Obesity changes how airway muscles function, which increases the risk of developing asthma, a new study suggests. The prevalence of asthma and obesity—as both separate and coexisting conditions—has grown considerably in the United States in recent years.
Legalized cannabis is just a month away, but Ontario won’t have any cannabis stores until April. That’s due to the province’s recent decision to have cannabis outlets run by businesses rather than a government agency, although the agency will still open a retail web site Oct. 17.
Keeping household surfaces clean is a daily chore for most families, but there may be unseen consequences for children’s health. Overusing cleaning products can increase the risk of childhood obesity, according to new research, as exposure causes changes in the bacteria which live in children’s guts.
When my brother and I were kids back in the ‘80s, we loved going to Long John Silver’s. But it wasn’t just for the fish. It was for the vinegar – malt vinegar. We would uncap a bottle at the table and swig that tangy, delicious nectar of the gods straight.
Researchers have developed a way to reliably predict which chronic pain patients will respond to a sugar placebo pill based on brain anatomy and psychological characteristics. Doctors may one day prescribe placebos that work as effectively as any painkiller for certain patients, the researchers’ new study suggests
Taking low-dose aspirin daily doesn’t preserve good health or delay the onset of disability or dementia in healthy older people. This was one finding from our seven-year study that included more than 19,000 older people from Australia and the US.
While the ageing of society has become one of the givens in today’s world, less is made of the lived experience of the very elderly in society.
Researchers have discovered evidence of the earliest brewmasters to date, a finding that might stir an old debate: What came first, beer or bread? In a cave in what is now Israel, scientists found beer-brewing innovations that they believe predate the early appearance of cultivated cereals in the Near East by several millennia.
Two of every three US consumers surveyed report eating less of at least one type of meat, according to new research. “Many Americans continue to have strong preferences for meat,” says Roni Neff, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Imagine you tell your 55 year-old mom you’re going to get married and she’s too disorganized to help you with the wedding preparations. Or you put your kids on the bus to elementary school and the 57 year-old driver forgets the route. These are real scenarios, drawn from my clinical work with patients who have young-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
It isn’t surprising that people are confused about nutrition when the media presents different findings as gladiatorial battles: vegetarian versus carnivore, high-fat versus low-fat diets and, more recently, low-carb diets versus high-carb. But, when you dig down into the data, many of these studies are reporting surprisingly similar things – and this is the case with the latest studies reporting on carbohydrates and health.
Night has always been a difficult realm for humans: we’ve had to learn to cope with the cold and the dark to thrive in it. Since the industrial revolution we’ve found ways to adapt our homes and cities to operate during the night. But as our conquest of the dark continues, the border between night and day is becoming increasingly blurry.
The credibility of scientific findings hinges on their reproducibility. As a scientist, it is therefore disastrous when you are unable to replicate your own findings. Our laboratory has found itself in just this situation several times; in each instance, unintended environmental exposure distorted our data. Our first accidental foray into toxicology 20 years ago convinced us of the need to understand the reproductive effects of environmental chemical contaminants. The latest twist in our journey down that road adds a new dimension to an old concern, BPA.
The link between gut microbes and health is now well established. As a result, researchers have been investigating the effects of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics on various diseases.
India has a reputation as a vegetarian nation, and Indians certainly consume far less meat than the global average. But the view of India as a predominantly vegetarian nation may not be quite accurate.
Walking significantly lowers the risk of heart failure in older women, a new study shows. The study of more than 137,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 is the largest and most comprehensive to date that has evaluated physical activity within the context of heart failure prevention.
The sensation of sound occurs when the vibrations from sounds enter our ear and cause little hairlike structures – called hair cells – within our inner ear to move back and forth. The hair cells transform this movement into an electrical signal that the brain can use.
Suicide rates in the United States have increased by 25-30 percent since 1999. This is particularly true for youth ages 12-24, with increases of approximately 30 percent over the same period. In Alachua County, Florida, where I teach and practice at the University of Florida, the base rate for suicides among youth ages 12-17 had been about five per 100,000 for many years, below the base national rate of 13 per 100,000. However, in the year 2017 that rate of completed suicides increased to 27 per 100,000, and for 2018 we are at a pace that will likely equal 2017.
