Category Archives: Studies

When Green Tea Is A Bad Thing

Green tea has been talked about as some miraculous supplement. Year after year, they have talked about all of the benefits, saying that it can help you to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and so on down the line. However, in other news, the benefits of green tea have been downplayed to a considerable degree, and more than that, there are some who suggest that it may not be as safe as they want you to think.

The American College of Gastroenterology and offered new recommendations about green tea, suggesting that it could actually cause toxic liver failure.

Catechins are key here. Yes, they have been called out for being healthy, fat burners, cholesterol lowering antioxidants even. The problem that many don’t realize is that it’s very possible to have too much of a good thing. Catchins target the mitochondria powerhouse cells, and they stop them from metabolizing your food for energy according to research, which could lead to jaundice, hepatitis, or liver failure according to study authors including Herbert Bonkovsky MD.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that unregulated supplements have a direct connection to 20% of drug-related liver injuries. Despite what you may think, it takes a surprisingly small dose to do this much damage. So it’s best to tone it down. You should limit yourself to a maximum of 500mg per day, if even that. Proceed with caution as some supplements researchers tested had 700mg in just one capsule.

Bonkovsky says, There isn’t any need to take these supplements, and when you look at the actual scientific evidence, the benefits of green tea are small to nil. A bit harsh? You would think, but then again, I tend to trust the research of a qualified doctor over the commercials simply designed to sell you something.

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Obese Women Are Different Than Men

Over and over, we’re given options to lose weight this way and that, and they spread them across the board. There are those who blame women’s habits for women having a harder time losing weight than men, but it’s more than that. For one thing, testosterone is a natural fat burner that women just don’t have as much of.

Women actually gain weight for different reasons than men, and it’s not just the basic hormones. Obese women, according to a study in the journal Cell Biology, have a specific, food related learning deficit as they call it that is not observed in obese men or people of healthy weight. This may explain why they gain so much weight.

Researchers looked at this by presenting men and women with different colored squares and then pictures of rewards (food or money). They were then asked to predict the likelihood of a reward after a certain color or pattern. It was only obese women who struggled to accurately predict when a food picture would come, but they easily predicted the money suggesting a different learning curve when it comes to food.

Co-author Ifat Levy PhD, neuroscientist at Yale University says, I must admit that we did not expect a gender difference. She explains that it might be that obese people have additional cognitive loads when it comes to food. Levy continues, Women are generally more concerned about being obese or their appearance, and therefore this load may be heavier for women.

Of course, they will need to conduct more studies to determine if the learning deficit is actually the cause or the other way around. Levy posits, It could be that obese individuals – or at least obese women – fail to flexibly adjust their valuation of food. For example, when we are hungry, food is perceived as highly rewarding. But when we are full, the food is less rewarding and can even be aversive. It is possible that some obese individuals fail to recognize the change in their internal environment, and thus keep regarding the food as highly rewarding even when it should not be.

Levy hopes for her research to help move the field of obesity research along and break into more of the actual causes to find better treatments.

Are Good Looking People Healthier?

Celebrities are easily the pinnacle of looks, but they’re also known for their extreme (and unhealthy) diet fads. They may be skinny, toned, and fit, but are they actually healthier? Are the people who you see who are regular Joes, but are better looking, are they acutally healthier? It’s evolution. According to what some would consider common sense and others would consider evolution, more attractive people may actually be healthier.

I’m not talking about celebrities who really don’t look good until they put on makeup. I’m talking about genuinely good looking people. The University of Cincinnati conducted a study following 15,000 men and women in the US from age 10 to ages 24-35. They tracked their physical and mental health, and over and over again, they observed a striking correlation. The more attractive you were, the better your health. The most attractive people were the least likely to suffer from asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, ADHD, and depression as well as stutters or tinnitus.

They also conducted 90 minute interviews, and they were rated on a five tier scale ranging from very unattractive to very attractive. Study overseers Joseph L Nedelec and Kevin M Beaver found that for every point of attractiveness achieved in the rankings the lower the risk of disease by 13 to 23%. For women, the likelihood of illness could drop by as much as 22% for just one point.

Of course, this is one study, and its results and actual meaning are limited. More attractive people we’ve seen tend to get paid more, get higher grades, and they are even liked more by children. However, compared to other studies, the Cincinnati study has a wide breadth and detail, and they argue that the differences are evolutionarily based.

You could ask what the correlation actually is. Are more attractive people healthier because of their looks, or are their looks correlated with better care that would lead them to be healthier? Do we simply perceive them to be healthier because they pass on their genes? Scientists argue that it could be a bit of each. There is no simple one sided explanation.

Could A Deadly Disease Kill Cancer?

Every day we’re hearing more and more about new cures for cancer, new prevention, new treatments. There are always new people claiming breakthroughs in medical science when it comes to cancer, including a recent cancer vaccine. It’s not preventative. You would simply inject a certain mix into tumors and make them shrink quite dramatically in a short period of time.

Most recently, experts are trying what they call virotherapy, which means that they inject the measles vaccine to fight cancer, which seems to be having extremely positive effects thus far. It was first announced in May, and just recently, they published a follow-up with the patient Stacy Erholtz, who has been completely cancer-free for a year. The next phase of the clinical trials will be starting shortly.

Erholtz reported to Minnesota’s Brainerd Dispatch, I’m really excited about it, not for myself, but I want some multiple myeloma measles friends. I’ve had a dose, and you can’t be redosed. It’s time for other people to have a dose. It’s a giant step forward for cancer. Let’s get it out there. Let’s put some money behind it and get it out there.

Erholtz previous had an aggressive form of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer found in the plasma cells of the bone marrow. It spread across her whole body in just 10 years. She ended up in the Mayo Clinic’s experimental study when she ran out of other options. They gave her a single high dose injection of the measles vaccine, which could have inoculated 10 million people on a normal basis. She went into complete remission after just one dose.

Research on mice has suggested that viral therapy overwhelms cancer cells and makes them literally explode. Viruses like herpes and poxvirus are particularly effective, and they bind tumors and use them as hosts to replicate their own genetic material; the cancer cells eventually explode and release the virus.

Unfortunately, the measles vaccine has not been found to be effective for all types of cancer. Other patients in the study did not see remission as Erholtz did. The effects are partially dependent on your immune system. Most people have already been vaccinated against measles, but if you have a suppressed immune system (and little previous exposure in Erholtz), you are more likely to respond to the measles virus.

You only get once chance with this kind of treatment. Once the body recognizes it, it will start attacking it before it can bond to the cancer cells. They are currently researching how to determine the right dose for each patient.

The Mayo Clinic will be offering 15 doses of the measles treatment in the new trial. 350 people are currently on the waiting list, and they want to experiment on numerous types of cancer in the brain, ovaries, neck, and head. They hope to receive FDA approval in the next 4 years.

Do Black People Age Faster?

According to a new study, and plenty before it, being African American may not be so great in terms of your health. African Americans are reported to die faster and younger than their white counterparts, which could be related to everyday stressors of being black.

Researchers at USC calculated a biological age gap between black and white subjects by looking at the physical exams and lifestyle surveys of 7664 Americans 30 and up. 11% of the subjects were black, and the rest were white. They looked at 10 age related biomarkers including total cholesterol, C-reactive protein, and systolic blood pressure to start. They also looked at factors like education level and history of smoking. There was an average biological age gap of 53.16 years for African Americans and 49.84 years for white Americans. When socioeconomic positions and health behaviors were taken into account, the gap went to 52.72 for black people and 49.89 for whites, which is still a 3 year age gap.

Why would this happen?

According to researchers, black people saw higher rates of obesity, and a recent study also looked over black people who may internalize the idea of racial inferiority and anti-black bias. They showed even shorter biological age markers.

Why You Can’t Remember Being A Baby

There are plenty of pictures for most people of when they were babies. There is proof that yes, once you were that tiny human who required someone to do just about everything for you, but just try remembering that. For the average human being, that is never going to happen. Scientists have recently announced why that is, and it’s not because you simply don’t have the capacity to build memories as a baby.

When your body creates new cells in young and developing brains, they naturally push out and eliminate the circuits where you form memories. When your brain slows the process of making new brain cells, it makes it easier and possible for you to craft more concrete memories. Despite what may seem obvious, when your brain is busy building new brain cells, you have less capacity for creating memories.

Paul Frankland, a neurobiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children In Toronto who led the original study says, Some kind of forgetting is important for memory. There’s finite capacity. You want to get rid of all the junk, and you want to remember the important features and important events.

For years, scientists and ordinary citizen alike have guessed and questioned why we can’t remember our baby memories. They has been puzzled, but now we have a hard reason. Before, we were depending on the likes of Freud and more modern scientists’ guesses. Freud originally claimed we were just repressing our memories, because they were too filled with psychosexual content. Scientists only realized that this might be faulty when studying the fact that other animals experienced the same problem.

The recent research is still in its infancy, though it is naturally exciting. It’s definitely something that scientists will continue to study, and it definitely is an important breakthrough.

Is Stress Causing Your Headache?

Whether it’s all over tension headaches or localized migraines, when you experience more stress, studies have suggested that you will also suffer more and more frequent headaches. A study in Germany followed subjects for 2 years, tracking stress levels, headache types, and headache regularity with 500 adult subjects. If they were to report more stress, they also reported more headaches according to the study. The scale given was 0 to 100, and they found that every 10 point increase in stress led to a 6% increase in headaches.

However, this is still early. The exact links between stress and headaches aren’t 100% clear according to coauthor Sara Schramm MD of the University Hospital of Duisburg-Essen University. According to Schramm, the actual causes of headaches may be much more complex, and there’s no simple answer. The good news in a way is that the connection definitely does exist.

Schramm has recommended stress lowering techniques such as yoga and meditation to prevent future issues with unnecessary headaches.