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NOTES: HealthNews RoundUp- 1st Week of March, 2019




I’m Dr. Howard Smith, PENTA Medical Network,  reporting from NYC with the Health News Roundup for the 1st week of MARCH, 2019.  This is Health News You Should Use, the latest medical discoveries that you can use in a practical way to keep yourself and your family healthy.  


Here are the headlines for this weeks 15 top stories:

THC and not CBD Drives Most Benefit From Weed Use

Nicotine During Pregnancy Triggers Offspring ADHD

ER Visits Create Drug Dangers

Soccer May Lead To ALS

How To Get Deep, Healthy Sleep

Constant Infant Correction Sensitizes Their Brains To Anger

Music Can Block Creativity

Which Exercise Helps You Live The Longest

Smartphone Apps Can Slim You

You Night Owls Can’t Count On Weekend Catch-up Sleep

There is NO Autism Risk From MMR Vaccine

Convenience Stores Are Illegally Pedaling Cigarettes To Children

Mouthwash May Bump Up Your Blood Pressure

Cochlear Implants for Youngest Deaf Infants A Winning Strategy

TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS:  The Arts Help The Sciences


THC, CBD, Nicotine, , Erdanger, Soccer, ALS, deepsleep, parenting, music, creativity, exercise, longevity, app, dieting, sleep, vaccine, autism, vaping, cigarettes, teens, mouthwash, hypertension, cochlearimplants, deafness, arts, science, singing


THC #CBD #Nicotine # #Erdanger #Soccer #ALS #deepsleep #parenting #music #creativity #exercise #longevity #app #dieting #sleep #vaccine #autism #vaping #cigarettes #teens #mouthwash #hypertension #cochlearimplants #deafness #arts #science #singing


For more information#you’ll find all the references for the stories and a copy of show notes on my website at:


Here’s the news:

THC Drives Most Benefit From Weed Use



Of the two chief components of marijuana, the THC, the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol, appears to drive a greater overall therapeutic effect compared to CBD, the cannabidiol.  This new information comes from the University of New Mexico and studies employing the cannabis tracking smartphone app ReLeaf.


The app gathered some 20,000 user sessions over 3 years. It digitally associates relief of various symptoms with the use of particular cannabis products that each have differing THC and CBD  concentrations.   The tabulated data reveals that those products with more THC did a superior job  relieving a variety of symptoms.  The pattern of symptom relief from THC suggested that its superiority did not stem from merely getting high.


Keep in mind that everyone responds to THC ad CBD in different ways.  You should try each for any particular issue you may have.  Then you can use free app ReLeaf to determine which works best for you.


As with any drug, use weed in moderation realizing that the sometimes disorienting side effects which accompany its therapeutic magic may put you in more danger than the problem for which you are using it.


weed, cannabis, THC, CBD, pain, relaxation, ReLeaf, healthnews 

#weed, cannabis #THC #CBD #pain #relaxation #ReLeaf #healthnews 


Sarah S. Stith, Jacob M. Vigil, Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling, Branden Hall. The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39462-1



Nicotine During Pregnancy Triggers Offspring ADHD



Mothers who smoke, vape, or use oral and patch nicotine products may be exposing their unborn children to the risk of attention deficit and hyperactivity issues,ADHD, later in life.  A study from Finland just published in the journal Pediatrics studied over 1,000 children and matched controls born 10 years ago.  


The researchers studied serum samples from mothers collected during the first and second trimesters and measured the levels of cotinine, a biomarker for nicotine.  Then the mothers were divided into 3 groups according to serum nicotine levels during pregnancy.


Those mothers with the highest nicotine levels were more than 3 times more likely to have children suffering from ADHD.   Prior to this definitive study, there was no solid proof that the association was with nicotine.


If you love your children-to-be, don’t consume nicotine in any form by smoking tobacco, vaping, chewing nicotine gum, or placing patches during pregnancy.  Don’t expose your developing child to nicotine period!  Then, after you deliver, if you love your life, health, and family, don’t smoke or vape.


nicotine, cotinine, ADHD, attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder, vape, Nicolette, nicotinepatch

#nicotine #cotinine, ADHD #attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder #vape #Nicolette #nicotinepatch


Andre Sourander, Minna Sucksdorff, Roshan Chudal, Heljä-Marja Surcel, Susanna Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, David Gyllenberg, Keely Cheslack-Postava, Alan S. Brown. Prenatal Cotinine Levels and ADHD Among Offspring. Pediatrics, 2019; e20183144 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2018-3144



ER Visits Create Drug Danger



If 100 patients visit the emergency room, more than one-third of them will suffer a dangerous interaction between a medication prescribed by the ER staff and those drugs they are already taking.  This study from New Jersey’s Rutgers University sounds a warning and pinpoints those drug combinations most likely to cause issues.


Three medication combinations that resulted from an ER visit and could cause serious issues were:

  1. Oxycodone/acetaminophen, better known as the common pain med Percocet, PLUS fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or levofloxacin, (Levaquin) can together trigger seizures, delusions, and hallucinations.

  2. Percocet again PLUS the common diuretic and high blood pressure med hydrochlorthiazide can lead to blood pressure drops and a risk of falls.

  3. Lisinopril, frequently prescribed alone or with hydrochlorthiazine for high blood pressure, PLUS ibuprofen, Advil or Motrin, may cause kidney damage.


When you see any doctor but particularly one in an ER less than completely familiar with your history and medication list, be certain to review which drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, that you are taking.  The sad fact is that, by the time you are ready to leave the ER, you’ve already spent way too much time so the few additional minutes it will take to review your medications with the staff is time well spent.


druginteractions, emergencyroom, ER, ED, Percodan, lisinopril, ibuprofen, hydrochlorthiazide

#druginteractions #emergencyroom #ER #ED #Percodan, lisinopril #ibuprofen #hydrochlorthiazide


Tara Jawaro, Patrick J. Bridgeman, Jude Mele, Grant Wei. Descriptive study of drug-drug interactions attributed to prescriptions written upon discharge from the emergency department. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2019. 




Soccer May Lead To ALS



Soccer playing seems to increase the risk of developing ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is the conclusion of an Italian study that reviewed the medical records of all professional soccer players in the Italian leagues between 1959 and 2000.   Players were followed for at least 16 years after their playing days ended.


The data showed that nearly twice as many soccer players as expected  developed ALS, and nearly 5 times as many younger players 45 years or less fell ill.  The average age at ALS diagnosis in the general population is just over 62 years but the average age at which soccer players developed the disease is age 40.


Since ALS development is associated with a history of head injury, soccer heading is the likely

culprit.  Parents, please listen up!  If your child is playing soccer at any age, insist that they not do any heading.  Ask their coaches to enforce a strict no-heading rule.  


Soccer is called football in Europe and for good reason.  Ball handling should be restricted to the feet.  


Your child’s brains are worth more than some grandstanding with fancy heading during a game.  With accomplished foot-play, your team’s score may actually be higher.


Soccer, heading, head injury, ALS, amyotrophiclateralsclerosis, healthnews

#Soccer #heading #head injury #ALS #amyotrophiclateralsclerosis #healthnews



How To Get Deep, Healthy Sleep



Deep sleep, the slow wave, non-REM variety, is the best sleep for literally cleansing your brain according to a new study from the University of Rochester.  The scientists studied the effects of deep sleep in a mouse model inducing that state with the unique combination of general anesthetics ketamine and xylazine.


The combination of deep slow wave sleep and the low level cardiovascular activity that accompanies it triggers the so-called glymphatic system, the brain’s unique plumbing apparatus that flushes waste from our brain cells.  This essential purging fails to occur during sleep deprivation and is also less likely to occur as we age when it becomes more difficult to achieve deep sleep.   


Other studies suggest that the onset of Alzheimer’s is associated with less deep sleep and this may be due to poor glymphatic system activity.


You can help yourself get deep sleep at any age with the following tips.  Before bedtime: no eating, caffeinated beverages, exercise, blue light exposure.  While you sleep: keep room cool @ 60-68 degF; keep your nose clear with saline mist; keep air humidified.  Always: maintaining a regular wake-sleep schedule.



deepsleep, nonREMsleep, slowwavesleep, braincleansing, sleepdeficit, glymphatic,

#deepsleep #nonREMsleep #slowwavesleep #braincleansing #sleepdeficit #glymphatic

University of Rochester Medical Center. "Not all sleep is equal when it comes to cleaning the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily #27 February 2019. <>.




Constant Infant Correction Sensitizes The Brain To Anger



If a parent constantly corrects an infant, that child’s brain becomes more sensitive to angry vocalizations.  Investigators at Britain’s University of Manchester studied 40 six month old infants and their mothers utilizing the novel neuroimaging technique of Near Infrared Spectroscopy.  This permits the study of a baby’s brain activation by maternal vocalizations without the noise of MRI.


