as well as smaller, Medicaid-focused plans such as Molina, the Medicaid expansion is expected to bring significant enrollment and revenue growth. “This is several hundreds of billions of dollars of new market opportunity for these plans over the next couple of years,” says Jason Gurda, managing director of healthcare with investment bank Leerink Swann in New York.
The plans already cover about half of all Medicaid recipients, or almost 30 million people. The Congressional Budget Office projects that eight million people more people will enroll in the program next year, with the number growing to 12 million people by 2020, as a result of the health law.
To better position themselves for the surge – and to avoid the overwhelmed doctors’ offices which were common in Massachusetts after that state expanded coverage in 2006  -- many plans are adding doctors and other staff now.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

A Bump In The Road To Accountable Care?

(Kaiser Health News) The Pioneer accountable care organizations have long been the shining stars of the Affordable Care Act’s strategy to rein in the country’s out-of-control spending on health care.
The 32 organizations are part of a Medicare pilot project called for in the health law that could revolutionize the health system by paying doctors and hospitals for quality of service rather than  the volume of services. Pioneers would be offered a bonus for giving patients high quality care at a reduced cost. If they failed to hit certain quality targets or did not manage to reduce the cost of care, they would be dinged accordingly…
In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) sent out the 31 proposed quality targets that pioneers would have to meet if they wanted to receive bonus payments. Bonuses would be based on their ability to meet those targets beginning in 2013.
But then, last week, 30 of the pioneers sent a letter to CMMI complaining that at least 19 of the quality targets had too little data behind them and were therefore unfair, unreasonable and even arbitrary. In light of the flawed metrics, the pioneers requested that CMMI wait until 2014, when CMMI would have another year of good data collection to set benchmarks, to start basing Pioneer pay on quality, the hallmark of the program…
“This is a big deal,” said Erik Johnson, vice president of the consulting firm Avalere Health. “It would be a blow to the administration if one of these programs goes down. The pioneers obviously know that and have some leverage” to change major aspects of the program, he said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Obesity Makes Fat Cells Act Like They're Infected

(Science Daily) The inflammation of fat tissue is part of a spiraling series of events that leads to the development of type 2 diabetes in some obese people. But researchers have not understood what triggers the inflammation, or why…
[Now  scientists] report fat cells themselves are at least partly to blame -- high calorie diets cause the cells to make major histocompatibility complex II, a group of proteins usually expressed to help the immune system fight off viruses and bacteria. In overweight mice and humans the fat cells, or adipocytes, are issuing false distress signals -- they are not under attack by pathogens. But this still sends local immune cells into a tizzy, and that causes inflammation.
"We did not know fat cells could instigate the inflammatory response," said principal investigator and Methodist Diabetes & Metabolism Institute Director Willa Hsueh, M.D. "That's because for a very long time we thought these cells did little else besides store and release energy. But what we have learned is that adipocytes don't just rely on local resident immune cells for protection -- they play a very active role in their own defense. And that's not always a good thing."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How to Lose the Fat After 50

(NBC Los Angeles) It’s not your imagination. After women turn 50, it becomes harder to lose weight because of rising levels of the hormone cortisol, which tries to store fat for emergencies and puts it on the thighs and stomach.
"As women age, lean muscle mass will start to decline and the reason that’s important is that muscle is then replaced by fat," said Dr. Adrienne Youdim, medical director of the Cedar Sinai Weight Loss Center…
Dr. Youdim offered these tips for losing weight after age 50:
Keep track of your weight and write down what you eat.
Watch caloric intake through beverages (alcohol is big culprit)
Use meal replacements strategically to restrict calories
Join a group to get support and accountability
Do strength training, because weight-bearing exercises also ward off Osteoporosis.
"What I would recommend to people is that they make modest goals, and take little steps to approach this change in activity that really should occur," Youdim said.
"For the health benefits of exercise, not a lot is necessary. Studies that show 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week is enough to prevent certain disease states."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Cash Incentives Help People Lose Weight, Researchers Find

(Bloomberg) Financial incentives for losing weight help people shed more pounds than programs that don’t affect dieters’ wallets, a study found.
Participants who received money monthly for losing weight or paid into a pool when they didn’t meet goals, dropped 9.1 pounds on average, compared with 2.3 pounds for those without cash incentives, according to research…
“Just wanting to lose weight isn’t enough,” said Donald Hensrud, chairman of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who helped write the study. “People need creative strategies. Financial incentives can be powerful.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Weight Loss Tips

