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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of August, 2019




I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network, reporting from NYC with the Health News Roundup for the 2nd 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 :

Whole Body Vibration Is Healthy

Do Yellow Lens Glasses Make Night Driving Safer?

Genetic Testing Motivates The Melanoma-Prone To Coverup

Socializing Cuts Risk Of Dementia

Dark Chocolate Lifts Spirits

Baseball Players Outlive Many Men

Fighting Family Fatness

Cheating Is A Habit

First Trimester Moving IS Risky

Not Only The Young Binge Drink

A Better Test For Cervical Cancer

Vaccinations Do Not Cause MS

Heart Surgery No Riskier In July

DIY Acupressure For Low Back Pain

Art Therapy Eases Teen Girls’ Stress Headaches



For show notes and references to for the stories, check out my website at: 

#Vibration #diabetes #microbiome #Nightdriving #yellowlenses #glare #Melanoma #genetics #UV #Socializing #dementia #middle age #Dark chocolate #depression #happiness #Baseball #mortality #fitness #exercise #Obesity #jogging #walking #Cheating #samaritanism #greed #Moving #firsttrimester #prematurebirth #lowbirthweight #Bingedrinking #seniors #cannabis #tobacco #Cervicaldysplasia #DNAmethylation #CIN #cervicalcancer #MS #vaccines #Crohns #psoriasis #Cardiacsurgery #julyeffect #outcomes #surgicaltraining #Backpain #acupressure #fatigue #Headache #stress #teens #girls #arttherapy #mindfulness

Here are this week’s stories:

Whole Body Vibration Is Healthy



Maybe those Hell’s Angels streaking down the road on their “hogs” aren’t guilty of unhealthy activity after all.  A new study from the Medical College of Georgia and Ohio State University shows that body vibration leads to more, beneficial anti-inflammatory macrophages in the gastrointestinal system leading to a healthier bacterial content.  We know that a healthier GI microbiome helps your immune system, your general metabolism, and your brain function.


The researchers, using a mouse model, are the first to report that whole body vibration has such beneficial effects.  Previous studies have shown that such jiggling will improve glucose metabolism, liver lipid profiles, and type 2 diabetes.


The take home point: that annoying vibration you feel when bike riding on coarse pavement or, yes, riding that souped up Harley, may just help your system compensate for the metabolic effects of that cheeseburger-deluxe with Budweiser.  For at-home whole body vibration, you can purchase a vibration plate from Amazon for $130-250.


Jack C. Yu, Vanessa L. Hale, Hesam Khodadadi and Babak Baban. Whole Body Vibration-Induced Omental Macrophage Polarization and Fecal Microbiome Modification in a Murine Model.  Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(13), 3125;


Vibration, diabetes, microbiome

#Vibration #diabetes #microbiome



Do Yellow Lens Glasses Make Night Driving Safer?



The short answers is a resounding NO.  This conclusion comes from a study at Harvard”s Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary.


Ophthalmology researchers there tested 22 normally sighted drivers with and without yellow lenses for their ability to detect a dark-shirted pedestrian at night.  The yellow lenses did not improve the drivers response time to the pedestrian walking along in the presence or  absence of headlight glare.


So you night drivers can save the 15 to 30 bucks you were planning to spend on the glasses.  Without the crutch of a light filter, we all must rely on good old fashioned caution when driving at night.


Hwang AD, Tuccar-Burak M, Peli E. Comparison of Pedestrian Detection With and Without Yellow-Lens Glasses During Simulated Night Driving With and Without Headlight Glare. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 01, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.2893


Nightdriving, yellowlenses, glare

#Nightdriving #yellowlenses #glare



Genetic Information Motivates The Melanoma-Prone To Cover Up



Providing genetic testing and counseling to those with a family history of melanoma drove them to reduce their UV exposure by a whopping 50%.  This result comes from  a collaborative university study just published in the journal Nature.


The investigators provided genetic counseling to all of the 128 participants who had one or more relatives treated for melanoma.  Those from families known to harbor the CDKN2A, a melanoma trigger, gene also underwent genetic testing.


All participants having genetic counseling clocked a significant reduction in UV exposure and associated skin pigmentation whether they received formal genetic testing or not.  Knowledge is power, and knowing your family medical history may be lifesaving in so many ways.


Tammy K. Stump, Lisa G. Aspinwall, Danielle M. Drummond, Jennifer M. Taber, Wendy Kohlmann, Marjan Champine, Pamela B. Cassidy, Tracy Petrie, Ben Liley, Sancy A. Leachman. CDKN2A testing and genetic counseling promote reductions in objectively measured sun exposure one year later. Genetics in Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41436-019-0608-9


Melanoma, genetics, UV

#Melanoma #genetics #UV



Socializing Cuts Risk Of Dementia



Frequent contact with friends helps 50 and 60 somethings avoid the scourge of later dementia. A team from University College London draws that conclusion after tracking more than 10,000 subjects over a 32 year period.


The participants documented the number and frequency of their social contacts via interviews.  Their mental status was captured via cognitive testing.


Daily social contacts were particularly valuable for those in their 60s with a significant 12% drop in dementia incidence.  The same trend held for those in their 50s and 70s with the numbers failing to reach statistical significance.  


We can now add a card game a day or a meal with friends a day to that proverbial apple if you want to keep the doctor far away!


Andrew Sommerlad, Séverine Sabia, Archana Singh-Manoux, Glyn Lewis, Gill Livingston. Association of social contact with dementia and cognition: 28-year follow-up of the Whitehall II cohort study. PLOS Medicine, 2019; 16 (8): e1002862 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002862


Socializing, dementia, middle age

#Socializing #dementia #middle age



Dark Chocolate Lifts Spirits



Cmon’ get happy by biting off a few squares of bittersweet chocolate.  A British study just published in the journal Depression and Anxiety makes that delicious suggestion.


The study looked at more than 13,600 Americans and analyzed their chocolate consumption and their likelihood of reporting depressive feelings.  Individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate were 70% less likely to report feeling down.  Even those who ate an abundance of milk chocolate benefitted.


The next time you anticipate a “downer derby” or find yourself in the midst of one, pull out those dark chocolate bars and enjoy.


Sarah E. Jackson, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Igor Grabovac, Pinar Soysal, Ai Koyanagi, Liang Hu, Brendon Stubbs, Jacopo Demurtas, Nicola Veronese, Xiangzhu Zhu, Lin Yang. Is there a relationship between chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression? A cross‐sectional survey of 13,626 US adults. Depression and Anxiety, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/da.22950


Dark chocolate, depression, happiness

#Dark chocolate #depression #happiness



Baseball Players Outlive Many Men



Professional baseball players enjoy a 24% lower mortality rate from any cause compared with the average American man.  This observation stems from a Harvard study of more than 10,600 MLB players donning the uniform over the past century.


Compared with men the same age, the players’ were 20% less likely to die from cardiovascular causes and cancer, some 30% less likely to die from injuries, respiratory, digestive, and genitourinary problems, 50% less likely to succumb to diabetes, and 60% less likely to commit suicide.


The players health advantages come from their fitness.  You need not run out of a dugout most summer days to enjoy the same benefits if you exercise regularly.


Nguyen VT, Zafonte RD, Kponee-Shovein KZ, Paganoni S, Weisskopf MG. All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality Among Major League Baseball Players. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 22, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.1218


Baseball, mortality, fitness, exercise

#Baseball #mortality #fitness #exercise



Fighting Family Fatness



If you come from a family where overweight or obese members are the rule, a new Chinese study pinpoints the best exercise routines for keeping yourself trim.  Regular jogging is the best overall activity for keeping your Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip ratios in the healthy range.


Walking, power or otherwise, dancing, extended yoga, and mountain climbing help control BMI, that is weight, but not the other parameters.  Bringing in the rear, surprisingly, are cycling, stretching, and swimming.  Cycling and swimming, though, are the easiest on your joints as they are non-weight bearing forms of aerobic exercise.


If you are fighting your family history of obesity, get into the jogging or intense exercise habit early.


Wan-Yu Lin, Chang-Chuan Chan, Yu-Li Liu, Albert C. Yang, Shih-Jen Tsai, Po-Hsiu Kuo. Performing different kinds of physical exercise differentially attenuates the genetic effects on obesity measures: Evidence from 18,424 Taiwan Biobank participants. PLOS Genetics, 2019; 15 (8): e1008277 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008277


Obesity, jogging, walking

#Obesity #jogging #walking



Cheating Is A VERY Human Habit



Cheating is not driven by necessity.  Behavioral scientists from Texas A&M and economists from  New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute report this conclusion after studying the population of a remote Guatemalan village.


