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

Training Character Strengths Makes You Happy

(Science Daily) Anyone who trains character strengths increases their sense of wellbeing, a large-scale study conducted by a team of psychologists from the University of Zurich has concluded. It proved for the first time that this kind of training works. The largest impact was evident in training the strengths "curiosity," "gratitude," "optimism," "humor" and "enthusiasm."
Character strengths can be defined as traits that are rated as morally positive. That they are positively linked to life satisfaction has already been shown in many studies. That they have a causal effect on life satisfaction and that practicing them triggers an increase in the sense of wellbeing, however, has now been proved by [the researchers] for the first time…
The exercises consisted of activities that the test subjects could easily incorporate into their daily routine. For example, they practiced gratitude by writing a thank-you letter to someone who had played an important role in their lives and trained their appreciation of beauty by paying attention to moments and situations in which they felt admiration for something beautiful. This could be anything from people and things they liked to special abilities and talents of fellow human beings or moving gestures and actions.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Brain Games May Curb Risky Impulses

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Certain brain training exercises could make people less impulsive, and in turn, cut down on risky behaviors, a new study suggests.
The "training" involves engaging in a task that requires people to inhibit their movements. For instance, participants in the study were told to press a button when they saw a certain image, but to restrain from pressing the button if the image suddenly turned boldface. When participants took part in such "inhibition training," they were less likely to place risky bets in a gambling game two hours later, the researchers said…
"This work could have important practical implications for the treatment of behavioral addictions, such as pathological gambling, which have previously been associated with impaired impulse control," said study researcher Frederick Verbruggen…
The researchers are also investigating whether their findings apply to other addictions, such as smoking and overeating, Verbruggen said.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Chinese meditation IBMT related to positive behavioral changes

(University of Oregon) Scientists studying the Chinese mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (IBMT) say they've confirmed and expanded their findings on changes in structural efficiency of white matter in the brain that can be related to positive behavioral changes in subjects practicing the technique regularly for a month…
[S]cientists Yi-Yuan Tang and Michael Posner report improved mood changes coincided with increased axonal density -- more brain-signaling connections -- and an expansion of myelin, the protective fatty tissue that surrounds the axons, in the brain's anterior cingulate region…
IBMT was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s in China, where it is practiced by thousands of people. It differs from other forms of meditation because it depends heavily on the inducement of a high degree of awareness and balance of the body, mind and environment. The meditative state is facilitated through training and trainer-group dynamics, harmony and resonance.
Community: There are a number of practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Study: Morning people happier than night owls

(LiveScience) Night owls often wake up for work or school with a scowl on their faces and wishing for an IV drip of coffee, while morning people come skipping in 15 minutes early. However, morning people aren't chipper just as the sun is coming up; they are happier and more satisfied with life overall, a new study suggests…
Morning-type people also tended to say they felt healthier than did night owls. The researchers said this could be because they are getting better sleep since they are naturally morning people. It could not only make them feel more alert, but actually impact their immune system…
One easy happiness booster? Hack your sleep schedule to turn yourself into a morning person. "One way to do it is to increase your natural light exposure early in the morning, and to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier," [study researcher Renee] Biss said. "It's easiest if you have a consistent schedule, to make sure you are waking up at the same time every day."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

6 Steps to Real Happiness

(RealAge.com) The formula for genuine happiness is being generous of spirit and being able to count on others, plus focusing on what you have -- not on what you don't have. Here's how to do that:
·         Volunteer
·         Count your blessings
·         Get a workout partner. Connections and health are the strongest predictors of happiness…
·         Create healthy family dinners. This boosts your happiness two ways: First you cut out fattening foods by eliminating added sugars, syrups, saturated fat, and trans fat, and any grain that isn't 100% whole. Heavy hips and a heavy heart make for the blues. Second, you'll create family bonding, which increases your sense of security and identity.
·         Have an adventure. Time (and money) spent on doing something brings greater happiness than money spent on getting something.
·         Get joy from intimacy. A talk with a friend, a hug, cuddling, and shared passion are all forms of intimacy.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Barbecued Pork Chops
A simple 8-ingredient marinade, made with mostly pantry staples, brings out the vibrant flavor of these chops. Pair with kimchi-style slaw for a flavorful duo and a quick-cooking dinner solution, ready in about 40 minutes (including a 25-minute marinade).
EatingWell:
Beer-Barbecued Chicken
Here's our spin on the roast-a-chicken-on-top-of-a-can-of-beer technique that's popular with barbecue aficionados. To simplify things, we just pour a little beer inside the chicken as it cooks. The beer keeps the meat juicy and a smoky-flavored spice rub both under and over the skin gives it extra flavor. Barbecuing poultry with the skin on helps prevent the meat from drying out. To keep calories and fat in check, remove the skin before serving.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Vitamin D Plus Calcium May Cut Mortality Risk

