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 helped unmask.
However, this has not stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.
This week, our Medical Myths series marked World Alzheimer’s Day by challenging 11 misconceptions people may have about dementia. We also reported on a long-term study that supports the use of testosterone therapy to reduce obesity in people who might otherwise undergo bariatric surgery.
As part of a series of articles on health issues in the 2020 presidential election, we published a story on how voting and wider participation in politics may bring mental health benefits. Look out for more articles on health and the election in the coming weeks.
We round off this week’s selection with a collection of healthful recipes for weight loss, an inspiring personal story from a sickle cell anemia survivor, and our pick of the best aromatherapy candles to relieve stress safely and fragrantly.
Below are 10 recent stories that people may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.
1. Medical myths: All about dementia
The latest installment in our Medical Myths series tackles 11 myths about dementia. Tim Newman, MNT‘s Senior News Editor, wrote this article to mark World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.
The feature answers several crucial questions: Are Alzheimer’s disease and dementia the same thing? Is dementia an inevitable part of the aging process? Does dementia only affect older adults? And do vitamins and supplements have any role to play in preventing it?
2. Testosterone as a possible alternative to weight loss surgery
Our most popular news article this week reported on an 11-year study into the effects of testosterone on men with obesity who had clinically low levels of the hormone.
The results were striking, with males who received testosterone losing an average of 23 kilograms (kg), equivalent to 20% of their body weight. Those who did not receive treatment gained an average of 6 kg.
Those receiving treatment were also free of major cardiovascular events and type 2 diabetes, while 28% of those who did not receive testosterone therapy had a heart attack, and 20% developed diabetes.
3. How could voting benefit mental health?
In a recent Recovery Room, we featured Medical News Today‘s investigation into how health influences voting behavior. This week, we look at how voting and civic engagement may benefit mental health and overall well-being.
Both articles are part of Medical News Today‘s ongoing coverage in the weeks leading up to the presidential vote, including the latest Letter from the Editor on the role that health will play in the 2020 election.
4. Can we ease motion sickness through mental training?
Our readers spent an average of nearly 6 minutes each reading this article on a new technique for preventing motion sickness. It’s an unpleasant condition with symptoms that include nausea and vomiting, while people may also experience sweating, dizziness, hyperventilation, headaches, restlessness, and drowsiness.
Motion sickness can occur in cars, buses, trains, airplanes, boats, and theme park rides. It can also develop while using virtual reality headsets.
Now, a new study suggests that 14 days of simple, pen-and-paper visuospatial training may help reduce motion sickness, broadening transport options in people who would otherwise suffer from it.
5. Reading in company might enhance linguistic creativity
What role does social context play in influencing people’s ability to process language? This was the question researchers in Spain set out to investigate in a recent study, covered in MNT this week.
The research finds that our brains behave differently when we read alone compared with when we read in company. The presence of another may boost creativity, but there are other, more systematic tasks where reading alone may be beneficial.
6. Immune system may trigger anxiety in response to infection
A recent study in mice adds to evidence suggesting that, aside from attacking pathogens, the immune system might influence mood and anxiety. One of the immune signaling molecules, or cytokines, that mediates these links is called interleukin-17a (IL-17a).
In the study, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville found that IL-17a causes anxiety-like behavior in mice. The team now plans to investigate whether too much or too little IL-17a could affect anxiety in people.
7. Less sleep reduces our ability to maintain positivity
Last month, MNT launched a collection of articles on the science of sleep that covered topics such as dreaming, sleep disorders, and how to get a good night’s rest.
This week, we reported on a new study investigating how getting enough shut-eye helps people maintain emotional equilibrium and allows them to enjoy the good things in life.
“When people experience something positive, such as getting a hug or spending time in nature, they typically feel happier that day. But we found that when a person sleeps less than their usual amount, they don’t have as much of a boost in positive emotions from their positive events,” says lead author Nancy Sin.
8. Healthful recipes for weight loss
As well as reporting on the latest medical and science news, and how health intersects with politics and inequality, MNT‘s editors also produce articles that help with the everyday practice of healthful living.
This new feature presents healthful eating tips and recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help people kickstart their weight loss journey. We also look at the basic principles of weight loss and how the microbiome plays an important role.
9. Through my eyes: ‘Living my best life’ with sickle cell anemia
Through my eyes is a regular MNT feature where we invite contributions from people who have had personal experience with a health condition. Recent articles have shared the stories of those who have survived COVID-19, encephalitis, and misdiagnosed endometriosis.
This week, our contributor is Vanetta Morrison. Vanetta was born with a chronic illness and given a short life expectancy. Now, she helps people live their best lives from the inside out, and this is her story.
10. Aromatherapy candles: 3 options for stress relief
Mind, body, and nose – MNT have every aspect of your health and mental well-being covered this week, with this assessment of aromatherapy candles.
Aromatherapy candles contain essential oils, some of which may relieve stress. We look at the potential benefits, safety, and risks of using these products in your home.
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:
- Is there a link between thunderstorms and increased ER visits?
- Video gaming as a child related to improvements in memory
- Electoral psychology: Why people vote…or not