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

Zumba madness sweeps Coachella Valley

By Jorie Parr
Posted on December 16, 2013

“It changed my life,” Zumba zealot Viga Dean of Palm Springs states emphatically. “It resculpted my body. I went down a dress size.”Dean took up the crazy-popular exercise just last June in Portland, Ore., where she summered. She does issue a slight disclaimer about her transformation: “Diet played a part.”Anyway, the retired flight attendant attends... READ MORE

Preservatives: How much is too much?

By Sharon Palmer, R.D.
Posted on December 05, 2013

“Natural” foods, free of preservatives, continue to trend. But is avoiding preservatives really necessary?If you keep a loaf of homemade bread on the counter for a few days, the telltale signs of spoilage begin: mold, discoloration and an off taste. The same thing will happen if you leave most perishable food products — such as cooked vegetables, meat or eggs — at... READ MORE

New test aids prostate treatment decision

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on August 29, 2013

A new genetic test to gauge the aggressiveness of prostate cancer may help tens of thousands of men each year decide whether they need to treat their cancer right away or can safely monitor it.The new test, which went on sale in May, joins another one that came on the market earlier this year. Both analyze multiple genes in a biopsy sample and give a score for aggressiveness, similar to... READ MORE

Brain scans can ‘see’ and measure pain

By Marilynn Marchione
Posted on August 29, 2013

In a provocative new study, scientists reported that they were able to “see” pain on brain scans and, for the first time, measure its intensity and tell whether a drug was relieving it. Though the research is in its early stages, it opens the door to many possibilities.Scans might be used someday to tell when pain is hurting a baby, someone with dementia, or a paralyzed person... READ MORE

Vision loss may lead to hallucinations

By Lighthouse International
Posted on July 09, 2013

People with Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) can vouch for the cliché that things aren’t always as they seem. This syndrome, named for the 18th century philosopher who first described it, is characterized by the periodic occurrence of hallucinatory visions.People with CBS may see anything from abstract patterns to birds to babies to white sandy beaches. Sometimes the hallucinations are... READ MORE

A healthy long life? It’s all in our heads

By Douglas Heaven
Posted on July 01, 2013

Hypothalamus may hold keys to aging wellA mechanism that controls aging, counting down to inevitable death, has been identified in the hypothalamus — a part of the brain that controls most of the basic functions of life.By manipulating this mechanism, researchers have both shortened and lengthened the lifespan of mice. The discovery reveals several new drug targets that, if not quite... READ MORE