8 Ways To Sleep Better When It’s Blistering Hot Outside

Jenni June raised four kids as a single mom, in homes in Oregon and Southern California where she wasnt able to have air conditioning. She says it was hard to see her kids struggle to sleep in the summer heat.

As a result, she developed some creative tricks to cool down her kids before bedtime, like dampening and freezing a teddy bear that they could take to bed.

It definitely broke my heart for my kids. It was hard to keep them cool and comfortable, and to protect their sleep, said June, who now works as a child and family sleep consultant. When a room is overheated because its warm outside, its a little more of a challenge to keep your core body temperature cool. And thats absolutely necessary for us to be able to segue into those deeper, more restorative stages of sleep, and transition from one sleep cycle to the next without full arousal in the middle of the night.

Cooler temperatures actually help your bodyproduce more melatonin, the powerful hormone that work to make you feel sleepy, she explained. So sleeping in a hot room where its nearly impossible to cool down will be an obstacle to a good nights rest. The effects of poor sleep are varied but often catastrophic, fromavoidable motor vehicle accidentsto increased risk of developing heart diseaseand Type 2 diabetes.

We chatted with a couple of sleep experts, including June, to find out some cheap and easy ways to sleep when its hot outside no air conditioner required.

1. Close the windows and draw the blinds

gpointstudio via Getty Images

This may seem counterintuitive. But June notes that closing windows, drawing shades and sealing up any drafts can help keep your bedroom cool before sundown.

As it cools off in the evening … thats a good time to have your windows open [and get some air circulating], she said. When your windows are closed, the best thing to do is circulate the air in the room with a good fan.

2. Open your bedroom door

Increasing air circulation is critical to cooling down your bedroom, June says.Opening your bedroom door to allow more airflow throughout your house can help keep you cool. She also suggests running as many fans as possible to create movement, and to help wick sweat away from the skin.

3. Sleep downstairs

Heat rises, which means its probably going to be cooler in a downstairs living room than an upstairs bedroom. June recommends building a makeshift bedroom for yourself if you have a cooler room downstairs layering blankets on the floor, inflating an air mattress or just spreading a sheet on the couch.

4. Eat lighter foods

Lisssbetha via Getty Images

Believe it or not, what you eat during the day can affect the quality of your sleep. Dr. Joyce Walsleben, a sleep expert and retired professor of medicine at New York University, recommends eating a bit less during the day and choosing lighter foods so your gut isnt working overtime and creating more heat.

5. Freeze your sheets

Or a towel, or a teddy bear, or a water bottle the point is to take something cold with you to bed to help cool your sleep environment.

One of my favorite tricks of all time that worked great with my four kids … was to take their top sheet, get it damp and wring it out and stick it in the freezer, June said. It wasnt so wet that it soaked the mattress, but it was damp enough that it helped them sleep well at night.

6. Take a cool shower or bath before bed

Adjusting your core body temperature is key to sleeping well, and taking a cool shower or bath before bed can help to facilitate that.

A cool shower or bath can significantly cool the body down, especially if its a longer, cool bath, Walsleben said. [That] also removes the oils of the day and allows your skin to breathe out toxins, too.

7. Drink plenty of cold beverages close to bedtime

PeopleImages via Getty Images

Walsleben recommends sipping an icy beverage while unwinding for an hour before bedtime. Like a cool shower, drinking ice-cold water can help bring down the bodys core temperature. (Just make sure the drink is caffeine-free and nonalcoholicotherwise, it can disrupt sleep.)

8. Sleep naked

If youre a never-nude, this tip may not work for you. However, June points out that sleeping in your birthday suit means you have less insulation when youre sleeping, which helps keep your body cool. If you just cant sleep without your PJs, try jammies that are 100 percent cotton. Its the most breathable fabric and will carry sweat away from the body.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/heat-and-sleeping_us_59494ffde4b0b90e99aa24b9


Alarming News For Anyone Who Thinks Coconut Oil Is A Healthy Ingredient

Its time to stop turning to coconut oil to make your brownies healthier.

Coconut oil, it turns out, is not the health food people think it is. This oil might be stocked on the shelves of your health food store, but a recent report released by the American Heart Association suggests that this might be a mistake.

Youre not alone in this misconception. An AHA survey found that 72 percent of Americans considered coconut oil a health food.But coconut oil, it turns out, is shockingly high in saturated fats. And saturated fat even though some elements of its effects are up for debate isnt good for you no matter how you slice it.

In fact,82 percentof the fat found in coconut oil is saturated thats significantly more than olive oil, which clocks in at 14 percent and canola oil, which contains a mere seven percent.

The AHA reviewed existing data on saturated fats and found that in seven out of eight studies, coconut oil actually increased LDL cholesterol the bad cholesterol which is a cause of cardiovascular disease. The findings were so clear that Frank Sacks, the reports lead author, toldUSA Today,You can put it on your body, but dont put it in your body.Roger that.

Youre better off sticking to oils that are lower in saturated fats such as the aforementioned olive oil. Olive oil, some studies suggest, helps good cholesterol do its job. And we can all use help with that.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/coconut-oil-not-healthy_us_5947d509e4b06bb7d27498d4


So Coconut Oil Is Actually Really, Really Bad For You

Youd be hard pressed to find someone who doesnt like coconuts. They are furry spheres of deliciousness, after all. Coconut water though is pointless it doesnt have any clear health benefits and its just a saltier version of normal water.

Then theres coconut oil. Its the latest cooking fad, and people all over the Web are claiming that its much healthier than any other oil out there. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, coco-nutcases, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is just as unhealthy as butter and beef dripping.

According to a key advisory notice published in the journal Circulation one which looks at all kinds of fats and their links to cardiovascular disease coconut oil is packed with saturated fats. In fact, 82 percent of coconut oil is comprised of saturated fats, far more than in regular butter (63), olive oil (14), peanut oil (17), and sunflower oil (10).

Saturated fat, unlike others, can raise the amount of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, which increases your risk of contracting heart disease in the future. It can be found in butter and lard, cakes, biscuits, fatty meats, cheese, and cream, among other things including coconut oil.

A recent survey reported that 72 percent of the American public rated coconut oil as a healthy food compared with 37 percent of nutritionists, the AHAs review notes. This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press.

A meta-analysis of a suite of experiments have conclusively shown that butter and coconut oil, in terms of raising the amount of bad cholesterol in your body, are just as bad as each other.

Because coconut oil increases [bad] cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil, the AHA conclude. In essence, there is nothing to gain and everything to lose by using coconut oil in cooking.

STOP. Do not do this. Africa Studio/Shutterstock

If you already have high bad cholesterol levels, then coconut oil is potentially quite dangerous to consume or use in acts of culinary creations. Swapping it out for olive oil, according to the AHA, will reduce your cholesterol levels as much as cutting-edge, cholesterol-lowering drugs.

So next time you see anyone claiming that coconut oil is good for you or that its pro-health and anti-everything bad! you can confidently tell them that theyre spouting bullshit.

Its important to remember though that a little bit of fat is definitely good for you, as fatty acids are essential for proper absorption of vitamins. Unsaturated fats are generally thought to be quite good for you in this regard; you can find them in avocados, fish oil, nuts, and seeds.

[H/T: BBC News]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/coconut-oil-bad/


Overweight pregnancy increases risk of birth defects, study says

(CNN)Risks of major birth defects increased in step with the severity of a mother’s obesity or overweight, a study published Wednesday in the BMJ medical journal found.

Based on these results, women should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle and be at a normal body weight before conception, said researchers led by Martina Persson, a researcher in the clinical epidemiology unit at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
The study’s findings are not entirely new, but “expand on previous knowledge,” Persson said in an email. Past studies have shown an increased risk of congenital malformations among obese mothers.
    What was not known is whether the same risk increased when mothers were simply overweight and whether risks escalated as the severity of overweight/obesity increased.

    More than a million women studied

    Persson and her colleagues analyzed data on more than 1.2 million live births, excluding twins and other multiples, in Sweden between 2001 and 2014.
    For the mothers in the study, being underweight was defined as having a body mass index of less than 18.5. Normal weight ranged from BMI 18.5 to 24, while overweight ranged from BMI 25 to 29. Obesity among the mothers was categorized as either class I, a BMI of 30 to 34, class II, a BMI of 35 to 39, or class III, a BMI of 40 or higher. Body mass index is the ratio between a person’s weight and height.
    A total of 43,550 of the infants — 3.5% — had a major congenital malformation, the researchers found when looking at the medical records. Heart defects were the most common birth defect, followed by flaws in the genital organs, limbs, urinary system, digestive system and nervous system.
    Babies of normal-weight mothers had a 3.4% risk of a major congenital malformation, the researchers calculated. By comparison, the proportion of major birth defects among the children of overweight mothers was 3.5%. Among the babies of mothers in obesity class I, the rate was 3.8%; in obesity class II, 4.2%; and obesity class III, 4.7%.
    “We demonstrate increased risks of major malformations also in offspring of mothers with overweight and risks progressively increase with a mother’s overweight and obesity severity,” Persson said. She noted that these results show a connection — but cannot prove a direct cause — between maternal weight and birth defects.
    Risk of congenital heart defects, malformations of the nervous system, and limb defects also progressively increased as BMI rose from overweight to obesity class III, while genital and digestive system defects increased in babies of obese mothers only. Overall, the study showed, the risk of a major malformation was higher in boys, 4.1%, than in girls, 2.8%.
    “Overweight and obesity in pregnancy increases risks of several severe complications in the mother and her child,” said Persson, who added that high rates of obesity are a “problem in many parts of the world.”
    A study released this week in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese; that equates to one-third of the world’s population.

    The benefits of a healthy weight

    Dr. Siobhan M. Dolan, a medical adviser to March of Dimes who was not involved in the study, said the “findings are consistent with prior research, which shows an association between increasing weight and adverse perinatal outcomes such as preterm birth and birth defects.”
    Dolan, who is a professor of obstetrics/gynecology and women’s health at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, said the research “demonstrates a dose-response relationship between increasing weight and increasing risk for congenital anomalies.” In other words, the more overweight a mother, the higher the odds for a baby born with a defect.
    “Getting to a healthy weight has so many benefits, for both mothers and babies, including decreasing risks of diabetes and hypertension for moms, as well as decreasing risks for preterm birth,” said Dolan.
    Dr. Raul Artal, professor and chairman emeritus of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at Saint Louis University, said the new study is important in that it “emphasizes a medical problem around the world.” He was not involved in the new study.
    Obese women, overweight women and sedentary women “have a very high incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure in pregnancy. As a result, their offspring are at very high risk for certain congenital malformations that come along with obesity,” said Artal, who is a maternal fetal medicine specialist.
    Congenital heart disease is “by far” the most common “birth defect among mothers that have obesity and diabetes,” Artal said. Other birth defects include neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus, where cerebrospinal fluid causes pressure on the brain, cleft palate, anorectal aphasia, where a child lacks an anus and the lower bowels, and limb reductions or absence, for example, a missing foot.
    The vast majority of babies born to obese mothers are large for their gestational age with “organ maturity delay,” said Artal. “So they could have problems with breathing … and they have delayed neurodevelopment and the vast majority of them end up having childhood obesity,” he said.
    Obesity then becomes an inter-generational problem, one that is “grossly neglected,” said Artal.

