In the News: Around 80% of Schizophrenia Risk is Genetic, Saunas May Be Good for Blood Pressure, New Gadget Can Measure Calories in 10 Seconds

Around 80% of schizophrenia risk is genetic. According to new research from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, almost 80 percent of the chance of having schizophrenia comes down to your genes. When looking into conditions that fall along the schizophrenia spectrum, the heritability rate was also high, at around 73 percent. These findings are particularly important as many scientists are trying to identify the genes linked to this disease and these results may aid in finding new treatment approaches. Want to learn more about schizophrenia? Check out these facts. (MD)

Saunas may be good for blood pressure. A study out of Finland has found that routine visits to the sauna may have a positive impact on blood pressure. Published in the American Journal of Hypertension, this study included 1,621 middle-aged men with average blood pressure who were studied over 25 years. Of this group, 251 participants developed hypertension at some point during the observation period. The group that had two to three sauna sessions weekly was 24 percent less likely to develop hypertension, compared to the group who had one or fewer sauna visits weekly. While this study does not conclusively link sauna usage with a lowered risk of high blood pressure, there are several facts that may be in play. The warm temperatures may improve blood flow, the relaxing experience can help reduce stress and moderate blood pressure, and sweating is a natural diuretic, which is an effective form of hypertension treatment. Click here to learn which foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure. (NYT)

A new gadget can measure calories in 10 seconds. For so many of us who want to count calories when we’re out and about, we have to rely on apps that often have inaccurate counts and a lacking database of foods to choose from. With the advent of the CaloRieco created by Japanese electronics conglomerate Panasonic, the tide may soon be turning. To determine the caloric profile of your meal, you just stick the plate of food inside the device, push a button on the lid, and within just 10 seconds you will receive all the info you need.  This device can connect to the cloud via Wi-Fi so you can sync up the data to the counter’s associated app. While it’s not yet clear when this will be released in stores and how much it will cost, if interest is high it will likely make its way to the market soon. (M)

In the News: Angelina Jolie’s Doctor Reveals Cancer Prevention Tips, Black Tea Boosts Weight Loss, New Glue Can Seal Wounds in One Minute

Angelina Jolie’s doctor reveals cancer prevention tips. Dr. Kristi Funk, a renowned surgical breast care specialist, is famously known for treating Angelina Jolie back in 2013. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she has gathered 10 prevention tips she feels are the most important to keep in mind. Some of the tips include eating cruciferous vegetables daily, adding turmeric to your diet, eating more berries due to their high level of antioxidants, filling your home with plants to absorb toxins, dusting and vacuuming regularly, and buying organic if you plan to eat the skin of your fruits and vegetables. Want to learn more about cancer-fighting superfoods? Check out this episode. (ABC)

Black tea boosts weight loss. While the benefits of tea have been widely publicized for some time now, it looks like black tea may be particularly beneficial for those who want to shed some weight. According to a new study out of the Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), while both black and green tea have polyphenols which protect the body from free radicals, they encourage weight loss in two different ways. Green tea can alter the liver’s metabolism to burn more calories, while black tea molecules stay inside the intestine, increasing the amount of “friendly” gut bacteria which play a role in metabolism in a different, but also effective way. Want to learn more about buying tea? Check out this guide. (MN)

New glue can seal wounds in one minute. The days of sutures and staples may soon be behind us. According to biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney and the United States, a new elastic and adhesive surgical clue can rapidly seal wounds closed in just 60 seconds. The glue, called MeTro, is ideal for use on body tissues that expand and contract like arteries, lungs, and hearts. This new invention will be beneficial for reaching internal injuries that are hard to get to and only requires UV light to seal it in place. While further trials and research will be needed, this invention can expedite healing and come in handy in emergencies as well as hospital procedures. (SD)

In the News: Meditation May Ward Off Heart Disease, Hypoallergenic Moisturizer Claims Are Often False, Natural Protein May Prevent Blindness

Meditation may help ward off heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a statement on the correlation between certain types of meditation and reducing heart disease risk. After looking at dozens of studies, they found that the data isn’t wholly conclusive but practicing meditation and mindfulness in conjunction with maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and lowering cholesterol, can have a positive effect. In trying to determine why this practice can lower heart disease risk factors, experts found that meditating reduces stress and blood pressure, two factors that play a major role in heart health. Want to improve your heart health? Take this grocery list to the store with you next time. (TIME)

