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HealthNews RoundUp - 4th Week of May, 2019



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

IVF and Heart Failure During Pregnancy 

Weed Use In Adolescence Numbs The Adult Brain

Overweight Teen Boys Risk Later Heart Failure

Premies Brains Develop Better To Music

Calling Addiction A Disease Harms Those Fighting It

Links Between Allergy and Mental Illness

If It Feels Like A Heart Attack….Better Get Help

Fainting While Pregnant Signals Impending Complications

Exercise Your Placenta

Timeout For Healing Needed Following Knee Surgery

Low Birthweight Infants Suffer Adult Lung Problems

Obese Kids Develop Early Arterial Disease

Reading To Toddlers Improves Their Behavior and Yours

Freezing Testicular Tissue For Boys With Cancer

Hookahs Heated Electrically No Safer


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


#IVF #assistedreproduction #heartfailure #peripartumcardiomyopathy #obstetrics #womenshealth #Marijuana #adolescence #teens #memory #decisionmaking #selfcontrol #Premies #music #flute #harp #bells #neuraldevelopment #Addiction #selfhelp #counseling #substanceabuse #Allergy #seasonalallergy #perennialallergy #anxiety #depression #Heartattack #delay #actionparalysis #cardiology #ACLrepair #orthopedics #sportsmedicine #parenting #Exercise #placenta #obstetrics #womenshealth #Premies #lowbirthweight #BPD #COPD  #Obesity #arterialstiffening #hypertension #cholesterol #parenting #Sperm #testiculartissue #malefertility #menhealth #urology #cancer #Hookah #electricwaterpipe #charcoalwaterpipe #nicotine



Here is the news:

IVF and Heart Failure During Pregnancy

Women who use assisted reproduction techniques including in-vitro fertilization and intracystoplasmic sperm injection are 5 times more likely to suffer pregnancy-associated heart failure.  This conclusion comes from a study at Germany’s Hannover Medical School presented last week to the European Society of Cardiology.


This pregnancy-associated heart failure is due to so-called peripartum cardiomyopathy or PPCM, and this condition affects one in every 1000 pregnant women around the world.  It threatens the life of mother and baby alike.  Assisted reproduction is now added to known risk factors including twin pregnancy, many past pregnancies, very young or very old mothers, obesity, and substance abuse.


PPCM is heralded by shortness of breath, leg edema and swelling, and excessive nighttime urination.  Since these same symptoms are all too common during the late third trimester, the study authors suggest that all women who conceive with medical help have a cardiology consultation and an echocardiogram shortly before their due date or just after delivery.


European Society of Cardiology. "In vitro fertilization linked to deadly heart disease in pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2019.


IVF, assistedreproduction, heartfailure, peripartumcardiomyopathy, obstetrics, womenshealth

#IVF #assistedreproduction #heartfailure #peripartumcardiomyopathy #obstetrics #womenshealth



Weed Use In Adolescence Numbs The Brain

Marijuana is legal throughout Canada, and a study just presented to the Canadian Neuroscience Meeting shows that teens regularly using it suffer impairment of their memory, decision-making, and impulsivity-control skills.


Neuroscientists at The University of  Montreal studied over 3800 teens entering high school and followed them during the subsequent 4 years tabulating their cannabis and alcohol use while assessing their cognitive functions.  They documented deficits in memory recall, reasoning, and self-control in weed-using students that did not appear in students preferentially using alcohol recreationally.


Urban legend has it that marijuana is safer than alcohol.  Studies such as this indicate that the jury remains out on this issue.  


Canadian Association for Neuroscience. "Growing up high: Neurobiological consequences of adolescent cannabis use: Canadian neuroscientists offer insights into the long-term effects of adolescent cannabis use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2019.


Marijuana, adolescence, teens, memory, decisionmaking, selfcontrol

#Marijuana #adolescence #teens #memory #decisionmaking #selfcontrol



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

#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

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



Calling Addiction A Disease Harms Those Fighting It

Calling addictive substance abuse a disease negatively impacts the addicts’ efforts to get sober.  This is the conclusion of a study from the University of North Carolina just published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.


The researchers studied 214 men and women with substance abuse problems.  One group received growth mindset messaging and the control group received addiction as a disease messaging.  


The growth message was a positive one that addicts can employ multiple strategies to combat their propensity to use.  It empowered those receiving it to seek help.  In contrast, the disease messaging tended to paralyze addicts efforts to stop and suggested that conquering the addictive behavior may be nearly impossible.


If you or someone you know is addicted to any substance or negative behavior, encourage them to think positively about their self-help capabilities and urge them to get professional help.


