RateMDs Health Blog https://www.ratemds.com/blog Doctors You Can Trust Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:16:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Early Exposure to Peanuts Could Curb Allergy Risk https://www.ratemds.com/blog/early-exposure-to-peanuts-could-curb-allergy-risk/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/early-exposure-to-peanuts-could-curb-allergy-risk/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:00:26 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=7018

Exposure to peanuts as a baby could help in reducing the risk of having an allergy to the legume later in life, new research suggests.

The risk of developing a peanut allergy can be decreased by as much as 80 percent, according to a study by researchers at The King’s College London and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the study, researchers assessed 628 infants, some as young as four months old. Half of the study participants were given a peanut-based snack while the other half avoided peanuts.

They found that while around 14 out of every 100 children would normally develop a peanut allergy by the age of five, that number fell to just two out of every 100 children with exposure to peanuts, a decrease by 86 percent.

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance.  The body produces antibodies which protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause infection. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.

The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While most allergies can’t be cured, a number of treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.

 

 

 

Sources: NEJM
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Step into the Sauna to Lengthen Your Life https://www.ratemds.com/blog/step-into-the-sauna-to-lengthen-your-life/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/step-into-the-sauna-to-lengthen-your-life/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 01:00:47 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6962

While stepping into a sauna is known as relaxing and good for your overall well-being, the time you spend letting off some steam could also help reduce the risk of developing heart problems, new research suggests.

Frequent use of saunas, at a longer lengths of time, was linked to a decreased risk of heart problems as well as a lower chance of mortality, according to according to a study by researchers in Finland and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers assessed health data that was collected for more than 2,300 men in Finland between the years 1984 and 1985. They then did a follow up with the study participants in 2011.

When it came to amount of time spent in saunas, the researchers, from the University of Eastern Finland, concluded that those who had more than four sauna sessions per week had the lowest risk of heart problems.

Health benefits of using a sauna include increasing heart rate as well as boosting sweat levels similar to performing light or moderate exercise.

The researchers noted that the study involved Finnish saunas specifically, which have very dry air and are between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius in temperature.

 

 

 

Sources: JAMA
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How Healthy and Happy is it Where You Live? https://www.ratemds.com/blog/how-healthy-and-happy-is-it-where-you-live/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/how-healthy-and-happy-is-it-where-you-live/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 01:00:19 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6914

Where you live could be having a significant impact on just how happy and healthy you are in life, if new research is to be believed.

States across the U.S. were ranked based on how healthy and happy their residents said they were, according to the new and recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

For the report, over 176,000 interviews with people located across the U.S. during 2014 were analyzed. The participants were asked questions to assess how they felt about five different ‘aspects of well-being’ including social life, community, physical, financial, and having “purpose.”

The top ranked state which was deemed the happiest and healthiest was Alaska, which has been in the top ten at least four time since 2008. Completing the top five were Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. At the bottom of the list, in last place is West Virginia, preceded by Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi to create the bottom five.

The full top ten, in full, consists of the following states: Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas.  The bottom ten, in full, consists of the following states: Missouri, Michigan, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

 

 

 

Sources: Gallup Healthways
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The Science behind Why You Get the Munchies https://www.ratemds.com/blog/the-science-behind-why-you-get-the-munchies/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/the-science-behind-why-you-get-the-munchies/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:44:41 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6882

Snacking – it’s basically a national past time. But the science behind why we get the “munchies” could be down to effects that substances have on the brain, new research suggests.

A common side effect of smoking cannabis is the urge to eat, more commonly referred to as the “munchies,” and researchers at Yale University looked into how the brain is affected by smoking the substance leading to increased feelings of hungry.

In their study, published in Nature, the researchers found that the strong urge to eat after smoking is caused by cannabinoids that can ‘hijack’ the brain cells that subdue appetite.  The brain then producing a different group of chemicals that stop the feeling of fullness and keep you feeling hungry.

