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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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Women, Breast Cancer: Cultural Background May Impact Drug Effectiveness

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

The cause for poorer outcomes for African American breast cancer patients was identified in a recent study. According to an April 2015 press release from Georgetown University Medical School, African American women with estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer have cancer cells with a stronger survival mechanism than the cancer cells of European-American patients.

The Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers found that breast tumors from African-American patients show reduced sensitivity to tamoxifen, a leading treatment for ER+ breast cancer.

To give perspective, about 70 percent of all breast cancers are ER+. The researchers caution that biology is not the only factor impacting African American women and stress the need to continue to reduce racial disparities in treatment overall.

Cavalli, L. Array-CGH and miRNA expression profiling of triple negative breast cancer in African-American women. American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. May 2015.

For more information on Women’s health issues visit:

May 10 – 16 (Mother’s Day week)

Women’s Health Week

Office on Women’s Health

Department of Health and Human Services



Tags:  Breast Cancer  Diversity  May 2015  Physical  Social  Women 

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Danger: Muscle-Building Supplements are Bad News

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

An April 2015 research release cautions those who use muscle-building supplements. Taking the supplements resulted in an increased risk of testicular cancer. Men who used these supplements, either in the form of pills or powders, were proven more likely to develop testicular cancer, especially if they started using the supplements before age 25, took more than one supplement, or used the supplements for three or more years.

Powders with creatine or androstenedione were linked to a significantly higher likelihood of testicular cancer. Men who started using the supplements before age 25 or who used the supplements for a longer period of time had an even higher risk of developing cancer.

The research looked at nearly 900 men—356 of whom had been diagnosed with testicular germ cell cancer, and 513 who had not. The men were asked about supplement use, smoking, drinking, exercise habits, family history of testicular cancer, and prior injury to their testes or groin. The data showed that the men who used supplements had a 1.65 odds ratio (a 65 percent greater risk) of having developed testicular cancer compared to the men who did not use supplements.

The researchers defined "use" as consuming one or more supplements at least once a week for four consecutive weeks or more. The odds ratios increased to 2.77 (a 177 percent greater risk) among men who used more than one kind of supplement, and to 2.56 among men who used supplements three years or longer. Men who started using supplements at age 25 or younger also had an elevated associated odds ratio of 2.21, the researchers calculated.

Li, N et al. Muscle-building supplement use and increased risk of testicular germ cell cancer in men from Connecticut and Massachusetts. British Journal of Cancer, 2015; 112 (7): 1247 DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2015.26


Tags:  May 2015  Muscle Building  Physical 

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Simple, Long-Term Weight Loss

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

The results of a study released by Tufts University in early April 2015 may make understanding and implementing long-term weight control easier.

In a nutshell (excuse the pun) the study (conducted over a 16-year period, involving more than 120 people) found the following:

  • Increasing intakes of red meat and processed meat were most strongly associated with weight gain
  • Increasing intakes of yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken, and nuts were most strongly associated with weight loss—the greater percentage people ate, the less weight they gained
  • Increasing other dairy products, including full-fat cheese, whole milk, and low-fat milk, did not significantly relate to either weight gain or weight loss.

In addition, changes in refined carbohydrates enhanced the weight-gain or weight-loss effects of certain protein-rich foods. For example, it is better to get our carbohydrates from vegetables and whole grains than it is to get them from refined white bread, potatoes, or sweets.

Further, small changes over time in these areas had a big impact on long-term weight gain or loss.

The study, Changes in intake of protein foods, carbohydrate amount and quality, and long-term weight change: results from 3 prospective cohorts was conducted by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. The results were published on-line in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

JSmith, J.D. et al. Changes in intake of protein foods, carbohydrate amount and quality, and long-term weight change: results from 3 prospective cohorts. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2015; DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.100867

Tags:  May 2015  Physical  Weight Loss 

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Inspiration: May 3-9 is Be Kind to Animals Week!

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sponsored by the American Humane Society and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (www.americanhumane.org, www.cfhs.ca), May 3-9 is our reminder week to always be kind to animals. Below are a few quotes on the beauty, wisdom and care of animals. As if we needed additional reasons to celebrate, a team of researchers from Azabu University's School of Veterinary Medicine in Japan found a spike in oxytocin (a chemical that makes us feel good) occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other's eyes—explaining why our bond is so tight. The research was published in April of 2015 in the journal Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6232/333).

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. -Mahatma Gandhi

Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later. -Mary Bly

A dog wags its tail with its heart. -Martin Buxbaum

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway. - Mary Kay Ash

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. -Albert Schweitzer

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. -W. C. Fields

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings

If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr. -Martin Delany 

Tags:  Animals  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Kindness  May 2015  Social 

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Let’s Start a Grassroots Effort: Demand Health Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Issues

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

In reverence to National Mental Health Month, sponsored by the National Mental Health Association (www.nmha.org), Wellness News You Can Use is offering a call to action!

According to a recent report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Health insurance plans are falling short in coverage of mental health and substance abuse conditions as compared to other health conditions. The report (http://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/Publications-Reports/Public-Policy-Reports/A-Long-Road-Ahead/2015-ALongRoadAhead.pdf) was released in early April, 2015.

The report surveyed 2,720 consumers, and 84 insurance plans in 15 states. While progress is being made after a 2008 law requiring some employer-sponsored plans to offer equal mental and physical coverage, there is still a great deal of work to do, according to Mary Giliberti, Executive Director of NAMI.

The report findings include the following:

  • More mental health providers in health insurance plans are needed.
  • Substance abuse treatment needs to be taken more seriously by insurance providers (Plans under the ACA actually had a higher rate denials).
  • Barriers to mental health medication coverage needs to be addressed.
  • The cost of drugs and co-pays needs to be addressed.
  • Consumers need better information related to mental health coverage.

What can you do as a consumer?

  • Look at mental health coverage before signing up for a plan under the ACA.
  • Ask your employer about all coverages under your health plan and question coverages that do not exist or that are not adequate.
  • If you have a claim that is denied, ask for clinical criteria used to approve or deny a claim.
  • If you think the 2008 parity law that required equal coverall of medical and mental claims for come employer plans has been violated, say something.
  • Ask for updated lists of mental health providers from your insurance company.

Write to your congressional representative and advocate for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to require all health plans to provide clear, accessible, and comparable information about benefits. In addition ask Congress and the Executive Branch to work together to decrease out-of-pocket costs under the ACA for low-income consumers.

Let’s all be well together!

Tags:  Emotional  Healthcare  Intellectual  May 2015  Mental Health  Social 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Easy Things You Can Do to Get Your Bicycle Ready for Spring

Posted By NWI, Friday, May 1, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015

May brings with it many events to celebrate health and fitness and specifically bicycling (see the bottom of this article for a complete list). To get you ready to move and to make sure you do it safely, here are 10 things you can do to get your bicycle ride-ready for spring.

1.      Check your tires. Fill them up to the recommended pressure (usually on the sidewall of the tire). Look for cracks in the rubber. Make sure the wheel nuts and/or quick-release levers are tightened. Check for “trueness” (if you look at your wheel straight-on from the front, does everything look in line?

2.     Clean your bike. Wipe off dust, dirt, and grime from the frame and brake pads.

3.     Take extra care with the chain. Use an old rag to clean off the chain. Look for any damaged links that may mean it is time for a new chain. Then apply some fresh chain oil.

4.     Check all bolts and screws. Make sure everything is tightened appropriately.

5.     Get your ride-pack together. It is wise to ride with a water bottle, basic bike tool, extra tube, and portable air pump. Some people also ride with a bike lock, bike gloves, and riding glasses.

6.     Make sure your helmet is ready to go. Dis you take a spill last season? It might be time to get a new helmet. Also, are all of the internal pads in place and still sticking? Does the strap look and feel like it is in good shape?

7.     If you have a bike pedometer, check the battery. Make sure your bike pedometer is ready to go to measure your efforts. How old is the battery? Are all of the settings correct?

8.     Check the brakes. Before starting on your ride, test the brakes to make sure they are catching properly and hooked up.

9.     Go for a short test ride. You don’t want to discover a slow leak, faulty brakes, or an old chain on a long ride. Plan a short one to two mile gentle ride to make sure everything is in good working order.

10.   Have fun and be active!

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Employee Health & Fitness Month
National Association for Health and Fitness, ACTIVE Life

May 3 – 9 (first full week in May)
North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH)
American Society of Safety Engineers

May 1 – 7 (same dates annually)
National Physical Education and Sports Week
National Association for Sport and Physical Education

May 6 (first Wednesday in May)
Project Aces Day
(All Children Exercise Simultaneously)
Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc.

May 27 (last Wednesday in May)
National Senior Health & Fitness Day

National Bike Month
League of American Bicyclists

May 11 – 15
Bike to Work Week
(Bike to Work Day: May 15)
League of American Bicyclists

Tags:  Bicycle  Bike  Intellectual  May 2015  Physical  Wellness In 10 

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