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November 9, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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COPD: New Treatments on the Horizon

New research may give doctors more tools to treat COPD, keep it from getting worse, or prevent it in people who are at risk, like smokers, says Albert Rizzo, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, DE.

In addition to inhaled medicines that help open inflamed lung airways so you can breathe better, a new class of drugs called phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors helps lower the numbers of severe flares, Rizzo says. Roflumilast (Daliresp) is the only drug in this class approved now for COPD. It has serious side effects like weight loss, diarrhea, and depression.

Research in COPD treatments may offer more hope, he says. Inflammation causes lung passages to swell when you have this lung disease, making it hard to breathe. Biologic drugs may help doctors fight that inflammation better.

What’s in the Pipeline?

Scientists are at work on new treatments that stop the inflammation process at the cellular level. Drugs called p38 MAP kinase inhibitors may ease your inflamed airways, Rizzo says.

Other drugs block proteins that trigger inflammation. More and more research indicates that some of these proteins, such as CXCR2, “play important roles in lung disease,” Rizzo says. Drugs called CXCR2 antagonists are now being tested in clinical trials, and they may one day relieve lung inflammation.

Other treatments in the works include:

  • Soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors. Theyease inflammation in animals that are exposed to tobacco smoke.
  • Selective glucocorticoid receptor modulators. These help the steroids used now to treat COPD work better, and cause fewer unpleasant side effects.
  • Stem cell therapy. This is “a growing area of interest and advance” in treating lung diseases, Rizzo says. One day, doctors may be able to implant healthy stem cells in lungs damaged by COPD so they can repair themselves.

Researchers are also studying things that may trigger the lung disease or its symptoms:

  • Certain genes that raise your chances of lung damage that can lead to COPD
  • Bacteria or toxins in your body that play a role in the disease
  • Anxiety — what causes it and what’s the best way to treat it

Why Are New Treatments Needed?

As many as 13 million people may have COPD, but they don’t all notice the symptoms early enough to seek care. Those that get diagnosed find that some drugs are expensive and others cause severe side effects, like weight gain or ulcers.

People who don’t want to take medications or go to therapy to help strengthen their lungs often wind up in the hospital with complications. Rizzo says.

Right now, doctors can only treat COPD symptoms and the lung damage it causes. “We just don’t have the medications to reverse the process or prevent it,” Rizzo says. More targeted treatments could stop inflammation before it destroys tissue or makes breathing harder.


November 5, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Whiten Your Teeth at Home

You flip through old photos and notice your grill doesn’t glisten like it used to. Luckily, you can get back your pearly whites without shelling out a lot of green. There are many safe, effective, and affordable over-the-counter (OTC) products that will brighten your smile. You can use them in the comfort of your home.

What’s the Best Option?getty_rm_photo_of_woman_smiling

It depends on your goals and how much time and money you want to spend. Matthew Messina, DDS, an adviser for the American Dental Association in Cleveland, OH, says to opt for a well-known brand you can buy from a popular store or online. Some of your options include:

  • Whitening toothpastes: These are like gritty cleansers that lift surface stains from your teeth. “They are safe and moderately effective, but they aren’t likely to give you the whitening results you’re looking for,” Messina says. He adds that toothpastes help keep your teeth white after your dentist bleaches them.
  • Whitening strips: You apply these to the surface of your teeth for a certain amount of time. Hydrogen peroxide lifts the stains. You can expect your teeth to lighten about five shades, Messina says.
  • Paint-on or brush-on formulas: You apply these before bed for 2 weeks.
  • At-home trays: If you get them from your dentist, she’ll make a mold of your teeth to create fitted trays. She’ll give you a strong bleaching gel to use at home. Over-the-counter systems work the same way. But they can cause irritation and may not work as well. Some OTC kits come with a bendable mouthpiece. These work better than one-size-fits-all trays. The bleaching gels that come in these kits aren’t as strong as the ones you get from a pro.

Is It Safe?

Most teeth whitening kits use a bleaching agent, like peroxide. Studies show the process is safe. But check with your dentist to see if your teeth are healthy enough. “You want to make sure there aren’t any underlying problems like decay or periodontal disease that could be causing your teeth to turn yellow,” Messina says.

Does It Work?

That depends. “Generally speaking, yellow teeth tend to whiten better than teeth with gray tones,” Messina says. Teeth that are stained by medicines don’t tend to lighten well. And bleaching won’t work on caps, crowns, veneers, or fillings. You may need to have your teeth restored first.

What Are the Side Effects?

These products can make your teeth more sensitive. It happens when the peroxide seeps through the enamel that covers your tooth and bothers the nerve. In most cases this feeling doesn’t last. If it does, or if your gums change color, see your dentist right away.

When Will I See Results?

You should know if it’s working in about a week, Messina says. Take a photo of your smile before you use an OTC whitening kit the first time. Take a second a week later. Compare the two. If you see a change, it’s working. But make sure your goals are realistic.

If your teeth aren’t brighter after 2 weeks, call your dentist. “If you’re not getting good results after one box of whitening strips, you’re not going to see better results after 10 boxes,” Messina says. You may need a stronger treatment.

Tips to Keep Your Teeth White

You’ve spent time and money to brighten your smile. Follow these tips to keep it that way:

  • Quit smoking. Tobacco is bad for your health — and your pearly whites.
  • Cut back on coffee, tea, cola, and red wine. “Anything you would get yelled at for spilling on a white tablecloth will stain your teeth,” Messina says. Sip through a straw to bypass your front teeth
  • Keep your mouth healthy. Brush your teeth well at least twice a day. Use a whitening toothpaste. Don’t forget to floss.
  • See your dentist. Get your teeth cleaned twice a year to help them stay white and healthy.


October 6, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Do Alzheimer’s patients lose their true identity? Maybe not, suggests study.

In an attempt to begin to tackle the age-old question of what shapes one’s identity, researchers at Duke and the University of Arizona surveyed the caregivers of those with different neurodegenerative diseases to see which ones seemed most likely to strip away the essence of a person.

Reporting in the journal Psychological Science, they say that people can be stripped of their abilities to move, think, and even remember, but it is not until they are stripped of their moral characteristics—i.e., courage, kindness, and honesty—that their caregivers begin to feel that the person’s true identity is slipping away.

“Essentially, identity is not what we know, but what we stand for,” reports Scientific American. To test this, the researchers asked the caregivers of 248 people suffering from either Alzheimer’s, fronto-temporal dementia (FTD), or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) such questions as, “How much do you sense that the patient is still the same person underneath?” Those caring for ALS patients were least likely to feel an essential metamorphosis in identity has occurred, while those caring for FTD patients, who suffer from frontal control damage that impacts things like empathy and impulse, were the most likely to feel the patient’s identity had changed, reports the Wall Street Journal, which calls the research “profound. Our moral character, after all, is what links us to other people.” A statistical analysis of all three groups found changes in moral behavior to predict changes in perceived identity more than changes in memory or intellect, regardless of the type of disease.

This article originally appeared on Newser: Your Essence Is Rooted in Your Character, Not Intellect


September 25, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Get Cart-Smart: Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping

You can eat well with type 2 diabetes when you make smart choices at the grocery store.

So how do you reach the checkout with a cart full of healthy and tasty options? Two diabetes educators offer their

Enter with a plan. Before you hit the store, take 5 minutes to decide what meals you’ll make over the next week. Jot down a list of the ingredients you need. This simple but powerful step is worth your time, says Afroz Subedar, RD, of the University of California, San Francisco. “The list will help you stay focused and lead you away from some temptations,” she says.

Stick to the outside. Spend most of your time on the perimeter of the store, where you’ll typically find fresh foods including fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, and fish. The store’s inner aisles hold packaged foods that are more processed and more likely to pose dietary pitfalls. Of course, the aisles do have some nutritious choices (think canned tuna, beans, and oatmeal). Just be strategic about which inner aisles you visit — target the healthy options.

Channel your great-grandma. While you’re shopping, ask yourself: Is this a food my great-grandparents would recognize? “Think about how our ancestors ate 100 years ago,” says Maureen McGrath, RN, also from UC San Francisco. “They didn’t have frozen or processed foods.” In the cereal aisle, consider that your great-grandma probably never ate O’s or flakes for breakfast, but she might have eaten some type of porridge or oatmeal.

Go dark. Reach for darker-hued foods. That means picking spinach over iceberg lettuce, sweet potatoes over white potatoes, brown or wild rice over white rice, and hearty whole-grain breads over white. Vibrant veggies generally have more nutrients than paler ones. And whole-grain breads, brown rice, and whole wheat pastas contain more fiber than white kinds, helping to balance your blood sugar and leaving you feeling satisfied.

Rethink your drinks. Leave sugary beverages such as fruit juices, sodas, and sports drinks out of your cart. A major source of empty calories, they’re “pure liquid carbs, which will spike blood sugar significantly,” Subedar says. Instead, pick up tea bags and lemon to make your own low-sugar ice tea. Try calorie-free sparkling water, or buy limes and cucumbers to make your own flavorful infused waters.

Suss out snacks. Plan for the mid-afternoon munchies. And remember that “a snack does not have to come in a package,” Subedar says. In place of chips, cookies, or little fish crackers, opt for real foods: half a turkey sandwich, a small handful of nuts, a Greek yogurt. “I like snacks that come from the food groups,” Subedar says.

The first step to eating well with type 2 diabetes is shrewd shopping.



September 23, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Routinely screen those older than 70 for brain health, world expert panel advises

A panel of world experts in aging convened at Saint Louis University recommended that everyone 70 and older should have their memory and reasoning ability evaluated annually by a doctor or health care provider.

This is the first time routine brain health screenings have been recommended for patients, starting at age 70. Patients found to have cognitive problems also should be screened for physical frailty, and vice versa, suggested the panel.

Published in the September issue of JAMDA, the recommendation for brain health comes in light of numerous studies, including those in The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine, that suggest 30 percent of those older than 70 have memory problems. Approximately 16 percent of this group has mild cognitive impairment, while 14 percent has dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is an important step in toward enhancing brain health for aging populations throughout the world,” said John Morley, M.D., director of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University and lead author of the consensus paper. “The ability to learn, solve problems and remember is a key to successful health and aging.”

Some causes of early cognitive disorder, can be reversed and treated when caught early. These include depression, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, problems with sight and hearing, and treatments of multiple health conditions with medications. “You can actually fix some of these issues, which is one reason why it’s critical to identify a problem and try to find a root cause,” said Morley, who also is a SLUCare Physician Group geriatrician.

The progression of cognitive impairment sometimes can be slowed through a series of lifestyle changes, the panel said.

They endorsed changes suggested in FINGER, a Finnish geriatric study published in The Lancet, which found those who ate a healthy diet, exercised, trained their memories and managed cardio-vascular risks were less likely to develop cognitive decline and memory problems than older adults who did not.

“There are things you can do to slow down the progression of not thinking well,” Morley said.

The panel endorsed a Mediterranean-type diet — packed with fruits and vegetables, fish twice a week, olive oil, nuts, legumes and whole grains — for patients who have early cognitive problems. Further, because population-based studies show brain health as well as physical well-being is connected to exercise, they encouraged physical exercise that can include resistance training and Tai Chi. The panelists also noted that population-based studies show those who dance, engage in intellectual activity and play a musical instrument have less mental decline than those who not pursue these hobbies. And video games can improve reasoning, memory, reaction time and attention in older adults.

Physicians need to know if their patients are not remembering or thinking clearly because they might not be able to follow doctors’ orders for medical problems, such as diabetes or heart disease.

“If you have diabetes and are not thinking as well as the general population, you might forget how to do the required daily finger prick to determine your blood sugar levels, which would compromise your health,” Morley said.

“However, if your doctor knows you have difficulty remembering, someone in his or her office can make sure you understand exactly how to check your glucose levels and give you written instructions as a ready reference. It’s a simple common sense thing that can make a huge difference in your health.”

Finally, for those patients whose reasoning and memory problems likely will worsen, knowing in advance can help them plan for the future. They can begin considering tough questions, such as when to stop driving or remove dangerous tools from their homes, and set up advanced directives for health, financial and legal matters. They can identify sources of support like family members or friends and organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Information is power, Morley said.

“Our recommendations are going to shape clinical practice in a big way,” Morley said. “Physicians are hungry for this information to help their patients, and as the message gets out, patients will request screenings.”

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. John E. Morley, John C. Morris, Marla Berg-Weger, Soo Borson, Brian D. Carpenter, Natalia del Campo, Bruno Dubois, Keith Fargo, L. Jaime Fitten, Joseph H. Flaherty, Mary Ganguli, George T. Grossberg, Theodore K. Malmstrom, Ronald D. Petersen, Carroll Rodriguez, Andrew J. Saykin, Philip Scheltens, Eric G. Tangalos, Joe Verghese, Gordon Wilcock, Bengt Winblad, Jean Woo, Bruno Vellas. Brain Health: The Importance of Recognizing Cognitive Impairment: An IAGG Consensus Conference. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2015; 16 (9): 731 DOI: 10.1016/j.jamda.2015.06.017

September 18, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Feeling blue and seeing blue: Sadness may impair color perception

150902112006_1_900x600The world might seem a little grayer than usual when we’re down in the dumps and we often talk about “feeling blue” — new research suggests that the associations we make between emotion and color go beyond mere metaphor. The results of two studies indicate that feeling sadness may actually change how we perceive color. Specifically, researchers found that participants who were induced to feel sad were less accurate in identifying colors on the blue-yellow axis than those who were led to feel amused or emotionally neutral.


The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Our results show that mood and emotion can affect how we see the world around us,” says psychology researcher Christopher Thorstenson of the University of Rochester, first author on the research. “Our work advances the study of perception by showing that sadness specifically impairs basic visual processes that are involved in perceiving color.”

Previous studies have shown that emotion can influence various visual processes, and some work has even indicated a link between depressed mood and reduced sensitivity to visual contrast. Because contrast sensitivity is a basic visual process involved in color perception, Thorstenson and co-authors Adam Pazda and Andrew Elliot wondered whether there might be a specific link between sadness and our ability to perceive color.

“We were already deeply familiar with how often people use color terms to describe common phenomena, like mood, even when these concepts seem unrelated,” says Thorstenson. “We thought that maybe a reason these metaphors emerge was because there really was a connection between mood and perceiving colors in a different way.”

In one study, the researchers had 127 undergraduate participants watch an emotional film clip and then complete a visual judgment task. The participants were randomly assigned to watch an animated film clip intended to induce sadness or a standup comedy clip intended to induce amusement. The emotional effects of the two clips had been validated in previous studies and the researchers confirmed that they produced the intended emotions for participants in this study.

After watching the video clip, the participants were then shown 48 consecutive, desaturated color patches and were asked to indicate whether each patch was red, yellow, green, or blue.

The results showed that participants who watched the sadness video clip were less accurate in identifying colors than participants who watched the amusing clip, but only for color patches that were on the blue-yellow axis. They showed no difference in accuracy for colors on the red-green axis.

And a second study with 130 undergrad participants showed the same effect in comparison to a neutral film clip: Participants who watched a sad clip were less accurate in identifying colors on the blue-yellow spectrum than those who watched a neutral screensaver. The findings suggest that sadness is specifically responsible for the differences in color perception.

The results cannot be explained by differences in participants’ level of effort, attention, or engagement with the task, as color perception was only impaired on the blue-yellow axis.

“We were surprised by how specific the effect was, that color was only impaired along the blue-yellow axis,” says Thorstenson. “We did not predict this specific finding, although it might give us a clue to the reason for the effect in neurotransmitter functioning.”

The researchers note that previous work has specifically linked color perception on the blue-yellow axis with the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Thorstenson points out that this research charts new territory, and that follow-up studies are essential to fully understanding the relationship between emotion and color perception:

“This is new work and we need to take time to determine the robustness and generalizability of this phenomenon before making links to application,” he concludes.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. C. A. Thorstenson, A. D. Pazda, A. J. Elliot. Sadness Impairs Color Perception. Psychological Science, 2015; DOI: 10.1177/0956797615597672

September 15, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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How Low Vitamin D Levels Increases the Risk Of Dementia

Vitamin D insufficiency among the elderly is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in brain domains, and is associated with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

  • The effect is “substantial,” with individuals with low vitamin D declining at a rate three times faster than those with adequate vitamin D levels.

These new research findings amplify the importance of identifying vitamin D insufficiency among the elderly.
The research is published online in JAMA Neurology.

“Independent of race or ethnicity, baseline cognitive abilities and a host of other risk factors, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with significantly faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function performance.”  - Joshua Miller,  professor and chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University.

“This work, and that of others, suggests that there is enough evidence to recommend that people in their 60s and older discuss taking a daily vitamin D supplement with their physicians.”

  • The participants’ serum vitamin D status was measured at the beginning of the study. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were prevalent among all of the study participants.
  • Overall, 26 percent were deficient and 35 percent were insufficient. Among Caucasians, 54 percent had low vitamin D, compared with 70 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics.

Over five years of follow-up, vitamin D deficient individuals experienced cognitive declines that were two-to-three times faster than those with adequate serum vitamin D levels.
In other words, it took only two years for the deficient individuals to decline as much as their counterparts with adequate vitamin D declined during the five-year follow-up period.

“We expected to see declines in individuals with low vitamin D status,” said Charles DeCarli, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “What was unexpected was how profoundly and rapidly [low vitamin D] impacts cognition.”

Exposing the skin to sunlight is the major source of vitamin D.
Diet is the other major source of vitamin D. Dietary vitamin D is obtained particularly through dairy consumption.
“This is a vitamin deficiency that could easily be treated and that has other health consequences. We need to start talking about it. And we need to start talking about it, particularly for people of color, for whom vitamin D deficiency appears to present an even greater risk,” he said.
The Study - Vitamin D Status and Rates of Cognitive Decline in a Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults


August 10, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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Skipping Breakfast a Bad Idea for People with Type 2 Diabetes

diabeticRunning out the door without eating breakfast isn’t a good idea for anyone, but new research suggests that for people with type 2 diabetes, skipping the morning meal may wreak havoc on blood sugar levels for the rest of the day.

In a small clinical trial, researchers found that when people with diabetes skipped breakfast, their lunchtime blood sugar levels were 37 percent higher than on a day they ate breakfast. And blood sugar levels were still higher at dinnertime on the day the study volunteers skipped breakfast — 27 percent higher, the study said.

“This is of high relevance since skipping breakfast has progressively increased over the past decades in Western society,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, a professor of medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

What’s more, she said, high blood sugar levels after meals are strongly associated with a rapid decline in beta-cell function. Beta cells are the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone that’s necessary for the body to use the carbohydrates in food as fuel.

High blood sugar peaks are also linked to earlier development of heart disease complications, Jakubowicz added.

Results of the study were published recently in Diabetes Care.

Jakubowicz and her team showed earlier that eating a big breakfast and a light dinner may be beneficial. In a study published in February in Diabetologia, the researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate a big breakfast and a light dinner had blood sugar levels that were 20 percent lower than people who had a small breakfast and big dinner.

In the current study, the researchers recruited 22 people with type 2 diabetes. Their average age was 57 years old. Their body mass index (BMI) was just over 28. BMI is rough estimate of how much body fat a person has, and a BMI of 28 means a person is overweight, but not obese.

Over two days, all of the participants ate the same meal at every meal — milk, tuna, bread and a chocolate breakfast bar, Jakubowicz said. On one day, they ate three meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the second day, they skipped breakfast, but had lunch and dinner.

On the day they ate three meals, the average glucose peak after lunch was 192 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). After dinner, it was 215 mg/dL, the study revealed. But on the day of no breakfast, the average glucose peak climbed to 268 mg/dL after lunch and to 298 mg/dL after dinner, the researchers said. (A normal blood sugar level is below 126 mg/dL.)

Jakubowicz said it seems that beta cells “lose their memory” due to the prolonged fast. “Therefore, it takes additional time after lunch for the beta cells to recover, causing small and delayed insulin responses, and resulting in exaggerate elevation of blood glucose levels throughout the day on the no-breakfast day,” she said.diabetes-blood-sugar

Maudene Nelson, a certified diabetes educator and nutritionist at Columbia University in New York City, also noted that skipping breakfast led to higher levels of glucagon secretion, which raises blood sugar levels. “Once blood sugar levels are high, it’s harder to clean up ‘the mess’ as the day goes on,” explained Nelson, who wasn’t involved with the study.

“In the past, I’ve been somewhat laid back when people tell me they skip breakfast or only have coffee, because we all have our habits,” Nelson said, adding that the findings inspire her to tell patients skipping breakfast is not OK.

Jakubowicz said protein is an important component of any breakfast. She said it aids in “intellectual concentration” and helps you feel full. Nelson said good sources of protein include eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese or beans. She said the tuna offered in the study was also a good source of protein, and she said lean ham, preferably low-sodium, could be an occasional option.

Nelson also recommended adding fruit or a whole grain to breakfast. But most cereals don’t have enough fiber to be a good choice for people with type 2 diabetes, she said.

Jakubowicz’ final advice for people with type 2 diabetes is simple: “Never skip breakfast.”

She said it’s not clear if the results would be the same in people with type 1 diabetes, and that she’s planning a trial to see the effects of skipping breakfast in people with type 1 diabetes. She also noted that for women with diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes), skipping meals isn’t healthy for the baby, and could lead to excessive weight gain.

August 5, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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How Much Water Should You Really Drink Each Day?

Experts have revised healthy water consumption recommendations to encourage healthier hydration.

Water is necessary for carrying nutrients to your cells, flushing bacteria from your system, preventing dehydration, and replacing fluids lost from sweating, but you may not need to drink as much as you thought.  The Harvard Health Letter published new water recommendations challenging the long-standing eight 8-ounce glasses-a-day rule, which they say weren’t based on science but instead an educated guess on what the body needs to stay hydrated.

Harvard recommends drinking 30 to 50 ounces a day, which is equivalent to approximately four to six glasses of water. However, the team isn’t just recommending water to drink at this optimal standard, but fluids in general to aid in hydration. Even certain foods like watermelon, lettuce, spinach, and soups provide the body with fluids that can work in tandem with water to retain and process a healthy amount of water. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who engage in a lot of exercise may need more than the standard six glasses.

Recently, a panel of experts from around the world collaboratively wrote a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine that also warned how drinking beyond thirst can be hazardous for your health. Athletes are at the greatest risk of drinking to the point of exercise-associated hyponatremia, which occurs when the kidneys become flooded by large quantities of water, unable to process the liquid efficiently. The sodium levels in the human body aren’t able to balance the amount of water, eventually leading to swelling cells and — in severe cases — death.

How The Brain Processes Thirst

“Using the innate thirst mechanism to guide fluid consumption is a strategy that should limit drinking in excess and developing hyponatremia while providing sufficient fluid to prevent excessive dehydration,” according to the guidelines, published in the  Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

Going overboard can be avoided so long as you listen to your body and recognized when you’re thirsty. Thirst is one of the basic survival instincts, as it performs several crucial bodily functions, according to the Society of Neuroscience. In addition to flushing and cleansing the body, water maintains body temperatures; transports vitamins, minerals, hormones; and lubricates joints, eyes, and intestines.

But how do we really know we’re thirsty? The instinct to drink water keeps us alive. Adults can’t survive for more than a week without water, while children can die in a period of a few hours if left in a hot car, according to Scientific American. Thirst is regulated by a messaging network between the brain and various parts of the body. The negative feedback from organs and other parts turns on the thirst mechanism located in the brain, which cues us to pour a glass of water. As humans age, the loop can weaken and put the elderly population at risk for dehydration and a host of other health issues.


July 31, 2015
by Samantha Jeckewicz
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2 Diet Changes That Will Give You An Immediate Energy Boost

You got a solid eight hours of sleep last night… so why are you still so groggy? Dietitian and fitness expert Rebecca Scritchfield says that when her otherwise healthy clients complain of low energy levels, they’re often missing two very important nutrients in their diet.

“If you know your sleep is in check [and] you’re getting a good amount of exercise, it’s definitely time to take a look at the food intake and how high quality is your diet,” she says.

Scritchfield has her clients keep a food journal, and when she looks at their records she consistently sees these two important nutrients lacking in their diet:

The B Vitamins Foods rich in the B vitamins include fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, milk and dairy products.

This is a big class of vitamins, Scritchfield says, so it’s important to eat a wide variety. “They help your body unleash the energy out of food,” she explains.

Iron Because iron carries oxygen to all of the cells in our bodies, Scritchfield says eating iron-rich foods like beef, chicken, beans, legumes and eggs will have a direct impact on day-to-day energy levels. Women in particular often fall short on iron, so it’s important to monitor your intake.

When Scritchfield’s clients change their diet to include more of these two nutrients, she says they often report that they feel better instantly. “I think it’s a combination of mental and physical,” she says. “Because they feel better and they’re not trying to cope with their low energy by just eating sugary foods.”

The key to remember, Scritchfield says, is that feeling good starts with taking care of yourself. “Get good sleep and eat well, and you will feel better and you will feel that energy come back,” she promises.