wellness

Lifestyle
3:37 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Stress Causes Health Problems, Which Then Cause More Stress

Staci Moritz and her son Aidan, 11, play at a park in their neighborhood in Portland, Ore. Caring for three children and her injured husband exacerbated her health problems.
Beth Nakamura for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:38 pm

Stress is bad for your health. And bad health causes a lot of stress.

Poor health and disability are common among people who say they suffer from a lot of stress, according to a national poll by NPR, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

And it's not just those whose own health is poor. Serious illness and injury often impose enormous stress on entire families.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:02 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Can Technology Save the World?

Wendell Wallach is the Chair of Technology & Ethics at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
Chion Wolf

Let's take the most dire problem facing humankind: Climate change has so many negative implications it would take all day to list them. Meanwhile, there's the possibility of a sudden acceleration of a problem caused by the melting of Arctic ice, which exposes more ocean water to warming, which causes more melting, which causes more...well, you get the picture.

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Cancer Prevention
2:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers

Credit Photodisc / Thinkstock

What if an aspirin a day could keep cancer away? A growing body of scientific research suggests that aspirin can prevent some cancers of the digestive system, and maybe even breast and prostate, too.

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Alcohol
1:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Excessive Drinking Causes 10 Percent Of Deaths In Working-Age Adults

One in 6 adults binge drinks, and that plays a role in most alcohol-related deaths.
IntangibleArts/Flickr

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:47 am

Think about people dying from drinking too much, and you probably think of the classic disease of alcoholics, cirrhosis of the liver. Or perhaps an alcohol-fueled car crash. But there are many more ways to kill yourself with alcohol, unfortunately, and they account for 1 in 10 deaths in working-age adults, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Misleading Labels
5:49 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much

Advocates say consumers may assume that the "natural" label is the same as "organic."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 9:50 am

Some people have had it with "natural" food.

For fifteen years, Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, has been pointing out that "natural" is just about the most misleading label that you'll ever see on a food package. Yet consumers still look for that word, food companies still love to use it and the Food and Drug Administration can't or won't define it.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:43 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Choose the Life You Want

Credit mendhak/flickr creative commons

In his New York Times bestseller Happier, positive psychology expert Tal Ben-Shahar taught us how to become happier through simple exercises. Now, in Choose the Life You Want, he has a new, life-changing lesson to share.

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Teens and Tobacco
1:14 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Teen Smoking Hits A 22-Year Low, But Other Tobacco Uses Rise

A teenager finishes her cigarette in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Cigarette smoking among U.S. high school students has dropped to the lowest level in 22 years, federal health officials reported Thursday.

The percentage of students who reported smoking a cigarette at least one day in the last 30 days fell to 15.7 percent in 2013, according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a large federal survey that has been tracking youth smoking since 1991.

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Men's Health
3:23 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

National Men's Health Week Turns 20

Men can avoid illnesses like diabetes and heart disease by eating right, regular exercise, and getting plenty of sleep.
Ozan Hatipoglu Creative Commons

This is National Men's Health Week, an awareness campaign to encourage men to take simple steps to improve their health.

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Food in Space
12:04 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

The Salad Frontier: Why Astronauts Need To Grow Lettuce In Space

Astronaut Steve "Swanny" Swanson tends to lettuce plants growing at the International Space Station that may one day make it into his salad.
Courtesy of NASA

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 3:14 pm

Have you ever craved a salad, I mean really craved a salad because you've been eating a lot of freeze-dried meat and beans?

Astronauts who spend months on end in space sure do miss their greens. That's why NASA is embarking on a program to get astronauts growing their own food. First stop is the International Space Station and a vegetable production system called Veg-01, or "Veggie."

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UV Rays
8:20 am
Wed June 4, 2014

What Can a Tanning Bed Do to Your Brain?

Endorphins are released when you're in a tanning booth.
g-stockstudio/iStock Thinkstock

The Food and Drug Administration will now require tanning beds carry a warning label saying they shouldn't be used by persons under the age of 18. Tanning beds emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. But the beds may also cause changes to the brain.

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smoking and education
10:55 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Exploring Why the Highly-Educated Don't Smoke

Optimism in childhood may account for a low percentage of smokers among highly-educated adults.
Credit Valentin Ottone / Creative Commons

Adults with college degrees are much less likely to smoke than the rest of the population. A new Yale University study searches for the reasons why.  

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Mental Health
11:13 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Mental Illness Can Shorten Lives More Than Chain-Smoking

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 10:58 am

Mental disorders can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, as much as or even more than smoking over 20 cigarettes a day, a study finds.

We know that smoking boosts the risk of cancer and heart disease, says Dr. Seena Fazel, a psychiatrist at Oxford University who led the study. But aside from the obvious fact that people with mental illnesses are more likely to commit suicide, it's not clear how mental disorders could be causing early deaths.

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School Cafeterias
8:29 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Lawmakers Seek Delay On Healthy Lunch Rules For Schools

Some schools say they're having a tough time implementing new nutrition rules requiring more whole grains, more veggies and less fat.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 5:57 pm

How hard can it be for school cafeterias to swap white bread for whole-grain tortillas, cut sodium, and nudge kids to put more fruit and vegetables on their trays?

Tougher than you might imagine, according to some schools.

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Cafeteria Staple
1:21 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Tweeting Over Spilled (Chocolate) Milk

Gov. Malloy wins over the elementary school student demographic.
Credit United States Department of Agriculture

Governor Dannel Malloy's office released a statement today with an eye-catching title:

STATEMENT FROM GOV. MALLOY'S COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR ANDREW DOBA ON CHOCOLATE MILK 

In case you missed it, a provision was put into a bill with "minor revisions" that would ban chocolate milk in schools.

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Pregnancy Health
1:31 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Driving While Pregnant Is Riskier Than You Might Think

Be a bit more careful? The risk of a traffic accident rises by about 40 percent during the second trimester of pregnancy.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 5:04 pm

Don't scuba dive. Be careful about flying. Stay out of those hot tubs. Pregnancy comes with a long list of do's and don'ts.

Now it looks like we might need to add another item to that list: Drive more carefully.

Expectant mothers are more likely to have serious car crashes, a large study out of Canada finds.

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Severe Weather Survival
12:51 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

To Survive A Tornado, First Run To Shelter, Then Grab A Helmet

Tornadoes killed at least 17 people on Sunday and Monday. But some managed to stay safe in underground shelters like the one at right in Vilonia, Ark.
Karen E. Segrave AP

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 3:44 pm

Deadly tornadoes have wreaked havoc in the South, leveling homes and claiming at least 28 lives in the past three days. And meteorologists say the threat of more tornadoes won't ease up till Wednesday.

Getting to a safe place is the best thing that people can do to protect themselves and their families. That can mean a specially constructed concrete safe room, a basement, or just a ditch if you're caught outdoors.

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The Faith Middleton Show
8:33 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Choose the Life You Want

Credit mendhak/flickr creative commons

In his New York Times bestseller Happier, positive psychology expert Tal Ben-Shahar taught us how to become happier through simple exercises. Now, in Choose the Life You Want, he has a new, life-changing lesson to share.

Read more
E-Cigarettes
12:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

A woman tries electronic cigarettes at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:33 pm

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday proposed regulating e-cigarettes for the first time.

The agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

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Sleep Medicine
10:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

What Groton's Navy Lab Can Teach Us About Irregular Sleep

The U.S.S. Scranton is the first submarine to try on the new schedule on full deployment, and the crew loved it, as reported by the Associated Press.
Danna M. Morris U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is allowing sailors on submarines to work on a 24-hour schedule, based on research from the Navy lab at Groton, but civilians who don't work normal hours should pay attention, too.

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Marijuana Use
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Study Links Casual Pot Use With Brain Abnormalities

(prensa420/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:30 pm

Young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week showed changes in the size and shape of two key brain regions, according to a new study of 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25.

This is the first time recreational marijuana use has been connected to significant brain changes.

The findings, a collaboration between Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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It's Spring. Now Sneeze.
4:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Cold Winter Means Healthy Trees -- and Pollen

A red maple in bloom.
Benny Mazur Creative Commons

Now that the long winter is over, spring is here. So is tree pollen.

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Grains
3:22 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Where's The Whole Grain In Most Of Our Wheat Bread?

The most healthful loaves of bread contain chunks of grain still intact, like the seeded loaf on the right. Whole wheat loaves, like the one in the middle, may contain few whole grains and may be made up mostly of refined flour, like the white bread on the left.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 1:04 pm

We've all heard the advice to eat more whole grains, and cut back on refined starches.

And there's good reason. Compared with a diet heavy on refined grains, like white flour, a diet rich in whole grains — which includes everything from brown rice to steel-cut oats to farro — is linked to lower rates of heart disease, certain cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

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Children's Yoga
12:52 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

The Benefits of Children's Yoga Only Beginning to Be Understood

Students and parents practice yoga before class at West Hartford's Webster Hill Elementary School
Ray Hardman

There are many studies out there touting the benefits of yoga, from increasing flexibility and strength, to helping with more debilitating conditions like chronic headaches and pain. More and more children are practicing yoga, and researchers are just beginning to understand how kids can benefit from the ancient discipline. 

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Smoking Concerns
1:26 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

E-Cigarette Bill Would Ban Marketing to Kids

Credit scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

Two members of Connecticut's congressional delegation have launched a bill that would ban companies from marketing e-cigarettes to children.

But they ran into some vocal opposition during a press conference to launch the legislation.

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Infant Health
3:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

State Issues Alert on Infant Sleep-Related Risks

Credit vivianejl / Creative Commons

An eight-week-old baby boy slips out of his sleeping grandmother’s arms and suffocates in the folds of a couch. A seven-week-old girl is found dead lying on her stomach in her mother’s bed, where she had been placed to sleep, as a nearby crib sat unused. These are two of 23 infants who died in Connecticut last year of “sudden infant death syndrome,” or undetermined causes. 

Of those cases, 18 were found to have risk factors associated with the sleep environment, including co-sleeping in an adult bed with parents, sleeping with a heavy blanket or pillows, or being placed on their stomachs.

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Health Disparity
2:59 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Smoking Rates Decline in Connecticut, But Striking Disparities Persist By County

Credit Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons

Although smoking rates in Connecticut decreased between 1996 and 2012, striking disparities persist among counties, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

How Clean Is Our Air?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution exposure was responsible for seven million deaths in 2012.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Creative Commons

A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air. 

Today, the WHO considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

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Healthy Eating
3:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Rethinking Fat: The Case For Adding Some Into Your Diet

Nutrition researchers are reaching a new consensus: Cut back on all those refined carbs. And remember that some fat is good.
Stacy Spensley/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:10 pm

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

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Technology
4:00 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Why Playing Minecraft Might Be More Healthful For Kids Than TV

It's not exercise, but at least kids can't eat potato chips while gaming on phones.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 9:15 am

Doctors say children shouldn't log more than two hours a day of screen time, though what with phones, computers and TV most children put in much more.

But it may be that not all screens are equally evil.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that sixth-graders who watched a lot of TV were more likely to eat junk food and drink soda than their peers who spent the same amount of time on the computer or playing video games, researchers from the University of Michigan say.

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Women's Health
1:59 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk For All Women Everywhere

Researchers found that the more active a woman is, the better her odds of avoiding breast cancer.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 5:22 pm

This could be the simplest bit of health advice ever: Exercise reduces women's risk of breast cancer, no matter what kind of exercise they do, how old they are, how much they weigh, or when they get started.

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