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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 2nd Week of October, 2019


Breastfeeding Makes You A Green Mother



If all UK mothers were to become exclusive breast feeders, the carbon dioxide reduction is equivalent to taking 50-77 thousand automobiles off the road.  A new study British Medical Journal study tallies the savings afforded by nursing mothers.


Cows for dairy and meat production contribute 30% of global greenhouse.  Manufacture, distribution, and preparation of formula further soaks up energy and blows off CO2.  Nearly 3 million tons of carbon dioxide are generated in association with the 720,000 tons of formula that UK babies consume annually.


Only 41% of the world’s babies are breastfed.  Pushing that number toward 100 not only saves our planet but gives our kids a more healthy nutritional start to life.


Naomi Joffe, Flic Webster, Natalie Shenker. Support for breastfeeding is an environmental imperative. BMJ, 2019; l5646 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.l5646


#Breastfeeding #carbon #greennewdeal

Breastfeeding, carbon, greennewdeal



Prospective Dads Should Abstain Before Babymaking



Fathers drinking alcohol during the 3 months before conception or during the first trimester bump their baby’s chances of being born with a congenital heart defect by 44%.  Binge drinking during those times raises that risk to 52%..


The meta-analysis of 55 studies covered nearly 42,000 babies born over a 28 year period.  It is the first study to examine the association between male alcohol consumption and birth defects.


The investigators recommend that men avoid alcohol for 6 months before attempting to father a child.   It is critical for both parents to avoid drugs of any kind for the months running up to conception, during the gestational period, and especially during the first trimester.


Senmao Zhang, Lesan Wang, Tubao Yang, Lizhang Chen, Lijuan Zhao, Tingting Wang, Letao Chen, Ziwei Ye, Zan Zheng, Jiabi Qin. Parental alcohol consumption and the risk of congenital heart diseases in offspring: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2019; 204748731987453 DOI: 10.1177/2047487319874530


#fathers #alcohol #birthdefects

fathers, alcohol, birthdefects


Melanoma In the Young On The Rise



Deadly head and neck melanoma has increased by 51% for children and younger adults over the past 20 years.  St. Louis University oncologists raise this warning after reviewing nearly 12,500  confirmed melanoma cases documented in American and Canadian cancer registries.


Once predominately a cancer of older patients, it is now popping up increasingly often in children, adolescents, and  young adults.  White males 15 to 39 years of age are the prime targets.


We must teach out children from a young age to protect their skins.  Global warming will lead to more time outdoors and a greater need for UV radiation protection.  Stock up on your favorite sunscreen.


Bray HN, Simpson MC, Zahirsha ZS, et al. Head and Neck Melanoma Incidence Trends in the Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Population of the United States and Canada, 1995-2014. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online October 03, 2019. doi:10.1001/gov/jobs


#melanoma #youngadults

melanoma, youngadults



Morning Sickness Predicts Autism



Women suffering from morning sickness are 53% more likely to have a child diagnosed later with autism spectrum disorder.  Kaiser Permanente-California reviewed the records of a half million pregnant women delivering over a 23 year period.


The morning sickness-autism connection had the following characteristics:

  • Risk not related to nausea or vomiting severity; 

  • Risk occurred for morning sickness in first and second trimesters but not the third;

  • Risk greater for girls, white, and Hispanic children;

  • Risk not associated with medications.


If morning sickness occurred during your child’s gestation, carefully monitor for autism symptoms.  Look for avoidance of eye contact, delayed communication skills, dependence on routines, and over-reaction to sudden changes.


Darios Getahun, Michael J. Fassett, Steven J. Jacobsen, Anny H. Xiang, Harpreet S. Takhar, Deborah A. Wing, Morgan R. Peltier. Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children Exposed in Utero to Hyperemesis Gravidarum. American Journal of Perinatology, 2019; DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1696670


#Morningsickness #autism

Morningsickness, autism



RSV During Infancy, Asthma Later



If your baby had an attack of severe RSV, she or he is 2.5 times more likely to develop asthma over the next 5 years.  A Nationwide Children’s Hospital-Ohio State University study analyzed data from nearly 125,500 infants over a 16 year period.


This association between childhood RSV and asthma has been previously described, but this large study credibly confirms it.  There is a controversy about the nature of the association.  Does  more severe RSV lead to a longstanding reactive airway that is asthma or is an infant with a reactive airway tendency more likely to contract RSV.  The old chicken and egg dilemma.


