In the News: Exercise Cures Chemo-Fatigue, Chrissy Teigen Speaks Out About Postpartum Depression, Study Finds Cardio Trumps Weight Training

Exercise helps patients with cancer-induced fatigue. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, research has shown that exercise helps cancer sufferers reduce fatigue brought on by the disease and the subsequent treatment. In fact, exercise has shown to be more effective in boosting energy than most medications which purport to do the same. While it may sound strange to say exercising can help those who are too tired to move, a brief walk can do a world of good. Here are eight more ways to get more steps in your day. (NBC)

Chrissy Teigen opens up about her postpartum battle. Chrissy Teigen is known to so many as a bubbly, happy person who spends her days cooking and eating delicious foods and going to glamorous events with her talented husband John Legend. What many don’t know is that she was secretly dealing with depression and anxiety following the birth of her baby girl, Luna, this past April. In a recent essay for Glamour magazine, Teigen described the exhuastion and physical agony she experienced behind the scenes, afraid to tell anyone how she felt and be labeled selfish or weak. In reality, 1 out of 9 women experience postpartum depression, making it much more common than many of us realize. Thanks to this public essay, many people currently struggling with this condition can feel safe to share their symptoms and get the help they need. Another famous figure, Marie Osmond, also struggled with postpartum depression. Hear her story today. (GLAMOUR)

Fitness study finds cardio more effective than strength training. In the largest study of its kind, Duke University researchers monitored 119 overweight people over the course of eight months to determine which weight loss method yielded the best results: cardio or weight training. They found that the cardio group won by a landslide. The cardio group lost four pounds while the strength training group gained two. While that gain was linked to lean muscle mass, it didn’t lead to significant fat loss overall. The cardio group lost over 3.5 lbs of fat while the strength training group exercised for 47 minutes more weekly and didn’t lose a single bit of fat. The best results were found in the cardio plus strength training group, which lost the most fat and put on the most lean muscle mass. These findings show that the most effective workout method is a healthy combination of both types of exercise. Want to learn more? Get your fitness fix here. (CNN)

In the News: Interactive Map Shows City Health Data, Startup Aims to Catch Cancer Early On, Study on Urine in Pools Uncovered Interesting Results

Interactive map shows city health data. The 500 Cities Project, which pulled data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, lets people look up their own cities to find out where they stand and check out other places as well. If you were ever wondering which cities get the most sleep, have the highest rate of binge drinking, have the healthiest neighborhoods, and more, now you can click through the interactive map to get all the facts. To find out which states have the highest wellbeing, and see if yours made the cut, check out this gallery. (LIVESCIENCE)

Startup aims to find cancer early. Silicon Valley companies are racing to find a way to catch cancer before it turns deadly. Freenome, a company based in San Francisco, has raised $65 million to test a liquid biopsy that can detect early-stage cancer. Another company, Grail is planning to raise more than $1 billion to fund their own biopsy trials. The hope is that these tests will be able to find tiny bits of cancerous DNA that is detectable in the blood. By catching the disease early on, patients will be able to get the treatment they need to beat cancer and survive. To learn more, check out this cancer resource page. (BUZZFEED)

Study on urine in pools has interesting findings. At the University of Alberta in Canada, a study was conducted to find out how much urine is in community pools. While most of us just assume there is some amount of pee but don’t want to think about the specifics, these researchers got to the bottom of it and the findings might horrify you. In a pool filled with 110,000 gallons of water, they found that 7.92 gallons of urine were present. Some ways to tell if a pool has lots of urine in it is to use your senses. A strong chlorine scent is usually indicative of high urine levels, and when your eyes turn red, you may think it’s from the chemicals, but it’s actually from the urine as well. The nitrogen in the urine mixed with chlorine makes chloramine, which is what causes the redness. (TODAY)

The Dangerous Spread of Fake Ads

couple using laptop

Cowritten with Robert Glazer, Founder and Managing Director of Acceleration Partners.

Did Fake News Sneak up on America?

A recent Pew Research Center study reports that two-thirds of American adults get their news on Facebook, yet our legal and law enforcement systems have not kept up with the dramatic advances in communication technology. Just as these tools have the power to bring us together and enhance our lives, we are beginning to realize they also have a dark side. The speed and anonymity of the Internet have led to the development of a phenomenon that challenges the foundation of our society: the rapid creation and sharing of scams and fake news. This problem has reached such epic proportions that many fear the rapid spread of fake Internet news actually affected our presidential election. Now we are left trying to understand how this tsunami hit us seemingly without warning.


In the News: Cat Ownership May Not Lead to Mental Illness, Eating Fruits and Vegetables May Lower Lung Disease Risk, Medicine to Help Alcoholics Quit are Underutilized

Am I going crazy right meow? Cat ownership may not cause mental illness. Becoming a crazy cat lady is a fear of many feline owners, but keepers of kittens can rejoice because a new study found that there is no link between cat ownership and the development of mental health problems. In the study, researchers followed nearly 5,000 cat people for nearly 20 years and found that there is no association between psychotic symptoms and having a cat in the home. While more long-term studies need to be done, the authors acknowledge the increased risk for toxoplasmosis exposure in those who cuddle up with their furry friend, so follow the CDC’s advice to reduce exposure. (TIME)

When the smoke clears on eating plants. Eating fruits and vegetables may decrease risk of lung disease in smokers. No matter who your primary care doctor is, you can almost guarantee they’ll tell you to eat your fruits and veggies. And now new research suggests that eating plants might be even more important for smokers. In the study, nearly 44,000 people and their dietary habits were tracked for 10 years. The scientists found that the smokers who ate more than five servings of fruits and veggies a day had a decreased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). The best way to decrease the risk of COPD is to stop smoking, but patients in the process of quitting may be able to get additional benefit from eating more food from the produce aisle. Here are some of Dr. Oz’s favorite vegetarian recipes. (NYTIMES)

And the pursuit of hoppiness . . . Medicines that can help alcoholics quit are underutilized. The American Heart Association suggests that one or two alcoholic drinks a day could be beneficial for heart health, but the Centers for Disease Control report that many Americans take the recommendation too far—drinking five or more alcoholic drinks in a day. Physicians have a few medications that could help patients with alcohol dependence, such as naltrexone, but a recent study found that these drugs are underutilized despite the fact that they can be helpful for many people. While the authors acknowledge that naltrexone is no cure-all, they want physicians to know that using these medications in combination with counseling could provide relief for several patients in need. If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, talk to your doctor about getting help. For everyone else, check out Dr. Oz’s tips on how to cut back on alcohol. (NPR)

In the News: Spinal Cord May Determine Handedness, Gluten-Free Diet May Be Unhealthy, Gastric Bypass Surgery May Benefit the Moderately Overweight

Lefties: Can they do anything right? Our spinal cord, not our brain, may determine handedness. For years, scientists thought our propensity to be right- or left-handed was in our brains because the motor cortex in the brain initiates movement and sends the signal down through the spinal cord. But a new study found that precursors of handedness appear before the brain and spinal cord are actively connected. To test this, scientists examined spinal cord gene expression in babies in the womb. They found differences in right- and left-side gene expression at the location of the spinal cord controlling movements of the arms and legs—suggesting that the brain isn’t determining whether or not your child will be a southpaw. While more studies need to be done, this one shows that there’s still plenty to learn about neural development. Whether you’re a righty or a lefty, check out these tips on how to ease hand pain. (SCIENCEDAILY)

Don’t give up gluten if you loaf it dough much! Gluten-free eating may be linked to health risks. Gluten (the protein that makes dough elastic) could cause gastrointestinal distress in patients diagnosed with celiac disease. And many people have gone gluten-free based on the perception that it’s healthy. But a new study reports that cutting down on the bread and pasta may lead to increased arsenic levels in blood and urine. The authors speculate that patients following a gluten-free diet are likely to eat more rice, a grain that is known to have low levels of arsenic. Although the scientists acknowledge that the urine levels they found are not toxic, it might be a good idea to lower your risk. So, if you can—feel free to eat gluten again, and here are some tips on how to work it back into your diet. Want to find out if you have a gluten sensitivity? Take this quiz. (NYT)

Gastric band may benefit the moderately overweight. An extensive study by Monash’s Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), has found that gastric band surgery is not just useful for obese patients but is beneficial to patients who are only moderately overweight as well. This surgery was shown to reduce the odds of diabetes remission and lowered the need for diabetes-related medications. These findings indicate that the BMI requirement for gastric band surgery should be updated and made more inclusive. As of right now, you have to have a BMI of over 35 to qualify for this procedure, but based on these results, it may be helpful to lower that number to 25–30. Check out this episode to find out how gastric bypass works. (MEDICAL)

Can Fake News Change Your Brain?

Digital Health Headlines

Cowritten with Dr. Daniel Amen

The ill effects of fake news on both our health and the health of our society has been on my mind. So, earlier this year, I called my colleague neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen with an unusual question. Could the human brain be hacked by fake news? I had just seen fMRI images in a Nature Scientific Reports article by Kaplan and colleagues from University of Southern California, which showed that politically challenging statements activated the parts of our brains associated with self-identity and emotion, like the amygdala.