Today’s Headlines: 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)

This Week’s Headlines: Blue Corn May Prevent Metabolic Syndrome, Hot Peppers May Ward Off Premature Death, and Exercise Linked to Improved Joint Function

Blue corn is a-MAIZE-ing! New study suggests that blue corn may help prevent heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is the term for a group of risk factors that raise your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. So it’s no wonder why doctors are trying to learn more about how to prevent the development of this condition. In a recent study, rats with high cholesterol and blood sugar (like we would see in metabolic syndrome), were given blue corn extract. After four weeks, the rats had lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and abdominal fat—all markers of cardiovascular disease. These unBLUElievable results hold promise for the future of metabolic syndrome treatment. Try substituting your corn for the blue stuff and add it to your favorite recipes like this one. (MEDNEWS)

Dear heart disease, catch me if you cayenne! Recent study links hot peppers and longer life. Many people can’t get enough spicy food, especially George from Seinfeld. And now new research is showing that it might help ward off premature death. In a study published this week in PLoS ONE, scientists evaluated information from 16,000 patients who participated in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III. They found that people who enjoyed red hot chili peppers (the food, not the band) had a 13-percent decrease in mortality rates—meaning they lived longer than those who passed on peppers. There was even a slight decrease in death from heart disease, the leading killer in the U.S. Even though we don’t know the exact reason why these peppers are helpful, it’s never too late to start chowing down on some! Try some of Dr. Oz’s favorite spicy foods like this one. (SCIENCEDAILY)

When your joints hurt, you KNEEd to move! New study suggests that 45 minutes of exercise a week may be enough for patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis is described as joint inflammation and the most common type is called osteoarthritis—the kind that comes from wear and tear of a joint over time. It’s a painful diagnosis that can even be debilitating if severe enough, and we’ve known for a long time that exercise can help improve joint function; the question is: How much? Researchers at Northwestern University sought out the answer. By evaluating activity data from 1,629 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the authors found that the minimum amount of exercise needed to get significant improvements in walking speed and joint function was as little as 45 minutes a week! As long as the participants committed to the 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, they saw improvements regardless of BMI, sex, age, and even their degree of knee damage! Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite tips for healthier joints today! (MEDNEWS)

This Week’s Headlines: Masks Used to Fight SARS, Napping May Improve Memory, Meal Timing May Impact Weight Loss

Researchers turn common surgical masks into weapons in the fight against SARS. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a potentially devastating infectious disease that is transmitted by viruses that get into the air. Some people wear masks to protect from the virus but while these masks may prevent the wearer from inhaling infectious particles, viruses can live on surfaces for a long time. That’s why a team of researchers covered cheap surgical masks with salt crystals that “deactivates” the viruses. Well, please pass the salt! Check out the Oz Blog to learn more about the first line of defense against viruses – hand washing! (EUREKA)

If you don’t want to sleep is that resisting a –rest? New study reveals that napping may help with memory. Researchers examined nearly 3,000 Chinese adults all 65 years or older and asked them about their sleeping habits. Most of them (about 60%) reported napping after lunch between 30 and 90 minutes. Then, the participants were asked to do several mental status assessments. The authors found that those who got a little extra shut eye scored higher on the memory tests with the best results in those who slept close to an hour. So get some Z’s, it might help you to stay sharp! Learn more about the power of the power nap here! (EUREKA)

Timing of meals may impact weight loss. Recent evidence has shown that losing weight doesn’t simply come down to what you are putting on your plate, but when you are consuming it. Participants who finished eating the bulk of their meals by the early afternoon actually burned more fat than those who ate throughout the day, and also had fewer hunger pangs. While more research is still required, these results indicate that timing really can make all the difference. Ready to lose a few extra pounds? Try the 21 Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet. (TODAY)

This Week’s Headlines: Worms Act Like Teens, Mediterranean Diet Linked to Brain Health, Male Contraceptive Drug Shows Promise

Worms act like millennials! New research suggests developing worms may be as defiant as your teenage kids. Maybe they don’t cry to Dashboard Confessional but a new study shows that young worms go through an unruly stage of development just like today’s youth. Scientists from the Salk Institute observed roundworms and found that when presented with food, the teenagers would meander around before eating, while the adults made a beeline straight to the meal. Interestingly, when presented with stinky chemicals, both adults AND younger worms scurried away. So it’s not like the younger worms are less developed –they probably just don’t want to do what they’re told! Many scientists consider the brain to be the final frontier and hopefully studies like this one can help us learn more about neural development. Wondering how healthy your brain is? Take this quiz! (SALK)

