Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Less Stress, Better Sleep May Help You Lose Weight

weight loss
If you're looking to lose those extra pounds, you should probably add reducing stress and getting the right amount of sleep to the list, say researchers from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland.

In fact, although diet and exercise are the usual prescription for dropping pounds, high stress and too little sleep (or too much of it) can hinder weight loss even when people are on a diet, the researchers report.

"We found that people who got more than six but less than eight hours of sleep, and who reported the lowest levels of stress, had the most success in a weight-loss program," said study author Dr. Charles Elder.

Elder speculates if you are sleeping less or more than recommended and if your stress levels are high, you will not be able to focus on making behavioral changes.

These factors may also have a biological impact, he added.

"If you want to lose weight, things that will help you include reducing stress and getting the right amount of sleep," Elder said

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Walnut May Be Top Nut for Heart Health

Walnuts are the No. 1 nut for heart health, says a researcher who presented his findings Sunday at the American Chemical Society annual meeting.

That’s because walnuts were found to have more antioxidants -- and better-quality antioxidants -- than other popular nuts tested, says Joe Vinson, PhD, a researcher at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Antioxidants protect cells against damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. The damage can play a role in heart disease and other health conditions.

''Nuts are good for your heart," Vinson says. They can lower cholesterol, reduce the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals, and decrease unhealthy inflammation, he says.

When Vinson analyzed the amount of antioxidants found in walnuts and a variety of other nuts, walnuts came out on top.

"Twenty-eight grams of walnuts (an ounce) have more antioxidants than the sum of what the average person gets from fruits and vegetables," he says. "That is not to say they are a replacement for fruits and vegetables, but they are very antioxidant dense."

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Elevated radiation found in rainwater

Low levels of radioactive iodine linked to the nuclear disaster in Japan were detected in a sample of rainwater in Massachusetts, state health officials announced yesterday.

The concentration of radioiodine-131 found in the sample is very low and did not affect the health of the state’s drinking-water supplies, said John Auerbach, commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

The rain sample was taken during the past week in Boston as part of regular monitoring by the US Environmental Protection Agency. No detectable increases in radiation were discovered in the air that was tested in the same location where the rainwater was collected, Auerbach said at a press conference yesterday at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Jamaica Plain.

“In Massachusetts, none of the cities and towns rely on rainwater as their primary source of water,’’ Auerbach said. “That’s why we’re so comfortable in saying that the drinking-water supplies throughout the state are pretty safe.’’

Officials would not specify which days the rain samples were taken or exactly where in the city they came from.

The concentration of radioiodine found in the rainwater sample was 79 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). Auerbach said that hypothetically, even if someone drank the rainwater directly, “it is still 25 times less risky than it would need to be in order to cause any kind of health concerns . . . . And that is even true for the population that would be the most vulnerable, such as pregnant women, breast-feeding women, and infants.’’

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Friday, March 25, 2011

LA County hospitals keeping eye on 'superbug'

Super Bug
Health officials urged people not to panic over a drug-resistant germ present elsewhere in the country that has emerged in Los Angeles County hospitals and nursing homes.

About 350 infections of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP, were reported over a seven-month period last year, according to a study by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Fifty-three percent of the infections came from acute care hospitals, 41 percent from long-term acute care hospitals and 6 percent from nursing homes.

The bacterium tends to strike elderly patients who often stay in facilities for an extended period of time. Infections also occur among sick patients on ventilators or who take long courses of antibiotics. Healthy people usually are not affected, according to health experts.

Since researchers did not look at how patients fared after getting infected, they did not know how many cases were fatal. They also could not tell whether patients transported the germ from a nursing home to a hospital or got infected while in the hospital.

