Saturday, May 31, 2008


Drug blocks prostate cancer in mice
COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) -- An experimental drug has blocked the progression of prostate cancer in mice with an aggressive form of the disease, Ohio State University researchers said. Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers developed the agent, OSU-HDAC42, which belongs to a new class of drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors -- compounds designed to reactivate genes that normally protect against cancer but are turned off by the disease process. The study, published in Cancer Research, found that of the 23 cancer-prone mice developing a precancerous condition given the drug, one showed signs of early stage cancer, but 12 still had only the precancerous condition and 10 had a benign enlargement. During that time, 17 of 23 of the control animals developed advanced prostate cancer, two had early stage cancer, three had the precancerous condition and one had an enlargement. "This study shows that an agent with a specific molecular target can dramatically inhibit prostate cancer development in an aggressive model of the disease," study co-author Dr. Steven Clinton of the Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute said. "We hope to see this agent in clinical trials soon and ultimately used for prostate-cancer prevention or therapy."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, May 30, 2008


Men at higher risk of death from pneumonia
TORONTO (UPI) -- Men hospitalized with pneumonia are often are sicker than women and have a higher risk of dying within a year, University of Pittsburgh researchers said. The researchers evaluated data from 1,136 men and 1,047 women with symptoms of pneumonia who were treated at 28 U.S. hospital emergency departments. They adjusted for age, race, tobacco use, other demographic characteristics, chronic health conditions, health behaviors and levels of treatment, and found men had a 30 percent higher risk of death. "The gender disparity on aggressiveness of hospital care is appropriate, given that men tended to be significantly sicker than women," first author Michael Reade, formerly at Pitt and now at the University of Melbourne. "Even so, men had a 30 percent higher risk of death, and the social factors we examined were not sufficient to explain the differences we observed." The study is being presented at the 104th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in Toronto. Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Lifelong Health: Variant Gene Increases Risk of Cancer in Smokers
Dr. David Lipschitz

More often than not, cigarette smoking leads to a long list of health problems. From cancer to heart failure, the effects of long-term smoking can arise in nearly every function of your body. And yet every once in a while, I see a patient who, at 85, has smoked for decades and gotten off virtually scot-free. For those rare healthy smokers, we typically pass off their unlikely healthfulness to mere luck -- until now. A series of articles recently published in Nature Genetics sheds light on this very situation; it's all in the genes. Researchers sought to determine why some individuals who smoke are at greater risk of developing lung cancer than others. Two studies showed that a variation in a gene located on chromosome 15 (of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell) increases the risk of lung cancer 30 percent in individuals who smoke. When it comes to biology, we inherit one gene from each parent. So if you are unfortunate enough to inherit this gene from your mother and your father, smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer by 70 percent. The gene on chromosome 15 not only increases lung cancer risk but also dramatically increases the chance of becoming addicted to nicotine. A lead author of one of the studies, Dr. Paul Brenner, initially believed that the gene variation led to addiction. As a result, more cigarettes were smoked every day, causing a higher exposure to carcinogens in the cigarette smoke and hence a higher risk of lung cancer. Further studies of this gene indicate that it actually changes the way in which nicotine binds to cells throughout the body. Altered nicotine binding to the brain may change the number of cigarettes required to achieve the necessary "buzz" from nicotine, therefore forcing the individual to smoke more. However, these studies clearly showed that variation of these genes also made lung cells and perhaps other cells throughout the body more susceptible to malignant transformation. This research has enormous potential for the future of cancer prevention and treatment. Lung cancer is now one of hundreds of diseases for which a specific gene mutation has been shown to increase the risk of developing an illness dramatically. This includes breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and a number of medical conditions that predispose patients to cardiac, pulmonary and neurological diseases. The presence of these gene variants often is used as a screening tool to identify an individual at high risk of developing a specific illness. For example, there is a well-known series of genes that indicates a dramatic increase in risk in breast cancer. If this series is present in a family with a history of breast cancer, women on occasion may elect to have prophylactic mastectomies because the risk of developing cancer is astronomically high. In a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, research has shown that a careful analysis of the genetic characteristics of a specific breast cancer in combination with clinical information from the patient can allow tailor-made therapies that have the potential to increase the chance of cure while minimizing serious complications. Ideally, this newfound research on lung cancer ultimately will lead to a screening test to identify the gene variant predisposing patients to lung cancer. The presence of the gene could be a wake-up call to smokers or could lead to greater vigilance in looking for early lung cancer. There is also hope that further research will identify avenues to modify this gene directly on chromosome 15, thus reducing the level of dependence and making the individual and those exposed to secondhand smoke less susceptible to the adverse effects of cigarettes. The recent information on genetic testing for lung cancer risk highlights the incredible breakthroughs that come from basic scientific research. As new findings continue to be uncovered, scientists and physicians have the potential to minimize the risk of developing disease while providing new therapies that have the potential to eradicate cancers altogether.

Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at More information is available at

Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Biological Clock test aimed at Women
CHICAGO (UPI) -- Doctors said a blood test being offered at U.S. fertility clinics may help determine if a woman's window of opportunity for conception is closing. The fertility test, called Plan Ahead, provides an assessment of a woman's egg supply, Repromedix Corp. said in a release. The company said Plan Ahead enables a woman to compare her estimated egg supply with the normal range expected for women of the same age. Richard Rawlins, director of the Centers for Advanced Reproductive Care at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune the test could help women who have had trouble conceiving decide if they want to go through in vitro fertilization. The test, which costs $350, measures three hormones associated with the number of eggs in women's ovaries -- follicle stimulating hormone, anti-mullerian hormone and inhibin B.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Heart Attack Deaths not Higher for Women
BONN, Germany (UPI) -- The risk of dying in Germany of a myocardial infarction -- heart attack -- is not higher for women than for men, a study found. Dr. Gunther Heller says the study findings contradict and disprove the hypothesis that a myocardial infarction is not as reliably recognized in women as in men, so women may sometimes receive inadequate care. The study authors analyzed the medical data of a large general health insurance company of patients who had received hospital treatment for a myocardial infarction from 2004 to 2005. Within this period, 57,000 women and 75,000 men insured by the company in Germany suffered from a myocardial infarction. After allowing for the age of the patients, there was no difference in mortality between men and women. Mortality was only slightly increased in the small group of women under 50 years of age, in comparison with men of the same age, Heller says. The findings are published in the Deutsches Arzteblatt International.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, May 24, 2008


A breast self-examination (BSE) involves checking your breasts to help detect breast problems or changes. Many breast problems are first discovered by women themselves, often by accident. Breast lumps can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Breast cancer can occur at any age, though it is most common in women older than 50.
Medical experts disagree about the need for regular breast self-examinations. A large study showed that regular breast self-examinations led to more doctor visits but did not find breast cancer earlier than regular medical examinations.1 The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) found no evidence that BSE saves lives, and they do not recommend routine breast self-examinations.2, 3 The American Cancer Society considers breast self-examination an option for women. Talk with your health professional about breast self-examination.
A breast self-examination involves checking your breasts for lumps or changes while standing and lying in different positions and while looking at your breasts in a mirror to note any changes in their appearance. Once you know what your breasts normally look and feel like, any new lump or change in appearance should be evaluated by a health professional. Most breast problems or changes are not because of cancer.
If you choose to do breast self-examinations, this should not replace regular clinical breast examinations (CBE) by a health professional and mammograms if you are older than age 40. Breast implants do not decrease a woman's risk for breast cancer, so women with breast implants need to talk with their health professionals about performing breast self-examinations.
Why It Is Done
A breast self-examination is done to detect breast problems, such as a lump or change in appearance, that may indicate breast cancer or other breast conditions that may require medical attention (such as mastitis or a fibroadenoma).
How To Prepare
No special preparation is needed before having this test.
How It Is Done
It takes practice to perform a thorough breast self-examination. Ask your health professional for tips that can help you perform a breast self-examination correctly.
The best time to examine your breasts is usually one week after your menstrual period begins, when your breast tissue is least likely to be swollen or tender. If your menstrual cycle is irregular, or if you have stopped menstruating due to menopause or the removal of your uterus (hysterectomy), do your examination on a day of the month that's easy to remember. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding can continue to examine their breasts every month. Breast-feeding mothers can examine their breasts after a feeding or after using a breast pump so that the breasts have as little milk as possible, making the examination easier and more comfortable.
To do a breast self-examination, remove all your clothes above the waist and lie down. The examination is done while lying down so your breast tissue spreads evenly over your chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all your breast tissue.
Use the pads of the three middle fingers of your left hand—not your fingertips—to check your right breast. Move your fingers slowly in small coin-sized circles.
Use three different levels of pressure to feel of all your breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue close to the skin surface. Medium pressure is used to feel a little deeper, and firm pressure is used to feel your tissue close to your breastbone and ribs. A firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast is normal. Use each pressure level to feel your breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.
Check your entire breast using a lengthwise strip pattern. Feel all of the tissue from the collarbone to the bra line and from the armpit to the breastbone. Start in the armpit and work down to the bottom of the bra line. Move one finger-width toward the middle and work up to the collarbone. Repeat until you have covered the entire breast. Repeat this procedure for your left breast. See an illustration of BSE using a lengthwise strip pattern. The American Cancer Society prefers this method of breast self-examination because it is the best method for finding breast lumps.4
You also can examine your breasts using a spiral pattern. Again, use three different levels of pressure to examine all your breast tissue. Avoid lifting your fingers away from the skin as you feel for lumps, unusual thicknesses, or changes of any kind. See an illustration of BSE using a spiral pattern.
Most breast tissue has some lumps or thick tissue. When in doubt about a particular lump, check your other breast. If you find the same kind of lump in the same area on the other breast, both breasts are probably normal. Pay attention to any lump that feels much harder than the rest of your breast.
If you find anything that concerns you, schedule a visit with your health professional. The important thing is to learn what is normal for you and to report any changes to your health professional. Remember that most changes you find are not breast cancer but should be checked. These changes may include:
· Any new lump. It may or may not be painful to touch.
· Unusual thick areas.
· Sticky or bloody discharge from your nipples.
· Any changes in the skin of your breasts or nipples, such as puckering or dimpling.
· An unusual increase in the size of one breast.
· One breast unusually lower than the other.
In addition to examining your breasts while lying down, you may also check them while in the shower. Soapy fingers slide easily across the breast and may increase your chances of detecting a change. While standing in a shower, place one arm over your head and lightly soap your breast on that side. Then, using the flat surface of your fingers—not the fingertips—gently move your hand over your breast (in the strip pattern described above), feeling carefully for any lumps or thickened areas.
How It Feels
A breast self-examination normally does not cause any discomfort. If your breasts are tender because your menstrual period is about to begin, a BSE may cause slight discomfort when you press on your breasts to feel for lumps.
The risk of doing breast self-examination is that you find a breast change that makes you anxious and may lead to a biopsy but turns out not to be cancer.
A breast self-examination (BSE) involves checking your breasts to help detect breast problems or changes.
Breast self-examination (BSE)
It is important to know what your breasts normally look like and feel like so you can identify any changes as soon as possible. One breast is usually slightly larger than the other. You may find a ridge of firm tissue in the lower curve of the breast below the nipple. This is normal. You may also notice that your breasts change throughout your menstrual cycle, and you may notice increased swelling and tenderness before your period starts.
Both breasts have a similar consistency and there are no new lumps since your last self-examination. You may have breasts that feel lumpy throughout. If both breasts feel this way, this is normal for you.

