Friday, December 31, 2010

We Can Skip the Bench Press

Hoisting heavy weights can lead to big guns—and torn rotator cuffs. The good news: Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario have found that smaller dumbbells can be just as effective at sculpting your body. 

The secret isn't in the size of the weights you pump but how long you pump them. Keep lifting until you can't anymore; by then your muscles will have synthesized new proteins, which make muscles grow bigger.

Good Friends Are the Secret to Long Life

We all know that exercise, diet, and stress are factors in the longevity equation. But pals? Researchers at Brigham Young University analyzed the results of 148 studies (involving more than 300,000 participants) and found that people with strong social ties have a 50 percent lower risk of dying. In fact, the researchers concluded that having good friends can extend your life to the same degree as quitting smoking.

Drinking Wine Can Make You Sharper

A Norwegian study of 5,033 men and women found that moderate wine consumption (at least four glasses over two weeks) is linked to better cognitive function. 

The researchers say that their results support the findings of 68 other studies comprising 145,308 people; most of the studies also determined that non-drinkers were at greater risk for dementia. 

Scientists suspect this is in part because wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which can reduce inflammation in artery walls and improve blood flow to the brain. 

We'll drink to that.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Black Rice Is the New Cancer-Fighting Superfood

Black rice - revered in ancient China but overlooked in the West - could be the greatest 'superfoods', scientists revealed today. The cereal is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, say experts.

Scientists from Louisiana State University analysed samples of bran from black rice grown in the southern U.S. They found boosted levels of water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants.

Anthocyanins provide the dark colours of many fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and red peppers. They are what makes black rice 'black'.

Research suggests that the dark plant antioxidants, which mop up harmful molecules, can help protect arteries and prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer.

Food scientist Dr Zhimin Xu said: 'Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar, and more fibre and vitamin E antioxidants.

'If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran? Especially, black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health-promoting antioxidants.' Centuries ago black rice was known as 'Forbidden Rice' in ancient China because only nobles were allowed to eat it.

Today black rice is mainly used in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi and desserts. But food manufacturers could potentially use black rice bran or bran extracts to make breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, biscuits and other foods healthier, said Dr Xu.

When rice is processed, millers remove the outer layers of the grains to produce brown rice or more refined white rice - the kind most widely consumed in the West. Brown rice is said to be more nutritious because it has higher levels of healthy vitamin E compounds and antioxidants.

But according to Dr Xu's team, varieties of rice that are black or purple in colour are healthier still. They added that black rice could also be used to provide healthier, natural colourants. Studies linked some artificial colourants to cancer and behavioural problems in children.

The scientists presented their findings today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston. Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'In reality, it's unlikely there's a single food out there that will have a great impact on lowering your risk of heart disease. Healthy eating is about a balanced diet overall.

'It's great if you can eat more of some groups of healthy foods, like having five portions of fruit and veg a day, but there is still no conclusive evidence that 'super foods' alone make a real difference to your heart health'

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cholesterol-Busting Statins: Study Raises New Concerns


Nearly two years ago, a study known as the JUPITER trial hinted at a new era in the use of statins -- one in which the cholesterol-busting drugs could be used to stave off heart-related death in many more people than just those with high cholesterol.

Now, however, researchers behind a new review that takes a second look at the findings of the landmark study say that these results are flawed -- and that they do not support the benefits initially reported.
Not only did this second look turn up no evidence of the "striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications" reported by investigators behind JUPITER (Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention), but it has also called into question drug companies' involvement in such trials, according to an article in the June 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Moreover, Dr. Michel de Lorgeril of Joseph Fourier University and the National Center of Scientific Research in Grenoble, France, and coauthors argue that major discrepancies exists between the significant reductions in nonfatal stroke and heart attacks reported in the JUPITER trial and what has been found in other research.

"The JUPITER data set appears biased," Lorgeril and coauthors wrote in conclusion.

Dr. Paul Ridker of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston dismissed de Lorgeril's criticisms. Ridker reported the JUPITER results at the American Heart Association meeting in 2008.

In an email to MedPage Today, Ridker said that JUPITER data "overwhelmingly stand for themselves. Among a group of individuals with low levels of cholesterol, we clearly demonstrate that those with elevated levels of [the inflammation marker] hsCRP are in fact a high-risk population, and that using statin therapy in this group cuts event rates for [heart attack] and stroke in half."

Ridker also pointed out that the "FDA has extensively reviewed these data, found the trial to be well conducted, and recently provided a new indication for the use of statins in primary prevention on the basis of the JUPITER data." CLICK HERE to read the whole article.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Reduce After Breakfast Blood Sugars By 40%

A high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack before breakfast attenuates post-breakfast hyperglycemia.

Previous studies have shown a considerable reduction in hyperglycemia after the second meal of the day, provided that breakfast had been taken. The preservation of this effect in Type 2 diabetes was not confirmed until recently. Postprandial hyperglycemia acts as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a major cause of death in subjects with Type 2 diabetes. It was hypothesized that post-breakfast hyperglycemia in subjects with Type 2 diabetes could be improved non-pharmacologically by using a high-protein, low-carbohydrate prebreakfast snack.

Researchers studied 10 men and women with diet- and/or metformin-controlled Type 2 diabetes. Metabolic changes after breakfast were compared between 2 days: breakfast taken only and soya-yogurt snack taken prior to breakfast.

The results showed that there was a significant lower rise in plasma glucose on the snack day. The incremental area under the glucose curve was 450 ± 55 mmol · min/l on the snack day compared with 699 ± 99 mmol · min/l on the control day (P = 0.013). The concentration of plasma free fatty acids immediately before breakfast correlated with the increment in plasma glucose (r = 0.50, P = 0.013).

This study demonstrated for the first time that the provision of a practical, high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack prior to breakfast reduced by 40% the postprandial plasma glucose increment in people with Type 2 diabetes. These findings confirm a potent expression of the second-meal effect in people with Type 2 diabetes. The importance of the present observation is that a more practical means of improving glucose tolerance could potentially be of therapeutic benefit in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers observed no effect of the prior snack on insulin secretion after breakfast. The mechanism underlying the second-meal effect has been shown to be due to suppression of plasma FFA, allowing greater storage of glucose as muscle glycogen. They had previously demonstrated a strong negative correlation between the decrease of preprandial plasma FFA levels and the postmeal glucose increment. In the present study, a significant positive correlation was found between prebreakfast plasma FFA and the rise in postprandial plasma glucose concentration. 

The snack used in the present study was empirically designed. It will be important to optimize both the composition of the snack and the interval before breakfast to maximize the benefit of this approach. In everyday life, the gap between snack and breakfast would have to be accommodated, for instance, by delaying breakfast until mid-morning. Although the snack induced a small increase in plasma glucose, it was minimal and unlikely to contribute to the hyperglycemic burden. The sample size was dictated by prior power calculation (80% power with 10 subjects).

The study demonstrated that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack before breakfast attenuates post-breakfast hyperglycemia and further studies must determine whether long-term use is associated with improvement in A1c.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Warning: Christmas Colored Chips, Cookies and Treats May Be Poisoning Your Children

Those Christmas-colored snack chips and store-bought cookies may look festive, but watch out: Eating them may cause side effects such as hyperactivity, especially in children. That's because nearly all Christmas-colored foods achieve their colors through the use of artificial coloring chemicals, including Red #40.

These artificial coloring chemicals are derived from coal tars. They're synthesized in chemical reactions in laboratories, then shipped to food manufacturers to be dripped into commercial food recipes. Nearly all "guacamole" products sold at the grocery stores -- such as guacamole chips and dips -- use artificial green coloring chemicals in order to trick consumers into thinking they're buying products made with real avocados. 
Chemicals cause ADHD 
The problem with all this is that scientific studies have linked artificial food coloring chemicals to behavioral disorders in children that can be diagnosed as ADHD ( This means food coloring chemicals alter human brain function. When combined with the other refined sugars and wheat ingredients typically used in holiday treats and sweets, artificial colors can cause both children and adults to become hyperactive, moody and highly emotional. (Sounds just like Christmas with the family, doesn't it?)

If you really want peace on Earth this holiday season, avoid buying (or consuming) Christmas-colored snack chips, cookies, treats or other manufactured food items. They are almost all made with artificial red and green food coloring chemicals.

And while you're at it, remember to avoid Christmas meat gifts because virtually all processed meat is made with sodium nitrite to make it appear red (the sodium nitrite acts sort of like a chemical color preservative and enhancer). What's wrong with that? Sodium nitrite sharply increases the risk of colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer and leukemia (

Please share this story with friends and family members so they can also avoid consuming coal tar chemicals in their holiday foods this year.

Have a wonderful (and healthy) holiday season! And please avoid the Christmas-colored poisons in the food supply.

Glucosamine Linked to Diabetes!

A new study has linked the popular over-the-counter dietary supplement glucosamine with a risk of developing diabetes.(Journal of Endocrinology, Oct. 28 2010)

High doses and prolonged use of glucosamine cause the death of insulin-producing pancreatic cells, a team from Quebec's Universite Laval's faculty of pharmacy has discovered. Malfunctioning insulin-producing cells are linked to the development of diabetes.

The study led by Frederic Picard looked at in-vitro cell lines from mice and rats. Picard's team exposed the cells to doses of glucosamine up to 10 times higher than the 1,500 milligrams a day manufacturers recommend.

The experiment showed that the supplement triggers a mechanism intended to lower high blood sugar levels, but it also destroyed about 50% of the cells by affecting SIRT1, a protein crucial to cell survival.

A high dose of glucosamine lowers SIRT1 protein levels and induces cell death, Picard said. "It killed our cell lines," he said.

The study may have major implications because many older people take increasingly higher doses of glucosamine in the mistaken belief it will help treat arthritis and joint problems. Picard cautioned against jumping to conclusions. "We have a long way to go before we can say glucosamine is harmful to humans," Picard said. But he warned against taking high doses. "I see no gain and there may be some side effects."
Sales of the supplement have spiked in recent years, more than doubling since 2008.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are used separately or in combination to reduce joint pain from osteoarthritis, often related to a breakdown of cartilage.

Several studies, including a recent National Institutes of Health probe conducted at 16 rheumatology research centers across the United States, suggest the supplement did not perform better than a placebo.

Glucosamine is a waste of effort and money, said rheumatologist Arthur Bookman of Toronto Western Hospital. Despite proof that the supplement showed no benefit, some people, including his patients, insist on using this and other disproved remedies, said Bookman, who is also with the Canadian Arthritis Society.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FDA Panel Calls for Safety Review of Mercury in Dental Fillings

U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers urged the agency to take a new look at data that may indicate potential safety problems with dental fillings that include mercury.

The FDA had ruled in 2009 that mercury used in so-called amalgam dental fillings is safe.
"We need to see where the science is and if there are gaps," said the panel's chairwoman, Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a dentist and researcher with the University of Pennsylvania, CNN reported.

The advisory panel noted that the FDA's 2009 decision was solid, based on scientific findings available at the time. The panel also stressed that more studies need to be done on the fillings, especially in children, CNN said.

The FDA advisory panel met in response to challenges from consumer and dental groups that contended the FDA relied on flawed data when it set the guidelines for mercury safety levels. Critics of fillings that use mercury as a component contend that they can pose neurotoxic health risks, especially to fetuses and young children.

In July 2009, the FDA placed tighter safety controls on the use of mercury dental fillings, but said they were safe for most people.

Since that time, the agency has categorized the fillings as Class II devices, which puts them into the middle range of risk. Class II devices usually carry some kind of precautions regarding their use. But FDA officials said at the time of the 2009 vote that the fillings pose no real harm to most people.

"Patients are not at risk for long-term, mercury-related adverse health events," Dr. Susan Runner, of the FDA's Division of Anesthesiology, General Hospital, Infection Control and Dental Devices, said during a July 28, 2009, news conference. "There have only been 141 adverse event reports over 20 years. None resulted in death."

The FDA did recommend in 2009 the following labeling changes: a warning against the use of these fillings in patients with mercury allergy; a warning that dental professionals use adequate ventilation when handling the material for the fillings; and a statement discussing the scientific evidence on the benefits and risks of dental amalgam.

"We're not contraindicating dental amalgam in any patient group [other than those who have allergies]," Runner said at the news conference.

The 2009 ruling brought an angry reaction from the consumer organization Consumers for Dental Choice.
"I'm outraged. FDA broke its word," Charles Brown, the group's national counsel, said at the time of the 2009 vote. "They put a warning a year ago on the Web site and promised to keep those warnings on the Web site that warned of neurological damage to children and unborn children. Bowing to the dental products industry, FDA has, for the first time in memory, withdrawn a warning about neurological harm to children and the unborn. It's a contemptuous attitude toward lower income and minority children because they're the ones that get amalgam. The rich get resin."

The agency decision followed a lengthy debate on the supposed dangers of these fillings, which included a lawsuit filed in 2006 against the FDA by several consumer groups, including Moms Against Mercury and Consumers for Dental Choice.

As part of that settlement, the FDA agreed to classify mercury fillings, also known as dental amalgam, by July 28, 2009, and posted a notice on its Web site that said: "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses."
Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury combined with other metals such as silver, copper, tin and zinc. The fillings, about 50 percent mercury, have been used for generations to stabilize decaying teeth. Dental experts contend that when mercury is bound to the other metals, it's "encapsulated" and doesn't pose a health risk. Consumer groups, however, contend that mercury, a known neurotoxin, does leak out in the form of mercury vapor and then gets into the bloodstream.

According to the American Dental Association, the use of amalgam is declining. In 1990, dental amalgams made up 67.6 percent of all dental restorations, but by 1999 it was 45.3 percent and, in 2003, an estimated 30 percent. Cavities that previously would have been treated with dental amalgam are now mostly filled with a resin composite.

Several countries have already either banned or advised against the use of mercury fillings.

Useful Tips About Sleep Aids

Prescription Sleeping Pills
Non-Benzodiazepines, including zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zaleplon (Sonata), are among the most commonly prescribed sleep aids in the U.S. Classified as “hypnotic” or “sedative” drugs, non-benzodiazepines shorten the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, and help you stay asleep through the night.

Never take a hypnotic sleep aid without at least eight hours to devote to sleep, advises Donna Arand, PhD, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio. Don’t reach for one of these drugs at 3:00 a.m. if you need to be sharp and alert by 8:00 a.m. Some sleep aids are active for only a few hours; but unless you know how you will respond, it is better to be cautious when taking them.

Hypnotic sleeping pills can also have a longer-lasting “hangover” effect the older you are. Eszopiclone has a longer half-life than zolpidem and zaleplon, meaning it takes about seven hours to start processing out of an average woman’s system, in many cases, and has a higher likelihood of making you feel groggy long into the next day. Still, any prescription sleep aid can make you feel a little fuzzy in the morning.

While these sleeping pills are less addicting than benzodiazepines (see below), they are not recommended for use beyond a couple of weeks. Non-benzodiazepines can still be habit forming, so proceed with caution.

Benzodiazepines, including lorazepam (Ativan) triazolam (Halcion) and temazepam (Restoril) were commonly prescribed in the 70s and 80s. Sometimes abbreviated as “benzos,” these pills are powerfully effective in helping people fall and stay asleep, yet can impede sustained deep sleep, and may result in fogginess, headaches and fatigue the next day. Classified as sedatives, they work well for people with serious anxiety, but should only be taken while under medical supervision. Because of a high risk for addiction, many doctors now steer clear of prescribing benzos.

Over-the-Counter Sleeping Pills
Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills are less powerful than prescription varieties, but they can help you beat occasional insomnia. They all rely on antihistamines, like doxylamine (Unisom and Medi-Sleep) and diphenhydramine (Sominex and Simply Sleep), to induce drowsiness. You can also find these ingredients in many cold medicines and a host of OTC pain relievers.

Dr. Esther says that OTC sleep aids can help you fall asleep easily, but they may lead to a dry mouth, a dry nose or a groggy feeling long into the next day because the antihistamine ingredient takes awhile to cycle through the body. They should never be taken with alcohol, prescription sleeping medications or antidepressants since their effects can be intensified to a dangerous level when mixed.

Sleep Supplements
Melatonin is a fairly wellknown supplement used to improve sleep. It helps regulate your “sleep clock,” which signals the brain when it’s time for sleep. It’s often recommended to overcome jetlag or recover from a disrupted sleep schedule. But if taken incorrectly–too much or at the wrong time–it can further disrupt your sleep schedule, so follow instructions carefully.

 Made from Griffonia simplicifolia, an African plant, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a supplement that helps boost serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, controls appetite and regulates sleep. It may be especially effective for people who can’t fall asleep due to anxiety and stress.

While supplements may make it easier to fall asleep, they may not keep you asleep throughout the night.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Five Best Anti-Viral Products to Beat Influenza, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and SARS

This is a special report the FDA doesn't want you to read. In fact, this is the story that the corporate "leaders" of the natural health products industry don't want you to read, either. Why? Because they've all been hijacked by Big Pharma interests, and they no longer represent real natural medicine like the kind revealed in this story. Read more about this consumer betrayal by the natural products industry leaders here:

When it comes to H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu), all the "authority" institutions in America agree on one thing: Keep the American people ignorant! Don't allow people to learn the truth about the anti-viral properties of herbs, superfoods and dietary supplements....CLICK HERE TO READ The Whole Article

Interview with Dr Jameth Sheridan, Founder of Healthforce Nutritionals

 By Mike Adams, NaturalNews Editor
When it comes to superfood formulations, few people have as much technical knowledge and practical experience as Dr Jameth Sheridan, founder of Healthforce Nutritionals ( Dr Sheridan is the creator of the popular superfood products called Vitamineral Green and Vitamineral Earth, and in this interview, he shares some exciting and insightful details on how to create superfoods that deliver a nutrient density far and above the norm.

Watch the full interview on NaturalNews.TV:

In this interview, Dr Sheridan talks about the nutrient uptake of certain foods and explains why feeding calcium to nutritional yeast is, in his view, a waste of time (some "food-based vitamins" incorporate calcium in this manner).

Jameth Sheridan is also a food freedom advocate who supports taking a stand against those who would try to take away our access to nutritional supplements and natural foods. In this interview, he explains his "steamroller" theory of why the little guys in the world get "steamrolled" by powerful corporations. More importantly, he suggests ways that we can all band together to stand up to the evil corporations and achieve positive outcomes for ourselves and our world.

He even breaks down some of the mythologies surrounding raw food, dispelling the myth that there's only "raw food" and "cooked food." As Dr Sheridan explains, there are actually super-healthy foods and superfoods that are ingested HOT.
I've known Dr Sheridan for several years and have published interviews with him before. Each time I talk with him, I learn something new about the complexities of superfood nutrition. In this interview, Dr Sheridan also talks about Senate Bill 510 as well as the current Vitamineral green special discount being offered through the NaturalNews Store:

As Dr Sheridan explains in his interview, his company is actually taking a loss to introduce Vitamineral Green to NaturalNews readers through the NaturalNews Store -- all in the hopes that readers will recognize the value of this premium superfood and become lifelong customers.

Vitamineral Green has remained one of my top-recommended superfoods for several years, long before we carried it in our store. After interviewing Dr Sheridan, I've been using it on a daily basis now instead of just 2-3 times per week. (It goes best with chocolate smoothies, in my opinion.)

The Vitamineral Earth product is best made into a hot tea because hot water unleashes the nutritional potency of the product in much the same way that Chinese Medicine herbs are steeped in a hot water extraction process.

Learn more by watching (or listening) to the full interview yourself:

Learn more about Healthforce Nutritionals at

Enjoy this interview! You'll learn a lot from Dr Sheridan.

Learn more:

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Surprising Causes of Everyday Health Concerns

Constant fatigue, persistent heartburn, stubborn high blood pressure. Problems that plague millions of Americans, and the targets of intense research and treatment by doctors and drug companies. But did you know that many common complaints stem from circumstances as easy-to-avoid as wet workout clothes and sleep partners who snore? “Many people suffer for years, not realizing that the underlying causes are often something completely unexpected and surprisingly easy to treat,” adds Patricia Raymond, M.D., a gastroenterologist in Chesapeake, Va. Take a look at the unexpected causes of these nine common maladies -- and find out what you can do to avoid them.

Always tired? Blame your morning brew   
Pounding back two or more mugs of coffee first thing in the morning will chase away fatigue, but not for long. Researcehers at Harvard tell us that caffeine fights off drowsiness by blocking the buildup of adenosine, a powerful sleep-triggering compound found in the brain. But if you only sip coffee first thing in the morning, adenosine levels, and therefore fatigue, can creep back up by mid-afternoon.

Quick Fix: Enjoy one mug of java first thing in the morning, then spread the rest of your caffeine intake out over the remainder of the day. Scientists suggest sipping about 4 ounces (that’s half a cup) every hour until you’ve finished your usual daily dose. A thermos will work beautifully for this task or simply choose an office cup that’s on the small side. The steady trickle of caffeine will dampen the brain’s production of sleep-inducing adenosine, say experts, giving you all-day protection from fatigue.
Gassy? Blame sugar-free gum   

Tooting too much? Check the sweetener in your gum. Researchers say up to 56 percent of Americans are sensitive to sorbitol, an artificial sweetener added to many sugar-free gums and candies that can leave gum-smackers feeling bloated and crampy. Recent studies also show the ingredient doubles the body’s normal gas production, since our intestinal bacteria naturally converts it into hydrogen gas.

Quick Fix: Try chewing a sorbitol-free brand of gum for a few days (check product labels to ensure you're buying a problem-free pick). According to University of Kentucky researchers, your symptoms could disappear in as little as 72 hours!

Nonstop urinary tract infections? Blame your high heels

Stiletto heels are not particularly good for your feet, and they can be unkind to your... bladder. Huh? It's true. "Stilettos make the pelvis tilt forward and the upper back curve out, resulting in lordosis, a deep curve in the lower back that puts pressure on the sensory  nerves in the spine,” explains urogynecologist Larrian Gillespie, M.D., author of You Don’t Have to Live With Cystitis. When these nerves are pinched, bladder function can be affected, making it more difficult for you to fully empty your bladder -- and leftover urine becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, she says.

Quick Fix: Save your stilettos for special events and sport heels that are two inches or shorter at work. Scientists say this height won’t spur bladder problems. Still struggling? You can cut your urinary tract infection risk 60 percent by eating one cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) daily, say researchers at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. Scientists say these blue gems are loaded with tannins, powerful plant compounds that naturally wrap around infection-causing bacteria, preventing them from latching onto bladder walls.

Heartburn? Credit too-tight clothing

Super-snug clothes that squeeze you at the waist can be a pain -- literally. Tight duds can constrict the stomach and force acid into your esophagus, causing heartburn flare-ups that can last for hours, explains Dr. Raymond.

Quick Fix: Sport loose and tunic-like tops or opt for pants and skirts with a more relaxed waist when you’re dining out. Going to an event where you really want to wear something snug? Change into looser clothing as soon as you get home and then spend the next 30 minutes walking, vacuuming or doing any activity that keeps you upright and moving so your stomach can empty properly, suggests Dr. Raymond." That one simple step will keep food moving downward, reducing pressure on the valve between your stomach and esophagus to head off heartburn,” she says.

Weight problems? Thank 'The Late Show'

Ignore the call of the sandman and, according to researchers at Ohio State University, you will double your risk of stubborn weight problems. “Sleep deprivation has such a profound effect on the functioning of the adrenals, thyroid and other organs, that it lowers metabolic rate and reduces blood sugar control,” says Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., a professor of environmental physiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. Getting too little sleep can also trigger powerful carb cravings and don't spend your sleepless hours watching TV. UCLA researchers have found that late-night exposure to TV’s blue light reduces the brain’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin.

Quick Fix: Make eight hours of shut-eye nightly a top priority, and you’ll reverse this problem in as little as four days. Over the course of a year, according the UCLA study, you could even lose up to 26 lbs. Still not sleepy? Switch off the TV and read a book. Reading revs up the brain’s production of alpha waves -- brain waves that make you feel groggy and ready to snooze in as little as 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finger Length Predicts Prostate Cancer Risk?

Men whose index fingers are longer than their ring, or fourth, fingers run a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in the British Journal of Cancer.

The chances of developing the disease drop by a third, and even more in younger men, the study found.
"Our results show that relative finger length could be used as a simple test for prostate cancer risk, particularly in men aged under 60," said Ros Eeles, a professor at the Institute of Cancer Research in Britain and co-author of the study.

Finger pattern could help identify which men should undergo regular screening, especially in combination with genetic testing or other risk factors such as a family history of the disease, she said.

From 1994 to 2009, Eeles and colleagues questioned more than 1,500 prostate cancer patients in Britain, along with 3,000 healthy control cases.

For more than half the men, the index was shorter than the ring finger. Compared to this group, men whose index and ring fingers were the same length -- 19 percent of the cohort -- had a similar prostate cancer risk.
But when the index finger was longer, the risk of developing the disease dropped by 33 percent.
Men under 60 were 87 percent less likely to be in the cancer group.

The relative length of the two fingers in question -- set before birth -- appears to be a marker of different levels of sex hormones to which a baby is exposed in the womb, with less testosterone correlating with a longer index finger.

Earlier research has shown that testosterone promotes the growth of prostate cancer.
Underlying the unexpected connection between digits and cancer are two genes, HOXA and HOXD, that control both finger length and the development of sex organs.

Other studies have found a link between exposure to hormones before birth and the development of other diseases, including breast cancer and osteoarthritis.

The Great Depression: Famous Figures Who Battled Mental Illness

J.K. Rowling

She's a billionaire author whose wildly popular Harry Potter books, movies, and theme park have enchanted millions around the world. But while living as a single mother in a cramped apartment after separating from her first husband, J.K. Rowling suffered from suicidal thoughts and was prescribed cognitive behavioral therapy. It was shortly after starting that therapy that Rowling began writing the series that would make her famous. In fact, her emotional struggles even provided inspiration for some of her characters: She claims that the Dementors (the dark hooded creatures in Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban who detect their victims’ secret fears and then suck out their personalities) were based on her experience with depression.

Princess Diana

It’s no secret that the fairy tale that began with Diana’s royal wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 ended tragically. She openly spoke about the depression she felt following their separation and divorce. During a tell-all interview she gave the BBC in 1995, however, she revealed shocking details of postpartum depression, bulimia, and self-inflicted injuries. "When no one listens to you, or you feel no one’s listening to you, all sorts of things start to happen," she said. "You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help, but it’s the wrong help you’re asking for… I didn’t like myself; I was ashamed because I couldn’t cope with the pressures." Diana said she went through "diverse treatments" to overcome the depression she experienced during her marriage and divorce. She went to become a celebrated humanitarian before dying in a car crash in 1997.

 Richard Dreyfuss

He’s starred in hits such as Jaws and American Graffiti, but Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss has struggled with mental health issues for most of his life. In the 2006 documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, Dreyfuss revealed that he lives with bipolar disorder, which he says has led him to be known as outspoken and eccentric. But the actor turned to medication and attributes it for dramatically changing his mood. Dreyfuss has said that with treatment, “I have become a person I admire… I have wept more, I have said ‘I’m sorry’ more, I have succeeded in endeavors that were impossible.”

Dolly Parton 

The bubbly country music star struggled with depression for several months in the 1980s, when she was going through menopause and regretting that she never had children. It became severe enough that she contemplated suicide. “It was an awful time for me,” Parton has said. “Every day I thought, ‘I wish I had the nerve to kill myself.’” She has said that working with Sylvester Stallone, with his charming sense of humor, on the movie Rhinestone helped pull her out of the depression, and Parton eventually found comfort in relationships with other children: "I thought, 'Maybe God didn't want me to have kids so that everybody else's kids could be mine."

Owen Wilson
Everyone, including his closest friends, was shocked with the news that funnyman Owen Wilson attempted suicide in August 2007. It then came out that the actor had been silently battling depression and drug addiction for years. Following the attempt, Wilson immediately sought treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. and has taken antidepressants. His struggles with depression have not held back his comedy career, though -- Wilson’s continually cranked out hugely successful movies such as Fantastic Mr. Fox and the upcoming Meet the Parents sequel, Little Fockers.

Jim Carrey

Despite headlining some of the biggest comedy blockbusters of the ’90s, Carrey fell into depression after two failed marriages (the second to actress Lauren Holly), which he discussed during a 60 Minutes interview. "I was on Prozac for a long time,” he said. “It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything's just okay." Carrey attributes a healthy diet and supplements for helping him improve his mental health, and has said, "You need to get out of bed every day and say that life is good. That's what I did, although at times it was very difficult for me.” While working through his depression, Carrey has maintained a steady career of hits, including the recent Horton Hears a Who! and Yes Man.