March 7, 2011
Strong Genetic Component
Back pain? Blame it on a relative. Chronic back pain has a strong genetic component, according to a growing number of studies. One study from the University of Utah analyzed health records from more than a million patients with herniated or degenerative disc disease. The data showed that having an immediate family member with a bad back raised a person’s risk more than four times. The risk was also increased if one has an aunt, uncle, grandparent or cousin with a bad back. In the past, researchers focused on lifestyle factors that relatives often share, including lack of exercise and having similar careers. Other studies confirm the genetic component hypothesis by identifying a gene that appears to be linked to sciatica and disc herniation.
Use Drug with Lower Risk
Topamax (topiramate), approved for treating epilepsy and preventing migraines, increases the risk of cleft lip and cleft palate in infants when the mother takes the drug during pregnancy, warns the FDA. Topamax is also prescribed off-label (for conditions not approved by the FDA) to treat bipolar disorder, alcoholism and obesity, reports WebMD. According to the FDA, 1.4 percent of infants exposed to Topamax during pregnancy developed cleft palate or cleft lip. Among infants exposed to other epilepsy drugs, only 0.38 to 0.55 percent developed the oral birth defects. The FDA advises patients and doctors to use alternative medications with a lower risk of birth defects.
What Will Headstone Say?
A radio station in Germany is hosting a very controversial contest: Write your own epitaph and receive a check to cover your funeral if you win. BBC reports that Radio Galaxy's contest in Aschaffenburg, north Bavaria has been called "tasteless" by an association of undertakers who are suing the station. However, listeners don't seem to agree that the contest is tasteless. More than 600 people have sent in their own descriptions for their future headstones for a chance a free funeral. The winner of Radio Galaxy's contest will be announced on Wednesday. Radio Galaxy told BBC that they're hosting the contest in an effort to "raise awareness about this difficult topic [death] among young people."
Do You Remember?
Struggling with hearing problems, nerve damage to his hands and a dislocated vertebra, Phil Collins has decided to retire from music. The musician told FHM magazine that he no longer feels he belongs in "that world" when he views the MTV Music Awards. He said, "I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely." CNN reports that the nerve damage in Collins' hands has made it almost impossible to even hold drumsticks. Collins sold more than 150 million records during his career, but now he's more concerned with being physically able to be a dad to his two sons.
What Sharing Too Much Says
"Basing your self-worth on this is like expecting a frozen lake to be safe to walk on all year long!"
- Dr. J in the comments
Women who base their self worth on their appearance are the most prolific photo sharers at Facebook, and they maintain larger networks when participating in online social networking sites, claim researchers. University of Buffalo researcher Michael A. Stefanone, PhD, and colleagues believe that their study results suggest that females identify more strongly with their appearance and use Facebook to compete for attention. The study, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, reveals that those with a self-worth based on more private contingencies like family or academic competence are more likely to spend less time online.
Warning Signs of Betrayal
Men with deep voices are more likely to cheat, believe women who are choosing a partner. Newly published research in the journal Evolutionary Psychology explores the link between voice pitch and perceived infidelity. The researchers believe that men and women choosing romantic partners may rely on voice pitch to help them choose a mate who's less likely to cheat. The more attractive the voice, the more likely a potential mate will cheat. Women with higher pitched voices are considered to have a more attractive voice and be more likely to cheat. For men, more attractive lower voices may be viewed by potential mates as a warning of infidelity. The research involved participants listening to recorded versions of voices that were electronically manipulated to lower or heighten pitch.
Marrying Young in Romania
A Romanian woman became the world's youngest grandmother when she was just 23 years old, says Fox News. Marrying young is the norm in Romanian gypsy culture, said Ridca Stanescu whose daughter Maria gave birth at age 11. The grandmother gave birth to Maria when she was 12 years old. Fox News reports that although Stanescu, now 25, had "wanted more" for her daughter, she didn't try to stop the wedding because it's "tradition." While Stanescu said she's happy to be a grandmother, she had "wished something else for Maria," and for herself.
