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

Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health

(National Institute on Aging) During the summer, it is important for everyone, especially older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, to be aware of the dangers of hyperthermia. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the NIH, has some tips to help mitigate some of the dangers.
Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia. People can be at increased risk for these conditions, depending on the combination of outside temperature, their general health and individual lifestyle.
Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning or at least a fan and air circulation, on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. Living in housing without air conditioning, not drinking enough fluids, not understanding how to respond to the weather conditions, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing and visiting overcrowded places are all lifestyle factors that can increase the risk for hyperthermia.
People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.
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How to prevent dehydration in hot weather

(Marvin Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports) Without water, most of us would perish within a week. It accounts for up to 75 percent of our body weight, and even at rest, we lose about 4 to 8 cups per day through urination, defecation, and breathing. Hot summer days, exercise, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea increase those losses many-fold.
In other words, without adequate fluid intake, it’s very easy to become dehydrated. It’s a condition not to be taken lightly: Complications from chronic dehydration include confusion, constipation, heartburn, fainting, fatigue, skin allergies, muscle aches, and joint pain.
The condition can also increase the risk of blood clots, infections, and kidney stones…
The only way to prevent dehydration is to be aware that it can happen to you no matter what your age. To offset fluid loss during a normal day of relative inactivity takes a minimum of about 6 to 8 cups of fluids. That amount may sound formid­able, but it’s really not if you take into account that virtually everything we eat contains water, especially fruits and vegetables. But even meat, fish, and poultry contain some liquid. Add some juice, yogurt, and soup, and the daily goal can easily be met.
Exercise, hot weather, and illness require additional fluids, often several times what you normally need. In some instances when vomiting and diarrhea are severe, hospitalization and intravenous fluids may be required.
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Greasing up for summer: a little fear can lead to healthy sun protection habits

(The New Age) A study from the University at Buffalo in New York suggests that fear of developing skin cancer is the driving force behind sunblock use, more so than existing statistics reflecting the likelihood that it will happen.
Marc Kiviniemi, lead researcher and assistant professor of community health and health behavior, used the data collected during a US study by the National Cancer Institute that involved approximately 1,500 participants.
Study participants were selected based on an absence of personal history of skin cancer and answered questions about sunblock use and their worries and estimated risks of developing the disease. Although only 14 percent of subjects reported always using sunblock, and a significant portion -- 32 percent -- reported never using it, each individual reflected on hypothetical worry when describing what motivates them to grease up before greeting the sun.
Kiviniemi points out that such worry, called "cognitive risk" in scientific terms, is often labeled as an irrational influence and devalued by researchers and health care workers.
"These findings show that clinicians might want to think more about feelings when encouraging people to use sunscreen," says Kiviniemi. "In addition to providing educational information about risk, encouraging people to consider how they feel about cancer and how worried they are about it might inspire preventive behaviors."
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Best ways to control mosquitoes and ticks

(Consumer Reports) Summer means mosquitoes and ticks—and the risk of getting bitten by one that carries West Nile virus or Lyme disease. And add a new worry this season headed to the U.S. from the Caribbean: A disease carried by mosquitoes called Chikungunya virus (ChikV), which can cause fever and severe joint pain.  
So don't let your guard down while you're outdoors, says Ben Beard, Ph.D., chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's bacterial diseases branch of vector-borne diseases. "Weather patterns can have an impact on the length of the season for ticks and mosquitoes," he said. "But the reality is that people are at risk every year, from mid-May until the first frost."
So how do you keep yourself safe from the threat of insect-borne diseases this summer? Consumer Reports' tests over the years have found that some products, especially chemical-based insect repellents, can help keep away ticks and mosquitoes. But it often takes more than one approach to rein in backyard bugs.  
Here are some steps you can take to control insects and what to do if they bite or sting you.
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More Information and Recent Research on Summer Risks

(Discovery.com) Hot weather alone is not dangerous, said Chris Minson, an environmental physiologist at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Instead, it's a combination of hot temperatures, high humidity, and often preexisting health conditions that can push a person's core body temperature to reach the danger zone of 104 F. At that point, the nervous system goes haywire, the heart experiences excessive stress, and organ systems begin to fail.
(Washington Post) It’s that time again. If you’re planning to exercise outdoors, you need to take precautions. Here’s what your body is going through as you become accustomed to the heat. (For the full graphic and more, click here.)
(Reuters) Drowning deaths among boaters in Victoria, Australia, fell from almost 60 in the years before a law required everyone to wear a “personal flotation device” to 16 afterwards, according to a new study. Educational campaigns encouraging life-jacket use may not be enough to get all boaters to wear the vests at all times, but making it mandatory does make a difference, the study team writes.
(Consumer Reports) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 350 boating-related drownings in the U.S. every year. Many of those deaths could have been prevented by wearing a proper-fitting life jacket, the U.S. Coast Guard says. 
(Consumer Reports) When you leave home, it pays to be prepared in case you get sick. Although you might be able to find medication at your destination, you could fall ill late at night and pharmacies might be closed… No matter where your travels take you, the CDC recommends bringing the following items in a carry-on bag that you keep with you.
(Appetite for Health) Flip-flops are fun and fashionable but they can also cause tendonitis, ankle sprains, low back pain, heel pain, broken bones, second-degree burns, puncture wounds and much more. Research shows that wearing sandals and flip-flops changes our gait and causes different pressure and forces on your lower extremities, which increases your risk.
(Reader’s Digest) Foot problems can plague you any time of year, but summer can be especially damaging. We asked podiatrists to share their best tips for keeping healthy.
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Recipes

SouthBeachDiet.com:
7 Delicious Ways to Savor Summer
(SouthBeachDiet.com) Summer is the best season to reap the health-boosting benefits of vegetables, fruits, and fresh herbs. There's no better time to "color" your meals with everything from plums and cantaloupes to spinach, radishes, and tomatoes. Here are some flavor-packed side and main dishes that will help you take advantage of summer's bounty.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Are You Eating Summer Squash? You Should!
Looking for an easy-to-prepare, healthful vegetable to add to your summer menu? Try summer squash. This entirely edible vegetable - you can enjoy the skin, flesh and seeds - is a good source of manganese, vitamins A and C, magnesium, fiber and folate. It comes in many varieties, including the popular green zucchini; a crookneck variety that is yellow-skinned with a curved neck; and the flat, round pattypan squash, a sweeter variety of summer squash.
MyRecipes.com:
Skillet Fillets with Cilantro Butter
Any mild white fish such as cod, flounder, or orange roughy would also be delicious in place of tilapia. Serve these brightly flavored fillets with sautéed spinach or a green salad.
EatingWell:
Chicken Kebabs with Thai Chile-Plum Glaze
This Asian-style chicken kebab recipe gets a sweet, caramelized flavor from the Thai chile glaze brushed on the chicken while it’s grilling. You’ll definitely want to make a double batch of the glaze recipe and set some aside for dipping. It’s also delicious made with apricot or blackberry preserves.
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Food News

(Appetite for Health) As the temperature rises, it’s tempting to cool off with an ice cream cone, fro-yo or a nostalgic frozen novelty… Below are nutritionists’ picks for the healthiest summer licks. They’re perfect for when you’re craving a refreshing but sweet treat—but can’t afford the calories of a more decadent dessert. Many are less than 100 calories and sugar counts, saturated fat are low so they won’t send your blood sugar, cholesterol or triglycerides through the stratosphere.
(The People’s Pharmacy) Scientists have suspected that cocoa polyphenols, the anti-oxidant compounds found in cocoa and chocolate, might boost brain power. Now research in mice indicates that a special high-polyphenol extract of cacao called Lavado cocoa extract may be able to prevent or reverse some of the damage associated with Alzheimer's disease.
(Reuters Health) Older people who have trouble getting around because of poor blood flow to their legs may be able to walk a little longer and farther after eating dark chocolate, according to a new small Italian study.
(Sharecare.com) "No single food can completely stop chronic pain," says Dr. Mike Clark, health expert and Chief Science Officer at Sharecare. But with a little change in your diet, you can eliminate some of the pain. Watch as Dr. Clark explains how.
(Sharecare.com) Eating more vegetables and less red meat may help prevent prostate cancer and enlarged prostate. 
(The Atlantic) The biggest reason to eat chicken instead of beef has nothing to do with saturated fat.
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

