Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fruit Juice Helps our Hearts; Fights Arterial Plaque Even Better Than Fruit Itself

by Dr. Don Rose

Based on an article by Jon Barron on his Health Blog


Have a hankering to hear how to help your heart stay healthy? How about some fruit juice! We always knew it tasted great, but now comes new proof it is good for us, too. Of course, for optimum heart health, fruit juice plus fitness activities plus a fine diet will help even more, but the research study discussed below shows that we now have even more reason to drink grape juice and apple juice instead of sodas. In short, this is grape news for everyone, from California to Apple-ate-ya. Okay, enough puns, just read the story below for all the juicy details. --Don Rose



Researchers from Universite Montpellier in France recently discovered that grapes and apples may prevent plaque from coating arterial walls when consumed with fatty, high-cholesterol foods. The researchers also found that apple and grape juices have a more powerful anti-plaque effect than the fruits themselves.

Research Study

The study followed several groups of hamsters -- one fed a normal diet, while the others enjoyed high-fat diets plus either fruit, water, or juice. The amount of fruit consumed by the little rodents was the human equivalent of three apples or bunches of grapes a day; the amount of juice was the equivalent of about four glasses. The hamsters in the purple grape juice group fared the best, with the lowest level of atherosclerosis, followed by those eating purple grapes. The apple-juice and apple-eating hamsters scored third and fourth, respectively. All the fruit- and juice-eating hamsters had lower cholesterol, less oxidative stress, and less fat accumulation in their aortas than the hamsters who consumed no fruit or juice.

The researchers assume that the cardiac benefits of fruit probably derive from phenolic compounds -- powerful antioxidants found in grapes and apples. Although grapes and apples contain the same amount of phenols in fruit form, grape juice has two-and-a-half times the amount that apple juice does. Earlier studies have found significant differences in phenol content from one fruit juice to another, with blueberry juice the leader of the pack, and apple, grape, pomegranate juices containing far more than the ever-popular orange, pineapple, and grapefruit juices.

According to the Universite Montpellier research team, the findings suggest that the amount of phenols contained in a food have a direct effect on its antioxidant properties. The results, they write, "provide encouragement that fruit and fruit juices may have a significant clinical and public health relevance."

Fruit vs. Fruit Juices

But that's only part of the story. A primary reason juices outperform fresh fruits in delivering antioxidants has to do with the way juice concentrates the nutrients. You get more bioactive punch for the mouthful from juice because you don't have to eat all that fiber. Also, the body can utilize the nutrients more readily since it doesn't have to separate nutrients from the fiber, minimizing the amount of energy consumed in digestion and freeing up that energy for healing. Thirdly, not all phenols are the same. Some, like EGCG in green tea, resveratrol in grapes, and curcumin in the spice turmeric, stand out. And then, of course, in addition to phenols, fruit juices contain other antioxidants such as Vitamin C, as well as minerals, living enzymes, and an assortment of phytochemicals.

Fresh Juice vs. Commercial Bottled Juice

Before you decide to implement the good news by washing down your beefsteak and fries with a glass of Welch's, here's something to consider. There's a world of difference between commercial bottled juice and freshly made juice. Within minutes of juicing, many of the nutrients and enzymes start to break down, rendering the benefits far less potent. By the time bottled juice gets to your mouth, particularly if it's been processed, it's a shadow of its original self. Also, while fruit juices provide many benefits, they contain a lot of sugar, so many people recommend emphasizing vegetable juices instead. In fact, a good juicer is probably the single best investment you can make in your health.


If you don't already own a juicer, look for a machine that's great at extraction, but also easy to use and clean. Some powerful juicers are so difficult to clean that they may end up going unused. Note that you can spend stratospheric amounts on a juicer such as a Norwalk, or pick a perfectly acceptable L'equip for about $130. The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer is another choice (you may have seen its ubiquitous infomercials on TV).

In terms of extraction, some people like the twin magnetic gear system used in juicers like the Green Star. But the Green Star has a big footprint on the counter and takes a bit of effort to clean -- although it's not as difficult as the Norwalk. Some say it is best for fasts, or when juicing heavily for several days in a row -- just clean it at the end of each day. If you're doing a lot of juicing during any given day, the Green Star is the way to go.

If you're new to juicing, consider the L'equip Mini Model 110.5 pulp ejector juicer. It may not have the best extraction method, but it does a decent job. Also, relative to most high-end juicers, it's quick to use and clean. With this Model, it's not that hard to make a quick glass of fresh squeezed juice -- the main thing many folks want from a juicer.

Closing Thoughts

Juicing is a great way to improve one’s health, but it is not recommended to make your juice and then eat junk food to round out your meals like the hamsters did. Although juice may moderate some of the harmful effects of high-fat, high-glycemic diets, it provides far more benefit when used as part of a healthy diet routine. In fact, there are many advocates of juice fasting because it gives the body a chance to detoxify and rebuild.

Also, while the information above shows that a good way to keep “heart healthy” is to drink more fruit juices, one never knows when one’s heart might malfunction, for any number of reasons. It can happen to anyone, at any age, even if you’ve lowered your risk for heart problems via good diet and exercise. If you sense the onset of a heart attack or irregular rhythms, call 911. If you are not near a phone, cannot get to a phone or cannot punch in the numbers, you can still get immediate help if you are a member of Life Alert; simply press your Life Alert help button to get in touch with live dispatchers within seconds, 24/7. They can send medical assistance to you, which will arrive in a matter of minutes. Life Alert members who are not home can also use a special one-button 911 cell phone (an optional Life Alert feature). If you don’t currently have Life Alert, see below for links to information on this valuable service.


The article above is covered by a Creative Commons License. The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.

Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

For more information about Life Alert and its many services for seniors and younger adults nationwide, please visit the following websites:

Thursday, July 03, 2008


This slice of Fourth of July virility news is from the excellent email service sent out by Levine Breaking News (

A slice of cool, fresh watermelon is a juicy way to top off a Fourth of July cookout and one that researchers say has effects similar to Viagra - but don't necessarily expect it to keep the fireworks all night long. Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body's blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra, said scientists in Texas, one of the nation's top producers of the seedless variety.

Email sponsored by Life Alert,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


A recent New York Times article, available in their website's Research section, discusses findings that suggest the brains of older people may in some cases only appear to be working subpar, when in fact these seemingly forgetful brains are actually acting wiser:

Some brains do deteriorate with age. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, strikes 13 percent of Americans 65 and older. But for most aging adults, the authors say, much of what occurs is a gradually widening focus of attention that makes it more difficult to latch onto just one fact, like a name or a telephone number. Although that can be frustrating, it is often useful. “It may be that distractibility is not, in fact, a bad thing,” said Shelley H. Carson, a psychology researcher at Harvard whose work was cited in the book. “It may increase the amount of information available to the conscious mind.”

So what does this mean for those with older minds?

Jacqui Smith, a professor of psychology and research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan ... said there was a word for what results when the mind is able to assimilate data and put it in its proper place — wisdom. “These findings are all very consistent with the context we’re building for what wisdom is" ... “If older people are taking in more information from a situation, and they’re then able to combine it with their comparatively greater store of general knowledge, they’re going to have a nice advantage.”

Friday, May 02, 2008


A press release from HealthDay News states that May is the month to get a handle on asthma, a common breathing disease. If you have asthma, or think you might, free asthma screenings are scheduled to be held at 250 locations across the United States as part of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology sponsors the annual event; for 2008 the emphasis is on helping those already diagnosed with asthma to get it under control as best they can.

In recent months, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) put out new guidelines highlighting the importance of asthma control, including daily monitoring and proper medication use to treat symptoms and prevent severe attacks from occurring. This came in light of research showing that many people with asthma are suffering more than they need to from the disease. Allergist John Winder, chairman of the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program, said "government guidelines emphasize that undiagnosed or inadequately treated asthma worsens the severity of the disease" while "the screening program gives patients who are still having breathing problems a chance to meet with an allergist, discuss their symptoms and learn how to feel better."

More than 22 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, have asthma -- a chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Asthma attacks, which claim nearly 4,000 lives a year, are often triggered by allergens -- these include pollen, dust, animal dander, certain drugs and food additives -- lung infections, or even physical exertion. While the disease's exact cause remains unknown, many treatments are available to keep it in check.

"An asthma 'attack' isn't the only sign of trouble. A cough that bothers you at night, shortness of breath, colds that go to your chest -- these can all be symptoms of asthma. But few people recognize them or that they are a sign of under-treated disease," Winder said. "No one with asthma should have to suffer. Anyone who is experiencing breathing problems or making compromises to live with their condition should attend a free screening and find out how to take control."

The screenings will be overseen by allergists (who are asthma specialists), in coordination with local doctors and allied health professionals. During a screening, participants will answer several questions about their breathing issues, take a lung function test that involves blowing into a tube, and meet with an allergist to determine whether a more thorough exam and diagnosis is needed. The program has screened more than 108,000 people over the years, and more than half of those were referred for further diagnosis.

A list of free asthma screening locations and dates, online versions of the breathing questionnaires, and more information on treating and controlling asthma are on the ACAAI Web site at Also, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more information about controlling and treating asthma.

Attribution: -- Kevin McKeever.
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, May 1, 2008.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The blog Penguin Food has a fun article about "Three bad foods that are really good" (love that title). Here is what they say about dark chocolate:

"Eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day could be good for you... A study has found that a regular 2oz dose can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke - without any weight gain."

