Melatonin for Sleep: How the Aid Works – The New York Times

“Most people think of melatonin as a natural nod-off aid, kind of like chamomile tea in pill form. Even the name of the popular dietary supplement sounds sleepy — that long “o” sound almost makes you yawn mid-word. But melatonin is also a hormone that our brains naturally produce, and hormones, even in minuscule amounts, can have potent effects throughout the body.

“There are some clinical uses for it, but not the way that it’s marketed and used by the vast majority of the general public,” said Jennifer Martin, a psychologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Experts strongly urge people to consult their doctor or a sleep specialist before taking melatonin, in part because the supplement does not address many underlying health problems that may be disrupting sleep. Anxiety can cause insomnia, as can a host of other potentially serious ailments, such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or mood disorders like depression, that may require medical treatment.

Melatonin, however, is relatively inexpensive and readily available at local pharmacies in the United States (in other countries it typically requires a prescription), and many people will go out and buy it on their own. So what’s the best approach to taking melatonin? Here’s what experts had to say.”

Grind Your Teeth? Your Night Guard May Not Be the Right Fix – Kate Murphy – The New York Times

By Kate Murphy. 2.16.22, nyt:

“. . .  But simple awareness of the position of your mouth, tongue and teeth throughout the day may go a long way toward preventing tooth-grinding. “Nobody knows where their tongue is when they are at rest,” said Cheryl Cocca, a physical therapist at Good Shepherd Penn Partners in Lansdale, Pa., who treats patients with bruxism. She recommends continually checking to make sure you are breathing through your nose with your mouth closed, your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth, and your teeth apart. Set a timer if you need to remind yourself or do it every time you stop at a red light or get a text alert.

Part of the problem could be our modern diet. A growing body of evidence supports the once-fringe notion that, following the agricultural and industrial revolutions, as humans began eating foods that are more processed and easier to chew, we came to have smaller jaws than our ancestors and underdeveloped orofacial muscles. A result, researchers say, is that we tend to breathe through our mouths, with our tongues resting on the bottom of our mouths.

“Watch people on the subway, watch people on the bus, they’re all on their phones, their mouths are slightly open breathing in and out. Particularly kids, they all are,” said Dr. Tammy Chen, a prosthodontist in New York City who has written about the increase in tooth fractures. “As soon as the mouth is open, the tongue is down. The tongue should always be on top of the mouth pushing up and out,” which strengthens face and neck muscles, widens the jaw and opens the airway.”

Is Teeth Whitening Safe? What to Know and Products to Use – The New York Times

By Hannah SeoOct. 3, 2022Sign up for the Well newsletter, for Times subscribers only.  Essential news and guidance to live your healthiest life. Get it in your inbox.From toothpastes to gels, strips, mouth trays and rinses, there is a dizzying array of products that claim to lighten, brighten and whiten your teeth. And with so many options lining drugstore shelves, it can be daunting to figure out the right method for you.But are at-home teeth whitening products as effective as they claim? And are they safe? We asked some experts to find out.How does teeth whitening work?Teeth whitening products sold over the counter work in one of two ways, the experts we spoke with said. They either scrape away stains using physical force or bleach those stains with the same chemicals used for in-office whitening procedures.Physical abrasion. Products that have any sort of grittiness — whether they’re whitening toothpastes, regular toothpastes or just plain baking soda — will act as an abrasive and physically file away stains that occur on the surfaces of your teeth, said Dr. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, a dentist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Many regular toothpastes contain a little bit of texture for this reason, and brushing itself is an act of physically scraping off stains and debris.

Two common shoulder injuries and how to avoid them – Harvard Health

These workhorse joints are more vulnerable than you may realize. Protect them now to stay independent.

“It doesn’t take much to sustain shoulder injuries once we reach our 50s. By then, shoulder muscles and tendons have become weaker, cartilage has worn away, and bones have begun losing density. Two particular categories of shoulder injuries are common among older adults.

Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff — a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder and help move your arm — is vulnerable to becoming inflamed or torn.”

Source: Two common shoulder injuries and how to avoid them – Harvard Health

Melatonin for Sleep: How the Aid Works – The New York Times

“Most people think of melatonin as a natural nod-off aid, kind of like chamomile tea in pill form. Even the name of the popular dietary supplement sounds sleepy — that long “o” sound almost makes you yawn mid-word. But melatonin is also a hormone that our brains naturally produce, and hormones, even in minuscule amounts, can have potent effects throughout the body.

“There are some clinical uses for it, but not the way that it’s marketed and used by the vast majority of the general public,” said Jennifer Martin, a psychologist and professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Experts strongly urge people to consult their doctor or a sleep specialist before taking melatonin, in part because the supplement does not address many underlying health problems that may be disrupting sleep. Anxiety can cause insomnia, as can a host of other potentially serious ailments, such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or mood disorders like depression, that may require medical treatment.

Melatonin, however, is relatively inexpensive and readily available at local pharmacies in the United States (in other countries it typically requires a prescription), and many people will go out and buy it on their own. So what’s the best approach to taking melatonin? Here’s what experts had to say.”

Assessing Osaka’s Sad Departure From the French Open – The New York Times

“PARIS — Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open was not the outcome anyone in tennis desired, and yet it happened just the same.

It could likely have been avoided through better communication and smarter decisions, but on Monday night the sport’s most prominent young star felt she had no better option than to pull out of the year’s second Grand Slam tournament.

Her second-round match with Ana Bogdan will be a walkover for Bogdan instead of another chance for the second-ranked Osaka, 23, to make steps forward on red clay, a surface that has long bedeviled her.

“Above all, it’s just really sad: for her, for the tournament, for the sport,” said Martina Navratilova, a former No. 1 who has seen plenty of tennis turmoil in her 50 years in the game. “She tried to sidestep or lessen a problem for herself and instead she just made it much bigger than it was in the first place.” . . .  “

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

This is a sad and creepy story. Like many other commenters, I do not care for and sometimes detest and usually turn off most of the forced inteviews after matches, and am often appauled by how rude to the players they occassionally seem to be. I had no idea they were mandatory, and that seems a bit criminal.

This tennis fan has nothing but contempt for the managers of the the French Open responsible for this debacle, for their appauling insensitivity to one of of the games most extraordinary, well mannered and sensitve new talents. Claiming discomfort and depression is not a good enough excuse to skip an after match press conference? What sleezy bullies. Most if not all of us tennis fans do not turn on this sport to watch the awkward after game interviews. We want to watch and enjoy the brilliant and demanding game of tennis.

The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Metabolic Health – The New York Times

“Evening exercise may be more potent than morning workouts for improving metabolic health, according to a helpful new study of exercise timing. The study, which looked at high-fat diets and overweight men, found that late-day workouts moderated the undesirable health effects of a greasy diet, while morning exercise did not.

The study involved only men who were eating a fatty diet, but adds to growing evidence that exercise timing matters and, for many of us, working out later might have particular advantages.

Although we may be only dimly aware of this, operations inside our bodies follow busy, intricate and mutable circadian schedules. All of our tissues contain molecular clocks that coordinate biological systems, prompting our blood sugar to rise and dip throughout the day, along with our hunger, heart rates, body temperature, sleepiness, gene expression, muscle strength, cell division, energy expenditure and other processes.  . . . “

Alcohol and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet – National Cancer Institute

“There is a strong scientific consensus that alcohol drinking can cause several types of cancer (12). In its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen.

The evidence indicates that the more alcohol a person drinks—particularly the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over time—the higher his or her risk of developing an alcohol-associated cancer. Even light drinkers (those who have no more than one drink per day) and binge drinkers have a modestly increased risk of some cancers (37). Based on data from 2009, an estimated 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States (about 19,500 deaths) were alcohol related (8).

