News + Views

Alzheimer’s Disease Study Seeks African American Volunteers


200313659-001To Your Health







African Americans are Twice as Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s Disease         
(Family Features) More than 5 million Americans are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and scientists expect this number to triple by 2050. Experts say that African Americans are two to three times more likely than white Americans to develop the disease. A groundbreaking study testing whether an investigational drug can prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer’s seeks volunteers – including African Americans – who have just the earliest changes in their brain associated with the disease but don’t yet have any symptoms.

The A4 Study (which stands for the Anti-Amyloid in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s study), funded by the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly, and several philanthropic organizations, seeks to delay Alzheimer’s-related brain damage and curb memory loss before any outward signs develop. Healthy people with normal memories can join a clinical trial aiming to prevent memory loss associated with the disease.

“It is extremely important that African Americans get involved with this study,” said Reisa Sperling, MD, principal investigator of the A4 Study. “We need to know why African Americans develop Alzheimer’s in such high numbers, and the A4 Study offers new hope that we can give people a way to fight back, give them something they can actively do to protect their own memories.”

This landmark study takes a new approach to Alzheimer’s research by testing for an elevated level of a protein known as “amyloid” in the brain. Scientists believe that elevated amyloid in the brain may play an important role in the eventual development of memory loss and Alzheimer’s.

Researchers say that the goal of the A4 Study is to test whether an investigational drug that targets amyloid plaques can help to slow the progression of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. Another major emphasis of the study is to help determine why certain populations, including African Americans, are more likely to develop this disease.

“For too long, medicines have been developed without substantial research on how they work specifically in African Americans,” said Dr. Sperling. “Medications that are used by the entire community must be developed and tested on the entire community and that’s why it is critical to volunteer for this study.”

The A4 Study requires 1,000 healthy participants between the ages of 65 and 85 who have normal thinking and memory function to enroll in sites across the United States. Researchers estimate that 10,000 people will need to be screened to find 1,000 individuals who qualify.

“I am convinced that we will find a way to end Alzheimer’s disease before our children and grandchildren ever have to face it,” Dr. Sperling said. “But we need everyone to join in this fight.”

Potential study volunteers can learn more about the study including how to enroll by visiting the A4 website at, contacting 844-A-4-Study (844-247-8839) or by emailing

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Anti-Amyloid in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Study

June 3, 2015 |

UV and You


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Protecting your peepers from the sun’s harmful rays                                   12399

(Family Features) Most people aren’t aware that the sun can do damage to their eyes when they are unprotected from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Ultraviolet radiation is invisible to the human eye and damage is cumulative over time, so it’s imperative for everyone – from young kids to grandparents – to take the necessary steps to protect their eyes. Wearing sunglasses is an easy way to shield the eyes while outdoors, but it’s important to look beyond the choices in frames and find sunglasses with lenses that offer the best UV protection.

E-SPF(r), or Eye Sun Protection Factor, is a global index created by Essilor International that rates the overall UV protection clear and sunglass lenses provide for the eyes versus going without eyewear.

Varied degrees of protection
Lenses with an E-SPF index of 50+ means your eyes are 50 times more protected than they are without wearing lenses at all. The index ranges from zero to 25 for clear corrective lenses and from zero to 50+ for polarized sunglass lenses.

Finding the right shades
To better protect your eyes from harmful UV rays outdoors look for sunglasses that offer the following:
* Lenses with an E-SPF index of 50+
* Large, close-fitting wrap-around frames to reduce exposure to rays coming from around the lenses
* Polarized lenses – adds protection by reducing glare reflecting off of water, asphalt, windows and snow

Many people are not aware they can also get their eyewear prescription in sun lenses, and a majority of people don’t know there are options for lenses beyond the ones already in the frame. Xperio UV(tm) superior polarized lenses provide users with comprehensive UV protection on both the front and backside of the lenses and reduce the amount of glare from reflective surfaces. Xperio UV lenses have an E-SPF index rating of 50+ and deliver maximum scratch resistance and cleanability.

From everyday activities to outdoor sports and recreation, your eyes deserve protection from harmful sun exposure. To learn more about protective eyewear for any season, including Xperio UV polarized sunglasses, visit

*These materials were provided by Essilor of America

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Essilor of America

May 27, 2015 |

The Power of Prevention


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Screenings help identify risk of stroke, heart disease12662

(Family Features) You’ve likely heard the adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Patients looking to live a long and healthy life know taking preventive steps now is necessary to ward off many diseases in the future. This is especially true with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among adults.

Understanding cardiovascular disease
For middle-age and mature adults, pro-active steps toward prevention should be done to fight against atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the arties, the main cause of cardiovascular disease. Early detection, improved health behavior and diet changes now can increase wellness benefits later. When not detected, more advanced stages of the disease can lead to more serious problems, such as stroke or heart attack.

One affordable, easy and non-invasive option for patients looking to stay on the road to wellness is cardiovascular screening, such as Life Line Screening, often recommended for adults age 55 and older. This type of simple ultrasound procedure allows doctors to see inside a patient’s arteries, and along with doctor checkups, can sniff out certain health issues before they become more serious. These vascular screenings can be a beneficial choice for patients in the right age range and with key risk factors (and screening data shows that more than 70 percent of the population over age 55 have two or more of these risk factors before their screening). Patients can then work with their doctors to put preventive strategies in place.

New studies prove screening’s benefit
A growing body of research supports this logical approach to fight disease. A 40-year study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed community-based integrated programming improved the health of residents and reduced hospitalization. Similarly, a study in South Korea may have set the standard for the future. There, a nationwide study found that health screenings were linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and helped patients better identify heart-related conditions and events.

To best prevent cardiovascular disease one must find it early, before the person is symptomatic, so the individual can be more accurately placed in the proper risk category. That is where ultrasound screening plays its special role. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, looked at ultrasound testing to identify blockages in carotid (neck) arteries in people who were healthy but at-risk, and found that detection of “subclinical” disease improved overall risk prediction.

Vascular screening may also motivate healthier behaviors in those screened because people get to “see” inside their body and understand their true health status. Life Line Screening examined a sample of American adults who underwent screenings. The research showed that those screened engaged in healthier behaviors. In fact, 76 percent of participants reported improved diets, 60 percent increased the amount of exercise and 73 percent reported maintenance of a healthy weight or weight loss following the screening.

For more information about preventive screening for you or a loved one, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Life Line Screening

May 20, 2015 |

Food Allergies Can Cause Nutrition Gaps


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(Family Features) The first mission in creating safe meals for children with food allergies is avoiding the offending ingredient. But there can be a downside to diets that miss out on the nutritional value found in foods kicked off the menu, according to Carolyn O’Neil, a registered dietitian and nutrition advisor to Best Food Facts.

A study in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (JAND) cautions that such diets can induce vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia and other symptoms affecting a child’s growth and nutritional status.

“Food allergies and intolerances are on the rise,” said registered dietitian Vandana Sheth, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “But it’s important that we identify that kids are actually allergic (through proper testing) before we avoid those foods unnecessarily.”

Common food allergies
The eight foods that account for more than 90 percent of childhood cases of food allergies include milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans), wheat, fish and shellfish. Food intolerances such as lactose and gluten add even more children to the at-risk list for nutrient deficiencies, added O’Neil.

“A parent should always offer a variety of different foods within a food group,” said registered dietitian Cheryl Orlansky, president of the Greater Atlanta Dietetic Association. Gluten-free grains include rice, corn and quinoa. If a child is allergic to peanut butter, substitute sunflower seed butter, advised Sheth.

“If you skip dairy you skip its nine essential nutrients,” said registered dietitian and author of “The Greek Yogurt Kitchen,” Toby Amidor. “Studies show people with lactose intolerance may tolerate up to a cup of fluid milk, which has 12 grams of lactose. Cheeses, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are much lower in lactose.”

Mind the gap
The food allergy study in JAND measured the benefit of dietary counseling in preventing and correcting nutrient deficiencies in children with food allergies. Results from the multi-center study in Italy showed that advice on what foods to eat to help fill in the gaps helped kids get enough calories, protein and other needed nutrients.

“I think it’s fascinating,” said Sheth. “They showed that dietary counseling really helped and growth patterns were improved.”

Sheth added, “A lot of kids outgrow allergies to eggs and milk by age 16. But other allergies such as nuts may be life long.” Her knowledge comes firsthand, as her own son was diagnosed with over 20 food allergies as a child.

“Now he’s a healthy JV football player. He’s down to four or five allergies including all nuts. I always feed the team so I can keep an eye on what he’s eating.”

When parents are equipped with the proper knowledge of common food allergies, they can help their kids enjoy a healthier childhood. To learn more about food allergies, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family eating breakfast)

Source: Center for Food Integrity

May 13, 2015 |

Living Smart to Protect Your Heart


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(Family Features) When it comes to recognizing and responding to the signs of a heart attack, early action can make the difference between life and death. But action even earlier to improve lifestyle and eating habits can make a big difference, too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 25 percent of all deaths each year in the United States can be attributed to heart disease, making it the single largest killer of both men and women. Taking a preventive approach and making healthy choices can help manage your risk for a heart attack and other forms of heart disease.

Help protect your heart with these healthy lifestyle tips from the CDC:

Manage medical conditions. Certain diseases and health conditions are known to put you at greater risk for developing heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Follow your doctor’s guidance to gain control of any medical issues early on.

Pay attention to what you eat. This means not only eating plenty of healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, but also reducing or eliminating less healthy options. Foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high blood cholesterol.

One good option to start your day right is whole grain cereal. In fact, according to a recent survey, nine out of 10 doctors would recommend Post Shredded Wheat as part of a low sodium, healthy diet to help maintain a healthy heart, reduce the risk of heart disease and support healthy blood pressure levels.

Maintain a healthy weight. Exceeding your ideal weight range for your height puts you at greater risk for heart disease. Check with your doctor to determine whether your weight is in a healthy range. This can generally be determined by calculating your body mass index (BMI). If you are in an overweight or obese range, seek help from nutrition specialists to establish an eating plan that works best for you.

