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

Fruits and vegetables linked to stroke prevention

(Reuters Health) Eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce stroke risk by almost a third, according to a fresh look at recent evidence.
The results support existing recommendations from organizations like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which already call for a diet rich in fresh greens.
“The findings are consistent with the current knowledge that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged to prevent stroke,” Dr. Yan Qu said in an email…
The effect could be indirect, and eating fruits and vegetables may benefit overall health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and other stroke risk factors, Qu said. It’s also possible that specific nutrients in the foods may reduce stroke risk, he said.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Vegetarian diets may lower blood pressure

(Reuters Health) People who eat a vegetarian diet tend to have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians, according to a new review of past studies.
Researchers said for some people, eating a vegetarian diet could be a good way to treat high blood pressure without medication.
Vegetarian diets exclude meat, but may include dairy products, eggs and fish in some cases. They emphasize foods of plant origin, particularly vegetables, grains, legumes and fruits.
High blood pressure contributes to a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disorders and other health problems. For many people, the only treatment has been medication, but that means costs and possible side effects, lead author Yoko Yokoyama told Reuters Health in an email.
Community: There are many practical things we can do reduce high blood pressure and to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Constant arguing 'increases premature death risk'

(BBC News) Having frequent arguments with partners, friends or relatives can increase the risk of death in middle-age, say Danish researchers.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, they said men and those not in work were most vulnerable.
Dealing with worries and demands from close family was also linked to a higher mortality risk, the study said.
An individual's personality and ability to deal with stress is likely to play a role in the findings…
Previous research suggests people with high levels of anxiety and demands from partners and children, and those who often argue with close family members, could be at a higher risk of heart disease and strokes.
Past studies also suggest that a good social support network and a wide network of friends have a positive impact on health, while personality determines, to a large extent, how we perceive and react to social situations and relations.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of stroke.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Blood Pressure Control, Lifestyle Changes Key to Preventing Subsequent Strokes

(Science Daily) Stroke survivors should control their blood pressure, cholesterol and weight and do moderate physical activity regularly to avoid having another stroke, according to an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific statement.
They should also receive other evidence-based therapy specific to their individual health, which may include aspirin therapy or a surgical procedure to keep neck arteries open…
"A vast amount of new research is revealing new and improved ways to protect patients with an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack from having recurrent events and further brain damage," said Walter Kernan, M.D., lead author and chair of the guideline writing group and professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.
Treating high blood pressure is possibly most important for secondary prevention of ischemic stroke, according to the statement. About 70 percent of people who have had a recent ischemic also have high blood pressure.
The statement notes that intensive cholesterol-lowering therapy is also important for survivors whose stroke was caused by hardened arteries. However, the association no longer recommends niacin or fibrate drugs to raise good cholesterol, due to sparse data establishing their effectiveness at reducing secondary stroke risk.
Community: And those are the same measures that may prevent having a stroke in the first place. Here are more.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Information and Recent Research on Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease

(Reuters Health) More strokes happen when geomagnetic storms are afoot, according to a new review of stroke literature - although it’s not clear what protective measures anyone could take, researchers said.
(Science Daily) A simple surgical procedure on the kidneys touted as a revolutionary treatment for high blood pressure turns out to be not so revolutionary after all. In a first its kind, a Norwegian clinical trial shows that established, standard drug treatment works better than the new surgical procedure.
(Science Daily) Poor blood pressure control among patients with atrial fibrillation is associated with a 50-percent increased risk of stroke, according to an analysis. The findings suggest that hypertension should be carefully monitored and controlled among patients with atrial fibrillation.
(Science Daily) A new nonsurgical technique called the LARIAT Suture Delivery Device is now in use to treat patients with atrial fibrillation, or A-Fib, who cannot tolerate blood thinning medication. A-Fib is the most common heart rhythm disorder that causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat fast and erratically. An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with the disorder, and if uncontrolled, can have serious consequences including stroke and early death
(Reuters) U.S. health regulators on Thursday approved a blood clot preventer developed by Merck & Co for use by patients who have had a heart attack or who suffer from blockages in the arteries of the legs. The drug, vorapaxar, was approved to reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, cardiovascular death and the need for procedures to improve blood flow to the heart, the Food and Drug Administration said.
(FDA.gov) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration … approved Zontivity (vorapaxar) tablets to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular death, and need for procedures to restore the blood flow to the heart in patients with a previous heart attack or blockages in the arteries to the legs. Zontivity is the first in a new class of drug, called a protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) antagonist. It is an anti-platelet agent, designed to decrease the tendency of platelets to clump together to form a blood clot. By decreasing the formation of blood clots, Zontivity decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
More . . .

