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Archive for the ‘Health News’ Category

FDA Advises Against Uterine Fibroid Procedure

fibroidsBy Emily Murray

For women with uterine fibroids, pain and discomfort often become a way of life. While these tumorous growths are normally benign, a common procedure for their removal has now been linked to an increase in cancer.

The treatment known as “laparoscopic power morecellation” is performed by surgeons who go in with a power tool to chop up or grind fibroids for removal or the uterus during a hysterectomy. These smaller pieces are then removed through tiny incisions. While this procedure has become commonplace and is minimally invasive, the FDA estimates that 1 in every 350 women who undergo morecellation may have an undiagnosed  type of cancer known as uterine sarcoma. If this cancer is present, then the process of removing the uterus or fibroids may actually spread the cells to other parts of the body, mainly the abdomen and pelvis.

Currently the procedure is not being banned by the FDA but they are urging doctors to really take the risks into account before recommending power morecellation to their patients. Many women are not aware that while the risk isn’t extremely high, they are still potentially compromising their health.

Often doctors recommend removal when fibroids cause pain, pressure and bleeding. There are other therapies which have been used for shrinking the fibroids in size, including ulipristal acetate.

Facebook Use In Women May Hurt Self Esteem

Woman lying on bed looking unhappy with a text messageBy Emily Murray

It seems we are constantly confronted with both the benefits and drawbacks of social media use. Today is a drawback day.

A new study has discovered that using Facebook frequently can actually damage a woman’s self esteem. Researchers looked at surveys given to 881 female college students in order to come to this conclusion. The average amount of time per day spent on Facebook was about 80 minutes. The average weight of the students was 149 but the majority expressed the desire to be about 20 pounds less (around 130 pound goal weight) than their current weight. They were asked other questions relating to their self esteem and body image as well.

Researchers were able to detect a link between lower self esteem and more time spent on Facebook. This reaction  was highlighted amount those particularly who voiced a desire to lose weight. Those who were looking to maintain or gain weight did not see as impacted as their weight loss minded peers.

With new filters designed to slim your selfie and other editing software, it’s no wonder that looking at many images makes some women feel inferior. Many women post photos of themselves as they would like to be seen, shaving 10 pounds off here, smoothing blemishes there. This seems to perpetuate the beauty standard and play to other women’s insecurities. While looking at photos of our friends was once what-you-see-is-what-you-get, Facebook timelines are starting to resemble the pages of those glossy beauty magazines that leave us wanting more from our bodies.

7 Servings of Fruit/Veggies Reduces Death Risk

fresh fruits and vegetables

By Emily Murray

Nutritional guidelines are made to be changed right? It’s not out of the ordinary to switch up these rules for healthy eating as a nation growing more weight and health conscious. The latest modification is to the amount of fruits and veggies you should consume in a day. We all know that these natural wonders are good for us, but how many should we eat in order to get the maximum benefit? According to new research, that magic number is 7.

In fact, including 7 servings of fruit or vegetables daily is now believed to cut the risk of death by 42%. Special emphasis is given to consuming vegetables as opposed to fruit. While both are healthy, the highest amount of benefits appears to come from eating veggies specifically.

This latest discovery came from research conducted in the UK. A survey consisting of more than 65,000 adults over 35 years of age over a 7 year span was used to gather this important information as part of the Healthy Surveys for England.

The risk for certain deadly disease like cancer and heart disease appear to dissipate with each servings consumed over time. How much lower exactly? Well, researchers found that those who ate their vegetables regularly had a 25% lower risk of death from cancer and a 31% lower risk of dying from stroke or heart disease.

This proves that your mom was right all along….”you’ve got to eat your veggies!”

Current Stress Tests Don’t Take Valuable Info into Account

treadmillBy Emily Murray

The treadmill stress test, which is used as the standard measurement for heart health, apparently fails to take into account some very important information according to a new study.

The test, which measures how the heart reacts to exercise, currently doesn’t factor in very important differences between men and women. While further research is still needed, the idea that perhaps these tests should be looked at differently for each sex (with a different maximum heart rate) is something that is now a point of conversation in the medical community.

