Topic 1

  1. Colonoscopies and polyps

    Slow and steady wins the colon screening "race"

    It's the most important part of the colonoscopy -- the time when the doctor actually looks for and removes potentially dangerous growths, polyps, from the colon.

    If there's a time when a doc should slow down and pay attention, this is it.

    Yet too many doctors rush through the procedure, taking the absolute minimum recommended time of six minutes. These doctors are probably confident... they probably believe they're really good at what they do... and I'm sure they think they can do the job just as well when they work fast.

    But a new study shows otherwise.

    When doctors spend just six minutes, they miss growths. And when they take their time, they do the job right.

    For every minute after 6, the likelihood of spotting and removing adenomas rises by 50 percent. And for every minute past the 6-minute mark, the odds of finding clinically significant serrated polyps jumps by 77 percent.

    The numbers level off at the 9-minute mark, according to the study.

    In other words, a doc who spends less than 9 minutes could be missing polyps and other growths -- and every growth he misses is one that could someday hurt or even kill you.

    Clearly, you want a doctor willing to take his time. But since you'll be under general anesthesia, you won't really know how long he takes.

    That's why it's important to choose a good doctor who you can trust to do the job right. One option is to get a recommendation not just from a friend, but from someone in the know. Try asking your doctor -- but don't just ask him for a referral.

    Ask him who he sees for his colonoscopy.

    Along with making sure you find a doctor willing to take his time, also make sure you choose the right time for your procedure.

    And that means waking up early.

    Studies have shown that doctors are more likely to spot polyps earlier in the day -- and as the day goes on, they get less accurate.

    Choosing an early-morning procedure comes with two other advantages. First, you don't spend the day dreading the looming colonoscopy. And second, since you can't eat until after the screening, you don't have to suffer from hunger.

    Finally, choose a real colonoscopy instead of a virtual one. Virtual procedures are less accurate and use radiation -- and if the doctor spots any growths, you have to undergo a real colonoscopy to remove it anyway.

  2. People who drink diet soda eat more empty calories

    'Diet' soda makes you eat more

    It's the one change many dieters make almost immediately -- and it's a fatal mistake that can undermine the diet before it even starts.

    It's diet soda.

    People assume that switching from sugary high-calorie soft drinks to diet sodas with no sugar and no calories will help the pounds melt away like an ice cube in summer.

    But it doesn't really work that way.

    Diet soda drinkers are actually more likely to gain weight, not lose it -- and now, a new study shows at least one reason why: They eat more.

    On average, an obese adult who drinks diet soda eats nearly 200 more calories per day than an obese adult who drinks regular soda. And for the overweight, the daily difference amounts to 88 calories, according to the study in the American Journal of Public Health.

    Even worse, diet soda drinkers don't eat more high-quality calories. They're not eating more carrots or apples.

    They're eating more sugary treats.

    It seems like one way or another, they're set on getting their daily sugar fix -- and if it doesn't come from soda, it's going to come from candy, cake or something equally bad.

    But a diet soda habit can actually make those sweet treats even more damaging.

    Here's the deal: The sweet taste of a diet soft drink prepares the brain for calories, and it gets ready to release the hormones that handle sugar.

    But when the calories don't come, the brain gets confused.

    It's determined not to get fooled again -- so when sugar really does arrive (like those 200 extra calories of junk food), it fails to release the hormones.

    And that, in turn, could lead to more hunger, more cravings and more weight gain.

    It's a vicious cycle that helps explain why diet soda drinkers almost never get healthier. In fact, studies have shown that diet soda can actually double your risk of metabolic syndrome and boost your risk of diabetes by as much as 60 percent.

    And if that's not enough risk for you, diet soda can also boost the odds of heart attack and stroke.

    This doesn't mean regular soda is better, of course. It's all bad -- and if you want to be healthy, you're better off avoiding all of it completely. Water is obviously a better choice, and if you want some flavor you can infuse fruit.

    For fizz, try seltzer.

    And don't forget tea -- hot or iced, it's always a healthy choice... as long as you don't add sugar or diet sweeteners.

  3. Water tests expose contaminants across U.S.

    Dangerous contaminants are turning up in water across the country -- including treated water -- according to new tests.
  4. Vitamin B12 levels can slash your risk of a fracture

    Vitamin B12 can reduce the risk of fracture, especially lumbar fracture, according to a new study of senior men.
  5. Beat diabetes risk factors with diet

    Switching to a Mediterranean diet with olive oil can help you to avoid diabetes even if you're already at risk for it.
  6. Vitamin E can slow Alzheimer's

    Vitamin E -- but not drugs -- can slow the functional decline in Alzheimer's patients, according to new research.
  7. Meniscus injury doesn't need surgery

    Meniscus surgery is unnecessary most of the time as new research shows that a sham procedure works just as well.
  8. Calcium deposits predict heart risk

    Levels of calcium in the artery are one of the best predictors of heart risk -- not cholesterol.
  9. Sleep medications could cause heart attack

    The main ingredient in sleep drugs such as Ambien can increase your risk of a heart attack by up to 50 percent, according to new research.
  10. FDA rules for antibiotics are really no rules at all

    The FDA's plan to crack down on antibiotic use on factory farms will do nothing to stop the overuse of the drugs, leading to the creation of more superbugs.
  11. Common anesthesia linked to death risk

    One of the most commonly used anesthesia drugs could boost your risk of serious heart problems and even death, according to new research. Here's how to protect yourself.
  12. Healthy Aging

    If you want to live longer and avoid major disease, stick to these five basic "clean living" habits.
  13. Benefits of apples better than statins

    An apple a day can save about as many lives as statins -- but without the risks, according to new research.
  14. Do multivitamins work?

    A new study claims you don't need your vitamins -- but one look at the details shows the study didn't really find that at all. Get the truth here.
  15. Vitamin D benefits bones

    Vitamin D can protect your bones -- but only if you get the right amount. New research shows you need a minimum of 1,000 IUs per day, and probably more.
  16. Triclosan is too dangerous to use

    A common ingredient in soap is about to be banned because it's too dangerous to use. It's called triclosan, and it's used in antibacterial soap.
  17. Most seniors don't need blood pressure meds

    New rules for blood pressure meds will take millions of seniors off these unnecessary drugs -- and most of the others who take them also don't need them.
  18. Vitamin D benefits: proven to work

    A new study claims vitamin D supplements do nothing -- but the study was loaded with major mistakes, including ultra-low doses. Get the real story here.
  19. Too much insulin can damage the brain

    Too much insulin can damage the brain and lead to memory loss -- which is why diabetics are especially prone to dementia.
  20. The sleep disorder that can kill you

    Heavy snoring can increase your risk of serious heart problems by 80 percent and double your risk of stroke, according to a study.

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