- Bacteria that is unique to you travels with you when you move
- High-salt diets hurt patients with multiple sclerosis
- Coffee can prevent bone loss in your smile
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation -- so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Junk food does more than make you fat
We all know that junk food isn't good for you. There's a reason they call it "junk," right? But a new study suggests that eating food full of chemicals and high in fat, sodium and sugar may also reduce your interest in eating healthier foods.
The new study published in Frontiers in Psychology involved two groups of rats that were appropriately called Chow and Cafeteria.
Scientists fed both groups typical rat food, but the group called Cafeteria also got additional access to highly processed human foods. Their diet included cookies, cakes, dim sum and meat pies.
Yum. Or so the rats thought -- so much so that after two weeks scientists noticed the rats that were eating the junk food lost their desire to eat anything else. Essentially they were junk food addicts; their bodies stopped responding to the normal impulse to seek a more balanced diet.
This was a rat study, not a human one, but it did suggest to scientists that eating a diet rich in processed and fatty foods may do more harm than adding pounds.
Drinking coffee can help your smile
A coffee run typically makes any office worker happy. But now there's another reason to smile about that morning cup o' joe.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that men who drank coffee had a small but significant reduction in the number of teeth with periodontal bone loss.
The study looked at 1,152 men who were a part of the Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study and who had a checkup between 1968 and 1998.
Scientists say they would like to look at a broader population to see if the effects are the same in women.
More parents are getting their children vaccinated
While there is still a part of the population that worries about the damage vaccines might do, the majority of parents are having their children immunized, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The health center's study found that over 90% of parents are taking their babies in for shots to protect them against polio, hepatitis B, chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella.
There is, of course, still room for improvement.
The CDC would love all children to get vaccinated. There has also been a drop in the number of parents who are getting their children follow-up boosters and vaccines in the second year of their child's life. That second round typically includes a shot that protects children from tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria, called the DTaP vaccine.
Measles has made a comeback in the United States. There have also been several outbreaks of whooping cough in the last few years. Some studies have found the incidents of these outbreaks are higher in areas where people have not had their children vaccinated.
Vaccines are essential to protecting children from life-threatening diseases and to protect the rest of the population from disease outbreaks. The CDC estimates vaccines will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths during the lifetime of those born between 1994 and 2013.
When you move, your germs do, too
Your signature on a document is unique. So is your bacterial signature.
Yes, the little microscopic bits that are on your body are so present that scientists find they move with you.
A new study in the journal Science shows that every single room in your house is brimming with the bacteria that is unique to you and your family. Every single place you touch -- a doorknob, a window, the knob on the stove -- is covered with the stuff.
The research comes from scientists who are part of the Home Microbiome Project. They sequenced the bacteria from seven families and studied them over six weeks. Even when a family moved into a new house, scientists found their unique signature 24 hours later.
For people who worry about germs in hotel rooms, they may not need to any more. Scientists find that your bacteria essentially colonizes whatever room you are in.
Salt is bad for people with multiple sclerosis
People with multiple sclerosis who eat a diet high in salt may face more complications than those who don't, according to the latest edition of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The study observed 70 patients with MS over two years and found the patients who ate a lot of food with salt were 3.4 times more likely to develop a new lesion than those who consumed low-salt diets.
The results suggest those who are suffering from MS should find ways to lower the amount of sodium in their diet.