Summary of “Fresh Air: ‘Doing Harm’ By Maya Dusenbery”

Fresh Air: ‘Doing Harm’ By Maya Dusenbery : Shots – Health News Journalist Maya Dusenbery argues that medicine has a “Systemic and unconscious bias” against women that is rooted in “What doctors, regardless of their own gender, are learning in medical schools.”
We still don’t know that women are necessarily adequately represented in all areas of research, because the NIH looks at the aggregate numbers, and the outside analyses that have been done show that women are still a little bit underrepresented.
Even though women are usually included in most studies today, it’s still not the norm to really analyze results by gender to actually see if there are differences between men and women.
Women are included, but we’re still not getting the knowledge we need about ways that their symptoms or responses to treatment might differ from men.
On why some medicine affects men and women differently – and how that results in women receiving excessive doses of most drugs.
So there’s been a concerted effort to go back and compare women’s experiences to men’s, which has led to the knowledge that women are more likely to have what are considered to be atypical symptoms.
One study found it was younger women – so women under 55 – were seven times more likely than the average patient to be sent home mid-heart attack.
So conditions like autoimmune diseases that really are marked by these subjective symptoms of pain and fatigue, I think, are very easy to dismiss in women.

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Summary of “The DASH Diet Helps Depression Symptoms”

In a recently released abstract, researchers studying 964 elderly participants over six and a half years found those who followed the DASH diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, had lower rates of depression, while those who ate a traditional Western diet were more prone to depression.
“Medications to treat depression are wonderful, but for many people, it’s going to be a combination of things.”
The study has not been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal, but other researchers have found similar antidepression benefits from the DASH diet, which was developed by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Past research has found that following the DASH diet was associated with reduced depression in adolescent girls and with less physician-diagnosed depression among thousands of Spaniards.
The evidence suggests diet improves depression symptoms even when controlling for factors like income or education, says Felice Jacka, a professor of nutritional psychiatry at Australia’s Deakin University.
Jacka found in 2010 that women who ate a diet high in produce, meat, fish, and whole grains had lower odds of major depression and anxiety than others.
Jacka told me that at this point, the connection between diet and depression is so well-established that more studies like Cherian’s aren’t really necessary.
The DASH diet itself is nothing revolutionary-a typical dinner consists of a lean meat, baked potato, and lots of vegetables.

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Summary of “Want to Raise Happy Kids? Science Says Limit Screen Time to Exactly This Amount Per Day”

It’s nearing ubiquity now, and a new study using longitudinal data from more than 1 million U.S. teenagers says it’s likely this sudden and dramatic spike in the use of smartphones that has negatively impacted happiness.
Instead, they crunch the numbers and concludes that there’s potentially a reasonable amount of smartphone use-above zero-that correlates with greater happiness.
Writing in the journal Emotion, researchers “Found that teens who spent more time in front of screen devices-playing computer games, using social media, texting and video chatting-were less happy than those who invested more time in non-screen activities like sports, reading newspapers and magazines, and face-to-face social interaction.”
The difference here is the recognition that teens can report less happiness if they use smartphones too rarely, too.
In general, the sweet spot for reasonable screen time that doesn’t inhibit happiness is somewhere between one and two hours per day.
“The key to digital media use and happiness is limited use,” study co-author Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, said in a university press release.
“Aim to spend no more than two hours a day on digital media, and try to increase the amount of time you spend seeing friends face-to-face and exercising-two activities reliably linked to greater happiness.”
Or, perhaps there could be unrelated factors: a rise in academic pressure, for example, or a general lowering of happiness among all Americans, regardless of age.

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Summary of “Spouses Who Have This 1 View of Their Partner are Twice as Happy in Life”

Another is the desire to publicly commit to your best friend that you will be with him or her forever, no matter what.
The study in question, out of the National Bureau of Economic Research, is creatively titled, “How’s Life at Home? New Evidence on Marriage and the Set Point for Happiness.” One of its main findings is that individuals who consider their spouse to be their best friend are more satisfied with their lives overall.
“[T]hose who are best friends with their partners have the largest well-being benefits from marriage and cohabitation, even when controlling for pre-marital well-being levels,” the researchers state.
“The wellbeing benefits of marriage are on average about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend.”
As stated, roughly half of the individuals in the study listed their partner as their best friend; half didn’t.
The scientists controlled for age, gender, income, health status, and previous life satisfaction.
A best friend is someone you can call anytime, anywhere, without feeling like they’ll resent you for it.
If you’re already married to the person you consider your best friend, then this kind of research determination is cause for celebration.

