Medical Notes 18-35

 

Medical Notes this week…

Are you worried about developing dementia? Well, lowering your blood pressure can cut the risk of memory decline. A SPRINT MIND study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference shows aggressively lowering blood pressure significantly reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia among hypertension patients. Results also show significant cardiovascular benefits in people whose systolic blood pleasure was lowered aggressively to below 120. Experts suggest seeing your doctor and knowing your numbers.

Osteoporosis is responsible for as many as half of all fractures in women and one in four in men over the age of 50…but a new test could give people decades of warning. A study in the journal PLOS ONE describes a new genetic screening test that may predict a person’s future risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. That would allow people to take vitamin D, calcium and participate in weight-bearing exercise to stave off later ill effects.

And finally…friendship might be priceless…but is it timeless? A new study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships shows it takes more than 200 hours of togetherness before someone can be considered a close friend. But experts say it’s worth it. They say time and activity shared are strategic investments toward sustaining our belongingness needs.

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Medical Notes 18-34

 

Medical Notes this week…

If you think your hands are germ-free after you use hand sanitizer…think again. A study in the journal Science Translational Medicine finds that a few kinds of germs are developing resistance to alcohol-based hand sanitizers…and people who don’t rub their hands with them long enough are helping them along. Researchers say using sanitizer is still a good idea, but you can’t expect sanitizers to make up for sloppy habits.

A new study advises surgeons to stay away from children’s tonsils. The study in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery finds that removing tonsils and adenoids in childhood triples the odds of respiratory infections and allergic diseases later on. Tonsil removal is one of the most common pediatric surgeries performed worldwide, with more than 500,000 done each year on children in the U.S. alone.

A person’s biological age is often different from their chronological age…and the number of pregnancies a woman’s had can be one reason. A study in the journal Scientific Reports shows that during pregnancy, the cells in a woman’s body appear younger. But after pregnancy, that all changes. Later on, each pregnancy a woman has in her life ages her cells by as much as two years.

And finally…your sparkling water may be calorie-free…but it may still sabotage your diet. A study in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice shows that carbonated water such as La Croix dramatically raises blood levels of ghrelin…the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry. Apparently, carbon dioxide bubbles are the culprit. Mice who drank carbonated water for a year ate significantly more than those who drank plain tap water…so they gained significantly more weight. A short study on people confirmed that ghrelin levels ended up six times higher in those drinking calorie-free carbonated water.

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Medical Notes 18-33

 

Medical Notes this week…

We recently reported on children who experience severe stress and how they are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders in adulthood but how does one lead to the other? According to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, childhood stress changes our genes. Researchers compared the whole genomes of girls with stressful childhoods against girls with relatively calm childhoods and found a difference in gene expression in more than 1,400 genes as a result of the amount of stress the girls had experienced.

Artificially sweetened drinks have a reputation of being bad for your health but for patients with colon cancer they may be a healthy choice, according to a study in the journal PLOS One. Researchers found that among patients who’d already been treated for colon cancer, those who drank at least one can of artificially sweetened beverage per day had a 46 percent decline in risk of cancer recurrence or death.

Students won’t do better in school by taking unprescribed ADHD drugs. These so-called study drugs may make you feel smarter… but a study in the journal Pharmacy finds they don’t actually improve test performance. Researchers say a standard dose of Adderall will improve attention and focus but that doesn’t help on tasks involving short-term memory, reading comprehension, and fluency.

And finally dogs are known to be man’s best friend and a new study shows that over thousands of years, dogs have become very good at reading our social cues. A study in the journal Learning & Behavior shows that not only can dogs sense what their owners are feeling they’ll go through barriers to help their owners. Researchers say that when dogs heard their owner crying in another room, they hurried to push through the door to comfort them.

 

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Medical Notes 18-32

 

Medical Notes this week…

Colonoscopies might cause more complications than we thought. A new study in the journal Gut shows that colonoscopies and upper GI endoscopies performed at outpatient specialty centers cause bacterial infections at a much higher rate than expected. Experts had thought that post-endoscopic infection rates with bacteria such as E. coli were one in a million. The new study shows the rate of infection is actually closer to one in a thousand. but experts say colonoscopies are still a good idea, the best bet to detect and even prevent colon cancer.

A glass of wine for dinner may increase a woman’s chance of developing PMS and several glasses each day may increase it by quite a bit. A study in the journal BMJ shows that women who drink alcohol at all are at a 45 percent higher risk of pre-menstrual syndrome, and those who consume more than one drink a day have a 79 percent higher risk. Overall, scientists say alcohol may be responsible for about one in 10 cases of PMS.

And finally, if you think the day ahead is going to be stressful your mind and body will be stressed all day long, even if the actual stresses never come. A study in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences shows that waking up anticipating a bad day impacts working memory, which helps people learn and retain information even when they’re distracted. Researchers say that can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy—a bad day of mistakes at work or even while driving.

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Medical Notes 18-31

 

Medical Notes this week…

If excessive sweating is taking a toll on your social life, you’re not alone. An estimated 15 million Americans have some form of this condition and only one in four get treatment, often with Botox. But that could all change this fall. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Qbrexza, a drug-infused cloth meant to be wiped over the skin each day to block sweat glands from activating. Researchers say 53 percent of patients report the drug reduces sweat production by roughly half.

Regulators know marijuana for its abuse potential and safety questions but now there’s an FDA-approved drug derived from marijuana. The drug Epidiolex has been approved to treat two rare, severe forms of childhood epilepsy which can prompt uncontrolled daily seizures. The disorder puts patients at high risk for other physical and intellectual disabilities, injury and early death. The oral pot solution contains cannabidiol, a chemical in the cannabis plant containing only trace amounts of the psychoactive element thc, the drug does not induce euphoria.

And finally, having the same doctor for awhile can extend your life. A study published in the journal BMJ Open shows that contact with the same physician over an average of two years results in fewer deaths as a result of better communication. Researchers continuity of care should be given a higher priority in healthcare planning because it benefits everyone, not just patients with chronic illnesses, complex needs, or long-term mental health issues.

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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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Medical Notes 18-29

 

Medical Notes this week…

Suicide rates are rising sharply across the United States. A new report finds that nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the U.S. in 2016, more than twice the number of homicides. Experts say suicide is not only a mental health problem but also a public health issue. In the 27 states that use the National Violent Death Reporting System, 54 percent of suicides were by people without a known mental illness.  

Pediatricians are coming down hard on spanking. A survey published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics finds three out of four pediatricians disapprove of spanking. The survey of doctors shows 78 percent of pediatricians thinks spanking never or hardly ever improves children’s behavior. Parents, however, may disagree. a survey in the journal Child Trends shows that 76 percent of men and 65 percent of women think spanking is a necessary form of discipline.  

And finally, is your favorite restaurant playing “mind games” with you? A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences finds diners who are exposed to loud music order foods that are significantly higher in calories. High volume sounds are proven to impact heart rate and arousal, so louder music ignites excitement, stimulation and stress. That means restaurants can manipulate customers and contribute to their unhealthy eating habits.

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