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

Brain-stimulating activity helps save memory

(UPI) Reading books, writing and participating in brain-stimulating activities at any age may preserve memory when old, U.S. researchers say…
The study … found the rate of decline was reduced by 32 percent in people with frequent mental activity in late life, compared to people with average mental activity, while the rate of decline of those with infrequent activity was 48 percent faster than those with average activity.
"Based on this, we shouldn't underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents," [study author Robert S.] Wilson said in a statement.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Aging Stereotypes Can Hurt Older Adults' Memory

(Science Daily) Of the many negative stereotypes that exist about older adults, the most common is that they are forgetful, senile and prone to so-called "senior moments." In fact, while cognitive processes do decline with age, simply reminding older adults about ageist ideas actually exacerbates their memory problems, reveals important new research…
The study … is an extension of the idea of "stereotype threat" -- that when people are confronted with negative stereotypes about a group with which they identify, they tend to self-handicap and underperform compared to their potential. In doing so, they inadvertantly confirm the negative stereotypes they were worried about in the first place.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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How a High Fat Diet Increases Alzheimer's Risk

(LiveScience) Diets high in saturated fat and sugar may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and a new study may explain why.
In the study, participants who ate a diet high in saturated fat (including lots of beef and bacon) and "high glycemic index" foods (such as white rice and white bread) had an increase in levels of a protein called amyloid-beta in their cerebral spinal fluid. Amyloid-beta is a key component of the brain plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's. High glycemic index foods release sugar quickly into the bloodstream.
In contrast, participants who ate a diet low in saturated fat (including fish and chicken) and low in high glycemic index foods (such as [refined] grains) had a decrease in amyloid-beta in their cerebral spinal fluid.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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Does the Herpes Virus Causes Alzheimer’s?

(Reader’s Digest) Could that pesky little cold sore be responsible for destroying your memory? It sounds incredible, but research done over the past 20 years suggests there’s a link between the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and Alzheimer’s disease…
Ruth Itzhaki, PhD, a neurobiologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, decided to study this theory after she learned that a relatively rare infection called herpes encephalitis affected the same regions of the brain that Alzheimer’s does. Itzhaki went on to do more research on HSV-1. (As much as 90 percent of Americans age 50 and older have been exposed to it.)
After she studied postmortem brain samples, Itzhaki found that up to 75 percent of elderly people, including Alzheimer’s patients, had HSV-1 in their brains, while people who died of other causes at younger ages had no traces of the virus. Other studies have shown a similar link…
Though shocking, the findings don’t mean that if you get cold sores, you are doomed to develop Alzheimer’s. However, people who carry the virus and have other risk factors may be more prone to dementia.
Community: Those infected with the herpes simplex virus just need to work harder at the many practical things that may prevent, delay, or minimize cognitive decline.
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More Recent Research on Neurodegenerative Disease

(European Space Agency) Software for processing satellite pictures taken from space is now helping medical researchers to establish a simple method for wide-scale screening for Alzheimer's disease. Used in analysing magnetic resonance images (MRIs), the AlzTools 3D Slicer tool was produced by computer scientists at Spain's Elecnor Deimos, who drew on years of experience developing software for ESA's Envisat satellite to create a program that adapted the space routines to analyse human brain scans.
(Science Daily) Current Alzheimer's drugs aim to reduce the amyloid plaques -- sticky deposits that build up in the brain--that are a visual trademark of the disease. The plaques are made of long fibers of a protein called Amyloid β, or Aβ. Recent studies, however, suggest that the real culprit behind Alzheimer's may be small Aβ clumps called oligomers that appear in the brain years before plaques develop.
(Science Daily) Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's could be better understood thanks to insight into proteins linked to such conditions, a study suggests. Scientists studying thread-like chains of protein -- called amyloid fibres -- have found that low levels of these proteins may cause more harm to health than high levels.
(Science Daily) Scientists using sophisticated imaging techniques have observed a molecular protein folding process that may help medical researchers understand and treat diseases… When a protein doesn't fold or folds incorrectly it turns into an "aggregate," [said Dr. Hays Rye.] Over the past 20 years, he said, researchers have linked that aggregation process "pretty convincingly" to the development of diseases -- Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, Huntington's disease, to name a few. There's evidence that diabetes and cancer also are linked to protein folding disorders.
(Science Daily) Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have shown one disease protein can morph into different strains and promote misfolding of other disease proteins commonly found in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other related neurodegenerative diseases.
(Science Daily) A tiny protein called ubiquitin -- so named because it is present in every cell of living things as dissimilar as hollyhocks and humans -- may hold the key to treatment for a variety of diseases from Parkinson's to diabetes. The protein, found in all eukaryotes (organisms with membranous cells), was considered unimportant when it was described in 1975. But scientists now know ubiquitin takes many different forms and is important in basic cellular processes, from controlling cells' circadian clocks to clearing away the harmful build-up of cells found in cancer and other diseases.
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Gazpacho with Shrimp
Enjoy a cool summer soup with freshly cooked shrimp and a creamy avocado relish for a quick weeknight dinner. The shrimp add protein, making this gazpacho the perfect one-dish meal. Pair with a warm slice of grilled garlic bread, perfect for dipping.
Los Angeles Times:
Korean Steak & Mushroom Tacos with Kimchi
The spicy, pickled flavor and crunchy texture of kimchi, the Korean cousin to sauerkraut, is just right on these Korean steak-and-mushroom tacos. Serve with steamed brown rice and sautéed bok choy with chile-garlic sauce.
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Bright, White Vegetables Have Benefits

(Food, Nutrition & Science) Boldly colored fruits and vegetables have long received all the attention, in terms of good nutrition, but now scientists are acknowledging that bright, white produce contain important nutrients, too.
In the past, dietitians (including Teaspoon of Spice dietitians) and even the 2010 Dietary Guidelines have specifically recommended eating at least one serving of dark green vegetables and one orange veggie daily.
However, pale produce such as potatoes, parsnips, onions, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, mushrooms and others have not received the same recommendation. A recent paper out of Purdue University published in Advances in Nutrition highlights the nutritional benefits of white vegetables, particularly the plain white potato. Turns out, pale veggies can help make up nutrient shortfalls in our diets.
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Whole Foods Debuts New Locations with Lower Prices

(The Supermarket Guru) Whole Foods Market, often associated with middle to upper class clientele, is now branching out to appeal to a wider base. The company is due to open an inner city store in Detroit, with lower prices and a larger selection of private label items and frozen foods.
And it doesn't stop there! The company is also offering classes in Detroit - area community centers about how to shop most effectively at its stores.
The goal? To appeal to the budget-conscious shoppers.
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Vitamin C Helps Control Gene Activity in Stem Cells

(Science Daily) Vitamin C affects whether genes are switched on or off inside mouse stem cells, and may thereby play a previously unknown and fundamental role in helping to guide normal development in mice, humans and other animals, a scientific team led by UC San Francisco researchers has discovered.
The researchers found that vitamin C assists enzymes that play a crucial role in releasing the brakes that keep certain genes from becoming activated in the embryo soon after fertilization, when egg and sperm fuse.
The discovery might eventually lead to the use of vitamin C to improve results of in vitro fertilization, in which early embryos now are typically grown without the vitamin, and also to treat cancer, in which tumor cells abnormally engage or release these brakes on gene activation, the researchers concluded.
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Gut Bacteria We Pick Up As Kids Stick With Us For Decades

(Shots, NPR) Most of the microbes in our guts appear to remain stable for years, perhaps even most of our lives, researchers reported Thursday.
An analysis of the bacteria in the digestive systems of 37 healthy women over a period of about five years found, for the most part, little variation over time, says molecular biologist Jeffrey Gordon of the Washington University School of Medicine, who led the research. As decades-long internal companions, Gordon says, many microbes "are in a position to shape our lives, to promote our health or, in certain circumstances, contribute to risk for disease."…
Being able to test gut microbes from time to time could eventually prove to be a useful part of a checkup, Gordon says.
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Bacteria Communicate to Help Each Other Resist Antibiotics

