Mom's Voice Plays Special Role in triggering Newborn's Brain

A mother's voice will preferentially activate the parts of the brain responsible for language learning, say researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre. The research team made the discovery after performing electrical recordings on the infants within the 24 hours following their birth.

The brain signals also revealed that while the infants did react to other women's voices, these sounds only activated the voice recognition parts of the brains. "This is exciting research that proves for the first time that the newborn's brain responds strongly to the mother's voice and shows, scientifically speaking, that the mother's voice is special to babies," said lead researcher Dr. Maryse Lassonde of the University of Montreal's Department of Psychology and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre.

Study: Long Ring Finger in Men Linked to Cancer Risk

A new research claims that men whose index finger is longer than their ring finger are at lower risk to develop prostate cancer, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The British Journal of Cancer said that researchers studied the ratio between the 2nd and 4th finger of the right hand in 1,524 prostate-cancer patients and 3,044 fit people over 15 years. Men with longer index fingers were 33 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, and men under 60 had an 87 percent lower risk.

In the prostate-cancer group, index fingers were longer in about 23 percent of the participants and shorter in 57 percent.
In the control group, index fingers were longer in 31 percent and shorter in 52 percent. The rest of the men had fingers of equal length. The findings are in line with a new study of 366 Korean men, which found a significant association between digit ratio and prostate-cancer risk.

Tune into Your Baby’s Health Now

Because their bodies are still growing, babies and children are more vulnerable to environmental pollutants than adults. Give your bundle of joy a head start by creating a safe, healthy, and nontoxic haven, free of hazards that could hinder his or her mental and physical development.

Dress organically:
While the pesticides used to grow conventional cotton won't rub off onto your baby's skin, you can rest easier knowing that organic fabrics have done less harm to our fledgling planet.

Play it safe:
Not all toys that seem cute are safe. To make sure they are not harmful, look for labels that claim playthings are PVC-free and nontoxic.

Decorate with care:
As in the rest of house, decorating a nursery or playroom with green, natural materials will ameliorate your little one's indoor environment.

Food for thought:
Know exactly what your little munchkin is eating by making your own baby food from organic fruit and vegetables.

Safe sipping:
Bottles are a tricky topic-it always seems like today's hot new arrival is tomorrow's chemical culprit. Much of the current debate hovers around a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. To skirt the issue, look for bottles made without BPA, or made from glass.

Risk of Epilepsy Measured, May Be Still Higher

One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime, according to a population based research.

Lifetime risk up to age 50 was 1.6% and rose to 3.0% at age 80, Dale C. Hesdorffer, PhD, of Columbia University School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues reported in the Jan. 4 problem of Neurology.

Given the recent U.S. population, nearly 12 million individuals (3.9%) can be expected to develop epilepsy in their remaining lifetime, the researchers forecast based on their findings from the population of Rochester, Minn.

Woodland strawberry genome sequenced

The genome of the woodland strawberry, cousin to today's cultivated strawberry, has been sequenced by a worldwide research consortium. It is the second smallest plant genome sequenced, with just 14 chromosomes, and could help breeders create tastier and hardier varieties of the famous berry as well as other crops in its family, which includes almonds, apples, peaches, cherries and raspberries.

The research is in this week's online edition of the journal Nature Genetics.

"We've created the strawberry parts file," the leader of the International Strawberry Sequencing Consortium, Kevin Folta, at University of Florida, said in a release "In the old days, we had to go out and figure out what the parts were. Now we know the components that make up the strawberry plant."

8 Benefits of Home Cooking

When it comes down to feeding your body and mind, nothing is superior to preparing your food from scratch, with quality ingredients and served with love. If you have never experienced this phenomenon then try it out for 90 days and see how you feel.

Saves money

Packaged and prepared meals cost you considerably more than cooking with raw ingredients at home. Preparing meals at home can save you money.

Saves time

In the time it takes to drive to a restaurant, place your order, wait for your order, return home and serve the meal, you could have made a three-course meal from scratch with time to sit and chew slowly.

Less salt and Trans fats

preparing meals at home allows you to control the amount of salt and oils you use in your recipes. This in turn reduces the possibility of weight gain and clogged arteries.

Balanced meals

Taking the time to plan your weekly menu not only helps to save time and money, but also provides a way to create meals with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, plus all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for the adult and child’s body. When eating balanced meals your body feels satisfied, has fewer cravings and this in turn prevents late-night snacking.

Avoid food poisoning

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 76 million people are poisoned by food each year. This is caused by food-borne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites that can seriously harm or even kill you. When preparing meals at home you can better control the temperatures when cooking meats, keep hands and countertops clean and properly wash your raw produce.

Better energy

Food can be healing medicine or it can deplete your energy and cause sickness and pain. In Cook Your Way to the Life You Want, Christina Pirello writes that we run a risk by having someone else prepare all our meals.

Brings family together

Preparing meals at home and including family members in meal preparation is a way to give and share love. When food is prepared with a calm mind and loving thoughts it can become a tonic for both the physical body and the soul.

Weight control

with larger portions people tend to eat more, but cooking at home allows you to control serving sizes and prevent overeating. Buy locally, in season, the best quality food, organic when possible. When cooking from scratch you know exactly what is going into your recipes. The choices you make can keep you healthy and help prevent weight gain, digestive troubles and allergic reactions.

Californians Are Smoking Less and Less

Californians smokes less than most other Americans.

According to a research released previous week by the California Department of Public Health, just 13.1 percent of California residents reported smoking last year, compared with 20.6 percent nationally.

California currently has the second-lowest smoking rate in the country, trailing only Utah.

The declining rate here reflects a culture that is particularly conscious of health and the environment, and it was hailed by state officials as evidence of the success of a strategy to demonize smoking.

Nasal congestion, a sign of severe asthma

A new research has suggested that nasal congestion can be a sign of severe asthma.

This means that healthcare professionals should be additional vigilant when it comes to nasal complaints.

Furthermore, more severe asthma appears to be more regular than previously thought, reveals a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy's Krefting Research Centre.

The population research included 30,000 randomly selected participants from the west of Sweden and asked questions about different aspects of health.

