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Teen Brain Development Hampered by Alcohol

Keeping kegs out of dormitories makes a lot of sense.

Researchers studying teenagers for two years found significant negative brain changes is both heavy and moderate drinkers. The more alcohol consumed the worse the outcomes. After controlling for confounders, slower increases in gray matter and accelerated decreases in gray matter were observed.

PositiveTip: Drinking alcohol is harmful to adolescent brains--and brains of all ages!

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Keep Electronic Devices out of Kids' Bedrooms.

Game consoles was linked to poor social competence.

A cross-sectional study of over 500 kindergartners in Hong Kong found the presence of electronic devices in their bedrooms was associated with worse social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, communication skills, and overall school readiness compared to to those who did not. 

PositiveTip: Think carefully when allowing children to have electronic devices in their bedrooms!

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Brain Health Depends on a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle may delay dementia and enhance cognition.

Vascular risk factors during midlife may foster the development of underlying dementia later in life. Having a BMI of greater than 30 kg/m2 at midlife is associated with 2X the risk of brain amyloid deposits later. Other risk factors are smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes--all modifiable by a healthy lifestyle.

PositiveTip: To optimize brain health follow a healthy lifestyle and engage in mentally stimulating activities today!

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Whole Grains Reduce Systemic Inflammation

Whole grains are a better choice than refined grains.

Danish scientists investigated the impact of replacing a refined grain diet with a whole grain diet (<10 gm or >75 gm whole grains, respectively) on the gut microbiome and insulin sensitivity. In a randomized, controlled cross-over study, 50 patients were tested for 8 weeks on each diet with a washout period of 8 weeks in between. While eating whole grains inflammatory biomarkers decreased and body weight dropped slightly.

PositiveTip: Whole grains are the better choice for weight management and inflammatory conditions.

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Any Physical Activity Better than None!

Even modest levels of physical activity benefit the heart.

Are. you tempted to say you are too tired or too busy to exercise? An 18-year study of 24,000 adults ages 39-79 has found a significant link between physical activity and a reduced risk of heart disease. The elderly who engaged in moderate intensity exercise were 14% less likely to experience a cardiovascular event than their peers who were inactive.

PositiveTip: No gym available? No problem! Seniors should walk, garden, do housework, and other moderate physical activities.

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The Raw Deal From Raw Dough

Most grains are not treated to kill bacteria.

Do you find raw cookie dough irresistible? It could be a problem. The flour may contain bacteria--specifically Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. Common, light symptoms are diarrhea and abdominal cramps that go away in a week. However, in children under 5, it can cause a type of kidney failure. Be aware that even homemade "play" clay from raw dough could cause an infection. Read the whole U.S. FDA statement.

PositiveTip: For your safety, avoid eating raw dough and wash hands, surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour. 

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Healthy Habits Can Offset Genetic Risk

Heart-healthy lifestyles benefit overall heart-health!

Worried you will have cardiovascular disease because it is in your genes? Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found while a high genetic tendency indeed increases risk of heart disease, so does an unhealthy lifestyle. The good news is, with a healthy lifestyle, the risk of heart disease can be lowered--especially for those with a high genetic risk. Those with the most healthy lifestyle factors reduced their risk by almost 50%, regardless of their genetic risk.

PositiveTip: A healthy lifestyle benefits everyone, even those with high risk in their genes!

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Does Cinnamon Burn Extra Calories?

It is too soon to add lots of cinnamon in the hope of losing weight!

Early research with cinnamaldehyde, the oil which gives cinnamon its flavor, may act directly on human fat cells causing them to burn energy by thermogenesis. Before you load your favorite holiday foods with extra cinnamon in an attempt to keep the weight off, the author cautions that more research is needed to understand these apparent metabolic benefits and the possible adverse effects.

PostitiveTip: Remember, there are no magic bullets! Restraint and moderation are still the best way of eating during the holidays.

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Thanksgiving Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him,
talk ye of all his wondrous works.
" 1 Chronicles 16:8-9

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Big Tobacco Finally to Run "Corrective" Ads

Big tobacco is not running these ads because they have repented--they were ordered to run them.

Big tobacco will finally run the "corrective" ads a federal court ordered because they engage in massive wrongdoing that causes a staggering number of deaths--1200 deaths per day in the U.S. This advertising will highlight the deadly nature of their products starting on November 26 and will continue 5 times per week for one year in prime time on the major networks

PositiveTip: Take every opportunity to communicate the deception and dangers of using tobacco.