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

Grape powder may offer benefits for knee osteoarthritis

(California Table Grape Commission) New research … suggests that regular grape consumption may help alleviate pain associated with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, and improve joint flexibility and overall mobility. Researchers attribute these potential benefits to the polyphenols found in grapes…
"These findings provide promising data that links grape consumption to two very important outcomes for those living with knee osteoarthritis: reduced pain and improvements in joint flexibility," said [lead investigator Shanil Juma, Ph.D.]. "More research is needed to better understand the results of the serum biomarkers, as well as the age and gender differences observed."
Dr. Juma also shared results from a recent cell study that looked at the effects of whole grape polyphenols on cartilage cell integrity and markers of cartilage health. Cartilage cells were first treated with various doses of whole grape polyphenols, and then stimulated with an inflammatory agent. Cell proliferation significantly increased – in a dose dependent manner – in the grape polyphenol treated cells in the presence of an inflammatory agent. Additionally a marker for cartilage degradation was significantly lower with the three highest doses of the whole grape polyphenols when compared to control cells and cells treated with the inflammatory agent, suggesting a possible protective effect of grapes on cartilage cells.
Community: Industry funded research isn’t necessarily pristine, but this is an interesting finding. Unfortunately, according to Shanil Juma, via email, “This freeze dried grape powder was specially prepared for the study. It is not commercially available.”
Dr. Weil has more food choice advice:
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) If your mornings begin with stiffness, pain and swollen joints, you may be experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis. In addition to getting regular exercise (low-impact is the best) and maintaining a healthy weight, consider the following nutritional strategies to help prevent or lessen symptoms. Eat foods rich in antioxidants… Get enough omega-3s… Regularly use ginger and turmeric for their natural anti-inflammatory properties.
And there’s another possibility for building cartilage, as well:
(MedPage Today) The use of a fibroblast growth factor to stimulate cartilage repair in knee osteoarthritis showed limited efficacy in a randomized trial, researchers reported.
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Is there relief for low back pain with non-drug therapies?

(NIH Senior Health, via email) Low back pain is a very common condition, but often the cause is unknown. Usually it resolves on its own without specific treatment. Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, massage and yoga are complementary health approaches often used by people with low back pain.
Take a quiz to learn more about pain and complementary health approaches.
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Over the counter options may alleviate some severe migraines

(Reuters Health) Over the counter medications ibuprofen and Excedrin both relieve the pain and symptoms of severe migraines better than placebo, according to a new study.
Researchers reanalyzed data from a clinical trial and found that more than half of the people taking either of the non-prescription drugs reported some relief, though Excedrin containing caffeine performed best.
“This is not at all surprising,” said lead author Dr. Jerome Goldstein. “Combination analgesics (like Excedrin) have been around for a long, long time and have had a big impact on treating migraine,” he told Reuters Health.
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Magnifying The Body May Reduce Pain

(ISNS) The perceived size of your hand affects how intensely your hand feels pain, according to a new study.
A paper … detailed the results of an experiment in which each participant was subjected to a pinprick-like sensation on one fingertip. The researchers used a lens to modify the size of the hand receiving the painful stimulus to look larger or smaller than normal in some of the experiments. They compared these responses to the pain response in the participants' unmodified hand…
When the participants viewed their hand under a magnifying glass, they responded less intensely to the actual pain than in their unmodified hand. However, they anticipated the pain more when their hand was enlarged.
[Experimental psychologist Daniele] Romano thinks that the larger hand draws more attention than the normal-sized one. He speculated that the subject’s attention causes them to anticipate the needle more and thus lessen the painful sensation because the participant is mentally prepared for it.
It’s hard to know for sure because everyone feels pain differently — especially people with chronic pain.
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More Information and Recent Research on Pain and Pain Relief

