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

Uber for Doctors? On-Demand Service Orunje Brings Back the House Call

(DNAinfo) In a throwback to a time when doctors made house calls, a new on-demand health care service aims to eliminate the need to visit a doc's office or urgent care clinic.
Launched this week in Chicago, Orunje, pronounced "Orange," allows patients to receive primary care in the comfort of their home or office for a flat fee. Using the platform's website, patients can request a visit from a board-certified doctor or nurse practitioner and receive medical attention when and where they need it.
Once a request is made, the service promises a doctor will arrive within two hours and can treat a broad range of ailments from the common cold to pneumonia. After performing a health assessment, the doctor can write a prescription, order lab tests or recommend additional care as needed.
Dr. Pardeep Athwal, co-founder of Orunje, said the service allows patients to avoid long waits, exposure to illnesses and other inconveniences of the traditional doctor’s office or emergency room.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Compound in Magnolia May Combat Head and Neck Cancers

(Veterans Affairs Research Communications) [The phytochemical honokiol,] one of the major active compounds in magnolia extract, … has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to treat anxiety and other conditions. More recently, scientists have been discovering that the compound, found in magnolia bark, is a wily and versatile adversary of cancer. It seems to exploit many biochemical pathways to shrink tumors of various types, or to keep them from growing in the first place…
Alabama scientists have now shown how it works against head and neck cancers: It blocks a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR…
Senior author Dr. Santosh K. Katiyar and his colleagues wrote, "Conclusively, honokiol appears to be an attractive bioactive small molecule phytochemical for the management of head and neck cancer which can be used either alone or in combination with other available therapeutic drugs."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Stem-Like Progenitor Cell That Exclusively Forms Heart Muscle

(Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania) Future therapies for failing hearts are likely to include stem-like cells and associated growth factors that regenerate heart muscle. Scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have just taken an important step towards that future by identifying a stem-like "progenitor" cell that produces only heart muscle cells…
The findings expand the basic scientific knowledge of how the mammalian heart develops and should speed research in this area -- not least because scientists now have a definitive marker, Hopx, that they can use to isolate the cardiomyoblast progenitors that specifically make heart muscle cells.
The work also could accelerate the development of future cardiac therapies, which might include the injection of cardiomyoblasts into damaged hearts.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

CDC Warns of Pool Parasite This Summer

(ABC News) A hardy parasite has led federal health officials to warn pool goers to be careful in the water this summer.
Outbreaks related to pools, hot tubs and other recreational uses of water can be dangerous, and according to a new report released today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 90 outbreaks between 2011 to 2012 resulted in 1,788 illnesses, 95 hospitalizations and one death.
A major cause of the outbreaks in treated water, including hot tubs and pools, is a hardy parasite called Cryptosporidium, which is encased in a tough shell and causes acute gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Bacteria-killing light fixture made commercially available

(UPI) A light fixture that kills micro-organisms in the air that are known causes of hospital-acquired infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, C.difficile and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, was introduced at the 2015 annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
The fixture, called Indigo-Clean, emits indigo-colored light that is absorbed by molecules within bacteria, producing a chemical reaction that kills the bacteria from the inside, a reaction similar to releasing bleach within the bacterial cells.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Online tools can help manage pain

(Reuters Health) People with chronic pain may be able to use online tools to manage their symptoms, lessening the need for frequent doctor visits, an Australian study suggests.
Researchers tested a series of web-based pain management tutorials on a group of adults who had been suffering symptoms for more than six months. Regardless of how much contact the patients had with clinicians, they all experienced significant reductions in disability, anxiety and average pain levels at the end of the eight week experiment as well as three months down the line.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Smartphone App May Prevent Dangerous Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Patients

(American Friends of Tel Aviv University) Many patients in the latter stage of Parkinson's disease are at high risk of dangerous, sometimes fatal, falls. One major reason is the disabling symptom referred to as Freezing of Gait (FoG) -- brief episodes of an inability to step forward that typically occurs during gait initiation or when turning while walking. Patients who experience FoG often lose their independence, which has a direct effect on their already degenerating quality of life. In the absence of effective pharmacological therapies for FoG, technology-based solutions to alleviate the symptom and prolong the patients' ability to live independently are desperately being sought.
CuPID is a project three years in the making and the product of an eight-member European Union-funded consortium including researchers at Tel Aviv University. It strives to provide personalized rehabilitation for patients with Parkinson's disease who experience FoG or other gait disturbances. CuPID is a home-based, personalized rehabilitation tool in the form of a smartphone app that harnesses wearable sensors, audio biofeedback, and external cueing to provide intense motivational training tailored to each patient. The results are monitored remotely by medical professionals, who provide quality care while enhancing patient compliance.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Brain scans predict OCD patients fit for specific treatment

