Health and Fitness News

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.

Applause for Avocados

Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa photo 18recipehealth-master675_zpsaebffbc8.jpg

The Hass avocados I’ve been working with lately are nutty and rich, and I’ve been doing a lot more than slicing them up for sandwiches and mashing them for guacamole. I’ve been blending them with tomatillos and chiles into creamy salsas, and making surprising salads. One of them is a Chilean cabbage slaw that the chef Iliana de la Vega made at the recent “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” conference at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. That was a revelation – coleslaw meets guacamole, two of my favorite dishes rolled into one.

Although we are now seeing studies showing that saturated fats might not be so bad after all, I hesitate to say that avocados are filled with “good fats.” But the fact is, they are. The fats in avocados, which include a generous amount of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, aid in the absorption not only of their own many fat-soluble phytonutrients, including antioxidants such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein, but also the nutrients in the foods you combine avocados with.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Suvir Saran’s Guacamole With Toasted Cumin

A chunky guacamole that shows how Indian and Mexican flavors overlap.

Chilean Cabbage and Avocado Slaw

This is a simple yet addictive mix of salted cabbage and puréed avocado.

Roasted Tomatillo-Poblano-Avocado Salsa

A salsa with a balance of char, heat, acid and creamy, based on a recipe by Kim Sunée.

Chunky Avocado-Papaya Salsa

This salsa is closer to a salad, with a fusion of Thai and Mexican flavors.

Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Roasting the tomatillos produces a salsa with a deliciously charred flavor.

Warnings/Alerts/Guidelines

Bacteria in Contact Lens Solution

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study suggests manufacturers test for all strains of P. aeruginosa to prevent infection

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Bacteria that can cause serious eye infections are able to survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than previously known, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at different strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause microbial keratitis. This is an inflammation and ulceration of the cornea that can cause vision loss.

Drowning Deaths Down Overall, But Still a Problem

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Rates increased for adults 45 to 84; kids 4 and under and adults 85 and older at highest risk

April, 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Just in time for summer swimming and boating season comes a grim government report: Drowning deaths are still a problem in the United States, even though overall deaths from drowning are down.

“Death rates overall have declined 9 percent, but for those aged 45 to 84, it increased 9.7 percent,” said report author Dr. Jiaquan Xu, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At highest risk for drowning are still children under age 5 and adults aged 85 and older, Xu said.

General Medicine/Family Medical

Nearly 10% of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay

Researchers found a nationwide rise of the disease since late 1980s, and a parallel rise in obesity

April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The percentage of Americans with diabetes has doubled since 1988, with nearly one in 10 adults now diagnosed with the blood-sugar disease, researchers report.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rate of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes was 5.5 percent of the U.S. population. By 2010, that number had risen to 9.3 percent. That means 21 million American adults had confirmed diabetes in 2010, according to the researchers.

FAQ: The High Cost of Hepatitis C Drugs

By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

April 14, 2014 — Last week, the World Health Organization strongly endorsed two new oral drugs that fight hepatitis C, a liver-damaging virus. The WHO recommended that all 150 million people infected worldwide be assessed for these drug treatments.

With that endorsement, though, came concern from WHO officials about the high price of these new medicines, one of which costs $1,000 per pill. Some doctors and insurers — and now an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine — are voicing the same concern. A large U.S. pharmacy benefits manager is threatening a boycott if costs don’t come down.

Sleep Apnea May Be Linked to Poor Bone Health

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Osteoporosis rates rose among people with breathing disorder, study found

April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — People with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, may be at increased risk for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, especially women and older people, a new study suggests.

Sleep apnea causes repeated, brief interruptions in breathing during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can increase a person’s risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

FDA Approves New Type 2 Diabetes Drug

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Tanzeum is injected once a week and appears to help control blood sugar levels, agency says

April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes have a new treatment option with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval Tuesday of a once-weekly injectable drug, Tanzeum.

The FDA described Tanzeum (albiglutide) as a “glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist — a hormone that helps normalize patients’ blood sugar levels.

Your Healthy Bacteria Are as Individual as You Are

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study finds helpful microbial communities vary person to person

April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — When it comes to the communities of helpful bacteria living in and on people, “one-size-fits-all” is definitely not the rule, a new study finds.

A team at the University of Michigan found wide variation in the types of bacteria that healthy people have in their digestive tracts and elsewhere, suggesting that beneficial communities of microbes come in many different forms.

Brain Scans and Potential for Recovery From Coma

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Right now misdiagnosis is common, so a better technology is needed, experts say

April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Brain scans could help identify comatose patients who have the potential to wake up, a new study suggests.

Bedside tests are currently the standard means of trying to assess whether or not a comatose person will make some form of recovery. But up to 40 percent of patients may be misdiagnosed using these methods, experts say.

