In the News: Stress Harms Gut Health as Badly as Junk Food, Legal Marijuana is Saving Lives, Death Cleaning is the Newest Home Organization Trend

Stress may harm gut health as badly as junk food. While it’s no surprise that eating junk food can do a number on your gut, it turns out that stress can be just as harmful, particularly if you’re a woman. In a new study, researchers observed the changes in gut microbiota among female mice when stressed and found that the changes resembled that of a high-fat diet. When looking into the gut health of male mice under stress, no gut microbiota changes were found. The American Psychological Association states that 80 percent of people in the U.S. reported stress-related symptoms in the past month. With this condition becoming so prevalent in today’s day and age, it’s crucial to look into how stress impacts not only mental and emotional health but physical well-being too. Want to find out if you have a healthy gut? Take this short quiz. (MN)

Legal marijuana is saving lives in Colorado. According to new research reported in the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado has seen a reversal in opiate overdose deaths since the legalization of marijuana. Since marijuana is very effective at treating chronic pain conditions and it has zero chance of fatal overdose, a lot of patients are opting for marijuana over opiates. This trend may lead to other states legalizing marijuana and destigmatizing it overall. Since the opioid epidemic kills several thousand people annually, it may be worthwhile to increase marijuana availability so that patients have an alternative form of treatment. (WP)

Death cleaning is the newest organization trend. Now that the Marie Kondo organizational method has made a huge splash, it looks like there’s a new trend in town: death cleaning. While the Kondo style advises homeowners to throw out or donate the items that no longer bring them joy, the Swedish death cleaning practice asks participants to hand down items to loved ones instead. The author of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Margareta Magnusson says that people should start thinking about doing a big tidy up in their home as soon as they reach an age where they can contemplate their own mortality. Since decluttering can increase productivity and reduce stress, it may be worthwhile to give it a try. Want to learn some more organizational secrets to transform your life? Watch this clip. (T)

In the News: Menopause May Lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, Liver Disease Risk May Be Exacerbated By Certain Drugs, Brain Waves Indicate Learning Types

Menopause may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. A new study has found that a drop in estrogen could make women more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In terms of risk factors for this condition, the leading risk is old age, followed by being female. According to recent estimates, a whopping two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are female. While it’s not fully clear why those numbers are so high, it now looks like menopause may be a leading cause. In a study on the link between women and Alzheimer’s disease, 15 of the participants were premenopausal, 14 were perimenopausal, and 14 were postmenopausal. Researchers found that the women in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal groups had noticeably lower glucose metabolism level in the brain leading scientists to believe that a drop in estrogen may hurt brain cells in a way that impacts memory.  (MN)

Liver disease risk may be worsened by gastric acid drugs. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used by many people every day to lower the amount of acid in the stomach, specifically when they are suffering from conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease. After recent findings have suggested that PPI prescriptions are on the rise, researchers have found that when this medication kills off the gastric acid, it can also change the gut microbiome. When the acid is eliminated, Enterococcus bacteria grows in the intestines and makes its way to the liver, which can cause inflammation and even serious conditions like liver disease. After these findings, physicians may be a bit wary about prescribing PPIs, especially if patients have a history of liver conditions. Currently dealing with a liver condition? You may want to try this reboot plan. (MN)

Brain waves indicate different learning types. For the first time ever, researchers have been able to analyze brain waves to determine different learning types. By being able to recognize these unique neural signatures, scientists can gain more insight into the human brain and help people with learning issues and memory problems, especially in cases such as Alzheimer’s. Understanding the brain signatures can also help teach a person how to do a certain task, by monitoring if they are using implicit skills (also known as muscle memory, like learning how to ride a bike or juggle), more versus explicit (consciously learning something like a chapter in a book or the steps of a chess game) skills. Want to test your brain health? Learn more here. (SD)

In the News: Marriage May Improve Heart Health, Music Therapy May Benefit Cancer Patients, 40% of Americans Are Obese

Marriage may improve heart health. According to a new 16-year study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, participants in happy marriages tended to maintain a healthier weight and lower cholesterol. Researchers measured the high and low points in marriages and compared these findings to the heart health of participants. They found that men who claimed their marriages improved over the years had lower LDL and healthy weight, whereas men with worsening relationships had higher blood pressure, a factor that could seriously influence heart health. While there is still a lot of grey area when it comes to this connection, but this research does seem to suggest that a happy home makes for a happy heart. Want to keep your heart healthy? Stock up on these foods. (T)

