December 9, 2008

State Law Fails To Curb Teen's Indoor Tanning

New study finds that teens are stilling tanning indoors despite the new state law. The researchers say it’s not clear why the laws failed. Medical experts were disturbed by the findings saying that more needs to be done about the health threat from indoor tanning salons. The Indoor Tanning Association argues that indoor tanning, when done properly, can improve health. However, some skin specialists agree that tanning no matter what exposes carcinogens to the skin. Tanning salons are popular with many young teenager girls and women. One researcher said that lax enforcement might be a factor behind the ineffectiveness of the laws. In another study, published in October, researchers found that one-third of health officials in states with indoor tanning laws said they did not inspect tanning parlors, while another third inspected less than once a year.

Could Eating More Nuts Improve Your Heart?

The Star Tribune reported that eating a handful of nuts a day for a year may help undo a collection of risk factors for heart disease. Spanish researchers found that adding nuts cuts the heart risks know as metabolic syndrome in more people than a low-fat diet did.
In the study, the people who improved most were told to eat about three whole walnuts, seven or eight whole hazelnuts and seven or eight whole almonds. They didn't lose weight, on average, but more of them succeeded in reducing belly fat and improving their cholesterol and blood pressure.

The nut-rich diet could help you, but don’t consume more than needed. What about nuts that are bathed in salt, sugar or chocolate coated, does that do anything?

December 1, 2008

New Weight Loss Drug

Scientists might have found a new fat-burning medication that could help keep the extra weight off, even on a high fat diet. The new medication, which is in development, mimics a health-boosting compound that is found in red wine and may also help fight against diabetes and obesity. 

A new study conducted on mice showed that GlaxoSmithKline drug SRT1720 was approximately 1,000 times more potent than resveratrol in activating an enzyme that helped the mice burn more energy and lower their glucose and insulin levels. So far, this experimental drug has only been tested on mice, but when the mice got a high daily dose of the drug for around three months, they didn’t even gain weight on a diet that was high in fat. However, a lower does of the drug was not effective. To read more about this study click here:

Goodnight, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the BedBugs Bite

You might not being going to bed alone this winter season. According to the Star Tribune, bedbugs, blood-suckers associated most commonly with grungy hotels and a popular bedtime rhyme , are hitching rides into the homes and apartments of many Twin Cities residents.

More than 140 landlords recently attended the first meeting of a bedbug task force, and all but five said they'd had problems with the pests. Three years ago, Plunketts’ Pest Removal had three cases all year, now it has three full-time exterminators tackling only the bedbug problem.

Bed bugs are often found nesting in mattresses, carpet, ceilings, curtains, corners and any small nook or crannie. They feed at night and will nest for years.

The best way to get rid of these tiny little critters is to throw away your mattress and call an exterminator to spray the contaminated area.

It’s true, the old bedtime saying,?Goodnight, Sleep Tight, Don’t let the BedBugs Bite,? is becoming a reality.

November 25, 2008

New Study Links Fast Food TV Commercials and Childhood Obesity

The Star Tribune reported that a new study attempts to measure the effect of TV fast-food ads and says a little less could lower childhood obesity. A ban on those commercials would reduce the number of obese children by 18 percent.

Some experts say it’s the first national study to show that fast food TV commercials have such a large impact of childhood obesity.

Fast food commercials account for as much as 23 percent of the food-related ads kids see on TV. The study was based on several years of government survey data and information about local stations in the 75 largest TV markets. The researchers used a statistical test that presumes TV ads lead to obesity but made calculation to address other influences like income and number of fast food restaurants nearby. The study is being published this month in the Journal of Law & Economics.


Burger King is Lowering Sodium in Kid's Meals.

Burger King Corp said that they are cutting the amount of sodium in their kdis meals and promoting menu combinations with less than 650 calories as part of a push to emphasize nutrition in fast food restuatrants.
They will limit sodium in kids meals to 600 milligrams or less, which is equivelant to a quarter teaspoon.
"We have made a strong company-wide commitment to help improve childhood nutrition," said Chief Executive John Chidsey in an interview with The Associated Press, calling the sodium limit "a positive step among many in that direction."
Burger King said they will also provide customers with examples of meal combinations totaling 650 calories or less. Customers haven’t been asking for lower calorie meals, but Burger King is trying to target those looking for healthier options and low caloric meals.
Are people going to opt for the healthier options or listen to their carvings and order that cheeseburger and large fry? That’s what fast food restaurants are known for and it might be hard to change their reputation.

