Online Marketers Found Guilty of Peddling Fake Skincare Ads Using Dr. Oz and Other Celeb Names

Student's finger on trackpad of computer.

The Federal Trade Commission has found a group of online marketers guilty of publishing deceptive dietary supplement and skincare advertisements after they sold over 40 health and beauty products using unsavory practices. With a combination of false health claims, made-up testimonials, deceptive ‘free trials’, fake websites like “” and “,” and the unauthorized use of celebrity images – including Dr. Oz, Jennifer Aniston, and Paula Deen – the defendants tricked consumers into spending around $179 million over the course of five years.


In the News: New Pill That ‘Talks’ to Your Smartphone Approved by FDA, Watching Too Much TV Negates the Effects of Regular Exercise, Women Less Likely to Get CPR From Bystanders

A new pill that ‘talks’ to your smartphone has been approved by FDA. The Food and Drug Administration, in a groundbreaking decision, approved a drug with a digital ingestion tracking system, which senses when a pill is swallowed and sends the data to a smartphone. The new pill, called Abilify MyCite, contains an ingestible sensor that can help patients (and their doctors and caregivers) keep track of whether they are taking their medication as directed. Abilify MyCite is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and as an add-on treatment for depression in adults. People who meet the criteria for Abilify MyCite can decide which members of their care team have access to information about when they’ve taken the medication, how much has been ingested, and self-reported mood levels. Psychiatric diseases are not the only illnesses that may benefit from this new type of drug; this innovative way to track medications could help manage a variety of chronic illnesses. However, the rise of digital drugs also raises questions about patient confidentiality and coercion. Want to learn about other smartphone health uses? Watch this clip about a breathalyzer app. (T)

Watching too much TV negates the effects of regular exercise. The new study presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California investigated the connection between television viewing and blood clots in the legs, arms, pelvis, and lungs. Researchers examined data from more than 15,000 middle-aged people who answered questions about their TV habits over 20 years. During that time, doctors diagnosed 691 blood clots in the group. People who said they watched TV “very often” were 71% more likely to have developed a blood clot, compared to those who “never or seldom” watched. Among those who did the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity, those who watched TV very often were still 80% more likely to have had a blood clot than those who rarely or never watched TV. The study serves as a reminder that even physically fit people should avoid sitting in one position for too long. Learn more about blood clots here. (T)

Women less likely to get CPR from bystanders. A study from the University of Pennsylvania discussed this week at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim showed that women are less likely than men to get CPR from a bystander and more likely to die. Only 39 percent of women suffering cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR versus 45 percent of men, and men were 23 percent more likely to survive. The study reviewed close to 20,000 cases around the country and is the first to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from the public versus professional responders. Researchers think that rescuers may worry about removing a woman’s clothing to get better access to her chest or worry about touching their breasts to do CPR. The findings also suggest that CPR training may need to be improved, as practice mannequins are usually male torsos. (ABC)

In the News: Any Type of Sexual Harassment Can Cause Psychological Harm, Mushrooms May Fight Aging, Extreme Low-Calorie Diet Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Study finds any type of sexual harassment can cause psychological harm. A new study, published in the International Journal of Public Health, which has come at a time when sexual misconduct is in the public eye, has determined that any types of sexual harassment, be it inappropriate comments, unwanted attention, unsolicited images, etc, takes a serious psychological toll on the victim, causing or worsening low self-esteem, poor body image, anxiety, and depression. One of the study’s authors, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, studied two groups of Norwegian high school students, 3,000 participants altogether. After reviewing their survey responses his team found that 62 percent of both male and female students said they’ve experienced non-physical harassment and reported mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. These findings are remarkable because the effects of non-physical abuse are not often under the microscope to the same extent as physical harassment and abuse but the numbers show that the fallout is just as great.   (T)

Mushrooms may have anti-aging benefits. New research published in the journal Food Chemistry says that certain types of mushrooms have two antioxidants that can prevent aging and improve health. While it’s known that mushrooms have the highest amount of ergothioneine, there wasn’t as much information out there about glutathione, another important antioxidant. Porcini mushrooms were found to have the highest amount of both these two antioxidants after researchers tested 13 different kinds. They also found that when mushrooms had high amounts of one antioxidant, they tended to have high amounts of the other as well. You can learn more about the medical uses for mushrooms here. (MN)

Ultra Low-calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes. A team of researchers at Yale University has found that a very low-calorie diet can quickly reverse type 2 diabetes when tested on animals. When conducted on mice, they cut their daily intake down by 75 percent and found that their blood sugar levels lowered and they decreased fat as well. As one in three Americans will develop type 2 diabetes by 2050, determining how to prevent or treat this condition is of the utmost importance. Researchers will now have to test human subjects next to determine if these findings hold true for them as well. If so, it may change the types of drugs that are given to treat this all-too-common disease. You can try this negative calorie eating plan if you want to adjust to a low-cal diet. As always, speak to your physician first before beginning any new diet. (SD)

In the News: Night-Time Eating May Lead to Health Issues, Brisk Walking Might Help Older Women Live Longer, Effectiveness of Basic Painkillers Over Opioids

Basic painkillers are shown to be just as effective as opioids In a new study published in JAMA, scientists investigated whether alternative painkillers could be as effective in treating pain as stronger opioids. The scientists studied more than 400 people who came to emergency rooms in the Bronx, New York, for arm or leg strains, sprains, or fractures. They were randomly assigned to receive either non-opioid painkillers (ibuprofen and acetaminophen, or a variation of an opioid-based painkiller. After two hours, the doctors asked the people to rate their pain on a scale from 1-11 and compared their responses. There was not much difference found between the pain ratings among those who were given the non-opioid pain relievers and the opioid-based ones. While this study only looked at one type of pain (caused by arm or leg injuries), it still highlights possible ways that opioid prescriptions can be reduced. This is relevant, considering studies have shown that nearly 19 percent of people leave emergency rooms with an opioid prescription, and even short-term use can lead to long-term addiction. Watch this clip to learn more about opioid addiction. (T)

Late-night eating may lead to diabetes and heart disease. Emerging research from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City suggests that late-night eaters may be predisposed to diabetes and heart disease. The study outlined a series of experiments on rats, focusing on blood fat levels and the impact of sleep cycles and time of day on their fluctuation.The results suggested that late-night eating habits dictated by our biological clocks can lead to higher levels of triglyceride, or blood fat. This, in turn, is tied to higher risk of metabolic and heart diseases. The professor leading the study warned that these dangerous out-of-sync patterns are now fairly common in westernized countries where late-night dinners are normal. (MN)

Brisk walking may increase longevity in women. A large study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA measured physical activity in older women with sensitive activity trackers and then followed them for up to four years. The study found that there was a strong relationship between the amount of exercise recorded on the women’s activity trackers and a lower risk of death from all causes during the follow-up period. The most active 25 percent of the women had a 60–70 percent lower risk of dying over the follow-up period than the least active 25 percent. While many studies have shown that physical activity lowers mortality rate, previous studies have relied heavily on self-reported physical activity, with self-reports tending to be less precise. Want to shed a few pounds? Find out how to walk off your weight here. (MN)

In the News: Teen Moms at Risk of Heart Disease, Scientists Find New Mechanism to Block Unwanted Thoughts, Climate Change May Be Causing Health Issues for Millions

Teen moms at risk of heart disease. According to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, women who have given birth as teens are more likely to develop heart disease than those who get pregnant when they’re older. In a study conducted by Catherine Pirkle, Ph.D., her team looked at 1,047 women between the ages of 65-74 living in Albania, Brazil, Canada, and Colombia. Using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS), they found that women who had their first pregnancy before they turned 20, had a way higher risk of heart disease compared to women who got pregnant later in life. In trying to find an explanation for these results, they identified two potential reasons: first, the possibility that adolescents who have children early on may have a reduced chance of achieving a higher education and a smaller earning potential. Secondly, due to financial struggles and a lack of education they may feel more stressed on a regular basis and take part in unhealthy behaviors. Take this quiz to find out if you’re at risk of heart disease. (MN)

Scientists find a new mechanism to block unwanted thoughts. According to new research published in Nature Communications, a group of scientists used a procedure known as ‘Think/No-Think’ to uncover a new process that allows the prefrontal cortex to block out certain thoughts. Using a mix of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the scientists were able to see how the brains of participants changed when trying to inhibit certain thoughts. They were able to pin down the specific neurotransmitter responsible for the blocking, known as GABA. When nerve cells release it, it can pause activity in other connected cells, and they found that concentrated areas of GABA in the hippocampus (the part of the brain linked to memory), could indicate participants’ ability to successfully shut out certain memories and thoughts. Feeling foggy lately? Watch this clip to learn about three foods to boost your memory. (SD) 

Climate change may be hurting the health of millions. With the effects of global warming becoming increasingly apparent over recent years, scientists are studying the ways in which climate change impacts public health. While it’s clear that hurricanes, wildfires, and heat waves can cause causalities and illnesses, there are also other ways that climate change can create further health problems as well. Fluctuating weather patterns can cause the spread of infectious illnesses like malaria, cholera, and West Nile virus, and a longer-than-usual allergy season could create further health problems. Lyme disease cases have tripled, and a lack of rain or too-hot temperatures can also shrink the number of crops that can be harvested each season, leading to malnutrition in certain parts of the world. Since the effects of climate change are becoming too obvious to ignore, this can cause policymakers to consider it a full-blown health crisis and rally behind those who are trying to reverse the damage and find a way to improve the health of millions. (T)

In the News: Heart Stent Effectiveness Questioned, A Better Recovery Method for Marathon Runners Has Been Discovered, Number One Cause of Stress for Americans Revealed

Heart stent effectiveness questioned. In a new study, 200 people with chest pain were randomly assigned to either receive a stent, which requires a surgical procedure or undergo a placebo procedure in which the doctors only threaded a catheter through without inserting a stent. Six weeks later, they evaluated all of the people on a treadmill test. There were no significant differences in how much exercise the two groups could do, or in how much chest pain they reported. The findings of the study raise questions about whether or not stents should be used as often, or at all, to treat chest pain. Chest pain can also be a sign of a heart attack. Read up on the other warning signs of a heart attack here.  (NYT)

A new recovery method for runners discovered. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden published a new study in the Journal of Physiology that tested how best to help tired muscles recover after draining workouts and competitions. Several fit participants were instructed to do physically challenging interval exercises in a performance lab. Cuffs were placed on the muscles that either warmed to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or cooled to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, after which both groups were instructed to do the same exercises again. The physical strength and performance were found to be “markedly better” in the group whose muscled had been warmed up beforehand. According to an analysis of the data, warming muscles probably aids in recovery by supporting the muscles’ uptake of carbohydrates. (NYT)

The number one cause of stress for Americans revealed. The American Psychological Association (APA) just released the results of its annual Stress in America survey, which revealed that the biggest stressor Americans face is the state of the U.S. 63 percent of survey participants said the future of the nation is a “very” or “somewhat” significant source of stress. Other common stressors follow close behind, with money at 62 percent and work at 61 percent. The new survey results show similar levels of stress to last year, but the effects of stress on people’s health seem to be more pronounced today; more people than in 2016 reported symptoms of stress, like headaches, stomachaches, and feeling anxious or overwhelmed. More positively, over half of Americans reported that stress over the nation has inspired them to volunteer and support causes they love. Feeling stressed? Take this quiz to find out where you stand. (T)

In the News: Surprising Number of Allergies Begin in Adulthood, Daydreaming Could Indicate Intelligence, Dogs May Prevent Childhood Allergies

A surprising number of food allergies begin in adulthood. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 5.7 percent of U.S. children have displayed food allergy symptoms this past year. A report in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 4 percent of U.S. adults are diagnosed with food allergies. While these findings indicate a number of people affected, it begs the question: when do these allergies develop? A new study has determined that nearly 50 percent of adults with allergies developed them in adulthood. They also found that African American, Hispanic, and Asian people are most at risk, with shellfish and peanut allergies being the most likely. With allergies on the rise, researchers are trying to understand what causes them and why there’s an upward trend. Looking for tasty recipes that are safe for allergy sufferers? Watch this clip. (MN)

Daydreaming could indicate high intelligence. If your mind wanders a lot during the day, turns out your brain may actually be more efficient than other people’s brains. A study from Journal Neuropsychologia discovered that daydreamers scored significantly higher on intelligence tests — the daydreaming may actually mean that you absorbed information faster than others and therefore can let your mind have a little break. But the study authors cautioned people not to use this data to mistake these results to justify lack of focus and ability to complete tasks. They advise a good rule of thumb to be observed in your daily life: if your mind wanders a lot but you still get everything done that you need to efficiency is the reason, but if the opposite happens laziness may be to blame. (TODAY)

Dogs may prevent childhood eczema and allergies. Two studies have shown that man’s best friend may be the key to solving childhood allergies. One study looked at babies who had a dog in the house when they were in utero and found that eczema was generally prevented in those children. The other study researched dogs’ effects on children in relation to developing asthma. The research showed that “elements that dogs carry” on themselves could protect kids against asthma. (SD)

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)