Is testosterone therapy safe? Take a breath before you take the plunge

The marketing of therapy for low testosterone highlights the short-term benefits, like increased energy, mental sharpness, and improved sexual function. But serious concerns remain about potential long-term risks. They include higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease and possibly a higher risk of prostate cancer. Men should understand the unknowns about testosterone therapy and consider alternatives before starting on it. More »

On call: Blood type and your health

Blood type is important to health mainly in two situations: blood transfusion and tissue or organ donation. The current interest in diet plans and personality typing based on blood type are not supported by scientific evidence. (Locked) More »

New guidelines could make it easier for you to keep your heart healthy

New guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease have lowered the threshold for when a person could consider taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. The experts also advise that the decision to take a statin should be based on a person’s overall risk rather than achieving specific cholesterol levels. The potential benefit needs to be weighed against costs and drug side effects, although the side effects are uncommon overall and reversible. (Locked) More »

Carbohydrates in your diet: It's the quality that counts

Low-carbohydrate diets have gained popularity. However, in healthy eating, the quality of the carbohydrates, not the quantity, is the key determining factor in a healthy diet. Foods rich in high-quality carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods contain a wide range of nutrients and are rich in fiber. The fiber allows the food to be digested slowly. This prevents large swings in blood sugar and insulin, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain. (Locked) More »

Shoulder shape-up: Keep your body's most flexible joint in top condition

Shoulders can become stiff and painful from disuse. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help keep shoulders functioning smoothly and pain-free. Gentle stretches can help to ease general shoulder stiffness and pain. Also consider exercises to your fitness routine that involve inward and outward rotation against resistance and pulling toward the midsection (rowing). If shoulder pain gets worse over time, gets worse at night, lasts more than four to six weeks, or severely limits normal arm movements, consult a physician because there may be a more serious joint problem. (Locked) More »

High-tech scan reveals protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease

A new brain scan called amyloid PET scanning can detect levels of beta amyloid, an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Many older people who do not have Alzheimer’s dementia have a significant amount of amyloid protein in their brains, so amyloid PET scans can’t be used as a general test for Alzheimer’s in people whose minds and memory are still functioning within the normal range. However, the test can be helpful when the disease is suspected but still needs to be confirmed. The test is very expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Unless the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services decides to pay for amyloid PET scanning outside of research studies, its use will probably remain an out-of-pocket expense. (Locked) More »