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Showing posts from June, 2014

So What Do You Do When They Call You a Fascist?

I can certainly attest to this.

I've been called a fascist and a jerk, and those are the nice ones!  A new study has found I'm not alone.  Anyone who publishes for a living will encounter nasty -- and sometimes even cruel -- comments on what they write.

According to a Web site that reports on these things, one in five comments included some form of incivility, with name-calling as the most prevalent type, a recent study notes.

“Many people just can’t seem to avoid the impulse to go after someone else,"  said Kevin Coe, assistant professor of communication at the University of Utah and one of the study’s authors.

I've often wondered about the people who write these comments.  I'm sure some of them are those who disagree with what I, and others, write.  But some are just downright mean.  A fascist?  Really?  And I think that one came from a humorous op ed I wrote about road rage.  Another person commented that road rage just wasn't funny.

I have friends who w…

St.John's Wort? Be Careful If You Use It

I once had a friend who believed in herbal supplements for everything (now I have a husband who does).  I never really believed all the hype on any of that stuff, though I did take valerian to try to get sleep years ago -- and it speeded up my heart so much I thought I was having a heart attack!

Never again.

Now a study has found that St. John's Wort, one of the most commonly used and well-liked supplements, may cause dangerous interactions with commonly-prescribed prescriptions.

The researchers reported that the herbal supplement can reduce the concentration of numerous drugs in the body, including oral contraceptive, blood thinners, cancer chemotherapy and blood pressure medications, resulting in impaired effectiveness and treatment failure.

“Patients may have a false sense of safety with so-called ‘natural’ treatments like St. John’s wort,” newswise.com quotes Sarah Taylor, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study. “And …

Children Who Suffer Abuse or Stress Early May Have Brains Damaged for Life

It makes perfect sense.  Early life stress may damage our brains.

According to newswise.com, a little stress is good for kids because it helps them learn to overcome it, and cope.  But "chronic, toxic stress like poverty, neglect and physical abuse — can have lasting negative impacts."

A study has showed that these kinds of stressors, experienced in early life, might be changing the parts of developing children’s brains responsible for learning, memory and the processing of stress and emotion. These changes may be tied to negative impacts on behavior, health, employment and even the choice of romantic partners later in life.

As a person who experienced this kind of stress as a child, I can attest to its truth.  It affects how you view life and shapes your perspective, for better or worse.  I was lucky.  I had people around who helped me through it  and over time, I learned to cope.  Did it affect me for life?  Yes.

"We haven’t really understood why things that happe…

Does The Thought of Marriage Make You Back Off?

In college, when you had an exam coming, did you back away?

Or how about when you were about to get married, did you feel the need to move off?

According to scientists, these are very natural reactions, at least, initially.  Newswise.com reports that whenever we see something coming that feels threatening, even if just for a moment, we tend to, well, back away.

"In our long struggle for survival, we humans learned that something approaching us is far more of a threat than something that is moving away," the Web site explains. This makes sense, since a tiger bounding toward a person is certainly more of a threat than one that is walking away.

Though we modern humans don't really consider such fear, it turns out that it still plays a big part in our day-to-day lives.

"In order to survive, humans have developed a tendency to guard against animals, people and objects that come near them," newswise.com quotes University of Chicago Booth School of Business Profes…

Does Popularity in Middle School Backfire Later?

I was never very popular.
For a short time I got to sit at the “it” table in high school and then I didn't. But it was only years later, when rereading (for some reason) the class president's entry in my yearbook, realizing that he had always liked me (he liked me, he really liked me! OK, so I'm no Sally Field).
But popular I was not.
Now a new study has just come out that says that if you're hot when you're 13, you're probably not, 10 years later.
I'm not quite sure that's true. I know a lot of popular people from my high school who went on to become huge successes – a girl from my creative writing class who everybody fought to sit next to since first grade is now a veterinarian, and a boy, an incredible hunk, is a cowboy, riding herd in the Southwest (really).
The New York Times quotes an expert as saying that, as fast-moving middle-schoolers, these kids are driven by a heightened longing to impress friends. And that, they did. I still remember …

High Testosterone? Maybe Real Health Problems, Too

OK.  It's what a lot of men want, and some pretend to have.  We're talking higher levels of testosterone.  But now a new study is finding that obese men with this have poorer sleep quality.

