20 New Health Studies That Will Change The Way You Live
From groundbreaking treatments to the latest in prevention, these new health studies could have a major impact on how you live your life. Here’s the latest news from the world of medicine.
1. Eggs could help prevent type 2 diabetes
According to new research from the University of Eastern Finland, moderate egg consumption (approximately four a week) may reduce the risk of a common health condition around the world: Type 2 diabetes. Although eggs are high in cholesterol, they also contain nutrients that can improve sugar metabolism and reduce inflammation. (Health studies also show that eggs are among the best brain food for babies.) And in Finland—as opposed to the United States, where previous studies took place—eggs aren’t paired as often with processed meats, which are associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. Don’t miss the 10 silent signs you might have diabetes.
2. Trust grows with age and promotes happiness
A research paper published in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that, as people get older, they are better able to forgive minor disappointments and see the good in others. The researchers analyzed a sample of nearly 200,000 subjects from 83 countries and found an association between aging and increased trust that held firm regardless of the person’s generation. Although being trusting makes you easier prey for scammers, it remains good for your overall sense of well-being, they concluded. Find out the one word that makes you instantly more trustworthy.
3. Risk of exercise-related cardiac arrest minimal
Although they make the headlines, heart attacks during sports are quite rare, according to a study from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in California. Only five per cent of sudden cardiac arrests were associated with sports in the most affected age group, the 35 to 65 set. And these victims had a better chance of surviving than counterparts who suffered the same kind of heart incident in non-athletic situations. The study authors concluded the their findings reinforced “the high-benefit/low-risk nature of sports activity” in the oder population. Making these 30 small changes to your daily routine can help boost your heart health.
4. Popular weed killer likely a carcinogen
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the world’s most commonly used herbicide, “probably” causes cancer, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared. Scientists spent nearly a year reviewing studies linking non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to glyphosate. The WHO has yet to weigh in on how much exposure is required to raise one’s risk—most people are exposed only to low levels. According to Health Canada, the doses that affected animals were more than 100 times higher than what a human would be exposed to when using glyphosate “according to label directions.” Don’t miss these 29 easy ways you can slash your cancer risk.
5. Mindfulness therapy as effective as drugs
People who’ve suffered from clinical depression have a high risk of relapse, so they normally stay on antidepressants for at least two years after they starts to feel better. (Here’s how to spot the silent signs of depression.) However, a study of 424 patients in remission, from the United Kingdom, found that a treatment called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) resulted in approximately the same success rate (between 53 and 56 per cent) as medication. MBCT combines the rational problem-solving approach of cognitive behavioural therapy with “mindfulness” techniques designed to reduce stress. Here are 37 more stress-management strategies worth trying.
6. Western eating wreaks havoc on colons
The typical Western diet is high in fat and low in fibre, while the foods consumed in certain African countries have the opposite qualities. In a study published in Nature Communications, Americans ate a South African-style diet for two weeks, while 20 rural South Africans ate like Americans. Even after such a short interval, the nutritional swap led to changes in the types of bacteria and the degree of inflammation in the bowels of each group. This may partly explain why residents of Western countries—including people of African descent—are much more likely to develop colon cancer than Africans are. Don’t miss these 30 painless ways to increase dietary fibre.
7. Use an electric bike, cycle more
During a recent controlled experiment from the Institute of Transport Economics in Norway, cyclists who were given unlimited access to an electric bike doubled the distance they travelled by bicycle. While electric bikes can be pedalled like their non-electric counterparts, they also have a battery-powered motor that can be used for propulsion. They provide less exercise than an ordinary bicycle but still more than a car. Here are five more gadgets that are guaranteed to make you move more.
8. Menopausal symptoms last longer than believed
A new JAMA Internal Medicine study of nearly 1,500 American women from a variety of genetic backgrounds suggests menopausal discomforts such as hot flashes and night sweats last for 7.4 years on average—and can sometimes continue for more than a decade. The researchers concluded that the medical community needs to develop safe longer-term therapy for these symptoms. In the meantime, try these seven natural ways to treat menopause symptoms.
9. Mediterranean diet boosts brainpower
A Mediterranean-style enriched with olive oil or nuts might help minimize the decline of cognitive function in older people. That’s the conclusion of a trial conducted in Barcelona, Spain, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Over six years, subjects assigned to diets rich in produce, legumes, whole grains and fish had lower losses of brain function than those in the control group. Feed your brain with this MIND diet meal plan.
10. Looking tired? You’ll be judged for it
We know sleep deprivation is bad for our minds and bodies, but research shows it’s bad for how others perceive us, too. (Check out the surprising connection between sleep deprivation and aging.) In studies from the University of Stockholm published earlier this year, participants examined photos of people with varying amounts of shut-eye and evaluated their attractiveness, health, reliability, leadership, employability and trustworthiness. When the photographed subjects appeared tired, they scored worse on these measures than when they looked well rested. The implications are that getting enough sleep could help further a person’s career and interpersonal relationships. Struggling with insomnia? Don’t miss these 12 secrets to a deeper sleep.
