Today’s Headlines: Smelling Skin, Typing and Poop Pills

Smell is sensed by more than your nose. While the nose has long been thought to be the main receptor for molecules wafting through the air, it turns out other organs may be doing some sniffing. “Over the last decade or so, scientists have discovered that odor receptors are not solely confined to the nose, but found throughout body where they play a pivotal role in a host of physiological functions.” Now researchers have found that skin is highly sensitive to smells in the air. “More than 15 of the olfactory receptors that exist in the nose are also found in human skin cells. Not only that, but exposing one of these receptors (colorfully named OR2AT4) to a synthetic sandalwood odor known as Sandalore sets off a cascade of molecular signals that appears to induce healing in injured tissue.” Skin abrasions bathed in the scent of Sandalore healed 30% faster than those without the smell, which the researchers say “could lead to cosmetic products for aging skin and to new treatments to promote recovery after physical trauma.” (NYT)

Typing on that touch screen may be hurting your shoulders. We all love our digital devices, but the changes in daily activities they’ve brought may not all be for the better. A study has found that typing on a tablet keyboard for long periods of time could cause chronic shoulder issues. “The small study found touch screen, or virtual, keyboards, which lack a feedback mechanism indicating a key has been pressed, require less typing force and finger-muscle activity than conventional keyboards. But tablet users must keep their fingers hovering above the keyboard to avoid accidentally activating the keys. That can lead to prolonged static loading in the shoulders, a form of muscle exertion caused by not moving.” In having to hold one’s hands floating above the keyboard, the forearms seemed to do less work, but shoulders end up doing more. Over time, that could lead to shoulder issues. (Fox)

Fecal transplants work well when taken as pill. The emergence of antibiotic resistance brought the blight of C. difficile infection to hospitals. The nasty bug infects the colon of some recently treated with antibiotics whose immune systems don’t work as well as they normally should. The infection can be deadly. Treatment with antibiotics has proven difficult, but researchers have shown that giving a poop enema from a healthy donor can have a 90-100% success rate when all else fails. “In a study published Saturday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers report that the same success rate can be reached by processing the healthy excrement into capsules and administering the pills by mouth.” The researchers concentrated the mixture normally given by enema into a pill that’s taken frozen. “A single treatment requires a gulp-worthy 30 pills—15 on the first day and 15 on the second. In a trial of 20 patients, it brought normal bowel health and function to 18—which is the same rate of success seen in more invasive methods.” (Washington Post)

New Research Approach May Confirm Hypothesized Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

cell cultures

Despite the fact that millions of Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, little is known about what causes affected individuals to descend into dementia. Two proteins called tau and beta-amyloid were thought to be involved because they were found in widespread clumps and tangles in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s, but not in those same patterns in those who didn’t have the disease. Unfortunately, it was difficult to tell whether these proteins were the culprits or if they were merely bystanders. Researchers hadn’t developed the techniques to know if they were causing death of neurons in a person’s brain directly or if they indicated a problem elsewhere, somewhat like a traffic jam shows that a car accident is somewhere up ahead. Read more  »

4 Tips to Making Behavior Changes That Stick


Whether you want to lose weight, save money or get more sleep, you’re going to have to change your current behavior to achieve your goal. Most people only think about the positive aspects that a change will bring about, but if you really want to succeed, you need to consider the downside of the choices you’re making.

I’ve taught my patients that the key to making behavior changes stick is to anticipate the obstacles ahead of time so you can problem-solve and be prepared when you hit a roadblock. And don’t forget about the positive aspects that your behavior change will bring about. You’ll need to remind yourself of those benefits to motivate you when you’re feeling challenged.

Here are four tips to make behavior changes that last: Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Tips for Better Sex, 5 Weight Loss Myths Busted, How to Ease Knee Pain

Scales for determining the weight of the body.

On Sharecare we’re revealing secrets to a great sex life at any age, debunking common weight loss myths, helping you ease your achy knees – and more.

1. Is your love life raging or fading? Either way, spice up your routine with these seven surefire solutions to take your sex life to the next level.

2. We’re setting the record straight on weight loss fact and fiction so that you can successfully shed those extra pounds and keep them off.

3. If you’re one of the millions of Americans with knee osteoarthritis (OA), find out how a knee brace can help re-align your joints, decrease your knee pain and help you stay active.

4. Heartburn, or heart problem? It can be hard to tell them apart. Learn which symptoms tend to be more common with each condition and how you should act if you’re having chest pains.

5. Avoid the sting of dry eyes with these simple tips to soothe itchy, irritated eyes from America’s favorite doctors, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen.

The Need for More Focus on Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women

breast cancer awareness women joining hands

Written by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, and breast cancer tops the list of cancer-related deaths in Hispanic women. The probability of developing invasive breast cancer in Latinas is lower than in non-Hispanic whites (currently, the lifetime risk is 1-in-10 for Latinas vs. 1-in-8 for non-Hispanic whites). However, Latinas are significantly more likely to present at a later stage with larger tumors that are hormone-receptor negative, which are more difficult to treat. Read more  »

Going Undercover in Search of a Safe Hair-Straightening Solution


When I told friends I was taking a hidden camera to investigate the safety of keratin hair straightening treatments they asked, “How can you realistically go undercover about that?” What they, and you, may not know is that I have naturally curly hair that I beat into submission with a variety of potions and torture devices! I even wore my hair curly (and red!) on the air, early in my career. Here are the pictures to prove it!   Read more  »