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.

Wholesome Biscotti (Some Even Gluten-Free)

Some pastries lend themselves to interpretation and adaptation to whole grain variations; others are best left alone in their white flour and sugar splendor. Biscotti, the dry Italian cookies that are twice baked (which is what the name means), is one of the pastries that does. It is supposed to be hard, and doesn't have to be too sweet, though most of the biscotti you find in coffee shops are - too sweet, that is.

I had a lot of fun working with different whole grain biscotti variations this week. I began with a straight all whole wheat and almond flour cookie filled with toasted almonds, made with Community Grains whole wheat flour, which I never hesitate to substitute for white flour in baked goods because it is so finely ground. I used no more than two-thirds of the amount of sugar called for in virtually all of the biscotti recipes I looked at, and the sugar I used was either organic brown sugar or organic white sugar (which is really more of a beige color) and coarsely ground. One of this week's recipes, a hazelnut orange biscotti, is sweetened with honey only.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Whole Wheat Almond Biscotti

A less sweet version of the classic biscotti de Prato.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Buckwheat Biscotti

Buckwheat flour provides a great backdrop for the chocolate in these cookies.

Gluten-Free Raisin Pistachio Biscotti

Using a bit of butter results in a delicate cookie that is irresistible.

Hazelnut, Orange and Honey Biscotti

A wonderful combination of flavors results in a cookie that tastes great when dipped in tea.

Cornmeal Coconut Biscotti

Coconut oil provides great flavor a sweet smell to these cookies.

General Medicine/Family Medical

10% of U.S. Adults Physically Limited by Arthritis
By Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Experts say obesity epidemic has widened the pool of disabled

Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- More than 50 million Americans have arthritis, and almost half of them can't perform normal daily activities because of the disease, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

Aging and obesity are the chief culprits behind this growing health problem, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Warmer Weather & Brain Function in People With MS
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas HealthDay

MRI study found that some brains respond abnormally to higher temperatures

Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Warmer temperatures might reduce the ability of people with multiple sclerosis to complete mental tasks and process information, new research suggests.

Although heat has long been linked to a worsening of symptoms among people with the inflammatory disease, it wasn't clear exactly how the process worked. The new study used brain-imaging technology to focus on the areas of the brain affected by rising temperatures, the researchers said.

Brain Scans Show Fibromyalgia Patients Process Pain Differently
By Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Activity in certain regions suggests why they're less able to prepare for pain or respond to pain relief

Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Brain scans reveal that people with fibromyalgia are not as able to prepare for pain as healthy people, and they are less likely to respond to the promise of pain relief.

This altered brain processing could explain why people with the mysterious chronic ailment feel pain more intensely and don't respond as well to narcotic painkillers, the researchers said. Their findings are published in the Nov. 5 issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Two Questions May Rule Out Strep Throat
By Brenda Goodman HealthDay

Researchers say home test could determine when a sore throat doesn't warrant a trip to the doctor

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Your throat is on fire. It hurts to swallow, and you're losing your voice. Is it time to see a doctor for antibiotics?

In the near future, researchers report, it may be possible to click on an app, answer two questions about your symptoms and find out whether a seriously sore throat is actually a strep infection.

Can You Have Both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gout?
By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

Nov. 4,  2013 (San Diego) -- Rheumatoid arthritis and gout, another form of arthritis, may occur together, despite previous thinking that having both is rare, according to new research.

Based on the new findings, doctors should consider looking for gout in RA patients, says study researcher Christina Petsch of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

Both are inflammatory conditions. You get gout when uric acid builds up in joints, bones, and tissue. Gouty arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, often in the big toe.

RA affects the joints, surrounding tissues, and sometimes other organs.


Perrigo Recalls Infant Pain and Fever Reliever

Safety concerns have prompted Perrigo to recall 18 batches of an over-the-counter pain and fever reliever for infants that is sold under brand names including Babies R Us and Care One.

The U.S.-wide recall covers batches of acetaminophen infant suspension liquid, 160mg/5mL sold in 2 oz. and 4 oz. bottles packaged with oral syringes. Some of the products may contain syringes without dose markings, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Using a syringe without dose markings could result in infants receiving an incorrect dose of the medicine, the agency said.

Acetaminophen and Alcohol a Bad Mix, Study Suggests
By Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Nearly half who drank while taking the pain reliever reported kidney disease

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Combining acetaminophen pain relievers, which include Tylenol, and even light amounts of alcohol can more than double the risk of kidney disease, new research suggests.

Taking the recommended dose of acetaminophen, combined with a small to moderate amount of alcohol, produces a 123 percent increased risk of kidney disease, according to a new preliminary study.

FDA Moves to Ban Trans Fats in Foods
By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

Nov. 7, 2013 -- The FDA announced Thursday that it is taking steps that will all but eliminate artery-clogging trans fats in processed foods.

The agency is proposing to label partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fats, as "not generally recognized as safe" for use in food.

Although many food makers have removed trans fats from their products in recent years, they are still found in some processed foods, such as margarine, microwave popcorn, and some desserts.

 1 in 3 Not Meeting Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines
By Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Several testing options available for adults aged 50 and older

Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Detecting colon cancer early saves lives, yet only about two-thirds of Americans aged 50 to 75 have undergone screening, health officials said Tuesday.

Although the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men and women 50 and older get screened, about 23 million Americans -- or 28 percent of people who should be screened -- have never done so, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

High Blood Pressure, Steroids May Worsen Lupus
By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

Nov. 4, 2013 (San Diego) -- High blood pressure and steroid medication may worsen lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, nervous system, and other organs.

The good news is that patients might be able to change both risk factors, says Ian Bruce, MD. He is a professor of rheumatology at the University of Manchester.

Bruce presented his research at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

Certain Allergies Plus BP Meds Could Be Bad Mix
By Brenda Goodman HealthDay

People on ACE inhibitors can experience oral allergy syndrome, a rare reaction to some fruits, vegetables

Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors are warning people who take certain drugs for high blood pressure to watch out for a rare but sometimes serious side effect.

Patients who take ACE inhibitors may be more likely to experience oral allergy syndrome. And the drugs may increase the severity of their symptoms.

ACE inhibitors are drugs that end in the suffix "pril," and they include the drugs benazepril (Lotensin), enalapril (Vasotec) and lisinopril (Prinivil). Millions of people take lisinopril. It was among the top five most commonly prescribed medications in the United States in 2011, according to the market research firm IMS Health.

Seasonal Flu/Other Epidemics/Disasters

Experimental Hepatitis C Drug Offers New Hope
By Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Combination medication cured nearly all study participants, without serious side effects

Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A new combination pill could provide hope for hepatitis C patients who can't take or don't respond to currently available treatments, researchers say.

The pill combines two investigational drugs, sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, and in clinical trials it eliminated the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in nearly all patients who took it, according to findings published online Nov. 5 in The Lancet.

Women's Health

Single Dose of HPV Vaccine May Be Enough to Guard Against Cervical Cancer
Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Researchers found women who only got 1 of 3 recommended Cervarix doses still showed immune response 4 years later

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Just one dose of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine may be enough to provide long-term protection against cervical cancer in women, a new study suggests.

The HPV vaccine is currently recommended as a three-dose series, but doctors have found it difficult to finish out the series for many girls.

However, the researchers discovered active human papillomavirus antibodies in Costa Rican women four years after they had received only one dose of Cervarix, a vaccine that protects against two HPV strains.

The study also found that women who received two doses six months apart appeared to have just as much antibody protection against HPV as those who received three doses.

Study: Women at Higher Risk for Allergies, Asthma
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

Reasons for gender difference are unclear

Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely than men to have asthma, allergies and autoimmune diseases, a new study says.

Before puberty, boys are more likely than girls to have these health issues. But that changes when they become young adults, allergist Dr. Renata Engler said in a Friday presentation at an annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Baltimore.

Fewer Pounds May Lead to Better Sex
By Dennis Thompson HealthDay

Women who had weight-loss surgery reported improved sexual satisfaction, study finds

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Women who shed pounds after weight-loss surgery gained a more satisfying sex life, researchers report.

Two years after their procedure, known as bariatric surgery, women reported improvements in their arousal, lubrication, sexual desire and overall sexual satisfaction, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in JAMA Surgery.

Screening for HPV May Be Better Than Pap Test: Study
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

Screening offered greater protection against cervical cancer three years after either test was given

Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for the human papillomavirus (HPV) is more effective than Pap tests for protecting women against invasive cervical cancer, a new study suggests.

HPV causes most cases of cervical cancer. In a Pap test, cells from the cervix are examined under a microscope for abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer. In HPV-based screening, the cells are initially tested for HPV.

Men's Health

Bisexual Men Aren't at Greater HIV Risk: Review
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

Analysis of 3,000 studies found they were 40 percent as likely as homosexual men to have AIDS virus

Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A review of previous research reveals that bisexual men aren't more likely than heterosexual men to have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The findings challenge a common assumption that bisexual men are more likely than heterosexual men to infect their female partners with HIV, said the researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Study Raises Questions About Testosterone Therapy
By Randy Dotinga HealthDay

But it doesn't prove heart harms from the popular supplements

Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that men who take testosterone supplements after undergoing a minor cardiac procedure are more likely to suffer strokes, heart attacks or die.

But it's not clear if there's truly an extra risk for these men. And urologists aren't calling for caution beyond the usual warnings about potential overuse of testosterone supplements.

Pediatric Health

Some Childhood Cancers Are Still Killers
By Amy Norton HealthDay

Better funding is vital to improve treatments, experts say

Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Recent decades have seen huge strides in treating childhood cancer, but certain types of tumors remain difficult to treat and are often deadly.

That's the frustrating fact at the heart of a meeting held this week by the American Association for Cancer Research. Pediatric cancer experts gathered in San Diego to discuss recent advances in understanding childhood tumors and the obstacles to improving kids' care.

Kids in Southern U.S. More Likely to Have Hay Fever: Study
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

But escaping allergens isn't just a matter of moving, experts say

Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Hay fever is more common among children in the southern and southeastern United States than in other regions, according to a large new study.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 91,000 children, aged 17 and younger, across the United States and found that more than 18 percent of them had hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis.

Hay fever rates were highest in southern and southeastern regions. The lowest rates were in Alaska, Montana and Vermont, according to a study presented this week at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, in Baltimore.

Did Bone Marrow Transplant Cure Peanut Allergy?
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

Unusual case report details how 10-year-old boy was treated for leukemia and lost sensitivity to peanuts

Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Bone marrow transplants may help cure peanut allergies, a new case study suggests.

The study involved a 10-year-old boy who no longer had a peanut allergy after undergoing a bone marrow transplant for leukemia.

"It has been reported that bone marrow and liver transplants can transfer peanut allergy from donor to recipient," study author Dr. Yong Luo said in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "But our research found a rare case in which a transplant seems to have cured the recipient of their allergy."

When a Child With Autism Refuses Most Foods
By Barbara Bronson Gray HealthDay

Case report suggests vitamin deficiencies, serious health problems can follow

Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The life-threatening health problems that a 9-year-old boy with autism faced recently shed light on an issue that is rarely discussed.

Many children with autism or other developmental disorders tend to eat an extremely narrow range of foods, and this may put them at risk for serious health problems, said Dr. Melody Duvall, lead author of the case report, which was published online Nov. 4 in the journal Pediatrics.

IVF Conception Doesn't Seem to Raise Kids' Cancer Risk: Study
By Steven Reinberg HealthDay

British researchers followed more than 100,000 children for 17 years

Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In a reassuring new finding, there appears to be no extra cancer risk among children born after assisted conception.

