By Mid-Century, Heat Waves Could Cover Far Bigger Areas

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Climate change could trigger much bigger heat waves by mid-century, U.S. researchers report.

Previous research has predicted that the number and intensity of heat waves will increase, but this study is the first to examine changes in their potential physical size.

“As the physical size of these affected regions increases, more people will be exposed to heat stress,” said lead author Brad Lyon, an associate research professor at the University of Maine in Orono.

“Larger heat waves would also increase electrical loads and peak energy demand on the grid as more people and businesses turn on air conditioning in response,” he added.

The statistics are alarming.

With medium greenhouse gas emission levels, the average size of heat waves could grow 50% by mid-century, according to the study. With high emission levels, their average size could increase 80%, and more extreme heat waves could more than double in size, it predicted.

The study, published Oct. 7 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, was partly funded by the Climate Observations and Monitoring Program of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Program Office.

Predictions about the growing size of heat waves could help utilities plan for the future, according to the researchers.

“Heat wave size is another dimension of extreme heat that people don’t necessarily think of,” Lyon said in a NOAA news release. “It’s a different vantage point from which to view them and assess their impacts.”

The study also found that the length and severity of heat waves could increase substantially, which came as no surprise to the researchers.

“An increase in attributes like magnitude and duration is consistent with expectations of a warming climate,” Lyon said. “What is new in our study is the way we calculated them, which allowed us to consider size as a new heat wave dimension.”

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCE: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, news release, Oct. 7, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Alcohol Problems Grow as Booze Gets a Bigger Kick

Feb. 14, 2019 — Americans may not be drinking much more than they used to — but they’re drinking more potent stuff.

And that trend toward higher-alcohol drinks may be part of what’s driving an increase in alcohol-related deaths and illnesses, according to new research.

Sales of wine and liquor have gone up, while beer sales are largely flat. And more of the beer-drinking dollar is going toward varieties with a higher percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV), whether they’re high-gravity craft beers or corner-store malt liquor.

“There’s been this observation recently of increases in alcohol-related problems like increases in alcoholic liver disease and mortality and emergency room visits related to alcohol, but we haven’t seen a similar increase in alcohol consumption,” says Priscilla Martinez, PhD, a public health and epidemiology researcher at the California-based Alcohol Research Group.

Estimates of how much Americans drank grew only 6% between 2002 and 2013, or about two drinks per person per month, says Martinez, who led the new study. But drinking-related health problems soared during that time. Meanwhile, estimates used to find out how much alcohol is in a typical drink — a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor — “have been static for a long period of time,” Martinez says.

“The estimates that exist now have had the same alcohol-by-volume values since the 1970s,” she says. “Maybe that’s why we’re not seeing this increase in alcohol consumption, because we’re not calculating it as precisely as we should.”

It’s only in the past decade or two that most states allowed higher-alcohol beers to be sold in restaurants and stores. Most had an ABV limit of 6% or 7%. In other words, those estimates do not reflect that a 12-ounce beer with an alcohol by volume of 10% has about twice the alcohol content of a 5-ounce glass of wine.

Using federal data, state liquor regulators, and industry statistics, Martinez and her colleagues found consumer tastes have been shifting toward higher-proof booze.


It’s not just microbrews, either. The alcohol content of the wines and liquor people are buying went up as well. And more people were buying cordials and liqueurs. That might reflect a preference for more liquor and fancy cocktails among younger drinkers, “but this work didn’t speak to that exactly,” Martinez says.

Overall, the average alcohol by volume grew about 2% for beer between 2002 and 2016, 6% for wine, and 4% for liquor. That may not seem like much, but it can add up quickly for people who drink regularly, Martinez says.

“Even if it’s just a 1% increase in ABV, you’re drinking that every day,” she says. “That means over the course of the year, you’re going to be ingesting many more grams of ethanol, pure alcohol, than you would have even if it’s a lower ABV.”