Recipes

Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday!
Cooking Light:
100 Scrumptious Breakfast and Brunch Recipes
Kick off your morning with this collection of healthy breakfast recipes from casseroles and quiches, to muffins and sweet rolls.
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Healthy Mother's Day Tea Sandwiches
Planning a Mother's Day brunch next Sunday? Why not serve these healthy, bite-sized tea sandwiches? Despite their small size they're packed with nutritious ingredients, including watercress, a leafy dark green that adds a flavorful kick to the filling. Serve a salad of baby lettuces and tiny tomatoes alongside.
MyRecipes.com:
EatingWell:
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Food News

(Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD) One report reveals that lycopene -- the powerful carotenoid that gives tomatoes their fiery hue and disease-fighting prowess -- also boosts levels of an important cancer-quelching hormone called adiponectin. Like a Swiss Army Knife, lycopene does it all -- helps you maintain healthy blood sugar, burn fat, cool inflammation, it discourages cancer cell growth, and throws up roadblocks when tumors try to grow their own arteries. Adiponectin even encourages cancer cells to die.
(Information-Analytic Agency) People who eat too much protein from animal sources have increased risk of development of type 2 diabetes, showed the study among European adults. The new study did not randomly assign participants to eat different amounts of protein, which would have yielded the strongest evidence. Instead, it compared the diets of people who went on to develop diabetes and those who did not get the disease.
(Huffington Post) Mark Bittman joined HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps to discuss "The VB6 Cookbook." [Please do not buy the book from Amazon.] the latest installment in his writing about the vegan-before-6 p.m. diet. During the conversation, Bittman shared the most important thing people need to know about the labels they see in supermarkets. "The biggest hoax in the world, I think, is taking grains, processing them to death, and then adding fiber back in and claiming it's high fiber," Bittman said. "I mean, this is really weird stuff."
(Huffington Post) [H]ealthy eating need not be confusing, nor should it require rules, restrictions, or sacrifices in flavor. In fact, we are all biologically hardwired to crave healthy, whole foods. All we need to do is restore ourselves back to what comes naturally. In other words, we need a reset. It all begins with these two simple principles: · Processed Foods = BAD · Whole and Minimally-Processed Foods (WAMP) = GOOD.
(SmartBlog) Today food trucks are not only ubiquitous in cities, and even small towns, across the country, but the trends associated with food trucks have impacted menus across the industry, from restaurants to retail to college foodservice. With three-quarters of consumers making food decisions based on what they are eating and noticing at food trucks, we recently introduced a brand new food trucks database to MenuTrends, our trend-tracking menu database. With over 10,000 menu items from 500 notable food trucks, it allows us to track the latest flavor and ingredient trends at food trucks and compare them to the industry overall.
(NutraIngredients) Daily supplements containing the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei NCC 2461 (ST11) may reduce skin sensitivity, according to results of a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study.
(Reuters) Vermont on Thursday became the first U.S. state to mandate labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms as Governor Peter Shumlin signed a law that is widely expected to be challenged in court by some food and agriculture companies. The law, set to take effect July 1, 2016, would for the first time align at least a small part of the United States with more than 60 other countries that require labeling of genetically engineered foods. And it sets the stage for more than two dozen other states that are currently considering mandatory labeling of such GMO foods.
More . . .

The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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

What can I do if the pharmacy gives me the wrong drug?

