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

Health Benefits of Marriage May Not Extend to All

(Science Daily) Marriage may not always be as beneficial to health as experts have led us to believe, according to a new study.
Researchers made two discoveries that explain why: First, marriage provides less protection against mortality as health deteriorates, even though it does seem to benefit those who are in excellent health. Secondly, married people tend to overestimate how healthy they are, compared to others.
"We believe marriage is still good for the health of some people, but it is not equally protective for everyone," said Hui Zheng, lead author of the study… "For those who are already in poor health, marriage doesn't seem to provide any extra benefits."
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A Simple Way to Put the Spark Back in Your Relationship

(Barbara Markway, Ph.D., Psychology Today) I have been married almost 25 years. Greg and I have had our challenges, just like every couple. And we’ve counseled a lot of couples during our careers (he's a psychologist, too)…
One thing we have found helpful, both personally and professionally, is to talk about the start of the relationship. Even couples that come into our offices on the brink of divorce usually smile and remember in great detail how they met, and what attracted them to each other.
Every couple’s story is unique. You may have overcome great odds to be together. You may have disliked each other initially, but later something happened to change your mind…
So what does remembering your own love story have to do with today?
First of all, it can take a brick out of the wall that may be separating you and your partner. Even one brick removed weakens the wall, allowing room for love to return.
Second, remembering can give you clues about potential strengths in your relationship, strengths you can build on.
Third, remembering can provide you with hope and motivation. Reminding yourselves that your relationship was previously fulfilling helps point you in the right direction.
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How to Make Your Relationship More Positive

(Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Most people think that you cannot create positivity—it’s either there or it’s not—but they’re wrong. You can definitely encourage yourself and your loved ones to be and feel more positive…
[It] is an ongoing process. 
As part of that process, you will need to become aware of and learn to drop negative feelings that you may have about your mate. This takes a little patience and perseverance, but I have helped countless people recognize that they were unconsciously mad at the one they love. Changing that dynamic simply takes the realization that your less-than-positive feelings are helping no one. It actually becomes second nature once you are aware that you can relate differently and better…
Being positive and allowing that feeling to flow through your relationship is a wonderful way to go through life with the one you love. You can make the choice to be a positive couple and enjoy the happiness that comes with it.
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How Can I Find a Good Man or Woman?

(Jeremy Nicholson, M.S.W., Ph.D., Psychology Today) [I]f you are stuck in a cycle of bad dating, then read on! One of these problems might just apply to you...
1) Wanting what they cannot have
The solution - stop the chase. Realize that just because something is hard to get, doesn't mean it is worth the effort. No one is worth running after. It is better to find someone who will meet you in the middle…
2) Being biased and not seeing good possibilities
The solution - getting over the past and learning to see clearly. Not everybody out there is a jerk, no matter what has happened in the past… Rather than expecting the worst, it is more productive to look for what is different and better…
3) Relying on luck and fate to find love
The solution - looking for a good partner, not a perfect one…
4) Lacking clear goals and plans
The solution - figuring out what is desired and where to get it. Create a rough "job description" for a good partner. Figure out where that type of person can be found. Look for those characteristics and test people on them…
5) Making bad trades
The solution - honest self-appraisal. It is important for people to know the worth of their contributions in a relationship, as well as the worth of what they desire in return. The two should be roughly equal… [T]he scales should be somewhat balanced to avoid hard feelings and relationship break-down…
Go to www.AttractionDoctor.com for more dating and relationship advice (in helpful categories)!
Community: It took me a long time to realize that I needed to be looking for someone who cared about me, rather than the bad boy I thought I wanted. My good boy and I have been together almost 36 years now.
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Pasta Primavera
Use fresh seasonal vegetables for a hearty meatless meal. For the meat lovers in the family, feel free to add chicken or shrimp to this pasta recipe.
Oven-Fried Fish & Chips
Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease—not a good sign. To cut the calories in half and reduce the fat, we coat the delicate fish in a crispy cornflake crust and then bake it along with sliced potatoes. Serve with: Coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges.
The Supermarket Guru:
Zucchini Pancakes with Yogurt Sauce | Sahara's Turkish Cuisine, NYC
The Turkish name for Zucchini Pancakes - "Mucver" - doesn't reveal the Turkish delight of this tasty recipe 'stolen with permission' from Chef Sinan Ön of Sahara's Turkish Cuisine, which is located in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan.
Coffee Cardamom Chicken
This is a very very simple dish with an oh-so-sophisticated taste. Wonderful for company with a rice pilaf and steamed asparagus, or cut the cooked chicken into small pieces and mix with a mixed green salad for a perfect lunch. The marinade is also good with pork.
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Why You Should Eat Eggs All Year