Keep Tabs on Alcohol Volume

Deaths from alcohol-related liver disease have jumped about 40% since 2006, and drinking-related emergency room visits are up more than 60%, the study found. Martinez said her study doesn’t directly link that increase in alcohol content to alcohol-related illnesses, but Richard Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis who studies alcohol use, said the study may help explain the apparent mismatch between consumption and health effects.

“The bad outcomes for alcohol are increasing at a rate much higher than consumption itself,” he says. And that suggests consumers may need to be warier of what they’re pouring.

“People don’t necessarily measure what they’re pouring into their drink or when they go to the bar,” says Grucza, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

While most mass-produced beers like Budweiser and Coors top out at 5% alcohol by volume, some craft beers on the market now contain more than 10% alcohol. At a bar, “They’ll serve something like that in a smaller glass,” Grucza says. But at home, “When people drink a bottle of beer, they just think it’s a bottle of beer.”



Priscilla Martinez, PhD, Alcohol Research Group.

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: “New Estimates of the Mean Ethanol Content of Beer, Wine, and Spirits Sold in the United States Show a Greater Increase in Per Capita Alcohol Consumption than Previous Estimates.”

Morning Consult

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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This Weed in News, July 28, 2018: Police Focus on the Bigger Things; WV Democrat Soldiers on For Legalization; RI Will Expunge Marijuana Offenses

This Weed in News is Monterey Bud’s weekly column offering his thoughts on the crucial stories of the week. Each Saturday, Monterey Bud recaps the news and tells us why he cares (and why we should, too). A recent study indicates police are better able to solve crimes when marijuana is legal, a West Virginia […]

Better Diet, Bigger Brain?

WEDNESDAY, May 16, 2018 — You go to the gym to make your muscles bigger, but what if you want to bulk up your brain to help you stay sharp? New research suggests you might want to head to the produce aisle.

People who ate diets full of vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish had bigger brains than their less well-nourished counterparts, the large study from the Netherlands found.

“Adhering to an overall healthy diet quality supports brain health and might be a suitable preventive strategy to maintain and augment cognition [thinking and memory] in healthy older adults,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Meike Vernooij. She’s a professor of population imaging at Erasmus University Medical Center, in Rotterdam.

The study included more than 4,200 people aged 45 and older at the start. Average age was 66, the researchers said.

Study volunteers completed a survey about what types and how much food they ate over the past month. The survey included almost 400 food items.

The researchers looked at diet quality based on Dutch dietary guidelines. Diet quality was measured on a scale of zero to 14, with 14 the healthiest. The best diets contained lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, dairy and fish, and limited sugary beverages, the researchers said.

The average diet score was seven, the study found.

Participants also had MRI scans done to measure their brain size. Information was also collected about other factors that could affect brain size, such as high blood pressure, physical activity and smoking.

After adjusting the data to account for such factors, the researchers saw that a higher diet score was linked to larger brain volume. Folks with the healthiest diets had brains that were about 2 milliliters larger than those who ate fewer healthy foods.

Could a 2 milliliter (mL) difference in brain size actually translate to better thinking and memory skills? The researchers said yes, it seems to.

“It is known that the risk of cognitive decline increases with advancing age. Moreover, with increasing age our brain volume decreases,” Vernooij said.

“In our population, a one-year increase in age was associated with a decrease in total brain volume of 3.66 mL, so the difference in brain volume we found is in the same order of magnitude as approximately six months’ increase in age [for those with the less healthy diet],” she explained.

But Vernooij also noted that the study cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship; it was only designed to look for an association between diet and brain size.

When the researchers looked at the so-called Mediterranean diet — a plan that’s also full of produce, fish and nuts — they found similar results, with healthier eating tied to bigger brains.

How does a good diet help the brain?

It’s possible that good nutrition in youth — when the brain is developing and growing — may lead to a larger brain. And it’s possible that the people who ate a healthy diet in the study have been eating well since they were young, the researchers suggested.

James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, said a healthy diet might lead to better blood flow.

“We think what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. If your heart is working well and getting good blood flow to the brain, the brain will be working better,” he said.

“One hypothesis of Alzheimer’s is that amyloid and tau proteins build up because they’re not being cleared properly. It may be that the brain needs good blood flow to clear out those proteins,” he suggested.

Hendrix said it’s important to note that there wasn’t one healthy food that made a difference, but rather a healthy diet overall.

“In the U.S., we love to find simple answers, but this is saying it’s all the things you’re eating, so let’s put some fish and leafy greens and whole grains into your diet,” he said.

The findings were published online May 16 in the journal Neurology.

More information

Learn more about brain health from the Alzheimer’s Association.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2018 – Daily MedNews

AG Jeff Sessions Says He’s “Got His Hands Full” With Bigger Issues Than Marijuana

America’s legal cannabis industry might be able to exhale about the federal government’s hypothetical “greater enforcement” on recreational marijuana. In a Wednesday interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper revealed what Attorney General Sessions told him during their private conversation: He’s got his hands full with things — heroin, methamphetamines, […]

Styx Xbox One/PS4/PC Sequel Announced With Bigger Budget, New Engine

Last year’s stealth game Styx: Master of Shadows is getting a sequel for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The game, Styx: Shards of Darkness, is in development at Cyanide Studios and is published by Focus Home Interactive. That’s the same developer and publisher behind the 2014 game, which GameSpot scored a 5/10.

For Shards of Darkness, Cyanide is pledging “more ambition” and “bigger ideas,” made possible in part by the game’s bigger budget compared to the original. In addition, Shards of Darkness runs on a new engine, Unreal Engine 4. Its predecessor was developed using the Unreal Engine 3.

Among other things, players can expect new enemies, environments, and mechanics, including grappling, rope-climbing, and using a knife as a zip-wire.

The game’s first screenshot (above) shows a “more nimble, more refined” Styx green goblin. In terms of story, Cyanide said Shards of Darkness will “delve deeper into a more complex narrative and fully realized world.” The game is set at least partially in a place called Körangar.

“Following the fall of Akenash tower, an extraordinary matter has forced Styx out of hiding to infiltrate Körangar, the city of the Dark Elves,” reads a line from the game’s story description. “Supposedly impregnable, a diplomatic summit offers Styx a chance at slipping in unnoticed, as he learns that the event is nothing but a mere facade… Moreover, the Elves have joined forces with the Dwarves, and the only thing both races have in common is a mutual hatred of the Goblins…”

Shards of Darkness has been in development for more than six months. It is due to launch across PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2016, though a specific release date has not been announced.

If you’re looking to pick up the first Styx game on PC, now is a good time, as Master of Shadows is discounted by 66 percent to $ 10.19 right now on Steam.


Xenoblade Chronicles X is More Xenoblade in a Bigger, Prettier Package

Xenoblade Chronicles X is unbelievably big. Like its predecessor, 2010’s Xenoblade Chronicles, your ragtag band of heroes is plunked down into a lush world rich with jewel-toned foliage and glittering structures of rock and metal. But this time around, that lush world is just a little bit lusher and more massive; so massive, in fact, that it takes a significant amount of time to run between checkpoints.

During a recent hands-on session with X–which launches in Japan this month but won’t be out in North America until later this year–a PR representative for Nintendo told me that I could walk literally anywhere within the game’s five continents. You can run to and through all of them, she said, and can climb up and over pretty much any structure you see. My demo began in a series of valleys nestled among large craggy hills, with sides made up of steep rock faces at an unforgivingly sharp angle. I didn’t think I could make it up most of these organic structures of stone and earth, but I was going to try.

To my delight, you absolutely can climb up anything you see. You can’t scale a sheer rock face, but if you find a craggier area or a grassy slope to climb, you can get to the top. It’s more like jumping upwards repeatedly than climbing, but it is what it is. Giant islands being held in the sky by sloping pillars of rock can be surmounting by carefully running up the center of one pillar. And on top of these islands you can stare out into the distance, picking out more shadowed valleys and enticing crags, with titanic buildings shrouded in mist sitting tantalizingly on the horizon.

Xenoblade Chronicles X’s open world is a welcome experience for those tired of the rigid hallway formulas favored by many role-playing games in the past decade. You can move freely around the map, selecting side quests and battling roaming monsters at your leisure as you pursue the main plot in bits and pieces. There’s never a dull moment, either; in the five or so minutes it will take you to run from one area to another, you’ll have to tiptoe by resting monsters and go head-to-head with others that seek you out directly. Scattered among the grass and shrubs are items to collect, treasures to discover, and tiny new details that add to the masterful visual world-building on the part of developer Monolith Soft.

In Xenoblade Chronicles, navigation depended largely on your ability to follow a simple map with a directional arrow in the corner of the screen. X’s navigation system is something else entirely. The Wii U GamePad displays a world map of sorts, with a few strange tweaks. Rather than your typical geographical layout, the map is laid out as a honeycomb of diamonds, with an icon in each diamond displaying important landmarks. Most of these icons indicate the presence of checkpoints, which are unlocked by “discovering” new areas and setting down a beacon. If you are killed in battle anytime after unlocking this checkpoint and before unlocking a new one, you’ll be sent back to it.

The GamePad map displays a tiny arrow that shows where you are in the world and which direction you’re facing, which is helpful. But the most useful tool in your explorer’s arsenal is the Navigation Ball. Essentially it’s a camera that you shoot straight into the air for a bird’s eye view of a large swath of your surroundings. And by “large swath” I mean your characters are left as tiny specks in the center, barely visible. The range over which you can look is incredible. You can rotate and tilt the camera in any direction, which is extremely useful when trying to maneuver your party out of a maze of canyons. But the Navigation Ball is more than an important tool; it’s an excellent way to see for yourself just how large the world of Xenoblade Chronicles X is. The Ball lets you see everything from huge monsters lurking around the next bend in the road to the shadows of cities in the distance. The prospect of exploring this beautiful, broken world left behind from Xenoblade Chronicles is both a sad and exciting one.

Back on the ground, combat in X is the same as it was in Xenoblade Chronicles. Arts–special physical and magical attacks that can be used to knock enemies to the ground and cast protective shields around party members–make a return. Characters have two weapons: a manual weapon like a sword or daggers, and a gun. Both weapon types have their own special Arts abilities, and being able to switch between spraying enemies with bullets at a distance and hacking and slashing up close is a nice touch. It makes you feel powerful, and maybe gives you a little more confidence in having the tools to take down larger enemies.

One thing about roaming enemies, however: their levels don’t scale to your characters’ levels. That one area under the overhang will always harbor a level 50 monstrosity, no matter if you’re level 10 or level 60. Because of this, you have to be careful which monsters you engage as you explore areas. You can typically take down enemies two or three levels stronger than you, but any higher than that is a risk. Enemies’ levels are displayed over their heads, and some of them have a tiny eye-shaped icon that indicates they will attack if you’re in their line of site. Most enemies don’t have this stipulation, and you can freely pass by them without incident; they won’t attack you unless you attack first.

I spent most my time with X exploring the large area of the map left open for me, attacking monsters as I saw fit (and dying when I was overbold). I also pursued a side quest that led me to an alien stronghold–yes, aliens–and the story gave me the choice to leave them alone and scope for intel or run in guns blazing. I chose the latter, and ultimately paid for it with my life and a checkpoint setback.

On the surface level, Xenoblade Chronicles X is just more Xenoblade Chronicles: it has the same style of combat, the same quest structure, and the same central idea of humanity struggling to rebuild and survive. But X builds wonderfully on these ideas, granting access to a larger, more complex space in which to carry out its role-playing goodness. There’s much more to the game than just exploring and fighting–we’ve yet to get hands-on time with dolls, the weaponized mechs used by humans–but from what I’ve already seen, Xenoblade Chronicles X will be a welcome addition to RPG fans’ repertoires and the Wii U library itself.

Alexa Ray Corriea on Google+

Lead Exposure May Be Bigger Threat to Boys Than Girls

FRIDAY Jan. 30, 2015, 2015 — Hormones may explain why lead exposure is less likely to cause brain damage in girls than in boys, researchers report.

Specifically, the female hormones estrogen and estradiol may help protect against lead’s harmful effects on the frontal areas of the brain, according to the findings published recently in the Journal of Environmental Health.

“The study supports existing research suggesting that estrogen and estradiol in females may act as neuroprotectants against the negative impacts of neurotoxins,” study author Maya Khanna, a psychology professor at Creighton University, said in a university news release.

The study included 40 children. They were between the ages of 3 and 6, and all lived in an area of Omaha considered the largest residential lead clean-up site in the United States. The area has high levels of lead contamination in the soil due to emissions from a lead refinery that operated there for 125 years.

Also, many homes in the area are old and still have lead-based paint.

The researchers found that 23 of the children had elevated blood lead levels. Boys with elevated lead levels scored low on tests of memory, attention and other thinking abilities. Girls with elevated lead levels did not do as poorly on the tests, according to the study.

The researchers also found that elevated lead levels had a much stronger negative impact on thinking abilities than on reading readiness.

This is the first study to show that very young children already experience harm from lead exposure, and that lead has a greater impact on thinking abilities in boys than in girls, according to Khanna.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about lead.

Posted: January 2015

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Ebola Anxiety: A Bigger Threat Now Than the Virus Itself

TUESDAY Oct. 21, 2014, 2014 — Headlines remain riveted on the three Ebola cases in Dallas. But, mental health specialists say overblown fear is a much bigger health threat to Americans.

President Barack Obama on Friday appointed an Ebola “czar” to oversee the U.S. response to the virus, which has infected two Dallas nurses who cared for a Liberian man who died of Ebola this month at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

But the U.S. cases are miniscule in the context of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that’s concentrated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and has so far killed more than 4,500 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Still, U.S. mental health experts say the combination of a deadly infection, uncertainty about how the Dallas nurses contracted it and constant media coverage could set the stage for widespread public anxiety.

Americans aren’t in panic mode yet, said James Halpern, director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

However, flu season is starting up, and its common symptoms — fever, headache and muscle pain — could be misinterpreted if people have Ebola on their minds.

“If we have a bad flu season, that could create a considerable emotional contagion,” Halpern said.

“It’s not only the virus that’s contagious,” he added.

In general, Halpern said, people have a hard time accurately assessing personal risk, and emotional reaction can override rational calculations. “We’re more afraid of snakes than cigarettes,” he noted.

And since most people, understandably, have limited knowledge of infectious diseases, they could be particularly susceptible to believing misinformation about disease outbreaks, said George Kapalka, a professor of psychological counseling at Monmouth University in West Long Beach, N.J.

Halpern agreed. With any worrisome event, he pointed out, “there’s going to be a lot of misinformation and rumors going around.” But faced with something as scary and unfamiliar as Ebola, people could have a particularly tough time separating reality from rumor, he said.

And then there’s the media coverage. “I think there’s been a gross overreaction on the part of the media,” said Gerard Jacobs, director of the University of South Dakota’s Disaster Mental Health Institute.

“The flu is a much greater threat to the American public than Ebola is,” Jacobs said.

He suggested that if you are feeling anxious about Ebola, go to a reliable source for information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Their focus is the health of the American public,” Jacobs said. “They’re scientists, not politicians.”

Added Halpern: “Accurate information can be a good antidote to anxiety.”

But once you find out some Ebola facts, find something else to do. It’s not wise, Halpern said, to watch 24-hour news coverage of the outbreak, or devote hours of online time to it — including social media sites, where rumors can run rampant.

That could be especially important advice for people already prone to anxiety, according to Kapalka. “Those individuals can have a more intense fear response to what they’re hearing,” he said. “It would be sensible for them to self-impose some limits on their media exposure.”

According to the CDC, Ebola is spread through direct contact with the virus. “Direct contact” means that an infected person’s bodily fluids — such as blood, saliva or vomit — have touched someone else’s eyes, nose, mouth or broken skin.

Coughing and sneezing aren’t common symptoms of Ebola, but the CDC says it’s possible the virus could be transmitted if an infected person’s saliva or mucus got into someone else’s eyes, mouth or nose.

The bottom line, the CDC and other experts stress, is that you would need to be very close to someone with Ebola symptoms to become infected.

Kapalka suggested that, armed with that knowledge, people do a “reality check.” That is, what are the chances you are going to be in close contact with someone likely to have Ebola?

Then, Kapalka said, “You might be able to tell yourself, my personal risk is so low, living in fear is not worth it.”

More information

For more on coping with worry and stress, visit Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Posted: October 2014

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From Texas, where everything is bigger, the 99-pack of beer

A 99-pack of ''Peacemaker'' ale is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters August 26, 2014.   REUTERS/Helms Workshop/Handout via Reuters

A 99-pack of ”Peacemaker” ale is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters August 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Helms Workshop/Handout via Reuters

(Reuters) – Beer packaging has just gotten a lot bigger in Texas, where a small brewery is launching a 99-pack of its “Peacemaker” ale.

The 7-foot-long (2.13-meter-long) pack consists of three rows of 33 cans that tip the scales at 82 pounds (37 kg) and will likely have a retail price of about $ 99. Austin Beerworks plans to put its first 99-pack on store shelves this week.

“We made it at first as a joke,” said Michael Graham, co-founder of the Austin-based craft brewery. But it seems a lot of people are taking it seriously.

Despite not being an easy fit for store shelves, interest has been high among retailers for the 99-packs, which are too big for home refrigerators but designed so that once a pack is opened, the beer can be covered in ice.

The company plans to ship about 20 of the massive packs a week.

“You might want to share this with about 33 of your friends,” Graham said.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Diabetes May Be Bigger Threat to the Female Heart: Study

Diabetes May Be Bigger Threat to the Female Heart: Study

Women with diabetes face 40 to 50 percent greater risk of heart disease than men with diabetes, researchers say

WebMD News from HealthDay

It works by measuring bacteria balance in the

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Diabetes appears to pose a greater risk to heart health for women than men, a new analysis of current research contends.

“The risk of coronary heart disease conferred by diabetes is between 40 percent to 50 percent greater for women than for men,” said study co-author Rachel Huxley, director of the Queensland Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Centre at the University of Queensland in Australia.

The results support findings from an earlier analysis that found that women with diabetes have a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from heart disease compared to men with diabetes, the study authors said.

This difference could stem from the fact that men develop full-blown type 2 diabetes earlier than women and at a lower weight, Huxley said. Because of this, men receive aggressive treatment sooner both for their diabetes and potential heart health risks, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels.

Meanwhile, women may have to deteriorate further than men before full-blown type 2 diabetes develops, so they’re at a worse starting point even before treatment begins. The study authors cited data that show the body mass index (BMI) of women at the time of their diabetes diagnosis tends to be nearly two units higher than it is in men. BMI is a score that measures if a person is considered overweight in relation to their height.

The study seems to suggest that, “it is not so much that women are not being treated, it is more that they are further along when they are diagnosed,” said Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, medical director for Women’s Health and Community Relations at Integris Health in Oklahoma City, and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

The study authors reviewed health data on more than 850,000 people gathered from 64 different studies conducted between 1966 and 2013. The new report was released online May 22 in the journal Diabetologia.

Although the studies didn’t identify what type of diabetes the study volunteers had, type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Nearly 30,000 people in the studies had some form of heart disease, the study authors noted.

When the researchers looked at the risk by gender, they discovered that diabetic women were nearly three times more likely to develop heart disease than women without diabetes. For men with diabetes, the risk of heart disease was slightly more than twice as likely compared to men without diabetes.

Although the study found an association between women with diabetes and heart disease, it doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes, gender and heart disease.

The study findings do strongly suggest that doctors need to consider gender when treating chronic disease, said Dr. Tara Narula, associate director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

WebMD Health

CNN Report: Marijuana A ‘Bigger Problem’ Than Alcohol or Weapons for Colorado Teens!?

Propaganda, lies, and BS. Just hours after recreational pot use became legal in the state of Colorado, a CNN reporter, Ana Cabrera, was sent to Denver searching for some new half baked disinformation to spew forth as fact… and she did not disappoint: while some high school students smoke pot — probably a lot of it (as it’s safer than drinking booze, or popping pills) — the uninformed are fearful that the states teenagers are “finding ways to get their hands on” legal mile high chronic.

Accepting the word of a kid as an expert, CNN reported that one high school senior thinks “9 out of 10? of his school buds have smoked pot in the past. Another student claimed, “Most of my friends use it” as “it’s not a harmful drug, like…meth or whatever.” While yet another qualified high school source claimed, “There’s a bunch of people who come to this school high.”

CNN’s Cabrera described how marijuana is currently the number one substance getting Colorado teens kicked out school, which she said made it “a bigger problem than alcohol, disobedience or weapons violations.” Never mind the onslaught of deaths caused by rampant gun violence, or prescription pill addiction in Colorado, weed is the real problem.

Cabrera talked with one 18-year-old “recovering addict” that claimed to have been put in the slammer 10 times in the past four years – all for marijuana-related offenses – one time was simply for the possession of “paraphernalia.”

“That’s where all my problems started with weed, I guess,” Chris Collins told Cabrera, adding that all he got from the drug was “bad grades and trouble.”

While some research shows that marijuana is more harmful to the adolescent brain than it is to adults… it is also conceivable that Chris’s ten trips to jail for pot may have done more damage to his future prospects than smoking weed ever could have.

CNN’s story is a lopsided hit piece, minus any voices from the pro-marijuana side of the issue. By objectively calling pot smoking a “bigger problem” than alcohol and weapons – without taking into account consequences beyond disciplinary action – CNN is simply fueling national skepticism about Colorado’s groundbreaking new law. In a state that has permitted the killing of it’s young so the ‘Good Ol Boy’s’ can clutch their guns and continue to feel safe against imaginary enemies, CNN’s story comes across as patently absurd.

College Football Players Seem to Grow Bigger and Stronger, But Not Faster

THURSDAY Sept. 12, 2013 — College football players may get bigger and stronger during their four-year careers, but apparently all those grueling drills don’t make them run faster or jump higher, new research finds.

“This longitudinal study shows you can make [players] bigger, leaner and stronger, but speed and power don’t change. You have to recruit speed and power,” said study author Bert Jacobson, a professor of health and human performance at Oklahoma State University.

“This advice is more geared for wide receivers, running backs, corners and safeties,” he noted. The findings appear in the September issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The researchers followed 156 football players for seven years, including the four years of their college careers. All were from NCAA Division I colleges.

Ninety-two players were offensive or defensive lineman. The offensive lineman’s job is to move opposing players out of the way so that their team can move the ball forward. The defensive lineman’s job is to try block players from moving forward. Size and strength are crucial for these positions.

The remaining 64 were skill players, defined in the study as either wide receivers or defensive backs. These are the players who most need speed and power.

Power is the ability to jump vertically, according to Jacobson, a skill that comes in handy when a ball is passed too high or if you need to try to deflect a pass so the opposing team can’t catch it. Strength was measured with various weight-lifting challenges. Speed was assessed with a 40-yard sprint.

Players’ height and weight were also measured each year. At study’s start, linemen’s average weight was 283 pounds. Over the course of the study, they gained an average of roughly 3 percent of their original weight, with 292 pounds the average ending weight.

During that same time, they dropped their average body fat from 22.5 percent to 20.6 percent, meaning that although they were getting larger, they were gaining more muscle mass rather than more fat.

The linemen got significantly stronger over their college careers — with their ability to bench press increasing by 18 percent, from about 350 to 410 pounds. However, they actually lost a little bit of speed. Their power was virtually unchanged.

During their college careers, the skill players gained 9 percent over their original body weight, going from an average of 175 pounds to an average of 191 pounds. At the same time, their body fat dropped from a lean 8.4 percent to an even leaner 8.1 percent, according to the study.

