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HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of March, 2019




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


Toxins At Home And In Food Can Make You Sterile

Raw Dog Food Contains Dangerous Bacteria

Mediterranean Diet Turbocharges You In Just Days

Young Women Need Better Lipid Screening

Childbirth In the 50s Can Be As Safe As In The 40s

Pregnancy Infections May Trigger Autism and Depression

Vaping Triggers Heart Attacks and Strokes

Bosses Who Bully Kill Their Own Bottom Lines

Environmental Music Synchronizes Everyone’s Brainwaves

New Immunotherapy For Advanced Breast Cancer

Snoring And Sleep Apnea Linked to Young Athletes’ Sudden Death

Napping Controls Blood Pressure

Infants Distinguish Family From Strangers By Laughter

Hookah Smoking Is Even More Dangerous Than Cigarettes

TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS: Checkout Guy Fulfills Special Needs Child’s Dream



DEHP, PCB, sperm, fertility, dogfood, ecoli, salmonella, campylobacter, Mediterraneandiet, running, lipidscreening, oldermother, autism, depression, vaping, heartattack, stroke, bullies, bosses, music, immunotherapy, breastcancer, snoring, apnea, napping, hypertension, laughter, hookah, smoking, cigarettes, grocerybagging


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:


Toxins At Home Can Make You Sterile

Listen up men.  Two chemicals that can damage your sperm and your ability to father a normal child are lurking in and around your home.   A study just published by England’s University of Nottingham shows that the plasticizer DEHP and the industrial chemical PCB153 both reduce the motility and increase the level of DNA damage of sperm exposed to them in the test tube.


DEHP is found in carpets, linoleum flooring, upholstery, clothing, and even children’s toys.  Although PCB use was banned in the US more than 40 years ago, these chemicals degrade so slowly that they remain in many structures and in the soil on which we all walk and play.


Male fertility is on the decline, and sperm samples from around the world demonstrate a 50% reduction in quality over the past 80 years.  If you are trying to father a child, avoid drinking from plastic containers or wearing plastic clogs that contain the organic compounds DEHP, PCBs, or BPAs.   To maintain your reproductive health, drink from glass or aluminum containers and wear leather sandals.  See that your kids do the same.


DEHP, PCB, sperm, fertility, plastic, clogs

#DEHP #PCB #sperm #fertility #plastic #clogs


Rebecca N. Sumner, Mathew Tomlinson, Jim Craigon, Gary C. W. England, Richard G. Lea. Independent and combined effects of diethylhexyl phthalate and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 on sperm quality in the human and dog. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39913-9



Raw Dog Food Contains Dangerous Bacteria

Raw dog food is becoming quite the rage.  A study just published in the British Medical Journal’s Veterinary Record reveals that raw dog food from 10 different sources contains dangerous levels of E.coli and other fecal bacteria, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridia.


Raw pet food is prepared from miscellaneous body parts and organs that are a byproduct of slaughtering cattle, chickens, sheep, turkeys, pigs, ducks, salmon, and even reindeer.  The raw meat is not heat treated or freeze-dried to kill bacterial contaminants but rather only packaged and fresh frozen.  This type of simple freezing fails to kill many bacteria.


The bacteria in these products can easily pass to you and to your children.  If you choose to feed it to your poor dog and risk making the animal sick, keep the raw dog food frozen until just before using it, keep it far away from your own food,, and handle it with separate kitchen equipment while you wear gloves.


If you really want to give your doggie a treat, cut that oversized slice of beef your are about to consume in a restaurant and save it for Rover.  Both of you will be healthier.


Rawmeat, Ecoli, fecalcontaminants, salmonella, campylobacter, clostridia,

#Rawmeat #Ecoli #fecalcontaminants #salmonella #campylobacter #clostridia,


Josefin Hellgren, Lovisa Staaf Hästö, Camilla Wikström, Lise-Lotte Fernström, Ingrid Hansson. Occurrence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium and Enterobacteriaceae in raw meat-based diets for dogs. Veterinary Record, 2019; vetrec-2018-105199 DOI: 10.1136/vr.105199



Mediterranean Diet Turbocharges In Just Days

Want to boost your long distance running performance in only 4 days?  Get yourself on the Mediterranean Diet says investigators from St. Louis University.


They studied 11 male and female 5K runners giving each 4 days of the Mediterranean Diet or 4 days of the typical Western Diet before they ran the 5K on a treadmill.  Consuming the Mediterranean Diet with its fruits, veggies, nuts, olive oil and whole grains pumped the runners performance up by a consistent 6 percent compared with their times after consuming the Western Diet’s red meats, processed meats, dairy, refined sugar, and fats.  


The researchers attribute the performance boost to the Mediterranean Diet’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Just be aware that these advantages are quickly lost after stopping the diet.


