Canadian research suggests probiotics may mediate communication between the brain and the immune system, helping to reduce fatigue, depression and social problems linked to chronic inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Other studies have shown that probiotics can be beneficial for mood and cognition, but this research found the link may be through the immune system.
The "Shop Smart, Cook Healthy, Eat Right" initiative from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation's Kids Eat Right program offers advice from registered dietitian nutritionists for a healthy diet and lifestyle, Diane Quagliani writes. A study found caregivers who are pressured by children often cave in and purchase food they did not intend to buy, but Quagliani notes that retail dietitians have developed in-store nutrition education programs that can make family grocery shopping a positive experience.
The youngest turkeys and chickens seem to be resistant to avian influenza, but as birds get older, it is important to take all possible precautions. Data from the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service suggest turkeys 12 to 16 weeks old appear to be the most susceptible to infection.
Veterinarian Cherri Trusheim says that age alone isn't an indicator of a pet's health, noting that changes in weight, eating and drinking habits and behavior are the true barometers of pets' well-being. Dr. Trusheim says pets that lose weight, eat or drink more or less than normal or have trouble seeing, hearing or moving around may be ill and could benefit from changes to improve quality of life.
Geneticist Leslie Lyons and colleagues at the University of Missouri are studying cat genetics to help humans with heart, kidney and eye problems. "The most amazing part is how much cats can help humans and how much humans can help cats. If we know it's the same gene, same disease, then all the information can flow back and forth freely," Lyons said. The program is called the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative.
Fifty years ago today, the Medicare and Medicaid programs were established with the signature of President Lyndon B. Johnson, transforming the health care system. Much has changed since then, and today the programs cover one-third of Americans. "It's hard to imagine a world without Medicare and Medicaid," HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said at a ceremony Wednesday.
Patients with type 1 diabetes had an increased risk of having a fracture compared with those without the disease, across all age groups, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. Researchers also found a greater proportion of lower extremity and hip fractures among diabetes patients than those without diabetes. The study involved 334,266 participants with and without type 1 diabetes, aged 0 to 89.
A study in Diabetes Care found that patients with diabetes had more than twice the unadjusted mean direct health expenditures from 2002 to 2012 than those without the disease. Researchers also found the estimated unadjusted total direct expenditures for diabetes patients was $218.6 billion annually and adjusted total incremental expenditures were about $46 billion annually.
Japanese researchers found that higher baseline levels of sodium and greater annual increases in sodium levels were linked to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The findings, based on 4,523 adults without high blood pressure, aged 22 to 85, also revealed that men had higher levels of sodium in their urine than women, and those who developed high blood pressure were older and heavier.
Men who didn't sleep for one night had increased promoter methylation and reduced transcription of circadian genes as well as an impaired glucose response, according to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The findings were based on 15 healthy men with normal sleep habits.