Brushing Teeth Is Heart-Healthy

People with poor oral hygiene are more at risk of heart disease compared to counterparts who brush their teeth twice a day, according to a Scottish study released on Friday.

University College London researchers looked over data from an investigation into 11,000 people in Scotland, covering their medical history, family records of disease, and lifestyle.

Seven out of 10 reported they brushed their teeth twice a day, and six out of 10 said they visited the dentist every six months.


Lights keep vegies full of vitamins

Supermarket lights help keep spinach fresh and producing new vitamins, according to US government researchers.

The surprising findings should apply to other fresh vegetables and may offer insights into how to keep produce fresher longer, the researchers reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

They may also suggest ways to boost nutrients in fresh foods, says Gene Lester of the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. He says the idea for the experiment came to him when he was shopping.

Supermarkets often display fresh spinach in clear plastic containers at around 4°C under fluorescent light 24 hours a day. Lester wondered if this was good or bad for the leaves.

"It is about time we asked some of these questions and do some of the science," says Lester.

Stay fresh

His team kept fresh spinach leaves under continuous light or darkness for three to nine days.

Spinach kept under lights for as little as three days had significantly higher levels of vitamins C, K, E and folate, as well as more the colourful and healthful carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, they report.

Leaves stored in the dark lost nutrients, says Lester. On reflection, he says, the findings should not be surprising.

"These vitamins are basically in the plant for photosynthesis and we humans, being the biggest predator of plants, have evolved over time to utilise them as opposed to we having to manufacture them," he says.

Even when picked, leafy greens continue to photosynthesis, says Lester. "As long as there is moisture in the leaves and as long as there is gas exchange and light, it is good to go whether they are picked or not."

His team chose fresh spinach as it is "arguably one of the most nutritionally complete vegetables commonly consumed." A serving of spinach provides 20% or more of the recommended dietary intake of vitamins C, A, B9, K and E.

Facts on Smoking You are Not Told, or Why George Burns Lived to 100!

by Robert R. Barney

We are running a series of articles in our YOUR HEALTH TODAY section which I think will absolutely blow most of our readers today! Over the past 40 years, we have been overwhelmed with the evils of smoking. The message has basically been, SMOKE ONE CIGARETTE and YOU WILL DIE A DAY YOUNGER! Have you ever thought of any benefits of smoking? Honestly, could there be any benefits? Well I did my own investigation and guess what? Smoking in moderation may actually be GOOD for you! I know that smacks in the face of everything science and government has been telling us, but sometimes governments LIE! Here are just a few examples of FACTS I bet you don't know:

-- Q10 is made from Tobacco
-- Smoking Reduces both Parkinson Disease AND Alzheimers!
-- Smoking increases certain hormones and can act similar to Viagra!
-- A Reduced risk in women who smoke to Colon Cancer
-- Moderate Cigar or Non-Filtered Cigarettes may actually help you live Longer

I realize that this sounds like I have gone bonkers, but friends, every statement I have made has proven science behind it and I document it below! Drinking wine can kill you. If you drink two to thee bottles of wine a day, you will probably be at a much greater risk of developing a host of diseases related to alcoholism, yet we know that those who drink a glass a day statistically live longer than tea-tottlers. The same seems to apply to smoking. Very low doses of smoking (a Cigar or two once a week or two or three NON-FILTERED cigarettes a day) actually helps our bodies. It has been documented for years that Japanese men out smoke American men yet have lower incidences of lung cancer! ( )

One looks at people like George Burns who lived to be 100, smoking a cigar his entire life. Would he have lived to 150 if he didn't smoke? Well, the evidence I am presenting suggests that he lived that long BECAUSE he smoked.

If you notice,whenever I mentioned cigarette smoking, I always wrote of NON-FILTERED cigarettes. Again, big businees like the tobacco companies and our government know that the filters on these cigarettes are much more harmful than the tobacco smoke! More than 90% of the cigarettes sold worldwide have a filter. Nearly all filters consist of a rod of numerous ( > 12 000) plastic-like cellulose acetate fibres. During high speed cigarette manufacturing procedures, fragments of cellulose acetate that form the mouthpiece of a filter rod become separated from the filter at the end face. The cut surface of the filter of nearly all cigarettes has these fragments. In smoking a cigarette in the usual manner, some of these fragments are released during puffing. In addition to the cellulose acetate fragments, carbon particles are released also from some cigarette brands that have a charcoal filter. Cigarettes with filters that release cellulose acetate or carbon particles during normal smoking conditions are defective. Philip Morris, Inc has known of this filter defect for more than 40 years.
results of investigations substantiating defective filters have been concealed from the smoker and the health community. The tobacco industry has been negligent in not performing toxicological examinations and other studies to assess the human health risks associated with regularly ingesting and inhaling non-degradable, toxin coated cellulose acetate fragments and carbon microparticles and possibly other components that are released from conventional cigarette filters during normal smoking. The rationale for harm assessment is supported by the results of consumer surveys that have shown that the ingestion or inhalation of cigarette filter fibres are a health concern to nearly all smokers. (From “Cigarettes with defective filters marketed for 40 years: what Philip Morris never told smokers” (Tobacco Control 2002;11:i51-i61):)

Check out a host of stories we have on this subject on

Notes and References

1) The miracle supplement (for skin, heart, brain rejuvenation) Coenzyme Q10 is extracted from tobacco leaf!
Dr. Ricjard A. Kunin extols the benefits of Coenzyme Q10. He also says: The energy of oxidation in cells depends on CoQ in partnership with niacinamide (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and minerals such as iron and copper to effect the movement of electrons and hydrogen protons in the power plant of cell, the mitochondrion. Incidentally, tobacco leaf is the champion source, containing 184 mg in a quarter pound. Note that the doctor follows with the disclaimer, "In fact, the Japanese companies make their CoQ from tobacco, however it is only released by means of bacterial fermentation not by smoking." The fact remains that CoQ 10 is a natural miracle for the human body and it's chief source is tobacco!

2) Smoking Reduces Parkinson's Disease: Studies world-wide has notice that smokers have a significally lower incidence of getting the disease, yet this is never mentioned in any of the anti-smoking campaigns.

Neurology. 1999 Sep 22;53(5):1158. Smoking and Parkinson's disease: a dose-response relationship Gorell JM, Rybicki BA, Johnson CC, Peterson EL
Department of Neurology, Henry Ford Health System, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center in Molecular and Cellular Toxicology with Human Applications, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.

Also see Smoking lowers Parkinson's disease risk from Reuters (Mar 20, 2007).

From “Temporal relationship between cigarette smoking and risk of Parkinson disease” (NEUROLOGY 2007;68:764-768):

3) The by-product of smoking (Nitric Oxide) helps in opening our arteries! Nitric oxide stimulates peripheral circulation (this is the mechanism behind Viagra effect).Low concentration carbon monoxide (as found in tobacco smoke) protects cells in harsh conditions, such as low oxygen and general cell death

4) Smoking actually increases GROWTH Hormones! Like testosterone and DHEA.
source: Geriatrics & Gerontology International (Volume 6 Issue 1 Page 49-52, March 2006)Relation of age and smoking to serum levels of total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in aged men in , which found these results, "Serum T did not decrease with age, and was significantly higher in smokers than for non-smokers. Serum DHEA decreased with age more sharply in non-smokers than for smokers."

5) Smoking reduces IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)--at least in males for sure. In animal experiments, lowered insuline growth factor IGF-1 change extends lifespan.

6) Reduced Incidence of Colorectal Cancer--especially in women.

Cigarette Smoking and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 80, No. 16, 1329-1333, October 19, 1988) states, "Colorectal cancer incidence rates for smokers, nonsmokers living with smokers (i.e., passive smokers), and non-smokers in smoke-free households were compared in a 12-year prospective study of 25, 369 women who participated in a private census conducted in Washington County, MD, in 1963. Women who smoked had a decreased relative risk of colorectal cancer compared with the risk for nonsmokers (age-adjusted relative risk, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.52–1.10). The risk for passive smokers was similar to that for smokers. The relative risks were significantly reduced for older women; relative risks were 0.42 for smokers and 0.66 for passive smokers over age 65. The data suggest that older women who smoke have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than non-smokers. The effect may be mediated by an antiestrogenic effect of smoking."

7) People who smoke fare better than nonsmokers when exposed to occupational hazards.
From Lack of combined effects of exposure and smoking on respiratory health in aluminium potroom workersBritish Medical Journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Vol 56, 468-472, 1999):

8) Cigarette smoking may be an independent protective factor for developing schizophrenia. These results are consistent with animal models showing both neuroprotective effects of nicotine and differential release of prefrontal dopamine in response to nicotine.
From Cancer in schizophrenia: is the risk higher or lower? in Schizophrenia Research (Volume 73, Issue 2, Pages 333-341) at :
The incidence of cancer in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia was compared with the incidence in the general population. The results showed that the cancer standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for all sites were significantly lower among men and women with schizophrenia, 0.86 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80–0.93] and 0.91 (95% CI 0.85–0.97), respectively. This reduced overall risk was clearest for those born in Europe–America, both men (SIR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74–0.97) and women (SIR 0.86, 95% CI 0.77–0.94).
Appetite Suppressant -- no citations. Common sense. Most stimulants are appetite suppressants, and nicotine does seem to be a stimulant.

