American Wines High in Arsenic, Unlikely to Have Health Consequences


You’ve probably heard about arsenic making its way into food like rice, apple juice, or seafood, but it turns out wine can have high levels too. A new study published this week has methodically looked at the arsenic content of a variety of wines from regions around the country to see how they stack up region by region. In spite of confirming high levels of arsenic in some wines, the authors are cautious to note that the chances of that arsenic level having a real health effect is actually pretty low. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: The Risk of Smoking While Pregnant, Olive Oil as a Preventative Measure for Heart Disease, and Sleeping More Leads to a Better Diet and Weight Loss

If you have asthma, it may be because your grandmother smoked while she was pregnant. A new Swedish study has been able to draw a link between smoking during pregnancy and asthma. “…children whose maternal grandmothers smoked were up to 22 percent more likely to have asthma, even if their mothers never took up the habit…The researchers say the inheritance of risk could help explain why there has been a steep rise in asthma cases over the last 50 years, even though smoking rates have declined.” While the asthma inheritance has not been discovered through the paternal line yet, researchers are looking for links and other diseases and conditions that could have been genetically passed down through generations of pregnancy. (Fox)

Adding more olive oil to your diet while subtracting butter and other high-fat products may decrease your risk for heart disease. Studies have shown that the healthy fats in olive oil may be much more beneficial to your health than the saturated fats found in many food products such as cheese and butter. “Swapping just 5 percent of the calories from saturated fat found in dairy, lard or red meat to an equivalent amount of food rich in polyunsaturated fats such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, walnuts or fish lowers the risk of heart disease by 25 percent…Substituting a monounsaturated fat such as olive oil or peanut oil for those saturated fats lowers the risk by 15 percent…” However the study participants that decreased their saturated fat consumption seemed to supplement the change by eating foods high in bad carbs, starches, and sugars, leading the study to recommend that cardiologists, “‘should encourage the consumption of unsaturated fats like vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, as well as healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains…”’ when their patients are starting a new saturated fat-free diet. (NBC)

The time of day you eat, the amount of hours you eat, and how much sleep you get may be deciding factors in weight loss. A new study found that there could be a link between quality of sleep and the quality of your diet and weight loss habits. “The trouble with eating or drinking over a longer stretch of waking hours and consuming more calories at night is that, ‘“it confuses our body’s biological clock and predisposes us to obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease…’” They asked eight overweight people who tended to eat over more than 14 hours of the day to cut back to 10 to 11 hours. After 16 weeks, these people lost about 3.5 percent of their excess body weight and reported sleeping better.” The study was too small to be definite and conclusive on the subject matter of sleep leading to eating less. (Reuters)

Study Better Defines Shopping Addiction and Those Most Affected

Hand typing on laptop with credit card.

With the advent of online shopping, it’s become easier than ever to fulfill your craving for a new pair of shoes or the latest gadget to hit the market. But this added convenience has become a major problem for some. Online shopping has lowered the barrier for shopaholics, who now don’t have to leave the comfort of their couch to make a purchase and can fulfill their spending desires at any hour of the day. New research published this week has found out who’s most likely to suffer from shopping addiction and has come up with a scale that can help you determine whether you might be in trouble. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Possible Solutions for Weight Gain, Stress, and Cancer

You may be more successful at weight loss if you stop thinking about your weight. Studies have shown that thinking about your weight does not lead to weight loss but rather weight gain. “U.K.-based researchers found that those who believed themselves to be overweight were more likely to gain weight…In two of the three datasets, about 40 percent of people believed they were overweight, and they gained nearly one point more of body mass index (BMI) (a person’s weight-to-height ratio) than those who didn’t see themselves as overweight.” The researchers suggested that if you stop focusing on your weight and instead focus on things that you believe you have more control over, such as diet and exercise, you may be able to make a more positive weight change in your life. (Sharecare)

Washing the dishes may be the key to relieving your stress. While washing the dishes can seem like a chore to some, a new study suggests that it could be therapeutic. “Washing the dishes may be a convenient detox for overwrought minds, a study in the journal Mindfulness suggests. The study found that washing dishes mindfully—focusing on the smell of the soap, and the shape and feel of the dishes, for example—significantly reduced nervousness and increased mental stimulation in dishwashers compared with a control group.” Feelings of stress decreased 27 percent in those that practiced mindful washing. (WSJ)

Increasing exercise activity in your life may help you recover from cancer quicker. A recent analysis of over 70 research studies has shown that cancer patients can lower their risk of death by participating in some sort of physical activity throughout the week. “When they pooled these results, people in the general population who got at least two and half hours of moderate activity like brisk walking, per week, were 13 percent less likely to die from cancer than those with the lowest activity levels.” Types of exercise that could be the most effective were not identified in the studies. (Fox)

Frailty Common in Older Adults Reflects Serious Health Problems

Rare Diseases Are Hard to Overcome

The word “frail” might conjure up images of sick patients in hospital beds, but have you ever thought of a close friend as frail? Or your parents? Or yourself? In medicine, the word “frail” has a very specific definition that is used to help determine which older individuals are in poor health and who might be at risk for serious decline. New research out this week has added to the understanding of what that definition means by surveying more than 7,000 older individuals to see who ends up getting defined as frail in the hopes of helping identify who might be at risk for health problems. They found that falling into that frail category can have major implications for your health in the long run. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Ginger’s Affects on Allergies, Smaller Plates to Reduce Calorie Intake, and How Fidgeting Can Improve Your Health

Sprinkling ginger on your meals may help you stop sneezing during allergy season. With the fall allergy season upon us, a new study came out with a possible solution to your allergy woes: ginger. “A major component in ginger, 6-gingerol, suppresses the activation of T lymphocytes, or T cells, a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in sensitizing people to specific allergens, the researchers said.” The study has only been run on mice so far and needs more work before it can be tested on humans. (WSJ)

