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

Minnesota a health haven for seniors, Mississippi not so much

(McClatchy) Minnesota tops the nation as the healthiest state for seniors, while Mississippi is the unhealthiest and faces an uphill battle to improve its low ranking, according to a report Wednesday by the United Health Foundation, a non-profit arm of insurer UnitedHealth Group…
As more than 70 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 continue to age, the numbers in that age group will more than double, from 43.1 million in 2012 to 92 million in 2060, according to federal projections. As their numbers increase, so, too, will their life spans, thanks to improvements in medical care.
But half the nation’s seniors have multiple chronic health conditions, largely because of poor health choices like a lack of exercise, smoking and poor diet. This larger, longer-living and sicker population is expected to increase spending in the Medicare program from $557 billion in 2013 to more than $1 trillion in 2023, according to recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office.
The new report will help states measure their progress in improving seniors’ health and better target resources on areas of need, said Dr. Rhonda Randall, a senior adviser to the health foundation.

(Credit: USA Today, via ThinkProgress)
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Americans Miss Mark on Many Healthy Behaviors

(MedPage Today) When it comes to eating, drinking, and smoking, Americans may be overdoing it, but they get enough sleep, according to a CDC report.
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults reported drinking alcohol, with about 5% drinking at levels classified as "heavier" -- more than seven drinks a week for women and more than 14 for men, according to Charlotte A. Schoenborn, MPH, and colleagues…
About one in five adults are current smokers, although nearly half of them had attempted to quit smoking within the previous year, the researchers wrote in the study published in the CDC's Vital and Health Statistics.
And 62% of American adults are overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or more), with only about four in 10 being at a healthy weight (BMI 18.5 to 25).
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What’s really happening:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Medicare Readmission Rates Showed Meaningful Decline in 2012
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More News and Recent Research on General Health

(UPI) Mexican-Americans born in the United States age 55 and older are more likely than immigrants to report physical limitations, researchers say… "With one-quarter of older Mexican-American immigrants and 30 percent of Mexican-Americans born in the United States reporting substantial physical limitations, there is a clear need for providing all Mexican-American older adults with appropriate health care, particularly in light of the rapid growth of this population" said study co-author Amani Nuru-Jeter.
Community: Living in the United States can be harmful to your health.
(Mark Hyman, MD) [T]wo of the major factors that make people sick and fat are being toxic and being inflamed. So, the secret of the 7 days is to very quickly stop the things that make you toxic and inflamed (sugar, caffeine, alcohol, junk food, processed foods, etc.) and do things that help you detoxify and cool off inflammation (eat whole real foods, stop all potential food allergens, clean out your bowels, deeply relax, and more). That’s when miracles can occur.
(Science Daily) People lie about their health related behaviors. It's a problem that has long bedeviled health research on issues ranging from diet to exercise to smoking… Kusum Ailawadi … has found a way around this problem -- at least with regard to diet. Ailawadi and her colleagues examined data on several years of household food purchases from a marketing database that tracks what people buy at the store by having them scan their groceries with a device at home.
(Scientific American) Plans for working out and eating well often go awry, and the reasons for those lapses are not always obvious. Three new papers highlight unconscious influences that affect our choices. Watch Out for Uncertainty…  [B]eing made to feel uncertain led people to select brownies over fruit… Think of Your Mind and Body as One… Participants who were primed to embrace dualism made less healthy choices than participants encouraged to think of the mind and body as interrelated… Beware Weak Temptations… Subjects judged the healthiness of different foods without realizing their nutritional profiles were identical.
(Daily Mail) Despite its reputation, stress can cause us to lead a healthier lifestyle, according to a new research. Five experiments showed that while stress can cause some people to overeat or indulge in a spending spree, it can cause just as many people to do more exercise or eat healthily, too. Scientists found that people tend to rely on the habits they have already formed rather than automatically turning to destructive behaviour when put under pressure. The findings suggest that we do not have finite resources for self-discipline and that in fact we can control ourselves just as much when stressed as when relaxed.
Community: I’m pretty sure that Roy Baumeister’s theory that self control is a limited resource is a crock. There are many practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
(Cynthia M. Thaik, M.D., Psychology Today) Studies suggest that taking a vacation is good for you and your health. In fact, leaving vacation days unused like most Americans, can unfortunately decrease your overall productivity, increase stress and other health risks, and increase the likelihood you’ll burnout at work. Taking a vacation helps revive the heart, rejuvenate your body, recharge your mind, and soothe your soul. Research shows that overall health can deteriorate over time if we don’t take a break from work.
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Pesto Halibut Kebabs
Make this fresh, colorful 20-minute meal with just 4 simple ingredients. Serve halibut with Israeli couscous tossed with toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and chopped fresh parsley.
Dirty Rice
A Louisiana favorite, our version of this spicy dish uses whole-grain Wehani rice. Long-grain brown rice also works. Traditionally made with chicken liver, which gives it a “dirty” color, we use healthy lean chicken sausage instead.
Mediterranean Foods Alliance:
Greek Garden Rice Salad
This rice salad offers a delicious alternative to traditional pasta and potato salads. It is bursting with classic, bold Mediterranean flavors.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Avocado
Pack this salad featuring avocados and artichoke hearts in an air-tight storage container and transport in a cooler for a delicious summer picnic dish.
Avocado and Chicken Summer Sandwich
This sandwich boasts fresh summer flavors layered on a loaf of French bread. Toss the sandwiches into your picnic basket and lunch is ready to be served!
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How to Pick the BEST Summer Produce

