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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 3d Week of July, 2019




I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network, reporting from NYC with the Health News Roundup for the 3rd 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 :

To Prevent Dementia Bank Your Brainpower

Cutting Calories Is Always Healthy

Helping Those In Need Depends On Imagination

Air Pollution Blocks Your Arteries

Time In Green Spaces Erases Unhealthy Lusts

Preterm Babies Suffer Adult Relationship Issues

Punishing Football Practices Trigger More Injuries Than Actual Games

Surgery For Young Women Linked To Addicted Babies

Rejecting A Needed Hearing Aid Risks Dementia

Pets Relieve Stress

Eating Healthy Pampers Your Gut Bacteria

New Treatment For Weed Dependency

Rugby Tackling Safer Than Football Tackling

Toss Tampons And Try The Menstrual Cup

Heroin Addicts Hate The Term


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

#CognitiveReserve #dementia #Alzheimers #education #socialization #Caloriereduction #exercise #inflammation #heart #Altruism #imagination #rescue #Airpollution #coronaryarterydamage #calcification #heartattack #Outdoors #greenspace #overeating #drugs #alcohol #Preterm #lowbirthweight # love #sex #parenthood #Football #nontraumaticdeaths #heatexhaustion #sicklecell #Womenshealth #surgery #pregnancy #neonatalabstinence #Hearingaid #Hearingloss #memory #dementia #Stress #pets #college #work #Fruits #vegetables #gutmicrobiome #Cannabis #nabiximols #addiction #Rugby #football #tackling #concussion #CTE #Menstrualcap #tampon


Here’s the news:

To Prevent Dementia Bank Your Brainpower

Throughout life, we accumulate brainpower, known technically as Cognitive Reserve (CR), by participating in formal education, reading, writing, gaming, and having social interactions.  A new study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute’s Neurobiology Department and Chicago’s Rush University Alzheimer’s Research Center tells us that this extra Cognitive Reserve may protect us from from developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias as we age.


The study group of some 1600 healthy older adults was followed for 20 years and their CRs tabulated.  Those with the highest CR scores were nearly 40% less likely to develop dementia., though about one-quarter of the group eventually developed Alzheimer’s.  


If you want to enjoy a long life in full possession of your brainpower, commit to making regular deposits to your mind’s Cognitive Reserve by learning, reading, problem-solving, and socializing now and always.


Xu H, Yang R, Qi X, et al. Association of Lifespan Cognitive Reserve Indicator With Dementia Risk in the Presence of Brain Pathologies. JAMA Neurol. Published online July 14, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.2455


CognitiveReserve, dementia, Alzheimers, education, socialization

#CognitiveReserve #dementia #Alzheimers #education #socialization



Cutting Calories Is Always Healthy

Even if you’re at a normal weight or maybe a few pounds over, cutting an extra 300 calories out of your daily tally has significant health benefits.  A Duke University study of 218 young and middle aged healthy and non-obese subjects now shows that reducing your calorie intake by about 12% over a 2 year period will significantly improve your cardiovascular, metabolic, and general health.


Those participants who trimmed the calories had a significant reduction in those inflammatory factors that drive heart disease, cancer and mental decline.  As a bonus, they realized a 10% weight loss nearly ¾ of which was from fat.


I’ll bet you can consume 300 fewer calories a day without even missing them.  Forgo that candy bar, bypass the bagel, skip the second slice of pepperoni pizza, or avoid that large cup of Coke,   Then again, you can also burn 300 extra calories with longer or more intense exercise.  It’s your choice.


William E Kraus, Manjushri Bhapkar, Kim M Huffman, Carl F Pieper, Sai Krupa Das, Leanne M Redman, Dennis T Villareal, James Rochon, Susan B Roberts, Eric Ravussin, John O Holloszy, Luigi Fontana. 2 years of calorie restriction and cardiometabolic risk (CALERIE): exploratory outcomes of a multicentre, phase 2, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(19)30151-2


Caloriereduction, exercise, inflammation, heart

#Caloriereduction #exercise #inflammation #heart



Helping Those In Need Depends On Imagination

Before you can come to someone’s rescue in a true altruistic spirit, you must first imagine your plan of attack.  Psychologists at Boston College employed MRI scanning to study the brain activity of 18 young, healthy adults before and while they remembered and imagined helping others in distress.


Those participants whose scans indicate more powerful imaginative thinking indicated a greater willingness to help others.  That help could come with direct physical assistance or with monetary support.  In order to help, you must first imagine how you might safely and effectively pull off the rescue.


This is yet another aspect of life that benefits from a ready imagination.  To exercise and spark yours, you can daydream, doodle, read fiction, exercise, and take calculated risks.



Brendan Gaesser, Josh Hirschfeld-Kroen, Emily A Wasserman, Mary Horn, Liane Young. A role for the medial temporal lobe subsystem in guiding prosociality: the effect of episodic processes on willingness to help others. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsz014


Altruism, imagination, rescue

#Altruism #imagination #rescue



Air Pollution Blocks Your Arteries

Exposure to the dirty air that accompanies excessive automobile traffic leads to blockage of the coronary arteries escalating the risk of heart attack and sudden death.  University of Buffalo environmental health specialists studied nearly 8900 Chinese adults of all ages.


Because of China’s problematic air contamination, subjects were exposed to significant quantities of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone.Those who lived closer to roadways had more advanced arterial calcium deposits and blockage leading to coronary artery disease.  


This study is a wake-up call for the science-deniers running our government and corporations to adhere to the strictest of automobile emission standards.  It is also a “heads up” reminding you to spend as much time as possible away from traffic and in those fresh air green spaces.


Meng Wang, Zhi-Hui Hou, Hao Xu, Yang Liu, Matthew J. Budoff, Adam A. Szpiro, Joel D. Kaufman, Sverre Vedal, Bin Lu. Association of Estimated Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution and Traffic Proximity With a Marker for Coronary Atherosclerosis in a Nationwide Study in China. JAMA Network Open, 2019; 2 (6): e196553 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6553


Airpollution, coronaryarterydamage, calcification, heartattack

#Airpollution #coronaryarterydamage #calcification #heartattack



Time In Green Spaces Erases Unhealthy Lusts

To kill your craving for booze, butts, and beer, convene with Mother Nature in the open green space of a park on a regular basis.  This is the bottom line from British study just published in the journal Health & Place.


The investigators surveyed nearly 150 subjects to determine their exposure to green spaces either in and around their residence or during visits to parks.  The data demonstrated that passion for unhealthy food, drink, or drugs diminished as green space exposure time increased.


So we now have one more reason to hit the great outdoors on a regular basis.  If you combine such regular visits with exercise, all the better.


Leanne Martin, Sabine Pahl, Mathew P. White, Jon May. Natural environments and craving: The mediating role of negative affect. Health & Place, 2019; 58: 102160 DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102160


Outdoors, greenspace, overeating, drugs, alcohol

#Outdoors #greenspace #overeating #drugs #alcohol



Preterm Babies Suffer Adult Relationship Issues

A British meta-analysis of 21 studies and 4.4 million persons warns that adults who had been born prematurely are less likely than their full term peers to form romantic relationships, enjoy sex, or pursue parenthood.  These results were just published online in the journal JAMA Network Open.


Those born at 37 weeks or earlier or with low birth weights were 28% less likely to have experienced a true love partnership, 57% less likely to have had sexual intercourse, and 22% less likely to have become a parent.  Those born even earlier at 32 weeks or less were that much less likely to form relationships and 3 times less likely to have sex and become parents.


If you are a parents of  preterm baby who will likely become a somewhat shy child and adolescent, be sure to encourage the child to foster close relationships as they mature.  This will oppose these reported tendencies so that your chil can have a fulfilling love life and, in time, a family.


Marina Mendonça, Ayten Bilgin, Dieter Wolke. Association of Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight With Romantic Partnership, Sexual Intercourse, and Parenthood in Adulthood. JAMA Network Open, 2019; 2 (7): e196961 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6961


Preterm, lowbirthweight,  love, sex, parenthood

#Preterm #lowbirthweight # love #sex #parenthood



Punishing Football Practices Trigger More Injuries Than Actual Games

Extreme training drills inflicted on high school and college football players by over-zealous coaches produce more non-traumatic fatalities than game play.  This conclusion comes from a study of 187 such deaths occurring over the past 20 years and just presented to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting.


Football remains the most dangerous sport for young people clocking the largest number of fatalities, and there are 2 to 3 times more non-traumatic deaths than traumatic ones.  The data shows that 52% of these tragedies are associated with cardiac problems, 24% with heat exhaustion, and 5% with asthma.  Most deaths occurred in August before the regular season.


The study authors blame unreasonably intense workouts and punishing drills as the causes for these unnecessary deaths.  We should add lax medical screening for both heart and sickle cell disease.


You parents of teens and young adults playing football should be certain that your kids are medically fit before beginning participation.  You must closely monitor what their coaches are demanding of them and speak up when you fear for their safety.


American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. "Over-conditioning kills: Non-traumatic fatalities in football is preventable." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2019.


Football, nontraumaticdeaths, heatexhaustion, sicklecell 

#Football #nontraumaticdeaths #heatexhaustion #sicklecell 



Surgery For Young Women Linked To Addicted Babies

When women of child-bearing age undergo surgery, their postoperative pain medications often addict them to narcotics.   These dependencies then create a drug problem for their babies even years later.  


A study of 2.2 million Canadian births over the past 27 years concludes that neonates born to mothers who had heart, thoracic, urologic, or neurologic surgery were 1.6 times more likely to develop an opioid withdrawal problem at birth.


Young women may undergo painful procedures and are prescribed powerful narcotics for extended periods of time.  I echo the study authors’ pleas that surgeons operating on potential mothers soft pedal and, if at all possible, completely avoid use of opioids for postop pain control.


If you as a woman are facing such surgery, demand alternatives to narcotics including industrial-strength Tylenol possibly assisted by NSAIDs like ibuprofen and potentiating drugs such as the antihistamine Benadryl.  Be on guard, and avoid becoming addicted due to prolonged narcotic use.


Nathalie Auger, Nancy Low, François M. Carrier, Aimina Ayoub, Thuy Mai Luu. Maternal prepregnancy surgery and risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome in future newborns: a longitudinal cohort study. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2019; 191 (28): E779 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.181519


Womenshealth, surgery, pregnancy, neonatalabstinence

#Womenshealth #surgery #pregnancy #neonatalabstinence



Rejecting A Needed Hearing Aid Risks Dementia

If you have problems hearing and reject wearing a hearing aid due to pride, you are increasing your chances of losing your mind later in life.  British investigators at the University of Exeter recently presented the data behind this warning to the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles.


The study looked at 25,000 hearing impaired persons who were given annual cognitive tests over a 2 year period.  The hearing aid-wearing participants showed better attention, working memory, and faster reaction times compared with non-wearers.  This confirms other studies which show that hearing loss may lead to a loss of brain function, memory skills, and outright dementia.  


If you have a hearing loss, embrace the 21st century by using bionic ears to maintain not only your social relationships but also your vital brain function.


University of Exeter. "Wearing hearing aid may help protect brain in later life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2019.


Hearingaid, Hearingloss, memory, dementia

#Hearingaid #Hearingloss #memory #dementia



Pets Relieve College Stress

Just 10 minutes petting a friendly dog or cat can significantly diminish the stress on a college student stemming from academic demands, social pressures, and student loans.  The data gathered from 249 students at the Washington State University by scientists there quantitated stress levels by measurement of steroids in the students’ saliva.


The students who actually petted animals had significantly lower stress hormones compared with those watching others petting, or those merely seeing pictures of the animals.


If you find yourself under stress from not only school but also work or your parental responsibilities, consider bringing a pet into your life.  Be sure, though, to choose one that doesn’t exacerbate the demands on your time, attention, or budget.


Patricia Pendry, Jaymie L. Vandagriff. Animal Visitation Program (AVP) Reduces Cortisol Levels of University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial. AERA Open, 2019; 5 (2): 233285841985259 DOI: 10.1177/2332858419852592


Stress, pets, college, work

#Stress #pets #college #work



Eating Healthy Pampers Your Gut Bacteria

Every week there is more news that the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract affect not only your body’s metabolism and immune system but also the health of distant organs such as your brain.  A new study from the Baylor College of Medicine shows that you need a healthy diet to spawn healthy bacteria in your gut’s microbiome.


The investigators studied nearly 100 colonoscopy samples from 34 polyp-free subjects and analyzed the bacterial spectrum found in each.  Those subjects with higher so-called Health Eating Index values (HEI) had a preponderance of healthy bacteria.  Those with lower diet scores had fewer healthy and more pathologic bacteria present.


Once again, you are what you eat.  Think about that when you bypass the fruits and veggies in favor of that juicy cheeseburger and a side of fries.


Yanhong Liu, Nadim J Ajami, Hashem B El-Serag, etal. Dietary quality and the colonic mucosa–associated gut microbiome in humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz139


Fruits, vegetables, gutmicrobiome

#Fruits #vegetables #gutmicrobiome



New Treatment For Weed Dependency

A new cannabis-based drug can effectively treat those addicted to marijuana.  An Australian study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that nabiximols, a CBD-THC combo medication marketed as Sativex™, can not only help weed users quit by reducing withdrawal symptoms, but also diminish their chances of relapse.


The University of Sydney’s Drug & Alcohol Services followed 128 patients taking Sativex over a 12 week period.  This drug is administered by spraying it under the tongue once every waking hour.  Those using the active drug versus a control inactive liquid spray consumed significantly less cannabis, were not bothered by withdrawal cravings, and maintained a reduced using pattern over a longer period of time.


Sativex is the first cannabis-based drug that effectively helps users off marijuana.  The fact that such a drug is necessary in the first place should be a wake-up call to those who proclaim weed to be completely harmless.


Nicholas Lintzeris, Anjali Bhardwaj, Llewellyn Mills, etal. Nabiximols for the Treatment of Cannabis Dependence. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.1993


Cannabis, nabiximols, addiction

#Cannabis #nabiximols #addiction



Rugby Tackling Safer Than Football Tackling

Players who tackle their opponents by leading with the shoulders rugby-style rather than with the head football-style sustain fewer and less forceful impacts.  This is the conclusion of a sports medicine study at West Virginia’s Marshall University to be presented next week to the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Concussion conference.


The study focused on 20 football players and 10 rugby players during practice season play.  The serious impacts they sustained and the impact forces were quantitated by helmet and mouthguard sensors.


The shoulder-first rugby tacklers sustained significantly fewer impacts with significantly lower impact forces compared with the head-first football tacklers.  The average football-associated impact force was 63 X g, 3 times greater than the average rugby-associated force at 21X g.


If brain-damaging tackling continues to be permitted in high school and college sports at all, mandating shoulder-first tackling may be a first step toward stopping mind- and life-threatening chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.


American Academy of Neurology. "Rugby-style tackling may have lower force of impact than football-style tackling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2019.


Rugby, football, tackling, concussion, CTE

#Rugby #football #tackling #concussion #CTE




Toss Tampons And Try The Menstrual Cup

Women looking for a cheaper alternative to tampons need look no further than the Menstrual Cup.  Now this is not a new invention and it’s been around since the 1930’s, but a new meta-analysis just published in The Lancet reviewed the experiences of some 3300 women using the cup to determine its utility and safety.


The majority of menstrual cups are placed in the vagina to trap and hold menstrual flow.  There is an alternative menstrual disc that fits over the cervix, but it may be more difficult to insert and remove.  Even inserting the vaginal cup takes a little practice, but after 2 cycles it seemed easy to most users. 


The study showed that nearly three-quarters of women trying the cups planned to continue their use.  The incidence of leakage and infection was no different than for other menstrual products.  The cup did not damage linings, but there were a few cases of allergy to the cup materials.


Multi-use menstrual cups are convenient and cheap.  If you aren’t squeamish about their insertion and if you don’t have an IUD, you might want to explore using the cup on a regular basis.  Costwise, they are 95% cheaper than tampons or pads.


Anna Maria van Eijk, PhD, Garazi Zulaika, MPH, Madeline Lenchner, MSc, Linda Mason, PhD
et al. Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  The Lancet Public Health. Published:July 16, 2019DOI:


Menstrualcap, tampon

#Menstrualcap #tampon



Heroin Addicts Hate The Term

Our friends and neighbors sadly dependent on heroin call themselves “addicts,” but they would prefer we call them “people who use drugs.”   This finding comes from a first-of-its-kind study by psychiatrists and health law experts at UMass and Boston University.


The study polled participants embarking on an inpatient heroin withdrawal program.  While 70% of the patients referred to themselves as “addicts,” fewer than 15% preferred terms such as “users” or “junkies.”  The most hated designations were “heroin misuser”  or “heroin-dependent.”


The preferred “people who use drugs” begins with the word “people” emphasizing that those on heroin or any other substance are first and foremost people.  As they work to break their habits, they deserve our love, respect, and support.


Ekaterina Pivovarova, Michael D. Stein. In their own words: language preferences of individuals who use heroin. Addiction, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/add.14699


Heroin, addict, druguser

#Heroin #addict #druguser




That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening and subscribing. 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!

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