HEALTH

Work Out At Home

Reduce Meat For Your Health Personalized Medicine Soothing A Fussy Baby Family Mealtime New Study Vision Loss Rehabilitation Intestinal Disorders Treating Emphysema

Being Healthy Starts At Home

(NAPSI)—If getting fit and staying healthy are among your New Year’s resolutions, here are a few fitness facts and figures that can help make 2013 your best year ever:

Consider these stats:

• The perennial No. 1 top New Year’s resolution in America is “losing weight,” reports the University of Scranton.

• Many gyms see a 30 percent increase in membership in January.

• Only 10 percent of people still go to the gym three months after signing up.

• The failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is 80 percent.

• Two-thirds of American adults cite “lack of time” as the reason they don’t exercise.

• Another 19 percent say they’re intimidated by the gym.

An Easy Solution

For many people, the secret to keeping this year’s New Year’s resolutions can be found in having home fitness equipment.

There are products designed for just about everyone—no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Plus, you can use them whenever you want and in the privacy of your own home. Four of the more popular are:

1. CoreBody Reformer: For ladies looking for a total body workout, this home fitness machine can be folded up into the size of a yoga mat and is lightweight enough to sling over your shoulder. It engages multiple muscle groups all at once for a total body makeover that can motivate you to maintain those New Year’s resolutions beyond month two. More at www.corebodyreformer.com.

2. Bowflex TreadClimber: For the person just starting out, fitness can be as easy as walking on this all-in-one machine that combines the benefits of a treadmill, stepper and elliptical to burn twice as many calories as working out on a treadmill alone. See it at www.treadclimber.com/bowflex-treadclimber-us.

3. Peak Fit System: For men and women looking for motivation and group interaction, and want to enhance their interval workouts and kick-start their metabolism, the Peak Fit System DVD program can be key. This workout blends both cardio and strength training to reset the metabolism and blast calories fast. You can find more at www.peakfitsystem.com.

4. BowFlex UpperCut: For men looking for advanced home fitness training, look no further than the BowFlex UpperCut. As Nautilus’ latest innovation, this revolutionary machine uses state-of-the-art technology to sculpt your arms, shoulders, chest and abs in ways you can’t do alone. The UpperCut is compact, portable and easily storable, and promises efficient exercise challenges with amazing results. More information at www.bowflexuppercut.com.

By using these machines and training programs, you increase your chances of staying out of another statistic: Approximately 68.8 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese—but you don’t have to be.

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Reducing Meat Consumption Is Better For Your Health And The Environment

(NAPSI)—Did you know your personal health is directly linked to the health of the environment? A diet low in fat and high in vegetables isn’t just good for your waistline, it’s better for the environment as well.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adopting a diet higher in vegetables could help individuals keep their weight under control. And Harvard University found that decreasing your meat intake and eating more foods containing polyunsaturated fats (like vegetables and nuts) could reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. At the same time, meat production of all kinds requires massive resources. Experts have estimated that globally the livestock sector accounts for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the entire transportation industry. And as worldwide meat production is expected to double by 2050, the environmental impact of livestock is likely to increase.

Clearly, reducing meat consumption is good for the environment. But there’s no need to go cold turkey on cutting out meat to be greener. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American skipped just one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.

But skipping the meat doesn’t have to mean missing the taste. One company rising in popularity is Beyond Meat, which offers a combination of plant-based proteins that create delicious-tasting meat alternatives while reducing the impact on the environment. Food journalist and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman wrote that most people “won’t know the difference between that [Beyond Meat] and real chicken.” Rave reviews have also come from Time magazine and NPR.

Beyond Meat contains the same amount of protein as real chicken—without any gluten, dairy, cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, or saturated and trans fats. While Beyond Meat is currently geared toward American consumers, it’s an example of what the future of food may look like around the globe as the planet strives to feed a growing population without increasing the environmental impact of agriculture. In fact, because it’s plant-based, Beyond Meat has a vastly lower impact on the environment—lower carbon emissions, less water usage and a smaller area required for growing the crops.

During its initial release in select markets, Beyond Meat sold out within two days. And the quality of the product, combined with its economic and environmental benefits, has attracted supporters including Bill Gates, who considers the innovation behind Beyond Meat to be one step toward feeding the world in a more sustainable way.

