A snapshot of the current thinking in medicine, fitness and lifestyle trends that impact your life.
Anxiety, depression, tripled heart disease risk
Anxiety and depression coupled with heart disease triples the risk of death compared to cardiac trouble alone. Among heart patients, anxiety can double the risk of dying from any cause, and depression further raises those odds, reports a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Anxiety increases inflammation and blood pressure, while depression or feelings of worthlessness causes people to ignore treatment for heart disease.
"Benefits from stress-reducing interventions would potentially be greatest in patients where anxiety is found in combination with depression," says the study.
Exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat
Exercising on an empty stomach in the morning can help burn up to 20% more body fat than exercising after breakfast, reports a study published online in the British Journal of Nutrition. For the study, two groups of physically active men were asked to run on a treadmill at moderate-intensity after having had no breakfast, while others ate breakfast before their run. They were then given a chocolate shake followed by a pasta lunch and asked to eat until they were full.
Those groups who exercised on an empty stomach burned up to 20% more fat compared to breakfast eaters. The study further suggests that fasting exercisers also had a smaller appetite later in the day, and did not eat more calories to compensate for early-morning hunger in comparison to their peers who had eaten before their workout, with greater loss of body fat.
Major stresses raise stillbirth risk
Pregnant women who experience financial, emotional, or other personal stress in the year before their delivery have an increased chance of having a stillbirth. A woman experiencing five or more stressful events was nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a stillbirth - death of a foetus at 20 or more weeks of pregnancy. Even two stressful events increased a woman's odds of stillbirth by about 40%, report US researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The biggest stressors were the woman having been in a fight (which doubled the chances for stillbirth), if she had heard her partner say he didn't want the baby, or if she or her partner had gone to jail in the year before the delivery.
Eating greens lowers first-time stroke risk
Eating more fibre lowers your risk of first-time stroke, a new study suggests. Each 7 gm increase in total daily fibre intake was associated with a 7% decrease in first-time stroke risk, reported the study published in Stroke. One serving of wholewheat pasta, plus two servings of fruits or vegetables, provides about 7 gm of fibre.
Having fibre-rich foods - such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts - are important for everyone, and especially for those with stroke risk factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure. Previous research has shown that dietary fibre helps reduce risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol.
Hot flashes? Active days bring better nights
Getting a good night's sleep isn't always easy for women at menopause. Exercise may help, but women can have a tough time carving out leisure time for it. The good news from a study published online today in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, is that higher levels of routine daily physical activity may be the more important key to a better night's sleep for many women who have hot flashes or night sweats. The positive effects were mainly associated with household and caregiving activity rather than sports or exercise.