Obese People Have Sick Fat Cells

Alright, obesity is bad—that's common knowledge—but new research in Diabetes claims that fat people actually have “sick” fat cells that make insulin-resistant proteins. Krisha McCoy of HealthDay News reports:

The fat cells we found in our obese patients were deficient in several areas," study author Guenther Boden, the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and chief of endocrinology, said in Temple press release.

Boden said that the obese people's fat cells showed stress on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which helps cells synthesize proteins and monitor how they are folded. When the ER is stressed, Boden explained, it produces several proteins that ultimately lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, in turn, plays a major role in the development of obesity-related conditions.

The differences in the fat cells between obese and lean people may help explain the link between obesity and a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, Boden theorized.

Certainly follows in line with what we already know about obesity and diabetes. As Dr. Fuhrman points out, extra body fat increases risk of type-2 diabetes, which screws up insulin and can eventually cause pancreatic poop out!

People need to eat more mushrooms—they can stop obesity! Speaking of obesity, rocker Ted Nugent recently called obese people vulgar and displeasing to look at. Eep!  

Exercise Helps Stroke Survivors

From Yoga and Tai Chi to Zumba and beyond! Exercise is an important part of optimal health and researchers at Johns Hopkins University have determined that simply walking on a treadmill can help stroke survivors improve mobility. Will Dunham of Reuters reports:

Some of the treadmill walkers achieved major improvement despite coming into the study needing a wheelchair or walker to get around, and brain scans revealed positive brain changes following six months of such exercise, the researchers said.

"I think it's one of the better pieces of news in a while -- in a long while -- for the stroke survivor," Dr. Daniel Hanley, a neurology professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore who helped lead the study, said in a telephone interview.

"Improvement can occur a long time -- meaning months and years -- after the stroke," added Hanley, whose findings were published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke.

Stroke survivors can be left with paralysis or loss of muscle movement. A stroke can impair a person's gait, reducing one's mobility and fitness and promoting chronic disability.

Stroke most commonly occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is stopped or greatly reduced, depriving it of oxygen.

The study involved 71 patients, average age 63, who had a stroke an average of about four years earlier. About half were selected to walk on a treadmill for 40 minutes three times a week for six months, while the rest did stretching exercises for the same amount of time instead of the treadmill.

Of course, if you’re eating a vegetable-based diet, you don’t really need to worry about stroke. Oh, and if you are an exercise nut, keeping a diary of your fitness progress can be very helpful—via That’sFit.

Cancer-Risk, Hotdogs of Doom...

This is fitting. Amidst the Maple Leaf deli meat killing spree The Cancer Project has released a TV commercial attacking hotdogs as a cancer-risk. See for yourself:

 

Finally, a gutsy ad! Hotdogs are not your friend. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman considers processed meats one of the WORST meat options—along with red meat. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM and head of The Cancer Project, defends the commercial. Via CBS News:

Check the label of a name-brand hot dog, and chances are fat provides around 80 percent of total calories, more than double what's often advised. What's more, saturated fat and trans fat - the fats most strongly linked with artery-clogging - are common ingredients, in some cases providing at least half the fat content.

The hot dog council called the new ad an alarmist scare tactic, but the promoters, a group called The Cancer Project, defend their campaign.

Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, called the ad "a way to raise appropriate concern about a deadly concern." Barnard also heads The Cancer Project, an offshoot of his anti-meat advocacy group.

Hot dogs may be considered as American as apple pie, but Barnard said it's time to change that tradition.

"Children are born with no traditions whatsoever," he said. "You or I might think a hot dog, that just goes with baseball ... We can always change our traditions to be healthful."

The new ad is based on an analysis of five studies in adults by scientists working with cancer research groups not affiliated with Barnard's.

Their report last November said eating 50 grams a day of processed meats for several years increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. That equals about one hot dog a day or two deli slices of bologna or five slices of bacon.

There’s a hotdog council! I’d love to see their cholesterol numbers. Now, despite the wiener consortiums self-preservation exclamations, processed meats DON’T support health and DO increase cancer-risk, but don’t take my word for it. Remember this post: News from The Cancer Project.
 

Stop Obesity, Eat Mushrooms!

Well, unless you like beef raised on potato chips, you might want to consider this report. New research in Appetite—cool name for a journal—claims mushrooms can help combat obesity; as a substitute for beef. Stephen Daniells of AP-FoodTechnology explains:

The researchers recruited 54 men and women to take part in the study and randomly assigned them to receive either beef or mushroom lunch entrées over four days – lasagna, napoleon, sloppy Joe and chili. Subjects then switched entrées to consume the other ingredient (mushroom or beef) the following week in order to act as their own controls.

The energy content of meat and mushroom lunches was 783 kcal and 339 kcal, respectively, while the portion size was held constant.

Lead researcher Lawrence Cheskin from John Hopkins Weight Management Center and co-workers report that total daily energy and fat intakes were significantly lower in the mushroom condition than the meat, while the subjects did not rate the palatability of the foods differently. Also ratings of appetite, satiation and satiety did not differ between the groups.

“We found that overtly substituting ground white button mushrooms for lean ground beef in a single meal for four consecutive days significantly reduced daily energy and fat intake, while maintaining ratings of palatability, appetite, satiation and satiety,” wrote the researchers.

“The method of substituting one food for another within familiar recipes may be more appealing to many prospective dieters than making more dramatic or restrictive changes in dietary behaviour.

Mushrooms are freaking incredible! Dr. Fuhrman also insists they are a great substitute for meat and you should eat them everyday. The problem is, too many Americans HATE mushrooms—sad, because mushrooms are also potent cancer-fighters.

Oh, and shrooms might save us from climate change too!
 

Cancer, No One "Gets" It

A new survey has determined that people in rich countries and people living in poorer countries don’t really understand cancer. Robert Evans of Reuters reports:

The report, based on a survey sponsored by the International Union against Cancer (UICC) of nearly 30,000 people in 29 countries, was released at the start of a four-day World Cancer Congress in Geneva.

UICC President-elect David Hill of Australia said the survey showed there was a global need for "education programmes to encourage and support behavior change".

In high-income countries like Australia, Britain, Canada, Greece, Spain and the United States, the survey found, refusal to recognize that alcohol consumption increases the cancer risk ran at 42 percent of the population.

By contrast, in middle-income countries like China, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay, only 26 percent questioned for the survey thought that drinking did not make contracting cancer more likely.

And in the two low-income countries included in the survey, Kenya and Nigeria, recognition of the alcohol danger ran highest, with only 15 percent of those questioned saying that it was not a cause of the disease.

In related news, throat cancer continues to rise in the United States—via Reuters.

Fat Camp for the Whole Family

Patrons of a “weight-loss camp” in North Carolina and New York are finding that parents and kids can lose weight TOGETHER. Paul Smith of the Associated Press reports:

At the Adirondack camp, visiting family members join campers in the mornings for a long walk and at every meal. The rest of the time, parents attend classes on cooking, exercise and how to shop for healthy food. Siblings can tag along with campers to watch the daily activities.