(U.S. News & World Report) Eggs are one of the best and most affordable sources of high quality protein available to us. This protein-rich, satisfying food can also help you lose weight by keeping you full at only 70 calories per egg.
Some foods, like the egg for example, provide a host of other benefits that supersede their cholesterol content. Eggs have been linked to aiding health from head to toe. Macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness, and cataracts, both diseases of the eye, may be prevented through eggs' rich content of lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs are also a strong source of choline, a nutrient that plays a key role in brain and nervous system regulation.
So should eggs be back on your menu? Unless you're allergic, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy them. Some people eat an egg a day and have healthy hearts, while others feel better when they eat egg whites, or even mostly whites mixed with a whole egg several times a week.
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Grocery Store Dieticians Offer Money-Saving Tips

(U.S. News & World Report) "Many people simply overestimate how much food they will need or cook in one week," says Cindy Silver, a corporate dietitian for Lowes Foods. "They over-purchase and then life happens, leaving them with too much in the fridge, especially perishables." One of Silver's top money-saving tips is to re-purpose perishable foods by wrapping, dating and then freezing the food just before it turns bad and needs to be tossed.
Here are some more money-saving grocery shopping tips straight from the experts—registered dietitians who work for grocery store chains:
Have a plan. Undoubtedly, the top money-saving tip from grocery store RDs comes down to this one, again and again. If you want to save money on your groceries, you have to have a plan in place…
But ... don't overplan. Be realistic about what you will and won't eat in the days that follow your grocery trip, and avoid the urge to "load up" on perishable items like fresh produce, dairy and meat products…
Store correctly. Perishable food stored in a refrigerator that is slightly too warm will go bad days faster than food stored in a refrigerator that is chilled appropriately…
Know what to buy in bulk. Some grocery stores might offer a discount of up to 10 percent on items that are sold in bulk…
Consider store-brand items. "Generic" food has come a long way—store-brand items are often made by the same manufacturers that make name-brand equivalents, and they may also be superior.
Community: Almost everything I buy these days is a store brand. And I learned to buy grains, seeds, and spices in the bulk section at Whole Foods. They’re much less expensive.
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Vitamin D Levels Tied to Lung Health

(MedPage Today) Serum vitamin D levels had a significant positive correlation with pulmonary function, most prominently in patients with a history of tuberculosis (TB), data from a large cross-sectional study showed.
Patients with the highest serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) had significantly higher forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) as compared with patients who had the lowest levels of 25-OHD…, reported Churl-Min Kim, MD, PhD, … and colleagues…
"We found a robust positive association between serum 25(OH)D level and lung function in Korean adults. This association was independent of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle (smoking and regular exercise), occupation, residence, season, and some respiratory diseases," they explained.
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Dentist's office a 'perfect storm' for HIV, hepatitis exposure, health official says

(CNN)  About 7,000 patients who visited a suburban Tulsa, Oklahoma, dentist in the past six years may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis, health investigators say.
Investigators were left grasping for words to describe what they found inside W. Scott Harrington's dental practice: Assistants did techniques that only a dentist should, and sterilization procedures and needles were handled improperly.
"I will tell you that when ... we left, we were just physically kind of sick," said Susan Rogers, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. "I mean, that's how bad (it was), and I've seen a lot of bad stuff over the years."
The state health department will offer free HIV and hepatitis testing to the thousands of patients who sat in Harrington's chairs.
Community: Here’s how to reduce your chances of being infected by a rogue dentist: “What You Should Look for Before Seeing a Dentist.”
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Proximity to Coal-Tar-Sealed Pavement Raises Risk of Cancer, Study Finds

