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HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of June, 2019




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

Chocolate Packaging Influences Its Flavor

Teen Boys Have Different Eating Disorders Than Girls

Constipation Frequently Unrecognized

Food Tastes Better Sitting Down

Air Is Polluted Indoors Too

Word Choice Reveals Your Romantic Style

The Internet Is Brainwashing You

Teen Use of Dietary Supplements May Be Deadly

Irregular Sleep Patterns Create Body Turmoil

The Wall For Human Exertion

Chicken And Steak Both Bump Up Cholesterol

Should GMO Be A Dirty Word

Kids Get Lazy At Age 9

Children’s Clothing  Could Make Them Overeat 

Extroverts Excel In The Workplace


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

#chocolate #packaging, tastetest #branding #eatingdisorders #biohacking #anorexia #bulemia #supplements #steroids #constipation #sitting #standing #eating #pollution #formaldehyde #gypsum #pronouns #relationships #lovelife #we #I #internet #attention #distractability #memory #acceptance #rejection #Supplements #FDA #Sleep #circadianrhythms #varaiability #metabolism #obsesity #diabetes #lipids #marathon #running #biking #cholesterol #LDL #extrovert #introvert #workplace #psychology

 #redmeat #chicken #plantprotein #GMO #GMfood #teens #activity #obesity #exercise #parenting #obesity #childwear #fastfood



Here are this week’s stories:

Chocolate Packaging Influences Its Flavor

When you chomp down on a chocolate bar or daintily take a bite of that truffle, the package that tasty tidbit came in has much to do with its perceived flavor.  Aussies at the University of Melbourne’s School of Agriculture and Food presented 75 study subjects with the same piece of chocolate wrapped in 6 different packages that cried out a variety of messages including bold, fun, everyday, special, healthy, or premium.


The study results showed that the participants, ranging from 25-55 years of age, liked the chocolate taste better when they loved the package design and when that design shouted fun, healthy, relaxing, excitement, and friendly.   The tasters were less enthusiastic about the chocolate taste when they picked up and tasted an unwrapped piece.


Other studies have shown that 60% of consumers make buying decisions solely on product packaging.  I’d add that even more make choices based on name brands.


If you want to save a ton of money and still enjoy the food you eat, be adventurous and try less expensive less well-known and advertised brands.  


Nadeesha M. Gunaratne, Sigfredo Fuentes, Thejani M. Gunaratne, Damir Dennis Torrico, Caroline Francis, Hollis Ashman, Claudia Gonzalez Viejo, Frank R. Dunshea. Effects of packaging design on sensory liking and willingness to purchase: A study using novel chocolate packaging. Heliyon, 2019; 5 (6): e01696 DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01696


chocolate, packaging, tastetest, branding

#chocolate #packaging, tastetest #branding



Teen Boys Have Different Eating Disorders Than Girls

A teen boy’s obsession with body building and strengthening can be every bit as dangerous to his health as a teen girl’s obsession with her weight and shape.  This warning comes from the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco.


In contrast to girls’ dangerous practices of gorging and purging, boys tend to over consume protein, dangerously restrict carbs and fats, practice wide swings of nutrient loading with fasting, and compulsively exercise thus creating energy deficits and de facto malnourishment.  Even worse, many adolescent boys consume untested and unregulated dietary supplements and steroids.


We as parents and doctors need to actively look for these tell-tale clues in teen boys and help them deal with the self-image issues that trigger their dangerous behaviors.   Guys will never admit to having an eating disorder.  After all, only girls have those problems right guys?


Jason MNagata,Tiffany ABrown,Jason MLavender,Stuart BMurray.  Emerging trends in eating disorders among adolescent boys: muscles, macronutrients, and biohacking.    The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 444-445.


eatingdisorders, biohacking, anorexia, bulemia, supplements, steroids

#eatingdisorders #biohacking #anorexia #bulemia #supplements #steroids



Constipation Frequently Unrecognized

Nearly 30% of people have constipation and don’t even know it.  This is the conclusion of a study from King’s College-London just published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.


