Weekly Health Update:

Mental Attitude
Feeling Powerless Makes Life More Physically Challenging. New research suggests that people who feel personally and socially powerless perceive tasks as more physically demanding than they really are. The study involved participants who were presented with a series of statements to determine their beliefs regarding their power in social relationships as well as evaluating their perception of physical tasks. The researchers explain, "The present work suggests that feeling powerless - whether due to inherent personality characteristic in dealing with others, or because of having been conferred a disadvantageous social role - leads people to perceive [physical obstacles] differently, presumably because they are faced with challenges for which they lack the resources to overcome them." 
Journal of Experimental Psychology, February 2014

Health Alert
Increased Inhalation of Air Pollutants Linked to Obesity. Overweight and obese individuals breathe in up to 50% more air each day than individuals at a healthy weight and even more than some athletes. This means they may inhale an above-average quantity of air contaminants. The study's author, Dr. Pierre Brochu, says more research is needed to determine if these high inhalation rates may be linked to increased rates of asthma and other lung diseases among overweight or obese individuals. 
Risk Analysis, October 2013 

Anemia Doubles Stoke Risk. According to new research, people with an iron deficiency are nearly twice as likely to suffer a 
stroke. While the mechanism is not fully understood, researchers note that blood platelets in anemic patients are "stickier," which may make them more likely to form a blood clot. It's estimated that 30% of the world's population suffers from anemia. The most common causes of iron deficiency include blood loss, poor diet, or an illness that hinders the body's ability to absorb iron during the digestive process such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease. 
PLOS ONE, February 2014

Shivering and Exercise Increase Brown Fat. A new study shows that shivering and moderate exercise are capable of stimulating the conversion of energy-storing white fat to energy-burning brown fat. The study found that 10-15 minutes of shivering or about an hour of moderate exercise increases the hormone irisin, which turns white fat cells into brown fat cells. 
Cell Metabolism, February 2014

Vibrations and Spinal Pain. Workers such as train engineers, truck drivers, and machine operators who are chronically exposed to whole-body vibrations are at greater risk for experiencing both neck and back pain. 
Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, February 2014 

Three Tips to Avoid Athlete's Foot. Athlete's foot is a fungal infection most often acquired by walking barefoot in moist public places like locker rooms and near swimming pools. The condition can result in flaky skin, cracking, and itchiness between the toes and on the soles of the foot. According to the American Academy of Dermatology to prevent athlete's foot: 
1) Protect the bottom of your feet with shoes, flip flops, or sandals any place where others have walked barefoot, including hotel 
2) Keep your feet dry by wearing sandals or flip-flops when walking around on a hot day as the fungus thrives in warm, 
moist environments like sweaty shoes. 
3) If you live with someone with athlete's foot, don't share towels, linens, or shoes and wear footwear anywhere they may have walked barefoot. 
American Academy of Dermatology, February 2014

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, 
is to love whoever is around to be loved.” 
~ Kurt Vonnegut

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