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Category: Health and Medicine (29)

March 16, 2010

The closest medical advice may be on your own computer

Web sites that are informative and interactive interest me. Years ago,
I would take the time to research through encyclopedias and journal to
find information. Now, like everyone else, I guess, the computer is
my source book. So, when I had a recent medical question, I found
"symptomchecker," from WebMD.


WebMD magazine can be found in the waiting rooms of most physicians.
I like to read it because it contains useful articles about the newest breakthroughs
in medicine. Some recent articles addressed: children's cold medicines, overeating,
hemorrhoids, strep throat, and why garlic is good for you. Other articles
gave detailed information about nicotine patches, PMS, and rheumatoid
arthritis. Ask your doctor for one of his/her free copies. Patients are supposed to
read them. Become an informed patient!

One feature I found interesting and useful is their web site called "symptomchecker."
This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, nor treatment. But,
when you are trying to determine which doctor to call, because you are not certain
about how to describe or to detail your symptoms, this site can be quite helpful.
By answering a series of questions, you will receive information on the names of
conditions, diseases, and medications. This is an interactive tool to help you
identify your problem.

For more information: www.WebMD.com or http://symptoms.webmd.com/

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February 2, 2010

Sick Child - high fever - Interesting new website for help

http://meinsteininnovations.com is a website that describes a new product
to help parents give their feverish children the proper dose of medication.

Dr. Evan Meiner, an ER physician with many years of experience, developed
this unique card to show parents exactly how much fever-reducing
medication to give their infant or child based on the most reliable
method – the child's weight! The product is only for $3.99, including shipping,
from the website.

One of the most common reasons for visits to the ER or the pediatrician
is parents' inability to control their child's fever. Under- or over-dosing
is all too common because the instructions that come with these medications
are vague and incomplete. The Pediatric Fever Fighter™ dosing card might
be the right solution to this frightening problem for parents. I can't wait to
receive mine in the mail, in case I have to dispense medication to my
grandchildren, when they visit.

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November 14, 2009

Hearing Loss Assoc. of America - Nov. 20 '09 meeting


Hearing Loss Assoc. of America, South P.B. County Chapter

The next meeting takes place Friday Nov. 20 at 10 A.M.
at the South County Civic Center, Jog Rd., Delray opposite Morikami Gardens.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Wm. D. Andreassen, Au.D., Associate of Labyrinth
Audiology.
He will speak about Balance Problems, Diagnosis and rehabilitation of
balance problems due to hearing disorders. According to Dr. Andreassen,
there is help.

Visit HLAA website at www.hladelrayboynton.org.

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November 1, 2009

Flu shots - don't wait to get yours

Have you made an appointment for your flu shot, yet? I've already gotten
mine and I hope that it protects me from getting sick this winter. As a
substitute teacher, I am exposed to many students who often come to school
when they should be staying at home.
Playing cards in the Clubhouse card rooms or sitting in a packed
theater during a movie or show, it is hard to escape the coughing and
sneezing that exists in a closed environment. Imagine the germs deposited
on a deck of cards or Mah Jongg tiles, when someone sneezes into their
hand and continues playing!
It amazes me how many seniors do not get the flu shot. I understand
that some people have allergies or bad reactions to the injection, but my
doctor insists that is not the norm. According to Health Smart Magazine, fewer than 25% of immunized patients have some redness and/or slight swelling
at the site. Curtis Allen, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
in Atlanta, says that shots are recommended for adults 50 and older. In
addition, if you have any chronic illness or if you are a caregiver, it is important
that you get the flu vaccine.
This year, there is an abundant supply of flu vaccine. I hope that if you're
reading this, you remember to get yours tomorrow. H1N1 virus immunization
is another topic for another day.

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July 11, 2009

Insects are bugging us - big time!

Do you have an empty flower pot in your yard? Is there any container that
could fill with standing water around your property? Well, this is the time
to walk around your property and to remove any places for mosquitoes to
breed. Unfortunately, abandoned properties nearby and empty pools have
become areas where mosquitoes have found incubators for their eggs.

Mosquitoes spread West Nile virus and other diseases by transmitting
them along with their nasty bites.

Although spraying neighborhoods has begun, it is really up to us, the
residents of Boynton Beach, to watch out for ourselves, too.

