5 Things to Read on Improving Health

Links between juice and obesity, the Great Recession and liver disease deaths, and alternative medicine and cancer deaths are all in this week’s roundup.

ILLUSTRATION CREDIT: Joe Stoltz

Why you may want to shelve the juice boxes

Juice has been marketed as a healthy alternative to sodas, but we may want to take a closer look at the nutrition labels, three pediatrics professors argue in an opinion piece in The New York Times. The reason? Juices contain a ton of sugar. “In fact, one 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar; which is roughly what’s in a can of Coke,” the authors point out.

Many urgent care centers prescribe too many antibiotics

Antibiotics only help treat infections caused by bacteria, not those caused by viruses. But a new study found that 46 percent of people who went to an urgent care center with a viral infection like the flu still got an antibiotic — which could do more harm than good, Reuters reports.

Digital media linked to ADHD

Screen time may not just be hard on the eyes. A new study found teens who use digital media frequently may be at a higher risk of developing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. USA Today shares more.

“If you could cure cancer with baking soda, who wouldn’t want to do that?”

Cancer patients are more likely to die when they choose alternative treatments such as herbal remedies or homeopathy in lieu of standard cancer treatments, according to a new study in JAMA Oncology. However, using alternative treatments in tandem with traditional treatment like chemotherapy or radiation didn’t do any harm. One of the researchers told NBC News he understands why cancer patients may be drawn to unproven treatment methods. “If you could cure cancer with baking soda, who wouldn’t want to do that?” he said. “Or if you could cure cancer with healing power crystals or positive thinking, who wouldn’t want that? I completely understand and empathize with patients.”

Liver disease deaths are on the rise

From 1999 to 2016, yearly deaths from cirrhosis — irreversible scarring of the liver that can lead to liver cancer or liver failure — increased by 65 percent, The New York Times reported. The Great Recession is one possible explanation for this increase. “Young people are more likely to die of alcoholic cirrhosis, and we know that there is a model of despair in young unemployed men who are likely to abuse alcohol,” one doctor told the Times.

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