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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 3rd Week of June, 2019


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

Relieve Your Hot Pepper Heartburn

Make A Date - Get A Free Meal

CBD Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Your Cell Phone Is Polluted With Bacteria

Cheap Home Exercise As Good As Health Club Program

The Right Playlist Reduces Your Workout Pain

You Can Work Yourself To Death

How To Calm Your Anxiety While Waiting

Coffee Turbocharges Your Fat Cells To Burn Calories

Safe Pain Relief After Tonsillectomy

Music Study Improves Academic Performance In Math, Science, and English

Our Food Is Too Sweet

Vacation Is Literally Good For Your Heart

Grapefruit Juice Dangerously Powers Up Certain Drugs

Bedroom TVs And Nightlights May Be Fattening

Take Some Deep Breaths Before Seeing Your Doctor

#Hotsauce #pepper #milk #Freemeal #foodiecall #darktriad #CBD #cannabis #Staph #Strep #antibiotic #Smartphone #bacteria #Staph #Cardiacrehab #homeHIT #HIT #Music #exercise #upbeat  #Work #overwork #stroke #Anxiety #waiting #biopsy #awe #Coffee #caffeine #Dieting #brownfat #obesity #Tonsillectomy #bleeding #ibuprofen #acetaminophen #Music #math #science, literature #education #Sweetness #foodreviews #fructose #Vacation #heartdisease #stroke #diabetes #metabolicsyndrome #grapefruit #overdose #statins #antihypertensives #transplant #steroids #Sleep #overweight #obesity #relaxation #healthinformation #meditation 

Here’s the news:

Relief For Hot Pepper Heartburn


If you’re suffering stomach and esophageal ache from enjoying Buffalo wings or accidentally swallowing that red pepper hidden in your Szechuan chicken , the food scientists at Penn State have some first aid for you.  It turns out that the best liquid for neutralizing pepper burn is good old milk.


The study looked at 72 subjects each using 7 different liquids as rescues after drinking a hot Bloody Mary mix containing Scoville-rich red peppers.  Milk, regular and skim, followed by Kool Aid were best at relieving the pepper pain.  Carbonated beverages such as cola, seltzer, and beer helped the least.  Plain old water was in-between.


So if you find yourself the victim of some hot sauce at a barbecue or elsewhere, quickly swig some milk.  In the pinch, I’ll bet that ice cream would also do the trick.


Penn State. "Milk: Best drink to reduce burn from chili peppers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2019.


Hotsauce, pepper, milk

#Hotsauce #pepper #milk



Make A Date - Get A Free Meal


Nearly one- quarter to one-third of women surveyed in two recent psychological studies admitted that they only set up a date to get a free meal.  This so-called “foodie call” phenomenon was analyzed by teams at Azusa Pacific University and UC-Merced.


The researchers surveyed a total of nearly 1200 women # The two-thirds to three-quarters of women who had not been on a foodie call felt that the practice was morally objectionable.


The “foodie call” women were more likely to have so-called “dark triad” personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.  Many also have one night stands and faked orgasms. 


Men were not studied, but the psychologists hypothesize that the “foodie call” sham can be perpetrated by all genders.  A trying for a free meal isn’t the worst male dating infraction.


Society for Personality and Social Psychology. "Foodie calls: Dating for a free meal (rather than a relationship)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2019.


Freemeal, foodiecall, darktriad

#Freemeal #foodiecall #darktriad



CBD Kills Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria


The non-psychoactive component of weed may be one way to control menacing supergerms that are no longer sensitive to our strongest antibiotics.  Australian microbiologists presented their exciting findings at last week’s meeting of the American Society For Microbiology.


Studies of topical CBD as treatment for a variety of skin conditions revealed that this agent can kill antibiotic-resistant Staph Aureus, known as MRSA, and antibiotic-resistant Strep Pneumoniae or Pneumococcus.  The CBD could also kill bacteria hiding in biofilms, those mucus layers that typically sequester nasty bacteria permitting them to evade many antibiotics.