CRKP is the latest antibiotic-resistant germ that hospitals across the United States are grappling with. Up until last year, hospitals and laboratories in the Los Angeles area never had to report cases of CRKP, which first appeared on the East Coast. Unlike other superbugs, CRKP so far has been confined to health care settings and has not spread into the community.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why we shouldn’t forget about rabies

The U.S. has an excellent system for preventing and monitoring rabies, but this disease still kills 55,000 people a year around the globe. And the scary thing is that by the time symptoms appear, “you’re going to die,” said Peter Costa, director of global communications for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Last year, he joined the Scientific Advisory Council of the Animal Health Institute’s Healthy People. Healthy Animals. Healthy Planet. initiative. He also coordinates World Rabies Day, held annually on September 28 in 135 countries.

I recently talked with Costa about rabies, the woman who survived it, and why it might make sense in some parts of the world to vaccinate children.

Rabies is fully preventable, so why do 55,000 people die every year from it?

The number one reason people continue to die is [lack of] general awareness—of the need to vaccinate animals; what to do if they’re bitten by a dog; and awareness of what to do as far as primary wound care.

One of the issues is the expense of these biologicials and the distance some families have to travel to receive these biologicials. Rabies post-exposure treatment is four treatments over four weeks. Often times families are traveling by foot, and it’s difficult for them to make all those trips.

And sometimes an entire family may be exposed to a rabid dog or a rabid animal, and often times due to the expense, families have to decide which family member they’re going to treat, which is just unconscionable, but these are the reasons people continue to die from rabies.

In terms of rabies mortality, 55,000 is an underreported number. In Asia and Africa where most of the cases occur, we don’t have very good surveillance and laboratory technology. So if someone is bitten by a dog, they can’t test the dog and figure out if the dog had rabies.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Psychologists seek authority to prescribe psychotropic medications

Many who do receive care get it through their primary-care physician rather than a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist. That’s partly by choice: People prefer to talk to someone they know and trust about medical problems, and for many, there’s still a stigma in seeing a “shrink.”

But part of the reason people turn to their primary-care doctors or go without care is that it can be tough to get an appointment with a mental health expert. Psychiatrists, in particular, are in short supply, especially in rural areas.

A recent survey conducted for the Tennessee Psychological Association, for example, found that the average wait to see a psychiatrist for a non-emergency appointment was 54 days for patients with private health insurance and 90 days for those covered by TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, says Lance Laurence, director of professional affairs for the TPA.

“It’s a huge access issue,” says Katherine Nordal, executive director for professional practice at the American Psychological Association, a trade group for psychologists.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Taiwan to inspect all Japan food products: health dept

The government has expanded its monitoring of radiation from some Japanese food products to all such products from Japan. That's the word from local health officials on Monday.

Vice health minister Hsiao Mei-ling made the comments during a meeting of a task force dealing with the aftermath of the March 11 Japanese disaster. Hsiao explains how inspections will now go beyond products imported from the disaster area.

"Originally, we would only inspect products from Fukushima, Miyagi, and Ibaraki Prefectures [for radiation contamination]," said Hsiao. "But starting from March 20, we began inspecting all food products from Japan, such as chilled and frozen vegetables, fruits, seafood, milk products, baby foods and minerals. We are also targeting processed food imported after March 12."

The economics ministry also said on Monday that Taiwan's inspection bureau would strengthen inspections for radiation on goods. Experts advised consumers to be cautious when selecting Japanese products but said there was no need for panic.

An Atomic Energy Council official also said that the radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant would be 1000 kilometers away from Taiwan by this Friday

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Friday, March 18, 2011

State Wrestles With Health Coverage

Washington is one of few states that factors cost into its health-coverage decisions, in addition to effectiveness and safety. Critics say that amounts to rationing because it can limit access for patients who need services but can't afford them.

"We agree there need to be restrictions," said David Kloth, a board member of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. "We just think they need to be the appropriate restrictions."

The committee was being closely watched by health-care industry stakeholders amid fears other states might adopt decisions made in Washington.

"The precedent-setting factor that Washington state could potentially be setting is disconcerting," said Carrie Hartgen, vice president of state government relations and regional affairs at AdvaMed, the medical-device trade group. "In this current budget climate, states are looking for any way to save money and balance their budget."

But some observers say states have little choice but to find ways to curb health costs.

