top of page

Notes: HealthNews RoundUp - 5th Week of October, 2019


More School, Fewer Alcoholics



Nearly 4 extra years of education cuts a risk of alcohol dependence by 50%.  National Institutes of Health investigators draw this conclusion from their study of 780,000 participants.


The genetic markers linked to more education were not associated with less alcohol consumption but rather with less binge drinking, fewer memory gaps due to drinking, fewer drinks on average per drinking day, and a lower weekly intake of beer or hard cider.  Added education did link to more alcohol with meals and more wine consumption.


Our politicians now talk about extending public education to include 4 years of college or vocational training.  One benefit of these additional years after high school may be fewer Americans with alcohol addiction.


Rosoff et al. Educational attainment impacts drinking behaviors and risk for alcohol dependence: results from a two-sample Mendelian randomization study with ~780,000 participants. Molecular Psychiatry, 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41380-019-0535-9


#Highereducation #college #trades #alcoholism

Highereducation, college, trades, alcoholism



Swimming Too Hard Triggers “Swimmer’s Shoulder”



Overzealous coaches and a winning obsession may be damaging high school swimmers’ shoulders.  Data from 150 such athletes was just presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Nearly 77% report pain, 66% just suck it up hoping to become better swimmers, and 51% know a peer regularly using pain medicine.  Pain with possible joint damage is related to practice intensity: little or no pain from swimming 1600-3500 yards but definite pain swimming 2,000 to 6300 yards.


Swimming is a terrific sport, but developing bodies are vulnerable to repetitive trauma and overuse damage.  If your kid is a swimmer complaining of shoulder pain after and between practices, have a word with the coach.


American Academy of Pediatrics. "'Swimmer's shoulder,' common in more than three-quarters of swimmers: Research shows that painful swimmer's shoulder may be due to heavy training load and a 'no pain, no gain' work ethic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2019.


#Swimming #shoulderpain, rotator cuff #swimteam

Swimming, shoulderpain, rotator cuff, swimteam



Breast Milk Crowd-Sourcing Can Be Risky



Breast milk is the best milk for your baby.  If you supplement your own with some from a friend, neighbor, or a co-op, you could be dangerously exposing your child to viruses, disease, dangerous drugs, or inappropriate medications.


Researchers at New York’s Northwell Children’s Medical Center surveyed 650 mothers.  Half of them had no concerns about the safety of informally donated breast milk, and 80% of those who did give it to their babies never medically screened the donors.


Mothers needing supplemental breast milk can obtain it from registered milk banks that do screen donors carefully. Failing that, formula is second best, but using it will not sicken or poison your infant.


#$Breastfeeding #milkbanks #breastmilk #crowdsourcing

Breastfeeding, milkbanks, breastmilk, crowdsourcing



At What Age May A Child Be Left Home Alone?



A full 80% of child and family social workers would consider it parental neglect if a child under the age of 10 is left home alone.   Most considered it criminal neglect if a child under 12 left alone becomes injured.  


University of Iowa researchers report this conclusion after polling 485 pediatric social workers.  They remind us that more than 40% of pediatric injury-driven deaths are due to lack of adult supervision


Given these standards, the “Home Alone” parents would likely face criminal charges for accidentally leaving little Kevin behind.  He might even end up in a foster home if the relentless but inept home invaders actually harmed him.


#Homealone #parenting  #neglect

Homealone, parenting, neglect



Fiber and Yogurt Protect Against Lung Cancer



Consuming abundant fiber and yogurt cuts your risk of lung cancer by as much as 33%.  So say Vanderbilt University researchers who studied 1.4 million US, European, and Asian subjects.


This benefit held for men, women, and non-smokers.  Smokers, past or present, derived about a 20% reduction in lung cancer incidence. 


The investigators suggest that fiber and yogurt exert their influence by promoting growth of bacterial populations in the gut capable of enhancing the body’s immune response.  The two foods appear to work together to achieve the benefit.


Fiber and yogurt are already known to reduce heart and gastrointestinal cancer.  Protecting yourself against lung cancer is yet another reason to eat both of them regularly.


Jae Jeong Yang, Danxia Yu, Yong-Bing Xiang, William Blot, Emily White, Kim Robien, Rashmi Sinha, Yikyung Park, Yumie Takata, DeAnn Lazovich, Yu-Tang Gao, Xuehong Zhang, Qing Lan, Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Ingegerd Johansson, Rosario Tumino, Elio Riboli, Anne Tjønneland, Guri Skeie, J. Ramón Quirós, Mattias Johansson, Stephanie A. Smith-Warner, Wei Zheng, Xiao-Ou Shu. Association of Dietary Fiber and Yogurt Consumption With Lung Cancer Risk. JAMA Oncology, 2019; DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.4107


#Fiber #yogurt #lungcancer #microbiome

Fiber, yogurt, lungcancer, microbiome



TVs and Cellphones Trigger More Sugar and Caffeine Consumption



Adding just one hour of TV or cell use each day bumps teen sugar and caffeine intake beyond World Health Organization guidelines.  Pediatricians at Canada’s McMaster University studied more than 32,000 US students from 8th through 10th grade.


The additional hour of TV bumped the risk of exceeding WHO sugar guidelines by 32% and caffeine guidelines by 28%.  The hour of cell use raised the risk of exceeding both sugar and caffeine limits by 14%.


Watching TV or talking on the cell distracts teens from what they put into their mouths.  Replace the soda and snacks on the side table with abundant ice cold water and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.


Kelly M. Bradbury, Ofir Turel, Katherine M. Morrison. Electronic device use and beverage related sugar and caffeine intake in US adolescents. PLOS ONE, 2019 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223912


#TV #cellphone #snacks #sugar #caffeine

TV, cellphone, snacks, sugar, caffeine



Teens Using Marijuana Condemn Their Kids To Substance Abuse



Parents who used marijuana only in their teens give birth to kids who, as teens themselves, are 2.5 times more likely to overuse weed and nearly twice as likely to overuse alcohol.  These findings come from a University of Washington study of 380 families over the past 30 years.


Parents who are lifelong marijuana users have children 4.5 times more likely to use weed and 2.8 times more likely to use alcohol.  Teen users have poorer high school academic performances and a lower economic status as adults.


With weed ever more available, parents must instill the dual themes of moderation and self-control in their children from an early age.


Marina Epstein, Jennifer A. Bailey, Madeline Furlong, Christine M. Steeger, Karl G. Hill. An intergenerational investigation of the associations between parental marijuana use trajectories and child functioning.. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/adb0000510


Marijuana, alcohol 

#Marijuana #alcohol



How To Problem Solve As You Sleep



A happy tune is THE secret to unmasking solutions to your dilemmas as you get some ZZZs.  This remarkable discovery comes to us from Northwestern University psychologists.


Investigators tested 57 subjects presenting them with tricky puzzles the evening before sleep. Each puzzle was accompanied by a unique sound.  Then, as they slept, they heard the unique sounds of half the brain teasers.  The next morning, the participants were able to solve those puzzles whose sounds they heard while sleeping some 55% more efficiently.


If you have an nagging issue, try associating a tune with it.  Then play the song at low levels as you sleep.  You might just wake up with a brighter idea.


Kristin E. G. Sanders, Samuel Osburn, Ken A. Paller, etal.  Targeted Memory Reactivation During Sleep Improves Next-Day Problem Solving.  Psychological Science, 10/19;


#Sleep #problemsolving #creativity

Sleep, problemsolving, creativity



You Can Outrun Cancer



Regular exercise helps prevent most women’s cancers and many gastrointestinal malignancies.   It improves the results of all forms of treatment for these dread diseases and also for prostate cancer.  Problem is that fewer than half of cancer patients exercise.


Why?  Studies say it’s lack of encouragement by doctors and nurses.  Currently only 21% of oncologists and 9% of nurses cajole their patients to pursue the 3 times weekly aerobic and/or resistance workouts that will turbocharge their systems to eradicate cancer cells and lift their spirits.


If you are a cancer patient or don’t want to be one, pound on your docs and nurses to suggest or approve exercise tailored to your body’s needs.  


Kathryn H. Schmitz, Anna M. Campbell, Martijn M. Stuiver, etal.  Exercise is medicine in oncology: Engaging clinicians to help patients move through cancer.  CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.


#Exercise #cancer #PT #mood

Exercise, cancer, PT, mood


Health News From Beyond:  October 31, 2019


The Earring Made Her Breathless



Betty was rushing to dress for her New Year’s Eve date.  She picked up an earring, but her asthma suddenly flared.  After rushing to extract her inhaler from a handbag, she deeply inhaled her medicine.


She felt a throat scrape followed by a cough deeper than she usually experiences after medication inhalation.  Betty’s cough persisted and became bloody.  Her breathing became more difficult.


Her date rushed her to the hospital where a chest x-ray revealed an object blocking her right lung’s airway.   Then on to the operating room where surgeons extracted an earring from that right lung. 


The earring had fallen into the inhaler as Betty fumbled through her purse.  Lesson learned: she never again left the cap off her inhaler.


