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

Diet quality linked to pancreatic cancer risk

(Reuters Health) In a large new study of older Americans, researchers find that people with the healthiest eating habits are about 15 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those with the poorest diets…
To examine links between overall diet and cancer risk, [lead author Hannah] Arem and her colleagues used the government-designed Healthy Eating Index published in 2005 (HEI-2005) [pdf, simplified in this pdf] as a basis for rating the overall quality of people's diets…
Arem's team … divided participants into five groups based on how closely their diets met HEI-2005 recommendations for consuming healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limiting unhealthy ones, like red meat and junk foods…
Using state cancer registries and Social Security Administration data, the researchers followed participants for about 10 years and found that 2,383 people developed pancreatic cancer.
About 22 percent of the pancreatic cancer cases were among people with the lowest HEI-2005 scores, while 19 percent were in people with the highest scores. Overall, that translates to a 15 percent lower risk among those with the healthiest diets.
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More on How Lifestyle Can Affect Cancer Risk

(BBC News) The risk of womb cancer can be reduced by exercise, diet and possibly drinking coffee, research suggests. Almost half of cases of womb cancer in the UK - about 3,700 a year - could be prevented through keeping slim and active, a review of data shows.
(Scottish Daily Record) BREAST cancer surgeon Lester Barr says lifestyle and environment are contributing factors in breast cancer, so follow our ten tips on how to help lower your risk.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you’ve increased your consumption ofomega-3 fatty acids by taking fish oil supplements or adding fish to your diet, you may have also lowered your risk of breast cancer along with your risk of heart disease. Researchers … found that breast cancer risk was 14 percent lower among those who had the highest intake of omega-3s compared to women who had the lowest intake.
(Reuters) According to a study of 1,893 women, breast cancer survivors who average as little as one serving per day of high-fat dairy foods have a 49 percent higher risk of dying from breast cancer than those who eat little or no high-fat dairy. In absolute terms, breast cancer survivors who consumed the most high-fat dairy had about a 12 percent risk of dying of the disease.
(HHS HealthBeat) Coffee can’t cure prostate cancer, but research indicates a cup a day might do some good for men who have had prostate cancer. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Janet Stanford looked at data on 630 prostate cancer patients, of whom 61 percent drank at least one cup a day. Stanford wanted to see what relation coffee drinking might have with whether the prostate cancer came back or got worse: “For the men that consumed at least one cup per day, risk of prostate cancer recurrence or progression was reduced by over 50 percent.”… Learn more at healthfinder.gov.
(Science Daily) [A] review article summarizes several biological effects of orange juice that can contribute to chemoprevention, including antioxidant, antimutagenic and antigenotoxic, cytoprotective, hormonal, and cell signaling modulating effects. Orange juice has antimicrobial and antiviral action and modulates the absorption of xenobiotics. "OJ could contribute to chemoprevention at every stage of cancer initiation and progression," the researchers explained. "Among the most relevant biological effects of OJ is the juice's antigenotoxic and antimutagenic potential, which was shown in cells in culture and in rodents and humans."
Community: If you eat the fruit, instead of drinking the juice, you get fiber, too, which reduces the glycemic load (what’s glycemic load?), improves digestion, may slow prostate cancer growth, and may help prevent colorectal cancer.
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Ingredient in Turmeric Spice Helps Kill Cancer Cells

(Science Daily) In a laboratory, preclinical study…, researchers combined structural features from anti-nausea drug thalidomide with common kitchen spice turmeric to create hybrid molecules that effectively kill multiple myeloma cells.
Thalidomide was first introduced in the 1950s as an anti-nausea medication to help control morning sickness, but was later taken off the shelves in 1962 because it was found to cause birth defects. In the late 1990's the drug was re-introduced as a stand-alone or combination treatment for multiple myeloma.
Turmeric, an ancient spice grown in India and other tropical regions of Asia, has a long history of use in herbal remedies and has recently been studied as a means to prevent and treat cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. According to the American Cancer Society, laboratory studies have shown that curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, interferes with several important molecular pathways and inhibits the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.
"Although thalidomide disturbs the microenvironment of tumor cells in bone marrow, it disintegrates in the body. Curcumin, also active against cancers, is limited by its poor water solubility. But the combination of thalidomide and curcumin in the hybrid molecules enhances both the cytotoxicity and solubility," says the study's lead researcher Shijun Zhang.
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More Information and Recent Research on Cancer

Brain Cancer
(Shots, NPR) Cut a tumor from a child's brain and you may save a life. But surgery can hurt the child if healthy brain cells are removed. A Seattle doctor is working on a substance that might help. It binds tightly to cancer cells and makes them glow, so they're easier to distinguish from healthy tissue.
(Science Daily) A new laser-based technology may make brain tumor surgery much more accurate, allowing surgeons to tell cancer tissue from normal brain at the microscopic level while they are operating, and avoid leaving behind cells that could spawn a new tumor… Now, the team is working to develop the approach, called SRS microscopy, for use during an operation to guide them in removing tissue, and test it in a clinical trial.
(Danish Research Foundation) A new scanning technique developed by Danish and US researchers reveals how susceptible patients with aggressive brain cancer are to the drugs they receive… "We have developed an MRI technique which reveals how a patient will respond to the treatment that inhibits the growth of new blood vessels to the tumour. The technique allows us to only select the patients who will actually benefit from the treatment and to quickly initiate or intensify other treatments for non-responding patients," says Kim Mouridsen…, head of the research group.
(MedPage Today) Antiviral therapy against cytomegalovirus (CMV) -- typically only thought a threat in immunosuppressed patients -- was linked to dramatically improved survival in patients with glioblastoma, based on one center's experience. Two-year survival was 62% among 50 patients who got valganciclovir (Valcyte) through a clinical trial or compassionate-use program at Stockholm's Karolinska Institutet compared with 18% among matched controls…, Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, MD, PhD, … and colleagues found.
(Science Daily) A combination of the myxoma virus and the immune suppressant rapamycin can kill glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadliest malignant brain tumor, according to Moffitt Cancer Center research. [Researcher] Peter A. Forsyth, M.D., … says the combination has been shown to infect and kill both brain cancer stem cells and differentiated compartments of glioblastoma multiforme.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Patty Melts with Grilled Onions
Juicy hamburgers are packed with flavor from the sweet onions and spicy mustard. For a sharper onion taste, use white or red onions in place of Vidalias.
EatingWell:
Chicken, Mushroom & Wild Rice Casserole
In Minnesota, chicken, mushrooms and wild rice are often bound together in a casserole with cream of mushroom soup. We forgo the sodium-rich canned soup and make a light, creamy sauce that gets depth of flavor from dry sherry and Parmesan cheese.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Frittata With Leeks & Tomatoes
Frittatas, or baked omelets, are a delicious staple of Italian cuisine. In this delicious dish, the eggs frame a whirlwind of flavorful ingredients with all the colors of the Italian flag: Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe House-Made Tomato Sauce & Meatballs | Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, CO
The key ingredient for Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson's House-made Tomato Sauce & Meatballs recipe, served at Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, is the tomatoes! San Marzano tomatoes are plum tomatoes named after the region of San Marzano near Naples, Italy. These firm and meaty tomatoes are traditionally known as the best choice for a great tasting tomato sauce.
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Celebrate Whole Grains Month in September

(Whole Grains Council) Whole Grains Month is a great time for everyone to get on the whole grains bandwagon. Eating better is not an all-or-nothing choice; every little improvement you make in your food helps – in every month.
Post this list of "baby-steps" on your fridge, and try as many as possible this month:
·         I'll buy three different loaves of whole-grain bread and taste all of them to see which one we like best.
·         I'll serve bulgur or brown rice instead of potatoes with dinner one night this month.
·         I'll look for the Whole Grain Stamp every time I shop.
·         I'll try a new breakfast cereal with at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving.
·         I'll buy some whole-wheat pasta and try it.
·         I’ll visit the health food store or a major grocery and look at all the different grains in bins.
·         I'll make my favorite whole grain recipe for a friend.
·         On the weekend, I’ll try cooking a pot of steel-cut oatmeal.
·         I’ll make pizza for the kids with whole wheat pita as the crust.
·         I’ll make our favorite cookies with whole wheat flour next time instead of white.
·         I’ll serve hamburgers with whole wheat buns this week.
·         I'll try all of the WGC's Dozen Easy Family Whole Grain Recipes.
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Michelle Obama Wants Americans To Drink More Water, But Still Won’t Go After Big Soda Companies

