Many Years Young

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

Mediterranean Lifestyle May Decrease Cardiovascular Disease by Lowering Blood Triglycerides

(American Physiological Society) Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Evidence suggests that elevated levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood after meals, known as postprandial lipemia (PPL), is associated with an increased risk for hardening of the arteries -- a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Numerous population studies have associated the Mediterranean lifestyle -- marked by high intake of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), fiber, legumes, dairy and fish; moderate alcohol intake; and increased amounts of better quality sleep -- with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a new review article … explores the effects of the "ingredients" of Mediterranean lifestyle as a whole, specifically on PPL.
Through an extensive review of existing research on the Mediterranean lifestyle, the authors found that many of its features do contribute to positive effects on cardiovascular health. "It seems that most components of the Mediterranean lifestyle may reduce PPL, an important CVD risk factor, with the exception of wine. Although olive oil is a main component of this pattern, preliminary results of studies of several other components -- such as fish, legumes, herbs and physical activity -- are very promising," the researchers wrote. "Studies are needed in order to investigate whether the effect of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its components on PPL mediate the overall well-established protective role of this lifestyle."
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Mediterranean Diet for Cholesterol and the Heart?

(John La Puma, M.D.) Controlling cholesterol is a small part of preventing heart disease. Yet physicians seldom offer the most powerful, least risky weapons we have against it. Instead, we recommend statin medications, and soon can prescribe a just-FDA approved biotech medication called Praluent…
When taken as prescribed for five years, statins prevent heart attacks in just one in 104 adults with a low risk of heart disease, and prevent strokes in just one of 154. We don't have similar data for Praluent, and won't for five years…
But medicine’s secret weapon is that lifestyle interventions work better, cost less, and harm rarely when compared with statins. When followed for five years, the Mediterranean diet does about twice as well: it prevents heart attack, stroke or death in one of 61 people…
While LDL cholesterol is an easy number to treat, focusing on medications first for heart disease steals time from more effective interventions. To learn the life skills you need to prevent heart disease and to stay well, ask your doctor: what can I eat instead of taking a drug?
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Two-Week International Diet Swap Shows Potential Effects of Diet on Colon Cancer Risk

(University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences) After assessment of their in-home diets, 20 African-American and 20 rural South African volunteers ages 50 to 65 were housed at a University of Pittsburgh site and at an African lodging facility respectively. There they ate meals prepared by the researchers using ingredients and cooking techniques typical of the other group. The team examined fecal and colon content samples, obtained during colonoscopy, of each volunteer at baseline and after the two-week study period.
Although the diet change was brief, each group took on the other’s rates of turnover of cells of the intestinal lining, levels of fiber fermentation, and markers of bacterial metabolic activity and inflammation associated with cancer risk. In particular, African-Americans experienced an increase in butyrate production, which is thought to play a key role in anti-cancer pathways. The researchers also noted they removed intestinal polyps from nine of the African-American volunteers, but none were present in the Africans.
“We can’t definitively tell from these measurements that the change in their diet would have led to more cancer in the African group or less in the American group, but there is good evidence from other studies that the changes we observed are signs of cancer risk,” said co-author Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D., of Imperial College London.
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Food as Medicine

(The Supermarket Guru) Boost your brain with berries, eggs, water and more!
(The Supermarket Guru) Sweet potatoes, salmon, chia seeds and more...foods that can keep your eyes healthy!
(Sharecare) [S]ays Lona Sandon, MEd, RDN, LD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center[:] Your best bet to manage joint pain from arthritis, Lyme disease, gout and other conditions is to aim for an overall good diet that helps you maintain a healthy weight. "If you're carrying around more weight, you're less likely to be active and your joints are more likely to hurt," says Sandon. But it can't hurt to add these 10 foods to your menus.
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Homebound Seniors Could Soon Use Food Stamps for Grocery Delivery