November 17, 2008

Obese 10 year olds have arteries the size of 45-year-olds

The Star Tribune reported that obese children as young as 10-years-old have arteries the size of 45-year-olds according the the American Heart Association. Children's arteries aren't usually measured but when they were they were comparable to the size of 45-year-olds. Obesity is a huge problem in our society, especially in children. With the increase of fast food consumption, high caloric foods, inexpensive foods with high fat and trans fat calories, and foods that are served in schools lunch room are all linked to this obesity epidemic. This is a depressing finding that children are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and heart attack at such young ages. This nation wide epidemic is a serious issue and parents, schools, government must do all they can to advocate healthier living, exercise and education about this issue. It is sickening.

Caffeine and Breast Cancer Study

According to a recent study, among the many negative effects of caffeine, increasing the risk of breast cancer isn't one of them.

Dr. Shumin M. Zhang from the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, along with colleagues from Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan studied the diets of 38,432 women over the time period of four years. All the women were 45 years or odler and worked as health-care professionals. The study revelaed that 25 percent never drank coffee, 25 percent drank one cup or less a day and almost 30 percent drank two to three cups a day and the remaining 15 percent drank four or more cups a day.

Within 10 years of follow-up, 1,188 of the study participants developed invasive breast cancer. However, the researchers concluded that consuming caffeine was not significantly associated with the overall breast cancer risk.

The team also found that high amounts of caffeine raised the risk for certain subgroups. Those at risk for developing certain forms of breast cancer rose by 68 percent with heavy caffeine consumption and the risk for developing tumors larger than two centimeters rose by 79 percent. According to the study, since these types of breast cancer and larger tumors are associated with poorer outcomes, the team notes that it’s important to continue to investigate the impact of caffeine on specific kinds of breast cancer, even if the general risk remains insignificant.

So, if consuming caffeine may or may not increase breast cancer, its important to watch your caffeine intake because it may cause other risks for disease, stress, etc.

November 10, 2008

Birth Control Could Screw Up a Woman's Ability To Find A Compatible Mate

A new study finds that birth control pills could screw up a woman’s ability to sniff out a compatible mate.

That’s what I said, but it makes sense.

There are several factors that send a woman swooning falling head over heals for a man. And body odor can be a crucial final decisions, the researcher said. That’s because beneath a women’s fragrance or a guy’s musk, the body sends out aromatic molecules that indicate genetic compatibility.
Very interesting. Major histocompatibility complex or MHC genes are involved in immune response and other functions and the best mates are those that have different MHC smells than your.
The new study reveals, however, that when women are on the pill they prefer guys with matching MHC odors.

"Not only could MHC-similarity in couples lead to fertility problems," said lead researcher Stewart Craig Roberts, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Newcastle in England, "but it could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odor perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners."

Here is the study:
It involved about 100 women, aged 18 to 35. They chose which of six male body odor smells they preferred. They were tested at the start of the study when no participants were on the pills, and 3 months later, after 40 of the 100 were on the pill.

Those who were not on the pill, results didn’t show a significant difference. Those who started taking the birth control, their odor preferences changes. These women were much more likely than non-pill users to prefer MHC-similar odors.

"The results showed that the preferences of women who began using the contraceptive pill shifted towards men with genetically similar odors," Roberts said.

Now, is this really true? Or just another dumb study to explain why 50 percent of marriages end in divorce? Where all those women on the pill and seeked for the similar MHC scent to later find they weren’t the right match?

If you suffer from migraines, you may be at LOWER risk for Breast Cancer

MSNBC reported that a new study found that women who have a history of migraine headaches are far less likely to develop breast cancer than other women.

"We found that, overall, women who had a history of migraines had a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not have a history of such headaches," said Dr. Christopher Li of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, whose findings appear in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. Li said the reduction in risk was for the most common types of breast cancers — those driven by hormones, such as estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, which is fueled by estrogen, and progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer, which is fueled by progesterone.

It is not exactly clear as to why the migraines play a role in a lower risk for breast cancer, except maybe the hormones that cause migraines.
The study reported that women how are diagnosed with breast cancer tend to have high levels of estrogen.

And migraines are often triggered by low levels of the hormone estrogen, such as when estrogen levels fall during a woman's menstrual cycle.

Women who get migraines "may have a chronically lower baseline estrogen. That difference could be what is protective against breast cancer," Li said.

I find this to be a fascinating study and a lead into one of the many caused of breast cancer and who is at risk for them. I suffer from migraines and can’t stand it’s excruciating pain. But if there is a positive result from migraines or at least a report that I am a less likely candidate for breast cancer.

For more on this study:

November 3, 2008

New Study Links Fructose to Obesity

HealthDay News reported that consuming too much fructose can block the appetite-controlling hormone leptin from doing its job and increase the risk of obesity, a University of Florida study of rats suggested.
Leptin resistance had long been linked to obesity and a number of studies have shown that the over consumption of fructose may play a role in the United States obesity epidemic. This new study is the first to link fructose and leptin resistance.
The researchers found that rats became leptin-resistant after being fed a high-fructose diet for six months. There were no visible signs that leptin resistance was occurring, but the fructose-fed rats gained considerably more weight than rats that never received fructose when both groups of rats were switched to a high-fat diet.
Cookies, packages food, candies, and sodas all contain high amounts of fructose. Read more about the study at this link:

New Label on Healthier Foods

Large food companies are going to add new nutritional labels on food products by 2009. A Smart Choice symbol was developed by scientists, companies, and health organizations other the past two years to come up with one standard to identify healthier foods. The Smart Choice symbol will be placed on the front of packages of foods that meet certain criteria and will contain two simple pieces of information: calories per serving and the number of servings in a package. The idea behind the label is so consumers can understand that this is a healthier food product within seconds.

Among companies that will use the symbol are Coca-Cola Co, General Mills Inc, Kellogg Co, ConAgra Foods Inc, Kraft Foods Inc, PepsiCo Inc and Unilever, as well as retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc.;_ylt=Av5nFjCW2AF6yxhr08agiLhXQox4

October 28, 2008

Homework struggles may be tied to poor vision.

Homework struggles may be tied to poor vision.

Many children are struggling with reading and get headaches when doing homework. These children might have a common problem that is often missed. Their eyes don’t turn together properly to read. It is what doctors call “convergence insufficiency? or CI where eye muscles must work harder to focus up close. Standard vision procedures administered by schools won’t catch it.

What it is:

As its name implies, convergence insufficiency means the eyes aren't doing that properly. Words may appear blurry or double, or disappear as readers lose their place. How much extra effort eye muscles must exert to compensate and bring that image into focus determines whether someone has obvious symptoms and how bad they are.

October 26, 2008

Eating quickly and until your full can lead to being overweight

A new study published on finds that people who eat quickly an eat until full capacity are three times as likely to be overweight than those who do not share those easting habits.

With the wide availability of inexpensive food in larger portions and fast food and the increased behavior of eating while being distracted by TV, adults are now able to consume energy that their bodies are storing fat.

The study tested over 3,000 Japanese males and females between 2003-2006 and was asked to fill out surveys about their eating habits. The researchers studied the association among the pace of eating, eating until full, and being overweight by analyzing data collected from diet history questionnaires filled out by the participants. The results showed that both men and women in the "eat until full and quickly" group were about three times as likely to be considered overweight that the same comparison group.

I find this study interesting but they only studied Japanese people. I wonder what the results would be across many demographics and see if there is a difference world wide.

October 18, 2008

If the brain doesn’t get enough pleasure from food, people may overeat.

People often get pleasure from drinking a milkshake, or eating a candy bar or greasy French fries. The pleasure center in your brain gets a hit of happy, unless you’re overweight. A new study was done by scientists who watched young women savor milkshakes inside a brain scanner concluded that when the brain doesn’t get enough food, people might overeat to compensate, reported the Star Tribune.

The first time this study could even predict who would pile on the piunds during this next year. It was those who had a gene that made their brain’s “yum? factor even more sluggish.

“The more blunted your response to the milkshake taste, the more likely you are to gain weigh,? said Dr. Eric Stice , senior scientists at the Oregon Research Institute who led the work. It’s common knowledge that someone who doesn’t have a healthy diet and plenty of exercise is at risk for becoming overweight, but scientists have long known that genetics also play a major role in obesity, and one big thought is to be dopamine, the brain chemical that’s a key to sensing a pleasure.

Stice’s team had to figure out a way to study the brain’s immeadate reaction to food. They used a special syringe that would squirt a small amount of milkshake into the mouth of the study participants without them moving while they were in a MRI.

They recruited 43 female college students’ age’s 18- 22 and 33 teenagers 14-18. The women spanned from very skinny to obese.
The brain scanning showed that a key region where the dopamine rich area became active when they tasted the milkshake, but not when they tasted the comparison liquid that mimicked saliva.

They found that the brain region in overweight people was far less active than in the lean people.

The study concluded that these people with malfunctioning dopamine centers in fact eat because they’re impulsive, or eat a lot and crave more.