Health experts have long warned people away from full-fat dairy products because they contain high levels of saturated fat, which is thought to raise levels of LDL—or “bad” cholesterol. But a major new study has concluded that in moderation, whole milk and full-fat yogurt and cheese could in fact help protect against heart disease and stroke. Researchers examined data from more than 130,000 people across 21 countries over nine years and found that participants who ate two or more daily servings of full-fat dairy had a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease, a 34 percent lower risk of stroke, and a 23 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. (A serving was 8 oz of milk or yogurt, or a half-ounce slice of cheese.) Butter consumption wasn’t linked to similar benefits—though that may have been because most of the study’s subjects ate little of it. Study co-author Mahshid (Read More)
Fifty percent of males over 50 years of age suffer from one degree or another of prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a benign condition that occurs when the prostate swells and pinches the urethra, which drains the bladder. One in six men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer. Over 238,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed this year and almost 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer in the US alone. What is the prostate? The prostate is a gland forming part of the male reproductive system. In younger men the prostate is about the size of a walnut. It is located immediately below the bladder and just in front of the bowel. Its main function is to produce fluid that protects and enriches sperm. It is doughnut shaped as it surrounds (Read More)
Be it work, finances, relationships, or health issues, most of us experience stressful events at some point in our lives. But today, researchers are witnessing levels of stress that are virtually unprecedented. A startling 80% of Americans now report experiencing intense, chronic stress over personal finances and the economy. And 30 million Americans take medication to treat depression, but for most people, antidepressants serve mostly as a placebo, scientists now say.
Consuming too much sugar can increase people’s risk for heart disease- even if they’re otherwise healthy, new research reveals. Scientists asked 11 men with fatty-liver disease and 14 healthy men to follow either a high- or low-sugar diet for 12 weeks. All of the men consumed the same number of calories each day, but sugar accounted for 26 percent of the high-sugar accounted for 26 percent of the high-sugar diet (650 calories) and just 6 percent of the low-sugar diet. When the study ended, both the healthy men and those with fatty-liver disease who were on the high-sugar diet showed damaging changes in the way their bodies metabolized the fat linked to heart disease. The healthy men on the high-sugar diet also had more fat in their blood and liver, HealthDay.com reports. Dana Angelo White, a dietitian at Quinnipiac University who was not involved in the study, said its results (Read More)
With ever-increasing amounts of coffee and “energy” drinks containing caffeine being consumed, it might be important to know why this stimulant works. Everyone who uses caffeine experiences a “lift” that seems to energize them to perform their functions more efficiently. They are absolutely right! Caffeine, the chemical in these beverages that produces the effect, causes increased activity in the frontal lobe of the brain where short term memory resides and also in the anterior cingulum part of the brain, which controls the concentration and attention span. This increased activity means you are more able to focus, you have more attention and your task management is better.
When you find yourself struggling to concentrate on something, try having a glass of water. That’s the conclusion of a new, detailed analysis of more than 30 studies into the effects of dehydration, NPR.org reports. The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that going thirsty had no significant impact on reaction times and other basic cognitive functions. But for more complex tasks that require focused attention or coordination, dehydration did appear to impair people’s performance. Examples include “maintaining focus in a long meeting, driving a car, [or] a monotonous job in a hot factory,” said study leader Mindy Millard-Stafford. “Higher-order functions like doing math or applying logic also dropped off.” Millard-Stafford and her colleagues found that cognitive impairment tended to begin when people lost 2 percent of the water in their body. For the average person, that equates to about 35 fluid ounces of sweat—roughly what you’d produce with an (Read More)
The leading U.S. pediatricians’ group has issued a stark warning about food additives and food-packaging materials, cautioning that many of the chemicals used in these products have never been properly tested and could pose a health risk to children. The American Academy of Pediatrics cited mounting scientific evidence that “direct additives,” such as artificial flavorings and colorings, as well as “indirect additives” that leak into food from plastic and other packaging may interfere with the body’s hormone system. That disruption can cause increased risk of obesity and other health problems. Children are more vulnerable to these chemicals than adults because their organs are still developing, and because “pound for pound, they eat more food,” lead author Leonardo Trasande tells HealthDay.com. The AAP identified several particularly harmful chemicals: nitrates and nitrites, which are used as preservatives, especially in meat products; phthalates and perchlorates, which appear in plastic packaging; and bisphenols, used (Read More)
A new government study has found that about 80 percent of Americans aren’t getting nearly enough exercise, potentially setting themselves up for health worries later in life, reports USA Today. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people ages 18 to 64 get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week—walking at a brisk pace, for example—or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities, such as weightlifting or push-ups, at least twice a week. But only 23 percent of adults are meeting those guidelines. Researchers found that a person’s sex, home state, and finances affected how much exercise they got. Nationally, some 19 percent of women and 27 percent of men hit the target. Residents of Mississippi were the least likely to work out, with about 14 percent meeting the guidelines, and Coloradans the most, at 33 (Read More)
If there is an upper limit to the human life span, we might not have reached it yet. The average life expectancy around the world has more than doubled since 1900, thanks to improvements in sanitation, health care, and food supply. Still, past studies have suggested that because of biological limits, only a handful of genetic outliers will live beyond 115 years old, such as the oldest verified person ever, Jeanne Calment, who died at age 122, in 1997. But a new study of nearly 4,000 Italian centenarians indicates that human longevity may be slowly increasing. According to established demographic data, after age 65, the probability of death doubles each year. The mortality rate begins to decelerate at age 80 and, the researchers found, seems to plateau at age 105. At that point, the chances of dying in a given year are roughly 50-50. Study authors say this plateauing might (Read More)
People who attend religious services a couple of times a week may live longer, a new study suggests. Harvard University researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a survey of 74,534 healthy, primarily Christian women. At the start of the study in 1992, participants were all asked how often they went to church; the researchers then tracked them for 20 years. By 2012, 13,537 of the women had died. After adjusting for other risk factors, it turned out that the ones who attended services more than once a week were 33 percent less likely to have died of any cause than those who never went at all. Overall, going to church at least once a week was associated with a lifespan increase of about five months. “There is evidence that it provides social support, discourages smoking, decreases depression, and promotes optimism or hope,” study author Tyler VanderWeele tells MedicalDaily.com. (Read More)