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NOTES: HealthNews RoundUp- 4th Week of February, 2019




I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network,  reporting from NYC with the Health News Roundup for the 4th 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:

Shoulder Replacement Surgery Needs Repeating

Exercise Helps Your Body Take Out The Trash

You May Be Throwing Away Good Food

Salty Food May Trigger Allergy

Common Over-The-Counter Antibacterial Deactivates Antibiotics


Junk Food Will Drive You Crazy

US Drug Overdoses Higher Than Other Wealthy Nations

Parental and Child Illegal Drug Use Linked

An Urban Park Will Lift Your Spirits

More Hearts For Transplantation


Stool Testing Can Replace Colonoscopy

Teen High Blood Pressure Leads To Later Kidney Failure

Middle Age Activity Reduces Later Dementia Risk

Birth Complications Higher Nights, Weekends, and Holidays

TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS: Savor Throughout Life


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


Here’s the news:

Shoulder Replacement Surgery Needs Repeating

Our shoulders take a lot of abuse, and the latest statistics reveal a 6-fold increase in shoulder replacement surgery over the past 20 years.  You’re probably what.  We can replace any joint at will, and there is already a good track record for hip and knee replacements.


The problem is that joint replacements don’t last.  They wear out, like any mechanical device.


The latest study from the University of Oxford’s orthopedic surgeons reveals that nearly one in four young men will require ultimately a revision of their shoulder surgery, and the artificial shoulders fail most often during the first 5 years after placement.  Trying to revise shoulder replacements can be complicated and risky.  Living bone and metal replacement parts don’t always play nice with each other.


Shoulder replacements aren’t the only artificial joints that fail or wear out.  Hip and knee replacements each only last about 10-20 years.  


The overwhelming driver of replacement joint failure is being overweight or obese, and the extra pressures on the prosthesis cause the bone around it to break down.  Once that occurs, repair is difficult if not impossible.


Since replacement joints will not carry you through a long life, protect your own joints while you are younger.  Avoid excess weight-bearing exercise such as stair climbing or jogging on hard surfaces without protective footgear.  The best way to keep your joints in tip top shape at any age is by controlling your weight.


shoulderreplacement, revisionsurgery, obesity, healthnews 

#shoulderreplacement #revisionsurgery #obesity #healthnews


Craig, RS, Lane, JCE, Carr, AJ, teal.  Serious adverse events and lifetime risk of reoperation after elective shoulder replacement: population based cohort study using hospital episode statistics for England.  BMJ 2019; 364: 1298 doi:



Exercise Helps Your Body Take Out The Trash

Our cells, like our homes, fill up with garbage very fast.  The latest research from Harvard Medical School reveals that vigorous exercise and even some fasting will help our cells with their housekeeping duties of removing damaged, toxic, and unnecessary proteins.


Previous studies have shown that the signal for flushing your cells is the messenger molecule cyclic-AMP.  This new discovery that exercise triggers the dumping junk proteins from the cell is almost certainly explained by that fact that exercise bumps up your adrenalin and that, in turn, triggers a burst of cyclic-AMP.


Since cell garbage plays a key role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as storage diseases like amyloidosis, it may well be that prevention of these dread diseases can be added to the list of exercise’s benefits.


exercise, cellcleansing, cAMP, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, healthnews

#exercise #cellcleansing #cAMP #Alzheimers #Parkinsons #healthnews


Jordan J. S. VerPlank, Sudarsanareddy Lokireddy, Jinghui Zhao, Alfred L. Goldberg. 26S Proteasomes are rapidly activated by diverse hormones and physiological states that raise cAMP and cause Rpn6 phosphorylation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201809254 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1809254116



You May Be Throwing Away Good Food

Johns Hopkins investigators, surveying US consumer behaviors, reports that more than half of those questioned had key misconceptions about the date labeling found on food.  As a result, US Agriculture Department estimates nearly one-third of food is wasted at the retail and consumer levels.


The latest standards for food labeling use the term “Best if used by” to indicate the date after which food’s quality and taste may decline.  In contrast, the term “Use by” is the date after which it is unsafe to consume the food.


The Hopkins study also reveals how likely people are to respond to the date warnings.  Nearly 70% of respondents tossed raw chicken on time, a little over 60% discarded deli meats or prepared foods, and only 49% dumped soft cheese.  


