In the News: Meditation May Ward Off Heart Disease, Hypoallergenic Moisturizer Claims Are Often False, Natural Protein May Prevent Blindness

Meditation may help ward off heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a statement on the correlation between certain types of meditation and reducing heart disease risk. After looking at dozens of studies, they found that the data isn’t wholly conclusive but practicing meditation and mindfulness in conjunction with maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and lowering cholesterol, can have a positive effect. In trying to determine why this practice can lower heart disease risk factors, experts found that meditating reduces stress and blood pressure, two factors that play a major role in heart health. Want to improve your heart health? Take this grocery list to the store with you next time. (TIME)

Hypoallergenic moisturizer claims are often false. Many consumers with skin conditions turn to hypoallergenic and fragrance-free items to provide them with irritation-free relief. While some shoppers wouldn’t know the difference, others have serious allergic reactions when their skin is exposed to certain additives. Dr. Steve Xu, a dermatologist at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, examined 100 popular moisturizers and found that 45 percent of the products claiming to be fragrance-free had a fragrance and 83 percent of products claiming to be hypoallergenic contained an allergen. Experts recommend a “skinny skin-diet”, which requires using the least amount of commercial products possible and instead sticking to ingredients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, and shea butter. (NPR)

 A natural protein may help prevent blindness. Researchers at Macquarie University in Australia found that neuroserpin, a protein that plays a role in eye health, is not active in glaucoma patients, leading experts to wonder if this holds the key to blindness prevention and disease management. Since glaucoma is caused by an excess of eye pressure that then damages the optic nerve, the absence of this protein may explain how this damage occurs. While there is no cure as of now, this research may open the doors to new glaucoma-related discoveries that can help millions of people. Want to improve your eyesight? Here are seven easy ways to do just that. (MN)