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 18-30

 

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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18-06 Segment 2: The High Health Cost of Sugar

 

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Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, President of Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease explains that generally people believe that obesity is a calorie problem: people eat too much and exercise too little. But, he states that there is something else at play here–the enormous increase in the consumption of dietary sugar across the country.

However, it is hard to place the blame on a lack of self-responsibility. Dr. Lustig explains that evidence shows sugar is addictive and it is capable of exciting the brain in a similar way that other substances of abuse do, too. Dr. Lustig believes there are two reasons sugar has become so prevalent in the human diet: first, sugar became cheaper, and second, the food industry put an emphasis on “low-fat”and “fat-free” diets that encouraged people to eat these foods that are higher in sugar.

The negative effects of sugar are not only seen through the increase in obesity, but also in the rise of diabetes which is increasing at a far quicker pace. Dr. Lustig states that this growth in diabetes is not just affecting those who are obese, it is affecting all people who consume sugar at a high rate. He further explains that diabetes is not about obesity, but that it’s about how our bodies metabolize what enters it and the damages that these bad foods cause in the process. In order to decrease the number of people being affected by diabetes and obesity, sugar consumption must go down.

Guests:

  • Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, President of Institute for Responsible Nutrition, and author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease

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17-28 Segment 1: Our Obesity Obsession: Does Science Support It?

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The cultural bias against obesity is often justified on health grounds. But recent studies show that people classified in the “overweight” BMI category actually have less mortality than normal weight people. Experts discuss how culture drives our obsession with weight and what science really has to say about it.

Read the entire transcript here:

Guests:

  • Harriet Brown, Associate Professor of Magazine Journalism, Newhouse School of Public Communication, Syracuse University and author, Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession With Weight and What We Can Do About It
  • Dr. Carl Lavie, Medical Director of Preventive Cardiology, John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute, New Orleans and author, The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier

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Coming Up On Radio Heath Journal Show 17-28

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Our Obesity Obsession: Does Science Support It?

The cultural bias against obesity is often justified on health grounds. But recent studies show that people classified in the “overweight” BMI category actually have less mortality than normal weight people. Experts discuss how culture drives our obsession with weight and what science really has to say about it.

The Science of Smell:

The sense of smell evokes powerful memories and makes food taste good, but it also has important functions in interpersonal relations and personal safety. Experts discuss the science behind it.

17-19 Segment 1: Bariatric Surgery in Teenagers

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The proportion of severely obese teenagers continues to rise. Doctors increasingly understand that only weight loss surgery is likely to help them lose weight and avoid health consequences of obesity. But teens are often held back until they’re so heavy that even bariatric surgery isn’t enough to return them to normal weight.

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Click here for guest information and the transcript

Medical Notes 17-12

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Medical Notes this week…

People who’ve gone to the hospital for treatment of a mental health disorder have an increased risk of stroke for months afterward. A study presented to the International Stroke Conference in Houston shows that people going to the hospital for psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD have triple the risk of a stroke in the next month and double the risk for the next year or more. Scientists speculate that mental illness may provoke the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism which can raise blood pressure and stroke risk.

Early risers may be healthier than people who sleep in. A study in the journal Obesity shows that early birds tend to eat more balanced diets than night owls. They also eat earlier in the day, which helps with weight loss and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

And finally, many Americans are working from home at least part of the time and a new poll shows we like it that way. However, a little bit of office camaraderie is a good thing. The Gallup survey finds that 43 percent of employees work remotely at least part of the time and that the most engaged workers are those who spend three to four days a week working from home. People who work in the office all the time or at home all the time are the least engaged employees.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.