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Navigation Difficulties Could be Early Alzheimer’s Sign

businessman in the middle of a mazeScary news for those of us who have a difficult time figuring out where to go – this could be a very early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

New research from a group at Washington University in St. Louis utilized computerized maze navigation to test those both with and without biomarkers for the disease.

The results led researchers to conclude that navigation difficulties do have a tie with disease risk.

Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s can be found by testing the brain and spinal fluids. These biomarkers can predict the development of the plaque that affects the hippocampus and caudate in the brain.

These areas of the brain are used for route learning, cognitive direction and map building. To measure the ability of these areas of the brain, a maze is sufficient.

These recent findings could allow health professionals to screen for and detect Alzheimer’s very early on and begin treating patients right away.

The study tested 42 clinically “normal” people with no biomarkers for Alzheimer’s, 13 with markers and 16 people with behavioral symptoms of early Alzheimer’s.

All participants were tested on their ability to navigate a virtual maze for town hours. There was an emphasis on seeing the users ability to learn and then follow a pre-set route. They were also tested on their ability to use a cognitive map.

Those with pre-clinical Alzheimer’s did worse than the normal group when it came to the tasks but they were able to overcome their issues and then preformed nearly on par with the normal group.

This could provide us with the incredibly valuable tool of early detection as we continue to move forward in search of a cure for the disease that impacts an estimated 5.4 million Americans.

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New Google Calendar Tool Schedules Gym Time

Time to Get Fit

If you are one of the millions who “would go to the gym but just don’t have the time,” you need to meet Google’s new Goals feature. Be warned, skipping the slotted gym time will not be without tough love.

Too often we have the best intentions of getting fit and yet when it comes to implementation in our daily lives we falter. Wouldn’t it be great if we had someone to give us that extra push? With Google’s Goals, you do.

Essentially all you need to do to utilize the new feature (available on iPhone or Android) is to choose a goal from their menu or set up your own custom goal. You will then be asked things like how often you want to work toward your goal and for how long each workout. You also can set what time of day is the best for you to reach your goal. And then, just like that, you will see workout time reserved in your calendar.

So what happens if you cancel that weekend session so that you can snooze a bit longer? Google Goals doesn’t just let you get away with it! Your workout will be moved to another time.

Ready to be held accountable? Then you are ready to hit your goals. Check out the new feature and let us know what you think! 

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Being Lonely Increases Your Heart Attack Risk

Single woman alone swinging on the beachYour emotions can impact your health and we now know that loneliness in particular puts you at a 29% higher risk of heart attack.

This study was published in the journal Heart and serves as a reminder that our social relationships strongly impact not only our emotional health but our physical health as well.

Lead researcher Nicole Valtorta, a research fellow from the University of York in the UK,  studied data from 23 completed studies which looked at around 181,000 healthy individuals.

The findings were that people experiencing loneliness had a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% higher risk of having a stroke.

There are many reasons that being lonely impacts health but statistically those who are lonely tend not to be as physically active as their socially driven peers. They may also be more likely to smoke, see their doctor less often and have higher rates of obesity.

The anxiety of feeling alone also puts stress on the heart. It can also reduce the effectiveness of your immune system making it harder for your body to handle stress.

While it’s hard to have control over whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can attempt to put more emphasis on building your social relationships. Not only do these strong bonds help our hearts, but other aspects of our physical and mental health as well.


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Fat Loss at Work is Possible When You Sit Less

leg exercise durrng office work - standing man reading at tablet in his office

Think of all the time you spend sitting each day. From getting in car for your morning commute, to sitting at your desk and then facing traffic on your way home. It’s no shocker that sitting all day is not good for your health, but do we have any other option?

Scientists have shown that standing more throughout the day will actually help you shed fat!

Danish and Australian researchers set out to see just how much better standing is for your health. These researches went to 19 offices in Denmark (a country where office workers all have sit-stand desks).