(Palo Alto Weekly) When the Weight Watchers diet didn't work for Ellyn Corey, she decided to try hypnotherapy to lose weight… Hypnotherapy not only helped her to give up Beard Papa's chocolate ├ęclairs, but it also gave her an "overall positive body image and mental outlook," she said. In a country where more than one-third of adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Corey is among a growing number of people exploring hypnotherapy as an alternative to conventional weight-loss methods. 
(Prevention) To help you shed those extra pounds--and keep them off--without starving yourself, ditching your social life, or eating only at odd times of the day, we talked to experienced nutritionists for real-world advice you can actually live with, day in and day out… Here, the 10 best diet tips of all time… 1. Never get too hungry… 2. Be honest about your daily calorie allowance… 3. Eat right post-workout… 4. Use the red, orange and green rule… 5. Eat one less bite… 6. Be a heavy drinker [of water, that is]… 7. Kick the salt habit… 8. Spice up your food… 9. Don't think diet soda will help you lose weight… 10. Focus on nutrient balance instead of calorie counting.
(Appetite for Health) We live in a culture that keeps putting more and more food on our plates. But here’s the good news: a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who shrank their portions by 25% slashed 250 calories a day — enough to help them lose a half-pound a week while still feeling full. So in addition to what you eat, pay attention to portion size. Here are six ways you can shrink portions without feeling hungry!
(Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, U.S. News & World Report) Keeping an eye on portion sizes and eating with your stomach instead of your eyes, mouth, or wallet is a surefire way to help you get where you want to go. Here are five important tips that will help keep you from tipping the scale: 1. Don't use body parts [to measure portions]… 2. Become a bagger… 3. S-L-O-W down… 4. Ask for an extra plate… 5. Be generous and share.
(Appetite for Health) Ultimately the only way to reduce your fat stores (excess body fat) is to sustain a long-term energy deficit, which forces your body to continue to draw on stored fat for energy. Bottom line: It doesn’t matter what type of calorie-restriction approach you take, whether it’s a vegetarian approach, Mediterranean-style low-fat, low-carb or fasting.
More . . .

More Recent News and Research on Obesity and Weight Loss

(Reuters) U.S. companies and other groups that have made attempts to reverse the nation's rising childhood obesity rate are starting to see results as more American kids exercise and have better access to healthy foods, they said on Thursday… Some health advocates welcomed the findings but said more effort was still needed, including government action.
Community: It’s not just kids who need to lose weight. Programs for the rest of us can help, too.
(University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center) [Researchers] say that rather than focusing on macronutrients that make up food (fats, proteins and sugars), it might be better to focus at an even deeper level—the micronutrients derived from certain foods that act at the cellular level. They suggest that food should be viewed and studied as if it is a cocktail of "hormones" because of the way its derivatives act on cells within the body. For example, the authors cite the amino acid leucine—which isn't made in the body and must be ingested. Leucine has been found to trigger brain pathways that reduces food intake and body weight. Leucine [is a] micronutrient of many foods including soybeans, some cuts of beef, brown rice, chicken egg yolks and cow's milk
(Science Daily) Mice that are born lacking the ability to produce blood cells that make [brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)] overeat, become obese and develop insulin resistance (a lack of response to insulin that affects the ability to metabolize glucose). A bone marrow transplant that restores the gene for making the cells that produce BDNF can normalize appetite, said Chan. However, a transplant of bone marrow that does not contain this gene does not reverse overeating, obesity or insulin resistance.
(Bloomberg) Sealing off an artery that supplies blood to the portion of the stomach that produces the hunger- promoting hormone ghrelin reduced appetite and triggered weight loss in the first study of the approach in human volunteers. The experiment involving five obese patients in Tbilisi, Georgia, found the procedure led to an average weight loss of 30 pounds within the first month and 45 pounds after six months, said lead researcher Nicholas Kipshidze… While the 30-minute procedure led to less weight loss than standard bariatric surgery, it wasn’t as invasive and it is faster, he said. Three patients had stomach discomfort, though there were no other complications, he said.
Community: Still sounds too drastic to me.
(Science Daily) The research team created a strain of mice without the Plin2 gene which produces a protein that regulates fat storage and metabolism. They immediately found that the mice were resistant to obesity. Usually, mice fed a high fat diet will eat voraciously, yet these showed an unusual restraint. Not only did they eat less, they were more active… The consequences for people are highly significant since they also possess the Plin2 gene.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Halibut with Olive and Bell Pepper Couscous
Briny kalamata olives add a salty punch to Halibut with Olive and Bell Pepper Couscous. This one-dish dinner will be a weeknight favorite especially since it's table-ready in 30 minutes. Sustainable Choice: Look for Pacific halibut.
EatingWell:
Ultimate Beef Chili
Offer garnishes, such as reduced-fat sour cream and grated Cheddar cheese (about 1 tablespoon each per person), chopped scallions and chopped fresh tomatoes. Serve with warmed corn tortillas and a green salad topped with orange slices.
Washington Post:
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Food Prices Heading Higher

