Health:

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Diabetes Management Weight Loss Coffee Bean Extract Learn About Lasik
Hot Flashes Beat The Heat Cold Sore Treatment Pneumococcal Vaccination Combatting Cancer

Help Improve Psorasis Symptons

Making Changes Meal By Meal Can Improve Diabetes Management

pic(NAPSI)—If you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes, you know how hard it can be to lose weight, especially for people on insulin—but it can be made easier. In a new study of a protein-rich meal replacement, people with type 2 diabetes were able to lose weight and lower their daily insulin doses. The meal replacement, called Almased, is made from fermented soy, yogurt and honey and contains no artificial flavors, fillers, added sugars or preservatives.

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes and is strongly associated with weight gain. Nearly six in 10 Americans with type 2 diabetes are obese and nearly all of the rest are overweight. Lowering weight and adopting healthy eating and exercise habits are proven ways to improve diabetes control.

“The patients in our study lost about 9 percent of their body weight in 12 weeks and were able to lower their daily insulin doses by more than half,” said Stephan Martin, M.D., a diabetes specialist who conducted the small, three-month study and shared results at this year’s American Diabetes Association yearly meeting.

The study included 22 obese patients with type 2 diabetes who required high daily insulin doses. In the first week, they replaced all three meals with Almased. In the next three weeks, they added back a high-protein lunch. From week five to the end of the study, they only replaced dinner. Dr. Martin noted that it was easy for patients to incorporate Almased into their daily lives.

Dr. Martin and his team checked in on participants a year and a half after the study ended. Most maintained improvements in weight and blood sugar control. Four patients continued to use Almased on their own and lost more weight and had more improvements in their sugar control. Two were able to stop insulin injections completely. Dr. Martin commented that “This shows how patients who are motivated and use tools like Almased can make a real change to their weight and their diabetes.”

Silke Ullmann, a registered dietitian who works at Almased, USA, adds, “We are committed to studying Almased and providing support to people with type 2 diabetes so they can take control of their health.”

The website, www.Almased.com, provides nutritional advice, meal plans and other information about how to use the product. Another study with more than 300 patients is under way to confirm these findings. Both studies are sponsored by Almased-Wellness-GmbH Germany.

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Coffee Bean Extract Delivers Weight Loss Results

pic(NAPSI)—Most people recognize that coffee is a great way to wake up and focus in the morning, but what many may not know is that an extract derived from the coffee bean can also be an effective way to maintain healthy glucose levels already within normal range and lose weight.

The young, green coffee bean contains seeds that have a higher amount of antioxidants than dark berries like acai and blueberries. But the coffee you drink is roasted and the roasting process destroys most of the beneficial antioxidants.

To actually benefit from coffee, especially for weight loss, scientists have found that it’s best to extract the essence of the green coffee bean—those potent antioxidants. One in particular is called chlorogenic acid. This powerful antioxidant minimizes blood sugar spikes after a meal and results in improved sugar metabolism.

In a recent study, subjects took a high dose of green coffee bean extract standardized to 50 percent chlorogenic acid for six weeks, a lower dose for six weeks and then a placebo for six weeks.

Scientists reported that although there were no changes in calorie intake or exercise over the trial, all subjects experienced an impressive reduction in body weight, BMI and body fat when taking the coffee extract with chlorogenic acid.

After just 12 weeks of administering 350 mg green coffee bean extract three times a day over the course of the study, the scientists found that:

• Weight decreased by over 17 pounds on average—with some subjects losing more than 22 pounds;

• BMI decreased by an average of almost 3;

• Body fat decreased by an average of 4 percent, with some subjects losing 6 percent of their body fat.

A follow-up study showed that 87.5 percent of the test subjects were able to maintain their weight loss after completing the study, a much better result than is observed with diets that involve dramatic dietary restrictions. No side effects were observed.

Whatever the mechanism through which green coffee bean extract delivers its beneficial effects, it substantially reduces body weight and body fat—even without a change in exercise or calorie consumption. But remember, the key antioxidant to an effective green coffee extract is chlorogenic acid.

