Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can't, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Beets, Raw and Cooked

Beets are available year-round, but the best time to buy them is June through October, when they are at their most tender. Look for unblemished bulbs with sturdy, unwilted greens. In addition to the usual red variety, you may find beautiful golden beets, and pink-and-white striated Chioggia beets. Unless a red color is important to the dish, either type can be used interchangeably with red beets.

~Martha Rose Shulman

Spinach Salad With Red and Chioggia Beets, Quinoa and Walnuts

This is one of those salads where the grain enhances texture and adds a nutritional punch, but isn't what the salad is about. It's about beets and spinach.

Shredded Beet and Radish Slaw With Rice Noodles

If you do want to wrap this salad, I suggest wrapping it in romaine lettuce leaves.

Stir-Fried Beet Greens, Tofu and Beets

The greens should be crisp-tender.

Beet and Chia Pancakes

It's important to purée the roasted beets until they're really smooth; I found using a powerful hand blender was more effective for this than my food processor.

Seared Fish With Beet Salsa

The sweet crunch of the apple contributes texture and juice to the tangy/pungent salsa, which is delicious with all sorts of foods, not just fish.

General Medicine/Family Medical

Docs Urged to Treat Unhealthy Habits
by Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Target problems like smoking, poor eating and being overweight, heart association says

Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors need to treat patients' unhealthy lifestyle habits -- such as smoking, poor eating and being overweight -- as aggressively as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, a new American Heart Association policy statement says.

As part of this approach, doctors need to implement "five A's" when caring for patients: assess their risk behaviors for heart disease; advise change, such as weight loss or exercise; agree on an action plan; assist with treatment; and arrange for follow-up care.

Whites at Highest Risk for Irregular Heart Rhythm, Study Finds
by Robert Preidt, HealthDay

It's possible that a gene in European ancestry is linked to atrial fibrillation, researcher says

Whites are more likely than other racial or ethnic groups in the United States to develop a common heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, a new study finds.

The condition -- caused by a problem in the heart's electrical system -- can cause symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. It can also raise the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure. Research shows that people older than 40 have a 26 percent lifetime risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

Even Minor Strokes May Take Years Off Life: Study
by Denise Mann HealthDay

Prevention is crucial, neurologists agree

Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Despite life-saving advances in treating strokes, these "brain attacks" can shave years off of a person's life and seriously impair the quality of the years they have left, a new study shows.

The damage is most pronounced after a severe stroke, but even those people who have a so-called mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at risk. The new findings appear online in the Oct. 9 issue of the journal Neurology.

Controversial Treatment May Not Help MS Patients
by Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Study appears to refute theory of blocked neck veins as cause of multiple sclerosis

Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A theory claiming that multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by the narrowing of veins in the neck appears to be unfounded, Canadian researchers report.

Called "chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency" (CCSVI), Dr. Paolo Zamboni, from the University of Ferrara, in Italy, first proposed the idea in 2009. It soon caught the attention of many MS sufferers in search of a cure.

Chronic Exposure to Airplane Noise May Harm Heart
by Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Levels of heart disease, stroke rose along with exposure, researchers say

Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- People who put up with the constant roar of aircraft overhead may be at higher risk for heart disease, two new studies suggest.

In one study, British researchers compared rates of stroke and heart disease among 3.6 million people who lived near London's sprawling Heathrow airport, one of the busiest transit hubs in the world.

The results showed that these people were at heightened risk for death and hospitalization from heart issues. The risk was highest among the 2 percent of the study population exposed to the highest daytime and night-time levels of aircraft noise, the team said.

Type 1 Diabetes and Insulin-Producing Cells
by Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Finding indicates these cells could possibly be replenished, researchers say

Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Most people with type 1 diabetes still have active insulin-producing cells in their pancreas, a new study shows.

The finding suggests it may be possible one day to preserve or replenish these cells.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system destroys insulin-producing beta cells, and it was believed that all these cells were lost within a few years of developing the disease.

The Steady Rise in Thyroid Cancer
by Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Researchers still baffled by tripling of cases over 30 years

Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Better detection alone doesn't explain the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer cases seen in the United States over the past three decades, a new study says.

Researchers who looked at records for more than 200 patients were unable to show that advances in screening are behind the jump in thyroid cancer cases as some specialists believe.

Appendix Removal Isn't Riskier on Weekend:
by Robert Preidt, HealthDay

But the bill you get afterward might be a bit higher

Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Having your appendix removed on a weekend is as safe as having the surgery on a weekday, but you may end up paying more, a new study shows.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons in Washington, D.C.

"From what we can see, there's no difference in the quality of patient care between weekend and weekday admissions of patients who have an appendectomy," study author Dr. John Afthinos, a surgeon at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said in a college news release.

1 in 10 Young Adults Admits to Sexual Violence
by Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Violent pornography may be partially to blame, researcher says

Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in 10 teenagers and young adults has coerced or forced a peer to engage in some form of sexual activity, and violent pornography is partly to blame, according to a new study.

The study of more than 1,000 young people aged 14 to 21 found that 9 percent reported forcing or pressuring a peer to engage in sexual activity. They admitted to coercive sex, sexual assault and rape, most often involving a romantic partner.

Perpetrators were five times more likely to have been exposed to X-rated media that showed a person being physically hurt during sex, the study found.


Salmonella Outbreak Traced to Chicken

Raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California has been identified as the cause of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 278 people in 18 states since March, according to federal officials.

Consumers need to cook chicken thoroughly and take other precautions in order to prevent illness, the Department of Agriculture said Monday. The chicken was distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington state and most of the illnesses have occurred in California, the Associated Press reported.

Weight-Loss Supplement Tied to Liver Failure Cases

Consumers should stop using the OxyElite Pro weight-loss supplement because a number of people in Hawaii who used the product have developed hepatitis, U.S. health officials say.

In Hawaii, the state health department is investigating 29 cases of hepatitis that resulted in 11 hospitalizations, two liver transplants and one death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating whether the product is linked to other cases of hepatitis nationwide, USA Today reported.

Health care providers, public health agencies and emergency departments should watch for patients who develop acute hepatitis or liver failure after they use a weight-loss or muscle-building dietary supplement, the CDC advised.

Cancer Drug Nexavar Tied to Pancreas Damage
by Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Pancreas shrank by up to one-third in case studies following long-term use

Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The cancer drug sorafenib, known by its trade name Nexavar, could have a toxic effect on the pancreas of patients who take it for extended periods.

Sorafenib works by inhibiting or halting the creation of new blood vessels into a tumor. It is mainly used to treat liver and kidney cancer, and is being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for thyroid cancer.

Seasonal Flu/Preventable Diseases/Other Epidemics/Disasters

Second Dose of Vaccine Cuts Chickenpox Cases Even More, Study Finds
by Serena Gordon HealthDay

Kids and adults benefit from children receiving both recommended immunizations, researcher says

Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Two doses of chickenpox vaccine are better than one, new research confirms.

After the introduction of the second dose of chickenpox vaccine, the rates of chickenpox infection dropped 76 percent and 67 percent at two U.S. sites tracked for the study on opposite sides of the country.

Rates of infection in adults and infants -- two groups who generally don't receive the vaccine -- also went down, suggesting that higher levels of immunity in the population are decreasing the amount of circulating chickenpox.

Women's Health

Uterine Fibroids Take Heavy Toll on Women, Survey Finds
by Kathleen Doheny HealthDay

But many delay seeing doctor for years because of concerns about treatments

Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Women with uterine fibroids wait more than three years on average before seeking treatment, even though symptoms often interfere with their everyday lives, a new survey finds.

These benign tumors affect up to 80 percent of women before the age of 50, and are the leading cause of hysterectomy -- surgical removal of the uterus -- in the United States.

Yoga Fails to Cool Hot Flashes, But May Aid Sleep
by Amy Norton HealthDay

Expert says longer study might have found more benefit for menopausal women

Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Practicing yoga may not ease menopausal hot flashes, but it might help women sleep a bit easier, a new clinical trial suggests.

Right now, hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for the hot flashes and night sweats many women develop as they go through menopause. But hormones have been linked to risks like blood clots and heart attack, so many women want alternatives.

Breastfeeding After Implants May Not Cause Sagging
by Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Any changes result from pregnancy, not nursing, doctors say

Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Women with breast implants shouldn't worry that breast-feeding will cause sagging, according to a new study.

Many women worry that breast-feeding could change the appearance of their breasts, "particularly after they invested in a breast augmentation," said study author Dr. Norma Cruz, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan.

Do Breast Implants Boost Women's Sex Lives?
by Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Small study suggests they might, but critic says other factors may be at work

Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Women who got breast implants said the surgery spiced up their sex lives, a small, preliminary study found.