Most of the post's dark-chocolate-good-news seems to be from a Daily Mail article, which says, among other things, that "Blood pressure lowered in this way could reduce the risk of death from a stroke by 8 per cent and from coronary artery disease by 5 per cent, the University of Cologne scientists found. It would also reduce risk of death generally by 4 per cent. A daily diet of a little chocolate had the same effect as more complicated diets designed to lower blood pressure, according to the authors of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 'Although the magnitude of the blood pressure reduction was small, the effects are clinically noteworthy,' they said. 'Adoption of small amounts of flavanol-rich cocoa into the habitual diet is a dietary modification that is easy to adhere to, and therefore may be a promising behavioural approach to lower blood pressure in individuals with above-optimal blood pressure.'

The Penguin Blog post continues with some tongue-in-cheeky observations:

Of course 'they' try to spoil the fun and emphasise that we can only eat a little bit of chocolate, and besides, fruit and vegetables are better for you - but they forget the little point that fruit and vegetables dont taste as nice as chocolate. Chocolate makes you feel better. If you feel better - you are more relaxed, and therefore your heart is more relaxed and beats more comfortably. You could eat more fruit, but your added miserability will increase the pressure on your heart anyway."

To read the full blog post (you want to know what their OTHER TWO "bad/good" foods are, right?), go to: (the post seems to be authored by a bloke named Graham, the man behind the Penguin Food blog, and this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Well, not really a course, but an overview of useful information, from the government website

What does high cholesterol have to do with heart disease?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all parts of the body. When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries and cause blood clots. Cholesterol can clog your arteries and keep your heart from getting the blood it needs. This can cause a heart attack.

There are two types of cholesterol:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often called the "bad" type of cholesterol because it can clog the arteries that carry blood to your heart. For LDL, lower numbers are better.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as "good" cholesterol because it takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood and keeps it from building up in your arteries. For HDL, higher numbers are better.

All women age 20 and older should have their blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked at least once every 5 years.

What do my cholesterol and triglyceride numbers mean?

Total cholesterol level - Lower is better. Less than 200 mg/dL is best.

Total Cholesterol Level / Category
Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable
200 - 239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above High

LDL (bad) cholesterol - Lower is better. Less than 100 mg/dL is best.

LDL Cholesterol Level / Category
Less than 100 mg/dL Optimal
100-129 mg/dL Near optimal/above optimal
130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL and above Very high

HDL (good) cholesterol - Higher is better. More than 60 mg/dL is best.

Triglyceride levels - Lower is better. Less than 150mg/dL is best.

How can I lower my cholesterol?

You can lower your cholesterol by taking these steps:

Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your total cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you are at a healthy weight. If not, try making small changes like eating an apple instead of potato chips, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from the entrance to your office, the grocery store, or the mall. (But be sure to park in a safe, well-lit spot.)

Eat better. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

Eat more:

Fish, poultry (chicken, turkey -- breast meat or drumstick is best), and lean meats (round, sirloin, loin). Broil, bake, roast, or poach foods. Remove the fat and skin before eating.
Skim (fat-free) or low-fat (1%) milk and cheeses, and low-fat or nonfat yogurt
Fruits and vegetables (try for 5 a day)
Cereals, breads, rice, and pasta made from whole grains (such as "whole-wheat" or "whole-grain" bread and pasta, rye bread, brown rice, and oatmeal)

Eat less:
Organ meats (liver, kidney, brains).
Egg yolks.
Fats (butter, lard) and oils.
Packaged and processed foods.

There are two diets that may help lower your cholesterol:

Heart Healthy Diet

Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes (TLC) Diet

Get moving. Exercise can help lower LDL ("bad cholesterol") and raise HDL ("good cholesterol"). Exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Take a brisk walk on your lunch break or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Take your medicine. If your doctor has prescribed medicine to lower your cholesterol, take it exactly as you have been told to.

For more FAQs and facts, see the Frequently Asked Questions page at:

Monday, April 28, 2008


A 2003 book by Rowan Jacobsen entitled "Chocolate Unwrapped: The Surprising Health Benefitsof America's Favorite Passion" discusses how chocolate, a treat many were taught causes a host of bad things to happen to our bodies (namely our fat cells and teeth) , may actually be beneficial to our health. Here are highlights of the book description, from its Amazon webpage:

...recent studies [have] revealed ...that [c]hocolate protects you from heart disease... improves cholesterol levels... [and] may even help prevent some cancers. ...Evidence is piling up that chocolate has a list of health benefits few foods can match. We’re all familiar with antioxidants, the compounds found in fruits, vegetables, red wine, and tea that prevent heart disease, cancer, and premature aging. What we don’t hear is that chocolate has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food on the planet — ten times that of spinach, five times that of blueberries, and four times that of green tea.

