Ginger has long been known for its health benefits, which include everything from helping with digestion to fighting the growth and spread of both colorectal and ovarian cancer. But ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties which can benefit people suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A recent study from the University of Miami found individuals who were given a highly concentrated ginger extract experienced a 40 percent reduction in pain and stiffness in their knee joints. Adding grated ginger to salads and stir fry is one way to increase your consumption, though there are also supplements and powders available. More here and here.
Conventional wisdom often links aging to sleep problems. And, according to recent research, sleeplessness can raise the risk of everything from hypertension to diabetes. But though that may seem like a reason for older adults to be concerned, a new study from the University of Pittsburgh’s Sleep and Chronobiology Center and University Center for Social and Urban Research found that seniors aren’t having as much trouble sleeping as as assumed and sleep trouble may have more to do with poor health than age. The study surveyed 1,200 retired seniors. Results showed that 75 percent of respondents reported sleeping more than 6.75 hours a night and just 25 percent reported sleeping less than that. Timothy H. Monk, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, said the stereotype of seniors going to bed early and having trouble staying asleep is inaccurate. More here.
More than half of the respondents in a new survey from Consumer Reports said they had to cut back on other household expenses in order to pay for their prescription drugs. In fact, participants reported cutting back on everything from groceries to paying their outstanding bills in order to afford the price of their medication. The survey’s results highlight the fact that healthcare expenses continue to be among Americans’ most pressing financial concerns. Both insured and uninsured respondents reported skipping doses and not filling needed prescriptions because of cost. There were also large numbers of people who said they put off doctor’s visits and declined medical tests and procedures because they could not afford them. John Santa, M.D., director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said it’s important that doctors assist patients who are navigating stressful financial times, especially when part of their stress is affording the healthcare advice their doctor is providing. More here and here.
These days, it’s common to hear people complain that there are not enough hours in the day. Increasingly busy and always connected, people feel they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything they’d like to during the course of a day. But, according to a new study, there is a way to boost our perception of how much time we have. Giving or volunteering our time to others can promote a sense of having more time, as compared to wasting time, spending time on oneself, and even gaining a significant amount of free time. Cassie Mogliner, lead researcher and psychological scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said giving our limited time to others boosts our sense of competency and efficiency, which can stretch out time in our minds. The research found that giving time makes people more willing to commit to future engagements despite their schedules. More here.
New research from the Moffitt Cancer Center aims to place more emphasis on quality of life in cancer care. Treatment options are mostly measured by how long they can help patients survive cancer with less focus on how well they survive cancer. The researchers at Moffitt hope to, not only assess the quality of life associated with many cancer treatments, but also develop better measurements for determining the level of quality offered by a particular treatment. The authors of the study said that quality of life includes everything from the physical to the social and should be factored into which treatments are prescribed to patients. If two treatments are found to work equally, the one that provides a higher quality of life should be chosen. More here.
Diet and nutrition play a large role in the development or prevention of diseases. Keeping a healthy diet is key to lowering your risk of developing everything from heart disease to cancer. For example, two recent studies looked at the relationship between diabetes and common foods such as apples and white rice. In a study from Harvard, researchers found a link between a higher rate of diabetes and consumption of white rice. The study looked at 352,384 participants in four countries and found those who consumed the largest amount of white rice had a 27 percent higher risk of diabetes than those who ate the least. Another study, which looked at the relationship between dietary flavonoids and diabetes found foods such as blueberries and apples could have a preventive effect. People who ate five or more apples a week had a 23 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who didn’t eat any. More here and here.
The many negative effects of getting too much sun are well documented. Exposure to ultraviolet rays can be dangerous and damaging and can lead to everything from wrinkles to skin cancer. But sunlight also serves as a good source of vitamin D. Vitamin D, unlike other vitamins, can be absorbed through the skin which makes sunlight important to producing a sufficient amount. Higher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a lowered risk of developing diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and metabolic syndrome, while studies have found people with deficiencies more susceptible to certain diseases. More here.
The number of doctors prescribing exercise and physical activity to their patients has increased over the past 10 years, according to a new report from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. In 2000, less than 25 percent of adults who went to see a doctor were advised to get more exercise compared with one in three adults in 2010. Patients between the ages of 45 and 74 were most likely to be told to get more exercise, though 30 percent of adults over the age of 85 received similar advice. Though exercise is known to lower the risk of everything from heart disease to depression, few Americans get the recommended amount per week. The report says over the past 10 years the medical community is increasing its efforts to recommend patients exercise due to the substantial health benefits. More here.
Though vitamin D has been linked to numerous health benefits, including everything from prevention of bone fractures to staving off the common cold, new research reviews published in the Annals of Internal Medicine say there is little evidence behind some of those claims. The reviews found, for example, that vitamin D alone was not sufficient protection against bone fractures, though when combined with extra calcium there was more evidence that it helped prevent broken bones in the elderly. The reviews also found, with respect to cancer, that the vitamin may have a positive effect in lowering risk of colon cancer but there was less evidence that it would protect against other forms of cancer. In short, there are indications that taking vitamin D supplements may produce a number of positive health benefits but there is insufficient scientific evidence to back up the number of health benefits linked to the vitamin. More here.
The health benefits associated with drinking tea include reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, and diabetes. But, though the antioxidant-rich beverage shows promise, more study is needed in order to prove the staggering number of claimed benefits, which include everything from reducing cavities to curing depression. David L. Katz, MD, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, told health.com that the science is promising but the hype surrounding tea’s numerous health benefits tends to make promises that the science can’t yet deliver. Still, drinking one to four cups of black or green tea has been linked to a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease and a Japanese study tied drinking five or more cups with a 26 percent reduction in death from heart attack or stroke. More here.