Working shifts, rather than fixed hours, may impair brain function over time. Investigators found that long-term shift work for ten or more years has a negative impact on brain health. The researchers believe that disruption of circadian rhythms is the most likely cause of psychological stressors that lead to impairment. They note that the effects can be reversed, but the process may take up to five years. The research team writes, “The cognitive impairment observed in the present study may have important safety consequences not only for the individuals concerned, but also for society as a whole… given the increasing number of jobs in high-hazard situations that are performed at night.”
Occupational & Environmental Medicine, November 2014
Experts say that new polices regarding hospital readmissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will penalize at-risk patients. Since 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has reduced payments to hospitals that exhibit excessive readmission rates for conditions like heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia. Recently, they added elective hip and knee replacements and chronic lung disease to this list. Poor or medically complex patients are at a higher risk for readmissions because of an assortment of socioeconomic and health factors. Many are seen at teaching hospitals and “safety-net” hospitals, which will bear the brunt of the new guidelines. The experts explain that no interventions are known to effectively reduce COPD readmissions so it’s unclear what a hospital can do to prevent them. Their findings suggest that the policy should be changed due to penalties that target hospitals that care for vulnerable patients.
American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine, November 2014
Recently released evidence-based guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend that patients with a history of kidney stones can help reduce their risk for kidney stone recurrence by increasing their fluid intake so as to produce at least two liters of urine per day and decreasing their cola consumption, the most common dietary source of phosphoric acid.
Annals of Internal Medicine, November 2014
New research reveals that just four minutes of high-intensity interval exercise can improve the behavior of elementary school students. Researchers found that a brief period of in-classroom physical activity led to reduced fidgeting and inattentiveness in the classroom during the following 50 minutes.
Nutrition and Metabolism, October 2014
If you’re a smoker and have low back pain, here’s another reason to kick the habit. A new study has found that people who smoke are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain than those who do not smoke. Using MRI, researchers observed that smoking increases brain activity in an area of the brain that has previously been associated with chronic pain development. Bottom line, in addition to seeking care to treat their back pain, smokers with chronic pain should also engage in a smoking cessation program.
Human Brain Mapping, October 2014
Using data provided by about 2,700 adult Italian males, researchers have linked pro-inflammation diets to increased prostate cancer risk. A pro-inflammatory diet is one that includes high levels of sugar, polysaturated vegetable oils, trans fats, dairy products, feed-lot raised meat, red meat and processed meat, alcohol, refined grains, and artificial food additives.
British Journal of Nutrition, November 2014