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Brain study suggests obese people have less control over cravings
Using brain scans to detect impulse control, researchers found that obese participants showed little activity in the prefrontal cortex compared with their leaner counterparts when presented with images of high-calorie foods. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggests that the brains of some obese people are less able to control cravings, but further investigation is needed, a researcher said. Reuters (9/19)

Virgin olive oil diet is better than drugs for heart disease
A Spanish cohort study of 7,500 people with heart disease reports that diets heavily featuring olive oil and nuts are more effective than drugs in preventing cardiac events. "A modification in the entire diet pattern managed to achieve, in just one year, results that pharmaceutical drugs did not -- even after two years of treatment," said the researchers. The benefit was detected only in patients already showing a thickened artery wall. NutraIngredients (9/19) 

Don't eat close to bedtime is good advice, studies show
A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology supports the long-held recommendation that not eating within three hours of bedtime is a good idea. Researchers said those who did eat within that time frame had a sevenfold increase in acid reflux symptoms, while a second report from Walter Reed Army Medical Center found eating a late meal within two hours of bedtime led to significantly more reflux. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Well Blog(9/5) 
Antibiotics may lead to obesity by killing gut bacteria, study suggests
European researchers found that some obese and overweight Danish participants had 30% to 40% fewer bacterial genes in their intestines compared with other study participants. They suggested that oral antibiotic medicines may kill essential gut bacteria and predispose an individual to becoming overweight or obese. The Independent (London) 5/3)  
Data: Americans get twice the recommended amount of sugar
U.S. adults consume an average of 22.2 teaspoons of sugar daily, equivalent to 355 calories, which is more than double the approximately 9.4 teaspoons recommended for men and 6.25 teaspoons for women, according to data from a food industry analyst. The American Heart Association says a high-sugar diet is linked to obesity, elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. United Press International (4/30)  
Data find heart-healthy benefits of apples in women
Women who consumed one serving of dried apples every day for a year experienced a 14% reduction in total cholesterol, a 23% drop in LDL cholesterol and about a one-third decrease in levels of lipid hydroperoxide and C-reactive protein, while those who ate prunes daily had relatively smaller reductions in such heart markers, according to a study. The researchers also found that women in the apple group lost about 3 pounds over the course of the year. WebMD (4/12)
Obesity raises risk of many cancers, for many reasons
Obesity raises the risk of many types of cancer, including colorectal, pancreatic, esophageal and gallbladder. Dr. Kate Wolin of Siteman Cancer Center said the way obesity affects cancer risk is different for each type, noting some cancers might be affected by fat tissue's hormonal effect or by inflammation. KSDK-TV (St. Louis) (4/5)  
Gut bacteria may affect more than digestion, study says
Researchers at the Imperial College of London reported gut bacteria not only helps with digestion, it also may have some control over the metabolic functions of other organs, including the liver. The study in the journal mBio suggested changes to microbial flora could affect overall health. (India)/IANS (3/1)
Improving lifestyle aids depressed obese people
A meta-analysis of 31 past studies showed that a lifestyle modification approach on weight loss, including diet counseling, improved participants' mood the most, while obesity medication treatments did not have an effect. The number of pounds shed by participants was not linked to changes in mood, and the effect of weight loss on mood is still unclear, an expert said. Researchers emphasized that the study was not indicating weight loss on its own was the only needed treatment for obese patients diagnosed with clinical depression. Reuters (3/7) 
Scientists develop new body-fat scale
U.S. scientists have developed a new body-fat index called the Body Adiposity Index that uses a hip-circumference-to-height ratio instead of weight and height used in BMI. BAI tests conducted in two population studies suggested that different ethnic groups can use the index. However, "it remains to be seen if the BAI is a more useful predictor of health outcome" than BMI or other measures, scientists said. The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia)/Reuters (3/3)
U. of Arizona students help children make healthier food choices
University of Arizona students studied obesity and diabetes and then launched the Healthy Eating Project to help children at a charter school improve their nutrition. The group talks with children about food choices, works with the school's food-service provider to make lunches healthier and has helped start a school garden. Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) (2/20)
Vitamin D may reduce colorectal cancer risk, data find
A report in the International Journal of Cancer found that high blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. A team led by the International Prevention Research Institute in France analyzed data from nine studies and found that for every 10-nanograms-per-milliliter increase in levels of vitamin D, the risk of colorectal cancer decreased by 15%. NutraIngredients (2/7)  
Study links warmer indoor temperatures in winter to obesity
A study in the journal Obesity Reviews found that warmer inside temperatures during winter may be linked to obesity in the U.S. and other countries as people burn fewer calories fighting off the cold. Researchers at University College London said indoor temperatures in the U.S. and the U.K. have increased, restricting the range of temperatures people face in daily life and reducing the time spent under mild thermal stress. HealthDay News (1/25)
Study: Weight-loss programs need a new, long-term focus
An Australian study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who were able to shed eight to 12 pounds after participating in a diet program maintained the weight for an average of six months but regained their original weight after less than six years. The study author suggested that taxes on junk foods, improved nutrition labels and continued counseling could help promote long-term weight loss. Reuters (1/25) 
Survey: 90% of Americans think they eat healthy
A Consumer Reports survey found that nine out of 10 Americans said their diets are at least somewhat healthy and 34% deemed them "very" or "extremely" healthy. Data showed that 58% said they got recommended daily levels of fruits and vegetables. However, 36% of the respondents were overweight based on BMI, and 21% were obese. Los Angeles Times/Booster Shots blog (1/4) 
Consistent exercise lowers colon cancer death risk
A U.S. study of more than 150,000 men and women found that those who exercised consistently for at least 10 years had the lowest risk of dying from colon cancer. The study also showed that adults who were regularly physically active had a lower risk of death from colon cancer patients than adults who were sedentary. United Press International (1/3)  
Study: Patients get better after consciously taking placebo
Harvard University researchers reported that patients with irritable bowel syndrome who were informed they were taking placebo saw more improvement than those who received no treatment. "These findings suggest that rather than mere positive thinking, there may be significant benefit to the very performance of medical ritual," said Ted Kaptchuk, associate professor of medicine at Harvard. "Placebo may work even if patients know it is a placebo." WebMD (12/22) 
Antacids might increase risk of pneumonia, analysis shows
One in 200 patients taking acid-suppressive drugs, including proton-pump inhibitors and histamine 2-receptor antagonists, might develop pneumonia, said researchers who analyzed published studies between 1985 and 2009. The researchers suggested that regular use of antacids might be contributing to hospital-acquired pneumonia and related deaths because 40% to 70% of hospitalized patients receive such medicines. WebMD (12/20)  
Nutrition experts say cut carbs, not fat, for a healthy life
More nutrition experts say reducing carbohydrates, not fat, is the way to reduce the risk for obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Harvard University's Dr. Frank Hu said the heightened focus on reducing fat has led to higher consumption of carbohydrates and sugar and "that shift may be linked to the biggest health problems in America today." Los Angeles Times (12/20)  
