In the first two months of this year, the United States has had more cases of measles than we had in all of 2017. Experts say it’s because some parents still believe the disproven claim that the measles vaccine causes autism, so they don’t have their kids vaccinated. But how much evidence will it take to convince them? Yet another study, this one on more than a half-million people and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds there is absolutely no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
If you don’t get enough sleep during the week, your body can’t catch up over the weekend. A new study in the journal Current Biology shows that even when people sleep in as long as they want on Saturday and Sunday, chronic sleep deprivation during the week causes metabolic changes leading to weight gain and a higher risk for diabetes. Researchers suggest the long-term effects of chronic sleep loss are severe enough that people need to start prioritizing sleep.
And finally, might it be possible that the secret to a long life is coffee and alcohol? It sure sounds that way, according to the results of the ’90+ study’ at the University of California-Irvine. Researchers say one of their main findings is that people who drink alcohol and coffee live longer than those who don’t. People who made it to at least 90 years old also tended to be overweight in their 70s, while those who died sooner were normal weight or underweight.
Millions of American kids are allergic to peanuts… and for some, being exposed to peanuts can be fatal. But a study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that gradually ramping up exposure to tiny amounts of peanut protein every day for a year can make it safer. At the start of the study, none of the nearly 500 four-to-17 year old subjects could tolerate eating even one-tenth of a peanut. After a year of treatment, two-thirds of them could eat at least two whole peanuts… so an accidental exposure was no longer life threatening.
More American children are living in three-generation households than ever before. A study in the journal Demography shows that nearly 10 percent of children, or about seven million kids, are living with both a parent and grandparent. That’s nearly double the figures from roughly 20 years ago. Multi-generational homes are more common among the economically disadvantaged… but researchers say the fastest growing group now includes moms who are older, wealthier, more educated. And single.
If you thought volunteering to help out a co-worker is a good thing… think again. A study in The Journal of Applied Psychology shows that it’s better to wait to be asked before you help. Scientists say helpers who jump in without being asked often don’t have a good handle on what they’re doing, so they don’t get much gratitude for it… and the person being helped starts feeling incompetent. Better to stick to your own business, researchers say… until you’re asked.
And finally… if you can’t get enough coffee, it may be all in your genes. A study in the journal Scientific Reports finds that people who are genetic super-tasters for the bitter taste of caffeine are 20 percent more likely than average to drink at least four cups of coffee per day.
Experts have proposed new guidelines for hypertension and if they go into effect, it’s much more likely your doctor would tell you you’ve got high blood pressure. The guidelines define high blood pressure as anything higher than 130-over-80 and a study in the journal JAMA Cardiology finds that nearly half of all adults are higher than that. More than 83 million americans would be recommended for high blood pressure treatment under the new system.
In youth league and high school baseball, most pitchers also play another position when they’re not on the mound. But a study in the Journal of Athletic Training argues that it shouldn’t be catcher. The study finds that pitchers who also play catcher are nearly three times more likely to get hurt than pitchers who play any other position on the field. Among position players catchers throw the ball more than anyone else and the throwing adds up to far more arm injuries.
And finally, if you want to have a good business meeting serve coffee. A study in the Journal of Psycho-Pharmacology shows that small groups who have coffee together before a meeting rate their own performance and the results of the discussion more highly than those who did not have coffee. Apparently, caffeine gets the credit. Re-running the experiment with decaf didn’t provide the same results.