Happy Spring!

This Month’s Top Reads Highlights some very exciting topics on Nutrigenomics, Health, and Drug Updates.

Scroll down to learn about:

1. Important Brain Foods you can add to your diet

2. Links between nutrients and digestive health

3. Women’s Health:

  • Another viewpoint on Mammograms
  • Updated position paper on Hormone Replacement by NAMS

4. The link between Alzheimer’s and Cholesterol

5. The Dangers of Sleeping Pills

6. MMR Vaccines and why it’s not the cause of Autism but may be a contributor for Some

7….much more


I watched my mom dutifully get my monthly updates and to try click through and read every link. Poor mom!

She had a backlog of my Top Reads in order to support my writing.

That’s not what the Top Reads is for.

I’ve done the work for you, as your Doctor!

As many of you know, I’m a constant learner.

Top Reads is a result of my me compilation of TOP NEWS from the month on what I consider the most relevant health updates.

It’s summarized and highlighted in the paragraph. If you want more, by all means click, if not, you’ve got the main point …..
Dr. Sarah’s Health Cliff Notes….Updated!

Now…there’s more I could include…but I just give you a skimming. 🙂



Brain Foods: Slideshow of Healthy Foods (Medscape)

A deficiency in polyunsaturated fatty acids has been linked to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children.[9] Although data are conflicting, new research shows that the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are beneficial in depression and postpartum depression, respectively, and other research suggests that omega-3 deficiency may be a risk factor for suicide

.A study in rats from 2010 showed that a diet high in strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry extract leads to a “reversal of age-related deficits in nerve function and behavior involving learning and memory.”

A so-called “whole” diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-quality meats and fish results in a 30% risk reduction for depression and anxiety disorders, compared with consumption of a “Western diet” high in processed foods and saturated fats, according to a 2010 study.[20] Even unprocessed red meat seems to be protective against depressive and anxiety disorders,[21] in contrast to many studies in which red meat often falls into the category of “unhealthy” food. In speaking with Medscape News, principal investigator Dr. Felice Jacka specifically addressed the importance of farming practices.

and…chocolate for mood, Mediterranean diet for heart, coffee for health…click to learn more..

Magnesium and Anxiety Link (Neuropharmocology)

Overall, the present findings demonstrate the robustness and validity of the Mg2+ deficiency model as a mouse model of enhanced anxiety, showing sensitivity to treatment with anxiolytics and antidepressants. It is further suggested that dysregulations in the HPA axis may contribute to the hyper-emotionality in response to dietary induced hypomagnesaemia.

Fermented Foods, Probiotics, and Intestinal Health (Dr. Mercola)

  • The combination of avoiding or eliminating grains (and sugar), along with increased consumption of probiotic foods (or a high-quality supplement) is a powerful combination that may improve the health of people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and a wide range of other related conditions
  • Your gut microflora play a critical role in the onset of celiac disease; past research has shown probiotics may help heal intestinal barrier function in people with celiac disease, as well as alleviate the severity of the condition by reducing inflammation
  • In a new animal study, researchers revealed that when mice were fed the probiotic strain Saccharomyces boulardii KK1, gluten-induced pathological intestinal changes commonly associated with celiac disease progression began to reverse

Choline Linked to Liver Help in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (The Am Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

Conclusion: Decreased choline intake is significantly associated with increased fibrosis in postmenopausal women with NAFLD. The Pioglitazone vs Vitamin E vs Placebo for Treatment of Non-Diabetic Patients With Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00063622, and the Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Children trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00063635.


Sugar Addiction (Dr. Mercola)

  • When you eat sugar it triggers the production of your brain’s natural opioids — a key factor in addiction. Your brain essentially becomes addicted to the sugar-induced opioid release, not unlike addictions to morphine or heroin
  • Like many types of addictions, sugar addiction can be deadly. Evidence is mounting that sugar is a primary contributing factor not only in obesity and diabetes, but other chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer
  • Sugar really is “the most unhappy of pleasures,” because although it gives you a moment’s pleasure, the more you eat, the more you crave, with the bitter and inevitable result that it damages your health

Diabesity/lipotoxicity hits the Heart in Conventional Medicine (Medscape)

Conventional Medicine is sounding like functional medicine…but not quite there!

One patient may have more of a contribution of their diabetes. One patient may have more of a contribution of high blood pressure, or some combination thereof. Of course, we’re not even at a point where we know how to treat diabetic heart failure yet. So many studies are ongoing, both in the laboratory as well as in humans, and are aimed at looking at whether the metabolic derangements that are driven by diabetes begin to lead to the failing heart, and in many cases, for vascular disease that leads to heart attacks.

Wouldn’t it be great, for instance, to do a biochemical test or an imaging test or a genetic test, and be able to determine in a patient in your office whether his early heart failure was largely due to the lipotoxicity of diabetes, to hypertension, or to both? We’ve made, as have others, significant progress in this area, at least in preclinical models. And there is hope now that with the combination of imaging lipid in the heart, metabolic imaging that looks at fuel utilization, and the broad area of what we call “metabolomics,” which means measuring, detecting, and quantifying metabolites in the bloodstream and in the tissues, we believe that there is hope in the long term for developing personalized biomarker panels that, for the given patient who has heart failure with multiple risk factors, to be able to identify the main, or several main, drivers and to treat them accordingly.

Steven R. Smith, MD; Daniel P. Kelly, MD. Understanding the Diabetic Heart. Developments to Watch. Medscape Today. 2/21/12

The Other White Meat? (Dr. Mercola)

  • Pork consumption has a strong epidemiological association with cirrhosis of the liver — in fact, it may be more strongly associated with cirrhosis than alcohol
  • Other studies also show an association between pork consumption and liver cancer as well as multiple sclerosis.
  • Several factors may be behind these health risks, including pork raised on grains and seed oils, making it high in omega-6 fats, as well as the fact that most pork consumed in the United States is processed (processed meats are known to increase the risk of cancer)
  • Being scavenger animals, pigs are also prime breeding grounds for potentially dangerous infections; even cooking pork for long periods is not enough to kill many of the retroviruses and other parasites that many of them harbor (this is true even of pasture-raised pork)

Blood Types and Stress (D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition Newsletter)

So as I just mentioned Type A does better with activities that clear cortisol from their systems, like yoga and Tai Chi. Type O does better with more vigorous exercise that clears a class of stress hormones called catecholamines from their bodies. Type B can also benefit from more calming exercises especially if they are prone to depression in the family. AB’s benefit from routine and anything that keeps their immune system functioning properly like eating and going to bed at the same time, routine cleansing, and avoiding extremes in terms of lifestyle.

New Position Paper on Hormone Replacement (NAMS)

The North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) new Position Statement on Hormone
Therapy, published in 2012, provides the following information to help you understand the
most recent guidelines on HT use:

  • HT remains the most effective treatment available for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats that can interrupt sleep and impair quality of life. Many women can take it safely.
  • If you have had blood clots, heart disease, stroke, or breast cancer, it may not be in your best interest to take HT. Be sure to discuss your health conditions with your healthcare provider.
  • How long you should take HT is different for EPT and ET. For EPT, the time is limited by the increased risk of breast cancer that is seen with more than 3 to 5 years of use. For ET, no sign of an increased risk of breast cancer was seen during an average of 7 years of treatment, a finding that allows more choice in how long you choose to use ET.
  • Most healthy women below age 60 will have no increase in the risk of heart disease with HT. The risks of stroke and blood clots in the lungs are increased but, in these younger age groups, the risks are less than 1 in every 1000 women per year taking HT.
  • ET delivered through the skin (by patch, cream, gel, or spray) and low?dose oral estrogen may have lower risks of blood clots and stroke than standard doses of oral estrogen, but all the evidence is not yet available. Research will continue to bring valuable information to help women with their decision about HT.

Another Viewpoint on Mammograms (Dr. Mercola)

In September 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals, published the first study in years7 to examine the effectiveness of mammograms. Their findings are a far cry from what most public health officials would have you believe.The bottom line is that mammograms seem to have reduced cancer death rates by only 0.4 deaths per 1,000 women—an amount so small it might as well be zero. Put another way, 2,500 women would have to be screened over 10 years for a single breast cancer death to be avoided.

