Do any weight loss pills really work?

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(MaryAnn de Pietro/ MedicalNewsToday) — When it comes to weight loss, there is no shortage of pills, drinks, and supplements claiming to help the weight fall off. But do weight loss pills help, and are they safe?

The best weight loss pills may contain one or more active ingredients intended to increase fat burning, decrease appetite,  …

Cycling won’t sabotage a man’s sex life: study

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(Maureen Salamon/ HealthDay) — Men who are avid cyclists needn’t worry that hours spent on the bike will translate into problems in the bedroom or bathroom, new research claims.

Reportedly the largest study of its kind involving bikers, swimmers and runners, the findings buck prior reports that cycling could harm sexual  …

Studies overestimate prevalence of depression, analysis shows

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(Wency Leung/ Globe and Mail) — Studies regularly overestimate the prevalence of depression, using inaccurate measures of the disorder, according to a new research paper. As a result, they may give doctors and policy makers a distorted picture of the actual demand for treatment and health-care resources, the authors warn.  …

*Best diets 2018: Weight Watchers

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Egg, bacon and avocado sandwich.

(U.S. News & World Report) — We put together a panel of health experts every year to evaluate the most popular diets in the U.S.

This year, our experts assessed 40 diets, ranking them from lowest to highest in seven categories, including the best diets for weight loss, diabetes, and heart health.   …

Working night shift could raise cancer risk

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(Alice Park/ Time) — Working the night shift is linked to a number of health issues, from heart disease to obesity to sleep disorders—and even cancer. Now, in a new report, researchers in China have found that women who work the night shift have a 19% increased risk of developing cancer compared to women do not work at night.

The  …

What are the most common highly contagious diseases?

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(Norene Anderson/ Livestrong.com) — The most common contagious diseases are categorized as bacterial, viral, fungal and protozoan. Bacteria are tiny organisms that are pathogenic (cause infectious diseases) or beneficial (aid in digestion). Viral diseases originate from a virus, a sub-microscopic agent that requires  …

Want a better workout? Just breathe

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(Tatiana Boncompagni/ New York Times) — Twice a week, often between video calls or meetings, Andrew Lowenthal takes a break from work to open an app on his phone that helps him focus on his breathing.

The payoff? Better stress management, clearer thinking at work and — to Mr. Lowenthal’s surprise — more strength and power  …

Eating fish improves kids’ IQ scores and sleep, study says

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(Susan Scutti/ CNN) — Children who eat fish once a week or more sleep better and score higher, on average, on IQ tests than children who never eat fish or do so less than once a week, according to study published last month in the journal Scientific Reports.

Studies have shown a connection between omega-3s — essential fatty  …

More pregnant women are using pot, study finds

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(Jacqueline Howard/ CNN) — More pregnant women seem to be using pot — sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety — and a new study suggests that this slight rise in marijuana use is most pronounced among those younger in age.

The prevalence of marijuana use among a sample of moms-to-be in California  …

‘My restless legs were like bees biting under my skin’

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(Sally Abrahams/ BBC News) — For years, Mary Rose struggled to get off to sleep or to stay asleep, because she felt like she was being attacked by insects.

“Imagine having a swarm of bees buzzing inside the skin of your legs, biting you,” she says, describing the sensation that overwhelmed her.

“It’s  …

Is your child’s school an obesity risk?

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(Caroline Fitzpatrick/ The Conversation) — Child obesity rates are skyrocketing globally. Young children spend the lion’s share of their time in school, consuming a large portion of their daily calories there and developing lifelong eating habits and food preferences with their peers.

Do the schools attended by children  …

Stroke: This herbal extract could improve brain function

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(Honor Whiteman/ Medical News Today) — An ancient herbal extract known as ginkgo biloba might benefit cognitive functioning after stroke, a new study suggests, when used in combination with aspirin.

Scientists have discovered that a daily dose of ginkgo biloba extract and aspirin can improve memory and “command and  …

Abortion pill will be available in Quebec as of today

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(Canadian Press) — The abortion pill will finally be available in Quebec, and paid for by the province’s health insurance plan, as of Dec. 15.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette made the announcement on Wednesday at a news conference in the National Assembly.

Following discussions with the Collège des médecins as well as  …

Is ‘man flu’ a real thing? Here’s what we know

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(Jamie Ducharme/ Time) — If you’ve ever noticed that men seem to whine about being sick far more than women do, you’re not alone. There’s even a word for the male tendency to exaggerate their suffering: “man flu.”

But are men really exaggerating, or might their experience of being sick actually feel worse than it does for women?  …

Huntington’s breakthrough may stop disease

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Peter Allen, left, has Huntington’s disease and his siblings Sandy and Frank also have the gene.

