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Top 10 Health Breakthroughs of 2008


As this year comes to an end, we're looking at the best of everything 2008, and Prevention is doing their own tribute to this eventful year with a list of the top medical breakthroughs. The magazine researched journals and talked to experts about how medical thinking changed in 2008, and particularly how those opinions affect healthy living.

  1. Supercharge your menu: Kathleen Merrigan, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts University says, "You'll really do your health good if you splurge on organic as much as possible in the produce aisle."
  2. Make you a hero: The American Heart Association advises, "If you see an adult collapse, call 911, then use both hands to push hard and fast (to the beat of the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive)."
  3. Treat sinus infections the right way: Only go to the doctor "if you have multiple symptoms or the pain is unbearably intense," says allergist Neil L. Kao, MD. Instead, "take a decongestant and/or a mucus thinner, and rinse sinuses at least four times daily."
  4. Control hunger, lose weight: Prevention notes that "resistant starch is emerging as a new weight-loss powerhouse." Find it in food like beans, slightly green bananas, and potatoes.
  5. Improves osteoporosis treatment: "A new risk calculator called FRAX helps you know if you really need bone-building drugs."

To see five more breakthroughs, read more.

    Save 47,000 lives a year: Prevention points out three studies focused on more effectively treating diabetes and the answer: "You must hit the disease hard and early and use a number of approaches at once."
  1. Keeps you off the operating table: "Arthroscopic surgery is no help at all for people with arthritic knees, concludes a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine."
  2. Help you keep your breasts: "Results from a 12-year Canadian study have proven that a 3-week radiation regimen of slightly higher daily doses is just as effective [as 5 to 7 weeks of daily radiation treatment] — with no decrease in survival rates or breast appearance."
  3. Prevent thousands of cases of colon cancer: A study discovered growths overlooked in colonoscopys, and gastroenterologist John L. Petrini, MD says, "These findings will make doctors more vigilant in searching for and removing these lesions — and that should slash the rate of colon cancer and even death."
  4. Slash your risk of diabetes: "Get your body fat percentage checked. Over 30 percent fat? Don't just cut calories — you'll lose lean tissue along with fat. Instead, add exercise. What's best: Combine cardio and strength-training so you build muscle as you burn fat."

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