March 1, 2024

Do girl toddlers have bigger vocabularies?

Young girls tend to babble their way to bigger vocabularies earlier than boys, and researchers now think they might know why.

It has nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with parental interaction, researchers assert.

Parents tend to talk more to young children who have started talking and can respond to them, regardless of gender, according to data derived from more than 2,000 hours of observation.

In turn, those conversations fuel language development among the children.

“This study provides evidence that children actively influence their own language environments as they grow,” said lead researcher Shannon Dailey, a postdoctoral scholar at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

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Relax, a little stress might be good for you

If holiday demands get you frazzled, you can take heart from a new study: When it comes to stress, a little is good.

“The bad outcomes of stress are pretty clear and not new,” said Assaf Oshri, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“But there’s less information about the effects of more limited stress,” Oshri said in a university news release. “Our findings show that low to moderate levels of perceived stress were associated with elevated working memory neural activation, resulting in better mental performance.”

Working memory is the short-term information you use everyday for things like remembering a phone number or recalling directions on how to get someplace.

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Drinking rates rose in states once weed was made legal

Could unfettered access to marijuana fuel a rise in drinking rates?

Yes, report researchers who found alcohol consumption increased at times and in places where marijuana was made legal for certain groups.

The increase in drinking was mostly driven by young adults and men, according to University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health policy scientists.

“Recreational cannabis laws have made cannabis legally accessible to nearly half of U.S. adults, but it has been unclear how this affects the use of other substances, such as alcohol,” said senior study author Coleman Drake, an assistant professor in the department of health policy and management at Pitt Public Health.

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Do steroid injections worsen arthritic knees?

Corticosteroid injections to relieve pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis could actually be setting them back.

Two new studies have discovered that, despite the temporary relief of symptoms, the injections were associated with continued progression of the disease.

On the other hand, patients injected with another symptom reliever, hyaluronic acid, saw decreased progression of their knee osteoarthritis.

The findings were presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), in Chicago. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Most Americans still aren’t eating enough whole grains

Americans are eating more whole grains than ever before — but it’s still not enough.

Moreover, not everyone agrees on what whole grains actually are, according to a new study that found competing definitions.

The increase in whole grain intake over the past two decades is either 39.5% or 61.5%, according to researchers from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.

But by any definition, Americans are not getting the recommended amount of at least 3 ounces daily.

Researchers studied overlapping definitions from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and others.

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White House announces plan to end AIDS epidemic by 2030

The United States will renew its focus on ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, with new funding and a five-year strategy, the White House said Thursday. The Biden administration announced its ambitious plans on World AIDS Day.

Among the plan’s components are requesting $850 million in the 2023 budget for HIV prevention and care programs. Biden also proposed a new $10 billion national preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program. This could give access to PrEP and services for people without insurance or low coverage.

Global goals include reaching UNAIDS targets for reducing new infections and reaching targets for all age, gender, and population groups. It would also include improving equity for adolescent girls, young women, and children.

“Our work is not done. HIV remains a serious threat to global health security and economic development,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in the new strategy.

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How to prevent heart disease: different answers for men and women

Doctors give men and women different advice to head off heart disease, even though guidelines for both are the same.

Men were 20% more likely to be prescribed statins to lower blood levels of bad cholesterol compared with women, a new study found.

Women, meanwhile, were 27% more likely to be advised to lose weight or reduce their salt intake, and 38% more likely to receive recommendations to exercise.

Women were also 11% more likely to be advised to cut fat and calories.

The study findings were presented Saturday at a meeting in Singapore organized by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology and the Asean Federation of Cardiology.

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Frozen stuffed chicken products + microwave ovens = a recipe for salmonella

After repeat U.S. outbreaks of salmonella tied to frozen, breaded and stuffed chicken products, researchers are now pointing to microwave cooking as a key driver of illness.

Because they’re breaded, the popular products — for example, chicken stuffed with broccoli and cheese, chicken cordon bleu, or chicken Kiev — can look cooked. But under that breading the meat is raw, noted researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And therein lies the danger: Almost one-third (29%) of respondents to a recent questionnaire said they typically cooked the products in a microwave oven, which the CDC team said may not have the heat to kill off any hidden salmonella germs.

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