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Health

    If you plan your evening’s alcohol consumption by the old wives’ tale “beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer, have fear,” then you might wake up tomorrow feeling awful. Researchers at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany and at the University of Cambridge put the saying to the test to determine if the order in which you imbibe beer and alcohol makes a difference. Their study, published Feb. 8 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, divided 90 volunteers into three groups. To get the groups as equally likely to be drunk as possible, participants were divided into groups of “triplets” based on similar age, gender, body composition, alcohol drinking habits and hangover frequency. Each triplet was then randomly assigned to one of the three larger groups. >> On AJC.com: Many hangover 'cures' are merely myths >> On AJC.com: Do you drink too much? Here’s what a new study says >> On AJC.com: Taking a break from alcohol can improve sleep and weight, study says On the first day of the study, group one was served beer before wine; group two drank wine before beer; and group three was served one or the other, but not both. A week later, groups one and two switched their order of consumption, and those who drank wine in group three drank beer while who had beer on day one drank wine. The volunteers, ages 19-40, drank until they reached a breath alcohol concentration of 0.11 percent.  The day after each party, er ... test, participants scored their hangover symptoms — thirst, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, tachycardia (elevated heart rate) and loss of appetite — on a scale of zero to 7, with zero being no symptoms. The results? There was no difference in hangover intensity based on the order of alcohol consumption. >> Read more trending news  They were “unable to confirm that the well-known folklore of drinking ‘beer before wine’ purportedly results in a worse hangover than drinking ‘wine before beer,'” their report stated. The researchers admitted the study had limitations, including an inability to create a control group that drank only nonalcoholic beer or wine.  “When they tried to, QZ.com reported, “participants expressed ‘real dissatisfaction and envy’ about not being in the ‘ever-so-happy booze-sipping study groups’—even trying surreptitiously to sneak in.” Abstaining from alcohol is the only sure way to avoid a hangover, researchers said, adding that “perceived drunkenness and vomiting are useful predictors of misery in the morning after the night before.”
  • A healthy regimen can help you maintain a normal blood pressure, but having a romantic partner may be beneficial, too.  >> On AJC.com: Can a good marriage help keep your weight down? Researchers from the University of Arizona recently conducted a study, published in Psychophysiology journal, to determine how close relationships affect blood pressure.  To do so, they asked 102 people, who were in committed relationships, to complete a stressful task. They were told to submerge their foot into 3 inches of cold water ranging from 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  >> Read more trending news  As the subjects completed the assignment, they were randomly assigned to one of three conditions. They either had their significant other sitting quietly in the room or they were instructed to think about their romantic partner as a source of support or to reflect on their day. The team measured the group’s blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability before, during and after the task. After analyzing the results, they found those who had their partner physically present or those who thought about their partner had a lower blood pressure response to the task, compared to the others.  >> On AJC.com: Is your marriage over? 7 signs it may be time to call it quits (and 5 signs to stay) “The findings may help explain, in part, why high-quality romantic relationships are consistently associated with positive health outcomes in the scientific literature,” coauthor Kyle Bourassa said in a statement. “And it appears that thinking of your partner as a source of support can be just as powerful as actually having them present.” The authors noted their limitations. They only assessed college students but hope to observe people of various age ranges. Nevertheless, they believe romantic relationships can help with stress.  >> On AJC.com: Suffering from heart disease? You may have a better chance of survival if married “There are many situations, including at work, with school exams or even during medical procedures, where we would benefit from limiting our degree of blood pressure reactivity,” Bourassa said, “and these findings suggest that a relational approach to doing so can be quite powerful.”
  • Recalls of food and poultry products have increased significantly since the nation’s last major food safety law, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in 2011. >> Read more trending news  Recent high-profile recalls — from romaine lettuce to eggs to beef — reveal how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013, a new report from the Public Interest Research Groups found. >> On AJC.com: Perdue recalls 68,000 pounds of chicken nuggets after wood found in them According to PIRG, overall recalls since 2013 increased 10 percent, but recalls of the most hazardous meat and poultry products rose 83 percent during the same time frame. A report from the PIRG Education Fund, based on the study, says new technology might have contributed to the increase, but the reports reveals that element is inconsequential. >> On AJC.com: Massive beef recall expands; 12 million pounds of meat affected “Americans should be confident that our food is safe and uncontaminated from dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella,” it states. >> On AJC.com: FDA issues recalls for dry dog food Key findings from this year’s report include: An 83 percent increase in meat and poultry recalls that can cause serious health problems: USDA Class 1 recalls “involve a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.” This includes recalls of beef for E. coli, poultry for Salmonella and others. Food recalls overall increased by 10 percent between 2013-2018: From crackers to children’s cereal to lettuce to meat, we’ve seen the total number of food recalls increase over the last six years. Archaic laws allow meat producers to sell contaminated products: It is currently legal to sell meat that tests positive for dangerous strains of Salmonella. A case study of the recent recall of 12 million pounds of beef sold by JBS could likely have been prevented if it this policy was changed. Bacteria-contaminated water used on vegetables and produce: A case study helps demonstrate how irrigation water polluted by fecal matter from a nearby cattle feedlot likely contaminated romaine lettuce with E. coli in the spring of 2018.
  • One day they’re bad for you. The next day they’re “incredible.” Eggs have long been a contentious food. >> Read more trending news  The benefits of eating eggs have been winning in the past few years, however. In fact, Healthline.com states, “eggs are pretty much the perfect food. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.” A new study out of Finland suggests another reason to enjoy an egg: It might stave off Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 — or adult onset — is the more common form of diabetes. >> On AJC.com: Eat this popular breakfast food daily to avoid heart attacks, strokes >> On AJC.com: The best way to crack an egg Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland found that subjects who ate an egg every day had a blood metabolite profile related to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. A metabolite is a product of metabolism. Eggs have long been a controversial food. Their high cholesterol content caused many people to avoid them. But the Cleveland Clinic says eating eggs in moderation is not only fine, but also beneficial. >> On AJC.com: Most countries don’t refrigerate their eggs — why do Americans?  Citing a 2012 study in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, it found that people who ate moderate amounts of eggs did not show increases in cholesterol when compared to those who cut eggs out of their diets completely. Similar studies have found the antioxidants in eggs reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and even helped to lower blood pressure. >> On AJC.com: Noisy workplaces linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, study finds “Although it is too early to draw any causal conclusions, we now have some hints about certain egg-related compounds that may have a role in type 2 diabetes development,” said Stefania Noerman, early stage researcher and lead author of the study. “Further detailed investigations with both cell models and intervention studies in humans ... are needed to understand the mechanisms behind physiological effects of egg intake.”
  • Got a nagging cough? Grab some chocolate. At least that’s what a few English researchers are suggesting.  >> On AJC.com: Dark chocolate could be good for your brain, vision, pain relief A research group at the University of Hull in Yorkshire, England, recently conducted a small study to explore the link between the sweet treat and respiratory health.  To do so, they examined 163 patients in Europe with a cough, randomly prescribing them either regular codeine or a chocolate-based medicine called ROCOCO. >> Read more trending news  After analyzing the results, they found that patients on the chocolate-based medication reported a “significant improvement” in their symptoms within two days, compared to those on the regular cough syrup. “We have just seen the results of the largest real-world study of an over-the-counter cough remedy ever undertaken in Europe,” lead author Alyn Morice told the Daily Mail. “This proves that a new medicine which contains cocoa is better than a standard linctus.” >> On AJC.com: Try honey before antibiotics for that cough, new UK guidelines recommend Morice noted this isn’t the first study of its kind. A team at Imperial College in London discovered that theobromine, an alkaloid in cocoa, is better at suppressing cough than codeine. The ROCOCO analysts had similar findings. They believe the properties of cocoa are demulcent and help relieve irritation and inflammation.  “This simply means it is stickier and more viscose than standard cough medicines, so it forms a coating which protects nerve endings in the throat which trigger the urge to cough,” Morice explained. “This demulcent effect explains why honey and lemon and other sugary syrups can help, but I think there is something more going on with chocolate.”  The authors recommend sucking on a piece of chocolate to help alleviate cough symptoms. Hot chocolate may not be as effective, because it doesn’t come in contact with the throat long enough. >> On AJC.com: Eating chocolate improves brain function, study says These findings will be published in a journal later this year. In the meantime, learn more details about the assessment here. 
  • Although diabetes drugs can help manage your blood sugar levels, they can be harmful to your heart, according to a new report.  >> On AJC.com: Eat this meat twice a week to avoid heart attacks and strokes Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine recently conducted a study, published in JAMA Network Open, to determine the association between diabetes medication and cardiovascular events like heart attack, heart failure and stroke.  To do so, they examined 132,737 patients with Type 2 diabetes who were starting second-line treatment, such as sulfonylureas and basal insulin.  >> Read more trending news  These medications are commonly prescribed to patients after they have taken metformin, a widely accepted initial Type 2 diabetes treatment. These patients needed the second-line medication because the metformin alone didn’t work. After analyzing the results, they found that 60 percent of patients who need a second-line drug are prescribed either sulfonylureas and basal insulin. They also discovered those who take one of these two drugs are more likely to experience a cardiovascular event, compared to those taking a newer class of diabetes drugs.  In fact, those on sulfonylureas were 36 percent more likely to have a heart attack, heart failure or stroke, and those on basal insulin were twice as likely. >> On AJC.com: Study: These three factors increase heart attack risk in women “According to our findings, we only have to prescribe basal insulin to 37 people over two years to observe one cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or amputation,” co-author Matthew O’Brien said in a statement. “For sulfonylureas, that number was a bit higher: 103 people. But when you apply these numbers to 30 million Americans with diabetes, this has staggering implications for how we may be harming many patients.” The authors suggest that doctors prescribe newer classes of diabetes medications, such as GLP-1 agonists, SGLT-2 inhibitors or DPP-4 inhibitors. Although these drugs are more expensive, the scientists believe they can help lower the risk of heart damage. >> On AJC.com: Banana, avocados could reduce risk of heart attack “This should force providers to think about cardiovascular effects of these drugs early in the course of diabetes treatment,” O’Brien said, “and shift prescribing patterns to newer drugs that have more favorable cardiovascular profiles.”
  • While scientists do not know what causes cancer, they believe childbirth may increase the possibility of a diagnosis, according to a new report.  >> On AJC.com: Avoid this meat to prevent breast cancer, study says Researchers from the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center recently conducted a study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, to determine the association between the disease and childbirth.  To do so, they gathered data from 15 previous studies that examined a total of 889,944 women. They assessed breast cancer risk after childbirth and considered other factors, including breastfeeding and family history of breast cancer. >> Read more trending news  After analyzing the results, they found younger women who have recently had a child may have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to their peers of the same age who do not have children. In fact, the risk for moms 55 and younger was about 80 percent higher and the chances of developing it was highest five years after giving birth. The risk leveled off 23 years after giving birth. “What most people know is that women who have children tend to have lower breast cancer risk than women who have not had children, but that really comes from what breast cancer looks like for women in their 60s and beyond,” co-author Hazel Nichols said in a statement. “We found that it can take more than 20 years for childbirth to become protective for breast cancer, and that before that, breast cancer risk was higher in women who had recently had a child.” >> On AJC.com: What new breast cancer study means for patients facing chemo Despite their findings, the scientists noted overall risk of breast cancer is still low for mothers after pregnancy. They also discovered their results didn’t apply to all younger women. Risk was higher for women who had their first child after 35, but there was no increased risk of breast cancer after a recent birth for women who had their first child before 25. “This is evidence of the fact that just as breast cancer risk factors for young women can differ from risk factors in older women, there are different types of breast cancer, and the risk factors for developing one type versus another can differ,” Nichols said. The authors now hope their investigations will help improve prediction of breast cancer and lead to greater awareness among young mothers.  >> On AJC.com: Breast cancer treatment may trigger heart problems, study says “There are many ongoing studies that are trying to improve our ability to do breast cancer risk prediction on the individual level,” Nichols concluded. “This is one piece of evidence that can be considered for building new prediction models.”