(The Supermarket Guru) Using wholesale food prices as an indicator of things to come on the retail side, The Food Institute projects that food-at-home price inflation will trend higher into the second quarter of this year. And, at this early date, this appears to coincide with USDA projections of 3% to 4% increases on an annualized basis for all of 2013.
Food prices are rising faster than overall inflation. Inflation is the great hidden tax, especially when it hits essentials like food. Core inflation is running at about 2%.
Community: And yet, Republicans want Social Security payments to rise more slowly than overall inflation. They’re out to starve us, my friends. We can’t all get jobs as greeters at Wal-Mart.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Industrial Chemicals Found in Food Samples

(Science Daily) Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have discovered phthalates, industrial chemicals, in common foods purchased in the United States. Phthalates can be found in a variety of products and food packaging material, child-care articles and medical devices.
"Although it's not completely understood how phthalates get into our food, packaging may be a contributor to the levels of the toxin in food," said lead investigator Arnold Schecter, M.D., M.P.H…
"It's unfortunate that we have these toxic chemicals in our bodies," said Schecter. "However, this is not a cause for alarm because the amount of phthalates found in the food falls below what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe. But it is cause for concern because these toxins and others previous reported by this group do not belong in our food or our bodies."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Processed meat scare: a bacon sandwich won't kill you … will it?

(The Guardian) New research linking consumption of large amounts of processed meat to an increased risk of early death, heart disease and cancer confirms the emerging evidence surrounding health risks posed by various forms of processed food, not just meat products such as bacon, salami and sausages.
With our growing reliance on food that is processed rather than fresh, such as ready meals, food from packets or tins and takeaways including pies and pasties, the implications of this gathering proof of hazard has major implications for public health, and should prompt many of us to somehow find the time, confidence or willpower to cook from scratch more often and potentially avoid processed meat altogether.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Why Baked Chips are Worse Than Fried

(Yoni Freedhoff, MD, University of Ottawa) In response to the increased attention and concern for America's rising rates of obesity and diabetes, the food industry has responded by creating what they often refer to as "better-for-you" foods…
But where traditional junk food may have had marginally more calories and a bit more salt, what it never had was a "health halo." No one ever would have confused chips and chocolate bars with healthful choices. Not so with these products, which are regularly touted as truly healthy alternatives to their higher-octane, junk-food counterparts…
What … experiments have consistently demonstrated is that the belief that an item is a healthier choice leads to a disproportionate increase in that product's consumption. In other words, people eat so much more of the ever-so-slightly less awful, so-called "better for you" choice that they actually eat more in the way of calories, or salt, or sugar than they would have had they chosen that food's blatantly junky brother. Had they done so, there would be no kidding themselves into thinking they were making a thoughtful choice.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Surprising Sources of Sugar

(Appetite for Health) A recent study from University of North Carolina found that 75% of the foods purchased in the US between 2005-2009 contain sweeteners. Some 68% of those were calorie-containing sweeteners like table sugar, fructose or honey and 1% were calorie-free sweeteners like aspartame and 6% contained both…
To me, sugar shockers are those foods and beverages that you don’t expect to contain added sugars. They include: soups, sauces, condiments, reduced fat dressings, granola bars, whole grain cereals, crackers and other processed carbohydrates.
Use these tips on how to become a sugar sleuth to keep your added sugars to no more than 100 calories per day. Try these steps to lick your desire for sweets once and for all.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Red Wine Compound Activates Gene Needed for Healthy Cells

(Bloomberg) Harvard scientists said they have settled a debate over whether a compound found in red wine activates a gene that keeps cells healthy.
Researchers repeated a 10-year old study using a new method to validate earlier findings that resveratrol turns on a gene that recharges mitochondria, tiny structures that produce fuel for cells. By revving up mitochondria, the agent may protect against aging-related diseases, said David Sinclair, a Harvard Medical School genetics professor and the study’s senior author…
Overall, not enough evidence currently exists to recommend the compound for the prevention of lifestyle diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, the 2nd International Science Conference on Resveratrol and Health … concluded. Still, its effects in animals shouldn’t be dismissed, Ole Vang, chairman of the conference’s scientific committee, said in an e-mail.
“Several markers for various cancers, coronary heart disease as well as diabetes are clearly reduced in experimental animals by resveratrol,” Vang wrote. “So it does have a promising effect in these models, but we can’t translate this promising effect directly to humans.”
More research is needed to test whether patients can benefit from these studies, he said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Internet Searches Can Identify Drug Safety Issues Well Ahead of Public Alerts

