Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Religion Replenishes Self-Control

Religion is at its best, I believe, when its practice is centered on focusing on others and the common good.  Self-control naturally flows from this.
Can self-control occur outside of religion? Yes, again, when the focus is beyond self-interest.

From the 16 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

There are many theories about why religion exists, most of them unproven.

Now, in an article published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologist Kevin Rounding of Queen’s University, Ontario, offers a new idea, and some preliminary evidence to back it up.

The primary purpose of religious belief is to enhance the basic cognitive process of self-control, says Rounding, which in turn promotes any number of valuable social behaviors. …

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Water With Meals May Encourage Wiser Choices

From the 16 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

…Older participants favored the combination of soda served with salty, calorie-dense foods rather than soda and vegetables. Preschoolers ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or red peppers, when accompanied with water rather than when accompanied by a sweetened beverage.

“Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks,” said Cornwell, the Edwin E. & June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing in the Lundquist College of Business at the UO. “This begins early through exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinations offered by many restaurants. Our simple recommendation is to serve water with all meals. Restaurants easily could use water as their default drink in kids’ meal combos and charge extra for other drink alternatives.”

Serving water, McAlister said, could be a simple and effective dietary change to help address the nation’s growing obesity problem, which has seen increasing number of diabetes cases in young adults and a rise in health-care costs in general. Drinking water with meals, Cornwell said, also would reduce dehydration. While estimates of dehydration vary by sources, many estimates suggest that 75 percent of adult Americans are chronically dehydrated.

From an early age, Cornwell said, children learn to associate sweet, high-calorie drinks such as colas with salty and fatty high-calorie-containing foods like French fries.

“While this combining seems as normal as rainfall in Northwest winters, when we look cross-culturally we can see that food-and-drink combinations are developed preferences,” she said. “If the drink on the table sets the odds against both adults and children eating their vegetables, then perhaps it is time to change that drink, and replace it with water.” …

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Link Between Anxiety Disorders And Cellular Metabolism

From the 16 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

Anxiety disorders, ranging from social phobia to post-traumatic stress disorder, are the most common psychiatric diseases in the United States. Research in mice suggests a link between the gene that encodes Glyoxylase 1 (GLO1) and increased anxiety; however, the mechanism underlying this association has remained unclear.

The normal role of GLO1 is to degrade cytotoxic byproducts of glycolysis, a function which has no obvious connection to anxiety.

Margaret Distler and colleagues at the University of Chicago asked whether the primary substrate of GLO1, methylglyoxal, might have undocumented neurological effects. Using a mouse model, they demonstrated that methylglyoxal stimulates robust activity from GABAA receptors, which are neuron receptors that respond to neurotransmitters. …

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Study Shows High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, Memory

From the 17 May article at Medical News Today

Attention, college students cramming between midterms and finals: Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid.

A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning – and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology has published the findings.

“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.” …

Gomez-Pinilla, a native of Chile and an exercise enthusiast who practices what he preaches, advises people to keep fructose intake to a minimum and swap sugary desserts for fresh berries and Greek yogurt, which he keeps within arm’s reach in a small refrigerator in his office. An occasional bar of dark chocolate that hasn’t been processed with a lot of extra sweetener is fine too, he said.

Still planning to throw caution to the wind and indulge in a hot-fudge sundae? Then also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, or take a daily DHA capsule. Gomez-Pinilla recommends one gram of DHA per day.

“Our findings suggest that consuming DHA regularly protects the brain against fructose’s harmful effects,” said Gomez-Pinilla. “It’s like saving money in the bank. You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel to fight off future diseases.”

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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