Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Mark's Daily Apple

20 Apr

Irradiated Food

Oh, the food supply, the food supply. It’s impossible to miss the media stories on the risks of food-borne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli. Meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables always seem to be the most insidious culprits. (But that Little Debbie snack cake, you’ll be relieved to know, is on the safe list.)

We’ve all heard that it’s important to diligently wash our produce and thoroughly cook all meats. But more and more, we’re hearing that these measures just aren’t enough. In contrast to two washing practices, a recent study organized by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service shows that irradiation kills more than 99% of many microbes, including salmonella and E. coli. Irradiation was compared with three minutes’ submergence in water and three minutes of cleaning with an unidentified chemical treatment. The water bath was ineffective at killing or removing E. coli, while the chemical treatment didn’t have significant effect on E. coli in tested spinach leaves and was not quite 90% effective when it came to lettuce.

Keep reading…

19 Apr

Move Your Body for Your Brain

A study presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting suggests that regular physical exercise may offer a protective benefit against mild cognitive impairment.

How cognitively impaired are we talking here? Think forgetting where you left your keys, remembering events, appointments, or to check Mark’s Daily Apple every day (as if you could ever forget that!) or recalling the details of a conversation.

Conducted as part of an ongoing study of aging, researchers from the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic surveyed 868 people ages 70 to 89 about their exercise habits between ages 50 and 65. Researchers also screened all participants for signs of mild cognitive impairment.

Keep reading…

18 Apr

8 Unusual Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Besides the odd scraped knee and that one fateful summer where you decided you’d look better as a blonde, you haven’t had much time for the medicine cabinet staple hydrogen peroxide. However, it should be noted that it does have a number of wild and unusual purposes…

But first, a discussion of what exactly this bubbly little solution is: In its purest form, hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2 as it is referred to by chemists and other science-nerds, is actually highly toxic. What you are generally getting when you buy an over-the-counter variety is only 3% hydrogen peroxide, with the rest made up of plain ol’ H2O! Hydrogen peroxide is probably best recognized by its signature brown bottle, which is used not as a marketing strategy, but to actually protect the bottles’ contents, which are highly sensitive to light.

Keep reading…

17 Apr

Doping/Dopey Scientists

Last week the British science journal Nature reported the results of an online reader poll that sought to measure the number of scientists who used “cognitive enhancing drug” and readers’ attitude to the drugs themselves. The poll, which was supposed to be part of an April Fools’ feature, revealed some unexpected results. Twenty percent of the 1427 responders (most of them Americans) said they used cognitive enhancing drugs for “non-medical purposes.” Of course, an online poll hardly constitutes a reliable scientific study. Nonetheless, we’re not talking about Mad magazine or The Onion here.

Ritalin was by far the most popular drug of choice (at 60% reported use). Responders said they turned to the drug mostly for extra concentration on tasks. The next most commonly used drug (at 50% use) was Provigil, which promotes wakefulness and is commonly prescribed for narcolepsy. Coming in third were beta-blockers (at 15% use), which are prescribed for high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia but were used in these cases for anti-anxiety effects.

Keep reading…

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