Saturday, December 31, 2011

Really? The Claim: Symptoms of Heart Disease Can Show Up in the Eyes

Is heart disease in the eyes? For some people, it just might be.

Studies have shown that higher levels of lipids, or fats, in the blood can cause some people to develop raised yellow patches of skin around the eyelids, known as xanthelasma. Generally the spots are considered a benign cosmetic issue. Though they affect people of all ages, they are most common in middle age and later. Last year an Italian researcher reported that he spotted clear signs of xanthelasma around Mona Lisa’s left eye.

But in a study this year in the journal BMJ, Danish scientists decided to look at whether these yellow patches could be an indication of underlying cardiovascular disease, tied to high cholesterol. In the study, the researchers followed nearly 13,000 adults over age 30 who were taking part in the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Why anything can be addictive

For many people the concept of addiction involves taking drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin.
But in this week's Scrubbing Up, gambling studies expert Mark Griffiths warns that if the rewards are there people can become addicted to almost anything.
For the past 25 years I have been studying gambling and I passionately believe that gambling at its most extreme is just as addictive as any drug.
The social and health costs of problem gambling are large and have many things in common with more traditional addictions, including moodiness, relationship problems, absenteeism from work, domestic violence, and bankruptcy.
Health effects - for gamblers and their partners - include anxiety and depression, insomnia, intestinal disorders, migraine, stress related disorders, stomach problems, and suicidal thoughts.
If behaviours like gambling can become a genuine addiction, there is no theoretical reason why some people might not become genuinely addicted to activities like video games, work or exercise.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Exercise Info, Not Calorie Counts, Helps Teens Drop Sodas

Sugary drinks like soda are a big cause of obesity, but public health types haven't had much luck convincing the public of that.

But what if you knew that it would take 50 minutes of jogging to burn off one soda?

When researchers taped signs saying just that on the drink coolers in four inner-city neighborhood stores, sales of sugary beverages to teenagers dropped by 50 percent. That tactic was more effective than a sign saying that the drinks had 250 calories each, or a sign saying that a soft drink accounts for 11 percent of recommended daily calories.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Are We More Hungry In The Winter?

If you feel hungrier as winter draws near, you're not alone. Even though most of us spend our days in climate-controlled offices and homes, our appetites seem to change when the days grow shorter. Some researchers say it's our primitive impulses promting us to stockpile calories for the winter ahead.

"We are driven by things implanted in our brain a long, long time ago," says Ira Ockene, a cardiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who has long been interested in how seasonal variations influence our health.

Ockene's own research has documented that caloric intake tends to increase as the weather turns colder. He also points to a study done at the University of Georgia back in 1991.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

24,000 diabetes deaths a year 'could be avoided'

Up to 24,000 diabetes-related deaths could be avoided in England each year, if patients and doctors better managed the condition, a report concludes.

The first-ever audit of patient deaths from the condition said basic health checks, a good diet and regular medication could prevent most of them.

Diabetes UK said it was vital the 2.3 million sufferers had top quality care.

The Department of Health in England said shocking variations in care and an unacceptable death toll were evident.

About a third of people in the UK affected do not realise they have the condition.

It means their bodies cannot use glucose properly. If they do not manage it, they can develop potentially fatal complications like heart or kidney failure.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Gay marriage 'improves health'

Legalising same-sex marriage may create a healthier environment for gay men, say US researchers.

The number of visits by gay men to health clinics dropped significantly after same-sex unions were allowed in the state Massachusetts.

This was regardless of whether the men were in a stable relationship, reported the American Journal of Public Health.

A UK HIV charity said there was a clear link between happiness and health.

Research has already suggested that gay men are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts than heterosexual men, and that social exclusion may be partly responsible.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Real-world holiday weight-control advice

It’s here. That year-end onslaught of cookies, candy, cakes and calories. Who better to offer weight-control advice, I thought, than people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off?

I spoke with three Washington area residents: Herbert Walker, 49, of Frederick has lost more than 51 pounds. Dawn Williams, 44, of Lexington Park has lost 205 pounds. And Sam Hardman, 32, of Fairfax has lost 85 pounds. Walker and Williams are in the TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Club, a support group for those trying to lose weight. Hardman lost his weight largely with a commercial meal-replacement plan called Medifast. Here are some lessons they have learned to keep from backsliding, especially this time of year.

1. Plan ahead. “I always eat something healthy before I go to a party so I’m not hungry when I get there,” Hardman says. “When you get hit by that wall of hunger, that’s when it’s easy to give in.”

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Strict diet could save brain from aging: study

Eating less may keep the mind young, according to Italian scientists who reported Monday they have discovered the molecular process by which a strict diet may save the brain from the ravages of age.

The research, published in the US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on a study of mice that were fed a diet of about 70 percent of the food they normally consumed.

Scientists found the calorie-restricted diet triggered a protein molecule, CREB1, that activates a host of genes linked to longevity and good brain function.

"Our hope is to find a way to activate CREB1, for example through new drugs, so to keep the brain young without the need of a strict diet," said lead author Giovambattista Pani, researcher at the Institute of General Pathology, Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maggots Clean Wounds Faster Than Surgeons

The idea of putting maggots into open flesh may sound repulsive, but such a therapy might be a quick way to clean wounds, a new study from France suggests.
Men in the study, all of whom had wounds that wouldn't heal, were randomly assigned to have dead and unhealthy tissue removed from their lacerations by either standard surgical therapy or maggots (that eat dead tissue).
After about a week, men who received the maggot therapy had less dead tissue in their wounds than men who underwent surgery, the researchers said.
However, after two weeks, the immature insects had lost their advantage: Both groups had about an equal amount of dead tissue in their wounds. And in the end, the maggots did not help the wounds heal faster.
Although the effects of maggot therapy were not dramatic, it may be useful in certain cases, such as in patients with diabetes, whose wounds need rapid control, the researchers said. But continuing the maggot therapy beyond one week is not of benefit, they said.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Neti pot danger? Two die from amoeba infection

Last week, Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals issued a warning to residents: Don't use tap water to rinse your nasal passages.

The warning came after a 51-year-old woman in the state died after she was infected with the "brain-eating" amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which enters the body through the nose and sometimes causes devastating meningitis. Apparently, the amoeba lurked in tap water the woman used in her neti pot, a pitcher-like device used to rinse nasal passages.

"Tap water is safe for drinking, but not for irrigating your nose," Louisiana's state epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard, said in a statement. He urged those who want to rinse their sinuses to use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water, and to rinse their neti pot (or other irrigation device) after each use and allow it to air dry.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monsanto Corn May Be Failing to Kill Bugs in 4 States, EPA Says

Monsanto Co. corn that is genetically engineered to kill insects may be losing effectiveness against rootworms in four states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

Rootworms in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska are suspected of developing tolerance of the plants’ insecticide, based on documented cases of severe crop damage and reports from entomologists, the EPA said in a document dated Nov. 22 and posted yesterday on the government website. Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance is “inadequate,” the EPA said.