    Getting started before pregnancy

    Artal noted that until the mid-1980s, textbooks told women “they should rest as much as possible and indulge” during pregnancy. Among certain physicians, this advice continues.
    “Women have heard this for generations,” said Artal. Since 1985, he has been the main author of the guidelines for exercise in pregnancy published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and updated most recently two years ago.
    If women followed these exercise guidelines during pregnancy, “they will be in good shape, figuratively and literally,” said Artal.
    Current guidelines for weight gain for pregnancy are 28 to 40 pounds for women who are underweight, 25 to 35 pounds for women who are normal weight, 15 to 25 pounds for women who are overweight and 11 to 20 pounds for women who are obese.
    Generally, pregnant woman “should watch their weight and use judicious weight gain in coordination with their physician — but taking into account that the current guidelines for gestational weight gain for overweight and obese women are excessive,” said Artal. “And you can put ‘excessive’ in bold letters and put my name behind that.”

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    The March of Dimes’ Dolan emphasized that pregnant women should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and take a daily prenatal vitamin containing 400 micrograms of folic acid, beginning before conception and continuing with a daily prenatal vitamin that has 600 micrograms of folic acid throughout pregnancy. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week is also recommended for most pregnant women.
    “But getting to a healthy weight is a big part of what women can do before they become pregnant, along with quitting smoking and discussing any medications they take with their doctor,” said Dolan. “If we can help women get to a healthy weight and to quit smoking, we can help prevent some birth defects.”
    Persson also suggests women do what they can to avoid birth defects. Her research, she said, should “encourage women in reproductive age to strive towards a normal BMI before conception.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/health/overweight-pregnancy-birth-defects/index.html


    Is red wine actually good for your heart?

    People love to talk about how red wine is good for your heartand they usually do it while theyre drinking red wine, which is only natural. But research on the subject has been mixed, and even most positive findings have stopped short of actually recommending that people go out of their way to have a glass to prevent heart disease. Now, a large new meta-analysis is adding to the conversation, concluding that there’s not much to support the idea that you should be drinking red wine to benefit your heart health.

    For the analysis, which was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs on May 21, scientists examined 45 studies on alcohol and heart health and found the conclusion that alcoholespecially red wineis good for your heart are misleading.

    Previous individual studies have suggested that moderate drinkers, defined as having at most one drink a day for women and two drinks for men, have lower heart disease rates than people who dont drink. But researchers in this meta-analysis point out that a good portion of the people who dont drink are teetotalers either because they have a problematic history with alcohol or have health problems that prevent them from drinkingnot just because they choose not to drink for no reason. So, although healthiness and moderate drinking have been linked in past research, these studies have usually compared drinkers with people who already had health issues of some sort. When the researchers behind this new meta-analysis addressed this by controlling for heart health, they found no significant evidence that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol protects your heart.

    There’s historically been a lot of confusion around the idea of red wine being healthy for your heart.

    More From SELF

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/06/02/is-red-wine-actually-good-for-your-heart.html


    In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimers review

    Joseph Jebellis personal study of a disease that has reached epidemic proportions offers the latest research but not much hope

    The human animal derives its humanity from language and memory. What are we, without memory ? The short answer is: wild beasts.

    Memory gives us personality, emotional intelligence, family relations, and community. Memory anchors us in space and time. It defines the parameters of existence. Paradoxically, it might even confirm the futility of existence.

    Dementia, in the broadest sense, lays an axe at the root of memory, creating that bare, forked animal, unaccommodated man. Keep me in temper, exclaims King Lear before his final breakdown, I would not be mad.

    Madness comes in many guises, but the cruellest manifestation thats hitting the headlines today is the affliction named after the German doctor who first identified its most virulent strain in 1906, Professor Alois Alzheimer.

    The biology of the ageing brain remains among the greatest enigmas of neuroscience. For several decades, the German psychoanalytic establishment seized on the mysterious nature of the disease to subordinate insignificant biological explanations of dementia to broader, Freudian interpretations. Until the 1960s, Alzheimers was at once neglected and controversial. If no one could agree about its fundamental symptoms, many others disputed its causes. Slowly, as a result of improved brain-mapping, and the identification of plaques and tangles in the geriatric brain as a source of dementia, Alzheimers emerged as the global epidemic we now recognise.

    Alzheimers has become a new plague, threatening the worlds population with a global strike rate of one every four seconds. In the UK, there are now more people with the disease than live in the city of Liverpool. Six million inhabitants of the EU and 4 million Americans have it, figures that are projected to double by 2030. So bad is the outlook that the WHO has declared dementia a global health priority.

    It has become the salient fact of 21st-century life that, with an ageing world population, Alzheimers will overtake cancer as the second leading cause of death after heart disease. Were at a point, writes Joseph Jebelli, at which almost everyone knows someone a family member or friend who has been affected.

    Jebelli, a young British neuroscientist, has greater cause than many to make this claim. As a boy, he watched his grandfather acting strangely, before descending into the abyss of dementia in which he could no longer recognise his family. Jebellis testament, In Pursuit of Memory, is a moving, sober and forensic study of the past, present and future of Alzheimers from the point of view of a neurologist who has lived with the disease, at home and in the lab, from a very young age.

    Jebellis timely analysis is a reminder that, in recent years, Alzheimers or other forms of dementia have not merely devastated the lives of millions, they have destroyed the retirements of Harold Wilson, Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, and Margaret Thatcher, killed Terry Pratchett, and claimed Glen Campbell and Iris Murdoch among its victims. The lineaments of this fate were recently dramatised in the Oscar-winning film Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore.

    WH Auden once compared death to the rumble of distant thunder at a picnic. The stages of Alzheimers occur as storm clouds on the horizon of a perfect summers day. The initial symptoms flashes of anger; occasional forgetfulness are often so slight that even doctors can misdiagnose them. As the disease takes hold, it becomes clear that something terrible is happening to the patients brain (repetitive questions; the inability to recognise friends and family).

    Finally, as Alzheimers ignites in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, episodic memory gets burned away, past and present become forever dissociated, and the patient is at the mercy of cerebral Furies. In this merciless process of dehumanisation, the only means of human communication at the end will be the comforts of touch and possibly some snatches of music.

