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Showing posts from May, 2012

Flexible Work places Boost Well-Being

Better sleep and feelings of health are among the benefits of a flexible workplace, according to a new study by University of Minnesota sociology professors that followed 608 office employees in a collaborating company.
The initiation of a performance-focused work environment that redirected the focus of employees and managers towards measurable results and away from when and where work was completed, yielded positive markers. Employees that were allowed to routinely change when and where they worked, based upon their individual needs and job responsibilities, experienced improved sleep quality, higher energy levels, better self-reported health and a sense of personal mastery.
Source: Journal of Health and Social Behavior

Tiny Baubles: Plastic Pollution Flows from Washday to the Sea

A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology warns that microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes made of synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic and nylon is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain. Concentrations were greatest near coastal urban areas.
Up to 1,900 tiny fibers per garment were released with each wash during the study. Earlier research has shown that plastic particles smaller than one millimeter comprise 80 percent of environmental plastic and are being eaten by animals and getting into the food chain.
Mark Browne, Ph.D., an ecologist based at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, advises, “Once the plastics had been eaten, they transferred from the animals’ stomachs to their circulation system and actually accumulated in their cells.”
The team took samples from 18 beaches around the globe, including sites in Austr…

Sour News ABOUT Sweet Drinks

Drinking sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages may increase a woman’s risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2011.
Middle-aged and older women that drank two or more such drinks per day were nearly four times as likely to develop high triglycerides and significantly more likely to develop impaired fasting glucose levels, plus increase their waist size. The study also noted that risk factors for heart disease and stroke developed even when the women didn’t gain weight.

Memory and the Pill

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) report that while birth control pills don’t damage memory, they can alter it. Women that were not taking birth control pills were better at remembering details than their peers on the pill.
The difference makes sense, says UCI graduate researcher Shawn Nielsen, because contraceptives suppress sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy. These hormones were previously linked to women’s strong left-brain memory by a UCI research group led by Ph.D. Neurobiologist Larry Cahill.

Eating Greens Can Change Genes

An international team of scientists led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities, in Canada, were surprised to find that consuming generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables modified a gene designated 9p21, the strongest marker for heart disease. In one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies ever conducted related to cardiovascular disease, the researchers analyzed more than 27,000 individuals from five ethnicities—Latin American, European, Chinese, South Asian and Arab—and the effect their diets had on the target gene.

They discovered that men and women with the high-risk genotype that consumed a healthy diet with plenty of raw vegetables and fruits had a risk of heart attack similar to individuals carrying the low-risk genotype. “We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it,” says Genetic Epidemiologist Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator of the study, “but it was a surprise to find that a healthy diet could …