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

Once again, I apologize for the hiatus

I now have two laptops, same make and model, same configuration, same data, so that the next time one goes berserk, I’ll have a backup.
Please bear with me while I catch up on the mountain of material that has piled up while I slaved over hot computers.
And have I told you lately that I hate Microsoft?
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Mediterranean Diet Month - Celebrate!

(Oldways) Study after study points to the amazing health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet but that isn’t why we love it…We love the Mediterranean Diet because it is delicious!
One way we pay homage to this wonderful lifestyle is by celebrating International Mediterranean Diet Month in May.  This year, we have an extra fun program to help you discover (or rediscover) this gold-standard way of eating and living.
This May, to demonstrate that delicious and healthy Mediterranean inspired meals can be enjoyed anywhere, we are inviting you to participate in the world’s biggest (dare we say, first?) virtual Mediterranean Diet Dinner Party.  And guess what?  It lasts all month long so you have plenty of time to get in on the fun…and win weekly prizes and one grand prize. 
Here’s how it all works:
Enjoy Mediterranean Food at a Local Restaurant!
For those who want to eat out Med-style, Oldways has created two restaurant lists.  First, Oldways has partnered with HealthyDiningFinder.com to publish a list of casual-dining chain restaurants offering dishes that adhere to Med Diet standards based on healthy fat and sodium levels. Also, Oldways has created a “5 in 50” list, a hand-picked listing of 5 restaurants in each state (plus Washington, DC) that offer at least 1 of 5 different classic Mediterranean foods or dishes -- Couscous, Falafel, Grape Leaves, Pesto, and Tapas.
Join the Virtual Med Diet Dinner Party!
Med Lovers can submit photos of themselves via TwitterFacebook, or the Oldways Forum, enjoying meals with friends and family, prepared by restaurants on Oldways' two lists, at home, or at a Mediterranean restaurant of your choice, using the hashtag #MedMonth2014. Each photo will count as an entry for a weekly chance to win a copy of one of Amazon.com's top selling Mediterranean Diet cookbooks, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan, and will qualify you for a chance to win the grand prize, an assortment of delectable Mediterranean foods from Mediterranean Foods Alliance members.
Oldways recently launched a new Mediterranean Diet interactive forum on its website.  Whether users join to share interesting insights with others or have questions, our online community – including the Oldways team along with scientific and culinary advisers – is available to listen and to answer all kinds of questions from how to cook artichokes to the bottom line on recent health studies.
You can also access Oldways’ expansive digital resources on the website, including links to health studies revealing the overwhelming health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, practical cooking tips, and a vast collection of delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes.  
So join in the celebration – at a local restaurant, at home or online – and enjoy some delicious and healthy Mediterranean food today and throughout the entire month of May!
Community: Get more good eating ideas here: “Celebrate Mediterranean Diet Month.” And enjoy some of the recipes below.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Up to 40% of Deaths from Leading Causes Are Preventable

(LiveScience) Each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die early from the five leading causes of deaths, but between 20 and 40 percent of the deaths from each of these causes could be prevented, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The five leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and unintentional injuries, and they accounted for 63 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2010, according to the report. Many of these deaths could be avoided by people changing their behaviors, the researchers said.  
The report looked at deaths before age 80 from each cause, for each state, from 2008 to 2010. The researchers found large differences among states -- Southeastern states had the highest number of preventable deaths for each of the five causes.
Community: Here’s another look at the data from this report:
(Science Daily) Reducing or curbing just six modifiable risk factors -- tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, salt intake, high blood pressure and blood sugar, and obesity -- to globally-agreed target levels could prevent more than 37 million premature deaths over 15 years, from the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, cancers, and diabetes, according to new research.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

10 Health Lessons From Around the World

(ABC News) The life expectancy of the average American lags behind every industrialized nation on Earth except Qatar. North America is home to only 6 percent of the world’s population, but accounts for 34 percent of the world’s weight due to obesity, contributing to mounting stateside rates of diabetes and heart disease, according to research from the So how does the rest of the world keep their health in check? With simple, totally doable lifestyle habits…
From India: Spice Things Up…
From the Netherlands: Trade in the Car for a Bike…
From Mexico: Downsize Dinner…
From Brazil: Get Social…
From Poland: Eat at Home…
From Japan: Stop Eating Sooner…
From China: Meditate…
From Gambia: Go Nuts…
From Spain: Take a Nap…
From Iceland: Eat More Fish
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

