Health Headliners of the Week

  • As we do every week, we've culled the most important articles we brought you based on breaking stories from around the world that can help you and your family stay well. Whether you missed these items the first time they appeared or you caught them and could use a refresher, our goal is to help you stay up-to-date on medical research that can impact your life. Read on for our to stories from July 27th to August 2nd 2012.
  • Watch: Tricks to Beat Carb Cravings Here's another addition to our ThirdAge Video Collection. Press play to start learning!

    To see the video, click here.
  • Here’s the Dirt on Why Gardening Is Healthy for You

    By Judy Kirkwood

    You know gardening burns calories – an average of 300 calories per hour. Plus gardening promotes strength, endurance, and flexibility, depending on the task (raking, weeding, planting). The American Horticultural Therapy Association credits gardening with helping to retrain and develop muscles that improve coordination and balance. Research shows that just looking at a green scene lowers blood pressure and reduces stress (by reducing the hormone cortisol).

    To see the slideshow, click here.
  • Psychotherapy at Midlife Can Be Life-Affirming

    By Sherry Amatenstein, LSCW

    Midway through our first therapy session a woman I'll call Julie laughed ruefully: “Five years ago if you’d have told me I’d be seeing a shrink I’d have said you were nuts!” The 55-year-old mother of two college-bound teens added, “I still don’t know why I’m here, but I do know there’s this gnawing feeling there should be something more.” Julie is indicative of many of my patients who are facing life transitions – empty nest, career shifts, widowhood, divorce, age-related health issues – and seeking a purpose for their second half. Since statistics state a 50-year-old female has a life expectancy of 83, clearly there are miles and miles and miles to go till the fat lady sings. Making decisions about how to spend those decades can involve, among other tasks, coming to terms with past choices as well as weighing future ones.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • How to Manage Your Medications

    By Barbara Bronson Gray, RN

    It's so easy to make a mistake when you're taking just about any medication. Could your Claritin be interacting with your antibiotic? (Probably not.) Is it too early to grab another Tylenol? (Generally, you can take it every 4 hours; make a note of what time you're taking each dose). If you're juggling several medications, it can be especially challenging. It’s easy to forget when you're supposed to take each drug. And the more medications you have, the greater the chance of drug interactions creating side effects or diminishing the effectiveness of a medication.

    But there are a variety of things you can do to simplify your situation and make it easier to manage your medications:

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • Prostate Screening: Yes or No?

    By Jane Farrell

    Prostate cancer is a frightening disease for men and the women who love them. So doesn’t it seem indisputable that men should undergo the Protein Specific Antigen (PSA) screening test for this illness? Two studies that have just been published give very different answers.

    Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, NY, came down heavily in favor of PSA testing: They said this week that their findings indicate the early testing and subsequent treatment for the disease may prevent up to 17,000 metastatic cases of prostate cancer per year.

    On the other hand, a study earlier this month from the Harvard School of Public Health found that lifestyle changes – quitting smoking, exercising, losing weight, eating well – are likelier than treatment to prolong life in men who have been diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Journey Through Dementia

    By Elaine C. Pereira

    Christmas 2009

    On Christmas morning, I prompted my mom to join me in the kitchen so that we could begin dinner preparations. Company cauliflower was a long-standing holiday favorite. I got out the coveted recipe card and put it in the recipe holder that Mom had cross-stitched for me years before. I noticed that she was staring at the recipe.

    Then it hit me: Mom couldn’t process what the recipe instructions were telling her to do. It was mind numbing! This woman had taught high school calculus and now couldn’t read a simple amount like “a half cup of milk” and know what to get out or how much to pour.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • Robin Roberts Leaving GMA for Medical Reasons “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts is taking an early leave from the ABC morning show, saying that she feels fatigued because of a dangerous condition diagnosed after her bout with breast cancer. Roberts, 51, said on “GMA” that she isn’t “feeling too well” and that she needed a vacation to get ready for her bone-marrow transplant in late August or early September.

    In 2007, Roberts was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Earlier this year she said she was suffering from Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a disease of the blood and bone.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • Swallow a "Digital Pill" to Track Your Med Use In news that sounds like science fiction but that is definitely a fact, the FDA has approved a "swallobable sensor" that tracks your medication usage from inside your body. The sensor records the exact time you take your meds as well which ones you ingest.Obviously, this device will be especially useful for people with mild cognitive decline who have until now relied on post-it notes, calls from caregivers, or nudges from service animals to remind them about medication schedules and correct dosages.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • Seniors and Foodborne Illness Foodborne illness is a serious problem in the U.S. A staggering 76 million people get sick each year from eating contaminated food, and 5,000 die. And seniors are especially vulnerable, according to NIH SeniorHealth, a division of the National Institutes of Health that focuses on older people. The reasons: less stomach acid, which makes it harder to get rid of harmful bacteria like E.coli and salmonella; slowed-down digestion, allowing the bacteria to stay longer in the system; and a weaker sense of taste and smell, which might otherwise warn us away from doubtful food. (In addition to bacteria, parasites and viruses may also cause illness.) Overall, the number of cases is increasing because we tend to eat out more often and have no control over how our food is prepared; our food is also transported to us over longer distances and more resistant bacteria may contaminate it. Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, summer brings great risks because of the often dicey circumstances of outdoor food preparation and storage.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.
  • Regaining Emotional Health After Pet Loss

    By Teri Borseti

    The loss of a pet can be a traumatic experience for people of any age, but for empty nesters the experience can be particularly difficult. Most families choose to adopt a dog or cat when their children are young. Pets quickly become part of the family and grow up with the kids. Then before we know it, our offspring are leaving their furry friends behind to head off to college. In some homes when this occurs, pets actually move up a notch and become the empty nesters' babies. The animals are fawned over and spoiled and become the focus of the house. But it isn’t uncommon to lose a pet around the same time the kids go off to start their own lives, and that can be a devastating loss.

    To read the rest of the article, click here.