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

Slow Carbs Limit Disease-Causing Inflammation

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Slowly digested, high-fiber carbohydrate foods such as whole grains, lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans, can help reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for the inflammation associated with heart disease and other chronic illnesses, by about 22 percent in overweight or obese adults…
Investigators put 80 participants on back-to-back 28-day diets, the first featuring high glycemic load carbs that are low in fiber and highly processed (they contain white sugar and white flour such as sugar-sweetened beverages and many breakfast cereals). These foods cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. The other diet featured low glycemic load carbs that don't cause blood sugar to spike. The diets were otherwise identical in calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat content.
In addition to the effect on CRP, the researchers reported that the low glycemic load diet led to a five percent increase in a protein called adiponectin, which plays a key role in protecting against several types of cancer as well as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.
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How Vitamin D Inhibits Inflammation

(Science Daily) Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered specific molecular and signaling events by which vitamin D inhibits inflammation. In their experiments, they showed that low levels of Vitamin D, comparable to levels found in millions of people, failed to inhibit the inflammatory cascade, while levels considered adequate did inhibit inflammatory signaling…
[Said lead author Elena Goleva,] "Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, arthritis and prostate cancer, who are vitamin D deficient, may benefit from vitamin D supplementation to get their serum vitamin D levels above 30 nanograms/milliliter."
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Fight Inflammation with the Right Balance of Fats

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) We all need essential fatty acids for optimum health, but most Americans are eating too many omega-6 fatty acids (mainly from vegetable oils), and not enough omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed). This imbalance can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, inflammatory conditions, cancer and other health concerns.
While eating several servings of oily fish (Dr. Weil prefers wild Alaskan salmon and sardines) per week is a start, you may want to take fish oil supplements, especially if you don't enjoy fish. Available in liquid or capsule forms, fish oil is effective at helping to reduce blood pressure, is beneficial to the nervous system, and can even help address mild to moderate depression. Look for capsules or oil that are certified free of contaminants, and begin with small daily doses, building up to the recommended amount. 
How Healthy is Your Fish Oil?
Many vitamins and supplements contain fillers, casings and binders that may hinder absorption. Dr. Weil's Select Formulas use only the highest quality, readily-absorbable ingredients, with instructions on how to get the most out of each selection. It's the quality you expect from Dr. Weil - visit Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor today for your free health recommendation.
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Natural method for clearing inflammation-causing cellular debris

(Georgia Health Sciences University) Cells that die naturally generate a lot of internal debris that can trigger the immune system to attack the body, leading to diseases such as lupus.
Now Georgia Health Sciences University researchers report that an enzyme known to help keep a woman's immune system from attacking a fetus also helps block development of these autoimmune diseases that target healthy tissues, such as DNA or joints.
The findings point toward new treatment strategies for autoimmune diseases, which are on the rise in light of a germ-conscious society that regularly destroys many of the previously pervasive microbes that made the immune system more tolerant…
They found that IDO, or indoleomine 2,3-dioxegenase, helps promote tolerance to debris generated by natural cell death.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Ancho Pork and Hominy Stew
This stew recipe is an easy way to feed your family meat and veggies in one dish. Readers rave it's quick, easy, and consistently delicious!
EatingWell:
EatingWell Sloppy Joes
Our updated Sloppy Joe takes lean ground beef and adds chopped cremini mushrooms and diced fresh plum tomatoes, all in a zesty sauce. Served on a whole-wheat bun, it's a hearty dinner sandwich that will please adults and kids alike.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Vegetarian Chili
In the culture and cuisine of the Southwest, chili is serious business. But contrary to what many believe, good chili doesn't require "carne" (meat). The key to great chili is knowing how to harness the fiery flavor of a wide range of available chile peppers to make the dish exciting yet palatable…
Food as Medicine
Some studies indicate that capsaicin, a compound in chili peppers, may enhance the metabolism of fat. Red chili peppers also have been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
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Obama Fee on Food Processors for Safety Would Raise Prices, Industry Says

(Bloomberg) An Obama administration plan to raise $220 million for food-safety programs through fees on processing plants, warehouses and other facilities would hit consumers with higher food prices, industry groups said.
Congress rejected including a similar proposal in the Food and Drug Administration’s budget request last year and also ruled out the idea when debating a food-safety law that President Barack Obama signed last year.
Thirty-three industry groups said the cost of a food facility registration fee proposed by the administration to help fund oversight would be passed on to consumers at a time of economic hardship, according to a Feb. 23 letter the associations sent to top U.S. lawmakers.
Community: Our choices are to pay more in taxes, pay higher food prices, or run the risk of dying from food-borne illnesses.
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Scientists Discover Likely New Trigger for Epidemic of Metabolic Syndrome

(Science Daily) UC Davis scientists have uncovered a key suspect in the destructive inflammation that underlies heart disease and diabetes. The new research shows elevated levels of a receptor present on leucocytes of the innate immune response in people at risk for these chronic diseases. The receptors are the body's first line of defense against infectious invaders, and they trigger a rush of cytokines, the body's aggressive immune soldiers, into the bloodstream…
The receptors, or sensors, on cells are called Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and the Nobel Prize was awarded last year for discoveries that showed they initiate the swift innate immune response to infections. But the inflammation they trigger can also be harmful. In mice it has been shown that two TLRs -- TLR2 AND TLR4 -- are important in the development of both diabetes and heart disease…
The research suggests that suppressing TLR activity with weight loss and with diet, exercise and drugs targeted specifically at these receptors, might prove effective in treating heart disease, diabetes and other conditions linked to metabolic syndrome.
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New class of compounds stops disease-fueling inflammation in lab tests

(Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center) Scientists have developed a unique compound that in laboratory tests blocks inflammation-causing molecules in blood cells known to fuel ailments like cancer and cardiovascular disease without causing harmful toxicity.
Past attempts to identify new compounds that tamp down so-called reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules in cells have been complicated by toxicity issues and a lack of specificity in targeting molecular processes. Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report … they have overcome this problem.
They did so by using computer-assisted drug design – verified by laboratory tests on human and mouse inflammatory cells – to precisely target a single component of an enzyme network called NOX2. The enzyme network drives ROS production in immune system white blood cells known as neutrophils. The eventual goal, researchers say, is establishing new small-molecule inhibiting drugs that can stop excessive inflammation and treat a number of inflammation-mediated diseases that need improved therapies.
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New Class of Potential Drugs Inhibits Inflammation in Brain

(Science Daily) Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a new group of compounds that may protect brain cells from inflammation linked to seizures and neurodegenerative diseases.
The compounds block signals from EP2, one of the four receptors for prostaglandin E2, which is a hormone involved in processes such as fever, childbirth, digestion and blood pressure regulation. Chemicals that could selectively block EP2 were not previously available. In animals, the EP2 blockers could markedly reduce the injury to the brain induced after a prolonged seizure, the researchers showed.
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Scientists uncover inflammatory circuit that triggers breast cancer

(Medical Xpress) Although it's widely accepted that inflammation is a critical underlying factor in a range of diseases, including the progression of cancer, little is known about its role when normal cells become tumor cells. Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have shed new light on exactly how the activation of a pair of inflammatory signaling pathways leads to the transformation of normal breast cells to cancer cells…
The scientists' discovery points to the activation of a self-sustaining signaling circuit that inhibits a specific RNA, a well-known tumor suppressor that helps limit the spread of cancer (metastasis). Therapies that disable this circuit and halt this miRNA repression could have the potential to treat cancer.
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Vaccinating adults with new pneumonia vaccine more cost-effective: researcher

(Medical Xpress) A new study suggests vaccinating adults against one of the most common causes of pneumonia with a new vaccine, which has virtually eliminated this infection in children, is more cost effective than using the current vaccine…
[Researchers]  report that a cost-effectiveness analysis that they conducted indicates that substitution of the new conjugate pneumococcal vaccine for routine vaccine of adults would be more cost-effective than the current policy of using the older pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
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Drugs offer hope for rheumatoid arthritis

(USA Today) "Arthritis refers to any type of inflammation of the joints," [rheumatologist Dr. Kenneth Wasser] said. "The many different types of arthritis -- including osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lyme disease and gout -- are all differentiated by where in the joint they originate, and rheumatoid arthritis starts in the synovium, or lining of the joints."
One of the main medications now used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug.
"These drugs have side effects and we understand those risks, but they've been very successful in bringing 70 percent of patients with active aggressive rheumatoid arthritis back to where they were before the disease," Wasser said. Newer drugs such as Enbrel and Humira are also helping other who haven't responded to methotrexate.
"While rheumatoid arthritis is not curable, it's a chronic treatable condition, and the medications available today can significantly alter the natural trajectory of this disease," he said.
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Zelboraf May Double Survival for Some Melanoma Patients

The newly approved drug Zelboraf appears to nearly double the length of time a person can expect to live with advanced melanoma skin cancer, a new study shows…
More than half of the patients in the study saw their tumors shrink by at least 30%. In another 33% of patients, the drug slowed or stopped the progression of their disease. Only 14% of patients didn’t appear to see any benefit from the drug.
As dramatic as the responses to Zelboraf can be, they may not last. By seven months, half the patients in the study had stopped responding to the medication.
But even a temporary response appears to extend survival. Half the patients in the study were still alive after 16 months.
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One-two punch: Cancer therapy more potent when it hits two targets

(Medical Xpress) Simultaneous targeting of two different molecules in cancer is an effective way to shrink tumors, block invasion, and stop metastasis, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have found—work that may improve the effectiveness of combination treatments that include drugs like Avastin.
The two-target approach, tested in mice with a type of cancer known as neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors, may have broad application for treating a wide variety of cancers, the UCSF team said. The drugs used in the tests belong to classes of pharmaceuticals that are either on the market or under development in clinical trials.
Clinical trials also are already underway to gauge effectiveness of the approach in humans with prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other tumor types.
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A new radiotherapy technique significantly reduces irradiation of healthy tissue

(University of Granada) Researchers at the University of Granada and the university hospital Virgen de las Nieves in Granada have developed a new radiotherapy technique that is much less toxic than that traditionally used and only targets cancerous tissue.
This new protocol provides a less invasive but equally efficient cancer postoperative treatment for cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx.
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NYC suicide rate half of national rate

(UPI) New York City's suicide death rate is just over half the national rate -- 6 deaths per 100,000 in NYC versus 11 deaths per 100,000 nationally, officials said.
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, said both the overall suicide and suicide by firearm rates have declined during the past two decades…
New York's lower suicide by firearm rate suggests the city's strict gun policies may be contributing to its lower suicide rate compared to other major U.S. cities, the report said.
Community: Gun control works. Time to get away from the idea that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to own a gun.
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Electronic Health Records Program Advances to 'Stage 2'

(Kaiser Health News) It’s time to take electronic health records to the next level. Federal officials on Thursday released their second-stage guidelines for “meaningful use” of electronic records, which advocates say have the potential to reduce medical errors and streamline care. The proposed rules require doctors and hospitals to significantly step up their usage, as well as better engage patients and improve the transferability of records.
The 2009 federal stimulus provided $30 billion as an incentive for health care providers nationwide to implement electronic records for their Medicare and Medicaid patients. Officials established the “meaningful use” program, which provides financial rewards in three stages if certain standards are met. 
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Debt would swell under Republican candidates' tax plans: study

(Reuters) The U.S. national debt will swell further under tax-cut plans floated by three of the top four Republican presidential candidates, according to an independent analysis of their fiscal policy proposals released on Thursday…
The report from U.S. Budget Watch, a project of the Washington-based Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, benchmarked the candidates' proposals against a baseline that assumes tax policies implemented by President George W. Bush are kept from expiring at year-end.
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How Exercise Fuels the Brain

(Well, New York Times) [Japanese] researchers studied [rats] after a single bout of exercise and also after four weeks of regular, moderate-intensity running.
After the single session on the treadmill, the animals were allowed to rest and feed, and then their brain glycogen levels were studied. The food, it appeared, had gone directly to their heads; their brain levels of glycogen not only had been restored to what they had been before the workout, but had soared past that point, increasing by as much as a 60 percent in the frontal cortex and hippocampus and slightly less in other parts of the brain. The astrocytes had “overcompensated,” resulting in a kind of brain carbo-loading.
The levels, however, had dropped back to normal within about 24 hours.
That was not the case, though, if the animals continued to exercise. In those rats that ran for four weeks, the “supercompensation” became the new normal, with their baseline levels of glycogen showing substantial increases compared with the sedentary animals. The increases were especially notable in, again, those portions of the brain critical to learning and memory formation — the cortex and the hippocampus.
Which is why the findings are potentially so meaningful – and not just for rats.
While a brain with more fuel reserves is potentially a brain that can sustain and direct movement longer, it also “may be a key mechanism underlying exercise-enhanced cognitive function,” says Hideaki Soya,…, senior author of the studies, since supercompensation occurs most strikingly in the parts of the brain that allow us better to think and to remember.
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Fitness program for mentally ill expands

(USA Today) The average life span for someone with a serious mental illness is 25 years shorter than someone in the general population, a gap that has been largely overlooked even though an estimated 10.4 million American adults … fall into that category, said Dr. Stephen Bartels. He will supervise the [In SHAPE] program funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services…
People with serious mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia are more likely to smoke and be obese, putting them at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic disease. And medications used to treat their mental illnesses often cause weight gain or leave them feeling too lethargic to exercise.
Spending money on wellness efforts now will be less costly than expensive treatments for chronic diseases later, Bartels argues…
And there are societal benefits as well, said Ken Jue, who created the In SHAPE program in 2003. Some participants have gone back to work after decades of unemployment. Others have gone back to school.
"As people have become involved in the program and as they begin to improve their physical health, they develop a sense of self-confidence that really frees them up to do some incredible things," said Jue.
Community: We don’t have to be mentally ill to benefit from exercise.
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Burning calories at the gym avoids burnout at work

(American Friends of Tel Aviv University) Physical activity keeps workers mentally fit, says a TAU researcher…
Dr. Sharon Toker …, working with Dr. Michal Biron…,  discovered that employees who found the time to engage in physical activity were less likely to experience a deterioration of their mental health, including symptoms of burnout and depression. The best benefits were achieved among those exercising for four hours per week — they were approximately half as likely to experience deterioration in their mental state as those who did no physical activity.
Drs. Toker and Biron say that employers will benefit from encouraging the physical fitness of their employees.
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Weight Training Improves Parkinson’s Symptoms

(WebMD Health News) Weight training twice a week may reduce the stiffness, slowness, and tremors often seen in people with Parkinson’s disease, a new study shows.
A progressive neurologic disease, Parkinson’s affects up to 1 million people in the U.S. Symptoms include tremors and difficulty with movement and walking. The study shows that weight training for two years trumps stretching and balance exercises for these so-called motor symptoms.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Seafood Cioppino
Don't be intimidated by the name: our cioppino is easy to make and it features fresh Italian flavors such as basil, oregano, and tomatoes. If you already have it on hand, feel free to substitute chicken broth in place of vegetable broth.
EatingWell:
Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole
Known as Tuna-Pea Wiggle to some, this family-friendly tuna noodle casserole tends to be made with canned soup and whole milk, which means high fat and sodium. We remedy this by making our own creamy mushroom sauce with nonfat milk thickened with a bit of flour. Look for whole-wheat egg noodles—they have more fiber than regular egg noodles (but this dish will work well and taste great with either).
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Study: Menu calorie postings not much help

(UPI) Calorie counts listed on fast-food menus to meet U.S. guidelines are not understandable enough to help consumers make healthier choices, researchers said…
"Although most postings were legally compliant, they did not demonstrate utility," [researcher Elizabeth Gross] Cohn said in a statement. "Menu postings for individual servings are easily understood, but complex math skills are needed to interpret meals designed to serve more than one person. In some items, calories doubled depending on flavor, and the calorie posting did not give enough information to make healthier selections."
Community: Apparently, a lot of people don’t know the significance of the calorie postings, because they don’t know how many calories they should eat to avoid weight gain.
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Reducing Violent Crime and Invigorating Communities Through Greening Vacant Lots

