Dealing with the Struggles of Addiction and Depression

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I got a call alerting me that Robin Williams died, and I felt a shadow cross my heart. I loved him. I grew up watching his entire career, laughing hysterically along with the rest of the world at his endless stream of outrageous characters, his brilliant stand up and his dramatic roles. There seemed to be no end to his infinite talent. I, like many parents, had the added affinity for Robin because I was able to share his laughter with my children as they were growing up in the many kids movies in which he starred without an equal. I watched his philanthropy and saw a person with a deep understanding of the power to do good that comes as a responsibility when you are a celebrity. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Must-Know Facts About Ebola, Worst Skin Care Mistakes, Help for Sore Knees and More

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Not sure what to make of the Ebola outbreak? Wondering if your sunscreen offers enough protection? We at Sharecare have all kinds of health information and tips for you. Check out five of our latest posts.

1. Ebola has been all over the news this week, but many of us still have questions about the virus. What are the symptoms? How does it spread? Is there a cure? We’ve got all those answers and more from emergency room physician Darria Long Gillespie, MD.

2. It’s the season of fun in the sun, but too much exposure to harmful UV rays can lead to sunspots, wrinkles and skin cancer. Find out if you’re making these seven skin mistakes, and what to do instead.

3. Don’t let knee or hip pain keep you down. Instead, hit the dance floor – really! A small study found that slow dancing can help relieve joint pain. Find out why, and discover other fun ways to manage chronic pain.

4. Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with hepatitis C? We’ve got good news. With a doctor’s help, you can find ways to control symptoms, prevent liver damage and possibly even be cured. Use this guide for ways to fight back against hep C.

5. Does your focus fade as the hours tick away? Keep your brain and memory sharp all day long by following these five tips from Michael Roizen, MD.

4 Low-Cal, Low-Cost Nutrients to Eat This Summer

black beans Want a surprisingly simple way to optimize your health and cut your grocery bill at the same time?  Here are four summertime foods that promise the top nutritional value per penny and deliver high quality nutrition in every bite. Add them to your next shopping list or look for them on your next trip to the farmers’ market this week. Read more  »

In Case You Missed It: August 4 Through August 8

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If you missed a segment or forgot to jot down a tip this week, we’ve got you covered. Check out these helpful hints and take-aways and click to read more on DoctorOz.com!

 1. Get the truth about high protein diets, including Dr. Oz’s protein prescription to control your weight and stay healthy. Plus, the best beauty uses for baking soda to look your best head to toe.

2. Learn more about the new hidden additive that’s going to be added to your favorite foods and drinks. Find out healthy ways to use honey outside the kitchen and easy tricks to staying hydrated.

3. Dr. Oz reveals the health dangers of diet soda. Break your soda habit with this 28-day plan and learn the top rules to eating clean.

4. Dr. Andrew Weil discusses everyday health hazards and reveals the essential tools you need in your home to stay healthy. Plus, stress-busting foods you can add to your diet to stay calm.

5. How to tell the difference between the symptoms of heartburn and a heart attack. Also, how to stop acid reflux and easy tips for beautiful hair.

Today’s Headlines: Vitamin D, Resistant Starch, and Aspirin

Low vitamin D may increase dementia risk. Elderly people with very low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s, according to a new study out this week. While most of those studied had low vitamin D levels, only those with a severe deficiency (about 4% of those tested) had an increased risk of dementia. “People who had been severely deficient in vitamin D at the start of the study were more than twice as likely to develop dementia in the coming years as people with sufficient levels…The researchers did not test whether taking vitamin D supplements or changing diet plans would have affected dementia risk.” The researchers added that “It is too early to tell whether improving vitamin D levels helps to delay or prevent dementia – clinical trials are now urgently needed.” They also emphasize this should not serve as a guideline to increase vitamin D use in the general population without more research. (Reuters)

Resistant type of starch may decrease colon cancer risk, Adding potatoes or beans to a healthy serving of steak may decrease your risk of colon cancer, a new study has found. Prior studies established a link between red meat consumption and colon cancer. “The researchers found that eating a diet high in red meat changed levels of a type of genetic material called microRNA in rectal tissue. Specifically, the scientists found an increase in certain microRNAs linked to colon cancer. However, adding resistant starch to the diet mitigated some of this increase.” Resistant starches are found in foods like “bananas that are still slightly green, cooked and cooled potatoes [such as those in potato salad], whole grains, beans, chickpeas, and lentils.” While the study didn’t collect data for long enough to know if these starches actually decreased how often people developed colon cancer, future studies are in the pipeline to see if resistant starch has long-term benefits. (Fox)

Aspirin can lower stomach and esophageal cancer death. Aspirin is a drug of many talents. New research that looked at data from 200 previous studies found that it “reduced the number of cases and deaths from bowel, stomach and esophageal cancer by some 30 to 40%. There was weaker and more variable evidence that the drug reduced deaths from breast, prostate and lung cancer, too…The study found people needed to take the drug for at least five years to see any benefits.” Taking aspirin is not without significant risks, though. Aspirin can cause dangerous bleeding in the stomach and brain. “While the study suggests 122,000 lives could be saved if everyone in the UK aged 50-64 took the drug, this is balanced against the estimated 18,000 deaths from side-effects.” Individuals should consult with their doctor about the possible risks and benefits of taking the drug before starting it on their own. (BBC)

 

Computer Games Help Older Adults Overcome Depression

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Depression is a debilitating illness that affects millions of Americans every year, including more than 7 million adults over age 65. Depression can be particularly serious in older adults, especially those with other medical conditions, social challenges unique to old age and who face the common false stigma that being depressed is just part of getting old. In addition to these challenges, many drugs normally used to treat depression aren’t as effective in older adults. Some studies have shown that antidepressants only help one in three individuals over 65 return to normal functioning. Read more  »

How to Cut Hospital Bill Costs

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Medical billing advocates who help people fight erroneous hospital bills have now been around for 20 years and that makes me both glad and sad. Glad because these professionals help patients struggling with bloated bills and sad because they’re not better known. Read more  »

Helpful Habits: Setting Yourself Up for Success

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I talk to patients in my practice all the time about how hard it is to stay on top of your medications. Some are on multiple medications that they take several times a day in confusing regimens. I’ve seen how tough it can be tough to keep it all straight. Fortunately, there are some ways you can set yourself up for success and the good news is, these tips work for more than just prescriptions. Read more  »