    Julianne Moore as a dementia sufferer in the film Still Alice. Photograph: Artificial Eye

    The story that Jebelli tells of his grandfathers decline illustrates the tantalising mystery of Alzheimers: its both highly visible yet agonisingly elusive. Like McCavity, this disease defies all known laws, slipping through the net of neurological inquiry.

    The incidence of Alzheimers is a lottery. You can live a decidedly salubrious life, reports Jebelli, and still get struck down in your 70s, sometimes even sooner, with no obvious cause. In the department of prevention, he takes us through a familiar catalogue of potential risk-factors: stress, diet, exercise, etc. Hes forced to conclude, as every visitor to the catacombs of dementia will eventually acknowledge, that Alzheimers remains an enigma, a tangle of amyloid plaques, sticky buildups of protein in the brain that continue to resist the investigations of the neurological police.

    Here, Jebellis own pursuit of answers to his grandfathers death turns into a fascinating quest at the frontiers of neuro-degeneration. He identifies several key areas of recent research, from cerebral renewal (the implantation of iPS cells) and parabiosis (reversing the pathological changes in an old animal by bathing its tissue in the blood of a young one), to the pioneering study of Kuru (a shaking disease found in Papua New Guinea) and the latest research into PCA (posterior cortical atrophy), the variant of Alzheimers that afflicted the late Terry Pratchett. In Jebellis optimistic summary, the web of treatment is widening. At the end of his pursuit, he declares: We are closer than ever to the abolition ofAlzheimers.

    Not everyone agrees with him, and the dividends of intense neuro-scientific research are painfully modest. From 2000 to 2012, indeed, its estimated that about 99% of all newly developed dementia drugs failed to pass their clinical trials. For all the tabloid headlines about a cure for Alzheimers, this goal remains fugitive.

    Frustrated by the limitations of neuroscience, some Alzheimers experts have begun to argue for an alternative approach. In his Penguin Special on Alzheimers, Andrew Lees, an acknowledged expert, focused on a fascinating new genre of Alzheimers writing, books by patients at the beginning of their slow fade who can illuminate the experience of losingmemory.

    Yet even this avenue is contentious. As the Observer reported recently, a new Edinburgh University study, the Prevent Project, suggests that Alzheimers may not be the disease of memory that Jebelli describes.

    In truth, there has been no shortage of neuroscientific investigations, but its hard to resist the conclusion that these have been blind alleys. By contrast, the phenomenology of losing personal cognition (the territory explored by the late Oliver Sacks) offers, from some points of view, a more fruitful cerebral exploration. It might at least give comfort, if not hope.

    In Pursuit of Memory by Joseph Jebelli is published by John Murray (20). To order a copy for 17 go tobookshop.theguardian.comor call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/29/in-pursuit-of-memory-the-fight-against-alzheimers-joseph-jebelli-review


    Stem Cells Show Promise But They Also Have A Darker Side

    Everyone seems to be excited about stem cells. Their excellent promise as a treatment for a range of diseases and injuries mean almost guaranteed coverage for research. While some types of stem cells are already being used in treatment for treating diseases of the blood and leukaemia, for example, multiple sclerosis and problems in the bone, skin and eye theres still a lot of hype and exaggeration, with some even selling empty promises to seriously ill or injured patients. The Conversation

    There are many different types of stem cells in the body and they have varying abilities. When most people think of stem cells, its often of embryonic stem cells, which have been controversial for ethical reasons, or their closely related cousins, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, adult cells that have been reprogrammed to acquire stem cell-like properties. As the word pluripotent suggests, these stem cells have the capacity to transform into any cell type in the body, with the exception of egg and sperm cells.

    There are other types of stem cells, however, that are considered to be multipotent not quite as diverse in their abilities as pluripotent stem cells, but still able to turn into different cell types when stimulated in just the right way. These are mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, which have the capacity to differentiate into the cell types that give our bodies strength and structure: bones, cartilage, fat, muscle and tendons.

    Therapies using MSCs are being touted as a great new hope for the treatment of serious chronic diseases such as colitis, diabetes, arthritis, cirrhosis, kidney disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder the list goes on and on. In fact, there are currently over 700 MSC-based clinical trials, either ongoing or completed on the clinicaltrials.gov register.

    Its clear why there is so much interest in these cells. But can they really fulfil their promise and do they have the capacity to harm as well as help us?

    Regeneration and healing

    There are two major promises that have been made when it comes to the use of MSCs in human medicine: their regeneration potential, thats their potential to rebuild damaged tissues, such as bone, spinal cord and heart tissue; and their healing properties, which can reverse damage to diseased organs for example, in arthritis and following organ transplantation.

    The regenerative potential of MSCs has been studied since the late 1960s. In one of the earliest experiments with these cells, Alexander Friedenstein and colleagues showed that transplanting bone marrow to a different site of the body led to bone formation, which indicated that at least some cells in the bone marrow are able to change into bone cells even in locations where bone would not be expected to grow.

    Since then, researchers have worked out different signals that tell MSCs to change into specialised cell types. For example, the growth factor TGF- can induce MSCs to turn into cartilage cells, which would be very helpful in repairing cartilage in arthritis sufferers.

    Mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into bone, cartilage, muscle and fat cells. VCU Libraries/Flikr, CC BY-SA


    Even more ambitious studies are looking into repairing whole organs, such as the lung, liver, and kidney, which are very susceptible to scar formation (fibrosis) in cases of longstanding inflammation. Needless to say, many of these treatments are still at very early stages, but progress is being made.

    The healing properties of MSCs, however, are less clear. MSCs have the ability to move to sites of injury and secrete various factors that promote cell growth, reduce cell death and induce the in-growth of blood vessels in damaged tissue all good things that promote healing. Although testing this aspect in chronic disease is still in the early stages, preliminary studies suggest that MSCs are capable of calming inflammation in chronic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis andmultiple sclerosis.

    Scar-forming cells

    One aspect of MSC biology that doesnt seem to be sufficiently considered when it comes to using these cells for the treatment of human disease is the ability of MSCs to transform into cells we dont want scar-forming cells called myofibroblasts. A number of studies in mouse models of lung, liver and kidney fibrosis have shown that the MSCs that normally reside in these tissues called pericytes quite readily transform into myofibroblasts and produce scar tissue, to the extent that organ function is compromised.

    In the lab. Tareq Salahuddin/Flickr, CC BY

    This phenomenon should give us pause, especially when considering the delivery of MSCs into a badly damaged and inflamed part of the body, such as an arthritic joint or the lung of an emphysema patient.

    MSCs are exquisitely responsive to their environment, and if these cells are administered to a badly inflamed organ that in turn induces fibrosis, chances are the injected MSCs will transform into myofibroblasts and worsen tissue damage. Clearly, more work needs to be done to find out what signals MSCs will respond to under these conditions, and how these signals will change their biology, for better or for worse.

    One of the most important aspects of stem cell treatment that still needs to be considered is their source: will they be taken from the patient who will receive them (not particularly useful for diseases with a strong genetic component) or from a consenting donor (with the added risk of the transplanted cells being rejected)?

    Then there is the route of delivery: should MSCs be injected right into the injured/diseased tissue, or administered into the blood and then allowed to move to areas where they are needed? We also need to think about how effective these cells will be, how many cells need to be delivered to have an effect, and how long they stick around in injured tissue. Answers to all of these questions will be needed before we can safely use MSCs in treatment.

    Despite the promise, then, there are a number of barriers that need to be surmounted before MSC therapy is a viable treatment and readily available to patients in the clinic. Along with working out the best sources of these cells, the ideal method of delivery, and harnessing their ability to reduce inflammation, we also need to be concerned about controlling the fate of MSCs after they have been administered in order to get the best possible benefit of these cells while not causing further harm.

    Jill Johnson, Lecturer and Principal Investigator, Biosciences, Aston University

    This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/stem-cells-show-promise-but-they-also-have-a-darker-side/


    24 Health ‘Facts’ That Are Actually Wrong

    There’s something about health and nutrition folk wisdom that’s resistant to truth.

    Common health “facts” include the ideas that MSG will make you sick, that a juice detox is just what you need after a week of indulgence, and that sports drinks like Gatorade are totally fine since you need the electrolytes.

    None of these things are true. They, like many other folk sayings and tips, fall into the category of health myths that are totally or at least mostly wrong.

    Here’s the truth behind some of those health claims you’ve heard all your life, but might not hold water at all.

    1. MSG in Chinese food will make you sick.

    Will Wei, Business Insider

    The myth that MSG is bad for you comes from a letter a doctor wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968, where he coined the term “Chinese restaurant syndrome” to describe a variety of symptoms including numbness and general weakness.

    But though the doctor blamed these feelings on monosodium glutamate, MSG, the research doesn’t back it up. The scientific consensus according the American Chemical Society is that “MSG can temporarily affect a select few when consumed in huge quantities on an empty stomach, but it’s perfectly safe for the vast majority of people.”

    And this makes sense MSG is nothing more than a common amino acid with a sodium atom added. The placebo effect is more than strong enough to account for the negative effects sometimes associated with MSG.
    2. Coffee stunts your growth.


    There isn’t a whole lot of evidence on this, but most research finds no correlation between caffeine consumption and bone growth in kids.

    In adults, researchers have seen that increased caffeine consumption can very slightly limit calcium absorption, but the impact is so small that a tablespoon of milk will more than adequately offset the effects of a cup of coffee.

    Interestingly, advertising seems to be largely responsible for this myth. A breakfast cereal manufacturer named C.W. Post was trying to market a morning beverage called “Postum” as an alternative to coffee, so he ran ads on the “evils” of Americans’ favorite hot beverage, calling it a “nerve poison” that should never be served to children.
    3. Bundle up or youll catch a cold.

    Flickr user quinn.anya

    Being physically cold isn’t what gets you sick; exposure to a cold virus does. There’s no evidence that going outside with wet hair when it’s freezing will make you sick by itself provided you avoid hypothermia.

    But there are some scientifically sound explanations for why people catch more colds in winter. Because we spend more time in close quarters indoors, it is more likely that we’ll cross paths with a cold-causing virus spread from another person during the winter. And for several reasons, we may have a harder time fighting off cold and flu virus particles in winter.

    But being cold itself isn’t what makes sick, and some argue that cold exposure can actually improve your health.

    4. The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

    Who doesn’t love the post-Thanksgiving nap? We frequently consider those naps inevitable, since turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that is a component of some of the brain chemicals that help you relax.

    But plenty of foods contain tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has even more than turkey and cheddar is never pointed out as a sleep inducing food. Experts say that instead, the carbs, alcohol, and general size of the Turkey-day feast are the cause of those delicious holiday siestas.

    Another Pint Please…/Flickr

    5. Taking your vitamins will keep you healthy.

    Ken Wilcox / Flickr

    Vitamins sound like a great idea. One pill that can provide you everything you need to be healthy!

    If only they worked. After decades of research on vitamins, most reviews don’t find any justification for our multivitamin habit, and in some cases, vitamins have actually been associated with an increased risk of various cancers. Malnourished people might benefit from some supplements, but most of us should just get our vitamins naturally from food.
    6. Beer before liquor, never sicker; liquor before beer, youre in the clear.


    We’re all heard it: “beer before liquor, never sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.”

    But while it’s very true that overdoing it with booze might leave you praying to the porcelain gods, there’s no need to place the blame on the order you consume the beverages in alcohol is alcohol, and too much of it will make anyone feel sick.

    However, there are some strange ways this piece of advice can make sense. People who switch from beer to mixed drinks (with senses and judgment already dulled) may be less likely likely to monitor their alcohol consumption and thus drink more.

    And some research shows that your body metabolizes mixed drinks faster than higher-concentration alcohol (a shot of whiskey, say). So adding liquor to a stomach-full of beer could, in theory, create a sort of mixed drink that would metabolize faster than one or the other on its own.

    We’ll call this one partly true, but chalk up the “never sicker” part mostly to bad decision making.

    7. You lose 90% of your body heat through your head.

    Not necessarily. You lose body heat through anything uncovered, according to Dr. Aaron E. Carroll and Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman, authors of “Don’t Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health.”

    Your head is not special in that way it’s just more likely to be exposed.


    “Most of the time when we’re outside in the cold, we’re clothed,” Richard Ingebretsen, MD, PhD, told WebMD Magazine. “If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.”
    8. Wait an hour after eating to swim or you’ll drown.


    Some parents say no swimming for 30 minutes after eating, some say an hour, but many of us may remember waiting out the clock before returning to the pool or beach. The theory behind this seems to be that digesting food will draw blood to your stomach, meaning that less blood is available for your muscles, making them more likely to cramp.

    But there’s no evidence to support this claim. In fact, many sources say there are no documented cases of anyone ever drowning because they’ve had a cramp related to swimming with a full stomach.

    Cramps do happen frequently when swimming, but they aren’t caused by what’s in your stomach. If you do get one, the best policy is to float for a minute and let it pass.
    9. It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

    When it got out that Trump press secretary Sean Spicer chews and swallows two and a half packs of chewing gum by noon every day, many people had the same question: Couldn’t that maybe do some harm?

    Probably not. Gum is mostly indigestible, meaning that it usually passes through your intestines and exits the other side, like most of what your body doesn’t need and can’t digest.

    “On rare occasions, large amounts of swallowed gum combined with constipation have blocked intestines in children,” Dr. Michael Picco of the Mayo Clinic writes. Still, he says swallowing gum generally isn’t harmful.

    10. When you’re drunk on gin, you get mean.

    There are plenty of alcohol-related myths out there, and the idea that different alcohols have different effects on you is a big one. Some people claim wine makes them sleepy while whiskey makes them want to argue.

    In short, experts say this is bunk. “Alcohol is alcohol whichever way you slice it,” pharmacologist Paul Clayton, a fellow of Oxford’s Institute of Food, Brain & Behaviour, told The Guardian.

    So why do people insist that tequila makes them crazy?

    Eliana Aponte/Reuters

    One very strong possibility is that we experience the effects we expect when we drink (or consume most substances). Scientific research going back to the 1960s shows that we “learn” how to behave while drunk, and that our actual drunken behavior is a direct reflection of our expectations.

    Although many people may become violent while intoxicated, people who have never associated drunkenness with conflict don’t show the same behavior. So by that same token, if we expect that vodka will make us want to sing karaoke, we can perhaps turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    11. A juice cleanse will ‘detox’ you after an unhealthy eating binge.

    Jason Merritt / Getty

    The myth of the juice cleanse is a stubborn one and one frequently promoted by celebrities but it’s both wrong and unhealthy.

    First of all, your body naturally removes harmful chemicals through the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract there’s nothing about juice that will hurry that process along.

    Secondly, juicing is mostly a way of removing helpful fiber from fruits and vegetables many sugary fruit juices are as bad for you as sodas. You’re making the fruit less healthy by “juicing” it.
    12. Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day.

    AP/Angela Rowlings

    Hydration is very important, but the idea that eight glasses of water is essential is a strange one.

    In healthy people, researchers haven’t found a connection between fluid intake and kidney disease, heart disease, sodium levels, or skin quality.

    People get a lot of their water from foods and other beverages in the first place, but there is a good reason to drink more water. It’s a calorie free alternative to other beverages (especially sugary ones), and people who drink water instead of those beverages consume fewer calories overall.

    But in general, drink when you are thirsty you don’t need to count the glasses.

    13. It’s fine to eat something if it’s been on the floor for less than 5 seconds.

    It’s the worst when something you really wanted to eat falls on the floor. But if you grab it in five seconds, is it okay?

    Sorry, but the five-second-rule isn’t a real thing. Bacteria can contaminate a food within milliseconds. Moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there’s no “safe duration.” Instead, safety depends on how clean the surface you dropped the food on is.


    Whether you eat it or not after that is up to you, but if the people that walk on that floor are also walking around New York City, for example, we wouldn’t recommend it.
    14. Vaccines can be risky.

    This idea comes from a now thoroughly-debunked (and retracted) study of 12 children that appeared in 1998 in The Lancet and claimed there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    It turned out that study wasn’t only flawed, it also contained false information that was necessary to make its point.

    Since then, numerous studies that have analyzed data from more than a million children have shown that there’s no connection between vaccines and autism.

    But fears about that connection have persisted, partially spurred on by public figures making false claims about vaccines. This has led to scary diseases like measles coming back.
    15. Yogurt will help put your digestive system back in order.


    This is one of our modern health myths. Yogurt is frequently marketed as having benefits for digestion and as something that’ll keep people slim because of probiotics, or the “good bacteria” that’s living inside it.

    Researchers have found that the bacteria in our bodies are very connected to our metabolism and obesity rates, among other things, so it seems like there’s a logical connection here.

    But we don’t yet understand how the trillions of bacteria in our bodies work well enough to manipulate them in this way. Despite the fact that the probiotic business was worth $23.1 billion in 2012, we can’t make yogurt that will repair our inner bacterial balance.

    That’s not to say that yogurt is unhealthy, just that its benefits are oversold. Plus, a lot of yogurt is packed with sugar, which we do know contributes to obesity and other problems so if you enjoy yogurt, find a version that isn’t full of additional unnecessary calories or it might have the opposite of the intended effect.

    16. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

    Apples are good for you, packed with vitamin C and fiber, both of which are important to long-term health, but they aren’t all you need.