(James Gallagher/ BBC News) — The defect that causes the neurodegenerative disease Huntington’s has been corrected in patients for the first time, the BBC has learned. An experimental drug, injected into spinal   …

Yes, your daily stress can haunt your dreams

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(Tereza Pultarova/ Live Science) — After a stressful day, you may hope to find some solace in sleep. But a new study from the United Kingdom suggests that stressful experiences from your day can make their way into your dreams.

The findings, published Nov. 30 in the journal Motivation and Emotion, suggest that, even in your sleep,  …

Simple new tool could help doctors spot dementia

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(Angela Mulholland/ CTV News) — Canadian researchers say they may soon be able to easily identify adults who are on the path to Alzheimer’s disease, using a tool that works in a similar way to a pediatrician’s growth charts.

The tool, called the QuoCo (a play on the term “cognitive quotient”), allows doctors to test the  …

Sexual harassment toxic to mental, physical health

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(Dennis Thompson/ HealthDay) — From the hills of Hollywood to the halls of Congress, it’s now clear that sexual harassment in the workplace has long been a fact of life for working women.

But while the media highlights high-profile firings — NBC anchor Matt Lauer and NPR showman Garrison Keillor among the latest — little   …

Psychotherapy: Quebec to invest $35 million in mental health

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(Charlie Fidelman/ Montreal Gazette) — Quebec is investing $35 million in mental health to launch the first public psychotherapy program, the provincial health department announced Sunday.

In Quebec, as in other provinces, psychotherapy services are not part of publicly insured health-care services although psychotherapy  …

New recognition for chronic fatigue

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(Jane E. Brody/ New York Times) — Having recently endured more than a month of post-concussion fatigue, I can’t imagine how people with so-called chronic fatigue syndrome navigate through life with disabling fatigue that seemingly knows no end. Especially those who are erroneously told things like “It’s all in your  …

New booze labels in Yukon warn of cancer risk from drinking

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(CBC News) — Yukon is as a testing ground for some new types of labels on alcohol bottles, that warn of cancer risks associated with drinking, and encourage better habits.

Two new labels were unveiled at the Whitehorse Liquor Store on Wednesday. They’ll be affixed to all bottles and cans sold in the territory over the next  …

Owning a dog is good for your heart!

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(Maham Abedi/ Global News) — It seems unconditional love from a fluffy, drooling canine is one key to a healthier life — as many people already expected.

A study of more than 3.4-million people revealed that having a dog in the house is linked to living a longer life. The research, published in Scientific Reports by Uppsala University  …

Joint pain not inevitable with age

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(Jeanie Lerche Davis/ WebMD) — Creaky, achy joints. A twinge in the knee. A sharp shooting pain from the shoulder to the elbow. No big deal, right?

Wrong. All too often, we assume joint pain is a normal part of aging that we just have to learn to live with. Nothing could be further from the truth, say experts, pointing to a wealth of   …

My vagina is terrific. Your opinion about it is not

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(Jen Gunter/ New York Times) — There is a rash of men explaining vaginas to me.

That is what I have decided to name a collective of mansplainers. A murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a rash of mansplainers. In medicine a rash can be a mild annoyance that goes away and never returns. A rash can also portend a serious medical condition, even  …

Brain training game linked to lower dementia risk a decade later

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(Mallory Locklear/ New Scientist) — Could a computer brain-training program be the first effective tool for preventing dementia? The results from a decade-long study of over a thousand people suggests it might be.

Approximately 47 million people have dementia worldwide, but there are no known interventions that can be used to reduce  …

Prostate cancer: Symptoms, risk factors, and treatment

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(Christian Nordqvist/ MedicalNewsToday) — Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland, the gland that produces some of the fluid in semen and plays a role in urine control in men.

The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

In the United States (U.S.), it is the most common cancer in men, but it is   …

New guidelines mean half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure

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(Marilynn Marchione/ Associated Press) — New guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition, which now plagues nearly half of U.S. adults.

High pressure, which for decades has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, drops to 130 over 80 in advice announced  …

Bill Gates’s newest mission: Curing Alzheimer’s

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( Dr. Sanjay Gupta/ CNN) — It’s one of the holy grails of science: a cure for Alzheimer’s. Currently, there is no treatment to stop the disease, let alone slow its progression. And billionaire Bill Gates thinks he will change that.

“I believe there is a solution,” he told me without hesitation.

“Any  …

Sleep apnea may boost Alzheimer’s risk

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(Steven Reinberg/ HealthDay) — If your sleep is continually disrupted by a condition called sleep apnea, you might face a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s down the road.

