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Health News You Need to Know

Health news is a popular topic of interest among people. This is why hardly a day passes without a new piece of health news in media.

Nonetheless, poor reporting on health and medicine can be damaging to public health. Misleading news approaches include failure to reasonably place new research within context; reliance on anecdotal evidence; emphasising controversy rather than consensus; and representing issues as polarities.

The CDC’s new guidelines for mental health

Adolescent mental health problems often go hand in hand with other unhealthy behaviors like drug use and violence, and can also lead to higher risk sexual behaviors that can result in HIV and unintended pregnancy. Prevention strategies that promote good mental health, including helping youth feel connected to school and family, can help prevent these negative outcomes.

CDC works 24/7 to protect America’s health, safety and security, whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, from natural or human causes. Learn more about CDC’s work here.

Tourette syndrome is a common childhood neurobehavioral disorder that causes people to have tics. CDC researchers have developed an alternative to medication for this condition: Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT.

The Surgeon General’s mission to address the mental health crisis

A growing body of research shows that our nation’s youth are experiencing a mental health crisis. Suicide rates among young people rose 57% in a decade and one in three high school students report persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. This is on top of broader stressors that include increasing digital media use; academic pressure; and limited access to care. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated these challenges.

This is why the Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, M.D., has made youth mental health a priority of his tenure. He has pushed for lifting the freeze on gun violence research, started a national conversation about mental illness and encouraged more employers to support their employees’ mental health.

We were thrilled to host the Surgeon General at Otterbein and welcome him, as well as our community partners, to talk about these important issues. This is what our mission is all about: improving the lives of our patients and their families by raising awareness and offering support. This is what we call our Patients First mission.

Eating flavonol-rich foods can lower your risk of frailty as you age

Frailty, a geriatric syndrome that increases the risk of falls, fractures, disability and hospitalization, affects 10% to 15% of older adults. Although dietary recommendations for frailty prevention typically emphasize protein intake, new research suggests that plant-based foods are equally as important. In a study from the Marcus Institute for Aging Research, researchers found that consuming flavonoids—which are naturally occurring compounds in many fruits and vegetables—can decrease the chances of frailty in people over age 50. Researchers looked at data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort, and over a 12-year follow-up period found that for every 10 milligrams per day of flavonoids consumed—specifically quercetin—the odds of developing frailty were decreased by 20%.

Apples and blackberries are a good source of quercetin, but other sources include red onion, peppers, eggplant and broccoli. While the researchers aren’t sure what it is about quercetin that makes it more effective at preventing frailty, they speculate that flavonoids may reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. In addition to eating more flavonoids, be sure to stay physically active and try to avoid smoking or excessive drinking.

A new study finds that CT scans do a better job than genetic testing at determining a person’s risk for heart disease

Adding CT scans to standard screening procedures in emergency rooms may help doctors better determine which patients complaining of chest pain are at risk for heart disease and which can be safely discharged. Unlike other types of imaging, CT scanning works by sending a small burst of radiation through the body and recording images on photographic film or an image-recording plate. Different body parts absorb the radiation at varying rates, with bones appearing white and soft tissue showing up in shades of gray. The study compared the use of traditional coronary artery calcium scores and polygenic risk score models with or without computed tomography (CT) coronary angiography in a group of middle-aged and older adults who had been screened with conventional tests.

Doctors often send patients whose blood tests suggest that they’re at higher risk for a heart attack to the hospital to have an angiogram, which involves putting a thin tube into the arteries to look for blockages. The study found that using CT instead of invasive angiograms to evaluate chest pain can decrease the number of people unnecessarily admitted to the hospital. Genetic testing is helpful when a family member dies of a heart condition that runs in the family, but it’s important to keep in mind that new gene mutations are continually being discovered.

A new study finds that simple breathing exercises may decrease proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists believe that an accumulation of amyloid beta peptides and tau proteins in the brain triggers Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. A new study published in Scientific Reports found that the levels of these two proteins decreased when participants practiced simple breathing exercises twice a day over a four-week period.

The researchers instructed participants to inhale for a count of five and then exhale for a count of five for 20 minutes twice a day while being hooked up to a heart monitor. This exercise increased the variation in heart rate between fast and slow times, which is known as cardiac rhythm variability. This, in turn, led to a decrease in the peptides.

The results of this experiment are intriguing, but more research needs to be done in order to understand the exact reason for the decreased peptides and what this means with regards to prevention. In the meantime, a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a normal body mass index will also help to prevent protein buildup in the brain that leads to cognitive decline.

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