Wednesday, June 3, 2009

10 Essential Health Tips

1. Move MoreMake it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. Climb stairs if given a choice between that and escalators or elevators. Walk your dog; chase your kids; toss balls with friends, mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it's a stress buster. Think 'move' in small increments of time. It doesn't have to be an hour in the gym or a 45-minute aerobic dance class or tai chi or kickboxing. But that's great when you're up to it. Meanwhile, move more. Thought for the day: Cha, Cha, Cha…. Then do it!

2. Cut FatAvoid the obvious such as fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats (i.e. pork, bacon, ham, salami, ribs and sausage). Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, milk and cream should be eaten in low fat versions. Nuts and sandwich meats, mayonnaise, margarine, butter and sauces should be eaten in limited amounts. Most are available in lower fat versions such as substitute butter, fat free cheeses and mayonnaise. Thought for the day: Lean, mean, fat-burning machine…. Then be one!

3. Quit Smoking The jury is definitely in on this verdict. Ever since 1960 when the Surgeon General announced that smoking was harmful to your health, Americans have been reducing their use of tobacco products that kill. Just recently, we've seen a surge in smoking in adolescents and teens. Could it be the Hollywood influence? It seems the stars in every movie of late smoke cigarettes. Beware. Warn your children of the false romance or 'tough guy' stance of Hollywood smokers. Thought for the day: Give up just one cigarette…. the next one.

4. Reduce Stress Easier said than done, stress busters come in many forms. Some techniques recommended by experts are to think positive thoughts. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like. (i.e.,Soak in a hot tub; walk on the beach or in a park; read a good book; visit a friend; play with your dog; listen to soothing music; watch a funny movie. Get a massage, a facial or a haircut. Meditate. Count to ten before losing your temper or getting aggravated. Avoid difficult people when possible. Thought for the day: When seeing red, think pink clouds….then float on them.

5. Protect Yourself from Pollution If you can't live in a smog-free environment, at least avoid smoke-filled rooms, high traffic areas, breathing in highway fumes and exercising near busy thoroughfares. Exercise outside when the smog rating is low. Exercise indoors in air conditioning when air quality is good. Plant lots of shrubbery in your yard. It's a good pollution and dirt from the street deterrent. Thought for the day: 'Smoke gets in your eyes'…and your mouth, and your nose and your lungs as do pollutants….hum the tune daily.

6. Wear Your Seat Belt Statistics show that seat belts add to longevity and help alleviate potential injuries in car crashes. Thought for the day: Buckle down and buckle up.

7. Floss Your Teeth Recent studies make a direct connection between longevity and teeth flossing. Nobody knows exactly why. Perhaps it's because people who floss tend to be more health conscious than people who don't? Thought for the day: Floss and be your body's boss.

8. Avoid Excessive Drinking While recent studies show a glass of wine or one drink a day (two for men) can help protect against heart disease, more than that can cause other health problems such as liver and kidney disease and cancer. Thought for the day: A jug of wine should last a long time.

9. Keep a Positive Mental Outlook There's a definitive connection between living well and healthfully and having a cheerful outlook on life. Thought for the day: You can't be unhappy when you're smiling or singing.

10. Choose Your Parents Well The link between genetics and health is a powerful one. But just because one or both of your parents died young in ill health doesn't mean you cannot counteract the genetic pool handed you. Thought for the day: Follow these basic tips for healthy living and you can better control your own destiny.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

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Heat Therapy May Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) — Radiofrequency ablation is an effective treatment for precancerous Barrett’s esophagus, researchers have found. In people with Barrett’s esophagus, repeated acid reflux causes cells that line the esophagus to be replaced by cells similar to those found in the intestine, according to background information provided in a news release. A small number of people with Barrett’s esophagus develop a deadly form of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Poor Kids Exposed to More Secondhand Smoke

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) — Poor children are exposed to more secondhand smoke than their wealthier counterparts, a new study has found. A big reason for this is that “poor kids are far more likely to live with multiple adult smokers than are non-poor kids,” said study author Dr. Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatrics at New York University.

