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Fit Fix: Laziness Is Changing Your Brain

Plus more of today's top health and science headlines.

1) Exercise might be the best way to keep your brain from falling apart.

Recent studies have shown that exercise can beef up brain power by producing new brain cells. However, a study published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology suggests that being a couch potato could be harmful for both your mind and body. The study found that rats remaining sedentary and inactive for long bouts of time had reshaped their brains for the worse. New "branches" had grown from neurons in the brain. Far from helpful, these extra branches add unnecessary connections to the nervous system, increasing the likelihood that neurons send out haphazard and chaotic messages. These messages may heighten the chances of developing serious conditions, like heart disease and high blood pressure.
 [NYTimes]

2) Shifty eyes? You're probably a type-A kind of guy.

Researchers from John's Hopkins say that if you tend to rapidly move your eyes, focusing on objects for shorter periods of time, you're much more likely to be an impatient person. The speed at which eyes move could signal how much time someone spends gaging the tie between potential decisions and rewards. "It seems that people who make quick movements, at least eye movements, tend to be less willing to wait," says Reza Shadmehr, lead researcher on the Johns Hopkins team.  [EurekAlert]

3) Quinoa isn't a problem for gluten-intolerant people.

If you're one of the unfortunate souls who suffers from celiac disease (aka gluten intolerance) but still craves the carby goodness of grains, new research has a treat for you. Quinoa doesn't seem to wreak havoc on the body the way other grains do for people with gluten problems. Dr. Victor F. Zevallos, gastroenterologist and the study's main researcher, says that celiacs can eat up to 50 grams of quinoa per day without upsetting their stomachs. [NewsMedical]

10 Gluten-Free Breakfast Recipes>>>

4) Think diet sodas help cut the calories? Think again.

A study published in the American Journal of Health suggests that even though diet drinks aren't as caloric as their sugary counterparts, people who tended to drink them were more likely to compensate later with additional unhealthy snacks. "Choosing a product sweetened with a nonnutritive sweetener over a product containing added sugars would help reduce calories and sugar intake if all else remains equal, but if this choice leads you to reward yourself with a treat later in the day, the net effect could  minimize, negate or even reverse the original benefit, " says Christopher Gardner, associate professor of medicine at Stanford. [SFGate]

One More Reason to Drop Diet Sodas>>>

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