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Knives make cheese taste saltier; plastic spoons make yogurt taste more decadent.

By Anne Hurley Jun 26, 2013 11:30PM

Now here's a diet tip I never saw coming, but could totally get down with. According to a new study in the journal Flavour, the actual utensils you use affect the taste of your food -- helping you get more satisfaction out of what you eat, for instance, without eating more.

The study, conducted by Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman at Oxford University in the U.K., shows some very tasty findings.


Sure, there’s cancer. But it’s wrinkles and impotence that are truly worrisome.

By Sally Wadyka Jun 25, 2013 10:09PM

In the UK, home to about 10 million smokers, cigarette packages carry some fairly explicit warnings about the health hazards of smoking. And they’re not pretty. You’ll find not only unambiguous wording (“Smoking kills” is one example), but also some graphic photos of clogged arteries, tumors and other icky stuff you don’t ever want to deal with. (It’s worth noting that a proposed similar approach for US cigarette packages was struck down after several tobacco companies sued the FDA, claiming the messages were a violation of First Amendment rights.)


With women twice as likely to get dementia, men are increasingly becoming the sole support of ailing wives.

By Anne Hurley Jun 24, 2013 9:20PM

About twenty years ago, my Aunt Peggy began showing signs of dementia. She became forgetful and soon was unable to take care of herself, the home she'd always taken such pride in -- and my Uncle Ted, her beloved husband since the early 1950s. And as Auntie Peggy declined, and more family members advised Uncle Ted to put her into assisted care, Uncle Ted resisted. He insisted on taking care of the wife who had devoted her life to him, and who now almost never even recognized him.


Does choosing natural childbirth mean the duchess is a better mom?

By Sally Wadyka Jun 20, 2013 6:41PM
When I was pregnant with my now-two-year-old daughter, I quickly learned that I live in a place where natural childbirth is considered by many to be the only sensible option. At my prenatal yoga class, I often felt like one of the backward few who was planning to deliver in a hospital, with a doctor -- and most likely with some serious pain-killing drugs. Everyone else, it seemed, was planning much more “natural” experiences, at home, with midwives and doulas by their sides.

Now comes the news that Kate Middleton appears to be in this camp as well. 

The news broke yesterday that the duchess is planning to give birth naturally (granted, in a $15,000 a night private hospital suite). Apparently, there had been some speculation that Her Royal Highness would opt for an elective C section because she was “too posh to push.”


Condition prevalence is significantly higher in areas with polluted air.

By Anne Hurley Jun 19, 2013 8:52PM

Pregnant women know they need to live a super-clean life to give their babies a healthy start in life. Doctors advise pregnant women not to smoke, to take prenatal vitamins, not to consume alcohol or caffeine, and to avoid other behaviors that could harm the developing baby. But what if the very act of breathing could lead to the heartbreaking condition of autism?

A new study strongly suggests that exposure to air pollution -- specifically four toxins -- is linked to a rise in the incidence of babies born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The researchers, at the Harvard University School of Public Health and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, caution that they don't yet have enough data to prove that breathing tainted air definitively causes autism -- but the evidence shows a strong connection and supports earlier studies that showed that air pollution was tied to a rise in autism.


New study finds Sunday night is the toughest time to get your zzz’s.

By Sally Wadyka Jun 18, 2013 3:16PM

I always suspected I wasn’t the only one lying awake on Sunday nights, stressing about everything that needed to get done over the next five days, but now I’ve got proof.

A new study found that more than a third of adults name Sunday as the night they have the most difficulty falling asleep. The survey of over 3,000 adults nationwide was conducted by Toluna Omnibus, a leading online panel and survey provider. And of those 39 percent who are counting sheep on Sundays, 70 percent say it takes them at least half an hour longer to fall asleep that night than it does on any other. Even those who don’t usually have trouble sleeping on Sunday reported that they worried more about falling asleep on Sunday than on other nights of the week.

“We call it ‘social jetlag,’” explains sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D. “If you stay up late Friday and Saturday nights, then sleep in a bit Saturday and Sunday mornings, your body wants to stay up late again on Sunday night.” Apparently it only takes a day or two of this to shift your internal clock. Compounding that problem, when we are lying awake on Sunday night, we tend to seek out exactly the wrong activities to kill that sleepless time. “We pull out our phones or tablets and start catching up on emails or reading news, and that has a dramatic effect on our sleep,” he says. Not only does the light emitted from such devices keep you awake, but the content of what you’re reading will undoubtedly set your brain in motion.

But before the stress of this news starts keeping you up even more nights, Dr. Breus has these tips for getting better rest on Sunday or any other day:

Tags: Studies

The quiet epidemic of prescription abuse -- and how doctors hope to turn it around.

By Anne Hurley Jun 17, 2013 9:59PM

In a way, it's a case of the best intentions gone horribly wrong. Over the last 15 years, the medical field of pain management finally started to be taken seriously  for the millions of patients who suffer from chronic pain. And in the last decade, as doctors began to focus more on pain relief in their patients, they began to prescribe opiate painkillers, Vicodin, Percocet, and the newer drug OxyContin, all containing oxycodone or hydrocodone. What’s more, they prescribed open-ended prescriptions to these drugs, believing they were at long last the solution to pain relief over the long haul.

How wrong they were. In the last decade, addiction to and abuse of prescription pain killers -- taken in escalating doses to get the same desired effect -- is one of the biggest medical problems facing the country, with millions of Americans addicted, using ever-stronger doses with worse and more side effects, or abusing the drugs for recreational use, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. As many as 20% of those are high-school age adolescents.

New York Times reporter Barry Meier, author of "Pain Killer," a devastating look at the effects of OxyContin when it is abused, has just released a new e-book, "A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine's Biggest Mistake" looking at the legacy of psychic pain suffered by many of those prescribed long-term use of Vicodin, Percocet, and the like.


Boys in LA follow extreme behaviors to look like celebs like Channing Tatum

By Sally Wadyka Jun 14, 2013 8:49PM

In most of the country, eating disorders are an almost exclusively female domain. According to national statistics,  only 10 to 15 percent of those coping with this condition are male.

But that’s apparently not the case in Los Angeles. A recent survey of information gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles Unified School District found that high school boys in L.A. are twice as likely as the national average to make themselves vomit after eating or abuse laxatives in order to remain svelte. Why are so many more California boys suddenly adopting such unhealthy behaviors? Blame the likes of Channing Tatum.

Credit: Warner Br/Everett/Rex Features

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