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General Health

Does Cooking Strip Red Wine’s Benefits?

 Are the health benefits of red wine still available if the wine is reduced by half through cooking and then consumed with the food?
The short answer is probably yes: You can drink your wine and cook it too.
Red wine essentially has two properties that make it good for health when consumed in moderation. One is its alcohol content, which is known to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and reduce levels of fibrinogen, a precursor of blood clots. The other is its abundance of polyphenols, natural compounds like resveratrol that, according to some studies, can protect blood vessels and help reduce inflammation.
Although it is widely assumed that alcohol in food burns off completely during cooking, that is not always the case. According to research by the Agriculture Department, the amount of alcohol that remains varies widely, depending on the cooking method. A sauce that is made with wine and simmered and stirred for 30 minutes, for example, can retain as much as a third of its alcohol content.
A red wine reduction requires a fairly lengthy cooking period, so it is likely that much of the alcohol evaporates along with water during the cooking process. But red wine without alcohol still appears to have some health benefits.
In a small randomized clinical trial published in the journal Circulation Research last year, Spanish researchers found that men who were assigned to drink 10 ounces of nonalcoholic red wine daily experienced a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after four weeks. “There is growing evidence,” an accompanying editorial pointed out, “that chemical constituents present in red wine confer health benefits beyond alcohol and independent of potential confounding factors.”
In another study published in 2011 in The Journal of Cardiovascular […]

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    Following blood pressure-drug schedule may be critical to survival

Following blood pressure-drug schedule may be critical to survival

Failure to take blood pressure-lowering medicines as directed greatly increases the risk of stroke and death in patients with high blood pressure, a new study finds.
“These results emphasize the importance of hypertensive patients taking their antihypertensive medications correctly in order to minimize their risk of serious complications such as fatal and non-fatal strokes,” said study first author Dr. Kimmo Herttua, a senior fellow in the Population Research Unit at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
“Non-adherent patients have a greater risk even 10 years before they suffer a stroke. We have also found that there is a dose-response relationship, and the worse someone is at taking their antihypertensive therapy, the greater their risk,” Herttua said.
For the study, published online July 17 in the European Heart Journal, researchers followed more than 73,000 hypertensive Finnish patients, aged 30 and up, from 1995 through 2007. They looked at how often prescriptions were filled for these patients each year to determine if they followed their medication regimens. During this time, more than 2,100 died from stroke and more than 24,500 were hospitalized with a stroke.
Compared to those who followed their medication schedule, patients who did not adhere to the schedule had nearly four times the risk of dying from a stroke in the second year after being prescribed their medicines and three times the risk in the 10th year.
In the actual year that non-adherent patients died from stroke, they had a 5.7-fold higher risk than adherent patients, the study found.
Patients who didn’t take their blood pressure-lowering medications correctly had a 2.7-fold higher risk of hospitalization in the second year after being prescribed the drugs, and a nearly 1.7-fold higher risk in the tenth year, the study […]

Legalize pot, but not for teens, many U.S. adults say

Most American adults who support marijuana legalization oppose legal marijuana use among children and teens, according to a new survey.
While 40 percent of adults are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, a majority of them believe it should only be legal for adults over age 21, according to the survey results released Tuesday by the Partnership at Drugfree.org.
“The reality is that marijuana is now legalized for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington and it’s clear that society’s views on marijuana are evolving dramatically,” Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership at Drugfree.org, said in a news release from the group.
Support among adults for medical use, decriminalization and legalization of marijuana was 70 percent, 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively, and only slightly lower among parents.
Support for each of these actions increased between 3 percent and 11 percent when the participants were given specific definitions for medicalization, decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, the investigators noted.
The online survey of about 1,600 adults was conducted in early March. Of the survey participants, 1,200 were parents of children aged 10 to 19. Of these parents, 200 live in Colorado and 200 live in Washington State, where marijuana was legalized last November.
Among the other findings:
About half of all parents in the survey said they had used marijuana. The number is somewhat higher (62 percent) for parents living in Colorado. 

Increasing tolerance does not mean support for an easy-going attitude toward marijuana, even in Colorado and Washington. Ninety percent of parents in those states believe that “marijuana should be sold only through licensed growers/sellers and not in places like convenience stores, grocery stores or newsstands.”

Similar percentages of parents agree that marijuana use should be prohibited in […]

Chemicals in carpets, cosmetics tied to thyroid problems

Exposure to a class of chemicals used to make a wide range of consumer products can cause changes in thyroid function, according to a new study.
People have widespread exposure to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are used to manufacture items such as fabrics, carpets, cosmetics and paper coatings. These chemicals break down very slowly and take a long time to leave the body.
For this study, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,100 people who took part in the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study looked at levels of four different PFCs as well as participants’ thyroid function.
Along with finding that having higher levels of PFCs in the body can alter thyroid function in both men and women, the researchers also found that PFCs may increase the risk of mild hypothyroidism in women.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, mental depression, weight gain, feeling cold, dry skin and hair, constipation and menstrual irregularities.
The study was published online July 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
“Our study is the first to link PFC levels in the blood with changes in thyroid function using a nationally representative survey of American adults,” study co-author Dr. Chien-Yu Lin, of En Chu Kong Hospital in Taiwan, said in a journal news release.
“Although some PFCs . . . have been phased out of production by major manufacturers, these endocrine-disrupting chemicals remain a concern because they linger in the body for extended periods,” Lin said. “Too little information is available about the possible long-term effects these chemicals could have on human health.”
More information
The U.S. National Office on Women’s Health has more about thyroid […]

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    Owning a pet — particularly a dog — could help lower your risk of heart disease.

Owning a pet — particularly a dog — could help lower your risk of heart disease.

“Over the last decade or so there have been periodic reports on the association between pet ownership and cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, a cardiologist with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Administration Medical Center in Houston and lead author of a new scientific statement by the AHA which looked at the influence of pets on heart health.
Owning pets is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease, and there are a variety of reasons that may be at work that influence this relationship. It may be that healthier people are more likely to be pet owners or that people with dogs tend to exercise more. Pets also play a role in providing social support to their owners, which is an important factor in helping you stick with a new habit or adopting a new healthy behavior.

Pets and Physical Activity
Most of the studies focused on dogs and heart disease. “Not surprisingly, dog owners who walk their dogs are more likely to achieve the recommended level of physical activity than dog owners who do not walk their dogs,” according to the study. “Unfortunately, a significant proportion of dog owners do not regularly walk their dogs.”

In one study, more than 5,200 Japanese adult dog owners engaged in significantly more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.
Several studies also looked at whether physical activity increased after someone adopted a pet.

“A prospective cohort study of people who adopted either a dog or a cat from an animal shelter found a marked and sustained increase in the number and duration of recreational walks among those who adopted a dog, but no or little change […]

‘Dry drowning’ claims 10-year-old’s life

The tragic death of a South Carolina 10-year-old more than an hour after he had gone swimming has focused a spotlight on the little-known phenomenon called “dry drowning” — and warning signs that every parent should be aware of.
“I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water,” Cassandra Jackson told NBC News in a story broadcast.
 Jackson had taken her son, Johnny, to a pool near their home in Goose Creek, S.C. It was the first time he’d ever gone swimming — and, tragically, it would be his last.
At some point during his swim, Johnny got some water in his lungs. He didn’t show any immediate signs of respiratory distress, but the boy had an accident in the pool and soiled himself. Still, Johnny, his sister and their mother walked home together.
“We physically walked home. He walked with me,” Jackson said, still trying to understand how her son could have died. “I bathed him, and he told me that he was sleepy.”
Spongy material 
Later, she went into his room to check on him. “I walked over to the bed, and his face was literally covered with this spongy white material,” she said. “And I screamed.”
A family friend, Christine Meekins, was visiting and went to see what was wrong. “I pulled his arm and said, ‘Johnny! Johnny!’ ” Meekins told NBC. “There was no response. I opened one of his eyes and I just knew inside my heart that it was something really bad.”
Johnny was rushed to a local hospital, but it was too late. Johnny had drowned, long after he got out of the swimming pool.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 3600 people […]

Portable Device Makes Breast Cancer Surgery More Precise

Currently, women undergoing a lumpectomy to remove a cancerous breast tumor have to wait five to seven days after their initial surgery to learn whether a second surgery is necessary. It typically takes pathologists that long to determine whether the surgeon has removed all the cancerous cells in the breast.
Now, with the use of a testing device called MarginProbe, surgical oncologists can know immediately—while the patient is still in surgery—if they’ve missed any cancerous cells.
The goal of a lumpectomy is to completely remove the cancerous tumor while preserving as much of the patient’s normal breast tissue as possible. The surgeon wants to see only healthy tissue surrounding the removed tumor. But in up to 60 percent of cases, cancerous tissue is missed and the patient has to return to the operating room.
Surgeons at UC Irvine Medical Center are the first in the country to use the MarginProbe System, a specimen testing device that can determine with 50-percent certainty whether the edges, or margins, of the removed tissue are “clean.”
Alice Police, M.D., a surgical oncologist at UC Irvine, began using MarginProbe in March.”This new technology is a game changer for early-stage breast cancer surgery, and we’re already seeing better results,” she said in an interview with Healthline.
“The nature of breast cancer cells is such that the pathologist cannot accurately assess a frozen section during surgery,” Police explained. Although the pathology testing step will still be necessary, MarginProbe reduces the need for re-operation by 56 percent, according to the results of an FDA trial.
The MarginProbe System consists of a sterile handheld probe and a portable console. When the probe tip touches a specimen of tissue removed during a lumpectomy, electromagnetic signals are transmitted into the tissue […]

Nanoparticles of Grapefruits to Treat Cancer

Researchers used nanoparticles derived from grapefruits to deliver targeted drugs to treat cancer in mice. The technique may prove to be a safe and inexpensive way to make customized therapies.
Nanoparticles are emerging as an efficient tool for drug delivery. Microscopic pouches made of synthetic lipids can serve as a carrier, or vector, to protect drug molecules within the body and deliver them to specific cells. However, these synthetic nanovectors pose obstacles including potential toxicity, environmental hazards and the cost of large-scale production. Recently, scientists have found that mammalian exosomes—tiny lipid capsules released from cells—can serve as natural nanoparticles. But making therapeutic nanovectors from mammalian cells poses various production and safety challenges.
A research team led by Dr. Huang-Ge Zhang at the University of Louisville hypothesized that exosome-like nanoparticles from inexpensive, edible plants might be used to make nanovectors to bypass these challenges. The scientists set out to isolate nanoparticles from the juice of grapefruits, grapes and tomatoes. Their work was funded in part by NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The study appeared on May 21, 2013 in Nature Communications.
The researchers found that grapefruit juice yielded the most lipid nanoparticles. They then prepared grapefruit-derived nanovectors (GNVs) and tested them in different cell types. GNVs were taken up by a variety of cells at body temperature. These nanovectors had no significant effect on cell growth or death rates. They proved to be more stable than a synthetic nanovector and were also taken up by cells more readily.
The scientists next tested the GNVs in mice. Three days after fluorescently labeled GNVs were injected into a tail vein or body cavity, they appeared primarily in the liver, lungs, kidneys and […]

Summer is coming, learn pool safety tips and CPR.

If an emergency should happen, it’s so important that parents and families are prepared. After winter, chances are that you’re eager to open up the backyard pool for another summer. Whether you’ll be diving in or just dipping your toes over the edge, most people look at pool season as an opportunity for cheap, outdoor fun. Still, safety is important. Roughly 5,200 children are treated each year for spa and pool-related accidents.  Drowning (according to the CDC) is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4, swim safety experts, including those with ISR (Infant Swimming Response) encourage parents to learn CPR and to update their skills regularly.
Before you take that first dip, make sure you’ve taken the proper safety precautions to ensure that this summer will be enjoyable but, most importantly, safe. Below is a checklist of safety tips to review before summer kicks off.

Install a fence around your pool. To prevent kids from getting too close to the pool without supervision, install a fence and self-closing or self-locking gate around your pool or yard.

Keep your pool secure during off-hours. Although a fence will help with this, lockable safety covers on your pool or spa will ensure that kids can’t find their way into a pool without adult supervision. Look for door, gate, or pool alarms that will alert you of a problem.

Learn CPR.  CPR is one of those skill sets that, as parents, we should all have, yet pray we never need to use.  Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s important to be up-to-date on your knowledge of CPR for children and adults. CPR can help save a loved one’s life. Being able to administer CPR is a skill that anyone can […]

The 7-Minute Workout That Could Add Years To Your Life

Experts at the Human Performance Institute in Florida have developed a high-intensity workout that can be done in seven minutes to lower your risk of major diseases.
Home exercise equipment and gym memberships are often expensive, and frequent travelers know how difficult it can be to get to a gym when on the road. 
In fact, the American Heart Association says that only about 20 percent of Americans are getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. 
Regular exercise is not only important for keeping the body functioning at its best, but also as a way to ward off obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and the other dangerous health effects of a stressful, sedentary life. 
The lack of time and money as the most common excuses why people don’t exercise, but now that two fitness experts at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., have developed a seven-minute workout that requires only a chair and your body weight, the excuses are running thin.
The Importance of Daily Exercise
Brett Kilka and Chris Jordan of the Human Performance Institute recently developed a high-intensity circuit training (HICT) workout regimen that can be done in seven minutes. 
“As the hectic pace of today’s corporate world continues to infringe on the amount of time individuals have for exercise, these types of programs can offer a good option to help busy individuals improve their health and recover from stress via exercise,” they wrote in an article in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.
HICT is highly regarded as a fast and efficient way to burn fat, but it isn’t a new fad workout requiring expensive equipment. It uses a person’s own body weight for resistance while incorporating a series of […]