Wednesday, December 29, 2010


These hard-working parts of our bodies need all the love and care we can give them.

It is very common to spend a great deal of time and money on our hair and faces, and to neglect our poor hands. They are exposed to the weather just as our faces are, and they also have to contend with gardening, washing clothes, and dishes, and all the other jobs which are so hard on skin.

Essential oils are particularly good for hands as they work very quickly and are readily absorbed without leaving a greasy feeling. The following oil is a luxurious treat for the tools we use most often and usually
appreciate the least.

Lemon and Lavender Hand Softener
This is a cream for dry, rough, work-worn hands.

3 cubes (about 11/4 oz/36 g) beeswax
1/3 cup (80 ml) almond oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
21/2 tablespoons (40 ml) glycerine
2 drops lemon essential oil
2 drops lavender essential oil

To make and use

Melt the beeswax into the sweet almond and olive oils gently in a double boiler.

Stir in the glycerine until completely blended.
Remove from heat.
Drip the essential oils into the slightly cooled mixture.
Stir mixture very well then pot.
Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Massage it into the hands before doing dirty jobs.

If your hands are really rough, use this rich cream during the evening while talking or watching television, or massage a goodly amount on before
bedtime, and cover the hands with cotton gloves to protect the bedding.

Lavender Barrier Cream

4 teaspoons purified water
21/2 tablespoons (40 ml) olive oil
2 teaspoons kaolin clay
10 drops lavender essential oil

To make and use

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl.
Pot up in a clean glass jar.
Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Massage cream well into hands before doing dirty jobs.

Healing Hand Cream
If you do not have the time or energy to make a cream from scratch, this blend is for you.

Buy aloe cream, not aloe ointment, from a health-food store, making sure you get one containing the largest amount possible of aloe.

The combination of the aloe cream and essential oils will heal and soften sore, dry, or cracked skin.

13/4 oz (50 g) jar aloe vera cream
1/2 teaspoon benzoin tincture or 5 drops benzoin
essential oil
10 drops sandalwood essential oil
10 drops palmarosa or lavender essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil

To make and use

Decant the aloe vera cream into a small bowl.

In another bowl, mix all the oils and tincture together.

Add the combined oils slowly to the cream, a drop at a time, mixing constantly.

When the oils are thoroughly incorporated, spoon the cream back into the jar.

Label and store in a cool, dark place.

Use it after washing your hands and at bedtime.

The back of the hands are exposed to more sunlight than any other part of the body. Apply hand cream at least three times a day.

Buff and file your nails once a week before applying moisturizer.

Tip: The skin on the hand contains very litt le oil. Use suitable gloves for gardening, housework, etc., and use a rich hand cream whenever

Hand and Nail Oil

The combination of the aloe cream and essential oils will heal and soften sore, dry, or cracked skin.

5 x 250iu vitamin E capsules
4 teaspoons sweet almond oil
2 teaspoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon jojoba oil
20 drops evening primrose oil
5 drops benzoin essential oil
10 drops sandalwood essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil

To make and use
Prick the vitamin E capsules and squeeze the contents into a 2 fl oz (60 ml) bottle.

Add all the other oils and shake to blend.

If possible, leave for four days to synergize.

Label and store in a cool, dark place.

Pour four to six drops into the palm of
your hand.

Massage oil into the skin and around the nail bed until absorbed. Repeat.

Hand Lotion

This lotion keeps well without refrigeration except in very hot weather.

1 teaspoon distilled witch hazel
4 teaspoons vegetable glycerine
5 teaspoons cologne

To make and use

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Pour into a small bottle or clean glass jar.
Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Apply a few drops and massage in well.

Luscious Lotion Bar

Lotion bars look like a bar of soap but melt into your skin. They are great for moisturising work-worn hands, feet, or anywhere that the skin is very dry.

If you are giving these bars as a gift, they can be wrapped in either cellophane or greaseproof paper.

4 oz (120 g) cocoa butter
1 oz (30 g) shea butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) almond oil
1 teaspoon calendula infused oil
30 drops phenoxitol
30 drops essential oils of your choice

To make

Place the cocoa butter, shea butter, and the almond and calendula oils in a double boiler and heat until just melted.

Remove from the heat and stir well to mix.

Allow to cool until the outside of the pan is just above hand heat.

Add the phenoxitol and essential oils and stir really thoroughly to incorporate.

Pour into small soap or chocolate molds and freeze for a few minutes until hard, then tap from the molds.

These bars are best kept in a covered container in the refrigerator, unless your storage area is very cool.

Hand-care tips

• Manicure your nails every week.
• Wear gloves when doing the dishes, hand-washing clothes, and gardening.
• Keep a cut lemon close to the kitchen sink. Lemon juice removes stains, whitens the skin, and cleans the nails.
• Use a hand cream after doing dishes, gardening, or any DIY work about the house.
• Use a sunblock cream on your hands in summer.


Fight the damaging effects of the environment and keep hands and cuticles soft with this concentrated hand cream. Cocoa and shea butters, apricot kernel oil, aloe, and beeswax lock in moisture as USANA Intensive Hand Therapy refines with mulberry and bearberry leaf and protects with green-tea and whole-grape extracts.

The neck

The skin on the neck is usually drier than on our faces, and it is often very neglected, resulting in a crepey, dry texture. Also, if the hair is short, the back of the neck is very exposed to the sun, so it’s particularly
important to keep the whole area supple, not just the throat.

The special neck blend should be used night and morning, but don’t forget sunblock during the day.

Special Neck Blend

This oil blend is gentle and rich. If used regularly, it can help to keep wrinkles at bay and to soften and smooth those that have already appeared.

2 x 250 iu vitamin E capsules
2 teaspoons jojoba oil
1 teaspoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1/2 teaspoon evening primrose oil
5 drops carrot seed essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops palmarosa essential oil
5 drops rosewood essential oil

To make and use
Pierce the vitamin E capsules and mix with all ingredients in a bottle and shake to blend.

If possible leave for four days to synergize.
Label and store in a dark, cool place. Do
not refrigerate.
Shake well before use.
Spray or splash a little water on the throat.

Sprinkle a few drops of the oil onto the palm of your hand and massage gently into the throat in an upward direction until it has been absorbed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Some Advice to Help You Do the Weight Loss the Right Way

Approximately 61 percent of adults make New Year's resolutions, but only nine percent keep them for a whole year and nearly 29 percent only keep them for a week. If you fall into the group that promised to lose weight but already stopped trying, don't give up hope. Here's some advice to help you do it right.

Just a short time ago, many people made a resolution to lose weight. Unfortunately, many have already made weight loss mistakes.

Nutritionist Georgia Kostas says, "To lose weight in the New Year, a lot of people go wrong by expecting too much and trying to cut out too much food. Secondly, people skip meals. They think if they go without they'll do better."

Instead, nutritionists say focus on fruits and vegetables. They're nutritious, low in calories and will help fill you up so you don't eat junk.

Don't just worry about what the scale says. There's another number that matters even more -- body mass index. "It's not so important what we weigh. What's important is the ratio of muscle to fat. The more muscle we have, the faster our metabolism is," says George.

This equation will help you figure out your body mass index. Multiply your weight in pounds by 703. Then, divide that number by your height in inches squared. A woman's body mass should range from 19.1 to 25.8, and for men that number should fall between 20.7 and 26.4. Anything outside of this range is considered unhealthy and steps should be taken to gain or lose weight.

Carla Sottovia, M.A., is an exercise physiologist. "The more muscle you have, you increase your bone density. So, later on you won't have the hunchback and osteoporosis problem," she says.

A complete exercise program will include strength training at least twice a week and cardiovascular training for a half-hour at least three to four times a week.

Remember to be patient. You may not see any results for eight to 12 weeks. You didn't gain it overnight. So don't expect to lose it overnight. Of course, before starting any diet or exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor.

Spinal Cement

It's estimated that eight-million Americans have the brittle bone disease called osteoporosis. Each year, 500-thousand of those people will end up with a spine so weak, it actually collapses. It's called a vertebral fracture - and once it happens, little can be done to reinforce the already fragile spine. For years, bed rest and painkillers were the only treatment. Doctors are experimenting with a new way to glue broken spines back together again.

Genevieve Stinchomb loves to watch her son and grandson practice soccer moves. Sometimes she even participates a little. Not long ago, this kind of activity would have been impossible because Genevieve was in a wheelchair. Osteoporosis had eroded her spine so badly that her vertabrae began to collapse. Surgery to repair her fragile spine would make matters worse, so she was told nothing could be done.

Genevieve Stinchcomb, Spinal Fracture Patient:
"I was at a point where something had to be done. I was in severe pain. I couldn't lift my left arm out or lift up or anything without pain."

Then she found out about something new.

Gregg Zoarski, M.D., Neuroradiologist, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD:
"The technique that we're using to treat fractures can be performed on an outpatient basis, it's relatively easy to perform, it's a safe procedure and it can get patients up and mobilized much quicker. "

The procedure uses an acrylic epoxy to stabilize the spine without major surgery. When the epoxy is the consistency of toothpaste, doctors inject it into the collapsed vertebra, using x-rays to guide them. Within a few minutes, it becomes rock-hard. It's light, yet strong enough to reinforce the spine, relieving pressure and pain. The procedure is done with a local anesthetic, and patients can be out of the hospital and walking within a day. It's given people like Genevieve a second chance to stand up and take part in life again.

Genevieve Stinchcomb:
"I've still got my mind. I just didn't have part of my body. Now I can get around. I'm glad I had it done."

The medical cement has been used in the past to treat fractured spines, but the procedure involved major surgery, general anesthesia and a long stay in the hospital. By injecting the cement into the spine, patients can stay awake during the procedure, and since there's much less physical trauma, patients usually can leave the hospital the next day. The injection of cement is a fraction of the cost of major surgery.

Source: Ivanhoe

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Body Art on Campus

A new survey finds that more than half of college students have some type of body piercing nearly a quarter are tattooed. The concern comes with the finding that 17 percent of the students reported a medical complication from the piercing.
More than 450 students from Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y. completed the survey. The students were asked about their body piercings and tattoos. They were also asked about complications associated with the body art.

