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Archive for March, 2019

Caffeine consumption by pregnant women can increase the risk of miscarriage, a new study reports.

And, it doesn’t matter if the caffeine comes from coffee, tea, soda or hot chocolate. What does matter is the amount — the study found that when women drink more than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily, the risk of miscarriage increases twofold.

“What we found was that if women have heavy caffeine intake — greater than 200 milligrams a day — they have double the risk of miscarriage than women that don’t have any caffeine,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist in the division of research at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.

Results of the study were published online in the January issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Caffeine, the most frequently consumed drug in the world, crosses the placental barrier and reaches the developing fetus, according to the study. While previous studies have found an association between caffeine intake and miscarriage, it hadn’t been clear whether the problem was due to the caffeine or another substance in coffee, or if it had something to do with non-coffee drinkers’ lifestyles — perhaps people who didn’t drink coffee ate more fruits and vegetables, for example.

For the new study, the researchers looked at 1,063 women from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in San Francisco; they were interviewed at an average of 10 weeks’ gestation. During the study period, 16 percent of the women — 172 — had miscarriages.

The researchers found that 25 percent of the women who miscarried reported consuming no caffeine during their pregnancy. Another 60 percent said they had up to 200 milligrams of caffeine daily, and 15 percent regularly consumed more than 200 milligrams of caffeine each day.

In addition to asking about caffeine intake, the researchers also assessed the other known risk factors for miscarriage, such as smoking, a history of previous miscarriage, alcohol use and more. The researchers also compensated for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

“If you have a low risk of miscarriage, the effect of caffeine tends to show more,” said Li.

Li said that even among women who drank less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, the study found a 40 percent increased risk of miscarriage, but this finding didn’t reach the level of statistical significance.

“Women shouldn’t drink more than two regular cups of coffee a day, and hopefully they stop drinking totally for at least the first three months. It’s not a permanent stop. If they really have to drink, limit the amount to one or two cups — a regular cup is about seven and half ounces,” Li said.

But, not every doctor is convinced that there’s a direct cause-and-effect relationship between caffeine and miscarriage.

“The problem with this study is that when people miscarry, a large percentage of those miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities, and the researchers didn’t say whether these were normal or abnormal fetuses,” said Dr. Laura Corio, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

“Women are always worrying and wondering, ‘What did I do?’ Before we say a woman drank too much caffeine and that’s why she had a miscarriage, let’s see if it was an abnormal or normal pregnancy, said Corio.

“I think about 60 to 80 percent of miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities,” she added.

That said, however, Corio does advise her pregnant patients to limit caffeine consumption. “Women have a responsibility to the fetus — no cigarettes, no alcohol and just one cup of coffee a day,” she said, noting that many store-bought cups of coffee contain far too much caffeine, so a woman has to be aware of how much caffeine is in her favorite coffee.

“Have less than 200 milligrams a day,” no matter what the source — coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, etcetera, Corio advised. She said caffeine has also been linked to low birth weights and smaller head circumferences.

Li also advised limiting caffeine to less than 200 milligrams a day, especially in the early months of pregnancy and in the preconception period.

More information

To learn more about caffeine and pregnancy, visit the American Pregnancy Association.

SOURCES: De-Kun Li, M.D., Ph.D., reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist, division of research, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.; Laura Corio, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City; January 2008, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, online

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4510127&page=1

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Researchers suggest that people with an advanced meditation practice might operate at a different level of awareness — and it shows in their brainwaves.

As science begins to dig into the long-term impacts meditation has on the brain, researchers are turning to the minds “Olympic-level” meditators for answers—people who have done up to 62,000 hours of meditation in their lifetime.

Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman says the brainwaves of long-term meditators may look a lot different than the rest of ours.

Inside the mind of long-term meditators

In this video from BigThink, Goleman describes how neuroscientist Richard Davidson, his co-author on the book Altered Traits, measured the brainwaves of advanced meditators. Davidson found their brainwaves showed never-before-seen levels of gamma, one of the strongest types of brain waves,  theorized to appear when the different regions of the brain harmonize.

“We get [gamma] when we bite into an apple or imagine biting into an apple,” explains Goleman, “and for a brief period, a split second, inputs from taste, sound, smell, vision, all of that comes together in that imaged bite into the apple.”

The typical person will have a gamma wave very briefly, for example when we’ve solved a problem we’ve been grappling with, and for a second all of our sensory inputs come together in harmony. The brainwaves of long-term meditators, however, show gamma all the time as a lasting trait, no matter what they are doing. “It’s their everyday state of mind,” says Goleman. “Science has never seen this before.”

“The people that we’ve talked to in this Olympic level group say it’s very spacious and you’re wide open, you’re prepared for whatever may come, we just don’t know. But we do know it’s quite remarkable.”

Interestingly, when these long-term meditators are studied while they are meditating on compassion, their level of gamma jumps 700 to 800 percent in a few seconds.

This “awakeness” is special state of consciousness that you only see in the highest-level meditators.

“The people that we’ve talked to in this Olympic-level group say it’s very spacious and you’re wide open, you’re prepared for whatever may come—we just don’t know,” says Goleman, “but we do know it’s quite remarkable.”

Source: https://www.mindful.org/the-remarkable-brains-of-high-level-meditators/

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“Never bring shoes into your closet.”

What? It seemed counterintuitive. That’s where shoes go. But when Batista explained her reasoning for exiling shoes from their rightful shelves, it started to make more sense.

Why you should be taking your shoes off outside your home.

We all know someone (or maybe you are that someone) who operates a strictly shoeless home. Shoes carry the outdoors in and definitely contribute to dirt and grime buildup in our spaces. Instead of taking your shoes off when you walk in and then storing them in your closet, Batista recommends banning them from the inside of your home altogether.

For reasoning, she points to studies like a 2016 one out of the University of Arizona, which found the average shoe sole contained 421,000 different kinds of bacteria—90 percent of which was transferred to clean floors right away.

While there’s already a lot of bacteria in your home (and that’s not a bad thing, by the way), some of the grime on shoes can be particularly nasty. Batista references Coliforms, an indicator of disease often found in feces, as well as E. coli, as examples of things we could be unwittingly tracking in.

While science has yet to prove that the germs on our shoes can directly make us sick (and the research that has been done on the topic has been on specific categories of people, like dog owners and athletes), Batista lives in the “better safe than sorry” camp and says we’re better off annexing dirty soles—especially from small spaces with limited airflow like closets. She also says that leaving your shoes in the closet may lead to more dust mites—teeny-tiny critters that feed off dirty fabric and furniture in nearly every home and may trigger allergies.

Moral of the story: Designate an area to drop shoes outside of your home or apartment if possible, or invest in a shoe rack to leave in your entryway. And if you do want to store shoes during their off-seasons, do your closet a favor and be sure to give them a good clean first. While you’re at it, here’s a quick refresh for the rest of your closet:

  1. Start by vacuuming the floors.
  2. Then, remove all of your clothing (this is a good opportunity for a quick Kondo, too).
  3. Wipe down the shelves with a microfiber cloth that’s been lightly sprayed with water.
  4. Refold clothes and put them back in a way that makes them easy to see and access. If that means investing in a few clear storage boxes, so be it!

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/should-you-keep-shoes-out-of-your-home-this-cleaning-expert-says-yes?otm_medium=onespot&otm_source=inbox&otm_campaign=Daily+Mailer&otm_content=daily_20190329&otm_click_id=349e2d00e54fb42cbd6d654815a85cdb&os_ehash=4366f4a34c67ce527584ae17c656bb4bd17ce861

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