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

Survey: U.S. centenarians don't feel a day older than 83

(UPI) Survey: the nearly 53,000 centenarians in the United States say they feel 83 and they want to have dinner with Barack Obama, Betty White or Hillary Clinton.
A UnitedHealthcare telephone survey of 104 U.S. centenarians found 36 percent of the centenarians said they felt blessed to live to 100, 31 percent said they felt happy and 12 percent said they were surprised. More than half said they lived independently, without the support of a caregiver to assist in daily activities.
More than 302 baby boomers age 65 were also surveyed and on average, said they felt 10 years younger.
Nine of 10 centenarians said the key to healthy aging were staying close to friends and family, 88 percent said maintaining a sense of independence and 86 percent said eating right was key to living a long life.
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The Pernicious Decline in Purpose in Life with Old Age

(Maclen Stanley, Psychology Today) Sociologists have noted that purposeful roles for older adults are largely lacking in today’s Western societies… [T]he increase in the healthy lifespan of adults has not been equally met by changes in social norms and institutions aimed at channeling aging adults’ passions, goals, and interests. Today’s “purpose” for older adults is retirement; a domain much less suited for meaningful goals and contributions.
This decline in purpose with old age is particularly troubling, given that purpose has been shown to play a key role in markers of physical health and well-being during the later years…
Preventing older adults from withdrawing socially appears to be an imperative in preserving a sense of purpose. As a sort of double-edged sword, modern technology will likely continue to increase the age span of our older adults while simultaneously crafting technologies that might make them feel detached from the broader social world. Practitioners face challenges in the coming decades in facilitating older adults’ passions, goals, and aspirations in the context of our hierarchical age-based society.
Community: But, technology also makes it easier for us to connect: “Retirees who use the Internet less likely to be depressed: study.”
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What not to do

(Lauren Kessler, Counter Clockwise) You already know the grand trifecta of avoidable age-promoting, illness-enhancers, the short what not to do list: 1. Don’t smoke. 2. Don’t sit around on your butt. 3. Don’t eat junk. Also: Please please don’t fall for any product, therapy or treatment that sounds too good to be true. (It is.)
Now here’s some fresh advice, especially for mid-life and beyond:
Don’t use your chronological age as an excuse for not living a vibrant, full engaged life…
Don’t opt out…
Don’t segregate yourself…
Don’t always look back. Don’t assume your best years are behind you. Don’t assume because you haven’t yet done something, you can’t do it. Remembering and reminiscing is fine. And processing the past is an important part of growing into the next phase of your life – but so is looking ahead with curiosity, energy and excitement. In fact, that is the definition of a youthful, counterclockwise life.
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Top 3 Foods for a Longer Life

(ABC News) The ultimate Eat It To Beat It foods are the ones that help you live longer and stay healthy. And there’s been a lot of research in the longevity area recently.
For starters, a 20-year study from University of California researchers discovered that common sense, good judgment, persistence, and commitment to hard work are some of the personality traits that predict a long life. Another study found that those who sleep 5 to 6.5 hours a night live the longest—they found that less than five hours is not enough sleep and eight hours too much.
Certain foods can help increase our lifespans, too. Here are three that could help you live longer.
Red Wine [or the resveratrol extracted from red grapes]…
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More Information and Recent Research on Aging

(Senior Housing News) Buy a lower-maintenance home, work part-time in retirement.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Nationwide, the life expectancy of white women without high school diplomas fell from 78.5 in 1990 to 73.5 in 2008, according to the study. Lifespans for white men with no diplomas fell from 70.5 to 67.5 over the same period."It is as if Americans with the least education are living in a time warp," said S. Jay Olshansky, professor in the school of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and lead researcher on the study. "The declines were more rapid and larger than anything we've seen in history."
(LiveScience) Middle-aged and older adults who take daytime naps may be at increased risk of dying, a new study from England suggests.
(Science Daily) Genetic mutations are commonly studied because of links to diseases such as cancer; however, little is known about mutations occurring in healthy individuals. Researchers have now detected over 400 mutations in healthy blood cells of a 115-year-old woman, suggesting that lesions at these sites are largely harmless over the course of a lifetime.
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Cooking Light:
Top-Rated Tilapia Recipes
Sensational recipes for this versatile, budget-friendly fish.
Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts
Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. Your family will love the comforting flavors, and you'll love that it's surprisingly low in calories.
Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables
Here's a healthy twist on shrimp scampi. We left out the butter and loaded the dish up with red peppers and asparagus for a refreshing spring meal. Serve with quinoa.
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Food News

(Huffington Post) Dietary fiber is comprised of carbohydrates that cannot be digested by humans, as well as lignin, which is a compound that forms the cell wall of plant cells. Benefit #1: Cholesterol Lowering Effects… Benefit #2: Heart Disease Reduction… Benefit #3: Blood Sugar Control… Benefit #4: Treating and Preventing Constipation… Benefit #5: Weight Control.
(Bloomberg) “Americans are gobbling up protein like it’s their last days,” said Kantha Shelke, principal at food science researcher Corvus Blue in Chicago. “Protein is the new black.” Enter pulses, a branch of the legume family that includes dried peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils and brings a health-food halo via protein without the fat and cholesterol associated with animal products. Traditionally sold only in the health-food aisle, they have found their way into Newman’s Own pretzels, Barilla pasta, Post cereal, even Triscuit crackers.
(Reuters) People in the European Union, who according to a United Nations body eat way more protein than necessary, could prompt big cuts in nitrogen pollution if they halved their meat and dairy consumption, a U.N.-backed report said on Friday. Nitrogen is used in fertiliser to replace nutrients which are removed by soils during plant growth but excess nitrogen can harm the environment by polluting water, air and soil.
(Fox News) New research links moderate wine consumption with a lower prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD); and, for those who already have CKD, the study indicates some wine consumption may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
(OC Register) The revamped labels, which include more prominent calorie counts and more information about sugar and key nutrients, are more than cosmetic. They’re the first substantive changes in the system since Nutrition Facts labels were implemented nationwide in 1993. The new model is meant to help consumers make healthier decisions about the food they buy, based on new scientific evidence that has emerged over the last couple decades.
(LiveScience) Nutritionists and consumer advocates have voiced their desires for improvements, such as a more prominent display of the number of calories or the inclusion of the level of added sugars. Yet lost in all this discussion about how to improve labels is the fact that food sold today is so unhealthy that it requires a label. Therefore, what's really needed is an improvement to the quality of the food, not just the food labels.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Vitamin D Supplements Have Little Effect on Risk of Falls in Older People

(Science Daily) A new meta-analysis … concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplements prevent falls, and that ongoing trials to test this theory are unlikely to change this result.
The study, by Dr Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and colleagues, analyzed findings from 20 randomized controlled trials which tested the potential of vitamin D supplements to reduce falls, in a total of 29535 people. The findings show that supplements do not reduce falls by 15% or more, meaning that the amount that vitamin D supplementation reduces fall risk at a population level is very low.
Falls can be devastating for older people, and strategies to reduce fall risk are urgently needed as the global population ages.
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Aspirin's benefit in preventing colon cancer depends on DNA

(Reuters) Cancer is the first disease where physicians have personalized treatment, matching a tumor's genetics to the appropriate chemotherapy, and now it may be the first in which prevention, too, can be personalized.
Two decades after scientists discovered that aspirin might reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, a new study finds that it has that benefit almost exclusively in people with genes that produce high levels of a particular enzyme. Those whose DNA produces low levels of the enzyme benefit hardly at all, scientists reported on Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"If you have low levels of (the enzyme), taking aspirin to reduce your colon cancer risk is probably not helping you," said Dr. Sanford Markowitz, professor of cancer genetics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland and co-leader of the study. "But people with higher levels are getting a bang for the buck: The combination of high enzyme levels plus taking aspirin really seems to be the key to measurably reducing colon cancer risk."
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Novel Compound Halts Cocaine Addiction, Relapse Behaviors

(Science Daily) A novel compound that targets an important brain receptor has a dramatic effect against a host of cocaine addiction behaviors, including relapse behavior, a University at Buffalo animal study has found…
In the study, the compound, RO5263397, severely blunted a broad range of cocaine addiction behaviors.
"This is the first systematic study to convincingly show that RO5263397 has the potential to treat cocaine addiction," said Jun-Xu Li, MD, PhD, senior author and assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
"Our research shows that trace amine associated receptor 1 -- TAAR 1 -- holds great promise as a novel drug target for the development of novel medications for cocaine addiction," he said.
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Not So Harmless? Pot Linked to Heart Problems

(LiveScience) Pot may not have a chilling-out, calming effect on everyone — evidence is emerging that for some people, smoking marijuana could increase the risk of heart problems, doctors say.
In a new study, researchers used data from a database called the French Addictovigilance Network, gathered from 2006 to 2010. Of the nearly 2,000 reported complications related to marijuana, the researchers found that 2 percent, or 35 cases, involved heart problems. These cases included 20 people who suffered a heart attack, and nine who died.
Researchers found most patients were men, with an average age of about 34. Regular marijuana users with a family history of heart disease had an increased risk of heart disease, according to the study.
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(Newsweek) [O]n April 23, 1984, Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler announced that Dr. Robert Gallo, then the chief of the National Cancer Institute Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, and his colleagues had made a major discovery: the cause of AIDS. It was a virus that would come to be known as HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.
(New York Times) Vaccines against cervical cancer work well even in sexually active women with H.I.V., a new study has found. It also found that women who already have one or two strains of the cancer-causing virus can be protected against others.
(Science Daily) A new vulnerable site on the HIV virus has been found, which may lead researchers closer to developing a vaccine for the illness. "HIV has very few known sites of vulnerability, but in this work we've described a new one, and we expect it will be useful in developing a vaccine," said one researcher.
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FDA's proposed e-cigarette regulations don't go far enough

(Consumer Reports) The FDA will regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, since the liquid nicotine in the devices comes from tobacco. Under the proposed rules, e-cig manufacturers would have to register with the FDA, provide a list of ingredients in the products, disclose scientific data and manufacturing processes, allow FDA inspectors into the plants, and put warning labels on products saying that they contain nicotine, an addictive substance. Manufacturers also would be prevented from marketing the products to people younger than 18 in person or online, sell them in vending machines in places where minors are allowed, offer free samples, or claim that the products are safer than cigarettes unless they get approval from the FDA by submitting scientific data.
“Those are all good things,” Lipman said. “But there are some important gaps. For instance, the proposed regulations don’t ban flavored e-cigs, like bubble gum and grape, which may act as a come-on for kids." Nor do the new regs restrict the marketing of e-cigarettes by, for example, banning ads for the products on TV, as is done for cigarettes.
Perhaps most important, the proposed regulations don’t make any judgment on the safety of the products or just how effective they are in helping people stop smoking.
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Could shared sex toys transmit HPV?

(Reuters Health) Women with the potentially cancer-causing human papillomavirus, or HPV, may be putting their partners at risk if they share sex toys during intimate relations, a new study suggests…
Lead author Dr. Teresa Anderson, from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said the small study is the first to examine whether vibrators could be transmitting the virus between sex partners.
"Sex toys used between partners within the same sexual encounter have the potential for transmitting HPV," Anderson told Reuters Health. "Cleaning the sex toy has the potential to decrease the amount of HPV DNA we can detect and so can potentially decrease the risk of transmission."
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FDA: DNA Test Can Replace Pap Test

(MedPage Today) The FDA has approved a molecular test for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA as a first-line, stand-alone screen for cervical cancer.
The agency approved the cobas HPV test to screen women ≥25 for infection with 14 high-risk HPV strains, including HPV 16 and 18, which account for most cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. and worldwide.
The approval follows a unanimous recommendation from an FDA advisory committee that reviewed evidence on test results presented by FDA staff and by the test manufacturer, Roche Molecular Systems.
"Today's approval offers women and physicians a new option for cervical cancer screening," Alberto Gutierrez, PhD, of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.
Community: But unless the new test is cheaper or better, why wouldn’t we go with the one that’s been proven reliable over many, many years?
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Skin Layer Grown from Human Stem Cells Could Replace Animals in Drug, Cosmetics Testing

(Science Daily) An international team led by King's College London and the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) has developed the first lab-grown epidermis -- the outermost skin layer -- with a functional permeability barrier akin to real skin. The new epidermis, grown from human pluripotent stem cells, offers a cost-effective alternative lab model for testing drugs and cosmetics, and could also help to develop new therapies for rare and common skin disorders…
The new study … describes the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to produce an unlimited supply of pure keratinocytes -- the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of skin -- that closely match keratinocytes generated from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and primary keratinocytes from skin biopsies. These keratinocytes were then used to manufacture 3D epidermal equivalents in a high-to-low humidity environment to build a functional permeability barrier, which is essential in protecting the body from losing moisture, and preventing the entry of chemicals, toxins and microbes.
A comparison of epidermal equivalents generated from iPSC, hESC and primary human keratinocytes (skin cells) from skin biopsies showed no significant difference in their structural or functional properties compared with the outermost layer of normal human skin.
Community: I do look forward to the day that we stop torturing animals.
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Affordable Care Act News

