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.

read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/11/21/the-boundary-effect-entering-a-new-room-makes-you-forget-things/#ixzz1eNRGmEMZ

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.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/11/16/umbilical-cord-should-not-be-cut-for-3-minutes-study-says/#ixzz1dtuDuIdK

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/experimental-drug-takes-pounds-overweight-monkeys-article-1.976217#ixzz1dRGUJuIp

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.

Read more

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."

Read more

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.

read more

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.

Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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."

Read more

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.

read more

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.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/11/03/prolonged-sitting-may-increase-risk-certain-cancers/#ixzz1cfrRxgjU

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.

read more

"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.

Read more