In the News: New Device Helps ALS Patients Communicate, Meal Timing May Affect Heart Health, Laundry Pods Causing Eye Injuries in Kids

New device allows ALS patients to speak again. A new device is making it possible for ALS patients to speak for the first time in years. One patient, a 68-year-old woman, hasn’t spoken for a decade, until her family heard of brainwaves experiments that were being conducted on paralyzed patients at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Using electroencephalograms (EEGs) and near-infrared light, researchers were able to communicate with participants, just by having them wear a special cap and a spectroscope, which is an exciting sign of what is to come in the future of ALS research. (NBC)

Timing of meals linked to heart health. According to a recent study from the American Heart Association, your weight may be correlated to the timing of your meals, not just what’s in them. The likely culprit? Your body’s internal clock. Research shows that meal timing has a huge impact on how that clock functions. Eating right before bed can impact your metabolism, causing weight gain and potentially leading to diabetes and heart disease. Skipping breakfast yielded mixed results in terms of weight gain, while short periods of fasting (every other day to once a week) was found to be effective in terms of weight loss. Visit our heart health resource center to learn more. (TIME)

Laundry pods may cause eye injuries in children. We’ve all seen laundry pods on TV and supermarkets by now. These handy little detergent packets seem like the answer to all our prayers because of how convenient and compact they are. Unfortunately, these pods are also causing eye injuries in kids who mistake them for squishy toys or candies. The American Association of Poison Control Center logged 11,528 exposures just last year, which indicates that this is becoming a serious health hazard for your little ones. If your child does squirt the detergent into his/her eye, make sure to immediately rinse it out with cold water for several minutes and then take your child to the emergency room or eye specialist for a thorough examination. If you would like to learn more about eye care, visit our resource center today. (TODAY)

In the News: Carrie Underwood Shares Her Daily Diet, Feeling Bad About Weight Gain Linked to Illness, Potato Chips and Fries May Be Carcinogenic

Carrie Underwood shares her daily diet. Ever wondered how Carrie Underwood balances being a musician, mom, wife, and having a fitness apparel line, all while looking extremely toned and fit? It all comes down to a few factors. First, she wears her workout clothes all the time when she’s home, so she can squeeze in a workout (a mix of strength training and cardio) whenever an opportunity emerges. Next, she eats predominantly vegan, and prefers smaller portions throughout the day to keep her metabolism fired up. Third, she keeps a journal of her workouts and eating habits so she can stay aware of how much food she consumes and track her progress over time. Want to give the vegan diet a try? Here’s how to start. (COSMO)

Feeling bad about weight gain could lead to sickness. Feeling depressed about being overweight is nothing new, but a new study from the University of Pennsylvania has found that obese participants who were hard on themselves and self-stigmatized were at an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, high triglycerides, and cardiovascular disease. Many people assume that self-stigmatizing can actually inspire weight loss but in fact it leads to more calories and less gym time, thanks to an overwhelming sensation of stress and sadness. While further research is required, it’s clear that fat-shaming yourself isn’t the way to go. If you want to learn more about health weight loss tips, check out this collection of recipes and diets. (NYP)

Potato chips and fries could be carcinogenic. Love to eat foods that are extra crispy? You may be unknowingly putting yourself at risk. The brown crust that forms on burnt chips and fries indicates the presence of acrylamide, a chemical contaminant. Based on animal studies, this substance is considered to be a likely human carcinogen, though more research is required to know for sure. The foods which are most affected include those made from plants and grain products that are cooked at high heat. Dairy, meat, fish, and other foods that are steamed or boiled tend not to be affected. While the FDA isn’t suggesting that you quit eating the foods you love, it is advised that you stop over-frying and over-toasting. Feeling stressed? Here are 22 ways to cut your cancer risk. (TODAY)

In the News: Cervical Cancer Death Rates Higher Than Expected, Joining a Gym Has Proven Health Benefits, and Cognitive Decline Starts Sooner Than Once Thought

Cervical cancer death rates higher than previous estimates. A recent study has found that the death rate from cervical cancer is not only much higher than once thought, but particularly prevalent in black women. For this group, the mortality rate is 10.1 per 100,000 women and for white women, the rate is 4.7 per 100,000. The main cause of this disease appears to be human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends regular pap smear tests, which look for precancerous cells on a woman’s cervix, as well as an HPV test as a means of cervical cancer prevention. Want to learn more about HPV? Check out this fact sheet. (YAHOO)

Joining a gym has proven health benefits. While it comes as a shock to no one that joining a gym is a healthy choice, research has determined exactly how beneficial it really is. The study found that non-gym members only worked out around 137 minutes a week, while gym members clocked in around 484 minutes. Out of all the non-members polled, only 18 percent met the standards for physical activity and strength training, while a whopping 75 percent of gym members met theirs. Want to learn more about fitness? Check out these exercise plans. (TIME)

