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

A 'gray divorce' boom

(Los Angeles Times) Until recently, it would have been fair to say that older people simply did not get divorced. Fewer than 10% of those who got divorced in 1990 were ages 50 or older. Today, 1 in 4 people getting divorced is in this age group…
The rise in "gray divorce" is a product of dramatic changes in the meaning of marriage in America over the last half-century. Today, we live in an era of individualized marriage, in which those who wed have high expectations for marital success. Americans expect marriage to provide them not simply with stability and security but also with self-fulfillment and personal satisfaction. Roles are flexible; the traditional breadwinner-homemaker model is no longer the status quo. Good spouses engage in open communication and are best friends. This is a high bar for many to achieve, let alone maintain over decades while juggling work and child-rearing.
If a marriage is not achieving these goals, then divorce is an acceptable solution, according to most Americans…
For many boomers, the question is a familiar one because they have already gotten divorced, picked up the pieces and moved on.
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The Neuroscience of Relationship Breakups

(Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D., Psychology Today) An unexpected and unwanted breakup can cause considerable psychological distress. People report feeling as if they have been kicked in the stomach or blindsided and knocked down. Feelings of rejection and self-doubt are common, as is the feeling of being stuck and unable to let go, even when one wants to. Friends and family may push the person to get over it and move on, yet brain research suggests this can be very difficult to do, at least in the first few months.
The research on relationship breakups in unmarried people (generally college students) gives us some clues as to why these events are so subjectively painful. Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans show activity in several specific brain areas when rejected individuals see pictures of their ex-partners… The scientists found that the same parts of the brain lit up when individuals looked at the partner pictures or experienced physical pain, but not when they looked at the friend pictures. These brain regions, including the insula and anterior cingulate cortex are known to be associated with pain experience.
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The Keys to a Successful Relationship

(Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., Psychology Today) The most successful relationships are the ones where there is interdependence. If two people are so independent that they live separate lives, and they don’t come together as a unit, then the relationship suffers.
If two people are so dependent on one another that they have no life outside of the relationship, then there is no growth. Instead, there is stagnation. But when two people each have lives of their own, and they come together out of a mutual choice to share their lives, then a lot of learning and growth can take place. There needs to be a nice balance of space and joining to really flourish.
Many people may never conceive of this dynamic, let alone put it into practice, but those who do practice it have the best relationships…
Don’t underestimate the power of kindness. Just responding to your partner in a pleasant tone, even if your team didn’t win the big game, is a tool that will serve you better than any you ever bought yourself.
Not reacting with anger can make even the worst situations tolerable. When our responses are caring and appropriate, most of our communication problems simply go away. 
Sometimes, you simply need to listen and allow your partner to go through his or her own process, which may be different from yours.
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How to Fight Right

(Kat McGowan, Psychology Today) When you start to feel that you must at all costs get the other person to agree with you, you know you must stop arguing. Follow these guidelines:
·         Think: Is there anything that could be gained from the argument at this point? If the answer is no, it's time to stop talking, no matter how angry you are.
·         Don't repeat yourself. Making your point once is much more powerful than repeating it over and over again. This applies in work situations too. Think of yourself like a lawyer presenting a brief. Say what you think, then keep your mouth shut. "Anything further that you say at this point is going to screw up your best chance at a good outcome," says Wolf.
·         Don't respond to retorts that are designed to make you angry. Ignore them. If your partner or father or friend baits you by saying something like: "You're just like your mother" or "You always say that!" recognize it for what it is and tune it out.
·         When you hand out advice, don't require the other person to recognize it as the most brilliant suggestion ever. Just say it and move on.
Above all, get used to the idea that the best outcome of an argument is that it ends.
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Relationship Tips and Research

(Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Respect and intimacy are the foundation on which loving relationships are built.  Without such safety and connection, there can be no trust; without trust, we lose the ability to be playful, spontaneous, and joyful  The following are common issues in relationships that, if unaddressed, can kill love and happiness. For each relationship-ruining issue below, I explain what it is, why it is a problem, why we do it, and what we can do instead to heal and repair this issue…  (1) Lack of Trust… (2) Blaming and Fixing.
(Susan Biali, M.D., Psychology Today) The premise of Love and Respect is that women and men are different. [Emerson] Eggerichs has a doctorate in family studies and states that the foundation of his bestselling book series was a 20 year study of 2000 couples performed at the “Love Lab” at the University of Washington. They found that there was a consistent pattern in the marriages that flourished over the long haul: the husbands were loving to their wives, and the wives were respectful to their husbands. In fact, it was determined out of this research that a woman’s primary need is for love, and a man’s primary need is for respect.
(UPI) Even when men are in committed relationships they persist in acting as though they are members of the dating market, researchers in Britain found… The study found women saw romantic relationships as partnerships involving equal input from both partners with shared goals and beliefs. Men kept themselves at greater distance from their closest friends and from their partners.
(Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D., Psychology Today) [W]hen a single who enjoys being independent (regardless of how much she also wants a partner) … says that she’s having trouble finding a good match, the statistics come out. There may well be 8 million people in New York City, but most of them won’t do, and that’s an awful big haystack to sort through… Maybe rather than telling singles they just need to try harder, we should try harder to help them.
(Pamela Cytrynbaum, Psychology Today) We can do whatever we want now because we have been liberated [from] the desperation, the fantasies, the obligations of our younger selves and the things they mistakenly thought they needed! We have made peace with the destructive parts of ourselves that made choices from a place of fear, not strength. We know what and who is good for us and what and who is not. We have paid the price for our lousy choices and are crystal clear about what we've learned from our mistakes. So, as my mother always says, about everything: "What could be bad?"
(UPI) Women find broad shoulders and narrow hips attractive, but what they really like is a large penis, researchers in Australia suggest… The study … found penis size influenced how the female participants perceived attractiveness -- the more ample, the more appealing… The study also found taller men with larger genitalia were considered more attractive than shorter men with larger genitalia.
Community: Or is it the man’s chin that attracts women: “Leading Man's Chin: Universally Hot Or Not?”?
More . . .


Flank Steak with Cucumber-Pepperoncini Relish
Serve a simple steak dinner topped with a peppery veggie-and-cheese relish. Pepperoncini peppers are yellow, wrinkled, and slightly spicy; we use both the chopped pickled pepper and pickling liquid to flavor the crunchy relish.
Pork Fajitas
Like the restaurant favorite, these fajitas will satisfy your Tex-Mex craving and be on the table faster than you can get takeout.
The Supermarket Guru:
Chef Jamie's Spring Frittata
Chef Jamie says: There are endless variations on Frittatas. Try chopped tomatoes, chopped broccolini, sautéed sweet onions, spicy jack cheese, fresh mozzarella... any combination to your liking (or what's in your vegetable bin). I make a different Frittata every week and leave it in the fridge, then warm a slice in the microwave for a quick breakfast or snack.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Shiitake Mushrooms and Pea Pods
Fresh and dried shiitakes are practically different mushrooms; they are so unalike in texture and flavor. But both are delightful when combined with pea pods, which provide a vivid contrast of green, sweetness, and crunchiness (if you do not overcook them). This dish makes a good accompaniment to fish and also goes well with grains.
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More evidence adding nuts is a healthy choice

(Reuters Health) People can safely add a few nuts to their diet - or replace other foods with the high-unsaturated fat, high-fiber snacks - without gaining weight, a new review of past studies suggests.
Researchers combined data from 31 trials conducted across the globe and found that on average, there was very little difference in changes in weight or waist measurements between people who were put on a normal or nut-supplemented diet.
"Most of the nut-enriched studies don't show that patients gain a significant amount of weight, in contrast to what one might think," said Dr. David Bleich.
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Nectresse sweetener gets sour reviews

(Consumer Reports) Nectresse, the newest sugar substitute to enter our kitchens, has far fewer calories than regular sugar. But our taste testers weren't crazy about it in baked goods or when it was added to coffee or lemonade.
Nectresse is made of a sugar alcohol (erythritol), regular sugar, monk fruit extract, and molasses…
Bottom line. Nectresse doesn't measure up to sugar. As for other sweeteners, we've found stevia to be bitter in previous tests. In beverages, the old standbys Equal, sucralose (Splenda), and xylitol (Ideal) impart fewer off-notes to beverages. For baking, we haven't found one that works very well unless combined with regular sugar. Read more about other non-sugar sweeteners. See our advice other ways to cut back on sugar as well as our guide to food and drinks.
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This Is Why I Find Michael Pollan Annoying