An Iowa State University study said in July that some rootworms have evolved resistance to an insect-killing protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide engineered into Monsanto corn. Entomologists in Illinois and other Midwestern states are studying possible resistance where the insects devour roots in Monsanto’s Bt corn.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Incredibly, World's Tiniest Preterm Babies Are Doing Just Fine Read more:

The Starbucks peppermint latte I'm sipping weighs nearly 3 oz. more than Rumaisa Rahman did at birth. The tiny twin, born in 2004 at Loyola University Medical Center weighing 9.2 oz., holds the record of world's smallest baby. She unseated the previous title-holder, Madeline Mann, born 15 years earlier at 9.9 oz., also at Loyola.

Dr. Jonathan Muraskas resuscitated both babies, who are now 7 and 22. A Loyola professor of pediatrics and neonatal/perinatal medicine, Muraskas knows a thing or two about extremely low birthweight babies born the size of cell phones. And now he's published a study in Pediatrics that looks at the girls' outcomes several years down the road.

Amazingly, both micropreemies have reached appropriate developmental milestones in both motor and language skills. Rumaisa is a first-grader, and Madeline is an honors student at Augustana College in Rockland, Ill. They have thrived, but their stories should not be interpreted as the norm and could even "propagate false expectations for families, caregivers and the medico-legal community alike," according to the research.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cilantro Recalled Due to Possible Salmonella

A California produce distributor, Pacific International Marketing, or Pacific, is recalling 6,141 cartons of cilantro due to potential Salmonella contamination.

A sample of the cilantro tested positive for Salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

No illnesses have been reported.

Source of the contamination is unknown, the Salinas-based distributor said in a news release. The cilantro came from Salt River farming, located in Phoenix, AZ and was distributed through retailers in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana, South Carolina and Missouri.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Off the Mat, Into Court: Lawsuit Pits Bikram and Yoga to the People

Thursday’s 11:30 a.m. session at the Bikram Yoga NYC studio in the Flatiron District began as usual: a handful of half-dressed students slowly flapped their elbows as they decelerated their breath and stared at themselves in the mirror. After paying as much as $25 each, they began their mindful workouts in the 105-degree “Torture Chamber,” while outside on Fifth Avenue, pedestrians scurried past in coats.

A few blocks away, on West 27th Street, about 30 pupils soon began the same breathing exercises, dripping with sweat in the 103-degree heat. But this class, labeled “Traditional Hot Yoga” and offered by the growing studio chain Yoga to the People, cost just $8.

“Yoga should be for everyone,” Matt Hillock, a blissed-out, wrung-out student, said after the lower-priced class.

But Bikram Choudhury, the millionaire founder of Bikram Yoga, believes his kind of yoga belongs to him — he has even copyrighted it. Now, he has sued Yoga to the People for copyright infringement, seeking monetary damages and asking a federal judge to block Yoga to the People from offering its hot yoga class.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birth control focus may turn women off the Pill

A ruling last week on the morning-after pill, as well as government recommendations on new forms of birth control, could have long-lasting effects on women's perceptions of its safety, health experts say.

Last Wednesday, the U.S. health secretary for the first time overruled government scientists, refusing to make the morning--after pill available to users of all ages without a prescription.

In the days that followed, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended revised labels on the best-selling class of birth control pills, as well as for a contraceptive patch, to better convey their higher risk of blood clots.

Some women's advocacy groups worried the negative attention on the blood clot risk of a new generation of pills that contain drospirenone -- including Bayer AG's popular Yaz and Yasmin -- would create concerns about birth control in general.

An FDA study estimated that 10 in 10,000 women taking the drospirenone-containing drugs would get a blood clot per year, compared with about six in 10,000 women taking older contraceptives.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some cereal no more healthy than twinkies or cookies

If you're feeding your kids Honey Smacks or Apple Jacks for breakfast you might as well just give them a chocolate chip cookie or twinkie, according to results from a nutritional analysis of kids cereals.

The Environmental Working Group analyzed 84 cereals and found many contain as much or more sugar than many desserts. The worst culprit was Kellogg's Honey Smacks. A one-cup serving packs 20 grams of sugar, more than a Hostess Twinkie, which has 18 grams of sugar. Post Golden Crisps and General Mills Wheaties Fuel also have more sugar than a Twinkie, according to the analysis.

The group said sugary breakfast choices can be troublesome. It cited studies that have found that children who eat high sugar breakfasts have more problems at school. They become more frustrated and have a harder time working independently than kids who eat lower-sugar breakfasts. By lunchtime they have less energy, are hungrier, show attention defi cits and make more mistakes on their work.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top 10 Healthiest States in the Nation

United Health Foundation has released its annual report on “America’s Health Rankings,” and reveals some disturbing news. This state-by-state report card showed no improvement in American’s health in the last year, unlike the previous two decades, which saw an average of 1.6 percent per year. Disappointing, and costly for a nation in which the economy has taken a dip and many are uninsured.

Reed Tuckson, a United Health Foundation board member warned that the nation is facing “a tsunami of preventable illness,” which is partially driven by the increase in obesity rates and diabetes in this year’s report.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

North Carolina poultry company recalls cooked chicken

A North Carolina poultry company is recalling approximately 4,000 pounds of cooked chicken breasts that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the House of Raeford Farms, based in Rose Hill, North Carolina, recalled 18- to 22-pound boxes containing two 9- to 11-pound "boneless oven roasted chicken breasts" per box.

Consumers should look for serial number "P-239A" inside the USDA mark of inspection, along with a product code of "94268" and a package date of "1270" (September 27, 2011). The products were shipped to delicatessens and food service institutions for further processing in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, according to a USDA press release.

The problem was discovered after a customer's laboratory sample of the chicken tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, according to the USDA statement. Neither the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received any reports of illness due to consumption of these products.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Too few doctors may be telling parents their kids are overweight

Parents can sometimes be clueless about the fact that their kids are too heavy, but doctors may not be steering them in the right direction. A study finds that less than a fourth of parents recollect their healthcare providers telling them their children were overweight.

From 1999 to 2008, 4,985 parents of children age 2 to 15 who had a body mass index in the 85th percentile or higher were asked if they had ever been told by a physician or health professional that their child was overweight.

Overall, 22.4% of parents reported they'd been told. Percentages tended to be higher among minorities, older children, poorer children and those who had public insurance and logged more healthcare visits.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Can positive thinking make you well?

Observers may have noticed recently that mainstream medicine is taking a harder line against positive thinking.

Surveys of the leading research in the field conclude that recovery rates from cancer, for example, are not higher among patients who take a positive attitude about fighting their disease. Studies that show the reverse have been small and, according to their critics, flawed in serious ways.

Anyone would be forgiven for throwing up their hands. This seems like another example of dueling data, where one study's findings are contradicted by the next study, leaving the public in a state of confusion.

Doctors are confused, too. It has always been part of a doctor's kit bag to tell patients to keep their spirits up. Until a few decades ago, it was standard not to acquaint a dying patient with the gravity of his condition, which implies an unspoken agreement that hearing bad news isn't good for patients.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Fitness Key to Longevity

Men who were physically fit in their 40s and maintained that fitness level for a decade reduced their risk of all-cause death by 30% compared with men who were flabby at 40, according to the results of a long-term prospective study.

During more than 11 years of follow-up, those who maintained their baseline fitness levels had a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) death, while those who improved their fitness had a 40% and 44% lower risk of all-cause and CVD death, respectively, compared with those who remained unfit, reported Duck-chul Lee, PhD, from the University of South Carolina at Columbia, and colleagues.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lean Acorn Crop in Northeast May Lead to More Lime Disease

Coming on the heels of an acorn glut, the dearth this year will probably have a cascade of effects on the forest ecosystem, culling the populations of squirrels, field mice and ground-nesting birds. And because the now-overgrown field mouse population will crash, legions of ticks — some infected with Lyme disease — will be aggressively pursuing new hosts, like humans.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

‘Eat More Kale’ T-Shirts Challenged by Chick-fil-A

For Bo Muller-Moore, a folk artist from Vermont, the T-shirts he hand-screens with the slogan “Eat More Kale” are a dream fulfilled: a quirky project that has emblazoned this leafy mandate across the chests of people worldwide, and one he wants to trademark.

So when Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain that says it sells 537 sandwiches a minute with the help of the slogan “Eat mor chikin” (the words have been penned by cows), sent him a cease-and-desist letter this fall, Mr. Muller-Moore decided to fight the company, setting off a groundswell of local support and national media attention.

“This is corporate bullying,” Mr. Muller-Moore said. His lawyer, Daniel Richardson, sent Chick-fil-A a letter in November, contesting its claim that the slogan “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property.”

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Five-year-old's removal from family spotlights obesity intervention

As the childhood obesity epidemic continues to grow, health officials are turning to extreme measures. Now, a 5-year-old child from the U.K. has been taken from his parents due to obesity concerns, the Daily Mail reported.

The child, whose name was not released, is among the youngest ever to be taken into care because of obesity. The child, who hailed from Tameside, Greater Manchester, reportedly weighed 60-pounds and had mass index of 22.6, which is considered clinically obese.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Study Detects Arsenic in Rice

Rice is a source of arsenic exposure in the U.S., a study of pregnant women showed.
Both rice consumption and exposure to arsenic through cooking with or drinking tap water were associated with increased arsenic concentrations in the urine (P<0.0001 for both), according to Diane Gilbert-Diamond, PhD, of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues.
The researchers determined that eating 0.56 cups of cooked rice each day was comparable to drinking one liter of water containing 10 µg of arsenic, the federal safe standard for drinking water. The average amount of rice eaten in the U.S. is about half a cup per day, although some groups -- including Asians and people eating a gluten-free diet -- consume much more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Morning snacking may be damaging your diet

Snacking between breakfast and lunch might ding your diet more than snacking at other times of the day, a new study suggests.

Women taking part in a weight loss study who ate a midmorning snack lost an average of 7 percent of their body weight over the course of a year, whereas women who did not snack before lunch lost 11 percent of their body weight.

The urge to grab a snack during the relatively short time between breakfast and lunch could be a sign of generally less healthy eating, the researchers said.

Midmorning snacking "might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits, rather than eating to satisfy true hunger," said study researcher Anne McTiernan, director of the prevention center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Patterns: Heart Study Suggests Place Matters

In the so-called stroke belt in the Southeast, cardiovascular disease rates are much higher than in the rest of the country. Scientists generally believe that is because people in the region have higher rates of such risk factors as smoking, obesity and diabetes.

In the so-called stroke belt in the Southeast, cardiovascular disease rates are much higher than in the rest of the country. Scientists generally believe that is because people in the region have higher rates of such risk factors as smoking, obesity and diabetes.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

So You Think You Can Be a Morning Person?

Like most creatures on earth, humans come equipped with a circadian clock, a roughly 24-hour internal timer that keeps our sleep patterns in sync with our planet. At least until genetics, age and our personal habits get in the way. Even though the average adult needs eight hours of sleep per night, there are “shortsleepers,” who need far less, and morning people, who, research shows, often come from families of other morning people. Then there’s the rest of us, who rely on alarm clocks.

For those who fantasize about greeting the dawn, there is hope. Sleep experts say that with a little discipline (well, actually, a lot of discipline), most people can reset their circadian clocks. But it’s not as simple as forcing yourself to go to bed earlier (you can’t make a wide-awake brain sleep). It requires inducing a sort of jet lag without leaving your time zone. And sticking it out until your body clock resets itself. And then not resetting it again.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

What's To Love And Loathe About Chocolate Milk?

Chocolate milk has an interesting rap these days. Endurance athletes increasingly love it as a recovery drink.

And who's loathing it? Schools — advocates for school food reform, to be more specific. They argue it's got too much added sugar and too many calories.

So how to explain the love? Well, a few, small exercise studies have found that chocolate milk can help boost endurance after intense workouts. Research also suggests that the protein in milk speeds up the time it takes for muscles to recover.

"I think in years past, you would have been a little bit strange if you drank chocolate milk immediately after a run. But now it's absolutely mainstream," says marathon runner Dan DiFonzo of Rockville, Md.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Farm-Fresh Food May Have Shaped The Modern Mouth

Got a mouthful of metal and stack of orthodontic bills? You can thank your farmer ancestors for them.

That's according to an anthropologist who says the switch from chewing wild game to eating corn, rice and wheat could have shortened the human jaw so that teeth don't fit in it as well.

When agriculture took off in some parts of the world, it had a lot to offer people: Farmed foods are a more reliable source of calories, and are easier to chew and digest. But they also may have helped transform the jaw bone before the teeth could catch up.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Move to Cut Obesity Among Truck Drivers

After driving hundreds of miles, the last thing Roy Williams, a truck driver from Denton, Tex., wanted to do was exercise. After a day trapped in the cab, stopping only to gorge on greasy fare at truck stops, who could think of working out?

But once he ballooned to 405 pounds, he knew he had to make a change. So last year, Mr. Williams, 58, did something all too rare for someone in his profession: He embarked on a diet and exercise program.

The six-pack of Coca-Cola he drank each day? Gone. The hamburgers, chips and chocolate he relished? No more. Today, he drinks a protein shake mixed with ice water or soy milk for breakfast, nibbles cantaloupe and red grapes, and makes “sandwiches” with thinly sliced meat and cheese but no bread. He keeps a fold-up bike in his truck and zips around rest areas on his breaks.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Acupuncture safe for children, review finds

When done by well-trained professionals, acupuncture can be a safe treatment for children, new research suggests.

In an analysis of 37 studies or case reports, Canadian researchers found that in over 1,400 children treated with acupuncture, just 168 experienced a mild adverse reaction, such as crying or pain. The investigators found 25 reports of serious adverse events.

"In trained hands, acupuncture seems safe in children," said the study's senior author, Dr. Sunita Vohra, a professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Canada.
Results of the study are published online and in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Acupuncture is a treatment that is said to have originated in China thousands of years ago. In Eastern medicine, acupuncture is believed to open the channels where a person's Qi (pronounced chee), or life force, is blocked. In Western medicine, it's more commonly believed that acupuncture works by stimulating the release of the body's natural painkillers, according to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Boundary Effect: Entering a New Room Makes You Forget Things

“I know I came in here for something, but I can’t remember what it is…”

If you’ve ever said something like this, you’ve probably experienced an “event boundary.” Many, if not all, of us have had the experience of walking into a room and forgetting exactly what it is we came in there to do.

The University of Notre Dame recently conducted a study on this phenomenon, concluding that walking through doorways causes memory to lapse. As researcher Gabriel Radvansky explained, “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.”

That means that by the time you’re staring blankly at the kitchen counter, your brain has already moved on from the thought that led you in there, and you can’t always effectively backtrack. “Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized,” Radvansky said.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Umbilical Cord Should Not Be Cut for 3 Minutes, Study Says

Newborn babies are less likely to develop an iron deficiency if the umbilical cord is kept in place for three minutes at birth, Swedish scientists claimed.

Researchers from Umea University in Sweden tested 400 babies -- some who had their umbilical cords clamped after at least three minutes and others who had them clamped less than 10 seconds after delivery.

The babies whose umbilical clamping was delayed benefited from higher iron levels at four months.

For every 20 babies whose cords are clamped three minutes or more after birth, one case of iron deficiency would be prevented. There also were fewer cases of neonatal anemia in those with delayed clamping.

There were no adverse health effects from delayed clamping, according to the findings, published in the British Medical Journal.

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Finding drug to boost 'good cholesterol' proves elusive

For 24 years, patients have had a way to lower their "bad cholesterol" with medications.

But doctors are still struggling to find a drug that safely raises "good cholesterol," which carries bad cholesterol out of the blood.

A preliminary study, presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, shows preliminary evidence that a new class of drugs might help.

The drug evacetrapib, part of a class of medications called CETP inhibitors, more than doubled patients' "good" HDL cholesterol, according to an early study of nearly 400 patients. The drug also substantially lowered "bad" LDL cholesterol. This class of drug "raises HDL cholesterol much more than any other drug we have in clinical practice," says the study's lead researcher, Stephen Nicholls of the Cleveland Clinic.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Regular teeth cleanings could cut heart attack risk: Study

People who visit the dentist regularly to have their teeth cleaned may lower their risk for heart attack or stroke, new research suggests.

The finding is to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

In following more than 100,000 people with no history of heart problems or stroke for an average of seven years, researchers from Taiwan found those who had their teeth scraped and cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist at least twice a year for two years had a 24 percent lower risk for heart attack and a 13 percent lower risk for stroke compared to those who never went to the dentist or only went once in two years.

"Protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year," said Dr. Emily (Zu-Yin) Chen, a cardiology fellow at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei in a news release from the American Heart Association.

Professional teeth cleanings seem to reduce the growth of bacteria, which causes inflammation and can lead to the development of heart disease or stroke, she added.

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Sugary drinks hurt even skinny women's hearts

Women who drink sugary beverages every day may raising their risk for heart disease, even if their habit is not packing on the pounds.

Whatever the form — sweet tea, soda, or coffee drinks that look like desserts — women who drank two or more sweet beverages a day were at an increased risk for heart disease, even if they did not gain weight over the five-year study, according to the findings presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Large studies in the past — including the ongoing Framingham Heart Study, now in its 63rd year — have linked drinking sugar-sweetened beverages to heart disease.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Experimental drug takes pounds off overweight monkeys

An experimental drug helped obese monkeys lose 11 percent of their extra weight in a month, a promising sign in the hunt for obesity drugs that could apply to humans, US researchers said.

The drug, known as Adipotide, works by attacking the blood supply of a certain kind of fat, known as white adipose tissue, that tends to accumulate under the skin and around the belly.

Most other obesity drugs focus on either reducing appetite, boosting metabolism or preventing the absorption of fat.

The research, led by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, offers a potential new pathway for treatment and has also shown effects in mice who lost 30 percent of their body weight during treatment.

"Most drugs against obesity fail in transition between rodents and primates," said co-senior author Renata Pasqualini, whose study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Government warns of risk with high-powered magnets

The government on Thursday warned about a growing problem with powerful ball-bearing magnets, such as those used in desktop toys for adults, and the risk they can pose to children.

So far this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received 14 reports of problems with the magnets — up from seven reports last year and one in 2009. The children involved ranged in age from 18 months to 15 years old. Eleven of the children required surgery to remove the magnets.

The CPSC says that when two or more of these tiny magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another and lead to serious injuries, such as small holes in the stomach or intestines, intestinal blockage and blood poisoning.

"I have looked at X-rays of children with magnets in their intestines and you can see how they stick together and cause a severe blockage," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in an interview.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

High-fiber diet linked to lower colon cancer risk

Eating a high-fiber diet is linked with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, according to new research that analyzed 25 different studies.

Total fiber intake, as well as fiber from whole grains and from cereals, was most strongly linked with a reduction in colorectal cancer risk, the researchers say.

The evidence was weaker for fiber from fruits, vegetables, and legumes, says study researcher Dagfinn Aune, a research associate at Imperial College London.

"It doesn't mean you shouldn't eat your fruits and vegetables," he tells WebMD. He found fewer studies on the impact on colon cancer risk of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and legumes than studies looking at the other foods, he says. "It's possible that we did not have enough statistical power."

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Many Smokers Want to Quit, but Few Succeed

More than two-thirds of smokers say they'd like to quit, but only a small percentage actually do so, survey data showed.

The CDC is reporting that more than half of adult smokers have made at least one attempt in the previous year, but the majority of the would-be quitters didn't use medication or counseling to help them.

And the overall prevalence of recent quitting was just 6.2%, with marked differences by both education and race/ethnicity, the agency reported in the Nov. 11 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Overall, the report showed that 68.8% of smokers want to kick the habit, 52.4% reported making an attempt to stop in the year before they were questioned, and only 31.7% reported using counseling and/or medication to help them butt out.

The findings come from analysis of the National Health Interview Surveys from 2001 through 2010, and are being released a week ahead of the annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17, according to Tim McAfee, MD, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Childhood obesity rates fall 1.1 percent in state, 2.5 percent in county

Childhood obesity rates in California fell slightly from 2005-2010 in a sign that the state might be starting to get a handle of the childhood obesity epidemic, according to a study released today by UCLA and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.

But the authors warn that 31 of California's 58 counties actually saw increases in obesity rates. The rate among 6-11-year-olds is also four times higher than it was in 1980, and three times higher for 12-19-year-olds, the study found.

"Children's health is still at risk in a significant number of counties," said Susan Babey, a senior health research scientist at UCLA and the study's lead author.

Childhood obesity increases the likelihood that kids will be obese as adults and increase their chances for chronic health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes and some cancers, according to the study.

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Study questions benefits of reducing sodium in diet

Although cutting back on salt does lower blood pressure, new research finds that it may also increase levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and other risk factors for heart disease.

At this point, though, it's not entirely clear what the findings mean for long-term health, according to the study, which appears online Nov. 9 in the American Journal of Hypertension.
"In my opinion, people should generally not worry about their salt intake," said study author Dr. Niels Graudal, senior consultant in internal medicine and rheumatology at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

For decades, health experts have been saying that reducing sodium consumption lowers the risk for heart disease and stroke. And there's a powerful new government push to reduce salt in prepared and processed foods.

New U.S. dietary guidelines now recommend that people aged 2 and older limit daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg).

People aged 51 and older, blacks and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should consider going down to 1,500 mg per day, many experts say.

And the American Heart Association believes the 1,500-milligram-a-day recommendation should apply to all Americans.

The average American probably consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day which, by these standards, is way too much.

But is it?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Babies on obesity path? New sign may offer answer

Researchers say there's a new way to tell if infants are likely to become obese later on: Check to see if they've passed two key milestones on doctors' growth charts by age 2.

Babies who grew that quickly face double the risk of being obese at age 5, compared with peers who grew more slowly, their study found. Rapid growers were also more likely to be obese at age 10, and infants whose chart numbers climbed that much during their first 6 months faced the greatest risks.

That kind of rapid growth should be a red flag to doctors, and a sign to parents that babies might be overfed or spending too much time in strollers and not enough crawling around, said pediatrician Dr. Elsie Taveras, the study's lead author and an obesity researcher at Harvard Medical School.

Contrary to the idea that chubby babies are the picture of health, the study bolsters evidence that "bigger is not better" in infants, she said.

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Looking at the link between diabetes and dementia

Two of the most worrisome trends in healthcare — the soaring rates of Type 2 diabetes and dementia — share several key biological processes. And scientists are beginning to think that is more than just a coincidence.

Many researchers now believe that proper control of blood sugar could pay dividends in the future by reducing the number of people stricken by Alzheimer's disease, other forms of dementia and even the normal cognitive decline that comes with age.

The concept that brain diseases share little in common with diseases arising elsewhere in the body is rapidly crumbling, says Debra Cherry, executive vice president of the Alzheimer's Assn. California Southland. The key characteristics found in the development of heart disease and stroke — clogged arteries and inflammation in cells — also affect the brain.
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Knee Arthritis Striking at Younger Ages, But Weight Loss May Help

Arthritis of the knee is striking Americans at younger ages, new research has found, but shedding a few pounds if you're overweight may reduce your risk.

The studies were to be presented Saturday at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, in Chicago.

Nearly 6.5 million Americans between the ages of 35 and 84 will receive a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis in the next decade, according to these new projections.

"The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis is occurring much earlier," said study author Dr. Elena Losina, co-director of the Orthopedics and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

When she compared the age at diagnosis in the 1990s to ages in the 2010s, "the average age at diagnosis has moved from 69 to 56," she said.

It strikes some earlier than the average age, of course. Losina found that adults aged 45 to 54 will account for nearly 5 percent of all knee osteoarthritis (OA) cases in the 2010s, while they represented only 1.5 percent of the knee OA patients in the 1990s.

Losina suspects that obesity and knee injuries, both of which have become more common in the past decade, may be helping to drive the increase in knee OA among younger people.

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Avoiding gluten is getting easier, but for many people doing so may not be smart

Recently I’ve noticed an expanded gluten-free food section at my grocery store, a new gluten-free menu at a favorite Greek restaurant and even glamorously gluten-free eye shadows at a high-end makeup counter. Along with the requisite celebrity and sports star proponents, at least two friends of mine credit their choice to forgo gluten — a complex protein found in wheat, barley and rye — with weight loss, an energy boost and myriad other benefits.

So what’s fact and what’s the latest health-fad hype? There’s still some gray area, but some studies indicate that a growing number of people do have a problem digesting gluten, says family medicine and chronic pain specialist Gary Kaplan, director of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean. He notes that this number includes everyone from children with wheat allergies to the estimated 1 percent of Americans who have celiac disease — a serious autoimmune disorder that interferes with absorption of nutrients, causing wide-ranging health problems — and can’t tolerate even a picogram of gluten.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Too posh to push? More C-sections on demand in U.K.

Pregnant women in Britain, where the government provides free health care, may soon be able to get a cesarean section on demand thanks to a rule change that critics describe as the health system caving into the "too posh to push" crowd.

Currently, British women who can’t afford to pay private doctors for their baby’s delivery have been allowed to have planned C-sections only if there are health concerns for mother or baby. Emergency C-sections are done when the situation demands it.

But new guidelines set to take effect later this month say pregnant women "with no identifiable reason" should be allowed a cesarean if they still want it following a discussion with mental health experts.

"It’s about time women who have no desire to view labor as a rite of passage into motherhood be able to choose how they want to have their baby," said Pauline Hull, who has had two children by cesarean because of medical reasons. "The important thing to me was meeting my baby, not the experience of labor."

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Some Cases, Even Bad Bacteria May Be Good

Overuse of antibiotics has led to the creation of drug-resistant bacteria — so-called superbugs, like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. But now some researchers are exploring an equally unsettling possibility: Antibiotic abuse may also be contributing to the increasing incidence of obesity, as well as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and gastroesophageal reflux.

Among those sounding the alarm is Dr. Martin Blaser, a professor of microbiology at New York University Langone Medical Center. In a commentary published in August in the journal Nature, he asserted that antibiotics are permanently altering microbial flora of the human body, also known as the microbiome or microbiota, with serious health consequences.

The human gut in particular is home to billions of bacteria, but little is known about this hidden ecosystem. Take Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium associated with an increased risk of ulcers and gastric cancer. Many doctors are quick to prescribe antibiotics to kill it even when the patient has no symptoms.

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Prolonged Sitting May Increase Risk of Certain Cancers

More than 173,000 cancer cases diagnosed each year may be due to physical inactivity and prolonged periods of sitting, USA Today reported.

A new analysis blames physical inactivity for about 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer each year, as well as an estimated 37,200 cases of lung cancer, 30,600 cases of prostate cancer, 12,000 cases of endometrial cancer and 1,800 cases of ovarian cancer.

"This gives us some idea of the cancers we could prevent by getting people to be more active," said epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada. “This is a conservative estimate. The more physical activity you do, the lower your risk of these cancers."

The estimations were based on national physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics, as well as a review of more than 200 cancer studies worldwide.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trauma, stress may contribute to bowel disorder

Major psychological and emotional events experienced over a lifetime may contribute to the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a new study.

Researchers looked at 2,623 people and found that psychological and emotional traumas -- such as divorce, death of a loved one, house fire, car accident, and mental or physical abuse -- were more common among adults with IBS than those without the condition.

Dr. Yuri Saito-Loftus, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., was scheduled to present the findings Monday at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Washington, D.C.

"While stress has been linked to IBS, and childhood abuse has been reported to be present in up to 50 percent of patients with IBS, at a prevalence twice that of patients without IBS, most studies of abuse have focused on sexual abuse with sparse detail and also have not looked at other forms of psychological trauma," said Saito-Loftus in an ACG news release.

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"Freshman 15" weight gain is a myth

The idea that college freshmen gain an average of 15 pounds in their first year of school is a myth -- the average is really between 2.4 pounds for women and 3.4 pounds for men, the co-author of a new study said Tuesday.

"Not only is there not a 'Freshman 15,' there doesn't appear to be even a 'college 15' for most students," said Jay Zagorsky, research scientist at Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research and co-author of a study on college weight gain.

No more than 10 percent of all college freshmen actually gained 15 pounds or more -- and a quarter of freshmen reported actually losing weight during their first year.

The results show that college students gain weight steadily during their college years, with women gaining on average seven to nine pounds, and men between 12 and 13 pounds.

Zagorsky said that most of us do gain weight as we get older, and "it is not college that leads to weight gain - it is becoming a young adult."

Zagorsky said that women who do not go to college gained about two pounds and non-college males gained about three pounds during the year they could have been freshmen. That means that college freshmen are only gaining about a 1/2 pound more than similar people who did not go to school, says Zagorsky.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Black Licorice: Dangerous Candy

Eat too much candy and you’ll be sorry. Eat too much black licorice, and you could be dead.
This creepy Halloween warning comes from the FDA. Too much black licorice, the federal agency says, can lead to “abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.”
How much is too much? The FDA warns people age 40 and older not to eat 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks or more.
And that’s a conservative warning. The NIH has warned that it’s “possibly unsafe” to eat just 1 ounce of black licorice a day for several weeks. In addition to the FDA’s list of drastic possible too-much-licorice results, the NIH adds paralysis, brain damage, and erectile dysfunction.
And if you eat a lot of salt, if you have high blood pressure, or if you have heart or kidney disease, the NIH says as little as a sixth of an ounce of licorice a day could cause these problems.
The issue, well known to many forms of traditional medicine, is that licorice root contains a drug: glycyrrhizin.
Many of those who use licorice as an herbal remedy seek relief of sore throat, cough, infections, arthritis, lupus, or chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s been used to treat all kinds of ailments ranging from muscle cramps to prostate cancer, although there’s no solid scientific evidence that it actually works.
But the potential side effects are real enough. That’s because licorice — real black licorice, not the phony licorice-flavored stuff flavored with anise oil — causes a drop in potassium levels. It may also mimic the activity of the female sex hormone estrogen.
The NIH advises women NOT to eat black licorice while they are pregnant or breast feeding. People with hormone sensitive conditions, such as breast cancer or endometriosis, should avoid licorice.

Soft drink makers target U.S. youth

U.S. children and teenagers are seeing far more soda advertising than before, with blacks and Hispanics the major targets, as marketers have expanded online, according to a study released on Monday.
The report from the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity also said many fruit and energy drinks, which are popular with teenagers, have as much added sugar and as many calories as regular soda.
"Our children are being assaulted by these drinks that are high in sugar and low in nutrition," said Yale's Kelly Brownell, co-author of the report. "The companies are marketing them in highly aggressive ways."
Children's and teens' exposure to full-calorie soda ads on television doubled from 2008 to 2010, fueled by increases from Coca-Cola Co and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc , the report found.
Children were exposed to 22 percent fewer ads for sugary PepsiCo Inc drinks, it said.
Black children and teens saw 80 percent to 90 percent more ads than white children, including twice as many for the 5-Hour Energy drink and Coca-Cola's vitamin water and Sprite.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can eating slowly help weight loss?

A new 'flab lab' is investigating whether eating more slowly could help people to lose weight.

The unit, at University Hospital Coventry, is Europe's most advanced whole body calorimeter, and measures how much energy the body is using.

The BBC's Health Correspondent, Jane Hughes, meets lead researcher, Dr Tom Barber, to find out more about the lab.

Watch the video

Quarter of Scots 'obese', health survey says

More than a quarter of adults in Scotland are obese, according to official figures.

Statistics from the Scottish Health Survey suggested 27% of people between the ages of 16 and 64 were obese in 2010.

The Scottish Health Survey said it continued the upward trend from just 17% in 1995.

The survey, produced for the Scottish government, said it was predicted that obesity rates could reach 40% by 2030.

The figure for the number of adults deemed to be overweight (with a body mass index greater than 25) was now 65%, the survey said.

The percentage of overweight men (67.8%) was significantly higher than women (62.4%).

The survey follows the launch of the government's action plan to tackle obesity in March.

Read more

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Is your diet good for your skin?

Sure, your diet keeps your body slim and healthy, but its impact doesn't stop there.

The food you eat -- from wrinkle-fighting antioxidants in fruits and vegetables to hydrating healthy fats in fish -- may matter to your skin almost as much as it does to your waistline.

Is your way of noshing helping or hurting your complexion? We asked top docs for their take on the face-friendliness of six popular diets.

Read on to see if yours passes the beauty test, and find out how you can alter what you eat for A-plus skin.

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Desperate to qualify for weight loss surgery, some pile on the pounds

At 202 pounds, Steffany Sears knew she was fat, but not fat enough to qualify for traditional weight-loss surgery.

Desperate for help, the Gold Bar, Wash., woman did what seemed the only logical thing: She gorged herself on chips and cookies, pizza and fried chicken so she’d gain at least eight pounds more.

I would have eaten myself stupid,” recalled Sears, 34, who was turned down by her insurance company for the $20,000 procedure. “I know friends who would have done that, too.”

In the end, she actually qualified to participate in a clinical trial that led the federal Food and Drug Administration this spring to lower the bar for obesity in people eligible for one form of weight-loss surgery, Allergan’s Lap-Band stomach-shrinking device. Because she had a body mass index, or BMI, of between 30 and 35, the target range of the new rule, she even got the treatment for free, instead of having to take out a second mortgage on her house.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Why eating a lot feels so darn good

On Thanksgiving, many of us will eat way more than normal and then waddle away contented, with a turkey and sweet potato buzz.

Having a belly stuffed with comforting food can feel like a warm hug from the inside.

Evolution has given us the instinct to eat a lot every time we can, preparing for hard times. It's the drive to survive, like puffy-cheeked squirrels storing up for the winter. It's also fueled by competition: beating the others to the food.

Our brains reward us for it, by releasing pleasure chemicals -- in the same way as drugs and alcohol, experts say.

Scientists studying that good feeling after eating call it ingestion analgesia, literally pain relief from eating.

"There are reward circuits to make you enjoy eating," said Roger Cone, professor and chairman of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University. "If we didn't eat, we wouldn't survive."

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Love red meat? Cutting back just a bit helps heart

Eating too much red meat has long been a no-no for people with high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. But it hasn't always been clear how much is too much.

Now, a new study suggests that you don't have to cut out red meat altogether to improve your heart health. If you eat red meat more than once a day, cutting back to one serving every other day can substantially reduce your risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease, the study found.

Replacing the red meat in your diet with other, less fatty sources of protein -- such as nuts and fish -- can lower your risk even further, the researchers say.

Read more

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can a muffin help doctors diagnose diabetes?

Giving a "muffin test" to people at risk for diabetes might help doctors diagnose the disease and its warning signs, according to a new study.

Tests for diabetes and its precursor, impaired glucose tolerance, check how well the body uses glucose, a type of sugar.

In one common test, called an oral glucose tolerance test, a person fasts overnight and then drinks a sugary solution while doctors monitor how the body reacts and how much sugar sticks around in the blood.

Researchers behind the new report wondered if people might prefer munching on a muffin to downing the glucose drink -- and if a muffin test would give doctors a better idea of how the body deals with real food.

"Women really hate to get tested" with the oral glucose tolerance test, said Dr. Michael Traub of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, who worked on the study.

"It's really not such a pleasant test," he told Reuters Health, adding that many people often feel ill from the drink.

"A muffin more closely resembles what someone really eats -- it may just provide a more adequate test."

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GPS Shoes for Alzheimer’s Patients

Imagine the terrifying feeling of trying to find your lost mother or father. They wandered off again because they have Alzheimer’s, a disease that affects 5.4 million people in the United States.

Now one accessory has been developed to prevent that. The first shoes with a built-in GPS system are scheduled to hit store shelves later this month, giving families and caregivers an easy way to track lost loved ones, Agence France-Presse reports.

The company behind the shoe, GTX, has already shipped the first 3,000 pairs to be sold through Aertex World Wide. The Los Angeles company patented a miniature GPS device small enough to fit in the heel. They will sell for around $300.

Consultant and assistant professor Andrew Carle at George Mason University’s Program in Senior Housing Administration said the shoes could save lives.

“Sixty percent [of people with Alzheimer's] will wander off and get lost,” said Carle, a scare that prompts panicked family members to call the police.

Carle said the shoes could be synched with Google Maps to pinpoint exactly where the person wearing them goes. The devices could even be programmed to send an alert if the wearer wanders out of a specified area, or ”geofence.”

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Why Dieters Can't Keep the Weight Off

As any dieter knows, losing weight is hard. Keeping it off can be even harder, and a small, new study by Australian researchers helps explain why: a symphony of hormonal changes sends the body relentless signals to slow metabolism and increase the urge to eat, for at least a year after weight loss.

The findings support obesity researchers' long-held belief that dieters who regain weight aren't just reverting back to old habits. Instead, they may be fighting their own biology.

Many previous studies have shown that when overweight people slim down, their bodies respond vigorously, by undergoing changes in hormones that affect hunger and satiety — "multiple compensatory mechanisms encouraging weight gain," as the authors put it. For instance, when obese people lose body fat, levels of the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells, drop. That signals to the brain that the body's energy stores are low, slowing metabolism and triggering hunger.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The unstable future of a world full of men

As the global population hits seven billion, experts are warning that skewed gender ratios could fuel the emergence of volatile "bachelor nations" driven by an aggressive competition for brides.

The precise consequences of what French population expert Christophe Guilmoto calls the "alarming demographic masculinisation" of countries such as India and China as the result of sex-selective abortion remain unclear.

But many demographers believe the resulting shortage of adult women over the next 50 years will have as deep and pervasive an impact as climate change.

The statistics behind the warnings are grimly compelling.

Nature provides an unbending biological standard for the sex ratio at birth of 104-106 males to every 100 females. Any significant divergence from that narrow range can only be explained by abnormal factors.
In India and Vietnam the figure is around 112 boys for every 100 girls. In China it is almost 120 to 100 -- and in some places higher than 130.

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Death toll from Listeria outbreak rises to 28

The death toll linked to Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes in the United States has climbed to 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

Whole or pre-cut Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes from Colorado-based Jensen Farms have been traced as the cause of what has become the deadliest U.S. food-borne Listeria outbreak in a quarter century.

A total of 133 people in 26 states have fallen ill so far in the outbreak, and the CDC has said that one woman, who was pregnant at the time she fell ill, had a miscarriage.

The deadliest known food-borne Listeria outbreak in the United States was in 1985 when a Jalisco Products' Mexican-style soft cheese contaminated with Listeria killed 18 adults and 10 newborns, and caused 20 miscarriages.

The illness has a long incubation period, with symptoms sometimes not showing up until two months after people consume Listeria-tainted foods.

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Mediterranean diet tied to better fertility

Women who eat a Mediterranean-style diet -- high in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains -- are less likely to have trouble getting pregnant, hints a new study from Spain.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence linking theMediterranean diet to all kinds of health effects, including lower risks of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
But Dr. Jorge Chavarro, who was not part of the study, cautioned that the new results are based on observations, not an experiment.
"There's always the possibility that this association is not causal," said Chavarro, who studies nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
Researchers looked at nearly 500 women with fertility problemsand more than 1,600 women of the same age who had at least one child. Based on questionnaires, they measured how closely women followed either a Western-style or a Mediterranean diet.
The Western diet consisted of red meat, fast food, whole-fat dairy products, potatoes, refined grains and sugar-sweetened soda, and was not linked to fertility.
In other words, there was no difference in fertility problems between women who followed this type of diet religiously and those who followed it less strictly.
But the picture changed for women with a Mediterranean diet. About 17 percent of those who stuck to it meticulously said they'd had trouble getting pregnant, while 26 percent of the women who followed that diet least closely had fertility problems.

Living near fast food joints may not up weight

Adults who live close to fast food restaurants may not weigh any more than the rest of us, a new study suggests.

The findings, from a 30-year study of Massachusetts adults, add to a conflicting body of research. A number of studies have suggested that people living in fast food-heavy neighborhoods have a higher rate of obesity, while a few have failed to find a link.

But most of those studies have had limitations -- like only studying people at one time point, making it impossible to tease out whether easy access to fast food could be blamed for the extra pounds.

In this latest study, researchers used data from more than 3,100 adults who entered a heart-health study back in 1971. And they found no consistent relationship between participants' driving distance to fast food joints and their weight over the next 30 years.

There was some evidence of a link among women. On average, for each kilometer (0.6 miles) women lived from the nearest fast food place, they showed a slightly lower body mass index (BMI).

The translation: A woman of average height would weigh about a pound less for every additional kilometer she lived away from a fast food place.

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What’s the deal with Institute for Integrative Nutrition Scam Claims?

There’s no single common motivation for people who choose to pursue an education in nutrition. An interest in the hard science of macronutrients and the digestive process hooks some; others are interested in the humanistic side of helping people learn how to eat well and be their healthiest. Some people consciously hope to improve their own health and wellness; others find that eating more healthily is an unexpected (but welcome) benefit. It’s incredible, then, that the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is able to meet such a wide variety of demands and expectations. That’s why one must question Institute for Integrative Nutrition scam claims – they are at complete odds with the overwhelmingly positive reviews of the school.

The vast majority of people who study at and graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition have great things to say about it. They receive the business training they need to enjoy meaningful, interesting, and lucrative new careers as health coaches; they get the knowledge and insights they need to eat more healthily and adopt a healthy lifestyle; they learn a holistic approach to wellness that takes into account not only the food you put into your mouth, but the primary food that feeds your soul – your relationships, your job, and your spirituality. When people refer to an “Institute for Integrative Nutrition scam,” they seem to be overlooking the testimonials of the many graduates who rave about their health coach training.

It seems that Institute for Integrative Nutrition scam claims are founded on only the hearsay and criticisms of a small minority and fail to account for the incredible success that grads enjoy and the amazing changes they’re making in the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1 Soda A Day Equals 50 Pounds Of Sugar A Year

The New York City Health Department is launching a new campaign to show just how much sugar is in a can of soda.

The health department says drinking one soda a day equals 50 pounds of sugar a year, which can lead to problems like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

“Sugary drinks are the largest single source of added sugar in the diet, and a child’s risk of obesity increases with every additional daily serving of a sugary drink,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley in a statement.

Cathy Nonas, director of the city’s physical activity and nutrition program, says that 50 pounds of extra sugar can be harmful to the body.

“When we’re looking at a city where there is an epidemic of overweight and obesity and we look at the diseases that are associated with obesity, even in young kids, 50 pounds of sugar a year, of added sugar to rest of the diet, is way too much,” Nonas told 1010 WINS.

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Shunning water linked to high blood sugar

People who drink less than a couple of glasses of water each day may be more likely to develop abnormally high blood sugar, a new study suggests.
When someone's blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to fit the definition of diabetes, doctors often consider that person to have "pre-diabetes" -- which puts them at risk of developing the disease itself.
In the new study, adults who drank only half a liter of water -- about two glasses -- or less each day were more likely to develop blood sugar levels in the pre-diabetes range, versus people who drank more water.
But whether simply drinking water will cut your risk of blood sugar problems is still up in the air.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Will Buy Back Your Halloween Candy, Says Mansfield, Ohio Dentist

Dr. Craig Callen, a dentist from Mansfied, Ohio, says he will offer $1 for every pound of Halloween sweets to trick-or-treaters. He has placed a limit of 5 pounds per child. Callen says that those who do so also enter a raffle for children's bicycles. The kids will also receive free toothbrushes.

Callen and two other colleagues, Mathew Snipes and Anthony Lordo have put up $1,000 towards their offer.

They say this is a cavity-preventing drive - to reduce the amount of candy children consume during the Halloween period. Money, toothbrushes, and a chance to win a bike in exchange for sweets.

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Yoga and stretching both ease chronic back pain

Weekly yoga classes eased pain and improved functioning in some people with chronic lower back pain -- but the yoga sessions weren't any better than regular stretching classes, according to a new study.

Researchers found that participants in both types of classes had better functioning and fewer symptoms after three months than back patients who were only given a book with advice on preventing and managing pain.

"We've known for a while... that exercise is good for back pain," said Dr. Timothy Carey, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who wrote a commentary published with the study.

Yoga, he told Reuters Health, "seems to be a perfectly good option for people with back pain, but it is not a preferred option."

Finding that yoga and stretching had about equal effects means it was probably the stretching involved in yoga -- and not the relaxation or breathing components of the practice -- that helped improve functioning and pain symptoms, researchers report today in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Read more here

Change Your Neighborhood, Improve Your Health

Does where you live influence your health? Yes, and maybe even more dramatically than you might expect.

When a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offered a program in the 1990s to move families out of poor neighborhoods, it created a unique opportunity not only to improve people's day-to-day lives, but also to study how a change in environment might impact their health over the long term. Now, more than a decade later, the researchers have found that families who moved to lower-poverty neighborhoods had lower levels of obesity and diabetes than those who stayed behind. What's more, the improvements in health were as significant as those that typically result from targeted diet and exercise interventions or the use of medications to treat diabetes

"The results suggest that over the long term, investments in improving neighborhood environments might be an important complement to medical care when it comes to preventing obesity and diabetes," says study author Jens Ludwig, a professor of public policy at University of Chicago

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New app aims to reduce stress with slow breathing

Want to reduce stress and improve mental focus? A new app that promotes slow breathing may help.
Called MyCalmBeat, the app uses a heart rate monitor that attaches to the ear to detect a person's optimal breathing rate, or resonant frequency, which is unique to each person.
At this breathing rate, the company says the user can increase the variability of their heart rate to lower stress levels.
"People don't realize the profound impact that slow breathing can have until they actually sit down and do it for 10 minutes and then they feel completely different," said Savannah DeVarney, vice president of product marketing for MyBrainSolutions, the creators of the app.
After finding their ideal breathing rate, animated exercises show users how to breathe at that rate, while the heart monitor provides feedback about the variability of their heart rate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do You Read Food Labels?

How often do you look at food labels when you shop? There's a lot of good information there, although I have to admit some parts of the Nutrition Facts labels can be a bit tricky if you're not careful. Like servings per container. Look at a can of condensed soup - there's probably two or three servings there and not just one, so if you eat the whole thing you've got to double or triple the calories, sodium, or fat when you keep track of them. The U.S. FDA is looking at overhauling the Nutrition Facts Labels to help fix problems like that. Hopefully it will help.

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Get Your Body Back After Pregnancy

If all those images of svelte and shapely celebrity new moms have left you feeling like you never want to look in a mirror again, take heart! Here's some real-world advice on how to get your body back after pregnancy.

It sometimes seems as if they're jumping right from the labor bed to the treadmill with many high-profile celebrity new moms snapping back from pregnancy with a model-perfect shape in almost no time!

Indeed, take a look at Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie, Melania Trump, Heidi Klum, and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham -- whose record-time baby-fat weight loss has set the bar high for new moms the world over.

But is it realistic -- or for that matter even healthy -- to slim down after pregnancy with such lightening speed?
Experts offer up a resounding "No!"

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CDC Says Kids Not Drinking Enough Low-Fat Milk

Recently the CDC published a report titled "Low-fat Milk Consumption Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2007-2008." The report indicates that about 73 percent of children and teens drink milk, but only about 20 percent of them usually drink low-fat milk (which is non-fat or one percent milk).

Milk is an excellent source of calcium and protein, plus it's fortified with vitamin D, which isn't found in many other foods. There's also some evidence that kids who drink milk are less likely to be overweight or obese, probably because kids who drink milk tend to eat healthier diets in general. However, regular milk is high in fat, especially saturated fat, so choosing low-fat milk is one way to cut back on the fat and the extra calories that come along with it.

But what about the kids who can't or won't drink milk? There are other ways to get calcium into the diet. Calcium-fortified soy beverages can replace milk in the diet, and dark green leafy vegetables are high in calcium. Dietary supplements can add calcium too.

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Integrative Nutrition Scam Claims Are Untrue

People have different expectations when pursuing an education in nutrition. Some study simply for the sake of knowledge and hope to improve their own health and wellness with this knowledge. Others want to launch a career in the healthcare field and use their training to achieve new professional goals. That’s why it’s so remarkable that the majority of Integrative Nutrition’s students and graduates are so satisfied with their education – the school manages to fulfill such a wide variety of needs. Integrative Nutrition scam claims directly clash with the overwhelmingly positive reviews of the school.

Graduates report renewed passion about their careers, increased health and vitality, and even improvements in their personal lives and relationships. Because the school emphasizes a holistic approach to wellness – your marriage, religion, and job are just as important sources of nourishment as the food you eat – many people come out of the program not just healthier, but happier, too. While it’s impossible to please everyone and some may get more out of their training than others, there’s definitely no Integrative Nutrition scam. Most graduates believe that IIN’s tuition was in fact the best investment they ever made and are leading highly successful careers:

Missy Maintains
Pleasurable Weight Loss
Nishani Wellness

Looking at the success of past graduates, it’s obvious that Integrative Nutrition scam claims are based on the criticisms of a few and overlook the positive changes that IIN grads are making in the world: