Good Stuff to Know April 2014

An answer to the perennial question: Is it safe to pee in the pool? ** Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats  ** Brain differences in college-aged occasional drug users ** Life lessons: Children learn aggressive ways of thinking and behaving from violent video games, study finds ** Can Smoking Pot Really Give You Man-Boobs? ** Regular physical activity reduces breast cancer risk irrespective of age ** Healthy midlife diet may prevent dementia later ** 


Fun in the pool

Fun in the Pool


An answer to the perennial question: Is it safe to pee in the pool? 

 Sanitary-minded pool-goers who preach ‘no peeing in the pool,’ despite ordinary and Olympic swimmers admitting to the practice, now have scientific evidence to back up their concern. Researchers are reporting that when mixed, urine and chlorine can form substances that can cause potential health problems. 

Happiness has a dark side 

It seems like everyone wants to be happier and the pursuit of happiness is one of the foundations of American life. But even happiness can have a dark side, according to a new article. 

Self-acceptance could be the key to a happier life, yet it’s the happy habit many people practice the least

Happiness is more than just a feeling; it is something we can all practice on a daily basis. But people are better at some ‘happy habits’ than others. In fact, the one habit that corresponds most closely with us being satisfied with our lives overall — self-acceptance — is often the one we practice least. 

Mothers leave work because they don’t want to behave like working men, study suggests 

Middle-class working mothers are leaving work because they are unwilling to behave like men, according to a new research article. Many of the interviewed women found it hard to combine work and motherhood because of the dominant culture of presenteeism — the notion that they should be at their desks until late, even if there was nothing to do. 

Vitamin D increases breast cancer patient survival, study shows 

Breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are twice as likely to survive the disease as women with low levels of this nutrient, report researchers. According to the National Institutes of Health, the current recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults and 800 IU for people over 70 years old. The authors urged patients to ask their health care provider to measure their levels before substantially increasing vitamin D intake. 

Higher levels of omega-3 in diet are associated with better sleep, study shows 

Higher levels of omega-3 DHA, the group of long-chain fatty acids found in algae and seafood, are associated with better sleep, shows a randomized, placebo-controlled study. The study finds that higher blood levels of the long-chain omega-3 DHA (the main omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain) are significantly associated with better sleep, including less bedtime resistance, parasomnias and total sleep disturbance. It adds that higher ratios of DHA in relation to the long-chain omega-6 fatty acid AA (arachidonic acid) are also associated with fewer sleep problems. 

Low saturated fat diets don’t curb heart disease risk or help you live longer

 Diets low in saturated fat don’t curb heart disease risk or help you live longer, says a leading US cardiovascular research scientist. And current dietary advice to replace saturated fats with carbohydrates or omega 6-rich polyunsaturated fats is based on flawed and incomplete data from the 1950s, argues the author. Dietary guidelines should be urgently reviewed and the vilification of saturated fats stopped to save lives, he insists. 

Thirty percent of adults with attention deficit disorder report childhood physical abuse 

Thirty percent of adults with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) report they were physically abused before they turned 18. This compares to seven per cent of those without ADD/ADHD who were physically abused before 18. Investigators examined a representative sample of 13,054 adults aged 18 and over. According to a co-author, “This study underlines the importance of ADD/ADHD as a marker of abuse. With 30 per cent of adults with ADD/ADHD reporting childhood abuse, it is important that health professionals working with children with these disorders screen them for physical abuse.” 

Scientists discover first gonorrhea strain resistant to all available antibiotics 

An international research team has discovered a strain of gonorrhea resistant to all currently available antibiotics. This new strain is likely to transform a common and once easily treatable infection into a global threat to public health. 

Lifelong exercising yields sensational results 

Senior active skiers have twice the oxygen-uptake capacity of seniors who do not exercise. “The findings show that humans have a great potential to maintain a high level of physical work capacity and thereby better quality of life even at advanced ages,” says a professor of sports science. 