  • A healthy diet and consistent workout routine can help you avoid high blood pressure. But there’s a simple task that can also lower your risk, according to a new report.  >> On AJC.com: Poor oral hygiene linked to higher blood pressure, study says Researchers from the University at Buffalo recently conducted a study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, to determine the link between dental hygiene and hypertension, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.  To do so, they examined more than 36,500 older women and assessed their dental and health records each year from 1998 to 2015. >> Read more trending news  After analyzing the results, they found those who lost teeth were 20 percent more likely to develop the condition. They noted the association was stronger among younger women and those with lower body mass index. “These findings suggest tooth loss may be an important factor in the development of hypertension,” coauthor Jean Wactawski-Wende said in a statement.  While scientists are unsure why there is a relationship between the two factors, they believe tooth loss could lead to changes in dietary patterns that could be linked with higher risk of hypertension. “We are continuing to explore the underlying reasons for the association between tooth loss and hypertension,” co-author Joshua Gordon added. “Future studies on the impact of tooth loss on dietary patterns, inflammation and the communities of bacteria that live in the mouth may give us further insight into this association.” >> On AJC.com: Suffer from high blood pressure? Take sauna baths, study says In the meantime, the analysts are encouraging adults to practice good dental hygiene as well as preventive measures, such as dietary modification, physical activity and weight loss, that may reduce the risk of hypertension.
  • Yet another blood pressure medication has been added to the list of recalled hypertension drugs.  >> On AJC.com: Blood pressure medication recalls: Everything you should know, Atlanta doctors, experts say Mylan Pharmaceuticals has voluntarily expanded its recall for its valsartan-containing products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The affected pills include valsartan, amlodipine/valsartan and valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide tablets and were distributed in the United States between March 2017 and November 2018. The FDA has listed additional information about the specifics, including doses, lot numbers and expiration dates, on its site. >> Read more trending news  According to the press release, the drugs contain traces of N-nitroso-diethylamine (NDEA). The impurity, typically found in certain foods, drinking water and air pollution, has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  Mylan is notifying its distributors and customers by letter and is arranging for the return of all recalled products. It is also coordinating returns with retailers, wholesalers and consumers.  Patients on the medications are advised to continue taking the tablets and to contact their doctor for advice. The company said, “the risk of harm to a patient’s health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any comparable alternative treatment.” The agency recently recalled several other blood pressure medications due to cancer concerns, and another was recalled for mislabeling.  >> On AJC.com: Yet another blood pressure medication recalled over cancer risk Read the full FDA announcement at FDA.gov.
  • A 2-year-old South Florida girl who has cancer needs a very rare type of blood, OneBlood said Monday. >> Cards for Christmas: Family asks for letters for child with brain cancer The blood bank said it has organized a worldwide search for donors who could be a possible match for Zainab. >> See a photo of Zainab here >> Girl asks Santa for kidney for big brother; search for girl, donor begins Potential donors must be exclusively of Pakistani, Indian or Iranian descent, meaning the donor’s birth parents are both 100 percent Pakistani, Indian or Iranian, and they must have Type O or Type A blood. >> Read more trending news  Officials said all donations must be coordinated with the blood bank in advance to ensure that additional compatibility testing is performed. Click here for more information. >> Watch a video about the search here