    And if certain viruses or bacteria get into your system, an apple will unfortunately do nothing to protect you. So go ahead and get that flu shot, even if you eat apples.

    AP Images/J. Scott Applewhite

    17. Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.


    If you’re home sick with a cold, you can totally go ahead and comfort yourself with some ice cream.

    The idea that dairy increases mucus production is very fortunately not true, according to researchers and a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, who says “in fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”

    Praise be.
    18. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.

    flickr user: orijinal

    Fortunately, this isn’t true either.

    Cracking your knuckles may annoy the people around you, but even people who have done it frequently for many years aren’t any more likely to develop arthritis than those who don’t.

    19. Starve a fever, feed a cold.

    There’s a good reason you may have heard this said multiple ways, either “starve a cold, feed a fever” or “starve a fever, feed a cold.”

    Despite a slew of headlines claiming that starving a fever wasn’t a myth in response to a tiny and largely misinterpreted study in 2002, there’s no real evidence to back this up. Limiting your caloric consumption may actually hurt your immune system more than helping it, and it would certainly be a bad idea to not eat during the 6-8 day duration of a cold.

    Lindsey Turner/flickr

    Instead, doctors say to go ahead and eat if you can. The more accurate expression, as Scientific American notes, would be “feed a cold, feed a fever.” And make sure to get plenty of fluids.
    20. It’s fine to drink sports drinks to rehydrate.


    We all know that soda and similarly sugary drinks like lemonade are bad for us (right?), but what about sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade? Sports-focused advertising has successfully convinced a whole lot of people that downing a bottle of this stuff is fine, especially if you’ve gone for a jog recently it’s replacing electrolytes, after all.

    But really, for most people the amount of sugar in these drinks is far more than is needed even if you’ve been exercising. Lower calorie options, which many of the same companies have created in recent years, are much better options. Or just drink water.
    21. Coffee and beer dehydrate you, since caffeine and alcohol are diuretics.

    Christopher Jue/Getty Images

    In sufficient quantities, caffeine and alcohol can have a diuretic effect. But the amount of caffeine in a typical cup of coffee or alcohol in a beer isn’t enough to really have this effect, according to one recent study. A moderate amount of either coffee or beer hydrates people just about as well as water does.

    22. Milk does a body good (and protects your bones)!

    This is an incredibly successful bit of advertising that has wormed its way into our brains and policies the US Department of Agriculture tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk a day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D.

    However, multiple studies show that there isn’t an association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and having fewer fractures.

    Guy Montag/Flickr

    Milk is fine, but it’s not a magical health drink. Surprisingly, however, milk is particularly hydrating similar to pedialyte, both even more hydrating than water.
    23. You shouldn’t eat too many eggs, since it’ll raise your cholesterol.

    Wikimedia Commons

    Eggs have lots of cholesterol in them. For most of us, that’s not an issue, since a growing body of research shows that dietary cholesterol (from foods you eat) doesn’t really have much of an effect on blood cholesterol in the vast majority of people.

    Thank goodness.
    24. Eating fat will make you fat.

    Rob Ludacer

    The tide has started to swing back the other way on this one, but recommendations for low-fat foods remain common.

    The decision to demonize fat for its caloric density and heart-clogging effects was largely the result of shady science influenced by a sugar trade group. It turns out that the society-wide decision to cut saturated fat from diets led to increased consumption of sugar and processed trans fats, all of which were most likely less healthy overall.

    We need a moderate amount of fat especially healthy fat in our diets.

    Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2017.

    Read next: 9 alcoholic drinks to avoid if you want to lose weight and what you should order instead

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/24-health-facts-that-are-actually-wrong/


    At the ‘Star Wars’ half-marathon, may the course be with you

    Anaheim, California (CNN)If there is an advantage that the “Star Wars” half-marathon has over most races of that distance, it may be that it has more fun per mile than most other 13.1-milers. It also may have an invisible, ancient energy that binds all the runners all together like an awakening “Force.”

    This episode of “Fit Nation” will air on May 20 between 1 and 6 p.m. ET, and on May 21 between 5 and 6 p.m. ET.
    The fun of all Disney-branded races begins with location, as the course snakes through the famous theme parks. Then, pick your theme: general Disney, Princesses, Marvel superheroes, Tinkerbell, food and wine, and “Star Wars.” I suggested to organizers that an Indiana Jones theme should be next.
    Most Disney runners don costumes (good guys and bad, which is probably why they skipped Indiana Jones), like a fit-focused Comic-Con. As if dressing as a favorite character weren’t enough, the “Star Wars” races add an inspiring John Williams score that floats throughout the theme parks. And there are professional character cameos and performances by Disney cast members, as they call themselves.
      It’s pure joy for thousands of fans of both running and the famous myth-steeped space opera.
      If that sounds like more entertainment than workout, note that it is still a legitimate half-marathon. Finish times count toward qualifying for traditional city marathons, and winners for their divisions get free entry to next year’s race. Every finisher gets a medal. There are, sadly, no prizes for costumes, no matter how deserved.
      But most runners don’t seem so concerned with finish times that they won’t sacrifice minutes to get their picture taken with C-3PO or pose riding a landspeeder.
      The runDisney program has a history of successful and fun races, dating to long before the company took ownership of the “Star Wars” franchise in 2012.
      The Magic Kingdom hosted its first marathon in 1994, initiated in part due to its ownership of the ESPN sports network. It was a big hit, and the marathon has run ever since. Now, there are nine races year-round at theme parks in Paris; Anaheim, California; and Orlando, Florida. There are smaller races in the Bahamas associated with Disney Cruises and even a medal you can win by running 5Ks in your own neighborhood.
      Within the “Star Wars” races, there are Dark and Light Side versions to cater to those who might prefer to run in an Ewok outfit versus a Boba Fett. And like other full race weekend events, the Light Side half-marathon can be paired with a 10K in the same weekend, which earns finishers another medal for completing the “Rebel Challenge.”
      My love of “Star Wars” runs deep, and when I first heard about the race, I knew that if I had a chance of completing one long race, it would be one infused with the Force.
      I signed up for what was my first race for any distance beyond a 5K. And in January, I joined a whopping 16,000 other fan-runners at Disneyland in California for the 2017 Light Side half-marathon.

