New Way to Improve Immune System Discovered

Our bodies are incredibly intricate, complex systems, most especially when it comes to ways to improve immune system.

Scientists at Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute have recently uncovered a danger receptor that might just kick-start the immune reaction in our bodies.

The receptor picks up signs of abnormal cell death that can be caused by a tumor or injury and then mobilizes the body’s defenses.

Cell death is a natural body process where old cells make way for the new, keeping repair and growth going on so that tissues stay healthy.

Sometimes there’s an abnormal type of cell death, called nercrosis that happens as part of an injury or tumor growth.

This makes some evolutionary sense as an injury puts your body at risk of infection – so an immune response is a natural, sensible precaution for the body to take.

Researchers believe that the body somehow is able to sense abnormal cell death and the immune system begins to react.

But until now, no one has located a receptor that detects abnormal cell death.

“After a 15-year hunt, we’ve identified the first ‘danger receptor’ – one which senses abnormal cell death and then triggers an immune response.” says study leader Dr. Caetano Reis e Sousa who leads the Immunobiology Laboratory team as they try to understand how the immune system detects and responds to infection.

“The detection of ‘danger’ could explain some situations when a tumor triggers an immune reaction against itself.”

The team discovered that the DNGR-1 receptor on an immune cell, known as a dendritic cell (a type of messenger that sounds the alert), is what gets the immune response (T cells) going after encountering an abnormal cell death.

Most often the targets of these immune responses are viruses or bacteria, but the UK researchers believe that tumors can also trigger this type of immune reaction. Tumors often have clusters of cells at their core that undergo nercrosis because they are fed by a very limited blood supply.

This might explain why some tumor killing medications do seem to work – they’re able to set off some form of an immune response.

With this latest finding researchers are hoping to be able to develop cancer treatments that work with the power of the immune system to help shrink tumors.

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer information, said: “The concept of using the body’s immune system to fight cancer has been around for decades, but advances in recent years have made this field of research a very exciting one.”

The work of the British team appears in the most recent issue of Nature.

Continues below…


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UK Researchers Uncover Signal That Kick Starts Your Immune System continued

Research continues in the area of vaccine development and immunotherapy, and there have been a very small number of people (mostly melanoma patients) who’ve been helped by vaccines.

Today there are two types of cancer vaccines – ones to prevent cancer and ones that treat the cancer. Dendritic cell vaccines are thought to treat cancer, though much more study is needed.

What’s more, if modern medicine can learn more about how to improve immune system processes this could not only help in treating cancers, but with preventing rejection of transplanted organs.

Can This Vitamin Improve Vision?

A recent Harvard Medical School study shows that women who took vitamin B6 and B12, as well as folic acid, had a reduced risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in older Americans. Inexpensive and easy to take, this all-natural solution may offer hope to millions affected by AMD and improve vision.

Age related macular degeneration is a disease linked to getting older that slowly, almost imperceptibly destroys sharp central vision. This is the vision you need to see things clearly, as well as do some basic daily tasks like reading, watching TV, driving.

There are two forms of AMD, wet and dry and the type you have will determine the treatment you’ll use to preserve your sight and keep your eyes as healthy as possible.

For the research, the 5,000 subjects, all women over 40 years old and without signs of age related macular degeneration, were randomly assigned to take a combination of 2.5 milligrams of folic acid, 50 milligrams of vitamin B6 and one milligram of B12 (higher levels than the current daily recommended doses), or a placebo every day.

According to study author William Christen, folic acid, B6 and B12 are known to reduce blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked, if blood levels are high enough, to a greater risk of age related macular degeneration.

The subjects the team used in this work were already participating in a study that was investigating using B vitamins for cardiovascular disease, and all the subjects had heart disease or at least three risk factors for it at the start of the study.

Determinations on their eye health were based on examinations of medical records or responses to questionnaires, there were no rigorous eye examinations or retinal photos taken as part of the research.

During the 7 years of follow up, the subjects answered yearly questionnaires to be sure they were taking the vitamins and hadn’t developed any new disease.

During the study, 137 new cases of AMD were diagnosed, 70 of these caused significant vision loss.

But the subjects taking the B vitamins and folic acid had a 34% lower risk of any AMD, and a 41% lower risk of AMD with vision loss as compared with the placebo-taking group.

The researchers believe the benefits of the vitamin therapy didn’t appear until about two years after starting treatment – so this is no quick fix to be sure.

And even though the subjects in the study were women, the findings of the benefits of vitamin B likely apply to all older Americans.

“The trial findings … are the strongest evidence to date in support of a possible beneficial effect of folic acid and B vitamin supplements in AMD prevention,” write the study authors, including William Christen an associate professor of medicine.

The work appears in the February 2009 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine though more research will be needed on other groups of subjects to help find the right level of vitamins needed to benefit the eyes.

Current estimates suggest that 1.75 million people have the advanced form of AMD, and another 7.3 million are in the early stages of disease.

Right now, treatment for AMD is limited to the later stages of the disease, but for the rest of us, there aren’t any preventative measures – except to stop smoking.

Continues below…


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This Doctor Dropped 11 Sizes – Discover Her Shocking Secret

There’s an overwhelming body of research that shows most diets aren’t effective in the long term because they work AGAINST the body…

In fact most people who diet end up putting ON more weight than when they started.

It’s because most diets deprive you of the foods you enjoy, stop you getting the nutrients you need…basically forcing your body into ‘starvation mode’…

Joy Siegrist MD developed a diet that works WITH your body…one that has a 96% success rate.

And to prove it she used it to drop 11 dress sizes.

Click through to see how Dr Joy Siegrist’s program will help you…


A Combination Of B Vitamins Might Lower Risk of Deteriorating Eyesight continued

As you get older, or if you have concerns about AMD, you might want to talk with your own healthcare team about including B vitamins into your supplementing plans.

As water-soluble vitamins, you need to replenish your resources each day. There are also ample natural sources of B vitamins that you might want to include in your diet.

Good dietary sources of the B vitamins, especially B12, are:

- Animal products (meat, poultry)
- Yeast extracts (brewers’ yeast, Marmite).

Other sources include:

- Asparagus, broccoli, spinach, bananas, potatoes
- Dried apricots, dates and figs
- Milk, eggs, cheese, yoghurt
- Nuts and pulses
- Fish
- Brown rice, wheat germ, wholegrain cereals

By including these vitamin b rich foods in your diet you can naturally help your body fight off AMD and improve vision.

Doodling Can Improve Memory Skills

Some might dismiss it as a waste of time or an annoying distraction, but there’s an intriguing study out of the School of Psychology at England’s University of Plymouth that finds doodling might help you remember snippets of information that are mentioned while you’re sketching away.

Doodling may actually improve memory skills and your ability to pay attention and retain details.

Here’s how the study was done.

Researcher Jackie Andrade, Ph.D. of the University of Plymouth’s School of Psychology asked 40 adults who’d just finished another psychology test to listen to a dull audio tape.

The tape had the names of people who would definitely, or probably, be coming to a party, and was two and a half minutes long.

As they listened to the tape, 20 randomly selected subjects were encouraged to doodle on a bit of paper.

The sheet had outlines of squares and circles that they could shade in – perfect for doodling. This type of doodling was selected, as it was least likely to make the participants feel self-conscious.

The other 20 subjects didn’t doodle while listening to the tape for the names, though places were mentioned too.

After the tape was over the subjects took a surprise quiz where they had to remember the partygoers’ names (8 who could come, 3 who could not) and the places (8 different places) that were talked about on the tape, even though they hadn’t been asked to listen for place names.

The doodlers remembered an average 7.5 names and places, 29% more than average – higher than the 5.8 the control group were able to recall.

Andrade’s earlier work had shown the benefits of secondary tasks, like doodling, on concentration.

It seems our minds only have so much attention to give, and once occupied, will stop processing other stimulation.

Magicians use this technique (with both verbal and physical moves) to distract us from the slight of hand part of the show. This is also the argument behind removing cell phones, even hands free models, from vehicles, so drivers focus on the road and only the road.

Apparently it takes a good deal of our cognitive load to daydream and this takes your focus from the primary task.

Doodling on the other hand demands fewer mental resources and is perhaps better able to keep you focused on the main task. So perhaps we truly can do two things at once.

Continues below…


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Want To Improve Your Concentration? Doodle! continued

Andrade concludes, “This study suggests that in everyday life doodling may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing,”

So next time you’re on the phone or in an endless meeting know that it’s natural for your mind to want to wander, but if you must focus grab a pen and bit of paper and sketch away.

In fact, this might be the best thing you can do to improve memory skills and capture the key information you need from the event. The unique British study appears online in the February 27, 2009 “Early View” of Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Protect Against Cancer With This Drink

If you’re a wine lover then you’ve yet another reason to savor a glass with your dinner. A daily glass of wine might protect against cancer by lowering your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, a destructive health problem that often comes before esophageal cancer according to a large, population based study that ran from 2002 to 2005 in California.

Over the last 30 years, the incidence of cancer of the esophagus has increased a whopping 500% in the United States. It’s the nation’s fastest growing cancer.

Effecting about 5% of the population, the precursor condition, Barrett’s esophagus, brings a 30 to 40 times greater risk of developing a type of cancer known as esophageal andenocarcinoma.

“The rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma in this country is skyrocketing, yet very little is known about its precursor, Barrett’s esophagus. We are trying to figure out how to prevent changes that may lead to esophageal cancer,” explains study lead Dr. Douglas A. Corley in a Kaiser Permanente news release.

There aren’t any signs or symptoms of this form of cancer, though it is often found in those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Caucasian men are affected by GERD more often then men of other races or women, with 50 the average age at diagnosis, though the problem may have been present long before.

If you have, or think you have GERD or another digestive concern, you need to talk to your doctor right away.

Often a physician will work to reduce the acid with dietary recommendations or medications, and improvements in your symptoms might help reduce your risk of Barrett’s.

You should know that while GERD does not always lead to Barrett’s esophagus, it does seem to be a risk factor for the troublesome condition that you can do something about.

Published in the March 2009 issue of Gastroenterology, the study involved 953 men and women in Northern California, finding those who drank one or more glasses of red or white wine a day were 56% less likely to develop Barrett’s esophagus.

The risk didn’t go down for those who drank beer or hard liquor, and the protective benefit didn’t go up if subjects drank more than two glasses of wine per day.

The wine study is just one part of a larger Kaiser Permanente study that’s looking at Barrett’s esophagus and abdominal obesity along with taking in dietary antioxidants, like those found in wine.

The larger project found that eating eight servings of vegetables or fruits a day and keeping your body weight in the normal range are the best ways to lower the risk of Barrett’s esophagus.

Continues below…


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Medical Doctor Reveals The Shocking Truth

The real reason you can’t shift those stubborn pounds has nothing to do with a lack of willpower, eating too much or not eating the right kinds of foods – absolutely nothing.

It’s because your gut is full of plaque and parasites that work against you, no matter what you do, making it impossible to lose weight.

However, now there’s a proven way to flush these parasites from your gut and get rid of the plaque, allowing you to shed unwanted pounds fast.

Find out about Dr Suzanne Gudakunst’s brand new program will make you healthier, sexier, fitter and may even save your life!

Read the full report here


Drinking A Glass Of Wine May Keep Cancer At Bay continued

Two other studies, also appearing in the same March 2009 issue of Gastroenterology offered similar findings.

An Australian team found that subjects who drink wine are less likely to develop adenocarcinoma, while Irish researchers reported the risk of esophagitis, the irritation of the esophagus that often comes before Barrett’s esophagus and cancer, was reduced by drinking wine.

At present, treatments for Barrett’s esophagus are unknown, and the best medicine can do is monitor the condition.

In the meantime, you need to be proactive in addressing your own (or someone else’s) symptoms and if you’re offered a glass of wine at dinner, you now have another good reason to accept and drink up as it could protect against cancer.

Cannot Sleep Due to Fears About the Economy?

Cannot sleep because you’re worried about the economy?

You’re not alone according to the results of the 2009 Sleep in America™ poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation. The numbers tell a troubling tale:

- 90% of us report some insomnia a few nights a week over the last month
- 16% of Americans stay awake due to personal financial concerns
- 15% cite worries about the economy
- 10% are worried about employment
- 8% report losing sleep due to costs of health care
- 6% worry over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
- 3% blame the threat of terrorism
- 3% lose sleep over global warming

“It’s easy to understand why so many people are concerned over the economy and jobs, but sacrificing sleep is the wrong solution,” points out David Cloud, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation. “Sleep is essential for productivity and alertness and is a vital sign for one’s overall health.”

We know this, as up to 40% of Americans understand that sleep is as vital as diet and exercise to staying healthy.

The encouraging news is that only two out of every 10 of us sleep fewer than 6 hours a night and this makes us less able to work effectively, to exercise or eat right.

What’s of most concern is that 28% of those surveyed reported nodding off while at the wheel – a major public safety problem.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk with your doctor about what’s going on. And make an effort to practice good sleep habits.

Start by taking a good look at where you sleep.

Look at the mattress and pillow you’re using – how old are they? are they comfortable and supportive enough for you?

Now look at the space itself, is it too bright? too noisy? too hot or cold?

A bedroom that isn’t set up to encourage sleep won’t do any good – you need a sleeping space that’s as peaceful, comfortable and restful as possible.

Once you have the sleeping space set up the way you like, here are other changes to your routine to encourage restful sleep.

- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays or when you’re on vacation.

- Cut out caffeine, nicotine, chocolate, sugar and alcohol, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.

- Resist the urge to nap during the day.

Continues below…


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Economic Worries Are Keeping Almost A Third Of Us Awake continued

- Don’t eat large meals at least 3 hours before going to bed, and limit fluids from late afternoon to avoid repeated nighttime trips to the bathroom.

- Don’t watch the news, or engage in any stimulating or stressful activity within an hour of bedtime.

- Use techniques like deep breathing, progressive relaxation or guided imagery to quiet your mind.

- Wind down with a warm shower or bath, or with a warm, non-caffeinated beverage while listening to relaxing music.

If you cannot sleep, doing all you can to develop healthy sleep habits is one of the best things you can do to give your body the rest it needs. Just as eating right and exercise help you keep your body in good working order… the right amount of sleep makes sure you’re able to rest and recharge so your ready to face the day.

Lose Abdominal Fat to Increase Male Libido

Has research uncovered a biological reason for a lackluster performance in the bedroom? It would seem so, at least if you’re an obese man. However the good news is it shows to increase male libido can be as simple as to lose abdominal fat.

A new study, about to appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, finds that the heavier a man is, the greater the hormonal changes in his body and the worse his intimate life tends to be.

And while obesity in men has been tied to low levels of hormones like testosterone, high levels of estrogen, impaired fertility and lower quality of intimate relationships in other research, science couldn’t say what happens if those men lose the extra weight. Will things improve?

“Previous studies have found that obesity is correlated to lower sperm count and can be associated with infertility, but we wanted to know if obesity was biologically associated with an unsatisfying sex life, and if so, could it be reversible,” explains Dr. Ahmad Hammoud of the University of Utah who was the lead author on the work. “Our results show that the answer to both questions may be yes.”

The subjects, 64 obese men who were participating in the Utah Obesity Study, had testing to check their levels of reproductive hormones, as well as being measured and their body mass index (BM) calculated at the start of the study, and then again two years later.

The participants also filled out questionnaires about the impact of added weight on their quality of life.

On average, the subjects weighed in at 333 pounds, and had BMIs of 46, a full 16 points over 30, the number considered the start of the obese category.

Bariatric surgery expert George Bray, MD, chief of the Clinical Obesity Center at Louisiana State University has found in his own work that testosterone levels drop quite a bit in men with BMIs over 40.

During the study, 22 of the subjects underwent Roux-en-Y, the most common form of gastric bypass surgery in the U.S.

These men lost anywhere from 40 to 100 pounds. The subjects who lost weight due to the surgery were found to have increases in both total and free testosterone levels, lower levels of estradol, and reported a better quality to their sex lives at the end of the two year study.

This finding may bring medicine a new understanding of how carrying (or losing) extra weight impacts a man’s sex life.

The team also noted that lower testosterone levels and ratings for the quality of a man’s sex life were linked to increases in BMI.

So the heavier a man was, the more likely he was to have poor quality intimate relations.

Continues below…


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Why Being Overweight Can Ruin Intimate Relations, And How To Turn Things Around

Of course more work is needed to solidify a cause and effect relationship. But the study opens the door to new treatments, perhaps with testosterone, to help improve the sex lives of morbidly obese men.

In the meantime, if you’re overweight, losing as little as 5% of your body weight (multiply your weight by .05) can cut your risk for some dangerous diseases, and have you feeling healthier too.

When it comes to how to lose abdominal fat, slow and steady wins this race – you want to aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds (not more than 3) a week.

This type of weight loss will also require getting more active – 30 minutes of moderately difficult physical activity each day, or as many days of the week as you can manage.

By getting up and getting active, obese men might just find they increase male libido.

The Truth About Vegetables and Cancer

Love it or hate it, the rich source of nutrients in leafy green vegetables have shown themselves to be remarkably beneficial in two very different studies for two very different, but equally devastating, conditions. At last find out the link between vegetables and cancer.

The first, conducted by a team out of UCLA, identified a compound found in broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables) that might help to stop respiratory inflammation, the kind that’s linked to diseases like asthma, allergic rhinitis and COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Known to science as sulforaphane, the compound is naturally part of fresh broccoli and seems to stimulate the production of more than one antioxidant enzyme in the airway.

These work to protect the airway against tissue damaging free radicals that are an unavoidable part of the air we breathe every day.

The study, published in the March 2009 issue of Clinical Immunology, involved 65 people who got different doses of either broccoli or alfalfa sprout preparations for three days in a row.

Broccoli sprouts are the richest source of sulforaphane, while the alfalfa doesn’t have any of the compound and so acted as a placebo.

Rinses of nasal passages were collected at the start and end of the study, and the UCLA team found significant increases of antioxidant enzymes at broccoli sprout intake of 100 grams and higher, compared with the placebo group.

The maximum broccoli dosage of 200 grams caused a 101% increase of key antioxidant enzymes.

“We found a two to threefold increase in antioxidant enzymes in the nasal airway cells of study participants who had eaten a preparation of broccoli sprouts,” explains lead investigator Dr. Marc Riedl, an assistant professor of clinical immunology and allergy at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“This strategy may offer protection against inflammatory processes and could lead to potential treatments for a variety of respiratory conditions.”

More work is needed before a specific dose can be determined, still upping your intake of delicious, all natural broccoli is a great part of a healthy, balanced diet.

The second of the two studies, undertaken by a team from Penn State College of Medicine, involved compounds taken from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli that were used on mice in an effort to judge their cancer fighting ability, specifically as it relates to melanoma.

As one of the most invasive and deadly forms of skin cancer, melanoma in its advanced stages is difficult to treat, and there aren’t many options for patients.

This work sought to change that – to see if there was a compound that might disrupt this type of cancer.

After screening a library of natural substances, the team identified some good candidates, but potency was an issue, and work had to be done to make the natural compounds even more potent.

That’s where the team altered the vegetable-based compounds by replacing their sulfur bonds with selenium.

This created a more powerful medication that can be delivered in low doses via IV.

Curiously, selenium deficiency is well known in cancer patients, and the substance has also been shown to destabilize proteins in certain types of cancer cells.

The results are intriguing. Not only did the compounds slow the production and interfered the signaling network of a protein that’s involved in melanoma development, tumor growth was cut by 60%.

When the team tested the combination drug they’d created on human melanoma cells, they saw anywhere from 30% to 70% effectiveness.

Good numbers, but only a beginning. Human trials of this new drug are likely years away.

Continues below…


*Highly Recommended*

Medical Doctor Reveals The Shocking Truth

The real reason you can’t shift those stubborn pounds has nothing to do with a lack of willpower, eating too much or not eating the right kinds of foods – absolutely nothing.

It’s because your gut is full of plaque and parasites that work against you, no matter what you do, making it impossible to lose weight.

However, now there’s a proven way to flush these parasites from your gut and get rid of the plaque, allowing you to shed unwanted pounds fast.

Find out about Dr Suzanne Gudakunst’s brand new program will make you healthier, sexier, fitter and may even save your life!

Read the full report here


Two Very Good Reasons To Eat More Broccoli continued…

Gavin Robertson, associate professor of pharmacology, pathology and dermatology at Penn State who holds a provisional patent on the discovery concludes, “We have harnessed something found in nature to target melanoma. And since we only need tiny amounts to kill the cancer cells, it means even less toxic side effects for the patient.”

Both the UCLA and Penn State research point out that broccoli is one of the better vegetables when considering the benefits of vegetables and cancer. Not only is it delicious, and packed with nutrients, but it might offer some help (and hope) in the fight against some pretty dangerous, sometimes deadly, diseases.

Lose Your Love Handles and Improve Lung Capacity

Take a deep breath – if you have a little extra belly fat about the middle; doing this might be harder for you than for someone with a trimmer waistline, which makes the effort to lose your love handles all the more important - this according to a recent large-scale, population based study conducted by French researchers that appears in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

We’ve all heard that a larger waistline puts you at risk for a variety of health problems – to say nothing of how it makes you feel – now there’s proof that being big around the middle can affect your lungs, and not in a good way…

The research relied on 120,000 men and women (recruits at French clinics between 1999 and 2006) and was looking for an association between lung function and metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors (cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, insulin resistance) that come along with those extra inches around the midsection.

