Morning-After Pill Available to Everyone: Well, not everyone, but close enough. A federal judge ruled last week that the morning-after pill be available without a prescription to all girls “under reproductive age.” Before, the pill was only available to girls 17 and older, but this new ruling could make the medication available to girls as young as 11. Reproductive-rights groups brought the case to court in an attempt to remove age restrictions on emergency contraception. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman agreed with these groups, and has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after pill available without age restrictions within 30 days. The ruling was certainly controversial, being praised by women’s rights groups and being attacked by anti-abortion groups. Read more about the judge’s ruling and the mix of reactions here.
Just Push Play: A new study shows that listening to music can combat stress even more effectively than prescription medications. After listening to relaxing music, your level of the stress hormone cortisol significantly drops. Music can also lead to a decrease in your heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, and muscle tension. Researchers suggest listening to music with slow tempos without too much percussion. Check out more about this research here.
Don’t Smoke in the AM: Although you shouldn’t be smoking cigarettes at all, if you’re going to insist on keeping the deadly habit, be sure not to do it first thing in the morning. New research from Penn State reveals that people who smoke right after waking up have higher levels of NNAL (a substance created when a certain carcinogen found in tobacco enters the bloodstream) than those who wait at least half an hour to light up. According to researchers, people who smoke earlier in the morning tend to inhale more deeply, keep the smoke in their lungs longer, and take more puffs per cigarette. To prevent yourself from grabbing a cigarette right away, try drinking a class of milk — you’re less likely to smoke with the aftertaste of milk in your mouth, because the taste doesn’t mix well with cigarettes.