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  1. Low D in allergy link

    Adults aren't the only ones suffering through a record-breaking allergy season -- kids are getting their own taste of the sniffles, sneezes, and wheezes... many for the first time in their young lives.

    But instead of blaming the high pollen count, the accusing finger should be pointed instead at low levels of vitamin D.

    Researchers used data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to compare serum levels of D in roughly 3,100 kids and 3,400 adults to their food and environmental allergy sensitivities.

    They didn't find any link in adults... but kids with low D levels were more likely to have sensitivities to 11 of the 17 allergens tested -- including ragweed, oak, ryegrass, Bermuda grass, and thistle.

    Kids with low D were also 2.4 times more likely to have a peanut allergy than kids with higher levels of the vitamin, and more likely to be sensitized to everything from shrimp to cockroaches to dogs.

    Here's the thing, though: The researchers say these high-allergy youths had D levels of just 15 nanograms per milliliter of blood -- lower than even the ridiculously minimal levels recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

    Makes me wonder if kids are getting outside at all anymore!

    TV, Internet and videogames have turned children into housecats -- but at least cats are smart enough to lay in a sunbeam or sit on a windowsill.

    Kids, on the other hand, will pick the darkest corner of the home and stay there for days if you let them -- and that's led to a massive increase in the number of D deficiencies from earlier-than-ever ages.

    In some areas, doctors are even seeing a resurgence of rickets, a bone-twisting condition caused by a lack of the sunshine vitamin.

    If there's one gift you can give your child or grandchild right now, make it a jar of quality D3 vitamins.

    And while you're at it, consider one for yourself. Odds are, you're deficient too. p.s. D won't just help ease allergies in kids -- a study of Japanese schoolchildren found that 1,200 mg of D3 a day made kids three times less likely to get colds and 58 percent less likely to get influenza A than children given a placebo.

  2. Cell phones in new cancer link

    OK, confession time: I don't go anywhere without my iPhone.

    But I use it more for email than the phone -- and when I do make calls, it's always with the earphones.

    And I mean always.

    There are enough studies linking cellphones to brain tumors that I don't want one of these things pressed against my head for ANY length of time -- and when you hear the latest news, you might want to take a few precautions yourself.

    I'll have some tips on that in a moment.

    First, the big news that you've probably heard by now: The cancer arm of the World Health Organization has added cellphones to its list of possible carcinogens, where it joins well-recognized hazards such as lead, gasoline fumes, DDT, and chloroform.

    Not exactly the kind of company you want your constant companion to keep.

    The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer says there just aren't enough long-term studies out there proving these things are safe -- and the limited research we do have is strong enough to sound the alarm.

    For example, a study last year found that people who used cellphones the most had double the risk of brain gliomas, a form of tumor. And six of eight cellphone studies reviewed by the WHO in 2009 found that heavy talkers were up to 39 percent more likely to get tumors.

    Scary? Definitely. But here's the good news: You don't have to unplug everything and move into a cave.

    You don't even have to give up your phone -- just make small changes to the way you use it:

    1)Never put a cellphone to your ear. Instead, used headphones or earbuds with a built-in microphone. Some phones, like my iPhone, come with these. You could also use the speakerphone... but that's probably not a good idea on the train or in your local coffee shop.

    2)Keep the phone in a bag or briefcase -- not on your body. You might find it handy to be literally joined at the hip, but other studies have linked cellphones to bone loss on the hip and pelvis, as well as low sperm quality in men.

    3)When you're at home or in your office, forward your cellphone to your landline -- and then turn it off.

    4)And whatever you do, keep all cellphones away from kids. Their thinner skulls allow radiation to penetrate deeper -- putting them at an even greater risk.

    See? No dramatic lifestyle changes... just a little less convenience in exchange for a lot less risk.

    That's a trade I'll make every time.

  3. Antidepressant doesn't work for hot flashes

    Researchers behind a much stronger study found that this antidepressant -- which barely works for depression, by the way -- had no impact at all on hot flashes... even at increasingly higher doses.
  4. Ending the pain mystery

    British researchers recruited 80 patients with an average age of 50 who had made at least eight trips to the doctor over the past year for conditions that included chronic pain, fatigue, and/or emotional problems. Many of these patients were in so much pain they had trouble completing everyday tasks, had problems at work, or even disability.
  5. Rose-colored relief from migraines

    You've heard the expression about looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Well, it turns out real-life floral lenses won't just help give you a sunnier outlook on life -- they can actually help beat migraine pain.
  6. When will it end?

    What if you had an expiration date stamped somewhere on your body -- a little message that says exactly how much longer you might live? Would you even want to look at it? Would you let your family see it? Researchers say they've found just such a mark, hidden in your bloodstream -- and they'll read yours... for a price.
  7. A new look at LDL

    You've probably heard that LDL cholesterol is bad -- they even call it "bad cholesterol," and you'd have to earn a name like that, right? Well, not so fast... because despite what you've heard, your body needs its cholesterol -- even that supposed "bad" stuff.
  8. Painkillers boost heart risk

    Researchers say non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can boost the risk of another attack or even death by as much as 45 percent in a single week of use -- and by 55 percent after three months.
  9. Low sodium, high risk

    A new study is shaking up the conventional wisdom on salt, as researchers have found that people who consume "too much" of it actually have the lowest risk of death by heart attack.
  10. Your thirsty, thirsty brain

    But while soda will actually rot your brain, there's another beverage that really can protect it -- and it's something many of us already enjoy at the end of the day: Booze.
  11. Slow motions pack a real punch

    This ancient martial art can help beat everything from physical pain to depression -- and new studies show how it can help speed recovery in heart failure patients, reduce the risk of falls, and even improve your mental health.
  12. BPA linked to infant illness

    Researchers wrote in Environmental Health Perspectives that the baby was normal at birth, but a month later was found to be suffering from tremors, abnormal movements and increased muscle tone.
  13. Common painkiller ups cancer risk

    It's the everyday pill that's in everyone's medicine chest -- and millions of people pop 'em twice a day or more in a misguided and dangerous attempt to beat life's aches and pains.
  14. Asparagus beats bacteria in lab tests

    Indian researchers set out to test these ancient folk remedies against tough bacteria and fungi by collecting samples from the mouths of 40 oral cancer patients.
  15. Safe ADHD meds? Don't bet your kid's life

    These drugs have been linked to everything from bizarre behavior to extreme violence and suicide -- and that's not even getting into the more typical side effects, which range from headache and nausea to hallucinations and addiction.
  16. Actos in new cancer link

    When researchers tracked more than half a million diabetes drug reactions reported to the FDA between 2004 and 2009, they found 138 cases of bladder cancer among patients who took one or more of 15 different meds, including Actos.
  17. The earlier the better for colon screenings

    Researchers looked at more than 1,000 procedures carried out over a four- month period by 28 doctors, paying particular attention to the number of polyps detected in relation to the time of day and where a patient was in line.
  18. Docs push needless tests

    It's the worst kept secret in all of medicine: Docs who own testing equipment order more tests. The more expensive the equipment, the more tests they order.
  19. The carb-kidney connection

    A low-carb diet won't just help diabetics lose weight, seize control of their blood sugar and lower the risk of heart problems--it can also turn back the clock and undo some of the disease's deadliest damage.
  20. 'Wine antioxidant' can lower blood sugar

    Resveratrol has been called the "fountain of youth" for its anti-aging powers--but the benefits of this great antioxidant are more than just skin deep. And now, researchers say it might even help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels in check.

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