So claims a new study that has linked sleep apnea with an increase in the development of amyloid plaque in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s  …

Stop using antibiotics in healthy farm animals, WHO warns

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Antibiotics in food contributing to rise of drug-resistant infections in humans, UN agency says

(Thomson Reuters/CBC News) — The World Health Organization urged farmers on Tuesday to stop using antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals because the practice fuels dangerous drug-resistant superbug  …

Menopause may trigger Alzheimer’s disease

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( Ana Sandoiu/ MedicalNewsToday) — A new study highlights the metabolic changes that occur in the brains of menopausal and perimenopausal women, suggesting that a loss of estrogen could make these women vulnerable to developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was carried out by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine  …

Fitness versus fatness: which matters more?

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(Dr. Tammy Chang and Dr. Caroline Richardson, The Conversation) — There is a longstanding debate in the research community about the importance of fitness versus fatness in health. Are exercise and improving fitness more important than eating well and maintaining a healthy weight?

Some researchers argue fatness does not affect  …

Menopause hormone therapy study misunderstood: researcher

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Dr. Robert Langer.

(D.F. McCourt/ Maclean’s) — For women of menopausal age, there are good options to reduce the symptoms of menopause, but there is also a lot of conflicting information out there. Women have to be prepared to educate themselves and advocate for themselves if they want to get appropriate treatment.

About  …

World Stroke Day: Great time to take on the No. 2 killer

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(Nancy Brown/ HuffPost) — The story seems like fiction.

A 9-year-old boy in Latin America loses his mother to a stroke. His six older siblings raise him, providing the guidance and financial support to become the only member of their generation to attend college. Then he goes to medical school. Decades later, he’s known around  …

Number of obese children jumped 10-fold since 1975

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(Meera Senthilingam/ CNN) — The number of obese children and adolescents rose to 124 million in 2016 — more than 10 times higher than the 11 million classified as obese 40 years ago, in 1975.

A further 213 million children and adolescents were overweight in 2016, finds a new study published October 10 in The Lancet. Looking  …

Scientists link dyslexia to brain spots confusing the eye

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(BBC News) — French scientists say they may have found a potential cause of dyslexia which could be treatable, hidden in tiny cells in the human eye.

In a small study they found that most dyslexics had dominant round spots in both eyes – rather than in just one – leading to blurring and confusion.

UK experts said the   …

Don’t call us crazy: the language of mental illness

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(Liz Wiener/ Wisewomen Canada) — How often do the words crazy, insane or psycho pop up in your everyday vocabulary?

Last week, Lisa and I had the opportunity to reflect on the language of mental illness when we participated in a panel discussion for Bell Let’s Talk. The topic was the evolution of mental health stigma in the media. Has  …

Huge drop in men’s sperm levels confirmed by new study

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(Dr. Chris Barratt/ The Conversation) — Sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand declined by 50-60% between 1973 and 2011, according to a new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Surprisingly, the study, which analysed data on the sperm counts of 42,935 men, found no decline in sperm  …

Could too much sitting be bad for our brains?

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(Dr. Michael Wheeler/ The Conversation) — In many aspects of life where we need to use our brain power, we also tend to sit down: at school, at work, sitting exams or concentrating on a crossword. In a new paper, we explore how prolonged sitting may affect the brain’s fuel supply and have a negative impact on brain health.

The brain is   …

Physical activity helps people worldwide

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Boosting physical activity a simple, low-cost global strategy to reduce deaths globally

(CBC News) — Each step we take reduces the overall risk of premature death, a global study reaffirms.

Researchers estimate about one in 12 deaths worldwide would be prevented if everyone exercised at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.  …

A fifth of global deaths linked to diet: study

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(Agence France-Presse) — Fewer children are dying before their fifth birthday and although humans are living longer than ever before, one in five deaths last year were linked to poor diet, researchers said Friday.

More than 1.6 million people in poor countries died in 2016 from diarrhoea caused by contaminated water and food, while  …

Manitoba mumps outbreak 100 times higher than normal

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(Kelly Malone/CBC News) — The rate of mumps in Manitoba is more than 100 times higher than usual, according to numbers from Manitoba Health.

There have been 853 confirmed cases of mumps in the province from Sept. 1, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2017.

“Normally we would have maybe eight in a year,” said Dr. Richard Rusk, a provincial  …

Beware of hype in medical science

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(Dr. Brian Goldman/CBC Radio) — Governments have been accused of trying to spin the news to their political advantage. It turns out that some medical researchers may be tempted to do the same. A study just published in PLOS Biology has uncovered a heap of hype in medical science.

Spin is defined as research conclusions that distort the  …

Is 50 the new 60?

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One in 10 men has heart a decade older than them, warns Public Health England

(Daily Telegraph) — Fifty is the new sixty for ten per cent of middle-aged men whose poor lifestyle has left them with a heart that is a decade older than their actual age, Public Health England has warned.

In 2015 the National Health Service launched its Heart  …

New nutrition study changes nothing

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Why the science of healthy eating appears confusing — but isn’t

(James Hamblin/The Atlantic) — If you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve noticed that some things are popular, and other things aren’t. The popular ones have something in common. It’s not quality, or importance, or accuracy, but novelty.

An example   …

E-cigarettes can help smokers quit, but frequency is a factor

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(CTV News) — New U.S. research has found that using e-cigarettes can be effective in helping smokers quit, but success can depend on how much smokers use them.

Carried out by researchers from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the team used data from the national Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey  …

15 hints your body gives that you may be nearing menopause

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(Reader’s Digest) — You suddenly have unexplained bruises on your body and hair on your chin? These may be early signs of the onset of menopause says Ellen Dolgen, author of the free eBook, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause.

Breast pain: Pesky hormonal fluctuations   …

High salt intake may double heart failure risk

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(HealthDay News) — A high-salt diet significantly increases the risk for heart failure.

That’s the conclusion of Finnish researchers who found that people who consume more than 13,700 milligrams of salt a day — about 2.5 teaspoons — had double the risk for heart failure than low-salt consumers.

“High salt [sodium  …

27-year-old shares painful reality of living with endometriosis

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(Huffpost Canada) — Endometriosis is a painful disorder that affects one out of every 10 women, yet the condition is still rarely talked about. That’s why one Instagram user has shared intimate photos of what the disease really looks like, to remind others with the condition that they are not alone.

In July, Thessy Kouzoukas,  …

The Case for a Breakfast Feast

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(New York Times) — Many of us grab coffee and a quick bite in the morning and eat more as the day goes on, with a medium-size lunch and the largest meal of the day in the evening. But a growing body of research on weight and health suggests we may be doing it all backward.

A recent review of the dietary patterns of 50,000 adults who are Seventh  …

Study finds 1 in 8 Americans struggles with alcohol abuse

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(CNN) — Americans are drinking more. A lot more. According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, an estimated one out of every eight Americans struggles with an alcohol disorder.

The study tracked drinking patterns among 40,000 people between the years of 2002 and 2003, and then again from 2012 to 2013 to create a long-term picture  …

Loneliness will kill you faster than obesity, study says

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(New York Post) — Loneliness is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a public health risk, experts have warned.

Those with bad social connections have a 50 percent increased risk of early death compared to those with good social connections, a review of studies on loneliness suggests.

Researchers in the US looked at 218  …

The many ineffective ways we treat nocturnal leg cramps

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(Science-Based Medicine) — If you’ve ever experienced the pain of a charley horse, then you’ll have an idea of what about half of all adults over the age of 60 experience – nocturnal leg cramps. A nocturnal leg cramp can occur in the leg or foot, and is a painful and sudden tightening of a muscle that can last from seconds to minutes,  …

Scientists edit pig genome with goal of human organ transplants

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(CNN) — Pigs may someday provide organs for human transplant surgeries, yet more than a few obstacles must be overcome first.

Using the genome-editing technology CRISPR, scientists deactivated a family of retroviruses within the pig genome overcoming a large hurdle in the path to the transplant of pig organs into humans.

Transplantation  …

Children who sleep less may age faster at a cellular level

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(New Scientist) — A lack of sleep doesn’t just turn children into a grumpy handful, it may also accelerate their cellular ageing – a process that could have long-term health effects.

Telomeres – the caps at the ends of our chromosomes – get shorter every time our cells divide, and when they get too short, it is thought that cells  …

Sperm counts down 50% in last 40 years: study

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(The Guardian) — Sperm counts among men have more than halved in the last 40 years, research suggests, although the drivers behind the decline remain unclear.

The latest findings reveal that between 1973 and 2011, the concentration of sperm in the ejaculate of men in western countries has fallen by an average of 1.4% a year, leading  …

Why we’re more bacteria than human

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(CNN) — You’ve probably heard that expression “you are what you eat.”

There’s a lot more truth to it than you may think, due to the 100 trillion microbes that make up your microbiome: a combination of fungi, bacteria and viruses that resides in your gut, primarily in the large intestine.

Researchers estimate  …

Can intense workouts lead to a life-threatening condition?

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(CNN)— When Christopher Michael Everett went to his first SoulCycle class, he gave it his all. He sat in the front of the class, cranked the resistance on his bike and started pedalling.

Within the first five to 10 minutes, his thighs began to hurt and feel abnormal. But he powered through the pain and stuck it out until the end of the class.  …

Estrogen levels linked to depression risk in women: study

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(Reader’s Digest) — If you find yourself feeling blue during menopause, there may be a really good reason why.

Hormones can trigger a roller coaster of emotions in women. From the severe mood swings of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) to an PMS-driven increase in anxiety, hormones can wreak havoc on a woman’s emotional  …

Doc Google isn’t always the best choice

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(NPR) — It’s not just anxious parents-to-be that are Googling health-related questions. People have been turning to the Internet for medical answers for years, and misinformation is nothing new.

“I would say on any given day, it’s probably at least 50 percent of patients who say something about the Internet,”  …

Not all plant-based diets are created equal

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(CBS News) — For years, the mantra has been that eating lots of fruits, vegetables and grains will ward off heart disease, but a new study suggests that choosing the wrong ones may backfire.

The study, of over 200,000 U.S. health professionals, found those who ate plenty of healthy plant foods — such as vegetables, beans and whole  …

The battle over Essure

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WASHINGTON POST

Some people see a breakthrough in female contraception. Others see a dangerous medical device.

(Washington Post) — One night in April 2015, Keisha Carney tried to go to bed in spite of a bad toothache, which turned into an even worse headache — the kind that doesn’t let you sleep. “I couldn’t stand still. I was  …

Want to be happy? Buy more takeout and hire a maid, study suggests

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(New York Times) — It’s a question central to daily life: Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money? Well, if happiness is the goal, you might consider opening that wallet.

That’s the takeaway of a study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, whose findings suggest that spending  …

Is rule that patients must finish antibiotics course wrong?

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(The Guardian) — Telling patients to stop taking antibiotics when they feel better may be preferable to instructing them to finish the course, according to a group of experts who argue that the rule long embedded in the minds of doctors and the public is wrong and should be overturned.

Patients have traditionally been told that they   …

Coconut oil: are the health benefits a big fat lie?

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(The Guardian) — It wasn’t that long ago that the closest most Britons got to a coconut was at the fairground or on the inside of a Bounty bar. Yet in the past three years, this hard, hairy drupe (that’s the official term) of the coconut palm tree has emerged as the latest “superfood” extolled by celebrities and health food shops  …

Green, yellow, or brown phlegm: What does it mean?

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(Medical News Today) — Phlegm is a type of mucus that is produced in the lungs and nearby lower respiratory tract airways. This kind of mucus has a crucial role in preventing germs and materials from entering the airways and lungs and potentially causing an infection.

Other areas of the body, including the upper respiratory tract   …

Patients with emergency surgery delays have higher risk of dying, study finds

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(Canadian Press) — Patients whose emergency surgeries are delayed due to a lack of operating room resources have an increased risk of death or a need for extra recovery time in hospital, a Canadian study suggests.

Researchers at the Ottawa Hospital found surgical delays for patients with serious injuries or life-threatening conditions  …

Does night shift work hurt DNA repair?

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(Amy Norton, HealthDay News) — When people work the night shift, their bodies might have less capacity to repair everyday damage to cells’ DNA, a small study hints.

The research found that people excreted lower levels of a chemical called 8-OH-dG when they worked at night. That might be a sign that the body’s ability to   …

Science has begun taking gluten seriously

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“Not only does gluten not cause heart disease in the general population, but people who go gluten-free seem to actually be putting themselves at an increased risk of heart disease, insofar as it means eating fewer whole grains,” says James Hamblin, MD, a senior editor at The Atlantic.

“This discovery is among  …

Pink eye needs ‘to run its course,’ say ophthalmologists

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The majority of people with conjunctivitis have a viral form that does not respond to antibiotics, CBC reports. “People with red, itchy eyes and light sensitivity from pink eye are often prescribed antibiotic eye drops that are rarely needed and in some cases prolong symptoms, according to ophthalmology researchers  …

Is your memory normal for your age?

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According to Toronto Star medical columnist Dr Nicole Anderson, many older adults mistakenly interpret normal effects of ageing on memory for the onset of Alzheimer’s. While forgetting the names of one’s loved ones may be a sign of dementia, forgetting the names of acquaintances is pretty normal for anyone over 40,  …

Here are some apps to help you quit smoking

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Some find stop-smoking applications helpful.

Quitting smoking for many people is one of the most difficult tasks they’ll ever take on, yet one of the most rewarding things you can do to improve your health and life expectancy. Your CME doctor can help you figure out a stop-smoking strategy that works for you, but there are lots of options  …