Great News for Nature Lovers

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 30, 2016

Adult Woman Enjoying Time with Pet Dog

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women residing in greener areas have a lower mortality rate.

Living in an area with lots of trees and other plants may actually lead to a longer life. In a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Channing Division of Network Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women residing in greener areas had a lower mortality rate.

The researchers used satellite imagery to rank the cumulative average greenness of the residential locations of more than 100,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. They found that those women residing in the greenest areas had a 12 percent lower rate of non-accidental mortality compared to those women residing in areas with the least amount of vegetation. The study adjusted for mortality risk factors, such as age, race, smoking, and individual- and area-level socioeconomic status. Findings were consistent across all regions of the United States, as well as in urban and rural areas.

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New Evidence that a Mediterranean Diet May Lead to a Longer Life

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 8, 2015

Researchers have found that sticking to a Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that sticking to a Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life.

The findings are based on the study of telomeres, the repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes. These chromosome tips get shorter every time a cell divides, and their length is a reliable biomarker (biological indicator) of aging in humans. Shorter telomeres have been associated with an increased risk of aging-related diseases (particularly cardiovascular diseases) and a decrease in life expectancy, while longer telomeres, correspondingly, have been linked with longevity.

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For Women, a Beer Every Couple of Days Might Help Keep Rheumatoid Arthritis Away

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 18, 2014

A new study suggests that, for women, drinking moderate amounts of beer may reduce future development of rheumatoid arthritis.

If you enjoy the occasional beer, you might be reducing your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

A new study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) suggests that, for women, drinking moderate amounts of beer has a positive impact on the development of rheumatoid arthritis – the most common type of chronic arthritis caused by the immune system.

“Long-term, moderate alcohol drinking may reduce future rheumatoid arthritis development,” explains principal investigator Bing Lu, MD, DrPH, of the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at BWH. “The study found that moderate use of any form of alcohol reduced the risk by 21 percent, but moderate beer drinking – between two and four per week – cut women’s odds by nearly a third.”

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Mediterranean Diet May Lead to Longer, Healthier Lives for Women

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 15, 2014

Middle-aged women who follow a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet may live a healthier, longer life.

A few months ago, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers released a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that indicates middle-aged women who follow a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet may live a healthier, longer life.

“Women with healthier dietary patterns at midlife were 40 percent more likely to survive to age 70 or over,” says lead researcher Cecilia Samieri, a postdoctoral fellow who conducted the study while at BWH. She is now a researcher at INSERM and Universite de Bordeaux, in France – the French equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The women who ate healthier not only lived longer, but they also thrived. They were less likely to have any major chronic diseases and more likely to have no impairment in physical functioning, mental health, or thinking skills. The research did not, however, prove a cause-and-effect link between better eating and longer life.

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Aspirin and Your Health: Past, Present and Future

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 30, 2014

Aspirin, used for centuries as a pain reliever, has only been recognized as having benefits for the heart in the past several decades. In the following video, Dr. JoAnn Manson, Chief, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Division of Preventive Medicine; Co-Director, Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology; and Co-investigator, Nurses’ Health Study, Physicians’ Health Study, and Women’s Health Study, describes the discovery by BWH researchers that aspirin could prevent first heart attacks, saving lives worldwide.

Heart Attack Prevention in Men

Due to aspirin’s ability to thin the blood and prevent platelets from clumping, clinical researchers concluded, in the late 1970s, that aspirin could help prevent heart attacks in people who had suffered them previously. Several randomized trials demonstrated this benefit in high-risk individuals.

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Not So Sweet – Sugary Drinks Linked to Kidney Stone Risk

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 18, 2013

Drinking soda, even at modest levels, may lead to a higher risk of developing kidney stones.

The copious consumption of sugary drinks already has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. And now, new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, even at modest levels, could put folks at greater risk for developing yet another health issue, a quite painful one – kidney stones.

“Our study found that the relation between fluid intake and kidney stones may be dependent on the type of beverage consumed,” explains Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, a physician in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and senior author of this study. “We found that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with a higher incidence of kidney stones.”

After analyzing the data of nearly 200,000 participants from three large-scale studies – the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the Nurses’ Health Study I, and Nurses’ Health Study II – researchers found that people who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened cola servings per day had a 23 percent higher risk of developing kidney stones than those who consumed less than one serving per week. Similarly, drinking other types of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch, were found to carry just as great a risk as soda for developing kidney stones. On the other hand, there also was strong evidence that some beverages, such as coffee, tea and orange juice, were associated with a lower risk of stone formation.

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A Link between Melatonin Levels and Diabetes?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 18, 2013

The amount of melatonin a person secretes during sleep may predict their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

Many of us take melatonin to get a good night’s sleep. Now, new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) suggests that melatonin may play another important role in our health. Led by Dr. Ciaran McMullan, a researcher in the Renal (Kidney) Medicine Division in the Department of Medicine at BWH, the study finds that the amount of melatonin a person secretes during sleep may predict their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the brain and secreted into your bloodstream. Melatonin, mainly produced at night, helps regulate your body’s sleep cycles.

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Keep an Eye on Your Coffee Consumption

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 15, 2012

Is trouble brewing for coffee drinkers?

My rationale for copious coffee consumption just took a big hit.

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital research team led by Jae Hee Kang, MSc, ScD, found a correlation between the heavy consumption of caffeinated coffee and an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma (exfoliation syndrome), a disease that can lead to vision loss. After examining the data of 79,787 women from the Nurse’s Health Study and 41,202 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Kang’s team found that people who drank three or more cups of coffee daily were at 66% greater risk of developing exfoliation syndrome than those who drank no coffee at all. Interestingly, the research did not find similar associations between exfoliation syndrome and other caffeinated food and beverages, such as soda, tea, or chocolate.

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Can Anxiety Age You?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 26, 2012

Women with phobias may experience accelerated aging.

Someone who is afraid to be in crowds or to go outside might tell you that their persistent fear seems to have the diabolical power to age them. Now science is suggesting that this feeling might not be just a state of mind for people suffering from phobic anxiety (phobias).

New Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) research, featuring a subset of over 5,000 participants from the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, shows that middle-aged and older women with phobic anxiety tend to have shortened telomeres (DNA proteins), a condition that is considered to be a sign of accelerated aging and has been linked to an increased risk of cancers, heart disease, and dementia. The study found that highly phobic women tend to have telomere lengths similar to non-phobic women who are six years older.

Phobic anxiety, a constant irrational fear of an object, situation, or activity, affects up to 10 percent of our population. Aside from its potential impact on aging, it can have significant psychological and physical health effects, including depression and heart disease.

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Berries Keep Your Brain Sharp – Is that News to You?

Posted by Blog Administrator May 3, 2012

Elizabeth Devore, Berry Research

A study led by Elizabeth Devore (above) finds that just two or more servings of berries each week can reduce memory decline. But will that news change your eating habits?

This past week, it’s been all over the news: Berries keep your brain sharp.

The research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that a high intake of flavonoid-rich berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, can delay memory decline in older women by 2.5 years.

This research may sound oddly familiar, and perhaps you’re wondering: Should I pay attention, or is this just one more in a long line-up of research studies on the health benefits of berries?

The truth is: This study is different. Previous studies on berries and memory were conducted in animals or very small groups of humans. This latest research focuses on a large sample of women and is unusually comprehensive.

“What makes our study unique is the amount of data we analyzed over such a long period of time,” explains Elizabeth Devore, a researcher in the Channing Laboratory at BWH and the lead author on this study. “No other berry study has been conducted on such a large scale.”

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