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HealthNews Reprise - 2nd Week of June 2020



Childrens’ Protruding Teeth Are At Risk

Kids with teeth that protrude are at significant risk for a lifetime of dental problems.  An Australian study of more than 50,000 children and adolescents was just published in the journal Dental Traumatology.


The data reveals that children under the age of six with teeth that protrude more than 3 millimeters are more than 3 times more likely to sustain serious dental trauma.  Children and adolescents older than 6 years with dental protrusions of more than 5 millimeters have double the  risk of injury.  When injuries do occur, they may negatively impact continued dental development, complicate future orthodontia efforts, or necessitate later dental implants.


Children with protruding teeth should be fitted with protective mouth guards for use during sports and other vigorous play.  They should be considered prime candidates for aggressive and proactive orthodontia in order to normalize their dental profile and reduce risk of injury.


George P Arraj, Giampiero Rossi‐Fedele, Esma J. Doğramacı. The association of overjet size and traumatic dental injuries – a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Dental Traumatology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/edt.12481


#Dentalprotrusion #buckteeth #dentalfracture #orthodontia #mouthguard #dentalimplant




Obsession With Healthy Eating Is Dangerous

Orthorexia nervosa is medical jargon for an obsession with healthy eating.  Psychologists from Toronto’s York University explain the drivers and dangers of this condition in a review article just published in the journal Appetite.


Orthorexia nervosa tends to develop in those individuals with a history of eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive personalities, a history of repeated dieting, a poor body image, a desire to be thin, and often a history of depression.  Those individuals who adopt restrictive eating practices such as vegetarians, vegans, and especially lacto-vegetarians are at high risk for this disorder.


Unlike those who suffer from anorexia nervosa and the drive to restrict calories in the effort to maintain a low body weight, persons with Orthorexia nervosa fixate on obtaining or preparing healthy food.  They spend so many hours of the day, planning, purchasing ingredients, and preparing healthy meals that they have little time left for other pursuits.  This disorder seems to affect men and women in near equal numbers.


Orthorexia nervosa, although described in a number of studies, is not officially recognized as an official psychiatric diagnosis.  It’s treatment, though, is similar to many psychiatric disorders and includes: cognitive behavioral therapy, meditative therapy, and psychopharmaceutical therapy with anti-depressives and anti-anxiety medications.


If any of this sounds familiar to you as a description of a family member or of yourself, please know that help is available.


Sarah E. McComb, Jennifer S. Mills. Orthorexia nervosa: A review of psychosocial risk factors. Appetite, 2019; 140: 50 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.05.005


#Orthorexia #ocs #healthyeating #vegan #vegetarian



Overweight Teen Boys Risk Later Heart Failure

Obesity in the teen years increases the chances of heart weakening and heart failure in middle age by a factor of eight.  But wait, that’s not the worst news.  Even mildly overweight adolescent guys risk heart disease in their 40s and 50s.


These conclusions come from a study of nearly 1.7 million Swedish military recruits who were weighed at age 18 as they entered service and were followed for up to 46 years.  The effects on the heart were proportional to weight.  For each 1 unit increase in body mass index or BMI, the risk of dilated cardiomyopathy leading to heart failure increases some 15%.  Women were not studied since they were not joining the military at the time the study began.


This study is a wake up call that the current trend toward overeating and obesity will have some horrific consequences.  There are some effective treatments but no cure for a worn out heart except cardiac transplantation and donors are scarce!  Someday, we’ll grow new cardiac tissue from stem cells and be able to transplant partly humanized pig hearts.


Josefina Robertson, Maria Schaufelberger, Martin Lindgren, Martin Adiels, Linus Schiöler, Kjell Torén, John McMurray, Naveed Sattar, Maria Åberg, Annika Rosengren. Higher Body Mass Index in Adolescence Predicts Cardiomyopathy Risk in Midlife: Long-Term Follow-Up Among Swedish Men. Circulation, 2019; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.039132


#Adolescence #overweight, obsesity #heartfailure #cardiomyopathy



Premies Brains Develop Better To Music

Premature infants who listen to music enjoy enhanced neural development.  Swiss neuroscientists at the University of Geneva report the positive effects of specially composed and performed music on developing neural networks of premies.


The musical selections varied with time of day and were designed to lend an auditory structure to the infant’s first days out of the womb.  The instruments that produced the most consistent reactions from the babies were the snake charmer’s flute, the harp, and bells.


The double blind study used MRI imaging before and after the musical exposure to assess the effect.  The group of premies treated to the music showed stronger connections between the parts of their brains that perform cognitive tasks, manage social relationships, and manage emotions.


If a premie has recently joined your family, consider adding lilting flute, harp, and orchestral bell music to their environments.


Lara Lordier, Djalel-Eddine Meskaldji, Frédéric Grouiller, Marie P. Pittet, Andreas Vollenweider, Lana Vasung, Cristina Borradori-Tolsa, François Lazeyras, Didier Grandjean, Dimitri Van De Ville, Petra S. Hüppi. Music in premature infants enhances high-level cognitive brain networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201817536 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817536116


#Premies #music #flute #harp #bells #neuraldevelopment




Links Between Allergy and Mental Illness

A German study reveals an association between seasonal allergies and anxiety as well as a link between year-round or perennial allergies with depression.  Psychologists at the University of Augsburg studied more than 1700 middle-aged persons with a variety of allergies including environmental, food, and drug hypersensitivities.  


