Can a Flavor a Day Keep the Pounds Away?

By his own admission, Jonathan Link, 34, a systems analyst at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., is "a designer kind of guy." So imagine his distress when his weight began creeping up and he found himself shopping at Wal-Mart for trousers with elastic waists. No matter how much he exercised, the extra pounds wouldn't go away. Then he volunteered for a trial of a new diet plan. Admittedly, he was skeptical when he heard that it wasn't based on counting calories, but on cooking meals with daily...

Perchance To ... Eat?

The makers of America's most popular sleep drug may have been tossing and turning a bit more recently. Fourteen years after the Food and Drug Administration approved Sanofi-Aventis's Ambien, the sleep aid has come under scrutiny amid reports of users eating, driving and even shoplifting in their sleep. There's little doubt the drug is effective, but some patients are now wondering if it's safe.After suffering bouts of insomnia for more than 30 years, Janet Makinen thought she'd found a solution...

Hearts in Their Throats

Arts Extra - NewsweekHearts in Their ThroatsThroat Singing: Tuva's Superstar Discusses his MusicTuva's throat-singing musicians have hit the United States. A talk with the country's superstar.Imagine a human bagpipe—a person who could sing a sustained low note while humming an eerie, whistlelike melody. For good measure, toss in a thrumming rhythm similar to that of a jaw harp, but produced vocally—by the same person, at the same time. It sounds impossible, but such a style of singing...

Wake-Up Call

Lori Cox didn't remember ordering the ring she had just got in the mail. But her phone records said otherwise, showing she'd made a middle-of-the-night call to a home-shopping channel. Even worse, she also discovered she'd made cell-phone calls to her ex-boyfriend in her sleep. And a few times, she woke up to find empty beer bottles and cracker crumbs in her kitchen—evidence of predawn snacks she didn't remember eating.  "It's scary," she says. "One side of your brain is asleep and the other...

Health: A New Booster Club

So you're taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, and you've got your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, way down. Congratulations! But if you want to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes, it's also important to raise low levels of HDL, the artery-clearing "good" cholesterol. "The problem is, raising HDL is hard to do--and the existing drugs have side effects," says Dr. Dennis Goodman, former chief of cardiology at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.What's the solution? You could eat...

Health: Getting Ready for Bird Flu

Nigeria, India, Germany, France... Avian flu has been spreading rapidly among birds, increasing concerns about a possible human pandemic. How could the U.S. be more prepared? Stockpiles of Tamiflu and the development of a trial vaccine are a good start, but researchers say other experimental treatments could ultimately prove even more useful--provided the small biotech companies developing them can successfully usher them though clinical trials and bring them to market in time. Some examples: ...

The Nature of Nutrients

It sounds like a simple question of logic. If bones require calcium, then people who eat a lot of calcium-rich dairy products should have extra-strong bones, right? So why are hip fractures uncommon in Singapore, where adults don't drink milk, while they soar in dairy-loving Scandinavia? "Countries with higher calcium intakes have the highest fracture rates, not the lowest," says Dr. Walter Willett, chair of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. It's the Calcium Conundrum.Scientists...

Diagnosis: Not Enough Nurses

When Liz Tattersall first considered nursing, it sounded like a great career. It was rewarding, remunerative and in high demand. But after six years as a triage nurse at a community clinic in New London, Conn.--with dozens of charts on her desk at a time, phones ringing constantly, patients in the waiting room with guns and knives--she had burned out. "I brought the stress home with me every night," she says. "I was a disaster." Like growing numbers of her colleagues, she decided to explore one...

Mary Pearl

Protection of the environment often seems like a low-priority issue when stacked up against more immediate concerns. But a healthy environment is no mere luxury, says Mary Pearl, president of the Wildlife Trust. It is a prerequisite for human health. Pearl and her colleagues spearheaded the development of "conservation medicine"--a scientific exploration of the links between the health of humans, wildlife and eco-systems. Among the trust's current projects: a collaboration to monitor the spread...

Tracking Disease

Protection of the environment often seems like a low-priority issue when stacked up against more immediate concerns. But a healthy environment is no mere luxury, says Mary Pearl, president of the Wildlife Trust. It is a prerequisite for human health. Pearl and her colleagues spearheaded the development of "conservation medicine"--a scientific exploration of the links between the health of humans, wildlife and ecosystems. Among the trust's current projects: a collaboration to monitor the spread...

The New Superfoods

To say that Dr. Steven Pratt is passionate about food would be an understatement. To Pratt, coauthor of the 2004 best seller "SuperFoods Rx," food choices aren't about anything as trivial as personal tastes. They're life-or-death decisions. Choose well, and you may ward off cancer and heart disease. Chow down on "processed crud," as he calls it, and you might as well reserve a handicapped space at the hospital. Tip Sheet went grocery shopping with Pratt in California to see how he puts together...

The Race Against Avian Flu

In the calendar of natural calamities, flu season follows hurricane season, peaking in midwinter. Last week, with New Orleans still mostly uninhabitable, Washington was turning its attention to the threat posed by an exceptionally lethal strain of flu virus that could, in the worst case, kill as many people in a few months as AIDS has done in two decades. This time officials were resolved not to repeat the mistakes of Katrina, leaving the way open to make new mistakes. We now know better how to...

The Good Heart

DIET AND EXERCISE ARE NOT THE WHOLE SECRET TO CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH. MOUNTING EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT YOUR PSYCHOLOGICAL OUTLOOK IS JUST AS IMPORTANT

Nature's Design Workshop

If we have Batman and Spider-Man, why don't we have any mussel superheroes?" asks biochemist Herbert Waite of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mussels may not be the biggest or the flashiest of sea creatures. But they do one thing exceedingly well. They make a glue that lets them anchor themselves firmly to a rock and remain there--drenched by water, buffeted by the ocean's waves. "I don't know any other adhesive that can do that," says Waite.In fact, nature can accomplish feats...

A DREAM BEFORE DYING

As a hospice chaplain for 10 years, the Rev. Patricia Bulkley confronted the raw emotions of the dying--their terror at the approaching end, their unresolved family problems, their crises of faith. They were people like Charles Rasmussen, a retired merchant-marine captain in his mid-80s who was dying of cancer. He was consumed by fear until, in a dream one night, he saw himself sailing in uncharted waters. Once again, he felt the thrill of adventure as he pushed through a vast, dark, empty sea,...

WE NEED TO COOL IT

In 1997, Eileen Claussen, a former assistant secretary of State and onetime EPA official, received an intriguing call from officials at the Pew Charitable Trusts: if they wanted to spend a lot of money to address global warming, how should they spend it? Claussen drew up a blue-print--collect scientific data, search out practical solutions, get businesses onboard, work with policymakers. In May 1998, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change was launched with Claussen as president. Since then,...

7 WAYS TO SAVE A BRAIN

Elisabeth Harvey, 85, is not your typical Alzheimer's patient. Sure, she reads the daily newspapers, forgetting that she just read them. But five years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, she still lives at home, dresses herself and fixes her own lunch. What's more, her cognitive-test scores have not declined in over two-and-a-half years. "That's unheard of," says neuropsychologist Paul Solomon of the Memory Clinic in Bennington, Vt. How is it possible? In late 2002, Solomon...

QUIETING A BODY'S DEFENSES

A decade ago, the cause of Meta Kiss's heart attack might have been written off as a medical mystery. The 59-year-old homemaker had never smoked, weighed in at a slender 119 pounds and had fabulous cholesterol readings, with her good cholesterol actually surpassing the bad. And there was no history of heart disease in her family. So what put her at risk for the heart attack she suffered in 2000? To Eric Matteson, one of her doctors at the Mayo Clinic, the answer leapt right out. "She had...

DESIGNING THE FUTURE

Imagine buildings that generate more energy than they consume and factories whose waste water is clean enough to drink. William McDonough has accomplished these tasks and more. Architect, industrial designer and founder of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry in Charlottesville, Va., he's not your traditional environmentalist. Others may expend their energy fighting for stricter environmental regulations and repeating the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle." McDonough's vision for the future...