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Summary of “The Strange, Uplifting Tale of “Joy of Cooking” Versus the Food Scientist”

So it came as a shock, in 2009, when the prestigious scholarly journal Annals of Internal Medicine published a study under the pointed headline “The Joy of Cooking Too Much.” The study’s lead author, Brian Wansink, who runs Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, had made his reputation with a series of splashy studies on eating behavior-in 2005 his famous “Bottomless Bowls” study concluded that people will eat soup indefinitely if their supply is constantly replenished.
For “The Joy of Cooking Too Much,” Wansink and his frequent collaborator, the New Mexico State University professor Collin R. Payne, had examined the cookbook’s recipes in multiple “Joy” editions, beginning with the 1936 version, and determined that their calorie counts had increased over time by an average of forty-four per cent.
In an interview with the L.A. Times, Wansink said that he’d decided to analyze “Joy” because he was looking for culprits in the obesity epidemic beyond fast food and other unhealthy restaurant cooking.
With the help of Rombauer’s biographer, they posted a response on the “Joy” Web site criticizing some of Wansink’s methods and calling attention to his sample size-out of the approximately forty-five hundred recipes that appear in later editions, he’d chosen eighteen, a mere 0.004 per cent of the book’s content.
The study turned up again and again over the years, becoming part of the conventional wisdom on obesity-a “Stand-in,” as Becker puts it, for the “Sad American Diet.” A cartoon that was commissioned by Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab and published with the original study depicts a beefy newer edition of the book haranguing an older edition, jeering at its brother, “I have 44% more calories per serving than you do!” Wansink’s tiny sample set, especially, gnawed at the couple.
In his study report, Wansink explained the size as a methodological necessity, writing that “Since the first edition in 1936, only 18 recipes have been continuously published in each subsequent edition.” But, in researching the cookbook’s ninth edition, Becker and Scott had created an encyclopedic catalogue of thousands of legacy “Joy” recipes, and they counted several hundred recipes that had remained comparable from one edition to the next.
Lee’s article-which was based on interviews with Cornell Food and Brand Lab employees, and also private e-mails from within the lab, which were obtained through a public-records request-showed that Wansink regularly urged his staff to work the other way around: to manipulate sets of data in order to find patterns and then reverse-engineer hypotheses based on those conclusions.
Around the same time, Becker sent his own vast archive of material related to Wansink’s study-including a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet tracking the calorie count of hundreds of “Joy” recipes over time-to several academics, including to James Heathers, a behavioral scientist at Northeastern University.

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Summary of “How a Virus Spreads Through an Airplane Cabin”

New research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that airline passengers infected with influenza-a disease that spreads through the air-aren’t likely to infect other passengers who sit more than two seats to the left or right, or more than two seats in front or back.
Tools like video cameras, RFID tags, ultrasound, infrared, and other technologies normally used to track human movements cannot be used in an airplane cabin during flight for safety and privacy concerns, frustrating efforts to study transmission patterns of disease on flights.
“As far as we know, nobody had any quantitative understandings of the movements, behaviors or social contacts between individuals during flight. We also haven’t seen any studies of testing cabin air and swabs of surfaces for respiratory viruses,” Howard Weiss, Georgia Institute of Technology mathematician and co-author of the new study, told Gizmodo.
To study how infectious diseases might spread during flights, Weiss, along with co-author Vicki Stover Hertzberg from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, devised and tested a new observational technique which used paired observers seated every five rows, each using an iPad app, and later aggregating these local “Zone-by-zone” observations to chronicle all movements of passengers and crew within an airplane cabin.
For the purposes of this study, the researchers were primarily concerned with influenza, a respiratory infection which spreads via droplets through the air.
“The simulations provide compelling evidence that for influenza, if you are not seated within a meter of an infected passenger, and you practice careful hand hygiene, then you are unlikely to get infected during flight.”
“Alternatively, some passengers may have been infected by other sources before or after the flight. Three of the five flights in these case reports range from 9.5 to 14 [hours], providing many more opportunities for transmission.”
Edsel Maurice Salvaña, a molecular biologist at the National Institutes of Health at the University of the Philippines Manila, said the new study is important because we need to better understand how people get sick when they fly, and if they are sick, how they transmit the virus that is causing their illness.