(Appetite for Health) Love summer produce, but not sure how to select the best of the crop? Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Check out AppforHealth.com’s guide to choosing and storing the best produce of the summer season.
Choose oblong or well-rounded melons that sound hollow when tapped. The rind should be dull and just barely give to firm pressure…
To make sure you’re getting the cream of the crop, choose corn husks that are green in color with light brown silk attached…
Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy…
Choose berries that have a bright red color, a natural shine and fresh looking green caps…
Select tomatoes that are firm, glossy, smooth, and plump. Avoid those that are soft, bruised, cracked, or otherwise damaged.
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5 Time-Saving Tools Every Kitchen Needs

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Who doesn’t want to save time in the kitchen? Whether you’re slicing, dicing, whipping, or puréeing, having the right equipment is key if you want to streamline food preparation time. Good tools also play a part in helping you maintain a healthy diet. Since you’re following the South Beach Diet, you already know that cooking with nonstick skillets, saucepans, and griddles is essential if you want to cut back on fat. To reduce prep time as well, we suggest taking advantage of these multi-purpose kitchen appliances and utensils. Here are some of our all-time favorites:
Sharp knives…
Kitchen scissors…
Y-shaped peeler…
Mini food processor/blender:…
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How Harmful is Microwaving in Plastic?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It's not uncommon to see people microwaving leftovers in plastic dishes, heating up meals in the plastic containers they come in, or placing plastic wrap over foods to protect the inside of a microwave from splatters. Is all this as innocent as it seems?
I don't think so. While plastic has many terrific uses, when it comes to cooking it should be avoided. DEHA [di-(2-ethylhexyl)adipate], sometimes found in cling wrap, and other chemicals commonly found in plastic are potential endocrine disruptors, and can negatively influence hormonal activity.
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Meat Industry News

(Reuters) When Smithfield Foods Inc. quietly weaned the first of its pigs off the controversial feed additive ractopamine last year, it may have helped open the door for a Chinese counterpart to acquire the world's largest hog producer. Used for more than a decade in the U.S. livestock industry to help pigs quickly build lean muscle instead of fat, the additive had begun to ring alarm bells among some major meat importing countries around the globe. U.S. media reports of ractopamine-fed pigs becoming sick fueled questions among food-safety critics last year about the potential long-term impact on human health.
(McClatchy) Concern has been intensifying in recent years over the use of antibiotics in agriculture, which world health authorities agree contributes to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. These so-called superbugs infect hundreds of thousands and kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Legislation before Congress would rein in the use of medically important antibiotics on healthy livestock through mandatory restrictions as well as public disclosure of how antibiotics are used on animals and in what quantity. But such efforts face resistance from the meat industry.
(Chicago Tribune) Although much of the alarm over the use of antibiotics on livestock focuses on its contribution to bacterial resistance, the presence of drug residues and other chemicals in U.S. meat is also causing concern. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued 78 warning letters (up from nine in 2002) to livestock producers or brokers whose meat samples bore traces of illegal drugs or of residues that were illegally high.
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Gov't allows nutrient labels for the first time on alcohol drinks, but doesn't require them

(Canadian Press) Alcohol beverages could soon carry nutritional labels like those on food — but only if the producers want to put them there.
The Treasury Department, which regulates alcohol, said this week that beer, wine and spirits companies can place labels on packages that include serving size, servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving. Such labels have never before been approved.
The labels are voluntary, so it will be up to beverage companies to decide whether to use them on their products. The decision is a temporary, first step while the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau, or TTB, continues to consider final rules on alcohol labels. Rules proposed in 2007 would have made labels mandatory, but the agency never made the rules final.
The labeling regulation issued May 28 comes after a decade of lobbying by hard liquor companies and consumer groups, with clearly different goals: the liquor companies want to advertise low calories and low carbohydrates in their products, while the consumer groups want alcoholic drinks to have the same transparency as packaged foods, which are required to be labeled.
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U.S. probes source of GMO wheat in Oregon; importers suspend orders

(Reuters) Two days after news that genetically modified wheat had been found growing in Oregon, U.S. officials said they were no closer to knowing how it appeared, while South Korea joined Japan in suspending some U.S. wheat purchases.
A top official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday that investigators were "pursuing many avenues" to determine how the wheat - which carries a gene making it resistant to herbicide - popped up in late April.
Although the United States has embraced genetically modified crops such as soybeans and cotton, genetically modified wheat has never been approved in the United States, or anywhere else in the world.
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Blood donation is valuable, so why not pay donors?

(Los Angeles Times) Need more blood donors? Economists have a suggestion: Pay them.
For nearly 40 years, efforts to compensate people for donating blood have been discouraged by the World Health Organization. In the United States, the American Red Cross says “all blood collected for transfusion in the United States must be from volunteer donors.”
But the authors of an essay … challenge the rationale for such policies, which presume that the highest-quality blood comes from altruistic donors. The types of people who would donate blood only if offered compensation (i.e. intravenous drug users) are more likely to be people with bloodborne infectious diseases (i.e. HIV or hepatitis) — or so the thinking goes.
Such concerns are unfounded, write [the authors]… [And as an] Argentina trial showed, financial incentives work…
The economists also noted that donors of blood stem cells can be paid thanks to a 2011 federal appeals court ruling.
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Anonymous kidney donation is on the rise, fueled by compassion

(Kansas City Star) In 2011, the latest year complete statistics are available, there were 159 anonymous kidney donors in the United States.
"This was unheard of until the late '90s," said Anne Paschke, a spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing in Richmond, Va. "The first ones we recorded were in 1998. And if you go back a dozen years, there were only 30."…
While people are born with two kidneys, organs that make urine and filter waste from the blood, they can function normally with just one.
"We think about greed and narcissism and all the shootings," psychologist Bruce Manley said. "But we forget that there is still a very large number of people who are doing good and decent things for other human beings. This is just an example of that. Then if we look at the role that social media plays, we can start to see why this is happening at this moment."
Community: And we’re getting closer and closer to growing new kidneys for people: “Bioengineered rat kidney could lead to treatments for people.”
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Most police murders involve guns, study finds

