Thursday, October 21, 2010
Friday, January 01, 2010
It Will Make You Smile - on the Inside...
Food is, well, quite remarkable. It satisfies the deepest yearnings of our hearts in some mystical fashion, sweeping away pain and anguish, leaving us with a sense of fullness, both spiritual and physical, that transcends the basic nature of the mere morsels we consume...
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Confused About White Tea?
Thursday, October 01, 2009
New Gluten Free Blog
I have two reasons to be excited about the launch of a new blog dedicated to exploring the science behind celiac disease. The first is because I've recently discovered I have an issue with gluten - I just can't stand it. But, more significantly, my body pays a big price when I pummel it with processed gluten-laden foods.
Monday, August 17, 2009
-Protects against aging
-Fights rheumatoid arthritis
-Tastes pleasant, especially on cool fall days
How does it manage all this disease-fighting proficiency? It all has to do with its ability to protect the elastin and collagen, which are natural protein structures of the skin. Elastin and collagen support the elasticity and strength of the skin, as well as the lungs, arteries and ligaments. Diseases often cause a breakdown in these proteins, but the extracts from white tea hold great promise in combating that process.
Several other plant extracts, including bladderwrack, green tea, anise and pomegranate were also effective in fighting the breakdown of elastin and collagen. But, even to the researchers' surprise, white tea far outperformed them all.
What exactly is white tea? It's actually made from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis, as green and black teas. It's the least processed of the teas, often still having the fine white hairs on the leaves - hence the name. See the link below for more information.
Well, this is great news - if you love tea. If you never touch the stuff, it just may be worth an experimental sip or two. Where else will you find a drink that gives you a healthy glow both inside and out?
To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To learn more about white tea, see this from white tea guide.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sips That Soothe...
Resveratrol, a component found in red wines (and, by the way, in red grape juices) is showing its potential for healing. Previous studies have shown resveratrol is heart-healthy, offering protection against cardiovascular disease. New studies now add a significant anti-inflammatory effect to its credentials.
This is especially significant because inflammation is the hallmark of many illnesses. In fact, secondary inflammation, such as that following a stroke, may do as much or more harm than the initial event. So, for scientists to find a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory is quite exciting.
The research has been restricted to lab mice up to this point. But, the discovery holds great potential for the development of an entirely new class of drugs that fights life-threatening systemic inflammation that accompanies appendicitis, peritonitis, sepsis and other conditions.
Stay tuned, as it appears the power of resveratrol has yet to be fully tapped. In the meantime, break open a bottle (or some grape juice if you prefer) and toast to your health.
To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To learn more about resveratrol, see this from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Life With a Hole in the Middle...
Or, if you're over the age of 65, you may see just a portion of your spouse - or the television, the grocery store aisle or (yikes!) the roadway. That's the lot in life for those suffering from macular degeneration - one of the leading causes of blindness in the elderly.
Macular degeneration causes the middle of the visual field to disappear, leaving the edges intact. This is all well and good if you've always lived life on the fringes and want your visual acuity to match your philosophy. But, most folks prefer their visual fields to be more well rounded than their worldview.
Scientists now say that omega-3 fatty acids may help. New research, in the lab with mice, indicates that omega-3s may help protect against macular degeneration by slowing the progression of the formation of lesions. Previous studies have shown omega-3s, derived form diets high in fish oil, also help protect against atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's.
So, grab some fish - or, head over to the health food store and grab a bottle of fish oil pills. Either way, be diligent with your omega-3s. They'll help you keep an eye on life.
To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To learn more about omerga-3s, see this from the American Heart Association.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Turmeric - Good For What Ails You...
...Turmeric was nowhere to be found.
But, that may be changing.
New claims continue to tout the power of turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin - to ease pain, fight cancer, improve liver function, reduce inflammation and, of course, added a zesty touch to real cooked-at-home foods that is scrumptious.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out the links below to learn more about this wonder spice. And, while you're at it, take the break you deserve and boycott fast food joints for a while. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes.
Read about turmeric's ability to fight breast cancer at ScienceDaily. Read the account of a formerly skeptical doctor about turmeric's ability to fight pain. And read an extensive overview of turmeric at the World's Healthiest Foods.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Kristina Smith at the Venice Family Clinic
Or, maybe we're all insane to believe any of this is possible in the first place. After all, look where it landed previously shoe-in nominee Hillary Clinton.
But, just in case you find your resolve weakening - and whose hasn't - take a look at this audio slideshow from the Venice Family Clinic. It's just over two and one-half minutes long, but it's a fabulous reminder of what's at stake - both in terms of bottom line impact on people's lives and on the financial fiascos that result from letting the small health issues become big and expensive.
Here's the link: http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/cslideshow?sa=audio&sj=200906300134816-6536.js&sn=Clinic%20for%20the%20uninsured&sl=21
To learn more about the largest free clinic in the nation, see this from the Venice Family Clinic.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Go Ahead - Grab a Cup...
Researchers in Florida recently announced the results of a study with Alzheimer’s-diseased mice. The mice were specially bred to develop Alzheimer’s, and then separated into two groups: the caffeine addicts and the teetotalers.
The caffeine addicts ended up having the best of both worlds. They got a routine fix of the equivalent of five cups of java, and their Alzheimer’s symptoms began to disappear. It’s a hard combination to beat.
The caffeine was found to have a direct impact on the blood levels of beta-amyloid, the substances responsible for the formation of plaques in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Those mice receiving their caffeine fix everyday showed a reduction of nearly 50 percent in beta-amyloid levels.
Previous research has shown caffeine has other health benefits, including improving cardiovascular function. So, it would appear that consistent caffeine consumption may be quite a healthy habit, especially as we age.
Yes, of course – now would be a great time to brew a cup.
To read more about the study, see this from Science Daily. To learn more about the history of coffee, see this from Wikipedia.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Yeah, I Feel Fabulous...
Are you smart enough to cure cancer? Well, you may be quite bright, but that’s still a pretty tall order. But...
If you’re smart enough to read the newspaper, you just might be smart enough to beat the Big C. Read on.
Researchers in Australia have developed a “trojan horse” therapy that has shown remarkable success in the lab. Over the past two years, these brilliant scientists have saved 100 per cent of the mice infected with human cancer cells.
And the treatment is specifically targeted at the cancer cells, leaving healthy tissue undisturbed. The two-step therapy involves using mini-cells to first turn off the cancers cell’s resistance to chemotherapy, and then delivering the cancer fighting treatment directly to the cancer cells. It’s very much what the cancer cells have been doing all along, but in reverse – beating them at their own game.
Human clinical trials should begin in the near future.
To read more about the research, see this from Reuters. To learn more about cancer, including research and clinical trials, see this from the National Cancer Institute.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Make Some Tracks...
Summer is upon us – in much the same way as those extra pounds are up-on-us: It just seems to happen when you’re not paying attention.
Attention may indeed be the crucial factor.
In our car-centric society, walking is typically one of the last things we give any thought. A new study, by professor of pediatrics James Hill, of the University of Colorado, says it’s time we adjust our thinking. According to Hill, people should ideally take 10,000 steps each day to maintain their health. But, with our foot permanently fused to the gas pedal, we often manage a meager 1,000 steps in our lackluster day.
These aren’t the only significant numbers. Researcher Lawrence Frank found that every 30 minutes spent behind the wheel each day increases the odds of obesity by three percent – on the other hand, people who live in walkable neighborhoods are seven percent less likely to be obese.
So, instead of letting those pounds sneak up on you, take advantage of the warmer weather to get outside for a breath of fresh air. And, once you’re out there, you may as well take a quick spin around the block.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Take a deep Breath - and Reach for Your Wallet...
The debate is in high gear and, with this much at stake, it's appropriate. The cost of doing business as usual in the health care arena is unsustainable. But, the cost of revamping our entire system is also phenomenal.
The article link below is an excellent starting point. This article, written by physician Atul Gawande, addresses the culture of profit that drives medical costs through the roof. But, he also points to stellar examples, including Mayo Clinic and an organization in Colorado, that provide some of the nation's best health care at a surprisingly affordable cost.
Cleveland Clinic has also shown it's possible to provide superior care without breaking the bank. Interestingly, their physicians, like those at Mayo, are on salary - they receive the same paycheck each month regardless of how may tests they order or procedures they complete. It sounds like quite the rational alternative to the obscene fee driven system that encourages doctors to perform more tests, more procedures, more often.
So, take a look at the article below. You'll be in good company - even the president has spoken of it highly.
See Gawande's article here, in The New Yorker.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Come On - Take a Look...
First, we eat because...
Yeah, that’s exactly where the first complications begin to set in. We eat for a great variety of reasons, including energy, nutrition, health and enjoyment. Which of these we (should) emphasize is often a point of contention and, the research continues to show, at the core of many of our health problems.
But, there’s help, right? You bet. There’s the ever-famous Food Pyramid to guide us. A totally unbiased, scientifically based set of dietary guidelines that will lead us down the path of svelteness, beauty and length of days.
Or maybe not.
It appears the Food Pyramid is as susceptible to lobbying pressures as the rest of the settled regions of the world. So, scientists at Harvard took it upon themselves to create a Food Pyramid devoid of lobbyists influence, relying on good old-fashioned science and common sense. What a great idea.
The link below will take you to the new Food Pyramid and explain the process they followed in devising it.
It’s worth your time. And, yes – it’s good for you.
Here’s the link to the Harvard School of Public Health Food Pyramid.
Monday, June 08, 2009
This Might Work!
This continues to be a most exciting area of research – particularly as scientists learn more about using people’s own stem cells. When using an individual's own stem cells the major obstacle of tissue rejection is taken off the table. We, in effect, become our own mini-regeneration plant. It’s really quite cool.
Now, it’s certainly beyond the realm of this blog to discuss issues of “eternal life,” but breakthroughs in stem cell technology continue to hold great promise of extending years. And, not just any old years, but years filled with vitality.
The latest breakthrough gives sight back to those with damaged corneas. Most remarkably, the procedure is rather “simple” and performed on an outpatient basis. Two hours. A surgeon collects the stem cells from a tiny amount of the patient’s eye tissue, then places them on a specially cultured contact lens. The lens is put in place on the patient’s eye – no need for sutures – and the patient heads home.
In about ten days the stem cells re-colonize the eye surface.
Just one more reason to treat yourself well when it comes to your health – you want your self-generated spare parts to be top notch.