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Healthy Living

By Sheryl Kraft

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The year 2011 is quickly winding to a close. (Where DID the time go? The older we get, the faster it goes. A sad irony, don't you think?) And with the dizzying speed of the Internet, social media and how news gets out, it's possible—even probable—to miss a lot of important news along the way.

Added to that, all the conflicting studies (coffee is bad; no, coffee is good. Cell phones cause cancer; no, they really don't) are enough to make you want to tune out at times. So here, as we prepare to usher in 2012, are the top 10 posts that get high marks either in the number of readers they attracted or the number of people who reacted to them—or both. 

When I started this blog three years ago, I was just finding my voice and my audience. Blogging was new to me, and, although I had a vision, I really didn't know quite what to expect. It's truly heartwarming to see the loyal following Midlife Matters has gained and to "hear" and learn from the many voices that are moved to respond. I love reading your comments—it tells me someone out there is listening!

Thanks for being part of our community and chiming in with comments, observations and commiseration. Without that, it would be mighty lonely around here.

1. It may be fruit … but this one is not necessarily GOOD for you.

Cantaloupes from a single farm in Colorado were found to be contaminated with listeria this past summer, killing 23 people by October and spreading illness through 18 states. The CDC offers tips for avoiding the illness listeriosis, in general.

2. Cell phones cause brain cancer … do they or don't they?
Back and forth it goes. The verdict, as of June 2011.

3. Easy ways to get yourself some diabetes.
I had fun with this one, taking a counterintuitive approach to a not-so-fun illness that is the nation's largest health care problem and a huge expense to our health care system—up into the trillions of dollars.

4. When is the last time you had a decent night's sleep?
It seems to get harder as we get older. Here, an interview with Dr. Eric Braverman, who believes lack of sleep is a rapid age accelerator.

5. Is weight loss among your New Year's resolutions?
Everybody wants to know some simple secrets to losing some pounds, less the crankiness, moodiness and deprivation that can sometimes go along with it.

6. If you're like me and have a sweet tooth, here are some important facts about sugar.
It's not always created equal—and many times is disguised by other names, among them "high fructose corn syrup."

7. Spa experts spill their secrets.
We all want to know how to stay healthy and Zen-like during the rush of the holidays; here, some tips from top spas around the country.

8. There ain't no cure for the wintertime blues … or is there?

It's certainly worth a try.

9. We might have lost fitness icon Jack LaLanne, but his lessons never die. 
He was truly a man ahead of his time, and he did all of us a big favor with his message of health and fitness.

10. The ethics of concierge medicine.
It's something we can't all afford. Is health care a right or a privilege? An angry doctor responds and defends the practice eight months after the original piece ran, and says, among other things: "You want superior care and an hour with your doctor instead of a hurried office visit, then I think it's reasonable that you should pay more for it."