(Vitals, NBC news) More than 90 percent of police officers who are murdered are killed by guns, researchers report on Thursday.
The study comes out right in the middle of a debate over whether public health researchers should even look at gun deaths. The Obama administration says they should, in defiance of members of Congress and gun-rights supporters who say gun statistics are matters for criminal justice experts, not public health researchers.
David Swedler at Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health and Center for Injury Research and Policy, says he didn’t mean to wade into a political debate.
“We approached this from an occupational health and occupational safety standpoint,” Swedler said in a telephone interview. “We are looking to inform law enforcement officers about their workplace safety information, what hazards they face. We weren’t looking to write a political paper at all.”
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Gun Researcher Turns to Crowd-Funding

(Nature Magazine) Economist Bisakha Sen wants to study how US states' gun laws and gun cultures correlate with certain crimes and with firearms deaths in each state — and whether differing laws and cultures in neighboring states “spill over” to influence a state’s statistics.
But although President Barack Obama ordered the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommence gun research in the wake of last December's massacre of 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, federal funding for research on gun violence remains scarce so far. So Sen has turned to the crowd-funding website Microryza, and she is aiming to raise $25,000 in 100 days to fund her research.
“The research needs to be done,” says Sen, an economist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. However, she says, there is essentially no federal funding for any kind of gun-violence prevention or policy research. So when Microryza organizers sought her out several months ago and asked her to pitch a project, she decided she didn’t have much to lose by trying.
Sen’s campaign launched on 7 March. As of 29 May, she had raised $12,175 of the $25,000 that she says would fund her and two graduate students to carry out a 6-month study. Last week, Microryza extended the closing date for her effort from 31 May to 15 June.
Community: If you’re in a position to help, click here.
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Paper Could Be Basis for Inexpensive Diagnostic Devices

(Science Daily) Paper is known for its ability to absorb liquids, making it ideal for products such as paper towels. But by modifying the underlying network of cellulose fibers, etching off surface "fluff" and applying a thin chemical coating, researchers have created a new type of paper that repels a wide variety of liquids -- including water and oil.
The paper takes advantage of the so-called "lotus effect" -- used by leaves of the lotus plant -- to repel liquids through the creation of surface patterns at two different size scales and the application of a chemical coating. The material, developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology, uses nanometer- and micron-scale structures, plus a surface fluorocarbon, to turn old-fashioned paper into an advanced material.
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Life-saving drugs, lethal prices

(Gayle A. Sulik, Ph.D., Psychology Today) A group of more than 100 experts from more than 15 countries wrote an editorial in the medical journal Blood, to call attention to the impact of exorbitant drug prices on patients…
 More than 90 percent of the anticancer agents approved by the FDA from 2005 to 2009 cost more than $20,000 for a 12-week course of treatment. Eleven of the drugs the FDA approved in 2012 for cancer were priced above $100,000 per year. With skyrocketing prices, the oncology drug industry has grown substantially from under $5 billion in 1998 to $19 billion in 2008 to $80 billion in 2012. Market researchers forecast that by 2018 the industry will reach over $100 billion…
In the United States illness and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of US bankruptcies. Debt is a major reason people forego medical care. Cancer care accounts for about $124.6 billion in medical care expenditures. Productivity losses each year due to cancer are estimated at $7.5 billion in disability days alone. The cost of lost productivity due to premature death is estimated at $124 billion. And for the patients who are among those who tragically died because they couldn't afford expensive treatments -- well, those costs are more obvious to the people who loved them than to the industry that treats them.
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More Healthcare News