Jeni L. Burnette, Rachel B. Forsyth, Sarah L. Desmarais, Crystal L. Hoyt. Mindsets of Addiction: Implications for Treatment Intentions. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 2019; 38 (5): 367 DOI: 10.1521/jscp.2019.38.5.367


Addiction, selfhelp, counseling, substanceabuse

#Addiction #selfhelp #counseling #substanceabuse



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

#Allergy #seasonalallergy #perennialallergy #anxiety #depression



If It Feels Like A Heart Attack.... Get Help

Those with tell-tale heart attack symptoms wait on average 3 hours before seeking emergency help.  That shocking statistic comes from a study by Swedish cardiologists at the Karolinska University Hospital that investigated the reasons for such a life-threatening delay.


Their study followed 326 patients having either a first or a second heart attack.  Some reported waiting more than 12 up to 24 hours after the onset of symptoms due to what they describe as a paralysis to act on the symptoms.  


Many rationalized that the severe and persisting chest, arm, and shoulder pains for more than 15 minutes they well knew were signs of impending disaster would pass by themselves.  They didn’t think that their symptoms warranted an ambulance trip to the hospital.


This is the first study to identify that action immobilization occurs in heart attack victims.   The authors emphasize that a feeling of paralysis to act can be added to the known heart attack symptoms of left-sided chest pain, arm pain, shoulder pain, and sometimes upper abdominal pain.  When you notice these symptoms, act at once to get help.


Carolin Nymark, Peter Henriksson, Anne-Cathrine Mattiasson, Fredrik Saboonchi, Anna Kiessling. Inability to act was associated with an extended delay prior to care-seeking, in patients with an acute myocardial infarction. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 2019; 147451511984465 DOI: 10.1177/1474515119844654


Heartattack, delay, actionparalysis, cardiology

#Heartattack #delay #actionparalysis #cardiology



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

#Fainting #syncope #pregnancy #heartdisease #prematurity



Exercise Your Placenta

Exercise during pregnancy keeps moms fit and their weight gain under better control.  It also has beneficial effects on placental function and development of the baby.


A study from Washington State University, performed in a mouse model and just published in the Journal of Physiology, shows that consistent exercise helps placental vascularization and normalizes placenta metabolic activity.


The study was performed in mice of normal weight but also in obese mice to take account of the fact that more than one-third of pregnant Americans are obese.  For the obese mice, the exercise not only helped placental vigor and metabolism but it also reduced the incidence of fetal overgrowth and the delivery of overweight offspring.


If you are planning to become pregnant, do try to bring your body weight into a normal range before beginning your pregnancy.  Once you do conceive, plan on regular exercise throughout your pregnancy to help the placenta properly nourish the fetus and to reduce your chances of giving birth to an overweight baby.


Jun Seok Son, Xiangdong Liu, Qiyu Tian, Liang Zhao, Yanting Chen, Yun Hu, Song Ah Chae, Jeanene M. Avilla, Mei‐Jun Zhu, Min Du. Exercise prevents the adverse effects of maternal obesity on placental vascularization and fetal growth. The Journal of Physiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1113/JP277698


Exercise, placenta, obstetrics, womenshealth

#Exercise #placenta #obstetrics #womenshealth



Timeout For Healing Needed Following Knee Surgery

If you’re having an ACL repair, don’t plan on getting back into the action for at least a year following the surgery.  This is the recommendation that springs from a study at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.


Sports medicine researchers there studied some 729 athletes undergoing repair of their anterior cruciate ligaments following game injuries.  Those who returned to play within 9 months of surgery had a 33% chance of a repeat injury.  Waiting 9 months or more dropped that percentage down to a mere 6%.


The investigators recommend waiting 12 months or more following ACL surgical repair and even then only returning to sport after thorough tests of thigh muscle strength and jumping ability.


University of Gothenburg. "Young athletes may need one-year break after knee surgery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2019.


ACLrepair, orthopedics, sportsmedicine, parenting

#ACLrepair #orthopedics #sportsmedicine #parenting



Low Birthweight Infants Suffer Adult Lung Problems

Babies born weighing less than 1.5 kg or 3.3 pounds are four times more likely than normal birthweight infants to suffer reduced pulmonary capacity when they reach their teen and young adult years.  This conclusion comes from an international meta-analysis of 11 studies and over 1700 subjects by Australian OBGYN researchers.


Those with low birth weights, frequently born before 32 weeks, later underwent pulmonary function testing at 16 to 33 years of age.  Compared to those born with normal weights and at term, they had a high incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  This was particularly true for those who were diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) during infancy.


Premature babies and those with low birth weights should be followed carefully into adulthood and checked for the development of pulmonary disease.  Many will have reduced lung capacities through childhood, and their restrictive lung disease may become handicapping as they mature.