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May 14, 2009

Twinkies - an old treat - still around

A new book, Twinkie, Deconstructed, My Journey to Discover
How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown,
Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats.

written by Steve Ettlinger (Hudson Street Press/Penguin), 2007,
is a fascinating read.
My husband, Abe, took a sandwich lunch to work every day for more
than 20 years. In every paper bag, a Twinkie, Devil Dog, Yodel, or
Drakes Cakes would always be included. In fact, his colleagues
would remark, "If you want to find Abe, he's hiding behind his
lunch bag."
Why are these snack products so popular with adults and children?
Well, they are sweet and they taste good! But, asks the author,
Steve Ettlinger, what about those ingredients? What exactly is:
mono and diglycerides or calcium sulfate or cellulose gum?
This book has been called a "delightful romp through the food processing
industry," by Publishers Weekly and "the latest in a recent boom of food
investigation books," by The Wall Street Journal.
This is a fun book; easy to read; well-written. So, if you want to know
what Twinkies are made of, here are some of the ingredients:
wheat flour, bleach, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lecithin, eggs,
cellulose gum, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate,
polysorbate 60, calcium sulfate, sorbid acid, FD&C Yellow No. 5 and
Red. No. 40. AND MORE.........too much more to list! All of these
ingredients, he insists, are included to increase the shelf-life of
the snacks.
What ever happened to including an apple, banana, or home-made
cookies into lunch boxes?

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May 2, 2009

Swine Flu - facts from the C.D.C.

KEY FACTS ABOUT SWINE FLU
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What is Swine Influenza?

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

How many swine flu viruses are there?

Like all influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change constantly. Pigs can be infected by avian influenza and human influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses. When influenza viruses from different species infect pigs, the viruses can reassort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge. Over the years, different variations of swine flu viruses have emerged. At this time, there are four main influenza type A virus subtypes that have been isolated in pigs: H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, and H3N1. However, most of the recently isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been H1N1 viruses.

Can humans catch swine flu?

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.

How common is swine flu infection in humans?

In the past, CDC received reports of approximately one human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the U.S., but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

How does swine flu spread?

Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What do we know about human-to-human spread of swine flu?

In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman was hospitalized for pneumonia and died 8 days later. A swine H1N1 flu virus was detected. Four days before getting sick, the patient visited a county fair swine exhibition where there was widespread influenza-like illness among the swine.

In follow-up studies, 76% of swine exhibitors tested had antibody evidence of swine flu infection but no serious illnesses were detected among this group. Additional studies suggest that one to three health care personnel who had contact with the patient developed mild influenza-like illnesses with antibody evidence of swine flu infection.

How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed?

To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.

What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?

There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.

What other examples of swine flu outbreaks are there?

Probably the most well known is an outbreak of swine flu among soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey in 1976. The virus caused disease with x-ray evidence of pneumonia in at least 4 soldiers and 1 death; all of these patients had previously been healthy. The virus was transmitted to close contacts in a basic training environment, with limited transmission outside the basic training group. The virus is thought to have circulated for a month and disappeared. The source of the virus, the exact time of its introduction into Fort Dix, and factors limiting its spread and duration are unknown. The Fort Dix outbreak may have been caused by introduction of an animal virus into a stressed human population in close contact in crowded facilities during the winter. The swine influenza A virus collected from a Fort Dix soldier was named A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1).

Is the H1N1 swine flu virus the same as human H1N1 viruses?

No. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are antigenically very different from human H1N1 viruses and, therefore, vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection from H1N1 swine flu viruses.

Is there a vaccine for swine flu?

Vaccines are available to be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. The seasonal influenza vaccine will likely help provide partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1 viruses.
Related Links

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April 12, 2009

Cinnamon for your health

Cinnamon is an antioxidant-rich spice that has become the rage of The Super
Foods Rx Diet,
by Wendy Bazilian. Cinnamon boasts a rating of 6,956 ORAC
(Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), beating out even anti-oxidant-rich foods
such as blueberries and cranberries, according to the USDA.
A Study of the antioxidant capacities of 277 selected foods were released in
November, 2007, by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. The new
database provides easy access to antioxidant values for a wide variety of foods,
cinnamon having one of the highest ratings. It has also been suggested that
cinnamon may improve blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

The database will be used by scientists to help guide current research into
how antioxidants affect our nutritional health. For example, many fruits
and vegetables are known to be good sources of antioxidant vitamins,
such as E, C, and beta carotene, a form of vitamin A. But these natural foods
also contain other compounds, collectively known as phytonutrients, that
may also contribute to better health.

Other healthy spice winners include cloves, oregano, turmeric, curry powder,
ginger, thyme, paprika, rosemary, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin and
chili powder.

