A summary of important health news from the past week.
How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body
The majority of meditation studies have evaluated the physiological and psychological changes within the brains of Buddhist monks, which has been criticized since this data cannot be generalized to the population. A recent study showed that a experimental study on a random sample showed significant effects compared to a placebo control. Those who practiced true mindfulness meditation had higher levels of brain connectivity and decreased markers of inflammation in their blood.
Study: A third of U.S. adults don't get enough sleep
A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from a 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and concluded that at least one-third of the American adults who responded to the survey are getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night. Failing to get enough sleep is associated with a variety of health-related concerns, including obesity, mental illness, heart disease, and diabetes.
Drinking more coffee can be preventative against cirrhosis. A new study has found that drinking coffee by two times a day and can lower the risks of the condition by about 44%. The study found that if a person who drank no coffee increased their intake to two cups a day, increased lowered the risk significantly. However, drinking coffee will not entirely counteract the effect of the overconsumption of alcohol. More research is definitely needed in order to make definite and specified recommendations.
Since the recommendation of the human papillomavirus vaccine in 2006, the prevalence of HPV has dropped among young woman. Results from the CDC found that among girls 14-19 years old, the rates of infection decreased from 11.5% to 4.3%. There are also results that HPV vaccinations are on the rise, with girls 13-17 receiving at least one dose of the HPV vaccine (44% to 54% from 2009-2012). Sarah Feldman, co-director of ambulatory gynecologic oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has stated that it’s important for patients to think of the HPV vaccine as another routine vaccine such as measles or mumps. As it becomes clear that HPV is a cancer prevention vaccine, vaccination of 100% of boys and girls could “probably eradicate the worst HPV types,” Feldman says.
Americans are having strokes at a significantly younger age now. 1 out of every 10 strokes occurs in a person between 18 and 50 years old. Dr. Amytis Towfighi says that the majority of strokes are still happening in older individuals, but the increased incidence and prevalence of stroke among young people is truly shocking. The most likely reason is the increase in obesity and other chronic morbidities including diabetes, high blood pressure, and lipid disorders.
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