Healthy Lifestyle

Optimal health does not come from a "miracle" drug or a fancy diet, but is instead the result of making proper daily decisions about how to eat, exercise, handle stress and connect with others.

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Doctors Who Get Sued Are Likely to Get Sued Again

One percent of all doctors account for 32 percent of all paid malpractice claims, and the more often a doctor is sued, the more likely he or she will be sued again.

Researchers analyzed 10 years of paid malpractice claims using the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal government database that includes 66,426 claims against 54,099 doctors. The study is in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Compared with a doctor who had one paid claim, having another claim was twice as likely for a doctor who had two, four times as likely for one who had four, and 12 times as likely for one who had six or more.

Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons were about twice as likely to have a paid claim as internists, while pediatricians were 30 percent less likely to have one.

The Health Benefits of Knitting

About 15 years ago, I was invited to join a knitting group. My reluctant response — “When would I do that?” — was rejoined with “Monday afternoons at 4,” at a friend’s home not three minutes’ walk from my own. I agreed to give it a try.

My mother had taught me to knit at 15, and I knitted in class throughout college and for a few years thereafter. Then decades passed without my touching a knitting needle. But within two Mondays in the group, I was hooked, not only on knitting but also on crocheting, and I was on my way to becoming a highly productive crafter.

I’ve made countless afghans, baby blankets, sweaters, vests, shawls, scarves, hats, mittens, caps for newborns and two bedspreads. I take a yarn project with me everywhere, especially when I have to sit still and listen. As I’d discovered in college, when my hands are busy, my mind stays focused on the here and now.


To Prevent Back Pain, Orthotics Are Out, Exercise Is In

Lower back pain is an almost universal if unwelcome experience. About 80 percent of those of us in the Western world can expect to suffer from disruptive lower back pain at some point in our lives. But if we begin and stick with the right type of exercise program, we might avoid a recurrence, according to a comprehensive new scientific review of back pain prevention.

Lower back pain develops for many reasons, including lifestyle, genetics, ergonomics, sports injuries, snow shoveling or just bad luck. Most often, in fact, the underlying cause is unknown.

For most people, a first episode of back pain will go away within a week or so.

Irregular Heartbeats? Coffee May Not Be So Bad for You

People with irregular heartbeats are often advised to give up caffeine, but a new study suggests they may not have to forgo their coffee.

Researchers had 1,388 people record their intake of coffee, tea and chocolate over a one-year period, and used Holter monitors to get 24-hour electrocardiograms.

More than 60 percent of the participants reported consuming one or more caffeine-containing foods daily. But the electrocardiograms revealed no differences in premature beats or episodes of accelerated heart rate between caffeine users and abstainers. The study is in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“There’s no clear evidence that drinking more caffeine increases the risk for early beats,” said the senior author, Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. In fact, evidence from other studies suggests


Physical attraction linked to genes that control height

Some may believe that chance brings you together with your loved one, but scientists have found a far less romantic reason. Mate choice is influenced by our genes, in part by those responsible for our height, according to research published in Genome Biology.

An analysis of the genotype of more than 13,000 human heterosexual couples found that genes that determine your height also influence your choice of mate by height. This provides more understanding into why we choose partners of a similar height.

Over the last century, numerous studies have found that height was a key trait when choosing a mate, but until now there has been no explanation for this preference. This study investigates both, individual physical traits in relation to mate choice and the role played by underlying genetic variation.

Why your brain makes you slip up when anxious

As musicians, figure skaters and anyone who takes a driving test will know, the anxiety of being watched can have a disastrous effect on your performance.

Now neuroscientists at the University of Sussex's Sackler Centre and Brighton and Sussex Medical School have identified the brain network system that causes us to stumble and stall just when we least want to.

Dr Michiko Yoshie and her colleagues Professor Hugo Critchley, Dr Neil Harrison, and Dr Yoko Nagai were able to pinpoint the brain area that causes the performance mishaps during an experiment using functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging (fMRI).

Previous research has shown that people tend to exert more force when they know they are being watched. For example, pianists unconsciously press keys harder when they play in front of an audience compared to when playing alone.


Poor Sleep Tied to Hardened Brain Arteries in Older Adults

Older people who sleep poorly may have a slightly increased risk of having hardened blood vessels in the brain, and oxygen-starved brain tissue, according to a new study.

Both of these issues may contribute to a greater risk of stroke and cognitive impairment, the researchers said.

"The forms of brain injury that we observed are important because they may not only contribute to the risk of stroke but also to chronic progressive cognitive and motor impairment," study author Dr. Andrew Lim, a neurologist and scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, said in a statement. [7 Things That May Raise Your Risk of Stroke]

The researchers had shown that fragmented sleep — which is sleep interrupted by frequent awakenings or arousals — was linked with an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline, Lim told Live Science. "However, there were gaps in what we knew about

Start Enjoying Sex Again

Even if every part of your body works perfectly, you still might not be terribly interested in sex or even simply bored with your sex life. Maybe you've become tired of the routine nature of sex in a long-term relationship; maybe you want sex but your partner doesn't; maybe you both want sex.
Don't focus on what he or she does or doesn't do. Try focusing on your own sensations of pleasure. Explain to your partner what areas are pleasurable and which are not and how you like to be touched. Then listen to him or her share his or her own wants and needs. Ideally, the two of you will be able to develop a plan to reignite the passion. Some suggestions to help you to start enjoying sex again:
  • Schedule sex. It might sound boring, but it ensures that sex doesn't get pushed to the bottom of the list. Plus, there's nothing wrong with a little planning. You might even find it gets you in the mood!


8-Hour Sleepers More Likely to Be Heart Healthy

by Sara G. Miller, Staff Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. — People who get at least 8 hours of sleep each night are more likely to have good heart health than those who get less sleep, a new study finds.

In the study, researchers compared groups of people who slept for different average lengths of time, looking at how well each group met the seven criteria from the American Heart Association for "ideal" heart health.
The researchers found that people who slept 8 or more hours a night were 2.7 times more likely to meet six or seven of the ideal heart-health criteria, compared with people who got less than 6 hours of sleep a night. [Heart Disease: Types, Prevention & Treatments]

Although previous studies

Too Little Sleep Increases Heart Disease Risk in Obese Adolescents

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Staff Writer
Obese adolescents who do not get enough sleep may be at an increased risk of heart disease and other health issues, compared with other obese teens who get more sleep, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at the teens' risk factors for developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and found that the less sleep the adolescents got, the higher their "cardiometabolic risk score," which is a measure that combines the risk of developing these conditions into a single number.

"More sleep means less risk," said study author Heidi IglayReger, supervisor of the Physical Activity Laboratory at the Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center.

In the study, the researchers examined 37 obese teenagers, ages 11 to 17. The research team measured the participants' body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure and blood sugar. They also gave each participant an accelerometer — a device used to


Lack of Sleep May Boost Diabetes Risk

An inconsistent sleep schedule or a general lack of sleep may increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston monitored 21 otherwise healthy people, all of whom lived in a lab during the experiment. For three weeks, participants were put on a schedule where they slept for less than six hours per day, and went to sleep later each day— essentially putting them on a 28-hour "day."

The results showed that the participants' abilities to regulate their blood sugar levels became so impaired that they may have developed diabetes had the experiment continued longer, according to the researchers.

Blood Pressure: Highs, Lows & What's Normal

by Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer 
Blood pressure is one of the vital signs that doctors measure to assess general health. Having a high blood pressure, also called hypertension, that is not under control can result in heart problems, stroke, and other medical conditions.

About one in three U.S. adults have high blood pressure and only about half of these people have their high blood pressure under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as the "silent killer" because it often has no symptoms.

Certain lifestyle factors, such as diet and smoking habits, can greatly impact a person's risk of developing high blood pressure.

"Having a healthy lifestyle really makes a difference in your life because you can avoid high blood pressure," said Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, an internist at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. "If you do have high blood pressure, make sure take your medication.

Whooping Cough Outbreak: How Effective Is the Vaccine?

 An outbreak of whooping cough, or pertussis, at a Florida preschool in which nearly all the students had been fully vaccinated against the disease, raises new concerns about the vaccine's effectiveness, a new report suggests.

During a 5-month period between September 2013 and January 2014, 26 preschoolers, two staff members and 11 family members of the students or staff at the facility in Leon County came down with whooping cough, according to a report of the outbreak published today (Jan. 13) in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Only five of 117 students attending the preschool had not received all of the shots required by their age. This is the first time a "sustained transmission of pertussis in a vaccinated group of 1- to 5-year-old children has been reported in the United States," the report said.

 It was surprising that this outbreak occurred among a highly vaccinated preschool population, said five epidemiologists who are staff members at the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee —writing to Live Science in a joint email. "This age group is generally thought to be protected against whooping cough through vaccination," they said.

Brief Psychotic Breaks Remain a Mystery

 Not all psychotic episodes signal the beginning of a long-term mental health disorder like schizophrenia. In fact, when patients experience one of these short-term breaks with reality, it's not precisely clear how the individuals should be diagnosed.

Now, a new study finds there are no significant differences in the prognosis for patients who have four different types of brief psychotic episodes. (Such episodes may involve hallucinations or delusions, or less severe symptoms such as disorientation, disorganized thinking or speech that doesn't make sense.)

The new findings, based on a review of research covering 11,133 patients, highlight how little is understood about how psychosis may progress, the researchers said.

Not all psychotic episodes signal the beginning of a long-term mental health disorder like schizophrenia. In fact, when patients experience one of these short-term breaks with reality, it's not precisely clear how the individuals should be diagnosed.

Now, a new study finds there are no significant differences in the prognosis


What's the Difference Between the Right Brain and Left Brain?

You may have heard people describe themselves as strictly "right-brained" or "left-brained," with the left-brainers bragging about their math skills and the right-brainers touting their creativity. That's because the brain is divided down the middle into two hemispheres, with each half performing a fairly distinct set of operations.

Much of what is known about brain function is owed to Roger Sperry, whose experiments examined the way the human brain's hemispheres operate both independently and in concert with each other. The two hemispheres communicate information, such as sensory observations, to each other through the thick corpus callosum that connects them.

The brain's right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body, while the left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the human

Mysterious Cancers of 'Unknown' Origin in Men Traced Back to HPV

Some cancers are mysterious, in that doctors cannot determine where they originate and how they will spread. These cancers often are given the unwieldy name "unknown primary squamous cell carcinoma" (UPSCC).

About 4 percent of head and neck cancers are of the UPSCC variety. They may appear in this area of the body, having metastasized or spread from elsewhere, but the specific origin of the cancer cells is not clear. And this lack of knowledge of the cancer type tends to make the cancer harder to treat.

Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore have found that the human papillomavirus (HPV) is strongly associated with UPSCCs in the head and neck area and, more specifically, cancer of the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat that includes the tonsils and the base of the tongue.