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

More education, not income, fights obesity

(Health Behavior News Service) Educational status may protect women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas against obesity, finds a new study…
Women of amplified disadvantage, those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods with both low education and personal income, may be at higher risk for high BMI, the authors determined. Those factors "should be at the forefront of obesity prevention initiatives," [the authors] wrote…
[S]aid Frederick J. Zimmerman, Ph.D…, "It has often been suggested that obesity happens because low-income people cannot afford high-quality food. Yet this study's results suggest an alternative narrative: that it is education, and not income, that constrains people's ability to eat healthfully."
Community: Reasons suggested for why more educated women tend to have lower BMIs are “It is possible that education is a marker of an individual's access to health information, capacity to assimilate health-related messages, and ability to retain knowledge-related assets, such as nutrition knowledge.”
This study was on Australian women, but there were similar findings in China.
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Turn Off Food TV to Turn Up Weight Loss

(Appetite for Health) Researchers at William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, showed adults a 10-minute clip from either Planet Earth or Food Network. After watching the clip, participants had another 10 minutes to sample chocolate covered candies, cheese curls, and carrots.
Turns out those shown the cooking program ate about 40 more calories of candy than the animal watchers ate, while there was no difference between how much cheese curls or carrots the two groups ate. Since the Food Network segment featured sweet tarts, the study authors suggest that food shows prime the brain to desire the types of foods portrayed in the program.
This adds to previous research showing that food and beverage ads increase cravings for those specific products, and it’s also been proven that eating in front of the TV causes us to eat too much because eating when we’re distracted inhibits feelings of fullness. In addition, the foods most often consumed when watching the boob tube are calorie-rich and nutrient poor—the same types of foods portrayed in ads and in most programs.
This study found that just 10 minutes of a food show may hijack your brain and lead to cravings, and too much couch time is consistently linked with increased calories consumed and lower activity levels, limit your limit total TV time to no more than two hours a day.
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Do food addiction diets work?

(Tribune Newspapers) [Kathleen] Callahan is one of a small but growing number of Americans who believe that some foods exert an addictive pull on them, and that eliminating problem foods is a better solution than traditional "moderation." Using the eating plan in the best-selling book "Eat to Live," which eliminates or severely restricts foods such as doughnuts and pizza and consists mainly of vegetables, fruits and beans, she has lost 60 pounds, she says, and gained control of her eating…
The science of food addiction has made rapid strides in recent years, with University of Florida College of Medicine assistant professor Nicole Avena and her colleagues showing that rats that binge repeatedly on sugar behave much like rats addicted to morphine or alcohol, exhibiting symptoms of bingeing, tolerance and withdrawal.
A 2001 study published in the Lancet found that obese people have abnormalities in brain dopamine activity similar to those seen in cocaine, alcohol and opiate addicts. And a subsequent study published in 2011 in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that that people with higher food addiction scores respond to pictures of a chocolate milkshake with more activity in brain regions associated with motivation to eat and less activation in brain regions linked with self-control.
Scientists also note the anecdotal evidence that food has addictive aspects.
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Subtle cues help obese shoppers skip unhealthy choices

(Reuters Health) Subtle hints may help nudge people toward making healthier food choices at the grocery store, new findings suggest.
Obese people heading into a store who were given a recipe flyer with a few health-related words spent less than one-third the amount on unhealthy snacks as those given the same flyer with unrelated wording, Dutch researchers found. And the flyer had an effect even if people weren't thinking about it as they shopped.
Laboratory studies have shown such "priming" with subtle messages can change behavior, and the current findings demonstrate that strategy can work in the real world, one of the study's authors told Reuters Health.
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Weight Loss Tips

