Health and Fitness News

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a 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.

One Pot of Beans, Four Dinners

One Pot of Beans 4 dinners photo 10recipehealth-master675_zps802e6330.jpg

This year I found a bag of pintos that I had bought on a whim more than a year ago. I simmered them with onion and garlic, and they softened beautifully. Not only did I enjoy the beans with their broth on their own but I used them for several other filling and satisfying main dishes. With pinto beans you can go Mexican or Mediterranean. They resemble borlottis, so in addition to the vegetarian chili and the tostadas I made, I used them in a few Italian dishes that normally call for borlottis or cannellini, all comforting, sustaining dishes for cold winter nights.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

A Big Pot of Simmered Pintos

A simple pot of savory beans can be a meal or the first step in another dish.

Pasta e Fagiole

A classic Italian bean and pasta soup makes a delicious meal.

Vegetarian Chili With Winter Vegetables

A thick satisfying dish with sweet flavors and a comforting texture.

Bruschetta With Smashed Beans, Sage and Kale

Seasoned greens and a bit of cheese turns bruschetta into a meal.

Tostadas With Beans, Cabbage and Avocado

A great buffet dish that skips frying the beans in lard.


Graco Recalls Millions of Child Car Seats

About 3.7 million child car seats are being recalled by Graco due to potential problems with harness buckles.

The red release button in the center of the harness can become hard to open or can get stuck, which can make it difficult or impossible to remove a child quickly in an emergency, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Graco said that the problem with the harness buckles can be caused by an accumulation of food and dried liquids. The company said it has not received any reports of injuries associated with the problem, CNN reported.

General Medicine/Family Medical

Sleep Apnea May Worsen Fatigue in MS Patients

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Small study suggests sleep disorder could be missed in people with multiple sclerosis

Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Sleep apnea is common in people with multiple sclerosis and may contribute to their fatigue, a new study shows.

Fatigue is one of the most frequent and debilitating symptoms experienced by MS patients.

The study included 195 people with MS who completed a sleep questionnaire and were assessed for daytime sleepiness, insomnia, fatigue severity and sleep apnea.

One-fifth of the patients had been diagnosed with sleep apnea and more than half were found to have an elevated risk for the condition. The researchers also found that sleep apnea risk was a significant predictor of fatigue severity.

Can Vitamin C Ward Off Stroke?

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay

Researchers can’t say for sure, but brain bleeds were more common among those with low levels of the vitamin

Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — In a small study, French researchers have found that people deficient in vitamin C might be at greater risk for bleeding in the brain, also called hemorrhagic stroke.

Hemorrhagic strokes make up only 15 percent of all strokes, but they usually are deadlier than ischemic strokes, which occur when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked.

“This study suggests that a low level of vitamin C is a risk for spontaneous brain hemorrhages,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Stephane Vannier, from Pontchaillou University Hospital in Rennes.

Supportive Mate a Good Match for Your Heart

By Alan Mozes, HealthDay

Small study of couples found helpfulness seems associated with lower levels of calcium build-up in arteries

Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Every Valentine’s Day, heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates fly off the shelves as couples express their love for each other, but a new study suggests that a supportive spouse may be the real key to a happy and healthy heart.

A new investigation that combined CT scans with survey results revealed that people who feel their partner is always helpful in times of difficulty seemed to have lower levels of an early sign of heart disease. It’s called “coronary artery calcification” — a build-up of calcium in the artery walls.

Making Acupuncture Even Safer

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Researchers recommend improving needle quality

Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Uniformly improving the quality of acupuncture needles would help prevent potential problems such as skin reactions and pain, according to a new study.

“Acupuncture needle manufacturers, including the well-established ones, should review and improve their quality-control procedures for fabrication of needles,” said researcher Yi Min Xie, of the Center for Innovative Structures and Materials at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Could the Weather Affect Your Stroke Risk?

By Barbara Bronson Gray, HealthDay

Study suggests stroke hospitalizations and death rates tied to changes in temperature and humidity

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Imagine hearing a weather forecaster warn that tomorrow could be “colder with a chance of stroke.”

As odd as that may seem, researchers have found possible associations between certain weather conditions and the incidence of strokes.

Larger daily temperature variations and higher humidity each were associated with higher stroke hospitalization rates, according to a new study.

Bob Costas’s Eye Trouble Temporary, Experts Say

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay

Conjunctivitis is a common ailment and usually resolves on its own in about a week

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — While skiers, snowboarders and skaters held viewers’ attention during this week’s Winter Olympics, it was tough not to notice TV broadcaster Bob Costas’s glaring eye infection as well.

