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Americans Are Increasingly Unsafe on the Roads and Drinking and Drowsy Driving is On the Rise

Jan 13, 17 Americans Are Increasingly Unsafe on the Roads and Drinking and Drowsy Driving is On the Rise

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Think driving drunk is the worst thing a driver can do behind the wheel? Think again. A new study has shown that driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a person who drives without an adequate amount of sleep not only puts themselves at risk, but everyone else on the road. The AAA found out that losing one to two hours is enough to double a driver’s crash risk, and losing three hours of sleep can quadruple it. The Richmond Register reports AAA’s findings as, “Drivers missing two to three hours of sleep in a 24-hour period more than quadrupled their risk of a crash compared to drivers getting the recommended seven hours of sleep. This is the same crash risk the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration associates with driving over the legal limit for alcohol.” Drowsy driving is responsible for 20% of all fatal auto accidents on the road. Not only is this number concerning, but it confirms the overall trend that Americans are not practicing safe driving habits. 2016 may turn out to be the worst year on record for drunk driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports. On average, 28 people a day died from DUI related accidents nationwide. To put this number into perspective, every two minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. These numbers are the highest the country has seen in 50 years, and the NHTSA is trying to get to the bottom of this deadly habit. As a way to prevent intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel, NHTSA hopes to implement a new technology that will use sensors to measure a driver’s blood alcohol level before they put their keys into the ignition. Not only will this technology work with cars, but it will be especially beneficial for motorcycle drivers, who are at even higher risk out on the roads. The system is set to be put in place as...

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Scuba Divers May Want to Check In With Their Dentists Before a Dive

Jan 03, 17 Scuba Divers May Want to Check In With Their Dentists Before a Dive

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There are plenty of reasons to have a regular check up with your dentist. Practically all adults (99.7%, according to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey) believe that a healthy-looking smile is socially important, and nearly three-quarters of Americans think that an unattractive smile could hurt their chances for career success. But scuba diving enthusiasts may have one more reason to add to the list: All of that underwater pressure could be putting a strain on their teeth, mouths, and jaw. A new pilot study from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine suggests that scuba divers might be at increased risk for dental problems during and after dives. The study’s lead author, Vinisha Ranna, is both a dental student and a certified stress and rescue scuba diver. She first contemplated the study after her own experiences with diving, where she would frequently experience a condition known as barodontalgia, or a squeezing sensation on the teeth, while underwater. Barodontalgia is due to the pressure conditions and the equipment involved in scuba diving — including a mouthpiece clenched between the teeth. Ranna set out to discover whether other divers experienced similar challenges. “The potential for damage is high during scuba diving,” said Ranna. “The dry air and awkward position of the jaw while clenching down on the regulator is an interesting mix. An unhealthy tooth underwater would be much more obvious than on the surface. One hundred feet underwater is the last place you want to be with a fractured tooth.” As a pilot study, Ranna sent out a survey to 100 healthy adult scuba diving enthusiasts. Some 41% reported dental problems that seemed related to diving, 42% of which were also barodontalgia. Another 24% reported mouth pain, 22% reported jaw pain, and a few even said that their crowns often became loose during dives. The symptoms were most pronounced for scuba instructors, likely because they spend more time in the water than recreational divers. Based on the results of the pilot study,...

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Study Reveals Hypochondriacs More Likely to Experience Health Issues

Dec 09, 16 Study Reveals Hypochondriacs More Likely to Experience Health Issues

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It’s easy to worry about your health during flu season, which is rapidly approaching, but for some people, worrying about health becomes an obsession. Psychiatrists classify this disorder as “health anxiety,” but it’s more commonly known as hypochondria. It only affects one to two percent of the population, but a new study has revealed that people who suffer from hypochondria are more likely to develop serious health issues. A large study from Norway took into account the health of 7,052 participants from the Norwegian Hordaland Health Study, which is a long-term research project by the National Health Screening Service and the University of Bergen. On top of the 13 years of data that had already been collected, the researchers studied participants’ level of anxiety and their health during times of stress. After taking these factors into account, the researchers found that approximately 3.3% of the participants experienced a heart attack or acute angina. Of those 3.3%, twice as many had health anxiety as those who did not. If patients had high levels of health anxiety, they were 70% more likely to develop issues with heart health during their lives. While the research did conclude that anxiety should be considered a risk factor for heart disease, there was no causality assessment performed. Simply put, there still isn’t a concrete reason why health anxiety is connected to heart disease. Does awareness of symptoms cause the anxiety, or does the anxiety cause the symptoms? Line Iden Berge, one of the researchers and a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen in Norway, explained that before the study was conducted, she expected the results to show just the opposite of what they did. Stress, however, is a major reason that employees take time off. A new report assessing the health of workers in Britain found that 25% of employees called in sick due to high amounts of stress. Stress and anxiety release a hormone called cortisol, which according to “The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger...

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Study Finds Sleep-Deprived Drivers Are More Likely to Cause Accidents

Dec 08, 16 Study Finds Sleep-Deprived Drivers Are More Likely to Cause Accidents

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Feeling tired behind the wheel? It may be in your best interests to pull over and take a nap. A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who are sleep-deprived are much more likely to be involved in serious road accidents. In fact, drivers who had less than five hours of sleep within the previous 24 hours had crash risks on par with that of drunk drivers. “If you have not slept seven or more hours in a given 24-hour period, you really shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. Despite widespread awareness of the risks of drinking and driving, many Americans are unaware or neglectful of the dangers of driving on too little sleep. An estimated one in three people in the U.S. don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis, studies show, whether because of stress, work and family obligations, or a simple lack of planning. “Look at your lifestyle,” said Dr. Erich Voigt, a sleep researcher at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “Put aside eight hours that you know you will get sleep. Set your sleep and wake times at the same time every day of the week so you know when you’re going to bed and you know when you’re waking up.” The report came from an analysis of 7,234 drivers involved in 4,571 crashes in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. Of the six million accidents that occur in the United States every year, averaging about one every 10 seconds, the data included information from accidents where at least one vehicle had to be towed and emergency services had to be called to the scene. “It happens in an instant,” said Karen Roberts, a Cincinnati nurse who was involved in an accident several years ago after falling asleep behind the wheel while she was driving home from a night...

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