Community: The NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements has a list of vitamin B12 sources.
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Medical Technology News

(Reader’s Digest) You’re sick, you’re sniffling, and you’re wondering if you need to upend your life to get to the doctor. You may not need to, thanks to new “telemedicine” apps that aim to revolutionize medical care. Now, a doctor can use an app to scope out your sniffles via video chat, prescribe medicine, and track symptoms from afar. It’s fast, easy, and reliable, which means you can spend more time on rest and chicken soup.
(Consumer Reports) All systems (listed in alphabetical order, below) offer daily 24-hour monitoring services and put two operators on each call. (One contacts emergency services; the other stays on the line with you.) All come with a waterproof neck pendant and wristband with a battery backup. Some offer a GPS mobile feature, which works when you are traveling away from home. Some also offer a mobile 911 phone, which places a call to local 911 services if you're out of your normal service range. It carries an additional fee. Some offer an automatic fall detection system, but they say it cannot detect 100 percent of falls, and the companies charge an extra fee for this service. Tip: As you shop, ask for quotes in writing because prices and service may change.
(Assisted Living Federation of America) Responding to consumer and operational demand, providers plan for technology in the design phase.  Share your innovations by entering the Senior Living by Design competition.
(Science Daily) Lung cancer patients could receive more precise treatment, and their progress could be better tracked, using a new high-tech method of non-invasive medical imaging analysis, according to a study.
(University of Texas at Austin) Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have devised a new method for enriching a group of the world's most expensive chemical commodities, stable isotopes, which are vital to medical imaging and nuclear power… For many isotopes, the new method is cheaper than existing methods. For others, it is more environmentally friendly.
(MedPage Today) The Federation of State Medical Boards is now mulling a new framework for expediting licenses allowing board-certified physicians to practice in multiple states through an interstate compact, opening doors to telemedicine and more.
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Communicable Disease News

(Ohio State University) Scientists have identified a potential Achilles' heel for Salmonella – the bacteria's reliance on a single food source to remain fit in the inflamed intestine. When these wily bugs can't access this nutrient, they become 1,000 times less effective at sustaining disease than when they're fully nourished. The research suggests that blocking activation of one of five genes that transport the nutrient to Salmonella cells could be a new strategy to fight infection.
(West Virginia MetroNews) Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Resources have confirmed West Virginia's first case of chikungunya - a virus that spreads through mosquito bites.
(Press TV) A UN health official says most of the confirmed cases of Respiratory Syndrome Corona-Virus (MERS-CoV) could have been prevented as infection rates for the virus are slowing… According to the official, scientists hope to gain enough information in about a year to be able to stop MERS from spreading further across the world.
(Reuters) The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday launched an ambitious plan for rich countries to sharply reduce tuberculosis infections and serve as a model for harder-hit countries of Africa and Asia, where the disease still thrives.
Although the 33 targeted countries, 21 of them in Europe, have relatively low rates of infection, the disease still kills 10,000 people a year there - predominantly homeless people, migrants, prisoners, drug users, heavy drinkers or people with HIV/AIDS - the WHO said. It is in these communities that industrialised countries including the United States could pilot approaches to a disease that is both preventable and curable that could then be transferred to poorer countries, Dr. Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO's Global TB Programme, told a news briefing.
(Science Daily) Leading immunologists express confidence that clear advances in the fight against tuberculosis are within reach. "The old BCG vaccine against tuberculosis primarily activates only helper cells. The trick with our new vaccine is to additionally activate the killer cells, which enables us to trigger an improved immune system response," one expert says. In addition to research into vaccines, innovative treatments are also being investigated which attempt to entice the bacteria out of their macrophage hiding places.
(Reuters) West African states lack the resources to battle the world's worst outbreak of Ebola and deep cultural suspicions about the disease remain a big obstacle to halting its spread, ministers said on Wednesday. The outbreak has killed 467 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February, making it the largest and deadliest ever, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
More . . .

