Medical News Round-Up: Blueberries Improve Heart Health, Stress Linked to Facebook Addiction, and More.

Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this week in the Homepage section. In this week’s issue, we discuss which fruit is especially good for your heart, how stress is linked to Facebook addiction, and the mortality rates of NFL players compared to MLB players.

Blueberries were associated with an improvement in cardiometabolic function in those with metabolic syndrome, new study results suggested. The study, published in the American Journal of Nutrition, represented the longest-duration randomized clinical trial to date examining anthocyanin-rich blueberry intake in patients with metabolic syndrome who were obese. The study design was that of a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial that included 138 patients who were fed two dietary achievable blueberry intakes (a half cup and a full cup) and were compared to matched placebo. According to the study results, a daily intake of 1 cup of blueberries was associated with an improvement in endothelial function, systemic arterial stiffness (P=0.04) and attenuated cyclic guanosine monophosphate concentrations. “Despite insulin resistance remaining unchanged we show, to our knowledge, the first sustained improvements in vascular function, lipid status, and underlying nitric oxide bioactivity following one cup blueberries per day,” the authors concluded.

A significant correlation exists between daily stress, lack of social support, and Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD), according to a study conducted by researchers from the Mental Health Research and Treatment Center at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) who published their findings in Psychiatric Research. In this study, researchers conducted an online survey which queried 309 Facebook users. All survey participants were university students, and the researchers recruited them by displaying invitations at public outlets. In order to achieve eligibility to participate in the study, participants were simply required to have an active Facebook account. Results of the study indicate a strong correlation between daily stress and FAD, suggesting that increased stress levels are associated with higher tendencies toward Facebook addition. Moreover, Facebook use intensity was notably linked to online social support and level of FAD. “Current results indicate that the channel – offline or online – by which social support is provided might have an impact on the link between daily stress, Facebook use and tendencies towards FAD,” the researchers wrote.

National Football League (NFL) players have markedly higher rates of all-cause mortality compared to Major League Baseball (MLB) players, according to a study published in JAMA. In this retrospective cohort study, researchers analyzed data from 3,419 NFL players and 2,708 MLB players born between 1915 and 1965 who played at least five seasons in their respective sports. According to the results of the study, by the conclusion of follow-up, there were 517 deaths (mean age, 59.6) in the NFL cohort and 431 deaths (mean age, 66.7 years) in the MLB cohort. They found that cardiovascular and neurodegenerative conditions were the underlying or contributing causes in 498 and 39 deaths in the NFL compared to 225 and 16 deaths in the MLB. When juxtaposed with MLB players, NFL players had perceptibly elevated rates of all-cause (HR=1.26; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.44), cardiovascular disease (HR=2.40; 95% CI, 2.03 to 2.84), and neurodegenerative disease (HR=2.99; 95% CI, 1.64 to 5.45) mortality. “This indicates the need for cohort studies of football players with more detailed information on specific aspects of players’ football experience to isolate what specific factors are associated with increased cardiovascular and neurodegenerative risk, which could provide more insight into potentially modifiable factors that might mitigate some of the excess mortality rate we found among NFL players,” the researchers wrote.