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A Web-based Strategy for Insomnia

Improved sleep may be available without human support on the internet.

Close to 20% of the population struggle with insomnia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the best first-line treatment, yet there are very few therapists with appropriate training. A randomized year-long clinical trial of a web-based CBT insomnia intervention shows promise of filling this gap. More than half (56.6% of those participating in the Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi) program achieved remission with 67% experiencing improved sleep outcomes. 

PositiveTip: Trouble sleeping? Internet-based CBT might be a very cost effective treatment for insomnia. 

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Medical Apps Still Wanting

Caution is still necessary when depending on even the best medical apps.

Even the best smartphone apps have been found deficient, especially in an emergency. A review of medical apps by a research team found problems. For instance when doctor reviewers entered information that should have produced warnings--like entering an extremely abnormal blood sugar. Only 28 of the 121 apps responded appropriately. Another issue found was the safeguarding of personal medical information--often sending reports by text or email.

PositiveTip; Don't depend on apps until their safety, accuracy, and privacy have been improved.

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Common Cigarette Misunderstandings

Additives do not make tobacco dangerous--it is inherently dangerous on its own.

Adults and teens in the U.S. hold misperceptions about inhaling cigarette smoke into their lungs. Many survey participants indicated they did not know that the inhaled chemicals from burning cigarettes are the main source of harm. This data suggests the dangers of allowing the sale of cigarettes labeled natural" or "additive-free".

PositiveTip: All cigarettes--even if labeled as "natural"--should be avoided to reduce the serious health risks.

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Exposure to Loud Noise Levels Damages Ears

WHO recommends limiting audio device use to under an hour a day.

The WHO estimates 1.1 billion teens and young adults are putting their hearing at risk by exposing themselves to damaging sound levels from personal audio devices, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues. Exposure to noise levels of 100 dB for longer than 15 minutes is not safe. Hair blow dryers and subway trains are associated with those levels! Even half of children's noise-restricting headphones don't limit volumes as advertised.

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No Safe Level of Cigarette Smoking

Even a single cigarette each day increases mortality risk by 64%.

Many smokers believe very light smoking or not smoking every day may reduce their health risks. In a study of 290,000 middle-age and older smokers, researcher found long-time, low-volume smokers had significantly higher mortality risks compared with those who had never smoked or quit. Those who reported consistently smoking 1-10 cigarettes a day had an 87% greater chance of dying prematurely. These associations were similar for men and women.

PositiveTip: All smokers--even light smokers--can benefit from smoking cessation.

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Sleep Matters!

Lack of adequate sleep costs the U.S. $411 billion annually.

Lack of sleep among the U.S. working population is costing 2.28% of the GDP because of lower productivity levels and a higher risk of mortality. Each year employees lose 1.2 million working days a year, and experience 13% increased risk of mortality. Researchers estimated that increasing nightly sleep by 1-1-1/2 hours per night could add $226.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

PositiveTip: Are you sleeping enough? Daily physical activity, set bedtimes, and limited use of electronic devices before bed can help.

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Life's Simple 7

People adhering well to Life's Simple 7 experience 41% less atrial fibrillation!

The American Heart Association's My Life Check(r) is built around 7 simple health habits: blood pressure, body-mass index, smoking, diet, cholesterol, blood sugar and exercise. A study of over 6000 adults found those with the best scores were 41% less likely than those with the lowest scores to develop atrial fibrillation.

PositiveTip: What is your score? Find out by taking the quiz at My Life Check!

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Are Vegetarian Diets Adequate?

Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful and nutritionally adequate.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has published its newest position statement on vegetarian diets. It states well-planned vegetarian diets are "appropriate, and they satisfy the nutrient needs and promote normal growth at all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes." This statement clearly discusses needed nutrition considerations, health benefits, and environmental issues.

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Saturated Fats Again Linked to CHD

It is still better to replace SFAs with healthier choices.

Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD from Harvard University published his third paper this year linking saturated fats (SFA) to increased coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. In analyzing 24-28 years of follow-up data in two large prospective studies a strong correlation with all the major saturated fatty acids and CHD was found. The authors calculated that by replacing 1% of daily energy from SFA with polyunsaturated fats from whole grains and plant proteins would lead to a 6-8% reduction in CHD risk. 

PositiveTip: Evidence remains strong for choosing a plant-based diet!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

This holiday don't increase your waste and waist.

With thanksgiving to the Harvard Nutrition Source, here are 6 tips to make your holiday waistline friendly:

  1. Start with a salad to fill you up.
  2. Squeeze in some extra steps.
  3. Offer yourself and guests refreshing infused water.
  4. Serve yourself small portions and don't try everything.
  5. Cook fewer dishes--and make sure they are wholesome.
  6. Serve fruit instead of the standard high calorie fare.

PositiveTip: Here is a novel idea: Show your guests this very short video before you sit down to celebrate