Fresh Health News: Spring 2020

Suffer from Osteoarthritis?

Start walking, suggests new research from Northwestern University

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. And two out of five people with osteoarthritis—which most commonly affects joints in the lower limbs—will develop a disability limitation as they age. The good news? A 2019 study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine showed that an hour of brisk walking per week, or about 10 minutes a day, may significantly reduce that risk. Researchers analyzed four years worth of data gathered from 1,500 arthritic adults and found that engaging in at least 60 minutes of brisk walking a week (moving swiftly as though you’re trying to catch a bus) reduced people’s risk for two forms of disability. Risk for mobility disability—defined as walking too slowly to safely cross a street in time—was reduced by 85 percent. And risk of living disability, or not being able to complete day-to-day tasks like dressing oneself, was reduced by roughly 45 percent. The more time spent moving the better, note researchers, but know that even a few minutes each day pays off.


Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with a small glass (about five ounces) of water and drink the mixture slowly. This at-home alkaline mixture may help balance your stomach acids and alleviate painful symptoms.

More Protein, More Plaque

High-protein diets are popular—especially among people looking to shed pounds quickly or build muscle mass. However, a new study conducted on mice reveals a serious potential risk of this eating style: increased plaque in the arteries. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis fed mice a high-fat diet, which previous research has shown causes atherosclerosis (a build up of artery-clogging plaque) in the animals. Half the mice were also fed high amounts of protein—triple the amount as the control group, which only ate food high in fat. Mice on the high-fat, high-protein diet developed about 30 percent more plaque within their arteries than the mice that ate less protein, despite not gaining weight. These findings back up past research, including studies on humans, that link high protein consumption with increased risk for cardiovascular problems.

HEALTH MYTH: You should rinse your mouth out with water after brushing your teeth.

THE TRUTH: If you thoroughly rinse your mouth after sudsing up your teeth, you’re not alone (polls show that about two-thirds of us do). But you are in the wrong. Doing so washes away the paste’s flouride, which strengthens the enamel that helps fight tooth decay. Instead, spit out the paste after you brush, and, at night, avoid eating or drinking again before bed.

Tune in, Stroke Survivors

You know that listening to music can pump you up or chill you out. A 2019 European study published in International Journal of Stroke reveals that, for stroke survivors, listening to tunes may also help improve cognitive function, especially when paired with a mindfulness practice. The study involved 72 ischemic stroke survivors recruited from acute care units in the UK. Participants were sorted into three groups: one that listened to music for an hour each day, one that listened to music for an hour while completing two five-minute mindfulness exercises and a third that listened to audiobooks. They completed cognitive evaluations at the start of the study, after three months and after six months, and also gave feedback as to whether the tasks were easy and enjoyable for them to complete. Across the board, participants said incorporating an hour of listening to either music or books was doable. As for cognitive function, people in the two music groups showed more robust recovery of memory than those in the audiobook group, and participants who tried the mindfulness practice showed a greater ability to focus than others.