Researchers at Pace University say they came up with the study idea after noticing how common piercing and tattooing were among the students. They found 51 percent of students had body piercing and 23 percent had a tattoo. Male athletes were more likely to have a tattoo than those not involved in sports. As for body piercing, in the female students, the navel was the body site most often pierced. For the sake of the study, researchers did not consider women's earlobes as a piercing spot. The second most common piercing spot in female students was in a part of their ear other than the lobe. In the male students, the most common body site pierced was the ear.

Seventeen percent of students report some medical complication from a piercing. The complications include bacterial infection, bleeding and injury or tearing at the site. Researchers say that they did not have any medical complications reported from students who were tattooed. However, they point out that it might be too early to detect hepatitis B, hepatitis C or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) contracted through the tattooing procedure.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2002;77:29-34

AIDS drug is beneficial to breast cancer patients

An AIDS drug proves beneficial to breast cancer patients report researchers in Hong Kong. They discovered this anti-viral drug helps reduce the risk of reactivating the hepatitis B virus in women who are being treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer.

"In several developing countries, as many as 12 percent of breast cancer patients carry the hepatitis B virus. These patients are at risk of developing HBV reactivation during chemotherapy, which is a well-known complication resulting in varying degrees of liver damage that may lead to death," says Winnie Yeo, M.D., a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Yeo explains that chemotherapy suppresses the immune system, which allows for the HBV to replicate and spread through the blood stream. After chemotherapy is completed, the immune system recovers, and its attempt to clear HBV causes flare-ups of the virus.

She finds the anti-viral drug lamivudine can reduce the risk of HBV reactivation during and after chemotherapy. This drug was initially used for treating HIV in AIDS patients.

Dr. Yeo's study compared incidence of HBV reactivation between chemotherapy patients receiving lamivudine and a control group. Only 7 percent of the chemotherapy patients taking lamivudine suffered HBV reactivation compared to 41 percent in the control group.

"These results show very clearly that prophylactic lamivudine significantly reduces the incidence of both HBV reactivation and hepatitis. Therefore, I propose that breast cancer patients who are hepatitis B carriers should have anti-viral treatment before the start of chemotherapy," concludes Dr. Yeo.

SOURCE: 4th Annual European Breast Cancer Conference in Hamburg, Germany, March 16-20, 2004

Is Donated Tissue Dangerous?

Testing to make blood transfusions safer has been extensively done. But what about testing tissue donations? A new study shows the measures done to check for viruses such as hepatitis B or human immunodeficiency virus in tissue donations are effective, but could be improved.

Tissue banks in the United States collect, process and distribute a variety of tissues including heart valves, venous tissue, bone, bone-derived products, and connective tissues. Researchers from the American Red Cross conducted a study to look at testing procedures to reduce the risk of transmission of viral infections from tissue grafts.

For the research, investigators examined 11,391 tissue donations from five tissue banks in the United States. Researchers looked at the rates of prevalence of hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV, and human T-lymphotrophic virus among tissue donors. The probability of the virus undetected by screening at the time of the donation was estimated based on the window periods for each infection.

The prevalence of confirmed positive tests among tissue donors was 1 percent or less for each of the viruses. The estimated probability of a virus at the time of donation ranged from 1 in 55,000 for HIV to 1 in 128,000 for HTLV.

Researchers conclude the prevalence rates for the four infections are lower among tissue donors than in the general population. However, the estimated undetected virus at the time of donation is higher among tissue donors than first-time blood donors. Study authors say while the current measures to detect viruses in tissue donations are effective, improvements can be made. They recommend adding a nucleic acid amplification test to reduce the numbers even more. They say that test costs about $5 per product.

SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2004;351:751-759

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Glycemic Index of Common Foods

Foods have a GI rating between 1 and 100. Glucose (sugar) is 100 because it causes blood glucose to rise rapidly – within 30 minutes of eating. Different foods need to be specifically measured for their GI rating (individual brands of the same food can vary). These are some foods that tend to fall into the different categories of GI.

LOW (below 55)

• Fruit: apples, grapefruit
• Vegetables: all legumes, such as chickpeas, kidney beans; sweet potatoes
• Cereals and grains: oatmeal with milk, rolled oats, oat bran, granary bread, mixed grain bread, wheat tortilla, pasta, instant noodles
• Snacks and desserts: peanuts, milk chocolate, yogurt
• Beverages: milk

MEDIUM (55-70)

• Fruit: melons, pineapples
• Vegetables: corn, beets, new potatoes
• Cereals and grains: muesli, instant hot oatmeal, grape nuts, wholemeal bread, rye bread, croissants, brown rice, couscous
• Snacks and deserts: plain cookies, muesli bars, ice cream
• Beverages: cranberry juice

HIGH (over 70)

• Fruit: dates, watermelons
• Vegetables: parsnips, broad beans, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes
• Cereals and grains: cornflakes, puffed rice cereal, wheat biscuit cereal, bagels, brownwhite bread, instant rice
• Snacks and desserts: rice cakes, jelly beans, doughnuts
• Beverages: glucose drink

How You Can Adjust Recipes For Diabetes

Soups – using more vegetables will increase fiber content. Fat content can be reduced by adding low-fat yogurt rather than cream.

Cheese-based appetizers – try using goat cheese or feta cheese, which have a lower fat content than cow’s milk cheese.

Savory nibbles – Lightly brush oil onto spring rolls, filo pastry snacks, or cheese in breadcrumbs, and bake rather than deep-fry them.

Mince dishes – pre-cook ground beef or lamb to drain off some of the fat. Meat substitutes or soy both contain less fat.

Pies – use a very thin layer of pastry or make a potato topping instead of pastry; try adding herbs or chopped scallions to a mashed potato topping as an alternative to butter.

Casseroles – replace a proportion of the meat in a recipe with vegetables.

Pasta dishes – tomato-based sauces are healthier than cream-based sauces.

Mayonnaise – try a combination of natural yogurt and low-fat crème fraiche instated of mayonnaise, which is high in fat.

Tiramisu – try making this with virtually fat-free fromage frais and reduced fat cream cheese in equal quantities instead of eggs and mascarpone cheese. You can still add a small amount of sugar.

Cheesecake – opt for low-fat soft cheese, add fresh fruit, and decorate with grated orange or lemon rind rather than cream.

Crumble – use oats or whole wheat flour for the crumble, and use more fruit filling and less crumble topping.

Custard – use skim rather than whole milk and instead of using sugar, add an artificial sweetener after cooking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Protein and what it does

Our skin, hair, nails, tendons, muscles, and cartilages form the 20 percent protein of our body’s composition. Proteins are needed for building and replacing body cells and for production of hormones and enzymes. The body can’t stockpile extra protein, so you need to eat it every day. Keep your protein lean, and eat according to appetite.

Oils and fats

It’s not just the quantity of fat in your diet – the type of fat in your diet can make a big difference to your health. It’s important to include good fats, and cut back on foods high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids. Focus on monounsaturated and omega-3 fats.

Eat plenty of nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados, to gain unsaturated fats. Other fats, called essential fatty acids, can’t be made by the body, so have to be obtained through diet. The best of these healthy fats are from seafood, polyunsaturated oil, linseed, mustard seed oil, and canola oil.

Minimize saturated fats and oils including: Fatty meats, sausages, salami, full-fat dairy products, potato crisps, cakes, cookies, pastries, pizza, and deep-fried foods, such as French fries, and fried chicken. Look for products low in saturated fat, rather than just low fat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Benefits of Physical Activity

An active lifestyle helps your body work more efficiently, benefiting both your general health and your diabetes. It can also help you lose weight. Building more activity into your daily life is an important part of managing your diabetes.

My doctor keeps telling me that I should be more active – why?

Regular activity helps insulin you have produced or injected work more efficiently. Being more active won’t make your diabetes go away, but it can go a long way to helping you manage it. Another advantage is that it helps you stay at a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to.

How much physical activity do I need to do before I feel the benefits?

Any activity that raises your heart rate or makes you slightly out of breath will bring benefits. This doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym or doing strenuous activity. Activities such as dancing or walking briskly burn calories and help your circulation. The amount of activity to aim for is at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week. This will help you lose weight, regulate your blood glucose level, and reduce your risk of the long-term complications of diabetes.

How quickly can physical activity help me lose weight?

If you combine regular physical activity with eating fewer calories, you may be able to lose 1-2lb (about 0.5kg) a week. Doing more physical activity can stimulate your appetite, so you may be tempted to eat high-calorie food if you feel hungry after activity. Snacking on low-calorie foods such as chopped raw vegetables or fruit will help you avoid too many calories. Your body will adjust to extra activity and expect less food as you lose weight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A History of Nutrition


From the very earliest days of civilization, nutrition has formed the backbone of healthcare. Obtaining and eating food consumed most of early human’s time, and food and herbs were our first medicine, used to treat a large number of conditions ranging from wounds and insect bites to infection. It became clear that food had powerful healing effects, and that a varied diet, rich in natural ingredients, was a prerequisite for good health. From that time, diet became a fundamental part of most therapies, and an integral element in almost all of the others.

18th Century

In the 18th century, English sailors were given lime or lemon juice in order to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C, which occurred as a result of long periods of time away at sea without fresh fruit or vegetables.

19th Century

In the late 19th century, naturopaths drew attention to the use of food and its nutritional elements as medicine, a concept that was not new, but which had not been acknowledged as a therapy in its own right until that time. Naturopaths used nutrition and fasting to cleanse the body, and to encourage its ability to heal itself. As knowledge about food, its makeup, and the effects it ahs on our body became greater with the development of biochemistry, the first nutritional specialists undertook to treat specific ailments and symptoms with the components of food.

