Mental Attitude: Increasing Depression May Indicate Greater Dementia Risk.
Depression is a known risk factor for dementia, but most studies have only focused on depression at a single point in time and not over a multi-year time frame. In this study, researchers looked at the depressive symptoms of 2,488 seniors over a five-year time period and then followed up with them over a decade later. They found that those with high and increasing depressive symptoms during the data collection period were nearly twice as likely to develop dementia than even those with moderate depressive symptoms.
JAMA Psychiatry, March 2016
Health Alert: Lawn Mowers Pose Dangers to Kids.
Children in the United States continue to suffer severe injuries from both regular power lawn mowers and ride-on mowers. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under the age of 16 operate a ride-on mower and no child under twelve operate a push mower. Additionally, they urge parents to keep all children under the age of six indoors when any mower is in operation and not to allow kids to ride as passengers on mowers operated by adults. A recent study found that over 50% of kid-related mower accidents resulted in an amputation. Senior study author Dr. Douglas Armstrong explains, “People don’t realize how dangerous lawn mowers are… The vast majority of the injuries could have been prevented if safety guidelines had been followed.”
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Meeting, March 2016
Diet: Omega-3s May Lower Breast Cancer Risk Among Obese Women.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that women with dense breast tissue have a four to six times increased risk of developing breast cancer. Now, a randomized clinical trial involving 266 postmenopausal women has found an association between increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and reduced breast density, but only among obese participants. The researchers singled out DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as the fatty acid associated with breast density reduction and they hope to examine the effects of DHA in a trial involving obese participants known to have dense breast tissue. Researcher Dr. Andrea Manni adds, “The finding supports the idea that omega-3s, and specifically DHA, are preferentially protective in obese postmenopausal women.”
Cancer Prevention Research, December 2015
Exercise: Being Physically Fit Reduces Depression Risk After Heart Attack.
People who are physically fit may be less likely to become depressed after a heart attack. Researchers looked at 189 middle-aged and older Norwegians and found that those who exercised regularly in the years preceding their heart attack were less than half as likely to become depressed after a myocardial infarction than those who rarely or never exercised. The findings are important as heart attack survivors are three time more likely to have depression. Though the study did not prove cause and effect, it certainly appears that exercise protects against depression after a heart attack.
The American Journal of Medicine, February 2016
Chiropractic: Tennis Not Dangerous to Teen Spines.
Many health experts believe that tennis and other asymmetrical sports pose risk factors for scoliosis development in adolescents even though scientific data is lacking. A new study that involved 102 adolescent tennis players failed to find a correlation between tennis and either an increased risk for low back pain or spinal deformities among adolescents.
European Spine Journal, February 2016
Wellness/Prevention: Probiotics May Prevent Dental Cavities.
In the future, preventing cavities may be as simple as taking a supplement to keep unwanted bacteria in check. Researchers have found a strain of bacteria that could keep bad bacteria under control and pave the way to using probiotics (beneficial bacteria) to prevent cavities. The newly identified bacteria is a strain of Streptococcus called A12, which was found to help neutralize acids in the mouth and also kill Streptococcus mutans, an especially harmful kind of bacteria. The findings are important as too much acid can cause dental cavities or other disorders. While the development of an effective oral probiotic is still a long way off, this previously unknown bacteria looks like a promising candidate in the future of dental health.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, January 2016