The Science of Procrastination

What if procrastination were hardwired into some people's brains and not the product of a flawed character? That's the conclusion of a new study.

Scientists Finally Finding Procrastination's Home

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

Is it time to let procrastinators off the hook?

The inclination to delay things rather than get right to work on them may be hardwired into some people's brains, and not the product of a flawed character, German researchers suggest.

The findings come from brain scans of 264 men and women.

MRIs revealed that a brain region involved in motivation tends to be larger among people who put things off, while communication between that part of the brain and another involved in taking action appeared to be weaker.

"Individuals differ in their ability to initiate intended actions," said study author Caroline Schluter. "While some people tend to put tasks off, others easily manage to tackle them directly."

Schluter is a research assistant in th…

5 Risky Drug Interactions

5 Common Drug Interaction Mistakes

by Frieda Wiley, PharmD, BCGP, RPh

Taking medication can be difficult, and taking medication the right way can be even harder. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not fully understanding how other drugs, or even foods, can interact with their medication. The effects of drug interactions can be relatively minor, such as reducing the effectiveness of your medication, to a major reaction that could send you to the hospital. That’s why it’s so important to arm yourself with information from your doctor or  pharmacist before you start taking a new medication.

Here are a few drug interactions that people are often unaware of – but need to be:

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications. By definition, OTC medications are those that the Food and Drug Administration have approved as safe for patients to use without the supervision of their doctor or other healthcare professional (as is needed with prescription drugs). But that doesn’t mean that OTC medications are…

Americans Cutting Back on Meat

Many Americans Slicing Meat From Their Diet

by Mary Elizabeth Dallas
HealthDay Reporter

Is America's love affair with meat starting to lose its luster?

A new survey finds that many Americans are cutting back on the amount of red and processed meat they eat -- and even some poultry and fish -- because they're worried about their health or their finances.

Americans still eat more meat than health experts recommend. High meat consumption has negative consequences for people's health and the environment, according to scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

For the study, the research team surveyed 1,112 U.S. adults to investigate consumers' views on meat consumption and their eating habits over the past three years.

The investigators found that 66 percent of those polled were eating less of at least one type of meat.

"Many Americans continue to have strong preferences for meat, but this survey adds to a growing body of evidence that a s…

7 Nutrients You May Be Missing

PotassiumLike most Americans, you probably need more of this mineral. It’s good for your blood pressure and may lower your risk for kidney stones and bone loss. Your muscles and nerves need it to work right, too. It’s found naturally in milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and legumes. Swipe to advance 2/7 MagnesiumSpinach is good for you, but do you know why? Along with beans, peas, whole grains, and nuts (especially almonds), it's a good source of magnesium. Put some or all of these foods on your plate to help prevent disease. If you have stomach or intestinal problems, type 2 diabetes, or long-term alcohol abuse, or if you’re an older adult, you’re more likely to be short on magnesium Swipe to advance 3/7 Vitamin AIt supports good vision, healthy immunity, and tissue growth. There are two types of vitamin A: retinol and carotenoids, like beta-carotene. To get more into your diet, focus on orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter s…

Lyla June: Time Traveler

Life is about "the song that travels through" you. This song of life "lives on through matrilineal lines", time traveling across generations and cultures. This has always been work shepherded by fiercely tender women. In this music video, spoken-word artist Lyla June offers a poetic reflection on time and the wisdom needed to care for future generations.

These Numbers Matter as Much as Your Weight

BMIBody mass index uses your height to gauge if your weight is healthy, but even that's not foolproof. Your body type, ethnic group, and muscle mass can change the meaning of the number. For example, if you start exercising regularly, you may gain weight as you build muscles. When you're trying to lose weight to be healthier, there are other numbers you should pay attention to, too, instead of focusing only on the scale. Swipe to advance 2/15 Waist SizeBreathe out, and wrap a tape measure around yourself midway between your hip bone and ribs. No matter your height or build, if your waist measures more than 40 inches (35 inches for women who aren't pregnant), you probably have extra fat around your heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs. Besides needing a larger pants size, you're more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and colorectal cancer. Swipe to advance 3/15 Blood PressureIdeally, you want your upper, or "systolic," numb…

Horse Herd Dynamics & the Art of Organizational Success

"The horse herd is a 40-million-year-old system that not only succeeds, it thrives. This endurance defies the conventional definition of sustainability and invites us to learn something from these powerful, wise and sensitive animals. Allegorical use of horses as a window into the management of our own social organizations may seem at best romantic, and at worst a cheap stretch. We are not animals, we tell ourselves, and our brains function differently, and besides, horses cant balance a budget. But this thinking not only over estimates our superiority, it underestimates the intelligence of nature. And, in fact, as mammals, our brains are hardwired for the same need for safety and success as the horse. It is our nature-deficient culture that robs us of true insight, robbing us of wisdom that could prevent professional and organizational demise."

--by Kelly Wendorf, syndicated from

I have a folding plastic chair that I keep near the horse paddock, home to a sma…

A New Test for 'Body Time'

Do You Know Your 'Body Time'?

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

No matter what your watch says, your body may be on a whole other schedule. Now, scientists say they've created a blood test that pinpoints the timing of your own internal clock.

The TimeSignature test evaluates dozens of genes to reveal an individual's "circadian rhythm" -- the crests and troughs that occur throughout the day as your body and brain cycle between sleepiness and alertness.

"Everyone's clock ticks at a different rate. If you want to do personalized medicine, knowing the clock time of the patient is very important," said sleep expert Dr. Mark Wu, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Two blood samples taken about 12 hours apart could provide a solid estimate of your internal clock, said lead researcher Rosemary Braun.

"By looking at a set of 40 different genes that are expressed in blood, we can pinpoint a person's internal clock to within an hour and a half,…

Can You Have Too Much of These Healthy Foods?

Food FadsKale! Seaweed! Goji berries! When you hear aboout a food that curbs this disease or that condition, you might want to dive right in. If some is good, more must be better, right? Not so fast. The right amount of the right types of foods is great for you. But if you overdo it or choose the wrong kinds, it can backfire. Since every good-for-you-food has its limits, focus on the big picture. Swipe to advance 2/14 Too Many Brazil NutsSelenium is a nutrient that you need -- but only about 55 micrograms (mcg) of selenium a day. Just one Brazil nut has 68-91 mcg. That's more than a day’s worth! Too much selenium can cause problems including diarrhea, nausea, skin rashes, hair loss, and even serious effects like trouble breathing, heart and kidney failure, and heart attacks. Adults shouldn’t get more than 400 mcg per day. That’s no more than four or five Brazil nuts, if you don't get selenium from anything else. Swipe to advance 3/14 Picking Your Own MushroomsThese wild and wooly fu…