In the News: Study Says Pets Linked to Improved Health, Smoking Causes One in 10 Deaths, More Middle-Aged Men Taking Steroids

Study says pets linked to improved health. A 2015 Harris poll has found that 95 percent of pet owners look at their animal as a family member and treat them like gold. In return, pet owners tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and a lower heart rate. While it’s not clear if these health benefits stem from the exercise required to keep up with your pet or the stress relief from having one on hand, the positive side effects are very much there. Specifically, researchers have found that dogs can help children improve their reading skills, fish can help Alzheimer’s patients feel relaxed and improve their eating habits, handling horses can reduce PTSD, and the list goes on and on. To learn more about how pets can increase your longevity, check out this article. (TIME)

Smoking causes one in 10 deaths across the globe. New research has found that smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide, with half of them in China, India, Russia, and the United States. Despite everything we know now about the dangers of smoking, one out of four men and one in 20 women are smoking on a daily basis. This study, which spanned 25 years, found that smoking among Russian women went up by 4 percent, with similar findings in Africa as well. In Brazil, the percentage of smokers went down from 29 percent to 12 percent. Ready to quit? Check out this fact sheet to find out how. (BBC)

Increased number of middle-aged men taking steroids. Researchers have found that men in their forties and fifties are increasingly turning to steroids to compensate for lowered testosterone levels. Whether it’s due to weight gain, lowered energy, a reduced sex drive, or a lack of muscle, middle-aged men are turning to these pills as a means of hormone replacement therapy. While there may be benefits to taking these anabolic-androgenic steroids, it’s important to have a professional determine the right dosage, since self-medicating can cause bodily harm down the road. Here are some additional healthy ways to boost testosterone. (GUARDIAN)