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Health & Spirit

Most Americans, including smokers, think cigarettes should be harder to get

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You have to be 21 to buy alcohol in the U.S., and most Americans agree that the same age requirement should apply for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products.

A study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 50 percent of U.S. adults "strongly favor" raising the minimum age for purchasing ...Read more

In obesity, heightened imagination for smell may drive food cravings, weight gain

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Close your eyes and imagine the smell of baking bread, of a pungent curry dish, of popcorn at the movies or a bouquet of freshly cut tea roses.

If these prompts send you into swoons of olfactory delight, there's a good chance that upon opening your eyes, an obese person could be staring back at you in the mirror.

New research has found that ...Read more

Sunburn treatment: Can't rush healing, but use these tips for comfort

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"Unfortunately, there's no fast-fix sunburn treatment. Once you have sunburn, the damage is done -- although it may take 12 to 24 hours after sun exposure to know the full extent and severity of sunburn, and several days or more for your skin to begin to heal," says Trent Anderson, Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician.

In the ...Read more

Healthy eating, even when you're in a hurry

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Most Americans have experienced the rush of daily living with demands from work, school or family obligations. Eating healthy can sometimes take a backseat to more pressing matters.

"Although it may seem nearly impossible to make healthy choices when you're so busy," says Grace Fjeldberg, Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian and ...Read more

Diagnosis produced drastic lifestyle change and a switch to 'veganic' growing

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PITTSBURGH -- Before the diagnosis, and long before any thoughts about "veganic farming," Janet McKee was devoting physical and mental energy to a frenzied corporate career.

That lifestyle caught up with her when she learned she had ulcerative colitis -- inflammation of the lining of the large intestine, linked to stress, medications and poor ...Read more

'Baby Friendly' project changing hospital protocol to encourage breast-feeding

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PHILADELPHIA -- In 1989, an international panel of experts called attention to the irony that health workers were preventing many newborns from getting the healthiest possible food -- mother's milk.

Hospital maternity units were contributing, "however unwittingly," to the long decline in breast-feeding by failing to encourage moms to do it, ...Read more

At 12, a cancer veteran serves others, becomes an author

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PHILADELPHIA -- A local children's hospital had too few of the little wagons that young patients prefer to wheelchairs, so Peter Zucca started a foundation to raise money for a fleet of them.

A patient couldn't get blood for a transfusion, so Peter planned a series of drives that began recently.

And when he saw that most books about the ...Read more

In scathing audit, state tax officials slam Blue Shield of California

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LOS ANGELES -- In a scathing audit, state tax officials slammed nonprofit health insurer Blue Shield of California for stockpiling "extraordinarily high surpluses" -- more than $4 billion -- and for failing to offer more affordable coverage or other public benefits.

The California Franchise Tax Board cited those reasons, among others, for ...Read more

Study suggests which glioblastoma patients may benefit from drug treatment

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Clinicians testing the drug dasatinib, approved for several blood cancers, had hoped it would slow the aggressive growth of the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma. While clinical trials to date have not found any benefit, researchers at Mayo Clinic, who conducted one of those clinical trials, believe they know why dasatinib ...Read more

Obamacare cash drives health care merger mania

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LOS ANGELES--A gusher of Obamacare money is fueling a merger frenzy in U.S. healthcare.

The latest jolt came Thursday when Woodland Hills insurer Health Net Inc. agreed to be bought by Medicaid insurer Centene Corp. for $6.8 billion.

And more billion-dollar deals are in the works as health insurers, hospitals and drug companies bulk up in size...Read more

Summer safety tips for the Fourth and beyond

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With the 4th of July holiday upon us, experts at Mayo Clinic are offering up some injury prevention tips on some of the most common reasons that send people to the emergency department this time of year.

-- Consume alcohol in moderation. Imbibing too much alcohol can lead to questionable decision-making, slowed reflexes and false confidence –...Read more

Study: Bariatric surgery, lifestyle changes can control Type 2 diabetes

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PITTSBURGH--Bariatric surgery and lifestyle changes may be a key method of controlling Type 2 diabetes over the long haul, according to a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study published Wednesday.

While researchers previously demonstrated that the surgery can help improve diabetes, the new study is important because it shows the ...Read more

Put aside politics and improve health care, Obama says

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama, fresh from a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court last week that preserved the Affordable Care Act, called for an end to the political fighting over the health law and for more effort to improve it.

"This is about people. This is not about politics, it's not about Washington," Obama said at a town hall-...Read more

Your house may harbor more dangers than you think

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Soap may seem to be keeping germs at bay, but in many homes, it's doing harm. Surprisingly, there are items lurking in most homes that are unhealthy because they're old or contain harmful ingredients. The good news? For the most part, these things simply can be tossed to make the home healthier.

Problem: Antibacterial soap with triclosan

Why ...Read more

'No one ever stared': 'I Am Me' burn camp marks 25 years

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CHICAGO -- Dayia Jones was 9 when her legs were scalded by hot water that spilled after the lid came off a cup as her mother drove away from a fast food restaurant.

The scars were more than just physical for the west suburban Naperville resident, who is now 15. She worried about how other kids would treat her because of her burned upper thighs....Read more

Doctors seek cause behinid dramatic increase in ER trips for kids with food allergies

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The rate of emergency room visits and hospitalizations of children with severe food allergy reactions nearly tripled in Illinois over five years, a recently released study by Northwestern Medicine reported, raising questions about the cause of such a dramatic upswing and offering an especially comprehensive data that may supply insights for what...Read more

Clearing up some common questions about psychiatric medications

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Taking medications on a daily basis can be a chore, but it becomes more challenging if there's lack of understanding of or misconceptions about your medication.

"In my practice, I come across many patients who are skeptical about taking psychiatric medications," says Filza Hussain, M.D., Mayo Clinic Health System behavioral health physician. ...Read more

Two cultures, same risk for cognitive impairment from diabetes

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ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Diabetes is a known risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia, age-related conditions that affect memory and thinking skills. However, little is known about how the diabetes-cognitive decline link compares across cultures.

Scientists from Mayo Clinic and Huashan Hospital in Shanghai explored the association between Type...Read more

As vaping culture gets hot, some drop cigarettes but maybe not all the risks

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KANSAS CITY -- Like many a hard-core smoker, Candi McCann found it a bear to quit. Nothing worked. Not the patch. Not those blue smoking cessation pills her doctor prescribed.

Then she tried those electronic cigarettes that produce a steamy vapor instead of smoke. Click, just like that, she went from more than a pack of smokes a day to becoming...Read more

Buzzkill: Alcohol before dining led many women in study to overeat

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That mellow feeling that settles in when you kick off your shoes, pour yourself a drink and start making dinner should come with a warning: Overeating ahead.

Don't hear it? That would be your brain's reward system--the primitive structures that prime our drives for sex, food and addictive substances--overriding the message.

For many who have ...Read more