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.

Should Everyone Cut Salt Intake? Study Says No

A large international study questions the conventional advice that all people should cut their salt intake to the bone. Too much salt is bad, especially for those over 60 or those who already have high blood pressure, but too little salt may be just as bad, the scientists said. The findings are the latest in a decades-long controversy over whether health officials have gone too far in urging everyone to reduce the amount of salt in their diet. The new research suggests …

FDA Approves At-Home DNA Test for Colon Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new DNA-based screening test for colon cancer that has 90 percent accuracy and can be taken at home. Called Cologuard and manufactured by Exact Sciences Inc., the test is the first of its kind to get an OK from federal regulators. The test uses a stool sample to detect the presence of blood and DNA mutations that may indicate cancerous and precancerous growths in the colon. A doctor’s prescription is needed, …

A Tick Bite to Make You Fear Red Meat

Those damn ticks. First it was the deer tick giving us a bacterial infection known as Lyme disease; now there’s a tick that can make us severely allergic to red meat. Are you ticked off yet? This time we can blame the lone star tick, which used to hang out in its namesake state, Texas, and the southeastern U.S. Today, though, it’s spreading to the East Coast and other parts of the country. The tick carries a sugar that human …

Rx for Brain: Baked or Broiled Fish Every Week

Here’s an easy way to boost your brain health, especially if you’re worried about memory loss or dementia: Eat any kind of fish – as long as it isn’t fried – at least once a week. That’s the surprising result of a new study looking at simple lifestyle changes a person could make to help protect against Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline. By looking at MRI brain scans of healthy older adults enrolled in a 10-year study, the researchers found that …

Low Vitamin D May Double Risk of Dementia

As with so many other perplexing questions about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, researchers are unsure why there seems to be a link between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of developing these brain diseases. Now one of the largest studies yet finds that link is even more worrisome: Too little of the vitamin may, in fact, double the risk of developing the devastating conditions. The new research, which followed nearly 1,700 adults over the age of 65 for …

Should You Take a Daily Aspirin to Prevent Cancer?

Taking a daily low-dose aspirin has been standard advice for many at risk for heart disease, but now a large scientific review of research finds that the same advice could dramatically cut older adults’ risk of developing – and dying from – colon, stomach or esophageal cancer. British researchers found that if adults ages 50 to 65 took a daily low-dose (about 75 milligrams) aspirin for 10 years, it could cut colon cancer cases by 35 percent and deaths from …