Today’s Headlines: How Exercise May Prevent Cancer, The Difference Between Reading a Book and Reading on Your Computer, and Why Adults Don’t Get as Much Sleep

Exercise may decrease your risk for many different types of cancer. A new analysis from the National Cancer Institute studied 1.4 million people and determined that physical activity could aid in the prevention of thirteen types of cancer. “People who exercised the most had a 42 percent lower risk of esophageal cancer and a 27 percent lower risk of liver cancer over 11 years than people who exercised the least…” While multiple types of exercise — such as swimming, running, and walking — were listed as helpful, the main takeaway was that moderate exercise for a few hours a week was the healthiest practice. (NBC)

Reading on paper and computer screens are both beneficial to learning but in different ways. A new research study examined the positives and negatives of reading across different mediums. “In the study, people who used computer screens for learning did better when it came to understanding concrete details, but they had more difficulty understanding abstract concepts…‘Smartphones are great devices for looking up quick, concrete facts like the name of an actor or a restaurant we want to try…They may not be best at helping us remember larger concepts, though.’” Overall, the study concluded that reading on a computer can help you remember facts better, but if you want to understand in-depth connections, it’s best to print out the information to read it on paper. (ABC)

The idea that older people need less sleep may actually be a myth. Based on a series of European studies, researchers have speculated that older adults are getting less sleep due to undiagnosed insomnia. “On average older people sleep for a shorter time than their younger friends, but that only tells you that they get less sleep, not that they need less sleep. Insomnia in the retired is not always taken seriously by doctors. In one study, 69% of older people reported a sleep problem, but in 81% of cases the problem was not noted on the patient’s chart. One hypothesis is that the aging process disrupts their circadian rhythms, causing them to wake earlier than they should.” While the study is not definitive, the researchers recommend that people 65 and older get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. (BBC)