Scientists have developed an eye drop that can dissolve cataracts

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A whole lot better than surgery.

Researchers in the US have developed a new drug that can be delivered directly into the eye via an eye dropper to shrink down and dissolve cataracts – the leading cause of blindness in humans.

While the effects have yet to be tested on humans, the team from the University of California, San Diego hopes to replicate the findings in clinical trials and offer an alternative to the only treatment that’s currently available to cataract patients – painful and often prohibitively expensive surgery.

Affecting tens of millions of people worldwide, cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become progressively cloudy, and when left untreated, can lead to total blindness. This occurs when the structure of the crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorates, causing the damaged or disorganised proteins to clump and form a milky blue or brown layer. While cataracts cannot spread from one eye to the other, they can occur independently in both eyes.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure what causes cataracts, but most cases are related to age, with the US National Eye Institute reporting that by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract, or have had cataract surgery. While unpleasant, the surgical procedure to remove a cataract is very simple and safe, but many communities in developing countries and regional areas do not have access to the money or facilities to perform it, which means blindness is inevitable for the vast majority of patients.

According to the Fred Hollows Foundation, an estimated 32.4 million people around the world today are blind, and 90 percent of them live in developing countries. More than half of these cases were caused by cataracts, which means having an eye drop as an alternative to surgery would make an incredible difference.

The new drug is based on a naturally-occurring steroid called lanosterol. The idea to test the effectiveness of lanosterol on cataracts came to the researchers when they became aware of two children in China who had inherited a congenital form of cataract, which had never affected their parents. The researchers discovered that these siblings shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol, which their parents lacked.

So if the parents were producing lanosterol and didn’t get cataracts, but their children weren’t producing lanosterol and did get cataracts, the researchers proposed that the steroid might halt the defective crystallin proteins from clumping together and forming cataracts in the non-congenital form of the disease.

They tested their lanosterol-based eye drops in three types of experiments. They worked with human lens in the lab and saw a decrease in cataract size. They then tested the effects on rabbits, and according to Hanae Armitage at Science Mag, after six days, all but two of their 13 patients had gone from having severe cataracts to mild cataracts or no cataracts at all. Finally, they tested the eye drops on dogs with naturally occurring cataracts. Just like the human lens in the lab and the rabbits, the dogs responded positively to the drug, with severe cataracts shrinking away to nothing, or almost nothing.

The results have been published in Nature.

“This is a really comprehensive and compelling paper – the strongest I’ve seen of its kind in a decade,” molecular biologist Jonathan King from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) told Armitage. While not affiliated with this study, King has been involved in cataract research for the past 15 years. “They discovered the phenomena and then followed with all of the experiments that you should do – that’s as biologically relevant as you can get.”

The next step is for the researchers to figure out exactly how the lanosterol-based eye drops are eliciting this response from the cataract proteins, and to progress their research to human trials.

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56 Cheap and Healthy Breakfast Recipes

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Doughnuts, and eggs, andquinoa bakes, oh my! At breakfast time, it’s essential to fuel up with nutrient-packed ingredients to give you energy throughout the day (and may even prevent overeating and help with weight regulation).

A healthy dose of fiber (think whole-grains and fruits and veggies) and protein (eggs, Greek yogurt, lean meat) is generally a good way to start the day, since both help to keep you full for a longer period of time (compared to things like simple carbs—hello, bagels!). Here, we’ve split thesemeal ideas into our favorite sweet and savory options.

A Healthy Mix of Sweet n’ Savory

33 Healthier Breakfast Alternatives

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t waste it on sugary junk! Instead, rise and shine with these healthier versions of common breakfast foods.

On the Sweet Side

Baked Banana Bread Doughnut

Indulge a healthier way with these whole-wheat baked doughnuts for breakfast!

Tropical Beach Granola

While you’re waiting for summer to roll around, try this tropical-scented granola.

Crisp Apple and Almond “Cereal”

Not a fan of sugar-laden boxed cereals? Try this fruit-filled alternative!

Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Bake up a pan of this healthy quinoa casserole for an easy hot breakfast on-the-go throughout the week.

Whole-Wheat Zucchini Muffins

These muffins earn some major healthy points by embracing the glory of fruit- and vegetable-based ingredients. Zucchini is relatively tame—it’s not outrageously flavorful, so it works well in muffins because it provides the serving of vegetables and extra moisture without tasting like “health food.”

Breakfast Polenta With Honey and Yogurt

Try this warm breakfast treat in place of classic oatmeal. It’s easy to prepare and sure to start your day off right.

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please! This sweet quinoa dish makes a perfect breakfast for a rainy day or when your inner chocoholic comes out in the morning.

“Sunny” Green Juice

Love green juice but not sure how to tackle it on your own? Here’s an easy guide to juicing at home!

Fruit Salad With Lemon-Lavender Syrup

Peaches, plums, and cherries, oh my! This sophisticated summer fruit salad gets kicked up a notch with a lemon-lavender syrup, making it the perfect addition to any picnic or party.

Fruit and Nut Bars

These eight-ingredient bars are the perfect way to fit in that daily dose of nuts and satisfy that sweet tooth at the same time. Plus, they go from pantry to plate in less than an hour!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

With six core ingredients and only 15 minutes of active prep time, this pumpkin spiced oatmeal is the prefect choice for any fall morning!

Easy Coconut Granola

This easy and flavorful granola can bring crunch to any healthy breakfast, from Greek yogurt to the top of pancakes!

Berry Patriotic Parfait

No breakfast is complete without some red, white, and blue. Get a healthy dose of color with this patriotic berry parfait!

Banana and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Want to spice up your breakfast bread? This French toast is stuffed to the brim with delicious options.

Greek Yogurt and Kiwi Parfait

These fruits may be fuzzy, but kiwis clearly offer up a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter

When hunger strikes, skip greasy snacks. Protein, fat, and fiber make almonds a filling and energy-packed Greatist superfood.

Apple Crumble Muffins

These light, fluffy handhelds are the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack. The best part: They only require four ingredients!

On the Savory Side

Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast Burrito

Celebrate St. Patty’s day with this fun and festive take on a healthier green eggs and ham.

Low-Carb Celery Root Hash Browns

For a slightly healthier take on classic breakfast potatoes, try this recipe for low-carb hash browns alongside any omelet or scrambled eggs.

Brussels Sprout and Egg Scramble

Try this super-simple oven-roasted entree for your next weekend brunch: Brussels sprouts and eggs, served with toast.

Crustless Vegetable Quiche

Try this healthier take on the classic French indulgence for a festive holiday brunch.

Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Hash

The perfect veggie-filled healthy meal appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Baked Leek, Potato, and Spinach Frittata

This garlic relative shares some of the same benefits. Don’t be intimidated by its appearance, this more mild alternative to onions is a great healthy veggie option.

The Anti-Alzheimer’s Diet How the ‘MIND Diet’ Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE ARTICLES
The Anti-Alzheimer’s Diet
How the ‘MIND Diet’ Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
By Diane Wedner, Lifescript Health Writer
Published June 15, 2015
Reviewed by Edward C. Geehr, M.D., Lifescript Chief Medical Officer

What you eat may lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. We tell you which foods are included in the “MIND diet” and give you 7 recipes you’ll love…

Here’s a simple way to lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease: Eat a “brain-healthy” diet of leafy greens and berries, according to a March 2015 study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

The “MIND diet” is a hybrid of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to reduce high blood pressure. (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.)

It encourages eating plant-based foods, limits high-fat edibles and focuses on ingredients known to protect the brain, such as blueberries, strawberries and leafy green vegetables.

The plan, developed at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, is based on the results from a study of 923 people between ages 58 and 98, from 2004 to 2013.

Those who stuck to the MIND diet had the best result: They were 53% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, says nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., the study’s lead author. Participants who ate 1 to 2 servings of green leafy vegetables daily had less cognitive loss, on average, than those who ate fewer greens, Morris notes.
Even participants who stayed with the MIND diet moderately well saw benefits and were 35% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, she says.

“It was about the equivalent of being 11 years younger,” she says.

Though diet can help, there are no sure ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, an incurable brain condition affecting more than 3.2 million women and 1.8 million men in the U.S., mostly over age 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It leads to memory and cognitive problems that get progressively worse; it can be fatal.

However, a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise may help protect your brain health over time, according to the National Institute on Aging.

The MIND diet meal plan includes:
Green leafy vegetables: 3 servings daily

Other vegetables: 3 servings every day of 1 salad and 1 other vegetable

Nuts: daily snack

Berries: 1 serving at least twice a week

Beans: 1 serving every other day

Whole grains: 3 daily servings

Fish: at least once a week

Poultry: at least once a week

Olive oil: daily

Wine: limit to 1 glass per day

Foods to avoid:

Red meat

Butter and stick margarine

Cheese

Pastries and sweets

Fried or fast food

Want to add brain-friendly foods to your diet? Start with these 7 easy-to-make recipes:

Wheat Berry Salad with Red Fruit
Serves: 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes

For this sweet and tart salad, wheat berries are blended with cranberries, apples and pecans and tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette – a winning combination. Serve over a bed of peppery arugula for lunch or a light supper.

