A Spoonful of Sugar Helps Your Skin Age Prematurely (New Scientist)

A sweet tooth does more than pack on the pounds. It causes your skin to age prematurely, making you look older than you really are. But how much older?

A team led by Diana van Heemst at Leiden University in the Netherlands divided 569 healthy volunteers into three groups according to whether they had low, medium or high concentrations of blood glucose after a meal. They also studied 33 people with diabetes who had even higher blood glucose levels.

Sixty independent assessors were then asked to view pictures of the volunteers and rate how old each looked. The results show that high blood sugar levels made people look older, even when other factors affecting appearance were accounted for, such as actual age, smoking and a history of sunbathing…MORE

Lifestyle & Work Changes “Would Prevent 40 Per Cent of Cancers” (Independent)

More than 40 per cent of all cancers in the UK could be prevented by avoiding unhealthy lifestyles and environmental risks, according to research.

Smoking, unhealthy diets, alcohol and being overweight cause in excess of 100,000 tumours every year, accounting for a third of all preventable cancers. The figure increases to 134,000 when all 14 risk factors – including sun exposure, occupational hazards, infections and hormone replacement therapy – are taken into account.

The findings, published by Cancer Research UK, are based on figures from 2010 and provide one of the most comprehensive pictures of the links between lifestyle and cancer to date…MORE

Shape Up, America, Before It’s Too Late (NPR)

You might find it hard to believe, but we Americans are, by and large, in better health today than we were 20 years ago.

But there’s a problem brewing, according to the 22nd edition of the annual checkup known as America’s Health Rankings. Increases in obesity and diabetes threaten to overwhelm the progress we’ve made on smoking, violent crime and deaths from heart disease and stroke over the past couple of decades.

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“We are failing miserably at stemming the tide” of preventable disease, says Dr. Reed Tuckson, a member of the board for the UnitedHealth Foundation, which is behind the annual report…MORE

Circle of Friends Key to Health Habits (USA Today)

Interested in adopting healthier habits? You have a better chance of success if you find a friend with similar traits to share the experience, a new study suggests.

Participants paired with others of similar body mass, age, fitness level and diet preferences were three times as likely to adopt healthy behaviors as those matched randomly in an Internet-based study conducted by a researcher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“I think the reality is, we as individuals may have less motivation to change on our own than if we’re surrounded by our peer group, even if we met on a social network site,” said Dr. Victor Fornari, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y., who is familiar with the study. “We’re very influenced by the group phenomenon”…MORE

Hospitals Torn on Reducing Repeat Admissions (NPR)

What doesn’t kill you, only makes you a repeat customer.

So says Prescott Pharmaceuticals, fictional and macabre sponsor of The Colbert Report.

It’s no joke to the health care system, though. Repeat customers to hospitals are seen as a big problem. But it’s complicated. Sometimes the hospitals themselves may profit from some patients’ frequent visits. But it costs a lot money for the people who pay hospitals: Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.

As with many other problems in the health care system, unnecessary hospital readmissions are associated with worse treatment and health outcomes as well as higher costs to taxpayers — as much as $17 billion a year by one estimate…MORE

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