A summary of important health news from the past week.
Climate change: Which vegan milk is best?
With veganism on the rise, there has been an introduction of a variety of non-dairy milk alternatives to the market, raising questions of the effects on the environment. Food production – the dairy industry especially – has an immense impact on the environment because it uses a significant amount of water and produces a significant amount of pollution. While manufacturing non-dairy milk also has its impact on the environment, compared to producing a glass of dairy milk, producing a glass of any alternative milk – almond, soy, oat, rice – emits fewer greenhouse gases and uses both less land and water.
Haemochromatosis 'bigger threat than we thought'
A recent study suggests that Haemochromatosis, a genetic disorder previously thought to affect only about 1 in 100 carriers, may actually affect 1 in 10 female carriers and 1 in 5 male carriers. This disorder, while easy to treat if detected early, is rarely recognized until symptoms such as liver failure, diabetes, and arthritis have developed. Prof. David Melzer, the lead researcher, has called on the UK's National Health Service to search for a means of screening for the disorder more routinely.
FDA chief threatens to take e-cigarettes off the market
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced that e-cigarette companies face an '"existential threat"' because of their marketing techniques directed towards youth. Gottlieb stated that he is ready to stop e-cigarette sales and compel makers to go through the formal FDA approval process. E-cigarette makers are replying to these statements be emphasizing in their marketing campaigns that e-cigarettes are for adults. It remains to be seen if the FDA will enforce stricter regulations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) laid out ten important health threats for 2019. On the list is "vaccine hesitancy", often promoted by anti-vaccination groups, and superbugs, or antimicrobial resistance as a result of overuse of antibiotics, antivirals, and antimalarias. Both issues risk losing ground on important progress made in the reduction of communicable disease.
There is a Simple Way to Avoid Heart Disease
A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology determines that people who sleep less than six hours are at a higher risk for hardening of the arteries. The study includes data from 3,974 healthy men and women who average the age of 46. Specifically, the research shows that in comparison to people sleeping seven to eight hours per night, those who get less than six hours of sleep are 27% more likely to be in the highest one-third percentile for the amount of plaque in their arteries. The study argues that moving a lot in your sleep also increases plaque, which is dangerous because over time the plaque will block blood flow in arteries and lead to a blood clot that can rupture for a heart attack or stroke.
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