Affordable Health Care Act
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- Hospital-Acquired Infections (Awesome Library)
Provides articles on reducing hospital-acquired infections. Hospital-acquired infections are infections gained while staying at a hospital.
- -Quick Hints to Better Health (CNN News)
Provides recommendations for activities that take 90 seconds or less that can improve health. For example, an apple a day can reduce cancer risks.
- Blue Zones: World's Oldest People (CBS News)
"There are five 'blue zones' in the world, meaning areas that have high demographics of people that reach 100 or areas that have long life expectancy rates. Dr. Jon LaPook talks with author Dan Buettner about how lifestyle leads to longevity."
- Bottled Water May Not Be What It Seems to Be (MSNBC News)
Provides an update on bottled water, revealing that the companies supplying the water do not have to reveal what is in the water or where it came from. The reporter claims that 25% of bottled water comes from...the tap.
- Can Kids Recover from Autism? (MSNBC News)
"Scientists study the small group of kids who seem to improve."
- -001 How to Fix Our Health-Care System (The Atlantic)
"It's hard to find anyone who defends the structure of American health care. Every incentive is misaligned. Patients have little incentive to be prudent in their use of services, or to pay the costs of their own unhealthy lifestyle. Under the fee-for-service model, doctors and hospitals get paid more the more they do. Fear of random lawsuits causes them to practice "defensive medicine," and chills open interaction with patients and other professionals. Insurance companies make more money by denying claims."
"These misaligned incentives, most experts believe, are largely responsible for the notorious inefficiency of American health care -- costing more than $8,000 per person, or twice what most other countries spend. The total tab -- $2.6 trillion in 2010, or 18 percent of GDP -- is substantially responsible for America's trillion-dollar deficits. The federal government pays roughly a third of the total national health care bill, mostly through Medicare (health care for the elderly) and Medicaid (health care for the poor). It also spends hundreds of billions -- $177 billion in 2011 -- in tax expenditures for employer-provided health insurance."
"Instead of aligning human incentives, the structure tries to contain costs through bureaucratic restrictions."
"About 75 percent of health care costs are attributed to chronic disease (a significant portion of which is brought on by obesity and smoking). About 30 percent of Medicare costs are spent in a patient's last year of life."
"The solution, widely embraced by providers as well as patient advocates, is to create reliable health courts."
"The way to align incentives, many experts agree, is by providing care through a single provider -- known in jargon as an 'accountable health care organization' or an 'integrated care provider.' Instead of being paid a fee for each service, the provider is paid a fixed annual price to do everything for the patient (with limited exceptions for catastrophic care). Instead of making more money by dialysis and amputation of limbs of patients with diabetes, the provider now has an incentive to keep the patient healthier by nudging them towards better lifestyles. The provider hires social workers in lieu of more surgeons." 05-12
- -01 "Biological Clock" for Aging Found in Genes (CBS News)
"Researchers have discovered a 'biological clock' embedded in the human genome that can indicate how old a person's tissues and cells really are. The hope is with this clock, they may eventually find a way to slow or reverse aging in some parts of the body."
- -01 11-12-13 Major Shift in Guidelines for Chloresterol (CNN News)
"In what's being called a tectonic shift in the way doctors will treat high cholesterol, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology on Tuesday released new treatment guidelines calling for a focus on risk factors rather than just cholesterol levels."
"The new guidelines could double the amount of people on medication to lower their cholesterol, experts say."
- -01 11-18-13 Major Shift in Guidelines for Chloresterol (New York Times)
"Last week, the nation’s leading heart organizations released a sweeping new set of guidelines for lowering cholesterol, along with an online calculator meant to help doctors assess risks and treatment options. But, in a major embarrassment to the health groups, the calculator appears to greatly overestimate risk, so much so that it could mistakenly suggest that millions more people are candidates for statin drugs."
- -01 Affordable Care Act "Obamacare" Insurance Cost Calculator (Kaiser Family Foundation)
"This tool illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges (or 'Marketplaces') created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning in October 2013, middle-income people under age 65, who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges."
- -01 Affordable Care Act "Obamacare" News (Wasthington Post)
"On Oct. 1, millions of Americans gained access to the new marketplaces mandated by President Obama’s health-care law. Check back regularly for the latest news on the launch of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the ongoing political fight over the law in Congress."
- -01 Breakthrough in Understanding Disease (New York Times)
"The findings, which are the fruit of an immense federal project involving 440 scientists from 32 laboratories around the world, will have immediate applications for understanding how alterations in the non-gene parts of DNA contribute to human diseases, which may in turn lead to new drugs. They can also help explain how the environment can affect disease risk. In the case of identical twins, small changes in environmental exposure can slightly alter gene switches, with the result that one twin gets a disease and the other does not."
"As scientists delved into the 'junk' — parts of the DNA that are not actual genes containing instructions for proteins — they discovered a complex system that controls genes. At least 80 percent of this DNA is active and needed. The result of the work is an annotated road map of much of this DNA, noting what it is doing and how. It includes the system of switches that, acting like dimmer switches for lights, control which genes are used in a cell and when they are used, and determine, for instance, whether a cell becomes a liver cell or a neuron."
"In one of the Nature papers, researchers link the gene switches to a range of human diseases — multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease — and even to traits like height. In large studies over the past decade, scientists found that minor changes in human DNA sequences increase the risk that a person will get those diseases. But those changes were in the junk, now often referred to as the dark matter — they were not changes in genes — and their significance was not clear. The new analysis reveals that a great many of those changes alter gene switches and are highly significant."
" 'Most of the changes that affect disease don’t lie in the genes themselves; they lie in the switches,' said Michael Snyder, a Stanford University researcher for the project, called Encode, for Encyclopedia of DNA Elements." 09-12
- -01 Enrolling in Obamacare: What You Need to Know (CNN News)
"If you have Internet access, start with the Web. Beginning October 1, Healthcare.gov will have the information you need. The government site will link to where you sign up for the program."
"Go first to 'get insurance.' That tab will get you to a page that will walk you through whatever marketplace is available to you. Some states set up their own; the federal government runs the rest. On this site you can also compare the plans available in your area."
- -01 Key Features of the Affordable Health Care Act (HealthCare.gov)
Provides features by year that they will come into effect. 07-12
- -01 Obamacare Open Enrollment Starts (CBS News)
"If you have insurance already, CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger pointed out, the open enrollment will not affect you -- so you can do nothing."
"However, those that will be affected are uninsured legal U.S. citizens. They can begin shopping for health care coverage for coverage on Tuesday at HealthCare.gov."
- -01 Summary of What is NOT in the Affordable Health Care Act (Politifact.com)
"Most of what the e-mail says is wrong. In fact, it's a clearinghouse of bad information circulating around the Web about proposed health care changes, so we thought it would be helpful to address a bunch of its claims." 07-12
- -01 Summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)
Provides an analysis and summary. "The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit private operating foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, dedicated to producingand communicating the best possible analysis and information on health issues." 07-12
- -08-13-13 Task Force Recommends Screening Smokers for Lung Cancer (CNN News)
"For the first time the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending lung cancer screening for people who have a high risk of developing the disease. People who have a "30 pack year history of smoking" (for instance, at least 2 packs a year for 15 years), who are between the ages of 55 and 79, and who have smoked their last cigarette within the last 15 years are considered high risk." 08-13
- -08-14-13 New Tool to Measure Consciousness (NBC News)
"It can be hard for doctors to tell if someone who is severely brain injured and not responding has any lingering awareness. Now researchers have created a tool to peek inside the brain and measure varying levels of consciousness.” 08-13
- -09-17-13 Threat Level of "Superbugs" (CNN News)
"For the first time, the CDC is categorizing drug-resistant superbugs by threat level. That's because, in their conservative estimates, more than 2 million people get antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and at least 23,000 die because current drugs no longer stop their infections."
"Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria that cause infection. However, in the process they can also kill so-called good bacteria (the human body hosts about 100 trillion)." 09-13
- -09-26-13 Why Parents Should Not Share a Bed With Babies (Time.com)
"Those who bedshared moderately nursed for less time but still longer than the women who rarely shared beds. So, yes, says study co-author Dr. Fern Hauck, a professor of family medicine at the University of Virginia, 'The two things are quite intertwined, but we believe that bedsharing promoted breastfeeding, not the other way around.' "
"Still, she cautioned, physicians’ groups are not recommending sharing a bed with baby because placing infants in adult beds is associated with three times the risk of suffocation or SIDS, even among parents who do not drink, smoke or take drugs. The risks are even higher for parents who do. More research is needed, she says to find other, safer ways to encourage breastfeeding."
"The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that parents place babies in their own, safe place in the parents’ room. It can be near their mothers’ bed for ease of nursing, but when finished feeding, mothers should put babies back in their dedicated crib or bassinet."
- -10-03-13 Fight Arthritis with Broccoli (WorldHealth.net)
"Cruciferous vegetables – such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage – are a rich source of sulforaphane, a compound for which previous studies suggest an anti-inflammatory effect. Ian Clark, from the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom), and colleagues have shown that sulforaphane slows down the destruction of cartilage in joints associated with painful and often debilitating osteoarthritis."
- -10-26-13 More Fixes for Health Care Care Act Website (Time.com)
"Summarizing a week’s worth of intensive diagnostics, the administration acknowledged Friday the site has dozens of complex problems and tapped a private company to oversee fixes." 10-13
- -11-21-13 Nuts for Longevity (Time.com)
"Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School looked at nut consumption and deaths from all causes among 76,464 women participating in the Nurse’s Health Study and 42,498 men involved in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They asked the participants about their nut consumption, including how many almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts they typically ate."
"Those who reported regularly consuming nuts were less likely to die from a variety of diseases, most significantly cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases. People who ate nuts seven or more times a week, in fact, enjoyed a 20% lower death rate after four years than individuals who did not eat nuts. Nut eaters also tended to be leaner, more physically active, and non smokers." 11-13
- -12-01-13 President Obama Claims that the Obamacare Website Is Fixed (Time.com)
"The administration’s push comes as its “end of November” deadline for fixing the troubled website expired, and the results are mixed. According to CMS, which runs the website, error rates and response times have been significantly reduced, while capacity has been increased to handle 50,000 concurrent visitors and 800,000 visitors per day. More than 400 software fixes have been made as “private sector velocity” in the parlance of the administration. But it is still a work in progress, even as the administration claims they’ve met their goal of having the site work for 80% of users. Core functionality of the site still needs to be built in the coming months, and it is far from a completely stable platform. The site still suffers from long periods of planned downtime as engineers install and test software patches, and hundreds of fixes still need to be made."
"On Friday, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) President and CEO Karen Ignagni released a statement saying that while the website is getting better, insurers still have concerns." 11-13
- -Health News (New York Times)
"Health Update is your weekly dose of news and information from the world's leading experts on health, fitness and nutrition."
- -Stroke: Signs You Are At Risk of Stroke (U.S. News)
"You can prevent stroke, the third-leading cause of death and top cause of adult disability in the U.S." 05-09
- Current Health and Science Issues in Depth (NOW with Bill Moyers)
"When PBS and Bill Moyers launched NOW, it was to illuminate stories that weren't being covered on any other public affairs broadcast, and under Moyers' leadership, NOW has pursued the truth behind the headlines. 'We are continuing to take a thoughtful look at the events shaping our world,' says Moyers, who has received every major broadcast journalisim award including more than 30 Emmy Awards."
