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Features The leading source for timely and credible health, fitness, nutrition and anti aging news, studies tips and other wellness information. http://www.mybesthealthportal.net Wed, 25 Nov 2015 00:06:09 -0800 Joomla! 1.7 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Multivitamins a Waste According to Study in Medical Journal http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/multivitamis-a-waste-according-to-study-in-medical-journal.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/multivitamis-a-waste-according-to-study-in-medical-journal.html

Vitamins a waste of money?One in two adults takes a daily vitamin pill, and Americans spend nearly $12 billion annually on vitamins and supplements. Now, an editorial published in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine says that using supplements and multivitamins to prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer is a waste of money.

More than half of all adults in the United States take some sort of multivitamin; many do so in hopes of preventing heart disease and cancer or even to aid with memory, but "The (vitamin and supplement) industry is based on anecdote, people saying 'I take this, and it makes me feel better,' said Dr. Edgar Miller, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the editorial.

"It's perpetuated. But when you put it to the test, there's no evidence of benefit in the long term. It can't prevent mortality, stroke or heart attack."

The editorial, "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements," is based on three studies looking at the effects of multivitamins on preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as improving cognitive function in men older than 65. All three studies were also published in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine.

The first study was a meta-analysis of 27 studies that covered more than 450,000 participants and found that multivitamins had no beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer.

In addition, taking vitamins didn't prevent mortality in any way. However, the analysis did confirm that smokers who took only beta carotene supplements increased their risk of lung cancer.

When taking multivitamins to prevent a second heart attack, authors again found no beneficial evidence.

The second study looked at 1,700 patients who previously had heart attacks. They were assigned to take three multivitamins or placebos twice a day for five years. However, with more than 50% of patients stopping their medications, it was difficult for authors to come to any real conclusions about the vitamins' effectiveness.

With such a high drop-out rate, "interpretation is very difficult," said Miller.

The final study followed nearly 6,000 men older than 65, who took either a multivitamin or a placebo for 12 years. The men were administered cognitive functioning tests, and test results found no differences between the two groups.

However, Gladys Block, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at University of California Berkeley, pointed out that the group of men followed in the cognitive study were all physicians with no health problems.

"These are very well-nourished, very health-conscious people," she said.

In fact, she says none of the studies accurately represents the American population.

Block has spent her life studying the role of Vitamin C, in particular, on disease risk factors and says that most Americans are undernourished. She says that most Americans don't have a healthy diet, and therefore don't get the vitamins and minerals they need.

"Two-thirds of us are overweight, a quarter over 50 have two or more chronic conditions, so there's a substantial population that one would hesitate to call healthy."

Block went on to say, "There's always a nontrivial minority that's actually getting a questionable level of some micronutrients. So multivitamins are a backstop against our poor diet."

Cara Welch, senior vice president of the Natural Products Association, the largest trade organization representing the manufacturers and retailers of the natural products industry, including vitamins, agreed with Block.

"It is pretty common that in this day and age with the lifestyle many of us lead that we don't always take the time to have a balanced diet, and even if you do have a balanced diet, you can still have nutritional deficiencies."

"Multivitamins address the nutritional deficiencies in people," Welch said. "We don't believe they are the answer to all life's ailments, as the editorial suggests."

Miller, however, disagreed that the studies didn't represent the general public.

"They didn't select people who eat good diets or bad diets," he said. "You assume that these people selected are the typical American diet. Taking a supplement in place of a poor diet doesn't work."

Some groups, however, do need supplements, Miller said.

"For people with deficiencies, malabsorption issues, and to prevent neural tube defects in pregnancy -- there are a small number of conditions where we prescribe supplements"

The authors made an exception for supplemental vitamin D, which they said needed further research. Even so, widespread use of vitamin D pills “is not based on solid evidence that benefits outweigh harms,” the authors wrote. For other vitamins and supplements, “the case is closed.”

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    west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700
    Top Fitness Trends for 2014 Announced http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/top-fitness-trends-for-2014-announced.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/top-fitness-trends-for-2014-announced.html

    fitness trends 2014Here are the top predicted fitness trends for 2014 from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). 

    More than 3,800 fitness professionals completed an American College of Sports Medicine survey to determine the top fitness trends for 2014. The survey results were released in the “Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014” article published in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.

    The top fitness trends according to the ACSM survey,  “Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014”:

    1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, are usually performed in less than 30 minutes and favored by educated fitness professionals to get people into shapeand to reach their goals quicker, in a more effective way. High Intensity Interval Training has topped the list of the 10 trends in its debut year.

    2. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness. This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey.

    3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals. More people are expected to turn to educated fitness professionals," even though educated and certified personal trainers cost more. The ACSM says in a news release that an increasing number of organizations are offering health and fitness certifications, which is a positive development. One reason people want pros is reach their goals quicker, in a more effective way.

    4. Strength Training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs and is central for a complete health and fitness training program.

    5. Exercise and Weight loss. More people are likely to look for exercise programs that include nutritional advice for weight loss and firming up.

    6. Personal Training. Education and credentialing for personal trainers have become more important over time to health and fitness facilities. The survey says personal trainers are becoming more accessible to the public. More people are getting certified and more people want to learn how to exercise from fitness professionals.

    7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults. Many aging baby boomers have more discretionary money than younger folks, are less price conscious and will be seeking certified trainers to design "age appropriate fitness programs," Thompson says.

    8. Functional fitness. Functional fitness may be among the latest buzzwords in gyms these days, but for good reason. Functional fitness is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, and train your body to handle real-life situations. Functional fitness can help improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Functional fitness focuses on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.

    9. Group Personal Training. Group personal training allows personal trainers to provide personalized advice and programs. Training two or three people at one time makes good economic sense for trainers and can also reduce the cost to people seeking professional fitness training.

    10. Yoga. Another new trend is the popularity of yoga among men and women. Various forms of yoga can be done in groups or at home because many books and instructional tapes on the various types of yoga have become popular and are available online, and in many different types of stores.

    11. Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity. Dropping from the top 5 in every previous survey since 2007 are exercise programs aimed specifically at the problem of childhood obesity. Childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations and is becoming increasingly important to address because of its association with other medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension. With obesity at epidemic levels for children and adults, more people are looking for exercise and fitness programs to help them or their children lose weight.

    12. Worksite health promotion. Designed to improve the health of workers, this is a trend for a range of programs and services that incorporate systems to evaluate health, health care costs, and worker productivity. Employers have recognized that having healthier workers will result in lower health care costs and less absenteeism and are offering various types of fitness programs, from supervised classes to onsite fitness centers.Some of these programs are physically housed within the company or corporation building or on their campus, whereas other programs contract with independent commercial or community-based programs. Within the context of health care reform in the United States and rising health care costs, health promotion programs may take on additional importance in the future, especially with the train wreck OBAMACARE.

    13. Core Training. Core training emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen. From 2007 to 2010, Core Training was in the top 5 of the fitness trends. Since 2010, it has been dropping to now occupy the 13th spot in 2014.

    14. Outdoor Activities. Outdoor activities for health and fitness often include walking, hiking, or other sports. Outdoor Activities can be done with family, with friends, with a group, or by yourself. In 2010, Outdoor Activities ranked no. 25 in the annual survey, and in 2011, it ranked no. 27. In 2012, Outdoor Activities ranked no. 14, and in 2013, Outdoor Activities ranked no. 13.

    15. Circuit Training. Circuit Training appeared in 2013 (no. 18) for the first time in the top 20 trends and now occupies the no. 15 position. Circuit Training is a group of 6 to 10 exercises that are completed one after another and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise. Some respondents pointed out that Circuit Training is similar to high-intensity interval training but at a naturally lower intensity.

    16. Outcome Measurements.  A trend that addresses accountability, these are efforts to define and track outcomes to prove a selected program actually works. This trend did not appear in the top 20 for the past few years but reappeared in 2013 at no. 17.Measurements are necessary to determine the benefits of health and fitness programs in disease management and to document success in changing negative lifestyle habits. The proliferation of technology has aided in data collection to support these efforts. Accountability to owners and operators of health andfitness facilities provide important metrics to determine ifnew programs are cost-effective and if old programs are actually working.

    17. Wellness Coaching. Falling from no. 13 in 2010 but remaining in the top 20 trends for 2011, 2012, and 2013 is Wellness Coaching. This fitness trend incorporates behavioral change science into health promotion,  disease prevention and rehabilitation programs. Wellness Coaching often uses a one-on-one approach, similar to a personal trainer, with the coach providing support, guidance, and encouragement. T According to this trends survey (and results from past surveys), it appears as though Wellness Coaching and its principled techniques of behavior change are being adopted by personal trainers and other health and fitness professionals.

    18. Sport-Specific Training. Falling from a top 10 spot (no. 8) in 2010, Sport-Specific Training dropped to no. 16 for 2011 and no. 17 for 2012 and dropped out of the top 20 in 2013. This trend incorporates sport-specific training for sports such as baseball and tennis, designed especially for young athletes. For example, a high school athlete might join a commercial or community-based fitness organization to help develop skills during the off-season and to increase strength and endurance specific to that sport.

    19.  Worker Incentive Programs. Appearing for the first time in the survey top 20 in 2011, Worker Incentive Programs stayed in the top 20 for 2012 and 2013. This is a trend that creates incentive programs to stimulate positive healthy behavior change as part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits. This trend represents a resurgence of corporate health promotion programs as a result of rising health care costs experienced by both small and large companies and corporations. 

    20. Fitness Boot camps. After first appearing in the 2008 survey at no. 26, Boot Camp was no. 23 in 2009, no. 16 in 2010, no. 8 in 2011, but fell to no. 13 in 2012, and no. 16 for 2013. Boot Camp is a high-intensity structured activity patterned after military-style training and includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills. Fitness boot camps usually involves both indoor and outdoor exercises typically led by an enthusiastic instructor.  Because of its climb in the survey rankings from 2008 to 2011, with a decrease in the trend analysis the past 3 years, it will be interesting to see if Fitness Boot Camp programs continue as a trend in the fitness industry. 

    Falling off the Top 20 Fitness Trends

    Dropping out of the top 20 for 2014 is Zumba. Zumba combines Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training and first appeared on the list of potential trends in 2010 and ranked no. 31 of 37 potential trends; in 2011, it was ranked no. 24 out of a possible 31 choices. In 2012, it jumped into the top 10 (no. 9) and then fell to no. 12 in 2013. It appears as though the popularity of Zumba, which was growing, with a rapid escalation between 2010 and 2013, can now be called a fad and not a trend. Falling out of the top 20 fitness trends last year was Spinning (indoor cycling), Sport-Specific Training, and Physician Referrals. Spinning was no. 16 in the survey for 2012, dropped out of the top 20 in 2012, and stayed out of the top 20 in 2014. Falling from a top 10 spot (no. 8) in 2010, Sport-Specific Training dropped to no. 16 for 2011 and no. 17 for 2012. Breaking into the top 10 for the first time in the survey in 2009 (no. 9), Sport-Specific Training jumped from no. 13 in 2008 after falling from no. 11 in 2007. After falling to no. 17 for 2012 from its relative popularity in 2010, Sport-Specific Training made the top 20 in 2014, appearing at no. 18. Jumping from no. 17 in 2010 and rounding out the top 10 for 2011 was Physician Referrals. In the 2012 survey, Physician Referrals fell to no. 20 and was out of the top 20 trends in 2013. For 2014, Physician Referrals remain out of the top 20. It is always interesting to see what fell out of the top 20 list on this survey for the next year and what seems to be supported by this year’s survey. Balance balls and stability ball training has also fallen off the top 20 fitness trends list.


    • Thompson WR .“Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014”, 12/13  ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.
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      west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Fri, 07 Nov 2014 00:00:00 -0800
      The Super Anti-Aging Foods that Do More than Make you Look Good http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/anti-aging-foods-foods-you-should-be-eating-to-slow-aging-and-improve-your-health.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/anti-aging-foods-foods-you-should-be-eating-to-slow-aging-and-improve-your-health.html


      The key to anti-aging is living a healthy lifestyle, which includes avoiding unhalthy food, unhealthy activities, exercising, and  including healthy foods that promote your health rather than detract from it. Besides avoiding foods that are heavily processed, heavy with sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, eat foods with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Here are some foods that will help you age gracefully.

      Avocado –  Avocado is a good source of vitamin E and can help to maintain healthy skin and prevent skin aging (vitamin E may also help alleviate menopausal hot flushes). It is rich in potassium which helps prevent fluid retention and high blood pressure. Avocado is also a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat that may help to reduce level of a bad type of cholesterol in body.

      Berries – Ever heard the saying the darker the berry the sweeter the fruit? Not only are the darker berries sweeter tating, but they are better for your health. Dark berries such as blackberries, blueberries,  blackcurrants and black grapes and raspberries are rich an antioxidants called anthocyanins which have been shown to slow the growth of certain cancers and improve brain function.

      Broccoli – There is a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane that increases the activity of protective enzymes in our cells. There are also recent studies showing other positive halth effects:   Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system, due to glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin; 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli that supports all steps in body's detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants.   Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol which recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body which helps explain the unique anti-inflammatory benefits of broccoli. 

      Cucumber – The skin of a cucumber is made from silica, which helps to build collagen in the skin. Cucumbers also n to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol—three lignans that have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease as well as several cancer types, including breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers.

      Ginger – Ginger can boost the digestive and circulatory systems, which can help stave off problems that often develop as we age.  Ginger may also have anti-inflammatory effects, alleviating aches and pains.

      Garlic – Studies show Eating a clove of garlic a day (row or cooked) helps protect the body against certain cancers and heart disease. The cardioprotective effects of garlic are well recorded. One 1994 study in Iowa, USA, of 41,837 women between the age of 55 and 69 suggested that women who ate a clove of garlic at least once a week were 50 percent less likely to develop colon cancer. Another study at Tasgore Medical college in India suggested that garlic reduced cholesterol levels and assisted blood thinning more effectively than aspirin, thus helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.