Get moving. Exercise not only helps with managing your weight, it can also help with other problems, like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. While adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, at least five days a week, you should consult your doctor before starting any exercise plan.

Eliminate or reduce unhealthy habits. Smoking raises your risk of heart disease. If you are a smoker, a physician can assist you in finding a smoking cessation program for your needs, and many insurance companies now cover these treatments. Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure, which in turn escalates your chances of heart disease.

Visit for more heart-healthy tips.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Post Foods

May 6, 2015 |

Show Your Heart Some Love


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Wellness tips for body, mind and heart

(Family Features) Each day offers new opportunities to make choices that impact your health and overall wellness. Though hectic schedules can cause many of us to let healthy habits fall to the wayside, it is important that we give our bodies the attention and care they deserve.

Consider these small steps to gradually improve your whole body and heart health, which can help you enjoy a happier, longer life:

* Strike a balance. Take a simpler approach to the traditional idea of “dieting.” Balance calories in versus calories out with a combination of good food choices, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and regular exercise, such as walking or hiking. Incorporate low-calorie, naturally fat-free foods into your diet, such as new Dole Red Grapefruit Sunrise Fruit Bowls, which bring all-natural fruit together with 100 percent juice. They are a great way to start the day or just enjoy as a delicious snack. Grapefruit naturally offers a plentiful source of nutrients, including phosphorus, potassium and vitamins A and C.

* Watch the middle. According to the Mayo Clinic, that extra weight you carry around the mid-section can cause serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Work to keep this common problem area in check by reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity.

* Skip the stress. While a little stress is part of being human, too much can be taxing on the heart. Find activities that engage your mind and naturally relieve stress such as knitting, crafting or working on a puzzle.

* Dine in the a.m. Don’t let a rushed morning routine get in the way of enjoying a heart-healthy breakfast. A complete morning meal includes a combination of whole grains, protein, and fruits or vegetables. For a convenient, on-the-go option, throw an individually-sealed cup of Dole Red Grapefruit Sunrise in your laptop bag or purse. Each cup contains peak-of-ripeness, wholesome, peeled grapefruit and allows you to enjoy grapefruit all year around. Plus, they’re gluten free, contain no GMOs (genetically modified or engineered ingredients) or artificial sweeteners, and feature BPA-free packaging.

* Drink more water. For your body to function properly, it needs the right amount of hydration. According to the Institute of Medicine, the average required intake for a male is about 13 cups, while a female requires about 9 cups. Switch out sodas and sugary drinks with water to reap its benefits, and to shave off extra “empty” calories that may contribute to weight gain.

* Get routine exams. A yearly doctor’s examination keeps you more informed of your body’s ever-changing status, and it keeps your health care provider in the loop, too. Educate yourself and understand the import numbers for your heart, including blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

A happy life starts with the right mindset and a few easy routines. For more ways to boost your body’s wellness and healthy snack ideas, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Dole

April 29, 2015 |

Preventive Care Key to Fighting Skin Cancer


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(Family Features) Are you at risk for skin cancer? Do you know the signs? According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. That means odds are quite high that at least one in your circle of friends will face this dangerous disease. As the season for bare skin approaches, are you aware of the risks and preventative measures necessary to avoid sun exposure?

Approximately 58 million Americans are affected by actinic keratosis (AKs), the most common form of pre-cancerous skin damage known casually as “pre-cancers,” according to a report published by The Society for Investigative Dermatology and The American Academ12481_Ay of Dermatology Association. An estimated 10 percent of AKs will become squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, within two years.

AKs are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light such as sunlight. They occur most often on areas such as the face, scalp and ears. They can range in color from skin-toned to reddish-brown. They can be as small as a pinhead or larger than a quarter.

AKs predominately affect people over 50, and slightly more men than women. Individuals who are most likely affected by AKs include those who have risk factors including: fair skin; blond or red hair; blue, green or grey eyes; a history of kidney disease or weakened immune system; daily, long-term exposure to the sun; multiple severe sunburns early in life; and older age.

Fortunately, skin cancer can be avoided with treatment, yet many patients fail to seek treatment. What they may not realize is that there are actually many treatment options available, such as cryotherapy (freezing); topical medication; and photodynamic therapy. Additional treatment options include curettage, chemical peel, dermabrasion, surgical incision and lasers.

To reduce your risk of skin cancer you can take some precautions:

* Regular skin evaluations by a dermatologist can catch the disease early so that it can be treated. Just as you schedule an annual physical or other routine checkups as part of your regular health routine, a recurring appointment with a dermatologist can significantly alter your chances of developing skin cancer.

* In between visits to the dermatologist, perform thorough self-checks by examining your skin all over on a regular basis.

* Avoid damaging sun rays and protect your skin by seeking the shade during high sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); avoiding sunburns; and covering your skin with clothing and hats.

* Do not use tanning booths!

* Understand sunscreen, and use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

Do yourself a favor and get checked before the summer season to ensure you are properly caring for and protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. The skin is Printthe largest organ of the human body. Make the call to your dermatologist today.

For more information, including additional details about AKs and how to identify the signs of skin damage, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: DUSA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


April 22, 2015 |
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