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Japan's nuclear crisis could create serious health problems

A professor of pharmaceutical sciences has said that the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan could create serious health problems if too much radiation is released into the atmosphere.

Reactor problems at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant could lead to exposure to large amounts of radioactivity, which can be lethal to humans and has long-term health consequences.

Radioactive substances are dangerous because they are unstable molecules that are continually exploding. When they explode, they emit ionising radiation containing a high amount of energy.

When particles emitted from an exploding molecule hit a cell in the body, considerable damage ensues. Ionising radiation is like a fusillade of miniature bullets hitting the body or miniature bombs that explode within cells.

There are two types of radioactive exposures. One is the acute exposure to ionising radiation and second is the chronic exposure arising from ingestion or inhalation of the radioactive material

In the first, particles, or energy waves emanating from the radioactive source, can penetrate the body and damage vital cellular machinery.

The greatest concern is when it damages DNA, preventing it from making new proteins to keep the cell alive. Worse yet, it may begin to copy itself abnormally turning the cell into a cancer cell.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Health food stores, pharmacies field demand for iodide tablets

Area pharmacies and health food stores are being flooded with customers wanting to buy potassium iodide tablets to mitigate potential negative effects if radiation from nuclear explosions in Japan were to travel to the West Coast, staff members say.

"We've had phone calls and questions all day long since Monday," said Arte Whyte, supplements specialist at Shelton's Natural Foods Market in Healdsburg, on Wednesday. "We're out of stock right now, and I have a waiting list for my next shipment."

At the Healdsburg Rite Aid pharmacy, staff said customers have been asking about the tablets for the last two days, but the pharmacy does not stock them.

"I'm not worried," said Pharmacy Technician Patricia Schaffer-Adams of the Larkfield-Windsor area. "If it was something a little closer, I would be."

Some Bay Area health officials are advising people that the threat of radiation exposure is not there, and that people should avoid taking the potassium iodide tablets.

Potassium iodide tablets are given to people exposed to excessive radiation to block absorption of radioactive iodide.

"Using potassium iodide when inappropriate could have potential serious side effects such as abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and bleeding," according to the California Department of Public Health.

On Tuesday, Bay Area health leaders in Contra Costa County issued a notice saying there appears to be no risk at present to area residents from radioactivity leaking from damaged reactors in Japan.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radiation fears spark run on West Coast pharmacies, health food stores

Many West Coast residents came up empty handed in their search of potassium iodide this week as fears over radiation spreading from Japan took hold.

The rush on the supplement came even as emergency management officials said there is no need to take the pills believed to prevent the thyroid from absorbing radiation.

"I didn't see too many people concerned about it. But when it was sold out, it made me think that I should be concerned," said Hameed Hemmat, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Hemmat, who struggled to find potassium iodide online when he couldn't find it in his area, said he ended up placing an order with a New Jersey company. He also has friends in New York looking for it.

Last week's 9.0-magnitude earthquake unleashed a deadly tsunami that wiped out large sections of northeastern Japan. The waves damaged a nuclear power plant that has released radiation into the air and could release more if workers can't control runaway temperatures.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Radiation near Fukushima nuke plant high enough to harm health: Japan gov't

Radiation released by the damaged reactors at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has been high enough to threat human health, said the Japanese government on Tuesday.

An explosion was heard early Tuesday morning at the No. 2 reactor of the crippled plant and a fire has just been reported at the No. 4 reactor, causing more radiation near the complex.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan warned that further leaks are possible and told people living within a radius of 30 kilometers of the troubled plant to stay indoors.

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Health care rules released

State and federal officials say new rules released by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury Thursday offer states like Vermont more guidance in applying for waivers that advance health care reform.

The two federal departments this week released the applications that states will need to turn in asking for the waivers that will allow them to experiment with new health care programs.

The proposed regulation also describes how those proposals should be monitored and evaluated, and what states need to do to ensure that the public receives information on the waiver requests.

