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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 1st Week of August, 2019



I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network, reporting from NYC with the Health News Roundup for the 1st week of AUGUST, 2019.  This is Health News You Should Use, the latest medical discoveries and commonsense advice that you can use in a practical way to keep yourself and your family healthy.  


Here are this weeks stories :

We Overfeed Our Infants

Summer Scorchers Create Sidewalk Burns

The Blue Artificial Sweetener May Not Be Safe

See First, Learn Better

Caffeine Damages The Fetal Liver

Red Wine May Fight Stress

Infants Feel For The Bullied And Expect Justice

Clot Removal Helps Even Large Strokes

Softening Kids Middle School Transition Has Big Payoffs

US News Names Top Hospitals For 2019

Smoking Harms Your Leg Circulation Forever

Aluminum Cans May Be Fattening Your Kids

Strength Training Saps Endurance

Are Organic Apples Healthier?

A Too Many CT Scans During Pregnancy



#Infants #parenting #obesity #solidfoods #Heat #pavementburns #burns #Aspartame #sweetener #Equal #DietCoke #Education #objectlabel #learningorder #Coffee #caffeine #liverdisease #fattyliver #Wine #redwine #resveratrol #anxiety #depression #Bullying #infants #parenting #socialorder #Stroke #thrombectomy #MiddleSchool #transition #secondaryeducation #Hospitals #USNews #besthospitals #Smoking #peripheralarterialdisease #coronaryarterydisease  #stroke #Aluminumcans #bisphenol #obesity #Strength #endurance #BDNF #muscleatrophy #Apples, microbiome, organic #CT #xrays #pregnancy



Here are this week’s stories:

We Overfeed Our Infants

Common feeding guidelines from children’s hospitals and infant formula manufacturers lead to overweight babies before their first birthdays.  This striking conclusion comes from a study by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health..


The Hopkins investigators developed a computer model to see the result of feeding virtual babies from 6 to 12 months according to guidelines from their own  hospital, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, from Enfamil, and from Similac.  Every guideline resulted in excessive weight gains by 9 to 11 months even though portion sizes were adjusted according to weight changes.


The virtual babies who remained at healthy weights the longest were those fed the absolute smallest portion sizes of calorie-rich solid foods.  This study shows that the feeding guidelines for infants require revision.  Until that occurs, parents should aggressively follow their infant’ s weight dialing back the solid foods to keep that number in the normal range.


Marie C. Ferguson, Kelly J. O'Shea, Lawrence D. Hammer, Daniel L. Hertenstein, Nathaniel J. Schwartz, Lucas E. Winch, Sheryl S. Siegmund, Bruce Y. Lee. The Impact of Following Solid Food Feeding Guides on BMI Among Infants: A Simulation Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2019.04.011


Infants, parenting, obesity, solidfoods

#Infants #parenting #obesity #solidfoods



Summer Scorchers Create Sidewalk Burns

When the summer heat drives air temperatures north of 100˚F, sidewalks turn into hot plates that can burn your skin in a matter of seconds.  Surgeons from the University of Las Vegas studied some 173 pavement burn cases they treated over the past 4 years.


Eighty-eight percent of the mostly second degree burns occurred when air temps were 95˚F or hotter.  On such days, the pavements are hotter than the air, reaching close to 150 ˚F then the air is 111˚F.  FYI—you can fry an egg at those temperatures.


When the temperatures rise above 90˚F, be sure that you, your kids, and your pets wear protective footwear.  Watch where you put your hands as well as your feet. Those metal handrails and your own car’s steering wheel can give you a nasty burn, so you might want to have a towel or gloves handy.


Jorge Vega, Paul Chestovich, Syed Saquib, Douglas Fraser. A 5-Year Review of Pavement Burns From a Desert Burn Center. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 2019; 40 (4): 422 DOI: 10.1093/jbcr/irz049


Heat, pavementburns, burns

#Heat #pavementburns #burns



The Blue Artificial Sweetener Aspartame May Not Be Safe

If you put the blue sweetener in your coffee or regularly chug cans of Diet Coke, listen up!  A British study just published in the Archives of Public Health raises new questions about the safety of aspartame.


A meta-analysis of the 154 studies that the European Food Safety Authority used to certify aspartame as safe in 2013 questions the validity of the “it’s perfectly safe!” conclusion.  The researchers conclude that many of the studies were flawed and they question whether or not conflicts of interest and corruption may have played a role in the “thumbs up” for aspartame.


Once again, this finding should make all of us moderate our use of all artificial sweeteners.  If you use the, try to rotate your selections whether they be the Blues (Equal), the Pinks (Sweet ‘N Low), the Yellows (Splenda), or, yes, even the Greens (Truvia).


Aspartame, sweetener, Equal, DietCoke

#Aspartame #sweetener #Equal #DietCoke



See First, Learn Better

Dartmouth and UC-Irvine mathematicians report that you learn faster if you picture it before you hear about it.  This universal principle of so-called object before label learning applies to everything from teaching kids their colors to learning foreign languages.


The researchers used formal testing to demonstrate that object before label learning is superior to label before object learning.  They then developed a mathematical model to both describe the phenomenon and predict the superiority of seeing rather than hearing or reading first.


The bottom line: When teaching the the alphabet, animals, or anything, show your child the object before providing its name.  A foreign language? Show the object, then present the word.  A picture is always better than a thousand words!


Timmy Ma, Natalia L. Komarova. Object‐Label‐Order Effect When Learning From an Inconsistent Source. Cognitive Science, 2019; 43 (8) DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12737


Education, objectlabel, learningorder

#Education #objectlabel #learningorder



Caffeine Damages The Fetal Liver

Moms-to-be better tamp down their coffee consumption during pregnancy.  A study using a rat model bully just published in the Journal of Endocrinology showed that pregnant animals consuming the equivalent of 2-3 cups of coffee a day gave birth to babies with impaired liver development as well as low birth weights and abnormal stress hormone levels.


The fetal liver growth is slowed due to caffeine’s ability to suppress the body’s liver growth factor.  This growth factor bounces back following birth and the baby rats’ livers go through a catch up growth phase.  The bad news is that this surge of liver growth factor makes the liver vulnerable to later fatty degenerative disease.


This study supports the recommendation that pregnant women avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages.  This restriction should start at the time a woman begins trying to conceive.


Coffee, caffeine, liverdisease, fattyliver 

#Coffee #caffeine #liverdisease #fattyliver 



Red Wine May Fight Stress

A new study from The University of Buffalo’s pharmacology department suggests that a glass of red wine may contain not one but two calming ingredients that control sress.  We all know about the alcohol, but adding to its effect is the plant compound resveratrol that’s found in the skin and seeds of the grape.


The resveratrol works to relieve stress and depressive feelings by opposing the “downer” psychological effects of corticosteroids, the fight or flight hormones.  This effect might be able to help persons with severe anxiety and depressive disorders who fail to respond to many current medications that rely on modulating the brain’s serotonin- and noradrenaline- controlled functions.


Since the alcohol in red wine can be a problem for some, a handful of good old red grapes, with seeds or seedless, might just be THE snack to help elevate your spirits at the end of a long day.


Xia Zhu, Wenhua Li, Yongkun Li, Wenhua Xu, Yirong Yuan, Victor Zheng, Hanting Zhang, James M. O'Donnell, Ying Xu, Xiaoxing Yin. The antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of resveratrol: Involvement of phosphodiesterase-4D inhibition. Neuropharmacology, 2019; 153: 20 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.04.022


Wine, redwine, resveratrol, anxiety, depression

#Wine #redwine #resveratrol #anxiety #depression



Infants Feel For The Bullied And Expect Justice

Babies under the age of two show empathy for those who are victimized and expect that parents and teachers will intervene to put a stop to the bullying.  These related conclusions come from separate studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign and Israel’s Ben Gurion University.


The Israeli study shows that infants as young as 6 months can recognize a victim of bullying and show appropriate concern for that individual’s feelings and welfare.  The Illinois investigation demonstrates that, by 18 months of age, infants and toddlers understand social order, and they expect that the leaders of groups, their parents and teachers, will intervene to right any wrongs and int-group transgressions that have occurred.


Given these studies, it would seem that babies have more common sense than some of our politicians.  Time and again, our elected leaders bully their peers as well as the general public, and it seems that those in authority lack the sense or the courage to establish law and order.


Florina Uzefovsky, Yael Paz, Maayan Davidov. Young infants are pro‐victims, but it depends on the context. British Journal of Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12402


Maayan Stavans and Renée Baillargeon. Infants expect leaders to right wrongs. PNAS, 2019 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820091116


Bullying, infants, parenting, socialorder 

#Bullying #infants #parenting #socialorder 



Clot Removal Helps Even Large Strokes

A new preliminary study from the University of Texas shows that endoscopic removal of clots from the arteries of stroke victims with large areas of affected brain tissue can assure better recovery.  This so-called Endovascular Thrombectomy is currently established treatment but only for those strokes with smaller areas of tissue damage.


The study included 105 patients from 9 centers.  The thrombectomy compared with medical management alone doubled the chances that a patient would achieve functional independence while reducing the mortality rate by 30%.


A larger trial is now getting underway.  Meanwhile, with strokes occurring in ever younger persons, be aware that Endovascular Thrombectomy could be lifesaving for you or a family member so ask!


Amrou Sarraj, Ameer E. Hassan, Sean Savitz, Clark Sitton, James Grotta, Peng Chen, Chunyan Cai, Gary Cutter, Bita Imam, Sujan Reddy, Kaushik Parsha, Deep Pujara, Roy Riascos, Nirav Vora, Michael Abraham, Haris Kamal, Diogo C. Haussen, Andrew D. Barreto, Maarten Lansberg, Rishi Gupta, Gregory W. Albers. Outcomes of Endovascular Thrombectomy vs Medical Management Alone in Patients With Large Ischemic Cores. JAMA Neurology, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.2109


Stroke, thrombectomy

#Stroke #thrombectomy



Softening Kids Middle School Transition Has Big Payoffs

Proactively reassuring students leaving the secure nest of elementary school for what seems to them insurmountable challenges of middle school improves their performance, attendance, and cooperation.  A just published study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison measured the effects of interventions crafted to convince fearful, anxious students that they are not alone and that both academic and social help is always available.


The study looked at more than 1300 first year Wisconsin middle school students.  Those student in the program were 18% more likely to pass their courses, 12% more likely to attend regularly, and 34% less likely to require discipline.  They enjoyed less test anxiety, demonstrated more trust for their teachers, and did ask for help more freely.


Since a troubled start to middle school often portends an unsuccessful high school experience, the modest cost of the program, several $$ per child, is definitely money well spent.


University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Power of refocusing student stress in middle school transition: Sixth graders taught to see transition turmoil as 'normal, temporary' perform better in class." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2019.


MiddleSchool, transition, secondaryeducation 

#MiddleSchool #transition #secondaryeducation 



US News Names Top Hospitals For 2019

The annual hospital academy awards are out!  The magazine US News & World Report has just released its picks for best overall hospitals.  They base their selections by analyzing public data from almost 5,000 US hospitals that covers treatment success rates, breadth of specialized services available, patient safety, patient and family satisfaction scores, and scores on surveys from more than 30,000 US physicians.


Here are the top 20:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Minnesota

  2. Mass. General Hospital, Boston

  3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore

  4. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio

  5. New York Presbyterian-Columbia/Cornell, New York City

  6. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles

  7. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco

  8. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles

  9. NYU Medical Center, New York City

  10. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago

  11. University of Michigan Hospitals, Michigan

  12. Stanford Hospital, Palo Alto, CA

  13. Brigham & Women’s, Boston

  14. Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City

  15. UPMC Shadyside, Pittsburgh

  16. USC Hospital, Los Angeles

  17. University of Wisconsin Medical Center, Madison

  18. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia tied with

18. Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

20. Houston Methodist  Hospital, Houston tied with

20. Yale-New Haven Hospital, Connecticut


These are the best general hospitals in the country. If you have a significant medical problem, you should get yourself to one of these or to one of their associated specialty hospitals.


Hospitals, USNews, besthospitals

#Hospitals #USNews #besthospitals



Smoking Harms Your Leg Circulation Forever

Let’s say that you smoked heavily in your younger years but then quit. That’s good news for your health, but a new study just published from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health shows that your risk of circulatory problems in your legs goes on for up to 30 years after you quit.


The study looked at 13,355 subjects at Hopkins, the University of North Carolina, and UC-San Diego for more than 26 years, and tabulated their development of peripheral arterial disease, coronary artery disease, and cerebral vascular disease with stroke.  Those who smoked the longest and most heavily had the highest risks in each category.   Most important was the finding that the risk of peripheral vascular disease lasted the longest at 30 years followed by coronary artery disease at 20 years.  


This study proves that once your begin smoking, you are damaging your body for close to forever.   The best strategy is never to begin.


Ning Ding, Yingying Sang, Jingsha Chen, Shoshana H. Ballew, Corey A. Kalbaugh, Maya J. Salameh, Michael J. Blaha, Matthew Allison, Gerardo Heiss, Elizabeth Selvin, Josef Coresh and Kunihiro Matsushita.  Cigarette Smoking, Smoking Cessation, and Long-Term Risk of 3 Major Atherosclerotic Diseases. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 74, Issue 4, July 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.05.049


Smoking, peripheralarterialdisease, coronaryarterydisease, stroke

#Smoking #peripheralarterialdisease #coronaryarterydisease #stroke



Aluminum Cans May Be Fattening Your Kids

Aluminum cans containing drinks and foods that we all consume may be making us fat.  A study from NYU Medical School reports an association between childhood obesity and the bisphenol plastics used to line food and drink containers and produce thermal paper for cash register receipts.


The investigators compared data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and with urine levels of the bisphenol plastics in children 6 to 19 yers of age.   The incidence of obesity increased with higher levels of plastic compounds in the urine.


This study merely detects an association, not a causal relationship, between obesity and plastics exposure.  Nonetheless, the smart money is on trying of avoid drinking and eating from aluminum containers.


Melanie H Jacobson, Miriam Woodward, Wei Bao, Buyun Liu, Leonardo Trasande, Urinary bisphenols and obesity prevalence among US children and adolescents, Journal of the Endocrine Society.


Aluminumcans, bisphenol, obesity

#Aluminumcans #bisphenol #obesity



Strength Training Saps Endurance

When you exercise for stronger muscles and increase your numbers of muscle strength fibers, you produce a neurotransmitter called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF.  This messenger then drives atrophy of your endurance muscle fibers.  


This Yin-Yang relationship is newly described in a study from  Switzerland’s University of Basel.  This BDNF chemical is produced by the muscle itself in response to strengthening exercises.  It triggers remodeling of muscle from slow-twitch endurance fibers into fast-twitch strength fibers.


The investigators also showed that lower levels of BDNF in the muscles of seniors was associated with less decline of muscle bulk with aging.  That would suggest strength training is contraindicated for our elders.


Julien Delezie, Martin Weihrauch, Geraldine Maier, Rocío Tejero, Daniel J. Ham, Jonathan F. Gill, Bettina Karrer-Cardel, Markus A. Rüegg, Lucía Tabares, Christoph Handschin. BDNF is a mediator of glycolytic fiber-type specification in mouse skeletal muscle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201900544 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1900544116



Strength, endurance, BDNF, muscleatrophy 

#Strength #endurance #BDNF #muscleatrophy 



Are Organic Apples Healthier?

Studies of our gut’s microbiome, our gastrointestinal tract’s collection of bacteria, show that it has a huge role in our body’s health.  Most of our gut bacteria come from raw fruit and vegetables, since cooking kills the majority of those in other foods we eat.  The most ubiquitous raw fruit is the apple, and it supplies many of the bacteria in our systems.


An Austrian study of apples just published in the journal Frontiers of Microbiology shows that the most beneficial bacteria are found in apples grown organically.  The highest numbers of bacteria are found in the seeds, the stems, and the ends of the apple, and those numbers are consistently higher for the organically-grown fruit.


If you look closely at the data though, the organic advantage is not huge.   Often the price difference is.  The bottom line is eat apples, any apples, and get the best price so that you can buy more.


Birgit Wassermann, Henry Müller, Gabriele Berg. An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We Eat With Organic and Conventional Apples? Frontiers in Microbiology, 2019; 10 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01629


Apples, microbiome, organic

#Apples, microbiome, organic



Too Many CT Scans During Pregnancy

The past two decades has seen a 4-fold rise in the number of pregnant American women undergoing CT scans.  The numbers of Canadian women being scanned during pregnancy has doubled over the same period. Even with modern image intensification, this radiation presents increased risks to an entire generation of children.


The study just published in JAMA Network Open reviewed some 3.5 million pregnancies in the US and Canada.  During the 21 year study period, 5.3% of American women and 3.6% of Canadian women underwent imaging with ionizing radiation.  Rates in the US have been trending down while those in Canada are rising.


Pregnant women should always question their doctors carefully about the absolute medical necessity for any x-rays or scans.  Invasive tests, like medications of any kind, should be avoided during pregnancy if at all possible.


Marilyn L. Kwan, Diana L. Miglioretti, Emily C. Marlow, E. J. Aiello Bowles, Sheila Weinmann, Stephanie Y. Cheng, Kamala A. Deosaransingh, Prachi Chavan, Lisa M. Moy, Wesley E. Bolch, James R. Duncan, Robert T. Greenlee, Lawrence H. Kushi, Jason D. Pole, Alanna K. Rahm, Natasha K. Stout, R. Smith-Bindman. Trends in Medical Imaging During Pregnancy in the United States and Ontario, Canada, 1996 to 2016. JAMA Network Open, 2019; 2 (7): e197249 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7249


CT, xrays, pregnancy

#CT #xrays #pregnancy



That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening and particular thanks to my followers on social media for spreading the word.  I’m Dr. Howard Smith reminding you to keep a smile on your face, your brain active, and your body in motion....these are the best medicines!

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