(ABC News) A close up look at acupuncture for relief of chronic pain.
(Science Daily) When cancer progresses and spreads to the bone, patients often suffer debilitating pain. Now, a new phase III clinical trial shows that non-invasive magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound treatment that heats the cancer within the bone, relieves pain and improves function for most patients when other treatment options are limited.
(LiveScience) There’s no bandage or cast that can be produced as a licence to pass socially unimpeded. Instead sufferers can only keep insisting that they’re in pain. Doctors can’t see it either: x-ray and MRI images of someone in crippling pain can look much like those of someone without any trouble. Conversely, images taken from someone without any complaint at all can show disc narrowing and bony growths that can make even the most hardened radiographer wince.
(Science Daily) Physiotherapy for hip osteoarthritis does not appear to relieve pain or increase function any more than 'sham' treatments, research has determined. Hip osteoarthritis is a prevalent and costly chronic musculoskeletal condition. Clinical guidelines recommend physiotherapy as treatment, although its effectiveness has never been proven.
(National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Many people with OA report trying various dietary supplements in an effort to relieve pain and improve function. However, there is no convincing evidence that any dietary supplement helps with OA symptoms or the underlying course of the disease.
(Science Daily) Most of us have probably felt that lasting sense of anxiety or even pain after enduring some kind of accident or injury. Now, researchers have the first evidence in any animal that there may be a very good reason for that kind of heightened sensitivity. Squid that behave with extra vigilance after experiencing even a minor injury are more likely to live to see another day, according to a report.
More . . .

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Serve a light and fresh turkey burger flavored with pesto and feta cheese. A spicy and creamy tzatziki sauce is great spread on the burgers or served on the side for dipping.
EatingWell:
Barbecued Chipotle-Marinated Pork Sandwiches
Smoky grilled onion and your favorite barbecue sauce transform grilled pork tenderloin into a hearty pulled pork sandwich, perfect as a potluck dish or simple dinner. If you’re concerned about sodium, be sure to choose a lower-sodium barbecue sauce.
Los Angeles Times:
Easy dinner recipes: Great weeknight chicken options
When you're looking for a simple dinner option, you can't beat chicken. It's versatile, cooks relatively quickly and lends itself to so many flavorings and preparations. Check out these ideas:
Consumer Reports:
How to make a tastier slow-cooker pot roast
Beef brisket tastes best when cooked in moist heat. But what liquid to use? We cooked thin-cut boneless brisket in slow cookers for 7 hours with four products: two sauces and two dry mixes to which we added water…  The winners[:] … Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces, Tavern Style Pot Roast… McCormick Slow Cookers Savory Pot Roast Seasoning Mix.
Swanson Health Products:
Pomegranate Chia Lemonade
Lemonade is delicious, and chia is full of nutrients. Put them together, add a splash of pomegranate, and what do you get? Pomegranate Chia Lemonade! This drink is perfect for a summer evening, and has a fun gel-like consistency that kids will love. Chia is loaded with fiber, protein, calcium and essential fatty acids. This refreshing drink is not only full of nutrients, but it's super easy to make! Pre-mixed chia drinks can be expensive and full of added ingredients. Why not make it yourself?! Just combine all of the required ingredients, stir, and wait for the magic to happen!
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Food News

(Appetite for Health) Ready, set…Grill! Memorial Day weekend is the official start of barbecue season. To help you keep your backyard BBQs from becoming diet disasters, use our healthy grilling ideas to plan your party menu.
(Ayala Laufer-Cahana, M.D.) Would you like a green salad with that? Imagine being asked that question at fast food restaurants -- the way you're reminded about fries and a drink. Would it increase vegetable consumption? 
(New Hope 360) A new study … found that watermelon extract may significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals… The study focused on the amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine, extracted from watermelon. A Japanese study last year suggested L-citrulline may relieve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
(The Supermarket Guru) Berries contain flavonoids, which are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties… Spices and herbs may do more for your health than you realize; they are packed with nutrition! Spices and herbs may do more for your health than you realize; they are packed with nutrition!... Don't be tricked by fat-free. Instead, focus on incorporating good fats every day… Adding foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts could have great brain health benefits… A study … found that consuming cocoa flavanols may improve aspects of eye and brain function.
(Sharecare.com) What do broccoli, brown rice, and baked beans have in common? They're good sources of blood-pressure-friendly protein. Because not just any kind of protein will do when you're trying to keep blood pressure under control. A diet high in vegetable protein -- not animal protein -- is key… Some other ways to get more protein without reaching for a steak knife: Grab a handful of nuts… Snack on seeds… Go for whole grains… Say "yes!" to soy.
(Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD) Lactobacillus acidophilus is in probiotic yogurt and fermented soy products like miso and tempeh. Most often thought of as a digestive aid, it’s also good for treating vaginal yeast infections. Lactobacillus rhamnosus acts as anti-inflammatory in your gut and helps fight obesity and insulin resistance… Lactobacillus reuteri reduces unhealthy cholesterol -- the "lousy" LDL -- and your risk of coronary heart disease. You can get this probiotic in supplements.
(Consumer Reports) Your best bet for salad dressing? It could be to make it yourself. None of the 50 bottled ranch, Caesar, and Italian dressings that our experts tasted came close to our homemade versions (see the three recipes…). It may take a few minutes of preparation, and the cost may be about the same as that of bottled dressing if you use high-quality ingredients, as we did.
More . . .

