Melatonin Regulates Our Cycles, Mood, Reproduction, Weight and May Help Combat Cancer

Story at-a-glance

The hormone melatonin is most known for its role in helping you sleep, but research indicates it also help protect your brain health and fight against cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and more

Melatonin appears to Continue reading

Thousands Dying from Hospital Acquired Infections

hospital-cleaner-40_679214cHospitals failing to prevent deadly infections

My mother was a pretty easygoing gal, but Heaven help you if you ever violated her most cherished rule — always clean up after yourself.

Well, it looks like plenty of hospitals today could use Continue reading

Teens Susceptible to Hepatitis B Infection despite Vaccination as Infants

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  • If you are opposed to the hepatitis B vaccine for your baby at birth, you can amend the “consent for medical treatment” forms you sign upon entering the hospital before giving birth by writing on the form that you do not give consent for your baby’s hepatitis B vaccination but, unfortunately, that is no guarantee Continue reading

The Epidemiology of Processed Food

Spring is here, and if you’re like me, that means it won’t be long before you’re firing up the charcoals and grilling some of your favorite foods.

But this year I want you to try something different — even if it’s a little painful. I want you to cut hot dogs and sausages out of your grilling routine for good. Continue reading

Cheaper Drugs Could Lead to Serious Eye issues: Queen’s University Expert

blindA Queen’s study of two eye drugs used to treat wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) has determined the cheaper of the two could lead to eye inflammation, a potentially blinding adverse effect.

“This is a very important finding,” says Sanjay Sharma (Ophthalmology and Epidemiology), Continue reading

This Popular Drug Creates Over 60,000 New Diabetics Each Year

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• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring additional warning labels for the cholesterol-lowering drug class known as statins, warning that the drugs may increase your risk of liver damage, memory loss and confusion, type 2 diabetes and muscle weakness

• The FDA has removed Continue reading

The Myth of the ‘Low-Fat’ Diet, and Why Consuming Healthy Fats Is Vital to Your Health

Many people today still adhere to the misguided belief that nearly all fats are bad, and that the best way to stay slim and healthy is to cut fats, whenever possible, from your diet. On the contrary, fats are an absolutely vital component of any healthy diet as they aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, as well as feed the brain, heart, liver, lungs, bones, cells and nervous system the nutrients they need to function properly.

It is widely assumed that, because they are called “fats,” these substances must contribute to obesity and obesity-related illnesses like heart disease that afflict millions of people today. This is true for trans fats and certain other unhealthy fats, of course, but there are all kinds of healthy fats as well, such as coconut oil, for instance, or even animal-based fats like grass-fed butter Continue reading

NIH Study Links High Levels of Cadmium, Lead in Blood to Pregnancy Delay

Higher blood levels of cadmium in females, and higher blood levels of lead in males, delayed pregnancy in couples trying to become pregnant, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other academic research institutions.

Cigarette smoke is the most common source of exposure to cadmium,, a toxic metal found in the earth’s crust, which is used in batteries, pigments, metal coatings and plastics. Smokers are estimated to have twice the levels of cadmium as do non-smokers. Exposure also occurs in workplaces where cadmium-containing products are made, and from the air near industrial facilities that emit cadmium. Airborne cadmium particles can travel long distances before settling on the ground or water. Soil levels of cadmium vary with location. Fish, plants, and animals absorb cadmium from the environment, and all foods contain at least low levels of the metal.

Lead, a toxic metal also found in the earth’s crust, is used in a variety of products, such as ceramics, pipes, and batteries. Common sources of lead exposure in the United States include lead-based paint in older homes, Continue reading

Shake Loose the Salt Myths

Most of us have heard the message that we should cut back on salt for better health. But medical research has questioned the wisdom of having everyone eat a low-sodium diet. The result: No one seems to know exactly how much salt we should consume.

After all, it is widely believed that high consumption of sodium is associated with heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney stones and osteoporosis.