(HealthyPeople.gov) Vacant, overgrown lots negatively affect neighborhood economies and create a permissible environment for crime. To combat these public health and safety concerns, the Philadelphia LandCare Program (PLP) “greens” vacant lots by converting the spaces into areas with high visual impact, by clearing trash, planting grass and trees, and encircling the site with a low wooden fence.
To determine program effectiveness, PLP provides data to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere to assess PLP’s impact on crime, as well as resident health and well-being.
A recent study demonstrated that greening was associated with a significant reduction in gun assaults from 1999 to 2008. Over this time period, 4,436 vacant lots (7.8 million square feet) were greened. This study also showed that vacant lot greening was associated with residents reporting less stress and more exercise in select sections of the city, indicating that greening may improve resident health and quality of life. Other cities are adopting PLP to improve neighborhood livability, public health, and safety.
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Bisphenol A Exposure Linked to Increased Risk of Future Onset of Heart Disease

(Science Daily) Bisphenol A (BPA) is a controversial chemical widely used in the plastics industry. A new study followed people over a 10-year time period and shows that healthy people with higher urine concentrations of BPA were more likely to later develop heart disease. But researchers "can't be certain that BPA itself is responsible" -- more research needed to determine whether the link is causal…
[P]revious data showed a correlation between exposure to BPA and cardiovascular disease but it could not help researchers to predict how exposure to the chemical might affect future health.
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H5N1 bird flu infection may be more common, less deadly, than thought

(Los Angeles Times) The World Health Organization says the H5N1 bird flu kills nearly 60% of people who become infected, but a study released Thursday suggests the true fatality rate may actually be much lower…
The findings, which used data from 20 previously published studies, suggest that many more people have been infected with H5N1 flu viruses than the 586 officially confirmed by the WHO as of Wednesday; if so, the fatality rate could be lower than the 59% reported by the global health agency.
"The World Health Organization criteria that are currently being used for confirmation of H5N1 infections are good for the identification of very severe cases, but they do not pick up the cases that are mild or asymptomatic" because such patients are less likely to seek treatment in a hospital, said postdoctoral researcher Taia Wang, who led the study.
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Virtual Colonoscopies Suitable for People 65 and Older, Mayo Clinic

(Mayo Clinic) A new study, led by a physician from Mayo Clinic in Arizona, shows that virtual colonoscopy isn't just for younger people. The American College of Radiology Imaging Network study published in Radiology now indicates that virtual colonoscopy is comparable to standard colonoscopy for people better than 65 years old…
Virtual colonoscopy, known more formally as computerized tomographic CT colonography, uses advanced imaging software to produce a three-dimensional view of the entire colon and rectum. The virtual colonoscopy procedure involves insertion of a small enema tip into the rectum, accompanied by carbon dioxide gas to inflate the colon. No sedation is required. The procedure requires the same cleansing preparation as standard colonoscopy.
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Hearing Aid Gap: Millions Who Could Benefit Remain Untreated

(Science Daily) Though an estimated 26.7 million Americans age 50 and older have hearing loss, only about one in seven uses a hearing aid, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers.
The finding adds clarity to less rigorous estimates by device manufacturers and demonstrates how widespread undertreatment of hearing loss is in the United States, the study investigators say.
"Understanding current rates of hearing loss treatment is important, as evidence is beginning to surface that hearing loss is associated with poorer cognitive functioning and the risk of dementia," says study senior investigator … Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D…
Lin and his colleagues currently are leading a study to investigate the effects of hearing aids and cochlear implants on the social, memory and thinking abilities of older adults.
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Monitoring Your Health With Mobile Devices