(MedPage Today) When given with calcium, vitamin D supplements appear to be associated with lower mortality in older individuals, a meta-analysis showed…
After adjustment for potential confounders, including incident hip and spine fractures, vitamin D supplementation with or without calcium was associated with a 7% lower mortality risk…
A deeper look showed that the reduction was significant for those taking calcium and vitamin D together, but not for those taking vitamin D alone.
Community: So, even if this combination doesn’t stop bone fractures, at least at low doses, it still may be good for us.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Melatonin Can Help Seniors Get More Sleep

(MedPage Today) Over-the-counter melatonin appears to provide a measure of sleep for older individuals who have insomnia, a meta-analysis showed…
Sleep regulation changes with age, which can lead to increased daytime sleepiness, memory problems and mood changes. But, although melatonin is a key hormone involved in regulating circadian rhythms and has been reported to have soporific effects, previous studies in older adults have yielded mixed results, [said researcher Jennifer Brault, MD].
So, she and her colleagues began scouring medical literature on the subject. They found nine studies enrolling 297 patients.
In general, the people who used melatonin in the trials took the hormone supplements around dinner time.
Although dosing was all over the lot – from 0.1 mg to 10 mg -- Brault said they were unable to observe a difference in outcomes based on dose. The researchers also saw no impact of melatonin on waking after sleep onset.
"I don't think there is any problem with using melatonin in the short term for treatment of insomnia or to get over such things as jet lag, "Olivier Vanderveken, MD, a sleep medicine specialist…, told MedPage Today. "However, I am not sure about long-term use of melatonin. I am not aware of any studies in long-term treatment."
Vanderveken said that with long-term treatment unexpected adverse events might emerge.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Does Everyone Get Cataracts Eventually?

(MyHealthNewsDaily) A cataract is a clouding of the lens, the clear part of the eye that helps focus images like the lens in a camera.
Most cataracts are related to aging. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. There are other causes of cataracts such as diabetes, eye injury, radiation and surgery for other eye problems…
The most common symptoms of a cataract are: blurred images, faded colors, glare, poor night vision, double vision, and frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor, because they can be signs of other eye problems.
If you are 60 or older, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. In addition to cataract, your eye-care professional can check for signs of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other vision disorders. Early treatment for many eye diseases may save your sight.
Community: I’m going to have cataract surgery on my left eye next month.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Forget about worrying

(Harvard Health Letters) By age 60, more than half of adults have concerns about their memory. However, minor memory lapses that occur with age are not usually signs of a serious neurological disorder, such as Alzheimer's disease, but rather the result of normal changes in the structure and function of the brain.
But how much forgetfulness is too much? How can you tell whether your memory lapses are within the scope of normal aging or a symptom of something more serious?
Healthy people can experience memory loss or memory distortion at any age. Some of these memory flaws become more pronounced with age, but unless they're extreme and persistent they're not considered indicators of Alzheimer's or other memory-impairing illnesses.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Three Natural Ways to Treat ED

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to achieve or maintain erections sufficient for intercourse, often has a psychological component, and counseling is encouraged as a primary treatment strategy. However, ED can also be a symptom of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, both of which can impair blood supply to the penis. In addition to lifestyle measures such as checking your medications with your physician, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and managing stress levels, I recommend the following herbs to help address ED:
1.     Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). This herb may improve arousal in both men and women, perhaps by increasing blood flow to the genitals. It should not be used by those on blood thinners such as Coumadin/Warfarin.
2.    Ashwagandha. Derived from the roots of a plant in the nightshade family called Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is reputed to be a mild aphrodisiac and has long been popular in India. Ashwagandha is generally safe - follow the dosage on the package, and give it six to eight weeks to have an effect.
3.    Standardized extract of Asian ginseng. Asian ginseng, or Panax ginseng, is a good general stimulant and sexual energizer. Asian ginseng is considered safe but can raise blood pressure and cause irritability and insomnia in some people. Follow the dosage on the package, and give it a six to eight-week trial to see what it can do.
Community: Here are some more natural ways to treat ED, including doing pelvic exercises.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Auxilium penile curvature drug meets study goal

