Is the "apple of the earth" bad for you? Potatoes, the go-to starch for many Americans, can add pounds over time, a new Harvard study reveals. In fact one extra serving "was found to cause more weight gain than downing an additional 12-ounce can of a sugary drink or taking an extra helping of red or processed meats." The study, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine, also examined how losing weight isn't as simple as "eat less, exercise more." The types of foods - it lists the best and worst foods - and a person's body type have to be considered. This is the first time research breaks down how individual foods can affect weight - down to the pound.
... More on annual wellness visits for Medicare patients. Earlier this week I highlighted a study that shows only 1 in 6 people who are covered by Medicare take advantage of wellness visits. Those visits are now co-pay free under the new health care law. From Tuesday: "Seniors who have been on traditional Medicare for more than a few years have been told again and again that their coverage won't pay for annual physicals and won't fully cover preventive care like prostate cancer screenings, bone density screenings and mammograms. But the rules have changed." Here's a story that illustrates just how useful those visits can be for patients - and their doctors. ... More health notes: Drugs for psoriasis, arthritis may lower diabetes risk; country singer/actor Glen Campbell reveals Alzheimer's diagnosis.
... Travelers, take note: High gas prices will cut July 4 travel, AAA says. ... Applephiles, take note: Report: Apple unveiling a new iPhone in September. ... Germaphobes, take note: A germ-repelling remote is making its debut on the U.S. hotel scene.
... "I don't need this job but I love it." Jack McKeon, 80, is technically not a Boomer. (Don't call him a senior, either!) But he still belongs in It Must Be a Generational Thing, our occasional series of awe-inspiring folks who have the option, but refuse to retire. The news of his being named interim manager of the Florida Marlins is a few days old. That's eons on the Web. But it's a much-needed boost in the annual "it's beginning to look a lot like summer" news cycle - and should serve as a boost to "older people" everywhere.
"In America, there are two kinds of old people: Dopes and sages. You're either Mr. Magoo or Mr. Miyagi, with no in-between. At a certain age, TV depicts you as a doddering fool or a bearded wise man. Neither is recognizably you, or even recognizably human, but that's your choice at 80: Dumb or Dumbledore, take it or leave it. That's why I'm rooting for 80-year-old Jack McKeon ... In short, I hope he comes off as a human being."
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(Photo: Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon makes a pitching change against the Los Angeles Angels on June 22 at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla./Marc Serota)