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

Sleep Shortage and Strokes

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Losing out on sleep may increase the risk of having a stroke.
This news comes from a study … where researchers found a fourfold risk of stroke among normal-weight people who sleep fewer than six hours a night. None of the study participants suffered from sleep apnea, a disorder that is known to increase the risk of stroke among overweight people…
The lead researcher noted that lack of sleep can increase inflammation and cause increases in blood pressure and the release of certain hormones, and speculated that these factors may combine to boost the risk for stroke.
Community: Here are some tips for sleeping better. And there are many more things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of having a stroke.
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Red Meat Tied to Stroke Risk

(MedPage Today) Eating red meat -- including beef, pork, lamb, ham, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon -- may increase the risk of stroke, a meta-analysis showed.
Each one-serving-per-day increase in fresh, processed, and total red meat intake was associated with an 11% to 13% relative increase in the risk of all strokes, driven by an increase in the risk of ischemic stroke, according to Joanna Kaluza, PhD…
There was, however, no relationship between red meat consumption and hemorrhagic stroke risk, the researchers reported online.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of having a stroke.
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Foods to Reduce the Risk of Stroke

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Want to help reduce your odds of having a stroke? Besides minimizing common risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy stress, consider adding magnesium-rich foods to your grocery cart.
Researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institute found that the risk for ischemic stroke - the most common type of stroke in older people, which is when a clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain - was reduced by 9% for each additional 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumed each day.
Read more, including a list of magnesium rich foods.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of having a stroke.
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Do Vitamins Lower Stroke Risk?

(MyHealthNewsDaily) Although many people take vitamin supplements, proof of their health benefits has been scant. Now experts say there's enough evidence to conclude most don’t reduce the risk of stroke, but there are two that may…
[T]he jury was still out on whether vitamin B3 (niacin) or vitamin D could reduce the risk of stroke. The results of a few large, long-term studies are being awaited, and may help answer this question, [Dr. Graeme] Hankey said.
Hankey said people should not take vitamin supplements unless they are deficient in a particular vitamin, which is rare in developed countries, he said.
The best ways to prevent stroke are to eat a healthy diet, exercise, don't smoke, and "have regular checks of blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar, and to keep them well-controlled," Hankey said.
Community: It’s not at all rare for people in the developed world to have a vitamin D deficiency.
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Experimental stroke therapy helps Illinois senator

(USA Today) Good luck and experimental therapy may have helped Sen. Mark Kirk recover more extensively than he would have with standard care after he suffered a stroke in January.
The 52-year-old is making excellent progress, according to medical experts not involved in his care who watched a video released this week by the Illinois Republican's office. Kirk is seen in the video climbing stairs and walking on a treadmill with a therapist's help.
Kirk credits lead researcher and physical therapist T. George Hornby at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, whose work may change standard therapy for stroke patients. During Kirk's nine weeks participating in Hornby's research, he walked nearly 15 miles and climbed 145 flights of stairs.
"We basically treat them like athletes," said Hornby, who is testing what happens when stroke patients walk 10 times farther than they would in a standard physical therapy session.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of having a stroke.
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Latest Research on Stroke

