Pregnant Moms' Meth Uses Causes Behavior Problems
Children whose mothers used methamphetamine during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from behavioral problems like anxiety, depression, and moodiness. That's according to a study published today in Pediatrics that tracked the babies of meth-using moms starting at birth and continuing through age 5. Children exposed to meth in the womb have an increased risk of anxiety and depression by age 3, and by age 5, they're more likely to "act out" behaviorally. Government data suggest more than 10 million Americans have used meth, a stimulant like crack cocaine. Previous research hints that meth babies are similar to "crack babies"—smaller in size and more likely to suffer from drowsiness and stress. The results of the latest study are "very worrisome,'' study author Linda LaGasse of Brown University's Center of the Study of Children at Risk told the Associated Press.
10 Healthy Desserts—and They're Tasty, Too
A sweet tooth is meant to be satisfied—yes, even if you're watching your weight. Dessert, after all, is one of life's pleasures, and deprivation typically backfires. It doesn't have to be a high-calorie, high-fat disaster, either: The trick is making smart choices and substitutions. "Take advantage of foods that are naturally sweet and simply delicious," says registered dietitian Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet. Steer clear of fatty ingredients like creamy whipped topping or butter, and stick with fresh fruit and low-fat choices. Here are 10 desserts that are as healthy as they are tasty:
1. Grilled fruit. Try throwing pineapple, banana, apple, or pear slices on the grill. "There's nothing healthier than sticking with fresh fruit, and on the grill, it becomes even sweeter," Gans says. Grilling concentrates flavor by reducing water content, while also caramelizing the fruit's natural sugars. One serving of grilled pineapple usually provides around 80 calories.
2. Dark chocolate "bark". Melt dark chocolate and spread it on parchment paper. Sprinkle in healthy ingredients like tart cherries or sunflower seeds, suggests registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet. Refrigerate it for five minutes before breaking it into small pieces. "It's a healthy option because dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate," says Jackson Blatner. "And it contains more cocoa, which may make it heart-smart." One piece of "bark" should come in at less than 100 calories. [Read more: 10 Healthy Desserts—and They're Tasty, Too]
Popular but Dangerous: 3 Vitamins That Can Hurt You
If you tuned into The Daily Show last month, you would have heard Jon Stewart's guest, David Agus, a physician and author of the new best-selling book The End of Illness, fret about what could be called America's vitamin abuse problem.
There have been 50 large-scale studies on supplements, he said, and not one has shown a benefit in heart disease or cancer. "I don't get it," he said. "Why are we taking these?"
Agus is not alone in his frustration. Other experts liken buying vitamins to flushing money down the toilet. In some cases, they mean it literally: If the body gets more of certain vitamins than it needs, it often excretes the excess in urine.
That doesn't stop Americans from spending about $28 billion a year on dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbal supplements.
In some cases, people may be spending money only to put their health at risk. "As Americans, we think more is better, but that's not the case with vitamins," says Dee Sandquist, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here are three popular vitamin supplements that prove you can, in fact, get too much of a good thing.
1. Vitamin E. Supplement skeptics often point to the story of vitamin E, which was once considered a promising tool for cancer prevention. The National Cancer Institute was so hopeful that vitamin E supplements would decrease rates of prostate cancer that in 2001 it funded a study designed to test the theory. Instead, the findings revealed that the men who took vitamin E were 17 percent more likely—not less—to develop the disease. [Read more: Popular but Dangerous: 3 Vitamins That Can Hurt You]