What do human head transplants and puppies have in common?

Well for starters, both made major headlines in health news this year.

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at what health news topics had the most people clicking – and sharing! According to Medical News Today, the following health news stories were the most popular this year:

1. The world’s first human head transplant

In October, Dr. Sergio Canavero’s plans for the first human head transplant started to become a reality when a 30-year-old Russian man with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) volunteered to be the first person to undergo the procedure.

2. Children with pets have less stress

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published research stating that dog ownership has been linked with increased physical activity, healthier body mass index (BMI) and lower stress levels in children in Australia and the UK.

3. Over-the-counter sleep aids linked to dementia

Researchers at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy in Seattle discovered a significant link between high use of anticholinergic drugs, such as popular non-prescription sleep aids and the antihistamine Benadryl, and increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people.

4. Trial shows drinking beetroot juice reduces high blood pressure

A placebo-controlled trial proved that one glass of beetroot juice a day is enough to keep the doctor away – or at least significantly reduce blood pressure.  Beetroot contains high levels of inorganic nitrate, which converts to nitric oxide in the body and relaxes and dilates blood vessels, helping those who suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension.

5. Daily cola increases cancer risk due to caramel coloring

Laboratory tests conducted by Consumer Reports found that the chemical process used to manufacture the caramel coloring used in popular soft drinks like Coca Cola exposes consumers to potential carcinogens.

So what do these headlines have in common?

While the first human head transplant doesn’t necessarily spark a trend line with puppies or caramel, there were two main trends we saw amongst popular health headlines this year:

The shock factor

Whether you’re talking about beheading a human being, or breaking the news to the 48 percent of Americans who drink soda daily that their beverage of choice could be causing cancer, people are going to click for one reason: they want need to know more.

Easy tips to improve personal health

Today, we often hear about how Millennials are focused on healthy living and preventing illness and other health conditions.  In 2015, Millennials were projected to surpass the Baby Boomers generation as the nation’s largest living generation, so it’s no surprise that articles about the sources of specific health conditions and tricks to improving your health topped the list this year.

So maybe you start to think twice about grabbing that can of Diet Coke at lunch – or even swap it for beetroot juice if high blood pressure runs in your family. Regardless, it’s likely we will see more of these easy health tips and tricks articles as we move into 2016.

What other health news trends have you seen this year? Share your favorite health news stories or trends in the comments below!

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