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

Better park signs can spur more people to exercise, study says

(Los Angeles Times) If a city wants healthier residents, it might consider new signs in its parks and other simple measures, according to a Rand Corp. study out Thursday that indicates it can be inexpensive to get people to be more active.
Given the widespread calls for Americans to exercise more, from the first lady to the corner gym, the researchers decided to see if they could increase use of and activity in local parks. They picked 50 parks in Los Angeles, gave some of them $4,000 apiece to spend in efforts to increase use of the parks, and then looked at what happened from 2007 to 2012
The study found that spending on marketing and outreach increased physical activity by 7% to 12%, compared with parks that did not make changes.
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Exercise May Help Knees More Than Glucosamine And Chondroitin

(NPR) In [a study], 60 percent of patients taking [a] sugar pill said their pain was reduced by about 20 percent, while 66 percent of those taking the supplements reported similar pain reduction…
But for a small subset of patients, those with moderate to severe arthritis pain in a knee, there was some benefit.
There's abundant evidence that losing weight and regular exercise are the most effective treatments available for osteoarthritis pain, White adds. "It's quite striking," [says Dr. Patience White, a rheumatologist and spokesperson for The Arthritis Foundation]. "If you lose only five pounds, you're talking about the equivalent of 20 pounds [less stress] across those knees, so you can imagine it would make quite a difference."
Pretty much any type of exercise seems to reduce pain and increase flexibility, according to [Dr. David Felson, a rheumatologist at Boston University School of Medicine]. "There have been a variety of different exercise studies which have tried everything from water aerobics to walking to muscle strengthening, and they all seem to work."
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Exercise and cholesterol

(Counter Clockwise) [M]edical researchers are becoming increasingly convinced that “good” and “bad” cholesterol numbers, and their ratios, are less meaningful than was previously thought.  It turns out that it is the size of the lipoproteins, both the “good” and the “bad” ones, that may be what play the significant role in heart disease, diabetes and longevity.  Yay! Another number!  Apparently, small particles are better at digging into the walls of blood vessels and creating the conditions for plaque to form.  Larger, “fluffier” particles don’t do this…
As regular readers of this blog know, I never pass up an opportunity to tout the benefits of exercise, so let me pass along this good news from researchers at Duke University Medical Center:  Exercise makes small dense LDL particles (the most harmful kind) “larger and fluffier”… which translates into lowered risk.
The blood test you get as a part of your annual exam… does not count small particles versus large particles within the LDL and HDL. For those numbers, you need to ask your health provider to order either a VAP or an NMR test.  It may be, next week or next year or ten years from now, we discover that these numbers are less than meaningful, and another metric reveals itself to be the magic measurement of heart and artery health.
I expect that will happen.  I also expect that an active, engaged life and a diet rich in whole foods will remain the keys to enhancing vitality and health.
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Vigorous workouts lower risk of high blood pressure

(Reuters Health) Exercising for fun may lower the risk of high blood pressure, but heavy lifting on the job does not offer the same benefit, according to a new review of the evidence.
Researchers looking at studies that followed nearly 137,000 people found that recreational exercise for more than four hours a week was linked to a 19 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure compared to doing little or no leisure-time exercise.
But people with similar levels of physical activity in the course of work had about the same risk as those in less strenuous jobs…
People experience more stress at work, and the kinds of physical activity individuals do in the work environment is different, said [Dr. Martha] Daviglus, who was not involved in the study. "When you exercise, you have to be completely relaxed."
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Exercise May Work Out Well for Your Nose

(LiveScience) Regular exercise may lower the risk that a person's sense of smell will fade, which tends to happen as people age, a new study finds.
The study included about 1,600 people ages 53 to 97 who didn't have any problems with their sense of smell at the study's start, and were followed for up to 10 years. Researchers tested the participants' ability to detect eight odors, including chocolate and coffee, three times over the course of the study. Participants also reported their exercising habits.
During the study period, about 28 percent of people developed impairment in their sense of smell, and the results showed a link between exercising habits and smelling ability, after adjusting for age and gender.
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More Information and Recent Research on Exercise and Fitness

