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

A map, a compass and your wits: the sport of orienteering

(Los Angeles Times) Here's the first thing you learn about orienteering: Where you're going is only part of the challenge; the crux of the sport is figuring out how to get there. In a typical 5K, runners follow a delineated path. Orienteering, however, leaves the route open-ended. Like a life-scale game of connect-the-dots, you are presented with a field full of controls, numbered in the order you must visit them. But between the controls might be cliffs, boulders, cactus groves and streams. The aim is to get from point A to point B in the speediest fashion, without getting lost.
"This is a thinking sport. It's not mindless running," says Gary Dolgin, a founding member of the Los Angeles Orienteering Club (LAOC), which hosts monthly meets at parkland across L.A. County. "The pace and the route are strictly up to you."
In the age of GPS, orienteering feels like a throwback to a simpler, more low-tech time. Part scavenger hunt and part race, the sport dares urban dwellers to turn off their smartphones and navigate unfamiliar terrain using tools of yore.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

If you're healthy now, why exercise?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) If you’re feeling good, you may think you don’t need to exercise. But exercise and physical activity provide many benefits, even for those who are in good health. Here’s how exercise can help you maintain, and even improve, your health as you get older.
To learn more about the benefits of exercise, check out Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults from the National Institute on Aging.
The information on Exercise: Benefits of Exercise was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

What cancer survivors can teach us about exercise

(HHS HealthBeat) Being physically active is hard for a lot of us – and may be harder for people who had cancer treatment. But a study of survivors of endometrial cancer says building self-efficacy – your idea that you can succeed – helps to create success.
At the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Karen Basen-Engquist examined six months of data on how 100 women felt about being active, and how much they did. She linked gains in self-efficacy to more physical activity.
And physical activity raises self-efficacy:
“People’s self-efficacy for something like exercise increases as they gain experience with the behavior – especially if they receive some guidance or feedback about how they’re doing.”…
Learn more at healthfinder.gov.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Most people aren't meeting exercise guidelines

(USA Today) Most adults in the USA aren't meeting the federal physical activity recommendations for both aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activity, according to government statistics out today.
About 79% of adults don't meet the physical activity guidelines that advise getting at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging. Plus, the guidelines recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups or exercise using resistance bands or weights. These activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days a week, the guidelines say.
Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of early death, help control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some types of cancer and a host of other conditions. It lowers the risk of cognitive decline and hip fractures.
Other research indicates that people are less active than these statistics suggest. 
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More News, Tips, and Research on Exercise and Fitness

(UPI) Swiss researchers say patients at risk from hepatocellular carcinoma -- the most common form of liver cancer -- may reduce their risk by regular exercise… "We know that modern, unhealthy lifestyles predispose people to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which may lead to liver cancer; but it's been previously unknown whether regular exercise reduces the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma," [researcher Jean-Francois] Dufour said in a statement. "This research is significant because it opens the door for further studies to prove that regular exercise can reduce the chance of people developing hepatocellular carcinoma."
(Medical News Today) All subjects were aged 50 and older and took part in the Women's Health Initiative study. They were given an exam to measure their weight and height so doctors could determine their BMI (body mass index)… The important element in lowering the risk of kidney stones is not the intensity of exercise, but the amount, the authors explained.
(UPI) Most adults with arthritis do no or little walking, but it is an effective and safe way to achieve proven arthritis relief, U.S. officials say. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said for adults with arthritis physical activity is an essential self-management strategy proven to reduce pain and increase function… Community-based programs, such as Walk With Ease, are available to help adults with arthritis increase their walking, CDC officials said.
(Science Daily) For many people who have fibromyalgia, even the thought of exercising is painful. Yet a new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that exercise does not worsen the pain associated with the disorder and may even lessen it over time.
More . . .

