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MOST NEW DRUGS COURTESY OF MOTHER NATURE

Only 30 percent of the critically important "new chemical entities," or NCEs, introduced between 1981 and mid 2006 were not based on a naturally occurring compound, according to the National Cancer Institute. NCEs are new drugs, rather than modified versions of existing medications. The remaining 70 percent of the NCEs introduced during those 25 years were medicines obtained from plants and animals, derived from natural products or chemically designed to mimic natural products. Natural products range from aspirin (originally obtained from the willow tree) to taxol, the anti-cancer drug discovered in the Pacific yew tree.

Jaded palate may give diet a boost

Researchers say that if you eat the same food for a period of time, your palate gets "tired" of it and you feel full sooner. This is known as sensory-specific satiety, notes RealAge.com. But if you get distracted while eating, this appetite-control mechanism gets turned off. To use this to your advantage, you're less likely to overeat if you have the same thing for at least one of your meals, every day. Aim for a variety of foods within a week, not within each meal. And don't eat while watching TV, surfing the Internet or reading.

Early screening for colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, killing about 1,000 people a week. Florida is second only to California in the number of diagnoses. Yet it is curable when caught early through screening. The simplest test is called a fecal occult blood test, or FOBT, and at-home versions are available from many manufacturers for less than $40.

You workers of America, chill out

About 33 percent of Americans felt chronically overworked and 29 percent did not have time to step back from their work to reflect on it, according to a survey by the Work and Family Institute. To create a relaxation window, Nonni's Biscotti and Dr. Claire Michaels Wheeler offer these tips:

- Do not hit the "Refresh" button on the e-mail inbox every 10 minutes.

- Step outside for fresh air.

- Eat while sitting down, and read for pleasure.

- Take 10 minutes to savor the little things in life.

On the calendar

- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, free vision screenings at the Clearwater Health Center, 310 N Myrtle Ave. No appointment necessary. For more information, contact Jennifer at (813) 874-2020, ext. 108, or jwhittington@ preventblindnessfl.org.

- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11, free program on "Alzheimer's Disease: What Caregivers Need to Know." Presented by the USF Suncoast Alzheimer's and Gerontology Center, Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 2701 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Lunch included; registration requested. Call Eileen Poiley at (813) 974-4355.

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