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you are not ready to give up coffee just yet but want to steer away from the sugar-laden versions, try these simple steps: you'll still get the flavor, but with less sugar. 1. Skip the chocolate sauce and instead opt for a small piece of high-quality dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa solids) on the side. 2. Add cinnamon (which may aid digestion) rather than caramel or other sweeteners. 3. Forgo the whipped cream; a modest amount of unsweetened half-and-half is a better choice.
(Appetite for Health) According to recent studies…, women … tend to gain weight when they begin living with a man… Some researchers say that when women spend more time at home with their mates, they tend to shift towards eating more and exercising less… But by sticking to their habits and adopting even healthier ones, women can avoid relationship weight gain by staying focused on good habits.
(Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, U.S. News & World Report) Eat like an athlete - not a couch potato - while cheering on your favorite football team.
(Discovery.com) Could you resist your favorite junk food after staring at it and sniffing it? A professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine is teaching overweight kids to develop willpower over French fries and Cheetos by doing just that.
Community: I’m reminded of the George Clooney movie, “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”
(Appetite for Health) In one study, New Zealand researchers identified 49 foods considered the most damaging for your diet. In another study, University of Pittsburgh obesity researchers found several foods that were linked with weight loss at six months and two years later. The Pitt study’s worst diet wreckers: desserts, fried foods and sweetened beverages.
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More Information and Recent Research on Obesity and Weight

(MedPage Today) In England, about three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women appear to be "resistant” to the trend of increasing body mass index, British researchers reported. The finding … suggests that targeted approaches to reducing obesity might be more effective than population-wide interventions, Andrew Renehan, MBBCh, PhD, and colleagues argued.
(Science Daily) Some overweight older adults don't need to lose weight to extend their lives, but they could risk an earlier death if they pack on more pounds… [S]aid Hui Zheng, lead author of the study,] "You can learn more about older people's mortality risk by looking at how their weight is changing than you can by just looking at how much they weigh at any one time."
(Science Daily) Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine reported … that the cause of obesity and insulin resistance may be tied to the fructose your body makes in addition to the fructose you eat… Richard Johnson, MD…, senior author of the paper, said: … "Ironically, our study shows that much of the risk from ingesting high glycemic foods is actually due to the generation of fructose, which is a low glycemic sugar. These studies challenge the dogma that fructose is safe and that it is simply the high glycemic carbohydrates that need to be restricted."
(Scientific American) [In a study, researchers] found that both sugar and artificial sweetener activate the primary taste pathway in the brain…, but only real sugar was able to elicit a significant response from several brain regions of the taste-reward system… This suggests that the brain’s reward pathway is conditioned to prefer a sugar, or caloric-based, stimulus.
But what happens if you routinely drink diet soda?... [Another study] found that chronic diet soda drinkers had greater overall activation in several reward processing brain regions to both real sugar and artificial sweetener, … suggesting regular consumption of diet soda may render particular components of the brain’s reward system incapable of distinguishing between real sugar and artificial sweetener!
(Huffington Post) New research … suggests that carbonation in sugary drinks can affect the brain's perception of sugar, making it think sugar consumption is less than it actually is… The finding could potentially be good for people looking to lose weight by consuming diet drinks because "it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink," study researcher Rosario Cuomo … said in a statement.
(Judith J. Wurtman, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Weight gain is a well-established side effect of drugs used to improve clinical depression and stabilize mood in bipolar disorder. Yet many patients on such drugs are not told that they may gain a great deal of weight while on these medications. Indeed, the first sign that the drugs are affecting their weight may come only after they find themselves no longer able to control their food intake.
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Pork Chops with Carolina Rub
Punch up the flavor of grilled pork chops with an easy spice rub. Serve with simple sides for a menu ready in less than 30 minutes.
EatingWell King Ranch Casserole
This healthy Tex-Mex King Ranch casserole recipe is typically made with cans of cream-of-something soup. We’ve lightened up this casserole recipe considerably by making a homemade cream sauce and loading it up with veggies at the same time. You’ll never guess that a serving of our version of King Ranch casserole has 300 fewer calories and two-thirds less fat than the original.
Mediterranean Foods Alliance:
Parmesan Herbed Walnuts
This is a simple recipe for savory, seasoned walnuts that are delicious as a quick snack, or a welcome change from croutons when tossed on a green salad. 
Medjool Date Power Balls
Try this energy-packed homemade snack the next time you're working out or need a boost. You'll never miss the prepackaged bars!  
Egg Pita Snackers
This hearty snack can help bridge the gap between lunch and dinner on nights when work, errands, or family obligations mean a later-than-usual dinner.
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Know Better, Do Better. Don’t Cut SNAP-Ed Funding