(UPI) Cognitive-behavioral therapy is successful with 80 percent of patients with obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, however researchers in a small study have now found they can predict which patients will see symptoms relapse by taking brain scans before the treatment, potentially saving huge amounts of time and money.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches people with OCD to understand the thoughts and feelings that influence their behaviors and work to change them.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Acidity of Urine May Affect Susceptibility to UTIs

(Washington University in St. Louis) The acidity of urine -- as well as the presence of small molecules related to diet -- may influence how well bacteria can grow in the urinary tract, a new study shows. The research, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, may have implications for treating urinary tract infections, which are among the most common bacterial infections worldwide…
[Senior author Jeffrey P. Henderson​, MD, PhD] said that conventional wisdom in medicine favors the idea that acidic urine is better for restricting bacterial growth. But their results were surprising because samples that were less acidic, closer to the neutral pH of pure water, showed higher activity of the protein siderocalin and were better at restricting bacterial growth than the more acidic samples…
After analyzing thousands of compounds in the samples, the researchers determined that the presence of small metabolites called aromatics, which vary depending on a person's diet, also contributed to variations in bacterial growth. Samples that restricted bacterial growth had more aromatic compounds, and urine that permitted bacterial growth had fewer…
[R]esults implicate cranberries among other possible dietary interventions.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

CVS Health launches health, beauty makeover for drugstores

(AP) CVS drugstores that quit tobacco sales last year are now getting health and beauty makeovers and a shot of ethnic diversity in some cases to attract customers who want more than a prescription refill.
The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain said Wednesday that it is adding fresh foods, healthy snacks and expanded beauty options to many of its locations. It also is testing a new format designed for stores that serve Hispanic populations.
CVS Health Corp. executives say these changes reflect customer demand. They also could help perk up store sales outside the pharmacy area that have slumped since the company phased out tobacco last September.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

OSHA Launches Program To Protect Nursing Employees

(NPR) The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) [announced] Thursday that it's going to crack down on hospitals, for the first time ever, to prevent an epidemic of back and arm injuries among nursing employees…
OSHA chief David Michaels described his agency's new program to NPR in an exclusive interview.
The public more typically hears about OSHA when the agency goes after factories where workers' arms got cut off, or construction sites where the scaffolds collapsed. But now, Michaels says, OSHA's inspectors will investigate what hospitals are doing to make sure that nursing employees don't get disabled doing their everyday jobs lifting patients.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Supreme Court Rules 6-3 to Save Obamacare Tax Subsidies

(Bloomberg) The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a core component of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, backing tax credits used by millions of Americans to buy insurance and preserving the landmark measure that will define his legacy…
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s four Democratic appointees in the majority. They said the 2010 Affordable Care Act allows tax credits in all 50 states, not just the 16 that have authorized their own online insurance exchanges.
“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Roberts wrote. “If at all possible, we must interpret the act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”
Community: Sometimes sanity threatens to prevail.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fats from fish and plants may help older adults live longer

(Reuters Health) Older adults who eat plenty of fish and vegetables may live longer than people who don’t, a large Swedish study suggests.
Among more than four thousand 60-year-old men and women, those with the highest blood levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which come from fish and plants, were significantly less likely to die from heart disease or any cause over about 15 years than those with the lowest levels.
“The study supports current dietary guidelines that advise having sufficient intake of both fish and vegetable oils in a heart-healthy diet,” senior study author Dr. Ulf Riserus, a nutrition researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, said by email.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The Pegan diet: When paleo met vegan

(CNN) If you thought meat-loving paleo folks couldn't have less in common with vegans, it may be hard to believe the latest trend catching the eye of nutritionists and high profile doctors nationwide. Yes, the pegan diet (paleo plus vegan) has arrived. The idea: By taking the best of popular paleo and vegan plans, you get a surprisingly sustainable way of eating. (Even renowned wellness expert Dr. Mark Hyman recently declared himself a pegan.)…
The pegan diet focuses primarily on fruits and vegetables — specifically, filling 75 percent of your diet with plants, and rounding out the other 25 percent with animal protein and high-quality fats. "The pegan diet is a somewhat odd combination because the foundation of vegan diets is a belief of not consuming any animal products," says nutritionist and chef Beth Saltz, MPH, RD. "A better description is probably a very clean, modified paleo diet."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Free animations spread lifesaving tips via smartphones

(Reuters Health) Impoverished communities across the globe are receiving lifesaving tips for dealing with disease, draught and depression from short, user-friendly videos that are free online.
Agriculture animations, for example, show how to build raised planting beds using layers of animal manure, vegetation and soil, or how to install drip irrigation systems to help conserve water.
Health videos cover topics such as washing hands, using malaria-preventing bed nets, preventing tuberculosis and removing poison from Cassava flour.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Here's What Went Wrong with Last Year's Flu Vaccine

(Live Science) Americans got little benefit from last season's flu shot — the vaccine was only about 19 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's largely because one of the flu strains that was used to make the vaccine did not match well with the actual flu strains that were circulating.
Now, new research shows that a single mutation in that strain is what caused this poor match…
Andrew Pekosz, an influenza expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who was not involved in the study … said that he's optimistic that next year's flu vaccine will offer more protection against the H3N2 strain. But he's concerned about another flu strain, called H1N1, for next year's flu season. Protection against H1N1 is also included in the seasonal flu vaccine.
"The worry right now is the H1N1 component," he adds. "That virus hasn't really changed in a very long period of time. Much longer than we'd expect." That means, he says, that a change might be in store for it.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Synthetic blood transfusions could begin within two years

(AFP RELAXNEWS) Synthetic red blood cells are to be transfused into human testing subjects by 2017, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) Blood and Transplant announced this week.
"Scientists across the globe have been investigating for a number of years how to manufacture red blood cells to offer an alternative to donated blood to treat patients," says Dr. Nick Watkins, NHS Blood and Transplant Assistant Director of Research and Development.
Replacing human blood is not the goal of the operation, according to Dr. Watkins, who says the intention is to provide the appropriate blood product for specific conditions, a sort of customization of blood transfusions.
Patients with complex blood types for whom finding a compatible donor often leaves healthcare professionals flummoxed would benefit from synthetic blood, according to NHS Blood and Transplant.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Elder abuse may be more common than people think

(Reuters Health) Elder abuse may be more common than is recognized, particularly among adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments, a research review suggests…
“Elder abuse is a common, identifiable, fatal and costly condition that occurs across sociodemographic and socioeconomic strata around the world,” lead study author Dr. Xin Qi Dong, a researcher in aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said by email…
While cognitive impairment appears to be most strongly linked to a risk of being abused, the problem is also seen among elderly people with impaired physical function and those suffering psychological distress or social isolation.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Diabetics could benefit from eating food in a certain order

(Science Recorder) A new study shows that eating protein and greens before carbohydrates could be very beneficial to people suffering from both type 2 diabetes and obesity.
According to Philly.com, these new findings showed that eating in this manner led to both lower blood sugar levels and lower insulin levels after each meal. This is very significant for two reasons. One, it gives further insight into how to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Two, it also shows that, while the common way to treat people with obesity and diabetes is an eat-this-not-that approach, a better way might be to simply restructure the order of the meal.
It is generally hard for doctors to get patients to cut back on carbs. However, this new approach could actually let them eat the carbs they love, while still cutting down on blood sugar levels.
Community: Maybe this technique could help all of us eat fewer carbs.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

High-Sugar Diet Can Impair Learning And Memory By Altering Gut Bacteria

(Huffington Post) The typical American diet is loaded with fat and sugar, and it may be hurting not only our physical health, but also our ability to think clearly.
New research from Oregon State University finds a high-sugar, high-fat diet causes changes in gut bacteria that seem to lead to significant losses in cognitive flexibility, a measurement of the brain's ability to switch between thinking about one concept to another, and to adapt to changes in the environment.
The study, which was conducted on mice…, found that a high-sugar diet was particularly detrimental to brain function, leading not only to decreased cognitive flexibility but also to impairments in short- and long-term memory.
“We’ve known for a while that too much fat and sugar are not good for you,” Dr. Kathy Magnusson, a biomedical scientist at the university and the study's lead author, said in a statement. “This work suggests that fat and sugar are altering your healthy bacterial systems, and that’s one of the reasons those foods aren’t good for you. It’s not just the food that could be influencing your brain, but an interaction between the food and microbial changes.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Quiet, please! Researchers worry urban noise may be linked to belly fat, stroke, even death

