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Be Careful of the Romaine Lettuce You Purchase

Romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma area under investigation for causing E. coli infections.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suspects romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ area may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The number of infections has climbed to 98 from 232 states--with nearly 50% of the patients being hospitalized. So far there have been no deaths.

PositiveTip: Consumers should avoid eating romaine lettuce unless they confirm it is not grown in the Yuma region.

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Fresh Fruit Daily Lowers Cardiovascular Risk

Reach for the fruit bowl instead of that bag of your favorite chips.

Researchers in China followed almost a half-million people for seven years finding when they consumed more fresh fruit they had lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Cardiovascular deaths were 40% lower in those who consumed fresh fruit daily compared to those who never or rarely did. Because the Chinese typically eat little fresh fruit, this study highlights the value of adding just 1-2 servings per day.

PositiveTip: Replace calorie-rich snacks and food items with fresh fruit to help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Underage Tobacco Sales Promoted on Facebook

The tobacco industry is exploiting Facebook's stated policies.

Although Facebook bars all paid tobacco ads, Stanford University researchers have found more than 100 unpaid brand and online vendor pages which promote leading brands of tobacco products. More than half of the identified pages included "shop now" instructions, and less than half of these included an "age gate" discouraging minors from visiting. Nearly all the sites identified included images of the products being promoted.

PositiveTip: Encourage Facebook to remove these tobacco-promoting pages--it will be a win for your children, and for Facebook, too.

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Cardiovascular Disease is Not All in the Genes

The benefits of physical fitness extend to those at high genetic risk of CVD.

A study in the U.K. followed almost 500,000 adults for an average of 6 years. At baseline participant's physical fitness was determined by a variety of tests. Researchers found patients with high cardiovascular fitness had a 49% lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) when compared with those who had low fitness--even when they carried a high genetic risk for CVD.

PositiveTip: Maintain a high level of physical fitness to compensate for genetic risks of CVD!

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Overweight Boys Can Lower Risk of Diabetes

Childhood overweight at age 7 raises diabetes risk if it persists into puberty.

A study of about 63,000 Danish boys measured their BMI at ages 7 and 13. By the time they reached age 30, 11% had developed type 2 diabetes. When overweight boys lost weight between ages 7 and 13 and maintained healthy weight into early adulthood, their risk was very similar to those who were never overweight

PositiveTip: It is never too early to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight!

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Artificial Sweeteners Not So Sweet

Sucralose may cause inflammation and fat formation.

Sucralose is a popular non-caloric artificial sweetener thought to be safe. In a small, early study, researchers have shown its use may predispose people to metabolic syndrome. Dr. S. Sen, a senior study author, said, "The only part that's not there is the calories--it's not adding the calories, but it's doing everything else that glucose does." A larger study is now underway to assess other types of artificial sweeteners.

PositiveTip: Choose to enjoy less intensely sweet foods by lowering your intake of sweetened and artificially-sweetened foods.

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Gene-editing Technology OK for Food Plants

USDA will not regulate plants whose genomes have been edited.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not regulate plants altered with gene-editing technology as long as the final product is something that could have been developed through traditional breeding techniques. It cannot be a plant pest or achieved with the help of a plant pest. Permitted will be changes that provide immunity to disease or natural resistance to crop chemicals. This does not include transgenic plants with a gene from a distant species--these will still be regulated.

PositiveTip: You can probably rest assured that our food supply will remain safe.

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Do E-cigarettes Help People Quit Smoking?

Patients who used e-cigarettes were less likely to quit smoking.

An observational study found those who used e-cigarettes were less successful in quitting smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes. An analysis of 237 propensity score-matched pairs, at 6 months, found 10.1% of e-cigarette users had quit, versus 26.6% of non-users. There were limitations to this study that suggest the need for a randomized trial.

PositiveTip: Like medications, the possibility exists that using e-cigarettes as a complete replacement for cigarettes, might be helpful.

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Eat Beans to Reduce Worldwide Gas

Choosing to eat beans instead of beef would free up 42% of U.S. cropland.

One of the keys to short-term reduction of harmful greenhouse gases may be found on your dinner plate. One simple change in American eating habits would have a large impact: eat beans instead of beef. This would immediately help the U.S. achieve 50-75% of its GHG target for 2020, and it  would be accomplished without any new standards on automobiles!

PositiveTip: Eating beans instead of meat is not only good for the environment--it is also good for your health.

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Postpone Dementia by High Midlife Cardiovascular Fitness

Hi-fitness in midlife women may cut dementia risk by almost 90% in later life.

Women with a high level of cardiovascular fitness during middle-age had an 88% reduction in risk of developing dementia compared women who were moderately fit in midlife. When the highly fit women did get dementia, they developed it an average of 11 years later--at 90 instead of 79 years old! This comes from a Swedish cohort of women who were followed up to 44 years.

PositiveTip: Improving you fitness level in middle-age could delay and even prevent dementia later in life!