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Best Of - 5th - Week of April 2023


Electronic Nanny Use Is Problematic: Best Of: 12/20/2022


Frequent use of electronic devices to distract and calm preschoolers seems to paradoxically lead to a greater incidence of sudden mood shifts and more impulsive behavior.  So say University of Michigan pediatricians who studied 422 kids 3 to 5 years of age and their parents.  This so-called emotional reactivity surge occurred more often in boys.  The researchers also found that using tablets and smartphones for calming is also more problematic for children with a baseline higher level of hyperactivity and impulsiveness.  To prevent this backfiring of electronic calming device use, select devices and apps that automatically time out and keep the child informed of their dwindling play time.


#calming #electronicnannies #tablets #smartphones #hyperactivity #impulsiveness

calming, electronicnannies, tablets, smartphones, hyperactivity, impulsiveness



Walnuts Relieve College Stress: Best Of: 12/20/2022



University students who consumed half a cup of walnuts enjoyed significant improvements in their self-reported mental outlook.  Investigators at the University of South Australia studied 80 undergrads with baseline assessments and updates during and after exam periods.  Half the group ate walnuts for 16 weeks and half didn’t.   The data demonstrated a protective effect of walnuts preventing stress-driven mood depression and the appearance of stress-related metabolic changes.  Walnuts contain polyphenol antioxidants, sleep promoting melatonin, folate, and Vitamin E. This holiday season, you might just want to consider a gift of walnuts for your vacationing university students.


#walnuts #college #stress #antioxidants #polyphenols #melatonin #sleep #depression

walnuts, college, stress, antioxidants, polyphenols, melatonin, sleep, depression



More Breastfeeding = Less Infant Allergy: Best Of: 11/17/2022



Babies consuming increased amounts of breastmilk containing one particular micro-RNA molecule enjoyed a lower risk of skin, food, and respiratory allergies.  Penn State pediatricians studied 163 mothers who planned to breastfeed 4 months or more.  Samples of their breastmilk were collected over that time period and analysed for microRNA.


The analysis showed that the concentration of one particular microRNA, miR-375, was associated with significantly less allergy development in the babies.  No other microRNA measured showed such an association.  Levels of miR-375 increased the longer lactation continued and were notably higher in mothers with lower body masses.  


The takeaway from this for expectant mothers: if you want your baby to be allergy-free, keep your weight under control during pregnancy and plan on breastfeeding for as long as possible.


#breastfeeeding #pregnancy #allergy #eczema #foodallergy #obesity

breastfeeeding, pregnancy, allergy, eczema, foodallergy, obesity



Video Gaming Sharpens Young Minds: Best Of: 11/10/2022



Playing video games triggers beneficial changes in teen brains that are associated with better cognitive function.  University of Vermont psychiatrists compared the brain functions of 679 9 and 10 year old video game players with those of 1128 pre-teens never played.


The data reveals that video game jockeys exhibited  significantly better cognitive performance included better visual and memory functions, more precise responses, and better attention.


The results show electronic gaming does play a role in the maturation of childrens’ problem solving.  It’s even better if kids mate this sedentary activity with vigorous activity playing real-world games.


#videogames #cognition #children #mri #memory #attention #exercise

videogames, cognition, children, mri, memory, attention, exercise



Your Work Performance Depends On Your Commute - Best Of: 11/25/2021 



If you can’t seem to please your boss, the problem, dear Brutus, is not in your stars but in your commute.  A just published Dartmouth study tracked 275 information technology workers using their smartphones and wearables to quantify the characteristics of their commutes and their bodily reactions to them.  Their HR records served to determine their work performances.


When the numbers were crunched, the researchers found that poor performers at work consistently struggled with higher stress levels in association with their commutes.  Excellent work performers enjoyed smoother commutes with more consistent durations and less associated anxiety.


To protect your body from undue stress and to guard yourself from embarrassments at work, take the easiest route to and from your job and …. play soothing music.


#commute #stress #jobperformance #smartphone #wearables

commute, stress, jobperformance, smartphone, wearables



Surgery Selfies Prevent Post-Op Disasters - Best Of: 11/25/2021



When infection occurs post-operatively, a timely selfie of the operative incision is nearly 4 times more likely to prevent a delayed diagnosis.   University of Edinburgh surgeons proved this point with the study of 233 surgical patients following their operations.


