Medical Notes 19-10

19-10 notes

Medical Notes this week…

Antibacterial soaps are common today, as are antibacterial toothpaste, mouthwash, cosmetics, and even clothing and baby toys. But a new study finds that the active ingredient in most of those things could actually be making bacteria more able to withstand medications. The study in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy shows that the chemical triclosan (trick-lo-san) does kill some microbes, but those that are left are substantially more resistant to antibiotics.

Men who have enlarged prostates may worry about prostate cancer, too. But a new study suggests that enlarged prostates actually protect against prostate cancer. The key is that the prostate sits in a confined space. Scientists believe that as the prostate becomes enlarged, it’s squeezed tightly, impeding the growth of cancer cells inside. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

And finally… over the last decade, many laws have locked up most of your sensitive medical data. But a new study shows that “shadow” health records generated just by living your life can tip off a lot about your health, and those records are wide open. The study in the journal Science Translational Medicine finds that using a fitness tracker, smartphone health app, or DNA ancestry test leave a health information trail. Shopping for a health-related item online or even searching the internet for health information leaves clues for savvy data gatherers.

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Medical Notes 18-30


Medical Notes this week…

If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about your doctor and his license now there’s an app for that. The Medical Board of California is releasing an app called “Med Board CA” for users in the state who will have access to information on their doctors with a click of a button. The medical board says it wants to help California consumers make informed health care decisions and they’re hoping other states will follow suit.

The human body contains billions of bacteria so it may not be surprising to hear that surgical implants, such as knee replacements, can harbor bacteria of their own. A study in the journal APMIS finds that bacteria, fungi or both may colonize surgical implants, including hip replacements and the screws that fix broken bones but not to worry no patients with implants have shown ill effects from infection.  

Doctors have long known that after menopause, obesity leads to a higher risk of breast cancer. But before menopause, it may be the opposite. new research in the journal Jama Oncology shows that younger women with a higher body mass index have a lower breast cancer risk than those who are thinner. Factors such as hormones, growth factors and breast density all play a role in the apparent link between higher BMI and lower cancer risk. So researchers say gaining weight is no way to prevent breast cancer.

Diabetics may soon be able to say goodbye to painful finger pricks, thanks to a new non-invasive blood glucose monitoring that combines radar and artificial intelligence. The device developed at Waterloo University uses high frequency radio waves to detect the amount of glucose in a liquid. Initial tests with volunteers show the device is about 85 percent as accurate as traditional invasive blood analysis.

And finally, if you’re thinking about what foods are good for you, how about a cup of coffee…or four. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine followed a large group of people over 10 years and found that coffee drinkers are about 10 to 15 percent less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers. Researchers suspect coffee contains several bioactive compounds with potential beneficial properties. So go ahead, pour yourself another cup.

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18-05 Segment 2: Fiber and the Gut

Copyright: baibakova / 123RF Stock Photo


Fiber is an important part of a daily diet, but many people do not know what fiber  does for the body. Dr. Hannah Holscher, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, explains that fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that is found in plants which human enzymes cannot break down, so the body relies on microbes.

But why is fiber so important for the human body? According to Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, fiber helps nourish beneficial bacteria in the intestine that is needed to aid digestion, keep the immune system strong, and block potential pathogens. Without fiber in your diet, this bacteria becomes malnourished, decreasing the number of them present. Dr. Gewirtz explains that discoveries from experiments on mice show that this decrease in bacteria can lead to a number of health issues.

It is important to maintain a high fiber diet in order to ensure proper nourishment of these beneficial bacteria. However, many people stick to one type of fiber rather than trying a few. People should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber foods to give their bodies more than one kind of fiber. While it can be difficult to consume the suggested amount of fiber everyday, the positive health benefits are worth it.


  • Dr. Hannah Holscher, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia Sate University

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15-07 Story 1: The Gut Microbiome


Synopsis: Scientists are learning that the bacteria living inside us, most notably in the intestines, influence our bodies far more than previously suspected. Our microbiome influences many other organs, particularly the liver, brain, and immune system. Different mixes of these bacteria may account for a great deal of the variability among people, particularly in our weight.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Jack Gilbert, Group Leader, Microbial Ecology, Argonne National Laboratory; Dr. Rob Knight, Professor of Pediatrics and Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, San Diego

Click here for the transcript.