Too few fruits, veggies, can lead to constipation
Children who don't eat fruits and vegetables are 13 times more likely to develop constipation than those who do, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. Those who drink less than two glasses of water daily also had a significantly increased risk of becoming constipated. The Daily Mail (London) (12/14) 
Avoid holiday food triggers to help prevent acid reflux
Acid reflux has become widespread in the U.S., but staying away from triggers, such as caffeine, fatty cheese, alcohol and mint-flavored or creamy foods, can help people avoid holiday heartburn. Physicians say that obesity is a culprit in many cases of acid reflux disease, so losing weight is one way to reduce symptoms, along with eating smaller but more frequent meals and not lying down after eating. USA TODAY (12/14)  
Slow but steady weight loss is best, dietitians advise
Dietitians recommend a slow and steady lifestyle-based approach to weight loss rather than the quick results promised by many fad diets. Sports dietitian Kary Woodruff says fast weight loss usually indicates a loss of water weight and muscle, rather than fat, and often cannot be maintained long term. The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (12/9) 
Normal-weight youths get more daily exercise than obese youths
Study data showed that normal-weight children get 16 more minutes of physical activity daily than their obese peers and that girls get 20 minutes less than boys do. Researchers said children of normal weight get about 59 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity, and that boys average about 64 minutes. USA TODAY (12/6) 
Higher BMI raises risk for premature death, study finds
Researchers analyzed data on non-Hispanic whites and found that those who were overweight or had a body mass index between 25 and 30 had a 13% increased risk of death during the study period compared with their normal-weight counterparts. They also found that obese people, who have a BMI of 30 to 39, had up to an 88% increased risk for death. Google/The Associated Press (12/1)  
Celiac and thyroid diseases are often connected, experts say
People who have one autoimmune condition are predisposed to developing another, and the connection is especially strong between celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease, according to a report in Today's Dietitian. Experts said the conditions often lead to weight changes, so dietitians are in a good position to spot symptoms and refer clients for further testing and diagnosis. Today's Dietitian (11/2010)  
Tracing family health histories is key in health care
A Cleveland Clinic study showed that genomic testing failed to identify an increased risk of colon cancer in nine cases in which family health histories suggested a higher risk. The findings suggest that family medical history is still "the best genetic tool" in health care and should be used more widely by health care providers, a researcher said. HealthLeaders Media(11/9) 
FDA warns of bowel obstruction risk linked to GSK's Rotarix
The FDA warned that Rotarix, a rotavirus vaccine by GlaxoSmithKline, might cause an increased risk of a bowel obstruction. The warning is based on preliminary data from a Mexican study involving infants. "Although the results are preliminary and will require further evaluation, FDA approved revised labeling to inform health care providers of this finding," according to the agency's website. Reuters (9/22)
Keep your eating in sync with your digestive system
Before you wolf down your next meal, remember that digestion can take a day or two as your gastrointestinal tract goes through a series of muscular contractions, chemical secretions and electrical signals. Experts at Prevention Magazine suggest eating slower, getting enough dietary fiber and listening to cues, such as heartburn, that your body does not like what you are putting into it. MSNBC/Prevention (9/24)
U.S. has highest obesity rate among rich countries, report says
The U.S. ranked first in terms of obesity rates among the 33 richest countries in the world, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Unless industry, the public and the government work together to address the issue, three in four Americans will become overweight or obese by 2020, resulting in higher disease rates and health costs, the OECD said. USA TODAY (9/24)  
Patients actively participate in shared decision-making
Physicians say more patients are getting involved in their treatment decisions and are questioning medical advice. Health care economists say when patients question recommendations about expensive diagnostic tests as well as medication choices and other decisions it has the potential to drive up the cost of health care. CNN health care correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, in her new book, "The Empowered Patient," says that doctor's offices in particular can be disorganized and hectic and that patients should not hesitate to question something they have concerns about. USA TODAY (8/31)
Exercise can help counter risks of genes linked to obesity
Exercise cut the risk of obesity in patients with genetic variants linked to the condition, a British study showed. Researchers found that each genetic variant was linked to an increase in body mass index but that the increase in BMI was 36% lower in physically active people and the increased odds per variant for obesity risk was 40% lower, compared with inactive individuals. Yahoo!/Agence France-Presse (8/31)  
U.K. scientists use skin samples to create liver cells
Cambridge University scientists said they were able to create liver cells by reprogramming induced pluripotent stem cells harvested from human skin samples, a technique the study leader says "bypasses the need for using human embryos." Stem cells taken from healthy patients produced healthy liver cells, while those taken from ill patients resulted in liver cells that copied various types of liver diseases. Reuters
Heavy men with Lynch syndrome are at risk for adenomas
Overweight men with Lynch syndrome have a higher risk for developing colorectal adenomas, researchers said. Study data did not find a link between body mass index "and development of recurrent or new primary colorectal adenomas." Modern Medicine/HealthDay News (8/26) 
Fiber from broccoli, plantain may help body fight stomach infections
British researchers said fiber from bananas and broccoli may boost the body's natural defenses against stomach infections. Clinical trials are under way to see whether the effects can be used as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. BBC (8/25)  
Salmonella infection can turn deadly for some patients
Salmonella usually means a few days of gastrointestinal misery, but for some people the food-borne bacterial infection can turn deadly. In a small number of patients, salmonella bacteria leave the intestine and enter the bloodstream, causing sepsis and widespread severe illness. CNN (8/20)  
Vitamin D affects genes tied to cancer, autoimmune diseases
A British study showed vitamin D directly affects more than 200 genes, including some linked to cancer and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and Crohn's disease. Researchers called on health officials to recommend supplements for some people. Reuters (8/23) 
Gluten-free diet has little to offer mainstream dieters
Going gluten-free is becoming a fad diet, touted for health benefits beyond treating celiac disease. However, Shelley Case of the Canadian Celiac Association says the diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight gain and does not benefit most people who do not have celiac disease. The Toronto Star (8/17)  
Large waist raises polyp risks for people in their 40s
People in their 40s have double the risk of developing precancerous colon polyps if they have a large waistline, data showed, adding to evidence that obesity is a risk factor for colon cancer. U.S. experts advised, however, the data do not yet warrant a change in current recommendations for colonoscopy screening. Reuters (8/11)
Weighing in on green tea and metabolism
Green tea has become a popular ingredient in weight-loss products because it contains caffeine and EGCG, an antioxidant said to boost calorie-burning. Research shows that green tea can speed up metabolism, but results in only modest weight loss. Los Angeles Times (8/16)  
Think 4 Fs when dealing with chronic constipation
Remembering the four Fs of food, fiber, fluids and fitness can lead to improved quality of life for people with chronic constipation. People need from 21 grams to 38 grams of fiber daily for colon and digestive health, and supplements can fill in the gaps when diets are lacking. USA Weekend Magazine (7/25)
Scientists study gut microbes' effect on metabolism, weight
Researchers are investigating how the diverse community of microbes in the intestines affect metabolism and weight, but caution that it's too early to create bacteria-laden products for weight loss. They say that people pick up different bacteria from their environments, and babies collect bacteria mainly from their mothers and others around them, which may mean that the risk for obesity could be passed this way. Los Angeles Times (6/21)