You may be able to express a clear or milky discharge from your nipple. This may be due to nursing, breast stimulation, hormones, or some other normal cause.

If you have small breasts, you may feel your rib as a firm mass through your breast tissue. If you follow the curve of firm tissue, you will be able to tell it's your rib and not a mass.

Abnormal changes are those that are unusual for you. The color or feel of your breast or nipple may change. This can include wrinkling, dimpling, thickening, or puckering or an area that feels thickened.

A nipple which previously pointed out now points in (inverted). A red, scaly rash or sore may be found on the nipple. Nipple discharge is green or bloody.

A new lump can be felt in breast tissue. Most lumps are pea-sized. If you find a lump, don't panic; 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. A lump is most often caused by a cyst, a fibroadenoma, or generalized breast lumpiness (fibrocystic breast changes), none of which are cancerous.

If you find a lump or other unusual change, make an appointment with your health professional to have it checked. Be prepared to describe whether the lump is hard or soft and whether it moves easily under the skin. If your health professional does a clinical breast examination (CBE), he or she may recommend that you watch for changes and reexamine the breast in several weeks, sometimes waiting until after your next menstrual cycle. Further testing, such as a mammogram, a breast biopsy, or an attempt to remove fluid from inside (aspirate) the lump, may also be done. The lump is a cyst if the fluid inside is not bloody and if the lump disappears after aspiration.
What Affects the Test
Reasons why the results may not be helpful include:
· Changes in your breasts or breast tenderness that occur during your menstrual cycle.
· Examining your breasts at different times in your menstrual cycle. This may make it difficult to compare results of one examination with those of another.
· Having fibrocystic lumps. These may make a breast self-examination difficult because lumps occur throughout the breast. The fibrocystic lumps can also become tender before your menstrual cycle.
What To Think About
· Medical experts disagree about the need for regular breast self-examinations. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) found no evidence that BSE saves lives, and they do not recommend routine breast self-examinations. Some health professionals recommend regular BSE. A study has shown that BSE does not help detect breast cancer earlier.2, 3
· An apparently normal breast self-examination does not rule out breast cancer. Breast self-examinations should not replace regular clinical breast examinations by a health professional and mammograms for women older than age 40. For more information, see the medical tests Clinical Breast Examination and Mammogram.
· Some women prefer to have regular breast examinations performed by their partner. As long as your partner is familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts, any changes are likely to be found early.
· If you have a breast lump that you are concerned about, see your health professional to determine the cause. Remember, most breast lumps are not caused by cancer. A breast biopsy may be needed to fully evaluate a breast lump. For more information, see the medical test Breast Biopsy.
· A pad, the breast self-examination (BSE) pad, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as an aid in breast self-examination. The sensor pad is made of two layers of plastic with a small amount of liquid silicone inside. It is supposed to make breast lumps easier to detect by reducing the amount of rubbing (friction) between the fingers and the breast skin. The sensor pad is available without a prescription at many pharmacies.
Thomas DB, et al. (2002). Randomized trial of breast self-examination in Shanghai: Final results. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 94(19): 1445–1457.
Mahon SM (2003). Evidence-based practice: Recommendations for the early detection of breast cancer. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 7(6): 693–696.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2002). Screening for breast cancer: Recommendations and rationale. Annals of Internal Medicine, 137(5, part 1): 344–346.
American Cancer Society (2004). Can breast cancer be found early? Detailed guide: Breast cancer. Cancer Reference Information. Available online:
Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor
Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer
Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH- Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH- Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Updated
February 22, 2007
Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Updated: 02/22/2007
© 1995-2007, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Friday, May 23, 2008



Some women continue to menstruate normally until the onset of menopause and then simply cease to have periods. But for most women, the transition is not so orderly. You can expect to see a variety of changes. What they are and why they happen is the subject of the discussion that follows. Under other headings, you'll find more on the symptoms and management of the most troubling of these problems.

Changing Hormonal Patterns
A woman's egg supply, as much as 2 million in the ovaries at birth, is programmed for depletion. When the supply is almost exhausted because of the aging process, or the ovaries are surgically removed, the menstrual cycle comes to an end. In fact, the reproductive cycle begins to change several years before menopause, a period referred to as perimenopause.
During this time, typically starting in the late 40's, the ovaries' response to the various stimulating hormones produced by the brain becomes unsynchronized, until eventually the aging ovaries fail to respond at all. They start to produce less progesterone, losing their ability to ovulate and develop the subsequent corpus luteum. When ovulation stops, estrogen levels decline and menstruation ceases.
As ovulatory cycles become more irregular throughout perimenopause, the body's sensitive hormonal rhythm is thrown off and menstruation may vary more from month to month. In addition, two hormones known as androgens begin to play a bigger role. Though referred to as male sex hormones, they are in fact produced in small amounts by the female body as well. As levels of the female hormones decline, the impact of these "male" hormones can increase.
The bottom line is that fluctuating blood levels of hormones during the transitional years can create a number of physiological changes. These may be less unsettling for women who have an understanding of what their bodies are going through.

Menopause at a Glance
See Chart Above
The wide array of problems on the chart may seem daunting; but fortunately, few women experience every one of them. Hot flashes are the most common complaint. However, these annoying sensations pass in due course, while other symptoms may pose a much greater long-term threat. Be particularly alert for lower back pain, which may signal the onset of osteoporosis, the bone-weakening disorder that leaves older women prey to fractures. Remember, too, that menopause robs you of estrogen's protective effect on the heart, and that heart disease is the Number One killer of women. (For more information, see "Heart Disease: The Greatest Threat of All.")

Changes in the Menstrual Cycle
Cyclical Changes occur for the vast majority of women whose periods do not just stop. The perimenopausal years may be marked by skipped menstrual periods, heavier or lighter than usual bleeding, and changes in the frequency of cycles. During some menstrual cycles, no egg may be produced; these are called anovulatory cycles.
Light, short, or skipped periods occur as the ovaries' hormonal response becomes unpredictable. Heavy and prolonged bleeding arise when a longer than normal release of estrogen overstimulates growth of the uterine lining. The lining may be irregular or thickened and may not slough off completely or evenly, causing menstruation to stop and start again. Clotting may be noticeable in menstrual bleeding.
The physical changes that accompany the menstrual cycle may also become less predictable and regular. Such signs as breast tenderness, fluid retention and headache may occur at unpredictable times.
Fertility declines as a woman enters her 40s, but it does not disappear entirely until menopause is complete. To avoid unplanned pregnancies, doctors recommend using birth control until a full year has passed since the last menstrual cycle.

Muscle Tone and Elasticity
Skin and mucous membranes in various parts of the body become drier because of the decline in estrogen levels and the aging process in general. Women who once worried about oily skin may now find their skin dry and itchy and may need to apply moisturizers and hand creams.
As the body ages and the estrogen level declines, the fatty layer beneath the skin surface that makes the skin appear supple and youthful begins to shrink from a loss of elasticity and moisture. The outer skin layer is now looser than the deeper layers, and begins to fold and wrinkle. The skin may also develop a rougher texture.
During midlife, it is especially important to protect your skin from the sun. Aging skin produces less melanin, the pigment that causes your skin to tan instead of burn. This decreases your natural protection from harmful UV rays.
Thinning skin also reveals any harmful effects of previous years of sun exposure. Limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen is a prudent and effective way to delay aging of the skin.
Vaginal Changes are the first sign of approaching menopause for some women, while many do not notice changes until five to ten years after menopause. As estrogen levels drop, the vulva and vagina lose elasticity, resulting in vaginal dryness, itching and a shrinking process known as vaginal atrophy in which the vagina becomes shorter and narrower at the opening. Vaginal membranes also become thinner, hold less moisture, and lubricate more slowly. The thinner vaginal lining becomes more susceptible to tears. Reduced secretion of cervical mucus can add to the problem. The result of all these changes can be discomfort, vaginal infections, and painful intercourse.

Breast Changes are also apparent as estrogen's stimulation of the breast tissue is reduced, causing glandular tissue to shrink. Loss of elasticity causes the breasts to droop and flatten, losing their earlier fullness. Nipples become smaller and flatter and may lose their erectile properties.
Women who have been bothered by breast tenderness and cysts related to the menstrual cycle are often relieved to find that these symptoms disappear after menopause.
Abdominal wall tone may lessen gradually as we age, resulting in a protruding stomach. Regular exercise to strengthen the abdominal muscles can help maintain muscle tone.
A sudden increase in the size of the abdomen may be the first warning sign of ovarian tumors. Stomach enlargement may also be caused by inadequate nutrition or exercise, but should be seen promptly by your gynecologist.

Hair, Bones, and Teeth
Hair all over the body can change in texture and quantity during menopause. For some women, the increased effects of the body's androgens can result in darker, thicker and wiry body hair on the pubis, underarms, face, chest, lower abdomen, and back. This sprouting of excess, coarse hair, known as hirsutism, is usually related to hormonal changes. However, not all cases of hirsutism are menopause-related, so check with your physician for proper diagnosis.
The softer hair on your head also begins to change in texture as you reach your forties. A loss of luster occurs because individual hair shafts begin to thin and dry as a result of hormonal changes. The replacement process for normal daily hair loss becomes slower, and new replacement hair is generally dryer, with less shine. Many women also note a thinning of pubic and underarm hair after menopause. Female baldness, a rare problem, may begin about age forty. See a dermatologist if hair loss persists.
Changes in hair texture and thickness can be minimized by avoiding over-styling. Good nutrition can also slow the brittleness of hair that comes with normal aging.
Bone strength is critical at all ages but particularly during and after menopause. As estrogen and progesterone levels fall drastically, the bones begin to lose mass. This causes them to become progressively more fragile. Backaches, common in midlife, may indicate the beginning of bone loss as a result of declining estrogen levels. These pains are localized, beginning in the lower back. Severe loss of bone becomes a condition called osteoporosis, which strikes at least half of all women age 50 and older. In fact, by the time a woman is 80, she may have lost 40 percent of her bone mass. Osteoporosis leaves a woman vulnerable to bone fractures, especially in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Teeth and the mouth are similarly affected. Dental problems that can occur around midlife, such as receding gums or loose teeth, may be related to declining levels of estrogen and a loss of bone mass. Gingivectomy, a procedure to repair the gums after periodontal disease, is a common oral surgery procedure for women in midlife, especially for those prone to osteoporosis. Maintenance of your teeth and gums, including daily cleaning, and flossing, professional cleaning and regular checkups, will help reduce your risk of these dental problems.

Menopause: Myths and Realities
Myth: Menopausal women are unhappy and depressed.
Reality: Most women cope very well with the physical challenges of menopause. Serious mental health problems do not increase. While some women may experience emotional distress, this is often related to sleep disturbance and deprivation due to hot flashes.
Myth: All women going through menopause are plagued by hot flashes.
Reality: About 80 percent of American women experience only mild symptoms, or none at all, during menopause. When hot flashes do occur, in most cases they are mild and disappear after a few months, rarely persisting for more than 2 or 3 years.
Myth: Menopause is the end of your sex life.
Reality: Libido, or sexual desire, does decline with aging, but many women continue to enjoy a satisfying sex life deep into old age. Some women find sex more enjoyable after menopause when concerns about pregnancy are past.

