It’s Called the Graveyard Shift for a Reason

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July 30th, 2012

People who work irregular schedules or work outside of normal daytime hours are at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and other coronary events, according to a new study published this week in the British Medical Journal.

This study is not the first to show a link between shift work and heart health, but it is the largest-ever analysis of its kind. It pools together results from 34 previous studies on the topic, with a combined 2 million study participants from across the industrialized world, estimating that shift workers are at 23% greater risk of heart attacks than the other workers, 5% greater risk of ischemic stroke, and 24% greater risk of all coronary events combined (a category that includes heart attack but not stroke). Shift workers also had slightly higher overall death rates than average, but those results were not statistically significant.

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Yoga Can Help Stroke Survivors Regain Their Balance

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July 30th, 2012

You don’t have to be a devoted yogi to reap the benefits of the cobra pose. A new study in chronic stroke survivors shows that practicing yoga can improve balance in patients, giving them more confidence to handle day-to-day activities and potentially reducing disability.

The study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, involved 47 stroke survivors, mostly male veterans, who had had their stroke six months prior. The participants were still experiencing balance problems, which can be long-lasting after stroke, arising from injury to central brain structures and impaired senses. Difficulties with balance can lead to a higher risk of falls, further injury and continued disability.

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Do Sports Products Really Enhance Your Workout? Maybe Not

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July 27th, 2012

Do sports drinks really give your workout an extra edge? A recent study of the performance-enhancing claims of more than 100 fitness products says probably not. In fact, of the hundreds of such claims identified in product advertisements and websites, researchers couldn’t find a single one that was backed by solid scientific evidence.

For the study, researchers at the University of Oxford looked at advertisements for sports drinks, oral supplements, footwear, clothing and fitness devices like wristbands and compression sleeves in 100 general interest magazines and the top 10 sport and fitness magazines in the U.K. and the U.S. The team also searched the websites of any product making claims to enhance athletic performance or improve recovery, seeking references for scientific studies supporting these claims.

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Alcohol Does a Body Good? Study Finds It Boosts Bone Health

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July 23rd, 2012

Just as the go-to drink for bone health — milk — has come under attack by New York Times’ food columnist Mark Bittman for not living up to its healthful reputation, a new study suggests an even more controversial beverage as an alternative: alcohol.

Previous research has linked moderate drinking with improved bone density — women who drink moderately have higher bone density than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers — but such observational studies connecting people’s dietary or drinking patterns to health effects have not been able to determine cause and effect. It’s possible, for example, that people who are healthier to begin with are more likely to drink moderately, rather than the other way around. However, experiments in animals that have been designed to show cause and effect have found that moderate doses of alcohol are indeed good for the bones.

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Are men ‘sexually fluid’?

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July 20th, 2012

In a new critically-acclaimed off-Broadway play, with a title too controversial for print, a gay man finds himself falling for a woman, which makes him – and his male partner – wonder whether he’s “really” gay after all.

Can a gay man who is sexually attracted to women still be gay? And what about straight men who get turned on by other men? Are men “sexually fluid”?

Female sexual fluidity – the capacity to move from romantic relationships with men to those with women, and vice versa – is well established, as I’ve previously discussed. Male sexual fluidity is less clear, yet it seems to be on the minds of many men and women. In fact, I’m often approached by women who are worried because they’ve caught their husbands or boyfriends looking at gay porn.

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