Certain Thyroid-Related Diseases May Vary by Race

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

Study looked at Graves’, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis among U.S. military personnel

April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Race appears to be a factor in determining a person’s risk of developing autoimmune thyroid conditions such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a new study says.

African Americans and Asians are much more likely to develop Graves’ disease than whites are, according to the study published in the April 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Free Drug Samples for Doctors Might Prove Costly for Patients

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study of dermatologists found those with access to samples from drug makers more likely to prescribe expensive meds

April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Dermatologists who receive free drug samples are more likely to give their patients prescriptions for expensive medicines, a new study says.

Researchers looked at data on prescriptions for adult acne medications written in 2010 by dermatologists across the United States.

Misdiagnoses Common Among U.S. Outpatients: Review

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

5 percent of adults are affected each year, data from several studies suggest

April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — At least 5 percent of American adults — 12 million people — are misdiagnosed in outpatient settings every year, and half of these errors could be harmful, a new study indicates.

The findings, from an analysis of data from several published studies, should lead to greater efforts to monitor and reduce the number of misdiagnoses that occur in primary care, said Dr. Hardeep Singh, at Baylor College of Medicine, and colleagues.

Primary care is given outside the hospital, such as in doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics.

Mouse Study Reveals New Secrets of Fertilization

By Maureen Salamon, HealthDay

British researchers discover receptors on egg cells that allow sperm to attach, fertilize egg

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Scientists report they have demystified how a sperm and egg couple, with new research in mice indicating that egg cells carry a special receptor that allows sperm to attach to and fertilize eggs.

The British study, published online April 16 in the journal Nature, may offer new ways to improve both fertility treatments and contraceptives in people, with experts saying that human eggs also have protein receptors crucial to the meeting of sperm and egg.

Football Off-Season and Recovering From ‘Hits’

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Study found some players still showed brain changes 6 months after season had ended

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — New research shows that the brains of some football players who had the usual head hits associated with the sport, but no concussions, still had signs of mild brain injury six months after the season ended.

“We followed athletes at the beginning of football season, after and for six months later,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, in Rochester, N.Y.

Oil-Swishing Craze

By Barbara Bronson Gray, HealthDay

Some people swear by the practice, but little research exists to back up health claims

April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Allison Bennett of Palm City, Fla., plans to swish daily. Sloshing coconut oil around her mouth for a quarter of an hour every day will make her teeth whiter, she believes.

Like Bennett, plenty of consumers are discovering an ancient practice called oil pulling, or oil swishing. Some people report the practice sweetens their breath; others say it treats gum disease, prevents tooth decay and even improves arthritis and asthma.

Taste Changes Reported After Weight-Loss Surgery

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Sense of smell also altered for some patients in British study

April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — After weight-loss surgery, many patients report changes in appetite, taste and smell, a new study says.

One positive aspect of these changes is that they may lead patients to lose even more weight, the researchers suggested.

The study included 103 British patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, in which the stomach is made smaller and the small intestines is shortened. Of those, 97 percent said their appetite changed after the surgery, and 42 percent said their sense of smell changed.

Seasonal Flu/Other Epidemics/Disasters

Prevent Tick Bites While Enjoying the Outdoors

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

With no vaccines for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, expert explains how to avoid infection

April 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) — With spring’s arrival, many Americans will begin enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and gardening — and they need to protect themselves from tick bites, an expert says.

“There aren’t any vaccines for tick-borne diseases like Lyme, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, so the only way to prevent infection is to not get bitten in the first place,” Dr. Christopher Ohl, a professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a Wake Forest news release.

Ragwitek Approved for Adult Ragweed Allergy

By Scott Roberts, HealthDay

Tablet placed under the tongue

April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Ragwitek has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat allergy to short ragweed among adults aged 18 to 65.

The once-daily tablet contains an extract from short ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen, the agency said in a news release. Treatment should begin 12 weeks before the start of ragweed season — which in the United States includes late summer and early fall — and continue through the season.

Women’s Health

Blood Test Aims to Predict Breast Cancer’s Return

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Study found DNA-based screen was more than 90 percent accurate in predicting recurrence

April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new blood test may one day help predict the recurrence of breast cancer and also a woman’s response to breast cancer treatment, researchers report.

“We are able to do this with literally a spoonful of serum [blood],” said study co-author Saraswati Sukumar, who is co-director of the breast cancer program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Canc

FDA Warns Against Procedure for Uterine Fibroids

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

‘Laparoscopic power morcellation’ may increase women’s cancer risk, agency says

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A surgical technique used to grind up uterine growths and remove them through tiny incisions could increase a woman’s risk of cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The FDA said that the procedure, known as “laparoscopic power morcellation,” can inadvertently spread cancerous tissue beyond a woman’s uterus and into other parts of her body.

Surgeons frequently use laparoscopic power morcellation when they perform a hysterectomy or remove uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths on the smooth muscle tissue on the wall of the uterus.

Childbirth and Iron Deficiency in Babies

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

With mothers holding newborns differently, cord clamping could be delayed, researchers say

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Changing how newborns are held immediately after birth could boost the use of delayed cord clamping and potentially reduce the number of infants with iron deficiency, according to a new study.

Waiting until about two minutes after birth to clamp the umbilical cord allows more blood to pass from the mother’s placenta to the baby, which lowers the risk of iron deficiency during infancy, previous research has found.

Bleeding Irregularities Common in Menopause: Study

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Report should reassure women at this stage of life, researcher says

April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Extended and heavy menstrual bleeding during menopause is common, according to a new study.

“For most women in their 30s, menstrual periods are highly predictable. With the onset of the menopausal transition in their 40s, women’s menstrual periods can change dramatically,” study author Sioban Harlow, a University of Michigan professor of epidemiology, said in a university news release.

Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Tied to Autism Risk

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay

But the risk is low, and it’s important to treat depression in pregnant women, experts say

April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Boys with autism were three times more likely to have been exposed to antidepressants known as SSRIs in the womb than typically developing children, according to new research.

The new study also found that boys whose mothers took SSRIs — drugs including Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft — during pregnancy were also more likely to have developmental delays.

Men’s Health

Pelvic Exercises May Help His Sex Life

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Premature ejaculation significantly improved after 12-week regimen, study finds

April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Pelvic exercises can benefit men with chronic premature ejaculation, according to a new study.

Premature ejaculation — defined as occurring within one minute — affects many men at some point in their lives. Although different treatments exist, some men don’t respond to any of them.

Young Dads at Risk of Depressive Symptoms: Study

By Amy Norton, HealthDay

But experts stress findings don’t mean fatherhood at an early age dooms men to clinical depression

April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Young fathers may be at increased risk of depression symptoms after their baby arrives, all the way through to the child’s kindergarten, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that for men who become fathers in their 20s and live with their children, depression symptoms tend to rise during the first five years of the child’s life.

Prostate Cancer and ‘Watchful Waiting’ Approach

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay

European study tracked how many men came back for regular checkups over 13 years

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Doctors often recommend no treatment at all when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, opting instead to keep a close eye on the slow-growing tumor and acting only when it becomes aggressive.

But a new, long-term European study says this strategy, called “active surveillance,” has a major flaw — if men don’t come back for regular checkups, doctors won’t be able to tell if their prostate cancer becomes life-threatening.

Pediatric Health

Key Brain ‘Networks’ May Differ in Autism

By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay

Neural systems tied to gauging social cues appear ‘over-connected’ in children with the disorder

April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Differences in brain connectivity may help explain the social impairments common in those who have autism spectrum disorders, new research suggests.

The small study compared the brains of 25 teens with an autism spectrum disorder to those of 25 typically developing teens, all aged 11 to 18. The researchers found key differences between the two groups in brain “networks” that help people to figure out what others are thinking, and to understand others’ actions and emotions.

Aging

Gene Variant May Double Alzheimer’s Risk for Women

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Effect wasn’t nearly as pronounced among men, researchers say

April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Having a copy of a certain gene variant increases women’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease much more than it does for men, a new study indicates.

Stanford University researchers analyzed data from more than 8,000 people, most older than 60, who were tracked over a long period of time at about 30 Alzheimer’s centers across the United States.

Nutrition/Diet/Fitness

Does Sugar Make Your Heart Sweeter?

By Rita Rubin, WebMD Health News

April 14, 2014 — Celebrity Snickers pitchmen Joe Pesci and Don Rickles show that “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”

In a Snickers commercial, Pesci and Rickles make rude comments to strangers they meet at a party. Now a new study suggests that the commercial might have a hint of truth: Hunger really may lead to greater aggression.

In the study, though, the aggression was directed not toward strangers, but toward someone much closer — your spouse.

The researchers found that lower blood glucose levels predicted more aggression toward spouses, although some psychologists are skeptical of that theory.

Food’s Texture May Sway Perception of Calories

WebMD News from HealthDay

When study participants were thinking about calories, they ate more of the crunchier items, less of the soft

April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Creamy butter or ice cream versus a crunchy granola bar: A new study suggests that the texture of foods influences people’s dieting choices.

“We studied the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming,” wrote study authors Dipayan Biswas and Courtney Szocs, both from the University of South Florida, and others.

Scientists Find New Way to Observe ‘Good’ Fat

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Information from MRI scans might help in obesity, diabetes research

April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — In a possible advance for obesity research, an MRI scan has pinpointed “good” brown fat in a living adult for the first time.

The researchers say their success could help efforts to fight obesity and diabetes.

Unlike white fat, brown fat is considered good because it burns calories and helps control weight. Learning more about brown fat could lead to new ways to improve people’s health, the scientists said.

1 comment

    • TMC on April 26, 2014 at 2:42 am
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