Tobacco Free Florida Can Help You Quit Smoking

logo_TFFYour Health and Tobacco

(Information taken from At this point, most people know tobacco is really bad for them. Every now and then someone tells us about their superhero uncle who lived to be 112 years old and smoked, but unlikely things like getting struck by lightning also happen. In reality, tobacco use is the leading cause of disability, disease and preventable death in the United States. Every year, we learn more about how devastating tobacco can be to the human body and how damaging secondhand smoke is to those around it.

Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Smoking causes lung cancer and lung diseases including COPD, emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction.

Smoking also causes the following cancers

  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth)
  • Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
  • Stomach cancer
  • Cancer of the uterus



Berries May Cut Heart Attack Risk in Women, Study Says


MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) — Eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries each week may help reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack, a large new study suggests.

The study included nearly 94,000 young and middle-aged women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years.

During the study period, 405 participants had heart attacks. Women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 32 percent less likely to have a heart attack, compared to women who ate berries once a month or less. This held true even among women who ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.

This benefit was independent of other heart risk factors such as advancing age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass index, exercise, smoking, and caffeine and alcohol intake. The findings appear online Jan. 14 in the journal Circulation.

The study can’t say specifically what about the berries seemed to result in a lower risk of heart attack among these women, or that there was a direct cause-and-effect link between eating the berries and lowered heart attack risk. But blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of compounds that may help widen arteries, which counters plaque buildup, the researchers said. Heart attacks can occur when plaque blocks blood flow to the heart.

“Berries were the most commonly consumed sources of these substances in the U.S. diet, and they are one of the best sources of these powerful bioactive compounds,” said study lead author Aedin Cassidy. “These substances, called anthocyanins — a flavonoid — are naturally present in red- and blue-colored fruits and vegetables, so they are also found in high amounts in cherries, grapes, eggplant, black currants, plums and other berries.”

Men are likely to benefit from eating berries as well, although this study included only women, said Cassidy, who is head of the department of nutrition at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, in England.

Although more research is needed to confirm these benefits, “these data are important from a public health perspective because these fruits can be readily incorporated into the habitual diet,” the study concluded.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted that this was a “huge study that followed women for a long period of time. Women who ate three or more servings of strawberries and blueberries per week decreased their heart attack risk by one-third. This is pretty compelling.”

Steinbaum’s advice to both women and men is to include berries in their diet, and make them part of their daily fruit and vegetable fill.

One serving of blueberries or strawberries equals about one cup.

Dana Greene, a nutritionist in Boston, regularly tells her patients to consume more fruits and vegetables, including berries.

“They are so good for you,” Greene said. Besides flavonoids, berries also are loaded with other nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium and folate.

“I tell all patients to make sure that half of their plate is filled with fruits and vegetables, especially richly colored ones like blueberries and strawberries,” Greene said. “Berries can also help people lose weight and maintain that loss because they feel fuller faster. There is no downside.”

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

More information

What does a heart attack look like in women? Find out at the American Heart Association External Website Policy.


Exercise Can Shield the Aging Brain, Studies Show

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Weight training, walking helped older adults’ memory, according to new studies at Alzheimer’s meet.

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) — Evidence is mounting that exercise provides some protection from memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, with three new studies showing that a variety of physical activities are associated with healthier brains in older adults.

One study found that normally sedentary older adults who walked at a moderate pace three times a week for a year boosted the size of the brain region involved with memory.

A second study found that twice-weekly resistance (weight) training helped women with mild signs of mental decline improve their scores on thinking and memory tests. And the third showed that exercise done for strength and balance also improved memory.

None of the findings offer a clear-cut prescription for thwarting mental declines and Alzheimer’s, but taken together, the growing body of research strongly suggests that physical activity is essential for healthy brain aging, and may help prevent Alzheimer’s, said Heather Snyder, senior associate director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“These studies really start to strengthen the literature about the impact that physical activity may have to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” Snyder said.

The studies were to be presented Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association annual meeting in Vancouver.

In one study, U.S. researchers at three universities divided 120 older, sedentary adults without dementia into two groups. One group did aerobic exercise by walking on a track at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes three times a week; the other group did stretching and toning exercises.

A year later, MRI brain scans showed that the size of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved with memory, increased by 2 percent in the walking group. In the stretch-toning group, hippocampal brain volume declined by 1.5 percent.

After age 50 or 55, adults lose about 1 percent of brain volume per year, said lead study author Kirk Erickson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Marked shrinkage of the hippocampus can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new findings show that “the hippocampus remains very plastic throughout life, even in late life,” Erickson said. “We can not only stop it from shrinking, but we can increase the size of the brain in a relatively short amount of time, just one year of getting people more active.”

Erickson and his colleagues also measured concentrations in the blood of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is important in learning, memory and other brain functions, Erickson said.

They found that people who had greater increases in the size of their hippocampus also had a greater boost in BDNF, which suggests a healthier brain, he said.

Yet, how brain volume or BDNF levels relate to memory or thinking ability remains murky. The fact that both groups — those who did aerobic exercise and the stretch-tone group — performed better on thinking and memory tests after a year says that various types of exercise may act on different regions of the brain or different brain networks, Erickson said. Rather than saying one type of exercise is more important than another, the answer is likely more complex, with various types of physical activity affecting different aspects of brain health, Erickson said.

To test just that kind of theory, researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Illinois, Urbana, divided 86 women aged 70 to 80 who already showed signs of mild mental decline into three groups. One did twice-weekly resistance (weight) training, another did twice-weekly aerobic training (walking) and the third did twice-weekly balance and tone exercises.

