Wacky Health Claims That May Not Be True

allergy-18656_640Just because something is published in a science journal or reported on the news doesn’t mean it’s true. You need to look at how a study is designed, as well as decide if it seems to make sense. There’s a lot of ways statistics can be used to make information seem true, when in fact it may not be.

In a scientific study that claims separation anxiety from your iPhone can actually make you dumber. That’s right — test subjects got so anxious when separated from their iPhones their heart rate and blood pressure went up, and their ability to solve puzzles went down. Did this actually make them less smart? Were they forgetting dates and ways to add? No way. Maybe they briefly had trouble solving a complicated puzzle, but I don’t think it really makes us stupid, despite what the headline might say.

Here’s some other health advice that you should think twice about.

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What is Oil Pulling?

10059605564_acd8d0874b_hOil pulling – swishing sesame or sunflower oil around the mouth without swallowing for 15 to 20 minutes every morning – is an Ayurvedic practice that is promoted as a way to prevent a host of health concerns related to the mouth. These include the prevention of:

  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dryness of the throat
  • Cracked lips

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Blood_Glucose_Testing_-_Kolkata_2011-07-25_3982Lifestyle changes and medicines are equally effective in preventing men and women with prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, a new analysis finds.

Previous research has shown that lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet and regular exercise, and use of medicines to lower blood sugar levels can delay or prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes in people with prediabetes.

However, it wasn’t known what effect, if any, gender might have on the effectiveness of these interventions, the researchers from Austria said.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review that assessed potential sex-specific differences in effects of preventive interventions in prediabetic people,” wrote Dr. Anna Glechner, of Danube University Krems, and Dr. Jurgen Harreiter, of the Medical University of Vienna, and colleagues.

People with type 2 diabetes don’t make or use the hormone insulinproperly. Insulin is needed to convert glucose from food into energy. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, is linked to being overweight and sedentary.

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fitness-332278_640Instead of taking a pill, taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert’s “Ave Maria” may give a boost to the body’s defense system, according to new research

Scientists from the University of California Berkeley have linked positive emotions – especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality – with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder.

“Our findings demonstrate that positive emotions are associated with the markers of good health,” said Jennifer Stellar, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study, which she conducted while at UC Berkeley.

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thick-373064_640The heart disease and diabetes that often accompany obesity may rob people of almost a decade of life and close to two decades of a healthy life, Canadian researchers report.

“Not only is excess body weight associated with a significant reduction in life expectancy, but with an even greater reduction in healthy life years,” said lead researcher Dr. Steven Grover, a professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

“While losing weight or exercising regularly is not easy for many of us, the potential benefits are huge,” he said.

For example, Grover said, a modest reduction in weight of about 10 pounds and as little as 30 minutes of daily physical activity most days of the week have been proven to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by as much as 60 percent.

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Green tea ingredient may kill oral cancer cells

Morning_cup_of_green_teaA compound found in green tea may trigger a cycle that kills oral cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, according to Penn State food scientists. The research could lead to treatments for oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer.

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.

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Is Aspirin A Day Worth the Risk?

Regular_strength_enteric_coated_aspirin_tabletsStudies have shown that aspirin, the age old remedy for pain and fever, also thins the blood. Because of this property, it can also help to lower the chances of a heart attack or a stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain. And, although research has found that it only works in certain people (specifically, those with a history of heart attack or stroke) many Americans are inappropriately taking daily, low doses of aspirin as a preventative measure. In fact, researchers have found that about 12 percent of the of nearly 69,000 U.S. adults taking aspirin on a long-term basis should not have received the prescription in the first place. Dr. Ravi Hira, cardiologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston as well as the study’s head researcher, said that the group’s odds of suffering a heart attack or stroke were not high enough (6 percent or higher within 10 years) to outweigh the risks of daily aspirin use.

So, while aspirin may seem like a quick-and-easy way to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, it’s not quite as simple as you might think.

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How to Lower your LDL Without Harmful Drugs

avocadoMagnesium, like many trace elements is used by our bodies to perform many un-noticed tasks.

Here we see it can easily and safely be used in place of statins and other harmful drugs.

World wide, millions of people take a statin based drug each day to help lower the high levels of LDL (the ‘BAD’ form of cholesterol) .

While these are well known and commonly prescribed drugs, what is not as well known are the wide range of harmful side affects such as decreased insulin sensitivity, organ damage, muscle & sexual dysfunction.

There is, however, good news as US scientists* have concluded that a common mineral supplementoffers a much safer and effective way to combat high cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease than do statin based drugs.

In fact, total cholesterol levels can be lowered by as much as 23%. The mineral in question is magnesium. It works in a similar way to statin by inactivating an enzyme HMG CoA reductase, (HMG formation is the first of many steps in the formation of cholesterol.) Magnesium has yet further benefits towards a healthy heart in that it helps to increase the activity of a beneficial enzyme LCAT which helps to elevate the ’good’ HDL cholesterol.

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Avoid Dementia with Healthy Lifestyle

13584160763_cd0f334e03_hA healthy diet, physical activity and brain exercises can help slow mental decline in older people at risk fordementia, a new study suggests.

On the other hand, a high body-mass index (BMI) and poor heart health are significant risk factors for age-related dementia, the researchers said. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight.

The study included 1,260 people in Finland, aged 60 to 77, who were considered to be at high risk for dementia. They were randomly selected to receive either regular health advice (the control group) or to be part of an intervention group.

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Having Purpose May Help with Better Health

2099447856_d103404620_bLiving your life with a strong sense of purpose may lower your risk for early death, heart attack or stroke, new research suggests.

The finding is based on a broad review of past research involving more than 137,000 people in all.

“Psychosocial conditions such as depression,anxiety, chronic stress and social isolation have strong associations with heart disease and mortality,” said study lead author Dr. Randy Cohen, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City.

Recently, however, attention has focused on the impact that positive emotions have on overall health and well-being, he said.

“Purpose in life is considered a basic psychological need, and has been defined as a sense of meaning and direction in one’s life, which gives the feeling that life is worth living,” he explained.

The research team reviewed 10 published studies. The average follow-up was 8.5 years.

Compared to people with a low sense of purpose, those possessing a strong sense of purpose had a 23 percent reduced risk of death from any cause, the researchers found.

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