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Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 3rd Week of October, 2019



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.  


Moderate your eating throughout life to keep medical disasters like cancer, heart disease, and stroke from your door.  Overindulgence when you’re young can 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 Likely Inherited



Brothers and sisters of compulsive gamblers share impulsivity and dangerous risk-taking with their troubled sibs.  University of British Columbia psychologists report these findings after studying 20 gamblers and 16 of their siblings.


All participants underwent cognitive testing, MRI brain imaging, and surveys.  Both gamblers and their sibs acted irresponsibly when under stress.   The non-gambler sibs tended to be impulsive at baseline and took even greater risks, comparable to long-shot bets, when under pressure at work or at home.


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 risky behaviors 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 with aging 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 will 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



Green Tea Reduces Antibiotic Resistance



An antioxidant compound found in green tea can rearm a powerful antibiotic after its deactivation by the nefarious, multidrug-resistant bacterium Pseudomonas.  British and German pathologists and microbiologists collaborated on this discovery.


Epigallocatechin or EGCG is a natural anti-oxidant found in green tea.  The researchers found that EGCG works in synergy with the antibiotic aztreonam to restore and significantly boost the antibiotic’s ability to kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa in both the test tube and in living test systems.


With news that our antibiotics are running out of steam, medications derived from plants both common and esoteric may come to our rescue.  Meanwhile, the best defense is timely and repeated handwashing.



Jonathan W. Betts et al. Restoring the activity of the antibiotic aztreonam using the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) against multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Journal of Medical Microbiology (2019). DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.001060


#Tea #antioxidant #drugresistance #antibiotics #pseudomonas

Tea, antioxidant, drugresistance, antibiotics, pseudomonas



Stress Triggers Lying



If you’re pressured to answer a question, you will answer with a response designed to please the questioner even if its a lie.  UC-Santa Barbara psychologists draw this conclusion after testing a total of 3,000 participants.


Research shows that the human mind has two processing components: the higher functioning, rational section and the more instinctive, animalistic section.  Time pressure and stress spark visceral brain output which is often irrational and downright false.


We should all be aware that our human impulse to answer quickly can get us in deep trouble with our families as well as the law.  When in doubt, the 5 most important words you can use are “let me think about it!”


John Protzko, Claire M. Zedelius, Jonathan W. Schooler. Rushing to Appear Virtuous: Time Pressure Increases Socially Desirable Responding. Psychological Science, 2019; 095679761986793 DOI: 10.1177/0956797619867939


#Impulsivity #lying #stress

Impulsivity, lying, stress



Fish During Pregnancy Improves Child Attention



Children of mothers consuming fish during their first trimester enjoyed enhanced attentiveness at 8 years of age.  A Spanish study of 1641 mother-child pairs reviewed data capturing the pregnant mother’s dietary habits, the children’s food preferences at 1,5, and 8 years of age, and the child’s attention skills.


The 8 year olds with the best attention scores were born to mothers who consumed either a wide variety of fish during pregnancy or fatty fish.  Eating tunafish and/or shellfish tended to lower scores.


The take home: a moderate intake of salmon and trout with occasional herring and anchovies should be part of a mom’s-to-be first trimester menu.  Avoid fish with mercury.


Jordi Julvez, Sílvia Fernández-Barrés, Florence Gignac, Mónica López-Vicente, Mariona Bustamante, Raquel Garcia-Esteban, Jesús Vioque, Sabrina Llop, Ferran Ballester, Ana Fernández-Somoano, Adonina Tardón, Martine Vrijheid, Cathryn Tonne, Jesus Ibarluzea, Amaia Irazabal, Nuria Sebastian-Galles, Miguel Burgaleta, Dora Romaguera, Jordi Sunyer. Maternal seafood consumption during pregnancy and child attention outcomes: a cohort study with gene effect modification by PUFA-related genes. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyz197


#Pregnancy #fattyfish #shellfish #tuna #attentiveness 

Pregnancy, fattyfish, shellfish, tuna, attentiveness



Reprise:  Desserts Can Actually Help You Eat Healthy



I’m attending the National Assn. of Broadcasters Meeting this week.  Here is some evergreen “Health News You Can Always Use.”


Eyeing that 10 layer chocolate cake or mile high apple pie before you select your main and side dishes will help you make a  more nutritious choice.  So says a study from the University of Arizona’s marketing department just published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology:Applied.


Dining subjects  were presented with either a luscious lemon cheesecake or fresh fruit as a dessert choice at the beginning or at the end of a cafeteria line.  For the meal, they could chose healthy by selecting grilled chicken fajitas with a side salad or unhealthy by picking fried fish and chips.


When the diners put the cheesecake versus the fresh fruit dessert on their trays before selecting the remainder of their meal, they were twice as likely to pick the healthy entree and actually consumed 30% fewer calories.  There were similar findings in a test of online ordering for home delivery.


The researchers also observed that diners with alot on their minds by being challenged with a memory test, a so-called “cognitive load,” made poorer food choices.  They selected the high cal, high fat foods as well as the mega cal cake.


The next time you eat out or order in, check out that tantalizing dessert display before you order.  To relax yourself and clear your mind, have that small glass of wine.


David Flores, Martin Reimann, Raquel Castaño, Alberto Lopez. If I indulge first, I will eat less overall: The unexpected interaction effect of indulgence and presentation order on consumption.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/xap0000210


#dessert #cake #fruit #healthyeating #healthnews



Reprise: Smaller Take Out Boxes Can Right-Size Fast Food Meals



I’m attending the National Assn. of Broadcasters Meeting this week.  Here is some evergreen “Health News You Can Always Use.”


Take out meals, just like sit-down restaurant offerings, are way too large with way too many calories.  A British fish n’ chip wholesale supplier cooperated with academic nutritionists at Newcastle University to design what they call the Lite-BITE® box carry out box as part of a UK national campaign to fight obesity.


The usual fish and chip take out meal clocks in at over 1600 calories which is almost an entire day’s caloric tally.  The Lite-BITE® box holds 5 ounces of fish and 5 ounces of chips for a more moderate 650 calories.


Fried fish and fried potatoes are hardly healthy choices, but at least the smaller take-out box keeps the calorie count down.   If a you as a  diner need a more filling meal, a side salad should complete your order.


Right-sizing portion size is a powerful tool in maintaining a healthy weight.  Smaller takeout boxes also makes the food portion appear less puny.  Remember back in the days when airlines actually served us food, they employed the same optical illusion by serving scraps of food on tiny plates and giving us tiny utensils.


Louis Goffe, Frances Hillier-Brown, Natalie Hildred, etal. Feasibility of working with a wholesale supplier to co-design and test acceptability of an intervention to promote smaller portions: an uncontrolled before-and-after study in British Fish & Chip shops. BMJ Open, 2019; 9 (2): bmjopen-2018-023441 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023441


#fish #chips #takeout #obesity #dieting #healthnews



Reprise: Exercise Trains Your Fat To Behave



I’m attending the National Assn. of Broadcasters Meeting this week.  Here is some evergreen “Health News You Can Always Use.”


Exercise not only strengthens your heart, tones your muscles, and drives more blood flow to your brain, it also trains your fat cells to release healthy proteins into your blood that help keep your body humming.  New research from Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center just published in Nature Metabolism demonstrate that exercise-primed fat releases a healthy so-called adipokine that improves glucose metabolism.


This magic protein, Transforming Growth Factor Beta 2 or TGFbeta2, appears in both humans and mice as the result of exercise.  It controls blood sugar levels and neutralizes the effect of a high fat diet which in mice and in many humans induces diabetes.


Your muscles do play a role in the process too.  The lactic acid they produce as you exercise appears to be the trigger that leads to TGFbeta2 release from fat.  The investigators speculate that, someday, this key protein messenger released by fat may become a practical treatment for diabetes.


Takahashi et al. TGF-B2 is an Exercise-Induced Adipokine that Regulates Glucose and Fatty Acid Metabolism. Nature Metabolism, 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s42255-018-0030-7


#fat #adiposetissue #obesity #diabetes #TGFbeta2 #transforminggrowthfactor #healthnews



Reprise: Advil With or Without Tylenol Controls Post-op Pain Like Opioids



I’m attending the National Assn. of Broadcasters Meeting this week.  Here is some evergreen “Health News You Can Always Use.”


We’ve all heard about the narcotic epidemic.  The real news is that there are potent weapons to combat opioid use as close as our medicine cabinets.  


Ibuprofen, generic or branded Advil or Motrin, either alone or with acetaminophen, generic or Tylenol, significantly reduced the need for postoperative morphine in a study of more than 550 patients undergoing hip surgery.  


The subjects started their oral pain meds one hour before surgery and continued to receive them every 6 hours for the first day after surgery.  The patients were able to obtain any additional pain relief they needed by pushing a button to self-administer IV morphine.


The finding that 400 mg of ibuprofen, that’s two adult pills, taken every 6 hours kills pain exceedingly well and eliminates the need for more powerful drugs should be useful information to you.  If you are a patient facing surgery, do discuss post-op pain control strategy with your surgeon and anesthesiologist.  When you do, tell them you’d rather start with non-narcotic pain killers and only take the opioids if absolutely necessary.



Thybo KH, Hägi-Pedersen D, Dahl JB, et al. Effect of Combination of Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) and Ibuprofen vs Either Alone on Patient-Controlled Morphine Consumption in the First 24 Hours After Total Hip Arthroplasty: The PANSAID Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2019;321(6):562–571. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.22039


#pain #analgesic #ibuprofen #acetaminophen #morphine #pca #healthnews #healthtips



Reprise:  Teen Weed Use Triggers Later Depression and Suicide



I’m attending the National Assn. of Broadcasters Meeting this week.  Here is some evergreen “Health News You Can Always Use.”


Marijuana use is spreading like wildfire, and the prevailing opinion is that its components are harmless.  Another of this weeks stories highlights its potential danger for those with heart problems.  Now a study from Britain’s University of Oxford and Canada’s McGill University shows that regular cannabis use in adolescence can trigger adult depression and suicidal ideas.


The researchers reviews 11 international studies covering more than 23,000 young persons.  Regular weed use by an individual bumped his or her risk of serious depression and suicide up by a factor of about 7%.  The number isn’t huge, but the consequences are tragic for that person so affected.  Then when you amplify the individual effect over a population, it translates into more than 400,000 cases of deadly depression in the U.S., 60,000 case in the U.K., and 25, 000 cases in Canada.


Other studies have shown that a teens regular use of cannabis is associated with poor school performance, increased motor vehicle accidents, addiction, neurosis, and psychosis.  And the smoke itself creates lung disease.


Repeated use of any mind-altering substances or frankly, any substances, is bad news!  Your byword should always be moderation!


Gabriella Gobbi et al. Association of cannabis use in adolescence and risk of depression, anxiety and suicidality in young adulthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry, 2019 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4500


#weed #marijuana #cannabis #depression #suicide, schoolperformance #mva #addiction #healthnews #healthtips



Reprise: Is Bottle Feeding With Pumped Breast Milk Equal To Breastfeeding?



I’m attending the National Assn. of Broadcasters Meeting this week.  Here is some evergreen “Health News You Can Always Use.”


One study after another heralds the advantages of breastfeeding.  Some mothers turn to pumping their breast milk when their flow is sporadic or when they develop conflicts with sib childcare or the demands of work.  Do babies enjoy the same advantages from ingesting pumped breast milk?


The short answer is an emphatic NO.  Researchers from Canada’s University of Manitoba studied the breast milk of almost 400 healthy mothers 3 to 4 months following delivery.  Using sophisticated genetic probes, they showed that the milk the babies actually ingested was healthier when it came directly from the mother’s breast.  


The natural breast milk contained good bacteria from both the mother and from the mouth of the infant.  The pumped breast milk contained those bugs but also an abundance of bad bacteria, opportunistic types that are capable of causing respiratory disease


It isn’t clear if the bad bugs come from contaminated breast pumps, but that is a likely possibility.  If you do use a breast pump, do all you can to clean it obsessively after every use.