(Science Daily)  People living near asphalt pavement sealed with coal tar have an elevated risk of cancer, according to a study…
"The increased cancer risk associated with coal-tar-sealed asphalt (CSA) likely affects a large number of people in the U.S. Our results indicate that the presence of coal-tar-based pavement sealants is associated with significant increases in estimated excess lifetime cancer risk for nearby residents," said E. Spencer Williams, Ph.D., principal author of the study…
"[T]he use of coal-tar-based pavement sealants magnifies aggregate exposures to PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] in children and adults in residences adjacent to where these products are used and is associated with human health risks in excess of widely accepted standards."
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US to require lower-sulfur gasoline

(Tribune Company) The Obama administration is expected to propose new rules Friday that would slash the amount of sulfur in gasoline, one of the most significant steps the administration can take this term toward cutting air pollution, said people with knowledge of the announcement…
The oil industry and members of Congress from oil states have criticized the standards as onerous with few health benefits in return. Environmentalists have countered that the rules would improve public health considerably…
Reducing sulfur in gasoline helps vehicles' catalytic converters work more efficiently, which means they remove more of the nitrogen, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide that exacerbate respiratory ailments. The auto industry and many states back the new rules.
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Mobile app turns iPhone into a biologically inspired hearing aid

(University of Essex) Researchers at the University of Essex have developed a free mobile app that turns an iPhone or iPod into a hearing aid that could revolutionise the future for people with hearing loss.
Unlike standard hearing aids that simply amplify all sounds, the BioAid app is inspired by biology and replicates the complexities of the human ear. It puts the user in control, is available to anyone, anywhere without the need for a hearing test, and potentially holds the key to a future where tiny, phone-based hearing aids can be dispensed and adjusted remotely.
BioAid … is available on iTunes… Unlike standard aids that have a single setting, BioAid has six fixed settings each of which has four fine-tuning settings allowing the user to find the perfect match for their impairment.
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U.S. to reexamine health effects of cellphone radio waves

(Reuters) U.S. regulators are looking into how radio frequencies emitted by cellphones and other wireless devices affect people amid lingering concerns about the risks of cellphone radiation…
Scientists have been unable to determine whether radio waves emitted by mobile devices pose threats to the brain or other parts of the human body but studies continue as the number of mobile devices Americans own, already in the hundreds of millions, continues to grow.
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Microscale Medical Sensors Inserted Under Skin Powered Wirelessly by External Handheld Receiver

(Science Daily)  Implantable electronic devices potentially offer a rapid and accurate way for doctors to monitor patients with particular medical conditions. Yet powering such devices remains a fundamental challenge: batteries are bulky and eventually need recharging or replacing. Jia Hao Cheong at the A*STAR Institute for Microelectronics, Singapore, and his co-workers are developing an alternative approach that eliminates the need for a battery. Their miniature devices are based on wireless power-transfer technology…
The implant is powered by a handheld external reader, which uses inductive coupling to wirelessly transfer energy, a technology similar to that found in the latest wireless-charging mobile phones. The team developed an application-specific, integrated circuit for the implant designed for low power use…
The incoming energy powers circuits in the device that control sensors based on silicon nanowires.
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Tablet Computers Acceptable for Reading EEG Results, Mayo Clinic Study Says

(Mayo Clinic) Mayo Clinic physicians in Arizona have shown that tablet computers can be used to analyze electroencephalogram or EEG results outside of the clinic or hospital. Their study findings were recently presented at the American Academy of Neurology conference in San Diego.
"The fact that this gives doctors the ability to read EEG results from anywhere can only help patients in the long run," says Matthew Hoerth, M.D., a neurologist…
The findings showed that the tablet cost significantly less and weighed less than the laptop and had a comparable screen resolution. The greatest disadvantage to the tablet compared to the laptop is screen size. Boot-up time was significantly longer for the laptop and desktop.
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How to Make the Health-Care Market Work Better

