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

Eating cruciferous vegetables may lower inflammation

(Reuters Health) In a study of more than 1,000 Chinese women, those who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had substantially less inflammation than those who ate the fewest.
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower, and eating them is often encouraged as a way to lower risk for heart disease and cancer.
Based on their findings, the study authors say the health benefits of these vegetables may be at least partly a result of their anti-inflammatory effects.
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Eating Fruits and Vegetables Lowers Heart Disease Risk in Women

(Medscape) Long-term follow-up from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study suggests that a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in women is associated with a lower risk of developing coronary atherosclerosis.
Interestingly, the association between a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and coronary artery atherosclerosis was not observed in men, a finding that has been reported in previous trials.
"We know that lifestyle behaviors are really the foundation of cardiovascular-disease prevention, including diet," said lead investigator Dr Michael Miedema (Minneapolis Heart Institute, MN) during a media briefing announcing the results. "There are several studies showing that a diet high in fruits and vegetables in middle-aged adults is associated with less coronary heart disease. As your fruit and vegetable intake goes up, your relative risk for developing coronary heart disease goes down. It's been seen in several other studies, but it's been most consistent in women."
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Give Your Diet a Spring Clean

(The Supermarket Guru) Springtime is here and SupermarketGuru wants to help you spring clean your diet and eating habits. Here are some easy tips and changes you can make today to not only spring clean your diet and pantry, but keep your health goals and possibly new year’s resolution in check!  Just think of making small changes or nudges, simple, subtle cues that prompt us to make better decisions.
Keep the fruits and veggies visible!...
Put the candy away…
Serve salads and healthy foods on green plates and desserts on red…
Use smaller plates…
Need to indulge, or make a dessert for company? Make smaller portions…
What to drink? Try placing water at eye level and other beverages at the bottom of the fridge.
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Can You Afford a Healthy Diet?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) For most of us, the answer to that question is “probably” even though the popular perception is that healthy eating is much more expensive than the cost of typical, and often unhealthy diets. A new report from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the additional cost to assure prudent nutrition is surprisingly low.
The researchers looked into the actual costs of a healthy diet compared to what you would pay for the unhealthy ones so prevalent in our society… Bottom line: the cost of pursuing a healthy diet amounts to only $1.50 per day more than the cost of consuming an unhealthy one…
This analysis goes a long way towards refuting the myth that healthy eating is much more expensive that the unhealthy western diet, and shows that the cost per person is likely less than that of a designer drink at Starbucks.
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More Information and Recent Research on Food and Health

(Leo Galland, M.D.) Present evidence indicates that the ability of your diet to provoke inflammation may be the most important factor in the relationship between diet and health… Numerous studies have shown that an anti-inflammatory diet helps to prevent heart disease, as well as high-blood pressure and diabetes. No single nutrient defines or determines an anti-inflammatory diet. It's the whole dietary pattern, the nature of the food, not just the individual nutrients. A wholistic systems approach is the future of nutrition science.
(The Atlantic) Researchers asked if one diet could be crowned best in terms of health outcomes. If diet is a set of rigid principles, the answer is a decisive no. In terms of broader guidelines, it's a decisive yes.
(Appetite for Health) Here are proven ways to help conquer your cravings and keep your willpower up all day long. Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady… Make Crave-able Foods Inconvenient… Check Your Hunger IQ… Avoid Alcohol… Get More Zzzs.
(The Supermarket Guru) Over a 15-week period, one supermarket placed life-size cutouts of real doctors and nurses along with health campaign messages throughout the store. The response? The cutouts and the health messages succeeded in getting customers to make healthier choices. Customers bought more fresh fruit, smoked fish and canned fruit during the trial at a Morrisons' store in Salford, Manchester. The study by the National Obesity Forum found that over a 15-week period, volume sales of fresh fruit in the store were 20 percent higher, and in control stores, frozen fruit sales were up by 29 percent.
(Deborah Cohen, RAND Corporation) An analysis of 30,923 menu items from 245 restaurant chains showed that 96% of meals served do not meet USDA nutritional guidelines. Beyond serving extra-large portions and failing to offer fruits or vegetables other than potatoes with most meals, many restaurants compound the threat by adding limitless quantities of bread or chips and providing free refills of sodas. That's why a group of 21 experts in the areas of nutrition, public health, obesity, law, and business recently developed restaurant performance standards intended to protect consumers from potentially harmful serving practices.
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Seared Scallops with Lemony Sweet Pea Relish
Pat your scallops dry with paper towels, and sear them in a superhot cast-iron skillet.
Korean-Style Beef & Cabbage Tacos
This Korean-flavored steak tacos recipe uses cabbage in three ways: a crisp cabbage leaf acts as the shell, sautéed cabbage is part of the filling and pickled cabbage tops off the tacos. You can prepare most of the ingredients ahead, so all you have to do is assemble the steak tacos when you’re ready to serve.
Los Angeles Times:
Fillets of sole Provençal
There's a simplicity to this fresh and colorful dish -- tender, light fillets baked quickly in a hot oven, then topped with a warmed Provençal-style salsa of Moroccan olives, capers, tomatoes and fresh basil. "It's a fresh and light summer fish dish," notes chef-owner Jean-Pierre Bosc, with "a sauce that can be used for any kind of fish."
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Great Gluten-Free Grains

(SouthBeachDiet.com) If you’re avoiding gluten, you can still enjoy healthful whole grains… Gluten-free grains may be found in mouthwatering breads and biscuits, delicious pasta dishes, and even tender pancakes. Here’s a guide to six of the most delicious…
Brown Rice…
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Should I Let Garlic Sit Out Before Cooking It?

(Huffington Post) Garlic's reputation as a health food comes from its contribution of organosulfur compounds to the human diet. Organosulfur compounds are notable because they have the potential to protect against conditions such as heart disease and cancer…
[A] 2001 study … showed that heating garlic in the microwave for 60 seconds or in the oven for 45 minutes seemed to affect garlic's ability to protect against a carcinogen in rats; however, letting the garlic "stand" for 10 minutes before heating it up in the microwave seemed to help retain some of its anti-cancer effects. Another study … showed that heating uncrushed garlic for six minutes suppressed its ability to inhibit platelet aggregation…
We asked Dr. Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH, … to explain what this research means for every day life. He notes that given the evidence in the lab and in animals, there's theoretically "a rationale to crushing or chopping the item and letting it sit out for a period of time in order to reap the potential benefits of these organosulfur compounds."
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Judge rejects ABC News bid to throw out 'pink slime' lawsuit

(Reuters) ABC News has failed to persuade a South Dakota state judge to dismiss a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit by a meat processor complaining about a series of reports that referred to its signature product as "pink slime."
Judge Cheryle Gering of the Union County Circuit Court ruled on Thursday that Beef Products Inc may pursue most of its case against ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co, and others including news anchor Diane Sawyer and reporter Jim Avila.
BPI claimed that ABC harmed its reputation and cost sales by mischaracterizing its "lean finely textured beef" as "pink slime" in reports aired in March and April 2012.
Community: Remember when the beef industry went after Oprah? Looks like we don’t have the right of free speech when it comes to criticizing entrenched corporate interests.
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Study: heart disease less likely for married people

(UPI) A study of 3.5 million U.S. adults found heart disease less likely for married couples than for those who are single, divorced and widowed.
Lead investigator Dr. Carlos L. Alviar, a cardiology fellow at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said earlier, smaller studies reported similar findings. But the size of this study, as well as the ability to consider four different vascular diseases -- peripheral artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm and coronary artery disease -- made this research different from anything previously done.
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Heart attacks spike following start of daylight saving time, US study finds

(ABC) Turning the clocks forward an hour in the spring for daylight saving time is followed by a spike in heart attacks on the Monday afterward, according to a US study.
But when the clocks fall back and people gain an hour of sleep, there is a drop in heart attacks on the Tuesday, said the research, presented at the American College of Cardiology conference.
The findings showed no change in the total number of heart attacks during the entire week following any clock change, indicating that the spike seen on Monday is levelled out in the days that follow.
Community: I really wish we’d just stay on daylight saving time. It’s the changing back and forth that causes the problems.
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Your Liver Delivers, Protect It From Harm

(NIH News in Health) Your liver works hard to protect your health. It’s a rugged, strong organ. But certain things—like alcohol, drugs, viruses, and excess weight—can damage it. You may not even realize when your liver is struggling, because liver disease usually has no symptoms until the problem becomes severe. Help your liver to guard your health by avoiding the things that might cause it harm…
NIH studies are focusing on an increasingly common type of liver disorder—known as fatty liver disease—that affects both children and adults. A healthy liver contains just a little fat or none at all. But too much fat buildup in liver cells can cause swelling and damage. Over time, the excess fat can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even liver failure.
“Estimates vary, but 2 different studies in the past decade suggest that about 30% to 45% of Americans have excess fat in the liver,” says Dr. Yaron Rotman, an NIH specialist in fatty liver disease. “It’s also becoming a huge problem for children and teens.”
Drinking too much alcohol can cause fatty liver. But a growing number of people who drink little or no alcohol are also being diagnosed with fatty liver. “The rise seems to be tied to the nation’s obesity epidemic,” says [Dr. Edward Doo, a liver disease expert at NIH]…
“To treat fatty liver disease, we recommend lifestyle changes: Weight loss for people who are overweight, and exercise and a healthy diet to help reduce fat,” Rotman says. “In many patients, just a 5-8% reduction in body weight will translate into a large improvement to liver damage.” For people with alcohol-related fatty liver, stopping alcohol use can reverse or prevent further liver injury.
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Erectile dysfunction can be reversed without medication

(UPI) Researchers in Australia found that a number of surveyed men were able to ward off ED symptoms by doing one or more of the following: improve nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol or get a better night's sleep. The researchers found addressing risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol also helped men struggling with ED…
"Sexual relations are not only an important part of people's wellbeing," explained Professor Gary Wittert, head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide. "From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal."
"The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues," Wittert added.
Community: And then there’s this:
(EurekAlert) Statins are associated with a significant improvement in erectile function, a fact researchers hope will encourage men who need statins to reduce their risk of heart attack to take them, according to research.
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Is Laughter the Best Medicine? Cartoons Could Help Patients Cope With Chronic Conditions

(Science Daily) Researchers from the University of Southampton have shown that cartoons could be a beneficial way of educating patients and empowering them to cope better with their long term conditions.
"Humour is frequently and naturally used by people with chronic illnesses to help them adjust and understand what is happening to them," explains Associate Professor Dr Anne Kennedy, who led the study. "Our study has shown that cartoons could provide clarity to patients and be a way to engage with them. It is an untapped resource and could be a potential approach to support self-management."
Cartoons are already used in patient information but the content is sourced from health professionals rather than directly from patient experience, a unique aspect of the Southampton study.
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Underweight People at as High Risk of Dying as Obese People, New Study Finds

(Science Daily) Being underweight puts people at highest risk of dying, just as obesity does, new research has found.
The connection between being underweight and the higher risk of dying is true for both adults and fetuses. This is so even when factors such as smoking, alcohol use or lung disease are considered, or adults with a chronic or terminal illness are excluded, the study found…
"BMI reflects not only body fat, but also muscle mass. If we want to continue to use BMI in health care and public health initiatives, we must realize that a robust and healthy individual is someone who has a reasonable amount of body fat and also sufficient bone and muscle," Dr. [Joel] Ray said. "If our focus is more on the ills of excess body fat, then we need to replace BMI with a proper measure, like waist circumference."
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'Anti-Aging' Hormone May Actually Shorten Life

(LiveScience) Call it anti-anti-aging therapy. It turns out that injections of growth hormone — a staple of anti-aging, hormone-replacement therapy — may have the opposite effect as intended, thwarting a person's quest to live to an advanced age.
In an ongoing study of very old people, those in their 90s with naturally low levels of human growth hormone appear to have a far better chance of living into their 100s compared with people who have above-average levels of the hormone.
In other words, juicing yourself up with growth hormones as an anti-aging strategy might backfire, undermining the body's natural defenses against the diseases of old age, according to researchers.
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US database for tracking Medicaid frauds falls short, auditor says

(Reuters) A federal data-sharing system meant to prevent healthcare providers banned from one state's Medicaid program from billing another state's program isn't working as intended, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.
Two years after its creation, the data-sharing system contained no records from 17 states or the District of Columbia of doctors, nurses or other healthcare providers who had been "terminated," or banned from billing Medicaid, for fraud or other offenses, the independent auditor said in a report … released Thursday…
The report also said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that maintains the data-sharing system, made no effort to require states to report banned providers, though it is legally empowered to do so, and that when states did report them, the data was often unreliable or incomplete.
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See If You Qualify for Free Tax Preparation Software

