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August 2012

Fried Meat Linked To Prostate Cancer, Study Finds



The way we cook our food could affect the chances of developing prostate cancer, new research suggests. According to the results of a study published in Carcinogenesis, deep frying red meat has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.

The findings are based on the analysis of nearly 3000 persons who participated in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Dr. Mariana Stern from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California led a research team which sought to determine a link between the consumption of red meat and poultry and prostate cancer. To this end, they analyzed the dietary habits of 2953 men living in California. 

Their analysis revealed a link between advanced prostate cancer and consumption of large amounts of red meat cooked at high temperatures. On the other hand, they found that baking poultry was associated with a low risk of prostate cancer. Basically their study suggests that cooking methods affect development of this potentially deadly cancer.

Stern has published similar results in the journal Cancer Causes and Control. She and her colleagues found that the way in which the type of fish and the manner in which it is cooked can increase the chances of developing prostate cancer.

This analysis, which was part of the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study, found that eating deep fried white fish increases prostate cancer risk whereas no such link was found when this type of fish was cooked at lower temperatures or until done.


Chemicals In Animal Products Are Linked To Cancer

When people eat poultry, meat, and fish they're consuming large amounts of muscle tissue. When people cook these foods at high temperatures it leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Unfortunately for animal consumers, numerous studies indicate that these chemicals cause cancer.

When certain chemicals within the animal products are cooked at high temperatures it causes some very dangerous chemical reactions. They have mutagenic properties that foul up genetic material which then leads to dangerous mutations of the DNA. In the process of digesting meats, fish and poultry containing PAHs and HCAs we may inadvertently activate them potentially causing damage within our own bodies.

The problem with PAHs and HCAs aren't limited to prostate cancer. In fact, cooking meats at high temperatures has been found to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer

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Since cooking method has been proven to effect the chances of developing cancer, it would make sense to take certain precautions while cooking animal products. Health scientists recommend consumers take the following steps when cooking meats, fish and poultry:

  • remove the charred portions of meat
  • cook meat in the microwave before exposing it to high temperatures
  • avoid cooking meat on open flames
  • continuously flip your meat when cooking at high temperatures

Although there is no guarantee that changing your cooking methods will keep you cancer free, it may lower your chances of developing cancer from eating cooked meats.


31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

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Article Sources 

Joshi AD, Corral R, Catsburg C, Lewinger JP, Koo J, John EM, Ingles S, & Stern MC (2012). Red meat and poultry, cooking practices, genetic susceptibility and risk of prostate cancer: results from the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Carcinogenesis PMID: 22822096

Joshi AD, John EM, Koo J, Ingles SA & Stern MC (2012). Fish intake, cooking practices, and risk of prostate cancer: results from a multi-ethnic case study. Cancer causes & control : CCC, 23 (3), 405-20 PMID: 22207320

Anderson KE, Sinha R, Kulldorff M, Gross M, Lang NP, Barber C, Harnack L, DiMagno E, Bliss R, & Kadlubar FF (2002). Meat intake and cooking techniques: associations with pancreatic cancer. Mutation research, 506-507, 225-31 PMID: 12351162

Wu K, Sinha R, Holmes MD, Giovannucci E, Willett W, & Cho E (2010). Meat mutagens and breast cancer in postmenopausal women--a cohort analysis. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology, 19 (5), 1301-10 PMID: 20447922

Diggs DL, Huderson AC, Harris KL, Myers JN, Banks LD, Rekhadevi PV, Niaz MS, & Ramesh A (2011). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and digestive tract cancers: a perspective. Journal of environmental science and health. Part C, Environmental carcinogenesis & ecotoxicology reviews, 29 (4), 324-57 PMID: 22107166

Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk - National Cancer Institute Factsheet


"Fried Meat Linked To Prostate Cancer, Study Finds" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Side Hammer Preacher Curl- A Perfect Resistance Training Exercise to Develop Your Biceps

Side Hammer Preacher Curl- A Perfect Resistance Training Exercise to Develop Your Biceps

By Guy Long

Working your muscles against a force of resistance, simply known as resistance training, helps develop the strength and size of your skeletal muscles. It uses the force of dumbbells, barbells, weighted bars and weight stacks to oppose the force generated by large muscle groups through eccentric or concentric contraction.

Resistance training helps add muscle mass to your body, improves the strength of your muscles, increases the size of your large muscle groups and improves your performance. These exercises demand you to supply your body with protein, amino acids, carbohydrates and vitamins on a regular basis. Protein and amino acids make the structural core of the human body and they are required for growth and repair of tissues. Moreover, amino acids help in the transportation of oxygen and nutrients. Carbohydrates help replace the glycogen after hard resistance training exercises, which gives muscle tissue energy and lean mass.