However, even if you’re not trying to lose weight, minimizing post-meal sugar spikes is important to your overall health. CoffeeGenic Green Coffee Extract 400 mg from Life Extension was shown to induce a 24 percent drop in after-meal blood sugar after 30 minutes, while 200 mg generated a 14 percent drop.

The green coffee bean extract that Life Extension® uses contains the important chlorogenic acid-the antioxidant that inhibits excess glucose in the blood. Chlorogenic acid targets the alpha-glucosidase enzyme. This intestinal enzyme breaks apart complex sugars and enhances their absorption into the bloodstream.

The vegetarian capsules are made from coffee beans that are organically grown. For optimal benefit, one capsule should be taken before heavy meals. This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary.

For more information about CoffeeGenic Green Coffee Extract and where to buy it, visit www.lifeextension.com/gce.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Going Online To Learn About LASIK

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(NAPSI)—Social networks and blogs have taken the information-rich resources of the Internet and made them a part of everyday conversation: According to a recent Pew Internet study, 80 percent of Internet users, or 59 percent of U.S. adults, look online for health information. Networks like Facebook, review sites such as HealthGrades and Yelp, and comments and questions posted online are extremely useful tools for researching personal health matters. Popular topics of inquiry include learning about procedures, specific medical conditions, understanding treatment options and finding a doctor. When considering an elective procedure, such as vision correction with LASIK, having access to online resources can make becoming an informed patient much easier.

The American Refractive Surgery Council offers these tips on using the Internet and social networking to research whether LASIK is right for you.

• Use Facebook and other social networks to ask friends and followers about their LASIK experiences. Were they happy? What surgeon would they recommend?

• If you’re curious about exactly how the surgery is performed, you can check out surgery videos on YouTube or Vimeo. These videos of actual procedures can be very instructive (though be warned, they are graphic). Also, many surgeons post procedure videos on their sites.

• Use forums, message boards and other online discussions to hear from other people firsthand. Literally thousands of communities have formed around common areas of interest where LASIK can make a difference—from parents to outdoor enthusiasts. This is a great avenue for finding people who share your interests and hearing about their experiences with the procedure.

• You can find out about prices online; just remember, getting a great deal should not be the deciding factor for any surgical procedure. A consultation with a refractive surgeon should be balanced, detailed and personalized to you and your vision. It should never feel like a sales process.

• Use authoritative medical websites such as WebMD or the Mayo Clinic to learn about the procedure. Research the risks as well as the benefits and understand what the procedure can and can’t do. For example, LASIK can free you from glasses and contact lenses—or reduce your dependence on them. But it has limitations. In particular, LASIK can’t stop the aging process. Your eyes will continue to age and you may need glasses for reading at some point in the future.

Finally, some common sense about using the Internet: Because anyone can put anything on the Web, the source matters. Make sure the information you are relying on to make a medical decision comes from a credible source and that you verify the information with your surgeon or personal physician.

Learn more at www.americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org.

 

 

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Hot Flashes And Summer: Tips For Beating The Heat

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(NAPSI)—After a long, cold winter, most women look forward to the warm days of summer and enjoying some fun in the sun. But if you’re among the approximately 75 percent of postmenopausal women who suffer from the symptoms of hot flashes,1 then the added heat of summertime may be too much of a good thing, leaving you desperate to find relief.

Hot flashes, which are sudden feelings of warmth over areas such as the face, neck and chest, can occur a few times a week or several times a day.2 And since hot weather tends to be a common hot flash trigger,3 these sudden feelings of warmth can be exacerbated. Fortunately, there are a variety of self-care methods that women can turn to for relief. William Koltun, MD, Medical Director for the Medical Center for Clinical Research in San Diego, CA, has some helpful tips for managing hot flashes in the intense summer heat:

• Keep cool. Slight increases in your body’s core temperature can trigger hot flashes. Dress in layers so that they can be removed when feeling warm; use a fan or open a window to keep air flowing; decrease the room temperature; or sip a cold drink.2

• Watch what you eat and drink. Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated drinks and alcohol can trigger a hot flash.2

• Relax. Yoga, meditation or other helpful relaxation techniques can provide relief.2

• Don’t smoke. Smoking is linked to an increase in hot flashes.2

• Improve your diet. Many women find relief when they improve their diet.3

If self-care methods don’t do the trick, you and your physician can explore treatment options. Prescription estrogens continue to be the most effective option for relieving the discomfort of hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause.1 Your doctor may prescribe a bioidentical4 and FDA-approved estradiol gel, such as Divigel® (estradiol gel) 0.1%, that can be applied to the skin. Due to certain risk factors, estrogen therapy should be used at the lowest dose for the shortest time possible to treat symptoms. For more information about hot flashes, talk to your doctor, and visit www.divigel.com to learn more about this treatment.

Divigel® is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause.

Important Safety Information

The following are not all the possible risks for Divigel®. Please read the full Patient Information leaflet and talk to your healthcare provider.

Estrogens increase the chance of getting cancer of the uterus. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away while you are taking estrogens. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the uterus (womb). Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause. In general, the addition of a progestin is recommended for women with a uterus to reduce the chance of getting cancer of the uterus.

Do not use estrogens, with or without progestins, to prevent heart disease, heart attacks or strokes. Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your chance of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood clots.

Do not use estrogens, with or without progestins, to prevent dementia. Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your risk of dementia.

Do not use estrogen products, including Divigel®, if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, currently have or have had certain cancers, had a stroke or heart attack in the past year, currently have or have had blood clots, currently have or have had liver problems, are allergic to any Divigel® ingredients, or think you may be pregnant.

The most common side effects for all estrogen products are headache, breast pain, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, stomach/abdominal cramps and bloating, nausea and vomiting, and hair loss. The less common but serious side effects include breast cancer, cancer of the uterus, stroke, heart attack, blood clots, dementia, gallbladder disease, and ovarian cancer.

In Divigel® clinical trials, the most common side effects were inflammation of the nasal passages and pharynx, upper respiratory tract infection, vaginal yeast infection, breast tenderness and vaginal bleeding. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms that concern you.

Estrogen products should be used at the lowest dose possible for your treatment and only as long as needed. You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with Divigel®.

For more information, call 1-(800) 654-2299.

Please see Patient Information, including Boxed Warning, at www.divigel.com.

Divigel® is marketed in the U.S. by Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.

©2012 Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., Maple Grove, MN 55369

106720.01

 

References:

1. Shanafelt TD, Barton DL, Adjei AA, Loprinzi CL. Pathophysiology and treatment of hot flashes. Mayo Clin Proc. 2002;77(11):1207-1218.

2. Mayo Clinic. Hot Flashes: Definition. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hot-flashes/ DS01143. Accessed May 14, 2012.

3. Hot Flashes. Listen to Your Body. http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=130. Accessed May 24, 2012.

4. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Guidebook. 6th ed. Cleveland, OH: North American Menopause Society; 2006.


 

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Beware Of “Look-Alikes”


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(NAPSI)—Looks can be deceiving-especially in the cold sore category. According to a survey commissioned by GSK Consumer Healthcare, 66 percent of Americans believe that when “look-alike treatments” have the same or similar packaging as the name-brand treatment, it’s likely they also have the same ingredients. Although some cold sore medications may look alike, they do not necessarily contain the same ingredients.

“Even though two cold sore treatments have packaging and claims that look similar to Abreva, the ingredients are a different story,” said pharmacist and Abreva spokesperson Pam Marquess, Pharm.D. “Comparing ingredients is critical to selecting a proper cold sore treatment.”

The Wakefield Research survey conducted for Abreva, the leading cold sore treatment, also found that 93 percent of Americans have purchased the “look-alike treatments” in the past because they are less expensive. When it comes to treating your cold sore, skipping an effective treatment for a less expensive one that doesn’t contain a healing ingredient is not the best way to remedy your ailment. Go to Abreva vs. the Others on www.Abreva.com to compare.

Tips to help you make informed decisions about cold sore treatments:

• Compare active ingredients.

• Check the labels for uses.

• Ask your pharmacist.

 

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Help Protect Yourself Against Pneumococcal Disease—Talk to Your Health Care Professional About Vaccination

pic(NAPSI)—Do you know there is a vaccine that can help protect you from pneumonia and other serious diseases caused by a common bacteria called pneumococcus (pronounced “noo-mo-ka-kus”)? These bacteria are a common cause of pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, but they can also cause other serious infections that affect thousands of people in the United States each year. In fact, more than 300,000 people are hospitalized each year with pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common pneumococcal disease among adults in the United States.

Pneumococcal disease includes a number of illnesses caused by the common bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). These bacteria are often found in people’s noses and throats and can be spread by coughing and sneezing. People are more vulnerable to the threat of infections as they get older because their immune system is not able to respond as well as when they were younger. In fact, the risk of pneumococcal diseases increases with age. When pneumococcal bacteria invade the bloodstream, it is called bacteremia, and when the bacteria invade the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord, it is called meningitis. These bacteria can sometimes be antibiotic resistant.

Pneumococcal disease can occur suddenly. The good news is you can help protect yourself from these potentially severe infections with a vaccine that has played an important role in pneumococcal disease prevention efforts for almost 30 years.

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent) is a vaccine that is given as a single shot. It helps protect you from infection by certain germs or bacteria, which are called pneumococcus. PNEUMOVAX 23 is for people 50 years of age and older and those 2 years of age and older who are at increased risk for infection.

PNEUMOVAX 23 can help protect from infection by 23 forms of pneumococcal bacteria (called serotypes), including those that are most prevalent and most often cause serious disease (pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis) in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2008, these 23 serotypes caused 76 percent of serious pneumococcal disease in adults ages 50−64 and 66 percent of serious pneumococcal disease in adults 65 years of age and older.

PNEUMOVAX 23 may not protect everyone who gets it. It will not protect against diseases that are caused by bacteria types that are not in the vaccine. You should not get PNEUMOVAX 23 if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, had an allergic reaction to PNEUMOVAX 23 in the past, or are less than 2 years of age.

PNEUMOVAX 23 is a vaccine recommended by the CDC to help prevent pneumococcal disease. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)-part of the CDC-recommends vaccination with PNEUMOVAX 23 for all appropriate adults 65 years of age and older, as well as people two and older who have medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases like COPD that put them at higher risk for infection. According to the CDC, adults 50 years of age and older commonly have chronic medical conditions that increase their risk for pneumococcal disease.

Important Safety Information about PNEUMOVAX® 23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

You should not get PNEUMOVAX 23 if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, had an allergic reaction to PNEUMOVAX 23 in the past, or are less than 2 years of age.

Before getting PNEUMOVAX 23, tell your health care professional if you or your child are allergic to the vaccine, have heart or lung problems, have a fever, have immune problems or are receiving radiation treatment or chemotherapy, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Talk to your health care professional if you plan to get ZOSTAVAX® (Zoster Vaccine Live) at the same time as PNEUMOVAX 23 because it may be better to get these vaccines at least 4 weeks apart. Also talk to your health care professional if you plan to get PNEUMOVAX 23 at the same time as other vaccines.

The most common side effects of PNEUMOVAX 23 are: pain, warmth, soreness, redness, swelling, and hardening at the injection site, headache, weakness, and feeling tired and muscle pain. Tell your health care professional or get help right away if you have any of the following problems, which may be signs of an allergic reaction: difficulty breathing, wheezing, rash, hives.

You can get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease at any time. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist today.

Prescribing Information and Patient Information for PNEUMOVAX 23 are available at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/p/pneumovax_23/pneumovax_pi.pdf and http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/p/pneumovax_23/pneumovax_ppi.pdf.

This information is provided by Merck.

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New Tools And Techniques For Combating Cancer

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(NAPSI)—New and improved cancer treatments now being developed by research scientists and doctors are, along with early detection, helping many patients manage and even beat many types of cancer.

Some Vital Statistics

A strong investment in new biopharmaceutical research combined with a deep commitment to patients is resulting in some remarkable progress in the fight against cancer. Over the last few decades, significant progress in biopharmaceutical research and development has contributed to steady improvements in cancer survivorship rates in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, the cancer death rate fell 22 percent for men and 14 percent for women between 1990 and 2007, which translated to 898,000 fewer deaths from the disease in this period. Yet, with all the progress, cancer remains the second-leading cause of early death-nearly one of every four deaths in the United States-exceeded only by heart disease.