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Summary of “Why do dieters succeed or fail? The answers have little to do with food.”

Overall, dieters in both groups lost a similar amount of weight on average – 11 pounds in the low-fat group, 13 pounds in the low-carb group – suggesting different diets perform comparably.
Over the last week, I’ve spoken to Dawn, Denis, Elizabeth*, and Todd – two low-fat dieters and two low-carb dieters – about their experiences of succeeding or faltering in trying to slim down.
While these four DIETFITS enrollees are not necessarily representative of the 600-plus people who participated in the research, their stories can teach us a lot about why diets fail and succeed.
2) The built environment around you matters Elizabeth Smith* also followed the low-carb diet – but she gained 6 pounds on the study.
3) Family health concerns can be a nudge to change behavior Dawn Diaz lost 47 pounds following the low-fat diet for the study, from a starting weight of 215 pounds.
4) The quality of your diet may be more important than whether you’re eating low-fat or low-carb As you can see in the chart, the participants following the low-carb and low-fat diet had virtually identical distributions of weight loss.
In the study, Dawn Diaz was assigned to the low-fat diet, which initially disappointed her.
Science doesn’t have compelling answers, but the unifying theme from the four study participants should be instructive: The particulars of their diets – how many carbs or how much fat they were eating – were almost afterthoughts.

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Summary of “Cycling Can Reverse the Aging Process in Your Muscles and Immune System​”

A new study questioned if these age-related muscle declines are inevitable, or if regular exercise-cycling, in this case-can slow down or even reverse them.
The researchers then analyzed muscle properties related to aerobic function and explosive muscle power.
A second study turned the researchers’ attention to the immune system, which can also decline as you age.
They found that while cycling didn’t protect against every single measure of immune-system decline, the cyclists had white blood cell levels comparable to those of the younger control group-meaning that their immune systems were acting “Younger.”
These studies are only two of many that demonstrate how physical activity like cycling can slow the aging process.
One 2017 study found that high-intensity interval cycling increased mitochondrial capacity-a big deal when it comes to aging, as the decline of these organelles leads to the onset of age-related disease.
Another study from last year found that regular vigorous exercise protected telomere length.
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Summary of “DNA tests can predict intelligence, scientists show for first time”

Intelligence could be measured with a swab of saliva, or drop of blood, after scientists showed for the first time that a person’s IQ can be predicted just by studying their DNA. In the largest ever study looking at the genetic basis for intelligence, researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Harvard University discovered hundreds of new genes linked to brain power.
Previous studies have suggested that between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of intelligence is inherited, and the rest comes through upbringing, friendship groups and education.
That figure was calculated by studying identical twins who share the same DNA, therefore any differences in IQ between them must be non-genetic.

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Summary of “Exercise To Renew A Middle-Aged Heart”

Exercise To Renew A Middle-Aged Heart : Shots – Health News As early as your mid-40s, especially if you’re sedentary, your heart muscle can show signs of aging, losing its youthful elasticity and power.
As we age, even if we’re healthy, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn’t as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be.
“The heart gets smaller – stiffer,” says Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas.
Think of the heart muscle as a rubber band, Levine says.
Down the road, that sort of stiffness can get worse, he notes, leading to the breathlessness and other symptoms of heart failure, an inability of the heart to effectively pump blood to the lungs or throughout the body.
The group doing the higher-intensity exercise saw dramatic improvements in heart health.
“The sweet spot in life to get off the couch and start exercising is in late middle age when the heart still has plasticity,” Levine says.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, says Levine’s research is important.

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