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NOTES: HealthNews RoundUp- 3rd Week of February, 2019


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

Here are the headlines:

Women’s Hormones Drive Them To Addiction 

New Weed More Powerful and Dangerous Than The Classic

Five For Five Ways To Avoid Fake Health News

Advil With or Without Tylenol Controls Post-op Pain Like Opioids

Sleep Enhances Your Immunity

Is Bottle Feeding With Pumped Breast Milk Equal To Breastfeeding?

Firstborn Children Bully Their Sibs

Can You Tell If Your Kids Had A Good Night’s Sleep?

Diet Drinks Unhealthy For Women

Smoking May Kill Your Color Vision

Acupuncture Damps Hot Flashes

FUTUREMed: Glowing Urine Signals Transplant Rejection

Tough Laws Don’t Lower Teen Weed Use

Women’s Yeast Infection Therapy Can Drive Miscarriages

TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS: Immersive Virtual Reality Reassures Autistic Children

For more information, you’ll find all the references for the stories and a copy of show notes on my website at:

Let’s get into the news:

Women’s Hormones Drive Them To Addiction

Those feminine hormones that help to bestow the miracle of reproduction on women may ironically make them more susceptible to addiction.  


The latest entry in a series of studies from Vanderbilt University’s pharmacology department shows that, when a female’s estrogen is peaking, she learns faster, craves adventure and novel experiences, is more likely to seek romance whether good or bad, and is more prone to seek rewards.  That makes her more likely to fall prey to addiction.


The investigators had previously demonstrated that higher estrogen levels intensify the brain’s dopamine reward release following cocaine use.  These latest experiments employed a rat model to show that females, in the presence of a light trigger, were more motivated than males to do what it takes to repeatedly get a dose of cocaine.  Female hormones facilitate repeated drug ingestion.


Those of us who applaud the #metoo movement see this type of information as a tool for liberating women from the restrictions of their biology.  Knowing that women may become addicted to drugs more readily mid-cycle, their doctors should be particularly careful to avoid narcotic use during these times and probably anytime.


Women themselves should also use this intelligence about the impact of their hormonal cycles to plan their work and play schedules to take advantage of the benefits of their estrogen peaks while avoiding its pitfalls.


estrogens, addiction, menstrualcycle, healthnews, healthtips

#estrogens #addiction #menstrualcycle #healthnews #healthtips



Amy R. Johnson, Kimberly C. Thibeault, Alberto J. Lopez, Emily G. Peck, L. Paul Sands, Christina M. Sanders, Munir Gunes Kutlu, Erin S. Calipari. Cues play a critical role in estrous cycle-dependent enhancement of cocaine reinforcement. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41386-019-0320-0



New Weed More Powerful and Dangerous Than The Classic

Recreational cannabis use is on the rise as more and more states make it legal.  We can learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the north as weed for fun is completely legal throughout Canada and medicinal marijuana has been in widespread use for years.


A just published report in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology reminds us that the new cannabis can be risky.  The case report recounts the story of a older man with stable coronary artery disease who decided to try a THC lollipop to relieve some pain and insomnia.  It contained 90 mg of THC and triggered a serious heart attack and reduced cardiac function.  Compared that dose to the 7 mg in a joint or the usual 2.5 mg dose of THC used for nausea in cancer and AIDS patients.


Cannabis heart toxicity can be due to: 1. directed effects of THC on cardiac muscle; 2. effects of the various inhaled and toxic gases released when marijuana burn, and 3. the cardiac effects of weed-induced anxiety and hallucinations.  


Over the past 20 years, the THC in marijuana plants seized by authorities has risen from nearly 4% to over 13%.  As marijuana use increases in the general population, any and all users must be careful of overdosing due to potent new edible as well as smokeable weed and the possible adverse interactions of cannabis with current medications and existing cardiac problems.


marijuana, THC, heartattack, CVtoxicity, edibles, cannabis, healthnews, healthtips

#marijuana #THC #heartattack #CVtoxicity #edibles #cannabis #healthnews #healthtips


Alexandra Saunders, Robert S. Stevenson. Marijuana Lollipop-Induced Myocardial Infarction. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 2019; 35 (2): 229.e1 DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2018.11.033


Neal L. Benowitz. Managing Cannabis Use in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 2019; 35 (2): 138 DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2018.12.033



25 Ways To Avoid Fake Health News

There’s plenty of “Fake News” out there, and some of it is bogus medical, health, and wellness news.  Just how do you know if your sources of health news are legit?  


The Health News You Should Use that I present here comes from what I consider to be gold standard outlets.  However, even though true, much of the news out there isn’t useful for most of us.  I sift though the material from the best sources and pick stories that I think you will find useful..


For your interest, convenience, and safety, I’m sharing with you my 5 go-to resources with industrial strength reliability in each of 5 categories.  When news from these sources comes your way, you can believe it!


  1. Newspapers of record.  Here are the best large national broadsheet newspapers that employ excellent medical and health journalists.  Their staff writers, many with impressive research and clinical credentials, know how to read and interpret the medical literature.  Here are my top 5:

    • The New York Times;

    • The Washington Post;

    • The Chicago Tribune;

    • The Los Angeles Times;

    • The Wall Street Journal.


  1. Health News Aggregators.  These online sources constantly review medical journals and press releases from research institutions and present the most important developments in a timely fashion.  These are my 5 favorites:

    • ScienceDaily;

    • MDLinx;

    • Medscape;

    • Medical News Today;

    • Reuters.


  1. Medical Journals.  These print and online publications employ large panels of notable research and clinical scientists to rigorously review submitted studies and review articles.  I don’t expect that you’ll read these directly, but you can believe the developments that are published by them.  The following five are generally recognized to be at the top of the list:

    • New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 

    • The Lancet.

    • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and its publication family.

    • British Medical Journal (BMJ);

    • Annals of Internal Medicine (AIM).


  1. Medical Schools and Hospitals Noted For Research.  These five medical schools and their affiliated hospitals attract the best medical investigators and the most research grants.  By the way, if you live near any of them, you won’t go wrong seeking care there.  Realize though, that they are teaching institutions.  If you become a patient at any teaching hospital, don’t be bashful about asserting your rights.  The following are simply the cream of the crop:

    • Harvard Medical School - Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Mass. General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Center, Beth Israel Deaconness Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center;

    • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine - Johns Hopkins Hospital with Childrens and Cancer Units, Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital;

    • Stanford University School of Medicine - Stanford University Hospital, Packard Children’s Hospital;

    • Mayo Clinic School of Medicine - Mayo Clinic in MN, AZ, FL;

    • University of Pennsylvania - Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


  1. Government Sources.  These 5 government agencies orchestrate the U.S. public health and medical research initiatives.  Although they are indirectly affected by political pressure, their staff members are world-class scientific and clinical civil servant with only the best interests of the public uppermost in their minds:

    • Centers For Disease Control (CDC).

    • National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    • Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    • U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS).

    • Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP).


When you read, hear, or see medical, health, and wellness information from any of these sources, believe that you are receiving industrial strength truth from beacons of legitimacy on the web or on the airwaves.  Take their recommendations and warnings to heart.




Advil With or Without Tylenol Controls Post-op Pain Like Opioids

We’ve all heard about the narcotic epidemic.  The real news is that there are potent weapons to combat opioid use as close as our medicine cabinets.  


Ibuprofen, generic or branded Advil or Motrin, either alone or with acetaminophen, generic or Tylenol, significantly reduced the need for postoperative morphine in a study of more than 550 patients undergoing hip surgery.  


The subjects started their oral pain meds one hour before surgery and continued to receive them every 6 hours for the first day after surgery.  The patients were able to obtain any additional pain relief they needed by pushing a button to self-administer IV morphine.


The finding that 400 mg of ibuprofen, that’s two adult pills, taken every 6 hours kills pain exceedingly well and eliminates the need for more powerful drugs should be useful information to you.  If you are a patient facing surgery, do discuss post-op pain control strategy with your surgeon and anesthesiologist.  When you do, tell them you’d rather start with non-narcotic pain killers and only take the opioids if absolutely necessary.


pain, analgesic, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, morphine, pca, healthnews, healthtips

#pain #analgesic #ibuprofen #acetaminophen #morphine #pca #healthnews #healthtips



Thybo KH, Hägi-Pedersen D, Dahl JB, et al. Effect of Combination of Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) and Ibuprofen vs Either Alone on Patient-Controlled Morphine Consumption in the First 24 Hours After Total Hip Arthroplasty: The PANSAID Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2019;321(6):562–571. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.22039




Sleep Enhances Your Immunity

How many times have we heard our mothers and grandmothers say “Dear..... you better go to sleep to fight off that cold.”  The latest research just published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine now proves that she was dead on!


Immunologists from Germany’s University of Tübingen studied T cells from healthy volunteers as they slept or while they were pulling all nighters.  For your reference, T cells are the white cells that kill cold viruses.


The “sleeping” T cells had significantly more surface activators called integrins.  These sticky integrins help the killer T cells attach and destroy target cells.  


The targets in question could be our respiratory lining cells infected by cold viruses and making more virus to perpetuate our misery.   More importantly, the target cell could also be a cancer cell on its way to your brain, lungs, or liver.


Just as sleep bumps up your T cell integrins, stress does just the opposite.  So be sure to get those ZZZZZ and fight stress by laughing every chance you get.


sleep, immunity, cancer, colds, stress, healthnews, healthtips

#sleep #immunity #cancer #colds #stress #healthnews #healthtips


Stoyan Dimitrov, Tanja Lange, Cécile Gouttefangeas, Anja T.R. Jensen, Michael Szczepanski, Jannik Lehnnolz, Surjo Soekadar, Hans-Georg Rammensee, Jan Born, Luciana Besedovsky. Gαs-coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2019; jem.20181169 DOI: 10.1084/jem.20181169



Teen Weed Use Triggers Later Depression and Suicide

Marijuana use is spreading like wildfire, and the prevailing opinion is that its components are harmless.  Another of this weeks stories highlights its potential danger for those with heart problems.  Now a study from Britain’s University of Oxford and Canada’s McGill University shows that regular cannabis use in adolescence can trigger adult depression and suicidal ideas.


The researchers reviews 11 international studies covering more than 23,000 young persons.  Regular weed use by an individual bumped his or her risk of serious depression and suicide up by a factor of about 7%.  The number isn’t huge, but the consequences are tragic for that person so affected.  Then when you amplify the individual effect over a population, it translates into more than 400,000 cases of deadly depression in the U.S., 60,000 case in the U.K., and 25, 000 cases in Canada.


Other studies have shown that a teens regular use of cannabis is associated with poor school performance, increased motor vehicle accidents, addiction, neurosis, and psychosis.  And the smoke itself creates lung disease.


Repeated use of any mind-altering substances or frankly, any substances, is bad news!  Your byword should always be moderation!


weed, marijuana, cannabis, depression, suicide, schoolperformance, mva, addiction, healthnews, healthtips

#weed #marijuana #cannabis #depression #suicide, schoolperformance #mva #addiction #healthnews #healthtips


Gabriella Gobbi et al. Association of cannabis use in adolescence and risk of depression, anxiety and suicidality in young adulthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry, 2019 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4500




Is Bottle Feeding With Pumped Breast Milk Equal To Breastfeeding?

One study after another heralds the advantages of breastfeeding.  Some mothers turn to pumping their breast milk when their flow is sporadic or when they develop conflicts with sib childcare or the demands of work.  Do babies enjoy the same advantages from ingesting pumped breast milk?


The short answer is an emphatic NO.  Researchers from Canada’s University of Manitoba studied the breast milk of almost 400 healthy mothers 3 to 4 months following delivery.  Using sophisticated genetic probes, they showed that the milk the babies actually ingested was healthier when it came directly from the mother’s breast.  


The natural breast milk contained good bacteria from both the mother and from the mouth of the infant.  The pumped breast milk contained those bugs but also an abundance of bad bacteria, opportunistic types that are capable of causing respiratory disease


It isn’t clear if the bad bugs come from contaminated breast pumps, but that is a likely possibility.  If you do use a breast pump, do all you can to clean it obsessively after every use.


Milk contamination is yet another reason to breast feed naturally.  Of course, there is the main reason: to create an abundance of mother-infant bonding.


breastmilk, pumped milk, breastfeeding, healthnews, healthtips

Breastmilk, pumped milk, breastfeeding, healthnews, healthtips


Shirin Moossavi, Shadi Sepehri, Bianca Robertson, Lars Bode, Sue Goruk, Catherine J. Field, Lisa M. Lix, Russell J. de Souza, Allan B. Becker, Piushkumar J. Mandhane, Stuart E. Turvey, Padmaja Subbarao, Theo J. Moraes, Diana L. Lefebvre, Malcolm R. Sears, Ehsan Khafipour, Meghan B. Azad. Composition and Variation of the Human Milk Microbiota Are Influenced by Maternal and Early-Life Factors. Cell Host & Microbe, 2019; 25 (2): 324 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2019.01.011



Firstborn Children Bully Their Sibs

As our families add children, we parents turn to our older children and encourage them to be the new arrival’s big brother or sister.  The latest intelligence from psychologists at Britain’s University of Warwick reveals the worrisome intelligence that the older siblings instead tend to bully the younger ones.


The researchers tabulated data from nearly 6900 British children who were studied at ages 5, 7 and 12 years.  A total of 28% of the children were involved in sibling bullying, and many were both bullies and victims.  Bullying occurred more often in families with 3 or more children, and the eldest child or older brothers were most often the bullies.


Bullying tends to be rampant in any situation where humans live in close proximity, know which buttons to push, and compete for parental attention and other limited resources.  Older children often resent the younger ones who came along to rob them of their only child privilege.  


Parents must guard against sibling violence by insuring equal resources for each child.   They should nurture an abundance of self-esteem in each child.  Most of all, parents should emphasize that family members are on a team and should work together, play together, and have each other’s back. 


family, bullying, healthnews, healthtips

#family #bullying #healthnews #healthtips


Slava Dantchev, Dieter Wolke. Trouble in the nest: Antecedents of sibling bullying victimization and perpetration.. Developmental Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/dev0000700




Can You Tell If Your Kids Had A Good Night’s Sleep?

The gold standard for a school-aged child’s sleep is a good 9 to 11 hours depending on age.  Can you or your children actually tell how long they slept?


A study from the University of Arizona just published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine answers yes!  Researchers compared the sleep tallies from questionnaires completed by children and others by their parents with the actual numbers derived from sleep studies, so-called polysomnograms, completed at the children’s homes.


The kids were the best at estimating their sleep duration.  They overestimated their sleep duration by an average of only 32 minutes while their parents overestimated it by 36 minutes.  Both children and parents did better estimating the time it took to fall asleep.  The children overestimated by an average of only 4 minutes and the parents by 2 minutes.


A good night’s sleep is key for recharging you brain and revitalizing you body.  Be sure to ask your kids how long they slept and encourage them to put down their devices in plenty of time to get the rest they require.  We should all do the same.

sleep, sleepstudy, healthnews, healthtips

#sleep #sleepstudy #healthnews #healthtips


Daniel Combs, James L. Goodwin, Stuart F. Quan, Wayne J. Morgan, Chiu-Hsieh Hsu, Jamie O. Edgin, Sairam Parthasarathy. Mother Knows Best? Comparing Child Report and Parent Report of Sleep Parameters With Polysomnography. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2019; 15 (01): 111 DOI: 10.5664/jcsm.7582



Diet Drinks Unhealthy For Women

We now know that drinking two or more artificially sweetened beverages a day may trigger strokes, heart disease, and untimely death for middle-aged women.  This from a study of more than 80,000 post-menopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative.


Those women who did drink the two a day regularly, when compared with controls who never drank beverages with “fake sugar,” were 23% more likely to have a stroke, often due to clot formation, 29% more likely to have a heart attack, and 16% more likely to die for any reason.


The study did not identify which artificial sweeteners may be more dangerous than others.  The bottom like is that there are few reasons to drink these “fake sugar” drinks.  Many of us drink so-called diet drinks to avoid weight gain, but I recently reported a study that shows such beverages will not help you with weight loss so don’t bother.


