IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  November 1, 2012

Roast Venison Tenderloin with Wild-Mushroom Sauce

What American families call tradition can take many forms when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. Customs vary as people marry and move to new locations.

Hunters make no small contribution to this annual ritual of sit-down, buffet, or backyard extravaganza.

While 91 percent of Americans eat turkey, others enjoy venison, duck, geese, and delicacies including oysters and crab.

You can create this eye-popping roast venison in less than an hour and no guest will miss the turkey. (Not a hunter? Get venison at a specialty meat market or butcher shop.)

Roast Venison Tenderloin with Wild-Mushroom Sauce

A 2-pound venison tenderloin
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided, cooking spray
2 small packages fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup minced shallots
3/4 cup port wine
1 cup beef broth
2 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch.

Venison: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place on a broiler rack coated with cooking spray; put a meat thermometer into the thickest part.

Bake for 20 minutes or until thermometer reaches 145 degrees (medium-rare) to 160 degrees (medium). Cover with foil; let stand 10 minutes.

Sauce: Remove and discard stems from mushrooms; slice caps. Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray (or 1 tablespoon margarine or butter) and heat until hot. Add shallots and mushrooms; saute until tender (about 4 minutes)

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and port wine; cook 2 minutes. Whisk cornstarch with broth in a small bowl; add to skillet and bring to a boil; stir 1 minute until thick.

Place venison on serving platter; dribble with mushroom sauce. Serves 8. Recipe can be doubled.

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Blood pressure measurement technique

American Heart Association guidelines are calling for blood pressure to be measured in both arms. The clinician should always measure in both arms if this is your first visit.

Recent studies published in the Lancet show that if there is a substantial difference in the two readings, you could have an increased risk for heart disease.

Here's how to get the most accurate blood pressure reading.

  • Your arm should be supported and at heart level, not higher or lower.
  • You should be comfortably seated on a chair with back support, and your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Your legs should not be crossed.
  • You should sit quietly for five minutes before being tested.
  • Your upper arm should be bare.
  • Neither you nor the clinician should speak while the measurement is being taken.
  • The appropriate cuff size should encircle at least 80 percent of our arm's circumference.


    Chuckles Corner

  • How to make a safer, quieter sneeze

    Almost every workplace has a person with a very loud sneeze.

    Otolaryngologists at the Stanford Sinus Center say the variance in volume is caused by differences in anatomy, such as lung volume, abdominal strength, and trachea size. In some people, the body uses more muscles to sneeze than other people do.

    To quiet a sneeze, the doctors recommend that you try one of these tricks:

    1. Use a thick handkerchief instead of a tissue. The fabric muffles the sound and decreases the spread of germs.

    2. Hold your breath right before a sneeze. It might interrupt the body's coordinated reflex.

    3. Cough at the same time you sneeze, which suppresses the sound. A cough lessens the reflex and decreases the volume.

    4. Clinch your teeth and jaw, which suppresses the sound. Keep your lips open to prevent air-pressure buildup.

    5. Put your index finger at the base of your nose and push up (the Three Stooges method). This can suppress the sneeze or reduce its severity.

    Never plug your nose when a sneeze is coming on. It closes the airway and could result in a larynx fracture, voice changes, a ruptured eardrum, damage to the soft tissue of the neck, bulging eyeballs and more.

    With the cold and flu season coming soon, you will probably have opportunities to work on the volume of your sneeze.


    How (and why) to check your medical records

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is designed to protect patient health information and guard medical privacy. Only you, your insurance company and your doctors can access your records.

    You may want to have a copy of your records to check for mistakes or to recall your medication history.

    Talk to your doctor's office about how to access your records online.

    Different services require different procedures.

    Some doctors require you to fill out a form. Do it at the doctor's office in case you need help. Write down specific information you want, such as blood pressure, scans, blood and urine tests, cholesterol levels, and history of surgery or other procedures. Pay any fee.

    When you receive the records, check to see that all the information you requested is included.

    Check the records for mistakes. If you find anything you don't understand, call the health-care provider's office and ask for an explanation. If it is a mistake, ask the provider to amend or delete the inaccurate information. A mistake could cause a health insurance company to reject you, or it could cause doctors to make inaccurate diagnoses.

    Once you have the records, it will be convenient to share a copy with physicians you see for a second opinion or specialists you are referred to.


    Many Americans think hours of sleep are optional

    A proliferation of ads for energy drinks and prescription sleep aids reveal an American culture that is tense and tired. Nearly a third of working adults get less than six hours of sleep a night, according to a recent CDC report.

    Fatigue management consultants now work with more than half of the Fortune 500 companies, law-enforcement groups, and even football teams, to ensure that they have energetic and safe workers.

  • There really are steps you can take to adapt sleep to your modern life. Most of the suggestions relate to changing your activities. It's not as easy as popping a pill, but you'll live a longer, healthier life if you take these steps seriously.
  • Start by going to bed at the same time every night. Make it eight hours before you have to get up in the a.m.
  • Don't use your smartphone, computer or close-to-you television for an hour before going to bed. They emit blue light that the body treats as sunlight. It deters the onset of sleep by encouraging the brain to stay alert. Never sleep with your smartphone or tablet.
  • Studies show using yoga or mind-relaxing techniques before bed will increase sleep quality and quantity.
  • By developing better sleep habits, you'll know when you actually went to sleep or whether you just spent the night tossing and turning.
  • Consumer devices like headbands that measure brain waves and pedometer-like devices that measure movement are available. They track the real effects of each day's choices on that night's sleep and give answers similar to what you would get at a sleep lab.

    Getting a good night's sleep takes a certain amount of planning before bedtime, but it's well worth it.

  • Health, mental sharpness, sex, relationships, creativity and memories are parts of what makes you who you are. All of these things depend on how many hours of sleep you get each night.


  • Eight foods for a healthier life

  • Almonds, for their vitamins and minerals.
  • Apples, they lower cholesterol and glucose levels.
  • Bananas, they're great sources of potassium and nutrients.
  • Broccoli has vitamins, calcium and minerals.
  • Beans have important nutrients and are a cancer-fighting food.
  • Spinach is a source of vitamins A, C and folate.
  • Sweet potatoes have vitamins A, B6, C and more.
  • Wheat germ is a highly concentrated source of many nutrients.


    Ages 18 to 29 now seen as a distinct life stage

    Once the brain was thought to be fully grown after puberty. Now, research shows it is still evolving into its adult shape well into a person's third decade. It discards unused connections and strengthens others.

    It's one reason many 20-somethings haven't chosen a career path, married or become financially independent.

    While the brain hasn't fully matured, young people are expected to make important decisions about education, who to marry or whether to go into the military, says neuroscientist Jay Giedd at the National Institute of Mental Health. Postponing those decisions makes sense biologically. Giedd says the 20s are known as a time for self-discovery.

    The findings are part of a new wave of research into emerging adulthood from ages 18 to 29, which neuroscientists, psychologists and sociologists are now seeing as a distinct life stage.

    For young adults, this decade is a stressful time with a high rate of anxiety, depression, motor-vehicle accidents and alcohol use, trends that tend to peak from 18 to 25 and level out by age 28, according to studies by Clark University.


    New silk scaffolds aid in repair of bone fractures

    By bonding silk protein microfibers to a silk protein scaffold, biomedical engineers at Tufts University School of Engineering have developed a composite that has high strength and bone formation-friendly cell response.

    The composite mimics the mechanical properties of natural bone. The scaffold works as a temporary, biodegradable support while new bone grows.

    An estimated 1.3 million people in the United States have bone graft surgery every year, researchers say.

    The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online during the week of April 30, 2012


    November is American Diabetes Month

    Early treatment of pre-diabetes can prevent or delay type 2

    About 79 million Americans are at high risk for diabetes, because their blood sugar levels are higher than normal. They have pre-diabetes.

    Now, there's help.

    A study by Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas shows that intensive early treatment, first with insulin, then with a diabetes drug, preserves the body's insulin-producing capacity, according to Diabetes Care.

    Previously, the first steps in treatment were to emphasize diet and weight management, then to couple lifestyle changes with the diabetes drug metformin.

    Another new study published in The Lancet shows that treating pre-diabetes early and aggressively with intensive lifestyle changes and medication could be an effective way to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    Study subjects were divided into intensive lifestyle intervention, pre-diabetes medicine (metformin) and placebo groups. The analysis tracked the patients who did not progress to diabetes, and those whose glucose levels returned to normal.

    People in the back-to-normal-glucose group were 56 percent less likely to develop diabetes during the next 5.7 years, regardless of whether lifestyle changes or aggressive medication caused the return to normal. The study supports a shift to early and aggressive glucose lowering.

    Don't wait.

    At Duke University, doctors say both studies emphasize the need to aggressively treat pre-diabetes as soon as it's diagnosed.

    Waiting, or taking a one-step-at-a-time approach, increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and exposes the body to its damaging effects for a longer period of time.


    Smaller pieces of food aid weight control

    An interesting finding was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior: both animals and humans find small pieces of food are more rewarding and filling than one large piece.

    In a study of 301 people, participants were served a three-ounce bagel that was either whole or cut into several pieces.

    A meal was served 20 minutes later, and subjects were told to eat as much as they wanted.

    Those who ate the whole bagel ate more calories both from the bagel and the meal than those who ate bagel pieces.

    The researchers found that smaller, multiple pieces are perceived as being a larger quantity. They were more rewarding and provided recipients with greater satisfaction.