As with the lineman, the skill players improved their strength dramatically. But, they also lost a little speed in the 40-yard sprint from year one to year four. They gained an average of almost 1.5 inches in their vertical jump from year one to year two, which was the only year that there was a statistically significant increase in power, according to the study.

Jacobson said the reason that speed and power don’t increase much over time is that these skills are dependent on the type of muscle fiber you have. He said people have either fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscle fibers, and “that’s not going to change. You’re born with that speed,” he said.

Dr. Victor Khabie, chief of sports medicine and chief of surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., said he was surprised by some of the study’s findings. “I find it hard to believe that you can increase strength, but you can’t increase power,” he said.

“This study says some things are innate, like speed and power. So, you are who you are, and you can’t change natural talent,” Khabie said. “But, they didn’t measure quickness or reflex. In a play, if you get the first step and get the inside move on a defender, then you’re open for a play.”

In addition, Khabie said there’s more to speed and power than fast or slow muscle-fiber twitching. “Your hip, knee and ankle joints hold the muscles together and how those joints are coordinated in their movement affects your speed,” he said. “If someone has a smooth run, what it means is they have innate coordination that probably starts in the brain.”

Still, he said this was an important study that — if the findings are replicated — “could have ramifications on how we look at training.”

More information

Learn about football safety from the Nemours Foundation.

Posted: September 2013

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Smaller Testicles, Bigger Parenting Role, Study Suggests

MONDAY Sept. 9, 2013 — Are men with smaller testicles more involved dads? Could be, say the authors of a new study.

Anthropologists from Emory University in Atlanta wanted to try to better understand why some men are more actively engaged in child rearing than others, said study lead author James Rilling.

“We know children with involved fathers — at least in modern western societies — have better developmental outcomes socially, psychologically, and educationally. Yet, some men choose not to be involved,” he said.

So the study authors decided to investigate whether anatomy or brain function explained the variation in parenting styles.

The research, published in the Sept. 9 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, included 70 men who were the biological fathers of children between the ages of 1 and 2. All of the men lived with the biological mother of their child. They ranged in age from 21 to 43.

Rilling and his colleagues took blood tests at the start of the study to measure the men’s testosterone levels. They also conducted interviews with the fathers and mothers separately about how involved their partner was with their child: how often did they change diapers, feed and bathe their little one, prepare a meal, take the child to the doctor?

“We relied on the mothers’ reports because we thought that would be less biased,” said Rilling, an associate professor of anthropology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences.

The researchers also measured each man’s brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while the fathers viewed photos of their children with various expressions: happy, sad and neutral. A structural MRI was also used to measure the size of each man’s testicles.

The findings, Rilling said, suggest that “men with smaller testes and lower testosterone levels were more involved in care-giving. The men with smaller testes volume also had a stronger neural response — the fMRI showed more activity in the ventral tegmental area, a reward center of the brain — when the men viewed images of their children.”

The researchers concluded that while the new findings suggest there’s a link between testes size and a man’s involvement with his kids, anatomy isn’t a sure predictor of a male’s parenting potential.

“It could also be that when men become more involved as caregivers, their testes shrink,” he added.

Dr. Joseph Alukal, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and urology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said the researchers are addressing a complex issue, and the study makes some scientific assumptions.

“They’ve assumed a few things and I’m not sure they have the science to back it up,” he said.

“You can’t correlate testes size to hormones. Testes size — barring an injury — is very much stable. Testosterone level is not,” Alukal said. He noted that testosterone levels are “hugely variable” depending on the time of day and other factors.

While the Emory researchers took a single blood test to measure testosterone levels in the men, Alukal suggested that it might have been more accurate to take multiple blood tests at the same time of day over a longer period of time and use an average.

He said the fMRI findings raise questions, too.

“What does the fMRI tell us in this regard? I don’t know. fMRI has helped us with understanding brain activity, but there’s a totally different interaction going on between a parent and a child compared to just being shown a picture of one’s child. It’s a poor stand-in,” said Alukal.

He added: “The study scratches at the surface of the complexity of this subject.”

More information

See ChildCare Aware of America for tips on becoming a better dad.

Posted: September 2013

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