PDQ Health PDQ Health | Practical. Direct. Questioning.
17 May 2010
Unexpected consequences

Did the defeat of smallpox open the door to HIV/AIDS? George Mason University scientist Raymond Weinstein reports that smallpox vaccine reduces HIV replication by a factor of five. It may not be a coincidence, he speculates, that as smallpox vaccination programs ended during the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to the eradiation of the virus, HIV began its deadly spread around the world.

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Be Well, Enjoy Life »

By: mjaret

The holidays can be a stressful time. TV commercials may depict how wonderful it is for families to be together–laughing, drinking and having a good time. But the reality for many people during the holidays is very different. Here are some practical guidelines to help you through the upcoming months of joy, peace and stress.
1. People often feel overwhelmed during the holiday season. Social gatherings, gifts and family often all come together and this can be stressful because people feel pressured to do a number of things that they do not …

Keep Fit »

By: Peter Jaret

Forget heart rate monitors and body fat measurements. The best gauge of fitness may be a tidy house.

NiCole Keith, an associate professor of physical education at Indiana University, set out to examine how physical activity is influenced by a range of factors for city-dwellers. Her study involved 998 people aged 49 to 65 living in St. Louis. She looked at the condition of sidewalks, the presence of outdoor lighting, and other environmental characteristics believed to affect an individuals decision to be active. The result, she says was not at all what we expected. The interior condition of peoples houses turned out to be the only factor linked to their level of physical activity.

Eat Smart »

By: Peter Jaret

Maybe you dont want to know. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has just released the shocking truth about the calories and fat grams you’ll find in a menu’s worth of popular restaurant dishes.

Be Well »

By: Peter Jaret

Brush your teeth and you’ll cut your risk of heart disease, concludes a new study published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers have long known that gum disease is associated with increased risk of heart problems. The link appears to be inflammation, which plays a role in the buildup of cholesterol in arteries. In this new study, published on the British Medical Journals website at BMJ.com, researchers examined whether the number of times people brush their teeth has any bearing on heart disease risk.

It does.

Keep Fit »

By: Peter Jaret

Got milk? Researchers find that exercisers who drink milk after a resistance workout are more likely to gain muscle and lose fat.

For the study, a team at Canada’s McMaster University asked one group of women to drink a tall glass of nonfat milk immediately after doing a resistance workout and then another glass an hour later. A second group of women drank a look-a-like sugar-based energy drink after their strength-building workout.

Twelve weeks later, the milk drinkers showed better changes in body composition than the non-milk drinkers.

Eat Smart »

By: Peter Jaret

A pot full of recent findings suggest that caffeine can keep our brains active and prevent age-related decline. Indeed, rresearchers now think that the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world normalizes brain function and prevents neurological degeneration.

Be Well »

By: Peter Jaret

Erectile dysfunction drugs may cause hearing loss, according to new research by University of Alabama epidemiologist Gerald McGwin, PhD.

Keep Fit »

By: Peter Jaret
The walkability factor

House-hunting? Try walking around the neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line.


By: Peter Jaret

Move over Atkins. Step aside Scarsdale. The newest proven way to lose weight? Support public transport.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the RAND Corporation studied the community of Charlotte, North Carolina, before and after a new light rail system for commuting was installed. The results surprised even the researchers.

By: Peter Jaret

Adults arent the only sugar addicts. Even many babies and toddlers are consuming more sugar than they should, according to a survey funded by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest Canada.

A whopping 53 percent of the food products targeted to babies and toddlers analyzed by a team led by University of Calgary professor Charlene Elliott get more than 20 percent of their calories from sugar. The foods included biscuits, cookies, fruit snacks, yogurts, cereals and snack bars. Some of the products marketed to the youngest consumers contained even more sugar than similar products marketed to adults.

By: Peter Jaret

If you want to boost athletic performance and overall vigor, get to bed early, suggests a new study.

Seven members of the Stanford University football team participated in the experiment, which was directed by Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory. All began the season showing signs of moderate fatigue and daytime sleepiness. For seven to eight weeks, they extended the amount of time they slept, aiming for a minimum of ten hours of shut-eye every night.

The benefits were dramatic.

By: Peter Jaret

New mothers have long been known to suffer depression after the birth of a baby. New research shows that more than 10 percent of fathers also suffer prenatal or postpartum depression, according Virginia Medical School researcher James F. Paulson, PhD.

The findings come from a meta-analysis of 43 studies involving 28,004 men. According to the data, depression among new fathers seems to be at its worst three to six months after a baby is born. If mom suffers postpartum depression, dad is more likely to, as well. American fathers were among the most troubled, with a 14 percent rate of depression, compared to only 8 percent internationally.

By: Peter Jaret

Organic vs. conventional? New findings link food pesticides to attention-deficit/hyperactivity in children.

The study, conducted by scientists at Harvard University and the University of Montreal, measured pesticide levels in the urine of 1,139 children across the U.S. Kids with higher levels of organophosphate pesticides were more likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD. For the most commonly-detected chemical, for instance, higher levels were associated with a two-fold increase in risk of ADHD.