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Cat Parasite Possible Link to Suicide Attempts in Women

New research finds women infected with Toxoplasma gondii have an increased risk to attempt suicide than non-infected women. Why these two are connected is still unclear.

The study, led by senior study author, Dr. Teodor Postolache, analyzed about 45,788 women in Denmark between 1992 and 1995. Postolache and colleagues found that women infected with T. gondii had one-and-a-half times higher risk of attempting suicide when compared with women did not have the parasite.

Once ingested, T. gondii can plant itself inside the brain and muscle tissues, and once inside cysts they are untouchable from the host’s immune system. Studies looking at this parasite have connected with mental health and brain problems, like schizophrenia and brain cancer. But scientists still are not sure if the parasite is a direct reason for the development of these health problems or if it is more of a side effect. Someone with the mental disorder schizophrenia, for example, might struggle to keep up with their hygiene, meaning the mental disorder could increase the risk for infection and not the other way around.
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How to Stay Germ-Free at the Gym

Stay germ-free at the gym. Going to the gym is great. Even if you don’t make friends with the other members of your gym, it’s nice to do something communal. You can swap tips, share advice and it can help you stay motivated.

But there is one downside to exercising in any public place: a greater concentration of germs. People who work out in communal spaces are at a higher risk of getting sick from infections. Here are ten tips from FitSugar on how to stay germ-free during your workout.

1. Get the dirt on the cleaning schedule.
Ask how often the equipment gets cleaned. If the staff isn’t willing to show you the schedule, they’re probably not very strict about it. There’s reason to switch gyms if the hygiene standards don’t make the cut.

2. Use disinfectant on all equipment.
Even if it doesn’t look sweaty, spray it down or use a disinfecting wipe on all workout machines and weights. Spray works most efficiently if you apply it directly to the machine, not onto towels. Stretch out for a few minutes while it works, and then wipe it off with a clean towel.

3. Cover all cuts with Band-Aids.
Even if it seems insignificant, the smallest breaks in the skin are places where bacteria can penetrate. This includes blisters, hangnails, and dry skin with cracks.
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The Dos and Don’ts of Gym Etiquette

socialize at gymI’m sure you have been to the gym a million times and there always seems to be that one guy or girl who becomes the center of attention. From grunting while lifting to talking your ear off when you’re already rushed for time. I am a personal trainer (which means I am at the gym all day and get to witness each and every act of poor gym etiquette) and I have seen everything under the moon. Is it really that hard to put your headphones on and hit the cardio, weights, and then shower without causing a scene? Well, for some people it is. Below are the top gym dos and don’ts!

Top 5 Gym Don’ts

  1. No grunting please: If the weight is really that heavy, you probably need to use less weight before you hurt yourself or someone else.
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Swine Flu Facts and a Little Fun

Decorated Swine Flu mask in Mexico City. (via Telegraph.co.uk)

Decorated Swine Flu mask in Mexico City. (via Telegraph.co.uk)

Is there any possible way to have some lighthearted fun when faced with a deadly flu, even with the threat that it could turn into a pandemic? Well, some people in Mexico have decided to laugh in the face of danger with decorated flu masks.

If you’re busy like me, and haven’t had the time to fully understand the mystery that is the swine flu threat (now called H1N1 by WHO), CNN has a handy Q&A to get you up to speed. Here are a couple of important highlights:

  1. You shouldn’t be panicking. Yet.
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