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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placebo controlled crossover study demonstrated that green coffee bean extract helped people lose weight has been retracted.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.

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Ebola Prevention

Ebola virus is not as contagious as measles.

Ebola: the word strikes fear in many minds. The virus must remain wet to survive. There are no vaccines available. What can you do?

PostiveTip: If you might be exposed to this virus take these precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based cleaners.
  • Don't have contact with infected people, or items that have been in contact with them (body fluids and tissues), or their remains.
  • Avoid bush meats and contact with bats and pets.
  • Follow careful infection control procedures if you are a healthcare worker. Learn more...

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Moderate Alcohol Use and Sperm Quality

As few as 5 drinks a week can affect quality of sperm.

Sperm concentration, total sperm count, and percentage of healthy, normal sperm were lower in men reporting 5 or more drinks per week, according to Danish researchers. Men who typically drank more than 25 drinks per week had a 33% decrease compared to men who drank 5 or less per week. It is not known if this effect is permanent.

PositiveTip: Young men be warned: Habitual alcohol use may hurt the chances of reproducing.

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Marijuana Arrests Teen's Development

Teen marijuana use linked to school failure, suicide, and drug abuse.

Three well-controlled, large studies in New Zealand and Australia of those who used marijuana before age 17 reveal adverse changes to developing brains and significant negative impacts on motivation, drive, and cognition. Subjects were followed for up to 30 years. A dose-response relationship was observed between frequency of use and dropout rates, suicide attempts, failure to get a college degree, and use of illicit drugs.

PositiveTip: Parents must warn teens and young adults about the major adverse effects of marijuana use.