Recipes

Celebrate a Healthy Cinco de Mayo Tomorrow!
Cooking Light:
100 Mexican Recipes
Tacos, burritos, enchiladas y mas!
MyRecipes.com:
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Trade the traditional enchilada sauce for a creamy, cheesy topping on this Mexican chicken casserole recipe. Your family will never know they're enjoying a lightened meal.
EatingWell:
Shrimp Veracruzana
Veracruzana is a dish full of onions, jalapeƱos and tomatoes from the Mexican state of Veracruz. Here we pair the zesty sauce with shrimp, but it can be served with any type of fish or chicken… Serve with: Rice or potatoes and an avocado salad.
Appetite for Health:
Best Cinco De Mayo Guacamole!
Avocados are an all star super food!  High in healthy monounsaturated fats and a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals… This recipe is lower in calories, adds an extra punch of fresh veggies, and provides all the essential vitamins and minerals you would find in a traditional Guacamole recipe!
The Supermarket Guru:
Chef Jamie's Cinco de Mayo Chiles Rellenos
A healthier version of this Mexican favorite!
Spicy Mexican Shrimp & Avocado Cocktail | Fonda Restaurant, NY
Cinco de Mayo is just days away and this recipe 'stolen with permission' from Chef Roberto SantibaƱez of Fonda Restaurant in New York. This delicious concoction will only take you 10 minutes to prepare - and then you will be transported to your very own Mexican fiesta!
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Liven Up a Meal with Salsa
Looking for a zesty — and healthy — way to liven up a meal? Try salsa, a nutrient-dense condiment that can add a kick to almost any dish, whether it’s a South-of-the-Border specialty like huevos rancheros or a bean salad topped with grilled chicken… This quick and simple salsa recipe goes with almost anything.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

2 Healthy Eating Evangelists Walk Into A Grocery Store...

(Huffington Post) Two of the biggest books in food this year happen to be written by men that share the same first name. And, the two books -- "Cooked" by Michael Pollan and "Salt, Sugar, Fat" by Michael Moss -- happen to share some similar themes as well. In short, our food system is messed up. Moss brings these problems to light through his detailed reporting of food industry tactics while Pollan advocates for a return to cooking, arguing that the best way to get healthy is simply to cook.
The New York Times decided to take the Michaels on a grocery shopping trip to see how both of them would navigate the supermarket to come up with ingredients for a (home-cooked, natch) lunch. Here are four things that they teach us about food shopping:
1. "Behind these shelves is the most fiercely competitive industry there is." -Michael Moss…
2. "A lot of people when they hear this term 'processed food' assume it is all the same and it is all equally bad." -Michael Pollan…
3. "I think frozen vegetables are terrific." -Michael Pollan…
4. "It's more important that you eat vegetables, even if they are conventional -- I'm talking about for your health -- then it is until you wait until you can afford organic, or you can find organic." -Michael Pollan…
Learn more tips and watch the video here.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

7 Foods You Should Be Eating – But Probably Aren’t

(Appetite for Health) If you’re looking to liven up your diet to satisfy both your taste buds and nutritional needs, you don’t want to miss this list of healthy-but-often-overlooked foods.
Swiss Chard… A true ‘super food’ one cup of Swiss chard has just 35 calories, and meets 300% of your daily vitamin K needs and 109% of your daily vitamin A requirements.  Packed with disease-fighting caratenoids, Swiss chard may protect aging eyes.
Flax Seeds… Loaded with plant chemicals known as lignans, flaxseeds may provide some protection against cancers that are sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer. Plus their omega-3 essential fatty acids have heart-healthy effects.
Tumeric…Used as both medicine and food for centuries, studies suggest that this relative of ginger is a promising preventive agent for a wide range of diseases, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Artichokes… Virtually fat-free and low in sodium, the artichoke is rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and especially fiber.
Beets…One cup of beets provides only 60 calories, NO fat, about 40 percent of your daily value for folic acid and 4 grams of fiber.
Prunes… One serving (about 5 dried plums) has 3 grams of fiber, 293 mg of potassium, and 16 mg of magnesium, all for less than 100 calories. Studies have shown that dried plums promote heart and digestive health.
Chia Seeds … are an excellent source of fiber and polyunsaturated fats… They contain healthy “ALA” fats that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Nature's Viagra? BIG Benefit of Watermelon Juice

(RealAge.com) Summer's favorite fruit has more going for it than a good excuse for a picnic. Turns out this sweet and juicy treat is loaded with a come-hither compound that turbocharges blood flow in much the same way Viagra and other "performance" drugs do.
The compound is citrulline, which your body converts into l-arginine, a blood vessel relaxer that enhances circulation to all your vital parts. In a new Italian study, 24 lucky middle-aged guys with "mild" erection problems took a citrulline supplement for a month; half said their difficulties cleared up and they had sex more often. American experts have found that knocking back a couple of glasses of watermelon juice a day raises blood levels of l-arginine significantly. (And, yes, you can buy 100% watermelon juice; if your local health-food store doesn't have it, Amazon does.)…
Other helpers include staying physically active, getting plenty of sleep, and spending time with friends -- including your significant other.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

As honey bee population dwindles, U.S. sees threat to food supply

(Reuters) Honey bees, which play a key role in pollinating a wide variety of food crops, are in sharp decline in the United States, due to parasites, disease and pesticides, said a federal report released on Thursday.
Genetics and poor nutrition are also hurting the species, which help farmers produce crops worth some $20 billion to $30 billion a year.
Honey bee colonies have been dying and the number of colonies has more than halved since 1947, said the report by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Graying of hair can now be reversed

(Zee News) The cure for gray hair is coming - thanks to a team of European researchers.
New research suggests that loss of skin or hair color can be corrected by a new compound.
People who are going gray develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes our hair to bleach itself from the inside out.
The new report shows that this massive accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be remedied with a proprietary treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical, UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS (a modified pseudocatalase).
What`s more, the study also shows that the same treatment works for the skin condition, vitiligo.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Ticks are biting early this year: How to protect yourself

(Consumer Reports) If you'll be doing yard work, hiking, or just sitting on the lawn in the spring loveliness this weekend, be aware that you might not be alone out there: It's tick time again.
Reports out of several states indicate that tick season is off to an early start in many areas, driven partly by a mild winter and warm spring. Bites from the tiny deer ticks prevalent in the Northeast and upper Midwest can transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses. And ticks in other areas can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and anaplasmosis, another bacterial disease.
So it's important to start taking precautions now that you might normally associate more with summer, like tucking your pants into your socks or spraying your clothes down with deet before doing yard work.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Flu News

(UPI) The U.S. flu season is largely over, but federal health officials say flu viruses can continue to circulate at low levels during the summer. The weekly flu report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said for the week ending April 27 U.S. seasonal influenza activity continues to decline with all 10 regions reporting influenza-like illness activity below region-specific baselines.
(University of Maryland School of Medicine) An experimental drug has shown promise in treating influenza, preventing lung injury and death from the virus in preclinical studies, according to University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers… The scientists found that a drug called Eritoran can protect mice from death after they have been infected with a lethal dose of influenza virus. The potential value of this drug as single therapy or in combination with antivirals is further supported by previous research that found that it is safe for use in humans.
(ThinkProgress) As the death toll from the H7N9 virus — the mysterious new Chinese bird flu strain that experts have labeled “one of the most lethal” of its kind — rises, a team of Chinese scientists is taking heat for creating 127 new hybrid influenza types in laboratories by combining “the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus with the highly infectious H1N1 human influenza virus.” Researchers from around the globe described the scientists’ actions as “appallingly irresponsible.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Protein Complex Found in Human Breast Milk Can Help Reverse Antibiotic Resistance in Superbugs

(Science Daily) A protein complex found in human breast milk can help reverse the antibiotic resistance of bacterial species that cause dangerous pneumonia and staph infections, according to new University at Buffalo research.
In petri dish and animal experiments, the protein complex -- called Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells (HAMLET) -- increased bacteria's sensitivity to multiple classes of antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin.
The effect was so pronounced that bacteria including penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) regained sensitivity to the antibiotics they were previously able to beat, said [the] researchers.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Driving With the Dog Not a Good Idea for Seniors