Tough Laws, Higher Prices Mean Fewer Kids Smoke

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) — American adolescents who live in states that comply with tobacco sales laws are less likely to pick up a smoking habit than are those who live where the laws are not vigorously enforced, a new study has found. And raising the price of a pack of cigarettes might have an equal, if not greater, effect, the study also showed.

Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) — Cardiovascular function can be affected by as little as 10 minutes exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and other air pollutants such as wood smoke and smoke from cooking oil, say U.S. researchers. There’s increasing evidence that higher levels of air pollution are associated with an increase in heart attacks and deaths, according to background information in an American Physiological Society news release. Smoke pollutants contain fine particles that trigger responses in heart and blood vessels.

Urine Test Could Gauge Smokers’ Lung Cancer Risk

SUNDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) — Someday, a simple urine test might spot smokers at highest risk for lung cancer, scientists report. The research is still in its preliminary stages, and it may be years before such a test becomes publicly available. But if it works, the urine-based screen could give added motivation to smokers who can’t find other reasons to quit, said study author Dr. Jian-Min Yuan, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota.

Nicotine May Squelch Feelings of Anger

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) — Nicotine may help calm people by altering the activity of brain areas involved in the inhibition of negative emotions such as anger, a new study suggests. The finding came from a study by University of California researchers that looked at whether nicotine patches affected how people responded when provoked.

1 in 5 U.S. Deaths Attributed to Smoking, High BPTUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) — Want to reduce your risk of dying prematurely? Don’t smoke and k

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) — Want to reduce your risk of dying prematurely? Don’t smoke and keep a healthy blood pressure level.

Each of those factors accounts for about one in five deaths among U.S. adults, according to new research.

Although both factors had previously been shown to be linked with premature death, the magnitude of the effect found in the new study was not expected, said Majid Ezzati, an associate professor of international health at the Harvard School of Public Health and the study’s lead author. The findings were published in the April issue of the online journal PLoS Medicine

Smoking Packs a Tougher Wallop for Women

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) — Women may be more vulnerable than men to cancer-causing ingredients in cigarettes, according to a new study. In an examination of data on 683 people with lung cancer who had been referred to a lung cancer center between 2000 and 2005, Swiss researchers found that female patients tended to be younger when they developed the disease, even though they tended to smoke significantly fewer cigarettes than men

Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks

FRIDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) — Highlighting the negative impact tobacco use has on cardiovascular health, researchers say that heavy smokers were 2.5 times more likely to die than their non-smoking peers during a 30-year study in Norway. The newly available research found that nonsmokers lived longer and experienced fewer incidents of heart attack and cardiovascular disease than smokers, especially when compared with heavy smokers (those who lit up at least 20 cigarettes a day).

Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) — Smoking while pregnant “biologically primes” the unborn child to become a regular smoker as a teen and young adult, according to a theory put forth by University of Arizona researchers.

“Somehow smoke is changing the brain chemistry,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Roni Grad, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the university.

“If you are exposed to smoking prenatally or in the early years of life, you are much more likely to be a chronic smoker at the age of 22,” Grad said.

HRT Ups Death Risk for Women With Lung Cancer

SATURDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) — The current use of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is associated with a higher risk of dying for women diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, a new study shows. The risk was highest in current smokers, less high in former smokers and least high in women who never smoked, say researchers reporting Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in Orlando, Fla.

Job Loss Linked to Risk of Hypertension, Heart Disease, Other Conditions

FRIDAY, May 8, 2009 ( – As if losing your job isn’t bad enough, a new study suggests that people who are laid off are at higher risk of being diagnosed with health conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and even arthritis than those who keep their jobs.

“It’s particularly difficult to take good care of yourself, but maybe what this study can do is help people realize that it is precisely in that period right after a job loss when your health may be the most vulnerable,” says study author Kate Strully, PhD, assistant professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Albany. “It’s particularly important to manage stress in healthy ways and try to maintain good health habits and cope effectively.

Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) — Preliminary research suggests people who suffered fatal cardiac arrest were more likely to have taken antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs than those who survived heart attacks. But the findings haven’t been confirmed elsewhere, and it’s not clear whether the medications directly cause any problems. Those who take the drugs could have other medical issues that contribute to a higher death rate, the researchers noted.