Music therapy may benefit cancer patients. New York’s Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital has turned to a new approach in keeping cancer patients less anxious and stressed. Personalizing playlists with different genres for each patient, music therapists play songs to soothe worried minds, especially when they enter the radiation room. One patient, Julia Newmark, relied on this therapy during her treatments and though she is now cancer-free, continues the therapy weekly to stay calm and prevent insomnia. When studying the effects of music therapy on cancer patients, researchers found that stress can drop by at least 20 percent, making it a very beneficial part of any treatment program. (CBS)

Forty percent of Americans are obese. In recent years America has been going through an obesity epidemic, with more and more adults and children qualifying as obese than ever before. According to the latest figures, based on a survey from 2015-2016, the problem is only growing, as there are nearly 40% of American adults qualifying as obese and 19% of younger people as well. Despite efforts to combat this problem such as providing calorie counts at restaurants and cafes, offering healthier alternatives, and adding fruits and veggies to fast food menus, this trend continues to stay alarmingly high. According to this data, the middle-aged segment of the population is the most likely to become obese. Want to get a handle on your weight? Try the 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough diet. (T)

In the News: Around 80% of Schizophrenia Risk is Genetic, Saunas May Be Good for Blood Pressure, New Gadget Can Measure Calories in 10 Seconds

Around 80% of schizophrenia risk is genetic. According to new research from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, almost 80 percent of the chance of having schizophrenia comes down to your genes. When looking into conditions that fall along the schizophrenia spectrum, the heritability rate was also high, at around 73 percent. These findings are particularly important as many scientists are trying to identify the genes linked to this disease and these results may aid in finding new treatment approaches. Want to learn more about schizophrenia? Check out these facts. (MD)

Saunas may be good for blood pressure. A study out of Finland has found that routine visits to the sauna may have a positive impact on blood pressure. Published in the American Journal of Hypertension, this study included 1,621 middle-aged men with average blood pressure who were studied over 25 years. Of this group, 251 participants developed hypertension at some point during the observation period. The group that had two to three sauna sessions weekly was 24 percent less likely to develop hypertension, compared to the group who had one or fewer sauna visits weekly. While this study does not conclusively link sauna usage with a lowered risk of high blood pressure, there are several facts that may be in play. The warm temperatures may improve blood flow, the relaxing experience can help reduce stress and moderate blood pressure, and sweating is a natural diuretic, which is an effective form of hypertension treatment. Click here to learn which foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure. (NYT)

A new gadget can measure calories in 10 seconds. For so many of us who want to count calories when we’re out and about, we have to rely on apps that often have inaccurate counts and a lacking database of foods to choose from. With the advent of the CaloRieco created by Japanese electronics conglomerate Panasonic, the tide may soon be turning. To determine the caloric profile of your meal, you just stick the plate of food inside the device, push a button on the lid, and within just 10 seconds you will receive all the info you need.  This device can connect to the cloud via Wi-Fi so you can sync up the data to the counter’s associated app. While it’s not yet clear when this will be released in stores and how much it will cost, if interest is high it will likely make its way to the market soon. (M)

In the News: Angelina Jolie’s Doctor Reveals Cancer Prevention Tips, Black Tea Boosts Weight Loss, New Glue Can Seal Wounds in One Minute

Angelina Jolie’s doctor reveals cancer prevention tips. Dr. Kristi Funk, a renowned surgical breast care specialist, is famously known for treating Angelina Jolie back in 2013. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she has gathered 10 prevention tips she feels are the most important to keep in mind. Some of the tips include eating cruciferous vegetables daily, adding turmeric to your diet, eating more berries due to their high level of antioxidants, filling your home with plants to absorb toxins, dusting and vacuuming regularly, and buying organic if you plan to eat the skin of your fruits and vegetables. Want to learn more about cancer-fighting superfoods? Check out this episode. (ABC)

Black tea boosts weight loss. While the benefits of tea have been widely publicized for some time now, it looks like black tea may be particularly beneficial for those who want to shed some weight. According to a new study out of the Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), while both black and green tea have polyphenols which protect the body from free radicals, they encourage weight loss in two different ways. Green tea can alter the liver’s metabolism to burn more calories, while black tea molecules stay inside the intestine, increasing the amount of “friendly” gut bacteria which play a role in metabolism in a different, but also effective way. Want to learn more about buying tea? Check out this guide. (MN)