Even the very elderly and frail can benefit from exercise 

A new study has shown that all seniors, even those considered frail, can enjoy the benefits of exercise in terms of their physical and cognitive faculties and quality of life and that these benefits appear after only three months. 

You are as old as you feel 

Older adults who see themselves as old and frail will start to feel old and frail. 

Brain fitness programs may help frail elderly walk faster, study suggests 

Computerized brain fitness programs are known to help seniors improve their memory and focus. Now a new study has found preliminary evidence that such programs may help frail seniors walk faster, potentially preventing disability and improving quality of life. 

Even the very elderly and frail can benefit from exercise 

The more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely, new research shows. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition — and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI — is a better predictor of all-cause mortality. “In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” said the study’s co-author. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.” 

One in five older Americans take medications that work against each other 

About three out of four older Americans have multiple chronic health conditions, and more than 20 percent of them are being treated with drugs that work at odds with each other — the medication being used for one condition can actually make the other condition worse. Direct competition between medications is just one of the concerns, the report noted. Use of multiple medications can also lead to increased numbers of falls and delirium, dizziness, fatigue and anorexia. 

Boosting self-esteem prevents health problems for seniors 

The importance of boosting self-esteem is normally associated with the trials and tribulations of adolescence. But new research shows that it’s even more important for older adults to maintain and improve upon those confidence levels as they enter their twilight years. “Improving self-esteem provides real health benefits in seniors,” says the lead author. “The ultimate solution may be to prevent self esteem from declining.” 

Diets high in animal protein may help prevent functional decline in elderly individuals

 A diet high in protein, particularly animal protein, may help elderly individuals function at higher levels physically, psychologically, and socially, according to a study. The research suggests that as people age, their ability to absorb or process protein may decline. To compensate for this loss, protein requirements may increase with age. 

Healthy midlife diet may prevent dementia later 

Making healthy dietary choices in midlife could lower the risk of dementia in later years by almost 90%, according to new research. 

Regular physical activity reduces breast cancer risk irrespective of age 

Practising sport for more than an hour day reduces the risk of contracting breast cancer, and this applies to women of any age and any weight, and also unaffected by geographical location. Compared with the least active women, those with the highest level of physical activity reduced their risk of breast cancer by 12%, researchers say. 

New guidelines deem 13 million more Americans eligible for statins 

New guidelines for using statins to treat high cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease are projected to result in 12.8 million more U.S. adults taking the drugs, according to a new research. The new guidelines expand the criteria for statin use to include people whose 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke, is elevated based on a risk-assessment score.

For a different point of view, read Statin Drugs Side Effects and the Misguided War on Cholesterol by Dr. Duane Graveline, M.D.

 Can Smoking Pot Really Give You Man-Boobs? 

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has proven to be a very hot topic nationwide. As individual states begin to pass laws to legalize its use, the question of health risks related to marijuana come into question. As a Plastic Surgeon, I work with a number of male patients who are mainly pursuing body contouring procedures. Many of them come to me with long-standing gynecomastia (man boobs) or “moobs” as this condition has often been referred to.

Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats 

The smells of summer — the sweet fragrance of newly opened flowers, the scent of freshly cut grass and the aroma of meats cooking on the backyard grill — will soon be upon us. Now, researchers are reporting that the very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats. 

Brain differences in college-aged occasional drug users 

Impaired neuronal activity has been found in the parts of the brain associated with anticipatory functioning among occasional 18- to 24-year-old users of stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs such as Adderall. The brain differences, detected using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are believed to represent an internal hard wiring that may make some people more prone to drug addiction later in life. 

Life lessons: Children learn aggressive ways of thinking and behaving from violent video games, study finds 

Children who repeatedly play violent video games are learning thought patterns that will stick with them and influence behaviors as they grow older, according to a new study. The effect is the same regardless of age, gender or culture. The lead researcher says it is really no different than learning math or to play the piano. 


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