Exposure to Light at Night Could Lead to Depression
Sleeping with a dim light on—the kind generated by a TV screen, computer, or night-light, for example—could cause depression. That's according to a new animal study by researchers at the Ohio State University Medical Center. They found that hamsters exposed to dim light at night showed signs of depression within a few weeks, such as reduced physical activity, less interest in sugar water they usually enjoy, greater signs of distress when placed in water, and changes in the brain's hippocampus. The good news: The negative effects of the lighting were reversed after two weeks of normal lighting conditions, Reuters reports.
Beware of These Hidden Causes of Acne
All of a sudden, you have a zit to zap. A pimple to pop. How, you wonder, did it get there? What went so wrong that your once flawless skin is covered with a red spot or two or three? Blame your yoga mat. Or your cell phone. Or even that pretty new shade of eyeliner you've been wearing. "Acne is a complex medical condition caused by four factors: hormones, inflammation, bacteria, and dead skin cells that clog pores," says dermatologist Jessica Krant, founder of the Art of Dermatology practice in New York. Triggers include "stress, poor sleep, and dietary choices. For some people, chocolate really does cause breakouts; for others, it's greasy foods, or a diet heavy in dairy."
And that's just the beginning of the list. Be alert to these often-sneaky causes of acne:
1. Makeup. Acne cosmetica, or pimples caused by topical creams, lotions, and makeup, is most common on the face, neck, hairline, and scalp. Products that contain mineral oil clog pores, so switch to brands labeled non-comedogenic, which are oil-free, don't strip skin of necessary moisture and nutrients, and don't block pores. And since makeup brushes collect bacteria and yeast, clean them once a week with soap and water. Washing that foundation and powder off every night is important, too, says Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist based in New York. She recommends using exfoliating wipes and pads, which are gentle but remove more dead skin than plain-old soap does.
2. Cell phones. Your iPhone or Android is a cesspool of dirt and bacteria, and there's a good chance it'll trigger breakouts on your chin and around your mouth. Wipe it down daily with alcohol or Clorox wipes to keep it clean. [Read more: Beware of These Hidden Causes of Acne]
Hot-Weather Workout Tips
Going for your usual run or bike ride in hot temperatures can bring scary health hazards if you aren't adequately prepared. Heat can place strain on the cardiovascular system and cause serious illnesses such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion, when someone's body temperature skyrockets to 104 degrees or higher, can develop from enduring many days of extreme temperatures and failing to properly rehydrate. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body stops sweating and is unable to cool itself, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sweating is a main way that the body cools itself; it's the result of water being brought to the surface of the skin through sweat glands, says Michael Bergeron, a professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of South Dakota's Sanford School of Medicine. We only begin to cool down once sweat evaporates; when it has trouble evaporating, such as in humid weather, our risk for overheating goes up, he explains. Signs of heat illness include nausea, cramps, headache, dizziness, lack of appetite, fatigue, and dark or amber urine, which signals dehydration.
Exercising indoors to stay cool may not always be an option. But you can still get in a good workout on warm-weather days by taking these precautions:
1. Acclimatize at low intensity. Adjust your workout when the heat wave hits. "The biggest mistake people make is that they don't work up to the heat and acclimate. It takes about one to two weeks to acclimatize to perform the best in the heat," says Samantha Clayton, a personal trainer and track coach based in Malibu, Calif. Clayton, who competed as a sprinter in the 2000 Olympic Games. She says that Olympic athletes arrive early at their events to acclimate to local temperatures. [Read more: Hot-Weather Workout Tips]
Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.