Sharecare Top 5: 5 Questions With a Nepal Doctor, Honoring Dedicated Nurses and Tips to Lessen Psoriasis Pains

Doctor with patient in clinic consulting

This week on Sharecare we’re celebrating Nurses Week (May 6th – May 13th), helping you better manage your stress and giving you pointers to reduce psoriasis flare-ups.

1. Shedding those extra pounds isn’t just good for a slimmer figure — it may also help ease uncomfortable psoriasis symptoms. Discover how and get tips to revamp your weight loss efforts.

2. The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in late April has killed more than 7,000 people and injured many more. David Kim, MD, an American doctor living in Nepal, describes the urgent medical needs, the potential spread of disease and ways you can help.

3. Nurses play a crucial role in helping us get — and stay — healthy. What drives their dedication? Find out what some amazing members from Sigma Theta Tau International nursing society had to say.

4. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen have the scoop on how this delicious vegetable can add some oomph to your diet.

5. Calling all Android users: Interested in getting FREE insights into your stress levels? Sharecare is launching an app research study and you’re invited to join.

Read Chelsea’s First Blog!

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Viewer Chelsea struggled with her weight at a young age, but having three children put her at her heaviest weight ever. Turning to emotional eating to help cope with the loss of her mother and the stress of everyday life, Chelsea was on the border of diabetes and joint pain when she decided to make a healthy change.

She lost 100 pounds by following the rule of less when it came to her diet. Each week, she would do just a little less, like eat less fast food or reduce her portions to a little less, until all those little lesses added up in a big way. She also learned to rely on running instead of eating to help deal with her emotions and stress. Read on to see how her progress is going! Read more  »

Memory Shapes Who We Are (and Sleep Shapes Memory!)

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The exploration of sleep’s influence over memory has captivated and intrigued scientists for well more than a century. For all the attention paid to the study of sleep and memory, there’s a great deal we don’t yet understand about how these two essential processes interact. As the science of memory function continues to be explored and unraveled, our understanding of sleep’s importance continues to grow. It’s now widely accepted that sleep is far more than a passive contributor to memory function, but plays a very active role in the formation and preservation of memory. There are several different theories currently being investigated as to how sleep affects memory, particularly for the role of sleep in memory consolidation or how memories are put into long-term storage. Nearly all working theories involve sleep affecting memory consolidation across multiple stages of sleep—including stage 2 sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep—and sleep having a significant impact on memory of all kinds. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Late Night Snacks, Healthy Eating and Sex

Food reward in the brain varies over the course of the day. It’s common to get hungry for a late-night snack, but a team of researchers has figured out why those snacks leave you feeling unfulfilled. “The team used an MRI to measure how people’s brains respond to different types of food images at different times of the day. Fifteen healthy women viewed a total of 360 images, once in the morning and a day later in the evening, over two separate occasions. Subjects looked at images of low-calorie and high-calorie foods. All participants showed greater neural responses in their MRIs when looking at images of high-calorie foods. However, the evening scans showed a lower response to both types of food pictures in areas of the brain that measure rewards. Participants in the study were told to avoid eating for a number of hours before each MRI session. Although they maintained the same diet on all days of the study, they also said that they were more preoccupied with thoughts of food in the evening and believed that they could eat more.” The researchers think this lack of reward in response to food pushes people to eat more at night. “Food is not as appealing, but people keep eating because they’re trying to get that same high or same satisfaction from eating food that they get during the day.” (CBS)

Healthy eating boosts brain power in the long run. It can be tough to keep track of the various foods that have been associated with brain benefits, but a new study out this week says that eating healthy is probably enough. “A new study tracked the diets and mental states of some 27,860 people, age 55 and over, in 40 middle- and high-income countries for just over five years. On average, 16.8% of the men and women followed were found to have lost some cognitive horsepower in the study’s five-year span. But that average obscures a clear pattern: Those whose diets were most healthful were least likely to experience cognitive decline, and those with the least healthful diets were most likely. Compared to participants who reported eating diets that were least healthful, the most healthful eaters were 24% less likely to have experienced cognitive decline—problems of memory, attention and reasoning ability—over a roughly five-year period.” The authors think the effect has to do with the vitamins and other nutrients healthy food provides. “Poor nutrition is likely to rob both body and brain of vitamins and minerals that not only promote the generation of healthy new cells but help guard against inflammation, help break down fats and protect cells from stress.” (LA Times)

Sex isn’t as affected by menopause as previously thought. You’ve probably heard that sexual function is all downhill once you hit menopause, but a new study contradicts that common myth. “The researchers studied four years’ worth of answers that women provided about their sexual health both before and after menopause. They expected that sexual drive and problems with sexual function would increase with time and be higher among women after menopause. But the rate of sexual dysfunction over the four-year study period was about the same—22% to 23%—for both pre- and post-menopausal women. That suggests that menopause isn’t as important a contributor to sexual issues as once thought. What’s more, the proportion of women reporting improvements in sexual function during the study also remained about the same in pre- and post-menopausal women, hinting that declines in things like desire or arousal can be reversed to a certain extent.” The team says older women should be encouraged by this information. “Where you start doesn’t have to dictate where you end up when it comes to sexual function. By modifying your life and attitudes about sexual desire you can change things for the better, even if you are getting older.” (TIME)