9) Tobacco: the definitive link in healthy aging by Daniel John Richard Date.
Reduces incidence of Alzheimer's, among other degenerative diseases.

"A statistically significant inverse association between smoking and Alzheimer's disease was observed at all levels of analysis, with a trend towards decreasing risk with increasing consumption" (International Journal of Epidemiology, 1991)

"The risk of Alzheimer's disease decreased with increasing daily number of cigarettes smoked before onset of disease. . . . In six families in which the disease was apparently inherited . . . the mean age of onset was 4.17 years later in smoking patients than in non-smoking patients from the same family" (British Medical Journal, June 22, 1991)

"Although more data are needed . . . [an analysis of 19 studies suggests] nicotine protects against AD" (Neuroepidemiology, 1994)

Nicotine injections significantly improved certain types of mental functioning in Alzheimer's patients (Psychopharmacology, 1992).

One theory: nicotine improves the responsiveness of Alzheimer's patients to acetylcholine, an important brain chemical.

“When chronically taken, nicotine may result in: (1) positive reinforcement [it makes you feel good], (2) negative reinforcement [it may keep you from feeling bad], (3) reduction of body weight [by reducing appetite and increasing metabolic rate], (4) enhancement of performance, and protection against: (5) Parkinson's disease, (6) Tourette's disease [tics], (7) Alzheimer's disease, (8) ulcerative colitis and (9) sleep apnea. The reliability of these effects varies greatly but justifies the search for more therapeutic applications for this interesting compound." ("Beneficial Effects of Nicotine," Jarvik, British Journal of Addiction, 1991)

See more on smoking and reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease. In this compilation of 19 studies, 15 found a reduce risk in smokers, and none found an increased risk. Also noted is the fact that acute administration of nicotine improves attention and information processing in AD patients, which adds further plausibility to the hypothesis.
Smoking is Good for You: Absence, Presence, and the Ecumenical Appeal of Indian Islamic Healing Centers
In Shop owner says smoking 'doesn't cause disease' a shop owner "tells his customers that smoking calms the nerves and soothes the mind." This is in sync with what Albert Einstein stated upon becoming a lifetime member of the Montreal Pipe Smokers Club at the age of 71, "I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs."

Facts on Smoking

Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer! (According to WHO/CDC Data)*

By: James P. Siepmann, MD

Yes, it is true, smoking does not cause lung cancer. It is only one of many risk factors for lung cancer. I initially was going to write an article on how the professional literature and publications misuse the language by saying "smoking causes lung cancer"1,2, but the more that I looked into how biased the literature, professional organizations, and the media are, I modified this article to one on trying to put the relationship between smoking and cancer into perspective. (No, I did not get paid off by the tobacco companies, or anything else like that.)

When the tobacco executives testified to Congress that they did not believe that smoking caused cancer, their answers were probably truthful and I agree with that statement. Now, if they were asked if smoking increases the risk of getting lung cancer, then their answer based upon current evidence should have be "yes." But even so, the risk of a smoker getting lung cancer is much less than anyone would suspect. Based upon what the media and anti-tobacco organizations say, one would think that if you smoke, you get lung cancer (a 100% correlation) or at least expect a 50+% occurrence before someone uses the word "cause."

Benefits of Smoking???

Nicotine's protective effect against neurodegenerative disorders

While the health risks of tobacco are well known, several studies have shown that people with a history of cigarette smoking have lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. However, the explanations for nicotine's neuroprotective effects continue to be debated.

Now a team of neuroscientists at the University of South Florida College of Medicine presents new evidence of an anti-inflammatory mechanism in the brain by which nicotine may protect against nerve cell death. Their study was published today in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Scientists Figure Out How Alcohol Lowers Blood Sugar

Patrick Totty

Swedish scientists have found that alcohol lowers blood sugar by redirecting blood within the pancreas and sending massive amounts of it to the islets.

The finding by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is the first to show how alcohol is able to lower blood sugar levels. What happens is that by sending more of the pancreas's internal blood flow to the islets, alcohol spurs insulin production, which in turn lowers glucose levels.

The scientists injected rats with ethanol alcohol and noted that blood flow to the islets increased fourfold. The alcohol did not affect the amount of blood reaching the pancreas, only the distribution of blood within it.

The study also found that alcohol induced the changes in blood flow by affecting nitric oxide, a chemical compound that medical studies suggest is instrumental in glucose transport and the actions of insulin. Alcohol also affected the vagus nerve, which descends from the brain and into the abdomen and, among other things, signals organs there to secrete.

Source: Endocrinology, January 2008


by Tom Cowan, MD

As I'm sure most of you know by now, there are very few subjects as emotionally charged as the choice of one's diet. Sexual relations, marriage and finances come to mind as similarly charged subjects and, like diet, we are all sure we know all we need to know about each of these subjects. The subject of milk, as I have discovered during the past four years, when properly viewed will challenge every notion you currently have about what is good food and what isn't. The story of milk is complex and goes something like this.