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March 6, 2009

Ten tips to protect your eyes

An excellent article, by Marin Gazzaniga for MSN Health & Fitness, focused on Ten Tips to Protect Your Eyes. Using information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Gazzaniga proposes the following 10 suggestions for
maintaining healthy eyes:

1. Regular checkups: The AAO recommends an eye exam before age 5 to check for childhood problems like lazy eye or crossed eyes. It's normal for vision to change with age, plus serious eye problems like glaucoma and macular degeneration (deterioration of retina causing loss of detail vision) can be treated if detected early.

2. SPF for the eyes: Sunglasses block harmful ultraviolet and other rays than can play a role in cataracts and macular degeneration. Buy sunglasses that have 100 percent UV protection. The blue wavelengths affect the retina; the best filters against blue are in the amber-orange-brown range of commercial sunglasses. Always wear sunglasses outdoors, especially in high glare areas like snow or water. A wide-brimmed hat helps block harmful rays.

3. Eye protection: Wear clear plastic eye protection, if you are doing construction, manufacturing or any job with machinery and flying particles.

4. Contact care: Wearing your contacts when your eyes are irritated can turn a simple problem (irritation) into a significant problem (ulcers). Make sure you care for the lenses. Make sure your solutions aren't expired, keep your contacts clean, and don't put them in your mouth.

5. Eating for your eyes: Green leafy veggies like kale, collard and mustard greens,
and spinach are good for the eyes because they contain lutein, which studies
indicate can reverse symptoms of macular degeneration. Carrots are always
a good vegetable, because of its high vitamin A content.

6. Eye lube: Our eyes get dryer as we age, because the tear film doesn't always have the right consistency of water, mucus and oil. The oil part of your tears comes from little glands around your eyelids. As you blink, oil is supposed to coat the eyes. But if you don't have a good eye slick, the tear film evaporates and eyes feel dry. This triggers extra tear glands, which is why your eyes tear up when they get dry and irritated. Omega-3 helps with this. Also, heat and air conditioning can cause dry eyes, especially if you sit near a vent or fan unit. Make sure your car's vent isn't blowing toward your face.

7. Stop smoking: Smoking increases the risk and accelerates the development of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage.

8. Eye strain: When you sit in front of a computer screen for lengths of time, you don't blink as frequently. Stop frequently to give your eyes a rest. Artificial tears can help with eyestrain and help lubricate your eyes.

9. Eye problems are often hereditary: If you are diagnosed with glaucoma or another
eye condition, share that information with your immediate and extended family.
Early intervention is always the best defense.

10. Maintain good health: Eating the right food, helps with eye health. Exercise can lower pressure on the eyes, which helps with those who have glaucoma. Getting regular overall physicals may lead to early detection of diseases like diabetes or other systemic conditions that can lead to eye problems.

Read More About Eye Care from MSN Health & Fitness:
Marin Gazzaniga lives in Brooklyn, New York. She writes about fitness, health and science, culture and women's issues. She has written for Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle and AOL Time Warner, and is the author of several books.

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January 10, 2009

Signs of having a stroke - important new information

INFORMATION EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW........................
Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue

STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters....S.T.R.


A neurologist says that if he could get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he could totally reverse the effects of a stroke, totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

RECOGNIZING A STROKE

Remember the '3' steps, S T R Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today.)
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke: Ask the person to 'stick out’ his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

Thanks to Mort Mazor, Delray Beach Blogger, for this timely information

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December 10, 2008

HLAA meeting Dec. 19, 2008

Delray/Boynton Chapter of the HEARING LOSS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
monthly meeting will take place Friday, December 19, 2008 from
9:45 A.M. to 12 Noon at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road,
Delray Beach (opposite Morikami Park.) We meet the third Friday of
every month through June 2009.

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November 28, 2008

interactive web help for patients

WebMD magazine can be found in the waiting rooms of most physicians.
I like to read it because it contains useful articles about the newest breakthroughs
in medicine. Some recent articles addressed: children's cold medicines, overeating,
hemorrhoids, strep throat, and why garlic is good for you. Other articles
gave detailed information about nicotine patches, PMS, and rheumatoid
arthritis. Ask your doctor for one of his/her free copies. Patients are supposed to
read them. Become an informed patient!

One feature I found interesting and useful is their web site called "symptomchecker."
This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, nor treatment. But,
when you are trying to determine which doctor to call, because you are not certain
about how to describe or to detail your symptoms, this site can be quite helpful.
By answering a series of questions, you will receive information on the names of
conditions, diseases, and medications. This is an interactive tool to help you
identify your problem.

