Archive for February, 2009

DOCTOR IS IN: African-Americans, thy enemy is heart disease

By William A. Cooper, MD

You may know this already: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. For the African-American community, heart disease takes an even greater toll, more so than any other racial and ethnic group.

Did you know that while the mortality rate for white Americans has declined by 20 percent in recent years, the decrease has been only 13 percent for African Americans? In addition, African Americans have a 40 percent higher chance of dying from coronary artery disease than whites.

You may know this too: the major risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, excessive body weight and physical inactivity.

Some people have already accepted that heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are just a way of life in the African-American community. Perhaps your parents had high blood pressure and died young. Or everyone in the family has diabetes. Maybe mom …

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Today’s special: Calories in menu

Will this make you thinner?

In July, New York City passed a regulation that required some chain restaurants to print information on how many calories its items carry in the menus and menu boards

The New York State Restaurant Association, a trade group representing 7,000 restaurants, soon filed an appeal against the regulation. A 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel said the rule is “a reasonable attempt to curb obesity,” according to the Associated Press report.
The trade group had argued that federal law gives restaurants discretion on whether to offer the nutritional information.

By Charles Yoo


Would you like to see the calorie info in the menus? What do you think?

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DOCTOR IS IN: In matters of heart, it’s not too late

Laurence Sperling, MD of EmoryBy Laurence Sperling, MD

Even after decades of unhealthy habits, the human body has an incredible ability to heal.

What has been your vice? Have been you a couch potato? Have you been overeating? Drinking too much? Smoking?

More than half of all Americans are seriously overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About 50 million smoke. So you are hardly alone.

Making healthy changes in diet and exercise can help ward off many future ills.

And, here’s one main reason why you should: Heart Disease.

A proper diet is one of the best ways to combat the No. 1 killer. Changing unhealthy eating habits and maintaining good ones greatly reduces your risk.

Yet, if you need to lose weight, you may be confused by all the hype about the best diets. There are simply too many. First, high-carbohydrate and low-fat diets were touted as the best for health and weight loss – but, more recently, low-carb diets have been making news.

Both sides in the low-carb and low-fat debate have …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Welcome

Wouldn’t it be great to hear from medical experts on things related to your heart condition? Your diabetes? Your stress?

Now you can.

A weekly feature in the Better Health blog, “Doctor Is In” brings top specialists in your backyard to your cubicle.

In partnership with Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta a seasoned physician each week will blog for ajc.com, keeping you informed of the things you might want to know to live a healthier life.

From sleeplessness to stroke, from erectile dysfunction to depression, the doctors will lead you to better choices for you and your loved ones. Help is only a double click away.

Feel free to submit your questions and comments. Hear what doctors have to say.

And, the doctor will now see you.

(Information provided by Emory on this site is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice …

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Should court ruling end autism debate?

What do you make of the court ruling that says vaccines are not the cause of autism in children. The ruling went against parents who believe that vaccinations caused the neurological disorder in their children.

Judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

If you recall, last fall federal health officials agreed that vaccines contributed to an autistic Georgia girl’s symptoms.(Hannah Poling, at left, with parents Jon and Terry Poling)

– By Fran Jeffries

Do you think this court ruling will now end the debate? Should it?

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Never too late to fall in love

In a recent article, writer Abigail Trafford talks about her recent ‘fall’ into love — the familiar symptoms; the pull in the stomach, the fluttering in the lungs, the obsessive longing. But Trafford isn’t 16 or 26, she’s pushing 60. She says that as you grow older, you realize you can love in many ways. “For most people, love is an agent of transformation. You may be in a 30-plus-year marriage, or in a new relationship. You may be smiling at a distant romantic memory or staring into the face of newborn grandchild. Or entering a different phase of love with a grown child. Or rediscovering an old friend. True love is a spreading-out thing. The Valentine crush is just the beginning, an awakening or reawakening of the passionate self — a reminder of the power of love and triumph of relationships, as time goes by.”

Are you in love? How do you define love? Tell us your love story.

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Pig-tissue transplant to cure diabetes?

A recent article says researchers at the Mayo Clinic are ready to propose transplanting living pig tissue into humans.

After decades of research and debate about the ethics and safety of putting living animal tissue into people, the first of such clinical research trials are within sight, according to researchers.

The pigs, like the one at left — raised on sterilized food and surroundings — will be used to provide insulin-producing cells for people who have diabetes. Researchers say diabetics can then produce as much insulin as they need.

What do you think of using pig-tissue in humans? Do you ask yourself “What’s next?”

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You are what your blood type is

Blood type books

Do blood types say something about your personality?
In Japan, some of the best selling books are about how blood type determines personality, according to a recent story.
“Type As are sensitive perfectionists but overanxious.”
“Type Bs are cheerful but eccentric and selfish.”
“Os are curious, generous but stubborn.”
“ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable.”
What is your blood type? What do you think about that?

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Stress diminishes judgment

Stressed?

Stressed

Depression. Insomnia. Weight gain. Now add poor judgment to the list of how stress affects your life.

Yes, we’ve turned into jugglers: a job, children, pets, dinner plans, visits to family, vacuuming the house. But, the bad news is that when we’re stressed, we don’t work at peak capacity.

That’s according to a new study on the effect of stress on the brain.
The latest report comes from New York’s Weill Medical College at Cornell and Rockefeller University, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“For the study, 20 medical students about to take board exams — all of them stressed — were examined via functional MRI, which measures flow of blood in the brain, as they performed different tasks,” according to the story. “Researchers compared the performance and brain function of the medical students with a group of similarly aged subjects who were not stressed. When put to two tasks that measured the ability to shift attention …

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Got coverage? Many do not.

umbrella

Losing your job is difficult enough, but losing health insurance doubles the catastrophe. In the past year, nearly 2 million jobs were lost in the United States, and with them, many employer health insurance benefits.

Now, the latest trend is that small businesses across the country are pulling health insurance for employees.


A Kaiser Family Foundation study examined the impact on the newly unemployed and their families.

(Read a previous story about surviving with no benefits.)

There are alternatives, of course. Some of the newly unemployed will use COBRA to fill the gap between jobs, and others will look into individual plans. But according the the Kaiser Family Foundation, half of those looking for work last year did so with no health insurance at all. (Check out the options. You have very few.)

Further surveys by Kaiser found that more people are postponing health care and the filling of prescriptions; putting off elective surgeries and diagnostic tests; and even cutting …

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