Infants as young as 6 months can differentiate happy and unhappy vocal rhythms.  The researchers found that those babies whose mothers repeatedly corrected them developed nerve networks that preferentially respond to angry vocalizations.


This study underscores the exquisite sensitivity of infant humans.  Parents need to monitor their own and each other’s interactions with their children and realize how much their behavior imprints their offspring in both negative as well as positive ways.  


Good parenting is creating a safe, happy environment for your child by constructing boundaries in a playful and positive manner.


anger, parentalcorrections, happy, helicopterparenting

#anger #parentalcorrections #happy #helicopterparenting


Chen Zhao, Georgia Chronaki, Ingo Schiessl, Ming Wai Wan, Kathryn M. Abel. Is infant neural sensitivity to vocal emotion associated with mother-infant relational experience? PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (2): e0212205 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212205



Music Can Block Creativity



It’s generally thought that background music stirs creativity.  Not so says a study from several universities in the UK and Sweden just published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.


A total of 84 university students and staff were presented with tests of creative ability, so-called Compound Remote Associate Tasks or CRAT for short.  Subjects were exposed to instrumental music only, songs with completely unfamiliar foreign language lyrics, or hit songs with familiar lyrics.  The control sounds were library background buzz and absolute quiet.


The study results showed that the familiar songs with lyrics negatively impacted creativity the most followed by instrumentals and then foreign language songs.  Test performances were the same in absolute silence and in the low din of the library.


The researchers hypothesize that the changing state of sound is most responsible for reducing creativity as the music reduces the performance of verbal working memory.  I personally love listening to music while writing.  If you do too, we may both be blunting our creative energies.  Some sacrifices are worth making, but knowledge is power.


creativity, distraction, insight, music, quiet, healthnews 

#creativity #distraction #insight #music #quiet #healthnews 


Emma Threadgold, John E. Marsh, Neil McLatchie, Linden J. Ball. Background music stints creativity: Evidence from compound remote associate tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/acp.3532




Which Exercise Helps You Live The Longest



You and I have talked many times about the fact that exercise, almost any exercise other than reaching for a donut, will help you live longer.  Now a study from Denmark published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings pinpoints just which forms of exercise will add extra years to your life.


The investigators reviewed data from more than 8500 participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study.  Although 12% of that group were total couch potatoes, 75% of those remaining participated in at least one form of physical activity.


When the data was tallied, it turns out that playing tennis seems to add the most extra years to your life at nearly 10 years.  Following that we have badminton at 6 years, soccer at nearly 5 years, cycling at nearly 4 years, swimming, jogging, and calisthenics at 3 years.   Bringing up the rear was health club exercise at 1.5 years.  Remember that this study merely reports an association between longer life and different types of recreational activity.


It appears that social interaction as well as aerobic activity adds the most years.  Exercising with others may well be the most beneficial as it not only burns calories but it may curb stress.


exercise, sports, longevity, tennis, badminton, soccer, cycling, swimming, jogging, healthnews

#exercise #sports #longevity #tennis #badminton #soccer #cycling #swimming #jogging #healthnews




Smartphone Apps Can Slim You




Don’t have the time or money for commercial weight loss schemes with their complicated diet plans, pre-packaged food, and embarrassing group weight-ins?   Downloading any one of a number of free apps for your smartphone will help you lose weight and keep it off simply and cheaply.


Psychologists at Duke studied one hundred plus eager young and middle-aged adults.  They showed them how to use their phones and a free app called MyFitnessPal to track their food intake and weight on a daily basis for a three month period.  The app kept the participants engaged by prompting them to record their data and to read transmitted emails detailing tips for healthy eating.


Those who were diligent lost about a half pound a week over the 12 weeks.  The best part is that they were able to keep the weight off.   Although the half pound a week is only half the maximum recommended maximal rate of weight loss, the method is easy, free, and effective.


If you let your phone be your Jiminy Cricket, you can lose those extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight without emptying your wallet.


dieting, smartphone, phoneapp, calorietracking, weight, weightloss, healthnews

#dieting #smartphone #phoneapp #calorietracking #weight #weightloss #healthnews


Michele L Patel, Christina M Hopkins, Taylor L Brooks, Gary G Bennett. Comparing Self-Monitoring Strategies for Weight Loss in a Smartphone App: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 2019; 7 (2): e12209 DOI: 10.2196/12209




Night Owls Can’t Count On Weekend Catch-up Sleep



If you burn your candle at both ends during the week and think that you can catch up on sleep over the weekend, think again!  A study from the University of Colorado shows that you won’t catch up on sleep and that your irregular sleep pattern will torpedo your glucose metabolism and internal time clock.


The study assigned health young adults to one of three groups: a group with only 5 hours of sleep at night with no weekend catch-up; a group with only 5 hours of sleep for 5 nights followed by the chance to snooze forever on the weekend; and a control group who slept 9 hours each night.  The researchers studied the subjects’ sleep patterns via sleep studies, their weight gain, insulin sensitivity, and body circadian rhythms.


The results revealed that the sleep-deprived group only recaptured a little more than one hour of the more than 12 hours of lost sleep when they were able to sleep in over the weekend.  Of even more importance, they could never recapture all the lost critical deep or slow wave sleep.  They gained more weight than the well-rested group and suffered reduced insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes.


So..... to avoid flogging your body, try to get 8 or 9 hours of sleep a day on a regular basis.  Those weekend hours on the couch won’t repay your sleep debt, and they rob your loved ones of your sterling presence.


sleepdeprivation, weekendsleep, insulinsensitivity, deepsleep, healthnews 

#sleepdeprivation #weekendsleep #insulinsensitivity #deepsleep #healthnews


Christopher M. Depner, Edward L. Melanson, Robert H. Eckel, Janet K. Snell-Bergeon, Leigh Perreault, Bryan C. Bergman, Janine A. Higgins, Molly K. Guerin, Ellen R. Stothard, Sarah J. Morton, Kenneth P. Wright. Ad libitum Weekend Recovery Sleep Fails to Prevent Metabolic Dysregulation during a Repeating Pattern of Insufficient Sleep and Weekend Recovery Sleep. Current Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.01.069



No Autism Risk From MMR Vaccine



Ok anti-vaxxers, listen up!  The MMR vaccine that protects your children against the ravages of measles, mumps, and rubella does not, let me repeat, DOES NOT not increase your child’s risk of autism.


A huge study of more than 600,000 Danish children and more than 5 million person-years of surveillance revealed that vaccinated children were actually 7% less likely to develop autism compared with unvaccinated kids.


What more can I say.  There is no compelling evidence than this or any other vaccine currently available and recommended by public health officials can do anything but protect your child and protect your community by preventing the transmission of disease to others whose immunity may be impaired due to illness or age.


autism, vaccine, MMR, measles, mumps, rubella, vaccinesafety, healthnews

#autism #vaccine #MMR, measles #mumps #rubella #vaccinesafety #healthnews


Anders Hviid, Jørgen Vinsløv Hansen, Morten Frisch, Mads Melbye. Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.7326/M18-2101


Saad B. Omer, Inci Yildirim. Further Evidence of MMR Vaccine Safety: Scientific and Communications Considerations. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.7326/M19-0596



Convenience Stores Illegally Pedaling Cigarettes To Children



There’s a national campaign to stop children from smoking or vaping, and the FDA now announces that many, MANY retail outlets are simply not doing their part.  The federal watchdog agency regularly inspects these establishments, issues warnings to violators, and eventually triggers the prosecution of scofflaws.


Let’s look at the perp list.  In terms of percentage of stores in violation, the petroleum company stores including Exxon-Mobil, Citgo, Sunoco, BP, and Marathon top the list at about 40% unlawfully selling these dangerous and addictive products to our kids.  The largest drug store chain illegally selling is Walgreen’s-Duane Reade, and 22% of their outlets were caught.  About 20% of Walmart, Family Dollar, Kroger, and Circle K stores were selling to kids and violating the law.


We the public can stop these national companies from preying on our children.  Go on social media and barrage these companies’ accounts with your anger.  Also, complain about company policies to your local stores even if they themselves weren’t cited. 


We all know the evils of tobacco as a carcinogen and killer of lung function, but we are only just learning about the toxicity of vaping and the role of e-cigarettes as gateways to cigarettes.  Pushing nicotine, a drug as addictive as heroin and a habit as as difficult to kick, is simply criminal and not worthy of our nation.


tobacco, cigarettes, ecigarettes, vaping, conveniencestores, drugstores, healthnews

#tobacco #cigarettes #ecigarettes #vaping #conveniencestores #drugstores #healthnews



Mouthwash May Bump Up Your Blood Pressure



Using popular mouthwashes may cause your blood pressure to jump up significantly.  Dentists and cardiologists at the University of Texas report that the antibacterial agent in mouthwash, chlorhexidine, prevents the normal oral bacteria from metabolizing ingested nitrates into the nitric oxide that plays a key role in normalizing blood pressure.


