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The Plain Truth
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Living to 100 -- Easier Than You Think?

CHICAGO (AP) - Living to 100 is easier than you might think.

Elderly laughing
Research shows that Americans are living longer than ever, to an average age of 78. But we may be even to live even longer.
(PhotoDisc)

Surprising new research suggests that even people who develop heart disease or diabetes late in life have a decent shot at reaching the century mark.

"It has been generally assumed that living to 100 years of age was limited to those who had not developed chronic illness," said Dr. William Hall of the University of Rochester.

Hall has a theory for how these people could live to that age. In an editorial in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, where the study was published, he writes that it might be thanks to doctors who aggressively treat these older folks' health problems, rather than taking an "ageist" approach that assumes they wouldn't benefit.

For the study, Boston University researchers did phone interviews and health assessments of more than 500 women and 200 men who had reached 100. They found that roughly two-thirds of them had avoided significant age-related ailments.


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Nothing to sneeze at — decoding the common cold

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer - Fri Feb 13, 3:53 AM PST

WASHINGTON - Scientists have unraveled the genetic code of the common cold — all 99 known strains of it, to be exact. But don't expect the feat to lead to a cure for the sniffling any time soon. It turns out that rhinoviruses are even more complicated than researchers originally thought.

In fact, the genetic blueprints showed that you can catch two separate strains of cold at the same time — and those strains then can swap their genetic material inside your body to make a whole new strain.

It's why we'll never have a vaccine for the common cold, said biochemist Ann Palmenberg of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the three teams that assembled the family tree of the world's rhinoviruses.

"No vaccine, but maybe a drug," she said.

Why? The outside of these viruses — the part your body's immune system must recognize — are hugely variable, making it hard to envision a vaccine that would work against very many strains. But the inside components, what Palmenberg calls the guts of the virus, are remarkably similar from strain to strain, offering targets for therapy.

Adults typically get two to four colds a year, while schoolchildren may get as many as 10. But they do more than cause a runny nose. Rhinoviruses can trigger asthma attacks and play a role in sinusitis, certain ear infections and pneumonia.

Yet these viruses are remarkably mysterious for such a common bug. It was only in the past two years that scientists discovered there aren't two main groups of the viruses but three_ and this new "Group C" collection is nasty, tending to lodge deep in the lungs, Palmenberg said.

Wisconsin researchers paired with teams at the University of Maryland and J. Craig Venter Institute to decipher the genetic sequences of all known Group A and B rhinovirus strains and see how they're related to the newer Group C strains.

The resulting cold family tree, reported online Thursday by the journal Science, organizes human rhinoviruses into 15 distinct branches that evolved over time. Now the hunt is on to define the viral commonalities on each branch, in the quest for anti-cold drugs.

Are You Wasting Money on Multivitamins?

By Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. - Posted on Wed, Feb 11, 2009, 3:28 pm PST
Behind the Headlines
by Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. a Yahoo! Health Expert for Nutrition

Advertisements with tantalizing promises of improved health, prevention of cancer and heart disease, and greater energy have lured millions of Americans to spend billions of dollars on the purchase of multivitamins.

An article in the February 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine reported that multivitamin use did not protect the 161,808 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Study from common forms of cancer, heart attacks, or strokes. And the numbers of deaths during the 8 years of the study were the same in vitamin users as in non-users. Still, it is important to recognize that this was an observational study, not a more meaningful clinical trial. Although these findings apply only to women, other studies have failed to show benefits of multivitamins in older men.

These results are not at all surprising for several reasons. No large study has shown that multivitamins significantly benefit healthy men and women. In addition, for some years physicians prescribed folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6 in the hopes of preventing heart attacks and strokes by lowering blood levels of homocysteine. (High blood levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of coronary and other vascular diseases.) A number of recent studies, however, have shown that, while these vitamins do lower homocysteine levels, they do not prevent heart attacks or strokes.

Many doctors have also prescribed the antioxidants vitamin E and beta-carotene to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Alas, studies have now proven that these supplements are not protective--and may even be harmful.

No one denies that an adequate intake of vitamins is essential; however, vitamins can and should be obtained from eating enough healthy foods rather than from swallowing vitamin supplements.

Then what about vitamins being a great source of energy? Some multivitamin ads do indeed claim that their supplements boost energy; and some professional athletes gobble handfuls of vitamin pills to increase their energy and strength. But researchers proved long ago that energy comes from calories, not vitamins. The highly touted cholesterol-lowering effects of substances added to some multivitamin supplements? Still unproven.

All this is not to say that specific vitamins supplements are never desirable. Vitamins can be valuable in certain situations:

  • Folic acid supplements in women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant can help to prevent serious neural-tube defects that affect the baby's brain and spine.
  • Supplements that contain more vitamin D and calcium than is present in regular multivitamin pills can help older men, and especially women, avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures.
  • Supplements of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper may slow the progression of vision loss in people with early macular degeneration.

And multivitamins are beneficial for some entire groups of people:

  • those on a very-low-calorie weight-loss diet
  • strict vegetarians
  • heavy alcohol drinkers
  • individuals who are not getting an adequate diet because they are too sick or too poor--or live by themselves and are unable to prepare proper meals for themselves

I also agree with a comment made by one of the coauthors of the Archives of Internal Medicine article about postmenopausal women mentioned above. An 8-year follow-up period may not be long enough to show that multivitamins protect against cancers that take many years to develop.

All the same, the results of the studies on vitamins so far point to one conclusion: Healthy people who eat enough calories from a varied diet do not benefit from multivitamin supplements.

Stogie News: Smoking Cigars Can Improve Your Health?

Thanks to politicians, self-interested health organizations, and biased doctors, most of us probably don’t fully understand the many advantages of tobacco. It may surprise you to learn that smoking cigars poses some serious health benefits. That’s right. Benefits.

DoctorI discovered some of tobacco’s benefits when a letter from Dr. William Campbell Douglass II came across my desk this week. Once voted “Doctor of the Year” by the National Health Federation, Dr. Douglass says, “When practiced in moderation, smoking can load you up with health benefits you never imagined possible.”

The letter, which likely dates back to 2004 when Dr. Douglass’ The Health Benefits of Tobacco was published, says the author is not on Big Tobacco’s payroll and does not advocate smoking in excess. But he does say “mountains of evidence” suggest smoking and health are not necessarily at odds.

According to Dr. Douglass, smoking can:

Slash your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Improve your memory and concentration
Help prevent thyroid, breast, and skin cancer
Produce new blood vessel growth around blocked arteries


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Feds will help with COBRA payments

The federal government will subsidize 65 percent of the cost of health insurance through COBRA for workers who lost their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009.

The provision was included in the economic stimulus package signed into law Feb. 17. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, enacted in 1985, currently allows individuals to retain their company insurance coverage for up to 18 months after they leave their employer. Individuals who elect COBRA coverage pay both the employee’s and the employer’s share of the premiums, plus a 2 percent administrative charge.

Business groups are relieved the final stimulus bill didn’t include a broader expansion of COBRA. The original House bill would have allowed former employees who are 55 or older, or who have been with a company for 10 years, to receive health coverage through COBRA until they are eligible for Medicare at 65.

Business groups said covering this age group through COBRA would have cost employers more than what the former employees would have paid for it, especially since individuals 55 and over tend to have more serious health issues than younger workers.

For more information about COBRA, see www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm .

Drug Improves Mobility in Some MS Patients

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The drug fampridine improves walking ability in some people with multiple sclerosis.

In a phase III study that included 301 patients, aged 18 to 70, the participants were randomly assigned to receive either 10 milligrams of fampridine or a placebo twice a day for 14 weeks. The patients' walking speed was assessed after two weeks, six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks.

The number of timed walk responders -- those who achieved a faster walking speed in at least three of the four assessments while on treatment compared to when they weren't on treatment -- was 78 out of 224 (35 percent) in the fampridine group and six out of 72 (8 percent) in the placebo group. The patients in the fampridine group also showed greater improvement in leg strength.

Eleven patients (5 percent) in the fampridine group had to withdraw from the study due to adverse events, but only two serious adverse events (focal seizure and severe anxiety) were considered to be connected with the drug, according to Andrew Goodman, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, and colleagues. But they added that the risk of seizure noted in previous studies seems to increase in a dose-dependent way with fampridine.

"Treatment with fampridine produces clinically meaningful improvement in walking ability in some people with multiple sclerosis, irrespective of disease course type or concomitant treatment with immunomodulators," the researchers concluded.

The study was published in this week's edition of The Lancet.

MS patients suffer a progressive decline in mobility, but there are few treatment options available to complement physiotherapy. While it has been suggested that fampridine may improve visual function, strength, walking ability, fatigue and endurance in MS patients, there are questions about the drug's efficacy and safety.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about multiple sclerosis.

Documents on Seroquel show drugmaker

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Internal AstraZeneca reports and e-mails written by company officials show they knew a decade ago that their psychiatric drug Seroquel caused diabetes and major weight gain, plaintiffs' lawyers said Friday after releasing dozens of the previously sealed documents.

"They not only failed to warn about the risk of diabetes, but they marketed it as not having that risk," said Houston attorney Ed Blizzard, one of the lead attorneys representing roughly 15,000 plaintiffs suing the British drugmaker.

The plaintiffs claim Seroquel, approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, caused diabetes, weight gain and related health problems, from kidney failure and heart attacks to amputations and damage to the pancreas, which makes insulin.

AstraZeneca spokesman Tony Jewell said plaintiffs' lawyers are "mischaracterizing that we knew that it caused diabetes." He said it remains unresolved whether Seroquel causes diabetes, and that AstraZeneca PLC has shared all relevant and required data with the Food and Drug Administration, both before and after the FDA approved Seroquel as safe and effective in 1997.

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Bypass or Stents?


Some experts say the choice is up to you

http://yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com/bypass-truly-better-than-stenting.html?nlcid=hr|02-27-2009| Results from a new study may make it easier for heart patients and their doctors to decide on a surgical treatment for dangerously blocked arteries. Researchers compared two groups: people who had bypass surgery and those who had angioplasty with stenting. While interpretations of the study results differ, some experts say the pros and cons of the procedures balance out, suggesting that the ultimate choice is up to the patient.

Plus: Breathing exercises before heart surgery may speed recovery and reduce pneumonia risk afterward. Consider asking your heart doctor if breathing workouts could help you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chemists Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Garlic

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2009) — A Queen's-led team has discovered the reason why garlic is so good for us.
Researchers have widely believed that the organic compound, allicin – which gives garlic its aroma and flavour – acts as the world's most powerful antioxidant. But until now it hasn't been clear how allicin works, or how it stacks up compared to more common antioxidants such as Vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, which stop the damaging effects of radicals.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/01/090130154901-large.jpg
Garlic. Chemists have discovered the reason why garlic is so good for us. (Credit: iStockphoto/Jorge Farres Sanchez)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Super Spice Secrets: Can This Miracle Spice Stop Cancer, Alzheimer's and Arthritis?

turmeric, curcumin, india, herbs, spices, cancer, alzheimer's, arthritisBy Dr. Mercola

For more than 5,000 years, turmeric has been an important part of Eastern cultural traditions, including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Valued for its medicinal properties and warm, peppery flavor, this yellow-orange spice has more recently earned a name for itself in Western medicine as well.

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is native to Indonesia and southern India, and is widely used as an ingredient in curry dishes and yellow mustard. As research into this powerful spice has increased, it has emerged as one of nature’s most powerful potential healers.

Said Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

“If I had only one single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose the Indian spice Turmeric. There is little it cannot do in the realm of healing and much that no other herb is able to accomplish.

Turmeric has a broad spectrum of actions, mild but certain effects, and is beneficial for long term and daily usage. Though it is a common spice, few people, including herbalists know of its great value and are using it to the extent possible. It is an herb that one should get to know and live with.”

Turmeric’s Beneficial Effects in a Nutshell

Strengthens and improves digestion

  • Reduces gas and bloating
  • Assists in the digestion of protein and with rice and bean dishes
  • Improves your body's ability to digest fats
  • Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses and deficiencies
  • Maintains and improves intestinal flora
  • Improves elimination of wastes and toxins

Supports healthy liver function and detox

  • Turmeric helps increase bile flow making it a liver cleanser that can rejuvenate your liver cells and recharge their capability to break down toxins
  • Helps to prevent alcohol and other toxins from being converted into compounds that may be harmful to your liver
  • Supports formation of healthy tissue

Purifies your blood

  • Stimulates formation of new blood tissue
  • Anti-inflammatory: Helps to reduce irritation to tissues characterized by pain, redness, swelling and heat

Contains curcuminoids that fight cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s

  • Curcuminoids are potent phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that contain powerful antioxidant properties
  • Counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in your body
  • Relieve arthritis pain and stiffness, anti-inflammatory agent
  • Anti-carcinogenic: “Curcumin has been shown to prevent a large of number of cancers in animal studies. Laboratory data indicate that curcumin can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.”[1]
  • Supports treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: “Because Alzheimer's disease is caused in part by amyloid-induced inflammation, curcumin has been shown to be effective against Alzheimer's. Clinical trials are in progress at UCLA with curcumin for Alzheimer's.”[2]

Curcumin: Turmeric’s Active Anti-Inflammatory “Ingredient”

Most notably turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come from curcumin -- the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, and which is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. There are an estimated three to five grams of curcumin in 100 grams of turmeric.

Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.[3]

Turmeric’s Cancer-Fighting Properties

In India where turmeric is widely used, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers -- colon, breast, prostate and lung -- is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to turmeric.

Numerous studies have looked into this potential cancer-fighting link, with promising results. For instance, curcumin has been found to:

  • Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
  • Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
  • Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Enhance liver function
  • Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
  • Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth

As for the results of research studies, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.[4]

"Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch," said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal. "Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells."

A second study in Biochemical Pharmacology also found that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth.[5]

Turmeric’s Essential Role for Your Liver

Your liver’s primary role is to process and remove toxins carried in your bloodstream. When functioning at its peak, it can filter up to two liters of blood per minute and easily break apart toxic molecules to reduce their toxicity. Your liver is also a crucial part of vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, carbohydrate and hormonal metabolism.

However, poor diet, allergens, pollution and stress can cause your liver to become sluggish, and this can impair its vital functions. This is where turmeric can be a very useful part of your liver support system. Studies have shown that it:

  • May increase important detoxification enzymes in your liver
  • Induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes

Turmeric is also a natural cholagogue, a medicinal agent that promotes the discharge of bile from your system. Increased bile flow is important to help your liver detoxify and to help your body digest fats.

Turmeric for Your Heart, Brain and Overall Health

Turmeric inhibits free radical damage of fats, including cholesterol. When cholesterol is damaged in this way, or oxidized, it can then damage your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, research suggests that turmeric’s ability to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol may be beneficial for your heart. It’s also rich in vitamin B6, high intakes of which are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, turmeric appears to be highly protective against neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, in India levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s are very low, and studies have shown that curcumin can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice. The compound has also proven capable of blocking the progression of multiple sclerosis.

Further, Professor Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, who has been studying turmeric for the last 20 years, believes that turmeric can protect against harmful environmental chemicals, and in so doing protect against childhood leukemia. The research showed that curcumin in turmeric can:[7]

  • Inhibit the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (cancer-causing chemicals in the environment)
  • Inhibit radiation-induced chromosome damage
  • Prevent the formation of harmful heterocyclic amines and nitroso compounds, which may result in the body when eating certain processed foods, such as processed meat products
  • Irreversibly inhibit the multiplication of leukemia cells in a cell culture

Turmeric's volatile oils also have external anti-bacterial action. As such, they may help prevent bacterial wound infections and accelerate wound healing. Johnson & Johnson even sells a curcumin-containing Band-Aid in India!

And the therapeutic potential of turmeric and curcumin do not end there. Evidence suggests the spice may also be beneficial for:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Gallstones
  • Muscle regeneration
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Which Type of Turmeric is Best?

For use in cooking, choose a pure turmeric powder, rather than a curry powder. At least one study has found that curry powders tend to contain very little curcumin, compared to turmeric powder. Turmeric is also available in supplement form and for many this is a more convenient method to obtain these health benefits discussed above, especially if they are from a high-quality organic source and if one doesn’t particularly enjoy the taste of curry.

On my recent trip to India I was able to find a company called Organic India that produces probably some of the best Indian herbs on the planet.

FDA Approves New Gout Medicine

For the first time in more than forty years there's a new medication receiving FDA approval for the treatment of gout.

That often affects one joint, which is most often the big toe, but can happen with many joints in the body.

It's the most common inflammatory arthritis is men over age 40.

The medicine is called Uloric.

It's a once daily oral medication that works by blocking an enzyme which helps prevent uric acid production, lowering uric acid levels.

Bulge Zapper Not Available in US -- Yet

(Feb. 12) - A relatively new medical treatment has the potential to minimize some of those unsightly bulges -- without surgery. It's not approved in the U.S., but it may be in the future. So how much promise does the technology hold?
The UltraShape system uses a noninvasive ultrasound device designed to target and destroy fat cells only and leave surrounding tissue unaffected. The patient's body then naturally metabolizes the fat released from the cells, studies have found
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Stress Adds Years to Face

Wrinkles are not due to genetics alone but also to stressful environmental factors, such as a divorce, abnormal weight loss and use of antidepressants, according to a study published Tuesday.

"A person's heritage may initially dictate how they age -- but if you introduce certain factors into your life, you will certainly age faster. Likewise, if you avoid those factors, you can slow down the hands of time," said study author Bahaman Guyuron, an American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) member. MORE.....

Teen TV Time Linked to Adult Depression

Teens who spend too much time watching television or playing video games have a higher risk for depression as young adults. And the more media teens were exposed to, the higher the risk, especially among males.

A study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health and involved more than 4,100 teens who were not depressed when the survey began in 1995. They were asked how many hours they spent each day the previous week watching television, playing computer games or listening to the radio. (This was before the Internet was in wide use.) The teens reported an average media exposure of 5.68 hours each day. Seven years later, at an average age of 21.8, “Participants had significantly greater odds of developing depression for each hour of daily television views,” the authors wrote.

The odds of developing depression rose eight percent for each additional hour of television watched each day and five percent for overall electronic media.

Researchers aren’t sure exactly why watching television leads to depression, but study author Dr. Brian Primack said it could be linked to all the depressing events on television. “Television emphasizes bad news, and repeated exposure to it might be internalized,” he told HealthDay News.

TV commercials might also be at fault. “You see about 20,000 television advertisements a year, and a large proportion of them dwell on the fact that life is not perfect,” Primack said.

In addition television might be replacing other activities, such as social or athletic activities that protect against stress and depression, or television could cut down on the amount of sleep.

“It really does seem that television exposure is what occurs first and then depression is what occurs later,” said Dr. Primack. “This does not prove causality but it certainly suggests it.”

http://www.newsmax.com/health/teen_TV_adult_depression/2009/02/04/178278.html


Hormone Therapy Doubles Breast Cancer Risk

Post-menopausal women who take combined hormone replacement therapy for at least five years double their risk of developing breast cancer, according to a study published Wednesday.

However, once they stop taking the combination of estrogen and progestin their risk of cancer falls by at least 28 percent within one year, said the researchers at Stanford University in California.

"This is very strong evidence that estrogen plus progestin causes breast cancer," said Marcia Stefanick, co-author of the study that appears in the February 5 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. MORE.....

Beach Vacations May Increase Kids' Melanoma Risk

Spending vacations at the beach during childhood may increase the risk of the deadly skin cancer melanoma later in life, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researchers examined 681 white children born in 1998 who were lifetime residents of Colorado and conducted exams on the children when they were seven years old to identify nevi -- commonly known of moles -- which are a risk factor for developing melanoma. MORE.....

Brave Bad World! Cancer Survivors Declining Care Due to Costs

More than a million cancer survivors living in the United States are foregoing what they believe is necessary medical care due to the cost, and Hispanics and African-Americans are twice as likely to go without services, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on the Science of Health Care Disparities.

“These survivors are either going without, or significantly delaying, dental care, general medical care, mental health care or prescription drugs,” said Kathryn Weaver, Ph.D., a cancer prevention fellow at the National Cancer Institute.

Although insurance status did play a role, foregoing care due to cost still persisted among the insured. “There are significant out-of-pocket expenses, even for those with insurance,” said Weaver.

Weaver and colleagues used data from the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey to identify 6,602 adult cancer survivors. Of these survivors, 64.3 percent were female, 4.8 percent were Hispanic, 6.4 percent were non-Hispanic black and 88.8 percent were non-Hispanic white. The survey is conducted annually and questions about 30,000 to 40,000 households.

Overall, the prevalence of foregoing medical care due to cost was 7.8 percent for general medical care, 9.9 percent for prescription medication, 11.3 percent for dental care and 2.7 percent for mental health care.

Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics were 2.14-fold more likely to forego prescription medications due to cost concerns and African-Americans were 87 percent more likely to forego prescriptions. For dental care, Hispanics were 2.31-fold more likely to go without and African-Americans were 57 percent more likely.

These differences persisted after statistical adjustments for education, health insurance coverage and non-cancer medical comorbidities.

“Efforts to expand insurance coverage might go some way toward addressing these problems, but absent that, clinicians need to be more aware that their patients are not getting these services and work to try to connect them to charity or low-cost care,” said Weaver.

Losing Weight Can Cure Obstructive Sleep Apnea

For sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a new study shows that losing weight is perhaps the single most effective way to reduce OSA symptoms and associated disorders, according to a new study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, one of the American Thoracic Society’s three peer-reviewed journals. MORE

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dark Chocolate Fights Cancer

The great news this Valentine’s Day is that in addition to being decadent and delicious, moderate amounts of dark chocolate may play a role in cancer prevention,” said Sally Scroggs, M.S., R.D., L.D., health education manager at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention Center.

Recent research indicates that dark chocolate’s chemicals, which act as antioxidants, have been shown to play a role in reducing cancer risks by helping to combat cell damage that can lead to tumor growth. These antioxidants occur naturally in the plant-based cacao bean, the base of all chocolate products. Cacao beans are, in fact, one of the most concentrated natural sources of antioxidants that exist.

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Apple Juice Slows Alzheimer's Protein

Drinking apple juice helps slow the accumulation of the protein fragments that damage the brain in Alzheimer's disease, new research in mice shows.

The protein fragments, known as beta-amyloid, are the building blocks of the plaques that form in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

The findings don't suggest that Alzheimer's disease can be treated by gulping gallons of apple juice, but they do point to the importance of long-term nutrition in preventing aging-related changes like those seen in Alzheimer's disease, Thomas B. Shea of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the co-author of the current study, said in an interview with Reuters Health.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

How Much HFCS Is In Ketchup?

I was looking again at the quote from Con-Agra in regards to trace amounts of mercury found in HFCS-laced foods like ketchup, and the thing is, people don't just eat ketchup. HFCS is everywhere.

HFCS is also used as a sweetner in a vast array of common foods, from barbecue sauce to tomato soup.

The PR spokesperson said a person would have to eat 100 pounds of ketchup a day to reach the safe exposure levels. Ok then, let's reverse-engineer the quote. How much HFCS is in ketchup? Using that, plus the USDA's data that the According to the USDA, average person ate 128.3 pounds of HFCS in 2006, maybe we can figure out how much HFCS-related mercury people ingest a year, at least in the hypopthetical worse-case scenario where all HFCS has mercury.

Also, mercury builds up in the muscle of fish, does it do the same for humans?

If people are eating all this HFCS on the regular and little bits of mercury are adding up...then that's something worth looking into. It's not necessarily a crisis, but it's also not as trivial as the spokesperson tried to make it sound (imagine that).

PREVIOUSLY: Teeny Bits Of Mercury Found In High Fructose Corn Syrup Foods
(Photo: woohooitsallie)