How to get more from your memory

  Memory lapses like losing your keys or forgetting someone's name may spark anxiety but don't necessarily mean something is wrong. Forgetfulness can be a serious issue if it’s starting to interfere with daily tasks and routines, such as managing your healthcare, finances, or home life. Medications and lack of sleep can affect memory. Many people benefit from memory-boosting strategies such as taking time, avoiding multitasking, rehearsing names, learning memorization tricks, and creating memory cues.   More »

When to stop colorectal screening

The United States Preventive Services Task Force advises that everyone be checked for colon cancer from age 50 to age 75, and that testing should stop after age 85. It's a more individual decision for those ages 76 to 85. (Locked) More »

When to get your hearing checked

  If you are having trouble hearing—or others say you are—a hearing test is a good idea. Common signs of hearing loss include difficulty hearing people on the phone or in noisy environments, or needing to turn up the TV or radio volume.   (Locked) More »

Is "good" cholesterol still good for you?

People with high levels of HDL (good) cholesterol are less likely to develop heart disease than those with low HDL. So far, though, the evidence is iffy on whether it's a good idea to use medication to boost a low HDL level. While scientists figure out whether raising HDL with drugs is warranted, it's still a good idea to pay attention to HDL. If it’s on the low side, increasing exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight, and eating a vegetable-rich diet can raise it—do other good things for the heart and the rest of the body. Targeting harmful LDL still provides the most heart healthy bang for the buck. (Locked) More »

How and why to add strength training to your exercise plan

  Many people who exercise focus on aerobic activities that get the heart pumping, walking, jogging, or treadmill work. They often overlook strength-building exercises. Health experts suggest doing two sessions of strength training each week. A beginner’s workout takes as little as 20 minutes, and doesn't require grunting, straining, or sweating like a cartoon bodybuilder. Strength and endurance training exercises can improve balance, reduce falls, help control blood sugar, raise confidence, brighten mood, and preserve vitality and independence in daily living.   (Locked) More »

Should you be tested for hepatitis C?

The CDC is urging all baby boomers (folks born between 1945 and 1965) to be tested for the hepatitis C virus. Boomers are five times more likely than other adults to have the virus. It can reside silently in the liver for decades, causing slow damage that may lead to liver failure or cancer. Screening for the infection requires a blood test. The next step is “staging” to assess if and to what extent the liver has been damaged. If the liver has minimal or no scarring, treatment might be justifiably deferred for some period. The treatment for hepatitis C is a cocktail of antiviral medications taken for 24 or 48 weeks. Highly effective new oral antiviral medications for hepatitis C are in advanced clinical trials. Preliminary results suggest cure rates up to 100% may be possible with a regimen of two oral medications taken for as little as 12 weeks. (Locked) More »

FDA approves new PSA test

The newly approved Prostate Health Index test is for men 50 years and older with a total PSA in the "gray zone"—between 4.0 and 10 nanograms per milliliter—and whose physical exam does not find signs of cancer. (Locked) More »

Sharp rise seen in use of diagnostic scans

Use of diagnostic imaging has risen sharply since the 1990s, exposing some people to high or very high doses of radiation. Imaging procedures are often essential for making a diagnosis, but it’s still wise to consider the need for each scan. (Locked) More »

It's never too late to quit smoking

People who quit smoking late in life still benefit, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers pooled results from multiple studies that measured the increased risk of death in smokers 60 and older. Data from 17 studies conducted in seven countries showed that older smokers are 83% more likely to die than people who never smoked. This risk fell to 34% in people who quit. In short, kicking the habit still leaves smokers at a higher risk, but it is significantly lower than in they continued smoking. The reduced risk gained by quitting smoking was similar in men and women. And even in people who quit in their 80s, risk dropped by 24% compared with people who had never smoked. "Even older people who smoked for a lifetime without negative health consequences should be encouraged and supported to quit," the scientists noted. (Locked) More »