(Science Daily) Senior drivers who always take a pet in the car are at increased risk for being involved in a motor vehicle collision, said University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers. In a study…, the research team said both overall and at-fault crash rates for drivers 70 years of age or older were higher for those whose pet habitually rode with them.
"This is the first study to evaluate the presence of pets in a vehicle as a potential internal distraction for elderly drivers," said Gerald McGwin, Ph.D…, senior author of the study. "The increased crash rate for elderly drivers who always drive with pets is important in the context of increasing driver awareness about potentially dangerous driving habits."
Distracted driving has become a focal point for the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration and is defined as anything that could potentially remove a driver's eyes from the road, their hands from the steering wheel or their concentration from the task of driving.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Bug-Eyed Camera With 200 Lenses Seen Improving Surgery

(Bloomberg) A digital camera with 200 lenses that mimics the compound eyes of ants may help improve endoscopes, the tiny cameras doctors use to explore the insides of patients. A tiny robot that borrows the aerial prowess of a house fly may one day help find injured victims buried in rubble after disasters.
The two technologies, announced separately in science journals this week, are the latest advances that use biological systems as models to design materials and machines. While copying nature has long been a staple of human innovation, recent technology advances that let scientists look more closely at insects and stronger collaboration between engineers and biologists have set off a wave of new discoveries.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How Sequestration Is Holding Back Scientific Research On Important Public Health Initiatives

(ThinkProgress) Before sequestration’s automatic budget cuts kicked in, scientists warned that the proposed 8.2 across-the-board cut to the Nation Institute of Health could set back scientific innovation for a generation. Slashing those funds from NIH, one of the agency’s former directors pointed out, could prevent scientists from doing the critical research necessary to develop new treatments for chronic conditions and rare diseases…
Medical research isn’t the only area where Americans’ future health is being threatened … by sequestration. The budget cuts could also potentially result in fewer food inspections, fewer mental health resources, fewer people getting screened for HIV, fewer government resources to provide health insurance to low-income Americans, and fewer cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.
Members of the medical community have blasted lawmakers for prioritizing their own convenience over the health sector. The cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which resulted in long delays at airports around the country for lawmakers during their frequent travel, is the one area of sequestration that Congress has rushed to undo — likely because it personally inconvenienced them.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Call Centers For Health Law Marketplaces To Create 9K Jobs

(Kaiser Health News) The federal health law derided as a “job-killer” by critics will create an estimated 9,000 jobs in 14 states this summer to handle consumer inquiries about new online insurance marketplaces.
The jobs are through Vangent, a General Dynamics subsidiary, which was awarded a $530 million one-year contract by the federal government to set up call centers to answer inquriers related to the insurance marketplaces in 34 states where they will be run in whole or part by the federal government. Other states will run their own marketplaces with their own call centers.
The marketplaces open for enrollment Oct. 1, and are the key way the law expands health coverage to about 27 million people by 2016.
Health and Human Services Department officials did not specify which 14 states would get the jobs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Suicide Rate Rises as Economy Stresses Middle-Age America

(Bloomberg) More middle-aged Americans are killing themselves, and the economy may be the reason, according to a government report…
``The suicide rate started accelerating in 2008, 2009 and 2010 -- someone might still be working, but their house is underwater, or they’re working but they’re working part-time,'' Eric Caine, the director of the CDC’s Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention, said by telephone. ``These things ripple into families. There’s an economic stress.''…
Researchers have only recently begun focusing on society- level causes of suicide, Caine said.
‘‘Only in the last 10 or 15 years has there been a lot of attention swinging back to the macro forces,’’ Caine said. ‘‘There hasn’t been the kind of research to dig under what’s really a superficial view.”
Community: As I’ve been saying, there are more suicides and homicides in the U.S. when a Republican is president. Yes, we have a Democratic president right now, but Republicans are nevertheless running the show in Washington.
Conservative Truths is no longer an active website, but it retained an archive of the misery-causing conditions in conservative U.S. states, including more suicides (click here and search the page for the word “suicide,” there are several applicable sections) than in liberal states. And here’s more recent evidence: “Suicide Risk Linked to Rates of Gun Ownership, Political Conservatism.” Yet for all their anti-government rhetoric, conservative states tend to be net takers from the federal trough.
Millions of years of evolution living in hunter-gatherer tribes molded us into creatures whose feelings of security and well being depend on being members of a cooperative group. But today’s right wingers want us to believe that we’re all on our own, and any cooperative effort to increase the common good is a catastrophic mistake. We're just not built that way, and trying to pretend we are or should be is apparently very detrimental to our mental health.
I’d write a book about it if I could ever find a publisher.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Why Austerity Kills And What We Can Do About It

