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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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 Lin 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:

  • 1,379 proteins changed with an individual’s age
  • Using information from…

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FOR MANY WOMEN, it is increasingly challenging during and after menopause to maintain optimal weight. But even if you successfully pull it off, it is vital to avoid an accelerated accumulation of belly fat. This build-up is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Today we briefly explore a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health-led analysis published earlier this year in the journal . First, let’s look at menopause and weight gain. What causes the increase? Are there associated health perils?

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MENTAL HEALTH prescription offered by Stanford researchers. That’s the headline I recently discovered. Gretchen Dailey and colleagues of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment offer this observation:

While I don’t doubt the report, I wonder why nature is such a good prescription. Today I want to explore how computer analysis is helping us to understand how clouds, coastlines, trees, and Jackson Pollock’s wild paintings create fractal patterns that bring us a sense of calm.

I don’t know about you, but if I am feeling a little…

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WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE about taking a stroll? But don’t be fooled: This simple approach to physical activity is good for you in so many ways. Today I want to explore with you three of my favorite benefits of walking. I hope that by the end of this piece, I have convinced you of the magic of ambulation.

Walking can allow you to meet daily recommended physical activity recommendations, no matter your age or fitness level.

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WEARING A MASK because of the COVID-19 pandemic can be inconvenient and unpleasant at worst. But an underappreciated benefit to wearing a mask and social distancing has been a steep drop in the number of flu cases in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers these breathtaking observations:

The rates have remained at historically low interseasonal levels…

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OVARIAN AND PANCREAS CANCERS are challenging to diagnose early. In this context, I am delighted to bring you good news: An electronic, odor-based nose appears to be able to find cancer by sniffing vapors emanating from blood samples.

Today, we look at a small preliminary study published at the virtual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Let’s take a quick look at this non-invasive approach to finding hard-to-detect cancer early.

First, a brief review of the challenge. In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1.2 percent. This number corresponds to a rate of…

One hour of walking changes your cells’ mitochondria.

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MITOCHONDRIA ARE THE POWERHOUSES of your cells. You may remember from school biology courses that mitochondria are tiny organelles responsible for burning off the energy we consume. But you may not be aware that a single one-hour session of walking can give them a nice boost.

We begin with a very brief review of cell biology. Mitochondria float freely in our cells, with some cells having thousands and others having none. If a cell has insufficient energy to survive, it can create more mitochondria.

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I THINK YOU, and I can agree that cancer is scary and sometimes somewhat random. But I want to empower you to reduce your risk. The American Cancer Society offers that about 45 percent of cancer deaths are associated with modifiable risk factors.

A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of getting a disease, such as cancer. Of course, having a risk factor does not mean that you are sure to get the disease. On the other hand, not having a known risk factor for a disease does not make you immune from it. …

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RADIATION HORMESIS. That is your new term of the day. We’ll get back to that at the end, but first, I want to tell you about the curious case of radioactive apartments in Taiwan. It is a story of how workers used rebar contaminated with radiation to build apartment buildings. It is also the tale of the unexpected health outcomes of the residents within.

It’s 1983. It seems unbelievable, but workers recycle a radioactive Cobalt-60 source into rebar (short for reinforcing bar). With this hot material, workers build over 2,000 apartment units and shops, mainly in Taipei.

Approximately 10,000 people

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ACCORDING TO a new study recently reported at the European Society for Medical Oncology World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer 2021, a history of taking antibiotics is associated with a higher risk of getting colon cancer. Given how frequently we as a society use antibiotics, how worried should we be?

Today I want to look at the troubling rise in the overuse of antibiotics. I will then pivot to the epidemiology of colorectal cancer before closing with new data suggesting a relationship between antibiotic use and colon cancer risk.

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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