(UPI) New research estimates forecast the number of self-employed U.S. adults will be 1.5 million higher in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act, researchers say. Andy Hyman, who leads health coverage programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said beginning next year, access to high-quality, subsidized health insurance coverage will no longer be exclusively tied to employment, which could lead people to pursue their own businesses as self-employed entrepreneurs.
(Don Morris, Archimedes Inc.) Slow as progress may seem, most major health care providers are well on their way to collecting and integrating different sources of clinical data, and they are starting to use it to avoid medical errors and redundant tests, improve communication between doctors, stay connected to patients between visits and engage patients in their own health and wellness . Ultimately, the data could be used to learn which medical treatments work for which people and rapidly apply that knowledge to make better medical decisions for individual patients.
(Reuters) A federal judge lifted a 33-year-old injunction barring public access to a confidential database of Medicare insurance claims, a decision that could lead to greater scrutiny of how physicians treat patients and charge for their services… The American Medical Association had fought lifting the ban, arguing that disclosure of the information would violate physicians' right to privacy.
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Healthy Lifestyle Choices Mean Fewer Memory Complaints

(Science Daily) Research has shown that healthy behaviors are associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, but less is known about the potential link between positive lifestyle choices and milder memory complaints, especially those that occur earlier in life and could be the first indicators of later problems.
To examine the impact of these lifestyle choices on memory throughout adult life, UCLA researchers and the Gallup organization collaborated on a nationwide poll of more than 18,500 individuals between the ages of 18 and 99. Respondents were surveyed about both their memory and their health behaviors, including whether they smoked, how much they exercised and how healthy their diet was.
As the researchers expected, healthy eating, not smoking and exercising regularly were related to better self-perceived memory abilities for most adult groups…
According to the researchers, older adults may participate in more healthy behaviors because they feel the consequences of unhealthy living and take the advice of their doctors to adopt healthier lifestyles. Or there simply could be fewer older adults with bad habits, since they may not live as long.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Cinnamon Compound Has Potential Ability to Prevent Alzheimer's

(Science Daily) Cinnamon: Can the red-brown spice with the unmistakable fragrance and variety of uses offer an important benefit? The common baking spice might hold the key to delaying the onset of -- or warding off -- the effects of Alzheimer's disease…
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a neurodegenerative disease that progressively worsens over time as it kills brain cells. No cure has yet been found, nor has the major cause of Alzheimer's been identified.
However, two compounds found in cinnamon -- cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin -- are showing some promise in the effort to fight the disease. According to George and Graves, the compounds have been shown to prevent the development of the filamentous "tangles" found in the brain cells that characterize Alzheimer's.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Common Food Supplement Fights Degenerative Brain Disorders, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) Widely available in pharmacies and health stores, phosphatidylserine is a natural food supplement produced from beef, oysters, and soy. Proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss, it's a popular treatment for older people experiencing memory impairment. Now a team… has discovered that the same supplement improves the functioning of genes involved in degenerative brain disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Familial Dysautonomia (FD)…
Already approved for use as a supplement by the FDA, phosphatidylserine contains a molecule essential for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain. Prof. Ast and his fellow researchers decided to test whether the same chemical, which is naturally synthesized in the body and known to boost memory capability, could impact the genetic mutation which leads to FD.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Could a Drug Prevent Brain Aging?

(MyHealthNewsDaily) In [a] new study, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology … showed that restricting the calorie intake of laboratory mice by 30 percent boosted levels of an enzyme in the brain, and delayed the loss of nerve cells that can accompany decline in brain function… Then, the researchers mimicked calorie restriction — they fed the mice a regular diet, but also gave them the enzyme-blocking drug. These mice had better functioning brain cells, and did better on cognitive tests, just as the mice that were fed a calorie-restricted diet.
The study is the first to show that the benefit of calorie restriction on cognitive function is linked with less degeneration of neurons. This is also the first demonstration of a synthetic molecule that mimics the benefits of caloric restriction, said David Sinclair, a professor at Harvard Medical School who previously collaborated with the authors on aging research.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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How to defeat Alzheimer's