Clear patterns have emerged between alcohol consumption and the development of the following types of cancer:

  • Head and neck cancer: Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption is associated with higher risks of certain head and neck cancers. Moderate drinkers have 1.8-fold higher risks of oral cavity (excluding the lips) and pharynx  (throat) cancers and 1.4-fold higher risks of larynx (voice box) cancers than non-drinkers, and heavy drinkers have 5-fold higher risks of oral cavity and pharynx cancers and 2.6-fold higher risks of larynx cancers (49). Moreover, the risks of these cancers are substantially higher among persons who consume this amount of alcohol and also use tobacco (10).
  • Esophageal cancer: Alcohol consumption at any level is associated with an increased risk of a type of esophageal cancer called esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The risks, compared with no alcohol consumption, range from 1.3-fold higher for light drinking to nearly 5-fold higher for heavy drinking (49). In addition, people who inherit a deficiency in an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol have been found to have substantially increased risks of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma if they consume alcohol (11).
  • Breast cancer: Epidemiologic studies have consistently found an increased risk of breast cancer with increasing alcohol intake. Pooled data from 118 individual studies indicates that light drinkers have a slightly increased (1.04-fold higher) risk of breast cancer, compared with nondrinkers. The risk increase is greater in moderate drinkers (1.23-fold higher) and heavy drinkers (1.6-fold higher) (49). An analysis of prospective data for 88,000 women participating in two US cohort studies concluded that for women who have never smoked, light to moderate drinking was associated with a 1.13-fold increased risk of alcohol-related cancers (mostly breast cancer) (5).
  • Colorectal cancer: Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption is associated with 1.2- to 1.5-fold increased risks of cancers of the colon and rectum compared with no alcohol consumption (4914).”

Source: Alcohol and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet – National Cancer Institute

Frank Bruni | Is the Burger Nearing Extinction? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

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Credit…Ben Wiseman

“I liked my patties thin and then I liked them thick. There was the Cheddar period, followed by the Roquefort interregnum. Sesame-seed buns gave way to English muffins as ketchup traded places with special sauce or even, God help me, guacamole, which really was overkill.

But no matter its cradle or condiment, the hamburger was with me for the long haul — I was sure of that.

Until now.

A few days ago I tripped across news that McDonald’s was testing a vegetable-based patty, coming soon to a griddle near you. The McPlant burger, they’re calling it — a McOxymoron if ever I’ve heard one. And McDonald’s is late to the game. Burger King has been selling a meatless Impossible Whopper since 2019. Dunkin’ has been serving a Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich for nearly as long.

Meanwhile, Bill Gates has been telling anyone who will sit still long enough to listen about his investment in a “pretty amazing” start-up that uses a protean protein made from an especially hardy fungus for meatless patties, meatless balls and vegan versions of various dairy products. Over the past weeks, he has plugged it on my Times colleague Kara Swisher’s “Sway” podcast and in Rolling Stone.” . . .

How long can you leave turkey broth out before it goes bad? | Charlotte Observer

Finally, I called Ben Chapman, the food safety expert at N.C. State University. He reassured me: The rules I follow are still absolutely correct: Once the stock cooled off, it only had two hours at room temperature before it became toxic stew. It didn’t matter if the lid was on or – as one commenter suggested – if I had strained it and discarded the bones first.The issue, he said, isn’t bacteria. It’s toxins produced by the bacteria. Bacteria are living creatures and like all living creatures, they produce things. Even if you kill them by “boiling them to hell and back,” you can’t remove the toxins their one-celled corpses produce.So why was I not seeing reports on outbreaks associated with tainted turkey broth? It probably happens, Chapman said. But in the foodborne-illness reporting world, an “outbreak” involves multiple people who aren’t related. In other words, if you make yourself and your elderly great-aunt Ethel sick, the world may never know, unless someone dies from it.

Source: How long can you leave turkey broth out before it goes bad? | Charlotte Observer