top of page

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


Vidcast: Vidcast:


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

Warmer Screens At Night May Curb Your Appetite

Odd Eating Indicates Autism

Exercise Fuels Better Thinking For the Overweight

Lassie May Prevent Childhood Allergies

Mind Clearing Helps You Resist Temptations

Larger Screens Deliver Video News More Powerfully

Minecraft Play Increases Creativity

Hospitalized Pneumonia Patients Over-treated With Antibiotics

Exercise Is Better The Same Time Each Day

Triclosan Weakens Womens’ Bones

Will Sugary Drinks Give You Cancer?

Toddlers Word Learning Soars In Daycare

Maternal Obesity Triggers Childhood Leukemia

Marijuana For Chronic Pain

A High Tech Vaccine For Fake News



#Bluelight #sugar #obesity #warmlight #Autism #eatingdisorders #earlyintervention #ASD #Exercise #obesity #insulinsensitivity #cognition #Dogs #allergy #wheezing #atopicdermatitis #Alcohol #obesity #addiction #stress #memory #fatigue #News #smartphone #laptop #Minecraft #creativity #education #Supplements #Antibiotics #pneumonia #overtreatment #Obesity #cancer #smoking #Exercise #temporalconsistency #dieting #Triclosan #osteoporosis #demineralization #Pregnancy #obesity #cancer #leukemia #Cannabis #pain #opioids #NSAIDS #women #postmenopausal #Sugarydrinks #cancer #dietdrinks #artificialsweetening #breastcancer #Toddlers #language #daycare #parenting

Here’s the news:

Warmer Screens At Night May Curb Your Appetite


We know that too much blue light at night leads to poor sleep quality, but those tv and phone LED screens could also be triggering your craving for sweets.  This is the conclusion of a Dutch study in a mouse model from the Universities of Strasbourg and Amsterdam.


After only one hour of nighttime exposure to LED blue light, the experimental animals chose a sugary rather than a balanced diet the following day and their glucose tolerance diminished.  This  study indicates that repetitive exposure to images at the blue end of the spectrum will drive snacking on sugary foods and interfere with our bodies’ abilities to process that extraneous sugar by increasing insulin resistance leading to diabetes.


You can fight this tendency by using a setting on your iPhone called Night Shift and comparable TV screen settings that warm the screen colors from blue to orange.  Don’t be a slave to advertisers who may be using blue images to drive you to your junk food cabinet.


Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. "Blue light at night increases the consumption of sweets in rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2019.


Bluelight, sugar, obesity, warmlight

#Bluelight #sugar #obesity #warmlight



Odd Eating Indicates Autism

A child who hates food with texture, rejects hot or cold foods, has very limited food preferences, or holds food in his or her mouth for extended periods are likely prime candidates for autism screening.  


Studies at Penn State’s psychiatry department of some 2,000 children demonstrate that unusual eating behaviors are present in 70% of children with autism spectrum disorders.  These odd eating habits are 15 times more common in autistic kids compared with their neurotypical peers.


The lesson is that kids who consistently eat differently from their sibs and peers should be given the benefit of an early autism diagnosis.  If you child refuses anything grittier than baby food or wants to live on bacon alone, make certain that their pediatricians speak with you about referring them for testing and any necessary early intervention.


Susan Dickerson Mayes, Hana Zickgraf. Atypical eating behaviors in children and adolescents with autism, ADHD, other disorders, and typical development. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2019; 64: 76 DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2019.04.002


Autism, eatingdisorders, earlyintervention, ASD

#Autism #eatingdisorders #earlyintervention #ASD



Exercise Fuels Better Thinking For the Overweight

Exercise will not only trigger needed weight loss, but it triggers better brain metabolism and executive brain function  for the overweight and obese.  A study from Germany’s University of Tübingen shows that an 8 week exercise program improves the brain’s insulin sensitivity and blood flow to brain regions critical for motor control and managing rewards.


The study focused on 22 overweight or obese adults who generally avoided exercise but participated in the 2 month organized walking and cycling program.  The subjects had brain scans before and after the exercise program.


Those participants who demonstrated the best improvements in their brain function also lost the most belly fat.  In general, though, the relatively short program only began the process of serious weight loss.


Exercise is excellent medicine for your body.  Urge your children to exercise by setting a good example.  Then you and they should exercise regularly during what will certainly be a longer, healthier life.


Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. "Exercise improves brain function in overweight and obese individuals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2019.\.


Exercise, obesity, insulinsensitivity, cognition

#Exercise #obesity #insulinsensitivity #cognition



Lassie May Prevent Childhood Allergies

A dog at home to welcome a newborn will reduce that baby’s chances of developing skin allergies or wheezing by about half.  These are the findings of a University of Wisconsin’s pediatric department.


Researchers there followed 275 at-risk children born to parents with an allergy history over a 3 year period.  Those exposed to dogs just after birth were 56% less likely to develop atopic dermatitis and 48% less likely to develop wheezing.


The reasons for this phenomenon remain under study.  Meanwhile, if there is a family history of allergy, this result gives you one more reason to invite a dog into your family.


Dogs, allergy, wheezing, atopicdermatitis

#Dogs #allergy #wheezing #atopicdermatitis



Mind Clearing Helps You Resist Temptations

If you’re trying to resist the siren song of alcohol, a juicy steak, or a huge chunk of cheesecake, that task will be far easier if your memory is clear, you aren’t fatigued, and you are not otherwise under stress.  This conclusion stems from a study of Welch participants recently published in the journal Psychological Science.


Their data shows that the ability of our mind’s executive function to help us avoid giving into drug, food, or other temptations is impaired if we literally have much on our minds.  That load includes an abundance of information uppermost in our minds or an abundance of demands on our attention. 


The byword is prepare, prepare, prepare.  If temptation is just ahead, clear the decks of your mind by relaxing or distracting so that you may properly confront and cope.


Poppy Watson, Daniel Pearson, Michelle Chow, Jan Theeuwes, Reinout W. Wiers, Steven B. Most, Mike E. Le Pelley. Capture and Control: Working Memory Modulates Attentional Capture by Reward-Related Stimuli. Psychological Science, 2019; 095679761985596 DOI: 10.1177/0956797619855964


Alcohol, obesity, addiction, stress, memory, fatigue

#Alcohol #obesity #addiction #stress #memory #fatigue



Larger Screens Deliver Video News More Powerfully

News has a greater impact where you view it on a larger screen versus on your smartphone.  Communication research at the University of Michigan and Texas A&M University measured the responses of participants viewing news stories on a 13 inch laptop and on a 5 inch phone.


Using physiologic measurements of attention including heart rate variability and skin conductance measurements, the video presented on the larger screen was more compelling and engaging.  The data did not directly show whether or not the smaller screen reduced the subjects’ comprehension of the stories but that is the implication.


Using your cellphone to inform yourself has both pros and cons.  The phone provides high availability, but you might just have to force yourself to pay more attention to the teeny-tiny screen.


Johanna Dunaway, Stuart Soroka. Smartphone-size screens constrain cognitive access to video news stories. Information, Communication & Society, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2019.1631367


News, smartphone, laptop

#News #smartphone #laptop



Minecraft Play Increases Creativity

Playing the Minecraft video game, indeed playing it without any instructions, appears to drive a higher level of creativity.  A just published study from the psychologists at the Iowa State University compared the effects of playing this popular game with playing a race car game or merely watching TV.


The 352 college undergrads each spent 40 minutes playing or watching TV.  They then completed the creative task of drawing an alien creature, and their work was then graded for creativity by judges unaware of what they played or watched before picking up the pencils.


The most creative work was done by those who played Minecraft without any instructions or limitations so that their intellectual energies could run free.  


