Alcohol is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.
The UN health agency’s latest report on alcohol and health pointed out that alcohol causes more than one in 20 deaths globally each year, including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders.
Men account for more than three quarters of alcohol-related deaths, the nearly 500-page report found.
More at AFP via Yahoo
A new research paper, published last week in Psychological Science, reports that the common concern that new people may not like us, or that they may not enjoy our company, is largely unfounded.
Erica Boothby of Cornell University, and her colleagues Gus Cooney, Gilliam Sandstrom, and Margaret Clark, of Harvard University, University if Essex, and Yale University, conducted a series of studies to find out what our conversation partners really think of us. In doing so, they discovered a new cognitive illusion they call “the liking gap:” our failure to realize how much strangers appreciate our company after a bit of conversation.
The researchers observed the disconnect in a variety of situations: strangers getting acquainted in the research laboratory, first-year college students getting to know their dorm mates over the course of many months, and community members meeting fellow participants in personal development workshops. In each scenario, people consistently underestimated how much others liked them.
More at Scientific American
Selection bias, that is chosing who is to be studied, has a lot to do with research outcomes.
An analysis from 2007 by an international group of alcohol epidemiologists and addiction researchers, published in Annals of Epidemiology, notes that “as people progress into late middle and old age, their consumption of alcohol declines in tandem with ill health, frailty, dementia, and/or use of medications.” That decline means that, as people become less well—even if they’re not elderly—they will also tend to stop drinking. So when they enroll in a study on drinking and get lumped into the group of non-drinkers, they’ll artificially inflate the mortality risk—even though their deaths have nothing to do with alcohol abstention. It’s not that teetotaling made them more likely to die during the course of the study; it’s that being closer to death made them more likely to quit alcohol. And people who drink, but are able to keep their drinking at a reasonable level, are likely to have the kind of health and social advantages associated with living longer.
“People who in their teens or twenties begin to drink, don’t die or become alcoholics, and are able to maintain drinking at low levels—that’s a select group of drinkers,” says Naimi. And that means when epidemiologists go looking at people who are still moderate drinkers in middle age, they’re missing some key people. “If you look at people in midlife who are stable, moderate drinkers, that means they didn’t die from their drinking and they didn’t quit drinking.” That sounds obvious, but let’s take a second to think about it: Alcohol is an addictive substance. People who have had a healthy relationship with it their entire lives are probably people who also have a bunch of other advantageous qualities.
There is still a chance that one or two drinks a day has some benefit for your heart. If it does exist, researchers like Naimi think it’s probably pretty small, and that matters because there are a lot of other diseases that we know alcohol increases your risk of contracting. These include liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, tuberculosis, pancreatitis, cirrhosis and related liver diseases, and a whole host of others.
In the study of 68,273 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 years who were followed for 16 years, participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 13% lower risk of cancer mortality, when compared with those who followed the diet to a lesser degree. Smokers who followed the diet experienced even greater benefits when compared with smokers who did not follow the diet.
Anti-inflammatory foods consist of fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. Pro-inflammatory foods include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips, and soft-drink beverages.
Read more at ScienceDaily.com
Feeling a bit lazy this morning? Don’t feel like going to the gym? Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Why do people tend to sit around doing nothing when we know it’s unhealthy to be so inactive? Researchers at the University of British Columbia think they’ve figured out the exercise paradox.
Seems our brains are built to pick whatever’s easier.
“The exciting novelty of our study is that it shows this faster avoidance of physical inactivity comes at a cost — and that is an increased involvement of brain resources,” said Matthieu Boisgontier, a postdoctoral researcher at UBC and senior author of the study.
“These results suggest that our brain is innately attracted to sedentary behaviours.”
Read more at CBC
The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia
Stilwell, Oklahoma, known as the Straberry Capital of the worlk earned a discouraging distinction: It has the lowest life expectancy in the USA — just 56.3 years. That is 22.5 years less than the comparable national average of 78.8 years.
“People who live blocks apart can have very different expectations in how long they’ll live because of the conditions in which people are living,” said Donald Schwarz, a senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That represents uneven opportunity for people, particularly children, to have long lives.”
Read more at the Washington Post
It’s now illegal for manufacturers to add trans fats to any food made or imported into the Canada. Trans fats are known to increase “bad” cholesterol, in turn raising the risk of heart disease.
Canada’s ban on the main source of artificial trans fats came into effect Monday, making it illegal for manufacturers to use the additive in any food made or imported into the country, as well as in any meals prepared in restaurants.
The ban takes aim at partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are the main source of industrially produced trans fats in all foods sold in Canada. The new regulation applies only to PHOs, not naturally occurring trans fats, which can be found in some animal-based foods such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb.
Trans fats have been used for the last century to add taste and texture to food as a replacement for butter. They also extend the shelf life of many foods, including commercial baked goods like cookies, pastries, donuts and muffins, snack foods and fried foods.
Read more in the Globe and Mail, CBC