Fewer heart attacks with mind-body medicine: Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

Mind-body medicine (MBM) is a holistic approach that has the potential to ward off more heart attacks than conventional prevention programs. That is the conclusion reached by Holger Cramer and colleagues in a systematic review and meta-analysis presented in the latest issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015; 112: 759-67). They show that MBM in cardiac patients has a positive effect on coronary events, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.

Three of the most important risk factors for coronary heart disease–lack of exercise, overweight, and stress–are amenable to intervention. While conventional preventive measures concentrate on exercise and advice on nutrition, MBM also embraces relaxation methods and psychological motivation techniques. In the studies analyzed by Cramer et al., coronary events occurred in 68 of 307 patients who received conventional interventions but in only half as many–33/308–of those on MBM prevention programs. The authors point out that despite this positive effect MBM does not decrease mortality in cardiac patients. Nevertheless, the lower incidence of coronary events is beneficial. They therefore endorse MBM or other comparable programs for lifestyle modification.



Posted in Alternative Medicine, Heart Health: Heart Attack, Mind-Body Connection | Leave a comment

Parental absence affects brain development in children

CHICAGO – Researchers in China have found that children who have been left without direct parental care for extended periods of time show larger gray matter volumes in the brain, according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Throughout the world, due to political upheaval, economic necessity or other reasons, parents sometimes are compelled to travel away from home for months or years at a time, leaving their children behind.

In China, large numbers of workers are migrating away from their children in pursuit of better jobs. Researchers wanted to study how this migration has affected the millions of children who have been left in the care of relatives for a period of more than six months without direct parental care from their biological parents.

“We wanted to study the brain structure in these left-behind children,” said study author Yuan Xiao, Ph.D. candidate at the Huaxi MR Research Center and the Department of Radiology at West China Hospital of Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. “Previous studies support the hypothesis that parental care can directly affect brain development in offspring. However, most prior work is with rather severe social deprivation, such as orphans. We looked at children who were left behind with relatives when the parents left to seek employment far from home.”

For the study, which was led by Professor Su Lui and conducted at the Second Affiliated Hospital & Yuying Children’s Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, MRI exams from 38 left-behind girls and boys (ages 7 to 13) were compared to MRI exams from a control group of 30 girls and boys (ages 7 to 14) living with their parents. The researchers then compared the gray matter volume between the two groups and measured the intelligence quotient (IQ) of each participant to assess cognitive function.

The researchers found larger gray matter volumes in multiple brain regions, especially in emotional brain circuitry, in the left-behind children compared to children living with their parents. The mean value of IQ scores in left-behind children was not significantly different from that of controls, but the gray matter volume in a brain region associated with memory encoding and retrieval was negatively correlated with IQ score.

Since larger gray matter volume may reflect insufficient pruning and maturity of the brain, the negative correlation between the gray matter volume and IQ scores suggests that growing without parental care may delay brain development.

“Our study provides the first empirical evidence showing that the lack of direct parental care alters the trajectory of brain development in left-behind children,” Xiao said. “Public health efforts are needed to provide additional intellectual and emotional support to children left behind by parents.”


Co-authors on the study are Lili Yang, M.D., Zhihan Yan, M.D., Yuchuan Fu, M.D., Meimei Du, M.D., and Su Lui, M.D.


Posted in Brain, Parenting | Leave a comment

How Not To Look For A Job

Looking for a new job involves risk. Your employer and colleagues might find out before you want them to; unpleasant political situations in your current job may arise. Then there are pointless calls from search agents and the sometimes unfathomable logic behind some of their career suggestions.

That’s true at least for some top executives. For others, it can be a case of wishing the phone to ring. Headhunters, by and large, only operate in a thin layer of the jobs market. The remainder are accustomed to sending their resume as an attachment to an email to multiple search firms but this can make their job-seeking look like a mass-marketing exercise and such emails are also a highly insecure distribution mechanism, risking news of the enquiry leaking out.

In a world where the internet is reversing many of the traditional power relationships, LinkedIn is too public and Facebook too personal to handle this delicate process for ambitious executives and employees. Why have more entrepreneurs not invented platforms to readdress these familiar concerns?

Joseph Blass, and Anthony Harling are two who have. Blass previously founded and led the sale of Toucan Telecom to fellow technology group Pipex, while Harling has experience at the other end of the retail conundrum as a seasoned search consultant and former senior partner of executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles.


Posted in Business, Personal Finance, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

Men’s, women’s brains the same: new study

When pundits declare that men and women are different, it seems unlikely they’re referring to what’s in our underpants, since most of us figured out that difference by kindergarten or soon thereafter. More likely, it’s a contention that men and women think differently – that there are male brains and female brains and they have different strengths and weaknesses.

Psychologist Daphna Joel of Tel Aviv University said she’s long doubted this is the case. Now, she says, she and her colleagues have used brain imaging to show that most people have brains with mosaics of male and female characteristics. They published their results in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This mixed up state would explain why men sometimes lament they will never understand women, and why women say the same about men. Humans are diverse in our personalities and ways of thinking. Some of us are good at soccer and some are good at math, some at writing and some at playing the piano.

The study, done in collaboration with the University of Zurich, relied on brain scanning data from 1400 volunteers. The researchers used the scans to examine how different brain regions communicate with each other.



Posted in Brain, Human Behavior: Gender Differences | Leave a comment

Marathon fatigue and sugar: new information

It turns out a spoonful of sugar might not just help the medicine go down, but could also help stave off tiredness faced by weary marathon runners – or other long-distance athletes – when they hit the wall.

According to health researchers at the University of Bath, stirring in table sugar from the baking cupboard into a water bottle before a big physical event could be the difference between success and failure.

In their new study, published in the leading international journal the American Journal of PhysiologyEndocrinology & Metabolism, the scientists assessed the impact of endurance exercise on liver glycogen levels (stored carbohydrates in the body) and tested what could be done to prevent fatigue.

They tested various sucrose- and glucose-based drinks to see how different carbohydrates could help. Their experiment, conducted on long-distance cyclists, showed that ingesting carbohydrates in the form of either glucose or sucrose prevents the decline in liver glycogen ‘carbohydrate stores’ and can avert tiredness.

Both sucrose – in the form of table sugar – and glucose are important carbohydrates often referred to as ‘simple sugars’. The major difference between them is that each sucrose molecule is made up of one glucose and one fructose molecule linked together. It appears combining different sources of sugars improves the rate at which we can absorb these from the gut.

Although an increasing number of sports-performance drinks designed to provide energy during exercise now use sucrose, or mixtures of glucose and fructose, many still rely on glucose alone. The researchers warn that such glucose-only drinks could produce gut discomfort and suggest sucrose-based alternatives, or sugar in water, can help make exercise easier.

Lead researcher Dr Javier Gonzalez explained: “The carbohydrate stores in our liver are vitally important when it comes to endurance exercise as they help us to maintain a stable blood sugar level. However, whilst we have a relatively good understanding of the changes in our muscle carbohydrate stores with exercise and nutrition, we know very little about optimising liver carbohydrate stores during and after exercise.

“Our study showed that ingesting carbohydrates during exercise can prevent the depletion of carbohydrate stores in the liver but not in muscle. This may be one of the ways in which carbohydrate ingestion improves endurance performance.

“We also found that the exercise felt easier, and the gut comfort of the cyclists was better, when they ingested sucrose compared to glucose. This suggests that, when your goal is to maximise carbohydrate availability, sucrose is probably a better source of carbohydrate to ingest than glucose.”

The scientists behind the new study recommend that if your goal is optimal performance during exercise lasting over two and half hours then consume up to 90g of sugar per hour – diluted to 8g sugar per 100ml.

To find out more about this work and read the study ‘Ingestion of Glucose or Sucrose Prevents Liver but not Muscle Glycogen Depletion During Prolonged Endurance-type Exercise in Trained Cyclists’ see http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00376.2015.


Posted in Exercise, Exercise: Aerobic, Exercise: Capacity, Exercise: High Intensity, Exercise: Marathons, Nutrition: Food: Sugar | Leave a comment

Autism, facial expressions, emotions: new research

Newswise — Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulty recognizing and interpreting how facial expressions convey various emotions – from joy to puzzlement, sadness to anger. This can make it difficult for an individual with ASD to successfully navigate social situations and empathize with others.

A study led by researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Columbia University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the neural activity of different brain regions in participants with ASD, compared with typically developing (TD) participants, when viewing facial emotions.

The researchers found that while behavioral response to face-stimuli was comparable across groups, the corresponding neural activity between ASD and TD groups differed dramatically.

“Studying these similarities and differences may help us understand the origins of interpersonal emotional experience in people with ASD, and provide targets for intervention,” said principal investigator Bradley S. Peterson, MD, director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The results have been published online in advance of publication by the journal Human Brain Mapping.

While there is a general consensus that individuals with ASD are atypical in the way they process human faces and emotional expressions, researchers have not agreed on the underlying brain and behavioral mechanisms that determine such differences.

In order to more objectively look at how participants in both groups responded to a broad range of emotional faces, the study used fMRI to measure two neurophysiological systems, called valence and arousal, that underlie all emotional experiences. “Valence” refers to the degree to which an emotion is pleasant or unpleasant, positive or negative. “Arousal” in this model represents the degree to which an emotion is associated with high or low interest.

For example, a “happy” response might arise from a relatively intense activation of the neural system associated with positive valence and moderate activation of the neural system associated with positive arousal. Other emotional states would differ in their degree of activation of these valence and arousal systems.

“We believe this is the first study to examine the difference in neural activity in brain regions that process valence or arousal between typically developing individuals or those with ASD,” said Peterson, who is director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Keck School of Medicine of USC.

To address this question, the researchers enrolled 51 individuals with ASD and 84 TD individuals. Each participant was shown a range of facial emotions in order to assess these two aspects of emotional experience, based first on their responses, both valence (is the emotion pleasant or unpleasant?) and arousal (degree of interest or attention).

The responses were then separately correlated with neural activity in order to identify systems related to valence and arousal. While the valence was remarkably similar between the two groups, the corresponding neural activity for arousal differed prominently.

There was much more neural activity in participants with ASD when they viewed arousing facial emotions, like happiness or fear. The TD individuals, on the other hand, more strongly activated attentional systems when viewing less arousing and more impassive expressions.

“Human beings imbue all experiences with emotional tone. It’s possible, though highly unlikely, that the arousal system is wired differently in individuals with ASD,” says Peterson. “More likely, the contrast in activation of their arousal system is determined by differences in how they are experiencing facial expressions. Their brain activity suggests that those with ASD are much more strongly affected by more arousing facial expressions than are their typically developing counterparts.”

The scientists concluded that the near absence of group differences for valence suggests that individuals with ASD are not atypical in all aspects of emotion processing. But the study suggests that TD individuals and those with ASD seem to find differing aspects of emotional stimuli to be relevant.

Additional contributors include first author Angela Tseng, Zhishun Wang, Yuankai Huo and Suzanne Goh of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York State Psychiatric Institute; and James A. Russell of Boston College.

The study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health grants RO1 MH089582 and 5 T32 MH016434.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top 10 in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America’s premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. For more information, visit CHLA.org. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, or visit our blog at www.researchlablog.org/.

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Cocaine addicts may benefit from magnetic stimulation of the brain

Targeted magnetic pulses to the brain were shown to reduce craving and substance use in cocaine-addicted patients. The results of this pilot study, published in the peer-reviewed journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, suggest that this may become an effective medical treatment for patients with cocaine addiction, although a larger trial is needed to confirm the initial findings.

Cocaine use is widespread in the Western World. Last year, 2.3 million young Europeans (aged 15 to 34) used cocaine, and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 1.4 million Americans suffer from cocaine addiction1. There is no effective drug treatment for cocaine addiction, with behavioural therapies being the main element of any treatment regime. Now a group of researchers working in Italy and the USA have shown in a preliminary clinical study that cocaine use can be reduced by treatment with rTMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).

As author, Dr Antonello Bonci (Scientific Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Adjunct Professor, John Hopkins University, Baltimore) said:

“Despite the fact that more than 20 million people worldwide suffer from cocaine use disorders2, there are no effective neurobiological treatments for patients with this devastating condition”.

The practical work was conducted by team of scientists led by Dr Luigi Gallimberti, from the University of Padova Medical School, Italy, who enrolled 32 patients who were seeking treatment for cocaine addiction at the hospital clinic.  The participating patients were randomized to receive either rTMS or standard symptom-relieving medications.

The experimental group received one rTMS session per day for five days, and then once a week for the following three weeks, for a total of 8 TMS sessions over 29 days. Those in the control group received pharmacological treatment for symptoms associated with cocaine addiction (such as depression, anxiety and sleep problems). The study indicated the safety of rTMS in patients with cocaine addiction. There was significantly less craving and there were a significantly higher number of cocaine-free urine drug tests in the rTMS compared to the control group. In addition, 69% (11/16) patients) in the experimental group showed no relapse to cocaine use, whereas only 19% (3/16) patients) in the control group showed a similar positive result (the results are adjusted for patients who dropped out of the trial).

Dr Bonci said:

“rTMS is a non-invasive and very safe therapeutic approach which is used with other mental health and neurological conditions, such as depression and neuropathic pain. Our study suggests that rTMS may also represent a new treatment for patients with cocaine use disorder”.

At the end of the first 29 days of the experiment, the experimental group was given the option of continuing the treatment, whereas those in the control group were given the possibility of receiving the same rTMS treatment as the experimental group for 63 days. Results further confirmed the beneficial effects of rTMS in helping patients to maintain abstinence from cocaine.

Dr. Bonci continued:

We consider this study promising but preliminary. We need to replicate the work in a bigger group of patients using sham-TMS as the control condition. As far as we know, this work represents the first clinical report indicating that rTMS treatment results in significant reduction in cocaine use. It is also important to emphasize that, in this study patients were seeking treatment for their cocaine addiction in a hospital setting: the group studied, albeit small, was a “real world” sample. We have continued to follow patients from the trial, and the improvement seems to be sustained over time, up to 12 months, although we don’t have any hard data on that yet. It is important that this is taken forward to a larger trial.

We decided to target an area of the brain involved in decision making, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DL PFC). This was because previous animal studies from our lab had shown that compulsive cocaine-seeking was associated with hypoactivity in the prelimbic cortex, which is a brain area that shares similar behavioural roles to the DL PFC.  Importantly, we had found that increasing the activity in the prelimbic cortex could significantly reduce cocaine self-administration”.

Commenting European Neuropsychopharmacology editor, Dr Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg (Mannheim) said,

“This study represents a creative approach to a disorder that is notoriously difficult to treat in the real world. These pilot data also show that biological treatments nowadays reach far beyond medications and that new neuroscience methods may be used for targeted changes in brain regions relevant for complex mental disorders”.



Posted in Brain, Cocaine, Drug Addiction, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation | Leave a comment

Risk-takers are smarter: new research from Finland

Do you often take chances and yet still land on your feet? Then you probably have a well-developed brain.

This surprising discovery has been made as part of a project studying the brains of young male high and low risk-takers. The tests were carried out at the University of Turku in Finland under the direction of SINTEF, using both the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) techniques to measure activation-related and structural correlates of risky behaviour, respectively.

The aim of the project was to investigate the decision-making processes within the brains of 34 young men aged 18 or 19. Based on psychological tests, they were divided into two groups of low and high risk-takers, respectively.

“We expected to find that young men who spend time considering what they are going to do in a given risk situation would have more highly developed neural networks in their brains than those who make quick decisions and take chances”, says SINTEF researcher and behavioural analyst Dagfinn Moe. “This has been well documented in a series of studies, but our project revealed the complete opposite”, he says. The results have now been published in two articles:

More superhighways among risk-seekers
In fact, images taken of the brains of young men during the study reveal major differences in what is called “white matter”. White matter constitutes the neural network, about 160,000 kilometres in length, that transmits signals in the form of nerve impulses and is crucial to the regulation of internal communication between the different areas of the brain.

This network is designed to analyse and transmit information in a consistent and efficient way. This is why white matter is described as containing the brain’s own “superhighways”.
Images from brain scans revealed that those who made quick decisions and took chances during driving simulations had significantly more white matter than those who hesitated, evaluated the situation, and opted to drive safely.

“This finding is interesting and will be important to the way we understand the brain’s development and our learning potential linked to risk-willingness”, says Moe. “This will be useful information for parents, schoolteachers, sports coaches and, not least, driving instructors when it comes to assessing high risk behaviour among young drivers”, he says.

More active, more learning

He believes that the explanation lies in the fact that these young men are active and seek out challenges – both out of curiosity and a hunger to experience learning and a sense of mastery over their environment. This stimulates their brains and so their actions display a fantastic combination of playfulness, seriousness and enjoyment.

“All the positive brain chemicals respond under such conditions, promoting growth factors that contribute to the development of the robust neural networks that form the basis of our physical and mental skills”, says Moe. “The point here is that if you’re going to take risks, you have to have the required skills. And these have to be learned. Sadly, many fail during this learning process – with tragic consequences. So this is why we’re wording our findings with a Darwinian slant – it takes brains to take risks”, he says.

Driving games

The researchers employed a driving game in which participants were awarded points according to the level of risk they were willing to take.

The 34 young men, aged 18 or 19, were recruited and selected from upper secondary schools in Turku in Finland. The test was laid out in the form of a simulated car journey through 20 sets of traffic lights.

Prior to the tests, the subjects were divided into two groups – high risk-takers (HRT) and low risk-takers (LRT) – on the basis of the psychological sensation-seeking scale developed by Zuckerman, and actual risk-willingness displayed by the participants during initial tests. The game behaviour was the best predictor of risk-taking.

The task assigned to the young men was, on encountering an amber light, to decide whether a) to stop, or b) to take a chance, run the light and complete the journey through all 20 traffic lights as quickly as possible. A decision to stop added three seconds to the time taken, and a collision six seconds. In other words, the best times would be achieved by those successfully running amber lights and avoiding collisions – but you wouldn’t know if you were going to encounter another car on the crossings.

All the participants tried out the game before they started the formal tests, when they were subject to an MR scan of their brains. Prior to the tests they were all assessed for and cleared of any anatomical deficiencies or mental health problems or conditions that might have influenced the cognitive functions that were going to be measured. They were all right-handed.

Two analyses
The first measurement, performed with fMRI, analysed local activation differences in the gray matter of the brain between experimental conditions. FMRI registers changes in blood oxygenation and flow occurring as a result of changes in neuronal activity. The second measurement involved a Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) analysis to estimate between-group difference in white matter integrity depending particularly on the quality of the myelin sheath enclosing the nerve fibres. Myelination of neural fibers is an indicator of brain maturation related to increasing efficiency of impulse transmission. The results thus provide a picture of local neural activity at the moments when decisions are taken by individuals in the two groups, as well as between-group structural difference in the quality of the brain’s signal transmission system.

How do risk takers think?
Measurements of the moment that decision-making actually takes place are taken when the subject chooses to press either “stop” or “go”.

Results showed that high risk-seekers didn’t hesitate for long before they made their decisions. Their optimism, willingness to take a chance, and belief that they would win determined their decision. Low risk-seekers, on the other hand, found themselves in a dilemma. Should they take a chance? What would happen if they crashed? This resulted in them hesitating before they made a decision to run the amber light by pressing the “go” button. Choosing the “stop” button is the safe decision that resulted in no dilemma.

White matter
Analysis of the white matter in the two groups also revealed major differences.

Local differences in white matter are evident between high and low risk-takers as illustrated by the coloured areas adjacent to the prefrontal cortex, within interhemispheric tracts, and in the rear of the brain that controls vision.

“Daring and risk-willingness activate and challenge the brain’s capacity and contribute towards learning, coping strategies and development”, says Moe. “They can stimulate behaviour in the direction of higher levels of risk-taking in people already predisposed to adapt to cope optimally in such situations. “We must stop regarding daring and risk-willingness simply as undesirable and uncontrolled behaviour patterns”, he says.

Together with the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Turku, Moe is currently planning a new study to investigate educational approaches directed towards both high and low risk-seekers.

“This project will be incorporated within the ‘Mind, Brain and Education (MBE)’ concept, in which knowledge about the brain is more closely integrated into our understanding of educational methods and teaching outcomes”, he says.

“We believe that this result is a very important contribution towards our understanding of how important factors such as curiosity, daring and play are for the development of the brain, as well as our physical and mental skills”, he says, referring to Fridtjof Nansen’s characterisation of the phenomenon:

‘A spirit of daring is deeply ingrained in our nature – in each and every one of us. But accidents will befall those who are unprepared’.



Posted in Human Behavior: Intelligence | Leave a comment

Fish could have emotions and consciousness: new research

Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, together with scientists from the universities of Stirling and Bristol (United Kingdom), have for the first time observed an increase in body temperature of between two and four degrees in zebrafish, when these are subjected to stressful situations. This phenomenon is known as emotional fever, as it is related to the emotions that animals feel in the face of an external stimulus and it has even been linked, not without some controversy, with their consciousness.

Until now emotional fever had been observed in mammals, birds and certain reptiles, but never in fish. For this reason fish have been regarded as animals without emotions or consciousness. The experiment, with 72 zebrafish, has brought this view into question.

The researchers divided the fish into two groups of 36 and they were placed in a large tank with different interconnected compartments with temperatures ranging from 18ºC to 35ºC. The fish in one of these groups – the control group – were left undisturbed in the area where the temperature was at the level they prefer: 28ºC. The other group was subjected to a stressful situation: they were confined in a net inside the tank at 27ºC for 15 minutes. After this period the group was released. While the control fish mainly stayed in the compartments at around 28ºC, the fish subjected to stress tended to move towards the compartments with a higher temperature, increasing their body temperature by two to four degrees. The researchers point to this as proof that these fish were displaying emotional fever.

Scientists differ on the degree to which fish can have consciousness. Some researchers argue that they cannot have consciousness as their brain is simple, lacking a cerebral cortex, and they have little capacity for learning and memory, a very simple behavioural repertoire and no ability to experience suffering. Others contest this view, pointing out that, despite the small size of the fish brain, detailed morphological and behavioural analyses have highlighted homologies between some of their brain structures and those seen in other vertebrates, such as the hippocampus (linked to learning and spatial memory) and the amygdala (linked to emotions) of mammals.

In the words of Sonia Rey, of the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling and the UAB’s Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology (IBB), “these findings are very interesting: expressing emotional fever suggests for the first time that fish have some degree of consciousness”.

The research was published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biological Sciences. It began three years ago at the UAB’s Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology and was concluded at Stirling University by the same researchers, Sonia Rey, Simon Mackenzie, Reynaldo Vargas and Sebastian Boltaña, in collaboration with Felicity Huntingford, of Stirling and Toby Knowles, of Bristol University, who helped with the statistical analysis of the data.


Finding Nemo merchandise on Amazon

Posted in Animals, Animals: Fish, Animals: Manatees, Animals: Sharks, Animals: Whales, Nutrition: Farm Raised Fish, Nutrition: Food: Fish, Nutrition: Food: Shellfish, PETA, Pets, Starfish | Leave a comment

11 Violent Games Parents Should Know More About

Choosing which games to play in a household can be a complex decision. But with ever more accessible information from ESRB about the content of mature titles, parents can be better equipped than ever to make informed choices.

Along with what to watch out for, it’s also important to understand the history, development and appeal of these modern games to appreciate the benefits they offer the player.

Andy Robertson of Forbes asked a range of families to try out the year’s top mature games and create a short video that highlights what’s great and what to watch out for in each title. This combines their views along with game-play matched highlights of the game ratings.

Here’s their verdict, along with a full Quick Guide playlist.

Fallout 4

Very few games on the last generation of consoles provided such a sense of freedom and haunting feeling of loneliness as Fallout 3, and Fallout 4 delivers even more flexibility to explore and interact with the radioactive wasteland and its inhabitants. Combat utilizes a dazzling array of weapons, while settlement building provides long term objectives and the opportunity to romance human companion characters – no Super Mutant love for you, I’m afraid – provides free-form depth outside the central story line.

More of 11 Violent Games Parents Should Know More About

Posted in Human Behavior: Aggression, Human Behavior: Violence, Parenting, Video Games | Leave a comment

7 facts about genome editing

The ethics of human-genome editing is in the spotlight again as a large international meeting on the topic is poised to kick off in Washington DC. Ahead of the summit, which is being jointly organized by the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Medicinethe Chinese Academy of Sciences and Britain’s Royal Society and held on December 1–3, we bring you seven key genome-editing facts.

