11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun. 1. A 16th-century German military expert believed that weaponized cats could burn down enemy fortifications. (Learn more at National Geographic) 2. A door handle dispenses hand sanitizer to kill germs in hospitals. (Learn more at Gizmodo) 3. Barbara Walters’s most flirtatious interview took place in 1982 with actor Clint Eastwood. (Learn more at AARP) 4. The rap group Wu-Tang Clan will make one copy of its next recording and hope it sells for millions of dollars. (Learn …

From Hugs to Music: 7 New Ways to Help Your Heart

Yes, we know that eating more veggies, getting more exercise and controlling blood pressure are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, but new research also points to some simple, surprising ways you can protect your ticker. Give more hugs Hugging doesn’t just feel good – it’s good for you. A 10-second hug once or twice a day lowers blood pressure, says a recent Swedish study, published in the journal Comprehensive Psychology, that looked …

Diet Soda: Zero Calories, But Still Makes You Fat

Regular soda is full of sugar and calories that can make you fat, but what about no-calorie, diet soda? Shouldn’t it help keep you from gaining weight? A growing number of studies say no. In fact, drinking diet soda seems to have the same effect on your waistline as regular sodas, causing weight gain and a craving for more sugar, reports Msnbc.com. A new paper published in Obesity Reviews finds that consuming large amounts of fructose (a type of sugar), artificial sweeteners, and …

Pick Your Packet: Choosing The Best Sugar Substitute

Which is your favorite sweetener packet –white, pink, blue or yellow? That would be white for regular white sugar, pink for saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), blue for aspartame (Equal), and yellow for sucralose (Splenda) — the most common ones found in restaurants and used in artificially sweetened drinks. The New York Times recently did a roundup of sugar substitutes, a timely topic in light of the fact that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently proposed a ban on super-sized, 32-ounce …

The Takeaway: Health Care Law; Avastin; CT Scans; Diet Soda

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati voted Wednesday to uphold the individual mandate provision of President Obama’s  health care law. What that means: Congress can require Americans to carry insurance coverage.