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Body Watch

August 09, 1994|This health roundup compiled by C.A. Wedlan from wire service reports

Hot Weather Brings Out Bacteria

Hot, sticky weather inspires the back-yard chef to barbecue some killer hamburgers. Literally. Salmonella and E. coli revel in uncooked meat and hot weather.

Avoid a bacteria buffet by placing a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Temperature should reach 145 degrees to 160 degrees for roast and 170 degrees to 180 degrees for poultry. Hamburger should not be pink in the middle. You must brown ground meat all the way through. Also, parboiled or microwaved food must go right to the grill and not sit at room temperature.

Cooked food or food that needs to be refrigerated prior to cooking should not be stored at room temperature any longer than two hours; one hour on broiling days. Marinate food in the icebox and do not reuse marinade that held raw meat.

Prostate Shyness Kills

By Christmas, more than 38,000 men will die because they are too embarrassed to be tested for prostate cancer. In this year alone, more than 200,000 men will be found to have the disease.

A lot of men shy away from the quick, painless exam. The American Cancer Society's California division is attempting to diminish discomfiture with "Real Men Do It." In a prostate cancer public service campaign, former heavyweight boxing champ George Foreman, San Francisco 49ers coach George Siefert and Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson say they get annual prostate checkups.

The ACS urges men older than 40 to have a yearly digital rectal exam; starting at 50, a prostate-specific antigen blood test. Nine out of 10 men can be treated successfully with early detection.

Calcium Intakes Fall Short

A snack of five cups of broccoli and one cup of milk adds up to 600 milligrams of calcium. But that healthy intake falls way short of the National Institute of Health's recommended 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams daily. Most Americans manage half that amount at best.

Calcium supplements are an option. Just don't knock back a handful all at once. The body prefers to tackle 500 milligrams at a time. Brand names or chewables are absorbable. Many filler-infested generics do not dissolve in the intestine. One dose should be taken at night when the body can cut the level of parathyroid hormone, which breaks down bone. Even if you prep your tummy with food, note that some substances such as phytates, in beans, and oxalates, in spinach, interfere with calcium absorption by the intestine. Don't overdo. Dosages higher than 2,000 milligrams could bring on kidney stones, which is a high price for calcium overkill.

Briefly . . .

Finnish researchers find that mothers who transfer saliva, via shared spoon and kisses, to their infants before teething help build up the children's antibodies to bacteria that initiate cavities . . . American Cancer Society's Look Good, Feel Good program ((800) 395-LOOK) teaches female cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation how to restore appearance and self-image . . . Artificial eyes are being made out of coral because it's porous and can form a bond with tissues of the eye socket.

* This health roundup appears in Life & Style on Tuesdays.

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