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

Cheery News About Aging

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Population researchers have come up with a new way of looking at age, and it doesn’t have much to do with the year you were born.
Instead, a study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is aimed at refocusing the way demographers view, and report on, the world’s aging population. Instead of relying on chronology, the new framework encompasses such factors as health, cognitive function, and life expectancy.
Demographers have traditionally used chronological age as a proxy for those aspects of aging, but as lifespans lengthen and enjoying good health into later decades becomes more common, age in years no longer correlates with such characteristics, the study found.
“We should not consider someone who is 60 or 65 to be an older person,” said researcher Sergei Scherbov in an IIASA press release. “People now are much healthier and much ‘younger’ than people were at the same age in previous generations… (Saying) that ‘40 is the new 30’...is truer than people know.”
Community: Drs. Oz and Roizen were some of the pioneers in this area. Take their test to find out your Real Age, as opposed to your chronological age.
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Retirement: it just might be good for your health

(MarketWatch) The latest in the debate over whether retirement improves or worsens health appears in the current issue of The Journal of Human Resources. Its conclusion: “Results indicate that the retirement effect on health is beneficial and significant,” writes Michael Insler, an assistant professor of economics at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The boost to your health is comparable to reducing the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by 25%, for those of retirement age, Insler concludes…
Retirees have more time to invest in their health, he writes in the Journal. “It may be easier for them to quit smoking or to be more physically active when not burdened by the workweek grind.”
Insler based his findings on an analysis of data from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, which surveys a representative sample of 26,000 Americans over age 50 every other year.
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Older Adults: Build Muscle and You'll Live Longer

(Science Daily) New UCLA research suggests that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition -- and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI -- is a better predictor of all-cause mortality.
The study … is the culmination of previous UCLA research led by Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, … that found that building muscle mass is important in decreasing metabolic risk.
"As there is no gold-standard measure of body composition, several studies have addressed this question using different measurement techniques and have obtained different results," Srikanthan said. "So many studies on the mortality impact of obesity focus on BMI. Our study indicates that clinicians need to be focusing on ways to improve body composition, rather than on BMI alone, when counseling older adults on preventative health behaviors."
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Animal Protein May Prevent Functional Decline in Elderly

(Science Daily) A diet high in protein, particularly animal protein, may help elderly individuals maintain a higher level of physical, psychological, and social function according to a study…
Due to increasing life expectancies in many countries, increasing numbers of elderly people are living with functional decline, such as declines in cognitive ability and activities of daily living. This can have profound effects on the health and well-being of older adults and their caregivers, as well as on health care resources.
Research suggests that as people age, their ability to absorb or process protein may decline. To compensate for this loss, protein requirements may increase with age…
"Identifying nutritional factors that contribute to maintaining higher-level functional capacity is important for prevention of future deterioration of activities of daily living," said Dr. [Megumi] Tsubota-Utsugi. "Along with other modifiable health behaviors, a diet rich in protein may help older adults maintain their functional capacity."
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More Information and Recent Research on Healthy Aging

(Sharecare.com) Exercise doesn't just build and shape your body—it's like a body builder for your cardiovascular system. In this video, Dr. Mehmet Oz explains how getting exercise can help keep your heart from decreasing its muscle mass as you age.
(Science Daily) The ACE I/D gene and how its variations -- the ID, DD, and II genotypes -- cause some seniors' to lose out on the benefits of exercise, new research shows. These findings suggest that the ACE ..
(Dawn C. Carr, MGS, Ph.D., Psychology Today) There are numerous reasons why the returns far outweigh the time you invest, especially during lean times. I’ll point out just five reasons you should consider making volunteering a part of your every day life. 1. Volunteers live longer and are healthier… 2. Volunteering establishes strong relationships… 3. Volunteering is good for your career… 4. Volunteering is good for society… 5. Volunteering gives you sense of purpose.
(Reuters Health) Doing chores and errands in the course of caring for a disabled husband makes older women a bit happier than just doing housework for its own sake, a new study finds.
(Pauline W. Chen, M.D., New York Times) Over the last five decades, quality emergency care has become synonymous with speed… But when it comes to elderly patients, it is nearly impossible to work quickly… For several years now, a small but dedicated group of emergency medicine and geriatrics specialists has been working to improve this situation… To meet the needs of the rapidly growing elderly population, these specialists assert, medical centers must “geriatricize” their emergency departments.
(TED Radio Hour, NPR) Health advocate Rebecca Onie describes how our health care system can be restructured to prevent — and not just treat — illness.
More . . .


