Health Radar

Health Radar
Get Healthy No Matter What Your Age
A Publication of
Vol. 1, Issue 10 / October 2011
4 Ask the Doctor
Botox: What you need to
know before going under
the needle
5 Sleep
Simple fix for sleep apnea
and snoring
6 Sexual Health
7 health benefits found in
the bedroom
7 Healthy Living
Workout guru Jack
Lalanne’s secret to staying
fit into his 90s
8 Brain Health
Stroke: How to
dramatically cut your risk
9 Mental Health
Depression: non-drug to
get relief
At home strategies to beat
back pain
Best ways to get youthfullooking skin
15 Healthy Living
New alternative to
swimming pool chlorine
16 Health in the Future
The male birth control pill
is here
The No-Hunger Diet
Lose 10 lbs in one month — and never feel hungry
Health Radar Exclusive
Dr. Barbara J. Rolls, one of the
nation’s top weight-loss experts,
has devised this No-Hunger Diet
exclusively for Health Radar readers.
She is a professor of nutritional
sciences at Penn State University and
the author of the best-seller “The
Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan.”
By Shana Aborn
or most of us, the word “diet” is
synonymous with “starvation.”
To lose weight, we assume we have
to eat tiny portions, leave the table
less than satisfied, and endure a
rumbling stomach until the next
But if you’ve been putting off
your weight-loss goals because
you’re afraid of feeling hungry,
procrastinate no more — you can
eat heartily and still drop the extra
The key to hunger-free weight
loss is to eat more of the right
kinds of foods, says Dr. Rolls, who
formerly served on the faculty
of the Johns Hopkins School of
Most fruits, vegetables, and
lean meats are what Dr. Rolls
calls “low-energy-density” — in
other words, foods that fill you up
without adding many calories. On
the flip side, high-energy-density
foods like full-fat dairy products,
oils, and sweets can add hundreds
of calories in just a few bites.
Dr. Rolls points to studies
showing that people don’t vary
much from day to day when it
comes to the total weight of the
food they eat.
Therefore, when you increase
your intake of low-density foods
— which also happen to be high
in stomach-satisfying water and
fiber — you can eat until you’re
full and still stay within your total
calorie limit.
Here are some tips from Dr.
Rolls to help you eat heartily
while still allowing you to lose 10
pounds in a month — just in time
to look great for those holiday
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Studies consistently show that
people who eat a morning meal
lose more weight than people
who don’t — and they’re less
tempted to hit the candy machine
or convenience store for a midmorning snack.
Go for whole-grain, low-sugar
cereal or oatmeal with skim milk.
Or, if you prefer a little more
protein, have a small portion
of eggs with Canadian bacon
(which has far less fat than
regular bacon).
Don’t Drink Your Fruit
If you’re used to having a glass
of orange juice at breakfast or
a bottle of apple or pineapple
juice at lunch, switch to whole
fruit instead. You’ll consume
more fiber and stay full longer
with a similar calorie count.
Make Salads Part Of Your
As long as you don’t load
them with creamy, oily dressings
or fatty toppings like bacon bits
and cheese crumbles, salads are
nutritious and filling because
of their high water content and
the time it takes to chew and eat
them. Try flavorful greens like
arugula, watercress, and endive
with veggies like asparagus,
tomatoes, and broccoli with a
handful of nuts or pinto beans
tossed in for protein.
Eat More Soup
Dr. Rolls has found that
people who eat soup as a first
course eat 20 percent fewer
calories afterward than diners
who don’t. Just make sure your
bowlful is broth-based — not
cream-based — with plenty of
vegetables. If you really crave a
creamy soup or chowder, make it
with low-fat milk.
Water, Water Everywhere
The more water a food
contains, the more filling it is
and the more of it you can eat
without gaining weight. “A cup
of grapes is more satisfying than
a quarter-cup of raisins,” says Dr.
Rolls, whose new book, “The
Ultimate Volumetrics Diet,” will
be released next April.
Go with whole fruit rather
than dried, and avoid dry snacks
like pretzels and chips. Starchy
vegetables like potatoes, sweet
potatoes, and corn are filling, but
also more calorie-dense. Enjoy
them in moderation.
Add High-Density Foods to
Your Favorite Recipes
Do you love pasta? Great —
but try adding chopped zucchini
or spinach to your marinara
sauce. Use lean ground meat for
your meatloaf and mix in pureed
carrots or broccoli. Top your
pizza with lots of veggies instead
of calorie-laden sausage.
Slow Down
It takes about 20 minutes for
your stomach to signal to your
brain that it’s full, so eating
quickly can lead you to take in
more than you should.
Take your time when you
eat. This will encourage you to
stop when you feel satisfied, not
uncomfortably stuffed.
Be Prepared
If you know you’ll be tempted
by the vending machine at work,
keep apples or yogurt in the
break room fridge. Always keep a
glass of water on your desk.
Have a salad or half a
Health Radar
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Page 2 / October 2011
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PLEASE NOTE: All information presented in
Health Radar is for informational purposes
only. It is not specific medical advice for any
individual. All answers to reader questions are
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All information presented in Health Radar
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Copyright © 2011 Health Radar.
sandwich before parties. When
you go to an event hungry, you’re
more likely to load up at the
calorie-laden buffet.
Snack — But Only When
You Need to
If you nibble between meals
to keep yourself from overeating
at dinner, you’re not doing
yourself or your diet any favors.
“Studies show that you will
eat the same amount at meals
whether you snack between
meals or not,” Dr. Rolls said.
But if you do find your
stomach growling before lunch
or at mid-afternoon, go ahead
and have something small but
filling, like a cup of yogurt, or
carrot sticks with a low-fat dip.
Use caution with those
prepackaged portion-controlled
snacks. While their low calorie
count may be appealing, you
don’t get much food for those
100 calories — and they tend
to be dry, high-density foods
like crackers and cookies, which
don’t leave you satisfied for long.
Satisfying Weight-Busting Substitutes
Satisfying substitutes for many of your favorite high-calorie foods can
help you lose weight quickly without depriving yourself.
If you like . . .
