Mental Attitude: Heavy Social Media Users May Feel Isolated.
This study included nearly 1,800 people aged 19 to 32 who completed an online questionnaire and found that those who used social media sites/apps more often—either in terms of the number of times they used them or in total amount of time spent on them—were more likely to feel isolated from others. Study lead author Dr. Brian Primack explains, “Compared with those in the lowest quarter for frequently checking social media, people in the top quarter were about three times as likely to have increased social isolation.”
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 2017
Health Alert: Can Secondhand Smoke Lead to Food Allergies in Kids?
Early exposure to secondhand smoke may boost the risk of food allergies among children. Researchers followed the health of nearly 3,800 Swedish children until they were 16 years of age and found that kids whose parents smoked when the children were two months old were more likely to develop signs of food allergies, especially to eggs and peanuts.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, March 2017
Diet: Probiotics May Help Treat Depression.
Past studies have indicated that the gut microbiome (the population of microorganisms that reside in the digestive system) plays a significant role in mental health. A new animal study suggests that probiotics may someday be an effective alternative to medication in the treatment of depression. In the study, researchers found that beneficial bacteria called Lactobcillus (commonly found in live-cultured yogurt, though it can be taken in supplement form) altered the gut microbiome of mice, which the researchers then linked with a subsequent reversal of symptoms similar to depression in humans. Lead researcher Dr. Alban Gaultier writes, “The big hope for this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome… It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health—and your mood.”
Scientific Reports, March 2017
Exercise: Exercise May Help Your Muscle Cells Stave Off Old Age.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of cardiovascular exercise that involves alternating short periods of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods. In a new study, researchers took muscle biopsies from participants who performed different types of exercise and compared them with samples taken from sedentary individuals. They found that exercise, in particular HIIT, improves the energy-producing capacity of muscle cells, which is known to naturally decline as part of the aging process. Study senior author Dr. Sreekumaran Nair adds, “Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the aging process.”
Cell Metabolism, March 2017
Chiropractic: Joint Pain and Arthritis Increase Health Costs.
Joint pain and arthritis affect more than 100 million individuals in the United States. A new study set out to investigate differences in medical costs between patients with arthritis and joint pain and those not suffering from such ailments. The results of the investigation revealed that mean medical expenditures were nearly $6,774 greater each year for those with joint pain or arthritis. Based on the findings, the study authors recommend an interdisciplinary approach and heightened awareness to identify strategies that to help prevent and delay disease progression.
Arthritis Research and Therapy, February 2017
Wellness/Prevention: Sugar Can Impact Sleep.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can lead to a more restful night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation notes the following: too much sugar may increase your risk of waking during the night; your energy may crash after a high-sugar treat, prompting you to feel drowsy during the day; and avoid refined sugars found in cereals, juices, desserts, white bread, sodas, and white pasta.
National Sleep Foundation, March 2017