Living at High Altitudes May Ward Off Obesity

Woman in mountains

Living at higher altitudes might help you control your weight, according to a new study published in PLOS One.

Researchers looked at the health records of over 98,000 U.S. military personnel between 2006 and 2012. They found that people stationed at high altitudes (1.2 miles above sea level or more) were 41% less likely to become obese compared to people serving at lower altitudes (0.6 miles or fewer) – even after they adjusted for starting BMI, sex, race and age.

According to The New York Times, prior studies have also shown that people living in low-altitude countries are about four times more likely to be obese than people living in high-altitude ones, for unknown reasons.

The study’s authors suggest that certain appetite-controlling hormones, such as leptin, tend to rise at higher altitudes – perhaps explaining the difference. However, they cautioned that further study was needed to explain how exactly altitude helps weight control.

Today’s Headlines: Education and Brain Injury, Depression and Wine

College-educated brains recover better from injury, study suggests: A history of more education may help brains recover from traumatic injury, according to a new study. The study found that “one year after a traumatic brain injury, people with a college education were nearly four times as likely as those who hadn’t finished high school to return to work or school with no disability.” Researchers reported that 39% of people with a college degree were able to return to work or school without any disability following a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, compared to only 10% of people with no high school diploma. “Scientists have theorized that education leads to greater ‘cognitive reserve,’ which allows people to overcome or compensate for brain damage.” (NBC News

Breakthroughs could lead to ‘powerful treatment for depression’: Researchers in a new study “say they have uncovered an important mechanism by which ghrelin – a natural antidepressant hormone – works inside the brain,” and have also identified a protective drug that may be a new potent treatment for depression. Ghrelin, which is also known as the “hunger hormone” for its ability to stimulate appetite, appears to also have natural antidepressant properties and may be able to “trigger the formation of new neurons, known as neurogenesis, in the hippocampus – the brain region that regulates mood, memory and complex eating behaviors.” Moreover, the team found that a compound called P7C3 may support ghrelin’s neuroprotective abilities, leading to improvements in depression.  This could lead to a whole new class of antidepressant drugs, according to the researchers. (Medical News Today) 

Moderate wine consumption may benefit kidneys: “New research links moderate wine consumption with a lower prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD); and, for those who already have CKD, the study indicates some wine consumption may be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.” Researchers examined data from 5,582 people included in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey and found that rates of CKD were lower in people who drank a glass of wine a day or less (on average), compared to people who did not drink at all. One glass of wine is four ounces, according to the American Heart Association. (Fox News

Jalapeño Poppers

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There are few appetizer recipes that provide as many flavorful ingredients as this Jalapeño Poppers dish. With a fabulous combination of flavors, in addition to the variety of nutritional benefits, these poppers bring a lot to the table. This highly nutritious dish is bursting with carotenoids, omega 3 fatty acids, quercetin, and lean protein. If that weren’t enough of a reason to serve these poppers to your dinner guests, it also accommodates dietary restrictions such as vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free guests. Enjoy every bite of this delicious balance between healthy and delicious! Get the recipe here.

Why Does Stress Cause Acne?

healthy face

When our caveman ancestors encountered danger, a flood of stress hormones prepped their bodies to do battle or hightail it to safety—a “fight or flight” response. The same neurochemistry is at work today, but you can’t run away from an angry boss—or punch her in the face—so the stress hormones work in new and unfortunately less productive ways.  Read more  »

4 Surprising Hydration Hacks

cold summer drinks in garden

Whether it’s through sweating, peeing or even breathing, your body is constantly losing water. In fact, over the course of a single day, an average person loses about 10 to 11 cups of water. Replenishing the liquids your body loses is absolutely essential to look and feel your best. Water helps to deliver nutrients to every cell and organ in your body and clears away waste and toxins. It also helps regulate body temperature, supports digestion, keeps your skin looking smooth and young and lubricates your joints.

Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Fibroid Removal, Dirty Money and PET Scans

FDA now discourages hysterectomy, fibroid procedure: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated “that a procedure commonly used during hysterectomies and fibroid surgeries can spread undetected cancer.” The procedure, power morcellation, grinds up fibroids and other unwanted tissue so that it may be removed, but it may also disseminate the tissue throughout the abdominal cavity. “In roughly one patient out of 350, those tiny bits are cancerous and their spread makes the cancer far harder to treat, the FDA said in a formal safety communication notice.” Though doctors try to rule out cancer before the procedure, absence of cancer cannot be guaranteed. Some hospitals, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are suspending use of power morcellators. (USA Today

Researchers find thousands of bacteria living on cash: Your money is dirtier than you think, according to a new study from New York University’s Dirty Money Project. Scientists analyzed the genetic material on one dollar bills and found that they are carriers for up to 3,000 different types of bacteria. “Easily the most abundant species they found is one that causes acne. Others were linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance.” The scientists think that the bills may carry even more bacteria, since about 80% of non-human DNA can’t be identified using current lab testing. (Fox News)

For vegetative patients, a brain scan may detect hope of recovery: Brain scans like PET scans may help doctors determine which vegetative patients will recover and which will not, according to a new study. The study tracked 102 unconscious patients for at least a year, using brain scans, bedside exams and other diagnostic tests to measure consciousness. “Imaging the subjects’ brains with a positron emission tomography (PET) scan allowed researchers to predict accurately 74% of the time whether a patient would show evidence of consciousness a year later. It was a better prognosticator of a poor outcome (continued lack of consciousness), accurately predicting that a patient would continue to be vegetative or minimally conscious in 92% of cases.” (Los Angeles Times)

Know When to Go to the Doctor

Male doctor working on a futuristic touchscreen display

When it comes to my health, I admit it, I’m a “Googler.” This can be good or bad.

On the one hand, the Internet is a powerful tool for health because you can research to your heart’s content, outside the confines of a doctor’s skimpy visit. I, myself, have learned so much recently from fellow thyroid patients, as I work to figure out my own emerging thyroid condition. Comparing notes with other patients is especially helpful in the face of any condition about which doctors are still debating over the right treatment. Hypothyroidism is one of those, as this episode of the Dr. Oz show explored.

On the other hand, there comes a time – and it may be sooner rather than later – when it’s important to go to the doctor instead of going online. Years ago at Good Morning America, I conducted a little investigation. We identified three “telemedicine” sites where you can ask an online doctor for advice about your symptoms. Then we posed a real-life question to all of them on behalf of a 35-year-old woman. We asked about her severe, unexplained itching and fatigue. All three gave different answers – and all three were wrong! Read more  »

Lentil-Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

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Getting your daily intake of fiber doesn’t need to be boring. This fun recipe uses two fiber-rich ingredients that will keep you full all day long. Quinoa is packed with protein, containing all nine kinds of essential amino acids, while lentils will give you a boost of energy from their healthy complex carbohydrates. Feel free to use other lentils (green, yellow, red) instead of the black or try different herbs or toppings. Remember, recipes should always be looked at as an inspiration to expand on. Be adventurous and have fun cooking and eating. Get this healthy and fun recipe here.

4 Longevity Tips from the Masters

Yoga and Relax

These 4 pieces of advice from the great masters have inspired me on my path to healing and helping others live happy, healthy lives. The wise sages keep the statement simple, but the message is very large. If you follow this wisdom, you will live to the best of your health potential and enjoy life more!

1. Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates
Many of us have become to accustomed to eating with our tastebuds. We forget that food is an incredibly beneficial ally in our quest for health and longevity. Picture the soup a loved one brings you when you are sick, and you know that food really does have healing properties. Start making at least a dish a week from scratch using whole foods. Juicing is an easy way to work in the nutritious foods. Colorful fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that protect you from disease. Nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, high-quality lean meats: all are full of compounds that benefit your whole body. So bag the processed foods and instead eat more medicine! Trust me, it will taste so good, you won’t need any sugar to make the medicine go down. Read more  »