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

Unhealthy Living May Rob Seniors of Independence

(MedPage Today) An unhealthy lifestyle markedly increased the risk of disability -- defined as difficulty or dependency in carrying out activities essential to independent living -- in a prospective cohort of people 65 and older, researchers reported.
People who were physically inactive, had a diet poor in fruits and vegetables, and either smoked or had recently quit were more than twice as likely to develop disability as those who had none of the unhealthy behaviors, according to Alexis Elbaz, MD, PhD, … and colleagues.
On the other hand, there was no association between disability and alcohol, Elbaz and colleagues reported…
Previous research has demonstrated links between such unhealthy behaviors and the risk of such adverse consequences as obesity, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and sudden cardiac death, the researchers noted.
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NYC Doctors Are Now Prescribing Fruits And Veggies

(The Salt, NPR) Doctors typically give patients prescriptions for medications. But a new program in New York City has doctors prescribing fruits and vegetables to obese or overweight patients.
Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program Tuesday. It aims to give at-risk families greater access to healthy foods.
Under the program, obese or overweight patients can be prescribed Health Bucks redeemable for produce at local farmers markets.
Health Bucks are a part of the city's GrowNYC initiative to make locally grown produce available to low-income New Yorkers. The vouchers are accepted at more than 140 New York City farmers markets.
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The Newest Health Care Worker May Be Your Handyman

(U.S. News & World Report) The government spends a fortune on health care for impoverished older Americans, especially for people who are known as "dual eligibles," meaning they qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. There are about 2.6 million dual eligibles with measurable physical limitations when it comes to dressing, bathing, walking, preparing meals and more…
With the numbers of seniors ages 65 and older growing by an average of 10,000 people a day during the next 15 years, the frighteningly large proportions of dual eligibles could have a detrimental impact on the government…
[But what if the] government could come into a person's home and provide a range of preventive health care services? What if this home-based intervention also included home improvements that allowed frail seniors to be more safe and secure in their homes?
And what if these services also saved the government a bundle of money in the long run, by either greatly delaying a person's entrance into a nursing home or preventing it altogether? In the process, of course, it would also be nice if these money-saving efforts greatly improved the person's quality of life. And how about if they even helped the person live longer?...
[A] Baltimore test program – called Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders, or CAPABLE – may generate the kind of hard data that would prompt government regulators to approve such services for all eligible older Americans. If this happened, it would represent a game changer for the nation's seniors and the way we approach health care.
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Learn the Secrets, Miracles and Mirages of Anti-Aging

(Pamela Cytrynbaum, Psychology Today) Lauren [Kessler] is seeking the Fountain of Youth – and revealing all the miracles and mirages along the way… Where can you get all this great information? Here: In her latest project, a blog and a book, Lauren offers her findings in her blog Counterclockwise: My Year of: Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-aging.
Here, we continue our Q&A on aging, anti-aging, states of midlife body and mind:
Question: Okay, bottom line: Is there a fountain of youth?
Lauren Kessler: Yes.It is maintaining a sense of curiosity about the world, a sense that the best thing might be around the next corner. Seeking challenges, taking risks – this is what keeps us young.  Also blueberries and Greek yogurt.
Question: What is it about the idea of youth or being younger or turning back time that so obsesses us? Or, what are we really looking for, yearning for that the idea of youth seems to represent? We are so hard on ourselves. We all are held hostage by that cruel inner narrator always reminding us of what we're not doing to look good, stay young, lose weight, blah blah blah; any advice from your perch on how to counteract that habit of mind?
Lauren Kessler: I think we SHOULD be obsessed (probably not the best word) with staying "young" if young means vital and vibrant and creative and curious.  If it means resilient and nimble and open to being surprised.  That's my definition of "youthfulness."  It's being obsessed with the fleeting trappings of the young, like unlined skin, that's ridiculous.  If you want to obsess about a youthful body, obsess about plaque-free arteries not a crease-free forehead.
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More Recent Research on Aging and General Health

(UPI) Adults living in U.S. metropolitan areas with the lowest well-being index are about twice as likely to report having a heart attack, a survey indicates… An average of 5.5 percent of U.S. adults living in the 10 metro areas with the lowest well-being reported having had a heart attack, compared with 2.8 percent of residents in the 10 metro areas with the highest levels of well-being.
(Science Daily) The drug rapamycin is known to increase lifespan in mice. Whether rapamycin slows down aging, however, remains unclear. A team of researchers … has now found that rapamycin extends lifespan -- but its impact on aging itself is limited. The life-extending effect seems to be related to rapamycin's suppression of tumors, which represent the main causes of death in these mouse strains.
(NIH Senior Health, via email) The kidneys filter your blood, removing wastes and extra water to make urine. Aging may affect the function of your kidneys, including making you more sensitive to some medications… For more, watch the short video, “What Do the Kidneys Do?”
(MedPage Today) Seniors with diabetes were at more than a 50% increased risk for physical disability and disability in daily living activities, researchers found.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize type 2 diabetes.
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Cooking Light:
For delicious, make-ahead, summertime meals, nothing beats a slow cooker.
Spiced Chicken and Greens with Pomegranate Dressing
Round out this early spring dish with a hearty multigrain baguette. Depending on the season, you may also want to add other fruits to the salad, such as peach slices or fresh raspberries.
Vegetable & Tuna Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad recipe is made with zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula and chunk light tuna, which is lower in mercury than white albacore tuna. For the best flavor, combine the pasta salad with the dressing about 1 hour before serving. If you’re looking for an environmentally sustainable canned tuna option, check the label—tuna that was caught by troll or pole-and-line is considered the best choice, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Why You Should Eat Summer Squash!
This entirely edible vegetable - you can enjoy the skin, flesh and seeds - is a good source of manganese, vitamins A and C, magnesium, fiber and folate… You can even make an entree out of squash by slicing it lengthwise, scooping out the seeds, and filling the cavity with chopped onions, garlic and tomatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, then top with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Try squash in these recipes:
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Food News

(Harvard University) Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent, according to a new study… Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee," said lead researcher Michel Luca.
(Chicago Tribune) The marketing for freshly pressed and blended juices promises instant energy, weight loss, a flood of vitamins and minerals — all in a single, portable, gulpable serving… [But] experts would rather see people eating whole fruit. Because most juicing methods remove the produce's fiber, drinking juice omits one of the key benefits of eating fruit, while delivering huge amounts of sugar and calories.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Strange as it may seem, peppers (and to a lesser degree tomatoes) contain edible nicotine (far less than you would get from a cigarette) that may help protect against Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle evaluated the diets of 490 Parkinson’s patients and 644 adults who had no neurological disorders… Results showed that the more peppers and tomatoes eaten, the lower the risk of Parkinson’s… Peppers, tomatoes and tobacco are all members of a flowering plant family called Solanaceae (also informally known as the nightshade family).
(Scientific American) The common processing of whole grains—which can involve grinding, puffing and flaking them—can also impact their healthfulness. Processing can make whole grains tastier; it can give them a longer shelf life, too, by removing fats from the outer layer of the grain that can turn rancid. But some processing techniques have been shown to degrade natural antioxidants and reduce fiber content.
(The Salt, NPR) Remember the battle over trans fats? Yeah, the fats that did our hearts no favors. As we've reported, the push to get these cholesterol-raising fats out of the food supply has been pretty successful. And now most packaged snacks are labeled as having zero grams of trans fat. So what are food manufacturers using instead? One alternative is palm oil. But it's not an ideal replacement. There are environmental concerns about how palm oil is produced. And what's more, from a health perspective, palm oil is high in saturated fat… It contains about as much saturated fat as butter.
(Voice of America) Bloomfield Farms general manager Nick Papadopoulos grew increasingly frustrated as he watched his employees repeatedly return from a weekend’s worth of farmer’s markets with unsold, top quality produce that would spoil before the next market day… So he came up with a plan to offer the food at a deep discount and he spread the word by updating the farm’s Facebook status on Sunday nights. The deals were open to anyone on the social media site.
More . . .

Salt a Culprit in Autoimmune Disease?

(MedPage Today) Although it has long been postulated that autoimmune disease represents an interplay of genetic and environmental factors, specific environmental influences have remained uncertain. But now a group of researchers have identified a promising candidate -- dietary salt…
The researchers' interest in salt was prompted by an earlier observation that people who ate at fast food restaurants more than once a week had higher levels of inflammatory T cells, according to Hafler, who chairs the university's neurology department.
They also noted that the rising popularity of fast food -- laden with up to 100 times as much salt as similar home-prepared meals -- during recent decades has accompanied an increase in the incidence of autoimmune diseases.
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Ginseng supplements linked to less cancer fatigue

(Reuters Health) Cancer patients and survivors who felt tired or sluggish reported feeling noticeably better after taking ginseng supplements for two months, in a new study.
"Nearly all patients with cancer can suffer from fatigue at some point; either at diagnosis, during treatment and even after treatment, and (fatigue) can linger for several years," said lead author Debra Barton, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota…
Ginseng had shown promise for fatigue in earlier studies as well, researchers said.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Can Statins Fend Off Parkinson’s Disease?

(MedPage Today) Patients who take statins to lower cholesterol may also protect themselves against Parkinson’s disease, a Chinese population-based study suggested…
Because of the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of statins and the ability of the lipophilic subclass to cross the blood-brain barrier, it has been hypothesized that these agents might be helpful in preventing the neuronal degeneration seen in Parkinson's disease.
Animal studies have shown slower disease protection with statins, and some previous clinical studies have suggested benefits, but others have been inconclusive and hampered by potential confounding by comorbidities and other medications.
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Dementia Slowed in Patients on Blood-Pressure Drugs

(Bloomberg) Patients taking drugs known as ACE inhibitors that are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure had lower rates of deterioration caused by certain types of dementia, according to researchers who reviewed Canadian hospital records.
The researchers led by William Molloy of University College Cork in Ireland conducted what is known as an observational study, by looking at records of past treatment of 361 dementia patients at two memory clinics in Ontario, Canada. Those who were taking ACE inhibitors showed a smaller drop in their score on a test measuring cognitive ability than those who weren’t on the drugs, according to the study…
The findings indicate that ACE inhibitors hold promise as an inexpensive way to ease the burden of dementia, Molloy said. The affliction will probably become more common as the world’s population ages. A further study is needed to examine if ACE inhibitors also prevent the onset of dementia, Molloy said.
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Study finds link between women's height and cancer risk

(Reuters) Women's chances of developing cancer after menopause increase with their height, according to a new study.
Among nearly 145,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79, researchers found that height was more strongly associated with cancer than such established risk factors as obesity.
The association held true for everything from thyroid cancer to melanoma, researchers reported.
Community: Once again, let me remind you that being tall isn’t a death sentence. It just means that we tall people have to work harder than others to stay healthy.
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Pancreatic Cancer: Bacteria May Play a Role

(LiveScience) Bacterial infections may play a role in triggering pancreatic cancer, according to recent research.
A growing number of studies suggest a role for infections —primarily of the stomach and gums — in pancreatic cancer. The disease is a particularly deadly cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimates will kill nearly 38,500 Americans in 2013…
Data suggest that people who have been infected with Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that is linked with stomach cancer and peptic ulcers, and Porphyrmomonas gingivalis, an infection involved in gum disease and poor dental hygiene, may be more prone to developing pancreatic cancer.
Several theories aim to explain why these infections may be contributing to the progression of pancreatic cancer, Saif said. One is that the infections cause bodywide inflammation, which is known to play a role in pancreatic cancer.
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Is expensive anesthesia for colonoscopy worth it?

