Reduce cancer rates
Small changes in your everyday life - at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes - can help lower your risk of the most common cancers by a third, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
The number of new cancer cases in the U.S is expected to rise every year as our population grows and ages. In 2008, there were 1,437,199 new cancer cases; in the year 2030 experts anticipate 2,220,692 new cancer cases - a 55 percent increase.
However, this number could be drastically reduced by positive lifestyle changes, says the AICR. This could translate to 740,000 cases of cancer that need not occur.
The World Health Organization believes reducing deaths from cancer and other non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025 is an achievable goal despite the increased risk that accompanies aging.
As anyone who's tried to quit smoking will know, it can be tough to abstain when you see or smell a cigarette. Exposing people to cues such as this without supplying the reward can curb addiction, say researchers, but only if memory of the addiction is retrieved first.
Yan-Xue Xue of Peking University in Beijing, and colleagues got people recovering from heroin addiction to retrieve the memory of their addiction by watching a video of the drug being used. They were then given "extinction" training - exposure to cues such as drug paraphernalia without being given the drug itself.
Participants were asked to rate their heroin craving before and after exposure to cues. Those who had extinction training 10 minutes after memory retrieval showed reduced craving when tested up to six months later.
Craving was unaffected for those who didn't undergo memory retrieval beforehand.
"This was our hope," says Daniela Schiller of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the work. It "shows that the method impacts a real-life craving."
Pregnant women still drink
Women continue to mix cocktails and pregnancy despite the dangers it can pose to unborn babies.
New government data found 7.6 percent of women drank while pregnant and 1.4 percent of those moms binged on alcohol and beer. Binge drinking involves four or more drinks on one occasion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used data from a telephone survey of more than 345,000 women aged 18 to 44 to come up with its analysis. Of those, 13,880, or 4 percent, were pregnant.
Women aged 35 to 44 were the most likely to drink when pregnant.
Women with a high school diploma or less were more likely to binge drink, as were those who were not married.
Drinking while pregnant can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and other fetal alcohol disorders that can cause lifelong disabilities, the CDC said.
Kangaroos know best
As many as 450,000 lives could be saved each year by taking a cue from marsupials. If parents of premature babies in poor countries were to continuously carry infants against the skin in "kangaroo pouches" and increase breastfeeding and regular medical monitoring, we might save more of the 15 million babies born too soon each year.
"It's about keeping the babies warm, breastfeeding and treating any new infections with antibiotics," says Joy Lawn, lead author of a new report by a group including the World Health Organization.