Dear Mediterranean diet, olive you so much! Study suggest that Mediterranean diet may improve brain health. Rich in fruits, veggies, and olive oil – the Mediterranean diet has been touted as one of the best diets for your heart. Now researchers say that incorporating these lifestyle changes may also help your brain. The authors of the study surveyed nearly one thousand people close to 70 years old who did not have dementia. They asked about dietary habits and then looked at images of their brains. Turns out those participants who followed a Mediterranean diet had larger brains compared to those who did not. The researchers speculate that eating habits may have a larger impact on our brain health than previously thought but further studies need to be done to confirm these results. Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite Mediterranean foods for inspiration! (AAN)

Clinical trial on male contraceptive show promise. A recent clinical trial on the injectable male contraceptive, Jab was found to be nearly 96% effective at reducing sperm counts and out of almost 300 men tested, there were only 4 reported accidental pregnancies! The down side is that about 5% of the men were unable to regain their ability to make new sperm. While further experiments are needed to learn more about Jab, the potential is exciting and researchers will surely keep studying this medication. (BBC)

This Week’s Headlines: Lauren Conrad Announces Pregnancy, Indonesian Man Celebrates 146th Birthday, and Study Says Sauna Bathing Can Prevent Dementia

Lauren Conrad announces pregnancy. The former star of MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” celebrated the start of a new year by sharing some good news with her Instagram following. On Monday, the 30-year-old celebrity posted a photo of her sonogram with a note: “I have a feeling 2017 is going to be the best year yet.” Lauren Conrad and husband, William Tell who were married in September 2014, will welcome their first child together this year. Planning to conceive and want to clean up your diet in preparation? Try eating more of these superfoods. (USATODAY)

 Oldest man in the world celebrates his 146th birthday. When it comes to longevity, Mbah Gotho, who was born in 1870, is clearly doing something right. Since he has outlived his 10 siblings, four wives, and children, he had his grandchildren gathered around to celebrate his recent birthday. This Indonesian man, from the Central Java province, gives credit to patience when asked how he has managed to live for this long. Back in 1992, he claims to have started readying himself for death by having a gravestone made, but over two decades later he is still going strong. Want to learn more about living a long and healthy life? Check out Dr. Oz’s longevity checklist. (INDEPENDENT)

Sauna visits may lower dementia risk in men. At the University of Eastern Finland, researchers have found that men who visit the sauna 4-7 times a week had a significant 66% less chance of developing dementia, in relation to the men studied who took sauna baths once a week. Following 20 years of research, this study uncovers a fascinating new glimpse into potential dementia prevention. These 10 foods can help stave off Alzheimer’s as well. (TECHTIMES)

This Week’s Headlines: Running May Reduce Knee Inflammation, Honeybees Aid Memory Study, Research Shows Healthy Relationships Bring More Joy Than Money

Running may decrease knee inflammation. Even if you look like Phoebe from friends while you’re doing it, running is one of the best workouts for your heart. Unfortunately, running can also be detrimental to your knees, which take a pounding with every step, but new research shows that moderate running may actually be beneficial to your knees. Researchers out of Brigham Young University tested the knee joint fluid of healthy adults before and after running. They found that 30 minutes of moderate running actually decreased knee inflammation, the hallmark of osteoarthritis. While this doesn’t necessarily mean runners are less likely to develop bone problems in their knees, it does suggest that running safely and in moderate amounts may provide newfound benefits to knee health. Wondering what else to look out for when running? Here are the most common injuries. (BYU)

Honeybees help uncover molecular mechanisms for memory. Who could forget the classic movie masterpiece Bee Movie? New research suggests that the bees still remember! In a recent study out of Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, researchers examined how bees are able to maintain complex memories like where all that tasty pollen is—the secret may lie in DNA and a process called “methylation.” Methylation is one way that our bodies can turn genes on and off without altering the structure. When scientists stopped the bees’ ability to methylate DNA, the bees had difficulty building new memories. But increasing their ability to methylate DNA caused an increase in their ability to make new memories. While this finding may not translate to humans just yet, it does provide insight into the memory process and could help researchers studying cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Listen to Arianna Huffington talk about her favorite brain health boost: Sleep! (EUREKA)