Last Updated: January 1, 2003
2007 Thomson Healthcare. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Breast cancer risk reduced by exercise
ST. LOUIS (UPI) -- Girls and young women who exercise regularly between ages 12 to 35 have a substantially lower risk of breast cancer before menopause, a U.S. study said. The study of nearly 65,000 women, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that those who were physically active had a 23 percent lower risk of breast cancer before menopause. High levels of physical activity from ages 12 to 22 contributed most strongly to the lower breast cancer risk. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University in Boston said that one-quarter of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women before menopause. "We don't have a lot of prevention strategies for premenopausal breast cancer, but our findings clearly show that physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood can pay off in the long run," lead investigator Dr. Graham Colditz of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said in a statement. The researchers found the age-adjusted incidence rates for invasive breast cancer dropped from 194 cases per 100,000 person-years in the least active women to 136 cases in the most active. The most active women reported the equivalent of running 3.25 hours a week or walking 13 hours a week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Take precautions against sun exposure
HOUSTON (UPI) -- Spending time outdoors requires taking precautions against sun damage, a U.S. dermatology expert says. Dr. Susan Chon of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston advises a sunscreen with an sun protection factor of 30 is a good choice for most people. Although 1 ounce of sunscreen is usually considered sufficient to cover exposed areas, reapplications are needed throughout the day, especially as humidity levels increase. In addition to the sunscreen, Chon recommends taking along a hat with a brim or cap, lip balm, a long-sleeved shirt preferably in sun-protective fabric and sunglasses with ultraviolet protection. "These are great items to keep handy in your bag to prepare for the sun as it intensifies throughout the day," Chon says in a statement. Chon advises applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out and reapplying sunscreen and lip balm every two hours. "Remember, if you are sweating or swimming, you may need to reapply more often," Chon said. "Avoid reflective surfaces such as water, sand, snow and concrete. You can burn from indirect exposure to the sun, too."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, May 19, 2008


Old home re-do ups lead, may affect kids
CINCINNATI (UPI) -- Parents need to know that older home interior renovations can raise lead levels in children, U.S. researchers said. The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study of 249 children living in homes built before 1978 -- the year lead-based paints were banned -- showed those living in houses where renovations occurred had higher blood lead levels than those in houses with no renovations. Researchers using multi-variable analysis found children living through renovation projects had a 12 percent increase in mean blood lead level by age 2 compared with other children. The researchers noted an association between high lead concentration in the building's existing paint and the child's blood lead level -- for every 10 milligram per square centimeter increase in paint lead concentration, there was a 7.5 percent increase in average blood lead levels. "Toxic agents such as lead could have long-term effects on children's brain development even as early as when they are fetuses," study lead author Dr. Adam Spanier said in a statement. "If lead poisoning goes undetected and untreated in children, it has the potential to result in a number of neurodevelopmental issues, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning problems." The findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Society annual meeting in Honolulu.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Why Losing Weight Protects the Heart
BALTIMORE (UPI) -- U.S. researchers found wide-scale evidence linking severe overweight to prolonged inflammation of heart tissue, which leads to heart damage. Senior study investigator Dr. Joao Lima of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said that the biological effects of obesity on the heart are quite profound. Even if obese people feel otherwise healthy, there are measurable and early chemical signs of damage to their heart, beyond the well-known implications for diabetes and high blood pressure," Lima said in a statement. There is "now even more reason for them to lose weight, increase their physical activity and improve their eating habits." The researchers conducted tests and tracked the development of heart failure in an ethnically diverse group of nearly 7,000 men and women, ages 45 to 84, who were enrolled in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, starting in 2000. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that of the 79 who have developed congestive heart failure so far, 35 were physically obese, having a body mass index of 30 or greater. On average, obese participants were found to have higher blood levels of interleukin 6, C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, key immune system proteins involved in inflammation, than non-obese adults.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Study: Parents Ignorant about Infants
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (UPI) -- Many U.S. teens may think their parents are ill-informed but researchers found one-third of parents know little about how their infants' development. A University of Rochester study found 31.2 percent of parents had low-level knowledge of infant development, which correlated with lower parental education level and income. However, when maternal age, education, income and mental state such as depression were controlled for, the low-level knowledge of infant development still significantly and independently predicted parents being both less able to engage their children in regular enrichment activities. "This is a wake-up call for pediatricians," study leader Dr. Heather Paradis said in a statement. "At office visits, we have a prime opportunity to intervene and help realign parents' expectations for their infants and, in turn, promote healthy physical, social and emotional development for these children." Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study's Birth Cohort, Paradis and colleagues measured parental savvy by surveying a nationally representative sample of parents of more than 10,000 9-month-old babies on 11 points designed to distinguish informed parents from less-informed parents. The researchers also conducted a 73-point videotape analysis of the same families' parent-child interactions. The study findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Honolulu.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, May 16, 2008


When we lose our children, we have no where to turn but to those around us for support.
The world then becomes our family and it becomes the responsibility of ALL to try to correct this situation. Brenda A. Ysaguirre

Dear Bloggers, Please join in the effort by copying this page to your blog so we can help this family find their three year old daughter.
Brenda A. Ysaguirre

If this was your daughter you would forward it. Missing 3 year Old Girl - You never know, who knows whom


Racharel Strong (father) - 404-357-1881

Simona Strong (mother) - 404-313-4255

Tiesa Locklear (aunt) - 678-234-4902

Tramesa Locklear (aunt) 678-480-1635

Ursala Williams (aunt) 678-362-5246

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Less Smoking, Drinking delays Alzheimer's
MIAMI (UPI) -- Heavy drinkers and heavy smokers develop Alzheimer's disease earlier than those with Alzheimer's who don't drink or smoke heavily, a U.S. study said,. The study looked at 938 people age 60 and older who were diagnosed with possible or probable Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Ranjan Duara and colleagues of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami said 7 percent of the subject had a history of heavy drinking -- defined as more than two drinks per day, 20 percent had a history of heavy smoking -- defined as smoking one pack of cigarettes or more per day, while 27 percent had the APOE gene variant, which increases Alzheimer's disease risk. The study found heavy drinkers developed Alzheimer's 4.8 years earlier and heavy smokers developed the disease 2.3 years sooner than those not heavy smokers. People with the APOE gene developed the disease three years sooner than those without the gene variant. However, those with all three risk factors developed Alzheimer's 8.5 years earlier than those with none of the risk factors. "It has been projected that a delay in the onset of the disease by five years would lead to a nearly 50-percent reduction in the total number of Alzheimer's cases," Duara told the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Chicago.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Alcoholism not just a 'Man's Disease'
ST. LOUIS (UPI) -- There is a substantial increase in drinking and alcohol dependence among U.S. women, especially white and Hispanic women, born after 1945. The researchers examined two large, national surveys and compared lifetime prevalence rates from the same age groups and demographics, while simultaneously controlling for age-related factors. Richard A. Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said that by looking at two cross-sectional surveys that asked the same questions in the same manner but were conducted 10 years apart, the researchers were able to compare, those age 30 to 40 years in 2001 with those 30 to 40 in 1991. "Essentially, this allowed us to correct for the effects of age on reporting," Grucza said in a statement. The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that for women born after World War II, there are lower levels of abstaining from alcohol and higher levels of alcohol dependence but there was no significant tendency for more recently born men to have lower levels of abstention or higher levels of alcohol dependence. Grucza said the findings are probably due to higher levels of alcohol problems among women, while men have been more or less steady in their levels of dependence.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, May 11, 2008


High Cholesterol in 40s, Alzheimer's later
CHICAGO (UPI) -- High cholesterol during a person's 40s has been linked to Alzheimer's disease later in life, U.S. and Finnish researchers say. The study indicates people with total cholesterol levels between 249 to 500 milligrams were 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than people with cholesterol levels of less than 198 milligrams. People with total cholesterol levels of 221 to 248 milligrams were more than 1.25 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. "High mid-life cholesterol increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease regardless of mid-life diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and late-life stroke," study author Dr. Alina Solomon of the University of Kuopio in Finland said in a statement. Solomon and study senior author Rachel Whitmer of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., based their study on 9,752 men and women in northern California who underwent health evaluations between 1964 and 1973 when they were between the ages of 40 and 45 and remained with the same health plan through 1994. From 1994 to 2007, researchers obtained the participants' most recent medical records to find 504 people had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and 162 had vascular dementia. The findings are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Chicago.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Older Men Pickier in Choosing Sex Partners
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (UPI) -- Older men say as they have aged, they have become more careful and particular in choosing sexual partners, a U.S. researchers found. Researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University questioned focus groups involving 50 men divided into three groups based on their age -- 18 to 24 years, 25 to 45 years and 46 and older. "We use all kinds of methods to measure men's sexual responses; in addition, we use questionnaires and surveys to ask about sexual behaviors," Erick Janssen said in a statement. "It's less common to sit down with men and ask them to talk about their experiences." The focus groups revealed: -- Most of the men said they can experience erections without feeling aroused or interested. -- Many men found it difficult to distinguish between sexual desire and sexual arousal. -- Sexually experienced women were considered more threatening by younger men, who had concerns about "measuring up," but such women were considered more arousing for older men. The findings are published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, May 9, 2008


Men Have More Problems With Thinking
ROCHESTER, Minn. (UPI) -- A study of 2,050 people living in Olmsted County, Minn., found men were one-and-a-half times more likely to have mild cognitive impairment than women. Study author Dr. Rosebud Roberts of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said the study subjects were ages 70 to 89 and they were interviewed, examined and given cognitive tests. Overall, 15 percent of the group had mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment can also be described as impairment in memory or other thinking skills beyond what's expected for a person's age and education, Roberts said. "This is one of the first studies to determine the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment among men and women who have been randomly selected from a community to participate in the study," Roberts said the statement. "These findings are in contrast to studies which have found more women than men -- or an equal proportion -- have dementia, and suggest there's a delayed progression to dementia in men, or alternately, women may develop dementia at a faster rate than men." The study is being presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th anniversary annual meeting in Chicago.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Xylitol - PARA TU BIEN