(Consumer Reports) [T]axes have not been raised for ordinary, non-wealthy Americans to pay for the Affordable Care Act.
(ThinkProgress) Once Americans don't have to worry about losing the insurance they get through their jobs, they'll be freed up to make different decisions.
(ThinkProgress) The last thing Obamacare opponent Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) probably expected at a town hall with constituents was to learn that a member of his own staff benefits from one of the law's provisions.
(The Upshot, New York Times) The legacy achievement of the Obama administration has also become its largest political conundrum. Many Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act — but for different reasons, coming from different sides. To get the law through Congress (barely), the administration chose a middle ground that relies on the private insurance system and a mandate that individuals buy insurance. To many Americans, especially conservatives, that approach involves too much government involvement. To many others, the approach involves too little; they would prefer that government insure most people directly, as it does for older people through Medicare. Obamacare, however, exists in a middle ground between the two.
(New York Times) Despite strong dislike of President Obama’s handling of health care, a majority of people in three Southern states – Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina – would rather that Congress improve his signature health care law than repeal and replace it, according to a New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
(Politico) Millions of the plans that were canceled because they did not meet Affordable Care Act requirements probably would have been canceled anyway — by the policyholders, a new study suggests. Last fall, as cancellation letters arrived in mailboxes around the country, opponents of the law cited them as evidence that President Barack Obama had lied to Americans when he promised, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”
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Optimistic spouse better for partner's health

(HealthCanal.com) Having an optimistic spouse predicted better mobility and fewer chronic illnesses over time, even above and beyond a person's own level of optimism, according to a new University of Michigan study…
Researchers used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a national study of American adults over age 50. The study's 3,940 adults (1,970 heterosexual couples) were tracked for four years and reported on their physical functioning (mobility, motor skills), health and number of chronic illnesses.
Past research found that social support may partly explain the link between optimism and enhanced health. Optimists are more likely to seek social support when facing difficult situations and have a larger network of friends who provide that support.
In addition, optimists engage in healthier lifestyles that simultaneously minimize health risk factors for illness, said Eric Kim, … the study's lead author.
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How Happiness Affects Your Health

(Rebecca Scritchfield- Eat + Run, U.S. News & World Report) When you’re happy, you’re more likely to stick to your healthy habits, such as exercising and eating well. In turn, these habits engage the hormones and neurotransmitters that influence your happiness. When your mood is down, you’re more likely to skip workouts, do some heavy-duty emotional overeating and have difficulty sleeping. While temporary stress often suppresses our appetite, chronic stress has been found to increase appetite and food cravings, and that in turn leads to weight gain. Because stress is very difficult to avoid, the key is to learn the right methods to cope with it before it negatively affects your health.
Exercise decreases the body’s level of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), while increasing levels of feel-good endorphins (serotonin and dopamine). Set fitness goals, such as achieving a personal record in a race or mastering a new yoga pose. As you feel stronger and gain stamina, you'll probably see a boost in self-esteem, pride and confidence.
Whether it’s a 10-minute break or a 60-minute “happy hour," finding time for yourself every day will make you a happier and healthier person.
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The Nurturing Powers of Mother Nature

(Christine Louise Hohlbaum, Psychology Today) [T]here are many health benefits to spending time in the Great Outdoors. Study after study has proven you can decrease the likelihood of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and increase your stamina by taking a moment to stroll through the park, woods or nearby green space.
This summer I took a five-week sabbatical to really live the slow with the kids. Like the 281.3 million other annual National Park visitors, we spent more time outside than inside. Even when it got really hot (Death Valley, California is the hottest place on Earth for a reason!), we tried to spend at least thirty minutes outside. In fact, our favorite place to stay was at the Ponderosa Ranch & Resort in a Chuckwagon just outside Zion National Park. The cool night temperatures and the crickets lulled us to sleep under the tarplan. It was magic and the best night's sleep we got the whole month! Why? Because no air conditioning rattled us awake at 3 a.m. The air was pure, the entertainment simple…
One of the greatest benefits of being outside were the vistas. Instead of telling the kids we were going for a hike, we'd tell them we were taking pictures. It seemed to work because before they knew it, they had walked two miles up and down rocky paths…
Nature is grand and possesses incredible healing prowess. Spend some time outdoors each day. It will do you, and your heart, a lot of good!
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Prevention Versus Cure

(Matthew J. Edlund, M.D., Psychology Today) The United States is now spending about 18 percent of its GDP on health care. European states spend about half that proportion.
Their health statistics are better. 
Why? Yes, it’s true they usually have somewhat rationally, nationally organized medical care. More importantly, it’s in their national interest to advance the national health—as cheaply and efficiently as they can.
So what if we did as Europe and most of the developed world does. What could we do with an extra trillion or two every year we ineffectively spend on American medical care? Could we make cities more walkable? Get all growing kids fresh food? Clean up the water supply? Or just reduce our government budget deficits down to nothing?
Prevention is often better than cure. Not getting lung cancer is an immense personal and public bounty that doesn’t fully show up in cost benefit analyses.
But saving money is a worthy goal. Adopting public health goals can do more than save lives.
It can save lots of money. It can help a struggling economy.
For a healthy population is a more productive population—in pretty much every way.
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More Information and Recent Research on General Health

(New York Times) The health benefits of owning a pet, particularly a dog, are well documented and wide-ranging, from cardiovascular to social.
(The Atlantic) New research shows that people are more health-conscious at the start of each new week, so health advocates are encouraging everyone to harness the psychological power of Mondays.
(LiveScience) Members of the quantified self movement use technology to collect data about themselves, for self-insight and self-improvement. As tools to track our lives become more ubiquitous, experts say they could help the general public become healthier.
(Medical Daily) Co-investigator Gary Wittgert says failures of sexual health may be symptomatic of wider health ailments… "Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern. The major risk factors for this are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnea, and age."
Community: But watch out for Drugs That Dim Your Sex Drive.
(Michael Castleman, M.A., Psychology Today) If you spend a good deal of your free time drinking alcohol and munching junk food while watching TV, you’re on a one-way ride to sexual impairment. But if you get off the sofa, take a daily half-hour (or longer) walk, lose some weight, and replace the chips and Big Macs with salads and fruit snacks, you're on your way to becoming healthier, living longer, and feeling more sexually fulfilled.
(Marty Nemko, Ph.D., Psychology Today) What if you’re worried about some sensation, for example, an unexplained headache or stomach pain? I again rely on my doc’s advice: “If it isn’t scary or severe pain, wait a week or two. Most pains go away by themselves.” And if you don't see the doc, it's no cost, no hassle, no errors.
Community: When I was growing up, we didn’t run to the doctor for every little thing. So I still don’t.
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Grilled Cumin Chicken with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce
Bring the heat of the southwest to the dinner table with a delicious take on the weeknight meal of grilled chicken. Serve with chipotle rice.
Wok-Seared Chicken Tenders with Asparagus & Pistachios
Here's an East-meets-West stir-fry that will soon become a family favorite. Serve it over rice with a simple salad of arugula and orange sections dressed in a light vinaigrette.
Gingered Tofu Salad
This colorful combination of crisp vegetables and warm tofu makes a quick and tasty protein-packed meal. Make sure to press most of the liquid out of the tofu so that it browns well when seared. Look for edamame (Japanese soybeans) in the frozen section of your supermarket.
Mayo Clinic:
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Food News

(Conner Middelmann-Whitney, Psychology Today) The Mediterranean Diet doesn't just lower our risk of disease. It's also a lot more environmentally-friendly than the Standard American Diet, research shows. On Earth Day (and beyond), let's eat like Mediterraneans!
(Science Daily) Rice is becoming a trendy culinary selection of many restaurant menus, but also the go-to solution for consumers looking for gluten-and allergen-free choices rich in nutrients. The National Restaurant Association’s 2014 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast predicts diners will see more rice selections on restaurant menus including black rice and red rice. Food scientists are looking for new ways to incorporate rice into many consumer products.
(ABC News) Seasonal eating isn’t just trendy. Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when they are first picked and can lose, in some cases, up to 75 percent of their vitamin content after just one week of storage... Here are a few spring foods that you don’t want to miss. Dandelion Greens… Asparagus …Rhubarb… Artichokes.
(Reuters Health) Women who eat a lot of fat, particularly saturated fat, may be at higher risk of certain types of breast cancer, new research suggests.
(News1130) Lawmakers on the country's largest American Indian reservation will consider a bill this week that could resurrect a proposal for a junk food tax.
(CBS News)  [T]he U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau [has] gotten a lot of attention since approving Palcohol's product labels -- the last step after it okayed both the distillery and formula. But late yesterday, a spokesman told CBS News' Jan Crawford that those approvals were "issued in error," and refused to give further explanation. Palcohol creator Mark Phillips says he just needs to resubmit the labels and his products remain on track to hit stores this fall, but that raises questions about how Palcohol might be used or abused.
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Low blood sugar may lower heart rate, according to study