They assigned 317 people to either be encouraged to use the stand option more and be educated about the benefits or to learn nothing more about standing benefits.

The results after one month were pretty astounding.

People using the sit-stand desks actually were seated 71 minutes less each than those who chose to sit each day. They also walked about 7% more daily.

Of those who used the sit-stand desk option had half-percent less body fat in a 3 month span.

Science has proven that less time sitting is better for weight loss, but of course you can’t rely on this to slim you by itself. What you eat and how often you exercise has much more bearing on your body fat percentage.

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14-Year-Old Blinded When e-Cigarette Explodes

Female hand detaches part of the electronic cigarette: battery and clearomizers. Concept: safe way of smoking, how to stop smoking

Since their invention, e-cigarettes have come under fire for their unregulated parts and the grey areas they enter when it comes to smoking laws. A recent incident however is one that has many people concerned.

A 14-year-old was allegedly left blinded after the e-cig he tested at a Brooklyn mall kiosk exploded. He also may experience permanent damage to his hands.

This story is troubling for a variety of reasons. Not only is an innocent teen left permanently damaged, but he should not have even tested one to begin with as New York law does not allow e-cigs to be sold to minors. As a result, the boy’s father has filled a lawsuit.

It was the kiosk salesperson’s second day on the job.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident. Reports of e-cigs injuring people are nothing new and the fact that the industry remains largely unregulated remains a troubling fact.




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Dyson Hand Dryers Spread More Germs than Paper Towels!

Hand dryer hanging on the public restroom wall

Those of us who love the ease of those public restroom Dyson hand dryers, prepared to be seriously grossed out.

A new study shows that the Dyson Airblade actually spreads 60 times more viruses than regular dryers and 1,300 time more viruses than paper towels.

Yuck! You can’t say we didn’t warn you…

The study was recently published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

These findings are inconsistent with what the Dyson company claimed – that 99.9% of bacteria is filtered from the air it blows around.

Researchers in 2014 found that the Airblad spread 27 times more bacteria than paper towels.

When you place your hands in those super speedy dryers, think about the bacteria you are spreading everywhere and the bacteria you may be picking up from others. Simply put, this product that has been marketed as a hygienic way to dry is anything but.

Researchers discovered this alarming information when they tested the bacteria levels by putting on gloves and washing their hands in a suspension of viruses that infect bacteria and then drying them with either paper towels, regular dryers and the jet air dryer that is essentially the Airblade.

Not only did it find the results mentioned above, but researchers also discovered that the Airblade spreads viruses much farther (nearly 3 meters across the bathroom. By comparison, the regular dryer spread the air 75 centimeters and hand towels spread 25 centimeters.

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Why You are Attracted to Some People and Not Others

magnetismWhen we talk about attraction, we often think of romantic relationships. The truth is, there has to be something that draws us to friends too, right? Well, a new published study has found the key to attractiveness – understandable emotions.

We are drawn to people who we understand and can relate to. From their intentions to their emotions, if we feel we are on the same level of understanding, we can build a relationship. At least this is the theory put forth in the study published in the journal PNAS.

Researchers put this theory to the test in order to learn if there is a neural mechanism that helps a person be able to read another person’s emotions and therefore be attracted to them.

The gathered roughly 90 people to watch video clips of women whose faces displayed what we recognize as fear or sadness. After the conclusion of the videos, participants were asked to rate their confidence that they read the emotions correctly. In addition to this, researchers watched brain activity in the participants throughout the viewing.

The results concluded that the more certain a person was about the woman’s emotions, the more attracted they were to her. It appears that when the brain can successfully identify an emotion, the brain’s reward system is activated and attraction results.

So do great minds really think alike? Well, it appears that like minds, at least, are well matched for attraction.

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Insomniac? There is Something the Matter with Your White Matter!

man in bed with eyes opened suffering insomnia sleep disorderA small Chinese study has finally produced a potential answer to the questions surrounding insomnia.

Why do certain people experience the inability to sleep or have restless nights trying to sleep? The answer may come down to abnormalities in the brain’s white matter.

The white matter of the brain is considered the tissues that create connections and allow information to be carried between the different parts of the brain.

The specific portions of the white matter that has the abnormalities leading to insomnia are the areas which regulate sleep, wakefulness and cognitive function. When these connections of white matter are interrupted, we exhibit the results of this by having difficulty falling or staying asleep.

It’s believed that nearly 5% of adults suffer from insomnia, a type of sleep disorder.

The study involved the use of an advanced MRI technique and the recruitment of 23 people with primary insomnia in addition to 30 other healthy participants.

This advanced MRI method known as DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) looks at the pattern of water movement in the white matter. These movements help them identify any irregularities that may be present.

Often, those suffering from insomnia also report depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. It’s often been debated which came first – the lack of sleep or emotional disturbance.

While the brain is constantly restoring itself, researchers remain unsure if insomnia treatment could actually restore lost connections in the white matter.

There are still many questions surrounding the study but we may be getting one more step closer to understanding and successfully treating those who suffer from insomnia.



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Study Reveals That BPA is Still Present in 60% of Cans

tin can on a white background

Over the past 5 years, consumers have been reminded about the dangers of Bisphenol A, better known as BPA.

Most commonly BPA is associated with potential hormone disruption. The groups at highest risk are pregnant women and young children. You would think that due to these campaigns, BPA would be removed from cans and other products by this time.

A new report, however, revealed that grocery stores across the country are still housing a variety of different BPA containing cans.

The report was compiled by a group of non-profit organizations to highlight the potential dangers consumers are still subject to.,

The surprising result is that more than two thirds of the cans that were tested contained BPA. Some companies claim that BPA has been removed, however, there is no true confirmation as to what they are replacing this chemical with.

So what companies should we be on the lookout for?

The report found that 71% of Del Monte cans and all of Campbell’s contained BPA. Additionally, 50% of General Mills cans contained BPA.

The following brands have claimed to steer away from BPA and were free of it – Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown, Hain Celestial Group and ConAgra.

In light of the recent findings, Campbell’s came forward this week to announce that they will discontinue the use of BPA in their can lining by the middle of 2017.

Healthy eating advocates, Whole Foods, has vowed to eliminate BPA products completely. A few items were still found to be packaged in cans containing BPA.

Evidence has also shown that BPA can cause infertility, obesity, diabetes and other reproductive problems.


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Caffeine Intake in Fathers Linked to Miscarriage

Man sitting at a cafe in Stockholm. He is typing on his smart phone and holding his coffee. Behind him there is a woman sitting at the table and looking away. Hipster and vintage look.

Expectant mothers must watch everything they consume, that’s something we are all familiar with but what about dads-to-be?

It appears that men who consume more than two caffeinated beverages a day in the weeks leading up to conception are at an increased risk of experiencing a miscarriage.

For women, the risk of miscarriage may also increase if she drinks more than two caffeinated beverages each day during the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

The fact that a man’s caffeine intake can impact the pregnancy is pretty surprising. We have become familiar with the idea that what a woman does pre-pregnancy will impact her baby but the idea that a substance like caffeine can impact it is a bit more unexpected.

You are probably wondering why this happens, right? Well, currently so are study researchers. These findings were part of an observational study so further research is needed.

One theory is that caffeine may be responsible for turning off certain genes in either the sperm or the egg. There is currently no research that can fully back this theory .

Another finding is that women who take multivitamins before and during pregnancy have a decreased risk of miscarriage, taking down the risk by down by 79%.

Both male and female consumption of two caffeinated beverages daily was associated with a shocking 74% greater risk of miscarriage.

Current recommendations for women still stand – maintaining a healthy weight, taking vitamins and seeing a doctor all decrease the chances of a miscarriage occurring. Now, men may start rethinking their diet prior to conception as well.

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