(TIME) Senior citizens could start using food stamps to pay for groceries to be delivered to their homes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed allowing homebound seniors and disabled persons touse benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to cover the cost of food delivery from government and non-profit agencies. The Department is currently seeking 20 programs to host the one-year pilot program.
In a conversation with TIME, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the programs could help more seniors live … independently.
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World's largest rooftop greenhouse to open at Chicago factory

(WGN-TV) The Method soap factory is about to make a good block of Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood a lot greener. Literally.
This fall, the eco-friendly soap manufacturer will finish planting a 75,000 square foot greenhouse on the roof of its Southside factory. The facility will take up a space larger than a full city block, making it the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world.
“We need to use our urban spaces more efficiently,” said Saskia Van Gendt, Method’s chief greenskeeper, in an interview with Business Insider. “Rooftop greenhouses are a representation of a model of doing that.”
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FarmedHere is Here!

(The Supermarket Guru) FarmedHere is an indoor vertical farm located just outside of Chicago in a small industrial community called Bedford Park. The farm is housed in a 90,000 sq foot facility It’s an abandoned warehouse, that at one point was a corrugated box manufacturing facility and in 2013 we converted that warehouse into what is now FarmedHere. We grow basil, arugula, kale, and a plethora of other leafy green crops. We grow a tremendous amount of microgreens,  which gives us the ability to grow upwards of 125 different varieties of things, everything ranging from peapod shoots to corn shoots to cilantro etc.  We distribute to several grocery stores as well as restaurants in the Chicago, Midwest area…
Because we’re a local, because we harvest and send our produce to the store within a 24 hour period it’s a very, very local concept. FarmedHere are produce is so fresh and the fact that it’s only shipped within a 50 mile radius, it’s ultra fresh and ultra good for you.
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An unlikely grocery store is becoming a major threat to McDonald's

(Business Insider) The grocery-store chain Kroger is ramping up its prepared-food offerings and luring fast-food customers, according to Jonathan Maze at Nation's Restaurant News.
The industry consulting firm Technomic polled customers on what they would eat if they didn't "get a bucket of chicken or a salad bar from the grocer," NRN reports.
"One out of four opted for Kroger instead of a restaurant," Maze writes. "And the restaurant they'd have eaten at otherwise was McDonald's, and it's not particularly close."
Kroger has one benefit over McDonald's — convenience.
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The Latest from The People's Pharmacy

Radio Show: Natural Approaches to Summer Skin Care
A wide range of natural products can be used effectively to help prevent or heal summer skin problems.
Bursitis: Turmeric Banished Hip Inflammation
Steroid injections into joints may seem to offer benefits, but there are long-term risks. Turmeric may be a good option for easing symptoms of bursitis
Skipping Breakfast Destabilizes Blood Sugar
Skipping breakfast appears to make it more difficult for people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar after other meals.
Insulin Resistance Raises the Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
People with insulin resistance appear to be at higher risk for Alzheimer's disease diagnoses as they grow older; can this trend be reversed?
Drug Companies Delay Reporting Drug Reactions That Result in Death
When drug reactions cause patient deaths, FDA is supposed to be notified promptly. Too often there are lags in reporting serious or lethal problems.
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‘Smart Mirror’ Could Scan Your Face to Detect Health Risks

(Discover Magazine) The Wize Mirror is being developed by a consortium of researchers and industry partners from seven European countries. The gadget’s purpose is to stamp out cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart disease, which are the leading causes of death around the world. Catching the early signs of these ailments, researchers believe, is the best medicine for reducing the burden of health care costs associated with treating chronic diseases.
Toward that end, the Wize Mirror wants to gather all sorts of information about you at just a glance.
At the moment it’s still in the concept stages, progressing toward a prototype. But here’s what its developers have in mind: Its cameras would document the day-to-day changes in your facial features in order to identify known markers of stress, anxiety and disease. Images could also be used to assess a person’s blood oxygenation and heart rate, thanks to minute fluctuations in skin color that occur with blood flow.
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Public Health Loses in SCOTUS Pollution Ruling