These stats are worrisome since deli meats and soft cheeses have a high risk of bacterial contamination with listeria as they sit in the fridge.  On the other hand, raw chicken will be safe even after the expiration date if you thoroughly cook it.


Food poisoning can be devastating for even healthy adults.  If it occurs in children or older adults, it may be deadly.


foodsafety, expirationdates, foodlabeling, delineat, softcheese, healthnews

#foodsafety #expirationdates #foodlabeling #delineat #softcheese #healthnews


Roni A. Neff, Marie Spiker, Christina Rice, Alexandra Schklair, Sally Greenberg, Emily Broad Leib. Misunderstood food date labels and reported food discards: A survey of U.S. consumer attitudes and behaviors. Waste Management, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2019.01.023



Salty Food May Trigger Allergy

Here’s another reason for you to put down that salt shaker.  Immunologists at the Technical University of Munich report that higher concentrations of sodium chloride, better known as table salt, turbocharges T cells increasing their production of the inflammatory mediators interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 and helping them go rogue.


Such rogue T-cells are at the heart of atopic dermatitis, a common allergy-mediated skin condition.  It turns out that atopic dermatitis is also associated with a 30 fold higher concentration of skin salt compared with that in normal skin.  The extra salt turns out to be doubly unhealthy as it not only triggers T-cell overactivity but also growth of that nasty bacterium Staph aureus.


There is plenty of natural salt in the food we eat so don’t pile on more.  If you want more flavor, use seasonings and spices that won’t throw your bodies machinery out of whack.


salt, Tcells, atopicdermatitis, healthnews

#salt #Tcells #atopicdermatitis #healthnews


J. Matthias el al., "Sodium is an ionic checkpoint for human TH2 cells and shapes the atopic skin microenvironment," Science Translational Medicine (2019). … scitranslmed.aau0683



Common Over-The-Counter Antibacterial Ingredient Deactivates Antibiotics

Your soap or toothpaste, touted to be fortified with antibacterial powers, will ironically arm any bacteria entering your body to resist commonly prescribed antibiotics.  


A new study from Washington University-St. Louis shows that the triclosan added to toothpaste, mouthwash, cosmetics, clothing, baby toys, and even plastic cards in hopes of reducing bacteria growth actually protects the bugs from dying after exposure to common antibiotics like ciprofloxacin or amoxicillin.  Worse yet, triclosan hangs around in the body for long periods of time.


The FDA warned against adding triclosan to soap two years ago, but it’s still being added to other products.  This is yet another reason for you to carefully read product labels.  


Avoid buying any product containing triclosan.  You’ll find a long list on


triclosan, cosmetics, toothpaste, antibiotic, healthnews

#triclosan #cosmetics #toothpaste #antibiotic #healthnews


Corey Westfall, Ana Lidia Flores-Mireles, John Isaac Robinson, Aaron J.L. Lynch, Scott Hultgren, Jeffrey P. Henderson, Petra Anne Levin. The widely used antimicrobial triclosan induces high levels of antibiotic tolerance in vitro and reduces antibiotic efficacy up to 100-fold in vivo. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2019; DOI: 10.1128/AAC.02312-18



Avoid Smoking and Dodge Arthritis

I hate to be a nag, but a new study from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital now adds avoiding arthritis to the already long list of reasons to quit smoking or never start. 


The researchers looked at data from nearly a quarter million women participating in the Brigham’s Nurse’s Study and focused in on the nearly 1500 with so-called rheumatoid arthritis (RA).  Compared with non-smokers, smokers were 47% more likely to have developed RA.  The more packs per day that they smoked, the higher the risk.


Smokers with RA who quit for good showed a reduction in arthritis risk after 5 years and a substantial 37% risk reduction by 30 years.   The risk improvement was most notable for those with auto-antibodies, so-called seropositive RA.