(New York Times) Dr. Eric Topol is only half joking when he says the smartphone is the future of medicine — because most of his patients already seem “surgically connected” to one.
But he says in all seriousness that the smartphone will be a sensor that will help people take better control of their health by tracking it with increasing precision. His book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine,” lays out his vision for how people will start running common medical tests, skipping office visits and sharing their data with people other than their physicians.
Dr. Topol, a cardiologist and director of Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif., is already seeing signs of this as companies find ways to hook medical devices to the computing power of smartphones. Devices to measure blood pressure, monitor blood sugar, hear heartbeats and chart heart activity are already in the hands of patients. More are coming.
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Obama's Alzheimer's plan focuses on treatment, care

(Reuters) The Obama administration's plan to fight Alzheimer's disease aims to harness the nation's expertise to find real treatments by 2025 and improve the care and treatment of the 5.1 million Americans already afflicted with the brain-wasting disease.
The draft plan, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, makes treatment a top priority, but it also focuses on the burden the disease places on families and caregivers.
"Alzheimer's disease burdens an increasing number of our nation's elders and their families, and it is essential that we confront the challenge it poses to our public health," President Barack Obama said in a statement marking the plan's unveiling.
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Gay spouse given health benefits in U.S. court case

(Reuters) A U.S. judge on Wednesday ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and said a federal government worker should be allowed to enroll her same-sex spouse in her health insurance coverage, the latest rebuke of a law reviled by gay rights activists.
The ruling came from U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
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Supreme Court sends back California Medicaid cuts case

(Reuters) The Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case on whether Medicaid recipients and medical providers can sue California for cutting reimbursement rates in the healthcare program for low-income Americans…
In sending the case back, the justices set aside a ruling by the appeals court that had blocked the cuts for violating federal law.
The case involved a plan by California's lawmakers in 2008 to slash Medicaid payments to doctors, hospitals and other medical providers to help reduce the state's massive budget deficit.
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California health insurers to raise average rates 8% to 14%

(Los Angeles Times) California's largest health insurers are raising average rates by about 8% to 14% for hundreds of thousands of consumers with individual coverage, outpacing the costs of overall medical care.
The cost of goods and services associated with medical care grew just 3.6% over the last 12 months nationally, government figures show. But insurance premiums have kept climbing at a faster pace in California.
Insurers defended their rate hikes, saying they are based on their claims experience with the customers they insure and not just the broader rate of medical inflation. They also say that healthier members dropped out of the individual market as premiums rose and the economy worsened in recent years, leaving behind a group of policyholders who have higher average costs.
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Well-off in U.S. anxious about old age

(UPI) Nearly 80 percent of U.S. adults with assets of $250,000 or more said the cost of healthcare is their top financial worry in retirement, a survey indicated…
Slightly more than half of respondents who haven't retired yet would rather retire later than make trade-offs in their current lifestyle, the survey found.
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A Shift From Nursing Homes to Managed Care at Home

(New York Times) Faced with soaring health care costs and shrinking Medicare and Medicaid financing, nursing home operators are closing some facilities and embracing an emerging model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes and still receive the medical and social services available in institutions.
The rapid expansion of this new type of care comes at a time when health care experts argue that for many aged patients, the nursing home model is no longer financially viable or medically justified.
In the newer model, a team of doctors, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and other specialists provides managed care for individual patients at home, at adult day-care centers and in visits to specialists. Studies suggest that it can be less expensive than traditional nursing homes while providing better medical outcomes.
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Obesity rates rise, threaten health in OECD nations

(Reuters) More people in developed countries are overweight or obese than ever before, dooming them to years of ill health, pushing up healthcare costs and piling more pressure on health systems, a report by the OECD found on Tuesday.
The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found obesity rates vary widely from a low of 4 percent in Japan and Korea to 30 percent or more in the United States and Mexico…
Experts say severely obese people die on average eight to 10 years sooner than people at normal weight, with every 15 extra kg [about 33 pounds] increasing risk of early death by around 30 percent.
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Diet drug Qnexa should be approved, panel says

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) The diet drug Qnexa has cleared a major hurdle toward eventual Food and Drug Administration approval. An independent panel of medical experts who advise the agency voted Wednesday that Qnexa's significant weight-loss benefit outweighed its potential risks…
The agency typically follows the recommendations of an advisory committee but is not bound by it. If approved, as is now expected, Qnexa would be the first prescription diet drug to reach the market since 1999. The drug, made by Vivus Inc.of Mountain View, Calif., is a combination of the anticonvulsant topiramate and the appetite suppressant phentermine.
Studies show the medications produced an average of about 10% loss of body weight in the first two years of use…
Clinical trials on Qnexa also showed an increased risk of birth defects -- typically cleft lip -- in women who became pregnant on the drug. The study also found that users have an increase in heart rate.
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Everything you know about dieting is wrong: scientists

(Medical Xpress) Everything you know about dieting is wrong, say US scientists who have devised a new formula for calculating calories and weight loss that they hope will revolutionize the way people tackle obesity…
Current standards in the United States, where two thirds of people are overweight or obese, advise people that cutting calories by a certain amount will result in a slow and steady weight loss over time. But that advice fails to account for how the body changes as it slims down, burning less energy and acquiring a slower metabolism, researchers [said]. The result is a plateau effect that ends up discouraging dieters and sending them back into harmful patterns of overeating…
The new model gives dieters one calorie goal for short term weight loss and another for permanent weight loss. Exercise is also calculated in to help set realistic goals. Tests on small numbers of adults who were fed strictly controlled diets showed the model was accurate, though real-life situations are harder to predict…
Their model was first published in The Lancet in August 2011, and a link is available at http://bwsimulator … iddk.nih.gov. "People can plug in some information about their initial age, their height, their weight, some estimate of their physical activity level," [researcher Kevin] Hall said. Add in a goal weight and the "model will simulate what changes of diet or exercise that person would have to do to achieve that goal weight, and then even more importantly what they need to do permanently maintain that weight loss."…
"It's going to take some time to get the public and the professional community aware that there is a new way of doing things, and we actually have some tools that weren't available before."
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Fructose Off the Hook for Overweight and Obesity?

(WebMD Health News) When it comes to weight gain, fructose should not be singled out for blame, a new review of the scientific literature suggests.
The review … shows that excessive calories -- and not any unique properties of fructose -- are more likely to lead to extra pounds.
“Is fructose really the source of all metabolic evil?” says researcher John Sievenpiper, MD, PhD… “From our standpoint, it does not look like it is.”
However, the authors acknowledge that many of the studies they reviewed had serious shortcomings. Therefore, their conclusions are, in a word, inconclusive.
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Study says overweight Americans can avoid kidney damage when attempting weight loss

(Cleveland Clinic) With 1 in 5 overweight Americans suffering from chronic kidney disease, Cleveland Clinic researchers analyzed the nutritional and lifestyle habits of overweight adults, finding that their methods included diets and diet pills that may cause further kidney damage…
Of the overweight and obese patients with kidney disease included in the survey, 50 percent reported that they had attempted to lose weight in the past year. The survey showed that, on average, obese Americans with kidney disease consume protein in amounts that are above the recommended levels prescribed by the National Kidney Foundation for chronic kidney disease patients…
The authors recommend further studies designed to identify safe treatment strategies for weight loss with regards to protecting kidney function.
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Learn to Eat Healthy in Just 8 Minutes!

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is the basis of Dr. Weil's nutritional recommendations. It is a blueprint for a lifetime of optimum nutrition. Making simple changes in how you eat can help counteract chronic inflammation, a root cause of many serious diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, age-related disorders and many cancers.
If you still aren't on this "eating plan for life," watch as Dr. Weil outlines the fundamental elements of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Everything you need to get started - including what to eat, what not to eat and other essential bites of food wisdom - is in this video!
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers
This roast chicken with balsamic bell peppers dish adds Italian flair to your dinner table in just 40 minutes.
EatingWell:
Mini Shepherd's Pies
In EatingWell's take on Shepherd's Pie, we replace the potato topping with convenient, delicious frozen squash puree. And they're baked in individual ramekins to guarantee perfectly sized servings and help you get it on the table fast.
Cooking Light:
Superfast Pork Recipes
Make a quick and healthy meal using tender, lean pork.
14 Kale Recipes
Bursting with nutrients, kale makes a tasty addition to soups, casseroles, or even simply sautéed as a side dish.
Recipe Makeover: Chicken Potpie
Watch how we lighten this classic dish while keeping its delicious, rich flavor intact.
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Citrus Fruits Lower Women's Stroke Risk