11. Seeing calcified coronary arteries improves health
Of 189 Danish patients diagnosed with non-obstructive coronary artery disease, half were given standard information about risk and lifestyle. The other half were given this same advice, plus shown images of the specks of calcium forming in their arteries. This new research revealed that patients who saw these images were more likely to stop smoking (91 per cent versus 78 per cent), eat a healthy diet (66 per cent versus 36 per cent) and adhere to their statin therapy, suggesting that visualizing a health threat motivates people to make changes to reduce their risk. Struggling with a vice of your own? Here are 10 proven strategies to kick a bad health habit.
12. Psoriasis sufferers get the all-clear with new drugs
A new group of medications, known as IL-17A inhibitors, block a particular protein linked to inflammation in psoriatic skin. One such drug, secukinumab, was approved in Europe and North America in 2015, and a potential competitor, ixekizumab, is in the midst of Phase III clinical trials. Compared to previously existing treatments, they are giving more patients clear or near-clear skin within three months. It’s not all good news, though: the development of yet another IL-17A inhibitor, brodalumab, stopped after some patients reported suicidal thoughts during clinical trials. Are you sure it’s psoriasis? Here’s how to identify (and treat) six common skin conditions.
13. Dementia patients benefit from GPS
In a 2015 study of 200 Norwegians with dementia, almost all of the subjects enjoyed more independence and physical activity with the help of GPS devices. One nursing home resident tended to get lost and had been confined to the facility as a result. After receiving a device, he was free to take walks or visit cafes, since it was easy for staff to locate him. The study’s GPS users and their caregivers also reported improved peace of mind. Here are more helpful hints for caregivers of aging parents.
14. No willpower? Blame stress
To identify why willpower wanes, scientists at the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research at the University of Zurich recently enlisted the help of 51 health-conscious young men for a study published in Neuron. Split into two groups, the subjects looked at images of food and rated them according to healthfulness and tastiness. One group’s members then plunged a hand in ice water for up to three minutes, elevating their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When the men were subsequently asked to identify which food pairings they found most appealing, the stressed set gravitated toward unhealthy options—comfort food. Got a craving for it yourself? Here are eight ways you can train your brain to hate junk food.
15. Arthroscopy not for everyone
Each year, millions of people get arthroscopy, also known as keyhole knee surgery. But a new review funded by the Swedish Research Council has concluded that when it comes to middle-aged and elderly patients with knee pain and degenerative knee disease, the operation may be unadvisable. Yes, patients who underwent athroscopic treatment experienced a slight reduction in pain. However, the effect wasn’t permanent, and the surgery comes with a risk of complications—including deep-vein thrombosis—that may outweigh the benefits. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, physical therapy, exercise and anti-inflammatories can all be used to treat knee pain. Health studies suggest that eating these three foods can ease knee pain as well.
16. Walking aids help COPD sufferers
For people with moderate or advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), walking can be a challenge, due to decrease lung capacity and muscle function. Dutch researchers recently asked patients to try out two different aids: a rollator (a walker with wheels) and a draisine (which has a seat for support). The draisine outperformed the rollator for speed over short distances, but patients strolled longer and further with the rollator.
17. Music soothes post-surgery pain and anxiety
Patients who listen to music after undergoing surgery tend to feel less anxious and have less post-operative pain, according to a systematic review out of London, England, that weighed evidence from 73 studies. By way of illustration, one of the review’s authors maintained that listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon helped her relax in the hours following a recent hip operation. Given that music is inexpensive, non-invasive and safe, there is little to lose by playing favourite tunes to aid in recovery. These six supplements can also help speed up your recovery after surgery.
18. Stroke survivors’ spouses at risk of poor health
In a nod to the stresses of caregiving, Swedish researchers looked at the health-related quality of life of 248 stroke survivors’ partners—not only in the stroke’s immediate aftermath but also seven years later. Compared to a control group of 245, the spouses scored worse in such areas as body pain, social functioning and mental health—especially when their loved ones were disabled. The findings underline the need to find long-lasting ways to support families impacted by strokes. Could you be having a stroke without realizing it? Here are the seven signs of a stroke you might be ignoring.
19. Seniors report superior sleep quality
A study out of Switzerland’s University of Lausanne examining the sleeping patterns of people aged 40 to 80 found that on average, the more advanced subjects were in years, the more satisfied they were with their shut-eye. Getting older was also correlated with a decreased likelihood of reporting excessive daytime sleepiness. (Here are five surprising ways to stay awake after a bad night’s sleep.) The authors concluded, “Sleep complaints should not be viewed as part of normal aging but should prompt the identification of underlying causes.”
20. “On call” duties outside work hours take toll
Mobile phones and laptops let us work from just about anywhere at any time. But this convenience has a dark side, according to a German team that recently investigated the effect of “extended work availability” on cortisol levels. When someone is expected to respond to job-related requests beyond normal work hours, this “cannot be considered leisure time,” the scientists claimed. Since it impairs recovery from work, constant availability leaves the employee in a more stressed state the next morning. Here are more healthy work habits we should steal from Europeans.
Are you addicted to your smartphone? Here are 10 ways to kick off a “digital detox.”