Your Health: Sugar Substitute Offers Sweet Taste -- Minus the Bitter Consequences
Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
America's insatiable sweet tooth is taking a super-sized bite out of our nation's health. Over the past three decades, annual per capita sugar consumption in the United States has risen from 113 pounds to nearly 150 pounds. During the same time frame, obesity and diabetes have become national epidemics. For folks who want to enjoy the sweet taste of sugar without suffering the bitter consequences, an alternative sweetener known as xylitol is an excellent choice. Discovered in 1891 by a German chemist, the substance became popular in Europe during World War II, when sugar was in short supply. Since the 1960s, xylitol has been used as an FDA-approved nutritive sweetener in diabetic diets. These days, it can be found in a few brands of baked goods and beverages, as well as in chewing gum, mints and toothpaste. Xylitol isn't a true sugar, but rather a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in many plants, including some fruits and vegetables. Although it was originally derived from birch trees, corn is now the primary source of commercially produced xylitol. In its pure form, the sweetener is a white crystalline substance that looks, tastes and measures like sugar. Unlike table sugar, which has 15 calories per teaspoon, xylitol provides just 9.6 calories per teaspoon. Because the human body metabolizes sugar alcohols in a unique manner, xylitol doesn't produce spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels that commonly occur following the consumption of regular sugar. While sugar is known wreak havoc on dental health, xylitol has the opposite effect. The natural sweetener has been shown to prevent tooth decay by inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria primarily responsible for causing dental cavities. Over the past two decades, a number of studies have shown that when children chew xylitol-sweetened gum three times daily following meals, they develop significantly fewer cavities than those chewing sugar-sweetened gum. Similar findings have been observed in adults. In addition to deterring cavity formation, the use of xylitol-containing gums and mints can help control bad breath, reduce the frequency and severity of mouth sores, and improve oral health in individuals with periodontal disease. Not only does xylitol inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth, it also puts a damper on the proliferation of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacterial source of most middle ear infections in children. In a study published in British Medical Journal, researchers examined the effects of the sweetener in more than 300 children in daycare settings, most of whom had suffered repeated ear infections. Half of the children chewed xylitol-containing gum five times a day, while the other half chewed regular sugar-sweetened gum. During the two-month study, 21 percent of the children chewing regular gum had one or more ear infections, while only 12 percent of the children chewing xylitol-sweetened gum experienced one or more ear infections. Preliminary research suggests that the sugar alcohol also may play a role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. When fed to aging rats, xylitol not only reduced bone loss, it actually increased bone mineral density by an average of 10 percent. Scientists speculate that the sweetener may enhance bone health by boosting the body's absorption of calcium. While the optimal dose necessary to promote bone health is still unknown, a daily intake of six grams of xylitol has been shown to help prevent dental cavities. For best results, two pieces of gum, each containing one gram of xylitol, should be chewed three times a day following meals. To reduce the risk of middle ear infections, children should chew two pieces of the gum five times daily. In these amounts, xylitol is generally well tolerated by both children and adults. At doses greater than 30 grams a day, however, the sugar alcohol may have a laxative effect. While xylitol is perfectly safe for humans, canines can't properly metabolize the sugar alcohol. Dogs ingesting the substance can experience a life-threatening drop in blood sugar levels, necessitating immediate veterinary attention. Like regular sugar, xylitol can be purchased in bulk, as well as in single-serving packages. Unlike sugar, xylitol isn't widely available in supermarkets: it's more likely to be found at stores and shops that sell natural foods and nutritional supplements. Xylitol is more expensive than regular table sugar, but if you're looking for a reduced-calorie sweetener with a few bonus benefits, it's an excellent investment. ======== Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., is a family physician in Kingsport, Tenn., and author of "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Web site is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


U.S. Healthcare not ready for Baby Boomers
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The U.S. healthcare work force will be too small and unprepared to meet the needs of 78 million baby boomers who are getting ready to retire, researchers said. The report by the Institute of Medicine said that by 2030, one out of five Americans will be 65 or older, and Medicare, Medicaid and other health plans will need to pay higher rates for the services of geriatric specialists and direct-care workers to attract more health professionals to geriatric careers. There is a high turnover rate among nursing assistants and personal care aides, many of whom earn wages below the poverty level, the report said. "We face an impending crisis as the growing number of older patients, who are living longer with more complex health needs, increasingly outpaces the number of healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills to care for them capably," John W. Rowe of the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, in New York said in a statement. Between 29 million and 52 million family members, friends and others tend to aging parents or other older individuals and the report calls for training programs to help family caregivers.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, May 5, 2008


Losing a Home can be Devastating Mentally
NEW ORLEANS (UPI) -- New Orleans residents who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina were five times more likely to experience serious psychological distress, a study found. Narayan Sastry of the University of Michigan and Mark VanLandingham of Tulane University in New Orleans examined the mental health status of 144 pre-Katrina residents of New Orleans one year after the hurricane. More than half the study participants were African-American, nearly two-thirds had a high school diploma or less education and nearly 60 percent were unmarried. Nearly three-fourths were employed in the month before the hurricane hit. The study, presented at the Population Association of America in New Orleans, found African-Americans reported substantially higher rates of serious psychological distress than whites. Almost one-third of blacks were found to have a high degree of distress, compared to 6 percent of whites. Those with higher incomes and more education were much less likely to experience serious psychological distress, the study said. "Our findings suggest that severe damage to one's home is a particularly important factor behind socioeconomic disparities in psychological distress, and possibly behind the levels of psychological distress," Sastry said in a statement.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Obese Pregnancies Rising in Canada
OTTAWA (UPI) -- Obstetricians across Canada said they are concerned with the growing number of obese women becoming pregnant and the medical consequences. Their concerns are back by Statistics Canada, which reported 23 percent of women of childbearing age in the country and adult obesity rates are rising fastest in the 25- to 34-year-old age group. That's more than doubled in the past 25 years, the Canwest News Service reported. Dr. Jan Christilaw, an obstetrician-gynecologist at BC Women's Hospital in Vancouver, said a woman with a body mass index of 30 or more is considered obese, and the number of women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index of 50, 60 or higher is growing. Apart from health risks to mother and baby, Dr. Lawrence Oppenheimer, site lead for obstetrics at the General campus of the Ottawa Hospital, said medical manpower and costs are affected. "You might need two, three surgeons to do the procedures for a Caesarean (section)," Oppenheimer told Canwest News Service. "It depends how big the patient is. To put it bluntly, you literally have to hold back the fat. You have to have more retractors and more people retracting."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Drug may shrink breast cancers
HOUSTON (UPI) -- A drug that targets cell surface receptors may shrink breast cancer tumors in six weeks, a U.S. scientist reports. Dr. Angel Rodriguez of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston says the drug -- a tyrosine kinase inhibitor known as lapatinib -- could decrease tumor-causing breast cancer stem cells in women receiving treatment given before primary surgery. Rodriguez and colleagues studied 45 patients with locally advanced breast cancer in which the gene HER-2 was over-expressed. The patients received lapatinib for six weeks, followed by a combination of weekly trastuzumab and thrice-weekly docetaxel, given over 12 weeks, before primary surgery. Biopsies were performed at the time of diagnosis and also after six weeks of lapatinib and cells from the tumors were obtained and analyzed. "We saw significant tumor regression after six weeks of single-agent lapatinib," Rodriguez said in a statement. "Bi-dimensional tumor measurements showed a median decrease of minus 60.8 percent." The findings are being presented at the sixth European Breast Cancer Conference in Berlin.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, May 2, 2008


British Anti-drinking Drive Targets Women
LONDON (UPI) -- The British government plans a new campaign aimed at convincing middle-age women drinking can be dangerous to their health. The center of the campaign is a newly found link between heavy drinking and breast cancer, The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers say consuming 14 units of alcohol a week increases the risk of breast cancer by 60 percent. Many in Britain are drinking more, and wine glasses have become larger and some wines more alcoholic. That means a woman who drinks one large glass of wine a day could be consuming more than 20 units a week. A unit is 10 milliliters of pure alcohol -- roughly the equivalent of one small glass of wine. Previous government campaigns have focused on teenagers and especially on binge drinking. Dawn Primarolo, the public health minister, acknowledged a change in target. "This group of middle-age women is under everybody's radar," she said. "There is a great deal of harm being caused to them. People need to be reminded of the health consequences. It is not only the issues around breast cancer but also, increasingly, liver disease, unplanned pregnancies and ruptured bladders. This is dreadful stuff."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Your Health: New Laser Technology Opens Blocked Arteries
Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
With more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels crisscrossing the human body, it's not surprising that the circulatory system is prone to a few problems. One of the most serious problems is peripheral artery disease, a condition characterized by the buildup of cholesterol plaques in the arteries. Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, as it's commonly known, can affect any artery outside the heart and brain, but it most frequently affects the arteries of the legs. With time, the continued accumulation of cholesterol causes the arteries to become progressively narrower, reducing the flow of blood to the legs and feet. In some cases, PAD can ultimately necessitate amputation of the affected limb. According to the American Heart Association, eight to 12 million American adults currently suffer from PAD. Unfortunately, nearly three-quarters of these individuals aren't even aware they have the condition. Many remain undiagnosed simply because they don't have any symptoms of the disease, including pain, numbness or tingling in the lower legs and feet, and sores that don't heal properly. Some undiagnosed PAD-sufferers experience a number of these troubling symptoms, but mistakenly attribute them to other causes. "In the early stages, patients with peripheral artery disease may not feel it at all," explained Craig Walker, M.D., founder and chief medical officer of the Cardiovascular Institute of the South. "But as blood supply is further reduced, they may begin to experience pain in the leg muscles with walking." As the condition progresses, leg pain often becomes severe, even during periods of rest. Without proper blood flow, the skin, muscles, and other tissues of the lower extremity are starved of oxygen and nutrients. As a result, the tissues of the legs and feet can begin to die. Tissue death may manifest as a non-healing ulcer that ultimately progresses to gangrene. "Peripheral artery disease is the leading cause of amputation in the U.S. at this time," said Walker. "It causes a tremendous amount of pain and suffering." Even under the best circumstances, amputation is a dangerous surgery that carries a high risk of death. In many cases, limb loss can be avoided with the appropriate treatment. Treatment often involves a procedure called angioplasty, in which a tiny balloon is inserted into the affected artery and inflated at the site of the blockage, reducing the size of the cholesterol plaque. Angioplasty is often followed by the placement of a small metal coil, called a stent, which widens the artery and holds it open. When balloon angioplasty and stenting aren't the best options, patients may undergo bypass surgery. Using a healthy blood vessel from another part of the patient's body, or one made of a synthetic material, surgeons reroute the flow of blood around the blocked or narrowed artery. The development of new technology has given surgeons another option for the treatment of PAD. An FDA-approved device, known as the Spectranetics excimer laser, produces pulsed bursts of ultraviolet light energy that vaporizes cholesterol buildup in clogged arteries. Known as a cool laser, the device doesn't produce the high temperatures commonly associated with other laser treatments. As a result, patients undergoing excimer laser therapy typically do not experience pain. Successful treatment brings about an immediate improvement in blood flow to the compromised limb. Even better, treatment with the excimer laser may reduce the need for amputation in patients with severe PAD. "Most patients who need amputations aren't good surgical candidates: They're just too sick to have the surgery," Walker noted. "With this new technique, we can save limbs in 90 percent of these patients for longer than a year." Although treatment options for peripheral artery disease are improving, prevention is still the best medicine. Two of the most easily modifiable risk factors are cigarette smoking and lack of regular physical activity. Among people with PAD, smokers tend to develop symptoms about 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Walking just three times a week, even for short distances, not only slows the progression of PAD; it also helps reduce the likelihood of developing the disease in the first place. Diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels are other important risk factors for peripheral artery disease. Fortunately, many of these conditions can be controlled with the appropriate medications and lifestyle changes. The good news is that when you reduce your risk for peripheral artery disease, you're simultaneously reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke. The steps that you take to save your limbs could end up saving your life. ======== Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., is a family physician in Kingsport, Tenn., and author of "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Web site is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc.