Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Desk Yoga

Sitting in front of a computer screen all day takes a toll on our bodies. Om Yoga's own Cyndi Lee tells Yoga Journal's desk-bound readers how to orchestrate nearly an entire yoga practice at the office. Click on the headline above and strike a pose.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Children of Working Moms Do Just Fine

Working moms need not worry. New research confirms that quality is as important as quantity when it comes to spending time with an infant or toddler. After examining two 24-hour time periods that included one workday and one nonworking day for the moms with outside jobs, the researchers found that stay-at-home moms spent only about an hour and a half more with their young child than working moms. More important to a child's development, explained researchers, were the qualities that the mother exhibited. For example, was she sensitive to the child's need and did she engage in stimulating and interesting activities with her child? The findings, which will be published in an upcoming issue of "Child Development," conclude that a mom's employment status has little or no impact on her child's social and intellectual development.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Searching for Poison-free Lipstick?

As more and more toxins find their way into our bodies, we need to take a closer look at how they got there. While a tube of lipstick can't cause significant harm on its own, the chemicals it contains are compounded by a battery of others found in the soaps, shampoos and cosmetics we use everyday. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is trying to bring attention to the major loopholes in the federal law that give the cosmetics industry carte blanche to pour unlimited amounts of chemicals into the products we use to care for our bodies. For a list of companies that have pledged to make safer products, check out their website at

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Doctors vs. Milk

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has done a scientific review of 58 previously-published studies and concluded that milk's ability to build bone health is no more than a myth. According to nutritionist Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D., the lead author of this research: “A clear majority of the studies we examined for this review found no relationship between dairy or dietary calcium intake and measures of bone health. In the remaining reports, the evidence was sketchy. In some, the effects on bone health were small, and in others, the results were confounded by vitamin D intake from milk fortified with vitamin D." In the end, the researchers concluded that physical activity early in life appears to be a stronger predictor of bone health than dairy consumption.

According to the non-profit PCRM, the level of dairy product consumption in the United States is among the highest in the world and yet osteoporosis and fracture rates are also among the highest. This “calcium paradox” was an impetus for the current investigation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Why Fish Oils Work

Researchers have identified a new class of fats in the human body which can be credited with controlling inflammation. These fats, called resolvins, work by stopping the migration of inflammatory cells to sites of inflammation and then turning on other inflammatory cells. As scientists have long-hypothesized, these fats are made from the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish such as salmon. "We always suggest that people with arthritis eat two or three portions of oily fish a week, or take 1,500mg fish oil capsules a day," said a spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation. Now there's scientific proof behind why it works.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ritalin May Increase Children's Cancer Risk

Parents who give their children Ritalin -- the calm-inducing drug prescribed to children for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- may find themselves a bit jittery upon reading the results of a new study. Researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston recruited a dozen 8-year olds with ADHD to examine Ritalin's effects. Blood samples were taken from the children before and three months after starting the drug. After testing white blood cells, researchers found a threefold increase in the level of chromosomal damage in the samples taken after the children were started on Ritalin. Lead researcher Randa A. El-Zein, MD, PhD. remarked: "It was pretty surprising to me that all of the children taking [Ritalin] showed an increase in chromosome abnormalities in a relatively short period of time." So if your child is on Ritalin, you may want to work with your practitioner to investigate alternatives.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Can An Apple a Day Keep Breast Cancer Away?

Researchers as Cornell University have shown the phytochemicals in apples to be effective in combating breast cancer. After giving rats a chemical to induce breast cancer, they then fed them variable doses of extract distilled from the popular Red Delicious apple. After 24 weeks, breast tumor rates were 17 percent lower in the rats who received the low dose of the apple extract, 39 percent lower with the medium dose and 44 percent lower with the high dose.

But don't go reaching for a supplement. Researchers emphasized that there is no substitute for the real thing. "No single antioxidant can replace the combination of natural phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables in achieving ultimate health benefits," write the researchers. "The pure compounds either lose their bioactivities in isolation or may not behave the same way as the compound in complex whole foods."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Osteoporosis Linked to Celiac Disease

New research points to a higher prevalence of celiac disease among people with osteoporosis. Celiac disease is a disorder of the immune system that damages the small intestine when foods containing gluten are eaten. Researchers claim that the disorder may interfere with calcium absorption, which in turn leads to osteoporosis. The good news is that individuals who were screened for celiac disease and put on a gluten-free diet showed improved bone mineral density. So if you suffer from osteoporosis, consider undergoing a simple test to determine whether or not you have celiac disease.