(Medical News Today) Politicians and leaders forever talk about a financial crisis' effect on the nation's economy, and possibly certain sociological consequences as well. However, most of them continue to ignore the effects on human health, which may be devastating.
Adopting harsh austerity measures and cutting vital health and social programs when citizens need them the most only serves to exacerbate an already serious problem. Unfortunately, in a misguided attempt to balance budgets and shore up financial markets, many politicians have turned financial crises into veritable health epidemics.
Basu Sanjay and Stuckler Davi [in "The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills, and What We Can Do About It"]  put forward a fundamental proposition - Austerity is seriously bad for your health.
How can we prevent financial crises from becoming epidemics? The authors say that the answer lies in the strength of a community's health and its social protection systems.
Countries with fairer and more equal societies tend to have a healthier "body economic", the authors say.
If we want countries to survive economic crises in future without devastating their citizen's physical and mental health, we need to acknowledge what hard data tell us - fairer and more equal societies fair better during crises, at least as far as human health is concerned.
Community: Columbia University economics professor Jeffrey Sachs wonders “whether a political movement not based on mega-donations can win political control.” Frankly, friends, I despair. We had quite a movement going before Obama decided to run for president.
His minions utterly destroyed the common purpose we internet activists had. They acted exactly like the Bush internet brownshirts from 2000. And even now, those of us who warned that he was no progressive, much less a liberal, are ostracized from the same websites that are now criticizing Obama for not being a progressive or a liberal.
The so-called progressive and so-called liberal organizations live in silos and refuse to cooperate with other groups. I just don’t see us forming any kind of united movement.
But maybe there’s hope:
(McClatchy) Liberal groups angered by President Barack Obama’s proposed Social Security cuts say they’ll take a page from conservatives’ campaign playbook and work to oust Democratic lawmakers who go along with the plan.
Now, we have to follow up at the ballot box, my fellow Americans.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Social Stress and the Inflamed Brain

(Science Daily) Depression is the leading cause of disability with more than 350 million people globally affected by this disease. In addition to debilitating consequences on mental health, depression predisposes an individual to physiological disease such as heart disease, and conversely heart disease increases the risk of depression…
Dr. Susan K. Wood … investigates brain-related biomarkers for depression-heart disease comorbidity. She uses a rodent model of social stress likened to bullying in people that she has found to produce depressive-like behaviors and dysfunctional cardiovascular changes in a susceptible subset of rodents.
Her previous work highlighted a role for the stress-related neurohormone corticotropin-releasing factor in rendering an individual vulnerable to stress-induced depression and heart disease. Intrigued by what other biomarkers may be distinct her latest study is the first to identify gene and protein expression differences in the brains of rodents that are either vulnerable or resilient to developing stress-induced depressive-like behaviors and cardiovascular dysfunction…
The identification of factors in the brain that distinguish susceptibility and resiliency to depression and heart disease comorbidity would be a major advance in predicting, preventing and treating these disorders.
Community: If you happen to believe that rich people have the right to take an enormous piece of the pie, leaving crumbs for the rest of us, see below.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How Did the World's Rich Get That Way? Luck

