Health and Fitness News

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Welcome to the Health and Fitness weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Tacos for the Holidays

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

   The holiday season can be like an ongoing house party. Children are home from school, their friends are coming by, relatives are in from out of town, and one meal follows the next. One way to meet the challenge of feeding everybody is to pick up a supply of corn tortillas (all the better if more locally made) and make a big pot of beans and some other dishes that are at home in a taco. Buy a few jars of salsa, or make your own, and your house will be taco party central during the busy holiday week.

   Tacos are such an informal way to feed people well. I like to have my fillings made in advance, my garnishes arranged in bowls or on platters. Then all it takes is warming tortillas in a microwave, oven or steamer, and guests can assemble their own tacos. Fillings can be vegetarian or vegan, or they can include meat. Even those who can’t tolerate gluten won’t have to worry, as corn tortillas are gluten-free, and they’re the best ones to use for these recipes.

Soft Tacos With Turkey Picadillo and Cabbage

Picadillo is a typical filling for tacos, enchiladas and chilies, traditionally made with ground beef. Lighten the sweet and savory mixture by using ground turkey breast.

Tacos With Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas in Chipotle Ranchero Salsa

These winter vegetables sweeten with roasting and contrast beautifully with the chipotle-spiked cooked tomato salsa.

Soft Tacos With Mushrooms, Cabbage and Chipotle Ranchero Salsa

The mushroom filling will keep for about three days in the refrigerator.

Tacos With Black Beans and Chard

Black beans and greens make a hearty but healthful taco.

Cauliflower and Red Onion Tacos With Cotija Cheese

Vegetables bathed in vinegar are typical condiments in Mexico, but you can bring them to the center of the plate as a filling for a taco.

General Medicine/Family Medical

Study: Acid Reflux on the Rise

Obesity Increase Likely to Blame, Researchers Say

Dec. 22, 2011 — Heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux seem to be much more common than they were a decade ago.

The prevalence of weekly heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux rose nearly 50% over the last decade, according to one of the largest studies ever to examine the issue.

Scientists Find Key Brain Differences in Dyslexia

The Brains of People With Dyslexia May Have Trouble Processing Sounds, Especially Speech

Dec. 21, 2011 — There may be more to dyslexia than trouble with reading.

People with dyslexia sometimes see words and letters as scrambled, making reading a difficult task. Now a new study shows that dyslexia isn’t just a visual disturbance. It also appears to be a problem with the way the brain interprets sounds, particularly speech.

The study appears in the journal Neuron.

Deaths From Drug Poisoning Jump Sixfold

Poisoning From Prescription Painkiller Driving the Increase in Drug Deaths

Dec. 20, 2011 — The number of deaths from drug poisonings in the U.S. has increased sixfold since 1980.

In 2008, more than 41,000 people in the U.S. died from intentional and accidental poisonings. Nine out of 10 poisoning deaths were due to drugs.

In 2008, these deaths exceeded the number of deaths from automobile accidents in the U.S., making poisoning the leading cause of injury death in the country, according to a report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics that focused on the time period from 1980 to 2008.

Increase in Resting Heart Rate Over Time Linked to Heart Disease Death

Study Suggests Regularly Checking Pulse to See Where You Stand

Dec. 20, 2011 — Your resting heart rate or pulse may provide important clues about your current and future heart health.

It has been known that a high resting heart rate is a risk for heart disease. Now new research suggests that an increase in resting heart rate over time may actually place a person at greater risk for dying from heart disease and/or other causes in the future. The findings appear in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Midlife Blood Pressure Predicts Future Heart Risk

High Blood Pressure in Middle Age Linked to Later Heart Attack, Stroke

Dec. 19, 2011 — Increases and decreases in blood pressure during middle age and even earlier in adulthood can significantly affect heart attack and stroke risk later in life, a new study shows.

The analysis of data from seven studies involving more than 61,000 people is one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted examining how changes in blood pressure during middle age affect lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke.

Are the Benefits of Vitamin D Overhyped?

2 Studies Find Little Evidence That Vitamin D Prevents Heart Disease or Cancer

Dec. 19, 2011 — Another day, and another vitamin has failed to live up to all of its hype. This time it’s vitamin D.

The reality check is coming from two new research reviews published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Use of Sunless Tanners May Cut Exposure to UV Radiation

People Who Use Self-Tanners May Cut Back on Sun Bathing, Tanning Beds

Dec. 19, 2011 — Women who often use sunless tanners — those creams and sprays that fake a tan — may reduce their sunbathing time and tanning bed use, according to a new study.

“Using the sunless tanners can change tanning behaviors,” says researcher Suephy C. Chen, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine. “People who used the sunless tanners decreased the number of times they laid out or went to tanning booths.”

Maggot Therapy May Assist in Wound Healing

Study: Maggot Therapy Works Faster Than Conventional Therapy in First Week to Clean Wounds

Dec. 19, 2011 — It sounds medieval, but it’s an accepted part of modern medicine: Maggots may assist in wound healing, French researchers report.

Maggots have been used to help treat wounds for thousands of years. Their use declined with the advent of antibiotics. Now, they seem to be making a comeback because of the alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant infections. Maggots may reduce the risk of wound infection because the larvae secrete substances that fight infection.


Infant Acetaminophen Dosage Change May Cause Confusion

FDA: Know Concentration Before Giving Acetaminophen to Infants

Dec. 23, 2011 — Double check the label on liquid acetaminophen before giving it to a child or infant to avoid giving your child the wrong dose.

The FDA is urging parents and caregivers to carefully read the label on liquid acetaminophen marketed to infants and children as a new, less concentrated form of the popular pain reliever arrives on store shelves.

Acetaminophen products include several over-the-counter brands, including Little Fevers, PediaCare, Triaminic, Tylenol, and store brands or generic versions of the drug.

USDA Issues New Safety Rules for Beef

Zero Tolerance for Toxic E. coli; Beef Held Until Tests Done

Dec. 21, 2011 — The USDA today announced two new rules to make U.S. beef safer.

The announcement accompanied the first report of the two-year-old Food Safety Working Group, led by the White House and staffed by agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

FDA Warns Consumers About ShoulderFlex Massager

Neck and Shoulder Massage Device Poses Strangulation Risk, Agency Says

Dec. 21, 2011 — The FDA has issued a new warning to consumers against the use of a massage device called the ShoulderFlex Massager, which was recalled earlier this year after it was blamed for causing at least one death.

According to the FDA, the distributor, King International, has gone out of business since the firm recalled the massagers on Aug. 31, 2011, and many stores that sell the device may not be aware it is dangerous.

Likewise, the FDA says many people who purchased the massager may be unaware that it is dangerous and that King International’s 800 number established for the recall has been out of service.

Infant Formula Investigated in Baby Death

Single Lot of Enfamil Being Tested for Bacteria Linked to Rare, Deadly Infection

Dec. 22, 2011 — A Lebanon, Mo. infant has died of cronobacter infection.

Previous infant deaths from cronobacter have been linked to powdered baby formula. The Missouri child had been fed Enfamil Newborn purchased at a local Walmart store.

Walmart has pulled that lot of Enfamil from its shelves, pending the results of tests to see whether the product was contaminated. The investigation is also looking into other sources of infection.

Women’s Health

DHEA May Help Sex, Symptoms After Menopause

Low-Dose DHEA Cuts Menopause Symptoms, Improves Sex Life in Small Study

Dec. 20, 2011 — Low-dose DHEA works as well as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease menopausal symptoms and to improve women’s sex lives, a small pilot study suggests.

DHEA is a hormone widely available in the U.S. as a dietary supplement. DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands, the liver, and the testes. It’s a parent hormone that gives rise to both male and female sex hormones. The supplement is a man-made version.

Pediatric Health

Teens Who Can Express Themselves More Likely to Avoid Drugs

Study Finds That Teens Who Express Themselves to Mom Are More Likely to Resist Peer Pressure

Dec. 23, 2011 — When New York City stock broker Karen N. was raising her now 27-year-old daughter, dinners were never quiet — especially during Kimberly’s teen years.

The mom and daughter often went at it about grades, money, chores, and friends. “You name it and we discussed it,” she says. “Kimberly never had any trouble telling me how she felt and why she felt that way. I didn’t always agree, but I always let her speak her mind.”

And neither of them would change a thing. Kimberly sailed through her teen years, excelled at school, and never got mixed up with drugs or alcohol. The two even work together as brokers today.

Very Early Experiences May Stick in Memory

Study: Some Children Remembered Events That Happened When They Were 2 Years Old

Dec. 22, 2011 — The ability to remember our earliest childhood experiences may be in place sooner than experts thought, according to new research.

Some children who played a unique game when they were just 2 years old were able to remember it six years later, the researchers found.

Other researchers who have focused on early memories, however, have said that adults’ earliest memories usually start from when they were about 3 1/2 years old.

Overweight Children May Be at Risk for Asthma

Losing Weight Early on Lowers Risk of Childhood Asthma Later

Dec. 20, 2011 — Overweight children may be more likely to develop asthma by the time they go to school, but losing weight early on may counter that risk.

A new study shows children who were overweight at ages 1, 4, and 7 were up to twice as likely to have asthma by age 8 as normal-weight children.

Study: Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. Youths Will Be Arrested by Age 23

Startling Numbers Are a ‘Wake-Up Call’ That Can Harm Health of Youth and Community

Parents and non-parents alike might be shocked to learn a new study estimates that roughly 1 in 3 U.S. youths will be arrested for a non-traffic offense by age 23 — a “substantively higher” proportion than predicted in the 1960s.

The study, posted online by the journal Pediatrics, shows that between about 25% to 41% of 23-year-olds have been arrested or taken into police custody at least once for a non-traffic offense. If you factor in missing cases, that percentage could lie between about 30% and 41%.


Brain Scans Spot Alzheimer’s Changes Years Before Symptoms

Study: People With Brain Shrinkage in Key Areas Are More Likely to Develop Memory Loss, Other Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Dec. 21, 2011 — Researchers say they can see telltale brain shrinkage years before a person develops memory loss or other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new finding may one day allow doctors to detect and treat patients earlier and perhaps keep them functional for longer.

Mental Health

Happiness Declining Among Twitter Users

A Review of Billions of Tweets Shows a Drop in Global Happiness, Scientists Claim

Dec. 22, 2011 — Twitter users may be less happy than they used to be, say University of Vermont scientists.

They analyzed billions of tweets over nearly three years and found that happiness is on a downward slide.

It’s unusual for researchers to use Twitter to sense people’s moods, though another recent study did so.


Knee Arthritis: Very Low-Calorie Diet May Help

Patients on Formula Diet Achieved Dramatic Weight Loss

Dec. 21, 2011 — Obesity is a major risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, and although weight loss is often recommended to reduce painful pressure on joints, not all patients succeed in shedding extra pounds.

Osteoarthritis — sometimes called “wear and tear” arthritis — is frequently related to age-related changes in joints. Now a study from Denmark suggests that a very low-calorie commercial diet in which most meals are replaced with a high-protein formula, can help patients with the degenerative joint disorder lose weight safely.


    • TMC on December 27, 2011 at 07:11

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