Medical notes this week…

A new study concludes that the number one public health threat to our lives isn’t smoking…. It’s a poor diet. The study in the journal The Lancet finds that 11 million people worldwide die every year because they’re eating too much of some things, and not enough of others. Too much salt and too few whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the biggest offenders. Countries where people eat a so-called Mediterranean diet, including Israel, France, and Spain, have the fewest diet-related deaths, while the United States comes in 43rd.

If someone has what’s called rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, odds are very high that they’ll develop Parkinson’s disease. But it may take years. A study in the journal Brain tracked people with REM sleep disorder and found that nearly three-quarters of them developed Parkinson’s within 12 years. REM sleep disorder causes violent acting out of dreams as the normal paralysis people experience in sleep is lost.

A rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma has been linked in the past to textured breast implants. Now, for the first time, a woman who had received textured buttock implants has also been diagnosed with the cancer. The report in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal emphasizes that the case shows only an “association” between the implants and cancer, not that they were the cause.

And finally, heart failure may be diagnosed soon using smart toilet seats. Scientists at the Rochester Institute of Technology have outfitted toilet seats with sensors that can detect heart failure through contact with the skin before any symptoms show up. The special toilet seats are intended for people who’ve already suffered a bout with heart failure and could be in serious trouble should it return.

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