May 04 2013

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

Dukkah: Nut and Spice Mixes for Seasoning and Snacking

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I gave you a recipe for dukkah, a Middle Eastern nut and spice mix, a few weeks ago. In that recipe I sprinkled it over the ingredients in a rice bowl. I’d made much more dukkah than the recipe called for, and found myself snacking on it until I ran out. Now it’s my favorite snack. I sprinkle some into my hand or into a ramekin and eat it by the pinch. Dukkah has so many of the attributes of a snack food – crunch, a little bit of salt (as opposed to a lot of salt), spice. I realized that very little salt is required when the salt is combined with spices and ground or chopped nuts and seeds to give your palate that hit of snack-food pleasure. And it occurred to me that dukkah could also fit the bill as a low-sodium seasoning for all sorts of dishes.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Peanut Dukkah

This dukkah is great with vegetables and with pita, and on its own as a snack.

Dukkah-Dusted Sand Dabs

This dukkah recipe can stand in for flour as a coating for fried fish or vegetables.

Pumpkin Seed Dukkah

This mildly spicy, nutty dukkah is good with Mexican food, particularly in quesadillas.

Bruschetta With Chard or Spinach, Poached Egg and Dukkah

This recipe adds coconut to the dukkah, to introduce some sweetness to the nutty/spicy mix.

Hazelnut Dukkah With Fennel Seeds and Mint or Thyme

Some versions of dukkah, like this one, are herbal as well as spicy.

General Medicine/Family Medical

New Findings on Deadly Blood Cancer Offer Hope

by  Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Say they now have the ‘playbook’ for battling acute myeloid leukemia

May 1 (HealthDay News) — Nearly all the genetic mutations associated with the blood cancer acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have probably been identified, researchers report.

The findings could lead to improved treatments for AML patients, as well as ways to more accurately predict the severity of disease in individual patients. AML is a fast-growing cancer that often is difficult to treat.

Implanted Device May Predict Epilepsy Seizures

by Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter

Patients who don’t respond to drugs might benefit, but larger trials needed

May 2 (HealthDay News) — An implanted device that monitors brain activity may offer a way to predict seizures in people with uncontrolled epilepsy, a small pilot study suggests.

The findings, reported online May 2 in the journal Lancet Neurology, are based on only 15 patients, and the device worked far better in some than others. But experts said the results are promising, and should prompt further studies.

Kcentra Approved for Bleeding in Heart Patients

by Scott Roberts, HealthDay Reporter

Can be given faster than plasma

April 30 (HealthDay News) — Kcentra (prothrombin complex concentrate, human) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat severe acute bleeding in adults after administration of the anti-clotting drug warfarin and similar products.

Blood plasma is the only other product approved for this use, the FDA said in a news release, but plasma requires blood typing and may require thawing. This means Kcentra usually can be administered more quickly than plasma to stop major bleeding.

How Weight Loss Surgery Improves Diabetes Control

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Key hormones, amino acids altered during digestion, study finds

April 30 (HealthDay News) — Gastric bypass — a widely used weight-loss procedure — appears to change the hormones and amino acids produced during digestion, which could explain how the surgery eliminates symptoms of type 2 diabetes, according to a small new study.

The findings could lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes, the researchers said. Untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputations and kidney disease.

Some Antidepressants Linked to Surgical Risks

by Denise Mann, HealthDay Reporter

It’s not clear whether SSRI drugs should be stopped before procedures, study says

April 29 (HealthDay News) — Taking popular antidepressant drugs around the time of surgery may increase risks associated with the procedure, including bleeding, the need for a blood transfusion, hospital readmission and even death, a large new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed medical records for more than half a million people who had surgery at 375 U.S. hospitals between 2006 and 2008. The investigators found that patients who were taking a type of antidepressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine), were 10 percent more likely to experience a complication after surgery than those not taking an SSRI.

The findings appear online April 29 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Drugs Can Sometimes Prevent Migraines, at a Cost

by Barbara Bronson Gray, HealthDay Reporter

Study finds many have side effects so bothersome that sufferers stop taking them

April 29 (HealthDay News) — People with severe or frequent migraines often turn to drugs to prevent them. But do the medications work?