(Consumer Reports) Check with the pharmacy right away if the color or shape of your drug is not what you expected. If they’ve made a mistake, ask them to replace the wrong medication for the correct one. A good pharmacy should also offer an explanation, an apology, and reimbursement for any extra costs. Make sure your doctor is aware of the error, especially if you’ve already started taking the medication and have experienced unpleasant side effects.
Bar code scanning and pill imaging software can reduce mistakes at the pharmacy, but technology hasn’t caught up to human error. Busy pharmacists, illegible handwriting, sloppy pronunciation, and drug label similarities all increase the potential for dispensing and dosing mix-ups.
Community: I haven’t seen a written prescription for a drug in years. My doctors to all the prescribing by phone or, more recently, via the internet.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease Spread Across the U.S.

(Scientific American) Warm weather brings bugs—and the pathogens they carry. West Nile virus…, transmitted by mosquitoes, has spread from only three U.S. states in 2000 to 48 states in 2012, and human cases have climbed from 21 to 5,674. Lyme disease was concentrated in the Northeast in 2000, but cases of the bacterial infection have also picked up across the country… The total U.S. number has fallen from a peak of 29,959 in 2009, however, in part because people have gotten into the habit of checking themselves and their pets for ticks.
Those illnesses can cause fever and other serious symptoms. But another, more deadly mosquito-borne disease, dengue, has recently begun to rise in the U.S… In 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded three cases of the virus in Texas and 20 cases in Florida. Puerto Rico, which is not listed, is a hotspot: 8,148 people there tested positive last year.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Tick Talk: Block Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

(NIH News in Health) When warm weather arrives, you might get the urge to walk barefoot through the grass. But before you stroll through your lawn or head out on a hiking trail, you’ll want to protect yourself and your loved ones from ticks that often lurk in tall grass, thick brush, and wooded areas. Many ticks carry disease, so do what you can to keep ticks from taking a bite out of you…
Help keep ticks off your skin by wearing long sleeves, long pants, and long socks. You can also ward off ticks by using an insect repellant that contains at least 20% DEET (for the skin) or permethrin (for clothes). To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails and steer clear of tall vegetation.
If you’ve been in an area where ticks are common, bathe or shower as soon as possible, and wash or tumble your clothes in a dryer on high heat. Check your body carefully for ticks. They dig and burrow into the skin before they bite and feed. Removing ticks right away can help prevent disease. If you develop a rash or fever after removing a tick, see your doctor.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Ending the Perfect Storm: Protein Key to Beating Flu Pandemics

(Science Daily) A protein called SOCS4 has been shown to act as a handbrake on the immune system's runaway reaction to flu infection, providing a possible means of minimising the impact of flu pandemics.
Scientists from Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have found that without SOCS4 the immune response to influenza infection is slowed and there is a vast increase in the number of damaging inflammatory molecules in the lungs. This flood of inflammatory molecules, known as a 'cytokine storm', is thought to contribute to flu-related deaths in humans…
Dr [Sandra] Nicholson said drugs that enhanced or mimicked SOCS4 action could be a useful way of treating pandemic or more aggressive flu strains, as well as other infections.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Luminescent Nanocrystal Tags Enable Rapid Detection of Multiple Pathogens in a Single Test

(Science Daily) A research team using tunable luminescent nanocrystals as tags to advance medical and security imaging have successfully applied them to high-speed scanning technology and detected multiple viruses within minutes.
The research, led by Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Purdue University, builds on the team's earlier success in developing a way to control the length of time light from a luminescent nanocrystal lingers, which introduced the dimension of time in addition to color and brightness in optical detection technology.
Detection based on the lifetime of the light from a nanocrystal as well as its specific color exponentially increases the possible combinations and unique tags that could be created for biomedical screens.
"We now are able to build a huge library of lifetime color-coded microspheres to perform multiple medical tasks or diagnoses at the same time," said Yiqing Lu, a researcher at Macquarie University, who led the research.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

A Lab in Your Pocket: Using CAD to Load Dozens of Tests on a Lab-on-a-Chip

(Science Daily) When you get sick, your physician may take a sample of your blood, send it to the lab and wait for results. In the near future, however, doctors may be able to run those tests almost instantly on a piece of plastic about the size of credit card.
These labs-on-a-chip would not only be quick -- results are available in minutes -- but also inexpensive and portable. They could be used miles from the nearest medical clinic to test for anything from HIV to diabetes. But as powerful as they may be, they could be far better, says Shiyan Hu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University.
Generally, a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) can run no more than a test or two. That's because the chips are designed manually, says Hu. If the LOC were made using computer-aided design, you could run dozens of tests with a single drop of blood.
"In a very short time, you could test for many conditions," he said. "This really would be an entire lab on a chip."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Immunotherapy method could be effective against a wide range of cancers

