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A Guide to the WHO Report on Processed Meats and Cancer

You’ve likely already heard the news: the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a well-respected agency within the World Health Organization (WHO), announced last month that processed meats, like hot dogs, ham and sausage, cause colon cancer. Before you reach any conclusions based on the initial announcement, I’ll take you through the basics of the report and how it actually affects you. This is not the first time connections have been made between processed meats and cancer. Research has shown for years that certain types of cancer, such as cancers of the colon, prostate, and pancreas, are more common …

The ‘8-a-Day’ Myth: How Much Water Do You Really Need?

Drinking eight glasses of water a day is the key to hydration – or so they say. Of course, water accounts for 60% of our body weight, so it is important that we get enough. One of the longest-running medical myths is that eight glasses of water each day will keep you hydrated and healthy. Recently however, there have been some articles debunking this myth. A 1945 recommendation from the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council appears to be the origin of the “8 glasses a day” theory. The statement reads: “A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters (8.5 glasses) daily in most instances…. Most of this …

How Many Days a Week Should You Work Out?

What exactly is “staying in shape?” Does exercising twice a week with the same intensity as four times a week elicit the same results? A common concern about exercise is that if you don’t keep up with it consistently, you won’t see any physical gains; however, the number of days a week you should exercise depends on the type of results you’re looking for. First, getting some type of physical activity each day will help improve your overall health. Recently, Business Insider interviewed Rutgers University exercise scientist Shawn Arent about exercise frequency and how often we should work out to …

Nobel Prize 2015: The Discovery of Naturopathic Parasitic Treatments

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded last week for the discovery of artemisinin, an anti-malaria compound that can be used to treat deadly parasitic pandemics. The prize was divided, one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura “for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites,” and the other half to Youyou Tu, “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria.” The Nobel Committee at Karolina Institute in Stockholm announced the winning drug therapies as having “revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases.” Parasitic diseases …

Sitting: A Pain in the Neck

Neck pain can be, well, a pain in the neck. For those who have a desk job, the likelihood of experiencing neck pain is much greater: sitting requires the heavy use of the muscles between your shoulder blades and surrounding your neck. Sitting at the top of your body, your neck’s health is dependent on the curvature of the spine and the position of the head. If the head and spine are not in proper alignment – for instance, while slouching – the neck is more susceptible to injury or painful conditions. Slouching is when the head to slants forward …

The Impact of Nutrient Transport on Disc Degeneration and Low Back Pain

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of lower back and neck pain. The major cause of this degeneration is loss of blood supply and nutrition as the spine ages. This process can begin as early as 20 to 30 years old in some people. Symptoms can range from mild lower back stiffness or spasm, all the way up to severe and debilitating back pain that limits bending, sitting or moving.     The spinal disc is a gel-filled structure that acts as a “shock absorber” between the spinal vertebra. The healthy disc are made up of predominantly water, along …

Steroid Injections for Short Term Pain Relief

Epidural steroid injections can be very effective for acutely reducing nerve pain; however, new research finds these injections may be unsustainable for long term recovery. The goal of epidural steroid injections is to relieve lower back pain, but also to be used in conjunction with a comprehensive rehabilitation program. The injection can provide sufficient pain relief to allow a patient to make progress with any rehabilitative stretching or exercising. However, the review suggests that perhaps short term pain relief from a steroid injection is not enough to decrease long-term surgery risk. Should a patient experience effective results from epidural steroid …

Easy Life Changes to Live Longer

When we’re young, we believe we can live forever. As we age, we understand that certain choices impact our health. In certain corners of the globe, known as “blue zones,” people tend to practice healthier choices, leading to longer and happier lives. A recent CNN article highlighted the way of life of octogenarians in the blue zone of Ikaria, an island off the coast of Greece where citizens live up to eight years longer than Americans on average and experience less disease. While none of these methods are guaranteed to produce a longer life, these life changes that follow their …

A New Way to Think about How Bone Fractures Heal

Recent investigative research has shown that what doctors previously believed about how broken bones heal could be wrong: fibrin, a protein that was thought to play a major role in fracture healing, is actually not required in the process. Rather, the breakdown of this very protein is what’s necessary for proper repair. A research team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center recently investigated how fractures heal and the implications for how to promote fracture repair. What they found was that while many of the current protocols are based on using fibrin to promote healing, bone biology does not require fibrin to …

Effects of Exercise on Mental Health

Hitting the gym, going for a run, or any type of aerobic exercise provides the cardiovascular and muscular benefits we all know about, but exercise can also improve your mental health as well. Regardless of age or fitness level, the effects of exercise on your brain can help lead to happier results. The most immediate effect exercise has on brain function  is instantly enhancing one’s mood. Aerobic exercise such as dancing, swimming, jogging, or going for a long walk, will increase blood circulation to the brain – particularly to the limbic system, which controls motivation and mood; the amygdala, which generates fear in response to stress; and the hippocampus, which is important to memory …