New glue can seal wounds in one minute. The days of sutures and staples may soon be behind us. According to biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney and the United States, a new elastic and adhesive surgical clue can rapidly seal wounds closed in just 60 seconds. The glue, called MeTro, is ideal for use on body tissues that expand and contract like arteries, lungs, and hearts. This new invention will be beneficial for reaching internal injuries that are hard to get to and only requires UV light to seal it in place. While further trials and research will be needed, this invention can expedite healing and come in handy in emergencies as well as hospital procedures. (SD)

In the News: Meditation May Ward Off Heart Disease, Hypoallergenic Moisturizer Claims Are Often False, Natural Protein May Prevent Blindness

Meditation may help ward off heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a statement on the correlation between certain types of meditation and reducing heart disease risk. After looking at dozens of studies, they found that the data isn’t wholly conclusive but practicing meditation and mindfulness in conjunction with maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and lowering cholesterol, can have a positive effect. In trying to determine why this practice can lower heart disease risk factors, experts found that meditating reduces stress and blood pressure, two factors that play a major role in heart health. Want to improve your heart health? Take this grocery list to the store with you next time. (TIME)

Hypoallergenic moisturizer claims are often false. Many consumers with skin conditions turn to hypoallergenic and fragrance-free items to provide them with irritation-free relief. While some shoppers wouldn’t know the difference, others have serious allergic reactions when their skin is exposed to certain additives. Dr. Steve Xu, a dermatologist at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, examined 100 popular moisturizers and found that 45 percent of the products claiming to be fragrance-free had a fragrance and 83 percent of products claiming to be hypoallergenic contained an allergen. Experts recommend a “skinny skin-diet”, which requires using the least amount of commercial products possible and instead sticking to ingredients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, and shea butter. (NPR)

 A natural protein may help prevent blindness. Researchers at Macquarie University in Australia found that neuroserpin, a protein that plays a role in eye health, is not active in glaucoma patients, leading experts to wonder if this holds the key to blindness prevention and disease management. Since glaucoma is caused by an excess of eye pressure that then damages the optic nerve, the absence of this protein may explain how this damage occurs. While there is no cure as of now, this research may open the doors to new glaucoma-related discoveries that can help millions of people. Want to improve your eyesight? Here are seven easy ways to do just that. (MN)

In the News: Ketogenic Diet May Improve Brain Health, New Study Finds Autism is Mostly Genetic, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Ketogenic diet may improve brain health. New research has found that following the ketogenic diet, with a focus on reducing carbohydrates and increasing the amount of fat, can offer neurological benefits. Some suggest that eating a keto diet can help treat epilepsy, reduce brain inflammation, and be helpful for patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found if a key protein can be blocked, it can create the same effects of a ketogenic diet plan, without having to actually be on that diet. The next step is determining how to make a drug that can reduce brain inflammation the way a keto diet can, so that patients can take the drug and have the same benefits. Curious about the ketogenic diet? Read up on it here. (MN)

New study finds autism is mostly genetic. When it comes to the topic of autism, many have wondered if it is caused by environmental or developmental factors. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association has found that genetics account for 80-90 percent of the disorder, with environmental factors contributing around 17 percent. Sven Sandin, an associate professor of psychiatry looked at data from children born between 1982-2006 in Sweden. He studied the rates of autism in half-siblings, biological siblings, identical twins, and fraternal twins to determine the role that genetics play in this condition. (TIME)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals breast cancer diagnosis. This week, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced she has breast cancer. While making the announcement, she added “The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.” If you want to learn more about breast cancer symptoms, find out if you are at risk, and learn what you can do to protect yourself, check out this fact sheet. (CNN)

In the News: Exercise Rejuvenates Cells, Child Abuse Alters Brain Wiring, Taking a Break from Diet May Trigger Weight Loss

Exercise may rejuvenate cells. According to a new study, exercise can help muscle cells stay healthy and strong, which is a good indicator of a person’s overall well-being. Exercise seems to play a role in muscle health by refreshing the mitochondria, the cell network. The process is known as “mitophagy”, which is when damaged, less-than-stellar mitochondria are identified, removed, and clear the way for healthy mitochondria to take their place. This exercise-induced mitophagy might hold the key not only to overall healthiness but longevity as well. Want to start exercising? Give this quick workout a go. (MN)

Child abuse alters brain wiring. Scientists have discovered changes to certain neural bodies in the brains of people who suffered child abuse. After examining the brains of people with depression who committed suicide but had no history of child abuse, people who committed suicide, had depression, and did suffer from child abuse, and the people who had no psychiatric conditions or history of child abuse, they found that only the group that had suffered child abuse had a reduced amount of myelin coating around nerve fibers in the brain. These changes may explain why these people often develop suicidal behaviors and ideations, and are more likely to develop depression, aggression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Researchers believe that experiencing this trauma in the early stages of life may interrupt neural functions in the anterior cortex, which may make it harder to process and regulate emotions and form attachments. (SD)