Whole-grain shredded wheat or puffed cereal
Canadian bacon
1 slice buttered bread
2 slices unbuttered bread
¼ cup raisins
2 cups grapes
Ice cream
Whole-fruit sorbet or nonfat Greek yogurt
with fruit and a drizzle of honey
Blueberry muffins
Blueberry muffins made with low-fat
buttermilk and unsweetened applesauce
instead of butter or oil
“The temptation is to reach
for a second bag,” says Dr. Rolls.
Indulge in Moderation
The best part of the NoHunger eating plan is that
you don’t have to give up any
of your favorites. If you love
cheese, enjoy — just use low-fat
brands, or use a smaller amount
of flavorful varieties like fresh
Asiago, sharp Cheddar, or feta.
Substitute nonfat milk for whole
milk for drinking or cooking.
Even while dieting, you can
have chocolate when a craving
hits — but make it a small
portion of a good-quality brand.
A small amount of high-end,
dark chocolate is often more
satisfying than a large serving of
cheaper chocolate.
No-Hunger Diet Sample Menu
1 orange
1 cup mixed berries
Unsweetened iced tea with lemon,
coffee with low-fat milk or seltzer
with lime juice
1 slice whole-grain toast
Afternoon Snack (if needed)
Coffee or tea, with low-fat milk
Grapes, a stick of string cheese or
red pepper strips with hummus
Smoothie made from 1 1/2 cup
crushed ice, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen
strawberries, 1/2 medium banana
and 1/2 cup nonfat sugar-free
strawberry yogurt
2 eggs, scrambled, with 2
tablespoons salsa
Mid-morning Snack (if needed)
Vegetable soup
Turkey sandwich on whole-grain
bread, with lettuce, tomatoes and
Salad of mixed greens, shredded
carrots, diced celery, diced
tomatoes, diced cucumber,
shredded mozzarella cheese and
nonfat Italian dressing
Tilapia (or other fish) fillets coated
in 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1
teaspoon vegetable oil, baked; serve
with sauce (sauté 1 cup chopped
bell peppers and ¾ cup onions,
then add ½ cup orange juice, 2
teaspoons chopped garlic and 1 ½
cups canned tomatoes with liquid)
Chocolate fondue (melt 3 oz. highquality semisweet chocolate, 2
tablespoons nonfat evaporated milk
and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a
fondue pot or small saucepan) with
fresh fruit for dipping
Water, coffee or tea
October 2011 / Page 3
ASK THE DOCTOR with Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel and Dr. Hratch Karamanoukian
Botox: What You Need to Know
Before Going Under the Needle
Q: What is Botox?
A: Botox is a trademarked brand of a derivative
of botulism toxin. It’s a medication that causes
weakening of muscles and certain glands.
It’s famously used to treat wrinkles — about
3 million Americans have Botox injections
annually, making it the nation’s favorite cosmetic
procedure. Besides wrinkle elimination, the drug
has been FDA approved for more than 20 other
medical applications. We expect that in just a few
years, the therapeutic use of Botox will become
more popular than its cosmetic use.
Q: What wrinkles are best erased by Botox and
how long does it last?
A: It is great for reducing the wrinkles along the
brow and at the sides of the eyes called crow’s
feet. These wrinkles, called dynamic wrinkles,
are caused by muscles that pull on the skin. Parts
of these muscles can be weakened and relaxed
with Botox, Dysport, or other brands of the
botulism toxin. Injections into these areas reduce
the appearance of these dynamic wrinkles. The
medication lasts between three to six months
or until the Botox is metabolized. Continued
use makes the muscles weaker, so subsequent
treatments last longer.
Q: How does it help migraines?
A: Botox is FDA approved for adults with
chronic migraines who suffer for 15 days or
more each month and whose headaches last
four hours. By relaxing the muscles in the
forehead, it reduces the transmission of pain
neurotransmitters to ease the symptoms.
Q: What are some of the other uses for Botox?
A: One of the most common uses is for
hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, a very
embarrassing and debilitating problem for 8
million Americans — about 3 percent of the
population. Hyperhidrosis can occur in the
head, underarms, groin, palms, and feet. This can
Page 4 / October 2011
hamper not only one’s quality of life but also
affect a person in the workplace. For example,
you wouldn’t want to be treated by a doctor or
dentist with sweaty palms! Botox injections can
change quality of life overnight and the dryness
can last between three to six months.
It’s been used since 1980 to treat strabismus
or crossed eyes. Later, the medication proved
effective in blepharospasm or uncontrollable
Patients with multiple sclerosis and spinal
cord injury who suffer from overactive bladder
can be treated with Botox injections.
Q: What do you think about Botox parties where
the host injects a large number of people to get rid
of their wrinkles?
A: Botox and parties are not a good mix.
Botulism toxin is a medication that MUST
be administered by a physician in a hygienic
environment. If it is inadvertently injected into
the bloodstream it could paralyze the diaphragm
and stop breathing — a potentially deadly
complication. Typically, no medical history
is taken at these parties and if you do suffer a
reaction to the injection, you may land in the
emergency room. Another caveat is that the
product injected may not even be Botox but a
silicone compound that can cause disfigurement.
While it’s nice to have friends around to offer
support when you are receiving treatment,
you would be better off meeting at a plastic
surgeon’s office and having the group treated in
a professional setting.
Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel is Chief of the
Division of Facial Plastic and
Reconstructive Surgery at Boston
Dr. Hratch Karamanoukian is a lecturer,
author, and board certified thoracic
surgeon based in Williamsville, N.Y.
Easy Fix for Snoring and Sleep Apnea:
Compression Stockings
of Miami Hospital’s Sleep
Division, says, “Snoring is often a
esults of a new study have
sign of a more serious problem,
opened the door to a simple, like obstructive sleep apnea.”
effective treatment for snoring
The Association for
and sleep apnea: compression
Respiratory Care estimates 18
million Americans suffer from
Researchers found that when
sleep apnea, a disorder in which
snoring and sleep apnea sufferers the throat muscles collapse
wore compression stockings
during sleep. As the passageway
during their waking hours as
narrows, breathing becomes
well as at night, their sleep
increasingly restricted and may
greatly improved. The stockings
even stop for 10 seconds at a
worn in the study were the same time. When oxygen is reduced,
kind commonly used to treat leg brain signals jostle the sleeper
swelling, circulatory problems,
and normal breathing resumes.
and varicose veins.
Those afflicted can experience
While snoring can be just a
five, 10, or even hundreds of
minor nuisance caused by such
episodes a night.
factors as sinus problems or
Apnea is a serious health issue
being overweight, Dr. Salim Dib, that can lead to heart problems,
chief of neurology at University
diabetes, and stroke. In addition,
the disturbed sleep caused by
apnea means that sufferers are
Tips to Reduce Snoring
not getting the deep rest they
need, which can dramatically
1.Lose weight — excess pounds,
affect daytime functioning.
especially around the neck,
Until now, the gold standard
increase pressure on throat
muscles when laying down.
of treatment for sleep apnea has
been nightly use of a continuous
2.Avoid alcohol at bedtime —
drinking can affect the throat’s
positive airway pressure machine
muscle tone.
(CPAP). However, many patients
3.Don’t smoke — smokers are at
find wearing the necessary mask
increased risk for sleep apnea.
uncomfortable. Some find it
4.Use a humidifier in your
so annoying that they refuse
bedroom — dry air can irritate
to wear it, which can expose
the throat, causing you to
them to life-threatening health
5.Sleep on your side — doing
That’s where compression
so helps keep the throat open.
stockings enter the picture.
TIP: To prevent rolling onto your
Researchers at the University
back, place a tennis ball inside a
of Brescia, Italy, recently found
pillow and put the pillow behind
that sleep apnea sufferers who
your back when you sleep.
wore the stockings for a week
By Susan Bilheimer
When to See Your
If you experience any of the
following symptoms along
with snoring, have your doctor
evaluate you for sleep apnea:
1.Heavy snoring in all sleep
2.Waking up gasping or choking
3.Not feeling rested when you
4. High blood pressure
5.Falling asleep during daytime
6. Morning headaches
had dramatically fewer apnea
episodes and less snoring.
“The extent to which simply
wearing compression stockings
reduced apnea in just one week
was not expected,” said lead
researcher Dr. Stefania Redolfi.
Dr. Dib agrees that this is
“an interesting out-of-the-box
approach. It is a promising
adjunct form of therapy to CPAP
in that patient population. But
further studies are needed.”
Researchers don’t know
exactly why compression
stockings lessen snoring, but
they believe it is related to the
fact that the stockings caused
less fluid to accumulate in neck
tissue at night.
Compression stockings do
not work for every snorer, but
they cost only about $20 and it
can’t hurt to try them — and the
person sleeping next to you may
thank you.
October 2011 / Page 5
Top 7 Health Benefits Found
In the Bedroom
he road to good health may not always lead
to the health food store, doctor’s office or
pharmacy. It may go straight to the bedroom, say
“The fountain of youth can be found between
the sheets,” says Dr. Walter Gaman, co-author of
“Stay Young: 10 Proven Steps to Ultimate Health.”
“Sex causes the brain to release human growth
hormone, which helps maintain youth.”
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor at Yale
University and a renowned gynecologist, adds that
menopausal women have fewer symptoms when
they have a good sex life.
“Sex increases blood flow to the pelvic area
so women need less medication for vaginal
dryness,” Dr. Minkin reveals. “And of course most
relationships benefit from a healthy sex life. Maybe
this is not a strict gynecological fact, but it’s true!”
Here are more ways that being active in the
bedroom benefits your health:
1. Improves Memory
Sex can improve memory and attention to
detail. During sex, oxytocin is released which aids
the brain in recall. Also, an increase in serotonin
helps with creative thinking and logic. Dr. Gaman,
recently named one of the best doctors in Texas by
Newsweek magazine, encourages all his patients
to have an active sex life: “I have yet to find anyone
who is disappointed when I write a prescription
for more sex.”
2. Increases Immunity
Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that
having intercourse one to two times a week raises
the level of antibody immunoglobulin A (IgA)
by as much as a third. IgA is a protein that binds
to pathogens that enter the body, increasing
resistance to disease.
3. Improves Heart Health
Everyone knows that exercise is good for the
heart, but some people don’t realize that sex is
actually a form of exercise. Having sex once a week
Page 6 / October 2011
for a year burns the same amount of calories as
walking 25 miles. A study at Queens University
found that men who had regular sex cut their risk
of heart disease and stroke in half.
4. Reduces Pain
Showing that the old “Not-tonight-honey-Ihave-a-headache” excuse is not valid, intercourse
has actually been proven to cure headaches. It has
also been shown to relieve arthritis pain. Oxytocin
flows through the body during sex and acts as
a natural painkiller. According to a Stanford
University study, being deeply in love has been
proven to increase overall pain tolerance.
5. Helps You Live Longer
A British study of 1,000 men found that regular
intercourse dramatically increases life span. Men
who had sex two or more times a week had half
the death rate of those who had it once a month
or less. States Dr. Mark Anderson, cohost of the
nationally syndicated “Staying Young” radio show:
“We know that the brain releases Human Growth
Hormone (HGH) during intercourse. HGH helps
the body repair itself and maintain youth.”
6. Makes You Happier
We have known for years that people get a smile
on their face when they have sex, but now research
proves that it actually does make you happy. The
release of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) during
sex provides a natural antidepressant and mood
enhancer. Some studies show that regular sex
can be as much as 10 times more effective than
traditional prescription antidepressants.
7. Makes You Stronger
Sexual intercourse helps both men and women
regulate their sex hormones. Increasing sex
hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone,
improves bone strength and boosts muscle tone.
Low estrogen and low testosterone can decrease
sex drive. Luckily, the more sex you have, the
greater your sex drive will be.
Jack Lalanne’s Widow Reveals His
Top Secret to Staying Fit
By Lynn Allison
and smoothie bars are
now the height of trendiness,
but the man who popularized
health-giving juices was as old
school as it gets.
Famed fitness guru Jack
Lalanne started drinking fruit
and vegetable juices in his
teens, and his concoctions kept
him going strong well into old
Nutrients Found
In Juices
carrot, cantaloupe,
orange, kale,
folic Acid
kale, spinach,
turnip greens
vitamin B6
peppers, citrus
fruit, cabbage
vitamin C
vitamin E
broccoli, collard,
vitamin K
kale, collard
greens, bok choy
apple, cabbage,
sweet peppers
Brussels sprouts,
cabbage, turnip
celery, cantaloupe,
apple, turnip,
age. In fact, he remained in
terrific shape up until his death
at age 96 in January. Millions
of Americans own Lalanne’s
invention, the Power Juicer.
Jack’s widow, Elaine Lalanne,
recalls that he introduced her to
juices while they were dating.
“I remember the first time he
took me to his place and offered
me a carrot, celery, apple juice,”
Elaine, 85, told Health Radar. “I
was hesitant because I was your
typical junk food junkie, but
when I tasted how sweet carrots
could be, I was hooked, too!”
Jack used to say that the
bloodstream is “the river of life,”
Elaine said. “Drinking fresh
juices helps that river flow freely.
Juicing revitalizes the body.”
At age 70 Lalanne performed
a feat that astonished even his
avid fans. While handcuffed,
he swam in the Long Beach
Harbor, towing 70 boats for 1 ½
miles. He continued strenuous
workouts and remained active
right up until his death.
The National Cancer Institute
recommends that people eat
five servings of fruit and three
servings of vegetables a day.
Juicing provides a tasty way to
meet these recommendations.
“It provides the whole food
as nature intended,” says Dr.
Bob Goldman, chairman of
the American Academy of
Anti-Aging Medicine and an
avid juicer. “You are getting
all the nutrients of the fruit or
Dr. Steven Bailey of the
Northwestern Naturopathic
Clinic in Portland Ore., and
author of “Juice Alive,” says that
he’s used juice to successfully
treat patients with chronic
ailments for over 25 years.
“One of the most useful ways
to augment the American diet is
to use raw fruits and vegetable
juices,” he asserts.
“Juicing stimulates the
immune system, reduces blood
pressure, aids in detoxifying the
body and protects you from
harmful environmental factors.”
Dr. Bailey says that it’s best
to use organic produce to avoid
Elaine says her husband
taught her the trick to making
a tasty juice: balance the
vegetable juices with sweetness
from fruits.
“If you are using kale or
broccoli in your juice, put in
some pineapple or apple to take
away the bitterness,” she says.
Here, exclusively for Health
Radar, Elaine reveals Jack
Lalanne’s favorite juice recipe.
Jack Lalanne’s River
of Life Juice
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
1 apple, sliced
1 slice raw beet
Touch of ginger (optional)
Slowly feed the veggies, apple,
and ginger if using into the
feeder tube. (Use organic
produce and wash well.)
October 2011 / Page 7
Protecting Yourself Against Stroke
How to dramatically cut your risk
By Charlotte Libov
troke is the third leading cause
of death and also America’s
biggest crippler. Every 45 seconds,
someone in the U.S. is stricken.
How can you make sure
stroke doesn’t happen to you?
By taking action today you can
dramatically cut your risk of
stroke, say top doctors.
“The bottom line is that
stroke is preventable,” Dr. Joseph
Broderick, research director of
the University of Cincinnati’s
Neuroscience Institute and vice
chair of the American Heart
Association’s Stroke Council,
tells Health Radar.
Most strokes are the result
of blood clots which occur
when blood vessels in the brain
and neck are narrowed by
atherosclerosis, the same disease
process that causes heart attacks.
Here are steps that will
immediately lower your risk of
•Quit smoking. When you
quit, your risk goes down
as soon as you set down the
•Lower high blood pressure.
Whether you use lifestyle
changes, supplements, or
drugs, lowering high blood
pressure greatly lessens the
chances of a stroke.
•Lower your LDL (bad)
cholesterol, which clogs
•Control diabetes, which
raises blood pressure risk
and damages arteries.
•Control atrial fibrillation, a
Page 8 / October 2011
type of irregular heartbeat
that increases stroke risk.
•Eat a healthy diet, rich in
fruits and vegetables.
• Get regular aerobic exercise.
Brisk walking and other activity
helps keep arteries in peak shape,
says Dr. Broderick.
If you or someone close to you
is having a stroke, it’s important
to get medical help fast so
brain damage can be limited,
according to Dr. Broderick.
There is a medication known
as tPA (tissue plasminogen
activator), which, if administered
within three hours, can dissolve
the blood clot and restore blood
flow to the brain, which prevents
This is why Dr. Broderick’s
institution came up with the
acronym “FAST,” which is now
nationally promoted as the best
way to learn stroke symptoms.
“By using ‘FAST,’ you can
recognize 85 to 90 percent of the
people having a stroke,” says Dr.
“FAST” Stands for:
F- Facial paralysis. Does one
side of the face droop?
A- Arms. When holding arms
up, does one drift downward?
S- Speech. Is speech slurred or
T- Time. Act quickly. If you
observe any of these symptoms,
call 911 immediately. Don’t
attempt to drive yourself or a
loved one to the hospital.
Less common stroke
symptoms may include sudden
numbness, especially on one side
of the body, sudden confusion,
trouble seeing out of one or both
eyes, sudden trouble walking,
balance or coordination, and
sudden severe headache with no
known cause.
If you experience any of these
symptoms, call 911 and ask to
be taken to the nearest primary
stroke center, where you’ll get
the fastest, most comprehensive
care. If you are at high risk of
stroke, identify one beforehand.
Sometimes stroke symptoms
will disappear within a few
hours. Don’t be fooled.
You may have suffered a
transient ischemic attack, or
TIA, which is a warning sign
of stroke. Experiencing a TIA
means you are at great risk of
suffering an actual stroke, most
likely soon, Dr. Broderick said.
In addition to knowing
the signs of a stroke, it’s also
important that your spouse and
the people around you know
them as well. If you are having
a heart attack, you’re likely to
be able to alert someone, but if
you’re having a stroke, it may be
difficult for you to communicate
since your speech may be
Notes Dr. Broderick:
“There’s a part of your brain
that functions as your body’s
warning symptom. If it’s
affected by stroke, you may be
completely unaware that you
have a problem at all. This is why
it is extraordinarily important
for people at risk to not only
educate themselves, but also to
educate those around them.”
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Natural, Non-Drug Methods to
Get Relief From Depression
By Lynn Allison
entle exercise, based on
the Chinese martial art tai
chi, can ease depression in older
folks even better than drugs, a
new study has found.