Study says healthy relationships increase joy more than money. In a study conducted by the London School of Economics, 200,000 around the globe were asked to link various life events to their level of happiness (ranging from 1 to 10). They found that employment was linked to happiness, but that a doubled salary or any other large financial increase was not reflected accordingly on the happiness scale. As it turns out, having a healthy and functional relationship seemed to be correlated to increased joy, above all other factors. This just goes to show: It’s not all about the Benjamins, after all. Here are five simple steps to happiness that you can try out. (GUARDIAN)

Today’s Headlines: Zika Cases Reported in Texas, Craig Sager Passed Away, and Rod Carew to Have Surgery

Pregnant women, don’t mess with Texas. Following five reports of Zika cases in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, the CDC has issued Zika-related travel and testing guidance. Even through winter, the temperatures in the Brownsville region are incredibly conducive to the spread of mosquitoes. That’s why the CDC is warning pregnant women not to travel to Brownsville until they can confirm that local mosquitoes are no longer transmitting the virus. As for men, the CDC recommends practicing safe sex with condoms if you or a partner lives in or recently traveled from Brownsville, Texas. But everyone can benefit from using mosquito repellant and wearing protective clothing to decrease your risk of infection. (CDC)

A dark day for basketball’s favorite bright suit. Beloved Craig Sager passed away at the age of 65. Known for his flashy suits and captivating personality, Sager never shied away from the spotlight – especially when it came to his struggle with cancer. In 2014, he was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia – a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It’s called “acute” because it spreads so rapidly and gets the name “myelogenous” because it affects a line of blood cells called myeloid cells. These are blood cells that turn into red and white blood cells as well as platelets. Sager is survived by his wife and five children. (ESPN)

Hoping for a recovery faster than he can turn a double play.  Rod Carew is known as one of the best infielders and hitters to ever play the game of baseball which is why the sports world was saddened to hear about his heart attack 15 months ago. His heart attack was more severe because it occurred in the left anterior descending artery, also known as the “widow maker”. His doctors decided that he may benefit from a heart and kidney transplant which may occur this month. We wish his surgeons luck for a successful procedure and hope for a recovery as smooth as his swing of the bat. (HEART)

This Week’s Headlines: Dopamine Linked to Perception of Time, MIT Study Links Light Therapy to Alzheimer’s, Veggie Protein Potentially More Satiating Than Meat

Neuroscientists are uncovering why time flies when you’re having fun. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Your weekend party was so fun that it seemed to go by in a flash, but Monday morning’s paperwork feels like a never-ending loop from Doctor Strange! To uncover more about our perception of time, neuroscientists in Portugal examined the brains of mice and mapped out the neural pathways involved in how we under-/overestimate the clock. They suggest that the key is dopamine—a feel-good neurotransmitter that makes us happy and may put time on fast-forward. One way to increase dopamine in your diet is to eat tyrosine—the amino acid that our body uses to make dopamine. Try these tyrosine-rich foods, and you might just notice the day fly by! (EUREKALERT)

MIT researchers shed light on a potential therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. The hallmark of the disease is determined under the microscope when a toxic molecule called beta-amyloid builds up around the brain cells. But neuroscientists at MIT claim there may be a way to slow this buildup—light! In a recent study, they took mice that were genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s and subjected them to light therapy for one hour and found that the flickering lights can temporarily cut the amount of beta-amyloid in the mouse brain by nearly 60 percent. While this branch of research is only in its infancy, light therapy may prove to be a simple and cost-effective way to improve brain health. Test your potential risk for Alzheimer’s with this smell test. (BBC)

Vegetable protein may fill you up better than meat. This holiday season, load up on greens, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes. You may walk away from the dinner table feeling fuller than if you ate meat! Researchers from the University of Copenhagen evaluated whether meals based on vegetable protein or meat protein were more effective at appetite satiation. They provided normal-weight adult men with either veal and pork or beans and peas. They found that those who were forced to go vegan reported lower hunger scores and higher fullness after the meal compared wth those who ate meat. We think it’s because of all the extra fiber you get from veggies. One great way to eat more beans is by sneaking them into your baked goods. Give these recipes a spin! (UCPH)

Today’s Headlines: Running Plays a Role in Brain Health, Red Cabbage Fights Bad Cholesterol, Hormone May Prevent Malaria

This is your brain on jogs: Running may improve brain health the same way as playing a musical instrument. Researchers out of the University of Arizona performed brain scans on students on the cross country team and compared them to students who just can’t even. Turns out, regular runners (like Jessica who can’t stop Snapchatting about it) had increased brain activity in the frontoparietal network– an area that is associated with complex functions like those used to nail a John Legend piano break. We think it has something to do with the repeated dual activation of cognitive and motor domains in the brain. Over time, these connections are strengthened just like the muscles we use to run. Need any more reasons to get on this New Year’s resolution? Here are the best apps to use on your next run. (FRONTIERS)

A shred of evidence about coleslaw: Red cabbage could lower your LDL cholesterol. If you’re like Austin Powers, you probably hate the smell of cabbage but you might want to start giving it a try because scientists are uncovering its power to lower bad LDL cholesterol. In a recent study, scientists had mice eat diets rich in red cabbage and compared their blood tests to mice eating regular mice food. The researchers found that after 8 weeks, the mice that went cabbage crazy had significantly lowered LDL cholesterol suggesting that eating more cabbage may help reduce risk of developing heart disease. Inspired? Try this delicious cabbage recipe. (EUREKA)

That’s it! I’ve had enougheles: Hormones may be the key to malaria prevention. Harvard researchers examined the effect of synthetic hormone blockers on the Anopheles mosquito – the insect that transmits malaria. They found that the chemical dibenzoylhydrazine (DBH) disrupts the female mosquito’s life cycle through hormonal pathways to decrease the amount of eggs the females produce. Although it’s still in its early stages of development, DBH might be able to cut down on the mosquito population in malaria endemic areas. The best part is that DBH has not been shown to be toxic in mammals – making it ideal for close contact with humans like in mosquito repellent bed nets . . . or a repellent treated onesie. (SCIENCEDAILY)

This Week’s Headlines: New Therapy Might Shrink Tumors, Chemo Treatment Linked to Fertility, Balloon Pill Leads to Weight Loss

New therapy might shrink prostate tumors. In a potentially groundbreaking study, researchers presented new data revealing that bipolar androgen therapy (BAT) may shrink tumors in men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. The results were unexpected, as one of the traditional treatments for prostate cancer includes lowering the levels of androgens like testosterone, but in this experimental form of treatment, patients are subjected to waves of high and low testosterone levels. Though the therapy is in its early stages, Dr. Sam Denmeade and his team of oncological researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are excited to continue exploring the deep unknown of prostate health. (EUREKALERT)

Chemotherapy study shows great promise for the field of fertility. A new study revealed that a long-used cancer chemotherapy combination may increase the number of immature eggs in the ovaries of some women. For years, patients diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma have been receiving different  but it wasn’t until recently that scientists started to discover that Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, and Dacarbazine (ABVD) could be beneficial to ovarian tissue. To find out more, researchers subjected ovarian biopsy specimens to ABVD treatment in the lab. After just six days, they found that the drug combination induced significant ovarian follicle growth. While this study shows great promise for the field of fertility, the authors acknowledge that there is much more research to be done before recommending these chemotherapies to healthy patients. (TELEGRAPH)

New pill shows promise for weight-loss candidates. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a pill that you could swallow to lose weight? Good news, now there is! It’s called the Obalon Balloon System, and it’s a set of three pills that, once swallowed, are inflated in the stomach. They take up extra space causing the patient to eat less food. The result? Patients lost an average of 14.4 pounds in just six months! Following FDA approval back in the fall, these weight-loss balloons are ready to roll out this January. But know that they’re not for everyone. It’s approved for use in obese adults with a BMI between 30 and 40 kg/m2, and there’s a laundry list of limitations for the patient’s safety including history of bariatric surgery and even using aspirin, so don’t jump to it just yet! But this new skinny pill shows promise for those who are good candidates. Talk about a New Year’s weight-loss resolution! (FDA)