(Bloomberg) How could government help the health-care market work better? Here’s an idea so obvious it’s shocking it hasn’t already been done: Let’s require large hospitals and medical providers who receive dollars from Medicare, Medicaid or federal research grants to collect and publish basic price data…
Prices vary widely for the same service -- itself a consequence of the system's opacity -- so consumers who want to know what their treatment will cost need several pieces of information: (1) the price as listed in the chargemaster, (2) the median price actually paid by privately insured patients, and (3) the median cost for the most common billing codes. Insurers could also cooperate with copayment estimates.
This information should be published side-by-side with new data required under the Affordable Care Act on the quality of services and patient satisfaction. The database should allow providers who don't accept government funds to participate, while exempting the smallest practices and rarest treatments and conditions.
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If ACA fails, single payer is next

(Editorial, Salt Lake Tribune) The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should be seen as what it is: One last opportunity for the private health insurance market to prove that it can offer a service that covers the millions of Americans who were previously left out, at a cost that we — as individuals, employers and taxpayers — can afford.
If that is a goal beyond the grasp of the existing system, then it needs to be finally swept aside in favor of something that will meet those needs…
[A] law that requires health insurance outfits to put actually insuring the health of their customers ahead of their own profits is going to increase the amount of money those companies spend on actual care…
Other factors that could help include increasing access to preventive care now and avoiding more expensive emergency or chronic care later, or moving low-wage workers off their employers’ plans and onto subsidized plans or Medicaid.
An entity with the chops to bargain down the actual cost of care is necessary. At the very least, a robust public option, an idea President Obama bargained away in the creation of the ACA, must be provided. Better still would be a single-payer plan — Medicare for all.
Community: Single payer is coming. It’s only a matter of time. It’s the only thing that makes sense for the long term.
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Like a Box of Chocolates: Health Insurance Options for Seniors

(Desiree Baughman, InsuranceQuotes.org) Aging is inevitable, but the elderly population doesn’t have to live as though they’ve been given a death sentence, even though we’re all technically given those upon birth. Fortunately, in today’s modern society, people are living much longer… [B]y 2025, it’s estimated that there will be more than 1 billion seniors internationally…. Considering the .. facts about the aging population, the needs for quality coverage to help seniors live longer and live well are very apparent — and perhaps more important than ever…
With all the various available options and myriad of combinations, finding the right senior health insurance can be confusing, and can be dreaded more than the growing number of birthday candles on the cake. Health insurance can’t be bought like auto insurance — if only it were that simple. If your mama always said that “life is like a box of chocolates” and that you’ll “never know what you’re going to get,” this is one time to ignore those witty, timeless bits of wisdom that parents, elderly relatives, or even yourself are known for.
Health insurance coverage should never be a case of not knowing what you’re going to get, regardless of whether it’s a federal insurance program or a private plan. That’s exactly why you need to understand exactly what it covers from the get-go — because you don’t ever know what life has in store.
Read more, including details on the options available.
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Infections might sap brainpower, study indicates

(Los Angeles Times) Infections may do more than run you down, make you feel miserable and cause absences from work or school: A new study finds that having a long track record of infections may bite into your mental reserves as well.
Scientists have long suspected that infections wreak havoc not just on the body but on the mind as well, and it doesn't seem to matter whether the infections are viral or bacterial, or what part of the body they affect. Having a medical history that includes more than the usual infections puts a patient at higher risk of stroke and vascular disease. And poorer vascular health has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and other dementia risk.
But a new study … takes the reasonable next step of linking infections directly to poorer cognitive function and does so in a large, multiethnic  population that was stroke-free at the outset of the study.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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DNA Damage Occurs as Part of Normal Brain Activity, Scientists Discover

(Science Daily) Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have discovered that a certain type of DNA damage long thought to be particularly detrimental to brain cells can actually be part of a regular, non-harmful process. The team further found that disruptions to this process occur in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease -- and identified two therapeutic strategies that reduce these disruptions…
The team's findings suggest that restoring proper neuronal communication is important for staving off the effects of Alzheimer's -- perhaps by maintaining the delicate balance between DNA damage and repair.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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L-Dopa to Power the Aging Brain?

(MedPage Today) When money is on the line, a dose of levodopa appears to boost the decision-making ability of older adults -- although most "seniors" are still likely to lose out to younger competitors.
That finding … emerged from small study of healthy septuagenarians versus healthy gen-X adults.
[In a decision-making test,] the overall amount of money won by the older adults didn't differ whether they were receiving placebo or active treatment, there was a measurable difference in the amount won by the older adults on placebo versus young adults -- about $20 less. That difference disappeared when older adults taking L-DOPA were compared with the young adults.
But the L-DOPA benefit was limited to those participants who had evidence of nucleus accumbens deficits on fMRI -- the participants with no evidence of impairment actually did worse when given L-DOPA…
[Researchers] agreed that the finding remains hypothesis-generating since even if additional studies confirm the value of fMRI screening to identify those who might benefit from L-DOPA, it is prohibitively expensive.
But the research does open to door to a pathway for improving decision-making as we age, [said neurologist Kathleen Shannon, MD].
Community: What L-dopa does is increase dopamine levels in the brain, which we can do, to a certain extent, without drugs. And there are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Brain Food to Increase Your Brainpower

(RealAge.com) [R]esearch shows that 76% of brain health is in your hands (just 24% is genetic). Here’s how your brain hopes you’re eating:
Opt for healthy fats. Choosing monounsaturated "good" fats instead of "bad" saturated fats offers you the most protection against brain damage from silent strokes…
Catch some omega-3s, even if you don’t love fish… We like the DHA form of omega-3s (and prefer algae-based supplements to fish oil) and recommend 600 to 900 milligrams a day.
Buy brain-boosting foods, especially produce and whole grains… Aim to eat a rainbow of brightly colored produce for vitamin C. Get vitamin B6 from baked potatoes, roasted skinless chicken breast, and chickpeas; vitamin B12 from seafood, yogurt, or nutritional yeast; and folate (yep, it’s in the B family) from spinach, lentils, papayas, and asparagus. Add almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, or hazelnuts for your dose of mixed tocopherols (the active component of vitamin E). Top it off with a vitamin D supplement (1,000 IU of vitamin D before age 60; 1,200 after)…
Go easy on (or eliminate) meats, sweets, and white carbs. Limiting these also helps protect your brain's thinking ability.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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More Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) The ability to speak two languages can help keep an aging brain in better shape than that of a senior who has mastered only one tongue. A new study shows that seniors who have been bilingual since childhood have better cognitive flexibility – which means their brains can deal more easily with new or unexpected circumstances – than can the gray matter of their mono-lingual peers.
(Science Daily) The strongest predictor of whether a man is developing dementia with Lewy bodies -- the second most common form of dementia in the elderly -- is whether he acts out his dreams while sleeping, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered. Patients are five times more likely to have dementia with Lewy bodies if they experience a condition known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder than if they have one of the risk factors now used to make a diagnosis, such as fluctuating cognition or hallucinations, the study found.
(MedPage Today) Biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid were useful in predicting which patients with mild cognitive impairment would progress to Alzheimer’s disease, researchers reported… Patients whose mild cognitive impairment converted to Alzheimer's disease within 3 years had significantly lower baseline amyloid B-42 and significantly higher T-tau and P-tau concentrations at baseline than patients whose cognitive impairment remained stable or was associated with other forms of dementia, according to Elisa Rubino, MD.
(TODAY) While they are careful not to call it a cure, researchers at Ohio State University believe they may be able to reverse some of the ravages left by Alzheimer’s disease by implanting tiny electrodes in a patient’s brain and then hooking those wires up to a sort of pacemaker… Scientists believe that deep-brain stimulation could improve symptoms by jump starting networks gunked up by the sticky proteins generated in Alzheimer’s disease… [Dr. Ali] Rezai and his colleagues hope that the electrical stimulation will improve the way brain circuits work by stimulating areas damaged by the disease. They say the method is similar to the deep brain stimulation that has helped patients with Parkinson’s disease.
(Max Planck Society) [A new study] may hold a stunning breakthrough in the fight to treat Alzheimer's disease. The study potentially identifies a cause of Alzheimer's disease—based on a newly-discovered signaling pathway in cellular models of Alzheimer's disease—and opens the door for new treatments by successfully blocking this pathway… "This study transforms our understanding of the direct cause of Alzheimer's disease," said Principal Investigator Dr. Ryohei Yasuda. "With further research, we may open up an entirely new avenue for treatments to combat this disease."
(Reuters Health) Depending on their genes, some Parkinson's patients may be able to slow their deterioration by taking vitamin D supplements, according to a small study from Japan… Dr. Lin Zhang, who was not involved in the work but studies nutritional deficiencies in people with Parkinson's called the findings "very promising," but urged caution in interpreting the results. "We are just starting to recognize the potential benefit of vitamin D in slowing down the progression of Parkinson's disease, and we have no way of knowing the exact dosage one person should take with or without such genotypes."
(MedPage Today) Parkinson’s disease patients who practiced tai chi had larger limits of stability and better sensory organization scores than those in a stretching control group, researchers reported… Tai chi training was significantly associated with improvements in scores on the Sensory Organization Test from baseline… And, compared with patients who were taught only stretching exercises, those who had tai chi training had significantly improved limits of stability from baseline…, Li noted.
(Science Daily) NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) and Mayo Clinic researchers have partnered on a study that shows genetic and clinical evidence that therapies targeting the expression of alpha-synuclein -- a gene whose function is involved in the development and progression of Parkinson's disease -- may accelerate disease progression and increase the risk of physical incapacitation and dementia. If replicated, the findings will have profound implications for therapies under development for Parkinson's disease.
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6 Delicious Recipes for a Festive Easter Gathering
Whether you're serving your family and guests a late lunch or festive dinner this Easter, check out our picks for a healthy spring holiday feast on the Beach. You'll start with Roasted Zucchini Bites, and then move on to a colorful salad, followed by Lemony Broiled Halibut, Braised Balsamic Carrots, and finally a choice of Chocolate Berry Cups or Lemon Olive Oil Cake. We guarantee no one will leave your table hungry.
Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits, a low-country favorite, makes a hearty, one-dish dinner and is table-ready in 30 minutes. Sustainable Choice: Buy Pacific white shrimp farmed in recirculating systems or inland ponds.
Sichuan-Style Chicken with Peanuts
The piquant Sichuan Sauce (which doubles easily) works well with almost any stir-fry but particularly enhances dishes with meat, fish and poultry. When stir-frying chicken, always spread the pieces in the wok and let them cook undisturbed for 1 minute before stirring. This allows the chicken to sear and prevents sticking.
Stir-Fried Rice with Tofu
This traditional Chinese favorite is a wonderful vegetarian entrée when prepared with tofu. Use either firm tofu or the more flavorful baked, pressed tofu if you can find it. Serve this simple dish with a salad of sliced cucumbers in rice wine vinegar and steamed asparagus. Sliced oranges make a great dessert.
Food as Medicine
The generous quantity of ginger in this recipe can provide significant anti-inflammatory effects… Tofu, while commonly known as a reliable source of vegetarian protein (a four-ounce serving contains nine grams of soy protein), is also high in the trace mineral selenium… Selenium protects against cancer (especially colon cancer), helps support the immune system and regulate thyroid function, may alleviate asthma and arthritis symptoms and may even aid in the prevention of heart disease.
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Stocking a healthy kitchen