Nature journal retracts stem cell paper citing 'critical errors'

(Reuters) A stem cell paper published by a team of Japanese and American scientists in the influential journal Nature has been retracted due to "several critical errors", the journal said on Wednesday.
The research, which when published in January was described as game-changing by many experts in the field, was subsequently investigated by Japan's RIKEN scientific institute, which "categorised some of the errors as misconduct", Nature said.
The paper, led at RIKEN by Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata, detailed simple ways to reprogram mature animal cells back to an embryonic-like state, allowing them to generate many different types of cells.
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New Reprogramming Method Makes Better Stem Cells

(Science Daily) A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Salk Institute for Biological Studies has shown for the first time that stem cells created using different methods produce differing cells. The findings … provide new insights into the basic biology of stem cells and could ultimately lead to improved stem cell therapies.
Capable of developing into any cell type, pluripotent stem cells offer great promise as the basis for emerging cell transplantation therapies that address a wide array of diseases and conditions, from diabetes and Alzheimer's disease to cancer and spinal cord injuries. In theory, stem cells could be created and programmed to replace ailing or absent cells for every organ in the human body.
The gold standard is human embryonic stem cells (ES cells) cultured from discarded embryos generated by in vitro fertilization, but their use has long been limited by ethical and logistical considerations.
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Burn, patient, burn: China's unusual medical therapy

(AFP) A therapist pours alcohol over a patient and sets him alight -- for some in China, playing with fire is a treatment for illness.
So-called "fire therapy", which proponents claim can cure stress, indigestion, infertility and even cancer, has been used for hundreds of years and recently garnered a blaze of attention in Chinese media.
There is no orthodox medical evidence that it is effective, a fact that matters little to one of China's most prominent fire therapists.
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The Latest In Medical Convenience: ER Appointments

(Kaiser Health News) [Jeannette Paul] went online to book an appointment for her husband at Dignity's St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco.
"They actually had an appointment that was within the hour. It was fast, it was convenient and there was also immediately confirmation we had the appointment," she said.
Dignity Health, which runs a large network of hospitals out of its San Francisco headquarters, also offers online ER booking at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City as a way to overcome the frequently grueling emergency room wait times.
Dignity isn't the only network employing the strategy. In an era of increased competition driven by the nation's Affordable Care Act, hospital executives around the country are hoping online appointments will attract patients eager to avoid long waits in a crowded and often chaotic environment.
"It makes for a happier camper," said Susan Dubuque, a national expert in hospital marketing. "When it comes to health care, consumers want more control over everything."
Emergency room appointments are not intended for patients with serious emergencies -- those with life-threatening, debilitating or urgent medical conditions.
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The Cost Problem

(New York Times) Vaccination prices have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits in the last two decades, creating dilemmas for doctors and their patients as well as straining public health budgets. Here in San Antonio and elsewhere, some doctors have stopped offering immunizations because they say they cannot afford to buy these potentially lifesaving preventive treatments that insurers often reimburse poorly, sometimes even at a loss.
(Los Angeles Times) "I don't understand," [Bill Erickson] said. "With one knee, everything was covered. With the other, they want me to pay $15,000. What's different?" The answer to that question illustrates the insanity that typically surrounds healthcare billing. Americans pay double what people in other developed countries pay for healthcare. Yet our system is so needlessly complex and deliberately misleading, it can be all but impossible to understand what you're being charged for.
(Health24.com) The cost of breast cancer screening for older women has soared because of increased use of new technologies, but that hasn't led to earlier detection of breast cancer, a new study shows. Researchers compared data from 2001-02 and 2008-09, and found that the use of screening mammography for Medicare-enrolled women without a history of breast cancer remained at about 42 percent.
(The Atlantic) Self-described "lunatic-fringe disruptors" depict U.S. healthcare like one of Ayn Rand's dystopias. The $2.7 trillion industry lacks accountability for exorbitant costs. The system incentivizes doctors (and hospitals) to do tests and procedures, instead of paying them to do their jobs—keeping people healthy. It's like paying carpenters to use nails…
The oft-cited, disquieting numbers—the U.S. spends the largest percentage of its GDP on healthcare of any country (by far) but ranks 42nd in global life expectancy and similarly underwhelms in many other health metrics—are projected to worsen. Massive hospitals systems are buying out their competition across the country, charging exorbitant premiums without incentive to cut costs or optimize the care they provide.
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NIH names new clinical sites in Undiagnosed Diseases Network

(NIH News in Health) The National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to six medical centers around the country to select from the most difficult-to-solve medical cases and together develop effective approaches to diagnose them. The clinical sites will conduct clinical evaluation and scientific investigation in cases that involve patients with prolonged undiagnosed conditions.
Each clinical site will contribute local medical expertise to the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN). The network includes and is modeled after an NIH pilot program that has enrolled people with intractable medical conditions from nearly every state, the District of Columbia and seven foreign countries. The network builds on a program at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., that for the past six years has evaluated hundreds of patients and provided many diagnoses, often using genomic approaches, for rare conditions.
“Newly developed methods for genome sequencing now provide us amazingly powerful approaches for deciphering the causes of rare undiagnosed conditions,” said Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. “Along with robust clinical evaluations, genomics will play a central role in the UDN’s mission.” Dr. Green and Story Landis, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, co-chair the UDN working group.
Undiagnosed diseases are conditions that even skilled physicians cannot diagnose despite extensive clinical investigation. They may not be recognized by doctors because they are rarely seen, are previously undescribed, or are rare forms of more common diseases.
Community: What will happen to the Discovery series, “Mystery Diagnosis,” then?
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More Hobby Lobby Fallout

(The Canadian Press) More than half of privately insured women are getting free birth control under President Barack Obama's health law, a major coverage shift that's likely to advance… Recent data from the IMS Institute document a sharp change during 2013. The share of privately insured women who got their birth control pills without a copayment jumped to 56 per cent, from 14 per cent in 2012… The average annual saving for women was $269.
(ThinkProgress) "You can make the religious freedom argument, you can make the argument about contraception, but ultimately, for me, this is about power," Rev. Winters said. "Jesus had a lot of issue with powerful people using power over the powerless."
Community: But it’s a really limited decision, and won’t happen elsewhere, right? Well, see below.
(Reuters) The U.S. Supreme Court gave a Christian college in Illinois a temporary exemption from birth control coverage required by President Barack Obama's health reform law, days after ruling that for-profit employers can opt out for religious reasons.
(Jon Healy, Los Angeles Times) I've argued before that the premium contributions made by employers are coming out of the wages that they'd otherwise pay, so workers really are covering the full cost of their policies. Sure, companies offer health benefits for competitive reasons, but they funnel part of their workers' compensation into health insurance mainly because of the tax break associated with it. When employers are the ones supplying the plan, workers don't have to pay taxes on the income spent on premiums…
Congress could dispel this accounting fiction and give individuals unfettered choice over their coverage by shifting the tax break from employer-sponsored plans fully to individuals' premiums… Shifting the tax preference from companies to their workers would leave employers with considerably less incentive to pay (ever-dwindling) health benefits instead of higher wages.
(Politico) Which would you prefer: to have the ability to decide for yourself and your family the type of coverage you want to purchase on a health insurance exchange—and having your premiums subsidized by a defined contribution or voucher from your employer—or to cede that ability to your employer entirely, having them pick your insurance for you, but empowering them to decide, based on their personal religious beliefs, which services to cover and which to exclude? After Monday’s Hobby Lobby decision, this is exactly the type of choice that more and more Americans will face.
(Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times) Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy, in their majority and concurring opinions, respectively, [advise] the government to grant the business owners relief by establishing what is in effect a single-payer regime for the birth control methods at issue… The pertinent question then becomes: Why stop there? Offer the same accommodation for all employers for all coverage, and you have a single-payer system at last.
More . . .

