What's the buzz..

What's the buzz..

Tea drinkers are less susceptible to superbug

The government study of more than 5,500 Americans found that those who drank hot tea or coffee were about half as likely as non-drinkers to contract MRSA in their nostrils. “Hot tea and coffee have been found to have antimicrobial properties,” wrote lead researcher Eric Matheson, of the University of South Carolina, Charleston. “Consumption of hot tea or coffee is associated with a lower likelihood of MRSA nasal carriage,” added Matheson.

The big caveat, though, is that the link does not prove that tea or coffee is the reason for the lower risk of contracting MRSA, Matheson said.

The study shows an association between the two, “but you never can conclude causation from an association. I can't tell you that this finding isn't just a coincidence,” he said.

Large waist doubles risks for kidney disease patients

A study has found that patients with kidney disease face double the risk of dying if they have large waists.

The study, led by a Loyola University Health System researcher, found that the larger a kidney patient’s waist circumference, the greater the chance the patient would die.

Researchers examined data from 5,805 adults aged 45 and older who had kidney disease and participated in a study called REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke).

They were followed for a median of four years and during that time 686 kidney patients (11.8 percent) died. The average Body Mass Index (BMI) of the kidney disease patients who died was 29.2.

This was lower than the average BMI, 30.3, of the patients who survived.
(A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 and above is obese.)

By contrast, the kidney patients who died had a larger average waist circumference (40.1 inches) than the patients who survived (39.1 inches.)

Meditation slows down age-related brain atrophy

Researchers at UCLA had earlier found that specific regions in the brains of long-term meditators were larger and had more grey matter than the brains of individuals in a control group. Now, a follow-up study has suggested that people who meditate also have stronger connections between brain regions and show less age-related brain atrophy.

Eileen Luders, a professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues found that the differences between meditators and controls are not confined to a particular core region of the brain but involve large-scale networks that include the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes and the anterior corpus callosum, as well as limbic structures and the brain stem.

“Our results suggest that long-term meditators have white-matter fibers that are either more numerous, more dense or more insulated throughout the brain,” said Luders.
"We also found that the normal age-related decline of white-matter tissue is considerably reduced in active meditation practitioners,” added Luders.

The study consisted of 27 active meditation practitioners (average age 52) and 27 control subjects. Results showed pronounced structural connectivity in meditators throughout the entire brain’s pathways.

“It is possible that actively meditating, especially over a long period of time, can induce changes on a micro-anatomical level,” said Luders.

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