Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reason for Seasonal Affective Disorder Confirmed

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29691479

Steve: All the more reason to make sure you are getting as many serotonin boosters as possible during the months with the least light.

Alcohol consumption affects sperm quality

Alcohol intake is linked to lower sperm quality, according to a study of young men in BMJ Open. Adverse effects on semen can be seen at levels as low as five drinks per week, although the trend is more pronounced among men who drink more than 25 units per week. A unit is defined as 25 grams of ethanol, the approximate amount in one beer or one glass of wine.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chef-Created Dish Increases School Participation

To demonstrate the feasibility of introducing a main dish designed by a professional chef in the National School Lunch Program and to document the impact on child participation, a chef was recruited to design pizza to be served in an upstate New York school district.

The pizza was designed to meet both the cost and ingredient requirements of the NSLP. High school students were significantly more likely to select the pizza prepared by the chef. While the chef had no significant impact on main dish consumption given selection, more students took a vegetable and vegetable consumption increased by 16.5%.

The pilot study published in the December issue of journal Appetite demonstrates the plausibility of using chefs to boost participation in the school lunch program, and potentially increase nutrition through side selection, among high school students.

Statins: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown

Conclusions from a Medscape reader survey as reported by Dr. Gordon Sun

"In summary, several important issues were broached in comments by Medscape readers, reflecting the notable controversy generated by the latest ACC/AHA cholesterol guidelines, nearly a year after publication:

• Up-to-date meta-analyses of statin use as primary prevention in women and the elderly have provided further evidence of their usefulness in these populations, although some of the literature was inconclusive and many Medscape readers remain skeptical.

• Myopathy potentially related to statin use was the most commonly reported adverse event by Medscape readers.

• Medscape readers were concerned that the guidelines did not sufficiently emphasize the benefits of positive lifestyle habits on prevention of CVD. A randomized trial comparing statins with beneficial lifestyle changes and examining clinical outcomes has yet to be conducted.

• Studies contrasting statin use and healthy lifestyle adherence—the "statin-lifestyle interaction"—demonstrate conflicting results. Recent research hypothesized that statin-related myopathy might actually compromise the ability to exercise, thus complicating patients' ability to adhere to good lifestyle habits.

It would be fair to say that this debate is far from settled."

Steve: This survey did not even mention the increased risk for diabetes and memory loss.

Taking the pain out of shots

Such painless injections could be possible with a device that applies pressure and vibration while the needle is inserted in the skin, according to a study presented at the Anesthesiology 2014 annual meeting. As many as 1 in 10 people experience needle phobia. Using a device that applies pressure and vibration before the needle stick could help significantly decrease painful sensations by closing the 'gate' that sends pain signals to the brain.

The perception of pain was significantly decreased when a specific amount of pressure and vibration was applied to the site for 20 seconds prior to using the plastic needle. The addition of heat added a small benefit. 

The concept likely works by distraction as well as employing the gate-control theory of pain, in which these sensations (pressure, vibration and potentially temperature) close the gate that allows the brain to register pain.

What's Your Fitness Age?

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/15/whats-your-fitness-age/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=health&_r=0

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Making blood tests easier to understand

http://online.wsj.com/articles/medical-labs-make-test-results-easier-for-patients-to-understand-1410822452

Dr. Mark Hyman on Magnesium

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUWL1o2hSrs

Viable supplemental iron sources

Supplementing with 30 mg/d of elementary iron, either as ferrous sulfate or iron bis-glycinate chelate for 90 days, showed positive effects on increasing ferritin concentration in schoolchildren with low iron stores, and this effect persisted 6 months after supplementation. Nutrition Journal 7/2014

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Secret to Well Behaved Teens

While American pediatricians warn sleep deprivation can stack the deck against teenagers, a new study from journal of Learning, Media and Technology reveals youth's irritability and laziness aren't down to attitude problems but lack of sleep.

This interesting paper exposes the negative consequences of sleep deprivation caused by early school bells, and shows that altering education times not only perks up teens' mood, but also enhances learning and health.

Our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is the result of a complex balance between states of alertness and sleepiness regulated by a part of the brain called Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SNC); in puberty, shifts in our body clocks push optimal sleep later into the evening, making it extremely difficult for most teenagers to fall asleep before 11.00PM. This, coupled with early school starts in the morning, results in chronically sleep-deprived and cranky teens as well as plummeting grades and health problems.

A number of initiatives -- including the Start School Later campaign and the establishment of the National Sleep Foundation -- indicate a change may be in the air for education policies and practices in the US.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Weight stigma is real

Appetite November 2014
Weight stigma is highly pervasive, but its consequences are understudied. This review draws from theory in social psychology, health psychology, and neuroendocrinology to construct an original, generative model called the cyclic obesity/weight-based stigma (COBWEBS) model. This model characterizes weight stigma as a “vicious cycle” – a positive feedback loop wherein weight stigma begets weight gain. This happens through increased eating behavior and increased cortisol secretion governed by behavioral, emotional, and physiological mechanisms, which are theorized to ultimately result in weight gain and difficulty of weight loss. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the existing literature for evidence supporting such a model, propose ways in which individuals enter, fight against, and exit the cycle, and conclude by outlining fruitful future directions in this nascent yet important area of research.

The Girl Scouts Just Don't Get It

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-david/girl-scouts-nestle_b_5879300.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

Lower Risk of Heart Attack 86%

A healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption, a smaller waist circumference, and not smoking were each independently associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack, in a large group of healthy Swedish men.

When these four lifestyle behaviors were combined with physical activity, individuals who adhered to all five healthy practices had an 86% lower risk of MI when compared with a high-risk group of individuals who didn't adhere to any to healthy behaviors. When compared with the rest of the study cohort, which included individuals who practiced some but not all of the healthy lifestyle behaviors, the risk of MI was reduced 79% compared with those who adhered to all five, according to a study in the September 30, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

However, just 1% of the 20 721 men adopted all five of what the researchers referred to as "low-risk behaviors." That number is dismal! And Swedes are supposed to be healthier than Americans!

Not adhering to the healthy diet and drinking alcohol more excessively accounted for nearly one in four MIs in the study population, while the combined absence of three healthy behaviors—diet, alcohol, and not smoking—explained nearly half of the MIs.

Icing injuries may not be warranted

http://stoneathleticmedicine.com/2014/09/icing-injuries-are-we-evidence-based/

Govt on alternatives for chronic pain

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/chronic-pain?nav=cd

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grocery Chain Stuns Industry

Found this on BevNet:

Although Raley’s introduction of new supplier guidelines, in which dozens of additives and preservatives will be banned from its stores, could be viewed as expected considering Americans’ continuing tilt toward healthier consumption, it is nevertheless a stunning move in which one of the country’s largest conventional grocers appears to be repositioning itself as a natural-focused retailer.

Headquartered in West Sacramento, Calif., Raley’s owns and operates 132 stores in California and Nevada, including those under the Bel Air Market, Nob Hill Food and Food Source banners. With an estimated $3.2 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending on June 28, the grocery chain is ranked number 42 in Supermarket News’s list of the “Top 75 North American Food Retailers and Wholesalers for 2014.”

Placing it squarely at the forefront of natural food trends and greater demand for traceable goods, Raley’s has curated a list of 83 ingredients that will no longer be acceptable for inclusion in products sold in its stores. The list is similar to that of Whole Foods’ “Unacceptable Ingredients for Food,” which includes 78 ingredients commonly used by food and beverage producers, including artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup and sucralose, as well as a number of preservatives, such as sodium benzoate. Also listed are potassium bromate (often used as a leavening agent), azodicarbonamide and brominated vegetable oil (BVO), each of which has been the subject of recent controversy regarding potentially harmful food additives.

There are, however, a few significant differences between the two lists. Unlike Whole Foods, Raley’s will no longer stock food products that are made with genetically modified organisms (GMO). While Whole Foods last year issued an edict declaring “full GMO transparency” in its stores by 2018, the natural grocer will continue carry products made with GMOs. And though Whole Foods is well-known for its policy of selling meat, poultry and fish that are raised without the use of antibiotics, Raley’s explicitly names antibiotics as being banned for use in any products that it sells.

Raley’s has also prohibited the use of bST, rbST bGH, rbGH, each a widely used bovine growth hormone that is injected into dairy cows to boost milk production, from supplier products.