(MedPage Today) The newer agents -- FDA approved and not approved -- can all be considered for the prevention of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, a science advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association stated.
(MedPage Today) A signaling factor that promotes blood vessel growth may play a role in the cerebral microbleeds that often follow an ischemic stroke, researchers reported. In a small prospective study, serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were elevated among stroke patients who had microbleeds, according to Pooja Dassan, MD.
(MedPage Today) The bright white spots that show up on brain MRIs in older people may be a manifestation of disease and not just a benign byproduct of aging.
(American Heart Association) Stroke patients receive faster treatment when emergency medical services (EMS) personnel notify hospitals a possible stroke patient is en route. However, emergency personnel fail to alert hospitals of incoming stroke patients in nearly one-third of cases. Researchers say improved stroke care systems can address geographical and other factors affecting EMS pre-notification.
(Science Daily) According to the American Stroke Association, the Food and Drug Administration-approved tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is the best treatment for stroke caused by a blocked artery, but to be effective, it must be administered within three hours after symptoms start. If given outside that three-hour window, tPA has shown serious side effects in animal and human brains, including bleeding and breakdown of the brain's protective barrier… [But a combination of tPA and 3K3A-APC] reduced brain damage by more than half, eliminated tPA-induced bleeding and significantly improved motor ability.
(MedPage Today) Low-molecular weight heparin may help prevent early neurologic deterioration in patients with acute large artery stroke, researchers reported. In a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial, patients given heparin instead of aspirin were significantly less likely to have neurologic deterioration within the first 10 days after stroke.
(MedPage Today) The FDA has issued 510(k) marketing approval for a clot removal device for treating patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke, device maker Stryker announced Monday. The Trevo Pro Retrieval System performed better than Merci Retrieval, made by Concentric Medical, now part of Stryker, in getting blood flowing back to the brain, according to a company news release.
(Science Daily) [S]cientists report that a therapy combining exercise with the neurovascular protective agent S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) improved recovery from stroke in a rat model. GSNO is a compound found naturally in the body and it has no known side effects or toxicity.
(MedPage Today) Stroke survivors are at an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, which in turn puts them at risk of poor medication adherence, researchers found.
(MedPage Today) Blood pressure control is poor following an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), particularly among black patients longer term, researchers found.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to prevent, delay, or reduce the severity of having a stroke.
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Hypertension Heresy: Are We Overtreating High Blood Pressure?

(The People's Pharmacy) Medical students and residents are taught that hypertension increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and early death. Physicians have come to believe that aggressive treatment of patients with high blood pressure will lead to better outcomes.
[But] on August 15, 2012, when the Cochrane Collaboration published its analysis: "Benefits of antihypertensive drugs for mild hypertension are unclear."…
[T]hese experts are suggesting that most of the nearly 70 million Americans diagnosed with high blood pressure are probably being treated unnecessarily. The researchers reviewed data from nearly 9,000 patients enrolled in four randomized controlled trials. These were people who had been diagnosed with what is called stage 1 hypertension. That means their systolic blood pressure was between 140-159 and their diastolic blood pressure was between 90 and 99…
"Available data from the limited number of available trials and participants showed no difference between treated and untreated individuals in heart attack, stroke, and death."
Community: There are many practical things we can do to reduce blood pressure.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Summer Corn and White Bean Soup
This quick, fiber-packed soup is a terrific way to use fresh corn. Add a slight kick with a sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers just before serving.
EatingWell:
Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Burgers
These tasty turkey burgers, served on toasted focaccia and dressed with marinara sauce, are reminiscent of a sausage pizza. Shredded mozzarella combined with fresh basil melts beautifully inside these gems.
Washington Post:
The 'essence' of tomatoes
Cooking Off the Cuff suggests you save the gel and juice inside your tomatoes and turn them into a tasty sauce.
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Reasons to Drink Water

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) Want to promote healthy skin and proper digestion? Interested in a natural detoxifier? Water is a basic necessity. The body is more than two-thirds water, and keeping it hydrated is vital. Some reasons to sip H2O include:
·         Healthy blood and bones…
·         Toxin elimination…
·         Lubricated joints…
·         Proper digestion…
·         Alertness…
·         Healthy skin…
The standard recommendation is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. I don't believe there is solid evidence that such a high volume is essential for everyone; however, do drink throughout the day - this is easier if you keep a large glass or water bottle handy at all times. I have always recommended drinking high-quality bottled water or, if possible, getting a water-purification system for your home. Learn more about quality drinking water.
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No yolk: eating the whole egg as dangerous as smoking?