Plant-based diet lowers colon cancer risk for men, women
A diet based on fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy reduced the risk of colon cancer by 65% in women, study data showed. Men saw a 62% reduction in risk from a similar diet that included fish rather than low-fat dairy, and researchers said they did not know the reason for the variation. WebMD (6/16)
Depression is linked to excess abdominal fat, study finds
A 20-year study of 5,100 individuals ages 18 to 30 showed that depressed people are more likely to gain excess fat around their waists. Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with depression and weight gain, might explain why people suffering from depression tend to add abdominal fat, according to one of the researchers. HealthDay News (6/11)
Sweets may raise risk of pancreatic cancer, study says
An Italian study found that eating sweets and foods with a high glycemic index that cause rapid blood-sugar spikes may raise the risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers said the increased risk was associated with higher intakes of sugar, candy, honey and jam, but not overall carbohydrate or fruit intake, suggesting processed carbohydrates may be a link to the disease. Reuters (6/15)
Constipation in children may continue into adulthood
Dutch research found 25% of children with chronic constipation continued to have symptoms as young adults 11 years later. The study showed factors such as constipation that started later in childhood and longer gaps between first symptoms and treatment referral raised the chances of persistent constipation. Yahoo!/Reuters (6/8)
Study finds lapses in infection-control efforts at surgery centers
A federal study of 68 same-day surgery centers found 67% had at least one lapse in infection-control measures and 57% had deficiencies. Failure to observe proper hand hygiene and to clean some devices were among the cited lapses. Some of the centers also reused equipment intended for single use. MSNBC/The Associated Press (6/8)
Higher liver cancer risk in men may be tied to sex hormone
A DNA sequence in hepatitis B viruses cause them to bind to receptors of the male sex hormone androgen and damage liver tissue, Taiwanese researchers reported. The findings provide clues as to why men with hepatitis B liver disease are more prone to liver cancer than women, and suggest that early-stage liver cancer may be treated using drugs that target androgen receptors. Reuters (5/19)
Fruit, veggie supplements can help fill nutrition deficits
Most Americans don't eat the recommended daily servings of vegetables, so supplements sometimes are needed, registered dietitian Sheah Rarback of the University of Miami writes. She says studies show powdered fruit and vegetable supplements can reduce markers for inflammation in the body that indicate an increased the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The Miami Herald (free registration)(5/18)
Study suggests that stress levels decline with age
A U.S. study of a 2008 phone survey involving more than 340,000 people found that the level of stress people experience declines as they grow older. Some researchers believe this is because older people tend to relax and enjoy their lives in the moment rather than think of what lies ahead. HealthDay News (5/17)
Laughter is good for the appetite, study shows
Researchers said a good laugh can change levels of hormones that are linked to appetite in much the same way as moderate exercise. They said understanding the effects of laughter could help improve appetite for patients who are sick or depressed. HealthDay News (4/26)
Fermented foods gain attention for digestive health
Fermented foods from yogurt to kimchee are making a move back onto the menu for health-conscious Americans. As scientists continue to reveal the health benefits of active bacterial cultures found in fermented foods, consumers are finding the foods just right for a host of digestive conditions. Chicago Tribune/Tribune Media Services (4/28)
People with unhealthy habits age quicker, study finds
The combined effects of excessive drinking, smoking, poor diet and leading a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of death and appear to cut longevity by 12 years, according to a 20-year study involving almost 5,000 British adults. The most common causes of death seen in the study were heart disease and cancer. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (4/26)
Experts weigh in on healthy eating habits for families
Cooking at home can be a big step toward healthy eating, but changing old habits is difficult. Experts advise making changes one at a time, such as baking instead of frying, or substituting healthier snacks for chips and candy. Other experts say meal planning, eating as a family and smaller portions can help children and parents alike achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.) (4/25)
Small weight loss can improve body's immune system
Losing a small amount of weight can improve the immune system as extra flab around the abs can trigger inflammation and lead to disease, Australian researchers said. The study found losing just 13 pounds was enough to bring levels of inflammatory immune cells in overweight participants down to those found in leaner people. MSNBC (4/22)
Research links omega-3 to colon cancer protection
A study found that white people in the top fourth of omega-3 consumption had half the colon cancer risk of those in the bottom fourth. The study found an "unexpected" link between higher omega-3 intake and colon cancer in African-Americans, but researchers said the association may be due to chance. Reuters (4/23)
A natural approach to eating more fiber
More and more products are fortified with fiber, but the best way to boost fiber intake is by eating foods that are naturally fiber-rich. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide important vitamins and minerals. The Denver Post (4/21)
Pancreatic-enzyme treatment Pancreaze gains FDA approval
The FDA approved Pancreaze to aid food digestion in patients with chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic tumors, removal of all or a part of the pancreas and other conditions caused by pancreatic-enzyme deficiency. Reuters
Mixing blood thinners with antibiotics can cause GI bleeding
A Canadian study warns clinicians and patients to be careful about mixing blood thinners with antibiotics because the combination could increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. In particular, caution should be given when combining the blood thinner warfarin and the antibiotic cotrimoxazole, which is a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. "Both are very common medications, and the risk that they would be combined is very real," a researcher said. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (4/13)
Study: Sleep-deprived people eat more
Study participants who slept four hours a night ate an average of 22% more calories than those who slept eight hours. Researchers say sleep deprivation could be "one of the environmental factors that contribute to the obesity epidemic." Reuters (4/9)
Gut microbes vary because cultures have different diets
Intestinal microbes that aid digestion and fight disease are different in people around the world because of variations in diet, a study suggests. "Gut microbiota are shaped by our nutrition, and what energy we take up from our nutrition is shaped by gut microbiota," one of the study's co-authors said. HealthDay News (4/7)  
Former surgeon general gives diet, exercise prescription
Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher advised that people should get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruits daily to help prevent diabetes, cancer and heart disease. He also promoted whole grains and low- or nonfat dairy products and said that starting with children could also influence the eating habits of adults. The Greenville News (S.C.) (4/11)
Diverticulosis risk increases with age but diet can help
diverticulosis is something most people don't know they have until it is diagnosed during a colonoscopy, but the condition is very common, especially among older people. Changes in diet, such as adding more fiber and water, and increasing physical activity may help to control diverticulosis and reduce the risk of inflammation or infection. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)/Globe Life blog (3/31)
Women need an hour of exercise daily to keep off pounds
Normal-weight middle-age women who want to avoid adding pounds as they age need to engage in moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, for one hour each day, a study found. Researchers said those who do more vigorous exercise, such as jogging or tennis, can limit activity to a half-hour per day to avoid weight gain. HealthDay News (3/23)
