health

The FlavoRx pilot study provided at-risk patients with prescriptions worth $30 at a farmer's market.
Francie Randolph / Sustainable CAPE

We all know that we’d be healthier if we ate more fruits and vegetables. Your doctor may have suggested that. But few of us actually do anything about it. But would that change if you actually got a prescription that covered the cost of fresh, locally-grown produce? That was the question at the heart of a recent pilot project on Cape Cod, called FlavoRx.

Hana Kučová / http://hanakucova.cz/

As the new year begins, you may be planning to make some changes. And, as a nation, we seem to be in a state of flux – socially and politically. Following through on resolutions and staying sane in a rapidly changing world takes more than will-power and positive thinking.

Here are three tips based on the latest science of psychology and neurobiology:

Usually, efforts to find a new treatment or cure for a disease go something like this: scientists spend years figuring out something about the basic biology of the disease, and then spend more years finding ways to target a part of that process. When they hit on something that works in the laboratory, they (or, often, a pharmaceutical company) spend even more years - and a lot more money - doing the tests necessary to prove a drug is safe and effective for use in human patients.

We come into contact with countless chemicals everyday. In fact, we're made of chemicals. But the number of human-made, synthetic chemicals in our lives has skyrocketed, and many common household and personal care products actually contain chemicals that may be bad for our health.

Scientists can measure the amounts of these chemicals in retail products and the home environment, and they can study what they do to animals in laboratory. But that leaves one big, unanswered question:

Palliative care physician Justin Sanders uses the Serious Illness Conversation Guide in talking with a patient.
Courtesy of Ariadne Labs

There has been a growing recognition in recent years that patients near the end of life need a different kind of care – treatment that focuses on controlling symptoms, like pain and anxiety, rather than attempting to cure a disease. Most doctors and nurses aren’t trained to handle this transition and, until recently, haven’t had the information and tools necessary to do it well. That is changing.

At least ninety percent of household dust contains chemicals that pose a health risk.
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

As if you need one more reason to hate household dust, science increasingly indicates it could be a hazard to your health. A recent review of research, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, finds that the vast majority of household dust contains potentially toxic chemicals.

There Is No Tsunami of Autism Cases

Aug 29, 2016
Avery Books

The number of autism diagnoses has risen steadily in recent years and currently stands at one in 45 American children diagnosed each year. There’s been concern that the increase is being fueled by environmental causes, but a new history of autism research says the condition has always been common and is widely misunderstood.

Wikicommons

Lyme disease has reached epidemic proportions, and Cape Cod and the Islands represent a major epicenter of the disease. Between 2010 and 2014, Chilmark and Nantucket had the highest number of cases of Lyme disease per capita of anywhere in the state. 

Roughly 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick. 

The clinging jellyfish, Gonionemus vertens.
Annette Govindarajan

The sting of a jellyfish can range from a mild annoyance to a life-threatening incident, depending on the species. Reports of severe stings in coastal ponds along the coast of Cape Cod in recent years have sparked concern that a new, more virulent jellyfish may have entered the area. It turns out the jellyfish responsible – known as a clinging jellyfish - may have been here for more than a century.

Winning a war takes more than guns. The need to keep soldiers safe and healthy have prompted researchers to explore everything from Kevlar underwear to laundry-free uniforms and shark repellents (no luck, yet, on that front). In her new book, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Mary Roach goes behind the scenes with the scientists trying to make life a bit better for soldiers.

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