More Health Insurance News

(Reuters) Californians paid a quarter of a billion dollars in health insurance premiums during a 15-month period ended last year that were deemed excessive by state regulators, a consumer group said Wednesday. Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, which released the figures on Wednesday, is pushing Proposition 45, a ballot initiative that would give regulators the power to reject rate increases determined to be excessive.
Community: No mention in the article that the ACA requires insurance companies paying out less than 80% of premiums in healthcare expenditures have to give refunds to the policy holders who overpaid.
(New York Times) Some New Yorkers are in sticker shock after receiving notices from their insurance companies saying that they have asked for significant rate increases through the state’s health exchange next year. The exchange, which has prided itself on being affordable, is now facing requests for increases as high as 28 percent for some customers of MetroPlus, a new entry to the individual insurance market and one of the least costly — and most popular — plans on the exchange this year. ... Over all, including plans inside or outside the exchange, insurance companies asked for average rate increases of 13 percent in 2015, the state’s Financial Services Department said Wednesday.
(Wall Street Journal) The Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report making the case for how Obamacare’s premium subsidies have made health insurance more affordable for individuals. But those who do not qualify for federal subsidies appear to find exchange coverage anything but affordable.
(Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Times) I could have retired 10 years ago, had I been able to reliably purchase health insurance as an individual, which was not possible due to preexisting conditions. Once my COBRA insurance ends later this year, I intend to purchase health insurance via the ACA. I do not qualify for a subsidy, which is fair. At this point I expect to pay about $500 a month for a good plan, which is also fair. I simply want a decent policy that won't penalize me for preexisting conditions.
(The Atlantic) Though Chattanooga’s lowest-cost silver plan is built around the well-regarded Erlanger Health System, some new buyers are upset that the number of doctors is limited and their personal physicians are not included—even though that is a primary reason the premium is so low. Others view their new policies as adequately priced but nothing special. Still others who had been covered through a state program, where they only paid a third of the premiums, consider their new rates high in comparison.
(Marketplace) We all know people have signed up for insurance through the healthcare exchanges, or enrolled in Medicaid. But a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows about five million people bought coverage straight from an insurance company. There’s nothing new about people buying insurance policies directly from insurers; it’s been happening forever. But Harvard’s Ben Sommers says not for everybody.
(Kaiser Health News) SHOP has been slow to get off the ground with 18 states postponing its full implementation, at least until 2016.
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Declare your Independence

Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Please read the entire document—it’s not long. The kingly abuses listed are almost identical to the abuses the Republican Party and its appointees in the Supreme Court have visited on this nation.
Los Angeles Times:
There was time when a majority of Americans were confident in their Supreme Court, but those positive feelings have been eroding in the last quarter of a century so that just 30% now say they have confidence in the institution, according to a Gallup poll.
The poll, released Monday, had good news and bad news for the high court, a unique institution that serves as a check and balance in the United States. People have more confidence in the court than in any other arm of government, but that may not be saying that much when confidence in the presidency stands at 29% and in the Congress at 7%.
When are we going to take back our country? Here’s a start:
Progressives need an organization dedicated to establishing, developing, and supporting talented researchers, linguists, writers, investigative reporters, social psychologists, speakers, filmmakers, and cartoonists who believe in truthful reporting and commentary, and making sure their work receives wide exposure.  Creating and supporting new and independent media outlets is one of the ways of accomplishing this goal.
The purpose of this organization would be twofold.  The first objective is to inform as many Americans as possible about progressive issues and the fact that our issues are their issues, and to persuade them to support those issues.  A second important goal is to persuade the Democratic Party to support the people’s issues.  Too many Democratic leaders have been just as misled by the siren songs of the right as have so many American citizens, who have almost completely stopped their demands for fair treatment and honest government.  And too many Democratic leaders have been seduced by corporate money.  The way to entice politicians to fight for us and our issues is to show them how many Americans believe as we do.

