Health & Spirit

Eke! Cigs

Health / Scott LaFee /

Electronic cigarettes contain a number of chemicals known to be harmful, most notably nicotine, heavy metals and compounds such as diacetyl, a flavorant linked to serious lung disease.

A new study out of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found a few other worrisome ingredients: bacterial and fungal toxins. Researchers examined 75 ...Read more

Smoke and Fears

Health / Scott LaFee /

Cancer deaths overall in the United States dropped more than 25% between 1991 and 2016, but the good news is not uniform and there is room for improvement. Nearly a third of all cancer deaths are due to cigarette smoking, but while tobacco use is in decline, some populations remain at a higher risk of mortality. For example, only about 6% of ...Read more


Health / Scott LaFee /

A nationwide survey of 600,000 people found an uptick in the number of teens and young adults experiencing mental health problems. Specifically, researchers found a 50% increase in depressive episodes among kids ages 12 to 17 and a 63% increase in adults 18 to 25. The latter age group also reported a 70% increase in more serious issues such as...Read more

Again: Vaccines Don't Cause Autism

Health / Scott LaFee /

Another major study, this one involving more than 650,000 Danish children, has found no link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Multiple past studies have also proven no association, and public health experts consider the matter settled science.

The latest study followed children for more than a decade, beginning ...Read more

Being a Great Caregiver

Health / Scott LaFee /

Caring for a spouse with a serious chronic illness often places incredible strain upon a relationship, with divorce rates up to 75%. Experts have lots of advice on how to be a great caregiver for the long term. Here are seven suggestions. (Caution: There are no shortcuts.)

1. Be a good listener. No one understands what's happening better than...Read more

Alone Time

Health / Scott LaFee /

If you're reading this, you're not alone, but you may be lonely. A national poll asked adults 50 to 80 years old about their "health, health behaviors and experiences and feelings related to companionship and social isolation."

One in 3 said they felt a lack of companionship (26% said some of the time; 8% said often), and 27% reported feeling...Read more

Smokeless Dire

Health / Scott LaFee /

E-cigarettes are fueling a rise in the use of tobacco products by young people, says the Centers for Disease Control. A new report finds that, in 2018, 4.9 million middle and high school students reported using a tobacco product in the past month, up from 3.6 million in 2017.

E-cigarettes were actually the only type of tobacco product that ...Read more

Paste Not

Health / Scott LaFee /

The Centers for Disease Control estimates nearly 40 percent of U.S. kids ages 3 to 6 are spreading too much toothpaste on their toothbrushes. The advised amount is roughly a pea-sized blob to avoid swallowing too much fluoride.

Small, unintentional ingestions of fluoride may cause stomach upset, though toothpaste concentrations are quite low,...Read more

Sleep Well

Health / Scott LaFee /

As we age, deep sleep tends to become more of a memory. Older persons tend to sleep less and less well, the latter often due to medications or health issues such as sleep apnea. That has implications for brain health and risk of neurological conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

In a recent study using mice, researchers found that the depth of...Read more

Reach for the Die

Health / Scott LaFee /

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and disabilities among drivers 15 to 20 years old. A new study reports that teens who reach for objects while driving, such as food or makeup, increase their risk of crashing nearly seven times.

The National Institutes of Health study also found that teen drivers who manually dial, text or ...Read more

Hedgehog Hygiene Hitch

Health / Scott LaFee /

The CDC is warning the public to be careful about playing with pet hedgehogs. A salmonella outbreak spanning eight states has made 11 people sick, including six kids under age 12. The outbreak's source has not yet been determined.

The health agency offers some cautionary points, so to speak:

-- Always wash your hands thoroughly after ...Read more

Food for Naught

Health / Scott LaFee /

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. After all, it's when you literally break your overnight fast. And there are lots of good, healthy reasons for having a good, healthy meal in the morning.

Some studies have even suggested that eating breakfast might help promote weight loss, while skipping breakfast ...Read more

Car Giving and Taking Away

Health / Scott LaFee /

At some point, almost everybody becomes too old to drive -- safely. But deciding when is often left to caregivers, as most drivers don't see the end of the road until, well, something bad happens.

It's a fraught time. No one wants to lose the independence that driving provides. According to surveys, adult children say the "car key ...Read more

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