Health & Spirit

Up In Smoke

Health / Scott LaFee /

As marijuana use increases, there's increasing interest and debate over its broader health effects. One area of contention is the impact of cannabis upon cardiovascular health. In a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at 24 observational studies that examined adults using any form of marijuana and potentially...Read more

The President's Number

Health / Scott LaFee /

President Trump had a physical recently, after which his Navy doctor declared that he stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 236 pounds, which based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, defined him as overweight but not quite in the category of obese.

There were many skeptics, who doubted both the numbers and the conclusion. But there are other things to ...Read more

Make it a Trouble

Health / Scott LaFee /

A new National Institutes of Health study says visits to the emergency room linked to alcohol use and abuse have risen nearly 50 percent between 2006 and 2014, with the largest increase among females and drinkers who are middle-aged or older.

Roughly 5 million Americans are transported to hospital emergency rooms each year for medical ...Read more

Bad Bug

Health / Scott LaFee /

This promises to be a very nasty flu season, both in terms of prevalence and severity. A primary reason is that the H3N2 influenza strain is more dominant this year than in other years, and the strain tends to make people more miserable and causes more death than other strains.

Helen Branswell at STAT cites three factors:

--H3N2 causes more ...Read more

Smoking Signs

Health / Scott LaFee /

While smoking rates nationally have steadily declined, tobacco use remains notably problematic in some racial and ethnic groups, according to new data from the CDC. For example, more than 43 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives had used some type of tobacco in the past month, according to a survey. That compares to 27 percent of ...Read more


Health / Scott LaFee /

Dietary fat has long been considered a dirty word and something to be avoided. But a new international study suggests that when it comes to living longer, the bigger villain may be overabundant carbohydrates.

The published PURE study looked at the eating habits of 135,000 adults in 18 countries representing diverse demographics over more than...Read more

America's Health Rankings

Health / Scott LaFee /

The United Health Foundation is out with its latest annual report assessing the national state of health. It's the usual mixed bag. Based on multiple factors, including vaccination rates, air pollution levels and health insurance coverage, Massachusetts was deemed the nation's healthiest state, followed by Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Connecticut...Read more

D for Don't Know

Health / Scott LaFee /

For a long time, it's been debated whether taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy provide particular health benefits. Advocates, backed by some studies, say vitamin D reduces the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Others, backed by some studies, say there's no convincing proof. A new analysis of 43 randomized, controlled ...Read more

Pain Gain

Health / Scott LaFee /

The aches and pains of arthritis may be more common than previously thought. New research suggests national estimates based on whether study participants recall ever complaining to a health professional about arthritis, likely do not capture all cases. They estimate that (more accurate but higher) 56 percent of men and 69 percent of women over...Read more

Heart of the Matter

Health / Scott LaFee /

You're having chest pains. An ambulance rushes you to an emergency room where physicians begin a battery of exams, including CT scans and cardiac stress tests, to determine whether you're having a heart attack. It's reassuring, but is it necessary?

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis suggest not. In published findings, they said...Read more

Hurt Blocker

Health / Scott LaFee /

If you plan on slicing a finger or scraping a knee anytime soon, try to make it during the day. Scientists report that the time of day when you're injured may impact healing rate, based upon the circadian rhythms of skin cells.

Looking at a database of persons recovering from burn wounds, they found that people injured during the day took 17 ...Read more

Olden, Not Golden

Health / Scott LaFee /

Old age is not for sissies, the joke goes, though findings in a new Kaiser Family Foundation report on health in later life are nothing to laugh about.

The report polled 2,040 adults, including 998 interviews with people who had experienced recent serious illness in older age, either personally or with a family member. It found that 56 ...Read more

The Joy of Soy

Health / Scott LaFee /

In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved the health claim that consumption of soy protein (as opposed to animal products) helped protect against heart disease. The agency doesn't do that very often -- only 12 times in fact -- and it has never rescinded an approved claim.

But it's thinking about it now. In recent years, the link ...Read more


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