(USA.gov Team, via email) If your adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less in 2013, you may qualify to use a brand name tax software to prepare and e-file your taxes for FREE.
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Prescribing Exercise Before Pills

(The Atlantic) Depression is the most common mental illness—affecting a staggering 25 percent of Americans—but a growing body of research suggests that one of its best cures is cheap and ubiquitous. In 1999, a randomized controlled trial showed that depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise improved as much as those treated with Zoloft. A 2006 meta-analysis of 11 studies bolstered those findings and recommended that physicians counsel their depressed patients to try it. A 2011 study took this conclusion even further: It looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission—a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone.
Though we don’t know exactly how any antidepressant works, we think exercise combats depression by enhancing endorphins: natural chemicals that act like morphine and other painkillers. There’s also a theory that aerobic activity boosts norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood. And like antidepressants, exercise helps the brain grow new neurons.
But this powerful, non-drug treatment hasn’t yet become a mainstream remedy. In a 2009 study, only 40 percent of patients reported being counseled to try exercise at their last physician visit.
Instead, Americans are awash in pills. The use of antidepressants has increased 400 percent between 1988 and 2008. They’re now one of the three most-prescribed categories of drugs, coming in right after painkillers and cholesterol medications.
After 15 years of research on the depression-relieving effects of exercise, why are there still so many people on pills? The answer speaks volumes about our mental-health infrastructure and physician reimbursement system, as well as about how difficult it remains to decipher the nature of depression and what patients want from their doctors.
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Exercise Improves Health of Women With Heart Disease More Than of Men

(Science Daily) In the largest study to ever investigate the effects of exercise training in patients with heart failure, exercise training reduced the risk for subsequent all-cause mortality or all-cause hospitalization in women by 26 percent, compared with 10 percent in men. While a causal relationship has previously been observed in clinical practice between improved health outcomes and exercise, this trial is the first to link the effects of exercise training to health outcomes in women with cardiovascular disease…
"This trial was uniquely positioned to review results of exercise training in women compared with men since we included a pre-specified analysis of women, we used the largest testing database ever acquired of women and the population was optimized with medical therapy," said Ileana Piña, M.D., M.P.H., … clinical trial investigator and chair of the Steering Committee. "Heart disease has a major impact on women. Our goal is for these findings to greatly impact the management of this challenging syndrome."
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, responsible for one-in-four female deaths. Although women are twice as likely as men to develop heart failure following heart attack or cardiac ischemia, they are less often directed to complete an exercise program.
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Senior Physical Activity Program may Lower Health Care Costs

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, via email) EnhanceFitness, a senior physical activity program developed by the University of Washington Prevention Research Center (PRC), may help lower health care costs, according to a recent report to Congress.
The University of Washington PRC’s EnhanceFitness program was one of nine programs analyzed in a recent report to Congress by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The report’s findings concluded that EnhanceFitness, a community-based physical activity program for older adults, may help lower health care costs.
According to the 2013 State of Aging and Health in America, chronic illnesses account for 95% of health care costs for older Americans. CDC maintains that one of the four main causes of chronic illness is the lack of physical activity. EnhanceFitness encourages older adults to become more active through group classes that focus on cardiovascular health-enhancing physical activity, strength training, balance, and flexibility. The CMS report showed an estimated total medical cost savings of $945 among participants who enrolled in the program. The report also showed a decrease in unplanned hospitalizations and a cost savings of $545. A copy of the full report can be found here.
Learn more about the EnhanceFitness program:
·         EnhanceFitness Video
Read more.
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Lace Up Your Sneakers and Go Walk on April 2nd

