Category Archives: Wellness

Baby

12 Mind-Blowing Stats Everyone Should Know About Infertility

(Huffington Post) Getting pregnant, if at all possible, is a lot harder than most people think. While about 60 percent of couples will conceive without medical assistance within six months of trying, one in eight couples are struggling with infertility issues.

Infertility is commonly defined as the inability to get pregnant, or maintain a pregnancy, after adequately trying for 12 months (and in some cases for a full six months) without medical assistance. And while there is still so much we don’t really know about the condition, we do know that age, physical health and lifestyle choices can contribute to a person’s fertility, and we know that infertility affects men and women equally.

A couple’s infertility is highly nuanced to the combination of both partners’ bodies, hormones and health issues, but the general fact of the matter is that infertility is a highly overlooked issue unless you are personally dealing with it. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, here are 12 statistics that will open your eyes to the condition.

7.4 Million

The number of women between 15-44 in the United States who have difficulty getting and staying pregnant. That’s 12 percent of all women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

7.5

The estimated percentage of sexually experienced men who have reported seeing a fertility doctor at least once, the CDC reports.

40

The percentage of struggling couples in which the male partner contributes to, or is the cause of, infertility, per the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

13

The percentage of female infertility caused by tobacco and cigarette smoking, according to ASRM.

6.1 Million

The number of women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. Affecting 10 percent of women, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

38

The estimated percentage of male infertility cases tied to the most common correctable cause, varicoceles, or abnormal veins surrounding the testicles, according to WebMD.

85-90

The percentage of infertility cases that can be treated by conventional therapies like surgery or medication, ASRM reports…

3

… while only this percentage of infertility treatments include in vitro fertilization and the like.

$12,400

The average cost of a single cycle of IVF in the United States, as reported by the ASRM.

30

The estimated percentage of IVF cycles that produce a live birth.

25

The percentage of couples that have more than one factor contributing to their infertility as a pair, per ASRM.

20

The percentage of infertility cases that have no identifiably known cause.

By: Sahaj Kohli

Tattoo

New research suggests tattoos could be healthy?

New research suggests that getting tattoos might actually strengthen the immune system.

AL.com – Anthropology professor Chris Lynn led a study that showed that people who get multiple tattoos have a better immune response than those with little experience with the needle. His paper, which also included work from University of Alabama graduate students, appeared online March 4 in the American Journal of Human Biology.

Lynn and his students measured the amount of immunoglobulin A and cortisol in the saliva of people receiving tattoos, and asked questions about their tattoo history. People receiving their first tattoos showed evidence of immune system stress, but the immune response of veterans indicated they had adjusted, and even benefited from receiving multiple tattoos.

Read more

Getting tattoos creates immune system stress, however, the response diminishes after a particular person has had multiple tattoos. This seems to indicate that the immune system has hardened through the tattoo process.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Is it healthy to suffer multiple stresses to strengthen our immune system, or should we just pass on the stress?

image credit

beer

Disease Fighting Beer: Drink to your health!

(Fox) Beer lovers may soon have another reason to throw back a pint of their favorite brew, as researchers said they have taken one step closer to crafting a beer that can help fight disease. In data presented at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition for the American Chemical Society, scientists at the University of Idaho reported they are close to synthesizing healthful hops compounds in a lab. Previous research has linked hops, which give beer its bitter flavor, to halting bacterial growth and disease.

“When researchers extract healthful chemicals from hops, they first have to determine whether they have separated out the specific compounds they’re interested in,” project leader Kristopher Waynant, Ph.D., said, according to a news release. “But if you can figure out how to make these compounds from scratch, you know they are the right ones.”

Waynant and his team are studying specific compounds found in hops called humulones, which are alpha acids that have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and lupulones, which are beta acids that are not as well understood.

According to the release, researchers want to harness the healthful activities of the two to potentially improve consumer’s health. To do so, researchers must work to confirm humulones and lupulones are the proper target by separating the acids with high-performance liquid chromatography. However, to analyze the results, they must be compared to analytical standards that do not exist. That’s why Waynant and researcher Lucas Sass are attempting to synthesize humulones and lupulones in a lab, according to the release.

“Unfortunately, the first few pathways I proposed were not the best or most efficient,” Waynant said in the news release. “But Lucas has gone through the literature and analyzed different ways to perform each of these steps to get the best results.”

“It’s been a lot of trial and error,” Sass said in the release. “But it’s so exciting when an approach finally works.”

Source

Sleeping Fennecs

Sleep In To Stay Healthy

(IFL) It’s no surprise that getting a good night’s sleep helps us avoid getting sick. Still, you might be surprised at just how much difference it makes. A new study finds that people who don’t get enough rest are four times more likely to come down with colds than those who do.

“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching [a] cold,” Aric Prather, lead author of the study, said in a statement. The findings were published in the journal Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation’s “International Bedroom Poll” reported in 2013 that 21% of Americans average less than six hours of sleep on week nights, and while for some people that may be sufficient, for many the consequences are disturbing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worry about the contribution lack of sleep is making to car accidents, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors, while it has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Prather’s research suggests we need to consider the contribution it makes to the spread of infectious diseases. “It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker,” Prather said. “With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.”

While the spread of the common cold may make a substantial contribution to human misery, the more worrying aspect of what Prather has found is how applicable it may be to more deadly conditions. Prather has previously reported that vaccines are less effective when given to people suffering sleep deprivation. In combination the studies suggest that inadequate sleep affects the immune system more than we have recognized.

The study was conducted in the laboratory of co-author Dr Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University, where 164 healthy volunteers were monitored. Their sleeping patterns were recorded by wrist actigraphy for seven consecutive days before they were quarantined and administered nasal drops containing rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. The team then waited to see who got sick.

Those getting less than six hours’ sleep in the previous week were 4.2 times more likely to succumb than those getting more than seven.

The problem may be exacerbated in the real world. People working long hours are likely to have colleagues doing the same, raising the risk that they will be exposed to infectious diseases in the first place. Worse still, a person sufficiently dedicated to their job to be losing sleep for it, may well also be inclined to show up when sick, thus infecting their workmates.

“In our busy culture, there’s still a fair amount of pride about not having to sleep and getting a lot of work done,” Prather said. “We need more studies like this to begin to drive home that sleep is a critical piece to our wellbeing.”

Prather is currently undertaking a study of how sleep loss may explain the link between chronic stress and heart disease.

By: Stephen Luntz

Image Credit: Tambako The Jaguar

Chemical Plant

The Poisons We Live In: How Dangerous Chemicals Still Evade Safety Testing

The story of Parkersburg, West Virginia is a cautionary tale of how large companies are still able to use marketing, lobbying, and lawyering to protect dangerous products.

Mariah Blake of the Huffington Post shares the story of  how Parkersburg became disastrously poisoned by DuPont’s chemical waste and how the main toxin, perfluorooctanoic acid (C8), has found it’s way into many US water systems. In fact, studies have shown the toxic chemical to be in the blood of over 90% of Americans.

Shelby county, Cullman County, and Clayton county are some of the many US counties that have detected C8 in the water supply.

Click here to see if your water is contaminated.

Although C8 is a known carcinogen,  liver toxin, developmental toxin, allergy stimulant and disrupter of normal thyroid function, it is still an unregulated substance.

The article in the Huffington Post explains how we arrived at this situation:

By the early 1970s, Congress was once again debating how to regulate the chemicals that now formed the fabric of American domestic life. Both houses drafted legislation that would empower the Environmental Protection Agency to study the health and environmental effects of chemicals and regulate their use. But the industry unleashed another lobbying blitz. Under the final version of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, existing chemicals were again grandfathered in. Manufacturers did have to inform the EPA when they introduced new chemicals—but no testing was required. The resulting regulatory regime, which exists to this day, is remarkably laissez-faire. Only a handful of the 80,000-plus chemicals on the market have ever been tested for safety—meaning that we are all, in effect, guinea pigs in a vast, haphazard chemistry experiment.

Developments in chemistry have produced many valuable chemicals and medicines that have greatly benefited mankind. However, we should never be so foolish to ignore the dangers that can permanently damage our future and the future of our children.

The article is a long read, but definitely worth the time. Click here.

Tuna Recall

Warning: Salmonella in Sushi

According to a recent report by the CDC, 62 cases of salmonella have been reported across 11 states so far.

The culprit is frozen tuna processed by Osamu Corporation, which is sold through grocery stores and restaurants. A nation-wide recall has been issued for all affected products.

If buying frozen or thawed tuna at a store, ask if the product was sourced from Osamu Corporation or included in the recall. Affected tuna has a purchase order number from 8563 through 8599.

Also, grocery store pre-made sushi has also been affected by the recall. The affected sushi lot is sold through AFC Corporation and has the lot number 68568.

Mississippi and Virginia are among the states with reported cases so far.

image by InvernoDreaming.

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Alabama Man Loses Over 250 Pounds at Zaxby’s

John “Tiny” Likely was always large. At the age of 8, he was no longer able to play pee-wee football because he weighed more than 200 pounds. He steadily gained weight until he was wearing 8XL shirts, and industrial scales weighed him in at over 500 pounds.

Surprisingly, everything changed when he started working at (and eating at) Zaxby’s.

“Tiny” tells AL.com he still wonders how he got the job. “A 500 pound person at a fast food place is almost impossible… I couldn’t keep up.”

They gave me hope. They actually believed in me

He mentions his trouble simply standing for more than 10 minutes and his inability to fit into the team uniform.

But he didn’t give up, and neither did his boss or coworkers.

Scott Brown, who hired him, gave him a gym membership. His manager at the time became his personal trainer, and some coworkers gave him nutrition tips.

“They gave me hope. They actually believed in me.”

They even worked with his schedule so he could have multiple short shifts.

11061238_1836747816550749_8992617050896093265_n“Tiny” now walks six miles every morning and does squat drills. He  eats Zaxby’s Zalads almost every day, and has lost a staggering 250 pounds.

He has become an advocate for weight loss.

“Don’t be afraid if you can’t run a mile. Run half a mile. Or walk. I just wish someone had said to me as a child, ‘well let’s walk it together’.”

You can follow more of his weight loss on his Facebook page.

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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

Breaking: Researchers Make Stunning Discovery on Aging

Researchers have recently published the findings of a 12 year study on aging. Scientists from New Zealand followed 954 individuals from age 26 to 38 and measured their biological and perceived aging. Their findings were extraordinary.

Some of the test members had experienced little to no biological aging over 12 years!

The most effective means to reduce disease burden and control costs is to delay this progression by extending healthspan, years of life lived free of disease and disability.

From both a biological and aesthetic perspective, some test members barely aged, while others aged 3 years for every one chronological year. Biological age was determined using 18 biomarkers (including DNA degradation) .

Biological age was also shown to be related to health effects typically associated with old age:  lower cognitive functioning, reduced motor ability, and even weaker grip strength.

This research opens the door for new studies that could dynamically change our concepts on health.

Understanding the factors that minimize aging during our younger years will allow us to live healthier lives for a longer time and perhaps drastically extend our lifespans.