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Breakfast to beat diabetes

A daily bowl of high-fiber flakes and milk can help tame blood sugar and insulin resistance -- good news for the one in four Americans on the fast track for diabetes.

When 77 men munched on various cereals, blood tests revealed that those with insulin resistance -- a precursor to diabetes -- had elevated blood sugar and insulin levels after eating low-fiber cereal but had normal levels when fiber was a sky-high 35 grams per bowl, say University of Toronto researchers. Pour on fat-free or 1 percent milk for added protection; research suggests that a daily serving can slash insulin resistance risk by 20 percent, thanks to its vitamin D.

"A high-fiber breakfast could cut your risk for insulin resistance by 30 to 50 percent," says Jo-Anne Rizzotto, a nutritionist in Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Mass. "If you need something sweet, add some berries to your high-fiber cereal."

Combating loneliness

Feeling lonely? Well, you're not alone.

Lots of people feel lonely and isolated, said Dr. Alan LaGrone, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Loneliness is the biggest single issue LaGrone sees in his practice, and it is more common than depression, substance abuse and other mental disorders.

LaGrone encourages people to get involved in an activity that interests them instead of waiting for someone to come to the rescue. Take scuba diving or canoeing lessons. Join a bicycling or camping club. Get involved in community outreach or church groups.

By making lifestyle changes, new relationships will follow, LaGrone said.

Remembering Mom

Circle of Daughters will hold its 10th annual "A Day for Motherless Daughters" at 11 a.m. May 7 in Samuel's Grande Manor. The event is open to women and teenage girls who have lost their mothers and will include lunch, readings and remembrances, and a ceremonial balloon release. For registration information, call Day Cummings at 627-4934. Circle of Daughters has bereavement support groups for men, women and children for all loss-related issues.

Phone therapy for depression

A phone call can make a world of difference in depression: In an 18-month study of 600 people who were prescribed antidepressants, doctors found that among those who also received 30- to 40-minute telephone counseling sessions, 80 percent reported feeling significantly better. Just 55 percent of those who received only instructions on taking their medication felt better.

"When therapists reach out, it gives people hope. For many, talking on the phone is also more private and convenient than coming into the office," says study author Dr. Gregory E. Simon of Group Health Cooperative, a health care provider in Seattle, Wash.

Remove a splinter

Despite what you've been told, being aggressive with a needle when trying to remove a splinter can cause tissue damage, which translates into more pain and a higher risk of infection.

To ease removal, Family Circle magazine suggests you first soften the skin by soaking it in lukewarm water and cleanse it with rubbing alcohol. Using sterilized tweezers, grasp the end of the splinter and slowly pull it straight out.

See a professional if the splinter appears too deep to attempt at-home removal, or you have been able to remove only a portion of the splinter, or the area gets infected and becomes red, swollen, warm and tender.

Thin waist, not bones

Women on diets need more calcium than normal to avoid bone loss, say Rutgers University researchers. They found that weight loss cut absorption of bone-building calcium in 57 postmenopausal dieters. Among those who dropped 1 1/2 pounds a week for six weeks, women who got 1,800 milligrams of calcium a day from food and supplements absorbed 78 percent more calcium than those who got 1,000 milligrams a day. To prevent bone loss, women dieting after menopause should get 1,700 milligrams of calcium a day, the experts say.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.

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