(ThinkProgress) This week, First Lady Michelle Obama is rolling out a new “Drink Up!” campaign that hopes to encourage people to drink more water. It sounds uncontroversial, and that’s probably the point. Public health experts, however, are skeptical that the campaign as it stands now will actually have any positive impact…
[S]ome reporters have asked the White House to clarify whether “Drink Up” will encourage Americans to replace sugary drinks with water. Is this going to be a call to action to cut down on soda?
Not exactly, administration officials say. “We are being completely positive in our messaging,” explained Lawrence Soler, the president of the Partnership for a Healthier America. “Every participating company has agreed to only encourage people to drink water — not focus on what people shouldn’t drink, and not even talk about why they may feel their type of water is better than another. It’s just: drink more water.”
Community: What gutless wonders we have in politics these days. Drinking water by itself doesn’t do any good. It will only help reduce health problems if the water replaces sugary drinks.
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Energy Drink Studies May Be Clouded by Industry Ties

(LiveScience.com) The involvement of energy drink companies in research into their products has prevented clear answers about the risks these drinks may pose, argues a new editorial in a prominent medical journal.
In the pages of the journal BMJ, a researcher raised concerns about the role of energy drink makers, specifically Red Bull, in the design and interpretation of research into the safety of these drinks. The studies have investigated whether energy drinks worsen the harms from alcohol consumption when the two beverages are taken together.
"The public needs to be critical consumers of research, especially research that is funded or quoted by parties with vested interests," Dr. Peter Miller, associate professor of psychology at Deakin University in Australia and author of the editorial, told LiveScience. "We still don't know if energy drinks cause harm, and the current experimental evidence is unable to explain the worrying epidemiological findings we have."
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Treat the Fungus Among Us With Nontoxic Medicinal Compound

(Science Daily) A Kansas State University microbiologist has found a breakthrough herbal medicine treatment for a common human fungal pathogen that lives in almost 80 percent of people.
Govindsamy Vediyappan, assistant professor of biology, noticed that diabetic people in developing countries use a medicinal herb called Gymnema slyvestre to help control sugar levels. He decided to study the microbiological use of Gymnema slyvestre -- a tropical vine plant found in India, China and Australia -- to see if it could treat a common human fungal pathogen called Candida albicans.
The investigation was successful on two levels: Vediyappan's research team found the medicinal compound is both nontoxic and blocks the virulence properties of the fungus so that it is more treatable. The results are important for human health, biomedical applications and potential drug development.
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Nasal Sprays, Micro-Needles, And Super Vaccines: Your Guide To The Flu Shots Available This Fall

(ThinkProgress) Only 42 percent of Americans get their yearly flu shot — a number that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) deems “unacceptably low.” Between 5 percent and 20 percent of all Americans contract the flu each year depending on the severity of the flu season, leading to over 200,000 flu-related hospitalizations and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths annually.
But an eclectic collection of flu shots this year could encourage more people to get vaccinated by giving them convenient options to choose from… Here are some of the flu shot types you can choose from:
1.    Vaccines that protect against as many as four strains of the flu...
2.    Stronger vaccines for elderly Americans...
3.    “Micro-needles” and nasal sprays that could be a big relief for children and the needle-averse...
4.    Acceptable vaccines for people with egg allergies.
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How Standardized Cigarette Packets Reduce Smoking

(Science Daily) Standardized cigarette packaging may reduce acute cravings and are associated with less favourable perceptions of appeal, taste, popularity and motivation to buy than branded packs…
In [a] study 98 smokers rated their craving and motivation to stop before and after being exposed to their own cigarette package, another branded package or a standardized pack.
Acute motivation to stop was not affected but using packs similar to those introduced in Australia, previous research findings could be replicated - standardized packs of cigarettes were less appealing and smokers using them were perceived as less popular. In addition, people who were given the standardized packs expected the cigarettes to taste worse, compared to the branded packs.
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Vaccine 'clears HIV-like virus' in monkeys