As world population continues to grow, innovations like Beyond Meat and other food substitutes for eggs, salt and more have the potential to feed the planet while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. That’s something we should all be able to get behind.

If you’re interested in improving your diet and doing your part to help the environment, look for Beyond Meat products at Whole Foods Market nationwide, where you can find it in prepared recipes in the deli departments, as well as some local restaurants. You can also find recipes and information about meat substitutes and the “Future of Food” on Bill Gates’ website, The Gates Notes.

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Personalized Medicine Now Available From Your Doctor

(NAPSI)—An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Research shows an aspirin a day may do the same. How often have you heard about chewing an aspirin if you feel the symptoms of a heart attack? If it’s that critical to get the medication to your system, isn’t it as important to know you are taking a safe dose? Good news—there is a simple blood test that is available to aid your doctor in assessing response to aspirin.

For many Americans, a “baby” aspirin is prescribed—81 mg—for ongoing preventative care post-cardiac procedure or even as a precautionary way to help prevent stroke. In fact, the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) encourages aspirin intake for men aged 45-79 years to help prevent myocardial infarctions (also known as heart attacks) and women aged 55-79 years because of a potential benefit of stroke prevention. Always check with your physician before embarking on an aspirin regimen.

Since it’s known there are potential side effects with aspirin use, particularly stomach upset due to potential bleeding risks, you will want to be sure you are getting the optimal effect with the lowest dose possible. The VerifyNow System is a product that tests for aspirin—providing the physician information on platelet reactivity. Aspirin and drugs like clopidogrel (the generic form of the branded drug Plavix) are anti-platelet medications designed to prevent the blood cells from “sticking together.” The medications can help prevent a clot, which can lead to a more serious cardiovascular event. Studies show that up to one in three patients’ platelets do not respond appropriately. Only your physician can check to see how your platelets are reacting and make decisions about your care.

As with other medications, some people often wonder if their medications are having the desired effect. Stop wondering, and start asking about a chance to see how your platelets are responding. The next time you visit your doctor, and you are asked for a blood sample to measure your level of cholesterol, or the technician measures your blood pressure, you might want to ask about the VerifyNow Aspirin Test as well. Like those other routine measurements, this test is also available nationwide in hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Your health care provider wants to provide the best protection possible to you or a loved one and so anyone on anti-platelet therapy should be tested. To find a physician who can offer the easy-to-administer VerifyNow Tests, including one for aspirin and one called the VerifyNow PRUTest to see how the P2Y12 inhibitors (also known as brand name Plavix or the generic name, clopidogrel) are affecting the platelets, contact the company at www.accumetrics.com/request or call (800) 643-1640.

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Tips For Soothing A Fussy Baby

(NAPSI)—The next time a crying baby practically has you in tears, don’t despair. First, remember, all babies cry-it’s how they communicate. Next, realize that constant crying may be colic, and a visit to the pediatrician may be in order. Finally, consider these tried-and-true ways to soothe an infant.

What To Do

• Bath time. A warm bath helps many babies to calm down.

• Music soothes. Playing soft music or singing lullabies can help.

• Move it. Sometimes a brief excursion and some fresh air will do the trick.

• Talk the talk. Talk to your baby in a soothing voice, carrying her from room to room. Point out the decorations. Show her the baby in the mirror.

• Go for a drive. Some babies find the car so soothing that it’s the only place they’ll fall asleep. Gas may be expensive but your peace of mind is probably worth a drive around the block.

• Turn on a fan or noise machine. The white noise effect is similar to a pregnant belly and could calm your little one down.

• It’s a wrap. Swaddle your baby up in a light blanket with her arms across her chest. Swaddled babies often sleep longer and more soundly.

• Check the thermostat. Your baby could be too hot or too cold.

• Make it swing time. Babies love the soft, soothing motions of infant swings, and these are often the best way to get your baby to stop crying and go to sleep.

To help, Graco has reinvented the swing with a new gliding motion, inspired by the gentle back and forth that moms use while comforting baby in their nursery glider rocker. Every baby is unique, so parents can customize the vibration, swing speed and melodies with optional plug-in, plus they have a five-point harness for peace of mind that their baby is secure.

Graco’s Glider family of swings offers parents several options from which to choose—from a lightweight petite version up to a 2-in-1 high-end elite, and several versions in between. The full-size Glider swings boast ingenious frame designs that use 40 percent less space than other leading full-size swings, giving parents more space. All are lightweight and portable, with a roomy seat combined with plush body for support and three recline positions.

So the next time a crying baby is getting the best of you, remember these simple tips—and some great new products—and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a blissful sound for new moms and dads: the quiet of a happy baby.

Where To Learn More

You can find additional information about gliders online at www.gracobaby.com/gliders.

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New Study Shows Families Are Strong—Enjoying Family Mealtime Together Frequently At Home

(NAPSI)—Hectic schedules and increasing demands continue to impact today’s American families, but perhaps one of the strongest barometers of families is family mealtime. Welch’s Kitchen Table Report shows families are stronger than ever—making time to eat together frequently and enjoying sharing quality time as a family.

Parents surveyed report:

• 71% eat dinner together as often as or more today than their families did when they were children

• 75% eat most meals and snacks in the kitchen as a family

• 75% say that, in an average week, they eat together four or more nights

• 84% say that one of their favorite parts of the day is when their family eats together

• Nearly 60% would rather spend time with their family or spouse than receive a $5,000 pay raise, lose ten pounds, go on a Caribbean cruise, or get more sleep.

“It might feel like family dinner is part of a bygone era,” comments Welch’s Health & Nutrition Advisory Panel member and RD, Sarah-Jane Bedwell. “But parents are making mealtimes a priority in order to share a moment with their children. That’s good news because research has shown an association between regular family meals and improved family nutrition and overall well-being.”

Despite the positive trend, many families still face mealtime challenges. Four-in-ten survey respondents cite the lack of time to cook meals, especially healthy meals, as a top barrier to family mealtimes.

“There are solutions to combat common mealtime obstacles,” shares Bedwell. “To help families enjoy more happy and healthy mealtime moments, we created an online toolkit that includes family-friendly meal makeovers, heart-healthy recipes, and more.”

More information: Welchs.com/KitchenTableReport.

Data from interviews conducted on behalf of Welch’s* using ORC International’s CARAVAN survey.

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Help For Americans With Vision Loss

(NAPSI)—Here’s eye-opening news: With a little help, the 2.9 million Americans living with low vision—and the millions more who may have to someday—can maximize their remaining eyesight and safely enjoy a productive and rewarding life.

What It Is

Low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to do. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking and writing can seem challenging. Most people with low vision are 65 years old or older. The chief causes of vision loss in older people are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract and glaucoma. Among younger Americans, low vision is most often caused by inherited eye conditions, infectious and autoimmune eye disease, or trauma.

Getting Help

“I encourage anyone with low vision to seek guidance about vision rehabilitation from a low vision specialist,” advised Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D.

A low vision specialist is an ophthalmologist or optometrist working with people with low vision. He or she can develop a rehabilitation plan that identifies strategies and assistive devices appropriate for the person’s particular needs.

Vision rehabilitation

can include:

• training to use magnifying and adaptive devices

• learning new daily living skills to remain safe and live independently

• developing strategies to navigate inside and outside the home

• providing resources and support.

“A vision rehabilitation plan helps people reach their true visual potential when nothing more can be done from a medical or surgical standpoint,” said Mark Wilkinson, O.D., a low vision specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

More Help

Help can also come from the National Eye Institute (NEI), a part of NIH. It offers a 20-page large-print booklet, “What You Should Know About Low Vision,” a series of videos featuring patient stories about living with low vision.

The NEI, committed to finding new ways to improve the lives of people living with visual impairment, dedicates more than $24 million to research projects aimed at low vision. Projects include learning how the brain adapts to vision loss, strategies to improve vision rehabilitation, and the development of new technologies to help people with low vision read, shop, and find their way in unfamiliar places.

Free Resources

The booklet, videos and other resources are at www.nei.nih.gov/lowvision.

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New Option For Patients With Rare Intestinal Disorder

(NAPSI)—It has been well documented that conditions affecting the masses, such as diabetes and obesity, continue to be on the rise in the U.S. Yet while significant funding continues to be dedicated to researching new medicines for these types of widespread conditions, the needs of those with rare diseases are often overlooked.