Age-related cognitive decline starting sooner than once thought. Researchers based in UCLA have found that cognitive decline, particularly in women, is starting sooner than medical experts previously thought. In testing verbal episodic memory, processing speed tests, and working memory, they found that middle-aged women suffered early cognitive decline in large numbers. While these results do show cause for concern, further research will be needed to determine what is causing these higher rates of decline and what can be done to prevent it. Want to test your own memory? Take this quiz. (MEDICALNEWS)

Why E-Cigarettes May Be More Dangerous Than They Seem

Electronic cigarette

E-cigarettes have been billed as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, but these devices have the potential to be extremely dangerous as well. While some say that the chemicals in the liquids can cause harm and that these devices may increase smoking habits in children, I am also deeply concerned about their potential to explode, making them more like flamethrowers or mini-bombs than anything else.


In the News: Chelsea Clinton Defends Barron Trump, Ballet Classes Lead to Improved Mobility, Facebook May Cause Narrow-Mindedness

Chelsea Clinton defends Barron Trump. As someone who has been in Barron Trump’s shoes before, Chelsea Clinton knows how tough it is to suddenly be thrust into the public eye. When she noticed that people were making cruel jokes about the little boy online, she took to Twitter to defend him and remind everyone that children deserve the chance to just be kids. At the same time, she also criticized Donald Trump’s policies, adding “standing up for every kid also means opposing @POTUS polices that hurt kids.” Check out Dr. Oz’s exclusive interview with the president to see a side of him you haven’t seen before. (NYMAG)

Ballet classes help young girl move independently. Sarah Hansen, a young woman with a neurodegenerative disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), found it extremely difficult to walk or balance without outside help. This condition affects motor and sensory nerves, making every step she takes a huge challenge. But, after several years of participation in Ballet for All Kids, a program designed for children with disabilities, she is not only walking on her own, but dancing as well. Recently, she made her dreams come true by performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker”. Want to try ballet? Give the barre workout a spin. (TODAY)

Facebook leads to narrow-mindedness, according to new study. At first glance, social media platforms like Facebook can make us more connected to others and more knowledgeable on a wide range of issues, allowing us to interact with people across the globe and get a new perspective on different issues. In reality, research has found that social media actually leads to increased insolation and confirmation biases, creating an echo chamber where fake news and half-truths are regurgitated and can often spread like wildfire. Instead of exploring new sides to a story, like-minded people are simply sharing the same biases and controversial theories, choosing to share this type of content and ignoring the rest. Social media can also have other dangers as well. Find out why obsessing about your online metrics can lead to low self-esteem. (CNN)

In the News: Tanning Still Shows Signs of Melanoma Risk, FDA Approves Drug to Treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy, U.S. Salmon May Have Tapeworm

Tanning is still a “hot-bed” issue. New study underscores tanning bed–skin cancer connection. The World Health Organization deemed UV light–emitting tanning devices to be carcinogenic back in 2009, yet people continue to use tanning beds to this day. To add to the already king-size bed of literature, a recent Norwegian study followed 141,000 women for 14 years and found that women who use tanning beds as little as 30 times increase their risk of developing melanoma by 32 percent. Furthermore, women who started using tanning beds before the age of 30 were diagnosed with melanoma about two years earlier than women who never used tanning beds. If tanning beds increase the number of patients with melanoma and decreases the age of onset, it is definitely time to move toward safer options like spray tans. Just don’t overdo it like Ross from Friends. Learn more about tanning products here. (SCIENCEDAILY)

FDA approves new drug for the leading genetic cause of death in infants. The Federal Drug Administration has just approved the first medication to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), currently the number one genetic cause of death for infants. Children who survive past infancy with this unfortunate diagnosis are often wheelchair-bound at a young age and at risk of developing issues holding up their head, swallowing, and even breathing. The FDA passed the new drug Spinraza, after a clinical trial of 82 infants diagnosed with SMA found that nearly 40 percent of the children experienced improvements in their motor abilities. This drug is hopefully the first of many future therapies for a disorder that affects many families in the U.S. (BOSTONGLOBE)

U.S. salmon may be infected with Japanese tapeworm. A recent study has found traces of Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, a broad tapeworm, in wild Alaskan salmon. Researchers have stated that consuming salmon that has originated from the American and Asian Pacific coasts can be dangerous when eaten raw. Tapeworm was first identified as a human parasite 31 years ago, when it was initially thought to only affect fish, and has been in the spotlight recently because of an increasing interest in raw fish, leading to more reported cases of infection. If you want to buy the healthiest fish, here’s what you need to know. (TIME)