|Diet and Exercise
Cutting trans fats from processed and restaurant foods really did make them
healthier, an advocacy group said. The study focused on 83 foods that
were altered since 2006, the first year U.S. food labels were required
to list trans fats. It's also when New York City launched its trans fat ban
for restaurants. Researchers looked at labels, industry brochures and government
nutrition data. They checked trans fat and saturated fat totals for the old
and revamped products. Nearly all of the new versions had little or no trans
fat. Some contained more saturated fat. But most did not. For about 65% of
grocery products and 90% of restaurant foods, saturated fat levels were lower,
the same or slightly higher than before. The research findings were reported
in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Alcohol consumption in early pregnancy increases levels of a little-known
lipid called ceramide, significantly increasing suicide among cells critical
to skull and brain formation, according to a report in Cell Death and Disease.
Resulting neural crest damage includes the brain's "skin" – the multi-layered
meninges that provides protection and nourishment – producing less TGF-β1,
a growth factor critical for brain and bone development. That finding may
help explain the cranial bone and cognitive defects that can result in fetal
Teeth Twice Daily
Good personal hygiene is a basic element of a healthy lifestyle. People
who fail to brush their teeth twice a day are putting themselves at risk
of heart disease, research suggests. A Scottish study of more than
11,000 adults backs previous research linking gum disease with heart problems.
It is known that inflammation in the body, including in the mouth and gums,
has an important role in the build up of clogged arteries, which can lead
to a heart attack. In addition to brushing your teeth twice daily,
if you want to help your heart, you should eat a balanced diet, avoid smoking
and drinking alcoholic beverages and do regular exercise.
May Help Your Brain
Mice given peanut butter laced with nanogram quantities of an antigen, extracted
using special techniques from common, harmless soil bacterium, ran through
mazes twice as fast and enjoyed doing so. Peripheral immune activation
can have profound physiological and behavioral effects including induction
of fever and sickness behavior. One mechanism through which immune activation
or immunomodulation may affect physiology and behavior is via actions on
brainstem neuromodulatory systems, such as serotonergic systems. It was found
that peripheral immune activation with antigens derived from the nonpathogenic,
saprophytic bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, activated a specific subset
of serotonergic neurons in the interfascicular part of the dorsal raphe nucleus
(DRI) of mice, as measured by quantification of c-Fos expression following
intratracheal (12 h) or s.c. (6 h) administration of heat-killed, ultrasonically
disrupted M. vaccae, or heat-killed, intact M. vaccae, respectively.
Polio has virtually disappeared from the West but is entrenched in the Indian
continent (mostly in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan), and in Nigeria, where
rumors about the vaccine's safety resulting in a year-long suspension of
polio campaigns in 2003. The disease mostly hits children under five
and is spread via dirty water. But recent surprises, like an outbreak
in Tajikistan, which had been free of the disease for years, show how unpredictable
the effort remains. WHO says it is still possible to get rid of polio and
that to give up now would set loose a deadly virus.
Experts worry that as the effort enters its 22nd year, donors' patience and
wallets are running thin. Sustaining the effort costs about $750 million
every year. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of polio's top donors,
could not say how long they plan to bankroll the effort, but said the next
three years are "critically important." The foundation said their polio donations
are reconsidered every year.
Day, the 50th Anniversary of the Pill
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has approved Natazia (estradiol valerate and estradiol
valerate/dienogest) tablets for the prevention of pregnancy. Natazia has
not been evaluated in women with a BMI of greater than 30 kg/m(2). Natazia
is the first and only oral contraceptive that contains an estrogen called
estradiol valerate and a progestin called dienogest. Estradiol valerate is
a synthetic estrogen that is converted to estradiol in a woman's body. Natazia
is expected to be available in the summer. Until today, all marketed
combination oral contraceptives (COCs) contained ethinyl estradiol. With
the FDA approval of Natazia, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals becomes the
first company to launch estradiol valerate together with the progestin, dienogest.
Women using COCs, including Natazia, should be strongly advised not to smoke.
Smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from COC
use. The risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes, especially
in women over 35 years old. Natazia is taken once a day. The dosing
regimen consists of pills with varying doses of estradiol valerate, and estradiol
valerate in combination with dienogest, for specific days of the 28-day cycle.
A world without "the pill" is unimaginable to many young women who
now use it to treat acne, skip periods, improve mood and, of course, prevent
pregnancy. They might be surprised to learn that U.S. officials announcing
approval of the world's first oral contraceptive were uncomfortable.
May 9, Sunday, the Mother's Day, was the 50th anniversary of that provocative
announcement that introduced to the world what is now widely acknowledged
as one of the most important inventions of the last century. The world
has changed, but it's debatable what part the birth control pill played.
Some experts think it gets too much credit or blame for the sexual revolution.
After all, sex outside of marriage wasn't new in 1960 AD or in 3000 BC.
The pill definitely changed sex though, giving women more control over their
fertility than they'd ever had before and permanently putting doctors - who
previously didn't see contraceptives as part of their job - in the birth
control picture. But some things haven't changed. Now as then, a male
birth control pill is still on the drawing board.
And it didn't eliminate all unwanted pregnancies either. Nearly half of all
pregnancies to U.S. women are unintended and nearly half of those end in
abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which has gathered data
on abortions for years. The pill is often associated with the women's
movement of the 1970s. But the two feminists behind the pill, the ones who
provided the intellectual spark and the financial backing, were born a century
earlier, in the 1870s.
As suffragists worked for the vote, renowned birth control pioneer Margaret
Sanger distributed pamphlets with contraceptive advice and dreamed of a magic
pill to prevent pregnancy. http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-sci-pill-20100504,0,5247187.story
Polenta is made most commonly with yellow cornmeal. You can also use white
cornmeal, and some recipes call for buckwheat. The final texture of the polenta
will depend on the grind of the meal, from fine to coarse.
1 Heat a pot of water to a boil. The rule of thumb is a 3-to-1 ratio by volume
of water to polenta.
2 Add a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water.
3 Using regular, medium grind yellow cornmeal, slowly stir in the polenta
with a whisk or wooden spoon.
4 Continue stirring with a wooden spoon, nearly constantly, scraping the
bottom of the pan to prevent it from sticking and burning. The whole process
takes about 45 to 60 minutes, and the polenta is done when it's thick and
wavy and it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Notice: 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,
tax agent or physician.
Back to the Top
The primary sources
cited above, New
York Times (NYT), Washington Post
(WP), Mercury News, Bayarea.com,
Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews,
(DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times,
Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP,