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Fresh herbs bring fantastic flavor and heart benefits

Add parsley for texture, flavor and nutrition

herbs blogAs part of our ongoing series about how fresh herbs bring fantastic flavor and heart benefits, today we take a look at parsley. Yes, there are other uses for parsley besides that little garnish sprig on the side of your plate!

Last summer, my parsley plants blessed me with an endless supply of delicious, flavorful leaves. I tried new recipes, tried different ways to save it for later and gave it away to friends and neighbors. In return, my friends and neighbors shared their plans for making chicken soup, tomato sauce and roasted chicken.

The flat leaf varieties of parsley have a peppery taste that is a little stronger than the curly variety. While tabbouleh often comes to mind when I think of parsley, this herb is used in soups, egg dishes, salads and marinades or sauces. Parsley combined with other herbs enhances the flavors of the entire dish. Continue reading

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Care and Maintenance of Your CPAP Machine

It's important to keep your CPAP mask and equipment clean and well maintained.

It’s important to keep your CPAP mask and equipment clean and well maintained.

Do you have a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine? If so, you’ll want to make sure that it’s properly cleaned and maintained. Doing so is important for the life of the equipment—and for your health. If your equipment is not properly cleaned and dried, bacteria can build up and lead to infection. In addition, the oils in your skin can cause premature breakdown in the materials that were used to manufacture your CPAP equipment, especially your mask. Here are a few guidelines.

Daily

  • Replace the water in your heated humidifier with fresh distilled water, which is less likely to deposit minerals inside the water chamber.
  • Clean the outside of the mask cushion with a soapy washcloth to remove any facial oil that may accumulate. Rinse off the soap residue from the cushion.

Weekly

  • Wash mask and headgear, tubing and water chamber in warm soapy water. The mask and headgear do not have to be separated.
  • Soak the humidifier chamber with a vinegar and water soak for 20 minutes. Use white distilled vinegar in a 1:10 ratio with water.
  • Wash the black or gray washable filter (color depends on manufacturer), rinsing well with water and air dry.

Continue reading

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Love your heart, the VA tells women vets

New research reveals the causes of chest pain in women veterans is different from their male counterparts

women vet blogYou’ve probably heard this before: Women have a number of gender-specific heart disease risk factors and warning signs. As a result, doctors coach woman patients to recognize their unique indicators that something might be wrong. Now, research suggests that although women veterans who need a diagnostic cardiac catheterization might be suffering from chest pain like their male counterparts, what’s causing the chest pain is often completely different.

The research was led by Claire Duvernoy, M.D., chief of cardiology at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and cardiologist at the U-M Cardiovascular Center. The team found that chest pain was a common reason for both women and men veterans to undergo a diagnostic cardiac catheterization. However, doctors were less likely to find blockages in women’s arteries that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Continue reading

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Taming the flame: Grill safe this summer

grill safeWe know eating healthy is important in fighting cancer. So how can you enjoy that summer cookout with friends and families without tossing healthy eating aside? Here are some tips on how to grill safe this summer.

Each year, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians field questions from patients about whether it’s safe to grill, given the evidence that grilled meats may contain cancer-causing agents. Guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) suggest that the type of food you grill may be more important than how you prepare it. Continue reading

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Cancer research: Where are we headed?

May is National Cancer Research Month

cancer research

In 1928, Sweden became the first country to issue a postage stamp commemorating the fight against cancer. On April 1, 1965, the United States issued its first anti-cancer commemorative stamp, pictured above. Source: Taub, Marvin. “Cancer Stamps: 50 Years in the Crusade Against Cancer Through Stamps,” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, v.28,no.3, May/June 1978, 164-169.

In 1971 President Nixon signed into law the National Cancer Act which officially launched the “war on cancer.” It earmarked a budget of $100 million towards cancer research and the promise to find new treatments for the second leading cause of death in America at that time.

“One of the most important things that came out of the National Cancer Act is that we started to do a lot of basic science to study the disease … today cancer is thought of as a molecular disease within a cell, whereas in the old days, cancer was thought of as a disease of tumors of tissue,” says Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

So where has this science taken us 44 years later? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer still remains the second leading cause of death after heart disease. However, all is not lost, we’ve come a long way in 44 years!

Unlike the 1970s, when hardly anyone who had cancer was considered a survivor, we now have more than 14 million cancer survivors in the United States, and that number is projected to increase as our baby-boomers age. While survivors are increasing in numbers, we have also made progress in cancer prevention though screening and early detection programs, specifically in colon and cervical cancer.

As Dr. Brawley’s comments above reflect, we have continued to advance our understanding of cancer at the molecular level. This knowledge in turn has led to new developments in targeted therapy, vaccine therapy and immunotherapy. Continue reading

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Stroke Prevention Tips

Many strokes are avoidable

Stroke skull imageStroke is now the 4th leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in America with more than 800,000 people suffering a stroke every year. Because I’m a stroke neurologist, many people ask me how to prevent stroke.

Best stroke prevention

The best advice is:

  • Maintain good blood pressure (probably the most powerful way to prevent stroke)
  • Control other vascular conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid second-hand smoke
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Don’t consume too much alcohol

In some types of stroke, family history plays a role; unfortunately, that is one influence that patients cannot control.  Continue reading