Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Jan. 6)

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Unplug — the French Way

As of the new year, French workers are enjoying a new law that protects their “right to disconnect” from technology. Companies with more than 50 workers must enter into negotiations with their employees about when they can ignore their smartphones and “reduce intrusion of work into their private lives,” The Guardian reports. (The Guardian)

Teaching Doctors to Cook

Tulane Medical School in New Orleans requires that all first-year students learn to…cook! That’s right, along with classes in neurobiology and human anatomy, the medical students are learning about nutrition and how to cook real food in the kitchen. “It seems like Tulane has a really good idea about not just making us good doctors, but making us like good at overall health and I think that’s important,” one student told CBS. Leah Sarris, a chef, is on the medical school faculty — that’s a first — and she says Tulane is leading the way with its curriculum. “There is a revolution in the way physicians are talking to their patients and including food in that conversation,” she says. “And some of it started here at Tulane with our culinary medicine courses. We are now in about 15 percent of medical schools in the United States, they have licensed our curriculums.” (CBS)

Half of Studies on New Drugs Leave Out Adverse Effects

About half of all clinical studies on new medical treatments — including drugs — leave out some of the negative effects of those treatments, according to a recent report in PLOS Medicine. “What we found confirmed our suspicions: missing data are very common,” notes report co-author Yoon Loke, a physician and lecturer at the University of East Anglia in England. “Journal publications often report a smaller proportion of the measured adverse events than were observed in the clinical research. We found it alarming. You want to do the best for the patient, but if you can access only half the information, then a decision on choosing a particular drug or device might not be as reliable as you’d like.” (Scientific American)

Yet Another Reason to Eat Omega-3s

A new study suggests that omega-3 fatty acid intake could lower the risk of heart disease. The study, which was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and funded by an advocacy group that includes manufacturers of omega-3 supplements as its members, looked at previous research in the area. “The collective evidence from all studies supports a beneficial role of EPA and DHA on coronary heart disease, and stronger associations were observed among those who may benefit acutely from EPA and DHA, such as those with elevated triglyceride levels and those with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol,” says lead study author and epidemiologist Dominik Alexander of EpidStat Institute. (Reuters)

Need Motivation to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution? Read ‘The Telomere Effect’ 

We may have more control over the aging process than we think. That’s the upshot of a new book called “The Telomere Effect,” which suggests we can lengthen our telomeres — and our lives — through lifestyle-based measures such as good nutrition, exercise, and stress relief. “Telomeres listen to you, they listen to your behaviors, they listen to your state of mind,” says co-author Elizabeth Blackburn, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. Co-author Elissa Epel adds: “We can provide a new level of specificity and tell people more precisely with clues emerging from telomere science, what exactly about exercise is related to long telomeres, what exact foods are related to long telomeres, what aspects of sleep are more related to long telomeres.” (STAT)

Your Microbiome’s Circadian Rhythm

New research suggests that our gut microbiomes fluctuate over the course of a 24-hour day. Researchers from the Weizmann Institute in Israel have shown that the microbiomes of mice change throughout the day — and impact gene expression. “Amino acids, lipids and vitamins that the microbes release circulate in the host mouse’s blood. As the levels of these molecules in the blood changed throughout the day, they altered the expression of genes in the mouse’s liver that code for many metabolic enzymes,” CNN explains. “This is the first clear demonstration of the gut microbiota changing the circadian activity of an essential organ — in this case, the liver, which is the engine of our physiology and crucial to our health.” (CNN)

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