Those TV ads for juicy burgers may trigger your emotions, making you believe you’ll be happier if you run out and get one for yourself. Unfortunately, a similar ad for salad does not appear to have the same emotional impact, according to new research from the University of Michigan. “Many people think that eating highly processed foods like cheeseburgers and french fries will make them happier, and these beliefs are especially strong in people struggling to control their intake of highly processed foods,” said study author Jenna Cummings, a former University of Michigan research fellow. “Regulating fast-food advertisements and changing beliefs about how highly processed foods affect emotions could help people eat more nutritious foods,” she said in a university news release. The study found that adults who did not already hold strong beliefs about how foods affect their emotions had increases in belief that they would feel good eating these types of foods. The same was not true for salads and yogurt parfaits. The aim of the study was to test how food ads affected food-related emotional expectations and whether these effects were different depending on individual “food addiction” symptoms. Past research has found that someone with food addiction can have strong cravings for highly processed foods. Other symptoms include diminished control over their intake, eating too much despite negative consequences, including distress and…  read on >  read on >

Women have heard for decades that cranberry products help prevent urinary tract infections. A new study appears to confirm that longstanding advice. About 60% of women over age 18 will suffer one or more urinary tract infections in their lifetime. About 30% will have recurrent UTIs, averaging two to three episodes a year, according to background notes with the study. A review of 50 randomized controlled trials found that taking cranberry supplements or drinking the juice reduced the risk of having repeat symptoms for a UTI by more than 25%. In children, cranberry products reduced these infections by more than 50%. People who were susceptible to a repeat infection after medical treatment such as antibiotics or probiotics saw a 53% reduction. “For the first time, we have consensus that cranberry products (concentrated liquid, capsules or tablets) work for some groups of people; specifically, people who experience recurrent UTI, children and people susceptible to UTI because of medical intervention,” said study author Jacqueline Stephens, senior lecturer in public health in the College of Medicine & Public Health at Flinders University in Australia. This updated review of research from around the world included nearly 9,000 people. Randomized controlled trials are considered the “gold standard” of research studies. “The inclusion of the totality of the global evidence and the rigorous review process means we are confident of the…  read on >  read on >

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to get tougher on Salmonella bacteria found in breaded, stuffed raw chicken products, the agency announced Tuesday. About 1.35 million people are infected with Salmonella bacteria each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost a quarter of the nation’s Salmonella infections are caused by eating poultry. “USDA is taking science-based, decisive action to drive down Salmonella illnesses linked to poultry products,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a USDA news release. “Today’s proposal represents the first step in a broader effort to control Salmonella contamination in all poultry products, as well as a continued commitment to protecting American consumers from foodborne illness.” The agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service proposed declaring Salmonella an “adulterant” if the amount in the product exceeds a very low level. The chicken products under scrutiny can appear to be cooked because they are pre-browned and heat treated. Yet the chicken is raw, often cooked from frozen. Home cooks may not be cooking it for long enough to raise the internal temperature to a level that will kill the bacteria, the agency noted in a news release. The products may be stuffed with raw vegetables, butter, cheese or meat, and these ingredients may cook at different rates than the chicken. These continue to be linked to Salmonella…  read on >  read on >

People are often reminded that they are their own unique person — and a new study says that’s particularly true of the digestive tract. Dissections of a few dozen deceased individuals revealed striking differences in gastrointestinal anatomy, even among a small group of people. Some livers were larger, some intestines and colons were longer. Crucial discrepancies were observed between men and women. And some organs were even located in the wrong place, the researchers said. “I almost missed one guy’s appendix because it was growing off the back of the cecum [the pouch that forms the first part of the large intestine] instead of the front,” said lead researcher Erin McKenney, an assistant professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “If I hadn’t flipped it over and looked in the least likely spot, I would have missed it entirely.” These variations in anatomy have powerful implications for doctors and patients, the researchers said. Surgery, medical treatments, and even lifestyle choices like diet, are often crafted to best serve an “average” person, but individual human digestive systems are far from average, the study found. “If you’re talking to four different people, odds are good that all of them have different guts, in terms of the relative sizes of the organs that make up that system,” McKenney explained. Understanding the anatomical differences between…  read on >  read on >

Need to get your shut-eye on time? What you eat could make a difference, according to a new study. Researchers found that college athletes who ate more carbohydrates and vitamins B12 and C tended to go to sleep and wake up earlier. It’s possible that these nutrients might increase synthesis of vital hormones that regulate sleep, including serotonin and melatonin, the authors said. “For athletes, success is measured not only by readiness to perform but also resiliency on and off the field,” said first author Lauren Rentz, a doctoral student at West Virginia University. “We know that sleep helps the body heal from daily physical and mental stress and influences future physical and mental performance,” she said. “The relationship between sleep and nutrient intake hasn’t been researched as thoroughly in high-performing athletes, who consistently experience large amounts of stress.” For the study, researchers evaluated sleep and nutritional patterns of 23 women who play college soccer. Each of the athletes wore a smart ring that tracked their sleep for 31 straight nights during the season. They also recorded their food intake during the final three days. The study found links between nutrient consumption and sleep timing but not duration. Most of the athletes averaged seven to eight hours of sleep a night. They also met recommended intake for many vitamins, but not for all their nutritional…  read on >  read on >

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the abortion pill mifepristone can remain widely available while litigation over its fate winds its way through the court system. In the meantime, the order effectively halts a ruling from a federal judge in Texas that said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pill more than two decades ago was invalid. Following the Supreme Court ruling, President Joe Biden issued a statement saying, “As a result of the Supreme Court’s stay, mifepristone remains available and approved for safe and effective use while we continue this fight in the courts. I continue to stand by FDA’s evidence-based approval of mifepristone, and my Administration will continue to defend FDA’s independent, expert authority to review, approve and regulate a wide range of prescription drugs.” Friday’s order is just the second time in a year that the Supreme Court has considered slashing access to abortion in the United States. In overturning Roe v. Wade last June, a conservative majority said it was leaving the issue of abortion to elected officials. It was only last Wednesday when a federal appeals court partially overruled Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s April 7 ruling made in Texas, which said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone back in 2000 was invalid and the drug should not be used. While the three-judge appeals…  read on >  read on >

Put down that sugary soda. It could be deadly, particularly if you have type 2 diabetes. A nearly two-decade-long study linked high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages — soda, lemonade and fruit punch — with premature death in people with type 2 diabetes. The link was found for both heart-related reasons and all causes. But other beverages — specifically coffee, tea, low-fat milk and plain water — helped lower the odds of early death. These findings point to the potential role of healthy drinks for folks with type 2 diabetes, the study concluded. “Beverages can be a source of sugar, but also could be an important source of other dietary constituents, so it is natural to hypothesize that the different beverages may really have different effects on health among diabetes patients,” said study co-author Dr. Qi Sun, an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He noted that there was little existing evidence about the impact of beverages on type 2 diabetes-related death. Data from the study came from more than 9,200 women and more than 3,500 men who were part of other major research projects. All had diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the 18.5-year study period. Every two to four years, they reported how often they consumed sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages, as well as juice, coffee,…  read on >  read on >

The Supreme Court on Wednesday delayed a decision on a federal appeals court ruling that seeks to limit access to the abortion pill mifepristone. In a brief order, Justice Samuel Alito Jr. said the pause on any decision would lapse Friday at midnight, giving the court more time to consider the case, the New York Times reported. The delay suggests there may be disagreement among the justices in the Supreme Court’s first major case about abortion access since a conservative majority overturned the constitutional right to an abortion last June, the Times reported. It also suggests there may be a dissent in the case. Justice Alito issued the order because he oversees the appeals court whose ruling is the focus of an appeal. Just last Wednesday, a federal appeals court partially overruled Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling made in Texas earlier this month, which said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone back in 2000 was invalid and the drug should not be used. While the three-judge appeals court panel said mifepristone could remain available for now, it blocked mailing the pill to patients, as well as other measures the federal government has taken recently to boost access to the medication. In response, the Biden Administration last Friday asked the Supreme Court to allow mifepristone to remain widely available while the government pursued an…  read on >  read on >

Many Americans went hungry in 2021, including disproportionate numbers of people with disabilities and single parents, a new government report shows. Experts are concerned that things may have only gotten worse. “These data likely do not reflect what is going on currently as pandemic programs end and inflation is affecting food prices,” explained Linda Wilbrecht, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “In 2023, we should be concerned by other indicators that suggest a growing number of households are experiencing food insecurity and be especially concerned about households with children,” said Wilbrecht, who has no ties to the new report. In the study, 33.8 million Americans had trouble putting food on the table in 2021. Single parents were more likely to be hit by food shortages, and adults with disabilities were three times more likely to live in households where there wasn’t enough food to go around, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were also disparities in the ability to put food on the table seen by race, with Hispanic and Black adults more likely to report trouble feeding themselves and their families. Women were also more likely than men to report food shortages. “Since access to sufficient and nutritious food is a key…  read on >  read on >

(HealthDay News) – In the latest move to restrict access to the abortion pill mifepristone in the United States, a coalition of anti-abortion groups on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to allow an appeals court ruling to stand. That ruling, issued by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last week, would ratchet back recent changes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made to ease access to the drug. The ruling would effectively prevent distribution of mifepristone by mail and require more doctor visits to get the medication. Over decades, the FDA has “stripped away every meaningful and necessary safeguard on chemical abortion, demonstrating callous disregard for women’s well-being, unborn life, and statutory limits,” the court filing from the groups led by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine stated. “The lower courts’ meticulous decisions do not second-guess the agency’s scientific determinations; they merely require the agency to follow the law,” lawyers for the group added. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice and drugmaker Danco Laboratories have already asked the Supreme Court to block the appeals court ruling. The high court put the ruling on hold last Friday, but it must take its next steps by midnight Wednesday. The FDA has suggested regulatory chaos could result if the appeals court ruling stands. The appeals court decision followed an April 7 ruling by Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk…  read on >  read on >