Health
Health

THE SECRET SAUCE?

A first of its kind study says your genes may hold the key to a happy marriage.

Health

YALE STUDY

  • Focus of the research: a genetic variation on the gene receptor for oxytocin.
  • Oxytocin = hormone often linked to “greater empathy, sociability, and emotional stability.”
  • Study found as long as one person (man or woman) had this genetic variation the couple overall had higher marital satisfaction.
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“This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time.”

Lead author Joan Monin, Yale School of Public Health, who also noted the study found those WITH the genetic variation were less "anxiously attached" to their partner, one potenital factor in a happy marriage.
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Something To Consider:

What if we don’t have it? The study isn’t saying this genetic variation guarantees a happy marriage, but it does indicate that the correlation is interesting enough to study further.

Study Limitations: Only 178 married couples studied. Researchers say a larger study, with a greater diversity of couples is needed to look more closely at this association.

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Want to check your genetic compatibility? Companies Instant Chemisty & Gene Partner offer a dive into your relationship DNA. Do you think this is helpful or hurtful information for a couple?

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“BRAIN ATTACK”

Devastating & Deadly

Described as a heart attack for your brain, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and took the life of actor Luke Perry.

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What Exactly Is A Stroke?

  • What Happens: when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked (most common), or a blood vessel bursts (less common, but more deadly).
  • Causes: factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. Drug use and family history can play a role as well for those with blood vessel or clotting problems.
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“For all types of stroke, time is brain. That means that seeking treatment immediately is crucial to reverse the damage and save brain cells and lives.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, former ER doc & author of "Mom Hacks" who says a common misconception is that strokes effect only older people. Dr. Darria says with more young people confronting obesity or high blood pressure, stroke becomes a possibility.
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Stroke Symptoms:

  • Stroke can be catastrophic, but also prevented.
  • Warning signs of stroke: “FAST”: Face drooping? Arms (one or the other) numb or immobile? Slurred speech? Time?
  • Sometimes symptoms come & go in 24 hrs, but serve as important pre-stroke warning signs.
  • Sudden severe headache, confusion, numbness, or vomiting.
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“I want to do something with my life. When my time here is up, I don’t want to look back and see that I didn’t do anything.”

Luke Perry in 1992 during the height of his fame playing Dylan McKay on "Beverly Hills, 90210" about why he left his small hometown for Hollywood. No further details about Perry's stroke surfaced after it was first reported last week. A representative said he passed away in the presence of his family, including his two children.
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Stroke may be one of leading causes of death in America, but it's also the LEADING cause of disabilities, such as paralysis or memory loss. A stroke happens every 40 seconds and two-thirds of survivors will confront some sort of disability.

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Can’t Get No Satisfaction

New sleep study says parents can kiss their “sleep satisfaction” goodbye up to 6 years after the birth of their first child – just as another study tells us how important sleep is for us to “clean our brains.”

No Sleep = No Sweep

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Sleep & Kiddos

  • German study observed 2,500+ women & 2,100+ men over 7 yrs.
  • Worst time for sleep deprivation: 3 months after birth of 1st child.
  • Moms impacted more than dads overall. In first 3 months, moms lost 1 hr of sleep, dads lost 13 min.
  • Take-Away: “neither mothers’ nor fathers’ sleep fully recovers to prepregnancy levels up to 6 years after the birth of their first child.”
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Deep Sleep Matters

  • Study by University of Rochester.
  • Note: We have toxic proteins in our brain associated with Alzheimer’s & dementia.
  • Study used mice & showed deep sleep allowed the “glymphatic” system to work – that system flushes the brain of toxins.
  • Researcher: “…this study shows that the deeper the sleep the better.”
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Something To Consider:

“More than ever, science is telling us that these (sleep) problems should not be allowed to fester.”

Dr. Chris Winter, author of "The Sleep Solution," who tells SmartHER News that whether it's parenthood, work changes, or our simple personal growth, sleep changes throughout our lives. Dr. Winter says these two studies show us we need to make sleep a priority. One quick tip? Try going to bed at the same time every night.
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Better sleep is a big business. A company "Nightfood" recently introduced a new ice cream they say has a mix of ingredients that will help you sleep. But others suggest eating before bed can actually disrupt your sleep. What works best for you?

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Who’s The Fittest Of Them All?