Protein-rich foods include lean meats such as chicken, fish and turkey, nuts, whole grains, yogurt, fortified cereals and pulses. You should get the recommended daily allowance of carbohydrate from the brown rice, potatoes, sugar beets, sweet potatoes and fortified cereals. For vitamins and minerals, consume fresh fruits and green vegetables on a regular basis. Drink plenty of water daily to detoxify your body.

Many regular gym users love to train their biceps as large and muscular biceps are seen as a symbol of strength and power by others. There are numerous resistance training exercises that target specifically the biceps. Among those exercises, Side Hammer Preacher Curl is a magnificent resistance training workout that defines your biceps. This exercise also targets the side of your bicep.

This exercise is known as Preacher Curl because you perform it on a preacher. In order to start this exercise, you need to grab a dumbbell in your hand and place that very arm on the preacher in a diagonal direction. Next step is to bring the dumbbell down and then raise it up to complete one rep. Make sure that you perform 3 sets of about 10 reps each. Now, switch to your other arm and repeat the same process.

When you bring the weight up, make sure that you squeeze the inside of your bicep to put maximum stress on the muscle. It is also important that you flex your bicep when you bring the weight down. Control the movement of the dumbbell and maintain a steady posture. Make sure that you don’t jerk the weight as doing this can lead to a severe bicep injury.

If you are not sure about how to perform the Side Hammer Preacher Curl, then you should look for the services of a professional gym trainer in your vicinity. This would help you reap the maximum benefits from the resistance training exercises as a fitness trainer will carefully monitor your technique and will guide you on how to execute exercises safely. Moreover, he or she will suggest you a right combination of resistance training exercises keeping in view your weight-training objectives and body needs.

About the Author: Guy Long is a Personal Fitness Trainer in Elsternwick and runs Health Clubs in St.Kilda where he specializes in resistance training, body transformation, weight control, and overall muscular strength for local residents.

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America Doesn't Want To Admit It Is Fat



People may not always provide accurate information about their body weight, new research suggests. According to a report published in the journal Preventative Medicine, researchers should exercise caution when using self-reported weight changes developing and implementing weight loss programs. This finding suggests that inaccuracies in self-reported data may impair health care professionals ability to implement weight loss programs for individuals who need to lose weight.

Ali Mokdad and Catherine Wetmore from the University of Washington's Department of Health Metrics and Evaluation reached this determination based on the results of an study which investigated contradictions between nationally representative data used to estimate body weight changes and obesity prevalence in the US adult population and to compare them to self-reported changes.

To this end they used 2008 and 2009 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a national scientific survey wherein the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD) provides assistance to state health agencies for the purpose of monitoring the top risk factors for morbidity and mortality in the United States.

The BRFSS relies on yearly self-reported surveys of American adult. The BRFSS collects weight data by asking respondents a number of questions including what would their height and weight be without shoes, and what was their weight the previous year.

Surveyors also collect socioeconomic information e.g. education, race/ethnicity, age, marital status; and  health behaviors e.g. smoking, daily fruits vegetable intake and weekly exercise.

According to the report, after excluding participants who did not meet criteria for the study, the researchers based their final results on a sample size of 385,416 in 2008 and 394,700 in 2009.

The researchers found that obesity prevalence among US adults increased from  26.0 % to 26.5% during 2008 to 2009.

Interestingly, despite increases in average weight and obesity prevalence during 2008 to 2009, Americans often reported that they had lost (put in italics) weight during that time.

The researchers also noted a greater discrepancy among men than women.

For men, obesity prevalence increased by 0.3% which despite reports of weight loss would have led to a 2.0% decline in obesity prevalence. For women, obesity prevalence rose by 0.5% despite even though their own reports would have resulted in obesity prevalence dropping by 0.9%.

Basically, it means that what people told interviewers about their weight did not match up with the data on obesity prevalence.

The discrepancy was so bad that self-reported changes in weight corresponded to a 2.3 percentage point of underestimation of observed obesity prevalence increase for men and a 1.4 percentage point underestimation of the observed increase in obesity prevalence among women.

Denial is Bliss or is It?

Based on these findings it was obvious that people didn't want to accept the fact that they were gaining weight. Mokdad and Wetmore said: "[O]ur results are a reminder that Americans have not come to accept the reality of their weight changes and hence may not be motivated to engage in behaviors leading to healthy weight goals."

For those who think this may not be a serious matter, the researchers warn "[I]f a majority of overweight adults in the United States believe that they are losing weight, and convey their success stories to clinicians and public health authorities, the pressure on all of us to deal with the burden of obesity is reduced."

In other words, people will be less inclined to regard obesity as a health threat if it appears that the nation is losing weight. In fact, the opposite is true. The US is trending toward obesity, by the year 2030, severe obesity prevalence will increase by 130%. One hundred and thirty percent! That means obesity is getting worse, not better.

Obesity also increases risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and other illnesses. If people are in denial about how much weight, they've gained it can produce serious long term health consequences for the nation.

Realizing that current methodologies which rely on self-reported data may not provide health professionals with an accurate picture of the obesity epidemic, Mokdad and Wetmore said: "It is clear that a multipronged approach that tackles both individual and environmental determinants of obesity is warranted. As part of this effort we should re-visit our messaging about weight change and weight control. We need to help Americans accept the fact that they are gaining weight."


God is with us when we live by the Spirit and adopt the ways of Jesus Christ our Lord and Deliverer. Bless the name of the Lord.

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Article Sources

Wetmore CM, & Mokdad AH (2012). In denial: Misperceptions of weight change among adults in the United States. Preventive medicine, 55 (2), 93-100 PMID: 22781370

Obesity Will Become Even More Prevalent By 2030, Report


"America Doesn't Want To Admit It Is Fat" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Arthritis Treatment: The Dilemma of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Arthritis Treatment: The Dilemma of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

By Nathan Wei

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It is a disease of articular cartilage, the gristle that caps the ends of long bones.

Cartilage consists of a mixture of proteins, sugars, and collagen.

Interspersed in this matrix of substances are chondrocytes, cartilage cells. The purpose of the chondrocytes is to manufacture new healthy matrix and keep it healthy. With OA, the chondrocytes begin to elaborate destructive enzymes. In addition, there is a complex interplay of events that leads to bone spur formation and inflammation of the synovium (the lining of the joint), which causes further joint destruction.

OA is predominately a disease of weight-bearing joints. However, other joints can be affected and cause debilitating symptoms and loss of function.

This article will focus on OA of the shoulder. This problem arises as a result of many different factors such as trauma, instability, rotator cuff disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and previous surgery.

The most common cause though is primary OA. In other words, it just develops because of cartilage derangements that come about because of genetics or other reasons that cause cartilage to be abnormal prematurely.

As with OA involving weight-bearing joints, the course is similar. There is cartilage wear and tear that leads to asymmetry of the interface between the ball of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the glenoid (cup) scapula. The underlying bone in the head of the humerus hardens and develops spurs. Further disease progression leads to abnormalities of the cartilage of the cup surface also.

Another common cause of OA in the shoulder is what is termed “cuff arthropathy”. This is a condition that occurs in older individuals with large rotator cuff tears. This is an interesting and devastating condition that usually affects the dominant arm. It develops because of the limitation of motion and function which causes biochemical changes in cartilage, disuse osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, loss of normal joint lubrication and nutrition all culminating in cartilage and bone collapse.

Trauma that may occur as a result of occupation or recreation (for instance weight-lifters have a higher incidence of shoulder OA) plays a major role in the development of this disease. Previous surgery also falls into the category of trauma.

So… what can be done? Unfortunately, many treatments have been tried but they all seem to fall short. There are two endpoints that effective arthritis treatment must meet. The first is adequate control of symptoms. The second is possible slowing down or reversal of cartilage loss.

The usual approaches to OA consist of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, physical therapy, glucocorticoid injections, and exercises. Results are generally disappointing. Reports of the use of viscosupplements (lubricants) have been mixed. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been touted as a therapy. While effective for rotator cuff tendinopathy, it does not fix the problem of cartilage loss.

While most patients end up with a shoulder arthroplasty (shoulder replacement), this is not a good option for the younger, healthy active person who wishes to continue to be active.

Recent developments regarding the use of autologous stem cells combined with growth factors, administered after fenestration and scarification of the exposed bony surface are promising. Symptomatic relief as well as what appears to be reversal of cartilage damage has been noted.

About the Author: Nathan Wei, MD FACP FACR is a board-certified rheumatologist and nationally known arthritis authority and expert. For more info: Arthritis Treatment and Arthritis Treatment Center

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Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Indiana Farm



Officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have announced a recall of cantaloupes from a farm in Indiana that has been linked to a nation-wide outbreak of salmonellosis. According to the FDA, Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, Indiana has been tied to salmonella outbreaks in multiple states around the country.

Chamberlain Farms decided on the recall after a briefing from the FDA, CDC and the state of Indiana on the status of their investigation. According to the FDA, consumers are advised to throw away any cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farms.

Officials say the contaminated fruit was shipped to the following locations:

  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is also investigating the situation, reports that Salmonella Typhimurium has infected 178 people in 21 states. Government officials say the strain is responsible for 62 hospitalizations around the country and two deaths in Kentucky.

