Health Headlines of the Week: July 16-20

Featured Article, Healthy Living
on July 20, 2012
Thinkstock No new news: Too much TV leads to larger waistlines.

The TV-Tummy Size Connection

In the Not-So-Shocking News category this week, a new study has confirmed what pediatricians and obesity experts have been preaching for years: children who watch too much TV are more likely to have larger waistlines.  The study found that children’s muscular fitness suffers with increased TV viewing, which in turn leads to larger waistlines—and the subsequent health problems those bring—in adulthood. We’re not sure how many more studies need to be done to confirm the fact that an inactive lifestyle is at the detriment of one’s health. Either way, at least the study is keeping the topic at the forefront. (And just FYI, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of TV viewing time for children 2 years and younger. Two hours?! Don’t even get us started…)


Repurposed Pill Popping

In the 90s, Ritalin was the drug of choice. No, not for children with ADD. Students studying for bar exams or medical boards, housewives overwhelmed by laundry piles and science projects, and even those just wanting a little more “focus” copped the pills like crack. Well move over Ritalin; Provigil is moving in. Provigil, a prescription drug used to treat narcolepsy, is being used in much the same way as Ritalin was back in the day: to increase alertness and improve performance in situations that matter (think: exam time!). But medical experts are sending up smoke signals: there is no research to suggest that the drug is safe for long-term use. Well there’s that, but there’s also the laundry list of side effects, which include but are not limited to: headaches, back pain, rashes, hives, trouble swallowing and breathing, hallucinations, anxiety, nausea … oh! And depression. Hmmmm… we think it would be better to just fall asleep during finals. You?


Not So Fast? Could Mean Alzheimers

As we age, it’s natural that we start moving a little bit slower, body parts migrate south, things shift … it’s just a part of natural aging, right? Maybe not. A new study presented at last weekend’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference revealed that a slower gait could indicate memory troubles to come. Participants in the study, when asked to perform simple tasks while walking, were unable to do so without slowing down and/or stopping. The gait-cognition connection is interesting, no doubt. Now, if we can just get to the bottom of the shifting body parts…


A Nestle Prescription?

We always knew that chocolate was the best medicine, and now there’s proof. Well, sort of. Nestle, the world’s biggest food group, has bought stake in Accera, a U.S. firm expected to unveil a new medical food brand. Accera’s main brand is Axona, a food currently being prescribed to Alzheimers patients for its energy-boosting benefits. Nestle’s interest is based on the belief that medical foods are the next big thing. We, on the other hand, are hoping that the next big thing is a doctor-prescribed chocolate diet. (Hey, we can dream, right?)