CBD is already used for treatment of epilepsy and thought to be helpful for management of anxiety, pain, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.  It may soon be added to our infectious disease-fighting toolbox as well.


American Society for Microbiology. "Cannabidiol is a powerful new antibiotic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2019.



CBD, cannabis, Staph, Strep, antibiotic

#CBD #cannabis #Staph #Strep #antibiotic



Your Cell Phone Is Polluted With Bacteria


A Brazilian study just presented last week at the American Society for Microbiology reminds us just how contaminated our cell phones can be.  Forty percent of the phones carried by university students were infested with antibiotic-resistant Staph Aureus.  Even more frightening but not surprising is that fact that the majority of such phones were in the hands of nursing students risking spread to their patients.


This is nothing new as previous studies over the past years have demonstrated E. coli bacteria, influenza viruses, and a raft of other contaminants on phones.  One study proved that your phone was at least 10 times dirtier than your toilet seat.  


Your own phone is unlikely to make you sick, but it can spread bug to others if they touch it or via tables on which it is placed. Microbiologists recommend decontaminating your phone at least once a day with disinfectant wipes, a foam hand sanitizer, or a UV smartphone sanitizer and charger.


American Society for Microbiology. "Dissemination of pathogenic bacteria by university student's cell phones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2019. <


Smartphone, bacteria, Staph

#Smartphone #bacteria #Staph



Cheap Home Exercise As Good As Health Club Program


You know you should exercise but you don’t have the time or money for a health club.  A British study just published in the Journal of Physiology shows that you can keep fit with three 20 minute home sessions a week using high intensity training and virtual but not direct supervision.


The researchers studied some of the toughest cases, 32 obese adults at risk for significant heart disease participating in one of three exercise regimens for 3 months.  The data showed that that those subjects using the three weekly 20 minute self-directed high intensity home exercise programs without the use of equipment showed the same benefits as those in a professionally supervised high intensity training program at a gym or a more leisurely 150 minutes a week moderate intensity home training program.  The benefits of all programs included reduced cardiovascular disease risk, better glucose metabolism, and improved body composition.


This study supports use of inexpensive structured home exercises for those in need of cardiovascular rehab training.  If you have the need, your physical therapist can design such a program for you to use at home that which will be cost effective and convenient.


Sam N. Scott, Sam O. Shepherd, Nicola Hopkins, Ellen A. Dawson, Juliette A. Strauss, David J. Wright, Robert G. Cooper, Pradesh Kumar, Anton J. M. Wagenmakers, Matthew Cocks. Home-HIT improves muscle capillarisation and eNOS/NAD(P)Hoxidase protein ratio in obese individuals with elevated cardiovascular disease risk. The Journal of Physiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1113/JP278062


Cardiacrehab, homeHIIT, HIIT

#Cardiacrehab #homeHIIT #HIIT



The Right Playlist Reduces Your Workout Pain


So you’re out of shape and finding your body toning workout impossibly grueling.  A  Canadian study just published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise shows that listening to upbeat music as you work up that sweat will sweeten your experience.


Music is a known dissociative influence that distracts you from the consequences of exercise including sore muscles and heavy breathing.  The investigators exposed a group of 24 exercisers to each of 3 different audio experiences: upbeat, swinging music, a non-musical podcast, or no sound.  


The subjects demonstrated better performance and reported a more enjoyable experience when they were “sweatin’ to the oldies” or any fast-paced tunes.  Their heart rates also increased as though the fast music was almost serving as a heart metronome.


So create a swinging playlist to accompany your exercise, and those many minutes of seeming physical torture will fly on by.


Matthew J. Stork, Costas I. Karageorghis, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis. Let’s Go: Psychological, psychophysical, and physiological effects of music during sprint interval exercise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2019; 45: 101547 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101547


Music, exercise, upbeat

#Music #exercise #upbeat



You Can Work Yourself To Death


It’s an old saw, but a French study just published in the journal Stroke puts yet another black mark next to the concept of overwork.  Working long hours, defined as 10 hours a day for at least 50 days a year will increase your risk of stroke by 29%.  If you consistently work long hours for 10 or more years, your risk of a stroke rises to 45%.