Many video games drive creativity by tasking the player to create characters and and unique strategies.  Given their popularity and proven effectiveness as creativity catalysts, educators are now looking for ways to incorporate these games into formal education.


Jorge A. Blanco-Herrera, Douglas A. Gentile, Jeffrey N. Rokkum. Video Games can Increase Creativity, but with Caveats. Creativity Research Journal, 2019; 31 (2): 119 DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2019.1594524


Minecraft, creativity, education

#Minecraft #creativity #education



Food Supplements Do Not Improve Cardiovascular Health

This definitive conclusion comes from a comprehensive meta-analysis of 277 clinical trials involving nearly one million participants just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  The study concludes that few of the 16 food supplements touted to improve your cardiovascular health did so.  


Only omega-3 fatty acids seemed to reduce heart attacks.  Folic acid seemed to have some benefit for reduction of strokes.  Furthermore, only 1 of the 16 so-called heart-healthy diets was legitimately helpful, and that dietary modification was reducing ingested salt.


The food supplement industry operates in the Wild West with no FDA regulatory authority to test the safety or effectiveness of the products being sold to an unsuspecting public.  My advice is simple and direct: DON’T BUY THIS CRAP!


Khan SU, Khan MU, Riaz H, Valavoor S, Zhao D, Vaughan L, et al. Effects of Nutritional Supplements and Dietary Interventions on Cardiovascular Outcomes: An Umbrella Review and Evidence Map. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 9 July 2019] doi: 10.7326/M19-0341


Supplements, cardiovasculardisease, stroke

#Supplements, cardiovasculardisease, stroke



Hospitalized Pneumonia Patients Over-treated With Antibiotics

Two-thirds of patients hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia are receiving excess antibiotic therapy that puts them at risk for undesirable side effects and complications.   This finding is the conclusion of a study by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Hospital Consortium.


The investigators reviewed the records of some 6500 pneumonia patients admitted to Michigan Hospitals.  Over 90% of the excess antibiotic therapy was due to extra antibiotics prescribed at discharge.  The clinicians prescribing discharge medications failed to properly account for in-hospital days of antibiotic therapy.


Typical therapy for community acquired pneumonia is a minimum of 5 days and therapy is continued until you are free of fever for 3 days.  Complicated infections may require 10-14 days of therapy.


Unnecessary antibiotic therapy places patients at risk for developing antibiotic resistance, the outgrowth of so-called opportunistic bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, better known as C. Diff., a possibly life-threatening allergy to any given antibiotic, or a combinations of complications that can bankrupt you.


Overmedication is often due to communication errors or improper documentation in your hospital record.  Be certain to question your doctors before you leave the hospital about the need for those extra days of antibiotics.


Excess Antibiotic Treatment Duration and Adverse Events in Patients Hospitalized With Pneumonia: A Multihospital Cohort Study.  Ann Intern Med. 7/9/2019.

DOI: 10.7326/M18-3640


Antibiotics, pneumonia, overtreatment 

#Antibiotics #pneumonia #overtreatment 



The Obese Outnumber The Smokers And Both Risk Cancer

A study just published by Cancer Research UK reveals that there are twice as many obese Brits as smoking Brits.  As many as one-third of the British are obese.


Smoking is still the UKs leading preventable cause of cancer.  However, consider the fact that excess weight rather than tobacco abuse is the leading cause of 4 deadly types of cancers including those in the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, the ovaries, and the liver.


The British health system is now launching a all out campaign to attack overeating and junk food intake from childhood on.


But wait.....I buried the lead.  Here in the USA, obese persons are almost three times as common as smokers with those same cancer risks as well as risks of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  Americans as well as Brits need to stop eating and start exercising.


Cancer Research UK. "Obese people outnumber smokers two to one." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2019. <>.


Obesity, cancer, smoking

#Obesity #cancer #smoking



Exercise Is Better The Same Time Each Day

Those who exercise with moderate to vigorous physical activity the same time each day more often successfully maintain their weight loss.  A study from Brown University was just published in the journal Obesity.


Nutritional researchers there studied 375 adult subjects who had successfully maintained a weight loss of more than 30 lbs for more than one year.  Of this group, 68% report consistently exercising at the same time of day.  In addition, this time of day consistency was associated with more daily exercise sessions per week as well as a significant increase in duration of each session.  Almost 48% of the participants reported early morning exercise sessions.


Vigorous exercise is wonderful for your body and soul.  Pick a time, any time, for a daily workout, and you will be able to better control your weight and enjoy better health.


Leah M. Schumacher, J. Graham Thomas, Hollie A. Raynor, Ryan E. Rhodes, Kevin C. O’Leary, Rena R. Wing, Dale S. Bond. Relationship of Consistency in Timing of Exercise Performance and Exercise Levels Among Successful Weight Loss Maintainers. Obesity, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/oby.22535


Exercise, temporalconsistency, dieting

#Exercise #temporalconsistency #dieting



Triclosan Weakens Womens’ Bones

If you’re a woman with bone density problems, you’d better watch the ingredients in your toothpaste, mouthwash, and soap.  A study just published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that the common antibacterial triclosan, added to many consumer products, is associated with bone issues in women.


The study reviewed data from more than 1800 women participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Those women found to have higher levels of triclosan in their urine samples had a higher incidence of bone issues including osteoporosis of the thigh, hip, and lower spine.


Triclosan is simply bad news.  Earlier this year, I reported to you that it can also inactivate certain antibiotics including amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin.  You should avoid it in all products by checking the ingredients before you buy.


Shaofang Cai, Jiahao Zhu, Lingling Sun, Chunhong Fan, Yaohong Zhong, Qing Shen, Yingjun Li. Association between urinary triclosan with bone mass density and osteoporosis in the US adult women, 2005-2010. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2019; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2019-00576


Triclosan, osteoporosis, demineralization, women, postmenopausal

#Triclosan, osteoporosis, demineralization, women, postmenopausal



Will Sugary Drinks Give You Cancer?

It’s all over the news.  Sugar-sweetened drinks increase your risk of cancer.  Well let’s take a closer look at the data.


The study comes from Sorbonne Paris’ Epidemiology and Statistics Research Center, and it reviewed health and dietary records from over 100,000 participants with a mean age of 42 years and followed over an 8 year period.  The investigators looked at some 3300 food products.


Drinking just 3 ounces more 3 z.of sugary drinks a day increases the overall risk of any cancer by 18% and breast cancer in pre-menopausal women by 22%.  Drinking the same amount of 100% fruit juices increases the risk of any cancer by 10%.  Let’s look at the fine print.  


But let’s look at the fine print.  Carbonated, sweetened drinks like Coke or Pepsi did not increase the risk.  Artificially-sweetened drinks, carbonated or not, did not increase the risk.  Drinking sugary drinks did not increase the risk of lung cancer, colorectal cancers, pancreatic cancer, or prostate cancer.


Don’t forget that sugary drinks will make you fat, and obesity has its own cancer as well as diabetes risks.  As always, moderation is the best policy.  If you like the sugary taste, stick with artificially-sweetened drinks or that occasional fruit juice.


Chazelas Eloi, Srour Bernard, Desmetz Elisa, Kesse-Guyot Emmanuelle, Julia Chantal, Deschamps Valérie et al. Sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort BMJ 2019; 366 :l2408


Sugarydrinks, cancer, dietdrinks, artificialsweetening, breastcancer

#Sugarydrinks #cancer #dietdrinks #artificialsweetening #breastcancer



Toddlers Word Learning Soars In Daycare

Toddlers nearing their second birthday learn new word associations better when they spend time with other toddlers rather than only adults.  A study published in the September edition of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology comes from Canada’s University of Waterloo.


