The Health Benefits Of Owning A Dog
Dogs hijack the same oxytocin-bonding pathway parents feel with children, helping owners reduce stress and anxiety levels just by gazing into their eyes. In other public health news, sweat can hold the answers to many of the body's mysteries, bright light increases testosterone production, a study finds vasectomies are not linked to prostate cancer and more.
The Washington Post:
Your Dog Can Make You Feel Better, And Here’s Why
Wayne Pacelle has a demanding job as president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States. This is one of the reasons he brings Lily, his beagle mix, to work with him. He is convinced that animals “are a necessary ingredient in our emotional well-being,’’ he says. “I deal with many stressful issues, and I see terrible cruelty,’’ he adds. “But when Lily puts her head on my lap, it calms me.’’ Pacelle can’t scientifically document the positive effects he gains from his connection with Lily (and Zoe, his cat.) But his experience supports what researchers who study human/animal interaction have concluded: Pets, especially dogs, seem to be good for our health. (Cimons, 9/19)
The Washington Post:
Your Sweat Could Tell You When To Make A Baby — And More
You are ovulating. You are dehydrated. Your cholesterol is too high. Or too low. You are depressed, stressed or your muscles are cramping. Time to get off the golf course and get the heart checked. Or keep playing, you are fine. A Cincinnati start-up is working on advanced wristbands, headbands and skin patches that will read markers and diagnose your health risks — or opportunities — from the sweat your body secretes. “This is the hard-science end of wearables,” said Robert Beech, chairman and co-founder of Eccrine Systems. (Heath, 9/19)
Los Angeles Times:
Bright Light Boosts Testosterone In Men With Low Libido, Study Says
For men whose sex drive has stalled, Italian researchers have found in a small study that early morning exposure to bright light – a treatment widely used for seasonal depression -- revs up testosterone production and boosts sexual function and satisfaction. In a pilot trial that recruited 38 men diagnosed with problems of sexual desire and arousal, researchers at Italy’s University of Siena found that after two weeks, participants who spent a half-hour each morning in front of specially designed light box experienced increases in testosterone and a three-fold improvement in sexual satisfaction. (Healy, 9/19)
Vasectomy Not Linked To Prostate Cancer, Study Says
When men think of undergoing a vasectomy, they might have a few concerns: fears of pain, worries it won't work and concerns about their sex life afterward. Also common is the fear that the snip will increase their risk of cancer, namely of the prostate, with previous research finding a link between the two. But a new study is laying some of that fear to rest. There's new evidence that there is no association between having a vasectomy and developing prostate cancer. (Senthilingam, 9/19)
The Washington Post:
If Probiotics Work For A Friend, Why Won’t They Work For You, Too?
Consumers can find probiotic supplements with such brand names as “Nature’s Bounty,” “Healthy Origins” and “Garden of Life” on store shelves. They claim to restore balance to the bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract, thereby keeping your digestive system healthy and happy. Skeptics say many probiotics disappear after entering the digestive system. They affect different people in different ways. They note that research about the products hasn’t been done, hasn’t backed up manufacturers’ claims or might not be reliable because it was paid for or conducted by the manufacturers themselves. (Niiler, 9/19)
Early Menopause Linked To Higher Heart Disease, Death Risks
Women who enter menopause early may be at greater risk for heart disease and premature death, a new analysis suggests. To reach this conclusion, Dutch researchers reviewed 32 studies involving more than 300,000 women. The investigators compared women who were younger than 45 at the start of menopause with those who were 45 and older when it began. Overall, heart disease risk appeared to be 50 percent greater for the women who were under 45 when menopause began. (Pallarito, 9/19)
FDA Hearing: How Should Stem Cell Clinics Be Regulated?
Stem cells have the potential to divide and develop into many different cell types in the body. They are so enchanting and so promising -- they may help paralyzed patients regain use of their limbs or help the nearly blind to see -- that they have Food and Drug Administration officials scratching their heads. Officials are mulling regulations to address how stem cells are used in various medical and cosmetic procedures, to avoid any exploitation of and harm to patients, and they have asked for input from the public. (Howard, 9/19)