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Finally some health care sanity: End of life planning to be covered by Medicare

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Sarah Palin has become a joke for most people of the years, but there was a time when her stupidity was taken seriously by millions of Americans. Probably the worst example was her popularization of the term “death panels” in response to the rational proposal to reimburse doctors for end of life planning with their patients.

Now, six years later, it appears that sanity has won out and Medicare will finally begin to cover such critical services.

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Fighting sugar addiction

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Dr. Robert Lustig has a new book out called “Fat Chance” that addresses the huge problems caused by excessive consumption of sugar, which is a real problem in this country. Watch this video and you’ll realize that you need to be very cognizant of how much sugar you are consuming. This is particularly important if you’re a parent.

The biggest issue involves hidden sugar in processed foods, like salad dressing, hamburger buns, BBQ sauce etc. It’s a labeling issue and an issue about government subsidies for the sugar and corn industries.

Marketing Of Testosterone Replacement Therapy Comes Under Suspicion


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Is it normal aging or low testosterone?

This is the question being asked by government researchers, specifically, the National Institute on Aging, which has seen big advertising dollars spent pharmaceutical companies hoping to turn old age into a treatable disease.

There is no real agreement on what the effects of low testosterone as one ages has on the body.

The normal range of 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter fluctuates during the day and what seems low for one individual produces no adverse affects in another.

Unknown side affects, and dubious claims made by research funded by drug makers calls into question the validity of treatment claims.

Baby boomers are also pushing an industry to supply the “fountain of youth” when real vitality is better obtained through lifestyle choices than through medicine.

Adding to the confusion over what defines “low testosterone,” there’s not much understanding of whether testosterone replacement therapy actually improves men’s symptoms. Evidence of the benefits of testosterone is mixed, and the potential health risks are serious. The largest study conducted to date, a 2008 trial involving 230 patients in the Netherlands, found no improvement in muscle strength, cognitive thinking, bone density or overall quality of life among men taking testosterone. Muscle mass increased 1.2 percent, but not enough to improve physical mobility.
The National Institute on Aging is currently conducting an 800-man trial to definitively answer whether testosterone therapy improves walking ability, sexual function, energy, memory and blood cell count in men 65 years and older. But those results aren’t expected until 2014.
In addition to concerns about testosterone’s effectiveness, the long-term side effects of the hormone are not entirely understood because most trials to date have only followed patients for a few months. But the most serious risks include heart problems and prostate cancer. In fact, all testosterone drugs carry a warning that the hormone should not be given to men who have a personal or family history of prostate cancer.

Doctor Refuses Treatment For Overweight Patient

Complications, mortality and increased liability have led doctors to think twice about taking on the risk hat comes along with treating obese patients.

Is it unethical or prudent policy?

This growing trend could have alarming consequences.

Flawed Study Says Eggs Are As Dangerous To Your Health As Cigarettes


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In a recent study of 1,231 men and women, researches have found that egg yolks contribute to plaque build up in the arteries which is similar to affects of smoking.

Amoung the 20% of participants who ate the most eggs, the carotid plaque build-up was about two-thirds that of the study’s heaviest smokers. The researchers concluded that the plaque increase from eating eggs “follows a similar pattern to that of cigarette smoking.”

Arterial accumulation of plaque is a key risk factor for heart attack and stroke. As plaque builds up, it thickens artery walls and narrows the space through which blood can flow, forcing the heart to pump harder. If plaques become unstable, they can break off and form clots, which can halt blood flow to either the brain or the heart, causing stroke or heart attack.

The authors argue that their findings should quell doubts over the link between high dietary cholesterol and heart disease. “The prevailing tendency to ignore dietary cholesterol as a risk factor for coronary heart disease requires reassessment, including the consumption of cholesterol from eggs,” the authors wrote.

The government’s dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. One whole egg contains about 180 mg of cholesterol, nearly two-thirds of your daily recommended ma.

However, health experts have found the study to be seriously flawed.

Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation pointed out some of the problems with the study:

There were no controls in the study and it is noted that causation and association are not the same thing.

The study was also not adjusted for the existing dietary habits of the participants.

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