The researchers point out that, in the cases of environmental allergies, the study cannot determine if anxiety is the cause or the effect of seasonal allergies or if depression leads to or is the result of year-round allergies.  They found no links between psychological factors and either food or drug allergies.  


Allergy sufferers should use this information to recognize their unique vulnerabilities to either anxiety, depression, or both.  We don’t know if excellent allergy control with medicated sprays and plan old saline reduces psychologic woes, but being able to breathe easily certainly won’t hurt.


Katharina Harter, Gertrud Hammel, Lisa Krabiell, Birgit Linkohr, Annette Peters, Lars Schwettmann, Johannes Ring, Hamimatunnisa Johar, Karl-Heinz Ladwig, Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann. Different Psychosocial Factors Are Associated with Seasonal and Perennial Allergies in Adults: Cross-Sectional Results of the KORA FF4 Study. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1159/000499042


#Allergy #seasonalallergy #perennialallergy #anxiety #depression



Fainting While Pregnant Signals Impending Complications

Urban legend has it that fainting while pregnant is no big deal.  A study just published by Canadian cardiologists and epidemiologists finds that fainting, the common term for syncope, while pregnant is a bad prognostic sign for both the mother and her developing baby.


The researchers studied more than 480,000 babies and their mothers.   Though fainting is uncommon affecting only 1% of pregnant women, it tends to occur most often during the first trimester.  


When fainting does occur, it is associated with an increase in maternal cardiac problems and higher rates of prematurity.  Carrying and nourishing a fetus is an acknowledged strain on the mother’s cardiovascular system.


If a pregnant woman you know faints, be certain that she reports the event to her medical doctors as well as to her OBGYN.  She should then be followed more carefully throughout her pregnancy for the potential development of cardiovascular disease and fetal developmental issues.


Safia Chatur, Sunjidatul Islam, Linn E. Moore, Roopinder K. Sandhu, Robert S. Sheldon, Padma Kaul. Incidence of Syncope During Pregnancy: Temporal Trends and Outcomes. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2019; 8 (10) DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.118.011608


#Fainting #syncope #pregnancy #heartdisease #prematurity



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



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



White Coat Hypertension Is Dangerous

Those whose blood pressures jump up when they see their doctors should be treated for hypertension or face twice the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.  They also have a 33% higher incidence of death from all causes.


These conclusions come from a meta-analysis of nearly 26,000 subjects and 38,000 controls in 27 nationwide studies and just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  The good news is that those with white coat hypertension who did receive anti-hypertensive medications experienced no significant increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death.  


It was once thought that high blood pressures only in the doctors office were relatively benign.  This study dispels that myth.  Those with a tendency to toward higher blood pressures should be proactively treated to prevent such spikes.  Then, they should follow the effectiveness of their treatment by taking their own blood pressures at home.


Cardiovascular Events and Mortality in White Coat Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.


#Hypertension #whitecoathypertension #bloodpressure



Overweight Kids Will Develop High Blood Pressure

Heavy and obese 4 year olds more than double their chances of developing dangerously high blood pressures by age 6.  Spanish cardiologists followed a group of nearly 1800 4 year olds over a two year period and published their findings in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.


Those kids with new or persisting excess weight had a 2.5 higher risk of developing high blood pressure.  Obese children were 3 times more likely to suffer the same fate.  If the hypertension goes unchecked, it will lead to heart disease and stroke.


The investigators pointedly disagree with the widespread opinion among pediatricians that weight problems in kids need not be addressed until adolescence.  They firmly believe that weight surveillance is lifelong.  Furthermore it is a family affair with healthy eating and regular exercise for all.


Maira A Ortiz-Pinto, Honorato Ortiz-Marrón, Isabel Ferriz-Vidal, María V Martínez-Rubio, María Esteban-Vasallo, María Ordobás-Gavin, Iñaki Galán. Association between general and central adiposity and development of hypertension in early childhood. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2019; 204748731983926 DOI: 10.1177/2047487319839264


#Obesity #overweight #hypertension



Yogurt Prevents Bowel Polyps And Cancer

Eating yogurt twice a week lowers a man’s risk of developing adenomatous, cancer-producing polyps by 26%.   Researchers studied colonoscopy data from over 88,000 participants in the continuing Health Professionals and Nurses Health Studies.  Sadly, the data did not show any beneficial association between yogurt consumption and polyps in women.


The investigators feel that the live culture bacteria found in yogurt likely feed on the carcinogenic substances found in the gastrointestinal tract.  They also point to yogurt’s known anti-inflammatory properties as helpful in reducing colon adenoma formation.


So guys—try to enjoy several cups of yogurt a week especially if you have a personal or family history of bowel polyps or bowel cancer.


BMJ. "Yogurt may help to lower pre-cancerous bowel growth risk in men: Observed association strongest for growths highly likely to become cancerous." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2019.


#Yogurt #polyps #cancer



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



How To Calm Your Anxiety While Waiting

magine 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



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



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

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