Trade in your jumbo size chip bag and 12-inch plate for smaller options; it could improve your health. Having bigger food items around the house, like big bags of snacks, big plates, and even bigger silverware can make you unintentionally consume more calories than your body needs in one day. A recent study found that downsizing may be able to help: “…smaller containers, dishes and cutlery might help adults consume up to 16 percent fewer calories in the U.K. and 29 percent less in the U.S…when it comes to plate size, reducing the diameter by even an inch or two can make a difference in calorie consumption…Ideally, adults should use 9-inch or 10-inch plates, and children should have 7.5-inch plates…” The study was not performed on a lot of people or long enough to prove that smaller plates can assist with weight loss, but researchers are optimistic that this could be the case. (Reuters)

Fidgeting may be the remedy for those that sit all day. Sitting all day has been proven to have many adverse health effects, but recent research has shown that people who fidget may be able to counteract some of the negative effects of sitting. “The new study, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that women who sat for long periods of time have a lower mortality rate if they considered themselves moderately to very fidgety, compared to women who said they only fidgeted occasionally. Women who sat for long periods of time without fidgeting had an increased risk of death that wasn’t seen among other groups. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, the researchers didn’t find a difference in mortality risk between women who sat more versus those who were more active—as long as the sitters were fidgety.” So fidget away, it could be improving your health. (Time)

Keeping Your Outlook Positive May Keep Anxiety at Bay

optimistic man

A brief glance at your to-do list may be enough to send your sense of anxiety soaring, but what you find upsetting is actually a complex interplay between different parts of your brain. While it might seem obvious that being more positive also tends to make you less anxious, researchers hadn’t truly understood how that observation might manifest in the brain. New research published this week has used brain MRIs from people with different personalities to understand exactly which parts of the brain balance anxiety and positivity in a way that may help anxious individuals in the future. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: UTIs, Tai Chi, and Sex After Heart Disease

A new device may be able to diagnose urinary tract infections faster than before. A DNA-sequencing technology was developed by scientists at the University of East Anglia in England. This new device may diagnose urine four times faster than conventional UTI testing. Dr. Justin O’Grady, one of the scientists that was a part of the study, said this device is beneficial because “‘results like these will make it possible to refine a patient’s treatment much earlier – and that’s good for the patient, who gets the ‘right’ antibiotic, and for society – which can better manage or ‘steward’ its limited supply of antibiotics…” The device only worked on urine that possessed an abundance of UTI bacteria; therefore more research needs to be done. (BBC)

Tai chi may be the new exercise method for those that have chronic conditions. A recent study has shown that tai chi is an excellent form of exercise for people in their sixties and above that cannot do regular physical activity due to chronic conditions such as arthritis. The study reported that, “No matter which of the chronic conditions they had, people who practiced tai chi showed improvement on physical performance tests, including muscle strength, when compared with those who did not do tai chi.” Tai chi is considered a low-impact, safe exercise even for people who cannot exercise a lot due to physical ailments. (Washington Post)

Research shows it’s okay to have sex if you have heart disease. Many people with heart disease worry that physical activity, such as sex; can cause their heart to fail, resulting in a heart attack. But new research has shown that this assumption is most likely not true. The doctors conducting the study said that, “Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack.… It is important to reassure patients that they need not be worried and should resume their usual sexual activity.” Researchers did want to caution patients about erectile dysfunction medications that can have negative effects when paired with certain heart disease medications. (NBC)

Feeling Sleepy, Napping Too Long May Signal Diabetes Risk

Tired businesswoman in office

Sleep deprivation seems to have become the norm for many in the modern world. The bright screens of tablets and smartphones in particular tend to lure users to stay up later than expected. But all that missed sleep can catch up with you the following day in the form of drifting off during a meeting or dozing while you wait for the bus. While that may not seem like a big deal, it may signal trouble for those who make a habit out of it. New research published this week has found that feeling too sleepy during the day or taking long naps may signal a risk for diabetes. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: How Diet Soda, Sprained Ankles, and Diabetes Affect Your Health

Diet soda isn’t doing anything helpful for your diet. People who are starting to watch what they eat often figure that switching from regular soda to diet soda will help them reach their health and weight loss goals in some capacity, but new research has shown this may not be true. “…people who drank diet beverages and coffee consumed fewer calories every day than drinkers of alcohol and sugary beverages, they ate a higher proportion of their daily calories from discretionary foods.” Discretionary foods in this study were defined as foods that do not need to be present in a diet (cookies, chips, etc.). Researchers hypothesized that because diet soda drinkers think they are making a healthier choice, they counter their healthier choice with frequent unhealthy caloric splurges, reversing the effects they want and potentially damaging their health. (Time)

Sprained ankle injuries may have long-lasting effects. According to a recent study, the effects of a sprained ankle, or several, may last throughout your lifetime. “It turned out that the students with chronic ankle instability moved significantly less than the other students, taking about 2,000 fewer steps on average each day.” Continued inactivity and instability resulted in all the test subjects that had sprained ankles, leading researchers to urge that ankle sprains—and their recovery—are taken more seriously to lessen repercussions later in life. (NYT)

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be at risk of developing dementia. A new study found that blood sugar and insulin levels could be linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s. “After adjusting for various factors such as age, gender and weight, the researchers found that patients who had blood-sugar levels of 10.5% or higher were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those with blood-sugar levels of 6.5% or lower.” The study advised that people with diabetes should be extra cautious and monitor and maintain their blood sugar levels by exercising and watching what they eat. (WSJ)