Friday, December 2, 2011

Exercise May Help You Sleep Better

A new study shows people who exercise regularly may sleep better. Researchers led by Oregon State University followed more than 2,600 adults who ranged from 18 to 85 years old.

Those who met national exercise guidelines -- 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise -- were 65-percent less likely to report frequently feeling sleepy during the day compared to people who got less exercise.

They were also less likely to report having trouble concentrating. Experts say exercise may lead to better sleep by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression levels. It also may help that exercise helps people lose weight, which can lead to improved sleep.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tips to Protect Kids Who Have Food Allergies

Depending on your child's sensitivity, a food allergy can range from very mild to life-threatening. The American Dietetic Association offers these suggestions to help protect kids who have food allergies:
  •  Always check food labels for potential allergens.
  •  Make sure you inform all family members, teachers and caregivers about the severity of food allergies and symptoms to watch for.
  •  Make sure your child is fully informed, so he or she can be proactive in preventing an allergic reaction.
  •  Work with a registered dietitian to develop a healthy eating plan that excludes allergens.
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Tips to Prevent Epilepsy

Epilepsy may be preventable in some situations, experts say. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentions these potential opportunities for prevention:
  •  Seek prenatal care during pregnancy to reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.
  •  Get all recommended immunizations to ward off serious infections.
  •  Protect against traumatic brain injury. Use bicycle and sports helmets as appropriate, and take steps to reduce the risk of falls.
  •  Manage risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol to reduce your chances of stroke.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eating Healthy for Vegetarians

Vegetarians are no less susceptible than others to malnutrition. The key is to eat a variety of foods that ensure enough calories and proper nutrition, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The agency offers these suggestions for a healthy vegetarian diet:
  •   Choose plant-based protein sources such as soy, nuts, peas and beans.
  •   Get plenty of calcium through leafy, dark-green vegetables, calcium-fortified foods and dairy products.
  •   Make peas and beans important staples of your diet, and make nuts a regular snack food.
  •   Get plenty of vitamin B12 -- found naturally only in animal products -- by choosing fortified foods, such as cereals or soy products.
All of us need to reward ourselves over a time for the stress toll taken both physically and mentally by us. One of the best ways to chill out is to take a vacation and here are some amazing worldwide vacation rentals you can consider booking for your vacations
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tips to add Flavoring to Popcorn without the Fat

Popcorn can be a healthy snack, but you need to skip the butter and salt. The American Dietetic Association lists these healthier alternatives to flavor your popcorn:
  •  A sprinkle of spice, such as paprika, chili powder or pepper.
  •  Garlic and basil seasoning.
  •  Low-fat parmesan cheese.
  •  A small amount of chocolate chips.
  •  A little bit of peanut butter.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Operation could turn Brown Eyes Blue

Blue eyes
A simple 20-second laser treatment procedure might turn brown eyes blue, a US doctor claims.

Dr Gregg Homer of Stroma Medical, a clinical equipment company primarily based in California, claimed his new "Lumineyes" treatment might be a permanent alternative to colored contact lenses.

The treatment uses a laser to remove melanin, the brown pigment, from the upper layer of the iris, leaving the blue color free to replace it within two to three weeks of the procedure.

But the process is irreversible because the melanin will not grow back and cannot be replaced.

Brown eyes, the most common type across the world, appear so because of the layer of pigment at the front of their eye.

People with blue eyes also have melanin, but it is concentrated at the back of the iris rather than the front, which means the eye absorbs longer wavelengths of light while reflecting shorter ones.

Dr Homer, a former entertainment lawyer, said the cosmetic operation would cost about £3,000 and could be available in countries outside America within 18 months, but the Daily Mail reported that clinical trials have yet to be completed.

He told KTLA Morning News: "A blue eye is not opaque, you can see deeply into it, while a brown eye is very opaque. I think there is something very meaningful about this idea of having open windows to the soul."

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

Healthy Teeth Cartoon
Your diet can play a significant role in the health of your teeth and gums. The American Dental Association suggests these dietary tips to help keep your mouth healthy:
  •  Avoid sodas and fruit drinks sweetened with sugar.
  •  Limit consumption of candies, cookies, pastries and other desserts with added sugar.
  •  Eat nutritious snacks that are lower in sugar.
  •  Brush at least twice daily and floss daily.
  •  Drink water often.
  •  Keep a food journal and review it for high-sugar foods. Compare your diet to the food pyramid recommendations.
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Causes of Headaches in Children

Children Headache
Children are considered to be no less prone than adults to dull or throbbing pains of the head.

The Nemours Foundation suggests these common triggers of headaches in children:
  •  Getting insufficient sleep, or rapidly changing the patterns of sleep.
  •  Missing meals or becoming dehydrated.
  •  Taking certain medications.
  •  Being under stress.
  •  Experiencing hormonal changes.
  •  Spending too much time in front of the TV or computer.
  •  Receiving a mild head injury or having an infection.
  •  Spending a long time riding in the car.
  •  Inhaling strong odors.
  •  Smoking.
  •  Consuming caffeine.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tips to Reduce In-Flight Ear Pain

Airplane Cartoon
Flying can cause discomfort in the ears, and can be especially painful to children with an ear infection.

The Nemours Foundation suggests following ways to help alleviate a child's ear pain during takeoff or landing, when changes in pressure are most likely to trigger ear pain:
  •  Offer plenty of water or other decaffeinated drinks.
  •  Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen about 30 minutes before takeoff or landing.
  •  If your child is at least 3 years old, offer a piece of gum or hard candy.
  •  Offer a baby a bottle or pacifier, or breast-feed.
  •  Encourage your child to yawn often.
  •  Keep your child awake during takeoff and landing, and encourage swallowing.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Eating Walnuts Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Health benefits of Walnuts
Though they are hard to crack, walnuts have a handful of medicinal values from curing headache and preventing baldness to having some influence on fertility. Now, a new research has revealed that eating a modest amount of walnuts as a regular part of the diet might reduce a woman's chance of developing breast cancer.

The researchers at the Marshall University found that a daily dose of walnuts - equal to 2 ounces a day in humans - reduces the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.

Lead researcher Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and colleagues studied the mice from the mother, through conception and throughout life. They then compared mice given walnuts to those fed a regular diet.

They found that the group whose diet included walnut at both stages developed breast cancer at less than half the rate of the group with the standard diet.  In addition, the number of tumors and their sizes were significantly smaller.

"These reductions are particularly important when you consider that the mice were genetically programmed to develop cancer at a high rate," Hardman said.

"We were able to reduce the risk for cancer even in the presence of a preexisting genetic mutation," she added.  Using genetic analysis, they researchers found that the walnut-containing diet changed the activity of multiple genes that are relevant to breast cancer in both mice and humans.

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols that may all reduce the risk of the disease.

"The results of this study indicate that increased consumption of walnut could be part of a healthy diet and reduce risk for cancer in future generations," she said. The study was funded by grants from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the California Walnut Commission. The study appears in the journal Nutrition and Cancer .  

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Women Who Eat Faster More Likely to be Obese

Women eating Food
A new research has found that Middle-aged women who are quick in downing their meals are much more likely to be overweight or obese than women who eat slower.

Otago University researchers analyzed the relationship between self-reported speed of eating and body mass index (BMI) in more than 1,500 New Zealand women aged 40 to 50, an age group known to be at high risk of weight gain.

Study principal investigator Dr Caroline Horwath said that after adjusting for factors such as age, ethnicity, smoking, physical activity and menopause status, the researchers found that the faster women reported eating, the higher their BMI, reported

The study by the university's department of human nutrition could lead to new and more successful methods of treating obesity, the researchers say.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Benefits of chewing Sugarless Gum

Bacteria that contribute to dental plaque desire for sugar. These bacteria produce plaque acids that aid in tooth decay by breaking down tooth enamel.

Chewing sugarless gum, however, can help promote a healthier mouth, the American Dental Association says. The ADA mentions these possible benefits of chewing sugarless gum:
  •   Chewing helps increase the production of saliva, which can help wash away acids that can damage teeth.
  •   Increased saliva includes more calcium and phosphate, which can help strengthen tooth enamel.
  •   Sugarless gum contains sweeteners -- such as aspartame, sorbitol or mannitol -- that don't contribute to cavities.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tips for Safer Use of Cosmetics

cosmetic products
Cosmetic products often include fragrances and preservatives, which might lead to skin problems and other side effects among some users.

The website offers these suggestions for safer use of cosmetics:
  •  Never apply cosmetics when driving.
  •  Never share cosmetics with another person.
  •  Store cosmetics out of direct sunlight, away from heat and with caps tightly closed.
  •  Skip makeup when you have an eye infection, and throw away old cosmetics if you've developed an infection.
  •  Don't add liquid to any cosmetic, unless so-directed on the label.
  •  Throw out cosmetics if the color changes or they develop an odor.
  •  Don't use aerosol sprays around fire, and take care not to breathe deeply around aerosol sprays or powders.
  •  Avoid additives that aren't approved for use in a particular cosmetic.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beetroot Juice boosts Performance in Athletes

According to a recent study conducted in the University of Exeter in UK, it has been revealed that beetroot juice is an energy powerhouse and it can make wonders happen. It is an energy booster that can help the performance of the athletes. With the help of this wonder juice there has been a recorded improvement seen in the performances of athletes.

In the era where athletes take all the pains to work hard and practice, and drink protein shakes to make themselves fit and energetic, beetroot juice comes as a one stop solution for the health and agility of mind, health and the body.

The reason behind this is supposed to be the nitrates that are present in the super veggie these nitrates, when reacted with the body, form nitric oxides, which helps the athlete, perform better at their events. In races where the difference even of a few seconds might mean a win or a loss, beetroot juice can make the difference.

Researcher Professor Andrew Jones said: ‘This is the first time we’ve studied the effects of beetroot juice, and the high nitrite levels found in it, on simulated competition”.

He further added, “These findings show an improvement in performance that, at competition level, could make a real difference – particularly in an event like the Tour de France where winning margins can be tight”.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by symptoms of pain or discomfort in the abdomen that persist for at least three months.

The website says the condition affects up to 20% of adults in the United States. Symptoms may include:
  •  Stomach pain or cramps.
  •  Constipation or diarrhea, or alternating between the two.
  •  A sensation of not being finished with a bowel movement.
  •  Mucus in the stools.
  •  Gas, bloating or swelling in the abdominal region.
  •  Discomfort, unusual fullness or nausea after eating a normal-sized meal.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Factors that might Lead to Skin Cancer

People who have had severe blistering sunburns or frequent exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays are at higher risk of developing skin cancer, the U.S. National Cancer Institute reminds us.