Let thirst be your guide when it comes to hydration

(Los Angeles Times) Institute of Medicine guidelines state that most healthy people can meet their daily water needs the old-fashioned way: by letting thirst be their guide.
And though sports drinks can offer benefits to athletes exercising at high intensities or for long periods of time, "the average person or recreational athlete doesn't need a sports drink," says [Lawrence] Armstrong. The human body is proficient at maintaining homeostasis, adjusting electrolyte balance to stay within optimal range, so it's unlikely a healthy person would hit a sodium deficit under normal conditions. Plus, the high sugar content of many sports drinks can significantly increase daily caloric intake.
Still, the nonprofit IOM estimates that adequately hydrated people drink 2.7 to 3.7 liters (about 3 quarts to a gallon) of fluids each day. (And 20% comes from food.)
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New Sensor Could Light the Way Forward in Low-Cost Medical Imaging

(Science Daily) New research … identifies a new type of light sensor that could allow medical and security imaging, via low cost cameras.
The team of researchers from the University of Surrey have developed a new 'multispectral' light sensor that detects the full spectrum of light, from ultra-violet (UV), to visible and near infrared light.
Indeed, near infrared light can be used to perform non-invasive medical procedures, such as measuring the oxygen level in tissue and detecting tumors. It is also already commonly used in security camera systems and for quality control in the agriculture and food industry.
Researchers believe that having a single low cost near infrared system, in addition to conventional imaging, opens up many new possibilities.
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Can some drugs make me more sensitive to the sun?

(Consumer Reports) Yes.  A surprising number of medications make your skin more vulnerable to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation—an effect you might not be aware of until after a ruined summer outing. Some medications increase your risk of regular sunburn. Others cause something called photosensitivity, which increases the risk of painful or itchy rashes.
“When we say that a drug causes photosensitivity, we mean that the medication causes a chemical change in the skin that makes it react abnormally to the sun’s ultraviolet rays” said Jessica Krant, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology…
To play it safe, Krant recommends asking your doctor or pharmacist if anything you are using can cause sun sensitivity. Remember to include supplements in that conversation, Krant says. For example, the herb St. John’s wort can cause phototoxic reactions.
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Studies still looking for link between cell phones and brain tumors

(Reuters Health) The heaviest users of cell phones may be at higher than average risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor, according to a recent French study.
But for most people, it’s still not clear if there’s added risk, the authors say. Plus, the devices and the way people use them keeps evolving so that more research is needed going forward, they add…
Cell phones emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in the microwave spectrum, which may be cancer causing, although that’s not yet proven, said Dr. Seung-Kwon Myung of South Korea's National Cancer Center.
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Wastewater a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: study

(Reuters Health) Wastewater from cities and hospitals releases some antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the environment, according to a new French study.
And although wastewater treatment plants cut the number of bacteria overall, the treatment process boosts the proportion of bacteria resistant to some antibiotics, the research found.
The study focused on E. coli, a type of bacteria that commonly inhabits the intestines of many healthy animals, including humans, although certain strains can cause food poisoning.
Drug resistance among many types of bacteria, including E. coli, is a growing problem. Previously unaffected bacteria can pick up resistance genes from other bacteria that carry them, and resistance can also spread through food crops irrigated with affected water.
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Superbug threat as grave as climate change, say scientists

