Study: Muscle density predicts risk of hospitalization

Muscle density predicts risk of hospitalization, study says Experts are saying the elderly with low muscle density have a higher likelihood of being hospitalized than those with a more moderate ratio.

Muscle density is the ratio of lean tissue to fat contained within muscle, and the study conducted at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute suggests it may be a better predictor of the risk of hospitalization than muscle mass or size.

The team analyzed more than 3,000 healthy seniors aged between 70 and 80 for an average of five years and looked at factors such as their walking speeds, ability to stand up repeatedly and leg strength. They found that the largest number of hospitalizations occurred among those with the least dense muscles.

Dr. Peggy Cawthon, the study’s lead author, says the findings are important because they suggest non-pharmacological and non-surgical approaches such as enhanced physical activity or moderate exercise may help keep vulnerable seniors out of hospital.

A high-protein diet or appropriate supplementation may also be useful for some seniors at risk of low muscle density.

Experts offer heart health tips for hunters

Experts offer heart health tips for hunters With the hunting season approaching in some parts of the country, University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center has recently held an event to highlight the heart risks associated with the activity.

Doctors say hunters die every year from strenuous exercise and bursts of activity that hunting often requires. According to University of Michigan cardiologist Dr. Eric Good the combination of sitting for long periods and sudden rushes of adrenaline when prey is spotted can result in a heart attack.

The Heart of the Hunter Health Fair was therefore organized in response to the growing need to educate the public about the risks and preventive measures, and doctors and nurses were on hand to advise participants on safe outdoor practices.

Good stresses that hunters should treat the season as if they were training for a major sporting event like a marathon because the physical exertion can be intense.

"Even a 30-minute fast walk several times a week can help – anything that gets your heart pumping at 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is calculated by subtracting your age from 220," he suggests.

Supplements with vitamin B or omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended by health practitioners to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

NIA warns Bernanke’s second term will bring ‘disaster’

NIA warns Bernanke's second term will bring 'disaster'President Obama has nominated Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke for the second term, but the National Inflation Association (NIA) is not happy with that decision.

In announcing the nomination two weeks ago, Obama praised Bernanke’s performance during the most acute phase of the financial crisis saying he acted with "calm and wisdom."

"[His] bold action and out-of-the-box thinking has helped put the brakes on our economic freefall," Obama said.

However, NIA believes Bernanke’s recent actions – in particular taking the worthless mortgage -backed securities, auto loans and student loans onto the Fed’s balance sheet – are giving the economy what they call "an artificial high" and will lead to an even bigger crash later.

"It’s unfortunate how forgetful Washington is and how the media fails to talk about how Bernanke has simply taken Alan Greenspan’s mistakes and made them bigger," says NIA, referring to the fact that in 2001 the former Fed chairman lowered interest rates to 1 percent, which is widely credited with creating the real estate bubble at the heart of the current crisis.

NIA has long sought to warn Americans about impending hyperinflation due to the government’s level of spending which has led to a massive federal budget deficit. The White House Office of Management and Budget has estimated the deficit to reach $9 trillion over the next 10 years.

As opposition to healthcare reform mounts, Obama prepares address

As opposition to healthcare reform mounts, Obama prepares address President Obama has come under fire from all sides for some of the provisions of the proposed healthcare reform, and he will appear before Congress to restate his case.

One of the critical voices has been raised by Americans for Tax Reform which says there are tax hikes in the House Democrat bill that would violate the President’s promise made during the electoral campaign not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year.

For example, page 167 of the proposed legislation talks about imposing a 2.5 percent tax on individuals who are not enrolled in health insurance.

Similarly, certain businesses that do not offer insurance would be compelled to pay a new payroll tax of 8 percent.

The organization may soon get an answer, as Obama is set to address lawmakers tonight in an effort to lay out his plan to overhaul healthcare and provide details many feel have been missing thus far. In fact, a new CBS News poll found that 66 percent of Americans are confused by the reform proposals.

However, most polls also show a majority agree the nation’s healthcare system needs major change.

Obama is widely expected to reveal whether the administration will push for including a public option in the final draft of the bill. He is also likely to highlight the elements most lawmakers agree on, including preventing insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions or dropping coverage when a person gets sick as well as capping out-of-pocket expenses and eliminating caps on lifetime coverage, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Recovery funds to support Texas communities in the fight against illegal immigration

Recovery funds to support Texas communities in the fight against illegal immigration Attorney General Eric Holder has said more than $4 million in Recovery Act funds will be devoted to combating crime and drug trafficking in Texas border communities.

The project is part of the Justice Department’s Southwest Border Strategy aimed at controlling the activity of Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for escalating violence on both sides of the border as well as drug addiction in these communities.

"The Recovery Act funding is helping to target these very real threats to our communities, boosting resources for local law enforcement and giving greater protections to our citizens," says Holder.

For example, the city of Arlington will receive nearly $1.1 million to hire law enforcement personnel and purchase equipment to intercept contraband and drug trafficking operations in the North Texas area.

President Obama has come under growing pressure to step up the efforts to remedy the illegal immigration problems. In particular, groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform have criticized the administration for insufficient commitment to E-Verify, after a recent Department of Homeland Security announcement that federal contractors would only be required to check the work authorization of new employees instead of all workers.


How Barack Obama Will Destroy Liberalism

I’ve got great news for you. In case you haven’t noticed, Barack Obama’s honeymoon with a trusting, gullible public is over.

For the first time since last November, a majority of Americans say they don’t like his policies. Many of them are concerned that he is going to bankrupt the country. Can you believe it? Where would they get such a crazy idea?

Before I get into the specific policy mistakes—and the Obama Administration has made a ton of them—let’s take a brief look at the numbers. The Angry Left likes to take all of the credit for Obama’s election (and thus demands that he implement every far-left scheme they can propose). But the truth is vastly different.

Last November, Barack Obama won the election with 53 million votes. John McCain finished second with 46 million votes. That’s a margin of 7 million.

Who were those voters? Almost without exception, they came from the middle of the political spectrum. They are neither Republicans or Democrats. They describe themselves as independents.

And here’s the amazing thing: Some 10 million of them now say they don’t like what President Obama is doing.

At the beginning of his term, President Obama enjoyed the support of more than 80 percent of the people who described themselves as independents. Today that number has fallen to under 50 percent. That’s an amazing reversal in just a few months.

How did Obama do it? Let me count just a few of the ways.

  1. A stimulus program that didn’t stimulate. While the street cleaners in Washington were still cleaning up the confetti from the inauguration, the Democrats rammed through an $800-billion stimulus bill. The measure was supposed to solve our employment crisis, bail out state and local governments, get the economy moving again and make flowers grow in the desert.

Okay, I’m kidding about the last one. But you remember all the extravagant promises this massive spending bill was supposed to achieve. Instead, unemployment has continued to climb, California was forced to issue IOUs, the housing crisis took a turn for the worse and the economy barely limps along. To paraphrase an old country song, Congress got the gold mine (the bill had so much pork it squealed) while the taxpayers got the shaft.

  1. Next, Obama set out to nationalize just about everything. The Feds took $100 billion or so to bail out their buddies on Wall Street. The insurance industry was next, with $80 billion going to prop up just one company, American International Group (aka AIG). Then the national banks were coerced into taking loads of federal moola—and all the “oversight” that would mean. The car companies were the next takeover target, as Uncle Sam became the new boss at Chrysler and General Motors.

And now the Obama Administration wants to make health care in this country more “fair” and “efficient.” I’ll have more to say about the absolute ludicrousness of such proposals at some other time. For now, let me just note that a whole lot of Americans have gotten so fed up, they’re saying “no more!”

  1. Massive new spending, and exploding deficits, as far into the future as we can see. What will all of this incredible largesse cost? In less than six months the Obama Administration has racked up the biggest deficit this country has ever witnessed. And the red ink will continue to pour over us for as far into the future as we can see.

The administration claims that its cost over-runs will “only” amount to a trillion dollars a year for the next 10 years or so. They base this number on incredibly optimistic estimates of how much their programs will cost. And even more generous guesses of how much tax revenue they can take from us.

Of course, anyone who believes these projections won’t go a whole lot higher probably also believes in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Every sensible American knows that spending will get worse, taxes will get higher—and the deficits will multiply faster than maggots in a dumpster.

Along with all of these big issues, there have been dozens of smaller ones that have damaged Obama’s poise and credibility. How stupid was it for him to call the police in Cambridge, Mass., stupid? I was shocked and shamed to see the President of the United States use his bully platform to side with a black professor who lost his cool. So were a lot of other Americans, both black and white. Obama responded like a knee-jerk racist.

Then there was his 180-degree turnabout regarding the interrogation of terrorists. At first Obama promised there would be no prosecution of the CIA agents who, in the words of a Washington Times editorial, “produced life-saving intelligence that disrupted numerous terrorist plots.” Now our President has torn up that pledge. In an effort to placate the extremists on his left he has authorized Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter. Can anyone doubt that prosecutions will be far behind?

I won’t even get into all of Obama’s foreign-policy blunders. Everywhere you look it seems to be his intention to treat our friends as enemies and our enemies as friends. South of our border, the good people and legitimate government of Honduras used legal and constitutional means to rid themselves of a Hugo Chavez crony. Instead of applauding them for protecting their liberties, Obama’s State Department seems determined to reinstall a budding Marxist tyrant there. Shame on them.

To put it as succinctly as possible, Barack Obama seems determined to preside over the most radical transformation of the Federal Government this country has ever seen.

And the American people don’t want it.

The American people don’t want trillion-dollar deficits. They don’t want huge new government agencies to supervise our health care. They don’t want the people who defended us from terrorism persecuted or prosecuted.

They don’t want our friends penalized or our enemies pandered to. They don’t want more of their hard-earned money taken from them and given to people who didn’t earn it and don’t deserve it.

And when they’ve had all they can stand, they really don’t want to be called “un-American” and “evil mongers” when they finally decide to speak out.

So what do I think will happen?

I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of liberal domination in Washington. I think Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Barack Obama have badly underestimated the American people. They lied about what they’d do and they badly misjudged how much we would endure.

The counter-revolution has begun. You can see it at town hall meetings and tea parties. You can hear it in conversations with your neighbors. You can feel it as the left becomes more hysterical, more abusive, and … yes, I’m delighted to say it … more frightened.

We won’t win every battle over the next year or two. But we’ll win a bunch of them. And before too much more time passes—by the time Barack Obama’s successor is getting ready to leave the White House—I predict that the Obama era will be seen as the last gasp of liberalism. The dinosaurs of the left may not become extinct. But they are about to lose their fangs.

Yes, the era of big government will soon be over. And we’ll have Barack Obama and all of his over-reaching cronies to thank for it.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Research probes the benefits of zinc

Research probes the benefits of zinc A new study has sought to explain the exact mechanism behind the long known role of zinc in fighting infections and boosting the immune system.

The work done at the Center for Nutritional Sciences at the University of Florida focused on testing healthy volunteers who were divided into two groups – one which took nutritional supplements containing zinc and the other which was given placebo.

The investigators then analyzed T cells from the participants’ blood samples and simulated infection in laboratory conditions. They found that T cells from the zinc-supplemented group had a higher activation rate than those from the control group.

T cells are responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria and are at the forefront of the body’s immune system response.

Dr. John Wherry, deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology which published the results, says that "studies like this help shed light on how zinc may enhance the ability of our immune systems to fight off foreign invaders."

He adds that the value of the research lies in the fact that it may lead to new treatments for infections, many of which are becoming increasingly resistant to traditional antibiotics.

Obama may send more troops to Afghanistan

Obama may send more troops to AfghanistanA new report from the commander of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan may force President Obama to increase troops levels in Afghanistan for the second time this year, according to media speculation.

Although its details are classified, the report written by General Stanley McChrystal is believed to contain an assessment of the situation in Afghanistan that many see as deteriorating, according to

Queried by reporters on Monday, White House secretary Robert Gibbs said that "there’s broad agreement that for many years our effort in Afghanistan has been under-resourced politically, militarily and economically," which has been widely interpreted as leaving the door open to sending in more troops, in addition to the 21,000 the administration ordered earlier this year.

However, Obama may also face fierce opposition as anti-war groups have started to voice their discontent once again, after having been relatively silent since his election.

Nancy Lessin, a founder of Military Families Speak Out, says many feel betrayed by Obama who promised to scale down U.S. involvement in the Middle East during his electoral campaign.

She believes "there are powerful forces pushing the president to stay on this course and we have to build a more powerful movement to change that course."

Kansas City Star reports the anti-war movement is preparing a nationwide campaign this fall to challenge the administration’s policies on Afghanistan.

According to, August was the deadliest month for U.S. soldiers since the beginning of the war, with 49 losing their lives.

Beetroot juice boosts endurance, experts say

Beetroot juice boosts endurance, experts say As there is growing evidence of the link between physical fitness and health at all stages of life, it may be welcome news that people can boost their exercise capacity by drinking beetroot extract.

Researchers from the University of Exeter in England found that beetroot juice can help boost stamina and may allow some people to exercise up to 16 percent longer while reducing the risk of muscle pain and soreness.

The scientists explain that compounds in the extract help reduce oxygen uptake, a major factor behind muscle fatigue, probably because nitrate in the juice turns to nitric oxide in the body, thereby lowering the amount of oxygen needed to perform energy-intensive exercises.

Professor Andy Jones of the University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences says their work is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can improve exercise endurance.

"I am also keen to explore the relevance of the findings to those people who suffer from poor fitness and may be able to use dietary supplements to help them go about their daily lives," he adds.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Internet security bill continues to cause uproar

Internet security bill continues to cause uproarA new draft of the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which may give the President greater powers over the internet, appears to be causing as much controversy as the original proposal.

The bill seeks to determine when and how the President could intervene in public and private information systems by limiting internet traffic to critical networks for national security reasons or in the case of an emergency.

It has come under scrutiny from a range of first amendment advocacy groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which have raised alarm about government interference. The new draft drops certain specific language, instead allowing the president to direct a "national response" to the cyber threat.

Meanwhile, Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which represents a cross-section of IT companies including Verizon and Nortel, has criticized what he calls vaguely worded language in the latest version.

"It is [still] unclear what authority … is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill," he states.

However, there are those who say the recommendations make sense. James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies compared the provisions to President Bush’s decision to shut down airlines after the 9/11 attacks.

"It seems foolish not to have the same authority for cyberspace," he said, quoted by "It’s not that the president will wake up in a bad mood one day and implode Yahoo. This would apply only to severe national emergencies. … This is a great opportunity to blast us into a new level of discussion about cybersecurity."

The bill was first introduced four months ago by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine.


Specter may have to send a refund to disillusioned donors

Specter may have to send a refund to disillusioned donors Many of his supporters and donors were disappointed when Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched aisles earlier this year, and now they may be eligible for a refund.

That is because the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has given the green light for the lawmaker’s donors’ information to be used to inquire whether they would like to ask the senator to return the money they had spent to help him get reelected.

Spearheading the effort to obtain the permission from the FEC was a group called Club for Growth, and now it plans to use Specter’s campaign finance reports to contact his donors, inform them that the senator is now a Democrat and remind them he has pledged to refund campaign donations upon request, according to

Executive director of the Club David Keating says Specter "continues to face doubts about his loyalties, and I expect many of his donors will want their money back," quoted by the

Despite the media storm surrounding Specter’s decision to switch party allegiance, and the outcry among his more conservative supporters, the FEC was reportedly split in its decision, with the lawyers who make recommendation to the commissioners reaching two different conclusions on whether the move would violate the donors’ privacy.

The FEC’s agreement was required because federal law prohibits using information in campaign finance reports to contact donors for commercial or solicitation purposes. However, the commission decided that since the Club is not going to solicit money, it will not break the law.

Gold Quietly Marshalling Strength

The gold market is just exiting the summer slowdown.

Simply put, the world has been on vacation. Yet, despite the inattention, gold has been quietly building strength throughout much of the summer. The month of July, for example, was quite good for gold, as the metal steadily rose before meeting resistance at around $955.

Still, as we enter the fall, it seems as if gold is sitting tight on a very strong foundation. The market continues to anticipate the return of physical demand in September, along with the impact of America’s loose-money policies and stimulus spending.

Some forward-looking speculators have already entered the market in anticipation of these factors kicking in, but there is still plenty of room left for more longs before the market could be considered crowded.

In the meantime, the large commercials, as our talented associate Gene Arensberg has been reporting in his “Got Gold Report” for Gold Newsletter readers, have been piling up their short positions during gold’s summer rally. But once the dollar begins rolling over again, these commercials will be in an increasingly dangerous position.

As I’ve noted before, these guys are usually right. But when they are wrong, they are spectacularly wrong.

In the past, when the commercials have been forced to cover large-scale short positions, gold has exploded higher to a new price plateau. As an example, consider late 2005, when the commercials were caught badly offsides, and gold catapulted from $450 to over $700.

I’m not saying this will happen anytime soon, but, with federal deficits now measured in trillions of dollars, with deficit- and debt-to-GDP ratios rising to levels that presage at least a doubling in long-term interest rates, and with proposed nationalized health care programs that would further inflate the national debt, the prognosis for the dollar is not good.

The federal debt is already far beyond manageable levels. The only way to control it at this point is to inflate it away. And investors know it.

As I said months ago, it seems we’re on a collision course to repeat the mistakes of the 1970s. But this time, “it will be like the ’70s on steroids.”

In the meantime, many of the resource companies we’re following are making news with their summer exploration programs. At the same time, there have been significant developments on the mergers and acquisitions front, as challenged companies merge to build strength through synergy, and as weak companies are consumed by the strong. Our readers have already multiplied their money on a number of these stocks, and there will undoubtedly be more to come.

It all adds up to an uncommonly interesting—and potentially profitable—market ahead.