Lara Evans Bracciante

Weight Loss a Walk in the Park

News Note

Having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolution to exercise? Quit fretting about it and just start walking. According to a recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, regular exercise (such as walking) reduced mortality risk by 35 percent. For those who had high risk of heart disease, the decreased risk was even higher at 45 percent. And even obese subjects who were active had a lower risk of dying sooner.

Tips for Identifying Suspicious Moles

News Note

While melanoma makes up only 4 percent of skin cancer cases, it is the most lethal type, accounting for approximately 8,000 deaths annually. Fortunately, there’s good news. Skin Self Examinations (SSEs) — a simple step-by-step, early detection approach — can reduce up to 63 percent of these deaths, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

The AAD recommends taking photographs of suspicious areas to determine a baseline so that you can effectively monitor any changes. The “ABCD” approach can then be applied:

Essential Oils Offer Pesticide Alternative

News Note

Essential oils from botanicals — used in holistic medicine to treat everything from bacterial infections to anxiety — are showing great promise as natural pesticides in large-scale farming. Coming on the heals of a United Nations agreement to ban the use of methyl bromide (a ubiquitous pesticide that has been linked to ozone depletion and cancer), this is good news for both environmental health advocates and conventional farmers.

Breaking the Depression-Pain Cycle

News Note

Depressed patients with a history of back pain are more susceptible to back pain recurrence, according to a recent study published in the journal Pain. While the correlation has been evident for years, researchers ran into the “chicken-or-the-egg” issue: Does depression cause back pain, or does back pain cause depression? While a gray area remains, depression was specifically identified as an independent risk factor for back pain.

Trans Fats Must Be Disclosed

News Note

By Jan. 1, 2006, all nutrition labels will have to include the content of trans fats, an ingredient resulting from the use of partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats increase shelf life in processed foods, but also increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol in humans, which can lead to heart disease, the No. 1 killer in America. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to set a maximum recommended daily allowance, as it has done for saturated fat (25 grams), because most experts assert that any intake at all is dangerous.

Piercings May Lead to Dentures

News Note

Oral jewelry, including tongue and lip studs, can cause severe tooth and gum damage, according to recent studies published in the Journal of the American Dental Association and the Journal of Perinatology. While oral jewelry can crack and chip teeth, it can also weaken the bond between gums and teeth, creating pockets of bacteria. When left untreated, the bacteria can destroy the bone that anchors teeth. Unfortunately, early damage is difficult to detect, and when it is finally found it’s often too late to save the affected tooth.

Hypnosis Helps IBS Sufferers

News Note

Hypnotherapy can relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for at least five years, according to findings published in the November issue of Gut. While several studies in recent years have proven hypnotherapy provides short-term relief from IBS, which affects nearly 12 percent of the U.S. population, the new study proves long-term benefits — great news for those who experience the diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, lethargy, and bloating associated with the condition.

How To Hug a Tree

News Note

This year, celebrate Earth Day, April 22, by practicing conservation tips from You Can Prevent Global Warming (And Save Money!), by Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2003). As global warming becomes less abstract in concept and more of a reality with apparent consequences — drought, disease, floods, and lost ecosystems — doing a few small things that have little impact on your everyday life can contribute to significant, positive changes on the planet.

Natural Remedies Ease Allergies

News Note

The watery, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing that come with seasonal pollen allergies, or hay fever, affect an estimated 40 to 50 million Americans. While antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids are the conventional treatments for symptoms, they can also have side effects, including drowsiness, heart palpitations, and arrhythmias. Natural remedies exist that may go a long way in reducing symptoms and making the spring allergy season more bearable.

Making Resolutions Last

News Note

In the New Year, 40 percent of Americans will resolve to exercise more, 13 percent will vow to eat better, and 7 percent will resolve to cut back on tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, or other drugs, according to a survey conducted at the University of Washington’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center. In addition, only an estimated 40 percent will achieve their primary resolution on the first attempt. So what can you do to be more successful in sticking to your resolutions? Researchers recommend the following:

·Be committed to make the change.