It seems like a simple issue, but public health authorities can’t even agree on how many of us do suffer from constipation.  Estimates range from 3% to more than 10 times that number at 35%, and the variation occurs because there are disagreements about the diagnostic criteria for constipation.


Studying over 2500 subjects, the researchers conclude that constipation is characterized by one or more of 6 symptom clusters: infrequent bowel movements, pain and bloating, rectal discomfort, hard stools, flatulence, and some incontinence.  Patients with these symptoms should consult a gastroenterologist and a therapeutic dietician for help.


Meanwhile, don’t forget the many things you can do to relieve your backup.  These include: drinking abundant water, consuming raisins, munching prunes, and eating cabbage and coleslaw.



King's College London. "Research redefines constipation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2019.






Food Tastes Better Sitting Down

If you love to eat and you want to enjoy the most flavorful food, take a seat!  If you must consume foul tasting medicine or somewhat bitter vegetables, you’d better stand.  A new study from the University of South Florida’s marketing department studied the ways in which our balance system and our posture during eating affects our perception of food taste.


The investigators distributed luscious bite-sized brownies to 350 participants.  The brownies tasted best to those who ate them while sitting.  The researchers also asked the study subjects to try an over-salted brownie, and those who stood while eating it failed to notice the additional salt and the unpleasant taste.  Food that was too hot or too cold was also more annoying to those sitting versus standing, and overheated coffee was more palatable to those on their feet.


The study also dispelled an urban myth that you never pay attention to your food consumption if you eat standing..  Those subjects who ate while standing actually consumed less food.


You gourmets dining on quality food should do so sitting.  Kids who reject all healthy greens could maybe be fed those foods while standing and they might just eat more of them.


Dipayan Biswas, Courtney Szocs, Annika Abell. Extending the Boundaries of Sensory Marketing and Examining the Sixth Sensory System: Effects of Vestibular Sensations for Sitting versus Standing Postures on Food Taste Perception. Journal of Consumer Research, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/jcr/ucz018


sitting, standing, eating

#sitting #standing #eating



Air Is Polluted Indoors Too

The all too common sight of smog reminds us that outdoor air is often hazardous.  A just published study from Washington State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering now alerts us to indoor air pollution dangers.


As our homes become increasing air-tight with more chemical-laden dry wall and insulation, the air we breathe indoors becomes more questionable.


The study looked at a variety of homes built at different times and of different materials.  Most of the houses had higher than normal levels of formaldehyde that increased with increasing room temperatures during any given day.  One source of the formaldehyde was found to be gypsum wallboard.


Since we don’t want to wear gas masks at home, we should all let some fresh air into our homes when that air is in fact safe.  The study also encourages us to spend more time outdoors in open, green spaces away from the urban sprawl so that we can breathe in truly fresh air.


Yibo Huangfu, Nathan M. Lima, Patrick T. O'Keeffe, William M. Kirk, Brian K. Lamb, Shelley N. Pressley, Beiyu Lin, Diane J. Cook, Von P. Walden, Bertram T. Jobson. Diel variation of formaldehyde levels and other VOCs in homes driven by temperature dependent infiltration and emission rates. Building and Environment, 2019; 159: 106153 DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2019.05.031


pollution, formaldehyde, gypsum

#pollution #formaldehyde #gypsum



Word Choice Reveals Your Romantic Style

The pronouns you use on a first date recounting stories of your past love lives exposes your emotional attachment style for all to see.  Psychologists at the University of California-Riverside have decoded the formula after aggregating 1400 observations derived from seven studies.


The repeated use of the “I’ or “me” words reveals an anxiously avoidant personality type that only cautiously, if at all, enters into lasting and healthy romantic attachments.  Such persons only bond with great difficulty


Those whose conversations are peppered with “we” tend to be more open to relationship building.  Their psychologic outlook in general appears healthier.


So the next time you are Tinderizing your love life or talking up a new potential life-partner, pay attention to their and your pronoun use.  Re-define “we” as thumbs up right swipe and “I” and “me” as a thumbs down left swipe!


William L. Dunlop, Alexander Karan, Dulce Wilkinson, Nicole Harake. Love in the First Degree: Individual Differences in First-Person Pronoun Use and Adult Romantic Attachment Styles. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2019; 194855061984745 DOI: 10.1177/1948550619847455


pronouns, relationships, lovelife, we, I

#pronouns #relationships #lovelife #we #I



The Internet Is Brainwashing You

Using the internet can produce temporary but also permanent negative changes in your brain’s abilities to focus attention, create and sustain memories, and promote social bonding.  An international collaborative team from Australia’s Western Sydney University, Britain’s Universities of Oxford and Manchester, and Boston’s Harvard Medical School just released this groundbreaking study in the journal World Psychiatry.


Reviewing and summarizing the available literature, the scientists confirm that the internet has monumental impacts on our attention, memory, and social interactions.


The internet powerfully grabs our attention with an endless stream of information as well as unwanted interruptions in our lives.   It definitely fosters informational sophistication but also increases distractibility.  


While the internet places a huge amount of objective, social, and personal information at our fingertips, it is a crutch that dulls our abilities to recall such information “offline” from our own memories.  


The internet is a powerful tool for generating social networks.  The semi-anonymous and often artificial characteristics of many interactions within such networks can be psychologically harmful.  Real world acceptance and rejection can be in your face, but it can also be muted by your own interpretation of other’s actions.  In the online world, other’s opinions of you are concretely quantitated by likes, dislikes, following, friending, and trolling.


The internet is like a robot.  It can be a powerful servant, but, without caution, it becomes a cat and you could become its pet.


Joseph Firth, John Torous, Brendon Stubbs, Josh A. Firth, Genevieve Z. Steiner, Lee Smith, Mario Alvarez‐Jimenez, John Gleeson, Davy Vancampfort, Christopher J. Armitage, Jerome Sarris. The “online brain”: how the Internet may be changing our cognition. World Psychiatry, 2019; 18 (2): 119 DOI: 10.1002/wps.20617


internet, attention, distractability, memory, acceptance, rejection

#internet #attention #distractability #memory #acceptance #rejection



Teen Use of Dietary Supplements Lead To Disaster And Death

When children and teens use food supplements for weight loss, muscle building, and energy stimulation, 40% of the adverse events that occur are associated with severe disability and death.  This sobering statistic comes from studies at the Harvard School of Public Health that reviewed the details of nearly a thousand adverse event reports that were compiled by the FDA over a 10 year period.


The researchers note that many of these products, readily available to anyone of any age online, often contain hidden prescription drugs, FDA- banned substances, toxic heavy metals, and pesticides.  Use of some weight loss and body building agents can trigger testicular cancer, liver destruction, and stroke.  Those supplements sold for sexual enhancement and gi cleansing were twice as likely as others to drive severe illness.


Food and diet supplements live outside the otherwise strict FDA review structure.  You have no idea about the purity and/or safety of these substances.  Don’t use them or let your kids use them.


Flora Or, Yongjoo Kim, Juliana Simms, S. Bryn Austin. Taking Stock of Dietary Supplements’ Harmful Effects on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, June 5, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.03.005


Supplements, FDA

#Supplements #FDA



Irregular Sleep Patterns Create Body Turmoil

Even a one hour variation in your day to day sleep pattern can wreak havoc on your body’s metabolism putting your health and life at risk. This conclusion stems from comprehensive study by sleep scientists at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in collaboration with those at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


Previous studies have shown that insufficient sleep duration drives obesity and diabetes.  Now a  study of more than 2000 subjects ages 45 to 84 tracked their sleep patterns with smart watches as well as sleep diaries.


Bedtime and sleep duration variability was associated with higher blood pressures, elevated triglycerides, high blood sugars, and larger waistline circumferences as well as lower levels of good HDL cholesterol.  This was true even when the average sleep durations were comparable.


So as Ben Franklin said, “early to bed, early to rise etc etc etc” still holds true as long as those early hours are pretty much the same every night.   Consistency is up there with moderation as principles by which to live.


Huang, T., Redline, S. Cross-sectional and prospective associations of actigraphy-assessed sleep regularity with metabolic abnormalities: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Diabetes Care, 2019 DOI: 10.2337/dc19-0596


Sleep, circadianrhythms, varaiability, metabolism, obsesity, diabetes, lipids

#Sleep #circadianrhythms #varaiability #metabolism #obsesity #diabetes #lipids



The Wall For Human Exertion

Despite the almost superhuman feats of athletic prowess displayed in marathons, Iron person contests, and the Tour De France, a new study from Duke University just published in the journal Scientific Advances suggests that that the human body has physical limits defined by our digestive system’s abilities to absorb calories.  A collaborative group from the USA, Scotland, and China studied runners completing 6 marathons a week for 5 months as they raced across the United States.


The data indicates a limit to peak energy expenditure at 2.5 times a person’s basal metabolic rate.  Once the energy demands surpass this wall, the body begins to break down its own muscle and fat tissues to provide fuel, and performance wanes.  


In all contests whether running, cycling, or dragging sleds across the arctic, energy expenditure follows an L-shaped curve with the plateau defined by the gut.  The calorie expenditure max is about 3500/day for women and 4500/day for men. 


Despite this data, athletes continue to push the envelope with their natural abilities and sometimes by consuming dangerous drugs and food supplements.  Just know that, as always, you can’t fool mother nature.


Caitlin Thurber, Lara R. Dugas, Cara Ocobock, Bryce Carlson, John R. Speakman, Herman Pontzer. Extreme events reveal an alimentary limit on sustained maximal human energy expenditure. Science Advances, 2019; 5 (6) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw0341


marathon, running, biking

#marathon #running #biking



Chicken And Steak Both Bump Up Cholesterol

The next time you comb the restaurant menu for a healthy choice, consider new data that shows consuming white meat OR red meat will result in higher blood cholesterol levels compared with downing an equal amount of plant protein.  The study comes from the University of California-San Francisco.


The study also showed that both white and red meat increase circulating quantities of the so-called bad cholesterol LDL when compared with the proteins contained in vegetables, dairy products, beans, and chickpeas.  The investigators caution that white meat versus red meat consumption has other dietary benefits, and the impact of a given food on cholesterol is not the only criterion for healthy food choices.


As always, dietary moderation and good common sense should be your guideposts.  You’re better off enjoying a 4 oz cut of lean steak than a huge filet of chicken fried up as schnitzel.


Nathalie Bergeron, Sally Chiu, Paul T Williams, Sarah M King, Ronald M Krauss. Effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz035


cholesterol, LDL, redmeat, chicken, plantprotein

#cholesterol #LDL #redmeat #chicken #plantprotein



Should GMO Be A Dirty Word?

Hey I get no respect!  Foods containing GMOs which stands for genetically modified organisms have become the Rodney Dangerfields of nutrition.  Zealots have waged disinformation campaigns falsely claiming that GMO food is dangerous despite support for it from the National Academy of Science and the World Health Organization.  Conclusive scientific studies reassure us about its safety and purity, yet two-thirds of consumers fear and avoid GMOs.


Now a collaborative group of American, Dutch, and Welch psychologists and biologists show that the unwarranted smear campaign against GMO food sources may be neutralized by properly explaining genetically modified food to the public.  The test group consisted of 231 American college undergraduates.


The study protocol provided information about the process of genetic modification and its beneficial results including more nutritious, better tasting, more resilient, more pest-resistant, and faster growing crops that can better feed our exploding world population.  Before and after testing predictably revealed greater acceptance and appreciation for GMO-containing food.


Tested and proven knowledge has nurtured modern civilization as we know it including the contemporary medical science that has extended human lifespans and healthspans.  The “earth is flat” doubters will always be there, but try not to be one of them.


Jonathon McPhetres, Bastiaan T. Rutjens, Netta Weinstein, Jennifer A. Brisson. Modifying attitudes about modified foods: Increased knowledge leads to more positive attitudes. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2019; 64: 21 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.04.012


GMO, GMfood

#GMO #GMfood



Kids Get Lazy At Age 9

A study from Switzerland’s University of Geneva pinpoints time of entry into high school as the watershed when teens increasing shun healthy physical activity in favor of increasingly sedentary pursuits.  This trend is likely responsible for our current child obesity epidemic as well as the recently reported statistic that kids’ cardio-respiratory capacities are 25% lower now than they were 20 years ago.


The investigators followed 1200 Swiss pupils from ages 8 through 12 years and clocked their actual physical activity as well as their attitudes and motivations.  The results show that at age 9 on average children’s interest in physical play is replaced by escalating concerns about grades and social acceptance.  Adding to that is the ever-increasing screen time that robs hours from physical activity.


The researchers call for more phys-ed teaching and more compulsory PE classes.  I’d agree with that, but the classes need to creatively impart information about lifelong body care and the incorporation of everyday exercise into the growing child’s life.  Let’s not stop at just stranger danger.


Kid’s need to get off their school buses and walk more, run up and down the school stairs rather than drag themselves along, and engage in physical activities while they gossip at recess.


Motivation toward physical activity can’t stop in school.  You parents need to continue it at home, and teen centers must emphasize physical activities such as dancing and community clean ups rather than sedentary board games.  


Teach kids that their bodies follow the universal use it or lose it rule.


Julien Chanal, Boris Cheval, Delphine S. Courvoisier, Delphine Paumier. Developmental relations between motivation types and physical activity in elementary school children. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2019; 43: 233 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.03.006


teens, activity, obesity, exercise 

#teens #activity #obesity #exercise



Children’s Clothing Could Make Them Overeat

Kids’ apparel all too often bears food graphics and two-thirds of those images depict unhealthy foods.  These are just some of the worrisome conclusions from a University of Michigan study now published in the journal Eating Behaviors.


Developmental pediatricians there investigating the reasons for childhood obesity reviewed nearly 3900 clothing items in the lines of 4 major children’s retailers.  One in every eleven items bore pictures of food.


Girls clothing were covered with pastries and other fattening desserts.  Boys apparel featured fast foods including burgers, hot dogs, fries, and pizza.  Many of the items targeting the youngest kids featured their cartoon characters wolfing down junk food, hungrily eyeing it, or making funny comments about it.


Don’t allow your children’s clothing to suggest unhealthy eating and a general emphasis on junk food to themselves and to their friends.  If their clothing must have graphics, how about Minnie beating Daisy Duck on a road run and not stopping to pick up a dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts.


Megan H. Pesch, Tiffany Munzer, Cassidy M. Pont, Clare S. Lauer, Danielle P. Appugliese. Donuts on our daughters: Gender differences in food categories on children's apparel. Eating Behaviors, 2019; 34: 101303 DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2019.101303


parenting, obesity, childwear, fastfood

#parenting #obesity #childwear #fastfood



Extroverts Excel In The Workplace

A new mega-study by workplace psychologists at the University of Toronto shows that extroverts  have definite advantages at work.   These pluses appear applicable to any type of work and to all work settings.


Extroverts’ advantages fall into 4 general categories: exceptional motivation, positive emotions, excellent interpersonal skills, and overall job performance.  The investigators admit that other characteristics contribute to success on the job such as cognitive ability, conscientiousness, and a positive outlook.   Successful introverts have these traits in common with extroverts.


Most of us are not pure extroverts or introverts, and there is a little bit of actor in each of us.  If you are an introvert, turbocharge yourself so that you literally bubble over at work.  If you are an extrovert, be certain to channel your energies in ways that prevent your positivity from coming across as overwhelming and counterproductive.


Michael P. Wilmot, Connie R. Wanberg, John D. Kammeyer-Mueller, Deniz S. Ones. Extraversion advantages at work: A quantitative review and synthesis of the meta-analytic evidence.. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/apl0000415


extrovert, introvert, workplace, psychology

#extrovert #introvert #workplace #psychology



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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