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(HealthDay News) — If you’ve got celiac disease or have another reason to go gluten-free, there are lots of ways to avoid dietary wheat, rye and barley. The American Diabetes Association says healthier gluten-free options include: Amaranth. Arrowroot. Beans (kidney, black, soy, navy, pinto). Buckwheat. Corn. Flax. Gluten-free baked products (made from corn, rice, soy, nut, teff or potato flour). Kasha. Millet. Polenta. Potatoes. Quinoa. Rice. Sorghum. Soy. Tapioca.

Carefully targeted deep brain stimulation might one day enhance long-term memory, a small study suggests. The experiment involved just 14 epilepsy patients, all of whom had undergone an invasive procedure to insert electrodes deep within their brains as a means of identifying the source of future seizures. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the researchers asked the patients to participate in an additional memory study that involved presenting them with a series of 200 computerized images. Some of the images were viewed without any additional intervention. But some were viewed in tandem with exposure to highly controlled electrical impulses directed towards a specific part of the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is known to be a key center for the regulation and processing of both emotions and memory. The result? “We found that delivering small-amplitude brief electrical pulses at a particular frequency just after a patient viewed an image on a computer screen would significantly enhance their ability to recognize that same image the next day,” said study co-author Dr. Jon Willie. How? Willie said deep brain stimulation appeared to spark immediate changes in brain activity. And that led his team to conclude that “this type of amygdala-mediated memory enhancement works by telling the brain to prioritize certain experiences to remember later.” Willie is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University’s departments of neurosurgery…  read on >

They may be touted as relatively harmless, but rubber and plastic bullets can cause serious injury and death, and should not be used when riots occur, researchers say. These types of bullets — widely used by police, military and security forces to disperse crowds — are meant to incapacitate people by causing pain or injury. But a team from the University of California, Berkeley, said the speed at which many rubber or plastic bullets leave the weapon is the same as live ammunition. In fact, the new study suggests “that these weapons have the potential to cause severe injuries and death,” said researchers led by Dr. Rohini Haar, of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. They looked at data from 26 published studies examining outcomes among nearly 2,000 people, mostly young adults, who suffered injuries after being hit by rubber or plastic bullets in numerous countries — Israel/Palestine, Britain/Northern Ireland, South Asian countries, the United States, Switzerland and Turkey. In total, 53 (3 percent) of the people died of their injuries, Haar’s team reported Dec. 18 in the journal BMJ Open. “Penetrative injuries” accounted for 56 percent of the deaths, and blunt trauma for 23 percent of the deaths, the research group said. Disability after being hit by a rubber or plastic bullet wasn’t rare, either: About 300 (16 percent) of survivors suffered permanent disability.…  read on >

(HealthDay News) — Fido can become quite sick from unsafe treats, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns. Your dog may have a bone to pick with you if a bad treat leads to stomach or bowel obstruction, choking, mouth wounds, vomiting, diarrhea or internal bleeding, the FDA says. In some cases, a bad treat can lead to death. The FDA suggests how to keep your dog safe: Some bones from the kitchen table, chicken bones in particular, are relatively soft and can break with sharp edges. So keep platters out of your pet’s reach when you’re cooking or the family is eating. Be careful about what you throw away. Dogs are notorious for digging into trash. Ask your veterinarian about treats that are safe and appropriate for your dog.

Happiness is not determined by the size of one’s paycheck, but a new survey suggests that wealth — or lack of it — does influence how people measure their happiness. “Different positive emotions — like awe, love, pride, compassion — are core parts of happiness, and we found that rich and poor differ in the kinds of positive emotions they experience in their daily lives,” said study author Paul Piff. He is an assistant professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine. “Individuals with higher incomes tend to experience positive emotions that are focused on themselves, like pride and contentment,” Piff explained. In contrast, “those with lower incomes are more likely to experience positive emotions toward others, like love and compassion,” he noted. To explore the subject, Piff and his colleague Jake Moskowitz conducted a national survey of just over 1,500 American men and women, ranging in age from 24 to 93. About three-quarters of the participants were white. The poll sought information on household income, as well as how respondents arrived at feeling seven specific types of positive emotions. Those included amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride. In the end, the investigators determined that while all the respondents experienced all of the emotions to one degree or another, richer people tended to derive their happiness more on the…  read on >

(HealthDay News) — Slowing down and paying more attention to what you eat can make you appreciate food more and eat healthier. The American Heart Association suggests: Ponder: Ask yourself if you are really hungry before you eat. Appraise: Notice your food and how it smells and looks. Slow: Eat your food slowly. Savor: As you eat, take time to really taste each bite. Stop: Stop eating when you are full.