They assessed how the appetite area of the brain responded to the use of marijuana, and found that by activating a cannabinoid receptor in the brain (CB1R) of mice, there was an increase in their urge to eat. They also saw that the brain cells that are normally responsible for shutting down eating, were being subverted to promote hunger by the cannabis.

So the having a strong case of the munchies after smoking cannabis is not only a case of  the substance increasing your urge to eat but can also keep you feeling hungry even if you’re, in fact, full.

 

 

 

Sources: Nature
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Being Unemployed is Actually Changing Your Personality https://www.ratemds.com/blog/being-unemployed-is-actually-changing-your-personality/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/being-unemployed-is-actually-changing-your-personality/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:49:28 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6857

As if queuing on the unemployment line wasn’t stressful enough, being unemployed could be having an effect on your personality and behavior too, new research suggests.

Not having a job could affect certain aspects of your personality including how agreeable you are, amongst other traits, according to a new study by researchers in the UK and published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

For the study, more than 6,000 participants were asked to self-evaluate five core personality traits in themselves over several years.  The five traits were agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness.

At the start of the study, all of the participants were employed, but during the study some of them lost their jobs and remained unemployed while others lost their job but found new employment.

It was found that men and women have different responses to being unemployed as far as behavior and psychological response. When it came to the five personality traits being monitored in the study, women scored lower in agreeableness every year that they were unemployed, but men who lost their jobs recorded a temporary increase in agreeableness followed by a sharp decline after their third year of unemployment.

As far as conscientiousness was concerned, there was an immediate decline in this trait in men with a consistent decline throughout their unemployment. For women, the decline was also present but was not as consistent and ongoing as it was for the men.

 

 

 

Sources: Journal of Applied Psychology
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Preemies Linked to Anxiety Disorders in Adult Years https://www.ratemds.com/blog/preemies-linked-to-anxiety-disorders-in-adult-years/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/preemies-linked-to-anxiety-disorders-in-adult-years/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:00:49 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6833

Babies that are born prematurely are more likely to develop disorders such as anxiety, depression and ADHD, new research suggests.

There is a greater risk of developing mental disorders for babies born prematurely who have low birth weights. Compared to babies who had a normal birth weight, preemies are three times more likely to have psychiatric problems, according to research from McMaster University in Canada and published in the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, which focused on the mental health of preemies, researchers looked at 84 adults born between 1977 and 1982 who weighed under one kilogram at birth and they compared them with 90 babies who were born at a normal birth weight.

The study participants, who were in their 30s at the end of the study, were monitored since their birth. Findings over that time included that as teens, preemies are more likely to be shy or have attention problems such as ADHD. Further on in life, into their 20s, preemies were also more likely to experience anxiety disorders.

Recorded physiological problems that preemies may experience can include problems with sight, hearing and breathing as well as increased risk of developing learning disabilities.

The researchers believe the study could help in better ways of predicting, detecting and treating mental disorders. It has been estimated that one in 15 preemies dies, according to data from the World Health Organization.

 

 

Sources: Pediatrics
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Keep Your Friends Close and Your Health Closer https://www.ratemds.com/blog/keep-your-friends-close-and-your-health-closer/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/keep-your-friends-close-and-your-health-closer/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 01:00:35 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6777

We all get by with a little help from our friends, it’s true. But having good friends can also improve your health not only mentally, but physically too, new research suggests.

From your heart rate through to your nervous system functions, having a good amount of social integration is helping you stay healthy, according to a new study from Concordia University in Canada and published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Researchers worked with a group of 60 international students over a five month period who were experiencing life changes due to moving countries, observing their health over that period of time.  The participants completed a questionnaire to assess their social integration as well as how lonely they felt.

They also tracked the participants’ heart rates to detect any changes in their high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV) and indicate the health of the parasympathetic nervous system. Previous studies have shown that individuals with a lower HRV have an increased risk of developing cardiac disease and poor health.

For the students in the study, the heart rate variability increased those who had formed friendships and expanded their social networks. In contrast, those who remained more isolated had a decrease in their heart rate variability and therefore a higher risk of developing health problems.