Mild workouts are just one of
the depression-fighting methods
that experts say are effective
alternatives to commonly
dispensed anti-depressants.
Depression is a major health
concern in this country with an
estimated 19 million American
victims. But antidepressant
drugs, which have become
wildly popular — and hugely
profitable for drug companies
— may be a waste of money for
many sufferers, say experts.
Money Drain
A shocking report in the
“Journal of American Medicine”
says that although we spend a
whopping $9.6 billion a year
on pills such as Prozac, Zoloft,
and Paxil, they may be of little
benefit to folks with mild or
moderate depression.
“Treating depression
effectively needs to be tailored
to the individual,” New York
clinical psychologist Dr. Judy
Kuriansky tells Health Radar.
“Medication alone will not
address the underlying issue
and behavioral patterns of the
“For some people, yoga
and meditation can help treat
depression. You need to keep
trying a combination of factors
that fit your personal style to
help you feel better.”
fatty acid greatly improved the
mood of patients. Another study
showed that the supplement
Better Than Drugs
helped 69 percent of patients
Researchers at UCLA divided
who didn’t respond to Prozac.
depressed seniors into two
Spinach. Low levels of the B
groups. One group took standard vitamin folate may contribute to
antidepressant drugs while
depression, according to research
the second attended mildly
at the Mayo Clinic. Spinach,
strenuous weekly sessions of tai
peas, navy beans, orange juice,
chi, a Chinese martial art.
and avocado are rich in this
The tai chi group had a greater nutrient.
improvement in their overall
Complex carbohydrates.
depression “along with improved Dr. Judith Wurtman, of the
quality of life, better memory,
Massachusetts Institute of
cognition, and more overall
Technology, says that eating
energy,” said study authors.
oatmeal, whole wheat pasta,
UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Helen
and breads can lift your mood
Lavretsky added: “With tai chi
30 minutes after you eat them.
we may be able to treat these
These foods and others high in
conditions without additional
complex carbs help the body
produce serotonin, a chemical
Here are other non-drug
that stabilizes mood. “This also
methods that can provide
helps the depression that comes
depression relief:
with premenstrual syndrome,”
SAM-e is a powerful
noted Dr. Wurtman, author of
supplement that starts working
the “Serotonin Power Diet.”
against depression in hours, says
Aerobic exercise. Best-selling
Dr. Ray Sahelian of Marina del
author Dr. Andrew Weil
Rey, Calif., who has written best- recommends 30 minutes of
selling books on natural health.
continuous aerobic activity daily
“It naturally raises the feel-good
as treatment for depression.
chemicals in the brain, and in
A study revealed that patients
several studies outperformed
who work out regularly on
prescription medication.” It’s
a treadmill or bike for 12
available at health food stores.
weeks reduced the severity of
Vitamin D supplements can
their symptoms by nearly 50
also ease depression, especially in percent. Dr. Weil, program
the winter months, says Sahelian, director for the Arizona Center
who suggests taking between
for Integrative Medicine, also
400 and 2,000 units daily.
suggests cutting out caffeine and
Fish oil. A study at
reviewing medication side effects
Massachusetts General Hospital
to make sure they aren’t causing
showed that taking omega-3
October 2011 / Page 9
Simple At-Home Strategies to Beat
Back Pain
By Rick Ansorge
ackache is a common,
mysterious, and maddening
ailment. Eighty percent of adult
Americans will experience back
pain at some point in their lives
and more than 50 percent have
backaches at least once a year.
Yet, in only about 15 percent
of cases are doctors able to
identify the cause of back pain,
the symptoms of which range
from simple muscle aches to
shooting and stabbing pain that
radiates down the leg.
Although only about 2
percent of back pain cases
involve a serious underlying
condition, that’s scant
consolation to people whose
pain severely affects their quality
of life.
There is no magic bullet to
treat back pain — or even a set
of magic bullets. Everybody’s
back pain is different, and
traditional medicine’s “usual
care” — physical therapy
combined with a daily
regimen of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
such as aspirin, acetaminophen,
or ibuprofen — often doesn’t
In many cases, NSAIDs not
only fail to relieve the pain but
also cause additional problems,
ranging from stomach irritation
to serious gastrointestinal
complications such as ulcers.
Fortunately, there are safe,
low-tech strategies you can try at
home to banish your back pain.
Page 10 / October 2011
“People should be empowered
to try different things,” Dr.
Daniel Cherkin, director of the
Group Health Research Institute,
a private health study group in
Seattle, Wash., tells Health Radar.
“A lot of it is attitude. If you
can shift from the attitude that
‘My back pain is killing me and
there’s nothing I can do about it’
to an attitude of ‘My back pain
While many people believe
back pain is a byproduct of
getting old, chronic lower
back pain is most likely to
first occur between the ages
of 30 and 40. American’s
spend more than $50
billion a year on back pain
treatment. Back pain is the
second most common cause
of visits to the doctor’s
office, outnumbered only by
upper-respiratory infections.
is killing me and there are a lot
of things I can try,’ that’s going to
be more productive.”
Back pain is classified into two
Acute, lasting from a few
days to a few weeks.
Chronic, which persists for
three months or more.
Acute Back Pain
The most effective strategy for
acute back pain is to simply wait
it out. But resist the urge to be
Inactivity can cause muscle
atrophy, which can make matters
worse. “Try to get on with
your usual activities and not
let it affect you too much,” Dr.
Cherkin says.
“Don’t do any special exercises
and don’t lie down in bed for a
When your back hurts, the
best position for relief is to lie
on your back on the floor with
pillows under your knees, with
your hips and knees bent or
with your hips and knees bent
and your feet on a chair. This
position takes pressure and
weight off your back.
While your pain may
be severe, it’s important to
remember that it will get better.
Get up and move around for at
least a few minutes every few
Even if it hurts, light or
moderate physical activity such
as walking can help relieve
stiffness and pain, and hasten
your recovery. Such activity
should minimize lifting,
twisting, or bending forward at
the waist.
Also avoid sitting for long
periods or wearing heels that
are higher than one inch. Make
sure that your work surfaces are
at a comfortable height and that
you sit in chairs with good back
Try heating pads or ice
packs — or alternate with a
combination of the two —
before using NSAIDs. If you
must use medication, first try the
lowest recommended dose to see
if it is beneficial. Some studies
suggest that herbal alternatives
such as oral willow’s bark or
devil’s claw, or topical capsicum
applied as a plaster are safe and
effective alternatives to NSAIDs
for back pain.
