Sunday, March 2, 2014

Health Research Recap (Week of February 24, 2014)

A study on the effect of BPA on pregnant primates found that very low levels of BPA, levels similar to those found in human fetuses, can negatively impact the fetus of the pregnant mother.  BPA had an adverse effect on the develop on the lungs, heart, ovaries, and brain of developing fetus and indicate that chronic, low dose exposure to BPA may have a more detrimental impact than previously thought.

If you think you are only exposed to BPA through plastic drinking containers, think again.  A source of BPA that most people don't know about is found in receipts you get from the store.  Researchers wanted to find out if exposure from receipts had a significant impact on those handling receipts for 2 hours a day(Such as cashiers)  They found that handling receipts without gloves for 2 hours caused the level of BPA found in the urine to increase while handling them with gloves led to no significant increase in BPA in the urine.  Of particular note is that traceable BPA levels were found in 83% of the people before the no-gloves condition and in 100% after.

There's good reason not to throw away that sprouted garlic in your refrigerator.  Researchers found that when garlic was sprouted for 5 days, it contained many new chemicals that protected the young plant that may also be of benefit to humans.  Of particular interest is that the antioxidant activity of sprouted garlic was higher than unsprouted garlic and there were more potentially beneficial metabolites that require further study. one of which protected cells from different types of damage.

It seems the number of psychological side effects related to the use of anti-depressants may be worse than thought.  In a study of people aged 18-25, researchers found that in some cases, a majority of people using these drugs experienced psychological side effects.  The side effects most reported in included sexual difficulties(62%), feeling emotionally numb (60%), and withdrawal effects.  Despite experiencing these issues, 82% stated that they felt the drugs were helping their depression.

It appears as though you can die of a broken heart.  Researchers looking at the likelihood of death within the 30 days after a loved one passed found that the risk of stroke or heart attack doubles for those who have lost a loved one.  Apparently the increased stress associated with bereavement may be too much for some people to take.  In addition, some of the bereaved also neglected to keep up with taking their medications post-bereavement.

Those born by C-section are 26% more likely to become overweight adults according to a new study.  While birthing method probably has some effect on genetic expression due to many factors, this study must be taken with a grain of salt as there are many factors that could contribute to this process.  If these results hold up, it is likely that the effect would be mediated by a change in gut bacteria as those born by C-section are not inoculated with their mother's vaginal flora as they do not pass through the birth canal.

In good obesity news, the rate of obesity in those aged 2-5 has declined significantly by 43%.  While this is certainly terrific news, the obesity rate as a whole has remained the same and women aged 60 and older saw an uptick by almost 20%.  While the news about youngsters is certainly encouraging, the news about older women will likely have a large impact on healthcare costs that are already too high.

In monkey see monkey do news, it has been long known that people in lower socioeconomic areas are more likely to become obese or have type 2 diabetes.  In a study looking at people within these areas, the researchers found that the individual socioeconomic status of people in these areas didn't matter, even people who are better off that live in this area are more likely to be obese or have type 2 diabetes.

Research has shown a link between low vitamin D3 levels and autism, and now new research indicates why this may be.  Researchers found that vasopressin, oxytocin, and serotonin, 3 brain hormones associated with social behavior, appear to be activated by vitamin D3.  The researchers believe that supplementation with D3, serotonin, and omega 3 oils could help relieve some of the symptoms associated with autism.  Daily sun exposure, eating foods with tryptophan, and eating fish or grass fed beef are likely better alternatives to get these nutrients.