Chocolate Unwrapped explains the science behind chocolate’s health benefits, then goes on to dispel the myths swirling around chocolate. Chocolate does not cause acne, allergies, migraines, or hyperactivity. Chocolate has much less caffeine than most people think. And tannins in chocolate actually help prevent cavities, making chocolate better for teeth than other sweets. Though there is no proof for chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac ... chocolate has clear effects on the brain and mood. Chocolate contains anandamide, a substance that activates the same receptors in the brain as marijuana, as well as other chemicals that causes feelings of excitement and well-being, explaining the natural craving many people feel for it.

Chocolate Unwrapped not only explains the positive physical and psychological effects of chocolate, but goes on to explore the colorful history, botany, and chemistry of chocolate, so you’ll understand what to look for and what to avoid. A recipe section provides a multitude of healthy ways to eat chocolate, from flourless chocolate cake to Mexican mole, and a comprehensive list of resources tells you where to find the best-quality chocolates in the world.

Here are a few expert comments from the book's inside flap:

"I do recommend a piece of good-quality dark chocolate as a healthy snack . . . it is a source of polyphenols, the same type of antioxidants found in red wine, and the fat it contains is stearic acid, which doesn’t affect cholesterol levels. The latest good news for chocolate lovers comes from a study indicating that flavonoids in chocolate are good for your heart. These compounds reduce the stickiness of platelets, cells that play an important role in blood clotting. By eating a 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bar, you get the same amount of these protective compounds as in a 5-ounce glass of Cabernet Sauvignon." Andrew Weil, M.D.

"Nitric oxide plays such an important role in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure and, in turn, cardiovascular health. If our research results continue to support a link between consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa and nitric oxide synthesis, there could be significant implications for public health." Norman Hollenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

"Chocolate contains large amounts of the same beneficial plant chemicals that now have burnished the reputation of tea. In fact, just one ounce of chocolate has about as much of these plant chemicals as a cup of brewed black tea. One large, ongoing study of the benefits of exercise found that men who eat chocolate in moderation live longer than those who eat none." University of California-Berkeley Wellness Letter

"We already know that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables results in an increase of antioxidants in our blood. We believe chocolate consumption may have the same effect. We forget that chocolate is derived from cocoa beans—the fruit of the cacao tree—a fruit that is a rich source of these potentially beneficial substances." Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

"Eating chocolate can have significant influences on mood, generally leading to an increase in pleasant feelings and a reduction in tension." Peter Rogers, Ph.D., Institute of Food Research

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Minute Clinic is being offered in two dozen states across the country. Some services require a fee, some are covered by insurance, and some are free of charge (the Minute Clinic website says they are doing FREE cholesterol screenings in Los Angeles until April 20, 2008). More site highlights:

We’re doing what we can to make healthcare a little easier for people with a lot going on. Our board-certified practitioners are trained to diagnose and treat common family illnesses, such as strep throat, bronchitis and ear, eye and sinus infections.
--No appointment necessary
--Open 7 days a week
insurance accepted
--Click here to find a clinic near you.

Check out their website for more info on locations, dates and hours:

Monday, April 14, 2008


John McCain is, of course, the subject of many a late night political reference these days. The GOP nominee-to-be turns 72 this summer, and so a joke referencing both McCain and Life Alert was almost certain to occur. Well, the wait is over. Many websites, especially blogs, have been virally circulating the joke Jay Leno said on a recent Tonight Show (over 800 results come up if you do a combined search on "john mccain" "life alert"). Since we are all about seniors on this blog, here is the line in case you didn't see it:

"John McCain has not been using Secret Service protection. He's the only one. He's not using it. See, apparently, he has Life Alert." -Jay Leno

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Protection against home falls is one of the areas where Life Alert shines; the medical alarm service gets immediate help to its members after a fall, even if they can’t reach a phone

A recent story in USA TODAY discussed home falls and their risks, noting that a few famous folks have recently suffered such accidents. Unfortunately, these falls often require a trip to the hospital. Experts note that falls can happen to anyone, regardless of age, income or gender.

While anyone, anywhere, can indeed suffer a fall, it is also true that the older we get, the more susceptible we become to falls. One of the risks after a fall is not being able to reach a phone to call for help, especially if one lives at home alone. Many people don’t carry cellphones on their person while at home - and even if they do, it may not be able to get a signal, or it may be impossible to use, depending on how one falls and the severity of any injuries one suffers. In short, people (especially senior citizens) need a better solution.

The optimal answer for many seniors is Life Alert, which provides protection in the event of falls in the home. For over 20 years, this personal medical alarm company has been protecting its members from the dangers of home falls, as well as other emergencies. The company’s spokesman (former United States Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop) has pointed out that accidental injury in the home is the main danger faced by Americans 65 and older. In addition, here are some facts about falls from the CDC (the Center for Disease Control): (1) Of the 35 million Americans over age 65, roughly one in three will fall in any given year; (2) Senior citizens are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from all other causes; (3) Falls are the leading cause of accidental death for seniors.

