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HealthNews RoundUp - 1st Week of June, 2019



I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network, reporting from NYC with the Health News Roundup for the 1st week of JUNE, 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 :

Laundry detergent Pods Continue To Poison Children

Video Game Weapons Make Kids Handle Real Ones

Large City Air Pollution Clogs Your Arteries

Arthritis Supplement Helps Your Heart

Nervous Neds and Nellies May Stay Safer

Kids On Wheels Risk Head Injuries

An Egg A Day IS Safe

FDA Warns Women Of Vinpocetine Risks

More Evidence Links Gingivitis To Dementia

Blood Pressure Control Reduces Dementia

Formula Supplementation For A Baby’s First Days Does Not Reduce Breastfeeding

Is Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Really Mild?

Lack Of Sleep Damages Your Heart

Buyers Beware Of Wearable Brain Tech Scams

Do You Need To Fast For That Cholesterol Test?


#Detergentpods #soappackages #poisonings #parenting #pediatrics #Videogames #guncontrol #guns #swords #parenting #Ozone #coronary #carotid #airpollution #Glucosamine #coronarydisease #stroke #smoking #Anxiety #danger #risk #superpower #Bicycles #scooters  #Dementia #hypertension#skateboards #helmets #bikelanes #Egg #cholesterol #stroke #Vinpocetine #foodsupplement #pregnancy #fetaltoxin #dementia #maculardegeneration #deafness #Gingivitis #Alzheimers #Breastfeeding #formula #supplementation #jaundice #TBI #traumaticbraininjury #CTE #Sleep #heart #coronary arteries #carotid arteries #microRNA #TDCS #brainstimulation #selfhelp #Fasting #nonfasting #cholesterol #triglycerides #coronarydisease #lipids



Here’s this weeks news:

Laundry Detergent Pods Continue To Poison Children

Despite the many public campaigns and manufacturers efforts over recent years to make these pods look less like candy, a new study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital shows that pod poisonings have actually increased for children older than 6 and only slightly diminished for younger kids.  Every 42 minutes a poison control center gets a frantic call about liquid laundry soap pods.


The study reviewed data from 2012 through 2017 compiled at the nation’s poison control centers.  There were almost 73,000 calls during this period, and over 90% of the poisonings involved kids under 6 and occurred at the child’s home.  Sadly, there were 2 child deaths.


The highly-concentrated liquid detergent in these convenience containers turns out to be more toxic than the usual detergent powder or liquid found in multi-use packages and bottles.  My recommendation: if you are the parent of a young child, simply don’t buy these laundry and dishwasher pods.  They are more expensive and much more dangerous to your family.


Nationwide Children's Hospital. "Despite safety standard, laundry packet exposures increase in older children, adults: Researchers say current safety standard isn't doing enough to protect our most vulnerable populations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2019.


Detergentpods, soappackages, poisonings, parenting, pediatrics

#Detergentpods #soappackages #poisonings #parenting #pediatrics



Video Game Weapons Make Kids Handle Real Ones

Playing video games that feature guns and swords leads children to handle real guns.  


This is the conclusion of a Ohio Statue University study of 220 eight to twelve year olds.

Of the children playing a video game shooting guns, 62% touched a real handgun, of those playing a game with sword violence, 57% touched a handgun.  Of the control group of kids playing a non-violent video game, only 42% touched the gun.  Those playing the violent video games were significantly more likely to pull the gun’s trigger multiple times and to aim the gun at a playmate.


Since we in the USA lack the political guts to establish effective gun controls, the best we can do is to expose our children to non-violent recreation, both digital and real-world varieties, that reinforce our own rejection of weapon use.


Chang JH, Bushman BJ. Effect of Exposure to Gun Violence in Video Games on Children’s Dangerous Behavior With Real Guns: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e194319. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4319


Videogames, guncontrol, guns, swords, parenting

#Videogames #guncontrol #guns #swords #parenting



Large City Air Pollution Clogs Your Arteries

The air in our largest cities is destroying our arteries.   A study recently published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives studied over 6600 otherwise healthy adults in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, St. Paul and Winston-Salem.


Over more than a decade during which the subjects’ carotid arterial thickness, carotid plaque quantity, and coronary artery calcification were measured, those exposed to chronically elevated ozone concentrations in urban air were found to suffer significant carotid and coronary arterial wall damage.  The study did not address the effect of bad air on the incidence of heart attacks, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease.


If you live in such big city environments, try to spend as much time as you can in green spaces preferably out in the country or by the shore.  Environmental moderation is every bit as important to your health as dietary and exercise moderation.


Meng Wang , Paul D. Sampson , Lianne E. Sheppard , etal.

Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Ozone and Progression of Subclinical Arterial Disease: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution


Ozone, coronary, carotid, airpollution

#Ozone #coronary #carotid #airpollution


A  Bogus Arthritis Supplement Helps Your Heart

Many Americans, some 20% of our friends and neighbors, take glucosamine for the pain and disability of arthritis.  Like many food supplements, we only know that it is probably safe.  No well-designed studies have proven that it works for joint problems.  One study of knee osteoarthritis published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed a glucosamine-chondroitin combo pill to be no more effective than a sugar pill.


Now a study from Tulane Public Health, the Harbin Medical University in China, and the Harvard School of Public Health shows that regular use of glucosamine use may actually protect you from cardiovascular disease.


Some half million British participants were studied.  The data showed that those using glucosamine enjoyed an 18% reduction in coronary artery disease, a 12% reduction in death from cardiovascular disease, a 9% reduction in stroke.  The supplement works even better in smokers with a 37% lower risk of any cardiovascular disease.


The exact mechanism of action is not known, but many researchers think it may be the anti-inflammatory properties of glucosamine.  Whatever the reason, you might want to consider taking glucosamine if you do have some arthritis, are at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke, or if you are a smoker.


Ma Hao, Li Xiang, Sun Dianjianyi, Zhou Tao, Ley Sylvia H, Gustat Jeanette et al. Association of habitual glucosamine use with risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective study in UK Biobank BMJ 2019; 365 :l1628


Glucosamine, coronarydisease, stroke, smoking

#Glucosamine #coronarydisease #stroke #smoking



Nervous Neds and Nellies May Stay Safer

Those who tend to be anxious have a 6th sense superpower that effectively protects them from danger.  A new study from Caltech’s cognitive neuroscience department shows that anxious individuals more effectively flee from subtle dangers.


The study participants were challenged with a series of virtual reality threats characterized as slow that are impending or fast that are immediate.  Brain activity was assessed by real time MRI.  


The most anxious individuals did a better job of dodging slow threats while all participants performed about the same with fast threats.  If you tend to be anxious and take a lot of ribbing about your risk aversion from your friends and family, just tell them that you have a very special sense that someday may save you and also them from disaster.


Bowen J. Fung, Song Qi, Demis Hassabis, Nathaniel Daw & Dean Mobbs. Slow escape decisions are swayed by trait anxiety.  Nature Human Behaviour (2019) .


Anxiety, danger, risk, superpower

#Anxiety #danger #risk #superpower



Kids On Wheels Risk Head Injuries and Death

Staggering numbers of children risk irreversible injuries to their developing brains everyday as they climb on a variety of wheeled play vehicles.  A new study from The University of  Michigan surveyed over 1300 parents of children from 4 to 13 years to assess their children’s use of protective helmets and defensive measures in the streets.


Parents admit that their children don’t use helmets 61% of the time while riding scooters, during 58% of skateboard sessions, and on 18% of bike rides.  Twenty-seven percent of children ride their bikes and other play vehicles in streets and most of these streets have no bike lanes.  


National statistics show that 50 children an hour every hour visit an emergency department because of injuries sustained on bikes, scooters, and skateboards.  Many of these accidents involve younger children who should be directly supervised by their parents.  For your older kids, review helmet use and restrict their rides to car-free bike lanes and trails.


Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan. "Nearly 1 in 5 parents say their child never wears a helmet while riding a bike: National Poll focuses on children's street smarts, including bike, skateboard, scooter and road safety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2019.


Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, helmets, bikelanes

#Bicycles #scooters #skateboards #helmets #bikelanes



An Egg A Day IS Safe

The egg debates continues, and, if you love eggs, you’ll love the latest Finnish study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  They conclude that an egg a day will not increase your risk of stroke.


The study looked at nearly 2000 men 42 to 60 years of age.  Over a 21 year followup, the risk of stroke was not increased by a moderate intake of dietary cholesterol and an average of one egg a day.


All the controversy about eggs and dietary is probably not over.   Meanwhile, you can safely enjoy up to two 3 egg omelettes every week without any pangs of guilt.


Anna M Abdollahi, Heli E K Virtanen, Sari Voutilainen, Sudhir Kurl, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Jukka T Salonen, Jyrki K Virtanen. Egg consumption, cholesterol intake, and risk of incident stroke in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz066


Egg, cholesterol, stroke

#Egg #cholesterol #stroke



FDA Warns Women Of Vinpocetine Risks

This week the  FDA released warnings that vinpocetine, available in the USA over-the-counter as a dietary supplement and around the world as the prescription drug Cavinton, can harm a developing baby causing miscarriage or birth defects.  


Vinpocetine is readily available online via Amazon and other outlets.  It is also called Periwinkle Liquid Extract.


Vinpocetine has been touted as a help for dementia, age-related macular degeneration, hearing loss, tinnitus, hot flashes, seizures, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even bed-wetting.  As is the case for all drugs marketed as food supplements, it has not undergone rigorous testing, and claims of its effectiveness for any of these problems are unproven.


All women of child-bearing age should avoid using Vinpocetine.  All of you should think twice about regularly using dietary supplements because lax regulations offer no guarantee of safety or effectiveness.


Vinpocetine, foodsupplement, pregnancy, fetaltoxin, dementia, maculardegeneration, deafness

#Vinpocetine #foodsupplement #pregnancy #fetaltoxin #dementia #maculardegeneration #deafness



More Evidence Links Gingivitis To Dementia

Researchers from Norway’s University of Bergen now deliver conclusive proof that bacteria hiding in dental plaque and causing gingivitis move from mouth to brain and there produce a toxin that kills brain cells.


Several months ago, I presented a study in mice that demonstrated this same gum-brain connection.  The Norwegian researchers now prove it in humans with DNA-tracking evidence. They extend this finding by identifying a toxic enzyme released by the bacteria that destroys vital brain cells.   The investigators detected the toxin in 96% of the brains from 53 deceased Alzheimer’s victims they studied.  Even more exciting is the fact that they developed a drug that blocks this enzyme’s effect, and they are planning tests of it.


All research discoveries in medicine and in every other field are only conclusively proven when they are independently confirmed.  I am delighted that this is now the case for the gingivitis-Alzheimer’s link.  If you want to hold onto your mind over your lifetime, you best be brushing and regularly flossing.


Stephen S. Dominy, Casey Lynch, Florian Ermini, etal. Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors. Science Advances, 2019; 5 (1): eaau3333 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau3333


Gingivitis, Alzheimers

#Gingivitis #Alzheimers



Blood Pressure Control Reduces Dementia

A new German study concludes that those on blood pressure control medications enjoyed a 10 to 25% lower incidence of dementia.  Researchers from the University of Leipzig studied a total of nearly 25,000 patients half of whom suffered from dementia and the other half served as matched controls.


All classes of anti-hypertension drugs were associated with a reduced incidence of dementia though angiotensin II receptor blockers had the greatest effect.  Additional studies will be necessary to discover the mechanisms and optimal use of medications.


Please remember that blood pressure monitoring and pro-active, preventive blood pressure control are indispensable to living a long, healthy life. now, your brain leading to dementia in such a way that effective  treatment is next to impossible.


Jens Bohlken, Louis Jacob, Karel Kostev. The Relationship Between the Use of Antihypertensive Drugs and the Incidence of Dementia in General Practices in Germany. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-190362


Dementia, hypertension

#Dementia #hypertension



Formula Supplementation During A Baby’s First Days Does Not Reduce Breastfeeding

Using a bit of formula to assist breastfeeding and trigger a healthy weight gain has for years been considered a no-no.  Lactation consultants advise that this use of formula destroys the child’s interest in breast feeding.


A study from the University of California - San Francisco now labels this warning an urban myth.  Pediatricians there and at Penn State studied some 164 babies suffering from significant  post-partum weight loss.  Half of the group received syringe-fed formula in addition to breastfeeding and the others continued with breastfeeding alone.


The results showed that, at 6 months, the formula-supplemented group of children were just as likely to be breastfeeding as the no formula group.  An added benefit to supplementation was the finding that those given formula were at lower risk for jaundice.


So if your newborn is struggling with weight gain immediately after birth, ask about formula supplementation.


Valerie J. Flaherman, Michael D. Cabana, Charles E. McCulloch, Ian M. Paul. Effect of Early Limited Formula on Breastfeeding Duration in the First Year of Life. JAMA Pediatrics, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1424


Breastfeeding, formula, supplementation, jaundice

#Breastfeeding #formula #supplementation #jaundice



Is Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Really Mild?

At least half of those seen in the ED and diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury are left with significant functional limitations at one year post-injury.  This surprising statistic comes from a nationwide, multi-center study just published in JAMA Neurology.


Those with positive findings on brain CT had a 61% incidence of long-term disability.  But even those with negative findings on the CT had. 49% incidence of continuing issues.


This result suggests that even patients with seemingly mild traumatic brain injuries must be followed carefully post-injury in order to detect problems and promptly provide rehabilitation therapy.  The finding also adds to the many studies of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that suggest there is no such thing as a mild brain injury.


Nelson LD, Temkin NR, Dikmen S, et al. Recovery After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Patients Presenting to US Level I Trauma Centers: A Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI) Study. JAMA Neurol. Published online June 03, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.1313


TBI, traumaticbraininjury, CTE

#TBI #traumaticbraininjury #CTE



Lack Of Sleep Damages Your Heart

If you sleep less than 7 hours each night, you are deficient in the microRNA regulators that permit your genes to refresh your heart tissues and maintain good vascular health.  This warning stems from work at the University of Colorado at Boulder that studied 24 healthy middle-aged men and women measuring their microRNA concentrations and tabulating their sleep.


The group that clocked only 5 to 6.8 hours of sleep a night had 40 to 60% lower levels of the microRNAs that regulate inflammation, immunity, and vascular stability when compared to those sleeping 7 to 8.5 hours a night.  The 7 hour threshold seems to be a constant, and the study investigators cannot yet explain why.


So, if you want to keep your heart and the blood vessels that feed all your vital organs healthy, get those ZZZs.


Jamie G. Hijmans, Ma'ayan Levy, Vinicius Garcia, Grace M. Lincenberg, Kyle J. Diehl, Jared J. Greiner, Brian L. Stauffer, Christopher A. DeSouza. Insufficient sleep is associated with a pro‐atherogenic circulating microRNA signature. Experimental Physiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1113/EP087469


Sleep, heart, coronary arteries, carotid arteries, microRNA

#Sleep #heart #coronary arteries #carotid arteries #microRNA



Buyers Beware Of Wearable Brain Tech Scams

This warning comes from neurologists and ethicists at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia.  Searching online, they found 19 brain stimulating devices and 22 measuring devices with mind links that are currently being hawked and directly sold to the general public.


We’re talking about so-called transcranial direct current stimulation devices, galvanic biofeedback units, brain-sensing headbands, brain trainers, and stress balancing bracelets.  The list goes on and on.  They aren’t cheap costing as much as $500.


The advertising claims for these products make a variety of promises including increased concentration, better sleep, relaxation, enhanced self-awareness, mood elevation, better memory, and enhanced physical as well as mental performance.  A total of 20 unique claims were made for 41 devices being sold.


Only 8 of the devices had even scientific support from legitimate, published scientific studies.  In many case, studies offered support for a given technology, but there was no direct evidence that the device being marketed was effective.


Then add to the shaky scientific underpinnings that fact that many devices come with poor instructions and no safeguards against improper consumer use.  All in all, these devices can be classified as ripoffs or dangerous.  Don’t waste your money or risk your health.


Iris Coates McCall, Chloe Lau, Nicole Minielly, Judy Illes.  Owning Ethical Innovation: Claims about Commercial Wearable Brain Technologies.  Neuron.  VOLUME 102, ISSUE 4, P728-731, MAY 22, 2019.  DOI:


TDCS, brainstimulation, selfhelp

#TDCS #brainstimulation #selfhelp



Do You Need To Fast For That Cholesterol Test?

The latest answer from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Britain’s National Heart and Lung Institute is a resounding NO!  They analyzed data from more than 8000 participants in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial.


The tabulated results indicate that both non-fasting and fasting lipid levels had similar correlations with coronary events including both non-fatal and fatal heart attacks.  The non-fasting determinations did have slightly higher triglyceride levels, but this variation did not invalidate the usefulness of the non-fasting data.


The next time you need to have your lipid profile including cholesterol and triglycerides drawn, you can go anytime of the day without regard to meals.  But do eat healthy and avoid downing a pile of fat.


Mora S, Chang CL, Moorthy MV, Sever PS. Association of Nonfasting vs Fasting Lipid Levels With Risk of Major Coronary Events in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial–Lipid Lowering Arm. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 28, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0392


Fasting, nonfasting, cholesterol, triglycerides, coronarydisease, lipids

#Fasting #nonfasting #cholesterol #triglycerides #coronarydisease #lipids



That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening and particular thanks to my followers on social media for spreading the word.  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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