Fast-food packaging may contain dangerous chemicals.
Many fast-food wrappers and boxes contain a potentially harmful chemical that can leach into the food they contain. Investigators tested more than 400 samples from restaurants nationwide and found that 46% of paper wrappers and 20% of paperboard box samples contained fluorine. Past studies have linked some fluorinated chemicals to kidney and testicular cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and immune system problems in children. Much like the public outcry to reduce BPA in plastics, the public may need to call for a reduction in fluorinated chemicals in fast food packaging. Environmental Science & Technology, February 2017
Immune system reboots during a good night’s rest.
T-cells are a type of lymphocyte (a subtype of white blood cell) that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. In a recent study, researchers took blood samples from 14 healthy men and found the levels of all types of T-cells fell when they had a full night’s sleep. However, their T-cell levels stayed high when they stayed awake all night. Study author Dr. Luciana Besedovsky notes the rapid fall in T-cell levels during sleep shows “that even one night without sleep affects the adaptive immune system… This might be one reason why regular sleep is so important for general health.” American Journal of Physiology, January 2017
Living near major roads may boost dementia risk.
Living near a major roadway may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Researchers followed 6.6 million Canadians for a decade and found those living within 160 feet of a major highway had a 7% greater risk for developing dementia. Study author Dr. Hong Chen adds, “Our study suggests that busy roads could be a source of environmental stressors that could give rise to the onset of dementia.” The Lancet, January 2017
Common painkillers don’t ease back pain.
Researchers reviewed 35 studies on the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat back pain and found that only 1 in 6 people gained a benefit from taking these medications. The findings suggest that no current over-the-counter painkillers truly ease back pain. Lead researcher Dr. Gustavo Machado writes, “People should focus on preventing back pain in the first place. Having a healthy lifestyle and engaging in physical activities is a very important way of achieving this.” Chiropractic offers an effective drug-free approach to the treatment of back pain and other common musculoskeletal ailments. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, February 2017
Why some noises irritate specific people.
Individuals with misophonia suffer from an intense hatred of specific sounds, such as chewing, breathing, or a clicking pen, which often stimulate an immediate “fight or flight” response in those with the disorder. Researchers recently conducted brain scans of people with and without misophonia and found that those with the condition had an abnormality in their emotional control mechanism, which puts their brains into overdrive in response to some sounds. Current Biology, February 2017
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