Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.
This following article is because I love you guys and because I know you have loved ones.
Bystanders who witness the sudden collapse of an adult should call 911 and then provide high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest, with minimal interruptions. Studies of real emergencies that have occurred in homes, at work or in public locations, show that these two steps, called Hands-Only™ CPR, can be equally or even more effective than conventional CPR.
As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.
General Medicine/Family Medical
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tumors can not only spread through the body by sending out tiny cells called seeds, but they can re-seed themselves, researchers said in a report on Thursday that may help explain why tumors grow back even after they are removed.
They said their findings, published in the journal Cell, may also help lead to the development of new drugs to stop the process of cancer spread, or metastasis.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – More education may mean a lower heart attack risk later in life, with benefits seen in low-income countries as well as wealthy nations, a new study finds.
A number of studies in Western countries have found a link between higher socioeconomic status and lower heart disease risk. However, studies measure socioeconomic status in various ways — by people’s education or current job or current family income, for instance — and it is not clear whether all of those factors are equally important.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Air pollution may double the risk that an elderly person will be hospitalized for pneumonia, according to a new study.
“We have shown that air pollution exerts a strong effect on hospital admissions for pneumonia,” Michael Jerrett, of the University of California, Berkeley, who was involved in the study, noted in an interview with Reuters Health.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Bouts of low blood sugar can lead to unsafe driving among people with diabetes, new research shows.
In 452 adult drivers with diabetes, 52 percent reported at least one driving mishap when their blood sugar was low, Dr. Daniel J. Cox, at University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville, and colleagues found.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Diabetes may lower the heart-protective benefits of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol, but giving diabetics niacin, a drug that raises HDL levels, might restore the benefit, researchers said on Tuesday.
HDL lowers heart risks because it clears low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, away from arteries and back to the liver, where it is passed out of the body.
Several recent studies also suggest HDL protects arteries by promoting cell healing and repair.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Suffering from acute pancreatitis but not sure where to go? You may want to head to a hospital that handles a lot of similar cases.
New research suggests that patients who go to hospitals that admit 118 or more people with pancreatitis each year experience shorter stays and lower death rates, and have lower hospital bills than patients who go to hospitals that admit fewer than 118 people with pancreatitis each year.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – An acupuncture session may bring some itch relief to people with the allergic skin condition known as atopic eczema, a preliminary study suggests.
Eczema is a general term for conditions marked by inflammation and dry, red, itchy patches on the skin. The most common form, atopic eczema, is seen in people with a predisposition to allergies, like hay fever or asthma.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – High levels of a compound called C-reactive protein may be a sign of a future risk for heart attacks, stroke and cancer, though it does not seem to be a cause, researchers said on Tuesday.
An analysis published in the journal Lancet attempts to resolve a long-standing debate over C-reactive protein, or CRP — whether it is a warning sign of heart trouble, or a direct cause.
Some studies have suggested the protein, which is associated with inflammation, may be as important as high cholesterol in causing heart disease.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A special gel enriched with enzymes and growth factors can help grow new blood vessels around a blocked artery in rats and might offer a way to make grow-your-own bypasses, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.
The gel appears to keep the necessary compounds in place until nearby blood vessels can sprout new branches into the desired area, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Aviation and medicine both require professionals to hold peoples’ lives in their hands. Now, study findings hint that hospitals may improve patient safety by drawing on aviation-type safety initiatives.
When medicine “turns its eyes to the sky,” patient safety on the ground may improve, Dr. Harry C. Sax, at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.
Pre-flight checklists and non-punitive incident reporting are measures that significantly minimize aviation accidents, Sax and colleagues point out in the Archives of Surgery.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Dietary “phytoestrogens” — plant substances that have weak estrogen-like activity — have little impact on the risks of developing hormone-sensitive cancers like breast and prostate cancer or colorectal cancers, new research suggests.
In a large study of some 25,000 British adults, researchers failed to find any “significant” differences in cancer risk related to dietary intake of these compounds.
GENEVA (Reuters) – At least 11,516 people around the globe have died from the H1N1 flu virus since the pandemic emerged in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday.
But in its weekly update, which showed an increase in officially reported deaths of nearly 1,000 since its last report, it said the disease appeared to have peaked or plateaued in Western Europe and North America while transmission was declining in parts of Asia.
In the United States and Canada, the virus remained geographically widespread but overall levels of flu-like illnesses had declined substantially and hospitalizations and deaths were dropping, the WHO said.
BEIJING (Reuters) – About 300 survivors of a deadly outbreak of SARS in China in 2003 are now suffering from serious after-effects, possibly due to aggressive hormone treatment to save their lives, the Beijing News said on Friday.
Severe Acute Respiratory Disease, or SARS, was an unknown disease when it first struck in late 2002. Initially covered up by the Chinese government, it spread rapidly from south China to other cities and countries in 2003, causing public panic.
The most common complaints of the survivors are hip problems due to bone thinning, depression, and fibrosis of the lungs that makes breathing difficult.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit is voluntarily recalling some of its H1N1 swine flu vaccine because it was not as potent as it should be.
Norman Baylor, director of the office of vaccines research and review at the FDA, said the recall involves a total of 4.7 million doses of the company’s nasal spray vaccine, but only about 3,000 of those doses are left in warehouses.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several flu-like viruses are more common than usual this flu season in the United States, adding to the misery and confusion caused by H1N1 swine flu, one lab company said on Tuesday.
Kansas City, Missouri-based ViraCor Laboratories found that only 6 percent of the samples it was sent tested positive for influenza A virus. Tests by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show virtually all influenza now circulating is H1N1 swine flu.
The rest include a range of flu-like viruses, each caused by a distinct germ but all causing similar symptoms.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The H1N1 flu pandemic is moderate but infects and sometimes kills much younger people than traditional seasonal influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Comparing the number of deaths from the pandemic virus known as swine flu with those from seasonal influenza can be misleading, the U.N. agency said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans who were worried about the safety of the swine flu vaccine are still worried and it may not be easy to convince them to get themselves or their children vaccinated, researchers said on Tuesday.
About 60 percent of parents polled say they plan to get their children vaccinated and 79 percent of adults will try to get the vaccines for themselves, but there is a hard core of resistance that has not been moved by entreaties by the U.S. government, pollsters said.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – As many as 42 percent of women who are at intermediate or high risk of getting breast cancer decide not to get recommended MRI screening, even if it is offered for free, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.
A quarter of the women in the study who were offered the free screening test decided not to get it because they feel claustrophobic in the tunnel-like scanners. But many also said they declined because of costs involved if the test reveals something that needs to be followed up.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Smoking is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a new analysis of 16 studies confirms.
The effect is especially strong in men and heavy smokers, the researchers found. And men who tested positive for rheumatoid factor (RF), a self-attacking antibody found in about 80 percent of RA patients, were at even higher risk if they smoked.
Research over the past two decades has linked smoking to RA, especially in men, Dr. S. Kumagai of Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Kobe, Japan and his colleagues write. But findings on smoking and RA in women have been “inconsistent.”
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Calcium supplements won’t help men cut cholesterol or trim fat, but they could help those who don’t get enough calcium in their diet to keep their blood pressure under control, new research shows.
Calcium supplements are widely recommended to women after menopause to maintain bone health, and can keep men’s skeletons’ strong too, Dr. Ian R. Reid and colleagues from the University of Auckland in New Zealand note in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
There’s also some evidence that getting extra calcium could lower levels of cholesterol and other harmful blood fats, aid in weight loss, and reduce blood pressure, they add, but this has yet to be investigated “rigorously” in men.
BOSTON (Reuters) – A defective gene appears to contribute to most cases of childhood asthma, a finding that could lead to a better understanding of allergies, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.
The gene may control some of the signaling in the immune system, the researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The defective version causes that system to go awry, producing an overreaction.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Baby aspirin taken for high-risk pregnancy complications does not appear to harm brain development among very premature children assessed when 5 years old, according to a French study. It may actually have some benefit, the study hints
As this was an observational study, Dr. Stephane Marret from Rouen University Hospital, cautioned in an email to Reuters Health, “it is necessary to confirm our data in other studies.”
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – New study findings offer reassurance to pregnant women that acetaminophen does not appear to raise the risk of birth defects.
Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and certain other painkillers, and is often found in over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. Taken as directed, acetaminophen is considered safe during pregnancy, making it the medication of choice for pregnant women’s body aches and fevers.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Being overweight or obese boosts a teenager’s risk of developing the nighttime breathing disorder obstructive sleep apnea, new study findings hint.
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when airway passages become blocked during sleep, cutting off breathing for brief but frequent periods. It is often accompanied by heavy snoring.
OSA is increasingly being recognized in children and the sleep disturbances caused by OSA can lead to daytime learning and behavior problems in children, as well as more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Chronic stress can speed up memory decline in older people who already have some impairment in their mental function, a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows.
But being stressed doesn’t appear to affect memory in older people without such impairment, Dr. Guerry M. Peavy of the University of California San Diego and colleagues found.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People with Alzheimer’s disease may be less apt to get cancer and people with cancer may be less apt to get Alzheimer’s disease, new research hints.
“Discovering the links between these two conditions may help us better understand both diseases and open up avenues for possible treatments,” Dr. Catherine M. Roe of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, noted in a written statement from the American Academy of Neurology.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Want to keep your eyesight sharp as you age? Eating lots of fish packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids could help, new research suggests.
Among 1,837 people who had early signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), those with the highest consumption of omega-3 fatty acids were 30 percent less likely to progress to the advanced form of the disease over a 12-year period than those with the lowest omega-3 intake, researchers found.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – If you’ve ever thought that you literally feel other people’s pain, you may be right. A brain-imaging study suggests that some people have true physical reactions to others’ injuries.
Using an imaging technique called functional MRI, UK researchers found evidence that people who say they feel vicarious pain do, in fact, have heightened activity in pain-sensing brain regions upon witnessing another person being hurt.
1 pound (2 heaped cups) chick peas, borlotti beans or pinto beans, washed, picked over and soaked for six hours or overnight
2 whole cloves
4 to 6 large garlic cloves (to taste), 2 crushed, the rest minced
A bouquet garni made with a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Gruyère, or a combination of Gruyère and Parmesan (2 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1. Cut one of the onions in half, and stick a clove into each half. Chop the other onion. Drain the soaked beans and combine with 2 quarts water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam, then add the halved onion, the crushed garlic cloves and the bouquet garni. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt to taste, and continue to simmer for another 30 to 60 minutes, until the beans are tender but not mushy. Remove from the heat, remove and discard the onion and the bouquet garni, and drain over a bowl. Measure out 3 cups of the cooking liquid, taste and adjust salt. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the remaining garlic, and stir together until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, oregano, cayenne and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell very fragrant. Stir in the beans and 3 cups of their cooking broth (refrigerate the rest if you are making this ahead; you may need it for thinning out). Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fragrant. Stir often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add pepper, taste and adjust salt and garlic.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 3-quart gratin or baking dish. Spoon the tomatoes and beans into the baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and cheese in a bowl, and toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle in an even layer over the beans. Bake 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is bubbling. Serve hot or warm.
Yield: Serves eight to 12.
Advance preparation: The beans can be cooked a day or two ahead through step 1. The dish benefits from being made one or two days ahead through step 2.
1/2 pound stale bread, sliced about 3/4 to 1 inch thick
3/4 ounce dried mushrooms
8 ounces Swiss chard, stemmed and cleaned
2 garlic cloves, 1 cut in half, green shoots removed, the other minced
1 cup low-fat milk
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup, tightly packed)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
Note: If your bread is very hard, carefully saw it into slices with a sturdy serrated knife. Dipping it into the milk for half a minute may help, but this also may cause the bread to crumble as you slice it.
1. If the bread is soft, toast it lightly and rub each slice front and back with the cut clove of garlic. Cut in 1-inch dice. If the bread is stale, just rub the slices with garlic and cut them into 1-inch dice. Place in a very large bowl, and toss with 2/3 cup of the milk. Set aside.
2. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup, and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl, line with cheesecloth, a coffee filter or paper towels, and drain the mushrooms. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer to extract all of the broth. Rinse, away from the strainer, in several changes of water to wash off sand. Squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely. Measure out 1 cup of the mushroom broth, and combine with the remaining milk.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter a 2-quart baking dish or gratin. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the chard. Stir until the leaves begin to wilt in the liquid left on them after washing. Cover the pan, and let the chard steam until it has completely collapsed, about two minutes. Uncover and stir. When all of the chard has wilted, remove from the pan and rinse briefly with cold water. Press or squeeze out excess liquid. Chop coarsely and set aside.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan, turn the heat down to medium and add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in the reconstituted mushrooms, the rosemary and the chard. Stir together for a couple of minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, and transfer to the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the cheeses, and toss together. Arrange in the baking dish.
5. Beat together the eggs in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste (I use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon), the remaining milk and the mushroom broth. Add a few twists of the peppermill and pour over the bread. Press the bread down into the custard mixture. Sprinkle a little Parmesan over the top, and drizzle on the remaining olive oil. Place in the oven, and bake 40 to 50 minutes, until puffed and browned. Remove from the oven, and serve hot or warm.
Yield: Serves four to six.
Advance preparation: This can be assembled through step 4 hours or even a couple of days before you beat together the eggs and milk and complete the casserole.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
2 medium-size canned jalapeño chiles (en escabeche), seeded and chopped (about 3 tablespoons chopped)
1/4 cup chopped green olives
Scant 1/4 cup capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
2 28-ounce cans tomatoes, drained and chopped
Salt (1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 pound winter squash or zucchini, peeled and diced (about 2 cups diced)
A bouquet garni made with 2 sprigs each cilantro and mint, and 2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 pounds fresh crabmeat
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 limes, cut in wedges, for serving
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onions. Cook, stirring, for five to 10 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two, until the garlic begins to color. Add the tomatoes and about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are somewhat cooked down and the mixture smells fragrant. Add the potatoes, the winter squash, chiles, olives, capers, bouquet garni and the oregano, and stir together for five minutes. Add 2 quarts water and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes, until the potatoes and pumpkin are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and/or garlic if you wish. Remove from the heat if not serving right away.
2. Bring the soup back to a bare simmer, and stir in the crab. Heat through, stirring and being careful not to let the soup boil or the crabmeat, which is already cooked, will become too rubbery. Just before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro, and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Yield: Serves six to eight.
Advance preparation: The soup can be prepared through step 1 a day or two ahead and refrigerated.
Marinate the chicken the day before you make this dish, and make it at least one day ahead through step 3 so that you can easily skim off the chicken fat. And if you want to make it for a smaller group, just halve the quantities.
4 1/4 pounds cut up chicken (drumsticks, thighs, breasts – 16 pieces), skinned
1/2 cup Pernod or Pastis (anise flavored aperitif)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 generous pinches saffron threads
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf and a couple of sprigs each thyme and rosemary
1 quart chicken or turkey stock
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and broken in half
A handful of chopped fresh parsley
1. Cut chicken breasts in half for smaller pieces. Season all of the chicken with salt and pepper, and toss in a very large bowl with one pinch of the saffron and the Pernod or Pastis. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large resealable bag, pour in the liquid from the bowl and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate overnight. If possible, move the chicken around in the bag from time to time.
2. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides, about five minutes per batch. Remove to a baking sheet or bowl.
3. Heat a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often until they soften, about five minutes. Add the carrots and celery and a generous pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until tender and fragrant, five to eight minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute until fragrant, and then add the tomatoes, thyme and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the dark meat pieces to the pot, along with any juice that has accumulated in the bowl or sheet pan. Add the crushed fennel seeds, the stock, bouquet garni and potatoes, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste. Add the remaining pinch of saffron, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add the breast meat pieces, and simmer another 30 minutes. Check to see that the potatoes are tender. If they are not, simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. If serving the next day (recommended), use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl, and cover tightly. Remove the bouquet garni and discard. Refrigerate the chicken and the broth with the vegetables overnight, and skim off the fat from the surface of the broth the next day. Return the chicken to the pot to reheat.
4. While the chicken is simmering, or while reheating, blanch the beans for five minutes in a medium pot of boiling salted water. Transfer to the chicken stew. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in the parsley and serve in wide soup bowls.
Yield: Serves eight to 10.
Advance preparation: This benefits from being made at least one day ahead and will keep for three or four days. It is best to cook the beans shortly before reheating.