Bad news, Washingtonians: Maryland and Virginia are less healthy than they were one year ago, according to a new survey.
The United Health Foundation released its 2013 annual report of America's Health Rankings today and while it touted the country in general for an improvement in overall health, our neighbors to the north and south slipped in the rankings. Maryland is the 24th healthiest state, followed by Virginia as the 26th healthiest.
In fact, Maryland and Virginia were two of four states that experienced the largest decline in rank. Both fell four spots from their 2012 rankings.
The controversy over energy drinks rages on with a statement recently released by a group of radiologists who determined that consumption of energy drinks leads to increased heart contraction rates.
“We’ve shown that energy drink consumption has a short-term impact on cardiac contractility,” said Dr. Jonas Dörner in a statement released by the Radiological Society of North America on Monday.
The results come on the heels of an ongoing national debate over the potential dangers of energy drinks. A 2013 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that the number of ER visits related to energy drink consumption has nearly doubled since 2007, with 20,783 patients admitted in 2011.
Researchers tested the effects of energy drinks on individuals’ hearts in a small study involving 18 men and women. Each participant underwent a cardiac MRI one hour before consuming an energy drink. Then they underwent a second MRI one hour after consuming an energy drink that contained 400 milligrams of taurine and 32 milligrams of caffeine, two main ingredients of energy drinks.
Results showed that one hour after drinking, the participants experienced significant increased heart contraction rates in the left ventricle. The left ventricle pumps blood to the aorta, which then distributes it to the rest of the body.
With changing weather and the end of daylight savings time comes another hallmark of fall and winter: cold and flu season. And if you find yourself succumbing to illness year after year, some surprising culprits could be to blame. Here are five of the top germ-infested public places to be extra wary of this flu season.
1) The Gym
Fitness centers are well-known breeding grounds for germs that might lead to infections or athlete’s foot. A study found high levels of body contamination on door handles, shower floors, free-weight benches and bars, and dumbbells. And don’t forget to give your yoga mat a wipe-down before you roll it up to prevent bacteria from growing.
2) Public Transportation
DC’s Wheaton Metro station boasts the Western Hemisphere’s longest set of single-span escalators. But you may want to avoid holding onto the rails, despite what the safety rules tell you. A study that looked at mall escalator handrails detected traces of blood, sweat, and urine. It also found blood, mucus, saliva, sweat, and urine on bus handles and armrests. Another study on a public transportation system in a US city found various strains of the infection-causing bacteria staphylococcus on bus and train floors, seats, armrests, and windows.
A recent study found that on laminated menus, salmonella survived up to 72 hours and E. coli up to 48 hours. And do you ever request a slice of lemon with your water or soda? A study that examined 76 lemons from 21 restaurants found that more than 60 percent of the lemon slices produced microbial growth.
Everyone knows a kid’s favorite time of the school day is recess. But what you might not know is that playgrounds are also hotbeds of germs. The same study that found bacteria on escalator handrails found that playgrounds were the site most likely to test positive for biochemical markers including blood, saliva, mucus, sweat, and urine.
5) Makeup Counters/Handbags
A two-year study by Elizabeth Brooks, a biological sciences professor at New Jersey’s Rowan University, found that testers and makeup counters were contaminated with staph bacteria and E. coli among other germs. So before you try on that lipstick, think of the hundreds who could have tried it on before you.
If you haven’t yet received the flu shot, surprising new research may finally convince you to get one.
Results from the study, the first of its kind, suggest that the influenza vaccine prevents more than just the flu. It can also protect against heart disease and stroke.
We've got some exciting news here at Well+Being: This Saturday we'll be joining Virginia Hospital Center at its first-ever weight-loss event that will feature top experts in the field of weight loss, exercise, weight loss surgery, and overall wellness.
Best of all? It's free.
This dreary weather is just asking for you to do some serious damage to that bottle of wine waiting at home. But if you’re worried about the aftermath, researchers have a new suggestion: Drink some Sprite.
Chinese researchers conducted a study that tested 57 different types of beverages and their effects on preventing a hangover. Xue bi, or Sprite, was the clear winner.
In Fairfax County Public Schools’ cafeterias, the students are the customers. And their palates are not pleased.
As first reported by the Washington Post, this past September students in Fairfax County schools complained so much about the new all-beef burgers served at lunch that the county opted to switch back to burgers containing additives—25 of them, to be exact.
If you needed one more study to prove that exercise—even something as simple as walking—is good for you, here it is: Walking can reduce one’s breast cancer risk by as much as 14 percent.
The research comes just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month and adds to increasing evidence that physical activity can help prevent breast cancer in women.
Nicole Christensen knows people have probably called people like her insane. Irresponsible. Reckless.
Why? Because she finished a CrossFit workout the morning she was supposed to give birth to her first baby.
“I worked out this morning at 9:30,” the CrossFit coach said last week from her home in Boulder, Colorado. “I back-squatted at 155 pounds, then did a workout called Nicole, which coincidentally has my name but is not named after me. It was a 20-minute-long workout of 400-meter runs and pullups.”
The Reston Association board of directors isn’t the only group cracking down on the growing market for electronic cigarettes. A major national organization has now entered the controversial debate, urging the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the product.
In a letter issued yesterday, the DC-based National Association of Attorneys General implored the FDA to regulate the advertising, ingredients, and sale of electronic cigarettes, specifically to minors. The letter was signed by 40 attorneys general; Maryland’s Douglas F. Gansler signed, while Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli did not.