In the News: Late Night Snacking May Damage Skin, Study Says You Can’t be Fit and Fat, Blood Test May Find Cancer Early

Late night snacking may damage skin. According to a recent study, eating late at night may make your skin more prone to sun damage. When studying mice, scientists discovered that if their eating patterns shifted, they became more vulnerable to UV rays. When looking for an explanation, Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi found that altering the circadian rhythm changes the way a specific skin-protecting enzyme operates. This enzyme, known as xeroderma pigmentosum group A (XPA), became less active during the day when the mice ate at different times and more active at night. While it’s not clear if this phenomenon would also impact humans, it does raise questions about how diet can impact your skin health. Want to stop nighttime eating? Try this plan. (MNT)

A study says you can’t be fit and fat. A study printed in the European Heart Journal has found that being overweight raises the risk of coronary heart disease, even if the person seems healthy overall. These findings challenge the notion that one can be overweight yet simultaneously fit. After analyzing thousands of heart disease cases in 10 European countries for over a decade, researchers discovered that being overweight was linked to a 25% higher likelihood of developing heart disease. These results will likely open a new discussion about what it really means to be healthy and whether blood tests or other assessments will be needed to determine that. Want to try a lightning-fast workout? You can do this one in just seven minutes. (CNN)

A blood test may find cancer early. A team at Johns Hopkins University has found that a blood test can detect breast, colon, lung, and ovarian cancer. While it will take a long time before this exam can be used as a method of cancer screening, it does show great promise. Scientists found that dying tumor cells shed tiny bits of DNA that can show up in the bloodstream. Interestingly, the team was able to find a lot of early-stage cancer patients having these changes in their blood. This type of testing can potentially find cancer before any symptoms even emerge. If these tests continue to be accurate over the next few years of research, it can create a huge impact in the world of early cancer detection. (NBC)

In the News: Solar Eclipse Safety Tips Revealed, Anger May Improve Happiness, Singing May Improve Parkinson’s Symptoms

Solar eclipse safety tips revealed.  As the anticipation grows for the upcoming solar eclipse, many are wondering how to safely witness this phenomenon. With so many people planning to wear their regular sunglasses or to buy counterfeit pairs it’s important to get the facts and stay protected. According to Steven Pfriem from the ICS Laboratories, the way to tell if your solar eclipse-viewing glasses are safe is to check for the “ISO 12312-2 standard” label on the frames, check that you can’t see your hand while you’re wearing the glasses, and make sure there are no bubbles, creases, dents, or scratches on the glasses themselves. (TODAY)

Anger can improve happiness. While it may sound strange to say that anger and hatred can somehow improve one’s happiness, research shows that this may be true. An international study found that happiness is more complicated than seeking to feel good and avoiding feeling bad. In actuality, feeling the emotions you desire to feel, even if those are negative, can boost your happiness. Some interesting findings showed that 11% of participants want to feel less positive emotions and 10% want to feel more negative ones. To make sense of this, Dr. Maya Tamir from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explains that people who read horrible news want to feel sad or angry rather than feeling nothing. Researchers also found that expecting to feel happy constantly can have serious downsides since it’s natural to have an ebb and flow of emotions. (BBC)

Singing may improve Parkinson’s symptoms. A new study has found that singing may be used as a voice therapy to help Parkinson’s patients. While symptoms differ from person to person, 60-80% of people with Parkinson’s experience some type of vocal change such as becoming monotone, speaking in a whispered voice, or losing vocal pitch. While typical Parkinson’s treatments don’t cover this area, singing, a form of voice therapy, may help improve these impairments. In one study, researchers found that in two months of singing, volume, swallow control, and pitch were noticeably improved. While further research is required to determine how and why this practice can improve these symptoms, for the time-being it is showing great potential. (MN)

5 Benefits of Having a Fitness Family

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Having a fitness family can do a world of good. First, let’s start by explaining what does not constitute a fitness family. It could be your regular biological family but often it is not. If you are dragging these members kicking and screaming to join you for a morning walk, I am sorry but that doesn’t count. If these individuals invite you to meet them at the gym but never show or they often change their plans for Zumba or yoga, they aren’t likely to become a part of your fitness family either.

These organizational units are usually created organically. When you least expect it, someone appears on your morning walk for the second time in a row at the same time. Maybe you share a laugh in Zumba class or a smirk because you both avoid certain moves involving the pelvic area. Your fitness family forms exactly where you are. You meet them because they are heading your way or share the same club. You are striving for the same goals and you enjoy the same activities. Your fitness family can become a very supportive part of your life and help you achieve your wellness goals! Additionally, there are myriad benefits from being a part of a like-minded group! Here are the top five benefits of a fitness family.