Reduce Heart Disease Risk by Changing Lifestyle

(Science Daily) The heart is more forgiving than you may think -- especially to adults who try to take charge of their health, a new Northwestern Medicine® study has found.
When adults in their 30s and 40s decide to drop unhealthy habits that are harmful to their heart and embrace healthy lifestyle changes, they can control and potentially even reverse the natural progression of coronary artery disease, scientists found…
"It's not too late," said Bonnie Spring lead investigator of the study and a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "You're not doomed if you've hit young adulthood and acquired some bad habits. You can still make a change and it will have a benefit for your heart."
On the flip side, scientists also found that if people drop healthy habits or pick up more bad habits as they age, there is measurable, detrimental impact on their coronary arteries.
"If you don't keep up a healthy lifestyle, you'll see the evidence in terms of your risk of heart disease," Spring said.
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Four in 10 Pancreatic Cancers Could Be Prevented by Lifestyle Changes

(Science Daily) Almost 40 per cent of pancreatic cancers -- one of the deadliest forms of cancer -- could be avoided in the UK through maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking according to Cancer Research UK, in a call to arms against the disease…
While more research is needed to find better ways of diagnosing and treating the disease, there is evidence to suggest that some pancreatic cancers are linked to being overweight and to smoking -- and almost four in 10 could be prevented by lifestyle changes to address this…
[Said Professor Jeff Evans,] "Survival for this disease remains shockingly low and this has to change. There's an urgent need to tackle pancreatic cancer head on by building up an armoury of effective new treatments -- and developing ways to diagnose this disease sooner, when surgery is more effective.
"At the same time it's important to remember that people can take steps to reduce their risk of developing pancreatic and other cancers, by not smoking and by keeping a healthy weight -- especially if you are prone to carrying too much around your middle.
"Keeping physically active and cutting down on red meat may also help reduce the risk."
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More Recent Research on Cancer

(Science Daily) A new protein, galectin-1, has been identified as a possible therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated the effects of the inhibition of this protein in mice suffering this type of cancer and the results showed an increase in survival of 20%. The work further suggests that it could be a therapeutic target with no adverse effects.
(Science Daily) The herbal extract triptolide has been used on human pancreatic cancer cells and tissue in culture by researchers. Administration of the herb decreased GRP78 protein in the cells, thereby reducing cancer cell survival and facilitating cell death.
(Science Daily) The same types of drugs that help reduce watery eyes and runny noses during allergy season might also help ward off tumors too. A new research report suggests that antihistamines may have significant anti-cancer properties as they interfere with the function of a type of cell that is known to reduce the body's ability to fight tumors.
(Science Daily) The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Outside factors can affect that risk, like smoking, which increases cancer risk, and regular aspirin use, which has been shown to decrease it. Now researchers have demonstrated the change in risk connected to colorectal cancer with regard to aspirin use. Numerous studies have confirmed the protective effect of the drug against different types of cancer, including reducing the risk to develop colorectal cancer by an average of 40%. 
(Scientific American) The evidence suggests to [Harald] zur Hausen that the risk factor for colon cancer in red meat has to do with the Bos taurus species of beef—the most common around the planet. Perhaps, he posits, there an undiscovered virus that is causally involved in human colorectal cancer with respect to raw or undercooked red meat (beef especially).
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Big data analytics can predict risk of metabolic syndrome

