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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.

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Video: Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

Why should we control added sugars?

Each cell in our body, including any cancer cells, uses sugar (glucose) from our blood to fuel its metabolism. The foods we eat, even the healthful vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, provide this source of energy. There is no clear evidence that dietary sugar preferentially feeds tumors over other cells in the body. The connection is an indirect one: eating lots of high-sugar foods increases the risk of obesity, and in turn increases the risk of many cancers. Learn more in this video.

PositiveTip: Heed the good advice in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines to carefully limit added sugars.

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Words Matter When Choosing Foods

Do you perceive "healthy" foods as less filling?

Seventy college students were presented with the same popcorn labeled as either "healthy," "unhealthy," or "nourishing." Each was asked to order as much popcorn as  needed to not be hungry until the next meal. Students ordered and ate more of the "healthy" popcorn compared with those who ordered the "unhealthy." Those who choose the "nourishing" popcorn ate less than the "healthy" group, but more than the "unhealthy" group.

PositiveTip: Beware of the temptation to overeat foods  labeled as "healthy!" Make your choices based on the facts.

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New U. K. Alcohol Guidelines

Stricter U. K. alcohol guidelines reflect current scientific evidence.

Following a review of scientific evidence the U.K. Chief Medical Officers issued new guidelines on the use of alcohol. Clear evidence shows even the consumption of 1 drink per day is linked with increased risk of several cancers and recognizes the claimed protective benefits for heart disease is weaker than first thought. They state there is no safe level for pregnant women, and warns against binge drinking. (Supporting evidence papers are available here.)

PositiveTip: Avoiding all alcohol consumption is still good advice for limiting risks.