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

Pot Is a Common Remedy to Ease Back Pain

(MedPage Today) Use of marijuana to ease back pain was common among patients at a university spine clinic in Colorado where pot has been legal for medical purposes since 2000, but most of the users did not have a prescription, according to research presented here.
Among 184 patients at a Colorado spine center, 19% said they used marijuana for pain relief, but less than half, 46%, actually had a prescription for the drug, according to study co-author Michael Finn, MD…
The finding raises concerns about how common marijuana use is around the country for one of the most common medical afflictions and whether it is being used along with narcotic painkillers…
One of the concerns about marijuana is that not much is known about its safety and effectiveness for easing pain caused by spine problems. Most of the patients in the study were suffering from degenerative disc problems.
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Exercise Eases Low Back Pain

(MedPage Today) The more obese a person is, the more likely the risk of low back pain, but it's possible to reduce the odds by engaging in a moderate amount of exercise, according to research…
The researchers found different ways to achieve the improvements:
·         The typical overweight person increasing their amount of moderate activity such as brisk walking, riding a bike, or general gardening by less than 20 minutes a day can reduce back pain risk by 32%.
·         For people with BMIs of 36 or more, the average duration of time spent during a bout of moderate activity was 1.3 minutes. However, by increasing that time by 1 minute, the risk of back pain dropped by 38%.
For years, anecdotal evidence has led spine specialists to tell overweight people to lose weight and exercise; now there is hard data to back up those beliefs, said Michael Reed, a physical therapist and spine specialist.
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Pill-Free Back Pain Treatment

(Sharecare.com) Looking for a pill-free way to ease back pain? A survey recently revealed the top six. And none of the alternative therapy methods for back pain treatment requires surgery.
They are chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, herbal therapy, relaxation training, and stretching-based Eastern exercises (think yoga and tai chi).
In a large national survey, 60% of people who had used one of these alternative therapy methods in the previous year said that it brought them a "great deal" of relief from their low back pain. And, in fact, more was better. People who used a combination of one or more of these therapies tended to experience even greater back pain relief compared with people who used just one.
Whether your low back pain is mild or much more problematic, you'll want to check with your doctor before trying any new form of exercise or alternative therapy for back pain treatment. 
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Joint Health Benefits of Garlic and Onions

(Sharecare.com) Pungent or subtle, earthy or spicy . . . garlic, onions, and other members of the allium family are staples in every top chef's kitchen. They should be in yours, too, because these flavor-uppers could help prevent joint pain…
Eating your fill reduces your odds for early osteoarthritis -- the breakdown of cushiony cartilage in joints … -- by a big-time 25%. The do-good connection is diallyl disulphide…, which gives garlic and its allium cousins that unmistakable aroma…
Not a total fan of in-your-face raw garlic or onions? Here's how to get more on your plate:
·         Mellow the taste. Simmer them in soup or stew or slow-roast with chicken or vegetables.
·         Get to know the other alliums. Milder leeks, shallots, and scallions are all part of this clan…
·         Add 'em to other veggies. Women who eat lots of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) also have a lower risk for early arthritis and the joint pain that comes with it. Pairing onions or garlic with these good guys (add a splash of balsamic vinegar, too) makes culinary and cartilage sense.
Worried about your own aroma afterward? Mix in some fresh parsley or basil. Nibbling these greens releases breath-freshening oils.
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More Information and Recent Research on Pain and Pain Relief

(Mel Pohl, M.D., FASAM, Psychology Today) I believe that one of the most important things people with chronic pain can do to help themselves is to notice what they are feeling… The fight to tighten up in response to a painful experience or be angry that it hurts makes the pain worse. By accepting and investigating the emotions we experience with chronic pain with curiosity, rather than judgment, we can achieve substantial improvements in our well-being. 
(Scott A. McGreal, MSc., FASAM, Psychology Today) Medical researchers have long known that placebo treatments can produce real effects, such as pain relief. Personality traits are also known to influence a person’s response to treatments for certain conditions. A recent study has found that personality traits appear to influence how strongly a person responds to a placebo treatment for pain. Personality traits associated with self-control and the regulation of anger in particular were associated with greater pain relief. This raises the possibility that improving a person’s self-control and ability to manage anger could also improve their ability to control pain.
(Sharecare.com) Studies suggest that if you have low vitamin D (and many of us do), you may be at greater risk of chronic pain. But getting your blood levels back up could help set things right.
(Science Daily) Copper bracelets and magnet wrist straps have no real effect on pain, swelling, or disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis, according to new findings from a study conducted at the University of York.
(Sharecare.com) Clove oil is a great natural remedy for toothaches, or any pain you may have in your mouth and around your gums. In this video, emergency medicine physician Darria Long Gillespie, MD, explains how clove oil works to relieve toothache pain. .
(Sharecare.com) Next time you get a nagging headache, try a little fingertip therapy. You might feel better more quickly. Your temporalis muscle [just above the temple]… Behind your ears… Between your eyes… The web of your hand.
(Sharecare.com) High humidity provokes bad hair days, but what about headaches? If you're migraine-prone, you might want to check the weather report and keep pain meds close at hand on hot, muggy days. Here are a few other weather conditions to watch for.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches
This sandwich comes together as fast as an ordinary turkey sandwich but is much more interesting. Serve with sliced fresh fruit for a casual dinner for two.
EatingWell:
Braised Paprika Chicken
Sweet Hungarian paprika gives this creamy braised chicken the best flavor. This is a good “pantry dish” since you should have the basics on hand and only need to purchase the chicken. You may vary the recipe by using cubed veal shoulder instead of chicken and mushrooms instead of peppers. Serve with whole-wheat orzo flavored with minced parsley or dill.
Washington Post:
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette
This dressing lends a light, refreshing flavor to all manner of foods. The lemon zest and lemon juice brighten everything they touch, whether used as a marinade, a salad dressing, or just a drizzle.
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Salmonella scare not limited to Foster Farms chicken, Consumer Reports says

(Consumer Reports) It’s not just Foster Farms chicken you need to worry about. Our food safety experts say that other major brands are processed in the same plants involved in the salmonella outbreak that has now sickened nearly 300 people in 17 states. Examples of those other brands include Eating Right, Kirkland Signature, O Organics, Open Nature, Ralphs, Safeway Farms, and Simple Truth Organic. Consumer Reports says that you should avoid all raw chicken products with any of these three plant codes on their packages: P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632. (See the image below for what the codes look like on the labels.)
Our experts made that recommendation after learning that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had issued “Notice of Intended Enforcement” letters to those processing plants, all of which are in California."These letters highlight the serious safety concerns with these plants and ALL the products that are being processed there, not just chicken labeled Foster Farms," says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., toxicologist and executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center.
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Salmonella Outbreak: 5 Tips for Cooking Chicken Safely

(LiveScience) While the current salmonella outbreak may have people concerned about eating chicken, experts point out that raw meat products always carry risk.
"Chicken in general carries risk, whether it's part of this outbreak or not," said Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist and assistant professor of food science at North Carolina State University.
"There's pathogens on raw chicken regardless of where it comes from," he added…
Chapman gave some tips for reducing risk of illness when cooking and handling raw meat:
Avoid cross contamination
Don't wash your chicken
Thaw properly
Cook properly
Consumers should not look at the color of meat or its juices to determine if it's cooked. The only way to know for sure whether you've reduced your risk of foodborne illness is to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165 F…
Reheat to the right temperature
Any leftovers you have should be quickly cooled by placing them in a refrigerator, Chapman said.
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Tailgating Food Safety Q & A

(Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA) Keeping food safe at a tailgate gathering requires the same safe food handling practices as picnicking outdoors because a refrigerator and running water are probably not available. Include lots of clean utensils for preparing and serving the safely cooked food. In addition to a grill and fuel for cooking food, pack a food thermometer to be sure the meat and poultry reach a high enough temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present.
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Instantly Upgrade Your Diet

(Appetite for Health) Here are ways you can slash the unhealthy saturated fat, added sugars, excess sodium and make your diet all-around healthier with these … simple steps.
Fill your salt shaker with pepper and your pepper shaker with salt. Since salt shakers have more holes the switcheroo will help to slash your sodium intake.
If you taste-test while cooking, you can add hundreds of mindless (read: less satisfying) calories to your diet. To break this bad habit, chew gum while cooking or place a piece of masking tape over your mouth (really, it works!).
Eat whole nuts in lieu of nut butters to trim calories. Research shows that when eating whole almonds or pistachios, some of the fat in the nuts is not absorbed by the body, making the available calories less that what’s on the label. Almonds are 25% lower in available calories and pistachios are 6% lower than labels state.
If you watch TV, use your recorder to tape no more than two hour’s worth of programming per day and watch it later so you can fast-forward through all the food or beverage advertising. You’ll avoid the stimuli that triggers areas of the brain that make us want high-calorie foods.
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Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal

(The Salt, NPR) You've no doubt heard of Senior Meals on Wheels preparing hot meals delivered to the elderly. But there's a different meal program that's been put on hold because of the partial government shutdown. It's the USDA's Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
In Michigan's western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on the program. For them, it's a nutrition lifeline: They can't just go to a food pantry for similar assistance.
Bill Anderson, 81, and his wife, June, 83, are among those affected. Medical emergencies have depleted their savings. Social Security provides enough money to pay the utilities and insurance, but they turn to the government food program for meals.
They rely on weekly deliveries of nutritionally balanced surplus food. "The pantry gives you food, but not really enough to put in your refrigerator," June Anderson says.
"I would get out and beg before I'd let us go hungry," Bill Anderson adds.
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With no CDC flu surveillance, private firm provides flu data

(UPI) With the U.S. government shutdown and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly flu monitoring halted, athenaResearch is providing flu data.
With the CDC flu trackers furloughed and no "FluView," a weekly report that public health officials and doctors rely on to track whether flu is circulating heavily, a private company providing its flu-related data.
"We were uncomfortable with the prospect of no national surveillance," Josh Gray, vice president of athenaResearch, a unit of athenahealth Inc. in Watertown, Mass., told the Wall Street Journal. "It's going dark at a critical period when flu is starting to ramp up."
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Americans' Interest in Hemorrhoids Has Skyrocketed

(LiveScience) The number of Americans searching online for information on hemorrhoids and how to treat them seems to have skyrocketed since 2008…
But what does the trend mean?
"My first guess would be that people are becoming more comfortable with the Internet, and they are going to look up more and more things, and hemorrhoids are a common condition," said Dr. Jesse Moore, an assistant professor of surgery…
"Over-the-counter stuff that people see advertised for hemorrhoids have never been shown in any good scientific study to help hemorrhoids," he said.
Generally, if people see blood in the stool, it's important to see a doctor, especially if they are over 40 years old. A doctor could help make sure the blood is from a hemorrhoid or a fissure, and not from a tumor in the colon, doctors said.
Community: Alternatively, CNN’s In Health has some suggestions for preventing and treating hemorrhoids.
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Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Combination Could Aid Wound Healing

(Science Daily) Johns Hopkins researchers, working with elderly mice, have determined that combining gene therapy with an extra boost of the same stem cells the body already uses to repair itself leads to faster healing of burns and greater blood flow to the site of the wound.
Their findings offer insight into why older people with burns fail to heal as well as younger patients, and how to potentially harness the power of the body's own bone marrow stem cells to reverse this age-related discrepancy.
"As we get older, it is harder for our wounds to heal," says John W. Harmon, M.D… "Our research suggests there may be a way to remedy that."
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Blood Vessel Cells Can Repair, Regenerate Organs

(Science Daily) Damaged or diseased organs may someday be healed with an injection of blood vessel cells, eliminating the need for donated organs and transplants, according to scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College.
In [recent studies], the researchers show that endothelial cells -- the cells that make up the structure of blood vessels -- are powerful biological machines that drive regeneration in organ tissues by releasing beneficial, organ-specific molecules.
They discovered this by decoding the entirety of active genes in endothelial cells, revealing hundreds of known genes that had never been associated with these cells. The researchers also found that organs dictate the structure and function of their own blood vessels, including the repair molecules they secrete.
Together, the studies show that endothelial cells and the organs they are transplanted into work together to repair damage and restore function, says the study's lead investigator.
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Why Being Hospitalized On A Weekend Costs More Lives, Health Care Dollars

(Forbes) A [recent] study found that hospitalized patients who suffered a cardiac arrest during nights and weekends were less likely to survive. A British study found that patients who were admitted to a hospital on a Sunday faced a 16 percent higher risk of dying within a month than those admitted on weekdays. And Canadian scientists found that ischemic stroke sufferers admitted to hospitals over the weekend were more likely to die within seven days than those admitted during the week.
The obvious question here is: Why? The answer is a complicated mix of economics and medical culture.
During the week, all diagnostic and interventional services are open. On the weekend, many of them shut down except when staff members are called in to care for a life-threatening problem. The on-call staff understands that when a patient’s life depends on their expertise, they need to stop what they are doing and drive to the hospital. But the culture of medicine supposes that making a stable patient wait until Monday won’t be a problem.
As a result, the pace of medical care for patients on the weekend slows from a run to a walk.
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FAQ: What’s At Stake If Congress Repeals The Medical Device Tax

(Kaiser Health News) As Republicans and Democrats have battled over reopening the federal government and raising the federal debt ceiling, one idea that keeps coming up is a repeal of the 2010 health law's tax on medical devices.
While the idea has drawn support from members of both parties, experts say it's still a heavy lift for the repeal's proponents. For starters, repealing the tax would create about a $30 billion revenue hole over the next decade.  And supporters of the law fear that making such a change could start a stampede of demands  for similar rollbacks from insurers and health care providers, who are also subject to new taxes and fees to help finance the health law.
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Affordable Care Act News

(ThinkProgress) Paul hasn't been able to afford health insurance for twelve years. Now, he's covered.
(UPI) A U.S. patient education organization says the Affordable Care Act will help many Americans with asthma and allergies to breathe easier.
(ThinkProgress) Tea Party lawmakers' efforts to take the government hostage over Obamacare haven't actually convinced Americans to oppose the health law.
(NPR) Obamacare was primarily directed at young populations. Still, there are some changes for Medicare and new options for some retirees. Here's what they are.
(NPR) Curious about insurance exchanges and how to shop for coverage or how Obamacare affects employers? Check out our FAQ on the health law.
(NPR) The requirement to have health insurance becomes law in 2014 — but there's some fine print. Here are answers to some common questions.
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Forget dieting, just chew!

(The Supermarket Guru) Looking to lose a few pounds? Try chewing more. New research says keeping food in the mouth for longer periods (through smaller bites, more chewing, slower eating rate and longer meal duration) could reduce overall meal size and improve satiety responses.
Researchers at the University of Uppsula in Sweden, studied results from 33 experiments on bite size, number of chews, and texture, as well as changes in eating rate to determine effects on satiation and perceived fullness, or satiety.  Results showed that people ate less when foods were eaten with small bite sizes or a higher number of chews, or when eating semi-solid foods compared with iso-caloric liquid foods.
Overall, the authors concluded that “all aspects of oral processing and eating rate can be an effective strategy to impact satiation and perceived fullness,” which, in turn, could have major implications for the food manufacturing industry as well as efforts to combat obesity.  In addition data showed that slowing down the normal eating rate could help control energy balance and meal size.
Community: I first learned this information from Paul McKenna’s “I Can Make You Thin” series.
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Are You an Emotionally Intelligent Eater?

(Susan Albers, Psy.D., Psychology Today) For the past ten years, I’ve been passionately writing about mindful eating and enthusiastically teaching people about how to be more mindful eaters.  Today, I’m taking fans of mindful eating on the next step of the journey.  It is my pleasure to introduce you to the concept of EatQ.
EatQ is related to E.I. or emotional intelligence, a concept you may already be familiar with.  EatQ may remind you a little of the term I.Q. (intelligence quotient) or E.I. (emotional intelligence).  I.Q. tests your book smarts or things like how well you remember facts or your ability to do math problems.  E.I. is like your “street smarts.”  You may know people who don’t get a perfect score on their SAT but they are savvy, charming and successful in their relationships with people. EatQ are people who are successful in their relationships with food
What You Will Learn in EatQ
1)    Why you can be smart, educated, successful, and know a lot about nutrition and STILL struggle with choosing healthy foods.
2)    How to make healthy food decisions and avoid regretting your choices later.
3)    Methods for enjoying the foods you crave without overeating them.
4)    Tips for avoid stress eating (or stop it in its tracks!).
5)    Ways to talk yourself through self-sabotaging thoughts and excuses so you can get back on track,  The neurochemistry of why being able to talk about your feelings is key to eating healthier and losing weight.
Community: You can buy the book at Amazon.com.
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5 Tips to Help Curb Mindless Eating

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Do you find yourself nibbling on a bag of pretzels as you stare at a computer screen for hours? When you're sitting on your couch watching TV, do you get to the bottom of that popcorn bowl before the movie is halfway through? If you're bored, anxious, stressed, or even happy, you may be using food as a distraction without realizing it. And if you're not careful, mindless eating can derail your diet and lead to weight gain.
Eat healthy, and often
You can help prevent mindless eating by making sure you get nutritious meals that include lean protein, fiber-rich vegetables, whole grains…, low-fat dairy, and some healthy unsaturated fats like extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, nuts, or avocados. Eating a wide variety of wholesome foods throughout the day will help stabilize your blood-sugar levels and keep you satisfied.
Snack at least twice a day
Enjoying a fiber- and protein-rich snack midmorning and midafternoon and after dinner if need be will help keep you satisfied and prevent hunger, so you won't be tempted to hit up the fridge or vending machine for a quick fix…
You are where you eat
Mindless eating—and weight gain—go hand in hand with not sitting down at a dining table to enjoy and savor your food. If you're used to eating your meals in front of the TV or while you're running around, you take the risk of overeating…
Keep food out of eyesight when it's not mealtime
Since people often mindlessly eat to help pass the time, taking the "out of sight, out of mind" approach is another effective tactic to help kick this bad habit…
Take breaks throughout your workday
If you have a stressful schedule and find yourself mindlessly eating to relax at the office, get up from your desk and take an exercise break instead. Stress is often a trigger for snacking without thinking, and the best way to combat it is to get up and move. 
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6 Ways to Beat Emotional Eating

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Sometimes, it isn’t hunger that causes us to reach for our favorite foods. Moods and emotions can also impact our relationship with food and they can interfere with our ability to stick with a healthy eating plan. Emotional eating can be triggered by stress, depression, loneliness, overwhelming job and family pressures, or by a traumatic life event. Even happiness can set it off. People who are susceptible to emotional eating may regard food as a distraction, look to it for comfort, or over-enjoy it when they have something to celebrate. If emotional eating is getting in the way of achieving your weight-loss goals, the good news is that you can change this pattern of behavior by putting a healthy plan in place. Here are six ways to get started.
Remove temptations from your kitchen
One of the easiest ways you can break your habit of reaching for unhealthy foods when your emotional triggers kick in is to simply remove them from your house…
Keep a journal
The power of the pen is mightier than the fork. If you know you’re not actually hungry, but a strong emotion is driving you toward eating, record your feelings in a journal along with the type and amount of food you ate (or what you were tempted to eat, if you refrained). This will help you make connections between your emotions and the foods that currently satisfy them…
Distract yourself
Instead of focusing on food, tap into other areas that bring balance to your life and make you happy. Do you like to paint? Dance? Take photos? Whenever you feel an emotional food trigger coming on, engross yourself in a fun, relaxing activity to help you take your mind off of your emotions and eating…
Have healthy snacks at the ready
[Y]ou can avoid unhealthy urges by stocking up on nutritious, satisfying snacks, such as a handful of nuts or seeds; reduced-fat cheese with whole-wheat crackers; or some hummus and veggie sticks. Then make sure you have them on hand for those times when emotions get the best of you…
Take stock of your emotions
Before you grab that doughnut, take a moment to think, "Is this going to make me feel better?" Sometimes, you just need to step back and have a moment of clarity. Or if this doesn't work, consider bargaining with yourself…
Relieve stress and improve your mood with exercise
When you work out, you release endorphins, also known as “feel good” hormones, which can boost your mood and also help prevent bouts of emotional eating. Schedule a regular time slot to work out during the week (if you do so, you’ll be more likely to keep that “appointment”).
Community: There are many practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
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More Weight Loss Tips

(Scott Mowbray, editor of Cooking Light) The question is not where do you find the will, it's where do you find the reason, the sense of purpose, that powers the will?
(Appetite for Health) The 10 worst fat habits below are the most common diet wreckers… 1. Overdoing “diet” foods and sugar substitutes… 2. Using food “rewards” for exercising… 3. Suffering from the perfect-eating syndrome… 4. Letting yourself slip & slide… 5. Ditching your favorite foods… 6. Expecting too much, too soon… 7. Eating while distracted… 8. Eating out too much… 9. Drinking too many liquid calories… 10. Skimping on your zzzs.
(U.S. News & World Report) [I]t's possible that your fear of food waste may be contributing to eating habits that undermine your – or your children's – health. But a little bit of awareness, coupled with a bit of  basic strategy, can nip this self-defeating behavior in the bud. Here's what I advise my patients to do: Freeze it immediately… Take a doggie bag… Downsize your Tupperware… Know when to toss it.
(Sharecare.com) Take your walk to new calorie-burning heights with these little tweaks. 1. Go up (and down). Do 15 minutes of a 35-minute walk on hills… 2. Make it a game. Really pick up the pace for 30 seconds every time you see a dog, a mailbox, a red car, or someone sipping coffee… 3. Get (a little) speedy. If you're walking 20-minute miles, make it your goal this week to do one 19-minute mile each time you walk… 4. Do 5 minutes more, here and there. This week, either add 5 minutes to three walks, or add a 15-minute mile to one walk… 5. Add music. In one study, people who worked out to up-tempo tunes covered 11% more ground -- without even feeling like they did anything extra… 6. Go Nordic. You can burn 20% more calories just by adding springy fitness poles to your walks 
(Appetite for Health) New research from the University of Pennsylvania found that sleep restriction could lead to significant weight gain. While this isn’t exactly news to us, this recent study provides further evidence that sleep has a direct impact on our waistline and its findings offer some valuable lessons. 1) The more time you spend awake, the more likely you are to overeat and gain weight… 2) Late-night snacks tend to be diet busters… 3) Staying up late causes mixed hunger signals.
(Terese Weinstein Katz, Ph.D., Psychology Today) When we see those lit up brain pathways, we know for certain it’s more than “poor self-control” at work on the binger. Those who struggle with food gain more validation from others as a result, which reduces shame, at least a little. It also potentially invites more emotional support. What’s at least as important, in addition, is that greater self-compassion grows in a medium of understanding. We know that self-compassion, being kind to oneself, actually helps people change.
More . . .

More Information and Recent Research on Obesity, Weight Loss, and Eating Disorders

(UPI) Losing weight is hard, keeping from gaining may not be easy, but at least it's not as hard as losing it, so U.S. researchers suggest "maintain, don't gain."
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If you are a man and your waistline is over 40 inches, or a woman with a waistline more than 35 inches, you may be facing increased risks of health problems. For nine years, researchers followed the weight and waists of over 100,000 men and women age 50 or older. The consequence of having a larger waistline wasn't promising: over the course of a decade, those with the biggest waists were twice as likely to die from heart disease, cancer and respiratory disorders as those whose waists were slimmest. This held true even for the participants who did not gain weight, but whose body shape shifted to a larger waistline.
(LiveScience) For older adults, being slightly overweight may bring benefits to health, studies suggest. However, being very overweight is decidedly bad for health, and increases the risk of many chronic diseases.
(David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Yale Prevention Research Center) People who die are, most often, old and sick. And people who are old and sick tend to be losing weight, not gaining it… This well-established fact of medicine suggests that, among older people, keeping some meat on them bones would tend to be a good thing. And that, really, is what the obesity paradox is all about. Older people who manage to stay overweight or slightly obese despite being older tend to do better… But could this mean that obesity is harmless or even beneficial to us all? Absolutely not.
(Science Daily) A unique study of 16 pairs of identical twins in which one twin is obese and the other lean has yielded some surprising results. In 8 of the pairs of twins, the obese twin was as 'metabolically healthy' as his or her lean co-twin, while in the other 8 pairs, the obese twin had a poorer blood fat profile, higher liver fat and increased insulin production and resistance, and higher blood pressure -- all hallmarks of unhealthy obesity that can lead to diabetes, heart problems and other complications.
(Science Daily) Joslin researchers have gained new insights into how obesity and type 2 diabetes can create a stress response in the brain, especially in the hypothalamus (the brain region that regulates appetite and energy production), that may contribute to altering metabolism throughout the body… The investigators also showed that leptin, the hormone produced by fat cells that regulates appetite, is one of the key factors that regulate Hsp60 expression in the hypothalamus and that in obesity this regulation is lost.
More . . .

Recipes

Cooking Light:
26 Comforting Dinners
Meant for cozy suppers on any day of the week, these crowd-pleasing entrées are likely to bring back delicious memories. Indulge in a gooey deep-dish pizza, or gather the family for a homey meat loaf meal.
MyRecipes.com:
Sirloin and Blue Cheese Salad
Lean sirloin steak sits atop a bed of fresh veggies for an easy weeknight main-dish salad. Top with crumbles of rich blue cheese to bring out the bold flavors in the homemade vinaigrette.
EatingWell:
Sausage & Peppers Baked Ziti
This healthy baked ziti recipe doesn’t require any chopping and is made on the stovetop, so it is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Using whole-wheat pasta adds fiber; opt for penne if whole-wheat ziti is hard to find.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Pork T-Bone with Walnut Bulgur Pilaf | Mulvaney's B&L, CA
What we love about this recipe is the Walnut Bulgur Pilaf. The walnuts add a little extra flavor and crunch to the side, not to mention nutrition. Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids; in fact 1/4 cup serving of walnuts gives you over 90% of the daily value for this essential fat. The health benefits range from cardiovascular protection, better cognitive functions, and anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Walnuts are just one of a few tree nuts with a high antioxidant content. All we know is that we're nuts about this dish!
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Garlic's Cancer-Fighting Potential

(Judy Foreman, Psychology Today) Chew a little raw garlic a couple of times a week and the risk of lung cancer drops by almost half. It drops by almost a third even if you’re a smoker.
News this good, not to mention this tasty, is rare in medicine, but that’s the conclusion of a large Chinese study published recently…
“This is additional evidence that garlic has some significant health benefits,” [John] Milner, director of the Human Nutrition Center at the Agricultural Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture, told me in a telephone conversation this week.
The new data from China fit with a longstanding body of research on garlic, which is high in sulphur-containing compounds, as a potential cancer-fighter. Sometimes called the “stinking rose,” garlic was first mentioned in the medical literature in 1550 B.C. in an Egyptian papyrus, then got a further whiff of credibility in 1858 when Louis Pasteur discovered that its juice kills bacteria.
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Multivitamins With Minerals May Protect Older Women With Invasive Breast Cancer

(Science Daily) Findings from a study involving thousands of postmenopausal women suggest that women who develop invasive breast cancer may benefit from taking supplements containing both multivitamins and minerals. The new research … found that the risk of dying from invasive breast cancer was 30 percent lower among multivitamin/mineral users compared with nonusers.
"Our study offers tentative but intriguing evidence that multivitamin/mineral supplements may help older women who develop invasive breast cancer survive their disease," said Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., lead author of the study…
"Controlling for these other factors strengthens our confidence that the association we observed -- between taking multivitamin/mineral supplements and lowering breast-cancer mortality risk among postmenopausal women with invasive breast cancer -- is a real one," said Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller.
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Hi-dose beats standard flu vaccine for elderly in long-term care, researchers find

(McKnight's Long Term Care News) Frail, elderly people in long-term care facilities received a greater antibody boost from a high-dose influenza vaccine than a standard vaccine in a recent study, researchers have announced. 
Prior clinical trials of the high-dose vaccine involved healthy seniors living in the community, creating doubt about how effective the vaccine would be for those in long-term care settings, according to Richard Zimmerman, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh. Zimmerman and his team tested the vaccine in this population.
The two-year study involved 200 long-term care residents with an average age between 86 and 87, who required assistance with many daily living activities.
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Protocol Speeds Emergency Department Discharge for Chest Pain

(MedPage Today) A 2-hour diagnostic protocol for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in the emergency department boosted early discharge of low-risk patients, a trial showed.
Almost twice as many patients appropriately went home within 6 hours when assessed with the protocol for discharge if the modified Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (MI) score was zero, and 0- and 2-hour electrocardiography and troponin tests came back negative compared with standard assessment using prolonged observation with the troponin test at 6 to 12 hours after onset of pain.
Whereas 19.3% were successfully discharged in the accelerated diagnostic group within 6 hours, it took 20 hours for the same proportion to be discharged from the control group, Martin Than, MBBS, of New Zealand's Christchurch Hospital, and colleagues found.
Community: I wish this is what they’d done for me. They charged thousands more dollars to Medicare than needed. Even with the troponin test they used, I could have gone home as soon as they found out I hadn’t had a heart attack.
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