Here’s one more reason to avoid smoking.   The more we learn, the longer the list becomes.


smoking, arthritis, healthnews

#smoking #arthritis #healthnews


Xinyi Liu, Sara K. Tedeschi, Medha Barbhaiya, Cianna L. Leatherwood, Cameron B. Speyer, Bing Lu, Karen H. Costenbader, Elizabeth W. Karlson, Jeffrey A. Sparks. Impact and timing of smoking cessation on reducing risk for rheumatoid arthritis among women in the Nurses’ Health Studies. Arthritis Care & Research, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/acr.23837



Junk Food Will Drive You Crazy

Food with lots of sugar and fat is associated with significant psychologic distress.  This conclusion comes from a study of nearly quarter million Californians participating in the California Health Interview Survey.


The study showed that nearly 17 percent of Californians had psychological distress associated with frequently consuming unhealthy foods.  Other factors such as gender, age, and socioeconomic status were less important.


This represents more proof that “you are what you eat.”  To maintain your weight and your health, stick with clean foods: fruits and vegetables with the addition of chicken and fish as protein sources.


junkfood, fats, sugars, neurosis, psychologicdistress, healthnews 

#junkfood #fats #sugars #neurosis #psychologicdistress #healthnews 


Jim E. Banta, Gina Segovia-Siapco, Christine Betty Crocker, Danielle Montoya, Noara Alhusseini. Mental health status and dietary intake among California adults: a population-based survey. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2019.1570085




US Drug Overdoses Higher Than Other Wealthy Nations

The rate of drug overdose deaths in the US is 27 times higher than those in Italy and Japan and twice as high as those for Finland and Sweden who have the highest rates next to ours.  


A review from the USC also warns that our 3.5 times higher drug overdose death rate is lowering Americans’ average life expectancy compared with other industrialized and wealthy nations.  At present, Americans live more than 2.5 fewer years on average compared with those in other high-income countries.


You no doubt know that there is a national campaign against opioid use.  You can do your part by only requesting and using non-narcotic pain medications after injuries or surgery.  If you do require narcotics or know someone who does, be certain to have a supply of the antidote Narcan on hand in the event an overdose occurs.


drugoverdose, opioids, narcotics, drug deaths, healthnews 

#drugoverdose #opioids #narcotics #drug deaths #healthnews 


Jessica Y. Ho. The Contemporary American Drug Overdose Epidemic in International Perspective. Population and Development Review, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/padr.12228



Parental and Child Illegal Drug Use Linked

Parents who do drugs have kids that use them as well.  This the conclusion of a study from Columbia University’s psychiatry department that looked at 35,000 parent-child pairings.


When a either parent is a user, there is a 30 percent chance that one of their children is also hooked.  The risk factor is even higher for mothers alone as 62 percent of drug-using mother’s kids also use drugs.  Additional risk factors for child addiction include smoking, marijuana use, depression, peer pressure, and older age.


We are parents are powerful role models, good and bad, for our kids.  If you can’t avoid drug use for yourself, do it for your children.


parenting, parentchild, drugs, healthnews

#parenting #parentchild #drugs #healthnews



Griesler PC, Hu M, Wall MM, et al. Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use by Parents and Adolescents in the US. Pediatrics. 2019;143(3):e20182354



An Urban Park Will Lift Your Spirits

Want a mental boost in 20 short minutes?  It’s a simple as getting off your couch and visiting a nearby park.  If you prefer, you don’t even need to exercise to get the benefit.


Researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s Department of Occupational Therapy document a significant improvement in emotional well-being for those who choose to visit one of three local parks.  They tabulated the results and found that the benefits would accrue even to those unable to pursue physical activities due to disability.


If you think about it, you’ll be surprised to find just how close a green space is to your home or work.  Get over there, clear your mind, and take a 20 minute or longer mental vacation.


greenspace, urbanpark, relaxation, healthnews 

#greenspace #urbanpark #relaxation #healthnews 


Hon K. Yuen, Gavin R. Jenkins. Factors associated with changes in subjective well-being immediately after urban park visit. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09603123.2019.1577368




$More Hearts For Transplantation

There is an acute shortage of hearts for transplant, but the University of Pennsylvania’s transplant team is increasing the supply with a treatment that allows use of organs from donors infected with the Hepatitis C virus.  


The clinicians treated a group of 10 heart transplant patients who developed positive tests for hepatitis C with a 3 month course of Zepatier, a two drug combo medication.  One of the patients suffered an unrelated rejection crisis, but the other 9 were cured of their hepatitis C and demonstrated excellent cardiac function.