(National Cancer Institute) A new method for using immunotherapy to specifically attack tumor cells that have mutations unique to a patient’s cancer has been developed by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The researchers demonstrated that the human immune system can mount a response against mutant proteins expressed by cancers that arise in epithelial cells which can line the internal and external surfaces (such as the skin) of the body. These cells give rise to many types of common cancers, such as those that develop in the digestive tract, lung, pancreas, bladder and other areas of the body.
The research provides evidence that this immune response can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit in patients, according to the scientists…
“Our study deals with the central problem in human cancer immunotherapy, which is how to effectively attack common epithelial cancers,” said Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Surgery Branch in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. “The method we have developed provides a blueprint for using immunotherapy to specifically attack sporadic or driver mutations, unique to a patient’s individual cancer.”
Community: NBC News wrote up a personal example of the new therapy: “New Immune Therapy Approach Tackles Woman's Rare Cancer.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Scientists invent new letters for the alphabet of life

(Reuters) Scientists have taken the first steps toward writing the blueprint of life in an alphabet unknown to nature, they reported online in the journal Nature.
Until now, biologists who synthesize DNA in the lab have used the same molecules - called bases - that are found in nature. But Floyd Romesberg of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and colleagues not only created two new bases, but also inserted them into a single-cell organism and found that the invented bases replicate like natural DNA, though more slowly.
The scientists reported that they got the organisms, the common bacteria E. coli, to replicate about 24 times over the course of 15 hours.
The accomplishment "redefines this fundamental feature of life," wrote biologists Ross Thyer and Jared Ellefson.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Program Cuts 'Frequent Flier' Emergency Department Use

(MedPage Today) Patients who were frequent users of emergency department (ED) and hospital resources used them less after receiving care from a clinic-based multidisciplinary team, researchers reported…
After the intervention, there were relative risk reductions of 22% for ED use, 30% for hospitalizations, and 24% for days spent in the hospital among a group of patients who'd been admitted more than eight times in the prior year, reported Deepa Borde, MD, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues…
The multidisciplinary Care One Clinic, which included pain and addiction management and pharmacist-led counseling, led to an overall direct cost reduction of about $4,000 per patient annually, the authors pointed out in a poster presentation.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Affordable Care Act News

(Stateline) The 13 million Americans who are newly enrolled in health insurance are now eligible for preventive health services, such as screenings and vaccinations, intended to forestall serious and costly illnesses. The cost: free. The Affordable Care Act requires cost-free prevention services for most health plans, including private insurance plans, meaning no co-payments, deductibles or co-insurance payments. Many health policy experts believe this step alone will greatly reduce health disparities for minorities, the poor and the poorly educated.
(Kaiser Health News) Sometimes there really are economies of scale. And the nation’s health insurance exchanges may be a case in point. As rocky as its rollout was, it cost the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, an average of $647 of federal tax dollars to sign up each enrollee, according to a new report.  It cost an average of $1,503 – well over twice as much – to sign up each person in the 15 exchanges run by individual states and Washington, D.C.
(ThinkProgress) "[T]he new health care law has been a net positive," a hospital CEO explained.
(ABC News) Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can charge smokers and other tobacco users up to 50 percent more than non-smokers for a health insurance policy. But where do e-smokers fit in? E-cigarettes are battery-operated nicotine inhalers that consist of a rechargeable lithium battery, a cartridge called a cartomizer and an LED that lights up during each puff. Although they contain no tobacco, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans on regulating them like cigarettes and cigars. This, it turns out, is complicating things for insurance companies.
(AP) Celeste Castillo, a Guatemalan immigrant, was invited to a news conference with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius early last year to help promote enrollment in the country’s new health insurance marketplaces. Fourteen months later, the 57-year-old nanny was still uninsured until The Associated Press contacted the Quinn administration last week. She had first become tangled in computer problems, then was denied by the state’s expanded Medicaid program -- underscoring how complicated the process has been for many Americans, even one held up as an example of who the law was designed to help.
(CQ Healthbeat, via Kaiser Health News) The Internal Revenue Service is drawing funds from other agency programs in order to enforce health law requirements because Congress hasn’t accommodated the agency’s budget requests, Commissioner John Koskinen said Wednesday. Taxpayer services and enforcement are taking a hit as a direct result of the shortfall, Koskinen said. He also told a congressional panel that the agency is making a top priority of intercepting fraudulent tax returns and cracking down on individuals who steal personal information, including physicians’ Social Security numbers, to file them.
(ThinkProgress) With 8 million people enrolled in Obamacare, the GOP's four-year campaign against the health care law appears to be losing steam.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Aging Eye: See into Your Future

