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

Paula Deen and the mañana diet

(Bonnie Taub-Dix, USA Today) Seeing this photo of Paula Deen devouring a cheeseburger after recently announcing she has type 2 diabetes, it seems like the food celebrity has decided to embark upon a diet I know well. Many Americans religiously adhere to it: The Mañana Diet .
If you haven't heard of it, it's easy to follow. Here are the rules:
Eat whatever you'd like in whatever portions you choose. Be sure to include lots of butter and sugar in your recipes.
Gain weight.
Go to your doctor who will measure your blood sugar levels and determine you have diabetes.
Feel disappointed and upset about receiving the diagnosis. (Even if you remember that a member of your family has diabetes too.)
Tell or don't tell other people about your diagnosis.
Understand that you have to make some sort of changes, even if subtle, to your current eating habits and you might even have to add some exercise into your day.
And, finally, feel like this is all too much to deal with, and wait until tomorrow (aka "mañana") to start to take care of yourself…
In all fairness, if you have diabetes it doesn't mean you're not "allowed" to enjoy a burger and fries -- especially on vacation. One's diet should be based upon balance, not deprivation, and the focus should be on the wide array of foods that should be added to your day, not just those that should be taken away…
As I discussed in my interview with The Daily earlier this week, celebrity chefs how have an opportunity to take the plate and run with it! At this time, when the majority of citizens of this country are overweight or obese, and diabetes has affected our children in epidemic proportions, we need all chefs to join in and show viewers how easy it can be to set a place at the table for food that is both delicious and nutritious.
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Teenager in health scare after 15-year chicken nugget diet

(Fox News) British teenager Stacey Irvine has eaten practically nothing but chicken nuggets since the age of two.
Horrified doctors learned of the 17-year-old's chronic addiction after she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital struggling to breathe. Irvine, who has never touched greens or fruit, was found to have anemia and swollen veins in her tongue.
She was recovering at home Wednesday after being put on an urgent course of vitamins -- which started in the hospital with injections. But despite medics begging her to change her diet she still cannot get enough of chicken nuggets.
Irvine, of Birmingham in central England, said, "I am starting to realize this is really bad for me."
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7 Unhealthy Diet Foods

(Reader's Digest) Diet soda
New research suggests that dieters who choose to drink diet soda may actually add weight instead of losing it.
Smoothies
Although they can be packed with powerful nutritional benefits, smoothies can also carry loads of calories, fat, and sugar…
Artificial sweeteners
[S]ome research to date has shown that they can actually make you hungrier than natural sugar…
Light salad dressings
Though they carry less fat and calories than full-fat dressings, light dressings are often high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup…
Processed diet foods and snacks
Switching to a frozen diet meal from the freezer seems like a good choice when trying to lose weight, but often these foods are high in sodium and sugar. Check the nutrition labels on the foods that you purchase. Look for a short ingredient list that relies on whole foods, rather than ingredients you don't recognize.
Flavored yogurt
Yogurt is filled with calcium and protein that’s great for keeping your diet in check, but flavored yogurt can also carry loads of extra sugar and calories that sabotage your healthy eating. Try plain yogurt and adding in a small teaspoon of honey for sweetness.
Baked chips
Although these are a good alternative to saturated fat-laden chips, baked chips usually have tons of sodium, sugar, and empty calories. If you’re in the mood for something crunchy, try snacking on a bag of fresh, raw veggies or plain rice cakes.
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Snacks Can Be Healthy AND Inexpensive