Raising one particular tax just might have a public health benefit. The tax in question? States’ alcohol excise tax. In the United States, those taxes have not kept pace with inflation, which could limit their public health benefits, researchers report. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the average state alcohol excise tax has fallen by 30 percent for beer, 27 percent for wine and 32 percent for spirits since 1991, the new study found. The average state excise tax on alcohol is 3 cents for a 12-ounce beer, 3 cents for a 5-ounce glass of wine, and 5 cents for a typical shot of liquor, according to the report published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Raising those taxes not only could help states raise more revenue, but also might improve alcohol-related public health issues and costs related to excessive drinking, the researchers suggested. Excise taxes are applied to beer sales in all 50 states, and on wine and spirits in most states. “The most important finding here is that alcohol excise taxes are incredibly low,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Timothy Naimi, said in a journal news release. He’s an alcohol epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. “In several states, the price is so low that it rounds to zero…  read on >

A full moon may spell extra danger for motorcyclists, a new study suggests. Momentary distractions are a common cause of crashes. Because a full moon can be a major distraction and occurs about 12 times a year, researchers decided to investigate whether full moons might be linked to more motorcyclists’ deaths. “Glancing at the full moon takes the motorcyclist’s gaze off the road, which could result in a loss of control,” explained study author Donald Redelmeier, a professor at the University of Toronto’s department of medicine. The average motorcycle ride is more dangerous than a drunk driver with no seatbelt traveling the same distance, he added. “Because of this, we recommend riders and drivers orient their attention, ignore distractions, and continuously monitor their dynamic surroundings,” he said. In the study, the researchers analyzed data on just over 13,000 fatal motorcycle crashes that occurred in the United States from 1975 to 2014. Of those, 4,494 occurred on 494 nights with a full moon and 8,535 on 988 nights without a full moon. That worked out to 9.1 fatal crashes on nights with a full moon and 8.6 fatal crashes on nights when the moon wasn’t full. For every two full moon nights, there was one additional fatal crash, according to the report, published Dec. 11 in the BMJ. “While these figures might seem low on the…  read on >

As winter rolls into town, so does the flu and all its miserable symptoms. Yet, doctors and women alike have long noticed that men tend to bemoan those symptoms more than women. The phenomenon even has a name: the “man flu.” So, are men just whiny wimps? No, a new analysis out of Canada suggests, because respiratory illnesses may indeed hit men harder than women. According to study author Dr. Kyle Sue, “there are already many physiologic differences between men and women, so it makes sense that we could differ in our responses to cold and flu viruses as well.” Sue is a clinical assistant professor in family medicine with the Health Sciences Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland. “The evidence in current studies points towards men having weaker immune systems than women, especially when it comes to common viral respiratory infections,” Sue explained. “Men are more susceptible to them, symptoms are worse, they last longer, and men are more likely to be hospitalized and die from the flu.” To compare how flu symptoms manifest among both women and men, Sue reviewed a number of studies involving both animals and humans. One investigation out of Hong Kong suggested that when the flu strikes, adult men face a greater risk for being admitted to the hospital than their female peers. Another American study also found that,…  read on >

Many studies have tried to pinpoint the best time of day to exercise for peak performance and best results. But most of these studies were designed for elite athletes. For general fitness, exercise can be whenever it’s most convenient for you. In fact, the best time of day for exercise is whatever time you can do it consistently. That’s because fitness benefits come from working out on a regular basis. Consider factors like work and home responsibilities, your energy level at various times during the day, and what type of exercise you like best when picking your “prime time” for fitness workouts. If you’re a morning person whose energy fizzles by 3 p.m., start your day with a workout, even if it means waking up a half-hour early. If you need a workout buddy to stay motivated, schedule exercise when it’s easiest for both of you. If you like solitude, try off-peak hours at your gym or create your own at-home workout space. Remember that you can break up daily activity into three 10-minute segments if that’s what it takes to get it all in. Park 10 minutes away from work and walk briskly to the building. Do 10 minutes of desk exercises at lunch. Then walk back to your car to go home, and you’re done for the day. Or take a walk during…  read on >