(Charles Kenny, Bloomberg Businessweek) The United States is an unequal society. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top 20 percent get about half the nation’s income, compared to the 5 percent of all income shared among the bottom fifth of households. The top 10 percent of the population controls about 70 percent of the wealth. Among rich countries, America’s inequality is certainly extreme. But the world as a whole is an incredibly unequal place. Norway—held up as a model of equality—still sees the bottom fifth of households with incomes less than a third … those of the top fifth.
Why is there such inequality? The choices we make as individuals can put us considerably above or below our peer average in terms of income or happiness or status. But our peer average itself is set by forces beyond our control—factors such as to whom we were born…
At any level beyond the local, differences in income due to inequality of opportunity dwarf those from inequality of effort or talent. This argues, among other things, for a tax code that is more progressive, not less…
And if we care about reducing inequality of opportunity—apparently a bipartisan concern—we’ve clearly got some work to do. We should make sure everyone gets the basics—good nutrition, health care, and good education, from pre-school on up. We should ensure that places in the best colleges and jobs in the best firms go to the most talented, not the best connected. And we should help, not hinder, willing workers to move to where the good jobs are—around the country and around the world.
The choices people make are certainly important when it comes to how successful they are, compared to their school friends or colleagues. But luck—not hard work—is overwhelmingly why the rich are rich while the poor are poor.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Parmesan Polenta and Spicy Sausage Sauce
Top creamy parmesan polenta with a spicy tomato sauce filled with fresh herbs and sun-dried tomato chicken sausage.
EatingWell:
Steak & Potato Kebabs with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Steak kebabs get a Southwestern spin with poblano peppers and a creamy sauce spiked with cilantro, chile powder, cumin and vinegar. The potatoes are partially cooked in the microwave before putting them on the grill so they're done at the same time as faster-cooking steak, peppers and onions. Serve with: Green salad and Spanish rice.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Asian Coleslaw
Cabbage is chock-full of nutrients including vitamin C and indoles, important cancer-fighting compounds… This coleslaw is colorful and makes a delightful accompaniment to any meat, fish or vegetarian main dish. The garnish of minced scallions and toasted sesame seeds brings out the flavor of the slaw and adds additional crunch… [T]o maximize its healthful properties, cabbage should be eaten raw (as in this recipe) or cooked for less than five minutes. Cabbage is also heart-healthy: raw or cooked, cabbage reduces cholesterol levels, though steaming produces the greatest cholesterol-lowering benefits.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How Grapes Reduce Heart Failure

(Science Daily) A new study … demonstrates that grapes are able to reduce heart failure associated with chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) by increasing the activity of several genes responsible for antioxidant defense in the heart tissue. Grapes are a known natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, which researchers believe to be responsible for the beneficial effects observed with grape consumption.
This study … uncovered a novel way that grapes exert beneficial effects in the heart: influencing gene activities and metabolic pathways that improve the levels of glutathione, the most abundant cellular antioxidant in the heart…
Heart failure resulting from chronic hypertension can result in an enlarged heart muscle that becomes thick and rigid (fibrosis), and unable to fill with blood properly (diastolic dysfunction) or pump blood effectively. Oxidative stress is strongly correlated with heart failure, and deficiency of glutathione is regularly observed in both human and animal models of heart failure. Antioxidant-rich diets, containing lots of fruits and vegetables, consistently correlate with reduced hypertension.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Diet, 'Anti-Aging' Supplements May Help Reverse Blood Vessel Abnormality

(Science Daily) A diet low in grains, beans and certain vegetables -- combined with "anti-aging" supplements -- improved blood vessel function, in a study…
The diet restricted foods high in the sugar-binding protein lectin, generally regarded as a healthy nutrient. The restricted foods included grains, beans, fruit, poultry and plants belonging to the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes. At the same time, patients consumed plenty of leafy greens, shellfish and fish, olive oil and grass-fed animal protein, while taking supplements containing the antioxidant polyphenol from fish oil, grape seed extract and vitamins. Antioxidants are thought to slow cell aging…
"These findings represent a fundamental paradigm shift in how the diseases of the 'Western Diet' should be treated," said Steven R. Gundry, M.D., lead author… "Simple removal of 'healthy' lectin-containing foods, and taking a few inexpensive supplements, may restore endothelial function to normal, which in turn can reverse high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity."
Despite the study's findings, consumers shouldn't eliminate tomatoes or other healthy foods from their diets, said the American Heart Association, which recommends consuming a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Vitamin D: More May Not Be Better; Benefits in Healthy Adults Wear Off at Higher Doses, Research Suggests