You’re probably saying, “I’ll bet those statistics are for old people.”  You’d be wrong.  The study tabulated data from nearly 144,000 people aged 18 to 69 years, and the risk of stroke for those working the long hours over a 10 year period was greater if the individual was under the age of 50.  


The risks were lower among farmers, business owners, professionals, and managers suggesting that the stress of having less control over your work life may well be a key factor.  We should all take these results to heart and play as hard as we work.


Marc Fadel, Grace Sembajwe, Diana Gagliardi, Fernando Pico, Jian Li, Anna Ozguler, Johannes Siegrist, Bradley A. Evanoff, Michel Baer, Akizumi Tsutsumi, Sergio Iavicoli, Annette Leclerc, Yves Roquelaure, Alexis Descatha. Association Between Reported Long Working Hours and History of Stroke in the CONSTANCES Cohort. Stroke, 2019; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.025454


Work, overwork, stroke

#Work #overwork #stroke


How To Calm Your Anxiety While Waiting


Imagine that you’re waiting for a biopsy report, a job offer, a college or grad school acceptance, or a colonoscopy.  You’re on pins and needles anxious. Just how do you cope?  A new study from UC-Riverside gives you a novel strategy: watching an awe-inducing or heart-tugging movie.


The researchers studied a total of 729 subjects all stressed awaiting important test results.  Groups were exposed to various videos including one of an awe-inducing sunrise with orchestral accompaniment, one of cute animals playing, and the third a rather boring documentary about padlock manufacture.  Those who experienced awe reported more positive emotions and significantly less anxiety while waiting than the the subjects who screened the less inspiring selections.  


So just what is awe?  The psychologists define it as a “transportive mindset” of the sort often triggered by a tear-jerking movie.  I have a few of those that work every time: It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street, and Mr. Holland’s Opus.


The take home point from this study is to load a few of these videos on my phone so that next time I’m awaiting some anxiety-provoking news, I’ll be prepared.  You should do the same!


Kyla Rankin, Sara E. Andrews, Kate Sweeny. Awe-full uncertainty: Easing discomfort during waiting periods. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2019.1615106


Anxiety, waiting, biopsy, awe

#Anxiety #waiting #biopsy #awe



Coffee Turbocharges Your Fat Cells To Burn Calories


Drinking coffee will help you lose weight.   A new British study just published in Scientific Reports shows for the first time that the caffeine in coffee triggers a mitochondrial uncoupling protein which in turn increases calorie-burning brown fat cell activity in both cultured cells and in human volunteers. 


More brown fat cell tissue versus white fat cells is beneficial since it optimizes both lipid and carbohydrate biochemistry thereby revving up your body’s overall metabolic activity.  And even better news:  the caffeine in chocolate, cocoa, and other caffeinated beverages including tea will also have beneficial effects.


So... drink up and slim down!

Ksenija Velickovic, Declan Wayne, Hilda Anaid Lugo Leija, etal.  Caffeine exposure induces browning features in adipose tissue in vitro and in vivo.  Scientific Reports

volume 9, Article number: 9104 (2019)


Coffee, caffeine, Dieting, brownfat, obesity

#Coffee #caffeine #Dieting #brownfat #obesity



Safe Pain Relief After Tonsillectomy In Children


Giving kids ibuprofen, that is Advil or Motrin, rather than acetaminophen, Tylenol, after tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy more than doubles a child’s risk of serious bleeding that requires a return to the operating room.  This conclusion comes from a multi-center study of some 741 children aged 2-18 years coordinated by pediatric ENT specialists at Harvard’s Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary.


For years, use of platelet-inhibiting, blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin after tonsil surgery was an absolute no-no.  Then, more recently, ibuprofen and other non-aspirin NSAIDs became available, and they were touted as being safe despite the fact that they too inhibit platelet function, interfere with blood coagulation, and slow healing.  A few small studies suggested that their use was safe after throat surgery.


For those of us pediatric surgeons operating on the highly vascular tonsils, recommending any blood-thinning medications made absolutely no sense not matter what preliminary studies suggested.  Tylenol, administered appropriately 4 times a day at a dose of 6 mg per pound, has been more than adequate for pain control in most children, and I refused to recommend use of ibuprofen or other NSAIDS for my patients.


Now that this large and well controlled study shows that the first instinct was the proper one, I would recommend that you do not give your child ibuprofen in place of Tylenol after tonsillectomy.  I’d extend that recommendation to other surgical procedures and other age groups.


Diercks GR, Comins J, Bennett K, et al. Comparison of Ibuprofen vs Acetaminophen and Severe Bleeding Risk After Pediatric Tonsillectomy: A Noninferiority Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online April 04, 2019145(6):494–500. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.0269


Tonsillectomy, bleeding, ibuprofen, acetaminophen

#Tonsillectomy #bleeding #ibuprofen #acetaminophen



Music Study Improves Academic Performance In Math, Science, and English


Taking music instruction and playing an instrument boosts high school students’ scores in their academic courses.  This study of some 112,000 Canadian high school students just published in the Journal of Educational Psychology is a biting indictment of local school boards that frequently vote to eliminate music programs in favor of taxpayer-supported sports.


The data also showed that children who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary school and continued to play into high school scored one academic year ahead in all subjects when compared with their non-playing peers.  This superiority in math, science, and literary studies was independent of socioeconomic level, ethnicity, or prior academic performance.


Musical training enhances eye-hand-mind coordination, listening skills, and discipline all of which have impact on general academic studies.  Playing in an ensemble perfects the same teamwork skills that derive from sports.


If you want your children to excel in school, be certain that music is a part of their lives.  Lobby your school officials for music programs, and spend money on music lessons instead of toys.


Martin Guhn, Scott D. Emerson, Peter Gouzouasis. A population-level analysis of associations between school music participation and academic achievement.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/edu0000376


Music, math, science, literature, education

#Music #math #science, literature #education



Our Food Is Too Sweet


When we comment about the taste of our food, the overwhelming conclusion is “it’s TOO SWEET!”  This is the “bittersweet" conclusion from tabulation of almost 400,000 food reviews by Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center.


The scientists there used artificial intelligence techniques to analyze data about the taste, texture, and smell of nearly 68,000 unique foods posted on product reviews.   When it came to discussions of taste, sweet was the word most frequently mentioned appearing in 11% of reviews and 3 times more often than the word “bitter.”  Food was rated as “overly sweet “ 25 times more often than “not sweet enough.”


It’s probably no surprise how often products are rated too sweet, since  $   literally tons of fructose syrup is poured into the food we eat.  Try to avoid all that unhealthy sugar by reading food labels.


Danielle R. Reed, Joel D. Mainland, Charles J. Arayata. Sensory nutrition: The role of taste in the reviews of commercial food products. Physiology & Behavior, 2019; 112579 DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112579


Sweetness, foodreviews, fructose

#Sweetness #foodreviews #fructose



Vacation Is Literally Good For Your Heart


Taking frequent vacations is associated with a lower risk of developing the metabolic syndrome, that deadly triad of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  This welcome news comes from Syracuse University’s Department of Public Health.


The study focused on 63 university workers, and the researchers compiled information about their vacations and health status over a 12 month period.  A greater number of vacation days was associated with a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome components.  The risk of full-blown metabolic syndrome diminishes by 25% for each vacation taken.


The fact that the US has a  $  declining average life expectancy relative to other industrialized nations may have something to do with the fact that we are the only one of those nations that does not guarantee a paid vacation to workers.   Then too, when U.S. workers do receive paid vacation time, fewer than half take advantage of it and instead take the money.