(BBC World Service) A vaccine for the monkey equivalent of HIV appears to eradicate the virus, a study suggests.
Research … has shown that vaccinated monkeys can clear Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) infection from their bodies. It was effective in nine of the 16 monkeys that were inoculated.
The US scientists say they now want to use a similar approach to test a vaccine for HIV in humans.
Prof Louis Picker, from the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, said: "It's always tough to claim eradication - there could always be a cell which we didn't analyse that has the virus in it. But for the most part, with very stringent criteria... there was no virus left in the body of these monkeys."
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Simple Tactic Cuts Antibiotic Overuse

(MedPage Today) A simple low-tech notation to stop prescribing antibiotics after a guideline set period dramatically reduced overuse of antibiotics -- and adverse reactions to those treatments, researchers said…
Compared to a period before the issuance of automatic stop dates for stopping antibiotic treatment, the duration of antibiotic use decreased 18.1% from 8.3 days to 6.8 days…, said Matthew Lloyd, MD…
The intervention is classically simple: Just a note on the hand-written prescription protocol forms in which the doctor places an "x" on the date when antibiotic use is to end, and then a line through the days for the remainder of the month to prevent the stop order from being overlooked.
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Peer Review Cuts Down Clinical Trial Spin

(MedPage Today) Authors of about a third of the analyzed reports changed their conclusions in response to reviewer comments, mostly to tone down spin because they had "gotten a bit overexcited," said Sally Hopewell, DPhil…
Hopewell … and colleagues reviewed 93 primary reports of randomized trials in the BMC Medical Series. They chose those journals "because they published all submitted versions of a manuscript and corresponding peer review comments and author responses."
One in five of the final papers included additional analyses requested by peer reviewers, and about a quarter added information about trial registration. Others clarified how subjects were randomized and allocated, or which outcomes were primary and secondary.
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Affordable Care Act News

(Kaiser Health News) The administration ramps up its message that seniors with Medicare coverage do not need plans from the exchanges.
(UPI) The Affordable Care Act has saved more than $1 billion by requiring health insurance companies to justify large premium increases, U.S. officials said Thursday.
(UPI) The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says public health and disease prevention efforts promote productivity and global stability.
(ThinkProgress) The Affordable Care Act will require insurers to provide drug addiction rehabilitation services and encourages doctors to screen for potential substance abuse.
(AP) Having health insurance used to hinge on where you worked and what your medical history said. Soon that won't matter, with open-access markets for subsidized coverage coming Oct. 1 under President Barack Obama's overhaul.
(Kaiser Health News) These include prescription drugs, emergency and hospital care and mental health services, among others.
(Kaiser Health News) Insuring Your Health columnist Michelle Andrews helps you navigate the new insurance marketplaces that are scheduled to launch on Oct. 1.
(ThinkProgress) The message is just the latest political stunt from the organization that first developed the individual health care mandate and later touted Obamacare-like reforms in Massachusetts.
More . . .

MedPAC Floats Idea of ACO Medigap Plan

(MedPage Today) Medicare might want to create a supplemental coverage plan that encourages patients to seek care in a single accountable care organization (ACO), the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) was told Thursday.
A "Medicare Select ACO supplemental plan" would provide lower cost-sharing for patients in an ACO in an attempt to increase loyalty to that ACO's providers, MedPAC staff told commissioners…
ACOs pool provider resources and become accountable for the cost and quality of care for a group of patients -- Medicare beneficiaries in this case. They can share with Medicare in savings they generate if they hit certain benchmarks.
While ACOs intend to better coordinate patients' care, if patients seek treatments outside that group of providers, it could lessen the chance to reduce the cost of patients' care and thwart ACOs' shared-savings aspect.
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Maybe it's low E, not low T, behind 'male menopause'