Each patient was contacted on days 3, 7, and 15 post-operatively, questioned about how they were feeling, and asked to take a selfie of their wounds.  A surgeon evaluated each photo.  The patients were again contacted at day 30 postop to find out if they had been diagnosed with an infection.


When compared with a control group of 269 surgical patients who were followed without photos, those in the selfie group had any wound infections diagnosed within 7 days of surgery about 4 times more frequently.  Don’t forget to tell your incision to smile!


#selfie #surgery #infection #incision #delayeddiagnosis

selfie, surgery, infection, incision, delayeddiagnosis



Extremely Hot Weather Damages Your Heart - Best Of: 11/25/2021



Ever more frequent heat waves promise deadly heart strain and an epidemic of heart failure.  These warnings come from a  Montreal Heart Institute review of the consequences of extreme heat events.


Even beyond heat stroke with its dangerously high body temperatures, confusion, nausea and vomiting, environmental temperatures in the 100’s put a dangerous strain on your heart.  In a futile attempt to cool the body by superpowering its sweat glands, the heart ramps up its pumping function to dangerously high levels.


Those with pre-existing medical problems, particularly cardiovascular disease, are at particular risk.  The heat-associated heart strain can readily trigger heart attacks and ultimate heart failure.


To prevent these heat-related consequences, Canadian provinces routinely warn the public 18-24 hours before heat events with suggestions about how to beat the heat.  To prevent heat-driven heart damage, we must all seek air conditioning or use fans, remain hydrated, and dunk in comfortably cool water if possible.  


So you say, why worry about this now.  Fact is, many of you may be heading south to beat the cold, and you may just find more heat than you expect or want.  Just saying, when it’s hot, remember your heart.


#heat #heart #heartfailure #heartattack #heatwave

heat, heart, heartfailure, heartattack, heatwave



Coffee During Pregnancy Is Beneficial - Best Of: 11/16/2021



Drinking a 6 ounce cup of coffee during the first trimester will not increase a woman’s risk of gestational diabetes and drinking that same amount during the second trimester actually seems protective lowering the risk of diabetes by 47%.  University of Pennsylvania and NIH epidemiologists just published these conclusions following their study of 2529 women.


In addition to studying the effect of caffeinated beverages on gestational diabetes, the investigators found that consuming these drinks created no increased risk for developing either gestational hypertension or preelampsia.  Caffeine did not significantly change levels of blood sugar while it seemed to lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL while modestly raising HDL.


Remember though, these effects were seen in women moderating their caffeine intake by only consuming one cup of coffee or the equivalent each day.


#pregnancy #womenshealth #caffeine #coffee #diabetes #cholesterol

pregnancy, womenshealth, caffeine, coffee, diabetes, cholesterol



Happy Hour Preserves Brain Power: Best Of: 12/13/2020



Downing cheese and red wine will keep you sharp as you go through life.  Food scientists from Iowa State University report these findings after analyzing data from 12,787 Brits 46 to 77 years of age.


Participants completed Food Frequency Questionnaires and underwent testing of their ability to think on the spot using he Fluid Intelligence test.  Cheese topped the list of “smarts-preserving” foods followed by red wine and lamb but not other red meats.  On the other hand, added salt was counterproductive.


So during the pandemic, arrange virtual happy hours replete with that cheese board and wine carafe.  The food and drink AND the pleasant company will help you fight off those pandemic blues.


#covid #brain #intelligence #cheese #wine

covid, brain, intelligence, cheese, wine



Healthy Sleep Prevents Fatal Heart Disease: Best Of: 11/19/2020



Consistently satisfying sleep may reduce your chances of dying from a worn out heart by 42%.  Epidemiologists at Tulane University followed a huge UK population of 408,802 patients over a 10 year period looking for correlations between sleep patterns and the development of congestive heart failure.


Over those 10 years, 5221 developed heart failure.  This disease incidence was 34% lower in those with no daytime sleepiness, 17% lower in those without insomnia, 12% lower for those sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day, and 8% reduced for early risers.


