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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Word Watch: Trending Health Terms

Ever hear of broga? Have an e-book moment? Suffer from decision fatigue? See what's new in medical terminology.

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Do you start to feel positively witchy when a too-long meeting makes you eat lunch an hour later than usual? You’re probably hangry, a new phrase folks are using to describe hunger-related mood swings, according to When blood sugar levels dip too low, according to the site, the body’s ability to process the brain chemical serotonin is affected, resulting in crabbiness, anger, and a low threshold for frustration.

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Ingredient Anxiety

The stressful feeling that strikes when scary info on product packaging makes you want to avoid a certain ingredient—Parabens! Sulfate! Bisphenol-A!—but you’re not exactly sure why, as recently coined by magazine. Growing consumer preference for products free of certain cherry-picked ingredients has led to misleading marketing, according to (just because companies say that their products don’t contain certain ostracized ingredients doesn’t mean they’re necessarily free of others, for example).

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E-Book Moments

The theory that people remember less of what they read from digital books (on iPads and Kindles) than from paper-based books, as coined by Time magazine. Some experts believe that reading on paper provides more opportunities for memorizing and retaining information because you can relate words to their location on the page (left side, right side, near a chart, etc.), which helps cement the material in your mind.

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Tight Pants Syndrome

A cluster of symptoms—including abdominal pain, heartburn, and reflux a few hours after meals—that predominantly affects overweight men who wear poor-fitting pants with too-tight waistlines, according to ABC News Medical Unit. Doctors are also seeing a comparable version in women, in which skinny jeans can contribute to pelvic pain, yeast infections, and itching. Bottom line: Don’t suffer too much for beauty’s sake, advises Orly Avitzur, MD, a Tarrytown, NY-based neurologist. If it hurts to wear a new trend or a too-tight favorite piece of clothing, skip it.

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Surgeon Enthusiasm

The measure of how likely a surgeon is to recommend an operation for a condition that can be treated in other ways. A recent study suggested that this eagerness helps explain why surgery rates for back problems and other tough-to-treat ills vary wides across the country: You’re almost 25 times more likely to get spinal fusion in Idaho Falls, Idaho, for instance, than in Bangor, Maine. (Source: Study in the journal Spine.)

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Decision Fatigue

The notion that the mental work of making decisions over and over again can warp your judgment and lead to poor choices. In one example, an Israeli study found that judges granted more parole requests early in the day than they did after making a series of rulings. According to the New York Times, “the more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain.”

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Thirdhand Smoke

It sticks around for hours, days or even months after a cigarette is smoked: a residue of toxins (lead, cyanide, and arsenic among them) that clings to virtually all surfaces in a room, a car , and other enclosed spaces long after the smoke is gone. Researchers have found that thirdhand smoke can combine with nitrous acid, a common indoor air pollutant, to form a carcinogen that can be inhaled by anyone in a room. (Source: Study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)

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You have it if you’re as kind and understanding about your own shortcomings as you are about a friend’s. It’s a hot topic in psychology, the New York Times reports, and the focus of two new books: Self-Compassion: Stop beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, by Kristin Neff, PhD, and The Self-Compassion Diet, by Harvard psychotherapist Jean Fain. “Self-compassion is the missing ingredient in every diet and weight-loss plan, ” Dr. Fain told the Times.

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Attention, downward-facing dudes. You may not know it yet, but you’re practicing broga: yoga for men with strength-building moves—and without the chanting. Namaste, man.

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Forget the martinis: One way to impress clients today is to get them spinning—at the gym, that is. Can’t come to terms? Box it out, and close the deal in the steam room.

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You may want to wait on this one till you get home. Forty percent of women in a survey experienced exercise induced orgasms on more than ten occasions. Kind of makes you want to sit up and take notice!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest