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Zero calories might not equal no fat: Diet soda linked to weight gain in older people

A customer selects a Diet Pepsi from a cooler at Handi Foods in Walesboro, Ind., Monday, Dec. 20, 2004.  These days the carbonated drink battleground is diet vs. regular, and it's looking increasingly as though the lightweight could flatten its full-calorie cousin.  (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)       Keyword Food Health

Some recent studies question whether diet sodas sweetened with artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet and Splenda actually help keep off the weight. This month’s Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published research from a long-term study of hundreds of people 65 years old and up in San Antonio, some who drank diet soft drinks regularly. The… Continue reading →

The Emperor of All Maladies: PBS, Ken Burns examine history of cancer research in new documentary

Rainbow/Science Faction/Corbis photo by DAN MCCOY -- In this scene from  A cancer researcher labels each protein in the radio nucleotide sequence of human genes to create a unique DNA profile.

For filmmaker Ken Burns, tackling the complete story of cancer was personal. “My mom died of cancer, breast cancer, when I was 11 years old, just a few months short of my 12th birthday,” Burns said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday. “There wasn’t a moment growing up that I wasn’t aware something was wrong with… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, March 30, 2015

What is meant by the term “mixed dementia?” Mixed dementia is a term used when someone has more than one type of dementia. Most commonly, mixed dementia is the terminology used when an someone has been diagnosed with both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. However, it can also refer to a combination of Alzheimer’s disease… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, March 30, 2015

Are certain foods related to cancer in a certain way? While there might be news stories on a regular basis claiming that individual food items can cause or prevent cancer, there is not significant research on the topic. One study took 50 common food items and looked at the results of cancer studies from the… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, March 23, 2015

Why is integrating music important in the daily care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? Music has often been described as a universal language, and studies have shown that music can affect brain waves, brain circulation and stress hormones. Though there are no claims that music can cure a disease, research has shown music benefits… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, March 23, 2015

Can drinking alcohol lead to cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute, alcohol consumption increases the risk for many different types of cancer including cancer of the head and neck, esophagus, colon, liver and breast cancer in women. In general, these risks increase after about one daily drink for women and two daily… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, March 23, 2015

WHAT: A women’s health care forum WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 WHERE: Southern University Law Center Moot Court Room, SU campus, Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free and open to the public; registration required. Email laevents@ppgulfcoast.org DETAILS: Sponsored by Southern University Law Students for Reproductive Justice and LSU Law Students for Reproductive Justice. Speakers include… Continue reading →

Colon Club’s Colondar works to raise awareness of colorectal cancer

Photo provided by the Colon Club-- Stephen Broussard, an elementary school administrator in Iota, poses for the Colondar 2.0, a calendar/magazine devoted to educating young people about colorectal cancer.

Stephen Broussard doesn’t look like the typical colon cancer patient or calendar model for that matter. But in the Colondar 2.0 calendar/magazine out this month, the 35-year-old former athlete and Iota Elementary School administrator shows off his physique and his surgical scars along with other colon cancer survivors. Diagnosed in 2012 with stage IV colon… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, March 16, 2015

WHAT: Kidney health screening WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21 WHERE: Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 9700 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge DETAILS: Blood pressure and glucose measurements, urine testing and educational information will be available. Experts suggest getting screened if you are 18 years or older and have one or more of… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, March 16, 2015

What are some facts about hospice care? Hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease, including cancer, so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. The goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, March 16, 2015

What is meant by the term “social isolation” in Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? The individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia slowly loses his/her memory. Subtle personality changes are observed by friends and family. Depression looms. The affected individual forgets names of longtime friends and no longer feels comfortable in engaging in social situations.… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, March 9, 2015

WHAT: Diabetes Education & Awareness Group WHERE: Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Auditorium (first floor) main hospital, Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free. No registration required. INFORMATION: (225) 765-8020 DETAILS: Registered dietician Emily Thevis, of the OLOL Diabetes & Nutrition Center, will speak… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, March 9, 2015

Is it common in Alzheimer’s disease for people (my mom) to talk to mirrors? As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, you will witness many of these altered perceptions from your mom. She is losing her judgment and ability to reason. A mirror presents an unknown person to her, someone from an earlier period of her… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, March 9, 2015

What are some tips for dealing with fatigue during cancer treatment? According to the National Cancer Institute, fatigue is one of the most common side effects which will effect up to 96 percent of patients during cancer treatments. It is important to consult a doctor to make sure the cause of fatigue is cancer-related and… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, March 2, 2015

WHAT: Capital Area Human Services is seeking input from citizens, community leaders, elected officials, parents, educators, human services providers, youth and health professionals on how to prevent and treat drug and alcohol abuse in the seven-parish area served by the agency. WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 10 WHERE: CAHS Community Room, Building 2, 4615… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, March 2, 2015

How do I manage my husband’s dental care when he is so resistant about going to a dentist? The absence of good oral care can lead to gum disease, sores, difficulty in eating, oral cancer, systemic disease, including heart disease, diabetes and gastric distress. Most individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, March 2, 2015

What are ways a person can reduce their risk of colon cancer? For most people colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, particularly if they follow their doctor’s recommended screening guidelines. According to the National Cancer Institute, if found early, colon cancer is almost 90 percent curable because… Continue reading →

Testing young hearts: Student-athlete deaths have doctors urging cardiac evaluations

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Harris McKey, a Dunham High School sophomore who plays on the basketball and football teams, gets an ultrasound Wednesday at the Our Lady of the Lake Medical Plaza.

Chad Falgout’s heart pounds when he sprints down the basketball court, but the 14-year-old doesn’t pay much attention to his most important muscle. Even when he hears stories about student-athletes collapsing on the court or dying in a locker room, he never considers his heart. “You should, but I haven’t really thought about it,” said… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, Feb. 23, 2015

What is meant by the term “person-centered care” when used as an amenity for a long-term care setting? Person-centered care is centered around the individual’s personal choices; developing and assessing care to make sure it is appropriate to his/her needs and involves putting the individual and his/her family at the heart of all decisions. It… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, Feb. 23, 2015

What side effects can chemotherapy treatment for cancer cause? Chemotherapy is designed to kill cancer cells that multiply rapidly, but these drugs can also harm healthy cells, causing side effects. During chemotherapy you may have no side effects or just a few. The kinds of side effects you have depend… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, Feb. 23, 2015

WHAT: 3 Lives Blood Drive WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26 WHERE: Remington College, 10551 Coursey Blvd., Baton Rouge INFORMATION: 3Lives.com DETAILS: The blood drive is being conducted with LifeShare Blood Centers. 3 Lives blood drive is a national effort to recruit minority blood donors and help supply… Continue reading →

Giving your heart a break: American Heart Month is a great time to evaluate risks and how to avoid them

While it’s always a good time to think about your heart, February is officially American Heart Month. One out of every four deaths — about 600,000 — in the United States is related to heart disease, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. Louisiana is part of what researchers have called the “heart… Continue reading →

Alzheimers Q&A, Feb. 16, 2015

Should I tell my mom that she has Alzheimer’s disease? If your mom has been experiencing memory loss or other symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, then, most likely, she intuitively suspects something is wrong, and, therefore, has a right to know the truth and be fully informed of the situation. While you may dread telling… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, Feb. 16, 2015

What are common side effects of radiation therapy for cancer treatment? According to the National Cancer Institute, radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading. Radiation works by damaging the DNA in cancer cells so they stop dividing or die. There are two… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, Feb. 16, 2015

WHAT: Session on high blood pressure WHEN: Noon, Monday, Feb. 23. Registration starts at 11 a.m. WHERE: Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge REGISTRATION: Deadline to register is Feb. 20. (866) 220-0418 or myhealth.peopleshealth.com. DETAILS: Dr. Garland Green will speak at this free event, sponsored by Peoples Health and… Continue reading →

Working on the playground: LSU Community Playground Project works with schools, students to maximize play

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Ric Kearny, left, and Tommy Nguyen move a slide on the new Bernard Terrace Elementary School playground, which is the 30th in the parish to be built from designs by LSU biological engineering students of Marybeth Lima, who finds the funding to get the play spaces constructed.

When it came time to design a new play area for Bernard Terrace Elementary School, the planners looked to the authorities — the students. And the youngsters wanted to be able to compete against each other on the brightly colored slide, climbing bars and stairs. “It’s great for the kids,” said Marybeth Lima,… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, Feb. 9, 2015

WHAT: Heart Healthy seminar WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 REGISTRATION: Free; call (225) 673-4255 and ask for the concierge desk. DETAILS: Dr. Kay Solar, dietician Lori Gardiner and fitness expert Rebecca Penniman will provide information on how you can protect your heart with… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, Feb. 9, 2015

Should I follow a Mediterranean diet to lower my risk of Alzheimer’s disease? The Mediterranean diet has been the subject of intensive research for more than 50 years. The traditional diet in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, which include Italy, France, Morocco and Greece, was considered a “poor man’s” diet as it was developed over… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, Feb. 9, 2015

My brother is waiting on staging results for his cancer. What does that mean? Stages describe the severity of the cancer based upon the location and amount of tumors in the body. Doctors evaluate where the cancer started, called the primary site, and if it has spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body.… Continue reading →

No need to go it alone: Group works to connect families living with severe allergies to develop a community where everyone understands

Advocate staff photo by KYLE PEVETO --Social worker and therapist Carolyn Ellender, left, takes a raffle ticket from Haley Pittenger and Kadence White at the food allergy conference the girls planned to bring together those living with severe allergies.

A severe food allergy makes life a little harder for 11-year-old Haley Pittenger. She can’t eat the same foods as kids in the school lunchroom or trick-or-treat for candy at Halloween. And she’s usually the only girl carrying a life-saving shot of epinephrine everywhere she goes. Most of her classmates know about her dangerous peanut… Continue reading →

New tools helping in fight childhood obesity

A new set of tools to treat childhood obesity is being dispersed to doctors, clinics and hospitals across Louisiana. The Baton Rouge-based Pennington Biomedical Research Center has developed the Childhood Obesity Treatment Toolkit, a website and printed guide for medical professionals to better understand causes of and treatments for obesity. Currently online at pbrc.edu/obesitytoolkit/,… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, Feb. 2, 2015

WHAT: How to Love Your Heart (Cholesterol and Triglycerides) session WHEN: Noon, Wednesday, Feb. 4. Registration starts at 11 a.m. WHERE: Family Health Center, second-floor Conference Rooms A & B, 3801 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge REGISTRATION: (866) 220-0418 or myhealth.peopleshealth.com. Deadline to register is Tuesday, Feb. 3. DETAILS: Dr. Charles Edward Geno… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, Feb. 2, 2015

What are some good books to read to educate myself on Alzheimer’s disease? There are numerous books and materials that are helpful in gaining more knowledge about the disease and also those that offer practical strategies and tips for caregiving. Following are some of the top books that are excellent resources in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, Feb. 2, 2015

What can you tell me about the Patient Bill of Rights? While there is no one “Bill of Rights” for patients, you can find many different variations that have evolved since their inception in the 1970s. The Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 has made some changes to the generally accepted Patient Bill of Rights. All… Continue reading →

Resolution month: Losing weight is the most popular resolution, but don’t lose money too

Associated Press file photo -- Fitness Connexion trainer Nicolette Isaacs instructs Katie Barling on how to use a weight machine for a step up exercise at the gym in Bloomington, Ill. January, the start of New Year's resolution month, sees a healthy uptick in sign-ups at gyms and specialized studios offering such things as Pilates, kickboxing and yoga. But money-saving expert Andrea Woroch in Bakersfield, California, said recent statistics show 67 percent of people who join don't use their memberships at all.

— How’s that new year, new you fitness pledge going? January, the start of New Year’s resolution month, sees a healthy uptick in sign-ups at gyms and specialized studios offering such things as Pilates, kickboxing and yoga. But money-saving expert Andrea Woroch in Bakersfield, California, said recent statistics show 67 percent of people… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, Jan. 26, 2015

Does Alzheimer’s disease cause disruptive sleep patterns? Yes, the sleep/wake cycle of the affected individual becomes more disturbed as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. Some people may sleep for prolonged periods during the day and night, and others may wake often during the night and become more confused. The amount of sleep disruption usually depends on the… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, Jan. 26, 2015

What are the scans a doctor might use to diagnosis cancer? The term scan is usually used in reference to a type of diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic imaging refers to several different technologies doctors use to look inside the body for clues about the type of cancer a patient might have and to find its exact location.… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, Jan 26, 2015

WHAT: A running and riding event WHEN: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 WHERE: BREC Farr Park Levee, 6402 River Road, Baton Rouge COST/REGISTER: $20 per team. Preregistration required. Call (225) 272-9200, ext. 436, or email outdooradventure@brec.org DETAILS: Must be 12 or older to participate. Teams of two will ride and bike 6.2 miles.… Continue reading →