Mental Attitude: Does Yawning Cool Down the Brain?
Australian researchers suggest that yawning might cool an overheated brain. Investigators found that contagious yawning was most prominent in the summer compared to the winter and most likely to occur when the temperature was about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (about 20 degrees Celsius). They suggest that cooling the brain boosts performance, so contagious yawning may be an evolutionary trait meant to improve alertness in groups of people.
Physiology & Behavior, May 2014
Health Alert: “Bad” Cholesterol Involved in Cancer Spread.
Researchers in Spain and Australia have identified “bad” cholesterol as a culprit in cancer metastasis. According to this new study, low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol helps cancer cells un-stick from one another so they can more easily spread to other parts of the body. However, the presence of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol appears to help counter this activity.
Cell Reports, May 2014
Diet: Vitamin A and the Fight Against Breast Cancer.
Laboratory tests indicate that retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, may someday act as a weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Researchers exposed pre-cancerous breast cells to retinoic acid and observed the cells transform back into normal, healthy cells. However, cells that had already become cancerous were unchanged suggesting there may be a narrow window of opportunity for retinoic acid to be helpful in stopping the progression of breast cancer. Further research is needed to see if this approach is viable in animal — and eventually human — models.
International Journal of Oncology, March 2014
Exercise: Exercise Crucial for Women’s Heart Health.
Lack of physical activity appears to be the strongest indicator of a woman’s risk for heart disease, even more so than smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Women’s Heart Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, concludes, “If you want to do one thing to prevent heart disease, you should exercise. We need people to become more active again, and the way you can do that is to make it part of your life, like brushing your teeth.”
British Journal of Sports Medicine, May 2014
Chiropractic: Parents Seek Alternative Care for Kids.
Recent research suggests that about 60% of parents who have children with chronic neurological conditions have sought chiropractic, massage, and other complementary therapy treatments to help their children live a normal, pain-free life.
PLOS ONE, April 2014
Wellness/Prevention: Focus on High BMI to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk, Not Waist Circumference.
While a large waist circumference, regardless of body mass index (BMI), is associated with a greater risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers, this does not seem to be the case for post-menopausal breast cancer. Using long-term data on nearly 29,000 women, researchers found no greater risk for breast cancer among post-menopausal women with a large waist circumference once BMI was taken into account. According to Dr. Mia Gadet, “The message is that if you have a high BMI, regardless if you are pear or apple shaped, you are at higher risk of breast cancer. Most prior studies on this issue looked at BMI or at waist circumference, but had not looked at them together. This study brings some clarity to the association between obesity and risk of breast cancer.”
Cancer Causes & Control, June 2014