Engineering Good Health

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January 08, 2020

10 Simple Things You Can Do to Start the New Year Fresh

local94news shared this story from AARP - Health.

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January 08, 2020

35 minutes of exercise may protect those at risk for depression

local94news shared this story from Health & Medicine – Harvard Gazette.

Increased levels of physical activity can significantly reduce the odds of depression, even among people who are genetically predisposed to the condition, according to a new study from Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

In a paper published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, the team reported that individuals who engaged in at least several hours of exercise each week were less likely to be diagnosed with a new episode of depression, even in the face of high genetic risk for the disorder.

Drawing on genomic and electronic health record data from nearly 8,000 participants in the Partners Healthcare Biobank, the new study is the first to show how physical activity can influence depression despite genetic risk. Researchers followed patients who filled out a survey about their lifestyle habits (including physical activity) when they enrolled in the biobank. They then mined millions of electronic health record data points over the next two years and identified people who received diagnoses related to depression. They also calculated genetic risk scores for each participant, combining information across the entire genome into a single score that reflected a person’s inherited risk for depression.

What they found was that people with higher genetic risk were more likely to be diagnosed with depression over the next two years. Significantly, though, people who were more physically active at baseline were less likely to develop depression, even after accounting for genetic risk. In addition, higher levels of physical activity were protective for people even with the highest genetic risk scores for depression.

“Our findings strongly suggest that, when it comes to depression, genes are not destiny and that being physically active has the potential to neutralize the added risk of future episodes in individuals who are genetically vulnerable,” said Karmel Choi of MGH and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the lead author of the study. “On average, about 35 additional minutes of physical activity each day may help people to reduce their risk and protect against future depression episodes.”

The researchers found that both high-intensity forms of activity, such as aerobic exercise, dance, and exercise machines, and lower-intensity forms, including yoga and stretching, were linked to decreased odds of depression. Overall, individuals could see a 17 percent reduction in odds of a new episode of depression for each added four-hour block of activity per week.

Depression represents the leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite its massive health burden, strategies to combat depression remain limited and the public’s understanding of robust and modifiable protective factors is incomplete. “We provide promising evidence that primary care and mental health providers can use to counsel and make recommendations to patients that here is something meaningful they can do to lower their risk even if they have a family history of depression,” says Choi.

Senior author Jordan Smoller added, “In general our field has been lacking actionable ways of preventing depression and other mental health conditions. I think this research shows the value of real-world health care data and genomics to provide answers that can help us to reduce the burden of these diseases.”

Beyond physical activity, the MGH team continues to leverage the Partners Biobank and other large-scale studies to explore modifiable ways for individuals to reduce their risk of depression. “We believe there may be many factors could be part of an overall strategy for improving resilience and preventing depression,” emphasized Choi. “The magnitude of depression around the world underscores the need for effective strategies that can impact as many people as possible.”

Choi is a clinical and research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Smoller is associate chief for research in the MGH Department of Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The study was supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health and National Human Genome Research Institute as well as the Demarest Lloyd Jr. Foundation.

January 08, 2020

For Healthy New Year's Habits, Learn From The World's Longest-Lived Peoples

local94news shared this story from Shots - Health News : NPR.

Family preparing fresh salad in a garden

A doctor's best advice for how to prevent illness: Keep it simple, and emulate the lifestyles of the healthiest people in the world.

(Image credit: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images)

December 16, 2019

Healthy Lifestyle, Regular Screening May Keep Cancer at Bay

local94news shared this story from WebMD Health.

photo of group exercising  with medicine ball

A new study shows many cases of cancer could have been headed off by regular screenings.

December 16, 2019

Prediabetes Now Common Among Teens, Young Adults

local94news shared this story from WebMD Health.


A person with prediabetes has higher than normal blood sugar levels. The levels aren't yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. But often, people who have prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

December 02, 2019

4 in 5 Adolescents Worldwide Don't Exercise Enough

local94news shared this story from WebMD Health.

kids doing sit ups

Researchers analyzed data gathered between 2001 and 2016 from 1.6 million students, aged 11 to 17, in 146 countries. They found that 81% of them did not meet World Health Organization recommendations for an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.

December 02, 2019

E-cigarettes take toll on heart health

local94news shared this story from American Heart Association.

American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Oral Presentations Mo3106, Sa3199

December 02, 2019

Cleaner Teeth, Healthier Heart?

local94news shared this story from WebMD Health.

tooth brush

People who brushed their teeth three or more times a day had a lower risk of afib and a lower risk of heart failure, a new study finds.

November 07, 2019

Exercise Can Help Prevent Depression

local94news shared this story from WebMD Health.

girl sitting in field

Getting more exercise could help ward off depression, even if you have a genetic risk for it, new research shows.

November 07, 2019

Never exercised in your life? It’s not too late to start — and benefit.

local94news shared this story from Wellness.

Recent research shows improvements in mortality and in strengthening the heart and muscle.

November 07, 2019

5 simple strategies for healthier holidays

local94news shared this story from American Heart Association.

American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good™ movement offers simple tips for self-care this season

October 01, 2019

A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Heart

local94news shared this story from NYT > Health.

People who were optimists tended to have better heart health and live longer.

October 01, 2019

A primer on whole grains: What they are, why they’re important and how to find them

local94news shared this story from Wellness.

Adults should consume three servings of whole grains a day. But according to the CDC we’re falling short of that mark.

October 01, 2019

How Pushups Can Help Men's Hearts

local94news shared this story from WebMD Health.

man doing push ups

A recent study, of men and pushups, strengthens the case that muscle-building promotes heart health. "Even if you can only do a little exercise, you get tremendous benefits," a fitness expert says.

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