When You Should See a
Doctor for Back Pain
While doctors often have a
difficult time treating back
pain, there are times when it
is important to seek medical
treatment. The National
Institutes of Health says you
should ALWAYS see a doctor if
your back pain is accompanied
by numbness, weight loss, or
Chronic Back Pain
Persistent back pain is
notoriously difficult to treat. See
your family doctor if your pain
is so intense that you can’t move
around or doesn’t seem to be
getting any better after two or
three weeks.
There’s little research on
common home remedies for
back pain such as heating pads,
ice packs, pulsating shower heads
or whirlpool baths.
So far, no study has
demonstrated that heat is better
than cold or vice-versa. “We don’t
even have any studies comparing
aspirin to ibuprofen for chronic
back pain,” Dr. Cherkin says.
“Nobody makes any money off
of that, so why would anybody
fund it?”
However, exercise has been
found to be effective for chronic
back pain.
Dr. Cherkin says: “A variety
of back exercises have been
studied and they’ve all been
found helpful, even though
they’re very different from each
For example, you can gently
stretch your back muscles by
lying on your back with your
knees bent and then slowly raise
your left knee to your chest,
press your back against the floor
and hold the position for five
Then relax and repeat the
exercise with your right knee.
Try to do 10 of these exercises
for each leg, switching legs after
each repetition.
Exercise such as regular
walking, swimming, or riding
a stationary bicycle also
helps condition the back and
abdominal muscles, lessening
pain. In addition, exercise can
decrease body weight, which
reduces stress on the lower back.
If home remedies fail to
reduce chronic back pain,
consider one of the treatments
rated as potentially effective
by the American Pain Society
and the American College of
Physicians. These include:
•Chiropractic or spinal
•Progressive muscle
•Cognitive behavioral
Dr. Cherkin and his colleagues
recently published a study in the
“Annals of Internal Medicine”
showing that either relaxation
massage or structural massage
was more effective at relieving
back pain than a doctor’s
medical care.
He and his colleagues also
have published an online article:
“Back in Action: A Guide to
Understanding Back Pain and
Learning What To Do About It,”
which includes the following
•Practice relaxation
techniques (breathing
exercises, self-hypnosis,
meditation, music, etc).
•Stretch gently once each
hour spent sitting.
•Place a board under your
mattress to make it firmer
or put your mattress on the
•Use a rolled-up towel or
small pillow behind your
lower back for support
when sitting at work, at
home, or in the car.
•Keep blue ice or bags of
peas handy in your freezer
for use during episodes of
acute pain.
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October 2011 / Page 11
Smoking upon waking up is
more dangerous than lighting up
later. Two recent studies found
that smokers who smoke soon
after they wake in the morning
have a much higher risk of
developing lung, head, and neck
Those who smoked within
30 minutes of waking were 79
percent more likely to get cancer
than those who waited an hour.
Spices rich in antioxidants can
protect you from the harmful
effects of fatty foods, according
to researchers from Penn State
University. They found that
paprika, cinnamon, and turmeric
reduce the heart damage caused
by high-fat foods.
“Normally, when you eat a
high-fat meal, you end up with
high levels of triglycerides, a
type of fat, in your blood,” said
study leader Sheila West. “If this
happens too frequently, or if
triglyceride levels are raised too
much, your risk of heart disease is
increased. We found that adding
spices to a high-fat meal reduced
triglyceride response by about 30
Page 12 / October 2011
percent, compared to a similar
meal with no spices added.”
Pregnant women may be
putting their unborn babies at
risk for developing asthma if
they use everyday household
appliances such as microwaves or
blow dryers.
A study published in the
“Archives of Pediatrics and
Adolescent Medicine” found
that exposing growing fetuses to
electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
could triple their chances of
developing asthma in childhood.
EMFs are produced by many
common appliances, including
vacuum cleaners, coffee grinders,
fans, and fluorescent light bulbs.
The researchers advise pregnant
women to reduce their use of
appliances that produce EMFs.
Although there is no cure for
Parkinson’s disease, a Chinese
herb called gou teng, which is
traditionally used to treat high
blood pressure, eases symptoms of
the disease, according to a study at
Hong Kong Baptist University.
Patients taking gou teng
showed a marked improvement in
their ability to communicate and
they slept better.
Strawberries are one of the
most powerful anti-aging, anticancer foods, according to a
new European study. Eating
strawberries dramatically
boosts levels of disease-fighting
antioxidants in the blood,
researchers found.
Strawberries also prevent red
blood cells from fragmenting,
according to the study, which
slows aging. Researchers believe
Prunes, taken by
many people to relieve
constipation, can prevent
bone fractures and
According to research
published in the British
Journal of Nutrition,
eating about 10 prunes a
day appears to suppress
the breakdown of bone
that occurs with aging,
increasing bone density
and making fractures less
that the powerful effect of
strawberries is due to the fact
they contain large amounts of
phenolic compounds, which
lower the risk of many diseases
including diabetes, cancer, and
heart disease. Since some varieties
of strawberries contain more
healthy compounds than others,
researchers are now testing to
find out which ones contain the
highest amounts.
Being in love helps athletes
perform better.
A survey presented at a meeting
of the American Psychological
Association found that most
athletes believe they compete at
a higher level when they are in a
loving relationship. Participants
included more than 400 top
college, professional, and Olympic
Men were more likely to
say being in love assisted their
performance than women. Boxers
and snowboarders were the most
likely to credit love with boosting
their game.
People with a diet high in
potassium have a lower risk of
stroke than those whose diets
contain little of the mineral, an
analysis of studies found.
The review, which was
published in the journal “Stroke,”
found that each daily 1,000 mg
increase in potassium led to an
11 percent reduction in stroke
risk over five to 14 years. The
CDC recommends 4,700 mg of
potassium a day. A baked potato
has 1,081 mg of potassium. A
banana or cup of orange juice
contains about 450 mg. The
study did not address whether
potassium supplements work to
fight strokes.
Don’t stick to just one form of
exercise if you are trying to lower
your risk of major diseases.
That’s the conclusion of a
new study published in the
“American Journal of Cardiology”
which found that a combination
of aerobic exercise and weight
training is best for overweight
people at risk for heart disease
and diabetes.
Researchers divided inactive,
overweight adults into three
groups. One group did two hours
of aerobics each week using gym
machines. A second group did
weight training three days a week.
The third group did both aerobic
exercises and weight training.
At the end of eight months, the
aerobic group lost an average of 3
pounds and a half inch from their
waists. The weight-lifting group,
while increasing muscle strength,
gained 1 1/2 pounds and saw a
slight increase in their waistlines.
But the group that did both types
of exercise lost an average of 4
pounds and one inch from their
waists. They also saw an overall
decrease in factors contributing to
heart disease and diabetes.
organic foods help people burn
Drinking a daily glass of wine
can stop you from gaining weight
— and even help you lose weight,
say researchers from Spain’s
Navarro University.
“Light-to-moderate alcohol
intake, especially wine intake, may
be more likely to protect against,
rather than promote, weight gain,”
a spokesman for the university
In addition, the researchers found
that wine drinkers had a 30
percent lower risk of developing
There’s new hope for a
breakthrough Alzheimer’s
A drug is under development
that appears to destroy a brain
cell-killing protein called amyloid.
In Alzheimer’s patients, amyloid
forms clumps in the brain and
creates plaques that destroy
Researchers at Lancaster
University say that the drug will
stop the protein from forming
and allow patients to be treated
much earlier than they are today.
The drug could be ready to test in
humans in five years.
Switching to organic foods can
add as many as five years to your
life, says a study from the U.K.’s
University of Newcastle, and
switching may also help you to
stay slender.
The study showed that organic
foods are often richer in immuneboosting compounds such as
carotenoids and resveratrol than
those grown using pesticides,
herbicides, and chemical
Researchers say the higher
levels of resveratrol found in
The germ commonly used to
inoculate against tuberculosis
may stimulate the body’s ability
to fight cancer, says research
published in the “British Journal
of Cancer.” A microbe called
Baculillus Calmette-Guerin
(BCG) can spur white blood
cells to produce chemicals called
cytokines, which make tumor
cells more likely to be discovered
— and killed — by the body’s
immune system.
“Cancerous cells are known to
camouflage themselves as healthy
cells. This means our blood cells
responsible for immunity aren’t
able to recognize the cancerous
cells as being a problem and so
the disease is able to continue to
spread,” explains lead researcher
Dr. Wai Liu. “A small quantity of
BCG — similar to the amount
that is administered in a TB
inoculation — can help the
immune system recognize the
cancer cells as ‘foreign.’ The
immune system can then attack
these cells.”
October 2011 / Page 13
Secrets to Youthful Skin: The Right
Foods, Water, and Exercise
hat can we do to stay looking great even
as we get older? Everybody wants to look
beautiful — and healthy skin is a big part of it.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and its
multiple layers do not just protect us from the
environment, pathogens, and too much sun. They
also play a key role in temperature regulation
and the production of vitamin D, necessary for
building and maintaining strong bones.
Many people spend a small fortune on skin
creams and lotions. But the real secret to great
looking skin is not what you put on the outside of
your body, but what you put in it.
This is the belief of many experts — and also my
grandmother. She told me more than 50 years ago
that “beauty comes from the inside.” She convinced
us that good food is the number one beauty secret,
and now it’s been proven by the experts.
Here’s a list of foods that make a big difference
in the way your skin looks:
• Fruits, vegetables, legumes, minimally
processed whole grains like oats. These contain
slow-digesting carbohydrates, fiber, and tons of
• Low-fat organic yogurt, whey protein (great
in smoothies), wild game, free range chicken and
turkey. They provide high-quality lean protein.
• Wild-caught cold-water fish. My favorites
are trout and salmon, but also consider sardines,
herring, small halibut, and tuna. They provide
high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon also
contains one of the most potent antioxidants that
does wonders for your skin. It’s called astaxanthin.
A world-renowned nutrition expert
and Olympic athletic coach, Dieter
Hogen created a nutrition and training
regimen in the 1990s that changed
the elite athletes’ training paradigm
forever. Schooled at Potsdam University in Germany,
Dieter brings his nutritional knowledge to Health
Radar with one goal in mind: “To simply make you
healthier and more energetic, no matter your age or
current physical condition.”
Page 14 / October 2011
• Olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. They
provide healthy fats and oils, and antioxidants.
• Green tea, herbs, and spices like dill,
fennel, caraway, basil, oregano, ginger, turmeric,
and cayenne pepper. These all contain lots of
• Water. Staying hydrated is important.
Here are supplements beneficial to your skin:
• Fish oil, krill oil, salmon oil (they all supply
the omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA),
evening primrose oil, natural multi-spectrum
vitamin E, CoQ10.
A good supplement regimen to take twice a day
with food: 1000 mg EPA/DHA combined, 500 mg
evening primrose oil, 100 mg vitamin E, and 30
mg CoQ10.
Our skin is mostly made of water, specific
proteins (collagen, elastin), fatty acids, and
antioxidants. The above-mentioned foods,
supplements, and water promote skin health
because they supply at the highest possible quality
all the important building blocks and at the same
time dramatically reduce inflammation, two key
elements for healthy, beautiful skin.
So, what’s bad for our skin? Stay away from
highly processed vegetable oils, isolated sugars,
food that causes spikes in blood sugar like many
of the products made with finely ground grains.
Be careful with sodas, French fries, chips, cookies,
crackers, and animal products. These often contain
lots of saturated fatty acids and even residues from
chemicals they have been treated with, including
hormones and antibiotics. Try to avoid artificial
additives, too much alcohol, smoking, and a
sedentary lifestyle.
Make sure you exercise, sweating for at least
30 minutes, five to six times a week. This lets
your skin breath. Exercise increases circulation
and blood supply to the skin, which is extremely
important for skin health.
Don’t rule out topical skin care products —
especially sunscreen — but the biggest beauty
secret out there is the one my grandmother told
me a long time ago: good food, water, and exercise.
Healthy Alternative to Pool Chlorine
ed up with irritated eyes, dry skin, and
damaged hair, more people are saying no to
large amounts of chlorine to keep their swimming
pools and hot tubs clean.
Instead, they are switching to so-called saltwater
systems that disinfect pool water without causing
itchy eyes and skin.
The term “saltwater” is misleading when it
comes to swimming pools because the pools
don’t contain any seawater and they are only very
mildly salty. These systems use salt to generate
pure chlorine that is distributed through the pool.
The process doesn’t produce the skin-irritating
byproducts called chloramines associated with
conventional chlorine pools.
Saltwater systems are particularly suited to
people who are away from home often because
chlorination occurs automatically whenever the
pool pump operates.
The cost to convert a chlorine pool to a
saltwater system starts at about $1,000, although
ambitious do-it-yourselfers can cut the cost in half.
Besides avoiding the red eyes and frizzled hair
caused by chlorine pools, saltwater pool owners
may also receive an important health benefit.
An alarming new study found a chlorine byproduct called haloacetic acids (HAAs) in the
urine of swimmers. HAAs have been linked
to colon, rectal, and brain cancers and form in
conventional chlorine pools. The study at Spain’s
University of Cordoba found that more than 90
percent of HAA exposure was due to inadvertently
swallowing pool water while swimming. The
remaining 10 percent was due to inhaling the
chemicals or absorbing them through the skin.
Although the research stopped short of
suggesting that swimming in a chlorinated pool
causes cancer, many homeowners are already
making the switch to saltwater. Saltwater pools
now make up about 13 percent of the swimming
pools in the U.S. and the numbers are continuing
to grow.
Beware of Dangerous Colon-Cleansing Fad
By Marti Lotman
olon cleansing has gained popularity over
the past decade with many spas touting its
supposed curative properties.
But do so-called “high colonics” and other
enema-like colon-cleansing methods actually
have any real health benefits?
Researchers at Georgetown University
Hospital recently found that colon cleansing
does little to improve people’s health. In fact,
it was found to carry significant health risks,
including vomiting and even renal failure.
“Despite colon cleansing’s current popularity,
the literature does not support its purported
benefits,” said Dr. Ranit Mishori of the
Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Colon cleansing comes in various forms, with
different solutions used to provide different
supposed benefits. “I’m against all of these types
of colon cleanses,” Delaware gastroenterologist
Dr. Harry J. Anagnostakos tells Health Radar.
“They are potentially dangerous procedures.”
Colon cleansing advocates claim that the
procedure improves health by removing toxins
from the body. Colonics entail inserting a tube
into the rectum and filling the bowel with
some kind of solution, often containing herbs,
minerals, or even coffee. The solution stretches
the bowel, forcing it to expel the liquid.
The procedure is often performed at a spa by
someone with no medical training.
This, warns Dr. Anagnostakos, is a risky
situation. “You can poke a hole in the bowel,” he
said. “And you can absorb the compounds that
they insert, so if the solution is high in salt it can
throw your electrolytes out of balance. There are
cases when people have had heart attacks.”
Instead, Dr. Anagnostakos recommends
probiotics for intestinal problems. “If you add
beneficial bacteria, you have more regularity and
less bloating and gas.”
October 2011 / Page 15
Health Radar
The Pill: It’s Not Just for Women Anymore
esearchers are on the verge of developing a
birth control pill for men.
Today there are only two practical birth
control options for men: the condom or
vasectomy. Each has major drawbacks.
Many men refuse to use a condom because of
loss of sensation or have a vasectomy because of
its permanence.
Now there are a variety of male birth control
pills in the research pipeline which use different
strategies to prevent pregnancy. Several are
already at the human testing stage.
Gandarusa is a plant-based pill that may be the
closest to being marketed. It is being developed
in Indonesia and is expected to be available for
use there in the next year or two. The pill works
by altering the tip of sperm so it can’t penetrate
an egg. Several other male pills are also under
development, but likely are further from general
use than gandarusa.
So far, testing of gandarusa has been positive,
with few side effects reported — except for one
that many men may welcome. The drug appears
to slightly increase libido in some men.
Stop Sunburn by Taking Capsule
t’s been a dream for decades, a simple capsule
which reverses the damage of sunburn and
prevents skin cancer.
Now it’s a step closer, thanks to groundbreaking research at Ohio State University.
For the first time, researchers were able to
uncover on a molecular level how most of the
animal kingdom and plants use a key enzyme
called photolyase to reverse sun damage.
“People have been working on this for years,”
said Ohio State Professor Dongping Zhong.
The findings will allow, in the not-too-distant
future, a pill or sunscreen containing photolyase
that could repair sun damage and prevent deadly
skin cancers, Professor Zhong said.
Tea and Coffee Lower Superbug Risk
If you drink tea or coffee, you are half as likely
to carry one of the nastiest antibiotic-resistant
germs now in circulation.
According to research reported in the “Annals
of Family Medicine,” those who drank hot tea
or coffee slashed their odds of sheltering a
dangerous staph bacteria known as MRSA that is
not readily treatable with antibiotics.
The study found that those who drank coffee
or tea were half as likely to have MRSA germs in
their noses. The link held even after researchers
considered other factors, such as age and income.
Those most at risk for the skin infections
caused by MRSA bacteria are people with
compromised immune systems and those with
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Besides drinking hot tea
or coffee on a regular basis, you can cut your risk
of becoming infected by MRSA by washing your
hands regularly, keeping wounds covered, and
not sharing items like washcloths and razors.
Page 16 / October 2011
The Verdict is in: Zinc Lozenges Do
Shorten Colds
The effectiveness of zinc lozenges against colds
has been controversial for years, but a new megastudy may finally settle the question.
Zinc lozenges, taken in the optimum dosage,
slash the duration of colds by an average of 42
percent, according to an exhaustive analysis of
placebo-controlled studies by the University of
Researchers found that it was crucial for
cold-sufferers to take about 75 mg of zinc daily.
Anything less had no effect, and higher amounts
reduced the effectiveness of the mineral.
The 42 percent reduction in the duration of
colds meant that people suffered for three to
four fewer days.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Slowly dissolve a
therapeutic zinc lozenge in your mouth. Each
lozenge contains 5 to 13 mg of zinc, so you
will need 6-15 lozenges daily, depending on the