WHEN CULTURES CLASH

Urdu, Mandarin, Haitian Creole... By the thousands each week, they pass through the doors of Elmhurst Hospital in a part of New York City that is home to perhaps a greater diversity of foreign-born immigrants than any comparable community in the world.Spanish, Korean, Albanian...A broken bone is the same in any language, but not so diabetes or hypertension--abstractions for which many people do not have words. The very concept of organic illness varies from culture to culture. If you were...

WHEN CULTURES CLASH

Urdu, Mandarin, Haitian Creole... By the thousands each week, they pass through the doors of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, the borough of New York City that contains Kennedy airport and is home to perhaps a greater diversity of foreign-born immigrants than any comparable community in the nation or the world.Spanish, Korean, Albanian... A broken bone is the same in any language, but not so diabetes or hypertension--abstractions for which many people do not have words. The very concept of organic...

TRAVEL: GO WEST, TOURISTS

Did you ever wonder how Lewis and Clark survived their famished trek through the Rocky Mountains? Or what encounters they had with Native Americans? This summer is a good time to find out. Now at its midpoint, the 200th anniversary of the 1803-1806 expedition just launched its current season of events. A band of re-enactors (led by Clark's great-great-great-grandson) is retracing the explorers' 1805 path from North Dakota to Oregon. There will be hundreds of events along the way...

DOES CRAZY = SUCCESS?

Do a Google search for "manic" and "businessman"--and you get nearly 18,000 hits. A psychologist at Johns Hopkins Medical School thinks he knows why. It's not just that these folks are go-getters. According to clinical assistant professor John Gartner, many U.S. entrepreneurs actually meet the diagnostic criteria for hypomania, a mild form of mania characterized by restlessness, creativity, grand ambitions, euphoria, risk-taking and impulsivity.Not that this is a bad thing. In Gartner's new...

The Gift Of Adhd?

Sam Grossman grew up thinking he was stupid, lazy and irresponsible--"a screw-up," as he puts it. Struggling with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he constantly disappointed his parents and teachers alike. So how, at the age of 24, did he end up as a partner in a Massachusetts real-estate firm? He credits an unlikely source. "The key to my success," he says, was his ADHD.For struggling parents, ADHD--which affects roughly 3 to 7 percent of Americans--may not seem like the key to...

LIFE AFTER VIOXX

Plenty of patients panicked last fall when Vioxx was pulled from the market and questions began swirling around the related drugs Celebrex and Bextra. Peg Cushman, 56, of Freeport, Maine, didn't need to fret. She had tried Celebrex for a back problem, and though it worked fine, she didn't like the idea of relying on it. Thumbing through a book called "Dr. Duke's Essential Herbs," she read that the curry spice turmeric possessed anti-inflammatory powers and decided to give it a try. She switched...

Diet and Genes

IT ISN'T JUST WHAT YOU EAT THAT CAN KILL YOU, AND IT ISN'T JUST YOUR DNA THAT CAN SAVE YOU--IT'S HOW THEY INTERACT

SCARY STRAINS

The first newspaper stories showed up in the summer of 1997, buried on the inside pages: an influenza virus designated H5N1, known to be fatal to chickens but never before seen in humans, had killed a 3-year-old child in Hong Kong. BOY'S DEATH STUMPS EXPERTS, read the small headline in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Then, in December, a 2-year-old in a different part of Hong Kong fell ill from the same virus, but recovered. "To me," remarked Robert G. Webster, a leading virologist, "the...

WE'VE GOT RHYTHM

In 1751, Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus came up with the novel idea of using flowers as clocks. Morning glories open their trumpetlike petals around 10 a.m., water lilies at 11 and so on through evening primroses and moonflowers. A full array of these blossoms could indicate the time. It was a whimsical notion. But some 350 years later, scientists are seriously interested in the timekeeping mechanisms of nature. "They're so ubiquitous, they're almost a signature of life," says molecular...

FOR A HAPPY HEART

The Japanese have a word for it--karoshi, or "death by overwork." But can stress on the job really do you in? Finnish researchers decided to find out. The years 1991 to 1993 in Finland were as bad as it generally gets economically, with unemployment nearly tripling. Those who survived the downsizing had to assume greater work loads. During this period and for seven years afterward, Dr. Jussi Vahtera and psychologist Mika Kivimaki at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki...

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