A new review of preventive treatments shows there is not much difference in the effectiveness of commonly prescribed drugs — they work for some people, in some cases. But there is wide variation in the amount and severity of side effects associated with the drugs.


New Guidelines Suggest HIV Screening for All Adults

by  Denise Mann, HealthDay Reporter

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says effectiveness of newer treatments, especially if given early, prompted change

April 29 (HealthDay News) — New guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force call for virtually every adult to be routinely screened for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The updated recommendations, which are published in the April 30 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that pregnant women and all people aged 15 to 65 be screened for HIV. The guidelines are now more in line with screening recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Lipsticks, Glosses Contain Toxic Metals: Report

by Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter

Children should not play with these products, researcher says

May 2 (HealthDay News) — Lipsticks and lip glosses apparently give you more than colorful kissers, according to a new study by California scientists that contends the products contain lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other toxic metals.

The research team tested 32 different lip glosses and lipsticks commonly sold at drug and department stores. Some metals were detected at levels that could raise potential health concerns, the researchers said.

“Lipsticks and lip glosses often have levels of toxic metals which approach or exceed acceptable daily doses based on public health guidelines,” said researcher Katharine Hammond, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

4,000-Plus Kids Hurt Each Year on Amusement Rides

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Researchers call for standardized safety regulations to reduce injuries

May 1 (HealthDay News) — More than 4,000 American children are injured on amusement rides each year, according to a new study that calls for standardized safety regulations.

Between 1990 and 2010, nearly 93,000 children under the age of 18 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for amusement-ride-related injuries — an average of nearly 4,500 injuries per year.

ER Visits Tied to Ambien on the Rise

by Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay Reporter

Adverse reactions to popular sleep meds rose almost 220 percent between 2005 and 2010, study finds

May 1 (HealthDay News) — There has been a dramatic increase in the number of emergency-room visits related to sleep medications such as Ambien, according to a new U.S. study.

Adverse reactions to zolpidem — the active ingredient in the sleep aids Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar and Zolpimist — rose almost 220 percent between 2005 and 2010, researchers from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found.

Seasonal Flu/Other Epidemics/Disasters

HIV ‘Cure’ Looks Promising, Danish Scientists Say

by HealthDay staff, HealthDay Reporter

They’re working on human trials designed to make it easier to attack AIDS-causing virus, according to published reports

April 29 (HealthDay News) — Danish scientists testing a novel HIV treatment in human trials contend that they’re confident their strategy will result in a cure for the AIDS-causing virus, according to news reports.

The technique — already tested successfully in lab experiments — involves freeing the HIV virus from DNA cells, where it collects in “reservoirs,” and bringing it to the surface of the cells, the Telegraph in Great Britain reported. Once the virus has surfaced, it can be permanently destroyed by a “vaccine” that primes the body’s natural immune system, the researchers said.

Women’s Health

Home Birth Policy Statement Issued by Doctor Group

by Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter

A caregiver dedicated solely to the baby should be present, organization advises

April 29 (HealthDay News) — With the number of home births rising, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement on the practice that includes a recommendation that there be a caregiver who’s present solely to take care of the newborn.

“Babies deserve the best care they can get,” said Dr. Kristi Watterberg, lead author of the statement and a professor in the division of neonatology at the University of New Mexico. “And we need to support women wherever they choose to give birth.”

Are 2 HPV Shots as Good as 3 for Preteen Girls?

by Brenda Goodman, HealthDay Reporter

Preteens appear to get same protection with two doses of HPV vaccine as young women who get threeApril 30 (HealthDay News) — Preteen girls may get the same immune response against human papillomavirus (HPV) with two doses of vaccine as young women get with the full three-shot series, a new study suggests.

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that causes cervical cancer, the second biggest cancer killer in women around the world.

The HPV vaccine, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006, is given in a three-shot series. The first and second doses are given one to two months apart, followed by a third dose six months later.

Women Smokers and Colon Cancer Risk

by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

Just a few cigarettes a day raises their risk, researchers say

April 30 (HealthDay News) — Smoking’s connection to cancer is well-established. Now, researchers say cigarettes increase the odds for developing colon cancer, especially for women.

