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

Older Adults in South Have Fewer Healthy Years Left

(LiveScience) Older adults living in the southern United States have fewer healthy years of life ahead of them than those living in other parts of the U.S., according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Researchers measured "healthy life expectancy," or how many years a person can be expected to live in good health. (Healthy life expectancy is thus a certain percentage of a person's total life expectancy.)…
Many factors influence people's health as they age, including such healthy behaviors as exercise, not smoking, receiving medical services such as vaccines and cancer screenings, and having access to quality health care, the report said.
"The results presented in this study can be used as a baseline for states to monitor the [healthy life expectancy] of persons aged 65 years as they age, identify health disparities among subpopulations and target resources to improve population health," the report said.
Community: A healthy lifestyle can increase the odds of living a longer, healthier life. We can beat the stastics!
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Homicide 'directly affecting' racial gap in US life expectancy, study shows

(Dr. Tyeese Gaines, theGrio.com) Americans are now living longer than years prior -- with a life expectancy of 78.7 years -- according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But overall, African-American males continue to die younger, with heart disease and homicide shortening their lives…
“We expected heart disease and cancer, those are still the main focus, but what’s interesting is when you look at the graph for males, you see how important homicide is for directly affecting life expectancy for African-Americans,” says Kenneth D. Kochanek, lead author of the report and statistician with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
For black males, homicide decreased life expectancy by almost a year. Heart disease was the most significant cause of death affecting the disparity in life expectancy, but for black males, homicide was number two -- ahead of cancer and stroke.
“We have to look at [violence and homicide] like a disease,” says Dr. Robert Gore, emergency medical physician at Kings County-SUNY Downstate Hospitals and executive director of KAVI -- the Kings Against Violence Initiative in Brooklyn. “There are over 700,000 reported violent acts per year involving U.S. youth presenting to our hospitals. We have to stop looking at violence as a purely social problem.”
Community: With the George Zimmerman verdict, Florida has approved a new crime with a citizen-imposed death sentence: Walking while black.
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Can Volunteering Help You Live Longer?

(Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Volunteering is often recommended for older adults looking to become more active in their communities, but are there health benefits as well?   It does according to Stephanie Brown and her colleagues…
Though volunteering can cover a wide variety of ways that people can help others,  the most typical way that people become volunteers is through formal volunteer agencies or organizations. The nature of the cause, whether it focuses on specific people or the community at large, tends not to matter as much as the spirit of volunteering itself…
Based on previous research, Brown and her colleagues have shown that providing assistance to other people helps manage stress, provide greater relationship satisfaction, reduced the depression resulting from loss of a spouse, and can even reduce risk of mortality…
In a new study…,  researchers at Stony Brook and Arizona State University carried out a meta-analysis of previous research studies looking at volunteering and mortality…
Using extensive statistical analysis, the researchers concluded that … Even when medical history, age, socioeconomic status, social support network, marital status, and physical/emotional health were taken into consideration, volunteering appears to reduce risk of death by 25 percent.
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How Technology Will Support an Aging America

(Philip Moeller, U.S. News & World Report) A growing mountain of behavioral research finds that people are more likely to remain healthy and stay independent by living at home.
This assumes they can continue to receive the help they need as they age and can stay connected to friends and social opportunities. That's a big question for many seniors, and, increasingly, technology is playing an enormous role in providing an affirmative answer to it. At the same time, the soaring cost of institutional care is pressuring private care companies and government entitlement programs to seek affordable in-home solutions whenever they can…
[Aging-in-place guru and technology veteran Laurie] Orlov describes four aging-in-place technology categories that have emerged:
1. Communications and engagement. This space is enormous and includes email, chat, games, video, cellphones, smartphones and tablets, as well as personal computers.
2. Home safety and security. All manner of home security systems are springing up. The systems deal not only with possible intruders but a growing range of personal health and safety issues. They use sensors, webcams and digital communications to provide help with fall detection and the broader areas of personal emergency response systems.
3. Home health and wellness. Telehealth and mHealth (the "m" stands for mobile), medication and disease management tools and fitness products.
4. Learning and social contribution. Home-centered communications technologies can help people stay connected with friends and family, engage in online learning and education, participate in volunteer activities and earn income from home.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Pizza Provençal
Upgrade pizza night by topping a loaf of Italian bread with fresh basil, rotisserie chicken, and all the best of Italian-inspired ingredients. A food processor makes quick work of the homemade sauce. Serve with artichoke–green bean salad.
EatingWell:
Oven-Barbecued Asian Chicken
This Asian “barbecued” chicken made in a casserole dish is truly finger-licking good! You can make this with 2 bone-in chicken breasts (about 12 ounces each) instead of thighs and drumsticks, if you prefer. Remove the skin and cut each chicken breast in half on the diagonal to get 4 portions about equal in weight. Serve with sautéed chard and whole-grain rice pilaf.
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Food and Health