This obvious need for protection -- no matter where you fall in your home, no matter what hour a fall occurs -- is at the heart of Life Alert’s protection service, and one of the reasons we often talk about Life Alert on this Seniors Blog. We are impressed with the fact that Life Alert handles over a million calls a year, and on average saves a life every 38 minutes, saving over 13,000 lives in 2007 alone. For many seniors, Life Alert is an essential part of their lives.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Barbara Hillary, a very active senior indeed, recently trekked to the North Pole, becoming the first African American woman to do so. After her return, she signed up with Life Alert, showing a trend that Life Alert reports is more and more common: active mature adults signing up for their service, in addition to the elderly and home-bound seniors who are most often associated with the medical alarm company.

Ms. Hillary is basking in much media attention, but she is not resting on her laurels. In fact, she is not really resting at all, since she now plans to trek to that other hot spot of cold climes: the SOUTH Pole!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The following intriguing link and summary from a post on

Study: Monthly fasting may help heart — A study in Utah... found that people who skipped meals once a month were about 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged arteries than those who did not regularly fast.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Senior Health Costs Could Rise 25 Percent by 2030

By Fred White

(an article reprinted from Industrial Market Trends, a comprehensive, daily industrial blog)

In 2006, almost 500 million people worldwide were 65 and older, and by 2030, that total is projected to increase to one billion. The world's workforce depends on this population. If older adults take the advice provided by the health care provider community, and motivate themselves, they can achieve two goals: live healthier and perhaps longer, and reduce health care costs.

By 2030, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double to 71 million, equaling about 20 percent of the U.S. population, noted the report. Of course, older Americans will not be the only aged around the globe. “We are aging — not just as individuals or communities but as a world. In 2006, almost 500 million people worldwide were 65 and older,” according to a report entitled Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective, which was presented earlier this month at the State Summit on Global Aging presented. By 2030, that total is projected to increase to one billion — one in every eight of the earth’s inhabitants. Significantly, the most rapid increases in the 65+ population are occurring in developing countries, “which will see a jump of 140 percent by 2030,” reports Senior Journal.

The health of the age group coming up behind the 65+ people may also be questionable.

Beth Soldo, a University of Pennsylvania sociologist, and her colleagues studied data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study and found that people in “their early to mid-50s were reporting more health problems than people that age had described previously,” writes Gary Rotstein at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This deserves to be taken with some skepticism, however, because “the federal data are not correlated with any actual health evaluations.” A health care provider would refer to these “evaluations” as scientifically valid observations.

One possibility for the higher reporting of poor health may result from more stress and obesity. Or baby boomers may have higher definition of what constitutes good health. Also, more awareness of effective treatments and medications may lead people to feel less inclined to report their health as good.

Kenneth Manton, research professor at Duke University, said he “sees no basis for such fears and nothing in Soldo’s study to change his mind,” the article quotes Manton as having said.

Older Americans can minimize this cost, though, if improving and preserving older adults’ health is more actively addressed, according to an updated report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Merck Co. Foundation. The CDC report presents information and recommendations to help older Americans live not just longer but better lives.

Three preventable behaviors — smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity — were the root causes of almost 35 percent of U.S. deaths in 2000. These behaviors represent risk factors that often lead to society’s leading chronic killers: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. The report indicates that if people can live healthier and go to regular screenings, they can reduce the risk for many chronic diseases and help lower heath care costs.

The challenge is to better apply (i.e., more broadly) what we already know about helping to ensure that added years are healthy years, according to the report.

A closer look at some resources for helping older adults reduce the risk factors can help us all. For many people, physical inactivity may be the hardest challenge. The CDC provides quite a bit of resourceful information to generate motivation and become active.

If older adults take the advice provided by the health care provider community, and motivate themselves, they can achieve two goals: live healthier and perhaps longer, and reduce health care costs.

NOTE: Stay with us when we report the latest developments in the medical device industry and health care in this week’s IMT e-newsletter.

# # #

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 1.0 Generic license. You are free to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work under the following conditions: Attribution - You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work); No Derivative Works - You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


A post mentions yet another "damn interesting" article - A Cancer Cure Most Doctors Won't Tell You About - from the website :

During the early 1900's, Dr. William Coley re-discovered a cancer treatment that was surprisingly effective. By infecting tumors with common bacteria, Coley learned the body could be triggered to kill off cancerous tumors. Conventional modern medicine rarely employs Coley ’s technique today for 1 reason: they still don't understand how it works.

Of course, there is (at least) one caveat: the doctors using this technique must make sure the bacterial infection does not turn out to be worse of a problem than the original cancer. But the general idea of using a foreign entity (bacteria) to trigger the body's natural defense mechanisms (fever, white blood cells' destroying foreign pathogens, etc.) does seem to make sense, especially when every other "normal" treatment has been tried without success.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


"STR" can serve as your shorthand to recognize the warning signs of a STRoke.

