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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of December, 2019


Bad Dreams Buff Our Brains



The next unsettling dream you experience is likely exercising your brain to counteract potential disasters during your waking life.  This the conclusion of collaborative Swiss-Wisconsin study of some 107 subjects whose dreams were analyzed via journaling and whose brain activities were quantitated by electroencephalograms and MRI imaging.


Those experiencing the most fears in their dreams tended to show less activation of their brain fear centers including the insula, amygdala, and cingulate cortex.  This would translate into an enhanced ability to handle frightening and challenging situations in real life.


So embrace your dreams.  If you awaken with bad vibes, know that the images in your sleeping mind have a powerful, beneficial effect on your conscious intellect.


Virginie Sterpenich, Lampros Perogamvros, Giulio Tononi, Sophie Schwartz. Fear in dreams and in wakefulness: Evidence for day/night affective homeostasis. Human Brain Mapping, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/hbm.24843


#dreams #fear

dreams, fear



Global Warming Makes Rice Toxic



Rising temperatures increase the deadly toxin arsenic in rice.  A University of Washington study due to be presented this week to the American Geophysical Union measured the presence of arsenic in rice grown at a variety of temperatures that simulate expected conditions over the remainder of this 21st century.


As growing temps increase from the 77˚F though 82, 87, and 91, the levels of arsenic in the rice plants and edible grains rise significantly.  Why? More soil arsenic leaches into the water feeding the rice paddies.


Toxic rice can be a risk for us even now and brown rice contains more arsenic than non-enriched white rice.  It’s a particular risk for those on gluten-free diets.


University of Washington. "Warmer temperatures will increase arsenic levels in rice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2019. 


#Rice #arsenic #globalwarming

Rice, arsenic, globalwarming



Make-Up Bags May Harbor Deadly Bacteria



Up to 90% of cosmetics contain the nastiest superbugs on the planet.  A British study just published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology cultured skin foundation blender sponges, mascara, and lip gloss finding grossly unhygienic conditions.


These contaminated products contain Staph aureus, E. Coli, and Citrobacter freundii that can trigger skin infections, eye disease, and even blood-borne sepsis.  The worse offenders seem to be the beauty blender sponges that are reused over and over again without cleaning despite having been dropped on the floor.


If you’re fighting embarrassing skin breakouts, do a deep dive into your make-up bag and consider replacing your products.  To maintain freshness, buy the smallest containers.


A. Bashir, P. Lambert. Microbiological study of used cosmetic products: highlighting possible impact on consumer health. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/jam.14479


#Cosmetics #bacteria #beautyblender #mascara #lipgloss

Cosmetics, bacteria, beautyblender, mascara, lipgloss



Grandmas Not Guidebooks Provide Most Parenting Advice



More pregnant women turn to their own mothers than their doctors or self-help books for advice during pregnancy and child-rearing pointers later.  This from a University of Cincinnati study of  64 pregnant women and 23 almost grandmothers.


Though self-help guidebooks provide solid, factual information, they also tend to create a generational disconnect by dismissing the value of practical information from a woman’s mother.  Both generations of women endorsd the value of professional medical advice for matters pertaining to testing, diet, medications, and vaccinations, but many women comment that their professionals need to listen to them more and talk less.


Navigating pregnancy and parenthood successfully requires many resources.  Use them all….selectively and critically.


Danielle Bessett. Complicating the Generational Disconnect: Pregnant Women, Grandmothers-to-be, and Medicalization. Reproduction, Health, and Medicine, 2019 DOI: 10.1108/S1057-629020190000020013


#Pregnancy #infancy #parenting

Pregnancy, infancy, parenting



Feeling Loved Drives Well-Being



Feeling loved escalates your feelings of self-worth and optimism to the highest levels.  Penn State psychologists studied 212 participants by smartphone polling their self-assessments of being loved and feeling happy or sad.


Phone surveys appeared randomly 6 times a day over a 4 week period.  They explored love in the broadest sense not restricting it to romantic love but including general, positive connections with friends and family.  A sense of loving and being loved had a strong association with happiness, positivity, and overall well-being.


Since love and caring are reciprocal, use your own smartphone as well as in-person communications to give and receive both.  You and those you know will be glad.


Zita Oravecz, Jessica Dirsmith, Saeideh Heshmati, Joachim Vandekerckhove, Timothy R. Brick. Psychological well-being and personality traits are associated with experiencing love in everyday life. Personality and Individual Differences, 2020; 153: 109620 DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2019.109620


#Love #wellbeing #optimism #selfworth

Love, wellbeing, optimism, selfworth



Sleepless Women Have Softer Bones



Women sleeping 5 hours a night or less were 94% more likely to have whole body osteoporosis compared with those sleeping at least 7 hours.  A study of more than 11,000 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative was just published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.


