FROM SAVORING A piece of cake to hugging a friend, many of life’s pleasures trigger a similar reaction in the brain – a surge of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical. Recent research suggests this reward circuit may do much more than make us smile. Researchers implanted skin and lung cancer cells in mice, then stimulated theContinue reading “FEELING GOOD COULD SLOW TUMOR GROWTH”

Cycling Can Give You the Immune System of a 20-Year-Old

Researchers studied 125 active cyclists ages 55 to 79, analyzing their blood for markers of T cells, which are known to help the immune system fight infections. Not only did the cyclists show higher T cell activity than inactive men and women in the same age group, but they also produced the same level ofContinue reading “Cycling Can Give You the Immune System of a 20-Year-Old”

A Gut-Bacteria Intervention to Help the Heart?

When gut bacteria break down certain compounds found in high-fat dairy products, egg yolk, liver, and red meat they produce a chemical called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which has possible links to cardiovascular disease. Researchers gave mice a substance that blocked gut bacteria’s production of TMAO. A single dose, which reduced TMAO levels for three days, wasContinue reading “A Gut-Bacteria Intervention to Help the Heart?”

Take a Break, Live Longer

In a 40-year study of 1,222 men, half the participants received advice to lose weight, exercise, and give up smoking. Compared with the men who weren’t counseled, this group of men reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease, but their death rate was higher – perhaps because making these changes caused stress. Within this group, thoseContinue reading “Take a Break, Live Longer”


If you find it hard to get your work done during the dog days of summer, blame the heat. In a Harvard University study, 20 students who lived in a dormitory with no air-conditioning had slower reaction times, 13% lower performance on basic arithmetic tests, and a nearly 10% reduction in the number of correctContinue reading “HEAT CAN MAKE YOUR BRAIN SLUGGISH”