of being Overweight
Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine
found that people who are carrying just a few extra pounds are more likely
to die prematurely than people at a healthy weight. The first study, by
researchers at the National Cancer Institute, found underweight people and
obese people were more likely to die prematurely than normal-weight. However,
when the researchers looked at a sub-group of healthy people who had never
smoked, they found that people who were overweight had a 20% to 40% greater
risk of death compared to normal-weight people. Obese people's risk of death
was two to three times higher than normal-weight people. In the second study,
by Korean researchers, among the non-smokers, those who were overweight
had a 10% to 50% higher risk of dying from heart disease or cancer than
normal-weight people. Baby boomers who were even just a tad pudgy were more
likely to die prematurely than those who were at a healthy weight, U.S. researchers
reported. Overall, baby boomers who were underweight or obese had an increased
risk of death compared with normal-weight people. The risk was particularly
high for Hispanics, Asians, East Indians and American Indians than for whites
Women who are obese get more aggressive ovarian cancers and are more likely
to die from the disease, US scientists have found. Experts already know obesity
ups the risk of developing some cancers, but this study suggests fat tissue
might also affect how a tumour progresses. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
research appears in the journal Cancer. Maintaining a healthy
weight is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of getting cancer.
Your health is your responsibility, even if you believe the story that the
obesity epidemic is caused by a “poisoned” food supply that is altering people’s
biochemistry and driving them to eat more and move less, according to a hypothesis
proposed by a University of California-San Francisco doctor, and breaking
the pattern of sugary, fatty and junk food consumption, a pattern that
comparable to nicotine addiction, is more than just a matter of willpower.
Maintaining a healthy weight and preventing weight gain at all ages is important
to maintaining good health and longevity. To lose weight you need to increase
activity and decrease calories. Exercise and diet changes help. Constant
vigilance is key to successful and healthy weight maintenance.
Losing weight is easy compared with keeping it off. People who have
lost weight and kept it off are more likely to weigh themselves daily and
do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day than other dieters, a
government analysis reported in the online version of the International
Journal of Behavior, Nutrition and Physical Activity. This confirms other
research that points to the importance of physical activity and regular
monitoring for long-term weight control. Another large study from Brown
University found that the "safety zone" for weight maintenance is about 5pounds.
That is, if dieters regain 5 pounds, they need to put on the brakes immediately
by following a better eating and exercise plan. Successful people are highly
disciplined about this. Someone who eats a salad every day, but longs for
a cheeseburger, at some point will give up and eat the burger. In contrast,
people who permanently lose weight and keep it off successfully, often say
they don't do anything special to keep it off because they have made a permanent
change in how they think about food. A national study has pinpointed
the habits that help successful weight losers to keep off the weight for
a long time.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology
found that eating one meal high in saturated fat could increase inflammation
in the arteries and reduce the effects of good cholesterol. On the other
hand, the polyunsaturated-fat meal appeared to reduce inflammation in the
participants' arteries and enhance the beneficial effects of good cholesterol.
A Harvard study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
found that sugary beverages have been a major contributor to the rising obesity
rates in the United States. In the study, researchers reviewed 40 years'
worth of nutritional research, and found strong evidence of a causal relationship
between highly sweetened drinks and expanding waistlines in the United States.
Not only do these drinks contribute a significant amount of the carbohydrate
calories in the American diet, but the high-fructose corn syrup often used
to sweeten them does not trigger production of insulin or appetite-regulating
hormones that would lead people to moderate their intake. The researchers
say their findings suggest that sugary drinks should be strongly discouraged.
Children can pick up unhealthy attitudes about eating and weight from their
mothers. Recent studies suggest that kids learn about diet and self-image
from observing adults -- including obsessive calorie counting, fad dieting,
and poor body image. A study published in the Journal of the American
Dietetic Association found that 5-year-old girls whose mothers dieted
were twice as likely to be aware of weight-loss strategies as girls whose
mothers didn't diet.
The grocery shopping list for the far-reaching Women, Infants and Children
program is getting its first significant update since the 1970s. Fruits,
vegetables and whole grains are being added to the program, which helps feed
more than half the babies born in the U.S. To cover the cost, WIC will cut
down juice, eggs, cheese and milk that have been staples of the program.
The revisions follow the advice of the federally chartered Institute of Medicine,
which said the WIC program needs to reflect changes in science and society
since it was created three decades ago. Adding fruits, vegetables and whole
grain products follows changes last year to the government's dietary guidelines.
It is an alcoholic drink made from apples which are first crushed and then
fermented. In the USA and some some parts of Canada it is known as 'hard
cider' - in those parts, the term 'cider' can often mean non-alcoholic apple
juice. In the rest of the English-speaking world 'cider' refers only to the
alcoholic drink. Hard cider usually has an alcoholic content of 5%
or more and is generally stronger than beer. The British are the greatest
cider drinkers in the world. In the UK it is available in many forms, such
as sweet, medium or dry.
'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'. It seems that cider may offer
consumers health benefits, say researchers from Glasgow, Scotland. English
cider apples have particularly high levels of phenolic antioxidants. Phenolic
antioxidants are closely associated with cancer and stroke protection. A
further study is underway to see how humans absorb phenolics from cider.
A few minutes of slow breathing per day appears to help lower blood pressure.
Now, research is underway to find out why. Previous studies have shown that
people who use a slow-breathing device for 15 minutes a day, in addition
to diet, exercise and medication, can lower their blood pressure by 10 to
15 points. A new study at the National Institutes of Health is testing the
theory that deeper breath helps the body get rid of the excess sodium that
can lead to high blood pressure. The researchers say that when people are
under stress, they take shallow breaths and hold them. This "under-breathing"
can affect blood chemistry, making the kidneys less effective at excreting
sodium, animal studies have found.
One of the eight limbs of yoga is pranayama, the science of breath. Prana
means breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy or strength. This
limb is about control and extension of inhalation, exhalation and retention.
To the yoga practitioners, the breath is life itself. Many other healing
arts, such as tai chi and qi cung, also emphasize "correct" breathing.
In this aspect, American medicine agrees. The American Society of Hypertension
advocates slow breathing exercises for fifteen minutes a day, three to four
days a week to lower blood pressure and to prevent heart disease.
For musicians, deep breathing before and during performance calms the nerves,
enabling them to concentrate and immerse themselves in the music.
Diets rich in berries may help the aging brain stay sharp, Tuft University
researchers write in the online edition of the journal Neurobiology
of Aging. The researchers found improvement in the health of the
brain of the rats that had eaten berries.
Coffee is addictive. Howver, coffee in moderation could slow the loss of
mental function in men, says a European study. The results appear in
line with a growing body of evidence linking coffee consumption to improved
cognitive function, and follow a recent report from Austria that “showed”
how caffeine boosts brain function through its effects on distinct areas
of the brain. The Austrian results, presented at the annual meeting
of the Radiological Society of North America in December, were said to be
the first to demonstrate a visible impact on the brain from caffeine. The
new results, published on-line ahead of print in the European Journal
of Clinical Nutrition, now suggest that older men may also benefit
mentally from regular and moderate coffee consumption.
Super Bugs in USA
More than half of the skin infections treated in U.S. hospitals are now
caused by drug-resistant superbug. In a study published in the New
England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed all skin infections
among adults treated in emergency rooms in 11 U.S. cities. They found that
overall, 59% of the infections were caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA), a bacterial strain that is impervious to antibiotics in the
penicillin family. The infections may be treated with other types of antibiotics.
However, the researchers say their findings indicate that doctors need to
test skin infections for MRSA and to treat all serious infections as if they
are caused by MRSA until they find out otherwise. To prevent skin infection
in the first place, you should wash your hands thoroughly and often; keep
cuts and scrapes clean and covered; avoid contact with other people's wounds
or bandages; avoid sharing personal items that touch the skin, such as towels
and razors; wipe down gym equipment with antiseptic after each use; and consult
a doctor for treatment if you have a sore or boil.
A toxin used by a scorpion to paralyze its prey may be a potent weapon
against deadly human brain tumors. The toxin is developed from a protein
in the venom of the giant yellow Israeli scorpion. Other scientists
found the protein has a unique affinity for malignant cells and stays clear
of normal tissue.
Dangers of Sun Screen Lotion
A research team led by UC Riverside chemists reports that unless people out
in the sun apply sunscreen often, the sunscreen itself can become harmful
to the skin. When skin is exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation
(UV) is absorbed by skin molecules that then can generate harmful compounds,
called reactive oxygen species or ROS, which are highly reactive molecules
that can cause "oxidative damage." For example, ROS can react with cellular
components like cell walls, lipid membranes, mitochondria and DNA, leading
to skin damage and increasing the visible signs of aging. When sunscreen
is applied on the skin, however, special molecules – called UV filters –
contained in the sunscreen, cut down the amount of UV radiation that can
penetrate the skin. Over time, though, these filters penetrate into the skin
below the surface of the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, leaving
the body vulnerable to UV radiation. UV filters (octylmethoxycinnamate,
benzophenone-3 and octocrylene) widely used in sunscreens generate reactive
oxygen species (ROS) in skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, augmenting
the ROS that is naturally produced.
Led by Kerry M. Hanson, a senior research scientist in the Department of
Chemistry at UCR, the researchers report that three UV filters (octylmethoxycinnamate,
benzophenone-3 and octocrylene), which are approved by the Food and Drug
Administration and widely used in sunscreens, generate ROS in skin themselves
when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, thus augmenting the ROS that is naturally
produced. The researchers note that the additional ROS are generated only
when the UV filters have penetrated into the skin and, at the same time,
sunscreen has not been reapplied to prevent ultraviolet radiation from reaching
these filters. Study results will appear in an upcoming issue of Free
Radical Biology & Medicine. An advance copy of the paper is available
online on the journal's Website.
