5 Things You Need To Know Today (June 25, 2018)

Photo by Connor Dwyer

1. This is the latest research on caffeine's health benefits.

We've long wondered why coffee has been associated with heart health benefits, and the answer may lie in the way our blood vessels react to caffeine. As for how much coffee you should be drinking? Everyone needs something a little different, but this study found that four cups is the magic number. (Business Insider)

2. Exercise proves to be a lifesaver for childhood cancer survivors.

Young people who survive cancer tend to die early, but a new study finds that exercise could improve their life expectancy. The study, published this month in JAMA Oncology, detailed the results of exercise trials assigned to various cancer survivors, and the differences of life trajectory were immense. Researchers found that the majority of former cancer patients died not from a recurrence of childhood cancers but from other health problems, particularly heart disease. Deaths were stated to be most common for adults who said they did not exercise—12 percent of them passed away during the follow-up period of the trial. Meanwhile, only 7 percent of men and women who exercised passed away. (NYT)

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3. The ideal level of happiness on a scale from 1 to 100? You might be surprised.

A new study published in Psychological Science posed a question: In a perfect world, what’s your ideal level of happiness, health, pleasure, self-esteem, and intelligence? On a scale from 0 (none) to 100 (maximum), it turns out that ideal levels hover around 70 to 80, based on global averages. The findings not only show that achieving complete happiness isn’t a universal value but also that there are predictable cultural differences in people’s ideas of perfection. Cultures influenced by religions or philosophies like China, India, and Japan reported lower levels for these traits than other cultures, like the United States and Australia. "Our data suggest that people have much more complex, blended notions of perfection, ones that embrace both light and dark," the study’s first author said. (PsyPost)

4. New research shows how good gut bacteria positively influence metabolism.

A new study on fruit flies published in the journal Cell Metabolism demonstrates how gut bacteria help to moderate metabolism. Scientists found a series of interactions with gut bacteria in the intestine: The enteroendocrine intestinal cells interact with a protein that behaves like insulin, called tachykinin, and acetate, the by-product of bacterial breakdown. Missing good bacteria, tachykinin, or acetate, which activate one another in ways we don't know yet, has shown that fatty acids and carbohydrates aren't properly broken down or stored—both of these can contribute to obesity and diabetes. Next up is a study on humans to test the same theory. (Science Daily)

5. A number of psychiatric diseases share a genetic link.

A new study shows a "high degree" of genetic correlation for psychiatric conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD. "The tradition of drawing these sharp lines when patients are diagnosed probably doesn't follow the reality, where mechanisms in the brain might cause overlapping symptoms," explained the lead researcher. "If we can uncover the genetic influences and patterns of overlap between different disorders, then we might be able to better understand the root causes of these conditions—and potentially identify specific mechanisms appropriate for tailored treatments." (WebMD)

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