In the News: Colon Cancer Risk Rising for Young People, World Happiness Report Gives Norway Top Ranking, Eating Vegetables May Reduce Stress

Colon cancer risk rising for young people. A recent study has found that Americans under 55 are seeing more colon and rectal cancer cases, with rates rising quickly. If you were born in 1990, you have twice the likelihood of developing colon cancer as if you were born in the ’50s. Since screenings are not common for patients under 50, when these cancers are diagnosed, they are often found at later stages. While there has been a notable increase in colon cancer cases among the population, future studies are required to answer the big question: why? Some symptoms to look out for are cramps, weight loss, constipation, bloating, and bloody stool. Since these symptoms can fall under the umbrella of so many other benign conditions, they are often ignored until the cancer worsens; this is why it’s so important to see a doctor immediately and to be prepared to get second and third opinions to be absolutely safe. To learn more about colon cancer, check out this fact sheet. (CNN)

World Happiness Report gives Norway top billing. According to this year’s World Happiness Report, which took 155 countries into consideration, Norway earned first place for overall happiness. Researchers considered social, socioeconomic, life expectancy, freedom, trust, and other factors into consideration when determining their rankings. The United States came in 14th place this year, with happiness levels declining by about .51 points. If you’re looking for places to travel to, other countries that broke the top 10 list include Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. (NYTIMES)

Eating vegetables may reduce stress. We all know that eating vegetables can help us lose weight, prevent various diseases, improve digestion, and give our skin a healthy boost, but now it looks like there’s another perk: stress relief. Studies have shown that eating three to four servings a day can lower anxiety levels by 14 percent, and eating five to seven servings of veggies and fruit combined, can lower stress by 23 percent. If you were looking for another reason to eat fresh produce, there you have it! Here are 10 ways to sneak some veggies into your diet. (FOOD&WINE)

In the News: New Obesity Gene May Impact African-Americans, Certain Foods May Help a Hangover, Tia Mowry Opens Up About Endometriosis

New obesity gene may impact African-Americans. Researches conducted a 1,500 participant study in Nigeria and found a genetic mutation known as SEMA4D that may be responsible for weight gain. They found that over 55% of people with this mutation were obese. Over two-thirds of Americans and nearly half of the African-American population are overweight or obese so it’s more important now than ever before to find out how this mutation causes weight gain and what can be done to prevent the number on the scale from growing. Looking to shed some pounds? Try the 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet. (NBC)

Certain foods may help ease a hangover. Did you know that around 76% of adults experience hangovers? Whether you’ve experienced a miserable hangover before or you hope to prevent one in the future, the key is moderation. If you do wake up one morning after having one too many and need some relief, look for foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin B, zinc and potassium. Make sure to drink plenty of water and stick to foods like eggs, avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, and yellow veggies. You can also try drinking coconut water, which is a healthier form of electrolyte-rich sports drinks and will help you feel better in no time. For more ideas, here are 11 foolproof hangover cures. (CNN)

Tia Mowry opens up about endometriosis. In a recent interview, Tia Mowry, one half of the famous Sister, Sister duo, spoke out about having painful endometriosis for years. When she was in her mid-20s, she had several surgeries to treat the condition, but the scar tissue kept returning and the symptoms didn’t go away. Eventually, her doctor told her that if she wanted to have children one day she had to change her diet, specifically cutting out dairy and sugar. As soon as she started eating healthier, her symptoms went away and she was able to conceive. Are you looking to cut back on sugar? Try Dr. Oz’s detox plan. (YAHOO)

In the News: Fecal Transplants May Normalize Blood Sugar, DNA Scan Finds Genes Linked to Autism, Veggie Cakes Popular in Japan

Repoopulating the gut: The future of diabetes management? Fecal transplant normalized blood sugar in mice. In a recent study, researchers fed healthy mice resveratrol, the molecule in red wine that may be the reason it has so many health benefits. Then, they transplanted the fecal matter from those mice into the intestines of mice that had insulin resistance (the hallmark of type 2 diabetes). They found that after just a couple weeks, those pre-diabetic mice had normalized blood sugar levels! While the scientists don’t yet understand how these fecal transplants help with blood sugar regulation, the study opens the door to the possibility of fecal transplant for more than just gut health. Watch Dr. Oz explain more about fecal transplants here! (SCIENCEDAILY)

New DNA scan finds 18 genes associated with autism. A new study of autistic participants and their relatives found a staggering number of genes linked to this condition. They found that 18 genes and 72 unique mutations may be involved in the symptoms. Autism is becoming increasingly common in the U.S., with studies showing that one in 45 kids is now diagnosed. While it’s not clear why this is happening, Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization, is hoping to answer questions and raise awareness with further research. (NBC)

Salad Cakes are a new craze in Japan. Mitsuki Moriyasu, a cafe owner and food stylist in Nagoya, is starting a new trend with her vegetable cakes. Called Vegedeco Salad (decorated vegetables), these cakes are meant to be a guilt-free way to indulge in your favorite desserts. The frosting is typically made from tofu, the sponge cake is made from soy powder, eggs, and oil, and the colorful icing is made from all-natural vegetable coloring, from beetroot, carrots, and cabbage. Since Moriyasu’s two sons have food allergies, she decided to get create with her baked goods, which is what led her to make sugar and wheat-free desserts. Thinking of ditching gluten? Here’s what you need to know. (CNN)

 

In the News: Americans Drinking More Bottled Water Than Soda, Salt and Sugary Drinks May Cause Heart Disease, Soy No Longer Considered Harmful to Women

