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.

Stir-Fries With a Touch of Thai

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I love my summer stir-fry weeks. The list of ingredients sometimes looks daunting, but think of the effort required to put a stir-fry together as family time. Start the rice, pour yourself a glass of wine, put others to work measuring and chopping, and visit while you prep. Once your mise en place is ready, have the others set the table while you make the stir-fry in under 10 minutes. You barely heat up the kitchen.

Martha Rose Shulman

Stir-fried Rice With Amaranth or Red Chard and Thai Basil

This is another Thai-influenced dish, spiced with sriracha and featuring the beautiful green vegetable amaranth.

Stir-Fried Beans With Tofu and Chiles

This crunchy, colorful stir-fry has an added kick from serrano chiles.

Corn, Squash, Red Onion and Tomatoes Stir-Fried in Coconut Oil

Coconut oil gives this dish fragrance without heaviness.

Stir-Fried Turkey Breast With Snap or Snow Peas and Chard

Turkey cutlets are easy to prep and cook quickly, and young snap peas can be almost as tender as the more traditional snow peas for stir-fries.

Sweet and Sour Stir-Fried Radishes With Their Greens

The bitterness of radish greens pairs wells with a sweet-and-sour sauce in this stir-fry.



FDA Weighs Risks of Procedure to Remove Fibroids

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

No guarantee that devices won’t increase chances of spreading cancer to other parts of a woman’s body, experts say

July 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) — There’s no way to guarantee that a surgical technique used to grind up uterine growths and remove them through tiny incisions won’t increase the risk of spreading cancer to other parts of a woman’s body, U.S. health advisers said Friday.

The advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration also said that women who do undergo the procedure — called laparoscopic power morcellation — should sign a written consent stating that they understand the potential risks, the Associated Press reported.

Superbug Increasing in Southeast Hospitals

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Fivefold rise in cases reported at community hospitals over five years, study finds

July 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Community hospitals in the southeastern United States have seen a fivefold increase in the number of cases of a dangerous drug-resistant superbug during the past five years, according to a new study.

The highly contagious bacteria are known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).

CRE bacteria are resistant to most commonly used antibiotics and are considered “one of the three greatest threats to human health,” according to the World Health Organization. CRE bacteria can cause infections in the urinary tract, lungs, blood and other areas. The death rate from CRE infections is nearly 50 percent.

Teaspoons Behind Many Child Drug-Dosing Errors

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

Experts recommend medications be administered in milliliters only

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Using a teaspoon or tablespoon to administer kids’ medications can often lead to medication dosing errors, a new study reports.

Teaspoon- or tablespoon-based medicine instructions doubled a parent’s chances of incorrectly measuring the intended dosage, and also doubled the risk they would not accurately follow the doctor’s prescription, the study authors found.

“A move to a milliliter preference for dosing instructions for liquid medications could reduce parent confusion and decrease medication errors, especially for groups at risk for making errors, such as those with low health literacy and non-English speakers,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Shonna Yin, an assistant professor of pediatrics at NYU School of Medicine in New York City.

Findings from the study were published online July 14 and in the August print issue of Pediatrics.

General Medicine/Family Medical

Even Mild Concussion Can Cause Thinking, Memory Problems: Study

By Barbara Bronson Gray, HealthDay

Finding suggests damage may be present even after obvious symptoms are gone

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A mild or moderate concussion may have longer-lasting consequences than previously realized, a new study suggests.

By comparing brain imaging studies and thinking tests between healthy people and those with relatively minor concussions, the researchers found that the recovery of thinking skills can take a long time. Minor concussions can be caused by events such as falling off a bike, being in a slow-speed car crash or being hit in a fist-fight.

Potassium May Help Some Heart Failure Patients

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study finds they seem to improve survival for people taking ‘water pill’ diuretics

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Potassium supplements might boost the survival of heart failure patients who are already taking diuretic drugs, a new study suggests.

Nearly 5.8 million Americans have heart failure. As doctors explain it, excess fluid can accumulate in the body when the heart isn’t working properly, as happens in people with heart failure.

Do You Need to Fast Before a Cholesterol Test?

By Michael O’Riordan, Medscape Medical News

uly 17, 2014 — Do you really need to check your cholesterol levels on an empty stomach? New research suggests checking your cholesterol even if you’ve eaten gives you similar information.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey III (NHANES III), Bethany Doran, MD, of the NYU School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that higher LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) were linked to a higher risk of death. And it didn’t matter if the test was taken after fasting overnight or after eating.

Niacin Doesn’t Reduce Heart Problems: Study

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should keep taking it, expert advises

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Niacin, a commonly used cholesterol treatment, doesn’t reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in people with hardened arteries. What’s more, the drug appears to have dangerous side effects, including a potential increased risk of death, according to new research.

A large-scale clinical trial found that although niacin slightly improved levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, it didn’t seem to benefit cardiovascular health, reports the study in the July 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Study Sheds Light on Marijuana and Paranoia

By Peter Russell, WebMD Health News

July 17, 2014 — An in-depth investigation has concluded that people who smoke marijuana are much more likely to have paranoia than people who don’t use the drug.

The study also identifies psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in people exposed to the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC.

The team of researchers, led by Professor Daniel Freeman, PHD, of the University of Oxford, found that worrying, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and having a range of unsettling changes in perceptions most likely lead to the feelings of paranoia.

Is Obesity an Advantage After Heart Procedures?

By Maureen Salamon, HealthDay

Experts urge caution in interpreting study results

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — While a host of cardiovascular ailments are associated with excess pounds, new research supports a puzzling “obesity paradox.” It found that overweight heart patients experience fewer heart attacks and higher survival rates after cardiac procedures than their slimmer peers.

Scientists reviewing 36 prior studies found that obese patients were up to 27 percent less likely to die after heart procedures such as coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty than normal-weight patients.

But experts warned that under no circumstances do the results suggest that obesity is good medicine.

Omega-3s May Help Ward Off Lou Gehrig’s Disease

By Steven Reinberg. HealthDay

Study found strong association between higher intake and lower odds for ALS

July 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help cut your risk for the fatal neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a new study suggests.

These fatty acids — found most commonly in certain fish — are known to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress on cells. Both of those processes can damage nerve tissue, according to the study authors.

Inflammation and oxidative stress have long been linked with ALS, the study authors said, so any nutrient that fights those processes might be helpful.

Stroke Rates Declining Among Seniors, Study Shows

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

But, rate of brain attacks among those younger than 65 unchanged

July 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Seniors in America are suffering fewer strokes, regardless of their race or sex, a new long-term study reveals.

“We found that stroke incidence [among those 65 and older] has been declining for the last 20 years,” said senior study author Dr. Josef Coresh, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.

Gays, Lesbians Face Certain Health Challenges

By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay

They’re more likely to smoke, binge drink, but also more likely to get regular exercise

July 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Health behaviors and challenges often vary depending on a person’s sexual orientation, a new U.S. report finds.

But, those changes do not seem to follow a set pattern — some are healthy, some aren’t. For example, the federal researchers found that gays and lesbians were more likely to smoke and binge drink compared to heterosexuals. And bisexuals and lesbians were less likely than straight people to have a regular place to get medical care.

Don’t Judge a Pill by Its Color

By Amy Norton. HealthDay

Study finds people may stop taking heart medications if the drug’s appearance changes

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Generic drugs used for heart disease commonly get makeovers that change their shape or color — and that may prompt some patients to stop using them, a new study finds.

Experts know that issues like side effects and costs can discourage people from taking prescription drugs — even potentially lifesaving ones. The new findings, reported in the July 15 Annals of Internal Medicine, point to another potential obstacle: the ever-shifting appearance of generic medications.

Your Genes May Help Pick Your Friends

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study says DNA between close friends is as similar as that between 4th cousins

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A person’s DNA may play a big role in who they decide to hang with, a new study suggests.

“Looking across the whole genome, we find that, on average, we are genetically similar to our friends,” study co-author James Fowler, a professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California, San Diego, said in a university news release.

Seasonal Flu/Other Epidemics/Disasters

Chikungunya: Questions and Answers

the Caribbean

By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

What to Know About the Mosquito-Borne Virus That Has Emerged in the Caribbean

Editor’s note: This was updated July 17, 2014.

June 17, 2014 — A crippling mosquito-borne virus with a tongue-twisting name — Chikungunya — has spread to the Caribbean, and U.S. travelers have brought it home to more than half the states in the U.S.

Here’s what you should know about this virus and how to lower your risk of infection, especially if you’re traveling to the Caribbean. While the virus remains rare in the U.S., no vaccine is available.

AIDS Epidemic May Be Subsiding: Report

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Number of new infections, deaths declining, while more with HIV getting lifesaving medications

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new United Nations report suggests that the AIDS epidemic might be waning: The number of new HIV infections worldwide is at a record low, AIDS-related deaths are down 35 percent, and more people with HIV are getting the lifesaving medications they need.

International health officials even set a tentative date for the planned demise of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Women’s Health

Stress May Leave You Heading to the Cookie Jar

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Worried women could be prone to weight gain, study suggests

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Stress can slow a woman’s metabolism and lead to weight gain, new research suggests.

The study included 58 women, average age 53, who were asked about their stress levels the previous day and then given a meal than included 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. The Ohio State University researchers measured how long it took the women to burn off those calories and fat.

On average, women who had one or more stressful events during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories in the seven hours after eating the meal than those who were stress-free.

Full-Time Job May Disrupt Breast-Feeding Plans

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study found moms who returned to part-time work were better able to meet their goals

July 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New mothers who return to work full-time are less likely to stick with their breast-feeding goals than those who go back to work part-time, a new study finds.

“Support for a mother’s delayed return to paid employment, or return at part-time hours, may help more mothers achieve their breast-feeding intentions,” the researchers wrote. “This may increase breast-feeding rates and have important public health implications for U.S. mothers and infants.”

Cancer: Removing Healthy Breast of Little Benefit

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Women choosing the procedure gained just one to seven extra months of life over 20 years, researchers say

uly 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — For most women with breast cancer, there doesn’t seem to be a significant survival benefit from having their healthy breast removed as well, new research suggests.

In recent years, more women with cancer in one breast have been choosing to have the other breast removed as a precaution — known as a prophylactic or preventive mastectomy. But this new study finds that over 20 years, the survival benefit between women who’ve had a preventive mastectomy and those who kept their healthy breast was less than 1 percent.

Men’s Health

Some With Prostate Cancer May Not Get Best Advice

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay

Doctors suggest widely varying treatments; second opinion vital, experts say

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Many men may not be getting the best advice when it comes to managing low-risk prostate cancer, two new studies suggest.

In the first study, researchers found that most men are getting their prostate removed or undergoing radiation therapy when carefully watching the cancer may be just as effective without the risks and side effects of surgery or radiation.

Pediatric Health

Bed-Sharing Linked to SIDS

By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay

Study also finds risk factors for sleep-related death vary with baby’s age

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) appear to change with the age of the infant, researchers say.

They found that younger babies are more likely to die when they’re sharing beds, while older babies face a higher risk of sudden death when there are objects in the crib with them, such as pillows and toys.

“This study is the first to show that the risks during sleep may be different for infants of different ages,” said lead author Dr. Rachel Moon, associate chief of Children’s National Medical Center’s division of general pediatrics and community health, in Washington, D.C. “Parents of infants under 4 months of age should be aware that bed-sharing is a huge risk factor.”

Parents should also be careful to make sure their infants sleep without objects around them, she said.

iPads Can Trigger Nickel Allergies in Kids

By E.J. Mundell, HealthDay

Report involving 11-year-boy points to a simple solution: an iPad case

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — When an 11-year-old boy in San Diego developed a nasty skin allergy, doctors traced it to the nickel in his family’s iPad.

They also found a quick and easy solution — cover the iPad’s metal surfaces with a form-fitting case.

The incident highlights the importance of considering “metallic-appearing electronics and personal effects as potential sources of nickel exposure” and nickel allergy, wrote Drs. Sharon Jacob and Shehla Admani, dermatologists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Most Kids Eat Fruit, Veggies Daily: CDC

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Survey finds 3 out of 4 are getting these healthy foods each day

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — More than three-quarters of U.S. children eat fruit on any given day, and nearly 92 percent dig into vegetables in a 24-hour period, a new U.S. health survey reveals.

But consumption of fruits and vegetables — sources of valuable nutrients — declines as kids move from preschool to high school, according to the survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And whether kids’ vegetable and fruit consumption meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans wasn’t addressed in the report, said study researcher Samara Joy Nielsen, a nutritional epidemiologist with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).


Potential New Culprit Behind Alzheimer’s

By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay

Abnormal levels of certain protein are more common in affected patients, study reports

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Although the exact reason why Alzheimer’s disease develops still remains elusive, scientists report that they’ve found a new protein that may play an important role in the devastating memory illness.

What they don’t yet know is whether or not this new protein — called TDP-43 — is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, or if it’s something that develops due to Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s too early to know if this finding could have any effect on the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. For now, “we really need to understand what this protein is doing and its relationship to other proteins,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Keith Josephs, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Vitamin B No Help for Alzheimer’s: Review

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Though it lowered levels of compound associated with mental decline, no difference seen in thinking skills

July 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Taking B vitamins does not slow age-related mental decline or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, a new review says.

People with Alzheimer’s have high blood levels of a compound called homocysteine, and people with elevated levels of the compound have been shown to be at higher risk for Alzheimer’s.

It’s known that folic acid (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-12 lower homocysteine levels, so it was believed that taking B vitamins may lower a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s. However, this review, published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed different results.

Alzheimer’s Rate Falling in United States: Studies

By Amy Norton. HealthDay

Improved heart health may be one reason for decline seen in some developed countries

July 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The number of new cases of dementia has been declining in recent decades in the United States, Germany and other developed countries, a trio of new studies shows.

In one U.S. study, researchers found that compared with the late 1970s, the rate of dementia diagnosis was 44 percent lower in recent years. The sharpest decline was seen among people in their 60s.

High BP May Protect the Very Old From Dementia

By Alan Mozes, HealthDay

But it’s too early to recommend any change in treatment, researcher says

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New research suggests high blood pressure may not be all bad. Elevated levels might help to stave off mental decline among the extreme elderly, the study suggests.

The finding follows a decade spent tracking high blood pressure and dementia among 625 men and women aged 90 and up.

Those with the highest blood pressure levels were the least likely to have dementia, the researchers found. But that doesn’t mean older people shouldn’t try to control elevated blood pressure, they said.

Can Games, Puzzles Keep Aging Minds Sharp?

By Amy Norton. HealthDay

New study says maybe, but the reason why isn’t yet clear

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Older adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have bigger brains and sharper thinking skills than their peers, new research suggests.

The study looked at the connection between playing games such as puzzles, crosswords, cards and checkers and mental acuity for adults in their 50s and 60s.

Researchers found that people who played those games at least every other day performed better on tests of memory and other mental functions. And, based on MRI scans, they had greater tissue mass in brain areas involved in memory.

Widowhood May Delay Dementia in Some Seniors

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Social support might be the key, researcher says

July 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Losing a spouse may be linked to multiple health issues, but dementia isn’t one of them, according to a new study.

For certain seniors, widowhood may even delay dementia, the researchers found.

“For those who had a mild memory problem, losing the spouse was associated with a later age of developing full-blown dementia compared to those who stayed married,” said study researcher Dr. Bryan Woodruff.

Woodruff, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., can only speculate on the reasons for this perceived association.

Study: 1 in 3 Alzheimer’s Cases ‘Preventable’

By Peter Russell, WebMD Health News

uly 14, 2014 — About one-third of Alzheimer’s disease cases are preventable, according to research by the University of Cambridge, England.

The study identifies seven risk factors, with lack of exercise topping the list.

A previous study published in 2011 suggested as many as half of cases of Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented, but the researchers of the new study say these earlier findings are likely to be less accurate because they did not take into account overlapping risk factors.

Eye Tests Might Help ID Alzheimer’s: Studies

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Researchers report on two approaches that look for telltale plaques

July 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Eye tests could be used to identify people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, two new studies suggest.

In one study, early results from 40 participants who used a certain eye test found a significant association between levels of beta-amyloid plaques in the retina of the eye and levels of the plaques in the brain. Beta-amyloid plaques in the brain are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Could a Simple Smell Test Help Spot Alzheimer’s Early?

By Barbara Bronson Gray. HealthDay

Study found weakened sense of smell associated with dementia risk, but more research needed

July 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New research suggests that a faltering sense of smell might signal the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and that an inexpensive, low-tech smell test could spot who needs more extensive screening for dementia.

In two different studies, the decreased ability to identify odors was associated with the loss of brain cell function and progression to Alzheimer’s disease.

“We’re trying to be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier and theoretically deliver drugs to people sooner,” said Matthew Growdon, lead author of one of the studies. “Think about cardiovascular disease as a paradigm; the idea is that we would find a way to control the risk factors [before the disease advances].”


Energy Drink Cocktails Boost Desire to Drink More?

By Alan Mozes, HealthDay

Alcohol plus Red Bull-type beverages might lead to binge-drinking, researcher suggests

July 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Mixing caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol appears to boost the desire to keep on drinking, new research reveals.

The finding from a small study of young adults suggests that the energy drink-booze combination could fuel a higher risk for dangerous binge-drinking, the Australian researchers said.