Archive for April 2nd, 2012

Fresh clue to human evolution’s burning question

Richard Wrangham, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, has argued that the invention of cooking split the ancestors of humans from the evolutionary path that went on to include modern gorillas and chimpanzees. Cooking allowed our ancestors to develop bigger brains and, in his hypothesis, is the key reason modern humans emerged. The controlled use of fire, according to Wrangham, was a more important milestone in human evolution than the invention of agriculture or eating meat.

Critics of Wrangham's "cooking hypothesis
" have pointed to a lack of archaeological evidence. If our ancestors were cooking regularly, where are the fossilised fireplaces?

In an article, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists led by Francesco Berna of the University of Boston has found strong evidence of such a fireplace. They have uncovered evidence of burned bones and ashes of plant material created in controlled fires that were lit at least 1m years ago in southern Africa.

Is Sugar Toxic ?


Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer.

Study shows most dietitians use supplements

Nearly three-quarters of dietitians report using dietary supplements regularly, with 97% recommending supplement use to clients, according to research published in Nutrition Journal. Fifty-three percent of dietitians said they take supplements for overall health benefits, and 50% said they promote supplements for that reason. Eighty-four percent said they used a multivitamin within the previous year, 63% took calcium and nearly half had used omega-3 supplements or fish oil. 


Study connects sleep apnea to depression


CDC researchers found that people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to be depressed, and the risk was higher in women.


Labor takes longer now than 50 years ago


The median labor time of women who gave birth between 2002 and 2008 was 6.5 hours compared with less than four hours in women who gave birth between 1959 to 1966, a study by the National Institutes of Health found. Researchers noted that women in the recent group were older and heavier before their pregnancy than women in the 1960s and that epidural use had increased in the more modern group. 


Obesity linked to blood clot risk in women, study finds


Middle-aged women who are overweight or obese have a greater risk of developing venous thromboembolism after surgery and even without surgery, compared with normal-weight women, according to a U.K. study published in Circulation. Heavier women also had a 22% higher risk of needing inpatient surgery, according to the study. 


Wellness incentives, risk assessments raise questions, experts say


More U.S. companies are tying employee health premiums to risk assessments and participation in wellness initiatives such as exercise and disease management programs, raising questions about privacy and whether the tactic saves money and improves health. Professor Kevin Volpp of the University of Pennsylvania says data show that programs offering employees choices and immediate rewards work best and that incentives to help people quit smoking are effective. 

April 2012
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