The investigators observed the propensity of participants to cheat on a game of chance with a monetary prize during both periods of economic abundance and scarcity.  The results show that a high rate of cheating goes on whether or not there is a pressing need for it.  Cheating for a friend follows that same pattern but occurs less often than cheating for oneself.  The only light at the end of the tunnel was the willingness of the villagers to cheat and help strangers who were in the most dire straits.

This study once again concludes that greed and dishonesty are basic human traits.  The only light at the end of the tunnel was the willingness of the villagers to cheat and help strangers during tough times.


Billur Aksoy, Marco A. Palma. The effects of scarcity on cheating and in-group favoritism. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.06.024


Cheating, samaritanism, greed

#Cheating #samaritanism #greed



First Trimester Moving Is Risky



Packing up and moving to a new home during your first 3 months of pregnancy can harm your developing baby.  Epidemiologists at the University of Washington report an association of such a transition with a heightened risk of pre-term birth and a low birth weight.


Their study of more than 28,000 women revealed a 42% higher risk of birthing a premie and a 37% higher risk of a low birth weight.   Previous studies have shown that acute stress from natural disasters, familial death, and job loss has a negative impact on neonatal health particularly when it occurs during the first trimester.


If you are planning an addition to your family that will necessitate more living space, either move before you conceive or wait until the child is born.  This study once again underscores the sacroscant nature of the fetus’ first 90 days during which time it is most sensitive to the physical and emotional stress of the mother.


Julia C Bond, Amanda L Mancenido, Divya M Patil, Seth S Rowley, Jack Goldberg, Alyson J Littman. Residence change during the first trimester of pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2019; jech-2018-211937 DOI: 10.1136/jech-2018-211937


Moving, firsttrimester, prematurebirth, lowbirthweight

#Moving #firsttrimester #prematurebirth #lowbirthweight



Not Only The Young Binge Drink



Ten percent of Americans on the verge of qualifying for Medicare and Social Security drink themselves to oblivion on a regular basis.  A new NYU study reports this frightening statistic and adds that the tendency toward binge drinking is higher for men as well as tobacco or weed users.


The investigators studied nearly data from nearly 11,000 adults age 65 and older who responded to the recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  The 10 percent of them who binge drink is up from the 8% number seen a decade earlier.


The golden years bring enough health issues on their own without adding alcohol-related illnesses.  Most authorities recommend limiting alcohol consumption to 3 or fewer drinks a day.


Benjamin H. Han, Alison A. Moore, Rosie Ferris, Joseph J. Palamar. Binge Drinking Among Older Adults in the United States, 2015 to 2017. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16071


Bingedrinking, seniors, cannabis, tobacco

#Bingedrinking #seniors #cannabis #tobacco




A Better Test For Cervical Cancer



The S5 DNA methylation test is able to predict which women with pre-cancerous cervical tissue disease will go on to develop frank cervical cancer.  A study from London’s Queen Mary University is the latest in a string of investigations to underscore the predictive value of this assay.


The S5 pyrosequencing methylation test, papilloma virus genetic testing, and conventional cytology were carried out on 149 young women with grade 2 cervical dysphasia, a precancerous state.  The S5 test was significantly better than either viral genetic testing or cytology at predicting which women would be in the group of 17% to suffer progression, in the group of 60% to enjoy regression of their disease, or in the group of 23% to have stable disease.


Currently, the default recommendation for women with significant pre-cancerous cervical disease is surgical removal.  The procedure has a painful recovery period and can leave a woman with a uterus unable to protect against fetal infection and premature delivery.  This S5 DNA methylation test can allow 83% of such women to avoid unnecessary surgery.


Karolina Louvanto, Karoliina Aro, Belinda Nedjai, Ralf Bützow, Maija Jakobsson, Ilkka Kalliala, Joakim Dillner, Pekka Nieminen, Attila Lorincz. Methylation in predicting progression of untreated high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz677


Cervicaldysplasia, DNAmethylation, CIN, cervicalcancer

#Cervicaldysplasia #DNAmethylation #CIN #cervicalcancer 



Vaccinations Do Not Cause MS



If you were worried, a German study just published in the journal Neurology effectively dispels rumors that the common vaccines can trigger multiple sclerosis.  For added measure, vaccinations aren’t associated with Crohn’s inflammatory bowel disease or psoriasis either.


The study analysis included a dataset of over 200,000 subjects more than 12,000 of whom had diagnoses of MS.  The vaccines studied included the common ones against pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases, mumps, measles, rubella, chickenpox, human papilloma virus, hepatitis A & B, tick-borne encephalitis, and influenza.  There was NO association of MS with any of these vaccines..


This study adds to the many others that certify the safety of vaccines.  It should help dispel the fears of those trying to decide if they should undergo vaccinations of all sorts.  The real danger of vaccines is not using them!


Alexander Hapfelmeier, Christiane Gasperi, Ewan Donnachie, Bernhard Hemmer. A large case-control study on vaccination as risk factor for multiple sclerosis. Neurology, 2019; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008012 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000008012


MS, vaccines, Crohns, psoriasis

#MS #vaccines #Crohns #psoriasis



Heart Surgery No Riskier In July



If you’re told that you must have cardiac surgery during the summer when the fresh crop of training doctors hit the hospital, you can go to the operating room with confidence that you are safe.  A study from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that the complication rates for the most common heart procedures were no higher July through September than April though June.


The study reviewed data from more than 470,000 procedures including coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic and mitral valve replacements, and thoracic aortic reconstructions.  There were no differences in complications, mortality, costs, or lengths of stay for those patients treated during the first or the fourth quarter of the med school academic year.


It is reassuring that, for critical cardiac surgery, safety nets are in place to assure uniformly high quality outcomes.  I would add, though, if you are having cardiac or any surgery, do your best to have it at institutions with the most experience, the highest clinical volumes, and the best track records.  You can find that data online.


Rohan M. Shah, Sameer A. Hirji, Spencer Kiehm, Shivangi Goel, Farhang Yazdchi, Andrea Bellavia, Cheryl K. Zogg, Marc P. Pelletier, Prem Shekar, Tsuyoshi Kaneko. Debunking the July Effect in Cardiac Surgery: A National Analysis of More Than 470,000 Procedures. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.06.015


Cardiacsurgery, julyeffect, outcomes, surgicaltraining

#Cardiacsurgery #julyeffect #outcomes #surgicaltraining



DIY Acupressure For Low Back Pain



If you’re one the the 80% of Americans suffering from an aching back, a recently published study from the University of Michigan suggests you try acupressure on yourself.  


Researchers there report a preliminary study of 67 middle-aged subjects who were randomized into groups to receive 6 weeks of either acupressure or conventional physical therapy.  Outcome measures included pain, fatigue, and sleep quality.


Those self-administering either relaxing or stimulating acupressure with a wooden stick, a pencil tip eraser, or a fingertip enjoyed a 35% reduction in back pain and a 26% reduction in fatigue symptoms.  The acupressure failed to improve sleep patterns.


This small study will be expanded, but it does show that Eastern medicine has a definite role in the management of back pain.  If you do suffer from this common problem, I’d suggest you visit an Eastern medicine practitioner to learn a proper acupressure technique.


Susan Lynn Murphy, Richard Edmund Harris, Nahid Roonizi Keshavarzi, Suzanna Maria Zick, Self-Administered Acupressure for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial, Pain Medicine, , pnz138,


Backpain, acupressure, fatigue

#Backpain #acupressure #fatigue



Art Therapy Eases Teen Girls’ Stress Headaches



If your teen daughter has headaches from adolescent stresses, she may want to pick up a paintbrush as part of art and mindfulness therapy.  A small study at the University of Washington just published in the journal Art Therapy shows the usefulness of this approach.


Therapists there intensely studied a group of 8 teen girls who each experienced 3 or more stress-related headaches over a 2 week period.  During the 6 twice-weekly therapy sessions, the girls would draw body maps of their pain and stress points, do mindfulness exercises, and create art.


The therapy reduced their headaches by some 40%.  The teens particularly liked the square breathing mindfulness exercise and painting with oil pastel paints.  Though experiencing fewer headaches, they still felt stressed but better able to cope.


If your daughter, or for that matter your son or you, is experiencing headaches due to life pressures, you might just want to try some mindfulness exercises coupled with drawing, painting, or some other creative pursuit.


Elin A. Björling, Christine Stevens, Narayan B. Singh. Participatory Pilot of an Art-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Adolescent Girls With Headache. Art Therapy, 2019; 36 (2): 86 DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2019.1609325


Headache, stress, teens, girls, arttherapy, mindfulness

#Headache #stress #teens #girls #arttherapy #mindfulness




That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening.  I’ll be on vacation next week, but I’ll return with all new reports on August 23rd.  Until then, 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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