For decades, the US has exported much of its recycled waste to China, an option no longer available to us by Chinese government policy. Now, much of this waste may go to other Asian third world countries that are poorly equipped to take it. Experts say US consumers need to improve their recycling habits, but some advocates say we should aim for more—a “zero waste” lifestyle where a family of four can literally fit its annual trash in a pint jar. Experts discuss recycling options and how to reduce waste.
Amy Brooks, University of Georgia New Materials Institute
Bea Johnson, author, Zero Waste Home and founder, zero waste lifestyle movement
Since the beginning of the “baby on back” movement to reduce sudden infant death syndrome, many more infants are developing misshapen heads with a flat spot in one place. An expert discusses whether this is serious, how it can be treated with a helmet-like device, and how it might be prevented.
Dr. Peter Taub, Professor of Pediatrics and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
More than 80 percent of teenagers and millions more adults have acne… and not all of them respond to treatments that are available. But an acne vaccine could end all of that within a few years. A study in the “Journal of Investigative Dermatology” finds that, at least in mice and human cell samples… a newly developed vaccine can markedly reduce inflammatory response to skin bacteria, the process that causes acne. However, researchers say not all acne is caused by the same thing.
Doctors have believed for many years that high levels of so-called “good cholesterol” help protect against heart attacks. But a study presented to the European Society of Cardiology shows you can have too much good cholesterol. In fact, people with very, very high levels have a risk of heart attack that’s just as bad as for people with very, very low levels. Extremely high levels of good cholesterol affect only about one percent of people… while about half of us have low levels. Researchers aren’t sure why high levels are so bad for the heart.
If you’ve got persistent pain in your neck and upper shoulders, you might be suffering from “iPad neck.” A study in the “Journal of Physical Therapy Science” shows iPad neck results from sitting without back support while using devices such as an iPad or tablet. Researchers say the condition is more prevalent among young adults and women. Not ready to say goodbye to your device? Experts suggest sitting in a chair with back support, using a posture reminder device and exercise to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles.
And finally… it’s a good thing to designate a driver for a night out drinking. But a new study suggests it might be a good idea the morning after, too. The study in the journal “Addiction” shows that when you’re hungover, your memory, attention, coordination, and driving skills are all still below normal. Researchers admit more work is needed to show just how much erosion drivers suffer the morning after.
The second most common form of dementia is virtually unknown to most people. However, Lewy body dementia affects 1.4 million Americans, with symptoms commonly misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease. Additional symptoms such as hallucinations and uncontrollable shaking make diagnosis and caregiving more difficult, and treatments for Alzheimer’s or psychosis can often be harmful. Experts discuss.
Candy Schulman, daughter of woman who died with Lewy body dementia
Dr. James Leverenz, Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Chair, Scientific Advisory Council, Lewy Body Dementia Association
Gene research has made incredible leaps in the last decade. A physician/Pulitzer-prize winning author explains what our new knowledge means for our immediate medical future, given our struggles with genetic knowledge in the past.
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University and author, The Gene: An Intimate History
What’s the safest level of alcohol consumption? A new study concludes there’s no such thing. Research in the journal “The Lancet” builds from the fact that nearly three million deaths a year are attributed to alcohol use… and concludes that zero alcohol consumption minimizes that risk. Therefore, researchers say, it’s a myth that one or two drinks a day are good for you. They want national health officials around the world to take action to get people to drink less… or not at all.
Set your alarm clocks accordingly—researchers have found the ideal amount of hours you should spend sleeping each night. A study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress shows that six to eight hours of sleep per night is most beneficial for heart health. More than that or less than that is bad for the heart. Scientists say if you’re having trouble regulating your sleep schedule, try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on weekends, and avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed.
Not every pregnancy is planned… and it turns out knowing you were an accident can strongly impact your relationships with others. A study in the “Journal of Social and Personal Relationships” shows knowing your birth was unwanted or unplanned is associated with attachment insecurity. Experts urge parents to be careful when informing a child of their birth status. Knowing you’re an “oops” could have more serious outcomes than you might expect.
Rising global temperatures have produced effects such as extreme weather and a rising sea level. Climate scientists fear that if temperatures continue to rise, we may soon reach the point of no return. If the earth’s natural cooling systems start to fail, each could feed failure of the next, resulting in a hothouse with large portions of the planet uninhabitable. Authors of a major report on this phenomenon explain.
Dr. Diana Liverman, Professor of Geography and Development, University of Arizona
Dr. Katherine Richardson, Professor of Biological Oceanography and leader, Sustainability Science Center, Univerity of Copenhagen
Dr. Kristina Dahl, Senior Climate Specialist, Union of Concerned Scientists