For more information: www.WebMD.com or http://symptoms.webmd.com/


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September 19, 2008

Waging war against health enemies

WHO, the World Health organization, has identified 8 health "enemies" that
are sending people to early graves. They encourage us to take charge of
our health, while educating and cautioning us to be aware of our health
enemies.
1. HEART DISEASE is an inflammatory disease of the arteries,
not cholesterol. High cholesterol is present in about 50% of heart attack victims,
but it is the other risk factors that we can control which pose a greater probability
of having a heart attack, such as: smoking, eating high-fat meals, and occupation.
We cannot control gender, age, and heredity.
2. CANCER Scientific medical research seems to indicate that
cancer develops from damages to the DNA of human cells over several years. It
may lie dormant, before it is recognized. Some medications and surgery may help
to alleviate cancer spreading, however, at this time good diet, exercise and
frequent visits to doctors is advised.
3. STROKE 5.5 million people die from stroke every year.
Frequent check-ups assist doctors in recognizing five warning symptoms:
* Sudden weakness or numbness of the arms, legs, or face, especially on one side.
* Sudden vision problem in one or both eyes.
* Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or difficulty walking.
* Sudden confusion or trouble speaking.
* Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Promptly recognizing stroke warning symptoms and seeking immediate emergency
care can mean the difference between life and death or disability.
4. DIABETES Many new cases have appeared due to resistance
to insulin. Patients need to maintain a low-glycemic diet, exercise and to maintain
their insulin levels. Heredity may be a factor, but over-weight children and adults
are at risk for developing this disease.
5. OSTEOPOROSIS Maintaining strong and healthy bones with exercise and a good
diet rich in calcium, vitamins B6, C, D, K, folic acid and minerals, may help to
postpone the onset of osteoporosis.
6. ARTHRITIS Degenerative arthritis affects about 70% of adults over 50. Healthy
cartilage and joints may be aided by taking glucosamine sulfate, but doctors
recommend that people be more "gentle" on their bodies when over exercising
and running marathons.
7. ALZHEIMER'S - This degenerative illness of the brain causes gradual loss of
ability to function, make judgments, and loss of memory. There is no known
cause or cure, but research suggests that overall good health of the mind, as
well as the body, may offer some protection from the onset of this disease.
8. OBESITY This has been recognized as a disease for several decades. People
who gorge themselves into double and triple their normal weight are their own
worst health enemies. Diabetes and heart disease are two complications that
often plague over-weight people. Diet and exercise will help obese people to
reduce the symptoms of those diseases.


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September 15, 2008

Spinach and lettuce get the "zap"

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the irradiation of lettuce
and spinach to kill micro-organisms like E. coli and salmonella.

Although the F.D.A. has allowed food processors to irradiate beef, poultry,
eggs and spices, many consumers shy away from foods labeled as irradiated.

Now, with widespread outbreaks making the news around the world, and with
globe-trotting travelers publicizing their intestinal woes, our government
has decided to approve this significant food safety action.

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September 2, 2008

Fruit juices and medication interactions

On August 19, 2008, the American Chemical Society's national meeting was
held in Philadelphia. One of the topics presented concerned new findings that
common fruit juices - grapefruit, orange and apple - can interfere with drugs.
The interaction diminishes the body's ability to absorb numerous medications.

Lack of absorbtion was noted in drugs prescribed for life-threatening diseases
such as cancer, heart disease and organ transplants. Research by David Bailey,
a clinical pharmacologist and professor at the University of Western Ontario,
originally uncovered the interaction with a patient's medication and grapefruit
juice. Now, he has further discovered that fruit juices can also block the body's
ability to absorb or limit the beneficial effects of needed medications.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medications you are ingesting can be
taken with fruit juice - OR - just to be safe, try a glass of water. I know I
will from now on.

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August 20, 2008

Cholesterol - what exactly is it?

LDL is "bad" and HDL is "good" Cholesterol. What does that mean?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made in your liver. The more products you eat
that are animal products (cheese, meat), the more cholesterol your liver produces.
Over time, cholesterol builds up in your blood vessels and clogs them. This may
reduce the blood flow to your heart, which cold cause a heart attack or stroke.

Cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood. It is carried to and from the cells by lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is known as “bad” cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is known as “good” cholesterol. These two types of lipids, along with triglycerides and Lp(a) cholesterol, make up your total cholesterol count, which can be determined through a blood test.

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol
When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. It can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke can result.

HDL (good) Cholesterol
About one-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol, because high levels of HDL seem to protect against heart attack. Low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dL) also increase the risk of heart disease. Medical experts think that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Some experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from arterial plaque, slowing its buildup.

Triglycerides
Triglyceride is a form of fat made in the body. Elevated triglycerides can be due to overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and a diet very high in carbohydrates (60 percent of total calories or more). People with high triglycerides often have a high total cholesterol level, including a high LDL (bad) level and a low HDL (good) level. Many people with heart disease and/or diabetes also have high triglyceride levels.


Information for this article was taken from The American Heart Association and
American Dietetic Association. If you would like more information, go to:
1) American Heart Association.org
2) www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/
3) familydoctor.org

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July 11, 2008

Mindfulness, Tai Chi, and meditation

A variety of meditative practices have been studied by Western researchers
for their effects on mental and physical health and to reduce stress:
Tai Chi
An active exercise, sometimes called moving meditation, involving extremely
slow, continuous movement and extreme concentration. The movements are to
balance the vital energy of the body but have no religious significance. Studies
are mixed, some finding it can reduce blood pressure in patients, and others
finding no effect. It can help elderly people improve balance.

Transcendental Meditation

Meditators sit comfortably, eyes closed, and breathe naturally. They repeat
and concentrate on the mantra, a word or sound chosen by the instructor to
achieve state of deep, transcendent absorption. Studies suggest it can reduce
blood pressure in some patients.
Mindfulness meditation is easy to describe.
Sit in a comfortable position, eyes closed, preferably with the back
upright and unsupported. Relax and be aware of body sensations, sounds
and moods. Allow your mind to settle into the rhythm of breathing.
Try to maintain this for at least ten minutes. If a stray thought or emotion
enters the mind, allow it to pass and return attention to the breath. The aim
is to achieve focused awareness on what is happening moment to moment.
After mastering control of attention, you may be able to face a threatening or
troubling thoughts more clearly. Thoughts of anger and sadness are
sometimes lessened. People who have tried mindfulness meditation say they
feel relaxed and more able to deal with difficult problems.
(Provided by RealAge):
Could you boost your immunity with your own brainpower?
A study involving mindfulness meditation revealed that the practice boosted
immune system function in participants. Mindfulness meditation is the
practice of becoming deeply aware of the present moment through meditation.
The stress-reduction qualities of this practice may be the source of its
immune-boosting powers.
(Provided by Psychology Today):

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July 5, 2008

Milk and hormones

A U.S. Senate committee is considering a bill banning labels that say, "this milk is produced without hormones." Why does this concern us? Well, consumers want information about milk additives as well as what the cattle producing the milk has ingested or had injected into their bodies. Knowing this information makes us educated consumers who can decide which milk to purchase for ourselves and our children.

Some people argue that if the milk comes from cows that were given growth hormones, that the milk should be labeled to indicate that. Some say the label should also say that the FDA has found no health risks from that milk.

Here is a condensed excerpt from an article I read on line entitled
"Bovine Growth Hormone Milk does Nobody Good," by Mike Ewall.
The recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), is a genetically engineered hormone manufactured by Monsanto, sometimes referred to as Bovine Somatotropin (rBST).
This hormone is injected in the cows every other week to force the cows to produce more milk than their bodies normally would. rBGH is similar, although not identical, to a hormone that the cow naturally produces. Increasing levels of this hormone boosts milk production, causing a number of problems with the milk.
Whenever cows are forced to produce more milk, they become more susceptible to udder infections called mastitis, which is then treated with antibiotics, increasing the antibiotics residues which are present in milk fed to consumers. Proponents of rBGH insist that milk is one of the most heavily regulated foods with regards to antibiotics. They claim that antibiotic residues in the milk couldn’t possibly reach the consumer because each tanker of milk is tested and would have to be thrown out if antibiotic residues were found.

It is possible that when cow's milk is consumed by humans, it behaves as a cancer-accelerator. Some of the cancer agents are not destroyed in the pasteurization process nor during human digestion and is therefore biologically active in humans, being associated with breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
If you want to learn more about rBGH-treated milk, visit http://www.ejnet.org/bgh/nogood.html
Google Bovine Growth Hormone, BGH, or Monsanto

How should milk be labeled — if at all? What do you think?
Please write a comment.

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June 29, 2008

Lack of sleep - how it affects us

Can the lack of sleep be making me gain weight?

Recent research indicates that people who don't get enough sleep tend to
weigh more -- and that sleep can affect levels of the appetite-regulating
hormones leptin and ghrelin.
At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) Sleep Medicine
Center, tests show that there is a strong relationship between good sleep
and good health. Not sleeping affects hormonal balance, appetite and mood
swings. Two out of three Americans are overweight, and almost one in five
are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers at the Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Norfolk General
Hospital in Virginia conducted two studies, each included 1,000 men and
women, and they found that those who reported sleeping less tended to
weigh more.

"People who are overweight may have less restful sleep due to heartburn,
snoring or more serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea or night eating
syndrome," said Dr. Michelle May, author of Am I Hungry? What To Do
When Diets Don't Work.
Studies of healthy young men indicated
that the levels of the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating (leptin)
and the hormone that turns on hunger (ghrelin) were out of whack when
there was sleep deprivation. Also, sleep deprivation affects memory, disease
resistance, and leaves people unable to stay alert in school, at jobs and while
driving vehicles. Sleepy people are also hungrier!
Information from the National Sleep Foundation

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June 26, 2008

C-Diff- New Monster Gastro Bug

The infection, Clostridium difficile, (C-diff) grows in the colon and is known to
cause diarrhea and colitis-type symptoms. When it grows in spores in feces,
it is difficult to destroy. It is resistant to household cleaners and antibacterial
soaps. It is also resistant to some antibiotics usually used for intestinal problems,
since it appears to work against the good colon bacteria. Instead, the C-diff
increases.

In Atlanta, Georgia, more than 10,000 cases were reported last year. It had
rarely been reported before 2000. Research is being published in the June issue
of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In Florida, where there is a huge population of older residents, C-diff is raising
its ugly head. Doctors are looking for the symptoms, closely, so that inappropriate
antibiotics are not used.

C-diff is not only a problem here in the U.S., Canada has reported thousands of
cases, as well.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal problems, discuss your symptoms
with your doctor. Ask about C-diff.

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June 1, 2008

Growing happier as we grow older

Get Old, Get Happy

The topic of "Older But Happier" seems to be in the news, lately. It appears
to have replaced the time-worn adage, "Older But Wiser." Happiness really
does come with age, researchers at the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Measures of happiness steadily climbed among study participants into their
mid-60s, with people in their 80s tending to be happier than people under 40.

"With age comes happiness,'' writes U. of C. assistant professor of sociology
Yang Yang in the April issue of American Sociological Review. Among the
possible reasons: increasing job satisfaction and more settled personal lives.
Although older people may have more health problems ( arthritis, heart issues,
and cancer) they tend to be more emotionally balanced, due to being taught
by "life experiences." Fewer youth-related issues (raising children, paying
for college, broken hearts,) increased the level of satisfaction. Married
people and those with college degrees appear to be happier in "old age."
Older adults take more financial risks, which "lights up the same parts
of the brain as sexy photographs," according to studies by Stanford university.

Cognitive decline strikes 33% of Seniors, reports a new study by the National
Institute on Aging. 22% of those over 71 have mild impairment, added to
16% suffering dementia, the Washington Post reports.
An Alzheimer's Association report out today estimates that 1 in 8
baby boomers will have the disease in their lifetime.

Are Baby Boomers happy? Well, surveyed boomers reported that their failures
to achieve many high expectations often led to much unhappiness. But,
ability to travel is very high on the list for many older persons. Mobility and the freedom to visit places high on their "Bucket List" is a priority. So, get away and "BE HAPPY!"



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May 22, 2008

Spice up your life with Cinnamon!

Cinnamon is an antioxidant-rich spice that has become the rage of The Super
Foods Rx Diet,
by Wendy Bazilian. Cinnamon boasts a rating of 6,956 ORAC
(Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), beating out even anti-oxidant-rich foods
such as blueberries and cranberries, according to the USDA.
A Study of the antioxidant capacities of 277 selected foods were released in
November, 2007, by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. The new
database provides easy access to antioxidant values for a wide variety of foods,
cinnamon having one of the highest ratings. It has also been suggested that
cinnamon may improve blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

The database will be used by scientists to help guide current research into
how antioxidants affect our nutritional health. For example, many fruits
and vegetables are known to be good sources of antioxidant vitamins,
such as E, C, and beta carotene, a form of vitamin A. But these natural foods
also contain other compounds, collectively known as phytonutrients, that
may also contribute to better health.

Other healthy spice winners include cloves, oregano, turmeric, curry powder,
ginger, thyme, paprika, rosemary, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin and
chili powder.

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May 12, 2008

Plastic baby bottles and much more

Recently, the chemical "bisphenol" has been mentioned in the news media as
a possible risk to human reproduction. Bisphenol is a common chemical found
in baby bottles, sports bottles and microwaveable dishes. Here is some
information found on the website for the Center for Evaluation of Risks (CERHR)
to Human reproduction, part of the National Institutes of Health:
cerhr.niehs.nih.gov
CERHR selected bisphenol A for evaluation because it has received
considerable attention in recent years due to widespread human exposures
and concern for reproductive and developmental effects reported in laboratory
animal studies.
What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in
the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It exists at room
temperature as a white solid and has a mild “phenolic” or hospital odor.
Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in certain food
and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, and
medical devices. Polycarbonate plastics are typically clear and hard and
marked with the recycle symbol “7” or may contain the letters "PC" near the
recycle symbol.
Polycarbonate plastic can also be blended with other materials to create
molded parts for use in mobile phone housings, household items, and
automobiles. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products
such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some polymers
used in dental sealants or composites contain bisphenol A-derived
materials. In 2004, the estimated production of bisphenol A in the
United States was approximately 2.3 billion pounds, most of which
was used in polycarbonate plastics and resins.

Is Your Baby's Bottle Potentially Harmful?
A new study “Baby's Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular
Baby Bottles,” released by environmental health groups in the U.S. and Canada
insists that the toxic chemical bisphenol A leaches from plastic baby
bottles when heated. The groups are calling for strong measures against
the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles and other food and beverage
containers. The report was commissioned, written and released by the
Work Group for Safe Markets, a coalition of environmental health NGOs.

Ninety-five percent of all baby bottles on the market are made with
bisphenol A. The results of the U.S. study show that, when new bottles
are heated, those manufactured by Avent, Evenflo, Dr. Brown’s and
Disney/First Years leached between 4.7 – 8.3 parts per billion of
bisphenol A. Recent research on animals shows that bisphenol A
can be harmful by disrupting development at doses below these levels.

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May 10, 2008

HLAA


Delray/Boynton Chapter of the HEARING LOSS ASSOCIATION OF America
monthly meeting will take place Friday, May 16, 2008 from 9:45 A.M.
to 12 Noon at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach .
(opposite Morikami Park.) Guest Speaker: Patricia B. Kricos, Ph.D,
Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders,
University of Florida. Question and answer period will follow.

Subject: “Living with hearing Loss: It Takes Two to Tango."
This is the final meeting of the season. Next meeting will be
September 19, 2008.

The meeting is open to the public at no charge.
Complimentary coffee and bagels served.
Oscar Segal, President
Email: trip3584@comcast.net
Tel. (561) 499-9873

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May 1, 2008

A touching way to get medicine

Skin patches are a new way to deliver medicine to patients. Today, many
medications are being administered topically, via the skin, rather than
orally or by injection. Hormone supplements, anti-depression, birth-control
medication, as well as treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other
disease prevention medications are being administered via a "skin patch."


Skin patches provide an alternative to common gastric irritation and they
are less likely to affect a patient's liver.

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April 8, 2008

Baby boomers - one in 8 will develop Alzheimers

One out of eight Baby Boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to new Alzheimer’s Association report that estimates 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. The report, entitled: 2008 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, says that today, as many as 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which includes between 200,000-500,000 people under age 65 with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Experts predict by 2010, there will be almost a half million new cases of Alzheimer’s disease each year; and by 2050, there will be almost a million new cases each year.

The Association’s report details the escalation of Alzheimer’s disease, which now is the seventh-leading cause of death in the country and the fifth-leading cause of death for those over age 65. It also offers numerous statistics that convey the burden Alzheimer’s imposes on individuals, families, government, business, and the nation’s health and long-term care systems.

for more information: Google Alzheimer's Foundation

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March 7, 2008

Have you made your bucket list, yet?

“The Bucket List," If you have not seen it, is a terrific movie (a tear jerker though) with Jack Nicholas & Morgan Freeman. The two of them are both diagnosed with terminal cancer, meet in the hospital, and decide to spend their last days traveling and doing all of the things that they wanted to do before “kicking the bucket”. The movie truly makes you think.

As an owner of Sand & C Travel Agency, Alan Rosen sent this message to his clients, after he and his wife saw it: "We have been blessed to have seen many great wonders of the world at a young age. No matter how old you are, I believe it is beneficial to make your own 'Bucket List', either on paper or just in your mind. Now I am not going to discuss goals such as skydiving (which they did in the movie), but I think I can give you some ideas for places to visit in your lifetime.

Some of the greatest places to see on earth were shown in the movie. These include the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China and an African Safari; The Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Galapagos Islands, and, right here in the United States, the Grand Canyon and California coast. Finally, a couple that are on my list but that I have not been to, nor were in the movie, are The Great Barrier Reef off Australia and the penguins of Antarctica.

No matter how old you are, I believe that you are never too young to start, or too old that you have to stop, making your dreams come true. I started this letter talking about how time continues to fly. One of the most important lessons that I have learned in my life is, that if you keep waiting for tomorrow, next week, or next year to accomplish your goals on your “bucket list,” it is probably never going to happen. Enjoy life while you can, because we all never know what is around the next corner. Appreciate your family and loved ones, and seek to obtain your goals. Because when it comes down to the last moments, those are the things that you are going to look back upon."

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February 24, 2008

Interesting Web site - try symptomchecker

WebMD magazine can be found in the waiting rooms of most physicians.
I like to read it because it contains useful articles about the newest breakthroughs
in medicine. Some recent articles addressed: children's cold medicines, overeating,
hemorrhoids, strep throat, and why garlic is good for you. Other articles
gave detailed information about nicotine patches, PMS, and rheumatoid
arthritis. Ask your doctor for one of his/her free copies. Patients are supposed to
read them. Become an informed patient!

One feature I found interesting and useful is their web site called "symptomchecker."
This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, nor treatment. But,
when you are trying to determine which doctor to call, because you are not certain
about how to describe or to detail your symptoms, this site can be quite helpful.
By answering a series of questions, you will receive information on the names of
conditions, diseases, and medications. This is an interactive tool to help you
identify your problem.

For more information: www.WebMD.com or http://symptoms.webmd.com/


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February 19, 2008

Beef contamination and recalls

Beef Recalls are making me emotionally and physically sick. I feel anxious about
eating meat in restaurants. I'm not referring to a steak dinner or a hamburger.
Beef is included by chefs in spaghetti sauce, taco sauce, beef crumbles, lasagna
and taco filling. I'm certain there are hundreds of other recipes that include beef.

During the first week of February, 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced
that it was placing a hold on beef from a slaughterhouse that appeared to be processing
cattle too sick or injured to walk. "Downer cows," is the term used for these cows
which are excluded from the food supply because they’re considered at higher risk
for transmitting mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

According to Consumer Reports, "carcasses can move through slaughterhouses at a
rate of up to 390 per hour, making inspection difficult. If meat tests positive for E. coli,
companies are allowed to cook it for sale in other products, such as pizza or tacos."

Undercover video taken by the Humane Society of the United States last fall,
at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. in Chino, Calif., shows workers
ramming old dairy cows with forklifts, prodding them with electric shocks
and other methods in what appears to be an attempt to get them to stand up.
Because they’re not able to stand, the cows lie in their own feces, therefore
risk picking up bacteria that cause food borne illnesses like E. coli 015:H7.

Where is the beef now? Well, some of the meat would have been distributed
through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which the Department of Human
Resources of each state oversees. But, they also shipped 27 million
pounds to federal nutrition programs in 2007, in 36 states.

Some positive news: Wal-Mart has become the first chain to adopt Global Food Safety
Initiative. It is requiring its private-label and other suppliers to have their factories
certified against the Global Food Safety Initiative, an international standard that
goes beyond the FDA’s requirements for food safety.

The Global Food Safety Initiative was launched in May 2000 to establish food-safety
management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers.
The initiative has fostered a convergence among food safety standards, achieved
cost efficiencies through common acceptance of GFSI recognized standards,
and provided a forum for exchange of best food-safety practices.

Consumer illnesses trigger more recalls than government or industry testing.
So make yourself heard!!!

Want to be an informed consumer? To find out what has been recalled by
the six federal agencies that oversee consumer safety, go to:
www.recalls.gov.

If you have questions about food safety, you can go to the website of the
USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/

Comments are welcomed! Your e-mail address is always kept private.
What do you think about this topic?

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About This Blog

The Get Local community blogs are written by residents of the community. The Sun-Sentinel does not edit the blogs, nor take responsibility for the contents.

TINA G. KORN
Boynton Beach has been Tina G. Korn's home for 14 years. She and husband, Abe, have been married 45 years and...

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