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Saturday, January 23, 2021
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We hope you’re hungry

Cardiology   Gastroenterology   Mental Health   Vaccines   Food & Nutrition

Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes

Hunger can take many forms: a need for social interactions, a want for knowledge, a grumbling stomach. We’re serving them all up and more.

The Daily Huddle will be off until Monday for Thanksgiving. But we will be back then with lots of news for you.

Have a wonderful week, and stay safe.

MORNING BRIEF

When we are hungry for more than food

After being in isolation for months, it is no surprise there is an intense want, or hunger, for social contact. In new research out of MIT, researchers have found that the craving we feel for human companionship starts in the same part of the brain that drives the desire for food.

In experiments conducted long before Covid-19 emerged, scientists isolated people in windowless rooms for 10 hours (they were not working remotely). Later they fasted for the same amount of time. After each session, their brains were scanned while they looked at three kinds of images: happy groups of people, food, or flowers. The same tiny midbrain structure linked to craving lit up when social interaction or food were displayed. “Acute isolation causes social craving, similar to the way fasting causes hunger,” the researchers write.

Colorectal cancer hotspots for women

Women diagnosed with early-onset colorectal cancer have a greater risk of dying from the disease depending upon the county they reside, according to a study published in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology.

The study is the first to define specific geographic areas in the United States where women diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 50 have higher mortality rates. Approximately one in every 16 counties were identified as hot spots across the contiguous United States, and while there are too many to list here, some of these large-population counties with high mortality rates for women diagnosed with early-onset colorectal cancer include: 

  • Davidson County (Nashville) 
  • Miami-Dade County 
  • Fulton County (Atlanta) 
  • Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Tulsa County 
  • Cook County (Chicago)
  • St. Louis County
  • Hamilton County (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Fairfield County (Bridgeport, Conn.)
  • New Castle County (Wilmington, Del.)
  • Bergen County (New Jersey suburbs of New York metropolitan area) 
  • Queens County (Queens borough of New York)
  • Philadelphia County

A couple of health behavioral factors emerged as being common to the hotspot communities: physical inactivity and fertility. Nearly one quarter of adults living in hot spot counties reported no physical activity during their leisure time. About 5% of women in these counties had a live birth in the past year. However, researchers noted that more study is needed to identify health behaviors that can be modified within these populations to improve patient survival.

New guideline for cardiac patients

Here’s something you should probably know about: There’s a new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Specifically, the group suggests referring adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors to behavioral counseling to promote a healthy diet and physical activity. Because, as we know, adults who adhere to national guidelines for a healthy diet and physical activity have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those who do not. This statement is mostly consistent with the Task Force’s 2014 recommendation, although it no longer includes adults with impaired glucose tolerance or type-2 diabetes because this population is now included in a separate USPSTF recommendation.

An easy, sweet snack idea

Don’t be afraid to toss a box of raisins or a bag of dried apples in your bag as a snack—a new Penn State study has found that dried fruit may be connected with better health.

The researchers found that people who ate dried fruit were generally healthier than those who did not, and on days when people ate dried fruit, they consumed greater amounts of some key nutrients than on days when they skipped. However, they also found that people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit.

ONE BIG NUMBER

58%

The percentage of adults aged 50 to 80 that say they are somewhat or very likely to get vaccinated to prevent COVID-19, according to new results from the National Poll on Healthy Aging from the University of Michigan.

DAILY DIVERSION

2020’s Thanksgiving protests.

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