Nat Kelly Nat Kelly31 January 2023 Open Science
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Insights from MDPI Top 5 Picks: December

Last month, the majority of MDPI’s most-read articles were focused on health and nutrition. Various lifestyle factors are linked to outcomes such as asthma and hair loss. For example, an association is demonstrated between adherence to a plant-based diet and the incidence of asthma symptoms. On a different note, one study focuses on climate neutrality, introducing regional currencies as a tool to implement change. Below, we have a look at the implications of these findings.

Does Timing Matter? A Narrative Review of Intermittent Fasting Variants and Their Effects on Bodyweight and Body Composition (Nutrients)

This is the second month running that this paper has made the top 5 list. Read last month’s article to view the authors’ statement.

The Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Male Pattern Hair Loss in Young Men (Nutrients)

“We conducted a self-reported online survey from January to April 2022 in mainland China and recruited 1028 young men aged 18–45 years to explore the association between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and male pattern hair loss (MPHL).

The results support the hypothesis that excessive consumption of sugary beverages increases the risk of MPHL (the most common type of male hair loss) in young men, partially mediated by an increasing risk of chronic disease and anxiety disorder. In addition, almost all the sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) subtypes have an adverse effect on MPHL. This trend remains after adjusting for confounders.

Many studies have outlined the adverse effects of excessive SSB consumption on health, such as chronic diseases, obesity, tooth decay, and emotional problems. However, SSB consumption among the young population has increased dramatically in recent decades. Chronic diseases and death might feel so distant to young people that they are unwilling to give up the satisfaction brought by SSBs for the sake of long-term health goals. For young people, hair loss may be a more relevant topic.

The results of this study should serve as a warning for young people. It highlights the impact of sugary drinks on more tangible concerns (such as their appearance). This may help to encourage young people to avoid sweetened drinks and see the importance of proper nutrition.”

  • Statement from author Ai Zhou.

Plant-Based Diets and the Incidence of Asthma Symptoms among Elderly Women, and the Mediating Role of Body Mass Index (Nutrients)

This study found that adherence to plant-based diets reduced asthma symptoms over time. The degree of this depends on the nutritional value of the diet. A total of 5700 female participants were selected from the cohort of a previous study – the E3N study. Two groups were assessed: those who had suffered from an asthma attack and those who had never experienced asthma. The average age was 62.

Several health-related variables were assessed: diet/nutrition, BMI, asthma symptoms incidence, etc. It was found that both healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets reduced asthma symptoms over time. However, the latter diet was mostly due to the reduction in BMI, another factor affecting asthma.

Population Attributable Fraction of Gas Stoves and Childhood Asthma in the United States (IJERPH)

Diverging from nutrition, the authors of this study focused on asthma incidence in relation to pollution from gas stoves. Through meta-analysis, the authors found that 12.7% of cases of childhood asthma in the US are attributable to gas stove pollution. This statistic is similar to the rate of childhood asthma caused by second-hand smoke.

It is highlighted that mitigation strategies can be implemented to prevent this occurrence. Incidence varies at the state and county levels. Thus, the authors call for further research to be conducted to determine the specific public health burden in each state.

Creating Monetary Collaborative Spaces for Social and Ecological Transformation (Sustainability)

“This article tries to bridge theory and practice in the field of complementary currencies and climate protection.

It provides concrete approaches for cities and municipalities that want to start on the path toward climate neutrality on a scientifically sound basis. The link to local currency is new, as is the approach of subordinating monetary policy to a socio-political goal such as climate protection. This monetary policy is implemented experimentally at the local level and has concrete effects on the population. It was followed by invitations not only to colleges and universities, but also municipalities and business networks that are seriously seeking approaches to greenhouse gas reduction.

The approach of the climate bonus, which is described in the article, is now to be scaled. For this purpose, funding from the national climate protection initiative of the German Federal Government is in preparation. Discussions are currently underway with several initiatives and cities.”

  • Statement from author Christian Gelleri.

If you want to find out more about any of the studies mentioned in this article, you can read them for free on the MDPI website.

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