Congestive heart failure can be deadlier than cancer.  Its only cure is a heart transplant.  Protect your ticker by sleeping soundly and exercising consistently.


#sleep #heartfailure

sleep, heartfailure



Pregnant Women Should Avoid ALL NSAIDS After 20 Weeks: Best Of: 10/28/2020



The FDA warns all pregnant women that use of Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn and their generic versions ibuprofen, naproxen and even aspirin after the halfway mark of their gestations can trigger serious fetal kidney disease.


NSAIDs were already a no-no during the last trimester, but that prohibition now begins 3 months earlier.


Other medications should be used for pain relief including acetaminophen, branded as Tylenol.


NSAIDs have been found to trigger fetal kidney malfunction with a subsequent reduction in the amniotic fluid surrounding the developing baby.  If your doctor has prescribed NSAIDs to be taken for more than 2 days, the FDA recommends ultrasound monitoring for amniotic fluid sufficiency.


#nsaids #kidney #amnioticfluid #advil #motrin #aleve #ibuprofen #naprosyn #aspirin

nsaids, kidney, amnioticfluid, advil, motrin, aleve, ibuprofen, naprosyn, aspirin



Rub Don’t Scratch That Itch: Best Of: 9/14/2020



Neurobiologists and dermatologists at the University of Miami and Harvard warn that scratching to relieve an itch may be overkill.  They base that recommendation on their analyses of mice with skin itching triggered by injection of chemicals including capsaicin and chloroquine.


The data demonstrate that rubbing and stroking initially increase activity of nerves cells that tell you you’re itchy but nerve activity decreases significantly after you stop the rubbing.  Scratching produces similar neuronal responses but also leads to tissue damage, release of inflammatory mediators, and secondary itchiness.


The lesson to be learned: go gently and rub rather than scratch the itchy site.  More is less.  For instant medicinal relief, rub on over-the-counter Sarna.


#itch #rub #scratch

itch, rub, scratch



The Truth About Liars: Best Of: 12/27/2019



The scoop on lies comes to us from a British study published earlier this month.  Investigators surveyed 194 men and women, average age 39, about the lies they tell and hear.


The results:

Men consider themselves good liars twice as often as women.

Liars lie face-to-face followed by texts, phone calls, email, and social media.

A few liars are responsible for most lies.

Liars are articulate and weave stories that deviate only slightly from the truth.

Most lies are told to family and friends; the least to employers and authorities.

We only have a 50:50 chance of detecting a lie.


With that, look out for a barrage of lies in 2020.


Brianna L. Verigin, Ewout H. Meijer, Glynis Bogaard, Aldert Vrij. Lie prevalence, lie characteristics and strategies of self-reported good liars. PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (12): e0225566 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225566


#Lies #liars #politicians #men

Lies, liars, politicians, men



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Are Inherited: Best Of: WBZ News Radio: 1/1991



Dr. Smith interviews pediatrician Betsy Busch MD, Clinical Director for Boston Floating Hospital’s Center for Children with Special Needs.   They discuss the fact that attention deficit hyperactivity disorders are likely inherited.  They mention the presenting symptoms of these disorders.


#attentiondeficits #ADHD #hyperactivity #inheritance #genetics #pediatrics #wbznewsradio

attentiondeficits, ADHD, hyperactivity, inheritance, genetics, pediatrics, wbznewsradio



Electromagnetic Radiation and Water Beds: Best Of: WBZ News Radio: 3/1991



Dr. Smith takes a call from a listener wondering about the safety of heated waterbeds.


#electromagnetic #radiation #waterbeds #electricblankets #Pregnancy #wbznewsradio

electromagnetic, radiation, waterbeds, electricblankets, Pregnancy, wbznewsradio



Fainting In The Bathroom: Best Of: WBZ News Radio: 1/1991



Dr. Smith and Mark Linzer MD, director of the New England Medical Center’s Syncope Evaluation Center.  Why fainting occurs.  Evaluation of fainting.


#fainting #syncope #bathroom #wbznewsradio

fainting, syncope, bathroom, wbznewsradio

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