1. Just one published study describes genome editing of human germ cells
In April, a group led by Junjiu Huang at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, described their use of the popular CRISPR–Cas9 technology to edit the genomes of human embryos. Only weeks before the researchers’ paper appeared in Protein & Cell, rumours about the work had prompted fresh debate over the ethics of tinkering with the genomes of human eggs, sperm or embryos, known collectively as germ cells. Huang and colleagues used non-viable embryos, which could not result in a live birth. But in principle, edits to germ cells could be passed to future generations.

2. The law on editing human germ cells varies wildly across the world
Germany strictly limits experimentation on human embryos, and violations can be a criminal offence. By contrast, in China, Japan, Ireland and India, only unenforceable guidelines restrict genome editing in human embryos. Many researchers long for international guidelines, and some hope that the upcoming summit in Washington DC could be the start of the process to create them.

More of this article on genome editing

More information about genome editing

Posted in Genetic Engineering, Genetic Screening, Genetics, Genomic Sequencing, Genomics, Health Care: Ethics | Leave a comment

Facebook posting motivation is often envy; site hurts mental well-being

A new study by Sauder School of Business Professor Izak Benbasat and his collaborators shows that envy is a key motivator behind Facebook posts and that contributes to a decrease in mental well-being among users.

Creating a vicious cycle of jealousy and self-importance, the researchers say Facebook leads users to feel their lives are unfulfilling by comparison, and react by creating posts that portray their best selves.

“Social media participation has been linked to depression, anxiety and narcissistic behaviour, but the reasons haven’t been well-explained,” said Benbasat, Sauder’s Distinguished Professor of Information Systems. “We found envy to be the missing link.”

According to Benbasat, travel photos are a leading contributor to Facebook envy, pushing friends to post their most perfect pictures. He says the unrealistic portrayal of life is not motivated by the desire to make others jealous, but rather a need to compete and keep up appearances.

For the study, Benbasat and his co-authors surveyed 1,193 Facebook users at a German university. They asked students a series of questions about their Facebook habits and cross-referenced them with the feelings they reported when using the platform.

Benbasat says the functionality of social networks encourages envy-inducing behaviour, and that’s unlikely to change.

“Sharing pictures and stories about the highlights of your life – that’s so much of what Facebook is for, so you can’t take that away,” he said. “But I think it’s important for people to know what impact it can have on their well-being. Parents and teachers should take note as young people can be particularly vulnerable to the dark side of social media.”


The study, “Why Following Friends Can Hurt You: Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Envy on Social Networking Sites,” was published in the latest issue of Information Systems Research, and is co-authored by Hanna Krasnova, Thomas Widjaja, Peter Buxmann and Helena Wenninger, along with Benbasat: http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/isre.2015.0588


Posted in Health Care: Social Media, Human Behavior: Friendship, Human Behavior: Jealousy, Human Behavior: Relationships, Well Being | Leave a comment

6 ways to feel more awake at work

We’ve all been there: one too many drinks on a weeknight, or too many late nights on the weekend can leave you feeling groggy at work.

Research shows that too many late nights could have a serious effect on the health and productivity of employees.

The average UK worker loses six days of productivity to sleep deprivation.

The cost to business can be even higher, with employees working slower and taking less care.

In the short term, lower productivity, irritable employees and missed workdays can make day to day business difficult. The long term consequences of sleep deprivation are much more serious and lead to memory loss, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, depression and many other ailements.

Lack of sleep has a greater impact upon productivity than smoking, drinking and overeating, according to SleepyPeople.com. Less than five hours of sleep a night can have the same effect on the brain as being drunk.

But there are simple ways to combat tiredness at work:

1. Stand up

Standing up increases blood flow through the body, which helps to improve concentration. Standing desks are becoming more popular in the UK but they should not be the preserve of those with bad backs.


Posted in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Exercise: Standing, Exercise: Stretching, Exercise: Walking, Human Behavior: Fatigue, Sitting, Sleep, Sleep Apnea, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

Chronic Hives? American Academy of Dermatology’s New App May Help

Newswise — SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Nov. 30, 2015) — Patients who are struggling with chronic hives can turn to a new free tool for help. This month, the American Academy of Dermatology released its Chronic Hives Patient App, which offers tools and resources for chronic hives management.

The free mobile app, developed with a grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., can help patients learn more about their condition, find a doctor, track their symptoms and identify potential triggers. Users also can set reminders to keep track of their appointments and medications.

Chronic hives, also known as chronic urticaria, is a skin condition characterized by raised, itchy welts lasting longer than six weeks. Hives are often triggered by an allergic reaction, and they may be associated with many other factors, including infection, sun exposure and stress.

For some patients, chronic hives can come and go for months or years. Only 35 percent of patients are symptom-free within a year, and nearly 40 percent of patients whose hives last for six months still experience symptoms after 10 years.

“Dermatologists treat patients with chronic hives, so we know how frustrating this condition can be,” says board-certified dermatologist Mark Lebwohl, MD, FAAD, president of the Academy. “By launching an app designed specifically for these patients, we hope we can help them improve their quality of life.”

The Academy’s Chronic Hives Patient App is available for both iOS and Android devices. To learn more, visit www.aad.org/CUapp.

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Quitting your job? 5 things to do first.

Get some clarity and distance

It could just be that you are exhausted and need some sleep, a different perspective or expert advice. Sleep allows our bodies to repair and our brains to process information, so it stands to reason that a lack of it can impair judgement and decision-making as well as have a negative impact on our moods and relationships. Sleep deprivation increases the amount of cortisol in our bodies too – this is often called the “stress hormone” and maintaining healthy levels is vital for mental functioning and cell regeneration.

Physically removing yourself from your routine can also give you time to reflect, as seeing problems from a distance (literally) can often allow you to see them more clearly. Specialist help can be hugely beneficial, as they are trained to quickly get to the root of issues ranging from the physical to mental. Sometimes simple changes such as sorting out your diet with practical nutritional advice can tip the balance as to how you feel and cope on an everyday level.

Studies have shown that meditation enhances cognitive abilities, boosts energy and promotes the ability to see things from others’ points of view. Learning how to switch off, maintain balance in your life and increase your emotional intelligence could mean the difference between wanting to run away from your job and understanding the changes you need to make to improve what you have.


Posted in Human Behavior: Decision Making, Workaholism, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

Our strict pharma-approval processes leave good drugs unused, patients untreated

A controversial new paper by James Cook University scientist claims many useful new treatments are being left on the shelf by medical researchers.

JCU’s Dr David Kault, a medical doctor and mathematician, has examined the way clinical trials of medical treatments are judged.

“Traditional assessment of a clinical trial is based on whether we can blame chance for a favourable outcome,” said Dr Kault. “But there is little consideration of background and context, which sometimes leads to ignoring common sense.”

Dr Kault said a well-known parody on the subject published in the British Medical Journal pointed out that, under current conditions and rules, it was not clear that parachutes were strictly necessary for people to safely jump out of aircraft – as some people using parachutes were injured and some people survived falls from aircraft without parachutes.

He said followers of the currently-used Evidence Based Medicine approach argue that allowing consideration of common sense in assessing treatments introduces subjectivity and there were some instances of apparent common sense being seriously misleading.

But Dr Kault believes effective drugs and treatments are being discarded unnecessarily by this approach. “There are rigid decisions made, with little consideration of the background – whether in the given context, chance was a reasonable explanation,” he said.

Dr Kault said his new method produced a probability that a treatment worked, rather than a straight yes or no answer. “It shows a compromise approach is possible which should lead to better decisions. It shows that sometimes it’s possible to calculate an objective probability that a treatment works.”

He said his method suggests researchers have been dismissing treatments which have a small degree of effectiveness.

“It appears up to 20% of all older treatments reassessed may have been mistakenly labelled as ineffective. These mistakes usually occurred in the case of treatments with only very modest degrees of effectiveness, which should have remained available to patients if they were low cost.”


Posted in Health Care: Medical Errors, Pharmaceuticals, Pharmaceuticals: Clinical Trials | Leave a comment

5 non-toxic ways to keep your home mosquito free

Have your tried these traditional and chemical-free measures to fight mosquitoes? Try them to prevent dengue, malaria and chikungunya.

Mosquito repellent creams, table-top machines, mosquito magnet and DEET-impregnated wristbands are a few innovative ways to keep mosquitoes away. But are they really useful? Most people do not like using chemical-based techniques, and if you are one of them, here’s how you can fight mosquitoes the conventional way.

Mosquito nets: What’s better than the traditional mosquito net to prevent yourself from the mosquitoes. These nets have been around since ages and are never out-of-season when it comes to dealing with mosquitoes. Available in different shapes, sizes and materials, they are finely-netted to keep the mosquitoes out. You can even buy small-sized, cotton nets that are custom-made for cradles and save your baby from mosquito bites. An advanced version of these nets known as medicated nets is also available in the market that is safe and more efficient than coils and liquidators.

Citronella diffuser: Who doesn’t like coming back to a home that smells ooh-la-la? And what could be better than citronella diffuser that also keeps mosquitoes away. Easily available in the market, citronella repels the mosquitoes and reduces the number landing nearby.


Posted in Chikungunya, Infectious Diseases: Dengue Fever, Insecticides, Insects, Mosquitos, World Health: Malaria | Leave a comment

5 common relationship betrayals during the holidays

For romantic couples the holidays are more than walks in a winter wonderland, nights by blazing fires, and pretty packages tied in ribbons and bows. They’re also emotionally charged booby traps studded with opportunities for misunderstandings, petty insults, and outright betrayals.

Whether you’ve been through the holiday madness enough times to be considered seasoned veterans or this is your first year together, there are pitfalls that even the most loving couples can fall into. If you want to be happily ringing in the New Year together, then here are five common relationship betrayals you’ll want to avoid.

#1 – If you blow them off now you’re setting yourselves up for the perfect storm.

Maybe shopping took a little longer than you expected because “that one friend” can never make a decision, or things are crazy at work because, you know, it’s the holidays. Maybe that reunion drink turned into drinks and dinner, or you just decided to run by the store and pick up fresh flowers as a loving surprise. This time of year there are so many demands on our time, often even from people we haven’t seen in forever, it’s easy to forget that we have a lover at home who has every reason to expect that we’ll be walking in the door about NOW.


Posted in Human Behavior: Relationships | Leave a comment

Can reduced protein intake prolong life?

Dietary restriction enhances the expression of the circadian clock genes in the peripheral tissue of fruit flies, according to research from the Kapahi lab at the Buck Institute. Publishing in Cell Metabolism, the researchers show that dietary restriction, induced by reducing protein in the diet, increased the amplitude of circadian clocks and enhanced the cycles of fat breakdown and fat synthesis. This improvement in fat metabolism may be a key mechanism in explaining why dietary restriction extends lifespan in several species, including the flies in this study.

The research also presents a tantalizing possibility for humans eager to take a drug that would allow them to reap the health benefits of dietary restriction without going on an extreme diet. When scientists genetically altered the flies to boost clock function the animals lived longer, even when they ate whatever they wanted to. On the other hand, disrupting the clocks, either genetically or by keeping the flies under constant light, made the animals irresponsive to the beneficial effects of dietary restriction.

“More than 10-15% of the genome is under circadian control, especially genes which regulate processes involving cellular repair and metabolism,” said senior scientist and Buck professor Pankaj Kapahi, PhD. “Every cell has a clock and the action of clocks in peripheral tissues, fat, intestines, kidneys — plays an important role in modulating metabolism and thereby mediating lifespan extension via dietary restriction.”

Previous work from the Kapahi lab showed that flies on a lifespan-extending Spartan diet exhibited an enhanced turnover of triglycerides. This new work, also led by Buck assistant research professor Subhash D. Katewa, PhD, suggests a role for timeless, a circadian clock gene, in the cycling of specific medium chain triglycerides under dietary restriction. “The role of medium chain triglycerides in aging and regulation of clock functions is not clear, however dietary medium chain triglycerides have been associated with weight loss and improved healthspan in both humans and mice,” said Katewa, noting current consumer interest in coconut oil which is rich in medium chain triglycerides. “Our work demonstrates for the first time that medium chain triglyceride synthesis in animals is under nutritional and circadian control,” he said. “If we want to modulate the effects of nutrient manipulation on fat metabolism and aging then targeting the activity of peripheral circadian clocks gives us a way to achieve that goal.”

“Circadian rhythms, which impact many behaviors like sleep or cellular processes like metabolism, tend to dampen with age,” said Kapahi. “The metabolic rhythms of flies on dietary restriction maintain a remarkable robustness as they age, which we think helps them live longer. It is exciting to contemplate how this mechanism might be exploited for human health.”


Citation: Peripheral circadian clocks mediate dietary restriction dependent changes in lifespan and fat metabolism in Drosophila – CELL-METABOLISM-D-15-00087R3

Other Buck researchers involved in the study include: Kazutaka Akagi, Neelanjan Bose, Timothy Camarella, David Hall, Sonnet Davis, Christopher S. Nelson, Rachel B. Brem and Arvind Ramanathan. Other collaborators include Kuntol Rakshit and Jadwiga M. Giebultowicz from The Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; and Xiangzhong Zheng and Amita Sehgal, Department of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. This work was funded by grants from the American Federation of Aging Research, Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (R01AG038688, AG038012 and AG045835) and from the Ellison Medical Foundation.

About the Buck Institute for Research on Aging

The Buck Institute is the U.S.’s first independent research organization devoted to Geroscience – focused on the connection between normal aging and chronic disease. Based in Novato, CA, The Buck is dedicated to extending “Healthspan”, the healthy years of human life and does so utilizing a unique interdisciplinary approach involving laboratories studying the mechanisms of aging and those focused on specific diseases. Buck scientists strive to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cancer, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, osteoporosis, diabetes and stroke. In their collaborative research, they are supported by the most recent developments in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and stem cell technologies. For more information: http://www.thebuck.org


Posted in Aging, Longevity, Nutrition: Calorie Restriction, Nutrition: Protein | Leave a comment

Highways destroyed America’s cities: Can tearing them down bring revitalization?

America loves its freeways. After the 1956 Federal Highway Bill created the pathway for a 41,000 mile interstate highway system, states and cities jockeyed for the funding to build ever-more extensive networks of pavement that could carry Americans quickly between cities. Sometimes, they built these highways right in the middle of cities, displacing communities and razing old buildings and homes.

“This was a program which the twenty-first century will almost certainly judge to have had more influence on the shape and development of American cities, the distribution of population within metropolitan areas and across the nation as a whole, the location of industry and various kinds of employment opportunities,” Daniel Moynihan wrote in 1970 about the federal program that built these thousands of miles of highways.

But highways also created problems, some of which have become much worse in the years since. Urban freeways displaced communities and created air and noise pollution in downtown areas. They made it easier for suburban commuters to “zip to their suburban homes at the end of the work day, encouraging those with means to abandon the urban core,” Ted Shelton and Amanda Gann of the University of Tennessee wrote in a paper about urban freeways. They also encouraged a reliance on cars that has led to the traffic problems and commuting woes that are motivating a return to city cores.


Posted in Environmental Health: Sustainability, Environmental Health: Urban, Transplantation, Transportation Technology | Leave a comment

Immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes deemed safe in first US trial

In the first U.S. safety trial of a new form of immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D), led by UC San Francisco scientists and physicians, patients experienced no serious adverse reactions after receiving infusions of as many as 2.6 billion cells that had been specially selected to protect the body’s ability to produce insulin.

T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which normally defends against infections, somehow goes awry and targets insulin-secreting cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. Many T1D therapies aim to tackle this problem by suppressing the immune response, but that approach can have serious consequences, including an increased susceptibility to infection or cancer.

As reported in the Nov. 25, 2015, online issue of Science Translational Medicine, however, the cells used in the completed Phase 1 trial, known as regulatory T cells (Tregs; pronounced “tee-regs”), are instead based on the concept of “immune tolerance” – these cells have the potential to dampen the immune system’s assault on beta cells while leaving its infection-fighting capabilities intact.

“This could be a game-changer,” said first author Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD, the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at UCSF. “For type 1 diabetes, we’ve traditionally given immunosuppressive drugs, but this trial gives us a new way forward. By using Tregs to ‘re-educate’ the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.”

The encouraging safety results from the trial, conducted at UCSF by Stephen E. Gitelman, MD, professor of pediatrics, and at Yale School of Medicine by Kevan C. Herold, MD, “support the development of a Phase 2 trial to test efficacy of the Treg therapy,” the research team writes.

The infused Tregs used in the trial were derived from the trial participants’ own cells, using an ex vivo (outside the body) “isolation and expansion” technique first described by Bluestone and colleagues in 2009.

In this procedure, doctors remove less than two cups of blood, which in T1D patients usually contain between 2 and 4 million of the desired Tregs, commingled with millions of cells of other types. Using a method known as fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), which precisely segregates cells based on molecules they display on their surface, the therapeutic Tregs are separated and then placed into a growth medium in which they can attain a 1,500-fold increase in number.

Bluestone and colleagues have shown in previous work that Tregs recovered after this expansion are more functionally active, can repair defects in the immune system of patients with T1D and are more likely to survive long-term in the body than Tregs produced by other means.

The trial marked the first U.S. study in which large populations of Tregs created using these techniques were infused back into patients’ circulation. Fourteen patients from 18 to 43 years old, all with recent-onset T1D, were organized into four groups that successively received infusions containing greater numbers of Tregs: members of the first group received about 5 million cells, and the fourth group about 2.6 billion cells.

In addition to being well tolerated by all four groups, the treatments were durable, with up to 25 percent of the infused therapeutic cells still detectable in patients’ circulation a year after they had received just a single infusion.

The positive safety results from the trial are particularly reassuring, because in some instances T cells that were therapeutically introduced in cancer treatment have caused patients’ immune systems to spiral out of control. Based on the Phase 1 data from this trial, New Jersey-based Caladrius Pharmaceuticals is now in the early stages of planning a Phase 2 trial of Tregs for T1D.

Trial participant Mary Rooney, 39, who was diagnosed with T1D four years ago, said she has experienced no side effects from Treg treatment. “The work of Dr. Bluestone and his team offers new hope for people with type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders,” Rooney said. “The Treg intervention aims to prevent the development and progression of type 1 diabetes, freeing people like me from the daily grind of insulin therapy and lifelong fear of complications. It’s truly groundbreaking research with enormous potential.”

In addition to their potential value as a diabetes therapy, said Bluestone, a member of the UCSF Diabetes Center, Tregs hold great promise as treatments for other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and even as therapies for cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases and obesity.

UCSF research on Tregs and other novel approaches to autoimmune diseases recently received a significant boost from the Parker Foundation, established this year by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker. In November, the foundation donated $10 million to establish the Sean N. Parker Autoimmunity Research Laboratory, with Bluestone as the laboratory’s inaugural director.

“Using a patient’s own cells – identifying them, isolating them, expanding them, and infusing them back into the patient – is an exciting new pillar for drug development,” said Bluestone, “and we expect Tregs to be an important part of diabetes therapy in the future.”


In addition to Bluestone and Gitelman, UCSF co-authors were Marc K. Hellerstein, MD, PhD, Angela Lares, Michael Lee, Weihong Liu, Lisa M. Masiello, Amy L. Putnam, Mary Rieck, and Vinh Nguyen, Peter H. Sayre, MD, PhD, and Qizhi Tang, PhD. They were joined by Jane H. Buckner, MD, Shipra Gupta, and S. Alice Long, PhD, all of the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, in Seattle, Wash.; Herold; Mark Fitch, of UC Berkeley; and Kelvin Li, PhD, of KineMed, Inc., in Emeryville, Calif.

The research was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Brehm Coalition, the Immune Tolerance Network, BD Biosciences, and Caladrius Biosciences. Bluestone, Putnam, Liu, and Tang are co-inventors on patents filed in connection with manufacturing of the Treg product used in the trial. Bluestone and Tang have received funding from Caladrius, and in-kind contributions from BD Biosciences.

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.


Posted in Diabetes: Type 1 | Leave a comment

For women with diabetes, air pollution has higher heart risks

(Reuters Health) – Particle pollution like soot is a known health hazard and linked to the risk of heart disease and stroke, but women with diabetes are even more vulnerable than most people, according to a new U.S. study.

“There is a convincing literature that long-term air pollution is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Jaime E. Hart of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, adding, “a number of studies of short-term air pollution exposures have suggested that individuals with diabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The researchers studied 114,537 women in the decades-long Nurses’ Health Study for whom there was data on pollution exposure and health outcomes. Between 1989 and 2006 there were 6,767 cases of cardiovascular disease, 3,878 cases of coronary heart disease and 3,295 strokes in the group.

Cardiovascular disease risk rose slightly for all women with increasing exposure to the kind of tiny pollution particles that come from engine combustion, power plants and road dust.

For the women with diabetes, however, the risk increases were greater – for every additional 10 micrograms of pollution particle exposure, there was a 19 percent increase in the odds of cardiovascular disease and 23 percent increase in the odds of having a stroke.

The finest particles, known as PM 2.5, which typically come from vehicle exhaust and power plants and can enter the bloodstream after being inhaled raised risk the most.


Posted in Diabetes, Environmental Health: Air Quality, Heart Disease, Human Behavior: Gender Differences | Leave a comment

5 dog allergy questions and answers

PINEHURST, N.C., Nov. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/

Changes are in the air as the fall season begins to settle in. Both dogs and their owners are affected by these changes, specifically changes in the presence and types of allergens. In addition to this, there is an increase in mold during this time—mold affects your dogs whether or not they have allergies. Assisi Animal Health answers five common questions about dealing with your dog’s allergies.

What are these fall allergies?

While there are actually no allergies that are only associated with the fall season, allergies do appear to be cyclical. This means that they repeat at the same time each year. Dogs can be allergic to grass, dead leaves, dust and pollen. There is a direct correlation between the fall and the likelihood that your dog will be exposed to leaves, dust and pollen.

Which breeds have the most allergies?

While some may think that one breed may have more allergies than another, there does not appear to be an actual relationship to confirm this. Therefore, all dogs are potentially at risk of having allergies. Inhalant allergies occur most frequently in bulldogs and other similar brachycephalic breeds.

Can a dog’s allergies change?

Yes, a dog’s allergies can change throughout its life. Age can be one of the factors that accounts for this. However, there is no strict pattern or relationship, as the allergies can change from one year to the next. If an owner wants to confirm a diagnosis, that person can visit their veterinary dermatologist for testing.

What are the symptoms?

When your dog has allergies, a combination of symptoms may be present. This includes scratching, paw licking, itchy eyes, and rashes. The dog may also sneeze more frequently, and its fur might change color.

Why visit the vet?

Visit your veterinarian if you feel your dog has allergies. While they may go away on their own, the side effects can severely hurt your dog. If left untreated, allergies can cause yeast infections, and self-trauma through scratching. Do not give your dogs any over-the-counter medications without first consulting with your veterinarian. While these medications do not require a prescription, they can still cause your dog to have a negative reaction.

The fall season is certainly a time of change. However, while change can be good, dog owners must be observant, paying extra attention to notice any signs of allergies in their pets. Always remember that when in doubt, contact your veterinarian.

Assisi Animal Health‘s clinical solutions complete the Circle of Care® — the collaboration of veterinarians and owners in animal health and healing. Our company helps veterinary professionals and owners improve the quality of life for companion animals using the Assisi Loop, the non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical healing device that is based on the same FDA-cleared technology used on humans. The device uses low-level pulses of electromagnetic energy to reduce pain and swelling, and to enhance recovery.

— Assisi Animal Health developed the Assisi Loop®, an effective non-pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory device (NPAID®) that works as a PEMF therapy for dogs. The Loop helps heal wounds and relieve pain in cats, dogs and horses.

Posted in Animals: Dogs | Leave a comment

Even if they exercise, heart disease patients who sit a lot have worse health

Ottawa, November 25, 2015 – Patients with heart disease who sit a lot have worse health even if they exercise, reveals research from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and published today in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.1

“Get up and move every 30 minutes to improve health.”

“Limiting the amount of time we spend sitting may be as important as the amount we exercise,” said lead author Dr Stephanie Prince, post-doctorate fellow in the Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation, University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Sitting, watching TV, working at a computer and driving in a car are all sedentary behaviours and we need to take breaks from them.”

Previous research has shown that being sedentary increases the risk of cardiovascular disease but until now its effect on patients with established heart disease was unknown.

The current study investigated levels of sedentary behaviour and the effect on health in 278 patients with coronary artery disease. The patients had been through a cardiac rehabilitation programme which taught them how to improve their levels of exercise in the long term.

Patients wore an activity monitor during their waking hours for nine days. The monitors allowed the researchers to measure how long patients spent being sedentary, or doing light, moderate or vigorous levels of physical activity.

The researchers also assessed various markers of health including body mass index (BMI, in kg/m2) and cardiorespiratory fitness. Next they looked at whether the amount of time a person spent being sedentary (which was mainly sitting) was related to these markers of health.

The researchers found that patients with coronary artery disease spent an average of eight hours each day being sedentary. “This was surprising given that they had taken classes on how to exercise more,” said Dr Prince. “We assumed they would be less sedentary but they spent the majority of their day sitting.”

Men spent more time sitting than women – an average of one hour more each day. This was primarily because women tended to do more light intensity movement – things like light housework, walking to the end of the drive, or running errands.

Dr Prince said: “Women with coronary artery disease spend less time sitting for long periods but we need to do more research to understand why. There is some research from the past which suggests that at around the age of 60 men become more sedentary than women and may watch more TV.”

The researchers found that patients who sat more had a higher BMI. They also had lower cardiorespiratory fitness, which was assessed using VO2 peak. This is the maximum rate at which the heart, lungs and muscles use oxygen during an exercise test (also called aerobic capacity).

“These relationships remained even when we controlled for an individual’s age, gender or physical activity levels,” said Dr Prince. “In other words, people who sat for longer periods were heavier and less fit regardless of how much they exercised.”

Practical tips to get moving:

  • Get up and move every 30 minutes
  • Stand up during TV commercials or, even better, do light exercises while watching TV
  • Set a timer and take regular breaks from your desk
  • Take lunch breaks outside instead of in front of the computer
  • Go to bed instead of sitting in front of the TV and get the benefits of sleeping
  • Monitor your activity patterns to find out when you are most sedentary.

Dr Prince emphasized that sitting less was not a replacement for exercise. “It’s important to limit prolonged bouts of sitting and in addition to be physically active,” she said. “Sedentary time may be another area of focus for cardiac rehabilitation programmes along with exercise.”


Posted in Heart Disease, Sitting | Leave a comment

Physical exercise at the workplace prevents deterioration of work ability among healthcare workers: cluster randomized controlled trial

BMC Public Health. 2015 Nov 25;15(1):1174. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2448-0.

Physical exercise at the workplace prevents deterioration of work ability among healthcare workers: cluster randomized controlled trial.

Jakobsen MD1,2, Sundstrup E3,4, Brandt M5,6, Jay K7,8,9, Aagaard P10, Andersen LL11,12.

Author information

1National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkalle 105, Copenhagen, Denmark. markusdue@gmail.com.

2Muscle Physiology and Biomechanics Research Unit, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. markusdue@gmail.com.

3National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkalle 105, Copenhagen, Denmark. esu@nrcwe.dk.

4Muscle Physiology and Biomechanics Research Unit, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. esu@nrcwe.dk.

5National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkalle 105, Copenhagen, Denmark. mbp@nrcwe.dk.

6Physical Activity and Human Performance group, SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. mbp@nrcwe.dk.

7National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkalle 105, Copenhagen, Denmark. kan@nrcwe.dk.

8Muscle Physiology and Biomechanics Research Unit, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. kan@nrcwe.dk.

9Electronics and Computer Science, Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. kan@nrcwe.dk.

10Muscle Physiology and Biomechanics Research Unit, Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. paagaard@health.sdu.dk.

11National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkalle 105, Copenhagen, Denmark. lla@nrcwe.dk.

12Physical Activity and Human Performance group, SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. lla@nrcwe.dk.



Imbalance between individual resources and work demands can lead to musculoskeletal disorders and reduced work ability. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of workplace- versus home-based physical exercise on work ability among healthcare workers.


Two hundred female healthcare workers (Age: 42.0, BMI: 24.1, work ability index [WAI]: 43.1) from 18 departments at three Danish hospitals participated (Copenhagen, Denmark, Aug 2013-Jan 2014). Participants were randomly allocated at the cluster level to 10 weeks of: 1) workplace physical exercise (WORK) performed during working hours for 5×10 min per week and up to 5 group-based coaching sessions on motivation for regular physical exercise, or 2) home-based physical exercise (HOME) performed during leisure time for 5×10 min per week. Both groups received ergonomic counseling on patient handling and use of lifting aides. The main outcome measure was the change from baseline to 10-week follow-up in WAI.


Significant group by time interaction was observed for WAI (p < 0.05). WAI at follow-up was 1.1 (0.3 to 1.8) higher in WORK compared with HOME corresponding to a small effect size (Cohens’d = 0.24). Within-group changes indicated that between-group differences were mainly caused by a reduction in WAI in HOME. Of the seven items of WAI, item 2 (work ability in relation to the demands of the job) and item 5 (sickness absence during the past year) were improved in WORK compared with HOME (P < 0.05).


Performing physical exercise together with colleagues at the workplace prevents deterioration of work ability among female healthcare workers.


Posted in Commercial Fitness Industry, Exercise: Benefits, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

Swimming does not appear to be an effective sport for improving bone mineral density

Sports Med. 2015 Nov 26. [Epub ahead of print]

The Effect of Swimming During Childhood and Adolescence on Bone Mineral Density: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Gomez-Bruton A1,2,3, Montero-Marín J4,5, González-Agüero A1,2,3, García-Campayo J5,6,7, Moreno LA2,3,8, Casajús JA1,2,3, Vicente-Rodríguez G9,10,11.

Author information

1Faculty of Health and Sport Science (FCSD), Department of Physiatry and Nursing, Universidad de Zaragoza, Ronda Misericordia 5, 22001, Huesca, Spain.

2GENUD (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) Research Group, Zaragoza, Spain.

3Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), Zaragoza, Spain.

4Faculty of Health and Sport Science (FCSD), Universidad de Zaragoza, Ronda Misericordia 5, 22001, Huesca, Spain.

5redIAPP Research Network, Zaragoza, Spain.

6Miguel Servet University Hospital, Zaragoza, Spain.

7Instituto Aragones de Ciencias de la Salud, Zaragoza, Spain.

8Faculty of Health Science (FCS), Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.

9Faculty of Health and Sport Science (FCSD), Department of Physiatry and Nursing, Universidad de Zaragoza, Ronda Misericordia 5, 22001, Huesca, Spain. gervicen@unizar.es.

10GENUD (Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development) Research Group, Zaragoza, Spain. gervicen@unizar.es.

11Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón (IA2), Zaragoza, Spain. gervicen@unizar.es.



The effects of swimming on bone mineral density (BMD) have been studied by several researchers, with inconsistent results.


This meta-analysis aims to determine whether systematic swimming training may influence BMD during childhood and adolescence.


A systematic search was performed in PubMed, SPORTDiscus and ClinicalTrials.gov from the earliest possible year to March 2015, with data extraction and quality assessment performed independently by two researchers following the PRISMA methodology. Swimmers were compared to sedentary controls and to athletes performing highly osteogenic sports. Therefore, a total of two meta-analyses were developed.


Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analyses. Swimmers presented similar BMD values to sedentary controls and lower than other high-impact athletes. Femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD differences between swimmers and sedentary controls and between swimmers and athletes practicing osteogenic sports appeared to increase with age and favored the non-swimming groups. There were no differences by sex.


While swimming is associated with several health benefits, it does not appear to be an effective sport for improving BMD. Swimmers might be in need of additional osteogenic exercises for increasing BMD values.


Posted in Bone Mineral Density, Fitness: Swimming, Osteoporosis, Sports Medicine, Swimming Pools | Leave a comment

Exercising at room temperature not optimal: study

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Nov 19. pii: S0166-4328(15)30288-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.11.017. [Epub ahead of print]

Ambient Temperature Influences the Neural Benefits of Exercise.

Maynard ME1, Chung C1, Comer A1, Nelson K1, Tran J1, Werries N1, Barton EA1, Spinetta M2, Leasure JL3.

Author information

1Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5022, United States.

2Department of Psychology, Seattle University, Seattle, WA 98122, United States.

3Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5022, United States; Department of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5022, United States. Electronic address: jlleasure@uh.edu.


Many of the neural benefits of exercise require weeks to manifest.

It would be useful to accelerate onset of exercise-driven plastic changes, such as increased hippocampal neurogenesis.

Exercise represents a significant challenge to the brain because it produces heat, but brain temperature does not rise during exercise in the cold.

This study tested the hypothesis that exercise in cold ambient temperature would stimulate hippocampal neurogenesis more than exercise in room or hot conditions.

Adult female rats had exercise access 2hours per day for 5 days at either room (20°C), cold (4.5°C) or hot (37.5°C) temperature.

To label dividing hippocampal precursor cells, animals received daily injections of BrdU.

Brains were immunohistochemically processed for dividing cells (Ki67+), surviving cells (BrdU+) and new neurons (doublecortin, DCX) in the hippocampal dentate gyrus.

Animals exercising at room temperature ran significantly farther than animals exercising in cold or hot conditions (room 1490 ± 400 meters; cold 440 ± 102 meters; hot 291 ± 56 meters).

We therefore analyzed the number of Ki67+, BrdU+ and DCX+ cells normalized for shortest distance run.

Contrary to our hypothesis, exercise in either cold or hot conditions generated significantly more Ki67+, BrdU+ and DCX+ cells compared to exercise at room temperature.

Thus, a limited amount of running in either cold or hot ambient conditions generates more new cells than a much greater distance run at room temperature.

Taken together, our results suggest a simple means by which to augment exercise effects, yet minimize exercise time.


Posted in Exercise: Benefits, Exercise: Capacity, Fitness: Bikram Yoga, Fitness: Yoga, Outdoor Recreation | Leave a comment

A naturalistic examination of social comparisons and disordered eating thoughts, urges, and behaviors in college women

Int J Eat Disord. 2015 Nov 26. doi: 10.1002/eat.22486. [Epub ahead of print]

A naturalistic examination of social comparisons and disordered eating thoughts, urges, and behaviors in college women.

Fitzsimmons-Craft EE1, Ciao AC2, Accurso EC3.

Author information

1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

2Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington.

3Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.



We examined the effects of body, eating, and exercise social comparisons on prospective disordered eating thoughts and urges (i.e., restriction thoughts, exercise thoughts, vomiting thoughts, binge eating urges) and behaviors (i.e., restriction attempts, exercising for weight/shape reasons, vomiting, binge eating) among college women using ecological momentary assessment (EMA).


Participants were 232 college women who completed a 2-week EMA protocol, in which they used their personal electronic devices to answer questions three times per day. Generalized estimating equation models were used to assess body, eating, and exercise comparisons as predictors of disordered eating thoughts, urges, and behaviors at the next report, adjusting for body dissatisfaction, negative affect, and the disordered eating thought/urge/behavior at the prior report, as well as body mass index.


Body comparisons prospectively predicted more intense levels of certain disordered eating thoughts (i.e., thoughts about restriction and exercise). Eating comparisons prospectively predicted an increased likelihood of subsequent engagement in all disordered eating behaviors examined except vomiting. Exercise comparisons prospectively predicted less-intense thoughts about exercise and an increased likelihood of subsequent vomiting.


Social comparisons are associated with later disordered eating thoughts and behaviors in the natural environment and may need to be specifically targeted in eating disorder prevention and intervention efforts. Targeting body comparisons may be helpful in terms of reducing disordered eating thoughts, but eating and exercise comparisons are also important and may need to be addressed in order to decrease engagement in actual disordered eating behaviors.


