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Cohabitating Is Bad for Women’s Health

Ladies, you may want to rethink shacking up with your beau! A study done in at Australia’s University of Newcastle has found that women are more likely to eat unhealthy foods and put on weight when they live with a male partner. The suspected culprit is that both partners try to please one another during the early days of a relationship, leading to both eating foods that the other enjoys. Since men generally tend to eat higher calorie, or even junk food, women tend to gain weight. Also, because women are eating out more often, and eating the fatty foods that their man keeps around, they have an even greater chance of gaining weight.

As compelling as these results may be, the lead researcher, Dr. Amelia Lake, urges us to remember, “You can’t just blame an unhealthy lifestyle or diet on your partner, as there are many other things that affect what you eat and do. However, research has shown that your partner is a strong influence on lifestyle and people who are trying to live healthier lives should take this factor into consideration.”

A Low Calorie Diet May be the Fountain of Youth

A recent study at The University of Florida’s Institute on Aging found that a low calorie diet might be the key to living longer. Scientists studied the eating habits of a group of mice and monitored their longevity. One group was fed a normal diet, while the other group was fed a diet with 8% fewer calories. The group of mice on the reduced calorie diet lived 20-30% longer.

Washington University followed up with a similar study on humans. One group consumed a normal 2,000-3,550 calories, while the restricted group ate only 1,000-2,000 calories. John O. Holloszy, a scientist at the university, reported “profound and sustained beneficial effects.” After being on a calorie restricted, well-balanced diet, people in the study reported drastic health benefits. Reduced cholesterol in three of the subjects enabled them to stop taking their cholesterol pills. Everyone experienced healthier triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure.

It’s something to take into account when you’re trying to decide between super-size or salad. While no one is certain what the link is between a low cal diet and a long life, there’s something to be said for portion control.

An Anti-Aging Drink? It’s Called Teatime For the Rest of Us

A cup of tea may do more for your mind than keep you awake. Whether you are drinking black tea, green tea, hot tea, or sweet iced tea, the benefits are the same. Consistent tea drinkers develop a resistance to Alzheimer’s disease. Catechins, an antioxidant in teas, has been found to prevent the destruction of neurons responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists used amyloid, the protein that causes Alzheimer’s, and exposed many neurons to this toxin. As the neurons began to die, they exposed the dying neurons to catechins extracted from tea leaves and the neurons were saved. The theory is still awaiting human trials, but it looks promising. By dousing your neurons in a bit of tea each day, you could stay sharp well into your golden years.

Paxil Found to Increase the Risk of Suicide

GlaxoSmithKline released an alarming study last week that reported its widely prescribed antidepressant Paxil causes an increased number of suicide attempts among people age 18-30. In a test group, the study found that 11 of about 3,500 people who were taking Paxil for depression reported a suicide attempt, while there was only one suicide attempt in the 1,978 test subjects taking a placebo.

“We are recommending that consumers and prescribers follow current advice to carefully observe adults being treated with antidepressants for worsening of depression and for increased suicidal thinking and behavior,” the statement said.

There is clearly a problem here—one that is being addressed by the FDA. Still, the company urges patients to continue taking their medication, despite some concerns over its safety. “It is essential that patients taking Paxil do not suddenly stop taking their medication.”

Lung Cancer: Not Just a Smoker’s Disease

Many people believe that only smokers develop lung cancer, but that’s simply not the case. Millions of people each year are diagnosed with lung cancer that have had very little or no exposure to tobacco products. When you consider the facts about lung cancer, even without incidents from smokers, the disease is still the third largest killer in the U.S. Some older studies had suggested that women are more likely to develop lung cancer than men, but more recent studies have shown that there is no correlation between reported lung cancer cases in non-smokers, and gender.

White Blood Cell Counts May Save Lives

Heart disease is a serious health issue that claims many lives. With this dangerous condition, early detection is key. Recently, a connection has been found between a person’s white blood cell count and their risk for heart disease. A person’s white blood cell count is a “marker inflammation,” a condition that suggests that something is wrong. By checking a patient’s white blood cell count, doctors may be able to anticipate the onset of heart disease.

White blood cell counts have also been used as an early warning sign of type II diabetes. Diabetes affects a wide percentage of the population and is responsible for a variety of health complications. However, the disease can be difficult to detect before its onset.

There may be more help on the way. In a recent lab test, mice’s immune systems allowed foreign, white, insulin-producing blood cells to be transplanted from other mice by tricking the receiving mice’s immune systems. Around 90% of mice receiving these cells showed no signs of rejection. Though the cure to heart disease and diabetes is still many years away, doctors now have a new tool to help them diagnose, and then possibly cure the problem.

No Chemo? New Approaches to Breast Cancer Treatment Emerge

There have been some changes in the way doctors treat patients for breast cancer. Up to this point, cancer has been treated very aggressively with intensive chemotherapy, in addition to surgical methods and other treatment procedures. Now, doctors have found that treating the disease without chemotherapy may lead to better recovery.

Aside from advances in chemotherapy techniques, researchers have developed three new drugs that inhibit the growth of cancer cells: Navelbine, Taxol, and Taxotere. These drugs are generally used to treat patients in the advanced stages of breast cancer, but research is currently being done to see how safe they are for patients still in the early stages of treatment. A new drug from GlaxoSmithKline called Tykerb also looks promising. It’s reported to delay the development of tumors twice as long as currently used medications.

Doctors are also making great progress with hormonal treatments. Of the many chemo alternatives, they are some of the most promising. The development of aromatase inhibitors, including Femara, Arimidex, Aromasin and Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody, may drastically change the treatment of breast cancer treatment in the years to come.

Help on the Way for Diabetes Patients

Type 1 diabetes affects over 700,000 people annually. The disease is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. The resulting insulin deficiency may result in a wide array of health complications—everything from blindness to kidney failure.

In 2001, experts in a medical laboratory found that by stimulating the immune systems of mice, they could kill the virus that damages the pancreas and leads to Type 1 diabetes. The trial was met with some public scrutiny when the findings were not able to be duplicated in later trials. Recently, however, scientists successfully duplicated the findings of the 2001 study, affirming that diabetes type 1 could be prevented in mice, and eventually in humans by stimulating the immune system to produce insulin. / Issue 56 - September 2018
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