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Anti Aging Miracle or Menace?

Human growth hormone or HGH, has appeared to be somewhat of a panacea for those who want to turn back the clock on aging.

However, the biggest reason not to take HGH as an anti-aging therapy is simply that it has not been adequately studied.

The longterm effects are not known.

Human growth hormone is a product of the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body. As the name implies, it promotes linear growth in children and adolescents. After the body stops growing taller, the levels of HGH decline quickly and often become very low in adult life. Many of the effects of HGH are brought about through a second hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1, made by the liver. HGH is given by daily injection, and is quite expensive. Alternative treatments, such as the nasal spray or pills to stimulate HGH release, have not been proven to have any benefit.

Are People Who Wear Glasses Smarter?

Does wearing glasses make you smarter?

Some studies say that it’s true.

But the relationship between glasses and intelligence is unclear.

One proposed theory is that damage to the occipital lobe in the brain may cause an overcompensation in the logic centre in the frontal lobe. But the evidence is hazy. In fact, there is little around, surprisingly. Theories on the origins of this association are varied but unsubstantiated. One possible idea is that more people need glasses than have them, and those that do wear them function better. One idea for the etymology of the smart specs wearing archetype is that when glasses first appeared few people had them, and those that did needed them to read. Other people who needed glasses but didn’t read wouldn’t have had them, so the bookish glasses-wearer is an ingrained stereotype.

Obama Health Care Fails

The CLASS Obama health care program is not going forward.

Not enough young, healthy people are signing up to make the program financially viable.

The CLASS program was similar to long-term care plans available in the private sector in which workers sign up and pay a monthly premium. It was voluntary and was to be paid for entirely by the premiums from those who signed up. In return, subscribers would get a daily benefit.

Lifestyle Trumps Bad Genes

If you feel that you have gotten a bum deal in the genetic lottery then take heart; a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet can undue bad genes.

Research shows that a healthy diet may undue a genetic predisposition to heart disease.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables appears to mitigate the genetic risk of a heart attack,” says researcher Sonia S. Anand, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

The finding, if it bears out, could affect many people at risk for heart disease because of a genetic variant that researchers have only recently linked with heart attack. It could also call into question the suggestion that you can’t help your genes.

Caregiving Benefits the Giver

The benefits of caregiving have come as a surprise to researcher, Dr. Lisa Fredman and Rosanna Bertrand.

Although stronger women may be the type of individual predisposed to taking on this kind of work, the unquantifiable benefits both spiritual and from an inner sense of peace and purpose impact the lives of caregivers in a positive way, as well.

Along with what’s called “caregiver burden,” gerontologists and psychologists use the phrase “caregiver gain” to reflect the fact that this role, which often exacts such high costs, can bring rewards. But they’ve typically described those rewards in psychological, emotional and even spiritual terms: growing confidence in one’s abilities, feelings of personal satisfaction, increased family closeness. That caregivers can walk faster or recall more words on a memory test — that’s news.

Prostate Tests Do More Harm Than Good

Men who receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer are faced with a frightening array of options.

To live with cancer might seem to be unthinkable, however, in light of the alternatives a slow growing cancer may be easier to live with than the side effects of cancer treatment and in the worse case, death from infection and other surgical complications.

Many men who agree to a PSA test do not understand what it is. Some common misconceptions:

— It shows cancer. In fact, PSA is just a measure of inflammation, and it can be elevated for many reasons besides cancer: normal enlargement of the prostate with age, an infection, even recent sex, a strenuous bike ride or horseback riding.

— It’s been proven to save lives. Only two large, well-done studies have looked at this, the task force says. The American study found annual screening did not lower the chances of dying of prostate cancer. However, cancer fear is so great, and belief in the value of screening so ingrained, that half the men assigned to the group not offered PSA tests got one anyway. That made comparisons to the group given annual screening difficult. For that reason, some doctors don’t believe the study’s conclusion.
The other study, conducted in Europe, found a small benefit for certain age groups screened every two to seven years — not annually. However, one Swedish center had such rosy results that scientists think it may have biased the whole study. If that center is excluded, no benefit from the PSA test is seen.

— The task force’s stance goes against past advice. Routine PSA testing has been supported by some advocacy groups and by urologists, the doctors who do the tests and treatments. But it has not been pushed by major scientific groups, the American Cancer Society or the government.

— It finds cancer early so you’re more likely to survive. About 90 percent of prostate cancers found through screening are early-stage. Most will grow so slowly they will never threaten a man’s life, but there’s no good way to tell which ones will. Research suggests that tumors causing symptoms are more likely to warrant treatment than those that are not. Also, finding aggressive prostate tumors early may not affect how lethal they prove to be; the PSA test may just let men learn of them sooner than they otherwise would.

Keeping Your Kitchen Free of Disease is as Simple as Cleaning Your Refrigerator

Keeping your refrigerator clean is more than just a good idea.

It could save your health.

Clean your refrigerator as a matter of disease prevention and sanitary food preparation practice.

It’s amazing how many illnesses and bacteria can grow in your refrigerator.

A few simple tips can safeguard your health and help you manage your food inventory and reduce waste.

Wrap foods tightly with two layers of freezer wrap before putting in the freezer or use shrink
wrapping for an air-tight seal around the food.

