Tuesday, November 9, 2010

HealthyLife.net Health News Super Segment

If you couldn't listen to last Tuesday's health super segment at 7am and 7pm PT (and all day on archives)here's some of what you missed...

Exposure to noise is a fact of life. At high levels, noise can damage hearing, and at lower levels it can disrupt sleep patterns, interfere with communications, and even cause accidents. A new National Academy of Engineering report characterizes the most commonly identified sources of noise, looks at efforts that have been made to reduce noise emissions, and suggests ways to decrease exposure in workplaces, schools, recreational environments, and residences. Development of noise control technology needs immediate attention, said the committee that wrote the report. America should become more competitive in the production of low-noise products, both to improve quality of life and to advance innovation. The committee recommends that the federal government explore potential engineering solutions along with changes in policy to control negative effects of noise in the workplace, in communities, and at home. These include cost-benefit analysis of noise reduction, especially for road traffic noise; improved metrics for noise control; lower limits for noise exposure in industry; “buy quiet” programs; wider use of international standards for noise emissions; airplane noise reduction technology; and noise control in public buildings. Improved cooperation between industry and government agencies, particularly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is also called for.

An evergreen shrub, green tea has long been used worldwide as a popular beverage and a respected herbal remedy. The earliest record of green tea drinkers was around 2700 B.C. Studies suggest that green tea may help decrease some infectious diseases, tooth decay and may enhance immunity. Now findings from a recent study suggest that green tea may help aging. The results of the study found a 20 percent reduction in levels of DNA damage which may indicate that regular consumption of green tea aid in protection against damage at a genetic level and slow the aging process.

A higher rate of diabetes seen among adult Americans when compared to peers in England is explained primarily by a larger waist size rather than conventional risk factors such as obesity, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London. Americans carry more fat around their middle sections than the English, and that was the single factor that explained most of the higher rate of diabetes seen in the United States, especially among American women. Waist size may be the missing new risk factor. Analyzing studies about the health and lifestyles of large numbers people from the United States and England, researchers found no association between higher diabetes rates in the United States based upon conventional risk factors such as age, smoking, socio-economic status or body mass index, the commonly used ratio of height and weight that is used to measure obesity and over-weight. The higher waist size of Americans posed more risk compared to their English peers across most body mass index categories. For example, among women with normal weight, 41 percent of American women were categorized as having high waist risk compared to 9 percent of English women.

A recent study reported in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine sought to determine whether certain yoga postures could reduce anxiety levels and improve mood by increasing brain GABA levels. Although GABA levels have been found to be lower in people with anxiety and mood disorders, there have been no previous studies that increased GABA levels can improve anxiety and mood. Researchers found that GABA levels are lower in people suffering with anxiety and mood disorders. The study included thirty-four subjects with who were randomly placed in a yoga group or a 60 minute, 3 times a week walking program. The results revealed that the yoga group reported greater improvements in anxiety and mood when compared with the walking group. They also found that increased thalamic GABA levels ARE associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety, although further research is needed.

Humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes and each person has two copies of each gene. One is inherited from the mother and one from the father. These genes are how height, hair color, skin color, and eye color are determined, as well as, natural talents, mental abilities and susceptibility to acquire certain diseases. Now a study reported in Nature Genetics found that gene mutation may affect the risk of breast cancer. Researchers identified five gene mutations that were associated with breast cancer risk in women with BRCA 1 gene mutations. This study could be useful in determining individual breast cancer risk in women with this BRCA 1 gene mutation.

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