MONDAY, March 19, 2018One-third of young adults in the United States have been in a vehicle with a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, a new study finds. Riding with a marijuana-impaired driver was more common than riding with an alcohol-impaired driver, researchers found. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on drinking and driving, but less effort on driving under the influence of marijuana. Maybe we need more of the latter,” said study lead author Kaigang Li. “Parents should be a role model by not driving while impaired, and real friends should stop their friends from driving after using substances — if using substances cannot be stopped,” said Li, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University. For the study, the researchers analyzed 2013-2014 national survey data gathered from young adults who graduated high school within the past two years. Thirty-three percent reported riding with an impaired driver at least once in the previous year. Of those, 23 percent said they were with a pot-impaired driver, and 20 percent were with a booze-impaired driver. Six percent said they had ridden with a driver hampered by drugs other than marijuana, including ecstasy, amphetamines, opiates, cocaine/crack cocaine, glue or solvents, LSD or anabolic steroids. The findings were published in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. “Emerging adults…  read on >

FRIDAY, March 16, 2018Think you could taste the difference between recycled toilet water, bottled water or tap water? It’s unlikely, results of a blind taste test suggest. Years of drought in California have given momentum to household use of recycled wastewater. Six water agencies in the state already use wastewater that’s produced through a technology called indirect potable reuse (IDR), the University of California, Riverside, researchers noted. The IDR approach redirects treated wastewater into groundwater supplies, where it re-enters the drinking water system. Although research has shown that recycled wastewater is safe, people are often repulsed about things such as taste. “It seems that this term [wastewater], and the idea of recycled water in general, evokes disgust reactions,” said study author Daniel Harmon, a graduate student in psychology. “It is important to make recycled water less scary to people who are concerned about it, as it is an important source of water now and in the future,” Harmon said in a university news release He and his colleagues asked 143 people to compare the taste of IDR tap water, conventional groundwater tap water and bottled water. “The groundwater-based water was not as well liked as IDR or bottled water,” said study co-author Mary Gauvain, a professor of psychology. “We think that happened because IDR and bottled water go through remarkably similar treatment processes, so they…  read on >

MONDAY, March 12, 2018A trip to the barbershop could hold the key to not only looking good, but also feeling good. A new study finds that having pharmacists deliver blood pressure care in neighborhood barbershops resulted in lower blood pressure readings for many black men. The study included 319 black men with high blood pressure who frequented 52 barbershops in the Los Angeles area. Barbers encouraged some men to meet once a month with specially trained pharmacists in the barbershop. The pharmacists prescribed blood pressure medication, monitored blood tests and sent progress notes to each man’s primary care provider. Other men in the study did not see a barbershop pharmacist. Instead, barbers encouraged them to see their primary care provider for treatment and to make lifestyle changes, such as using less salt and exercising more. After six months, 64 percent of the men who saw a pharmacist achieved healthy blood pressure, compared with just under 12 percent of those who did not see a pharmacist, the investigators found. The study was published March 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at an American College of Cardiology meeting in Orlando, Fla. High blood pressure is a top cause of early disability and death among black American men. “When we provide convenient and rigorous medical care to African-American men by coming to them —…  read on >

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018People’s chances of living longer have been increasing dramatically for decades. But, that seems to have slowed recently, a new worldwide study has found. The sharpest decline has come in countries that already had the shortest life expectancy, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. They said the slowdown in life expectancy gains does not mean that humans have simply reached their maximum biological life span. Rather, the researchers argue that their findings could mean that recent medical advances have not sustained historic increases in average life expectancy. “This is not about us hitting the ceiling,” researcher David Bishai said in a Hopkins news release. “The slowdown has been sharpest in countries that have the most life expectancy to gain.” Bishai is a professor in the school’s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. “It’s a rebuke to the idea that you can fix global health just by inventing more stuff,” he said. “New health technology has been essential to making strides in life expectancy, of course, but our predecessors in the 1950s were making faster progress with the basics of soap, sanitation and public health.” In the 1950s, the study found, life expectancy worldwide increased, on average, by 9.7 years in a decade. Since 2000, however, the increase in a decade has been just…  read on >

Single dads have been played for laughs in countless TV sitcoms, from “The Andy Griffith Show” and “My Three Sons” up to modern takes such as “Arrested Development” and “Louie.” But in real life, being a single dad is tough — so much so that it can lead to an early grave, Canadian researchers report. “We found that single fathers had a threefold higher mortality compared to single moms and partnered dads, and a fivefold higher mortality compared to partnered moms,” said lead researcher Maria Chiu. She is a scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Services at the University of Toronto. Over the course of a decade, you can expect six single dads to die versus two single moms, two partnered fathers and one partnered mother out of every 100 parents from each group, Chiu said. Single-parent families headed by fathers are becoming more commonplace around the world, largely due to increasing rates of divorce, separation and children born out of wedlock, the researchers said. More than 2.6 million households in the United States are headed by single dads, a ninefold increase since the 1960s, the study authors noted. Despite this, most research on single parents has focused on single mothers, Chiu said. No study to date has compared the life expectancy of single dads, single moms and partnered couples. To investigate, Chiu and…  read on >

Fruits and veggies are great ways to get important nutrients, try new tastes, and add low-calorie sides to your meals. When fresh isn’t available or affordable, frozen is a healthy option. Look for fresh-frozen fruits and vegetables that have been properly stored, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends. Packages should feel firm. They shouldn’t be limp, wet or sweating, which are signs of thawing. However, when choosing vegetables and fruits sold in bags, you should be able to feel individual pieces, not large solid blocks of food, which could signal that the contents thawed and re-froze. Avoid stained packages or any with visible ice crystals, other signs of defrosting and re-freezing. Choose plain frozen vegetables without any butter, sauce or added salt. Choose plain frozen fruit without any added sugar. These are also the best options when adding the food to a recipe. Look for U.S. grade standards that measure quality. These are optional, so they’re not always printed on the package. But when they are, Grade A fancy vegetables have the most color and tenderness. Grade B aren’t quite as perfect and have a more mature, slightly different taste. Grade C are less uniform in color and flavor but are fine for soups and stews. Grade A fruits are near picture-perfect. Grade B, the most common fruit grade, signals very good quality. Grade C…  read on >