Store eggs in their cartons — and don’t keep them on the refrigerator door.

Don’t wash fresh produce until you’re ready to use it. Store it in perforated plastic bags, and use
within a few days. Bananas should not be refrigerated.

To allow for air circulation in either your fridge or freezer, don’t overfill the compartments.

Without good circulation, it’s difficult to maintain the proper temperatures.

Store leftovers in tightly covered containers within two hours after cooking. Use in 3-5 days.

Store food and cleaning supplies separate.

Keep potatoes and onions in a cool, dry location. Don’t refrigerate them or keep them under the sink, where moisture from pipes can cause damage.

Check use-by or sell-by dates on food packages. Remember, these dates don’t apply once the package is opened.

Best-if-used-by dates are the most reliable ones to follow. They take normal handling into account.

Put raw meat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, in a plastic bag. This will keep the juices from dripping onto other foods.

“Frankenfoods” in a World of GMO’s

Genetically modified food may look like the answer to food shortages but the dangers might just outweigh the benefits.

But now the concern that these genetically manipulated foodstuffs are harming human health is growing. Inserting a gene into a plant’s genome is a random and haphazard process that allows no control over where the gene actually ends up in the plant’s otherwise carefully constructed DNA. Insertions can show up inside other genes, can delete natural genes or permanently turn them on or off, and can cause significant mutations near the insertion site. For instance, one study found that a gene known to be a corn allergen was turned on in GM corn, though it was turned off in its conventional parent.

“It’s genetic roulette,” says Smith. “You can create carcinogens, anti-nutrients, toxins. We don’t understand the language of DNA enough to predict what might happen. It’s an infant technology, and we’re making changes that are permanent in the gene pool of species.”

Three Foods to Avoid to Prevent Food Bourne Illness

Raw milk, raw oysters, and raw bean sprouts top the list of foods to avoid to prevent food poisoning.

There is some controversy about the real dangers eating raw food in contrast with the health benefits that raw foods can offer.

E-coli, Salmonella and listeria are just a few of the bacterial infections that can cause illness and even death.

Pasteurization or cooking is one way to prevent contamination.

Signs of Early Onset Alzheimer’s

Pat Summitt, the iconic head coach of the University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team, announced she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

Not only is Alzheimer’s on the rise among the elderly it is showing up earlier in many cases.

Better diagnostic tests are allowing physicians to diagnose symptoms even earlier.

Symptoms of Early Alzheimer’s

1. You forget what you had for breakfast. Obviously memory loss is the hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s, but there are definite degrees: Forgetting to DVR your husband’s favorite show while you watch yours can happen to anyone. The date of your dentist appointment slips your mind, also normal. But not recalling recently learned information, like the name of someone you just met, for example, could be cause for concern—that’s because Alzheimer’s first attacks the part of the brain that stores short-term memory. Other memory lapses to note: forgetting significant dates and events; asking for the same information over and over; and over-relying on your cell phone’s reminder beeps to get you through your to-dos.

2. You lose track of numbers. Budgeting for your monthly bills used to be as simple as a few strokes of the calculator and doubling the ingredients of your favorite recipe took all of 3 seconds, but now the tasks quickly become frustrating and seem to take forever. As Alzheimer’s develops, more and more plaques and tangles—two abnormal structures that damage and kill nerve cells—form in the brain area involved in thinking and planning. The effects: You get confused more easily, you have trouble handling money or dealing with numbers, and it gets tougher to organize your thoughts.

3. You get flustered by routine activities. Maybe you get a little lost en route to your favorite store, or you can’t remember how to update your Facebook status. Sure, everyone blanks for a moment now and then, but pay attention if those moments happen often—particularly with the everyday things.

4. You hit the brakes hard at most traffic lights. Good that you don’t rear-end the car stopped in front of you, not good you are having a harder time judging distance. Alzheimer’s may disrupt your brain’s ability to judge spatial relationships, skew your understanding of what you see, and even mess with your sense of time and place.

5. You find your “lost” cell phone in the refrigerator. Or the medicine cabinet, or whatever other weird spot you can’t remember putting it in. Occasionally misplacing things is normal; what may not be, however, is if you do it more and more frequently and retracing your steps to find the lost items occurs less and less.

6. You call a watch a hand clock. Struggling with words when you didn’t before indicates Alzheimer’s, as does having trouble expressing your thoughts and following or taking part in a conversation.

7. You try to cross a busy intersection without waiting for the light. You see food burning on the stove and don’t know what to do. You answer a telemarketer’s call, and your donation is a little too handsome. Poor judgment and ineffective decision-making are all signs your brain function is compromised.

8. You become less social. The cooking class you used to love isn’t so much fun anymore; neither is game night with friends or tennis on the weekends. You may also become easily upset, somewhat depressed, and anxious or fearful for no specific reason. Alzheimer’s affects how you interact with people and can cause changes in your mood and personality.

9. You have diabetes. That doubles your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, according to a new study just published in the journal Neurology. Insulin resistance and high blood sugar may lead to complications that damage brain cells as well as the blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to your brain, raising your risk of Alzheimer’s. Other conditions that may have the same effect include high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Work with your doctor to monitor and manage these diseases.

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