(Reuters) Superbugs resistant to drugs pose a serious worldwide threat and demand a response on the same scale as efforts to combat climate change, infectious disease specialists said on Thursday.
Warning that a world without effective antibiotics would be "deadly", with routine surgery, treatments for cancer and diabetes and organ transplants becoming impossible, the experts said the international response had been far too weak.
"We have needed to take action against the development of antimicrobial resistance for more than 20 years. Despite repeated warnings, the international response has been feeble," said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust medical charity.
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Immune kids could help develop malaria vaccine

(BBC News) A group of African children whose bodies are naturally immune to malaria, is helping scientists search for a vaccine against the disease.
American researchers found that the kids, from Tanzania, produce in their body a special disease-fighting substance - an antibody - that fights the malaria parasite.
To see if it worked on others, scientists injected a form of the antibody into some mice. They found the mice became much better protected from the disease than other mice.
The antibody attacks the malaria parasite at an important stage in its growth, trapping it and stopping it spreading through the body.
Scientists now want to carry out these tests in other animals and humans to see whether the discovery could lead to a vaccine for malaria being made.
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Bioengineer is working to make E. coli fight obesity, depression

(Los Angeles Times) Scientists have made great strides in cataloging the human microbiome, the collection of tiny organisms that live on and in our bodies. Now some researchers want to put those microbes to work.
At the forefront of this effort is Jeff Tabor, a synthetic biologist in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University in Houston. Last month Tabor received a three-year grant from the Office of Naval Research to genetically modify a strain of Escherichia coli bacteria that lives naturally in the human gut. The ultimate goal is to create a microbe that can detect and treat an intestinal disorder that has been linked to obesity and depression…
“We want to deliver a genetically engineered probiotic that can detect the early molecular signatures of a disrupted gut microbiome. Then, when that signature is detected, our bacteria will produce a battery of different compounds that prevents the changes in the intestine that lead to obesity and anxiety.”
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Why Medicine Is Cheaper in Germany

(The Atlantic) Every day, medical innovation saves American lives, but those same breakthroughs contribute to our ever-skyrocketing healthcare bill. Part of the reason is that we have no systematic way of determining the value of new gadgets and pharmaceuticals, or of driving down their prices…
Prices for even generic prescriptions climbed 5.3 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, manufacturers are churning out newer and shinier versions of everything from diabetic pumps to cancer drugs. Reining in the cost of all of these new treatments is widely considered one of the key steps to bringing healthcare costs under control. 
America hasn't figured out quite how to do that yet—but Germany might have.
Almost every German belongs to one of some 160 nonprofit "sickness funds," or nonprofit insurance collectives. The sickness funds cover both medical visits and prescription drugs. Drug prices there are already lower than in the U.S. because sickness funds negotiate with both physician groups and drug manufacturers to set costs of all treatments across the board. In the U.S., Medicare isn't even allowed to negotiate lower drug prices.
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Mitch McConnell Softens Opposition To Obamacare

(ThinkProgress) In a stunning reversal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested on Friday that he would not support repealing Kynect, Kentucky’s state-run health care exchange. The marketplace has been a model for effective Affordable Care Act implementation, enrolling over 400,000 people in health insurance coverage since October.
McConnell reiterated his support for repealing the Affordable Care Act at a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky, but would not say if Kentuckians enrolled in coverage should lose insurance. Responding to questions from WHAS reporter Joe Arnold about whether the state’s exchange should be dismantled, McConnell said, “I think that’s unconnected to my comments about the overall question here.”
The answer is in stark contrast to McConnell’s past pledges to repeal the law “root and branch” and claims that reform is “not fixable.” Still, this isn’t the first time McConnell or his allies have sought to soften the senator’s stance on the Affordable Care Act. 
Community: My, how the tune changes when he’s no longer threatened from the right, having won his primary for this November’s election.
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Medicare fraud by the billions; senators wrestle with how to stop it

