Today’s Headlines: Why Working at Night May Affect Your Heart, How Weight Loss Can Help Your Brain, and the New Ingredient Being Added into the Flu Vaccine

Night shifts at work could lead to heart disease. A study of nurses who worked late night shifts found a link to cardiovascular health decline over a long period of time. “They found nurses who worked rotating night shifts for 10 years or longer had a 15 percent or higher increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to women who escaped night shift duty…For younger women, who started the study in their late 30s, those who worked night shifts for 10 years or longer had a 27 percent higher risk of heart disease.” While the exact cause for the correlation was not known, researchers suspect it could be credited towards lack of sleep and disrupting normal “biological rhythms” required for a healthy life. (NBC)

If you have diabetes, weight loss may slow brain health decline. A small study that was done on people with diabetes split individuals into either a counseling group with diet and exercise components or a control counseling group. “The counseling group lost more weight and achieved greater gains in cardiorespiratory fitness than their peers in the control group. And, in a sign that weight loss might protect against diabetes-related brain damage, the control group had smaller volumes of gray matter and more white matter disease by the end of the study. Smaller volumes of brain tissue and the presence of white matter disease are linked to cognitive decline.” The researchers explained that the brain uses energy from the body, mainly from blood sugar, in order to function, but a person with diabetes has fluctuating blood sugar levels which may damage the brain over time. Researchers believe weight loss may help stabilize those levels. (Fox)

A new and improved flu vaccine will be available for senior citizens. This vaccine includes a new additive and will only be for people 65 years old and older or who have poor immune responses to the vaccine. “It’s the first flu vaccine to include what’s called an adjuvant — a compound that helps stimulate the immune system so that a vaccine is more effective…Fluad contains MF59, an oil-in-water mixture that includes squalene, an oily nutrient produced by the liver, and some preservatives. It’s not clear why but when mixed with vaccines it increases the number of immune system cells that are stimulated.” The new shot is expected to become available sometime next year. (NBC)