While researchers are busy developing sophisticated laboratory tests to predict who will eventually succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, a seemingly mundane observation may provide one of the strongest predictors yet identified: pain.
A series of research articles in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggest that light-to-moderate drinking during pregnancy (up to 8 drinks per week) does not affect IQ , intelligence, attention, and executive function , selective and sustained attention , or general intelligence  in 5-year-old children.
Children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than are children who learn to speak only one language, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. However, the study also found that bilinguals are slower to acquire vocabulary than are monolinguals, because bilinguals must divide their time between two languages while monolinguals focus on only one.
In addition to the well-known impact on risk for disorders such as diabetes and reduced life-expectancy, the effects of obesity may extend to psychological function. The so-called obesity epidemic may be causing decline in cognitive function through direct and indirect impacts on brain functioning. An expanding waistline thus appears to link to decreasing ability to learn and remember.
Health Highlights is a biweekly summary of particularly interesting articles from credible sources of health and medical information that we follow & read.
- Health Sites: Some Are More Equal Than Others | e-Patients.net
One of Google’s initiatives is to guide consumers to credible health information. However, Google Health’s OneBox doesn’t treat all health sites the same.
- Alcohol causes cancer, and here’s the evidence | Cancer Research UK – Science Update
Although everyone knows about the short-term effects of excessive drinking, the long-term effects are often overlooked. Ed Yong at Cancer Research UK discusses the science of alcohol and cancer.
- iPad For Medicine Is About The Software | Doctor Anonymous
In the midst of excitement surrounding the Apple iPad, Dr. Anonymous reminds us that, when it comes to medicine, it’s all about the software.
- 5 Ideas About Feedback & Behavior Change, Supported by Evidence | The Decision Tree
Thomas Goetz discusses the benefits of feedback and behavior change, and the research to support each claim.
- What kind of Internet user are you? | BPS Research Digest
Does your Internet use reflect your personality? BPS Research Digest reviews a study that evaluated how people with certain personality types use the Web.
- Exercise Today, Reap The Benefits Later In Life! | Healthcare Hacks
A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that development of age-related chronic diseases and disabilities is not inevitable if people are physically active in their midlives.
- Andrew Wakefield “Acted Unethically” | NeuroLogica Blog
Following a two-and-a-half year ethics investigation, the General Medical Council (GMC), which registers doctors to practice medicine in the UK, has concluded that Andrew Wakefield, the UK researcher who suggested a link between autism spectrum disorders and MMR vaccination, acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in his research.
- 17 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight | Mark’s Daily Apple
Do you exercise? Are you currently on a diet but can’t seem to shed the pounds? Mark Sisson runs down the reasons you’re not losing weight.
- Two drugs show best treatment possibility for MS | Mind Hacks
A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on two new drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis that are more effective than existing modalities. Vaughan Bell reviews the findings.