U.S. cancer death rates on the decline

Cancer death rates have fallen steadily in the U.S. since the 1950s, a new paper in Cancer Research reveals. Kids and young adults were the first to see a big drop, but now the gains are felt by adults of all ages, the study reports.

If this sounds like a typical news flash that contradicts what you just read yesterday, it’s only …

Do working women get lower quality sleep than men?

While domestic responsibilities are slowly being divvied up more equally among men and women with the increasing prevalence of working moms and stay-at-home dads, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that women still shoulder most of the household and child-rearing responsibilities. A study highlighted by the Economist earlier this …

Does cancer screening save lives? Not nearly as many as you might guess

Most people grossly overestimate the benefits of cancer screening, according to a new survey of 10,228 Europeans. A whopping 92% of women believe the life-expectancy benefit from breast-cancer screening is at least ten times bigger than it really is, or say that they don’t know how much benefit screening provides. (On average …

Four lifestyle rules to keep you healthy

Follow four simple rules and you could reduce your chronic-disease risk by as much as 80%, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The golden lifestyle rules: never smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet.

Sounds simple? It is — and yet only 9% of the nearly …

Stay positive: Study shows that optimists live longer

Optimists outlive pessimists, a new study shows. Of nearly 100,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, those who gave optimistic answers on a personality test were 9% less likely to develop heart disease within eight years — and 14% less likely to die — than women who got low optimism scores on the test.

TIME’s Alice …

Breastfeeding may lower risk of cancer

Women who breastfeed appear to have lower risk of developing pre-menopausal breast cancer than those who don’t, according to a new study released today in in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The stats are especially compelling for women with a family history of the disease. Among that group, women in the study who’d breastfed had just …

The science of itching

Scientists have found a way to manipulate the neurons in mice that respond to itch — and, in the process, have settled a longstanding debate: Is itchiness just a form of pain, or a separate, unique sensation?

It turns out the brain treats itch and pain completely differently, even though they can both be excruciating.

What Causes Back Pain?

A common back-pain surgery works no better than a faked surgical procedure, according to a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine. But the setback for the treatment may raise new questions about what really …

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