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healthbriefs


Produce Banishes the Blues N


ew research from New Zealand’s University of Otago shows that consuming more whole fruits and vegetables increases peacefulness, happiness and energy in one’s daily life. Scientists discovered the strong relationship to be particularly apparent in coun- tering winter blues. A total of 281 college-age students filled out an online food diary and mood survey for 21 consecutive days. Results showed that eating fruits and vegetables one day led to improvements in positive mood the next day, regardless of other key factors, such as body mass index. Other types of food did not produce the same uplifting effect.


“After further analysis, we demonstrated that young people would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of fruits and vegetables per day to notice a meaningful positive change,” says Tamlin Conner, Ph.D., with the university’s department of psychology. “One serving of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size that could fit in our palm, or half a cup.” Study co-author Bonnie White suggests that this can be accomplished by having vegetables com- prise half of the plate at each meal and snacking on whole fruit like apples. The American Psychiatric Association acknowledges that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects, at least mildly, as many as 20 percent of Americans.


Sweets Sour Brain Power B


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THE TOXIC SIDE OF TYLENOL


s the evidence of the harmful effects of Tylenol increases, there is a growing call for it to be removed from the market. Its active ingredient, acetaminophen, once thought to be an effective and safe pain reliever for adults and children, turns out to have dangerous effects. A related study by University of


inging on sweets and soda in an effort to bone up for exams or presentations probably has the opposite effect, according to a new animal study from the University of Cali- fornia, Los Angeles. Researchers found that eating or quaffing too much fructose, like that found in cane sugar and the high- fructose corn syrups permeating many processed foods, can cause unclear thinking, poor learning and impaired memory. Scientists have long known that high-fructose diets increase the risk for diabetes, obesity and fatty liver. Now the UCLA team has dis- covered that only six weeks of a high-fructose diet slowed the animals’ brains. The good news is that eating omega-3 fatty acids like those found in cold water fish appear to counteract the negative effects of fructose, enabling the animals to think more clearly.


Art Heartens Seniors J


8 Hudson County NAHudson.com


Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers leads with the fact that each year, acetaminophen causes more than 100,000 calls to poison control centers, 50,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations and more than 450 deaths from liver failure. The U.S. Acute Liver Failure Study implicates acetaminophen poisoning in nearly half of all cases of acute liver failure in this country. When taken with alcohol or with- out food, the effects on the liver are multiplied.


Doctor of Naturopathy Michael


ust looking at a painting by Picasso, Dali or War- hol can brighten the world for seniors, according to researchers at Britain’s Newcastle University. After just three visits to a gallery, the researchers found positive changes in the participating seniors’ opinions about their life experiences and abilities in light of their ages. The gallery visits further inspired participants to become more involved with others and their communities.


Murray, of Phoenix, Arizona, reports in GreenMedInfo.com that regular use of acetaminophen is linked to a higher likelihood of asthma, infertil- ity and hearing loss, especially in men under 50. Last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning linking acetamino- phen use to three rare and some- times fatal skin conditions. “Can you imagine if the side effects and risks associated with ac- etaminophen were associated with a dietary supplement?” opines Murray. “It would be yanked from the market immediately.”


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