(GNS Healthcare) Research … demonstrates that analysis of patient records using state-of-the-art data analytics can predict future risk of metabolic syndrome. More than a third of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to chronic heart disease, stroke and diabetes. These conditions combine to account for almost 20 percent of overall health care costs in the U.S. The study was conducted by Aetna (NYSE: AET) and GNS Healthcare Inc. (GNS), a leading provider of big data analytics products and services in health care.
"This study demonstrates how integration of multiple sources of patient data can help predict patient-specific medical problems," said lead author Dr. Gregory Steinberg, head of clinical innovation at Aetna Innovation Labs. "We believe the personalized clinical outreach and engagement strategies, informed by data from this study, can help improve the health of people with metabolic syndrome and reduce the associated costs."…
GNS analyzed data from nearly 37,000 members of one of Aetna's employer customers who had voluntarily participated in screening for metabolic syndrome. The data analyzed included medical claims records, demographics, pharmacy claims, lab tests and biometric screening results over a two-year period…
The researchers were able to develop detailed risk profiles for individual participants, enabling a deep understanding of exactly which combination of the five metabolic syndrome factors each of the study subjects exhibit and are at risk for developing.
Community: Big data can even go further than medical records. See below.
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Your Doctor Knows You're Killing Yourself. The Data Brokers Told Her

(Businessweek) You may soon get a call from your doctor if you’ve let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of picking up candy bars at the check-out counter or begin shopping at plus-sized stores.
That’s because some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do.
Information compiled by data brokers from public records and credit card transactions can reveal where a person shops, the food they buy, and whether they smoke. The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data. Patients and their advocates, meanwhile, say they’re concerned that big data’s expansion into medical care will hurt the doctor-patient relationship and threaten privacy.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Blackened Chicken with Dirty Rice
Fragrant spices enliven the rub on the chicken breasts in Blackened Chicken with Dirty Rice. The trinity of vegetables—onion, celery, and green pepper—along with thyme, spices, and chicken livers combine for a decadent side of Dirty Rice.
EatingWell:
Tuna Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes with Arugula
The tuna in this great-looking stuffed tomato recipe isn’t your typical mayo-based affair. The sherry vinaigrette does double duty: it adds fresh flavor to the tuna filling and also dresses the baby arugula and white bean salad.
SouthBeachDiet.com:
Chipotle-Rubbed Steak Wraps
Chipotle chiles in adobo (a sauce made from puréed chiles, vinegar, and spices) flavor the steak in this spicy wrap. Look for them canned in the Latin American section of larger supermarkets.
Mediterranean Foods Alliance:
Healthy Pasta Meal à la Freezer
A pasta dinner with frozen vegetables (peas, broccoli, asparagus -- your choice!) and frozen shrimp can be a time saver for busy people. These partners also add up to healthy one-plate or one-bowl meal: vegetables and seafood from the freezer mixed with a high-quality carbohydrate like durum wheat pasta. Added benefit? It's affordable.
Edamame Beans with Olive Oil
Providing a powerhouse of plant protein, beans are a rich tradition in Mediterranean cuisines. To add beans to your Mediterranean repertoire, look for beans in cans or in dry form in a bag or in the frozen food section of your grocery store. Frozen beans are becoming more common and are an affordable, delicious food that also happens to be healthy. Edamame, while not native to the Mediterranean region, fit well with the Mediterranean's long love affair with beans.
Avocado Banana Blueberry Bang
Juice bars and coffee shops from coast to coast are jumping on the smoothie bandwagon. Make yours at home and jump start your day with a frozen and fabulous Avocado Banana Blueberry Bang with avocados from California.
The Supermarket Guru:
Veggies On The Grill
Looking to have a healthy barbeque this year? Take advantage of summers best vegetables that you can enjoy on (and off) the grill. Grilling adds a unique flavor and great texture so try out some of SupermarketGuru's suggestions in this story.
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