Tag Archives: health risk

Daylight Saving Time-related health risks

“Daylight Saving Time is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.”

The concept of Daylight Saving Time originated in 1784 from Benjamin Franklin, and it was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada. Although the time change isn’t very popular, with online petitions trying to end it, it hasn’t gained any influence with politicians. It has been extended, repealed and reinstated over the years, but has been used essentially since 1908 in Canada.

A recent study discovered that the risk for stroke was at an 8 percent increase in the two days following Daylight Saving Time. Individuals older than 65 were 20 percent more likely to have a stroke during this time, while one in four individuals inflicted with cancer were more likely to have a stroke.

What are the affects of daylight savings? Graphic from Cattaraugas County
What are the effects of daylight savings? Graphic from Cattaraugas County

The team of researchers measured the risk of stroke in over 3,000 individuals hospitalized the week after Daylight Saving Time against the risk of stroke in over 11,000 individuals hospitalized two weeks before or after Daylight Saving Time.

According to Dr. Jori Ruuskanen, study author from the University of Turku, Daylight Saving Time may be a small adjustment, but it impacts entire countries twice every year.

Ruuskanen and his team will present their discoveries in April during the yearly gathering of the American Academy of Neurology in Vancouver, British Columbia.

These discoveries made by Ruuskanen and his fellow researchers aren’t the first that have warned of the possible dangerous results of Daylight Saving Time.

According to a study from 2012 at the University of Alabama Birmingham, the two days directly after Daylight Savings Time have additionally been correlated with a 10 percent increase in the rate of heart attacks.

Christopher Barnes, an associate professor of management at the University of Washington, studies the effect of lack of sleep, primarily in the workplace. Barnes is the author of a paper on public health policy recommendations, in which cited studies illustrate how Daylight Saving Time has been linked to multiple studies, which show its dangerous impacts on cognitive ability, health, and the workplace.

The paper co-written by Barnes and Christopher Drake, from the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital. The paper was published in the Perspective on Psychological Science.

The co-authors propose the elimination of Daylight Saving Time, arguing that based on how Daylight Saving Time has been connected to more auto accidents, workplace injuries, and can even inhibit moral decision making, removing it from our calendar would place an emphasis sleep health.

Coffee linked to lower death rates

A recent study says that drinking coffee, whether decaf or regular, could reduce the risk of death.

Drinking coffee is good for you? Image from Molly Mattox.

Researchers began with information from surveys of adults in the United States that asked the amount of coffee they consumed, along with different drinks and food, then they looked at their death rates and illness over the following 20 years.

Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, was the lead author of the study. The study included numerous participants, more than 50,000 men and 200,000 women.

In the beginning, researchers did not see a clear relationship between drinking coffee and death rates. Individuals who drank anywhere from a cup of coffee or less and three cups a day had 5% to 9% lower risk of dying than individuals who didn’t drink coffee. Individuals who drank more than three cups a day had no benefits.

However, when the researchers looked at coffee intake only between people who said they never smoked, they found that individuals who drank between a cup of coffee or less and three cups a day had 6% to 8% lower risk of dying than individuals who are non-coffee drinkers. Individuals who drank three to five cups or more than five cups had 15% and 12% lower death rates.

It may be true that individuals who drink a considerable measure of coffee drink less soda and therefore have healthier diets overall; soda has been linked to higher rates of death and heart disease.

A percentage of the health benefits connected with drinking coffee are most likely a direct result of the ingredients in coffee, Ding said. Coffee contains chemicals such as lignans and chlorogenic acid that can help control blood sugar and decrease inflammation, both of which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

With regards to this probability, Ding and her fellow researchers discovered that individuals who drink coffee were about 10 percent less likely to have heart disease as their cause of death. Individuals were also between 9 percent and 37 percent less likely to die of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and dementia.

Additionally, the team found that individuals who drank at least a cup of coffee a day had between 20 percent and 36 percent lower rates of suicide. In contrast, individuals who drank less than a cup had 36 percent higher rates.

In spite of the fact that past research has proposed that drinking coffee can protect against cancers such as prostate and liver, the current study did not find lower rates of cancer deaths among java drinkers.

According to Ding, there might not have been a large enough number of deaths due to certain cancers, liver cancer, for example, to be able to see a difference between individuals who drink coffee and individuals who do not.

The study’s findings were published in the journal Circulation.