(Science Daily) In recent years, healthy people have been bombarded by stories in the media and on health websites warning about the dangers of too-low vitamin D levels, and urging high doses of supplements to protect against everything from hypertension to hardening of the arteries to diabetes.
But new research from Johns Hopkins finds that blood levels of the so-called "sunshine vitamin" that are higher than the top of the range suggested by the Institute of Medicine confer no additional benefit. This finding, combined with results of a previous study by the same group noting potential harm from higher vitamin D levels in healthy people, has urged investigators to prescribe caution.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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

Fluoride fights tooth decay by making bacteria less sticky

(UPI) German scientists say fluoride reduces the ability of decay-causing bacteria to stick to teeth so it is easier to wash away when brushing or with saliva…
Newer studies … found that fluoride penetrates into and hardens a much thinner layer of enamel than previously believed, lending credence to other theories about how fluoride works, [researcher Karin] Jacobs said…
The experiments, performed on artificial teeth, revealed fluoride reduces the ability of decay-causing bacteria to stick, so that also on teeth, it is easier to wash away the bacteria by saliva, brushing and other activity, Jacobs said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

FDA Finally Reviewing Controversial Ingredient In Soap After 40 Years Of Procrastination

(Think Progress) In 1972, Congress passed a law requiring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration set guidelines for anti-bacterial chemicals commonly used in soap. In a tentative draft published in 1978, the FDA identified one such chemical, triclosan, as potentially dangerous. Yet 35 years later, the FDA still has not finalized those guidelines, and triclosan has become a common ingredient in many soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, household cleaners, and toys.
Now, the FDA plans to complete its long-delayed review to determine whether or not triclosan is safe…
As the FDA drags its feet on releasing the review, some companies are taking the initiative to start phasing out the controversial chemical. Kaiser Permanente pulled triclosan soaps from its 37 hospitals, while Johnson & Johnson has committed to removing triclosan from all its products by the end of 2015. The Environmental Protection Agency is also jump-starting their six-year review of triclosan’s use as a pesticide and preservative by a decade. Once these reviews are complete, companies may have to post warnings, reduce concentrations, or eliminate the chemical entirely.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

NIH Encourages Americans to Make Vision a Priority during Healthy Vision Month

(NIH News) In May, Healthy Vision Month, the National Eye Institute (NEI) calls on Americans to make their vision a priority by taking the necessary steps to protect vision, prevent vision loss, and make the most of the vision they may have remaining.
Approximately 38 million Americans over age 40 have glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, or cataracts. That number is projected to rise to 56 million by the year 2030. Early detection and treatment of eye diseases are crucial to preserving sight. There are often no warning signs or pain in the early stages of many eye diseases, therefore having good vision can be something people take for granted. By the time people realize they are losing vision, it may be too late to restore vision already lost.
The best way to care for your eyes is by having a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During this exam, drops are placed in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupils. This procedure can detect vision problems and determine whether you need eye glasses or contact lenses. It can also detect eye diseases, many of which cause visual impairment and blindness, in their early stages when they’re the most treatable.
Preventing eye injuries is also important.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

'Oil for the Joints' Offers Hope for Osteoarthritis Sufferers

(Science Daily) A team of researchers led by a Boston University Biomedical Engineer has developed a new joint lubricant that could bring longer lasting relief to millions of osteoarthritis sufferers. The new synthetic polymer supplements synovial fluid, the natural lubricant in joints, and works better than comparable treatments currently available…
Originally produced last year for another study, the new polymer mimics some of the properties of natural polysaccharides, large compounds that link repetitive sequences of sugar molecules in a chainlike pattern…
Another advantage of the biopolymer is its large molecular weight or size, which prevents it from seeping out of the joint, enabling longer lasting cartilage protection. Unlike the leading synovial fluid supplement, which lasts one or two days, the new polymer remains in the joint for more than two weeks.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Nursing: The most trusted profession in America

