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Roundup: HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of February 2020


Touching Foods Enhances Eating Experiences



Handling food makes it tastier for individuals who select their meals with health in mind.  Marketing researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology tested a group of 190 undergraduates half of whom ate healthy cheese cubes or unhealthy mini donuts with their fingers and half with a toothpick.


The results show that touching food intensifies the satisfaction of consumption and the savory experiences but only for those particular enough about their food choices to make healthy choices.  Those shoveling anything in didn’t benefit from touching it and maybe didn’t notice they did.


Eating will be more rewarding if we take our time to enjoy food.  Stuffing your mouth only earns you more pounds.


Adriana V. Madzharov. Self-Control and Touch: When Does Direct Versus Indirect Touch Increase Hedonic Evaluations and Consumption of Food. Journal of Retailing, 2019; 95 (4): 170 DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2019.10.009


#eating #utensils #savoring

eating, utensils, savoring



Excellent Results From Heart Valve Replacement Without Surgery



Aortic valve replacement by a minimally-invasive transcatheter technique, TAVR, yields long term results equal to those of open heart surgery.  Both restore a patient’s life expectancy to normal without an undue risk of post-op stroke.  


A just published multi-site study led by cardiologists at LA’s Cedar-Sinai Hospital followed more than 2,000 patients for 5 years following valve replacement.   Half underwent catheter and half surgery.  A study published last year revealed that catheter valve replacements had a 50% lower incidence of immediate bleeding, stroke, and death.


Not everyone is a candidate for TAVR.  If your doctors are recommending aortic valve replacement, do ask about it.


#TAVR #aorticvalvereplacement #transcatheter #heartsurgery

TAVR, aorticvalvereplacement, transcatheter, heartsurgery



Decision-making Speeded By Isolating Two Choices



You’ll make your best choice faster by quickly narrowing your alternatives to a pair.  Swiss psychologists now report the dynamics of this process after their study of 129 subjects attempting to finalize food choices from a menu.


The investigators unraveled the decision-making process by following the participants’ eye movements.  Those who arrived at a final choice most quickly, rapidly chose two possibilities as an intermediate step.


When selecting an entrée or a partner, use this rule of twos.  Whittle down your alternatives to a pair of the best.  Then focus on the pros and cons of each.  If a final decision eludes you, don’t stress but rather flip a coin. 


Sebastian Gluth, Nadja Kern, Maria Kortmann, Cécile L. Vitali. Value-based attention but not divisive normalization influences decisions with multiple alternatives. Nature Human Behaviour, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41562-020-0822-0


#decisionmaking #humanbehavior #selection

decisionmaking, humanbehavior, selection




Your Auto Is Poisoning You



The bucket seat cradling you contains the toxic organophosphate flame retardant TDCIPP.   The longer your commute, the more danger you face.  A just published study from UC-Riverside tested 90 non-residential college students traveling to their classes.


The participants wore silicone wristbands that accumulate airborne organics.  The data confirm that TDCIPP exposure rises with every minute you spend in your vehicle.  As you seat cushion’s foam fragments, the toxins in the particles it generates get into your body.


TDCIPP, also known as chlorinated tris, has been banned from other furniture foam, but not from  your car.  Your only defense is eliminating the toxic dust by vacuuming your car often.


Aalekhya Reddam, George Tait, Nicholas Herkert, Stephanie C. Hammel, Heather M. Stapleton, David C. Volz. Longer commutes are associated with increased human exposure to tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate. Environment International, 2020; 136: 105499 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2020.105499


#TDCIPP #chlorinatedtris #flameretardant #commuting #automobiles

TDCIPP, chlorinatedtris, flameretardant, commuting, automobiles



Social Media Can Downsize the Obesity Epidemic



Your friends eating habits, known to you via Twitter, Instagram, and TicTok, profoundly influence your own.  When they eat fruits and vegetables, you will be more likely to do the same now that you know.


A study from the UK’s Aston University surveyed 369 undergrads about their eating habits and media use.  Besides the positive, the tabulated results also show that junk food fans pass their bad habits to their online followers.


You have to power to get yourself healthy and do the same for your friends.   If you aren’t eating healthy, pretend you are online as a gift to your friends.  Then think about why you have to pretend.


Lily K. Hawkins, Claire Farrow, Jason M. Thomas. Do perceived norms of social media users’ eating habits and preferences predict our own food consumption and BMI? Appetite, 2020; 149: 104611 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104611


#socialmedia #eating #diet #twitter #instagram #tictok #facebook

socialmedia, eating, diet, twitter, instagram, tictok, facebook



How Novelty Is The Spice Of Education



We’ve known for years that unique and surprising stimuli foster better learning.  A Belgian study, just published in the journal Neuron now tells us how this happens.


Using a mouse model, the neuroscientists demonstrated that novel fragrances versus familiar ones trigger the brain cells that produce and release dopamine, a learning catalyst.  When they blocked dopamine production, the animals’ learning suffered.


To turbocharge knowledge gain, get out of your ruts by seeking new adventures.  Take new routes and friends to work, talk to strangers, and try something new each week.  Pump up your dopamine reserves.  Eat foods like almonds, bananas, avocados, beans, eggs, and fish.  Exercise more, sleep bettter, and enjoy music. 

Joachim Morrens, Çağatay Aydin, Aliza Janse van Rensburg, José Esquivelzeta Rabell, Sebastian Haesler. Cue-Evoked Dopamine Promotes Conditioned Responding during Learning. Neuron, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.01.012


#novelty #dopamine #learning

novelty, dopamine, learning



Miso Soup And Natto Keep You Alive



Middle-aged women and men consuming fermented soy in miso soup and natto enjoy a 10-11% lower risk of premature death compared with those who rarely eat these foods.  A Japanese study just published in the British Medical Journal reviewed the health records of nearly 93,000 men and women 45 to 74 years of age.


The study also revealed that natto, a common breakfast food in Japan, reduced deadly cardiovascular disease 24% in men and 21% in women.  Tofu or non-fermented soy ingestion did not show either longevity or heart disease benefits.


The investigators speculate that these non-fermented soy benefits are due to isoflavones, fiber, and potassium. 


Katagiri Ryoko, Sawada Norie, Goto Atsushi, Yamaji Taiki, Iwasaki Motoki, Noda Mitsuhiko et al. Association of soy and fermented soy product intake with total and cause specific mortality: prospective cohort study BMJ 2020; 368 :m34.  doi: 


#soy #miso #natto #longevity #heartdisease

soy, miso, natto, longevity, heartdisease



Getting Enough Sleep Helps Weight Loss



During a caloric restriction diet, the addition of extended sleep produced significantly greater weight loss and waist circumference reduction.  These conclusions from a Mexican study of 52 obese teens who were following a diet with their daily intake cut by 500 calories.


This study builds on one from the University of Chicago 6 years ago that underscored the value of extra sleep.  By adding an average of 96 extra minutes a night, the overweight participants reported a 14% decrease in general appetite and a 62% reduction in craving for unhealthy sweet and salty foods. 


If you’re working on your summer body, be sure to get at least 8 hours of ZZZs.


Carmen Moreno-Frías, Nicté Figueroa-Vega, Juan Manuel Malacara. Sleep Extension Increases the Effect of Caloric Restriction Over Body Weight and Improves the Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation in Adolescents With Obesity.  Journal of Adolescent Health.  DOI:


EsraTasalia, FlorianChapotota, KristenWroblewskib, DaleSchoellerc. The effects of extended bedtimes on sleep duration and food desire in overweight young adults: A home-based intervention.  AppetiteVolume 80, 1 September 2014, Pages 220-224.



#sleep #diet #weightloss #adolescents

sleep, diet, weightloss, adolescents



Most Women Hate Their Breast Size



A world-wide survey conducted in 40 nations reveals that 71% of women would prefer larger or smaller breasts.  A total of 18,541 women with an average age of 34 years were surveyed in this collaborative study coordinated at Britain’s Anglia Ruskin University.


The counts show that 48% want larger breasts and 23% want smaller breasts.  The breast size ideals are quite similar around the world.  Dissatisfaction with size tends to decrease with age.


The worrisome finding from the research is that those dissatisfied with their breasts are less likely to conduct breast self-exams to look for early cancer. 


By the way, only 35% of men are satisfied with their sizes.


Viren Swami, Ulrich S. Tran, David Barron, etal. The Breast Size Satisfaction Survey (BSSS): Breast size dissatisfaction and its antecedents and outcomes in women from 40 nations. Body Image, 2020; 32: 199 DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2020.01.006



#breasts #size #breastselfexam

breasts, size, breastselfexamx






Cancer Therapy Celebration Bell Triggers Later Distress



The celebratory bell ringing when a cancer patient finishes radiation, chemo, or immunotherapy fails to prompt good feelings but rather conjures flashbacks of physical and emotional pain..  Oncologists at USC now publish a study of 210 patients half of whom rang the bell.  All filled out an opinion survey to measure distress.


The bell ringers turned in worse distress scores immediately after therapy completion.  Three to four months later, their negative feelings were even worse.


Finishing treatment for cancer is a milestone, but cancer control is a marathon and not a sprint.  More treatment may be necessary but the goal is to be certain that your cancer isn’t life-threatening.


Patrick A. Williams, Jinxiang Hu, PhD†, Dongyun Yang, PhD‡, Shu Cao, PhD‡, Richard L. Jennelle, MD∗. The Cancer Bell: Too Much of a Good Thing?  Radiation Oncology..  DOI:


#cancer #bell #chemotherapy #radiationtherapy #immunotherapy #PTSD

cancer, bell, chemotherapy, radiationtherapy, immunotherapy, PTSD





WHO Do We Consider Good Samaritans?



By definition, a good Samaritan helps anyone in distress.  A new study from psychologists at Boston College and Harvard concludes we bestow more glory on those who help strangers than on those helping family members with one notable exception.


The researchers surveyed 1300 subjects and asked them to make make value judgments about the goodness of helpers in various scenarios.  The one situation where helping family scores higher than helping strangers is the case when you can only help one individual.  Then, blood is thicker than water.


Many studies prove that paying it forward help you as much as those you assist.  Doing good works reduces stress, diminishes anxiety, and lowers blood pressure. 


Ryan M. McManus, Max Kleiman-Weiner, Liane Young. What We Owe to Family: The Impact of Special Obligations on Moral Judgment. Psychological Science, 2020; 095679761990032 DOI: 10.1177/0956797619900321


#samaritan #stranger #family #payitforward

samaritan, stranger, family, payitforward



Drug Combo Prevents Broken Hearts Among Those Grieving



Taking the beta blocker metoprolol, Lopressor, along with aspirin for 6 weeks can prevent heart instability in association with enduring the loss of loved ones.  Australia’s University of Sydney studied 85 individuals within 2 weeks of their losses.


The treatment group received metoprolol 25 mg and aspirin 100 mg daily for 6 weeks.  The data showed that they had lower, more stable blood pressures and heart rates, less anxiety, and fewer depressive symptoms.  There were no side effects.


Death of family is a known trigger for heart disease.  This therapy will hopefully prevent additional tragedy as well as provide comfort to the bereaved. 


Geoffrey H. Tofler et al. The effect of metoprolol and aspirin on cardiovascular risk in bereavement: A randomized controlled trial, American Heart Journal (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.ahj.2019.11.003


#grieving #bereavement #death #heartdisease

grieving, bereavement, death, heartdisease






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