Healthy diet may alter our genetic destiny

By Sharon Palmer, R.D
Posted on March 04, 2014

At one time, if your mother had cancer, your genetic destiny for this disease seemed to be etched in stone. At least that was the old way of thinking about genetic predisposition for diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.But there’s been a paradigm shift in the way experts understand our inherited genetic profile, according to Roderick H. Dashwood, Ph.D., who spoke on genetics... READ MORE

Patients find joy and healing in singing

By John Annarino
Posted on February 21, 2014

The vocal warm-up began with class members humming the notes of the scale. Then they sang “me may ma mo moo” over and over again — funny sounds that their singing made beautiful.The class is called SongShine Basics, and it’s taught by a remarkable woman, Dr. Ruthanna Metzgar, founder and president of the SongShine Foundation. Metzgar, a professional singer who has... READ MORE

Vitamin E may slow Alzheimer’s decline

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on February 14, 2014

Researchers say vitamin E might slow the progression of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease — the first time any treatment has been shown to alter the course of dementia at that stage.In a study of more than 600 older veterans, high doses of the vitamin delayed the decline in daily living skills — such as making meals, getting dressed and holding a conversation — by ... READ MORE

To live longer and be slimmer, eat nuts

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on February 08, 2014

Sometimes you feel like a nut, and that’s a good thing.Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease — in fact, were less likely to die of any cause — during a 30-year Harvard study.Nuts have long been called heart-healthy, and the study is the largest ever done on whether eating them affects mortality.Researchers tracked 119,000 men and women and... READ MORE

First successful gene therapy for cancer

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on February 04, 2014

In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients’ blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer. A few patients with one type of leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several years ago, and some remain cancer-free today. Now, at least... READ MORE

Family-friendly tour helps valley charities

By Jamie Lee Pricer
Posted on January 28, 2014

Hal Parkins thought he had an easy way to show off to his spouse and friends that he still “had it.” Last year, the 72-year-old Canadian snowbird cycled the 55-mile route of the Tour de Palm Springs.“With the wind, it was harder than I thought, but overall I loved it,” says Parkins.Wind has been an on-again, off-again factor in the bicycle event — organizers... READ MORE

Mizell’s Dixiecats make beautiful music

By John Annarino
Posted on January 27, 2014

“I have a great dancing partner. My cane.”That’s what a smiling Beverly Watt, age 91, has to say about her Friday visits to the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs.“My cane helps me dance to the music of the Dixiecats. They’re a great group of musicians,” she said.The leader of the Dixiecats is Gordon Parr, a retired stock broker, and a first-rate... READ MORE

A robotic arm that makes you stronger

By Kathy Matheson
Posted on January 20, 2014

Need a hand lifting something? A robotic device invented by University of Pennsylvania engineering students can help its wearer carry an additional 40 pounds. Titan Arm looks and sounds like part of a superhero’s costume. But its creators say it’s designed for ordinary people — those who need either physical rehabilitation or a little extra muscle for their job. In technical terms,... READ MORE

Should we routinely map new baby DNA?

By Lauran Neergaard
Posted on January 15, 2014

Little Amelia Sloan became a pioneer shortly after her birth. The healthy baby is part of a large research project in Falls Church, Va., that is decoding the DNA of hundreds of infants. New parents in a few other cities soon can start signing up for smaller studies to explore whether what’s called genome sequencing — fully mapping someone’s genes to look for health risks — should ... READ MORE

Ways you can reduce your risk of stroke

By Harvard Heart Letter
Posted on January 10, 2014

Strokes don’t usually come out of the blue. True, nobody can predict the precise time when a stroke will strike, and more than two dozen factors make it more likely a person will suffer a stroke. But even when family history or an underlying medical condition puts you at risk, you can do more than you think to avoid a fatal or debilitating stroke. “Stroke is potentially one of the ... READ MORE