"That had a big impression on her," Kelsey Galer said of her sister's visit to camp. "She just got a taste of my new lifestyle. We had spent a lot of time together (before camp), but it was never time like that -- being active and eating healthy."

The results of a three-year Wellspring survey of campers suggests that family support is beneficial, according to Daniel Kirschenbaum, Wellspring clinical director. The campers who reported having strong family support or used the post-camp program did better at maintaining or continuing to lose weight than those without strong support.

At the Wellspring camp in Pinehurst, North Carolina, about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh, parents join children between the ages of 5 and 14 for sessions that include sports, personal training and a spa.

Therapy is part of both programs to help people understand why they overeat and how to manage stress. Parents learn how to motivate their children to be healthy instead of discouraging them or emphasizing bad body image.

No doubt, families should get healthy together. Heck, we just found out kids will eat veggies if their parents do. Why not get your friends in the mix too?

California Quits Smoking, Saves $86 Billion

This is amazing. California’s large-scale efforts to curb smoking have saved the state $86 BILLION in healthcare costs. And the kicker is, they only invested $1.8 billion in the program. Here's more, via Reuters:

The benefits of the program accrued very quickly and are very large," Stanton Glantz, director of the University of California San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said in a statement.

Unlike many programs which center on teens, the California program focuses its tobacco-control efforts on adults through an aggressive media campaign and changes in public policy, such as promoting smoke-free environments.

"When adults stop smoking, you see immediate benefits in heart disease, with impacts on cancer and lung diseases starting to appear a year or two later," said Glantz, whose findings appear in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

According to the study, the program prevented the sale of 3.6 billion packs of cigarettes -- worth $9.2 billion to the tobacco industry -- between 1989 and 2004.

The report may help persuade states to step up funding for such large-scale efforts to counteract the tobacco industry's $13 billion annual spending on smoking-related advertising and promotions.

Pretty cool! Actually, anti-smoking efforts and bans are showing promise. New search in the American Journal of Public Health has determined that banning smoking in the home helps kids develop negative attitudes towards smoking and deters them from experimenting—from Reuters.

Oh, and no incense either! They just found that incense-burning is linked to lung cancers. Moral of the story, smoke plus lungs equals bad.

Rickets, Not Enough Vitamin D for Baby

Vitamin D is powerful. It helps a lot of things like diabetes, artery disease, cancer and good old fashioned death-risk. And now, Roni Caryn Rabin of The New York Times explores how lack-of-it impacts babies and rickets. Here’s a bit:

Once Aleanie started putting weight on her feet, her mother noticed that her legs were curving in a bow shape below the knees. Doctors diagnosed vitamin D-deficiency rickets, a softening of the bones that develops when children do not get enough vitamin D — a crucial ingredient for absorbing calcium and building bone, and the one critical hormone that breast milk often cannot provide enough of.

“I thought I was doing the best thing for her,” said Stephanie Remy-Marquez, of Hyde Park, Mass., after blood tests showed her daughter had no detectable vitamin D. X-ray images of the baby’s wrists and knees showed the edges of the bones and growth plates as blurry and fraying instead of crisp and sharp.

“Breast milk is supposed to be an entire meal, dessert and drinks included,” Ms. Remy-Marquez said. “I thought it was the ultimate cocktail.”

Aleanie’s case was unusual enough to be written up in the journal Clinical Pediatrics in May, but several similar reports have been published in recent years. Some experts fear that vitamin D deficiency, which can be asymptomatic, may be more common than pediatricians realize and that rickets — perceived to be a 19th-century scourge that was wiped out with the fortification of milk — may be going undetected.

Physicians have known for more than a century that exclusive breast-feeding may be associated with vitamin D deficiency and rickets, and that the condition is easily prevented and treated with inexpensive vitamin drops or cod liver oil. But doctors are reluctant to say anything that might discourage breast-feeding.

Now some researchers are also linking vitamin D deficiency with other chronic diseases like diabetes, autoimmune disorders and even cancer, and there have been calls to include blood tests of vitamin D levels in routine checkups.

“I completely support breast-feeding, and I think breast milk is the perfect food, and the healthiest way to nourish an infant,” said Dr. Catherine M. Gordon, director of the bone health program at Children’s Hospital Boston and an author of several studies on vitamin D deficiency, including Aleanie’s case.

Excluding societal hangups, it’s hard to make a case against breastfeeding. Dr. Fuhrman is all about breastfeeding. Take kid’s allergies, breastfeeding helps! Not to mention breastfeeding also helps prevent ear infections and breast milk provides brain-building DHA.

Chemical Companies Say Organic Not More Nutritious

The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) has concluded that organic fruits and vegetables do NOT contain more nutrients cheaper non-organic produce. Wow, no conflict of interest there! The study appears in SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Here’s report, No Evidence to Support Organic is Best, via SCI’s press office:

The first cultivation method consisted of growing the vegetables on soil which had a low input of nutrients using animal manure and no pesticides except for one organically approved product on kale only.

The second method involved applying a low input of nutrients using animal manure, combined with use of pesticides, as much as allowed by regulation.

Finally, the third method comprised a combination of a high input of nutrients through mineral fertilizers and pesticides as legally allowed.

The crops were grown on the same or similar soil on adjacent fields at the same time and so experienced the same weather conditions. All were harvested and treated at the same time. In the case of the organically grown vegetables, all were grown on established organic soil.

After harvest, results showed that there were no differences in the levels of major and trace contents in the fruit and vegetables grown using the three different methods.

Produce from the organically and conventionally grown crops were then fed to animals over a two year period and intake and excretion of various minerals and trace elements were measured. Once again, the results showed there was no difference in retention of the elements regardless of how the crops were grown.

This is awkward. Clearly, the CHEMICAL SOCIETY has some vested interests here—fogging the credibility of this work. Especially since previous studies have shown the opposite, that organic fruits and vegetables DO contain more nutrients.

Now, Dr. Fuhrman prefers organic—reduces pesticide exposure and tastes better—but other experts cite climate change as a GREAT reason to go organic. Here’s what the Soil Association had to say. Jessica Daly of CNN reports:

In 2006 the UK's Manchester Business School assessed the environmental impacts of food production and consumption and concluded that there isn't a clear cut answer to whether the environmental impact is greater on a trolley full of organic food compared to a trolley full of non-organic food.

Not so, was the response from the Soil Association. Do you believe organic food is more nutritional?

It countered that: "Overall, organic farming is better for tackling climate change than industrial agricultural methods. As well as lower average energy use, organic farming also avoids the very large nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer manufacture."

"Additionally, organic farming builds up soil carbon, removing it from the atmosphere. Organic farming also supports more local food marketing, reducing food miles."

While the jury might still be out about whether organic farming is, on the whole, better for the environment, there is little doubt that it's a booming industry which is starting to catch on in other parts of the world.

Take this research by The Society of Chemical Industry with a grain of salt, I’d put more stock in it if were conducted by a third party—although nowadays that’s getting harder and harder to find.

Even still, local organic farming is catching on, like these folks from Los Angeles and some Londoners too! Personally, I do my best to stay organic. I belong to a CSA, grow my own tomatoes and buy organic bananas. So, how organic are you?

Eat Your Veggies and Your Kids will Follow...

Guess what parents? New research by Saint Louis University lays it on the line—if you want your kids to eat their fruits and vegetables, you better eat them too. Reuters reports:

The findings, reported in the journal Preventive Medicine, point to the importance of parents "modeling" a healthy diet for their preschoolers. They also suggest that educating parents on nutrition early on could help address the problem of childhood obesity, the researchers say.

About half of parents in the study were randomly assigned to receive home visits where they learned about nutrition and tactics for getting their children to eat fruits and vegetables. On average, these parents increased their fruit and vegetable intake, and in turn so did their children…

… In the end, parents in the High 5 group boosted their own fruit and vegetable intake, and children's increases correlated with their parents'.

The one exception was children who were already overweight, who generally did not grow fonder of fruits and vegetables.

"Overweight children," lead researcher Dr. Debra Haire-Joshu, of Saint Louis University School of Public Health in St. Louis said, "have already been exposed to salty, sweet foods and learned to like them. To keep a child from becoming overweight, parents need to expose them early to a variety of health foods and offer the foods many times.

Not exactly a new idea. Dr. Fuhrman insists healthy eating is fun for the whole family. Take me for example. My mom has always eaten a TON of veggies and it definitely helped me get hip to a vegetable-base diet. Thanks mom!

Now, parents can govern a lot more than their kid’s diet, bedtime and cell phone minutes. Just check out these reports on weight-loss and exercise.
 

Candy Wars, Chocolaty Science...

Not to brag, but DiseaseProof is earning some chops. For example, I receive press releases ALL the time now. Like this email from Hershey's about new research involving dark chocolate and vascular health. Take a look:

I wanted to share some news that The Hershey Company just released today that I thought might be of interest to you and your readers. As you might know, dark chocolate has come to be recognized for its flavanol antioxidant benefits, but a new study, conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, has uncovered an important link to its vascular health benefits as well. The study, which used Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate, reported that dark chocolate has a positive impact on blood pressure and blood vessel function. The study's release comes on the heels of Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate, a rich dark chocolate featuring 60 percent cacao, earning renowned health and fitness expert Bob Greene's Best Life seal of approval – the first and only chocolate bar to earn that distinction.

The research appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Treatment and here’s Hershey’s official press release.

Now, originally I balked at this—don’t think promoting chocolate bars for health is a good idea—but then I saw this report. Research by Mars Inc. has determined that flavanols in cocoa may boost blood flow to the brain. Via Kelley Colihan of WebMD:

The ingredient is flavanols, which are nutrients found in cocoa. Flavanols are considered to act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories on cells. These chemicals can protect cells and tissue from damage, which in turn protects against heart disease and cancer.

The research and similar studies were funded by Mars Inc., the maker of Snickers and other foods….

….After one week, blood flow measures increased 8% in the group that got the flavanol-rich drinks. After two weeks that went up to a 10% increase.

When comparing participants drinking the high-flavanol cocoa to those who drank the low-flavanol cocoa, there was an increase in measured blood flow.

The researchers write that flavanols could have a "promising role" to treat brain conditions such as stroke and dementia.

Check out the study in Neuropychiatric Disease and Treatment. I think its interesting that two CANDY companies are talking about HEALTH, I wonder if they trying to convince us that sweets are ACTUALLY good for us—very funny, nice try!

Okay, as for flavanols. You don’t have to eat sugary M&Ms or KitKat bars to get them. Cocoa powder will do just fine and you can use it to make healthy recipes that include other super foods like spinach, walnuts and strawberries. See Banana Split Smoothie or Gerry’s Chocolate Pudding.

Health Points: Monday 8.24.08

In a population-based, case-control study, the researchers matched 1,001 men with prostate cancer diagnosed between 2002 and 2005 with 942 age-matched cancer-free controls from King County, Washington.

No overall association was observed between the risk of prostate cancer and the current or past use of statin treatment. Duration of statin use was also not associated with prostate cancer risk.

"We also found no evidence that use of a statin was associated with risk of developing more aggressive subtypes of prostate caner," Stanford said in an interview with Reuters Health. "Overall we found no support for the current hypothesis that statin use may reduce risk of prostate cancer."

However, the results do suggest a significant increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer associated with current statin use and with longer durations of use among obese men (defined as a body mass index of 30 greater).

A team led by Linda Bartoshuk at the University of Florida in Gainesville surveyed 1300 people, 245 of whom had a history of ear infections, and found that among the over-30s, those who had suffered from ear infections were twice as likely to be obese as those with no such history. A subsequent analysis of four US medical databases confirmed the link. Those who had suffered from ear infections also rated fattier foods as 18 per cent more pleasurable than the others.

Infections may damage the chorda tympani taste nerve, which is stimulated at the front of the tongue and passes through the middle ear to the brain, says Bartoshuk. She says that the nerve normally inhibits some of the creamy sensations of fatty foods, as part of a response that inhibits tactile sensations that would otherwise make us gag. But nerve damage would lower this inhibiting effect, making foods seem creamier and so more pleasurable.

The postures, breathing and meditation included in the yoga intervention were "aimed at one common effect, i.e. 'to develop mastery over modifications of the mind' ... through 'slowing down the rate of flow of thoughts in the mind,'" the researchers explain.

Women in the yoga group also listened to lectures on using yoga to manage stress and other yoga-related topics, while those in the control group heard lectures on diet, exercise, the physiology of menopause, and stress.

After eight weeks, women in the yoga group showed a significant reduction in hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances, while the women in the control group did not, Dr. R. Chattha, of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India, and colleagues found.

The state has given its 37,527 employees a year to start getting fit -- or they'll pay $25 a month for insurance that otherwise is free.

Alabama will be the first state to charge overweight state workers who don't work on slimming down, while a handful of other states reward employees who adopt healthy behaviors.

Alabama already charges workers who smoke -- and has seen some success in getting them to quit -- but now has turned its attention to a problem that plagues many in the Deep South: obesity.

The State Employees' Insurance Board this week approved a plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don't have free health screenings.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children devote no more than two hours per day to watching TV and playing video games.

Experts also encourage children to exercise regularly; some groups, including the AAP, recommend that boys move enough to take 13,000 steps each day, while girls should strive for 11,000. Another common recommendation is for children and teenagers to get at least one hour of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week.

For the new study, researchers at Iowa State University in Ames looked at whether there were weight differences between children who met or did not meet recommendations for "screen time" and exercise.

They found that among 709 7- to 12-year-olds, those who did not meet either recommendation were three to four times more likely to be overweight than their peers who met both guidelines.

Both vaccines target the human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted virus that usually causes no symptoms and is cleared by the immune system, but which can in very rare cases become chronic and cause cervical cancer.

The two vaccines, Gardasil by Merck Sharp & Dohme and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline, target two strains of the virus that together cause an estimated 70 percent of cervical cancers. Gardasil also prevents infection with two other strains that cause some proportion of genital warts. Both vaccines have become quick best sellers since they were licensed two years ago in the United States and Europe, given to tens of millions of girls and women.

“Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer,” Dr. Charlotte J. Haug, editor of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, wrote in an editorial in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal. “With so many essential questions still unanswered, there is good reason to be cautious.

According to the data, women's life expectancy saw a significant decline in 180 counties between 1983 and 1999. The cause for this precipitous drop? The folks at Women's Health attribute it to chronic diseases associated with obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Here is a quick look at the U.S. counties that have experienced the greatest drop (numbers measured in years of average decline in female life expectancy):

Pulaski County, VA - 5.8
Radford, VA - 5.8
Dolores County, CO - 3.3
Montezuma County, CO - 3.3
San Juan County, CO - 3.3.
East Feliciana Parish, LA - 3.2
St. Helena Parish, LA - 3.2
West Feliciana Parish, LA - 3.2
Callaway County, MO - 3.0
Danville, VA - 3.0

Ted Nugent has never been one to beat around the bush so why should he stop now. Honestly I respect the man for the way he is willing and quick to speak his mind, but sometimes he’s a bit too blunt about things. Old Uncle Ted was on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations show on The Travel Channel where he was exploring the elements of Southwestern cuisine and stopped by Ted Nugents ranch in Texas. Anthony and Ted were speaking on many things to include Obesity. The Nuge’ said “Obesity is a manifestation of a cultural depravation in its most vulgar and displeasing-to-look-at form. And it’s suicide as a lifestyle.” Nugent also added “It all comes back to the horror, the soullessness of a trend in America that is the abandonment of parenting. Somebody’s got to go, ‘You can’t eat that. You’re way too fat.‘”

While I can understand what Ted is saying, Obesity is more than just an image issue. The last part of his statement is true that it may lead to certain and early death, but I think someone needs to give this guy a lesson in tact.

Water World...

It’s pretty amazing. Bad foods take A LOT of water to produce. Here are a few photos from The Guardian’s Water: The Hidden Cost of Your Food and Drink. Take a look:

 

 

(via The Guardian)

Actually, the U.K. is a big over-consumer of water. According to a new report the British go through gallons and gallons of “virtual” water. ENN explains:

While each person in the UK drinks, hoses, flushes and washes their way through around 150 litres of mains water a day, they consume about 30 times as much in “virtual” water embedded in food, clothes and other items — the equivalent of about 58 bathtubs full of water every day.

Launching the report, UK Water Footprint: the impact of the UK’s food and fibre consumption on global water resources, at World Water Week in Stockholm today, Stuart Orr, WWF-UK’s water footprint expert, said the UK was the sixth largest importer of water in the world.

“Only 38 per cent of the UK’s total water use comes from its own rivers, lakes and groundwater reserves,” he said. “The rest is taken from water bodies in many countries across the world to irrigate and process food and fibre crops that people in Britain subsequently consume.

Personally, I keep a brick in my toilet to help conserve water. Not to mention reduce my water bill! Oh, and be sure to check out these related links:

Be proud that you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They don’t require as much water as foods like meat and cheese, and, some of plant foods are packed with H20.

Arsenic Linked to Diabetes

New research by Johns Hopkins University has determined that repeated exposure to small amounts of Arsenic found in drinking water is strongly associated with the development of type-2 diabetes. Andrew Stern of Reuters explains:

Dr. Ana Navas-Acien and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found a "relatively strong" association between commonly found levels of arsenic in urine and type 2 diabetes in a study of American adults.

"It seems there is may be no safe level of arsenic," Navas-Acien said in a telephone interview.

"Worldwide it's a huge problem," she said. "As water becomes a scarce resource, we need additional sources."

Arsenic raises the risk for cancers of the bladder, lung, kidney, skin and, possibly, the prostate, Navas-Acien said.

The 20 percent of nearly 800 study participants who had the most arsenic in their bodies, a tolerable 16.5 micrograms per liter of urine, had 3.6 times the risk of developing late-onset diabetes than those in the bottom 20 percent, who had 3 micrograms per liter.

Levels of arsenic were 26 percent higher in people with late-onset, or type 2, diabetes than those without the disease, the study found.

The research appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Now, this isn’t the only study linking toxins to diabetes. Pesticides and PCBs have also been associated with diabetes-risk.

Applegate Cancer-Free, Following Double Mastectomy

After testing positive for a gene mutation associated with breast cancer, actress Christina Applegate opted to have both her breasts removed. A drastic measure, but the now cancer-free star of "Samantha Who” is optimistic about her future. Via the Associated Press:

She'll undergo reconstructive surgery over the next eight months.

"I'm going to have cute boobs 'til I'm 90, so there's that," she joked in the interview, which aired Tuesday. "I'll have the best boobs in the nursing home. I'll be the envy of all the ladies around the bridge table…"

… Applegate's cancer was detected early through a doctor-ordered MRI. She said she's starting a program to help women at high risk for breast cancer to meet the costs of an MRI, which is not always covered by insurance.

The news of breast cancer initially shook her up, she said.

"I was so mad," she told "Good Morning America." "I was just shaking and -- and then also immediately, I had to go into ... 'take-care-of-business-mode,' which was ... I asked them, 'What do I do now? What -- what is it that I do? I get a doctor, I get a surgeon, I get an oncologist? What do I do?' "

The actress said she quickly made appointments, and also changed her diet to one consisting of fish, grains, beans and vegetables, avoiding processed foods.

Great job Christina! Dropping the processed foods is just what the doctor ordered. Diet is a HUGE factor in the development of all cancers, not just breast cancer. Not to mention exercise has also been shown to ward off cancer.

For more, check out: Christina Applegate's Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

Prosper and Live Long...

Jack Lalanne, the 93-year old fitness legend, says being happy is good for you. Dr. Fuhrman insists a healthy diet increases longevity. And now new research by the University of Southern Denmark claims being busy and independent will help you live longer. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:

The new study was led by Dr. Kaare Christensen of The Danish Aging Research Center at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. The team reported its findings in the Aug. 18-22 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To gauge recent quality of life trends among the so-called "super-elderly", Christensen's team launched mental and physical health surveys in 1998 that focused on an initial group of almost 2,300 Danish men and women, all of whom had been born in 1905.

The researchers did not exclude anyone on the basis of prior health issues or cognitive status at the start of the study. In all, four surveys were conducted -- one approximately every two years-- and all tracked the same group of individuals as they aged from 92 to 100.

By the time of the last survey in 2005, just 166 of the participants were still alive. However, the study authors observed that among those super-elderly still alive at the time of each survey, the percentage that was still able to maintain a functionally independent lifestyle remained nearly constant.

Across surveys, those deemed to be mentally and physically "independent" -- able to perform basic tasks on their own, while remaining free of serious and disabling cognitive, sensory, or physical impairment -- declined only "very modestly" from 39 percent at age 92 to 33 percent by age 100, the researchers reported.

I know I always feel more lively and vibrant when I have a MILLION things to do! This research goes right in line with the recent poll of 100 U.S. centenarians; 81% of them recommend maintaining a sense of independence. Also, check out author John Robbins’ video on living healthy at 100.

United States: Fat, Getting Fatter

In July the CDC reported that states like Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, and Louisiana continue to lead the nation in obesity. And now people are beginning to think that all the public initiatives to curb obesity are missing the mark. More from Dan Childs of ABC News:

The discouraging trends, reported in the fifth annual "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America, 2008" report from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), reveal that obesity rates rose in 37 states in the past year, while no state registered a decrease in obesity.

Worse, in 24 states the uptick continued a trend seen from the previous year. Obesity rates rose for a third consecutive year in a total of 19 states.

"Our analysis found that on the state and community levels, overall we are not treating the obesity epidemic with the urgent response it deserves," said Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH, during a Tuesday morning press conference…

… The new numbers suggest the continuation of a steady trend toward obesity that has been seen over the past several decades. In 1980, the report notes, the national average of obese adults was a mere 15 percent. Today, according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention, about a third of adults are obese.

With the increase in obesity has come a spike in the diseases associated with excess weight. According to the report, rates of type 2 diabetes -- a disease typically associated with obesity -- grew in 26 states last year.

Levi said the spike in such diseases carries a financial burden as well.

"Obesity is not just about health; it has a real impact on our country's economy as well," he said.

Maybe it’s falling on deaf ears, but obesity has been shown to increase cancer, diabetes, and death-risk. And the socio-economic impact is no joke either. Imagine being barred from a nightclub because you’re too fat—via Diet-Blog.

Miracles over Medicine?

I’m not religious. So I have a hard time wrapping my head around this, but according to a new survey in the Archives of Surgery, many Americans think God plays a BIGGER part in saving lives than doctors. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press explains:

More than half of randomly surveyed adults - 57 percent - said God's intervention could save a family member even if physicians declared treatment would be futile. And nearly three-quarters said patients have a right to demand such treatment.

When asked to imagine their own relatives being gravely ill or injured, nearly 20 percent of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a hopeless outcome.

"Sensitivity to this belief will promote development of a trusting relationship" with patients and their families, according to researchers. That trust, they said, is needed to help doctors explain objective, overwhelming scientific evidence showing that continued treatment would be worthless.

Pat Loder, a Milford, Mich., woman whose two young children were killed in a 1991 car crash, said she clung to a belief that God would intervene when things looked hopeless.

"When you're a parent and you're standing over the body of your child who you think is dying ... you have to have that" belief, Loder said.

Admittedly, I’m an atheist, but the power of hope and positive thinking is undeniable. Although, it gets a little kooky when you start seeing deities in tree sap or Howard Stern in a piece of toast! But, you can combine the best of both worlds when your name is “Jesus H. Cox, M.D.”

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Try Some Dried Mango

The other day Dr. Fuhrman’s wife, Lisa, handed me a bunch of dried fruits from Jaffe Bros. There were all sorts of things: strawberries, bananas, cantaloupes, currants and dried mango. I’ve never had dried mango before.

So, I took this package home with me:

 

And they were delicious! But, never—EVER—eat too many in one sitting because I PROMISE you, you'll need shoehorn to dislodge something from somewhere and a plunger to unclog something from somewhere else—OOF! All that fiber.

Speaking of dried fruit, a new study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, has determined that dried organic fruit offers no EXTRA nutrients—via Jess Halliday of FoodNavigator.
 

Red Bull, Real Bad!

Energy drinks. Catchy names, exaggerated claims. They’re bad news, especially for kids, not to mention teenagers, and now an Australian study claims Red Bull increases stroke-risk—as little as one can! Reuters reports:

One hour after they drank Red Bull, (their blood systems) were no longer normal. They were abnormal like we would expect in a patient with cardiovascular disease," Scott Willoughby, lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, told the Australian newspaper.

Red Bull Australia spokeswoman Linda Rychter said the report would be assessed by the company's head office in Austria.

"The study does not show effects which would go beyond that of drinking a cup of coffee. Therefore, the reported results were to be expected and lie within the normal physiological range," Rychter told Reuters.

Willoughby and his team tested the cardiovascular systems of 30 young adults one hour before and one hour after consuming one 250ml can of sugar-free Red Bull.

The results showed "normal people develop symptoms normally associated with cardiovascular disease" after consuming the drink, created in the 1980s by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz based on a similar Thai energy drink.

Red Bull is banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health risks listed on its cans, but the company last year sold 3.5 billion cans in 143 countries. One can contains 80 mg of caffeine, around the same as a normal cup of brewed coffee.

The only way I’d drink Red Bull is if it ACTUALLY gave you wings. Now, the bad news isn’t over yet. That’sFit passes along some research in General Dentistry, suggesting energy drinks damage teeth and gums. So, you want energy? Eat some fruit!

Diabetes-Risk: Heart Disease, Obesity, PCBs...

Last month the Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute linked pesticides with diabetes-risk and now a study in Diabetes Care has determined high exposure to PCBs may be tied to diabetes too. Reuters explains:

Dr. Yueliang Leon Guo, from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, and colleagues examined the incidence of type 2 diabetes among 378 Taiwanese "oil disease" victims and 370 of their neighbors who had not been poisoned.

They found that women who had been exposed to the PCB-laced oil were twice as likely as other women to develop type 2 diabetes over 24 years. And women who had been most severely affected by the PCB exposure had a more than five-times higher diabetes risk.

There were no similar risks seen in men, however.

Other studies have found that people with diabetes tend to have relatively higher levels of organic pollutants, such as PCBs, in their blood. In comments to Reuters Health, Guo said that since "everyone" has detectable PCB levels in his or her body, it's possible that exposure to such pollutants has helped feed the widespread rise in diabetes in recent decades.

"The public health implication of these findings can be huge," Guo added, "considering the burden of diabetes and its multiple long-term complications."

And another study in Diabetes Care demonstrates that the incidence of heart disease increases right along with diabetes and obesity—via Reuters. Try avoiding it all together! Dr. Fuhrman’s prescription, try healthy dosages of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
 

Runners Live Longer

Sweet! Running alone, I do about 16 miles a week. Not to mention another 8 miles on the elliptical machine. New research by Stanford University has determined that running helps people live longer and healthier. Reuters reports:

A study published on Monday shows middle-aged members of a runner's club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run.

Running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, researchers at Stanford University in California found.

"At 19 years, 15 percent of runners had died compared with 34 percent of controls," Dr. Eliza Chakravarty and colleagues wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Any type of vigorous exercise will likely do the trick, said Stanford's Dr. James Fries, who worked on the study.

"Both common sense and background science support the idea that there is nothing magical about running per se," Fries said in a telephone interview. "It is the regular physical vigorous activity that is important."

The team surveyed 284 members of a nationwide running club and 156 similar, healthy people as controls. They all came from the university's faculty and staff and had similar social and economic backgrounds, and all were 50 or older.

Running is really awesome! It gives me a fantastic rush. Now, if you live near NYC, try running in Central Park. They say it’s great. Actually, just get out there an exercise, the benefits are infinite. In fact, many cancer patients are becoming avid gym rats—via The New York Times.

Getting on the Internet for Health Advice

Susannah Fox of The Health Care Blog posts these interesting stats about people going online to seek out health information. Makes you wonder if this availability of information will change the healthcare paradigm. Take a look:

Ten percent of internet users say they searched for health information "yesterday," which in a tracking survey like this one yields a picture of the "typical day" online. Health has moved up in the "typical day" list (from 7 percent in 2006 to the current 10 percent of internet users), but for most people the average day includes lots of emails (60 percent of internet users), general searches (49 percent), and news reading (39 percent) if they are online at all (30 percent of internet users are offline on a typical day).
  • 68% of online men look online for health info
  • 81% of online women
  • 76% of white internet users
  • 65% of African-American internet users
  • 71% of English-speaking Hispanic internet users (new health data on the whole Latino population is coming out August 13 from the Pew Hispanic Center)
  • 68% of 18-29 year-old internet users
  • 78% of 30-49s
  • 76% of 50-64s
  • 71% of internet users age 65+ (but remember, only one-third of seniors go online at all)

The internet is a great tool, but you’ve got to be careful. There is a lot of garbage floating around, like Weston Price and Atkins. But there is good stuff too! Like this great video on heart disease from The Adventist Chip Association—thanks Annette!

CDC: 140,000 Bad Reactions to Antibiotics

Research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that bad reactions to antibiotics result in 140,000 trips to the emergency room each year. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:

The findings offer another reason for doctors to limit their use of the drugs, which are overused in the United States, the team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"This number is an important reminder for physicians and patients that antibiotics can have serious side effects and should only be taken when necessary," said the CDC's Dr. Daniel Budnitz, who led the study.

For the first report ever done on adverse reactions to antibiotics in the United States, the researchers used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project, a sample of 63 U.S. hospitals, between 2004 and 2006.

They found more than 6,600 emergency visits were due to an adverse reaction to an antibiotic. They used formulas to extrapolate this to the whole country and estimated that 142,000 such emergency visits are made every year.

"Systemic antibiotics (pills or injections as opposed to creams) were implicated in 19.3 percent of all emergency department visits for drug-related adverse events," they wrote in the September 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

It hasn’t been a good stretch of weeks for antibiotics. Take this post for example: Doctors Should Go Easy on Antibiotics...

An Eye on Heart Disease...

New research claims that the health of your eyes may tell a lot about your risk of cardiovascular disease. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:

People with a type of eye damage known as retinopathy were more likely to die of heart disease over the next 12 years than those without it, according to the team at the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne in Australia and the National University of Singapore.

They studied the retinal photographs of 3,000 people, most of whom had diabetes. Such snapshots are often taken to see if the diabetes has begun to damage the eyes. Then they checked records for deaths.

Over 12 years, 353 participants (11.9 percent) had incident coronary heart disease-related deaths," the researchers reported in the journal Heart.

People with retinopathy were nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease as people without it, said the team, led by the University of Sydney's Gerald Liew.

Retinopathy raised the risk of heart disease as much as diabetes did, they found. Diabetes is a well known risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in most industrialized nations and many developing ones.

More reason to eat a heart-healthy diet. For more on retinopathy, check out its Wikipedia link: Retinopathy.

Obesity DOESN'T Harm the Heart?

Here’s an odd article. New research in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests being obese may not elevate heart risks. The Associated Press investigates:

The results also show that stereotypes about body size can be misleading and that even "less voluptuous" people can have risk factors commonly associated with obesity, said study author MaryFran Sowers, a University of Michigan obesity researcher.

"We're really talking about taking a look with a very different lens" at weight and health risks, Sowers said.

In the study, about 51 percent of overweight adults, or roughly 36 million people nationwide, had mostly normal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood fats called triglycerides and blood sugar.

Almost one-third of obese adults, or nearly 20 million people, also were in this healthy range, meaning that none or only one of those measures was abnormal.

Yet about a fourth of adults in the recommended-weight range had unhealthy levels of at least two of these measures. That means 16 million of them are at risk for heart problems.

It's no secret that thin people can develop heart-related problems and that fat people often do not. But that millions defy the stereotypes will come as a surprise to many people, Sowers said.

Not sure we want to float this kind of information out there. Americans are already fat enough. And according to this report, obesity and clumsiness could go hand in hand—via Reuters.

Health Points: Tuesday

With 23 percent of British children now considered overweight or obese, parents have increasing difficulty judging whether their own child is too heavy and most consider their overweight children normal, Ivan Lewis, the British health minister, warned. The letters home are designed as an early wake-up call, aimed at helping kids avoid later health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

Starting next month, about 1.2 million British kindergartners and children in their last year of primary school will be weighed and notes about their weight mailed home, school and health officials said.

To avoid stigma, all parents—not just those of the overweight—will get an assessment of their child. And to avoid offense, the letters will avoid the use of "obese" or "fat," substituting instead "overweight" or "very overweight."
The recall is of beef prepared for shipment to retailers but not yet cut up in supermarket sized portions.

The recall is "Class 1," meaning there is a "reasonable probability" that eating the beef "will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death," the USDA said. It is the most dangerous level of the three classes of recall.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the beef was sent to processing establishments and retail stores across the United States and had been produced June 17, June 24 and July 8.

The recall is of primal and subprimal cuts that are larger sections of cows, such as chuck and rib, that can be cut down for individual or family-sized packaging. It also is of "boxed beef" or carcasses that have been partially disassembled for shipping.
There is little dispute that bisphenol A can disrupt the hormonal system, but scientists differ on whether the very low amounts found in food and beverage containers can be harmful.

The National Toxicology Program, a partnership of federal health agencies, said in a recent draft report that there is "some concern" that the chemical can cause changes in behavior and the brain, and that it may reduce survival and birth weight in fetuses. The conclusion was based on animal studies.

However, the Food and Drug Administration's associate commissioner for science, Dr. Norris Alderson, told Congress in June that there was no reason for consumers to stop using products that contain the chemical.

Despite the uncertainty, consumer concern has prompted some governments and retailers to act.
A report from Brigham Young University shows only 36 percent of babies are breast-fed through six months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding through the first year.

The data are based on a weighted sample of more than 60,000 children, collected from national immunization surveys compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the data are focused on childhood immunization rates, questions also were asked about breast-feeding, giving the researchers a representative sample of nursing patterns in the United States.

The researchers found that children who were most likely to be breast-fed for more than six months typically had mothers with higher levels of education and income. Married women and those who lived in Western states were also more likely to breast-feed. Hispanic women and women born in other countries were also more likely to breast-feed.

Returning to work, being a smoker or living in the Northeast decreased the likelihood of long-term breast-feeding. Notably, low-income women who participated in the subsidized Women, Infants and Children program, which provides food, milk and formula to mothers and young children, were also more likely to stop breast-feeding sooner.
Wright is not an exotic dancer in a strip club. She's a 38-year-old mother of two from Atlanta, Georgia, looking to get in a decent workout.

"It works the abs, oh my goodness, muscles I didn't even know I had," Wright chuckled.

On this night, Wright is among more than a dozen women of all shapes and sizes -- no men allowed -- attending a beginner class at PoleLaTeaz, an Atlanta dance studio owned by Angela Edwards.

"We get preachers' wives, teachers, nurses, accountants, lawyers, anyone between the age of 18 and 70," Edwards said. "It's not boring...you get to wear fun clothes, listen to good music...and release your inner sexpot."

If online listings across the country are an indication, the popularity of pole dancing is spreading across the country from Southern California to Chicago to the Bible Belt.
Researchers say those strong feelings pro and con show in themselves that it will take a large study to see what, if anything, stretching really accomplishes. If stretching were remarkably effective, athletes would notice its effects right away and everyone would agree on when to stretch and what stretching does.

The study in Norway was the inspiration of Dr. Andy Oxman, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services. He had just completed what he calls a public clinical trial. It was a sort of reality show on public television that asked whether the nutritional supplement Valerian helped with insomnia; 405 people signed up to receive Valerian or a placebo and reported on their sleep by logging onto a Web site. Some participants insisted that because they slept so well they were taking Valerian. Or they said they knew they had taken the placebo because their sleep didn’t improve.

Then, the results were announced on the TV show and published: Valerian had little or no effect on sleep. Some who maintained they had the supplement actually had the placebo and vice versa.
Yet many people are not getting enough vitamin D, which the skin makes naturally when exposed to sunlight. A nationwide survey found that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women in the United States were not getting enough of this vital nutrient.

"The importance of vitamin D may be underappreciated," said lead author Dr. Michal Melamed, a clinical fellow at Johns Hopkins University. "There are studies that link low vitamin D levels to the development of heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, hypertension and different cancers," she said.

The report was published in the Aug. 11 online edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

For the study, Melamed's team collected data on more than 13,000 men and women who took part in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Levels of vitamin D were collected in 1988 and 1994, and the participants were followed through 2000.
Nebraska Beef, an Omaha meat packer, has been linked to two separate outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 in the past two months. The first triggered a ground beef recall by Kroger's supermarkets. The second outbreak kicked off a ground beef recall by Dorothy Lane Market, a small chain in Ohio. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider these two separate outbreaks because they involve two genetically distinct strains of O157:H7.

Whole Foods initiated the recall after Massachusetts health officials investigating a cluster of E. coli illnesses discovered all seven victims had bought meat at Whole Foods. The chain pulled ground beef from some of its stores on Wednesday. The Nebraska Beef recall was announced late Friday night.

My colleague Ylan Mui and I have gotten some comments from people who noted that the natural food chain is telling folks no contaminated Whole Foods meat has been found yet and we reported that in our story on Sunday. But before anyone is lulled into some false sense of security, there is other microbiological evidence linking Whole Foods to the outbreak.

Blood Pressure, Salt's Not Your Friend...


Salt, unless you have an icy driveway, it won’t do you much good. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman recommends avoiding salt—for A LOT of reasons—and now a new study by the Harvard Medial School further exposes the link between salt and high blood pressure. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The study, which included researchers at the University of Cambridge, looked at one possible genetic factor that might make people more or less vulnerable to the effects of salt intake on blood pressure -- variants of a gene for angiotensinogen, a molecule that can raise blood pressure by tightening arteries.

But the study of more than 11,000 European men and women found no relationship between variant forms of the gene and the effect of salt on blood pressure. The people who took in and excreted more salt had higher blood pressure, regardless of genetics, according to the report in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"It is a carefully done study that strongly confirms the relationship between salt and hypertension [high blood pressure]," said Dr. Mordecai P. Blaustein, a professor of physiology and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who has done research on the mechanism by which too much salt causes high blood pressure.

"The power of this study is that it includes a very large cohort," said Blaustein, who is also director of the Maryland Center for Heart, Hypertension and Kidney Disease. "Also, they directly measured salt excretion."

Dr. Paul R. Conlin, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal, added: "The study clearly showed that people who had elevated salt intake were the ones who had high blood pressure. That was independent of the genotype for this specific gene."
Obviously, this is a good reason NOT to consume salty foods, but salt is a tricky thing. If you eat or buy food not produced by your own hands, it’s hard to avoid. I’ll be honest with you, being my own salt-arbiter is probably the biggest challenge I still face as a diet conscious individual.

Heart Disease, Doctors Failing Patients...


Perhaps the understatement of the century! Research from Outcomes, Inc., a Birmingham Alabama-based research firm, have determined that doctors often come up short when it comes to heart disease-prevention. Via Reuters Health:
Lead researcher Dr. Hamidreza Doroodchi and colleagues sent a survey on cardiovascular disease management to a random sample of 12,000 U.S. family physicians and general internists. A total of 888 completed the survey, which contained "case vignettes" for managing adults deemed to be at low or high risk of heart disease.

The study found that in the hypothetical case of a low-risk 45-year-old woman, only 28 percent of family doctors and 37 percent of internists made the "guideline-based preventive choice" of prescribing no aspirin or other antiplatelet therapy -- drugs that help prevent blood clots by keeping platelet blood cells from clumping together. The majority indicated that they would prescribe a daily aspirin for such a patient to reduce the risk of heart attack.

When asked whether they would start drug therapy to combat abnormal cholesterol levels, 51 percent of doctors said they would not do so in this low-risk patient -- which is in accordance with guidelines. On the other hand, 41 percent said they would prescribe a statin.

When it came to basic lifestyle advice, which is appropriate for low- and high-risk patients alike, doctors often fell short.

For example, while experts recommend that all adults limit their intake of artery-clogging trans fats, over one-third of doctors in the survey failed to recommend this measure for the low-risk 45-year-old woman.
A lot of it probably has to do with ignorance or the unwillingness to defy conventional medical thinking. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
For most people, illness means putting their fate in the hands of doctors and complying with their recommendations — recommendations that typically involve taking drugs for the rest of their lives while they watch their health gradually deteriorate. People are completely unaware that most illnesses are self-induced and can be reversed with aggressive nutritional methods.

Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.
I find that the problem gets even more out of whack when the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are they themselves overweight or unhealthy. Makes you think that the whole system is mucked up—I wanted to use another word here.

Broccoli May Undo Cell Damage...


Researchers at the University of Warwick have determined that sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, helps produce enzymes that protect blood vessels. This is especially good news for diabetics. BBC News reports:
People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes; both are linked to damaged blood vessels.

The Warwick team, whose work is reported in the journal Diabetes, tested the effects of sulforaphane on blood vessel cells damaged by high glucose levels (hyperglycaemia), which are associated with diabetes.

They recorded a 73% reduction of molecules in the body called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).

Hyperglycaemia can cause levels of ROS to increase three-fold and such high levels can damage human cells.

The researchers also found that sulforaphane activated a protein in the body called nrf2, which protects cells and tissues from damage by activating protective antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes.
Like we need another reason to eat broccoli! In fact, I’ve had some steamed broccoli three days in a row. Now, if you’re interested. The study appears in Diabetes: Activation of NF-E2-related factor-2 reverses biochemical dysfunction

Americans Want Health Care Fixed!


No doubt it’ll be the subject of much debate in the upcoming presidential election, but as it stands right now 80% of Americans want the U.S. healthcare system overhauled. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
Access to care, better coordination between different health providers and better flow of health information were among their chief complaints, the Harris Interactive poll found -- just as another poll found that health insurance costs have doubled for Americans since 1996.

"It's clear that our health care system isn't giving Americans the health care they need and deserve," said Karen Davis, president of the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which commissioned the survey.