(Reuters Health) Given a choice, most doctors and nurses who perform colonoscopy would choose to be fully anesthetized when undergoing the procedure themselves - unless they had to pay full price for the anesthesia, a new study finds.
Screening colonoscopies can be performed when a patient is sedated but partly conscious, though increasingly in the U.S. they're done with the expensive general anesthetic propofol - made infamous by its link to the death of singer Michael Jackson.
In medical circles, propofol is known for a quicker recovery time and other desirable characteristics, but it can add from $600 to $2,000 dollars to the price of a procedure that is recommended for most people age 50 and over.
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Campaign Cuts Prostate Cancer Imaging

(MedPage Today) Initiatives aimed at discouraging clinicians from performing inappropriate imaging in men with early-stage, low-risk prostate cancers can dramatically lower testing rates, a new examination of just such an effort in Sweden found.
Imaging rates among the Swedish men with very low-risk prostate cancers plummeted from 45% to 3% … in the decade after the initiation of a campaign which allowed urologists to compare image testing at their institution with nearby centers -- essentially outing those who imaged large numbers of low-risk patients, according to a study by Par Stattin, MD, PhD, … and colleagues…
Seeing their own institution's imaging rate compared with others in public provided an incentive to reduce unwarranted testing, said study co-author Danil V. Makarov, MD.
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New Techniques Use Lasers, LEDs, and Optics to 'See' Under the Skin

(Science Daily) Impressive examples of new non-invasive optical techniques using lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and spectroscopic methods to probe and render images from beneath the surface of the skin are featured in a newly completed special section in the Journal of Biomedical Optics published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. The techniques may be used in a wide variety of medical and cosmetic applications such as treating burns, identifying cancer, or speeding the healing of wounds…
Because they are easily accessible, the skin barrier and the underlying living cell layers are ideal subjects for investigation by optical and spectroscopic methods using light-based technologies that work from outside the body, Lademann said. Technologies such as fluorescence, reflectance, laser scanning microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy enable identification of tissues and fluids based on how their specific physical and chemical properties cause them to react to different wavelengths of light.
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No, Obamacare Won't Raise Insurance Premiums In Indiana By 72 Percent

(ThinkProgress) On Friday, the Indiana Department of Insurance announced that initial rates submitted by individual health plan providers for the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace (which will be operated by the federal government) would cost 72 percent more than currently available plans, or about $570 per month. But that’s a very disingenuous figure, and a closer look at the real numbers indicate that many Hoosiers will be paying significantly less than what state officials are implying.
Gov. Mike Pence’s (R) administration was quick to use the figures to criticize the health law. In an interview with the Indy Star, Logan Harrison, the chief deputy commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance, said, “This new data regrettably confirms the negative impact of the Affordable Care Act on the insurance market in Indiana.”
The problem is, the Department of Insurance didn’t really release “data” in the plural — it released a single data point. The $570 per month figure is the average of all of the submitted rates, including cheaper plans with less benefits (so-called “Bronze” and “Silver” level plans) as well as the more generous and expensive “Gold” and “Platinum” level plans. That’s like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis — technically true, but highly misleading.
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Skipping Breakfast May Increase Heart Disease Risk

(Science Daily) A large 16-year study finds men who reported that they skipped breakfast had higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease. The timing of meals, whether it's missing a meal in the morning or eating a meal very late at night, may cause adverse metabolic effects that lead to coronary heart disease. Even after accounting for modest differences in diet, physical activity, smoking and other lifestyle factors, the association between skipping breakfast (or eating very late at night) and coronary heart disease persisted…
Researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaire data and tracked health outcomes for 16 years (1992-2008) on 26,902 male health professionals ages 45-82. They found:
·         Men who reported they skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than those who reported they didn't.
·         The men who reported not eating breakfast were younger than those who did, and were more likely to be smokers, employed full time, unmarried, less physically active and drank more alcohol.
·         Men who reported eating late at night (eating after going to bed) had a 55 percent higher coronary heart disease risk than those who didn't. But researchers were less convinced this was a major public health concern because few men in the study reported this behavior…
"Skipping breakfast may lead to one or more risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may in turn lead to a heart attack over time," said Leah E. Cahill, Ph.D., study lead author.
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Is Meditation Good for the Heart?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) As the name suggests, Heart Center Meditation is an act of meditation with an emphasis on opening and healing the heart. Watch this is short video to learn more about using your hands, mantra and awareness to focus energy on your heart, as demonstrated by Ann Marie Chiasson, M.D.
Watch the "Heart Center Meditation" video now!
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Volunteering may lower heart disease risk

(Harvard HEALTHbeat) Evidence of volunteerism’s physical effects can be found in a recent study… Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. High blood pressure is an important indicator of health because it contributes to heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
It’s impossible for this study to prove that volunteering was directly responsible for the lower blood pressure readings. People who volunteer may be more likely to do other things, like eat a healthy diet or exercise, that lower blood pressure. But the results are in line with other findings on the topic.
How might volunteering contribute to lower blood pressure? Performing volunteer work could increase physical activity among people who aren’t otherwise very active, says lead study author Rodlescia Sneed, a doctoral candidate in social and health psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. It may also reduce stress. “Many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction, and we know that stress is very strongly linked to health outcomes,” she says.
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4 Simple Steps to a Healthier Heart

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Practicing a balance of healthy lifestyle habits is the best way to achieve optimal cardiovascular function. Incorporate the following into your daily routine to help promote the health of your heart:
1.    Exercise…
2.    Lose weight…
3.    Don't smoke…
4.    Manage stress…
Want more information like this? Sign up for our free Heart Health Weekly newsletter!
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More Recent Research on Heart Disease

(University of Albert) Online calculators that predict a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease vary greatly in accuracy, according to new medical research from the University of Alberta. The scientists who made this discovery want doctors to exercise caution when using online calculators and deciding whether a patient should be prescribed medication based on the results of such online tools.
(Dr. Michael J. Breus, Clinical Psychologist) Poor and insufficient sleep is associated with a range of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and heart failure. A new study suggests that for women who already have heart disease, poor sleep may be particularly dangerous to their heart health.
(MedPage Today) Patients who retained overall and waist fat had a greater risk of coronary artery calcification (CAC) and disease progression the longer they held onto those pounds, researchers found.
(Women's College Hospital) Kidney patients who take calcium supplements to lower their phosphorous levels may be at a 22 percent higher risk of death than those who take other non-calcium based treatments, according to a new study by Women's College Hospital's Dr. Sophie Jamal.
(The JAMA Network Journals) A study in Norway suggests echocardiographic screening in the general public for structural and valvular heart disease was not associated with benefit for reducing the risk of death, myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke… 'This supports existing guidelines that echocardiography is not recommended for cardiovascular risk assessment in asymptomatic adults," the study concludes. "Although our results were negative, we believe that they are of clinical importance because they may contribute to reducing the overuse of echocardiography."
(Reuters Health)  How doctors are reimbursed may not completely explain the difference in the number of common heart procedures performed across different geographic regions, according to a new study. Researchers found the rate of non-emergency procedures doctors performed varied widely across 12 states regardless of how they were paid - with a lump sum or per procedure.
More . . .


Linguine with Clams and Fresh Herbs
Serve an Italian-inspired dish featuring quick-cooking linguine and clams in a light, fresh white wine sauce.
Grilled Steak Salad with Tomatoes & Eggplant
Yes, steak can be part of a heart-healthy dinner, especially when you choose lean flank steak and pair it with a tomato and eggplant salad tossed with olive oil. In this grilled steak salad recipe, we toast dried oregano to season the salad and make it especially aromatic.
A frothy and refreshing yogurt drink, lassi hails from India, where it is often made with fruits such as mango. A pinch of the ground spice cardamom adds a uniquely sweet and pungent flavor.
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Five ways fruits and vegetables can save your life

(Chatelaine) Your parents were right, you should eat more fruits and veggies daily. What they may not have known, however, is just how far their benefits extend. With the ability to influence your arteries, mental health, blood sugar and of course, your healthy glow, there’s a great argument for leaving some extra room on your plate for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Read on for even more impressive ways a daily dose of fruits and vegetables can boost your health and prevent premature death:
1.    Drop cholesterol levels by 23 percent…
2.    Eat four to seven servings for a better mood…
3.    Reduce your risk of stroke by 55 percent…
4.    Choose greens to tighten your belt by 14 percent…
5.    Improve your skin in six weeks.
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Foods that are healthier when paired together

(Chatelaine) New research shows some foods deliver bonus health benefits when paired up. It’s called food synergy — an easy way to power up your diet. Check out some of our fave super-combos.
Boost energy with chicken and grapefruit
Try it today: Brown bag this chicken-and-grapefruit salad to boost your performance on the job.
Soothe inflammation the natural way
1. Peppers + tofu…
2. Black pepper + turmeric…
Beat fatigue with spinach and strawberries
Grill meat with rosemary
Not only does this herb enhance the flavour of anything grilled, its powerful antioxidants can help neutralize heterocyclic amines (HCAs), the cancer-causing compounds in well-done meat, say researchers at Kansas State University.
Save your skin with olive oil and tomatoes
Protect your heart with fish and wine
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A Short Exercise in Mindful Cooking

(Andy Puddicombe, Psychology Today) Cooking provides a wonderful opportunity to be present, mindful and aware, as opposed to being distracted, stressed or overwhelmed. It is an opportunity to train the mind, to understand what it means to be in the here and now, with a healthy sense of appreciation, patience, and a non-judgmental attitude. It’s also an opportunity to get back in touch with the food that you eat.
So here are 2 short exercises in mindful cooking from meditation experts Headspace to help you find some ‘me time’ in what can be considered a monotonous task.
The 2 exercises are aimed to suit the different types of food you might be making, for example, if it is an oven baked dish, then you have nothing to do but sit back and remain alert to your senses as you gently focus on the breath. But if you are boiling, grilling or frying then you’re going to need to remain somewhat active and involved, as you stir, shake, flip or fry.
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How sugar makes you depressed and ways to detox from it

(Natasha Turner, ND, Chatelaine) Once sugar (aka glucose) is ingested – whether it’s in the form of a donut or a high-carb dinner – insulin is released. Immediately, it begins to direct the glucose in your bloodstream. Unlike fat cells, the brain can’t store glucose, so this simple sugar is readily burned up upon use (a process that speeds up during times of stress, such as big meetings, or even during concentration tasks, likes writing this article).
Considering your brain cells need twice the energy of other cells in your body, it’s no surprise then, that your head is extremely sensitive to changing blood sugar levels.
Your body also releases endorphins such as dopamine and serotonin to accompany this sugar rush, which is why, at first, you’ll feel happier, and perhaps even calmer. However, these receptor sites slow production to regulate the same endorphins that had you feeling so good, causing a crash in mood and even depression — and so the cycle begins and we reach for more sugar…
New research suggests that drinking sweetened beverages, even diet drinks, is associated with an increased risk of depression…
Bottom line: If you find your mood as predictable as the weather, I recommend going on a sugar detox. Read this article for four tips to help you quit the sugar habit and this for more recommendations on curbing those cravings for better success.
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Health at diagnosis may drive breast cancer survival gap

(Reuters Health) Differences in the health and tumor characteristics of white and black women with breast cancer at the time of their diagnoses may be largely to blame for the disparity in survival between the two groups, a new study suggests.
Disparities in treatment quality are not the main problem, the researchers conclude, after finding that if differences in the women's overall health and the degree to which the cancer had advanced at the time of diagnosis were eliminated, the survival gap would shrink dramatically.
"The remarkable thing we found is that three-year disparity went down to about one year," said Dr. Jeffrey H. Silber, the study's lead author.
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Faster, Simpler Diagnosis for Fibromyalgia May Be on the Horizon

(Science Daily) Researchers have developed a reliable way to use a finger-stick blood sample to detect fibromyalgia syndrome, a complicated pain disorder that often is difficult to diagnose.
If it were someday made available to primary care physicians, the test could knock up to five years off of the wait for a diagnosis, researchers predict.
In a pilot study, the scientists used a high-powered and specialized microscope to detect the presence of small molecules in blood-spot samples from patients known to have fibromyalgia.
By "training" the equipment to recognize that molecular pattern, the researchers then showed that the microscope could tell the difference between fibromyalgia and two types of arthritis that share some of the same symptoms.
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Natural Pest Control Protein Effective Against Hookworm: A Billion Could Benefit

(Science Daily) A benign crystal protein, produced naturally by bacteria and used as an organic pesticide, could be a safe, inexpensive treatment for parasitic worms in humans and provide effective relief to over a billion people around the world. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, report on this potentially promising solution in a study…
Hookworms, and other intestinal parasites known as helminths infect more than 1 billion people in poverty-stricken, tropical nations, sucking the vitality from the body, and leaving hundreds of millions of children physically and mentally stunted. Current drugs are insufficiently effective, and resistance is rising, but little effort has been made to develop better drugs because the relevant populations do not represent a profitable market for drug companies.
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Major Cities Often Safest Places in the U.S.

(Science Daily) Overturning a commonly-held belief that cities are inherently more dangerous than suburban and rural communities, researchers … have found that risk of death from injuries is lowest on average in urban counties compared to suburban and rural counties across the U.S.
The new study … found that for the entire population, as well as for most age subgroups, the top three causes of death were motor vehicle collisions, firearms, and poisoning. When all types of fatal injuries are considered together, risk of injury-related death was approximately 20 percent lower in urban areas than in the most rural areas of the country.
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Beware of Illegally Sold Diabetes Treatments

(U.S. Food and Drug Administration) As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow, illegally sold products promising to prevent, treat, and even cure diabetes are flooding the marketplace.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to use such products. They may contain harmful ingredients or may be otherwise unsafe, or may improperly be marketed as over-the-counter (OTC) products when they should be marketed as prescription products. They carry an additional risk if they cause consumers to delay or discontinue effective treatments for diabetes. Without proper disease management, people with diabetes are at a greater risk for developing serious health complications.
"People with chronic or incurable diseases may feel desperate and become easy prey. Bogus products for diabetes are particularly troubling because there are effective options available to help manage this serious disease rather than exposing patients to unproven and risky products," said Gary Coody, R.Ph., national health fraud coordinator for FDA. "Failure to follow well-established treatment plans can lead to, among other things, amputations, kidney disease, blindness and death."
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Study shows simple ways to reduce hospital infection risk

(Chicago Tribune) A recent study of nearly 75,000 patients describes two simple techniques that decreased by more than a third the risk of patients developing a type of bacterial infection resistant to certain antibiotics.
In addition, the number of bloodstream infections caused by this resistant infection dropped by nearly half…
The study demonstrates that to reduce the risk of infection by the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, care providers must clean the skin of all intensive-care patients each day with antiseptic wipes containing chlorhexidine and apply an antimicrobial ointment to their noses.
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The Cost Problem

(ThinkProgress) On Tuesday, Elizabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times tweeted out, “British royal born in fanciest ward :$15000. Average US birth: billed $30,000; paid $18,000. What’s wrong here?” Rosenthal has her numbers right — and to answer her question, what’s wrong is that the U.S. system of medical care charges patients on a fee-for-service basis without giving consumers transparent pricing information. Worse yet, Americans don’t even receive particularly high-quality maternal care in exchange for their outsized medical bills.
(UPI) If physicians oppose ways to reduce healthcare costs -- as a survey suggests they do -- reform will fail, U.S. researchers suggest. A survey of physicians, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed most physicians look to lawyers, insurance companies, drug and device manufacturers and even patients to bear the responsibility of controlling healthcare costs.
(Reuters) - Consumers intrigued by the new model of accountable healthcare - which promises better-coordinated care that could save lots of money - are going to have to actively seek out participating providers… There is no easy way for consumers to identify accountable care groups - even the experts have a tough time tracking them - but there are a few questions you can ask to discover where your caregiver falls on the spectrum.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) What would you do to reduce your health insurance premiums? How about walking at least 5,000 steps a day? That worked for a group of 6,548 adults who chose stepping up to the challenge rather than seeing their health insurance costs shoot up by 20 percent. Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and Stanford University reported that only three percent of the participants in this study failed to meet the goal of 5,000 steps a day or 450,000 steps per quarter to hold down their insurance costs.
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