 

Forget cardio & weights.
The hottest, new workout equipment may be a
52″ mirror.

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Meet the “Mirror”

  • LCD video screen that looks like a full-length mirror when turned off.
  • Users can see themselves & an instructor when in use.
  • Controlled via a smartphone app to avoid fingerprints.
  • Speakers & cameras allow music, interactive coaching. (For privacy afterwards, there’s a lens cover.)
Click To See It
Health

“We’re looking to be the next screen in people’s lives. We desire to be an immersive platform, not just a piece of gym equipment.”

Brynn Putnam (35), Mirror's founder & CEO, and a former professional ballerina, on the future possibilities of its screen for fashion or beauty. She came up with the idea when she was too busy with her child to get to the gym - even though she created a chain of workout studios called Refine Method.
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Pricey Reflection

The Mirror costs $1,495 and requires a $39/month subscription to access live & on-demand classes.

Business model is similar to other in-home competitors like Peloton’s spin-bike or Tonal’s weight room.

Mirror says it’s different by offering various workouts like yoga, barre, or boxing – without bulky equipment.

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CDC says 3 out of 4 Americans don't get enough exercise. While there are less expensive exercise alternatives, Mirror hopes its unique approach and rave reviews from celebrities like Alicia Keys & Ellen DeGeneres will be enough for users to give it a second look.

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The Great Vaccine Debate

Should you have the right to *not* vaccinate your child?

A measles outbreak prompts lawmakers to consider reversing course on policies they may have helped put in place.

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What’s Going On:

  • Measles cases in 10 states, some tied to low vaccination rates.
  • 46 states: allow religious exemptions to vaccinations.
  • 17 states: allow for “philosophical” exemptions for personal beliefs.
  • In the wake of recent outbreaks, Washington & Oregon are looking to potentially tighten laws that allow for these personal exemptions.
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“I’m very worried that these measles epidemics are becoming a new normal…The enablers are state legislators in those states, that have allowed themselves to be played.”

Dr. Peter Hotez, Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who is against personal exemptions for vaccines.
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“I see that as medical fascism. I’m the one who is going to make medical decisions for my kids.”

Becky Johnson mother of 3, who is against vaccinations. She disagrees with a new California law passed in 2015 (after a measles outbreak at Disneyland) that reversed personal exemptions, requiring vaccinations.
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Who Decides Who Vaccinates & Where?

  • Federal gov’t makes recommendations, not laws or policies, re: vaccines.
  • Your state gov’t sets requirements for vaccinations at a local level, normally for attending school.
  • Why? Simply – the federal gov’t is responsible for our national security and your state, for your personal safety.
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Current measles vaccination rate in America is approx. 90%; Some states have lower. In general, a community needs to have 90-95% vaccination rates for "herd immunity" that prevents the spread of a contagious disease.

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OUTBREAK

Nearly 20 years after measles declared “eradicated” in the United States, several states report outbreaks.

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“Measles can be so contagious that you can be in a room, and if you’re susceptible, two hours after someone with measles left, and still get the disease.”

Dr. Alan Melnick, director of public health for Clark County, the site of the measles outbreak in Washington state. Most of the cases are children under 10. The vaccination rate for school age children is 78%, much lower than recommended 90-95% to create community or "herd" immunity.
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Measles: Defined

  • highly contagious virus spread like the common cold.
  • early symptoms mimic a cold: runny nose, cough.
  • unique symptoms: high fever, rash with distinct tiny red dots.
  • particularly dangerous for children, can cause ear infections that lead to hearing loss, brain swelling, or even death.
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The Vaccine In America

  • Public vaccine introduced 1968.
  • 1 dose given until an outbreak among vaccinated kids occurred in 1989, prompting doctors to recommend a 2nd dose.
  • Current recommendation: children get their first dose of the vaccine at 12-15 months & then between ages of 4-6 years old.
  • 1 dose = 93% effective.
  • 2nd dose = 97% effective.
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What’s Going On:

  • 10 states w/measles cases.
  • WA State: declared state emergency; reportedly an international traveler brought measles into a community with low vaccination rates.
  • NJ/NY: outbreak in Orthodox Jewish community linked to international travel.
  • Most recent state w/cases: Texas.
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Why Now?

