Today’s Headlines: Tanning Still Shows Signs of Melanoma Risk, FDA Approves Drug to Treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy, U.S. Salmon May Have Tapeworm

Tanning is still a “hot-bed” issue. New study underscores tanning bed–skin cancer connection. The World Health Organization deemed UV light–emitting tanning devices to be carcinogenic back in 2009, yet people continue to use tanning beds to this day. To add to the already king-size bed of literature, a recent Norwegian study followed 141,000 women for 14 years and found that women who use tanning beds as little as 30 times increase their risk of developing melanoma by 32 percent. Furthermore, women who started using tanning beds before the age of 30 were diagnosed with melanoma about two years earlier than women who never used tanning beds. If tanning beds increase the number of patients with melanoma and decreases the age of onset, it is definitely time to move toward safer options like spray tans. Just don’t overdo it like Ross from Friends. Learn more about tanning products here. (SCIENCEDAILY)

FDA approves new drug for the leading genetic cause of death in infants. The Federal Drug Administration has just approved the first medication to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), currently the number one genetic cause of death for infants. Children who survive past infancy with this unfortunate diagnosis are often wheelchair-bound at a young age and at risk of developing issues holding up their head, swallowing, and even breathing. The FDA passed the new drug Spinraza, after a clinical trial of 82 infants diagnosed with SMA found that nearly 40 percent of the children experienced improvements in their motor abilities. This drug is hopefully the first of many future therapies for a disorder that affects many families in the U.S. (BOSTONGLOBE)

U.S. salmon may be infected with Japanese tapeworm. A recent study has found traces of Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, a broad tapeworm, in wild Alaskan salmon. Researchers have stated that consuming salmon that has originated from the American and Asian Pacific coasts can be dangerous when eaten raw. Tapeworm was first identified as a human parasite 31 years ago, when it was initially thought to only affect fish, and has been in the spotlight recently because of an increasing interest in raw fish, leading to more reported cases of infection. If you want to buy the healthiest fish, here’s what you need to know. (TIME)

This Week’s Headlines: Blue Corn May Prevent Metabolic Syndrome, Hot Peppers May Ward Off Premature Death, and Exercise Linked to Improved Joint Function

Blue corn is a-MAIZE-ing! New study suggests that blue corn may help prevent heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is the term for a group of risk factors that raise your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. So it’s no wonder why doctors are trying to learn more about how to prevent the development of this condition. In a recent study, rats with high cholesterol and blood sugar (like we would see in metabolic syndrome), were given blue corn extract. After four weeks, the rats had lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and abdominal fat—all markers of cardiovascular disease. These unBLUElievable results hold promise for the future of metabolic syndrome treatment. Try substituting your corn for the blue stuff and add it to your favorite recipes like this one. (MEDNEWS)

Dear heart disease, catch me if you cayenne! Recent study links hot peppers and longer life. Many people can’t get enough spicy food, especially George from Seinfeld. And now new research is showing that it might help ward off premature death. In a study published this week in PLoS ONE, scientists evaluated information from 16,000 patients who participated in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III. They found that people who enjoyed red hot chili peppers (the food, not the band) had a 13-percent decrease in mortality rates—meaning they lived longer than those who passed on peppers. There was even a slight decrease in death from heart disease, the leading killer in the U.S. Even though we don’t know the exact reason why these peppers are helpful, it’s never too late to start chowing down on some! Try some of Dr. Oz’s favorite spicy foods like this one. (SCIENCEDAILY)

When your joints hurt, you KNEEd to move! New study suggests that 45 minutes of exercise a week may be enough for patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis is described as joint inflammation and the most common type is called osteoarthritis—the kind that comes from wear and tear of a joint over time. It’s a painful diagnosis that can even be debilitating if severe enough, and we’ve known for a long time that exercise can help improve joint function; the question is: How much? Researchers at Northwestern University sought out the answer. By evaluating activity data from 1,629 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the authors found that the minimum amount of exercise needed to get significant improvements in walking speed and joint function was as little as 45 minutes a week! As long as the participants committed to the 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, they saw improvements regardless of BMI, sex, age, and even their degree of knee damage! Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite tips for healthier joints today! (MEDNEWS)

This Week’s Headlines: Masks Used to Fight SARS, Napping May Improve Memory, Meal Timing May Impact Weight Loss

Researchers turn common surgical masks into weapons in the fight against SARS. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a potentially devastating infectious disease that is transmitted by viruses that get into the air. Some people wear masks to protect from the virus but while these masks may prevent the wearer from inhaling infectious particles, viruses can live on surfaces for a long time. That’s why a team of researchers covered cheap surgical masks with salt crystals that “deactivates” the viruses. Well, please pass the salt! Check out the Oz Blog to learn more about the first line of defense against viruses – hand washing! (EUREKA)

If you don’t want to sleep is that resisting a –rest? New study reveals that napping may help with memory. Researchers examined nearly 3,000 Chinese adults all 65 years or older and asked them about their sleeping habits. Most of them (about 60%) reported napping after lunch between 30 and 90 minutes. Then, the participants were asked to do several mental status assessments. The authors found that those who got a little extra shut eye scored higher on the memory tests with the best results in those who slept close to an hour. So get some Z’s, it might help you to stay sharp! Learn more about the power of the power nap here! (EUREKA)

Timing of meals may impact weight loss. Recent evidence has shown that losing weight doesn’t simply come down to what you are putting on your plate, but when you are consuming it. Participants who finished eating the bulk of their meals by the early afternoon actually burned more fat than those who ate throughout the day, and also had fewer hunger pangs. While more research is still required, these results indicate that timing really can make all the difference. Ready to lose a few extra pounds? Try the 21 Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet. (TODAY)

This Week’s Headlines: Worms Act Like Teens, Mediterranean Diet Linked to Brain Health, Male Contraceptive Drug Shows Promise

Worms act like millennials! New research suggests developing worms may be as defiant as your teenage kids. Maybe they don’t cry to Dashboard Confessional but a new study shows that young worms go through an unruly stage of development just like today’s youth. Scientists from the Salk Institute observed roundworms and found that when presented with food, the teenagers would meander around before eating, while the adults made a beeline straight to the meal. Interestingly, when presented with stinky chemicals, both adults AND younger worms scurried away. So it’s not like the younger worms are less developed –they probably just don’t want to do what they’re told! Many scientists consider the brain to be the final frontier and hopefully studies like this one can help us learn more about neural development. Wondering how healthy your brain is? Take this quiz! (SALK)

Dear Mediterranean diet, olive you so much! Study suggest that Mediterranean diet may improve brain health. Rich in fruits, veggies, and olive oil – the Mediterranean diet has been touted as one of the best diets for your heart. Now researchers say that incorporating these lifestyle changes may also help your brain. The authors of the study surveyed nearly one thousand people close to 70 years old who did not have dementia. They asked about dietary habits and then looked at images of their brains. Turns out those participants who followed a Mediterranean diet had larger brains compared to those who did not. The researchers speculate that eating habits may have a larger impact on our brain health than previously thought but further studies need to be done to confirm these results. Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite Mediterranean foods for inspiration! (AAN)

Clinical trial on male contraceptive show promise. A recent clinical trial on the injectable male contraceptive, Jab was found to be nearly 96% effective at reducing sperm counts and out of almost 300 men tested, there were only 4 reported accidental pregnancies! The down side is that about 5% of the men were unable to regain their ability to make new sperm. While further experiments are needed to learn more about Jab, the potential is exciting and researchers will surely keep studying this medication. (BBC)

How to Recognize Sugar in New Nutrition Labels

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In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an update to the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods and introduced a new section on the label for added sugars. Many foods contain naturally-occurring sugars but this label addition breaks down the amount and type of extra sugars that are included in processed foods.

Added sugars can appear in various forms including:

  • Single sugars or monosaccharides such as fructose, galactose, or glucose (also called dextrose)
  • Double sugars or disaccharides that contain two molecules of sugars such as lactose, maltose, or sucrose
  • Sugars from syrups and honey such as cane invert syrup, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup
  • Sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are “in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type”

More: Decoding Sugar Names

Sugars are often added to foods for flavor, to enhance texture, and preserve foods. You can find added sugars in an assortment of foods from frozen desserts to sweetened beverages. Although sugar can be broken down in the body into energy, a majority of Americans tend to consume sugar in excess. According to the FDA, the typical American eats up to 270 calories or 13% of total calories in added sugars per day. Many of these added sugars come from packaged desserts, drinks, and sweet treats that offer little to no nutritional value and can increase the risk of developing diseases. The federal dietary guidelines recommend that an individual consume a maximum of 10% of total calories from added sugars, or 150 calories if you were following a 1,500 calorie per day diet.

If you suspect you may be eating too much sugar, take the quiz to find out if you need to cut back on the sweet stuff and follow this 14-day plan to cut down on your sugar intake.

Watch: Why Quitting Sugar Is Good For Your Heart

What if Alzheimer’s Disease Could Be Prevented? Join Challenge 66 Today to Help

Did you know that every 66 seconds a brain develops Alzheimer’s disease? Maria Shriver has made it her mission to find out why this happens, ever since her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed with this disease 13 years ago. As the founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, Shriver has dedicated herself to research in the hopes that a cure will one day be found.

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