The Nuance

Cancer risks, Covid-19 disappointments, and hidden health lessons

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In 2001, a team of American cancer researchers launched one of the largest clinical trials ever conducted.

Known as the SELECT trial, the study was led by some of the country’s foremost cancer experts, including doctors at the National Cancer Institute, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research…

The Nuance

Expanding our definitions of harm, trauma, and mental disorder may be a “mixed blessing,” experts say

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Several years ago, in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association made a controversial change to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

For years, the DSM’s criteria for diagnosing depression had included what was known as the “bereavement exclusion.” In a nutshell, the exclusion stated that people who had…

The Nuance

The optimal amount, preparation, and timing — according to the latest research

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Gertrude Stein once wrote that coffee “is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening.”

The more experts study coffee, the more that “something” seems to be good for us.

Just this month, a large study in the journal PLOS Medicine found evidence that those who drink 1…

The Nuance

A new theory could resolve long-standing contradictions in the saturated-fat research

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It’s a mystery that has confounded nutrition scientists.

People who have high levels of cholesterol in their blood — especially LDL cholesterol, a.k.a. the “bad” kind — are at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.

Meanwhile, foods high in saturated fatty acids — including eggs, full-fat dairy products, and red meat…

The Nuance

When was the last time you ate barley, millet, or buckwheat?

Photo: Natsuko D'Aprile/Unsplash

The study’s design was simple: Every day for four weeks, people ate a serving of either whole grain barley, whole grain brown rice, or both. They changed nothing else about their diets or lifestyle.

At the end of those four weeks, fecal samples revealed that the people’s microbiomes had undergone…

A Slightly Greener Thing

The latest research suggests that our bodies, like our oceans and ground soils, are now dumping grounds for microplastic waste

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

You probably already know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s the Texas-sized mass of plastic debris that’s floating in the ocean between California and Hawaii.

Except it’s not Texas-sized anymore. It’s much larger.

According to estimates from The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit research group, the garbage patch is now…

The Nuance

Novel, complex, and perspective-changing experiences are undervalued parts of a satisfying life

Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash

Imagine that you’re stuck in a room by yourself, and your only entertainment is a short movie clip — played over and over again.

That was the setup for a 2015 study led by researchers in the Netherlands. For one hour, people in the study sat alone at a table…

The Nuance

Immoderate approaches to eating — fueled by social media and misleading nutrition research — can put your brain and body at risk

Photo: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Every year, U.S. News & World Report assembles a panel of doctors, dietitians, and other nutrition experts and asks them to rank the best overall diets for human health. This year, the Mediterranean diet topped the panel’s list — as it did in 2020 and 2019.

The Mediterranean diet is…

The Nuance

The new Facebook allegations strengthen the case that social media — as it exists today — has a net negative impact

Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

Toward the start of the pandemic — I think it was in April of 2020 — I was driving near my home in Detroit and listening to the radio.

Someone on the air, a comedian, was joking that if the coronavirus suddenly became sentient, it might be surprised to learn…

Markham Heid

I write about health, science, and psychology. My work has appeared in Time magazine, the New York Times, Vice, and elsewhere. I live in Germany.

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