Roundup: Eating Slowly - and Not Too Late - Will Help You Lose Weight, Research Reveals

Take your time when eating, avoid after-dinner snacks and don’t eat shortly before bedtime. These three habits will help you lose weight, a new study has found.

People who eat slowly were 42 percent less likely to be obese, the study concluded. Compared to those who scarfed down their food, those who just ate at a normal rate were 29 percent less likely to be obese, the researchers found.

The study, published in BMJ Open, focused on three habits linked to losing weight. Based on data from nearly 60,000 people, three behaviors — eating slowly, cutting out after-dinner snacks and not eating within two hours of going to bed — were tied to lower obesity rates and smaller waistlines. To a lesser degree, not skipping breakfast was also found to be a healthier alternative.

Overall, the best overall strategy for maintaining a healthy weight includes exercising regularly and adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting consumption of red meat and alcohol, dietitians say.

The study focusing on eating speed and other habits examined the lifestyles of people in Japan with type 2 diabetes who had one to three medical check-ups between 2008 and 2013, regardless of obesity status. During those doctor visits, participants were asked about their eating and sleeping habits, including how fast they typically ate and whether they normally skipped breakfast, snacked after dinner or ate before bed. They were also asked about their alcohol and tobacco use.

“Changes in eating habits have a strong relationship with obesity, BMI (body mass index, a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height) and waist circumference,” the study concludes. “Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity.”

Eating too quickly has previously been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, which can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain and obesity. Fast eaters are also more likely to continue consuming food even after they’ve taken in an adequate amount of calories.

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Cases of Kidney Stones Rising, Especially in Women

Cases of kidney stones, a condition that can be painful, are on the rise and affecting more women than men, new research has concluded.

Mayo Clinic researchers say the reason for the increase in kidney stones could be improved diagnostic tools and procedures over the last several years. CT scans are now diagnosing cases of kidney stones that would have gone undiagnosed in previous years, said Andrew Rule, M.D., lead investigator of this study.

Focusing on gender, age and stone formation, researchers examined kidney stones from residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota between 1984 and 2012. They found symptomatic kidney stone patients tended to be female, with the highest increase between ages 18 to 39. Bladder stones were less frequent and tended to be more noticeable in men due to prostate-related obstructions. Women had a higher frequency of bladder stones as a result of recurrent urinary tract infections.

Kidney stones are a crystalline mineral byproduct created within the kidney or urinary tract. They usually form when there is a decrease in urine volume or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine, or when both conditions are present. Dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation.

Researchers cautioned that further assessment is needed to determine whether improvements in diagnostic capabilities were fully responsible for the increase in kidney stone cases.

“For patients who struggle with painful kidney stones, dietary modifications are suggested to prevent future episodes. Such adjustments include drinking more water, lowering salt intake and cutting back on meat,” said Mayo Clinic researchers.

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FDA Approves First Blood Test to Help Diagnose Concussions

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week approved the marketing of the first blood test to evaluate concussions in adults. The FDA says it reviewed and authorized for marketing the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator in less than six months.

According to the FDA, the blood test for concussions will help healthcare professionals determine the need for a CT scan in patients suspected of having a concussion, and help prevent unnecessary neuro-imaging and associated radiation exposure to patients.

“A blood test will likely reduce the CT scans performed on patients with concussions each year,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 there were about 2.8 million concussion-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. Of these cases, concussions contributed to the deaths of nearly 50,000 people.

The Brain Trauma Indicator works by measuring levels of proteins, known as UCH-L1 and GFAP, that are released from the brain into blood and measured within 12 hours of a head injury, the FDA said.

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