Mental Attitude: Slight Signs of Lingering Brain Damage Seen in Young Athletes After Concussion.
A single concussion may cause young children to suffer minor, but lingering, brain damage. In a recent study, researchers used MRI scans to compare the brains of 15 children with a previous concussion to 15 similar kids who hadn’t suffered a concussion. They found that the brains of the concussion sufferers showed signs of subtle disruptions while utilizing attention- and thinking-related skills. The authors recommend longer-term and larger studies to determine if concussion-related alterations in brain function are associated with problems during adulthood.
International Journal of Psychophysiology, December 2015
Health Alert: Too Many Teens Exposed to Secondhand Smoke.
Nearly half of American teens who have never used tobacco are exposed to harmful secondhand smoke despite widespread laws banning smoking in public places. An analysis of data from over 18,000 middle school and high school students reveals that 48% reported being exposed to secondhand smoke in 2013. Investigators also found that secondhand smoke exposure was nine times higher among never-smoking teens with no smoke-free rules in their home and car than teens with 100% smoke-free homes and vehicles.
Pediatrics, February 2016
Diet: Omega-3 May Help Reduce Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
If individuals at risk for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) consume more omega-3 fatty acids, they may be able to decrease their chance of developing the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that usually affects the small joints in the hands and feet. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. Investigators analyzed self-reported data about omega-3 consumption from 30 people who had autoantibodies for rheumatoid arthritis and 47 control patients who did not. They found only 6.7% of patients who had the autoantibodies for RA were taking omega-3 supplements, compared with 34.4% in the control group. Furthermore, they found blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids to be lower in those at risk for RA. Based on the findings, researchers recommend a healthy diet that includes fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as one to three grams of fish oil a day, for those who may be at risk for RA and perhaps other inflammatory diseases.
Rheumatology, September 2015
Exercise: Some Yoga Poses Increase Risks for Glaucoma Patients.
Yoga has become a very popular form of exercise in the United States due to its health benefits. However, a new study suggests that certain poses increase eye pressure and present risks for individuals with glaucoma. Glaucoma affects eyesight, usually due to a build-up of pressure in the eye (called intraocular pressure, or IOP), which can damage the optic nerve. The study found that participants experienced a rise in intraocular pressure in four yoga poses, which included downward dog, standing forward bend, plow, and legs up on the wall. Study author Dr. Jessica Jasien writes, “As we know that any elevated IOP is the most important known risk factor for development and progression of nerve damage to the eye, the rise in IOP after assuming the yoga poses is of concern for glaucoma patients and their treating physicians. In addition, glaucoma patients should share with their yoga instructors their disease to allow for modifications during the practice of yoga.”
PLOS ONE, December 2015
Chiropractic: Sleep Problems and Pain.
A recent study investigated the relationship between sleep problems and chronic pain, as well as other conditions. The study involved data on 1,753 participants and found an association between sleep problems and an increased risk for chronic pain and headaches, as well as an increase in the severity of both abdominal pain and musculoskeletal pain. The results suggest patients with musculoskeletal complaints should also be screened for sleep problems.
Pain, December 2016
Wellness/Prevention: Excess Mass in Mid-Life Increases Dementia Risk.
After reviewing data from 21 published studies, a team of researchers from Imperial College in London reports that individuals who are obese during later adulthood are 1.41 times more likely to develop dementia than those who maintain a healthy weight. Future research will assess how weight loss prior to mid-life influences dementia risk.
Age and Aging, January 2016