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

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. …


A summary of the latest Covid-19 research

It’s impossible to keep up with every new study that comes out about Covid-19, but every so often I’ll summarize a few of the recent ones to keep people up to date on the more significant research. Today’s roundup includes the findings from three different Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports from the CDC.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccine effectiveness drops to 66% against delta

Vaccine effectiveness fell about 25 points once delta arrived on the scene, according to a CDC study of health care workers. Although the mRNA vaccines were about 91% effective before delta, their effectiveness dropped to an average 66% effective during the weeks when the delta variant dominated.


New research confirms lower risk of heart disease and death for coffee drinkers

New research pours more evidence into a percolating pot of proof that coffee appears to be quite good for most of us. Data from 468,629 people in the U.K. across several years revealed that up to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and death compared to no coffee, and even more daily intake doesn’t pack any serious health risks.

Several other studies in recent years have reached similar conclusions, showing that coffee offers some protective effects and few if any serious side effects beyond jitteriness and insomnia in some folks.


Repeated studies reveal Covid antibodies in the breastmilk of people who have been vaccinated

More evidence now shows that people who get the Moderna or Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine while breastfeeding produce protective antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their breastmilk, which is then passed along to their baby. While this is not the first study to show Covid antibodies develop in breastmilk after vaccination, it offers yet more proof that getting vaccinated while breastfeeding not only protects yourself but also offers protection to the baby who is nursing.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine, involved 21 health care workers at the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital who were tracked from December…

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