Whichever is true, an infant having had RSV should be watched carefully for asthma.


Asuncion Mejias, etal. Risk of Childhood Wheeze and Asthma after Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Full‐Term Infants.  Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.


#RSV #asthma #infants

RSV, asthma, infants



Eating With Others Promotes Overeating



When you dine socially, you consume 48% more food than when you eat alone.  This conclusion comes from a meta-analysis of some 42 studies of group versus solo food consumption just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


On the other hand, eating with a group of strangers did not increase food consumption. The investigators conjecture that many of us feel we must eat modestly when doing so with those we don’t know or wish to impress.


With the food fests of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Chanukah on the horizon, be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth.  Maybe it’s best to have more coming out of your mouth in the form of stimulating conversation than going into your gut.


Helen K Ruddock, Jeffrey M Brunstrom, Lenny R Vartanian, Suzanne Higgs. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the social facilitation of eating. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; 110 (4): 842 DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz155


#Socialeating #overeating

Socialeating, overeating



Pregnant Women Under-immunized



Only half of pregnant women receive the recommended flu and whooping cough vaccines say the latest CDC statistics.  The flu is a terrible risk for a pregnant woman, and pertussis is the same for her newborn.


Pregnancy makes the flu more severe, and increases the risk for hospitalization by 2.5 times.  Every year, pertussis lands up to 700 babies under the age of 2 months in the hospital struggling for their lives.


Each pregnant woman should receive the flu and the DTaP vaccines during each pregnancy.  The immunity conferred by both vaccines is passed to the developing fetus, and it is the greatest gift any mother can give to her developing child.


#Influenza #pertussis #pregnancy #infants

Influenza, pertussis, pregnancy, infants



Dogs Help Heart Patients Live Longer



If you’ve had a heart attack, living with a dog can lower your risk of dying prematurely by up to 35%.  A Canadian meta-analysis just published in the journal Circulation tabulated the data from more than 3.8 million participants over 10 years.


This large study shows that dog ownership prolongs lives and builds on previous work that credited dogs with reducing cardiovascular disease risk by lowering blood pressure, improving lipid profiles, and reducing stress.  


Dogs work their magic by making you work your body.  The physical activity associated with walking them, running after them, and yes, cleaning up after them provides enough beneficial exercise to keep your body’s systems working longer and stronger.


Caroline K. Kramer, MD, PhD Sadia Mehmood, BSc Renée S. Suen.  Dog Ownership and Survival: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.  Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2019;12:e005554.


#Dogs #cardiovasculardisease #mortality

Dogs, cardiovasculardisease, mortality



Your 3D Printer Could Be Poisoning You



The melted plastic your 3D printer lays out emits toxic volatile organic fumes that could damage your lungs or worse.  Georgia Institute of Technology engineers tested the emissions from 3D printer filaments on live cells in tissue culture.


The results showed the most dangerous filaments are the ABS styrene plastic ones in comparison to the PLA lactic acid type.  The ABS requires heating to higher temperatures giving off more fumes and the heat transforms the plastic to possibly more dangerous compounds. 


If you do use 3D printers at home, for safety’s sake, use an enclosure, ventilate the room well or use a garage, avoid breathing in the fumes, use the lowest filament temperature possible, and buy low emission filaments.


Qian Zhang, Michal Pardo, Yinon Rudich, Ifat Kaplan-Ashiri, Jenny P. S. Wong, Aika Y. Davis, Marilyn S. Black, Rodney J. Weber. Chemical Composition and Toxicity of Particles Emitted from a Consumer-Level 3D Printer Using Various Materials. Environmental Science & Technology, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04168


#3Dprinter #ABS #PLA #toxicfumes

3Dprinter, ABS, PLA, toxicfumes



Run Better By Rubber Banding Your Feet

Endurance running with a resistance band connecting your shoes can increase your running efficiency by over 9%.  Mechanical engineers at US-Santa Barbara clocked runners with and without latex surgical tubing connecting their feet.


The tubing stores kinetic energy as the legs move past one another, and that energy helps power the next cycle.  The result: shorter, quicker steps jacking up the average stride from 90 steps/min to 100.  


The tubing also reduces the effort to bounce on the feet, and these band-powered runners feel light and fast.  Their average running efficiency increased about 6%. 


Buy the surgical tubing online and cut it to 25% of leg length.  Then give it a try.


Cole S. Simpson, Cara G. Welker, Scott D. Uhlrich, Sean M. Sketch, Rachel W. Jackson, Scott L. Delp, Steve H. Collins, Jessica C. Selinger, Elliot W. Hawkes. Connecting the legs with a spring improves human running economy. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 2019; 222 (17): jeb202895 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.202895


#Running #resistanceband

Running, resistanceband



Sleepless Nights Compel Junk Snacking

Pulling that all-nighter test cramming or finishing your PowerPoint will drive you to those chips, cookies, and donuts.  Neurologists at Northwestern University studied 29 subjects and their food choices after only 4 hours of sleep versus a complete night’s rest.


The studies showed that sleep-deprived persons craved energy dense foods chock full of carbs and fats.  Blood tests showed they had higher levels of the endocannabinoid 2-OG, and MRI imaging showed reduced connectivity to the brain’s smell center.  This combination leads to a desire for strongly sweet flavored foods yet a reduced sense of feeling full after eating.


If you are low on sleep, realize your brain’s faulty willpower and avoid those convenience stores.


Surabhi Bhutani, James D Howard, Rachel Reynolds, Phyllis C Zee, Jay Gottfried, Thorsten Kahnt. Olfactory connectivity mediates sleep-dependent food choices in humans. eLife, 2019; 8 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.49053


#Carbs #fats #sleep

Carbs, fats, sleep


STDs Are Skyrocketing

Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia cases have spiked.  The CDC warns that the big 3 sexually transmitted diseases have reached an all time high.


In one year, between 2017 and 2018, syphilis cases increased 35% overall to 115,000 cases, the highest number in 27 years.  Worse, there was a 40% jump in newborn syphilis.


Gonorrhea increased 5% to more than a half million cases, the largest number in 27 years.  Chlamydia only increased 3%, but there were 1.7 million cases, the largest number ever reported in a single year.


The reasons: poverty, lack of access to health care, decreased condom use, and public health program cuts.  The solution: vote in politicians who care about us and will redirect dollars to the nation’s health.


#STDs #syphilis gonorrhea #chlamydia

STDs, syphilis gonorrhea, chlamydia



Tomato Pigment Heals Sperm



The red pigment in tomatoes, lycopene, seems to heal “sick” sperm, the cause of infertility in up to 50% of couples. Britain’s University of Sheffield researchers announce this phenomenon after a double blind study of 60 volunteers.  


Half of them received lycopene in the form of LactoLycopene, a commercially available supplement that improves gi lycopene absorption.  After 12 weeks, the sperm from the lycopene users were healthier and more robust.  


Lots more testing must be done in men with known infertility to see if the same phenomenon  occurs.  Meanwhile, men known to have sperm issues can eat cooked tomatoes or buy the LactoLycopene online from the British source.


Elizabeth A. Williams, Madeleine Parker, Aisling Robinson, Sophie Pitt, Allan A. Pacey. A randomized placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effect of lactolycopene on semen quality in healthy males. European Journal of Nutrition, 2019; DOI: 10.1007/s00394-019-02091-5


#Sperm #infertilit #lycopene #LactoLycopene

Sperm, infertility, lycopene, LactoLycopene


Healthy Eating Curbs Depression



Eating a healthy, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meat for only 3 weeks can dramatically elevate the mood of depressed young adults.  Australian psychologists studied 76 depressed participants accustomed to eating a nutritional substandard diet.


The half eating the healthy diet had significantly fewer depressive symptoms at the end of the monitored healthy eating.   Their compliance with dietary changes was excellent.  When tested again 3 months later, the mood of the experimental group remained high suggesting sustained good eating.


If you find yourself fighting sadness and negativity, try spiffing up your meals with produce and protein from the periphery of the market.  It’ll make you smile.


Heather M. Francis, Richard J. Stevenson, Jaime R. Chambers, etal.  A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults – A randomised controlled trial.  PLOS.


#Depression #healthydiet

Depression, healthydiet



Brain Damage Worse With Each Year Of Football



The risk of developing CTE dementia rises by 30% for each year of tackle football played.  Neurologists at Boston University derive this conclusion from their study of brain samples from 266 American football players.


The data shows that the risk of developing CTE doubles for every 2.6 years of ball playing.  The risk of developing CTE or its severity were not affected by numbers of concussions, positions played, the age at which tackle football playbegan, or participation in other contact sports.


CTE dementia is a devastating disease. No helmet can protect our children and young adults from the damaging brain bouncing that forever robs football players of their mental prowess.  Tackle football is lethal and should replaced by safer sports!


Jesse Mez, Daniel H. Daneshvar, Bobak Abdolmohammadi, Alicia S. Chua, Michael L. Alosco, Patrick T. Kiernan, Laney Evers, Laura Marshall, Brett M. Martin, Joseph N. Palmisano, Christopher J. Nowinski, Ian Mahar, Jonathan D. Cherry, Victor E. Alvarez, Brigid Dwyer, Bertrand R. Huber, Thor D. Stein, Lee E. Goldstein, Douglas I. Katz, Robert C. Cantu, Rhoda Au, Neil W. Kowall, Robert A. Stern, Michael D. McClean, Jennifer Weuve, Yorghos Tripodis, Ann C. McKee. Duration of American football play and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Annals of Neurology, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/ana.25611


#CTE #football 

CTE, football



Overeating When Young Triggers Cancer

Wolfing down those beers and donuts under the age of 40 can increase your risk of mid-life cancer by as much as 70%.  That conclusion and others from a large European study was just published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.


Data from 220,000 subjects showed that overweight women had a 70% greater risk of uterine cancer and overweight men a 58% higher risk of kidney cancer but also a 29 percent greater risk of colon cancer.  


Keeping medical disasters like cancer, heart disease, and stroke from your door must be a lifelong effort.  Serious overindulgence when you’re young can often not be undone.


Tone Bjørge, Christel Häggström, Sara Ghaderi, Gabriele Nagel, Jonas Manjer, Steinar Tretli, Hanno Ulmer, Sophia Harlid, Ann H Rosendahl, Alois Lang, Pär Stattin, Tanja Stocks, Anders Engeland. BMI and weight changes and risk of obesity-related cancers: a pooled European cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyz188


#Overweight #obese #cancer

Overweight, obese, cancer



Problem Gambling May Be Inherited

Brothers and sisters of compulsive gamblers share the characteristics of impulsivity and dangerous risk-taking with their troubled sibs. Psychologists from the University of British Columbia report this finding after studying 20 gamblers,16 of their siblings, and unaffected control subjects.


All participants underwent cognitive testing, MRI brain imaging, and completed surveys.  Both gamblers and their sibs acted irresponsibly when under stress.   Their risky behaviors escalated with even greater pressures.


If your brother or sister has a gambling issue, be on the lookout for possible self-destructive behavior in yourself.  Don;t be hesitant to seek professional help if you find your own behavior unsettling.


Eve H. Limbrick-Oldfield, Inge Mick, Rachel E. Cocks, Remy S. A. Flechais, Samuel Turton, Anne Lingford-Hughes, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Luke Clark. Neural and neurocognitive markers of vulnerability to gambling disorder: a study of unaffected siblings. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41386-019-0534-1


#Gambling #familial #inherited #impulsivity

 Gambling, familial, inherited, impulsivity



Even A Little Smoking Permanently Damages Lungs

Smoking as few as 5 cigarettes a day creates lung damage not all that different from heavier smoking.  This wake-up call comes from a Columbia University Study of more than 25,000 participants representing teens, the middle aged, and elders.


The natural lung functional decline is accelerated by smoking.  That acceleration rate for light smokers puffing about one-quarter pack a day was two-thirds the rate for those smoking 1.5 packs a day.  Even quitting doesn’t clean the slate as former smokers show lung decline rates that are only 14% lower than those for current smokers.


Any cigarette smoking damages your lungs permanently. Never start or you’ll become a pulmonary cripple.


Elizabeth C Oelsner, Pallavi P Balte, Surya P Bhatt, Patricia A Cassano, David Couper, Aaron R Folsom, Neal D Freedman, David R Jacobs, Ravi Kalhan, Amanda R Mathew, Richard A Kronmal, Laura R Loehr, Stephanie J London, Anne B Newman, George T O'Connor, Joseph E Schwartz, Lewis J Smith, Wendy B White, Sachin Yende. Lung function decline in former smokers and low-intensity current smokers: a secondary data analysis of the NHLBI Pooled Cohorts Study. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(19)30276-0


#Smoking #emphysema

Smoking, emphysema

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