For Your Health

We all know the risks of secondhand smoke for non-smokers, but smokers can also be affected by their own exhaled smoke. A new study found that for someone who smokes 14 cigarettes a day, inhaling his or her own secondhand smoke in an enclosed space is the equivalent of smoking another 2.6 cigarettes:

Researchers say the results contradict the prevailing assumption that the additional dangers of inhaling secondhand smoke would be negligible in comparison to the risks associated with directly inhaling cigarette smoke for smokers. "Both active and passive smoking contributions should always be considered in studies about health of active smokers," says researcher Maria Teresa Piccardo of the National Cancer Research Institute in Genoa, Italy, in a news release.

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Here's another reason to make sure you're getting enough vitamin D. Researchers found that vitamin D levels are associated with lung function in people with asthma. The lower the levels, the worse their performance in breathing tests:

"Our findings suggest that vitamin D levels influence a number of important features of asthma, including lung function, bronchospasm, and therapeutic response to steroids," researcher E. Rand Sutherland, MD, MPH, chief of the pulmonary division at National Jewish Health in Denver, says in a news release. "The next question to answer is whether giving supplemental vitamin D will lead to clinical improvements in patients with asthma."

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As we get older we have a tougher time tuning out distractions. But a study shows this lack of focus can actually boost memory and even help older adults with decision-making and problem-solving skills. So maybe wisdom really does come with age!:

"Everybody differs in their ability to ignore distracting information," said Karen Campbell, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Toronto. "Our view is that as we get older this tends to get worse."

While this lack of focus can get in the way of the task at hand, the new study suggests seniors might sometimes take in more information. More specifically, they have the unique ability to "hyper-bind" the irrelevant information, essentially tying it to other information that is appearing at the same time.

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