(Science Daily) New research from Western University unravels a novel means of communication that allows bacteria such as Burkholderia cenocepacia (B. cenocepacia) to resist antibiotic treatment. B. cenocepacia is an environmental bacterium that causes devastating infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or with compromised immune systems.
Dr. Miguel Valvano and first author Omar El-Halfawy, PhD candidate, show that the more antibiotic resistant cells within a bacterial population produce and share small molecules with less resistant cells, making them more resistant to antibiotic killing. These small molecules, which are derived from modified amino acids (the building blocks used to make proteins), protect not only the more sensitive cells of B. cenocepacia but also other bacteria including a highly prevalent CF pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli
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Scientists Describe How Excessive Immune Responses Contribute to Influenza Deaths

A new NIAID study in mice shows that excessive early immune responses contribute to deaths caused by certain influenza viruses. Scientists found that reducing the number of inflammatory immune cells in the lungs of mice increased the animals' survival after infection with a virulent flu strain….
The study provides direct evidence in mice that damaging inflammation caused by the immune system's initial response to H1N1 infection can be a major contributor to death…
The investigators' systems biology approach to unraveling the causes of influenza lethality may serve as a model for future studies of disease development. Systems biology aims to understand how biological components—at the level of cells, tissues, organs, or entire organisms—interact to mediate their functions.
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Crowd-sourcing genetic data could help unravel the causes of disease

(Los Angeles Times) Earlier this month, researchers and advocates from 40 countries formed a global alliance to enable the secure sharing of genomic and clinical data, aiming to end the era in which only the people who collected your genetic data had access to it.
Efforts to collect and organize massive amounts of genetic data have up to now been led by the British government, Kaiser Permanente, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by private companies. But with the new global alliance, it seems likely that genetic data collected by your doctor will one day be made widely available in the cloud, for researchers around the world to analyze. This has tremendous potential for science and medicine.
Putting genetic data online, however, also comes with serious, and not entirely known, risks. We know people can sometimes be identified even from anonymous genetic data, and that could lead to genes being used to deny employment or insurance coverage. Perhaps most ominously, if mismanaged, DNA sequences could be used to create bio-weapons, frame crime suspects or discriminate against people in unforeseen ways. The sharing of genetic information will require a delicate and complex balance between broad access and tight privacy, a balance the Internet has never perfected.
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Frankenstein-style HEAD transplants could soon be a reality, claims leading surgeon

(Daily Mail) It has until now been the work of science fiction and horror films, but scientists could soon be carrying out complete human head transplants, a leading surgeon has said. 
The procedure has previously been performed on monkeys but recent technological breakthroughs that make it possible to reconnect spinal cords could see the operation carried out on humans. 
Neurosurgeon Dr Sergio Canavero, from the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, believes the operation would take 100 surgeons up to 36 hours and would cost £8.5million…
In a paper, … Canavero said: 'The greatest technical hurdle to cephalosomatic linkage [head transplant] is of course the reconnection of the donor’s and recipients spinal cords. 
'It is my contention that the technology only now exists for such linkage.'
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Growing The Latest In 16th-Century Medicine

(NPR) The Renaissance Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, a recreation of a 16th-century medicinal garden, is so lush and colorful, it only takes a stroll through to absorb its good medicine… [It] is a small-scale model of the 16th-century Italian Renaissance Garden at Padua, Europe's first botanical garden.
The garden in Padua was created in 1545 as part of the University of Padua medical school, one of the earliest and most important medical schools in Europe.
"The medical school in Padua started in 1222," explains Gregory Long, president and CEO of the New York Botanical Garden, as he guided visitors through the garden. "So the medical school, by the middle of the 16th century, had developed to the point where they had collected plants, plants were coming into Venice from all over the world, and they were interested in studying their medical uses and to get it right."
Medicinal plants are used by every culture around the world. Long says 25 percent of modern medicines are based on compounds that were originally derived from plants. Only about 1 percent of plants have actually been tested for medicinal properties they may contain.
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Advocates Urge More Oversight Of Medicaid Managed Care

