Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

10 WAYS TO ‘REACH OUT’ WHEN YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

From the March 3, 2018 blog post at Let’s Queer Things Up

I’m a mental health writer and advocate, and a suicide attempt survivor. I’ve told people on this blog many times, “Keep reaching out.” I’ve written multiple articles preaching the importance of vulnerability, defying stigma, and owning your struggles.

This is my whole thing, okay? This is what I do.

So when one of my closest friends died by suicide a few weeks ago, I wasn’t just shocked — I was completely gutted.

I thought there was never a question of whether or not my loved ones could reach out to me. But the very person who I’d talked to so often about mental health… didn’t call me.

Not even to say goodbye.

Screenshot 2018-03-03 at 10.30.59 AM

In the weeks following their suicide, my grief took me to dark places. I soon began having my own suicidal thoughts. And even then, when it was my turn to “reach out”? Even after losing my friend? I began to withdraw, too.

I watched, with painful awareness, as I did much of what my friend seemed to do leading up to their suicide. I wrote myself off as a burden. I isolated myself. I got lost in my own head. And despite knowing the danger of where I found myself, I said nothing.

After an especially scary night, I realized something: No one ever explained to me how to ask for help. No one told me what “reaching out” even meant.

As my grief began to snowball, I hesitated to tell anyone I was struggling, largely because I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what to ask for, and without knowing what to ask for, it felt too complicated and futile to ask.

“Why didn’t they tell me?” is such a common refrain when we talk about suicide or mental health challenges in general. It’s easy to make this remark, because “tell someone” seems like a simple request. But in truth, it’s vague at best.

“REACHING OUT” IS THIS SKILL WE’RE SOMEHOW EXPECTED TO KNOW, YET IT’S NEVER TAUGHT AND RARELY MODELED FOR US.

It’s this vague, hopeful sentiment that people throw around, without ever really defining it. What are we asking people to do or say? It’s not exactly clear.

So I want to get more specific. We need to be more specific.

I don’t know if an article like this could’ve saved my friend. But what I do know is that we need to normalize asking for help and talk about what that might look like, rather than pretending it’s a simple and intuitive thing to do.

Maybe then, we can reach people sooner. We can meet them more compassionately. And we can find better ways to support them.

So if you’re struggling but you don’t know what to say? I get it.

Let’s talk about it.

1. “I’M (DEPRESSED/ANXIOUS/SUICIDAL). I’M NOT SURE WHAT TO ASK FOR, BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE RIGHT NOW.”

Sometimes we don’t know exactly what we need, or we’re unsure of what someone can offer. That’s okay; that shouldn’t discourage us from reaching out. It’s perfectly fine if you have no idea what you need or want — especially when all you can think about is how much you’re hurting.

Let someone know how you’re feeling. You might be surprised by the ways they offer to support you. And if they aren’t helpful? Keep asking until you find someone who is, or seek out a hotline (I know it can be weird to talk to a stranger, but there are some awesome hotlines out there).

2. “I’M STRUGGLING WITH MY MENTAL HEALTH AND WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING ISN’T WORKING. CAN WE (MEET UP/SKYPE/ETC) ON (DATE) AND COME UP WITH A BETTER PLAN?”

Read the entire blog post at https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2018/03/03/10-ways-to-reach-out-when-youre-struggling-with-your-mental-health/

 

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June 9, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Psychology | , | Leave a comment

A clinical trial wants your DNA – what should you do?

Via https://theconversation.com/a-clinical-trial-wants-your-dna-what-should-you-do-96327

 

On May 6, the “All of Us” study started enrolling participants. This national study will be one of the largest ever examining the connection between genetics, behavior and medical outcomes, with a goal of 1 million or more participants. Anyone over the age of 18 in the U.S. can join.

As a researcher who studies personalized medicine, I believe it’s important for Americans to be able to make an informed decisions in their quest for cutting-edge health care, but it does raise important questions over privacy. Given modern concerns about data security, I see positives and negatives to participating in trials like All of Us.

 

More at https://theconversation.com/a-clinical-trial-wants-your-dna-what-should-you-do-96327

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chimpanzees eat plants that point to new ways of treating diseases

Via May 20, 2018 article at The Conversation

As cancer and other non-infectious diseases continue to rise all over the world it’s become harder for scientists to find safe, effective treatments. In addition, bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to drugs and synthetic medicines have become harsher.

These challenges have led to searches for new solutions, including natural substances, like medicinal plants. Plant based medicines are known to have more benefits because they are less poisonous than synthetic versions. They also have compounds that compliment each other that help in disease prevention.

People have been using plants to make medicines for thousands of years. The World Health Organisation estimates that between 75% and 80% of the world’s population uses at least some plant based medicines.

Africa has its own store of medicinal plants, such as those used in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I have been working with a group of scientists to find new ways to exploit plants for medicinal purposes. As part of the process we studied the eating habits and behaviour of some wild chimpanzees based at the Taï National Park in the south western region of Côte d’Ivoire. We identified what they ate, which included leaves, fruit and the stems of the plants. We then tested these in a laboratory.

Our idea followed on from a previous study on the park’s chimpanzees which focused on the energy and protein balance in their diets. Our study focused on the medicinal properties of what they ate.

Our results suggest that the diets of chimpanzees are made up of plants that are a rich source of compounds that improve their immune systems and protect them from certain diseases. Our findings have opened the door to exploring the properties of these plants to test their ability to treat disease in humans.

Tolerance to disease

Chimpanzees are the closest animal to humans genetically, sharing 98% of the human DNA. This genetic closeness means that these great apes share certain diseases with humans. These include yeast infections (candidiasis), Ebola and HIV/AIDS. Chimpanzees are also able to get cancer.

Our hypothesis was that some plants in the chimpanzees’ diet might be keeping them healthy and that this could be useful in developing medicine for humans too.

We tested about 132 extracts from 27 plants chosen based on:

  • how frequently they consumed the plants
  • the time of consumption
  • the quantity eaten

The plants were analysed for their ability to prevent the development of cancer and to inhibit cell damage, bacterial and fungal growth. Their nutritional benefits were also analysed.

The preventive diet

Some of the plants we analysed are already used by people as medicinal plants. But the parts extracted to make medicines are different to those eaten by the chimps. The plant Nauclea diderrichii is a good example. The fruits and leaves are eaten by chimps but the stem bark is used by people to treat fever and jaundice.

Promising plants such as Tristemma coronatum, whose leaf extract is known to induce sleep in humans, and Beilschmiedia mannii, which is already used to treat lung diseases, were identified.

The leaves of the Tristemma coronatum plant are known to induce sleep. Author provided.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Statistics on Mental Illness

mentalIllness

Looking for statistics on Mental Illness? Check out the UToledo Libraries Guide “Diseases and Conditions” section through “Locating Health Statistics”.  http://libguides.utoledo.edu/health_stats/diseases

 

For example, Go to the Specific Diseases/Conditions “box” and select
Mental Health & Substance Abuse
Mental Health (US National Center for Health Statistics) has national
statistics on the prevalence and treatment of mental illnesses among
the U.S. population.Includes mental illness, ADHD, Bipolar disorder,
eating disorders, PTSD, suicide

In addition, information is provided about possible consequences of
mental illnesses, such as suicide and disability.

 

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Health Statistics, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

The Power of Pets Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions

From a Feb 2018 US National Institutes of Health news release

Illustration of people with different types of pets

Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills.

An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. But who benefits from an animal? And which type of pet brings health benefits?

Over the past 10 years, NIH has partnered with the Mars Corporation’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition to answer questions like these by funding research studies.

Scientists are looking at what the potential physical and mental health benefits are for different animals—from fish to guinea pigs to dogs and cats.

Possible Health Effects

Research on human-animal interactions is still relatively new. Some studies have shown positive health effects, but the results have been mixed.

Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.

Read the entire article at https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets

 

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Sleep Probelms and Complementary Approaches

From the US National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) – part of NIH

What’s the Bottom Line?

sleepdisorder_ThinkstockPhotos-526393059_square[1]

What do we know about the usefulness of complementary approaches for sleep disorders?

  • Relaxation techniques can be helpful for insomnia.
  • Melatonin supplements may be helpful for sleep problems caused by shift work or jet lag. Melatonin may also be helpful for people with insomnia, but its effect is small.
  • The evidence for other complementary approaches is either inconsistent or too limited to draw conclusions about whether they are helpful for sleep disorders.

What do we know about the safety of complementary approaches for sleep disorders?

  • Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe.
  • Melatonin appears to be relatively safe for short-term use, but its long-term safety has not been established.
  • There are serious safety concerns about kava products (which have been linked to severe liver damage) and L-tryptophan supplements (which may be associated with a potentially serious disorder called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome).
  • If you use a complementary approach for a sleep problem, tell your health care providers. They can do a better job caring for you if they know what you’re using.

What Are Sleep Disorders and How Important Are They?

There are more than 80 different sleep disorders. This fact sheet focuses on insomnia—difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders.

More information

Chronic, long-term sleep disorders affect millions of Americans each year. These disorders and the sleep deprivation they cause can interfere with work, driving, social activities, and overall quality of life, and can have serious health implications. Sleep disorders account for an estimated $16 billion in medical costs each year, plus indirect costs due to missed days of work, decreased productivity, and other factors.

To learn more about sleep disorders, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Web site.

Is It a Sleep Disorder or Not Enough Sleep?

Some people who feel tired during the day have a true sleep disorder, but for others, the real problem is not allowing enough time for sleep. Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to be well rested, but the average adult sleeps for less than 7 hours a night.

More information

Sleep is a basic human need, like eating, drinking, and breathing, and is vital to good health and well-being. Shortchanging yourself on sleep slows your thinking and reaction time, makes you irritable, and increases your risk of injury. It may even decrease your resistance to infections, increase your risk of obesity, and increase your risk of heart disease. To learn more about healthy sleep and what happens when you don’t get enough sleep, visit NHLBI’s Your Guide to Healthy Sleep and What Are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency?.

What the Science Says About Complementary Health Approaches and Insomnia

Research has produced promising results for some complementary health approaches for insomnia, such as relaxation techniques. However, evidence of effectiveness is still limited for most products and practices, and safety concerns have been raised about a few.

Mind and Body Practices

  • There is evidence that relaxation techniques can be effective in treating chronic insomnia.

    More information

    • Progressive relaxation may help people with insomnia and nighttime anxiety.
    • Music-assisted relaxation may be moderately beneficial in improving sleep quality in people with sleep problems, but the number of studies has been small.
    • Various forms of relaxation are sometimes combined with components of cognitive-behavioral therapy (such as sleep restriction and stimulus control), with good results.
    • Using relaxation techniques before bedtime can be part of a strategy to improve sleep habits that also includes other steps, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule; avoiding caffeine, alcohol, heavy meals, and strenuous exercise too close to bedtime; and sleeping in a quiet, cool, dark room.
    • Relaxation techniques are generally safe. However, rare side effects have been reported in people with serious physical or mental health conditions. If you have a serious underlying health problem, it would be a good idea to consult your health care provider before using relaxation techniques.
  • In a preliminary study, mindfulness-based stress reduction, a type of meditation, was as effective as a prescription drug in a small group of people with insomnia.

    More information

    • Several other studies have also reported that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved sleep, but the people who participated in these studies had other health problems, such as cancer.
  • Preliminary studies in postmenopausal women and women with osteoarthritis suggest that yoga may be helpful for insomnia.
  • Some practitioners who treat insomnia have reported that hypnotherapy enhanced the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques in their patients, but very little rigorous research has been conducted on the use of hypnotherapy for insomnia.
  • A small 2012 study on massage therapy showed promising results for insomnia in postmenopausal women. However, conclusions cannot be reached on the basis of a single study.
  • Most of the studies that have evaluated acupuncture for insomnia have been of poor scientific quality. The current evidence is not rigorous enough to show whether acupuncture is helpful for insomnia.

For more information on mind and body practices.

Dietary Supplements

Melatonin and Related Supplements

  • Melatonin may help with jet lag and sleep problems related to shift work.
  • A 2013 evaluation of the results of 19 studies concluded that melatonin may help people with insomnia fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and sleep better, but the effect of melatonin is small compared to that of other treatments for insomnia.

    More information

    • Studies of melatonin in children with sleep problems suggest that it may be helpful, both in generally healthy children and in those with conditions such as autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, both the number of studies and the number of children who participated in the studies are small, and all of the studies tested melatonin only for short periods of time.
    • Melatonin supplements appear to be relatively safe for short-term use, although the use of melatonin was linked to bad moods in elderly people (most of whom had dementia) in one study.
    • The long-term safety of melatonin supplements has not been established.
  • Dietary supplements containing substances that can be changed into melatonin in the body—L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)—have been researched as sleep aids.

    More information

    • Studies of L-tryptophan supplements as an insomnia treatment have had inconsistent results, and the effects of 5-HTP supplements on insomnia have not been established.
    • The use of L-tryptophan supplements may be linked to eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), a complex, potentially fatal disorder with multiple symptoms including severe muscle pain. It is uncertain whether the risk of EMS associated with L-tryptophan supplements is due to impurities in L-tryptophan preparations or to L-tryptophan itself.

Herbs

  • Although chamomile has traditionally been used for insomnia, often in the form of a tea, there is no conclusive evidence from clinical trials showing whether it is helpful. Some people, especially those who are allergic to ragweed or related plants, may have allergic reactions to chamomile.
  • Although kava is said to have sedative properties, very little research has been conducted on whether this herb is helpful for insomnia. More importantly, kava supplements have been linked to a risk of severe liver damage.
  • Clinical trials of valerian (another herb said to have sedative properties) have had inconsistent results, and its value for insomnia has not been demonstrated. Although few people have reported negative side effects from valerian, it is uncertain whether this herb is safe for long-term use.
  • Some “sleep formula” dietary supplements combine valerian with other herbs such as hops, lemon balm, passionflower, and kava or other ingredients such as melatonin and 5-HTP. There is little evidence on these preparations from studies in people.

For more information on dietary supplements.

Other Complementary Health Approaches

  • Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils from plants. It is uncertain whether aromatherapy is helpful for treating insomnia because little rigorous research has been done on this topic.
  • A 2010 systematic review concluded that current evidence does not demonstrate significant effects of homeopathic medicines for insomnia.

NCCIH Research on Sleep Disorders

NCCIH funds research on complementary health approaches for sleep disorders.

More information

Recent projects include studies on:

  • How mindfulness meditation training may affect the amount and quality of sleep
  • The effect of blue-white light on sleep disorders in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Whether acupuncture can help insomnia
  • How two forms of mindfulness-based therapy compare with behavior therapy for treating insomnia.

Could You Have Sleep Apnea?

Do you snore loudly? Does your bed partner say that you make gasping or snorting sounds during the night? Do you fight off sleepiness during the day?

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider. You might have sleep apnea—a condition in which sleep is disrupted because of pauses in breathing. For more information, visit the NHLBI Web site.

If You’re Considering Complementary Health Approaches for Sleep Problems

  • Talk to your health care providers. Tell them about the complementary health approach you are considering and ask any questions you may have. Because trouble sleeping can be an indication of a more serious condition, and because some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can contribute to sleep problems, it is important to discuss your sleep-related symptoms with your health care providers before trying any complementary health product or practice.
  • Be cautious about using any sleep product—prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, or homeopathic remedies. Find out about potential side effects and any risks from long-term use or combining products.
  • Keep in mind that “natural” does not always mean safe. For example, kava products can cause serious harm to the liver. Also, a manufacturer’s use of the term “standardized” (or “verified” or “certified”) does not necessarily guarantee product quality or consistency. Natural products can cause health problems if not used correctly. The health care providers you see about your sleep problems can advise you.
  • If you are pregnant, nursing a child, or considering giving a child a dietary supplement or other natural health product, it is especially important to consult your (or your child’s) health care provider.
  • If you are considering a practitioner-provided complementary health practice, check with your insurer to see if the services will be covered, and ask a trusted source (such as your health care provider or a nearby hospital or medical school) to recommend a practitioner.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

For More Information

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Toll-free in the U.S.:
1-888-644-6226
TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers):
1-866-464-3615

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

The NHLBI Health Information Center provides information to health professionals, patients, and the public about heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders and accepts orders for publications.

National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

MedlinePlus

To provide resources that help answer health questions, MedlinePlus (a service of the National Library of Medicine) brings together authoritative information from the National Institutes of Health as well as other Government agencies and health-related organizations.

Information on sleep disorders

PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.

Key References

All Other References

Top

Acknowledgments

NCCIH thanks Ronald Glick, M.D., University of Pittsburgh; Nalaka Gooneratne, M.D., University of Pennsylvania; Michael Twery, Ph.D., National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D., and John (Jack) Killen, Jr., M.D., NCCIH, for their contributions to the 2014 update of this publication.

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.

NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Cancer Care Gets Personal How Tumor Treatments Are Changing

From the January 2018 NIH News in Health article

illustration-people-holding-medication

Last year more than 1.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Cancer can be difficult to treat because each tumor is unique. Scientists are now gaining a better understanding of the changes that lead to cancer—and figuring out how to target them for personalized treatments.

“Cancer treatment is changing at a very fast pace,” says Dr. Patricia M. LoRusso, an NIH-funded cancer treatment expert at Yale Cancer Center. “What somebody got a year ago may not necessarily be the same treatment recommended for another person today.”

For decades, doctors have treated cancers based on where a tumor first started, such as in the lung or colon. But often, a treatment that works well for one person doesn’t work as well for another.

Read the entire article at https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/01/cancer-care-gets-personal

 

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

[Repost] The Power of Pets Health Benefits of Human-Animal Interactions

From the Feb 2018  NIH News in Health

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Cloning?

What Is Cloning?

Enlarge the illustration

Scientists can produce genetically identical copies of genes, cells, and tissues. They can also clone entire organisms, such as deer, sheep, and monkeys. (From NIH’s NHGRI)

From the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) fact sheet (https://www.genome.gov/25020028/cloning-fact-sheet/)
The fact sheet includes links to the following areas

 

For example

What is cloning?

The term cloning describes a number of different processes that can be used to produce genetically identical copies of a biological entity. The copied material, which has the same genetic makeup as the original, is referred to as a clone.

Researchers have cloned a wide range of biological materials, including genes, cells, tissues and even entire organisms, such as a sheep.

Do clones ever occur naturally?

Yes. In nature, some plants and single-celled organisms, such as bacteria, produce genetically identical offspring through a process called asexual reproduction. In asexual reproduction, a new individual is generated from a copy of a single cell from the parent organism.

Natural clones, also known as identical twins, occur in humans and other mammals. These twins are produced when a fertilized egg splits, creating two or more embryos that carry almost identical DNA. Identical twins have nearly the same genetic makeup as each other, but they are genetically different from either parent.

 

Read the entire fact sheet here –> https://www.genome.gov/25020028/cloning-fact-sheet/

 

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Medical and Health Research News, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Music Is Good for Your Health

illustration-classroom-kids-playing-music
Check out the ways that playing an instrument or listening to tunes can boost your health.
(From NIH News in Health –> https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/01/sound-health )
Conditions and areas that may benefit include Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, traumatic brain injury, stroke, aphasia, autism, and hearing loss.
A research team found that music has positive effects on kids’ learning abilities, even when the training starts as late as high school. And “music therapists are trained in how to use music to meet the mental, social, and physical needs of people with different health conditions.”

PubMed references are included!

February 2, 2018 Posted by | Health News Items, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

(Via NIH) Know the Science: How Medications and Supplements Can Interact

From the 21 November 2017 Web page

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

[NY Times article] After Surgery in Germany, I Wanted Vicodin, Not Herbal Tea

One country’s attitude to pain killers after surgery, and an American’s reponse by someone who underwent major surgery without post operative pain killers

28dumas-master768.jpg

From the 27 January 2018 article

 

MUNICH — I recently had a hysterectomy here in Munich, where we moved from California four years ago for my husband’s job. Even though his job ended a year ago, we decided to stay while he tries to start a business. Thanks to the German health care system, our insurance remained in force. This, however, is not a story about the benefits of universal health care.

Thanks to modern medicine, my hysterectomy was performed laparoscopically, without an overnight hospital stay. My only concern about this early release was pain management. The fibroids that necessitated the surgery were particularly large and painful, and the procedure would be more complicated.

I brought up the subject of painkillers with my gynecologist weeks before my surgery. She said that I would be given ibuprofen. “Is that it?” I asked. “That’s what I take if I have a headache. The removal of an organ certainly deserves more.”

“That’s all you will need,” she said, with the body confidence that comes from a lifetime of skiing in crisp, Alpine air.

Read the entire article at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/opinion/sunday/surgery-germany-vicodin.html?smid=fb-share

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Investigating the Safety of the Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri in Infants With Colic

From the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health
[This page last modified January 24, 2018]
Baby Crying

Findings from a recent preliminary trial, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, suggest that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSM 17938 may be safe for use in infants with colic. These results, however, must be interpreted with caution because of the small study size. The study, funded in part by NCCIH, was led by researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

Colic is a condition that results in inexplicable and severe crying in otherwise healthy newborns. The causes of this condition are unknown, but researchers suspect the gut is involved because symptoms usually worsen after feedings. An emerging body of evidence suggests that colicky infants may have an abnormal microbiome (community of microorganisms) in the gut, which may lead to inflammation, causing discomfort.      

In this study, 21 infants were randomly assigned into two groups in a 2:1 ratio: a probiotic group and a placebo group. A total of 16 infants completed the study. The infants received a daily dose of either L. reuteri strain DSM 17938 or placebo (sunflower oil) for 42 days. The goals of the study were to determine the safety of administering L. reuteri strain DSM 17938 to infants while also exploring its effects on crying, inflammation, and other biomarkers that may be useful in future studies; the study was not designed to assess the probiotic’s efficacy.

During the trial, no severe adverse events were observed, nor were there any major differences between the two groups in blood indicators of safety. Thus, the study suggests that L. reuteri strain DSM 17938 may be safe for infants with colic. The researchers did not observe a significant difference in colic symptoms between the two groups but did identify findings that may suggest gut inflammation. At the beginning of the study, blood from over 50 percent of the colicky infants contained low concentrations of neutrophils, a type of white blood (immune) cell. This is consistent with an infection or inflammation. Interestingly, the blood level of neutrophils increased in the probiotic-treated but not the placebo-treated infants, an observation that warrants future investigation.

Reference

Publication Date:
September 29, 2017

January 26, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes : A Systematic Review of Biomedical Literature

This report is a comprehensive and systematic review of the literature that evaluates the evidence about e-cigarettes and health. It highlighting gaps that are a priority for future research, and makes recommendations to improve the quality of this research.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 6.02.02 AM

The report is by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

A few excerpts from the report

   “Because e-cigarettes have only been on the U.S. market for a relatively brief time— rst imported in 2006, most have entered the market much more recently—it is dif cult to scienti cally compare their health effects to those of combustible tobacco cigarettes, whose health effects were not fully apreciated until after decades of use. However, in contrast to long-term effects, research on short-term health effects of e-cigarettes is now available.

The committee evaluated the current state of knowl- edge on outcomes including dependence and abuse liability, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, oral diseases, reproductive and developmen- tal effects, and injuries and poisonings.

Overall, the evidence reviewed by the commit- tee suggests that e-cigarettes are not without biological effects in humans. For instance, use of e-cigarettes results in dependence on the devices, though with apparently less risk and severity than that of combustible tobacco cigarettes. Yet the implications for long-term effects on morbidity and mortality are not yet clear.”

CONCLUSION

Although e-cigarettes are not without risk, compared to combustible tobacco cigarettes they contain fewer toxicants; can deliver nicotine in a similar manner; show signi cantly less biological activity in most, but not all, in vitro, animal, and human systems; and might be useful as a cessation aid in smokers who use e-ciga- rettes exclusively. However, young people who begin with e-cigarettes are more likely to transition to com- bustible cigarette use and become smokers who are at risk to suffer the known health burdens of combustible tobacco cigarettes. The net public health outcome of e-cigarette use depends on the balance between pos- itive and negative consequences.

More and better research is needed to help clarify whether e-cigarettes will prove to reduce harm—or induce harm—at the individual and the population levels. The approach taken by the committee to eval- uate the health effects of e-cigarettes in this report is anticipated to provide a generalizable template for future evaluations of the evidence.

Full text of the report may be found here

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals) | | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Integrating approaches to heal, not just cure

Via an item from a January item at Healthcetera

Personally I believe there is much truth to this. Have found that a combination of Tai Chi,
swimming, and working out at the gym works for me.

“Prescription drugs are a $425 billion business in the United States, and growing. A good chunk of that goes towards prescription pain medication to help alleviate chronic pain. More than 25 million of us report having daily chronic pain, and 23 million say they’re in a lot of pain, according to a study from The National Institutes of Health.

About one in five adults are prescribed opioids to manage chronic pain says the CDC. We all know about the high rate of substance use disorder in the U.S., and while opioids certainly have a place, especially for managing acute pain, they’re not an ideal long-term option.

So what can we do to help people with persistent pain?

Wayne Jonas, M.D., former head of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine and a practicing family physician, said we should be looking at alternative and complementary options, like acupuncture, yoga, meditation and other less traditional approaches. In his new book, How Healing Works, he advocates an integrative approach, combining elements of Western and complementary medicine into a person-centered health plan. He believes this will significantly reduce our national dependence on prescription drugs, lower health costs, and improve patients’ quality of life.”

More at http://healthmediapolicy.com/2018/01/20/integrating-approaches-to-heal-not-just-cure/

 

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Email Topic on ‘Know the Science’. Sign up & gain a better understanding of complex scientific topics.

From the US Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (a US government agency)

 

NCCIH
NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health banner image
Health and Wellness Information banner image

We appreciate your interest in NCCIH and our work! As a current subscriber, you are invited to be among the first to learn about our newest email topic, “Know the Science.”

This new e-mail will feature tools to help you understand complex scientific topics related to health research. It will help you distinguish facts from myths so you’ll be better prepared to make well-informed health decisions, especially about complementary and integrative health approaches.

Topics will include drug-supplement interactions, the placebo effect, levels of evidence, the science behind complementary approaches for pain, evaluating online health information, and much more.

You can subscribe now by clicking on the below button, and then expect to receive your first email within a week or so!

Click here to subscribe

January 19, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleeping for longer leads to a healthier diet

Sleeping for longer leads to a healthier diet

Excerpts from the article in Science Daily
(Granted this is a small study, only 21 people. Still it is food for thought (pun intended!))

Young woman asleep in bed

Date: January 9, 2018: King’s College London
Summary: Sleeping for longer each night is a simple lifestyle intervention that could help reduce intake of sugary foods and lead to a generally healthier diet, according to a new study.

The principal investigator, Dr Wendy Hall, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences observed: ‘The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home as well as sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets.’

Lead researcher, Haya Al Khatib, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences commented: ‘Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions. We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalised approach.

‘Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices. This further strengthens the link between short sleep and poorer quality diets that has already been observed by previous studies.

‘We hope to investigate this finding further with longer-term studies examining nutrient intake and continued adherence to sleep extension behaviours in more detail, especially in populations at risk of obesity or cardio-vascular disease.’

Story Source:

Materials provided by King’s College London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Wellness tips throughout January (Twitter chat on Jan 16 and tips via Twitter)

From the NIH news item , January 2018

Throughout January, many agencies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including NCCIH, are sharing information about health and wellness on Twitter. We are covering a broad range of topics, including general wellness, healthy eating, disease prevention, physical activity, managing stress and anxiety, quitting smoking, and healthy aging

NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health banner image
Health and Wellness Information banner image

Join us and other @NIH agencies for #NIHHealthy2018 chat on January 16 from 12 noon-4 p.m. ET. We’re sharing information on managing #stress and anxiety, quitting #smoking, #mindfulness, weight control, and more! The schedule follows (all times are Eastern Standard):

 

  • 12-12:20 p.m. ET:  Live Periscope panel with experts from @NIMHgov, @NIDDKgov, and @NIH_NHLBI
  • 12:20-1p.m.:  Managing Stress and Anxiety Twitter Chat
  • 1-2 p.m.:  Healthy Eating, Exercise, & Healthy Aging Twitter Chat
  • 2-3 p.m.:  Health, Wellness, & Disease Prevention Twitter Chat
  • 2:30-3 p.m.:  Live Q&A with Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., @NIHDirector
  • 3-4 p.m.: Kicking Habits Twitter Chat

 

Click on the link below to see the wellness tips that agencies throughout NIH have shared on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NIHHealthy2018&src=typd

 

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Has an Alternative to Table Sugar Contributed to the C. Diff. Epidemic?

Excerpts from the  post on

Ice cream sundae

Most of us know how hard it is to resist the creamy sweetness of ice cream. But it might surprise you to learn that, over the past 15 years or so, some makers of ice cream and many other processed foods—from pasta to ground beef products—have changed their recipes to swap out some of the table sugar (sucrose) with a sweetening/texturizing ingredient called trehalose that depresses the freezing point of food. Both sucrose and trehalose are “disaccharides.” Though they have different chemical linkages, both get broken down into glucose in the body. Now, comes word that this switch may be an important piece of a major medical puzzle: why Clostridium difficile (C. diff) has emerged as a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections.

A new study in the journal Nature indicates that trehalose-laden food may have helped fuel the recent epidemic spread of C. diff., which is a microbe that can cause life-threatening gastrointestinal distress, especially in older patients getting antibiotics and antacid medicines [1, 2]. In laboratory experiments, an NIH-funded team found that the two strains of C. diff. most likely to make people sick possess an unusual ability to thrive on trehalose, even at very low levels. And that’s not all: a diet containing trehalose significantly increased the severity of symptoms in a mouse model of C. diff. infection.

What has changed is the recent addition of man-made trehalose into the food supply, often in large quantities. This shift was prompted by a new method to manufacture trehalose from cornstarch, which made the sugar much less costly.

This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to start worrying about trehalose. In fact, Britton says the sugar does have some advantages. For instance, because it’s harder to break down, trehalose doesn’t cause blood glucose to spike in the way some other sugars do.

 

 

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Recap of clinical trial on skin cancer treatment includes both strengths and weaknesses of the findings

From the January 8, 2018 HealthNewsReview article by Earle Holland, Dan Mayer, and Kathlyn Stone

Our Review Summary

This release reports on a large multi-center clinical trial intended to gauge the preventative value of using a cream containing 5 percent fluorouacil as a means of reducing the occurrence of both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinomas. It says that the cream appears to reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinomas among the elderly veterans in the trial by 75 percent, although it has no statistically significant effect on reducing basal cell carcinomas. The release also states that the protection appears to only extend for the first year.

The release omits mention of the drug’s hefty price tag but it does clearly state both the benefits and the risks of using the medicinal cream.

More at https://www.healthnewsreview.org/news-release-review/clearly-state-both-the-benefits-and-the-risks-of-using-the-medicinal-cream/

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Could finding more cancer lead us to understand risk factors less?

From an article at the HealthNewsReview.org blog, by Michael Joyce

An opinion piece in last week’s Annals of Internal Medicine argues that just how aggressively we screen for some cancers can actually distort our understanding of the risk factors for a particular cancer, as well as how common we perceive it to be.

The authors describe ‘scrutiny-dependent’ cancers  — those subtypes of cancers often picked up with screening that are commonly referred to as slow-growing, indolent, subclinical, or even as pre-cancerous — and that often don’t progress to cause health problems or shorten lives. Prostate cancer and thyroid cancer are two such examples.

They propose two common ways in which aggressive screening can distort our understanding of these cancers:

  • The push for ‘early detection’ leads to more scrutiny-dependent cancers being found which, in turn, gives the false impression of an increased incidence of some cancers.
  • Aggressive screening of the family members of someone with cancer means more cancer will be found. This could give the impression of family history being more of a risk factor than it may actually be.
    ….
  • Breast cancer found by mammography, ultrasound, or MRI is more likely to be indolent than that found by self-examination. As we screen with more advanced technologies capable of finding smaller and smaller tumors, we will find more cases of cancer but also more cases that don’t develop into cancer. This not only represents overdiagnosis, but can also give the false impression of breast cancer being more common than it really is

“In the 80’s and 90’s the prevailing message from the media was screen, screen, screen,” said Brawley. “Only in the past 10-15 years have some reporters begun to question this. And this goes for advocacy groups too, who have an understandable emotional conflict of interest because they care about a particular disease. I know, I work for one. But, both reporters and advocates need to be truthful and accurate about screening. Because people can get hurt.

,,\…
In short, Welch and Brawley firmly believe that screening should be based on rigorously tested evidence. In some cancers that evidence is clear, while for other cancers (‘scrutiny-dependent’ ones) the evidence is lacking. Media messages about cancer screening need to do a better job communicating that uncertainty. 

January 9, 2018 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to make sense of articles in scientific journals

Have you ever come across a scientific article and it just seems too dense to read? And you want to share the information with your health care provider or a family member or friend?
Here’s some tips that just might help out!

From a Web page at the National Institutes of Health (A US government agency)

Know the Science: 9 Questions To Help You Make Sense of Health Research

Almost every day, new findings on medical research are published, some of which may include complementary health approaches.

Research studies about medical treatments and practices published in scientific journals are often the sources of news stories and can be important tools in helping you manage your health.

sight + document = understanding

But finding scientific journal articles, understanding the studies they describe, and interpreting the results can be challenging.

One way to make it easier to understand information you find in a scientific journal is to share the information with your health care providers and get their opinions. Once you understand the basics and terminology of scientific research, you have one more tool to help you make better, informed decisions about your health.

Here are 9 questions that can help you make sense of a scientific research article.

The article goes on to answer 9 questions, including

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to evaluate complementary health approaches reported in the news

From an article at the US National Institutes of Health (a US government agency)

News stories about complementary approaches to health are often on television, the Internet, and in magazines and newspapers.

Health news headlines from newspapers, magazines, and websites

In fact, the media is one of our main sources of information when we make decisions about complementary health approaches. While many news reports are reliable, some are missing important information, and some are confusing, conflicting, or misleading.

The 11 points include Missing Information From Health Stories,  What’s Missing: Information on Side Effects!, and Is It Real Online News? Or Just Advertising?

 

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Medical and Health Research News, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

5 resolutions for reading and writing about health care in 2018 [Via HealthNewsReview.org]

From my “go to” place on how to evaluate health news stories

As the season of New Year’s resolutions rolls around, it’s inevitable: Health and fitness stories will dominate our news feeds in the next few days and weeks. To help both writers and readers of healthcare information, we’ve put together a few resolutions that are handy now–and any time of year:

Read–and heed–our 10 newly refurbished criteria for health news reporting and news release writing. If a news story or news release meets most or all of our criteria, you can have a greater degree of confidence that the information is accurate, balanced and complete. While the criteria are most relevant for new treatments, procedures or medical devices, they also apply to diet trends and fitness fads that are popular news topics this time of year.

Be careful with screening advice. Some surprisingly common recommendations in health care stories aren’t actually supported by high-quality evidence. For example, this NBC News story lists an annual physical as a top resolution. However, evidence-basehhd guidelines say that if you’re healthy with no symptoms, such physicals are unlikely to help you stay well and live longer. And they can lead to additional tests and treatments that may do more harm than good. This is also true for many cancer screening tests. One important reality: Cancer screenings are often unequivocally framed as important because “early detection saves lives” — messaging that minimizes the potential harms that people need to know about.

 

More at https://www.healthnewsreview.org/2018/01/4-resolutions-for-reading-and-writing-about-healthcare-in-2018/

 

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Accessing your own genomic data is a civil right but requires strategies to manage safety [this right does not include most non-HIPPA collected as 23&me, Ancestry.com]

From 4 January 2018 Science Daily news item

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 expanded individuals’ access to genetic information by forcing changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. These amendments gave Americans a civil right to obtain copies of their own genetic test results stored at HIPAA-regulated laboratories. Researchers describe how civil rights and safety concerns collided after these changes and offers strategies to reconcile the two…….

…..”You only have an access right if the party that stores your data happens to be HIPAA-regulated. Most direct-to-consumer testing [as Ancestry.com and “23 & me”  and cloud data storage services are not HIPAA-regulated, so you may not have an access right if your data are there…

…..Giving people access to data from research laboratories is controversial because the genomic data they produce do not always contain clinically relevant information (only about 200 gene sequences have known clinical significance). Someone could misinterpret the data to pursue needless medical treatment or waste healthcare resources to clarify findings that they misunderstand.Giving people access to data from research laboratories is controversial because the genomic data they produce do not always contain clinically relevant information (only about 200 gene sequences have known clinical significance). Someone could misinterpret the data to pursue needless medical treatment or waste healthcare resources to clarify findings that they misunderstand……

……..”Having access to your own genomic data also lets you exercise important constitutional rights, such as your First Amendment rights to assemble and petition the government. You can go on social media and assemble groups of people with genes like yours and lobby Congress to spend more research dollars studying how those genes affect your health,” says Evans. “Like the right to vote, access to one’s own genomic data is a foundational civil right that empowers people to protect all their other civil rights.”

 

 

January 5, 2018 Posted by | Health News Items, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Seven highly effective portable heater safety habits

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

DASH diet – news story, recipes, and a systematic review

Recently US News and World Report ranked the DASH diet as the best diet overall for the 8th year in a row. DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension . Government funded researchers developed DASH to prevent and treat high blood pressure, but the diet also has proven highly effective in lowering blood cholesterol.

Image of an empanapita
Empanadas are a great staple of Latino cuisine. Empanapitas, a new take with pita bread, are a DASH healthier, but just as tasty.NHLBI

High blood pressure is the most common chronic condition worldwide. It is a major risk factor for heart disease, affects 1 billion people, and accounts for 1 in 8 deaths each year.
And according to the  NIH news release “dietary interventions can be as effective as – or more effective than – antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals”

The  NIH news release states that “DASH is not a fad diet, but a healthy eating plan that supports long-term lifestyle changes. It is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, lean meats, beans, and nuts. It is rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber. However, it calls for a reduction in high fat red meat, sweets, and sugary beverages.”

Scientific evidence seems to back the claims of the DASH diet.  A recent systematic review thoroughly analyzed 34 news reports investigating diet quality with mortality.  Diets were scored using three indexes – including DASH.  High scoring diets had a “significant reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease by 22%, 22%, 16%, 18%, and 15%, respectively.”

Interested in learning more about the DASH diet?
Great description with tips may be found here

Many recipes may be found here 

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 3.49.24 AM.png

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

HealthNewsReview.org – unbiased site which critically analyzes claims about health care interventions

Have you ever read a health news story and wondered if it was really based on science?
Would you like to see health news items objectively discussed?
Would you like to learn how to analyze news stories on your own?

Look no further than HealthNewsReview.org This site’s reviewers includes physicians and heath care journalists who rate stories on objective criteria.

HealthNewsReview.org

  • Reviews health stories (granted not all of them, but most ones widely covered
  • Posts weekly reviews which are also available for free through subscription
  • Podcasts covering in-depth discussion on health care and news media messaging
  • A toolkit to help journalists and consumers evaluate claims about health care interventions.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Here’s a summary of a  current story covered by HealthNewsReview

“LA Times provides strong overview on study showing vitamin D and calcium supplements don’t prevent fractures

Our Review Summary

“Reporting on a large review study, this Los Angeles Times article walks readers through the conflicting advice and evidence about calcium and vitamin D supplements. Both compounds play roles in bone health and the routinely accepted claim is that supplementation can help prevent bone breaks in older people. This new meta-analysis shows that claim is not supported by evidence: not for calcium pills, vitamin D pills, or the two in combination.

The story is well-done on several points, particularly on explaining how this study worked and what it found. The story would have been stronger if it had included some commentary from experts in the field who were not associated with the study to help put this recent, apparently strong finding, into context for readers.”

The review goes on to rate the story on criteria as adequately covering costs, benefits, potential harm, evidence, and conflict of interest.

I am not sure how I learned about this site.  It was included in a recent webinar I took
from the US National Library of Medicine (part of the US government).

 

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health News Items, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Tai Chi and Your Health – A Modern Take on an Ancient Practice

From NIH News in Health, Dec 2016
  https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/12/tai-chi-your-health

“You may have seen the flowing postures and gentle movements of tai chi and wondered what it’s all about. Tai chi is an ancient mind and body practice. While more research is needed, studies suggest that it may have many health benefits.

illustration-adults-tai-chi_0

Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” There are many types of tai chi. They typically combine slow movements with breathing patterns and mental focus and relaxation. Movements may be done while walking, standing, or sitting.

“At its root, tai chi is about treating the whole person and enhancing the balance and crosstalk between the body’s systems,” says Dr. Peter Wayne, a longtime tai chi researcher at Harvard Medical School. “It’s a promising intervention for preserving and improving many areas of health, especially in older adults.”

Several studies have found evidence that tai chi can increase balance and stability in older people and reduce the risk and fear of falls. Each year, more than 1 in 4 older adults falls, and 1 out of 5 of these falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.

“Trying to be careful can make you more prone to falls,” Wayne says. “Tai chi may help you move more confidently and safely again.” Some NIH-funded research suggests that tai chi may also improve balance and prevent falls in people with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease.

Research suggests that practicing tai chi might help improve posture and confidence, how you think and manage emotions, and your quality of life. Studies have found that it may help people with fibromyalgia sleep better and cope with pain, fatigue, and depression. Regular practice may also improve quality of life and mood in people with chronic heart failure or cancer. Older adults may find that tai chi can help improve sleep quality and protect learning, memory, and other mental functions.

Further study will be needed to fully evaluate and confirm the potential benefits of tai chi. But since the practice involves moving slowly and mindfully, there’s little chance of harm when done correctly.

“Whether you’re interested in trying tai chi to help with a chronic health issue or the stresses of everyday life, tai chi—if taught properly—can be a great complement to other ways of healthy living and rehabilitation,” Wayne says. “I think we’re all looking for tools to help us live productive, long lives with a little more grace and ease.”

There are different styles and ways to practice tai chi, Wayne says. If you’re interested in trying it, you can start simply. For instance, try standing behind and holding onto a sturdy chair for support, then mindfully rock back and forth to build awareness of all the parts of your body and their connections. Eventually, you might move on to practice more complex movements or sequences.

Want to learn more? Read the Wise Choices box to consider whether tai chi might be right for you. And watch NIH’s online tai chi videos at nccih.nih.gov/video/taichidvd-full.

    Read about the science behind Tai Chi at https://nccih.nih.gov/health/taichi

January 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Health Information You Can Trust (via the US National Institutes of Health)

Excerpts from the September NIH News in Health
https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/09/health-information-you-can-trust

“When you’re searching online for answers to your health questions, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of websites you come across. How do you know which ones to trust? Which websites have reliable and up-to-date information?

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.45.04 AM

First, consider the source. Government websites end in “.gov” and university or other educational institution websites end with “.edu.” These are online sources that you can usually trust. If you see “.org” or “.com” at the end of a web address, it may also be a trusted site. However, check it closely to make sure. The information may not be evidence-based. Or, the site may be trying to sell you a drug or service.Also, find out who is reviewing the health information before it’s published.”

To read more about trusted resources, visit www.cancer.gov/using-trusted-resources.

————————–
I’ve collected some reputable resources at my Google Health Information site
https://sites.google.com/site/healthnewsresources/
A guide to select resources for all with an emphasis on personal health and wellness, help from others, interactive tools, and health news”

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Medicines and Me – Lesson Plans about Safely Using OTC meds

Via the Scout Report —https://scout.wisc.edu/report/current

MEDICINES AND ME
HEALTH
Developed by the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Life Science Learning Center, Medicines and Me is a series of lesson plans about safely using over-the-counter (OTC) medications. These lessons are designed for young learners and intended to be incorporated into science, health, or family and consumer science classes. These lessons may also be of interest to Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructors leading Life Skills classes. Individual lessons address topics including reading and understanding medicine labels, choosing medicine safely, and knowing what to do in the case of an accidental overdose. Each lesson, which can be downloaded for free, includes a detailed lesson plan along with links to additional resources. [MMB]

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FTC sanctions yet another digital health product, a vision training app, over claims about effectiveness [Reblog]

From the 23 March 2016 iMedicalApps blog

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 6.26.04 AM

 

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Consumer Health | | Leave a comment

St. Louis Plan4Health Traffic Calming Demonstrations [YouTube]

Published on Nov 13, 2015

In the fall of 2015, the Missouri Chapter of American Planning Association, the HEAL Partnership, and Trailnet received a Plan4Health grant from the CDC in partnership with American Planning Association and American Public Health Association to work together to implement pop up traffic calming demonstrations. The demonstrations were used as a tool to educate one another on how to create safer streets in the City of St. Louis.

Watch how these demonstrations helped community members, elected officials, and city staff better understand how traffic calming could help their communities.

Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association: http://www.mo-apa.org

HEAL Partnership: https://www.facebook.com/HEALPartners…

Plan4Health: http://www.plan4health.us

Trailnet: http://trailnet.org/work/transportati…

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Consumer Safety | , | Leave a comment

Made ya look: Moviegoers may have little control over their eye movements during Hollywood-style films, study finds [news release]

From the 22 March 2016 Kansas State Univ news release

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

https://i0.wp.com/www.k-state.edu/media/images/mar16/shots1-6-sm.jpg

Lester Loschky, associate professor of psychological sciences at Kansas State University, used six shots, a 12-second clip, from the 1979 James Bond film, “Moonraker,” to measure eye movements and understanding.

MANHATTAN — Hollywood-style films may control viewers’ attention more than originally thought, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Lester Loschky, associate professor of psychological sciences, recently published “What Would Jaws Do? The Tyranny of Film” in PLOS ONE. The study suggests viewers may have limited cognitive control of their eye movements while trying to understand films.

“Hollywood-style filmmakers have developed stimuli — such as shorter shot length, more motion in the frame and higher contrast — that is amazing at directing the viewers’ attention from moment to moment in exactly the way that the filmmaker wants,” Loschky said. “It is not that film producers have complete mind control because we willingly participate in it — we enjoy movies — but they do have a lot of control over our attention.”

Loschky compared eye movements of people who watched a three-minute clip of “Moonraker,” a 1979 James Bond film, with people who watched the last 12 seconds of the clip. His hypothesis, called the “Tyranny of Film,” was that film viewers’ eye movements are separate from a person’s understanding.

“We are investigating film perception and film comprehension together,” Loschky said. “In a static picture, people look at different things at different times, but during a movie suddenly everybody is looking at the same things at the same time.”

Loschky said that in the last 100 years, filmmakers slowly have gotten better at getting every viewer to look at the same place at the same time, a measurement called attentional synchrony. He attributes that to what he calls MTV-style editing, which is a greater frequency of cuts and shorter shot lengths. The researchers hypothesize that filmmakers are so good at influencing viewers’ eye movements in Hollywood-style movies that viewers’ understanding does not necessarily affect where they look.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Articles focus on OTC medications, dietary supplements & complementary/alternative medicine

From the 21 March 2016 EurkAlert

More older adults used multiple medications and dietary supplements, and taking them together put more people at increased risk for a major drug interaction, according to a new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Most older adults in the United States use prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. There is increased risk among older adults for adverse drug events and polypharmacy.

Dima M. Qato, Pharm. D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and coauthors analyzed nationally representative data to examine changes in medication use, which included concurrent use of prescription and over-the counter medications and dietary supplements, to gauge potential for major drug interactions.

The study group included 2,351 participants in 2005-2006 and 2,206 in 2010-2011 who were between the ages of 62 and 85. In-home interviews and direct medication inspection were performed.

The authors report:

  • Concurrent use of at least five prescription medications increased from 30.6 percent to 35.8 percent over the study period.
  • Concurrent use of five or more medications or supplements of any type increased from 53.4 percent to 67.1 percent.
  • Use of over-the-counter medications declined from 44.4 percent to 37.9 percent.
  • Dietary supplement use increased from 51.8 percent to 63.7 percent. Multivitamin or mineral supplements and calcium were the most commonly used supplements during the study period.
  • About 15.1 percent of older adults in 2010-2011 were at risk for a major drug interaction compared with an estimated 8.4 percent in 2005-2006. For example, preventive cardiovascular medications and supplements were increasingly used together in interacting drug regimens.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

The Invisible World of Human Perception [news release]

From the 18 March 2016 Univ of Toronto news release

Stage magicians are not the only ones who can distract the eye: a new cognitive psychology experiment demonstrates how all human beings have a built-in ability to stop paying attention to objects that are right in front of them.

We see much less of the world than we think we do

Perception experts have long known that we see much less of the world than we think we do. A person creates a mental model of their surroundings by stitching together scraps of visual information gleaned while shifting attention from place to place. Counterintuitively, the very process that creates the illusion of a complete picture relies on filtering out most of what’s out there.

In a paper published today in the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics a team of U of T researchers reveal how people have more “top-down” control of what they don’t notice than many scientists previously believed.

“The visual system really cares about objects,” says postdoctoral fellow J. Eric T. Taylor, who is the lead author on the paper. “If I move around a room, the locations of all the objects  chairs, tables, doors, walls, etc.  change on my retina, but my mental representation of the room stays the same.”

Objects play fundamental role in how we focus our attention

Objects play such a fundamental role in how we focus our attention that many perception researchers believe we are “addicted” to them; we couldn’t stop paying attention to objects if we tried. The visual brain guides attention largely by selecting objects  and this process is widely believed to be automatic.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Psychiatry | , | Leave a comment

Parents wary of online doctor ratings [news release]

From the 21 March 2016 Univ of Michigan Health System news release

National poll finds 30% of parents have used rating sites to select or avoid a doctor; majority of parents are concerned about fake ratings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For many, checking online reviews has become nearly routine for decisions on everything from cars to restaurants. But when it comes to choosing a doctor, the majority of parents aren’t convinced online ratings are reliable – or even real, a new national poll shows.

More than two-thirds of parents believe some online doctor reviews are fake, while slightly fewer say there are not enough ratings to make a good decision, according to this month’s report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. More than half of parents also feel doctors may influence who leaves ratings.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

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March 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do You Have Questions About Integrative Health Approaches? [news release]

From the 9 March 2016 news release from the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health agency

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Here’s the contact us link  –> https://nccih.nih.gov/health/clearinghouse?nav=govd

 

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is addiction a “brain disease”? [news release]

From the 11 March 2016 Harvard Medical School news release

…..The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a review of the “brain science” related to addiction and its management by Dr. Nora Volkow and her colleagues. It is a great review with terrific graphics. I’ve sent it to several of my colleagues.

