Confused about mindfulness? It's all about“the awareness of the unfolding moment-to-moment experience," and living in the here and now.
I'm a veteran health and lifestyle journalist. After three decades as a USA Today staffer and contributor focused on personal health and medicine, I"m now a freelancer, working for clients including AARP, Bottom Line Health, the BMJ and Captrust's VESTED magazine.
Confused about mindfulness? It's all about“the awareness of the unfolding moment-to-moment experience," and living in the here and now.
Tried meditation but already given it up? Here's what may be getting in your way and how to overcome these common obstacles.
We humans share the world with many life forms, but none may be as important to our well-being as the ones that live inside our own bodies-especially those that live in our gut. Maybe you've heard of them: the bacteria, yeasts, viruses, and other microbes collectively known as our microbiota.
Navigating Medicare, the federal insurance program for seniors, can be complicated. One common misconception: getting Medicare means you will never face healthcare costs again.
Age is just a number, the saying goes. But that's not really true. Age is at least two numbers-your chronological age and your biological age. Chronological age is the one you count with birthday candles. Biological age is trickier to pin down.
Visa issues threaten medical students, doctors in training, practicing physicians, and their families as foreign physicians work the covid-19 front lines.
Today's healthy retirees may live 25 years or more beyond their primary working years. That's a lot of years. But more importantly, that's a lot of days-more than 9,000 days to wake up, greet the dawn, and then . . . What?
Never played an instrument or sang before? No problem. Learning as an adult after the age of 50 can bring you joy - and stimulate your brain.
When we focus intently on music and really listen, we may benefit emotionally. Here are some ideas for how to achieve a deeper listening experience.
Music can spark joy. Listening to it makes you engaged in what may be a uniquely human activity - the translation of music into emotions.
A new report from the Global Council on Brain Health says music can stimulate your brain, trigger memories and emotions and connect you with others.
Music can be a useful tool to spark memories, bond with others and increase productivity. Here's how you can use music to enrich your life.
The possibility of running out of ventilators for patients with covid-19 has ramped up the debate in the US on how to ration care -- and led to some civil rights complaints and revisions.
When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there's a gender gap. Here are reasons why women may suffer from poorer sleep than men.
Difficulty sleeping and changes in sleeping patterns can be common reactions to stress - and it could take a toll on our brains, research suggests.
The idea that food has medicinal power is hardly new. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, supposedly once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” But it's a concept that Western medicine forgot for a while. Chef Seamus Mullen wants to be a living reminder that food matters.
Many shed at least a few tears when their last child leaves home. Some struggle with the adjustment...Happy or sad, the transition is big. And, experts say, it pays to do some planning and soul-searching before the day you find yourself sitting in a quiet house and wondering, “What’s next?”
Most teenage girls do not need pelvic examinations or cervical cancer screening tests, but many in the US get them anyway, new research shows.
Around the world, governments are considering, or instituting, bans on outdoor smoking. Many hospitals in England already ban smoking on their grounds. Kim Painter considers the public health benefits of prohibiting smokers from indulging in public places While much less common than indoor bans, they are catching on.
In a contentious political environment with severe restrictions a real possibility, Kim Painter finds that the future of abortion may be in pharmacies, online, and in the mail.
Here’s one of the greatest paradoxes in the science of happiness: If you survey a group of older adults about who is happier, young or old people, most will say young people are happier—but they will be wrong.
There are a lot of gray heads in online and brick-and-mortar classrooms these days, and a lot of adults over the age of 50 are asking the same question: What’s next? Educators are responding by throwing out the welcome mat for mature learners in a bigger way than ever before.
Like to move to the beat of salsa and merengue? Your brain will thank you. Research showed Latin dancing helped dancers improve on cognitive tests.
If a good scream is cathartic to you, rage yoga, which incorporates swear words and an occasional middle finger, may be the relaxation therapy for you.
The choice to buy a home in a foreign land is an increasingly common one, experts say. But it’s not a decision to make without careful planning and a lot of soul searching.
Millions of Americans are walking toward early, preventable deaths because of heart attacks, strokes and related conditions, experts say. Progress against those killers has stalled after decades of dramatic strides.
These are the changes that heart health experts say could save millions of Americans from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular crises.
When Susan Leigh finished treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma back in 1972, she says, "no one knew what was going to happen." Certainly, no one knew that the Arizona woman would develop three more cancers and heart damage, all likely linked to the aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments that helped save her life.
David Cranmer, 70, is a patient advocate and 20-year-cancer survivor from Williston, Vermont. (Photo11: Provided by David Cranmer.) When you're going through cancer treatment, it can be hard to think about the future. But since more than two thirds of patients today survive their cancers for at least five years, David Cranmer says, it's important to do that right from the start.
Bill Kinkle hasn't worked as a nurse in nearly a decade. But the Pennsylvania man never leaves home without emergency medical supplies. Always on his belt: naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose and save a life. Kinkle, who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Willow Grove, says his own life has been saved by naloxone more than once.
Jeanmarie Perrone (Photo: Penn Medicine) Nicole O'Donnell has experienced two opioid overdoses. She has never forgotten the way she was treated at the hospital emergency room. "They were awful," the Philadelphia area woman says. "They were mean, just very cold." Once she was stable, she says, "I was just told to leave.
When we exercise alone, we can get a good workout—but when we exercise in a group, many of us get an added boost.
New research adds urgency to the drive to prevent obesity in young children. Parents are crucial, experts say, but need help.
Parents don't single-handedly control children's weight. But they can help make healthy choices easier.
A history of sexual assault or workplace sexual harassment can have a major effect on the mental and physical health of a middle-aged woman, a new study suggests. Victims of sexual assault suffer high rates of depression, anxiety and sleeplessness; victims of harassment have elevated rates of high blood pressure and sleep loss, according to the study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Boxers or briefs? Men who choose boxers have higher sperm counts than those who favor briefs, according to the largest study ever to look at a long-suspected link between tight underwear and lower sperm production. The study of 656 men, published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction, adds to evidence that underwear choices really do matter.
A growing body of research suggests that all this connectivity is not only changing our routines, it’s changing our brains—and not necessarily for the better.
Growing numbers of people well past 65 are just saying no to that recliner.
Today's high school students have less sex and take fewer drugs than those of decades past, but they face some newly recognized risks, including misuse of pain pills. The findings paint a picture of teen life that is safer than it used to be, but still fraught with risks.
Most people should start screening tests for colon and rectal cancers at age 45, rather than waiting for age 50, as long recommended, the American Cancer Society said Wednesday. The group said the initial test does not have to be a colonoscopy, a procedure that typically requires a day off from work and an often-unpleasant bowel cleansing routine.
Sex is not just for the young: 40% of U.S. adults ages 65-80 say they are having sex - and even more of them, 73%, are satisfied with their sex lives, according to a new survey. The survey, released Thursday, does show that sex declines with age and illness.
Time to face the truth: you are not going to live forever, and, when you die, someone else will have to clean up any remaining mess—and make decisions about every earring, painting, sweater, kitchen pan, and file folder you leave behind.
While predictions that we are on the verge of a “cashless society” date from at least 1969, we are not there yet.
A poll for the Sleep Foundation found that 35 percent of adults reported poor or fair quality sleep; 20 percent said they did not wake refreshed even one day per week The good news: most people could emerge from this fog by following just five steps.
The U.S. is in the midst of a baby bust as birthrates fall in every age group of women except for one: women in their 40s, according to new statistics. While most babies are born to women in their 20s and 30s, the continued rise of older moms reflects a long-term shift to delayed childbearing.
A brutal flu season is finally on its last legs, but it has taken a heavy toll, including the highest death count among children in at least five years, health officials say. Low levels of "flu-like illness" are still popping up in a few spots, according to the latest report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
U.S. consumers soon will be able to test themselves at home for some genetic mutations that increase the risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer - but you might want to think before you spit.
A record-breaking flu season has clearly passed its peak, with visits to doctors for flu-like illnesses plunging over the past three weeks, federal health officials reported Friday. Still, another five children have died, bringing the total to 119, and the flu rages on in many areas of the country, according to the latest report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The most intense nationwide flu outbreak in a decade appears to be losing steam, but it killed an additional 17 children, bringing the total to 114 pediatric deaths, federal health officials reported Friday. The flu remained widespread in 45 states in the last full week of February, down from 48 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
The worst flu season in a decade continues to take a grim toll, with 22 more child deaths reported Friday, bringing the total to 84. The latest update by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also shows that the flu remained widespread in 48 states.
This year's flu vaccines reduce the chance of getting the flu by about one-third but are just 25% effective against the nasty strain causing the most misery, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday. The findings, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), come as no surprise to flu experts tracking the worst influenza season in a decade.
The most intense flu season in a decade has millions of Americans looking for relief - and wondering whether a prescription drug best known by the brand name Tamiflu is the answer. The antiviral drug has been around for nearly two decades, but many consumers still may not know much about it.
Flu is now sickening and hospitalizing Americans at rates not seen in nearly a decade, and the season is still getting worse, federal health officials said Friday. In the latest update, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 10 new child deaths and the highest flu hospitalization rate seen since the agency started keeping comparable records in 2010.
Flu deaths and hospitalizations are surging in one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory. The outbreak is far from over and 53 children have died, health officials say. But if you or a family member gets the flu, there's no reason to panic.
With flu season now in full swing - causing widespread illness in 46 states - health officials across the country are reporting waves of misery, rising hospitalizations and some deaths. It is still too soon to say just how bad this flu season will be, but there are troubling signs in some places.
Health researchers have some grim news for Americans: We are dying younger, and life expectancy is now down for the second straight year - something not seen in more than half a century. One undeniable culprit is the opioid epidemic, which is cutting down young adults at alarming and increasing rates, the researchers say.
A whopping 57% of the nation's children and teens will be obese by age 35 if current trends continue, according to a sobering new study out Wednesday. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , goes beyond previous studies suggesting unhealthy childhood weights often lead to adult obesity.
Thirty million Americans are getting some bad health news: they have high blood pressure and need to do something about it, according to new, more aggressive hypertension treatment guidelines released by heart doctors Monday.
Small children, like the rest of us, have gone mobile - tripling their time on devices such as tablets and phones in the past four years, according to a new survey. Kids ages 0-8 still spend an average of about two hours a day on various screens, as they did in 2011 and 2013, says the survey of 1,454 U.S.
Experts say that walking in nature or in the city can be good for relaxation, focus, and mental stimulation - if we're not distracted by our phones.
Heart-stopping sex is rare, but when it occurs it usually happens to a man, says one of the first large studies to examine sudden cardiac arrest during or just after sex.
Today's teens are on a slow road to adulthood, putting off risky behaviors from drinking to sex, but also delaying jobs, driving, dating and other steps towards independence, according to a new study based on 40 years of survey data.
For the first time, scientists working in a U.S. lab have used gene editing to correct a disease-causing mutation in viable human embryos, according to scientific paper published Wednesday. The work, reported in , could be a step toward genetically modified babies.
Here's one more reason to think before you drink: even a modest amount of booze might be bad for aging brains. A new study published Tuesday in the medical journal BMJ says moderate drinkers were more likely than abstainers or light drinkers to develop worrisome brain changes that might signal eventual memory loss.
A new report debunks common myths about how to keep your brain healthy as you age. From brain games to training programs, learn what really works.
Roland Carter, 78, of Stafford, Va., has advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, suffers from dementia and spends most of his time in bed. Missy, one of his four dogs, usually is there with him. "Missy stays on his bed all the time - she protects him," says Carter's wife, Barbara, 72.
REM sleep as well as sleep deprivation could be key to creative problem solving.
Take a walk alone and you get some exercise. Take a walk with a friend—or a group of friends—and you get something more.
Some icky news just in time for pool season: Reports of diarrhea outbreaks linked to cryptosporidium parasites in pools and water parks increased at least two-fold in two years, federal health officials reported Thursday.
These are among the darkest days of the year - or they would be, if we lived like our ancestors, with nothing but the stars and moon to light our way between sunset and sunrise. Instead, most of us live in cities and towns illuminated by street lights and in homes lit by lamps, ceiling fixtures, cell phones, tablets, computers and TV sets.
Biggest Loser host Bob Harper makes his living telling others their lives depend on exercise, weight control and other healthy habits. This week, the 51-year-old fitness guru told fans he is recovering from a heart attack. How could that happen? It's not as unlikely as it may seem.
Whether you're a morning lark or a night owl, the most important thing is consistency even if you transition as you age.
It's been two weeks since you got that new Fitbit, Apple Watch or other fitness tracker for the holidays and one week since you resolved to use it to get more active, manage your weight or reach other health goals. Congratulations - and good luck.
Few Baby Boomers have been tested for the liver-damaging hepatitis C virus, despite recommendations that all members of that generation have the blood test at least once, new research suggests. The share of boomers who had the test barely budged in the two years after health authorities first recommended it for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, according to a report published Wednesday in American Journal of Preventive Medicine .
Hearts do it, knees do it, and even faces do it. Every part of our bodies is subject to aging. So why should our brains be any different? They’re not. But the good news is that—contrary to the worst fears of aging baby boomers—brain aging is not synonymous with dementia.
