Blood levels of proteins reflect the starting, stopping, and changing of biological processes linked to aging. We make significant changes at three ages.

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“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.”

This is the insightful observation of William Wordsworth (1770–1850), the English romantic who (along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge) helped initiate the Romantic Age in English literature. Together, they published Lyrical Ballads in 1798.

Today is not a day for literature. Instead, I want to share with you the remarkable findings of researchers from Stanford University. They looked at almost 3,000 proteins in the blood of 4,263 subjects ages 18 to 95. Here’s what they discovered:

  • Using information from…

Psilocybin appears to be as effective as antidepressants when used with counseling.

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HAVE YOU EVER HEARD of magic mushrooms? Researchers recently compared psilocybin, the active compound of magic mushrooms, with a well-established antidepressant in a small experimental trial. Let me clarify that this is only early research; there is much to be done before psilocybin will be a candidate for routine use for depression.

Reporting in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, scientists offer the results of a randomized trial involving individuals with chronic major depression.

With close medical supervision, 59 volunteers with depression participated in the research investigation. Half took the common antidepressant escitalopram (brand names Lexapro, Cipralex, and others)…

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THE MOST COMMON CANCERS in the United States are breast, lung, colorectal, and melanoma. Currently, cancer is the leading cause of death for those 45 to 64 years. Last year, there were an estimated 1.8 million diagnoses and more than 600,000 deaths.

According to a recent report, the rankings of cancer by incidence (and mortality) are likely to shift substantially over the next two decades. Let’s look more closely at the changing landscape. In part, we are shifting the dynamics of cancer incidence and mortality through more effective screening and treatment.

Researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, Texas), Cancer…

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HEART DISEASE is the leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of 665,000 Americans annually. Today, I want to look at ways we can bend the curve to a lower number.

The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease. It can strike you or me, as it is indiscriminate when it comes to sex, race, or ethnicity. Coronary artery disease accounts for just over half of all heart-related deaths in the USA.

Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaques in the blood vessels of the heart. These plaques are composed of calcium, cholesterol, fat…


Five pro tips on how you can reduce your risk of lung cancer.

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If you came to hear me scream about the perils of tobacco, let me get this out of the way: Cigarette smoking is associated with about 90 percent of lung cancer in the United States. Now that we have that clearly stated let’s pivot to some other risk factors.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide in men and the second leading cause in women. Worldwide, lung cancer occurred in 2.1 million patients in 2018 and caused an estimated 1.8 million deaths.

Sometimes lung cancer arises in the setting of no apparent cause. In uncommon cases…

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IF I ASKED YOU if long-term stress increased your risk of having a heart attack, you probably would answer in the affirmative. You may be surprised to learn that there is not much high-level evidence to confirm the stress: heart attack connection. A new study from Sweden confirms that long-term stress is likely a risk factor for heart attacks.

Stress can be valuable. For example, it can help your performance in meeting an important deadline. When we are in danger, stress can help us to avoid harm. However, chronic stress is different: You may experience anxiety, depression, irritability, challenges with…

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I KNOW THAT the point of my health-related postings is to provide evidence-based information to help you optimize wellness. But today, I give you a story that is so strange that you may question if I have strayed from my core mission. But I assure you that the headline is accurate. Okay?

A recent report from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia) showed that training one arm could improve strength (and decrease muscle loss) in the opposite arm, even if this opposite arm does not move. These findings challenge how we have thought about rehabilitation.

Researchers gathered 30 individuals willing to…

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GET OUTDOORS, and you just might improve your health and well-being—the gentle sounds of moving water, the rustling of leaves in the trees. You may drop your blood pressure and stress levels. You may also improve your mood and focus, too.

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth. — Henry David Thoreau

How do sounds change our brain? Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (England) provide some answers. They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine brain activity in subjects as…

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Sleep is often noisy and interrupted. Despite these challenges, couples typically share a bed, with 60 percent of couples sleeping together. Is it bad if you and your partner sleep apart (if you are privileged enough to have space to do so)?

If you are in a relationship, do you prefer to sleep with your partner or sleep alone? A 2017 survey from the US National Sleep Foundation indicates that almost one in four married couples sleep in separate beds; most of us prefer to sleep with our partners. Do we sleep together at a cost to our sleep?


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DO YOU EVER WONDER about the relationship between sports participation and direct eating habits? We know exercise burns calories, but how much does it drive us to overeat? For the first time, we have a study that probes this intriguing question.

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Nebraska (USA) explored the phenomenon of people overeating after physical activity. I know that I often want to reward myself after a good workout.

The researchers aimed to understand the influence of exercise on hypothetical decisions regarding the timing and amount of food consumption. The study randomized…

Michael Hunter MD

I have degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Penn. I am a radiation oncologist in the Seattle area. You may find me regularly posting at

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