“These resurgences (of measles) have been attributed to various causes, including refusal to vaccinate, incomplete vaccination series, waning immunity, and imported cases.

Medical researcher & author CL Ventola.
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Between 2010 - 2018, the CDC reported an average of 217 measles cases every year; some years as low as 55 cases or as high as 667. So far in 2019, 79 cases have been reported in January alone. The states with cases: CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, NJ, NY, OR, TX, & WA.

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IS YOUR PET OBESE?

Whether it’s due to eating too much or exercising too little, “man’s best friends” really are just like us.

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US vs. THEM

More than 1 in 3 U.S. adults are overweight (BMI 25- 29.9).

Nearly 40% of adult Americans are obese (BMI 30+).

56% of dogs & 60% of cats are overweight or obese.

Only 17% of owners acknowledge that their pets are overweight.

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“The number of pets with clinical obesity continues to increase… We’re continuing to see more pets diagnosed with obesity rather than overweight… Pets with obesity also have reduced quality of life and shorter life expectancy.”

Dr. Ernie Ward, Association for Pet Obesity Prevention founder & veterinarian
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WHY IT MATTERS:

Overweight pets are prone to

  • back, hip & joint problems
  • kidney, heart & lung diseases
  • diabetes & some types of cancer

In 2018, the U.S. pet industry was valued at $72B (a 50% jump in 15 years). Insiders say it’s due to increasing health care costs, many related to overweight ailments. 

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Found in more than 60% of U.S. households, dogs & cats are still the most popular American pets, but that pecking order could soon change. Poultry ownership has climbed 23% in recent years - no word yet on their weight problems.

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ALLERGIES & AGING

1 out of 10 Americans have a food allergy.

A new study shows a surprising number of sufferers developed reactions as adults.

(and a lot of us *believe* we have a food allergy when we really don’t)
.

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FOOD ALLERGY 101

  • More than 160 foods cause allergic reactions.
  • Food allergies are an immune system response. They can be managed by avoiding the allergen, but NEVER cured.
  • Symptoms range from mild (hives) to life-threatening (anaphylaxis).
  • Approx. 5% of U.S. children have a food allergy vs. approx. 10% of adults (26M).
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About The Study

Northwestern University scientists surveyed 40K American adults over a 2-year period. The findings:

  • Approx. 50% of adults with a food allergy developed it later in life. 
  • Adult-onset food allergies were equally common in those with & without a childhood food allergy.
  • Only half of adults with a “food allergy” had an official diagnosis.
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Allergy v. Intolerance

According to Dr. Ruchi Gupta, one of the study’s co-authors, nearly 1 out of 5 American adults *believe* they have a food allergy; they most likely have a food sensitivity or intolerance.

Why do allergies start in adulthood? No one knows.

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Most Common Food Allergies in America

  • Shellfish (ex: shrimp, lobster, crab)
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts (ex: cashews, walnuts)
  • Fin Fish (ex: tuna, salmon, halibut)
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Sesame
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Of the 26 million U.S. adult with a food allergy, 12 million developed the allergy as adults. The most common adult-onset food allergies are shellfish, soy, tree nut & fin fish (halibut, salmon). Read about a new drug that might protect those with peanut allergies.

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“DRY JANUARY”

(we’re not talkin’ about the weather)

 

Why not drinking alcohol for the first month of the year is a trend & why some say it *could* reset your body for the entire year.

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“Dry January” – Backstory

  • “Dry January” has existed for yrs. A charity made it mainstream.
  • Promoting healthy drinking habits in the UK, Alcohol Change UK, officially started a “Dry January” campaign in 2013, inspired by an employee who stopped drinking in January to prep for a marathon.
  • Alcohol Change UK claims the campaign grew from 4,000 to 4M participants in 2018.
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Does Dry January “Reset” Your Body?

*Limited* research says yes.
More research is needed.

A study of 816 people who didn’t drink in January 2018 (but resumed drinking after) said 6+ months later they still felt the positive effects –  they had lost weight, slept better & drank less than before their
“Dry January” experience.

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“Dry January is a good concept because it makes us more mindful…. I like to say, as goes January, so goes the rest of the year, I think it comes down to more balance, doing things in balance, rather than going overboard.”

