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  1. New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

    Health

    Medical researchers and government health policymakers, a cautious lot, normally take pains to keep expectations modest when they're discussing some new finding or treatment.

    A sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where an advisory committee last month approved a new shingles vaccine called Shingrix. In trials, it prevented more than 90 percent of shingles cases, even at older ages. "This really is a sea change," said Dr. Rafael Harpaz, a veteran shingles researcher at the CDC. [Associated Press]
  2. In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

    Health

    Despite the budget cuts, the attempts to repeal and replace, and reports of sharp rises in premiums, Floridians and other Americans are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at record rates this year.

    About 1.5 million people across the country have signed up through healthcare.gov in the first 11 days of the six-week enrollment period for 2018. That's up from about 1 million last year at this time. "We've been very, very busy," said Melanie Hall, executive director of the Family Health Care Foundation, a health care navigator organization in Tampa. [Times files]



A look at the healthcare.gov website in November 2017 as signups began for 2018 under the Affordable Care Act.
  3. Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

    Health

    Where did I leave my keys?

    As we age, it can take longer to answer a question like that.

    This screenshot shows part of a computer brain-training exercise that asks participants to quickly identify objects like the two vehicles in the center and stay focused on them, even as distracting images like the road signs around the edges try to throw them off. During a study on how such exercises can reduce the risk of dementia, the exercises got more difficult as people mastered them. [Photo courtesy of USF]
  4. Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

    Health

    The corporate owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg could be facing a serious federal investigation related to its commitment to take care of St. Petersburg's poorest residents.

    Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is owned by Community Health Systems, which stated in a recent SEC filing that federal officials are demanding documents related to funds for low-income patients. Bayfront Health also is facing another development -- a decision next week on whether it will be allowed to buy out the charitable foundation that owns a 20 percent stake in the hospital. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  5. Blood pressure of 130 is the new 'high,' according to update of guidelines

    Health

    The nation's heart experts tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure Monday, a change that will sharply increase the number of U.S. adults considered hypertensive in the hope that they, and their doctors, will address the deadly condition earlier.

    A patient has her blood pressure checked by a registered nurse in Plainfield, Vt. New medical guidelines announced Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition. [Associated Press (2013)]
  6. Exploring cryotherapy: The room is 180 degrees below zero, but it sort of feels good

    Health

    This was colder than the time I skied through a snow storm in the Swiss Alps. It was even colder than when I fell through a sheet of ice into a frozen lake in Colorado.

    Jeff Houghtaling, manager at U.S. Cryotherapy, helps Tampa Bay Times health and medicine reporter Justine Griffin out of a cryotherapy chamber, where the temperature was 180 degrees below zero. Griffin said the she had a hard time keeping her breathing even while in the chamber and the experience gave her a headache, but she felt alert and awake. Others say the therapy has helped ease their chronic pain. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  7. Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

    Health

    I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios recently. It had been awhile. Regular Cheerios are more my thing. But sometimes I finish my box faster than my kids do and find myself straying to their side of the cupboard.

    Honey Nut Cheerios, America's best-selling breakfast cereal has about nine times as much sugar as normal Cheerios, with sugar, brown sugar and honey among its top six ingredients. [Jens Mortensen | New York Times]
  8. Educate yourself about antibiotics

    Health

    Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital will join other medical centers across the nation Monday through Nov. 19 in participating in U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, an educational effort about the appropriate and safe use of antibiotics. When used appropriately, antibiotic therapy can be lifesaving, but improper use …

    iStockphoto
  9. Learn to practice gratitude year-round, not just on Thanksgiving

    Health

    Is it part of your Thanksgiving tradition to go around the dinner table and have everyone share one thing they are thankful for? The exercise reminds us that the day is about more than just turkey and pie. And, for those who take it seriously, it forces us to stop for a moment, perform a mini self-examination and point …

    One simple way to express gratitude is to write a thank-you note.
  10. Make fitness a family affair

    Health

    Family fitness dates are replacing the old-school pizza and movie nights as more parents are realizing that the benefits of moving aren't just about burning calories but setting an example for the next generation. We talked to three fitness experts to get a feel for what family fitness looks like in their homes and also …

    Brooke Burke-Charvet does yoga with her daughter Rain in Malibu, Calif.