Back in the preprocessed food era (that is before about 1930 in this country) milk was considered an important food, especially for children. Not only was there an entire segment of our economy built up around milk but, as I remember, each house had its own milk chute for the delivery of fresh milk directly to the house. It was unquestioned that milk was good for us and that a safe, plentiful milk supply was actually vital to our national health and well-being. It was also a time (now I'm referring to the early part of the century) when many of the illnesses which we currently suffer from were rare. As an example, family doctors would often go their whole careers without ever seeing a patient with significant coronary artery disease, breast or prostate cancer, whereas current doctors can hardly go one month without encountering a patient with such an illness. Furthermore, as scientists such as Weston Price, DDS discovered, there were pockets of extremely healthy, long-lived people scattered about the earth who used dairy products in various forms as the staple of their diets — further evidence that milk and its by-products were amongst the most healthful foods man has ever encountered.

If we fast forward to the 1980's, we now find an entirely different picture. For one thing, there have been numerous books written in the past decade about the dangers of dairy products — the most influential being a book by Frank Oski, MD, the current chairman of pediatrics of Johns Hopkins University and perhaps the most influential pediatrician in this country. It's called Don't Drink Your Milk. In it Oski pins just about every health problem in children to the consumption of milk, everything from acute and chronic ear infections, constipation, asthma, eczema, and so on. Secondly, just about all patients I have now in their initial visit proudly announce that they have a good diet and that, specifically, they don't eat dairy (which they pronounce with such disdain).

One might well ask where the truth in this picture. Perhaps the experiments of Dr. Francis Pottenger in the 1940's can help to solve this mystery. In these experiments Dr. Pottenger fed one group of cats a diet consisting of raw milk, raw meat and cod liver oil. Other groups were given pasteurized milk, evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk instead of raw milk. The results were conclusive and astounding. Those that ate raw milk and raw meat did well and lived long, happy, active lives free of any signs of degenerative disease. Those cats on pasteurized milk suffered from acute illnesses (vomiting, diarrhea) and succumbed to every degenerative disease now flourishing in our population, even though they were also getting raw meat and cod liver oil. By the 3rd generation a vast majority of the cats were infertile and exhibited "anti-social" behavior — in short, they were like modern Americans.

Since the 40's the "qualities" of milk have been extensively studied to try to find an explanation for these dramatic changes. Studies have shown that before heating, milk is a living food rich in colloidal minerals and enzymes necessary for the absorption and utilization of the sugars, fats and minerals in the milk. For example, milk has an enzyme called phosphatase that allows the body to absorb the calcium from the milk. Lactase is an enzyme that allows for the digestion of lactose.

Butterfat has a cortisone-like factor which is heat sensitive (destroyed by heat) that prevents stiffness in the joints. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria as well as lactic acids that allow these beneficial bacteria to implant in the intestines. All of these qualities are destroyed during pasteurization. Once heated, milk becomes rotten, with precipitated minerals that can't be absorbed (hence osteoporosis), with sugars that can't be digested (hence allergies), and with fats that are toxic.

Raw milk has been used as a therapy in folk medicine — and even in the Mayo Clinic — for centuries. It has been used in the pre-insulin daysto treat diabetes (I've tried it — it works), as well as eczema, intestinal worms, allergies, and arthritis, all for reasons which can be understood when we realize just what is in milk — such as the cortisone-like factor for allergies and eczema.

Another way we ruin milk is by feeding cows high protein feed made from soybeans and other inappropriate foodstuffs. Rarely is anyone truly allergic to grass-fed cow's milk.

Fresh raw milk, from cows eating well-manured green grass is a living unprocessed whole food. Compare this to the supposedly "healthy" soy milk which has been washed in acids and alkalis, ultrapasteurized, then allowed to sit in a box for many months.

The Pottenger cat studies provide a simple but profound lesson for all Americans: Processed, dead foods don't support life or a happy well-functioning society. We must return to eating pure, wholesome, unprocessed foods, including whole raw milk from pasture fed cows.

In my practice I ALWAYS start there — I encourage, insist, even beg people to eat real foods— no matter what the problem. Often with just this intervention the results are gratifying. SO, find a cow, find a farmer, make sure the cow (or goat, llama, or whatever) is healthy and start your return to good health!

Toxic glue used in supermarket food packaging 'poses severe risk to health'

Supermarket food is at risk of being contaminated by a 'highly toxic' chemical found in the glue of packaging labels.

The chemical, which is in the same class of toxicity as mercury, asbestos and hydrochloric acid, can seep through and contaminate food, according to a study.

