A new study, conducted by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University’s School of Medicine between 1991 and 2001, indicates that the consumption of artificially-sweetened drinks correlates with an increased risk of stroke and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease).  Published online in The American Heart Association’s journal, Stroke, on Thursday, more than 4,000 adults in Framingham, MA (divided into two groups: 2,888 subjects were above the age of 45, where as 1484 were older than 60) were studied.  Although there was no visible cause-and-effect determined, researchers  conclude that those who consume diet drinks daily have a three times more likely risk of stroke and dimentia, compared to those who drink less than one artificially-sweetened beverage per week.

While sugar-sweetened beverages were not determined to be associated with stroke or dementia, there is still cause for concern.  “In our first study we found that those who more frequently consume sugary beverages such as fruit juices and sodas had greater evidence of accelerated brain aging such as overall smaller brain volumes, they had poorer memory function and they also had smaller hippocampus, which is an area of the brain important for memory consolidation,” lead researcher, Matthew Pase, shared.


For a limited time only, Starbucks has released its Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage.  Considered the mood ring of frozen treats, the color-changing, flavor-fleeting treat will only be available in the US, Canada, and Mexico from April 19th through the 23rd.  According to Starbucks, the beverage “is made with a sweet dusting of pink powder, blended into a crème Frappuccino with mango syrup and layered with a pleasantly sour blue drizzle,” and is finished with vanilla whipped cream and “a sprinkle of sweet pink and sour blue powder topping.”


We all strive to continuous improve ourselves mentally and physically. However, sometimes our bad habits just get in the way of the lives we hope to lead.  Scientists have many explanations for why we adhere to bad habits, but rarely provide us with the tools to stop them. Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a Manhattan neuropsychologist, addresses some of the most common habits and shares why we need to kick them now! 

Overspending your way into debt.  Money worries can have serious health consequences. In a Rutgers University telephone survey, responders said financial stress contributed to high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, headaches, digestion troubles, aches and pains, ulcers, excessive smoking and drinking, and gaining or losing weight.  Dr. Hafeez points out, “Getting yourself out of debt is a lot like losing weight. It takes time, can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, you have to be constantly vigilant, and it’s easy to revert back to old habits. But for those who succeed, and many people do, the results are stunning. You’ll feel more in control of your life with less stress and fewer worries. They key here is recognizing the problem and not trying to tackle it alone.”

Overusing painkillers and sedatives.  When not taken properly, long-term habitual use of pain medications can cause more problems than it solves. Using drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin for arthritis or muscle pain can over time increase your risk for ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Since these drugs ease pain you may want to keep on taking them, which can lead to addiction.  According to Dr. Hafeez, “New pain-relief strategies can ease muscle, joint, and head pain with fewer pills and side effects. Kicking the sedative and prescription pain pill habit is possible with commitment and support, and once the pill taking has ceased, your body will quickly rebound from their effects. You’ll spend less money on medications. You may cut your risk for heart and high blood pressure problems as well as gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding. You’ll also be more alert and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve beaten a drug dependency.” Read more of this story »