Milk contamination is yet another reason to breast feed naturally.  Of course, there is the main reason: to create an abundance of mother-infant bonding.


Shirin Moossavi, Shadi Sepehri, Bianca Robertson, Lars Bode, Sue Goruk, Catherine J. Field, Lisa M. Lix, Russell J. de Souza, Allan B. Becker, Piushkumar J. Mandhane, Stuart E. Turvey, Padmaja Subbarao, Theo J. Moraes, Diana L. Lefebvre, Malcolm R. Sears, Ehsan Khafipour, Meghan B. Azad. Composition and Variation of the Human Milk Microbiota Are Influenced by Maternal and Early-Life Factors. Cell Host & Microbe, 2019; 25 (2): 324 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2019.01.011


#Breastmilk #pumpedmilk #breastfeeding



I’m Dr. Howard Smith.  I’ll be on vacation next week but posting evergreen stories that are “Health News You Can Always Use.




Mindfulness Fights Opioid Addiction



Intense focus on the here and now that is at the heart of mindfulness techniques will help control cravings for pain killers as well as the pain that necessitates their use.  Rutgers University investigators studied 30 patients with opioid addiction due to chronic pain who were participating in a methadone withdrawal program.


The addition of mindfulness exercises led to a 30% reduction in the participants narcotic cravings as well as their nagging pain.  Their stress levels declined while their positive thoughts escalated.


Complete, lasting withdrawal from narcotics using methadone maintenance is only about 50% successful.   Mindfulness therapy might just be the secret sauce to drive that statistic toward 100%.


Eric L. Garland, Adam W. Hanley, Anna Kline, Nina A. Cooperman. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement reduces opioid craving among individuals with opioid use disorder and chronic pain in medication assisted treatment: Ecological momentary assessments from a stage 1 randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2019; 203: 61 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.07.007


#Opioids #methadone #mindfulness

Opioids, methadone, mindfulness




Monkeys Better Problem-Solvers Than Humans



Capuchin and Rhesus monkeys think outside the box better than people when it comes to problem solving.  Psychologists at Georgia State University pitted 29 monkeys against 60 college students in a computer game contest.


The monkeys figured out shortcuts to victory faster and used them more often than the students.  Other experiments show that chimpanzees and baboons also perform better than humans, who tend to rely more on familiar strategies demonstrating less so-called cognitive flexibility.


We humans are often victims of our learned biases about vaccines, climate change, race, and politics.  Be a monkey’s uncle, and make the most of your innate brainpower by opening your mind and unleashing your imagination.


Julia Watzek, Sarah M. Pope, Sarah F. Brosnan. Capuchin and rhesus monkeys but not humans show cognitive flexibility in an optional-switch task. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-49658-0


Monkeys, problemsolving, creativity

#Monkeys #problemsolving #creativity



Pregnancy Stress Tilts Gender Balance



A pregnant woman under emotional or physical stress is more likely to give birth to a male.  Epidemiologists and obstetricians at New York’s Columbia University report this association after analyzing data from 187 women. 


In a general population, the chance of birthing a boy is 51%.  For women suffering emotional stress, marked anxiety, and depression, that percentage drops to 40%.  Physical stress including blood pressure and weight problems, drops the chance to 31%.  Stress also diminishes normal fetal heart rate changes and triggers birth complications.


 The antidote to all this stress is love, social support, and professional care.   If you’re pregnant, see that you get it.  If you care for those who are pregnant, give it!


Kate Walsh, Clare A. McCormack, Rachel Webster, Anita Pinto, Seonjoo Lee, Tianshu Feng, H. Sloan Krakovsky, Sinclaire M. O’Grady, Benjamin Tycko, Frances A. Champagne, Elizabeth A. Werner, Grace Liu, Catherine Monk. Maternal prenatal stress phenotypes associate with fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201905890 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1905890116


#Sexratio #stress #pregnancy

Sexratio, stress, pregnancy

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