(MyHealthNewsDaily) A diet rich in citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, may reduce women's risk of stroke, a new study says.
In the study, women who ate the most citrus fruit had a 19 percent lower risk of having an ischemic stroke than women who ate the least. In an ischemic stroke, blood flow to the brain is blocked, sometimes by clogged arteries.
While other studies have looked at the benefits of eating fruit in general, in the new study, the researchers looked at different types of fruit. Prior research has shown that compounds called flavonoids found in fruit — and also in vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine — may benefit health, but not all flavonoids appear to have the same effect on stroke.
In the new study, there was no link between overall flavonoids consumption and stroke risk, the researchers said.
But citrus fruit contains a subgroup of flavaonoids, called flavanones, and it's these compounds that the new study linked with lower stroke risk.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of stroke.
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Fried Food Risks: Toxic Aldehydes Detected in Reheated Oil

(Science Daily) Researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU, Spain) have been the first to discover the presence of certain aldehydes in food, which are believed to be related to some neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer. These toxic compounds can be found in some oils, such as sunflower oil, when heated at a suitable temperature for frying…
Until now these substances had only been seen in bio-medical studies, where their presence in organisms is linked to different types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
The toxic aldehydes are a result of degradation of the fatty acids in oil, and although some are volatile, others remain after frying. That is why than be found in cooked food.
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Is going gluten-free good for you?

(Baltimore Sun) Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder affecting less than 1 percent of the population. If people who have it eat gluten, which is commonly found in wheat, barley and rye, they risk damaging their digestive systems. Symptoms range from cramps to weight fluctuation to fatigue, migraines and osteoporosis. Untreated, it can be life-threatening.
Gluten sensitivity on the other hand, typically involves symptoms similar to celiac disease but less severe. [Dr. Alessio] Fasano estimates about 6 percent of the population suffers from this relatively new diagnosis.
If one has celiac disease, that pretty much means no bread, pasta, cake, pie or cereal. No cookies or crackers or candy. No sauce, dressing or breading.
But here's where it gets tricky: Gluten-sensitive people need only be as gluten-free as it takes for them to feel OK.
And, Fasano will be happy to tell anyone — all those starlets included — if you don’t have celiac disease and you're not gluten-sensitive, you might as well enjoy that crusty wheat bread.
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Nanoparticles in Food, Vitamins Could Harm Human Health, Researchers Warn

(Science Daily) Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are ingested by humans daily, and new Cornell research warns they may be more harmful to health than previously thought…
According to [a study on chickens], high-intensity, short-term exposure to the particles initially blocked iron absorption, whereas longer-term exposure caused intestinal cell structures to change, allowing for a compensating uptick in iron absorption.
The researchers tested both acute and chronic nanoparticle exposure using human gut cells in petri dishes as well as live chickens and reported matching results.
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Scientists Find New Dangers in Tiny but Pervasive Particles in Air Pollution

(New York Times) Fine atmospheric particles — smaller than one-thirtieth of the diameter of a human hair — were identified more than 20 years ago as the most lethal of the widely dispersed air pollutants in the United States. Linked to both heart and lung disease, they kill an estimated 50,000 Americans each year. But more recently, scientists have been puzzled to learn that a subset of these particles, called secondary organic aerosols, has a greater total mass, and is thus more dangerous, than previously understood…
[T]he findings of the new study and of a handful of others published in the past two years could mean that two decades’ worth of pollution-control strategies — focused on keeping tiny particles from escaping into the atmosphere — have addressed only part of the problem.
Scientists and regulators say that new models, strategies and technologies would be needed to address the secondary organic aerosol particles, which are formed not during combustion but later, in the wake of interactions between pollutants and natural chemical compounds.
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