In the News: Google Encourages Plant-Based Eating, Instagram Feed May Reveal Signs of Depression, Doing Puzzles Can Shave 10 Years Off Your Brain

Google encourages employees to adopt a plant-based diet. Google, a company that has never shied away from taking on environmental issues like pollution and deforestation is now taking a stand against meat. In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Google is serving less beef in the employee cafeterias these days. In order to replace animal protein but keep the meals filling and delicious for their employees, they will be relying on nuts, grains, and legumes to create tasty meals. Some popular dishes include an award-winning vegan taco, quinoa dishes, and mushroom burgers. Want to try a plant-based diet? Give the 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough a try. (MH)

Your Instagram feed may reveal if you’re depressed. Using a special computer program that analyzed Instagram, researchers found it could diagnose depression in users with remarkable accuracy. Depending on which filter Instagram users chose, how many likes a photo received, and whether a filter was used at all, researchers were able to determine who may be depressed. Using the “Inkwell” filter or not using filters at all, receiving very few likes, posting photos of faces (but only a few), and choosing blue, gray, or generally dark color schemes for the photos all pointed to mental illness. Watch this clip to learn more if Instagram can cause loneliness as well. (ABC)

Doing crossword puzzles can help maintain brain health. Researchers have found crossword puzzles can help people 50 and older maintain a young and sharp brain. Researchers from University of Exeter and Kings College London analyzed 17,000 people to determine if certain activities improve brain health and found that doing puzzles can increase the accuracy of short-term memories and the ability to solve grammatical issues quickly. They discovered that regularly working on puzzles can help the brain operate as though it’s 10 years younger. Want to give your brain a boost? Try these four hacks. (HL)

In the News: New Drug Treats All Forms of Hepatitis C, Loneliness May Be a Bigger Killer Than Obesity, Green Tea Extract May Treat Tooth Sensitivity

FDA approves a new drug that treats hepatitis C. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around anywhere from 2.7 to 3.9 million Americans are currently living with hepatitis C. This condition slowly develops sans symptoms for years until serious damage, such as liver failure or liver cancer, eventually occurs. While past treatments required shots and pills with painful symptoms, it appears a better approach has emerged. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug that treats all types of hepatitis C in two months time. The medication is split between three pills that are taken once a day. While some side effects such as fatigue, itchiness, or nausea may occur, this new form of treatment is more efficient and convenient than ever before. (ABC)

Loneliness may be a bigger killer than obesity. While it may seem that obesity is the leading cause of premature deaths in America, it turns out that loneliness gives it a run for its money. Studies out of Brigham Young University indicate that social isolation increases the likelihood of premature death by around 50%. These findings also showed that loneliness was equal or greater than obesity in terms of its detrimental effects. When 2,000 people were polled, 72% stated that they’ve felt lonely before and 31% stated they feel lonely at least once a week. To solve this problem, researchers are suggesting that social skills should be taught and enforced in early education courses. Take this quiz to find out if you’re at risk of adult loneliness today. (MNT)

Green tea extract may treat tooth sensitivity. For anyone with tooth sensitivity, drinking a beverage that is too cold or too hot can cause horrible pain to the teeth and gums. While before it seemed that the only solution was time, scientists are now looking to green tea extract for a better option. The epigallocatechin-3 gallate (ECGC) compound found in green tea was shown to successfully plug up tubes in the teeth so that hot and cold liquids can’t touch the nerves. Not only was this extract capable of reducing unpleasant tooth sensitivity symptoms, the positive effect lasted for 96 hours. Learn more about the health benefits of green tea here. (MH)

In the News: Scientists Edit Human Embryos, Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Confirmed in Florida, Low Calorie Diet Linked to Learning Improvement

Scientists edit mutation in human embryos. For the first time ever, scientists have successfully repaired a mutated gene that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This disease affects half a million Americans annually, particularly young athletes who pass away from sudden cardiac death. Scientists have spent the last few years looking into gene editing, particularly its ability to prevent certain diseases. A popular form of gene editing known as CRISPR-CAS9 involves removing or making changes to DNA sequences to change the way the gene operates. This scientific breakthrough raises ethical questions, with many wondering if this is a form of “playing God” and will require further research before it can be used in clinical trials. (MEDNEWS)

Sexually transmitted Zika virus confirmed in Florida. This year’s first sexually transmitted Zika case has been discovered in Florida recently. The state’s health department confirmed that a Florida resident’s partner showed Zika symptoms after returning from Cuba; both were diagnosed with this mosquito-borne virus. This recent case highlights the importance of taking precautions when engaging in sexual contact with someone who may have been exposed. The CDC also recommends postponing unprotected sex for six months or more to ensure females are not infected. While the symptoms of Zika are minor (rash, fever, pinkeye), it can cause birth defects if contracted during pregnancy. Want to learn more about Zika? Here are five facts you should know. (ABC)

Low-calorie diet linked to learning improvement in worms. Want to try a low-calorie diet? A new study has found that eating less gives worms a brain boost. Research has already shown that calorie restriction can boost longevity and it appears that it can also improve learning ability too. A team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco trained roundworms to link the scent of butanone with a food-based reward. The worm groups were divided up between those who ate whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, those who fasted for sixty minutes, and those who were on a calorie-restricted diet. The group on the diet was two times more likely to complete the exercise the way they were supposed to as compared to the group that ate freely. Some experts believe that eating fewer calories lowers the amount of kynurenic acid (a brain chemical) which may improve learning ability. Want to try a restricted diet? Give this 1200-calorie meal plan a try! (NS)

7 Workout Moves You Can Do on Vacation

running woman exercise
If you are looking to maintain your workout regimen even when you’re on vacation, you are in luck. World-renowned fitness trainer David Kirsch has five easy moves you can try from the comfort of your hotel room, beach house, or anywhere else you rest your head. Just because you are taking a break from your normal routine, doesn’t mean your workouts have to fall to the wayside. Try out these seven moves to find your favorite ones!