(Dr. Glenna McCollum, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Access to healthy food is a basic human need and a fundamental right of all Americans. This is why we have programs like SNAP providing assistance to low-income populations and resources so they may purchase food to feed their families.
However, as nutrient deficiencies among low-income populations continue to rise, the focus turns to the complexities of food choice. Healthful eating is not intuitive, but rather a learned skill. Navigating the grocery store shelves; deciphering confusing marketing messages, popular trends and nutrition misinformation; understanding ingredient labels and nutrition facts panels; and, possibly most importantly, knowing how to store and cook food properly are all learned skills that make up the foundation for healthful eating. SNAP-Ed is the tool in our belt to help these low-income families learn these skills, take back their kitchen and take back their health.
Our nation is paying the price for overlooking the importance of food and nutrition related diseases. Obesity accounts for 21 percent of total national health care spending, summing to as much as $210 billion annually. Obesity places an enormous financial burden on American families, our economy and our nation’s healthcare system.
Right now the SNAP-Ed nutrition program is available in every state and reaches more than 6 million people, but this is only a small fraction of the 50 million or more citizens who are struggling to eat healthfully on a budget.
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Statins Linked to Cataracts

(MedPage Today) Statins clear cholesterol from the blood but they may do so at the risk of obstructing vision, a new propensity score-matched study suggested.
In the primary analysis of 6,972 matched pairs of statin users and nonusers, those taking the cholesterol-lowering medication had a 9% increased risk of developing cataracts…, reported Ishak Mansi, MD, … and colleagues.
In a secondary subgroup analysis of 33,513 patients (6,113 on statins) who had no comorbidity, based on the Charlson comorbidity index, the use of statins remained significantly associated with cataracts…, according to the study.
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Placebo Effect and Lessons for the Physician-Patient Relationship

(Science Daily) The findings of a comprehensive review of the placebo phenomenon and its consequences for clinical medicine are contained in a new article… The effort, undertaken by physician-researcher Fabrizio Benedetti…, provides an in-depth biological and evolutionary approach to examining the placebo effect in relationship to the doctor-patient relationship…
Among the issues discussed in detail are:
          There is no one "the placebo effect." There are different mechanisms in play across a variety of medical conditions and therapeutic interventions. For example, a placebo effect takes place because there is expectation. The patient expects a therapeutic benefit, and this kind of expectation actually has an effect on the brain and the body.
          The connection between expectation and real improvement that may occur is due at least to two mechanisms. The first may be a reduction of anxiety. The second is between expectation and the activation of a reward mechanism by the region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens (which also governs pleasure, reinforcement learning, laughter, addiction, aggression, fear, impulsivity and the placebo effect.)
          When a treatment is given to a patient, be it a placebo or real, it is administered in a complex set of psychological states that vary from patient to patient and from situation to situation. For example, when a placebo is given to relieve pain, it is administered along with stimuli which tell the patient that a clinical improvement should be occurring shortly. These stimuli can include the color and shape of the pill, patient and provider characteristics and the healthcare setting.
          Recent research has revealed a reduced efficacy of drugs when they are administered covertly to the patient. In fact, if the placebo/expectation component of a treatment is eliminated by means of a hidden administration (unbeknownst to the patient), the psychological component of the therapy is absent as well.
For physicians, psychologists, and health professionals these and other recent findings found in Dr. Benedetti's article can foster enhanced understanding of how their words, attitudes, and behaviors impact on the physiological profile of their patients' brains. This "direct vision" of the patient's brain will hopefully boost health professionals' empathic, humane, and compassionate behavior further. Moreover, understanding the physiological underpinnings of the doctor-patient relationship will lead to better medical practice as well as to better social/communication skills and health policy.
Community: The placebo effect is very powerful, and I’m glad there’s more research into its effects. If we could channel it, we could use it to help prevent or treat some diseases.
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Personality a Key Factor in Health Care Use

(Science Daily) A study … finds that certain measurable personality characteristics can be correlated to health care consumption, in some instances increasing use high cost health care services such as emergency room visits and nursing home stays by 20 to 30 percent and even higher.
"This is the first study to show that personality traits predispose some older adults to use several expensive acute and long-term care services," said Bruce Friedman, M.P.H., Ph.D…, lead author of the study. "It is important for health care systems to recognize that personality characteristics are associated with how individuals use health care services, and design interventions that redirect patients towards lower cost solutions to their health problems that are just as effective."
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Do workplace wellness programs work?

(Los Angeles Times) A series of studies … looked broadly at the efficacy of employer wellness programs. One study concluded that employers might save money on one aspect of health care but spend it on another… The study found that fewer employees were hospitalized, which certainly saved money on hospital costs. But those savings were offset by higher amounts spent on outpatient doctor visits and prescription drugs.
In a second study, UCLA-led researchers reviewed multiple studies examining a variety of conditions targeted by employee wellness programs, including high blood pressure, smoking and obesity. The study raises questions about some basic assumptions of wellness programs. For example, the authors discovered that "a majority of studies showed no significant spending differences between people who used tobacco, had high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or got inadequate amounts of exercise, compared with other people."
The authors also suggest that while incentives may help get employees off to a good start in making changes, sustaining them is more challenging. In the case of weight-loss programs, incentives helped participants lose weight, but in the long run, they regained it. In 19 trials looking at smoking cessation, only one had significant effects on smoking rates after six months.
For employees, perhaps the most telling red flag from the study is that their employers may be saving money not by making them healthy but rather by shifting health-care costs onto them.
Community: But there are more advantages to a wellness program than health improvements. Besides, it takes time to make big changes.
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Employers Trim Health Costs By Cutting Coverage For Spouses

(Shots, NPR) When UPS told workers that it would no longer offer health coverage for spouses who had their own job-based insurance, it caused a big stir. But the shipping giant has plenty of company.
So many employers are trying to cut back on health coverage for spouses that it has become a trend. The practice began well before the Affordable Care Act passed, and the connection to the law, in some cases, isn't that direct.
About 12 percent of employers have this provision in their policies, says Tracy Watts, who heads the health care reform team at Mercer, a benefits consulting firm.
Mercer surveyed employers who have some sort of restriction on health coverage of spouses, and found that about half of those employers, or 6 percent, have imposed a surcharge for spouses who could get coverage at their own jobs.
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6% Hike in Health Spending Forecast by Medicare Agency

(MedPage Today) Healthcare spending is projected to grow at 4% through this year but increase by 6.1% next year, ending a string of historically slow growth, government economists said Wednesday.
The uptick in spending comes from expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which will cause physician services to grow by 7.1% next year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in the report…
Those newly covered are expected to be younger and healthier and, therefore, devote a higher percentage of their medical spending to physician services and prescription drugs than currently insured individuals, economists said.
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Hospital stays: When less medicine is more

(Los Angeles Times) Patients should stay in the hospital only as long as necessary, and not a moment longer. Hospitals can do better, and they're learning.
A new mother today typically stays in the hospital for a day or two following an uncomplicated vaginal delivery - an event that might have kept her grandmother in the hospital for a week. Many lung-cancer patients now undergo a minimally invasive procedure instead of surgery with long chest incisions, which means they can leave the hospital in days rather than weeks.
We also can reduce the time people spend in hospitals by better focusing on the problem that brought them in in the first place. We don't need to test every organ system in a patient's body simply because advanced technology is at the ready. An estimated $700 billion is spent each year on care that can't be shown to improve health outcomes, and a lot of that happens during hospitalizations.
Optimizing the length of hospital stays is good for patients and fundamental to the moral imperative of healthcare providers to do what is right while doing no harm.
And it will reduce healthcare costs.
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If states had similar healthcare standards, 86,000 fewer deaths

(UPI) High-income people who live in states with poor healthcare rankings are worse off than low-income people in states with high rankings, U.S. researchers say.
The Commonwealth Fund study found there were two Americas when it comes to healthcare, divided by geography and income. However, having a low income does not mean worse healthcare or worse health.
Except for all but six indicators, low-income adults in top-performing states for healthcare exceeded the national average for all incomes, the report said…
[I]f all states could reach the benchmarks set by leading states, an estimated 86,000 fewer people would die prematurely and tens of millions more adults and children would receive timely preventive care, the report said.
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Affordable Care Act News