      Legumes – Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils that are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumeshave no cholesterol, and are packed with antioxidants and protein. Legumes are full of complex carbohydrates and fiber that stablilize blood insulin level and increase satiety (keep you full longer).This can help prevent metabolic syndrome, diabetes and prevent premature aging. 

      Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are full of vitamin E, which helps to moisturize the skin by protecting cells against free radical attacks. Nuts and seeds can also help reduce LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol and triglycerides, another risk factor in heart disease. The omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help the heart avoid risky rhythms that can lead to heart attacks as well as prevent the formation of blood clots. The antioxidant properties found in the nuts may prevent the loss of memory and degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease.

      Olive Oil – Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats (good fats) which actually lower your LDL cholesterol. It is high in antioxidants, which improves skin’s elasticity.

      Salmon – The omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon help to reduce hypertension, lower triglycerides, and decrease your risk of heart attack, and also may prevent the loss of memory and degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease.

      Tomatoes – Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases, and keep the skin looking youthful. . Lycopene neutralizes free radicals, stops damage to our cells and lowers the incidence to many diseases; including cancers such as prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx, and esophagus. cancer. Lycopene also enables the body  to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls and thicken them which can lead to hearty attack or stroke.

      Watermelon – The flesh contain vitamin A, B and C ; the seeds contain selenium, essential fats, zinc and vitamin E, all of which help against free radical damage and aging. The antioxidants found in watermelon help repair the sun damage in skin cells.  Watermelon is also a source of the potent carotene antioxidant lycopene.

      Water – Drink at least 8 - 12 glasses of water every day in order to remain healthy and slow down aging. Water helps us to get rid of the toxins and unwanted waste materials from your body. Don’t rely on thirst; this sensation does not work well, and also diminishes with age.

      Whole grains – Most people know that fruits and vegetables contain beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants, but many do not realize that whole grains are often an even better source of these key nutrients. In fact, whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, magnesium and fiber,, as well as other valuable antioxidants not found in some fruits and vegetables. Whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood coagulation. Whole grains have also been found to reduce the risks of many types of cancer and .The fiber in whole grains help reduce the risk of diabetes because of they take longer to digest and do not cause spikes in blood sugar, reducing the risk for obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown that people who consume more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who consumed less whole grain products.

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        west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Wed, 29 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800
        Are Appetite Suppression Pills a Waste of Money? http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/are-appetite-suppression-pills-a-waste-of-money.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/are-appetite-suppression-pills-a-waste-of-money.html

        Appetite Suppression PillsAppetite Suppression Pills Called into Question

        New weight loss products are released each year offering dieters promises of suppressing their appetite to lose weight, but these over-the-counter appetite suppression pills and other appetite suppression products may not be as effective as more natural approaches to weight loss according to a review of appetite suppression products.

        A web search of ingredients in appetite suppression pills getting attention recently, like Hoodia gordonii or green coffee bean extract, brings up countless appetite suppression products that cannot always be trusted, according to University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Nutrition Sciences Professor and Chair Timothy Garvey, M.D.

        “There are little or no rigorous data addressing the efficacy of appetite suppression compounds,” Garvey said. “People buying these appetite suppression products are likely to be wasting money.”

        Instead, Garvey added that patients with obesity complications should seek direction from their health care providers.

        “There are proven lifestyle modification programs and medications that can be helpful,” Garvey added.

        There are steps one can take to naturally lower appetite. UAB Wellness Director Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., recommended starting the day with protein.

        “It has long been suggested that people eat breakfast to help with hunger throughout the day, but your breakfast must have protein,” Whitt said. “Egg whites or low-fat yogurt are excellent sources of protein that will keep you feeling fuller longer because it takes the body more time to digest and absorb them.”

        Later in the day, before hunger strikes, Whitt said a portion of an unsaturated fat can do the trick.

        “Oleic acid, which is found in unsaturated fats, helps quell hunger,” Whitt said. “It may sound counterintuitive, but this is healthy fat, so snack on a couple tablespoons of peanut butter or an ounce of nuts.”

        Lastly, Whitt said to toss a certain citrus into the mix.

        “Eating grapefruit between meals, or with a meal, helps lower the insulin levels in your body,” Whitt explained. “Insulin regulates your blood sugar and fat metabolism, so keeping insulin levels in check helps you fight the urge to grab a quick, sugary snack.”

        Health expert Jeff Behar, based in Los Angeles, cautions that grapefruit does interact with many medications, and suggests that if you do add grapefruit to your diet, that you checkl to ernsure that you are not takingh medications that may be affected by grapefruit consumption. "Another choicem a low glycemic carbihydrate like a sweet potatioe, which gives you enbergy at a sustanied rate, without spiking insulin levels," add Behar.