Here the agency's list of additional factors that increases your risk of getting the disease:
  •  Using tanning beds on a regular basis.
  •  Having had skin cancer before.
  •  Having a close family member with a history of skin cancer.
  •  Having fair skin that burns easily.
  •  Taking medication that increases sensitivity to sunlight.
  •  Having a medical condition that compromises the immune system, or taking a medication that suppresses the immune system.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Olive Oil might Prevent Strokes: Study

According to a new French study, olive oil could help prevent strokes in elderly people.

Researchers at the University of Bordeaux studied medical records from nearly 8,000 people aged 65 and older.

Olive oil consumption was labeled in participants as “no use,” “moderate use” and “intensive use.” Over the five-year study period, 148 people had strokes.

Results from the study show that people who used olive in both cooking and as a dressing or with bread had a 41% lower risk of stroke compared to those people who never used olive oil in their diet. As a result, researchers said people over age 65 may need a new set of dietary guidelines.

“Olive oil is a big part of the Mediterranean Diet, which is a healthy diet that includes olive oil as their primary fat source, so as a result it’s not surprising to see that this is beneficial,” Carolyn Snyder, a registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic, said in a news release. And the good news is that olive oil is easy to add to any diet.

“It’s a very simple salad dressing, mixing that with a little balsamic vinaigrette,” Snyder said. “You can use it to dip whole grain breads in with a little bit of seasoning like basil.”
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Early exposure to pets might lower risk of future allergy

Having a pet at home during the first year of a child may halve the risk of developing allergic to them later in life, a new study suggests.

The study was published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy.

Researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit assessed 566 boys and girls who were followed from birth until age 18. They found that boys who had dogs and teens who had cats during their first year of life had 50 percent less risk of developing pet allergies later.

Lead researcher Ganesha Wegienka said: "This research provides further evidence that experiences in the first year of life are associated with health status later in life, and that early life pet exposure does not put most children at risk of being sensitized to these animals later in life."

The researchers said that exposure to animals at other times in childhood didn't appear to be as significant as the first year.

However, Wegienka cautioned that this study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between having a pet and avoiding allergies, just an association between those two factors.

"We don't want to say that everyone should go out and get a dog or cat to prevent allergies," she said.

"More research is needed, though we think this is a worthwhile avenue to pursue."
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Anxiety Disorders can lead to Physical Problems

Anxiety disorders may be mental health conditions, but they can lead to a number of physical problems.

The University of Maryland Medical Center lists these physical complications that can arise from anxiety disorders:
  •   Heart disease.
  •   Risk factors for heart disease, including thickened blood vessels, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
  •   Irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal problems.
  •   Headaches.
  •   Respiratory conditions, including asthma.
  •   Obesity.
  •   Allergies, including food allergies, hay fever, eczema and other allergic conditions.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drinking too much Coffee may lead to Hallucinations

Coffee may benefit health in a few ways, but watch out. Drinking too many cups could bring on hallucinations.

Five coffees a day or more was found to be adequate to increase the participant's tendency to hallucinate, says Simon Crowe, professor of psychology at the La Trobe University. Hallucinations are false perceptions that an individual has that do not exist. For example, a person may hear, see or smell things that are not there.

According to a La Trobe statement, Crowe and colleagues at the University's School of Psychological Sciences measured the effect of stress and caffeine with 92 non-clinical participants. Participants were assigned to either a high or a low stress condition and a high or a low caffeine condition on the basis of self-report. They were then asked to listen to white noise and to report each time they heard Bing Crosby's rendition of 'White Christmas' during the white noise.

White noise is a type that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together, just as white light is produced by a combination of seven colors. The song was never played. The results indicated that the interaction of stress and caffeine had a significant effect on the reported frequency of hearing "White Christmas."

The participants with high levels of stress or who consumed high levels of caffeine were more likely to hear the song. "The combination of caffeine and stress affect the likelihood of an individual experiencing a psychosis-like symptom," says Crowe.
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Mobile Phones may lead to Cancer: WHO

Mobile phones may lead to brain cancer in humans, a World Health Organization agency said, citing a review of studies.

Exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields from handsets is greater than that from phone towers and base stations, Robert Baan, the senior scientist in charge of the International Agency for Research on Cancer report on the subject, said on a conference call with reporters. The fields are "possibly" carcinogenic, the same category as diesel fuel, chloroform and working as a firefighter, according to the IARC, based in Lyon, France, which classifies cancer risks.

This is the first time an agency working group has surveyed research on radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to make a definitive classification, the IARC said yesterday. The agency didn't issue guidelines for cell-phone use and said more study is needed after finding some evidence for an increased risk of glioma, or brain cancer.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baked Fish reduces Heart Failure Risk in Women

A recent study has revealed that postmenopausal women who ate more baked or broiled fish were at a lower risk of developing a heart failure compared to those who ate more fried fish.

Researchers have found that women who ate baked/broiled fish (five or more servings/week) had a 30% lower risk of heart failure compared to women who seldom ate it (less than one serving/month).

The study further suggests that the type of fish and cooking method may affect heart failure risk. Dark fish (salmon, mackerel and bluefish) significantly reduce heart failure risk than either tuna or white fish (sole, snapper and cod).

On the other hand, eating fried fish hikes the risk of a heart failure. Even one serving a week was associated with a 48% higher heart failure risk.

"Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, senior author of the study. "When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that is harmful," he added.

A team led by Lloyd-Jones examined self-reported dietary data from 84,493 postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.

They divided the participants based on the frequency and type of fish consumption. The baked/broiled fish group consisted of canned tuna, tuna salad, tuna casserole, white fish (broiled or baked), dark fish (broiled or baked) and shellfish (not fried). Whereas, the fried fish group consisted of fried fish, fish sandwich and fried shellfish.

The result showed that participants who ate more baked/broiled fish tended to be healthier and younger than their counterparts who ate fried fish.

They were more physically active and fit - more educated and less likely to smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease (irregular heartbeat and coronary artery disease).

The study appears in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Traveling despite Asthma and Allergies

Traveling can expose you to new triggers for allergies and asthma, but planning ahead can help you breathe a bit easier while you're away.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology offers these travel suggestions:
  •  Pack your asthma and allergy meds in carry-on bags, and keep them in their original containers.
  •  Continue to take your medications on schedule as directed by your doctor.
  •  Prepare for potential problems, such as food allergies.
  •  Keep contact information for your allergist and an emergency contact handy.
  •  If possible, find an allergist at your travel destination.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Health Tip : Assess your Eating Habits

If you've tried various diets and can't seem to lose weight, maybe it's time to re-evaluate your eating habits.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these suggestions:
  •  Keep a diary of all foods you eat, when you ate them, how you were feeling, and what you were doing when you ate. Review the diary after a few days and look for patterns in your habits.
  •  Take note of factors such as how quickly you ate, how much you ate, any meals you skipped, when you ate dessert, and when you ate despite not being hungry.
  •  Think about why you have those eating habits, and choose those that you'd like to change.
  •  Use your diary to figure out what causes you to eat when you aren't hungry (factors such as stress, while watching TV or being bored). Figure out of how to avoid eating in response to those triggers.
  •  Be consistent with your new eating habits, and realize that it may take time for them to stick.
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Red Wine and Chocolate Sharpen your Mind

Red wine and chocolate make for a deadly combination to keep your mind sharp and alert, a study suggests.

Polyphenols, plant chemicals rich in dark chocolate and wines, dilate blood vessels, speeding the supply of blood to the brain.

"This provides it with a rush of oxygen and sugars, making complex calculations easier and quicker. Besides polyphenols are more effective in combination than alone," the Daily Mail reports.

The theory follows two Northumbria University studies into the effects of polyphenols on the mind. In the first, healthy adults were set a series of tests after taking a capsule packed with Resveratrol, the 'wonder ingredient' in red wine. Scans showed a noticeable increase in blood flow to their brains after taking the supplement.

"Greater improvements may be seen in the elderly," said doctoral researcher Emma Wightman from Northumbria, because blood flow to the brain naturally decreases with age.

Unfortunately for wine lovers, the quantities of Resveratrol used in the study would equate to drinking crates of the stuff. But it is easy to get the same amounts from supplements sold in health food stores.

"And with resveratrol credited with abilities from extending life to burning off junk food," Wightman says. "There is nothing to stop people from stocking up."

"There is research showing quite a lot of health benefits and there is nothing to suggest there are any adverse effects. You are not going to come to any harm," she said.

In order to benefit from the health qualities of chocolate, choose only the dark chocolate. Other types do more damage to the body than good. And when it comes to wine, we know it's fancy, we know it tastes good, but drink moderately and not every day.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Common Causes of Itching

If itchy skin is irritating you, figuring out what's making you scratch can help you find a solution.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says common causes of itching include:
  •  Having an allergic reaction.
  •  Having dry skin, a skin rash or a skin condition such as eczema.
  •  Having an insect bite or sting.
  •  Being exposed to irritating chemicals.
  •  Having pinworms, scabies or head lice.
  •  Being pregnant.
  •  Having a reaction to a medication.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick tissue that connects the heel to the toes becomes irritated, inflamed and painful.

The ADAM Encyclopedia mentions these potential risk factors for plantar fasciitis:
  •  Having either high arches or flat feet.
  •  Being obese.
  •  Exposing the feet to repetitive stress, from activities such as running long distances, running on an uneven surfaces or running downhill.
  •  Gaining weight rapidly.
  •  Having tightness in the Achilles tendon.
  •  Wearing shoes that don't offer good arch support or have soft soles.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Health Conditions may cause Paleness

Though fair skin may simply be an indication that you protect your skin from the sun, paleness may be a sign of a health problem that needs to be addressed.

The ADAM Encyclopedia lists these health conditions and problems that may cause pale skin:
  • Anemia or insufficient red blood cells.
  • Insufficient blood flow to the skin from being cold, having low blood sugar or fainting.
  • Shock.
  • Frostbite.
  • Chronic disease such as cancer or infection.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coffee doesn't Raise Blood Pressure: Study

Regardless of previous concerns, drinking lots of coffee doesn't seem to increase the risk of high blood pressure, says a U.S. study.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, has been linked to heart disease, stroke and a shorter life expectancy, and some scientists have proposed that coffee might fuel the problem.

But according to a report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that combined data from six previous studies, covering 170,000 people, this did not appear to be the case.

"The results suggest that habitual coffee consumption of more than 3 cups per day was not associated with an increased risk of hypertension compared with less than one cup per day," wrote Liwei Chen, from the Louisiana State University School of Public Health in New Orleans, who worked on the study.

But Chen added that more data would be needed in order to draw a firm conclusion, noting that the report "is not saying there's no risk" to drinking lots of java.

What's more, people who drank between one and three cups per day had a slightly higher risk of high blood pressure than those who drank less, a result the researchers couldn't explain.

The studies surveyed the participants to find out how many cups of coffee they drank each day, from less than one to more than five, and then followed them for up to 33 years.

Just more than one in five eventually developed high blood pressure, with the chance of being diagnosed with the condition no different for people who said they chugged more than five cups of coffee a day and those who drank very little.

"I don't think of coffee as a risk factor for high blood pressure," said Lawrence Krakoff, who studies high blood pressure at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and wasn't involved in the new study.

But "if people are drinking 12 cups a day and aren't sleeping, I assume that's an important issue."

The relationship between coffee drinking and blood pressure is complicated by the possibility that it doesn't work the same way for everyone, Chen said.

"People with a different genetic background may react to coffee differently," she said.
"For some people maybe it's safe to drink a lot of coffee, but not for other people."
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Factors that may trigger Muscle Cramps

It's common to have muscles that tighten and cramp, especially if you're an avid exerciser. One of the primary triggers for muscle cramps is overuse, the ADAM Encyclopedia says.

ADAM mentions these additional causes of muscle cramps:
  •  A muscle injury.
  •  Dehydration or nutritional deficiency, including a lack of calcium or potassium.
  •  Alcoholism.
  •  Taking certain medications.
  •  Kidney failure, or an underactive thyroid.
  •  Metabolic problems.
  •  Pregnancy.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pneumonia Signs and Symptoms

Pneumonia's symptoms may appear to mimic those of other respiratory infections. But pneumonia can kill, and its warning signs shouldn't be dismissed.

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute mentions these possible warning signs of pneumonia:
  • A high fever.
  • Chills that cause you to shake.
  • Worsening bouts of coughing up phlegm.
  • Shortness of breath from performing everyday activities.
  • Having chest pain when breathing or coughing.
  • Suddenly feeling worse after you appeared to get over the flu or a cold.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

An apple a day keeps women's cholesterol at bay

According to a new study, an apple a day can really keep the doctor away - by reducing bad cholesterol levels in women.

Apples are truly a miracle fruit that convey benefits beyond fiber content, said Bahram H. Arjmandi, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University, who led the study.

Animal studies have shown that apple pectin and polyphenols in apple improve lipid metabolism and lower the production of pro-inflammatory molecules.

Arjmandi's research is the first to evaluate the long-term cardio-protective effects of daily consumption of apple in postmenopausal women.

The study randomly assigned 160 women ages 45-65 to one of two dietary intervention groups: one received dried apples daily (75g/day for 1 year) and the other group ate dried prunes every day for a year. Blood samples were taken at 3, 6 and 12-months. The results surprised Arjmandi, who stated that 'incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months - they experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol'.

The daily apple consumption also led to a lowering of lipid hydroperoxide levels and C-reactive protein in those women.

"I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about 4 percent," said Arjmandi.

Yet another advantage is that the extra 240 calories per day consumed from the dried apple did not lead to weight gain in the women; in fact, they lost on average 3.3 lbs. "Reducing body weight is an added benefit to daily apple intake" he said.

Part of the reason for the weight loss could be the fruit's pectin, which is known to have a satiety effect. The results were presented at Experimental Biology 2011 in Washington, DC.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eggs contain 14% Less Cholesterol than Thought

Many people avoid dietary cholesterol for fear of increasing their risk for heart disease. However, experts from leading institutions have now dispelled some common myths surrounding dietary cholesterol – they found that such diets don't increase the risk of heart disease. They also found that eggs contain higher Vitamin D levels and less cholesterol than thought.

The distinguished panel of the symposium speakers examined other factors impacting heart disease risk including refined carbohydrate intake, dietary cholesterol metabolism in the body and the effect of egg intake on blood vessels.

Experts from the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) presented new nutrition data that indicates eggs are now lower in cholesterol.

The USDA-ARS study found that one large egg contains 185 mg of cholesterol (down from 215 mg), 14 percent lower than previously reported on Nutrition Facts panels. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent.

A follow-up study funded by USDA-ARS examined how the new nutrient analysis of eggs impacts the overall dietary cholesterol profile of the American diet.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Prefer Healthy Carbohydrates

The foods you consume contribute to your overall mood and appetite, the Cleveland Clinic advises. If you feel good and feel contented that you've eaten enough, you may not feel the desire to go back for more, clinic experts say.

Carbohydrates, an essential part of your diet, should be whole grain and contain lots of fiber. Here are some of the clinic's choices:
  •  Whole-grain cereals and breads.
  •  Potatoes with their skins.
  •  Brown rice, bulgur and quinoa.
  •  Fresh vegetables and fruits.
  •  Whole-grain pasta.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Video Games might Aid in Stroke Recovery

New research suggests playing video games may be an effective strategy in improving motor and cognitive skills in people who have had a stroke.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto said that stroke patients who played Playstation, Wii and other video games were up to five times more likely to show improvements in arm motor function compared to those who had standard therapy.

The researchers reviewed 12 existing studies that looked at the effects of electronic games on upper arm strength and mobility.

Between 55 and 75 percent of stroke survivors suffer motor problems in their arms. But conventional therapies like physiotherapy and occupational therapy are often not effective, according to the researchers.

Video games are “challenging, repetitive, task specific and novel,” the researchers said in a statement. They help the brain heal through a process called neuroplasticity, which the researchers define as the brain’s ability to remodel itself after injury by creating new nerve cell connections.

A report on the study is published in the April edition of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Extra Stress can lead to Memory Loss

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have shed new light on how stress can contribute to memory loss in old age. The study could assist research into treatments for age-related memory disorders. Many believe that stress is bad for our brains especially as we get older.

Now, researchers have shown how two receptors in older brains react to a stress hormone called cortisol. This has been linked to increasing forgetfulness as we age.

While we know that stress hormones affect memory, this research explains how the receptors they engage with, can switch good memory to poorly-functioning memory in old age. The study found that one receptor was activated by low levels of cortisol, which helped memory. However, once levels of this stress hormone were too high they spilled over onto a second receptor. This activated brain processes that contribute to memory impairment.

The study found that high levels of the stress hormone in aged mice made them less able to remember how to navigate a maze. The memory recall problem was reversed when the receptor linked to poor memory was blocked. The research helps explain why too much stress over a prolonged period interferes with the normal processes in storing everyday memories.

This is despite the fact that a little bit of stress can help us better remembering emotional memories.

We now know that lowering the levels of these stress hormones will prevent them from activating a receptor in the brain that is bad for memory. Understanding the mechanisms in the brain, which affect memory as we age, will help us to find ways to combat conditions linked to memory loss.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ways to Cut Down on Sodium

Most people get much more sodium (salt) in their diet than their body requires. This causes the body to retain water, increasing the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

The Cleveland Clinic suggests how to manage a lower-sodium diet:
  •  Cook with fresh ingredients, rather than using pre-packaged or prepared foods.
  •  Choose low-sodium foods, or those without added salt.
  •  Substitute or eliminate high-sodium ingredients from recipes.
  •  Create marinades for meat with a base of pineapple juice or orange juice.
  •  If you eat a frozen meal, look for those with 600 milligrams of sodium or less.
  •  Don't flavor foods with seasoning mixes that include salt.
  •  Talk to your doctor before using a salt substitute.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Facts about Feet

  • During a lifetime, a human being will walk around 185,000 km, which is enough to circle the earth four times! This averages out at 10,000 steps a day. Of course, some people will walk greater distances that others.
  • Despite being relatively small in themselves, feet account for a massive 25% of the number of bones in a human body. A foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. There's plenty to go wrong if they aren't adequately protected.
  • There are around 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of human feet. These can produce up to half a pint (200 ml) of sweat a day.
  • When running, the pressure on feet can be up to four times the runner's body weight.
  • Fingernails and toenails grow more rapidly in warm weather, as well as during pregnancy and adolescence.
  • As many as nine in every ten women in the developed world, wear shoes that are too small for them.
  • Statistically, women have four times as many foot problems as men, with high heels partly to blame.
  • Even though shoes can cause you foot trouble, be extra careful when going barefoot. Places such as communal showers can be a hotbed of nasty diseases like athlete's foot, plantar warts and ringworm. In developing countries, a lack of shoes can leave people vulnerable to all manner of soil-transmitted diseases and parasites, from hookworm and jiggers to podoconiosis and the potentially fatal tetanus.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Less Stress, Better Sleep may help you lose Weight

Getting sufficient sleep, at least six hours a night, and lowering stress levels may significantly help individuals to lose their extra weight, a new study suggests.

Kaiser Permanente Centre researchers asked about 500 hundred people to follow a low calorie diet and exercise at least three hours a week, while keeping a record of their sleep habits and stress levels.

According to the findings published in the International Journal of Obesity, getting the right amount of sleep and stress reduction guarantees successful weight loss. Lowering stress by itself was associated with more weight loss.

Moreover, reducing stress and overcoming depression, apart from recording exercise minutes and keeping food diaries, are among important factors in maintaining weight loss, researchers wrote.

"We found that people who got more than six but less than eight hours of sleep, and who reported the lowest levels of stress, had the most success in a weight-loss program," said lead author Charles Elder.

"This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress," said Elder. “Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind-body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”

Although, the participants in the study were highly motivated and most had a college degree, the researchers suspect that their finding could be applied to everyone.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Walnuts Pack a Powerful Dose of Antioxidants

Walnuts are the healthiest of all the nuts when it comes to heart-healthy nutty super foods, research has shown. The Christmas favorites are packed with more potent and abundant antioxidants than any other popular nut, as well as healthy fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Tree and ground nuts are generally said to be among nature's most perfect ready-made foods. Not only do they have all the nutritious elements necessary for a healthy diet; they also contain high levels of protective antioxidants which counter the effects of harmful molecules.

Research suggests regular consumption of nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes. But until now it has not been clear which nut is number one in terms of health giving properties.

To answer this question, scientists analyzed the antioxidant content of nine different types of nut: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans. Study leader Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, US, said: "Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts.

"A handful of walnuts contain almost twice as much antioxidant as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet."

Dr Vinson's team found that walnuts not only had more antioxidants than other nuts, but more powerful antioxidants. Those in walnuts were between 2 and 15 times more potent than vitamin E, renowned for its antioxidant properties.

The findings were presented at the 241st national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Inadequate Diets can lead to Anemia in Older Women

According to a new study, postmenopausal women who don’t get enough nutrients in their diets have an increased risk of becoming anemic.

Women who are deficient in more than one nutrient are 21% more likely to be anemic than women who have one or no nutritional inadequacies, the study found. And that risk increases to 44% for women who are deficient in three different nutrients, said study researcher Cynthia A. Thomson, associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona.

Anemia occurs when there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues in your body. It often results in fatigue and can lead to heart problems, Thomson said. Anemia is "preventable with adequate diet, and thus we need to be aware of risk and routinely assess risk to assure we intervene, hopefully before there are serious health consequences," Thomson told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Women with anemia tend to consume less protein, folate, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin C and red meat than women without anemia, according to the study. Inadequate intake of iron, vitamin B12 and folate each increased the chance of anemia by 10 to 20 percent, the study said.