Ingredients
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
⅓ cup dried cranberries
3 cups cooked wheat berries (recipe follows)
1 large Fuji apple, unpeeled, diced
½ cup pecan halves, toasted (see Tip) and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation
1. Combine orange juice and cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Combine wheat berries, apple and pecans in a large bowl; stir gently. Drain the cranberries, reserving the juice. Stir the cranberries into the wheat berry mixture.

3. Whisk the reserved orange juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Tip:
To toast pecan halves, spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
316 calories
14 g fat (2 g saturated)
0 mg cholesterol
42 g carbohydrate
7 g protein
6 g fiber
365 mg sodium
96 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C (15% Daily Value)

Strawberry, Melon & Avocado Salad
This composed salad makes a cool kickoff for dinner or as a nutrition-packed lunch on its own. Nutty and slightly sweet sherry vinegar is a natural partner for strawberries.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of salt
4 cups baby spinach
1 small avocado (4-5 ounces), peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices
16 thin slices cantaloupe (about ½ small cantaloupe), rind removed
1½ cups hulled strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Preparation
1. Whisk honey, vinegar, mint, pepper and salt in a small bowl.

2. Divide spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange alternating slices of avocado and cantaloupe in a fan on top of the spinach. Top each salad with strawberries, drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
202 calories
8 g fat (1 g saturated, 5 g monosaturated)
0 mg cholesterol
34 g carbohydrate
3 g protein
7 g fiber
90 mg sodium
Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C, vitamin A, folate

Indian-Spiced Chicken Pitas

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Here’s a perfect summer supper meal: spice-rubbed grilled chicken breasts, tucked into whole-wheat pitas stuffed with fresh vegetables and tangy yogurt sauce.

Ingredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1½ teaspoons garam masala, (see Tip), divided
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup thinly sliced seeded cucumber
¾ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, or mint
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
2 small or 1 large tomato, sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

Preparation
1. Preheat grill to medium-high or position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. If grilling, oil the grill rack (see Tip). If broiling, coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon garam masala and ½ teaspoon salt. Place the chicken on the grill rack or prepared pan and cook until it’s no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F. This should be 4 to 8 minutes per side, depending on the size of the breast. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine cucumber, yogurt, cilantro (or mint), lemon juice, the remaining ½ teaspoon garam masala and ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Thinly slice the chicken. Split open the warm pitas and fill with the chicken, yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Tips:
Garam masala is a blend of spices used in Indian cooking. It’s available in the spice section of most supermarkets.

To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
333 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated)
64 mg cholesterol
44 g carbohydrate
32 g protein
6 g fiber
637 mg sodium
485 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C (35% Daily Value)

Seared Salmon with White Beans & Fennel
You could call this recipe triple-fennel salmon because it uses the fresh fennel bulb, the fronds and fennel seeds. The end result is melt-in-your-mouth, seared salmon fillets with an earthy bean topping. Add a mixed green salad to complete the meal.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small bulb fennel, halved, cored and thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 medium tomato, diced

¼ cup dry white wine
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 teaspoon fennel seed
8 ounces center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2 portions

Preparation
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced fennel; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato begins to break down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in chopped fennel fronds, mustard and 18 teaspoon pepper. Cover to keep warm.

2. Rinse and dry the pan. Combine fennel seed and the remaining 18teaspoon pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly on both sides of salmon. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the salmon, skinned side up; cook until golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes. Turn the salmon over, cover and remove from the heat. Allow the salmon to finish cooking off the heat until just cooked through, 3 to 6 minutes more. Serve the salmon with the bean mixture.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
460 calories
21 g fat (4 g saturated, 10 g monosaturated)
67 mg cholesterol
39 g carbohydrate
34 g protein
13 g fiber
610 mg sodium
1589 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C (50% Daily Value), potassium (45% DV), calcium, iron and vitamin A (20% DV), folate (18% DV)

Potato-Horseradish-Crusted Mahi-Mahi
This dish is dinner-party delicious, but simple enough for weekday meals. To save time, use precooked shredded potatoes, found in the refrigerated section of the produce department or where eggs are displayed.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup precooked shredded potatoes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1¼ pounds mahi-mahi, skin removed, cut into 4 portions

4 teaspoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lemon, quartered

Preparation
1. Combine potatoes, shallot, horseradish, mustard, garlic salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread each portion of fish with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, then top with ¼ of the potato mixture, pressing the mixture onto the fish.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the fish in the pan potato-side down and cook until crispy and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn the fish over, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
205 calories
6 g fat (1 g saturated, 3 g monosaturated)
105 mg cholesterol
9 g carbohydrate
27 g protein
1 g fiber
311 mg sodium
623 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: selenium (74% Daily Value)

Baja-Battered Fish
Fish tacos are fabulous. This recipe is a healthy version of the battered, deep-fried and crispy fish at Rossy’s Tacos in Baja California. The fish is best when served immediately, but it’ll keep, wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to one day.

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
¾ cup beer, preferably lager or pilsner
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1¼ pounds tilapia or other firm white fish, sliced into ½-inch-by-2-inch strips 

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Preparation
1. Place beer, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, oregano, mustard, cayenne and pepper in a blender; blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Transfer the batter to a shallow baking dish. Add fish, turning to coat all sides.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer one-third of the battered fish to the pan, placing each piece into a little oil. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked fish to a plate; keep warm. Add 1 tablespoon oil and half the remaining fish to the pan; cook as directed above, reducing the heat if necessary. Cook the remaining fish with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
120 calories
6 g fat (0 g saturated, 3 g monosaturated)
33 mg cholesterol
4 g carbohydrate
11 g protein
0 g fiber
112 mg sodium
180 mg potassium

Berry-Banana Smoothie
There’s no more classic – or antioxidant-rich – combo than fresh berries and bananas. Here, just a touch of honey shines up their flavors even more.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients
1 ripe banana, sliced
½ cup raspberries
¼ cup blueberries
1½ teaspoons honey
18 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened apple juice
½ cup ice

Preparation
1. Place ingredients in the order listed in a blender. Pulse twice to chop the fruit, stir well, then blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
126 calories
0 g fat
0 mg cholesterol
33 g carbohydrate
1 g protein
5 g fiber
4 mg sodium
338 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C (25% Daily Value)

Connect with Us
Get more healthy food for thought – check out our posts on Health Bistroand Lifescript TV videos on YouTube. Plus, join the fun and conversation on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Holiday Treats Versus Time to Exercise Them Away

How many calories for your holiday treats?  How much exercise to burn them off?

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calorie-showdown

Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in their October 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Perfect-Pumpkin-Bread

Ingredients

 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

 2 cups whole wheat flour

 1TBSP baking powder

 2TSP baking soda

 2 large eggs

 2 large egg whites

 2 cups packed light brown sugar.

 3 cups canned unseasoned pumpkin puree.

 1/2 cup canola oil

Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

2. Stir all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, egg whites, brown sugar, pumpkin and oil in another large bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops.

3. Bake the loaves until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition Per serving: 210 calories; 5g fat (1g sat, 3g mono); 16mg cholesterol; 38g carbohydrates; 4g protein; 2g fiber; 377mg sodium; 125mg potassium. Bonus: Vitamin A (96% daily value), Iron (15% daily value) Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2 Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 other carbohydrate, 1/2 vegetable, 1 fat.

pumpkin-bread-1-2006

Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in their October 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

WellstylesNewsletteruntitled-2

Here’s What Walking Does to Your Brain

A stroll in the park might be just as relaxing and amazing as it sounds.

New research from a Stanford University graduate student found that people who walked through a beautiful and green part of the campus were more attentive and cheerful afterwards than another group that walked for the same amount of time by a loud freeway. The participants walked at their own pace and without music or companions. After the walk, each volunteer went to a lab for a questionnaire and brain scan, which determined their levels of happiness and attentiveness following the exercise. Unsurprisingly, walking along the freeway did not soothe the volunteers’ minds, but those who walked in nature demonstrated improvements to their mental health. Those who walked on the Stanford campus showed less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex, or the part of the brain that handles repetitive thought or negative emotion, which remained high for those who walked along the highway.

Study author Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, told the New York Times that these findings “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” might be an easy and convenient means for city folks to see a boost in their moods.

Bratman pointed out, however, that this study is only the beginning and more research must be done to determine how much nature time is perfect for one’s mental health and what exactly it is about nature that soothes people.

HOW MUCH WALKING SHOULD A PERSON DO PER DAY?

Movement and exercise can have a significant positive impact on a person’s mental and physical health. As ATTN:reported earlier this month, the health community typically encourages people to walk 10,000 steps per day, which is about five miles. Researchers estimate it takes roughly 2,000 steps to reach a mile. Unfortunately, the average American only walks about half the recommended amount of 10,000 steps, according to Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Last year, she told Live Science that the average American takes about 5,900 steps a day.

Many other nations, however, are way ahead of Americans in terms of steps walked per day. An earlier Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study that looked at the two-day pedometer results of different adults found Americans only took took 5,117 steps a day while the average person in western Australia was nearly 9,700, the average in Switzerland was 9,650, and the average in Japan was 7,168.

Study lead Dr. David R. Bassett Jr. told the New York Times that he was surprised to see how sedentary Americans were. He also referenced a 2004 study in the same journal that revealed Amish folks are ahead of all Americans and most of the world in terms of walking. Male adults in Amish farming communities took nearly 20,000 steps and female Amish people averaged more than 14,000 daily.

“These latest values are about one-third of what Amish people take in farming communities,” Bassett said. “It really does suggest to us that there’s been a tremendous decline in the last century and a half in the amount of walking people do.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your mood, improve your coordination and balance, and strengthen your bones, among other benefits.

THE AUTHORLaura Donovan

Laura Donovan is a staff writer for ATTN:.

@LAURADONOVANUA

3 share Nobel medicine prize for new tools to kill parasites

MEDICAL RESEARCH

3 share Nobel medicine prize for new tools to kill parasites

Getting a flu shot.jpg

A pharmacy manager for Walgreens administers a flu vaccine on site. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Three scientists from Ireland, Japan and China won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discovering drugs against malaria and otherparasitic diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people every year.

The Nobel judges in Stockholm awarded the prestigious prize to Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan and Tu Youyou — the first-ever Chinese medicine laureate.

Campbell and Omura were cited for discovering avermectin, derivatives of which have helped lower the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, two diseases caused by parasitic worms that affect millions of people in Africa and Asia.

Tu discovered artemisinin, a drug that has helped significantly reduce the mortality rates of malaria patients.

“The two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually,” the committee said. “The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immensurable.”

River blindness is an eye and skin disease that ultimately leads to blindness. About 90 percent of the disease occurs in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

More on this…

  • UN: Millions of children’s lives saved as malaria deaths plunge

  • Scientists shift medicinal properties from one plant to another

  • Study: Air pollution kills 3.3 million worldwide, may double

  • Scientists find genes that protect African children from malaria

Lymphatic filariasis can lead to swelling of the limbs and genitals, called elephantiasis, and it’s primarily a threat in Africa and Asia. The WHO says 120 million people are infected with the disease, without about 40 million disfigured and incapacitated.

Campbell, born in 1930, is a research fellow emeritus at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Omura, 80, is a professor emeritus at Kitasato University in Japan and is from the central prefecture of Yamanashi. Tu, 84, is chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“I wonder if I deserve the prize. I have learned so much from microorganisms and I have depended on them, so I would much rather give the prize to microorganisms,” Omura told Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Omura isolated new strains of Streptomyces bacteria and cultured them so that they could be analyzed for their impact against harmful microorganisms, the Nobel committee said.

Campbell showed that one of those cultures was “remarkably efficient” against parasites in animals. The bioactive agent was purified and modified to a compound that effectively killed parasitic larvae, leading to the discovery of new class of drugs.

Tu turned to herbal medicine to discover a new anti-malarial agent, artemisinin (pronounced ar-tuh-MIHS’-ihn-ihn), that was highly effective against malaria, a disease that was on the rise in the 1960s, the committee said.

The last time a Chinese citizen won a Nobel was in 2012, when Mo Yan got the literature award. But China has been yearning for a Nobel Prize in science. This was the first Nobel Prize given to a Chinese scientist for work carried out within China.

“This is indeed a glorious moment,” said Li Chenjian, a vice provost at prestigious Peking University. “This also is an acknowledgement to the traditional Chinese medicine, for the work began with herbal medicine.”

The medicine award was the first Nobel Prize to be announced. The winners of the physics, chemistry and peace prizes are set to be announced later this week. The economics prize will be announced next Monday. No date has been set yet for the literature prize, but it is expected to be announced on Thursday.

The winners will share the 8 million Swedish kronor (about $960,000) prize money with one half going to Campbell and Omura, and the other to Tu. Each winner will also get a diploma and a gold medal at the annual award ceremony on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel.

Last year’s medicine award went to three scientists who discovered the brain’s inner navigation system.

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