June 13th, 2014
12:01 AM ET
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Keep your phone out of your pocket – your sperm will thank you
Since guys don’t usually carry handbags, they tend to keep mobile phones in their pants pockets. A recent study from the University of Exeter suggests this may not be a great idea.
That cell phone could actually have a negative effect on your sperm quality.
The review looked at findings from 10 studies, that included almost 1,500 samples of semen. To evaluate the mens’ sperm quality, the scientists measured viability (the ratio of sperm that were alive), motility (the ability of sperm to move) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen).
Compared to a control group, the percentage of sperm showing normal movement dropped by 8% among men who pocketed mobile phones. This group's sperm's ability to survive also decreased in about 9% of the samples.
The scientists write that the individual risk for sperm damage depends on how long a man keeps his phone in his pants and how much electromagnetic radiation the phone emits.
Read more from TIME
Eating too many hamburgers may increase your breast cancer risk
Past research has shown that eating a lot of red meat increases the risk of bowel cancer. Now Harvard researchers say eating red meat in early adulthood also increases a woman's risk of breast cancer.
The scientists analyzed data from 88,803 premenopausal women. During 20 years of follow-up, the team looked at the diets of those who developed breast cancer.
The result: higher consumption of red meat was associated with a 22% increased risk of breast cancer overall. Women who ate more poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts had a lower risk for breast cancer.
Read more from BBC
The 'trust and cuddle-hormone' has another important purpose
Oxytocin is often referred to as the “trust and cuddle hormone” because of its role in maternal nurturing and friendship. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, now say that oxytocin is also essential for healthy muscle maintenance and repair.
Their recent study showed that injecting oxytocin under the skin helped animals' muscles heal better.
Oxytocin is the first “anti-aging” molecule approved by the Food and Drug Administration for clinical use. That’s why the study presents oxytocin as a future treatment target for age-related muscle wasting.
Read more from UC Berkeley
Bad-breath bacteria does more than turn off your date
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have found the bacteria that cause gum disease also create an imbalance in your immune system.
Their recent study revealed that the periodontal bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis disarms the immune system, leading to periodontitis, with inflammation and bone loss. The gum germs block the immune cells' killing ability and cause inflammation. The dead cells become nutrients that the bacteria feed off of.
“The result is a vicious cycle that exacerbates periodontitis," the researchers write. The team’s discoveries open up new targets for periodontitis treatment.
Read more from University of Pennsylvania
Heart disease can hurt your mental health
A healthy mind needs a healthy body.
According to a new study, keeping the heart healthy is also a great way to keep your brain fit. The research examined 17,761 individuals with normal mental function and then re-evaluated them after four years.
The scientists found that the risk for cognitive impairment is greater for people with poor cardiovascular health. A deficit in learning, memory and verbal skills developed in 4.6% of people with the worst heart health and in only 2.6% of those with the most healthy hearts.
The study doesn’t explain the mechanisms that may have led to the findings. However, the study’s author, Evan L. Thacker, said “undetected subclinical strokes could not be ruled out.”
To learn more visit Health.com
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