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Small Amounts of Alcohol Lead to Brain Damage

Drinking habits many consider normal have adverse consequences for health.

Researchers studied 530 U.K. non-alcohol dependent adults whose alcohol consumption and cognitive performance was repeatedly assessed for over 30 years. Brain imaging was performed at the most recent visit. After adjustment for potential confounders, even moderate alcohol use (up to 21 drinks per week) was associated with a 3x greater risk of having hippocampal atrophy than abstainers. Very light drinking (1-6 drinks per week) gave no protection relative to not drinking.

PositiveTip: Abstinence from all alcohol appears to be the best policy for long-term brain health.

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Small Amounts of Alcohol Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

AICR estimates that one-third of breast cancers in the U.S. could be prevented!

Consuming just one glass of wine (or other alcoholic drink) a day increases the risk of breast cancer, the most common global cause of cancer in women! Excess body fat also increases the risk. Regular physical activity and breastfeeding decrease the risk. 

PositiveTip: Click on this link to view an intriguing infographic on how you, a loved one or friend, can lower the risk of breast cancer.

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Is Alternate-day Fasting Beneficial?

Alternate-day fasting offered no advantage over reduced-calorie diets in weight loss.

The obesity epidemic has spawned many novel approaches to weight loss. One such  increasingly popular approach today is alternate-day fasting. A randomized clinical trial of 100 obese, but healthy individuals, divided the participants into alternate-day fasting, daily caloric restriction, and a control group. At the end of one year weight loss in both treatment groups was about 5%, while the control group had a slight weight gain.

PositiveTip: When it comes to weight loss, the bottom-line is to reduce energy intake and increase output via physical activity.

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No Fruit Juice for Infants

Reducing consumption of juice during infancy can reduce the risk of obesity later.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has extended its recommendation against offering juice to all infants from 6 months and younger to 12 months and under. Toddlers should be given no more that 4 oz (120 ml) of 100% juice; children 4-6 years old no more than 6 oz (180 ml) and 7-18 years no more than 8 oz (235 ml). 

PositiveTip: Parents and grandparents need to be aware of the impact juice can have on the weight infants and children. 

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Hoax App Makes Fake Diagnosis

Sadly, there are many "snake oil" apps in the digital world.

A woman in Kenya had HIV misdiagnosed by a "prank" smartphone app--probably shared by Bluetooth, a common way in that part of the world. This unfortunate event highlights the danger of using unregulated health apps. In the U.S. there is a modicum of oversight by the FDA's most recent guidelines or Apple's more rigorous standards for this kind of app.

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Impact of Medical Marijuana Laws

Legalization of medical marijuana appears to increase illicit use.

Researchers examined the impact of medical marijuana laws (MML) over two decades in the U.S. and found illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorder increased after the legalization of marijuana. The opposite occurred in states that did not legalize it.

PositiveTip: Evidence is growing that MML should be opposed by voters whenever possible.

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Individuals with High-Risks Often Don't Recognize Them

People with the highest number of risk factors tended to agree they need to improve.

Research in Canada found many high-risk patients do not recognize a need to change their lifestyle--especially with hypertension, diabetes, and alcohol use. The risk factors most likely to encourage change to improve health were: smoking, obesity, sedentary living, high stress and low fruit and vegetable intake. Those younger in age, female, educated and with higher household incomes were more likely to improve.

PositiveTip: If you truly value your health, you cannot live in denial of your lifestyle choices.

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Big Tobacco Fighting FDA Oversight of E-Cigarettes

Spending almost $5 million and hiring 30 lobbying firms is a massive effort to exert influence.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reports big tobacco in the U.S. is waging a sophisticated "multi-pronged assault" to gut the FDA's ability to regulate electronic cigarettes. The tobacco giants Reynolds American and Altria Group were among the largest corporate donors to the inauguration of President Trump. In the first quarter of 2017 these companies spent $2.9 million on lobbying efforts to this end.

PositiveTip: Contact your legislators today and express your opposition to softening FDA oversight over e-cigarettes.

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Inhaled "Poppers" Harmful to Eyesight

"Poppers" might permanently cause eye damage.

"Poppers," a slang term for pills containing alkyl nitrite compounds, commonly known as club drugs, are inhaled at discos to enhance the loud throbbing music and flashing lights. They are also used for sexual effects. These compounds appear to be toxic to the fovea of the eye and can also cause visual problems known as maculopathy. Abstention generally results in partial to full recovery.

PositiveTip: Avoidance of popular psychoactive compounds is the best and safest policy.

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Is that a Crouton?

It doesn't happen often, but food does get contaminated from time to time.

A shopper went to a Southwest Walmart and purchased a 5 oz. bag of Fresh Express Organic Marketside Spring Mix (production code G089B19, best-if-used-by APR 14) to make a salad. They found deteriorated bat remains in the salad mix. Now a couple has been advised to receive rabies postexposure prophylaxis treatments. The product has been recalled.

PositiveTip: Always pay close attention to any suspicious objects in your food--especially if you did not. prepare it yourself!