If someone seems to be acting in an unusual manner or says they do not feel right, try this:

S: ask the individual to SMILE.
T: ask the person to TALK (and speak a simple sentence, coherently).
R: ask him or her to RAISE both arms.

If the person has trouble with ANY of these tasks, call 911 immediately (or, if they have Life Alert, press the person's help button on their pendant). When connected to an operator/dispatcher, describe the symptoms.


Ask the individual to "stick out" his or her tongue. IF THE TONGUE IS CROOKED - if it goes to one side or the other - that is also an indication of a possible stroke.

Spread this information widely, to help others recognize the signs of stroke onset.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Here is a link to the page that talks about four devices that can benefit seniors' health (Life Alert, GPS-enabled sneakers, a mouse with built-in heart monitor, and Glow Caps that signal when one forgets to take one's pills):
The webpage linked to above gives descriptions of the products (in the case of Life Alert, their device is part of a home protection service), and gives the basics of how they work.

Also note: the TV segment on which this webpage is based (which featured the 4 products) was schedule to air yesterday, Jan. 23, 2008, on "The Martha Stewart Show." Check their website soon for video of that segment (at the webpage listed above).

For these and other segments related to health and/or seniors, visit .

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Consumer Product Safety Roundup, Dec. 2007: Selected Product Recalls and Safety News (

From (the Consumer Product Safety Commission website), some recent items related to product recalls and safety:

Deadly Danger: CPSC Urges Parents To Not Place Infants on Air Mattresses The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning families nationwide that air mattresses are too soft for use with sleeping infants. Never place infants to sleep on air mattresses or other soft surfaces (such as water beds and adult beds), which are not specifically designed or safe for infant use.

Venmar Ventilation Inc. Recalls Heat Recovery Ventilators Due to Fire Hazard In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Venmar Ventilation Inc., of Quebec, Canada, is voluntarily recalling about 1,100 Heat Recovery Ventilators. The thermal protector in these units can fail, posing a potential fire hazard to consumers.

AutoZone Recalls Booster Cables Due to Electrical Hazard In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), AutoZone Parts Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., is voluntarily recalling about 140,000 Valucraft Booster Cables. The booster cables clamps were assembled incorrectly resulting in reverse polarity. This poses an electrical shock and explosion hazard to consumers.

Shopping Channel HSN Agrees to Pay $875,000 Civil Penalty
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that HSN LP (previously known as Home Shopping Network), of St. Petersburg, Fla., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $875,000. The civil penalty settles allegations that HSN LP failed to report in a timely manner, as required by federal law, serious injuries and hazards with the Welbilt Electronic Pressure Cookers.

North American Breaker Co. Recalls Counterfeit Circuit Breakers Due to Fire Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), North American Breaker Co. Inc. (NABCO), of Burbank, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 50,000 Counterfeit Circuit Breakers. The recalled circuit breakers labeled “Square D” have been determined by Square D to be counterfeit and can fail to trip when they are overloaded, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

World Dryer Recalls to Repair Hand and Hair Dryers Due to Electric Shock Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), World Dryer Corp., of Berkeley Ill., is voluntarily recalling about 25,000 World Dryer and Bradley Brand Hand and Hair Dryers. Some of the nozzles on these dryers are not grounded. If an electrical component comes into contact with an ungrounded nozzle, it can pose a shock hazard to consumers.

Pressure Cookers Recalled By Manttra Inc. Due to Burn Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Manttra Inc., of Virginia Beach, Va., is voluntarily recalling about 38,250 Pressure Cookers. If the pressure cookers are not closed properly, the lid can separate and allow hot contents to spill out. This poses a risk of burns to consumers.

Lenox Recalls Covered Warmer Dishes Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Lenox Group Inc., of Bristol, Pa., is voluntarily recalling about 43,000 Covered Warmer Dishes with Racks. Flames from the tea candle can extend up the sides of the dish. In addition, a label on the bottom of the dish causes excessive smoke when exposed to the flame. This poses fire and burn hazards to consumers.

Christmas Candle Sets Recalled By Specialty Merchandise Corp. Due to Fire Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Specialty Merchandise Corporation (SMC), of Simi Valley, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 13,000 Christmas Candle Sets. The snowman candle could tip over and the exterior coating on both candles can ignite, posing a fire hazard.

DeWALT Recalls Cordless Drills due to Fire Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), DEWALT Industrial Tool Company, of Towson, Md., is voluntarily recalling about 346,000 DEWALT Cordless Drills. The trigger switch of the cordless drill can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

McQuay Recalls Air Conditioners/Heat Pumps Following Fires
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), McQuay International, of Minneapolis, Minn., is voluntarily recalling about 8,800 Remington and McQuay “ComfortPac” Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps. Wires in the heater element can overheat and spark, posing a smoke and fire hazard to consumers.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission Acting Chairman Nancy Nord Applauds House Vote on Landmark Consumer Product Safety Legislation
The Acting Chairman thanks the U.S. House of Representatives for passing landmark legislation today that finally gives the CPSC the additional tools and resources to address the growing issue of imports and other important product safety issues.

American Honda Motor Corp. Recalls Lawn Mowers Due to Laceration Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), American Honda Motor Corp., of Torrance, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 167,000 Honda Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers. The cutting blades could rotate under power when the control lever is released. The lawn mowers do not comply with mandatory federal safety standards for lawn mowers. The spinning blade poses a serious laceration hazard to consumers.

Bombardier Recreational Products Recalls Snowmobiles Due to Crash Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP), of Quebec, Canada, is voluntarily recalling about 480 Ski-Doo® Model Year 2008 MXZ X 600 RS Snowmobiles. A defect in the carburetor can prevent the throttle from freely returning to the idle position. This can result in an unexpected loss of control leading to a collision and cause serious injuries or death.

Full Body Safety Harnesses Recalled by Gorilla Due to Fall Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Gorilla Inc., of Flushing, Mich., is voluntarily recalling about 60,000 Full Body Safety Harnesses. The harnesses could fail during use, resulting in a hunter falling from the tree stand and suffering serious injuries or death.

Bicycle Helmets Recalled by Specialized Due to Failing Helmet Standard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Specialized Bicycles, of Morgan Hill, Calif., is voluntarily recalling about 3,000 Specialized Bicycle Helmets. The helmets fail testing required under CPSC's safety standard for bicycle helmets. This can pose a head injury hazard to riders in a fall.

FDA's Pilot Program to Better Educate Consumers about Recalled Food Products (

What is the purpose of this pilot program?

FDA is conducting a six-month pilot program to educate and assist consumers in identifying recalled food products that may pose a significant health risk. FDA wants to help consumers identify these products by posting a photo of the principal label panel. We believe that by posting a photo of the label, consumers will be able to more easily identify and avoid these potentially hazardous food products. This pilot is one among a number of measures taken by FDA to proactively educate the public and improve food safety.

OTHER QUESTIONS and links to answers:

What are typical food risks that FDA alerts the public to?

Which recalled products are part of the pilot program?

Where can I find the Web site where information and photos about recalled foods are posted?

Why is FDA piloting the use of photos with recalled human food products only?

How long will this pilot program last?

What is the purpose of the pictures and what do they show?

Why do some recalls include photos and others do not?

Can I be alerted by e-mail when there is a new recall?

Where can I comment on this pilot program?

What does FDA do with the comments it receives?

Recalls, Market Withdrawals & Safety Alerts Since Nov. 2, 2007 (

This page (from the US government website includes the most significant product actions of the last 60 days, based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk. The recalls on the list are mainly Class I. A record of all recalls (Class I, II, and III) can be found in the FDA Enforcement Report. Definitions of Class I, II, and III recalls.

December 31, 2007
Weis Markets Announces Voluntary Recall of Weis Baker’s Basket 18 Ct Fruit Miniatures and 2 lb Platters of Mini-Fruit Diamonds Due to Undeclared Allergen (Walnuts)

December 29, 2007
FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Raw Oysters Harvested from the West Karako Bay Section of Growing Area 3 in Louisiana

December 28, 2007
FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, Lady Shangai, and Shangai Regular (also known as Shangai Chaojimengnan)

December 21, 2007
Whole Foods Market Expands Allergy Alert on 365 Organic Everyday Value Swiss Chocolate Bars to All Varieties and Lots
New Era Canning Company Recalls Canned GFS Fancy Blue Lake Cut Green Beans Because of Possible Health Risk
Public Health Advisory: Fentanyl Transdermal System (marketed as Duragesic and generics)

December 20, 2007
Cardinal Health Statement on Alaris Pump Module Worldwide Voluntary Recall
AM2 PAT, Inc. Issues Nationwide Recall of Pre-Filled Heparin Lock Flush Solution USP (5 mL in 12 mL Syringes)

December 19, 2007
Royal Seafood Baza Inc. Recalls Dried Roach (Fish) Due to Possible Health Risk
Top Line Specialty Produce Recalls "Green Paradise" Basil Because of Possible Health Risk

December 18, 2007
FDA Mandates New Warning for Nonoxynol 9 OTC Contraceptive Products

December 15, 2007
FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Swad Brand Sindoor: Product Contains High Levels of Lead

December 14, 2007
Whole Foods Market Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Tree Nuts in 365 Organic Everyday Value Swiss Milk Chocolate Bar With Rice Crisps

December 13, 2007
Merck Recalls Certain Lots of Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) Vaccine

December 12, 2007
Wegmans Announces Voluntary Recall of 8 oz. Wegmans Bouillabaisse Seafood Sauce
Cedarlane Natural Foods Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Casein in Cedarlane Low Fat Bean Rice and Cheese style Burritos
Kadouri International Foods Inc. Issues Alert on Undeclared Sulfites in "King Brand Dried Turkish Apricots"
Domega International Ltd., Inc Issues Alert on Undeclared Sulfites in "King Chief Brand Dried Kudzu"
FDA Public Health Notification: Patient Burns from Electric Dental Handpieces
Drug Safety Information: Carbamazepine (marketed as Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol and generics)