"This is very good for us because it spells out what we have to do to apply for the waivers," said Anya Rader Wallack, special assistant to Gov. Peter Shumlin for health care reform. "This is important because it lets us know what we have to do to apply for the waivers."

The proposed rules released Thursday are for states that want to apply for the 2017 waivers, though states like Vermont want to get a jump and apply for the waivers in 2014.

Last month, Shumlin was in Washington, D.C., at a meeting of the National Governors Association, and President Barack Obama said he supported legislation that would allow states to apply early for the waivers.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Exclusive Video of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Television networks across the world carried dramatic footage, some of it live, of the tsunami that hit northern Japan after a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast.

The Associated Press posted videos from the Japanese broadcaster NHK on their YouTube channel, the first of which shows the tsunami sweeping away buildings as it carries debris across a vast swath of farmland:

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Spring is Near -- Here's a Few Healthy Tips For Getting Your Rear in Gear

After several months of cold, wet weather, holiday feasting and winter slothfulness, many of us could use a little help shedding extra pounds before summer rolls around. Honestly, it’s been a few years since I’ve seriously hit the gym. But I finally got so tired of telling myself I needed to get in shape that I finally laced up my sneakers and took a long solitary walk. It cleared my head and felt so good to be moving long-forgotten muscles.

That small glimpse into the benefits of physical health motivated me to start taking advantage of my faculty gym privileges at Northwest University. I was just getting on a roll when the campus closed for spring break. So this week, I must get creative with where to exercise.

Below are some ideas for rising from that butt-shaped impression on the couch and rolling into a workout. By the way, after just a few weeks, I no longer need coffee in the morning. How cool is that?

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Health and fitness briefs: Healthful recipes for Lent

To help make the notion of giving up favorite foods during Lent easier, the Church Health Center in Memphis has created a daily devotion called Seasoning Lent, which will offer a healthful recipe for each day of the 40-day season.
"Traditionally, Lent is a time of spiritual discipline, when people give up various foods as a time of sacrifice," said Rachel Thompson, editor of the Church Health Reader (, where Seasoning Lent recipes will be found throughout Lent.
"Some traditions instead choose to take up a virtue or a practice, like a community service. We thought this would be a great way to incorporate both traditions. Through Seasoning Lent, we are inviting people to give up unhealthy foods and take up the practice of cooking."
Each day, Seasoning Lent will provide a different recipe from the CHC Nutrition Kitchen created by the on-staff nutritionists. "These recipes are taken straight from the kitchen at CHC Wellness, which offers daily classes on food preparation and cooking for the thousands of patients and clients we serve," Thompson said. "They are healthy yet economical and easy to prepare, and they will all fit a weekly theme inspired by the season of Lent.
"Each Friday's recipe will be vegetarian. As a way of preparing for the week, each Sunday will feature a devotional on a Lenten scripture text, as well as a weekly shopping list."

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting the Best Fitness Training Using Elliptical Trainers

Health and nutrition is one of the things that have become very popular in these modern days. There are many ways that people are usually advised to go about exercising which in the long run is not usually effective. Elliptical Review online has come up with ways of ensuring that people looking for ways of keeping fit are well catered for with the use of elliptical workout machines.

There are many different workout machines that are found in the market which can be very helpful to those looking for ways of keeping fit and healthy. They can however be dangerous especially if not being operated by a professional. Elliptical Reviews Online is a company with good experience and good professionals bringing relief to those in need of fitness help. With the use of the elliptical trainer machine many people are seeing suitable results. The staff are well experienced in using the machines and with the advancement of technology whereby most things are technological advanced they are well acquainted in handling the latest fitness equipment models in the market.

Elliptical Reviews Online offers all the training one needs in using the elliptical trainers which are also best suited for females. These trainers are bought from the best manufacturers like NordicTrack which makes them safe and suitable to use by any person. One can be sure of getting the best workout results from using the trainers. Many people have been able to get help from this fitness company and considering the fact that it has been in the industry for quite a long time it is difficult to experience any form of disappointment.

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