(Norman H. Edelman, MD, American Lung Association) King v. Burwell was not the only lawsuit affecting health that the Supreme Court decided this term. You may not have heard about the case decided on its final day, but that ruling provides some unpleasant insights for those of us who worry about threats to our patients and families.
On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sending back for corrective action EPA's first ever health protection safeguards for power plant toxic air pollution. EPA estimates that these standards, known as the "Mercury and Air Toxics Standards," will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 asthma attacks, and 5,000 heart attacks every year, avoiding 5,700 visits to the hospital and emergency rooms, and providing health benefits of between $37 billion and $90 billion annually…
While this decision is deeply troubling, it is important to note that the Court did not vacate the standards, which continue to remain in place and provide vital protections to our communities and families throughout the country. Fortunately, EPA has reaffirmed the public health importance of these safeguards and made clear its steadfast intention to put them in place. The case will now go back to the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which has already affirmed the lawfulness of the health protection standards themselves. None of the challengers asked for the standards to be blocked, and there is no good reason to do so now -- and many good reasons not to -- especially since expert analyses demonstrate that about 70% of coal-powered plants now comply with the standards. Still, we wait to see what will happen in the Court of Appeals. It would be a travesty to deprive the public of these important, already achieved, health protections.
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Obamacare tried to create alternatives to for-profit health insurance. They're struggling.

(Vox) Obamacare's co-op plans are in trouble. The consumer-operated and -oriented plans — co-ops, for short — launched with Obamacare grant money as nonprofit insurers to sell on the health insurance marketplaces.
The hope was they would push other plans to lower premiums — but a new federal report suggests that the co-ops are not faring well…
There are exceptions to the rule: New York's co-op, for example, has had a remarkably successful launch, enrolling five times as many patients as expected. But most of them haven't. And that means they bring in less revenue than expected, too…
Why didn't the co-ops bring in enough money? The OIG report suggests a few explanations: "higher-than-estimated enrollment of members with more expensive health conditions, enrolling fewer-than-expected young and healthy members, or inaccurate pricing of premiums."
Community: That’s a shame. These co-ops are the only alternative to those without public insurance to not be forced to pay profits to insurance companies.
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Medicaid at 50: Evidence Shows Medicaid Benefits Enrollees, Contrary to Claims

(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) Medicaid critics and some media reports have repeated claims that Medicaid coverage is harmful and beneficiaries would be better off being uninsured.  They base them on a misunderstanding or misleading use of research that finds poor health outcomes among Medicaid enrollees.  But studies that are designed to specifically evaluate Medicaid’s causal effects overwhelmingly find that the program produces health and financial benefits for participants...
[A] wide body of research has specifically tested Medicaid’s effects on beneficiaries’ health and financial well-being.  These studies take advantage of the variation in state Medicaid eligibility levels to deliberately test causation between Medicaid and health outcomes.  They consistently find that Medicaid results in better health outcomes than the uninsured have, as health economist Austin Frakt points out.
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Happy Birthday, Medicare!

(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, via email) To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, we’ve launched the official Medicare Facebook page and wanted to invite you to become part of our Facebook community! 
Like us on Facebook to get the latest news, tips on using Medicare’s online tools, and information about how to use your coverage.
For 50 years, these programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation.
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Fountain of youth? Texas scientists testing breakthrough aging drug

