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

Exercise or Make Dinner? Trading Off Healthy Acts

(Ohio State University) American adults who prepare their own meals and exercise on the same day are likely spending more time on one of those activities at the expense of the other, a new study suggests.
The research showed that a 10-minute increase in food preparation time was associated with a lower probability of exercising for 10 more minutes – for both men and women. The finding applied to single and married adults as well as parents and those who have no children…
“As the amount of time men and women spend on food preparation increases, the likelihood that those same people will exercise more decreases,” said Rachel Tumin, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in epidemiology in The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health. “The data suggest that one behavior substitutes for the other.”
The findings suggest that public health recommendations should not be made in isolation of one another, but should take into account the time available to devote to health-promoting behaviors on a given day, Tumin said.
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Spring Clean Your Workout Routine

(SouthBeachDiet.com) It's a new dawn, a new day, a new season—and you should be feeling good!... the spring season opens up a variety of fresh opportunities to take your workout to the next level, learn a new sport, and challenge your body. Whether you're looking to kiss those remaining stubborn pounds goodbye or need some motivation to become more active and physically fit, follow these tips to overhaul your everyday exercise habits and tune into your inner fitness god(dess).
Take your workout outdoors
With flowers blooming, milder temperatures, and longer daylight hours, there's no better time to soak up the sun and take your workout outside…
Try a new sport
Suggestions? Instead of a walk, take a bike ride or swim laps at the pool. Be sure to apply the same principles of interval exercise, in which you alternate between periods of high intensity and slower recovery, to all your workouts…
Schedule an outdoor activity with a family member or friend
Studies show that when people work out with a buddy, they are more likely to stick with their exercise routine than if they were to do it alone…
Join a charity walk or local fitness event
Keep an open mind and challenge yourself
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Easy Ideas for Exercise

(Cooking Light) It doesn’t take much to ease your way into being more active. These … tips will have you working up a sweat—and in some cases, make you more eager to exercise—in no time…
Make Your Life Less Convenient
Intentionally park your car in the farthest spot possible, skip the elevator and use the stairs instead, use a basket when shopping instead of a cart, or, simply leave the things you use every day—like your keys, phone, shoes, etc.—in places where you’ll have to walk a little farther for them…
Get Some Extra Zzz’s
One of the biggest reasons many people stay sedentary is that they spend most of their time being sleepy…
Slow Is Always Better Than No
If starting a running routine or jumping into the latest fast-paced, fat-burning aerobic class feels too intimidating, start small with an activity that you feel more comfortable with, even if it’s not one that really gets your heart pumping…
Put a Time Limit On How Long You Sit
The moment you sit to do anything at home (surf the internet, read, watch TV), limit yourself to ten minutes (or whatever timeframe that works for you), then make a point to get up and walk around for five minutes…
Mix What You Like With What You Loathe
Find that one activity you can’t live without—such as talking on the phone, watching your favorite show, or shopping online—then only allow yourself to do it as you exercise or immediately afterwards.
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More Tips and Research on Fitness

(Science Daily) New research from the University of Missouri suggests certain genetic traits may predispose people to being more or less motivated to exercise and remain active. Frank Booth [and colleagues] were able to selectively breed rats that exhibited traits of either extreme activity or extreme laziness. They say these rats indicate that genetics could play a role in exercise motivation, even in humans.
Community: If this is so, it just means those (of us?) with the lazy genes have to work harder than others to stay healthy.
(Appetite for Health) If you talk to people who are committed to exercise, they will tell you a different story than someone who can’t seem to string together any type of regular activity. An avid exerciser needs the workout. They love the challenge. They love the way they feel after. They value the “thinking time” exercise provides. Whatever it is, the reasons for staying active go beyond fitting into a pair of pants.  An honest avid exerciser would also tell you that they aren’t always motivated to work out. They take days off and they may even take a break, but they always come back to it. Exercise is more meaningful to them.
(Reuters) America's ageing population is posing special challenges, fitness experts say, because it is difficult to design effective workout routines for people with such a wide range of abilities… "A very healthy 70-year-old can safely participate in high-intensity activity while a frail 60-year-old needs to lower the intensity," said [Dr. James Graves]. "My recommendation is to work with a personal trainer or group leader who has knowledge and qualifications to work with the elderly."
(HHS HealthBeat) Working out with a safe and sensible exercise DVD can do a senior good. At the University of Illinois, Edward McAuley tested a DVD program that focused on flexibility, toning and balance… "For older adults, coupling aerobic activity like brisk walking with activities that improve flexibility, strength and balance, are likely to reap the greatest physical and mental health benefits."… Learn more at healthfinder.gov.
(Reuters Health) Women who did a high-intensity aquatic workout for six months increased their strength and suffered fewer falls, in a new study that suggests bone- and muscle-building resistance can be achieved with the right kinds of water exercises. "What we did was to test the model for muscle training in the gyms and put it inside the pools," said lead author Linda Moreira, a researcher at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo.
(Reuters Health) The aches and pains people suffer after working out more than usual can be relieved just as well by exercise as by massage, according to a new study. "It's a common belief that massage is better, but it isn't better. Massage and exercise had the same benefits," said Lars Andersen, the lead author of the study and a professor at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange and Red Onion Salsa
Comfort food is perfect for family night, so dish up a hearty pork dish with a tangy salsa topping. A quick and hearty rice-and-beans side dish complements the roast.
EatingWell:
Chicken Piccata with Pasta & Mushrooms
Our chicken piccata, served over whole-wheat pasta, has a rich lemon-caper sauce that's made with extra-virgin olive oil and just a touch of butter for flavor. If you like, you can use a mild fish like tilapia or even shrimp instead of chicken breast.
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All About Strawberries

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Whether you’re adding strawberries to your breakfast cereal or yogurt, using them to prepare vinaigrette for your salad, or eating them as a healthy dessert, these plump, sweet berries can enhance many meals. Strawberries are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C; in fact, they have more vitamin C than any other berry. Strawberries are at their peak from April through July, but these days you can find delicious berries in your supermarket year round…
Strawberries do not ripen any further once they’ve been picked, so it’s best to buy fully ripe ones and use them within a few days of purchase…
When you're ready to eat your berries, rinse them well with water (to remove any pesticide residue) with the leafy cap intact. (Removing the cap before washing will cause the berries to absorb water.) Using a paring knife, remove the leafy cap and the white "hull." Once cleaned, the strawberries are ready to be eaten on their own or used as an ingredient in other dishes.
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A shift is emerging in the soft drink aisles

(The Supermarket Guru) A shift is emerging in the soft drink aisles. Beverage giants Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Dr Pepper Snapple are more focused than ever on the rising demands for healthier drinks such as tea, coffee, water, juice and muscle recovery shakes.
Across the nation, many carbonated drink fans are seeking greater control of the flavors and ingredients they consume, and, in addition becoming more environments aware. So, options like the Soda Stream become popular. Soda Stream gives over 100 flavor choices and also offers a way to keep bottles out of landfills.  The brand is also integrating into lifestyles, with an arrangement to supply sparkling water dispensers for the doors of some new Samsung refrigerators.
Overall, consumers drink differently today.  Boomers who grew up calorie-dense sugary drinks are cutting back to help stay leaner and active.
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Taco Bell promises better nutrition — by 2020

(USA Today) Taco Bell – long-known as a place to load up on low-price, high-calorie and high-sodium grub – wants to fix the high-calorie and high-sodium part.
By 2020, that is.
The nation's largest Mexican fast-food chain on Wednesday announced new nutritional plans to have 20% of its combo meals (a main item, a side dish and a beverage) meet one-third of the federal government's recommended dietary guidelines by 2020. One-third was chosen because the guidelines are based on an average three meals consumed daily.
The move comes at a time legislators, activists and parents are pushing the fast food giants to offer more better-for-you choices. At the same time more Millennials, Taco Bell's key target, also are choosing better-for-you options sold at places like Chipotle and Panera Bread.
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How to Prevent Incontinence and Other Urinary Tract Problems

(RealAge.com) Postmenopausal women may use estrogen cream, which helps restore thinning tissue around the urethra, to decrease infections (as well as stress incontinence). Here are some other UTI prevention tips -- for all women:
·         Never hold your pee, and urinate 5 to 8 times daily.
·         Drink cranberry juice. Here's how cranberry juice helps prevent bladder infections.
·         Take 500 milligrams of vitamin C and probiotics, such as acidophilus, daily to acidify urine and promote good bacteria.
·         Drink plenty of water.
For both urge incontinence and stress incontinence, you can strengthen pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises to retrain your bladder muscles how and when to contract properly. Also ask your doctor about medications to ease muscle contractions. You don't have to drip. You can get help!
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In Urban Neighborhoods, More Trees Equals Less Crime

(Discover Magazine) A new study finds that, in Philadelphia at least, greener neighborhoods have significantly fewer crimes than non-vegetated areas. And this effect held true even after the researchers controlled for socioeconomic factors.
The researchers began with crime data for 2005 across the city, broken down by neighborhood (each containing a few thousand people) and type of crime: assault, robbery, burglary or theft. (The authors chose not to include rape and murder because they are relatively rare.) They combined this data with images taken the same year by NASA’s Landsat satellite. The satellite carries a sensor which can detect chlorophyll remotely, from which the researchers calculated an average “greenness” of each neighborhood.
When the data were matched up, the researchers found that greenness was a strong marker of safety. Rates of assault, robbery and burglary were all significantly higher in non-vegetated neighborhoods. This effect remained true even when the effects of population density, poverty and education were taken into account, the authors report.
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Patients often biased against fat doctors, too

(Reuters Health) People are less likely to trust and follow the advice of an overweight doctor, according to a new online survey that suggests "weight bias" may go both ways in the doctor-patient relationship.
"There's lots of work which shows there's a lot of bias from health professionals toward heavy patients," said Sara Bleich, an obesity and health policy researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
"What's much newer is the other direction," she told Reuters Health.
Lead researcher Rebecca Puhl said she was not surprised by the findings but they were still "really concerning" - especially considering how important it is for people to be talking with their doctors about how to maintain a healthy weight.
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Doctor-Owned Hospitals Prosper Under Health Law

(Kaiser Health News) Doctor-owned hospitals are earning many of the largest bonuses from the federal health law's new quality programs, even as the law halts their growth.
The hospitals, many of which specialize in heart or orthopedic surgeries, have long drawn the ire of federal lawmakers and competitors. They say physicians often direct the best-insured and more lucrative cases to their own facilities, while leaving the most severely ill patients to others.
Some researchers say the doctors' financial interests encourage them to perform more tests and procedures, driving up the cost of care. The health law banned construction or expansion of these hospitals except in unusual circumstances.
But physician-owned hospitals have emerged as among the biggest winners under two programs in the health law. One rewards or penalizes hospitals based on how well they score on quality measures. The other penalizes hospitals where too many patients are readmitted after they leave.
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FDA finds widespread safety issues at compounding pharmacies

(Washington Post) Federal inspectors have found dozens of potentially dangerous safety problems at 30 specialized pharmacies, months after tainted steroid shots made by a Massachusetts pharmacy triggered the worst drug disaster in decades.
At a Florida company, Food and Drug Administration inspectors discovered “black particles of unknown origin” in seven vials of an injectable medicine. At other facilities, they found rust and mold in “clean rooms,” inadequate microbial testing and tears in gloves worn by technicians — lapses that raise the risk of possible lethal contamination.
The inspections, conducted between February and April, marked the first time that the FDA targeted specialized pharmacies, known as compounding pharmacies, since inspectors found filthy conditions at the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the Massachusetts pharmacy at the heart of the fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 53 people and sickened 680 others.
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Penny-Pinching Health Care Company Put 50,000 People At Risk For Hepatitis

(ThinkProgress) Last week, a Nevada jury found that the state’s largest health maintenance organization (HMO) owed $24 million in damages for signing a penny-pinching contract that led to at least nine people being infected with hepatitis C. On Wednesday, that same jury went further, ordering the Health Plan of Nevada and Sierra Health Services — two companies that are now part of insurance giant United HealthCare — to pay an additional $500 million in punitive damages to the three plaintiffs in the case…
Lawyers for UnitedHealth plan to appeal the ruling, arguing that Desai alone should be held accountable for the consequences of his slapdash medical services. But private HMOs’ systematic use of these so-called “low-bid contracts” in an effort to preserve profits often leads to a race-to-the-bottom that trades public health for bigger profit margins. Without adequate reimbursements, providers have less incentive to spend more time on patient care, particularly when it comes to relatively quick outpatient procedures such as the ones involved in the Nevada case. That kind of corner-cutting can seem harmless until it leads to a public health disaster.
Such bottom line-oriented behavior is particularly worrying in light of states’ increasing use of privately managed Medicaid plans that contract with HMOs.
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Intermountain to Pay Millions Over Referral Charges

(MedPage Today) Utah’s largest health system will pay more more than $25 million to settle claims that it violated Stark laws that prohibit paying doctors in ways that influence referrals, the Justice Department has announced…
"Intermountain, through its Intermountain Medical Group subsidiary, compensated certain employed physicians using a bonus formula that may have improperly taken into account the volume and value of the physicians' patient referrals to Intermountain," a settlement agreement filed in federal court stated.
The nonprofit health system with 22 hospitals and 800 physicians also rented office space to 18 doctors in Burley, Idaho and Richfield, Utah "where there may have been fair market-value issues with the leases," the settlement stated. Some were provided the space as early as 1997 and the leases spanned a 15-year time frame.
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Those on Medicaid have worse health

(UPI) U.S. adults who are on Medicaid have significantly worse health than those covered by an employer or union, a survey indicates.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index of about 28,000 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 3 to March 1 found more than 3-in-10 adults on Medicaid were obese, 22 percent were being treated for depression, and 24 percent were being treated for high blood pressure.
The survey also found Medicaid recipients struggled disproportionately with asthma and diabetes.
Due to the nature of what allows an individual to receive Medicaid -- they must be low income or disabled -- it was not particularly surprising this group was in such relatively poor health because research has long-shown the link between poverty and poor health, Gallup said.
Community: And, too, people on Medicaid have better health outcomes than poor people who aren’t insured at all.
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Obama Cuts Medicare Much Deeper Than GOP Proposal

(Derek Thompson, The Atlantic) Obama's ten-year Medicare budget is $70 billion below the GOP, and his announced cuts are about $250 billion deeper than the GOP…
In fact, as Michael Linden at the Center for American Progress (who helped me with many of these numbers), pointed out, Obama's new proposal would mean about $1 trillion in lower Medicare spending in this decade compared to projections from before he took office. That includes the effects of slowing health-care inflation after the Great Recession. That's a 13 percent reduction!...
And here's the bottom line: Obama preserves federal Medicaid spending, he doesn't unwind Obamacare, and he spends much more on mandatory and non-defense discretionary programs than [Paul] Ryan proposed. But his cuts to Social Security and Medicare combined are somewhere between $200 billion and $380 billion deeper than the GOP budget. On these programs there is no room to "compromise." The president is already to the right of the right.
Community: To the right of the right. That’s been the essential fault with his presidency.
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Fact/Fiction: The Obama Administration Can Spare Cancer Clinic Drugs From Sequestration Cuts

(The Medicare NewsGroup) The Sound Bite: Some cancer clinics have said that the Obama administration has the power to save them from sequestration cuts that are forcing the clinics to turn away Medicare beneficiaries.
Fact or Fiction? Fiction. Neither the Obama administration or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services can decide which parts of Medicare spending should be cut or by how much. Only through legislation could cancer clinics be spared from the cuts.
The lack of flexibility on how the cuts are applied makes sequestration a particularly blunt way of cutting spending.
In a response to legislators seeking details on the sequester’s effects before the cuts took effect, the White House Office of Management and Budget released a report, saying, “With the single exception of military personnel accounts, the [Obama] Administration cannot choose which programs to exempt, or what percentage cuts to apply.”
When sequestration cuts went into effect for Medicare providers on April 1, cancer clinics began turning away patients, saying the cuts to their payments made certain chemotherapy drugs into money losers. For many clinics, the choice was either turning away patients or going out of business.
Many clinics in rural areas, where beneficiaries have few alternatives, have turned away patients as well.
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Drop in Cuban Economy Led to Drop in Diabetes Deaths

(MedPage Today) Deaths from diabetes and heart disease dropped when the Cuban population lost an average of 10 pounds per person during an economic crisis in the '90s, but rebounded once the economy recovered, researchers found.
During the crisis, which occurred between 1991 and 1995, shortages in food and gas meant people ate less and walked or biked more, Manuel Franco, MD, of the University of Alcala in Madrid, and colleagues noted…
Cubans lost 9 to 11 pounds (4 to 5 kg) on average during that period, and diabetes mortality stabilized; it then fell 50% during a slow recovery period between 1996 and 2002, but rose again by 49% from 2002 onward, they reported.
Heart disease mortality dropped by 34% during the recovery period, but the rate of decline slowed after 2002, the researchers found.
The data are a "notable illustration of the potential health benefits of reversing the global obesity epidemic," they wrote.
Community: The evidence is obvious, and yet: “Treatments, Not Prevention, Dominate Diabetes Research.” There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Consulting Diabetes Patients Improves Treatment

(Science Daily) Patients with type 2 diabetes … who cooperate with their general practitioner and set personal goals for treatment while receiving continuous feedback from their doctor can reduce their risk of complications with up to 20 percent…
"It is irrational to treat everybody the same way. We have to put in more effort for some patients than for others, and the general practitioners have to set personal goals in cooperation with the patients concerning risk factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol level and weight," says professor Niels de Fine Olivarius [,] lead scientist of the study…
"I think it has been crucial for the success of the study that the doctors have been reluctant to begin medical treatment. In that way, the patients have had the opportunity to experience how much their own efforts such as changes in their food habits, more exercise and weight loss affect their diabetes treatment," says … Olivarius. Thus, almost a third of the diabetes patients were able to manage their blood sugar purely by changing their food habits, even 6 years after the diagnosis, and thereby the results also show how important it is with intense care immediately after the patient has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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If you have diabetes, how can diet and exercise help?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) If you have diabetes, diet and exercise are key to controlling the disease. Learn how following a meal plan and engaging in regular physical activity can help you manage your diabetes.
For more on specific exercises for older adults, check out Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
The information on Diabetes was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at NIH.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Lift Weights to Lower Blood Sugar?

(Science Daily) Researchers in the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan have challenged a long-held belief that whitening of skeletal muscle in diabetes is harmful.
In fact, the white muscle that increases with resistance training, age and diabetes helps keep blood sugar in check, the researchers showed.
In addition, the insights from the molecular pathways involved in this phenomenon and identified in the study may point the way to potential drug targets for obesity and metabolic disease.
"We wanted to figure out the relationship between muscle types and body metabolism, how the muscles were made, and also what kind of influence they have on diseases like type 2 diabetes," said Jiandie Lin, Life Sciences Institute faculty member and associate professor at the U-M Medical School.
Community: And as we saw recently, cranberries can help keep blood sugar in check. There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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More Recent Research on Diabetes

(Science Daily) A new study found that higher levels of mercury exposure in young adults increased their risks for type 2 diabetes later in life by 65 percent… The study paints a complicated nutritional picture because the main source of mercury in humans comes from the consumption of fish and shellfish, nearly all of which contain traces of mercury. Fish and shellfish also contain lean protein and other nutrients, such as magnesium and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, that make them important to a healthy diet.
(MedPage Today) All patients with diabetes should start taking statins when they turn 40 and blood pressure drugs when they turn 55, even if they have no other risk factors at the time, according to new Canadian guidelines. The guidelines also recommend that those over 30 who have had diabetes for at least 15 years also should start on statins, according to Alice Cheng, MD, … chair of the guideline committee.
(MedPage Today) Bariatric surgery may keep type 2 diabetes at bay for good, researchers found. In a single-center study, 50% of patients whose diabetes resolved following bariatric surgery still had complete or partial remission of the disease about 6 years later, Stacy Brethauer, MD, … and colleagues reported.
Community: But as we’ve seen, the diabetes “cure” with bariatric surgery may actually be due to the change in diet and a change in intestinal bacteria. It’s just crazy to undergo the risks and inevitable unforeseen side effects of surgery when there are alternatives.
(Reuters Health) Obesity is already linked to a higher risk of colon or rectal cancer, but a new study suggests this risk is even greater for obese people who have undergone weight-loss surgery. Based on a study of more than 77,000 obese patients, Swedish and English researchers found the risk for colorectal cancer among those who have had obesity surgery is double that of the general population.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of type 2 diabetes.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Filet Mignon with Port and Mustard Sauce
Port wine and Dijon mustard team up for a sweet-and-sharp sauce to top this 15-minute steak. Serve with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.
EatingWell:
Fusilli with Italian Sausage & Arugula
A whole teaspoon of black pepper along with a small amount of Italian turkey sausage deliver a piquant flavor without adding too much in the way of saturated fat and calories in this quick pasta dish. For maximum taste, use a high-quality cheese.
The Supermarket Guru:
Spinach-Stuffed Salmon with Mango Sauce
A nutritiously delicious salmon entrée from The Pritikin Edge by Robert A. Vogel, M.D., and Paul Tager Lehr - salmon is packed with Omega 3's and vitamins D and B12 - and with only 30 grams of protein per serving and 5 grams of fiber this dish can a diet staple!
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Spinach Toasts
Cooking spinach takes very little time, but you need to wash and drain it carefully, and remove tough stems first, which may take 5 or 10 minutes. Plan accordingly. The spinach on these little appetizers is a great source of iron and vitamins A and C.
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Study: Soda Ban Might Backfire

(MedPage Today) Attempts to outlaw mega-sized sugary drinks, like New York's controversial soda ban, could have the unintended consequence of increasing soft drink consumption and obesity, research suggests…
[A] behavioral simulation study found that people purchased more soda when offered deals on multiple smaller-sized drinks, suggesting that a ban on container size will not work if businesses have an economic incentive to offer 'bundled' drinks at reduced prices…
New York University professor of nutrition and author Marion Nestle, PhD, who supports the soda ban, concedes the point. But she said the study does little to convince her that people will buy two or three sodas instead of one just because they get a better price.
"Sure, some businesses will do everything they can to increase sales," she told MedPage Today."Sodas are cheap and they make huge profits on them. But I'd like to see the portion-size cap tried at least. Let's give it a chance before dreaming up reasons why it won't work."
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How Panda Express, Taco Bell, And McDonalds Rebrand Food As ‘Healthy’ Without Changing Much

(ThinkProgress) As a growing number of Americans cite obesity as the most urgent health problem facing the country, the food industry is looking for a way to profit.
Despite playing a critical role in enabling America’s obesity epidemic, fast food chains have recently announced attempts to make their product seem healthier — a number of new menu items that may substitute whole grain for white or turkey for red meat. But for many of these companies, the rebranding is superficial.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

This Week's Radio Show: Headache Update
We'll explore the differences between migraines and tension headaches and how to treat them. Find out why taking pain relievers too frequently can actually cause rebound headaches. Will caffeine help or hurt when it comes to headaches? Is there a time when a headache requires emergency medical attention?
Community: The NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements has a list of foods that contain the most selenium, Brazil nuts being way above all the others in selenium content. It’s also available as a food supplement. Said one of the researchers, “If our results can be confirmed, a prevention trial of selenium and prostate cancer in a low-selenium population may be justified.”
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Bras Make Breasts "Saggier", 15-year French Study Reveals

(Counsel & Heal) Women have long been told that a good bra can help support the chest, relieve back pain and prevent sagging.  However, a new 15-year French study reveals the opposite: bras do little to reduce back pain and, over time, they can actually make breasts sag even more.
Researcher Prof. Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports science expert from the University of Besançon in eastern France claims that "bras are a false necessity," according to The Local.
"Medically, physiologically, anatomically - breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity," said Rouillon. "On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra."
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On Call In The Wild: Animals Play Doctor, Too

(Shots, NPR) [A] surprising number of wild creatures have figured out ways to use herbs, resins, and even alcohol and nicotine for health's sake…
First on the list: primates, who are particularly good at exploiting the medicinal properties of plants. Chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas have all figured out that swallowing rough leaves can purge their intestines of parasites. And chimps plagued by roundworm infections have been known to eat plants with anti-parasitic properties, despite their bitter flavor and lack of nutritional value.
These primates seem to know what they're doing, says Jaap de Roode, an assistant professor of biology at Emory University and lead author of the article.
Primates "are not so different from us," de Roode tells Shots. "They can learn from each other and they can make associations between ... taking medicinal plants and feeling better."
But de Roode points out that not all animals self-medicate consciously. Sometimes, the behavior is innate — the result of natural selection.
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Asthma test helps doctor tailor treatment

(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Inhaled corticosteroids are often used to treat asthma, but trying to figure out if the therapy is necessary — and at what dose — can be tricky.
Now, a new, noninvasive breath test called fractional exhaled nitric oxide, or FeNO, has taken away much of the guesswork about whether a patient should be on inhaled corticosteroids. The test is helping to guide treatment decisions and is the first to measure airway inflammation — the major underlying cause of asthma.
"With one breath into a hand-held device, physicians can measure the level of inflammation in a patient's lungs," said Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergist at the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic.
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Taming the Costs

(MedPage Today) Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, chair of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, called physicians the most important group in determining the future of the U.S., because others who have tried to incite health delivery reform have run into a brick wall when doctors weren't on board… Emanuel drew a gasp from the crowd when he noted the U.S.'s healthcare spending last year -- $2.87 trillion -- makes it equivalent to the fifth largest economy in the world… The only way to reduce that spending is to move away from a fee-for-service model that rewards volume over value and quantity over quality, Emanuel said, noting that the fee-for-service system has driven the spending growth that we have today.
Community: Ezekiel is the brother of my mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
(Kaiser Health News) Five veteran health care leaders representing insurers, hospitals, employers and consumers on Thursday outlined an ambitious set of recommendations aimed at slowing rising costs, focused mainly on changing the way America pays for health care. Many of the ideas draw on existing efforts, such as accelerating Medicare’s efforts to pay for quality rather than just quantity of care. Working together as the Partnership for Sustainable Health Care, they also recommend greater incentives to promote quality, such as reimbursing providers more for treatments shown to be most effective — and reimbursing them less for those with more uncertain benefits.
(Miami Herald) ACOs [accountable care organizations] - and a related concept, "medical homes" - were pushed hard by creators of the Affordable Care Act to improve quality and lower costs for Medicare patients, but the concept is expected to spread to others in the health care system. Superficially, the concepts seem much like the old health maintenance organizations, but there are major differences. HMOs generally get a specific number of dollars per year for each patient, and the fewer dollars they spend on health care, the larger their profit. HMOs often have gatekeepers that must approve visits to specialists.
With ACOs, quality is a major factor in measuring results. Hospital readmissions and other poor health outcomes could penalize the organizations. But if patients remain healthy and cost Medicare less, the ACO member providers - which can be hospitals, doctors, home health agencies and others - share in the savings.
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One in Five Seniors on Risky Meds; More in US South

(Science Daily) More than one in five seniors with Medicare Advantage plans received a prescription for a potentially harmful "high-risk medication" in 2009, according to a newly published analysis by Brown University public health researchers. The questionable prescriptions were significantly more common in the Southeast United States, as well as among women and people living in relatively poor areas.
The demographic trends in the analysis, based on Medicare data from more than 6 million patients, suggest that differences in the rates of prescription of about 110 medications deemed risky for the elderly cannot be explained merely by the individual circumstances of patients, said lead author Danya Qato, a pharmacist and doctoral candidate… "[W]ith such a preponderance of use of high-risk medications in some locations versus others, our results suggest that we cannot attribute this variation wholly to patient characteristics."…
The factors could include higher patient demand for the drugs, a different prescribing culture, possibly higher prevalence of chronic medical problems in the region, or inadequate medical training with regard to appropriate prescribing among elderly patients.
Community: The most conservative and “freedom loving” states take the riskiest medications? What a surprise!
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Despite health challenges, Southern states resist Medicaid expansion

(McClatchy) Mississippi and eight other contiguous Southern states, all led by Republican governors, have decided not to implement the Medicaid expansion, even though the federal government has pledged to pay all medical costs for the newly eligible enrollees in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and no less than 90 percent of their costs thereafter.
All of them – Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma – say they can’t afford it under those terms…
Besides shared borders and conservative political leadership, most of the nine states have something else in common: By a host of measures – from obesity to infant mortality – all but North Carolina and Georgia are among the unhealthiest in the nation, according to the 2012 edition of America’s Health Rankings.
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Companies On The Move Look For Healthy Workers

(Shots, NPR) It may cost less to do business in places where there's what some people call a culture of health. And that's put Colorado, which has the lowest rates of adult obesity in the country, on the map for companies looking to relocate or expand.
Kelly Brough is making the most of it. She runs the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and she's creative about luring businesses to relocate to Colorado…
Brough says if Colorado can catch executives' attention, she's got the numbers to hook them. And she's talking about more than just the typical tax breaks and labor costs. "Our obesity rate being the lowest in the nation ranked extremely high for the companies we recently attracted," she said at a luncheon for Denver health leaders.
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Employer Health Coverage in U.S. on 10-Year Decline

(Bloomberg) The share of Americans who get health benefits through work dropped to 60 percent in 2011, continuing a decade-long slide that highlights the challenges facing President Barack Obama’s insurance overhaul.
U.S. employers provided coverage for 159 million people in 2011, 12 million fewer than in 2000, according to a study released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report blamed the decline on the total number of jobs available as well as insurance premiums that have more than doubled in some cases.
“Everyone’s costs have increased dramatically,” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Princeton, New Jersey-based foundation, said in a statement. “Higher costs naturally translate into fewer employers offering insurance coverage, and fewer employees accepting it, even when it is offered.”
Community: However, “STUDY: Very Few Businesses Plan To Drop Health Coverage Because Of Obamacare.” Nevertheless, we are headed for single payer health care. It’s has to happen.
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