Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility

Mothers Who Just Gave Birth May Prevent Smoking Relapse By Breastfeeding

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Women who quit smoking during pregnancy may find themselves going back to the bad habit after giving birth. However, a new study suggests that breastfeeding may prevent this itch to light up a smoke.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York looked into smoking behaviors of pregnant women from the time they were pregnant to months after delivering the child. Although many of the mothers quit smoking during pregnancy, about two-thirds of them relapsed within 3 months after giving birth, while 90 percent of them were found to return to smoking within 6 months.

The study proponents believe that smoking should not be part of the mother’s lifestyle habits even after childbirth. “Increase in tobacco consumption after the birth of a child may have harmful effects on both the mother, and the infant who is at higher risk of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke,” said study co-author Shannon Shisler in a news release.

Upon assessment of data on maternal activities and smoking habits, the researchers found out that women who engaged in breastfeeding for a minimum of 90 days smoked significantly less frequently than those who did not breastfeed their children. “Breastfeeding seems to be a protective factor against increases in smoking after childbirth, so interventions should educate women about breastfeeding to maximize effectiveness. Supporting women through at least 3 months of breastfeeding may have long-term benefits in terms of smoking reduction,” Shisler added.

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Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Teen E-Cigarette Use Increased Three Times In 2014

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The issue on electronic cigarette use by teenagers has escalated to troubling figures, according to a recent report by two of the government’s top health agencies.

A joint report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Center for Tobacco Products of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that the use of e-cigarettes by high school students increased from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. The triple increase is “worrisome,” according to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. “We’re concerned that there are multiple aspects of e-cigarette use that are concerning that includes addiction to nicotine, effects on the developing brain, and the significant likelihood that a proportion of those who are using e-cigarettes will go on to use combustible cigarettes,” Frieden said in a news item.

The study involved a survey of more than 22,000 students in middle and high school from 2011 to 2014. The participants were asked if they used e-cigarettes at least once for the past 30 days. The representative survey results indicated that the increase in percentage of e-cigarette use represents roughly 2 million high school students hooked on e-cigarettes in 2014, as compared to only 660,000 in the previous year. A similar trend was observed in middle school students, from only 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent last year.

Despite earlier reports of decreased use of tobacco products, Frieden said that this is a bitter pill of a victory. “The decrease in cigarette smoking, of course, it’s a good thing when fewer kids are smoking cigarettes. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to suggest there is a causal relationship between the increase in e-cigarette use and the decrease in child tobacco use,” the CDC director added.

To this day, the FDA has not released any regulations on electronic cigarettes, but discussions are already under way to categorize it in the same group as traditional tobacco cigarettes.

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Health & Wellness

Type 1 Diabetes Children Have High Risk Of Hospital Admissions

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According to a new study published in the BMJ Open journal, children diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes are more likely to be hospitalized.

The study analyzed data from the Brecon Group Register to assess the main reasons behind kids with Type 1 Diabetes being admitted to hospitals. Close to 1,600 children not exceeding 15 years old and residing in Wales, U.K. were cross-referenced with 7,800 child admission cases selected at random from the Patient Episode Database for Wales (PEDW).

Results of the study showed that kids diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes were up to five times more likely to be sent to the hospital compared to those without the debilitating disease. “It is unsurprising that complications of suboptimal management, such as hypoglycaemia [low blood sugar] and ketoacidosis [excess sugar and acid in the blood] occur, leading to hospitalisation,” the researchers said in a news release.

Type 1 Diabetes continues to be a growing health issue for children worldwide. In the U.K. alone, a steady annual increase of up to 4 percent in the number of diabetes cases has been recorded. Meanwhile, people with Type 1 Diabetes are roughly nine times more likely to die before age 30 compared to the general population.

Health & Wellness

New Broccoli Variant Helps Lower Bad Cholesterol

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broccoli to control cholesterol level

The Institute of Food Research (IFR) in the U.K. discovered that feeding on a particular variety of broccoli may decrease the level of bad cholesterol by about 6 percent.

Beneforté broccoli, a variant of the crunchy green vegetable, contains up to three times more glucoraphanin, a natural plant compound that helps in maintaining proper metabolism of sugars and fats. The vegetable was included in the diets of 130 participants who took a weekly serving of 400 grams of Beneforté broccoli. The participants were monitored in terms of cholesterol level, particularly LDL cholesterol. Results revealed that a six percent reduction in LDL cholesterol was observed after 12 weeks into the program.

The study was conducted by IFR and sponsored by Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc., Innovate UK, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The promising results, while seemingly small in magnitude, could lead to prevention of coronary artery disease and other cardiovascular illnesses.

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Health & Wellness

B.B. King Sent To Hospital, Dehydrated Due To Diabetes

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The King of Blues was reported by the Los Angeles Times to have been hospitalized recently.

B.B. King, the 89-year-old blues legend behind the hits “When Love Comes To Town” and “The Thrill Is Gone”, was rushed to the hospital after experiencing dehydration, which was traced to his long bout with Type 2 Diabetes. The legendary guitarist’s daughter, Claudette, said that his father was already doing “much better”.

King also experienced dehydration in October 2014, prompting him to cancel the remainder of his concert tour at the time. However, this hasn’t stopped the blues guitar icon to perform in roughly 100 shows each year.