Ever been in a situation where passing wind is going to be hugely embarrassing and you’ve had to hold in a fart? Let’s face it – we all have. Trying to hold it in leads to a build up of pressure and major discomfort. A build up of intestinal gas can trigger abdominal distension, with some gas reabsorbed into the circulation and exhaled in your breath. Holding on too long means the build up of intestinal gas will eventually escape via an uncontrollable fart.
The idea that healthy food costs more than junk food is something I hear a lot. Students tell me they’d like to eat better but can’t afford to. There is a strong belief that cooking from scratch costs a fortune, and with takeaway meals priced as low as £1, they have little incentive to change their behaviour.
Your body’s internal clock – the circadian rhythm – regulates an enormous variety of processes: when you sleep and wake, when you’re hungry, when you’re most productive. Given its palpable effect on so much of our lives, it’s not surprising that it has an enormous impact on our health as well. Researchers have linked circadian health to the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegeneration. It’s also known that the timing of meals and medicines can influence how they’re metabolized.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
No matter how much we try to minimise our exposure to respiratory viruses, it’s far more difficult in winter when we spend so much time in close proximity to other people.
Leftovers may be throwing off your sense of how much you’ve actually eaten and how much you need to exercise, particularly as portion sizes—and therefore leftover portions—increase, according to a new study.
The brain has no nociceptors – the nerves that detect damage or threat of damage to our body and signal this to the spinal cord and brain. This has led to the belief that the brain feels no pain. A belief that has entered popular culture.
In the 2001 movie Hannibal, there is a gut-twisting scene in which the eponymous Hannibal Lecter cuts out part of the brain of an FBI agent who is fully awake, though drugged, and seated at a dinner table.
Worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975, with 1.9 billion adults considered overweight. The condition now kills more people across the globe than underweight and malnutrition.
One of the NHS’s biggest cost burdens, a staggering 70% of UK adults are expected to have overweight or obesity by 2034. Obesity is a problem of energy balance.
Nine in ten young women experience the cramping or stabbing of period pain just before their monthly bleed or as it starts.
Period pain (also called dysmenorrhoea) can be divided into two main types – primary or secondary dysmenorrhoea – depending on whether there’s an underlying problem.
Last week I had a shocking cold. Blocked nose, sore throat, and feeling poorly. This made me think about the countless vitamins and supplements on the market that promise to ease symptoms of a cold, help you recover faster, and reduce your chance of getting another cold. When it comes to the common cold (also called upper respiratory tract infections) there is no magic cure (I wish) but some supplements may deliver very minor improvements. Here is what the latest research evidence says.
Increasing the amount of exercise is one way to use the energy stored in fat cells, or to ‘burn’ fat. Many of us may be considering “burning some fat” so we feel better in our bathing suits out on the beach or at the pool. What does that actually mean, though?
The number of studies that have found a link between a disease and a specific gut microbiome composition seems to be ever increasing. Until recently, though, almost all these studies have looked at single diseases in isolation. But most people tend to have more than one health complaint at a time – “comorbidities”, in medical parlance.
Alcohol producers and retailers have long argued that their goal is a world where everyone drinks responsibly and heavy drinking is a thing of the past. As a result, the alcohol industry claims to be part of the solution to the UK’s drink problem rather than part of the problem. In our latest research, published in Addiction, we examine the credibility of this claim.
Members of a small women’s rights group, Liverpool ReSisters, have declared that “women don’t have penises”. They seem to be very confident of this point, having gone as far as to paste stickers claiming as much onto the genital areas of some of the statues that make up Anthony Gormley’s artwork Another Place on Crosby Beach near Liverpool. It’s an attention-grabbing stunt. But are they right? Well, it depends on what they mean by “women”.