20th century

By the middle of the 20th century, scientists had put together a profile of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals, which were essential to life and to health. More than 40 nutrients were uncovered, including 13 vitamins. It was discovered that minerals were needed for body functions, and a new understanding of the body and its biochemistry fed the growing interest in the subject. In the 1960s, physicians began to treat patients with special diets and supplements, prescribed according to individual symptoms, problems, and needs, but while conventional medical physicians still discussed nutrition in terms of basic food groups, nutritionists were prescribing vitamins in megadoses. Other elements and compounds were soon identified as necessary to human life, and we are now able to purchase and take substances like amino acids; bee pollen; lipids, such as evening primrose oil and cod liver oil; and seaweeds, acidophilus (healthy bacteria), and dietary enzymes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A drug for Cancer Can Benefit Lupus Patients

A drug used to fight cancer may also be used to treat some forms of lupus. New research shows rituximab (Rituxan) can benefit lupus patients who have complications of the nervous system.

Rheumatologists from the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University announced the findings at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Vienna, Austria. They say rituximab is the first drug in 25 years to make a real difference for lupus patients, and it's an alternative to treatments like high-dose steroids and chemotherapy.

Lupus is a disorder of the immune system where the body attacks itself, causing pain, inflammation, and damage to many organs. When the central nervous system is affected, the disease can lead to psychological and neurological problems.

"I spent considerable time with oncologists and saw how the drug works in patients with non-Hodgkins lymphoma," says clinical professor Michael Neuwelt, from the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University. "Patients with blood disorders of lupus and severe complications of the central nervous system (CNS) also surprisingly improved."

The findings come just as the biggest study of its kind shows rituximab is safe and effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Those results were also announced at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Vienna, Austria.

SOURCE: The Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Vienna, Austria, June 8-11, 2005

Chef's Corner: Spicy and Healthy!

Spices add a lot of flavor to food -- they also pack a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition. Now, there is a new way to turn up the sizzle in the kitchen and increase your body's natural defenses.

The Five Spice Café in Burlington, Vt., where the food is spicy and the kitchen is sizzling, is a home away from home for owner Ginger Hobbs. "I love the food and I want to share that love. I try to follow natural things that we can eat to make us healthier."

Mixed greens, beets, carrots and cucumbers pack a healthy punch into this simple salad. Ginger says, "Beets are loaded with vitamin A and all kinds of nutrition." Carrots also add vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that regulates the immune system and fights off infections.

For the spicy main course, Ginger is cooking up Thai ginger chicken. First, start with a hot wok and a little bit of oil. Add chicken, chili paste, fresh ginger, candied ginger, pea pods, bamboo shoots, and celery. This combination is also a powerful medicine. The spice ginger helps nausea, arthritis, and headaches and may also lower cholesterol and prevent blood clots.

Ginger says, "I'm committed to this food, to this kind of nutrition, to getting so many flavors." And that's the spice of life that keeps Ginger going. Spices are a staple in Ginger's dishes -- as they are in most Asian cuisine.

This article was reported by, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to:

Second Time's a Charm for Arthritis Treatment

The future may seem bleak for some arthritis patients for whom treatment with the drug methotrexate fails. A new study, however, offers some hope. Researchers from Austria report finding that for some patients, a second course of treatment with the commonly used medication can be successful.

Physicians from the Medical University of Vienna recruited 79 patients who had ceased treatment with methotrexate due to lack of response or adverse effects and who then tried the treatment again for at least a year. More than half of the patients reported success after trying the drug for a second time. Of those who stopped the first time because of ineffectiveness, 45 percent showed success the second time, and nearly 67 percent of those who originally had adverse effects showed improvement with the repeat treatment.

Those patients who used low dose methotrexate the first time showed the highest percentage of improvement.

Researchers say, "Reconsidering the use of methotrexate seems to be a rational approach if there was no major toxicity during the previous course of methotrexate." They add, "This therapeutic option may be valuable in patients whom other therapies, especially biologicals, cannot be used or have proven insufficiently effective."

According to the Arthritis Foundation, in 2005, nearly 43 million Americans were suffering from diagnosed arthritis. Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation's leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15.

SOURCE: Arthritis Research and Therapy, 2006;8:R46

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tasty Tips to Lose Weight This Holiday Season

The word diet has come to leave a bad taste in our mouths. But there are some tasty tips that could get you out of the diet doldrums and into your favorite jeans this holiday season.

For three weeks we put these women to the test. There are some surprising food choices when it comes to counting calories. Cocoa Puffs or Vanilla Almond Crunch? It's okay to be cookoo for Cocoa Puffs. One cup has 120 calories compared to a cup of crunch at 266.

Adding Tabasco sauce or anything with chili peppers revs up your metabolism. An open face sandwich can save you 80 to 100 calories a day. That's nearly 700 calories a week.

"I cut out all the in between snacking and after dinner snacking," weight loss participant Gwendolyn Graham told Ivanhoe.

Veggie chips sound good but calorie-wise they're just about even with potato chips.

Many of us tend to eat fast. A timer can help you pace through your meal. "I tried to take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes," weight loss participant Freda Coppa said. The added time can reduce calories by 180 a day.

