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Don’t Ignore the Mental Battle with Cancer

Most cancer patients suffer with untreated depression.

A recent series of studies have found that cancer patients are 3-6 times more likely to be depressed but 75% aren't getting treatment for it. Depression can threaten a patient’s life if it sabotages their will to live and persevere through treatment. Researchers found that a nurse-led solution that integrated antidepressant drugs, physical activity and problem-solving therapy significantly reduced depression in cancer patients.

PositiveTip: Be sure to treat both body and mind if you, or a loved one, must battle cancer.

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Is Diabetes Related to Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners in mice changed the gut microbiome altering glucose absorption.

Mice given non-caloric sweeteners developed glucose intolerance more quickly than those given sucrose or glucose. In these animals the artificial sweeteners quickly altered the mouse microbiome in favor of pathways that enhance absorption of calorie rich glucose and short-chain fatty acids. Authors suggest this may help explain the diabetes epidemic, although this needs to be reproduced in humans.

PositiveTip: Emphasizing healthy food choices, cutting back on "junk" food, and physical activity is better than depending on non-caloric sweeteners to control weight.

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Movie Violence Desensitizes Youth

Exposure to violence in movies may desensitize youth to real life violence.

Modern life provides much exposure to media and real life violence. Does this lead to desensitization emotionally and physically? College students were randomly assigned to view a series of violent or nonviolent high-action movie scenes. The researchers found cognitive and emotional empathy decreased in those watching higher levels of violence, compared to those viewing the non-violent movies, suggesting desensitization occurs.

PositiveTip: "The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence." Psalm 11:5 (NLT).

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Green Coffee Bean Diet a Scam?

The Dr. Oz Show scrubs coverage of Green Coffee Extract following retraction.

A 2012 paper claiming a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study demonstrated that green coffee bean extract helped people lose weight has been retracted. After the Dr. Oz Show touted this extract causes substantial weight and fat loss it became an international best seller. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states "the study was so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it." 

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Soda and the Aging Process

Soda might age you as much as smoking.

Researchers studied white blood cell telomeres (the caps at the end of chromosomes in every cell). Shorter telomeres are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, stress and a shorter lifespan. People who drank more sugary soda tended to have shorter telomeres. One 8-oz serving daily was found to be equal to 1.9 years of additional aging; a 20-oz serving was equal to 4.6 years of aging, equivalent to the impact of smoking! Non-carbonated sodas and sweetened fruit juices did not demonstrate the impact.

PositiveTip: Sugary, soda beverages contribute no nutritional or health advantages.

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Know the Facts About Ebola

Get the facts, share the facts.

Here are key points you should know about Ebola:

  1. Ebola is not spread through casual contact with someone who has no symptoms of the disease; or through the air, water or food in first world countries.
  2. You can only get the virus through direct contact with body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola; or objects or animals contaminated with the virus.
  3. Ebola only spreads when people are showing symptoms. If you were exposed and 21 days have passed, you will not get sick with Ebola.

PositiveTip: Share these facts with family and friends.

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Good News in Nation’s Cardiovascular Health

Hospitalizations and deaths from cardiac or stroke events are down significantly.

Yale researchers mining Medicare data discovered encouraging national trends in cardiovascular disease.  After examining records of 34 million Americans, 65 or older, from 1999-2011, they found reductions in hospitalizations for heart attack (38%), heart failure (30.5%) and ischemic stroke (33.6%). Risk of death one year after hospitalization dropped 23% for heart attack and 13% for heart failure and stroke. Many factors are involved in these improvements.

PositiveTip:  Control the factors you can such as avoid smoking, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

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Sleep: Helps Keep Your Brain “Clean"

Adequate sleep may contribute to preventing Alzheimer's disease.

The brain has no lymphatic system. Recently a glymphatic system has been identified. This paravascular pathway facilitates the clearance of waste from the brain via an exchange between the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and interstitial (ISF) fluids. During sleep, brain cells actually shrink slightly, allowing for greater circulation of the CSF, thus allowing more soluble beta amyloid to be removed, and probably reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

PositiveTip: Watch this fascinating video to learn more about sleep and your amazing brain.

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Update on Ebola

Basic commonsense personal hygiene is your best weapon.

The U.S. CDC has announced they will send a team of experts within hours to any U.S. hospital with a confirmed case of Ebola. The death rate in the current epidemic is close to 70%, and WHO says the number of new cases in West Africa could reach 10,000  weekly within 2 months. Keep up with this emerging story by visiting the NEJM Ebola website.

PositiveTip: Avoid exposure to those infected and practice good, commonsense, consistent personal hygiene.

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Acupuncture Ineffective for Knee Pain

Acupuncture only delivers placebo benefit for chronic knee pain.

Researchers provided acupuncture treatments for 282 people aged 50+ with chronic knee pain. They randomly assigned patients to either needle, laser, sham laser acupuncture or no treatment at all. After 12 weeks of treatment, needle and sham acupuncture had the same moderate pain improvements compared to no treatment. Hence, believing you’d had the treatment was as effective as receiving the treatment. After 1-year follow up, none of the acupuncture treatments were effective.

PositiveTip: Physical activity and hydrotherapy are better drug-free alternatives for knee pain.