What New Zealand Can Teach The Rest Of The World About Living Well

(Huffington Post) Prince William and Duchess Catherine's recent trip to New Zealand involved rugby coaching, meeting young cricket players and a sailing race -- enough to make anyone long for a trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud.
But New Zealand's not only about sports and competition. The small country can also teach us a lot about health, wellness and a happier lifestyle. From their adventurous spirit to their pride in safety, there are plenty of reasons this small nation has won awards deeming it the best destination for nature, adventure and even the winner of a "favorite country in the world" award.
Kiwis have a sense of adventure…
They're progressive…
They honor indigenous tradition…
New Zealand is safe…
They value a good read…
They appreciate the great outdoors.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]


Mediterranean Foods Alliance:
Stuffed Vine Leaves
Dolma is the general name given to the family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Grape or cabbage leaves wrapped around vegetables or meat can be called either sarma or the more general, dolma.  This Mediterranean classic dating back to the days of Alexander the Great can be served either hot or cold.
Puttanesca Sauce
A classic Puttanesca sauce is a great way to turn an everyday pasta dinner into a Mediterranean experience.  Originally created in the mid-twentieth century, the dish has its roots in Naples, Italy.  Pitted Kalamata olives are the perfect briny complement to this tomato based sauce.  The olives are smoky and fruity and add wonderful flavor to this Mediterranean classic.
Crispy Salmon with Walnut Salsa Verde
Walnuts are a traditional component in the Mediterranean diet and a key ingredient in the landmark "Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet" (PREDIMED) study: a multicenter, randomized, primary prevention trial of cardiovascular disease - supported by the Spanish Health Ministry. This Crispy Salmon with Walnut Salsa Verde recipe is a flavorful combination of Mediterranean favorites: fish and walnuts. The combined heart-healthy omega-3s in the salmon and walnuts make this dish a nutritious treat.
8 Ways To Follow The Mediterranean Diet For Better Health
Perhaps the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean Diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry—lean sources of protein—over red meat, which contains more saturated fat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts.
Healthy Mediterranean Entrees Under 300 Calories
These low-calorie, Mediterranean-style recipes bring out the fresh flavors of Italy and Greece and feature bright red tomatoes, zesty lemons, briny olives, and tangy feta cheese.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Food News

(Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD) [S]pice up your new year and lower your risk of everything from Alzheimer’s to irritable bowel syndrome with this trio. Fenugreek … has been shown to help control blood glucose levels and is advocated to aid breastfeeding and lower bad LDL cholesterol. Cumin … [is] said to be an immune system modulator and cancer fighter… Turmeric … eases inflammation of osteoarthritis and ulcerative colitis (when used with conventional medications). Curcumin -- not to be confused with cumin -- is the active ingredient in the turmeric root…
Grind those three spices together with coriander seeds, bay leaf, mustard seed, cinnamon, and cloves [to make curry powder]; use in place of salt and pepper.
(Kristin Kirkpatrick, Eat + Run, U.S. News & World Report) Peas, walnuts and popcorn make the list.
(The Supermarket Guru) A Harvard School of Public Health study, looked at 12 different modifiable and preventable causes of death and surprisingly (or not) omega-3 deficiency ranked as the sixth cause of preventable death in the US. This translates to 72,000 to 96,000 preventable deaths yearly.
(Science Daily) Oily fish are currently recommended as part of a heart healthy diet. This guideline is partially based on the landmark 1970s study that connected the low incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) among the Inuit of Greenland to their diet, rich in whale and seal blubber. Now, researchers have found that the Inuit people actually suffered from CAD at the same rate as their Caucasian counterparts, meaning there is insufficient evidence to back previous claims on which dietary recommendations were built.
(The Independent) Tired workers are less likely to resist unethical influence from senior colleagues, and the equivalent of a large cup of coffee could help stave off tiredness that can lead to immoral behaviour, claims a new study… Another study has found that upping coffee consumption by about 1.5 cups can lower the risk of developing type two diabetes. The ideal amount to stave off the disease is around 3 to 5 cups, researchers said.
(LiveScience) let's clear up some of the confusion and dispel some myths today. It's time to eat with a little more confidence. Myth No. 1: Chocolate gives you acne. This was proven to be a myth as early as 1969… Myth No. 2: Eggs contribute to heart disease… [A] 1982 American Society for Clinical Nutrition study found that there was no relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease… Myth No. 3: Organic produce is packed with more nutrients than conventional produce… Researchers found no evidence that organic food is more nutritious.
More . . .