(Jonny Bowden, PhD, C.N.S.) The first thing you need to know [about the new study that's been widely reported as showing fish oil supplements increase the risk of prostate cancer] is that no fish oil supplements -- or any other kind of supplements, for that matter -- were given in this study. None… In this study, we have no idea why higher blood levels of DHA were found to be associated with higher levels of risk for aggressive prostate cancer…
There have been literally thousands of published studies on omega-3 fats, spanning the course of over three decades and including not just observational studies, but randomized controlled trials as well. The overwhelming majority of them have been positive, so much so that when it comes to fish oil, even mainstream medicine has overcome its default bias against vitamin supplements.
(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) Higher intake of omega-3 has at times been associated with compelling potential benefit. One meta-analysis links higher omega-3 consumption to lower risk of diabetes. Another, just out, and representing almost a million women, shows an inverse association between omega-3 intake and breast cancer risk: more fish oil, less breast cancer… Is it plausible that higher omega-3 intake increases prostate cancer risk, but decreases breast cancer risk?... For now, I remain convinced of likely net benefit from the willful inclusion of omega-3s in our diets, from fish and/or plant sources, and from judicious use of supplements.
(MedPage Today) Last week’s MedPage Today news coverage included a report on a study showing that soy supplementation did not reduce the risk of biochemical recurrence in prostate cancer and discussant comments on the study. Coverage continues here with a summary of correspondence between the author and the discussant.
(Huffington Post) Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found an association between higher risk of the cancer and eating "high-energy snack foods" (meaning snack foods high in sugar and fat) and high-energy drinks (including sodas and other sugary beverages). Their findings are published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention… Researchers said the new finding falls into line with past studies on diet and colorectal cancer risk, which showed that a healthy diet with lots of produce is linked with lower cancer risk.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Maybe so. New research suggests that grapes can help reduce the symptoms of heart failure associated with chronic high blood pressure, at least in rats. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that the grapes benefited the animals' cardiac physiology by influencing the activities of genes and metabolic pathways that boost levels of glutathione, the most abundant cellular antioxidant in the heart… After 18 weeks, they found that the grape consumption reduced the occurrence of heart muscle enlargement and fibrosis, decreased the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue, and improved the heart’s diastolic function.
(The People’s Pharmacy) Both animal and human research suggest that grapefruit may indeed have an impact on blood-vessel flexibility and lower blood pressure… Other foods that can help lower blood pressure include beets; green, leafy vegetables; and dark chocolate. To learn more about natural ways to control hypertension, readers may wish to consult our "Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment."
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice, a major ingredient in Indian curries, and the source of American mustard's bright yellow color… Research indicates that: 1. Curcumin seems to delay liver damage in some instances that can eventually lead to cirrhosis. 2. Turmeric reduces levels of heterocyclic amines - carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meats are barbecued, boiled or fried - by up to 40 percent. 3. Curcumin inhibits the growth of skin cancer (melanoma) and also slows the spread of breast cancer into the lungs. 4. Turmeric that is part of daily curries eaten in India may help explain the low rate of Alzheimer's disease in that country. Among people aged 70 to 79, the rate is less than one-quarter that of the United States…
Note, however, that turmeric and curcumin are poorly absorbed from the G.I. tract. Absorption is enhanced in the presence of piperine, a constituent of black pepper. Indian cuisine commonly uses turmeric and pepper together.
Community: I put both turmeric and ground black pepper in the Healthy Mary that I drink most days, to accompany my lunch salad.
More . . .

Google expands to nutrition (Video)

(The Supermarket Guru) Google has branched out to nutrition information.
The search engine added more than 1,000 fruits, vegetables, meats, and meals to its search results, and the nutrition information will also be available through voice search on both web and mobile.
It is powered by Google's Knowledge Graph, which pulls together all the related information - even different names at times - from across the web. So in short,  you can now type, or voice questions like, "How much protein is in a banana?"  or "How many calories are in an avocado?" and get your answer right away.
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Nondrinkers May Have Higher Mortality Risk Than Light Drinkers, but Reasons for Abstaining Make a Big Difference

(Science Daily) Multiple studies have shown that the likelihood of dying for people who drink increases as they consume more alcohol. Those same studies have shown that a person's mortality risk also increases at the other end of the spectrum -- among people who choose not to drink at all -- though the risk is still much less than for heavy drinkers.
Some researchers have hypothesized that the increased mortality among nondrinkers could be related to the fact that light alcohol consumption -- drinking, on average, less than one drink a day -- might actually protect people from disease and reduce their stress levels.
But researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, working with colleagues at the University of Colorado Denver, decided to examine whether characteristics of different subgroups of nondrinkers could explain the increased mortality risk…
Abstainers who chose not to drink for a cluster of reasons that included religious or moral motivations, being brought up not to drink, responsibilities to their family, as well as not liking the taste, had similar mortality risks over the follow-up period to light drinkers. "So this idea that nondrinkers always have higher mortality than light drinkers isn't true," [sociology Professor Richard] Rogers said. "You can find some groups of nondrinkers who have similar mortality risks to light drinkers."
Despite confirming that some subgroups of nondrinkers have a higher mortality rate than light drinkers, it doesn't necessarily follow that those people's mortality rates would fall if they began drinking, Rogers said… "I think the idea that drinking could be somewhat beneficial seems like it's overstated," Rogers said. "There may be other factors that lower mortality for light drinkers. It's not just the act of drinking."
Community: I think the benefit is in the moderation. People who drink moderately are likely to do other things moderately, and that could contribute to healthy habits.
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Statins for healthy men may save money: study

(Reuters Health) More than $1 million worth of heart attacks, strokes and hospitalizations for other reasons were avoided by 1,000 Scotsmen aged in their 40s through 60s who had taken cholesterol-lowering statins for five years, according to a new study.
"Treating middle aged men, who do not have heart disease, with cheap off-patent statins for 5 years, not only prevents heart attacks and deaths due to heart disease, but substantially reduces days spent in hospital, for coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure," said the report's senior author Ian Ford, a biostatistician at the University of Glasgow.
The so-called statin drugs, including torvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and simvastatin (Zocor), are usually prescribed to patients with heart disease or other known risk factors for heart attack, Ford said. They act primarily by lowering low-density lipoproteins, or "bad" cholesterol.
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HPV Vaccination Might Help Reduce Risk Of Throat Cancers

(NPR) A study of women in Costa Rica is raising hope that getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, could lower the risk of throat cancers.
The research doesn't show that. It would take a much bigger and longer study to do that – if such a study could ethically be done at all.
What this study does show is that among the nearly 6,000 women in the study, those who got vaccinated against two strains of the virus had 93 percent fewer HPV throat infections four years later.
Since the virus is strongly linked to throat cancers, that should reduce the risk of these malignancies.
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Facebook May Help Recruit for Cardiac Trials

(MedPage Today) Facebook ads may vie with town hall meetings as a way to inform communities of upcoming cardiac arrest trials, preliminary research suggested, but details remain to be worked out.
A Facebook campaign about a cardiac arrest trial cost $1,000 and resulted in 5.1 million views ($0.0002 per view) and 437 visits to the study's website ($2.29 per visitor), according to Henry E. Wang, MD, MS, of the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, and colleagues.
In contrast, a traditional campaign for a trial of hypertonic saline for major trauma comprised 39 community meetings, cost $8,000, and garnered a total attendance of 465 participants ($17.24 per person), they wrote in the study…
"Although there are no existing measures or standards to determine the adequacy of community consultation and public disclosure compared with traditional approaches, our social media strategy clearly reached a larger audience," the authors wrote.
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It's Not Just the Heat, It's the Ozone: Hidden Heat Wave Dangers Exposed

(Science Daily) During heat waves -- when ozone production rises -- plants' ozone absorption is curtailed, leaving more pollution in the air. This resulted in the loss of an estimated 460 lives in the UK in the hot summer of 2006.
Vegetation plays a crucial role in reducing air pollution, but new research by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York shows that they may not protect us when we need it most: during extreme heat, when ozone formation from traffic fumes, industrial processes and other sources is at its worst.
The reason, explained lead author Dr Lisa Emberson, is that during heat waves -- when the ground is especially dry -- plants become stressed and shut their stomata (small pores on their leaves) to conserve water. This natural protective mechanism makes them more resilient to extreme heat and high ozone levels, but it also stops them from absorbing ozone and other pollutants.
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Failure to Diagnose Is No. 1 Reason for Suing Doctors

(LiveScience) The most common reason patients give for suing their doctors is a delay or failure to diagnose a disease, such as cancer, a new study finds.
The study — which reviewed information on medical malpractice claims against primary care doctors in the United States, Australia, France and Canada — found that between 26 and 63 percent of claims were related to missed diagnoses.
The most frequently missed diseases, according to the claims, were cancer (particularly breast, colon, melanoma and lung cancers) and heart attacks in adults; and meningitis in children. The most common outcome for patients as a result of the alleged malpractice was death.
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Failure to Diagnose Is No. 1 Reason for Suing Doctors

(LiveScience) The most common reason patients give for suing their doctors is a delay or failure to diagnose a disease, such as cancer, a new study finds.
The study — which reviewed information on medical malpractice claims against primary care doctors in the United States, Australia, France and Canada — found that between 26 and 63 percent of claims were related to missed diagnoses.
The most frequently missed diseases, according to the claims, were cancer (particularly breast, colon, melanoma and lung cancers) and heart attacks in adults; and meningitis in children. The most common outcome for patients as a result of the alleged malpractice was death.
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Turf War Continues Over Scope of Practice

(MedPage Today) The battle of words between physicians and advanced nurse practitioners (NPs) over who can do what in the clinic should take a back seat to how to change the delivery of care, a physician leader said.
The long discussion over scope-of-practice laws -- the authority of NPs and physician assistants (PAs) -- is distracting from the need to create more coordinated-care models, according to Reid Blackwelder, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
"That's why we shouldn't be focused on restricting what people can do," Blackwelder, a family physician in Kingsport, Tenn., said at an Alliance for Health Reform webinar on scope-of-practice issues. "The energy should be focused on how to make them function better."
Physicians and advanced nurse practitioners have generally disagreed over what power NPs should have to treat patients and write prescriptions without the oversight of a physician. While NPs say they provide high quality care at lower costs to increase patient access, doctors say their years of training and education make their care superior and needed.
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How Chicago’s Cook County Jail Became America’s Largest Mental Health Care Provider

(ThinkProgress) The Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois, holds over 9,000 men and women, making it the largest correctional facility in America. But a perfect storm of cuts to community mental health services, affordable housing projects, and state psychiatric institutions has ensured that the prison also serves as America’s largest mental health care provider.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart detailed the struggles awaiting thousands of mentally ill prisoners who simply don’t belong in the prison system. “Conservative numbers are 25, but we think it’s closer to 30 or 35 percent of our jail population that has a mental illness… so we’ve effectively become the largest mental health hospital in the country,” said Dart. “I don’t know anybody who could say that someone suffering from serious mental illness should be put in a tiny, confined area that is populated by another individual who has a mental illness — who you don’t know and may or may not have some issues with violence as well — be medicated and treated as if you were a criminal.”
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Consumers In Most States Unlikely To See N.Y.’s Big Drop In Premiums

