A review of data on 188,774 veterans (ages 55 and up) found that 1,229 had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). During the study’s nine-year follow-up period, 16% of veterans with a TBI developed dementia compared with only 10% of veterans without a TBI.
Neurology, June 2014
Most people enjoy taking time to watch a favorite television show in order to relax and unwind. New research suggests that watching three hours or more of television per day could double an individual’s risk of premature death. Investigators recommend adults reduce TV watching to no more than one to two hours per day. Lead researcher Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez writes, “As the population ages, sedentary behaviors will become more prevalent, especially watching television, and this poses an additional burden on the increased health problems related to aging. Our findings suggest adults may consider increasing their physical activity, avoid long sedentary periods and reduce television watching to no longer than 1-2 hours each day.”
Journal of the American Heart Association, June 2014
The Environmental Working Group believes that fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals is placing children in danger. The report summarizes how millions of American children under eight years of age are getting too much vitamin A, zinc, and niacin from fortified food products and supplements. The problem is the result of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines on voluntary food supplementation (last updated 34 years ago) that do not take current scientific evidence into account. The report recommends that until the FDA makes the Daily Values on food labels reflect up-to-date science and show values for children, parents should limit their child’s intake of fortified food to no more than 20-25% of the adult Daily Value for vitamin A, zinc, and niacin.
Environmental Working Group Report, June 2014
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, are the most common and dangerous pregnancy complications, occurring in 5-8% of pregnancies. An animal study revealed that placental ischemia-induced hypertension in rats was alleviated by exercise. Researcher Jeff Gilbert explains, “The data from our study raise the possibility that exercise regimens, if started before pregnancy and maintained through most of gestation, may be an important way for women to mitigate the risk of preeclampsia.”
Journal of the American Heart Association, December 2012
Evaluations of 72 patients with low back pain indicate a possible relationship between mechanical back pain and hamstring tightness. Researchers found that patients with more severe back pain had tighter hamstrings than patients with more mild or moderate pain. They recommend this data be considered when designing both prevention strategies and rehabilitation protocols for low back pain.
Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, June 2014
Adding a 3D imaging technique called tomosynthesis to digital mammography appears to result in both a reduction in the number of patients being called back for additional testing and an increase in breast cancer detection rates. Digital tomosynthesis takes multiple X-ray pictures from different angles. The breast is positioned as it is for a conventional mammogram, but less pressure is applied. Instead of a single image with conventional mammograms, this technique offers a 3D image for a better evaluation of the breast. Dr. Sarah M. Friedewald writes, “The association with fewer unnecessary tests and biopsies, with a simultaneous increase in cancer detection rates, would support the potential benefits of tomosynthesis as a tool for screening. However, assessment for a benefit in clinical outcomes is needed.”
JAMA, June 2014