More than 5 million children worldwide have been born through in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, concerns that the manipulation of sperm and egg might make these children more prone to cancer prompted the British researchers to investigate.

Stomach Troubles Common for Kids With Autism
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

Digestive distress often accompanied by irritability, social withdrawal

Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Children with autism are far more likely to have digestive problems than those without the neurodevelopmental disorder, a new study finds.

The gastrointestinal issues (GI) appear linked to autism-related behavioral problems, such as social withdrawal, irritability and repetitive behaviors, according to the research team at the University of California, Davis.

Autism Sign May Appear in First Months of Life
By Serena Gordon HealthDay

Eye contact starts declining at 8 weeks, finds study

Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- At least one sign of autism may begin as early as 2 months of life, new research suggests.

The study of 110 babies found that infants later diagnosed with autism showed a decline in the amount of attention they paid to other people's eyes beginning at 2 months and continuing until 24 months.

Childhood Obesity Tied to Earlier Puberty in Girls
By Amy Norton HealthDay

Study compared onset age of breast development in 1997 and now

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. girls are developing breasts at a younger age compared to years past, and obesity appears to explain a large share of the shift, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that between 2004 and 2011, American girls typically started developing breasts around the age of 9. And those who were overweight or obese started sooner -- usually when they were about 8 years old.

Childhood Arthritis: Aggressive Treatment Better?
By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

Nov. 4,  2013 (San Diego) -- Treating children with juvenile arthritis with multiple medications soon after the disease appears is more likely to make symptoms go away than treating them later or with fewer medications at the start, according to new research.

"Remission is achievable if you treat early and aggressively," says study researcher Carol Wallace, MD. She is a pediatric rheumatologist at Seattle Children's Hospital.

She presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.


Speaking Two Languages May Delay Dementia Symptoms
By Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Study of case records found it staved off signs of the disease by more than four years

Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Speaking two languages may help delay the damage of dementia, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people who were bilingual did not show the signs of three types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, for more than four years longer than those who spoke only one language.

The report was published online Nov. 6 in the journal Neurology.

Jury Still Out on Routine Mental Tests for Seniors, Panel Says
By Randy Dotinga HealthDay

Until dementia treatments improve, there's no point, some experts say

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians give screening tests to older adults who show signs of mental decline, and some experts have theorized that all seniors might benefit from routine memory testing.

But proposed guidelines from a U.S. government-appointed panel says not enough evidence exists to say yes or no to such a widespread approach.


Mediterranean Diet May Help Women Live Longer, Healthier Lives
By Kathleen Doheny HealthDay

Study finds that following diet during middle age ups odds of living past 70 by 40 percent

Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women who follow a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet may live a healthier, longer life, a new study suggests.

"Women with healthier dietary patterns at midlife were 40 percent more likely to survive to age 70 or over," said lead researcher Cecilia Samieri, a postdoctoral fellow who conducted the study while at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She is now a researcher at INSERM and Universite de Bordeaux, in France. INSERM is the French equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Kidney Patients May Gain From Less Salt
By Robert Preidt HealthDay

Small study showed reductions in blood pressure, less fluid retention

Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing salt consumption improves the heart and kidney health of people with chronic kidney disease, according to a small new study.

The findings suggest that restricting salt intake may help prolong kidney disease patients' lives, according to the Australian researchers.

The study included 20 people with chronic kidney disease who consumed a high-salt diet (180 to 200 millimoles a day) for two weeks and a low-salt diet (60 to 80 mmol/day) for two weeks.

Nutritionists: Trans Fat Ban Good for Heart Health
By Dennis Thompson HealthDay

They urge greater use of healthier oils, like canola oil or other vegetable oils, in food-making process

Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposal to ban trans fats from the food supply will trigger some scrambling by manufacturers and restaurant chains, but ultimately it will be a boon to the nation's health, dietitians say.

In fact, food manufacturers had been pivoting away from trans fats before the FDA announced its proposal Thursday, searching for useful substitutes.

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