Balance Yourself: "Without a sense of balance, just about everything
else in life can become an insurmountable obstacle," writes Jane E. Brody in this interesting look at how balance works and why it declines as one ages. This useful article also includes a balance assessment and easy exercises that can be done to preserve or even to restore balance.

Ten Healthy Handbag Essentials: First, as Elizabeth Hemmerdinger urged a year ago, do your back and shoulders a favor and get rid of that big bag. Then read what medical experts say you should keep in your healthier-sized, easy-to-carry hand or shoulder bag.

Online Research: Writing in Salon,
Rahul K. Parikh, M.D., says doctors who criticize their patients for researching ailments online are wrong, and he identifies the best health sites for accurate, up-to-date medical information.

Moderate Benefits Found for Hot Flashes: A new study published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (WVFC’s health partner), found that a compound in soybeans might help reduce hot flashes in menopausal women, reports UPI.

"What we are trying to find is a safe and effective alternative to hormone therapy," senior author Dr. George Blackburn of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School said in a

A full listing of contents for the January/February 2008 Menopause issue is available here (PDF).

Speaking of Safe and Effective Alternatives: "The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on pharmacies that sell customized hormone mixtures as antidotes for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, saying they are being promoted with false claims about their
benefits and contain an ingredient the agency hadn’t approved," reports The Wall Street Journal.

In letters, the agency warned seven individual pharmacies to stop using certain promotional language, including the popular descriptive phrase "bio-identical." The FDA also told the pharmacies that they couldn’t sell hormone mixtures containing the ingredient estriol, which the regulator views as a new drug that hasn’t won agency approval. The special hormone combinations, known as
"compounded" products, must be prescribed by a physician.

For more information, read the FDA press release. The FDA also published a consumer article, "Bio-Identicals: Sorting Myths from Facts."

For background on this issue, read our earlier coverage, along with Dr. Patricia Allen’s critical assessment of biodentical hormones.


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