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1 Fitness in Youth May Be Key to Diabetes Risk Decades Later

Study tracked 1.5 million people from age 18 to 62 and found fitter teens had lower lifetime risk MONDAY, March 7, 2016, Teens with poor physical fitness are at higher risk for diabetes much later in life, even if they’re not overweight or obese, a new study finds. The research involved about 1.5 million Swedes who all underwent physical fitness tests when they were conscripted into the military at age 18. Their health outcomes were then tracked up to the age of 62. Poor aerobic fitness and low muscle strength…

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Exercise, Meditation a Double Threat for Major Depression

A combination of aerobic exercise and focused-attention meditation performed twice weekly significantly improves symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) after just 8 weeks, new research shows. “[We found that] combining these two important behaviors into people’s lives might be particularly beneficial,” lead author Brandon Alderman, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, told Medscape Medical News. “The data show meaningful improvements in cognitive function and symptoms of depression,” he added. Meditation and exercise are both commonly recommended for the treatment of…

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Through Music, Memories Return

In 2014, a documentary called Alive Inside premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and picked up the audience award for best documentary. The film explores the idea that music can help reawaken memories and emotions in dementia patients and features the work of social worker Dan Cohen, MSW, whose nonprofit organization Music & Memory has improved the quality of life of thousands of patients through a very simple approach: giving them an iPod. Medscape recently spoke with Cohen about his rapidly growing initiative and about the therapeutic potential of personalized…

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Drinking More Coffee May Undo Liver Damage From Booze

(Reuters Health) – Drinking more coffee might help reduce the kind of liver damage that’s associated with overindulging in food and alcohol, a review of existing studies suggests. Researchers analyzed data from nine previously published studies with a total of more than 430,000 participants and found that drinking two additional cups of coffee a day was linked to a 44% lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis. “Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such,” said lead study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the U.K….

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Lack of Sleep May Give You the ‘Munchies’

Sleep deprivation appears to boost levels of a chemical that makes eating more pleasurable — similar to the effects of marijuana, University of Chicago researchers said. “We found that sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increase the hedonic aspect of food intake, the pleasure and satisfaction gained from eating,” Erin Hanlon, a research associate in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, said in a university news release. Previous research has linked too little sleep with overeating, unhealthy food choices and weight gain, but the reasons for the connection were unclear, the…

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Transgender Kids: No Harm, Possible Benefit, From Early Social Changeover

Prepubescent transgender children who socially transition to the opposite sex have good mental health outcomes, with only slightly elevated rates of anxiety, results of a nationally representative study indicate. An analysis of more than 70 transgender children that included their nontransitioned siblings and matched control children showed that social transitioning, which involves, for example, changing names, clothing, pronoun use, and hairstyles, did not increase rates of depression or anxiety above clinical and preclinical levels. Previous studies have shown that children with gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria, can have high…

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Obesity linked to ‘worse memory’

People who are obese have a worse memory than their thinner friends, a small study shows. Tests on 50 people showed being overweight was linked to worse “episodic memory” or the ability to remember past experiences. The study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology argues that a less vivid memory of recent meals may lead to overeating. However, other aspects of memory – such as general knowledge – were unaffected. Tests on rats have previously shown that with burgeoning waistlines come poorer performances in memory tests, but the evidence…

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Nerve Block Technique Might Help Ease Chronic Back Pain

A procedure that uses radio waves to treat chronic low back pain provided long-lasting relief to a small group of patients, researchers report. Called intradiscal biacuplasty (IDB), the procedure uses two water-cooled needles to blast radiofrequency energy at the nerve fibers within and around a spinal disc that’s begun to degenerate but has not ruptured, explained lead researcher Dr. Michael Gofeld. “Basically you’re destroying the nerve fibers, which will lead to the elimination of pain,” he said. Gofeld is a chronic pain management specialist at St. Michael’s Hospital and Women’s…

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Sufficient sleep, exercise may help keep stroke at bay

People who regularly exercise and get a full night’s sleep may have a relatively lower risk of suffering a stroke, a large study suggests. Researchers found that among almost 300,000 U.S. adults, those who routinely slept seven to eight hours a night were 25 percent less likely to have a stroke, compared to people who got either less or more sleep. The highest stroke risk was seen among “long sleepers,” who spent at least eight hours in bed each night. But short sleepers — those who slept less than seven…

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Depression Symptoms Ongoing Even With Optimal Treatment

Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) continue to experience symptoms on a regular basis, even if they take their medications as prescribed, results of a new survey indicate. The poll of US patients and healthcare providers revealed that more than 60% of patients have ongoing symptoms. The results also showed that in many cases, psychiatrists and primary care providers change patients’ medication in a bid to find a more effective treatment. “Physicians work closely with their patients to find the treatment plans that are most effective, but unfortunately, even when…

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