- Health News (Rodale.com)
Provides health news. 12-12
- Medical News (EmpoweredDoctor.com)
Provides a medical news. 03-13
- Medical News (The Lancet)
Provides news in medicine. Requires registration. 2-01
- -"See" Skin Damage from the Sun (CBS News)
"An image published in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine paints a clear picture of what kind of damage the sun can cause a person's skin." 06-12
- -15 Ways Smoking Ruins Your Looks (Health.com)
"If you smoke, you already know you need to quit. It’s bad for your heart, lungs, brain, and even your sex life."
"But let’s face it: You’d have kicked the habit yesterday if smoking’s ill effects were a bit more obvious. What if each cigarette created a black pockmark on your face, for instance?"
"Well, smoking does damage your looks. Read on to discover 15 ways smoking is ruining your appearance." 04-10
- -Age-Fighting Foods (RealAge.com)
"Discover the best antiaging foods for your body and mind." 05-10
- -Bad Habits Curable Like a Disease? (CBS News)
"Whatever it is you're hooked on, from coffee to cocaine, smoking pot to pigging out, Nora Volkow has your number. She's the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For three decades now, Volkow has been looking - literally - into the brains of addicts: not just hard drug users, but smokers and overeaters too."
"Volkow's labs and others around the country are working to develop vaccines to block drugs from entering the brain. The complexities are enormous, and progress is slow." 05-12
- -Best Health Plans (U.S. News)
Suggests best plans. 08-08
- -Best Hospitals (USNews.com)
"Of the 176 medical centers that appear in this year's edition of America's Best Hospitals, find out which ones earned Honor Roll status, a mark of particular distinction." 06-07
- -Best and Worst Hospitals for Heart Attack Survival (USA Today)
"These hospitals made the government's roster of the best and worst in America, as measured by patients' heart-attack and heart-failure death rates in 2005 and 2006." 06-07
- -CDC Urges Hepatitis C Test for Baby Boomers (CBS News)
"All adults born between 1945 and 1965 should get a blood test to see if they have hepatitis C, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in draft recommendations issued Friday." 05-12
- -Can Touching Your Toes Test Your Arteries? (New York Times)
"How it is that stiff muscles in the back and legs are linked to stiff tissues near the heart is an issue that hasn’t been fully elucidated, Mr. Yamamoto says, although arterial walls are composed of the same kinds of elastic tissues as muscles elsewhere in the body. So it’s likely, he says, that alterations in the composition of muscle tissues in the lower back (including aging-related alterations in the amount of collagen within the muscles) could be occurring in the arterial walls at the same time."
"What is surprising are some early indications that increasing your flexibility might somehow loosen up your arteries, too. That was the accidental and, as yet unreplicated finding of a small 2008 study at the University of Texas at Austin. The study was designed to examine whether weight lifting increased arterial stiffness. (It didn’t, at least on this occasion.) The control group consisted of people who stretched. They were not expected to show any change in cardiac function, but over the course of 13 weeks they in fact increased the pliability of their arteries by more than 20 percent." 12-09
- -Common Painkillers Increase Health Risks (AARP.com)
"Healthy adults who reach for common painkillers to ease the twinges of everyday aches and pains could be setting themselves up for a heart attack or stroke, according to recent research."
"The painkillers are widely used to ease the discomfort of everything from arthritis to headaches and muscle strains. Five such drugs were included in the study: ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox), celecoxib (Celebrex) and rofecoxib (Vioxx), which was taken off the market in 2004 because of heart risks." 07-10
- -Compressions-First as Critical as Defibrillation for Saving Lives (U.S. News)
“ 'The compressions-first approach appears to be as good as the defibrillation-first approach, especially if there are delays to EMS arriving on-scene,' says senior author Comilla Sasson, M.D., an emergency medicine physician researcher at the University of Colorado. 'This has major policy implications.' " 07-10
- -Denmark's Case for Antibiotic-Free Animals (CBS News)
"They call it the 'Danish Experiment' - a source of pride for the country's 17,000 farmers. CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric reports how unlike industrial farms in the U.S., which use antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease, farmers in Denmark use antibiotics sparingly, only when animals are sick."
"The experiment to stop widespread use of antibiotics was launched 12 years ago, when European studies showed a link between animals who were consuming antibiotic feed everyday and people developing antibiotic resistant infections from handling or eating that meat."
"The FDA has for the first time come out against using certain antibiotics to promote growth in livestock." 02-10
- -Doctors Urge Action to Avoid Catastrophic Health Consequences (Time.com)
"A weak response to climate change could be catastrophic for international health, leading doctors said in two British medical journals Wednesday."
"In a letter jointly published in The Lancet and BMJ, presidents from 18 medical organizations worldwide called on doctors to pressure politicians meeting in Copenhagen in December to take decisive action on global warming."
"In an accompanying editorial, Lord Michael Jay of the medical charity Merlin and Michael Marmot of University College London wrote that 'a successful outcome at Copenhagen is vital for our future as a species and for our civilization.' " 09-09
- -Editors Pick Best Hospitals (U.S. News)
"We combed through 5,000 hospitals in 16 adult specialties and 10 pediatric specialties to help you find the one that's best for you and your family." 07-10
- -Efforts to Treat Diseases from Genome Research Results Are Frustrated (New York Times)
"As more people have their entire genomes decoded, the roots of genetic disease may eventually be understood, but at this point there is no guarantee that treatments will follow. If each common disease is caused by a host of rare genetic variants, it may not be susceptible to drugs." 06-10
- -Exercise Not Sufficient for Losing Weight (Time.com)
"On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised — sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months — did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did."
"In short, it's what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight."
- -Findings on Real Happiness and Health (The Atlantic)
"This study underlines the divide between what we may think makes us happy and what actually makes us happy - and, by extension, healthy. By getting in touch with your values and finding ways to give back, you might, unwittingly, be serving yourself. Doing things that just make you feel good won't cut it. 'If you are living a full life,' says Deci, 'you will experience a lot of positive affect [emotions]. If you want to know something about living a meaningful life, just looking at subjective well-being is not enough.' In other words, finding activities that have intrinsic value, and being a part of them - by doing work you believe in, volunteering, or helping out your community in other ways - is probably much more beneficial."
"In the end, the relationship between happiness and health is not simple, and there's a lot we don't know. It's beyond the scope of this article, but we're also learning that happiness, or more specifically, having a sense of purpose in life, is linked not only to physical health, but also to brain health." 05-12
- -Flu Shots Locator and Flu Trends in the U.S. (Google.org)
"We've found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems." 04-09
- -Gas May Be a Lifesaver (CNN News)
"The air we breathe is 21 percent oxygen. At 5 percent, those fish and flies -- like us -- would be dead in a few minutes. At 0.1 percent, it was another story. 'You get a state of suspended animation and the creatures do not pass away, and that's the basis of what we see as an alternative way to think about critical care medicine,' Roth says. 'What you want to do is to have the patient's time slowed down, while everyone around them [like doctors] move at what we would call real time.' "
"If the patient's time -- the process of your death -- were slowed down, doctors would have more time to fix you. In medicine, time is key. An analogy is the history of open heart surgery. For years, surgeons had the technical tools to make simple repairs on the heart, but they couldn't help patients until the development of the heart-lung machine made it possible to preserve the body for more than a few minutes without a heartbeat." 10-09
- -Gel Regenerates Teeth (MSNBC News)
"A new peptide, embedded in a soft gel or a thin, flexible film and placed next to a cavity, encourages cells inside teeth to regenerate in about a month, according to a new study in the journal ACS Nano. This technology is the first of its kind."
"The new gel or thin film could eliminate the need to fill painful cavities or drill deep into the root canal of an infected tooth." 06-10
- -Getting Medical Care Like Doctors Do (Wall Street Journal)
"Doctors don't want to die any more than anyone else does. But they usually have talked about the limits of modern medicine with their families. They want to make sure that, when the time comes, no heroic measures are taken. During their last moments, they know, for instance, that they don't want someone breaking their ribs by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (which is what happens when CPR is done right)."
br>"The case of CPR is instructive. A study by Susan Diem and others of how CPR is portrayed on TV found that it was successful in 75% of the cases and that 67% of the TV patients went home. In reality, a 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than one month. Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life." 02-12
- -HIV Treatment As Prevention (Time.com)
"The treatment of HIV has come a long way, thanks to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that can lower levels of the virus in the body, keeping people healthy and reducing the risk of HIV transmission. Increasingly, though, studies have also shown that the same drugs used to treat existing infections can also help protect HIV-free people from becoming infected." 12-11
- -Half of Health Care Dollars Are "Wasted" (CNN News)
"Consider this: For every dollar the nation spends on health care, 50 cents is wasted."
"According to a 2008 report by Pricewaterhouse Cooper's Health Research Institute, wasteful spending accounts for $1.2 trillion of the $2.2 trillion spent on health care in the United States. The medical waste includes costs associated with inefficient insurance claims processing, defensive medicine, preventable hospital readmissions, medical errors, and unnecessary emergency room visits." 03-10
- -Harmful Bacteria Found in Fountain Sodas (CBS News)
"Could you be guzzling down germs?"
"Research from Hollins University, in Roanoke, Va., finds you very well could be, if your drink came from a cafeteria or restaurant soda fountain."
"Researchers tested 30 soda fountains and analyzed them for microbial contamination. They found many of the beverages from them were contaminated with bacteria. Coliform/fecal bacterium was detected in 48 percent of them. The potentially deadly bacteria E. coli was found in 11 percent of the tested drinks." 01-10
- -Healthiest Cooking Methods (Time.com)
"There are plenty of ways to cook up juicy and flavorful food without adding tons of unnecessary extras. While most people know to ditch the fryer when cooking up healthy meals, many don’t think about how their cooking method affects the nutritional make-up of their entrée." 02-13
- -How Medicaid Expansion Could Impact Each State (PBS.org)
Provides a map of potential Medicaid coverage by state. "The United States would inch closer to universal health care by expanding the Medicaid program to about 17 million low-income people. The federal government would pick up 100 percent of the tab for the expansion and force states to pay for 10 percent of the cost a few years down the line."
"But in its ruling on the Affordable Care Act last Thursday, the Supreme Court added a twist: Expanding Medicaid is constitutional, the justices ruled, but forcing states to participate by threatening to withhold the rest of their Medicaid cash is not." 06-12
- -How to Flu-Proof Your Winter (Time.com)
"According to Frances Largeman-Roth, senior editor of Health magazine, the best way to fight back depends a lot on your age. On 'The Early Show,' she shared the best ways to combat these illnesses with age-specific protection plans."
"Boosting your immunity is important since your immune system naturally weakens as you age so charging it up as key during cold and flu season." 02-10
- -Is Running Really Bad for the Knees? (Time.com)
"The common wisdom is that regular running or vigorous sport-playing during youth subjects the joints to so much wear and tear that it increases a person's risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life. Studies have suggested that may be at least partly true: in one study of about 5,000 women published in 1999, researchers found that women who actively participated in heavy physical sports in their teenage years, or weight-bearing activities in middle age, had a higher than average risk of developing hip osteoarthritis by age 50."
"But over the past few years an emerging body of research has begun to show the opposite, especially when it comes to running. Not only is there no connection between running and arthritis, the new studies say, but running — and perhaps regular, vigorous exercise generally — may even help protect people from joint problems later on." 12-09
- -Lifestyle Assessment (Time.com)
"In a study of 2,056 obese people in Dallas County (all participants had a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher), researchers asked each participant to look at nine illustrations of bodies, from very thin to very obese. The volunteers were asked to pick their ideal shape along with the one that most closely resembled their own body. About 165 people, or 8% of the group, chose ideal body shapes that were the same or bigger than their own, suggesting a misunderstanding of healthy weight."
"The findings bring to mind a famous 2007 study by Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and James Fowler, a political scientist at University of California, San Diego, that found that the more exposure a person had to obesity — in the form of fat friends — the more likely that person was to become obese himself or herself, by 57%. The researchers called it a "contagion effect," and found that obesity spread more efficiently through networks of friends than through family members or neighbors."
"The good news, from a public-health perspective, is that if the contagion effect holds true for weight gain, it may also work in the opposite direction, helping networks of friends lose weight and get healthy." 03-11
- -Medicare Unsustainable (MSNBC News)
"The estimates by economists Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane of the Urban Institute think tank illustrate the huge disconnect between widely-held perceptions and the numbers behind Medicare's shaky financing. Although Americans are worried about Medicare's long-term solvency, few realize the size of the gap." 12-10
- -Monopolies Feared as Health Law Rewards Cooperation (New York Times)
"When Congress passed the health care law, it envisioned doctors and hospitals joining forces, coordinating care and holding down costs, with the prospect of earning government bonuses for controlling costs."
"Now...there is a growing frenzy of mergers involving hospitals, clinics and doctor groups eager to share costs and savings, and cash in on the incentives. They, in turn, have deployed a small army of lawyers and lobbyists trying to persuade the Obama administration to relax or waive a body of older laws intended to thwart health care monopolies, and to protect against shoddy care and fraudulent billing of patients or Medicare." 11-10
- -MyPlate Replaces the Food Pyramid (CNN News)
"The food pyramid has been dismantled in favor of a simple plate icon that urges Americans to eat a more plant-based diet."
"One half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and lean protein on the other half, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Low-fat dairy on the side, such as a cup of skim milk or yogurt, is also suggested."
For more information, you can go to ChooseMyPlate.gov or, within the Awesome Library, Nutrition. 05-11
- -New Test to Predict Alzheimer's Disease (Time.com)
"Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the University of Pittsburgh have developed the first screening tool that can help predict whether elderly patients are at low, moderate or high risk of developing dementia. The new test takes into account characteristic risk factors for dementia, including advanced age and the presence of genes associated with Alzheimer's, but also relies on lesser-known contributors such as patients' body weight and alcohol-drinking habits." 05-09
- -New Treatment for Heart Attacks (CNN News)
"Working to calm himself, Scott performed a new type of CPR on his wife. No pausing for mouth-to-mouth. Compressions only. Since 2004, the technique has been utilized throughout Arizona to minimize interruptions in blood flow to a cardiac arrest victim's heart and brain. In the last five years, statewide survival has more than tripled." 10-09
- -New Vaccine for Melanoma Cancer (MSNBC News)
"For the first time, a novel treatment that trains the immune system to fight cancer has shown modest benefit in late-stage testing against the deadly skin cancer melanoma."
"The approach is called a cancer vaccine, even though it treats disease rather than prevents it. In a study of about 180 patients already getting standard therapy, the vaccine doubled the number of patients whose tumors shrank, and extended the time until their cancer worsened by about six weeks." 05-09
- -No Compelling Evidence for Prevention or Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease (New York Times)
"The scene was a kind of science court. On trial was the question 'Can anything — running on a treadmill, eating more spinach, learning Arabic — prevent Alzheimer’s disease or delay its progression?' "
"To try to answer that question, the National Institutes of Health sponsored the court, appointing a jury of 15 medical scientists with no vested interests in Alzheimer’s research. They would hear the evidence and reach a judgment on what the data showed."
" 'Currently,' the panel wrote, 'no evidence of even moderate scientific quality exists to support the association of any modifiable factor (such as nutritional supplements, herbal preparations, dietary factors, prescription or nonprescription drugs, social or economic factors, medical conditions, toxins or environmental exposures) with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.' "
"To its great surprise, the Duke group discovered a vast amount of literature on Alzheimer’s prevention. Instead of coming up empty on many topics, Dr. Williams said, 'We came up empty on very few.' ”
"The problem, the group wrote, was that 'the quality of the evidence was typically low.' ”
"Low confidence did not necessarily mean the measures did not work — it meant the evidence was so faulty that there was no way of deciding." 08-10
- -Pandora's Lunch Box (PBS.org)
"Human eating habits have changed more in the past century than in the previous 10,000 years. In the U.S., Americans are consuming double the fat, 3.5 times more sodium, 60 percent more sugar and infinitely more corn and soybeans than in the year 1909." 04-13
- -People Have One of Three Types of Gut Bacteria (New York Times)
"In the early 1900s, scientists discovered that each person belonged to one of four blood types. Now they have discovered a new way to classify humanity: by bacteria. Each human being is host to thousands of different species of microbes. Yet a group of scientists now report just three distinct ecosystems in the guts of people they have studied."
- -Provisions of the New Health Care Reform Bill (MSNBC News)
"Proposed changes to the Senate-passed health care bill include a scaled-back tax on high-cost health insurance plans – a provision that is widely unpopular with House Democrats – and more money to help states pay for an expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor and disabled. The new measure, called a reconciliation bill, also would take additional steps to close a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage and to help low- and middle-income Americans purchase health insurance through new insurance exchanges." 03-10
- -Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease with Diet (CBS News)
"Want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by some 40 percent?" 04-10
- -Reducing the Risk of Cancer with Diet (RealAge.com)
"Juicier than the latest celeb gossip and more crisp than HDTV, apples may do a lot more than be the perfect fruit. The type of fiber in apples, called pectin, lowers your colon cancer risk by bumping up colon-protective compounds and clamping down on cancer-causing ones. In the lab, apple pectin increased levels of butyrate, a fatty acid that manages to do this colon-health double duty. That's fabulous, since colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer for both men and women." 04-10
- -Regret and How to Make It Work for You (Time.com)
"Regret is as universal an emotion as love or fear, and it can be nearly as powerful. So, in a new paper, two researchers set about trying to figure out what the typical American regrets most." 03-11
- -Safeguard Your Liver With Spinach (RealAge.com)
"Environmental toxins are often bad news for your liver. But you could safeguard your health by eating spinach."
"Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin, two substances found in spinach and other leafy greens, may help reduce the body's absorption of aflatoxin, a common but potentially harmful type of environmental toxin." 04-10
- -Shocking New N.F.L. Poster on Concussions in Football (New York Times)
"The National Football League is producing a poster that bluntly alerts its players to the long-term effects of concussions, using words like 'depression' and 'early onset of dementia' that those close to the issue described as both staggering and overdue." 07-10
- -Sitting Too Much May Be Unhealthy (PBS.org)
"The Canadian and Australian studies can't prove sitting kills. It's possible heavy TV watchers and other chair-bound types have other habits (snacking patterns, for example) that explain the link."
"But researchers have other kinds of evidence. Hamilton has attached electrodes to people's bodies and found that 'when people are lounging or sitting, the muscles go silent, like a dead horse. ... It's like seeing a flatline for the brain.' " 01-10
- -Skin Cancer Treatment Success (USA Today)
"Researchers have scored the first big win against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. An experimental drug significantly improved survival in a major study of people with very advanced disease." 05-10
- -Stroke: Signs of a Stroke (U.S. News)
"Minimizing the time between the onset of a stroke and the start of stroke treatment is critical for surviving the brain attack and minimizing the resulting brain injury. The key is to immediately get to the emergency room for a brain scan to detect which type of stroke has hit. If it's ischemic—caused by a blood clot—the best treatment is a clot-dissolving drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or TPA, and the quicker the treatment, the less the disabling damage. Most hospitals will treat stroke patients with TPA only if the medicine can be injected within three hours of the appearance of symptoms, which is why getting to the hospital is such an urgent matter. A recent study found, however, that TPA can be safe and effective up to 4½ hours after a stroke. Treatment for hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a bleeding vessel in the brain, involves lowering blood pressure and reducing swelling in the brain." 05-09
- -Study: Berries Stave Off Memory Loss (CBS News)
"Berries might provide a safe and easy way to boost brain power, a new study suggests. The study from Harvard researchers shows eating berries could stave off the cognitive decline and memory loss that comes with aging." 04-12
- -Study: Choice of Words Can Seriously Influence Health (USA Today)
"The blood tests revealed people who used words that reflect thoughtfulness limited the rise in the damaging proteins, so there was added health protection for participants who choose the right words in conversing with their partner."
"If the woman used thoughtful words, it did reduce the rise in cytokines in the man, but if the man used the right words, it didn't affect the woman, she added. It's not clear why, although as many researchers have noted in the past, women are different from men."
"OK, so the research shows that if you keep your cool, don't use inflammatory language, and run your comments through a bit of cognitive processing -- in other words, think about the words you use -- you can emerge from a fight with your lover better equipped to deal with some really serious health issues. But can people really do that, especially while discussing a contentious issue?" 11-09
- -Study: Curry Spice Kills Cancer (BBC News)
"An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown."
"The chemical - curcumin - has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia." 10-09
- -Study: Fish Found With Pharmaceuticals in Them (CBS News)
"Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday."
"Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations." 03-09
- -Study: Free Contraceptives Dramatically Reduce Abortion Rate (NBC News)
"When more than 9,000 women ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis area were given no-cost contraception for three years, abortion rates dropped from two-thirds to three-quarters lower than the national rate, according to a new report by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers." 10-12
- -Study: Lonliness Is Contageous (Time.com)
"If these results hold up, treating loneliness should involve more than individual therapy for patients. It requires addressing larger, society-based issues. "People are not going to realize that there is almost a wave of loneliness that is being propagated by people two or three connections removed from them," says Dr. Richard Suzman, director of the division of behavioral and social research at the National Institute on Aging, which funded the study." 09-10
- -Study: Millions in the U.S. Drink Dirty Water (MSNBC News)
"More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data."
"That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage."
"Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards." 12-09
- -Study: Over 90% of Chain Restaurant Entrees Fail on Nutrition (USA Today)
"If you plan to chow down tonight at a big chain restaurant, there's a better than nine-in-10 chance that your entree will fail to meet federal nutrition recommendations for both adults and kids, according to a provocative new study."
"A whopping 96% of main entrees sold at top U.S. chain eateries exceed daily limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reports the 18-month study conducted by the Rand Corp. and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.” 05-12
- -Study: School Breakfast Makes a Difference (PBS.org)
"Students who ate school breakfast attended an average of 1.5 more days of school than their meal-skipping peers, and their math scores averaged 17.5% higher. The report, which was funded in part by Kellogg's, went on to share that these students with increased attendance and scores were 20% more likely to continue on and graduate high school. High school graduates earn on average $10,090 more annually that their non-diploma-holding counterparts and are significantly less likely to experience hunger in adulthood." 08-13
- -Study: School Lunches Inadequate (MSNBC News)
"School lunches need more fruits, veggies and whole grains and a limit on calories, says a report urging an update of the nation's 14-year-old standards for cafeteria fare." 10-09
- -Study: Sleep Need May Have a Genetic Link (CNN News)
"A study published this year in the journal Science identified a mutated gene in a mother-daughter pair that allowed them to function on six hours of sleep. The research conducted by University of California, San Francisco scientists is believed to be the first to discover a gene, hDEC2 involved in regulating sleep length. This finding could someday lead to a better understanding of why some people require more sleep." 01-09
- -Study: Species-Specific Microbes May Be Key to Immune Systems (PBS.org)
"The results support the thinking that we humans have coevolved with our microbes--and we're probably not the same without them. 'The selection of partners is not by chance,' Chang says. And that might explain why as we alter our microbiomes--with antibiotics and superclean upbringings--our immune systems have been changing as well, ushering in increasing rates of autoimmune conditions such as allergies and diabetes. 'The consequence is that the balance between us and our microbes, determined through evolution, is upset in ways that impact our health and increase risk for many diseases that were previously uncommon,' he notes." 06-12
- -Study: Supplements Contain Contaminants (New York Times)
"Nearly all of the herbal dietary supplements tested in a Congressional investigation contained trace amounts of lead and other contaminants, and some supplement sellers made illegal claims that their products can cure cancer and other diseases, investigators found."
"The levels of heavy metals — including mercury, cadmium and arsenic — did not exceed thresholds considered dangerous, the investigators found. However, 16 of the 40 supplements tested contained pesticide residues that appeared to exceed legal limits, the investigators found." 05-10
- -Surviving an Airplane Crash (CNN News)
"Most commercial aviation accidents occur on take-off or landing -- when aircraft are closer to the ground flying at relatively low speeds. Because the aircraft in these survivable accidents are still close to the airport, pilots often have more maneuverability to land the aircraft safely."
"The key to surviving a commercial aviation crash is remaining conscious during 'the golden time' -- the critical 90 seconds immediately following impact. In a survivable crash, fatalities occur not only from the impact of the aircraft hitting the ground, but more frequently from smoke inhalation and fire when passengers cannot escape the aircraft quickly." 12-09
- -Ten Ways to Reduce Risk of Flu (Time.com)
"Whether you decide to get a flu shot this year or not, it's important to take steps to prevent yourself from getting the seasonal flu, as well as H1N1, commonly referred to as swine flu." 10-09
- -Test for Longevity (NBC News)
"A simple test that looks at how easy -- or difficult -- it is for you to sit down on the floor and then get back up may help predict how long you’re going to live, a new study shows." 12-12
- -The BRCA Gene and Cancer (CNN News)
"Women with the BRCA gene mutations have a 60 to 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer -- at least five times higher than the general population -- according to the American Cancer Society. Additionally, these women have up to a 60 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer in their lifetime." 07-09
- -The Best Diet? (Time.com)
"Too many diets, but not enough time to study them all? Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital did the work for you and compared three popular ways to eat yourself slim: low fat, low carb, and low-glycemic index diets. The winner? Low-glycemic index diets are the most successful at keeping weight off without negative side effects. These diets are heavy on foods that take the body longer to absorb, such as oatmeal and beans, which means they keep you feeling full longer. That helps to control appetite and promote longer-lasting weight loss. In the study, dieters cutting down on carbohydrates burned the most calories, but they also experienced more spikes in the stress hormone cortisol and the inflammation marker CRP, which is a risk factor for heart disease."
"Want to eat healthily but don’t have time to whip up your own meals? Start looking for SPE certification when you eat out. Similar to architecture’s LEED certification, it’s a new way for restaurants to highlight and follow strict criteria for serving healthy fare. Short for sanitas per escam (Latin for health through food), SPE focuses on using local, seasonal ingredients and cooking to maximize the nutritional value of ingredients. Chefs can submit single dishes or entire menus for certification, and SPE’s executive chef and registered dietician will tweak the culinary masterpieces to boost their nutritional value and take advantage of the freshest local and seasonal meats and vegetables. The program’s creator, New York City restaurateur Emmanuel Verstraeten, is hopeful that the certification will spread from fine-dining restaurants to causal-eating chains and even school cafeterias in the coming years." 12-12
- -The Myth of Moderate Exercise (Time.com)
"Obesity experts agree that daily exercise is essential for good health, but whether it can successfully lead to long-term weight loss is a question of much debate. What has become increasingly clear, however, is that the conventionally accepted advice — 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week — is probably insufficient to spur any real change in a person's body weight. A study published July 28 in the Archives of Internal Medicine adds to the burgeoning scientific consensus: when it comes to exercise for weight loss, more is better. It suggests that obese people would have to exercise at least an hour at a time to see any significant difference in their weight." 07-08
- -Things To Do and Not Do for Flu Protection (U.S. News)
"The H1N1 virus that causes swine flu is highly infectious, most likely because so few of us have been exposed to it. While it's nearly impossible to completely protect yourself from getting infected—even if you always wear a face mask—there are things you can do (or not do) to reduce your chances." 10-09
- -Time's 31 Healthiest Foods (Healthland.Time.com)
"The food guide to end all food guides: here are the healthy foods you should be eating now." 05-13
- -Timeline for the Affordable Health Care Act (HealthCare.gov)
"View items by selecting blocks on the timeline, or click the arrows. You can also see all of the timeline items on one page in printable format. Read the Affordable Care Act in full or browse it section by section." 07-12
- -Top Ten Sources of Excess Sodium (Huffington Post)
"\Nine out of 10 Americans consume more sodium than they need, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No one should eat more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, equal to about a teaspoon of salt, health officials say - but the average American actually consumes closer to 3,300 milligrams a day." 02-12
- -Treating Heart Failure (U.S. News)
"About 5 million people in the United States have heart failure, and 300,000 die from it every year. (Compare that with the 570,000 annual deaths caused by every kind of cancer.) Indeed, heart failure—the heart can't pump enough blood through the body—is the most common reason older folks wind up in the hospital, and more than 1 in 4 heart-failure patients must be hospitalized again within a month of being discharged, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine. That's despite the fact, the American Heart Association contends, that most of these rehospitalizations are preventable."
" 'I'd estimate that only about one third of patients who need CRT are actually getting it,' says study author Adrian Hernandez, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. The procedure, which costs $25,000 to $40,000, has been shown to lower a patient's risk of dying from heart failure by one third over several years and to reduce the likelihood of rehospitalization by about half."
Also try Heart Attacks07-09
- -Try More Weight and Fewer Repetitions (New York Times)
"For better tone, try fewer reps and more challenging weights." 04-10
- -Twenty Percent Fewer May Get Alzheimer's (MSNBC News)
"Scientists have found three new major genetic links to Alzheimer's, affecting up to 20 percent of people with the brain-wasting disease, and said on Sunday it was the most significant such discovery in 15 years." 09-09
- -Ways to Increase Your Energy (RealAge.com)
"Eating energy-rich foods, doing self-acupressure, and staying hydrated are a few ways to remain alert without the dangers of energy drinks."
- -Weight Loss Surgery May Help End Diabetes (MSNBC News)
"Two studies find that weight loss surgery can eliminate the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in a large proportion of volunteers. That might not seem surprising, since obesity is the major risk factor for the disease. But in these studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, many of the patients got better within weeks, days, sometimes even hours after the surgery -- long before they lost any weight." 03-12
- -What to Do If Your Insurance Company Won't Pay (U.S. News)
"Billing advocates have several lines of attack they can follow. They often uncover errors such as services that were billed but never delivered and single procedures billed multiple times, says Nora Johnson, vice president of Medical Billing Advocates of America in Salem, Va. They also have tools to determine typical payments to hospitals and physicians by Medicare and private insurers, which are lower than the amounts charged to out-of-network patients and even lower than the charges levied on patients with little or no insurance. And they can drill down to a hospital's bottom-line cost for specific services, which tells them just how much wiggle room there is for jawboning inflated charges lower."
" 'You give them your documentation from the government, and they will turn around,' Whitehead says. 'I've never found one where the hospital or insurer will not come to a resolution.' " 08-08
- -Why Stopping Smoking Makes You Fat (CBS News)
"At the time, Mineur and his team were testing nicotine. Curious about this unexpected effect, they looked further. Maneur says, 'We found that nicotine, when it enters the brain, activates specific nicotine receptors that are located on specific neurons known to decrease feeding and increase energy expenditure when activated.' " 06-11
- 10 Diseases Stem Cells May Cure (U.S. News)
"Excitement over the embryonic cells comes from their remarkable ability, as biological blank slates, to become virtually any of the body's cell types. Many observers believe the president's move will accelerate the hunt for cures for some of our most vexing diseases." 03-09
- A "Home Gym" for $100 (U.S. News)
"If you're unable—or simply unwilling—to pay thousands of dollars a year for membership in the new exercise studio started by Gwyneth Paltrow and her personal trainer, never fear. You don't need to be cashed up to get a good workout. In fact, you don't need to join a gym at all. We asked four fitness pros for their advice on putting together a home gym for $100 or less. Here's what they said." 03-09
- AIDS - Projections for 2010 - Best Case Scenario (BBC News)
This study "predicted 45 million new infections in poor and middle income countries by 2010 if no improvements were made. But it said that 29 million of those infections could be averted if a set of prevention and care measures from successful projects around the world was implemented immediately". 12-03
- Advances in Protection from the Sun (ABC News)
"The most promising new products are sunscreen lotions containing an ingredient called Helioplex. It is being called the most important advance in sunscreen in 20 years." 07-06
- Affordable Care Act (Healthcare.gov)
"On September 23, 2010 new reforms under the Affordable Care Act begin to bring to an end some of the worst abuses of the insurance industry. These reforms will give Americans new rights and benefits, including helping more children get health coverage, ending lifetime and most annual limits on care, and giving patients access to recommended preventive services without cost-sharing."
"These reforms will apply to all new health plans, and to many existing health plans as they are renewed. Many other new benefits of the law have already taken effect, including rebate checks for seniors in the Medicare donut hole and tax credits for small businesses. And more rights, protections and benefits for Americans are on the way now through 2014." 11-10
- Anti-Malaria Vaccine Discovered (Scientific American)
"A new vaccine stimulated human immune cells to recognize and kill malaria parasites in a recent clinical trial. The vaccine proved effective in both infected human blood samples and mice whose immune systems had been modified to mimic that of humans." 12-05
- Athletic Ability Tests (MSNCNET.com)
"Sports Potential, in Palo Alto, Calif., has developed a series of tests and sophisticated software to calculate an individual's aptitude for a wide range of sports--from baseball to bobsledding. After a two-hour test, the company's Web-based software can illustrate a subject's physical traits, such as body composition, power, speed, agility and endurance, and compare the results with people in the same age group." 02-06
- Autism: The Hidden Epidemic? (MSNBC News)
"While the causes for the dramatic rise in autism cases over the past decade are the subject of much debate, one thing is certain: early diagnosis is crucial." 10-06
- Bad Breath: Some Surprises (U.S. News)
"Has a friend or significant other gently hinted that your breath is, um, pungent? (Many halitosis sufferers can't tell.) Brushing and flossing more diligently may do the trick, and U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf offered other suggestions earlier this year. But a few more minutes at the sink won't always help, say experts. Here are eight causes of bad breath that may surprise you:" 12-08
- Battling Diabetes With Diet and Exercise (U.S. News)
"While surgery and other treatments are available, prevention and intensive management are the keys to stopping the epidemic. Some innovative programs lead the way." 11-08
- Best Practices for Heart Care Clarified (PBS.org)
"People should receive angioplasties to unclog arteries in the first 90 minutes following a heart attack, though they often don't receive the treatment in time, the American Heart Association said at a recent meeting. An expert discusses this and other recommendations." 11-06
- Best Safety Option for a Car - Electronic Stability Control (CNNMoney)
"Now two studies from Europe and Japan -- where consumers have more widely embraced the systems -- confirm what I've long believed: that stability control may be second only to seat belts in safeguarding drivers and passengers."
"Toyota found that electronic stability control reduced single-vehicle crashes in Japan by a remarkable 35 percent and head-on crashes by 30 percent." 10-03
- Better Pain Reliever Found (Scientific American)
"Morphine and other opioids work wonders for pain. Unfortunately, their effectiveness declines over time while their addictiveness grows, meaning patients need the drug even as it affords them less and less relief. But new research into the cellular workings of opioids offers a promising new pathway to improved pain relief--without the addiction--by triggering one receptor and blocking another."
"Medicinal chemist Philip Portoghese of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues began by studying two of the four major opioid receptors in the cells of the central nervous system. Each bears the name of a Greek letter and the chemists focused on the Mu and Delta receptors. Previous research had shown that drugs that linked up with Mu receptors lasted longer with less addiction when combined with drugs that blocked Delta receptors. But it was not known whether the two channels worked separately or in concert to improve the overall effect." 12-05
- Boost Memory and Become Smarter? (MSNBC News)
"An intense game of Concentration or other demanding memory task might kick your intelligence up a notch or two, and the more you engage your brain this way, the smarter you might become."
"Researchers reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences say that brain exercises designed to improve working memory also increase scores in fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason and solve new problems. It does not rely on memory and is often thought of as having a strong hereditary component. Such intelligence is considered one of the most important factors in learning and is linked to academic and professional success, according to researchers." 04-08
- Boosting Brain Power Through Exercise (CBS News)
Professor Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois in Urbana says "changing the size and the function of your brain is as easy as taking a few steps."
" 'We found in our study that walking will increase the volume of the brain, increase the efficiency of the brain and increase improvements in the number of cognitive functions such as memory and attention,' Kramer says." 01-07
- Breakthrough Against Flu and Bird Flu (U.S. News)
"Researchers have found what they think could be the key to a whole new way of treating and protecting against influenza—with monoclonal antibodies. If the discovery pans out, the approach could be used as a treatment for bird flu and seasonal flu and also as the basis for a vaccine against many different flu strains, including the H5N1 strain that has caused so much worry about a pandemic."
"Our vaccine is directed against the lollipop stick, which actually contains the machinery that allows the virus to enter cells. This is what allowed us to make this significant scientific advance—to identify a new Achilles' heel in the virus's coat protein."
"We tested the antibody against bird flu, against 1918 pandemic flu; we tested it against all 10 different types of flu viruses, multiple strains, both in tissue culture and in animals. The antibody was not only active in preventing infection; you could give it to animals that got a lethal dose of the flu virus as late as three days after infection, when they were clearly getting sick, and they recovered and survived." 02-09
- Breath Test May Detect Cancers (Reuters.com)
"An 'electronic nose" could be used as a simple breath test to detect lung, breast, bowel and prostate cancers, Israeli scientists said Wednesday." 08-10
- Can Alzheimer's Be Prevented? (Time.com)
"Few things are as terrifying as losing one's mind. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia among the elderly and affects as many as 4.5 million Americans, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It currently has no cure. But recent research offers groundbreaking insight into what causes the disease, and how researchers could reduce people's risk." 05-08
- Can a Mother's Affection Reduce Anxiety in Adulthood? (CNN News)
"Babies whose mothers are attentive and caring tend to grow into happy, well-adjusted children. But the psychological benefits of having a doting mother may extend well beyond childhood, a new study suggests." 08-10
- Changes Coming in Medicare (ABC News)
"The Medicare open enrollment period kicked off this Monday and seniors can expect to see significant changes in their plans as the new health care law takes shape." 11-10
- Consequences of Insufficient Sleep (Time.com)
"According to Dinges' analysis of data from the 2003 American Time Use Survey, the most common reason we shortchange ourselves on sleep is work. (The second biggest reason, surprisingly, is that we spend too much time driving around in our cars.) But consider that in giving up two hours of bedtime to do more work, you're losing a quarter of your recommended nightly dose and gaining just 12% more time during the day. What if you could be 12% more productive instead?" 06-08
- Denmark the Happiest Place to Live? (CBS News)
"Little Denmark, with its five-and-a-half million people, is the happiest country in the world, says a study done by an English University." 02-08
- Dermatologist: Pill Can Help Against Sunburn and Maybe Skin Cancer (ABC News)
"Heliocare, made from the extract of a tropical fern that has been used for generations in folk medicine to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, is an herbal supplement that you can take daily to prevent sun damage." 07-06
- Device on Ankle Monitors Alcohol Use (ABC News)
"After an offender consumes a few drinks, the device relays the information to a computer where the results can be checked. The system can also tell whether the device has been tampered with and, in some states, the offender is also monitored by the global positioning system so authorities know his or her location. There are 2,200 people in the United States being monitored by SCRAM." 10-10
- Diet: A Little Less Salt (Time.com)
"If Americans halved their salt intake, as many as 150,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year, according to the American Medical Association. And new research presented March 11 by Bibbins-Domingo at the AHA's annual conference shows that even small reductions — as little as 1 g of salt per day — could have dramatic effects, saving 200,000 lives over the course of a decade." 03-09
- Diet: Fiber in the Diet (U.S. News)
"So what's the bottom line? The recommendations for daily fiber intake call for about 25 grams for women and 38 for men, and research shows we are getting only about 15 grams. But because the health benefits of different types of fiber vary—and in many cases are not clear or consistent—the best advice is to eat an array of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Worry less about targeting specific types of fiber and 'get [it] from as many different foods as you can,' advises Slavin." 05-09
- Diet: Foods Surprisingly High in Added Sugar (U.S. News)
"Women should consume no more than 100 calories per day of added sugars, and men should not top 150 calories per day. There goes the soda habit: One 12-ounce can contains about 8 teaspoons or about 33 grams of added sugar, which equals approximately 130 calories, notes the AHA. (One gram of sugar serves up 4 calories, according to the American Dietetic Association.)" 04-10
- Diet: Six Supplements that Can Improve Your Health (US News)
"With so many nutritional remedies available, it's tough to sort out which ones are most beneficial to your health. In a new book, Nutricures (Rodale Books, April 2010), author Alice Feinstein, who has been a freelance health journalist for 20 years, and the editors of Prevention magazine, present what their research and interviews with experts determined to be the most effective foods and supplements, and explain which diseases and conditions they're most helpful for." 04-10
- Diet: Ten Riskiest Foods in the U.S. (MSNBC News)
"A new CSPI report finds that the top 10 riskiest foods regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration accounted for nearly 40 percent of all foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. between 1990 and 2006, spawning nearly 50,000 illnesses with symptoms ranging from stomach cramps and diarrhea to kidney failure and death." 10-09
- Disposable Plastic Water Bottles Harmful? (U.S. News)
" 'Awwk!' That was my first reaction when I read a recent E-mail about new dangers lurking in my disposable water bottle, the one with a No. 1 recycling code stamped on the bottom that sits on my desk waiting to be refilled. There's a new study from Germany out today that tested the water in those bottles and found estrogenlike compounds, most likely leaching out from the plastic. These water bottles don't contain the notorious chemical bisphenol A, which is found in hard water bottles, baby bottles, and the plastic coatings of metal cans. (Studies of BPA indicate that high exposures could increase the risk of reproductive health problems and possibly breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, which is why six leading baby bottle makers last week decided to ban it from their products.) The soft bottles do, though, contain other estrogenlike compounds, still unidentified, that could have the same harmful effects as BPA." 03-09
- Do You Need a Thyroid Test? (US News)
"The symptoms of an underactive thyroid—fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain, dry skin and hair, and constipation—can be associated with many other diseases and disorders, making the condition impossible to diagnose definitively without a blood test." 10-07
- Doctors Working at Fast Food Restaurants (CNN News)
"Instead of treating patients, Dowling says, many doctors spend years cleaning houses or working on construction sites and in fast-food chain restaurants." 07-13
- Drugs That May Cause Memory Loss (AARP.org)
"For a long time doctors dismissed forgetfulness and mental confusion as a normal part of aging. But scientists now know that memory loss as you get older is by no means inevitable. Indeed, the brain can grow new brain cells and reshape their connections throughout life."
"But what many people don't realize is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory." 07-13
- Editorial: Restricting the Size of Sugary Drinks Is a Worthy Experiment (CNN News)
"Some object that the [New York] mayor's proposal to restrict serving sizes will restrict liberty. But the liberty restricted is not the liberty of the soda-drinker. If they wish, soda drinkers can buy a 2-liter bottle of soda at the grocery for about $1.70 and pour as much of it down their throats as they wish. The liberty that is being restricted is the liberty of the soda seller to manipulate known human weaknesses to the seller's advantage and the buyer's detriment."
"There is little doubt about the serious health effects of sugary soda. Just one soda a day doubles a woman's risk of diabetes, according to the Harvard Journals of Public Health. Two sodas raises her risk of heart disease by 40%."
Editor's Note: Also try: Fast Foods. 06-12
- Essential Medical Screening (CBS News)
"For most of the diseases we're going to talk about screening for, many patients wouldn't have any symptoms at all to alert them that there was a problem. So routine screening allows you to make a diagnosis before symptoms arise and early enough to actually be able to do something about it." 09-07
- Exercise and Brain Power (New York Times)
"Scientists have suspected for decades that exercise, particularly regular aerobic exercise, can affect the brain. But they could only speculate as to how. Now an expanding body of research shows that exercise can improve the performance of the brain by boosting memory and cognitive processing speed. Exercise can, in fact, create a stronger, faster brain." 08-07
- Exercise to Improve Health (USA Today)
"Besides reducing belly fat, physical activity lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of diabetes and cancer. It reduces depression and anxiety, and it improves bone and joint health, sex drive, sleep and memory, he [Church] says."
"But Church notes that fewer than 25% of Americans meet the minimum guidelines of being moderately active for 30 minutes five or more days a week, estimates show."
" 'The average American doesn't understand that other than not smoking, exercise is the most important thing you can do for your health,' Church says. 'They think exercising is a health suggestion on par with leaving mayonnaise off their sandwich.' " 04-08
- Few Survive Cardiac Arrest (MSNBC News)
"The odds of surviving cardiac arrest after getting CPR in a hospital are slim and have not improved in more than a decade, a big Medicare study concludes."
"Only about 18 percent of such patients live long enough to leave the hospital, researchers found." 06-08
- Fighting Wrinkles (U.S. News)
"Evidence does support another kind of topical—prescription creams containing retinoic acid, more commonly called tretinoin, which can actually rejuvenate skin, as University of Michigan researchers reported in the Archives of Dermatology last May. Retinoic acid works by gradually stimulating fresh collagen production, which helps stave off or reverse fine lines, says Leffell. 'There's no point at which you lose a benefit from starting [its] application,' says Kauvar, who frequently prescribes retinoic acid to patients in their 50s and 60s, just as she pre-emptively does for the younger set. Just one potential wrinkle: If used during pregnancy, it may cause birth defects." 01-09
- First-Ever Cancer Vaccine Approved (USA Today)
"The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it has approved the first vaccine designed to prevent cancer."
"The vaccine, Gardasil, blocks infection by two types of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which account for about 70% of cervical cancer cases." 06-06
- Foods Provide Cancer Preventatives (MSNBC News)
"TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer offers these five lifestyle guidelines to help reduce your overall risk of the disease:" 04-07
- For Longevity, Other Factors Pale in Comparison to "Education" (New York Times)
"The one social factor that researchers agree is consistently linked to longer lives in every country where it has been studied is education. It is more important than race; it obliterates any effects of income."
"And, health economists say, those factors that are popularly believed to be crucial — money and health insurance, for example, pale in comparison." 01-07
- Happiness Comes with Age for Many (ABC News)
"In his latest study, carried out with Heather Lacey, a postdoctoral fellow with the Veterans Administration's Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ubel found that most people are happier in their later years than they were when they were young, although they may not have expected that to be the case." 06-06
- Healthy Breakfasts for Children (U.S. News)
"A bowl of cereal can be less healthful than a doughnut, according to a new ranking of kids' breakfast cereals published by Consumer Reports. Eleven cereals ranked by the venerable group had more sugar than a glazed Dunkin' Donut." 10-08
- Hot Liquids Are the Problem With BPA (Science Daily)
"When it comes to Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure from polycarbonate plastic bottles, it's not whether the container is new or old but the liquid's temperature that has the most impact on how much BPA is released, according to University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists."
"Scott Belcher, PhD, and his team found when the same new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were exposed to boiling hot water, BPA, an environmental estrogen, was released 55 times more rapidly than before exposure to hot water." 09-08
- How Children Can Win the Weight Battle (USNew.com)
"Many experts now believe that an emphasis on dropping weight rather than adding healthful nutrients and exercise is doing more harm than good." 09-07
- How Much Sleep You Really Need (Time.com)
"Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., has looked at the most important question of all. In 2002, he compared death rates among more than 1 million American adults who, as part of a study on cancer prevention, reported their average nightly amount of sleep. To many his results were surprising, but they've since been corroborated by similar studies in Europe and East Asia. Kripke explains."
"Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hours or more, or less than 6.5 hours, they don't live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hours. Sleeping 8.5 hours might really be a little worse than sleeping five." 06-08
- How Secondhand Cigarette Smoke Changes Genes (Time.com)
"Scientists led by Dr. Ronald Crystal at Weill Cornell Medical College documented changes in genetic activity among nonsmokers triggered by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Public-health bans on smoking have been fueled by strong population-based data that links exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and a higher incidence of lung diseases such as emphysema and even lung cancer, but do not establish a biological cause for the correlation. Now, for the first time, researchers can point to one possible cause: the passive recipient's genes are actually being affected." 08-10
- How We Can Improve Our Brain (HowLifeWorks.com)
"Neuroscientists are increasingly showing that there's actually a lot that can be done. It turns that the brain needs exercise in much the same way our muscles do, and the right mental workouts can significantly improve our basic cognitive functions. Thinking is essentially a process of making neural connections in the brain. To a certain extent, our ability to excel in making the neural connections that drive intelligence is inherited. However, because these connections are made through effort and practice, scientists believe that intelligence can expand and fluctuate according to mental effort." 02-13
- How to Avoid Accidentally Leaving a Baby or Toddler in the Car (CNN News)
"First and foremost, always put your cell phone, purse, or briefcase, and anything else you'll need that day, on the floor of the backseat. When you retrieve it at the end of the ride, you'll notice your child."
"Invest in a device to help you remember small passengers. The Cars-N-Kids monitor plays a lullabye when the car stops and a child is in the seat ($29.95). The ChildMinder System sounds an alarm if you walk away and leave your child in the seat ($69.95)." 07-10
- How to Fix 911 Response Time (Time.com)
"Now, led by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the FCC and various emergency-industry vendors, dramatic plans are under way to fix 911 by ripping out its underlying architecture. According to industry insiders like Nate Wilcox, chief technology officer of the 911 software supplier MicroData, the new 911 will roll out across the country over the next two to five years. At least 100 call centers are already testing various features. The new 911 will be an entirely new creature: an intelligent network of networks that will not just find you faster but also read your texts and watch your video at the same time that it may track threats to the entire nation." 04-11
- How to Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease (U.S. News)
"We all want to dodge the Alzheimer's bullet. And lucky us, Mother Nature has counterbalanced the power of our hard-wired genes by allowing multiple lifestyle choices to greatly influence our aging. Read: Your destiny is not fated; you do have some control." 09-09
- Hydroxycut Products Recalled (CNN News)
"Hydroxycut products, popular dietary supplements used for weight loss, have been linked to liver damage and are being recalled, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday." 05-09
- In Praise of Germs (MSNBC News)
"Attention, germaphobes. Exposure to the microscopic bugs is crucial for keeping kids healthy, according to new research in the prestigious journal Science. The study strongly supports a growing body of evidence that you need to put away the disinfectant and expose children to the real world of germs and microbes." 03-12
- Insufficient Oversight in Radiation Scans (New York Times)
"For a year or more, doctors and hospitals failed to detect the overdoses even though patients continued to report distinctive patterns of hair loss that matched where they had been radiated. After the Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide alert asking hospitals to check their radiation output on these tests, a few hospitals continued to overdose patients for weeks and in some cases months afterward, according to records and interviews." 08-10
- Is Cardio-Free the Way to Be? (ABC News)
"Dr. Jennifer Mieres, a cardiologist and American Heart Association spokesperson, "thinks people should build and strengthen their muscles, especially women who face the possibility of developing osteoporosis" through strength training."
"'But the evidence is overwhelming,' she says. 'You need to do some cardio workout to change your cardiac profile to make it better, to prevent death from heart disease and stroke.' " 04-07
- Longevity Quest Moves From the Lab to Life (MSNBC News)
"Known as caloric restriction, or CR, the practice of reducing food intake by at least 30 percent and as much as 70 percent has been regarded for decades as the gold standard for boosting longevity."
"The mTOR is a protein involved in the signaling responses of cells and its activity may account for the lifespan extension found in CR. “By tinkering with those pathways, it’s possible we can alter the cells’ aging processes,” Kennedy says."
"Research on mTOR by Kennedy and Kaeberlein was recently boosted by the discovery of 25 shared genes that regulate aging in yeast and worms, organisms separated by 1.5 billion years of evolution. Equally remarkable, researchers found that 15 of those genes are present in humans."
Also try Longevity. 07-09
- Longevity: Boosting Your Fitness as You Age (U.S. News)
"In the past couple of years, Bernardes has fine-tuned her diet, figuring out which nutrients she wasn't getting enough of. 'I added twice as much protein as I was eating before,' she says. Breakfast used to be a bowl of oatmeal; now she has protein shakes with fruit. And at lunch and dinner, she focuses on getting in her protein first. That helps her feel better day to day but also helped her avoid weight gain during the winter off-season." 07-09
- Longevity: Five Things that Will Age You (ABC News)
"People have searched for the fountain of youth for centuries. And, while it remains elusive, there are things you can do to slow the aging process, or speed it up. Oprah's favorite doc, Dr. Mehmet Oz, discusses the five things that age people most." 02-09
- Longevity: Four Bads Habits Can Age You 12 Years (CBS News)
"Four common bad habits combined — smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet — can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests." 04-10
- Longevity: Fruit and Vegetables May Protect From Memory Losses (MSNBC News)
"Purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes, may be especially beneficial for the brain, says Joseph. In a study on aging mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's, Joseph was able to improve their cognitive function by feeding the animals a diet high in blueberries." 11-06
- Longevity: Healthy Habits to Live to 100 (U.S. News)
"The biggest factor that determines how well you age is not your genes but how well you live. Not convinced? A new study published in the British Medical Journal of 20,000 British folks shows that you can cut your risk of having a stroke in half by doing the following four things: being active for 30 minutes a day, eating five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, and avoiding cigarettes and excess alcohol." 06-09
- Longevity: How Older People Continue to Learn (New York Times)
"Over the past several years, scientists have looked deeper into how brains age and confirmed that they continue to develop through and beyond middle age."
"Many longheld views, including the one that 40 percent of brain cells are lost, have been overturned. What is stuffed into your head may not have vanished but has simply been squirreled away in the folds of your neurons."
"Recently, researchers have found even more positive news. The brain, as it traverses middle age, gets better at recognizing the central idea, the big picture. If kept in good shape, the brain can continue to build pathways that help its owner recognize patterns and, as a consequence, see significance and even solutions much faster than a young person can."
"The trick is finding ways to keep brain connections in good condition and to grow more of them." 01-10
- Longevity: How the Body Ages (MSNBC News)
"So far, 37 percent of the monkeys who kept their regular diet have died of age-related diseases — compared with just 13 percent of the calorie-cut monkeys, a nearly three-fold difference, the researchers reported. A handful of other monkeys died of unrelated conditions, such as injury, not deemed affected by nutrition."
"Death was not the only change. The calorie-cut monkeys had less than half the incidence of cancerous tumors or heart disease as the monkeys who ate normally. Brain scans showed less age-related shrinkage in the dieting monkeys. They also retained more muscle, something else that tends to waste with age." 07-09
- Longevity: Low-Calorie Diet Slows Aging in Monkeys (MSNBC News)
"So far, 37 percent of the monkeys who kept their regular diet have died of age-related diseases — compared with just 13 percent of the calorie-cut monkeys, a nearly three-fold difference, the researchers reported. A handful of other monkeys died of unrelated conditions, such as injury, not deemed affected by nutrition."
"Death was not the only change. The calorie-cut monkeys had less than half the incidence of cancerous tumors or heart disease as the monkeys who ate normally. Brain scans showed less age-related shrinkage in the dieting monkeys. They also retained more muscle, something else that tends to waste with age." 07-09
- Longevity: Twin Study Reveals Secrets to Looking Younger (MSNBC News)
"It may seem odd that two people with the same DNA could look so different, but it’s common, according to research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery by Bahman Guyuron, a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, and colleagues at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University. Contrasting behaviors cause subtle differences in appearance that eventually make one of the pair look older than the other. And that suggests that all of us — twins or not — may have more influence on the way we age than we think." 10-09
- Longevity: Unhealthy Habits Mar Thinking and Memory Skils (MSNBC News)
"Previous research has linked declining thinking and memory skills with unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, abstaining completely from alcohol, not getting enough physical activity, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables daily."
"Over a 17-year period, adult men and women who accumulated the most versus the least number of unhealthy behaviors were nearly three times more likely to show poor thinking skills, and about two times more likely to have declining memory, Sabia and colleagues report in the American Journal of Epidemiology." 09-09
- Men Over 50 Need Annual Checkups (CNN News)
"Dr. David Dodson, an expert on men's health at the Marino Center in Wellesley, Massachusetts, recommends that healthy men under 50 get a regular checkup every 18 months. After 50, he suggests, men should see their doctors annually." 06-08
- Mercury Toxicity and Seafood (ABC News)
"Millions of people make fish — a low-fat, vitamin-rich source of protein — part of their diet for nutritional reasons, or simply because they enjoy the taste. But eating a diet high in fish is becoming increasingly controversial, as some studies tout the benefits of seafood while others argue that the toxic mercury found in some fish outweighs any potential benefits." 10-05
- Mercury and Flourescent Bulbs (theBostonChannel.com)
"Consumers were cautioned to avoid using the energy-saving bulbs on tables or in other places where they can be easily broken. Even so, the reports said, the bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, are still the best way for homeowners to try to save on electricity, adding that the benefits of using them outweigh the risks." 02-08
- Metabolic Syndrome Tied to Diet Soda (New York Times)
"Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome — the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure."