(KHOU) Scientists say recent advancements in pharmacology and genetics are bringing us closer to the "fountain of youth." Treatments are already being tested in South Texas that could someday extend lifespan by decades or even reverse some of the symptoms of aging.
The most promising treatment right now is a mysterious drug called Rapamycin.
Dr. Dean Kellogg, a UT Medicine and Barshop Institute researcher and clinical doctor working at the San Antonio Veterans Affairs, says he's been testing the drug on eight people in the San Antonio area. He says he never imagined just how effective it could be. "I never really thought I would see a pharmacological agent that can alter the aging process," said Kellogg. "Rapamycin appears to slow the aging process."
But [drugs like Rapamycin] still have a long way to go before they can be widely used to fight aging. Kellogg says the side effects are still too uncertain.
In the meantime, experts recommend achieving a low-calorie diet the hard way, by eating less. They say that, in addition to 20-30 minutes of day of walking or light exercise, can be just as effective as Rapamycin in many people.
Community: This isn’t the first time that Many Years Young readers have heard about rapamycin. Nor about the benefits of exercise.
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Dementia Friendly America Expansion Will Help Elderly Stay in Their Homes Longer

( For people with dementia, Minnesota may be the next best thing to heaven.
That’s because 23 cities in Minnesota are “Dementia Friendly America” (DFA) communities, a private-sector effort that brings together first responders, churches, business owners and local governments to learn about the special needs of people with dementia. Eleven more Minnesota communities are in the process of becoming DFA communities.
The program means people with dementia can stay in their homes longer. And that's why, to me, the nationwide expansion of the program was some of the best news coming out of the White House Conference on Aging earlier this month. Soon, these communities also will become DFA: Tempe, Ariz.; Santa Clara County, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Prince Georges County, Md.; and Knoxville, Tenn.; and the state of West Virginia.
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Essential New-Car Features To Keep Seniors Driving Longer

(Forbes) According to a report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Columbia University, seniors who’ve stopped driving are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression, with a five times greater chance of entering a long-term care facility than those who remain behind the wheel. The report further suggests those restricted from driving exhibit an accelerated decline in cognitive abilities, diminished productivity and low participation in daily activities away from home…
Fortunately, automakers (who loathe to give up loyal customers under any circumstances) are now offering a wide variety of features that can help keep those with declining abilities keep driving comfortably and safely – albeit within limits – for an extended period. These include the latest high-tech safety features that can help motorists – especially those with diminished vision and/or reduced reaction times – avoid getting into a collision.
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Experimental Drug Could Treat Hot Flashes, Other Symptoms of Menopause Without Harmful Side Effects

(UNT Health Science Center) Researchers have discovered an experimental medication that treats hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms without the life-threatening risks of hormone replacement therapy, according to a team led by a UNT Health Science Center scientist.
In a study…, researchers explain how the medication, which they call DHED, is selectively converted to estrogen only in the brain.
"The rest of the body does not recognize DHED, but the brain does and metabolizes it to estrogen," said Laszlo Prokai, PhD, Professor and Robert A. Welch Chair in Biochemistry. "Since DHED delivers estrogen only in the brain, it spares other organs from hormone exposure, along with its side effects."
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Mild drinking can lower disability in chronic pain patients

(IANS) Treating chronic widespread pain with a glass of wine or a pint of beer may not sound like a good idea but scientists think otherwise. Moderate drinking may lower the disability risk among those suffering from the condition, says new research.
In a study of 2,239 individuals with chronic widespread pain, the key feature of fibromyalgia, those who regularly consumed alcohol had lower levels of disability than those who never or rarely drank, the authors reported.
"Although we cannot say that alcohol consumption causes less disability among people with chronic widespread pain, the observed link warrants further investigation," said Gary Macfarlane from University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
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Job stress could make you sick

(CBS News) High levels of job stress may increase the risk of sick leave due to mental health disorders, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 12,000 workers in Sweden. Over five years, about 8 percent of the workers took mental health sick leave. Three-quarters of those who took mental health sick leave were women.
Workers with demanding jobs, high job strain and little social support at work were at greater risk for mental health sick leave, as were those with unhealthy lifestyles. Smoking was a significant risk factor for mental health sick leave, but alcohol use was not.
High levels of physical activity reduced the risk of mental health sick leave, according to the study in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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