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Stand-alone photo: Good health bath

  • More than a hundred people take a midwinter dip known as the annual kanchu suiyoku, at Teppozu Inari Shrine in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Sunday. The 105 people, ranging in age from 9 to 83, prayed for their good health while immersed chest-deep in a tub about 5 meters in diameter with two huge floating icicles that was set up at the shrine. Photo: Japan News-Yomiuri / Japan News-Yomiuri

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Stand-alone photo: More than a hundred people take a midwinter dip known as the annual kanchu suiyoku, at Teppozu Inari Shrine in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Sunday. The 105 people, ranging in age from 9 to 83, prayed for their good health while immersed chest-deep in a tub about 5 meters in diameter with two huge floating icicles that was set up at the shrine.

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Another Voice: Food, not drugs, is the key to good health

By Dr. Richard Ruhling

Medical care is the diagnosis and treatment of disease and has nothing to do with health care. Proof comes from the inverse relationship – the more one takes prescriptions to relieve symptoms, the worse one’s health becomes.

While teaching at Loma Linda University in California, I did yearly physicals on executives. One said that sugar gave him joint pains; another said cheese bothered his joints; a third said meat caused his arthritis. They were smart men who had figured it out.

Most people don’t figure it out because foods cause a delayed reaction. People suspecting a food problem should eliminate it 100 percent for five days.

Textbooks show most medical conditions as of “unknown etiology.” That means they didn’t know the cause, so how can a drug be the cure?

An example is an FDA bulletin in 1970 reported deaths from heart disease were double for patients taking either of the two most commonly prescribed drugs for diabetes in eight university medical centers.

The names of the drugs have changed, but drugs still have high risk compared to wise eating. Dr. Nathan Pritikin’s diet in the 1970s got 85 percent of patients off their diabetic drugs and a similar percentage off blood pressure drugs.

Ninety seven percent of people are born normal. If they have a problem 40 or 60 years later, in most cases, they did it to themselves by what they put in their mouths. The good news is it’s reversible.

The late Dr. Lester Breslow of UCLA found that seven simple health habits were good for a 30-year difference between the people who broke them all, compared to people who live by healthy habits.

People with health problems should watch the best physicians on YouTube discussing a plant-based diet. These include Daniel Amen for brain health; Neal Barnard for diabetes; T. Colin Campbell for cancer; Caldwell Esselstyn for the heart, and Joel Fuhrman and Michael Greger for many conditions.

I visited U.S. Senate offices with medical literature stating that prescription drugs were a leading cause of illness and death until one senator said I was wasting my time.

“They own us,” he said, referring to donations by drug companies to their re-election campaigns.

This is a disgrace and the reason why Congress let the drug companies play a major role in writing the Affordable Care Act.

The end result can be an early death or a nursing home where the average number of drugs prescribed is nine to 13. Half die in the first year – blamed on the heart with no autopsy.

Dr. Richard Ruhling taught health science at Loma Linda University. His website is

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For most accurate BP readings, follow procedure | To Your Good Health

When it really matters — for example, when taking care of a person with high blood pressure — the blood pressure should be measured very carefully. The home measurements actually may be more useful, as there are more results, which minimizes random error, and they are taken in the situation where people live, not the artificial situation of a physician’s office. However, the doctor should make sure the device is accurate before relying on the readings.

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Liver is crucial to good health | Public

The human liver is a part of the body that most people don’t know much about or think about, yet it is crucial to good health as well as life. The liver is a very large gland and one of the most complex organs of the body. The skin is the only other organ that is heavier and larger than the liver. The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself, and can do so completely as long as a minimum of 25 percent of the tissue remains.

The liver is classified as part of the digestive system, but its functions are many and varied. These functions include detoxification, protein synthesis, storage of certain vitamins and minerals, and the production of bile and other chemicals that help digest food. It is located above the stomach and below the lungs, weighs 2 to 3 pounds in adulthood, is roughly the size of a football, and carries out more than 500 essential tasks.

Unlike other organs in the body, the liver is served by two distinct blood supplies. The hepatic artery conveys oxygenated blood containing essential materials to the liver, while the portal vein brings nutrient-filled blood from the stomach and intestines for processing.

The liver acts like a sorting center, taking the blood from the digestive system and determining which nutrients should be processed, what should be stored, what should be eliminated via the stool, and what should go back into the blood. An estimated 13 percent of the body’s blood can be found circulating in the liver at any given time.

There are many types of diseases that can affect the liver and its functions. One such disease is cirrhosis of the liver where scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. This disease can be caused by long-term excessive use of alchohol, obesity, chronic hepatitis, or several rare genetic diseases. Chirrhosis can have serious complications that negatively impact quality of life and longevity. People with this condition also have a much higher risk of developing liver cancer.

At the present time, deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer are skyrocketing in the United States, especially among younger people. Many, if not most, of these deaths are completely preventable with life style changes.

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Here’s a guide to smart workouts and good health

You can’t beat ageing, but you can beat bad health.

The effect of exercise on health is profound. It can protect you from a range of conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. But the type and amount of exercise you should do changes as you age. To ensure that you are doing the right type of exercise for your age, follow this simple guide.

Childhood and adolescence

In childhood, exercise helps control body weight, builds healthy bones and promotes self-confidence and healthy sleep patterns. The government recommends that children should get at least one hour of exercise a day. As a tip:

  • Children should try a variety of sports and develop skills, such as swimming and the ability to hit and kick a ball.
  • Lots of non–scheduled physical activity is great, too, such as playing in playgrounds.

Exercise habits tend to steadily decline during teen years, particularly in girls. Getting enough exercise promotes a healthy body image and helps manage stress and anxiety. You can also:

  • Encourage teenagers to keep one team sport, if possible.
  • For teenagers who are not into team sports, swimming or athletics can be a good way to keep fitness levels up.

In your 20s

You are at your absolute physical peak in your mid-20s, with the fastest reaction times and highest VO2 max – the maximum rate at which the body can pump oxygen to muscles. After this peak, your VO2 max decreases by up to 1% each year and your reaction time slows each year. The good news is that regular physical activity can slow this decline. Building lean muscle mass and bone density at this age helps you retain them in later years.

  • Vary your training and keep it fun. Try tag rugby, rowing or boot camp.
  • If you are a regular exerciser, get advice from an exercise professional to build “periodisation” into your training regime. This involves dividing your training regime into progressive cycles that manipulate different aspects of training – such as intensity, volume and type of exercise – to optimise your performance and ensure you peak for a planned exercise event, such as a triathlon.

In your 30s

As careers and family life for many intensify in their 30s, it is important that you maintain cardiovascular fitness and strength to slow normal physical decline. If you have a sedentary job, make sure you maintain good posture and break up long periods of sitting by forcing activity into your day, such as routing your printer to another room, climbing a flight of stairs to use the bathroom on another floor, or standing when taking a phone call so you are moving every half an hour where possible.

  • Work smart. Try high-intensity interval training. This is where bursts of high-intensity activity, up to 80% of your maximum heart rate, such as sprinting and cycling, are broken up with periods of lower-intensity exercise. This kind of workout is good for the time poor as it can be done in 20 minutes.
  • For all women, and especially after childbirth, do pelvic floor exercises, sometimes known as Kegel exercises daily to help prevent incontinence.
  • Diversify your exercise programme to keep it interesting. Try boot camp, spin class or yoga.

Diversify your training with boot camp. wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

In your 40s

Most people start to put on weight in their 40s. Resistance exercise is the best way to optimise calorie burning to counteract fat accumulation and reverse the loss of three to eight percent of muscle mass per decade. Ten weeks of resistance training could increase lean weight by 1.4kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7% and decrease fat weight by 1.8kg.

  • Try kettlebells or start a weight-training programme in your gym.
  • Take up running, if you don’t run already, and don’t be afraid to start a more intensive exercise programme. You get more bang for your buck with running versus walking.
  • Pilates can be useful to build core strength to protect against back pain, which often starts in this decade.

Take up kettlebells in your 40s to burn calories. Goolia Photography/Shutterstock

In your 50s

In this decade, aches and pains may crop up and chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, can manifest. As oestrogen declines in postmenopausal women, the risk of heart disease increases.

  • Do strength training twice a week to maintain your muscle mass.
  • Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, is recommended. Walk fast enough so that your breathing rate increases and you break a sweat.
  • Try something different. Tai chi can be excellent for balance and relaxation.

In your 60s

Typically, people accumulate more chronic conditions as they get older, and ageing is a major risk factor for cancer. Maintaining a high level of physical activity can help prevent cancers, such as post-menopausal breast cancer, colon cancer and cancer of the womb, and it reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity tends to decline with age, so keep active and try to buck this trend.

  • Try ballroom dancing or other forms of dancing; it’s a fun and sociable way to exercise.
  • Incorporate strength and flexibility exercises twice a week. Aqua-aerobics can be a great way to develop strength using water as resistance.
  • Maintain cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking.

