Author: Sondra Forsyth

Skin Health

Endorphins and Sun Addiction


Why do sun lovers eagerly flock to the beach every summer in spite of widespread awareness of the risk of skin cancer? A study published June 19th 2014 in the journal Cell may have the answer. The research, done at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, reveals that chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins, which act through the same pathway as heroin and related drugs and lead to physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction-like behavior.

Weight Loss

Sticking to a Diet: Compliance vs. Adherence


By Sondra Forsyth You may have noticed that most health care professionals have stopped using the word “compliance” when referring to whether or not people stick with medication regimens or apply sunscreen daily or exercise on a regular basis. The word most often used now is “adherence.” The rationale is that telling patients to comply smacks of issuing a command, whereas asking them to adhere implies that they are partners in their care and can use free will to do what’s best for their health.

Women's Health and Wellness

For Some Older Women, Calcium Supplements Up Risk of Kidney Stones


Calcium and vitamin D are commonly recommended for older women, but the usual supplements may send calcium excretion and blood levels too high for some women, according to a study published online June 18th 2014 in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society. Excess blood and urine calcium levels may lead to kidney stones or other problems. The study will be published in the November 2014 print edition of Menopause.

Brain Health

Seeing the Inner Workings of the Brain


A team of scientists at Stanford University has improved a technique called CLARITY that they developed in 2013 to look into brains from deceased donors, according to a paper published June 19th 2014 in Nature Protocols. A release from the university explains that without this tool, the fatty outer covering of the brain’s nerve cells blocks microscopes from taking images of the intricate connections between deep brain cells. CLARITY eliminates the fatty covering while keeping the brain intact with all its intricate inner wiring.


Are You Setting Off Your Hot Flashes?


By Gary ElkinsIf you start taking note of your hot flashes, you may recognize some events, emotions, or activities that actually seem to contribute to, or “trigger,” the onset of a hot flash. Scientifically speaking, while the physiology of hot flashes is associated with a decrease in estrogen level or an increase in gonadotropin concentrations, the actual physiological mechanism of hot flashes is not known.

Heart Health

For Women, Improving Accuracy of Heart Disease Diagnosis


Diagnosing coronary heart disease in women has become more accurate through gender-specific research that clarifies the role of both obstructive and non-obstructive coronary artery disease as contributors to ischemic heart disease in females, according to a statement published in June 2014 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

High blood pressure / hypertension
Senior Health

Diuretics Risky for Older Adults


Adults over 65 with high blood pressure who have recently begun taking thiazide diuretics are at a greater risk for developing metabolic-related adverse events including acute kidney injury, according to research done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco. The study was published in June 2014 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Vision Health

AMD: Omega-3 Stops Unwanted Blood Vessel Growth


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is characterized blood vessel growth, is the primary cause of blindness in the elderly in industrialized countries. The prevalence of the disease is projected to increase 50% by the year 2020. There is an urgent need for new pharmacological interventions for the treatment and prevention of AMD.

High blood pressure / hypertension

Lower BP Not Always Better


For decades, common medical wisdom has been "the lower the better" in treating the approximately one in three people in this country who have high blood pressure. But does that approach result in reduced risk for dangerous heart events? Not necessarily, according to research done at Wake Forest Baptists Medical Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and published in the June 16th online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Bionic Pancreas Outperforms Insulin Pump


People with type 1 diabetes – a lifelong condition -- who used a bionic pancreas instead of manually monitoring glucose using fingerstick tests and delivering insulin using a pump were more likely to have blood glucose levels consistently within the normal range, with fewer dangerous lows or highs. The full report of the findings, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published June 15th 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Healthy Diet & Nutrition

Health Buzzwords on Food Products: False Promises?


Health-related buzzwords such as "antioxidant," "gluten-free" and "whole grain," lull consumers into thinking packaged food products labeled with those words are healthier than they actually are, according to a research done at the University of Houston.A release from the university reports that the team suggests that false sense of health as well as a failure to understand the information presented in nutrition facts panels on packaged food may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States.

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