Eating Well and Exercising Better Than Doing Each One Alone

woman-eating-exerciseYou’ve probably heard your doctor tell you to eat better and exercise more. It can be tempting, though, to think that if you exercise a lot you can probably eat what you want, or that exercising probably isn’t such a big deal as long as you eat well. But new research published this week shows that those ideas are wrong. For the maximum health benefits, it may not be enough to do one or the other. Dropping the pounds and getting off the couch seem to be working in different ways to drop your risk of disease while also helping to boost your health. Read more  »

The Best Way to Enjoy the Summer Sun

Sunscreen_PromoThe summer sun finally made an appearance in New York this week, bringing with it the warmest temperatures we’ve had so far. I took the opportunity on Sunday to get outside with my family and enjoy the warm air. But that outdoor adventure also brought me a first for the season: a sunburn. When the weather changes outside, we all tend to forget about the dangers of the sun after having been covered by coats and hats all winter long. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and, with the temperature climbing, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to have fun in the sun while also protecting yourself and your family from the potential harms of the sun’s rays. Read more  »

5 Truths About Nursing Everyone Needs to Know

Lovely latin nurse on blue uniform standing

National Nurses Week is celebrated each year starting on May 6 and ending on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year’s theme is Ethical Practice, Quality Care. The week is set aside to honor and recognize all nurses around the world for their contributions to promoting the health, well-being, comfort, and safety of the population–no small job!

Here are several myths and misconceptions about the nursing profession debunked. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: CPR, Walking and Diabetes

When bystanders perform CPR, survivors go back to work. It’s terrifying when someone collapses in front of you from a heart attack or some other medical condition. But starting CPR when a person’s heart has stopped has been shown time and again to save lives. Now new research has shown that when bystanders do CPR, the survivors more often recover to a point where they can go back to work. “Researchers studied 4,354 workers who had cardiac arrests outside of a hospital between 2001 and 2011. While just 796, or 18 percent, were alive 30 days later, about three in four of the survivors were able to go back to work. Chances of return to work were 38 percent higher if a bystander performed CPR than if they didn’t.” Doing CPR restarts blood flow through a person’s body, which helps keep them alive until professional help can arrive. “While bystanders alone can’t ensure survival, immediate help from somebody nearby is essential. But to see the survival benefits from bystander aid, CPR training must be commonplace.” The study emphasizes both the importance of starting CPR immediately when a person’s heart stops and of knowing how to do CPR so that you can save a life if the situation ever arises. (Reuters)

Short bursts of walking during the day lower risk of death. Sitting for long periods of time can have serious health circumstances in the long run, but new research has found that even short periods of light activity can eliminate some of those risks. “The team used information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes data collected from an accelerometer, a device that measures motion. This enabled the researchers to study the activities of more than 3,600 adults representing the general U.S. population, including 383 adults with chronic kidney disease. Over the course of three years, 137 of these participants died as a result of various causes. In general, those who exercised more were less likely to die during the study period. Positive effects of exercise could be seen down to the level of 30 minutes per day of any kind of light activity. The researchers surmised this light activity could be attained merely by getting up to move around a few minutes every hour.” The researchers are quick to caution that a person should aim for more than just two minutes. But they say their findings show that light exercise at various times throughout the day can also have positive health effects. (Fox)

Being a little overweight may help diabetics live longer but remain prone to disease. Diabetes and obesity have long been associated with a variety of health problems including heart disease and stroke. But new research out this week shows that having a few extra pounds may be helpful in those with diabetes. “For the study, the team collected data on 10,568 people with diabetes who were free of heart disease. Over roughly 11 years of follow-up, they found that obese and overweight people were more likely to develop heart disease, including often-debilitating heart failure, compared with normal-weight people. They were also more likely — along with obese patients — to be hospitalized for heart problems. Overweight people, however, were less likely to die, compared with obese people and normal-weight individuals, the researchers found. Among all participants, underweight people fared worst in terms of survival. The team said the study’s findings are inconclusive because the influence of factors such as smoking and alcohol isn’t fully known. The study only showed an association between extra weight and longer survival, and not a cause-and-effect link. Also, the researchers said they didn’t have information on cause of death, fitness levels, or certain medications.” (CBS)

Added Fructose Changes the Way You Think About Food

soda coke soft drinkHigh-fructose corn syrup has found its way as a sweetener into just about every processed food you’ll find in the grocery store, from pasta sauce and soft drinks to premade meals. But as waistlines have grown, attention has turned to this sugar as a possible culprit for the health problems that face the U.S. population. A new study out this week investigated how fructose might affect your brain in ways other types of sugar don’t and found that fructose might be making it harder to stick to your long-term diet goals in the face of tempting food items. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Gauge Your Stress Levels, Weird Health Facts, the 411 on Adult Vaccines and More

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This week on Sharecare we’re helping you take control of your stress, testing your health smarts and letting you know why you shouldn’t skip your vaccines — hint: it’s in your best interest.

1. Think you’re a whiz when it comes to random health info? Take our quiz to see how well you know these weird-but-true health facts.

2. Having trouble sleeping? You may occasionally down a drink or two to make you drowsy — but that may not have the desired effect. Find out why you should say no to nightcaps and what to do instead to catch the zzz’s you need.

3. Calling all Android users: Interested in getting a FREE look into the truth about your stress? Look no further. Sharecare is launching an app research study and you’re invited to join.

4. Vaccinations aren’t just for kids. They protect adults against serious and sometimes deadly germs that cause pneumonia, shingles, whooping cough and more. Find out which vaccines you need now and discover simple steps you can take to stay healthy.

5. Spring is in full swing — and so are your seasonal allergies. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside. Check out these natural treatments to relieve nasty allergy symptoms and start enjoying the nicer weather.