The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the headlines and our daily lives for most of this year. Medical News Today has 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 helped unmask.
However, this has not stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.
This week, our article on how high doses of vitamin D may ward off frailty in older age proved hugely popular. We also looked at the many possible benefits of ginger tea, one traditional medicine that appears to be backed by the evidence.
The latest article in our Medical Myths series assesses the evidence for and against taking vitamins and supplements. Is it always safe to do so? Do they even work as intended? We bust some common misconceptions.
This week’s Recovery Room also features new stories on the benefits of drinking plenty of coffee and green tea, virtual reality excursions into nature, the causes and treatment of high-temperature flatulence, and why we instantly forget some dreams, while others stay with us for years.
Below are 10 recent stories that you may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.
1. Very high dosages of vitamin D may delay frailty in old age
With nearly 300,000 reader sessions since its publication on Tuesday, our report on the potential benefits of large doses of vitamin D is our most popular new article this week.
MNT has covered research indicating that low levels of vitamin D may be a possible factor in determining the severity of COVID-19 in patients. Still, its role in the course of the disease remains unclear.
This new article reports on a study in mice suggesting that a dosage of vitamin D five times the current recommended amount for older adults could slow the development of frailty. Researchers now need to confirm that such an amount of vitamin D is both safe and effective in humans too.
2. What are the benefits of drinking ginger tea?
With nearly 65,000 sessions to date, another highly popular article was our report on the beneficial effects of drinking ginger tea. Our editors looked at the evidence for its impact on nausea and vomiting, digestion, sore throats and colds, relief from arthritis pain, as well as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
They also explored possible side effects and who should avoid drinking this beverage. While inexpensive and easy to make, ginger tea is one traditional remedy that may be worth your attention.
3. Medical myths: Vitamins and supplements
MNT‘s Senior News Editor, Tim Newman, writes a new Medical Myths article every fortnight. Recent editions have covered misconceptions about mental health, dementia, and aging.
This week, Tim tackles persistent myths about supplements, including multivitamins, probiotics, and antioxidants. Is natural always safe? Does vitamin C prevent colds? Does vitamin D prevent cancer? We explore the answers.
4. Study hints that early morning exercise may reduce cancer risk
Growing evidence states that recreational exercise reduces the risk of developing a range of cancers. This week, MNT reported on new research suggesting that the timings of physical activity may also affect the likelihood of this disease.
Researchers analyzed data from 2,795 participants in a study of the factors that cause common cancers in Spain. They found that exercising between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. had the strongest potential impact on reducing breast and prostate cancer.
5. What causes hot farts and how to prevent them
Many people come to MNT searching for answers to very particular health questions. Our editors strive to provide evidence-based information covering a full range of bodily functions and phenomena, and some of these turn out to be wildly popular.
This week, our article on hot farts was read by nearly 9,000 people, who spent an average of over 3 minutes getting to the bottom of this topic. If you have a burning medical question, a quick search on MNT will likely produce the answer.
6. Excess lipids in nerve cells may trigger Parkinson’s disease
Could an imbalance in fatty molecules within brain cells play a role in developing Parkinson’s disease? New research, reported in MNT this week, suggests this may be the case.
Scientists found an accumulation of fatty molecules, or lipids, inside dopamine nerve cells. It is the death of these cells that ultimately triggers the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The researchers conclude that the development of treatments that reverse this lipid imbalance could prevent and reduce the progression of the disease.
This article received more engagement on our Facebook page than any other this week.
7. Diabetes: Coffee and green tea might reduce death risk
More hot beverage news from MNT – people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who drink two or more cups of coffee and four or more cups of green tea every day benefit from a 63% reduction in the risk of dying from any cause.
The odds varied depending on the amount of coffee and green tea consumed by the 4,923 study participants. In this article, we also report on the reduced risks associated with drinking coffee or green tea alone, as well as the limitations of this observational study.
8. Natural flu remedies to try at home
MNT recently published a collection of evidence-based resources to help keep you and your loved ones healthy during the 2020–21 flu season. This week, we also published a new feature exploring a range of natural remedies that could relieve flu symptoms.
Rest, adequate hydration, nasal rinses, and humidity all feature, but we also shine the spotlight on herbal remedies, vitamins, and supplements. Which are safe and stand up to scientific scrutiny?
9. Virtual reality nature boosts positive mood
As the days get shorter, temperatures fall, and rainclouds gather, the outdoors lose much of its appeal this time of year. But what if there was another way to enjoy nature without getting cold and wet, or even leaving your home?
We reported on a possible solution this week, with new research suggesting that virtual reality nature experiences improve mood and induce positive feelings. For people confined to their homes, or with limited mobility, these virtual solutions could boost mental well-being and reduce boredom, according to the study.
10. Why do some people forget their dreams?
MNT has a wide variety of articles on every aspect of the science of sleep. This week we added to our collection with an in-depth investigation into why our dreams sometimes evaporate without a trace after waking.
As well as delving into the science of dreaming, this feature explores why we sleep, why we might dream, and how the memory of some vivid dreams can persist for years.
We hope these provide a taste of the stories 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 news stories and features every month. Here are some upcoming articles that may pique our readers’ interest:
- Medical myths: Vegetarian and vegan diets
- Stendhal syndrome: Can the beauty of art make us unwell?
- A third of older people may be prescribed ‘potentially inappropriate drugs’