If you want top performance from your body in so many challenging situations, not just in running, eat the fruits and vegetables that your body craves and treat the offerings of the typical Western diet as special treats or desserts.


MediterraneanDiet, WesternDiet, 5Krun

#MediterraneanDiet #WesternDiet #5Krun


Michelle E. Baker, Kristen N. DeCesare, Abby Johnson, Kathleen S. Kress, Cynthia L. Inman, Edward P. Weiss. Short-Term Mediterranean Diet Improves Endurance Exercise Performance: A Randomized-Sequence Crossover Trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2019.1568322




Young Women Need Better Lipid Screening

Nearly eighty percent of young women have never had a check of their cholesterol and other lipid levels.  This is the finding of a study by University of Pennsylvania cardiologists after reviewing the records of more than 5,000 women admitted to the UPenn hospital for childbirth.


The current American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines recommend that all adults 20 years or older have regular lipid screening.  Furthermore, they suggest a spot check once around age 10 and another around age 18.  If there is a family history of a lipid disorder, even younger children should also have a cholesterol check between the ages of 2 and 10 years.


One in every three American adults does have elevated cholesterol, a condition that lacks any symptoms until it may be too late.  To catch and treat this condition before the inevitable heart attack or stroke, the UPenn cardiologists recommend that every woman should have a lipid test as she enters her prenatal care.  


I’d add that her significant other, the prospective dad, should also visit his doctor and have the cholesterol and lipid testing done as part of a general checkup.  Both parents-to-be are about to run a 21 year plus marathon, need to be in optimal health, and need to stay alive to guide and enjoy the child they are about to bring into the world.


Cholesterol, lipid, pregnancy, heartattack, stroke

#Cholesterol #lipid #pregnancy #heartattack #stroke


American College of Cardiology. "Women of childbearing age have staggeringly low rates of lipid screening: OB/GYNs may be key to getting more women screened." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2019.



Childbirth In the 50s As Safe As In The 40s

Obstetricians at Israel’s Ben Gurion University now proclaim that “50 is the new 40 when it comes to childbirth!”  They studied more than 8,000 pregnant women 40 years and above.


The data revealed that complications such as premature birth, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and a need for c-section were no higher for those in their 50s compared with mothers in their 40s.  They do however consider all pregnancies in women 40 or older to be high risk with a need for careful followup of blood sugars and blood pressures.


This is all well and good, but just because it’s possible for parents to have a child when they are over 50 doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.  Raising children requires lots of energy and lots of money.  


Couples in their 50s may have both, but they don’t have the 30 to 40 years that couples in their 20s and 30s have before they reach an age when their bodies and minds are entering the relaxation mode.  


Children need guidance throughout their and their parents’ lives.  Parents should begin that journey at a time that permits full participation in their lives for as long as possible.


50s, 40s, childbirth, olderparenting

#50s #40s #childbirth #olderparenting


American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "50 is the new 40 for safe childbirth?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2019.



Pregnancy Infections May Trigger Autism and Depression

Children of mothers who suffered a serious infection during pregnancy have a higher risk of autism and depression.  This is the result of a study looking at some 1.8 million Swedish children that was just published in JAMA Psychiatry.


For those mothers who required inpatient therapy for infection during their pregnancies,  their children had a 79% higher risk of autism and a 24% higher risk of depression.  There was no higher risk of other psychiatric problems including bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.


This study only demonstrates an association without explaining why it happens.  It is a powerful reminder that women and their partners during the childbearing years should be fully vaccinated against all infections.  It is ironic that anti-vaxxer pregnant women may be giving birth to children at higher risk for autism.


Maternalinfection, vaccination, autism, depression

#Maternalinfection #vaccination #autism #depression



Benjamin J. S. al-Haddad, Bo Jacobsson, Shilpi Chabra, Dominika Modzelewska, Erin M. Olson, Raphael Bernier, Daniel A. Enquobahrie, Henrik Hagberg, Svante Östling, Lakshmi Rajagopal, Kristina M. Adams Waldorf, Verena Sengpiel. Long-term Risk of Neuropsychiatric Disease After Exposure to Infection In Utero. JAMA Psychiatry, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0029




Vaping Triggers Heart Attacks and Stokes

E-cigarettes, touted as being safer than tobacco cigarettes, seem to trigger heart attacks and strokes.  This is the conclusion of research from the University of Kansas that studied nearly 100,000 Americans.  It was presented recently at this year’s meeting of the American College of Cardiology.


Those who vape are 56% more likely to suffer a heart attack, 30% more likely to have a stroke, and 55% more likely to be depressed or at least anxious.   E-cigarettes also expose users to as much or more of the highly addictive drug nicotine compared with conventional cigarettes.


Proponents of vaping claim that e-cigarette users can avoid tobacco’s carcinogenic tars.  Studies are now showing that the flavorings added to the liquid nicotine are themselves toxic and carcinogenic.  


Worse yet, manufacturers of the nearly 500 brands of e-cigarettes are following the tobacco companies’ evil playbook and marketing these devices to children and adolescents.  The bottom line is that anything you put in your mouth that has fumes coming from it is dangerous.


Vaping, heartattack, stroke, depression, ecigarettes, nicotine

#Vaping #heartattack #stroke #depression #ecigarettes #nicotine


American College of Cardiology. "E-cigarettes linked to heart attacks, coronary artery disease and depression: Data reveal toll of vaping; researchers say switching to e-cigarettes doesn't eliminate health risks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2019.




Bosses Who Bully Kill Their Own Bottom Lines

Abusive bosses who rule with a heavy hand are managing their own failure.  This is the conclusion of a 427 study meta-analysis completed by researchers at Portland State University and published in the Journal of Management.


Managers perceived as unfair, unhelpful, and impersonal trigger counterproductive and passive-aggressive work behaviors including work slow-downs, delayed arrivals in the morning,  extended breaks during the work day, calling-in sick, and frank workplace sabotage.  Obnoxious leaders create a toxic work environment, staff stress, and departures of valuable team members.


The most successful managers walk around the workplaces to kindle personal work relationships with their staff.  Once bosses know their subordinates as people, they can better function as facilitators to help everyone on the team shine and in so doing burnish their own reputations.


Managers, bullies, sabotage, toxicenvironment, 


Yucheng Zhang, Xin Liu, Shan Xu, Liu-Qin Yang, Timothy C. Bednall. Why Abusive Supervision Impacts Employee OCB and CWB: A Meta-Analytic Review of Competing Mediating Mechanisms. Journal of Management, 2019; 014920631882393 DOI: 10.1177/0149206318823935



Environmental Music Synchronizes Everyone’s Brainwaves

Music can keep groups of people engaged by synchronizing and pacing their brainwaves, but not all types of music has this effect.  Engineers at the City College of New York studied the neural responses of audiences in response to various forms of music.


Their research shows that unfamiliar scores synchronize communal brains most effectively, and the positive effects recur even with repetition.  On the other hand, familiar pieces failed to drive audience brain synch even with repetition.   Music-induced brain synch does work best for those audiences with some pre-formed appreciation for music.


Speaking as a surgeon, I’ve always found that music in the operating room helped to establish an efficient yet safe work pace.   Relying on my team to help choose the music reduced stress and optimized group satisfaction.


Music, audiences, engagement, brainsynchronization, musicappreciation

#Music #audiences #engagement #brainsynchronization #musicappreciation


Jens Madsen, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Rhimmon Simchy-Gross, Lucas C. Parra. Music synchronizes brainwaves across listeners with strong effects of repetition, familiarity and training. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-40254-w




New Immunotherapy For Advanced Breast Cancer

The FDA now announces approval of a new immunotherapy agent for treatment of so-called triple negative breast cancer that is either locally advanced or has already spread to other body organs.  Triple negative breast cancer, notoriously difficult to treat, has cells that lack any of the three cell receptors which facilitate the effectiveness of traditional hormonal- and chemo- therapy.  


The drug is the checkpoint inhibitor atezolizmumab, branded as Tecentriq by Genentech.  It received an accelerated thumbs up by the FDA on a compassionate basis.  It must be used in conjunction with the chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel.


Preliminary studies of this combo therapy demonstrated that breast cancer patients whose tumors lack estrogen, progesterone, and growth factor receptors but do have the PD-L1 receptor and therefore were eligible for immunotherapy plus chemotherapy lived 60% longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone.


As these results are only preliminary but very promising.  If you or someone you know has advanced breast cancer, suggest that they ask their oncologist about Tecentriq.


BreastCA, triplenegative, immunotherapy, atezolizmumab, Tecentriq, PD-L1

#BreastCA #triplenegative #immunotherapy #atezolizmumab #Tecentriq #PD-L1



Snoring And Sleep Apnea May Lead to Young Athletes’ Sudden Death

Stocky, young athletes often experience disordered sleep snd breathing patterns that could predispose them to heart attack and sudden death.  Exercise scientists from Japan’s Showa University explored this situation by studying 42 male rugby players 18-19 years of age.


After formal sleep studies were completed, 43% of the players experienced significant sleep disordered breathing with snoring, dangerous pauses in their breathing, higher than normal heart rates, and lower than normal oxygen levels.  Further studies of these athletes’ hearts revealed rhythm abnormalities suggesting they had potentially lethal cardiac damage already.