(Reuters) Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc said its drug to treat penile curvature fared better than a placebo in late-stage studies, raising hopes that Pfizer Inc will pick up rights for the indication…
The drug, Xiaflex, reduced curvature of the penis by more than 30 percent in two late-stage trials on men suffering from Peyronie's Disease, a condition caused by the build-up of protein collagen.
Xiaflex is already marketed as a treatment for Dupuytren's Contracture, a condition that results in the tightening of hand muscles, and is also being tested as a treatment for frozen shoulder syndrome. Both diseases are caused from the accumulation of collagen.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Make this a Smoke Free Father’s Day

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) This Father’s Day, if you smoke, CDC encourages you to model a healthy way of living for your children by quitting. And congratulations are in order for the fathers who have already resolved to quit smoking!...
Cigarette smoking accounts for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year in the United States, or nearly one of every five deaths. And for every smoking-related death, another 20 people suffer with a smoking-related disease. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and causes many diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, to name a few.
More men (nearly 22%) than women (about 17%) smoke. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men. Men who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis by nearly 10 times; from emphysema, by nearly 10 times; and from lung cancer, by more than 22 times. And smoking triples middle-aged men's risk of dying from heart disease.  
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Secondhand smoke tied to more health effects

(Reuters Health) People regularly exposed to secondhand smoke may have increased risks of dying from various causes, a long-term study from China suggests.
Researchers found that compared with adults who lived and worked in smoke-free environs, those exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to die of heart disease or lung cancer over 17 years.
And they were also more likely to die of stroke or the lung disease emphysema -- two diseases that have had relatively weaker links to secondhand smoke.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Landmark ad campaign yields almost 200,000 more calls to state quitlines after 12 weeks

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) The "Tips From Former Smokers" national ad campaign has generated almost 200,000 additional calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a portal that links callers to their state quitlines, and more than 400,000 additional unique visitors to www.smokefree.gov, a federal website designed to help people quit smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced…
Based on previous state experience, these numbers indicate that the 12-week campaign, which began March 19 and ended on June 10, is on track to surpass the goal of generating at least 500,000 quit attempts, and 50,000 successful, long-term quits.  Further data detailing the number of quit attempts will be available later this year.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Graphic warning labels on cigarette packs 'work better'

(BBC News ) Images of patients on ventilators on cigarette packets help smokers heed the health warnings about smoking, says US research.
A study of 200 smokers … found that 83% were able to remember the health warning if it was accompanied by a graphic image. This compared with a 50% success rate when text-only warnings were viewed.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

US agency urges new charge for Medicare patients

(Reuters) A report by the nonpartisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or Medpac, recommended a new 20 percent charge for the 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who buy supplemental insurance to cover medical costs that Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover.
Medpac, which advises Congress about Medicare, also proposed a series of other innovations including a new $5,000 upper limit for annual out-of-pocket expenses to protect senior citizens from the astronomically high cost of catastrophic illnesses.
Community: Always looking for more ways to bleed us dry. Nonpartisan? I doubt it. Sounds like tea party crazies to me.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

California Bullish On Health Exchange—No Matter What

(Kaiser Health News) Many states have done nothing to implement the health overhaul law, saying they'll wait and see how the Supreme Court rules. Not California.
The country's most populous state got out in front first on implementing the law, and it hasn't slowed down in recent weeks as the rest of the country waits to hear from the High Court.
"California has been moving ahead 100 percent assuming it will upheld," says Peter Lee, who left his Washington job as a health policy official in the Obama administration to lead California's Health Benefit Exchange.  "We [aren't] doing anything in the way of contingency planning because it makes no sense to plan for what seems like an outer bounds of possibility, and rather, we've got a big job to do to get ready to cover what will be millions of Californians in 18 months."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Turmeric Plus Exercise Benefits Heart

(The People’s Pharmacy) Exercise and curcumin, the active ingredient in the yellow spice turmeric, are each good for the heart. Combining them, however, has synergistic cardiovascular benefits.
Japanese researchers recruited 45 sedentary postmenopausal women for a two-month study of endurance exercise training and curcumin supplements. This pilot trial was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled, although it was rather small, with only about 11 women in each arm of the study.
Those who cycled and walked daily and also took 150 mg of curcumin in readily absorbed pills had a measurable reduction in aortic blood pressure. There were no significant changes in the other groups, which included curcumin alone, exercise with placebo and placebo without exercise. The researchers concluded that this study offers preliminary evidence that curcumin together with exercise can reduce left ventricular afterload, an indication of heart health as we age.
Community: I put turmeric in the Healthy Mary that I drink most days.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

But I don't want to work out

(Tribune Newspapers) [Researchers are discovering that if] we don't think [exercise is] valuable and vital to our daily lives, we simply won't do it. "It has to be a top priority because we are all too busy to fit anything into our lives that's not essential," said Michelle Segar, associate director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy (SHARP) Center for Women and Girls at the University of Michigan…
Segar believes most of us don't stay motivated because "our society has prescribed it in a very one-size-fits-all way: It has to be intense and make you sweat and has to last 30 to 60 minutes to be worth doing." In fact, there's mounting evidence that moving more throughout the day, not just a longer duration, is important for health, said Segar, who advises seeking out any and all movement.
What most dedicated exercisers know is that once they establish the habit and reach a certain fitness threshold, working out gets easier. And while they may have started exercising to impress someone or look a certain way, they often keep doing it because it gives them more energy, improves mental health, can relieve depression and they almost always feel better post-workout.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Floss Your Teeth, Live Longer

(RealAge.com) If you neglect your gums and pearly whites, heart problems, diabetes, and (guys!) even erectile dysfunction may not be far behind. (Here's another easy way to prevent erectile dysfunction.)
What's the link? If you don’t regularly brush and floss, tartar builds up on your teeth and irritates your gums. This bacteria-loving tartar turns to plaque, triggering body-wide inflammation. Next, LDL cholesterol-related plaque builds up in your arteries -- doubling your risk of heart disease.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Slightly elevated blood glucose levels increase risk of heart disease

(University of Copenhagen) New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that even slightly higher levels of glucose in the blood noticeably increase the risk of ischemic heart disease …
"We know that diabetics and people with high cholesterol levels are prone to ischemic heart disease, but our study also made it possible to look at blood glucose level in isolation. It is surprising that even a slightly higher blood glucose value appears to be dangerous over a longer period – and that sugar alone makes a negative difference," says Marianne Benn, chief physician at Copenhagen University Hospital and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen.
Healthy people without diabetes have a normal, fasting blood glucose value of less than 6 mmol (=108 mg) glucose per litre blood. However, the study … shows that over many years, a blood glucose value of only 1 mmol (=18 mg) per liter above normal increases the risk of heart attack by a surprising 69 per cent.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Omega-3 Supplements Don't Lower Heart Attack, Stroke Risk for Some

(MyHealthNewsDaily) For people whose blood sugar levels put them at greater risk of heart attack or stroke, taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements doesn't reduce those risks, a new study finds.
The people in the study, which was funded by a pharmaceutical company, had Type 2 diabetes or were at risk of developing it. Those who took 900 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids daily proved no less likely over a six-year period to have a heart attack or stroke, or to die from one, than were those who were given a placebo instead.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Fish oil no help for heart patients' depression

(Reuters Health) Fish oil pills and B vitamins may be no help in warding off depression symptoms in people with a history of heart attack or stroke, a new clinical trial finds.
In fact, men who were randomly assigned to take fish oil actually ended up with an increased risk of depression symptoms.
The researchers caution, however, that it's not clear whether the fish oil is to blame. For now, they say, there's no evidence to support using fish oil or B vitamins to ward off depression.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Study debunks belief insulin puts people with diabetes at risk of heart disease

(McMaster University) Researchers at McMaster University have discovered that long-term insulin use does not harm people with diabetes or pre-diabetes or put them at risk of heart attacks, strokes or cancer.
This is contrary to concerns that long-term use of insulin may cause heart disease, says Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, principal investigator of the study…
"People have been debating the question of whether there are adverse consequences to long-term insulin use for years," he said. "This study provides the clearest answer yet to that question: No, there are not."
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Top heart doctors fret over new blood thinners

(Reuters) For millions of heart patients, a pair of new blood thinners have been heralded as the first replacements in 60 years for warfarin, a pill whose hardships and risks have deterred many from using the stroke-prevention medicine.
But growing complaints of risks and deaths tied to the new crop of drugs have made some top U.S. cardiologists hesitant to prescribe them. Some are proposing a more rigorous monitoring regimen for when they are used.
Most concerns revolve around Pradaxa, a twice daily pill from Boehringer Ingelheim that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2010 to prevent strokes in patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation…
"The good news is you now have an alternative to warfarin," said Dr. Alan Jacobson, director of anti-coagulation services at the Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare system in Loma Linda, California. "The bad news is you can kill a patient as easily with the new drug as you could with the old drug" if it is not handled properly.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Online treatment beneficial to heart disease patients

(BMJ-British Medical Journal) Researchers … carried out a randomised controlled trial to assess whether including an internet-based programme would be effective in reducing vascular risk factors in patients with the disease.
The internet-based programme included a personalised website, mail communication via the website with a nurse practitioner, self-management support, monitoring of disease control and pharmacotherapy…
Results show that after one year, Framingham Heart Scores had fallen 12% further among patients who took part in the internet-based programme, compared with controls. The programme made a small difference to participants risk scores that was statistically significant in two out of three analyses.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Heart Attack: 7 Sneaky Causes

(RealAge.com) Even if you eat right, exercise often, and maintain a healthy weight, you may not be out of the heart attack danger zone. Nearly 50% of all heart attacks happen to people who lead a seemingly healthy lifestyle. For the sake of your heart (and for greater peace of mind), start familiarizing yourself with all potential heart disease contributors.
Avoid Air Pollution…
Don't Stop Taking Baby Aspirin…
Take Care of Your Kidneys…
Know Your Siblings' Heart Health…
Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, or Lupus…
Repair an Unhappy Relationship…
Use Your Vacation Time
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

RealAge.com:
12 Delicious Heart-Healthy Recipes
Treat your heart, belly, and taste buds right with these delicious and easy-to-follow heart-healthy recipes.
MyRecipes.com:
Cavatappi with Bacon and Summer Vegetables
A light and flavorful pasta toss, accented with crumbled bacon, is a quick and easy dinner solution for any night of the week. Use whatever veggies you have on hand to add to the colorful dish. Serve with a mixed greens salad.
EatingWell:
Wasabi Salmon Burgers
Bring out the flavors of salmon with a Japanese-inspired infusion of ginger, sesame oil and wasabi. If you serve these patties on whole-wheat buns, consider reduced-fat mayonnaise and sliced cucumbers as condiments. Or skip the buns and set the patties atop a vinegary salad of greens, carrots, radishes and sprouts.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad
Placing the "shaved" slices of peeled asparagus spears in cold water causes them to curl up into a unique, spiral shape, adding to this beautiful salad's visual appeal. White asparagus has a mild flavor that we prefer for this salad. However, green asparagus will actually curl better than the white.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Berries for the Brain

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Eating blueberries and strawberries regularly seems to help protect the brain from the effects of aging.
This latest good news about the health benefits of berries comes from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Investigators gathered information on food consumption among participants in the long-running U.S. Nurses’ Health Study and looked at data recorded between 1995 and 2001 on cognitive function - the ability to think, remember and reason - of just over 16,000 of the women participants, all over 70…
The upshot? A link between eating more than one half-cup serving of blueberries per week or two half-cups of strawberries a week and a 2.5 year delay in cognitive aging. Berries contain anthocyanidin, an antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier and have beneficial activity in brain areas responsible for memory and learning.
Earlier studies have found that berries and other fruits containing antioxidants called flavonoids (anthocyanidin is a particular type of flavonoid) can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancers. Another group of Harvard researchers recently found that berries also appear to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease in men.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

NYC considering ban on big bags of popcorn, too

(Undernews) Fox News NY - The board hand-picked by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that must approve his ban of selling large sugar-filled drinks at restaurants might be looking at other targets.
The New York City Board of Health showed support for limiting sizes of sugary drinks at a Tuesday meeting in Queens.  They agreed to start the process to formalize the large-drink ban by agreeing to start a six-week public comment period.
At the meeting, some of the members of board said they should be considering other limits on high-calorie foods. One member, Bruce Vladeck, thinks limiting the sizes for movie theater popcorn should be considered. "The popcorn isn't a whole lot better than the soda," Vladeck said…
New York City voters oppose 51 - 46 percent Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on the sale of over-sized sugary soft drinks, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Higher dose of milk vitamin fights obesity

(UPI) A novel form of vitamin B3 in milk given in a high dose to mice fed a fatty diet seemed to help prevent obesity, U.S. and Swiss researchers said.
[The researchers] said high doses of the vitamin precursor, nicotinamide riboside -- a cousin of niacin -- prevented obesity in mice fed a fatty diet and also increased muscle performance, improved energy expenditure and prevented diabetes development, all without side effects. This form of vitamin B3 is found in milk in small quantities.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Narcolepsy Drug Aids Sleep, Pain in Fibromyalgia

(MedPage Today) Patients with fibromyalgia treated with the narcolepsy drug sodium oxybate (Xyrem) had significant improvements in the important clinical domains of pain and sleep, an international study showed.
The proportion of patients who experienced a 30% decrease in pain was 51.4% in patients receiving 6 g of sodium oxybate nightly compared with 26.8% among those given placebo…, according to Michael Spaeth, MD, of Rheumatologische Schwerpunktpraxis in Munich, Germany, and colleagues.
In addition, significantly greater improvements in sleep quality as measured on the Jenkins sleep scale were seen.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Radiologists, Industry Defend Imaging Rates

(MedPage Today) Medical imaging use has not grown inappropriately, radiology groups argued in response to a reported jump in advanced diagnostic imaging over the past 15 years…
The early boom in imaging was understandable, Paul Ellenbogen, MD, chair of the group's board of chancellors, explained in the statement.
"Medical imaging use increased in the 1990s and early 2000s because doctors discovered that they could diagnose and treat illness and injury or rule out more serious conditions more safely, quickly and efficiently using scans than by exploratory surgeries or admitting patients to the hospital who did not need to be hospitalized," he wrote.
The new data from the integrated healthcare systems where there was no financial incentive to order more scans argue that the increase in imaging was driven by patient care, his group suggested.
"Appropriate growth in imaging use is a good thing," Ellenbogen added. "Imaging scans have undoubtedly been proven to save lives, resources and time."
Imaging rates are stabilizing now that physicians are educated about when and which scans should be ordered, he speculated.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Women doctors make less than men: study

(Reuters Health) Female doctor-researchers make an average of $12,000 per year less than their male counterparts, even after their work hours and area of specialty are taken into account, according to a study out Tuesday…
The researchers found women were more likely to work in lower-paying specialties such as pediatrics and family medicine. Female doctors also tended to work slightly fewer hours than their male peers -- 58 hours per week, on average, versus 63 for men.
Those differences were responsible for some of the salary gap. But even after Jagsi's team accounted for income disparities that could have been due to career and life choices, the researchers found women still made about $12,000 less than men doing the same type and amount of work.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Medicare Drug Discounts At Risk If Court Strikes Health Law

(Kaiser Health News) Billions of dollars in drug savings for Medicare beneficiaries may come to an end if the Supreme Court overturns the 2010 federal health law, a drug industry spokesman said Tuesday.
The law provides "the necessary legal framework" for drug companies to slash brand-name drug prices by half for seniors and people with disabilities when they enter a coverage gap in their Medicare drug plans, said Matthew Bennett, a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.  Eventually the discounts grow so that the gap, known as the doughnut hole, is closed by 2020.  But if the law goes, the discounts may go, too.
"Without that legal framework, there are many questions that arise about whether the discount program could continue," he said.
As part of the negotiations in the health care debate in 2009, drug makers pledged $80 billion over 10 years to cut the doughnut hole expenses for consumers and help provide funding to cover the uninsured.
Community: Yes, because the original legislation for Medicare Part D actually forbade negotiating for better prices. Another stupid, pro-corporate, anti-human, Republican idea.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

New device that 'smells cancer on your breath' could save lives

(Daily Mail) [A] cancer-detecting breathalyzer system … is able to detect the early signs of breast and lung cancer. 
It is still awaiting clinical trials but may provide an alternative method to current screening processes using large scanners which are both expensive and invasive. 
The cancer breathalyzer was developed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Community: We can thank our four-legged friends for this discovery. If it hadn’t been for cancer-sniffing dogs, scientists might never have thought of it.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recent Advances in Cancer Treatment

(The Telegraph) Scientists claim to have overcome a major hurdle in their work on finding a way to wipe out cancer with viruses.
(University of Kentucky) A new study by University of Kentucky researchers shows how light and strained ruthenium-based drugs may be more effective at fighting cancer cells and less toxic to healthy cells than a similar and widely used drug.
(Science Daily) A promising new strategy for "reactivating" genes that cause cancer tumors to shrink and die has now been developed.
(Science Daily) Prostate cancer patients with advanced tumors … may now live longer with a new line of radioisotope therapy, say researchers.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recent Discoveries in Causes of Cancer

(Reuters) Use of diagnostic imaging in the United States has doubled since the mid-1990s, raising fears that radiation exposure from technologies such as computed tomography (CT) scans may raise a person's lifetime cancer risk, researchers said on Tuesday.
(UPI) An analysis of environmental causes of breast cancer suggests women can reduce breast cancer risk by avoiding unnecessary medical imaging, researchers say.
(The Telegraph)  Women who work at least three night shifts a week for around six years or more are twice as likely to develop breast cancer, Danish research has found.
(British Medical Journal) Persistent dental plaque may increase the risk of dying early from cancer, suggests an observational study.
(Reuters Health) Women who use certain bone-building drugs may not have a decreased risk of colon cancer, a new study finds -- despite prior evidence suggesting the drugs might offer some protection.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Too little vitamin D may explain black Americans' cancer deaths

(LiveScience) African-Americans are 25 percent more likely to die from cancer than white Americans are, and the reasons are numerous, including lower socio-economic status, poorer access to health care, and the cancer diagnosis coming at later, more deadly stages.
Still, health experts say these factors cannot fully explain the extent of disparities in survival for the most common cancers, such as breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers.
A paper … points the finger at a seemingly obvious but overlooked culprit: the sun.
The researchers' theory is that, in northern latitudes, the dark skin of African-Americans cannot absorb enough sunlight to generate adequate amounts of vitamin D, which is often called the "sunshine vitamin." The body uses ultraviolet rays from the sun to manufacture vitamin D in the inner layers of the skin.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Recipes

Cooking Light:
Father's Day Cookout
Thrill Dad with a backyard grilling menu that's sure to get him all fired up.
Unique Burger Recipes
Find juicy, grilled burgers that are also good for you: not only beef, but salmon, lamb, and turkey, too.
40 Top-Rated Grill Recipes
These grilled go-to recipes earned top marks from our readers.
MyRecipes.com:
Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
This recipe yields slow-cooked barbecue flavor in less than an hour. The sandwiches need to be broiled at the last minute, but the rest of the menu can be made ahead of time.
EatingWell:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin & Apricot Salad
This grilled pork dish offers a triple hit of the fruit with an apricot preserve glaze for the tenderloin plus a grilled apricot and watercress salad with an apricot-spiked vinaigrette. Serve with a chilled Chardonnay, which will harmonize beautifully with the smoky-sweetness of grilled apricots.
Healthy recipes from the Mediterranean diet
It’s no wonder that the Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest—those who follow it are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol or become obese. Better yet, Mediterranean cuisine is delicious: it’s abundant in fruits, vegetables and olive oil, sparing with meat and anointed daily with red wine. Enjoy one of our healthy Mediterranean recipes tonight for a satisfying and healthy dinner.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]

Four Healthy Drinks

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Today we cover four healthy beverages - experiment to find the best ways to incorporate them into your daily routine: 
1.    Green tea. My beverage of choice, green tea is a potent source of catechins - healthy antioxidants which can inhibit cancer cell activity and help boost immunity. Replace your morning coffee with a cup of tea for a healthier wake-up.
2.    Cranberry juice. Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C and contain a substance that hinders the attachment of bacteria to bladder walls, which can help prevent urinary tract infections. Instead of cranberry juice cocktail, opt for unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate and dilute with water or sparkling water. Blueberry juice works as well.
3.    Red wine. The antioxidant activity of red wine has been linked to heart health benefits, reduced stress, and even preserving memory. If you enjoy an occasional drink, limit your intake to 1-2 glasses a day. If you don't drink, don't start - there are other ways to get antioxidants in your diet, including fresh whole fruits and vegetables.
4.     Pure, filtered water. Staying well hydrated is essential to optimal health and overall functioning. Sip water throughout the day, and in the warmer months, be sure to drink water before and after exercising to avoid dehydration.
[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]