The buzz on sweets, instead of eating one four-inch chocolate chip cookie, savor four one-inch dark chocolate pieces. They're filled with disease-fighting antioxidants. Plus you will save about 120 calories.

"The word diet never came into the picture. It was just something here and there, little slight changes here and there that did the trick," weight loss participant Lila Jean Trivisonno said.

After three weeks all three women lost at least five pounds and can now zip up those favorite jeans. "I tried them on and I was so excited I was almost in tears," said Coppa.

Source: Ivanhoe News

Friday, December 3, 2010

Multivitamins & Kids

If you have young children, you know how easily the dinner table can become a battlefield. Getting kids to eat well is often a struggle, and parents worry that a chronically poor diet will jeopardize their child's health. One nutrition expert has a simple solution to your mealtime woes.

Meet Jack, Lucy and Anna. They're 3-year-old triplets with three distinct appetites. Jack is the pickiest.

Their mother, Heather Binks Lang, explains, "He will eat cereal bars, cheese, yogurt, and he will eat very few meats and vegetables."

Heather has little time for negotiating with the triplets and big brother Jeffrey. For peace of mind, she gives them a daily multivitamin supplement.

"One week they'll be eating well, the next week they're not eating. It just makes sense for me to keep them all on the vitamins all the time," says Heather.

Susan Roberts, Ph.D., a nutritionist at Tufts University in Boston, says multivitamins are actually a good idea for most kids. "Research shows that about 50 percent of kids are missing one of the big five nutrients -- vitamin B6, vitamin A, calcium, iron or zinc."

Should parents choose a supplement with extra iron or calcium? Roberts says no. "What you need to look for is the vitamins that call themselves complete because that means they have vitamins and minerals and a good spectrum of both," she says.

Her bottom-line advice for parents is: If your child is picky, consider a supplement. However, more importantly, encourage a variety of real foods.

Roberts warns parents not to go overboard on fortified foods. Fortified foods are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and too much iron can be toxic to young children.

Source: Ivanhoe News

USANA Vitamins Usanimals provides nutritional support for growing children, Offers range of antioxidant nutrients, and is free of artificial flavors and sweeteners. USANA Usanimals provides one of the best antioxidant complexes available among children’s supplements.

Alternative Approach for Behavioral Disorder

Parents are often hesitant to put their child on medication for behavioral problems. Reasons range from side effects to doubting the diagnosis. However, there are some alternatives to look into.

At age 5, Clayton Lewis couldn't sit still at preschool. His mother, Sue, agreed to try the generic form of Ritalin. But things got worse. "He would go from being laughing and happy one minute to being a screaming, physical, fighting child," she says.

While Ritalin is effective for a large percentage of children, there's a group like Clayton who react negatively.

"They have some other medical condition or educational learning problem going on that needs to be evaluated, " explains osteopath, Mary Ann Block, D.O.

Dr. Block says the outward signs are the same as what is called ADD, but it's the cause that's being overlooked. She says an estimated 80 to 90 percent of children she sees have nutritional deficiencies or allergies that cause behavioral problems.

"Get them on the right kind of diet. Supplement them with vitamins and minerals so their bodies can work properly," says Dr. Block

Clayton took medication for five years. Then Sue found Dr. Block. "They tested 13 foods, and he was allergic to 12 of the 13 and highly allergic to 9 of them," says Sue.

He now avoids certain foods, gets allergy shots, takes eight vitamins a day and no drugs.

Clayton says, "Life is a lot more fun now, a lot more fun."

Linda Lachapell, R.N., is a 20-year veteran of school nursing. She used to see two to three kids on medication a day. That's changed. "Last year I had 38 students," she says.

That's high, but not as high as other schools. Dennis Rosen, M.D. pioneered a unique idea -- he makes "rounds" at school.

"I think children are more open, more able to communicate in the school setting. This is their world," says Dr. Rosen, a developmental pediatrician at Medical West Associates in Amherst, Massachusetts. While on rounds, he meets with teachers, parents and guidance counselors to best determine a child's needs.

Parents like Mariah Levine appreciate the approach. "I think that it has given everybody the full picture of who Ryan is and what he's all about," she says.

Mariah's son, Ryan, takes medication, and Dr. Rosen keeps tabs on him to make sure it works at home and school.

Dr. Rosen urges other pediatricians to get out of the office and into schools. "If physicians can learn how to be flexible in the way they use their time they can assume these roles," he says. He feels like his alternative approach ultimately leads to more effective treatment.

Dr. Rosen spends about five hours a week making "school calls." He says one more benefit of this hands-on approach is that the children come to understand their disorder much better.

© Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. November 2000

Better Looking Skin

Age and years in the sun can do damage to skin, causing injury to the skin cells and wrinkles. Traditional correctional treatments damage the skin and allow it to heal. In fact, the laser procedure uses extreme heat that can sometimes cause too much damage, changing the skin's pigment. Now there is a new way that some doctors say is safer.

Two years ago at the age of 45, Vicki Kapitan began to notice what years in the sun had done to her skin. "I would have liked to be tan without skin damage, but that was not a possibility," says Vicki.

After seeing the damage, Vicki volunteered to try a new procedure to treat wrinkles and sun damage.

"People who have been in the sun a lot, when you look at their skin under the microscope, have a layer of damaged tissue," says Whitney Tope, M.D., a dermatologist at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Dr. Tope used a procedure called electrosurgical facial resurfacing to remove the damaged tissue on Vicki's face. Unlike traditional procedures that rely on extreme heat, the new procedure uses low radiofrequency energy. He says it's safer, leaves fewer scars and requires less healing time.

"We think at this point that this does have less chance of causing scarring, the reason being that lesser heating injury occurs," says Dr. Tope.

Before-and-after pictures show improvement just three months after Vicki's first treatment.

Vicki says, "I had lots of sun damage throughout my whole face from spending years in the sun, and it took off age spots that were on my face and along my eyes."

Despite the chages it makes, electrosurgical facial resurfacing won't give you the look of baby skin. Dr. Tope says, "I don't think you could say it takes you quite that far back, but it certainly will set the clock back."

Today Vicki can look in the mirror without make-up and be happy with what she sees. "I don't look any older than I did two years ago," she says.

Because the equipment to do electrosurgical facial resurfacing is less expensive than older treatments, it is available to people in areas that are more rural. Since treatment is usually considered cosmetic, it is not covered by insurance.

©Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. March 2001

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Alzheimer’s Awaits

As many as 4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. The older you get, the greater your risk. Though controversial, DNA testing may be able to predict whether or not you’re at risk for the disease. Would you really want to know if you were?

Doctors predict 10 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2040. And time isn’t stopping for anyone.

If you could find out you were going to be next, would you want to know?

"We now have good ideas about how we might be able to prevent the development or even stop the development of this disease," says neurologist Norman Foster, M.D.

Recently, researchers offered more than 250 high-risk people a DNA test to measure their chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Only 21 agreed to take it.

In the future, that knowledge could be beneficial. That is, if preventative treatments like the one being studied by Dr. Foster at the University of Michigan prove successful.

"Use of high dose vitamin E can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease," says Dr. Foster

Neurologist Neill Graf-Radford, M.D., from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is looking to anti-inflammatories, like the ones taken by arthritis patients, to slow the disease.

"There are several studies showing that those with arthritis seem to have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s," says Graf-Radford.

Bill Scarborough is in that study. He says, "I go out the front door and get to the garage and say to myself, ’What am I doing out here?’"

His wife Sara is hopeful.

"It’s in his family and we have kids that we love too that we want to - maybe this will help them not to have it," she says.

Together, they are facing the possibility of the disease head on.

Twelve of the 21 patients who took the DNA test had positive DNA results for developing Alzheimer’s. After the testing, researchers say only one patient reported being depressed while two others reported anxiety. More than half found it beneficial.

Source: Ivanhoe News

Mothers and Children Vitamins

Mothers who are health conscious and take multivitamin supplements are the ones most likely to give their daughters vitamins. Now a new study reveals some other commonalities.

The study published in the current issue of Pediatrics tries to explain why some women give their children vitamins. In 1980, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that, with a few exceptions, "children do not need multivitamin supplements." Despite these guidelines, studies show about half of 4- to 8-year-old children are given supplements.

Mothers who give their daughters multivitamin supplements are more likely to:

Take supplements on their own
Pressure their daughters to eat healthy
Monitor their daughter's intake of food
Be successful at dieting

None of the research pointed to mothers giving their daughters supplements to make up for a lack of vitamins or minerals in their diets. Instead, the researchers write, "The pattern of findings suggests that mothers who gave multivitamin supplements to their daughters may have been attempting to address perceived, rather than real, shortcomings in their own and their daughters' diets."

In this study of 192 mother and daughter pairs, 55 percent of mothers were taking supplements and 44 percent of 5-year olds were taking them. The researchers conclude mothers should be encouraged to promote even healthier habits for their daughters, instead of offering them supplements.

SOURCE: Pediatrics 2002;109

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Books Advise On The Healthy Eating

If you’re seeking advice about the right foods to eat, the good news is that there are many books on the subject. The bad news is there are as many opinions as there are authors. Experts abound on the subject of eating -- after all, we’ve all been practicing eaters our entire lives. Then the doctors get involved, and it really gets complicated. What a surprise then that it’s a doctor, and one from Harvard Medical School no less, who brings us a commonsense, practical and easily understandable guide to healthy eating.

In "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating," Dr. Walter C. Willett and the Harvard School of Public Health present the conclusions of the most up-to-the-date research in a way that makes sense. Not only that, it seems pretty reasonable when they explain it. Most of it’s not news, but in this book facts come together in a way that is useful and compelling. You’ll not only understand the changes you need to make, you’ll want to make them tomorrow.

Dr. Willett and his team promise the information "will substantially improve your chances of remaining healthy and active to an old age." Though by definition you can’t get your personal proof for years, there are two compelling motivators to take the advice to heart. First, it just makes so much sense. It’s some of the stuff you’ve always known and some of the stuff you’ve heard about but haven’t understood until now. The bigger motivator may be this -- most of the advice isn’t all that hard to take. According the Harvard boys, you can drink your coffee, enjoy a glass of wine, and even eat some high-fat foods.

Early on the in the book, the USDA Pyramid is vilified as a big part of the problem. Willett refers to it as "wishy-washy, scientifically unfounded advice." That is one of his kinder descriptions. He goes on to say that the "misinformation contributes to overweight, poor health, and unnecessary early deaths." "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" debunks the worst of the USDA’s advice. All fat is not bad, all carbohydrates are not good, and dairy products are not essential (they’re not even all that good for you). In perhaps his most damning comment, Willett says:

"The thing to keep in mind about the USDA Pyramid is that it comes from the Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for promoting American agriculture, not from agencies established to monitor and protect our health ... You deserve more accurate, less biased, and more helpful information."

Willet explains how tough it is to synthesize the research on human eating and its impact. As he points out, we don’t eat ’people chow’ day in and day out. Accurately tracking dietary intake and the results is a real challenge. At this point he’s convinced there’s enough hard data for the book to include solid conclusions, and they’re all backed by references to specific research.

The core of the book is the Harvard team’s list of the seven healthiest changes to make. Their first advice -- watch your weight. According to the book, it may actually be true that you can’t be too thin. That’s tough to read for all but that small group of very thin people who either possess tremendous discipline or super-hyped metabolism. But you’ve really always known it. From reading the book, we’re more convinced of the link between weight and health. There are no new secrets about how to lose weight and maintain a lower weight (does diet and exercise ring a bell?). But there is a clarifying explanation of how and why trying to eat less fat has made us fatter.

Which leads to point number two. According to the book, we’re supposed to eat fat, just not most of the types of fat we’re offered. There are good fats and bad fats, and in this book you’ll learn which are which. Olive oil and canola oil are low in saturated fat, and the fatty types of fish, nuts, and even peanut butter all contain fats that are good for you. As long as you remember that first point about your weight, eating the right kind of fat is a necessary (and enjoyable) part of a healthy diet. Life is good!

On the other hand, watch out for the saturated fats, like those found in high levels in dairy and beef products. Even worse are the trans fats. Dr. Willett will have you pulling things out of your pantry reading labels, looking for the tell-tale signs of the dreaded trans fats (like partially hydrogenated oils). You may be surprised, and dismayed, by how often you’ll find this on the ingredients lists for processed foods.

The other key points are standards made new. Eat grains, but replace your refined grains with whole grains. Choose chicken (or nuts) instead of beef. Eat your fruits and veggies, and kiss those potatoes goodbye. Take a vitamin every day. Again, Willett takes information you already knew and gives it better definition and more logic. And the book doesn’t preach extremes; there aren’t many always and nevers in the recommendations. Moderation is the key.

Which leads to what may be the most controversial of his seven pieces of advice -- Willett advises alcohol in moderation as being healthier than abstinence. Now of course you aren’t advised to start drinking if you don’t drink now, and all the many concerns about overuse of alcohol are presented. But the research suggests that one to two drinks a day is actually good for you.

On the downside, Willett and his team get a little high-handed at times. Willett’s own expertise is overplayed, and there is a sense of superiority in the book that can be off-putting. You know those Harvard types. But my advice is to get your serving of "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" at your next trip to the bookstore. There might be a good reason for the attitude. Their advice makes a lot of sense.

Source: Ivanhoe News

USANA's shakes and bars are the best and convenient with great tasting. They provide your body with the nourishment it needs to get through stressful workdays and long weekends. The USANA shakes also make for great meal replacements. USANA Vitamins and Nutrition Bar gives the extra energy you need to get through the day.

Steps to Ease Mammograms Discomfort

Recently there has been a great deal of controversy over the benefits of mammograms. The question has been: Do they really save lives? A study in The Lancet announced mammograms are responsible for a 21-percent decrease in breast cancer deaths. Still, many women avoid mammograms because of the pain. There are steps you can take, however, to ease the discomfort.

It pinches. It pulls. It squeezes.

It's true -- mammograms can be a real pain, but the test that lasts a few seconds can reveal potentially deadly cancers when they're tiny, and easier to treat. Now a growing number of imaging centers are using a special foam pad to take some of the pinch out of the process.

"What we want to do is try to take away one more barrier to getting a mammogram, because pain is one of the reasons that women don't come back for a mammogram," diagnostic radiologist stated.

It's called The Woman's Touch MammoPad breast cushion, a specially-designed foam cushion that's invisible on X-rays. The cushion is just one way to get a more comfortable test. When scheduling your appointment, remember timing is everything.

You should try to schedule your mammogram for the week after your period.

Some doctors believe taking vitamin E daily starting two weeks before a mammogram can ease breast discomfort. To reduce breast fullness, limit the amount of salt and caffeine in your diet a week before your mammogram. Finally, an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen can be taken an hour before the exam.

The bottom line -- a few seconds of discomfort is a small price to pay for the chance to find cancer early.

The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40 and older have a mammogram every year. If you're concerned about discomfort during the mammogram, talk to your doctor about what pain control method is best for you.