This researchers concluded that prolonged social isolation could have a negative effect on a person’s physical health by impacting the function of their parasympathetic nervous system.

 

Sources: ABM
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Not That You Need Another Reason To Take a Nap… https://www.ratemds.com/blog/not-that-you-need-another-reason-to-take-a-nap/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/not-that-you-need-another-reason-to-take-a-nap/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:01:33 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6761

Too many sleepless nights starting to mess with your mojo? It’s no secret that a good nap can melt away the day’s troubles, but a quick bout of shut-eye may be able to undo the damage that those sleepless nights is doing to your health, new research suggests.

It’s possible that the negative effects of bad sleeping habits can be reversed by taking a nice, cozy nap, according to researchers in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM.)

For the study, researchers looked at the sleep data of 11 healthy men who did two sleep sessions in a lab. The first session involved the men only getting two hours of sleep and the second session involved the same two hours of sleep but paired with two 30-minute naps the following day. The participants provided both urine and saliva samples which were analyzed for hormonal changes.

For the men who only slept for two hours and did not take any naps the next day, the researchers saw an increase in the body’s heart rate and blood pressure and low levels of the protein critical for having a proper immune response. When compared to the men who napped the following day, the researchers found there were no changes in either their protein or hormone levels.

The research suggests that taking a nap could reestablish healthy hormone levels, and improve immune system function.

The amount of sleep you need depends on your age and your lifestyle according to the newest recommendations released by the National Sleep Foundation.  The recommendations for children aged 6 to 13 is anywhere from 9 to 11 hours of sleep and for teenagers aged in the 14 to 17 range the recommendation is to 8-10 hours sleep. For those aged 18 to 25 the ideal sleep range is from 7 to 9 hours, and the same goes for adults aged 26 to 64. The ideal sleep time for those aged 65 and over is 7 to 8 hours.

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The Brains Behind Meditation https://www.ratemds.com/blog/the-brains-behind-meditation/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/the-brains-behind-meditation/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:11:37 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6745

The human brain can start to show signs of ageing, including a decrease in volume and weight as early as your mid-to-late 20′s. But, it’s possible that you can preserve the brain’s most important tissue, gray matter, through meditation, new research suggests.

Those who meditate regularly can have lower occurrence of grey matter declining as they age, according to a new study at the University of California at Los Angeles and published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Researchers at UCLA looked at 50 participants with years of experience in meditation and compared them to another 50 participants who had no experience.  Their objective was to understand the relationship between age and gray matter.

The study participants ranged in age from 24 to 77 years old and there were 28 men and 22 women in both of the groups (those who meditated and those who did not.)

Using brain scans of the participants taken through MRI, the researchers discovered that while gray matter does decline as you age, it is less for people who meditate. The researchers also concluded that they saw effects of meditation that ‘encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.’

 

 

 

Sources: Frontiers in Psychology

 

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What’s Really in Your Child’s Food? https://www.ratemds.com/blog/whats-really-in-your-childs-food/ https://www.ratemds.com/blog/whats-really-in-your-childs-food/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 14:45:56 +0000 https://www.ratemds.com/blog/?p=6681

Whether you’re a new parent or not, your child’s diet in their early years is of the utmost importance. But some products may not be as healthy as is shown, including organic products, new research suggests.

Many packaged infant and toddler food and drink products may have too much salt and/or sugar in them than is recommended, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a study published online in Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers looked at the nutrition labels of toddler food and drinks that are sold in stores in the U.S.  They analyzed 1,074 toddler and infant foods and drinks including snacks, desserts, fruits and vegetables, and dry cereals.

Through their analysis, it was found that out of the products that they tested 72% of dinners for toddlers were high in sodium and more than half of 79 infant snacks made with grains and fruits contained at least one added sugar.

The researchers also noted that it did not matter if the products were organic or not, or whether they were a store brand or a major brand when it came to the sugar and sodium amounts.

 

Sources: Pediatrics
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