New research in mice may provide clues to age-related hair loss in men and women. Scientists found that as hair stem cells in mice age, they lose the stickiness that keeps them secured inside the hair follicle. This allows the stem cells to drift away from the follicle. "The result is fewer and fewer stem cells in the hair follicle to produce hair," said a professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. This leads to thinning hair and baldness during aging, he noted. The researchers also identified genes that may regulate hair stem cell adhesion. And they created mice that lacked two of the genes, FOXC1 and NFATC1. The mice without those genes started losing hair rapidly at four months and were completely bald within 12 to 16 months, according to the study. The results were published in October in the journal Nature Aging. Mice and humans share many similarities in hair and stem cells, so these finding may apply to older men and women with thinning hair, the study reported. However, research in animals doesn't always pan out in humans. "We believe this stem cell escape mechanism has never been reported before, because nobody could track the aging process in live animals," a university news release reported. It was known that hair follicles shrink with age, but it wasn't clear how that happened. Many experts believed it was due to cell death or cells' inability to divide as they age. "We discovered, at least in part, it is due to hair follicle stem cells migrating away from their niche," Yi said. Noting that cell death also occurred during their observation, the study reported, "Our discovery doesn't dispute existing theories but provides a new mechanism." In a new study, the researchers are trying to reinstate the FOXC1 and NFATC1 genes to find out if doing so will reverse hair loss.
If you intend to run, bike or put in a Zumba video after work, plan on doing it sooner rather than later. A workout that ends a couple of hours before bedtime should help you fall asleep, while one that's closer to bedtime could have you counting a lot of sheep. "Overall, our analysis showed that when exercise ended two hours before bedtime, there were sleep benefits, including the promotion of sleep onset and increased sleep duration," said a postdoctoral fellow at the Sleep, Cognition and Neuroimaging Lab at Concordia University in Montreal study co-author. "On the other hand, when exercise ended less than two hours before bedtime, sleep was negatively impacted. It took longer for participants to fall asleep and sleep duration decreased," a university news release. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis using data from 15 published studies to determine how a single session of intense exercise affected young and middle-aged healthy adults and their sleep. "When we reviewed the literature on this work, we found that there were a lot of mixed results," a cognitive neuropsychologist and researcher at the university sleep lab report said. "Some depended on the time of exercise, others on the fitness level of a study's participants, or even the type of exercise." The team found that early evening high-intensity exercise helped promote sleep, especially if the person working out was typically sedentary. Working out for between 30 and 60 minutes also helped people fall asleep and stay asleep. Cycling had the most sleep benefits. A consistent exercise schedule is best, as exercising at different times of the evening could cause sleep disturbances, the researchers noted. "Based on our review, for healthy, young and middle-aged adults with no history of sleep disorders, evening exercises should be performed in the early evening if possible," the report said. "And lastly, sleep hygiene strategies should also be carried out, such as taking a shower between the cessation of exercise and bedtime and avoiding eating heavy meals or drinking a lot of water before going to bed." Your strategy might also vary depending on whether you're a night owl or an early riser. "High-intensity exercise performed late in the evening can result in sleep disturbance for morning-type people," the report said. The findings were published Sept. 28 in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.
Though Thanksgiving dinner is treasured by many Americans, the meal typically isn't heart-healthy. Including holiday staples such as mashed potatoes and stuffing, the traditional feast is full of fatty, high-cholesterol foods, says the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For a healthier holiday meal, the school suggests: Devote most of your plate to vegetables, such as green beans, carrots and squash. Don't drench everything in gravy. Use as little as you can. Limit turkey skin and dark meat. Have a small slice of pie for dessert. Resist a second helping. The school says after all is said and done, one meal won't ruin your heart and arteries. It urges you to eat healthy during the holiday season overall.
Give your heart the gift of healthy eating this Thanksgiving, the American Heart Association suggests. "It's easy to get off track from making healthy choices during the holidays, and the pandemic may add to the stress," chair of the American Heart Association's (AHA) Nutrition Committee said in a heart association news release. "Eating healthfully during the holidays doesn't mean depriving yourself; it's about eating smart and looking for small, healthy changes and swaps you can make so you continue to feel your best. For example, choosing vegetables instead of crackers or chips at lunch may not seem like much, but those little changes add up over time," the news release said. You don't have to sacrifice taste when eating healthy, according to the director of nutrition and dietetics at Kroger Health, a national sponsor of the AHA's Healthy for Good program. "Find the delicious, nutrient-packed foods you love," the report said. "Not everyone likes broccoli, and that is OK. There are so many varieties of fruits and vegetables to try, and so many healthful ways to prepare them. See what works best for you, and who knows? You may have a new holiday recipe to add to your table." Here are some suggestions for healthy eating during the holidays:
- Reduce sodium/salt by using more herbs and spices such as rosemary and thyme to flavor meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks, like popcorn.
- When grocery shopping, look for products with the AHA's Heart-Check mark.
Caring for a baby's delicate skin, hair and nails can be intimidating, but five simple steps can make it easier, according to an expert from the American Academy of Dermatology. "With their tiny hands and feet, babies can seem so fragile and vulnerable," dermatologists say. "However, babies are more resilient than you might think, and parents can maintain good hygiene for their baby by following a few general guidelines." Bathing: Keep your baby clean with gentle bathing two to three times a week. Do sponge baths until your baby's umbilical cord stump falls off and heals. Then, you can switch to traditional baths. Use lukewarm water and mild, fragrance-free baby soap and shampoo. Apply soap only to dirty areas, such as creases in the neck and diaper area, and rinse off thoroughly after cleaning. Diapering: Change dirty diapers as soon as possible, even if they are just wet, to prevent diaper rash. If a diaper rash develops, be gentle when cleaning the diaper area and apply a zinc oxide diaper cream. Caring for nails: Trim your baby's nails whenever they get sharp to prevent scratches. Use a nail file or emery board to create a rounded, not jagged, shape. Laundering: Wash baby blankets, sheets and clothing before and after use, using fragrance-free detergents. Sun protection: Shade is the best protection. If there's no natural shade, use an umbrella, canopy or stroller hood. Dress your baby in sun-protective clothing, including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection. Minimal use of sunscreen is advised for children younger than 6 months of age, but you can apply a small amount of sunscreen to all skin not covered by clothing if shade and adequate clothing aren't available. Use sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection, water-resistance and an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are less likely to irritate your baby's sensitive skin. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming. "Maintaining healthy skin care habits during infancy, such as protecting your baby from the sun, can have a long-lasting impact on your child's health," dermatologists say.