The investigators recruited subjects from the faculty, staff, and student populations in order to study their oral bacteria, oral nitrites, and blood pressures before, during, and after their use of mouthwash.  The subjects used Peridex mouthwash twice daily for 7 days.


Use of the mouthwash and tongue cleaning significantly elevated both the systolic and the diastolic blood pressures as it depressed counts of oral bacteria and the concentration of nitric oxide.  Parameters returned to baseline 3 days following mouthwash discontinuation.


This study is an additional reason why so-called therapeutic mouthwashes containing anti-bacterial agents should be avoided except on the express recommendation of your dentist or periodontist.


mouthwash, chlorhexidine, nitric oxide, hypertension, healthnews

#mouthwash #chlorhexidine #nitricoxide #hypertension #healthnews





Tribble GD, Angelov N, Weltman R, Wang B-Y, Eswaran SV, Gay IC, Parthasarathy K, Dao D-HV, Richardson KN, Ismail NM, Sharina IG, Hyde ER, Ajami NJ, Petrosino JF and Bryan NS (2019) Frequency of Tongue Cleaning Impacts the Human Tongue Microbiome Composition and Enterosalivary Circulation of Nitrate. Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 9:39. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00039




Cochlear Implants for Youngest Deaf Infants A Winning Strategy



The earlier a deaf child regains sensitivity to sounds, the greater are the chances for that child to master spoken language.  Ear surgeons and audiologists at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital report their experience with 219 severely hearing-challenged children undergoing implantation of so-called bionic ears before 3 years of age.


Of the group, some 39 infants received their cochlear implants before the age of 12 months.  These early implanted babies as a group tolerated the surgery well and showed spectacular progress with their language acquisition.  


They developed the ability to understand spoken words one year earlier than children implanted after 18 to 24 months of age.  In contrast, children implanted after 2 years of age were less likely to completely master verbal language and required gestural or sign language.


Every state now has universal hearing screening to promptly identify the 1 plus kids in 1000 with significant hearing loss.  The earlier a child’s hearing can be brought to a useful level with medical therapy, hearing aids, or surgery that may include a cochlear implant, the greater is the opportunity for that child to develop useful communication skills.


Currently, cochlear implants are only approved for children 12 months or older.  Studies such as this one will allow us to push the envelope and improve the chances that every child born with a hearing loss will develop skills on a par with their normal hearing classmates.


deafness, cochlearimplant, hearing, verballanguage, signlanguage,  hearingaids, healthnews

#deafness #cochlearimplant #hearing #verballanguage, signlanguage # hearingaids #healthnews


Hoff, Stephen Ryan, Maura, Thomas, Denise, Tournis, Elizabeth, Kenny, Hannah, Hajduk, John, Young, Nancy M. Safety and Effectiveness of Cochlear Implantation of Young Children, Including Those With Complicating Conditions. Otology and Neurotology, 2019 DOI: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000002156




TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS:  The Arts Help The Sciences



From the “spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” department, Johns Hopkins School of Education reports that the fusion of contemporary arts such as dancing, singing, rapping, and drawing into traditional science lessons increases student interest and retention of the subject matter.  The educators studied some 350 5th grade students in 6 Baltimore schools.


In this crossover study design, one group of students received the arts-enriched science class and the other group the straight science curriculum.  In the second part of the investigation, the groups were reversed.


The data demonstrated that the art-science combo lessons covering chemistry-environmental science and life science-astronomy were retained three times better than straight science instruction by those students at a basic reading level.  Those students with more advanced reading skills and academic performance derived no benefit.  I’ll bet they did have more fun.


Breathing life into potentially dry educational material on any subject is a winning strategy.  This study also suggests that the technique can help academically challenged students excel in potentially frustrating courses of study and love school a whole lot more.


science, arts, singing, dancing, rap, drawing, healthnews

#science #arts #singing #dancing #rap #drawing #healthnews



Mariale M. Hardiman, Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull, Deborah T. Carran, Amy Shelton. The effects of arts-integrated instruction on memory for science content. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 2019; 14: 25 DOI: 10.1016/j.tine.2019.02.002




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