The last word:  hit the road and take that vacation.  If you live a little, you might live a little.....longer!


Bryce Hruska, Sarah D. Pressman, Kestutis Bendinskas, Brooks B. Gump. Vacation frequency is associated with metabolic syndrome and symptoms. Psychology & Health, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2019.1628962


Vacation, heartdisease, stroke, diabetes, metabolicsyndrome

#Vacation #heartdisease #stroke #diabetes #metabolicsyndrome



Grapefruit Dangerously Powers Up Certain Drugs


Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may cause you to overdose on many popular prescription drugs.  The FDA now repeats its 2017 warning to us and asks us to carefully read the label on any drug you are taking to see if grapefruit can interfere with its function.


Grapefruit juice blocks the enzyme in the small intestine that normally breaks down drugs causing you to absorb too much of a drug into your system.  And, as always, too much of a good thing isn’t good.


The list of affected drugs includes:

  • some statin drugs that lower cholesterol: Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin);

  • blood pressure medications such as nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat CC);

  • transplant rejection drugs: cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral);

  • Anxiety drugs: buspirone;

  • steroids: budesonide for IBD (Entocort EC, Uceris);

  • cardiac rhythm controllers: amiodarone (Pacerone, Nexterone).


Do speak with your doctor and pharmacist about your medications and grapefruit juice as well as checking the labels and online information.


grapefruit, overdose, statins, antihypertensives, transplant, steroids

#grapefruit #overdose #statins #antihypertensives #transplant #steroids



Bedroom TVs And Nightlights May Be Fattening


If you love falling asleep with the TV treating you to Law and Order or if you merely leave a light on in the room, you’d better watch that scale.  


 The NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences studied nearly 44,000 women in the so-called Sister Study of women’s disease.  The researchers questioned the participants about their sleeping habits and compiled physical data including weight at the onset of the study and again 5 years later.  


Women who slept with the TV going or a room light on were 17% more likely to gain 11 pounds over the 5 years compared with those who slept in a dark room or at most had a small nightlight burning.  The weight gain was not associated with the reported quality of the participant’ s sleep.


The investigators suspect that disruption of the natural day-night cycle or circadian rhythm may be the culprit.  If you must fall asleep to the TV or with a light, use a sleep timer.


Yong-Moon Mark Park, Alexandra J. White, Chandra L. Jackson, Clarice R. Weinberg, Dale P. Sandler. Association of Exposure to Artificial Light at Night While Sleeping With Risk of Obesity in Women. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0571


Sleep, overweight, obesity

#Sleep #overweight #obesity



Take Some Deep Breaths Before Seeing Your Doctor


Relaxing yourself before going in that examining room will help you get much more from your visit.  Psychologists at the University of Michigan studied nearly 1500 subjects to determine if interventions that induced more positivity and openness to information would result in a more relaxed and productive health maintenance encounter.


The study mimicked a doctor’s visit by exposing the subjects to an array of healthcare information on subjects as diverse as the flu, cancer, HIV, and sexually-transmitted diseases.  Testing and interviews then ascertained how well the participants understood the information given.   Before the so-called “visit,” groups of participants were pre-treated with positivity therapy including meditation, relaxation audios, and breathing exercises.   A control group only listened to documentary information.


Those persons who received the relaxation intervention absorbed more of the health information and felt better about the entire experience.  The “health news you should use” is to wait to see your doctor while meditating or enjoying soothing music.  Then, to be certain that you catch the information your doctor discusses, bring along a family member or friend as a second pair of ears to take good notes.


Koji J. Takahashi, Allison Earl. Effect of Extraneous Affect on Health Message Reception. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2019; 014616721985504 DOI: 10.1177/0146167219855042


relaxation, healthinformation, meditation

#relaxation #healthinformation #meditation



That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening and following.  My next reports will go up on July 5th after the Independence Day holiday.  Until we next speak, I’m Dr. Howard Smith reminding you to stay safe, keep a smile on your face, your brain active, and your body in motion....these are the best medicines!

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