Mental Attitude: Heart Failure Boosts Depression Risk!
Heart failure appears to be a substantial risk factor for the development of depression among adults over the age of 40. In this study, German researchers followed 66,497 heart failure (HF) patients and a similar number of people without heart failure for five years and found participants in the HF group were 60% more likely to be diagnosed with depression during the course of the study.
International Psychogeriatrics, June 2016
Health Alert: Changes in Sleep Affect the Heart.
Lack of sleep and an abnormal sleep cycle may increase the risk of heart disease. This study involved 26 healthy people who were restricted to five hours of sleep per night for eight days with either fixed bedtimes or bedtimes delayed by 8.5 hours on half the nights. The researchers found the changes in sleep resulted in higher daytime heart rates, with the greatest effect when sleep was both shortened and delayed. Additionally, they observed that abnormal sleep patterns increased the levels of a stress hormone called norepinephrine that is known to narrow blood vessels, raise blood pressure, and expand the windpipe.
Hypertension, June 2016
Diet: Soon Processed Foods May Contain Less Salt.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a draft of voluntary guidelines that aims to reduce salt content in processed and prepared foods. The FDA hopes the guidelines will help reduce Americans’ daily salt intake to 3,000 mg in two years and 2,300 mg over the next decade. Currently, Americans’ average salt intake is about 3,400 milligrams per day. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell writes, “Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants… Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health.”
Food and Drug Administration, June 2016
Exercise: Is There a Better Way to Improve Muscle Strength?
The results of a new study reveal that explosive contractions less than one second in duration are an easier and less tiring way of increasing the strength and functional capacity of muscles. The investigators say this method increases strength by assisting the nervous system in “switching on” and activating the trained muscles. In comparison, traditional sustained contractions with heavier weights for longer than three seconds are actually a more effective way of increasing muscle mass. Lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Folland explains, “Whereas traditional strength training is made up of slow, grinding contractions using heavy weights which is quite hard work, this study shows that short, sharp contractions are relatively easy to perform and a very beneficial way of building up strength. These short, explosive contractions may also be beneficial to older individuals and patient groups such as those with osteoarthritis, who would benefit from getting stronger, but are reluctant to undergo tiring sustained contractions.”
Journal of Applied Physiology, June 2016
Chiropractic: Manipulation Better Than Injection for Disk-Related Neck Pain.
Investigators compared the outcomes (overall improvement, pain reduction, and treatment costs) of over one hundred patients with a symptomatic cervical disk herniation who were either treated with spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) or imaging-guided cervical nerve root injection blocks (CNRI). The results show improvement in 86% of the patients who received SMT versus improvement in only 49% of the patients who received injections. The findings support the use SMT over injections blocks to treat a symptomatic cervical disk herniation.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, April 2016
Wellness/Prevention: Do You Have Summer Allergies?
You may think you have a summer cold, but summer allergies may actually be to blame. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology lists the following warning signs of allergies: dark circles below the eyes, swollen adenoids that cause the face to look tired and droopy, a nasal crease that forms on the bridge of the nose, and breathing through the mouth due to nasal congestion.
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, May 2016