(David Schubert, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Los Angeles Times) Those of us fortunate enough to make it to 80 will have a 50 percent chance of suffering from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia before we die. And there is currently no known way to reduce the odds or slow the mental deterioration. These grim facts are already a reality to the 5 million Americans living with the disease.
It is projected that by 2050, unless breakthroughs are made, 14 million Americans will have dementia, at an annual cost of $1.2 trillion. Finding effective treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's would help avert a huge and costly health-care disaster. Yet during the last few years, there has been very little funding available for developing dementia drugs or conducting the required clinical trials.
To date, clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies for drugs to treat dementia have been disappointing. Because of these repeated setbacks and the predicted risks of further failures, many pharmaceutical companies are dramatically cutting back or eliminating their research efforts in these areas.
Community: It is irresponsible of the author and the Los Angeles Times to leave out of this opinion piece the very important information that lifestyle factors can have a huge impact on whether or not one develops dementia in old age.
Measures that prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline also help prevent other chronic diseases, too, such as heart disease and diabetes. How could this information not be essential to mention?
I guess there's no money to be made in promoting lifestyle changes that could help many millions look forward to their old age, rather than dreading it.
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More Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(Science Daily) A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two. But this latest study also poses an interesting question: Could AD in its "preclinical stages" also lead to SDB and explain the increased prevalence of SDB in the elderly?
(Science Daily) [I]n experiments with laboratory rats, using novel antibodies developed at [University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston], scientists have found that traumatic brain injuries also generate tau oligomers. The destructive protein assemblages formed within four hours after injury and persisted for at least two weeks -- long enough to suggest that they might contribute to lasting brain damage.
(Gupta Guide, MedPage Today) Increased accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain is associated with gray matter atrophy and memory impairment in cognitively healthy older people, a subanalysis of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Study of Aging has found. The findings suggest PiB-PET imaging for amyloid deposits could be used to screen for cognitive impairment, Christopher C. Rowe, MD, … and AIBL researchers reported.
(Science Daily) Heparan sulphates are found in nearly every cell of the body, and are similar to the natural blood-thinning drug, heparin. Now scientists have discovered how to produce them chemically in the lab, and found that some of these sugars can inhibit an enzyme that creates small proteins in the brain. These proteins, called amyloid, disrupt the normal function of cells leading to the progressive memory loss that is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
(Science Daily) Teams of highly respected Alzheimer's researchers failed to replicate what appeared to be breakthrough results for the treatment of this brain disease when they were published last year… Those results … suggested that the drug bexarotene (marketed as Targretin®) could rapidly reverse the buildup of beta amyloid plaques (Aβ) -- a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease -- in the brains of mice… However, the new reports from extensive and carefully controlled studies did not show any reduction in the number of plaques or total area occupied by the plaques during or after treatment.
(Reuters Health) Exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a fresh look at some past research. Dr. James Bower, a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said the finding is consistent with previous research but the study still can't prove that pesticides cause people to develop the neurological condition. "We're definitely learning that Parkinson's disease is not caused by one thing. We're finding a lot of risks for Parkinson's and pesticides are just one of many," said Bower, who wasn't involved with the new study.
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Open-Faced Blackened Catfish Sandwiches
This Cajun-inspired catfish sandwich is served open faced and topped with a creamy slaw packed with fresh cilantro.
Grilled Halibut Salad with Beet-Carrot Slaw
The halibut doesn’t stick or fall apart in this salad recipe because you grill it on foil. A beet and carrot slaw with tarragon-lemon vinaigrette makes this meal a standout.
Grilled Tuna with Teriyaki Glaze
Grilled to absolute perfection and brushed with a sassy teriyaki-like glaze, this is a recipe that satisfies the whole family.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Chicken Spiedini | Terzo, San Francisco
'Stolen with permission' from Mark Gordon, Executive Chef/Co-owner of Terzo, in San Francisco, this recipe was inspired by Sicilian cuisine and is made with a special marinade and served with house-made bread.
Huffington Post:
12 Veggie Burgers That Even Meat-Eaters Will Love
The great thing about veggie burgers is that they're incredibly versatile. You can make them with sweet potatoes, rice, beans, or whatever other vegetable combination you come up with. And with the right recipe in hand, you won't even miss the meat. Try any of the 12 recipes below, and you'll see what we mean.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Heal a Broken Heart

