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Half of Americans Believe in Medical Conspiracy Theories. Do You?

You probably don’t think aliens are among us or secret societies are running the government, but do you believe in conspiracy theories of another kind? A new study from the University of Chicago published in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates you might.

secret

According to that study, nearly half of Americans believe in medical conspiracy theories. The study found water fluoridation, vaccines, cell phones, and alternative medicine, among others, as prime subjects for conspiracy-based speculation.

To test just how much faith people put in the theories, the University of Chicago’s professor J. Eric Oliver and his colleague collected data from 1,351 adults through an online survey. Participants in the survey were presented with popular medical conspiracy theories and then asked to indicate whether they had heard them before, and whether or not they agreed with them.


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Push-ups and Squats Cut Diabetes Risk by 1/3

For years doctors have been saying that aerobic exercise and an active lifestyle lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. But scientists have long wondered if strength training combined with cardio can help lower the risk even more. Just as importantly, is just strength training alone enough to lower the risk even a little bit?

weight training

A new study answers this question. Drumroll please…. Indeed, strength training and resistance exercises (even yoga and Pilates!) are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Best of all, when these exercises are done in conjunction with your aerobic exercise, women’s risk drops by one-third!


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Vodka Shortening Life Span of Russian Men

A shocking statistic concerning Russian men has garnered some attention recently, though this one has nothing to do with the upcoming Olympic games.

An article posted on TheGuardian.com on Friday, January 31st, detailed how a large number of young Russian men’s deaths have been linked to vodka consumption. Between the years 1999 and 2010, researchers interviewed over 150,000 men in various Russian cities concerning their drinking habits. When the researchers followed up with the same men years later, they had discovered that around 8,000 of them had died since the first interview.

vodka

From this initial selection of Russian men, the researchers concluded that approximately 35% of Russian men younger than 55 drink three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week—which is the equivalent of more than 33 shots of vodka in a seven-day period.


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WiFi is a Plant Killer. Should We Quit Nuking Our Veggies?

A Danish high school science experiment is gaining recognition again after going viral earlier this month. Though first reported in May, the experiment has garnered worldwide popularity as a warning against our tech-filled lives. According to the experiment, WiFi could be killing plants. In case you missed it — fruits and vegetables are plants.

plant and wifi experiment

A group of 9th-graders from the Hjallerup Skole in Denmark noticed after sleeping with their cell phones near their heads they had trouble concentrating the next day. Though they didn’t have the resources to test their cell phone theory, they tried to do the next best thing.

Taking garden cress seeds and placing them on wet paper towels, the girls set one plate next to a WiFi router that emitted about the same microwave radiation as mobile phones, and the other in a separate room away from routers. They controlled all other variables — water, sunlight and room temperature — to the best of their abilities to keep the experiment consistent.

When the seeds were checked in 12 days, the seeds from the room without routers had thrived, while the seeds next to routers were brown and shriveled.
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Brushing Your Teeth Can Prevent America’s #1 Killer

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

For years now, scientists have known that periodontal disease increases the risk for heart disease. Now, a new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows that if you take care of your gums you can reduce a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

brush teeth

A research team led by Columbia University in New York City examined the mouths of 420 middle-aged men and women for periodontal disease. (Periodontal disease is caused when bacterial plaque on the teeth move into the gums causing inflammation. This can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, causing “pockets” that become infected with bacteria, and eventually lead to tooth loss.) Researchers collected gum bacterial samples and used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the carotid arteries, which supply the brain with blood. Artery thickness is a marker for stroke and heart disease; if the carotid arteries get clogged with plaque, you can bet the coronary arteries leading to the heart are clogging as well.

Three years later, people whose oral health improved (read: they had fewer bacteria linked to heart disease in their mouth) had a much slower rate of carotid artery thickening than those whose periodontal disease was worse or remained the same. It doesn’t take much plaque to have devastating consequences. Picture this: a 0.033-millimeter-per-year increase in carotid artery thickness doubles the risk of heart disease and heart attack. In this study, people with gums that deteriorated, developed, on average, a 0.1-mm increase, meaning their heart disease risk shot up six-fold.
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