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The Huffington Post

 

Your love for avocados is oh-so right, according to a new study that finds that eating an avocado a day can improve bad cholesterol levels — at least in overweight and obese people.

Avocados have gotten a bad rap in the past because they’re high in calories and fat. But it’s their richness in monounsaturated fat that researchers say gives avocado its ability to lower bad cholesterol.

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The Economist

Electronic cigarettes and health

The latest investigation of vaping suggests it can help you quit smoking

 

Dec 20th 2014 | From the print edition

THERE are few more reliable routes to an early grave than cigarette smoking. But despite the dangers, nicotine addicts find it almost impossible to kick the habit. Half of those who try to stop “cold turkey” will fail within a week. Fewer than 5% manage to stay clean for a year or more. Crutches such as nicotine patches or gum, which provide the drug without the cigarettes, can help—but only a little.

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 Men’s Fitness

How to avoid the possibility of eating poisonous rice.

Eaters of white and brown rice have healthier diets— they take in more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat and added sugar, a Baylor College of Medicine study of more than 14,000 adults showed. But all’s not well in Riceville. It turns out, the grain is often tainted with carcinogenic metals, especially when crops are grown in once industrial areas. In China, the concern is cadmium, a metallic compound that may cause cancer and kidney disease. In fact, a Greenpeace East Asia test found unsafe levels of cadmium in 12 of 13 rice crops sampled. Stateside, arsenic is the enemy, though the FDA has so far deemed levels too low to cause immediate adverse health effects.

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Sugary Drinks Tied to Earlier Menstruation

BODY

 

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JANUARY 27, 2015 

Age of first menses has decreased substantially since the early 20th century, and studies have shown that younger age of menarche is associated with increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer in later life.Here is another mark against sugary drinks: A new study has found that drinking them is associated with lowered age of menarche.

By

The study, published online in Human Reproduction, used data on 5,583 girls ages 9 to 14 who had not yet attained menarche at the start. They filled out diet questionnaires yearly from 1996 to 1998. By 2001, 159 still had not yet had their first period.

After controlling for birth weight, maternal age at menarche, physical activity, and many dietary and behavioral factors, they found that girls who drank one-and-a-half 12-ounce cans a day of nondiet soda or sugared iced tea had their first period an average of 2.7 months earlier than those who drank less than two cans a week.

The lead author, Karin B. Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said that the contribution of sugary drinks to early menarche was independent of the well-known contribution of obesity.

“Our findings are robust,” she said, “and not dependent on body mass index. Sugared beverages are not healthy to begin with, and there should be heightened attention to avoiding them.”

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TIME

The sun is the biggest culprit in causing skin cancer, but there’s a beverage that may thwart it some


You may grab a cup (or two) of coffee every morning to help you wake up and face the day, but you may also be doing your skin a favor. Researchers in a new paper released January 20 say that coffee can protect against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.


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Los Angeles Times

Drink up, coffee lovers: Neurologists say a healthy appetite for coffee may reduce your risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

We’re not talking a cup or two of joe in the morning. Even a triple espresso might not be enough to register a difference.

In a new study, researchers found that Americans who downed at least four cups of coffee per day were one-third less likely to develop multiple sclerosis than their counterparts who drank no coffee at all. They also found that Swedish adults who guzzled at least six cups of coffee each day were also one-third less likely to get MS.

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TIME

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TIME

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Statins can lower cholesterol and even tamp down inflammation to keep the risk of heart disease down. But these commonly prescribed drugs may increase the risk of diabetes, and by a considerable amount

drugs that are among most prescribed drugs in America. In a study published in Diabetologia, scientists from Finland found that men prescribed statins to lower their cholesterol had a 46% greater chance of developing diabetes after six years compared to those who weren’t taking the drug. Doctors may have to weigh a serious potential risk before prescribing statins, the cholesterol-lowering What’s more, the statins seemed to make people more resistant to the effects of insulin—which breaks down sugar—and to secrete less insulin. The impact on insulin seemed to be greatest among those who started out with the lowest, and closest to normal, levels of blood glucose. And the higher the dose of the statin, and the longer the patients took them, the greater their risk of diabetes.

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The spread of Ebola

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A panicky response in the West may worsen conditions in west Africa

Oct 11th 2014 | From the print edition

THE death toll from Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three most affected countries in west Africa, now stands at around 3,900. Among cases diagnosed outside Africa, the total is one: Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national, who died in Texas on October 8th. Yet fear of Ebola in relatively unaffected countries risks making the tragedy in Africa worse.

On October 3rd Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, called for flights from “Ebola-stricken” countries to America to be suspended. Other Republican politicians have done the same. Plenty of African countries have already introduced flight bans. Some Western airlines have also altered their schedules. Read more

Stuck in the waiting room

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A long-touted health-care revolution may at last be about to arrive

Oct 11th 2014 | ROME | From the print edition

THE idea of telemedicine—health care provided using telecommunications equipment—has a lengthy history. Radio News, an American magazine, devoted its cover to a patient at home consulting a doctor in his surgery via a television link as long ago as 1924. When NASA began monitoring astronauts in space in the 1960s, fantasy became reality. It has been touted as health care’s future ever since.

But even smartphones and tablets have failed to usher in the telemedicine revolution: most health care still happens face to face. Now, enthusiasts think the wait is nearly over. Governments have been slow to embrace an approach that could improve coverage and outcomes, as well as saving money. But they are under increasing pressure from ageing populations and a surge in chronic diseases, just as public budgets are being squeezed.

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The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

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Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been struggling since March to stop what has become the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. The disease is causing widespread fear and disruption in West Africa, and shows no signs of being brought under control.

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