top of page

Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 1st Week of October, 2019


Common Nutrient May Prevent Alzheimer’s



Choline supplementation may be one important key to preventing the dread dementia of aging.  A mouse model study by the Arizona State University finds that choline blocks formation of amyloid plaques and reduces numbers of microglial scavenger cells that damage normal brain cells.


The researchers fed their experimental animals, genetically prone to develop Alzheimer’s, an amount of choline 4.5 times that of the traditional recommended daily amount but half the allowable daily max.  Only the treated animals maintained normal cognitive abilities and performed well in a maze test.


Choline is found in eggs, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, mushrooms, and readily available oral supplements.  The study suggests a daily consumption level of about 2500 mg. For men and 2000 mg for women.


Ramon Velazquez, Eric Ferreira, Sara Knowles, Chaya Fux, Alexis Rodin, Wendy Winslow, Salvatore Oddo. Lifelong choline supplementation ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease pathology and associated cognitive deficits by attenuating microglia activation. Aging Cell, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/acel.13037


#Choline #Alzheimers

Choline, Alzheimers



Toxic Politics Make Us Sick



Nearly 40% of Americans state that today’s divisive politics are stressing them out.  Even more distressing is that 4% are driven to suicidal thoughts.


Political scientists at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln surveyed some 800 subjects.  The data show that:

  • 32% are unnerved by the relentless controversies on cable news.

  • 29% lose their tempers more easily.

  • 20% have lost friends over political fights.

  • 11% report physical health deterioration.


To combat sickening politics, turn off cable news, exercise, get outdoors, and read.  Impose a “no politics” rule when you gather with friends if you want them to remain friends.


Medical University of Vienna. "People in unhappy relationships more likely to have suicidal thoughts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2016.


#Politics #illness #suicide 

Politics, illness, suicide



Training Overload Exhausts Your Brain Along With Your Muscles



Overdoing your training for an endurance sport can leave you mentally fatigued.  A French investigation, just published in the journal Current Biology, studied 37 thirty something male athletes during a 9 week training program.


Over-training led to feelings of mental exhaustion but also increased impulsivity with a preference for immediate rather than gratification.  Brain imaging tests confirmed that the altered decision-making was due to diminished prefrontal cortical activation.


This study once again emphasizes that our bodies work best when we moderate our activities.  If you are forced to overindulge, know that you shouldn’t be making any momentous decisions afterwards.


Blain et al. Neuro-computational impact of physical training overload on economic decision-making. Current Biology, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.054


#Endurancetraining #exercise #exhaustion #decisionmaking 

Endurancetraining, exercise, exhaustion, decisionmaking



Teens Respond To Suggestions, Not Commands


To guide your headstrong teen, present your opinions as rational suggestions rather than imperial directives.  Psychologists at Cardiff University studied the responses of 1000 adolescents to pointed suggestions delivered in various tones of voice.


Each teen heard 30 directives voiced by actors in 3 ways: a controlling authoritarian tone, a autonomy-supportive tone, or a neutral tone.  The results: heavy-handed demands trigger resistance and negative responses while suggestions delivered in a respectful, positive manner backed by credible rationales led to acceptance.


As always, interpersonal relationships benefit more from honey than vinegar.  As children grow and mature, they demand from us, their parents, respect for their independence and ability to make sensible decisions.


Cardiff University. "Teenagers less likely to respond to mothers with controlling tone of voice: New study showed adolescents were less likely to want to engage with schoolwork when mothers spoke with a pressurising tone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2019. <


#Parenting #demands #suggestions #teens

Parenting, demands, suggestions, teens



Stress Greases Your Biological Clocks



Our cells and bodies work on internal biological clocks which are lubricated for better efficiency by good old fashioned stress.  University of Minnesota biologists now report  this phenomenon in the journal Neuron.


Using a mouse model and tissue cultures of cells, the scientists unraveled the complex blend of signaling proteins that control the clock. They found that stress accelerates the speed of signal processing and improves the robust nature of cellular biologic clocks.


The bottom line is that some stress may well be good for you.  It literally keeps your system on its toes and speeds your reaction time.


Salil Saurav Pathak, Dong Liu, Tianbao Li, Nuria de Zavalia, Lei Zhu, Jin Li, Ramanujam Karthikeyan, Tommy Alain, Andrew C. Liu, Kai-Florian Storch, Randal J. Kaufman, Victor X. Jin, Shimon Amir, Nahum Sonenberg, Ruifeng Cao. The eIF2α Kinase GCN2 Modulates Period and Rhythmicity of the Circadian Clock by Translational Control of Atf4. Neuron, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.08.007


#Biologicalclocks #stress

Biologicalclocks, stress



Wearable Step Trackers Predict Health



The Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy and FitBit wearables are credible exercise measuring devices that take clinical testing into the real world.  Pulmonologists from Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center now report that these devices can match a standard 6 minute walk distance test for estimating lung reserve.


