Spinach may do more than build Popeye-like muscles: Eating green leafy vegetables could reduce your risk of developing diabetes, new research suggests. Roughly 4 ounces per day of broccoli, kale, spinach, sprouts, or cabbage appears to cut type 2 diabetes risk by 14 percent, according to researchers who analyzed data from six previous studies involving more than 22,000 participants. The reason why these vegetables have a protective effect is unclear. Among the possible explanations: Spinach and its leafy cousins are strong sources of antioxidants, including vitamin C, and they contain high levels of magnesium, which has been shown in past studies to protect against type 2 diabetes. The new findings add to the evidence that "lifestyle modification is an important factor in the prevention of type 2 diabetes," the study authors write in the British Medical Journal.
Ketamine to Treat Depression?
Ketamine, an anesthetic nicknamed "Special K" by those who use the drug illicitly, could be developed as a fast-acting antidepressant, new research suggests. Most antidepressants take weeks or months to kick in, but one dose of ketamine could show mood-boosting effects within hours that last for as many as 10 days, according to a study published Friday in Science. Ketamine, a controlled substance, has in the past been prescribed in low doses for severely depressed patients resistant to other treatments. The new findings, however, could lead to a form of the drug that is safe, easy to use, and effective.
Relief for Fibromyalgia Pain: a Dose of Tai Chi
Some 5 million Americans, mostly women, have fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is also a source of sleep problems, severe fatigue, physical debilitation, and sometimes depression, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz writes. As with any chronic pain, fibromyalgia is managed largely with painkillers, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants, often with little success. New research, however, offers a glimmer of hope: The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi may be an effective antidote, according to a study published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
The study was small but well conducted: 33 volunteers with fibromyalgia were assigned to take twice-weekly tai chi classes and 33 others were assigned to twice-weekly stretching classes and educational seminars about their condition. At the end of 12 weeks, the tai chi group reported greater relief from muscle pain, better sleep, and a higher quality of life with less depression. They also performed better on tests of physical abilities. What's more, nearly one person in three in the tai chi group was able to stop taking medications compared to fewer than one in six in the control group. [Read more: Relief for Fibromyalgia Pain: a Dose of Tai Chi.]
- 6 Simple Ways to Improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Have Unexplained Pain? These Questions Could Lead to a Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
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