Government health agencies are also investigating other possible sources of the salmonella outbreak.

The FDA recommends that people discard cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farms rather than washing them off. The reasoning behind this is that the bacteria may have contaminated the outside and inside of the fruit making it potentially hazardous. Moreover, if people cut, dice, or slice up the cantaloupes they could inadvertently transfer the contamination to other parts of the food.

Salmonella is a food borne pathogen that causes a variety of symptoms including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever that often show up 12 to 72 hours after infection.

The disease is especially dangerous to young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. 

For more information about salmonella food poisoning, please visit Salmonella at .


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US Food and Drug Administration.

"Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Indiana Farm" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.


Easy And Flavorful Chinese Fried Rice Recipe - Only Five Ingredients

Easy And Flavorful Chinese Fried Rice Recipe - Only Five Ingredients

By Jason Castellucci

Chinese fried rice has always been a favorite comfort dish of mine. After much experimenting in the kitchen, here's an easy and wonderfully flavorful Chinese fried rice recipe with only five ingredients. It's so simple that even novice cooks can prepare this easy recipe without difficulty.

This delicious and easy Chinese fried rice recipe serves about four adults. After preparing and refrigerating the rice ahead of time, this dish can be ready to serve in about 30 minutes, with about 15 minutes for prep time and the remaining 15 for cooking.

Stir in cooked, chopped-up chicken, beef, pork or shrimp to turn this fried rice recipe into a complete meal. Serve it with egg rolls, spring rolls, pot stickers, or wontons for an extra special treat. Enjoy!


4 cups cold cooked jasmine rice

1 cup cooked frozen peas and carrots (or 1 to 2 finely chopped green onions)

4 tablespoons peanut oil

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons oyster or hoisin sauce


1. Cook the peas and carrots according to package directions. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl.

3. Add the oil to a wok or large frying pan under medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the rice and stir fry it for a few minutes with a wooden spoon.

4. While stir frying, separate the chunks of rice into smaller pieces.
Move the rice to one side of the wok or pan. Scramble the eggs until cooked.

5. Stir the scrambled eggs into the rice. Stir in the frozen peas and carrots or green onions.

6. Pour the sauce over the rice mixture. Mix thoroughly and stir fry for a few more minutes. Serve hot.


You can substitute enriched white rice for the jasmine, but jasmine rice has a pleasant taste, texture and aroma that plain old white rice will never match.

In our home, we use jasmine rice in all of our rice dishes. It's available in most grocery stores as well as in Indian and Thai markets. It's slightly more expensive than regular rice of the same quantity, but the better taste definitely makes up for the higher cost.

When stir-frying Chinese fried rice with peanut oil, avoid heating the oil to high temperatures. When heated to its smoke point, peanut oil can cause foods to taste bitter.

As a less expensive alternative to peanut oil, you can add about a teaspoon of sesame oil to flavor regular heated vegetable oil. When heated by itself, sesame oil has a taste that is too intense to be used as a stir-fry oil. But small amounts go a long way to enhance the flavor of the rice.

As you stir fry with the wooden spoon, scrape rice from the bottom of the pan or wok to avoid sticking and burning.

Oyster sauce is thick and salty, with a slight amount of oyster extract to enhance the flavor of foods. Hoisin sauce is also thick and salty, but sweeter in its flavor. It's frequently used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and other appetizers.

If you want to make a healthier version of this Chinese fried rice recipe, use a reduced-sodium soy sauce instead of these sauces.

This easy recipe is extremely flexible and forgiving. If you want to stir fry more cold cooked rice, scramble and stir in an additional egg per cup of rice added. Stir in additional sauce to taste, being careful not to make the rice too salty.

About the Author: A native of Los Angeles, Jason Castellucci has been a professional writer since 1996. He has enjoyed Chinese cuisine since kindergarten, when he fell in love at first bite with the Mandarin Dragon restaurant in his home town. He has been cooking Chinese food for over 10 years. Click here to discover how ANYONE can cook delicious Chinese food and improve their less than 20 minutes.

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Philosophy And Mental Illness

Philosophy And Mental Illness

By Karen Hastings, Edinburgh

“I think therefore I am” – Renee Descartes (1640)

It is a beautiful summers day and you are walking in the countryside. In a clearing to your right you see a cherry tree, the red fruit peeping from under the lush green foliage. You walk up to it. You touch it, feeling the rough bark under your fingertips. You can hear the breeze rustling the leaves, and smell the odour of the fruit. You take a cherry and pop it in your mouth, savouring the sweet juice as it floods over your tongue.

But does the cherry tree exist? You can see it, hear it, feel it, smell and taste it’s fruit – but this is not enough. You may be hallucinating, or asleep and having a particularly vivid dream. How would you know?

You wouldn’t. All our experience of the world and “reality” is governed by our five senses (I leave aside any discussion of a “sixth sense”). These senses are our only connection with the world outside our selves. A blind person has no visual contact with the outside world; somebody with a severe cold has little taste or olfactory contact with the outside world. And these senses are basically biochemical machines designed to send information to our brain. For example, the eyes collect and focus reflected light onto the retina (at the back of the eye). Receptors in the retina convert this light into electrical impulses (this electricity is produced by chemicals in the receptors). These electrical impulses are then fired along a network of nerve cells to the brain. The brain, another very complex mass of interconnected nerve cells, analyses these impulses – their strength, their rate, their pattern and frequency – and generates an internal picture based upon them. It is this brain-generated picture that we “see”. It is a similar case with the sensation of touch. Receptors in our skin are stimulated by physical contact and produce electrical impulses that are sent to the brain – what we “feel” is the result of the brain’s analysis of these impulses. And so on for taste, smell and hearing.

So the tree that we saw, felt, heard, smelled and tasted isn’t actually “out there” in the world – it is in our brains. More accurately, it is the brains image or impression of the tree constructed from the impulses it receives from our senses. Whenever our brain received this particular pattern of impulses from the senses, it would construct an image of a tree – colour, shape, smell, taste, touch and sound – whether or not a tree was actually there.

There is little controversy in stating that our brains can be deceived. We can block the path of the electrical impulses as they pass from the sense receptors to the brain – this is the case with local anaesthesia, where a patient can watch as his appendix is removed without pain. Or we can interfere directly with the brains analysis of the sense impulses – a drunken person is aware that he has fallen over, but it doesn’t hurt (until the next day!). And we don’t need alcohol or drugs for this deception to occur – at some point, most of us have believed, albeit briefly, that we’ve seen or heard or felt something that has turned out to not be there.

It was this sort of reasoning that led Descartes to question the very existence of a world outside our selves. In light of modern science, Descartes is questioning the existence of a world outside our brains (our bodily sensations such as feeling hungry or having an aching leg are also mediated by our senses). In these terms, our own bodies are considered as part of the outside world. If all we see, hear, touch, feel and taste in the outside world is but a representation in our brains, and this representation is based on information from our senses, and these senses can be deceived, then we can never be sure that the outside world exists. Descartes talked of the possibility of us being hypnotised by a demon who is tricking us into believing we are moving around in a world with trees, houses, other people etc when in fact we’re locked in a dungeon somewhere. The film “The Matrix” provides a technological alternative.

So we can’t know if the outside world exists – it could all be in our brains. But in that case can we know that anything exists? Thankfully, yes. We can be sure our thoughts exist. How? Because we think them. There seems no way that we can be deceived about our thoughts existing – in the very act of having a thought, that thought exists. The thoughts may be based on deceptive information from the senses, but they are still real, they still exist. It is difficult to conceive of deceiving someone into believing they have thoughts when, in fact, they don’t. You need to have thoughts to be deceived.

So we can safely say that our thoughts definitely exist! Descartes moved on from this “rock of certainty” and went on to “prove” the existence of the outside world. Unfortunately, this further “proof” is highly suspect and relies on the notion of a beneficent and all-powerful God – but then Descartes was writing on behalf of the Catholic Church! Most modern philosophers discount this extension of his theory, but they do still accept his earlier reasoning - “I think therefore I am” has stood the test of time. If we are being pedantic, Descartes quote is better rendered as “There are thoughts” – just because I experience thoughts doesn’t mean they are mine! But this isn’t as memorable as the original.

So what has all this got to do with mental health? Well, if the outside world doesn’t exist as such and all we have is thoughts, then (potentially) the world is what we think it to be. I’m not saying we can change things dramatically. It would take a lot of effort to “create” a thought-world where trees can talk and people fly by flapping their arms – for this to be “real” one would have to interact constantly and consistently with trees and people as though they could do these things. Rather, I am talking about how our thoughts and feelings can “colour” our experience of the outside world (I am using the terms “thoughts” and emotional “feelings” interchangeably here). Depressed people (i.e. people with depressed or depressing thoughts!) experience the world differently to others. They see colours less vividly, food can seem tasteless and unpleasant, and harmless everyday situations can appear threatening. They predict bad consequences from actions and events where others see only benefit. A depressed persons world is very different to a happy person’s, but to an observer they will seem one and the same.

A person with depressive thoughts who is looking to “get better” has three courses of action open to him.

Firstly, he can accept the “medical model” of mental illness and depression. This model sees the brain (rightly) as a complex neurochemical structure, and postulates that depression and other psychological illnesses are due to defects or malfunctioning in this system. The brain, when examined anatomically, consists of millions of various cells, each of which is in turn composed of smaller structures. When these structures are examined in turn, they are found to consist of chemicals (as does all physical matter). The medical model thus presumes that it is a defect or malfunctioning of these chemicals that adversely affect the brains cells, leading in turn to the malfunctioning of the brain and finally a “malfunctioning” of thinking – depression or whatever.

On this model, the course of action is clear – correct the malfunctioning of the brain. This is done using drugs that enter the brain and interfere with the cells chemical structure and functioning. This all makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, there is a vast gulf between the theory and the practise. Medical science just does not know enough about the brain at present. There are numerous different cell types, numerous different chemicals in and around these cells, and numerous different interactions and connections between each cell and the others. No test has been developed that shows which chemicals/cells/connections are malfunctioning. The best that the scientists can do is make an educated guess as to those chemicals/cells/connections seem likely to be defective, and choose drugs that act on these. The initial guesses (based on drugs that were found in the 1950’s - by accident!) are still the main focus of research today. The result is predictable – a large number of different drugs that work seem to work sometimes and not at others and have side effects (because they are also affecting perfectly healthy cells). This is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

A second course of action for the depressed person is to change the outside world i.e. their circumstances. This makes perfectly good sense. If you are feeling depressed because you hate your job or your relationship, then change it. If you feel depressed because you’re overweight, then diet. Of course, this is rather flippant. If it were that easy to do, people would just do it. And it must be acknowledged that depression often saps the will and motivation to change just these sorts of situations. Further, many situations cannot be changed by our own actions – the loss of a loved one, poverty, ill health, war, famine etc. The outside world can be very resistant to change.

The third course of action takes a leaf out of Descartes book. We are what we think – a depressed person is no more and no less than someone with depressed thoughts. If they stopped having depressed thoughts, then the depression disappears. It is possible for people to be happy, or at least content, even in the direst of circumstances. Most of us have known people face up to unpleasant and distressing events with resilience and even cheerfulness. We say they are “naturally happy” or are “positive people.” One can also say that they think “happy thoughts” or think “positive thoughts.”

Perhaps they were born like that. Or perhaps they learnt to think like that as they grew up (I believe this is more likely). Either way, though, they enjoy life a lot more than many of us. But this needn’t be the case – if we can learn to think a little more like them, learn to think in a more pleasant, positive way. It seems unlikely that depressed people are “born like that”, just as it is unlikely that happy people are “born like that.” Even the wackiest psychiatrist will hesitate to diagnose a baby as depressed! Young babies can’t think as we do – and they can’t have depressed thoughts. As they grow, their thinking abilities develop under the influence of their parents, siblings and peers. Patterns of thought are developed, ways of thinking, with each person having their own particular patterns, unique to them. By the time adulthood is reached, these patterns are likely to be “ingrained” in us, to the point where we’re not even aware of them – we automatically process situations, events, and interactions with others in terms of these thought patterns. The thoughts we actually think (and are aware of) are the results of this processing. Therefore, if this processing is “set wrong” (e.g. if it constantly produces thoughts that are depressive), then psychological problems are likely to follow.

This is the basic theory on which are based the cognitive therapies for psychological problems. With the prompting and guidance of the therapist, an individual is taught to examine his or her thinking patterns, searching for maladaptive and detrimental ways of thinking. This is not an easy task – the patterns are usually “automatic” (like a habit) and the individual is likely to be unaware of them initially. An important task for the therapist is to elucidate these “faulty” patterns. These can then made explicit to the individual, and the first steps taken towards challenging these ways of thinking. The aim of the cognitive therapies is to minimise or remove entirely the identified faulty patterns, and for the individual to learn more adaptive and helpful ways of thinking in their place. A successful therapy can change a persons life forever – when a person no longer automatically thinks depressive thoughts, they are insulated and protected from becoming depressed in the future. Karen practices Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Edinburgh and NLP Edinburgh.

About the Author: Karen has a degree in Psychology and is also a qualified mental-health occupational therapist, with NHS experience. Karen is registered with the HPC. Karen practices privately and offers Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Edinburgh and NLP, Edinburgh. Visit

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Eating Almonds Lowers Cholesterol

Handful of Almonds
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Eating almonds is a nutritious way to reduce cholesterol, new research suggests. According to a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who consume almonds experience lower cholesterol compared than people who don't eat nuts.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion based on the results of an 18 month study which compared almond and nut free diets. 

For the study, which was sponsored by the Almond Board of California, Temple University researcher Gary D Foster and colleagues compared almond-enriched diets (AED) and hypocaloric nut-free diets (NFD) to learn their effect on body weight and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

To this end, they recruited 123 adult men and women whom were randomly assigned to either AED or NFD.

Sixty-one participants were randomly assigned to the AED group and instructed to eat two 28 gram packages of almonds each day for the next 18 months.

The NFD group, which consisted of sixty-two subjects, were instructed to abstain from eating peanut butter, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts and cashews for the same 18 month study period. 

The participants were 18 years to 75 years of age with body mass index ranging from 27 - 40.

The study required that participants adhere to a low calorie diet (LCD), therefore the men were instructed to consume 1500 - 1800 kcal/d while the women consumed 1200 - 1500 kcal/d. All of this is crucial because researchers hypothesized that AED would bring about more weight loss and improved cardiovascular disease risk than NFD at 6 months and 18 months.

Well, needless to say, Foster's research produced some very interesting results.


Little Difference In Weight Loss Between People Who Did and Did Not Eat Nuts

After six months, Foster's team checked on both groups and found that the NFD group "lost slightly but significantly more weight than the AED group". In this case, slight makes a huge difference because the NFD group lost 7.4 kg compared to 5.5 kg for the AED group.

In other words, people who did not eat nuts lost more weight than people who added nuts to their regular staple.

Going further, members of both groups regained some of their losses at 6 months and 18 months (1%); the amount of weight loss among both groups also blurred at this point. Essentially, after a time, there was little difference between the AED and NFD groups with respect to weight loss

Moreover, there was little difference in changes to lean body mass between the two groups at 6 months and 18 months. And while there was a greater amount of body fat loss among the members of the NFD group at the 6 month check in, by 18 months there was little difference in fat loss changes between the two groups.

So, if people eating nuts tended to lose roughly the same amount of weight (and even slightly less weight) than people who did not eat nuts, what nutritional benefit do nuts even provide?


Nuts Are Good For The Heart

Well, Foster's team found that in spite of smaller weight losses, after six months, the AED group reduced triglycerides by 12% and total cholesterol by 4% compared to the NFD group. The research team believes that nuts made the difference here.

Almonds, which are a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, could affect lipoprotein metabolism. Over time, regular consumption of nuts could lower cardiovascular disease risk through reduction of cholesterol and triglyderides making this a very good food source for the heart.

It's also important to bear in mind that the AED and NFD groups maintained weight loss at the 18 month check in. So, Foster's research shows that nuts do promote weight loss, which is good news in terms of nutritious weight loss snacks. 

In a nutshell (yes, pun intended), the results of Foster's study suggest that if incorporated into a sensible diet, nuts are beneficial for weight loss and lower cholesterol.


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Article Source

Foster GD, Shantz KL, Vander Veur SS, Oliver TL, Lent MR, Virus A, Szapary PO, Rader DJ, Zemel BS, & Gilden-Tsai A (2012). A randomized trial of the effects of an almond-enriched, hypocaloric diet in the treatment of obesity. The American journal of clinical nutrition PMID: 22743313


"Eating Almonds Lowers Cholesterol" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.


Arthritis Treatment: Deadly Infections in Joint Replacement Surgery For Arthritis

Arthritis Treatment: Deadly Infections in Joint Replacement Surgery For Arthritis

By Nathan Wei

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States.

With the aging of the Baby Boomer population, arthritis, particularly degenerative arthritis- also known as osteoarthritis- will be increasing in incidence.

It is estimated that currently, a minimum of 20 million American suffer from osteoarthritis. Conservative management of this condition includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, (NSAIDS), exercise, thermal modalities (heat or ice), lifestyle modification such as weight loss, and injections of either glucocorticoids (steroids) or viscosupplements (lubricants).

More recently the use of platelet rich plasma and autologous stem cells (a patient's own stem cells) appears promising.

Unfortunately, for patients that fail these modalities, surgery with joint replacement is one of the few options left.

Risk factors for infected joint replacements include the following: obesity, smoking, multiple surgical residents participating in the procedure, male gender, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

Obviously, lack of sterile technique can be a risk factor.

One of the most dreaded complications of this procedure is infection.

According to the latest National Healthcare Safety Network data (2006-2008), the rate of infection following knee replacement was 0.9% and the rate following hip replacement was 1.3% (Barnes CL. Am J of Orthop. 2011; 40: 2-5)

In 2007 Kurtz and colleagues reported that more than 600,000 combined knee and hip replacements were performed in the US each year. The number is projected to exceed 4 million by the year 2030 (Kurtz S, Ong, K, Lau E, et al. J BoneJoint Surg Am. 2007; 89: 780-785).

Infections following joint replacement can lengthen hospital stay by 2 weeks, double the readmission rate, and triple the costs (Whitehouse JD, Friedman, ND, Kirkland KB, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2002; 23: 183-189)

So how is the diagnosis of this devastating complication made? Criteria established by the Musculoskeletal Infection Society Workshop appear to be the most definitive criteria (Parvizi J. Am J Orthop. 2011; 40: 614-615)
They include the following:

1. A sinus tract (meaning a channel leading from the infected joint replacement to the skin) or
2. A bacteria isolated from culture from 2 separate tissue samples, or
3. When 4 of the following 6 are present:
a. Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate - ESR- (sed rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP)
b. Elevated white blood cell count in joint fluid
c. Elevated neutrophil percentage. Neutrophils are the white blood cells most often present in an acute infection.
d. Purulence (pus)
e. Isolation of a bacteria in I culture of tissue or fluid
f. More than 5 neutrophils per high power field (under a microscope).

This complication is devastating since it can cause permanent disability as well as death. Other symptoms such as fevers, chills, unusual swelling and redness around the operative site, an excessive amount of pain, and an unusually high white blood cell count in the peripheral blood.

Also, one symptom that is rarely mentioned in the literature but which we commented on a lot as residents, is the "dwindles." A patient who is just not doing well.

However, there is still no substitute for a positive set of cultures from the joint replacement site. Once these are obtained the likelihood of joint infection is almost 100 per cent.

About the Author: Nathan Wei, MD FACP FACR is a board-certified rheumatologist and nationally known arthritis authority and expert. For more info: Arthritis Treatment and Arthritis Treatment Center

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Risk For Death And Stroke Higher For Heart Failure Patients



Heart failure patients are at risk of suffering stroke or death, new research suggests. News of this double whammy, which was originally published in BMJ Open, underscores the need for preventative measures among this at risk population.

Researchers led by Gregory Lip from the University of Birmingham made the discovery when testing a hypothesis that death, stroke and a combination of the two would be increased among people suffering incident heart failure.

To this end, they studied patients whom participated in the Diet, Cancer and Health Study (DCH). This study was originally designed to investigate the role of lifestyle and diet in the development of cancer.

When they cross-linked information from the DCH had detailed information on participants' individual risk factors and comorbidities including heart attack and peripheral artery disease with  the Danish National Registry which had information on incident heart failure, stroke and death, researchers were able to identify 1239 patients with incident heart failure.

Lip and his team learned that incident heart failure patients tended to be older males with a history of health problems e.g. previous heart attack, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and diabetes.

Researchers then studied these patients to determine whether they would be at risk for stroke, death or stroke and death.


Heart Failure Increases Risk of Death and Stroke

Patients suffering from incident heart failure were at significantly higher risk of death and or stroke within the first 30 days after being diagnosed. Moreover, previous stroke, ministroke (TIA), or thromboembolism (TE) was an independent predictor of death and adverse outcomes among the patients studied.

Lip and his team looked at the effect of a specific form of drug therapy would have on patient outcomes. They compared heart failure patients receiving vitamin K antagonists (drugs used to dissolve blood clots) to those whom did not undergo this therapy. Based on the results of their analysis, Lip and his colleagues found that VKA therapy was a significant predictor of a lower risk of death and "death and stroke". 

Part of the reason for Lip's study was that heart failure is often associated with atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) which in turn is associated with a higher risk of stroke and thromboembolism. Their study was intended to find out what happens in the absence of atrial fibrillation.

Because VKA therapy was effective in lowering mortality and the composite "stroke and death", the researchers speculated that some of the patients included in their analysis may have had undiagnosed atrial fibrillation (which increases risk of death, stroke and TE) for which the VKA therapy would have been effective.

In other words, some of the heart failure patients receiving vitamin K antagonists to reduce their risk of death, stroke and TE weren't even aware they had an irregular heart beat and the drug therapy helped save their lives.

Based on these results, the research team said: "[O]ur study shows that incident HF patients with prior stroke represent a very high-risk category of patients, who could be targeted for oral anticoagulation, given the potential reduction in mortality shown by the present analysis."

Such an approach could effectively save lives. Nonetheless it's important to not jump to conclusions regarding the outcome of the study.

"This hypothesis would need to be tested in a clinical trial of patients with HF who have prior stroke, who may benefit from aggressive thromboprophylaxis." concluded Lip and his colleagues.


To learn how you can protect yourself against heart attack and stroke, click on the Million Hearts banner in the right sidebar.


“Therefore, though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear” (Ps. 27:3)

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Article Source 

Lip GY, Rasmussen LH, Skjøth F, Overvad K, & Larsen TB (2012). Stroke and mortality in patients with incident heart failure: the Diet, Cancer and Health (DCH) cohort study. BMJ open, 2 (4) PMID: 22773537


"Risk For Death And Stroke Higher For Heart Failure Patients" copyright 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy.