Health & science news you may have missed this week

Between the holiday shopping, gift-wrapping and plain old enjoying the beautiful winter season, you may have missed these important and intriguing health headlines.

That’s why we’re here.

If you’re looking to catch up on the vital stuff that everyone has been sharing about—We’ve got it. Or, if you just want some odd science stories chocked with fun facts to share when visiting family this holiday—Well, we’ve got that, too.

Take a look:

hot cocoaHot chocolate is good for your memory: Sipping hot cocoa after a fun day in the snow might stand out in your memory bank as the icon of your childhood winters. But the very beverage might actually help you preserve those memories, too. So when you brew up a steaming mug of hot cocoa and wrap your hands around it to stay toasty—You just might be doing some good for your health after all, say writers at AARP Magazine. A recent Harvard University study says those who drank two cups of hot chocolate a day, for 30 days straight, significantly improved their memory. Want to read more? Check out www.aarp.org/brainhealth.

220FDA might regulate antibacterial hand soap: Several news outlets reported on the latest warning from the FDA this week: In order for soap companies to use two special ingredients that constitute the product as antibacterial, the companies must prove their product cleans better than traditional soap. It has been a longtime concern that enhanced soaps are actually causing more bacteria-resistance and could potentially be harmful to our health in the future. Read more from the Los Angeles Times here.

reconstruction_surgery01Henry Ford Hospital performs first laser brain surgery in Michigan: Last month, surgeons performed the first two minimally-invasive laser brain surgeries in Michigan at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. One surgery was for an epilepsy patient and the other to treat an inoperable brain tumor. And according to the CBS article, both patients went home the day after their surgeries. Mind you, they had brain surgery—So that’s pretty fantastic! Read more of this fascinating story here.

Picture 3Michigan ranked 34th in overall health scoring for 2013—which isn’t too hot— but Kaiser Health News says obesity rates  have not risen nationally, so that’s good: This week, the United Health Foundation released its annual health report of the states. And Michigan placed 34th, which isn’t horrible, but it also isn’t grand. But, Kaiser Health News also reported statistics this month showing national obesity levels might be staving off. You can check out the 2013 edition of America’s Health Rankings here and read more on annual obesity rates here.

HumanBrainResearchers study the link of immune system and mental health: Last week, USA Today reported on an interesting topic in the neuroscience realm: the linking of immune system and brain function, or as some prefer—The linking of mind and body. Researchers are beginning to study the relationship between the two, seemingly separate entities, for exploratory research in treating mentally ill patients. In doing so, they have learned some patients, like those with mood disorders, have shown reduced symptoms when taking antibiotics. You’ll want to check out this quick-read here.

7bb3346b2c354029450f6a706700116fGene therapy shows promise for fighting blood cancers: The USA Today shared an intriguing glimpse into science study this week about the potential for gene-specific treatments is fighting cancer. According to the story, gene therapy is cheaper than biopsies and other combative treatments for blood cancers like leukemia. But the most important part? It has been successful for patients already. This is a story you won’t want to miss, check it out here.

Pink-Ribbon-by-Amiel-WeisblumExercise may help those fighting breast cancer: At the end of last week, tons of breast cancer researchers gathered in San Antonio, TX for the 2013 Breast Cancer Symposium. (Fun fact: A team of docs and researchers from the University of Michigan presented.) This Philly.com article shares just another great reason for working out: breast cancer prevention and reducing symptoms. Read more here.

 

Connecticut School ShootingMental health services gains funding, in wake of Sandy Hook one year later: This time last year, the nation was devastated by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. After a year of heated gun law debates and a growing spotlight on national mental health treatment and funding, some argue the time has come. On the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, where 20 students and six staff members were killed— President Obama announced the injection of funding for mental health services nationwide. As the progress unfolds, read more here.

23andme_logoFDA looking into safety of 23andMe genetic company: If you were thinking of sending in your genetic information (via a cheek swab) to be tested against lists of hereditary illnesses—You might want to hold off. The genetic testing company 23andMe has been halted by the FDA in an effort to protect the quality of information and safety of its “patients,” some say. You’ll want to check out this fresh perspective on the issue here.

autism-awarenessNew studies show possible future treatments for managing behavioral issues in those with autism: Science World Report shard this week that researchers are exploring new ways of managing behavioral issues for those with autism. Brace yourself, they said patients who drank parasitic worm eggs daily or took hot baths were less likely to have temperamental mood swings later in the day. There is much research to be done, but because the species of worm cannot reproduce in human intestines, it does not pose a health threat. Read more here.

 

la-sci-sn-clever-crocodiles-alligators-sticks--001Reptiles shown using tools to hunt birds: Last week, scientists shared their decade-long studies of the hunting habits of crocodiles and alligators. Two species in particular—the mugger crocodile and the American alligator—were found to use twigs to lure birds to their demise. How? The reptiles float all day with twigs placed on their snouts, waiting patiently. Strategically during nesting seasons, and due to scarce resources, birds sometimes fall for the trick. Check out the full story here.

lobotomy_social_oneThe Lobotomy Files: Forgotten Soldiers: A big story broke this past week on the lobotomizing of World War II soldiers returning home. You will have to buckle up for one heck of a journey as Wall Street Journal writers share their findings about the past treatments of mentally-ill veterans. Read the complete tale here.

 

 

 

 

About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at JenBucciarelli[email protected].

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