(HealthDay News) It's well-documented that healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables tend to cost more than "junk" foods such as chips and cookies, a phenomenon that's often cited as a contributing factor to the U.S. obesity epidemic.
But a new study conducted in YMCAs found that healthy snacks aren't always more expensive, and in some cases are even more economical…
[S]ome YMCAs found ways of mixing and matching combinations that both met the healthy eating standards and kept costs at or even below what it would cost to serve a less healthy alternative.
For example, serving water instead of fruit juice significantly reduced the price of a snack. Instead of the fruit juice, Ys could serve water and a banana or apple slices and water, and the snack had the same calorie count at a lower cost. The whole fruit has the added nutritional benefits of fiber and helping kids feel fuller, longer than juice, Mozaffarian said.
Or, for example, water and cheese is less expensive than serving chocolate milk, and the cheese contains less sugar.
Other areas where Ys could make improvements without adding to cost were substituting whole grains, in foods such as Triscuits, Wheat Thins and Cheerios, for refined grains such as graham crackers and Saltines.
And while snacks that included canned or frozen vegetables were on the pricy side, snacks including fresh vegetables, such as carrots and celery, were not.
Community: You don’t have to be a kid to want to partake of healthy snacks that don’t cost too much.
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Choose skinnier options when eating out

(TODAY Show) For most people, eating out is a normal part of their weekend routine, and you don’t have to avoid restaurants just because you’re watching your weight.
It’s what you eat, not where you eat, that matters—so long as you make healthy choices, you can continue to enjoy a night out on the town. Try your best to stick with the “no starch at dinner rule,” but if it’s too limiting while dining out, just be sure you pick one of these diet-friendly options. For a standard, healthy meal you can order at just about any restaurant, enjoy grilled, broiled, or roasted lean protein (chicken, fish, shellfish) with a double order of steamed, roasted, or sautéed vegetables.
Or, opt for a giant salad tossed with grilled chicken and light dressing. If you’re going Mexican, try chicken or shrimp fajitas (use just 1-2 tortillas and pick just one high-cal topping—sour cream, guacamole, or cheese). At Italian restaurants, order salmon with grilled/roasted vegetables, mussels in white wine, or, for a pasta fix that won’t blow your diet, spaghetti with low-cal marinara or pomodoro sauce tossed with shrimp or chicken and lots of vegetables.
In the realm of American fare, choose a turkey burger with lettuce, tomato and mustard or BBQ sauce (nix the bun), or have a bowl of any non-creamy soup (minestrone, hearty vegetable, black bean, etc.) with a salad (get the dressing on the side and skip high-cal toppers like cheese and croutons). At the steakhouse, you can’t go wrong with a lean sirloin steak, baked potato (topped with ketchup—or either sour cream or butter, not both), and a side of steamed or grilled veggies.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Turkey Jambalaya
Andouille sausage adds a kick to the Cajun classic from Louisiana. Rice and shredded turkey absorb a flavorful mixture of tomatoes and spices until they're bursting with flavor.
EatingWell:
Chiles Rellenos with Chicken
These pan-fried chiles rellenos are stuffed with a skinny chicken-and-corn filling. Serve with salsa or your favorite enchilada sauce.
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FDA seizes nearly 14% of imported orange juice over fungicide

(Los Angeles Times ) Nearly 14% of orange juice imported to the U.S. since early this month has been seized by the Food and Drug Administration because it contained trace amounts of a fungicide, carbendazim, according to the agency.
FDA officials said the juice was safe to drink but that carbendazim, used to combat a fungus that leaves black spots on tree leaves, was not allowed in the U.S.
"We don't feel that this is a safety problem," FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said. "This is more of a regulatory issue.
"We don't have any plans to call for a wholesale recall of orange juice."
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Diverticulosis Occurs Even With High-Fiber Diet

(HealthDay News) Eating a high-fiber diet does not lower a person's risk of diverticulosis, but a low-fiber diet might, according to a new study that contradicts what doctors have believed for decades.
Diverticulosis is a disease of the intestines in which pouches develop in the colon wall…
The findings also showed that constipation was not a risk factor and that having more frequent bowel movements was linked to an increased risk…
However, while the study uncovered an association between fiber consumption, bowel movements and diverticulosis risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
In addition, no association was seen between diverticulosis and physical inactivity or intake of fat or red meat.
"While it is too early to tell patients what to do differently, these results are exciting for researchers," study lead researcher Dr. Anne Peery, a fellow in the gastroenterology and hepatology division, said in a university news release. "Figuring out that we don't know something gives us the opportunity to look at disease processes in new ways."
Diverticulosis affects about one-third of U.S. adults older than 60, according to the news release.
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New test detects vitamin D more accurately

(UPI) It's estimated most U.S. adults may be deficient in vitamin D but blood sample testing may yield inaccurate measurements of vitamin D levels, researchers say…
To help laboratories detect consistent and accurate methods, the researchers developed a Standard Reference Material, or SRM 972, the first certified reference material for the determination of the metabolite in human serum -- a component of blood…
"This reference material provides a mechanism to ensure measurement accuracy and comparability and represents a first step toward standardization of 25(OH)D measurements," the researchers said.
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Grape Seed Extract Kills Head and Neck Cancer Cells, Leaves Healthy Cells Unharmed

(Science Daily) A study published this week … shows that in both cell lines and mouse models, grape seed extract (GSE) kills head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
"It's a rather dramatic effect," says Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center… It depends in large part, says Agarwal, on a healthy cell's ability to wait out damage.
"Cancer cells are fast-growing cells," Agarwal says. "Not only that, but they are necessarily fast growing. When conditions exist in which they can't grow, they die."
Grape seed extract creates these conditions that are unfavorable to growth. Specifically, the paper shows that grape seed extract both damages cancer cells' DNA … and stops the pathways that allow repair.
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New Method to Understand Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, Develop Drugs

(Science Daily) [S]cientists have, for the first time, created stem cell-derived, in vitro models of sporadic and hereditary Alzheimer's disease (AD), using induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with the much-dreaded neurodegenerative disorder…
The feat … represents a new and much-needed method for studying the causes of AD, a progressive dementia that afflicts approximately 5.4 million Americans. More importantly, the living cells provide an unprecedented tool for developing and testing drugs to treat the disorder.
Community: Rather than wait for a drug, however, better to live a lifestyle that may prevent, delay, or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s.
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Medication helps some with mild depression

(Reuters Health) People with mild depression may benefit from taking antidepressants, suggests a new analysis of past studies that compared symptoms in people on the drugs to those given drug-free placebo pills.
Some earlier reports had suggested that antidepressants generally only improve mood in people with severe depression.
But that might be because those studies weren't precise enough to pick up on smaller changes in symptoms that can still make a difference for people with milder forms of the disease, researchers said…
People with "transient depression" that will improve with diet or exercise or after a few weeks of therapy "shouldn't be taking the risk of being on meds," [Dr. David Hellerstein] told Reuters Health.
"But people who have more persistent depression should be evaluated for treatment and medicine should be one of the options," even when the depression is more modest.
Community: There are a lot of things to try to prevent or reduce depression, before resorting to drugs.
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Middle-agers dabbling in drugs die sooner

(UPI) Those in middle-age who still use hard drugs are five times more likely to die earlier than those who don't take drugs, U.S. researchers said…
The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found older hard-drug users were more likely to report being raised in economically challenged circumstances, in a family that was unsupportive, abusive or neglectful. Those who continued to use lower levels of hard drugs into middle age were roughly five times more likely to die than those who didn't use drugs, the study said.
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Enema transplant works for stubborn infection: study

(Reuters Health) For patients with nearly no options to treat a persistent bacterial infection wreaking havoc on their bowels, a transplant of someone else's fecal matter, delivered by enema, helps heal in nine out of 10 cases, according to a new study.
"It's unbelievably effective," said Dr. Neil Stollman, who was not involved in this research, but who has reported similar success using colonoscopy to deliver a stool transplant.
The procedure is used primarily to treat patients with infections from the bacterium Clostridium difficile.
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Is Your Office Making You Sick?

