A woman’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease may be higher if she is anxious, jealous, or moody during middle-age. Over a 38-year period, researchers followed nearly 800 women who completed on-going personality tests regarding neuroticism, extraversion, and introversion. The study’s results show that women with the highest scores for neuroticism were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those with lower neuroticism scores. However, this association appeared to be greater among participants who had experienced long periods of stress. They also found that women who scored high on both neuroticism and introversion were at the highest risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Researcher Dr. Lena Johannsson writes, “Personality may influence the individual’s risk for dementia through its effect on behavior, lifestyle, or reactions to stress.”
Neurology, September 2014
According to the American Heart Association, living within 50 meters (~164 feet) of a major road increases a woman’s risk of dying from a sudden cardiac death by 38%. Lead researcher Dr. Jaime E. Hart notes, “It’s important for healthcare providers to recognize that environmental exposures may be under-appreciated risk factors for diseases such as sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease.”
Circulation, October 2014
Family meals could protect children against obesity, as such meals tend to include fruits, vegetables, calcium, and whole grains. A new study indicates that even having as few as one to two family meals a week during adolescence significantly reduces the odds of an individual being overweight or obese ten years later when compared with those who reported never having family meals during their teen years.
Journal of Pediatrics, October 2014
Most agree on the benefits of exercise in its role for weight management and the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, a new study claims that some may have a tougher time than others due to their genes. In the study, researchers examined interactions between physical activity, genetics, and diabetes risk in more than 8,100 Americans. They found that exercise provided less protection against diabetes in individuals with a high genetic risk for insulin resistance. However, the lead author of the study stresses that this finding is no reason for people battling obesity to stop exercising.
Diabetologia, September 2014
Questionnaires completed by a sample of 105 women who recently gave birth indicate that low back pain is a sizeable problem for expectant mothers. Of the 105 women surveyed, 67.6% suffered from low back pain during pregnancy. More than half (57.7%) reported that back pain prevented them from performing their daily activities with 77.5% of those women claiming their back pain increased as their pregnancy advanced. Because 93% of these women received no back pain-related treatment, the authors of the study advise health care professionals to be proactive in asking expectant mothers about their back pain.
Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, September 2014
A small study involving 100 school children in Mongolia has found that daily treatment with 1000 IU of a vitamin D supplement significantly reduced the symptoms of winter-related atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, which is uncomfortable and makes patients more vulnerable to bacterial infection. The condition is most commonly seen in children and more so during the winter. The study’s author recommends that parents of children with symptoms that worsen in the winter try a vitamin D supplement for a few weeks when such symptoms flare-up, after first discussing the study and their plan with their pediatrician.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, October 2014