Longer look: Interesting readings you may have missed

Longer look: Interesting readings you may have missed

Each week, KHN finds longer stories that you can enjoy. This week’s selection includes stories about getting healthy for the new year, medical implants, aquamation, covid and more.

New York Times: Diets Make You Feel Bad. Instead, try training your brain for a healthy diet

Here’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep: Stop dieting and start enjoying your food instead. This may seem like surprising advice, but there is growing scientific evidence to suggest that diets do not work. Research shows that food restrictions just make you want to eat more. And in the long run, dieting can backfire, trigger your body’s survival defenses, slow down your metabolism and make it even harder to lose weight in the future. (Parker-Pope, 1/3)

CBS News: Why sugar is so addictive and how you can remove it from your diet this year, according to an expert

Whether you are trying a “dry January” or setting yourself a new diet or exercise goal, it can be hard to break old habits in the new year. For those who want to eliminate added sugar, they can actually address an addiction. “Physiologically, it’s just as addictive as cocaine – sugar is,” author and health expert Susan Peirce Thompson told CBSN’s Anne-Marie Green on Wednesday. “So people are literally trapped in a physiological addiction. The brain scans are very clear on that.” While health officials are urging Americans to limit their sugar intake, Thompson argues that it can be one of the most difficult addictions to fight to give up the highly processed and refined chemical. (Powell, 1/5)

The Wall Street Journal: The New Way to Maximize Your Workout? Weighted spandex

WHY JUST LIFT heavy weights to get strong when you can improve your excess during cardio, or even build steel forearms while just washing up? This is the premise behind a new category of workout clothes that strategically spreads additional mass over your body through weights sewn into the fabric. (Mateo, 1/4)

The New York Times: Considering Bone or Joint Surgery? You may not need it

Are you considering bone or joint surgery? In many cases, surgery may not be more effective than options such as exercise, physical therapy, and medication. Hip and knee replacements, carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, and other orthopedic procedures are among the most common elective surgeries performed today, but they involve cost, risk, and sometimes weeks or months of improvement. Many of these surgeries are not supported by evidence from randomized trials, a review found. Even when surgery has been shown to be effective, the review concluded that it may not be significantly better than non-surgical treatment. (Bakalar, 1/4)

The Washington Post: Home Remedies May Be Useful for Some Conditions, Experts say

Maralyn Fisher, 76, a retired store owner living in Manhattan, suffers from periodic bouts of nausea. Every time she feels the nausea on the way, she puts a ginger mint in her mouth and waits for it to ebb out. It almost always does. “I do not like to take a lot of standard medicine,” says Fisher, who has candy in his purse and by his bed. “I believe in it because it works.” Fisher is among millions of Americans who use what is known as home medicine, a description often used interchangeably with “complementary” or “alternative” medicine to distinguish them from Western practices, which often rely on doctor visits and conventional medicines. (Cimons, 1/2)

Also –

Washington Post: Sci-Fi types of medical implants will soon become a reality, researchers say

For decades, physicians have embedded pacemakers, cochlear implants, and cardiac defibrillators in their patients’ bodies. Recently, consumers have started tracking their own heart rate and the number of steps taken with watches, wristbands, cell phones and other portable devices. Researchers and doctors are now dreaming of more ways to merge these technologies, to move consumer-driven screens into the body. (Rosen, 1/1)

The Washington Post: What is Aquamation, the funeral practice Desmond Tutu requested instead of cremated?

The ashes of the esteemed anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu were buried on Sunday at a private ceremony in St. Petersburg. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa. The Anglican archbishop and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who died on December 26 at the age of 90, had requested that his funeral not be flashy and that his body not be cremated by flames. Instead, Tutu reportedly requested aquamation or alkaline hydrolysis, a water-based process considered an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation. (Berger, 1/2)

The Washington Post: Referring to the danger of fresh water, scientists say we need to put brakes on road salt

Every winter, de-icing salts – sodium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride – fight on icy roads across the country. The effort is epic in scope: Hundreds of millions of gallons of salty substances are sprayed on roads, and billions of pounds of rock salt are spread on their surfaces every year. It may lead to safer paths, but it has a real effect on the planet. In a review in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a group of environmental researchers looked at the dangers of salts that make driving safer. De-icing salts end up in freshwater areas, contaminate lakes and streams and build up in wetlands. (Blakemore, 1/2)

The Wall Street Journal: For users with disabilities, paid apps lag behind in accessibility, reporting applications

Many of the most popular paid smartphone apps are less accessible to people with certain disabilities than top apps that are free to download, according to a new report. The digital agency Diamond, which builds available products for its customers, conducted manual and automated testing of 20 leading payment apps and 20 popular free apps in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play Store from October 2021. (Alcantara, 20/12)

NPR: The scientist who identified Omicron was upset by the world’s reaction

When the Botswana scientists saw the sequences, they were stunned. Four international travelers were tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11, four days after entering the country. However, when the cases were genetically sequenced, where the genetic code of the virus is analyzed to look for worrying changes, the researchers discovered a variant they had never encountered before. And soon they warned the world about what would become known as the omicron variant. (Schrieber, 16/12)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, an overview of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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