May 11, 2018

Weekend reads: DNA testing is so last year. Now you can get your gut microbiome tested.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Fast food linked to infertility in women, study finds. Women who eat more fast food and less fruit are more likely to experience infertility, according to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction. For the study, researchers analyzed the diets of over 5,500 women in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom and found that women who ate fast food at least four times a week took almost a month longer to get pregnant than those who didn't. They also found that women who ate the least amount of fruit had a higher risk of infertility. Jessica Grieger, lead author on the study, said that the researchers recommend that women looking to become pregnant "align their dietary intakes toward national dietary recommendations for pregnancy."

    APA: Americans are more anxious now than they were a year ago. According to a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association, 39% of Americans feel more anxious now than they did a year ago. In comparison, just 19% of Americans said they feel less anxious now than they did this time last year. The biggest worry among respondents to the survey was safety, with 36% saying that they were extremely anxious about "keeping myself or my family safe." Close behind safety on the list of top worries were bills and expenses. According to the survey, 35% of respondents said bills and expenses made them feel extremely anxious. The survey found 28% of respondents said their medical condition made them feel extremely anxious—and 39% said they were somewhat anxious about it.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Number 2 & me. You've probably heard about genetic testing kits that tell users about their ancestry and health risks, but what about human gut microbiome testing? The microbiome consists of the bacteria and other organisms that live inside and on our bodies. Gut microbiome tests examine user-submitted material—in the form of a stool sample—to uncover personal health information about the user. Microbiologist Rob Knight, co-founder of microbiome testing service American Gut and a professor at the University of California, San Diego, said, "A better understanding of these links" between the gut and health conditions "could help us develop fundamentally new therapies for many of the chronic diseases that are currently intractable and cost society billions of dollars a year."

    Running for garbage. A Swedish fitness trend that involves picking up trash while running is gaining steam in the United States. There are Facebook groups focused on the activity, called "plogging," and it's become an occasion for social events, Kelyn Soong writes for the Washington Post. In Washington, D.C, the Department of Parks and Recreation held a plogging event this Earth Day. Soong, who's plogged herself, shares a few tips for aspiring ploggers, including: wear cloves, bring several bags, and make sure to warm up before getting started.

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