(WebMD Health News) Could your office be toxic?
Indoor office air is an important source of worker exposure to the potentially toxic substances known as PFCs, or polyfluorinated compounds, according to a new study.
''Workers who spend their day in a typical office environment are likely to have exposure to PFCs through the air, and that seems to lead to PFC levels in their blood," says researcher Michael McClean, ScD…
PFCs are widespread in the environment, often found in and given off by consumer items such as furniture, carpet stain repellents, paint, and food packaging. More than 95% of people in the U.S. have been found to have some levels of the chemicals in their blood.
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Check Your Indoor Air Quality to Breathe Easy

(RealAge.com) Did you know that 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in communities with lethal levels of smog and particulate pollution -- the toxic soup of chemicals, metals, acids, ash, and soot that triggers asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, and early deaths? Makes you want to close the windows, bar the door, and stay home, right?
Not so fast. The air in your living room might be worse.
Indoor levels of some pollutants (e.g., formaldehyde, chloroform, styrene) can be 2 to 50 times higher than levels in your front yard. And now that most of us spend nearly 90 percent of our time inside, we're inhaling by-products of everything from household cleaners to emissions from our laser printers.
Here's how to cut down on pollutants at home so you can breathe more easily.
Ban cigarette smoke…
Skip air fresheners and spray-on cleaners…
Open closed windows regularly…
Cut down on the chemicals you bring home…
Boot out microscopic gunk…
Bring nature indoors..
Avoid "gassy" decor…
Improve the air in your car.
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Bizarre skin disease Morgellons not infectious, CDC says

(Reuters) After an exhaustive search, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no sign of an infectious agent, parasite or environmental exposure that could explain the mysterious skin condition known as Morgellons disease.
People with the condition complain of crawling, itching and stinging sensations and they often see tiny fibers or filaments that poke out of sores on their skin.
But the long-awaited government study, released on Wednesday in the journal PLoS One, found these fibers were mostly bits of cotton and nylon.
"We found no evidence that this condition is contagious, or that suggests the need for additional testing for an infectious disease as a potential cause," said Dr. Mark Eberhard, director of CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria…
Doctors have long suspected the condition was psychiatric rather than infectious.
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Shoulder Pain from Using Your iPad? Don't Use It on Your Lap

(Science Daily) The sudden popularity of tablet computers such as the Apple iPad® has not allowed for the development of guidelines to optimize users' comfort and well-being.
In a new study …, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Microsoft Corporation, and Brigham and Women's Hospital report that head and neck posture during tablet computer use can be improved by placing the tablet higher to avoid low gaze angles, and through the use of a case that provides optimal viewing angles.
Community: And don’t worry at all about the comfort and well-being of the overworked and mistreated Chinese who made your iPad.
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Narcissism Especially Bad for Men's Health, Study Says

(HealthDay News) The inflated sense of self-importance common to narcissism can be toxic to relationships, but a new study suggests the personality trait may also harm men's health.
Researchers from the Universities of Michigan and Virginia determined that men who scored high on two destructive narcissistic traits -- entitlement and exploitativeness -- had markedly higher levels than others of cortisol, a stress hormone that can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. While men and women are equally narcissistic, study authors said, the cortisol stress response was not noted in female participants…
[Study co-author Sara] Konrath and her colleagues administered a 40-item questionnaire to 106 college students that measured five components of narcissism, which is also characterized by self-absorption, overestimations of their uniqueness -- attractiveness or intelligence, for instance -- and a sense of grandiosity.
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The Psycho-path to Success?