(Daily Digest) People with diabetes who experience drops in their blood sugar can also experience irregular heart rhythms that a new study suggests could be dangerous. The study, though small, demonstrated a possible link between low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and lowered heart rates coupled with irregular beating.
Though no causal connection has been reliably identified between the two occurrences, researchers suggest that this might account for mortality rates among people with type 2 diabetes who strictly control their glucose levels using insulin and have a high risk for heart disease. This could also account for the phenomena referred to as dead-in-bed-syndrome, which occurs when people with type 1 diabetes die in their sleep despite their lack of cardiovascular disease.
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FDA proposes program to speed approval of medical devices

(Reuters) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday proposed speeding up medical device approvals for patients who have no other treatment options through a new program focused on earlier and more frequent interactions between companies and FDA staff.
The Expedited Access Premarket Approval Application program is a response to criticisms by policymakers, patient groups and industry that the FDA process for approving medical devices is inefficient and slow, delaying patients' access to new, helpful products.
The program is not a new pathway to market, the agency said, but rather a change in approach aimed at reducing the time it takes to develop a product and get it to market.
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LEDs Get Seal of Approval: Safe for Skin, Experts Say

(Science Daily) There was a time when no one thought about light bulbs -- one blew, you screwed another one in. Nowadays, it's more complicated, as energy efficiency concerns have given rise to a slew of options, including incandescent, compact fluorescent lights, and light emitting diodes.
LEDs are the most expensive option, but they are also the most energy efficient, are getting more cost-efficient, and they are growing in popularity. With this increasing acceptance, concerns have arisen about long- or short-term direct skin exposure -- especially since a 2012 SBU study found that contact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can harm skin cells due to UV-light emittance.
A senior thesis by Stony Brook University Chemical Engineering undergraduates has alleviated the concern…
"At this point, we have seen the consistent trend that LED exposure is not harmful to human dermal fibroblasts," [Emily] Leonard reports. That helps clarify the scientific thinking on the subject, according to [Stephanie] Falco. "When we first started preliminary research for our paper, we ran into several conflicting opinions of whether or not LED lights were harmful," she says. "Some people claimed that they did damage to skin cells, while others were using them to heal wounds, so it was gratifying to see for ourselves that cells were proliferating under the LEDs."
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Stroke News

(Science Daily) Every 15-minute delay in delivering a clot-busting drug after stroke robs survivors of an average month of healthy life. Streamlining the time from symptom onset to clot-busting treatment by just one minute means one less day of disability for a survivor. While all stroke patients benefit from faster treatment, younger patients seem to gain more benefit than older patients.
Community: So what a surprise to see this, below.
(Reuters Health) About one-quarter of older adults would not want to receive clot-busting medication for a stroke if they arrived at the hospital unable to make the decision themselves, a new survey found.
(Science Daily) Using an ambulance that included a computed tomography scanner, point-of-care laboratory, telemedicine connection and a specialized prehospital stroke team resulted in decreased time to treatment for ischemic stroke, according to a study. "Our study showed that the ambulance-based thrombolysis was safe, reduced alarm-to-treatment time, and increased thrombolysis rates," the researchers write. "Further studies are needed to assess the effects on clinical outcomes."
(Science Daily) In a study that included more than 71,000 stroke patients, implementation of a quality initiative was associated with improvement in the time to treatment and a lower risk of in-hospital death, intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), and an increase in the portion of patients discharged to their home.
(MedPage Today) Depression was found to be a significant and independent risk factor for poor stroke outcomes in a study from the U.K., and recovery from depression within a year did not alter long-term risk.
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Narrowing of Neck Artery Without Warning May Signal Memory, Thinking Decline

(Science Daily) For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that narrowing of the carotid artery in the neck without any symptoms may be linked to problems in learning, memory, thinking and decision-making, compared to people with similar risk factors but no narrowing in the neck artery, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.
"To date, the focus of diagnosis and management of carotid artery blockages has been prevention of stroke since that was the only harm that these blockages were thought to cause to patients," said Brajesh K. Lal, MD, with the VA Maryland Health Care System's Baltimore VA Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "These results underscore the importance of assessing the status of memory and thinking in people with carotid artery narrowing."
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Computer Simulations Help Predict Effective Drug Candidates

(Science Daily) Using computer simulations to predict which drug candidates offer the greatest potential has thus far not been very reliable, because both small drug-like molecules and the amino acids of proteins vary so much in their chemistry. Uppsala researchers have now cunningly managed to develop a method that has proven to be precise, reliable and general…
The method has now been tested on a neuropeptide receptor and has been shown to be able to predict with great reliability both the effects of mutations and the receptor's ability to bind a series of different molecules. The method also makes it possible to determine whether a three-dimensional structural model of the molecules that are bound to each other is correct.
"The results are brilliant. We believe this has the potential to be extremely useful in drug research. It quite simply makes it easier and faster to find candidates for new drugs. The computational method is also so general that it can be used to study all sorts of other proteins bound to various types of functional molecules," says Johan Åqvist.
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Cloaked DNA Nanodevices Survive Pilot Mission

(Science Daily) It's a familiar trope in science fiction: In enemy territory, activate your cloaking device. And real-world viruses use similar tactics to make themselves invisible to the immune system. Now scientists at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have mimicked these viral tactics to build the first DNA nanodevices that survive the body's immune defenses.
The results pave the way for smart DNA nanorobots that could use logic to diagnose cancer earlier and more accurately than doctors can today; target drugs to tumors, or even manufacture drugs on the spot to cripple cancer, the researchers report…
"We're mimicking virus functionality to eventually build therapeutics that specifically target cells," said Wyss Institute Core Faculty member William Shih, Ph.D., the paper's senior author.
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Almost-blind man regains eyesight with help of 'bionic eye'

(The FA Daily) Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, [Roger] Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a "bionic eye," he's regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.
"It's awesome. It's exciting -- seeing something new every day," Pontz said during a recent appointment at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. The 55-year-old former competitive weightlifter and factory worker is one of four people in the U.S. to receive an artificial retina since the Food and Drug Administration signed off on its use last year.
The facility in Ann Arbor has been the site of all four such surgeries since FDA approval. A fifth is scheduled for next month.
Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease that causes slow but progressive vision loss due to a gradual loss of the light-sensitive retinal cells called rods and cones. Patients experience loss of side vision and night vision, then central vision, which can result in near blindness.
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Lowering Cost, Improving Outcomes

(Tribune Washington Bureau) Hawaiians live longer than their counterparts on the mainland. They die less frequently from common diseases, such as breast and colon cancers, even though these cancers occur more often here than in most other states. They also pay less for their care; the state's health care costs are among the lowest in the country. Hawaii's success owes much to the state's trailblazing health system and its long history of near-universal health insurance.
(Science Daily) Researchers analyzed the care of patients who were seen emergently during a six month period in 2012. The results showed that 560 potentially duplicative diagnostic procedures, such as blood work and imaging, were avoided when the providers used the health information exchange tool. The study suggests that sharing clinical information with other health systems has the potential to generate greater efficiencies in emergency departments by eliminating duplicate diagnostic testing.
(Science Daily) Health clinics that can provide primary care for low-income patients may ease the financial burden on both hospitals and insurance companies while improving patient health, researchers have concluded. A study of hospital admissions suggests that health clinics that avoid costs associated with insurance administration can help hospitals save money by lowering hospital admission rates and emergency room visits.
(Kaiser Health News) A federal court’s ruling dissolving the merger of the state’s biggest hospital system and biggest doctors’ practice may discourage future ventures. 
(Kaiser Health News) One Boston hospital uses a Medicare fine, soul searching, and a plan for follow-up to reduce its alarming readmissions rate.
(Kaiser Health News) After some doctors at University of Utah Health Care noticed scathing online reviews about themselves in 2012, the hospital system decided the best way to respond was by posting its patients’ ratings of physicians on the hospital’s own website.
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