      Start on the dark side, finish in the light

      Runners lined up just outside the iconic amusement park in the dark of 5:30 a.m., starting through a gate featuring Tatooinian architecture. The announcers geeked out over the costumes in the crowd, indulging in “Star Wars” trivia and puns as runners left in waves, quickly heading into Disney Adventure Park and then to fabled Disneyland itself.
      Despite the darkness, the course was well-lighted and -directed. And running through both amusement parks in the dark is quite beautiful. It’s a giddy tour through the lit-up canyons and neon signs of Cars Land (a re-creation from the film “Cars”), the dancing fountains in the World of Color lagoon, the bright glow of “It’s a Small World” and the iconic Cinderella’s Castle. It’s, well, magic.
      For the “Star Wars” half, you may want to put some thought into what you’ll wear, assuming you have a favorite character or just want to get into the spirit.
      There are rules to consider: no full Jedi robes, nor face masks or toy weapons such as blasters and lightsabers (though some managed to sneak in the latter). And then there are the practicalities of being able to run in your costume.
      Many runners purchase “Star Wars”-branded running gear with identifiable markings that evoke droids, Jedi and so on. Many more wore t-shirts or running shirts with Star Wars puns or classic movie images.
      Like many, I ran as my favorite character. I found a lightweight white non-running shirt and a movie-accurate black vest on top. I wore regular running pants but added red duct tape piping along the sides, which fell off by about mile seven. I also wore a novelty gun belt and holster, which would later chafe my waist. My good toy blaster at my side was confiscated by Vader — I mean security.
      I should have read the rules more carefully. Then again, Solo isn’t one to follow rules.

      Fun and adventure: A Jedi craves not these things

      The physical benefits of running are manifold. There is abundant research showing that a regular routine can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It burns fat and strengthens muscles, including the one between your ears. Running can reduce stress and release brain reward pathways in a similar way to (less healthy) drugs.
      Compared with most other sports, the risk of injury in running is low, especially with proper stretching and training schedules designed not to overextend yourself. The runDisney site is just one source for tips and training programs preparing you for race day.
      As competitive racing sports go, running is by far the most popular, with more than 17 million finishers reported across all road race distances in the US, according to Running USA. RunDisney alone hosts 260,000 runners a year at its events. And the half-marathon is the the second-most popular distance in terms of finishers, behind the 5K (which has a lot more races). In 2015, there were nearly 2 million half-marathon finishers, compared with roughly half a million marathoners.
      Running a half-marathon is not just a waystation — like, say, Mos Eisley — on the way to the more challenging space systems of marathons. There is evidence that a marathon puts too much strain on the body and that 13.1 miles is a better length in a fitness-to-burden ratio.

      See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

      But physical benefits of training and running 13.1 miles aside, what is more difficult to quantify is the pure joy that comes from tapping into youthful nostalgia shared by “Star Wars” fans around the world. That puts this half-marathon light-years ahead of its competitors.
      And for those who plan to run: May the course be with you.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/health/star-wars-half-marathon-fit-nation/index.html


      Here Are The 6 Questions That Can Reveal Whether You Have Adult ADHD

      Adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is far more common that previously thought, according to a recent study publishedin the journal JAMA Psychiatry though it’s often undiagnosed.

      There’s been a recent rise in the number of adults diagnosed with ADHD, which was previously considered extremely rare. More recently, researchers have estimated that between 2 and 5% of the population struggles with the condition. And the new study suggests adult ADHD may be even more common than that.

      Researchers attribute the rising rates at least in part to the fact that we weren’t doing a great job of detecting ADHD in adults before now.

      In order to better diagnosecases, the researchers behind the study developed a new list of questions to help doctors screen for adult ADHD. The questions are designed based on the most recent definition of the condition as it’s described in the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), sometimes referred to as psychiatry’s “Bible.”

      Here are the questions that researchers say can reliably and easily find adult ADHD cases:

      1. How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?

      2. How often do you leave your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?

      3. How often do you have difficulty unwinding and relaxing when you have time to yourself?

      4. When you’re in a conversation, how often do you find yourself finishing the sentences of the people you are talking to before they can finish them themselves?

      5. How often do you put things off until the last minute?

      6. How often do you depend on others to keep your life in order and attend to details?

      Each question can be answered with “never, rarely, sometimes, often, and very often.” Answers can be converted to a numerical score that researchers use to screen for ADHD (Not all questions have the same value. A physician should be the one to make a diagnosis and to decide whether further evaluation or medication is needed).

      In the process of developing and testing the scale, the authors say that they estimated that 8.2% of adults are affected by adult ADHD. They calculated this by having several clinical interviewers assess respondents’ answers to several health surveys using the DSM-5 definition of ADHD.

      The new questionnaire isn’t a pure measure of ADHD symptoms, according to a commentary published alongside the studyin JAMA Psychiatry. Two of the questions have more to do with procrastination and the ability to keep your life in order on your own, which aren’t official ADHD traits. But theauthors of the study say these traits help predict the condition in adults better than some of the defined symptoms of ADHD.

      The commentary authors say that these findings help reflect the fact that we still base the criteria for ADHD largely on what we expect to see in children, which means the current definition may still be inadequate for identifying adult ADHD. That could help explain why the researchers think there are still a significant number of people out there with the condition that have yetto be diagnosed.

      Read the original article onBusiness insider.Follow us onFacebookandTwitter. Copyright 2017.

      Read next on Business Insider:Depression is probably much harder on your heart than we realized

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/here-are-the-6-questions-that-can-reveal-whether-you-have-adult-adhd/