The investigation compared self-reported sleep duration with x-ray determined bone mineral densities of the whole body, hip, and spine.  Those short on sleep were 63% more likely to have hip osteoporosis and 28% more likely to have spine osteoporosis.


In this largest study of its kind, sleep proves to be a critical factor for maintaining strong, healthy bones throughout life.  Make sure you get enough!


Ochs‐Balcom, H.M., Hovey, K.M., Andrews, C., Cauley, J.A., Hale, L., Li, W., Bea, J.W., Sarto, G.E., Stefanick, M.L., Stone, K.L., Watts, N.B., Zaslavsky, O. and Wactawski‐Wende, J. (2019), Short Sleep Is Associated With Low Bone Mineral Density and Osteoporosis in the Women's Health Initiative. J Bone Miner Res. doi:10.1002/jbmr.3879


#Sleep #bonedensity #osteoporosis

Sleep, bonedensity, osteoporosis



Coffee, Tea, and Soda Trigger Reflux



A huge Harvard study definitively associates symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease with the ingestion of caffeinated beverages and soda.  Participating were more than 48,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who had no diagnosed gastrointestinal reflux disease.


Analyzing data from nearly 263,000 person-years of follow up, regular coffee drinkers were 34% more likely to experience reflux symptoms, regular tea drinkers 26% more likely, and regular soda drinkers 29% more likely.  Milk, water, and juice produced no such discomfort.


This is the first study to categorically prove an association between some of our favorite drinks and heartburn.  If you do develop reflux symptoms, don’t ignore them as chronic irritation of the esophagus breeds cancer.



Mehta, Raaj S. et al.  Association Between Beverage Intake and Incidence of Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms.  Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology:


#Gerd #reflux #coffee #tea #soda

Gerd, reflux, coffee, tea, soda



Athletes Have More Sound-Sensitive Brains



Playing sports enhances your brain’s ability to process environmental sounds and eliminate background noise.  Neuroscientists at Northwestern University report this finding after studying nearly 500 student-athletes and matched controls.


Delivering speech through earbuds and recording participants’ brain waves, researchers discovered playing collegiate sports enhances a player’s ability to extract meaningful speech from their environment by effectively suppressing background noise.  In contrast, other research shows that the brains of musicians and multi-lingual individuals amplify meaningful sounds rather than suppressing background noise.


Hearing better is yet another reason to be physically active.  The trick is to play non-contact sports like tennis, volleyball, and track that pose no risk to your brain’s overall physical health.


Jennifer Krizman, Tory Lindley, Silvia Bonacina, Danielle Colegrove, Travis White-Schwoch, Nina Kraus. Play Sports for a Quieter Brain: Evidence From Division I Collegiate Athletes. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 2019; 194173811989227 DOI: 10.1177/1941738119892275


#Sports #hearing #backgroundnoise

Sports, hearing, backgroundnoise



Tame That Cold With My ABCDE Program



Viral colds can’t be cured.  Nose blowing makes them worse, but my ABCDE program can keep them under a week without triggering bacterial sinus or chest infections.


A stands for taking an Anti-inflammatory such as Advil or aspirin that reduces pain and congestion.  B is for achieving Bacterial control and eliminating crusts with nasal application of triple antibiotic ointment,.  C stands for nasal Cleansing with saline aerosol spray to improve breathing by clearing mucus and bacteria.  Do each 4 times a day: 8a-12n-4p-8p.


If needed, add a D for Decongestant up to twice a day.  Use oral Sudafed or Afrin nasal spray but only up to 5 days.  E is for exit using Mucinex DM to curb that hacking cough and Flonase nasal spray to stop lingering nasal drip.


Don’t suffer....use your ABCDEs for that cold.


#Colds #sinusitis #bronchitis #advil #aspirin  #saline #Flonase #MucinexDM

Colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, advil, aspirin,, saline, Flonase, MucinexDM



Your Brain Judges If Violence Is Justified

Vidcast:  ttps://


Different brain regions activate when you see justifiable assaults versus gratuitous brutality.  University of Pennsylvania neuroscientists recruited 26 college students to view 90 second movie scenes depicting defensible violence from Taken and White House Down but also unwarranted strong-arming from Skyfall, and Jack Reacher.  Brain activity was studied by MRI.


Forceful actions in defense of family and friends trigger activity in the brain’s prefrontal center that labels such activity moral.  Violence without redeeming qualities stimulates the lateral frontal cortex and labels the actions unacceptable.


Our brains know right from wrong due to family guidance.  Sadly many in high federal office never experienced such discipline.  We but also they will suffer the consequences.


Azeez Adebimpe, Danielle S. Bassett, Patrick E. Jamieson, Daniel Romer. Intersubject Synchronization of Late Adolescent Brain Responses to Violent Movies: A Virtue-Ethics Approach. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2019; 13 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00260


#Violence #morality #frontalcortex

Violence, morality, frontalcortex



Birthing In Water Yields Better Outcomes



Midwife-directed childbirth in a warm water-filled bathtub instead of a bed are just as safe and result in fewer vaginal tears and episiotomies.  University of Michigan obstetric nurses  derive these conclusions from their comparison of 397 water births with over 2000 land births.


Those infants born in water were no more likely to require NICU admissions.  Post-delivery bleeding rates were the same for both groups.


Despite widespread use abroad, few American facilities support water birthing.  The woman may labor in a bathtub, but she is moved to a bed for delivery.  


The Michigan nurses hope water birthing will spread.  It is safe, effective, and studies are underway to assess maternal satisfaction.


#Waterbirthing #episiotomy #vaginaltears.

Waterbirthing, episiotomy, vaginaltears



Professional Drummers’ Brains Streamlined For Motor Control



Drummers develop simplified connections between the two halves of their brain and more efficiently organized motor control zones.  A German study just published in the journal Brain and Behavior draws these conclusions from their MRI studies of 20 professional drummers with close to 177,000 hours of drumming under their sticks.


The drummers compared with non-musicians had fewer but thicker fibers in the corpus callosum that connects the sides of the brain. The drummer’s brains evidenced less electrical activity while playing due to evolved wiring efficiency.


It would appear that time with a drum kit might be excellent training for anyone aspiring to perform complicated hand motions.  Aspiring painters, sculptors and surgeons take note.


Lara Schlaffke, Sarah Friedrich, Martin Tegenthoff, Onur Güntürkün, Erhan Genç, Sebastian Ocklenburg. Boom Chack Boom—A multimethod investigation of motor inhibition in professional drummers. Brain and Behavior, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/brb3.1490


#Drummers # motorcortex #corpuscallosum #artist #surgeon

Drummers,  motorcortex, corpuscallosum, artist, surgeon



Unhealthy Eating Could Blind You



Eating red meat and fatty foods will more than triple your risk of going blind over time. So says a collaborative University of Buffalo-University of Wisconsin study just published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.


The investigators reviewed the dietary preferences of 144 patients with various stages of macular degeneration.  Those consuming a typical western diet of red meat, fried foods, refined grains, and high-fat dairy were 3.4 times more likely to develop advanced eye disease with the inability to continue driving.


 A poor diet not only damages your heart and blood vessels but also critical sense organs like eyes on which you depend for a quality life.  Begin eating healthy today.


Shruti Dighe, Jiwei Zhao, Lyn Steffen, J A Mares, Stacy M Meuer, Barbara E K Klein, Ronald Klein, Amy E Millen. Diet patterns and the incidence of age-related macular degeneration in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2019; bjophthalmol-2019-314813 DOI: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2019-314813


#blindness #maculardegeneration #meat #fats #mediterraneandiet

blindness, maculardegeneration, meat, fats, mediterraneandiet



Eat Healthy But Include Meat



Australians, forever known as industrial strength meat eaters, have found a way to continue their habit while still eating heart healthy.  Enter the Mediterranean-Pork diet.  


It fuses the typical med diet of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and olive oils with 2-3 weekly servings of fresh lean pork.  Research at the University of South Australia shows that participants following the Med-Pork plan actually have higher cognitive function than those on a typical low-fat offering.


The bonus: producing pork versus beef generates significantly fewer greenhouse gases.


It’s time to import this tasty, healthy diet to the US.  Mix up a delicious salad, and put the other white meat, pork, on the barbie.


Alexandra T. Wade, Courtney R. Davis, Kathryn A. Dyer, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Richard J. Woodman, Hannah A. D. Keage, Karen J. Murphy. A Mediterranean Diet with Fresh, Lean Pork Improves Processing Speed and Mood: Cognitive Findings from the MedPork Randomised Controlled Trial. Nutrients, 2019; 11 (7): 1521 DOI: 10.3390/nu11071521


#Pork #Mediterraneandiet #australia #Pork #healthyeating

Pork, Mediterraneandiet, australia, healthyeating



Stop Your Stress With A Safety Signal



We can neutralize our stress and anxiety with song, a stuffed animal, and even another person.  Psychologists at Yale and Cornell present this stress antidote adding that a safety signal triggers an entirely different neural network than that through which behavioral therapy operates.


Subjects, both human and mice, were exposed to both threatening objects and non-threatening ones separately.  Including the non-threatening safety item in a threatening scenario neutralized the stress.


With the holidays upon us soon to be followed by the tax season, I’d pick a safety signal, a portable happy place, to help you through the anxiety maze.  Know you’re not alone: 1 in 3 Americans have disabling anxiety and fear. 


#Safetysignal #Fear #anxiety #happyplace

Safetysignal, Fear, anxiety, happyplace

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