(McClatchy Washington Bureau) It shows up almost daily, in a drumbeat of press releases from the Justice Department about prosecutions of scam artists who’ve preyed on the government’s biggest health care program -- the $600 billion bureaucracy called Medicare.
In the latest example, an owner and operator of community mental health centers in Baton Rouge, La., and Houston were convicted on May 21st for their roles in a $258 million scheme to submit thousands of false billings to the government.
Citing estimates that Medicare fraudsters are costing taxpayers $60 billion to $90 billion a year, a bi-partisan group of senators is proposing legislation to harden the target.
Led by the chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the group is proposing ways to loosen rules so that insurers and other medical providers can share information that more quickly identifies scammers, especially to ensure they can’t do it again.
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Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week 2014

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) The week before the start of the summer swim season is Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week. Each year, RWII Prevention Week focuses on simple steps swimmers and pool operators can take to help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone. The theme for RWII Prevention Week 2014 is Healthy and Safe Swimming: We’re In It Together.
Healthy Swimming & Recreational Water Resources
RWII Prevention & Response Tools for Public Health Professionals – materials to help inform the public, media, community leaders, and others about RWII Prevention Week.
Health Promotion Materials messages to educate the public on how to prevent recreational water illnesses.
Healthy Swimming Fast Facts – information on healthy swimming and recreational water.
Environmental Health Services Resources
EHS Recreational Water Topic page – environmental health services topic page on recreational water.
EHS Publications – articles on recreational water related to environmental health.
Model Aquatic Health Code – a new evidence-based guide to make swimming and water activities healthier and safer. Now in its final comment period.
Update on the Model Aquatic Health Code. [pdf]  – EHSB monthly Journal of Environmental Health article with an update on the MAHC.
Community: More on water safety:
(LiveScience) Although pool water may look clear, it can also be deceiving, as there are still bacteria and parasites in there that may spoil summertime fun.
(Science Daily) Sanitary-minded pool-goers who preach 'no peeing in the pool,' despite ordinary and Olympic swimmers admitting to the practice, now have scientific evidence to back up their concern. Researchers are reporting that when mixed, urine and chlorine can form substances that can cause potential health problems.
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What to know about sunscreen before buying it

(Consumer Reports) We tested 20 sunscreens, and though we found several to recommend, only two provided the SPF protection promised on their packages after water immersion. One product came in at less than half of its claimed SPF, and we weren’t able to get a reading on another one marketed for use on children. The others came in 4 to 40 percent below their claims.
That doesn’t mean the sunscreens aren’t protective. Even an SPF 30 sunscreen that comes in, say, 40 percent below its claim gives you an SPF of 18. And we can’t say why our test results differ from the manufacturers’ claims, but they show that SPF isn’t always carved in stone.
In our tests, we found a wide variability of effectiveness against UVA rays (check our Ratings)…
Our findings underscore the importance of choosing from our recommended sunscreens.
Community: More sunscreen information:
(CNN) Stick with these smart tips to make sure you're as protected as you can possibly be. Select a sunscreen you love… Remember, SPF 30 is the new 15… Check labels for the term broad-spectrum… Layer it on… Don't forget your nose… Get antioxidant insurance… Realize that sunscreen is only one part of a sun-smart plan… Know that it's never too late to start safe habits.
(Consumer Reports) These three fixes are on our wish list. 1. Better ingredients. There are ingredients used in European countries and elsewhere that aren’t available in the U.S… 2. Information on spray safety… 3. Answers about high-SPF products.
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Go get yourself some cheap sunglasses

(Consumer Reports) There are a few key things to look for. Make sure they’re labeled as providing protection from at least 99 percent of ultraviolet A and B rays to prevent damage that could contri­b­ute to cataracts, macular degeneration, or cancerous growths in or near your eyes. Such products may also be labeled as providing absorption of “up to 400 nanometers of UV radiation.”
And look for a frame wide enough to fully cover your eyes and the surrounding skin (wraparound shades offer even more protection). Decent sunglasses don't have to cost a lot, our past tests have found. But if you're buying them for a specific activity—fishing or driving, for example—it may be worth springing for polarized lenses, which cut glare off of flat surfaces. Read more about how to find the best protection for your eyes.
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9 Myths About Seasonal Allergies

(LiveScience) To clear the air of … common misconceptions, here are nine allergy myths that may be making the rounds.
Myth: Everybody has allergies. Only one in five Americans has allergic rhinitis, which in spring is also known as "rose fever" and in fall is called "hay fever," [allergist Dr. John] Costa said…
Myth: If you didn't have seasonal allergies as a child, you won't develop them as an adult. The body comes in contact with new things all the time, and can become highly allergic to them at any time…
Myth: Eating local honey helps relieve seasonal allergy symptoms… [T]he wind-carried pollens from trees, grasses and weeds that cause seasonal allergies are very light and stay airborne for a long time. The pollen in bee honey comes from flowers, and is very heavy and falls to the ground. "They are the wrong kind of pollens for causing seasonal allergies," Costa said.
Myth: Scientists can accurately predict a bad pollen season. "Predictions about pollen seasons are disingenuous," Costa said, and he refrains from making them…
Myth: Moving to a different geographic area could ease seasonal allergies. "Moving is of little benefit to the seasonal allergy sufferer," Costa said, because pollens are actually shared over large areas…
Myth: Flowers are a common trigger for seasonal allergies. "It's rare for flower pollen to contribute to seasonal allergies," Costa said…
Myth: All nasal sprays are bad. Patients need to use some nasal sprays selectively and judiciously, Costa told Live Science…
Myth: You only need to take allergy medication when you start feeling terrible. Allergies are an inflammatory response, and their effects can last for weeks. "It makes more sense to use allergy medications on a consistent basis to maintain control over moderate to severe allergies," Costa explained…
Myth: Allergy shots are not worthwhile. Over the last 20 years, allergy shots have become more sophisticated and fine-tuned, Costa said.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
EatingWell:
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Chill and Grill on Memorial Day Weekend
If you're planning your first big cookout of the season during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, here are some festive, flavorful grilled dishes that are South Beach Diet-friendly. From easy grilled shrimp on rosemary skewers to a succulent pork tenderloin roast with a peachy keen salsa, this collection of recipes will inspire you to put your grill to work often over the holiday and throughout the warm weather. Double or triple the recipes, as desired.
Cooking Light:
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Food News

(CNN) Check your ground beef before you grill out this Memorial Day weekend. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says stores in 12 states may have received beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7… A representative for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the meat is being removed from store shelves. But consumers should return or throw out meat that has the code EST.2574B and a production date between March 31 and April 18, 2014.
(Newsday) Two U.S. food companies this week issued voluntary recalls of walnuts and hummus dips sold at major retailers after listeria was detected in a sampling of the products, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday… St. Louis-based Sherman Produce Co said it would begin recalling 241 cases of bulk walnuts, after a recent routine sampling of the product purchased by stores in Missouri and Illinois revealed traces of listeria, the FDA said in a statement. Massachusetts prepared foods manufacturer Lansal Inc, commonly known as Hot Mama's Foods, said it would voluntarily pull hummus and dip products sold at Target, Trader Joe's and other retailers, the administration said.
(Tech Times) Health officials warn against eating eating raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts following results of investigations that point to the Idaho producer's product as the likely source of an E.coli outbreak that has sickened 10 individuals.
(AP) New York City is using a novel way to uncover cases of food poisoning - reading Yelp restaurant reviews. Health officials found three unreported outbreaks by sifting through nearly 300,000 reviews on the popular website. The outbreaks were small, together blamed for only 16 illnesses. But one expert called it an innovative way to catch clusters of food poisoning.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Faster vaccination saves lives, money during flu pandemic

(Reuters Health) Shortening the time between the start of a severe flu outbreak and mass vaccination saves lives and money, suggests new research.
Traditional methods, such as washing hands and wearing face masks, are also effective at controlling an outbreak until vaccines are made available, researchers said.
“We saw what happened in 2009 and we wanted to take a look at if the response was similar to that in a more severe pandemic episode how prepared are we,” said Dr. Nayer Khazeni, the study’s lead author from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
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Minnesota Bans Antibacterial Triclosan

