Health & Wellness


Why Women Can't Sleep

Can't sleep? Well you're not alone, especially among women.

A 2007 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 67 percent of women frequently experience sleep problems and 29 percent use some type of sleep aid at least a few nights a week. Other surveys have consistently found that nearly half again as many women as men complain of insomnia.

Yet 75 percent of sleep research has been done on men, and until recently the researchers have been primarily men. The major texts for sleep studies have had, until recently, little to say about women's sleep.


Elderly better at having fun

The elderly are better at having fun, according to a new study which shows they are every bit as happy as young people despite spending more time alone.

The research into the social lives of young and old Australians has turned up some unusual results that confirm the wisdom of old age.

"We know older people get out much less and socialise much less than people in the social prime of their 20s, but this doesn't seem to affect their social satisfaction," said psychologist Bill von Hippel of the University of Queensland.


Beat Migraine Headaches Naturally

Contrary to popular belief, there are available a number of clinically proven natural alternatives that beat Migraine Headaches safely without the side effects of prescription medications and also address the underlying cause in a number of cases.

While these headaches arise from a number of causes, migraine headaches by and large are a result of fluctuations in blood flow to your brain. A common trigger is a nutritional deficiency, that of magnesium deficiency to be exact, it being known in clinical circles that that magnesium deficiency allows serotonin levels to flow unchecked. Such fluctuating serotonin levels give rise to vascular spasms which in effect reduce blood flow and thus oxygen to your brain, resulting in a release of pain producing chemicals such as prostaglandins.


New Hope Against the Cold Sore Virus

Millions of Americans are afflicted by breakouts of unsightly cold sores, caused by the herpes simplex 1 virus, but new research is finally offering them the possibility of a cure.

Scientists at Duke University say they've unlocked the mystery of how herpes simplex 1 slips into dormancy and stays dormant -- evading the drugs that might otherwise wipe it out.

Buoyed by that finding, the same team is testing an experimental agent that can "reawaken" the virus, so it might be flushed out into the open and eradicated.

The hope is that, "we could use the drugs that we already have, plus an effective immune system, to cure a person from infection," explained lead researcher Jennifer Lin Umbach, a postdoctoral associate in Duke's department of molecular genetics and microbiology.


Get smart about what you eat and you might actually improve your intelligence

New research findings published online in The FASEB Journal provide more evidence that if we get smart about what we eat, our intelligence can improve. According to MIT scientists, dietary nutrients found in a wide range of foods from infant formula to eggs increase brain synapses and improve cognitive abilities.

"I hope human brains will, like those of experimental animals, respond to this kind of treatment by making more brain synapses and thus restoring cognitive abilities," said Richard Wurtman, MD, senior researcher on the project.


Artichoke leaf extract lowers cholesterol

Researchers at the University of Reading have found that an over-the-counter Artichoke Leaf Extract (ALE) from the globe artichoke plant can lower cholesterol in otherwise healthy individuals with moderately raised levels. Cardiovascular diseases are the chief causes of death in the UK, and are associated with raised circulating levels of total cholesterol in the plasma.

Once plasma cholesterol reaches a certain level, drugs such as statins are often prescribed to help reduce it. Intervention before concentrations reaches these levels may help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases without the need for drugs. This new piece of research has shown that otherwise healthy people with moderately raised plasma cholesterol may be able to lower their levels by taking this herbal supplement.


More than 4,000 Danes may have salmonella

COPENHAGEN - Danish health officials fear more than 4,000 people may be infected with salmonella and are checking everything from refrigerators to credit card receipts to find the source of what may be the worst outbreak in 15 years.

Kare Moelbak of the Ministry of Health said 330 cases have been confirmed and about a quarter of those people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

He said officials at the government's center for prevention and control of infectious diseases say the real number probably exceeds 4,000 people.

Moelbak said he suspects the source is some sort of Danish food product distributed only in Denmark, since neighboring countries have not reported an outbreak. They believe it probably is meat, but they do not know which product.

"Food control units are out to visit patients and see what they have in their refrigerators. We have even had access to electronic files to get an overview of what people have bought using their credit cards," he said.


Are men or women more likely to have memory problems in very old age?

Women over age 90 are significantly more likely to have dementia compared to men in their 90s, according to a study published in the July 2, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Research shows that dementia risk for both men and women increases from age 65 to 85, but this most recent study is one of few that looks at people over age 90.

"While men don't typically live as long as women, those who do make it to age 90 appear to be much less likely to have dementia and also have a shorter survival time when they do have dementia," according to study author Maria Corrada, ScD, with the University of California, Irvine.

Researchers reviewed an analysis of about 900 people age 90 and older. Of those, 375 had dementia.


The Unburdened Mind of the Psychopath


In the public imagination, a "psychopath" is a violent serial killer or an over-the-top movie villain, as one sometimes might suspect Frank to be. He is highly impulsive and has a callous disregard for the well-being of others that can be disquieting. But he is just as likely to be a next-door neighbor, a doctor, or an actor on TV - essentially no different from anyone else who holds these roles, except that Frank lacks the nagging little voice which so profoundly influences most of our lives. Frank has no conscience. And as much as we would like to think that people like him are a rare aberration, safely locked away, the truth is that they are more common than most would ever guess.


Study: Method to predict IVF success

California researchers say they have identified a method that can predict with 70 percent accuracy if in vitro fertilization will make a woman pregnant.