I’m confused about PSA testing. I’m 39 and have a family history of prostate cancer. Do I need the test?
CARL, TULSA, OK
If you asked a Vegas bookie, he’d bet on testing: Your family history is the strongest indicator of your risk of developing the disease. “If you have a brother or father who’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you should have a PSA test and a digital rectal exam at age 40,” says J. Brantley Thrasher, M.D., chairman of urology at the University of Kansas medical center. So put the test on your 2013 to-do list, but keep this in mind: An elevated PSA does not necessarily a cancer diagnosis make.
Depending on your result, your doctor may repeat the test every 6 months to distinguish a false positive from an upward trend. But what about men who have no family history of the disease? The U.S.
Preventive Services Task Force actually advises against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer. That’s because only 25 percent to 35 percent of men with elevated PSA scores have prostate cancer, and many of them undergo unnecessary biopsies that can cause erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
What’s the difference between “organic” and “ natural” on food labels?
WILL, FRESNO, CA
Both words sell a greener eating experience, but only organic delivers the full grocery cart of nutritional goods. For a food to bear the USDA Organic logo, it must meet strict criteria, including no synthetic ingredients, no petroleum-based fertilizers, no synthetic pesticides, and no genetic modification.
In the case of meat, poultry, and eggs, animals should have been fed 100 percent organic feed. The bar is a lot lower for the word “natural”; the FDA requires only that these foods contain no added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.“‘ Natural’ is a marketing gimmick,” says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., a nutrition professor at New York University and the author of Food Politics. “Food companies have always used ‘natural’ to market products, but its use increased after the USDA passed its organic standards in 2002.
The word ‘natural’ should serve as a warning for you to scan the ingredient label.” Be especially wary of ice cream, cereals, and fruit snacks, which often contain chemically processed ingredients, such as corn syrup, alkalized cocoa, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, vanillin, and maltodextrin.
What’s more, foods labeled “natural” are allowed to have genetically modified ingredients
and to be grown using pesticides; and meat, fish, and poultry bearing that label can be raised with growth hormones and antibiotics.
Zumba is helping my girlfriend tone up. Should I try it?
ERIC, SMYRNA, DE
You’re wondering whether you should check out a fad workout for women that your gym buddies wouldn’t be caught dead doing? Absolutely.
Zumba’s fast-paced Latin dance steps could help you burn as much as 550 calories in an hour while tacking on a mental challenge you just won’t find on a treadmill. What’s more, because Zumba sessions mash up dance moves with exercises like squats and lunges, “it’s a fun, fat-burning, fitness improving,
flexibility-enhancing workout,” says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., CEO of StreamFit. His only caution:
While that cha-cha slide can crush calories, it won’t stress your muscles enough to spark growth. That’s why Gaddour advises strength training twice or three times a week (see this month’s poster for his total-body circuit) and then doing Zumba on your off days.
Is video chat just as good as meeting a psychologist in person?
STEVE, LIBBY, MT
There isn’t enough clinical evidence to say, but one thing’s certain: It’s a hundred times better
than doing nothing, says William S. Pollack, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard medical school. “Men who might be reluctant to slink into a shrink’s office may feel more comfortable receiving treatment through video chat; plus, they’re using a familiar technology, and that can help them open up.” It’s also convenient for people who travel. And while Pollack prefers to meet anew patient in person first to make a connection,
he has done initial consults through video chat.
Before you bare your soul over Skype, make sure the psychologist has a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and a state license, and check your insurance coverage.
There is a billing code for long-distance treatment, but not all providers reimburse it. Finally, ask the psychologist how many other people are being counseled remotely. “You want a therapist who’s tech savvy and has had success treating people this way,” says Pollack.
Should I take a probiotic supplement?
HUSSEIN, MONTCLAIR, NJ
Let’s look at the pros of probiotics. They do make it easy for you to swallow a daily dose of
the “good” bacteria that help balance out the bad bugs in your gut. The downside is that
most brands contain millions of bacteria from a few different strains, whereas your body contains trillions from hundreds of strains.
If you struggle with gas, diarrhea, or other digestive problems, go ahead and pop a supplement, but remember it’s just that—a supplement to probiotic-rich foods, not a replacement for them, says Ather Ali, N.D., M.P.H., a researcher at Yale University school of medicine. “Aim for at least one daily serving of foods containing good bacteria.” Here’s your microbial menu: kefir, sauerkraut, miso, aged cheeses like Cheddar and Gouda, and cottage cheese. Also reach for yogurt containing live cultures, specifically Lactobacillus and Bifidus; these bugs promote regularity. As for a supplement, Dr. Ali recommends Align or Culturelle; both are clinically proven to help reduce intestinal inflammation
My son is becoming a bully. What should I do?
NICK, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
For starters, don’t use the B word. “You don’t want to label him,” says Jane Riese, L.S.W.,
director of training for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program at Clemson University.
“He may start to think he’s a ‘bad’ kid—you want him to see this as a fixable mistake.
Instead, talk to him about his bullying behavior.”
Convey that you’re concerned and that you expect him to treat others with kindness
and respect—even those kids he thinks are “sissies” or “weirdos.” If he tries to shift the
blame, Riese recommends refocusing the conversation.
Say something like, “I want to talk about your part of this and how you can take responsibility for what happened. What kind of help do you need from me?” Your goal is to keep the conversation loving but firm. Oh, and Nick? Take a look at how you treat people. Do you jokingly put others down? Let shades of prejudice slip out? Always try to be a better
man, and your son might just follow your lead.
Why is it okay for her to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I get guff for watching porn?
MIKE, DOYLESTOWN, PA
It’s a matter of imagination versus reality. The critical difference, from her point of view, is that the sex in a porn film involves real people, which means you’re thinking about an actual woman (or two or three). By contrast, no matter how vivid the boinking in a book is, all the action is in her mind, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., M.P.H., an associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. Sure, it’s an arguable distinction, but really, Mike, you should be encouraging her literary habit.
Reading erotica can enhance her desire and open up a conversation about new things you
two can try as a couple, says Herbenick. Some Fifty Shades of Grey–inspired dirty talk, leather cuffs, or Ben Wa balls, perhaps?
How long should I rest between sets?
DAVE, LYNN, MA
Time is muscle. If you rest too long, your muscles won’t tire enough to stimulate growth;
if you rest too little, they’ll be too fatigued. To find your stopwatch sweet spot, decide what
you want out of your workout, says MH’s “Hey, Muscle Guy!” blogger Bill Hartman, C.S.C.S., P.T. “Do you want to burn fat, build muscle, or forge strength?” Find your answer below.
BURN FAT Rest 30 seconds between sets of 12-plus reps: By taking shorter rest times, your heart rate stays in overdrive, cranking your metabolism and melting more fat.
BUILD MUSCLE Rest 1 to 2 minutes: This lets you pump out multiple burn-inducing sets of 8 to 10 reps with heavy weight. You’re balancing between exhausting
the muscle and resting long enough to recover.
INCREASE STRENGTH Rest 2 to 5 minutes: To build strength, you must go all out every lift for sets of 3 to 5 reps. That requires using near maximum weight, which recruits the most muscle fibers. They use more energy to contract and need more time to recover.
All Fitness ___ 8 Question And 8 Answer