Monday is St. Paddy’s Day!
Cooking Light:
The eatin’ of the green
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Food News

(NPR) The more fast food you encounter where you live and work, the likelier you are to be obese, research shows. That suggests policies limiting fast-food outlets in neighborhoods may be onto something.
(UPI) U.S. researchers suggest two ways to improve the healthiness of school concession food -- add healthy items and improve the less healthy options.
(The Salt, NPR) Carrots don't stand much of a chance against cronuts when it comes to tweets and Instagrams about food. The new Food Porn Index aims to change the conversation by tracking our virtual cravings.
(Washington Post) “Now, I know this might not seem like an earth-shattering notion, though neither was planting a garden in the White House, I will remind you,” Michelle Obama said to laughter at the Washington Hilton on Friday, where she gave the keynote address at the Building a Healthier Future Summit. “But research clearly shows that home cooking is one of the single most impactful ways for families to improve their health.”
(The Salt, NPR) Learning to garden and cook with cheap, healthful produce helped JuJu Harris survive while raising seven kids on public assistance. In a new cookbook, she shares her tips for struggling moms.
(The Supermarket Guru) What it says it does: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has developed an app for cooks from all walks of life. CalCutter allows you to enter your own recipe and intended number of servings. CalCutter will then calculate the estimated calories per serving. You can ask CalCutter to convert your recipe into a healthier dish by suggesting changes that could lower the calories.
More . . .

States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows

(The Salt, NPR) When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.
You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.
So many states are rebelling against the cuts that House Speaker John Boehner is urging his fellow members of Congress to act.
"Since the passage of the farm bill, states have found ways to cheat, once again, on signing up people for food stamps," Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters Thursday. "And so I would hope that the House would act to try to stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing."
Community: Got that? Feeding poor people is cheating, according to the Republican leadership.
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Dental floss or interdental brush: Which works best?

(Consumer Reports) Q. My dentist told me to stop flossing—that it’s better to use something called an interdental brush. Is that true?
A… Some people find an interdental brush easier to use than floss for hard-to-reach areas. Whichever device you choose, make sure you also use toothpaste with fluoride, which helps prevent cavities.
Looking for the best electric toothbrush? Read our Buying Guide. And check out our review of at-home tooth whiteners
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P&G's smart toothbrush keeps tabs on tooth care

(Reuters)  Procter & Gamble Co is bringing the dentist into the bathroom with the world's first smartphone-connected toothbrush, a device that gives personalised advice to help people improve their brushing.
The toothbrush, to be sold under P&G's Oral-B brand and which will be widely available from June, has a Bluetooth 4.0 link to a smartphone app that can be programmed with the help of a dentist, for example to pay more attention to any areas of the mouth being neglected, P&G said.
"The app provides real-time guidance," Michael Cohen-Dumani, global associate director for Oral-B, told Reuters.
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Trouble with dizziness? See possible causes.