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          west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700
          No More GTL for Kids from the Jersey Shore http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/no-more-gtl-for-kids-from-the-jersey-shore.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/no-more-gtl-for-kids-from-the-jersey-shore.html

          jersey-shore-tanNew Jersey Bans Indoor Tanning for Minors Under 17

          New Jersey sent a strong message to young people that indoor tanning can be dangerous to their health.

          Legislation prohibiting the use of indoor tanning beds by minors under 17 passed both the New Jersey House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Christopher Christie signed the bill into law on April 1, 2013. The law will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2013.

          The law is based on significant scientific evidence that links indoor tanning to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

          New Jersey is the latest state to pass legislation that limits the use of indoor tanning by young people. California, New York, Vermont and Springfield and Chicago, Ill. have passed laws prohibiting the use of indoor tanning devices by minors.

          “The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this legislation and commends the state of New Jersey for joining the fight against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers,” said Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Through national media coverage and reality television, attention has been drawn to the use of indoor tanning devices in New Jersey. This legislation highlights an important step in changing unhealthy behaviors and sends a strong message from the state that tanning is a dangerous behavior and should be avoided.”

          More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and more than 2,520 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in New Jersey in 2013.

          “Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, the most common users of indoor tanning beds,” said Dr. Elston. “Prevention is one of the most valuable tools that we have as dermatologists. We need to continue educating patients about the risks of indoor tanning and encouraging healthy decisions to help prevent skin cancer.”

          Additional support for the ban was provided by the Dermatological Society of New Jersey and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association.

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            west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700
            New Bird Flu Strain has Jumped to Humans http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/new-bird-flu-strain-has-jumped-to-humans.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/new-bird-flu-strain-has-jumped-to-humans.html

            H7N9 influenza ATwo new cases of bird flu, and one more death has been reported in several eastern provinces of China. The new H7N9 avian influenza cases bring the total so far reported to nine, with three deaths, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

            Health officials are scrambling to understand the new bird flu outbreak, the first time the avian H7N9 influenza A has been known to infect humans.

            The two new H7N9 influenza Acases include a 38-year-old chef who died on March 27 and a retired man who remains in hospital.

            Aside from those cases, three others were reported to the World Health Organization on March 31 and another four were reported in China Tuesday.

            Two of the first three patients have died, and the other is in critical condition in hospital. There have been no deaths among the next four, Xinhua reported, but all are in intensive care.

            There seems little connection among the victims, according to avian flu expert Gregory Poland, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

            "We know the professions of the individuals that have been infected," he told MedPage Today, and with one exception they appear to have had little or no contact with birds or poultry.

            "There doesn't seem to be any common connection between these individuals, which is a little worrisome, nor does there appear to be a common source for the H7N9 influenza A outbreak," he said.

            Reassuringly - although it tends to deepen the mystery -- investigation so far has not turned up evidence that the H7N9 influenza A virus can be transmitted among people. Poland noted that contact tracing of the early patients found no sign that any friends, or relatives, or co-workers were infected.

            Flu viruses are named according to the variants of surface proteins they carry -- one of 16 types of hemagglutinin (H) and one of nine forms of neuraminidase (N).

            Among the various types of avian influenza, the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain get the most press, largely because of its staggering mortality rate when it infects humans -- 371 deaths out of the 622 cases since 2003. On the other hand, such infections are rare and usually occur in people in close contact with infected poultry.

            But, until now, H7N9 viruses have not been known to infect people, according to the WHO. Other H7 viruses, however, have caused outbreaks, although they have usually caused no more than mild upper respiratory disease and conjunctivitis.

            The current bird flu virus is what's called a "reassortant" - a mixture of genes from different strains. But the virus also has a mutation in the receptor-binding gene that allows it to attach to the human sialic acid receptor, Poland said.

            In avian flu, the hemagglutinin protein binds to cells with what is called an alpha2,3-linked sialic acid receptor; human-adapted flu strains bind to an alpha2,6-linked sialic acid receptor.

            In the current virus, the binding to the human sialic acid receptor is not yet very efficient, he said.

            According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, H7 viruses have not previously caused human disease in China and H7N9 in particular had only been previously isolated in birds.

            So far, there are no apparent epidemiological links among the seven cases and the Chinese CDC reported that no infections were found among 88 close contacts of the first three cases.

            Two of those victims came from Shanghai and one in Anhui, a province west of Shanghai. The remaining four were reported in the province of Jiangsu, north of Shanghai.

            According to Xinhua, two of those patients -- a 45-year-old woman who worked as a poultry culler and a 48-year-old female sheet metal worker -- developed fever, aches, and respiratory symptoms on March 19 and were admitted to hospital on March 27 and 20, respectively.

            An 83-year-old man developed fever and respiratory symptoms on March 20 and was admitted to hospital on March 29, while the fourth patient -- a 32-year-old unemployed woman – came down with cough, fever, and other symptoms on March 21 and was admitted to hospital March 28.

            The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection said in a statement that so far no epidemiological links have been found among the four patients and no other H7N9 infections have been found in 167 of their close contacts.

            Interestingly, a recent study highlighted the Shanghai region -- the coastal provinces bordering the South China Sea and East China Sea -- as a possible flu "hot spot" where different strains of influenza could mix and mingle genetically with the potential to create new human-adapted disease.

            Chinese researchers have already sequenced isolates from the first three cases and published them on GISAID, a publicly available database of flu genetic sequences.

            Using those data, researchers are racing to see what has changed in the H7N9 lineage that might make it jump from birds to humans. Indeed, some researchers are already posting their early analyses online.

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              west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Tue, 07 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700
              Tanning Beds Can Cause Most Common Form of Skin Cancer http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/tanning-beds-can-cause-most-common-form-of-skin-cancer.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/tanning-beds-can-cause-most-common-form-of-skin-cancer.html

              indoor Tanning cancerIndoor tanning beds can cause non-melanoma skin cancer and the skin cancer risk is greater the earlier one starts tanning, according to a new study on tanning beds and skin cancer.

              Indoor tanning is already an established risk factor for malignant melanoma, the less common but deadliest form of skin cancer. Now, the new indoor tanning study confirms that indoor tanning significantly increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common human skin cancers.

              In the most extensive examination of published findings on indoor tanning and skin cancer, the researchers estimate that indoor tanning is responsible for more than 170,000 new cases annually of non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States – and many more skin cancers worldwide.

              Young people who use tanning beds before age 25 have a significantly higher risk of developing basal cell carcinomas compared to those who never use indoor tanning beds, the researchers reported.

              The study will be published online October 2, 2012 in BMJ, the British general medical journal.

              Number of Skin Cancers Caused by Tanning Beds Shocking

              “The numbers of skin cancersa from indoor tanning beds are striking – hundreds of thousands of skin cancers each year are attributed to tanning beds,’’ said Eleni Linos, MD, DrPH, an assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF and senior author of the study. “This creates a huge opportunity for cancer prevention.’’

              The indoor tanning - cancer study was a meta-analysis and systematic review of medical articles published since 1985 involving some 80,000 people in six countries and data extending back to 1977.

              Indoor Tanning Popularity Started in the 1970's

              The popularity of indoor tanning in the United States first began in the 1970s, and now millions of people annually patronize tanning salons. The National Cancer Institute and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 reported that 5.6 percent of the American public used indoor tanning during the prior year, with higher rates among women, whites, and young adults.

              Currently, there are some 19,000 indoor tanning businesses, according to an industry trade organization.

              But in pursuit of golden hues, many people may unknowingly subject themselves to dermatological danger.

              The World Health Organization has said that ultraviolet tanning devices cause cancer in people and the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers indoor tanning a “Class 1’’ carcinogen. Government officials in the U.S. and abroad are increasingly restricting and regulating tanning facilities.

              The new indoor tanning - skin cancer study adds to the mounting evidence on the harms of indoor tanning, showing significant elevated risk of the most common forms of skin cancer.

              “Several earlier studies suggested a link between non-melanoma skin cancer and indoor tanning. Our goal was to synthesize the available data to be able to draw a firm conclusion about this important question,’’ said co-author Mary-Margaret Chren, MD, professor of dermatology at UCSF.

              The researchers studied both early life exposure and regular use of tanning booths.

              Those who exposed themselves to indoor tanning had a 67 percent higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent higher risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, compared to people who never did indoor tanning.

              The scientists noted several limitations including the broad timeframe that the data spans. Also, indoor tanning devices have changed over the years “from high UVB output to predominantly UVA output,’’ the authors said. But, they point out, numerous studies have indicated that both UVB and UVA can cause significant skin damage.

              The project was supported by UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute KL2 program, and the National Institute of Health.

              • NonMelanoma Skin Cancer
              • skin cancer
              • tanning beds
                west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Tue, 23 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
                Green Tea Extract Interferes with the Formation of Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer's Disease http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/green-tea-extract-interferes-with-the-formation-of-amyloid-plaques-in-alzheimers-disease.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/green-tea-extract-interferes-with-the-formation-of-amyloid-plaques-in-alzheimers-disease.html

                green-tea-extractAn extract in green tea may prevent the formation of  misfolding of specific proteins in the brain that has shown to lead to Alzheimer's disease according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

                The aggregation of these proteins, called metal-associated amyloids, is associated not just with Alzheimer's disease, but other neurodegenerative conditions as well.

                A paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explained how U-M Life Sciences Institute faculty member Mi Hee Lim and an interdisciplinary team of researchers used green tea extract to control the generation of metal-associated amyloid-ß aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease in the lab. The research team included chemists, biochemists and biophysicists.

                The specific molecule in green tea, (—)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, also known as EGCG, prevented aggregate formation and broke down existing aggregate structures in the proteins that contained metals—specifically copper, iron and zinc.

                "A lot of people are very excited about this molecule," said Lim, noting that the EGCG and other flavonoids in natural green tea extract EGCgproducts have long been established as powerful antioxidants. "We used a multidisciplinary approach. This is the first example of structure-centric, multidisciplinary investigations by three principal investigators with three different areas of expertise."

                While many researchers are investigating small molecules and metal-associated amyloids, most are looking from a limited perspective, said Lim, assistant professor of chemistry and research assistant professor at the Life Sciences Institute, where her lab is located and her research is conducted.

                "But we believe you have to have a lot of approaches working together, because the brain is very complex," she said.

                The PNAS paper was a starting point, Lim said, and her team's next step is to "tweak" the molecule and then test its ability to interfere with plaque formation in fruit flies.

                "We want to modify them for the brain, specifically to interfere with the plaques associated with Alzheimer's," she said.

                Lim plans to collaborate with Bing Ye, a neurobiologist in the LSI. Together, the researchers will test the new molecule's power to inhibit potential toxicity of aggregates containing proteins and metals in fruit flies.

                • green tea
                • Amyloid Plaques
                • Alzheimer's disease
                • Green Tea Extract
                  west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Fri, 05 Apr 2013 00:00:00 -0700
                  Same-Sex Cohabitors Less Healthy Than Heterosexual Married Couples http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/same-sex-cohabitors-less-healthy-than-heterosexual-married-couples.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/same-sex-cohabitors-less-healthy-than-heterosexual-married-couples.html

                  GAY-MARRIAGE-womenSame-sex cohabitors report worse health than married heterosexuals of the same socioeconomic status w, according to a new study, which may provide fuel for gay marriage proponents.

                  “Past research has shown that married people are generally healthier than unmarried people,” said Hui Liu, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University. “Although our study did not specifically test the health consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage, it’s very plausible that legalization of gay marriage would reduce health disparities between same-sex cohabitors and married heterosexuals.”

                  Titled, “Same-Sex Cohabitors and Health: The Role of Race-Ethnicity, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status,” the study, which appears in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, compares the self-rated health of 1,659 same-sex cohabiting men and 1,634 same-sex cohabiting women with that of their different-sex married, different-sex cohabiting, unpartnered divorced, widowed, and never-married counterparts. The study of white, black, and Hispanic 18 to 65-year-olds used pooled, nationally representative data from the 1997 to 2009 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). NHIS respondents rated their overall health as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. As part of their study, Liu and her co-authors, Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, and Dustin Brown, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, divided the respondents into two groups: those who reported excellent, very good, or good overall health and those who reported fair or poor overall health.

                  “When we controlled for socioeconomic status, the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 61 percent higher for same-sex cohabiting men than for men in heterosexual marriages and the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 46 percent higher for same-sex cohabiting women than for women in heterosexual marriages,” Liu said.

                  As for why same-sex cohabitors reported worse health than people of the same socioeconomic status in heterosexual marriages, Liu said there could be several reasons. “Research consistently suggests that ‘out’ sexual minorities experience heightened levels of stress and higher levels of discrimination, and these experiences may adversely affect the health of this population,” Liu said. “It may also be that same-sex cohabitation does not provide the same psychosocial, socioeconomic, and institutional resources that come with legal marriage, factors that are theorized to be responsible for many of the health benefits of marriage.”

                  According to the researchers, it is possible that providing same-sex cohabitors the option to marry would boost their measures of self-rated health because they would experience higher levels of acceptance and lower levels of stigma. “Legalizing same-sex marriage could also provide other advantages often associated with heterosexual marriage—such as partner health insurance benefits and the ability to file joint tax returns—that may directly and indirectly influence the health of individuals in same-sex unions,” Liu said.

                  The researchers also found that same-sex cohabitors reported better health than their different-sex cohabiting and single counterparts, but these differences were fully explained by socioeconomic status. “Without their socioeconomic status advantages, same-sex cohabitors would generally report similar levels of health as their divorced, widowed, never-married, and different-sex cohabiting counterparts,” Liu said.

                  Interestingly, the study suggests that the pattern of poorer self-rated health of same-sex cohabitors in comparison with those in heterosexual marriages does not vary by gender and race-ethnicity. In contrast, results comparing same-sex cohabitors with different-sex cohabiting and single women, but not men, revealed important racial-ethnic patterns. “After we controlled for socioeconomic status, black women in same-sex cohabiting relationships reported worse health than black women of any other non-married union status, while white women in same-sex cohabiting relationships actually reported better health than both white women in different-sex cohabiting relationships and divorced white women,” said Liu, who explained that black women in same-sex cohabiting relationships may experience significant social discrimination and homophobia, and such stressors may shape their health in especially detrimental ways.

                  • samesex cohabitors
                  • gay marriage
                  • marrriage
                  • health
                    west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Sat, 30 Mar 2013 22:34:10 -0700
                    Obesity Makes Fat Cells Act Like They are Infected http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/obesity-makes-fat-cells-act-like-they-are-infected.html http://www.mybesthealthportal.net/features/top-stories/obesity-makes-fat-cells-act-like-they-are-infected.html

                    obese maleThe inflammation of fat tissue when you are obese is part of a spiraling series of events that leads to the development of type 2 diabetes in some obese people. But researchers have not understood what triggers the inflammation, or why.

                    In Cell Metabolism this month (cover), scientists from The Methodist Hospital report fat cells themselves are at least partly to blame -- high calorie diets cause the cells to make major histocompatibility complex II, a group of proteins usually expressed to help the immune system fight off viruses and bacteria. In overweight mice and humans the fat cells, or adipocytes, are issuing false distress signals -- they are not under attack by pathogens. But this still sends local immune cells into a tizzy, and that causes inflammation.

                    "We did not know fat cells could instigate the inflammatory response," said principal investigator and Methodist Diabetes & Metabolism Institute Director Willa Hsueh, M.D. "That's because for a very long time we thought these cells did little else besides store and release energy. But what we have learned is that adipocytes don't just rely on local resident immune cells for protection -- they play a very active role in their own defense. And that's not always a good thing."

                    In pinpointing major histocompatibility complex II (MHCII) as a cause of inflammation, the researchers may have also identified a new drug target for the treatment of obesity. Blocking the MHCII response of adipocytes wouldn't cure obesity, Hsueh said, "but it could make it possible for doctors to alleviate some of obesity's worst consequences while the condition itself is treated."

                    Could the inflammation caused by a high fat diet serve any purpose, or is it a senseless response to an unnaturally caloric diet?

                    "The expression of MHCII in adipocytes does not seem to be helpful to the body," said co-lead author Christopher Lyon, Ph.D. "It is not at all clear what the advantage would be, given all the negative long-term consequences of fat tissue inflammation in people who are obese, including insulin resistance and, eventually, full diabetes. This just appears to be a runaway immune response to a modern high calorie diet."

                    Hsueh added, "The bottom line is, you're feeding and feeding these fat cells and they're turning around and biting you back. They're doing the thing they're supposed to do -- storing energy -- but reacting negatively to too much of it."

                    The scientists studied fat cells from obese, female humans (via biopsy) and overfed male mice. The researchers said that while they expect similar MHCII expression to occur in overweight male humans and female mice, further studies are needed to establish this.

                    The immunology of adipocyte inflammation is complex. It begins with the import of excess nutrients from the bloodstream, which are converted and stored as fat and stimulate the production of the hormone leptin. Excess leptin, spurred by a high calorie diet, excites CD4 T cells to produce a second signaling molecule, interferon gamma, which causes adipocytes to produce MHCII. This dialogue between adipocytes and T cells appears to initiate the inflammatory response to high fat diet -- Hsueh and her group found that overfed mice lacking MHCII experienced less inflammation.

                    Interferon gamma from T cells exacerbates the inflamed adipocytes' behavior and causes another type of immune cell, M2 macrophages, to be converted to their pro-inflammatory (M1) version.

                    "It was known that macrophages and T cells are major players," said lead author Tuo Deng, Ph.D. "But no one knew what the start signals were to ignite inflammation."

                    RNA was extracted from adipocytes purified from fat tissue biopsies and subjected to microarray analysis, which allowed the researchers to see what genes were increased in overweight subjects. The researchers found high expression of most MHCII complex and MHCII antigen processing genes. Similar gene expression patterns were observed in mice within two weeks of starting a high-fat diet, and this mirrored pro-inflammatory changes in fat tissue CD4 T cells. Hsueh says her group plans to investigate whether the inflammatory response in overfed mice can be blocked when MHCII expression is specifically reduced in adipocytes.

                    Hsueh says that if she and her group can identify the antigen(s) that MHCII is presenting to T cells in fat tissue, medical researchers would have a new approach to target adipose inflammation in obese patients. The hypothesis is that if a treatment can interfere with the production or MHCII presentation of these antigens, this would reduce the activation of fat tissue immune cells and thus reduce inflammation. Determining the MHCII antigen(s) involved in the inflammatory response of fat tissue to weight gain is one of her group's next goals, she says.

                    • obesity
                    • inflammation
                    • adipocytes
                      west@hotmail.com (Jeff Behar) Top Stories Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0700