Whole-Fat Dairy Products May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study

New study suggests that whole-fat dairy products generally shunned by health experts contain a fatty acid that may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The fatty acid is called trans-palmitoleic acid, according to the study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, and people with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid decrease their odds of diabetes by 62 percent compared to those with the lowest blood levels of it.

In addition, "people who had higher levels of this fatty acid had better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower insulin resistance and lower levels of inflammatory markers," said research author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, co-director of the program in cardiovascular epidemiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health.

Garlic protects against hip osteoarthritis

Women who consume a diet high in allium vegetables, such as garlic, onions and leeks, have lower levels of hip osteoarthritis, suggests a latest study.

The findings, by researchers at King's College London and the University of East Anglia, not only highlight the possible effects of diet in protecting against osteoarthritis, but also show the potential for using compounds found in garlic to develop treatments for the situation.

A relationship between body weight and osteoarthritis was previously recognised, although it is not yet totally understood. This study is the first of its kind to delve deeper into the dietary patterns and influences that could impact on development and prevention of the condition.

Human Hemoglobin May Turn Staph Aureus Bacteria Deadly, Researchers Find

Human hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein in red blood cells, is the most efficient fuel for Staphylococcus aureus infections, according to a study that may help clarify how the bacteria homes in on certain patients with deadly consequences.

Hemoglobin also contains the iron needed for bacteria to develop and spread. Researchers led by Gleb Pishchany from Vanderbilt University Medical School’s microbiology department showed in laboratory testing how Staph aureus latches on more simply to hemoglobin from humans than other mammals to cause invasive infections.

Exercise prevents middle-age weight gain

A new research has revealed that young adults, mainly women, who maintained high levels of moderate and vigorous activity over a period of 20 years experienced smaller gains in weight and waist circumference during the transition from young adulthood to middle age, compared to individuals with lower activity levels.

Arlene L. Hankinson, of the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, and colleagues conducted a research to evaluate the relationship between maintaining higher activity levels and changes in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference over 20 years in youthful adults.

Low-Sugar Cereals Help Kids Eat Healthier

Children are more likely to eat a nutritious, balanced breakfast if they give low-sugar cereals, even if they add a little table sugar to their bowls, a new study says.

Though children may favor cereal that’s high in sugar, they’re more likely to eat fruit at breakfast when served a cereal containing less sugar, researchers say.

The research observed what 91 children aged 5 to 12 at a summer day camp ate when served either high-sugar or low-sugar cereals.

Stem Cells Used to Make Pancreas, Gut Cells

Stem cells can be transformed into the pancreatic cells needed to treat diabetes and into difficult layers of intestinal tissue, scientists demonstrated in two experiments reported on Sunday.

In one, a team turned immature sperm cells into pancreatic tissue, while another group turned embryonic stem cells into complex layers of intestinal tissue.

Both studies show latest ways to use stem cells, which are the body's master cells and which can come from a variety of sources.

Chronic Lyme disease: A dubious diagnosis

Dr. Bernard Raxlen arrived at Manhattan's glamorous Gotham Hall on a cool autumn night in 2008 to get a humanitarian award.

With a lime-green Lyme disease advocacy ribbon pinned to his dapper black suit, Raxlen joined partygoers sipping martinis below a stained-glass skylight bigger than most New York City apartments.Money was in the air. The "Unmask A Cure" gala invitation listed Goldman Sachs, New York Private Bank & Trust and Marquis Jet as sponsors. The event increased money for the Turn the Corner Foundation, a Lyme nonprofit on whose medical advisory board Raxlen sat.

The scene was light-years from the institutional brick building where the Connecticut Medical Examining Board was considering disciplinary action against Raxlen for the fourth time in 10 years. Raxlen had been accused of telling a lady dying of Lou Gehrig's disease that she had chronic Lyme disease, an illness that might not even exist.

Heart trouble? Blood test to tell years in advance

A new blood test may be able to tell whether a seemingly strong person is at risk of dying from heart disease , US researchers said.

An older , less sensitive version of the test detects a certain protein in only a small percentage of people ,but a research of the newer test made by Roche found it in about 25% of 3,500 blood samples .And people who had detectable levels of the protein , released by damaged heart muscle , were nearly seven times more likely to die of heart disease within six years.

Both tests look for a protein called cardiac troponin T, which indicates muscle damage in the heart , but the newer test called Elecsys Troponin T is 10 times more sensitive . "This test is among the most powerful predictors of death in the common population we've seen so far ," saidJ amesdeLemosof theUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas , whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association .

Shellfish may help preserve seniors' eyesight

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, seems to be fine for not only the heart and mind but the eyes. A latest study adds shellfish to that group. It found that seniors who ate at least one serving a week of fish or shellfish high in omega-3s reduced their risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration, a disease that affects vision, by 60 percent.

The findings are consistent with mounting proof that high levels of dietary omega-3 fatty acids benefit eye health, the researchers said.

"But, unlike earlier studies, we included shellfish intake in the determination of omega-3 fatty acid consumption," said researcher Bonnielin K. Swenor of the Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins University. "This is main because shellfish, particularly crab and oysters, are a main component of the diet" of the study population.

Brain Scan Might Someday Spot Autism

A kind of brain imaging that measures the circuitry of brain connections may someday be used to diagnose autism, new research suggests.

Researchers at McLean Hospital in Boston and the University of Utah used MRIs to analyze the microscopic fiber structures that create the brain circuitry in 30 males aged 8 to 26 with high-functioning autism and 30 males without autism.

Males with autism showed differences in the white matter circuitry in two regions of the brain's temporal lobe: the superior temporal gyrus and the temporal stem. Those parts are involved with language, emotion and social skills, according to the researchers.

Fat-fearing moms putting babies on diets

If you've ever wondered how crazy America's obsession with weight can get, look no further than this strange trend among some fat-fearing parents, mothers who put their babies on diets.

And I'm not talking about pudgy 10-year-olds who think Wii Fit passes for work out. I'm talking babies, under a year old, with chubby cheeks and folds in their thighs — you know, the kind most other people coo over as the picture of health.

According to a recent Good Morning America report, and some Mommy blogs, pediatricians around the country are finding that "more and more parents are putting their babies on diets," even diluting their nutrient-rich principle and breast milk with water, to keep them from getting "fat."

