Today’s Headlines: Tylenol, Brown Fat, Sleep Patterns

Tylenol may not work for acute back pain: Acetaminophen has long been the first drug of choice for sudden (acute) back pain, but an Australian study is calling this into question. More than 1,600 people with acute lower-back pain either took acetaminophen tablets regularly three times a day, took acetaminophen only as needed or took placebo tablets for up to four weeks. “People in all three groups took about the same number of days to become pain-free: 17 days in the regular-dose group and the as-needed group, and 16 days in the placebo group. Participants also kept track of their daily pain (on a scale of 1 to 10), and pain scores across the three groups were about the same throughout the study.” (Fox)

Keeping brown fat may help control diabetes: Brown fat is the furnace of our bodies and uses energy to regulate our body temperature. This is especially important as baby’s, but as we get older and become better at regulating our temperature, we lose brown fat.  Researchers have known for some time that brown fat is also involved in regulation of body weight, but new research is showing it may also play a role in diabetes. “[A] report published in the journal Diabetes…[by researchers] at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found for the first time that adults who retained more amounts of brown fat were better able to keep blood sugar under control and burn off fat stores.” As of yet, researchers haven’t found a way to turn our natural stores of brown fat “on” or “off.” (Time)

What time you wake up may reflect your personality: It appears night owls may have a rougher time than early risers according to a new study from a group of researchers in Spain. “They found that morning people tend to be more persistent. Morning types are also more resistant to fatigue, frustration and difficulties, which often translates into lower levels of anxiety and lower rates of depression, higher life satisfaction and less likelihood of substance abuse. On the other hand, evening people tend to be more extravagant, temperamental, impulsive and novelty- seeking, ‘with a higher tendency to explore the unknown.’ They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and ADHD. They also appear to be more likely to develop addictive behaviors, mental disorders and antisocial tendencies, and even to attempt suicide.” Researchers think both social and genetic factors underlie these differences. (CBS)