GUM DISEASE CAN AFFECT FERTILITY: New research has found a strong link, primarily for non-Caucasian women, between periodontal disease and impaired fertility, and has confirmed known links between impaired fertility and being overweight, smoking, and being over the age of 35. (With impaired fertility, it takes months longer to achieve pregnancy. Periodontitis is caused by microorganisms that adhere to, and grow on, the tooth surface, combined with an overly aggressive immune response against these microorganisms.) The underlying reason for the difficulty, among those suffering from periodontal disease, to become pregnant is believed to be the inflammatory response that develops in response to the disease. Non-Caucasian women were far more likely to have impaired fertility as a response to gum disease than Caucasian women because these women have a higher degree of inflammatory response. It was suggested that non-Caucasian women see a dentist to have periodontal disease treated prior to attempting pregnancy. (Treatment does not affect the health of the baby and often requires about four dentist visits.) This study was presented July 6, 2011 in Stockholm at the annual meeting...

SLEEP LOSS DECREASES TESTOSTERONE, INCREASING HEALTH RISKS: A small study has concluded that young men who sleep less than five hours a night for eight days experience an average reduction of 10 to 15 percent in their testosterone levels, with the lowest levels occurring between 2pm and 10 pm, and that these lower levels increase the risk of low-testosterone-related health effects. (Testosterone levels very gradually diminish with age, about one to two percent per year, but especially low levels can cause symptoms such as reduced bone and muscle mass, as well as decreased energy, erectile dysfunction, mood problems, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and low sex drive.) The men in the study, whose average age was 24, were rigorously screened to rule out any endocrine, psychological, or sleep problems. They slept 10 hours a night for three days, then five hours a night for eight days, and testosterone was measured after each phase. Also, the participants reported reduced mood, vigor, and sense of well-being, worsening with each day of the reduced sleep phase. This study was published in the June 1, 2011...

ACUPUNCTURE LESSENS PERCEPTION OF PAIN: Previously, it has been suggested that acupuncture reduces pain, although it has seldom been studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Now, such a study suggests that acupuncture can affect the experience of pain in two ways. First, it reduces the incoming pain signal itself; and second, it lowers activity in brain areas that govern patients’ expectations of pain. (A functional MRI measures the tiny metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain, while a patient performs a task or is exposed to a specific external stimulus.) At first, eighteen healthy volunteers underwent fMRI while an electrical pain stimulus was attached to the left ankle. Then, acupuncture needles were placed at three places on the right side: between the toes, below the knee and near the thumb, after which the same electrical pain currents were directed at the left ankle. Researchers compared the fMRI imaging results without acupuncture to those with acupuncture; and detected changes in brain areas linked to both pain expectation and sensation. This study was presented November 30,...

PROBIOTIC FOOD MAY REDUCE SPONTANEOUS PRETERM DELIVERIES: A Norwegian study has found that a higher intake of probiotic dairy products by pregnant women results in a reduced risk of spontaneous preterm deliveries (fewer than 37 gestational weeks). Pregnant women were divided in three groups: those who consumed no milk containing probiotic lactobacilli, those with a low intake, and those with a high consumption level. Researchers hypothesized that probiotics may reduce the number of pregnancy complications that arise from microbial infection. The study team noted that preterm deliveries pose a significant problem. This study was released by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition but won’t be published until a future issue. It is available online now at http://bit.ly/apHSqD to journal subscribers and those who pay the article access fee. PHYSICAL FITNESS CUTS FREQUENCIES OF COLDS, URTIs: A study has found that those who get aerobic exercise more often have a reduced frequency of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), such as colds. The effect also was seen in those who perceive themselves as physically fit; the severity of cold symptoms was 41...

*DID YOU KNOW? Long term use of metformin, the commonly prescribed “cornerstone” type 2 diabetes drug, increases the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency *ALCOHOL BOOSTS STROKE RISK FOR ONE HOUR AFTER CONSUMPTION *MECHANISM FOR CALORIE RESTRICTION’S LONGEVITY EFFECT DISCOVERED *NON-INVASIVE THERAPY FOR MALIGNANT BRAIN CANCER *LISTENING TO MUSIC HAMPERS MENTAL PERFORMANCE *FISH OIL MAY REDUCE BREAST CANCER RISK *OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA INCREASES RISK OF HEART FAILURE *HIGH LEVELS OF VITAMIN E REDUCE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S *DEPRESSION LINKED TO VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY *VIRGIN OLIVE OIL CHANGES HOW GENES FUNCTION *ADDED FRUCTOSE LINKED TO HYPERTENSION *KEY INGREDIENT IN HONEY KILLS ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA *ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED DRINKS RAISE RISK OF PRE-TERM BIRTHS *DOCTORS OFTEN SCORE ‘F’ WHEN PATIENT NEEDS INDIVIDUALIZED CARE ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED DRINKS RAISE RISK OF PRE-TERM BIRTHS: Sugar-sweetened drinks have been linked to health problems such as weight gain; as a result, artificially sweetened soft drinks have often been promoted as an alternative. However, the effect of these drinks on pregnant women has seldom been examined. A new study has found that daily consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks appears to increase...

BRIEF EXERCISE SPURTS OFFSET AGING: Brief spurts of exercise may offset the aging effect associated with stress, according to a study released by the journal, PLoS One. Fourteen minutes of exercise per day, three days per week may be sufficient to offset the aging effect of stress on telomeres, short pieces of DNA that shorten – or age – with time and stress. Tiny pieces of DNA known as telomeres tend to shorten over time in reaction to various forms of stress.

CAFFEINE AFFECTS GRANDCHILDREN’S BIRTH WEIGHT: A Dutch study examined the effects of a high intake of caffeine from coffee and tea during pregnancy on fetal growth and development. Babies of women with a high caffeine intake – defined as six or more cups a day – were smaller in length. More surprising,

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