Taking a break from a diet may trigger weight loss. The International Journal of Obesity has found that taking a small break from your diet may be the key to losing more weight. In the study, obese men were broken up into two groups, with one group dieting for 16 weeks straight, and one group following a diet for two weeks, taking a break, eating the number of calories needed to maintain their weight as is, and then resuming their diet, maintaining this schedule until the 16 weeks were over. Six months after this experiment ended, the group that cycled in and out of their diets was 18 pounds lighter than the other group. When looking into why, experts say it is tied to the resting metabolic weight. As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, and it stops slowing down when you take a diet break. Want to see how this works? Give this diet a try and follow the on-off-on pattern. (IJO)

In the News: Exposing Children to Pets May Prevent Asthma, Large Number of Girls Are Depressed by Age 14, Magnesium Intake May Impact Dementia

Exposing children to pets early on may prevent asthma. According to the CDC, around eight percent of children in the U.S. have asthma. New research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that exposing children under the age of 3 to pet and pest allergens may actually prevent asthma from developing. This study, which was part of a larger study known as Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA), looked at the effect of cockroach, mouse, and cat allergens found in house dust and found that the higher the levels of pet and pest dust exposure for children under three, the lower the risk of developing asthma by the age of seven. Researchers also confirmed that if a pregnant woman is stressed, depressed, and smoking tobacco, these habits can also increase the child’s risk of developing asthma. These findings prove that early exposure to various environmental factors can play a big role in the health conditions they do or don’t develop. Can’t tell if you have a cold or asthma? Check out this clip. (MN)

One out of four girls under the age of 14 is depressed. Research out of the University of Liverpool and University College London has unearthed some alarming findings. After analyzing 10,000 participants from 2000-2001 and having parents report on their children’s mood and mental state, they then asked the children how they felt once they turned 14 and found that 24 percent of the girls and nine percent of the boys were depressed. Researchers found that children from wealthier families were less depressed than those in poorer families, raising questions about stress at home and potential factors leading to depression. Interestingly, when parents reported on their children’s mental health the boys and girls were on the same page up until they turned 14, when the girls began eclipsing the boys in terms of depression and anxiety. (SD)

Magnesium levels may play a role in developing dementia. New research out of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands has found that too little or too much magnesium may increase the risk of developing dementia. Researchers measured magnesium levels in 9,569 participants, adjusting the results to accommodate sex, education, health conditions, and other factors. At the start of the study nobody had dementia but by the end of it, 823 people developed dementia, and 662 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They found that participants which fell in the high and low magnesium groups had a 30 percent higher likelihood of developing dementia than those who fell into the middle category. Check out this gallery to learn more about magnesium. (MN)

In the News: Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Papayas, Dogs’ Social Behavior tied to Oxytocin, Lady Gaga Postpones Tour Due to Fibromyalgia

Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas. After 235 people have fallen ill across the United States, the CDC has determined that salmonella found in papayas from Mexico is the cause. Seventy-eight people have been hospitalized and two people have died from this outbreak. To stay safe, experts advise consumers to avoid Maradol papayas until the outbreak is under control. If you are infected, you may experience diarrhea, cramping, and fever, with symptoms typically lasting anywhere from four days to a week. The CDC also recommends avoiding papayas prepared at restaurants since it is unclear where they originated from. (CNN)

Dogs’ social behavior tied to oxytocin. A study out of Linköping University, Sweden has found that dogs’ desire to bond with their owners stems from a sensitivity to the hormone oxytocin. When investigating the evolution from wolf to domesticated dog, researchers studied the effect of oxytocin on their behavior patterns. After spraying the dogs with oxytocin and swabbing the hormone in their noses, they found that the animals became more willing to ask for help and reach for their owners in times of need. (SD)

Lady Gaga postpones tour due to fibromyalgia. Due to severe pain, Lady Gaga has had to postpone the European leg of her tour. After speaking out about her condition earlier this year, she has started an international conversation about this disease, raising awareness about the painful symptoms that plague around five million adults annually. Unlike regular aches and pains, fibromyalgia is caused by disordered sensory processing, causing pain signals to become intensified and impact muscles, joints, and ligaments.While anyone can be susceptible to this condition, around 80 to 90 percent of those diagnosed are adult females. If you want to learn more about this disease, here is what you need to know. (TIME)