Higher magnesium intake lowers colon cancer risk in men
A study of Japanese men and women found that men who consumed at least 327 milligrams of magnesium daily were 52% less likely to develop colon cancer than those who ingested less than 238 milligrams. The eight-year study did not find the same benefit for women. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (3/16)
Analysis links vitamin B6 to lower risk of colon cancer
Pyridoxal-phosphate, the main active coenzyme form of vitamin B6, may help prevent colon cancer, according to an analysis of study data. Researchers said taking vitamin B6 supplements did not appear to reduce the risk, but higher blood pyridoxal-phosphate levels were inversely related to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Google/Agence France-Presse (3/16) 
Bleeding risks vary among NSAID painkillers
Different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have varying risks of gastrointestinal bleeding, researchers said. An analysis of nine studies found risks were the lowest at low dosages but increased with higher amounts of the painkillers. Older patients and those with stomach ulcers also had higher risks of adverse side effects from the drugs. Reuters (3/3)  
Flatulence is a normal part of digestion
Flatulence is a normal part of digestion and occurs when air gets included in the intestines as the body moves food and waste products toward the anus. Passing gas, which people do 14 times a day on average, helps keep pressure in the intestinal tract low and prevents stretching of the stomach and the intestine. MSN (3/3)
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and a colorful diet rich in fruits and vegetables plus a lively lifestyle are good ways to help prevent the disease. Experts also advise knowing the warning signs of colon cancer, including changes in bowel habits, and getting regular cancer screenings. The Honolulu Advertiser (3/3)
Probiotics may reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea
Research showed a probiotic formula containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. casei may prevent Clostridium difficile infections and diarrhea in patients taking antibiotics. The single-site Chinese study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea was 15.5% in the group taking two probiotic capsules and 44.1% in the group given a placebo. Medscape (free registration)/Reuters (2/19)
Exercise can help combat anxiety
A review of 40 trials found that simple exercises such as walking and weight lifting can help reduce anxiety in patients suffering from chronic medical conditions by 20%. Researchers say the report, which is based on data from nearly 3,000 patients, suggests that exercise may be a low-cost, effective way to help relieve anxiety symptoms. HealthDay News (2/23)
Diet, routine, medications are among causes of constipation
Changes in diet or routine, lack of fiber or fluids, medical conditions, and even some medications all can lead to constipation in children, according to Dr. Michal Chiu in Manitowoc, Wis. Chiu advises parents to take note of their child's bowel movement schedule and to get their physician's advice before determining what changes might be needed. Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, Wis.) (2/22)
Anti-diarrheal drugs may not be right for all cases
In serious cases of diarrhea caused by bacteria, such as salmonella or shigella, it may be best not to take anti-diarrhea medicine and instead to let symptoms run their course and flush the system, one gastroenterologist said. However, if diarrhea symptoms are not severe, using anti-diarrheal medications to get relief generally is not harmful. The Boston Globe (2/22)
Low stomach acid production may cause heartburn symptoms
Heartburn and acid reflux can be caused by the stomach producing too little acid, a condition called hypochlorhydria. Stress, diet and lifestyle can contribute to heartburn symptoms, and simple changes -- such as eating frequent, smaller meals and avoiding greasy or acidic foods -- can make a positive difference. The Buffalo News (N.Y.) (2/16)
Report examines liver damage claims tied to Hydroxycut
A new report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology details 17 new cases of liver damage attributed to weight-loss supplements sold under the name Hydroxycut. The products, which were removed from the U.S. market last year, were previously linked to nearly two dozen instances of liver ailments, including inflammation and severe tissue death. Reuters (2/12)
Expert discusses benefits, limitations of probiotics
Moderate amounts of probiotics, such as eating yogurt several times a week, may be good for the digestive system, says Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer with the American Cancer Society. However, he said to keep in mind that the public's enthusiasm and use of expensive probiotics has outpaced scientific evidence showing long-term health benefits. CNN (2/10)
Focus on healthy food is sidelined by economy
The sour economy has slowed the shift toward healthier fare at restaurants as consumers pay more attention to value. Two years ago, the top 31 quickservice chains were promoting menu items with natural, light, low-carb or other health claims, but those claims fell 3% in a year. The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (2/8)
Study: IBD raises risk of blood clots
Inflammatory bowel disease patients are 3.4 times more likely to develop a blood clot overall and eight times more likely to develop one during a flare, U.K. researchers said. The study also found the risk of blood clots was 16 times higher if an IBD flare occurred when the patient was not hospitalized. HealthDay News (2/9)
Survey: 51% of U.S. adults surf the Web for health info
A government survey of more than 7,000 U.S. adults showed 51% used the Internet to find health information last year but only 5% communicated with their physicians by e-mail. Women were more likely than men to search the Web for health information and to use online health care chat groups. Yahoo!/Reuters (2/2)
2 sugary sodas per week raise pancreatic cancer risk
Drinking two or more sugary soft drinks per week can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 87%, a study of more than 60,000 people in Singapore found. The researchers said the sugar in the drinks may increase insulin levels in the body, contributing to pancreatic cancer cell growth. Reuters (2/8)
Gastroenteritis risks higher after public swimming
An Australian study found people were about 77% more likely to develop gastroenteritis in the week following a swim in a river or lake or in the two weeks after a dip in the ocean. Risk was about one-quarter higher in the one to two weeks after a visit to a public pool or spa. Researchers said the findings indicate a need for better preventive measures in all types of swimming settings. Reuters (1/28)
6 food label phrases are tagged as misleading
A report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest tags six phrases commonly found on food labels as having "almost no meaning." The list includes: lightly sweetened, good source of fiber, strengthens your immune system, made with real fruit, made with whole grains and all natural. The New York Times (1/28)
The downside of exceeding vitamin recommendations
Many foods are fortified with more than the recommended daily amounts of vitamins. At best, the excess is excreted and provides no benefit, but side effects of consuming too many vitamins can include nausea, blurry vision and liver damage, say nutrition experts. Los Angeles Times (1/25)
Study links high vitamin D levels, lower colon cancer risk
A study of more than 520,000 Europeans has found a correlation between high concentrations of vitamin D and a decreased risk of colon cancer. Researchers report that individuals with elevated vitamin D levels were less likely to develop the cancer by as much as 40% compared with those with much lower levels. HealthDay News (1/21)
Understand fat, don't eliminate it
Though fat, and saturated fat in particular, is vilified as unhealthy, it also has health and flavor benefits. Understanding the pros and cons of different fats can lead to more healthful eating. The Guardian (London) (1/19)
Lower-alcohol wine may help reduce bowel cancer rates
People who have a glass of wine every day may reduce their risk of bowel cancer by about 7% by choosing a wine with a 10% alcohol content compared to 14%, according to a World Cancer Research Fund report. Researchers said abstaining from alcohol is the best way to help reduce the risk of cancer but switching to a less potent alcohol content was a positive alternative. Google/The Press Association (U.K.) (1/17)
Study: Obesity rates in the U.S. seem to have stabilized in women
Obesity rates among adult women in the U.S. appear to have stabilized over the past decade, according to new government data. However, the rates for adult men climbed from about 27.5% to 32% over the same period. "It's slightly good news to see that it's not increasing at the rate it was before, but we can't really relax. We still have a third of our population that's obese," said an official at the CDC. Reuters (1/13)
Benefits of added fiber not yet clear
Fiber that is added to products may not be as beneficial as fiber that occurs naturally in foods. While studies have shown that naturally occurring fiber, called dietary fiber, confers many health benefits, the same research has not been performed for fiber that is manufactured and then added to products. Los Angeles Times (1/11)
Study links selenium level to esophageal cancer risk
A study that included more than 175,000 people in The Netherlands found those with the highest levels of selenium had the lowest risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Researchers also found higher selenium levels reduced the risk of gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, though the relationship was borderline significant, and esophageal adenocarcinoma, but only in women, never-smokers and people with low antioxidant intakes. Yahoo!/Reuters (1/6)
More people cook without meat, dairy to reduce cancer risk
More people are learning to cook simple meals without using meat or dairy products as a way to reduce their risk of cancer. Studies have linked meat with various types of cancer, including one study from Harvard that found daily meat eaters had about three times the colon cancer risk of people who rarely ate meat. The Detroit News (1/7)
Ignoring acid reflux can lead to major health issues
Acid reflux can be treated with diet, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and even surgery, but failing to treat it at all can lead to major health problems, experts say. Esophageal cancer, chronic laryngitis and chronic pulmonary problems all can result from untreated acid reflux, and the majority of people with adult-onset asthma also have acid reflux problems. The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (1/8)
U.K. scientists create working model of human stomach
U.K. scientists have created a machine that is the first model of the human stomach, which will be used to study the complexities of digestion. The Dynamic Gastric Model will be used in food science and pharmaceutical research. Google/Press Association (1/1)
Coffee may help those with hepatitis C, study finds
Researchers say people who have chronic hepatitis C may be able to reduce the severity of liver fibrosis by consuming two and a quarter cups of caffeinated coffee daily. Other beverages containing caffeine did not produce the same result, the study found. United Press International (1/5)
Physicians say too many babies get acid reflux diagnosis
There is growing concern that physicians are overdiagnosing babies with gastroesophageal reflux disease when they really may have an allergy or may just be constipated. More infants are being prescribed acid reflux medications, but there has been little study of the effects of the drugs in children younger than 1 year. (Canada) (1/4)
Food expert: Food awareness will grow in 2010
Issues including a growing interest in sustainable agriculture and concerns about genetically modified foods signal a growing awareness of the food industry, says food expert Marion Nestle. She expects greater efforts to fight childhood obesity, improved food safety laws and growing pressure on companies to reduce sodium. San Francisco Chronicle (1/3)
Obesity's effect on quality of life is equal to smoking
U.S. researchers reported that obesity can affect a person's quality of life just as much as smoking. The study included 3.5 million adults and found quality-adjusted life years lost to obesity are equal to or exceed those lost to smoking. Yahoo!/HealthDay News (1/5)
Fiber helps improve health in four key ways
Consumer Reports names four main reasons why fiber is good for your health: it curbs absorption of fat, which can lower bad cholesterol, slows sugar absorption, helps move waste through the digestive system faster, and makes you feel fuller, so you eat less. Tips to get more fiber include choosing whole grains, making juice drinks, and adding beans or lentils to soups and salads. The Washington Post/Consumer Reports (1/5)
Regular statin use doesn't lower colorectal cancer risk
A study of 400,000 Canadians published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found patients regularly taking statins for cholesterol did not have a lower risk of developing colon cancer. Reuters (12/30)
Smartphone apps can help or hinder healthy weight loss
Smartphone applications that allow users to track calories and daily food intake might help some overweight teens, but they also have the potential to stoke eating disorders and obsessional behavior in vulnerable users. HealthDay News (12/28)
Smoking raises risk of stomach, esophageal cancers
Smoking raises the risk of stomach and esophageal cancers anywhere from 60% to 263% compared with nonsmokers, according to a Dutch study that followed more than 120,000 people for 16 years. Researchers also said people who drank more than two or three glasses of wine daily were almost five times more likely to develop esophageal squamous cell carcinoma than those who didn't drink. Reuters (12/31)
Consolidation of doctors' practices might help patients
Patients might benefit from consolidation of physicians' practices that creates larger medical groups. Large medical groups tend to have more money than smaller or solo practices, allowing improvement to infrastructure and an upgrade to electronic medical records. They might also offer increased access to care. Chicago Tribune/Tribune Newspapers (12/24)
Top food trends for 2010
Gluten-free foods, vegan and organic dishes, and unassuming comfort food such as fried chicken and cherry pie will be featured in restaurants and home kitchens alike in 2010, experts predict. Functional foods that contain natural nutrients also will show up more in cooking. Calgary Herald (Canada)/Edmonton Journal (Canada), The (12/23)
Tips to target stress for better health
Exercise, meditation and journaling are among the techniques promoted by medical professionals to reduce stress before it leads to greater health problems. Alicia Simon, a nurse practitioner at the Pocono Medical Center, says untreated stress can lead to a host of problems -- from depression to digestive disorders -- and urges patients to take a proactive approach to dealing with their anxiety. The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Pa.) (12/24)
Colorado food pantry is first to offer gluten-free items
A food pantry in Loveland, Colo., is the first in the nation to give out gluten-free food to low-income people who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant. The House of Neighborly Service set up the program with the help of local activists who are on gluten-free diets, which can be very expensive. Google/The Associated Press (12/17)
Both types of dietary fiber contribute to good health
Fiber acts as a "scrub brush" for the body's digestive system and both the soluble and insoluble types contribute to your health. Insoluble fiber in the diet may help prevent hemorrhoids and other bowel problems, while soluble fiber can aid in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol. Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (Wis.) (12/21)
SSRI use raises risks of upper GI bleeding, study says
Researchers in Denmark linked selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors with an increased risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding and cautioned physicians about prescribing the drugs to high-risk patients. Study data showed current, recent and past SSRI use all raised the risk of upper GI bleeding. Modern Medicine/HealthDay News (12/14)
Low-fat diet may be part of ischemic colitis treatment
A low-fat diet and extra fluids may be recommended for patients with ischemic colitis, which is caused by impaired flow of blood to the colon, one expert said. Ischemic colitis is linked to atherosclerosis, and physicians also may prescribe medication to keep a patient's blood pressure readings normal. Pasadena Star-News (Calif.) (12/14)
Texas teen struggles to cope with gastroparesis
Kayla Golaszewski's wish this holiday season is simply that her gastroparesis does not keep her from being a normal teenager and hanging out with friends. The Brazoria, Texas, 18-year-old had surgery in May to allow her digestive system to operate more normally, but she still gets intense abdominal pain. The Brazosport Facts (Clute, Texas) (12/14)
Study finds where you live may affect how long you live
A study of more than half a million middle-age and older Americans found people in poor neighborhoods may die sooner than those living in wealthier areas, regardless of diet, lifestyle or other individual factors. The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study found residents of the most deprived neighborhoods had a 22% higher risk of dying than those living in the least deprived areas. Reuters (12/8)
Study: Fat in diets does not correlate with weight gain
The percentage of fat in a diet or the type of fat consumed have no impact on a person's weight over time, researchers say. "It is more important to aim for a healthy lifestyle including a balanced healthy diet and regular physical activity, than to focus on fat intake alone as a factor for weight gain," said one of the researchers. Reuters (12/11)
Get nutrients from variety of foods, dietitians say
Most Americans should choose wisely from a variety of foods and forgo supplements, according to a new position paper from the American Dietetic Association. Although supplements can be helpful for some people, the best way to be healthy and avoid chronic disease is to eat many different foods. United Press International (12/9)
A report in the journal Cancer found cancer diagnosis rates for most all gender and ethnic groups in the U.S. dropped by an average of 1% per year from 1999 to 2006. Mortality rates also declined, mainly for common cancers such as lung, prostate and colorectal in men and breast and colorectal cancers in women. CNN
Report forecasts declines in colorectal cancer deaths
Deaths from colorectal cancer decreased by about 20% over the past decade and by 2020 could total one-half of the rate in 2000, according to the American Cancer Society. Researchers say better screening and treatments, and continued improvements in these areas, as well as declines in smoking and consumption of red meat will contribute to the decrease. Yahoo!/The Associated Press (12/8)
Delays in introducing new foods may raise allergy risk
Parents who delay introducing certain solid foods to young children may raise the risk of food allergies rather than reduce them, according to a study in Pediatrics. Researchers said late introduction of some foods raised the likelihood a child would be sensitized to the food by age 5, and the link was strongest for eggs, oats and wheat. Reuters (12/8)
Two supplements may lower colorectal cancer, polyp risk
Study data showed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by nearly 40%. A second report found people taking a dietary supplement containing selenium lowered their risk of polyp recurrence by about 40%. Yahoo!/HealthDay News (12/8)
Hepatitis C from diagnosis to treatment
Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne viral infection and can linger for decades without showing symptoms, so people often are not diagnosed until liver damage already has occurred. Most U.S. cases come from sharing drug needles, but hepatitis C also can be transmitted through blood transfusions. The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Study links smoking to increased colorectal cancer risk
Current smokers have a 27% higher risk of colorectal cancer and people who have smoked for at least 50 years have a 38% higher risk, compared with people who never smoked, a 13-year study of almost 200,000 people found. Other studies found inhaling secondhand fumes may raise the risk of breast cancer for women and the risk of lung cancer in children. HealthDay News (12/3)
Study: Diet high in linoleic acid may increase UC risk
The risk for ulcerative colitis is higher for people who eat more food that is rich in linoleic acid, such as red meat and certain oils, according to a study of more than 200,000 European adults. Eating more food with an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid could help lower the risk of the disease by decreasing inflammation of the colon lining, one of the researchers said. Reuters (12/2)
Gene may protect against inflammation, bowel cancer
U.K. researchers found that when they removed the GSTP gene from mice predisposed to cancer of the small intestine, it led to a 50fold increase in adenomas, or precancerous growths. They said the gene, known for shielding the body from harmful chemicals, also may protect the body from inflammation of the bowel, which can lead to cancer. BBC (11/25)
Beano safe but lacks solid study data on efficacy
Gastroenterologist Dr. Christian Stone in St. Louis says he doesn't have a problem with people using Beano to relieve digestive gas but the product has not been tested for efficacy in a high-quality study. He said it is safe and the theory behind using the enzyme contained in Beano makes some sense. Los Angeles Times (11/30)
Racial disparities in colon cancer deaths remain mystery
Black patients with colon cancer were 34% more likely to die than white patients, but body weight and co-existing medical problems didn't account for the disparity, a study found. Researchers said the data showed that advanced cancer patients who were underweight had an 87% increased risk of death but being overweight or obese reduced the risk by 42% among patients with stage IV colon cancer. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (11/23)
Hiatal hernia is common problem, can cause acid reflux
A hiatal hernia, when the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm and into the chest, affects up to 10% of people under the age of 40 and up to 70% of people over the age of 70. Most of these hernias don't cause symptoms but some can cause acid reflux and even become dangerous if the stomach twists in the chest. Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, Wis.) (11/23)
Red wine, tea and produce are seen as colon protectors
A study found that normal-weight women and overweight men were less likely to develop colon and rectal cancer if they ate more fruits and vegetables and drank more tea and red wine. The foods contain flavonoids, which are thought to have cancer-fighting properties. Reuters (11/20)
Scientists link 5 genes to childhood-onset IBD
An international group of researchers discovered five genes that appear to play a role in childhood-onset inflammatory bowel disease and found a biological process that causes inflammation in the digestive system related to the condition. "Pinpointing how specific genes act on biological pathways provides a basis for ultimately personalizing medicine to an individual's genetic profile," said one of the researchers. United Press International (11/16)
Gluten-free Thanksgiving easier than ever
The Thanksgiving meal typically features high-gluten dishes including stuffing, potatoes and baked desserts. New products and resources mean it's possible to enjoy cornbread, butternut squash pie and other dishes on a gluten-free diet. National Public Radio (11/18)
Research links genetic defects to ulcerative colitis
A British study that included 12,700 people found defects in four genes that help keep the lining of the intestines healthy may be a cause of ulcerative colitis. The genes affect the seals between cells of the epithelium, and researchers said genetic defects may cause bacteria to leak into the intestine and trigger an immune reaction leading to chronic inflammation. BBC(11/15)
Pediatric food allergies on the rise
Reports of pediatric food allergies increased 18% in the U.S. from 1997 to 2007, but CDC researchers said they were not sure if the increase reflected a higher prevalence or just increased awareness that led more people to seek treatment. Parents of about 4% of U.S. children reported having a child with a food or digestive allergy, the study found. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (11/16)
7 tips to help stay regular
Avoiding sugary or high-fat foods can help prevent constipation, according to one physician group. Other ways to keep your system regular include going to the bathroom right away when you feel the need to have a bowel movement, scheduling time each day for it, and increasing dietary fiber and exercise. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News(11/12)
GERD patient eager for Thanksgiving following surgery
Connie Braswell of Jackson, Miss., plans to enjoy eating for the first time at Thanksgiving in five years, thanks to surgery to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease. She had transoral incisionless fundoplication surgery in late October, which uses a EsophyX device that goes through a patient's mouth, rather than having the more traditional laparoscopic surgery. The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) (11/10)
Expert discusses changing face of ulcer disease
The U.S. has seen a significant drop in Helicobacter pylori infection and H. pylori-related ulcers due in part to cleaner water, better sanitation, and improved detection and treatment, gastroenterologist Dr. Nimish Vakil told The New York Times. Vakil, who helped write the ACG guidelines for managing upper abdominal pain, said the most important cause of ulcer disease in the U.S. is from the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, though immigrant populations still face high rates of peptic ulcer disease linked to H. pylori. The New York Times (11/5)
Wis. woman defies Crohn's, UC to run in half marathon
Emily Egan does not let the fact she has both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis keep her down, despite constant flare-ups, nine surgeries, numerous hospital stays and chemotherapy. The 23-year-old from Kaukauna, Wis., is raising awareness of inflammatory bowel disease by running in the first Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon with Team Challenge of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wis.) (11/9)
Report lists cancer types most affected by obesity
The American Institute for Cancer Research has released a report linking about 100,500 new cancer cases to obesity every year. The report lists colorectal, pancreatic and esophageal among the cancer types most strongly linked to extra weight. USA TODAY (11/5)
Study hints at "dark side of hope" with illness
A study found that patients told their colostomies were permanent got on with their lives and actually were happier than those told the procedure could be reversed in six months. "We're not saying hope is a bad thing. What we're pointing out is that there can be a dark side of hope. It can cause people to put their lives on hold. Instead of moving on and trying to make the best of circumstances, you can think, 'my circumstances are going to change eventually -- no point in dealing with these circumstances,'" said Dr. Peter A. Ubel, a study co-author. ABC News/Reuters (11/3)
More fussy babies diagnosed with acid reflux diagnosis
More doctors are diagnosing some fussy infants with gastroesophageal reflux disease, which experts say may be driven in part by research showing prescription medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, can be safe and effective in children. However, pediatric specialists say the rise in the number of prescriptions for infant acid reflux may indicate that some babies are being medicated unnecessarily. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (11/1)
Post-approval adalimumab data show no new safety signals
A post-approval study of adalimumab for Crohn's disease, which was required by the FDA, did not result in any new safety signals, researchers said. Five-year study data presented at the ACG annual conference also showed improvements from baseline in all assessment categories after three months of treatment in new patients. Doctor's Guide (10/26)
Chronic stress is linked to consumption of high-fat foods
Researchers who interviewed more than 600 overweight or obese women found that those with chronic stress are more likely to eat high-fat foods and feel they lack control over their eating and hunger. The chronically stressed were also more likely to try to control their weight through "rigid restraint" techniques such as vowing to avoid certain foods or skipping meals -- strategies that often backfire. USA TODAY (11/1)
Cancer survivors serve as volunteer mentors for new patients
A Chicago nonprofit called Imerman Angels is working to recruit cancer survivors to serve as volunteer mentors to newly diagnosed cancer patients, to offer support, information and advice on navigating the health care system and figuring out options. One expert says peer-mentoring is a valuable resource in helping patients cope with a diagnosis. The Wall Street Journal (10/27)
How to get the most out of a doctor's appointment
Experts weigh in with tips on how to communicate with your doctor, make the most of time-crunched appointments and get the care you need. Advice includes bringing a list of issues to discuss with your doctor, speaking up if you don't understand what the doctor is saying, and explaining your concerns and fears. MSNBC/Women's Health (11/1)
9/11 responders have higher rates of GERD
A study found 41% of World Trade Center responders have gastroesophageal reflux disease -- about double the rate among the general population -- and that the likelihood of having GERD was higher among those also suffering mental health problems. The study was presented at the ACG annual meeting. Yahoo!/HealthDay News (10/26)
Barrett's esophagus doesn't increase risk of early death
People with Barrett's esophagus have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer but are not any more likely to die sooner than those with a normal esophagus, Mayo Clinic researchers reported at the ACG annual meeting. The study found 68% of Barrett's patients were still alive 10 years after diagnosis, which was comparable to a control group without the condition. The Oregonian (Portland) (10/28)
Consumer Reports tackles gluten-free foods
Gluten-free food is essential for people with celiac disease or those who are gluten intolerant but it might not be the best choice for everyone else because it is expensive and can lack key nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and fiber, according to Consumer Reports. Gluten-free grocery listings at and retailers such as Super Target and Costco can help people save money on gluten-free foods, Consumer Reports says. The Washington Post/Consumer Reports (10/27)
Food allergies can cause dangerous reactions in adults
Only about 25% of patients with food allergies are children and many times they outgrow them. Adults tend to have different types of food allergies, most commonly shellfish allergies, which can strike healthy people out of the blue with dangerous reactions. The Washington Post (10/22)
Study: Lactose intolerance not as prevalent as thought
A National Dairy Council-sponsored study found that lactose-intolerance rates in the U.S. are much lower than previously estimated. The study found a self-reported 7.72% intolerance among European-Americans, 10.05% in Hispanic-Americans and 19.5% for African-Americans, compared with previous estimates of 15%, 50% and 80% for the groups, respectively. FoodNavigator (10/21)
Liver fat may be good indicator of health problems
Obesity researchers said study data showed liver fat may be a better indicator of health problems than belly fat. They said people with fatty livers produce more triglycerides, which can raise the risk of heart disease, and are more likely to be resistant to the action of their own insulin, which can lead to diabetes. USA TODAY (10/25)
5 healthy behaviors can reduce risk of death
Researchers said diabetic and nondiabetic patients who adhered to five basic healthy behaviors, including diet and exercise, reduced their risk of death from any cause. For diabetics, regular exercise was most protective, the study found. Reuters (10/20)
Research: Blacks at much higher risk for colorectal cancer
Black men and women have a much greater risk of developing colorectal cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, compared with other groups of people, according to an analysis of half a million cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed from 1973 to 2004. The research was to be presented at the ACG annual meeting in San Diego. HealthDay News (10/26)
Coffee may reduce risk of disease progression for HCV patients
A study of 766 people with hepatitis C-related bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis found that those who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a 53% lower risk of liver disease progression compared with patients who didn't drink coffee. Researchers said that other factors may be involved but that coffee could play a role in reducing inflammation or oxidative stress. MedPage Today (free registration)(10/21)
Social networking fuels online health sites
The number of health Web sites has increased from about 35 in 2005 to almost 500 due in part to the popularity of social networking and the desire of patients to make informed decisions about their health. One health-focused social-networking Web site is Inspire, which allows its 130,000 members to share their health issues and experiences with treatment options. The Washington Post (10/19)
The 7 most commonly misdiagnosed women's health problems
Many women leave the doctor feeling that their symptoms and concerns haven't been taken seriously, and many women eventually diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease have been told it's all in their head, experts say. Here are the signs and symptoms for the seven most commonly misdiagnosed women's health problems, including polycystic ovary syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. CNN/ (10/19)
Adding enemas to laxatives no help for constipation
Researchers in the Netherlands reported there was no additional benefit in giving regular enemas to children taking oral laxatives for chronic, severe constipation. Study data showed children in a control group and those given enemas had similar success rates in normalization of defection and both also showed a reduction in fecal incontinence episodes. Modern Medicine/HealthDay News (10/15)
Changes in diet, exercise can help treat GERD
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease commonly include heartburn, a bitter taste in the mouth and difficulty swallowing. One expert suggests lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise as a first approach to easing symptoms and consulting a physician if symptoms persist. The Gazette (Montreal)/National Post (10/14)
Long-term travel tied to psychological, physical ills
Psychological problems and diseases caused by parasites are two major health risks for people who travel longer than six months, according to U.S. researchers. The study found long-term travelers were more likely than those on shorter trips to suffer chronic diarrhea, post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, depression and malaria. Reuters (10/15)
Proposals would give up to 50% premium discounts for wellness
Health care reform legislation in Congress includes proposals that would permit insurers and employers to give premium discounts of up to 50% to workers in wellness programs who meet specific targets such as maintaining healthy weight and cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Critics, however, warn that the provision may not benefit those with certain medical conditions, or may be undermined by genetic and environmental factors. The New York Times/Prescriptions blog(10/8)
Relaxation, imagery can help youths reduce stomach pain
A study found children can use relaxation techniques and their imagination to cut frequent stomach pain. Researchers said children in the study had 20 minute sessions of "guided imagery" to prompt them to imagine things that would reduce their pain, and 73.3% reported their abdominal pain was reduced by 50% or more by the end of the treatment course. BBC(10/12)
Study fails to find reason aspirin helps prevent polyps
U.S. researchers said aspirin may lower the risk of recurrent colorectal polyps, but they don't know the reason for the protection. Their study found that changes in five inflammation markers, which come from taking aspirin, didn't affect adenoma recurrence. United Press International (10/14)
Experts weigh in on stress, stomach pain link
High levels of stress or prolonged stress activate the body's fight or flight response, which inhibits digestive functions and can cause stomach problems, Portland, Ore., gastroenterologist Dr. Derek Taylor says. He says stress-related stomach problems are common but can be very disruptive and should be thoroughly evaluated by a doctor. KING-TV (Seattle)/Regence 
Search for gluten-free goodness leads woman to quinoa
A 38-year-old woman with celiac disease went on a mission to find the best gluten-free food and ingredients, making herself healthier and 15 pounds lighter in just four months. She says quinoa, an ancient high-protein whole grain, can be used as a side dish for meat and vegetables or for a hot breakfast cereal. Recipe included. KFSM-TV (Fort Smith, Ark.)/Tribune Media Services(10/11)
Sensitivity tests, food combining may reduce acid reflux
Digestive Health SmartBrief readers alerted Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist Linda Brandt to methods of determining which foods trigger acid reflux symptoms following. The LEAP sensitivity test can be used to customize a diet management plan and a doctor-developed food combination chart shows which foods work well together. Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.)(10/7)  
Long-term acid reflux can lead to esophageal cancer
For some people, years of acid reflux can damage the lining of the esophagus and lead to a condition called Barrett's esophagus, Dr. Paul Donohue writes in his medical column. If left untreated, Barrett's esophagus can evolve into esophageal cancer. The Detroit News (10/5)
More foods labeled as gluten-free
More than 1,000 new gluten-free foods and drinks made it to market last year, and some people with celiac disease say finding foods they can eat is now easier. "If you see gluten-free on the label, that's the key," said Sandra McGravey, chairwoman of a celiac support group in South Carolina. "And we're seeing more and more of that." The State (Columbia, S.C.) (10/6)
"Superfoods" offer potential for big health benefits
Nutrition experts say 10 so-called "superfoods" may offer big health benefits, such as protecting against cancer, improving digestive health and lowering cholesterol. The list includes acai and goji berries, yogurt, broccoli, lentils, sweet potatoes, blueberries, wild salmon, kale and barley. Brisbane Times (Australia)/The Associated Press(10/7)
Knowing what foods are gluten-free makes shopping easier
Shopping for food on a gluten-free diet may be easier if you focus on what you can eat, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry and dairy. Dry beans and peas, rice pasta, juice, tea and many sodas also are gluten-free, but there may be little on the menu once you hit the bakery aisle. The Gaston Gazette (N.C.) (9/29)
Gastroenterologists say colon cleansing isn't needed
Some Web sites, spas and other groups say colon cleansing can help clean the intestinal tract and remove toxins from the body. However, gastroenterologists say that the practice is not needed because healthy colons are self-cleaning and that other methods of cleansing could cause serious harm. The Wall Street Journal(9/28)
Two studies support vitamin D colon cancer claims
Results of two studies supported claims that vitamin D may be protective against colon cancer, writes Dr. John Briffa, a London-based physician and health writer. One study found people with high levels of vitamin D halved their risk of developing the disease and reduced their risk of death from it by 38%. The second showed high vitamin D levels led to thinner colon tumors at diagnosis. The Epoch Times(10/4)
Senate panel rejects 2 proposals on public health insurance
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee defeated two proposals, one by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and the other from Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., to create a government health insurance plan as an alternative to coverage by private insurers. The New York Times(9/29)
Tips to prevent constipation in children
Constipation is a common problem for children, but the Nemours Foundation recommends several strategies to help prevent constipation: ensure proper hydration, adequate fiber intake, regular exercise, and schedules for snacks and bathroom breaks. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News(9/25)
Free, simple stress relief strategies
If the economy makes you feel powerless and stress piles up, there are things you can do for yourself that don't cost any money. Meditation, exercise and reaching out to others are simple steps that can help reduce stress and make you feel better, says Georgetown University psychiatry professor James Gordon. The Washington Post(9/29)
Healthy diet, weight loss may help relieve heartburn
Being overweight or obese is a key trigger for heartburn and studies have suggested adopting a healthier diet and shedding pounds can relieve heartburn before it develops into gastroesophageal reflux disease or cancer. Other tips include avoiding foods that can aggravate heartburn, including coffee, alcohol, chocolate, peppers and peppermint. Triton(9/28)
Cancer prevention means knowing symptoms, healthy habits
The American Cancer Society has developed the CAUTION list of symptoms that indicate a need to visit your physician, including a change in bowel or bladder habits and indigestion or difficulty swallowing. The group also has the 10 commandments of cancer prevention, which include avoid tobacco, eat right and get plenty of exercise. more ...
Gluten-free food products are expensive, unregulated
People with celiac disease are finding more gluten-free foods on the market, but such products can be expensive and safety is a concern because the government has not regulated the industry or product advertising. One pending regulation would allow products containing 20 parts per million or less of gluten to claim to be gluten-free, but some people with celiac disease say even that amount is too much. more ... 
Quinoa is an ancient food with many benefits
Quinoa cooks like a grain, tastes like a nut and is a complete protein that is loaded with nutrients, making it a popular choice for vegans and vegetarians. It is low on the glycemic index, meaning it is suitable for diabetics, and is gluten-free, a boon for those suffering from celiac disease. more ...
Acid reflux disease can cause atypical symptoms
Classic acid reflux symptoms include chronic heartburn and acid regurgitation, but some people with the disease have atypical indicators, such as cough, hoarseness, sore throat, asthma, chest pain and even sinusitis. Acid-reducing medications and lifestyle changes bring relief for most patients, and prompt diagnosis helps ensure acid reflux does not develop into Barrett's esophagus or esophageal cancer. more ...
Viral hepatitis: Could you be putting yourself at risk?
Hepatitis is the most common cause of liver inflammation. While symptoms vary, some patients may experience no symptoms at all. Educate yourself about hepatitis, its symptoms, causes and ways you can reduce your risk. more ...
Kiwi may help relieve IBS symptoms, study suggests
Kiwi fruit contains an enzyme called zyactinase, which one small study has shown could offer relief for people with irritable bowel syndrome. more ... 
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