(CNN) Psychopaths -- narcissists guided without conscience, who mimic rather than feel real emotions -- bring to mind serial killers such as Ted Bundy or fictional murderers such as Hannibal Lecter or "Dexter," the anti-hero of the popular Showtime TV series. But psychologists say most psychopaths are not behind bars -- and at least one study shows people with psychopathic tendencies are four times more likely to be found in senior management.
"Not all psychopaths are in prison -- some are in the boardroom," said Dr. Robert Hare, a Canadian psychologist who is co-author of the book "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work." '?
And British researcher Clive Boddy [author of "Corporate Psychopaths: Organizational Destroyers"] goes further: He thinks the 2007-2008 financial crisis may have resulted in the growing proliferation of psychopathic personalities in the corner office…
They lie without remorse, steal credit for accomplishments and are adroit at transferring blame for their mistakes, psychologists said. Psychopaths are more likely to have shallow, short-term sexual relationships -- often in the workplace -- and are easily bored. They are prone to take risks without concern for the ramifications…
Psychopaths are gifted at finding the weakness and insecurities of colleagues, yet that can be dressed as "constructive criticism." Psychopaths always turn on the charm to those in power within their corporation -- and equally turn on the malice to colleagues or subordinates…
With turmoil in the markets and rapid changes across the corporate landscape, these are golden times for cold, career opportunists like psychopaths, psychologists say. But the damage done -- bad morale, poor teamwork, ineffective execution of strategy -- can be difficult to quantify on corporate bottomlines, unless the psychopath veers into actual crime.
Community: These same dangerous people congregate in the powerful positions in politics, too. But we allow them to prosper. When we don’t condemn their behavior, we pretty much endorse them. And that encourages those who might behave better to act as though they have no conscience, either.
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Genes Influence Criminal Behavior, Research Suggests

(Science Daily) Your genes could be a strong predictor of whether you stray into a life of crime, according to a research paper co-written by UT Dallas criminologist Dr. J.C. Barnes…
Barnes said there is no gene for criminal behavior. He said crime is a learned behavior.
"But there are likely to be hundreds, if not thousands, of genes that will incrementally increase your likelihood of being involved in a crime even if it only ratchets that probability by 1 percent," he said. "It still is a genetic effect. And it's still important."
The link between genes and crime is a divisive issue in the criminology discipline, which has primarily focused on environmental and social factors that cause or influence deviant behavior.
"Honestly, I hope people when they read this, take issue and start to debate it and raise criticisms because that means people are considering it and people are thinking about it," Barnes said.
Community: We have all kinds of genetic predispositions that we can overcome if we’re willing to work at it and are given the right examples. People behave better if society discourages anti-social behavior, rather than admiring it, as is so prevalent in the U.S. today.
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Boss' management style affects bottom line

(UPI) Over-controlling managers who use threats on employees hurt morale, which in turn, hurts productivity, researchers in France say…
How people feel -- well-being -- can account for more than one-quarter of the differences observed in individuals' performance at work so workplace well-being is receiving increasing attention, as it might have economic implications for the organization if workers are under-performing.
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Working Too Much Can Give You the Blues

(HealthDay News) People who work overtime are at much greater risk for depression, according to a new study…
"Although occasionally working overtime may have benefits for the individual and society, it is important to recognize that working excessive hours is also associated with an increased risk of major depression," said study Dr. Marianna Virtanen.
Community: There are other practical steps you can take to prevent or reduce depression.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Mushroom-Prosciutto Pizza
This simple pizza flavored with cremini mushrooms and Italian ham can be made in just about 20 minutes.
EatingWell:
Orange, Watercress & Tuna Salad
This vibrant salad recipe contrasts flavor, texture and color—the velvety tuna steak is matched with crisp, peppery watercress and the floral tart-sweetness of blood oranges and aniseed. Blood oranges make the dish especially pretty—they’re available December through March. If you can’t find them, use any oranges that look good.
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Healthy Recipe: Yogurt-Lime Drink

