Archive for April 16th, 2012
Certain foods and fats can affect the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, including omega-6 fatty acids that can lead to more joint inflammation, writes registered dietitian Carol Meerschaert. She notes that studies show eating foods with omega-3 fats may help reduce cartilage destruction that comes with arthritis, while compounds in some fruits and spices and in olive oil can help relieve RA inflammation.
University of Utah researchers have started a social media campaign called Track-It SLC to persuade caregivers to walk with their children at parks, the zoo and other public places, rather than keep them in strollers. Graduate student Lindsay Janicki says a 3-year-old can walk a half mile, and a 7-year-old can walk up to 2 miles, and while strollers are convenient, they reduce physical activity in children.
Metabolites from four phthalates commonly used in plastics and personal care products were found in at least 96% of diabetes patients examined and are associated with a 25% to 30% increased risk of diabetes, a study in Diabetes Care found. Researchers said the metabolites might inhibit the biological pathways that regulate glucose metabolism.
Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are widely used industrial chemicals that are found everywhere. They are added to PVC plastic products to make them softer or more flexible, such as toys, car interiors, medical devices like blood IV bags and tubing, vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper, and vinyl shower curtains. Phthalates are also added to many cosmetics and personal care products including scented lotion, shampoo, perfume, aftershave, nail polish, and hair spray. Phthalates can make up a major portion of a product by weight, but since they are not chemically bound, the chemicals leach out over time. For example, a new vinyl shower curtain can elevate indoor air toxics concentrations for over a month.
People who regularly eat tree nuts — almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and others — have a lower body mass index and a smaller waist size and are less likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome compared with non-eaters, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Artists and writers have already taken advantage of the wide reach of the Internet to drum up financial backing for their projects, and now scientists are engaging in similar "crowdfunding."
Scientists and researchers are posting their projects to sites such as PetriDish.org and the upcoming ScienceBucks.com (scheduled for official launch in May) in hopes of inspiring enough supporters to advance their work.
One of the earliest examples of "crowdfunding" in journalism was Spot.us, where the public could pay for articles on topics they deemed important. Another site, Kickstarter, features hundreds of creative initiatives in need of cash, from documentaries to dance production.
Given shrinking university budgets and more applicants competing for fewer governmental grants, "crowdfunding science is an idea whose time has come," Jeff Lapides, founder of ScienceBucks, told MedPage Today. In addition to the need for better financial resources, the "public wants the transparency and involvement that [crowdfunding] offers," he said.
Something as simple as going for a brisk stroll could play an important role in fighting depression, according to researchers in Scotland.
Vigorous exercise has already been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression, but the effect of less strenuous activities was unclear.