Health Updates 27 April 2011

  • Being social keeps the brain sharp: “After an average of five years, those who were more socially active were less likely to experience a deterioration of their cognitive abilities, the researchers reported in the Journal of International Neuropsychological Society”. (Washington Post)
  • The risks of electronic devices on children’s eyes: “Children who spend more time in front of television and computer screens and less in outdoor physical activity have narrower blood vessels in their eyes, a new study has found.  In adults, constricted blood vessels in the eyes have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease”.  (New York Times)
  • Sea salt just as salty: “Most American erroneously believe that sea salt is a low-sodium alternative to table salt, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) survey”.  Further, “46% of people incorrectly believed that the salt they sprinkle on their dinner is the primary source of sodium in the American diet.  Rather, up to 75% of our sodium intake comes from processed foods such as tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes“.  Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)
  • Sitting is the new smoking: “New research indicates a sedentary lifestyle is even more dangerous than we think.  And hitting the gym for 30 minutes a day may not be enough to undo the damage”.   A University of South Carolina study of men’s risk of dying from heart disease found those who spent more than 23 hours a week sitting at a desk, in their cars and in front of a screen had a 64% higher risk than men who were sedentary for fewer than 11 hours per week.  Some suggestions: 1) Schedule a 10-minute activity break on the hour, if possible; 2) Take the stairs; 3) Park in a spot far from the office; 4)Use a restroom on a different floor; 5) stand at your desk when you can; 6) speak to colleagues in person, rather than use the phone or email. (Dalia Colon,

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