It has been found in high levels on some of the sticky labels attached to packages of fresh meat, vegetables and tubs of sauce.

Toxic: A chemical used in the packaging of supermarket food can  seep through and contaminate meat and vegetables, according to a study  (posed by model)

Toxic: A chemical used in the packaging of supermarket food can seep through and contaminate meat and vegetables, according to a study (posed by model)

It could pose a 'particularly severe risk to health' as highly toxic chemicals can cause organ failure and even death in high doses.

The study follows previous research that found chemicals in a wide range of products that may cause infertility in women, cancer, immune system disorders and even neurological problems.

Strict EU safety regulations mean that certain materials can not come into direct contact with food, but there are no rules about the chemicals in label adhesives.

The study, published today in the Royal Society of Chemistry's 'Journal of Materials Chemistry', showed that toxic compounds on four label glues can seep through paper and plastic packaging and contaminate the food inside.

The researchers from the University of Zaragoza, Spain studied four different acrylic adhesives commonly used on food labels.

They examined in detail 11 compounds found in the glues, four of which seeped through the packaging.

Three of these had low toxicity while the remaining compound belonged to the highest risk category.

Valerie Guillard, an expert in food technology and packaging at the University of Montpellier, France, said: 'This work brings significant breakthroughs in the study of compliance with regulations of food-contact materials.'

Are Your Friends Really Having More Sex Than You Are?

There's always that one couple at the dinner party that can't keep their hands off of each other, pawing, smooching, calling each other "sweetie" and "baby," while the other wives and husbands try to keep from ogling and turn their attention to the latest neighborhood gossip.

We roll our eyes and snicker, but, really, we envy the love birds. Admit it, you do, too.

And, come on, wouldn't you just love to know how much sex your married friends are really having?

Well, now we have some insight, thanks to an iVillage survey of 2,000 American housewives between the ages of 18 and 49. So, try throwing out these stats at your next adult gathering: 23 percent of women reported having sex one to three times a month, while a close 21 percent say they have sex more than 10 times monthly.

Don't fret if your numbers lag a bit, just be happy you're not one of the 9 percent who reported not having sex at all in the past year.

Frequency, however, doesn't seem to be the only determining factor when it comes to satisfaction, since 77 percent of women surveyed reported they were happy with their sex lives, and 48 percent rate their husband as the best sex partner of their life. All great news.

But here's the bad news: 63 percent of women would rather be sleeping, watching a movie or reading than having sex. Maybe it's a matter of that same old, same old: An overwhelming 81 percent of married women rate their sex life as predictable.


Study: Statins Can Cause Kidney Failure

People using cholesterol-lowering statins have higher risks of liver dysfunction, kidney failure, muscle weakness, and cataracts, and such side effects of the drug should be closely tracked, doctors said on Friday.

In a study covering more than 2 million people in Britain, researchers from Nottingham University found that adverse side effects of statins, which are prescribed to people with high levels of cholesterol to cut the risk of heart disease, were generally worst in the first year of treatment.

Read More>>>>>>

Viagra associated with hearing loss

by Madison Park writer/producer

Oh Viagra.

Sure, Pfizer’s wonder pill has side effects such as headaches, facial flushing, upset stomach, erections lasting more than four hours, bluish or sudden loss of vision. There’s one more risk to the pill that grants erections: Hearing loss.

Research published this week in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery showed an association between long-term hearing loss and Viagra.

This side effect is already acknowledged by Viagra - especially after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration forced this labeling changes for oral erectile dysfunction medicines known as PDE5 inhibitors in 2007.

The research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked into the data based on 11,525 men. Men who self-reported hearing problems were twice more likely to indicate that they used erectile dysfunction medication.

While it’s difficult to establish cause and effect in an observational study, these findings indicate that the FDA labeling was warranted, said study author Gerald McGwin, a professor of epidemiology at the UAB School of Public Health, in a taped news release.

The association was present for long-term hearing loss after using Viagra, and to a lesser extent other ED drugs such as Cialis and Levitra. The sample sizes for the two latter drugs were smaller.

Since Viagra increases blood flow to the penis, perhaps the drug increases blood flow to the ear causing damage, McGwin hypothesized.

For more facts about Viagra

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

Processed Meat Is Real Health Threat

Eating bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and other processed meats can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that identifies the real bad boys of the meat counter.

9 Nutrients to Boost Your Memory

Ginkgo biloba. Numerous studies have found that ginkgo biloba improves mental alertness, clarity, and memory. Standard capsules contain 24 percent ginkgo flavonoids and 6 percent perpene lactones. Follow label recommendations, and check with your doctor first if you take blood thinners.