Lex W Doyle, Sture Andersson, Andy Bush, etal. Expiratory airflow in late adolescence and early adulthood in individuals born very preterm or with very low birthweight compared with controls born at term or with normal birthweight: a meta-analysis of individual participant data. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(18)30530-7


Premies, lowbirthweight, BPD, COPD

#Premies #lowbirthweight #BPD #COPD



Obese Kids Develop Early Arterial Disease

Children and adolescents with continuing obesity show significant stiffening of their arteries toward the end of their teen years.  This is the frightening finding in a study of more than 3400 Swedish kids just published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.


Childhood obesity and a high fat mass tends to foster high blood pressures, elevated lipid levels, and abnormal blood sugars.  These parameters are associated with stiffening of key arteries that in turn risks later heart attacks, strokes, and death from cardiovascular disease.


The study has some good news though.  Those children who were able to decrease their fat mass over their teen years did see a normalization of their arterial stiffness.


This study stresses the importance of weight control throughout life beginning during early childhood.  We are now learning that baby fat isn’t cute and must quickly give way to a toned body in order to avoid dire cardiovascular consequences.


Frida Dangardt, Marietta Charakida, Georgios Georgiopoulos,etal. Association between fat mass through adolescence and arterial stiffness: a population-based study from The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/S2352-4642(19)30105-1


Obesity, arterialstiffening, hypertension, cholesterol, parenting

#Obesity #arterialstiffening #hypertension #cholesterol #parenting



Reading To Toddlers Improves Their Behavior and Yours

Parental reading to toddlers improves their behaviors and reduces the need for escalating disciplinary measures.  Pediatricians at Rutgers Medical and Public Health Schools studied nearly 2200 parent-child pairs across 20 US metropolitan areas.


The study found that shared reading enhances the child’s communication skills and emotional development, and it enhances parent-child bonding.  This translates into a lower incidence of attention problems, disruptive behavior, and the need for harsh parenting.


This is just the latest in a string of studies that touts the benefits of reading to your kids.  Turn off the TV, shut off the phone, and pick up a book to share.  


Manuel E. Jimenez, Alan L. Mendelsohn, Yong Lin, Patricia Shelton, Nancy Reichman. Early Shared Reading Is Associated with Less Harsh Parenting. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000687


Reading, attentiondeficit, discipline, communication, parenting

#Reading #attentiondeficit #discipline #communication #parenting



Freezing Testicular Tissue For Boys With Cancer

Banking tissue with sperm-producing cells may be an alternative for those boys and even older males too young or too sick to bank sperm prior to medical treatments that threaten their later fertility.  This conclusion comes from an 8 year study recently published in the journal Human Reproduction.


As many as 2,000 boys and young men undergo sterilizing chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer eradication.  To preserve the possibility that they may later father children, a pilot study looked at the testicular tissue samples from 189 males undergoing such therapy.  Their ages ranged from 5 months to 34 years with an average of 8 years.


Seventy-five percent of each tissue sample was cryopreserved for the patient’s later use.  The remainder was utilized for research into optimal methods for freezing, thawing, and potentially separating normal stem cells from tumor cells.  


The study did demonstrate that sperm-generating cells may be successfully recovered from such tissue.  It remains to be shown whether these so-called spermatogonia can produce normal, motile sperm capable of fertilizing a human egg.


If your young son is undergoing cancer chemotherapy or radiotherapy, do ask his doctors about testicular tissue banking.


H Valli-Pulaski, K A Peters, K Gassei, etal. Testicular tissue cryopreservation: 8 years of experience from a coordinated network of academic centers. Human Reproduction, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dez043


Sperm, testiculartissue, malefertility, menhealth, urology, cancer

#Sperm #testiculartissue #malefertility #menhealth #urology #cancer



Hookahs Heated Electrically No Safer

Advertising that touts electric hookah smoking to be safer than charcoal hookah smoking is a scam. Chemists and engineers at the American University of Beirut studied waterpipe smoking of tobacco heated by these two methods.


The study measured toxin emissions by three commercially available electric hookahs and compared them to emissions from charcoal-heated hookahs.  While electric hookahs reduced the aromatic hydrocarbons by 80% and carbon monoxide by 90%, they significantly increased the levels of the respiratory toxin acrolein.


This study once again underscores the fact that safe smoking of any kind is an oxymoron.  If you must have a hit of addicting nicotine, hopefully with the goal of quitting, is is safer to chew nicotine gum or apply a nicotine patch.


Mario El Hourani, Soha Talih, Rola Salman, Nareg Karaoghlanian, Ebrahim Karam, Rachel El Hage, Najat Aoun Saliba, Alan Shihadeh. Comparison of CO, PAH, Nicotine, and Aldehyde Emissions in Waterpipe Tobacco Smoke Generated Using Electrical and Charcoal Heating Methods. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.9b00045


Hookah, electricwaterpipe, charcoalwaterpipe, nicotine

#Hookah #electricwaterpipe #charcoalwaterpipe #nicotine



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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