Anyone with metabolic syndrome is at increased risk of coronary heart disease or type 2 diabetes – estimates currently have over 50 million Americans with this dangerous condition.

For the study, abdominal obesity was categorized using well-known boundaries…

A waist circumference larger than 35 inches (89 cm) for women; 40 inches (102 cm) for men was considered in the abdominally obese range. If you’d like to take your own waist measurement, just for fun, grab a tape measure and:

1) Find your upper hipbone, from there the measurement should be taken just about one inch above your navel.

2) Holding the start of the tape measure in place, bring the remaining tape around your abdomen using firm (but not enough to compress the skin) pressure. Be sure the measuring tape is straight, and lying flat all the way around.

3) You waist measurement is the number where the measuring tape you’ve put around your waist crosses over the starting point.

The participants in the study had physical exams, blood tests, waistline measurements, tests of lung function and reported on their smoking status.

Subjects who had metabolic syndrome were almost 1.4 times more likely to have impaired lung function as well.

But unexpectedly, those with extra belly fat were twice as likely to have problems with breathing – even if their overall weight was normal.

What’s more, this decreased lung capacity was independent of smoking history and even overall BMI.

The link remained even after the researchers excluded subjects who had cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.

It appears that the abdominal obesity has an impact on breathing that we are only just beginning to recognize.

Even woman with a waist measurement at the 35 inch mark had an 8% drop in lung capacity.

The leader of the study, Dr Natalie Leone of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, explains, “We found a positive independent relationship between lung function impairment and metabolic syndrome due mainly to abdominal obesity.”

The next step would be to study the underlying biology of the decreased lung function in those with larger waist measurements.

Continues below…


*Highly Recommended*

This Doctor Dropped 11 Sizes – Discover Her Shocking Secret

There’s an overwhelming body of research that shows most diets aren’t effective in the long term because they work AGAINST the body…

In fact most people who diet end up putting ON more weight than when they started.

It’s because most diets deprive you of the foods you enjoy, stop you getting the nutrients you need…basically forcing your body into ‘starvation mode’…

Joy Siegrist MD developed a diet that works WITH your body…one that has a 96% success rate.

And to prove it she used it to drop 11 dress sizes.

Click through to see how Dr Joy Siegrist’s program will help you…


Trouble Breathing? There’s Good Reason To Blame Belly Fat continued…

Today researchers are just beginning to understand the link between abdominal fat and trouble breathing.

There are several theories…

Carrying weight around the middle might affect breathing by restricting the diaphragm or chest wall making it harder for the lungs to fill with air – a mechanical difficulty of sorts.

Other explanations suggest that fat tissue may increase inflammatory processes in the whole body, and this could bring on breathing problems.

The editorial that appears with the study suggests physicians measure the waist of patients who are undergoing respiratory tests.

If you’re carrying more fat around the middle than you’d like, and are having trouble breathing, a visit to your doctor is in order.

The French research points out, yet again, the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle and working to lose the love handles so that dangerous belly fat doesn’t get the chance to settle in and get comfortable.

How Exercise for Older People can Prolong Life

We all know that exercise is amazingly good for us and that regular exercise and being active helps us live longer. But does exercise for older people make a diference? For those of us who’ve avoided working out all our lives, can getting a late start do any good?

A solid study out of Sweden presents compelling evidence that it really doesn’t matter if you have not worked out until mid-life – just so long as you get up and get moving, you’ll still be able to prolong your life.

A team from Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institute conducted the study, and the work was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

As a population-based cohort project, men were followed for 35 years, and beyond the physical activity, and any changes between surveys, the scientists looked activity level versus quitting smoking to see which key lifestyle change might have the most impact on how long you live.

The researchers gathered data from over 2,200 men who were age 50 before 1973. The subjects completed surveys that asked four basic questions about leisure time activity, and were grouped based on their responses into low, medium or high activity types.

Subjects were then examined again at ages 60, 70, 77 and 82 and any changes in physical activity level were also recorded.

Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking status, use of alcohol and body mass index (BMI) were taken at each survey point.

The team also looked at the men’s educational levels, socioeconomic group and occupations from both the 1970 and 1980 census data. Any medical or psychiatric diagnoses were caught by the national hospital discharge register, deaths through the Swedish National Population Register. All are exceptionally reliable sources of information that can be easily obtained.

The change in physical activity between ages 50 and 60 was given special attention.