The persistent infection, known as conjunctivitis, that forced Costas to break away from his post Tuesday is caused by the same virus as the common cold, experts say. But instead of latching on to the membranes in the nose or throat, conjunctivitis infects similar membranes in the eye.

Cocaine Use May Spur Short-Term Rise in Stroke Risk

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay

Within 24 hours of use, risk increases almost sevenfold, researchers report

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — In the 24 hours after using cocaine, a young adult’s risk of a stroke increases almost sevenfold, according to a new study.

The risk for stroke associated with cocaine use is much higher than with other stroke risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking, said the researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Cocaine is not only addictive, but it can also lead to disability or death from stroke,” said lead researcher Yu-Ching Cheng, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Quitting Smoking Linked to Better Mental Health

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Over 3 years, people who stopped reported drop in mood disorders, alcohol and drug problems

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Quitting smoking may be as good for your mental health as it is for your physical health, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from 4,800 daily smokers in the United States who took part in two surveys conducted three years apart. Those who had an addiction or other mental health problems in the first survey were less likely to have those issues in the second survey if they’d quit smoking, the investigators said.

Lymph Node Test a Good Strategy for Melanoma: Study

By Maureen Salamon, HealthDay

Disease spread was detected and treated sooner, with better survival in patients who received ‘sentinel node’ biopsy

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Testing a key lymph node in patients with the most dangerous form of skin cancer is the best approach to determine if the cancer has spread, new late-stage clinical research indicates.

The test could significantly improve survival among those whose affected lymph nodes are then removed, the researchers said.

Low-Dose Statins and Heart Patients

By Mary Brophy Marcus, HealthDay

When combined with other cholesterol-lowering treatments, they could be as good as high-dose statins alone

Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new analysis suggests that people at high risk for heart disease who can’t take high-dose statin drugs to lower their cholesterol might benefit from a treatment combination that includes taking a low-dose statin.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins reviewed published research to compare the benefits and harms of a lower-intensity statin when combined with one of several other cholesterol-lowering treatments in adults at high risk for heart disease.

FDA Panel: No Heart-Safety Advantage With Naproxen

By HealthDay staff, HealthDay

Some studies had suggested naproxen (Aleve) might pose less of a threat than other painkillers

Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The science isn’t convincing enough to say that naproxen — the key pain reliever in Aleve — is safer for the heart than other popular anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), U.S. health advisers ruled Tuesday.

The decision was highly anticipated, since a vote in favor of naproxen’s superiority might have led to a product labeling change, experts said.

However, the 16-9 vote by the advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not find enough evidence to put naproxen ahead of other pain relievers in terms of heart risk. The FDA isn’t required to follow the recommendations of its advisory committees but it usually does so.

Seasonal Flu/Other Epidemics/Disasters

Child Vaccine Exemptions: States Getting Stricter?

By Amy Norton, HealthDay

Study finds bills to expand parental opt-outs are failing, while others to limit them have passed

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Legislative skirmishes over childhood vaccines are still happening in many states, but there are signs of a shift in the United States toward limiting “personal belief” exemptions, a new study finds.

All states require children to receive routine vaccines against diseases such as polio, measles, mumps and whooping cough before starting day care or public school. But most states allow parents to forgo vaccines for religious reasons, and 20 states permit “personal belief” exemptions for parents with philosophical objections.

Flu Hits Unvaccinated Hardest, Study Finds

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay

Those who have had vaccine are far less likely to need intensive-care unit

Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — If you want to avoid the very worst of the flu, get a flu shot.

That simple message is hammered home in a new study from Duke University Medical Center that found virtually all of the people with influenza who ended up in intensive care earlier this flu season had chosen not to get the annual flu vaccine.

“Over and above the reduction in the number of flu cases for those who have been vaccinated, our study also seems to support a reduction in severe illness,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Cameron Wolfe, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious disease.

Women’s Health

Stroke Risk After Childbirth

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Although rates are very low, study finds increased risk continues for 12 weeks after delivery

Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The increased risk of having a stroke or other blood-clotting problem might continue longer after a woman gives birth than previously believed, according to a new study.

“Historically, six weeks was the accepted period,” said study researcher Dr. Hooman Kamel.

“We found the risk of blood clots remained higher than normal for twice as long as previously thought. After 12 weeks, it was no longer significant,” said Kamel, an assistant professor in the Weill Cornell Medical College department of neurology and the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Ovary Removal Might Raise Odds for Bone Loss

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Doctors should assess overall risks in premenopausal women, study suggests

Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Older women who had their ovaries removed before menopause are at increased risk for bone loss and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at 222 healthy postmenopausal women in the Los Angeles area. Among women who were more than 10 years past menopause, the rate of bone mineral density loss was twice as high in those who’d had their ovaries removed before menopause than in those who still had their ovaries.

The women without ovaries also had more evidence of hardening of the arteries, according to the study published Feb. 14 in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Moderate Exercise May Cut Women’s Stroke Risk

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study found brisk walking, tennis lowered chances of brain attack by 20 percent

Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Brisk walking, tennis and other types of moderate exercise may lower a woman’s stroke risk by one-fifth, a new study says.

Being more active also offset the increased stroke risk linked with using hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause, the study found.

Double Mastectomy and Inherited Breast Cancer

By Brenda Goodman, HealthDay

Study found procedure might cut risk of death in half for those with certain genetic mutations

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Women diagnosed with an inherited form of breast cancer might halve their risk of dying of the disease if they remove both breasts, a new study suggests.

“I think we’ve shown pretty clearly that if you have breast cancer and the BRCA mutation, your best option is to get both breasts removed at the outset,” said study author Dr. Steven Narod, a senior scientist with the University of Toronto’s Women’s College Research Institute, in Canada.

Partial HPV Vaccine Series & Girls’ Genital Warts

By Steven Reinberg HealthDay

But Swedish study didn’t address more critical issue of cervical cancer prevention

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Girls given two doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine instead of the recommended three doses appear to have some protection against genital warts, Swedish researchers report.

Whether two doses is enough to protect against cervical cancer, however, isn’t known and experts remain wary of partial vaccination since the primary goal of the vaccine is to protect women from this potentially deadly cancer.

Annual Mammograms and Breast Cancer Deaths

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

But some outside experts cite flaws in the 25-year review of screening’s effects on women

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The value of yearly mammograms is under fire once again, with a long-running Canadian study contending that annual screening in women aged 40 to 59 does not lower breast cancer death rates.

For 25 years, the researchers followed nearly 90,000 women who were randomly assigned either to get screening mammograms or not.

“Mammography detected many more invasive breast cancers,” said lead researcher Dr. Cornelia Baines, professor emeriti at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “Survival time was longer in women getting mammography.”

Gene Exam Might Predict Breast Cancer Progression

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Behavior of 55 genes linked to likelihood of disease spreading, study suggests

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Predicting whether early stage breast cancer will become invasive and lethal remains a challenge for doctors. But new research suggests that a panel of 55 genes might help guide medical odds-makers.

Women who had genetic alterations in this panel were less likely to survive breast cancer over nearly two decades of follow-up than those without any changes, said study researcher Susette Mueller, professor emeritus of oncology at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

Sex Is Important to Many Midlife Women

By Brenda Goodman, HealthDay

Study finds some challenges with sexual function that can be remedied

Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The mechanics of sex may become a bit more difficult after menopause, a new study finds. But most women will continue to be sexually active as long as they feel sex is important.

The study, published online Feb. 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine, included 354 women who ranged in age from their 40s to mid-60s. All of the women reported being sexually active at the start of the study.

Pediatric Health

Preemie Birth Linked to Higher Insulin Levels in Kids

By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay

These babies could be at increased risk of diabetes later in life, study suggests

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Based on tests of newborns and young children, a new study suggests that premature babies could face a higher risk of diabetes much later in life.

The findings don’t confirm a connection between premature birth and diabetes, although other studies have hinted at a possible connection and increased risk.

But they do show that babies and young children have higher insulin levels if they were born before full term, and the levels are greatest in those who were the most premature. Higher insulin levels, in turn, could be an indicator of diabetes even decades down the line, the researchers noted.

Autism Costs Average $17,000 Yearly for Each Child

By Amy Norton, HealthDay

School systems bear the brunt, not parents, researchers find

Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The cost of services for children with autism averages more than $17,000 per child each year — with school systems footing much of the bill, a new U.S. study estimates.

Researchers found that compared to kids without autism, those with the disorder had higher costs for doctor visits and prescriptions — an extra $3,000 a year, on average.

But the biggest expenses were outside the medical realm. “Non-health care” services averaged $14,000 per child, and special education at school accounted for more than 60 percent of those costs.


Could Infections Harm Memory in Older Adults?

By Mary Brophy Marcus, HealthDay

Early study found connection between exposure to microbes, poorer scores on mental-ability tests

Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to several types of common infections could be associated with memory problems, a new study suggests. The authors caution, however, that further research is needed to draw concrete conclusions.

Scientists from the University of Miami and Columbia University in New York City were scheduled to present their research Thursday at an American Stroke Association meeting in San Diego.

Restless Sleep Linked to Pain in Older Adults

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay

Anxiety, memory problems and poor health also play a role, study suggests

Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Waking up and not feeling rested isn’t just annoying. Researchers say that “non-restorative sleep” is the biggest risk factor for the development of widespread pain in older adults.

Widespread pain that affects different parts of the body — the main characteristic of fibromyalgia — affects 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men over age 50, according to previous studies.

2 Parents With Alzheimer’s, Higher Risk of This?

By Amy Norton, HealthDay

Small study found these people had more beta-amyloid deposits, less gray matter

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Middle-aged adults who are unfortunate enough to have both parents suffer from Alzheimer’s disease may face yet another worry: an increased risk of early, Alzheimer’s-related brain changes.

In a new study, researchers found that of more than 50 healthy adults, those with two parents affected by Alzheimer’s were more likely to show certain abnormalities in brain scans.

The researchers said the full significance of the findings, which were reported online Feb. 12 in the journal Neurology, is unclear because it is not yet known whether these early changes will definitely lead to full-blown Alzheimer’s.

Mental Health

U.S. Officials Target Escalating Drug Overdoses

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay

Deadly epidemic is driven by abuse of narcotic painkillers and heroin

Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) — As deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers mount across the United States, government officials are searching for ways to stem the toll of addiction.

The death last week of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, in New York City from an apparent heroin overdose highlighted this escalating problem.

“The use of opioids — a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers — is having a devastating impact on public health and safety in communities across the nation,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, said during a Tuesday morning news conference in Washington, D.C.

Teens’ Stress Levels Rival Those of Adults: Survey

By Karen Pallarito, HealthDay

Top worries include post-graduation choices, financial concerns

Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) — If paying the bills and putting food on the table put adults’ nerves on edge, just imagine how today’s overscheduled, frequently tested teenagers must feel.

Adolescents reported stress levels during the school year that surpassed those of adults, according to the American Psychological Association’s latest Stress in America survey.


Food Price Hikes and Type 2 Diabetes

By Brenda Goodman, HealthDay

USDA study finds glucose levels increase as produce, low-fat dairy become more costly

Feb. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Food prices are linked to blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

To reach this conclusion, researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) merged information from two giant studies.

From the first study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they gathered blood sugar measures of about 2,400 adults who met a definition of type 2 diabetes.

Obesity’s Link to Type 2 Diabetes Not So Clear-Cut

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay

Most participants developed condition after being overweight for years, not after large recent gain

Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Although it’s a common belief that a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes often follows a large weight gain, a new study challenges that notion.

Researchers found that the majority of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes didn’t get the disease until they’d been overweight or obese for a number of years.

What’s more, participants who maintained stable levels of overweight and eventually developed type 2 diabetes didn’t have a significant rise in their level of insulin resistance — a traditional risk factor — before getting the disease.

Technology Creating World of Sickly Couch Potatoes?

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study found people in emerging nations with TVs, computers and cars more likely to be obese, have diabetes

Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The increasing number of people in developing nations who own televisions, computers and cars might explain rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in those countries, a new study suggests.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 150,000 adults in nearly 110,000 households in 17 countries where people had high, medium and low incomes.

Sources of Caffeine for Kids Increasing

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay

Effects of excessive caffeine intake on youngsters aren’t yet known, experts warn

Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — For today’s kids, caffeine in coffee, soda and energy drinks is easier to get than ever before, a new U.S. government study finds.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children and teens are now getting less caffeine from soda, but more from caffeine-heavy energy drinks and coffee.

Don’t Pressure Preschoolers to Overeat: Experts

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Filling their own plate may help young kids learn to understand their body’s hunger cues

Feb. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Young children will better learn to recognize when they’re full if they serve themselves instead of being given a plate with food already on it, a new study reveals.

Researchers examined the feeding practices among children aged 2 to 5 at 118 child-care centers in the United States. The investigators found that having children and child-care providers sit around a table together at mealtime and serve themselves benefits the youngsters.

“Family-style meals give kids a chance to learn about things like portion size and food preferences,” study author Brent McBride, director of the Child Development Laboratory at the University of Illinois, said in a university news release.

“When foods are pre-plated, children never develop the ability to read their body’s hunger cues,” McBride said. “They don’t learn to say, OK, this is an appropriate portion size for me.”


    • TMC on February 22, 2014 at 05:20

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