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How Do You Plan to Travel During the Holidays? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed the hazards of holiday travel: Holiday Travel Hazards? Check out the article and let us know how you plan to travel for the holidays!


Happiness vs. Contentment (Video)

Dr. Weil discusses the skewed perspective of happiness and what it means to truly be happy. Society says you must have the biggest house or the newest technology, but in fact it is more important to be content with what you have and you will feel satisfaction.


Boning Up on Vibration

Vibration machines are heavily promoted as a way to strengthen bones, but they didn’t provide this benefit for a group of postmenopausal women who signed on for a yearlong study of the machines’ effectiveness. Researchers at Toronto General Hospital recruited 202 women whose bone mass was low but not bad enough to require treatment with prescription drugs. The women were randomly divided into three groups; two groups were assigned to stand on a whole body vibration platform that moved at one of two speeds for 20 minutes a day. The third group served as controls. All the women were given calcium and vitamin D to see if the supplements plus the vibration reduced the rate of bone loss. Their bone density was measured when the study began and when it ended. The end result of all that shaking? There was no statistically significant difference in rate of bone loss over the year among the women in the vibration groups compared to the controls. The study was published in the November 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.


AzCIM and Maricopa County (Photos)

The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) and Maricopa County, Arizona (Dept of Business Strategies and Health Care Programs) discuss an agreement that will allow thousands of Maricopa County employees to receive world class integrative health care and will produce statistically relevant data on the effect on patients’ health.

Thanks to a grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation, AzCIM will study the impact of integrative primary care delivered at a new clinic slated to open in Phoenix in 2012.



Women and Depression

Too much TV and not enough exercise appear to add up to depression for older women. A new investigation from the Harvard School of Public Health that included data on nearly 50,000 women who participated in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study, found that the women who reported exercising most (90 minutes or more daily) were 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed as depressed than those who exercised least (less than 10 minutes per day). Another apparent risk for depression was the time the women spent watching television: the more hours per week in front of the screen, the higher the risk of depression. The Harvard researchers found that women who reported watching TV for three or more hours a day were 13 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than the women who rarely turned on the tube. To arrive at their numbers, the researchers adjusted the data for other factors linked to depression such as weight, smoking and illnesses. Earlier studies have clearly shown that regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of depression. The study was published in the November 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.


How Do You Wake Up in the Morning? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed sleep debt and how it affects your health: The Perils of Sleep Debt? Check out the article and then let us know what you use to wake up in the morning!


Hints for the Heart: Easy Changes to Lower Risks

Giving up sweetened sodas might be a simple and inexpensive way to lower women’s risk of heart disease. Results of a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) showed that midlife women who consumed two or more sweet drinks per day were nearly four times as likely to have high triglycerides (the chemical form in which fat moves through the bloodstream) as were women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened beverage daily. Soda drinkers were also more likely to have the impaired blood sugar levels that signal prediabetes. Weight played no role here - the study found that the risks applied whether or not women were overweight. (These effects didn’t show up among men being studied, the researchers reported.)

Taking good care of your teeth is another heart-healthy practice. A study conducted in Taiwan presented at the AHA meeting found that people who had their teeth cleaned and scraped in the dentist’s office at least once a year had a risk of heart attack that was 24 percent lower (and a 13 percent lower risk of stroke) than those who didn’t practice such good dental hygiene.

My take? The findings about drinking sweetened sodas aren’t surprising. Earlier research has shown that subjects drinking at least one soft drink daily (diet or regular) had a rate of metabolic syndrome (a combination of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease) that was 48 percent higher than study participants who hadn’t reported drinking sodas. As far as dental care is concerned, we’ve known for several years that if the bacteria that cause gum disease aren’t properly addressed, they can contribute to an inflammatory process that promotes a gradual thickening of artery walls throughout the body. These inflammatory changes can lead to heart attacks and strokes.


Effects of GMO and GMO Foods (Video)

Genetic modification is more prevalent than ever and its long-term effects are not yet know. Dr. Andrew Weil describes what GMO foods are and how they are created and their possible side-effects.