(Kaiser Health News) New York’s announcement this week that insurance premiums would drop 50 percent next year for individuals buying their own coverage in new online marketplaces made good talking points for proponents of the health law, but consumers in most states are unlikely to see similar savings.
That’s because only a handful have New York’s rules, which like the federal law bar insurers from rejecting people with health problems. Unlike the federal law, however, New York does not require consumers to purchase coverage, so over time, mainly older, sicker people, have purchased coverage. That drove up prices and discouraged younger, healthier people from buying policies, as did a requirement that insurers charge the same rates regardless of age or health status.
As a result, premium prices listed for individuals often top $1,000 a month for some New Yorkers buying their own coverage, making the state’s rates among most expensive in the nation.
“New York with such extreme rules sets the stage for a larger drop in rates than you’d expect to see in many other states,” said Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington D.C.  “It’s clearly in the minority.”
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Top Conservative Activist Enthusiastically Endorses Government-Run Health Care

(ThinkProgress) A top conservative leader endorsed a government-run health care program similar to single-payer during an appearance on CSPAN’s Washington Journal on Sunday morning, telling a caller that TRICARE — the Department of Defense’s health care program for more than 9 million active duty uniformed personnel and their dependents — works even better than the Affordable Care Act.
Dean Clancy, the Vice President of Public Policy at Freedom Works, an organization that vehemently opposes President Obama’s health care law and advocates for eliminating most government regulations in the health care system, admitted that the government program is “fairly popular” with military members…
The DoD initiative, which like Medicaid, contracts with private insurers, offers health care services “through both military and nonmilitary hospitals, clinics, and other providers.” Military retirees and their family members are also eligible for the TRICARE health benefit and over 75 percent participate in the government-run program.
Clancy also endorsed the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, which is a federally-run exchange of private insurers similar to the marketplaces that will open on October 1 as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
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How to Identify Valid Federal Government Social Media Accounts

(USA.gov Team, via email) Every day, the government uses social media services like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to communicate with you and provide easy access to government information. But social media sites are hosted on commercial domains (not .gov or .mil domains), making it difficult to determine which accounts are official government sources and which are impersonators.
Use our Social Media Registry to verify whether or not a social media account is managed by the U.S. federal government. You'll need the complete URL of the account you're verifying (example: http://twitter.com/whitehouse).
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Tai chi tied to longer life

(Reuters Health) Chinese men who practiced tai chi were less likely to die over a five-year period than men who didn't exercise at all, in a new study.
The findings support past studies that found health benefits related to the traditional Chinese exercise.
"It combines slow motion exercise and mind concentration to focus on movement. That itself can reduce your stress and, of course, it will increase your flexibility and endurance," said Dr. Xianglan Zhang, one of the study's authors…
Earlier research has shown tai chi can be beneficial for people with chronic conditions, for example by improving balance among those with Parkinson's disease
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Exercise Can Reduce Stroke Risk

(Science Daily)  A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is one of the first to study the relationship between exercise and stroke in a large biracial cohort of men and women in the United States…
The results showed that physical inactivity was reported by 33 percent of participants and was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of stroke. Those who reported they exercised at least four times a week were less likely to experience a stroke or mini-stroke. Among men, only those who exercised four or more times a week had a lower stroke risk. Among women, the relationship between stroke and frequency of activity was less clear.
"The protective effect of intense physical activity may be through its impact on traditional risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes," explained Virginia Howard, Ph.D., … senior study author…
Howard added that stroke is preventable, and physical activity is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke.
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Fitness reduces heart failure

(HHS HealthBeat) Even people who become more aerobically fit starting at midlife might reduce their risk of heart failure. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas saw this in data on fitness in 9,000 people who were followed for 18 years.
The researchers found that the more fit people were, the lower their risk of heart failure. Heart failure is when the heart can’t pump enough blood, which is different from coronary heart disease, when fatty deposits clog the coronary arteries.
Researcher Jarett Berry: ``Low fitness levels earlier in life are particularly important for heart failure risk across the lifespan, and appear to be more important for heart failure risk than for coronary heart disease risk.’’…
Learn more at healthfinder.gov.
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Next Steps in Bloomberg's Obesity Fight: Up the Stairs