(USA Today) Doctors have known for years that testosterone declines as men age — a process that diminishes everything from upper-body strength and muscle mass to sex drive. The pharmaceutical industry aggressively markets hormone supplements for men anxious about reduced testosterone levels, which drug companies call "low T syndrome."
Yet at least some of the bodily changes seen in aging men — flabbier physique, low libido and erectile dysfunction — come from falling estrogen levels, according to a new study…
There's no reason for men already taking testosterone supplements to change their regimen, says Allan Kennedy…, who wasn't involved in the new study. That's because commercially available testosterone creams and gels, such as the kind used in this study, have a type of hormone that is convertible to estrogen. So men taking testosterone therapy are already getting a slight estrogen boost along with it.
And there's certainly no reason for men to begin taking estrogen, [study co-author Joel] Finkelstein says. That would cause them to develop breasts.
He says his study could help pharmaceutical companies make better testosterone replacements. In the past, drug companies have tried to create types of testosterone that aren't converted to estrogen.
In light of these findings, Finkelstein says, the best testosterone supplement would allow for normal estrogen conversion.
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Protein Found to Extend Youth

(Scientific American) Given a choice, most of us would choose prefer to keep our youth and live forever. The mechanism behind the work of a protein already suspected in playing a role in longevity has recently been proved to do just that.
[It is] the sirtuin protein Sirt1. Developmental biologist Shin-ichiro Imai of Washington University in St. Louis found that rather than delaying the progression of aging, the protein works in the brain to delay the onset of aging, thereby extending youth and adding those spritely years onto one’s life span. The researchers developed mice that expressed higher than normal levels of Sirt1 in their brain and observed a significant extension in the animals’ life spans. In particular, the team found that Sirt1 plays a critical role in protecting against age-related declines in skeletal muscle, physical activity, body temperature, oxygen consumption and quality of sleep. Disease onset in mice induced to contract cancer was also delayed.
The finding could help researchers better understand how to extend the life span of other mammals, including humans.
The best way to enhance the action of hydrogen sulfide in the body without poisoning ourselves is to eat foods that contain sulfur compounds, especially broccoli and garlic.
Resveratrol is found in red wine, red grapes, and peanuts. It’s also available as a food supplement.
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Lessons from the Worm: How the Elderly Can Live an Active Life

(Science Daily) When the tiny roundworm C. elegans reaches middle age -- at about 2 weeks old -- it can't quite move like it did in the bloom of youth. But rather than imposing an exercise regimen to rebuild the worm's body-wall muscles, researchers can bring the wriggle back by stimulating the animal's neurons. And, they say, pharmaceuticals might have a similar effect in mammals.
Scientists at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute and Medical School have found that the loss of motor ability associated with aging begins in neurons and spreads to muscles, and that chemically stimulating neurons could "rejuvenate" old roundworms by improving the animals' motor function.
Researchers … determined that the motor decline in older worms had roots in early changes in the function of the nervous system that began long before visible deterioration in the structure of the animals' tissues. They were able to reverse the decline in motor ability by giving the worms arecoline, an alkaloid found in the areca nut.
In parts of India and Southeast Asia, where the areca palm grows, people chew the nut as a stimulant, often combined with betel leaf and other ingredients. However, the practice is associated with cancer.
"The pharmacological stimulation of neurons with the chemical improved motor functions in old animals," [researcher Shawn] Xu said. "Understanding the neuron-to-muscle sequence can help find treatments for motor decline in humans. It would be ridiculous to chew areca nuts in hopes of rejuvenating muscle, of course, but the findings suggest that there's potential to develop a drug that works in a similar way for humans."
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Small Talk Can Improve Health and Extend Life

(Scientific American) Loneliness is bad for our health, according to a robust body of research. And isolation is known to shorten lives—but experts were not sure if the real culprit was the pain and stress of loneliness, as opposed to a lack of social connectedness. Now psychologists have untangled the two factors and discovered that even superficial contact with other people may improve our health.
Led by Andrew Steptoe of University College London, the study surveyed 6,500 people aged 52 or older about their social contacts and experiences of loneliness. After seven years, the researchers followed up to see who had died. Initially, people rated as highly lonely seemed to die at a higher rate than those with low or average scores. Yet this difference disappeared when taking into account a person's health. Greater social isolation, however, came with an increased incidence of death: 21.9 percent of people ranked as highly isolated died compared with 12.3 percent of less isolated people. After taking into account health and other demographic factors, this difference amounted to a 1.26-fold increase in mortality associated with high social isolation.
The findings … suggest that even brief social contact that does not involve a close emotional bond—such as small talk with a neighbor or a bus driver—could extend a person's life.
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More Information and Recent Research on Aging