The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Molecular Secrets Behind Resveratrol's Health Benefits Revealed

(Science Daily) Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing "bad cholesterol," heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism.
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now identified one of the molecular pathways that resveratrol uses to achieve its beneficial action. They found that resveratrol controls the body's inflammatory response as a binding partner with the estrogen receptor without stimulating estrogenic cell proliferation, which is good news for its possible use as a model for drug design…
The problem with resveratrol, Nettles said, is that it really doesn't work very efficiently in the body. "Now that we understand that we can do this through the estrogen receptor, there might compounds other than resveratrol out there that can do the same thing -- only better," [said Kendall Nettles, a TSRI associate professor who led the study].
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

7 products on deep discount in May

(Consumer Reports) Consumer Reports analysts track prices all year-round, so we can tell you when things are at their deepest discounted prices, month by month. If you crave a new MP3 player, new carpeting, or a new lawn mower, you can find great deals on them in May.
May flowers? This is the month many of us can finally get out and enjoy them, and start exercising outdoors; luckily you'll also find great prices on athletic apparel and shoes. Nature-lovers will also see sales on outdoor gear such as camping equipment. Small consumer electronics and cordless phones will be discounted, and you can find lower prices on mattresses.  
If you're in the market for any of those discounted items, we've got shopping tips and buying guides that can help you find the right models. Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? Check our calendar of deals.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Medical Technology News

(Reuters Health) As part of the 18th Annual Webby Awards, 11 mobile health applications ranging from personal wellness journals to allergen and symptom trackers were chosen as honorees.
(Reuters Health) Some pedometers may be less accurate when they are kept in a pocket or placed in a purse, especially at slower and faster walking speeds, according to a new study.
(Science Daily) A new way to detect when drivers are about to nod off behind the wheel has been developed. "Video-based systems that use cameras to detect when a car is drifting out of its lane are cumbersome and expensive. They don't work well on snow-covered or curvy roads, in darkness or when lane markers are faded or missing. Our invention provides an inexpensive and user-friendly technology that overcomes these limitations and can help catch fatigue earlier, well before accidents are likely to happen," said a developer of the device.
(Science Daily) A new ultrasound device that could help identify arterial plaque that is at high risk of breaking off and causing heart attack or stroke has been developed by researchers. The prototype device has performed well in laboratory testing, but the researchers say they are continuing to optimize the technology. They hope to launch pre-clinical studies in the near future.
(LiveScience) Walt Besio, a biomedical engineer, has developed a more sensitive electrode that can conduct electricity into and out of specific brain areas. He has already used it to pinpoint areas to treat epilepsy, a brain disorder associated with abnormal electrical activity. Now, with support from the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps and Small Business Innovation Research programs, Besio aims to make the electrodes commercially available.
(ABC News) A Brazilian neuroscientist is racing to finish a mind-controlled exoskeleton that is scheduled to debut in less than 50 days at the opening ceremonies for the World Cup… [Miguel] Nicolelis is running the Walk Again Project along with an international group of at least 100 scientists and researchers to develop the device. The machine is “worn” by the user and has small motors inside to help a paralyzed person walk or even kick a ball.
Community: There’s a video at the link above. Truly cool!
More . . .

