After serious injury, the leading cause of death is blood loss. But a new study shows that if a person needs massive transfusions, the fresher the blood, the better. The study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine finds that people receiving large transfusions of packed blood more than about three weeks old have about a five percent higher death risk… and the more blood transfused, the higher the risk. Experts say more blood and plasma donors are needed to overcome shortages… and shelf life limits.
If you didn’t sleep well last night, you’re more likely to be angry today. That sounds intuitive, but a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology proves it– losing just a couple hours of sleep makes you much more likely to react with anger to a frustrating situation. Researchers used annoying noises in the lab to measure anger responses… and found that anger was substantially higher in people who were sleep-deprived. The next step is to see if sleep loss makes people act more aggressively toward others.
And finally… people who grow up in an abusive home are more likely to repeat the behavior themselves. But a new study shows that it’s the opposite in the workplace. The study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that people who’ve been abused and mistreated by their bosses are much more likely to become good bosses themselves. Apparently, abused employees learn what not to do when they’re running things.
Death rates for most major health conditions have been in decline, but chronic kidney disease is a big exception, according to a study in the journal JAMA Open. Researchers say that deaths due to chronic kidney disease have increased overall by 58 percent over the last 15 years… and among people under 55, who previously suffered little chronic kidney disease, death rates are sharply up as well. Scientists blame high-sugar, high-salt foods and the increase in health problems such as high blood pressure and type two diabetes… which can trigger kidney disease.
Some people say having a tough childhood makes kids grow up fast. But a new study in the journal Biological Psychiatry finds that it also ages children prematurely. Researchers analyzed DNA of children age eight to 16 who had been exposed to violence, neglect, or emotional abuse… and found that on a cellular level, they were older than similar children living in a more stable environment. Those changes are reflected in the average age of puberty… which is lower among children growing up in a tough environment.
And finally… if you’re a night owl, your health may suffer for it. Previous studies have linked being a night owl to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease… and now a study in the journal Chronobiology International has added up the effect—night owls may have a 10 percent higher risk of early death. Researchers admit they don’t know why a person’s chronotype has such an effect.
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.
The number of children’s flu deaths this past season has experts concerned. Between October and May, 172 children were killed by the flu in the United States, according to a new government report. About half of the deaths occurred in otherwise healthy children, but less than one fourth of them had been fully vaccinated. The alarming H3N2 strain takes the blame for the high toll. Experts say next year’s vaccine should protect better against that form of flu.
Feel free to hit snooze this weekend, it can prolong your life…because apparently, you can catch up on the sleep you lost during the week. A study in the Journal of Sleep Research tracked more than 38,000 people in Sweden over 13 years, focusing on their weekday vs. weekend sleeping habits. The study shows that people under the age of 65 who sleep for five hours or less every single night don’t live as long as those who consistently sleep seven hours at night. But weekend snoozers, who catch up on Saturday and Sunday? They live just as long as the well-slept.
And finally, even doctors have to dress to impress. A study in the journal BMJ Open shows that a doctor’s attire can impact how patients feel toward them. According to the survey performed in clinics and hospitals of 10 major medical centers, what a doctor wears influences a patient’s satisfaction with their care. Forty-four percent of patients surveyed say they prefer their doctor to wear a white coat and tie, while 26 percent prefer scrubs with a white coat.
Over the years, the number of diagnoses of ADHD have skyrocketed, not only in children, but adults, as well. But recent research shows that some of these individuals suffering from ADHD could actually just be suffering from a disordered body clock. Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Reimbursify, explains that any disruption of sleep can lead to cognitive problems, mood and anxiety issues, and a number of physical health complications, too. If this lack of sleep is persistent for years, one could develop ADHD-like symptoms.
So, what causes this inability to sleep? Dr. Sandra Kooij, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Free University Amsterdam Medical Center, states that it is often an issue with the biological clock. The body relies on light and brightness to know when to wake up, and darkness to know when to sleep, but if this system is off, an individual is not capable of sleeping until later than normal.
Most people enjoy to sleep because it helps them to focus better throughout the day, but falling asleep can be a daunting task for those with sleeping disorders. Dr. Kooij explains a few simple tasks that could help get the biological clock back on track and reduce the impact of ADHD in a variety of people.
Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Reimbursify
Dr. Sandra Kooij, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Free University Amsterdam Medical Center
This flu season is officially “moderately severe,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it’s likely to get worse. It’s a result of this year’s predominant flu strain—an H2N3 virus that’s much stronger than the virus that dominated last year. Vaccines are also less effective against H2N3 viruses. Some experts estimate that this year’s vaccine is about 30 percent effective at best. That’s still markedly better than the vaccine did in Australia during winter there six months ago when officials said it was only 10 percent effective.
If you want to cut down on sugar and carbs get more sleep. A study in the “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” shows that when people increase their sleep time they don’t have as much of a sweet tooth. A group of study subjects received advice on how to sleep better and increased their sleep time by as much as 90 minutes a night. They ended up making better nutritional choices–cutting down the sugar in their diets by as much as 10 grams a day and also ate fewer carbs.
And finally, to increase strength and power in your workout, swear out loud. A study in the “Journal of Psychology of Sports and Exercise” finds that cursing increases power while riding a stationary bike by nearly five percent and increases hand grip strength by more than eight percent. Researchers can only speculate why it occurs, but they know that swearing is handled by brain regions that don’t normally process language.
One of the most dangerous professions of all is “firefighter.” But the job carries more than just the risk involved in answering a call. Nearly half of all on-duty deaths are a result of heart attacks, often after the call is over. Now a study in the journal Circulation may show why. Researchers say that extreme heat combined with physical exertion dehydrate the body, divert blood to the skin, lower blood pressure and increase blood clotting in the body. Firefighters involved in the study rescued a simulated victim during exposure to temperatures as high as 750 degrees.
People are supposed to get eight hours of sleep per night if they can but more than nine hours a night could be an early sign of dementia. A study in the journal Neurology finds that elderly people who consistently sleep more than nine hours a night have twice the risk of dementia over the next 10 years as people who sleep less. The risk climbs to six times normal in long sleepers without a high school degree.
A finally, if you want people to avoid junk food in vending machines, make them wait. In a study presented to the Society of Behavioral Medicine, researchers rigged vending machines with a 25-second delay before dispensing junk food, and a notice of the delay on the machine’s LED screen. Purchasers had a chance to buy something else to avoid the delay, and many did. Healthy snack purchases increased by as much as five percent.