As we live longer, more of use suffer from tired hearts, better known as congestive heart failure.  Last year, more than 3000 hearts were transplanted, but more than double that number were left behind on the waiting list.  Innovative programs like Penn’s and the future use of genetically transformed pig hearts may hopefully shorten and eventually eliminate that list.


One more thing.  In this day of astronomically high drug prices and pharmaceutical company greed, Zepatier by Merck is one of the least expensive anti-hepatitis C drugs.  I’ll say no more but I do give Merck some applause.


heart, transplantation, hearttransplant, hepatitisC, Zepatier, Merck, healthnews

#heart #transplantation #hearttransplant #hepatitisC #Zepatier #Merck #healthnews


Rhondalyn C. McLean, Peter P. Reese, Michael Acker, Pavan Atluri, Christian Bermudez, Lee Goldberg, Peter L. Abt, Emily A. Blumberg, Vivianna M. Van Deerlin, K. Rajender Reddy, Roy D. Bloom, Richard Hasz, Lawrence Suplee, Anna Sicilia, Ashley Woodards, Muhammad Nauman Zahid, Katharine J. Bar, Paige Porrett, Matthew Levine, Nicole Hornsby, Caren Gentile, Jennifer Smith, David S. Goldberg. Transplanting hepatitis C virus-infected hearts into uninfected recipients: A single-arm trial. American Journal of Transplantation, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/ajt.15311



Stool Testing Can Replace Colonoscopy

We all must screen for colon cancer.   New data suggests that  you might be able to use a simple chemical test at home to replace that nasty bowel prep followed by either colonoscopy under anesthesia or a CT scan.  


A meta-analysis by Indiana University of some 31 studies testing more than 120,000 persons shows that the so called FIT test, the fecal immunochemical test, is so sensitive and specific that it may be used on an annual basis by many of us in place of the screening colonoscopy.


The FIT test may be purchased over the counter online for $10 to $30 and looks specifically for a chemical trace of blood in the stool. You need not follow any special diet or avoid any medications before using the test.  


Each FIT test is different.  With some, you simply place a bit of stool on the test surface and cover the zone before dropping on developing liquid or mailing it off to the lab.  With others, you toss an indicator strip into the toilet bowl with the stool and watch for a color change.


This test is only appropriate for healthy persons without a history of polyps and without a family history of bowel disease including polyps and cancer.  It can only detect blood in the stool and will not reliably detect polyps.  It must be repeated yearly, and, if the test is positive, you must have a colonoscopy.


The FIT test is different from the stool DNA Cologard test, the only FDA approved genetic test for colon cancer.  The Cologard is prescription-only, costs more than $600 though insurance may cover part of the cost, and looks for cancer DNA.  It is likely no more sensitive for screening purposes than the FIT test, and it carriers a significantly higher price.


You should discuss colon screening with your own doctor before deciding which route to use.  Just know, though, that colonoscopies with scopes or a CT scan are not your only options.


colonscreening, colonoscopy, FIT, fecalimmunochemicaltest, healthnews

#colonscreening #colonoscopy #FIT #fecalimmunochemicaltest #healthnews


Thomas F. Imperiale, Rachel N. Gruber,Timothy E. Stump, Thomas W. Emmett, Patrick O. Monahan. Test Characteristics of Fecal Immunochemical Tests for Colorectal Cancer and Advanced Adenomatous Polyps: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2019 DOI: 10.7326/M18-2390




Teen High Blood Pressure Leads To Later Kidney Failure

Teen hypertension doubles the risk of end stage renal failure later in life.  A study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at more than 1.5 million candidates for Israeli military service.  Of this group, nearly 8000 were found to have elevated blood pressures.


Those with hypertension were predominately male and half were overweight or obese.  They were followed for nearly 20 years.  Teen hypertension doubled the risk of eventual kidney failure, a need for dialysis, and a possible kidney transplant even for those who were not overweight.


Elevated blood pressures in children have become more common as the rate of childhood and adolescent obesity skyrockets.  Pediatricians now recommend that every child over the age of 3 years should have their blood pressures checked annually.  


