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Wed, 31 Aug 2016
The World for People who Think

Health & Wellness


The Popularity of High Fructose Corn Syrup

The Truth Is Not So Sweet

We are constantly told that refined sugar is terrible for the body and contributes to weight gain. The food industry has experimented with chemical compounds to create a replacement for sugar, only to create sweet tasting carcinogens. Sugar-free diets are out of the question for most (mine lasted about three whole days). So, the question remains: What sweets can I have that are the least harmful or not harmful at all?


Psychological Link Between "Weight" And "Importance"

Weighty. Heavy. What do these words have to do with seriousness and importance? Why do we weigh our options, and why does your opinion carry more weight than mine?

New research suggests that we can blame this on gravity. Heavy objects require more energy to move, and they can hurt us more if we move them clumsily. So we learn early on in life to think more and plan more when we're dealing with heftier things. They require more cognitive effort as well as muscular effort.

This leads to the intriguing possibility that the abstract concept of importance is grounded in our very real experience of weight. Could the various metaphors involving weight derive from our body's actual struggle with the force of gravity?

In a study appearing in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, University of Amsterdam psychologist Nils Jostmann and his colleagues speculated that actually carrying a heavy weight, rather than a light weight, would make people judge issues as more important in various ways.


The Effects of Sodium on Health

The salt, or sodium, in your diet directly affects your blood pressure levels. Generally, the higher your daily salt intake, the higher your blood pressure. However, because each person is unique, your body's response to reducing salt in your diet may reduce your blood pressure to a different degree than someone else. Still, eating less salt isn't harmful and will likely be beneficial to your health. Most people actually become more "salt sensitive" as they age, with larger changes in blood pressure. The recommended amount of salt for healthy adults is between 1500 and 2300 milligrams (about 1 tsp.) a day.


Agriculture and the Healthcare Debate: Inextricably Linked

President Obama's plans to reform the healthcare system in U.S. have taken over the headlines in the past several weeks. Doctors, economists, insurance executives, public health experts - all of them are being afforded the chance add their two cents on how to fix our broken healthcare system. The voices that are strikingly absent, though, are those of the agricultural community. What, you may ask, does agriculture have to do with overhauling the healthcare system? My answer - everything.


Study Finds Radiation Risk for Patients

At least four million Americans under age 65 are exposed to high doses of radiation each year from medical imaging tests, according to a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

About 400,000 of those patients receive very high doses, more than the maximum annual exposure allowed for nuclear power plant employees or anyone else who works with radioactive material.

The paper, being published on Thursday, was based on a survey from 2005 to 2007 covering almost one million patients insured by UnitedHealthcare.


For Healthy People Daily Aspirin may do More Harm than Good

A UK study presented at a conference last weekend found no evidence to support the idea that a daily dose of aspirin protects people who do not have artery or heart disease from developing it in the future any better than a placebo, and experts suggest given the higher risk of internal bleeding from taking aspirin routinely, for healthy people such a precaution may do more harm than good.

The study reported results from the Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) study, whose joint first author Professor Gerry Fowkes from the Wolfson Unit for Prevention of Peripheral Vascular Diseases in Edinburgh, presented the findings at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2009 in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.

Fowkes said the study was the first placebo-controlled randomised trial to test the protective effect of aspirin in people who did not show signs of atherosclerosis as measured by a low ankle brachial index (ABI) at the start of the study, and that the results found:
"No statistically significant difference in primary endpoint events between those subjects allocated to aspirin or placebo."


Planned home births are safe, study says

Great controversy surrounds the issue of home births. American doctors are generally opposed to the practice, but many women say they would prefer to give birth at home. Studies on the safety of home births have been mixed.

However, a study published today -- one of the stronger attempts to clarify the issue -- has found that planned home births attended by registered midwives have similar rates of fetal death and adverse outcomes as compared with hospital births.


Researchers Identify Protein Involved in Causing Gum Disease, Osteoporosis, Arthritis

Investigators at Hospital for Special Surgery, collaborating with researchers from other institutions, have contributed to the discovery that a gene called interferon regulator factor-8 (IRF-8) is involved in the development of diseases such as periodontitis (gum disease), rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. The study, which will be published online August 30, ahead of print, in the journal Nature Medicine, could lead to new treatments in the future.

"The study doesn't have immediate therapeutic applications, but it does open a new avenue of research that could help identify novel therapeutic approaches or interventions to treat diseases such as periodontitis, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis," said Baohong Zhao, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research fellow in the Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program at Hospital for Special Surgery located in New York City.

Dr. Zhao initiated the study while working in the laboratory led by Drs. Masamichi Takami and Ryutaro Kamijo at Showa University, Tokyo, where much of the work was performed. Dr. Zhao completed the study and extended the work to human cells during the past year at Hospital for Special Surgery working with Dr. Lionel Ivashkiv.


Neuroscientists Find Brain Region Responsible for Our Sense of Personal Space

© Nature Neuroscience/Dan Kennedy (Caltech)
Patient SM, a woman with complete bilateral amygdala lesions (red), preferred to stand close to the experimenter (black). On average, control participants (blue) preferred to stand nearly twice as far away from the same experimenter.
In a finding that sheds new light on the neural mechanisms involved in social behavior, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology have pinpointed the brain structure responsible for our sense of personal space.

The discovery, described in the August 30 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, could offer insight into autism and other disorders where social distance is an issue.

The structure, the amygdala - a pair of almond-shaped regions located in the medial temporal lobes - was previously known to process strong negative emotions, such as anger and fear, and is considered the seat of emotion in the brain. However, it had never been linked rigorously to real-life human social interaction.


Exercise beats angioplasty for some heart patients

Barcelona, Spain - Working up a sweat may be even better than angioplasty for some heart patients, experts say.

Studies have shown heart patients benefit from exercise, and some have even shown it works better than surgical procedures. At a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology on Sunday, several experts said doctors should focus more on persuading their patients to exercise rather than simply doing angioplasties.

Angioplasty is the top treatment for people having a heart attack or hospitalized with worsening symptoms. It involves using a tiny balloon to flatten a blockage and propping the heart artery open with a mesh tube called a stent. Most angioplasties are done on a nonemergency basis, to relieve chest pain caused by clogged arteries cutting off the heart's blood supply.