(Booster Shots, Los Angeles Times) Just as you were ready to tuck into a nice three-egg omelet again, comforted by the reassuring news that eggs are not so bad for you, here comes a study warning that for those over 40, the number of egg yolks consumed per week accelerates the thickening of arteries almost as severely as does cigarette smoking…
The study subjects were typically referred to the clinic after having suffered a clot-induced stroke or a transient ischemic attack -- a "mini-stroke" in which symptoms may disappear quickly but which often presage a more serious stroke to come.
Smoking tobacco and eating egg yolks increased carotid wall thickness in similar fashion -- which is to say, the rate of increase accelerated with each stair-step up in cigarette smoking or yolk consumption. By contrast, for those who did not smoke, or who rarely consumed egg yolks, carotid wall thickness increased after 40, but at a slow-steady rate.
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Cantaloupes Tainted With Salmonella Linked to 2 U.S. Deaths, 141 Illnesses

(Bloomberg) Salmonella linked to cantaloupes is responsible for killing two people and sickening 141 others in 20 U.S. states, federal regulators said.
Among those sickened, 31 were hospitalized, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today in a statement. Kentucky had the most reports of illness, 50, followed by Illinois with 17 and Indiana with 13, according to the statement…
While the FDA didn’t say what farms the cantaloupes came from or in what stores they were sold, state officials in Kentucky and Indiana said they found evidence that the fruit may have been grown in southwestern Indiana.
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Vitamin C may lessen effects of air pollution

(MyHealthNewsDaily) There's another reason to eat fruits and veggies: A diet rich in them may lessen the harmful effects of air pollution for people suffering from chronic lung diseases.
Researchers looked at London hospital patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and found that those with low levels of vitamin C had an increased risk of breathing problems on days when outdoor air pollution levels were high.
"This study adds to a small but growing body of evidence that the effects of air pollution might be modified by antioxidants," said Michael Brauer, an environmental health scientist
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Find It Hard To Wake Up in the Morning? Try Stretching.

(Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project) Every morning, first thing, to help myself wake up (it is 6:00 a.m., after all), I spend a minute or so stretching. This isn’t a rigorous or carefully designed set of stretches — more the kind of desultory stretches that we did in my seventh-grade P.E. class before running laps around the gym.
I touch my toes, I do some straddle stretches, I twist left and right, etc. I do this not for any scientifically based reason (in fact, from what I read, it seems that this kind of stretching may not always be a good idea), but because it helps me feel awake and energetic. This easy, simple habit makes me feel much more alert and comfortable in my body.
Community: My cat "helps" me wake up by jumping on my chest and kneading. He never does it when I'm fast asleep, only when he apparently senses that I'm waking.
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Statin Review: No Risk of Cancer, Memory Loss

(MedPage Today) Statins do not confer an increased risk of cancer or cognitive decline, but a small risk for diabetes should be considered when prescribing the drugs to patients with a low cardiovascular risk, according to a review.
In February, the FDA added warnings to the labels of statins regarding the risk of diabetes and memory loss…
"The FDA based the warning on the weakest possible data -- a series of reports with no control group, no rate, and no expected rate. The problem is they either ignored or chose not to include two prospective randomized trials that found no evidence for a decrease in cognitive function in statin users," [study co-author Christopher P. Cannon, MD,] said.
Whether this review will be the last word on the subject is not assured, Cannon concluded. "It [the warning for cognitive decline] certainly won't appear in any guidelines. At the least, it will be that the label is out of step with the evidence."
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Cholesterol Test With Only a Photo of Patient's Hand

(Science Daily) Researchers in India have developed a total cholesterol test that uses a digital camera to take a snapshot of the back of the patient's hand rather than a blood sample…
Their approach is based on the creation of a large database of cholesterol levels recorded using standard blood tests and linked to a standardized photograph of the hand for each patient; cholesterol is concentrated in the creases of one's fingers. They developed an image-processing computer program that compares the image from a new patient with the thousands of entries in the database and matches it to a specific cholesterol reading.
Measuring the amount and type of cholesterol circulating in the blood is an important risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Excess cholesterol not used by the body in making hormones and building cells is laid down on the inner wall of arteries as a waxy plaque, which can reduce the normal flow of blood potentially causing heart problems and increasing the risk of cerebral stroke.
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Eye Drug Clears Macular Adhesions

(MedPage Today) An investigational biologic agent appears to resolve vitreomacular adhesion better than placebo, researchers found…
In the two trials, clinicians treated 652 eyes: 464 with ocriplasmin and 188 with placebo. They found that patients who had the injection of ocriplasmin were three times more likely to have their vitreomacular adhesion resolve than those who had placebo injections.
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Medication "donut hole" not tied to heart deaths

(Reuters Health) U.S. seniors forced to pay full price for their medications while in Medicare's so-called donut hole didn't suffer more heart attacks or deaths as a result, in a new study…
"When prices go up, people tend to reduce their consumption of non-essential and essential medications," said Jennifer Polinski, the study's lead author.
Community: So what does this information tell us about the efficacy of all these expensive medications?
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Health Reform Testing Home-Based Care

(U.S. News &World Report) The health reform spotlight usually focuses on the 2014 requirement that most people buy health insurance, the creation of new state health insurance exchanges, and whether states will participate in the law's big increase in Medicaid services. But under the radar, the law has also triggered a flurry of new programs searching for better and cheaper ways to provide healthcare.
One of them, the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration project, could have a huge impact on seniors with chronic illnesses. With growing numbers of older Americans, many of whom will post impressive longevity gains, rising healthcare costs are a national and personal problem. If the IAH test is successful, it would point the way toward lowering costs and also boost the broader provision of home-based healthcare services, thus helping seniors age in place in their homes and avoid institutionalized care.
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Yoga: A Cost-Effective Treatment for Back Pain Sufferers?

(Science Daily) Specialised group yoga classes could provide a cost-effective way of treating patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain, according to the UK's largest ever study of the benefits of yoga…
[The researchers] conclude that if the NHS was to offer specialist yoga and managed to maintain the cost below £300 per patient (for a cycle of 12 classes), there is a high probability (around 70 per cent) of the yoga intervention being cost effective.
Researchers also found that those taking part in the yoga programme had far fewer days off work than those in the control group.
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Qigong Eases Fibromyalgia Pain

(MedPage Today) Routine practice of qigong, a form of meditative movement, significantly improved pain in patients with fibromyalgia and lessened the impact of the disorder, a randomized trial showed.
After 8 weeks of regular practice of this "meditative movement," pain as measured on a 10-point scale decreased by 1.55 points, compared with a change of only 0.02 points in controls…, according to Jana Sawynok, PhD, and colleagues.
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Migraine Remedies: Readers Weigh In

(Health Blog, Wall Street Journal) [I]njections of Botox, which block nerves and paralyze muscles, have shown benefit for preventing migraines in chronic sufferers and has been recommended for this purpose in countries such as the U.K.
There is also a suggestion that brain stimulation techniques and cosmetic surgery procedures such as face or eye lifts show some benefit.
Others point out that since environmental factors such as light and changes in air pressure may trigger migraines, they try to pay extra attention to these conditions. Several readers shared anecdotes that changes in their diet, such as eating fewer processed foods and chemicals such as MSG, appeared to reduce their migraines.
Alternative and homeopathic remedies, such as Chinese herbs, have worked for others, they say.
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7 Ways to Act on Pain

(RealAge.com) You can't get chronic pain relief with a single treatment. It takes a combination approach. First step: work with your doctor. But don't stop there. Try every trick in the book to relieve pain until you've developed a comprehensive action plan that works for you. From adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine to using massage or acupuncture for pain, check out this array of pain relief remedies.
Break Habits That Make Pain Worse
Here are 4 painful habits and strategies to break them.
Tender-Loving Pain Relief
Take tender loving care of your chronic pain symptoms with a host of do-it-yourself pain remedies like ice, heat, and analgesics, or mind-body techniques like tai chi, deep breathing, and yoga. Learn how these and other self-care options can enhance your pain management plan.
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Latest Research on Pain

(Science Daily) According to new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), migraines are not associated with cognitive decline.
(Science Daily) Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered a "scaffolding" protein that holds together multiple elements in a complex system responsible for regulating pain, mental illnesses and other complex neurological problems. The finding … could give researchers a new target for drugs to treat these often-intractable conditions.
(Northwestern University) A new Northwestern Medicine study shows for the first time that chronic pain develops the more two sections of the brain --- related to emotional and motivational behavior --- talk to each other. The more they communicate, the greater the chance a patient will develop chronic pain. The finding provides a new direction for developing therapies to treat intractable pain, which affects 30 to 40 million adults in the United States.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto
Use the vegetables you have on-hand with chunks of protein-rich chicken for a 20-minute family-friendly meal.
EatingWell:
Grilled Salmon & Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce
Jazz up simply grilled salmon and summer vegetables with a zesty sauce based on the classic Spanish romesco. Made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds, this sauce is a great match for any seafood, poultry or vegetables. Using smoked paprika brings out the flavors from the grill. Serve with: Grilled baguette.
Cooking Light:
Snacks Under 150 Calories
It's snack time! These low-calorie recipes satisfy hunger and keep you fueled until the next meal.
U.S. News & World Report:
Watermelon, Three Ways
A summertime favorite, watermelon benefits your health and beauty. Try these recipes.
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8 Filling Foods That Won’t Fill You Out!

(Appetite for Health) One of the hardest things about losing weight is cutting calories without feeling hungry.  To shed pounds successfully – and keep them off – it’s important to fill your belly in ways that will keep it satisfied and full.  If you simply cut portions without including more “feel full” foods, you’re likely to experience hunger and eventually eat more.  Instead, get smart about adding high satiety foods to your diet when you cut portions.
Include the high-protein, high-fiber, and high “water volume” foods that make our Great 8 Filling Foods List.
Broth-Based Soups…
Beans and Legumes…
Oats…
Nuts…
Water…
Chicken…
Fruits & Veggies…
Eggs
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Insight: Big Food girds for California GMO fight

(Reuters) After two decades fighting to force U.S. food companies to tell consumers when their products are made with genetically modified organisms, activists in California have mounted what is potentially their most promising offensive to date.
In November, voters in the nation's most populous state will decide whether to require labels on food and drinks containing so-called GMOs, or ingredients that come from plants whose DNA has been manipulated by scientists.
To fight the initiative, seed giant Monsanto Co, soda and snack seller PepsiCo Inc and other opponents of the labeling measure have put up $25 million already and could raise up to $50 million.
Foodmakers, like carmakers, know that what starts in California has a fair chance of becoming the national law, or at least the national norm.
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Combination Peptide Therapies Might Offer More Effective, Less Toxic Cancer Treatment

(Science Daily) Two studies suggest that two peptide agents used either together or individually with a low-dose of a standard chemotherapy drug might offer more effective cancer therapy than current standard single-drug treatments.
The studies used animal models of breast cancer to show that the peptide combinations dramatically delay tumor onset and progression by both inhibiting tumor growth and blocking the formation of new tumor blood vessels, say researchers… In addition, the treatments caused few side effects.
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PSA testing: new analysis tips balance in favor of informed decision-making

(Deborah Kotz, Boston Globe) When it comes to determining whether or not to have a screening test for prostate cancer -- or any cancer for that matter -- patients are told to weigh the benefits against the risks. But public health experts point out that putting a few extra years of life on one side of the balance and debilitating treatment side effects on the other is like comparing apples with oranges.
What patients really need is an equation that will consider their age, health status, and personal fears about dying or having a reduced quality of life in order to determine whether they will have a net gain or net loss from a particular screening test. That’s exactly what Dutch researchers did for PSA screening in a new study…
Overall, the study found that men, on average, gained a small amount in their lifespan from screening which was measured in “quality-adjusted life years.” For every 1000 men regularly screened with PSA, the total number of these quality-adjusted life years gained was 56. (That would mean each man would gain .56 of a year or nearly seven months on average from PSA screening.)
In other words, the government task force that recommended against PSA screening three months ago may have been too hasty in concluding that screening brings more harms than benefits.
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Male Birth Control Derived From Cancer Compound Works in Mice

(Bloomberg) A drug developed to treat cancer worked as a form of male contraception in mice in a study that may point the way toward a birth control pill for men, researchers said.
Scientists found that giving the compound, called JQ1, to mice reduced the number and quality of their sperm, then allowed normal sperm production to resume when the medicine was stopped, according to research… The drug didn’t lower testosterone, interfere with mating or affect health of offspring after JQ1’s use, researchers said.
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All baby boomers should get tested for hepatitis C: CDC

(Reuters) All baby boomers should be tested for the hepatitis C virus, U.S. health officials said on Thursday, citing studies suggesting more than 2 million Americans born between 1945 and 1965 may be infected with the liver-destroying virus.
Hepatitis C, which is transmitted through the blood, kills more than 15,000 Americans each year, mostly from illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Everyone age 47 to 67 who hasn't already been tested for hepatitis C should be tested once," Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director, said on a telephone press briefing. "The sooner you know the more you can protect your liver and your life."
The new guidelines are based on studies showing that many baby boomers were infected decades ago, before routine screening of donated blood and organs, or awareness of the risk from sharing intravenous needles.
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Firm Boasts Test Results in Seconds

(MedPage Today) Point-of-care diagnostic testing, as the name suggests, is designed to facilitate clinical decisions.
Nowhere is it more important that in emergency rooms and intensive care units where being able to rapidly assess the condition of a patient may mean the difference between life and death.
Now, a Durham, N.C., startup using protein engineering technology developed at Duke University is trying to commercialize POC tests that use sensors responsive to fluorescence. The technology is cheap and the test results rapid, which reduces the conventional laboratory process that takes about 30 minutes to a few seconds, says Lawrence Cohen, CEO of SenGenix.
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Having a trainee surgeon in operations is safe -study

(Reuters) When a surgeon-in-training, or resident, takes part in an operation, the patient's risk of serious complications appears to be no greater than normal, according to a recently published US study.
Looking at data about more than 60,000 surgeries conducted in the United States between 2005 and 2007, researchers whose findings appeared in the Annals of Surgery said that when a resident was involved, just under 6 percent of patients had a major complication such as severe bleeding or a serious infection.
The rate was the same for surgeries in which no residents participated.
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Hospital "rapid response" as good when resident-led

(Reuters Health) When hospital patients take a possibly dangerous turn for the worse, they are as likely to survive when a doctor-in-training leads the response as when a senior doctor is in charge, a new study suggests…
Over four years, the rapid response team was called for 1,400 patients, with a resident leading 62 percent of the time.
There was no real difference in patients' risk of progressing to cardiac arrest: just under 2 percent did when an attending doctor was at the helm, versus just over 2 percent with a resident in charge. Researchers thought even this small difference was likely due to chance.
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$50 million to fight infectious diseases

(UPI) State health departments will receive funds totaling $49 million under the Affordable Care Act for infectious disease prevention, U.S. officials say.
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Health and Human Services, announced awards, intended to bolster epidemiology, laboratory and health information systems in health departments in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, the District of Columbia, New York City, Los Angeles County, Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston.
This is the third year of funding by the Affordable Care Act Prevention and Public Health Fund for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreements.
"Today's awards support the critical work of public health departments to prevent, track and respond to new and emerging infectious diseases," Sebelius said in a statement.
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Don’t Change Medicare, Most Republicans Say In Poll

(Kaiser Health News) As Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare makes campaign headlines, a majority of Republicans oppose changing the government program for seniors, according to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) That could spell trouble for presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his designated  running mate Ryan as voters focus on the Wisconsin congressman’s “premium support” plan.
Pollsters asked whether respondents wanted to continue Medicare’s current defined benefit setup, in which the government pays a specified portion of all medical bills incurred by the patient, or switch to a plan in which seniors get government grants to buy health insurance, as Ryan advocates. Fifty-five percent of Republicans surveyed preferred the status quo – slightly more than the 53 percent of independents who gave the same response. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats also chose “Medicare should continue as it is today” as representing their views. The poll was done in late July and early August, before Romney announced Ryan as his choice.
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Mexico achieves universal health coverage in less than a decade

(Harvard School of Public Health) Despite periods of economic downturns and crisis, Mexico recently achieved a significant milestone – enrolling 52.6 million previously uninsured Mexicans in public medical insurance programs and thereby achieving universal health coverage in less than a decade.
This effort began in 2004 and occurred in a country of approximately 100 million people.
A paper published online August 16 … notes that while significant progress has been made, challenges remain as the country seeks to minimize disparities in healthcare quality and ensure that there is effective access to health care services in rural areas that are traditionally underserved.
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Modest Weight Loss Can Have Lasting Health Benefits

(Science Daily) Overweight and obese individuals can achieve a decade's worth of important health benefits by losing just 20 pounds, even if they regain the weight later that decade, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention. With a focus on psychology's role in overcoming the national obesity epidemic, the session also examined research that indicates foods high in sugar and fat could have addictive properties.
Rena Wing, PhD, … presented the latest in behavioral treatments for obesity in an address. Kelly Brownell, PhD, … cited some of the latest findings about food addiction in his talk. Brownell and Wing were keynote speakers for the convention's opening session.
"Obesity is the No. 1 health challenge facing our country today," APA President Suzanne Bennett Johnson said in introducing Wing and Brownell. "These psychologists have each contributed greatly in combating the obesity epidemic in different ways, one on the individual patient level and the other on the public policy level."
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Yo-Yo Dieting Does Not Cause Long Term Problems, Study Finds

(Science Daily)  Yo-yo dieting -- the repetitive loss and regain of body weight, also called weight cycling -- is prevalent in the Western world, affecting an estimated 10 percent to 40 percent of the population. The degree to which weight cycling may impact metabolism or thwart a person's ability to lose weight in the long run has been unclear -- until now.
A new study … has shown that a history of yo-yo dieting does not negatively affect metabolism or the ability to lose weight long term.
"A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a healthy diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management," said the study's senior author Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D.
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Are Americans Ready to Solve the Weight of the Nation?

(Science Daily) In a [new article], public health researchers examine how recommendations in a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) -- "Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation" -- square with American's opinions about the obesity epidemic…
While praising the IOM report's scope and vision, Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP…, says that it is critical to understand how the public thinks about the problem of obesity. Barry notes that one recent poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe personal decisions -- overeating, lack of exercise, watching too much television -- are the biggest contributors to obesity. However, only 18 percent of Americans attribute environmental factors, such as safe places for children to play, access and availability of healthy foods and exposure to junk food, as major contributors.
"If people think obesity is all about individuals and parents making bad choices, they will be much less likely to embrace changes in schools, communities and food marketing practices aimed at creating healthier environments," said Barry.
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CDC: Map shows Southern obesity belt

(UPI) Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity at 35 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 21 percent, the latest figures from U.S. health officials show.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's map found almost 36 percent of U.S. adults were obese, and almost 17 percent of youth were obese in 2009 to 2010, with most living in the South.
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Why Do Anti-Hunger and Anti-Obesity Initiatives Always Fall Short?

(Science Daily) [R]esearchers argue that while hunger and obesity are caused by a perfect storm of multiple factors acting in concert, the efforts to counter them have been narrowly focused and isolated. Overcoming the many barriers to achieving healthy nutrition worldwide, the researchers argue, will instead require an unprecedented level of joint planning and action between academia, government, civil society and industry.
In particular, the authors of the papers in the PNAS special feature propose an ambitious plan to remake the ways food is grown, processed, distributed, sold and consumed. The plan focuses on innovations that simultaneously take into account the needs of farmers, the complexity of nutrition-related human biology and decision-making, and the power of profit incentives in the commercial sector. The result, the researchers say, is "a roadmap for a transdisciplinary science to support change of sufficient scale and scope" to carve out "an alternative path from tradition to industrialization" -- one that "promotes healthy lifestyles and environments rather than undermining them."
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