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Do you sometimes feel dizzy, lightheaded, or as if the room were spinning around you? If the feeling happens often, it could be a sign of a balance problem, a common reason older adults seek help from a doctor. See what can cause a balance problem and how it can be prevented.
To learn more, watch a video -- “Why Am I Dizzy?”
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Emotion Detectors Could Make Driving Safer

(Science Daily) Technology now allows us to read facial expressions and identify which of the seven universal emotions a person is feeling: fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, or suspicion. This is very useful in video game development, medicine, marketing, and, perhaps less obviously, in driver safety. We know that in addition to fatigue, the emotional state of the driver is a risk factor.
Irritation, in particular, can make drivers more aggressive and less attentive. EPFL researchers, in collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citro├źn, have developed an on-board emotion detector based on the analysis of facial expressions. Tests carried out using a prototype indicate that the idea could have promising applications…
Detecting emotions is only one indicator for improving driver safety and comfort. In this project, it was coupled with a fatigue detector.
Community: It could be a feedback mechanism that helpa teach drivers to handle inconveniences on the road in a healthier way.
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After North Carolina spill, coal ash ponds face extinction

(Reuters) Power producers' coal ash disposal ponds like the one that leaked toxic sludge into a North Carolina river in February may soon become a thing of the past.
After six years of deliberation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May will decide on changes to the Clean Water Act that would direct power companies to remove dangerous impurities, including carcinogens, from coal ash wastewater before releasing it into rivers that supply drinking water.
While the new regulations will not prohibit riverside coal ash disposal sites, the increased cost of wastewater treatment - up to $1 billion for the industry each year - could persuade power producers to move such sites inland, experts and industry groups said.
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Dirty air prompts free public transport in Paris

(The Local.fr) Authorities are hoping free rides on Paris's massive public transport network this weekend will be enough to entice drivers to get out of their cars and ease the levels of air pollution plaguing the region.
The French capital has been under maximum pollution alert for several days, as have many other regions across the country.
Jean-Paul Huchon, head of the organisation that oversees transport in Paris and neighbouring areas, said on Thursday that transport would be free from Friday morning to Sunday evening due to the "significant risks to the health of residents." 
Overall, more than 30 departments in France were hit by maximum level pollution alerts, prompting Ecology Minister Philippe Martin to say air quality was "an emergency and a priority for the government". In parts of Normandy air pollution levels are already at a record high, according to one expert.
Community: Free public transportation all the time could have a significant impact on pollution levels—worldwide. And on global climate change.
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Tiny Ultrasonic Device To Travel Arteries and Image Coronary Blockages

(Singularity Hub) There’s a rule of thumb in surgery—the less invasive the procedure, the better. Less invasive surgeries reduce patient discomfort, foster faster recoveries, and limit the risk of infection. Problem is, you have to get your eyes on a problem to solve it.
In heart surgery, for example, practitioners use external ultrasound to view blockages. The images are useful, but they are only good enough to serve as a general guide. Georgia Tech researchers, led by Professor F. Levent Degertekin, think they can improve the situation and even reduce the frequency of invasive heart surgery.
“If you’re a doctor, you want to see what is going on inside the arteries and inside the heart, but most of the devices being used for this today provide only cross-sectional images,” Degertekin says.
The group is building a tiny wired ultrasound device that surgeons can snake through arteries to provide a 3D, front-facing image of blockages in real time—the “equivalent of a flashlight” in the heart’s lightless passageways.
There are, of course, already internal ultrasound devices. These are used to image various organs—the stomach, for instance, by way of the esophagus. What makes this particular device special is its size and ability to travel into smaller pathways.
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Scientist urges withdrawal of his own 'breakthrough' stem cell research

(Reuters) A Japanese scientist called on Monday for his own headline-grabbing study on stem cells to be withdrawn from publication, saying its findings had now been thrown into too much doubt.
The research - hailed when it came out in January as a breakthrough that could herald a new era of medical biology - was covered widely in Japan and across the world after it was published in the highly reputable science journal Nature.
But since then, there have been reports that other scientists have been unable to replicate the Japanese team's results and that there may have been problems with its data and images.
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Federal High Risk Pools Extended For A Month

(Kaiser Health News) Participants in the federal high-risk pool created in the health law will have another month to find coverage, the Obama administration announced Friday.
In a notice posted on the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan website, officials announced that program enrollees who have not yet purchased coverage through the health law’s online marketplaces, or exchanges, could keep their current coverage until April 30 while they continue their search. But they must enroll in a new plan by April 15 to avoid any gaps in coverage.
This is the third extension for the program, known as PCIP, which was previously set to close Dec. 31, 2013. Existing funds will be used to cover the extension.
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Affordable Care Act News

(Bloomberg) Obamacare’s requirement that all Americans carry insurance or face penalties, part of the effort to gain universal coverage, may not be much of a rule at all.
(Reuters) President Barack Obama, aiming to allay concerns about the viability of his signature healthcare law, said on Friday enough people have enrolled to make its insurance marketplaces stable. "Well, at this point, enough people are signing up that the Affordable Care Act is going to work," Obama said in an interview with the medical website WebMD. "The insurance companies will continue to offer these plans."
(Reuters) Married gay couples will be eligible for a family health policy under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, beginning in 2015, the U.S. government said on Friday, encouraging insurers to begin offering coverage this year.
(Reuters) The lead agency for President Barack Obama's healthcare reform announced on Friday that it would require, rather than merely encourage, insurers that sell Obamacare policies to accept funds from a federal program that helps people with HIV-AIDS pay health insurance premiums.
(New York Times) The Obama administration issued stringent new standards on Friday for health insurance to address a flood of complaints from consumers who said that costs were too high and that the choice of doctors, hospitals and prescription drugs was too limited in many health plans offered this year under the Affordable Care Act. In deciding which products can be sold in the federal marketplace next year, officials said, they will scrutinize health plans more closely and rely less on evaluations by state insurance regulators and private groups that accredit health plans.
(Reuters) The Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a bipartisan deal to spare doctors from a looming Medicare pay cut but included a provision to undermine Obamacare, which critics said was a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
(ThinkProgress) The 2014 election cycle has already seen 12 times as many anti-Obamacare ads as a comparable period in 2010.
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Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

(NY1.com) It's the second-leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S., but it's also highly preventable.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time to remind people what they can do to prevent the deadly disease.
"Many people know about colonoscopies as preventing colon cancer, but modifying your lifestyle and practicing a healthy lifestyle can actually decrease your risk," says Dr. Gina Sam of Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Sam says that healthy habits are key to prevention. First, watch your weight. She says you should maintain a healthy diet that is high in fiber to help clear the colon, and limit red meat because of its high fat content.
Also, smoking has been linked to colon cancer, so kicking the habit can reduce your risk. The same goes for alcohol.
"Alcohol can increase your risk, so we suggest decreasing alcohol intake," Sam says. "For males, that means two drinks or less daily, and for women, that's one drink or less daily."
She also recommends a regular exercise routine and certain vitamins.
"Supplementing with calcium and Vitamin D has been shown to decrease your risk," she says. "You can get these from yogurt, milk products, low-fat cheeses, and you can also take a multivitamin over the counter."
Of course, there's also screening. A colonoscopy is one of the top reasons that this type of cancer is so preventable.
Community: More colon cancer news:
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Building Good Habits with no Willpower Involved

(James Clear, Psychology Today) Anne Thorndike is a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Recently, Thorndike and her colleagues completed a six-month study…
This study secretly took place in the hospital cafeteria and helped thousands of people develop healthier eating habits without changing their willpower or motivation in the slightest way…
Thorndike and her team proposed that by changing the environment and the way that food was displayed in the cafeteria, they could get people to eat healthier without thinking about it. There were multiple phases of the experiment, but the portion that really interested me focused on what Thorndike refers to as “choice architecture.”
Choice architecture is just a fancy word for “changing the way the food and drinks are displayed.” But, as it turns out, it makes a big difference.
The researchers started by changing the choice architecture of the drinks in the cafeteria. Originally, there were three main refrigerators, all of which were filled with soda. The researchers made sure that water was added to each of those units and also placed baskets of bottled water throughout the room.
Over the next 3 months, the number of soda sales dropped by 11.4 percent. Meanwhile, bottled water sales increased by 25.8 percent. Similar adjustments and results were made with food options. Nobody said a word to the visitors who ate at the cafeteria. The researchers simply changed the environment and people naturally followed suit.
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The only way to realize positive change in your life is by making good choices

(Kurt A. Carlson, Ph.D., Psychology Today) That’s right. The only way that you, I, my children, President Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Justin Bieber can positively change our lives is through the choices we make.
How can this be?
The key is recognizing that we make many more choices than we realize or that we are willing to acknowledge making.
We choose to watch scary movies. We choose to befriend people with good/bad habits. We choose to shake our dad’s hand instead of hug him. We choose to go to school. We choose to watch the evening news. We choose to live in the suburbs. We choose to commute a long distance. We choose to get married. We choose to have children. We choose. We choose. We choose.
There are some choices we make that don’t seem like choices at all. These generally fall into two categories: habits and normative behaviors. Habits are choices that we make so regularly that over time they require less and less executive control. As a consequence, they start to seem automatic. And for bad habits we may even be motivated to cede control to automaticity. That is, we may tell ourselves that the choice was made long ago and we are now at the mercy of the automaticity that has emerged in the wake of that initial choice.
An example of this is riding the elevator instead of taking the stairs. After years of riding the elevator to his office on the third floor, a middle aged man may find it nearly impossible to drag his body to the stairwell. His body seems to almost pull him to the elevator button instead. But the sooner the man acknowledges that he is choosing to take the elevator, the sooner he can begin looking for tricks to help him choose the stairs over the elevator—tricks like seeing if he can make it to the first, second, then third floor without breathing heavy.
Yes, we pretty much always have a choice. Even when it comes to norms that feel impenetrably strong, where no choice seems to exist, there is always a choice.
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A Magic Word To Combat Discouragement

(Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., Psychology Today) A few months ago I attended a helpful professional conference about strategies to lower anxiety. Dr. Stanley Hibbs, the presenter, shared an innovative strategy involving a powerful, anxiety dissolving word. As Dr. Hibb's puts it, "This word helps combat discouragement and turns potentially disastrous days into productive ones. It's good for your health, your self-esteem, and can make you a more productive, better person." The magic word is "Nevertheless." Here's some examples of how he uses it:
·         "I'm tired and I've earned the right to goof off. Nevertheless, I can get a few more things done and then relax." 
·         "It's very cold outside and I don't feel like walking today. Nevertheless, it's very important so I'm going to do it anyway."
·         "I'm upset and ice cream is my comfort food. Nevertheless, I will find a better way to deal with my feelings."
·         "I'm think I will fail this test but, nevertheless, I am going to start studying and give it my best."
If you try using this word in earnest you'll likely see its power. Dr. Hibb's states that "Nevertheless" allows us to pause and realize that we have choices. There are always reasons (or excuses) to succomb to anxiety and to do what's unhealthy, unproductive, or morally questionable. Nevertheless, we can still choose to do the right thing.
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'Love hormone' oxytocin may help fight food fixation

(Reuters) Oxytocin, a brain chemical known as the "love hormone", is showing promise as a potential treatment for people with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, according to research by British and Korean scientists.
In studies of anorexic patients, researchers found oxytocin altered their tendencies to become fixated on images of fattening foods and large body shapes - suggesting it could be developed as a treatment to help them overcome unhealthy obsessions with diet…
Oxytocin is a hormone released naturally in human bonding, including during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. As a synthesized product, it has been tested as a treatment for various psychiatric disorders. Some studies have shown it has benefits in lowering social anxiety in people with autism.
Community: You don’t have to be anorexic to have trouble making positive changes in your life. There are so many benefits to oxytocin, I keep wondering if we should put it in the water supply—world wide! Failing that, the guru of oxytocin research, Paul Zak, tells us how to raise oxytocin levels naturally.
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More Information and Recent Research on Positive Change

(Alex Korb, Ph.D., Psychology Today) Recent research demonstrates that the brain circuit for eating overlaps with the brain circuit for interpersonal relationships. This provides some new ways to trick the brain to help curb cravings and lose weight.
(Reuters Health) Looking to cut cravings? A recent study suggests the key may be attaining a sense of detachment from them through a form of meditation with roots in Buddhism.
(Huffington Post) [Consumer psychology researcher Meryl Gardner, Ph.D.] found that when she elicited bad moods among the participants (by having them read a sad story or writing in detail about things that make them sad), they were much more likely to choose indulgent snacks over healthy ones. .. But Gardner also found that pushing people to contemplate the future -- by having them imagine details about their future home -- strongly mitigated the effect of a bad mood on food choices.
(Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. , Psychology Today) If you're feeling exhausted and run-down, the problem might not be what you're doing but how you're doing it… Here are some ways that I'm trying to change how I do things, that might make an equally big impact for you: 1) Stop pushing… 2) Stop digging deep… 3) Leave space in your schedule for rest… 4) Stop rushing… 5) Don't withdraw your [energy] account to the last cent.
(Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., Psychology Today) [Y]ou can get better about not putting things off, if you use the right strategy. Figuring out which strategy to use depends on why you are procrastinating in the first place: Reason #1   You are putting something off because you are afraid you will screw it up. Solution:  Adopt a “prevention focus.”… Reason #2     You are putting something off because you don’t “feel” like doing it. Solution: Make like Spock and ignore your feelings. They’re getting in your way… Reason #3   You are putting something off because it’s hard, boring, or otherwise unpleasant. Solution:  Use if-then planning.
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Spicy Shrimp Noodle Soup
Filled with bold and exotic flavors, this Vietnamese-inspired soup is comforting and easy to make at home.
Shrimp & Spinach Quiche
This healthy quiche recipe is perfect for entertaining—the quiche can be made ahead and is just as flavorful served warm or at room temperature. Filled with shrimp, spinach, oregano, caramelized onions and feta cheese, this healthy quiche with a whole-grain crust is perfect for breakfast or brunch, or served with a light salad for lunch.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Chestnut Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms & Leeks
Stolen 'con permesso' from Emporio's Chef and Partner Ricardo Buitoni, this simple recipe is sure to impress. Emporio is a chic restaurant with a rustic, romantic charm, located in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood. The restaurant combines its fine cuisine with the unique ambiance of its custom-made glass atrium that looks up into the Manhattan sky.
Washington Post:
Andrew Weil,M.D.:
Pineapple Almond Shake
The almonds in this invigorating shake make it a terrific source of protein…
Food as Medicine
Almonds, like walnuts, cashews and many other nuts, contain healthy monounsaturated fats that, eaten in moderation, can lower the risk of heart disease, including heart attack. Studies have found that those who consume more than five ounces of nuts per week had one third fewer heart attacks than those who rarely or never ate nuts. Additionally, just one-quarter cup of almonds - the amount in this recipe - contains 45 percent of the Daily Value for both vitamin E and manganese.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Commonly Used Pain Relievers Have Added Benefit of Fighting Bacterial Infection

(Science Daily) Some commonly used drugs that combat aches and pains, fever, and inflammation are also thought to have the ability to kill bacteria. New research … reveals that these drugs, better known as NSAIDs, act on bacteria in a way that is fundamentally different from current antibiotics. The discovery could open up new strategies for fighting drug-resistant infections and "superbugs."
"We discovered that some anti-inflammatory drugs used in human and veterinary medicine have weak antibiotic activity and that they exert this secondary activity by preventing bacteria from copying their DNA, which they need to do in order to multiply," explains senior author Dr. Aaron Oakley of the University of Wollongong, in Australia. The researchers analyzed three NSAIDs: bromofenac, carprofen, and vedaprofen. The more commonly known NSAIDs, which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, were not tested.
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Statin Side Effects Are All In Your Head! Really?

(The People’s Pharmacy) The headlines have taken our breath away:
"Statin Side-Effects Questioned"
"Statins do NOT have major side effects, claims study"…
These headlines all resulted from an article published in The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (March, 2014).
Pretty much ignored by the press has been a section in this article titled: "Comparison with real-live clinical experience."The authors admit that:
"Many real-world patients report muscle-related symptoms with statins. This contrasts with the low placebo subtracted rate in blinded trials shown in this meta-analysis. Several explanations are possible. First, commercial sponsors of clinical trials may not be motivated to search exhaustively for potential side effects...Second, many trials do not state clearly how and how often adverse effects were assessed..."
Randomized clinical trials, especially those designed to obtain FDA approval, are not set up for detecting adverse drug reactions and they don't do it very well. They are really designed to demonstrate drug effectiveness rather than risk. A little-realized fact about such trials is that the way in which side effect information is collected may actually affect the study.
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Move to replace Pap smear with HPV test meets with skepticism

(Reuters) U.S. health experts recommended that a test for cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) be approved to replace Pap smears in screening most women for cervical cancer, but the plan met with some skepticism within the medical community.
Roche Holding AG is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to market its cobas HPV test, which detects the DNA of 14 strains of the sexually-transmitted virus, as a stand-alone tool to screen for cervical cancer risk in women age 25 and older.
But experts said it will be tough to convince doctors to move from the current testing guidelines, which call for the use of both Pap tests and HPV tests, since there have been no studies directly comparing the regimens.
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FDA chief defends new pain drug despite worries about abuse

(Reuters) The head of the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday defended the agency's approval of Zohydro, a powerful prescription opioid made by Zogenix Inc, saying it offers a "unique" option to treat pain despite concerns about potential abuse.
The FDA's approval of the drug has drawn a flood of criticism, including protests from the attorneys general of 28 states as well as dozens of groups representing doctors and addiction treatment specialists who are concerned that Zohydro will set off a wave of addiction similar to problems with the original form of OxyContin, another opioid.
These critics have petitioned the FDA to consider pulling the drug's marketing approval.
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Mother sues Missouri shop for selling gun later used in murder

(Reuters) A Missouri gun shop is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after selling a handgun to a woman who is charged with using it to murder her father.
The Washington-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence brought the suit on behalf of Janet Delana, who said she warned the gun store not to sell any guns to her daughter, Colby Sue Weathers, because of a long history of mental illness.
The suit comes at a time of growing concern about the mental state of people who perpetrate gun violence. Gunmen in shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and at a movie theater outside of Denver, for example, were described later as having psychological issues.
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Hospital News

(Science Daily) OrthoSecure(TM), a novel computer-based system for operating rooms that is designed to improve the care of patients undergoing a knee or hip replacement and to minimize the number of implant parts that are erroneously opened and not used, has been launched in an American hospital for the first time. OrthoSecure(TM) could lead to increased efficiency and significant saving to the U.S. health care industry.
(Reuters Health) Disparities between rich and poor in who survives major cancer surgeries may have more to do with the hospitals where they're treated than with individuals' wealth or lack of it, a new study suggests.
(FierceHealthcare) Hospitals that have visible and accessible chief nurses and also involve nurses in care-delivery decisions offer better quality of care, according to a new study… The study … examined the relationship between Magnet hospital and nurse-reported quality of care using cross-sectional data, including the American Hospital Association's annual survey, as well as an analysis of 56 Magnet and 495 non-Magnet hospitals. Researchers found that Magnet hospitals correlate with higher reports of excellent quality care.
(D Healthcare Daily) Increasingly, the hospital emergency department is becoming the admissions department. The ED now accounts for more than one-half of hospital admissions, according to a recent Rand Corp. study. The ED accounted for only about one-third of admissions in the early 1990s, and the number has grown by more than 50 percent since then… “The lower-acuity cases are gone now,” he said. “We can foresee a time when a hospital will become one big ICU.”
Community: Of course the hospital is now one big ICU. Hospitals have priced themselves out of the market for any care except the most critical.
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