According to a CBS news article on the study, the typical way maximum heart rate is measured in a doctor’s office (or by fitness professionals) is to take 220 minus the person’s age, regardless of gender.

The Mayo clinic study looked at a large sample of tests from both men and women and noticed a pattern of differences as well as several similarities. For example, with both genders, maximum heart rate declines with age and in women, this decline is more gradual. The way the current testing standards are now leads younger women to overestimate their target peak rate and older women to underestimate theirs.

More consideration will be given regarding updates to current standards pending additional research.

Drink Tequila For Your Health? Cheers!

fresh aloe vera isolated on white backgroundBy Emily Murray

Now here is a news story to put a smile on your face. The sugars from the plant used to make tequila have been linked to lower blood glucose levels for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. But don’t get too excited. The process of making the alcohol actually removes the valuable sugars.

The research, which was conducted in Mexico, shows that this sugar (agavins) is actually not digestible and therefore doesn’t raise blood sugar. It’s treated as a dietary fiber in the body and passes along as such.

The study consisted of feeding mice a regular diet while adding agavins to their water. Those who consumed that sweetened water actually had lower blood sugar levels and consumed less food as a result. A hormone called GLP-1 was also produced in these mice which helps them feel fuller for longer.

For those who are medically obese, unable to regulate their blood sugar or who eat too frequently, agavins may help level out there eating patterns and result in lower weight and better health.

As far as current agave extracts sold in health stores, these are not in the correct form for this benefit either. The benefits come from the raw agavins only.

Facebook Updates Can Impact Your Mood

facebook likeBy Emily Murray

It may come as no surprise to you that Facebook can have an impact on your emotions…but now there is scientific evidence to confirm it! The good news it that positive moods are easier to catch than negative ones, according to this new research.

The study recently published in Plos One compiled analysis from more than a billion anonymous Facebook status updates posted by more than a million people in the U.S. over roughly three years. While some originally believed that Facebook users had similar posts to their friends because they aligned themselves with like-minded individuals, it appears that uniformity in posts and moods can actually be spread.

To test their theory, researchers needed to see if negative emotions and positive emotions could be spread online, so they used rainy days to see how many negative statuses would be written and if they could impact their Facebook friends who were not geographically in the same rainy area. For each person who had a weather impacted negative post, that person had 1.29% of his or her friends write an equally negative post.

Now for the good news – positivity tends to be more contagious then negativity on Facebook.

For those who posted positive Facebook updates, 1.75% of his or her friends followed suit. When researchers were asked to give their thoughts on why this might be, they suggested that Facebook is inherently intended for sharing positive life events (hence the absence of a dislike button).

So as the weekend closes in on us, try posting that “TGIF” update. You never know who you will be spreading positivity to!

To read more on the study, check out this CBS article.

Blood Test May Give Clues About Concussions

Ice hockey player on the ice. Open stadium - Winter Classic game.By Emily Murray

Whether on the sports field or the result of a freak accident, concussions are common and in some cases they can be very serious or even fatal. One mistake that many people often make is thinking that they will be fine and ignoring the signs of a concussion. This can lead to massive complications. A new blood test however may help doctors identify how severe a concussion is and how long recovery will take.

This innovation tests the amount of a protein (called total tau or T-Tau) that is released during a brain injury. This can be especially helpful for sports injuries since doctor’s will more accurately be able to recommend the appropriate amount of rest needed before returning to the game.

Swedish researchers studied blood samples from hockey players who were yet to begin their season, as well as those who were already playing. The biomarkers were low or normal in those who were yet to set foot on the ice for the season and much higher in those who had suffered head injuries during their games.

One of the main dangers for athletes is sustaining another head injury while their previous concussion is still healing. This can lead to long term health problems. While the testing is still in the beginning phases, researchers are hoping to roll out a portable testing kit that would allow athletes to test the severity of a head injury. This would alert them that they should go to the hospital immediately or could reassure them that there is no serious concision and that they can return to the game.

There is Such a Thing as Too Much Protein!

fresh raw steak with pepper and basil on the wooden board.Most of us have been told time and again that we need protein in our diets in order to stay healthy. Research now shows us that moderation is key. Too much protein can actually lead to an early death, especially for those who are middle aged. Specifically, an abundance of protein coming from animals is the issue.

After nearly 20 years of tracking the health and nutrition patterns of adults, it became clear that middle aged people who consumed a diet full of animal protein were actually four times as likely to die of cancer than those with lower protein diet. The risk of diabetes also increases and the risk of death in general doubles.

Strangely however, the risk seems to apply mainly only to the middle age population. For those over the age of 65, an increase of protein is recommended. This is because it may be harder for many older adults to maintain a healthy diet and weight on a lower protein meal plan.

For the purposes of the study, a high protein diet was defined as one in which at least 20 percent of calories were derived from protein while a low protein diet was one where the calories were a mere 10 percent from protein sources.

The guidelines that researchers believe are appropriate for middle age adults are as follows:

* About 55 grams of protein for a 150 pound person.
* This equals roughly one 8 ounce piece of meat or or a few cups of dry beans.

On average it’s believed people consume about twice the amount of protein their bodies need and for those who are middle aged, this can have negative consequences.

Angry Outbursts Lead to Heart Attack or Stroke

angerYou know that rapid onset of anger we commonly call “seeing red”? Well, losing your temper is not only troubling for your relationships (both personal and professional) but for your heart as well.

New research has found that angry outbursts increase your chance of having a cardiovascular issue within two hours of the anger. This is especially true for those who already have health issues like diabetes or who have had heart attacks in years past. This increase in risk in not a small one…in fact, researchers found that the risk of heart attack was 5 times as likely and the risk of stroke was three times higher in those experiencing bouts of anger.

The real danger of having a cardiovascular issue from one outburst may not be all that likely, but for those who frequently find themselves losing their cool this is a valid health concern.

The researchers concluded that per every 10,000 people having a heart attack each year, we can expect one heart attack to be someone who was angry only one time each month and otherwise had a low risk of heart problems. This shows that the risk is low, but still present.

Past research has shown us that anger takes a very physical toll on the body by increasing heart rate, blood pressure and vascular resistance. Over time, these issues take a toll on the heart.

For those with chronic anger issues, this may serve as a reminder that it’s best to get tempers under control before lasting damage is done.

Here are some tips for anger management:

1. For road rage, pull over and turn off you car for a few minutes before continuing on.

2. Take a walk.

3. Visualize yourself in a less stressful environment during your moment of anger.

4. Breath deeply and slowly from your diaphragm.

The New FDA Nutrition Labels

Finger on Nutrition LabelBy Emily Murray

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has announced the first massive changes for nutrition labels in over 20 years. The recent push to emphasize better health practices has prompted the FDA to highlight things like added sugars, calories and serving size.

The label will highlight important information like this in larger, bold writing so that the consumer can more accurately judge whether or not they should be choosing packaged foods and drinks that contain high amounts of unhealthy ingredients or sugar.

Think about the last time you bought a back of chips or perhaps a 20 ounce soda. You may have just assumed that the nutrition information was for the entire container or bag. This is because currently the serving size is listed but in relatively small writing. This will soon change.

Another change will be removing the “calories from fat” line to focus instead on the total calories you will consume in each serving. This is based on nutritionists opinions that it’s not necessarily important the type of calories you are consuming, it’s more important to focus on the type of fat you are eating.

When it comes to the current labels, it’s challenging to see what sugar is added and what occurs naturally. This will be another change imposed by the FDA. Labels will specify how much has been added vs. how much was there naturally.

Other changes include updates to the daily amounts for some of the nutrients listed and serving size adjustments. While the announcement was just made, don’t expect to see many of these changes at the grocery store right away. Companies have two years to change their labels to comply with the new guidelines.

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