Thirty years ago, the Orphan Drug Act was passed as a means to facilitate the process of developing drugs to treat rare diseases, termed orphan drugs. Even though this legislation has been in place for three decades, many patients with rare diseases still lack options for treatment. In fact, there are only about 200 government-approved treatments for about 7,000 rare diseases recognized in the U.S.

However, there is newfound hope for a small group of patients living with a rare intestinal disorder. Scientists have been exploring a new treatment option for adults with short bowel syndrome called Gattex® (teduglutide [rDNA origin]) for injection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Gattex as a prescription medication for the treatment of adults with short bowel syndrome who are dependent on parenteral support. Considering this is the first major advance for the long-term treatment of short bowel syndrome in almost four decades, this is welcome news, and an example of how the Orphan Drug Act was designed to work.

Short bowel syndrome is a rare and debilitating disorder that leaves patients unable to absorb adequate amounts of nutrients and fluids from the foods they eat. Those with the disorder either have their intestines shortened considerably through surgery or in rare cases, it is congenital. Since the intestine is where we absorb the nutrients and fluids from food, patients living with short bowel syndrome are unable to live on a normal diet. Often plagued by debilitating diarrhea, some patients need to use the restroom as frequently as 25 times a day. If left untreated, short bowel syndrome can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss and even death.

Many years of research and clinical studies have culminated in the introduction of Gattex, which has experts hailing it as a breakthrough therapy that may significantly change the management of this life-threatening disorder. One such researcher, Dr. Lauren Schwartz of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, explains.

“Gattex may be a significant medical advance, because it is the first treatment to improve the intestine’s ability to absorb. As a result, patients treated with Gattex may reduce their dependence on lengthy and frequent treatment with parenteral support that has them tethered to an IV for as many as seven nights each week for as long as 12 hours at a time.”

Previously, many patients have relied on supplementing their nutritional needs through parenteral support, which ensures they receive the nutrients and fluids they do not absorb from the food they eat. While parenteral support has been a lifeline for these patients for decades, it is complex and demanding for many, because it is typically infused through a catheter into the bloodstream. It does not treat the intestine’s inability to absorb and even though parenteral support keeps patients alive, it exposes them to serious risks. The long-term use of parenteral support can sometimes lead to dangerous and life-threatening complications. The demands of parenteral support can create a socially-restrictive lifestyle for some.

As one of the researchers involved in the development of Gattex, Dr. Schwartz explains that the drug is similar to a peptide called GLP-2, which the body produces naturally and works to enhance the intestine’s ability to absorb fluids and nutrients. In a key study, after 24 weeks of treatment, 54 percent of Gattex-treated patients were able to reduce the number of infusion days per week by one or more days, compared to 23 percent of those treated with placebo. And, in one study, some patients achieved complete independence from parenteral support.

What does this mean for patients? Reducing the number of days patients are tethered to an IV may give them at least one day of a fairly normal life. One day free of parenteral support a week would allow patients to experience the simple activities that many of us take for granted—joining family functions, traveling from home for a weekend, or just getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

To help facilitate access to treatment, the manufacturer of Gattex, NPS Pharmaceuticals, has developed a support program designed to provide assistance to patients and healthcare professionals, all at no charge. This patient support program, which is called “NPS Advantage,” aims to help in a number of ways, from insurance authorizations and assisting with appeals, to answering questions about how to use the drug. The company has created a dedicated website for NPS Advantage, www.NPSAdvantage.com, where patients and those who treat them can access more information about the program.

A key feature of NPS Advantage is the involvement of experienced guides, called Care Coordinators. NPS Advantage Care Coordinators provide a single point of contact for all support services available through the program and can help patients manage challenges that can prevent them from accessing NPS Pharmaceuticals’ therapies, such as Gattex.

You can find more information about Gattex, including full prescribing information and patient medication guide, at www.Gattex.com. You can also read about NPS Advantage at www.NPSAdvantage.com, or for more on the disorder, visit www.shortbowelsupport.com.

Important Safety Information: What is the most important information I should know about GATTEX? GATTEX may cause serious side effects, including: Making abnormal cells grow faster: GATTEX can make abnormal cells that are already in your body grow faster. There is an increased risk that abnormal cells could become cancer. If you get cancer of the bowel (intestines), liver, gallbladder or pancreas while using GATTEX, your healthcare provider should stop GATTEX. If you get other types of cancers, you and your healthcare provider should discuss the risks and benefits of using GATTEX. Polyps in the colon (large intestine): Polyps are growths on the inside of the colon. Your healthcare provider will have your colon checked for polyps within 6 months before starting GATTEX and have any polyps removed. To keep using GATTEX, your healthcare provider should have your colon checked for new polyps at the end of 1 year of using GATTEX. If no polyp is found, your healthcare provider should check you for polyps as needed and at least every 5 years and have any new polyps removed. If cancer is found in a polyp, your healthcare provider should stop GATTEX. Blockage of the bowel (intestines): A bowel blockage keeps food, fluids, and gas from moving through the bowels in the normal way. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms of a bowel blockage:

• trouble having a bowel movement or passing gas

• stomach area (abdomen) pain or swelling

• nausea

• vomiting

• swelling and blockage of your stoma opening, if you have a stoma.

If blockage is found, your healthcare provider may temporarily stop GATTEX. Swelling (inflammation) or blockage of your gallbladder or pancreas: Your healthcare provider will do tests to check your gallbladder and pancreas within 6 months before starting GATTEX and at least every 6 months while you are using GATTEX. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get stomach area (abdomen) pain and tenderness, chills, fever, change in your stools, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, or yellowing of your skin or the whites of eyes. Fluid overload: Your healthcare provider will check you for too much fluid in your body. Too much fluid in your body may lead to heart failure, especially if you have heart problems. Tell your healthcare provider if you get swelling in your feet and ankles, you gain weight very quickly (water weight), or you have trouble breathing.

The most common side effects of GATTEX include:

• stomach area (abdomen) pain or swelling

• skin reaction where the injection was given

• nausea

• headache

• cold- or flu-like symptoms

• vomiting

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before using GATTEX?

Tell your healthcare provider if you:

• Have cancer or a history of cancer

• Have or had polyps anywhere in your bowel (intestines) or rectum

• Have heart problems

• Have high blood pressure

• Have problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys

• Have any other medical condition

• Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if GATTEX will harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while using GATTEX.

• Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if GATTEX passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will use GATTEX or breastfeed. You should not do both. Tell your healthcare providers about all the medicines you take, including prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Using GATTEX with certain other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects. Your other healthcare providers may need to change the dose of any oral medicines you take while using GATTEX. Tell the healthcare provider who gives you GATTEX if you will be taking a new oral medicine. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report suspected side effects, contact NPS Pharmaceuticals at 1-855-5GATTEX (1-855-542-8839) or the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

 

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A New Approach To Treating Emphysema

(NAPSI)—Those who have emphysema may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief. That’s because alternative ways to treat advanced cases of the condition are being developed.

Emphysema is a progressive, debilitating lung condition affecting nearly 5 million people in the U.S. and 60 million people world- wide. It’s caused by irreversible damage to the delicate tissue of the lung that makes it difficult to breathe. The most commonly pre- scribed therapies for emphysema are bronchodilators (inhalers) and anti-inflammatory drugs, both of which are designed to relax and open the airways.

However, when medications fail to provide relief, emphysema patients have limited, highly invasive options: a major surgical procedure known as LVRS (Lung Volume Reduction Surgery) or a lung transplant. Both are high-risk and rarely performed.

An alternative treatment option that is approved in Europe is now being tested in a clinical trial in the United States . Called the AeriSeal System, manufactured by Aeris Therapeutics, it uses a specialized foam sealant to seal and shrink diseased areas of the lung. This is thought to be a less risky way to reduce lung volume without major surgery. Reducing lung volume leaves more space for healthier parts of the lung to function more effectively, making it easier to breathe. It’s believed this would improve quality of life for those living with more advanced emphysema.

The ASPIRE Clinical Study will involve approximately 300 patients at medical centers in the U.S. , Israel and Europe.

To learn more, visit the website at www.ASPIREClinicalStudy.com.

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