Personal Health and Well-being

Candy Sagon writes about health topics for AARP. She previously was a reporter with the Washington Post and has written numerous articles on food, health and nutrition for national magazines.

Can You Pass the One-Leg Test for Brain Health?

Here’s a quick, do-it-yourself test for brain health: See how long you can stay balanced on one leg. If you can’t hold that flamingo position for at least 20 seconds, it could indicate damage to small blood vessels in your brain even if you have no other symptoms, new research finds. That damage could put you at high risk for stroke and cognitive decline. A stroke is caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain that interrupts blood flow. …

Nuts Are Good for Us. So Why Aren’t We Eating More of Them?

Nuts, if you eat them in moderation, are full of healthy nutrients for your heart and may even help you ward off other diseases like cancer. So why do only 4 in 10 of Americans eat them on any given day — and a measly 1 in 10 eat them daily? Back in 2010, new federal nutrition guidelines recommended eating nuts as an additional source of protein and nutrients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to take …

Breast Cancer Patients Get Longer Radiation Than Necessary

Women 50 or older who have lumpectomies for small breast tumors are being given follow-up radiation treatment that lasts nearly twice as long as guidelines recommend, new research finds. Even more disturbing, the decision to stick with the longer, more expensive treatment may be because it’s more profitable for radiation-treatment centers, a study coauthor contends. Radiation, which is standard treatment after surgery for early-stage breast cancer tumors, is used to kill any cancer cells remaining after surgery. It usually involves …

So Why Are Waiting Room Magazines So Old?

Ever wonder why the magazines in your doctor’s waiting room are so out of date? One office I was in had a Golf Digest from 2012. Are our docs just trying to bore us to death? Do they put out only old magazines and keep the new ones for themselves? Or is something else going on? New Zealand doctor Bruce Arroll kept getting complaints about the magazines in his general practice office, so he and a colleague decided to find …

Yes, Men Are Idiots. And Science Can Prove It

Men are idiots. No, truly, they are, and now all the long-suffering, eye-rolling women of the world have the hard science to prove it. A bunch of British researchers who, may I point out, are all men, have done a study on what they call the male idiot theory (MIT). The research, published in the traditionally quirky Christmas issue of the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), takes a look at sex differences in “idiotic risk-taking behavior” where the payoff …

7 Ways to Reduce Acid Reflux (Even if You’re the President)

A nagging sore throat had President Obama checking in for an exam recently with his doctors. The diagnosis was one that’s familiar to millions of Americans: acid reflux. Acid reflux — aka heartburn — occurs when stomach acid sloshes up into your esophagus, irritating and inflaming the tissue, including the back of the throat. If it happens several times a week and becomes severe, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. It’s estimated that 60 percent of U.S. adults will experience …