In fact, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study headed by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., cutting back on salt could lead to “44,000-92,000 fewer deaths from any cause annually.”

Moreover, the American Medical Association (AMA) says that if we reduced the salt in restaurant foods and processed foods by half, we might be saving 150,000 lives a year within a decade.

Frightening Numbers

These numbers are scary, especially given that table salt is so freely available to everyone. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration Continue reading

Unprocessed and Processed Meats Pose a Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers finds a strong association between the consumption of red meat — particularly when the meat is processed — and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also shows that replacing red meat with healthier proteins, such as low-fat dairy, nuts, or whole grains, can significantly lower the risk.

The study, led by An Pan, research fellow in the HSPH Department of Nutrition, will be published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on August 10, 2011 and will appear in the October print edition.

Pan, senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, and colleagues analyzed questionnaire responses from 37,083 men followed for 20 years  Continue reading

Improved Health Living in Green Spaces

Improved Health Living in Green Spaces

The best health benefits come from living less than a kilometre (0.62miles) from a green space.

There is more evidence that living near a ‘green space’ has health benefits.

Research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health says the impact is particularly noticeable in reducing rates of mental ill health.

The annual rates of 15 out of 24 major physical diseases were also significantly lower among those living closer to green spaces.

One environmental expert said the study confirmed that green spaces create ‘oases’ of improved health around them.

The researchers from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam looked at the health records of 350,000 people registered with 195 family doctors across the Netherlands.

Only people who had been registered with their GP for longer than 12 months were included because the study assumed this was the minimum amount of time people would have to live in an environment before any effect of it would be noticeable.

Health impact

The percentages of green space within a one and three kilometre (0.62 and 1.86 miles) radius of their home were calculated using their postcode.

On average, green space accounted for 42% of the residential area within one kilometre (0.62 miles) radius and almost 61% within a three kilometre (1.86 miles) radius of people’s homes.

DISEASES THAT BENEFIT MOST FROM GREEN SPACES

Coronary heart disease

Neck, shoulder, back, wrist and hand complaints

Depression and anxiety

Diabetes

Respiratory infections and asthma

Migraine and vertigo

Stomach bugs and urinary tract infections

Unexplained physical symptoms

And the annual rates for 24 diseases in 7 different categories were calculated.

The health benefits for most of the diseases were only seen when the greenery was within a one kilometre ( 0.62 miles ) radius of the home.

The exceptions to this were anxiety disorders, infectious diseases of the digestive system and medically unexplained physical symptoms which were seen to benefit even when the green spaces were within three kilometres of the home.

The biggest impact was on anxiety disorders and depression.

Anxiety disorders

The annual prevalence of anxiety disorders for those living in a residential area containing 10% of green space within a one kilometre (0.62 miles) radius of their home was 26 per 1000 whereas for those living in an area containing 90% of green space it was 18 per 1000.

For depression the rates were 32 per 1000 for the people in the more built up areas and 24 per 1000 for those in the greener areas. The researchers also showed that this relation was strongest for children younger than 12. They were 21% less likely to suffer from depression in the greener areas.

Two unexpected findings were that the greener spaces did not show benefits for high blood pressure and that the relation appeared stronger for people aged 46 to 65 than for the elderly.

The researchers think the green spaces help recovery from stress and offer greater opportunities for social contacts.

They say the free physical exercise and better air quality could also contribute.

Dr Jolanda Maas of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said: “It clearly shows that green spaces are not just a luxury but they relate directly to diseases and the way people feel in their living environments.”

“Most of the diseases which are related to green spaces are diseases which are highly prevalent and costly to treat so policy makers need to realize that this is something they may be able to diminish with green spaces.”

Professor Barbara Maher of the Lancaster Environment Centre said the study confirmed that green spaces create oases of improved health around them especially for children.

She said: “At least part of this ‘oasis’ effect probably reflects changes in air quality. “Anything that reduces our exposure to the modern-day ‘cocktail’ of atmospheric pollutants has got to be a good thing.”