Trending News Today: The Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet may help shed extra pounds, a new study suggests. Investigators conducted a meta-analysis that accounted for 12 trials with more than 1000 adults. The analysis found that individuals on vegetarian diets lost, on average, 4.4 pounds more than those following different nutritional bounds, according to The Washington Post. Individuals who were vegan lost an average of 5.5 pounds more, suggesting that plant-based diets may lead to better overall health. A University of South Carolina nutritionist Brie Turner-McGrievy, who has researched the connection between vegan diets and weight loss, warns that not all vegan offerings may be good for you. “There is a fine line between having enough choices versus making food that was once an unhealthy animal-based food into a similarly unhealthy plant-based version,” Turner-McGrievy said.

The upcoming spring and summer seasons may see an increase in Lyme disease, particularly in parts of the Northeast, according to NPR. Rick Ostfeld, a disease ecologist, said they are anticipating that 2017 will be a particularly risky year for Lyme disease. Although Ostfeld is not exactly sure which parts of the Northeast will be most affected, the risk could be high in New York, Connecticut, and patches of the mid-Atlantic region, if recent history repeats itself. Kiersten Kugeler, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said that Lyme continues to spread in the upper Midwest and other parts of New England. “Reported cases of Lyme have tripled in the past few decades,” Kugeler told NPR. “And today, we think that the true burden of Lyme disease in the US is about 300,000 cases each year.” The following are guidelines for what to do when a tick is found: do not panic; use tweezers to carefully remove the mouth of the tick that is embedded in the skin; check the CDC’s Lyme disease map with detailed statistics at the county level of physician-reported cases; save the tick in a baggie for lab tests or take a picture of the tick and send it to the TickEncounter Resource Center; and continue to monitor your health.

Although medical expenses are always a burden, a new study found they are most common around this time of year, The Washington Post reported. The results of the study showed that 1 of 6 families make a major medical payment in any given year. Interestingly, these payments tended to occur in the first few months of the year. The median payment was $1143, and most households took more than 1 year to recover from the financial hit, the study found.