Excessive Endurance Training Can Be Deadly

Micah True, legendary ultra-marathoner, died suddenly while on a routine 12-mile training run March 27, 2012. The mythic Caballo Blanco in the best-selling book, Born to Run, True would run as far as 100 miles in a day. On autopsy his heart was enlarged and scarred; he died of a lethal arrhythmia (irregularity of the … Continue reading

The Richest, Fattest Nation

HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS According to recent studies, roughly half of adults and a third of children in Qatar are obese, and almost 17 percent of the native population suffers from diabetes. By comparison, about a third of Americans are obese, and eight percent are diabetic. Qatar also has very high rates of birth defects and … Continue reading

Recharging your Immune system

Some people seem to catch everything that is doing the rounds, from coughs and colds to stomach bugs. Other people never seem to get ill. What’s their secret? A lot is down to dumb luck. There are some things affecting the performance of your immune system that you cannot change: your age, your gender, your … Continue reading

Screening for heart problems?

Andy Coghlan The collapse of footballer Fabrice Muamba on live television on 17 March has sparked a debate about how often athletes should be screened for heart abnormalities. Could regular screening prevent sudden cardiac arrests?   What abnormalities actually cause sudden cardiac death? The most common one, accounting for about 35 per cent of cases, … Continue reading

Drug resistant malaria takes new ground

Robert Fortner A resident of Myanmar with a severe case of malaria. In Southeast Asia, drug-resistant malaria may have evolved resistance to another frontline therapy and established itself in new territory in western Thailand, according to the World Health Organization. The new area in Thailand joins previous hot spots in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, with … Continue reading

Bulgur: Natural Weight-Loss Food

This Middle Eastern staple sounds more exotic than it is; bulgur is what’s left after wheat kernels have been steamed, dried, and crushed. This cereal grain has been a food staple for years because it offers an inexpensive source of low-fat protein, making it a wonderfully nutritious addition to your low-calorie meal plan. High in … Continue reading

Daddy Issues

Why caring for my aging father has me wishing he would die Sandra Tsing Loh Recently, a colleague at my radio station asked me, in the most cursory way, as we were waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, how I was. To my surprise, in a motion as automatic as the reflex of a … Continue reading

Anti-Inflammatory Polyphenols in Apple Peels

Here’s another reason why "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" — according to new research findings published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, oral ingestion of apple polyphenols (antioxidants found in apple peels) can suppress T cell activation to prevent colitis in mice. This study is the first to show a role for … Continue reading

Some Plant-Based Food Supplements Contain High Levels of Cancer Causing Agents

ScienceDaily (Dec. 12, 2011) — While many consumers equal ‘natural’ with ‘safe’, botanicals and botanical preparations such as plant-based food supplements may contain compounds, like the so called alkenylbenzenes, that are of concern for human health. At high doses these chemical compounds can cause liver cancer in experimental animals. A new study, published in the … Continue reading

The Most Dangerous Over-the-Counter Drug

Hint: It’s not Plan B. Brian Palmer Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s recommendation that emergency contraception be made available over the counter to patients of all ages on Wednesday. Her argument was that its effects on 11-year-olds have not been thoroughly studied. Critics pointed out that many over-the-counter drugs are … Continue reading

A Biochemist in Chains

Chronic fatigue is a frustrating disease, and the scientific community isn’t helping. How did the study of chronic fatigue syndrome come to this? Julie Rehmeyer Two years ago, Judy Mikovits and the Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease were triumphant. Mikovits had just published a report in Science pointing to a retrovirus called XMRV as the … Continue reading

Autism meets geeks

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen thinks scientists and engineers could be more likely to have a child with autism. Some researchers say the proof isn’t there. Lizzie Buchen In the opening scene of The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg portrays a cold Mark Zuckerberg getting dumped by his girlfriend, who is exasperated by the future Facebook founder’s socially … Continue reading

The Gap between Psychology and God

A Harvard psychologist is developing evidence-based treatments for the devout Sarah Estes Graham and Jesse Graham A recent study led by Harvard Medical School’s David Rosmarin was undertaken to close this gap between the sacred and the profane in clinical practice. Studying hundreds of devoutly religious Jews and Christians, the researchers explored what religious cognitions … Continue reading

Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Add a Decade or More Healthy Years to the Average Lifespan

Health prevention strategies to help Canadians achieve their optimal health potential could add a decade or more of healthy years to the average lifespan and save the economy billions of dollars as a result of reduced cardiovascular disease, says noted cardiologist Dr. Clyde Yancy. Dr. Yancy, who will deliver the Heart and Stroke Foundation of … Continue reading

Measles cases up in U.S. and Canada

Both countries report highest numbers in 15 years Nathan Seppa BOSTON — Measles, a preventable disease that has been largely vanquished in the United States, continues to show up sporadically in the population as unvaccinated people traveling to other countries unwittingly bring back infections, researchers report. Data released at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases … Continue reading


Chemical tags outside DNA are linked to extended life span in generations of roundworms Tina Hesman Saey Although long life can be inherited, it doesn’t necessarily happen through the genes. A new study shows that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of long-lived roundworms live five to six days longer than usual even though they no longer … Continue reading

Cell phones and cancer

John Timmer Despite numerous studies indicating that cell phones pose no health risk to their users, a few studies have been released that suggest prolonged use might contribute to brain cancer. For the World Health Organization, that was enough to declare the phones "possibly carcinogenic" and to call for further studies on the link. At … Continue reading

Does smoking pot give you the blues?

It may be in the genes John Timmer There have been a number of controversial studies that have linked long-term marijuana use with various forms of mental illness (including at least one we’ve covered). However, the effects of short-term use have generally seemed to be pretty minor. But a new study of Dutch teens suggests … Continue reading

Water, Water Everywhere

What’s the best-tasting kind of water? Julia Felsenthal If you were born before the year 1990, you may remember the days when bottled water meant a choice between Evian (on the tennis court), Perrier (as an aperitif), and Hinckley and Schmidt (in a paper cup at your doctor’s office). You may remember that when you … Continue reading

Bumpy nipple smells guide babies to milk

Linda Geddes YOU may not wonder why women have bumps around their nipples but it has bemused many. Now the mystery has been solved. Smelly secretions released from the nipples of women who have just given birth may help babies find and extract their mother’s milk. During pregnancy, women often notice an increase in the … Continue reading

Cars have evolved to go faster – but humans haven’t

Faster, safer modern cars may make higher speed limits appealing, but the human body is still stuck in the slow lane Frank McKenna  Whenever a speed limit change is proposed there is a good deal of public debate. The British government’s recent call to allow drivers to do 80 miles per hour (129 kilometres per … Continue reading

Increased Prostate Cancer Risk from Vitamin E Supplements

Men who took 400 international units (I.U.) of vitamin E daily had more prostate cancers compared to men who took a placebo, according to an updated review of data from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). The findings showed that, per 1,000 men, there were 76 prostate cancers in men who took … Continue reading

Eating Your Greens Can Change the Effect of Your Genes On Heart Disease

A long-held mantra suggests that you can’t change your family, the genes they pass on, or the effect of these genes. Now, an international team of scientists, led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities, is attacking that belief. The researchers discovered the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease can actually be … Continue reading

Green Tea Helps Keep Off Extra Pounds

Green tea may slow down weight gain and serve as another tool in the fight against obesity, according to Penn State food scientists. Obese mice that were fed a compound found in green tea along with a high-fat diet gained weight significantly more slowly than a control group of mice that did not receive the … Continue reading

Excess Fat Storage and Obesity

A team of scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and Yale University have begun to unravel the complex process by which cells take in and store microscopic fat molecules, suggesting new directions for further research into solutions for obesity and its related conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. In a … Continue reading

Follow the Odor and CO2

Flight Patterns Reveal How Mosquitoes Find Hosts to Transmit Deadly Diseases The carbon dioxide we exhale and the odors our skins emanate serve as crucial cues to female mosquitoes on the hunt for human hosts to bite and spread diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever. Two entomologists at the University of California, Riverside … Continue reading

Does Public Nudity Spread Disease?