(Sharecare.com) Even a slight deterioration of any of your senses can be scary. Not only can it interfere with your safety and your ability to understand your surroundings, but also it can have a huge impact on your overall comfort and independence.
Still, as you age, some decline in your senses is expected. Eyesight is often one of the first senses affected by aging.
But you can minimize the impact of age-related vision loss on daily life, boost eye health in general, and reduce disease risk by monitoring vision changes, identifying problems, creating an eye-friendly environment, and adjusting your lifestyle habits and dietary choices.
Read more. This is a comprehensive article on maintaining eye health as we age.
Community: And here are more tips for preserving vision: “Stop Vision Loss in 5 Steps.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

7 Foods for Healthy Eyes

(Sharecare.com) Are you eating foods that will help improve eye health? Here are seven delicious choices that help minimize age-related vision changes and reduce the risk of serious eye diseases, too.
Kale
Cooked kale, spinach, collards, and turnip greens (along with broccoli and eggs) are crammed full of lutein and zeaxanthin -- two powerful antioxidants that may help protect against retinal damage and the onset of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration…
Oranges
Vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies -- like oranges, peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, and red bell peppers -- help support blood vessels in the eye and may reduce the risk of cataracts…
Peanuts
Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E, a nutrient known for protecting eyes from free-radical damage…
Kidney Beans
[T]hey are a good source of zinc, a mineral that is vital to eye health. It helps get vitamin A from the liver to the retina for eye-protective melanin production, and proper amounts of zinc help with night vision and cataract prevention, too…
Salmon
almon has two types of omega-3 fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- both of which may be important in preventing or slowing down eye diseases…
Whole Grains
A recent study suggests that a low-glycemic-index (GI) diet may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by almost 8%. One way to quickly lower the GI of a meal? Use high-fiber whole grains instead of refined carbs…
Apricots
Apricots are rich in beta carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts to vitamin A. And research shows beta carotene may help with night vision -- and possibly even play a part in preventing cataracts…
Emerging research suggests that getting eye-supporting nutrients in combination -- in the context of a low-glycemic-index diet -- may have the most profound effect on slowing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). So do your eyes an even bigger favor: Don't focus on a single nutrient. Instead, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, choose healthy fats and high-fiber carbs, and reduce your intake of red meat, sugars, and refined flours.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Rates of Blindness and Partial Sight Have Plummeted in Developed World

(Science Daily) Rates of blindness and impaired eyesight have plummeted over the past 20 years in the developed world. But macular degeneration has replaced cataract as the leading cause of blindness in rich countries, reveals an analysis of the available evidence…
Over the 20 year period, the prevalence of blindness halved in high income countries, falling from 3.314 million people (0.2% of the population) to 2.736 million people (0.1% of the population)…
[But] they warn that the surge in the prevalence of diabetes will have an enormous impact on eye health, with upwards of 100 million people expected to develop diabetic retinopathy, around a third of whom risk losing their sight. Many people with diabetes will also be at risk of glaucoma and cataract, they add.
"Strategies to screen for diabetic retinopathy and provide timely treatment access are critical to prevent this condition from having a greater impact on blindness prevalence in the future," they write.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Eye Doctor: Computers Don't Worsen Vision