December 11, 2007
FDA Public Health Notification: Deaths reported following Radio Frequency Ablation of Lung Tumors

December 10, 2007
Back to Nature Foods Company Recalls Ginger Rice Thins Crackers
Frito-Lay Issues Voluntary Recall of 1.5 oz. Bags of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips in North Texas Due to Undeclared Milk

December 7, 2007
Harry & David Recalls Harry & David Bake Shop Cookie Mixes in Three Flavors: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cranberry Vanilla Chip for Undeclared Nut, Milk and/or Sulfite Allergens
Trader Joe's Company Voluntarily Recalls 12 oz. Pinjur
Wegmans Announces Voluntary Recall of 14 oz. Wegmans Wreath Kuchen

December 6, 2007
Listeria Contamination in Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese

December 5, 2007
California Department of Public Health Warns Consumers Not to Drink Metromint Flavored Water

December 4, 2007
San Antonio Company Recalling Mexican Candy
Soma Beverage Recalls Metromint Flavor Water
Prosperity Resources Intl. Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Sulfites In "Golden Flower Brand Dried Lily Bulb"
Safety Information: Desmopressin Acetate (marketed as DDAVP Nasal Spray, DDAVP Rhinal Tube, DDAVP, DDVP, Minirin, and Stimate Nasal Spray)
Safety Informaiton: Vail Products Enclosed Bed Systems

December 3, 2007
Stop & Shop Updates Cookie Tray Recall
Blooming Import Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Sulfites in "Golden Lion Brand Dried Hylocereus Undatus Brltt (Dried Natural Herb)"

November 30, 2007
Consumer Alert: Undeclared Eggs in Ranch Peppercorn Cheese Curd

November 29, 2007
Quality Plus Products, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Eggs in Smoked Wild Salmon Spread

November 28, 2007
President Global Corp. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Skim Milk in Uni-President Red Bean Flavor Ice Bars and Red Bean Tapioca Flavor Ice Bars
Sweetwater Valley Farms, Inc. Recalls Tennessee Aged Southern Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Yellow) and Southern Mild Cheddar Cheese (Yellow) Lot #604

November 27, 2007
Safety Alert on Changes to Prescribing Information for Myfortic Delayed-Release Tablets

November 21, 2007
Bodee LLC, Inc. Issues A Voluntary Nationwide Recall of All Encore Tabs, a Product Marketed as a Dietary Supplement
Harry & David Recalls Harry and David Moose Munch® Confection Tubs in Two Flavor Combinations: Milk & Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate Macadamia and Peanut Butter, Milk Chocolate, Macadamia Nut for Undeclared Nut Allergen
Sweetwater Valley Farms, Inc. Recalls Southern Cheddar Jack Volunteer Special Cheese
Le Gourmet Connection Recalls Jack Cheese

November 20, 2007
Charlemagne Chocolatiers Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk Protein in Charlemagne Dark Chocolate Organic Bars
FDA Issues Early Communication for Chantix

November 19, 2007
Blue Planet Foods Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Almonds, Milk and Coconut in Heartland® Brand Graham Pie Crusts

November 16, 2007
Approximately $2 Million of Potentially Harmful "Cosmetic" Eye Product Seized
America True Man Health Incorporated’s Voluntary Recall of its True Man’s Sexual Energy Nutriment Men’s Formula, a Product Marketed as a Dietary Supplement to Enhance Male Sexual Energy has been expanded to include its Energy Max, Dietary Supplement
Updated Recall Information: Thoratec Corporation Implantable Ventricular Assist Devices (IVAD)

November 14, 2007
FDA Adds Boxed Warning for Heart-related Risks to Anti-Diabetes Drug Avandia

November 13, 2007
Coffee Masters, Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Allergens in Chipper Gourmet Foods Biscotti

November 12, 2007
Del Rey Tortilleria, Inc. Issues Recall of Flour Tortillas Due to Possible Health Risk

November 9, 2007
Napastyle Recalls Romano Pitchers and Tumblers Because of Possible Health Risk

November 8, 2007
FDA Strengthens Boxed Warnings, Approves Other Safety Labeling Changes for Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESAs)
Kroger Light Caesar Salad Dressing Is Being Recalled

November 5, 2007
FDA Requests Marketing Suspension of Trasylol

November 2, 2007
FDA Requests Recall of 'True Man Sexual Energy,' 'Energy Max' Dietary Supplements
The Hartz Mountain Corporation Recalls Vitamin Care for Cats Because of Possible Health Risk
Welch Allyn AED 10 Automatic External Defibrillators Recall

Recalls, Withdrawals and Safety Alerts Archive