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Baby boomer blues and how TV can affect sperm count: In health news today

A new study suggests that young men who watch at least 20 hours of TV weekly may have a sperm count that's 50 percent less than that of their counterparts who watch very little.
A new study suggests that young men who watch at least 20 hours of TV weekly may have a sperm count that's 50 percent less than that of their counterparts who watch very little. Detlef Reichardt/Flickr Creative Commons

Staying fit through middle age could help significantly reduce the likelihood of your developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease by the time you're 65, says a new study. CBSNews.com reports that Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 84,000 yearly.

The BBC reports on new research that suggests living in a sunny climate may reduce a person's risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that mostly occurs in women. But researchers cautioned that people should not spend all day in the sun.

Baby boomers are living longer than their parents did – but not necessarily healthier. ABCNews.com says folks born between 1946 and 1964 are more likely than their predecessors were to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. They also have higher rates of obesity and physical inactivity.

A new study appearing in Translational Behavior Medicine suggests that unhealthy behaviors – like smoking, binge-drinking, illegal drug use, having unprotected sex and maintaining an unhealthy diet – follow depression, anxiety and stress among low-income people, rather than give rise to them.

Another mental health study appearing in BMJ Open found that around 10 percent of mentally ill teens drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and smoke marijuana at least once a week, which the authors said was "likely to contribute to increased risk of poor physical and/or mental health outcomes."

Young, male couch potatoes, take heed: HealthDay has news on a study which says men who watch 20 hours or more of TV every week may have a sperm count that's 50 percent less than that of their counterparts who watch very little. But, added researchers, 15 hours a week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise may augment sperm count by up to 73 percent.

According to the Atlantic, new research shows that the more patients know about their health care, and the more skilled they are at managing their day-to-day health, the lower their health care costs are. Average health care costs were 8 percent higher for more passive patients, compared to patients who were more actively engaged.

Low levels of vitamin D could increase young adults' risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study's lead author said she found it "surprising" that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels as a young adult could reduce a person's risk of adult-onset type 1 diabetes by as much as 50 percent, in part because it's so "simple and safe."

Another study on another form of diabetes – type 2 – says patients who treat their condition with insulin may be opening themselves up to a host of health complications, including heart attack, stroke, cancer and eye problems. The research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism isn't the first to raise concerns about the safety of insulin, and said that although insulin treatment is the "most long-standing blood-glucose-lowering" therapy for people with type 2 diabetes, there are other therapies experts should look at to determine whether insulin is still the safest and the best.

And finally – it becomes a mantra of sorts, especially around Christmastime: It's better to give than it is to receive. Well, there's new research that may lend that notion a bit of scientific credence: A study in the American Journal of Public Health says helping others in tangible ways can actually lengthen our lives by "buffering" the effects of stress.

Photo by Detlef Reichardt via Flickr Creative Commons.

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