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Dental Care Lowers Women’s Heart Disease Risk & Other News of Note

Posted Oct 15 2010 7:05am

Dental Care Reduces Risk of Heart Disease in Women (Medical News Today)

A new study led by a University of California, Berkeley, researcher could give women a little extra motivation to visit their dentist more regularly. The study suggests that women who get dental care reduce their risk of heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular problems by at least one-third.

The analysis, which used data from nearly 7,000 people ages 44-88 enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study, did not find a similar benefit for men… More

Heal Thyself: Touch Eases Pain (Futurity.org)

Self-touch offers significant relief from acute pain, according to new research.

A new study, published online Sept. 23 in Current Biology, suggests the relief comes from a change in the brain’s representation of the rest of the body.

“Pain is quite an important, but also complicated, experience and can be caused in many different ways,” says Patrick Haggard, professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London (UCL).

“We show that levels of acute pain depend not just on the signals sent to the brain, but also on how the brain integrates these signals into a coherent representation of the body as a whole”… More

Daily Choices Can Affect Long-term Happiness (New Scientist)

Choose wisely when considering a partner, whether to attend church and how you look after your body. These decisions could have a significant effect on your overall life satisfaction. That’s according to a study that challenges the theory that life happiness is largely predetermined by your genes.

The widely accepted “set-point” theory of happiness says that an individual’s long-term happiness tends to be stable because it depends mainly on genetic factors. The idea is based in part on studies that show identical twins to have more similar levels of life satisfaction than non-identical twins, and suggests that although your level of happiness may occasionally be thrown off by major life events, it will always return to a set level within two years.

To find out whether people really are destined for a certain level of happiness, Bruce Headey at the University of Melbourne in Australia and his team questioned people in Germany about their jobs, lifestyles and social and religious activities. The survey was initially completed by 3000 people annually, but that rose to 60,000 per year by the end of the 25-year study period.

They found that certain changes in lifestyle led to significant long-term changes in reported life satisfaction, rather than causing the temporary deflections in happiness that set-point theory would suggest… More

Walk Much? It May Protect Your Memory Down the Road (PhysOrg)

New research suggests that walking at least six miles per week may protect brain size and in turn, preserve memory in old age, according to a study published in the October 13, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems. Our results should encourage well-designed trials of physical exercise in older adults as a promising approach for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” said study author Kirk I. Erickson, PhD, with the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh… More

Love Yourself to Stay Healthy (New Scientist)

Having high self-esteem doesn’t just feel good, it has physical benefits too. It seems that thinking well of ourselves may protect both the heart and immune system.

High self-esteem makes us feel safer when faced with threats, which in modern western society tend to be related to social status rather than physical danger.

So psychologist Andy Martens from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and his colleagues wondered if this protective effect might go further, and dampen our physiological responses as well… More

Bacteria in Mouth & Gut Also Found in Arteries (PhysOrg)

The same types of bacteria found in arterial plaque, which causes atherosclerosis, are also found in the mouth and gut, according to the first general survey of all bacteria found in plaques from the mouth, gut and blood.

The study, conducted by researchers from Cornell and University of Gothenburg, Sweden and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may one day offer new ways to detect heart disease….

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“Our survey shows that bacteria are pretty good at getting out of the mouth and gut and into the blood stream,” said Ruth Ley, Cornell assistant professor of microbiology and a senior author of the study with Frederik Bäckhed, a cardiovascular researcher from the University of Gothenburg… More

 


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