He was regarded by Rolling Stone as number 6 in the magazine’s 2011 list of the Top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

[ Image source ]

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Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

CDC Warns of Drug Resistant Bug

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about a particularly nasty stomach bug that has made its way to the United States and has caused more than 200 people to become ill since last May. Many of those cases were traced back to people who had just returned from abroad, particularly from India or the Dominican Republic.

Although outbreaks of the shigella bug aren’t uncommon, what makes this bug worse than usual is that it is resistant to the antibiotics that are usually prescribed to deal with it.

In its report on the bug, the CDC says it has sickened at least 243 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico. Shigella is a common cause of diarrhea and antibiotics can be prescribed for more serious cases.

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Health & Wellness

Using Small Plates To Eat Less Doesn’t Work In Overweight Teenage Girls

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Many dieters have found it helpful to eat in smaller portions by using smaller plates, but a new study discovered that this scheme might not work for teenagers who are overweight.

Study co-author Lance Bauer of the University of Connecticut acknowledged the impact of smaller-sized portions to reduce food intake. “It has been assumed that overweight or obese consumers are more likely than others to underestimate the size of a food serving and accordingly overeat–particularly when the food is presented on a large dinner plate or in a large container… For this reason and others, it is frequently recommended that these consumers use smaller plates to defeat the illusion,” Bauer said in a news item.

However, the study revealed that teenage girls who were overweight or obese revealed might not be able to use the technique due to lack of attention. “The study found that, on average, overweight or obese adolescent girls were less attentive than normal weight girls to visual cues of different types… This finding suggests that changing the size of their dinnerware may be less effective than we thought. It also suggests that presenting them with detailed charts summarizing diet rules or calorie counts might also be less effective than we would like,” Bauer expressed.

The study involved more than 160 female teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 who were asked to assess food portion sizes in relation to the size of the plate.

“In diet education, one size might not fit all,” Bauer added.

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Health & Wellness

Study: Active Lifestyle During Midlife Lowers Risk of Cancer Death in Men

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A recent study might be just the thing to motivate men to spend more time at the gym.

Researchers from the University of Vermont discovered that males who engage in fitness activities during their midlife may find themselves with less risk of dying from certain cancers beyond 65 years old. The study involved data from more than 14,000 males between 1971 and 2009. The comprehensive analysis revealed a 44 percent reduction in risk of drying from colorectal cancer, and a significant 55 percent decrease from lung cancer death.”These findings provide further support for the effectiveness of cardiorespiratory fitness assessment in preventive health care settings,” the authors said via a news release.

However, the study proponents were dumbfounded as to the effect of increased midlife fitness to prostate cancer mortality. Results showed that engaging in more activity during midlife was linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. The researchers believe that one possible reason behind this surprising discovery was that men who keep an active lifestyle are more likely to subject themselves to medical diagnosis, which might have captured many cases of prostate cancer.

Still, the researchers believe there is much to learn about the circumstances and underlying factors involved in their study. “Future studies are required to determine the absolute level of cardiorespiratory fitness necessary to prevent site-specific cancer as well as evaluating the long-term effect of cancer diagnosis and mortality in women,” the researchers added.

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Health & Wellness Medical Marijuana

Marijuana in Colorado Found With Fungus and Foreign Materials

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Have you tried taking fungus with your pot? Marijuana users in Colorado may be in for a surprise.

Denver medical lab company Charas Scientific discovered traces of fungus, butane, and heavy metals in samples of recreational marijuana sold in Colorado. Andy LaFrate, who works as president and director of research at the lab facility, was surprised with the presence of foreign matter in cannabis samples. “You’ll see a marijuana bud that looks beautiful. And then we run it through a biological assay and we see that it’s covered in fungi,” LaFrate shared in a news report.

The findings were part of voluntary tests by lab facilities accredited by the state to conduct potency analysis on marijuana samples, with Charas Scientific one of those companies. Testing for contaminants has not been mandated by state law, although some lab firms have conducted their own tests. Charas business development chief Mary Meek said that the importance of product purity could bear a significant impact to the health of users. “Right now [the testing] is not in effect for marijuana, so you don’t really know how dirty or clean your product is right now,” Meek said. “The problem is it’s not been tracked. You may just think you’re getting a cold and it may look like allergies, when in reality it could be something else going on.”

The company, however, is quick to dismiss the notion that the revelation of this startling finding is meant to scare people from buying pot. “We want to label your marijuana like we would label your liquor or your beer. You want to know your items have been tested and they’re safe,” Meek added.

State law requires potency and consistency tests on recreational marijuana sold in retail shops.

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Health & Wellness

Study: Arthritis Risk Accurately Predicted By Diabetes and Other Health Factors

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A patient’s tendency to experience arthritis may be predicted by health conditions, including diabetes.

This was determined through a study conducted by researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine, after assessing data obtained from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey in 2011 to 2012. Study author Man Hung, PhD, who works as assistant professor in the school’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery Operations, said that predictive analysis of a person’s health could trace the likelihood of experiencing arthritis later in life. “The algorithms generated in the study offer new insights into pain and should help in the development of cost-effective care management programs for those experiencing arthritis,” Hung said in a news item.

The study involved running the survey data through an algorithm that assesses triggers for arthritis pain of more than 5,700 individuals. Data from the SF-12 Health Component Survey was also used to determine the status of patient health.

Diabetes was found to be one of the prediction factors for arthritis discomfort. Other factors such as health status were combined in one of the algorithms to produce a near-perfect accuracy of 98.6 percent. “Our results indicate that physical health along with a number of conditions can significantly distinguish individuals with and without pain,” Hung added.

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