(Washington Post) In two unrelated studies published in recent weeks, scientists have made intriguing links using data about environmental noise pollution and health survey data. In a paper…, researchers calculated how much road traffic, railroad and aircraft noise 5,075 people in Sweden were exposed to since 1999 by looking at official government statistics. The information they looked at included everything from building heights, speed limits and noise barriers. Then they looked at detailed questionnaires and checkups the volunteers, who were ages 43 to 66, had completed as part of a diabetes prevention program.
The researchers found that nearly 70 percent had been regularly exposed to noise above 45 decibels -- the level of noise of a suburban home. The World Health Organization recommends less than 40 decibels of noise outside bedrooms at night to prevent adverse health effects…
While the study does not in any way conclude that the noise is the cause of participants' larger midsection, study author Goran Pershagen and his colleagues theorized that noise exposure may affect metabolic and cardiovascular functions because of possible sleep disturbances which alters appetite and energy. They also said noise could be an important physiological stressor and bump up the body's production of the hormone cortisol, which are thought to play a role in fat around the middle of the body.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Eating up to 100g of chocolate daily linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk

(University of Aberdeen) Eating up to 100g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk, according to research carried out by scientists at the University of Aberdeen…
Professor Phyo Myint, School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Aberdeen says: “Our study concludes that cumulative evidence suggests higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.”
The study notes that as milk chocolate, which is considered to be less ‘healthy’ than dark chocolate, was more frequently eaten by the EPIC-Norfolk participants, the beneficial health effects may extend to this type of chocolate too.
“This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Mushroom Extract May Slow Weight Gain

(HealthCentral.com) A mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine may help to slow weight gain by altering gut bacteria, suggests a new study by researchers in Taiwan.
In research on mice, scientists created an extract from the mushroom known as "lingzhi" and fed it to the animals, along with a high-fat diet. After two months, the mice that were given extract gained less weight than those mice who were not fed the extract.
Researchers believe that the mushroom works by altering the bacteria communities in the gut.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Mushroom 'cure' for arthritis: Extract from rare fungus could give relief to millions

(Express.co.uk) Agonising arthritis pain could be cured by an extract taken from rare mushrooms.
Its potential was revealed by British scientists…
Arthritis Research UK is so impressed by their findings it has committed ?260,000 to investigating further.
Cordycepin, extracted from the cordyceps mushroom found only in Tibet, blocks the painful inflammatory process of osteoarthritis and could even be a cure. 
Research team leader Dr Cornelia de Moor said last night: “We were stunned by the pilot study. This is already a breakthrough but we now need to see whether we have found a cure or it just stops pain. Its potential is really exciting.”
Her team at the University of Nottingham say it could provide an effective treatment within 10 years.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

'Virtual reality' treatment shows promise for alcoholism

(Reuters Health) A form of "virtual reality" therapy might help treat alcohol addiction, suggests a preliminary study from South Korea…
Participants first went through a week-long detox program, followed by virtual reality sessions using a 3D-television screen, twice a week for five weeks. During each session, the participants cycled through three virtual realities.
One reality was meant to relax them. The second was meant to trigger alcohol cravings in a situation where other people were drinking. The last was meant to make drinking seem unpleasant, by transporting participants to a room where people were getting sick from alcohol. The participants also drank a vomit-tasting drink during the aversion simulation.
Areas of the brain thought to be sensitive to alcohol showed changes after repeated exposure to the three different virtual realities, researchers found.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

A blood test for pancreatic cancer may re-stack the odds in patients' favor

(Los Angeles Times) Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have identified a large and readily detectable molecule that circulates in the blood and has detected, with perfect accuracy and no false positives, the presence of pancreatic cancer in a small group of subjects.
Searching blood samples of pancreatic cancer patients and controls for a distinctive molecule given off by the malignancy, scientists were even able to distinguish subjects with benign pancreatic disease from those with early-stage cancer…
The finding "offers the possibility for early detection of pancreatic cancer and help in designing potential curative surgical options," the authors of the new research wrote. For a cancer that has already metastasized in four of five patients newly diagnosed, earlier detection holds a strong promise of improving pancreatic cancer's dismal survival rate, they added.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Independence at Home payment model saves more than $25 million in first performance year

(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) [last week] announced positive and promising results from the first performance year of the Independence at Home Demonstration, including both higher quality care and lower Medicare expenditures.    
"These results support what most Americans already want-- that chronically ill patients can be better taken care of in their own homes. This is a great common sense way for Medicare beneficiaries to get better quality care with smarter spending from Medicare," said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt.  "The Independence at Home Demonstration is one of the tools of the Affordable Care Act that can bring down the long-term cost of care in a patient-centered manner."
The CMS analysis found that Independence at Home participants saved over $25 million in the demonstration’s first performance year – an average of $3,070 per participating beneficiary – while delivering high quality patient care in the home.  CMS will award incentive payments of $11.7 million to nine participating practices that succeeded in reducing Medicare expenditures and met designated quality goals for the first year of the demonstration.  
According to CMS’ analysis, all 17 participating practices improved quality in at least three of the six quality measures for the demonstration in the first performance year. Four participating practices met all six quality measures.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

National Medicare Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 243 Individuals for Approximately $712 Million in False Billing

(Federal Bureau of Investigation) Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced [Thursday] a nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 17 districts, resulting in charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $712 million in false billings. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also suspended a number of providers using its suspension authority as provided in the Affordable Care Act…
The defendants are charged with various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services, including home health care, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment (DME) and pharmacy fraud. More than 44 of the defendants arrested are charged with fraud related to the Medicare prescription drug benefit program known as Part D, which is the fastest-growing component of the Medicare program overall.
“This action represents the largest criminal health care fraud takedown in the history of the Department of Justice and it adds to an already remarkable record of enforcement,” said Attorney General Lynch. “The defendants charged include doctors, patient recruiters, home health care providers, pharmacy owners and others. They billed for equipment that wasn’t provided, for care that wasn’t needed and for services that weren’t rendered. In the days ahead, the Department of Justice will continue our focus on preventing wrongdoing and prosecuting those whose criminal activity drives up medical costs and jeopardizes a system that our citizens trust with their lives. We are prepared—and I am personally determined—to continue working with our federal, state and local partners to bring about the vital progress that all Americans deserve.”
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Is Alzheimer's disease preventable?

(CNN) There is no test doctors can use to conclusively determine whether someone will get Alzheimer's disease…
[But doctors] at three U.S. medical centers are gathering as much information as they can about patients and using it to give them an early intervention plan to slow or prevent the disease, even though it's not known whether the patient will actually get it…
These programs are designed around scientific evidence, offering patients a possible chance to change the course of their future by delaying the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease…
That is why the Alzheimer's Association created a list of 10 things that are good for your brain and good for your health. It's possible these are also beneficial at slowing or preventing Alzheimer's or related dementia. Tips include getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising a few times a week and not smoking. They also encourage enrollment in a clinical trial. The association website can help direct and connect people with research going on in their area.
So, while there is no treatment or cure for Alzheimer's, it's possible an ounce of prevention could go a long way. "Taking care of yourself when you are 50 can make a big difference when you are 70, not just for heart attack and stroke but for Alzheimer's and dementia as well," [said neurologist Dr. David Geldmacher].
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or minimize the severity of cognitive decline.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

You are when you eat

(CNN) We have all heard the age-old weight loss advice to eat less and exercise more. But a number of recent studies suggest that the key to dieting success is not just in how many calories you eat, or don't, but in when you eat them.
"There has been so much energy on what we eat and on carbohydrates and it's only very recently that there have been studies to say that we have been ignoring timing and timing might be as important," said Ruth Patterson, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego…
Patterson and her colleagues are carrying out some of the first work to see whether the benefit of fasting that was reported in rodent studies holds true in people. So far, they have found in a large cohort study that women who reported going more hours at night without eating have better control of blood sugar levels.
Although it is only a guess at this point, Patterson believes that it would improve weight loss if we did away with eating between about 8 at night to about 8 in the morning.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