Timing our meals can fend off diseases caused by bad genes or bad diet. Everything in our body is programmed to run on a 24-hour or circadian time table that repeats every day. Nearly a dozen different genes work together to produce this 24-hour circadian cycle. These clocks are present in all of our organs, tissues and even in every cell. These internal clocks tell us when to sleep, eat, be physically active and fight diseases. As long as this internal timing system work well and we obey them, we stay healthy.
We are still in love with vitamins a century after they were discovered, with half the US and UK population taking a supplement. Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is the favourite and is believed to have the most proven benefits. Governments, including the UK government, have said that the evidence for vitamin D’s health benefits is so overwhelming that every adult should take it as a supplement for at least six months of the year.
A solid white mass found in a broken jar in an Ancient Egyptian tomb has turned out to be the world’s oldest example of solid cheese. Probably made mostly from sheep or goats milk, the cheese was found several years ago by archaeologists in the ancient tomb of Ptahmes, who was a high-ranking Egyptian official. The substance was identified after the archaeology team carried out biomolecular identification of its proteins.
Many parts of the country have seen episodic crises due to synthetic marijuana, the largest occurring in Mississippi, where 721 adverse events were logged between April 2-3, 2015. Even with outbreaks aside, synthetic cannabinoids are 30 times more likely to harm you than regular marijuana.
People with low muscle strength don’t typically live as long as their stronger peers, according to a new study. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, chronic health conditions, and smoking history, researchers found that people with low muscle strength are 50 percent more likely to die earlier.
In general, women have greater absolute body fat percentages than men. Typically, women carry more fat around the legs, hip and buttocks, as well as the chest and upper arms. Women have more subcutaneous fat – the fat you can pinch under your skin – while men typically have more visceral fat, which is stored in and around the abdominal organs.
Can you imagine a future where the question “Did you bring a copy of your test results?” becomes entirely unnecessary? That could happen, but the methods that most health care providers use to exchange health care information are little different than they were 5,000 years ago, when physicians caring for the same patient exchanged scrolls of papyrus and clay tablets.
Time-restricted eating (also called time-restricted feeding) is a new dietary concept that involves reducing the time between the first and last calorie consumed each day. There is strong evidence to support the health benefits of time-restricted eating (TRE) in animals, and recent small studies by our research group and others suggest possible benefits for humans, too.
Many older people find they’re not able to move as freely as they did when they were younger. They describe their movements as feeling stiff or restricted. In particular, feeling stiff when getting out of bed first thing in the morning or after sitting for a long period. The feeling does eventually ease with movement as the muscles “warm up”, but it can be troublesome. There are a few reasons this happens.
It may be possible in the future to screen patients for Alzheimer’s disease using a simple eye exam, according to new research. Using technology similar to what is found in eye doctors’ offices, researchers have detected evidence indicating Alzheimer’s disease in older patients who had no symptoms.
Unfortunately, almost every individual in the world will experience at least one traumatic event, such as a car crash, assault, exposure to war combat or a natural disaster during their lifetime. Many will endure more than one. Although the majority of individuals recover from a traumatic incident, a substantial proportion will develop chronic problems, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression and chronic pain.
Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric illness that primarily effects young people during their adolescence. While anorexia is relatively uncommon, affecting about 1 percent of the population, it can be lethal. Indeed, despite its relatively early onset, anorexia can last for several decades for more than half of those afflicted. It can lead to many associated psychiatric and medical risk factors, which in part explains why anorexia has the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder.
The news that, after 106 years, Captain Scott’s fruitcake was found by the Antarctic Heritage Trust and “smelled edible”, raises the question: are there other foods that have similar staying power? The answer is, yes, several.
We’ve all been there, you’re desperate for the loo, and frantically hunting for a toilet, only to find when you get there, that the seat is covered with “droplets” from the previous user.
Everyone has had the unpleasant experience of a rash on the skin – pink, red or purple, flat or bumpy, itchy, scaly, pus-filled, or just plain unsightly. This variety isn’t surprising, because the skin is a complicated organ.
Insect repellents can be safe and effective but many people are reluctant to rub what they perceive to be smelly or sticky on their skin.
Everybody knows that to lose weight you should eat less and move more. But, of course, it’s not that simple; the combination of today’s environment and human biology can make it really, really hard to shed pounds. To reduce diseases caused by being overweight or obese, society needs to change, but those changes will be slow to come. We need effective weight-loss strategies now.
Asked what they know about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, many people will likely tell you that it mostly affects children, and mostly boys. However, recent research has shown that neither of these perceptions is entirely true.
When you think of sugar, you probably think of the sweet, white, crystalline table sugar that you use to make cookies or sweeten your coffee. But did you know that within our body, simple sugar molecules can be connected together to create powerful structures that have recently been found to be linked to health problems, including cancer, aging and autoimmune diseases.
If you drink alcohol, it’s likely you’re familiar with some of the effects of a hangover. Headaches, nausea and fatigue are just some of the unpleasant but common experiences of the morning after the night before. But have you ever wondered how a hangover may influence your thoughts and behaviour?
Not everyone will readily admit to peeing in swimming pools, but it does happen. An anonymous survey from 2012 found that 19 percent of adults admitted they had peed in a pool at least once. But when you use a pool as a giant toilet, that yellow trail contains some nasty bacteria and parasites.
There are many ways to get around a city. You can drive a car or ride a motorcycle. In many cities you have the option of public transport. And of course if you live close enough to where you are heading you can get around in a more active way by riding a bicycle or walking.
Cycling may be dangerous in some ways, but it’s healthy too. But do the health benefits outweigh the risks of potential death? And what about public transport or driving? What is the risk of having an accident, and are there any health benefits at all? There are a number of variables to consider, so the answers to these questions may not be as straightforward as you think.
Surprisingly few of the more than 3,000 mosquito species actually specialise in biting humans. Instead, most are opportunistic feeders – feeding when they are able and from lots of different sources. But Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae are well known for their preference for human blood and their role as vectors which transmit disease in humans. Ae. aegypti has been linked to zika and dengue, while An. gambiae carries the parasite which causes malaria.
A new study involved nearly 600 patients with depression that taking four or more antidepressants, taken either separately or in combination could not be alleviate. Researchers evaluated vagus nerve stimulators, which send regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve. The nerve originates in the brain, passes through the neck and travels down into the chest and abdomen.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs where the airways become so obstructed the sufferer struggles to breathe. It’s vastly more prevalent in Western societies, and usually develops in childhood. But what do we know about what causes it?
“I felt a sense of dissolving, disappearing completely.” “My body and mind melted and merged with the universe.” “I ceased to exist.” These are excerpts of what I occasionally hear from the students who come to my yoga and meditation classes. For most, these “mind-expanding” experiences are very positive and this is precisely what my students are seeking. However, there are always a few who have a difficult time with “ceasing to exist.”
Picture two different families, each dealing with a diagnosis of dementia in one of its members. In one case, the patient is a retired executive, whose family tries as long as possible to keep the diagnosis secret, relying primarily on professional caregivers and eventually a nursing home. In another case, the patient is a grandmother. As soon as the diagnosis is suspected, her family pulls together, bringing her into their home and surrounding her with affection.
Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in added sugar, sodium, and processed meats could help promote healthy cellular aging in women, according to a new study.
Our mental and physical well-being suffer from the sonic overload of modern life. Once upon a time, a person could seek out silence and find it. But nowadays, silence has become a rare and elusive thing. Without humans protecting it, quiet appears and disappears like an endangered species. That which used to dominate the earth for miles at a stretch and days on end is on the run.
It’s been a busy summer for food-based biotech. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made headlines when it approved the plant-based “Impossible Burger,” which relies on an ingredient from genetically modified yeast for its meaty taste. The European Union sparked controversy by extending heavy restrictions on genetically modified organisms by classifying them as gene-edited crops.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, affecting both low- and high-income countries. Although it is an easy problem to fix, it remains unfixed. Our bodies need iron to function. Too little leads to anaemia, limiting the body’s ability to carry and deliver oxygen. Well-known symptoms of iron deficiency include poor concentration, fatigue and mood changes.
One of the main problems with plastics is that although we may only need them fleetingly – seconds in the case of microbeads in personal care products, or minutes as in plastic grocery bags – they stick around for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, much of this plastic ends up as environmental pollution.
Despite its environmental benefits, using local seaweed for food can be a tough sell. Some think the Dutch have finally cracked the code. “Is seaweed a vegetable?” a wide-eyed child asks a tall man chopping kelp at a “Taste the Nature” market in the Zuiderpark city farm in The Hague. “Well, it has lots of vitamins and minerals,” the cook, Jethro van Luijk, replies.
It is now accepted that sport-related concussion can have a direct and significant effect on the functional status of the brain, but recent research from our laboratory has demonstrated that the heart is also significantly affected. We believe this change is transient and the heart will go back to “normal.”
Almost 40 percent of Americans can expect a cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes. As the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030 worldwide, people are desperate for answers, turning to alternative therapies that fall outside the typical “slash, burn, poison” treatment model. A review of the documentary “The Food Cure,” which follows patients undergoing an intensive and controversial nutritional therapy.
Caffeine is our favourite drug. But if we miss out on our fix, it can be a real headache, in more ways than one. Caffeine is a stimulant. It quickly enters our brain and blocks the (adenosine) receptors that are responsible for dulling brain activity. By blocking the dulling of our brain, we feel a sense of invigoration, focus and subtle euphoria. These feelings can also enhance our performance of certain focused tasks, like driving or staying awake through the whole lecture.
Obesity levels in Australia and around the world are high and rising. This comes at an enormous economic cost for society and individuals, not only in terms of health care and productivity, but also in lost quality and duration of life. Both behavioural economics research and weight-loss trials show that relying solely on Australians to take personal responsibility is doomed to fail, unless governments step in to create environments that promote healthy food and physical activity.
Hospice and palliative care patients who listen to live music in their rooms as part of their treatment report feeling better both emotionally and physically, a new study reports. They also request fewer opioid-based medications, according to the study.
In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and ordered the company to pay US$289 million in damages. The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due to negligence by Monsanto, plus an additional $250 million in punitive damages.
Psychedelic science is making a comeback. Scientific publications, therapeutic breakthroughs and cultural endorsements suggest that the historical reputation of psychedelics — such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (from the peyote cactus) and psilocybin (mushrooms) — as dangerous or inherently risky have unfairly overshadowed a more optimistic interpretation.
Wearing the wrong size bra is not only uncomfortable, it can cause a range of health problems. Research has shown that a lack of breast support often leads to breast pain, which is reported by 50% of women. An ill-fitting bra that doesn’t give the right support can also lead to breast skin damage – usually seen as stretch marks, caused by stretching the skin beyond its recovery point.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has led to headlines that will make you rethink your Saturday morning sleep in.Don’t set the alarm just yet. Yes, the researchers found a link between people who usually slept for longer than eight hours a night and their chances of having heart disease or dying prematurely.
We’re very careful about what our kids eat, but what about the air they breathe?During recent summers, children living on the West Coast of Canada have been breathing some of the most polluted air on record. This is due to seasonal wildfires, which have burned through vast zones of North America and affected even larger areas with their smoke.
Most people who diet will regain 50% of the lost weight in the first year after losing it. Much of the rest will regain it in the following three years. Most people inherently know that keeping a healthy weight boils down to three things: eating healthy, eating less, and being active. But actually doing that can be tough.
With the school year starting again, it’s time to start to think about the routine of packing school lunches. For many time-pressed parents, this is a formidable task. But it doesn’t need to be.
A recent Daily Mail article announced that: “Beer is officially good for you”. The article claimed that beer “reduces heart risk” and “improves brain health”. Even if “heart risk” sounds a bit vague, the news sounds good. But let’s take a closer look at the evidence.
It’s Friday and you’re clocking off, and after a few sleepless nights you want to tuck yourself up early and catch up on all the sleep you’ve lost. But does it really work that way? During sleep our memories from the day are solidified and our brain does a bit of a clean-up sorting through the things we need to hold onto and discard from the day.
Nose bleeds, or epistaxes, are often a mystery to the 60% of us who have had at least one in our lifetime. Suddenly, and without obvious cause, bright red blood starts streaming from one nostril. Usually they’re not something to worry about, but why we get them is not always clear.
I cannot imagine how overwhelming the experience must be for someone with fewer resources and less of an understanding about health care in America.
Women who have had a heart attack have a significantly higher survival rate when a female doctor treats them in the emergency room, a new study of nearly 582,000 cases shows.
People who develop abnormally frequent cases of a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma appear to be at significantly increased risk for the development of other cancers, including blood, breast, colon, and prostate cancers, according to a new, preliminary study. “Skin is the best organ to detect genetic problems that could lead to cancers.”
While we take physical workouts very seriously, there is much less said about the “workouts” that help us remain mentally agile and healthy. But just as with physical health, there are simple and practical ways that can help everyone to enjoy good mental health. Our research has led us to a method for promoting mental health and wellbeing within communities, which follows a simple model that can be adopted by anyone.
Today, nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults and 21 percent of youth are obese. This trend is on the upswing and the worldwide population is becoming more obese – which is increasing the risk of other conditions like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease whose prevalence has doubled globally in the last 30 years. But you may be surprised to learn that it’s not just food that is making us fat.
Genetic testing is available to people who want to know if they carry a variant of a gene that confers susceptibility for Alzheimer’s.
Humans have gone unshod for millions of years; it is only in the last few centuries that people have started wearing shoes. However, a recent survey shows that shoe wearing among young boys isn’t universal.
Your body has just performed an amazing feat. Be kind to it.
After a night of heavy drinking, college students often get a case of the “drunchies”—drunk munchies—where only fatty, salty, unhealthy foods will do, a new study shows.
By facing pain, listening to it, and allowing it the room it was demanding anyway, my body began to relax a bit around the pain. I stopped clenching quite so much, I stopped saying no, no, no, and I began to accept. I learned that constantly saying no to pain locks things in place. Relaxing into acceptance allows the possibility for the body to regenerate.
Is it possible that people who are diagnosed with cancer die of a sophisticated form of voodoo? Does the victim's belief in the power of vicious cells, like belief in the power of a hex, lead to his death? 'Cancer' is a demon word -- the destructiveness of cancer begins as soon as the diagnosis is uttered. The word strikes terror to the heart...
Life doesn't have to be a process of ongoing damage control. There are many things we can do to keep stress from eroding our health and happiness. The fastest way to fix the problems in your life is to remove your stressors. But don't worry; there are alternatives to firing your boss, leaving your home, redesigning your spouse, or trading in your body.
The ability to reverse ageing is something many people would hope to see in their lifetime.
Diets are everywhere, but could eating “negative calorie” foods, such as celery and grapefruit, help to boost weight loss?
A new report out today from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration has found these four million Australians are at much greater risk of chronic physical disease and much greater risk of early death.
Illness can be the doorway to health. Whether the illness originates in the mind, body, spirit, or environment, we have the choice to allow illness to compel us either toward health and higher learning, or away from health and to eventual destruction.
A survey of adolescents carried out by researchers at Coventry University has shown that than less than half of e-cigarette users knew that vape products contain nicotine or that they are addictive, raising the possibility that they could be a gateway to smoking normal cigarettes.
Multiple pregnancies might make women’s cells age more quickly, a new study suggests. The findings could help explain why women with many children tend to show signs of accelerated aging.
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the value – or lack thereof – of muscle stretching to accelerate recovery after exercise. “Stretching clears out your lactic acid,” and other similar claims abound. Is any of this true?
In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I compiled an infamous list of seven deadly sins. Of these seven, sloth is the only sin that shares its name in English with an animal. But are these curious animals truly guilty of vice?