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MReport: In The Journals

Anti-fungus: Lavender oil could be the next thing to combat Athlete’s foot, says a study. According to research published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, the essential oil shows a potent anti-fungal effect against strains of fungi responsible for common skin and nail infections. The oil was tested against a range of pathogenic fungi and was found to kill a range of skin-pathogenic strains known as dermatophytes – which cause Athlete’s foot, ringworm and hair and nail infections – as well as various species of Candida. Lavender plants are already used widely in the food and perfume industries, and previous studies indicate they also have sedative, antispasmodic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

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MReport: In The Journals

Exercise: Want more efficient muscles? Eat your spinach, says a new study. According to research published in Cell Metabolism, nitrate, a compound found in vegetables and especially in green leaves, helps healthy people consume less oxygen while exercising. This happens because the nitrate in vegetables mixes with friendly bacteria in the mouth and forms nitric oxide, which in turn helps the cardiovascular system by opening up our blood vessels to lower blood pressure. The study says that, in addition to this benefit, the nitrates make mitochondria – the powerhouses of the cell -  more efficient. Interestingly, the researchers say that since the benefits of nitrates depend on friendly bacteria in the mouth, mouthwashes are not good if you want this system to work because they kill good and bad bacteria.

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MReport: In The Journals

Music: No need for drugs – get your “feel good” dopamine from music. Scientists have found that the pleasurable experience of listening to music releases this neurotransmitter in the brain, a chemical important for more tangible pleasures associated with “rewards” such as food, drugs and sex. The study revealed that even the anticipation of pleasurable music induces dopamine release. The research was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Read More…


MReport: In The Journals

Nutrition: The most widely produced fruit (and we treat it like a veggie), tomatoes have now been found to be good for your vascular system. Research published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research reveals that an extracted compound found in tomatoes has anti-dyslipidemic affects. Dyslipidemia is a condition caused by abnormal amounts of lipids like cholesterol or fat in the blood. Tomato, with already established benefits against prostate cancer and more, was found to enhance fatty acid oxidation, and to regulate liver lipid metabolism.

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MReport: In The Journals

Heart: Grow your heart – through exercise. While everyone knows that exercise comes with metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, a new study now confirms that it also specifically turns on a genetic program that leads the heart to grow as heart muscle cells divide. While high blood pressure can grow the heart pathologically, the researchers found that exercise grows the heart in a positive way, making it resistant to heart failure. The study was published in the journal Cell.

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MReport: In The Journals

Love: When it comes to love, go with your gut – literally. A new study says our choice of mate may be influenced by our intestinal bacteria driving our pheromones to tell us who to be attracted to. The research compared two groups of flies, one that had been fed a diet of starches and one that had been fed a diet of malt sugar, and found that each subgroup preferred partners with similar nutritional background. But when antibiotics were administered, killing gut bacteria, the preferential mating pattern disappeared.  The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that intestinal flora plays a direct role in pheromone levels, driving mate selection. Yet another reason to take your probiotics.

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MReport: In The Journals

Exercise: According to a new study, yoga has a greater positive effect on a person’s mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise. Yoga increases the level of GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity and that is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders. The study demonstrates increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. The findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The study was published in the the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

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MReport: In The Journals

Love: Looks like love is definitely a two way street – from the heart to the brain and back. According to a new meta-analysis study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the brain plays a huge role in our love lives. The study “The Neuroimaging of Love” reveals that falling in love can elicit not only the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, but it also affects intellectual areas of the brain. The research indicated that  when we fall in love, 12 areas of the brain work in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopression. The love feeling also affects sophisticated brain functions such as mental representation, metaphors, and body image. So, does the heart fall in love, or is it the brain? Professor Stephanie Ortigue, lead author of the study, says, “That is a tricky question always. I would say the brain, but the heart is also related because the complex concept of love is formed by both bottom-up and top-down processes from the brain to the heart and vice versa. For instance, activation in some parts of the brain can generate stimulations to the heart, butterflies in the stomach. Some symptoms we sometimes feel as a manifestation of the heart may sometimes be coming from the brain.”

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MReport: In The Journals

Psychology: Debit or credit? Make it cash, please, if you want to eat healthier. According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, people are more likely to buy unhealthy foods when they pay using credit or debit cards than when they use cash. The study authors say two factors contribute to this effect: First, unhealthy food items tend to elicit impulsive responses; second cash payments are psychologically more painful than card payments, which can curb the impulsive response to buy unhealthy foods. Since people find if more “painful” to pay in cash, they make better (healthier) choices and limit their impulsive (unhealthy) choices. The researchers suggest that there may be a connection between obesity rates and modes of payment: It may not be a coincidence that 34% of US adults are obese and nearly 40% of all purchases are paid with credit/debit cards. Given that so many consumers struggle so much to make healthy choices, understanding that using plastic increases their vice purchases and that using cash helps them think and pick the good stuff may help people improve their buying habits and overall well-being. Read More…


MReport: In The Journals

Green: Want to help the planet? Waste less food. Scientists have identified a way that the United States could immediately save the energy equivalent of about 350 million barrels of oil a year – without spending a penny or putting a ding in the quality of life: just stop wasting food. The study, reported in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that it takes the equivalent of about 1.4 billion barrels of oil to produce package, prepare, preserve and distribute a year’s worth of food in the United States, while consumers waste about 27% it in general. The top most wasted food items were fats, oils, dairy, grains, eggs, sugar and other sweeteners. The waste represents a largely unrecognized opportunity to conserve energy and help control global warming, so do your part.

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MReport: In The Journals

Cancer: Findings from a study presented published in the British Journal of Nutrition and Biochemical Pharmacology show that watercress may turn off breast cancer signals. The researchers found that a compound in this vegetable is able to interfere with the function of a protein called Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF), which plays a critical role in cancer development. Professor Graham Packham, lead author of the study, said that while further work needs to be done to determine the direct impact that watercress has on decreasing cancer risk, the research takes an important step towards understanding the potential health benefits of this crop with respect to cancer.

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MReport: In The Journals

Fatty Cell HReport Sep w1

Weight: Sounds like those muffin tops may make us suffer a lot more than we thought. Scientists are reporting new evidence that the fat tissue in that spare tire and lower belly pooch is far from harmless. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, belly fat tissue is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, taking part in various functions, which may lead to disease. The scientists report the discovery of 20 new hormones and other substances not previously known to be secreted into the blood by human fat cells. They also identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells. While the exact effects of the substances secreted by these fat cells are not yet known, the researchers said these could possibly  increase the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases. Read More…