(Harvard School of Public Health) Healthy eating begins in the kitchen, whether it’s in a home, restaurant, dining hall, or other venue. To get the most out of the recipes you prepare, keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients from the Healthy Eating Pyramid.
1. Produce. Choose locally grown vegetables and fruits whenever you can. Keep on hand garlic, onions, dark salad greens like spinach and romaine, carrots, and apples…
2. Grains. Trade in white rice for the bounty of great whole grains: barley, cracked wheat (bulgur), oat berries, quinoa, brown rice, and a host of others…
3. Protein. Rely on healthy protein packages such as fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, and a variety of beans and nuts…
4. Fats and oils. Use liquid vegetable oils whenever possible…
Healthy eating can be as delicious as it is nutritious—a feast for the senses as well as good for the body.
Check out Harvard’s new Healthy Eating Plate, which shows how to translate healthy eating recommendations to a typical meal.
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Natural Goodness: Spring Produce

(The Supermarket Guru) Spring is here! It’s the time when farmers markets, green grocers, and our local supermarkets experience an influx of spring fruits and vegetables. Most of us take for granted and forget how very lucky we are to be able to choose from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables all year round; and in fact it doesn’t even seem like the produce section in the supermarket varies much from season to season.
But, if we pause for a minute, make a conscious effort and take a closer look at what foods are in season - meaning they are produced closer therefore in the ground longer - our meals will be fresher, more nutritious, flavorful, cost less, and on top of that when the season comes for your favorite fruit or vegetable you will truly enjoy and savor it at its best!...
Choosing freshly harvested seasonal produce not only supports a healthy diet, but may also lessen some of the adverse global effects caused by packaging and shipping produce long distances.
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Inside a Nondescript Chicago Warehouse Hides an Enormous Farm

(Scientific American) The FarmedHere project has filled up 90,000 square feet of space with arugula, herbs, and tilapia, creating a closed system that will supply a million of pounds of greens a year.
From enormous  rooftop farms  to out-the-way greenhouses using up  vacant land , urban farms have been  appearing  all over the place in the last few years. The idea of bringing production closer to market makes sense economically, environmentally, and for urban management. Better to make use of unused space than have it overrun by something less useful.
The latest addition to the crop is this 90,000 square-foot green-growing factory, about 15 miles from downtown Chicago. Making use of an abandoned warehouse, it is a vertical indoor farm for producing arugula, four types basil, and a whole bevy-ful of fish. Most ingeniously, the water from the tilapia tanks is used in the aquaponic (when plants grow in water) and aeroponic (sprayed) systems, so that very little water is ever wasted.
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Better Nature: Technologies Inspired by the Natural World

(Discover Magazine) Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering … consists of six core research areas focused on a wide range of technologies, from cancer vaccines to robotic bees that will pollinate plants. Most of the institute’s 18 core faculty members split their time between other academic departments and the Wyss, where they share multidisciplinary lab space that forces roboticists and biologists, chemists and computer scientists, clinicians and engineers to put their heads together and see their projects through.
What most distinguishes the Wyss is that its scientists treat the natural world as their inspirational springboard. It isn’t just a matter of parroting nature’s methods, but of absorbing lessons from nature and then tweaking them to create something entirely new. 
Wyss chemist Joanna Aizenberg, for example, borrowed the concept for a new nonstick material from the slick surface of the insect-trapping pitcher plant. But Aizenberg didn’t just copy the plant’s technique—she improved upon it, then spun out prototypes for use in the real world.
Community: Some years ago, I read the fascinating book, “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.” The idea is that we can learn a lot about how to use low energy, low impact techniques to create useful products, instead of our more traditional methods of “heat, beat, and treat.” You can get a taste of what it’s about by watching the author’s TED talk, and she’s even started a non-profit foundation to promote the ideas.
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LifeScan recalls OneTouch VerioIQ blood glucose meters

(Consumer Reports) Over 90,000 OneTouch VerioIQ blood glucose meters are being recalled by its maker LifeScan, Inc. According to the company, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, the meters can inadvertently shut off if readings are extremely high. That could lead lead to incorrect or delayed treatment.
The malfunction can occur if blood glucose readings are over 1024 mg/dl. Such extreme blood glucose readings are rare, says the Johnson & Johnson press release. But the malfunction would be serious, as users would not be warned of their dangerously high levels.
Consumers with a OneTouch VerioIQ affected by this recall can receive a free replacement blood glucose meter by callng LifeScan toll-free: 800-717-0276.
Find the best model for your needs and budget by using Consumer Reports' free buying guide to blood glucose meters. And check our free guide to diabetes management for simple strategies that can help with the disease.
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Regulator issues fraud alert on doctor-owned distributors

