Dec 01 2012

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be 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.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Salad Days (and Nights)

Turkey Cobb Salad

These salads are all substantial enough to eat as a meal and have enough calories to sustain you until the next. But you could serve smaller portions as a starter or side dish. I found that some, like the Asian chopped salad and the quinoa salad, had great staying power throughout the week. If you are vegetarian and want to include a high protein food in the salads that call for turkey or chicken, use the baked seasoned tofu in the Asian chopped salad. It would be a welcome addition to any of these salads.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Post Thanksgiving Cobb Salad

A lighter version of the classic California Cobb salad, which is a composed salad made with chicken breast, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, bacon and blue cheese.

Quinoa Salad With Avocado and Kalamata Olives

A delicious twist on a traditional Greek salad.

Spinach and Turkey Salad

Turn a classic spinach salad into a light main course with the addition of some low-fat protein.

Spinach and Turkey Salad

Turn a classic spinach salad into a light main course with the addition of some low-fat protein.

Asian Chopped Salad With Seasoned Tofu ‘Fingers’

Served with baked tofu “fingers,” this salad can hold any leftover vegetables you might have on hand.

General Medicine/Family Medical

More Sleep May Help Some People Feel Less Pain

by Denise Mann

Dec. 1, 2012 — Not getting enough sleep? Some extra Zzzs each night may improve more than just your daytime alertness. New research shows more sleep may also improve your ability to withstand pain.

In fact, sleepy volunteers who got about two hours more sleep per night for four nights showed improvements in a test measuring pain sensitivity. Participants who got more sleep were also a lot more alert during the daytime.

‘Chemo Brain’ Real, Not Just Patient’s Imagination

by Charlene Laino

Nov. 29, 2012 (Chicago) — For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who have found their complaints of general mental fogginess and haziness dismissed by their doctors as not being a real medical condition, vindication has arrived.

Using brain imaging, researchers have found physiological evidence of “chemo brain,” the problems with memory, concentration, and planning that often plague cancer patients during treatment with chemotherapy drugs.

Aromatherapy Linked to Benefits and Harms

by Brenda Goodman. MA

Nov. 29, 2012 — A little aromatherapy may relieve stress, but long exposures to vaporized essential oils may actually harm your health, a small new study suggests.

Researchers in Taiwan set up an experiment that was meant to mimic the conditions at a typical spa. They used a vaporizer to fill the air in a closed room with tiny droplets of essential oil of bergamot. Bergamot oil comes from a citrus fruit. It’s a common ingredient in perfumes, massage oils, and aromatherapy.


Firm Stops Making Generic Lipitor After Recall

by Daniel J. DeNoon

Nov. 30, 2012 — After recalling 41 lots of its generic Lipitor — atorvastatin — the FDA says Ranbaxy Inc. will stop making the drug “until it has thoroughly investigated” how glass particles got into the medication.

Although Ranbaxy supplied more than 40% of the generic cholesterol-lowering drug sold in the U.S., the FDA says it does not expect a shortage. Five other firms make generic Lipitor: Sandoz, Teva, Apotex, Mylan, and Dr. Reddy’s.

Harmful Bacteria Found in Samples of U.S. Pork

by Denise Mann

Nov. 28, 2012 — Many pork chops and ground pork products in the U.S. may be tainted with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including one that the USDA does not look for, a Consumer Reports study shows.  

The new report also found traces of a drug that is banned in several countries.

But trade groups representing the pork lobby say the new findings overstate the risks associated with tainted pork, and attest to its safety when prepared properly.

Flame Retardant Chemicals in House Dust, Sofas

by Salynn Boyles

Nov. 28, 2012 — Many people may be breathing in chemical flame retardants that are seeping from their upholstered furniture, electronics, and other common household items, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the environmental research group Silent Spring Institute found potentially unsafe levels of several flame retardants in the dust from a large percentage of the homes they examined.

Seasonal Flu/Other Epidemics/Disasters

U.S. Draws Blueprint for an AIDS-Free Generation

by Daniel J. DeNoon

Nov. 29, 2012 — It’s possible to end the worldwide AIDS epidemic, and a new U.S. plan could make this possibility a reality.

The plan, announced in a formal presentation today by outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, takes advantage of scientific and political breakthroughs that have cut the rate of new HIV infections in half.

Hurricane Sandy’s Health Woes Continue

by Brenda Goodman, MA

Nov. 29, 2012 — The prolonged recovery from Hurricane Sandy is continuing to take a mental and physical toll on residents of the East Coast who are still cleaning up flood, fire, and wind damage.

In the hard-hit coastal communities of Queens, N.Y., residents have dubbed their deep hacking “Rockaway cough” or “Sandy cough.”

Doctors manning mobile medical units report widespread problems with wounds — cuts and scrapes people get from hidden nails or surprise shards of broken glass and metal as they try to haul out soggy sheetrock, insulation, and carpeting.

And health officials say they fear they will see more cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.

CDC: HIV Hits 1,000 Young Americans Each Month

by Daniel J. DeNoon

Nov. 27, 2012 — Every month, 1,000 more young Americans ages 13 to 24 get an incurable infection that’s deadly unless held at bay by daily doses of costly drugs — and many of them don’t even know it.

That infection is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. And teens are at the heart of the ongoing U.S. HIV epidemic, says CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH.

Men’s Health

Belly Fat Bad for Men’s Bones

by Charlene Laino

Nov. 28, 2012 (Chicago) — Obese men with beer bellies may be at greater risk of weak bones and fractures than obese men whose fat tends to gather in the thighs and buttocks, a small study suggests.

Previous research has shown that belly fat is bad for women’s bones. So when a recent study showed that obese men have more fractures than their non-obese counterparts, Harvard researchers wanted to find out if the type of fat mattered in men, too.

“What we found is that obese men with deep belly fat had much, much weaker bones than other obese men,” says researcher Miriam Bredella, MD, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School.

Pediatric Health

Simple Formula Predicts Obesity Risk at Birth

by Salynn Boyles

Nov. 28, 2012 — A simple formula that can be done soon after birth may help identify infants at high risk for becoming obese in childhood, researchers say.

The formula calculates childhood obesity risk based on variables that include the baby’s birth weight, both parents’ body mass index (BMI), whether the mother smoked during pregnancy, her professional status, and the number of people living in the baby’s home.

Prescribe Morning-After Pill to Teens in Advance?

by Rita Rubin

Nov. 26, 2012 — Pediatricians should routinely talk to their teen patients about emergency birth control and write them prescriptions for “morning-after pills” so they can get them quickly if necessary, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Although the U.S. teen pregnancy rate has declined over the last two decades, it is still higher than that of other industrialized nations, the academy’s adolescent medicine committee writes in the journal Pediatrics. About 80% of those pregnancies are unintended, resulting from the lack or failure of birth control such as condoms, the pediatricians write.

Air Pollution May Raise Autism Risk

by Kathleen Doheny

Nov. 26, 2012 — Being exposed to high levels of air pollution from traffic may raise the risk of autism, researchers say.

“Children exposed to higher levels of traffic-related pollutants during pregnancy or during the first year of life were at increased risk of autism compared to children exposed to the lowest level,” says Heather E. Volk, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of research at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

The risk differed depending on timing.

During pregnancy, the highest exposures to pollution were linked with a two-times-higher risk of autism, she says. High levels during the child’s first year tripled the risk.

The study is published online in the Archives of General Psychiatry.


Do Older Adults Need Vitamins, Supplements?

by Kathleen Doheny

Nov. 30, 2012 — At least half of adults age 65 and above take daily vitamins and other supplements, but only a fraction actually need them, says an Emory University expert.

The majority of older adults, he says, can improve their diet to get needed nutrients.

“A lot of money is wasted in providing unnecessary supplements to millions of people who don’t need them,” says Donald B. McCormick, PhD, an Emory professor emeritus of biochemistry and the graduate program in nutrition and health sciences at Emory.

Mental Health

Depression Takes a Toll on Parkinson’s Patients

by Kathleen Doheny

Nov. 28, 2012 — For many people with Parkinson’s disease, depression affects quality of life more than the symptoms such as shaking, according to new research.

“At least 50% of people with Parkinson’s have depression,” says Michael S. Okun, MD, national medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation and professor of neurology at the Center for Movement Disorders at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

That was a main finding of the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, a report released today by the National Parkinson Foundation.


High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Diabetes

by Brenda Goodman, MA

Nov. 27, 2012 — Countries that mix high-fructose corn syrup into processed foods and soft drinks have higher rates of diabetes than countries that don’t use the sweetener, a new study shows.

In a study published in the journal Global Health, researchers compared the average availability of high-fructose corn syrup to rates of diabetes in 43 countries.

About half the countries in the study had little or no high-fructose corn syrup in their food supply. In the other 20 countries, high-fructose corn syrup in foods ranged from about a pound a year per person in Germany to about 55 pounds each year per person in the United States.

Drugs That Interact With Grapefruit on the Rise

by Denise Mann

Nov. 27, 2012 — The number of drugs that can be risky when taken with grapefruit is on the rise, largely due to the influx of new medications and chemical formulations, a new study shows.

As it stands, there are now more than 85 drugs that may interact with grapefruit. The number of drugs that may result in potentially fatal side effects when mixed with grapefruit increased from 17 to 43 during the past four years. This equates to more than six new potentially risky drugs a year.

The list includes some statins that lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin), some antibiotics, cancer drugs, and heart drugs. Most at risk are older people who use more prescriptions and buy more grapefruit.