Posted in Nutrition: Eating Disorders | Leave a comment

High vegetable intake is associated with lower (mainly hormone receptor–negative) breast cancer risk

First published November 25, 2015, doi: 10.3945/​ajcn.114.101436
Am J Clin Nutr

Vegetable and fruit consumption and the risk of hormone receptor–defined breast cancer in the EPIC cohort 1,2

Marleen J Emaus3, Petra HM Peeters3,4, Marije F Bakker3, Kim Overvad5, Anne Tjønneland6, Anja Olsen6, Isabelle Romieu7, Pietro Ferrari7, Laure Dossus8,9,10, Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault8,9,10, Laura Baglietto11,12, Renée T Fortner13, Rudolf Kaaks13, Heiner Boeing14, Antonia Trichopoulou15,16,17, Pagona Lagiou16,17,18, Dimitrios Trichopoulos15,17,18, Giovanna Masala19, Valeria Pala20, Salvatore Panico21, Rosario Tumino22, Silvia Polidoro23, Guri Skeie24, Eiliv Lund24, Elisabete Weiderpass24,25,26,27, J Ramón Quirós28, Noémie Travier29, María-José Sánchez30,31, Maria-Dolores Chirlaque31,32, Eva Ardanaz31,33, Miren Dorronsoro34, Anna Winkvist35,36, Maria Wennberg36, H Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita4,37–39, Kay-Tee Khaw40, Ruth C Travis41, Timothy J Key41, Dagfinn Aune4, Marc Gunter4, Elio Riboli4, and Carla H van Gils3,*

Author Affiliations

3Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands;
4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom;
5Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark;
6Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark;
7International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France;
8INSERM, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), U1018, Nutrition, Hormones, and Women’s Health Team, Villejuif, France;
9University Paris Sud, UMRS 1018, Villejuif, France;
10Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif, France;
11Cancer Epidemiology Centre, Cancer Council of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia;
12Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia;
13Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany;
14Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Nuthetal, Germany;
15Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece;
16Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, University of Athens Medical School, Goudi, Athens, Greece;
17Bureau of Epidemiologic Research, Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece;
18Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA;
19Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, Cancer Research and Prevention Institute–ISPO, Florence, Italy;
20Epidemiology and Prevention Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy;
21Dipartimento Di Medicina Clinica E Chirurgia, Federico II University, Naples, Italy;
22Cancer Registry and Histopathology Unit, Civic–M.P. Arezzo Hospital, ASP Ragusa, Italy;
23Human Genetic Foundation (HuGeF), Turin, Italy;
24Department of Community Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Tromso, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso, Norway;
25Department of Research, The Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway;
26Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden;
27Folkhälsan Research Center, Samfundet Folkhälsan, Helsinki, Finland;
28Public Health Directorate, Asturias, Spain;
29Unit of Nutrition, Environment, and Cancer, Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO-IDIBELL), Barcelona, Spain;
30Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública, Instituto de Investigación Biosanitaria ibs.GRANADA, Hospitales Universitarios de Granada/Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain;
31CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain;
32Epidemiology Department, Regional Health Council, Murcia, Spain;
33Navarre Public Health Institute, Pamplona, Spain;
34Public Health Direction and Biodonostia-Ciberesp Basque Regional Health Department, San Sebastian, Spain;
35Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden;
36Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Nutritional Research, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden;
37Department for Determinants of Chronic Diseases (DCD), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, Netherlands;
38Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands;
39Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;
40University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom; and
41Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

Author Notes

↵1 Supported by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (grant ZONMW-200320002-UMCU; to MJE); Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro–Italy (GM); Public Health Programme of the European Union (2005328); Europe against Cancer Programme of the European Commission (SANCO); French League against Cancer (LNCC); National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), France; Mutuelle Generale de l’Education Nationale, France; 3M Co., France; Gustave Roussy Institute, France; General Councils of France; German Cancer Aid; German Cancer Research Center; German Federal Ministry of Education and Research; Danish Cancer Society; Health Research Fund (FIS) of the Spanish Ministry of Health (Exp P10710130); Regional Governments of Andalucía, Asturias, Basque Country, Murcia (6236), Navarra, and the Catalan Institute of Oncology, La Caixa (BM 06-130), RTICC-RD06/0020 (Spain); Cancer Research UK; Medical Research Council UK; the Hellenic Health Foundation, Greece; the Italian Association for Research on Cancer; the Italian National Research Council; Fondazione-Istituto Banco Napoli, Italy; Compagnia di San Paolo; Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare, and Sports; Dutch Prevention Funds; LK Research Funds; Dutch ZON (Zorg Onderzoek Nederland); World Cancer Research Fund; Statistics Netherlands; Swedish Cancer Society; Swedish Scientific Council; Regional Government of Skane, Sweden; and the Nordforsk Center of Excellence Program in Food, Nutrition and Health (Helga), Norway.

↵2 Supplemental Figures 1–5 and Supplemental Tables 1 and 2 are available from the “Online Supporting Material” link in the online posting of the article and from the same link in the online table of contents at http://ajcn.nutrition.org.

↵*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: c.vangils@umcutrecht.nl.


Background: The recent literature indicates that a high vegetable intake and not a high fruit intake could be associated with decreased steroid hormone receptor–negative breast cancer risk.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the association between vegetable and fruit intake and steroid hormone receptor–defined breast cancer risk.

Design: A total of 335,054 female participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort were included in this study (mean ± SD age: 50.8 ± 9.8 y). Vegetable and fruit intake was measured by country-specific questionnaires filled out at recruitment between 1992 and 2000 with the use of standardized procedures. Cox proportional hazards models were stratified by age at recruitment and study center and were adjusted for breast cancer risk factors.

Results: After a median follow-up of 11.5 y (IQR: 10.1–12.3 y), 10,197 incident invasive breast cancers were diagnosed [3479 estrogen and progesterone receptor positive (ER+PR+); 1021 ER and PR negative (ER−PR−)]. Compared with the lowest quintile, the highest quintile of vegetable intake was associated with a lower risk of overall breast cancer (HRquintile 5–quintile 1: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.80, 0.94). Although the inverse association was most apparent for ER−PR− breast cancer (ER−PR−: HRquintile 5–quintile 1: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.96; P-trend = 0.03; ER+PR+: HRquintile 5–quintile 1: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.79, 1.05; P-trend = 0.14), the test for heterogeneity by hormone receptor status was not significant (P-heterogeneity = 0.09). Fruit intake was not significantly associated with total and hormone receptor–defined breast cancer risk.

Conclusion: This study supports evidence that a high vegetable intake is associated with lower (mainly hormone receptor–negative) breast cancer risk.


Posted in Cancer: Breast, Nutrition is Medicine, Nutrition: Vegetarianism | Leave a comment

Teen romantic relationships may curb drinking

Dev Psychol. 2015 Nov 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Adolescent Friend Similarity on Alcohol Abuse as a Function of Participation in Romantic Relationships: Sometimes a New Love Comes Between Old Friends.

DeLay D, Laursen B, Bukowski WM, Kerr M, Stattin H.


This study tests the hypothesis that adolescents with romantic partners are less similar to their friends on rates of alcohol abuse than adolescents without romantic partners.

Participants (662 girls, 574 boys) ranging in age from 12 to 19 years nominated friends and romantic partners, and completed a measure of alcohol abuse.

In hierarchical linear models, friends with romantic partners were less similar on rates of alcohol abuse than friends without romantic partners, especially if they were older and less accepted.

Follow-up longitudinal analyses were conducted on a subsample (266 boys, 374 girls) of adolescents who reported friendships that were stable across 2 consecutive years.

Associations between friend reports of alcohol abuse declined after adolescents became involved in a romantic relationship, to the point at which they became more similar to their romantic partners than to their friends.


Posted in Alcohol, Human Behavior: Peer Pressure, Human Behavior: Relationships, Pediatric Health: Teenagers | Leave a comment

Tornadoes drive some teens to substance abuse

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2015 Nov 25:1-14. [Epub ahead of print]

Adolescent Substance Use Following a Deadly U.S. Tornado Outbreak: A Population-Based Study of 2,000 Families.

Danielson CK1, Sumner JA2, Adams ZW1, McCauley JL1, Carpenter M1, Amstadter AB3, Ruggiero KJ4.

Author information

1a Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences , Medical University of South Carolina.

2b Department of Epidemiology , Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

3c Department of Psychiatry , Virginia Commonwealth University.

4d College of Nursing , Medical University of South Carolina and Ralph H. Johnson VAMC.


Despite conceptual links between disaster exposure and substance use, few studies have examined prevalence and risk factors for adolescent substance use and abuse in large, population-based samples affected by a recent natural disaster. We addressed this gap using a novel address-based sampling methodology to interview adolescents and parents who were affected by the 4th deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S.

Postdisaster interviews were conducted with 2,000 adolescent-parent dyads living within a 5-mile radius of the spring 2011 U.S. tornadoes. In addition to descriptive analyses to estimate prevalence, hierarchical linear and logistic regression analyses were used to examine a range of protective and risk factors for substance use and abuse. Approximately 3% reported substance abuse since the tornado. Greater number of prior traumatic events and older age emerged as consistent risk factors across tobacco and alcohol use and substance abuse since the tornado. Tornado incident characteristics, namely, greater loss of services and resources after the tornado and posttraumatic stress disorder since the tornado, were associated with greater alcohol consumption. Service loss increased risk for binge drinking, whereas, for substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder increased risk and parent presence during the tornado decreased risk. Greater family tornado exposure was associated with a greater number of cigarettes smoked in female but not male teen participants. Both trauma and non-trauma-related factors are relevant to postdisaster substance abuse among adolescents. Future research should examine the role of broader ecological systems in heightening or curtailing substance use risk for adolescents following disaster exposure.


Posted in Alcohol, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Drugged Driving, Drunk Driving, Environmental Health: Climate, Environmental Health: Severe Weather, Pediatric Health: Teenagers, Smoking, Tornadoes | Leave a comment

Diabetic vision loss medication Lucentis may promote return to driving

(Reuters Health) – After a year of treatment with the drug ranibizumab (Lucentis), some people with vision loss due to diabetes regain their confidence to drive and have vision good enough to do so, according to a new study.

Seeing well enough to drive confidently is an important measure of independence, the authors write.

Up to 45 percent of people in the U.S. with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have some level of vision loss, most commonly diabetic retinopathy. And half of those with retinopathy will develop diabetic macular edema (DME), a fluid build-up in the retina that affects sharp, straight-ahead vision, according to the National Eye Institute.

The results provide tangible evidence that improvements in vision measured with an eye chart also translate to real-world functioning based on vision, said lead author Dr. Neil M. Bressler of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“This paper showed that the answers patients provided regarding driving because of their vision function were consistent with the visual acuity results,” Bressler told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers used data from three randomized clinical trials conducted between 2011 and 2015.


Posted in Diabetes: Retinopathy | Leave a comment

Is there always something missing in your life?

Antidepressants are the third most common prescription medication taken by Americans, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

From the minute we wake up until the moment we go to sleep everyday we are moved by an impulse and feeling of searching for something. It could be money or material things, a family ideal, good health or a great shape, a break on holidays, and so on.

By definition we are incomplete beings. There’s always something missing in our lives. And not only do we feel something is missing but what’s missing is also permanently changing.

Have you ever had the experience that after pursuing and getting something you were after, the feeling of happiness lasted really less than you thought or expected it would last?

Do you feel a lack of sustainable happiness in your life sometimes?

I think happiness is an inner state. Happiness is not about “the road” or “the arrival” but a mode. Is the way we do things, feeling we are walking the right path in our life’s path. I would like to offer a change of perspective around where to look in the pursuit of happiness. Here are two areas in our lives where this perspective might be applicable.

Posted in Antidepressants, Human Behavior: Negativity, Human Behavior: Optimism, Human Behavior: Self-Consciousness, Human Behavior: Solitude, Human Behavior: Spirituality, Human Behavior: Stress, Mental Health: Depression, Science Updates, Stress Eating | Leave a comment

One habit that extends life and 9 others that aren’t so bad either

Recent studies have found a way you can extend your life, and it’s pretty good for everyone.

Apparently, selflessness can help people manage stress – and ultimately improve their own health.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked into the relationship between high stress levels and death.

They asked people the questions, ‘how much stress have you experienced in the last year?’ and ‘do you believe stress is harmful for your health?’

They then looked at public records to see who had died and when.

Another study, carried out at the University of Buffalo, then connected lower levels of stress to selflessness.

After studying 846 participants, researchers concluded that people who were under high levels of stress didn’t experience negative health effects if they had a record of helping people in the previous year.

While there are no quick-fix remedies for stress, and stress can affect everyone differently, this could be one way of staving off associated health issues.