Hypoallergenic moisturizer claims are often false. Many consumers with skin conditions turn to hypoallergenic and fragrance-free items to provide them with irritation-free relief. While some shoppers wouldn’t know the difference, others have serious allergic reactions when their skin is exposed to certain additives. Dr. Steve Xu, a dermatologist at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, examined 100 popular moisturizers and found that 45 percent of the products claiming to be fragrance-free had a fragrance and 83 percent of products claiming to be hypoallergenic contained an allergen. Experts recommend a “skinny skin-diet”, which requires using the least amount of commercial products possible and instead sticking to ingredients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, and shea butter. (NPR)

 A natural protein may help prevent blindness. Researchers at Macquarie University in Australia found that neuroserpin, a protein that plays a role in eye health, is not active in glaucoma patients, leading experts to wonder if this holds the key to blindness prevention and disease management. Since glaucoma is caused by an excess of eye pressure that then damages the optic nerve, the absence of this protein may explain how this damage occurs. While there is no cure as of now, this research may open the doors to new glaucoma-related discoveries that can help millions of people. Want to improve your eyesight? Here are seven easy ways to do just that. (MN)

In the News: Ketogenic Diet May Improve Brain Health, New Study Finds Autism is Mostly Genetic, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Ketogenic diet may improve brain health. New research has found that following the ketogenic diet, with a focus on reducing carbohydrates and increasing the amount of fat, can offer neurological benefits. Some suggest that eating a keto diet can help treat epilepsy, reduce brain inflammation, and be helpful for patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found if a key protein can be blocked, it can create the same effects of a ketogenic diet plan, without having to actually be on that diet. The next step is determining how to make a drug that can reduce brain inflammation the way a keto diet can, so that patients can take the drug and have the same benefits. Curious about the ketogenic diet? Read up on it here. (MN)

New study finds autism is mostly genetic. When it comes to the topic of autism, many have wondered if it is caused by environmental or developmental factors. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association has found that genetics account for 80-90 percent of the disorder, with environmental factors contributing around 17 percent. Sven Sandin, an associate professor of psychiatry looked at data from children born between 1982-2006 in Sweden. He studied the rates of autism in half-siblings, biological siblings, identical twins, and fraternal twins to determine the role that genetics play in this condition. (TIME)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals breast cancer diagnosis. This week, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced she has breast cancer. While making the announcement, she added “The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.” If you want to learn more about breast cancer symptoms, find out if you are at risk, and learn what you can do to protect yourself, check out this fact sheet. (CNN)

Deadly Texts: Can Words Kill?

smart phone

Conrad Roy was just 18 years old when he took his own life. His suicide sparked a nationwide conversation because a court found his girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter guilty of manslaughter. Her weapon? A series of text messages urging Conrad to kill himself. The text messages recovered by police from Michelle Carter’s phone filled 317 pages which now contain the whole tragic story.

Read more  »

In the News: Exercise Rejuvenates Cells, Child Abuse Alters Brain Wiring, Taking a Break from Diet May Trigger Weight Loss

Exercise may rejuvenate cells. According to a new study, exercise can help muscle cells stay healthy and strong, which is a good indicator of a person’s overall well-being. Exercise seems to play a role in muscle health by refreshing the mitochondria, the cell network. The process is known as “mitophagy”, which is when damaged, less-than-stellar mitochondria are identified, removed, and clear the way for healthy mitochondria to take their place. This exercise-induced mitophagy might hold the key not only to overall healthiness but longevity as well. Want to start exercising? Give this quick workout a go. (MN)

Child abuse alters brain wiring. Scientists have discovered changes to certain neural bodies in the brains of people who suffered child abuse. After examining the brains of people with depression who committed suicide but had no history of child abuse, people who committed suicide, had depression, and did suffer from child abuse, and the people who had no psychiatric conditions or history of child abuse, they found that only the group that had suffered child abuse had a reduced amount of myelin coating around nerve fibers in the brain. These changes may explain why these people often develop suicidal behaviors and ideations, and are more likely to develop depression, aggression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Researchers believe that experiencing this trauma in the early stages of life may interrupt neural functions in the anterior cortex, which may make it harder to process and regulate emotions and form attachments. (SD)

Taking a break from a diet may trigger weight loss. The International Journal of Obesity has found that taking a small break from your diet may be the key to losing more weight. In the study, obese men were broken up into two groups, with one group dieting for 16 weeks straight, and one group following a diet for two weeks, taking a break, eating the number of calories needed to maintain their weight as is, and then resuming their diet, maintaining this schedule until the 16 weeks were over. Six months after this experiment ended, the group that cycled in and out of their diets was 18 pounds lighter than the other group. When looking into why, experts say it is tied to the resting metabolic weight. As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, and it stops slowing down when you take a diet break. Want to see how this works? Give this diet a try and follow the on-off-on pattern. (IJO)