Whole Grain and Vegan
Christian D’Souza was eating an energy bar while driving to a homebrewing supply store when he realized that energy bar flavors are similar to the ingredients in craft-brewed beers, so he tried the two together. The result is called BRUBAR Energy Bars, an all-natural combination of ingredients sweetened primarily with all-natural barley malt. BRUBAR has been successful, especially among athletes who not only think the bars taste good, but the combination of dates, barley malt and rolled oats provide a more sustainable energy source because they are absorbed by the body at different rates. D’Souza will be exhibiting his creation at the National Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. The bars are also available at www.brubar.com and at Amazon.com.
Burn Body Fat
An extract made from chili peppers will soon be added to a range of UK foods intended to support weight loss. The ingredient, called dihydrocapsiate (DHC), is currently sold in the US and Japan in the form of a dietary supplement, but this is the first time it will be used as a food additive. Tokyo-based food company Ajinomoto will add the ingredient, which will be made synthetically as chili peppers only produce a small amount, to foods including desserts, confectionery, cereals, and drinks. The product has been approved as safe by Britain’s Food Standards Agency and studies indicate that DHC can increase the burning of body fat and overall calorie expenditure. The European Commission has the final say on whether DHC can be added to foods, but usually follows the lead of the FSA.
West Virgina at Bottom
In a telephone survey conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index between January 1 and December 31, 2010, Hawaii ranks as the top of the list in well-being among all US states. The survey, which included data from over 350,000 adults, looked at six categories: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment/job satisfaction, physical health, healthy behavior, and community satisfaction which included an assessment of access to healthcare. The rest of the top five states in order are Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado. The states at the bottom of the well-being index are West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. The authors say that the states falling short in well-being need to increase residents’ access to good jobs and basic necessities.
New Approach to Treatment
A new drug called SMER28 works by clearing out debris from proteins, including the beta-amyloid plaques that are seen in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s. Researchers decided to look at drugs that could increase the cells’ ability to remove the protein aggregates. Cultured rat and mice cells were exposed to different compounds to determine which ones would induce a process known as “autophagy,” in which cells remove unwanted materials from themselves. SMER28 was found to be most effective. It was then tested on cells whose genes involved in autophagy were inhibited or knocked out to determine which gene was activated by SMER28. Researchers believe that new compounds such as SMER28 may offer new insight into treating both Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
Royalty Found Underground!
Road workers in the city of Taizhou, China discovered a wooden tomb last month containing a remarkably well-preserved 700-year-old mummy. Chinese archeologists claim that the corpse is that of a high-ranking, and possibly noble, woman from the Ming Dynasty. Incredibly, her skin, hair, eyelashes and even clothing were mummified with such skill and care that the corpse had an appearance of someone who had only recently been buried. Chinese archaeologists from the Museum of Taizhou handled the excavation of the tomb. Also uncovered were two smaller nearby tombs. The discovery in Taizhou is a first in the Jiangsu province of China and is sure to bring a lot of archeological excitement to the area.
Most Recent 100 Items
- Pizza Tops "Most Addictive” 35 Foods List (You’ll Never Guess #24)
- Marijuana Chemical Helps Fractures Heal (Faster Recovery, Stronger Bone)
- Wine Has Benefits for Type-2 Diabetics (Only in Moderation, Mind You)
- Dabbing Pizza with Napkin Cuts Fat by 1/3 (40 Fewer Calories Per Slice)
- Tall People Run a Higher Cancer Risk (Grim News for the NBA)
- Teen Girls Who Exercise Cut Cancer Risk (Hide Their Phones & Laptops)
- Midday Naps Linked to Lower Blood Pressure (And Taking Fewer Medzzzz)
- Spicy Food Eaters Have Lower Death Rates (The Goodness, It Burns)
- Viagra-Type Drugs Linked to Skin Cancer (Rock-and-a-Hard-Place Situation)
- Elliptical Machines Better Than Walking (For Burning Calories, Anyway)
- Long Work Hours Boost Stroke Risk (Over 55 Per Week, Look Out)
- Double Chins Now Removable by Injection (OK, Many Injections, but Still)
- Atkins Diet Can Raise Weight, Cut Lifespan (It’s the bane in Spain, anyway)
- 1/8 of Consumers Are "Failure Harbingers” (New Products They Like, Flop)
- Autism Increase Called Mostly Illusory (More Problems Are Now "Autism")
- Sugary Drinks Boost Liver Disease Risk (Like Booze Without the Buzz)
- US Women Now Weigh What Men Used To (US Men? Don’t Even Ask)
- Sleep-Deprived Teens Are Big Drinkers (More Bingeing & Drunk Driving)
- B-Vitamins Tied to Childhood Obesity (Low Levels Mean Extra Fat)
- More US Adults Now Obese Than Overweight (We've Gone from Bad to Burst)
- UK’s "Can You See Your Manhood?" Test (Men Who Can’t Are Health Risks)
- Hospitals: Bad Places for Heart Attacks (Try to Have Yours Elsewhere)
- Fattest US Jobs: Cop, Firefighter, Guard (Math & Science Gigs Leanest)
- DQ Pulls Sugary Drinks from Kids’ Menus (Bowing to Parental Requests)
- Vitamin B3 Reduces Carcinoma Reoccurrence (Most Common US Skin Cancer)
- 80% of Sun-Protection Products Fail (So You Get Burned Twice)
- Strong Grip Indicates a Healthy Heart (Better Start Flexing)
- Ominous Rise in White Collar Brain Doping (The Danger: Overconfidence)
- Treadmill-Caused Deaths Still Very Rare (Injuries Plentiful, However)
- “Healthy” Obesity Won’t Last for Most (1/3 Unhealthy After 5 Years)
- Running, Power Walking Cut Dementia Risk (At Least 15 Miles/week However)
- Task Force Issues Mammogram Advice & Data (For over 50s, Every Two Years)
- Regular Sauna Use Boosts Heart Health (Sweaty but Longer-Lived)
- The Paradox of Reusable Bag Shoppers (Buy Organic but Also Buy Junk)
- Navajo Nation First in US to Tax Junkfood (2% Levy on Chips, Sodas, Etc.)
- Problem Drinkers Vital to Booze Industry (Over 50% of (hic!) Total Sales)
- FDA Approves New Anti-Obesity Implant (Boosts Weight Loss by 8.5%)
- 78% Polled Favor Obligatory Vaccination (Think of It As Vax Populi)
- Healthy School Lunch Rules Are Paying Off (Kids Eating More & Better)
- When Facebook Makes You Sad (Envy Not)
- Study Says Pot Is the Safest Drug by Far (Booze Called 114 Times Worse)
- Just Imagining Exercise Boosts Muscles (Gotta Put Your Mind to It)
- U.S. Government’s Anti-Pot Stance to End? (Surgeon General Hints It's Over)
- Light to Moderate Jogging Is Healthiest (Strenuous Joggers Die Sooner)
- Risk of Dying While Driving Falls by 42% (Nine Models Boast Zero Deaths)
- High Cholesterol Endangers Young Too (Worry About Numbers at 35)
- Southern States Are a Hotbed of STDs (7 of the 8 Highest Rates)
- Binge Drinking Deaths Peak in Middle Age (College Kids Get a Bum Rap)
- Head Start Program May Curb Childhood Obesity (Obesity Prevention That Works)
- Playing Catch May Help Seniors Avoid Falls (Break Out the Medicine Balls)
- UK Fans Upset over Cadbury Creme Egg Changes (US Eggs Safe from Change)
- Fast Food Linked to Poor Test Scores (Want Fries with That Dumburger?)
- Daily Cup of Blueberries Can Lower BP (Arterial Stiffness REduced Too)
- iPhone Separation is Bad for You (IPhone Close Keeps Anxiety Away)
- PTSD Linked to Greater Diabetes Risk in Women (Nearly Double the Risk)
- A Daily Avocado Lowers LDL Cholesterol (Look to the Hass)
- NIH Study Links Pesticides and Depression (Some Raise Risk by 90%)
- U.S. to Its Kids: Don’t Play Football (Spooked by Concussions, Etc.)
- Rx for Colds: Daily Sympathetic Hugs (Actually Eases Symptoms)
- New Spending Bill “Legalizes” Medical Pot (DEA Interference Now Outlawed)
- Advice to Seniors: Run, Don’t (Just) Walk (Health Benefits Boosted)
- CDC Mulling New Pro-Circumcision Stance (Focusing on Uncut Teenage Boys)
- Few Vegetarians Actually Stick with It (It Complicates Relationships)
- Flu Vaccine Won’t Offer Total Protection (One Targeted Strain Has Mutated)
- Hospital Patient Safety Much Improved (50,000 Lives Saved Since 2010)
- It's "Buyer Beware" for Store-Bought Pot (ThIs Is Not Your Father’s Weed)
- 70% of Those with HIV Go Untreated (In Most Cases, Knowingly)
- Secondhand Pot Smoke Bad for Blood Vessels (Majorly Massive Bummer, Dude)
- Record Low Number of U.S. Smokers (But 480,000 Per Year Still Die)
- Presidents Will Be Forgotten in 100 Years (President Who?)
- Four Ways to Improve Your Mood (Hint: Eating Doesn't Help)
- Trans Fat May Harm Memory (The More, the Worse)
- Double Mastectomy Rates Rise (For Cancer in One Breast)
- Medicare Weight-Loss Program Going Unused (Even Though It’s Free)
- FDA to Require Calorie Counts on Menus (Chain Restaurants Affected)
- Imagination, Reality Flow Oppositely in Brain (Scalp Sensors Tell All)
- Obesity a Huge Drag on World Economy (Costs It $2 Trillion. a Year.)
- Obesity Can Cause Silent Heart Damage (Troponin T Reveals Damage)
- Missing Work for Obesity Costs $8 Billion (Big Price Tag)
- Internet Use While Driving Is Soaring (Rate Has Doubled Since 2009)
- Democratic Republic of Congo Is Ebola-Free (Says WHO)
- Study Suggests Genetic Link for Homosexuality (“Giant Step Forward”)
- Soy Reduces Hot Flashes for Certain Women (Your Urine Tells)
- Herbs and Spices Reduce Triglyceride Levels (Reach for Rosemary and Oregano)
- Weight After Quitting Smoking Won't Kill You (Don't Sweat the Small Gain)
- Energy Drink ODs Hitting Kids Under Age 6 (Over 2,000 Reports Per Year)
- Women Exercise to Lose Weight but Gain It (Too Much "Reward” Eating?)
- Cookie Monster Video Teaches Self-Control (Waiting Is Good)
- Ebola-Stricken Dr. Martin Salia Dies in U.S. (Arrived with Advanced Symptoms)
- Obese Americans Suffer More Chronic Pain (Over 25% Are Hurting)
- Snack on an E Coli Popsicle (Designer Treats Make You Think)
- 8 M Women Skipped Cervical Exam for 5 Years (Cervical Cancer Is Treatable)
- Marriage Is Beneficial to Heart Health (Fewer Ills Than Singles, Exes)
- Kids Face Serious Risk from Laundry Pods (Big Risk from Small Pod)
- Woman Survives 45 Minutes with No Pulse (Dubbed "Miracle Woman")
- Kissing Bug Disease Found in U.S. (Could Be Deadly)
- Childhood Stress Linked to Adult Diseases (Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Cancer)
- Insomnia Is Problem in Addiction Recovery (High Rate of Insomnia Is Problem)
- School Lunches May Be Better Than Packed (Packed Lunches Exceeded Fat Rec)
- Warning for Young Kids Who Watch 3D Content (French Group Issues Warning)