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) This tip is brought to you by SpontaneousHappiness.com, Dr. Weil's new online plan - visit today to learn more. 
If you are feeling anxious, consider cracking open a coconut! According to a small study at Columbia University, pleasant scents - including the scent of a coconut - may temper your "fight or flight" response, resulting in less stress and a slower heart rate. Next time you feel anxious, try the Yogurt-Lime Drink, featuring coconut!
This is a versatile beverage because you have the choice of making it with just yogurt; adding fruit and blending it just enough to transform the drink into a whipped, frothy, chunky fruit beverage; or adding frozen fruit to create a dessert drink. This drink is festive, yet the coconut milk flavored with cinnamon and cloves gives it a mellow flavor.
Community: There are other practical ways to reduce stress, too.
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A Muffin Makeover: Dispelling the Low-Fat-Is-Healthy Myth

(Harvard School of Public Health) Dozens of studies, many from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers, have shown that low-fat diets are no better for health than moderate- or high-fat diets—and for many people, may be worse.
To combat this “low fat is best” myth, nutrition experts at HSPH and chefs and registered dietitians at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) have developed five new muffin recipes that incorporate healthy fats and whole grains, and use a lighter hand on the salt and sugar. Their goal? To “make over” the ubiquitous low-fat muffin, touted as a “better-for-you” choice when in fact low-fat muffins often have reduced amounts of heart-healthy fats, such as liquid plant oils, but boast plenty of harmful carbohydrates in the form of white flour and sugar.
Other low-fat processed foods are not much better, and are often higher in sugar, carbohydrates, or salt than their full-fat counterparts. For good health, type of fat matters more than amount. Diets high in heavily processed carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“It’s time to end the low-fat myth,” said Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. “Unfortunately, many well-motivated people have been led to believe that all fats are bad and that foods loaded with white flour and sugar are healthy choices. This has clearly contributed to the epidemic of diabetes we are experiencing and premature death for many. The lesson contained in these healthy muffins—that foods can be both tasty and good for you—can literally be life-saving.”…
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Cut Back on Red Meat, Drop Diabetes Risk

(RealAge.com) Want to cut your risk for diabetes by a third? Simple. Just ease up a bit on the red meat and opt for healthier alternatives. We're talking about lean protein sources, such as beans, nuts, and fish…
[E]ating a daily serving of red meat (beef, pork, lamb) or processed meat (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, many deli meats) is a big risk for type 2 diabetes. For example, a small daily serving of beef (less than a typical burger) ups your diabetes risk 19%. Think that's bad? Scarfing down a hot dog, a sausage patty, or two bacon strips every day boosts diabetes risk by 51%! There's an extra troublemaker in processed meats: preservatives. They weaken your ability to produce blood-sugar-controlling insulin. The iron in red meat, surprisingly, may do the same thing…
Swap out meat for healthier proteins: fish; skinless poultry breast; combos of beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, and whole grains; and nonfat or low-fat cheese or yogurt. Instead of increasing your diabetes risk by, say, 50%, you'll cut it by that much or more.
Community: There are a lot more practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the effects of diabetes.
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Top 10 Foods for Lowering Cholesterol

(RealAge.com) If you have unhealthy cholesterol levels (or want to prevent them), one of the first things you should examine is your diet. Are you eating foods that help reduce cholesterol? Or avoiding the ones that cause unhealthy cholesterol levels to creep higher? If not, we've got 10 cholesterol-lowering foods you should grab next time you're at the grocery store. Bonus: Lowering your bad (LDL) cholesterol can make your RealAge 3.3 years younger if you're a man, 0.6 years younger if you're a woman!
Almonds…
Orange Juice…
Olive Oil…
Steamed Asparagus…
Oatmeal…
Pinto Beans…
Blueberries…
Tomatoes…
Avocado…
Dark Chocolate
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Starch and Breast Cancer Recurrence

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Too many starchy carbs seem to be associated with breast cancer recurrence.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego divided 2,651 breast cancer survivors into four groups based on their daily carbohydrate intake… Overall, the rate of breast cancer recurrence over one year was 9.7 percent among women whose starch intake dropped the most compared to a 14.2 percent recurrence rate among those whose starch intake increased the most.
The investigators suggested one possible explanation for this effect: starchy foods boost insulin levels and elevated insulin levels have been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
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Cancer vaccine uses body's own immunity

(UPI) The Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., began a phase I clinical trial of a dendritic cell vaccine that uses the body's immunity to fight cancer.
The NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine, developed at Roswell Park, will be manufactured in the Institute's new Therapeutic Cell Production Facility, using a unique U.S. Food and drug Administration-approved process making Roswell park the first U.S. research facility to use a custom-made barrier isolator for vaccine cell production, the institute said…
The study is the first to test a dendritic vaccine given in combination with rapamycin, a compound used to prevent rejection of solid-organ transplant, Odunsi said. The NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine is expected to show great promise in patients with bladder, brain, breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate, sarcoma and uterine tumors, [principal investigator Dr. Kunle] Odunsi said.
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Brachytherapy Reduced Death Rates in High-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients, Analysis Finds

(Science Daily) Brachytherapy for high-risk prostate cancers patients has historically been considered a less effective modality, but a new study … suggests otherwise. A population-based analysis looking at almost 13,000 cases revealed that men who received brachytherapy alone or in combination with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) had significantly reduced mortality rates…
Brachytherapy involves the precise placement of radiation sources directly at the site of a tumor and is typically used to treat low and intermediate risk prostate cancers. However, brachytherapy treatment for high-risk patients is less common and controversial, given in part to early retrospective studies that found it to be associated with lower cure rates compared to EBRT…
"The study contradicts traditional policies of using brachytherapy in just low and intermediate risk patients by suggesting there may instead be an improvement in prostate cancer survival for high-risk patients," said co-author Timothy Showalter, M.D.
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Newer Radiation Therapy Technology Improves Patients' Quality of Life, Research Finds

(Science Daily) Patients with head and neck cancers who have been treated with newer, more sophisticated radiation therapy technology enjoy a better quality of life than those treated with older radiation therapy equipment, a study by UC Davis researchers has found…
Allen Chen … reported that the use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, was associated with fewer long-term side effects, which led to a better quality of life. Standard radiation therapy to the head and neck has been known to affect a patient's ability to produce saliva, taste, and even chew food. These side effects historically have resulted in permanent disabilities.
"With the newer machines using IMRT, physicians are skillfully able to deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumor and lower doses to surrounding normal tissues than ever before," Chen said.
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Many Docs Use Costly MRIs to Diagnose Nerve Condition: Study

(HealthDay News) Doctors are more likely to use high-cost MRI scans to diagnose peripheral neuropathy than cheaper -- and more effective -- glucose tolerance tests, a new U.S. study has found.
In people with peripheral neuropathy, the nerves that carry information to and from the brain don't work properly. Symptoms of the disorder include tingling, burning or less feeling in the arms or legs, and can range from mild to severe.
Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, which affects about 15 percent of those over age 40.
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MRI Scan 'Better' for Heart Patients

(Science Daily) A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan for coronary heart disease is better than the most commonly-used alternative, a major UK trial of heart disease patients has shown.
The findings by University of Leeds researchers could change the way that people with suspected heart disease are assessed, potentially avoiding the need for tests that are invasive or use ionising radiation.
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Controversial scan doesn't help smokers quit: study

(Reuters Health) Checking for clogged arteries doesn't help inveterate smokers kick the habit if they are already in a quit-smoking program, Swiss researchers have found…
Some previous research had suggested that showing people dire pictures of cholesterol buildup, or plaque, in their arteries might be the stick they need to make healthy changes to their lifestyle.
But at least for smokers, the new study slashes those hopes.
"It proves that in trying to motivate smokers to quit, this strategy is not going to be useful," said Dr. Patrick O'Malley of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, who wrote an editorial about the findings.
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MA Health Reform: Got to Admit It's Getting Better

(John McDonough, Harvard School of Public Health) On a host on indicators, Massachusetts shows substantial progress on measure after measure between 2006 and 2010 -- I saw only two measures showing a slight reversal, and neither statistically significant. Remember, in 2010 we were in the depths of the economic downturn with unemployment stuck near ten percent.  About nine million Americans lost health insurance in the downturn -- and almost none of them lived in Massachusetts.  
Here are some salient details about Massachusetts adults:
·         In 2010, 6% of nonelderly adults reported spending 10% or more of family income on out-of-pocket health care costs, significantly lower than in 2006.
·         The share of nonelderly adults with a usual source of care increased between 2006 and 2010. For most, that source of care was a physician or a private clinic.  (Remember all those stories in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere on how nobody in MA could get a doctor because of our reform law?)
·         In 2010, for the first time since implementation of MA health reform, there were significant reductions in emergency department (ED) use among nonelderly adults.
·         Between 2006 and 2010 there were reductions in unmet need for care for nonelderly adults, including reductions in unmet need for doctor care; medical tests, treatment, or follow-up care; and preventive care screening. (Are you going to write about this, Wall Street Journal?)
·         The share of nonelderly adults who were spending 10% or more of family income on out-of-pocket (OOP) health care costs was lower in 2010 than 2006.
·         The share of nonelderly adults who reported unmet need for care because of costs was lower in 2010 than 2006 overall and for most of the types of care, including doctor care; specialist care; medical tests, treatment, or follow-up care; and preventive care screenings.
Here's the best one, in my opinion:
·         In 2010, 9% of nonelderly Massachusetts adults who were insured for the full year were underinsured. This is substantially lower than the national underinsurance estimate of 19% in 2010.
This is what's in store for vulnerable Americans if the Affordable Care Act gets fully implemented. More coverage, more care, better care.
It is far from perfect. Too many Massachusetts adults still are living with medical debt; costs are still too high for too many. In comparison with other advanced nations, we are backwards. In comparison with the rest of the United States, Massachusetts is a beacon of a better future. 
Community: So why is Mitt Romney running away from these successes? Because the national Affordable Care Act, which is so much like the Massachusetts plan promoted and signed by Romney, was promoted and signed by President Obama, a Democrat. And no Republican is allowed to admit that any Democrat may have done something good.
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Positive thinking, affirmation help health

(UPI) People can use positive thinking and self-affirmation to help make and sustain behavior change, U.S. researchers said.
Study leader Dr. Mary Charlson, executive director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, said the study involved 756 patients encouraged to think -- when they awaken and throughout their day -- of small things in their lives that make them feel good. A script, created by Charlson, now in the public domain, helps patients over obstacles to exercising or taking medication.
Community: So watching a video of a cat playing the piano can help me stay healthy? Glad to hear it! This study may be another example of how developing and maintaining a sense of efficacy can help us remain healthy.

You can read Dr. Charlson’s script here.
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Do You Crave Spontaneous Happiness?

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) It's natural to have emotional ups and downs. What's not natural - yet all too common in the modern world - is to feel persistently sad or anxious for no obvious reason. My new website, SpontaneousHappiness.com, helps members find and sustain the emotional balance that's needed to navigate and enjoy life in this complex, fast-paced world. In just eight weeks you will:
·         Learn how ancient therapies - including specialized forms of meditation - can bring peace and serenity.
·         Discover foods and supplements that can improve emotional stability.
·         Explore the role of exercise in boosting mood.
·         Feel better physically. The practices that help you achieve emotional well-being are also good for your body!
Weekly checklists, personalized tips, in-depth articles, and videos provide a variety of ways to keep you engaged and encouraged. In addition, we have tools to track your mood, breathing, physical fitness and other aspects of your personal journey through the plan.Visit today to learn more about Spontaneous Happiness - I think you will find it a useful tool for achieving balance in the hectic world we live in today.
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