[Some] fat is back: New guidelines give vilified nutrient a reprieve

(CNN) Fatty foods may be making a comeback. The latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is due out later this year, could contain a number of big changes in its recommendations, not the least of which is an exoneration of fat…
[T]he committee did not find a health benefit to limiting the amount of total fat in the diet, whereas the 2010 and 2005 Guidelines stated that total fat should make up no more than 20% to 35% of total daily calories. The committee did recommend keeping the level of saturated fat, which is found in foods such as cheese, butter, whole milk and beef, to within 10% of total calories.
"We wanted the emphasis to be on fat quality rather than total fat, because the evidence really emphasizes that saturated fat is the driver of risk rather than total fat intake," said Barbara Millen, president of Millennium Prevention and chair of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
The committee concluded that reducing saturated fat could lower the risk of heart disease if it is replaced with a type of "good" fat known as polyunsaturated fat, found in vegetable oils, such as soybean and corn oil, and fatty fish such as salmon and trout. However, replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates does not seem to reduce heart disease risk.
The committee also concluded that monounsaturated fats, found in oils such as olive and peanut oil, were probably also good for heart health.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Blood pressure medication may stop drug, alcohol addiction

(UPI) The high blood pressure drug isradipine suppressed or erased memories that fed an alcohol or cocaine addiction in lab tests, revealing the potential to help addicted individuals avoid relapse.
The drug, which is sold under the name DynaCirc, is already approved by the FDA for use with high blood pressure patients, so researchers are confident clinical trials could be carried out more quickly than if a new drug had been used…
Drugs designed to lower blood pressure block a type of ion channel found in heart and blood vessels, as well as brain cells. Using isradipine to block the channels also appeared to reverse the habits of addiction that become hardwired in the brain, researchers wrote.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

'Smart insulin patch' could revolutionize glucose control for diabetics

(Medical News Today) Patients with diabetes have to control their blood sugar by regularly pricking their finger and giving themselves insulin shots. The procedure is painful and imprecise - injecting the wrong amount of insulin can lead to serious complications, and in some cases, coma and death.
Now, the development of a "smart insulin patch" could one day make such an ordeal a thing of the past for the millions of Americans who suffer from diabetes, according to the team behind the innovation, which includes members from the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill and NC State in Raleigh.
The smart patch - a square sliver of tape no larger than a penny - has more than a hundred microneedles, each about the size of an eyelash, containing tiny reservoirs of insulin and glucose-sensing enzymes.
The device - which can be placed anywhere on the body - senses when blood sugar levels get too high and rapidly discharges the right amount of insulin into the bloodstream.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

White House Lifts Restrictions On Marijuana Research

(Popular Science) Marijuana may be one of the most popular drugs in the world, but marijuana is notoriously difficult to research, particularly in the United States. Access to cannabis plants for research is tightly controlled, the official supply is extremely limited, and tons of bureaucratic red tape means that studies are often delayed by years. But tomorrow, the White House will announce an updated policy for marijuana research, making it easier for scientists to access the plant and better understand how it can be used for medicinal purposes…
Researchers have had only the inklings of the good things that pot can do, from fighting cancer to decreasing the effects of PTSD, but they haven’t been able to explore it deeply or even assess its impact on health in the long term. With fewer restrictions on what they can investigate, some of their questions may be answered more quickly, which could mean better treatments for a slew of medical conditions.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Men’s Health Month: 5 key research findings in 2015 so far

(Fox News) Every day, thousands of medical scientists go to work and try to make the world a better place. Most of their research never finds its way to public knowledge— but more should. That’s why we’re celebrating Men’s Health Month with the latest developments in that scientific arena.
Scanning the science newswire, you’ll find that prostate cancer is one of the most active research areas right now. But there’s also news in men’s depression, testosterone usage and other types of cancer affecting men. Here’s the latest in the field.
Customized treatment of prostate cancer…
Midlife fitness impacts men’s health risks later…
Testosterone replacements are over-prescribed…
Sleep apnea linked to depression in men…
Cancer detection method could reduce unnecessary biopsies.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Putting 'added sugars' on food labels may baffle shoppers

(Reuters Health) Consumers may struggle to understand food nutrition panels that include “added sugars,” a study suggests, illustrating the challenge ahead as U.S. health officials consider putting this detail on food labels to nudge Americans to cut back on sweets and empty calories.
When researchers showed consumers nutrition panels that broke out the grams of “added sugars” as part of the total grams of sugar in the food, many people miscalculated the amount of sugar, the study found…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which sets dietary guidelines, considers “added sugars” to be empty calories because they contain no nutrients. Adults eating about 2,200 calories a day should get no more than 265 calories from empty calories like added sugar, according to the USDA.
According to the FDA, the major sources of added sugars in the diet (with the highest sources listed first) are soda, energy and sports drinks, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy-based desserts and candy.
Community: We’ve seen the dangers of added sugars.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Chocolate, Chocolate, It's Good For Your Heart, Study Finds

(The Salt, NPR) Here's a sweet notion: Eat a little chocolate each day and you could be doing your heart a favor.
A new study …found that habitual chocolate eaters had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes compared to people who didn't eat chocolate.
So, what is it about chocolate that could possibly lead to such a benefit? Well, when you strip out the sugar and milk that's added to chocolate, you're left with the cocoa bean. And it's the compounds in the cocoa that researchers are most interested in.
The study is part of a growing body of evidence that suggests the bioactive plant compounds found in cocoa beans, called polyphenols, may help protect against heart disease.
Community: I put a teaspoon of powdered dark chocolate in my first coffee of the morning, to get the benefits without added sugar.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Feeling anxious? Eat pickle

(ANI) A team of researchers has found that young adults who eat more fermented foods have fewer social anxiety symptoms.
University of Maryland study found a link between pickled foods and social anxiety, noting that those that regularly ate pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut and more were found to have reduced "neuroticism," the Independent reported.
Researcher Matthew Hilimire said that it is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Scientists turn white fat into obesity-fighting beige fat

(Washington State University) Washington State University scientists have shown that berries, grapes and other fruits convert excess white fat into calorie-burning "beige" fat, providing new strategies for the prevention and treatment of obesity.
In the study, mice were fed a high fat diet. Those receiving resveratrol in amounts equivalent to 12 ounces of fruit per day for humans gained about 40 percent less weight than control mice. Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a type of antioxidant found in most fruits…
Professor of animal sciences Min Du and visiting scientist Songbo Wang demonstrated that mice fed a diet containing 0.1 percent resveratrol were able to change their excess white fat into the active, energy-burning beige fat.
"Polyphenols in fruit, including resveratrol, increase gene expression that enhances the oxidation of dietary fats so the body won't be overloaded," said Du. "They convert white fat into beige fat which burns lipids off as heat - helping to keep the body in balance and prevent obesity and metabolic dysfunction."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

The new 'fake fast' diet may be easier and more effective than the 5:2

A new study … suggests following a calorie-restricted diet that mimics fasting for just 5 days a month for 3 months may promote longevity and reduce a number of risk factors for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Study co-author Valter D. Longo, of the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Italy and the University of Southern California, and colleagues say the research demonstrates the first anti-aging, healthspan-promoting intervention that doctors could feasibly recommend for patients…
[T]he researchers developed a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) - a low-protein, low-fat diet high in healthy fats. By activating markers associated with prolonged fasting, such as low glucose levels and high levels of ketone bodies, the diet was able to simulate the effects of fasting…
Compared with the participants who consumed their standard diet, those who followed the FMD intervention experienced a reduction in risk factors linked to aging, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and cancer, including lowered blood glucose, reduced markers of inflammation and weight loss.
The team notes that only 5% of FMD participants were disqualified from the study for failing to comply with the dietary regime.
Community: We’ve seen before some of the health benefits of fasting. This method definitely sounds easier.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fitbit One Can Increase Physical Activity, New Experiment Confirms

(Mirror Daily) Given the recent hype caused by Apple Watch accessories and health-oriented devices, scientists wanted to find out whether fitness chronometers can really improve people’s health. They have found out that Fitbit One can increase physical activity, new experiment confirms…
[Researchers said] that the positive feedback that users constantly get from the small device is the main factor encouraging users to keep up the good work. The chronometer sets new goals for users and congratulates them whenever a previous goal has been met.
Fitbit One is somewhat expensive compared to other similar devices on the market. It costs $100, whereas the majority of the fitness trackers are labeled at around $20.
Community: I use a $20 pedometer, and it works just fine. I created a little Access database that I call Fitness Tracker. Just entering the statistics every day is motivation enough for me to stay on track most of the time.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Basic anti-tick measures could prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever

(UPI) Basic tick bite prevention techniques could significantly lower the number of patients diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or RMSF, according to a new study of the mounting costs associated with the disease among several American Indian tribes in Arizona
Treating homes and lawns, as well as placing tick collars on dogs and pets, are recognized as the best way to prevent RMSF, researchers said.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]