(UPI) Nearly 6-in-10 uninsured U.S. adults could get low-cost, high-value health insurance for less than $100 per month under healthcare reform, officials say.
(USA Today) The House voted 230-189 along party lines Friday to approve a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government through mid-December, but it is facing certain defeat in the Senate because it includes language aiming to dismantle President Obama's health care law… Without a stopgap spending bill, the federal government will feel the effects of a shutdown when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
(ThinkProgress) “It only takes one with passion — look at Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King,” Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) told the New York Times on Thursday.
(Kaiser Health News) Those plans must also provide the same "essential benefits" as the plans set up for the exchanges and have similar out-of-pocket standards.
(Reuters) American companies are sending shockwaves through the healthcare industry by moving a rapidly growing number of employees onto privately run online exchanges for their medical coverage. In a business already bracing for major change because of President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, the decisions are threatening to shift more power in the market to the benefit consulting firms opening many of the exchanges. Health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers who have traditionally had a more direct relationship with the employers could lose out to the nascent marketplaces.
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A 'narrow window' to implement long-term care policy, federal commission head says

(Washington Post) Over 12 million Americans today rely on long-term services and supports in their home or community or in an institution. That number is expected to swell as the baby boomer generation ages and the number of available caregivers dwindles.
The Washington Post spoke with Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation and chair of the bipartisan federal Commission on Long-Term Care, which … released a report with recommendations for a targeted long-term care approach as America ages. Some had hoped the commission would develop a new public or private insurance program to help finance long-term care, but Chernof said that was not part of its mandate.
The recommendations include new models of public payment, better communication with family members, better monitoring and training of caregivers, and creating a Medicare benefit for long-term care.
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Good Neighbors, Fewer Strokes, Study Shows

(MedPage Today) Living in a tight-knit neighborhood was associated with a lower rate of stroke among adults older than 50, researchers found.
Each standard deviation increase in a measure of perceived neighborhood social cohesion was associated with a 15% lower likelihood of having a fatal or nonfatal stroke during follow-up…, according to Eric Kim, MS, … and colleagues.
The relationship remained significant after adjustment for several health and psychosocial factors that have been associated with stroke risk, they reported.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
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Vitamin B supplements might reduce your risk of stroke

(CBS News) Taking vitamin B supplements might help to reduce your risk of a stroke, according to new evidence…
The study by researchers at Zhengzhou University in China reviewed 14 clinical trials and found that Vitamin B lowered the risk of stroke overall by seven percent.
However, taking the supplements did not appear to affect the severity of the strokes or the risk of death from a stroke, according to the review…
"Based on our results, the ability of vitamin B to reduce stroke risk may be influenced by a number of other factors such as the body's absorption rate, the amount of folic acid or vitamin B12 concentration in the blood, and whether a person has kidney disease or high blood pressure," [study author Xu] Yuming said. "Before you begin taking any supplements, you should always talk to your doctor."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
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Breaking a sweat while working out helps reduce stroke risk

(UPI) Breaking a sweat while working out regularly may reduce the risk of stroke by reducing blood pressure, weight and blood sugar, researchers in Australia say…
Inactive people were 20 percent more likely to experience a stroke or mini-stroke than those who exercised at moderate to vigorous intensity -- enough to break a sweat -- at least four times a week, [a] study said.
"The stroke-lowering benefits of physical activity are related to its impact on other risk factors," [study author Michelle] McDonnell said in a statement. "Exercise reduces blood pressure, weight and diabetes. If exercise was a pill, you'd be taking one pill to treat four or five different conditions."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
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5 Foods That Can Help Prevent Stroke

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institute found that the risk for ischemic stroke - the most common type of stroke in older people, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain - was reduced by 9 percent for each additional 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumed each day…
Next time you are at the grocery or farmer's market, buy these magnesium-rich foods:
1.    Green leafy vegetables…
2.    Nuts and seeds…
3.    Whole grain products…
4.    Beans…
5.    Fish.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
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Small Lifestyle Changes May Have Big Impact on Reducing Stroke Risk

(Science Daily) Making small lifestyle changes could reduce your risk of having a stroke, according to a … study…
Researchers assessed stroke risk using the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 health factors: be active, control cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, manage blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar and don't smoke…
[They] divided the Life's Simple 7 scores into three categories: zero to four points for inadequate, five to nine points for average, and 10 to 14 points for optimum cardiovascular health.
Researchers found:
·         Every one-point increase toward a better score was associated with an 8 percent lower stroke risk.
·         Compared to those with inadequate scores, people with optimum scores had a 48 percent lower stroke risk and those with average scores had a 27 percent lower stroke risk.
·         A better score was associated with a similar reduced stroke risk in blacks and whites.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
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More Information and Recent Research on Stroke

(MedPage Today) The amount of dental care and periodontal disease was significantly correlated to incident stroke (IR) risk, a nationwide, population-based study found.
(Science Daily) Depressed middle-aged women have almost double the risk of having a stroke, according to research… "When treating women, doctors need to recognize the serious nature of poor mental health and what effects it can have in the long term," said Caroline Jackson, Ph.D., study author… "Current guidelines for stroke prevention tend to overlook the potential role of depression."
(Science Daily) People who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to research… After adjusting for factors that can affect stroke risk, such as age, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as other disorders such as heart disease and the severity of the trauma, the researchers found that people with traumatic brain injury were 30 percent more likely to develop a stroke than those with trauma with no brain injury.
(MedPage Today) Damage to the retina from hypertension independently pointed to elevated stroke risk, even when blood pressure was controlled by medication, an observational study showed… Among individuals with blood pressure well-controlled on antihypertensives, even mild retinopathy predicted double the cerebral infarct risk of those without any retinopathy, the researchers reported.
(European Society of Cardiology) General practitioners (GPs) undertreat women with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to research… The analysis of more than 15,000 patients showed that women were undertreated with antithrombotic medications compared to men regardless of their stroke risk and comorbidities.
(Science Daily) Patients with five or more risk factors have the same stroke risk as patients with atrial fibrillation, according to research… Dr Benn Christiansen said: "…Our findings suggest that patients without atrial fibrillation or prior stroke may have a stroke risk that is comparable to patients with atrial fibrillation if they have three or more risk factors [such as diabetes, hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure and age above 75 years]."
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Coconut and Basil Steamed Mussels
Impress guests with this elegant and easy main dish. Pair with spinach and scallion rice for a complete meal in about 20 minutes.
Shrimp Dumplings
This healthy shrimp-and-cabbage dumpling recipe makes a big batch, so you can eat some for dinner and freeze some for later. To vary the dumpling filling, try ground turkey instead of the shrimp. Look for wonton wrappers in a refrigerated case—usually near tofu. Serve with reduced-sodium soy sauce.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Bento Box Soup
The Japanese are renowned for their longevity. As of 2011, their average life expectancy was 82.3 years. (The United States came in fiftieth, at 78.4 years.) Researchers often credit their diet, and this soup is my way of cramming as much of their healthy cuisine into a bowl as possible.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Zuppa di Pesce e Fagiolio | Lattanzi Ristorante, NYC
Chef Paolo Lattanzi of Lattanzi Ristorante, NYC, cooks classic Roman Jewish cuisine. The Roman Jewish community is the oldest Jewish community in Europe - they arrived roughly 2,000 years ago from Palestine. Until 1870, they were confined to the ghetto and even today they still firmly hold onto their traditions. This special Venetian stew, Zuppa di Pesce e Fagiolio, is popular outside of the old Jewish ghettos of Rome and will be a hit in your kitchen.
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Just What The Doctor Ordered: Med Students Team With Chefs

(The Salt, NPR) For the past few weeks, the culinary arts students at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., have been working with some less-than-seasoned sous chefs.
One of them, Clinton Piper, … is a fourth-year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine, and he's here for a short rotation through a new program designed to educate med students and chefs-in-training about nutrition…
So-called lifestyle diseases mainly spring from bad habits, particularly bad eating habits. Think obesity or diabetes. Piper says the goal of this partnership between New Orleans, Louisiana-based Tulane and Johnson & Wales is to change the way doctors think about food. As far as the program's creators know, it's the first time a culinary school and a medical school have partnered like this.
"We basically learn how to take care of patients when things go wrong, which is sad," says Neha Solanki, a fourth-year medical student at Tulane. "I think that we need to learn how to be able to make nutritious meals and to discuss diet in an educated manner."
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Some Antioxidants Linked with Shorter Life

(LiveScience) People who take antioxidant supplements don't live any longer than those who don't, and some antioxidants may even cut life short, a new review suggests.
Danish researchers report that people in studies who took three antioxidants — beta carotene, vitamin E and high doses of vitamin A — tended to have an increased risk of death.
"This study confirms what we already know — that antioxidant supplements are not effective in saving lives or making people healthier," said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an expert on the safety of dietary supplements…
Cohen said there's probably no reason to worry if you're getting some antioxidant nutrients in a daily multivitamin, because the trial included in the new review generally involved higher doses than the levels found in a multivitamin.
Community: I don’t take supplements containing beta carotene, vitamin E, or vitamin A, and I don’t think this study is any reason for me to stop taking the supplements that I do take.
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Vaccinating Cows Could Sharply Cut E. Coli

(MedPage Today) Widespread vaccination of cattle against Escherichia coli O157 could vastly decrease the human incidence of disease associated with this pathogen, a mathematical simulation suggested.
If the effects of the vaccine simply reflected its efficacy in cattle, a 50% reduction in cases would be expected because the vaccine has been shown to halve the fecal shedding of the pathogen, according to Louise Matthews, PhD, … and colleagues.
However, because the vaccine targets high-density shedding strains of E. coli O157 -- so-called supershedders -- the decrease in human cases could be expected to reach 83% (95% CI 76-93), the researchers reported.
Community: Vaccination, rather than using antibiotics? Makes way too much sense.
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Pandemic Flu Plan Predicts 30% of US Could Fall Ill

(LiveScience) A recently declassified U.S. government plan for how to react in the face of a pandemic flu has some scary, but realistic predictions.
According to a 2009 Department of Defense plan, if a flu pandemic strikes, about 30 percent of the U.S. population could fall ill, with 3 million hospitalizations and 2 million deaths. Basic services, such as medical care or essential supply deliveries, will probably be disrupted.
In the plan, the government also says it assumes that a vaccine against a completely new flu strain wouldn't become available for several months. Even after that, production will ramp up slowly.
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New flu vaccines offer extra protection - and more profits

(Reuters) Big drugmakers are seeking a boost from new four-in-one influenza vaccines that will be available for the first time this flu season…
Until now, seasonal flu vaccines have only protected against three strains of flu - two strains of influenza A, which usually causes more cases and more severe illness, and one of influenza B, which is less common but also circulates in multiple forms.
The new vaccines include protection against a second strain of influenza B, which experts expect will prevent the vast majority of type B infections.
But extra protection comes at a price.
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Surgery Tops Muscle Training for Incontinence

(MedPage Today) Women with stress urinary incontinence reported better subjective improvement and had higher cure rates at 1 year when treated initially with surgery instead of pelvic floor-muscle training, a randomized trial showed…
The rate of subjective cure was more than 60% higher in the surgery arm, and comparison of objective cure rates at 1 year showed a 30% relative advantage in favor of surgery, Julien Labrie, MD, … and co-authors reported…
"Our findings suggest that women with [SUI] should be counseled regarding both pelvic floor-muscle training and midurethral-sling surgery as initial treatment options," the authors concluded. "Information on expected outcomes with both interventions, as well as on the potential, albeit infrequent, complications of surgery, will allow for individualized decision making by each women and her healthcare provider."
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Activity trackers cover more than just footsteps

(Consumer Reports) Activity trackers, also known as activity monitors, are like pedometers, but upgraded for this century. They count not only steps taken but also calories burned­—­and many measure sleep quality, compute calorie intake, and serve as alarm clocks or watches. Some display your progress in real time; all can show it later on a smart phone, tablet, or computer.
Trackers provide insight about habits and health, but using one might also help you shed a few pounds. Neil Busis, M.D., a Pittsburgh neurologist who lost 40 pounds in less than a year after undergoing heart-bypass surgery, credits a “personal health network” that includes an activity tracker, a calorie-counting app, a scale that interacts with the tracker, and a blood pressure monitor.
We measured how accurate six trackers were at counting steps and calories, checked how easy each was to use, and assessed their features.
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Gunman's mental health problems, lack of security raises questions in wake of killings

(Tribune Co.) [Aaron] Alexis' history of mental problems, his extensive disciplinary record from his time in the Navy, and his three arrests over the last decade - two of them for gun-related incidents - have generated numerous questions, many of them familiar from past mass shootings: How had police, the military and the company he worked for missed the accumulating signs of trouble? Why was the 34-year-old loner and drifter given an ID card that would allow him to easily come and go from military bases around the country without a security check? How could he so readily pass a background check to buy a shotgun?
Amid those questions, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to order a review of security procedures at all Defense Department installations in the U.S., a Pentagon official said Tuesday.
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