Lack of quality sleep has previously been associated with a number of poor health outcomes including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stoke. After questioning 481 chronic low back pain patients, a team of South Korean researchers reports that 43% of the patients developed mild-to-severe insomnia after they developed back pain. They further note that back pain patients who also had musculoskeletal pain in at least one other body site were over eight times more likely to report sleeping difficulties. The Korean Journal of Pain, April 2015
Flavonoids are compounds found in foods such as tea, chocolate, red wine, fruit, and vegetables that have been associated with a reduced risk of death from cancer and some cardiovascular-related diseases. A new study that followed 1,063 elderly women for five years found that those with the highest intake of flavonoids were over 30% less likely to die from any cause over the course of the study than the participants with the lowest flavonoid intake. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2015
Can yoga help seniors remain flexible as they age? To test this premise, 22 older adults practiced yoga and 20 elderly men and women practiced calisthenics for a year, while 24 seniors served as a control group. One year later, the researchers found the control group experienced a reduction in overall flexibility while the yoga and calisthenics groups scored higher on flexibility assessments compared to their scores from the start of the study. However, those in the yoga group scored four times higher on flexibility assessments than those in the calisthenics group suggesting that the slow and passive movements found in yoga are more helpful in improving flexibility than the fast and dynamic movements of a calisthenics routine. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, September 2014
A new study finds that cloth towels can easily become contaminated with the dangerous germs that can cause foodborne illness and may be the top contamination hazard in your kitchen. Previous studies have found that bacteria commonly found in raw meat and poultry can grow on cloth towels overnight, even if they are washed and rinsed in the sink. Food Protection Trends, March 2015
Mental Attitude: Can Boredom Be Good for You?
The conclusion of a new report suggests that boredom can actually lead to creativity. Researchers found that participants who completed a boring task were more creative afterwards than a control group that was assigned more interesting work. University of Central Lancashire psychologist Dr. Sandi Mann believes it is important for children to be bored. She adds, “Unlike so many parents today, I am quite happy when my kids whine that they are bored. Finding ways to amuse themselves is an important skill.” The Psychologist, March 2015
Chiropractic: Workplace Bullying Affects the Body Too!
An analysis of twelve previously published studies regarding workplace bullying estimates that 11% of employees are subjected to abuse at some level. Along with the emotional problems that arise from such workplace conflict, the authors of the study note that victims are also at greater risk for musculoskeletal complaints, especially neck pain. Innovations in Clinic Neuroscience, February 2015
Wellness/Prevention: Keep Kidney Stones at Bay.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends the following to reduce kidney stone risk: drink two liters of water per day, limit sodium to no more than 1,500mg per day, and limit meat to two servings daily of no more of 6-8 ounces (~170-227g) each. American Academy of Family Physicians, April 2015
Quote: “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain
Health Alert: E-Cigarettes May Pose Risk to Developing Teenage Brains.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that e-cigarette usage by teenagers could be detrimental to their ongoing health. Experts from the CDC note that published studies indicate that nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the areas of the brain responsible for thinking and language development, as well as short-term and long-term memory. Dr. Tim McAfee, the director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health writes, “Although e-cigarettes have some benefit among adult smokers if they are used as a complete substitute for all tobacco products, e-cigarettes should not be used by youth and adult non-tobacco users because of the harmful effects of nicotine and the risk of progression to other forms of tobacco use.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 2015
Mental Attitude: Brains of Anorexics React Differently to Hunger.
An abnormal brain response to hunger signals appears to be the reason people develop the eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa. After analyzing the neural function of 23 women who had recovered from anorexia, researchers found a decreased reward response in the brain, even in the presence of hunger. Senior author Dr. Walter Kaye adds, “Our study suggests that brain circuitry differences in anorexics make them less sensitive to reward and the motivational drive of hunger. Put another way, hunger does not motivate them to eat.” Biological Psychiatry, March 2015
Chiropractic: Unstable Shoes May Help Back Pain Patients.
Shoes with curved soles, known as unstable shoes, were developed to help strengthen lower extremity muscles and reduce joint loading on the knees and ankles. A new study looked at the effect unstable shoes have on the mid-body and found that the use of such footwear increases muscle activity in the core, particularly in the muscles that help maintain posture. The researchers conclude, “[The] use of unstable shoes may have potential implications in promoting spine tissue health, particularly in strengthening trunk muscles in healthy population or in low back pain treatment.” European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitative Medicine, April 2015