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Inhaled "Poppers" Harmful to Eyesight

"Poppers" might permanently cause eye damage.

"Poppers," a slang term for pills containing alkyl nitrite compounds, commonly known as club drugs, are inhaled at discos to enhance the loud throbbing music and flashing lights. They are also used for sexual effects. These compounds appear to be toxic to the fovea of the eye and can also cause visual problems known as maculopathy. Abstention generally results in partial to full recovery.

PositiveTip: Avoidance of popular psychoactive compounds is the best and safest policy.

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Is that a Crouton?

It doesn't happen often, but food does get contaminated from time to time.

A shopper went to a Southwest Walmart and purchased a 5 oz. bag of Fresh Express Organic Marketside Spring Mix (production code G089B19, best-if-used-by APR 14) to make a salad. They found deteriorated bat remains in the salad mix. Now a couple has been advised to receive rabies postexposure prophylaxis treatments. The product has been recalled.

PositiveTip: Always pay close attention to any suspicious objects in your food--especially if you did not. prepare it yourself!

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Getting Cancer is More than Just Bad Luck

Clear evidence suggests people can choose to take steps to lower cancer risk.

Cancer is not caused mainly by "bad luck." The authors of a recent paper based this conclusions on estimates of random cell mistakes (mutations) made during cell replication. While genetic mutations are involved in cancers, these may be caused by external and modifiable factors such as adopting a healthy lifestyle.

PositiveTip: Clear evidence supports the value of walking more, drinking water instead of sugary-beverages, substituting veggies for fatty foods, and many other simple measures that lower the risk of cancer.

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Obesity Driving Many New Cancers

A mixed picture presented by the U.S. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.

The National Cancer Institute reports cancer death rates continue to decrease as more people are surviving cancer--due largely to early detection and improved treatments. Yet the incidence of cancers related to obesity are on the rise. Obesity contributes in part to breast cancer, pancreas, endometrial, and kidney cancers. Tobacco-related cancers have low survival rates, underscoring the need to reduce tobacco use.

PositiveTip: Support your community and family in lifestyle activities that will reverse the epidemic of obesity and smoking.

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Is the Obesity Paradox Real?

The healthiest people are those who have normal weight all the time!

A 2013 meta-analysis suggested that overweight individuals had lower all-cause mortality than those at normal BMI. Now data from three large cohort studies with more than 225,000 men and women has demonstrated there is no protective effect of being overweight. These researchers used the maximum weight achieved over the past 16 years in addition to current weight, demonstrating that trends in weight are very important.

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Hypertension and its Burden of Disease

Rates of high blood pressure have increased globally over the past 25 years.

Researchers estimate that 874 million adults worldwide have a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher. Analyzing data from 844 population-based studies in 154 countries between 1990 and 2015, scientists attempted to assess the relationship of hypertension to various causes of death. They estimate that 14% of total deaths and 143 million life-years of disability are due to hypertension.

PositiveTip: When a wholesome lifestyle and ideal weight fail to control blood pressure--its time to see your physician and consider medications.

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Vitamin D and Cancer in Postmenopausal Women

Four years of supplemental vitamin D and calcium made no difference in cancer risk.

Researchers divided 2300 postmenopausal, healthy women aged 65 or older, into two groups. One group received 2000 IU/day of vitamin D3 and 1500 mg/day of calcium; the other a placebo. After 4 years, the difference in any new cancer incidence between groups was insignificant--including breast cancer. While more research is needed, this study indicates supplementation later in life may not make significant differences.

PositiveTip: Adequate vitamin D and calcium are essential throughout the life span, but supplementation may not be necessary.

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Are Eggs Healthy?

Eggs have long been vilified for their high cholesterol by many experts.

Although one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol (200 mg per egg yolk), eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk of heart disease such as monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, biotin, choline, vitamin A, protein, and lutein (an antioxidant). This does not give permission to eating a daily 3-egg omelet! Watch out for the trimmings, too! Watch this video from the Harvard School of Public Health.

PositiveTip: Eggs may not be the optimal food choice, but they are certainly not the worst--when consumed moderately, no more than one per day.

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Secondhand E-cigarette "Smoke"

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco products among U.S. youth.

Nearly 25% of all all U.S. middle and high school students said they recently had been exposed to the vapors from another person's electronic cigarette. The long-term impact on health of this kind of exposure is not yet known. However, it is known that e-cigarette aerosols may contain, nicotine, heavy metals, formaldehyde, ultrafine particles, and acetaldehyde--each one potentially dangerous to health.

PositiveTip: It is important for all to avoid exposure to the aerosols of e-cigarettes--and to support inclusion of these devices in indoor clean air regulations.

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Muscle Health and Plant-based Protein

Plant-based protein supports excellent musculoskeletal function.

Traditional thinking held animal protein was necessary to maintain musculoskeletal health. Almost 3000 men and women with a mean age of 40 were studied to determine if this was correct. Researchers compared 6 dietary patterns, in one of which the protein came primarily from plant foods. All protein clusters provided recommended amounts of protein. It was found that the plant proteins were equal to those with the animal protein.

PositiveTip: As long as adequate amounts of protein are consumed, plant protein supports muscle health just fine.