If you love the cold, fizzy feeling in your throat, you are better off drinking seltzer or sparkling water.


artificialsweetners, dietdrinks, dieting, stroke, heartattack, death, healthnews, healthtips

#artificialsweetners #dietdrinks #dieting #stroke #heartattack #death #healthnews #healthtips


artificialsweetners, dietdrinks, dieting, stroke, heartattack, death, healthnews, healthtips


artificialsweetners, dietdrinks, dieting, stroke, heartattack, death, healthnews, healthtips


Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Victor Kamensky, JoAnn E. Manson, etal. Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative. Stroke, 2019; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.023100



Smoking May Kill Your Color Vision

Regularly smoking more than one pack a day may reduce your ability to see colors.  A study from New Jersey’s Rutgers University compared the visual prowess of more than 60 regular smokers with a similar number of controls who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their whole lives


Those smoking 20 plus cigarettes a day, every day, reported significant degradation in their red-green and blue-yellow color vision and could not easily see contrasting images.  The researchers have not yet pinpointed which chemical toxins in cigarettes damage the retina, but they also point out that a cigarette smoking habit yellows your eye lenses and doubles the risk of age-related macular degeneration.


Here is yet more proof that smoking is bad for your body.  If it doesn’t kill you, and it will, it may suffocate and blind you.


colorvision, blindness, smoking, blindness, healthnews, healthtips

#colorvision #blindness #smoking, blindness #healthnews #healthtips


Thiago P. Fernandes, Steven M. Silverstein, Natalia L. Almeida, Natanael A. Santos. Visual impairments in tobacco use disorder. Psychiatry Research, 2019; 271: 60 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.11.024



Acupuncture Damps Hot Flashes

A Danish study just published in BMJ Open reports that short, standard acupuncture sessions will significantly reduce moderate to severe menopausal symptoms.


Investigators at the University of Copenhagen using a crossover protocol administered weekly acupuncture therapy for 5 consecutive weeks to a treatment group while the controls received no treatment.  Then, the controls received the acupuncture and the initially treated subjects were merely observed.  


The assessors who questioned participants about their symptoms were unaware of the treatment received.  The tabulated results showed that the acupuncture therapy significantly diminished hot flashes, sweats day and night, sleep issues, emotional symptoms, skin, and hair complaints.


If you are suffering from menopause-related symptoms and are unable to get relief from conventional Western medicine, do seek out a qualified acupuncture specialist.  Complementary and alternative therapy can be very effective.


acupuncture, menopause, hotflushes, sweating, healthnews, healthtips

#acupuncture #menopause #hotflushes #sweating #healthnews #healthtips


Lund KS, Siersma V, Brodersen J, et al Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study) BMJ Open 2019;9:e023637. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023637



FUTUREMed: Glowing Urine Signals Transplant Rejection

One enduring challenge in human organ transplantation is detecting rejection crises early enough to save the transplanted organ with the administration of anti-rejection drugs such as high dose steroids.  Typically, rejection is diagnosed with biopsies. By the time a biopsy shows conclusive changes, much of the organ is often destroyed.  A new technique being developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology may change all that.


The diagnostic tool employs nanotechnology to build an ingenious probe that acts as an early warning beacon for organ rejection.  It is a nanoball with iron oxide in the middle, a sugar coating of dextran,  and some polyethylene glycol or antifreeze to prevent the body from quickly degrading it.  The ball is covered with amino acid florescent spikes.  These nanoballs are injected into the transplanted organs and remain there.


As the transplant patient’s T cells bulk up to mount a rejection of a heart, liver, or kidney, they begin to produce the toxic enzyme granzyme B.  Even in tiny amounts, this enzyme will begin to release the small fluorescent molecules from the nanoball.  When they pass out in urine, they make it glow under black light.


This probe system can serve not only as an early warning signal for rejection but as a sensitive monitor for the effectiveness of anti-rejection therapy.  So far, the nanoballs work well in mice.  Next, the system will be perfected in men.


transplantation, rejection, nanotechnology, fluorescence, healthnews, healthtips

#transplantation #rejection #nanotechnology #fluorescence #healthnews #healthtips


Quoc D. Mac, Dave V. Mathews, Justin A. Kahla, Claire M. Stoffers, Olivia M. Delmas, Brandon Alexander Holt, Andrew B. Adams, Gabriel A. Kwong. Non-invasive early detection of acute transplant rejection via nanosensors of granzyme B activity. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41551-019-0358-7



Tough Laws Don’t Lower Teen Weed Use

From the “you can’t legislate common sense or morality” department, a study just published in the International Journal of Drug Policy reveals no reduced consumption of marijuana in countries where cannabis use is illegal.  The investigators tabulated World Health Organization data covering more than 100,000 teens living in 38 countries including the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, and Russia.


Those countries with more liberal marijuana policies did not experience higher rates of use.  This study was completed to check the conclusions of a 2015 study that predicted a rise in teen cannabis use with a drop in legal restraints.


Marijuana is not innocuous.  If used and overused, it drives cognitive and productivity declines.  This week, other stories demonstrate its negative and lasting effect on the brain and its role in triggering heart attack.  


Education and not legislation is the key to insuring responsible drug use.


cannabis, marijuanalegalization, education, healthnews, healthtips

#cannabis #marijuanalegalization #education #healthnews #healthtips


Alex Stevens. Is policy ‘liberalization’ associated with higher odds of adolescent cannabis use? A re-analysis of data from 38 countries. International Journal of Drug Policy, 2019; 66: 94 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.01.013


Shi Y, Lenzi M, An R (2015) Cannabis Liberalization and Adolescent Cannabis Use: A Cross-National Study in 38 Countries. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0143562.



Women’s Yeast Infection Therapy Can Drive Miscarriages

Vaginal yeast infections are all too common and during pregnancy are frequently treated with oral fluconazole or the branded Diflucan.  New data from over 400,000 pregnancies in Quebec reviewed at the University of Montreal shows that any dose of oral fluconazole is associated with a higher incidence of miscarriage.


Fluconazole is known for its induction of lethal genetic defects including heart defects as well as miscarriage, but most warnings about the drug mention doses of the drug higher than 400-800 mg per day.  The current study shows that congenital cardiac defects arose after exposures to 150 mg per day or above during early pregnancy, and, let me repeat, any dose of oral fluconazole is associated with a higher incidence of miscarriage.


Once again, the byword is that any oral medications during pregnancy should be avoided.


yeast, vaginitis, fluconazole, diflucan, miscarriage, cardiacdefects healthnews, healthtips

#yeast #vaginitis #fluconazole #diflucan #miscarriage #cardiacdefects #healthnews #healthtips



Anick Bérard, Odile Sheehy, Jin-Ping Zhao, Jessica Gorgui, Sasha Bernatsky, Cristiano Soares de Moura, Michal Abrahamowicz. Associations between low- and high-dose oral fluconazole and pregnancy outcomes: 3 nested case–control studies. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2019; 191 (7): E179 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.180963


Vanessa Cristine Paquette, Chelsea Elwood. The safety of oral fluconazole therapy in pregnancy. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2019; 191 (7): E177 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.190079




TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS: Immersive Virtual Reality Reassures Autistic Children

Exposing autistic children to situations they instinctively avoid in a safe, virtual environment permits at least 45% of them to conquer their fears and phobias.  A study from Newcastle University just published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders utilizes an immersive projection video environment called the Blue Room with images the kids themselves can control.


The study tested 32 autistic children from 8 to 14 years of age with various fears including fears of buses, airplanes, and even dogs.  A total of 40% of children showed improvement after two weeks and 45% of them did well after 6 months of treatment with personalized video scenarios.  


One dramatic story involves an 8 year old named Harry.  His fear of dogs was so severe that he would hysterically run across a road to avoid one, and he was oblivious to traffic.  


After a total of 4 sessions, Harry became so comfortable with dogs that his family bought him his own.  The his fear of canines never returned after spending time in the Blue Room.


autism, phobias, virtualreality, immersion, healthnew, healthtips

#autism #phobias #virtualreality #immersion #healthnew #healthtips


Morag Maskey, Jacqui Rodgers, Victoria Grahame, Magdalena Glod, Emma Honey, Julia Kinnear, Marie Labus, Jenny Milne, Dimitrios Minos, Helen McConachie, Jeremy R. Parr. A Randomised Controlled Feasibility Trial of Immersive Virtual Reality Treatment with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Specific Phobias in Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2019; DOI: 10.1007/s10803-018-3861-x



That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening.  Until we next speak, I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network, 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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