"But the one-third who ate the most fried food increased their risk by 25 percent compared with the one-third who ate the least, and surprisingly, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none." 02-08
- Microbes in Your Gut Could Be a Key to Obesity (Time.com)
"It’s tempting to consider the kind of strategies this new classification might provide in the fight against obesity and metabolic diseases. It suggests the possibility of identifying via the microbiome people who, though obese, may be relatively healthy, and alerting those who may not yet be obese or suffer a metabolic illness that they may be at higher risk of both. At this point, however, the next stage is to continue studying these and other groupings of gut microbiomes, and to explore the nature of the relationship between specific bacteria and metabolism, wrote two scientists who were not involved in the work, Sungsoon Fang and Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute, in a commentary piece in the same issue of Nature." 08-13
- National Association of Free Clinics (FreeClinics.us)
"The National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC) is the only nonprofit 501c(3)organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of themore than 1,200 free clinics and the people they serve in the United States."
"Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAFC is an effective advocate for the issues and concerns of free clinics, their volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians and other health care professionals, and the patients served by free clinics in communities throughout the nation." 10-09
- New Approach to Managing Diabetes (U.S. News)
"Some people with type 2 diabetes might want to rethink how they manage their disease, based on a trio of new studies showing that tightly controlling blood glucose levels doesn't reduce cardiovascular disease in people at high risk, perhaps because they have high blood pressure or are overweight. Reaching blood pressure and cholesterol goals rather than blood glucose targets may be more important in preventing heart attack and stroke in these people, say experts. In those who are newly diagnosed with diabetes and are not already in the high-risk category, intensively managing blood sugar may be effective at reducing heart risk." 01-09
- New Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations (US News)
"Two tests are now being recommended: the virtual colonoscopy, which is an external CT scan that visualizes the colon without snaking a tube into it, and a stool test that detects mutated DNA shed from tumors." 03-08
- New Guide for Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease (New York Times)
"The first new guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease in nearly 30 years establish earlier stages of the mind-robbing disease, paving the way for spotting and possibly treating the tell-tale signs of dementia much sooner than they are now." 04-11
- New Sinus Treatment Offers Hope (ABC News)
"The procedure, called balloon sinuplasty, opens sinus cavities the same way doctors open clogged arteries when they do a balloon angioplasty."
"After the sinuplasty, the sinus openings become significantly wider. In most cases, they stay that way, because the balloon has actually fractured the bones and spread them apart — all without pain." 04-06
- Nutrition for Better Sleep (MSNBC)
"Nutritionist Joy Bauer visited 'Today' to discuss foods that can help you sleep and to suggest ways you can get a longer, more restful night's sleep." 9-05
- Obesity: Exercise and Obesity (ABC News)
"The problem ultimately is about not exercise itself but the way we've come to define it. Many obesity researchers now believe that very frequent, low-level physical activity — the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented — may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat." 08-09
- Obesity: Fat Gene Can Be Neutralized With Exercise (MSNBC News)
"Scientists believe about 30 percent of white people of European ancestry have this [FTO fat gene] variant, including the Amish, and that may partly explain why so many people are overweight."
"And while physical activity is recommended for just about everyone, the study suggests that people with the gene variation need to be especially vigilant about getting exercise."
" 'It's only if you're not active that the gene hurts,' Snitker said. 'If you are active, then either way, it doesn't matter whether you have the gene or not.' " 09-08
- Obesity: Fighting Obesity in Children (U.S. News)
Provides small changes that can be powerful over time. "Even all-juice drinks are pretty much just sugar and water; a 6.75-ounce juice box packs 100 calories. Soft drink manufacturers, including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, have agreed to include calorie counts on front of their beverage packaging by the end of 2012 as part of the Let's Move campaign. The easiest fix now: Make milk or water the drink choices for school and home, and save the sweet stuff for parties or other special occasions."
"Time spent with computers and TV is time not spent running, jumping, and playing outside. The first lady's campaign echoes the surgeon general's recommendation that TV time be limited to two hours a day and that all kids get one hour of daily exercise. That can be tough when many schools have eliminated recess and parents work long hours." 02-10
- Obesity: Tips on Losing Pounds (U.S. News)
"A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasizes that principle; the mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein in the four diets to which people were assigned didn't make a difference in whether they lost weight. One hopes this means an end to the interminable battles over whether the Atkins diet trumps a low-fat diet, for example, or whether either of those trumps the Zone diet. As the authors said about this and previous research:"
"These findings together point to behavioral factors rather than macronutrient metabolism as the main influences on weight loss . . . any type of diet, when taught for the purpose of weight loss with enthusiasm and persistence, can be effective."
"The bad news: Those pesky "behavioral factors," i.e., our penchant for eating too much and exercising too little, seem to win out over the enthusiastic and persistent teaching." 05-09
- Obesity: Tricks to Curbing the Appetite (RealAge.com)
"To avoid eating too much -- and earning a bigger pants size -- try this mealtime trick: Spend at least 30 minutes enjoying your food." 05-10
- One School's Fight Against Obesity (CBS News)
"While most of the country is failing the grade on obesity, Nurse Scully says Long Pond students are getting the message." 01-07
- One Teen's Success with Improving Health (CNN News)
"Macias pushed himself further each night, progressing from walking to running, in addition to eliminating fast food and replacing processed, sugary foods with fruits and vegetables. His family -- especially his mother -- was supportive, keeping track of the number of pounds lost right along with him."
- One in Five Four Years Olds Obese (CNN News)
"Nearly one-fifth of American 4-year-olds are obese, and children of color are at higher risk, according to new research." 04-09
- One-Legged Cyclist Transforms Others (ABC News)
"Yeboah was born 28 years ago with a severely deformed left leg in the African nation of Ghana. There, where an estimated 10 percent of the people are disabled from birth defects or diseases, disabled babies often are despised, seen as omens of bad fortune, and often killed or left by their parents in the wilderness to die."
"Yeboah decided he would ride a bike across his entire country, nearly 400 miles, to prove what the disabled can do. So in 2002, for 10 days, he rode, pedaling on one leg, right across Ghana."
"The country was astonished and inspired." 8-05
- Organ Regeneration a Reality (ABC News)
"The news is being hailed as a medical milestone: Several years after receiving new bladders engineered entirely in a laboratory, seven young patients are all still healthy." 04-06
- Pacifiers Greatly Reduce Risk Of SIDS (Scientific American)
"Pacifiers aren't just for soothing colicky babies anymore. A new study has found that use of a pacifier during sleep reduced the chances of a baby suffering from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 90 percent. Furthermore, pacifiers eliminated the increased risk associated with babies who slept on their stomach or in soft bedding--factors that have been shown to increase the risk of SIDS as much as 10-fold."
"Myths persist that the use of pacifiers (or thumb sucking) will affect tooth development or the infant's ability to take to breast-feeding, but by simply waiting a few weeks to start using a pacifier and stopping when the baby becomes a toddler such impacts can be avoided, Li notes." 12-05.
- Pancreatic Cancer Prevention (ABC News)
"When the researchers compared the answers of the men who had developed pancreatic cancer to those who had not, they found that the risk of developing the disease was 64 percent greater in the men who had gum disease." 01-07
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Profits Soar (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Insurance companies spent millions of dollars trying to defeat the U.S. health care overhaul, saying it would raise costs and disrupt coverage. Instead, profit margins at the companies widened to levels not seen since before the recession, a Bloomberg Government study shows."
"Insurers led by WellPoint, the biggest by membership, recorded their highest combined quarterly net income of the past decade after the law was signed in 2010, said Peter Gosselin, the study author and senior health care analyst for Bloomberg Government. The Standard & Poor's 500 managed health care index rose 36 percent in the period, four times more than the S&P 500." 01-12
- Popkins: Why the World Is Fat (U.S. News)
"Why in the heck did the world's chief food problem shift from malnutrition to obesity? That's the question Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina's Inter-Disciplinary Obesity Center, explores in his new book, The World Is Fat. From the book and a conversation with Popkin, we've extracted seven tidbits you might not have known about obesity, nutrition, and what we put in our mouths." 01-09
- Scientists Identify Gene for Spread of Cancer (CBS News)
"Scientists in England say they have identified the gene that is responsible for cancer's spread through the body - raising the possibility of a 'one-size-fits-all' cure for the disease by developing a drug that switches off the gene.Most deaths from cancer result from its gradual metastasis, or spreading, from the original cancer site to other tissues and organs." 01-11
- Scientists Map the Entire Genome of a Human Fetus (Time.com)
"It may sound like something conjured by Jules Verne, but it happened at the University of Washington: a professor and his graduate student used DNA samples from the parents of a baby boy who was still in utero and reconstructed his entire genetic makeup from A to Z." 06-12
- Scientists Use Cloning to Create Stem Cells (Time.com)
"It's not quite human cloning, but it's close. Researchers reported using a variation of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) — the same technique that created Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned, from a skin cell of a ewe — on human cells. SCNT involves replacing the genetic material of an egg cell with the DNA from a mature cell (a skin cell, for example). The egg is then stimulated to divide, and if it develops fully, produces a genetically identical clone of the animal from which the mature cell was taken." 12-11
- Scientists Worry About Health Risks in Plastic Containers (ABC News)
"BPA — sometimes indicated by a number 7 on products — is found mostly in strong plastics, such as nondisposable water bottles, baby bottles and in the lining of canned foods."
"BPA — sometimes indicated by a number 7 on products — is found mostly in strong plastics, such as nondisposable water bottles, baby bottles and in the lining of canned foods."
"While the Food and Drug Administration and the American Plastics Council insist BPA is safe, an outspoken biology professor and other scientists believe it may bring all kinds of harm — such as cancer, early puberty, obesity and even attention-deficit disorder." 07-06
- Scientists: Marketing of "Junk" Food Effective - Stop It (MSNBC News)
"SpongeBob SquarePants, Shrek and other characters kids love should promote only healthy food, a panel of scientists recommended."
"In a report released Tuesday, the Institute of Medicine said television advertising strongly influences what children under 12 eat." 12-05
- Seniors Need to Work Out (US News)
Harris, though, is the exception to the rule. Despite the age-defying benefits of getting fit, seniors are the least physically active of all Americans—40 percent of women and 30 percent of men over 70 report that they never exercise. Beyond protection against heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, numerous studies suggest that regular exercise can lower the risk of decline—the dementia, the frailty—that spells the end of independence. Brisk walks around the neighborhood make a great start. But more is needed to prevent falls and retain strength and mobility. In August, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association issued new exercise guidelines for seniors that call for several workouts a week incorporating resistance training, stretching, and balancing as well as aerobics. 10-07
- Stop the Damage to Your Ears (US News)
"A Harvard survey of adolescents and young adults reported that more than half had taken a hit to their hearing at loud music events, either tinnitus or temporary deafness. And from my observation, most seem to have iPods attached to their ears. For them, and the others who can still hear a pin drop, it's smart to pay attention to the health of the inner ear, the nerve center for making sense of sound." 07-07
- Study: Benefits of Avoiding Secondhand Smoke Confirmed (MSNBC News)
"A major report confirms what health officials have long believed: Bans on smoking in restaurants, bars and other gathering spots reduce the risk of heart attacks among nonsmokers." 04-09
- Study: "Weight-ism" More Widespread Than Racism (ABC News)
"It's illegal to discriminate against someone because of race or gender, but our culture condones a bias against people who are overweight."
