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Zika Update

Another reason to avoid mosquito bites!

The WHO has declared a global public health emergency because of the Zika virus. While known for more than 50 years, its possible association with thousands of suspected cases of microcephaly (congenital brain damage) in babies has triggered current concerns. Symptoms are usually mild and self-limited.

PositiveTip: To minimize Zika risk (1) avoid unnecessary travel to infected areas; (2) adequate mosquito protection (repellant, nets, etc.); (3) pregnant women or those planning pregnancies should avoid travel to infected areas, and (4) use condoms or avoid sex with a partner who has been exposed.

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Video: If Soda Commercials Were Honest

If it is bad for our health, why do we drink so many sugary beverages?

Analysis of the Framingham Heart Study has found those drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) had more belly fat than those not drinking SSBs.  Yet the industry continues to supply the market with large quantities of this liquid candy because of a steady stream of customers who buy it! For a different perspective and a good laugh, watch If Soda Commercials Were Honest!

PositiveTip: If you don't buy and drink belly-fat inducing SSBs they will not have any impact on you!

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Early High-fiber Diets Reduce Breast Cancer Risk Later

Healthy eating early in life may protect against later breast cancer.

Adolescent girls and young women who consumed a healthier diet had less breast cancer as they aged. Researchers found those who ate the highest amounts of dietary fiber had a 25% lower risk when compared with those who ate the lowest amounts. Both insoluble and soluble fiber consumption were beneficial. For each 10 gram increase in daily fiber intake the risk fell by 13%!

PositiveTip: Young women should eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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Night-shift Work Increases Dangerous Driving

Night-shift workers are at considerable risk for auto accidents.

It is no secret that drowsy drivers are more likely to have accidents. In fact, 20% of fatal accidents are caused by sleepy drivers. Boston researchers tested 16 night-shift workers while they drove on a special track following 7 hours of sleep or after a night or working. Near crashes occurred in 38% of tests following a night of work and none following sleep. 

PositiveTip: To be a safe driver get a good nights sleep before getting behind the wheel.

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Baby Develops Scurvy

Babies should not be fed plant-based beverages exclusively.

Spanish doctors diagnosed an 11-month old baby with scurvy--vitamin C deficiency. The parents were feeding the child exclusively almond milk and it did not get enough ascorbic acid for adequate collagen production. The issue was the absence of formula or breast milk, not because it was a plant-based beverage. (Dairy milk has no vitamin C.) If fruits had supplemented this baby's diet along with breast milk or formula the baby would have had enough vitamin C.

PositiveTip: Infants, as well as all ages, should never consume only one type of food!

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Knee OA Pain and Weight Loss

A weight loss of more than 10% resulted in significant improvements in knee OA pain.

A community-based study found a clear dose-response relationship in symptom improvement in overweight and obese people suffering with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Each subject was likely to require referral to an orthopedic surgeon for possible knee joint replacement. Those who lost more than 10% of their body weight saw the greatest improvements in knee pain and function. 

PositiveTip: Dietary intervention, appropriate exercises and motivational support can lead to significant quality of life enhancements in knee OA pain.

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An Inside Look at Cage-free Eggs

Consumer demand is forcing fundamental changes in egg production.

While many followers of are choosing to forego the use of all eggs, many are seeking to purchase only cage-free eggs. With McDonald's leading the way, nearly all major fast food chains have announced they will sell nothing but cage-free eggs. This is causing a tidal wave of change throughout the egg industry--and no one knows who will pay for the significant increase in costs, but in the end it will be the consumers.

PositiveTip: The economics of cage-free eggs may force a reduction in cholesterol intake for many.

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Water Availability Encourages Weight Loss

Forty percent of public school children are overweight or obese.

New York City schools may have discovered a remarkably simple, yet effective way of combating overweight--by increasing access to water at lunchtime! The availability of water seemed to lower chocolate milk consumption and sugar-sweetened beverages. This economical intervention significantly lowered the likelihood of boys being overweight by 0.9 percentage points and girls by 0.6, compared to schools without water availability at lunch.

PositiveTip: It could be argued that no fluids during meals is best, but certainly water is preferable to calorie-laden beverages.

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Exercise at the Extreme

The benefits of physical activity outweigh the risks of lifelong, endurance activities.

Can you get too much good physical activity? Maybe, but the American Cardiology Sports and Exercise Cardiology Leadership Council has concluded that the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks associated with lifelong, very active endurance athletes. Even small amounts of exercise, including standing, result in lower cardiovascular risk compared to a sedentary lifestyle.

PositiveTip: Regular physical activity is vital for the prevention of heart disease and the promotion of longevity.

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Traveler Warnings for Zika Virus

Expectant moms or those planning a pregnancy urged to avoid travel where Zika exposure likely.

The U. S. Centers for Disease Control is warning pregnant women in any trimester and those who plan to become pregnant to avoid travel to 14 areas of the Caribbean and Central and South America. This comes because of a surge in microcephalic infant births believed to be caused by Zika virus infection. So far there is no specific treatment or vaccine for Zika.

PositiveTip: Those who must travel to these areas should strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites.