Bacteria Thrive on Unwashed Knives, Greater on Graters


Reusing knives, graters, and other cutting tools in the kitchen is pretty common practice. Most get a quick rinse to remove anything seemingly left on the surface and are thrown back in the drawer. But that practice may not be so good for your health. A new study out this week had a look at how poor cleaning practices affect the bacterial contamination left on them after use. Their findings demonstrate why it’s so important to give cutting tools a thorough wash before they find their way back into the cupboard. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Pain Alleviation From Meditation, Exercise to Help the Flu Shot, and How Change in Humor Could be a Red Flag for Dementia

Meditation might be able to alleviate certain physical and emotional pain. A study began due to the questioning of whether or not meditation really is effective for pain management, or if it acted as more of a placebo—people believing it helps simply because the idea of meditation is currently popular. Researchers “recruited 75 healthy, pain-free people and scanned their brains using an MRI while they experienced painful heat with a 120-degree thermal probe. Then, the researchers sorted them into four groups and gave them four days of training. Everyone thought they were getting the real intervention, but most of them were getting a sham treatment… mindfulness meditation outperformed them all. In this group, pain intensity was cut by 27% and emotional pain reduced by 44%.” These numbers were pretty significant considering morphine has been tested to reduce pain by 22 percent, the researchers believe the increased number had something to do with the act of being mindful and therefore activating certain parts in the brain to help manage pain. (Time)

Frequent exercise for men may help the effectiveness of the flu shot. Exercise helps improve the body’s immune system, therefore protecting it from viruses such as the flu as well as increasing the level in which the flu shot helps aid the body. “Men who were consistently active for up to two decades or longer had significantly greater seroprotection, or antibody levels capable of fighting an influenza infection, to three common influenza strains compared with inactive men.” The study only looked at men and only seemed to show effectiveness in men who engaged in moderate to intense exercise on a regular basis. (WSJ)

Drastic change in humor and personality can be a sign for developing dementia. Researchers found that changes such as inappropriate humor–like laughing at a funeral–could be tell-tale signs of a certain type of dementia developing within the brain.  “There are many different types of dementia and frontotemporal dementia is one of the rarer ones. The area of the brain it affects is involved with personality and behaviour, and people who develop this form of dementia can lose their inhibition, become more impulsive and struggle with social situations.” The researchers are not yet sure how the change is caused as well as signs that could develop years before that should be a red flag but are not. (BBC)

What You’re Not Told About Mammograms

Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing Mammogram

Last month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released a new set of guidelines for breast cancer screening. This left many of us with more questions – now six different groups recommend three different ages to start screening. The choice of when to start is further encouraged to be a woman’s personal decision with her doctor. However, the current guidelines are confusing at best (as a physician myself, I was certainly confused), and occasionally misleading. Read more  »

A Pressing Health Issue for the Men in Your Life

couple beach sunglasses fun

I’ve noticed more than a few new mustaches around the office recently, reminding me that we’ve once again entered the month of November or, more accurately, Movember. This year’s Movember advocates are emphasizing the importance of mental health for men, a topic I think is one of the most important challenges men face. I’d like to take a few moments this week to talk about men’s mental health, in particular, why men are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, and how you can get the men in your life on track for better mental health. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes, Sibling Effects on Romantic Relationships, and Why You Should Be Drinking More Champagne

Cooking may lower your risk for diabetes. Home-cooked meals could decrease your chances of developing diabetes. A new study has shown that diet quality correlates with the risk for diabetes: “Cooking meals at home, says Zong, avoids many of the processed ingredients and unhealthy fats that restaurants and fast-food chains rely on so heavily. [In the study] Those who reported eating about two of the meals at home each day on average had a 13% lower risk of getting diabetes compared with those who had fewer than six homemade meals each week.” The study still cautioned people to monitor what they eat because not all food cooked at home can be completely balanced or healthy. (Time)

