Last week in health: Prince died from overdose, how to avoid breast cancer, and more

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Marijuana used by adults tied to few physical health problems. Other than being at an increased risk of gum disease, people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years during adulthood were generally as healthy as people who didn’t light up, according to a new study.

The same researchers had previously found that marijuana users were at higher risk of cognitive decline and descent into lower social and economic strata, but the new study suggests the same isn’t true for physical health.

Prince Died From Fentanyl Overdose. Pop superstar Prince found dead more than a month ago at his estate outside Minneapolis, died from an overdose of the powerful opioid fentanyl, authorities said.

In its report, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office lists his cause of death as “fentanyl toxicity,” saying the overdose was accidental. The office said in a statement that the Carver County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation, and said the medical examiner’s office would have no further statement.

The doctor who plans to end malaria. Professor Adrian Hill is conjuring up a formula to protect us from diseases. Hill is creating a well-crafted “potion” of ingredients which, when combined inside a vaccine, could prepare our immune system to attack biological invaders.

His formulation could one day form the foundation to protect humans from a range of diseases including malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. It’s being harnessed to design a new class of vaccine, unlike any other in use today, with an end goal of disease elimination.

Here are the things women can do to avoid breast cancer. A new study suggests even women with a family history of breast cancer can reduce their risk with lifestyle changes.

The researchers estimate that close to 30% of all breast cancers in the U.S. could be prevented if women maintained a healthy weight, do not use hormone therapy for menopause, and cut back on drinking and smoking.

FDA issues new guidelines to reduce sodium in processed foods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants the food industry to cut back on the salt.

In draft voluntary guidelines, the agency set both two-year and 10-year goals for lower sodium content in hundreds of processed and prepared foods. The aim is to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke among people.

Why do women have more migraines? Fluctuating oestrogen levels may be the reason why some women are more prone to frequent migraines than men, scientists have claimed. Characterized by debilitating headaches, this health issue mostly affects women of reproductive age.

Men are less likely to get a migraine: about 18% of women compared with 6% of men experience these pains. This latest study, published in the journal Neurology, suggests women suffer in greater proportion because of changes in sex-hormone levels in their bodies.

Dietary fiber intake tied to successful aging. Most people know that a diet high in fiber helps to keep us ‘regular.’ Now researchers have uncovered a surprising benefit of this often-undervalued dietary component.

A new paper — published in The Journals of Gerontology — reports that eating the right amount of fiber from bread, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age. The researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging. They found that out of all the factors they examined — which included a person’s total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake — it was the fiber that made the biggest difference to what the researchers termed “successful aging.”

Many obese young adults unaware of kidney disease risk. Researchers examined more than a decade of data on almost 7,000 people aged 20 to 40 years and found more than one-third had what’s known as abdominal obesity or belly fat.

They also looked at data on lab tests to detect elevated levels of the protein albumin in the urine, which signals that kidneys aren’t functioning properly and indicates a heightened risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Not many people had elevated albumin levels, but less than 5 percent of those who did have this risk factor said they had been told about the problem.

The take-home message for young adults is that abdominal obesity, which we know is associated with diabetes and high blood pressure, is also associated with early signs of kidney disease.

Prostate cancer aggression ‘linked to waist size’. Research on 140,000 men from eight European countries found that a 4in (10cm) larger waist circumference could increase the chances of getting prostate cancer by 13%.

Men were most at risk when their waist was bigger than 37in (94cm), the study found. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.

Yoga may be good for the brain. A weekly routine of yoga and meditation may strengthen thinking skills and help to stave off aging-related mental decline, according to a new study of older adults with early signs of memory problems.

Most of us, past the age of 40 are aware that our minds and, in particular, memories begin to sputter as the years pass. Familiar names and words no longer spring readily to mind, and car keys acquire the power to teleport into jacket pockets where we could not possibly have left them.

Surprising discovery:

Scientists can figure out what kind of movie you’re watching by studying your breath. When we breathe, we emit chemicals into the air that are very telling.

The chemicals you emit are different for dramas and comedies according to researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Johannes Gutenberg University recently. [Quartz]

#QuoteoftheWeek – “True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington” ~Anonymous

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