Health news that might surprise you

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10-minute brain booster 

Just 10 minutes of mild exercise can alter how parts of the brain communicate with each other, as well as improve memory function.

That’s according to a new neurological study that suggests exercise does not have to be prolonged or intense to benefit the brain.

Studies show that when mice and rats run on wheels or treadmills, they develop more new brain cells than if they remain still. These cells cluster in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and storage.

The group of researchers turned to a group of healthy young college students and found similar results.

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

It’s alive!

Something scary may be lurking in your shower head.

Researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences say that slimy biofilm often found in shower heads is bacteria, and it can be serious. In the new study, the researchers report that some types of mycobacterial exposure can lead to even lung cancer.

After studying several households in the United States and Europe, mycobacteria were far more abundant in households receiving municipal water and shower heads made of metal. Researchers also mapped out where potentially pathogenic mycobacteria thrived, with results pointing to parts of southern California, Florida and New York.

Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Perception prompts pain

If you expect a shot to hurt, it likely will.

While that shouldn’t seem surprising, researchers say expectations about pain intensity can affect the level of pain experienced. Even when reality repeatedly demonstrates otherwise, people who expect pain will have a stronger brain response to the pain.

Researchers found that some participants — though shown time and time again that something wouldn’t hurt badly — still expected significant pain.

Source: University of Colorado Boulder

A break with bone density 

New studies show an association between fractures with bone loss that’s systemic — not just near the fracture site.

Though researchers have long concluded one fracture seems to lead to another, they haven’t known why. They suspect factors such as inflammation may contribute to bone loss after a fracture.

Researchers say their goal is to further identify these factors to develop therapeutic strategies that interrupt these processes and prevent bone loss through diseases such as osteoporosis.

Source: University of California — Davis Health System