Both major presidential candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, have pledged to address problems with the U.S. health system. About 47 million Americans do not have insurance.

In the poll, which surveyed a random sample of 1,004 U.S. adults in May, 32 percent agreed the system needed complete rebuilding, while 50 percent thought it required fundamental change.

These views were similar regardless of income and insurance status, with 81 percent of those who were insured for the prior year and 89 percent who were uninsured during the prior year calling for either fundamental change or complete rebuilding.
Personally, this will be a MAJOR determining factor for deciding who I vote for. If not, I’ll be penciling in Gilligan and the Skipper on my ballot again.
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What we're Eating, Then and Now

The New York Times offers up this great graphic showing America’s food habits over time. More from Bill Marsh:



Wow, it’s hard to believe that our vegetable consumption is actually up. Could have fooled me! Click here for the full graphic.

Talking About Exercise...


In the study, 2367 12-year-old Australian school children underwent eye examinations and completed questionnaires about their daily activities.

The lowest rates of myopia were associated with the highest rates of outdoor activity, irrespective of how much near work, such as reading, the children did.

The children with the worst eyesight did lots of near work and spent very little time outside. Interestingly, the study found no benefit from playing sports indoors.

"The crucial factor was being outdoors. Time spent outdoors, as a protective factor, now appears to be the strongest environmental factor that has yet been documented,” Kathryn Rose of the University of Sydney in Australia said.
The researchers, led by Dr. Gopal K. Singh of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, report the findings in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.


Past studies, the researchers note, have shown that immigrants to the U.S. often have certain "health advantages" over natives that tend to fade as they become more assimilated: traditional diets are replaced by fast food, leisure time is increasingly devoted to TV and computers.

The reverse seems to be true when it comes to physical activity. Research has suggested that immigrant adults tend to exercise more as they become more acculturated.

A similar pattern emerged in the current study. Singh's team found that rates of inactivity were highest among children who were foreign- born or had two foreign-born parents (18 percent and 15 percent, respectively); but children with one foreign-born parent were similar to children whose parents were both born in the U.S. (between 10 percent and 11 percent were inactive).
Their analysis of survey data from 1,932 adults who answered questions about colon cancer risk found that only 15 percent said they used physical activity as a way of reducing their colon cancer risk. The findings were published in the August issue of Patient Education and Counseling.


Several factors may contribute to this lack of knowledge about the link between exercise and colon cancer risk.

"Patients may not be learning this information from their health-care providers and information regarding colon cancer prevention is not as well publicized as it could be," study co-author Elliott Coups said in a new release from the Center for the Advancement of Health.

Doctors may find it easier to tell patients about the general health benefits of exercise, rather than specifically referring to colon cancer, even if a patient has a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors for the disease.

New Obesity Research...


The infants were considered overweight if they had a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th weight-for-height percentile on 2 or more measurements taken at least 3 months part. This means that 85 percent of children their age and gender have a lower BMI, which is a measure of weight in relation to height.

In the first study, the researchers found that infants between the 85th and 94th weight-for-height percentiles actually had fewer hospital admissions and repeat admissions than normal-weight infants. However, higher than expected admission rates were seen in the most overweight infants (95th or higher percentile).

In the second study, overweight infants were more likely than their normal-weight peers to have developmental delays and snoring. There was also evidence that asthma and other breathing problems were more common in overweight infants.
According to the researchers, patients who were overweight or obese were less likely to die during follow up compared to their normal-weight peers. Being overweight or obese "remained protective" against death in a "risk-adjusted" analysis.


Heart failure patients who had a normal weight or who were underweight had the highest death rates. "It remains unknown, however, if higher body fat levels are actually the cause of better outcomes in patients with heart failure," the researchers note in the American Heart Journal.

"We believe there is a need for prospective studies to confirm these findings and elucidate potential mechanisms" for the potentially protective effect of increased body weight on heart failure, Oreopoulos and colleagues conclude.
The study, conducted by Dr. Erin J. Maher, from Casey Family Programs in Seattle, and colleagues, involved nearly 16,000 first-time kindergartners who had or had not been enrolled in childcare, defined as spending at least 10 hours per week in care not provided by a parent.


Childcare was subdivided into four types: 1) paid or unpaid care by a relative, friend, or neighbor, held at least occasionally at the child's home; 2) paid care by a non-relative family outside the child's home; 3) Head Start; and 4) care at daycare center, nursery school, preschool, or pre-kindergarten. Children were considered to be obese if their weight was in the 95th or higher percentile for height.

Overall, kids in childcare were more likely to obese than children not in childcare. Of the various childcare types, care by a relative, friend, or neighbor was most strongly linked to obesity. Compared with other racial groups, white children were less likely and Latino children more likely to be obese.

A Day's Worth of Calories in Kids' Meals


The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has determined that many fast food kids’ meals contain enough calories of an entire day. Nanci Hellmich of USA TODAY reports:
Overall, the findings reveal that 93% of the kids' meals at McDonald's and Wendy's contain more than 430 calories, the average number of calories that children ages 4 to 8 should get at a single meal. The comparable numbers are 92% at Burger King; 89% at Dairy Queen; 69% at Arby's; 60% at Denny's. The latter's kids' meals don't include drinks.

On the healthful side, about 67% of the kids' meals at Subway have fewer than 430 calories.

"When you go to most chain restaurants, ordering off the kids' menu is a nightmare," says Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the mother of a 10-year-old daughter.

"Right now kids' meals are almost all unhealthy meals when they should be almost all healthy meals," she says "At the very least, restaurants should list calories on the menu so that parents can navigate through this minefield of calories and fat to find the healthy options."
Let that be a lesson to you if you actually believe fast food giants are concerned about kids’ dietary needs. For more, here’s the CSPI analysis: Obesity on the Kids’ Menus at Top Chains.

Stop Tooth Decay, Eat Gummi Bears


Apparently Gummi Bears—a CANDY—protect our teeth. Gummi Bears are made with the artificial sweetener xylitol; an ingredient that some claim reduces plaque bacteria. This brainstorm comes to us via the journal BMC Oral Health. Rebecca Smith of The Telegraph reports:
The results are published in the journal BMC Oral Health and show significant reductions on plaque causing bacteria amongst children eating both types of bears.

Lead author Kiet A. Ly, from the University of Washington, said: "For xylitol to be successfully used in oral health promotion programmes amongst primary-school children, an effective means of delivering xylitol must be identified. Gummy bears would seem to be more ideal than chewing gum."

The researchers concluded: "These results suggest that a xylitol gummy bear snack may be an alternative to xylitol chewing gum for dental caries prevention.

"A larger clinical trial is needed to confirm the xylitol results."

The researchers were surprised that both the xylitol group and the mannitol group showed reductions in plaque bacteria. Xylitol has been shown in previous research to be effective in helping to prevent tooth decay but evidence on mannitol, which is a very similar substance, has been conflicting.
Okay, Gummi Bears might be cute, but I’m not chewing some artificially flavored candy concoction to protect my teeth. Hopefully parents don’t buy into this jibber-jabber either—sheesh!