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Health News You Can Use | Vol. 28 No. 6 | Sep-Oct 2018

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EXERCISE LOWERS RISK OF SECOND HEART ATTACK

Do you know a recent heart attack survivor? Becoming more physically active could halve his or her risk of dying from a second heart attack in the next four years, according to a Swedish study. Over 22,000 heart attack survivors were asked how many times they had exercised for 30 minutes or longer during the previous seven days, at 6 to 10 weeks and 12 months after their heart attacks. They were then categorized as constantly inactive, reduced activity, increased activity, or constantly active. Compared with patients who were constantly inactive, the risk of death was lower by 37 percent, 51 percent, and 59 percent respectively. This was true for all patients, whether they had experienced a large or small myocardial infarction, and whether or not they smoked, for example. The study did not look into what type of exercise was the most beneficial, but researchers suggested exercising twice or more per week to reduce heart attack risk. Exercise after a heart attack. It could save your life.” European Society of Cardiology, escardio.org, April 19, 2018.

ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTS LINKED TO HIGHER RISK OF DEATH

People with higher levels of beta carotene in their diet have been found to have a lower risk of cancer. Beta carotene is an antioxidant present in orange-fleshed fruits and vegetables, as well as greens such as spinach and kale. Discoveries like these have made investors in the dietary supplement market wealthy. But whenever studies have been conducted on those who take beta-carotene and other antioxidant supplements, they were found to have significantly higher risks of death, not lower. While fruits and vegetables contain many nutrients necessary for the body to stay healthy, research suggests that a person would get far more health value out of eating the right fruits and vegetables, than trying to take isolated nutrients separately as supplements. Antioxidant Supplements Increase Mortality,” Nutrition Facts, nutritionfacts.org, April 17, 2018.

AVOID SODA WHILE PREGNANT

Drinking both regular and diet soda while pregnant is bad for your child’s future development, according to a new study. Investigators collected dietary data on over 1,000 pregnant women between 1999 and 2002, then assessed the cognitive development of their children at around the ages of 3 and 7. The findings showed that maternal sugar consumption, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, was associated with poorer childhood cognition, including verbal knowledge, and non-verbal skills. But diet soda was not any better, being associated with poorer fine motor, visual-spatial, and visual-motor abilities in early childhood, and poorer verbal abilities in mid-childhood. While sugar was shown to have negative effects on cognition, fruit was found to have the opposite impact, improving visual-motor abilities and verbal intelligence. Pregnant moms and their offspring should limit added sugars in their diets to protect childhood cognition,” Science Daily, sciencedaily.com, April 19, 2018.

NIGHT OWLS DIE YOUNGER

Is staying up late damaging your health? A new study finds night owls are more likely to die young compared with early risers. Analyzing 6.5 years of data from half a million people between the ages of 30 and 73, researchers found that those who identified as “definite evening types” had a 10% higher risk of dying compared with “definite morning types.” In particular, night owls were more likely to have such diseases as diabetes, neurological problems, and respiratory disorders. Other studies have linked night owls with greater risks of depression, drug use, and unhealthy eating habits. So far these findings only show association and are not definite, but researchers suggest keeping a regular bedtime, getting natural light exposure in the mornings, and completing tasks earlier at night as strategies for better sleep health. How Being a Night Owl Endangers Your Health,” TIME, time.com, April 12, 2018.

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