July 24 — The coronavirus pandemic has dominated the headlines, and our daily lives, for most of this year. Medical News Today have covered this fast-moving, complex story with live updates on the latest news, interviews with experts, and an ongoing investigation into the deep racial disparities that COVID-19 has unmasked.

However, this has not stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.

This week, we explore whether sugar really does make children hyperactive, which bacterium is 15 times more common in the gut of centenarians, and consider the risk to your health of using Bluetooth devices.

We also give advice on how to help someone experiencing a panic attack, why pickled capers could be good for your heart, and what to make of someone sticking their tongue out at you.

Here are 10 recent stories that people may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.

1. Medical myths: Does sugar make children hyperactive?

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Does sugar really drive kids wild?

In our new Medical Myths series, MNT will inspect some common medical myths and ask whether science supports them or bats them away.

The first feature in this series investigates whether sugar truly makes kids hyperactive. Most parents are convinced that sugar causes hyperactivity in children. Surprisingly, scientific evidence does not back up this theory.

Learn more here.

2. BMI for women: Calculator, chart, and pros and cons

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While BMI can act as a general indicator of health, it does not measure body fat.

The most popular article over the past week was our new body mass index (BMI) calculator for women. We take a closer look at the reliability of BMI, how it can help someone understand their weight and what it means for the risk of certain illnesses.

Learn more here.

3. How to help someone who is having a panic attack and when to get help

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Suggesting grounding techniques, such as sitting down or counting to 10, may help a person having a panic attack.

A panic attack is a sudden and intense episode of fear and anxiety that, in some cases, can leave a person feeling as though they are dying. This helpful guide explains what to do when someone is having a panic attack. We also discuss what to avoid, how to help someone breathe, and when to get help. It was one of our most widely read articles this week.

Learn more here.

4. DNA ‘remembers’ poor blood glucose control in diabetes

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New research explores how metabolic memory may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes complications.

A person’s DNA sequence is not the only thing that determines the behavior of their genes. Scientists have found that other factors play an important role in gene expression.

This week, we reported on a new study that looks at one such factor: blood sugar control. The first large scale research into this area found that DNA may ‘remember’ poor blood sugar regulation, increasing the risk of complications in people with type 1 diabetes.

Learn more here.

5. Gut bug may help prevent heart disease and promote longevity

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New research may have found the key to longevity in the gut.

MNT recently presented a wide range of articles for World Microbiome Day, and scientists are reporting discoveries almost daily. This week, we reported on new research that found people who live for 100 years or longer have, on average, 15 times more of the bacterium Eubacterium limosum in their gut.

Whether or not this bacterium has therapeutic potential will require more research, including clinical trials in volunteers who do not have high natural levels of this bacterium.

Learn more here.

6. How to feel more energetic in the morning

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Drinking water first thing may help a person feel more energetic in the morning.

How can you get more energy in the morning? This article provides 11 tips, from drinking more water and smelling essential oils, to taking a cold shower and stretching, that may help you feel more energized in the morning and ready to take on the day.

Learn more here.

7. Sticking tongue out: What it means, the psychology, and conditions

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Sticking out the tongue is often a sign of silliness or playfulness.

Why do some people stick out their tongue compulsively? Why do babies stick their tongues out? How does the meaning vary across cultures? This new MNT article looks at one of humanity’s universal behaviors, its cultural significance — and when it might mean you should contact a doctor.

Learn more here.

8. Compound in pickled capers could benefit the heart and brain

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Pickled capers hold benefits for heart and brain health, according to new research.

It’s always satisfying when modern medicine offers a scientific explanation for practices that folk medicine has long recommended. New research confirms ancient wisdom and suggests that pickled capers activate the potassium channels that regulate the activity of the heart and brain. The compound responsible for this effect is quercetin, and pickled capers are its richest natural source, though not the only one.

Learn more here.

9. Best stretches for lower back flexibility and pain relief

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Certain stretches can help ease lower back pain.

Poor posture and sitting still for long periods can cause lower back pain and tightness. Unfortunately, this is a very common ailment, with millions of us experiencing it at some time in our lives. But growing evidence supports the use of stretching as a way of treating pain and improving flexibility.

In this article, we present eight of the best lower back stretches for flexibility and pain relief. We illustrate each with an animation and clear instructions to guide you through the exercise.

Learn more here.

10. Are bluetooth headphones safe?

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Although Bluetooth devices emit EMR, the nonionizing waves are low frequency, so humans can use them safely.

This year has seen concerns and full-blown conspiracies surrounding 5G electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Bluetooth devices also emit nonionizing EMR at a low level, which does not typically harm people.

In this article, we take a look at both ionizing and nonionizing radiation, examine why people might be concerned about it, and assess the safety of regularly using Bluetooth devices.

Learn more here.

We hope that this has provided a taste of the range of stories that we cover at MNT.

We will be back with a new selection next week.

Coming soon: A sneak preview of what’s in our drafts folder

We publish hundreds of new articles every month. Here are some upcoming articles that may pique our readers’ interest:

  • Does fasting help breast cancer therapy?
  • The molecule in blood linked to cognitive decline in old age.
  • How a balance of REM and nonREM sleep assists learning.