(New York Times) Under his watch, New York City has required food chains to post calorie counts, eliminated trans fats from restaurants and fought unsuccessfully to limit the size of a soda. Still, even as his days in office are numbered, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg continues his campaign against obesity, this time by urging New Yorkers to take the stairs.
Mr. Bloomberg said on Wednesday that he had issued an executive order requiring city agencies to promote the use of stairways and use smart design strategies for all new construction and major renovations. Mr. Bloomberg has also proposed two bills that would increase visibility and access to at least one staircase in all new buildings around the city. This would include putting up signs on the walls, especially near elevators, with one central injunction: take the stairs.
“I’m not here to tell you how to live,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference, adding that New Yorkers live close to three years more than the national average and three years longer than they did a dozen years ago. “But we must be doing something right.”
The effort to bring attention back to the stairs follows a series of steps by Mr. Bloomberg to improve the general health of New Yorkers, a defining feature of his 12-year tenure.
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Strengthen your Legs

(NIH Senior Health, via email) As we age, we lose muscle mass and this can affect the strength of our legs. Weak leg muscles can make it harder to do everyday tasks, like walking up stairs, and can also increase the risk of falling. See exercises you can do around the house to help strengthen your legs.
To see more muscle strengthening exercises, visit Go4Life® the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging.
The information on Exercise: Exercises to Try was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH.
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More News and Recent Research on Exercise and Fitness

(Medical News Today) Doing 150 minutes of exercise is just as good for you all in one go as it is broken up into several sessions each week, researchers … reported… The researchers examined data on 2,325 adults throughout Canada to find out whether physical activity frequency impacts on the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
(Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Aerobic exercise is only part of the formula for health and fitness. You still need to engage in resistance training in order to build muscle tone and bone strength. There’s no way you can get out of the gym in under 20 minutes (much less 4) and train those quads, pecs, abs, and other major muscle groups (and bones). If you want to build in flexibility training, crucial for maintaining your joint health, you’ll need to add in another minimum of 15 to 20 minutes and maybe longer. Finally, one of the biggest benefits of exercise is stress reduction. If you’re so busy that you can’t afford to exercise, it’s likely that you need more time in the gym, not less.
(Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D., Psychology Today) Exercise is one of the more promising and least talked about tools for treating and recovering from addiction.
Community: Or eating.
(Science Daily) Today's smartphones allow for increased opportunities for activities traditionally defined as sedentary behaviors, such as surfing the internet, emailing and playing video games. However, researchers … linked high cell phone use to poor fitness in college students.
(Jeff Halevy, U.S. News & World Report) Participate in an activity that was responsible for nearly 700 American deaths in 2011 alone…? I am the first one to not only encourage increased activity and exercise in our increasingly sedentary and obese population, but … I don't believe arming under-skilled commuters and visitors with tools that could not only cause them to kill and injure themselves, but could cause them to kill and injure others, is the solution to increasing activity levels.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Hoisin Flank Steak with Asian Cucumber Salad
Enjoy a quick steak dinner infused with fragrant Asian flavor. Spiced wonton chips that bake while the steak rests are an easy accompaniment.
EatingWell:
Southwestern Salmon Cobb Salad
Here’s a healthy twist on a classic Cobb salad recipe: we skip the bacon, getting smoky flavor from chipotle peppers instead, and add salmon for a power-protein kick. Look for small cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with Mexican foods at large supermarkets.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Normally, this is a soup for summer, when you can get wonderful fresh corn and tomatoes. But the quality of the new frozen supersweet corn, both yellow and white, is very good, and canned, organic tomatoes are very flavorful and convenient. So as long as you can get fresh basil, you can make this satisfying soup any time of year. It is very easy to do.
Food as Medicine
Essential oil of basil, which is extracted from its leaves, has been shown to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria. Remarkably, it is even effective against bacteria that have become resistant to common antibiotics. High consumption of lycopene, the most potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, has repeatedly been shown to provide cardiovascular benefits… Lycopene, a carotenoid, is fat-soluble, so be sure to cook tomatoes with a healthy fat, such as the olive oil in this recipe.
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4 Reasons to Enjoy Corn on the Cob!

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Corn on the cob is a traditional summertime treat that can add some nutritional value to typically less-than-healthful BBQ fare. Corn has been cultivated for centuries and remains a staple in many parts of the world. A good source of vitamins B1, B5 and C, whole corn also provides many other valuable nutrients, including:
1.    Fiber for gastrointestinal function and weight control.
2.    Folate, which can help reduce the risk of birth defects and promote heart health.
3.    Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vital to healthy adrenal function.
4.    Lutein for healthy vision.
When choosing corn, opt for ears with yellow or deep yellow kernels - they are higher in beta-carotene than pale yellow or white kernel corn. Try corn on the cob grilled or steamed, with the husk left on during the cooking process to help retain the most nutrients. Brush it with some olive oil for a healthy and tasty summertime side!
Community: I’ve discovered that I don’t have to slather butter and salt on a corn cob to taste its deliciousness. I just eat it plain, now.
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Attempt to steer McDonald's diners toward smaller meals backfires

(Los Angeles Times) You might think that customers buying their lunch at McDonald’s would order meals with fewer calories if someone handed them a slip of paper reminding them that women should eat no more than 650 calories at lunchtime and men should not exceed 800 calories. But you would be wrong.
Instead, researchers found that diners who received these supposedly helpful reminders actually purchased more calories than those who didn’t, according to a new study…
A previous study that tested the value of posting calorie information on menus found that it did steer diners toward lower-calorie meals. But in that study, conducted at a Subway sandwich shop, it only worked for customers who had a healthy BMI, not those who were overweight.
The authors of the new study speculated that they got different results because Subway and McDonald’s “have different reputations for healthful fare, and, as a result, may attract different clientele.”
Community: IT TAKES TIME for these measures to take effect. Did people stop smoking immediately after it was declared dangerous to health?
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How to Make Smart Choices at Fast Food Restaurants

(Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, U.S. News & World Report) Many fast food restaurants are jumping on the healthy bandwagon and acknowledging the need for better options. This is especially important if you're part of the 84 percent of parents who feed their children fast food at least once a week. But keep in mind that just because something sounds healthy, it isn't necessarily good for you. If nutritional data isn't listed on the menu, ask if information is available; many restaurants provide all the facts and figures you'll need online…
[Y]ou can customize any order by asking for something grilled instead of fried or crispy, skipping the creamy or special sauces, swapping a side of fries for apple slices and drinking water instead of adding empty calories from sugary beverages. Do your homework ahead of time by checking the restaurant's website or glancing at the calories on their menu boards.
And don't forget: If you supersize, you may not fit into your favorite size!
Read more, including tips for specific fast food outlets.
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Why Jenny McCarthy's New TV Gig is So Unsettling

(Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine) Best as I can tell, most of the internet has denounced ABC’s decision to hire Jenny McCarthy as a cohost of The View, a popular daytime talk show on American television. The uproar, in case you just returned from a week-long, off-the-grid monastic retreat, owes to McCarthy’s role as a prominent spokesperson for the anti-vaccine movement…
Of course, what she believes about autism and vaccines is not supported by medical evidence. Combine McCarthy’s unstinting anti-vaccine advocacy with her telegenic personality and you get, as numerous commentators have noted,  a danger to public health. Michael Specter at The New Yorker says ABC executives “should be ashamed of themselves for offering McCarthy a regular platform on which she can peddle denialism and fear to the parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety.”…
Phil Plait makes a … compelling argument in Slate when he writes:
even if she doesn’t talk about any of her nonsensical health ideas on the show, the very fact that she now has this co-host position gives her a tacit credibility to the viewer.
That alone is a dangerous message to send.
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Lung cancer screening most useful in high-risk people

(Reuters Health) Using low-dose CT scans to screen high-risk patients for lung tumors is far more effective at preventing lung cancer deaths than scanning those at low risk, according to a new analysis of over 53,000 volunteers…
An earlier analysis from the National Lung Screening Trial showed that compared to conventional X-rays, screening with low-dose CT scans cut the overall death rate by 20 percent.
The new study, which used the same data, was designed to see whether the risks and benefits of screening varied by a person's likelihood of developing lung cancer in the first place.
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Avoiding estrogen therapy proved deadly for nearly 50000: study

(Los Angeles Times) [T]he widespread rejection … of all hormone replacement therapies among menopausal women has been misguided, a team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine … wrote…
Looking at …  women ages 50 to 59 who had had hysterectomies — Dr. Philip Sarrel and colleagues calculated that rejecting estrogen-only hormone therapy resulted in the early deaths of nearly 50,000 women between 2002 and 2011.
“What has happened is an avoidance of use of estrogen not because of the [study] findings, but because of the way they were communicated and understood,” Sarrel said… “None of those women lived to be 70 years old. They were all women aged 50-59 who would have used estrogen but did not use it” because of unfounded fears, he added. 
Using mortality rate data to calculate the number of women who died, the team’s analysis estimated that between 40,292 and 48,835 women died prematurely during the study period.
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More evidence not all prostate cancers need treatment

(Reuters Health) In a study of older men who had died from causes other than prostate cancer, almost half were found to have prostate tumors.
And up to half of those tumors detected on autopsy would have qualified for treatment had doctors known about them while the men lived, though none had been the cause of death.
That suggests the criteria for treatment "might be worth reexamining," according to the study authors, and adds to a growing body of evidence that a wait-and-see approach might be better than treatment for many prostate cancers.
"The study suggests that the progression of early prostate cancer, including some more aggressive forms of the disease, is far from inevitable within a man's lifetime as many such tumors are found in men who died from other causes when their prostate is analyzed on autopsy," said lead author Dr. Alexandre Zlotta.
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Advanced Prostate Cancer Patients May Live Longer with New Drug

(LiveScience) Men with advanced prostate cancer may live longer after receiving a new type of targeted radiation treatment, a new study suggests.
In the study, men given the treatment — a radioactive drug that specifically targets tumors in bone — lived 14.9 months on average after their diagnosis, while those who received the placebo lived 11.3 months, meaning the drug extended life by about 3.5 months.
All patients in the study had castration-resistant prostate cancer, which is cancer that comes back despite surgical or drug treatments to lower testosterone levels.
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Lung cancer screening most useful in high-risk people

(Reuters Health) Using low-dose CT scans to screen high-risk patients for lung tumors is far more effective at preventing lung cancer deaths than scanning those at low risk, according to a new analysis of over 53,000 volunteers…
An earlier analysis from the National Lung Screening Trial showed that compared to conventional X-rays, screening with low-dose CT scans cut the overall death rate by 20 percent.
The new study, which used the same data, was designed to see whether the risks and benefits of screening varied by a person's likelihood of developing lung cancer in the first place.
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Is it OK to order my medications online from outside the U.S.?

(Consumer Reports) No. Don't put yourself in danger by ordering from pharmacy websites that could be unreliable, especially ones located outside the U.S. Medications purchased abroad aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so you can't be certain if the drugs contain the correct active ingredient, too much or too little of it, or even harmful additives.
Only 3 percent of the 10,421 online pharmacies recently reviewed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy appear to be legitimate. Nearly 9 out of 10 didn't require a valid prescription, 48 percent offered foreign-made or non-FDA-approved drugs, and 23 percent had addresses outside the U.S. "Some of the primary sources of drugs for these sites are China, India, and Pacific Rim locations without any adherence to FDA or state regulations," says NABP executive director Carmen Catizone, R.Ph.
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New report finds competition lowers premiums by nearly 20 percent in the Health Insurance Marketplace

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius [yesterday] released a new report that finds premiums in the Health Insurance Marketplace will be nearly 20 percent lower in 2014 than previously expected.
The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers in every state to publicly justify any premium rate increases of 10 percent or more.  Health insurance companies now generally have to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on health care or improvements to care, or provide a rebate to their policy holders.  In addition, when the Health Insurance Marketplace opens for enrollment on October 1, 2013 consumers will be able to make apples to apples comparisons of quality health insurance plans.
“Today’s report shows that the Affordable Care Act is working to increase transparency and competition among health insurance plans and drive premiums down,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “The reforms in the health care law ensure consumers will have access to better coverage at a lower cost in 2014.”
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