(WBUR) A study out of Australia finds that adults spend more time in front of a screen than they do sleeping. The 1,500 people surveyed spent an average of nine hours per day in front of a television or computer.
What effect does that much screen time have on the eyes? Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson asks Dr. James Sheedy, who says long hours spent staring at a screen with poor lighting around the screen can cause eye strain, but computers themselves do not worsen vision…
SHEEDY: Yes. There's really nothing about the computer, per se. You know, many people are concerned that there's something emanating from their computer that's causing problems for their eyes. And that's not really the case. It is the use of the computer. When we read, we don't blink as much. And when we read from a computer we tend to be looking straight ahead, rather than down…
[I]f you are wearing bifocals lenses or progressive addition lenses, and you're getting neck ache or back ache or you're noticing that the text is blurred, then you should see your eye doctor in order to obtain better glasses for that task.
HOBSON: OK, that's one thing. I know you also talk about the 20/20/20 rule. What is that?
SHEEDY: 20/20/20: every 20 minutes look away at least 20 feet for 20 seconds. Give your eyes a break. We all know that, you know, continuous work deserves a break…
Lighting is probably the second most common culprit. The problem is bright lights in your peripheral vision. And I encourage people to look at their computer display and then use their hand, as if it were a baseball cap visor, to block the lights from their eyes. And if you notice a small, immediate sense of improvement, then those lights are contributing to the discomfort that you are receiving.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

More Information and Recent Research on the Eyes and Vision

(CNN) Baseball players in a recent study improved their vision by an average of 31% by playing a video game. What else can our brains be trained to do?
(Science Daily) The eye is an exquisitely sensitive system with many aspects that remain somewhat of a mystery -- both in the laboratory and in the clinic. Mathematicians and optometrists are working to change this by gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of tear film distribution over the eye’s surface. This, in turn, may lead to better treatments or a cure for the tear film disease known as “dry eye.”
(Science Daily) New early-warning signs of the potential loss of sight associated with diabetes have been detected by researchers. This discovery could have far-reaching implications for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, potentially impacting the care of over 25 million Americans. These important early-warning signs were invisible to existing diagnostic techniques, requiring new technology based on adaptive optics.
(NIH Research Matters) A drug used to treat glaucoma, combined with a weight loss plan, improved vision for women with a disorder called idiopathic intracranial hypertension.
(Science Daily) Scientists have found that pressure from the fluid surrounding the brain plays a role in maintaining proper eye function, opening a new direction for treating glaucoma — the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.
(Science Daily) Researchers have developed two inexpensive adapters that enable a smartphone to capture high-quality images of the front and back of the eye. The adapters make it easy for anyone with minimal training to take a picture of the eye and share it securely with other health practitioners or store it in the patient's electronic record.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Feta
This chicken recipe is filled with Mediterranean flavors and pairs well with couscous. Use mozzarella or provolone for a milder kid's dish.
EatingWell:
Japanese Chicken-Scallion Rice Bowl
Here's the quintessence of Japanese home cooking: an aromatic, protein-rich broth served over rice. Admittedly, Japanese cooking leans heavily on sugar - for a less traditional taste, you could reduce or even omit the sugar.
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Chicken Dishes from Around the World
From East to West, from North to South, chicken gets the global treatment in this eclectic collection of recipes. With the addition of spices, herbs, and other flavorings, this mouthwatering tour of dishes from around the world includes festive fajitas from Mexico, curry-flavored chicken skewers from India, an exotic Moroccan tagine, and more.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Food News

(The Supermarket Guru) Expect the cause of bigger food bills this year to be higher prices rather than freer consumer spending - because households continue to struggle, despite recent government data that suggest otherwise. New-job creation is typically lower salary these days. The unemployment dip doesn't include millions who've stopped seeking work. And people are stressed from working multiple part-time jobs without benefits, and paying health care costs and insurance premiums out of pocket.
(MedPage Today) Patients and their families can learn about healthy foods and exercise by cooking and working out with a multidisciplinary team at a primary care clinic, researchers reported.
(The Supermarket Guru) Researchers at University College in London tracked the self-reported eating habits of more than 65,000 people over 12 years. Results discovered that the participants who consumed seven or more daily portions-each roughly half a cup-of fresh fruits or vegetables reduced their risk of death during the study period by 42 percent. In addition, consuming that same amount dropped the specific risk of dying from cancer by 25 percent, and from heart disease by 31 percent. 
(Science Daily) Researchers have some bad news for future farmers and eaters: As carbon dioxide levels rise this century, some grains and legumes will become significantly less nutritious than they are today.
(The Supermarket Guru) Whole grains, or foods made from them, contain all of the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed… Whole grains provide fiber, vitamin E, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium… Research has shown that just three daily servings (about ½ cup) can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and digestive system cancers.
(Huffington Post) Think cocaine is bad for your brain? Then you might want to change the way you think about sugar. Eating high-sugar foods lights up your brain on an MRI "like a Christmas tree," Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., founder and medical director of UltraWellness Center, said during a recent interview on HuffPost Live. The part of the brain that lights up is the very same part of the brain that's triggered by cocaine or heroine, according to research by Dr. David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D.
More . . .

