Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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DOES HEALTH CARE HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED? A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found aspirin reduces the risk of early stage breast cancer spreading and of breast cancer death. Of the 4,164 nurses in the ongoing Nurses' Health Study, those taking aspirin 2-5 times weekly experienced a 60% lower risk of their cancer spreading and a 71% lower risk of dying from the disease. Nurses taking aspirin 6-7 times weekly lowered the risk of spreading by 43% and the risk of dying by 64%. Although most were taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks, the aspirin was simultaneously battling cancer with "breastworks". Beer might also have health benefits. An analysis of 100 commercial beers found that beer may be good for bones. The beers contained silicon ranging for 6.4 mg/L to 56.5 mg/L and silicon is a key ingredient for bone health. According to the National Institutes of Health, this soluble silicon could be important for the growth of bones and connective tissue. A past study suggested moderate beer consumption might fight osteoporosis. A 2009 study of approximately 1,700 women showed that light to moderate beer drinkers had much better bone density than non-drinkers. For beer drinkers this is good news - no bones about it. Happiness, a state of mind, may decrease heart attack risk. In 1995 researchers at Columbia University rated the happiness levels of more than 1,700 adult Canadians who had no history of heart problems. Happiness was measured on a 5-point scale, which was adjusted for things like age, gender and smoking. Ten years later the researchers examined the 145 people who'd developed heart problems and found that happier people were less likely to be affected. Each point on the scale represented 22% less chance of heart problems - that's literally a scale after my own heart. Finally, even placebos can make us healthier. Research published in the British medical journal Lancet found that although placebos don't help patients' conditions improve, patients' belief in placebos can help. There's increasing evidence that a positive doctor-patient relationship plus the expectancy of recovery can have actual biological effects - enough to change a patient's brain, body and behavior. For example, placebos given to Parkinson's patients led to their brains releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine. Also, for patients with mild anxiety or depression placebos have worked as well as established treatments. It seems placebos do have an active ingredient - the power of positive thinking.
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WHOSE LIFESTYLE IS IN STYLE? France is the world's best place to live - according to International Living magazine. The magazine has published its Quality of Life Index for 30 years and for the past 5 years France has been #1. The index ranks 194 countries on climate, cost of living, culture/leisure, economy, environment, freedom, health care, infrastructure and safety/risk. France scores high in most categories, including 100 points for health care, 100 for safety/risk and 92 for infrastructure. Australia ranked #2; Switzerland, #3; and the United States, #7. Because of its economy, the United States' #3 position in 2009 was foreclosed. Cleveland is the worst U.S. city to live in - according to MSN's 2010 ranking of America's Most Miserable Cities. Any city with a population more than 245,000 was eligible for ranking by commute time, housing, political corruption, pollution, sports teams' performance, taxes, unemployment, violent crime and weather. Cleveland was the only city to rank in the bottom half of every category. Stockton, California was the #2 most miserable city because of unemployment, crime, commuting and taxes. Memphis was #3 because of crime and political corruption. Two hundred cities were ranked. Two hundred cities' citizens were "rankled". Writing of being rankled, who knew airlines were improving our lifestyle? According to the Transportation Department, airline on-time arrivals in 2009 were the best since 2003 - 79.5%. For most airlines this improvement was due to 2 factors: padding flight times and planes being counted on time if they were less than 15 minutes late. However, for United there were 2 additional factors: using spare planes and giving employee bonuses for first- or second-place monthly finishes. Because the pilots disagreed with how bonuses were calculated, theirs will end in July 2010 - which could fly in the face of United's future on-time success. Superwoman Syndrome is the attempt by women to achieve success in everything. Unfortunately, women are taking prescription medicine to get ahead - or just keep up. In 2009 approximately 6% of American women - 7.5 million - reported using prescription medicines as performance enhancers for energy or tranquility. Although men are as likely to abuse prescription drugs as women, women are 55% more likely to be prescribed abusable drugs. However, the main source of prescription drugs for non-medical users - 56% - is free drugs from family and friends. Superman lost his power to kryptonite. Today's Superwomen could loose her power to addiction.

Knight Pierce Hirst

I may be the only writer who has moved to Los Angeles for the weather.

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