(Science Daily) Internet searches on health symptoms can be used to identify drug side effects and could be used to develop a new kind of early warning system to boost drug safety, indicates a study…
The authors base their findings on an analysis of the anonymised search logs of millions of US web users, who agreed to install a browser add-on and share their online searches with Microsoft throughout 2010.
The researchers developed automated tools to analyse the queries of people who searched for information on the antidepressant (paroxetine) and a cholesterol lowering drug (pravastatin), using the search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Study results take almost two years to be released

(Reuters Health) Results from the average clinical trial take almost two years to be published, according to a new study, despite U.S. regulations calling for a 12-month maximum lag time on the release of most research findings.
That's concerning, researchers said, because publication delays hinder doctors' ability to make the most well-informed treatment choices with their patients and slow progress within the scientific community.
"When trial results are withheld, either for years or - as commonly happens - forever, patients can suffer, because we can be misled about which treatment is best when the less flattering trial results go missing," said Dr. Ben Goldacre, a UK doctor and author of the book Bad Pharma.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Affordable Care Act spawns new twist on old identity-theft scam

(Consumer Reports) Recently, consumers nationwide have received a phone call from federal employees, informing them that they're among the first Americans selected to receive health-insurance cards as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Before they mail out the cards, however, the government workers ask consumers for their personal data, including name, address, phone number, and bank account number.
No surprise, these calls are a bunch of malarkey and come from con artists looking to steal identities, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Most large employers to keep health insurance benefit: survey

(Reuters) Most large employers don't expect to send their full-time employees to government health exchanges for insurance during the next five years, but some retirees and part-time workers will end up there, a new survey has found.
The outlook for corporate insurance in the long term is less certain.
Only about 26 percent of large employers surveyed were very confident their company will offer healthcare benefits in 10 years. That is a slight increase from last year's 23 percent, but a sharp drop from 73 percent five years ago.
About one-half of the people in the United States who have health insurance receive it from their employers.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Obama offers $340B health package

(UPI) President Obama's budget calls for a $340 billion package of Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts and revenue increases over 10 years, White House officials say…
The specific spending cut numbers are included in the budget for fiscal year 2013 found [here.]
Some of the Medicare reforms include implementing new Medicare Part D drug rebates for drugs provided to low-income beneficiaries at $137 billion over 10 years; reducing Medicare payments for bad debts by $24 billion over 10 years; and increasing income-related premiums for higher-income beneficiaries in Medicare Parts B and D beginning in 2017 an increase of $30 billion in revenue.
Obama's reforms would obtain savings from Medicare and Medicaid while protecting their fundamental structure, the White House said on its website.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Hawaiians Have Highest Well-being Rating For 4th Year

(USA Today) Hawaii ranks No. 1 for the fourth year in a row as the state where residents report the best sense of overall well-being, based on physical health, outlook on life, job satisfaction and other factors that affect quality of life, according to the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Wednesday.
Other states that have consistently ranked in the top 10 on the well-being index every year from 2008 to 2012 include Utah, Minnesota, Colorado and Montana.
Folks in these states tend to have lower rates of obesity and fewer medical problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain. They also report enjoying their jobs more, have lower rates of smoking, and exercise more often than residents in states that rank lower on the list.
Five states that have always been in the bottom 10 with the lowest well-being score every year from 2008 to 2012: West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas and Mississippi.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Name Your Neighborhood, Define Your Health?

(Science Daily) Suburbs, countryside, or city. Most of us make a choice and settle down. But others, particularly those living in poverty, don't always get to make that choice -- the choice that could actually determine our quality and length of life…
Studies show that in many cities across the nation, life expectancy can differ by 10 years across neighborhoods -- even those side by side. So do socioeconomic and social integration factors make a difference in these numbers? That's what [Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing PhD Candidate Laura] Samuel is hoping to find out.
While there is still much research to be done, Samuel already knows that the solution won't be one size fits all. "If we really want to address socio-economic disparities, we need to tailor our interventions to specific individuals and communities. We need to consider people's social networks, their socioeconomic status, and the social context in which they live their day-to-day lives."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Nine-of-10 in U.S. say they're healthy

(UPI) Ninety percent of U.S. adults say they are in good health and 81 percent say their community also is healthy, in stark contrast to research, a survey indicates…
The survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, conducted Jan. 12-20, found most said they viewed doctors and hospitals as primarily responsible for ensuring good health in a community.
However, 87 percent said that clean air and good water quality was key to good health, 82 percent said regular access to doctors and dentists was key to good health, 81 percent said health food choices and 74 percent said nearby hospitals and urgent care facilities.
Ninety-four percent said the health/medical information they found online was important to their health, but only 12 percent of respondents have emailed or sent a text message to a physician regarding a health question.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]