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, via email) This year’s National Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association, is Wednesday, April 2. It is the perfect time to get out and walk. Walking is the most popular form of aerobic physical activity for adults in the United States. Whether you are walking your dog, walking with friends, or walking to get somewhere, every step counts towards your improved health.
National Walking Day raises awareness about the importance of physical activity. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, most adults need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve health—aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Walking is a great way to meet the aerobic part of the guidelines. If you are a walker, encourage a friend or colleague to start walking on April 2. If you do not regularly walk for physical activity, try it out. You will be surprised at how good a brisk walk may make you feel. 
How You Can Participate in National Walking Day:
·         Walk and invite your family, friends, and coworkers to join you. 
·         Invite your coworkers to bring their sneakers to work.
·         Encourage your employees to walk.
·         Change one of your meetings to a walking meeting and let your colleagues know why. 
·         Share with others CDC’s information on the importance of walking.
More Information:
·         Find out more about walking at the CDC’s Vital Signs on Walking.
·         Visit CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Web site for strategies to increase your physical activity levels.
·         Register to receive the National Walking Day Toolkit, which includes materials and tips for promoting National Walking Day in your community or workplace.

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More Information and Recent Research on Exercise and Fitness

(Science Daily) Practising sport for more than an hour day reduces the risk of contracting breast cancer, and this applies to women of any age and any weight, and also unaffected by geographical location. Compared with the least active women, those with the highest level of physical activity reduced their risk of breast cancer by 12%, researchers say.
(Huffington Post) Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that people who exercise three or more times a week have a 58 percent decreased odds of becoming visually impaired, compared with sedentary people, after adjusting for age. Visual impairment was defined in the study as vision loss from disease or trauma that is unable to be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
(Linda Wasmer Andrews, Psychology Today) Here’s some bad news you probably shouldn’t sit down for: Sitting for hours on end isn’t just bad for your waistline and physical health. New studies show that it also undermines your emotional well-being.
(Science Daily) Getting motivated to exercise can be a challenge, but new research shows that simply remembering a positive memory about exercise may be just what it takes to get on the treadmill. This is the first study to explore how positive memories can influence future workouts, and underscores the power of memory's directive influence in a new domain with practical applications: exercise behaviors.
(Deborah Enos, CN, LiveScience)  I know that exercise is good for me, but when I remember just how good it is, my excuses fall by the wayside. I've collected my favorite studies on the topic, and I post reminders for myself around the house to help keep me motivated. Here's a look at some of the health benefits of exercise: 1. Prevent cancer… 2. Prevent bone loss… 3. Promote weight loss… 4. Improve sleep.
(Mayo Clinic) Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise.. Check out these seven ways exercise can improve your life. No. 1: Exercise controls weight… No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases… No. 3: Exercise improves mood… No. 4: Exercise boosts energy… No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep… No. 6: Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life… No. 7: Exercise can be fun.
More . . .


Champion Chicken Parmesan
Try Asiago or provolone cheese in place of the mozzarella in this winning recipe for chicken parmesan.
Quick Fettuccine Alfredo
In this healthy fettuccine Alfredo recipe, the sauce for this classic pasta dish gets a makeover, using yogurt. Although we like to toss this creamy pasta sauce with fettuccine, any whole-wheat pasta can be used.
The Supermarket Guru:
Steal This Recipe® Miso Glazed Salmon, Teriyaki Vegetables & Pickled Shitake Mushroom Salad
This delicious recipe was 'stolen with permission' from Executive Chef Andrew Morrison of Habitat Restaurant, which can be found in the sustainably designed and constructed Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel. Located 'at the heart of Pittsburgh's business, cultural and retail hub' the stunning modern structure is a combination of steel and glass that definitely stands out. Rich in history and teeming with art galleries, theaters and restaurants, Pittsburgh is enjoying a renaissance and if you happen to be in the city you have to stop by Habitat!
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Braised Broccoli With Orange & Parmesan
A True Food Kitchen restaurant exclusive! My children like broccoli, and because it is so healthy I am happy to give it to them on a regular basis. With my kids, simpler is usually better, but in this case, the sweet-and-sour effect of the orange and tomato juices combined with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan makes them really love this dish. No vegetable suffers more from overcooking than broccoli, so watch it carefully! (True Food Kitchen chef, Michael Stebner)
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Bittman, Butter, and Better than Back to the Future

(David Katz, M.D., Yale Prevention Research Center) [Mark] Bittman says: bring back the butter.
Before you do, consider these points, in no particular order:
1) All ‘Western’ diets produce very high levels of heart disease, at least 80% of which has been shown to be outright preventable by a litany of studies spanning decades.
2) The new meta-analysis did NOT consider what was replacing the saturated fat in the diets of those who ate less, but others have told us that: mostly refined starch and sugar… So, the new study might just as well be interpreted to show that ‘adding sugar and starch to the diet in the place of saturated fat’ does not increase heart disease rates…
3) The new study did show lower rates of heart disease with both higher intake of monounsaturated fat, and omega-3 fat. There was a favorable trend with polyunsaturated fats in general, but this was not significant.
4) Overall, then, the study showed that some dietary fats can be beneficial to health, but saturated fats as a class were not among them. The best the study said of saturated fats is: they don’t seem to make things worse than the prevailing status quo[*]…
I don’t think butter is poison. Go ahead and have some if so inclined. But do it for pleasure, not health. The new study was not about butter, but had it been, it could have concluded that there are things we can eat instead that are just as good, or just as bad. Either way, there was no hint that adding butter to our diets would improve our health. Since other studies do show us how to do just that, why would we settle for a lateral move, and stay mired in a place where coronary disease is practically a middle-aged rite of passage? There are places around the world that get the healthy living formula right where heart disease is all but unknown…
Butter is not, and never was, a singular nemesis- any more than sugar is, or wheat is. But butter never did our health any favors either- however it may treat our taste buds. Advice to add it back takes us back, not forward, to our nutritional future. We know how to do far better.
Community: *But that status quo is a high level of preventable heart disease.
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Mediterranean diet linked to lower risk of diabetes

(Consumer Affairs) You've heard that adopting a Mediterranean diet is good for your heart. Now a study shows it is also linked to a lower risk of diabetes, especially among people at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
"Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race or culture," said Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Ph.D., professor at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece, and lead investigator of this meta-analysis to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
"This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet."
The study found that adherence to this diet was associated with a 21% reduced risk of diabetes, compared to the control dietary groups. This reduced risk was even more pronounced among people at high risk for cardiovascular disease – among whom diabetes prevention is especially critical.
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Don't want no goldanged gummint savin' MY life!

(Science Daily) Those hoping to dilute Americans’ taste for soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, and other sugary beverages should take their quest to school lunchrooms rather than legislative chambers, according to a recent study by media and health policy experts. Soda taxes and beverage portion size restrictions were unpalatable to the 1,319 U.S. adults questioned in a fall 2012 survey as part of a study.
Community: Apparently those U.S. adults hadn’t heard about the successes of smoking bans.
(Waterford Today) On the 10-year anniversary of the Workplace Smoking Ban (24th March), the Irish Heart Foundation is celebrating the more than 10% reduction in Irish heart attack rates which followed the ban's introduction.
(Science Daily) Policies prohibiting tobacco smoking in workplaces and other public spaces may substantially improve public health by reducing heart disease and death, according to a new study on the impact of Michigan's statewide smoking ban. In their study, researchers found a statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular disease and death with related hospitalizations decreasing by 2.03 percent from 65,329 to 64,002.
(Science Daily) The introduction of laws banning smoking in public places and workplaces in North America and Europe has been quickly followed by large drops in rates of preterm births and children attending hospital for asthma, according to the first systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of smoke-free legislation on child health.
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More severe heart disease found in patients with vitamin D deficiency

(American College of Cardiology) Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for heart disease with lower levels of vitamin D being associated with a higher presence and severity of coronary artery disease, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
A growing body of research shows that vitamin D may be beneficial in preventing heart disease. Several recent studies also support the idea that low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of heart disease; however, it is still not clear whether adding vitamin D supplements may help reduce that risk.
In the largest study of its kind to evaluate the relationship between vitamin D levels and coronary artery disease, vitamin D deficiency (20ng/mL) was observed in 70.4 percent of patients undergoing coronary angiography – an imaging test used to see how blood flows through the arteries in the heart. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, with a 32 percent higher occurrence in patients with the lowest vitamin D levels and a near 20 percent higher frequency of severe disease affecting multiple vessels. A progressive increase in heart disease was found according to the severity of vitamin D deficiency. Patients with values lower than 10 mg/dl had a near two-fold increased rate of coronary atherosclerosis as compared with those showing normal levels.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Polluted air linked to 7 million deaths in 2012 - WHO

(Reuters) Air pollution killed about 7 million people in 2012, making it the world's single biggest environmental health risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday. The toll, a doubling of previous estimates, means one in eight of all global deaths in 2012 was linked to polluted air and shows how reducing pollution inside and outside of people's homes could save millions of lives in future, the United Nations health agency said.
Air pollution deaths are most commonly from heart disease, strokes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is also linked to deaths from lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.
"The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe," said Maria Neira, head of the WHO's environmental and social public health department. "The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes," she said.
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'Mini Heart' Invented to Help Return Venous Blood

(Science Daily) George Washington University (GW) researcher Narine Sarvazyan, Ph.D., has invented a new organ to help return blood flow from veins lacking functional valves. A rhythmically contracting cuff made of cardiac muscle cells surrounds the vein acting as a 'mini heart' to aid blood flow through venous segments. The cuff can be made of a patient's own adult stem cells, eliminating the chance of implant rejection.
"We are suggesting, for the first time, to use stem cells to create, rather than just repair damaged organs," said Sarvazyan, professor of pharmacology and physiology… "We can make a new heart outside of one's own heart, and by placing it in the lower extremities, significantly improve venous blood flow."
The novel approach of creating 'mini hearts' may help to solve a chronic widespread disease. Chronic venous insufficiency is one of the most pervasive diseases, particularly in developed countries. Its incidence can reach 20 to 30 percent in people over 50 years of age. It is also responsible for about 2 percent of health care costs in the United States.
Community: Or, you can prescribe exercise.
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Small Wireless Pacemaker Safe, Effective in Early Testing

(Science Daily) A new small, wireless self-contained pacemaker appears safe and feasible for use in patients, according to a small study…
[T]he new pacemaker has no leads -- its pulse generator lies within the unit in the heart -- and is placed without the need for surgery.
At 6 millimeters in diameter and about 42 millimeters long, the wireless device is smaller than a triple-A battery. It's faster and easier to implant than traditional pacemakers, [said lead author Vivek Y. Reddy, M.D.], and it's programmed and monitored similarly.
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Health Insurance Mystifies Many Americans

(Scientific American) Last fall, researchers quizzed 6000 Americans, age 18 to 65, on health insurance and the new law. Half didn't know about the insurance marketplaces, or their subsidies. Forty-two percent couldn't define a deductible. And two thirds didn't know the difference between an HMO, with its restrictive physician network, and a PPO, which typically offers more flexibility…
Study author Silvia Helena Barcellos of USC says those most likely to benefit from the law—like uninsured young and low-income respondents—typically know the least. "It's very hard to believe that people will make informed choices…without having knowledge of these basic concepts." And until we master the basics, she says, simpler insurance options might be just what the doctor ordered.
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Democratic senators have new ideas for health care law

(McClatchy) Six Senate Democrats Thursday unveiled proposals to make changes in the Affordable Care Act, the health care law under fire from conservatives and Republicans…
Expanded Consumer Choice Act (S. 1729)… Provides a new lower cost, high-deductible option called the Copper Plan … that would give consumers more control over their own coverage, spur competition, and, most importantly, increase affordability…
Increased Competition for Consumers Act (S. 1333)… Restores startup funds for new consumer-driven health insurance cooperatives, now operating in 23 states…
Commonsense Competition and Access to Health Insurance.... Increases consumer choice by directing state insurance regulators to develop models for states to sell health insurance across state lines…
Small Business Tax Credits Accessibility Act....Improves flexibility, increases affordability, and eases the transition for our small businesses by making Small Business Health Care Tax Credits available for a longer period of time and accessible to more employers…
Small Business Stability Act...Expands the option for voluntary coverage to employers with fewer than 100 employees, about 98 percent of all businesses…
Treating Families Fairly… Counts family members working for the same business and on the same employer health plan as one full-time equivalent employee for the purposes of ensuring larger businesses offer coverage to their full time workers.
Consumers Having Options in Choosing Enrollment (CHOICE) Act… Provides a permanent path for consumers to seamlessly enroll directly through insurers or certified web-based entities, in addition to enrolling through healthcare.gov…
Enhancing Access for Agents and Brokers Act… [A]ccess for agents and brokers to help families and small businesses enroll in health plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
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