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"Decision Regret" Higher in Tired Nurses

Shorter shifts and strategic napping could improve nurses' performance.

Analysis of data from a careful survey of critical care nurses found those who are fatigued, lose sleep, and have difficulty recovering between shifts are more likely to report "decision regret" (lack of confidence in decisions made) compared to rested nurses. This was highest among those who work 12 hour shifts. Inadequate sleep increases the risk for mistakes and poor outcomes.

PositiveTip: Prioritize sleep and plan fatigue countermeasures into your life to stay at the top of your game.

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Could Antioxidant Supplements Protect Cancer Cells?

Antioxidant supplements may protect the cancer cells instead of us.

New research in mice that already had lung cancer suggests antioxidant supplements decrease the activity of a gene (p53) which destroys defective cells, including cancer cells. The supplements caused the number of tumors in the mice to triple, grow faster and become more aggressive. This has not been studied in humans, but it does raise a cautionary flag.

PositiveTip: Sticking with a healthy diet rich in antioxidant sources and skipping the supplements may be the best.

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Breakfast Habits May Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Disorders

Youth who eat a poor breakfast are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

A new study from Sweden adds more evidence to the importance of a healthy breakfast. Researchers surveyed 889 adolescents's breakfast habits and then checked their health 27 years later. They found that youth who missed breakfast or ate a nutritionally deficient breakfast were 68% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than students who ate a hearty, healthy breakfast.

PositiveTip: Eat a healthy breakfast every day and you may prevent cardiovascular health risks later.

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"T" May Not Be Good for the Heart

Due to accumulating evidence, the U.S. FDA is reassessing the safety of "T".

On this day of hearts, new information questions the safety of testosterone or "T" supplements. A large observational study compared those who received prescriptions for "T" with those who took Cialis (sildenafil and tadalafil). In younger patients with previous myocardial infarctions (MIs), and in older patients without a history of MI, the rate of MI was about two times that of those on Cialis within the first three months of use.

PositiveTip: Think carefully before considering supplemental "T".

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Kids and Caffeine

Three-quarters of children drink caffeine each day in the U.S.

Kids and teens are consuming about the same amount of caffeine they were a decade ago. Analysis of NHANES data from 1999-2010 reveals the sources have changed dramatically. Soda accounted for 62% of caffeine in 1999, but now only 38%. However, caffeine from coffee jumped from 10% to 24%, and energy drinks now account for 6% of caffeine consumption. Energy drinks are a particular concern due to their high caffeine content.

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The Results Are Not So Sweet

Common levels of added sugar in U.S. diets raises risk of dying from heart disease.

In a 15 year follow-up, consuming 10% to 24.9% of calories from added sugar raised the risk of cardiovascular death by 30%, compared to those with less than 10%. Death jumped to 175% in those who consumed 25% or more from added sugar. Remember: one can of soda equals 7% of the calories in a 2000 calorie diet!

PositiveTip: Avoid sugar sweetened processed or prepared foods such as sodas, desserts, fruit drinks and candy!

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Overweight Kindergartners Likely to be Obese by 14

Early overweight is risk for teenage obesity.

Researchers studied the weight and BMI of almost 8000 five year olds for 9 years. Four times more overweight kindergartners were obese at 14 years old, than normal-weight kindergartners (32% vs. 8%). Those from the next-to-poorest socioeconomic group (quintile) and those with the highest birth weight had the highest prevalence of obesity at all ages.

PositiveTip: Preventing early obesity and and excess weight gain should be priority of all parents.

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Pot Laws and Kid's Medical Emergencies

Legalizing marijuana is landing more kids in the ER.

States that decriminalize marijuana have seen 30% per year increases in call rates to poison centers between 2005 and 2011, while the call rate remained unchanged in non-legal states. Children find it difficult to distinguish between candies, cookies, and chocolates that contain high doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The District of Columbia and 18 states have legalized medical marijuana.

PositiveTip: Prevent kid poisonings by avoiding all forms of marijuana in your home.

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Mediterranean-style Diet Wins Again

Using more plant foods gave firefighters a big benefit.

Researchers studied almost 800 U.S. firefighters for 5 years, gathering information on how closely they followed a Mediterranean-style diet along with specific health risk factors. Those who followed this diet most closely had a 35% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 43% lower risk of gaining weight, compared to the least conforming. Consuming more fruits and vegetables and not eating fried foods and sugary drinks yielded positive dividends.

PositiveTip: Make wholesome choices in your diet today to improve and support good health.

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CVS/pharmacy Kicking the Habit

Largest pharmacy in the U.S. will stop selling tobacco.

Bravo to CVS Caremark! The company has announced it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1, 2014. Company President Larry J. Merlo cited the inconsistency of selling these products with the purpose of the chain of more than 7600 stores nationwide. It is expected other retailers will follow this lead.

PositiveTip: Encourage CVS and other retailers to join the fight against tobacco!