(Kaiser Health News) When the federal government recently gave Florida the green light to vastly expand its experiment with privatizing Medicaid, patient advocates quickly raised an alarm.
They cited serious problems with the state’s five-county pilot managed care program and urged close monitoring of the companies that run private Medicaid plans to ensure that they don’t scrimp on care.
Advocates and experts say that the need for oversight is growing nationally as states have increasingly contracted out the huge state-federal program for the poor to insurance companies, aiming to control costs and improve quality through close management of patient care. About 30 million people are in these plans now. Under the federal health law that launches Jan. 1, eligibility will be expanded and about 7 million more will be covered by Medicaid. Many will be placed in managed care. 
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Insurance Bought with Medicaid $$ Has Extra Benefit

(MedPage Today) Using Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance in the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) health insurance exchanges could reduce "churning" in and out of Medicaid by two-thirds, researchers said.
Such a hypothetical "premium-support" model would produce rates of continuous insurance eligibility around 85% in Arkansas and 78% in Ohio…, Sara Rosenbaum, JD, of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Benjamin Sommers, MD, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, found.
Some states have sought to use Medicaid money to allow newly eligible beneficiaries in an expanded Medicaid program to purchase insurance on the ACA's exchanges rather than give them traditional Medicaid, the authors noted… This option could provide a smoother transition between Medicaid and the private insurance market, they wrote.
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National Health Plans, Designed To Spur Competition, May Be Unavailable In Some States Next Year

(Kaiser Health News) National health insurance plans aimed at giving consumers more choice might be unavailable in some states next year, leaving residents with fewer options and potentially higher premiums.
Such “multi-state” plans were included in the federal health law to boost competition among insurers, particularly in states with few carriers. They were also seen as a consolation to supporters of the failed effort to require a government-run “public option.”
Debate continues about whether the plans would fulfill those aims, but the bigger question now is which states will have them in October, when new online marketplaces begin selling insurance to individuals and offering federal tax credits to help cover the cost of premiums to those who qualify.
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Healthy Lifestyle Does Fight Chronic Diseases

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) One of the more prominent items of medical news this past week was the final analysis of the Look AHEAD trial, allegedly indicating that a lifestyle intervention and associated weight loss did not reduce heart disease risk in adults with diabetes…
Look AHEAD compared an intensive lifestyle intervention to fairly conventional diabetes education in a cohort of over 5,000 obese adults with type 2 diabetes. The data now making news relate to the 10-year follow-up, which proves to be important…
[T]he authors note that the rate of cardiac events was lower than expected in the entire study cohort… If the participants in this study were already being conscious about their health and experiencing a lower than expected rate of cardiac events, it would have been hard to show additional benefit on top of that. This, too, would bias results toward insignificance…
Look AHEAD resulted in reduced rates of kidney disease, eye disease, and depression in the intervention group. There was also improved overall quality of life, fewer hospitalizations, enhanced mobility, and reduced medication use. And all of these benefits were seen despite the modest between-group differences…
We may also be doing a disservice to the power of lifestyle interventions by focusing excessively on weight. While weight loss was a study goal, the real medicine was lifestyle. In the aggregate, the evidence is overwhelming that the same basic lifestyle prescription does prevent heart disease, and diabetes, along with every other major chronic disease.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of diabetes.
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Exercise benefits patients with type 2 diabetes

(Radiological Society of North America) Moderate-intensity exercise reduces fat stored around the heart, in the liver and in the abdomen of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, even in the absence of any changes in diet, according to a new study…
MRI results showed that, although cardiac function was not affected, the exercise program led to a significant decrease in fat volume in the abdomen, liver and around the heart, all of which have been previously shown to be associated with increased cardiovascular risk…
[Senior author Hildo J. Lamb, M.D., Ph.D.] noted that the exercise-induced fat reductions in the liver are of particular importance to people with type 2 diabetes, many of whom are overweight or obese.
"The liver plays a central role in regulating total body fat distribution," he said. "Therefore, reduction of liver fat content and visceral fat volume by physical exercise are very important to reverse the adverse effects of lipid accumulation elsewhere, such as the heart and arterial vessel wall."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of diabetes.
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Natural, edible treatment offers promise for diabetics

(American Heart Association) Morbidly obese diabetics often undergo intestinal bypass surgery to lose weight. The surgery shortens the small intestine so that just a fraction of calories ingested have time to be absorbed in the small intestine before reaching the colon, where waste is handled. These diabetics appear virtually "cured" of their diabetes before they leave the operating room.
The likely reason is that two nutrients in everyone's diet, Sodium Butyrate and L-Glutamine, are normally absorbed shortly after they leave the stomach, but they reach the colon after such gut-shortening surgery. The colon has receptors that bind with them, causing a massive increase in insulin secretion and a decrease in insulin resistance.
Non-obese diabetics are not candidates for intestinal bypass surgery, but the innovators have found a way to create an "artificial short gut" with a capsule that delivers these nutrients from mouth to colon, lowering blood glucose to normal…
"The patients' blood glucose is normalized before they've lost an ounce. It appears, in many of them, as if they never had diabetes in the first place," said Ross Tonkens, M.D., a cardiologist and head of the American Heart Association's Science & Technology Accelerator Fund.
"Many diabetics could be moved from prosthetic drugs (which the FDA is scrutinizing for toxicities including increasing incidence of pancreatic cancer) to natural substances with no toxicities," Tonkens said. "The implications are huge."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of diabetes.
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More on Food and Diabetes

(UPI) Children who ate raisins and grapes as snacks ate fewer calories later, but those who snacked on chocolate chip cookies ate more calories, U.S. researchers say.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Preliminary evidence indicates that the common spice cinnamon may help reduce blood sugar - a benefit for those with diabetes. A study … reported on people with type 2 diabetes who were given differing daily amounts of cinnamon (one, three or six-gram capsules). Regardless of the amount of cinnamon they received, the study group reduced their blood glucose levels by 18 to 29 percent compared to those receiving a placebo. They also experienced a reduction in their LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
(RealAge.com) Certain foods can send your blood sugar level on a roller coaster, with insulin rushing to keep up. The good news is, while there are some surprises, most of these foods fall under the same category: processed food, such as white flour and sugar. "Refined flours and sugar cause huge spikes in insulin and get absorbed quickly, which causes problems," says Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company). Look at the whole meal instead of just individual ingredients, adds Jackie Mills, MS, RD. Pairing carbohydrates with protein, fat, or fiber helps slow down the absorption process.
Watch out for these 10 blood-sugar saboteurs. White Rice… Potatoes… Ketchup… White Pasta… Bagels… Artificial Sweeteners… Fruit Juice… Energy Bars… Low-Fat Sweetened Yogurt.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of diabetes.
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How To Make Disease Prevention An Easier Sell

(Shots, NPR) It's much better to prevent illness than to treat it: less time, less money, less suffering. But prevention is a surprisingly hard sell with doctors and the public. That's true even though preventable chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are the most common causes of disability and premature death in the U.S.
There are reasons we're so bad at preventive medicine, says Dr. Harvey Fineberg… Fineberg tells Shots why we often get preventive medicine so wrong and provides a prescription for doing better…
6 Ways To Make Prevention Normal
Pay for prevention
Make it cheaper than free
Involve employers
Put less of the burden on individuals
Use public policy to make the right choices easier
Promote a culture of health
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More Recent Research on Diabetes

(Science Daily) Diabetes is strongly associated with socioeconomic status (SES): low income, low education, and low occupational status are all linked to a higher risk for diabetes. Trying to understand the mechanisms underlying the association, Silvia Stringhini … and colleagues report … that a substantial part of it appears to be attributable to chronic inflammation.
"Taking together the evidence linking socioeconomic adversity to inflammation and inflammation to type 2 diabetes" the authors write, "it seems reasonable to postulate that chronically increased inflammatory activity in individuals exposed to socioeconomic adversity over the entire lifecourse may, at least partially, mediate the association between socioeconomic status over the lifecourse and future type 2 diabetes risk."
Community: Well, as we know, low status brings stress, and stress is a major factor in inflammation. Fortunately, there are many practical things we can do to reduce stress.
(Science Daily) Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a mechanism that triggers chronic inflammation in Alzheimer's, atherosclerosisand type-2 diabetes. The results … suggest a common biochemical thread to multiple diseases and point the way to a new class of therapies that could treat chronic inflammation in these non-infectious diseases without crippling the immune system. 
(Science Daily) Postmenopausal women who quit smoking reduced their risk of heart disease, regardless of whether they had diabetes, according to a new study… Women who gained more than 5 kilograms or 11 pounds after they quit smoking still saw their risk for cardiovascular disease drop. But their risk didn't drop as much as for those who gained less than 11 pounds, which [Juhua] Luo notes was the majority of the women.
(MedPage Today) The first wearable artificial pancreas platform based on a smart phone has passed early feasibility tests in real-world settings, researchers reported.
(MedPage Today) Newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients are less likely to follow their medication regimen than those with longer-standing disease, and those who take more pills are more likely to be adherent than those on fewer medications, a study found
(UPI) Patients with type 2 diabetes fare significantly better if prescribed three medications at diagnosis than if given a single drug, U.S. researchers say… In home blood glucose monitoring, triple-therapy patients showed consistent results within the normal range, whereas patients on conventional therapy registered up and down spikes, many of which were out of the normal range, the study found.
(Science Daily) Joslin scientists report that salsalate, a drug used to treat arthritis, lowers blood glucose and improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. These findings … provide additional evidence that salsalate may be an effective drug to treat type 2 diabetes.
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Snapper with Grilled Mango Salsa
Keep the kitchen cool and grill your entire main dish tonight. Grilling the mango brings out the sweetness, which perfectly balance the flavor of the fish. Serve with orange-scented couscous.
Fresh Pomodoro Pasta, White Beans & Olives
Capture the flavor of vine-ripe tomatoes with this elegant yet ultra-quick fresh tomato sauce. Although it's an uncooked sauce, the beans are heated briefly in the olive oil and garlic just to flavor them.
Cooking Light:
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Milk Does A Body Good? Maybe Not Always, Doctor Says

(TODAY) Milk: Celebrities are constantly asking if you’ve got any, because, as the long-running ad campaign says, it does a body good. But a Harvard pediatrician is arguing that the current U.S. recommendation of three servings of dairy a day isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all. For some, it may be a significant source of additional sugar and calories. 
“This recommendation to drink three cups a day of milk – it’s perhaps the most prevailing advice given to the American public about diet in the last half century,” says David Ludwig…, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “As a result, Americans are consuming billions of gallons of milk a year, presumably under the assumption that their bones would crumble without them.”
Drinking reduced fat milk in particular is recommended as a way Americans can meet dairy intake guidelines and also avoid saturated fat, which is linked to weight gain and heart disease. But when the fat is reduced in milk or yogurt products, it's often replaced with sweeteners, which makes it taste better, but also adds sugar and calories.
Community: The lesson? Don’t add sweeteners.
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Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol

(RealAge.com) What kind of bean do you pile high on your tacos and burritos? For better cholesterol, try the mighty pinto bean—one of the top foods high in fiber…
As one of the best foods high in fiber, pinto beans are known to help control cholesterol. How? By causing the body's small intestine to produce more of a compound that helps keep cholesterol in check. And with 8 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, almost no fat, and only 120 calories per half cup, what's not to love about pinto beans?...
Researchers also think the nutrients in beans help -- antioxidant nutrients like flavonoids, which are natural plant compounds that help defend against disease.
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Only Moderate Retail Food Price Inflation Projected Near-Term

(The Supermarket Guru) With wholesale food prices in the U.S. trending higher, The Food Institute projects retail food prices will move up as well, but only moderately.
Using the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Consumer and Producer Price Index reports, The Food Institute found that wholesale food price advances versus a year earlier, have exceeded those at retail for 13 straight months through May 2013 and indicate the food-at-home price index will move up as well by August into the 1.0% to 1.5% range.
From a historical perspective, this is still an extremely moderate inflation level.
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The Latest from The People's Pharmacy

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To Make Hearing Aids Affordable, Firm Turns On Bluetooth

(Shots, NPR) As many as 300 million people around the world need hearing aids. The vast majority of the 7 million people who get them annually are in the U.S. and Europe.
One big reason is cost. On average, a set of hearing aids rings up a tab of about $4,000. Most insurance policies don't cover them.
A company called Sound World Solutions is trying to do something about the limited reach of hearing aids by creating a high-quality hearing device that costs less than a tenth the normal price…
Besides cost, one of the big hurdles to the use of hearing aids is the number of visits required to get the devices adjusted properly. Sound World Solutions addresses that problem by making its device adjustable through a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone.
The app first gives the user a hearing test using an ear piece that looks like a small Bluetooth phone receiver. Then the app sets the device to compensate for your hearing loss. A user can also tweak the device manually.
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Scientists Create Early Liver From Human Stem Cells

(Bloomberg) Scientists used human stem cells to create precursors to human livers like those in fetuses, and the early organs functioned as livers when transplanted into mice.
These buds didn’t grow into regular livers and any treatment for humans is at least a decade away, according to the research… Still, the study demonstrated the first steps toward potentially creating new organs for transplants, researchers said…
“The study holds out real promise for a viable alternative approach to human organ transplants,” said Matthew Smalley, a senior lecturer at Cardiff University’s European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute who wasn’t involved in the study.
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Seniors more frail, confused, dependent after hospital visit

(UPI) Older patients become more frail, confused and dependent on others after they have been treated in a hospital, a researcher in Australia says…
The findings … found functional and cognitive problems increased dramatically after patients arrived at the hospital emergency department.
More than one-third of the patients had a recent fall prior to coming to the emergency department.
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Is your home fall proof? See these simple suggestions.

(NIH Senior Health, via email) More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year, and most falls happen at home. Making simple changes in your living environment may keep you from falling. Here are tips to "fall proof" your home, both inside and outdoors.
Also, watch the video on home safety tips.
The information on Falls and Older Adults was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.
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Pilot program aims to give patients support at home

(Chicago Tribune) Patients hospitalized for chronic illnesses often struggle after they are sent home, especially if they lack social support or money to manage their complex health needs.
So doctors are launching a pilot program at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System that will use trained lay people to help these patients with follow-up visits, transportation, medication and questions related to their illnesses. The program aims to support recovery at home, thereby cutting down on the number of readmissions to hospitals, the doctors said.
Cutting readmissions is especially important because the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have started to impose financial penalties on hospitals with high readmission rates, experts say.
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The Creative Destruction of Medicine

Medscape Editor-in-Chief Eric J. Topol, MD, raises the controversial issue of whether technology might replace clinicians in certain medical settings.
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Affordable Care Act in the News

(Bloomberg) While businesses hailed President Barack Obama’s decision to delay penalizing companies that fail to offer benefits under the health law, workers and states may struggle with the uncertain aftermath.
(Reuters) The Obama administration's decision to delay a key provision of the healthcare law, by giving employers an extra year to offer insurance coverage, is not expected to significantly impact 2014 hiring since many big businees were prepared for the change. Smaller businesses, which have been among the most vocal critics of the law, say they are still coming to terms with the system's cost and complexity and need the extra time simply to make Obamacare work.
(MoneyNews.com) The Obama administration said on Tuesday it would not require employers to provide health insurance for their workers until 2015, delaying a key provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law by a year, to beyond the next election… Edward Lenz, senior counsel of the American Staffing Association, an employment and recruiting industry group, said administration officials briefed his organization on Tuesday afternoon, portraying the delay as a "practice year" for businesses.
(Reuters) [T]he delay is intended to let companies work out how they report their compliance to tax authorities. Data on what coverage employers offer and what it costs, to be provided to the Internal Revenue Service, is also meant to help verify whether consumers qualify for government subsidies to purchase health insurance on state- and federally run online exchanges that open on October 1. President Barack Obama's healthcare reform needs millions of people to enroll in coverage sold on the exchanges in their first year in order to work, spreading the financial risk among millions of consumers.
(McClatchy) The Congressional Budget Office estimates the federal government will lose $10 billion in employer penalties in 2015 because of the delayed enforcement. Likewise, many expect that federal outlays to help low- and moderate-income people purchase coverage will grow with employers no longer required to provide coverage next year. “At a minimum, the federal revenue from fines is gone. More realistically, the costs of already bloated insurance subsidies will escalate and the red ink will rise,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank.
(Reuters) President Barack Obama can expect mounting pressure to make new concessions on healthcare reform, especially the requirement that all Americans obtain insurance, after delaying penalties for businesses for the first year of his plan.
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