After six months, the resistance training group showed significantly improved performance on tests of attention and memory compared to the other two groups, the researchers found. Resistance training also led to functional changes in three brain regions involved in memory. The aerobic training group showed improvement in balance, mobility and cardiovascular capacity.

The third study, by researchers at the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Japan, focused on 47 older adults with the mild memory impairment who were divided into two groups. One did 90 minutes of supervised exercise twice a week, while the other, the control group, sat through a few sessions of health education.

The exercise group did strength training, aerobics and exercises to improve balance, for one year.

Those in the exercise group showed improvement on a memory task and tests gauging their ability to use language compared to those in the education group, although both groups showed memory improvements, the researchers said.

“There is a lot of evidence out there suggesting that exercises can be beneficial for you in a whole variety of ways, whether it’s reducing risk of obesity and weight gain or reducing inflammation,” Erickson said. “Exercise is associated with an increased lifespan, and repeatedly has been shown to be associated with reducing risk of dementia. There looks like there is a very direct link between physical activity and the integrity of the brain.”

Because this research is being presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In addition, experts noted that while these studies found an association between exercise and healthier brain aging, the researchers didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging External link has more on Alzheimer’s.

(SOURCES: Heather Snyder, Ph.D, senior associate director, medical and scientific relations, Alzheimer’s Association; Kirk Erickson, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychology, University of Pittsburgh; July 15, 2012, abstracts, Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2012, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay External link. All rights reserved.

HealthDay news articles are derived from various sources and do not reflect federal policy. does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in news stories.


Blood Tests Might Help Guide Breast Cancer Care

Study of about 300 women found exams helped predict survival in early stages of disease.

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) — A simple blood test may help gauge prognosis and tailor treatments for women who have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. The test, described in the June 6 online edition of The Lancet Oncology, measures how many tumor cells are circulating in the blood. In the new study, if even one cell was detected in the bloodstream, a woman had a greater chance of her cancer recurring and of dying.

“This may help with prognosis and staging of the cancer and, in the future, with targets for breast cancer treatments,” said study lead author Dr. Anthony Lucci, a professor of surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston. Commenting on the findings, Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, “We are moving into a state where we’re looking at a person’s individual tumor and this is another way to do that, potentially leading to treatment.”

Whether or not cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is currently the best way to predict survival in women with breast cancer. Even so, a substantial number of patients whose cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes will have a recurrence while some of those who do have lymph-node involvement won’t relapse. Blood tests similar to the one investigated in this study have been found to be useful to gauge how well patients who already have metastatic cancer will do. For this study, researchers counted circulating tumor cells in 302 breast cancer patients who were about to undergo surgery but who hadn’t yet received chemotherapy. Circulating tumor cells were detectable in about one-quarter of the participants, the investigators found. Fifteen percent of these individuals had a relapse and 10 percent died during a five-year follow-up, compared with 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, of patients who did not have circulating tumor cells. The more tumor cells a woman had in her bloodstream, the higher the likelihood of relapsing or dying, according to the report. Although the test may not be far off in terms of clinical practice, “we need additional studies,” Lucci said. One area for study is how well these circulating cells predict recurrence and death in patients who have already had chemotherapy.

Currently, the American Society of Clinical Oncology does not recommend that clinicians measure circulating tumor cells in patients. And in an accompanying comment article, Justin Stebbing, a professor in the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College in London, said that “despite increasing evidence supporting the use of [circulating tumor cells] as bio-markers, how this information can be integrated into present practice is uncertain.” According to Bernik, though, “it makes sense that women who have circulating tumor cells would potentially be at higher risk of distant disease at some later date.” The problem is that just having circulating tumor cells may not be enough information to foretell the future, she noted. “The cells also need to have a propensity to grow elsewhere,” she said. “Not every cancer cell becomes a metastatic cancer cell. Hopefully, gaining the ability to tell which cells are more likely to spread potentially could guide therapy,” Bernik added. According to Lucci, circulating tumor cells are also showing promise in predicting melanoma prognosis, so the method may be “effective in several different tumor systems.”

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on breast cancer External link.

(SOURCES: Anthony Lucci, M.D., professor of surgery, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; June 6, 2012, The Lancet Oncology, online)

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay External link. All rights reserved.

HealthDay news articles are derived from various sources and do not reflect federal policy. does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in news stories.


Health Tip: What Triggers Your Migraines?

(HealthDay News) — The exact cause of migraines isn’t fully understood, but experts have identified certain “triggers” that seem to bring on these headaches in many people.

The website says common migraine triggers include:

  • Too much or too little sleep.
  • Missing meals.
  • Changes in weather.
  • Exposure to loud noise, strong smells or bright light.
  • Menstruation-related hormonal changes.
  • Anxiety and/or stress.
  • Certain foods or ingredients, such as caffeine, alcohol, nitrates, MSG, tyramine or artificial sweeteners.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay External link. All rights reserved.

National Women’s Health Week


National Women's Health Week - May 13–19, 2012

Save the Date!

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
Find events in your area!
To learn more about National Women’s Health Week, visit
To send your own personalized e-card, visit
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Text 4 Baby


Project leader: Ann Abercrombie, M.L.S.

Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday. In response to this national public health crisis, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) created text4baby External link, a free mobile information service that provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. OWH is a partner in this educational service and offers moms additional healthy pregnancy information.

If you are pregnant or a new mom, text4baby can help keep you and your baby healthy.

Sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) to receive free text messages each week, timed to your due date or baby’s date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defect prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

Text4baby is an educational service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. For more information about text4baby, please contact Send an

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