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The coronavirus pandemic has made headlines and our daily lives for most of the past year. Medical News Today has covered this complex and rapid story with live updates on the latest news, interviews with experts and an ongoing investigation into the deep racial disparities that COVID-19 has helped unmask.

However, that hasn’t stopped us from posting hundreds of compelling stories on a myriad of other topics.

This week’s recovery room begins with the final installment in our Medical Myths series, this time taking a close look at some heart disease misconceptions. It is also featured on our new cardiovascular health center.

Other articles examine the risk of taking your unfiltered coffee, the drug used to treat diabetes that can also help obese people lose significant amounts of weight, and a new understanding of how to treat a devastating disease that causes it. blindness in children.

We also take a look at what makes ‘adrenaline junkies’ chase thrills, how researchers are using light molecules to explore the human gut, and why locking can have a positive effect on mental and physical well-being. of some people, at least.

We highlight that research below, along with other recent stories you may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.

1. Medical Myths: All About Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month, and MNT has launched a new hub that showcases the best of our scientific content on cardiovascular health in one place. This new article that tackles some lingering myths and misconceptions about heart health is one of the highlights.

Should Young People Be Worried About Heart Disease? Is it better to avoid exercise if you suffer from it? Is heart disease familial? Can Coughing During a Heart Attack Save Your Life? These are just a few of the 10 myths MNT Editor-in-chief Tim Newman addresses in his latest article on medical myths.

Find out more here.

2. Dr. Marie Maynard Daly: the first black woman with a doctorate. in chemistry

MNT also marks Black History Month in February, with a series of special articles celebrating the achievements and legacy of black pioneers in medical science.

This week, we took a look at the life of Dr. Marie Maynard Daly. She was among the first researchers to help identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly those related to high blood pressure. His other contributions to science included the role of DNA in cells and the link between smoking and heart and lung health.

Dr Maynard Daly was born 100 years ago in Queens, New York, and graduated from Columbia University in 1947, becoming the first black woman in the United States to hold a doctorate. in chemistry.

Click below to learn more about Dr Daly’s impressive career and accomplishments and how she has become a role model for women and individuals from historically marginalized groups who dream of excelling in scientific research.

Find out more here.

3. Coffee and cholesterol: risks, benefits and more

One of our most popular new articles this week, with nearly 48,000 pageviews since Tuesday, is our survey of the effect of coffee on cholesterol.

Our editors review the evidence that coffee increases cholesterol and how different brewing methods can influence its effect. The higher levels of diterpenes in unfiltered coffee appear to have the most significant effect on cholesterol levels.

The article examines other possible adverse health effects of coffee, as well as the potential benefits. Finally, there are heart-healthy tips on how to lower cholesterol through diet and lifestyle changes.

Find out more here.

4. A non-invasive probe monitors the health of “friendly” gut bacteria

This week, we reported on some ingenious research that found a way to directly measure the level of activity of the bile salt hydrolase (BSH) enzyme in the gut. High BSH activity has been linked to decreased inflammation, lower blood cholesterol levels, and protection against certain cancers and infections.

Prior to this discovery, researchers relied on indirect methods to measure BSH levels, such as fecal analysis and bacterial cultures in the lab. The new method uses a chemical probe to detect levels of BSH throughout the length of the human intestine. It is based on a natural compound called luciferin, which emits light in the presence of oxygen, and the enzyme luciferase, which comes from fireflies.

Using this method in mice, the researchers also found that consuming prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS) increased the production of BSH without the need to combine it with more expensive probiotics.

This technique can help scientists unravel the complex interactions between diet, gut microbiota, and BSH activity.

Find out more here.

5. Mouse study examines how sounds influence early brain development

A new study reported in MNT this week suggests that sound may influence fetal development earlier than previously thought. These findings in mice could help uncover new ways to identify and treat hearing and other sensory disorders in humans.

The article explains how a team of researchers studied the effect of sound on developing neurons in the fetal brain using silent speakers, regular beeping, and genetically engineered deaf mice. The researchers plan to do more research on the effect of sound on neural development later in life.

Find out more here.

6. Research sheds light on vision loss in Batten disease

Batten disease is the name of a group of rare, inherited and fatal diseases. One form, called CLN3 disease, is characterized by progressive loss of vision during childhood, followed by learning and behavior problems, cognitive decline, and seizures.

This week, we reported on new research that revealed the mechanism that may be responsible for retinal damage in CLN3 disease. The researchers were able to correct the problem by using a virus to restore the ability to repair damage in the retina by inserting a working version of the CLN3 gene.

It is hoped that this discovery could lead to effective therapies for this type of Batten disease.

Find out more here.

7. Diabetes drug dramatically reduces body weight in obese adults

Obesity is a major global health problem, with severe obesity affecting over 9% of people in the United States. This week, MNT reported a new study that saw participants lose 14.9% of their body weight after treatment with an injectable diabetes drug, semaglutide, in addition to lifestyle interventions.

In addition to the significant reductions in body weight, there was also a decreased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. However, the Phase 3 trial that produced these results had some limitations, and it is not yet clear how the drug compares to other forms of obesity treatment.

Find out more here.

8. What is an adrenaline junkie?

People who feel pressured to participate in exciting, dangerous or intense activities are often referred to as adrenaline junkies. This week, our editors explored the meaning of the term, the biochemistry of the adrenaline rush, and whether or not you may become dependent on an epinephrine release.

For example, there is some evidence to support the idea that climbers experience withdrawal symptoms after a period without climbing. However, the study had only eight participants.

Find out more here.

9. Weight loss: is a vegan diet better than the Mediterranean diet?

A new direct comparison of vegan and Mediterranean diets seems to support the idea that plant-based diets are better for weight loss.

The 62 participants in this study, all overweight, followed a vegan diet for 16 weeks and a Mediterranean diet for 16 weeks, with 4 weeks of the normal diet in between.

Over 16 weeks, the low-fat vegan diet consistently produced greater average weight loss, fat loss and lower cholesterol levels, as well as reduced insulin resistance. Click below to learn more about the study’s results, how the researchers conducted it, and its limitations.

Find out more here.

10. Confinement may have improved the well-being of some

Finally, we present some good news about the effect the lockdown has had on our lives over the past year of the pandemic. Many of us can come out stronger, some people experience profound benefits.

When asked, “Do you think there are positives to come out of this pandemic and social distancing restrictions?” 88.6% of people answered “yes”.

Our article explores what those positives were, which people were most likely to react in this way, and how we could all use this information to rebuild our lives on a stronger footing in 2021.

Find out more here.

We hope this week’s recovery room provides a taste of the stories we cover at MNT. We come back with a new selection next week.

Coming soon: a preview of what’s in our drafts folder

We publish hundreds of new stories and features every month. Here are some upcoming articles that might pique the interest of our readers:

  • Probiotics for Weight Loss: What’s the Evidence?
  • What are human provocation studies?
  • The latest medical myths and curiosities of science

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