(Boston Globe) The profession continues to evolve as nurses position themselves as leaders who will dramatically influence the quality of healthcare, whether as a nurse practitioner, … or in informatics, hospice management, medical device sales, patient safety coordination, or as an overseas nurse. Both the Affordable Care Act and the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Future of Nursing report, two legislative cornerstones, identify nurses as key players for coming healthcare transformation in the United States. As nurses work to improve patient health, coordinate care, and reduce healthcare costs, it’s no wonder that nursing continues to be ranked as the nation’s most trusted profession.
Indeed, last year, Americans voted nurses the most trusted professionals in America for the 13th time in 14 years in the annual Gallup poll that ranks professions for their honesty and ethical standards. And nurses are proud of this professional integrity. “At the end of the day, I always feel honored to be a nurse,” says Holly of Brigham and Women’s mother-daughter team. “It’s incredible to be a part of patients’ lives and have them let me in when they are at their most vulnerable.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Communication Improves Insulin Therapy

(MedPage Today) Sometimes simple interventions are the best medicine -- like telling floor nurses that meals are on the way so they can coordinate insulin dosing for hospitalized diabetics.
Patients received prandial insulin on time with significantly greater frequency when food service and nurses coordinated care (50.4% versus 35.5%...), according to Shwetha Mallikarjuna, MD, … and colleagues.
Patients receiving coordinated care also had shorter time to receiving insulin after their meal (median time to delivery 20 minutes versus 43 minutes…) and significantly more patients received insulin in 30 minutes or less after a meal…, Mallikarjuna said at an oral presentation at the meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
She noted that failure to coordinate meal times with administration of prandial insulin may limit the effectiveness of basal/bolus insulin regimens.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

When Media Uncritically Cover Pseudoscience

(Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine) Anti-biotech activists, like their fellow travelers in the anti-vaccine movement, are masters at pseudoscience. As I’ve previously discussed, the really clever GMO opponents put a veneer of science on their propaganda.
One recent example that an anti-GMO website approvingly pointed to was so obviously absurd that I was sure it  would be ignored by media. It’s a paper that suggests a chemical in Roundup, a widely used Monsanto herbicide, “can remarkably explain a great number of the diseases and conditions that are prevalent in the modern industrialized world”…
The paper is by two authors with dubious credentials and is such a mashup of pseudoscience and gibberish that actual scientists have been unable to make sense of it. As one of them also noted, the paper is published in a “low-tier pay-for-play journal.”
UPDATE: Wow, via a commenter, I’ve learned this about one of the authors of the paper.
UPDATE: In 2012 I critiqued a similarly flawed story by the same Reuters reporter.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

STUDY: Medicaid Provides Better Insurance Than Private Coverage And Medicare

(Think Progress) Medicaid gets a bad rap from a lot of conservatives for poor access to health care and poor health outcomes. It’s one of the main arguments in favor of schemes to cut Medicaid funding and block grant it to the states, on the grounds it will promote efficiency and innovation in the program.
But a new study … found that when you compare the proper groups, Medicaid actually does a better job delivering access and affordable coverage than either private coverage or Medicare…
Medicaid is meant for poorer Americans — you have to be below a certain income threshold to qualify for it — but private coverage is available to the poor and well-off alike. It’s a matter of basic economic logic that the private plans only the well-off can afford will … provide much better access and quality care then the plans the poor can afford as well. Products poor people can afford tend to be poor products.
That’s why safety net programs like Medicaid, which provide people more assistance than they could afford in pure free market world, are so important. And why, when the proper apples-to-apples comparison is made between poor people on private insurance and poor people on Medicaid, the latter’s performance improves remarkably
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]