A mysterious decline in hip fractures

Hip fractures may be one of the most devastating injuries that humans face, but they’re also less frequent than they used to be. Today Canadian researchers announce that the hip-fracture rate fell 31.8% for Canadian women and 25% for Canadian men between 1985 and 2005. (A decline has also been noted in the U.S., but over a shorter …

How your love life can influence cancer survival rates

There is a wealth of research showing that married people tend to have better survival rates when they encounter illness compared with those who are unmarried or widowed. The correlation between psychological and emotional health and improved immunity is something scientists refer to as “psychoneuroimmunology.” In the case of married

What’s the best way to quit smoking?

With so many options on the market for programs, pills and treatments to help you kick the habit, how can you tell which is the best method to use? TIME asked Dr. Michael Fiore, a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and founder of the school’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.

Can you really worry yourself sick?

A study published this week in the Journal of Research in Personality finds that personality traits that cause people to worry too much and endure chronic stress may actually increase their risk for illness and premature death. A handful of studies have shown that neuroticism—broadly, the tendency to worry too much—can actually be

Is there a maximum age to which humans can live?

It’s one of humanity’s longest-standing questions: How long can we live? Even the Bible weighs in. But people, on the whole, seem to be natural pessimists when it comes to the answer. Time after time, experts have estimated a maximum possible life expectancy that any human population could achieve. Time after time, we’ve exceeded it. …

Smokers’ tongues less sensitive to taste

Adding to research that shows smoking can dull your sense of taste, a group of Greek ear, nose and throat specialists and physiologists recently conducted a study of 62 male soldiers—34 of whom were non-smokers, and 28 smokers—measuring their sense of taste using a technique called electrogustometry. The method entails administering

The chemicals in candles

Burning everyday paraffin-wax candles can emit a storm of toxic chemicals, including toluene and benzene, according to a study presented today to the American Chemical Society. To be sure, it’s nowhere near as harmful to light an occasional candle as it would be, say, to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. But the researchers say that …

Phone calls help cancer patients feel better

When nurses reach out to their cancer patients by phone, those patients on average report higher quality of life and better mood, even if their symptoms are no better than other patients’. The finding comes from a new report published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. New Hampshire researchers tested a simple …

The dangerous stuff in tobacco snuff

A study analyzing the chemical composition of smokeless tobacco—snuff and chewing tobacco—finds that, in excess of the risks posed by tobacco and nicotine exposure, users are subjecting their bodies to an array of harmful chemicals. Confirming and expanding on previous research into smokeless tobacco products, the researchers found

Can smoking pot lower your threshold for pain?

A study published this week in Science suggests that the active ingredient in marijuana, cannabinoids—which include THC and other chemicals—may limit the body’s ability to tamp down pain responses, and, as a result, turn short term acute pain into more long term discomfort. While there has been a growing amount of research analyzing

New drugs could target cancer stem cells

Boston-area researchers have developed a new technique to identify chemicals that kill cancer stem cells — the part of a cancer that drives tumor growth. A common problem with current chemotherapy treatments is that they knock back a cancer successfully, only for the tumor to re-grow later because, it seems, the all-important stem …

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