Male Pattern Baldness Linked To Aggressive Prostate Cancer

September 16, 2014 8:08 am 0 comments

imagesBefore you order up a PSA test, consider this: male pattern baldness affects about 70 percent of men at some point in their lives. And now the possibly disturbing news: in a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, male pattern baldness has been associated with aggressive prostate cancer. So, does that mean men with male pattern baldness face a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer? Not necessarily. Let’s look at the numbers. Science Daily reports that from 1993 to 2001, researchers looked at nearly 40,000 men between 55 and 74 years old, asking what they remembered of their level and type of hair loss at age 45. About 18 percent of the men recalled having male pattern baldness at age 45. During the study follow-up period between 2006 and 2008, they found that more than 1,100 men in the study were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and of those, 600 developed aggressive prostate cancer. Men who remembered having a specific type of male pattern baldness — in the front and, moderately, around the crown of the head — were 39 percent more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer than men who had no baldness, but they weren’t more likely to have less aggressive types of prostate cancer. What does it mean? The researchers say that male pattern baldness may be an early warning sign, or not.

Lithium For All, Please

September 15, 2014 8:34 am 0 comments

Lithia_spring_1888_posterLithium, generally considered a psychotropic mood elevator for people in desperate need of mood elevation, is so much more than that. That’s the case made by Anna Fels, psychiatrist and faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College, in her opinion column in the New York Times. Fels points out that lithium is “a naturally occurring element, not a molecule like most medications, and it is present in the United States, depending on the geographic area, at concentrations that can range widely, from undetectable to around .170 milligrams per liter. This amount is less than a thousandth of the minimum daily dose given for bipolar disorders and for depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants.” Why do we care? Because several studies have shown that people whose water had the least amount of lithium had significantly greater levels of suicide, homicide and rape than the people whose water had the higher levels of lithium. In one Texas study, the group whose water had the highest lithium level had nearly 40 percent fewer suicides than that with the lowest lithium level. Fels also reports that lithium has been known for its curative powers for centuries, and that Lithia Springs, Ga., with its natural lithium-enriched water, “appears to have been an ancient Native American sacred site. By the late 19th century Lithia Springs was a famous health destination visited by Mark Twain and Presidents Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.” She also informs us that lithium drinks were once in huge demand for their reputed health-giving properties, and that 7-Up was originally called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda and contained lithium until 1950. So, does Fels argue that we should all take a little lithium? Not quite. What she does say is that more research is needed. Read more in the New York Times.

Marital Bliss? Yes, It’s About Her

September 13, 2014 8:18 am 0 comments

imagesFinally, researchers have found the secret to a happy marriage: a happy wife. It’s true. Science Daily reports that sociologists at Rutgers University studied the feelings of both spouses in 394 couples that were married, on average, for 39 years. Yes, 39 years. The couples were also asked to keep detailed diaries about how happy they were in the previous 24 hours doing selected activities like shopping, doing household chores and watching television. Most gave their life satisfaction five out of six points, with husbands rating their marriage slightly more positive than their wives. The big take away? The researchers found that more happy the wife is, the happier the husband is with his life, no matter how he feels about their marriage. Why? The researchers suggest that when a wife is satisfied with the marriage she tends to do a lot more for her husband, which “has a positive effect on his life.” And yes, more research is needed.

Want To Be More Productive? Get A Plant

September 12, 2014 8:24 am 0 comments

Want to be more productive, and happier at the same time?imgres Get a plant. Seriously. Researchers at Cardiff University are convinced people who work in offices with plants are 15 percent more productive than people working in plant-free zones. A Cardiff University news release reports that the researchers examined the impact of ‘lean’ and ‘green’ offices on staff’s perceptions of air quality, concentration, and workplace satisfaction. They also monitored productivity levels in two large commercial offices in the UK and The Netherlands. OK, it’s not surprising, but now at least it’s scientific: the research showed that plants in the office significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality. “Simply enriching a previously Spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15 percent,” said lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis points out that his conclusion is “at odds with the present economic and political zeitgeist as well as with modern ‘lean’ management techniques, yet it nevertheless identifies a pathway to a more enjoyable, more comfortable and a more profitable form of office-based working.”

Fish Is Good For Your Ears. What?

September 11, 2014 8:00 am 1 comment

Fish is good for your ears. What? No, it’s true. Science Daily reportsimgres that researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied data from 65,215 women were followed from 1991 to 2009. After 1,038,093 person-years of follow-up, 11,606 cases of incident hearing loss were reported. Here’s the good part: In comparison with women who rarely consumed fish, women who consumed two or more servings of fish per week had a 20 percent lower risk of hearing loss. Wait, there’s more: When examined individually, higher consumption of each specific fish type was inversely associated with risk. What does that mean? More long-chain omega-3PUFA was associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.

For Arteries’ Sake: Walk Five Minutes For Every Hour You Sit

September 10, 2014 8:04 am 0 comments

walkingOK, it feels good to sit down, but sitting for long periods of time, as most of us do, is not good for you. According to experts at Indiana University’s School of Public Health, sitting for long periods is associated with risk factors such as higher cholesterol levels and “greater waist circumference”– meaning fat, that can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Here’s one reason why: when people sit, slack muscles do not contract to effectively pump blood to the heart, so blood can pool in the legs and affect the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow. Yes, a bad thing. What to do about it? Researchers at the school put 11 healthy men between the ages of 20 and 35 through two tests: In one, the men sat for three hours without moving their legs, while researchers used a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology to measure the functionality of the femoral artery at baseline and again at the one-, two- and three-hour mark. In the second, the men sat during a three-hour period but also walked on a treadmill for five minutes at a speed of 2 mph at the 30-minute mark, 1.5-hour mark and 2.5-hour mark. Again, researchers measured the functionality of the femoral artery at the same intervals as in the other trial. What did they find?  For those who just sat and did not walk, the main artery in the legs was impaired by as much as 50 percent after just one hour. Yet those who walked for five minutes for each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same — it did not drop throughout the three-hour period. Got it? Now get up.

How Action Movies Make Us Fat

September 9, 2014 9:12 am 1 comment

imgresIt turns out that all of the action in action movies isn’t on the screen. Action-packed films, according to researchers at Cornell University, also compel viewers to act, in some cases by eating twice as much junk food as they would if they were watching shows with less action. Futurity reports on the research, for which 94 people were divided into three groups.  One group watched 20 minutes of the 2005 science fiction thriller The Island; one watched the same movie without sound; and one watched 20 minutes of the PBS interview show Charlie Rose. And one more thing: all of the viewers had access to all the M&Ms, cookies, carrots, and grapes they wanted. The researchers found that the action film viewers, distracted by all the camera cuts and loud explosions, consumed an average of 206 grams of snacks apiece at 354 calories—almost twice as much as the viewers who were not so distracted by Charlie Rose; they ate 104 grams and a total of 214 calories. Those watching the silent movie consumed 142 grams and a total of 314 calories. Hungry for more? Watch the video below, and have a bran muffin.

Watching, Yes Just Watching Football Can Be Bad For Your Health

September 8, 2014 7:55 am 0 comments

Perhaps the strangest thing about timgreshe warning that just watching football can be bad for your health is its origin: the University of Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide, and a place where watching football is basically a required course. But it’s true. The university has issued a news release advising sports fans everywhere that “the excitement of football, and even the activities and feelings of anticipation leading up to games, can be unhealthy in ways many do not realize.” Yikes! What ways might that be? The answer comes from Jody Gilchrist, a nurse practitioner at the school’s Heart and Vascular Clinic: “Critical matchups, tight games and crushing defeats provide heightened sensory inputs that trigger sympathetic responses and the release of adrenaline, which can reduce blood flow to the heart and other muscles and increase heart rate and blood pressure….Chronic high levels of stress hormones lead to higher heart rates and higher blood pressures that over time tend to cause the heart to thicken, just as any other muscle would in response to heavy workloads.” Gilchrist warns us that “The body doesn’t distinguish between ‘bad’ stress from life or work and ‘good’ stress caused by game-day excitement. It impacts your health either way.”  Wait, there’s more: “In addition to the effects of stress on the body, some add insult to injury by eating and drinking more than they should while cheering on their favorite teams. Moderation is the key, but people tend to eat more under stress.” Please, hand the nurse a beer.

Polyester Stinks, Especially After Exercise

September 6, 2014 3:47 pm 0 comments

Bacteria were never known for their taste in sportswear, so it’s not surprising that, yes, they much prefer polyester to cotton. A news releaseimages from the American Society of Microbiology reports on a recent study at Ghent University that examined clothing from 26 healthy people who had done an intense one-hour spinning session. The researchers incubated the athletes’ shirts for 28 hours, then had them inspected by “a trained odor panel.” OK. They also took a look at the amount and type of bacteria on the shirts. What did they learn? Micrococci– the stinkiest type of bacteria that is ordinarily found on clothing, thrived on polyester, and while they were also found on cotton, they were happiest on non-organic fibers. Read the study here.

Are Testosterone Supplements Good Or Bad? Answer To Come, Someday

September 5, 2014 8:12 am 0 comments

The decades-0199210896.testosterone.1long debate about whether testosterone supplements are good for your health or bad for your health finally has an answer from the Food and Drug Administration: they don’t know. HealthDay reports on an FDA posting, released in advance of a public meeting to discuss the benefits and risks of treatments to boost men’s testosterone levels, that concludes with this: “The need to replace testosterone in these older men remains debatable.” The meeting will discuss the implications of two recent studies that found higher rates of heart problems in men taking testosterone drugs. One study found that older men taking the drugs had a 30 percent higher risk of stroke, heart attack and death, while the other study concluded that testosterone therapy doubled the risk of heart attack in men 65 and older with an existing heart condition. Yes, more research is needed.

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