Thursday, October 23, 2014

Acid Blocking Meds Make Getting Sick Easier

Researchers in a recent JAMA Pediatrics study wanted to determine if acid-suppression use results in gastric bacterial overgrowth, if there are changes in lung microflora associated with the use of acid suppression, and if changes in lung microflora are related to full-column nonacid gastroesophageal reflux in children ages 1 to 18 years. They found that 46% of patients taking acid-suppression medication had gastric bacterial growth compared with 18% of untreated patients. Staphylococcus and Streptococcus were found more commonly and in higher concentrations in the gastric fluid of treated patients. 

Bonnie: As we have said incessantly, acid suppression increases the risk of infection. We need a 60/40 (acid/alkaline) ratio in our gut to ward off infection.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reason for Seasonal Affective Disorder Confirmed

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?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Making blood tests easier to understand

Dr. Mark Hyman on Magnesium

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.