It's important because poor sleep quality has been linked to increased risk of diabetes and hypertension.

Many obese men suffer from sleep apnea, another disorder that disrupts sleep patterns.  With this problem, you can stop breathing up to a hundred times of night -- and not even know it.  People who snore may also have this illness.

The selection of the men in the study did not consider whether they had symptoms or a history of sleep apnea, according to newswise.com. However, the sleep study showed that 66 percent of the men did have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which was moderately severe in most cases.

OSA can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, deadly accidents (the engineer on the Metro North train that veered out of control and killed four people this winter suffere…

So Why Do We REALLY Post on Facebook?

I've always wondered why.  Meals prepared for company.  A child's A in Spanish (guilty!).  A million pictures of a vacation (OK, so I was jealous).

Why do people post these things on Facebook?

Now researchers may know.  According to a new study, people may do it to express feelings you don’t normally feel comfortable sharing with other people. And some of us feel more comfortable expressing ourselves to hundreds of Facebook acquaintances than to a few face-to-face, in-the-flesh friends, according to research by Albright College assistant professor of psychology Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D.

Newswise.com reports that Seidman discovered that people "who are more comfortable expressing their true self online will post on Facebook more often and will post more personally revealing information and emotional content." These people, said Seidman, are more likely to be seeking attention, acceptance and validation from others.

But do they get it?  No, says the study.

 “The…

It's True. Fracking Harms Us Physically.

Even though you may not be an environmentalist, did you know that fracking has conclusively been proved to be harmful to our health?

Newswise.com reports that many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can disrupt not only the human body’s reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary to maintain good health, a new study finds.

The chemicals block hormone receptors.  Big deal, you say?  “The high levels of hormone disruption by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that we measured, have been associated with many poor health outcomes, such as infertility, cancer and birth defects," the Web site quotes presenting author, Christopher Kassotis, a PhD student at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of injecting numerous chemicals and millions of gallons of water deep underground under high pressure to fracture hard rock and release trapped natural gas and oil. Kassotis s…

Cry At "The Fault Is In Our Stars"? It May Be In Your Genes

Is it in your genes?  Your ability to be compassionate, and sensitive, that's what.

A new study has found that, if you jump to help the less fortunate, cry during sad movie scenes, or tweet and post the latest topics and photos that excite or move you, you may be among the 20 percent of our population that is genetically pre-disposed to empathy, according to Stony Brook University psychologists Arthur and Elaine Aron.

Newswise.com reports that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of brains provide physical evidence that the “highly sensitive” brain responds powerfully to emotional images.

People who tend to show heightened awareness to subtle stimuli, process information more thoroughly, and be more reactive to both positive and negative stimuli. In contrast, the majority of people have comparatively low sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) and pay less attention to subtle stimuli, approach situations more quickly and are not as emotionally reactive.

In my family,…

Legalization of Marriage May Drive Some Apart

I remember the first month I was married driving home and thinking, well, I made it through one month.  Now only a couple of thousand more.  A new study is saying that same-sex couples may feel the same way.

In fact, legalization may drive them apart.

The study, by economists at the University of Arkansas, shows that relationship hazard rates – the threat of breakups – among same-sex couples will likely increase with the probability of legalization.

“Though this and our other findings suggest legalization may not be advantageous for all same-sex couples, we are not advocating for same-sex marriage to remain illegal,” newswise.com quotes Amy Farmer, professor in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “We’re simply focusing on economics of the household, showing how this rapidly changing issue – through legislation and court decisions – will affect people in this area.” 

The study involved three stages.  Stage one began with participants in a dating relationship revealing their…

Have A Child With Autism? You May Be Unlikely To Try for Another

It's sad.  But families with an autistic child are about one-third less likely to have another child, according to newswise.com.

"While it has been postulated that parents who have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be reluctant to have more children, this is the first time that anyone has analyzed the question with hard numbers,” said Neil Risch, PhD, a UCSF professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and director of the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics. 