The fear itself is not far-fetched. Dieting babies come at a moment in America's ballooning child obesity epidemic when one in 10 children below the age of 2 is overweight, and experts have come up with a new term to describe the heaviest: "the super-obese," according to the ABC story. So parents today are more consumed than ever with their babies' girth.

New vitamin D recommendations

Despite mounting pressure to urge several Americans to sharply boost their vitamin D levels, latest government recommendations are not advocating a huge increase in the amount of the "sunshine vitamin" that people get.

The United States and Canada asked the Institute of Medicine, which is division of the National Academy of Sciences, to update the official vitamin D recommendations for the first time since 1997. A 14-member expert committee convened for the task concluded that most Americans and Canadians up to age 70 need no more than 600 international units of vitamin D per day. The elderly may need as much as 800, the committee concluded.

Before, experts called for children and younger adults get 200 international units a day, adults ages 50 to 70 get 400 and the aged to get 600. But a flurry of research indicating that vitamin D may have a dizzying array of health benefits, and that many people may have insufficient levels, had reignited an intense debate over whether federal guidelines were outdated, leaving millions unnecessarily vulnerable to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, infections and other ailments. Some doctors have begun routinely testing their patients' vitamin D levels and recommeding that people should routinely consume 2,000 or 3,000 international units a day. Sales of vitamin D supplements have raised sharply in recent years.

If you're around a baby, get whooping cough vaccine

Most Georgia infants get the vaccines they require to help protect them from pertussis -- a highly contagious disease better known as whooping cough.

While Georgia has not observed high rates of the disease so far this year, outbreaks in other states are prompting public health officials to say another time that a vaccine for the baby isn’t enough. They advise all adults and teens who come into contact with an infant to roll up their sleeve and get a vaccine, too.

The advisory applies not just to parents, but to adolescent siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and day care employees anyone who is going to spend time with the baby.

“What we want to have people do is make a cocoon of immunity around the infant,” said Jeff Diamond, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More Protein, Fewer Refined Carbs May Keep Weight Off

If you've worked hard to shed those additional pounds and want to keep the weight off, a new Danish study suggests that you consider eating more protein and fewer refined carbohydrates.

Based on the findings, the researchers recommend consuming mostly what's known as low-glycemic index carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the ability of carbohydrates to raise blood glucose levels; those with a low GI cause blood levels to raise more slowly, explained Dr. Thomas Meinert Larsen, a co-author of the study, published in the Nov. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

What is it about the high protein, low glycemic index carbohydrate diet that maintains weight under control? "Possibly a stronger satiating effect and more balanced blood sugar regulation," Larsen hypothesized.

Eating orange and dark green vegetables linked to longer life

This time no beta-carotene in vegetables that has the spotlight, but rather its cousin: alpha-carotene. Both are members of the carotenoid antioxidant family. Scientists trust carotenoid antioxidants promote health by counteracting oxygen-related damage to DNA.

Consumption of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with lower risks of health troubles such as cancer and heart disease, said Dr. Chaoyang Li of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, in e-mail to Reuters Health.

However, it is still not understandable which elements contribute to the health effects or how they do so, he added, pointing to recent studies that have found no apparent benefit for beta-carotene supplements.

To investigate the merits of oft-ignored alpha-carotene, Li and his colleagues analyzed information on more than 15,000 people who were participating in the Third Nationwide Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. All of them provided blood samples at the start of the study, along with other medical and lifestyle information.

Many fat women think they are slim: research

An American study questioned over 2,000 women about their size, diet and work out habits and took measurements. It found that many women were often unaware about whether they were a healthy weight or not.

Co-author Dr Mahbubur Rahman, of University of Texas, said: "As obesity numbers climb, many women see overweight as normal, not based on the scale but on how they view themselves."

It was found that 25 per cent of overweight women misjudged their body weight along with 16 per cent of common weight women.

The study was published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

The findings have serious consequences for obesity prevention, the researchers said, as many women do not recognise they are overweight and so will not connect programmes.

The study found that Hispanic and African American women who were overweight thought they were healthy compared with 15 per cent of white women.

The trend was reversed for common weight women who thought they were overweight with fewer Hispanics and African Americans falling into this category than white women.

Healthy weight women who thought they were too fat were twice as likely to skip meals, diet and smoke more cigarettes than the overweight women who thought they were slim.

Facebook Heartbreak Leads to Man's Asthma Attacks

We often hear that social networks can be fine for emotional health by reconnecting us with old friends, helping us build professional contacts and countering isolation, but Italian doctors have reported a case where logging onto Facebook made an 18-year-old man hyperventilate.

The patient, whose asthma was well-controlled with steroid inhalers and Singulair pills, began having more asthma attacks when he logged onto Facebook and learned that his ex-girlfriend had un-friended him and friended "several new young men." Frustrated by being cut off from his former flame, the jilted boyfriend became her Facebook friend under a nickname and regained access to her profile picture.

However, the sight of her picture left him hyperventilating and short of breath, "which happened repeatedly" as he called up her profile, wrote Dr. Gennaro D'Amato, a respiratory and allergy specialist at the High Specialty Hospital A Cardarelli in Naples, Italy, in this week's issue of The Lancet.

6,795 Reported Cases Of Whooping Cough In California So Far This Year

With the highest rates of whooping cough in 63 years and reports of flu starting coming in throughout the USA, Californian and other states' health authorities are urging people to get vaccinated. With apparently only 1 in 3 Americans getting a flu shot last year, public health experts are beginning to show some concern about the next months. Fewer than 1 in every 13 adults got vaccinated against whooping cough last year.

America had nearly got rid of whooping cough completely some thirty years back. Since the 1980s, numbers have been steadily rising. Experts say that the major reason is a drop in vaccination rates. All adults are susceptible to catching pertussis (whooping cough) when their childhood shots start wearing off.

Little babies are susceptible to the complications of whooping cough, that is why 50% of those infected have to be hospitalized. Whooping cough is much less dangerous for an adult than for an infant.

22% of parents refused to have their kids vaccinated in 2003; in 2008 the percentage shot up to 39%. Nobody is sure what the percentage is currently. In some cases, low adult vaccination rates are due to lack of awareness; many adults simply don't know they should have their booster shots. It is something doctors should begin reminding their patients about more thoroughly, health officials say.