Not especially. Michael Thomsen Can you catch a cold, or worse, from nudists? A proposed law in San Francisco would require the city’s nudists to cover public seats with a protective barrier before sitting down. Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the bill, claims that sharing bus seats, cafe benches, and restaurant chairs with naked people … Continue reading

Vigorous Daily Exercise Recommended for a Longer Life

A study conducted among cyclists in Copenhagen, Denmark showed that it is the relative intensity and not the duration of cycling which is of most importance in relation to all-cause mortality and even more pronounced for coronary heart disease mortality. The study, presented at the ESC Congress 2011, concluded that men with fast intensity cycling … Continue reading

How U.S. Learned the Wrong Health Lessons From 9/11

Brandon Keim In the fall of 2001, the United States was confronted by two major public health challenges: the anthrax mailings and threat of a biological attack, and the subtler but ultimately more harmful plume of toxic dust that that rose from Ground Zero. The country was prepared for neither. In the months and years … Continue reading

Philosophical counselors rely on eternal wisdom of great thinkers

Emily Wax Patricia Anne Murphy is a philosopher with a real-world mission. Murphy may have a PhD and an intimate knowledge of Aristotle and Descartes, but in her snug Takoma Park bungalow, she’s helping a broken-hearted patient struggle through a divorce. Instead of offering the wounded wife a prescription for Effexor — which she’s not … Continue reading

Weight Loss Without the Hunger: Eat a Lighter Lunch

Losing weight without a grumbling stomach or expensive liquid diet can be as simple as eating a lighter lunch, finds a new Cornell University study to be published in the October issue of the journal Appetite. Participants who ate portion-controlled lunches did not compensate by eating more calories later in the day, leading researchers to … Continue reading

Vitamin C May Be Beneficial for Asthmatic Children

Depending on the age of asthmatic children, on their exposure to molds or dampness in their bedroom, and on the severity of their asthma, vitamin C has greater or smaller beneficial effect against asthma, according to a study published in the journal Clinical and Translational Allergy. Proposals that vitamin C might be beneficial in the … Continue reading

Generic Drugs vs. Brand Name Drugs

Generic drugs are considered “just as good” as their more expensive brand-name counterparts—but, as one writer experienced, in certain circumstances their effects can be dangerously different. By Michael Kennedy, Reader’s Digest Canada, September 2011 issue Back in 2009, when I was a graduate student, I was studying late at the University of Western Ontario and … Continue reading

Can Leucine Help Burn Fat and Spare Muscle Tissue During Exercise?

Research on Mt. Everest climbers is adding to the evidence that an amino acid called leucine — found in foods, dietary supplements, energy bars and other products — may help people burn fat during periods of food restriction, such as climbing at high altitude, while keeping their muscle tissue. It was one of two studies … Continue reading

Free To Be IUD

Will new insurance coverage make the intrauterine device America’s favorite contraceptive? Amanda Marcotte Will Obamacare make the IUD more prevalent? For years now, the IUD has supposedly been poised for its big comeback. Doctors, reproductive health advocates, and countless articles in the popular press have sung its praises for being more effective than the pill, … Continue reading

Surgeons may be adapting to ‘safe’ X-ray doses

Jessica Hamzelou Hospital workers exposed regularly to "safe" levels of X-rays have experienced changes at the cellular level that might prove beneficial. Gian Luigi Russo and colleagues at Italy’s National Research Council took blood samples from 10 cardiologists who are exposed to 4 millisieverts of radiation per year from X-ray-guided surgery. Those levels are slightly … Continue reading

Being Married Affects Heart and Waist

Married women gain weight, but survive bypass surgery better than unmarried people do. Katherine Harmon reports on two studies Marriage can have its ups and downs. New research shows that in the first couple years after marriage, women are much more likely than men to gain weight. For men, it’s divorce that often leads to … Continue reading

Three years more life for 15 minutes’ exercise a day

Andy Coghlan Calling all couch potatoes. You can live an extra three years if you exercise for just 15 minutes a day – half the 30-minute minimum prescribed by the World Health Organization. That’s the heart-warming news from an eight-year study on 400,000 people of all ages in Taiwan. Further studies will be needed to … Continue reading

Female genital mutilation becomes less common in Egypt

Wendy Zukerman After a decade of failed attempts to stop female genital mutilation (FGM) – or female circumcision – in Egypt, the practice is finally becoming less common. In 1996 the Egyptian government banned FGM in hospitals – but because licensed practitioners were still allowed to perform the surgery elsewhere, it continued. A 2006 survey … Continue reading

Moderate drinking protects against Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment

Moderate social drinking may significantly reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, suggests an analysis of 143 studies by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers. Researchers reviewed studies dating to 1977 that included more than 365,000 participants. Moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease and … Continue reading

New Role for Protein in Hearing

University of Iowa scientists have discovered a new role for a protein that is mutated in Usher syndrome, one of the most common forms of deaf-blindness in humans. The findings, which were published Aug. 8 in Nature Neuroscience, may help explain why this mutation causes the most severe form of the condition. The study suggests … Continue reading

Slowing the Allergic March

A pandemic of ailments called the "allergic march" — the gradual acquisition of overlapping allergic diseases that commonly begins in early childhood — has frustrated both parents and physicians. For the last three decades, an explosion of eczema, food allergies, hay fever, and asthma have afflicted children in the United States, the European Union, and … Continue reading

Drug Resistance From Aquaculture?

Maryn McKenna In the midst of the giant Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak last week — now up to 107 cases in 31 states, and triggering a recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey — it was easy to miss that a second and even more troubling strain of resistant Salmonella is on the move. As … Continue reading

Agnes the ageing suit

James Crabtree As the world’s population gets older, how are we going to manage? Innovative approaches are being developed at the MIT Age Lab James Crabtree climbs into the Agnes ageing suit, designed to mimic the physical restrictions of old age. A plastic inner harness and elastic bands attached to the feet and hands imitate … Continue reading

If you care about your sperm,

watch out for secondhand smoke Kate Shaw Listen up, guys! There are plenty of rumors that tight pants can decrease your sperm count, and that keeping your cell phone in your pocket can contribute to cancer in some delicate areas. As if you didn’t have enough worry about down there, now there’s another potential threat, … Continue reading


To Treat, or Not to Treat? The possibility of treating aging is not just an idle fantasy David Gems The 20th century brought both profound suffering and profound relief to people around the world. On the one hand, it produced political lunacy, war and mass murder on an unprecedented scale. But there were also extraordinary … Continue reading

Ending the War on Salt

Melinda Wenner Moyer  Image: TooFarNorth/Flickr For decades, policy makers have tried and failed to get Americans to eat less salt. In April 2010 the Institute of Medicine urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the amount of salt that food manufacturers put into products; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already convinced … Continue reading

Egyptian Fenugreek Seeds Blamed for Deadly E. coli Outbreak

Gretchen Vogel BERLIN—European and German officials say they have identified fenugreek seeds from Egypt as the source of the deadly outbreak of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) that has sickened more than 4000 people and killed 49. In a report released today, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that a specific lot of seeds imported … Continue reading

More Sleep Means Better Performance for Athletes

Erik Malinowski More than tweaking nutrition or adjusting a workout regimen, there’s something more tangible and important that athletes (as well as perhaps we regular folk) can do to improve their performance: sleep more. Researchers at Stanford University took 11 players from its men’s basketball squad and gave them a simple directive: Get at least … Continue reading

Landing Your Kid in Therapy

Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods. A therapist and mother reports. By Lori Gottlieb Lou Brooks If there’s one thing I learned in graduate school, it’s that the poet Philip Larkin was right. (“They fuck you up, your mum and dad, / They may not mean to, … Continue reading