The coronavirus pandemic dominated the headlines and our daily lives for the past year. Medical News Today have covered this fast-moving, complex story with live updates on the latest news, interviews with experts, and an ongoing investigation into the deep racial disparities that COVID-19 has helped unmask.
However, this has not stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.
There is a strong nutrition theme in this week’s Recovery Room, with fascinating articles on superfoods, apple cider vinegar (ACV), healthy cheeses, the ideal fruit and veggie portions, and how drinking tea may improve hypertension.
However, we begin by introducing MNT‘s latest evidence-backed resource hub, which we launched to coincide with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month. We present 50 articles about MS, including content on its symptoms, treatments, and more. You can find a link to our new MS hub below.
You’ll also find stories on the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease, psychedelic microdosing, and a new form of anticancer drug that scientists have extracted from the humble sea sponge.
We highlight this research below, along with other recent stories that you may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.
1. Multiple sclerosis: Science-backed resources on MS
Estimates suggest that in the United States, almost 1 million people are living with MS. We’re marking Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month with a major new collection of resources on all aspects of the disease, including its diagnosis, symptoms, stages, and treatment. We have also busted some persistent myths about MS.
2. ‘Superfoods:’ Fad or fact?
March is also National Nutrition Month, and we continue to publish a wealth of articles and guides on this topic on our nutrition hub.
In the latest Honest Nutrition feature, we take a look at the hype around so-called superfoods. What are they? How do they differ from regular foods? Is there more to the idea of superfoods than clever marketing? Find out more by clicking the link below.
3. Does drinking apple cider vinegar in the morning aid weight loss and health?
We have a runaway winner in this week’s most popular article category. Our investigation of the health benefits of ACV has attracted more than 350,000 page views since Tuesday.
Can ACV really aid weight loss? Does it make a difference whether people consume it in the morning or later in the day? Is there any evidence for the other claimed health benefits? Are there any risks to consider when adding it to a daily routine?
To read our answers to all of these questions, click below.
4. Can a person lose 20 pounds quickly and safely?
Our article on rapid weight loss also attracted readers in huge numbers, getting more than 285,000 page views so far this week.
In this comprehensive guide to safe and sustainable weight loss, we look at the evidence for calorie restriction, which foods to avoid, and which macronutrients to prioritize. We also assess the importance of getting enough exercise and sleep and recommend ways to remain accountable throughout a weight loss journey. Reducing the impact of stress also plays a key role.
This evergreen article is certain to help many people looking to lose a few pounds this year. You can find it via the link below.
5. 2 fruit and 3 vegetable servings: The key to a longer life?
Our article reporting on new research that supports the recommendation to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day also proved popular. More than 90,000 people wanted to learn about the ideal combination of these foods to consume.
The researchers carried out the study on a very large scale, including a total of more than 2 million participants. An increased intake of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death due to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, as well as a lower overall risk of death from any cause.
Click below to learn more about the study and its findings.
6. Psychedelic microdosing benefits and the placebo effect
Is there more to microdosing hallucinogenic substances than the placebo effect? This is the question that researchers at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom set out to investigate in a new study.
They found that a placebo effect strongly biases the widely reported mental health benefits that people attribute to this practice. When scientists tested a wide range of psychological measures, the participants who had received a placebo drug performed equally as well as those who took the psychedelic substance.
The researchers noted that many of those receiving the placebo were shocked to learn that this was the case.
7. New drug prevents hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease in animals
A key sign of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of protein plaques inside the brain. These plaques progressively affect the functioning of brain cells, eventually causing symptoms such as cognitive decline and loss of memory. There is no effective treatment for the disease, which affects more than 5 million people in the U.S.
However, this week, MNT reported on a series of animal studies involving a new drug that reduces the formation of plaques by modulating the behavior of an enzyme called gamma-secretase.
Importantly, the drug does not inhibit the healthy functions of gamma-secretase within the brain. Further trials are now necessary to establish whether this new enzyme-modulating treatment is safe in humans.
8. Compound isolated from sea sponge fights cancer cells
Fascaplysin, which chemists originally isolated from a marine sponge in 1988, has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antimalarial, and antitumor effects. However, it is also highly toxic for healthy human cells, so researchers have looked for ways to make it safe for use as a treatment.
This week, MNT reported on news from researchers in Russia who have successfully isolated and synthesized a powerful derivative of fascaplysin. They found that 3,10-dibromofascaplysin induces tumor cells to die via a programmed cell death mechanism and that it is effective in combination with a range of approved anticancer drugs.
9. Research reveals how tea may lower blood pressure
New research that MNT covered this week has revealed that compounds present in black and green tea relax the smooth muscle that lines our blood vessels. These compounds, called catechins, may promote lower blood pressure among tea drinkers and could help scientists develop new treatments for hypertension.
The researchers behind the new study are also confident that the common practice of adding a dash of milk to tea does not reduce the antihypertensive effect of catechins in tea. Iced tea should also be effective.
10. What is the healthiest cheese?
Finally, this week, our editors published a guide to the healthful properties of various cheeses. Cheeses vary greatly in their proportions of fat and protein, as well as the amount of sodium per serving. The article lists which cheeses are low in salt, high in calcium, high in protein, and good for gut health.
Mozzarella and cheddar emerge as two of the healthiest options, but is your favorite cheese one to avoid? Find out by clicking the link below.
We hope that this week’s Recovery Room offers a taste of the stories that we cover at MNT. We’ll be back with a new selection next week.
Coming soon: A sneak preview of what’s in our drafts folder
We publish hundreds of new stories and features every month. Here are some upcoming articles that may pique our readers’ interest:
- Benefits of Mediterranean diet may extend to family members
- Quitting smoking may improve mental well-being
- Anxiety and inflammation: Is there a link?