Women who’ve ever smoked have an almost 20 percent increased risk for colon cancer, compared with women who never smoked, according to the new study, published April 30 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Benign Breast Biopsy: When to Get Follow-Up Mammo?

by Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter

Study suggests imaging tests done less than a year later find little cancer, drain health care dollars

May 2 (HealthDay News) — Women who have a breast biopsy that turns out to be benign are typically told to undergo another imaging test, such as a mammogram, in six to 12 months. Now, a new study suggests that the longer interval might be better.

Researchers who followed women who had benign breast biopsies say having that test less than a year later finds few cancers and is a drain on health care dollars.

Low-Dose ‘Pill’ Linked to Pain During Orgasm

by Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter

Women on low-estrogen formulations report more pain overall, and during sex

May 3 (HealthDay News) — Women taking birth control pills with lower amounts of estrogen — a commonly prescribed contraceptive — may be at higher risk for chronic pelvic pain and pain during orgasm, according to new research.

A study of nearly 1,000 women found that women on the lower-dose oral contraceptives were more likely than those on the standard dose (with higher estrogen levels), or those not on the pill, to report pelvic pain.

Men’s Health

Prostate Cancer PSA Test: New Guidelines Issued

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Most younger men and those over 70 don’t need prostate cancer screening; middle-aged men should talk with their doctor

May 3 (HealthDay News) — New guidelines from the nation’s leading group of urologists on the controversial PSA test for prostate cancer highlight the importance of discussions between a man and his doctor.

Especially for men in their late 50s and 60s, the usefulness of the blood test may have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, according to new recommendations from the American Urological Association (AUA).

One expert called the new guidelines “a paradigm shift” in prostate cancer detection.

Testicular Cancer on Rise in U.S., Especially Among Hispanic Men

by  Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter

Study finds slow, steady increase, but experts say condition remains uncommon

May 3 (HealthDay News) — The number of testicular cancer cases continues to climb slowly but steadily in the United States, according to new research.

While the cancer is still most common among white males, the greatest increase is among Hispanic men, according to Dr. Scott Eggener, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago.

Pediatric Health

Allergies: As American as Apple Pie?

by Robert Preidt,, HealthDay Reporter

U.S.-born children more likely to have asthma, hay fever and eczema than foreign-born kids, study finds

April 29 (HealthDay News) — Children living in the United States who were born elsewhere are less likely to have allergies than those born in the United States, a new study shows.

However, the risk of certain allergies among foreign-born children increases after they have lived in the United States for a decade, according to the researchers.

For the study, published online April 29 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, they examined data from more than 91,600 children under the age of 18 who took part in the 2007-08 National Survey of Children’s Health. The analysis revealed that children born outside the country were significantly less likely to have allergies, including asthma, eczema, hay fever and food allergies.

Study Debunks Lyme Disease-Autism Link

by Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter

Children with autism no likelier than others to have signs of tick-borne infection

April 30 (HealthDay News) — A new study failed to find any evidence to back up a suggested association between Lyme disease and autism spectrum disorders.

Although a prevalence of Lyme disease as high as 20 percent (or even higher) has been reported in children with autism, the new research found no cases of Lyme disease in children when testing recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was done.

Very Preterm Babies & Disability: Encouraging News

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Still, better care recommended for very early babies, researchers say

April 30 (HealthDay News) — Extremely premature infants are more likely to have mental and physical disabilities than full-term infants, but rates of such disabilities aren’t rising, new research says.

The study included almost 500 children in Sweden who were born extremely premature (before 27 weeks of gestation) and assessed when they were 30 months old. The children, born between 2004 and 2007, were checked for disabilities such as cerebral palsy, impaired mental development, and vision and hearing problems.

Kelly the Robot Helps Kids Tackle Autism

by Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter

Small study found they tended to do better at developing social skills when this ‘co-therapist’ was used

May 1 (HealthDay News) — Using a kid-friendly robot during behavioral therapy sessions may help some children with autism gain better social skills, a preliminary study suggests.

The study, of 19 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), found that kids tended to do better when their visit with a therapist included a robot “co-therapist.” On average, they made bigger gains in social skills such as asking “appropriate” questions, answering questions and making conversational comments.

Drug Shows Some Benefit for Kids With Autism

by Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter

Study found no gains in lethargy, social withdrawal, but those on the drug improved in other ways

May 1 (HealthDay News) — An experimental drug for autism did not improve levels of lethargy and social withdrawal in children who took it, but it did show some other benefits, a new study finds.

Children on arbaclofen did improve on an overall measure of autism severity when compared to kids taking an inactive placebo, said lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, an associate professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.

Can Secondhand Smoke Hurt Teen Girls’ Cholesterol?

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Living with smokers may raise risk for heart disease, study suggests

April 30 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to secondhand smoke at home appears to lower teen girls’ levels of the “good” cholesterol — the substance that reduces heart disease risk, researchers report.

The new study included more than 1,000 male and female teens, aged 17, in Australia who had blood tests to check their levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. While “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol creates a build-up that can block blood vessels, HDL plays a positive role by clearing excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Food, Skin Allergies on the Rise Among Children

by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

Reasons aren’t known, but researchers found racial, age and income differences

May 2 (HealthDay News) — The number of American children who suffer from food and skin allergies has increased dramatically in recent years, a new government report shows.

Interestingly, the prevalence of food and respiratory allergies rose with income: Children living in families that made more than 200 percent of the poverty level had the highest rates, the statistics showed.

At-Home Drug Errors Common for Kids With Cancer

by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

Study author says parents need more support, better awareness

May 3 (HealthDay News) — Children with cancer often have complex medication regimens — sometimes as many as 20 drugs a day — that they take at home, and mistakes are common, a new study finds.

Errors often occur when parents don’t understand how to give the drugs, but mislabeled bottles and wrong prescriptions are also to blame, researchers say.

Extreme Birth Weights Tied to Autism

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Newborns who weigh much more or less than average may be at risk for disorder, researchers say

May 3 (HealthDay News) — A much larger or much smaller birth weight than average may be associated with an increased risk of autism, according to a large new study.

Researchers examined data from more than 40,000 children in Sweden, and found that those who weighed more than 9.9 pounds or less than 5.5 pounds at birth were more likely to have autism than those with a normal birth weight.


Video Game May Help Keep Aging Brains Sharp

by Maureen Salamon, HealthDay Reporter

Older gamers may gain more mentally than crossword puzzle solvers, study suggests

May 1 (HealthDay News) — Keeping the brain nimble in older adulthood may be as simple as playing a video game, according to researchers who compared the thought-process benefits of crossword puzzles with a computer program that increased users’ mental speed and agility.

Analyzing 681 healthy people aged 50 and up, scientists found that those who played a “Road Tour” video game for at least 10 hours — which required them to identify “vehicles” among an ever-faster array — gained at least three years of cognitive (mental skill) improvement after one year. A group that received four additional hours of training with the game improved their thinking abilities by four years.


Mediterranean Diet Might Help Stave Off Dementia

by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

Large study showed better retention of mental skills in seniors who had followed it

April 29 (HealthDay News) — Eating fish, chicken, olive oil and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids while staying away from meats and dairy — the so-called Mediterranean diet — may help older adults keep their memory and thinking skills sharp, a large new U.S. study suggests.

Using data from participants enrolled in a nationwide study on stroke, the researchers gleaned diet information from more than 17,000 white and black men and women whose average age was 64.

Mediterranean Diet May Help Even if No Weight Lost

by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Healthy eating helped men lower bad cholesterol

May 1 (HealthDay News) — Men at high risk for heart disease might reduce their “bad” cholesterol by eating a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, even if they don’t lose weight, a small new study suggests.

The study included 19 men, aged 24 to 62, with metabolic syndrome, which means they had three or more major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The risk factors among men in this study included large waist size, high blood pressure, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride and fasting glucose levels.

Younger Men Biggest Eaters of Added Sugars

by Denise Mann, HealthDay Reporter

Sweetened food and beverages are source of too many empty calories, experts say

May 1 (HealthDay News) — Young U.S. adults are consuming more added sugars in their food and drinks than older — and apparently wiser — folks, according to a new government report.

Released Wednesday, data from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that from 2005 to 2010, older adults with higher incomes tended to consume less added sugar — defined as sweeteners added to processed and prepared foods — than younger people.