(Gad Saad, Ph.D., Psychology Today) My objective … is not to romanticize aging by somehow suggesting that it all gets better with age. It doesn’t. However, I do believe that most of us place undue mental shackles on ourselves by wrongly assuming that we are “too old” to undertake new and exciting challenges. If you are of sound mind and body, many exciting and challenging adventures are within your reach irrespective of your age.
(Massey University) A new study … provides evidence that aging works through a special set of genes that everyone has - the rDNA genes. Dr [Austen] Ganley was part of an international team, [which] found that by improving the stability of the rDNA genes, which are usually quite unstable, they could extend the lifespan of baker's yeast, a model system for studying cell aging. "This work is exciting because it shows that rDNA instability is a new factor in aging," says Dr Ganley.
(Science Daily) By lowering the expression of a single gene, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have extended the average lifespan of a group of mice by about 20 percent -- the equivalent of raising the average human lifespan by 16 years, from 79 to 95. The research team targeted a gene called mTOR, which is involved in metabolism and energy balance, and may be connected with the increased lifespan associated with caloric restriction.
(Science Daily) [R]esearchers added a purified, concentrated form of [2-acetyl4 (5)-tetrahydroxybutyl imidazole, or THI, found in Caramel Color III and in very tiny amounts in burnt sugar, brown sugar, beer, cola and some candies] to the food of young flies with the muscular dystrophy-like mutation. They confirmed that the THI alleviated muscle wasting in the flies. A few other drugs, including a THI derivative and an unrelated drug now in clinical trials for rheumatoid arthritis, also showed beneficial effects in fruit flies.
Community: So maybe this same substance could help reduce the muscle wasting due to aging. I’m also thinking that it may be present in molasses, which I use as a sweetener to help build bone density.
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Recipes

Cooking Light:
Bird is the word. Versatile and quick-cooking, chicken is a staple of a healthy weeknight pantry.
MyRecipes.com:
Chicken and Cashews
Top tender chicken with an inspired Asian sauce loaded with cashews, ginger, honey, and sesame oil. Pair this chicken entrée with a simple rice pilaf.
EatingWell:
Creamy Mustard Chicken
In this healthy, creamy mustard chicken recipe, thin-sliced chicken breasts (sometimes labeled chicken cutlets) cook quickly and are delicious smothered in a velvety, light mustard sauce and garnished with fresh chopped sage.
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Middle class & food retailers looking for the right price (Video)

(The Supermarket Guru) The middle class is struggling financially. Not simply due to a slow recovery from the recession, but also as part of a long-term wealth distribution shift in America.
In nearly a year since the Pew Research Center documented middle-class struggles, the prices of food and other essentials have only gone higher. The Pew report … shares the following data:
          85% of self-described middle-class adults say it’s more difficult now than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living.
          Middle-class incomes have shrunk in size over the past four decades. In the past decade alone, the middle-class median income fell 5%, but median wealth fell 28%.
          The middle class includes 51% of adults who bring in 45% of the nation’s income—down from 61% in 1971 who brought in 62% of income.
          62% of middle-class Americans said they had to reduce household spending in the past year because money was tight, up from 53% who said the same in the recession year of 2008.
As a result, pricing will continue to be a highly sensitive issue for food retailers. So far operators such as Aldi, Save-A-Lot, dollar stores, and clubs have dominated traditional supermarkets. And the pricing challenge will continue to mount as online food sellers bring new efficiencies and conveniences to shoppers.
Community: Meanwhile, “Top 1% take biggest income slice on record.”
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The facts about joint supplements

(Consumer Reports) U.S. consumers spent $753 million in 2012 on supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin in an attempt to relieve pain and stiffness from arthritis, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. But the scientific jury is still out as to whether those products work. And on top of that, our new tests of 16 widely sold joint supplements found that some contained less chondroitin than they said they did, and two didn’t dissolve sufficiently…
There’s no known cure for osteoarthritis, short of a knee or hip replacement for people with advanced disease. (See our surgery Ratings for hip and knee replacement.)
And treatments to reduce symptoms—including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and generic) and naproxen (Aleve and generic) as well as injections of steroids—offer limited benefits and can cause side effects. So it makes sense to rely on nondrug measures when you can. Here are some of the most effective.
Weight loss…
Physical activity…
Mechanical aids…
Heat and cold…
Acupuncture…
Massage…
Read more.
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Tobacco Companies' Interests in Smokeless Tobacco Products in Europe Are Driven by Profit Not Health

(Science Daily) Transnational tobacco companies' investments in smokeless tobacco products, such as snus (a moist tobacco product that is placed under the upper lip), in Europe are not due to a concern for the health impacts of smoking but are instead driven purely by business interests according to new research by Silvy Peeters and Anna Gilmore from the University of Bath UK and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, published this week…
Although the analysis was limited by the extent of the documents available to the researchers, the authors say, "[t]here is clear evidence that [British American Tobacco]'s early interest in introducing [smokeless tobacco] in Europe was based on the potential for creating an alternative form of tobacco use in light of declining cigarette sales and social restrictions on smoking, with young people a key target."
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Merck’s Shingles Vaccine Not Reaching Enough U.S. Adults

(Bloomberg) Too few American adults have been vaccinated for shingles, the painful sibling to chicken pox, according to research that calls for efforts to increase the U.S.-recommended inoculation.
Fewer than 2 of 10 Americans ages 60 and older have been vaccinated, while the rate is less than half that for those in their 50s, according to a study…
Almost one-third of Americans will get shingles in their lifetime, with about 1 million cases in the U.S. each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The vaccine Zostavax, from Merck & Co. (MRK), was cleared for sale in 2006 for people 60 and older, and for use by those in their 50s in 2011. Still, too few people take advantage of it, doctors said.
Community: Well, maybe the reluctance is due to the fact that the vaccine is only 50% effective, and is exorbitantly priced.
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Seizure Drug Promising in Sleep Apnea

(MedPage Today) The seizure drug zonisamide (Zonegran) modestly eased obstructive sleep apnea in overweight and obese adults, a pilot trial showed.
Apnea-Hypopnea Index scores dropped by 22% among patients randomized to the drug over 4 weeks compared with a slight increase on placebo, Jan Hedner, MD, … and colleagues found.
The effect was only about a third of that with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), but it did correlate with a marker of biological impact of the drug, the researchers reported
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Automated Method to Detect Glaucoma in Its Early Stages

(Science Daily) A team of researchers led by Jun Cheng of the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research, Singapore, has developed a novel automated technology that screens for glaucoma more accurately and quickly than existing methods…
The computerized technique developed by Cheng and his colleagues measures the CDR from two-dimensional images of the back of the eye…
The technique uses an algorithm that divides the images into hundreds of segments called superpixels and classifies each segment as part of either the optic cup or the optic disc. The cup and disc measurements can then be used to compute the CDR.
From 2326 test images, the researchers found that their automated technique is more accurate than the other glaucoma screening methods. Their technique takes around 10 seconds per image on a standard personal computer. This is comparable to other computerized methods, but automation makes it less laborious.
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Electronic Tool Helps Reduce Deaths from Pneumonia in Emergency Departments

(Science Daily) An electronic decision support tool helped to reduce deaths from pneumonia in four hospital emergency departments in a new study…
Although guidelines for treating pneumonia exist, it is often difficult for these to be fully implemented in an emergency setting. The researchers therefore developed an electronic tool, linked to a patient's medical record. Unlike a paper guideline, the tool automatically extracts data that predict the severity of pneumonia. The tool then provides recommendations regarding where the patient should be admitted to, which diagnostic tests are best to use and which antibiotics are most appropriate.
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