"Weight discrimination 'occurs in employment settings and daily interpersonal relationships virtually as often as race discrimination, and in some cases even more frequently than age or gender discrimination,' the researchers report in the current issue of the International Journal of Obesity." 04-08
- Study: A Third of Cancer Can Be Prevented (CBS News)
"Authors of a joint American-British study say about a third of the cancer cases reported every year in the United States could be prevented, 'through lifestyle.' "
"The researchers claim to have crafted the most systematic policy report ever on cancer prevention, using data already available from existing research on cancer risk and prevention." 02-09
- Study: Coffee Strongest in Antioxidants (CBS News)
"Coffee not only helps clear the mind and perk up the energy, it also provides more healthful antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet, according to a study released Sunday."
"Of course, too much coffee can make people jittery and even raise cholesterol levels, so food experts stress moderation." 12-05
- Study: Crestor Found to Reduce Heart Disease (CBS News)
"New research indicates that the powerful statin Crestor not only drastically lowered cholesterol levels by more than 50 percent, it actually reversed heart disease." 03-06
- Study: Drugs Work as Well as Stents in Non-Emergency Situation (PBS News)
"A new study has found that the use of drugs and stents, which are tiny metal scaffolds placed in clogged arteries, may be no better than using drugs alone in non-emergency situations. Two cardiologists discuss the findings." 03-07
- Study: Effective Test for Alzheimer's Disease Found (New York Times)
"Researchers report that a spinal fluid test can be 100 percent accurate in identifying patients with significant memory loss who are on their way to developing Alzheimer’s disease." 08-10
- Study: Extra Pounds May Shorten Life (MSNC News)
"Being obese can take years off your life and in some cases may be as dangerous as smoking, a new study says." 03-09
- Study: Fish and Mercury (CNN News)
"Having mercury levels that are too high isn't someone else's problem. In a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of 17 women of childbearing age in the United States has mercury in her blood above the level that could pose a risk to a developing fetus (5.8 micrograms per liter). So the federal government advises pregnant women and those thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid certain fish, such as shark, swordfish and fresh tuna, usually found in fish markets and sushi. Canned tuna seems to be less of a threat, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture says consumption should be limited."
"Why avoid these kinds of fish? According to Andrew Heyes, a scientist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, Maryland, the older and larger the fish, the more mercury it has stored. 'As it grows older, it can't eliminate mercury as fast as it takes it in," he says. 'So there's an accumulation in the fish.' " Safer fish are salmon, cod, tilapia, and haddock. 04-09
- Study: Fit People Have Lower Heart and Death Risks (U.S. News)
"Staying healthy means a quality life that lasts longer, review finds." 05-09
- Study: HPV, Virus That Causes Cancer in Women, Is Very Common (ABC News)
"And the figures could have the greatest implications for younger women. Researchers found that among females 14 to 24 years of age, 34 percent were infected with HPV. That suggests 7.5 million teens and young women infected nationwide — much more than the 4.6 million in previous estimates."
"Harper says vaccination against HPV does not provide 100 percent protection against cervical cancer, and women still need to have regular Pap smears as recommended by their doctor to allow for early detection of changes in the cervix." 02-07
- Study: Health Risks With Plastic in Bottles (MSNBC News)
" The first major study of health effects in people from a chemical used in plastic baby bottles, food cans and a host of other products links it with possible risks for heart disease and diabetes."
"It suggests a potential new concern about the safety of bisphenol A or BPA. And because of the possible public health implications, the results 'deserve scientific follow-up,' the study authors said."
"But the study is preliminary, far from proof that the chemical causes heart disease and diabetes. Two Dartmouth College analysts of medical research said the study raises questions but provides no answers about whether the ubiquitous chemical is harmful." 09-08
- Study: How a Food Diary Can Help (U.S. News)
"There's a reason so many doctors and nutritionists recommend keeping a food diary when you're trying to lose weight: It actually appears to work. The case for food diaries (or food records or journals) got a little stronger today, when weight-loss researchers reported that a large, multicenter study suggests that tracking what goes in your mouth can double the amount of weight lost." 07-08
- Study: Medications Now Helpful with Treating Addictions (CNN News)
"These findings highlight what's become increasingly clear: Addiction is a brain disease, not just a failure of willpower. Naltrexone and topiramate have slightly different mechanisms, but both seem to block the release of brain chemicals that are linked to pleasure and excitement. Unlike earlier drugs used to treat alcoholics, neither is addictive or carries significant side effects. It does appear that each might work better in certain subgroups -- topiramate for repeat relapsers, and naltrexone in people with a strong family history of alcoholism." 04-09
- Study: Osteoporosis Shot Reduces Breaks (USA Today)
"Reclast, given as an annual, 15-minute infusion, reduced risk of new spine fractures by 70% and of hip fractures by 40%, according to data supplied by maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. The drug, chemically known as zoledronic acid, also reduced the risk of fractures elsewhere, according to a just-completed, international study of 7,736 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis." 09-06
- Study: Plastics Increase Risk for Metabolic Syndrome (Science Daily)
"New research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) implicates the primary chemical used to produce hard plastics—bisphenol A (BPA)—as a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and its consequences." 09-08
- Study: Some Clarity on Estrogen Use (US News)
"Estrogen is not risky and looks to be beneficial for women's hearts when it's begun within 10 years of menopause, says the latest report from the Women's Health Initiative appearing in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. Confused? This sure sounds different from the WHI findings that shook the world a few years back—that hormones brought heart risk, not benefit—and overnight changed how medicine and women viewed what had been seen as a fountain of health." 06-07
- Study: Three Wrinkle Removers That Work (U.S. News)
"Over the past decade, University of Michigan researchers have focused on the mechanisms behind aging skin and have emerged with a better understanding of how best to tame the process—without Botox or plastic surgery. After analyzing several dozen of their studies, the team reported last month that three treatments definitely rejuvenate skin: topical retinoic acid, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing, and injections of cross-linked hyaluronic acid. 'These three, as far as I'm concerned, are the ones where the evidence is quite solid,' says senior author John Voorhees, chair of the department of dermatology at the University of Michigan's medical school (who has no financial ties to the manufacturers of the treatments studied)."
"Why do they work? All three are able to replenish some of what skin loses with time: collagen. Wrinkles form as collagen breaks down, which signals the cells that secrete it to stop doing so. Age and sun exposure are triggers. But this cycle isn't irreversible, says Voorhees. Treatments can sweep away the old, splintered collagen, and fool cells into making more. Since collagen has a half life of 15 years, once it's laid down, lots will last, he says. 'What we're trying to say is that you actually have to do something to the skin to make it repair and rejuvenate,' says Voorhees. 'You can't expect magically to put on a potion which will stimulate the repair process deep in the skin. It doesn't happen.' " 03-07
- Study: Where You Live Influences How Long You Live (MSNBC News)
"Where you live, combined with race and income, plays a huge role in the nation's health disparities, differences so stark that a report issued Monday contends it's as if there are eight separate Americas instead of one." 09-06
- Supreme Court Rules Most of the Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional (Time.com)
"Barack Obama narrowly escaped a damaging rejection by the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday, when the Justices ruled that the health care reforms commonly known as 'Obamacare' passed constitutional muster."
"Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts ruled that the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014 could be upheld under the constitutional right of the federal government to levy taxes. 'Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax,' the majority opinion read. 'This is sufficient to sustain it.' " 06-12
- Ten Ways to Pep Up (CNN News)
"Fatigue and flagging energy seem to be epidemics, especially among women who burn the candle at both ends (and who doesn't?). Instead of moping, pump up your mojo with these 10 strategies from experts in sleep, fitness, nutrition, psychology, and alternative medicine." 03-08
- The 19 Worst Drive-Thru Foods in America (MSNBC News)
"Drive-thru foods may be convenient and easy on the wallet, but they’re loaded with unhealthy fats, added sugars, carbohydrates, and sodium. Translation: They’re no bargain when it comes to your health." 04-09
- The 20 Worst Foods for Kids (MSNBC News)
"Seventy percent of overweight adolescents end up overweight or obese in adulthood. And since obesity increases your odds of heart attack, stroke, and early death, consider the impact of an entire generation of overweight children on our country's health care system — and families. It's a chilling thought, especially if one of those children is your own. That's why we've created this list, to help your family make smarter choices today for a healthier tomorrow." 10-09
- The Cruel Irony of Hormone Therapy (MSNBC News)
"The recent data on breast cancer rates suggest that millions of women could have developed and even died from the disease because of excessive use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)."
"How did this happen?"
"A good place to look is a book called 'Feminine Forever,' by Dr. Robert A. Wilson. A best seller when it was published 40 years ago, the book helped persuade millions of physicians and their female patients that HRT was not just helpful, but necessary." 01-07
- The Value of One Human Life (Time)
"In theory, a year of human life is priceless. In reality, it's worth $50,000."
"That's the international standard most private and government-run health insurance plans worldwide use to determine whether to cover a new medical procedure." 05-08
- The Year in Medicine 2008 (Time.com)
"In good times and bad, science doesn't sleep, and every year brings breakthroughs, setbacks, reasons for worry and reasons for joy. TIME's annual alphabetical roundup of a sampling of those stories gives you an overview of the year behind and a hint of what might be in the one ahead." 04-09
- Top Five Ways to Feel Full and Eat Less (Science Daily)
"So rather than just eating less, Rolls and others say, there are ways to feel full without giving up all that much. For hunger pains that don't go away—real or imagined—here's what the latest studies suggest:" 03-07
- Top Medical Breakthroughs of 2008 (Time.com)
Provides Time's list of the top 10 medical breakthroughs. 02-09
- UV Lights for Nails May Cause Cancer (New York Times)
"There is some evidence that UV nail lights could be a risk factor for skin cancer." 08-10
- Watch Your Waist, Not Just Your Weight (U.S. News)
"You may assume that if your weight is in the healthy range, you have a low risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions linked to obesity. But new research suggests that waist size could play as important a role as body weight in determining how long you live. After examining a database of more than 100,000 men and women ages 50 and older participating in a cancer prevention study, researchers found that those with the largest waistlines had about twice the risk of dying over a nine-year period as those with the smallest waistlines." 08-10
- -06-29-12 Quiz on the Affordable Health Care Act (Christian Science Monitor)
Provides a quiz. 06-12
- Assess Your Disease Risk (YourDiseaseRisk.Harvard.edu)
Provides a questionnaire to assess your disease risk. Includes advise on how to prevent each disease.
- -04-04-11 Vast New Alzheimer's Disease Research Study (New York Times)
"The two largest studies of Alzheimer’s disease have led to the discovery of no fewer than five genes that provide intriguing new clues to why the disease strikes and how it progresses."