By: Najja Parker
Researchers from Germany, Spain and other European countries recently conducted a study with 51,743 men and women with an average age of 50 to prove that those who drink two or more glasses daily of regular or diet soda have a higher risk of mortality. If subjects drank two or more cans of diet sodas a day, they were more likely to die from circulatory diseases. On the other hand, subjects who drank two or more regular sodas were more likely to die from digestive diseases. Following similar studies from Harvard and Toronto University, the results support recent public health campaigns limiting soda consumption.
By: Matt Richtel and Denise Grady
A fifth death has been linked to vaping in an epidemic that has sickened up to 450 people in 33 states. Despite vaping’s initial branding as a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, little is known about its potential dangers. CDC officials believe that a “chemical” is responsible for the pneumonia-like illness, but have not pinpointed a specific agent. One recent study showed that, at least in Illinois and Wisconsin, many patients are young men, with a median age of 19. Of these patients, 98% required hospital admission and a third needed to be placed on ventilators. A doctor recalled one case of a 21-year-old from Utah whose lungs had been so severely damaged that a fatty debris–bits of his lungs–had accumulated in his white blood cells.
By: Emily Dixon
Scientists from the University of Oxford are the first to identify the genes linked to left-handedness through a 400,000 people study. These genetic differences, specifically seen in the brain’s white matter tracts, result in brain structure differences, which seem to imply that left-handed people have better verbal skills. By isolating four regions of the brain, the researchers were able to observe that the proteins related to left-handedness were also related to the brain’s development. Nonetheless, the authors of the study stated that further research must be conducted before establishing causation between these genes and handedness.
By: Sheila Kaplan
The United States surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, issued a public statement declaring that smoking or vaping marijuana may have harsh effects on pregnant women and developing babies. However, retail outlets have been recommending marijuana use as a remedy for morning sickness and marijuana use is rapidly becoming more normalized. In fact, A Kaiser Permanente study, in their examination of self-reported cannabis use among nearly 277,000 pregnant women, found that the number who reported daily cannabis use during pregnancy increased to 21 percent from 15 percent. Doctors are concerned that T.H.C. poses risks for the developing fetal brain, and that it could be transmitted to infants through breast milk.
By: Tim Newman
A recent study in BMJ looked at the heart health benefits of vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian diets, which have been increasing in popularity in recent years. The study included data from 48,188 people over around 18 years. Pescatarians and vegetarians (who were group with vegans) had lower rates of ischemic heart disease, largely because of lower rates of hypertension and diabetes as well as lower BMIs and cholesterol. However, vegetarians did have higher rates of strokes, which may be related to how vegetarians circulate nutrients in their bodies.