The investigators studied 88 toddlers in two groups: those who spend their days with other children and others who only spent time with peers once a week.  The children in both groups processed familiar words well.  The kids spending more time with other children were better able to pick up new words and linked them with persons and things, which is what language is all about.


The “news you should use” is the unsurprising fact that developing children need contact with their peers as well as with adults.  Keep that in mind when you as a parent structure their life.


Dana E. Bernier, Katherine S. White. Toddlers’ sensitivity to phonetic detail in child speech. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2019; 185: 128 DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2019.04.021


Toddlers, language, daycare, parenting

#Toddlers #language #daycare #parenting



Maternal Obesity Triggers Childhood Leukemia

Summer is a prime time for baby-making.  Before you take that plunge, you prospective moms, make sure your weight is under control.  


A just released, frightening study from the University of Pittsburgh shows that children of women obese at the time of pregnancy were 57% more likely to develop leukemia before the age of 5.  The Pitt epidemiologists analyzed almost 2 million birth records and 3,000 pediatric cancer cases in Pennsylvania.


The good news, if there is any, is that that awful statistic applies to the severely obese women with BMIs, body mass indices, above 40.  That’s equivalent to a weight of 235 pounds for a woman who is 5 ft 4 inches tall.  


The risk of cancer does diminish with the BMI, so it pays to lose those pounds and approach an ideal weight before conceiving and embarking on parenthood.


Shaina L Stacy, Jeanine M Buchanich, Zhen-qiang Ma, Christina Mair, Linda Robertson, Ravi K Sharma, Evelyn O Talbott, Jian-Min Yuan. Maternal Obesity, Birth Size, and Risk of Childhood Cancer Development. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwz118


Pregnancy, obesity, cancer, leukemia

#Pregnancy #obesity #cancer #leukemia



Marijuana For Chronic Pain

Cannabis in its various forms does curb pain.  This is the conclusion of study from New York’s Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Miami just published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.


The investigators studied 1000 user-customers of a Colorado dispensary with most being under the age of 50.  Nearly two-thirds of the group reported using cannabis for pain relief, and almost three-quarters of pain sufferers used it daily.  


Eighty percent reported that marijuana was extremely or very helpful for controlling their pain.  Eighty-two percent stopped or reduced use of over-the-counter pain meds, and a full 88% stopped or reduced use of opioids.


Given our current opioid crisis, this news is good news indeed.  If you suffer from chronic pain, you should receive care from pain specialists who can offer you cannabis as yet one more option.


Marcus Bachhuber, Julia H. Arnsten, Gwen Wurm. Use of Cannabis to Relieve Pain and Promote Sleep by Customers at an Adult Use Dispensary. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 2019; DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2019.1626953


Cannabis, pain, opioids, NSAIDS

#Cannabis #pain #opioids #NSAIDS


A High Tech Vaccine For Fake News

There is an epidemic of lies on the internet, and we are all confronted daily with so-called news that is, in fact propaganda.  Just as your brain can be conned, it is possible to train it to withstand these attacks with an electronic from of BS repellent.


The UK’s University of Cambridge and its Social Decision-Making Lab have developed a browser game called Bad News that can help your brain withstand the assault of half-truths and frank lies.  A group of 15,000 test subjects played the game for only 15 minutes yet afterward were 24% more likely to dismiss fake headlines and tweets, 20% less likely to fall for a false conspiracy, and 19% more likely to believe a legitimate new source that was being smeared and trolled online.


You can and should try the game yourself at With the upcoming, critical elections, we all must be more sophisticated and discerning consumers of the news.  And a can of BS repellent on your phone won’’t hurt either!


Jon Roozenbeek & Sander van der Linden. Fake news game confers psychological resistance against online misinformation. Palgrave Communications, 2019 DOI: 10.1057/s41599-019-0279-9


Fakenews, lies, conspiracies, trolling

#Fakenews #lies #conspiracies #trolling


That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening and following. Until we next speak, 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!

bottom of page