University of Toronto’s Dr. Steve Hirsch, author of Health First: Winning at Weight Loss and Wellness, recommends “mindful” eating to help lose excess weight. When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you tend to make healthier choices.

Read more here: http://life.nationalpost.com/2014/02/28/weight-loss-starts-in-the-brain-...

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Sometimes doctors are brilliant technically, but lack the communication skills to connect with their patients. Now, seminars are being offered to doctors to help improve their communication skills with patients, but do they work? Can you teach empathy? Maybe not.

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The first ever report case was an accident, hours after delivery, a baby born with HIV was treated with three antiretroviral drugs. Years later, there was no evidence of the disease. Recently another child was born with the virus and appears to be cured after receiving similar treatment. The findings were reported at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/06/health/hiv-baby-cured/

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According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a new prenatal screening test has proved to be 10 times more accurate in screening for Down syndrome and another chromosomal disorder than the now-standard test. The new test analyzes fetal DNA found in a pregnant woman’s blood. The test is costly, but reduces the chances of receiving a false-positive result. Prenatal screening tests are recommended for pregnant women who are older than 35 or at risk of having babies with abnormalities.

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The pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating neurodegenerative disorder, is still unclear despite extensive research. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease experience detrimental changes to their brains caused by the accumulation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Whether these changes are more to do with inherent genetics or environmental influences however is ambiguous.

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Hospitals in British Columbia are enforcing a ‘get the flu shot or wear a mask’ policy for the safety of visitors, patients and hospital staff. Ontario hospital are hopping onto the bandwagon, with three so far enforcing the policy.

There has been some backlash; the Ontario Nurses Association is calling the measures “pressure tactics” and public “shaming” of unvaccinated workers. In B.C. the current rate of vaccinated hospital staff is about 70 percent, while the rate among Toronto’s academic hospitals remains at about 49 percent.

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A drug has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials for treating the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which causes fatal lung scarring. The drug, pirfenidone, is being developed by the company InterMune and could become the first drug approved in the U.S. to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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The best way to treat insomnia is also the least known way. Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, has been shown to be the most effective method for reversing insomnia. While sleeping pills are able to provide short-term relief, CBT-I teaches a set of techniques that allow the biological processes of sleep regulation to operate without interference from racing thoughts, hyperarousal, and entrenched, unsatisfactory sleep-wake patterns.

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Dr. James Aw explains the key to understanding why one person can live longer than another, despite smoking a pack a day or avoiding exercise, for example. Many researchers believe that it is the proper regulation of inflammation that sets apart those who live to 100 years of age from those who live to 80. But why do some people experience chronic inflammation while others do not? The answer may lie in epigenetics, or the exchange between environment and the body’s genes, which has the ability to turn some genes off and others on.

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Once that 50th birthday rolls by, your doctor will start recommending a colonoscopy, the less than highly anticipated test for colon cancer or precancer, in the form of polyps. However, the test has proven beneficial, with the incidence of colon cancers in Americans over 50 years of age declining 30 percent over the last 10 years. Still, just 55 percent of people aged 50-65 are undergoing colonoscopy screening, and colon cancer remains the third leading cancer killer in the United States.

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