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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Age Wise

A simple test seems to predict risk from lifestyle factors that can be altered

Suppose a simple test could give you a hint of your risk of developing dementia in years ahead. If you were found to be at high risk, would you change some habits known to affect that risk? Perhaps stop drinking, or eat better, or start exercising?

Such a test has been, well, tested, and it seems to work pretty well, at least in a new study involving 4,164 people who were 59 years old on average.

I happen to be 59, and to be frank, the risk of dementia has been on my mind for several years now. I’m not…


Contrarian viewpoints on Covid-19 policy in mainstream opinion journalism risk provoking dire consequences

Over the span of four long days in September 1918, two leading voices expressed dismay about what was then known as the “Spanish Influenza.” First, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Doane, who led the Health and Sanitation Section of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, “forcefully” voiced that the Germans were behind the epidemic which had reached American shores earlier in the year, theorizing that German spies may have spilled the virus in a locale where a large number of Americans had gathered, such as a cinema.

“The Germans have started epidemics in Europe, and there is no reason why they should be particularly…


The Nuance

‘Social sharing’ is a core human trait, but at times it can reinforce negative emotions and disordered thinking

In the video, a middle-aged man named Bill — no last name given — wears a denim shirt and sits in an upholstered chair.

Slowly, fumbling a bit over his words, he recounts the last days of his father’s life. “He was not real happy,” Bill says, “but he insisted on staying in his home.”

His father was old and ailing. He had bouts of incontinence and delirium, and Bill was the only one around to care for him. Near the end, Bill’s fatigue and frustration got the best of him. He told his father, “I don’t know how much…


Age Wise

New research estimates the benefits of better eating, down to the minute

You’ve heard that improving your diet can make you healthier and help you live longer. Nothing new there. But now scientists have estimated down to the minute the benefits of swapping out just 10% of your bad food choices for healthier items. While it’s hard to know how literally we should take the conclusion, I’m now chastising myself over that Spicy East Coast Italian sub I ate in secret at Jimmy John’s the other day (please don’t tell my wife).

So here it is: Substituting the likes of fruit, veggies, nuts, or beans for the equivalent of one lousy hot…


Hint: It’s not just the efficacy numbers

The debate over Covid-19 boosters continues to heat up. The demand is enormous — about 1 million Americans have already received boosters, many by lying about being immunosuppressed or prior vaccination. Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, has scolded developed countries for rolling out boosters when so little of the developing world is vaccinated.

Most of the booster discussion has focused on the arcana of vaccine efficacy: Is Moderna holding up better than Pfizer? Is the decline in efficacy only for so-called mild infection or does it include infections that can lead to hospitalization and death?


New research on standing points to a minimum daily goal

London’s bright-red double-decker buses are one of the city’s hallmarks. Seventy years ago, those buses and their operators were at the center of one of the first occupational studies to examine the role of sitting on health.

Back then, each bus had a driver and a conductor. For a 1954 study, researchers at London’s transportation department examined the heart-disease incidence among these and other transit workers.

The researchers found that conductors, who spent most of the day on their feet collecting fares, were about 25% less likely than the seated drivers to develop heart disease. …


Age Wise

Research reveals effective methods that get beyond one-off tips

Dane McCarrick knows that if left to fester, stress causes not just mental anguish but physiological changes that lead to sundry health problems. So when stressed, McCarrick employs part of a pre-planned strategy by disengaging himself from the worrisome thoughts and putting them off for consideration at a less chaotic time when, presumably, he’ll have a clearer head.

“Usually, by that point in time the thing I was getting myself worked up over didn’t even happen anyway,” he says.

McCarrick may have a slight advantage over the rest of us when it comes to stress-busting. As a postgraduate researcher in…


The Nuance

Information overload from news consumption is linked to both psychological disturbances and groupthink

Two hundred years ago — yesterday, in evolutionary terms — most people went days or even weeks without encountering news that did not involve their local community.

Today, the average person is bombarded with novel information about the wider world and its diverse (and often distressing) goings-on.

“Possibly the most prominent characteristic of news consumption today is the sheer amount of information that consumers are exposed to,” wrote the authors of a 2014 study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. …


Drinking is much deadlier than we wish to admit, and the problems start way too early in life

Here’s a little reality many of us don’t want to hear: Alcohol is really bad for us in pretty much any quantity at any age. There, I said it. And yes, you may argue that a stiff belt or two helps you relax in the evening or that a good meal isn’t complete without a glass of wine or that beer is one of the main food groups. I’ve been right there with you for years, pinning my hopes on these delightful illusions to justify one, or one too many, on a regular basis.

But our rose-colored drinking glasses are…


Harnessing the brain’s ability to adapt for a better future

In May 2020, the New York Times published the names of 100,000 people, all of whom had died of Covid-19 in the U.S. by that date. They called it, then, an incalculable loss. In August 2021, forecasts by Model predicted that the U.S. would see another 100,000 deaths before December 1 — and it no longer seems like such a big number. Similarly, when the “unprecedented” hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, it was part of nightly news coverage for months. Ida just wiped out power to millions, but lasted much more briefly in our news cycle. …

Elemental

Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

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