What’s Being Done

Building on these advances, biopharmaceutical researchers are today working on nearly 1,000 new cancer treatments. Many are high-tech medicines to fight cancers in new ways. Researchers are also re-examining some existing medicines that show promise for other types of cancer. According to a recent report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the new cancer treatments include:

• A medicine that interferes with the metabolism of cancer cells and deprives them of the energy provided by glucose.

• A medicine for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that inhibits cancer cells with a mutation found in about a third of AML sufferers.

• A therapy that uses nanotechnology to target the delivery of medicines to cancer cells, potentially overcoming some limitations of existing treatments.

These hundreds of new cancer medicines now being developed represent real hope for lessening the burden of cancer to patients, their families and society.

More Cancer Facts

• Men have slightly less than a one-in-two lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women, the risk is a little more than one in three. About 77 percent of all cancers are diagnosed in patients ages 55 and older.

• This year alone, more than 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed, and an estimated 577,190 people are expected to die of cancer. That’s more than 1,500 people a day.

• Scientific evidence suggests that about one-third of the cancer deaths expected this year will be related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.

To learn more about new medicines in development to fight cancer, visit http://phrma.org/research/new-medicines.

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Psoriasis And The Summer: They Actually Do Get Along

pic(NAPSI)—Warm weather is upon us, which means shorts and tank tops will be making an appearance around America. For most people, the thought of wearing cool clothing in warm weather is a welcome part of the year. However, for the many people living with psoriasis, which often causes raised, red and scaly patches of skin, the idea of wearing more revealing clothing can be intimidating. Nearly 7 million American adults suffer from psoriasis.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a noncontagious autoimmune disease. With psoriasis, the immune system thinks the skin is being attacked, which causes the skin cells to grow thick, red patches to help protect the skin. There are five different types of psoriasis, but the most common form is called plaque psoriasis. Approximately 1.5 million Americans live with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. This condition appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body and can be associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Warm Weather Can Help Improve Psoriasis Symptoms

The good news for people with psoriasis is that it can actually improve in the spring and summer. Many people with psoriasis know that exposure to natural sunlight and outdoor activities help make their red scaly patches less noticeable. To make the most of this time of year, people with psoriasis should consider these four tips after first speaking with their dermatologist:

1. Natural sunlight, in moderation, may help. Psoriasis plaques may benefit from exposure to some natural sun rays. Light therapy has been a standard therapy for psoriasis and during this time of year it is in abundance.

2. Cotton is a must have for your summer wardrobe. Wear light cotton clothing instead of synthetics. Cotton is a breathable fabric that can reduce itching and can also help reduce perspiration—all things that can keep your skin from becoming irritated.

3. Have fun at the pool but consider the water before you dive in. Pool or hot tub water can soften and clear crusty, hard areas and flaking. However, highly chlorinated pool water can irritate inflamed psoriasis plaques and lead to dry skin if the chlorine is not rinsed off immediately after swimming. Shower as soon as possible after going in a pool or hot tub to avoid further irritation and be sure to apply moisturizer.

4. Seaside is better than poolside. People with psoriasis find that salt water sloughs off scales. So, if you have the option, a day at the beach may be well worth the drive.

Team Up with Your Dermatologist

Psoriasis is a serious disease so while summertime activities and warm weather can help improve psoriasis symptoms, it is still important to speak with a dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Dermatologists generally treat psoriasis based on several key factors including the severity of the disease, type of psoriasis and the patient’s response to initial treatments. Generally, for those people who have mild psoriasis—isolated small patches on the skin—topical treatments including moisturizers and over-the-counter and prescription creams, ointments and shampoos are usually sufficient to help control the plaques.

Treating moderate to severe psoriasis may require more than topical treatments. Doctors may use treatments including steroids, oral medications, or light therapy. Doctors may also prescribe biologic drugs, a relatively new treatment for psoriasis, which act on specific immune system cells and proteins. In order to determine the best treatment strategy, people living with psoriasis should take an active role in their treatment plan and discuss their options with a dermatologist.

Learn More

For more information about psoriasis and to find a dermatologist near by, visit www.psoriasisconnect.com.

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