Lighten up at Work for Better Health

Office workers with more light exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The study highlights the importance of exposure to natural light to employee health and the priority architectural designs of office environments should place on natural daylight exposure for workers, the study authors said.

Employees with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than employees who did not have the natural light exposure in the workplace. There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows.

Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality and sleep disturbances.

The study was reported in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in June.

“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day –particularly in the morning — is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism,” said senior study author Phyllis Zee, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist and member of the Women’s Health Research Institute Leadership Council.. “Workers are a group at risk because they are typically indoors often without access to natural or even artificial bright light for the entire day. The study results confirm that light during the natural daylight hours has powerful effects on health.”

- See more at: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2014/08/natural-light-in-the-office-boosts-health.html#sthash.reHJdFNG.dpuf

Cyberbullying–a growing public health problem

Cyberbullying happens when one uses online communication to harrass, post disparaging remarks, or threaten someone via the Internet or by texting.    Because it reaches an unlimited audience (unlike face-to-face bullying)  its consequences can be extreme.  Cyberbullying is particularly rampant among adolescents—95% of whom are connected to the Internet.    A new publication in Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics explores the literature on cyberbullying and suggests that it has become an international public health concern especially for teens.   While there is little about sex differences in current publications, the author, Charissse Nixon, recommends that  future studies on this topic take a closer look at how it might be different in girls and boys.

Dermal fillers for wrinkles, how safe are they?

More and more women (and men) are seeking treatments to fill out those crow’s feet, frown lines and wrinkles as well as puffing up lips.  In response to the growing demand, more options are now available and people are reporting satisfactory results.  Are they safe?  What works best?   How is it different than botox?   The FDA is responsible for monitoring these products and has developed a helpful guide, Filling in Wrinkles Safely that provides important consumer information.

Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods–FDA Updates

An estimated 3 million people in the United States have celiac disease. In people with celiac disease, foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. Such damage limits the ability of celiac disease patients to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk of other very serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

On August 2, 2013, FDA issued a final rule defining “gluten-free” for food labeling, which will help consumers, especially those living with celiac disease, be confident that items labeled “gluten-free” meet a defined standard for gluten content.

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