(MedPage Today) Checking on exercise habits should be as common as blood pressure measurement at routine office visits, according to the American Heart Association. The exercise check-up should cover how often, how long, how intense, and what type of physical exercise patients do, whether at home, work, or play, Scott Strath, PhD, … and colleagues wrote in a statement from the organization. This "vital health measure" should be tracked regularly over time, they asserted.
(LiveScience) If you think doing household chores will save you a trip to the gym, you might want to think again. A new study from Northern Ireland finds that people who report housework as part of their weekly exercise tend to be heavier than those who get their exercise through more traditional means. In fact, the more time people said they spent performing housework as exercise (which they considered moderate to vigorous physical activity), the heavier they tended to be. 
(Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Aerobic dance therapy is the newest form of aerobic exercise treatment to receive scientific scrutiny as a health-promoting intervention. Trademark programs such as "Jazzercise" and "Bodystep" have, for years, been providing instructors with professionally choreographed sets of moves that are safe, effective and- most importantly- fun. The "fun" element of aerobic dance is key to getting busy people who hate exercise into a gym.  The music is contemporary, upbeat, and motivating-- designed to get the heart rate high enough to allow participants to enter their training zone in which they are optimally burning fat.  Adding to these benefits, at about 20 minutes in the typical one-hour session, the body's endorphins will "kick in," and participants will experience a burst of positive mood and energy that carries them through the rest of the hour if not the day. 
(Joshua Gowin, Ph.D., Psychology Today) A recent review tested whether exercise decreased depression. When including all 35 potential studies comparing exercise to no treatment, exercise provided a modest benefit. However, when only the 6 studies that made every effort to minimize bias were included, exercise’s benefits were small and statistically insignificant. That's far from a slam dunk.
(North Carolina State University) Blueberries have high concentrations of polyphenols, a class of bioactive compounds in fruits and vegetables that help lower blood pressure and blood glucose, reduce inflammation, and fight off the damaging effects of free radicals. A recent NC State clinical trial … shows that exercise enhances the absorption of these polyphenols.
More . . .


Chipotle Chicken Cheesesteaks
This sandwich packs in gooey cheese, smoky spices, and chunks of chicken for a comforting family-friendly dinner.
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.
Dinner in a Hurry!
Prepare a memorable family dinner in a flash with these 30-minute dishes.
The Supermarket Guru:
Honey Roasted Chicken with Tzimmies | Max's Bar & Restaurant, CA
'Stolen with permission' from Billy Berkowitz, Director of Operations at Max's Bar & Restaurant, in Burlingame, California, the Berkowitz family has shared with us a delicious, old-time family recipe. Berkowitz's Grandma's Honey Roasted Chicken with Tzimmies is a popular dish at the restaurant, and this simple recipe will bring back memories of hearty meals cooked in grandma's kitchen!
Whole Grains Council:
Multi Grain Corn Flour Waffles
A little sweet, a little savory. Soft inside, with a cornmeal crunch. Delicious for breakfast, or even for lunch!
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Consumer Question: Is Corn a Vegetable or a Grain?

(Whole Grains Council, via email) The short answer is:  it's both. Here's the longer answer...
When we consume fresh corn (or frozen, or canned) it is considered a starchy vegetable. Once corn has been dried, its hardened form is considered a grain. So while popcorn (without scads of added butter or oil) is a filling, healthy snack - it is not a vegetable. (Sorry, snackers!)
Besides the popular popcorn, ground corn - as a grain - is often used in products like tortillas, grits and polenta. These mainstays of Mexican, Southern and Italian cuisines may be new and tasty ways for you to get your grains in! Just make sure to look for whole grain versions of tortillas, grits, polenta and other milled-corn foods.
We often get asked if fresh corn counts toward qualifying products for the Whole Grain Stamp. Our answer is yes, since we think it's a little silly to quibble about fresh corn vs dry corn. However, all that extra water in fresh corn doesn't count, so a standard 80 gram serving of fresh corn would count as about 20 grams of whole grain.
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Getting Sick of Kale?

(The Supermarket Guru) Kale is all the rage and rightly so. It is a powerful food rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and more - but there are other cruciferous vegetables that can provide you with the variety in taste and texture with similar health benefits that your body and taste buds are looking for.
The entire cruciferous family contains vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, as well as chemicals known as glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing chemicals that are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavor of cruciferous vegetables. They break down into several biologically active compounds that are being studied for possible anti-cancer effects.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Making Sense of Conflicting Advice on Calcium Intake

(Science Daily) In recent years, studies have reported inconsistent findings regarding whether calcium supplements used to prevent fractures increase the risk of heart attack.
Now, in an assessment of the scientific literature…, a UC San Francisco researcher says patients and health care practitioners should focus on getting calcium from the diet, rather than supplements, when possible.
"Osteoporosis may result from inadequate calcium intake and it's quite common for certain segments of our population, such as the elderly, to consume less than the recommend amount," said Douglas C. Bauer, MD…"But a high calcium diet should be the preferred method to receive adequate amounts of the nutrient. The Institute of Medicine's recommended dosage for post-menopausal women over the age of 50 and men over 70 is 1,200 mg per day.
"If it is not possible to consume enough calcium from the diet, the use of calcium supplements is most likely safe and not associated with cardiovascular outcomes," he said.
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Women's Health Initiative reaffirms use of short-term hormone replacement therapy for younger women

(National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) Investigators from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Hormone Trials are reaffirming conclusions that hormone therapy is not recommended for the prevention of chronic disease, but may remain a reasonable option for the short-term management of menopausal symptoms for younger women. Investigators reached this conclusion after reviewing data from the trial and the extended post-trial follow up period.
“While the risk versus benefits profile for estrogen alone is positive for younger women, it’s important to note that these data only pertain to the short-term use of hormone therapy,” said Jacques Rossouw, M.D., chief of the Women’s Health Initiative Branch within the NHLBI’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. “There are no reliable data on the risks or benefits of long-term hormone therapy use for the prevention of chronic diseases.”
The update and overview, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) presents the extended follow-up data for the first time and highlights findings related to conditions that affect quality of life. The paper also provides the most comprehensive look at the trials’ findings to date, with more detail on individual disease-specific outcomes, side-by-side comparisons of the two therapies (estrogen-alone and estrogen plus progestin), and a full breakdown of results by age and over time.
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Brain may flush out toxins during sleep

(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) A good night’s rest may literally clear the mind. Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours. These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease…
“Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain. It appears to be a completely different state,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc…., a leader of the study.
For centuries, scientists and philosophers have wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Only recently have scientists shown that sleep is important for storing memories. In this study, Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues unexpectedly found that sleep may be also be the period when the brain cleanses itself of toxic molecules.
Their results, published in Science, show that during sleep a plumbing system called the glymphatic system may open, letting fluid flow rapidly through the brain. Dr. Nedergaard’s lab recently discovered the glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
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Colon Cancer Prediction Could Get Easier

(MedPage Today) A risk index score based on phenotypic characteristics could be a useful and cost-effective way of optimizing screening for colorectal cancer among asymptomatic adults, a researcher said…
Among a group of individuals classified as being at low risk based on features such as age, sex, and smoking, the risk of having advanced colorectal neoplasia was [low], Thomas F. Imperiale, MD, … reported…
"[W]hat we can say to patients at high risk is that they have a one in four chance of having an advanced polyp, so colonoscopy is advisable. For those at low risk, sigmoidoscopy may suffice," he told MedPage Today.
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CT, MRI Overused for Headache, Study Finds

(MedPage Today) Despite current guidelines that recommend against CT or MRI for uncomplicated headaches, primary physicians have been ordering nearly $1 billion worth of scans per year, researchers reported…
During routine visits to a primary care physician, CT or MRI were ordered for 9.1% … of chronic primary headache patients, and for 13.6% … of migraine patients, according to Brian C. Callaghan, MD, … and colleagues.
"Neuroimaging is routinely ordered even in common clinical contexts (migraine, chronic headaches, [in the] absence of red flags) where current guidelines explicitly recommend against its use," Callaghan and colleagues wrote.
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A Lost Generation of Young Scientists? Grad Student Voices Concern About Research Funding Crunch

(Science Daily) Alexis Carulli wants to make a difference in fighting human disease. So do the thousands of bright graduate students like her, and recent Ph.D. graduates, working in medical research laboratories around the country.
But with federal scientific research funding flat, eroded by inflation and cut by budget sequestration, Carulli worries for her generation of aspiring biomedical scientists.
In a new article…, she speaks up about it, to make sure the voice of the young scientist is heard. She describes the potential effect of ongoing instability in research funding -- and highlights the very real impact that today's science funding climate is having on the daily lives and career plans of young researchers-in-training.
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Affordable Care Act News

(ThinkProgress) The leader of a top conservative advocacy organization believes that people who are born with congenital illnesses should pay more for health care coverage and rely on family and friends if they can't afford their medical bills.
(ThinkProgress) Poll numbers suggest that the GOP effort to undermine Obamacare has little public support -- even among Republican voters.
(ThinkProgress) 56,000 new people have signed up for Oregon's Medicaid program so far this month. Most of them wouldn't be eligible for coverage without Obamacare.
(Science Daily) As the nation prepares for more uninsured Americans to gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a question hangs over crowded emergency rooms: Will the newly insured make fewer ER visits than they do today? According to the results of a new … study … [, w]hile the number of ER visits will likely stay about the same, clinic visits will likely go up.
(Kaiser Health News) MNsure officials say about 3,700 visitors to the site are in the enrollment process — they’ve taken the step of selecting coverage through MNsure and are in the payment process if their plans require payment. That’s about 30 percent of the total number of accounts opened. The majority of those in the enrollment process are qualified for government programs such as Medicaid or MinnesotaCare, the state’s plan for low-income people. About 400 accounts are enrolling in individual or family commercial plans. Four small businesses have completed setting up an employee health plan through MNsure.
The opening of the MNSure website was plagued with technical problems. It appears largely to have recovered, though wait times for the call center are still longer than projected.
(Reuters) Community organizations and non-profit groups that were supposed to help millions of Americans sign up for "Obamacare" are trying to manage mounting frustration with a federal website hobbled by technical problems.
(Shots, NPR) Maryland-based Evergreen Health Co-op is one of nearly two dozen nonprofit insurers created by the health act. They will be owned by the policyholders and are supposed to add competition and lower prices for coverage. they're supposed to add competition and lower prices for medical coverage. But they can't do either without customers.
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Tough Medicare Decisions Await Bipartisan Budget Panel

(Kaiser Health News) The deal President Barack Obama, Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling includes a bipartisan panel charged with producing a long-term budget agreement…
Medicare currently accounts for 16 percent of the federal budget, a share that will grow as more baby boomers age into the program. About 50 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries now receive benefits through the program…
The following ideas are expected to be part of any Medicare discussion.
Wealthier Beneficiaries Pay More for Medicare:…
Medigap Changes: Both sides may also agree to discourage the use of “first-dollar” Medicare supplemental policies. The thought is that more generous Medigap plans encourage overuse of services, but seniors rely on these plans to shield them from unanticipated costs.
Starting in 2017, the president’s budget plan would require new beneficiaries who purchase more generous Medigap plans to face a surcharge of approximately 15 percent of the average Medigap premium…
Higher Beneficiary Cost Sharing:…
Premium Support/Higher Eligibility Age:…
Provider Cuts:…
Drug Rebates:… The proposal would alter drug costs for approximately 11 million low-income Medicare beneficiaries, about 9 million of whom are known as “dual eligibles” because they qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid…
Analysts don’t downplay the task ahead but also say that what Washington and the country have been through in the last few weeks may motivate lawmakers to get something done.
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Broccoli, Peanut Butter, Soy, Walnuts Are Cancer Fighters

(Science Daily) Spraying a plant hormone on broccoli -- already one of the planet's most nutritious foods -- boosts its cancer-fighting potential, and researchers say they have new insights on how that works. They published their findings, which could help scientists build an even better, more healthful broccoli.
(Appetite for Health) Eating peanut butter as a teenager has been found to reduce breast cancer risk later in life, according to a new study… How could peanut butter reduce risk for [benign breast disease (BBD)]? Researchers aren’t completely sure, but assume that it may be [due] to replacing animal protein and fats with plant-based sources.  Or, it may be due to one of peanut’s many health-promoting nutrients, including: Arginine… Resveratrol… Proanthocyanidins.
(Barry Boyd, M.D., Oncologist/Hematologist) As the field has evolved, better research on long-term outcomes in very large populations of breast cancer patients confirms that soy is NOT bad and has no adverse impact. It may even be beneficial as part of a healthy, prudent plant-based diet.
Community: It’s not just not bad. Non-GMO soy, such as edamame, may actually fight cancer.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Eating walnuts daily appears to protect against prostate cancer, at least in mice. A new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio showed that after researchers injected the animals with human prostate cancer cells, tumors started to grow. But of the 19 mice that received a walnut-enriched diet, only three developed tumors compared to 14 of 32 mice whose diets did not include walnuts.
Community: More on food and cancer:
Andrew Weil, M.D.: Breast Cancer: Bad Foods
Andrew Weil, M.D.: Breast Cancer: Good Foods
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How to Cut Prostate Cancer Risk

(Bloomberg) A set of six healthy habits, including eating more tomatoes and less processed red meat, helped men reduce their risk of dying from prostate cancer, a study found.
Researchers analyzed information gathered from almost 46,000 men for 25 years and found that those who adopted five or six of the habits had a 39 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer than those who adopted one or none of the habits, according to the results… In another study involving more than 21,000 men, the risk reduction was 47 percent.
Each of the six habits, which also included not smoking, exercising, eating fatty fish and having a body-mass index of less than 30, has been linked with lowering prostate cancer risk, but their joint effect hasn’t been studied before, said Stacey Kenfield… The scientists are now studying which elements play the most important role in reducing cancer risk, she said.
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Walking tied to fewer breast cancers in older women

(Reuters Health) Older women who take regular walks are less likely to get breast cancer than their less-active peers, according to a new study.
American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers found postmenopausal women who walked for at least one hour each day had a 14 percent lower chance of getting breast cancer than infrequent walkers. More vigorous exercise was tied to an even lower risk.
"The exciting piece about this is that you don't need to be a marathon runner to lower your risk of breast cancer," Alpa Patel, the study's senior author, said.
"Just going for a one-hour walk a day could have a significant impact on lowering your risk," Patel, a senior epidemiologist at ACS in Atlanta, added.
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The Stress and Cancer Link

(Science Daily) In an unexpected finding, scientists have linked the activation of a stress gene in immune-system cells to the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body.
Researchers say the study suggests this gene, called ATF3, may be the crucial link between stress and cancer, including the major cause of cancer death -- its spread, or metastasis. Previous public health studies have shown that stress is a risk factor for cancer.
Researchers already know that ATF3 is activated, or expressed, in response to stressful conditions in all types of cells. Under typical circumstances, turning on ATF3 can actually cause normal and benign cells to commit suicide if the cells decide that the stressors, such as irradiation and a lack of oxygen, have irrevocably damaged the cells.
This research suggests, however, that cancer cells somehow coax immune-system cells that have been recruited to the site of a tumor to express ATF3. Though it's still unclear how, ATF3 promotes the immune cells to act erratically and give cancer an escape route from a tumor to other areas of the body.
"It's like what Pogo said: 'We have met the enemy, and he is us,'" said Tsonwin Hai, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study. "If your body does not help cancer cells, they cannot spread as far. So really, the rest of the cells in the body help cancer cells to move, to set up shop at distant sites. And one of the unifying themes here is stress."
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More Information and Recent Research on Cancer

(McClatchy) When U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a groundbreaking report in 1964 linking smoking to cancer, the disease was a whispered word – and a likely death sentence. In the decades since, researchers and doctors have worked to stamp out the many diseases known as cancer. And today, the fight against cancer stands at a place of unprecedented progress, with research yielding new drugs, more knowledge about cancer-causing genes, better prevention and improved public awareness.
Community: I remember when a cancer diagnosis was almost always a death sentence. Now it often is not. That’s a lot of progress, to my mind.
(MarketWatch) Rising breast cancer incidence and mortality represent a significant and growing threat for the developing world, according to a new global study commissioned by GE Healthcare. Explained report co-author Bengt Jonsson…: "Breast cancer is on the rise across developing nations, mainly due to the increase in life expectancy and lifestyle changes such as women having fewer children, as well as hormonal intervention such as post-menopausal hormonal therapy. In these regions mortality rates are compounded by the later stage at which the disease is diagnosed, as well as limited access to treatment, presenting a 'ticking time bomb' which health systems and policymakers in these countries need to work hard to defuse."
(American Association for Cancer Research) Older cancer survivors living in rural areas were more likely to forgo medical and dental care because of financial concerns compared with older cancer survivors living in urban areas, according to a study…
Risk Factors
(Reuters) The air we breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and is being officially classified as carcinogenic to humans, the World Health Organization's cancer agency said on Thursday. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited data indicating that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution, and said there was also convincing evidence it increases the risk of bladder cancer.
(Science Daily) High levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the "good cholesterol," are thought to protect against heart disease. However, what’s good for one disease may not be good for another. High levels of HDL have also been linked to increased breast cancer risks and to enhanced cancer aggressiveness in animal experiments.
(Science Daily) Mexican scientists identified and quantified the amount of aflatoxins (carcinogenic) in food such as corn tortilla, rice, chili pepper, processed sauces, chicken breast and eggs, and revealed its relationship with cervical and liver cancer in humans.
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Cooking Light:
105 Slow-Cooker Recipes
Our escape on a chilly evening? The slow cooker. Come home to our favorite main dishes, sides, appetizers, and drinks that are sure to soothe your family with the simple joys of comfort food.
Spaghetti with Sausage and Tomato Sauce
This versatile Italian dish goes from stovetop to table in less than 30 minutes. Serve with a simple salad for a filling weeknight meal.
Pork & Snap Pea Lo Mein
Lo mein is a Chinese restaurant takeout favorite that’s easy to make at home. This lo mein recipe features lean pork loin chops and snap peas, but snow peas or asparagus work well too. Serve with shredded radish and cabbage tossed with rice vinegar.
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Wheat – Don't Shoot the Messenger

(Whole Grains Council) Twenty percent of the world’s calories come from wheat, according to the United Nations – a larger share than any other single food. Ever since our distant ancestors discovered that this grain could be mixed with water, left to ferment, then baked to airy, crusty perfection on hot rocks, wheat has been a cherished staple of diets around the world.
And yet a few popular diet books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain now advise us to “Just Say No” to wheat, cutting it completely from our lives. In today’s blog, we’ll take a closer look at some of the fictions in these fad books and some interesting facts about modern wheat.
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Onion Essentials

(SouthBeachDiet.com) Onions and other members of the allium family, such as shallots and scallions, are kitchen staples that lend flavor and texture to everything from stews and soups to casseroles and salads. Ranging in color from red to white to yellow, they can be mild and sweet or strong and pungent.
Besides enhancing the taste of many dishes, onions offer a nutritional boost: They’re a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate, and shallots contain vitamin B6 and iron. In addition to vitamin C, onions contain other antioxidants, including the flavonoid quercetin, which may help prevent cancer and heart disease by combatting cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Quercetin is found in apples and tea, too, but it is more readily absorbed from onions than from tea or apples, research shows.
Want to get more of the health-promoting substances in onions? Here is a guide to the most common types of onions and a few close relatives. You’ll also find a selection of recipes that feature onions, not necessarily as the central ingredient, but in a flavorful, supporting role.
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Are You Choosing the Right Salmon?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is one of my favorite foods. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats offer protection against:
·         Heart attack and stroke
·         Cancer
·         Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
·         Mental and emotional problems…
I suggest you choose wild-caught salmon, especially from the Pacific fisheries - they are more sustainably fished and have a larger, more stable population. If wild-caught salmon is cost-prohibitive, canned salmon (choose products containing salmon from wild, not farmed, sources) is a good alternative.
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The App Review: Farmstand

(The Lempert Report) What it says it does: Farmstand connects you with locally grown food. Farmstand has created easy ways for users to discover and share the best of their local farmers’ market. Find markets in your area, share photos, post deals you’ve found, and help support your local community by telling everyone what’s great at your farmers’ market.
What it actually does: Find farmers’ markets in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and more.  Take photos of the market, food, and vendors and share posts across Facebook and Twitter…
Cost: Free
Rating: 4 of 5 
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Vitamin D Still Useful

(The Supermarket Guru) The colder months are here, and that means it's time to talk Vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin! During fall and winter, the sun sets earlier, its rays are weaker, and we have the tendency to stay indoors longer. So how are we supposed to obtain this essential 'sunshine' vitamin when nature is working against us? And by the way, a lack of vitamin D is fairly common in those who live in warm sunny climates as well as colder climates.
So why do we need it? It seems like everyday researchers are finding that vitamin D plays a role in almost every aspect of human metabolism…
The National Institute of Health recommends at least 600 IU of vitamin D daily but even that might not be enough to sufficiently raise blood levels. As always consult your health practitioner before supplementing with vitamin D and changing your diet. It is also advised if supplementing with vitamin D to have your blood levels checked regularly.
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A Push to Sell Testosterone Gels Troubles Doctors

(New York Times) Sales of prescription testosterone gels that are absorbed through the skin generated over $2 billion in American sales last year, a number that is expected to more than double by 2017. Abbott Laboratories — which owned AbbVie until Jan. 1 — spent $80 million advertising its version, AndroGel, last year.
Once a niche treatment for people suffering from hormonal deficiencies caused by medical problems like endocrine tumors or the disruptive effects of chemotherapy, the prescription gels are increasingly being sold as lifestyle products, to raise dipping levels of the male sex hormone as men age.
“The market for testosterone gels evolved because there is an appetite among men and because there is advertising,” said Dr. Joel Finkelstein, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who is studying male hormone changes with aging. “The problem is that no one has proved that it works and we don’t know the risks.”
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Shutdown Hampers Readiness for Influenza Season This Year and Next

(news@JAMA) States from coast to coast are reporting their first cases of seasonal influenza, but the flu trackers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remain sidelined by the government shutdown, leaving state authorities blind to the national picture and likely delaying future preparedness efforts…
So far, the flu season appears to be off to a slow start, said Greg Poland, MD, head of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, but he cautioned that situation could change very quickly. He noted, for example, that the 2009 pandemic influenza outbreak began in rural Mexico and very quickly spread to Texas and the rest of the United States but that the CDC was able to identify the strain quickly, track its spread, and provide public health authorities with valuable information about the strain.
“We don’t have national health security the way we need to have it,” Poland said. “The situation can change in an instant.”
The lack of national flu tracking data could hinder public health officials’ influenza response this year and next. Poland said that in addition to tracking flu season trends, the CDC usually collects influenza samples and sequences them to assess the strains circulating and determine whether one might pose a pandemic threat.
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IBM, Cleveland Clinic collaborate to develop Watson technology for patient care

(Crain’s Cleveland Business) The supercomputer technology that defeated the world's best Jeopardy! players is now even smarter, thanks to a collaboration between IBM Research and the Cleveland Clinic.
IBM worked with the Clinic to develop two new technologies designed to use IBM's Watson technology to improve patient care.
The Lerner College of Medicine — a collaboration between the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University — has plans to test out both of the new technologies: WatsonPaths and Watson EMR Assistant.
One day, WatsonPaths should be able to help doctors diagnose patients and solve medical problems, because it can understand spoken language and can consult a vast amount of medical research in an instant…
As for Watson EMR Assistant, the college has been running a pilot study on the technology for the past three weeks. Watson EMR is designed to help health care providers analyze electronic medical records.
Watson learns as it interacts with humans, so the studies conducted at the Lerner College of Medicine should help the technology improve.
Community: It’s appropriate. Watson’s namesake, after all, was a fictional doctor.
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Using Mobile Devices to Look Up Drug Info Prevents Adverse Events in Nursing Homes

(Science Daily) Nearly nine out of 10 nursing home physicians said that using their mobile devices to look up prescription drug information prevented at least one adverse drug event in the previous month, according to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Biomedical Informatics study…
Adverse drug events are associated with an estimated 93,000 deaths and $4 billion in excess health care costs in nursing homes each year, said lead investigator Steven M. Handler, M.D., Ph.D… In the nursing home setting, half of these events are thought to be preventable.
"Most U.S. nursing homes do not have electronic medical record systems and, as a result, physicians frequently do not have access to current medication information at the point of prescribing," Dr. Handler said. "The lack of accurate and timely medication information can lead to adverse drug events and drug-drug interactions. Our hypothesis was that if physicians could look up drug information first, many of these mistakes could be avoided."
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The Medical Biz

(MedPage Today) Salaried physicians working at an academic medical center practiced "better medicine" when bonuses were tied to quality measures. Can this Massachusetts plan be a winner in other states?
(MedPage Today) Serious payment reform in this country needs to retain some form of fee-for-service, the leading culprit of the ongoing health spending spree, a health policy expert said.
(MedPage Today) Physicians need to broach discussions about out-of-pocket costs with patients the same way they discuss a treatment’s side effects, public policy professors wrote.
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