Emerging Contaminants Taint Drinking Water Supply

(Rob Herman, NSF International) This week is Drinking Water Week; a week where water professionals like myself and communities throughout the country recognize the vital role water plays. As I work with other drinking water professionals to develop new drinking water test methods, we are finding that many folks are aware of traditional water contaminants, such as lead and arsenic, but there are questions around emerging contaminants.
Emerging contaminants are chemicals that have been detected in global drinking water supplies at trace levels and for which the risk to human health is not yet known. They include pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, herbicides and endocrine disrupting compounds…
My NSF International colleagues are working with drinking water regulators and industry experts to finalize NSF Standard 401: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants. The draft standard addresses the effectiveness of water filtration products in removing a variety of emerging compounds and contaminants, including BPA, meprobamate, phenytoin, atenolol, carbamazepine, TCEP, TCPP, DEET, metolachlor, trimethoprim, ibuprofen, naproxen, estrone, linuron and nonylphenol. The ultimate goal is for consumers to be able to look at the water filter packaging to see if a water filtration product is certified against this standard once finalized.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Aspirin: FDA Says 'No' Others Say 'Yes'

(MedPage Today) The FDA issued a message to consumers stating that the evidence does not support the "general" use of aspirin for the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes…
Not all organizations agree with the FDA's stance, however.
The American Heart Association recommends using aspirin for primary prevention in patients with an elevated risk for coronary disease. In guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke, the AHA wrote: "The use of aspirin for cardiovascular (including but not specific to stroke) prophylaxis is recommended for persons whose risk is sufficiently high for the benefits to outweigh the risks associated with treatment (a 10-year risk of cardiovascular events of 6% to 10%) (Class I; Level of Evidence A)."
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends aspirin use for primary prevention in men ages 45 to 79 when the expected reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction outweighs the potential harm of gastrointestinal bleeding and in women ages 55 to 79 when the expected reduction in the risk of stroke outweighs the potential harm of GI bleeding. But it is not recommended in younger patients, and the task force found insufficient evidence to make a recommendation in those 80 and older.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Clean Before You Clean: What's on Your Toothbrush Just Might Surprise You

(Science Daily) Appropriate toothbrush storage and care are important to achieving personal oral hygiene and optimally effective plaque removal, says Maria L. Geisinger, DDS, assistant professor of periodontology in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
"The oral cavity is home to hundreds of different types of microorganisms, which can be transferred to a toothbrush during use," Geisinger said. "Furthermore, most toothbrushes are stored in bathrooms, which exposes them to gastrointestinal microorganisms that may be transferred via a fecal-oral route. The number of microorganisms can vary wildly from undetectable to 1 million colony-forming units (CFUs). Proper handling and care of your toothbrush is important to your overall health."
What constitutes proper care and handling? Geisinger answers several questions that may help better protect families from toothbrush germs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

How long before shingles symptoms go away?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Shingles is a painful skin disease that is very common among older adults. An outbreak of shingles usually begins with a burning, itching, or tingling sensation on the back, chest, or around the rib cage or waist. Find out more about shingles symptoms, and see how long symptoms usually last.
Watch “What Can Be Done about Shingles?” to learn about treatments.
Community: In my case, diagnosing the disease took a couple of months—months of horrible pain. Once the doctor figured out what it was and prescribed an anti-viral medication, the pain went away within a day. The rash was slower to disappear, but I cared more about the pain relief.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]