In the News: Teen Moms at Risk of Heart Disease, Scientists Find New Mechanism to Block Unwanted Thoughts, Climate Change May Be Causing Health Issues for Millions

Teen moms at risk of heart disease. According to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, women who have given birth as teens are more likely to develop heart disease than those who get pregnant when they’re older. In a study conducted by Catherine Pirkle, Ph.D., her team looked at 1,047 women between the ages of 65-74 living in Albania, Brazil, Canada, and Colombia. Using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS), they found that women who had their first pregnancy before they turned 20, had a way higher risk of heart disease compared to women who got pregnant later in life. In trying to find an explanation for these results, they identified two potential reasons: first, the possibility that adolescents who have children early on may have a reduced chance of achieving a higher education and a smaller earning potential. Secondly, due to financial struggles and a lack of education they may feel more stressed on a regular basis and take part in unhealthy behaviors. Take this quiz to find out if you’re at risk of heart disease. (MN)

Scientists find a new mechanism to block unwanted thoughts. According to new research published in Nature Communications, a group of scientists used a procedure known as ‘Think/No-Think’ to uncover a new process that allows the prefrontal cortex to block out certain thoughts. Using a mix of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the scientists were able to see how the brains of participants changed when trying to inhibit certain thoughts. They were able to pin down the specific neurotransmitter responsible for the blocking, known as GABA. When nerve cells release it, it can pause activity in other connected cells, and they found that concentrated areas of GABA in the hippocampus (the part of the brain linked to memory), could indicate participants’ ability to successfully shut out certain memories and thoughts. Feeling foggy lately? Watch this clip to learn about three foods to boost your memory. (SD) 

Climate change may be hurting the health of millions. With the effects of global warming becoming increasingly apparent over recent years, scientists are studying the ways in which climate change impacts public health. While it’s clear that hurricanes, wildfires, and heat waves can cause causalities and illnesses, there are also other ways that climate change can create further health problems as well. Fluctuating weather patterns can cause the spread of infectious illnesses like malaria, cholera, and West Nile virus, and a longer-than-usual allergy season could create further health problems. Lyme disease cases have tripled, and a lack of rain or too-hot temperatures can also shrink the number of crops that can be harvested each season, leading to malnutrition in certain parts of the world. Since the effects of climate change are becoming too obvious to ignore, this can cause policymakers to consider it a full-blown health crisis and rally behind those who are trying to reverse the damage and find a way to improve the health of millions. (T)