(Science Daily) Procedures like angioplasty, stenting and bypass surgery may save lives, but they also cause excessive inflammation and scarring, which ultimately can lead to permanent disability and even death. A new research report … shows that naturally derived compounds from polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3s) may reduce the inflammation associated with these procedures to help arteries more fully and completely heal.
"Our study suggests that biologically active, naturally occurring compounds derived from omega-3 PUFAs reduce inflammation and improve the healing of blood vessels after injury," said Michael S. Conte, M.D., a researcher involved in the work… "They suggest a new opportunity to improve the long-term results of cardiovascular procedures such as bypass surgery and angioplasty by the therapeutic application of this class of agents or their dietary precursors."
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Probiotics for IBS

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, probiotics may turn out to be your best friend. A study in mice at the University of Michigan has found that probiotics can reverse the effect of stress on the digestive system.
The introduction of these microbes seems to help by regulating a key digestive system component inflammasome, which is needed to keep the microbe population in the gut normal… Still to come: figuring out optimal probiotic treatment for humans with IBS. In the meantime, the researchers recommended stress management and healthy diets to help ameliorate the impact of stress on the digestive tract.
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Probiotics 'may help when on antibiotics' study says

(BBC News) People who are on antibiotics may benefit from taking probiotics at the same time, a review of evidence shows.
Scientists at the Cochrane Collaboration say taking the supplements could prevent diarrhoea - a common side-effect of many antibiotics. They looked specifically at cases of diarrhoea caused by the potentially dangerous Clostridium difficile bug. Experts say probiotics could be a "pre-emptive strike" to ensure a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
Antibiotics can disturb the ecosystem of organisms normally present in the digestive system, allowing bacteria such as C. difficile to overwhelm the gut. And people infected with the bug can suffer from diarrhoea, an inflamed and painful bowel or even death.
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Treat All Intensive-Care Patients to Stop Deadly Bug

(Bloomberg) Disinfecting all intensive-care patients to remove potentially deadly bacteria can prevent infections better than testing for a superbug and targeting only those who carry it, researchers said.
Patients in hospital intensive-care units are particularly vulnerable, weakened so that normally harmless microbes can make them ill and sensitive to acquiring infections from others. Hospitals in the U.S. typically test for bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus when patients are admitted and isolate those who show signs of harboring it to stop the spread.
The approach doesn’t help the carriers, according to research … that shows it also isn’t ideal for preventing more infections. Instead, bathing every patient with anti-microbial soap and using a topical antibiotic ointment for five days to kill reservoirs in the nose reduced infection rates 44 percent, the study found.
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Copper Destroys Norovirus, Study Suggests

(Science Daily) New research from the University of Southampton shows that copper and copper alloys will rapidly destroy norovirus -- the highly-infectious sickness bug. The virus can be contracted from contaminated food or water, person-to-person contact, and contact with contaminated surfaces, meaning surfaces made from copper could effectively shut down one avenue of infection.
Worldwide, norovirus is responsible for more than 267 million cases of acute gastroenteritis every year. There is no specific treatment or vaccine, and outbreaks regularly shut down hospital wards and care homes, requiring expensive deep-cleaning, incurring additional treatment costs and resulting in lost working days when staff are infected.
Its impact is also felt beyond healthcare, with cruise ships and hotels suffering significant damage to their reputation when epidemics occur among guests.
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Can I take Tylenol and a daily aspirin at the same time?

(Consumer Reports) Yes. Acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic) is actually a better choice than Advil, Motrin, or related drugs for people who take a daily aspirin but need relief for minor aches and pains…
Still, you should use acetaminophen with caution. It can damage the liver, which is a risk especially for people with cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis, heavy drinkers, and seniors. No one should take more than the maximum daily amount--4,000 mg per day, or the equivalent of eight extra-strength 500 mg capsules. And watch out for hidden acetaminophen. It's an ingredient in more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter drugs, so it's easy to take more than you realize.
For more about pain relievers, check out our free Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report on NSAIDs.
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Some common prescriptions linked to impotence

(Reuters Health)  Tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines and certain older antidepressants are linked with a greater chance of having erectile dysfunction (ED), according to a new survey.
"Definitely it confirms the tricyclics (antidepressants)" are tied to ED, said Dr. Richard Balon, a psychiatry professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Contrary to some other studies, however, the research did not find any increased risk of ED among men taking blood-pressure medications.
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Nerve Stimulation Helps With Overactive Bladder

(Science Daily) Beaumont Health System research finds that symptoms of overactive bladder, or OAB, were reduced in those who received tibial nerve stimulation. The three-year results … show participants with urinary frequency, urgency and involuntary loss of urine maintained significant improvement in their symptoms.
Tibial nerve stimulation is a painless procedure that takes place in an outpatient setting. A slim needle electrode is inserted in the ankle, near the tibial nerve. It carries electric impulses from a hand-held stimulator to the nerves in the spinal cord that control pelvic floor function.
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Hurricanes: Find out How to Prepare

(USA.gov Team, via email) As hurricane season begins, take a few minutes to review guidelines on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.
If you live in certain regions of the United States--including Hawaii and coastal areas along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico--preparing for a hurricane may be especially critical. The high winds and heavy rainfall of hurricanes can lead to flying debris, flooding, landslides, and other dangerous situations.
For easy access to hurricane information on your phone, download the free Hurricane App from the American Red Cross (iPhone and Android). It will help you track storms, prepare your family and home, get help, and more. Find additional mobile apps, including a Tornado App.
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Evidence for Medical Homes Still Evolving

(MedPage Today) [L]ong-term success of patient-centered medical homes [PCMHs] in lowering cost and improving patient outcomes has yet to be proven, health reform experts said.
And while it may work well with primary care practices, uptake has been slow for specialists. And barriers such as health information technology use present a problem for some physicians…
Doctors rely on randomized controlled trials to help understand a product's or method's real effectiveness on patient outcomes. Such studies help providers and regulators determine whether a new drug, screening method, or intervention helps improve overall health.
Yet such data don't exist for PCMHs. Health policy wonks still lack long-term, comparative studies on the effectiveness of medical homes on patient outcomes because of their relative newness, several health policy analysts said.
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Health Insurance News

(UPI) Of the $22,030 annual healthcare cost for a U.S. family of four, the employer pays $12,886 and the employee pays $9,144, an actuarial and consulting firm says.
(ThinkProgress) A new report claims that Obamacare will cause substantial rate hikes for individuals and small businesses. But its predictions are based off of selective information — and should be taken with several grains of salt. Milliman, a health care consulting firm with deep ties to the insurance industry, administered the study in question.
(ThinkProgress) More than 120 insurance plans want Americans to be able to buy their products on Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces, one of the key provisions of the health law that will take full effect in 2014. The Obama administration is heralding that news as more proof that the Affordable Care Act is already doing its part to positively impact the health industry, since it will allow more people to choose between different insurance plans to find the one that’s the best fit for them. Currently, several large insurers have a huge monopoly on the country’s individual insurance market.
Community: And some of those large insurers don’t want no competition. See below.
(Bloomberg) UnitedHealth Group Inc. will offer coverage in just a dozen of the U.S. health-care law’s new insurance exchanges, in the latest sign big insurers see little gain from quickly plunging into the new markets.
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