If your stress feels overwhelming or unmanageable, it’s best to seek medical advice.

Posted in Human Behavior: Altruism, Human Behavior: Anxiety, Human Behavior: Calm, Human Behavior: Control, Human Behavior: Empathy, Human Behavior: Frustration, Human Behavior: Habits, Human Behavior: Happiness, Human Behavior: Kindness, Human Behavior: Negativity, Human Behavior: Optimism, Human Behavior: Stress, Longevity | Leave a comment

College football: where underprivileged young men risk their health for the financial benefit of the wealthy?

College football seems headed toward a future in which it’s consumed by people born into privilege while the sport consumes people born without it. In a 2010 piece in The Awl, Cord Jefferson wrote, “Where some see the Super Bowl, I see young black men risking their bodies, minds, and futures for the joy and wealth of old white men.” This vision sounds dystopian but is quickly becoming an undeniable reality, given new statistics about how education affects awareness about brain-injury risk, as well as the racial makeup of Division I rosters and coaching staffs. The future of college football indeed looks a lot like what Jefferson called “glorified servitude,” and even as information comes to light about the dangers and injustices of football, nothing is currently being done to steer the sport away from that path.

The football-consuming public has only recently started to grapple with the magnitude of the dangers inherent in playing football—traumatic brain injury and painkiller addiction chief among them—and to understand that you don’t need to play 10 years in the NFL to suffer permanent physical, psychological, or neurological damage. Though football’s dangers compound over time, they manifest right away, even at the lowest levels. Therefore, as more information comes out, more and more parents are hesitating to let their sons play organized football.


Posted in American Football, Concussions, Human Behavior: Bias, Painkillers | Leave a comment

4 Things to Learn From the People You Hate at Work

It’s the start of a new day. Birds are chirping and the sun is shining bright. You sit down and turn on your computer. Then, you see him walking down the hallway. As he passes, he gives you a little nod to acknowledge your presence. Nothing more. As soon as he gets past earshot, you turn to your coworker and say, “God, I hate that guy!” He can’t even say, “Hello?” You don’t even like to think about this person and now he’s in your head. Beads of sweat start to form on your forehead, it’s going to be a bad day.

Fast forward to the next morning, and it’s another beautiful day. You hear a flute being played in the background, bringing calm to the entire office. Your muscles begin to relax. Then… you see him walking down the hallway. As he walks past your desk he smiles and says, “Hello”. He continues to walk towards his desk. Again, you wait until he is far enough, turn to your coworker and say, “God, I hate that guy! Can you believe the way he said, “Hello” to me? And why are you playing that flute?” Yes, that person in your office. You hate them no matter what they do. But have you ever questioned why?

I thought about this one day. Why do I hate this person so much? I wanted to go beyond what they did. I looked at their characteristics. What about their personality that made my skin crawl. What I noticed was most of my insecurities were exposed when they were around. Before I continue, this won’t fit all types of people.



Posted in Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

9 Things No Man Will Ever Understand About Living With A Woman

So you’ve moved in together…

After a couple moves in together, it’s usually the men that are in for more of a shock than we are because in truth, women harbour way more disgusting secret habits than they do any day…

These disgusting habits, coupled with our paradoxically exacting standards of living, make co-habiting with us beautiful, mercurial, enigmatic creatures fairly confusing for the male human.

Here are nine things no man will ever understand about living with a woman…

The tiny things that you think are no big deal… ARE A REALLY BIG DEAL

If we see fit to rant about it, then it is rant-worthy. We never overreact.

We are actually the best thing that ever happened to you

Don’t forget this when we are ranting about your apparent refusal to ever, EVER wash an oven tray.

We have to take our bras off when relaxing

The bra removal should not necessarily be read as an invitation to engage us in depraved sexual activities, we may just want you to make us a cup of tea or rub our feet.



Posted in Human Behavior: Relationships | 2 Comments

Back pain: Prevention and management in the workplace

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2015 Jun;29(3):483-94. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2015.04.028. Epub 2015 May 31.

Back pain: Prevention and management in the workplace.

Schaafsma FG1, Anema JR2, van der Beek AJ3.

Author information

1Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Research Centre for Insurance Medicine, Collaboration Between AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: f.schaafsma@vumc.nl.

2Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Research Centre for Insurance Medicine, Collaboration Between AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

3Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Research Centre for Insurance Medicine, Collaboration Between AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Despite all the efforts in studying work-related risk factors for low back pain (LBP), interventions targeting these risk factors to prevent LBP have no proven cost-effectiveness. Even with adequate implementation strategies for these interventions on group level, these did not result in the reduction of incident LBP. Physical exercise, however, does have a primary preventive effect on LBP.

For secondary prevention, it seems that there are more opportunities to cost-effectively intervene in reducing the risk of long-term sickness absence due to LBP.

Starting at the earliest moment possible with proper assessment of risk factors for long-term sickness absence related to the individual, the underlying mechanisms of the LBP, and also factors related to the workplace by a well-trained clinician, may increase the potential of effective return to work (RTW) management.

More research on how to overcome barriers in the uptake of these effective interventions in relation to policy-specific environments, and with regard to proper financing of RTW management is necessary.


Posted in Back Pain, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

Can previously sedentary females use the feeling scale to regulate exercise intensity in a gym environment?

BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2015 Nov 26;7:30.

Can previously sedentary females use the feeling scale to regulate exercise intensity in a gym environment? An observational study.

Hamlyn-Williams CC1, Tempest G2, Coombs S3, Parfitt G2.

Author information

1Institute of Child Health, University College London, Population, Policy and Practice, UCL Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH UK ; Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St Lukes Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU UK.

2Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, Sansom Institute, University of South Australia, 101 Currie St, Adelaide, SA 5001 Australia.

3Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St Lukes Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU UK.



Recent research suggests that the Feeling Scale (FS) can be used as a method of exercise intensity regulation to maintain a positive affective response during exercise. However, research to date has been carried out in laboratories and is not representative of natural exercise environments. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether sedentary women can self-regulate their exercise intensity using the FS to experience positive affective responses in a gym environment using their own choice of exercise mode; cycling or treadmill.


Fourteen females (24.9 years ± 5.2; height 166.7 ± 5.7 cm; mass 66.3 ± 13.4 kg; BMI 24.1 ± 5.5)) completed a submaximal exercise test and each individual’s ventilatory threshold ([Formula: see text]) was identified. Following this, three 20 min gym-based exercise trials, either on a bike or treadmill were performed at an intensity that was self-selected and perceived to correspond to the FS value of +3 (good). Oxygen uptake, heart rate (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured during exercise at the participants chosen intensity.


Results indicated that on average participants worked close to their [Formula: see text] and increased their exercise intensity during the 20-min session. Participants worked physiologically harder during cycling exercise. Consistency of oxygen uptake, HR and RPE across the exercise trials was high.


The data indicate that previously sedentary women can use the FS in an ecological setting to regulate their exercise intensity and that regulating intensity to feel ‘good’ should lead to individuals exercising at an intensity that would result in cardiovascular gains if maintained.


Posted in Exercise: High Intensity, Human Behavior: Sedentary | Tagged | Leave a comment

The relationship between arterial stiffness and the lifestyle habits of female athletes after retiring from competitive sports: a prospective study

Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2015 Nov 27. doi: 10.1111/cpf.12326. [Epub ahead of print]

The relationship between arterial stiffness and the lifestyle habits of female athletes after retiring from competitive sports: a prospective study.

Koshiba H1, Maeshima E1, Okumura Y1.

Author information

1Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, Sennan-Gun, Osaka, Japan.


This study investigated the relationship between changes in arterial stiffness and the lifestyle habits of endurance athletes after retiring from competition.

The subjects were 10 female university endurance athletes.

We used formPWV/ABI® as an index for arterial stiffness and measured brachial-ankle pulse-wave velocity (baPWV) directly before subjects retired (0Y) and at 2 years after retirement (2Y).

Furthermore, to investigate the relationship between arterial stiffness and lifestyle habits 2 years later, Lifecorder ® PLUS was used to measure physical activity levels, hours of sleep were surveyed using a questionnaire, and a food intake survey was conducted using Excel Eiyoukun Food Frequency Questionnaire Based on Food Group, FFQg Ver. 3.5.

We found that baPWV increased significantly from 0Y to 2Y (P<0·05). Furthermore, negative correlations were observed between 2Y baPWV and step count as the physical activity index (r = -0·653, P<0·05) and moderate physical activity (r = -0·663, P<0·05).

With regard to lifestyle habits that affected the amount of increase in baPWV from 0Y to 2Y (ΔbaPWV), negative correlations were noted between the step count (r = -0·690, P<0·05) and total physical activity (r = -0·657, P<0·05). However, no significant correlations were observed between 2Y baPWV and ΔbaPWV with food intake or hours of sleep.

The results of this study suggested that physical activity was a lifestyle habit that inhibited an increase in arterial stiffness after retirement from competition and that having a high step count or engaging in physical activity for long periods of time in particular was useful in this regard.


Posted in Arterial Stiffness, Exercise: Benefits, Heart Health: Coronary Artery Disease | Leave a comment

Diet and Pancreatic Cancer Prevention

Cancers (Basel). 2015 Nov 23;7(4):2309-2317.

Diet and Pancreatic Cancer Prevention.

Casari I1, Falasca M2.

Author information

1Metabolic Signalling Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, CHIRI Biosciences, Curtin University, Perth 6102, Australia. ilaria.casari@curtin.edu.au.

2Metabolic Signalling Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, CHIRI Biosciences, Curtin University, Perth 6102, Australia. marco.falasca@curtin.edu.au.


Pancreatic cancer is without any doubt the malignancy with the poorest prognosis and the lowest survival rate.

This highly aggressive disease is rarely diagnosed at an early stage and difficult to treat due to its resistance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to clarify the causes responsible for pancreatic cancer and to identify preventive strategies to reduce its incidence in the population.

Some circumstances, such as smoking habits, being overweight and diabetes, have been identified as potentially predisposing factors to pancreatic cancer, suggesting that diet might play a role.

A diet low in fat and sugars, together with a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, weight reduction and not smoking, may contribute to prevent pancreatic cancer and many other cancer types.

In addition, increasing evidence suggests that some food may have chemo preventive properties.

Indeed, a high dietary intake of fresh fruit and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, and recent epidemiological studies have associated nut consumption with a protective effect against it.

Therefore, diet could have an impact on the development of pancreatic cancer and further investigations are needed to assess the potential chemo preventive role of specific foods against this disease.

This review summarizes the key evidence for the role of dietary habits and their effect on pancreatic cancer and focuses on possible mechanisms for the association between diet and risk of pancreatic cancer.


Posted in Cancer: Pancreatic, Nutrition is Medicine | Leave a comment

Antidepressant Use is Associated with Increased Energy Intake and Similar Levels of Physical Activity

Nutrients. 2015 Nov 20;7(11):9662-9671.

Antidepressant Use is Associated with Increased Energy Intake and Similar Levels of Physical Activity.

Jensen-Otsu E1, Austin GL2.

Author information

1Division of Gastroenterology, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. ejensenotsu@medicine.washington.edu.

2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 12631 E. 17th Ave., Room 7619, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. gregory.austin@ucdenver.edu.


Antidepressants have been associated with weight gain, but the causes are unclear.

The aims of this study were to assess the association of antidepressant use with energy intake, macronutrient diet composition, and physical activity.

We used data on medication use, energy intake, diet composition, and physical activity for 3073 eligible adults from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Potential confounding variables, including depression symptoms, were included in the models assessing energy intake, physical activity, and sedentary behavior.

Antidepressant users reported consuming an additional (mean ± S.E.) 215 ± 73 kcal/day compared to non-users (p = 0.01).

There were no differences in percent calories from sugar, fat, or alcohol between the two groups.

Antidepressant users had similar frequencies of walking or biking, engaging in muscle-strengthening activities, and engaging in moderate or vigorous physical activity.

Antidepressant users were more likely to use a computer for ≥2 h/day (OR 1.77; 95% CI: 1.09-2.90), but TV watching was similar between the two groups.

These results suggest increased energy intake and sedentary behavior may contribute to weight gain associated with antidepressant use.

Focusing on limiting food intake and sedentary behaviors may be important in mitigating the weight gain associated with antidepressant use.


