Health Buzz: Your Blood Type May Hike Heart Disease Risk

Why some of us are thrill-seekers; rethinking the kid-veggie relationship

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Type O Blood Linked With Lower Heart Disease Risk

What's your type? Your risk for heart disease may depend on it. People with blood types A, B, and AB appear to have a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than those with blood type O, according to a study published Tuesday in the American Heart Association's journal. Folks with the rarest blood type, AB, had the greatest risk: They were 23 percent more likely to have heart disease than those with type O blood. People with type A blood had a 5 percent increased risk, and people with type B had an 11 increased risk. "While people cannot change their blood type, our findings may help physicians better understand who is at risk for developing heart disease," study author Lu Qi, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said in an AHA press release. "It's good to know your blood type the same way you should know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers. If you know you're at higher risk, you can reduce the risk by adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as eating right, exercising and not smoking." 

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  • Why Some of Us Are Thrill-Seekers 

    Every adrenaline junkie knows the feeling: Heart pounding. Hands trembling. Blood racing. And then all of a sudden—flying. Plunging through the air, 18,000 feet above the earth, clinging to a parachute that could by all means fail. Hurtling 50 miles an hour down a 1,600-foot volcanic slope, on a "volcano board" popularized by young adventurers. Whooshing down white-water rapids on a flimsy raft. Or being strapped into a zero-gravity roller coaster and preparing to whirl upside down, again and again. Thrill-seekers crave that rush; they thrive on it. 

    "It's the excitement," says Frank Farley, a professor of educational psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. "It makes things interesting, keeps you going. When this life is over, you want to be able to look back and say, 'I lived.' As Helen Keller once said, 'Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing.'" 

    In the 1980s, Farley coined the term Type T personality to describe thrill-seekers, or those who crave variety, novelty, intensity, and risk. These are people who long for exciting, meaningful challenges. Some enjoy the physical sensations that come from being scared silly; others like the idea that they're pushing themselves to the extreme. 

    At least to some degree, Type Ts are born that way, Farley says. Though researchers don't yet have all the answers, it's clear that biology plays a role. Neuro-chemicals like dopamine and testosterone appear to affect how inclined someone is to play it safe or live on the wild side, as does the amount of white matter in the brain. [Read more: Why Some of Us Are Thrill-Seekers

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    • Rethinking The Kid-Veggie Relationship 

      On days I'm not wearing my dietitian hat, I stay home to take care of my twin toddlers. In the course of playground banter with other moms, the topic of picky eating inevitably comes up. And by far, the number one complaint I hear is that their kids won't eat vegetables. 

      I can certainly sympathize. My being a dietitian doesn't mean my kids are genetically hard-wired to love vegetables. Weeks have gone by where green veggies remain untouched on one—or both—of my kids' plates, and the only vegetable matter they consume is a lone sweet potato fry, possibly by accident when they thought it was something else. But then, just as mysteriously, a broccoli binge may come from out of the blue, and they're furiously cramming florets in their little mouths, with little interest in the pile of macaroni and cheese on their plates. 

      While you can neither force a love of vegetables, nor predict the timing of ultimate acceptance—and enjoyment—of a vegetable, there are several things you can do to raise children who happily eat a variety of vegetables…at least sometimes.