You might be more confident and comfortable in romantic relationships if you grew up with a sibling that was the opposite-sex. A study inferred that sibling type could draw conclusions on how people adjust to and deal with relationships. “Having an opposite-sex sibling provides natural opportunities to practice relating to the opposite sex and learn important social skills that can be applied in other relationships, such as conflict resolution and emotional control, the researchers said. Siblings of different sexes may have a better idea of how challenging interactions with the opposite sex can be, whereas same-sex siblings may be unaware of how little they know, the study suggests.” The study was conducted with a majority of heterosexual teens and therefore can only draw limited conclusions based off of the demographic studied. (WSJ)


Drink a glass of champagne; it may help you combat dementia. A study from 2013 has recently received some new press in regards to its findings on the positive link between champagne and cognitive function, similar to the benefits red wine can have on the body. “According to the news release, phenolics [found in Champagne] help modulate signals in the hippocampus and cortex, which are associated with memory and learning. With age, many proteins in these parts of the brain waste away, but, the compounds in Champagne appeared to help restore those protein counts to normal levels.” The researchers suggested that drinking one to two glasses a week could potentially fight aging in the brain. (Fox)

Why You Should Talk to Your Dentist About Safe and Effective Use of Opioids

portrait of a dentist

Written by Maxine Feinberg, DDS, President of the American Dental Association

Opioid abuse has reached crisis levels across the country, with 44 people dying each day from overdoses. Unfortunately, opioid pain medications, like hydrocodone and oxycodone, have become a leading source of drug abuse among teens and adults.

Following some dental procedures, your dentist may prescribe an opioid to help relieve pain. When taken as prescribed for short periods of time under the care of a medical professional, these medications are safe to use. But using these drugs for any other purpose is dangerous, illegal, and can even be fatal.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dental treatment. As dentists, it’s our goal help you avoid dental pain completely. Talk to your dentist about your options. Make sure you update your health history form, tell your dentist about medications you are currently taking and ask plenty of questions. Feel free to include your primary medical doctor in the conversation. If you are in recovery or have struggled with addiction, tell your dentist. Let your dentist know if anyone if your family has struggled with addiction.

Abusing opioids is extremely dangerous. You play an important role in keeping prescription medications from becoming a source of abuse in your household and in the community. You can take the following steps to help prevent these medications from becoming a source of abuse: Read more  »

Be a Consumer, Not Just a Patient to Avoid Opioid Addiction

aspirin pills

Elisabeth is a 13-time Emmy-winner, a critically acclaimed personal finance author and a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.
Connect with her via Twitter @ElisabethLeamy and on her website,

When the Dr. Oz Show asked me to go undercover and see how easy it was to get prescribed opioid drugs —often called the gateway drugs to heroin— I was eager to do it because I was worried about what we’d find. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Healthy Holiday Food Guide, Spotting a Stroke, Everything You Need to Know about the Flu, and More



This week on Sharecare we’re filling you in on some important flu facts, helping you watch out for health hazards that can affect your grandchildren and letting you know which drugstore decongestant doesn’t work.

1. Thanksgiving is coming up and while you’re probably looking forward to all your favorite holiday dishes, you may be dreading the scale after the hefty meal. Find out how to cut some of the calories — but still enjoy the holidays — with these five smart food swaps.

2. Stuffy sinuses? You may want to avoid this OTC decongestant as a study shows it does very little — and in some cases nothing at all — to clear your clogged nose.

3. You may just shrug off that headache, but sometimes that seemingly benign pain may signal a stroke in your future. Learn to know when headaches can spell trouble.

4. Babysitting your grandchild is a great time for bonding and fun, but things can get scary if your little one gets hurt or sick. And while you’re probably not a rookie, it helps to be prepared. Here are 6 health problems that grandparents should keep on their radar.

5. You’re not immune to the flu — in fact, 5% to 20% of Americans get the flu each year — even though a vaccine exists for it. Get the 411 on this year’s flu predictions and what you need to know to stay well.