The Web site notes that the study is the first to provide convincing statistical evidence that "reproductive stoppage exists and should be taken into account when calculating the risks for having a another child with ASD,” said Risch, who is senior author on the paper. “These findings have important implications for genetic counseling of affected families.”

Overall, families whose first child had ASD were one-third less likely to have a second child than control families, the study found. Famil…

You're A Doctor. Please Verify I Can Carry a Gun.

Here's a connection you may not have made in the past.  Doctors and guns.

But a new survey of North Carolina doctors has found that many are concerned about the increasing number of requests they are receiving to assess their patients’ competency to carry concealed weapons.

In particular, a majority of physicians who responded to the survey said they were worried about the potential ethical consequences in the doctor-patient relationship if they participated in the concealed-weapon permit process, according to newswise.com.

“This is not a small problem,” the Web site quotes Dr. Adam Goldstein, corresponding author of the study and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. “More than 20 percent of the physicians we surveyed have been asked to sign competency permits for concealed weapons, and a majority of them do not feel they can adequately assess the physical or mental competence of their patients to safel…

So the Fourth is Coming. Reconsider the Fireworks and Your Ears Will Thank You

So the Fourth is coming and people are very excited, especially in my town where we haven't had them for budget reasons for several years.

But this year they're ba-aack and residents can't wait.  However, there's just one small thing.  They can damage your hearing.

According to newswise.com, a new study has found that fireworks, construction and being in a marching band can cause to lose hearing permanently.

I come from a family where both my mother and grandmother went deaf at early ages.  My grandmother, who was a concert pianist, never learned sign language so she and my mother never had a conversation till my mom was 16 -- when she finally got a hearing aid.

I recently took a hearing test and scored "slightly below normal."  They didn't really need to tell me because I already knew, having trouble hearing people sometimes with soft voices in a noisy background.  In my case, it's probably age!

But the study found that outdoor concerts, parades, 4th…

Children From Violent Homes Have It In Their DNA

How's this for a scary prognosis?  Family violence leaves genetic traces.

Newswise.com reports that a new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.

Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. 

Those with shorter telomeres die younger.

Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood.

“Family-level stressors, such as witnessing a family member get hurt, created an environment that affected the DNA within the cells of the children,” the We…

Have High Blood Pressure? No Need to Lower It Too Much, Now

Who knew?  Lower blood pressure for people with high blood pressure isn't necessarily good.

According to newswise.com, "Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 does not appear to provide additional benefit for patients. Systolic pressure is the top number in a standard blood pressure reading (e.g., 120/80)."

“Frequently we treat patients’ blood pressure to the lowest it will go, thinking that is what’s best,” said Carlos J. Rodriguez, M.D., associate professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.  “Our observational study found that treating to low pressures doesn’t provide any benefit to patients with regard to reducing risk of dangerous heart events like heart attack, heart failure and stroke. This calls into question the notion that lower is better.”

Previous studies had documented a progressive increase in heart disease risk as systolic blood pressure …

Take Herbal Supplements? Even Green Tea Extract Can Lead to Liver Damage

Take herbal supplements? You might want to listen up.

A new study is warning that new information is showing that some supplements may damage the liver, along with over the counter drugs and even those prescribed by physicians, according to newswise.com.

The rate of drug-induced liver injury (DILI), a rare adverse drug reaction which is challenging to diagnose -- and which can lead to jaundice, liver failure and even death -- is increasing more and more.  Experts put it down to the overwhelming use of herbal supplements and other drugs in the last 10 years.

 “A lot of consumers have a preconceived notion that if it’s a natural product, it must be safe. But that is not necessarily the case,” the Web site quotes Herbert Bonkovsky, MD, FACG, co-author of the guidelines. “Most of these products are not well-regulated and have very little oversight. Traces of heavy metals and prescription drugs have even been found in some herbal and dietary supplements. We encourage patients to talk …

Sad, on Facebook? Expect Your Followers to Be, Too

We've all been saddened by the tragic stories of young people who commit suicide because of online bullying.  But did you know you can also spread depression and disappointment along with euphoria on Facebook?

A new study has found that emotions are contagious online, according to newswise.com. 

According to a new study by social scientists at Cornell University, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Facebook, emotions can spread among users of online social networks.

“People who had positive content experimentally reduced it on their Facebook news feed, for one week, and used more negative words in their status updates,” reports Jeff Hancock, professor of communication at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and co-director of its Social Media Lab. “When news feed negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred: Significantly more positive words were used in peoples’ status updates.”

The experiment is the first to suggest that emoti…

At Your Desk? Stand Up and You'll Be More Creative

Back when I was first working I had a boss who had a stand-up desk.  You'd go into his office and he'd be standing while on the phone or typing on his keypad.  When we had meetings, he was standing most of the time.

We all thought he was a little crazy.  Now a new study proves he was not.  (At least, about the standing!).

We've recently learned that people who sit too much die younger. But research done by Washington University in Saint Louis has uncovered that standing up during meetings may make your creativity flair.

Removing chairs could be a low-cost way to redesign an office space while also tackling the health effects of sitting in one place for too long, and this just adds to mounting evidence that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for people’s health.

"Chairs provide great support during long meetings, but they may also be holding us back," says newswise.com. "Standing during meetings boosts the excitement around creative group processes and reduce…

Are Men Becoming 'Feminized' From All the Toxic Chemicals Around? Researchers Say Yes

Hmm....Could men blame us for their obesity?

A new study has found that female hormones play a key role in the obesity epidemic, according to newswise.com.

The Web site reports that new research from the University of Adelaide has found that an imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity.

 The research suggests that obesity among Western men "could be linked with exposure to substances containing the female sex hormone estrogen – substances that are more often found in affluent societies, such as soy products and plastics."

Scientists compared obesity rates among men and women from around the world with measures such as Gross Domestic Product to determine the impact of affluence on obesity. They found found that, while it was normal for women in the developing world to have significantly greater levels of obesity than men, the developed world is a different oyster completely.

"Hormonally drive…

Avoid Hip/Knee Replacement? Dance

I mostly hang out with parents trying to decide whether to have another baby (I was 47 when I had mine and he's now 13).  But my generation group is now in the throes of undergoing knee and hip replacements.

My husband, a former college athlete, is considering both.   

A new study has found that doing what we did when we were younger (not that), can help. It's dancing, and it's helping older folks who feel less pain when they're moving around (or, as newswise.com, puts it, "movin' to the groovin'," ouch).

Dancing eases hip or knee pain and helps older adults move better, according to the study by Saint Louis University.

“After dancing, over several months they reported less pain and were able to walk faster,” the Web site quotes Jean Krampe, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at Saint Louis University and lead author of the article.

The findings are significant because older adults who walk too slowly are more likely to fall, become hospitali…

Sleep Apnea? Lose Weight or Die

Do you have trouble sleeping?  Wake up a lot during the night?  Even worse, have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

If you have, better get on the scale.  A new study has found that it's critical for people with OSA and other forms of sleep disturbance keep a healthy weight.

According to newswise.com, weight loss is critical to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in those with sleep apnea.

Obesity and OSA tend to co-exist and are associated with a variety of cardiovascular risk factors, including inflammation, insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol, and high blood pressure. While effective therapies are available for OSA, researchers are still unclear about what interventions are most effective in reducing the burden of risk factors for cardiovascular disease associated with OSA in obese patients.

New research from a multidisciplinary team at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania now reveals that the single most important fac…

Wonder Bread Good For Us? No Way! Way

Remember that spongy white stuff your mom used to put peanut butter and jelly and tomatoes and mayonnaise on?  It's baaaa-aaa-ck, and it's maybe not so bad, after all.

Scientists are now reporting that this much-maligned food seems to encourage the growth of some of our most helpful inhabitants — beneficial gut bacteria, according to newswise.com. 

Sonia Gonz├ílez and colleagues note that the bacteria in our guts, or our microbiome, play an important role in our health, the Web site reports. "When certain populations of bacteria drop, people become more prone to disease. One of the most effective ways to maintain a good balance of the microbes living in our guts is through our diets. To figure out what dietary ingredients promote helpful bacteria, several studies have looked at the effects of individual fibers and probiotics. But few researchers had investigated the role of polyphenols, which are common in much of what we consume — spices, teas, fruits and vegeta…

Does What An Expectant Dad Washes His Hair With Affect the Future Health of His Child?

A new study is looking into whether the environment can affect sperm quality and embryo development in our toxic-chemical-crazy world.

Specifically under investigation are pthalates, chemicals often found in everything from shampoos to cosmetics to hospital flooring.  Phthalates are a group of chemicals usedto soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.

But the very same materials that make shampoos foamy also do very bad things.  According to newswise.com, phthalate exposure -- known to disrupt endocrines -- is associated in human studies with changes in semen quality, androgen levels, birth outcomes and offspring neuro-development, but a mechanism has not been clearly identified, a new study by Richard Pilsner of UMass Amherst reports.   


Pilsner says, “What we’re asking, basically, is whether dad’s environmental health contributes to reproductive success, and if so, how is that transmitted to offspring?”

“Until now, no one has investigated the sperm epigenome…

Donate Blood: It's Good for Your Heart, and Your Waistline

Family history of heart attacks?  Afraid you might be next?  Give blood.

That's right.  Get yourself to a Red Cross blood center and give up some of that valuable red stuff.

According to a new study, “Excessive iron is believed to contribute to heart disease and donating blood reduces the iron stores in the body,” newswise.com quotes Ivan Pacold, MD, chair, Cardiology Department, Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. “Plus you get a mini-assessment each time you give blood to reinforce wellness."

Many years ago I edited an article for Good Housekeeping magazine about hemochromatosis, a disease just as ugly to have as to pronounce.  Simply put, the illness came from having too much iron in your blood.  The solution?  To bleed the patient once or twice a week.

It's also the most common genetic disorder in the U.S.

A type of anemia (thalassemia) and chronic liver disease can cause it, and it can lead to arthritis, liver and pancreatic disease, even diabetes.

 But back to h…

New Cancer Discovered By Mayo Clinic

Great.  Now they've found a new cancer.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found when two certain genes come together during an abnormal but recurring chromosomal mismatch, they can be dangerous. The result is a chimera — a gene that is half of each — and that causes a tumor that usually begins in the nose and may infiltrate the rest of the face, requiring disfiguring surgery to save the individual, newswise.com reports.

 Chimera is also a word used to describe a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.

Scarily, the cancer strikes 75 percent of the time in women.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic have pinned down the genetic structure and molecular signature of this seldom-recognized type of cancer, according to newswise.com.

It is rare, but how rare no one knows as most of the cases examined were initially diagnosed as various other types of cancer.

“It’s unusual that a condition or disease is recognized, subsequently stu…

More Early-Stage Breast Cancer, But It's Good News

There's been an awful lot of back-and-forth.  Should women get mammograms?  Should they not?  Do mammograms really help?  Or are they just a waste of money?

Now a new study has found that mammography has, indeed, led to fewer late-stage breast cancers, according to newswise.com.

In the last 30 years, since mammography was introduced, late-stage breast cancer incidence has decreased by 37 percent, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds.

The analysis takes into account an observed underlying trend of increased breast cancer incidence present since the 1940s, a sort of inflation rate for breast cancer, the Web site reports.

Researchers looked at early-stage and late-stage breast cancer diagnoses between 1977-1979, before mammography became popular, and compared it to diagnoses between 2007-2009. Based on trends observed in the pre-mammography period of the 1940s to the 1970s as well as continued trends over time, the researchers took int…

Bones From Beer? It's Happening

Imagine this.  You lose your arm in a horrible accident and new bone is generated using beer waste.

Say what?

Research has just revealed that a lab has developed biocompatible materials that can be used for bone regeneration from food industry waste, mainly bagasse (residue) from beer brewing. Throw away those prostheses made from processed sheep bones or synthetic materials which are more expensive and more harmful to the environment.

According to Medical Design Technology, the waste obtained from the beer brewing process "contains the main chemical components found in bones (phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and silica), that after undergoing modification processes, can be used as support or scaffold to promote bone regeneration for medical applications such as coating prosthesis or bone grafts."

A photo at the Web site shows it, a kind of thick cottage-cheesy-looking chunk.

So the next time your bone is severely injured, look to beer, experts say. Though I think I'…

Get a Headache During Sex? Check It Out

Sex is supposed to make us happy.  Satisfy us.  Transform a day from pretty ordinary to outstanding (well, you get what I mean).  But should it give you a headache?

About one percent of adults say it does, according to newswise.com. 

And these people say that such headaches can be severe.


But the actual incidence is almost certainly higher, according to Loyola University Medical Center neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Jose Biller, who has treated dozens of patients for headaches associated with sexual activity (HAS). Biller is chair of Loyola’s Department of Neurology, and is certified in Headache Medicine by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.

"Many people who experience headaches during sexual activity are too embarrassed to tell their physicians, and doctors often don’t ask,” the Web site quotes Biller. "Headaches associated with sexual activity can be extremely painful and scary. They also can be very frustrating, both to the individual suff…

Advanced Breast Cancer Far More Common in Black Women

It's a sad fact, but true.  Black women are far more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.

It's mainly because the cancer is often more advanced when it's found in black women, partly because white women are more likely to have regular check-ups and mammograms.

I remember when I was having radiation for cancer and running into a beautiful young black woman who could not have been more than 20, there for the same reason as I.

Now a new study has found that black women tend to present with more aggressive forms of cancer, too, or as the study put it, "biologically less favorable subtypes of breast cancer."

 “It’s important that research continues to address these issues comprehensively, from the biology of the disease to the development of optimal treatment and access to healthcare," the Web site quotes Raquel Nunes, MD, a medical oncologist at the Washington Cancer Institute, who presented the study. “This work is particularly meaningful for us…

Sleep Apnea? Sleep After Learning, And You May Do Better

I always slept with the book under my head before a test (never helped!).  But a new study has found that sleep after learning strengthens connections between brain cells and improves memory.

Sleep helps consolidate and strengthen new memories, according to newswise.com.

"Sleep after learning encourages the growth of the tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information across synapses, the junctions at which brain cells meet. Moreover, the activity of brain cells during deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, after learning is critical for such growth," the Web site reports. 

The study showed for the first time how learning and sleep cause physical changes in the motor cortex, a brain region responsible for voluntary movements.

“We’ve known for a long time that sleep plays an important role in learning and memory. If you don’t sleep well you won’t learn well,” says senior investigator Wen-Biao Gan, PhD, professor …

Who Knew? Dirt and Roaches Are Good For Newborns

I suppose Phillip is lucky I was not a good housekeeper when he was born.  Not that I let the formula sit out all night or put it in a dirty bottle.  But I just didn't worry about spotless floors (hey, the five-second law), or sparkling windows or even, clothes neatly folded and put away.  Now a new study says I may have been right, all along.

Newborns need to be exposed to a lot of dirt to build up their immune systems, it seems.

Infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to newswise.com.

Hmm.... Phillip did develop asthma.

Previous research has shown that children who grow up on farms have lower allergy and asthma rates, a phenomenon attributed to their regular exposure to microorganisms present in farm soil, the Web site reports. "Other studies, however, have found increased asthma risk among inner-city dwellers …

Should Gays Be Parents? The Evidence Says Overwhelmingly, Yes

There's been a lot of shouting on both sides.  Parents of the same sex should not be allowed to adopt children.  Parents of the same sex should be able to adopt children.

Personally, I'm for the latter.  But what about the kids?  How are they faring?

A new study says, just fine. 

According to the 2010 Census – the first to provide same-sex couples that live together the option to report themselves as married partners – 48 percent of LGBT women and 20 percent of gay men under 50 are raising a child under age 18, newswise.com reports.

"In my research, I found that opponents of these marriages, like those who seek to prevent the legal recognition of same-sex marriage today, relied on the argument that the marriages were detrimental to children’s well-being," the Web site quotes Carlos A. Ball, a professor at the Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and author of Same-Sex Marriage and Children: A Tale of History, Social Science, and Law.

The book addresses the ways in w…

Forget Where Your Glasses Are? Even Teens May Do This, Today

Depressed? Don't exercise much?  Have high blood pressure?  A new study has found that, even if you're just18, your memory could start failing.  Even worse, it may put you at higher risk for Alzheimer's later in life.

UCLA researchers and the Gallup organization polled more than 18,000 people about their memory and a variety of lifestyle and health factors previously shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to newswise.com. They found that many of these risk factors increased the likelihood of self-perceived memory complaints across all adult age groups.

If you have high blood pressure, you're at even greater risk. New research suggests that high blood pressure in middle age plays a critical role in whether blood pressure in old age may affect memory and thinking.

Risk factors in the population studied -- people ages 18-99 -- included depression, lower education levels, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity…

Not Losing Weight? Vary Your Exercise and Eat More Protein

Finally.  We don't have to run for an hour.  We just have to do it fast.

Experts now say it's the quality, not the quantity of exercise, that counts.

Researchers at Skidmore College report the clear benefits of an exercise regimen that includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching (including yoga or pilates), and endurance exercise. Add moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout your day, and you’ll be well on your way toward decreasing total and abdominal fat, increasing lean body mass, and achieving optimal levels for blood pressure, blood glucose, and insulin.

I took this to heart recently.  I used to run five miles at a 15-minute mile pace.  Over time I cut it down to about 32 minutes for a three-mile run.  I feel so much healthier -- and my heart beats so fast, I know I'm exercising.  No one says, "Oh, I saw you out for a walk the other day," anymore.

In fact, one man told me to slow down.  And this was even before I broke my…

Have a Pet And Can't Sleep? Maybe It's the . . . . Pet

I came very close today to getting two dogs.  Me, who's never had a dog in her life!  But I met a rescue activist who found two adorable bichon frises roaming the streets of my town, collarless, chipless, and starving, so she picked them up and told me about them.

I was a little nervous -- what do I know about dogs except that I've grown to love them?! -- and they'd really be good for my son, who has no siblings.  But I said yes, only to be called later in the day and told someone else who'd seen them first claimed them when she heard I wanted them, too (isn't that always the way?).

There's still a chance this person may change her mind -- she took the dogs (who are brothers) for a test drive to see how they got along with her three other dogs this weekend and if they all don't get along. . . .

But then I started reading about how pets really can disturb your slumber.

According to newswise.com, while countless pet owners peacefully sleep with a warm pet nea…

New Breast Cancer Test May Help Doctors Guess Better About Potential Spread

I wish I was around for this, or at least, my cancer was, before I was (in my opinion) over-treated.    But a new test can allegedly tell if a breast cancer is going to spread.  Nix the chemo, radiation, and surgery, if not needed. (Doctors can't always tell, so they treat, "just in case.")

Almost 40,000 women a year die of breast cancer, and many thousands more are diagnosed with it.

According to newswise.com, currently marketed tests assess risk for breast cancer metastasis by looking for changes in gene expression or in levels of proteins associated with growth of tumor cells,”  “But those changes don’t reflect the mechanism by which individual tumor cells invade blood vessels, a necessary step for metastasis," said Joan Jones, M.D., senior author of the JNCI paper, professor of pathology, of anatomy and structural biology and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein and attending pathologist at Montefiore Medical Center.

"By contrast, our te…

New Study: Pregnant Women Avoid Wireless Devices

The experts are still out on whether wireless devices really do harm us, or that our iphones cause brain cancer.

But now a new study has found that pregnant women may indeed be at risk, and their unborn babies, too.

Newswise.com reports that an international group of doctors and scientific experts is joining with non-profit organizations today to urge pregnant women to limit their exposure to wireless radiation from cell phones and other devices by taking simple steps to protect themselves and their unborn children.

Research has linked exposure to wireless radiation from cell phones during pregnancy to neurological and behavioral problems in offspring that resemble Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.

The steps include:

1. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body (e.g. in a pocket or bra).
2. Avoid holding any wireless device against your body when in use.
3. Use your cell phone on speaker setting or with an “air tube” headset.
4. Avoid using your wirel…