Ginseng. A Chinese study found that a compound in ginseng boosted memory in scores of people suffering from dementia, and a British study found that combining ginseng with ginkgo biloba produced even better memory-boosting results. Check labels for dosage recommendations.

B vitamins. While the entire complex of B vitamins is important for a top-notch memory, inositol and choline are particularly effective at reducing stress and jump-starting memory. In addition, B6 reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood, which causes brain aging. Many experts recommend a B complex supplement of 50 to 100 mg daily.

Omega-3 oils. These oils come from fatty fish such as salmon, and also from flaxseed oil. Omega-3 oils contain fatty acids essential for a healthy brain and also for fighting depression. A study from Louisiana State University found that eating fish helps protect the brain from problems associated with Alzheimer's disease, and a study from Australia's Aberdeen University found that fish oil slows the aging process while helping the brain to work faster. Many experts suggest eating two portions of fish each week or taking a 1,000 mg supplement three times a day.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps control the free radicals that damage brain cells and help improve the flow of oxygen through the brain. Experts recommend 1,000 mg daily.

Turmeric. A laboratory study at the University of Illinois found that anti-inflammatory compounds in the spice turmeric protected cells from damage caused by beta-amyloid, a main component of the plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims. The compounds in turmeric, called curcumin, can be part of a spicy diet (typically found in Indian food) or can be taken in pill form. Follow instructions on supplement bottles.

Ginger. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help protect the brain against memory-robbing diseases. Research has shown that ginger, in addition to increasing the supply of nutrients to the brain, can block the creation of inflammatory chemicals, such as prostaglandins, which are associated with Alzheimer's.

Hawthorn. Rich in bioflavonoids, this herb is a great antioxidant that fights free radicals as well as increases oxygen supply to the brain to carry important nutrients vital for the functioning of neurotransmitters. It's often combined with ginkgo.

Gotu kola. Sometimes called "food for the brain" this Asian herb improves concentration and memory. Oregon Health & Science University researchers found it supports brain function and memory retention.

Losing weight quickly is key to staying slim

People who lose up to1.5lbs a week are up to five times more likely to keep the weight off than those who manage to shed only half a pound a week, found the study.

Nutrition experts have been divided over whether losing weight quickly or slowly is the best approach to long-term weight control.

The latest research, by a team from the University of Florida, examined whether losing weight at a slow rate initirally resulted in larger long-term weight reduction than losing weight at a fast initial rate.

The authors analysed 262 middle-aged overweight women who had followed a six-month lifestyle programme encouraging them to cut their calorie intake and increase physical activity.

The aim of the programme was to achieve an average weight loss of 1lb a week.

Researchers split the women into three groups according to how much weight they lost in the first month of the trial.

Women in the fast weight-loss group shed almost 1.5lbs per week, those in the moderate weight-loss group lost between half a pound and 1.5lbs a week and those in the slow weight-loss group lost less than half a pound per week.

The authors then looked at the womens' weight loss after six months and 18 months, as well as any weight regain, and found those who lost weight quickly to begin with fared best.

Women in this group lost more weight overall, maintained their weight loss for longer and were less likely to put weight back on than the more gradual weight losers.

They were five times more likely to achieve the clinically significant figure of 10 per cent weight loss after 18 months than those in the group who lost least weight to begin with.

The study was reported in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine.


Cancer's sweet tooth becomes a target

A DRUG that blocks the way cancer cells generate energy could lead to a new class of cancer treatments.

The first human trial of the drug, published this week, is reported to have extended the lives of four people with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The result is preliminary, but it suggests that, as an approach, tackling "cancer metabolism" is sound. "We are still a long way from a treatment, but this opens the window on drugs that target cancer metabolism," says Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who led the trial.

Elsewhere, researchers have started experimenting with a host of other molecules that might target cancer metabolism. "It's about identifying which target is best," says Lewis Cantley of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, whose company Agios Pharmaceuticals is screening for such targets.

Most of these efforts stem from an observation dating back to the 1930s - that cancer cells generate energy via glycolysis. This is different to the way cells normally make energy, through aerobic respiration in specialised chambers called mitochondria. Ordinary cells do use glycolysis but only if they are short of oxygen, as it is hugely inefficient, gobbling up large amounts of glucose for very little energy (see diagram).

At the time, it was assumed that the switch to glycolysis was a product of the cell becoming cancerous, rather than the other way around. "It was seen as a follower, not a leader or driver," says Ronald Evans of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.


The Federal Fat Police: Bill Would Require Government to Track Body Mass of American Children - A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.

States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.


Low Vitamin D Tied to Depression

Older men and women with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are more prone to become depressed over time, new research shows.

Many studies have been published recently on the potential health benefits of vitamin D, and the potential risks of deficiency. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and more severe asthma.

In older people, insufficient vitamin D is quite common, and has been linked to fractures, worse physical function, greater frailty, and a wide variety of chronic illness.


Spot the Early Warning Signs of Cancer

Discovering cancer early is key to survival. Unfortunately, there are more than 200 hundred different types of cancer, and more than 60 organs in the body where it can develop.

In addition, according to Cancer Help U.K., the same organ can develop different types of cancer. For example, squamous cells line the lungs, and there are also gland cells in the lungs called adenomatous cells. So, a patient can have squamous cell cancer of the lung or adenocarcinoma of the lung.

Being vigilant can save your life. Symptoms vary according to the type of cancer, and two of the most common symptoms are lumps and weight loss. Below are some of the most prevalent cancers and their early warning signs.

Skin. Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 1 million new cases will be diagnosed in 2010. Symptoms include ulcerations that never heal, moles that change color, size, or appearance, and flat sores that look like moles.

Lung. Watch for persistent coughs, coughing up blood, and chest pain.

Breast. Lumps, itching, redness or soreness of nipples, and unusual thickening should send you straight to the doctor.

Colon. Rectal bleeding, blood in your stool, and a change in bowel habits are warning signs.

Non-Hodgkin�s Lymphoma. Enlarged lymph nodes, night sweats, fevers, and weight loss are some of the symptoms that indicate lymphoma.

Leukemia. Warning signs of leukemia include fatigue, paleness, weight loss, nosebleeds, bone or joint pain, and easy bruising.

Bladder and Kidney. Watch for blood in urine, burning or pain, and increased trips to the bathroom.

Endometrial and cervical. Unusual discharge, bleeding between menstrual cycles, and heavy periods should require a doctor�s consultation.

Thyroid. Hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, and pain in the throat or neck are warning signs of thyroid cancer.


Why Most Shampoos are a Waste of Money

It’s the dirty little secret shampoo companies don’t want you to know—when you wash your hair with one of those nutrient-rich shampoos, most of the nutrients and active ingredients in the product don’t actually end up in your hair, they wind up down the drain… along with all the money you spent on the shampoo.

Why does this happen? Because the shampoo molecules they contain are too large to penetrate the cells of hair and more importantly the tiny hair follicles where our hair actually grows. They sit atop the follicle until we wash them away.

Why is that a problem? Think about it this way—if you wanted to fertilize a plant, where would you pour the fertilizer? On the leaves? Of course not! You’d pour the fertilizer on the root and the soil where it’s needed most. Our hair works basically the same way—if you want to treat your hair right, you need to treat the roots.

But if regular shampoo can’t penetrate the hair follicles where our roots grow, what are we supposed to do? BUY CHEAP!!!!!!!

Chicken, turkey may sicken 55K fewer under new USDA rules

As many as 39,000 fewer Americans could get campylobacter and 26,000 fewer could get salmonella poisoning from chicken and turkey under new food safety rules announced Monday by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The bacteria, which can be life-threatening, are two of the most common causes of food-borne illness.

"These standards will have probably the greatest public impact for consumers' health since anything USDA has adopted in the last 15 years," says Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C.

Under the new standards, only 7.5% of chicken carcasses at a plant would be allowed to test positive for salmonella, down from 20% allowed since 1996. Salmonella levels in chickens were tested at 7.1% nationally in 2009, says Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever and can be life-threatening, especially for pregnant women, babies and the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 1.4 million cases of salmonella and more than 500 deaths annually in the USA.

The new rules for campylobacter, which had not been regulated before, are that companies fail if they have more than 10% positives for "highly contaminated" carcasses and 46% for "low level" contamination. The USDA estimates that about 50% of poultry plants are now at this level.

In 2008, an estimated 40.2% chickens tested positive for campylobacter, which causes diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever. The CDC estimates campylobacter infects 2.4 million Americans a year and kills 124.

The poultry industry will work hard to fulfill customers' expectations "for safe and wholesome chicken," Lobb says.


Crunch your chances of cancer with an apple a day

Eating apples regularly may reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer

Eating apples regularly may reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to new research in Poland and reported in the European Journal Of Cancer Prevention.

The tests compared 592 patients suffering from the disease with 765 patients without at the same hospital.

Research concluded that those with cancer had eaten 9.5 servings a week, compared to those without the disease, who had 11 servings a week.

A reduced risk was observed with those who ate one apple a day, with the odds at 0.65, while eating more than one apple a day reduced the risk by about half.

Eating other fruit or vegetables did not have the same effects on the risk of colorectal cancer.

The protective properties of apples may be as a result of their high content of flavonoids.

These act as antioxidants found concentrated in the skin of apples, preventing molecules or free radicals from inflicting damage on tissue and which can inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation.

Antioxidants were five times more prevalent in the apple skin than the actual flesh - so wash, but do not peel before you eat.

However, the World Cancer Research Fund says its research has shown that the risk of all cancers can be reduced by between 30 to 40 per cent by making simple lifestyle changes, such as eating more fruit and vegetables, taking regular exercise and watching our weight.


The Problem with Factory Farms

Hogs are raised on a farm in Elma, Iowa

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Hourglass Figures Affect Men's Brains Like a Drug

Watching a curvaceous woman can feel like a reward in the brain of men, much as drinking alcohol or taking drugs might, research now reveals.

These new findings might help explain the preoccupation men can have toward pornography, scientists added.

Shapely hips in women are linked with fertility and overall health. As such, it makes sense evolutionarily speaking that studies across cultures have shown men typically find hourglass figures sexy.

To explore the roots of this behavior, researchers had 14 men, average age 25, rate how attractive they found pictures of the naked derrieres of seven women before and after cosmetic surgery that gave them more shapely hips. These operations did not reduce weight but just redistributed it, by implanting fat harvested from the waists into the buttocks.

Brain scans of the men revealed that seeing post-surgery women activated parts of the brain linked with rewards, including regions associated with responses to drugs and alcohol.

It might not be especially surprising that evolution wired the male brain to find attractive bodies rewarding.

"Hugh Hefner could have told us that by showing us how many zeroes are in his bank account," said researcher Steven Platek, an evolutionary cognitive neuroscientist at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. "But there's more to it than buying Playboy, Maxim, or FHM."

For instance, "these findings could help further our understanding pornography addiction and related disorders, such as erectile dysfunction in the absence of pornography," he explained. "These findings could also lend to the scientific inquiry about sexual infidelity."

The scientists also found that changes in a woman's body-mass index or BMI — a common measure of body fat — only really affected brain areas linked to simple visual evaluations of size and shape. This may be evidence that body fat influences judgments of female beauty due more to societal norms than brain wiring.

"The media portrays women as wholly too skinny," Platek said. "It's not just about body fat, or body mass index."

What do women think?

Future research could also investigate the effects that attractive figures have on the female brain.

"It turns out women find similar optimally attractive female bodies as attention-grabbing, albeit for different reasons," Platek said. "Women size up other women in an effort to determine their own relative attractiveness and to maintain mate guarding — or, in other words, keep their mate away from optimally designed females."

These findings should not be construed as saying that men are solely programmed by their biology, nor that "women without optimal design should just hang up their mating towel," Platek added.

Platek and his colleague Devendra Singh detailed their findings online Feb. 5 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Elvis Presley died of chronic constipation, reveals his doctor

For years Elvis Presley's death has been the subject of ever more far-fetched conspiracy theories.

But it seems that the real mystery may have been missed - the cause of his death.

Rather than an irregular heartbeat, as had previously been reported, his personal doctor has revealed Elvis died of chronic constipation.


Revelations: Elvis Presley, centre, with Dr Nick George Nichopoulos and friends shortly before his death; the doctor has revealed that he thinks Elvis's constipation led to his premature death

The debilitating problem caused the singer severe problems, according to Dr George Nichopoulos, Elvis's doctor for the last 12 years of his life.

The doctor, who attempted to resuscitate Elvis on the day of his death, said that it wasn't until the autopsy that he realised had severe the constipation had been.

According to Dr Nichopoulos, the autopsy found Elvis’s colon to be five to six inches in diameter, compared to an average of two to three inches. And rather than the standard four to five feet long, Elvis's colon was eight to nine feet.

'After he died we weren’t sure [of his cause of death] so I continued to do some research and I had some doctors call me from different places and different med schools that were doing research on constipation and different problems you can get into with it.

'I just want to get the story straight – it all made sense with the new research that was done,' he told Pop Tarts.

He said that although he offered Elvis a colostomy, to remove part of his bowel, his pride meant he rejected the treatment.

And Dr Nichopoulos thinks that if Elvis had undergone the treatment he might still be alive today.

'He would get embarrassed, he’d have accidents onstage,' said Dr Nichopoulos.

'He’d have to change clothes and come back because of the way we were trying to treat his constipation.

'So if they had done the colostomy then, he’d probably still be here. But it wasn’t acceptable treatment at that time. Now the treatment is short.'

Dr Nichopoulos also says that Elvis's weight gain in the years before his death was at least partly due to his constipation.

'During the last few years we were going back and comparing pictures, some of them were taken just two weeks a part but he looked like he’d gained 20 pounds when the only difference was that he had a good healthy bowel movement and then lost a lot of weight from that,' he said.

Elvis died on August 16, 1977, at the age of just 42. His body was found in the bathroom at his home Graceland.

The Doctor recently released his book The King And Dr Nick, about his time with Elvis.