Hear me now? Gene therapy improves 'bionic ear' technology

(Los Angeles Times) A procedure that uses a series of electric jolts to inject lab-designed DNA molecules into cells of the inner ear may help to regrow auditory nerves in people with profound hearing loss, according to researchers…
Australian researchers said they used tiny electrodes and gene therapy to regenerate nerve cells in chemically deafened guinea pigs.
The procedure, they said, may one day improve the functioning of human cochlear implants -- electronic devices that provide hearing sensations to the deaf.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

For Fecal Transplants, Frozen Poop Just as Good

(LiveScience) For people suffering with the intestine infection Clostridium difficile, the treatment sometimes referred to as a "poop transplant" may work just well with fresh or frozen fecal matter, researchers say.
In a new study, 10 patients with C. diff infections who received a transplant using frozen fecal material from healthy donors responded just as positively as the 10 patients treated with fresh fecal material, the researchers said. The procedure is intended to transplant beneficial microbes found in fecal matter.
Moreover, frozen fecal matter can make the operation easier on the patient. The use of fresh material requires patients to undergo a colonoscopy, whereas the frozen material can be delivered to a patient's digestive system via a tube that enters through the nose and reaches down to the stomach.
Community: There is truly a new definition for the age-old term, eating shit.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Autoimmune Diseases May Succumb to New Drug Strategy

(Science Daily) New pharmaceuticals to fight autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, may be identified more effectively by adding genome analysis to standard drug screening, according to a new study by a research team led by UC San Francisco and Harvard researchers, in collaboration with Tempero and GlaxoSmithKlein…
[T]he scientists combined drug screening with state-of-the-art techniques for analyzing the genome, leading to three small molecules that improved symptoms in a mouse form of multiple sclerosis.
The three potential drug candidates, selected from a large library of screened chemicals, each knocked down the response of Th17 cells, a type of immune cell that drives many autoimmune diseases by attacking normal cells in the body…
Preventing Th17 cells from developing by inhibiting the function of ROR gamma t appears to be an effective strategy for fighting autoimmune diseases, [said Alexander Marson, MD, PhD].
"There already are drugs in clinical trials for autoimmune diseases -- including psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis -- that are antibodies for IL-17 or IL-17 receptors," Marson said, referring to signaling molecules secreted by Th17 cells that can help trigger an attack our own healthy tissue, and the receptors that receive those signals. "This is an entirely different and promising approach to fight autoimmune disease," he said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Supreme Court upholds EPA rule limiting cross-state pollution

(Washington Post) The Supreme Court on Tuesday resurrected an Environmental Protection Agency rule targeting air pollution that drifts across state borders, handing the Obama administration a victory on one of its major environmental efforts.
The agency for years, under two administrations, has struggled to carry out a directive under the federal Clean Air Act to protect downwind states from pollution generated in other states, mostly from coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s rules from 2011 were challenged by a coalition of upwind states and industry, which prevailed in lower courts.
But the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 2 that the latest effort could be implemented, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing for the majority that the agency must have leeway to confront the “complex challenge” of interstate pollution.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Switch from gasoline to ethanol linked to higher ozone levels

(Tribune Washington Bureau) Scientists have made a surprising discovery about ethanol: The more it was used by drivers in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the more ozone they measured in the local environment.
The finding, reported this week in Nature Geoscience, is contrary to other studies predicting that increased use of ethanol would cut levels of ground-level ozone, or smog.
Sao Paulo proved a unique laboratory for studying the effects of ethanol and gasoline usage on local air pollution because 40 percent of the nearly 6 million light-duty vehicles there can run on either fuel. When the percentage of those vehicles using gasoline rose from 14 percent to 76 percent, ambient ozone concentrations in the city fell by about 20 percent, researchers found.
The study is the first large-scale effort to measure how switching between ethanol and gasoline affects air pollution. It arrives amid a debate in the United States and other industrialized countries over the environmental benefits of ethanol, a renewable fuel made from plant matter.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Practice of Medicine

(Reuters Health) Miscommunication between healthcare providers and patient concerns over drug interactions lead to many seniors having an unnecessarily complicated medication regimen, a new study finds.
(Kaiser Health News) Hospitals in remote places are making tradeoffs to adopt electronic medical records. Some are joining larger systems, sacrificing their independence. Others are going it alone, carefully.
(Reuters) The FBI has warned healthcare providers their cybersecurity systems are lax compared to other sectors, making them vulnerable to attacks by hackers searching for Americans' personal medical records and health insurance data. Health data is far more valuable to hackers on the black market than credit card numbers because it tends to contain details that can be used to access bank accounts or obtain prescriptions for controlled substances.
(Stephen A. Brunton, M.D., FAAFP) Where are all these people, especially those in medically-underserved and rural populations, supposed to find access to care? Part of the answer is they are turning to new types of solutions that can supplement (not replace) the care they receive from their PCP or "medical home." Take local community health screenings. These companies offer affordable tests targeted to the senior population, oftentimes in medically-underserved communities, that help patients identify chronic conditions when preventive steps can still make a difference and improve overall health before it's too late. 
(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) [T]he Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that could increase Medicare payments to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) by as much as 32 percent. The new payment system, as outlined in the Affordable Care Act, establishes a Medicare prospective payment system for FQHCs, which provide access to medical services to patients in or from medically underserved areas.
(The Atlantic) Eight million more Americans just got insurance, many for the first time. Who will treat them all? Nurses.
More . . .

More Affordable Care Act News

(Reuters) Nearly 13 million people signed up for public and private health coverage during Obamacare's open enrollment period, including late sign-ups for private insurance through April 19, the U.S. administration said on Thursday.
(Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) [The] release of the final Enrollment Report for the first open enrollment period shows that over 8 million consumers enrolled in quality health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  These results clearly demonstrate that the affordable coverage offered through the Marketplace is what Americans need and want.  These numbers were also achieved thanks, in part, to an unprecedented public outreach and education campaign to increase awareness among the uninsured about the new Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, in communities across the country.
(ThinkProgress) March's enrollment surge included a significantly younger mix of people compared to the people who signed up back in the fall.
(Reuters) The Obama administration on Thursday predicted stable health insurance costs for consumers who have purchased Obamacare plans, defying critics who warn that President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law will lead to skyrocketing premiums.
(Shots, NPR) A recent study by Georgetown University and the Urban Institute predicts the ACA will enable up to 1.5 million Americans to leave their jobs and become self-employed, start new businesses or retire early. It's a finding that runs counter to forecasts by critics of the federal health law, who contend it will cost the nation jobs and cripple America's small-business economy.
Community: I predict a wave of new energy in starting businesses that will help build a whole new economy. Employer-provided health insurance has held many people back from following their dream, for years.
(Kaiser Health News) The former White House adviser talks about his new book and some of his surprising predictions about health care.
(Kaiser Health News) One man's opposition to the health law turned after the self-employed, self-reliant man bought a plan available through the law, which helped him pay his hospital bills when faced with a heart condition.
More . . .

Medicare News

(Science Daily) A third of Medicare beneficiaries assigned to accountable care organizations (ACOs) in 2010 or 2011 were not assigned to the same ACO in both years and much of the specialty care received was provided outside the patients' assigned ACO, suggesting challenges to achieving organizational accountability in Medicare.
(Bloomberg) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified ambulance service as one of the biggest areas of overuse and abuse in Medicare -- companies billing millions for trips by patients who can walk, sit, stand or even drive their own cars. “It’s a cash cow,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Leahy, who prosecuted Penn Choice and five other ambulance fraud cases. “It’s basically like a taxi service except an extremely expensive one that the taxpayers are financing.”
(Reuters) WASHINGTON - Home healthcare company Amedisys Inc will pay $150 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false billings to Medicare, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. Louisiana-based Amedisys between 2008 and 2010 improperly billed for unnecessary services or misrepresented patients' conditions to boost payments, the department said.
(Kaiser Health News) Study acknowledges recommendation, which would require Congressional action, has little chance of being implemented.
(MedPage Today) Annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals doesn’t have enough evidence for benefit over harms to be covered by Medicare, an advisory panel concluded.
(Kaiser Health News) Studies have found the government often pays insurance plans and hospice organizations for the same drugs, so Medicare is directing insurers to confirm prescriptions are not covered by hospice before paying for them.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

I need a day of rest . . .

. . . after all I've been through fixing my computers. I'm off today, too. Sorry.

One more day

This has been a nightmare!

One more day needed to deal with computer problem,s

Sorry. Stay healthy!

Sorry about the hiatus

Having computer problems.

Hope to be back up and running by tomorrow.