Ballroom dancing is fun and sociable. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

70s and beyond

Exercise in your 70s and beyond helps prevent frailty and falls, and it’s important for your cognitive function. If you have a period of ill health, try to keep mobile, if possible. Strength and fitness can decline rapidly if you are bed bound or very inactive, which can make it hard to get back to previous levels.

  • Walk and talk. Instead of inactive visits from family and friends, go for a walk together. It will keep you motivated and boost your health more than solitary exercise.
  • Incorporate some strength, balance and cardiovascular exercise in your regime. But get advice from a physiotherapist or other exercise professional, especially if you have several chronic conditions.

The main message is to keep moving throughout your life. Sustained exercise is what benefits health most.

Julie Broderick is a Assistant Professor, Physiotherapy, at Trinity College Dublin.

This article was originally published in The Conversation.

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NOPD: 10-year-old boy kidnapped from Algiers home


The New Orleans Police Department originally reported a boy was kidnapped outside of his Algiers home Sunday, but later said he was not kidnapped and was found in good health.

Officials have not released any other information surrounding this incident.

In an original report, officials said a boy was taken from outside his Algiers home. The boy’s mother told her he was going to put trash in the bin in front of the residence.

His mother said around 3:03 p.m. she looked in the home for her son, but could not locate him. She said she called his cell phone and did not get an answer, but shortly after, received a text message from his phone stating he was kidnapped from outside his residence.

Sunday night, NOPD released another update saying the boy was never kidnapped and is in good health.

Keep up with local news, weather and current events with the WDSU app here. Sign up for our email newsletters to get breaking news right in your inbox. Click here to sign up!


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Art can be good for your health – Herald





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Your Good Health: Former drug addict endures pain, fatigue

Dear Dr. Roach: I’m in recovery from addiction to opioids, benzodiazepines and cocaine, which I used for up to three years. I have been clean and sober for almost a year now, yet I continue to suffer from headaches, muscle aches, insomnia, excessive fatigue and worsening anxiety and depression. Oftentimes, I feel worse now than I did when I was actively using drugs. It makes staying sober very hard, and I wonder why I bother most of the time, since I feel terrible and my quality of life is poor. I’ve visited my family doctor several times and was told that I shouldn’t be suffering any symptoms of physical withdrawal anymore. The doctor prescribed Seroquel. I have had routine bloodwork done to rule out any other issues, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, and I appear to be physically healthy, yet I feel awful. From speaking to other addicts in recovery, I believe I have post-acute withdrawal syndrome, yet there seems to be very little knowledge or treatment for it (aside from trying different kinds of antidepressants and being told to go for a walk). Do you have any additional insight you can offer me?


Congratulations on successfully being in recovery.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is a controversial topic, with some doctors feeling it is just withdrawal, and some payers feeling that it’s a made-up syndrome designed by practitioners to keep people in treatment longer. Although there may be a small element of truth in both of these criticisms, I think that PAWS is a real phenomenon for a subset of people who have stopped abusing substances. Although opiates, alcohol and stimulants are best-described to cause PAWS, nearly any substance that is overused can lead to withdrawal, and withdrawal symptoms sometimes can be protracted.

PAWS is more than just cravings. People who have successfully quit smoking say that they continue to have cravings decades after quitting. In PAWS, the symptoms are more like acute withdrawal symptoms, including dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting. In most reported cases, symptoms can go on for up to a year (occasionally more). While looking for thyroid disease or diabetes is simple and rational, extensive searching for other causes can make people affected by this syndrome more anxious, and the search is unlikely to be successful.

The risk of PAWS seems to be increased in people who took larger doses, used for a long period of time, took the substance multiple times daily, or quit suddenly (“cold turkey”).

Treatment for PAWS may include medications; however, because the syndrome is poorly defined, there hasn’t been much research on what drug treatment might be effective.

Quetiapine (Seroquel) is a powerful anti-psychotic drug that should not be used lightly. Commonsense approaches, such as regular moderate exercise, healthy nutrition and good sleep habits, can’t hurt, but they are not likely to solve any serious mental health problem by themselves.

I sense that you may feel your concerns are not taken seriously. The best advice is probably a mental health professional well-versed in substance abuse.

Sometimes, just some reassurance that the symptoms are due to prolonged withdrawal and that they eventually will go away can provide relief. Further, knowing that the symptoms are likely to be temporary can make staying drug-free a little bit easier.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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Your Good Health: Light therapy can help counter seasonal affective disorder

Dear Dr. Roach: Would you write about seasonal affective disorder to help so many others who may be suffering with this, but don’t even know it? I was diagnosed with clinical depression after a move to Wisconsin from Southern California. I took medication and had counselling, and after a couple of years, was doing well. My doctor and I decided I could go off Prozac.

I did really well for a while, but then in the winter, I became depressed again. This time, the antidepressants did not help at all. In the spring, I read an article describing seasonal affective disorder, and recognized myself. I was so excited to learn more that I contacted my psychiatrist, who said he didn’t really know much about it, but gave me a small article from a professional journal that included information about light therapy.

I bought a light box and have used it every year since then. Now I do not need antidepressants at all. I believe that this is something many people are not aware of, and with these long winter nights, it might be something that you would write about. Since I got my SAD lamp, the availability of high-quality therapeutic lights has definitely grown. I truly believe that light therapy saved my life. It has made the winters bearable.


Seasonal affective disorder is a condition of recurrent mood disorders, especially major depressive illness episodes, occurring in a particular season, usually winter. Without treatment, symptoms often improve in spring or early summer. It is far more common than you might think — 0.5 per cent to three per cent of the population met criteria for this disorder in a well-done study. Worse, 60 per cent of people diagnosed with SAD have never been offered treatment.

What causes SAD is unknown. Theories include issues with circadian rhythms, relating to the decreasing amount of sunlight; changes in melatonin synthesis; and changes in the sensitivity of the retina to light.

Treatment for SAD might consist of light therapy, which worked well for you, but does not work as well for others; drug therapy, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or bupropion (Wellbutrin); and talk therapy. These might be more effective when used in combination. In addition to these primary therapies, careful attention to sleep and exercise are useful adjunct treatments.

Light therapy can be done in different ways. One well-studied method is bright light (10,000 lux, a measure of brightness) for a half-hour each day beginning 10 minutes after awakening. Other studies have shown good results with less-intense light (2,500 lux) for longer periods (two hours). Finally, simulating dawn with gradually increasing light has been effective in several trials. As always, finding an experienced mental-health professional is likely to result in better outcomes. SAD is sufficiently well-known now, at least by most mental-health specialists, so finding an expert will be much easier than it was years ago.

A few people have the opposite pattern of SAD, having depression or mania during the summer. Light therapy is not effective in these cases. In fact, limiting sunlight during the day and keeping cool at night might help.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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Your Good Health: Blood-pressure spike could be nerve damage

Dear Dr. Roach: My husband, who is 71 and very active, had squamous cell carcinoma of his mouth a year and a half ago. He had surgery, along with a radical neck dissection. All nodes were negative and the oral cancer was taken care of at the time of surgery.

However, from the day he had surgery to now, his systolic blood pressure reading is constantly around 165 to 170. His diastolic pressure is fine. He is on 10 mg of lisinopril to protect his kidneys, since he is a Type 2 diabetic, which is very much under control.

I wonder if during the neck dissection, an artery could have been damaged, causing the high systolic pressure.


I am impressed by your thinking. The major blood vessel in the neck, the carotid artery, has a pressure-sensing area called the carotid sinus. This helps to regulate blood pressure and, in theory, if the blood vessel were damaged in surgery, the blood pressure could go up.

What is more likely is that the nerve to the carotid sinus was damaged, either by the tumour or by surgery.

When that happens, a reflex in the brain causes the heart rate to increase and blood vessels throughout the body to constrict, and blood pressure goes up.

For most people, the blood pressure generally returns back to normal on its own after a few months, but there are published cases similar to your husband’s.

While the mechanism is speculation on my part, a blood pressure of 165 to 170 is not optimal for anyone, but is especially high for a person with diabetes, where the risk of heart attack and stroke are increased.

Lisinopril is a good choice, because it protects the kidney and heart, but it sounds like your husband needs additional lowering of his blood pressure, whether through nonmedical means or with additional medication.

Dear Dr. Roach: My husband has been very ill three times this year, requiring hospitalization. Most recently, he had pneumonia, with a resistant organism requiring several antibiotics.

Our infectious-disease doctor recommended a panel of his white cells, which showed that many different types, including CD-4 and CD-8 cells, were very decreased. The immunologist said he thought my husband might have a genetic immune deficiency. He was also given Bactrim in addition to cefixime. Is that OK?


CD-4 and CD-8 cells are both T-cells, a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. These cells are critical to a co-ordinated immune system. There are some genetic immune deficiencies and one acquired immune deficiency syndrome that primarily affect CD-4 cells. Without this particular cell, the body is susceptible to unusual organisms, especially Pneumocystis jirovecii. Bactrim is used to prevent this infection in people with very low CD-4 cell counts.

Sometimes, in critical illness, the entire immune system is depressed. I wonder if that might be the case in your husband. Only follow-up testing with the immunologist will make this clear.

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