Sharecare Top 5: Answers to Your Ebola Questions, Halloween Costume Hazards and Foods for Sizzling Sex

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On Sharecare we’re keeping you up to speed on everything Ebola-related, sharing important health facts about the novelty contact lenses often worn with Halloween costumes, and revealing which foods can spice up your sex life.

1. Ebola news is everywhere and many people are worried about the spread of this deadly virus from West Africa. We’re here to make sure you’ve got the latest news and expert answers for your Ebola concerns.

2. Your favorite doctors are at it again: Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen are filling you in on the benefits of music for your mind, body and spirit (especially your competitive spirit).

3. Before you add zombie- or cat-like eyes to your Halloween costume, find out the scary truth about novelty contact lenses and the frightening risks they can pose to your eye health.

4. Heat up your love life by taking a walk down the aisle — the grocery aisle, that is. Next time you’re at the store, pick out these natural aphrodisiacs that’ll get both you and your partner in the mood back at home.

5. While mental health awareness has improved over the years, many people still aren’t sure how to respond when a friend or family member has a mental health condition. Be a shoulder to lean on with these six ways to be supportive.

4 Tips for a Sugar-Free Halloween (Plus a Pumpkin Cookie Recipe!)

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You’ve heard that eating a lot of refined carbohydrates can cause weight gain and inflammation while leading to a host of chronic diseases. Now that you’ve nixed sugar-laden treats, it can be a little tricky to get the whole family on board, especially when holidays like Halloween revolve around candy! Here’s what can you do to make Halloween fun for your whole family, without the cavities and sugar crashes. Read more  »

Restoring Magnesium Levels With Epsom Salt Baths

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Written by Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body needed for many physiologic functions. It is critical for healthy digestion, good bone density, proper nerve and muscle function and prenatal health.

Since this mineral is so indispensable, it’s no surprise that magnesium deficiency can be a root issue of several chronic health problems.

We’ve been talking about magnesium deficiency for quite some time now. Although awareness has been raised, the problem isn’t going away. The modern lifestyle lends itself to magnesium depletion so, in reality, magnesium therapy should be an ongoing process for many of us. Read more  »

Are You Sabotaging Your Weight-Loss Plan?

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If losing weight is one of your goals, you’re not alone. A recent Gallup poll found that 51% of adults in America want to lose weight, but barely half as many (25%) say they’re seriously working toward that goal. If you’ve tried different weight-loss plans but have struggled to maintain any of them, there’s a very good chance that you’re sabotaging your own efforts.

Did you go shopping to stock your kitchen with the approved foods on your list? Have you added weekly yoga and Spinning classes to your calendar? And have you even considered how you’re going to deal with the emotional triggers that come up during the plan? I bet your emotions didn’t cross your mind when you decided to lose weight. However, if you’ve ever reached for a chocolate bar or a bag of blue chips after a fight with your husband or a bad day at the office, then you need to learn how to manage your emotions, or the weight will never stay off.

I’ve found that in order to stick to any weight-loss plan, you need to problem solve ahead of time. So if you’re ready to make a new start, try these three tips to achieve your weight-loss goals and make positive changes in your life. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Music, Hand Washing and Foot Pain

Listening to music while you work out may boost performance. It seems like most people in today’s gyms are wearing headphones and a new study out this week shows why having some our own personal playlist may be so appealing. The authors “recruited 20 young, healthy adult volunteers, without experience in high-intensity interval training….Using stationary bicycles, they completed four 30-second bouts of what the researchers call “all-out” pedaling, at the highest intensity that each volunteer could stand. Each 30-second bout was followed by four minutes of recovery time.” The participants repeated the regimen on two other occasions, once with their own music and once without. “The volunteers all reported that the intervals had been hard. In fact, their feelings about the difficulty were almost identical, whether they had been listening to music or not. What is interesting is that their power output had been substantially greater when they were listening to music, but they did not find that effort to be more unpleasant.” Planning to push yourself during your next workout? Make sure you have some tunes to keep you company. (NYT)

Doctors are washing their hands but patients aren’t. While there’s been a big push to stop infection by having doctors wash their hands in the hospital, no similar encouragement has been given to patients. A new study has now indicated that “hand washing followed less than a third of bathroom visits, and washing or hand-sanitizer use happened only rarely after patients entered or left a room.” This is concerning because patients, like doctors, can carry serious infection. “One in 25 hospital patients has at least one infection contracted at the hospital at any given time…many of them serious or even life threatening.” The researchers found that many common spaces, like kitchens or common rooms, are used by patients without any hand washing. “The researchers point to a previous study that found requiring patients to disinfect their hands four times a day significantly reduced the number of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease outbreaks in a psychiatric ward.” The message? Stopping infection is everyone’s responsibility, not just your doctor’s. (Fox)

Extra depth shoes help all foot pain in older adults. Foot pain is a common complaint in old age, but it can prove very difficult to treat. “The structure and function of the foot changes significantly with age…. With advancing age, the foot to exhibits increased soft tissue stiffness, decreased range of motion, decreased strength, and a more pronated posture.” This changes the way weight is distributed on the foot, which can lead to problems down the road. The researchers set out to see if extra depth shoes, normally used in diabetic patients, might help with foot pain from other causes. “The extra-depth footwear group was more likely to report their foot pain had moderately or markedly improved over the four month period and they also developed fewer keratotic lesions, like corns or calluses, than the comparison group. When the participants took the foot health questionnaire again, the special footwear group scored 11 points better for pain and 10 points better for function than the comparison group.” These findings held regardless of the cause of foot pain. (Reuters)

Olive Oil Found to Be Best for Frying

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We all know we’re supposed to go for baked or grilled when we have the option, but we all indulge in a fried food once in a while. Fried food is delicious because of the fats and oils that are infused into the food during the frying process, not to mention the crispy layer of bread crumbs that’s often added on top. Unfortunately, those two ingredients are also what can make fried food so bad for you. Read more  »

The Most Common Culprits of Stress Fractures in Your Feet

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Throughout the day, our feet are the recipients of constant pounding and stress. Whether from the hard pavements of the streets or cramped conditions of work heels or dress shoes, our feet frequently take a good beating. Dramatic daily overuse can occasionally cause fractures in our feet called stress fractures. Stress fractures are the result of chronic overuse or repetitive force, which can lead to small hairline cracks in the bones of the foot.

The most common sites of these stress fractures are in the weight bearing bones of the feet. In my office, I frequently see stress fractures on the metatarsals, which are the long bones in the middle of the foot. However, they are also common on the heel and the midfoot bones. Here are some of the reasons fractures like this occur. Read more  »