(Reuters) A government watchdog has issued a warning about the risk for fraud when doctors buy an ownership interest in a medical device distributor and then share in its profits from sales to hospitals.
In a report on Tuesday, the Office of Inspector General said its longstanding guidance "makes clear that the opportunity for a referring physician to earn a profit, including through an investment in an entity for which he or she generates business, could constitute illegal remuneration under the anti-kickback statute."…
"The anti-kickback statute is violated if even one purpose of the remuneration is to induce such referrals" by healthcare professionals in PODs, the report said.
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Are Private Labs Overcharging Medicare?

(Andrew Baker, CEO, Huntingdon Life Sciences) As Congress and the White House consider serious cuts to Medicare benefits, the U.S. Department of Justice is allowing the nation's two largest laboratories, with the help of insurance companies, to overcharge Medicare by billions.
The refusal of the two labs - Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp -- to give Medicare what is known as a "best price," as required by law, has cost taxpayers at least $15 billion since the late nineties.
For example, Quest and LabCorp have charged Medicare as much as $8.59 for one set of blood tests, but billed private insurers only $1.43 for the same test.
A billion dollars in Medicare lab fees could be saved every year if DOJ would enforce existing laws that prevent kickbacks and overcharges in the Medicare program, and it could recover billions that have been lost if it would intervene into two whistleblower lawsuits I have filed.
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Shorter Resident Shifts Hasn’t Improved Care, Sleepiness

(MedPage Today) Mandated shorter on-duty shifts for resident physicians has not improved patient care nor has it noticeably reduced the numbers of sleepy house staff, according to a pair of studies…
"Although interns report working fewer hours under the new duty hour restrictions, this decrease has not been accompanied by an increase in hours of sleep or an improvement in depressive symptoms or well-being," [one] study said, "but has been accompanied by an unanticipated increase in self-reported medical errors."…
"Different strategies for improving resident education and patient care may be necessary to achieve the desired impact of ACGME reforms," [Srijan] Sen et al wrote. Adopting work schedules that "account for circadian phase" may be necessary, the authors suggested, as well as including funding for additional clinical staff.
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Online move injects life into health business

(Reuters) Digital doctors … are changing the face of medicine and the way publishers such as Wolters Kluwer make money in the stagnant or low-growth North American and European markets.
Tablet computers and smartphones are almost as essential as a stethoscope in the modern medic's kit, with doctors calling up medical journals, databases, reference works and patient records on these gadgets as they do their hospital rounds.
As a result, Wolters Kluwer is increasingly selling information in electronic rather than printed form - a change that has allowed the Dutch company to increase margins and retain subscribers.
"Medical students used to have to memorize things like the branches of the trigeminal nerves. Now they would look it up," Dr Haining, a pediatric oncologist working in the United States, told Reuters.
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More than books: Arizona libraries add public health nurses

(TODAY) Public libraries have long been the go-to place to borrow books, attend classes or log on to public computers. But over the last decade, they have also become shelters for people in need, including the mentally ill, battered women, latchkey kids and new immigrants.
Acknowledging that reality, libraries in Tucson, Ariz., have become the first in the nation to provide registered nurses along with their other services. Placing nurses in six branches is a nod to the widely accepted transition of public libraries into de facto community centers…
[Nurses Daniel Lopez] roams the main library in downtown Tucson every morning with his stethoscope and black medical bag. What he encounters varies daily. He could be checking people’s blood pressure, examining the swollen limbs of diabetics, or attending to sprains and superficial cuts. On some days, he joins the library’s Story Time, helping parents find hygiene supplies or immunization clinics. Sometimes, he is called to help someone withdrawing from drugs or alcohol.
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