It would take many blog posts to summarize in detail what goes on in the article (let alone the brain), so I’ll hit the points that are most meaningful to me as a practitioner and citizen — and forgive me if I get a little personal.

A look into the science of addiction

The most depressing course I took in college was an introduction to behaviorism. The low point was when I came to believe that free will did not exist, though I later came to believe that this was a narrow and false conclusion. Humans, with our over-developed frontal cortices, have the power to choose not to respond the way, for example, a pigeon would in an experiment of rewards and punishments. When I became a doctor, I perceived that people suffering with addiction were stripped of their fundamental liberty to choose to live life as they would want (within social and economic constraints). I can honestly say that helping to restore some of that freedom is among the most rewarding things I do as a doctor. That’s the personal stuff.

An addicted person’s impaired ability to stop using drugs or alcohol has to do with deficits in the function of the prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain involved in executive function. The prefrontal cortex has several important jobs: self-monitoring, delaying reward, and integrating whatever the intellect tells you is important with what the libido is telling you. The difficulty also has to do with how the brain, when deprived of the drugs to which it is accustomed, reacts to stress.

What this all means for overcoming an addiction

It is not enough simply to “just say no.”

The person needs to develop alternative sources of joy and reward, and people who have been isolating themselves in order to drink or use drugs without inhibition may need to work in a purposeful way to re-acquire habitual “joy” — social interactions, physical pleasures like a swim or a bike ride, and other healthy, enjoyable rewards.

At the same time, to say that substance use disorders are “all biology” is an over-simplification. Clearly, there are people on the mild end of the spectrum who have the ability to choose to stop or cut back. For these people, when the rewards of not using outweigh those of using, they stop. Some people with a pattern of unhealthy drug or alcohol use that meets criteria for a diagnosis of substance use disorder may also “mature” out of it without formal treatment. However, the more severe the diagnosis (in other words, the more diagnostic criteria that are met), the less likely this is to happen.

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Psychiatry | , | Leave a comment

No evidence that vaccines cause microcephaly in babies (and other Zika rumors dispelled)

From the 11 March WHO news release

Excerpts

There is no specific repellent that works better against the Aedes mosquito

There are many repellents that are effective against all mosquitoes including Aedes mosquitos. Effective repellents contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) or IR 3535 or Icaridin which are the most common biologically active ingredients in insect repellents. Active ingredients are listed on the product label. The following active ingredients repel or kill the mosquito when it rests or approaches the body: DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), IR3535 (3- [N-butyl-N-acetyl], aminopropionic acid ethyl-ester) or Icaridin (piperidinecarboxílico acid-1, 2- (2-hydroxyethyl) – 1-metilpropilester).

There is no minimum or maximum percentage of active ingredient required. Insect repellents may be applied to exposed skin to protect against the bites of mosquitoes or on the clothes. WHO recommends covering the skin with clothing as much as possible and using insect repellents as effective measures to protect against bites from mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever and Zika.

Repellents must be used in strict accordance with the label instructions. There is no evidence of any restriction of the use of these repellents by pregnant women if they are used in accordance with the instructions on the product label.

No evidence that vaccines cause microcephaly in babies

There is no evidence linking any vaccine to the increases in microcephaly cases that were observed first in French Polynesia during the 2013-2014 outbreak and more recently in northeastern Brazil.

An extensive review of the literature published in 2014 found no evidence that any vaccine administered during pregnancy resulted in birth defects.

No evidence that pyriproxyfen insecticide causes microcephaly

A team of WHO scientists recently reviewed data on the toxicology of pyriproxyfen, one of 12 larvicides that WHO recommends to reduce mosquito populations. It found no evidence that the larvicide affects the course of pregnancy or the development of a fetus. The US Environmental Protection Agency and EU investigators reached a similar conclusion when they carried out a separate review of the product.

No evidence that the Zika outbreak and unusual increase in microcephaly cases in Brazil is linked to recent releases of genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil

No evidence that sterilized male mosquitoes contribute to the spread of Zika

Bacteria used to control the male mosquito population are not spreading Zika further

Fish can help stop Zika.

Some countries affected by Zika and dengue are using biological methods as part of an integrated approach to mosquito control. El Salvador, for example, with strong support from fishing communities, is introducing larvae-devouring fish into water storage containers.

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Public Health | | Leave a comment

Colonoscopies: America’s gold standard, while Canada says they’re not justified (Reblog)

From the 26 February 2016 HealthNewsReview item

Excerpt

Do borders really exist in medicine, where the mere act of crossing political boundaries changes what screening programs are recommended? It seems that they do exist, and they’re well guarded.

Generating numerous headlines in major Canadian papers such as the National PostThe Toronto StarGlobe and Mail and Reuters, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care came out this week with new recommendations on colon cancer screening, essentially saying that routine colonoscopies were not justified. By contrast, in the United States, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) 2015 guidelines say that adults aged 50–75, should have a colonoscopy every 10 years; FIT (fecal immunochemical testing) or gFOBT (guaiac fecal occult blood testing ) annually or flexible sigmoidoscopy every 10 years plus FIT annually.

For this age group the Canadian Task Force says there is insufficient evidence to justify using colonoscopy for routine screening for colorectal cancer. They recommend patients should undergo the fecal occult blood testing every two years or flexible sigmoidoscopy – a procedure which examines the lower part of the colon and rectum every 10 years. These colon cancer screening guidelines, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, are for low-risk people: asymptomatic adults, aged 50 to 74 who have no prior history of the disease, no family history or symptoms such as blood in the stool, or a genetic disposition to the disease.

March 11, 2016 Posted by | health care | | Leave a comment

Precision Medicine at one year: A soaring White House summit and the potholes ahead (report)

From the 28 February 2016 post at HealthNewsReview

Excerpts

We’re pleased to publish the following guest post by Dr. Michael Joyner, a medical researcher at the Mayo Clinic who recently joined our team as a contributor. These views are his own. You can follow him on twitter @DrMJoyner.


syringe on targetLast week there was a big shindig at the White House reviewing progress from the first year of the million-person Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).

As you might imagine, an event of this magnitude drew considerable (mostly glowing) coverage from major US health news media:

This is an exciting scientific undertaking — one that merits the attention these outlets have devoted to it. But the coverage sounded mostly like cheerleading, and none of these stories included a skeptical word about the many challenges ahead and how they could thwart the initiative’s lofty objectives. I watched the webcast of the event with a critical eye and took notes as I was watching. Here are a six of the things that I thought journalists should have been thinking about and writing about as they covered the event:

1) A number of new partnerships and pilot programs related to enrollment of participants, data sharing, analytics, biobanks and privacy were announced. There are no real results yet, so it is simply too soon to tell what elements of what was announced will succeed, partially succeed, or stall.

2) Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health and a prime mover in Precision Medicine, clearly stated that it should take three to four years to meet the one million person enrollment goal of the program. This is an ambitious timeline. The last time that something like this was tried in the National Children’s Study, enrollment goals were never met and the program was ultimately cancelled. As STAT has previously reported, experts in population health have observed similarities between the PMI and the National Children’s Study and the comments by Dr. Collins are a clear marker for evaluating the success of PMI going forward.

3) There were a number of interesting presentations of patient and family vignettes at the meeting. While PMI is supposed to transform health and healthcare for all Americans, three of the four stories were about extremely rare diseases that have nothing to do with the big killers like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. There is no argument by PMI skeptics about the role of gene sequencing in rare diseases, but dealing more effectively with those diseases has nothing to do with the prediction, prevention, and improved treatment of the major causes of death. The fourth presentation was about breast cancer and it was unclear to me exactly what elements of precision medicine were involved in the care of this patient (who happened to be a surgeon). In the absence of big transformative population findings for common diseases, some might argue that the rare disease community is being leveraged to generate support for a much larger and perhaps misdirected program.

4) There was no mention of some of the potholes that are out there or that have emerged in the last year. For example, the National Cancer Institute’s MATCH trial, designed to match the genetic signatures of tumors with targeted therapy, is having trouble “matching” (subscription required). And a study from Europe has cast at least some doubt on just how effective broad-based used of “targeted therapy” will be. There is also plenty of room to question the idea that data mining electronic health records is going to be transformative. The barriers to actually getting this done are significant and range from the quality of the data in electronic health records, issues related to who owns the data, protocols for data sharing, and a host of technical and statistical issues. Big data can certainly be helpful but it can also mislead.

 

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | Leave a comment

Consumer Reports Uses AHRQ’s Evidence Reports in Drug Comparisons

Featured Case Study: Consumer Reports Uses AHRQ’s Evidence Reports in Drug Comparisons

Consumer Reports magazine and affiliated publications use evidence reports from AHRQ’s Evidence-based Practice Centers Program to inform consumers and clinicians about prescription drugs’ effectiveness and safety. Read the case study.

(From the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1 percent of Americans with the highest health care expenses accounted for nearly 22 percent of the nation’s total health care expenditures [news release]

From the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

AHRQ Stats: Per-Person Health Care Expenses

Among the U.S. noninstitutionalized population in 2013, the 1 percent of Americans with the highest health care expenses accounted for nearly 22 percent of the nation’s total health care expenditures. Members of that group had annual average expenses of $95,200. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #480: Differentials in the Concentration of Health Expenditures across Population Subgroups in the U.S., 2013.)

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

Latest Biennial Review of Health Problems That May Be Linked to Agent Orange Exposure During Vietnam War Upgrades Bladder Cancer and Hypothyroidism, Downgrades Spina Bifida

From the 10 March 2016 National Academies Science Engineering Health news release

Excerpts

Latest Biennial Review of Health Problems That May Be Linked to Agent Orange Exposure During Vietnam War Upgrades Bladder Cancer and Hypothyroidism, Downgrades Spina Bifida 

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WASHINGTON – The latest and final in a series of congressionally mandated biennial reviews of the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War changed the categorization of health outcomes for bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and spina bifida and clarified the breadth of the previous finding for Parkinson’s disease.  The committee that carried out the study and wrote this reportVeterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014, reviewed scientific literature published between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2014.

 

Bladder cancer and hypothyroidism were moved to the category of “limited or suggestive” evidence of an association from their previous positions in the default “inadequate or insufficient” category.  A finding of limited or suggestive evidence of an association means that the epidemiologic evidence indicates there could be a link between exposure to a chemical and increased risk for a particular health effect.  A finding of inadequate or insufficient evidence indicates that the available studies are of insufficient quality, consistency, or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of such a link.  For both bladder cancer and hypothyroidism, new results from a large study of Korean veterans who served in the Vietnam War were compellingly suggestive of an association.  In combination with pre-existing supportive epidemiologic findings and substantial biologic plausibility, the new information provided evidence to merit a change in category of association for these two outcomes.

In addition to reviewing the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides, the committee was asked to address the specific question of whether various conditions with Parkinson’s-like symptoms should qualify the assignment of Parkinson’s disease to the limited or suggestive category of association with herbicide exposure.  The committee noted that Parkinson’s disease is a diagnosis of exclusion, and therefore, the diagnostic standards for this condition should not be assumed to have been uniform in the epidemiologic studies that constitute the basis for this association or in the claims submitted by veterans.  Consequently, there is no rational basis for exclusion of individuals with Parkinson’s-like symptoms from the service-related category denoted as Parkinson’s disease.  To exclude a claim for a condition with Parkinson’s-like symptoms, the onus should be on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a case-by-case basis to definitively establish the role of a recognized factor other than the herbicides sprayed in Vietnam.

 

Given that this is the final report mandated by the Agent Orange Act, the committee developed recommendations for future actions to advance the well-being of Vietnam veterans, including that the VA should continue epidemiologic studies of the veterans; develop protocols that could investigate paternal transmission of adverse effects to offspring; and design a study to focus on specific manifestations in humans of dioxin exposure and compromised immunity, which have been clearly demonstrated in animal models.  The committee also called for a careful review of evidence concerning whether paternal exposure to any toxicant has definitively resulted in abnormalities in the first generation of offspring.  In addition, the committee formulated recommendations for improved assembly and evaluation of information necessary for monitoring possible service-related health effects in all military personnel, including creating and maintaining rosters of individuals deployed on every mission and linking U.S. Department of Defense and VA databases to systematically identify, record, and monitor trends in veterans’ diseases.

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | | Leave a comment

Penn Study Shows a Form of Genetically Elevated “Good” Cholesterol May Actually be Bad [News release]

From the 10 March 2016 Penn Medicine news release

 

Research has implications for better understanding the relationship between “good” cholesterol function – in addition to level — and heart disease risk

PHILADELPHIA – The generally accepted medical maxim that elevated HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) is “good” has been overturned by a multi-center, international study, led by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. They show that a certain genetic cause of increased HDL-C may actually be “bad,” noting that a specific mutation in a gene which encodes a cell receptor protein that binds to HDL prevents the receptor from functioning. The mutation causes an increased risk of coronary heart disease even in the presence of elevated levels of HDL-C or “good” cholesterol. Their findings are published this week in Science.

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Previous research raised the possibility that HDL might not be quite as protective against heart disease as generally believed by cardiologists, especially after several clinical trials of HDL-raising drugs showed little or no effect. “The thinking about HDL has evolved recently to the concept that it may not directly protect against all heart disease,” said senior author Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of the department of Genetics.  “Our results indicate that some causes of raised HDL actually increase risk for heart disease. This is the first demonstration of a genetic mutation that raises HDL but increases risk of heart disease.”

Rader and his colleagues sequenced the lipid-modifying regions of the genomes of 328 people with markedly elevated HDL (along with a control group with lower HDL) to identify genetic causes of high HDL. One of the genes they focused on was SCARB1, which encodes for Scavenger Receptor B1 (SR-B1), the major receptor for HDL on cell surfaces.

In the course of this sequencing, they identified, for the first time, a person without any SCARB1 function, typified by an extremely high HDL-C level of about 150 mg/dL, whereas the normal level is about 50 mg/dL. The subject had two copies of a SCARB1 mutation called P376L, which the team showed caused a breakdown in HDL receptor function.

 

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | Leave a comment

Reducing Alzheimer’s risk through exercise – Two news releases

Burning more calories linked with greater gray matter volume, reduced Alzheimer’s risk (11 March 2016EurkAlert)

Excerpt – “Whether they jog, swim, garden or dance, physically active older persons have larger gray matter volume in key brain areas responsible for memory and cognition, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UCLA.

The findings, published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed also that people who had Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment experienced less gray matter volume reduction over time if their exercise-associated calorie burn was high.

A growing number of studies indicate physical activity can help protect the brain from cognitive decline, said investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine. But typically people are more sedentary as they get older, which also is when the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias increases.

Different kinds of physical activity shown to improve brain volume & cut Alzheimer’s risk in half (another 11 March 2016 EurkAlert)

Excerpt- “LOS ANGELES, CA/PITTSBURGH, PA, March 11, 2016: A new study shows that a variety of physical activities from walking to gardening and dancing can improve brain volume and cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.

This research, conducted by investigators at UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh, is the first to show that virtually any type of aerobic physical activity can improve brain structure and reduce Alzheimer’s risk. The study, funded by the National Institute of Aging, was published on March 11 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Covering the debate over expanded use of dental therapists [news release]

Reminds me of my sister who is a pharmacist. She goes on yearly medical missions to Haiti. The folks working in the pharmacy at the clinic there have only a high school education. My sister is a stickler when it comes to pharmacy practice/licensing in the US. But very much in awe with her Haitian colleagues and what they know and are able to do.

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From the 10 March 2016 item at Covering Health:Monitoring the Pulse of Health Care Journalism

Excerpts

A recent news package in The Seattle Times by reporter Will Drabold took a look at how the controversy over dental therapists is unfolding in the state of Washington.

Drabold examined the challenges faced by poor Medicaid patients in seeking dental care. He spoke with health care advocates who believe that technically-trained mid-level providers could bring much-needed care to poor and isolated communities. He also interviewed tribal leader Brian Cladoosby, whose Swinomish tribe had just defied state restrictions to hire a dental therapist. And he spoke with state dental association officials, who made it clear that they – ­like the American Dental Association – believe dental therapists lack the training to perform these expanded duties.

Dental therapists, who often are compared to nurse practitioners, are trained to deliver a range of services including screenings, cleanings, preventive care, fillings and extractions. While the therapists do work under the supervision of dentists, dental groups often contend that dentists alone have the training to perform what they consider irreversible surgical procedures, such as drilling and extracting teeth.

In spite of resistance from organized dentistry, variations of the therapist model already are being used in Alaska’s tribal lands and in the state of Minnesota. Dental therapists have been approved in Maine and are being considered in a number of other states.

March 11, 2016 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

sleep

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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