Americans now drink more bottled water than soda. Bottled-water consumption in the U.S. has now reached an astounding 39.3 gallons per capita according to last year’s data. The idea that people would purchase more bottled water than soda was simply unthinkable even 10 years prior, especially given that the packaged version is readily available for free from the tap. Nonetheless, bottled water sales have been steadily growing ever since Perrier entered the market in the ’70s. In recent years, bottled water sales have also been bolstered thanks to the increased knowledge of sugary soda drinking dangers. It’s great to see that water has eclipsed less healthy beverages and we’re excited to see how this trend will develop in the coming years. Ready to say goodbye to your favorite soft drink? try Dr. Oz’s 4-week soda detox. (MARKETWATCH)

A salt with a deadly weapon. Salt and sugary drinks may be the cause of heart-disease deaths. A study published this week in JAMA suggests that 10 foods may be contributing to half of all heart-disease related deaths. In the study, researchers looked at the diets of thousands of patients who died from a heart attack, stroke, or type-2 diabetes. They found that diets high in sodium, sugar sweetened beverages, and processed meats increase mortality risk the most. Furthermore, diets that are low in nuts and seeds, fish, fruits and veggies can also increase the risk. The authors go on to say that public health policies targeting proper dietary habits may provide patients with the most improvement to their health. Check out Dr. Oz’s plan to find out how to break up with salt. (TODAY)

It’s soy K to eat tofu! New research clears up some confusion about the complicated relationship between soy and breast cancer. The health advice on eating soy is fraught with confusion. Some studies support the idea that estrogen-mimicking molecules in soy like isoflavone could slow the development of breast cancers by decreasing estrogen production. But other studies believe that the isoflavone molecules may interfere with the efficacy of estrogenic medications for breast cancer like tamoxifen. To help clear the air, a new study evaluated the diets of thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer. They found that diets high in soy may be protective for women with hormone insensitive breast cancer. As for women with hormone sensitive types, soy neither increased nor decreased their risk of mortality. While the authors acknowledge that we’re far from a definite answer about soy, we’re certainly on our way to one. Check out recipes for one of Dr Oz’s, favorite types of soy: tofu! (TIME)

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)

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)

In the News: Mumps Outbreak Hits Washington State, New Jersey Aims to Lower Infant Mortality, Heavy Snow May Increase Male Heart Attack Risk

Mumps outbreak hits Washington State. The state of Washington has been grappling with a mumps outbreak since October and now, 367 people have been diagnosed or at least suspected of having the illness. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those infected are school-age children. The Washington State Department of Health believes that this outbreak is linked to the decrease in vaccination rates in children over five years old throughout the state. The mumps vaccine is about 88% effective at preventing the infection, which means that some children who received the shot could still get sick. The worrisome part is that mumps can have some serious complications, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the structures surrounding the brain). Read more about the importance of vaccines here. (ABC)

Nobody puts baby in the (cardboard) corner! New program in New Jersey aims to decrease infant mortality. Baby boxes are going out to new families for free in an attempt to educate parents about infant safety. The boxes are made of laminated cardboard and encourage parents to follow the ABCs of sleep (Alone, on their Backs, and . . . well, the C should now stand for Cardboard). While researchers don’t know exactly why, these simple measures could drastically reduce the risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. The box also includes diapers, baby wipes, a onesie, and breastfeeding pads. Watch Dr. Oz’s favorite tips on how to get a baby to sleep here. (NYT)

Heavy snowfall may carry risk for heart attack in men. When weather hits hard like last week’s snowstorm Niko, many can be found outside with a shovel in hand. But a new study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that the winter wonderland could be dangerous for your heart. To investigate, researchers looked at weather patterns over the past 30 years and compared them to hospital records of patients diagnosed with heart attacks. They found that during the extra snow, men are about 16% more likely to go to the hospital for a heart attack and just more than 30% more likely to die from one. Yikes! The authors don’t say exactly why men are at a higher risk, but they advise switching from a snow shovel to a snow blower so that you don’t overdo it out there. Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite tips on staying safe in the snow. (TIME)

In the News: Nordic Diet May Reduce Stroke Risk, Certain Brain Areas Work Like Traffic Lights, Licorice Potentially Dangerous During Pregnancy

I’ve really taken a Viking to this diet. New study suggests a link between the Nordic diet and risk of stroke. It’s estimated that more than 200,000 Americans suffer from stroke annually, but a new study from the American Heart Association suggests that a group of people in Northern Europe might have a diet that could help reduce the risk: it’s the Nordic diet. In this study, more than 55,000 people were followed for 13 years, and they found that those who adhered to the Nordic diet had significantly lower risk of ischemic stroke. So give it a try! The Nordic diet is packed full of fish, root veggies like carrots, and greens like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Check out celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Dr. Oz explain the benefits of the Nordic Diet here! (MEDSCAPE)

This brain research gets the green light. New study suggests that some parts of our brain work like a traffic light. By studying the brains of rats, scientists are uncovering the way that we respond to the environment. It all has to do with a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which receives either excitation or inhibition to work. To further test this system, the researchers turned off different regions of the prefrontal cortex in rats and had them perform tasks. They found specific regions of the brain that influence impulsive behavior and which opens up an area to study disorders of reactive behavior like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Want to learn more about OCD? Check out this fact sheet. (EUREKA)

Licorice might not be so anise for pregnant women. Licorice consumption during pregnancy may affect cognitive ability in children. A recent study from Finland followed more than a thousand pregnant mothers and their healthy infants for 13 years. Children born from mothers who ate more than 8.8 ounces of licorice a week while pregnant scored, on average, seven points lower on IQ tests and had three times the risk of developing attention deficit disorder. While the authors admit that more research needs to be done, this study sheds light on a possible risk of eating licorice while pregnant. Learn more about what you can (and can’t) eat during pregnancy here. (NYT)