Symtomps of Cancer

Chronic Cough:A persistent, new cough or a cough that won't go away. Blood and/or mucus may accompany the cough and can be caused many conditions. In relation to cancer, a chronic cough with blood or mucus can be symptom of lung cancer. Cancer is an extensive term that encompasses more than one hundred unusual types of cancer. It is important to note that some types of cancer do not present any symptoms until they are in advanced stages. This is why cancer screening and risk assessment are vital for cancer prevention and early detection.
Persistent Fatigue:Fatigue is one of the most commonly experienced cancer symptoms. It is typically more common when the cancer is sophisticated, but still occurs in the early stages of some cancers.
Unintentional Weight Loss:While it may be a welcome surprise to lose weight without trying, it can be a red flag for many illnesses, including cancer.
Pain:Typically, pain is not an early symptom of cancer, except in some cancer types like those that spread to the bone. Pain generally occurs when cancer spreads and begins to distress other organs and nerves. Lower back pain is cancer symptom that is related with ovarian cancer and colon cancer. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of lung cancer.
Fever:A fever is a very non-specific symptom of many mild to severe conditions, including cancer. In relation to cancer, a fever that is persistent or one that comes and goes habitually can signal stress on the immune system.

Stem cell therapy helps victims of heart failure

A year and a half ago, Michael Jones' failing heart left him so weak he couldn't even climb stairs.

But today, after receiving an infusion of his own cardiac stem cells, the 67-year-old handles stairs with ease, works his southeastern Jefferson County land on his tractor, indulges his love of woodworking and is making plans to begin jogging.

"I feel truly well," Jones said. "It's awesome. They're using the body to actually heal itself."

Jones is one of several part patients suffering with heart failure who have benefited from a University of Louisville stem cell study that was the subject of a presentation Monday at an American Heart Association session in Chicago.

Study co-leader Dr. Roberto Bolli from U of L described initial results of ongoing research using cardiac stem cells to heal hearts. His partner in the study is Dr. Piero Anversa of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Four months after being given stem cells, Bolli said, nine patients showed an average of 9% improvement in left ventricular function — how well the heart pumps blood to the rest of the body and an indication of how well the heart is working.

World's First Stem Cell Clinical Trial to Treat Stroke Begins in U.K.

Doctors in Scotland, working with British biotech company ReNeuron, administered a sequence of injections in a patient over the weekend to test whether stem cell therapy could help those disabled by stroke. The patient, who is in his 60s, was severely disabled by a stroke 18 months ago and requires continuous care.

Doctors injected little doses of ReNeuron's neural stem cells into a healthy region of the patient's brain, close to where neurons were damaged by the stroke. They hope the injected cells will release chemicals that stimulate new brain cells and blood vessels to grow, while healing scar tissue and reducing inflammation, The Guardian reported.

Doctors said the surgery procedure was successful and that the patient is doing well and has already been discharged from the hospital. If the patient continues to do well over the next few weeks, 11 more men who have been disabled by ischemic stroke -- the most common type, caused by a blockage of blood flow in the brain -- will be treated in the coming year with progressively higher doses.

The primary goal of this early study is safety. The doctors want to ensure that the treatment is not making patients any worse, but they will also be monitoring patients closely for improvements and to see whether the stem cells are repairing any areas damaged by the stroke, as was the case in animal studies of the treatment.

Bypass patients can benefit from a few drinks

Light alcohol consumption was associated with a 25 percent reduction in extra heart procedures, heart attacks or strokes in the study by Italian researchers, presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago.

"The benefit of light amounts of alcohol consumption has been documented in healthy individuals, but our analysis showed a benefit from light alcohol intake in post-coronary bypass patients," said Dr. Umberto Benedetto, of the University of Rome La Sapienza.

However, bypass patients with a condition called left ventricular dysfunction who were heavy drinkers, defined as having more than six drinks every day, were twice as likely to die from heart problems, the study found.

The Italian researchers used a questionnaire to compare alcohol consumption in 1,021 men who underwent heart bypass operation and reviewed their medical history for 3-1/2 years.

The study also found no adverse correlation between moderate alcohol consumption and any medication.

The American Heart Association recommends men limit themselves to two drinks a day and women to one drink a day, because too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and have other negative effects.

Fitness For Men In Three Easy Tips

1.Exercise – Exercise changes with each body time. The exercise for fitness for men should include, cardiovascular exercises, walking and aerobics.

Cardio - Cardiovascular exercises help in regulating heart rate, breathing process, loose 100 to 500 calories, increase metabolism rate and get six pack abs.

Walking - One should walk at least 3.5 KM every alternate day. This works on every muscle and rejuvenates unused muscles, burns calories, helps inhale enough oxygen and regulates one's diet.

Aerobics - Aerobics works on your energy level. It enhance heart rate, rejuvenates the nervous system, burs calories and regulates blood circulation.

2.Nutrition – There is no point in exercising if you don't give proper food to your body. Nutrition intake in very important for fitness for men. Men should aim at lean muscles and the solution lies in protein diet. Spices should not be avoided completely. Spices also have medicinal values. They regulate working of the nervous system, prevents the occurrence of infection and work wonders on energy level. Men diet should include, loads of green, poultry protein from egg, meat, milk etc, rice or pasta, loads for fruit fibers and water. Avoid fatty food like butter and ghee.

3.Lifestyle - Men, generally tend to have an erratic lifestyle. This has an effect on both mind and body. If your mind is not at peace, no amount of exercise and nutrition can get you complete healthy living. Thus, you need to regulate your lifestyle. Fix a realistic time-table, to eat, work and family time. Some times in high profile jobs it becomes difficult to maintain a time-table but you alone are the best person to know how to fit in all important aspect of the day together.

When you are stressed, rather than going bar hopping spend time in sports, spend quality time with family and talk out your worries. Don't carry office to home or vice versa. Take up only that amount of work, which you know is possible. Taken a break from regularity in intervals. This will help you maintain your mental balance. Which is very important for concentration, clarity and memory.

Yoga gives a boost to person's mood

A latest research suggests that yoga has a greater positive effect on a person's mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which may be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA.

GABA, gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a chemical in the brain that helps to control nerve activity.

GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders but yoga has been shown to raise the levels of the chemical.

Observing all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts) and colleagues demonstrated that improved GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety.

The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving increase to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

Burn seasonal calories, stress with yoga

Maybe you're just bouncing back from a Halloween candy sugar high. Or perhaps you're bracing for the delicious diet traps that come with Thanksgiving.

Yep, we're rushing headlong into the holiday period, that time of year when we juggle plates that are frighteningly full, both literally and figuratively.

It's simple for yoga practice to fall by the wayside.

And yet, as I maintain to rebound from my surgery and prepare for the hectic holidays, I find myself taking joy in some of my favorite feel-good poses.

One of those is the low lunge or Anjaneyasana .

OK, so regularly the first time around, this pose doesn't feel so good. Especially if you haven't warmed up.

Luckily, the low lunge is one of those poses that uses just about every muscle in your body – so you begin to heat up quickly as it tests your balance, flexibility and focus by bringing energy (when you feel the burn) all over.

It's great for using up those extra calories from chocolate bars or cranberry sauce. But it also provides a opportunity to stretch the places we often scrunch up when we're stressed: the shoulders, neck and chest.

Yoga asanas for a healthy heart

Scientific studies show that risk factors for heart disease such as hypertension, diabetes, bad cholesterol, triglycerides and stress can be significantly lowered with Yoga. Here are some yoga asanas that are good for the heart.

Yogic way of life offers a solution to elevate the health of body, mind and soul. Yoga is a cure for many diseases - diabetes, obesity and psychiatric illnesses - as much as it offers immense benefits to alleviate heart diseases. Yoga has an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases that includes recurrence of heart attacks, hypertension and coronary heart diseases. Yoga influences the hypothalamus directly, the area of the brain that controls endocrine activity, and helps prevent heart attacks.

A complete yoga program involves exercises (asanas), breath control (pranayama), sleep control(yoga Nidra) and mind control(meditation).These are the tenets for cardiac health; also probably the reason why cardiologists universally, recommend yoga to their patients. The curative benefits of yoga enhances heart health, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic stress, boosts the immune system and enhances cognitive ability.

Heart disease is a problem of modern times. It is psychosomatic in nature. Improper lifestyle, faulty diet and negative thinking play an important part in triggering heart disease. Our thoughts, feelings and emotions affect our body and mind. Negative emotions spark chemical processes throughout the entire body. Any irritation in the lining of arterial walls - which includes high levels of fat in the blood, smoking and high blood pressure can trigger heart diseases. Here are some yoga asanas that are good for the heart. Many of these poses are therapeutic for diabetes, high blood pressure and are powerful de-stressors.

Fast Food Kids' Meals Still Unhealthy

Despite pledges made by some of the leading fast food chains, many seem to still be promoting mostly unhealthy meals and choices to children, according to a new report by researchers from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity in New Haven, Conn.

The latest report examined the marketing of 12 top fast food chains, and then looked at the amount of fat calories, fat, sugar, and sodium in 3,039 kids' meals and 2,781 menu items. The findings are slated to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver.

Unhealthy Food Choices Are the Default

Of the 3,000-plus kids meals, just 12 met the nutritional criteria for preschoolers, and just 15 met the nutrition criteria set for older children, the study showed. In fact, one particular meal from most fast food restaurants contains at least half of young people's daily recommended sodium.

Fast food marketing to kids also leaves much to be desired, the researchers report. Preschoolers see 21% more fast food ads today than in 2003 and older children see 34% more fast food ads, the latest report found.

"There is a staggering amount of exposure to fast food advertising that begins when children are as young as 2," says Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiative at the Rudd Center.

McDonald's and Burger King have upheld their 2008 commitment to show healthier meals in TV ads directed to children under 12.

This is "a start, but it's not enough," says Harris.

Fast food ads don't always run during children's TV programs, and many ad campaigns, with social media advertising, are about building brand recognition instead of food choices.

"About 60% of ads are not on kids programming, but a lot of children are seeing them and having a large impact," says Harris. For example, "American Idol, Glee, or sports programs are places where we will see a lot of unhealthy fast food ads."

Bait and Switch?

"There is still a lot of fast food advertising aimed at kids," says Margo G. Wootan, PhD, the nutrition policy director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer group based in Washington, D.C.

Other options aimed at curbing marketing unhealthy food choices to kids include the recent San Francisco ban on giving away toys with unhealthy children's meals.

"The goal is not take the happy out of happy meal, but to put the happy and healthy together," she says. "It's nice that some companies have changed their advertising, but we need to address all ways that they market to kids," Wootan says.

Yoga can enhance mood and reduce anxiety--study

Practicing yoga on a regular basis can enhance mood and give a boost to the sense of well-being by reducing anxiety, suggest researchers from the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Yoga can fight against stress, reduce heart rate and blood pressure, raise our lung capacity, and improve our muscle relaxation and body composition.

Previous studies have proved that yoga is effective in cases of anxiety, depression and insomnia as well.

Overall, yoga works with our body mechanism in order to improve our stress coping mechanisms and mind-body awareness.

"Yoga in its full form combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy", NIH backgrounder points out.

Study details
The study, aimed at establishing an association between yoga postures, enhanced gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels and decreased anxiety, looked at 2 different groups of healthy people for a period of 12 weeks.

While participants of the first group practiced yoga three times a week for one hour, those in the second group went for long walks.

The brains of all the participants were scanned using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging at the inception of the research.

Further, the GABA levels of the participants in both the groups were compared at the end of the study.

Also the participants were themselves asked to report their psychological fitness at certain points.

Study results
The participants in the yoga group reported a tremendous decrease in their anxiety levels and mood swings as compared to the walking group.

“Over time, positive changes in these reports were associated with climbing GABA levels,” said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Citing the promising revelations of the study, the researchers suggest that yoga ought to be treated as potential therapy for certain mental disorders.

Gulf Seafood Is Safe, Officials Say

Extensive testing of Gulf of Mexico seafood by federal scientists has found just minute traces of the dispersant Corexit, which was used to break up oil from the BP spill, officials say. About 1.8 million gallons of dispersant were applied to the waters’ surface and at the wellhead, almost a mile undersea.

Of 1,735 tissue samples analyzed, only 13 showed trace amounts of dispersant residue, in concentrations fine below safety thresholds established by federal agencies. Other current tests from federal waters reopened to commercial fishing have shown little or no detectable oil, and no samples that exceed federal safety guidelines.

“The overwhelming majority of the seafood tested shows no detectable residue, and not one of the samples shows a residue stage that would be harmful for humans,” Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Friday. “There is no question gulf seafood coming to market is safe from oil or dispersant residue.”

Roughly 96 percent of federal waters in the gulf are now open to commercial and recreational fishing. At the height of the spill, 37 percent of federal waters, an area of nearly 90,000 square miles, was closed to fishing.

Despite what the federal government insists are rigorous and transparent testing procedures, some environmentalists and gulf residents continue to express skepticism that the fish is safe to eat.

Chest Scans May Incidentally Help Spot Heart Disease Risk

Chest CT scans taken for routine diagnostic purposes -- even those not related to cardiovascular disease concerns -- can be used by radiologists to screen for signs of heart disease risk, new research suggests.

"Radiologists can predict cardiovascular disease fairly well using incidental findings of calcifications of the aortic wall on CT, along with minimal patient information, such as age, gender and the reason for the CT," study lead author Dr. Martijn Gondrie, of the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America.

"Ultimately, this easily executed extra risk stratification has the potential to reduce future heart attacks or other cardiovascular events," Gondrie added.

The study findings were released online Sept. 28 in advance of publication in the November print issue of Radiology.

Gondrie and colleagues pointed out that chest CT scans have increased in quality and frequency of use over the past decade, resulting in a greater pool of incidental findings that clinicians can theoretically use to assess risk for all sorts of additional health complications.

Such incidental findings can be a bonus because they do not expose the patient to additional radiation or additional scanning costs, the study authors explained.

Laughing for the health of it

Contrary to popular belief, one does not need a sense of humor to laugh.

That is the concept behind laughter yoga.

Sari Huhtala, a certified laughter yoga instructor in the Greater Sudbury area, explained laughter yoga is a combination of breathing techniques, meditation, and unconditional laughter.

“It’s really not about jokes,” she said. “It’s about encouraging people to laugh without any external stimulus. That means your ability to laugh without relying on something funny happening or something basically out of your control.”

According to, the concept of laughter yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter — one gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.

Huhtala said it’s a simple concept that everybody has within themselves.

“I start out introducing the concept that you can create laughter just like that, because it’s very foreign to people. I have them take a deep breath in and exhale with laughter, and they realize ‘Wow, that was easy.’”

Huhtala learned the practice five years ago, under its creator, Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from India. “He introduced laughter yoga in the mid-1990s, recognizing that laughter has a whole slew of health benefits for individuals,” Huhtala explained.

Physiological benefits include increased levels of serotonin levels — “that feel good hormone” — and the release of natural endorphins, “which is almost like a natural pain killer,” she said. It also relaxes the body, and massages a person’s internal organs. “If you have asthma or anything, a bout of laughter is a wonderful way to loosen things up,” Huhtala added.

Cardiovascular wise, a one-minute bout of laughter is equivalent to being on a rowing machine for 10 minutes, and it also lowers blood pressure and stress levels.

Increase in whooping cough cases

Many seventh-grade students throughout the Arkansas River Valley recently received a newly-required vaccine for a respiratory disease that isn’t new — whooping cough.
Most Russellville parents weren’t concerned about the vaccine, said Jenny Barber, the Russellville School District’s wellness supervisor. Barber said only a few parents called with questions, adding the vaccine helps students from missing valuable classroom instructions.
In March, the state Board of Health updated the list of required vaccinations for students entering the seventh grade.
The TDaP booster shot helps prevent Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough.
Pertussis is defined as a respiratory tract disease that is caused by bacteria found in an infected person’s nose and throat. It’s also known as the 100-day cough because the high-pitched “whooping” cough can persist for 100 days.
Carroll County experienced an outbreak of Pertussis in July, according to a department of health press release. In California, 10 babies died from whooping cough with more than 5,200 people contracting the disease, according to Associated Press reports.
In Arkansas, Pertussis isn’t as widespread, said Dr. James Phillps, branch chief of infectious diseases for the state Board of Health.
Pope County experienced one case of whooping cough in 2007, three in 2008 and 12 in 2009. Johnson County had three cases of whooping cough in 2009 with none in 2007 and 2008. Yell County had three cases in 2008 and four cases in 2009. Yell County didn’t experience any cases in 2007. So far, no cases have been reported in 2010. All 2010 data is provisional.
Statewide, 137 people have contracted Pertussis in 2010, which is down compared to 369 in 2009.

Shaping Up: Tune the body and the lifestyle

People's opinions vary greatly on virtually each subject, and it's no different when it comes to fitness and health: some personal trainers hold the "no pain, no gain" attitude, others take a different approach. I've been speaking to certified personal trainers to understand their philosophies on health and fitness. These stories are not intended as endorsements, they are just an exercise (no pun intended!) to clarify the variety of thoughts and approaches of those trained to help us get into better shape.

Phyllis Frost has been in the fitness business for more than 30 years. She was hooked, she says, from the minute she attended her first aerobics class in the 1980s.

"I stepped into that class and just loved it," she said. "I went back every day, week after week, and they told me I should teach it," she said with a laugh. "So I started to."

Fast forward, and she's busy teaching her Fit Body By Phyl -six weeks to your best body program -and boot camp program at different West Island locations, with personal training sessions in between.

Her philosophy: "Wellness: body, mind and spirit." Frost said she believes that when "your body is in tune, you feel fine inside, and you're truly comfortable with who you are." She is passionate and committed to helping people get better health. "If I won the lottery, I'd do it for free, I swear."

She said she doesn't believe in dieting. "You have to eat food in every food group, but you have to learn correct portions." That's why you should always measure things like pasta or rice, so you know what the proper portion size is, she said. "You pile them on without knowing and next thing you know you've eaten double or even triple the correct portion size."

Most people, she said, particularly women, don't get enough protein in their diet, which she said is essential to muscle growth and maintenance. "The more lean body mass a person has, the more capability the body has to burn fat even when inactive."

And she's cautious about any diet that eliminates food groups. "They may work primarily, but maintaining the results are statistically unsuccessful."

Instead of deprivation, Frost suggested people live consciously. "It's unconscious behaviours that get you into trouble."

Put the fork down after every bite, she said: "It takes time, but you're far more aware of how you're feeling and better able to gauge your hunger."

Frost also said that when eating, it's always best to consume the protein and vegetables first, carbs last. "We always have room for the carbs, but its protein that fills us up longer."

When it comes to exercise, Frost said most people feel they have to spend hours a day in the gym in order to have a fit body but she doesn't subscribe to that. "High intensity interval training is the method to go if you're aiming for fat loss."

The goal is to get the heart rate up. She suggested 30 minutes a day, six days a week. "On the seventh day, you rest."

Frost is mainly enamoured with all-encompassing exercises combining elements of muscle-building, flexibility and cardio. "That's getting the best bang for your buck."

If weight loss is your goal, Frost said, your eating has to support the workout. "There's no sense in getting in a good workout and then flopping on the couch and eating crap. You've just defeated all the hard job you've done."

And change up your exercise, she advised. Too often, people stop working out because they get bored of their programs. "That's why it's so important to find something you love to do, have fun with it and you'll want to maintain."

4 quick fitness fixes

If you are training as hard as you can and eating as well as you can but still aren't seeing the results you want, the answers to your frustration might be a few small fixes. Often these fixes are like the 500-pound gorilla in the room that no one sees. If you just adopt one, your training progress will receive a giant leap forward.

Take a break

I often take off a week to 10 days between particularly intense training cycles. I always come back active, refocused and feeling great. Taking a short time off also has a benefit of letting your body "de-train" a bit, or "de-condition." This means that you should reply better to your training program when you come back to it because to an extent, your body will treat it as new. So rest up, and get more from your workouts.

Step it up

Whether you want to admit it or not, you probably aren't working as hard as you think you are. Ramp up your effort, and you'll see results again. Take less rest between sets, add an extra set, run a hill program, whatever, just find a way to create your workouts a little tougher so you don't just "phone it in" like a lot of people do.

Think out of the box

The enemy of progress is complacency. Change your activities every once in a while. If you love step class, try kickboxing. If you love Body Pump, try indoor cycling. If you train with freeweights, try some bodyweight calisthenics. If you are a bodybuilder, try traditional powerlifting. Do something entirely different than what you're used to. Don't box yourself in to doing the same thing all the time. Get out of that box!

Sneak some work in

Three to five mornings a week, get up and do a quick bodyweight circuit, which includes push-ups, squats and some abdominal rotation. Do two to three sets of as many reps as possible. The three additional workouts in the week will add up, helping you burn some calories fist thing in the morning. Plus, you will have a great "organic" base of strength that will greatly benefit your strength training.

Adopt one of these fixes, and you'll get good results. If you adopt them all, you'll be a rock star (in your own world of course). Simple fixes are often the best. Start today and your body will respond faster than it has in a long time.

10th California Baby Dies of Whooping Cough

California health officials say a tenth baby has died of whooping cough in the state's worst epidemic in 55 years.
The 6-week-old baby died last week after being treated at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
More than 5,270 cases of the highly-contagious illness have been reported in California this year. The previous record was set in 1955 when there were 4,949 cases reported.
All of the babies who have died were too young to be fully immunized against the disease, according to health officials.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious, cyclical illness that peaks in number of infections every five years.
The last peak occurred in 2005 when California reported 3,182 cases, with 574 hospitalizations and seven deaths.
The prevalence of the disease, also known as pertussis, peaks in the summer months, according to Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, but reporting lags make it difficult to determine if the peak has passed.
Jonathan Fielding, the county's health director, urges parents and caretakers to get vaccinations to avoid any more deaths.
Most kids get five doses of the vaccine DTaP before kindergarten to prevent whooping cough, but those vaccines don't immunize them for life.
Health officials say most kids are once again susceptible to the disease by middle school.
A booster dose of the vaccine is recommended for people between the ages of 11 and 18, as well as for people who have contact with infants.
A typical case starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks or months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound.

Fasting 101: Its Health and Spiritual Benefits

Strict fast – In its strictest sense, fasting using this method means the abstention from taking anything into the body outside of pure water, which is sipped in small quantities throughout the day. Fasts of this type rarely exceed seven days unless under direct supervision by a medical practitioner or holistic healer with direct experience in the field.

Dry fast – This is the most intense of fasts, and should only be undertaken after making your intentions clear to your family physician and obtaining his or her approval. Dry fasting does not typically exceed three days duration, but longer periods are not unheard of.

Food specific fast – During a food specific fast, certain types of foods are avoided. Most common are abstention from meat and dairy products, or eating only fruit and vegetables in their raw state. Fasts of this nature are usually maintained for prolonged periods exceeding two weeks and as long as six weeks.

Common fast – The most popular of fasts in Western culture, the common fast usually involves consuming only water, diluted fruit juices, herbal teas, and/or other liquid detoxifiers. As is the case with the majority of fasts, milk products are avoided while fasting using this method. The typical duration for a common fast is anywhere from one day to two weeks.

One of the advantages of this method of fasting lays in the detoxifying and cleaning affects of both the herbal teas and the diluted juices, which remove waste products and harmful toxins from the body. Fruit juice must be consumed sparingly and never at full strength, as this will only excite the digestive system and cause stomach burn. Diluting juice at a ratio of two parts water to one part juice (i.e. 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup of juice) is a good place to start. If you are experiencing stomach burn or pain/cramps, increase the ratio to four or even five parts water to one part juice.

Physical Benefits

The physical rewards of fasting include both subtle and overt benefits. On a grosser level, weight reduction, restored skin elasticity, increased energy and vitality, a deeper and more rejuvenating sleep cycle, and a reduction or total cessation of disease symptoms or sickness. At a more minute level, millions upon millions of cells are revived and rejuvenated, the organs are given the opportunity to expel accumulated waste, the blood is cleaned and better oxygenated, and the joints and tendons of the body relax and become more flexible.

Mental Benefits

Fasting encourages us to reclaim our personal power and reassert control over our own minds. As creatures of habit, the ‘habitual momentum’ of self destructive behaviours can be difficult in itself to defeat. Fasting brings our present lifestyle and modes of behaviour to an abrupt halt, allowing space in which we have the opportunity to assess ourselves and reflect on how we are going to live our lives from here forward. Through fasting, we can literally step outside the box of our physical and mental existence and view things from a point of non-doing and stillness.

Spiritual Benefits

No matter what the driving force behind your reasons to fast, the deepest and most profound effects of fasting are not immediately visible to the outside world. Through physical and mental restraint, we harness the mind and body and rein them both to a stop. I liken the state of the Ego Mind in the early few days of fasting to a child who feels punished and refuses to communicate. There is enough of a shock at the denial of food that the Ego becomes quiet, as if realizing for the first time that the Silent Observer or True Self is the one in charge.

In this silence that fasting creates naturally and effortlessly, our true selves begins to speak. At first it is only a whisper, and you may not even be aware of it. Over time; especially during a fast of three days or more in length, this voice becomes clearer and more easily heard. Old emotional scars and negative experiences often surface in a new light of understanding and are resolved and expelled from the mind and body. I would argue that the natural emotional cleansing that accompanies a fast is just as powerful if not more so in its ability to heal our physical state as the physical benefits alone. Disease (dis-ease) originates in our mental and emotional body, and is then manifested outwardly in our physical form. In cleansing ourselves of this dis-ease, the physical body is free to heal the damage it may have caused.

Usual Suspects

There are a number of physical side effects during the initial stages of fasting that some may find confusing, difficult, and even a little fearful in their manifestations. The majority of these effects are totally natural and are not directly related to fasting itself, but rather to the amount of accumulated toxins within our bodies. As previously mentioned fasting is best done after consulting a physician or experienced holistic healer. If any side effect from your fasting worries you, please contact your doctor or another professional. Common physical side effects include:

Nausea or vomiting – If you are a heavy smoker or a heavy drinker, you are going to experience nausea and perhaps even vomiting during the first few days of your fast. This is a perfectly normal reaction and will often be accompanied with headaches and nervousness. Do not break the fast during this period, as it is transitory and you will soon feel much better. If vomiting continues repeatedly throughout the first two days, please check with your doctor.

Shakes, cold sweats – As your body goes through the initial stages of dispelling accumulated waste and toxins from the body, it is not uncommon to experience shakes or cold sweats; even both. Again, this is a natural part of the process and can be alleviated by consuming hot tea, or sipping on diluted fruit juice and very warm water.

Bad breath, heavy tongue – You may experience bad breath, ‘cottonmouth tongue,’ or gummy teeth as well. These are transitory effects as well and are again a product of toxins being released from the body. These are especially common side effects in those suffering from chronic conditions.

The Good News

The good news is that fasting provides an experience that simple words do not convey. The whole body, mind, and spirit feel lighter, more focused, and more aware. Energy levels which may drop significantly during the first few days quickly rebound to new heights. As stress and tension drains from your body, your Yoga is instantly improved by allowing you to move more freely without obstruction.

Less Refined, More Whole Grains Linked To Lower Body Fat

US researchers found that people who every day eat several servings of whole grains and limit intake of refined grains have less visceral adipose tissue or VAT, a type of body fat believed to trigger cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

You can read about the study by lead author Dr Nicola M McKeown and colleagues in the November issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which was made available online at the end of September.

McKeown is a scientist with the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Researcher Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

She and her co-researchers examined diet questionnaires completed by over 2,800 men and women aged from 32 to 83 who participanted in the Framingham Heart Offspring and Third Generation study cohorts as part of the Framingham Heart Study of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

They also had the results of multidetector-computed tomography (MDCT) scans on the participants, from which they could work out volumes of VAT and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT).

SAT is situated just below the skin, while VAT surrounds the organs in the abdomen.

The researchers found VAT was about 10 per cent lower in the men and women who reported eating three or more servings of whole grains every day while limiting their daily intake of refined grains to less than one serving:

"For example," said McKeown, who is also an assistant professor at the Friedman School, "a slice of 100% whole wheat bread or a half cup of oatmeal constituted one serving of whole grains and a slice of white bread or a half cup of white rice represented a serving of refined grains."

Co-author Dr Paul Jacques, director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at the USDA HNRCA and a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, said that previous studies had already suggested that VAT was linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors like high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, that can develop into cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

He said they were not surprised when they compared the relationship between VAT and SAT and whole and refined grain and found a "more striking association with visceral fat".

"The association persisted after we accounted for other lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol intake, fruit and vegetable intake, percentage of calories from fat and physical activity," he explained.

Dental surgery may be linked to heart problems

"This is the initial sign of increased risk for heart attack or stroke after a dental procedure," co-author Dr. Francesco D'Aiuto, a dentist also researcher at University College London Eastman Dental Institute, told Reuters Health. "This is not to say that this will occur with every dental procedure, but we are saying we need to look more into it."

It's hard to know exactly what's going on, because the researchers didn't have access to information about the drugs patients were taking around the time of their operation. If they cut down on certain medications, for example, that alone could have upped their chances of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.

Still, because these conditions affect more than one million people in the U.S., the increased risk could be significant.

According to the study, heart attack and stroke occurred more often in the first four weeks after the operation than any other time during or after the recovery stage.

The researchers tapped into Medicaid data provided by GlaxoSmithKline -- which makes drugs to treat heart disease and stroke -- on a group of U.S. Medicaid patients receiving dental work, with simple procedures like removing a tooth.

D'Aiuto explained that heart attack and stroke are linked to bacterial infections and inflammation after other invasive treatments, likely because inflammation can damage the walls of arteries and contribute to the formation of plaques that clog arteries.

The authors, writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, said that this led them to surprise about the role of dental surgery as well.

They couldn't find a lot of suitable patients to check, however. The Medicaid claims database includes information for close to 10 million people, but there were only 1,150 people who had an invasive dental procedure and a heart attack or stroke in the 4-year period they focused on.

In that population, 40 cases of heart attack or stroke occurred in the first four weeks after dental work -- one and a partly times the baseline rate.

Dr. Howard Weitz, a cardiologist at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and co-author of an editorial about the study, told Reuters Health that the study was not designed to verify if dental surgery causes heart problems, only to see if they are associated with each other.

He also said previous research shows that errors in recording information in a database like the Medicaid one are fairly general.

Even when it's right, Medicaid information does not include the use of aspirin and other over-the-counter medications that help to prevent heart disease.