If you have a teen or a spouse, male or female,  “sawing wood at night,” don’t ignore it.  Push for a formal sleep study to determine if the noisy breathing is accompanied by dangerous oxygen level dips and heart rate abnormalities.


Snoring, apnea, hypoxia, sleepdisorderedbreathing, teens, athletes

#Snoring #apnea #hypoxia #sleepdisorderedbreathing #teens #athletes


Yoshitaka Iso, Hitomi Kitai, Etsushi Kyuno, Fumiyoshi Tsunoda, Naoya Nishinaka, Masahiko Funato, Eiichi Nishimura, Shuichi Akihiro, Hiroyuki Tanuma, Toru Yonechi, Eiichi Geshi, Takeyuki Sambe, Hiroshi Suzuki. Prevalence and significance of sleep disordered breathing in adolescent athletes. ERJ Open Research, 2019; 5 (1): 00029-2019 DOI: 10.1183/23120541.00029-2019



Napping Controls Blood Pressure

A one-hour midday nap can help you control your blood pressure as well as taking medications or changing your diet.  Greek cardiologists will be presenting their data demonstrating this effect next week at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Sessions.


The researchers studied more than 200 middle aged subjects comparing the blood pressures of those who napped with those who did not.  The napping group enjoyed an average of 5 mmHg lower systolic pressure and an average of 3 mmHg lower diastolic pressure.  These numbers don’t sound impressive but they are.


A midday napping “reset” relaxes both the cardiovascular system and the brain.  A regular nap certainly beat popping blood pressure pills or disgusting, restrictive diets.


Napping, hypertension, diet, stress

#Napping #hypertension #diet #stress


American College of Cardiology. "A nap a day keeps high blood pressure at bay: Catching some midday shut-eye linked to similar drops in blood pressure seen with other lifestyle changes, some medications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2019.




Infants Distinguish Family From Strangers By Laughter

Young infants use the quality of laughter they hear to help them separate family and friend from stranger danger.  A joint study by communication psychologists at New York University and UCLA concludes that babies as young as 5 months of age can detect social relationships by decoding the sounds of laughter.


Using both audio and video experiments, the investigators showed that these infants could distinguish between the laughter of friends and strangers with visual or with only audio cues.  The babies definitely preferred listening to the laughter of friends.


When the sounds did not match the video as would be case when the the infants heard friend laughter but saw strangers, the babies acted somewhat puzzled and continued listening to decode the situation.


This research once again shows just how perceptive young infants can be.  As parents, we need to be sensitive to their skills and needs by populating their world with consistent happiness and security.


Laughter, friends, strangers, colaughter, infants

#Laughter #friends #strangers #colaughter #infants


Athena Vouloumanos, Gregory A. Bryant. Five-month-old infants detect affiliation in colaughter. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-38954-4



Hookah Smoking More Dangerous Than Cigarettes

Hookah smoking is considered safe and fun.  It attracts teens and young adults by the droves.   This cavalier attitude is drawing alarm from the American Heart Association, and it is time to set the record straight.


Water pipe smoking is industrial strength tobacco smoking.  A one hour hookah session exposes the smoker to the nicotine and tar equivalent of 100 cigarettes.


Then consider the additional dangers.  The flavoring chemicals added to the tobacco mix themselves have toxicity.  Then we have the charcoal that is used to burn the flavored tobacco that adds its own carcinogens and carbon monoxide.   Beyond that, you can contract a nasty infection from the shared mouthpiece.


Here’s the hooker: the water through which the smoke bubbles cools the smoke but does not filter the toxic chemicals.


Hookah smoking is popular because it is a social activity and seems cool.  Pass on this information to your teens so that they understand the risks to the heart and lungs from hookah as well as e-cigarette vaping and tobacco smoking.


Hookah, tobacco, nicotine, charcoal, carbonmonoxide, carcinogens

#Hookah #tobacco #nicotine #charcoal #carbonmonoxide #carcinogens



TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS: Checkout Guy Fulfills Special Needs Child’s Dream

Nine year old Lilly has special needs.  She is intrigued by bagging at the grocery store and loves seeing how the various packages fit together in any given bag just like a puzzle.


On a recent trip to the market with her mom, she was eyeing the bags when cashier Isaac Witte asked her if she would like to help him bag.  She was delighted and did a magnificent job not just helping but literally bagging all the groceries.  Her mom videoed the entire episode.


When Lilly finished, she gazed back at Isaac smiling and gushed “I love you.”  Later, she and mom returned to the store to give Isaac a handmade thank you card.  While there, the store manager added to the magic by telling Lilly that once she turned 16, she would have a job at the store.



That’s health news you should use.  Thanks for listening and special thanks to those who are following my reports on social media.  If you like what you see and hear, share with your friends and followers.  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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