For Your Health

Could germs be making you fat? This week, researchers reported that certain bacteria in the intestines can influence appetite and actually cause you to overeat. Right now, it's unclear if this finding may help fight the battle of the bulge because it's difficult to get rid of these germs, even with antibiotics:

Germs that make their home in the gut may help cause obesity and a range of health-threatening symptoms that go along with it, researchers reported on Thursday.

It could be that certain bacteria cause inflammation that can affect appetite as well as inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn's disease and colitis, the researchers reported in the journal Science.

Click here to read the article

Drinking more coffee a day, may help keep heart problems away! A new study found that compared to non-coffee drinkers, those that drink four or more cups on a daily basis have a reduced risk of a dangerous irregular heartbeat:

Although an extra cup of coffee may make you feel like your heart is racing, researchers have found that drinking more coffee on a daily basis reduces your chances of dangerous irregular heartbeat, according to a Kaiser Permanente study.

The study included 130,054 adults who drank four or more cups of coffee per day. The results showed that compared to non-coffee drinkers, they lowered their risk of being hospitalized for irregular heartbeats by 18 percent. Researchers also concluded that even those who drank a lower amount of coffee (1-3 cups a day) were still 7 percent less likely to have irregular heartbeats.

Click here to read the article

According to recent surveys, about half of dog owners and 62 percent of cat owners sleep with their pets. While this may help some sleep better, the animals could also affect allergies or asthma. Experts say a HEPA filter or even allergy shots may help – but your best bet may be to kick Fido or Fluffy out into their own beds:

Which brings up another problem with sharing your bed with a pet — they can disturb your sleep. A study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that about half the patients in the study had a dog or cat, and 53% of those pet owners said their pets disturbed their sleep in some way nightly.

"I've had patients that I've spent visit after visit going over their insomnia problems, trying to figure out what's happening, then I find out they have a dog that's scratching all night," says Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine, a sleep center outside Chicago.

Click here to read the article