Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nature hikes boost brain power

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Researchers know it's important to stay in touch with natural surroundings. Numerous studies show the benefits of being outdoors or even surrounding ourselves with pictures of nature in the workplace that can increase productivity.

Results of a new study support the idea that getting outdoors - and especially getting rid of technology - can boost cognitive function and even help us with creativity and problem solving.

Increased used of technology, indoor work and media distraction prevents children and adults from visiting parks and other recreational areas that can help brain power by restoring executive function.

For the newest investigation, researchers tested the effects of hiking among 56 men and women. The participants were given a creativity test before the hike that was organized by the Outward Bound school in Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington State.

The group was also tested for creativity after spending time hiking in nature with no technology. The finding showed people who went for a hike with no media at their disposal increased creativity and ability to problem solve by fifty-percent.

The researchers aren't certain whether getting rid of technology or hiking was responsible for the changes in brain power found - or both -  but they do know other studies show reconnecting with our natural environment is good for brain health.

Citation: Atchley RA, Strayer DL, Atchley P (2012) Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051474


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New discovery uncovers protein needed for big musles

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Researchers at Dana Farber Cancer Institute have discovered the protein PGC-1 alpha-4 is what helps muscles grow. The hope is that there could be a way to artificially raise levels of the protein in the body for cancer patients or people with chronic muscle wasting diseases.

According to the investigation results, the scientists were able to help mice with cancer maintain more muscle mass than mice that were untreated with the injected protein.

The study authors say even without exercise they were able to increase muscle mass in mice by 60% with PGC-1 alpha-4.

The finding is new and only in its early stages, but the authors say the finding is 'exciting', given the potential applications.

Mice given the protein were leaner and 20 percent stronger than normal mice. Read the rest of the story here. ◦

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Timing of eating could be important for obese women's heart health

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Obese women who are at risk for heart disease might lower their chances of heart attack and other cardiovascular events by eating three meals a day, versus small frequent meals.

For their study, researchers from University of Missouri tested women who consumed 1500 calorie diets, finding eating throughout the day raises blood fat levels; in turn increasing the risk of heart disease.

Tim Heden, and lead author said in a media release, the study is ".. one of the first to examine how meal frequency affects insulin and blood-fat levels in obese women during an entire day of eating.”

The researchers concluded obese women would benefit from consuming three meals a day. 

The results challenge the advice of health care practitioners and nutritionists who often recommend eating small meals throughout the day... read.more at 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Could media multitasking drive anxiety and depression rates?

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New research shows people who multitask with media may be at higher risk for anxiety and depression.

Watching TV, texting and using the cellphone might be distracting us from other important activities in ways that aren't good for mental health.

According to the research that  319 people surveyed about their media use and mental health had a higher risk of depression and anxiety when they reported frequent use of a variety of media.

The finding might mean we're overusing media that can have a positive impact too.

Researchers have suggested too much TV and computer time can take away from family activities and other social engagement that is necessary for mental health and even rob us of sleep.

Teens are especially vulnerable to internet addiction, suggest some researchers. Other studies have suggested   TV viewing raises risk of depression for teens. Read the entire story at ◦

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mistletoe extract destroys colon cancer in lab studies

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New research is uncovering how mistletoe extract might work as a chemotherapy against colon cancer.

Researchers studied 3 different extracts from mistletoe to find colon cancer cells are destroyed when exposed to the plant compounds.

The hope is to find an alternative and less toxic way to treat cancer of the bowel. Another option might be to use mistletoe extract to boost chemotherapy agents.

In lab studies, University of Adelaide researchers found mistletoe extract from fraxini that grows on the ash tree is gentle on healthy colon cells, making it a good candidate.

The treatment has been used in Europe for decades. The current research is being carried out to show how the extract works so human trials could someday be conducted. Read more about the study at Digital Journal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cycling is good therapy for Parkinson's disease

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A neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr., Jay L. Alberts, stumbled upon a way to help patients with Parkinson's disease.

After a tandem bike ride with a patient with the disease, Albert noticed his companion rider's upper extremity tremors improved.

The observation led him to launch a study to find out how cycling helps Parkinson's disease. Albert and his colleagues used functional capacity MRI scans to find out bicycle exercise restores connectivity in the brain for patients with the progressive neurological disorder.

The study supports past research showing exercise is good therapy for Parkinson's disease. Read the entire story at Digital Journal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marijuana might help multiple sclerosis

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An  eight-year study, performed by experts from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth University looked at the effect of THC - the active compound in marijuana - to see if smoking cannabis could help patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The finding showed MS progressed more slowly in patients treated with marijuana, but didn't stop the disease or improve motor function in one study.

In a second study, patients with MS who smoked marijuana had less spasticity and pain and greater range of motion.

Researchers hope to use the information to find new ways to treat multiple sclerosis. The findings suggested marijuana might be of some benefit for treating MS. Read more at EmaxHealth.


Is taking insulin a concern for cancer?

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Researchers say there has been much debate about whether insulin raises the risk of cancer and heart disease for people living with type 2 diabetes. 

A new study debunks the myth that Lantus insulin harms the heart or contributes to cancer development.

The study didn't look at insulin use and cancer risk for type 1 diabetics.

The finding not only showed there are was no risk of cancer, but also that patients with pre-diabetes given insulin were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, even after they stopped insulin. Read more at EmaxHealth 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Smokers more likely to quit when they eat their fruits and vegetables

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There may be a new and easier way for smokers to kick tobacco by eating more fruits and vegetables. Researchers aren't sure why, but smokers were found in a new study to be more likely to quit smoking and stay tobacco free after 30 days when they at plenty of healthy veggies and fruit.

The finding comes from University at Buffalo researchers who say eating fruits and vegetables might work for smokers because it give them a feeling of fullness. The study authors say sometime smokers confuse hunger for the urge for nicotine.

Another reason more fruits and vegetables might help with nicotine cravings is because cigarettes taste better with meat and coffee. 

Besides helping smokers quit, fruits and vegetables - especially apples and tomatoes - do good things for the lungs. Read the entire story and watch a video at Digital Journal. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Possible cancer cure on the horizon?

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Researchers might have a cure for solid tumor cancers on the horizon 

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj, Director of the South Florida Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Institute in Boynton Beach, Florida, who is a hematologist and oncologist, is leading clinical trials to help patients with solid tumors of breast, cervical, stomach, pancreas and lung cancer and melanoma. 

The potential cancer cure involves boosting the immune system to destroy cancer. The trial is FDA approved, but the study needs funding. Read more at EmaxHealth and help spread the word. 


Urban kids less prone to food allergies than children in the city

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Researchers are trying understand why children in urban areas have higher rates of food allergies. It seems dense populations make children more susceptible to food allergies that, for some, can be life threatening.

The finding comes from a first study that mapped food allergies across the United States in various geographic locations. Researchers hope they can pinpoint environmental factors that might be contributing to serious food allergies in city kids. Read more at EmaxHealth.

Possible link between low vitamin D and erectile dysfunction

Researchers are suggesting there could be a link between low levels of vitamin D and erectile dysfunction (ED) Scientists say diseases that lead to ED are also linked to not having enough of the so-called sunshine vitamin.

Men who are having difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection might consider asking their doctor for a vitamin D level blood test. Men should also be checked for heart disease and diabetes. Only half of causes of erectile dysfunction stem from vascular (blood vessel) problems. It may be that adding vitamin D could solve erection difficulties. Read more at EmaxHealth.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Choose water with your meal for weight loss

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A new study shows choosing water with your meal is the best way eat healthier - which in turn can aid weight loss and promote well-being. It seems water with a meal helps us eat more fruits and vegetables.

Conversely, drinking soda seems to stimulate the desire for foods like french fries and salty foods. 

Researchers for the study suggest children's meals should be served with water. Read the entire story at EmaxHealth