CDC: Flu Shot Should Be Better This Season

En español | With flu season about to start, health officials reassured Americans that the new, updated flu vaccine now available should do a better job than last year’s. The 2014-15 flu season was particularly nasty, thanks to a major flu strain that changed after the vaccine had already been manufactured. As a result, last year’s vaccine was only 13 percent effective against the virulent H3N2 strain, causing the highest hospitalization rate among older adults that the Centers for Disease …

A Sharp U-Turn in Blood Pressure Rules for Those 50+

Health officials have changed their minds — again — about blood pressure guidelines. For decades, medical experts agreed that the goal should be to keep blood pressure readings below 140/90. Then, two years ago, a prestigious panel upended that and said a slightly higher reading of 150/90 or below was OK for older adults in order to avoid potentially dangerous side effects — such as dizziness and falls — from too much blood pressure medication. Now, in a dramatic U-turn, …

Do This for 15 Minutes. You’ll Live Longer

There’s no debate that exercise can help us live a longer, healthier life. But let’s say you have a chronic health condition that makes exercise difficult. Or maybe you’re just very busy. Is there a minimum amount of exercise older adults can do to reap at least some benefits? If you ask the federal government, as well as numerous other national and international health agencies, the answer is 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise — basically 30 minutes …

CSPI’s Most Outrageously Unhealthy Restaurant Meals

En español | Every year the Washington, D.C., consumer-watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) takes a look at menus from the country’s top chain restaurants and figures out which meals are so mind-blowingly unhealthy, they deserve some kind of dishonorable mention. Hence, this year’s list of “Xtreme Eating” meals — those with shocking amounts of calories, fat and sodium, which contribute to the nation’s problems with obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases, said Paige Einstein, a …

Jimmy Carter and His ‘Breakthrough’ Cancer Drug

Former president Jimmy Carter, who announced Thursday he has melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain, is being treated with two cutting-edge therapies that offer new hope to the 76,000 Americans diagnosed annually with this type of cancer. Carter, 90, explained in a news conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta that melanoma — most commonly occurring as skin cancer, but which can also cause internal tumors — had formed a mass in his liver, as well as …

New ‘Female Viagra’ Pill: Will It Help Older Women?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first medication designed to treat lack of sexual desire in premenopausal women, although some experts say it may be helpful for older women as well. The approval comes after a controversial lobbying campaign in June by the drug’s makers and other groups accusing the federal agency of gender bias in not approving a sexual dysfunction drug for women. The FDA denied the charge, saying erectile dysfunction drugs for men work far …