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  1. TV-watching kids face heart risk

    Kids. They grow up so fast.

    These days, they don't just talk, act, and behave in ways far beyond their years-- they also face some of the same disease risks once seen only in adults.

    Now, even tots barely out of kindergarten are showing some of the earliest signs of heart disease--and a new study links it to too much time in front of the TV.

    Researchers in Australia quizzed the parents of 1,492 children between the ages 6 and 7 on how much time the little ones spent running around and how much they spent zoning out in front of the tube or plugged into their computers.

    On average, kids spent nearly two hours each day as couch potatoes... and just 36 minutes a day playing outside and being active.

    That's nearly 14 hours a week wasted in front of the tube... and just 4 hours and 12 minutes a week doing what kids used to do all day long.

    And it's killing them.

    You can't see the damage at the age of 6 or 7, not from the outside anyway. So the researchers photographed the arteries in the back of each child's eyes.

    Why there? It's the easiest way to see the small arteries--and the widths of these arteries are often used to help predict heart risk.

    The researchers found that kids who spent the most time being physically active had arteries that were an average of 2.2 microns wider than those of the kids who watched the most television.

    And overall, the researchers say every hour of TV led to an average narrowing of 1.53 microns.

    In adults, that's enough to raise systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg.

    Heart risk isn't the only problem associated with too much TV. One recent study of kids between third and eighth grade found that some children were actually TV addicts--watching 30 hours or more each week.

    These kids were more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, anxiousness and impulsive behavior. They were also likely to have problems fitting in with other kids and serious issues with their schoolwork. (Read more here.)

    But all's not lost. If nothing else, kids have the advantage of time: They're young, and it's not too late to turn off the TV and get them out, active, and back on track.

    Just don't wait too long--because they won't be kids forever.

  2. The vaccine trifecta

    Big Pharma's biggest drug patents are rapidly running out--but don't expect them to pack it in and call it a day.

    There's still big money out there--only now, it's in vaccines... including vaccines that don't always work, vaccines with horrific side effects, and vaccines for conditions that barely exist.

    And some are all three--the hat trick of bad medicine.

    Case in point: Menactra, a vaccine that's supposed to protect kids from invasive meningococcal disease.

    Just one problem: Even the company says the vaccine may not protect everyone, and even the company says the shot may increase the risk of a rare and horrible nervous system disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

    But that didn't stop the feds from recently expanding the vaccine's approval to babies as young as nine months old.

    Don't get me wrong here: Meningococcal disease is a horrific condition that kills between 10 and 15 percent of those who get it and leaves up to 20 percent with permanent disability up to and including lost limbs.

    But it's also a condition so rare that the CDC says only between 1,400 and 2,800 Americans get it in any given year.

    On the other hand, Guillain-Barré syndrome is no picnic either--and it can also lead to death and permanent disability.

    Parents should have the option to weigh one against the other, and decide what they want for their kids at any age... but that's being taken away as states move to require meningococcal vaccines for some kids.

    In most cases, it's college students. They're being forced to choose between a shot and an education--but don't expect it to end there.

    With the FDA now expanding vaccination approval to babies, it may not be long before states start pushing it on every child... and that's exactly what the drug companies are hoping for.

    With the clock ticking on its blockbuster drugs, Big Pharma has been counting on vaccines to pick up the slack--flu shots, HPV shots, meningococcal shots and more... along with second shots for vaccines already on the immunization schedule.

    All those shots have led to a lot of sore shoulders--and a ton of dough.

    Vaccine sales were up 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, to $22.1 billion from $19 billion, and that's just the warm-up act: One projection puts vaccine sales at $52 billion by 2016.

    That's growth of 275 percent in just eight years.

    Who needs a blockbuster drug when vaccines can do that for your company?

  3. Lipo fat comes back

    Ladies, you might think of liposuction as a quick way to get the thunder out of your thighs--but there's only one spot where you're really guaranteed to lose weight: your bank account.
  4. Big men, bigger risks

    For men, it can add up to serious health risk--and a new study finds that a combination of extra height and excess weight is a one-two punch that could increase the risk of potentially deadly blood clots.
  5. Warning: May cause sadness

    Researchers examined data on 2,876 patients in the STAR*D trial who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for 12 weeks. They found that every single patient reported at least three residual depression symptoms, with 75 percent experiencing five or more and some having up to 13 lingering depression symptoms.
  6. Sleep problems linked to brain problems

    While it's great to catch a few extra winks every now and then, too much sleep can actually be every bit as bad for you as too little over the long run.
  7. The new morphine

    Next time you're in pain, don't take a pill--take a few deep breaths instead, because meditation can actually offer real relief.
  8. The hospital epidemic you need to worry about

    A new study finds that medical mistakes may be up to 10 times more common than previously thought, affecting up to a third of all patients admitted to hospitals.
  9. Stroke survival may depend on your neighbors

    Researchers created a scale to measure "neighborhood cohesiveness" by asking 5,789 seniors from three Chicago neighborhoods about the people in their community and how they interact with one another.
  10. Docs say no to airport scans

    Researchers from U.C. San Francisco say the amount of radiation delivered by the airport scanners is equivalent to the normal background radiation absorbed by the body in any given three-to-nine-minute period.
  11. Weight loss can boost memory

    Have you found that you don't remember quite as well as you used to? You're not alone... but if you've packed on the pounds over the years, the cause of your memory loss might not be in your brain. It could actually be in your belly.
  12. New call to ban weight-loss drug

    If a leaky butt, bad gas and hard-to-remove stains in your underwear aren't enough to keep you away from diet drugs, consider this: liver and kidney damage, pancreatitis, and kidney stones.
  13. Get a grip on restless legs

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    Here's a novel way to cure restless leg syndrome: Sex and masturbation. According to a case study published in the journal Sleep Medicine, at least one man has gotten complete relief from RLS by getting... well... that other kind of relief.
  14. School bans homemade lunch

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    Children at Little Village Academy now have two options for lunch: Eat what the school is serving, at a cost of $45 a month... or don't eat at all.
  15. Lifestyle can help duck heartbeat problems

    Not many things can put the scare into you quite like atrial fibrillation--I've heard people say it feels like the heart is trying to break right out of the chest.
  16. What mom eats is what baby wants

    It's never too late to start good eating habits--and it's never too early, either. You might even want to start your own kids off when they're still in the womb-- because a new animal study suggests that our food preferences might be based on what mom ate when she was pregnant.
  17. Dyes linked to hyper kids

    Kids don't need much help getting hyper--they're bundles of energy, and they don't come with an "off" button. But some foods can put them into overdrive, turning an already amped-up child into a full-blown monster--and there's one ingredient in particular that parents need to watch out for: artificial coloring.
  18. The old-fashioned way to fitness

    Researchers assigned 93 obese seniors to one of four groups: One group exercised for 90 minutes three times a week, another reduced food intake by 500-700 calories a day, a third group did both and the fourth did nothing at all.
  19. Music and laughter can lower BP

    A new study out of Japan finds two of our most pleasant diversions--singing and laughing--can help tame the blood pressure beast, and not just by a point or two. Volunteers actually saw seven-point drops--more than enough to bring borderline hypertension patients back from the other side.
  20. Drug side effects skyrocket

    My favorite part of any drug commercial is the long list of side effects at the end--the rhythmic chant of all the "bonuses" you might expect when you take the med.

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