Researchers examined the nutritional data of 72,833 postmenopausal women who participated in the nine-year Women's Health Initiative study. Of those women, 5.5% were anemic, the study revealed.

Researchers found that inadequacy of three different nutrients was less prevalent in white women (7.4 percent) than in other ethnicities (14.6 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders, 15.3 percent of African Americans and 16.3 percent of Hispanics), the study said.

This could be a result of dietary differences between different racial groups — for example, Asian, African-American and Hispanic women in the study may eat less red meat or nutrient-fortified cereal products than white women, Thomson said.

The best way to ensure you're getting enough nutrients is not to take a variety of multivitamins, but rather to eat a wide variety of foods in each food group, Thomson said.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tips to keep Skin Smooth

Aging skin often means wrinkled skin. But there are steps you can take to minimize blemished, wrinkled skin.

If you want to help keep skin smoother, supple and less wrinkled as you age, the University of Maryland Medical Center offers these suggestions:
  • Eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Include healthy oils, such as olive oil, in your diet.
  • Get plenty of regular exercise.
  • Don't smoke, and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Don't drink alcohol within three hours of going to bed.
  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, and use a moisturizer daily.
  • On the other hand, don't wash with tap water too often, which can wind up drying out your skin. Washing once a day should be enough.
  • Wear sunscreen daily. Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's ultraviolet rays are strongest.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Causes for Losing your Sense of Taste

A food's flavor is produced by a combination of your senses of taste and smell. If you begin to lose the ability to distinguish foods that are sweet, salty, sour or bitter, a number of factors could be at fault.

The University Of Maryland Medical Center offers these possible causes for impaired taste:
  • Getting older.
  • Having Bell's palsy.
  • Having the gum disease gingivitis.
  • Having a cold or the flu, a nasal or salivary gland infection, sinusitis or nasal polyps.
  • Being a heavy smoker.
  • Having dry mouth.
  • Having an injury to the head, nose or mouth.
  • Having pharyngitis, an inflammation of the pharynx.
  • Having a side effect of certain medications.
  • Having a vitamin deficiency.
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Stress May Cause Physical Symptoms

Significant stress can lead to health problems or worsen those you already have, the American Academy of Family Physicians says.

Do you always realize when you're under stress? The academy notes these possible warning signs:
  •  Anxiety.
  •  Back pain or headache.
  •  Stomach upset, diarrhea or constipation.
  •  Feeling tired much of the time.
  •  Difficulty sleeping.
  •  Feeling short of breath.
  •  High blood pressure.
  •  Stiffness in the jaw or neck.
  •  Weight loss or gain.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Understanding Sleep Disorders

A good night's sleep is important for good health, but certain conditions can keep you from getting the sleep you need.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes common sleep disorders and their characteristics:
  • Insomnia, which involves difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early.
  • Narcolepsy, which involves extreme sleepiness and sudden muscle weakness during the day, or suddenly falling asleep during the day.
  • Restless legs syndrome, which involves an uncomfortable feeling of "creeping" in the legs. This may be accompanied by aches and pains in the legs.
  • Sleep apnea, often characterized by snoring, involves interrupted sleep from sudden gasps or snorts. The condition may be dangerous since it can interrupt regular breathing.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Warning Signs that Headaches need Attention

Nearly everyone suffers from an occasional headache. But frequent, severe headaches could be a sign of a more serious health problem.

The Web site says these warning signs should prompt a visit to your doctor:
  • Headaches that occur multiple times each month and persist for hours or days.
  • Headaches that are so severe that work, school and home life are affected.
  • Headaches accompanied by tingling or numbness, changes in vision, vomiting or nausea.
  • Headaches accompanied by pain surrounding the ear or eye, convulsions or stiffness in the neck.
  • Losing consciousness or feeling confused during headaches.
  • A headache that follows an injury to the head.
  • Headaches that suddenly occur when you've rarely had headaches in the past.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reasons for Shoulder Pain

Pain in the shoulder can impact most moves you make, so it's vital to identify the source and treat it.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these possible causes of shoulder pain:
  • Bursitis, an inflammation of the tiny fluid-filled sacs in the shoulder joint.
  • Tendinitis, an inflammation of tendons in the shoulder.
  • A torn tendon.
  • Impingement, pressure on the soft tissues in the shoulder applied by the top of the shoulder blade.
  • A dislocation or fracture.
  • Arthritis.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Get Some Exercise

If it's hard to stimulate yourself to exercise, a change of venue may be in order. How about the great outdoors?

With warmer weather on the way, the American Diabetes Association suggests these outdoor activities may get you moving:
  •  Go for a walk outside.
  •  Pull months' worth of weeds in the garden.
  •  Go for a hike on a wooded trail.
  •  Play a game of Frisbee.
  •  Try kayaking or canoeing.
  •  Head to the park for a walk or a game of tag with the kids or grandchildren.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dog walkers 34% more likely to reach exercise benchmarks

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on various weight loss pills or going through severe diets, the best way to stay healthy and lose weight is to own a dog and make sure to take it on regular walks.

The study, performed by researchers from Michigan State University, studied the habits of dog owners and found that those who regularly take their dogs to walks are 34% more likely to satisfy the benchmark set by the federal government related to physical activity.

The researchers also found that while younger dog owners managed to get the most benefits from taking their dogs to walks, middle age people had the least amount of time for such walks.

“Obviously you would expect dog walkers to walk more, but we found people who walked their dog also had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activities. There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking”, lead researcher Mathew Reeves said.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Does Acne Need a Doctor's Advice?

If your acne is well controlled by gently washing with soap and water, and by using over-the-counter lotions or creams, you may not have to visit your doctor.

On the other hand, the University of Michigan Health System says you should see your doctor if:
  •  Your acne keeps getting worse.
  •  You have large, fluid-filled pimples that may feel hard to the touch. This is called cystic acne.
  •  Your acne keeps you from social activities, such as parties or dates.
  •  You are depressed or very embarrassed because of acne.
  •  Either or both your parents had severe acne that caused permanent scars.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Causes of Diabetics becoming Hyperglycemic

It's essential for diabetics to keep their blood sugar (glucose) levels stable. That means taking all medication as prescribed, and following a healthy lifestyle.

When blood glucose levels become too high, the medical condition is called hyperglycemia. The American Diabetes Association offers this list of potential causes:
  • If you're a type 1 diabetic, getting insufficient insulin.
  • If you're a type 2 diabetic, the insulin your body produces may not be processed effectively.
  • Overeating or lack of exercise.
  • Having an illness or infection.
  • Being under emotional stress.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Causes of Arthritis Pain

It's no secret to any person with arthritis that pain comes with the territory. But what makes arthritis so painful? The Arthritis Foundation offers this list of contributing factors:
  •  Arthritis causes painful inflammation (swelling) of the joints.
  •  Arthritis over time damages joint tissue, causing additional pain.
  •  Arthritis leads to a feeling of fatigue, which makes pain feel worse and more difficult to manage.
  •  Arthritis can lead to symptoms of stress or depressions, making you focus more on pain and lament not being able to do the things you once enjoyed.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Diet Soda increases Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke : Study

New research has found that drinking diet soda may in fact be unsafe; increasing you risk of suffering cardiac events such as heart attacks or strokes.

Researchers led by Hannah Gardener of the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine did a study on more than 2,500 people, focusing on the impact that drinking diet soda had on their health. The idea was to see if it had any health impact, especially on those who consumed daily. What researchers found is that diet soda may be indeed dangerous and unsafe to consume.

They discovered that those who consumed diet soda on a daily basis were 61% more likely to suffer vascular events, and 48% more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. This research is something that is clearly going to worry many of those who drink diet soft each and every day.

Researchers have stressed though that this study does not prove anything in regards to a link between diet soda and heart attacks or strokes. The belief is that the increased risk could be due to poor lifestyles of these people who consume diet soda every day. They could be smokers, consume alcohol, have poor diets, etc.

Future studies will look into whether or not diet soda has any real impact on the development of these diseases.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

iPod addicts may become Deaf

A new study conducted by Dr. Tony Kay, an audiologist, has unveiled that teenagers listening to loud music for long periods by using iPod can turn them into deaf in later years of life.

He explained that such youngsters are at high risk of suffering from tinnitus and thus are prone to deafness in later stages of life. Tinnitus is a hearing problem in which continuous ringing in ears occurs. Mr. Kay claimed that the number of young people suffering from hearing ailments is continuously increasing.

Mr. Kay explained that the people who are regular commuters usually set the volume of their audio players at high levels to snuff the background noise and that volume is high to reach the ears of the people sitting three seats away from them. He added that since last two decades the number of teenagers and youngsters in their early twenties suffering from hearing complications has increased.

According to Kay, by reducing the time of listening to the music through headphones or earphones, reducing the volume of music player, the risk of getting hearing problem can be minimized.

Mr. Kay said, “Youngsters who listen to music on personal music players do not understand the damage they are causing. In the last two decades we have seen more people in their late teens and early 20s with tinnitus because they have been exposed to music that is too loud.”
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teens with dogs are more active

A new study on dog ownership and adolescent physical activity has revealed that the key to get your inactive teen off the couch is bringing a 'fun loving' dog home.

"You can think of your dog not only as your best friend, but also a social support tool for being active," said John Sirard, the study's lead author and an assistant professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

In the study, Sirard and his colleagues assessed 618 pairs of Minneapolis adolescents and their parents about the number of dogs in their home and how much time they spent in physical activity. For a week, 318 of those teens also wore accelerometers — devices used to collect data on time spent moving.

It turns out that teens from dog-owning families recorded greater amounts of movement on the accelerometer devices, even after researchers took into account demographic variables, like gender, race and socioeconomic status. This might mean that teens with dogs could log about 15 additional minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, according to the authors.

Finding ways to encourage teens' physical activity levels is critical, since time spent exercising drops precipitously after the elementary school years, said Cheryl B. Anderson, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

"You may walk it, you may not, but the fact that you have this animal in the house makes you get up off the chair more. Every bit of activity is important," Anderson said.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Common Causes for Edema

Edema is the medical term for swelling that result from fluid build-up in your tissues. It is most common in the feet, ankles and legs. But it can occur anywhere in the body.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says common causes for edema include:
  •  Consuming too much salt.
  •  Getting sunburn.
  •  Having health problems such as cirrhosis, kidney disease or heart failure.
  •  Being pregnant.
  •  Having lymph node problems.
  •  Having an adverse reaction to certain medications.
  •  Being on your feet for long periods, especially in warmer weather.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Symptoms that may indicate Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia arises when a pregnant woman's blood pressure spikes rapidly. It can lead to stroke, organ failure and other life-threatening conditions in both the mother and baby.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says possible warning signs of preeclampsia include:
  • Headaches.
  • Vision abnormalities.
  • Quickly gaining weight.
  • Swollen face and hands.
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