The study tested 52 respiratory disease patients over a 12 week period.  Their results proved that step counters could accurately predict the results from the 6 minute walk test.  Because the wearables turn in data from outside the clinic, their information is likely be even more relevant.


If you have a smartwatch or Fitbit, embrace use of their exercise apps as a metronome to help you give your body the workout it deserves....and needs.


Intermountain Medical Center. "Wrist-worn step trackers accurate in predicting patient health outcomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2019.


#Stepcounters #AppleWatch #FitBit #lungdisease 

Stepcounters, AppleWatch, FitBit, lungdisease



Vaping Continues To Kill



The death toll from E-cigarette use has now climbed to 12 in 10 states.  The CDC further reports that 805 mostly young persons in 46 states have fallen victim to severe lung injuries after vaping and 91% required hospitalization.


Those stricken after e-cigarette use have a distinct profile: most were young with a median age of 23 years, males in 69% of cases, 77% inhaled THC products, 57% smoked nicotine, and more deaths occurred in older smokers with a median age of 50 years.  There is evidence that the most severe illness occurs after vaping street products.


Protecting yourself is easy.  Don’t vape.  Putting an e-cigarette into your mouth is no different than swallowing slow-release cyanide.


#Vaping #ecigarettes #lungdisease #THC

Vaping, ecigarettes, lungdisease, THC



Is It Safe Avoiding A Repeat C-Section?



Most women are counseled to try a vaginal delivery following a previous Caesarian section (VBAC).  The latest evidence from the University of Oxford questions the wisdom of that recommendation.


More than 74,000 Scottish births over a 13 year period show that a VBAC is associated with a 7 fold higher risk of a uterine rupture, a 3 fold  higher risk of surgical injury, and a two-fold higher risk of sepsis and blood transfusion.  There is also a greater risk of stillbirth, a NICU admission, and a need for neonatal resuscitation.


If you’ve had a C-section and your OB is recommending a vaginal delivery, question carefully whether that choice is right for you.


Kathryn E. Fitzpatrick, Jennifer J. Kurinczuk, Sohinee Bhattacharya, Maria A. Quigley. Planned mode of delivery after previous cesarean section and short-term maternal and perinatal outcomes: A population-based record linkage cohort study in Scotland. PLOS Medicine, 2019; 16 (9): e1002913 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002913


#Csection #VBAC #vaginaldelivery

Csection, VBAC, vaginaldelivery



Thyroid Surgery Best By Most Experienced Surgeons



Thyroid surgeons performing at least 40 yearly complete thyroid excisions have the fewest complications. Kaiser Permanente California now reports its review of 10,500 such operations over a 7 year period.


The chief complications of vocal cord paralysis and parathyroid hormone deficiency occur since the nerves to the larynx and the parathyroid glands must be carefully dissected out of the thyroid before its removal.  Although these complications begin to decrease when a surgeon performs 18 such procedures a year, they only hit bottom at more than twice that number.


When you have surgery, your surgeon’s experience with your prospective operator far outweigh his or her bedside manner.  If you can get both, all the better.


Meltzer C, Hull M, Sundang A, Adams JL. Association Between Annual Surgeon Total Thyroidectomy Volume and Transient and Permanent Complications. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online July 25, 2019145(9):830–837. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.1752


#Thyroidectomy #surgerycomplications #surgeryvolume

Thyroidectomy, surgerycomplications, surgeryvolume


Fructose Dangerously Fattens Up Your Liver



This plant sugar, naturally found in fruits, real fruit juices, and honey but added to table sugar, highly processed foods, and beverages, harms your liver by preventing its normal processing of fat.  Researchers at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center now report this result following their in-depth study of liver cell metabolism.


Their research shows that this fructose effect amplifies the physical damage to liver cellular mitochondria triggered by eating a high fat diet.  Fructose plus fatty foods will trigger a degenerative, fatty liver cured only by a transplant.


Don’t stop eating fruits but rather avoid high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple flavored and agave syrup, and molasses. Of course, that’s in addition to skipping the fries and pastries.


Joslin Diabetes Center. "High-fructose and high-fat diet damages liver mitochondria: Increases fatty-liver disease risk and metabolic syndrome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2019.


#Fructose #fattyliver 

Fructose, fattyliver



Relaxation Therapy Makes Some Anxious



Are you or do you know a person who becomes more jittery when trying to relax?  Psychologists at Penn State studied this so called “relaxation-induced anxiety” in a group of 96 college students.


One-third of subjects had generalized anxiety disorders; one-third had major depression; and one-third were without issues.  All participants did relaxation exercises before seeing scary or sad videos.  Those with anxiety problems experienced more trepidation and fear during relaxation sessions as almost a defense mechanism against the emotional plunge they just knew was coming.  


If this sounds like you, know that you are not alone.  The good news: repeated relaxation sessions can immunize you against experiencing this paradoxical anxiety.


Hanjoo Kim, Michelle G. Newman. The paradox of relaxation training: Relaxation induced anxiety and mediation effects of negative contrast sensitivity in generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2019; 259: 271 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.045


#Anxiety #relaxation 

Anxiety, relaxation



First Pregnancy Complications Herald High Blood Pressure Later



Young women who suffer preterm birth or preeclampsia during their initial pregnancy have a two-fold greater risk of developing high blood pressure years later.  That hypertension can come on in only 3 years.


OB-GYN researchers at Indiana University studied nearly 4500 women with an average age of 27 at their first pregnancy.  Nearly 1 in every 3 women with a complication such as pre-eclampsia, a low birth weight baby, a pre-term delivery, or, sadly, a stillbirth later developed subsequent high blood pressure.  The risk rose with each additional complication.


Good prenatal care can prevent many pregnancy complications.  For those who do suffer them, continuing cardiovascular surveillance through the years is definitely a must.


NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "First-time pregnancy complications linked to increased risk of hypertension later in life: Detailed pregnancy history, prevention strategies may hold a key to improving health outcomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2019.


#Firstpregnancy #pre-eclampsia #hypertension

Firstpregnancy, pre-eclampsia, hypertension



The Pill Turns Sweet Sixteen Girls Sour



Sixteen year old teen girls using oral contraceptives are significantly more likely to show depressive symptoms than non-users at the same age.  This was not true for young women at other ages.


Dutch psychiatrists in association with Harvard psychiatrists and gynecologists report this finding from their study of 1010 teens 16 to 25 years of age.  They also found that teen pill users versus non-users experienced more eating disorders, sleep problems, and crying spells.


The bottom line for parents and teachers: the youngest sexually-active teens, hopefully using contraceptives, require much emotional support and surveillance in order to prevent and, if necessary, proactively manage psychiatric issues that arise. 


de Wit AE, Booij SH, Giltay EJ, Joffe H, Schoevers RA, Oldehinkel AJ. Association of Use of Oral Contraceptives With Depressive Symptoms Among Adolescents and Young Women. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online October 02, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2838


#Teens #contraceptives #depression

Teens, contraceptives, depression



Chlorine Bleach Could Poison You



When you clean your bathroom with chlorine products, you may be gassing yourself and your pets.  Chlorine vapors combine with citrus ingredients in household products under fluorescent lighting to form toxic airborne particles.


Studies by University of Toronto chemists show that the sodium hypochlorite in chlorine bleaches emits the strong oxidants hypochlorous acid and chlorine in dangerously high concentrations indoors.  If fluorescent lighting or sunlight is present, these chlorine gases combine with the limonene that imparts a citrus odor to cleaning products and air fresheners to produce toxic airborne particles. 


If you use chlorine bleach, for safety’ sake ventilate the bathroom well, avoid having lemony products around, and avoid fluorescent and natural lighting.


Chen Wang, Douglas B. Collins, Jonathan P.D. Abbatt. Indoor Illumination of Terpenes and Bleach Emissions Leads to Particle Formation and Growth. Environmental Science & Technology, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04261


#Bleach #Chlorine #lemonodor

Bleach, Chlorine, lemonodor



Aspirin Can Protect Lungs Against Air Pollution



Aspirin and other NSAIDs may help prevent lung damage from particulate air pollution.  Epidemiologists and pulmonologists at Columbia and Harvard draw this conclusion from their analysis of more than 2200 male veterans.


Each participant underwent pulmonary function tests and recorded their use of NSAIDs over the month before testing.  Air quality measurements during that month were added to the database.  Analysis showed that NSAID use, which turned out to be mostly aspirin, reduced the effects of air pollution on lung function by one-half. 

If you expect significant exposure to air pollution, you might try aspirin.  Better strategies are use of a mask or remaining in clean air.


Xu Gao, Brent Coull, Xihong Lin, Pantel Vokonas, Joel Schwartz, Andrea A Baccarelli. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Modify the Effect of Short-Term Air Pollution on Lung Function. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201905-1003LE


#Airpollution #NSAIDS #aspirin #lumgfunction

Airpollution, NSAIDS, aspirin, lumgfunction 

bottom of page