Posted in Antidepressants, Exercise, Exercise: Benefits, Mental Health: Depression, Obesity, Pregnancy: Depression | Leave a comment

Vitamin D deficiency and cholesterol in early pregnancy

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015 Nov 26;15(1):314.

Vitamin D deficiency and dyslipidemia in early pregnancy.

Al-Ajlan A1, Krishnaswamy S2, Alokail MS3, Aljohani NJ4, Al-Serehi A5, Sheshah E6, Alshingetti NM7, Fouda M8, Turkistani IZ9, Al-Daghri NM10.

Author information

1Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, PO Box 10219, Riyadh, 11433, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. aalajl@hotmail.com.

2Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, PO Box, 2455, Riyadh, 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. ksounder@gmail.com.

3Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, PO Box, 2455, Riyadh, 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. msa85@yahoo.co.uk.

4Specialized Diabetes and Endocrine Center, King Fahad Medical City, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, 11525, Saudi Arabia. najij@hotmail.com.

5Maternal-Fetal Medicine Department, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, 59406, Saudi Arabia. aalserehi@kfmc.med.sa.

6Diabetes Care Center, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. eman_shesha@hotmail.com.

7Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. alshingetti@yahoo.com.

8Department of Medicine, Endocrinology Division, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, 12372, Saudi Arabia. monafoudaneel@yahoo.com.

9Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, 12372, Saudi Arabia. iqbalzmt@hotmail.com.

10Prince Mutaib Chair for Biomarkers of Osteoporosis, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, PO Box, 2455, Riyadh, 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. aldaghri2011@gmail.com.



Vitamin D deficiency is a common nutritional issue and dietary supplementation in the general population, including pregnant women, is generally advised. Appropriately high levels of vitamin D are expected to play a role in containing the glycemic and atherogenic profiles observed in pregnancy. However, the relation between vitamin D status and the lipid metabolic profile in Saudi women, who are known to suffer from chronic vitamin D deficiency and high incidence of obesity and type II DM, during the course of pregnancy is not known.


In this study, we analyzed the relation between serum vitamin D level and various serum metabolic markers among Saudi women (n = 515) in their first trimester of pregnancy (11.2 ± 3.4 weeks). Coefficients of Pearson correlation and Spearman rank correlation were calculated for Gaussian and non-Gaussian variables, respectively. Serum vitamin D status was defined as (in nmol/L): deficient (<25), insufficient (25-50); sufficient (50-75) and desirable (>75).


Results indicated that vitamin D status was sufficient in only 3.5 % of the study participants and insufficient and deficient in 26.2 % and 68.0 % of participants, respectively. Serum vitamin D values in the overall study population correlated positively with serum levels of total cholesterol (R = 0.172; p < 0.01), triglycerides (R = 0.184; p < 0.01) and corrected calcium (R = 0.141; p < 0.05). In the subgroup of vitamin D deficient subjects (n = 350), log serum vitamin D values correlated with serum triglycerides (R = 0.23; p = 0.002) and cholesterol (R = 0.26; p = 0.001).


The positive correlations between serum vitamin D and the atherogenic factors such as total cholesterol and triglycerides indicate a pro-atherogenic metabolic status in vitamin D deficient expectant mothers. This may represent an adaptation to the high metabolic demands of pregnancy.


Posted in Cholesterol, Nutrition: Vitamin D, Pregnancy | Leave a comment

American Diet Quality: Where It Is, Where It Is Heading, and What It Could Be

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Nov 20. pii: S2212-2672(15)01511-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.09.020. [Epub ahead of print]

American Diet Quality: Where It Is, Where It Is Heading, and What It Could Be.

Wilson MM, Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM.



Diet quality is critically important to the prevention of many types of chronic disease. The federal government provides recommendations for optimal diet quality through the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and sets benchmarks for progress toward these recommendations through the Healthy People objectives.


This analysis estimated recent trends in American diet quality and compared those trends to the quality of diets that would meet the Healthy People 2020 objectives and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in order to measure progress toward our national nutrition goals.


This analysis used 24-hour recall data from the cross-sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, between the years of 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, to determine mean intakes of various dietary components for the US population over time. Mean intakes were estimated using the population ratio method, and diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index 2010 (HEI-2010).


The mean HEI-2010 total score for the US population has increased from 49 in 1999-2000 to 59 in 2011-2012; continuing on that trajectory, it would reach a score of 65 by 2019-2020. A diet that meets the Healthy People 2020 objectives would receive a score of 74 and, by definition, a diet that meets the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans would receive a score of 100. Trends in HEI-2010 component scores vary; all HEI-2010 component scores except sodium have increased over time.


Diet quality is improving over time, but not quickly enough to meet all of the Healthy People 2020 objectives. Whole fruit and empty calories are the only HEI-2010 components on track to meet their respective Healthy People 2020 targets. Furthermore, the country falls short of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by a large margin in nearly every component of diet quality assessed by the HEI-2010.


Posted in Health Care: Trends, Nutrition is Medicine, Nutrition: Dietitians, Nutrition: Diets, Nutrition: Marketing | Leave a comment

How to tell your partner you need to see a psychiatrist

I feel stuck. I have been married since last June and have been living together with my now wife for the past six years. Things have been pretty good, at least on the outside. However, there have been some sources of conflict. I suffer from quite a bit of anxiety and a binge eating disorder. I’m prone to really focusing in on negative things and have racing thoughts about bad things happening, and that anxiety feeds right into my already uncontrollable need to eat food, and so the spiral continues. So I went to see a therapist, and after several visits she recommended me to a psychiatrist. My wife put a full stop on me going.

I don’t know how to navigate this. She’s just worried that they’re gonna, and I quote, “load me up on drugs.” I feel like I really need to see a specialist about this, it’s really starting to ruin my life, but she refuses to allow me to start the treatment I feel I need, saying she won’t support it at all because I haven’t tried every naturopathic option before turning to the medical system. How do we reconcile this? I love my wife, but this really has been straining our relationship.


Posted in Human Behavior: Anxiety, Human Behavior: Selfishness, Nutrition: Binge Eating, Psychiatry | Leave a comment

Longevity and Vitamin E

Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:563247. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Vitamin E Supplementation Delays Cellular Senescence In Vitro.

La Fata G1, Seifert N1, Weber P1, Mohajeri MH1.

Author information

1DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., R & D Human Nutrition and Health, P.O. Box 2676, 4002 Basel, Switzerland.


Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress-induced damage, which is an important contributor to the progression of ageing.

Ageing can be studied in vitro using primary cells reaching a state of irreversible growth arrest called senescence after a limited number of cellular divisions.

Generally, the most utilized biomarker of senescence is represented by the expression of the senescence associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal).

We aimed here to study the possible effects of vitamin E supplementation in two different human primary cell types (HUVECs and fibroblasts) during the progression of cellular senescence.

Utilizing an unbiased automated system, based on the detection of the SA-β-gal, we quantified cellular senescence in vitro and showed that vitamin E supplementation reduced the numbers of senescent cells during progression of ageing.

Acute vitamin E supplementation did not affect cellular proliferation, whereas it was decreased after chronic treatment.

Mechanistically, we show that vitamin E supplementation acts through downregulation of the expression of the cycline dependent kinase inhibitor P21.

The data obtained from this study support the antiageing properties of vitamin E and identify possible mechanisms of action that warrant further investigation.


Posted in Aging, Longevity, Nutrition: Vitamin E | Leave a comment

5 ways to get muscular without quitting carbs

Eating the right foods is as important as being regular at the gym. If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, consume the right nutrients from foods that give you energy to exercise, repair muscle tissue, and help your body to recover after workout.

Contrary to popular belief, carbs are an important part of this process and quitting them won’t help you lose weight. Compiled from Al Arabiya News and Healthy Eating, here are five things you should include in your diet to get the desired result without compromising on carbs.

Carve out health regimen with carbs

Don’t quit carbs if you want to gain muscle — mind you, these are complex carbs which are rich in fibre. Carbs are important for muscle growth as they replenish glycogen stores (a chemical form of carbs in your muscles that fuels them during exercise) that are drained from your body after a workout. The trick here is to include fast carbs which contain a high glycaemic index in your post work-out meals. These include foods such as cereal and different types of breads. According to research, fast carbs lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar which is critical for restoring glycogen in your body. These are sugars stored for energy in the muscles and liver when eaten within two hours of exercise.



Posted in Exercise: Aerobic, Exercise: Benefits, Exercise: Capacity, Exercise: High Intensity, Fitness: Strength Training, Metabolism, Nutrition: Carbohydrates, Nutrition: Diets, Nutrition: Protein | Leave a comment

5 Ways To Engage Employees In Your Corporate Wellness Program

Corporate wellness programs are successful only if people are engaged. When large amounts of people commit to living a healthier life, the results can be amazing. Lower health care costs, increased productivity, and improved morale are just the tip of the iceberg for employers. This doesn’t even take into account the value of happy, healthy employees. But with too few employees working to improve their health on their own, employers are looking for ways to engage workers. Here are five ways to boost engagement in your employee wellness program:

1. Make it interesting

We’re more motivated to get involved when our friends get involved. This spark can spread like wildfire, getting your whole company engaged. (Best of all, it’s completely free!) Social incentives are a captivating and cost-effective way to recruit and engage those that may otherwise be out of your reach.

Social incentives can be simple. Setting people up on teams provides social support and accountability, the spirit of friendly competition, public recognition, and altruistic opportunities. With social incentives, people adopt healthy behaviors because they are inclined to participate in group activities and help others. Over time, these behaviors create lasting connections to continue the healthy behaviors over the long term.

You can also consider the use of small financial incentives to encourage positive behaviors. But you should incentivize the proper behaviors. Financial incentives boost participation in one-time actions, but they fail to move the needle on outcomes-based initiatives.


Posted in Corporate Wellness, Exercise: Benefits, Nutrition is Medicine, Sitting | Leave a comment

Whale hunting: 5 things you may not know

Japan says it will continue to hunt whales in the Antarctic, despite an important international ruling that it should stop.

It ceased hunting for more than a year after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision.

However now it will go ahead with a restricted hunt by the end of March. Under this plan, it will reduce the number of minke whales being caught each year by two thirds, so that just over 300 will be killed.

The hunting of whales is an emotive issue.

These huge mammals leave many humans awestruck. People download whale sounds to help relax. Yet we’ve hunted whales for hundreds of years.

Whale bacon and what it tastes like

Whale meat is eaten in Norway, Iceland, Japan, Greenland, and by Inuits and other indigenous people in United States and Canada.

Whale meat is tender, melts in the mouth and has a flavour between fish and beef according to diners, who spoke to the Guardian. In Japan, you can even buy whale bacon.

Whale burgers may not be good for you

Environmental and animal welfare groups say the meat contains dangerously high levels of mercury. Mercury is poisonous to humans.

However Kate Sanderson at the ministry of foreign affairs in the Faroe Islands said it was wrong to call it a health hazard.


Posted in Animals: Whales, Environmental Health: Oceans, Environmental Health: Wildlife | Leave a comment

5 effective ways to deal with the office control freak

I wouldn’t do it that way. Why don’t you try this? What are you doing? That’s not right. Don’t do that. Do this.

Sound familiar? They’re all phrases you’ve likely heard from the notorious control freak in your office. And, while you’ve somehow managed to continue trucking along without snapping, you’re getting dangerously close to the end of your rope.

Whether you have a control-obsessed boss or a ridiculously overbearing co-worker, we’ve all had to work with someone who has a “my way or the highway” sort of attitude. Of course, dealing with this person isn’t easy—but it’s also pretty much inevitable.

So, take a deep breath. You definitely can manage to tolerate this person—without constantly clenching your jaw and balling up your fists. Here are five steps that’ll help you not only cope with this controlling colleague, but also get some great work done in the process!

1. Recognize Pure Intentions

When you’re dealing with someone who seems to want to micromanage every small detail of every single project, it can be tough to see him or her as anything more than meddling and obnoxious. But, recognizing the positive attributes of this person’s work ethic will make working with him or her at least a little bit easier.

Let’s face it — this person probably doesn’t behave this way to purposely annoy you or make your job more difficult. Instead, he’s just incredibly passionate about the work he does and wants it to be as polished and professional as it can be.



Posted in Workplace Issues | Leave a comment