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.
Colorectal cancer rates have increased among people under the age of 50 and that’s why the American Cancer Society is now recommending adults undergo screening starting at age 45, rather than 50. The rate of colorectal cancer among people younger than 50 has risen 51 percent since 1994 yet doctors are struggling to pinpoint the reason. Colorectal cancer is the fourth-most-common cancer among adults, and about 50,000 americans are expected to die of the disease in 2018.
For years, public health experts have been encouraging women to take folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects but a study in the American Journal of Public Health shows many women still don’t take them. The study shows fewer than five percent of low-income urban mothers take daily folic acid supplements before getting pregnant. Previous studies prove that use of these prenatal vitamins can prevent 50 to 70 percent of neural tube defects in newborns. Experts suggest all women of reproductive age take folic acid since many pregnancies are unintended.
The belief that exercise can slow cognitive decline in older people with dementia has gained popularity. Yet new research shows that’s not true. A study in the journal BMJ says moderate to high intensity exercise can improve physical fitness but experts say it does not improve cognitive impairment, daily activities, behavior, or health-related quality of life.
And finally, everyone knows soda isn’t good for you. But it may be even worse than you think. A study in the journal Obesity Reviews shows that “a calorie isn’t just a calorie” but that some are worse than others, and soda may be one of the worst. Even if soda doesn’t make you gain weight, it can markedly increase the risk of other health-related issues.
Chemicals called PFC’s are used to make non-stick pans, stain-resistant carpets and water-repellent jackets. They’re already linked to a variety of diseases. Now a new study finds that PFC’s may also make it much easier for people to regain weight after a diet. The study in the journal PLOS Medicine followed more than 600 people during and after being on a diet. The average subject gained back about half what they’d lost but those with the highest blood PFC levels regained an average of five pounds more. Researchers say resting metabolism rates were much slower in those with high PFC levels leading to easier weight gain.
We’ve reported on bullying and incivility in America’s offices recently and we noted that women report more incivility against them than men. But the source of most of that incivility may surprise you—other women. A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that the queen bee syndrome is alive. Women reported that other women were more likely than men to put them down, make demeaning remarks or ignore them in a meeting.
And finally, when it comes to living past age 90, which is more important to partake in—exercise or alcohol? The answer–drink up. A study presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science shows that 15 to 45 minutes of exercise per days cuts your risk of premature death by 11 percent. But two glasses of beer or wine per day cuts that risk by 18 percent.