(TIME) Minnesota is banning the germ killer triclosan, which is found in many soaps and body washes. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill on Friday, but the ban won't take effect until January 2017.
State senator John Marty, who sponsored the bill, said that the impact of the bill — which is the first statewide ban in the nation — would be felt across the board. “While this is an effort to ban triclosan from one of the 50 states, I think it will have a greater impact than that,” he told the Associated Press.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), triclosan is not known to be harmful to humans, but a growing number of studies suggest that the chemical may cause hormone disruption.
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Soil Bacteria May Provide Clues To Curbing Antibiotic Resistance

(Science 2.0) Drug-resistant bacteria annually sicken 2 million Americans and kill at least 23,000. A driving force behind this growing public health threat is the ability of bacteria to share genes that provide antibiotic resistance.
Bacteria that naturally live in the soil have a vast collection of genes to fight off antibiotics, but they are much less likely to share these genes, a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has revealed. The findings suggest that most genes from soil bacteria are not poised to contribute to antibiotic resistance in infectious bacteria.
The researchers hope that what they are learning from soil bacteria will help identify ways to reduce gene sharing among infectious bacteria, slowing the spread of drug-resistant superbugs, said senior author Gautam Dantas, PhD.
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Better Bedbug Trap: Made from Household Items for About $1

(Science Daily) The contraption seems so simple, yet so clever, like something The Professor might have concocted on "Gilligan's Island."
Researchers at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have devised a bedbug trap that can be built with household items. All you need are two disposable plastic containers, masking tape and glue, said Phil Koehler, UF/IFAS urban entomology professor. The traps catch and collect the bugs when they try to travel between people and the places where bedbugs hide, he said.
"This concept of trapping works for places where people sleep and need to be protected at those locations," Koehler said.
The traps rely on the bugs' poor ability to climb on smooth surfaces, he said. Instead, the traps have rough areas to let bedbugs enter easily, and a smooth-surfaced moat that keeps them from escaping.
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Engineer Invents a Way to Beam Power to Medical Chips Deep Inside the Body

(Science Daily) A Stanford electrical engineer has invented a way to wirelessly transfer power deep inside the body and then use this power to run tiny electronic medical gadgets such as pacemakers, nerve stimulators or new sensors and devices yet to be developed.
The discoveries … culminate years of efforts by Ada Poon, assistant professor of electrical engineering, to eliminate the bulky batteries and clumsy recharging systems that prevent medical devices from being more widely used.
The technology could provide a path toward a new type of medicine that allows physicians to treat diseases with electronics rather than drugs.
"We need to make these devices as small as possible to more easily implant them deep in the body and create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain," said Poon.
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Cellphones Can Change Global Health for the Better

(Lisa Chau, U.S. News & World Report) For two days this month, the United Nations Headquarters in New York hosted the invite-only Cavendish Global Impact Forum. Among the panel discussions was how to identify innovations with the potential for transformational impact on disease outcomes and ensure their successful integration into medical practice…
Panelists at the forum emphasized the importance of such technology in increasing the efficacy of health delivery, especially in developing countries. They pointed to programs already in use: a national campaign in Senegal to train health workers in diabetes care; text messaging to promote smoking cessation in Costa Rica; and a prevention initiative in Zambia, which claims the highest rate of cervical cancer.
In addition to its extensive reach, mobile health care programs are worth our attention because of their ability to deliver behavioral treatments at relatively inexpensive costs. Used for patient care and training, mobile technology is a low-cost solution to provide service.
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Drug-Target Database Lets Researchers Match Old Drugs to New Uses

(Science Daily) There are thousands of drugs that silence many thousands of cancer-causing genetic abnormalities. Some of these drugs are in use now, but many of these drugs are sitting on shelves or could be used beyond the disease for which they were originally approved. Repurposing these drugs depends on matching drugs to targets.
A [recently published study] describes a new database and pattern-matching algorithm that allows researchers to evaluate rational drugs and drug combinations, and also recommends a new drug combination to treat drug-resistant non-small cell lung cancer…
"Imagine you know a cancer is caused by five kinases acting in unison," [researcher Aik Choon] Tan says. "Our approach would allow you to query the database for this pattern and discover the drug or combination of drugs that best match the genetic needs."
Because many of these drugs have already earned FDA approval for use in other diseases, the processes of repositioning these drugs for new diseases is much less involved and expensive than if drug developers had started fresh.
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