:DentalPlans Weekly Dental and Healthcare News Roundup


The latest study on coffee says that drinking the brew not only wakes you up, it also reduces the risk of death.

Researchers looked at two decades of data from more than 200,000 women and 50,000 men. Study participants who drank between less than a cup of coffee and three cups a day had 6% to 8% lower risk of dying than noncoffee drinkers. Those who drank three to five cups and more than five cups had 15% and 12% lower death rates.

“The lower risk of mortality is consistent with our hypothesis that coffee consumption could be good for you (because) it is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and (heart) disease,” said Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Harvard School of Public Health department of nutrition.

Ding and her colleagues found that coffee drinkers were about 10% less likely to die of heart disease. They were also between 9% and 37% less likely to die of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and dementia.

Researchers also took into account the fact that “coffee drinkers were more likely to have vices such as drinking alcohol and eating red meat.”

At least some of the health benefits associated with coffee consumption are probably a direct result of the ingredients in coffee, Ding said. It contains chemicals such as lignans and chlorogenic acid that could reduce inflammation and help control blood sugar, both of which could help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Researchers also found that study participants who drank at least a cup of coffee a day had between 20% and 36% lower rates of suicide, although those who drank less than a cup had 36% higher rates.

And its tasty too.


Saved by 3D Printing

According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, about six million people are currently walking around with undetected, ticking time bombs in their heads.

An aneurysm is a bulging blood vessel caused by a weakness in an artery wall. If the aneurysm ruptures, it can be fatal –  500,000 people die from aneurysms each year. Surgery to correct the condition is complicated by the fact that the blood vessels in our brains – our vascular trees – are as different as our fingerprints, according to Dr. Adnan Siddiqui, chief medical officer at the Jacobs Institute in Buffalo, New York.

Recently a New York resident, Theresa Flint, was diagnosed with an aneurysm that, if left untreated, would have proved fatal. Scans of her brain showed that her blood vessels were severely twisted, which would greatly complicate the necessary surgery. Surgeons created a 3D-printed model of the blood vessels inside Flint’s brain to practice the surgery. The procedure was a great success, Flint and her family will have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Here’s Where Happiness Lives

If you tend to be a grumpy Grinch, you can now blame it on your brain.

Scientists at the Kyoto University have discovered the exact location of happiness in the human brain. Good feelings are processed by the precuneus, a region in the median parietal lobe of the brain.

People who participated in the study were scored on their general levels of happiness, and those who had a higher happiness score were liable to have more gray matter in the precuneus. Researchers also said that these really happy people don’t feel the same depths of sadness as those who have a less-developed precuneus. They also tended to have settled on a religion or life philosophy that satisfies them.

If you’re lacking in the happy and perky department, the research team found that meditation can increase the grey matter in the precuneus, leading to greater joy in life.   The team now hopes to “develop happiness programs based on scientific research.”



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