Depression Hits 1 in 13 American Adults

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) — Over the past year, 16.5 million Americans age 18 or older — 1 in 13 adults — experienced at least one bout of major depression, according to a new government survey.

Less than two-thirds (64.5 percent) of those individuals got treated for their depression, the study found.

The report, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drew on data from the agency’s 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, involving approximately 45,000 non-institutionalized adults. A major depressive episode was defined as any period of two weeks or longer characterized by depressed mood, loss of pleasure or interest, and at least four other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, lack of sleep and poor self-image

Study Links Cancerous Tumors With Depression

WEDNESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) — Doctors have long known that people with cancer often suffer from depression.

A new study in rats has found that the cause of the depression may be the properties of the tumor itself, rather than emotional distress over the diagnosis or side effects from chemotherapy.

The study is the first to identify a biological link between tumors and negative mood changes, according to the researchers, who published their study in the May 18 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Looks, Money, Fame Don’t Bring Happiness

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) — Having lots of money, good looks and fame may sound like a sure ticket to happiness, but a new study suggests otherwise.

Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York tracked 147 college graduates, evaluating their goals and their happiness at two points in time — one year after graduation, and then 12 months later.

“The attainment of extrinsic, or ‘American Dream,’ goals does not contribute to happiness at all in this group of people, but it actually does contribute to some ill being,” said study author Edward Deci, a psychology professor. The study is published in the June issue of The Journal of Research in Personality.

Stigma Keeps Teens From Depression Treatment

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) — Concern about their family’s reaction to their depression is a major reason why many teens don’t seek treatment, new research suggests. In the study, which included 368 teens and one parent or guardian of each teen, half of the teens had been diagnosed with depression. The teens and the adults were asked to rate possible barriers to depression treatment, including cost of care, concerns over perceptions of others, difficulties making appointments with a doctor or therapist, constraints due to time and other responsibilities, not wanting family members to know about the depression (asked of teens only), the unavailability of good care and simply not desiring treatment.


FRIDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) — When it comes to boosting your mood, exercise is the gift that keeps on giving and giving, new research suggests.

In fact, the feel-good afterglow a workout brings may last far beyond the hour or so that’s been previously assumed.

“Moderate intensity aerobic exercise improves mood immediately and those improvements can last up to 12 hours,” concluded study lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Sibold, assistant professor of rehabilitation and movement science at the University of Vermont, Burlington

Use of Epilepsy Drug During Pregnancy May Increase Children’s Autism Risk

MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2008 ( — Pregnant women who take the epilepsy drug valproate may be more likely to have a child with autism than those who don’t take the seizure-controlling drug, according to a study published Monday in the journal Neurology.

However, experts caution that the research is preliminary and needs to be confirmed.

“Women shouldn’t suddenly stop taking their medication because they read this study,” says Michael Goldstein, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “The consensus has always been that having convulsions is worse than the medication, so if a medication is needed to prevent seizures, it should be continued.”

In the study, less than 1% of women without epilepsy had a child with autism, compared with 6.3% of women with epilepsy who had taken sodium valproate during pregnancy.

The study included 632 children; roughly half had a mother with epilepsy. Of those children, 64 were exposed to valproate in utero, 44 to lamotrigine, 76 to carbamazepine, and 65 to other epilepsy drugs or combinations of drugs. (There were 47 who were not exposed to any antiseizure medications.) The children were tested for autism at ages 1, 3, and 6.

Nine children of mothers with epilepsy developed autism, as did three children whose mothers did not have the seizure disorder. Compared to children whose mothers did not have epilepsy, the risk of autism was seven times higher in those with valproate exposure.

It has long been known that some antiseizure drugs can raise the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida (a defect of the spinal cord) and heart malformations. However, the drugs’ impact on autism risk is less clear. Some animal research and case reports have hinted at the link, which prompted Gus Baker, PhD, of the University of Liverpool, and colleagues to undertake the study.

They say that their findings are preliminary and that the stud

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