If their pressures are elevated, they should be measured at every visit and treated aggressively initially with lifestyle changes such as weight reduction, dietary modification, exercise, an stress management.  For severe or persisting elevations, a regimen of anti-hypertensive medication should be prescribed.


Leiba A, Fishman B, Twig G, et al. Association of Adolescent Hypertension With Future End-Stage Renal Disease. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 25, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7632


teen, hypertension, obesity, bloodpressure, healthnews

#teen #hypertension #obesity, bloodpressure #healthnews


Riley M, Hernandez AK, Kuznia AL. High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents.

Am Fam Physician. 2018 Oct 15;98(8):486-494.



Middle Age Activity Reduces Later Dementia Risk

Keeping your head, hands, and body busy in middle age pays off big later in life.  The latest pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is that your risk of dementia drops by nearly 35 to more than 50 percent.  


This finding comes from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg’s study of 800 women who were followed from their mid-forties well into their nineties.


The physically active women were 34 % less likely to develop dementia than their inactive peers.  Their activities included intense exercise such as running and swimming but also lighter physical pursuits such as biking, walking, bowling, or gardening.


The more intellectually active women enjoyed a 46 percent lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and a 34% lower incidence of any dementia.  Their activities were reading writing, needlework, attending shows and concerts, singing in a choir, and painting.


I end each of my news reports with the suggestion that a smile on your face, an active mind, and your body in motion are the best medicines.  This study is a testimony to the value of both physical and intellectual activity and suggests that such pursuits will keep you smiling throughout your life.


exercise, intellectualactivity, dementia, reading, writing, healthnews

#exercise #intellectualactivity #dementia #reading #writing #healthnews


Jenna Najar, Svante Östling, Pia Gudmundsson, Valter Sundh, Lena Johansson, Silke Kern, Xinxin Guo, Tore Hällström, Ingmar Skoog. Cognitive and physical activity and dementia. Neurology, 2019; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007021 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000007021



Birth Complications Higher Nights, Weekends, and Holidays

If you are having a baby, try to do it during the day on a weekday.  A new study from the Colorado State University reviews data from more than 2 million Texas births over a 5 year period and pinpoints the riskiest times to give birth.


Obstetric complications are nearly 30% higher on holidays, about 20% higher during night shifts,  and 9% higher on weekends.  If you deliver in a teaching hospital in July when the new residents first arrive, the complication risk is an average of 28% higher. 


Hospitals are sites where medical miracles occur, but, given the nature of human frailty and exhaustion, so too can medical mishaps.  When you or a family member is hospitalized, keep your eyes open and advocate for your own best interests in a friendly way.  Then, if you can, try to avoid those holidays, nights, and weekends.


birthcomplications, obstetriccomplications, nights, weekends, holidays healthnews

#birthcomplications #obstetriccomplications #nights #weekends #holidays #healthnews


Sammy Zahran, David Mushinski, Hsueh-Hsiang Li, Ian Breunig, Sophie Mckee. Clinical Capital and the Risk of Maternal Labor and Delivery Complications: Hospital Scheduling, Timing, and Cohort Turnover Effects. Risk Analysis, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/risa.13273



TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS: Enjoy Savoring Though Your Life

You’ve likely savored a slice of delicious chocolate cake, a fine glass of wine, the smell of your brand new car, or a breathtaking sunset.  Savoring is focusing your mind so you linger for an extended period on a wonderful sensation.


A study just published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology explores the concept that we can and should savor various types of interpersonal communications.  The researchers studied 65 twenty year old subjects and defined 7 types of communications that lend themselves to savoring.


The seven include: stories with a twist, deeply honest exchanges, non-verbal communications, words that honor, relationship-forming words, communications around life’s landmark moments, and unspoken communications.  Each type may be savored.


The investigators emphasize that savoring at its heart is a type of time travel.  It allows you to look into the future and anticipate a wonderful experience.  More often, you travel back to an extraordinary moment and freeze-frame it or replay it in your mind.


Either way, savoring is relaxing and excellent for your soul.


savor, communication, time travel, healthnews

#savor #communication #time travel #healthnews


Margaret Jane Pitts. The Language and Social Psychology of Savoring: Advancing the Communication Savoring Model. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 2018; 38 (2): 237 DOI: 10.1177/0261927X18821404



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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