Hypnosis for Hair Loss
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by sudden, recurrent
hair loss in round spots from the scalp or any part of the body that has
hair. Psychological factors, such as stressful events and psychotrauma have
also been reported to play a role in the onset of the condition, but few
studies have looked at the efficacy of psychological treatments. Hypnotherapy
may enhance the mental well-being of patients with alopecia areata and it
may improve clinical outcome," Dr. Ria Willemsen, of Free University in Brussels,
and colleagues write in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology,
Smoking Causes Breast Cancer
Smoking causes normal breast cells to become cancerous by impairing their
ability to repair their damaged DNA, U.S. researchers report in the current
issue of Oncogene, if you didn't know it already. DNA repair
in the breast cells appears to be blocked when chemical components of the
smoke activate a particular gene. This gene activity, in turn, interferes
with an enzyme that plays a critical role in repairing damage to a cell's
DNA, the study said. If cells with damaged DNA survive long enough to divide
and multiply, they can pass along their mutations to new cells, which can
then become cancerous.
For both men and women in the United States and the United Kingdom, a height
advantage of four inches equated with a 10 percent increase in wages on average.
But the researchers said the differences in performance crop up long before
the tall people enter the job force. Prenatal care and the time between birth
and the age of 3 are critical periods for determining future cognitive ability
and height. While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more
than their shorter counterparts, it's not only social discrimination that
accounts for this inequality; tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged
peers, a new study by Princeton University in a paper published by the National Bureau of
Low Testosterone Kills
The male sex hormone, testosterone, is associated with virility and energy.
Low levels of testosterone may also indicate if a man will die soon, a study
said. Men in the lowest of three categories of testosterone levels
were at least 68 percent more likely to die in the following 4-1/2 years
than those in the "normal" category, the study published in the Archives
of Internal Medicine said.
The Female Health Company received notice from the World Health Organization
(WHO) that after a stringent technical review process regarding design, product
characteristics, quality control and manufacturing technology, the Female
Condom 2 (FC2) was in principle being manufactured to at least the same standard
as the polyurethane female condom FC1. In addition, the design and physical
characteristics of FC2, supported by the clinical data, suggest that the
two devices are functionally equivalent, when used correctly. Based on this
assessment WHO has stated that FC2 product is acceptable for bulk procurement
by UN Agencies subject to the standard quality assurance measures being applied
prior to procurement.
The completion of WHO's review coincided with the 16th International AIDS
Conference in Toronto whose theme is the feminization of AIDS and which focuses
on strengthening women's rights, curbing gender discrimination and violence
against women, and empowering women to use prevention methods and negotiate
safer sex with husbands, lovers and partners. The number of women with HIV
is growing in part because women are twice as likely as men to contract HIV
from an infected partner during unprotected heterosexual intercourse. In
addition, women's biological susceptibility to HIV is compounded by gender
inequality, which limits the power of women to negotiate safer sex with husbands,
lovers and partners.
Bill and Melinda Gates today called upon world leaders to "put the power
to prevent HIV in the hands of women" by accelerating the search for microbicides
and other new HIV prevention tools. Bill Gates said he thought the discovery
of an effective microbicide or oral prevention drug to reduce HIV transmission
could be "the next big breakthrough in the fight against AIDS." They also
called for increased global access to HIV prevention and treatment, and greater
advocacy to break the stigma of AIDS. Mr. and Mrs. Gates, co-chairs
of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, addressed the opening ceremony
of the 16th International AIDS Conference, a gathering of more than 24,000
scientists, advocates, and health workers from around the world. Melinda
Gates noted that "we all have a role to play" in advancing the development
of new HIV prevention tools.
Bright and Smart are Friendly
Grumpy and brainy may go together in older folks; but young people tend to
be more open and friendly if they're bright, researchers report. Neuroticism
didn't appear linked to intelligence test scores at any age. But, among younger
subjects (19-60), openness and extroversion, or friendliness, were tied to
higher intelligence scores. This was not so for the older group (61-89).
Instead, a lack of agreeableness was a predictor for the highest test scores
in those over 60. The study looking at the connection between personality
and intelligence was presented at the American Psychological Association's
2006 convention in New Orleans. The study doesn't mean grumpiness makes people
smart as they age, or that all open-minded young extroverts are brilliant,
or friendly, upbeat elders and disagreeable youths are dumb.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Who would believe you can make a hearty shepherd’s pie without meat and
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 package Betty Crocker® four cheese mashed potatoes
3 cups frozen vegetables, any variety, thawed and drained
1 can (11 ounces) condensed Cheddar cheese or cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can (2.8 ounces) French-fried onions
1 . Heat oven to 350ºF. Heat hot water, milk and
butter to a rapid boil in 2-quart saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 pouch
Potatoes and 1 pouch Seasoning just until moistened. Let stand about 1 minute
or until liquid is absorbed. Whip with fork until smooth; set aside.
2 . Stir remaining ingredients except onions in large bowl.
Pour vegetable mixture into ungreased 1 1/2-quart casserole; sprinkle with
half of the onions. Spread potatoes over onions.
3 . Bake uncovered 25 minutes; sprinkle with remaining onions.
Bake 3 to 5 minutes longer or until mixture is hot and onions are brown.
This material contains only general
descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product
or security, nor is it intended as any financial, tax, medical
or health care advice. For information about specific needs or situations,
contact your financial agent or physician.
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