Whether you’re studying for an important exam or learning a new language, there’s more proof that nonstop cramming sessions may not translate into the long-term memory retention you want. Memory is a complex process that requires time for the brain to absorb new information. One needed step is called memory consolidation, when the newly created memory is set, so you can retrieve it later on. Extensive research has shown that this consolidation takes place as you sleep, and explains why studying before bed may help you retain what you just read. While your body gets needed rest, your brain is busy working. During this active state, different parts of the brain communicate with each other. Research done at Aachen University in Germany found that taking a 90-minute nap after learning can also boost recall for some people after motor-skill or language learning. Want another approach? A study done at New York University found that you can also “set” a new memory during waking hours by simply taking a break after a learning session, rather than immediately jumping onto another task or onto one of your high-tech gadgets. Enjoy a short walk or grab a snack and let your conscious mind wander so your brain can get to work on what you just learned and not be distracted by a new challenge. More information Read the…  read on >

Any approach that differs from conventional — or Western — medicine is typically considered complementary and alternative, or CAM. But these practices have become much more mainstream, leading to growth in the health care approach called integrative medicine, which draws on traditional and non-traditional systems tailored to each individual’s needs. The U.S. National Institutes of Health agency that reports on CAM therapies has even changed its name to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, to better reflect this shift in philosophy. Getting familiar with integrative health will help you decide if it’s the approach you want. Integrative medicine focuses on your well-being and considers all aspects of your health: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental. It draws on whatever medical approaches — traditional or alternative — will serve you best. Integrative medicine centers are now part of many leading institutions across the United States, such as the University of Arizona, Duke, Scripps, Vanderbilt and the University of California, San Francisco. Board certification for practitioners from the American Board of Integrative Medicine was introduced in 2014. These advances have made it easier to find integrative doctors and medical centers. Key Tenets of Integrative Medicine: Creating a partnership between patient and practitioner. Using conventional and alternative methods as needed, and less-invasive yet effective interventions when possible. Focusing on prevention and promoting good health as…  read on >

Hundreds of millions of people visit U.S. amusement parks every year and take over a billion rides. Serious injuries are few — about one in 24 million. Yet accidents — including fatal accidents — do happen, often because riders didn’t follow safety guidelines or had a pre-existing medical condition. But sometimes accidents can be caused by faulty equipment or operator error. Here’s how to protect yourself and your family while still having fun. Always follow posted safety rules, especially those concerning age, height, weight and health restrictions. Be conservative when choosing rides for children, seniors and people with disabilities. Use all seat belts, shoulder harnesses and lap bars. Double check that they’re fully latched. Both small, thin riders and obese riders are at higher risk than others of being ejected from rides that have only lap restraints. All riders must keep all limbs inside the ride at all times. Hold onto handrails and stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop. Keep your eyes forward to protect your neck. Never stand up or rock in a ride that’s not designed for it. If a ride stops midway, stay seated and wait for instructions. Make sure your kids know this if they ride without you. Report unsafe behavior or conditions you see to a manager immediately. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates how…  read on >

(HealthDay News) — Few people go through life without having episodes of lower back pain. For some people, though, it’s a daily struggle. The American Academy of Family Physicians says back pain may be controlled by maintaining proper posture and sitting, lifting, standing and exercising properly. Others have to seek medical attention for relief. The academy mentions these warning signs that you should see a doctor about your aching lower back: If pain radiates down your leg below your knee. If your leg, foot or groin feel numb. If you have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or weakness. If you have difficulty going to the bathroom. If the pain was caused by an injury. If pain is so intense that you can’t move. If your pain doesn’t improve or gets worse after two weeks.

Hit-and-run deaths in the United States reached a record high in 2016, a new report shows. “Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem,” he added in a news release from the foundation. Hit-and-run deaths in the United States rose an average of 7 percent a year since 2009, with more than 2,000 deaths reported in 2016. That’s the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase since 2009, the authors of the report said. The highest per-capita rates of such deaths were in New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida, while the lowest rates were in New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota. Nearly 65 percent of people killed in hit-and-runs in the United States are pedestrians and bicyclists. Over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were due to hit-and-runs. That’s compared to just 1 percent of all driver deaths in that same time period. Since 2006, there has been an average of 682,000 hit-and-run accidents a year according to the findings, which were released April 26. Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA, said that “it…  read on >

Construction workers, farmers and others who work in the sun are at greater risk for skin cancer, according to researchers. And a new study reveals these job-related cancers cost nations millions in medical expenses. The researchers said lawmakers should address this trend and take steps to reduce job-related exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. “The findings suggest that policymakers might give greater priority to reducing sun exposure at work by allocating occupational cancer prevention resources accordingly,” said lead investigator Emile Tompa, a senior scientist at the Institute of Work and Health in Toronto. Tompa and his team analyzed government records and health surveys in Canada. They found that in 2011, nonmelanoma skin cancers cost $34.6 million in Canadian dollars. (At current conversion rates, that’s about $27 million U.S. dollars.) These costs included treatment, missed work, out-of-pocket expenses and reduced quality of life. The researchers then looked at the cost per patient for nonmelanoma skin cancers. They found basal cell skin cancers cost $5,760 per person, while squamous cell carcinoma can exceed $10,500 (in Canadian currency). The study was published April 26 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. “The results can also raise awareness among policymakers, employers, unions and workers about the significant contribution of workplace sun exposure to skin cancers,” Tompa said in a journal news release. “These groups can now make…  read on >