At the beginning of the study in the early 1970s, about half of the subjects said they engaged in a high level of activity – at least 3 hours of recreational sports or heavy work in the garden each week.

Thirty six percent reported medium activity – listing activities like walking and cycling, and 15% fell into the low activity or sedentary category.

In the end, the mortality rates were highest among the men who got the least activity, and lowest for the men who were the most active.

But interestingly and reassuringly after a decade, the mortality rate in men who’d increased their activity was the same, over years of time mind you, as the subjects who’d kept up high levels of activity throughout the study. The benefit was on par with quitting smoking.

After adjusting for other risk factors, subjects who reported high levels of activity from age 50 onward were expected to live 2.3 years longer than subjects who were the least physically active, and 1.1 years longer than the men who’d originally reported medium physical activity.

This is certainly a significant amount of time, and well worth a commitment to regular physical activity.

“It shows that it is never too late to start exercising,” according to Karl Michaelsson, lead researcher. The work appears in the March 5, 2009 British Medical Journal, BMJ.

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It’s Never Too Late To Start Exercising to Live Longer continued…

You should also understand that while this study is solidly designed and carefully executed, a person’s health (and lifespan) are likely determined by a complex interplay of medical, psychological, social and lifestyle choices – these certainly weren’t considered in the work.

And as a still surprising amount of research does, this work applies only to men, women were not part of the study so the results can’t automatically be applied to females, although it is likely that the results will be similar.

Consider the study a wake up call if you’re not active… or active enough. But know too that exercise for older people isn’t the only healthy lifestyle choice you’ll need to make in order to add years to your life.

Effects of Drinking Alcohol Different for Old and Young

There’s no getting around it, the population is getting older… what’s more, these numbers are only expected to increase in the years to come. In fact, by 2030, one in five U.S. residents will be over 65 years old.  And since more than half of older adults report themselves as social drinkers, research that looks at alcohol impairment and aging found that the effects of drinking alcohol is very different for older people.

The study, a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted by University of Florida researchers and published in the March 2009 issue of The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, is based on research that involved both older (aged 50 to 74) and younger (aged 25 to 35) subjects who were social drinkers and nonsmokers.

Some subjects from each age group drank a moderate amount of alcohol while others consumed non-alcoholic, placebo beverages.

Each group was then asked to take a test at 25 and again at 75 minutes after drinking the beverage.

The tests called for subjects to use a line to connect letters and numbers in order. The exam helps to measure planning, visual and motor coordination as well as the ability to move from one task to the next.

Participants also rated how intoxicated they felt, and how much they thought the alcohol hurt their performance on the test.

And while peak breath-alcohol measures were similar between the younger and older groups – showing they metabolize alcohol in similar ways, older subjects who had drunk alcohol took longer to finish the test than the younger participants did.

Soon after having the alcohol, older subjects took an average five seconds longer to complete the test than those who didn’t have an alcoholic drink.

The non-drinking subjects also saw no difference in test performance related to age.

“That doesn’t sound like much, but five seconds is a big difference if you’re in a car and need to apply the brakes,” researcher Sara Jo Nixon, a psychiatry professor at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute explains. “It can mean the difference between a wreck, and not-a-wreck.”

What’s more troubling, older drinkers were found to be less aware that they were impaired, especially at the 25 minute mark after drinking.

At the 75 minute point, the older drinkers reported themselves more impaired, though they performed just about the same as the older people who hadn’t drunk any alcohol, so waiting does make a difference.

So, all the more reason to follow up the alcoholic drinks you enjoy as part of your lunch or dinner with dessert and coffee.

Allow some time to pass so that your body has chance to metabolize the alcohol you’ve taken in, and you’ll be better able to react and perform when needed, on the road or elsewhere.

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Older Drinkers Less Likely To Recognize How Alcohol Affects Them continued…

Of course, the best and safest route if you’ve been drinking, even a little bit earlier in the evening, is to hand your car keys to a designated driver.

The statistics speak for themselves. An alcohol related car accident kills someone every 31 minutes, with a person being hurt every 2 minutes.

Much more common over the holiday season, drunk driving is the leading criminal cause of death in the United States, and in 2007 nearly 13,000 (a decrease of 3.7% from 2006) people died in car accidents that involved alcohol-impaired drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So, it’s important for all drinkers to be aware of the effects of drinking alcohol and take the neccessary steps to stop drunk driving.