(Emily Matchar, Psychology Today) In last week's New York Times, foodie guru Michael Pollan waxes poetic on why we all must cook. You guys already know this topic annoys me, as I argued recently in The Atlantic that not everyone likes to cook, and that healthy fast food would be a perfectly valid option for them…
[I]t’s unbelievably twee and silly to be all “cooking is a must-do because it links us to nature.” Because, come on, you know what else links us to nature? Hiking. Raising pigeons. Giving birth in a field. Some of these things may be fun and good for us (I’ll skip the latter though, thanks), but they’re not mandatory for healthy living.
Home cooking is not some universal “natural” activity either. In some countries, it’s practiced much more than others. I live in Hong Kong, where few people cook much at home because of small kitchens, long work hours, and a cultural tradition of dining out as a social activity. Is that unnatural? Are people here disconnected to their bodies? (The obesity level is really low here, btw).
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Roadside Breath Test for Drugs Could Be on Horizon

(e! Science News) A group of researchers from Sweden have provided further evidence that illegal drugs can be detected in the breath, opening up the possibility of a roadside breathalyzer test to detect substances such as cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis. Using a simple, commercially available breath sampler, the researchers have successfully identified a range of 12 substances in the breath of 40 patients recruited from a drug emergency clinic in Stockholm…
Blood, urine and saliva are the most popular methods for detecting illegal drugs and are already used by law enforcement in a number of countries; however, exhaled breath is seen as a promising alternative as it's easier to collect, non-invasive, less prone to adulteration and advantageous when location becomes an obstacle, such as at the roadside.
Community: Hey, maybe we could combine roadside alcohol and drug testing with testing the breath for disease. “Congratulations, you’re not drunk, but you do have cancer!”
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When Everybody Starts Wearing Smartglasses, Google Won’t Be the Only Player

(Scientific American) Google Glass is just the beginning. The search giant’s smartglasses are in the headlines, but numerous other players are also looking to cash in on what’s expected to be a boom in eyewear that puts virtual and augmented reality face-front.
Smartglasses overlay digital information onto the wearer’s view of the real world. Usage scenarios are limited only by developers’ imaginations. Google Glass has apps for search, navigation, photo capture and sharing, to name a few. Commercial possibilities include enhanced vision systems for use in manufacturing, engineering, health care and other industries. A surgeon could have all of a patient’s vital information literally in front of his eyes while operating, for example.
There’ll be no shortage of smartglass systems in as little as one to two years. Research firm Gartner says there are about a dozen companies with products in the works, many of them ready for prime time. 
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Draft bill gives FDA authority over some pharmacies

(Reuters) The Food and Drug Administration would gain greater authority over pharmacies that compound sterile drugs and ship them across state lines under proposed legislation announced on Friday.
The proposal from a bipartisan group of U.S. senators comes in the wake of a meningitis outbreak last fall that killed 53 people and sickened more than 700. The outbreak was linked to a tainted steroid distributed by the New England Compounding Center…
The bill would create a new class of drugmaker that would be regulated by the FDA but would be exempt from the full raft of regulations that apply to traditional pharmaceutical companies.
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Resident doc hours not tied to patient deaths: study

(Reuters Health) Restricting the number of hours doctors-in-training are allowed to work without rest hasn't led to more patient deaths, according to a new study.
Researchers found no increase in deaths over the three years following a rules change that restricted resident doctors to working a maximum of 80 hours per week. In fact, the team reports a decline in deaths during the fourth and fifth years.
"This study is nice, because it shows that late after the 2003 changes there seems to be an improvement in mortality," said Dr. Sanjay Desai, director of the residency program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
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Trauma Centers Saved Hundreds Of Lives In Boston Last Week, So Why Are We Shutting Them Down?

(ThinkProgress) Trauma centers, the medical facilities that provide the full spectrum of emergency services at all times, are being forced to close their doors. In fact, between 1990 and 2005, over 300 of them were shuttered in states across the country. Considering the fact that last week’s events in Boston demonstrated the life-saving effects of emergency responders and trauma care — since the nearly 300 people who were injured in the bombings have all survived, an incredible feat for the city’s medical professionals — why are we limiting access to this type of emergency relief?
As the Atlantic details, it’s not because there are fewer emergencies. There’s still a big need for trauma centers and emergency departments, particularly since they aren’t just important for terrorist attacks like the bombs at the Boston Marathon; they also treat Americans who are injured in car crashes or other serious accidents. And these types of facilities are especially important for servicing vulnerable Americans, who tend to wind up in the ER at higher rates than more economically privileged people do.
In fact, researchers Renee Hsia and Yu-Chu Shen have found that emergency care is at risk largely because of financial pressures. Many trauma centers can’t afford to continue operating precisely because they’re serving low-income and vulnerable populations.
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U.S. agency moves against Nevada hospital cited for "patient dumping"

(Reuters) Federal authorities have taken disciplinary action against a Las Vegas hospital cited for improperly sending newly released psychiatric patients by bus to neighboring California and other states in a practice called "patient dumping."
The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital was warned it was in violation of Medicare rules governing the discharge of patients and could lose critical funding under the federal healthcare insurance program if it failed to correct the problem…
The hospital has faced increasing scrutiny since the Sacramento Bee newspaper documented in an investigative series that began last month that Rawson-Neal gave one-way Greyhound Bus tickets to up to 1,500 patients for destinations in California and 46 other states in the past five years.
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Vangent Gets $28M Contract For Marketplace Call Center

(Kaiser Health News) The federal government has awarded a $28.2 million contract to a General Dynamics subsidiary to run a call center to handle consumer questions about the new online insurance marketplaces that are slated to begin selling insurance policies Oct. 1.
The call center will be responsible for all inquiries related to the insurance marketplaces in at least 34 states that will be run wholly or partly by the federal government…
The call center will also communicate via e-mail, Web chat, fax and the U.S. mail system…
The call center must be located in the continental United States and have at least 300 call center representatives, according to bid documents from CMS. The call center representatives will respond to all inquiries using CMS-approved scripted language.
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43 percent of U.S. working-age adults can't afford doctor

(UPI) About 43 percent of U.S. working-age adults didn't go to the doctor or access other medical services because they can't afford it, researchers say.
The Commonwealth Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey said 80 million working U.S. adults skipped needed medical care due to cost in 2012, up from 75 million people in 2010 and 63 million in 2003, CNN/Money reported.
People who were uninsured or under-insured were most likely to have trouble affording care, but 28 percent of working-age adults with good insurance also had to forgo treatment because of the price.
Community: Medicare for everyone!
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Is Offering a Medicare Buy-in - While Raising the Eligibility Age - A Bridge to a Reform Deal?

(Medicare NewGroup) To those watching and participating in the Medicare reform debate, raising the Medicare eligibility age is the devil they know.
On the one hand, there are plenty of estimates on how much ratcheting the age from 65 to 67 will save: as much as $148 billion over 10 years.  
What these estimates don’t take into the account are the collateral costs. Those who don't qualify for Medicare will either need to buy a private plan, which can cost more than $2,000 annually, or hope that their employer covers them until they qualify for Medicare. In either case someone else pays, yet raising the eligibility age may become a bridge to reform since it's a compromise between the more radical benefit cuts or partial privatization—currently opposed by the Obama administration—and the White House's milder "systemic" reforms rejected as inadequate by conservative Republicans.
The eligibility issue gained new traction recently when Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), told Politico on April 3 that he (and other Republicans) would consider a transition plan that would allow 65- and 66-year-olds to "buy into" standard Medicare until they qualify. “I think the idea has merit to it,” said Sen. Isakson. “You are shifting two years of cost from the government and allowing the buy-in makes it easier to do that. It’s a different way to get to where people want to go and something that ought to be considered.”
Community: What we need is a medicare buy-in for everyone.
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Who should get a bone density test and why?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) A bone density test is the best way to measure your bone health. It can identify osteoporosis – a disease that thins and weakens bones – as well as your risk for bone fractures. See who should get a bone density test and learn what the test involves.
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Price of a Stamp Can Improve Bone Health

(MedPage Today) A simple mailing to clinicians and patients reminding them about fracture risk is a cost-effective way to improve osteoporosis management, researchers found.
In a cost-efficacy analysis, mailings to doctors alone saved $22,000, prevented two fractures, and added two quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for every 1,000 patients, William Leslie, MD, … and colleagues reported…
"The procedure more than paid for itself," Leslie said in a statement. "In the long term, it is projected to prevent fractures and save money."
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Nearly 30 percent of women fail to pick up new prescriptions for osteoporosis, study finds

(Kaiser Permanente) Nearly 30 percent of women failed to pick up their bisphosphonate prescriptions, a medication that is most commonly used to treat osteoporosis and similar bone diseases, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published this week in the journal Osteoporosis International. The failure to pick up these newly prescribed medications, called primary nonadherence, can lead to an increased risk of fractures for these patients…
"Although bisphosphonates have been proven to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fracture, low adherence to these medications is common, which contributes to serious and costly health problems," said Kristi Reynolds, PhD, MPH, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente and lead author of the study…
Medication nonadherence occurs when a patient does not follow a clinically prescribed medication course, endangering his or her own health and possibly necessitating more aggressive treatment or hospitalizations later.
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Common Osteoporosis Drug Slows Formation of New Bone

(Science Daily) Although the drug zoledronic acid slows bone loss in osteoporosis patients, it also boosts levels of a biomarker that stops bone formation, according to a recent study…
"The key to effectively treating osteoporosis lies in increasing bone mass," said the study's lead author, Antonino Catalano, MD, PhD, of the University of Messina in Italy. "Zoledronic acid halts bone loss, but it also signals the body to stop forming new bone mass. The drug may need to be combined with other treatments to add bone mass."…
"An innovative combination therapy using zoledronic acid and selective antibodies to block the sclerostin could simultaneously stop bone loss and encourage new bone formation. This is an important avenue for researchers to explore as they develop new osteoporosis treatments."
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The Worst Foods For Your Bones

(Huffington Post) calcium isn't all we require to keep our skeletons strong. We also need adequate vitamin D for optimal calcium absorption, and to subscribe to a number of healthy habits like not smoking and staying physically active…
Like with many health conditions, the foods you choose -- or choose not -- to eat, can play an important role in preventing or managing symptoms…
Here are a few of the bad-to-the-bone foods you might want to steer clear of.
(Too Much) Alcohol…
Too Much Protein
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Seared Salmon on Herbed Mashed Peas
Give mashed potatoes a break by serving salmon on a bed of brightly seasoned pureed peas. You may need to thin the pea mixture; add one tablespoon of water at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.
Shredded Turkey & Pinto Bean Burritos
We created this with leftover turkey in mind. Leftover or rotisserie chicken can also be used. Make it a Meal: Serve with guacamole and chopped jalapeno peppers and/or hot sauce - and a cold cerveza.
5 Healthy Recipes That Cook Up in 30 Minutes—Or Less!
If a busy schedule leaves you short on time, here are five super-quick dishes to add to your recipe repertoire.
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Coffee May Help Prevent Breast Cancer Returning, Study Finds

(Science Daily) Drinking coffee could decrease the risk of breast cancer recurring in patients taking the widely used drug Tamoxifen, a study at Lund University in Sweden has found. Patients who took the pill, along with two or more cups of coffee daily, reported less than half the rate of cancer recurrence, compared with their Tamoxifen-taking counterparts who drank one cup or less.
The team followed over 600 breast cancer patients from southern Sweden for an average of five years. Approximately 300 took Tamoxifen. The drug, a common hormone therapy after breast cancer surgery, reduces the risk of new tumours by blocking oestrogen receptors. How coffee interacts with the treatment, however, isn't immediately known.
"One theory we are working with is that coffee 'activates' Tamoxifen and makes it more efficient," says Maria Simonsson, doctoral student in Oncology at Lund University.
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The Sugary Drink Conundrum

(Reuters) Drinking just one can of sugar-laced soda drink a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by more than a fifth, according to a large European study published on Wednesday. Using data from 350,000 people in eight European countries, researchers found that every extra 12 fluid ounce (340 ml) serving of sugar-sweetened drink raises the risk of diabetes by 22 percent compared with drinking just one can a month or less.
(KTLA) A bill that would impose a tax on sugary drinks in California is in front of lawmakers in Sacramento this week. The state law would tax sugary drinks such as sodas, energy drinks and sweet teas one cent per fluid ounce.
(WebMD News) Most U.S. adults aren't sweet on the idea of soda and candy taxes, and many doubt the bigger price tags would trim the national waistline. That's the finding of a new … poll… Between 56 percent and 58 percent said no to such taxes, while only 21 to 23 percent were in favor.
Community: Yes, well, I’m sure cigarette taxes were pretty unpopular at first, too. Think it through. What these people are saying is “We have a RIGHT to poison ourselves without any penalty, and make other insured people, or taxpayers, pay for the resulting illness.”
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Lawmakers On Both Sides Of The Aisle Call On The FDA To Label Genetically Engineered Food

(ThinkProgress) Health and environmental advocates have fought for years for a federal labeling program for genetically engineered food. Now, for the first time, their battle has bipartisan support in Congress.
On Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act, a bill whose nine cosponsors in the Senate include Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and whose 22 cosponsors in the House include Don Young (R-Alaska).
According to a press release from Boxer’s office, the bill has gained support from a range of organizations and companies, including the Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union and AllergyKids Foundation. The bill would “require the Food and Drug Administration to clearly label genetically engineered foods,” an objective that, as the press release notes, has the support of most Americans: polls have shown more than 90 percent of Americans think GE foods should be labelled.
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Scientists confirm new H7N9 bird flu has come from chickens

(Reuters) Chinese scientists have confirmed for the first time that a new strain of bird flu that has killed 23 people in China has been transmitted to humans from chickens.
In a study published online in the Lancet medical journal, the scientists echoed previous statements from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese officials that there is as yet no evidence of human-to-human transmission of this virus.
Community: And thank goodness, because “WHO says new bird strain is "one of most lethal" flu viruses.”
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Why Didn't Regulators Prevent the Texas Fertilizer Explosion?

(Scientific American and ProPublica) A week after a blast at a Texas fertilizer plant killed at least 15 people and hurt more than 200, authorities still don't know exactly why the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company plant exploded.
Here's what we do know: The fertilizer plant hadn't been inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since 1985. Its owners do not seem to have told the Department of Homeland Security that they were storing large quantities of potentially explosive fertilizer, as regulations require. And the most recent partial safety inspection of the facility in 2011 led to $5,250 in fines.
We've laid out which agencies were in charge of regulating the plant and who's investigating the explosion now.
Community: Aren’t deregulation and starving regulatory agencies wonderful things?
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Heavy use of herbicide Roundup linked to health dangers: study

(Reuters) Heavy use of the world's most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.
The peer-reviewed report … said evidence indicates that residues of "glyphosate," the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.
Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report.
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Pollution and Type 2 Diabetes

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re male or female, overweight or slender, researchers in Spain have found a connection between the presence in the body of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the development of type 2 diabetes.
The investigators, at the University of Granada, found that people with higher concentrations of DDE (a metabolite of the pesticide DDT) have four times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as people who had less exposure to these compounds. They also found that the diabetes is linked with exposure to beta-Hexachlorocyclohexane, present in the insecticide lindane (Lindano in Spain) no longer used in the United States.
The research team suggested that the propensity for these pollutants to concentrate in body fat might explain why obese individuals are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. POPs are chemicals present in pesticides, industrial waste and building materials. They enter the body mainly through food, but also through air or the skin, the researchers reported.
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Air pollution speeds us 'hardening of arteries,' increases heart risk

(UPI) Long-term exposure to air pollution speeds up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," and increases the risk of heart attack, U.S. researchers say.
[They] found higher concentrations of fine particulate air pollution were linked to a faster thickening of the inner two layers of the common carotid artery -- a blood vessel that provides blood to the head, neck and brain.
Conversely, the researchers found reductions of fine particulate air pollution over time were linked to slower progression of the blood vessel thickness.
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Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) As nanotechnology continues to expand into every industrial sector, workers will be at an increased risk of exposure to new nanomaterials. Today, nanomaterials are found in hundreds of products, ranging from cosmetics, to clothing, to industrial and biomedical applications. These nanoscale-based products are typically called "first generation" products of nanotechnology. Many of these nanoscale-based products are composed of engineered nanoparticles, such as metal oxides, nanotubes, nanowires, quantum dots, and carbon fullerenes (buckyballs), among others. Early scientific studies have indicated that some of these nanoscale particles may pose a greater health risk than the larger bulk form of these materials.
Results from recent animal studies indicate that carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (CNF) may pose a respiratory hazard. CNTs and CNFs are tiny, cylindrical, large aspect ratio, manufactured forms of carbon…
A number of research studies with rodents have shown adverse lung effects at relatively low-mass doses of CNT and CNF, including pulmonary inflammation and rapidly developing, persistent fibrosis. Although it is not known whether similar adverse health effects occur in humans after exposure to CNT and CNF, the results from animal research studies indicate the need to minimize worker exposure.
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A third of U.S. adults will dump physician to save money

(UPI) Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are willing to dump their current physician if it would lower their health plan premium costs, a survey indicates.
A survey conducted for HealthPocket -- a website that compares and ranks health plans -- found more than half of the 34 percent who would switch would do so to get the lowest savings amount proposed in the survey, $500 to $1,000 annually, while 8 percent said they would switch for $1,000 to $2,000 and 7.5 percent for $3,000 or more.
More than 40 percent of respondents said they would not change their doctor, and nearly 24 percent of the respondents reported that they do not have a regular doctor.
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Employer health premiums rose 170% in California in last decade

(Los Angeles Times) Premiums for employer health insurance in California jumped 170% over the last decade, more than five times the 32% increase in the state's inflation rate.
That escalation in premiums has taken a toll on employers' willingness to offer health benefits, according to an annual survey by the California HealthCare Foundation.
The report found that 60% of California firms offered health benefits last year, down from 73% three years ago. 
As costs keep climbing, many businesses are asking workers to contribute more toward their health insurance or accept fewer benefits. More than a third of the firms surveyed said they are likely to increase workers' share of premiums in the next year, and 24% plan to raise employees' deductibles.
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State hires consumer group to help it review healthcare rates

(Los Angeles Times) California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones lashed out Tuesday at another double-digit rate hike for thousands of small businesses getting their health insurance from industry giant Anthem Blue Cross.
But this time Jones got some help from a surprising source. He has quietly tapped Consumer Watchdog, his political ally and the state's most outspoken industry critic, to help review health insurance rate increases under a one-year contract worth as much as $88,000.
The insurance industry expressed dismay that the state enlisted its longtime nemesis to help review rate increases, and some experts questioned whether it's necessary to further antagonize insurers at a time when state officials are trying to work closely with the industry to implement a massive healthcare expansion.
Community: I’m sure the insurance industry would have preferred that the state hire one of their lobbyists.
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Eggs, Too, May Provoke Bacteria to Raise Heart Risk

(New York Times) For the second time in a matter of weeks, a group of researchers reported a link between the food people eat and bacteria in the intestines that can increase the risk of heart attacks.
Two weeks ago, the investigators reported that carnitine, a compound found in red meat, can increase heart disease risk because of the actions of intestinal bacteria. This time they reported that the same thing happens with lecithin, which is abundant in egg yolks.
The lecithin study … is part of a growing appreciation of the role the body’s bacteria play in health and disease. With heart disease, investigators have long focused on the role of diet and heart disease, but expanding the scrutiny to bacteria adds a new dimension…
[Lead researcher Dr. Stanley] Hazen said that people who are worried about heart attacks may want to consider reducing lecithin and choline in their diet, which would require eating less of foods high in fat and cholesterol. Dr. Hazen said it also may be wise to avoid supplements or vitamins with added choline.
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How to Prevent Heart Attacks

(Dr John La Puma) Two views of why heart disease prevention does not work well: one, personal responsibility is not given the attention it deserves.
And two, physicians are not trained or incentivized to advise patients to stop smoking, improve their diet and become fit…maybe because people don’t think they can make a real difference in their own health. Which is wrong: it is *never* too late to start.
Both of these commentaries are tragic.
People need skills they don’t have, and don’t have easy access to: preparing, choosing and shopping for food well, improving mindset, productivity and sleep, and optimizing the home, work and mobile environments for the best lifestyle choices.
Health care begins at home…not in the doctor’s office.
Community: The purpose of this blog is to help its readers develop those skills.
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Best Workouts to Prevent Heart Disease

(RealAge.com) As we get older, the risk of developing heart disease increases -- and even more so for men, who have a higher overall risk. Fortunately, there are things men can do to prevent heart disease, including exercise. Here are the best workouts for your heart:
Go Aerobic
Breaking a sweat for 20 minutes three times per week is enough to strengthen your heart. More is even better.
If you haven't exercised in a while, try low-impact workouts, such as swimming or using an elliptical trainer or stationary bike at a slower pace for the same amount of time. To build endurance, add short bursts of intensity to your activity..
Add a Little Weight Lifting
Strength training is also key for optimal cardiac health, and all you need are three 10-minute resistance-training workouts per week…
Along with a healthier heart, you'll reap a RealAge bonus: A physical activity program that builds stamina, strength, and flexibility can make your RealAge as much as 2.8 years younger.
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