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Lifetime of Learning Might Thwart Dementia; Beginning Late Helps Too

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report – 3 hours ago
A lifetime engaging in intellectually stimulating pursuits may significantly lower your risk for dementia in your golden years, new research suggests. Even people with relatively low educational and professional achievements can gain protection against late-life dementia if they adopt a mentally stimulating lifestyle — reading and playing music and games, for example — by the time they enter middle-age, the new study contends. “In terms of preventing cognitive [mental] impairment, education and occupation are important,” said study lead author Prashanthi Vemuri, an assistant pr… more »

Is there a connection between teacher value-added scores and student lifetime earnings?

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Education Research Report – 1 day ago
Although policymakers may grab onto easy answers, questions about teacher effectiveness—how we measure it and what we can conclude about a teacher’s long-term impact—are being heatedly debated among scholars. Today, the National Education Policy Center published a clear and detailed response to some of the most influential research claims about teacher effectiveness. Those claims were made by researchers Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff, who assert a connection between teachers’ “value-added” scores and what their students will earn over their lifetimes. Those assertion… more »

Improving academic performance with physical fitness

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Education Research Report – 5 days ago
Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence is beneficial for both physical and mental health throughout life. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that it may also play a key role in brain health and academic performance. In a new study scheduled for publication in the *Journal of Pediatrics*, researchers studied the independent and combined influence of components of physical fitness on academic performance. Cardiorespiratory capacity, muscular strength, and motor ability are components of physical fitness that have documented potential to improve health, each of which … more »

First proof of early human technology exacerbating disease burden

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 5 days ago
The discovery of a schistosomiasis parasite egg in a 6200-year-old grave at a prehistoric town by the Euphrates river in Syria may be the first evidence that agricultural irrigation systems in the Middle East contributed to disease burden, according to new Correspondence published in *The Lancet Infectious Diseases*. Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by several species of flatworm parasites that live in the blood vessels of the bladder and intestines. Infection can result in anaemia, kidney failure, and bladder cancer. This research shows it may have been spread by the introducti… more »

Humans have been changing Chinese environment for 3,000 years

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 5 days ago
Ancient levee system set stage for massive, dynasty-toppling floods Primary Audio Article Body 2010 *Known as the “cradle of Chinese civilization,” the Yellow River was the birthplace of the prosperous northern Chinese civilizations in early Chinese history. However, the Yellow River is also referred to as “China’s Sorrow” because of its frequent and devastating flooding.**Research maps and images courtesy of the **Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences**.* For thousands of years, Mother Nature has taken the blame for tremendous human suffering caused by massiv… more »

‘Trophy wife’ stereotype is largely a myth, new study shows

Jonathan Kantrowitz at American Mating Habits – 5 days ago
Don’t be so quick to judge. Most people are familiar with the “trophy wife” stereotype that attractive women marry rich men, placing little importance on their other traits, including physical appearance, and that men look for pretty wives but don’t care about their education or earnings. New research, however, by University of Notre Dame Sociologist Elizabeth McClintock, shows the trophy wife stereotype is largely a myth fueled by selective observation that reinforces sexist stereotypes and trivializes women’s careers. In “Beauty and Status: The Illusion of Exchange in Partner … more »

Depression linked to higher heart disease death risk in younger women

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report – 5 days ago
Women 55 and younger are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, die or require artery-opening procedures if they’re moderately or severely depressed, according to new research (June 2014) in the *Journal of the American Heart Association.* “Women in this age group are also more likely to have depression, so this may be one of the ‘hidden’ risk factors that can help explain why women die at a disproportionately higher rate than men after a heart attack,” said Amit Shah, M.D., M.S.C.R., study author and assistant professor of Epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. In… more »

Feel-good hormones could cause UV addiction

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report – 5 days ago
Sun lovers eagerly flock to the beach every summer, despite widespread awareness of the risk of skin cancer. A study published June 19th by Cell Press in the journal *Cell* reveals that chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins, which act through the same pathway as heroin and related drugs, leading to physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction-like behavior in rodents. The findings could explain why people have an instinctive desire to be in the sun, despite its known health risks. “This information might serve as … more »

Skulls with mix of Neandertal and primitive traits illuminate human evolution

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 5 days ago

Researchers studying a collection of skulls in a Spanish cave identified both Neandertal-derived features and features associated with more primitive humans in these bones. This “mosaic pattern” supports a theory of Neandertal evolution that suggests Neandertals developed their defining features separately, and at different times – not all at once. Having this new data from the Sima de los Huesos site, as the Spanish cave is called, has allowed scientists to better understand hominin evolution during the Middle Pleistocene, a period in which the path of hominin evolution has been … more »

Football improves strength in men with prostate cancer
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report – 5 days ago
*Research* Men with prostate cancer aged 43‒74 achieve bigger and stronger muscles, improve functional capacity, gain positive social experiences and the desire to remain active through playing football (s0ccer) for 12 weeks. These are the findings of the “FC Prostate” trial, jointly conducted by the University Hospitals Centre for Health Care Research at The Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet and the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen. *Regained body pride and strong social cohesion* The acclaimed Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science… more »

Recreational football reduces high blood pressure in mature women
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report – 5 days ago

The World Cup in Brazil may be attracting a global armchair audience of millions, but new research has shown that playing football (soccer) could help lower blood pressure in women aged 35-50. Women within this age group with mild high blood pressure achieve a significant reduction in blood pressure and body fat percentage through playing recreational football for 15 weeks. This is the finding of a new study conducted in a collaboration between researchers across four countries, including Professor Peter Krustrup of the University of Exeter. The acclaimed *Scandinavian Journal of Medicine… more »

Calcium supplements may be too much for some older women
Jonathan Kantrowitz at Health News Report – 6 days ago

Calcium and vitamin D are commonly recommended for older women, but the usual supplements may send calcium excretion and blood levels too high for some women, shows a new study published online in *Menopause*, the journal of The North American Menopause Society. This randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 163 older (ages 57 to 90) white women whose vitamin D levels were too low. The women took calcium citrate tablets to meet their recommended intake of 1,200 mg/day, and they took various doses of vitamin D, ranging from 400 to 4,800 IU/day. (The trial was limited by ethnic… more »