The Brazilian researchers found that women experienced a significant boost to their arousal and sexual satisfaction following the procedure. However, they also noted that women who experienced stretch marks as a result of their breast implants did not experience any improvement in their sex lives.

Experts sharply disagreed on the sexual and psychological benefits of breast implants.

Men's Health

Advanced Prostate Cancer: Radiation Overused?
by Amy Norton HealthDay

Just one session is needed for effective pain relief, but many men get 10, according to researcher

Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Most men given radiation to control pain from advanced prostate cancer undergo more treatments than they really need, a new study suggests.

Once cancer advances to invade the bones, radiation therapy is usually used to ease the pain it causes. And in the past decade, studies have shown that one treatment is enough for most patients.

But those findings have not made it into practice -- at least for older U.S. men with prostate cancer, researchers report in the Oct. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Pediatric Health

Parents' Feeding Choices & Baby's Celiac Risk
by Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Study links late introduction of gluten, breast-feeding beyond 1 year to development of the digestive disorder

Delayed introduction of gluten to a baby's diet and breast-feeding longer than one year appear to increase the risk of celiac disease, researchers report.

People with celiac disease have an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Over time, this abnormal response can damage the small intestine and restrict nourishment, affecting a child's growth and development.

"Avoidance of gluten as long as possible does not seem to be advisable," said lead researcher Dr. Ketil Stordal, a researcher and consultant pediatrician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

High Blood Pressure Common Among Overweight Kids
by Robert Preidt HealthDay

Pediatricians should be vigilant about screening, researcher says

Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese children have a high risk of developing high blood pressure, a new study warns.

Researchers analyzed the health records of nearly 250,000 children, aged 6 to 17, in California, and found those who were overweight were twice as likely as normal-weight children to have high blood pressure (hypertension).

U.S. Panel Rejects BP Screening for Kids, Teens
by Robert Preidt HealthDay

Despite calls for routine testing, task force finds lack of evidence it would help

Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Not enough evidence exists to recommend that children and teens be screened for high blood pressure, a U.S. government-appointed panel says.

High blood pressure among American children and teens has been rising, in part due to the increase in childhood obesity. Several expert groups have recommended that children and teens be screened for high blood pressure.

It's difficult to predict which youngsters will develop high blood pressure as adults and it's unclear whether lowering blood pressure in children and teens leads to improved cardiovascular health in adulthood, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a final recommendation released Oct. 7.

Probiotics Not Shown to Soothe Babies' Colic, Review Finds
by Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Experts say parents should check with doctors for excessive crying, fussiness

Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Although the use of probiotics is growing in popularity among parents hoping to treat infant colic, there is no clear evidence that it helps, Australian researchers report.

Their review of 12 studies on the subject found conflicting results, with some saying the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri is effective in breast-fed infants, but not in those being fed formula.

"We need further studies to clarify this," said lead researcher Valerie Sung, at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital, in Parkville.

Probiotics are live bacteria used in foods and supplements and intended to help people with digestive problems, although the jury is still out on their effectiveness.


This Surgery for Colon Cancer May Benefit Seniors
by Robert Preidt HealthDay

Patients who had the less-invasive procedure were less likely to need nursing home care, study finds

Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who have minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer are much less likely to end up in a nursing home after being discharged from the hospital than those who have open surgery, a new study finds.

One expert not connected to the research said the study adds valuable information for patients.

Mental Health

When a Kiss Is More Than Just a Kiss
by Robert Preidt, HealthDay

Study suggests it may help you size up potential long-term mates

Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- "A kiss is just kiss," the old song goes, but not according to a new study that finds kissing helps people assess potential partners and, once in a relationship, keep them around.

The study included more than 900 adults who took part in an online questionnaire that asked about the importance of kissing in both short- and long-term relationships. In general, women rated kissing as more important in relationships than men.


Star Athletes Often Endorse Junk Food, Study Says
by Amy Norton HealthDay

Sugar-packed 'sports drinks' among products hawked in lucrative ad campaigns

Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Professional athletes may be known for their fitness, but the foods they endorse are usually less than healthy, a new study finds.

The study found that food and beverages promoted by the likes of Peyton Manning and Serena Williams are most often high in calories and devoid of nutrients. Of 62 food products athletes endorsed in 2010, 79 percent fell into the junk food category. And nearly all athlete-promoted beverages got 100 percent of their calories from sugar.

Experts said the findings, reported online Oct. 7 and in the November print issue of Pediatrics, are not startling.

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