Colon and rectal cancers have increased dramatically and steadily in young and middle-age adults in the United States over the past four decades, a study confirmed Tuesday. While scientists have not pinpointed an exact cause, prime suspects include obesity, inactivity and poor diets, said researchers from the American Cancer Society, reporting in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Not long ago, Trevor Speed, 34, of Kelowna, British Columbia, was a busy professional and expectant father who never found time for exercise. Today, he has a demanding but time-efficient routine: Three times a week, he hops on his stationary bike or treadmill and powers through a 25-minute workout that includes 10 one-minute bursts of sweaty effort, broken up by one-minute rests, plus a warm-up and cool-down.
A year ago, Ryan Standifird, 26, of Tustin, Calif., was a pack-a-day smoker who wanted to quit. He had tried and failed before. Then, as part of a magazine writing assignment, he tried e-cigarettes. The battery-powered devices heat up flavored liquids, creating vapors that users inhale.
Americans used to find yogurt yucky. But the creamy dairy food long ago joined beer and cheese on the list of our favorite things produced by fermentation - an ancient preservation process in which bacteria transform food and drink, creating new flavors and, many consumers believe, enhanced health benefits.
Crying is most likely to make you feel better if you're not depressed or anxious or you're crying about something positive or solvable, experts say.
Congratulations, fitness-resolution makers. According to some of the nation's leading fitness chains, you folks who joined gyms during the January rush are still going in droves, making the next couple of days likely to be among the busiest work-out days of the year. Not so great: it's basically downhill from here.
It happened again this week: headlines implied mammograms have been oversold to women. This time it was a study from Denmark that suggested one in three breast cancers found through the screening tests are "overdiagnosed" - meaning they never would have threatened a woman's life but still led to treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
When Ron Grant was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he and his wife, Vicky, immediately shared the news with their church. "They are a wonderful group of people," Grant says. "But for quite some time after that, we would come to church and someone would come up to Vicky, with me standing right next to her, and ask, "How is Ron doing?"
If you are over 50, stop what you are doing right now and take a little test: See if you can stand on one foot for a full minute. If you can't, you have a lot of company.
The idea that grief can kill is not new. But the recent death of actress Debbie Reynolds just a day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, was a dramatic reminder of the links between grief, health and well-being that researchers have been attempting to understand for the past several decades.
It's beach reading season - that time when even infrequent readers pick up or download the latest thriller, indulge in a fine romance or take a deep dive into a literary classic. That is time well-spent, a growing body of research suggests. And it's not just because reading makes us smarter, though it does.
At 55, Nanette Witmer retired from her job in Denver and, with a new husband, moved to David, Panama. Their plan was to age together in a low-cost paradise. Eighteen months later, the husband was gone and Witmer found herself contemplating a future as an "elder orphan" - someone aging without a spouse, partner or children.
Losing a lot of weight and keeping it off is hard. Just look at the 14 Biggest Loser contestants who were the subjects of a highly publicized recent study published in the research journal Obesity. The study found that most of the contestants regained most of the weight they lost through extreme diet and exercise.
If getting a tattoo is still a sign of rebellion, then a lot of Americans are rebels: 29% of adults now have at least one tattoo, up from 21% in 2012 and 16% in 2003, a recent Harris Poll found. Millennials are especially tat-happy: 47% of people ages 18 to 35 are inked, according to the poll.
Meliah Jefferson, 36, of Greenville, S.C., and Julie Rickman, 46, of Overland Park, Kan., have a lot in common. Each has a husband, a young child, a good job and a strong family history of heart disease. And each had a heart attack without realizing she was having one.
Americans are taking more prescription medications. They also are taking more supplements - everything from vitamin and mineral pills to fish and flax seed oils. The natural result: More are combining drugs and supplements. That may be riskier than many consumers realize. Some are risking dangerous internal bleeding by combining certain supplements with blood-thinning drugs.
CLOSE Psychedelic medicine, long taboo, is moving toward the mainstream: Two new studies show the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin might relieve anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Dozens of distressed patients, treated under controlled conditions at two prestigious medical centers, saw spirit-lifting effects that lasted at least several weeks after taking the "magic mushroom" drug, according to results published Thursday in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.
You know your body weight. You may even know your BMI, or body mass index. But do you know what your body is made of? If the answer is "too much fat and not enough muscle," that's bad news - no matter what you weigh.