#Foreignbody #asthmainhaler

Foreignbody, asthmainhaler




Soy Sauce Seizures



Jon and his college pals were celebrating the end of exams with endless parasol-topped drinks at the Szechuan Star Restaurant.  His buddy Bill screams, “ you can’t down this quart of soy sauce.


Jon wins the bet but nearly loses his life.  He starts to seize and becomes unresponsive.  At the ER, the anti-seizure medicines work but he is in a coma.  Blood testing shows his blood sodium to be the highest ever recorded.


He only recovers after a massive infusion of 6 liters of sugar water into his gastrointestinal tract.  He never wants to see soy sauce again.  Soy sauce is salty and the quart he chugged contains one-third pound of salt.


#soysauce #salt #seizures

soysauce, salt, seizures



Don’s Dragon Breath



His tooth brushing, flossing, and tongue brushing seemed in vain, as young Don’s breath became ever more smelly and distasteful.  One night, his attempt to blow out a candle was met with a stream of fire from his mouth and a powerful explosion.


His flame-throwing belches became so dangerous that he couldn’t go near an open flame.  Analyzing the gas in his stomach, his doctors found high concentrations of methane.  Their work-up revealed a bowel obstruction that allowed his partially digested meals to ferment and trigger gas production.


Methane gas is commonly produced in the lower bowel, and flatulence ignition or fart lighting has been a mainstay of frat pledging.  By the way, it triggers a butt burn that can be devastating.


#Methane #flatus #fart

Methane, flatus, fart



Marijuana Doesn’t Help Emotional Problems



If you plan to use weed for significant psychological issues, think again!  It simply doesn't not help manage these problems.


A mammoth Australian meta-analysis just published in the The Lancet Psychiatry looked at 83 studies in which marijuana was used to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, psychosis,  and Tourette syndrome.  

Weed did help with minor situational anxiety due to short-lived illness issues, but THC with or without CBD offered no relief for the other disorders studied.  In some cases, its use exacerbated the symptoms.


If you or a family member has serious psychiatric problems, seek help from qualified psychiatrists or psychologists.  Don’t self medicate with recreational drugs.


Nicola Black, Emily Stockings, Gabrielle Campbell, Lucy T Tran, Dino Zagic, Wayne D Hall, Michael Farrell, Louisa Degenhardt. Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30401-8


#Depression #psychosis #ADHD #PTSD #marijuana

Depression, psychosis, ADHD, PTSD, marijuana



Child Obesity Linked To Neighborhood Junk Food



Obesity and overweight problems are more common in kids of all ages living close to convenience stores.  New York University researchers report these results online this week after reviewing data from 1 million school-aged New York City children.


Of those living within a half-block of a convenience store or bodega, some 20% were obese and 40% were overweight.  For every half or full city block kids live away from these junk food havens, the incidence of obesity dropped from 1 to 4%.


If you live close to such stores, keep an eye on your children’s purchases.  The investigators also suggest that these neighborhood gathering places could be incentivized publicly or privately to stock healthier fruits and vegetables.


#conveniencestores #bodegas junkfood #obesity #overweight

conveniencestores, bodegas junkfood, obesity, overweight


Noise Raises Stroke Severity

Vidcast:  ttps://


Constant noise will raise your risk of sustaining a severe stroke by 30%, while quiet, green space reduces that risk by 25%.  These conclusions come from a Spanish study of nearly 2800 stroke victims over a 10 year period.


Strokes kill 6.7 million worldwide annually. Reduce your chances of having one by keeping your weight, blood pressure, lipid levels in control.  Then too, avoid noisy places,


Problem is, noise is becoming epidemic.  Nearly everyone is screaming in restaurants, on subways, at sports events, and on the street.  


Besides worsening strokes, noise also kills your hearing, raises your blood pressure, and drives heart disease.  We should all take the advice we so often give to children as they scream: indoor voices dear!



Rosa Maria Vivanco-Hidalgo, Carla Avellaneda-Gómez, Payam Dadvand, Marta Cirach, Ángel Ois, Alejandra Gómez González, Ana Rodriguez-Campello, Pablo de Ceballos, Xavier Basagaña, Ana Zabalza, Elisa Cuadrado-Godia, Jordi Sunyer, Jaume Roquer, Gregory A. Wellenius. Association of residential air pollution, noise, and greenspace with initial ischemic stroke severity.. Environmental Research, 2019; 179: 108725 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108725


#Stroke #airpollution #noise #greenspace

Stroke, airpollution, noise, greenspace

bottom of page