Dr. Roy Buchinsky, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Some doctors feel the sudden elimination of alcohol is extreme, doesn't promote a healthy relationship with alcohol, & leads to a rebound effect later.
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For those who regularly drink heavily, suddenly eliminating alcohol can cause serious and potentially dangerous,withdrawal symptoms. But research shows it can also lead to better sleep & mood (removing a depressant that adds to winter blues).

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Universal Cancer Test?

A medical breakthrough may screen you for cancer in only
10 minutes.

It wouldn’t be able to detect where the cancer is or its severity, but it may offer cheap & fast info.

 

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How It Works

  • Blood test detects the presence of cancer cells in the body with 90% accuracy.
  • Australian researchers discovered cancerous DNA changes color when mixed with a liquid containing metal (gold nanoparticles, in this case.)
  • 10 minutes for results.
  • Not tested on humans yet. Clinical trials still needed.
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Why It Matters

  • Inexpensive, quick diagnosis: currently cancer tests require a doctor to do a biopsy of a tumor, typically requires a patient noticing a lump or symptom. Results take about a week.
  • “Instant results” health trend: development is the latest in a series of testing for HIV, strep throat, or even heart attack with results in 30 minutes or less.

 

 

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“There’s been an enormous push to advance this kind of testing, since the ability to both obtain the sample and get the results quickly shortens time to diagnosis and time to treatment, allowing for  treatment updates and changes in real time, while the patient is still in front of the physician.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie to SmartHER News
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Both the study's researchers & its critics warn its too early to call this a "holy grail" cancer test. One UCLA researcher warns he's more concerned with possible false positives, while others are troubled by those whose cancer the test didn't detect.

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The Power of Charcoal

The beauty world’s new “it” ingredient – ridding your body of toxins & impurities.

Could activated charcoal do the same for your insides? And is it safe?

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Wait, Eating Charcoal?

  • Activated charcoal (or activated carbon) is a black, odorless powder made by heating charcoal under extreme temps, creates “pores” to “trap” chemicals. 
  • Benefits claimed: prevents gas, bloating, & hangovers.
  • Potential Risks: vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
  • As supplements, charcoal pills are NOT regulated by the FDA.
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It’s Actually Not New

Emergency rooms use activated charcoal powder to treat some oral poisoning and drug overdoses. Typically given orally in a highly-concentrated form mixed with water – not a pill.

As a natural beauty product, ancient Egyptians reportedly called it “black magic” for its many uses (medicinal & for ink).

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So How Does It Work?

  • Once swallowed, it binds to the chemical or toxin in the stomach so the body can’t absorb it.
  • BUT… while ER effectiveness is proven, there are conflicting results on its ability to relieve gas or bloating.
  • No studies support its use for other afflictions, like hangovers or high cholesterol.
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Despite mixed results on its effectiveness as a supplement, it has taken off over the past year as a beauty aid. The global market for activated charcoal is expected to double by 2022 creating a $6.2 billion industry. As always, best to consult your doctor.

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CALL ME (MAYBE)

The most comprehensive study on a topic that’s played to our greatest fear for years.

Does the radiation from your cell phone cause cancer?

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The Study

  • 10-year study by the National Institutes for Health’s National Toxicology Program.
  • Rodents (rats/mice) were exposed to varying levels of radio frequency radiation (the same radiation used by certain cell phones) for 9 hrs a day for 2 yrs.
  • Lowest radiation exposure was equal to our cell phones; highest was 4x legal amount for humans.
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RESULTS:

“… clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones developed cancerous heart tumors.”

Researchers say they believe the link between radiation & tumors is “real“, however, they also admit that results are not the same for female rats, or male/female mice.

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“In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies. By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone.”

John Bucher, Ph.D., NTP senior scientist of study explaining one reason why the study can't be applied directly to humans, but also why more research is needed.
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“An important lesson that should be learned from the NTP studies is that we can no longer assume that any current or future wireless technology, including 5G, is safe without adequate testing.”

Dr. Ronald Melnick who says the FDA's response to the study is inadequate. The FDA disagrees with conclusion that there is "clear evidence" of a link between radio frequency radiation & tumors. Melnick says rodents weren't exposed to radiation that much higher than humans on cell phones.
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Researchers say their results do NOT apply to 4G - 5G networks expected to debut over the next few years. According to one research firm, Americans check their phone on average of every 12 min and look at our phone at least 80 times / day. Tips to reduce your exposure:

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