So, not only are mammograms unsafe, but they are NOT saving women’s lives, as was commonly thought. Past research has also shown that adding an annual mammogram to a careful physical examination of the breasts does not improve breast cancer survival rates over physical examination alone. If mammograms won’t save you, then what will?

The Anti-Stress Neurotransmitter GABA May Help Prevent Weight Gain in Diabetic (mice) (PLoS)

Collectively, our data indicated that activation of peripheral GABA receptors inhibited the HFD-induced glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and obesity by inhibiting obesity-related inflammation and up-regulating Treg responses in vivo. Given that GABA is safe for human consumption, activators of GABA receptors may be valuable for the prevention of obesity and intervention of T2DM in the clinic.

Lose Weight By Sleeping (Dr. Hyman)

These treatments can save your life — and help you lose weight. It’s not uncommon for my patients to lose up to 50 pounds by just having their sleep apnea treated. They eat less, have more energy, and can exercise more — and it all happens effortlessly, by just having good quality sleep.
That’s the solution for people with sleep apnea.
But what if you just can’t get ENOUGH sleep?
Try these tips to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep, which can have dramatic effects on your weight and health:
1.      Avoid substances that affect sleep, like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
2.      Avoid any stimulating activities for 2 hours before bed such as watching TV, using the Internet, and answering emails.
3.      Go to bed (preferably before 10 or 11 pm) and wake up at the same time every day.
4.      Exercise daily for 30 minutes (but not 3 hours before bed, which can affect sleep)
5.      Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
6.      Keep your bedroom very dark or use eyeshades.
7.      Read more by clicking above…….

Alzheimer’s and Cholesterol (Dr. Mercola)

” … depletion of sulfate supply to the brain is another important contributor to Alzheimer’s, and I further think that sulfate is supplied to the brain principally by sterol sulfates like cholesterol sulfate as well as their derivatives like vitamin D3 sulfate. Both cholesterol sulfate and vitamin D3 sulfate are synthesized in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, and it is theorized that the skin is the major supplier of these nutrients to the body. This is why I believe that excess sunscreen use and excess sun avoidance are another principal causative factor in Alzheimer’s disease.”

Sulfur also plays an important role in glucose metabolism. She hypothesizesiii that if a sufficient amount of sulfur is available, it will act as a decoy to glucose, effectively diverting it to reduce the sulfur rather than glycating and causing damage. This would have the beneficial effect of reducing inflammation, as sugar (glucose) is highly inflammatory and wreaks havoc in your body.

What does this have to do with your brain? The process applies not only to fat and muscle cells, but also to cells in your brain (and, in fact, to all cells in your body). Dr. Seneff explains:

“Essentially all cells in the body are surrounded by an exterior coat made up of complex molecules called “GAGs” — glycosaminoglycans. These contain sugars, proteins, and a large population of attached ions, particularly sulfate anions. These serve, I believe, an important role in helping to safely break down sugar. Simply stated, the sulfur atom deflects the reducing actions of sugars away from the vulnerable proteins. The sulfate anions also provide a negative field around the cell, which is very useful for keeping bacteria out, because bacteria are also negatively charged, and hence repelled by the cell’s negative electric field. So cells with lots of surrounding sulfate are afforded protection from invasive bacteria. If a bacterium does get in, the cell will have to release oxidizing agents to kill it, and the cell itself will suffer damage from exposure to its own defense system. The fats in the cell membrane are more vulnerable to oxidative damage when there is insufficient cholesterol to protect them.”

Laptops Not for Laps! (Dr. Mercola)

Separate research has also shown that laptops may be harmful to sperm, with samples exposed to a wireless internet-connected laptop showing a significant decrease in sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation. Researchers concluded your lap is an “improper site” for use of a laptop computer, and suggested the devices be renamed so as not to “induce customers towards an improper use”

These properties contribute to greater reactivity of DNA to electromagnetic fields than other tissues, making the long-term consequences of repeated microwave exposures to our genetic material of great concern. Dr. Blank is adamant when he says that there IS evidence of harm, and that the harm can be significant. He also points out that the science showing harmful effects has been peer-reviewed, published, and that the results have been replicated, evaluated and “judged by scientists capable of judging it.”…. Your body contains electrons that keep an electrical current flowing, and inside every cell are mitochondria, the ‘power plants’ of the cell that respond to the body’s natural electromagnetic fields.

Omega 3s Help Fight Cancer Fatigue (Vital Choice)

The participants’ blood was analyzed for markers of chronic and acute inflammation … C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A protein, respectively. (To learn about inflammation and tumor growth, see “Breast Cancer Linked to Inflammation”.) As the authors reported, their results indicated that the women with higher intake of omega-3s had lower inflammation (CRP) levels and less physical fatigue. After adjusting the results to account for other factors, breast cancer survivors with high CRP [inflammation ] levels were almost twice (1.8 times) as likely to experience fatigue. And the women with higher blood levels of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3s had higher CRP levels and were more than twice (2.6 times) as likely to suffer from fatigue.

Low Fructose Helps Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) (Medscape)

Conclusion. Low-fructose diet in subjects with CKD can reduce inflammation with some potential benefits on BP. This pilot study needs to be confirmed by a larger clinical trial to determine the long-term benefit of a low-fructose diet compared to other diets in subjects with CKD.


Drugs and Devices: The Latest News For Primary Care (Medscape)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Safety Communication regarding the potential risk for Clostridium difficile diarrhea in patients taking prescription or nonprescription proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Patients should be instructed to take PPIs at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest duration appropriate for the medical condition. In addition, patients should be instructed to contact their healthcare professional immediately if they develop watery stool that does not improve, abdominal pain, and fever while taking PPIs. For more information, see Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to C difficile Diarrhea.

The FDA approved lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse®, Shire US Inc., Wayne, Pennsylvania) for maintenance treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. This central nervous system stimulant is a schedule II controlled substance and has previous approval for ADHD in children and adolescents. Patients taking Vyvanse should be counseled about the risk for serious cardiovascular events and sudden death with use. For more information, see FDA Approves Agent for Maintenance Therapy in Adult ADHD.

Notable Cases of Medical Fraud (Dr. Mercola)

  • Scott S. Reuben, a prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist, allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies published between 1996 and 2008 that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx, Celebrex, Bextra and Lyrica. His work was considered important in encouraging doctors to combine the use of painkillers like Celebrex and Lyrica for patients undergoing common procedures such as knee and hip replacements
  • Last year, autism researcher Poul Thorsen was charged with 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering. He also allegedly stole over $1 million from autism research funding between February 2004 and June 2008. He is said to have stolen the money while serving as the ‘principal investigator’ for a program that studied the relationship between autism and exposure to vaccines. He was involved in several key studies the CDC uses to support their claims that MMR and mercury-containing vaccines, among others, are safe. One of his papers on the subject, known as ‘The Danish Study’, is extensively quoted to refute the autism-vaccine connection
  • In October, 2011, the Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health discovered that a Boston University cancer scientist, Sheng Wang, had fabricated his research findings. His work was published in two journals in 2009, and he’s been ordered to retract them. But important studies by other scientists like those at the Mayo Clinic, who based their work on his findings, could now see 10 years of their studies going down the drain as worthless…
  • Read more examples by clicking the link above…..

Sleeping Pills Linked to Increased Death Risk (Dr. Mercola)

  • Research involving data from more than 10,500 people who received drugs for poor sleep (hypnotics) showed that “as predicted, patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics” and the association held true even when patients with poor health were taken into account — and even if the patients took fewer than 18 pills in a year.
  • Sleeping pills generally only increase the amount of time you sleep by a matter of minutes, and far from waking up refreshed, they can impair your functioning the next day, making you even less alert and more disoriented
  • Other strange side effects linked to sleeping pills include hallucinations, sleep walking, sleep driving, sleep eating, amnesia, and depression
  • Sleeping pills do nothing to help the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place; improving your sleep hygiene habits and your bedroom environment can go a long way toward helping you get restful sleep naturally

Anti-Seizure Drug with Outlawed Drug From Past= New “Miracle Weight Loss Drug”(Dr. Hyman)

UGHH>>>>>>People will be taking a mix of anti-seizure medication and a dangerous drug. “Dying to be thin.”

This week, in an act of desperation to turn back the tide of the obesity epidemic that now affects almost seven out of every ten Americans and over 80% of some populations (African American women), the advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 20 to 2 to recommend approval of Qnexa, a “new” obesity drug that is simply the combination of two older medications, phentermine (the “phen” of phen-fen”) and topiramate (Topamax).It is a misguided effort at best, and a dangerous one at worst.  Mounting evidence proves that the solution to lifestyle and diet-driven obesity-related illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer, won’t be found at the bottom of a prescription bottle.

By 2020, over 50% of the US adult population will have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, with annual costs approaching $500 billion. By 2030, total annual economic costs of cardiovascular disease in the US are predicted to exceed $1 trillion. By 2030, globally we will spend $47 trillion; yes trillion, to address the effects of chronic lifestyle-driven disease.

FDA Considers Rx Drugs as OTC (Dr. Mercola)

Because the majority of Americans are already taking too many drugs, and easier access makes it likely that people will take even more — even though many chronic conditions, like elevated cholesterol, are best treated without drugs, and there are many serious health risks to self-medicating. As pointed out in Current Drug Safety:iv

“Potential risks of self-medication practices include: incorrect self-diagnosis, delays in seeking medical advice when needed, infrequent but severe adverse reactions, dangerous drug interactions, incorrect manner of administration, incorrect dosage, incorrect choice of therapy, masking of a severe disease and risk of dependence and abuse … some of the most important dangers related to self-medication practices, particularly [include]: polypharmacy and drug interactions, medications abuse or dependence, misdiagnosis and incorrect choice of treatment.”

Anyone taking more than one drug increases their risk of experiencing harmful side effects. The word ‘polypharmacy’ simply means “many drugs,” but refers to instances where an individual is taking too many drugs — either because more drugs are prescribed (or taken over-the-counter) than clinically indicated, or when the sheer number of pills simply becomes a burden for the patient.

According to the CHPA survey, the majority of Americans (92%) believe that OTC medicines are safe and effective. But deaths due to unintentional drug overdoses have increased roughly five-fold since 1990v— and the risk of all adverse reactions, including serious and even life-threatening complications, goes up dramatically the more drugs you take.


Vaccines, MMR, and Biochemical Individuality (Dr. Hyman)

In another study DNA analysis was performed on the measles strains found in autistic children and compared them to non-autistic children with inflamed bowels. The shocking finding was that the DNA of the measles virus in autistic children came from vaccine strains of measles (the ones made specially for vaccines), not wild types (the type of measles virus that comes from a community acquired infection).(iii)

This doesn’t mean that ALL children who get vaccinated have problems, but for some reason autistic children are unable to handle the live measles viruses used in immunizations, and it triggers an inflammatory response in the gut, and the brain. These children can’t handle the vaccine (maybe because mercury suppresses their immune system) and then the normally benign live measles virus in the vaccine takes root in the body and sends these kids into an even deeper spiral of brain dysfunction.

What is even more alarming is that vaccine strains of measles virus seem to migrate into the brains of children with autism. That means it may not be only gut related inflammation that is causing the problems, but the measles virus may take root in the brain itself. How this all happens is not clear, but the trail from vaccine to the gut to the brain is smoking hot. Vaccine measles strains have been isolated from the spinal fluid of autistic children.(iv)

Large-scale population studies show no connection between MMR or measles vaccine and autism.(v) That’s because in such large populations, the effect on children susceptible to MMR is “washed out”. If you study large groups of people, you won’t pick up small effects on genetically or biochemically unique individuals. Looking at the problem using this kind of statistical analysis is unhelpful for treating individual patients.

An Excuse to Drink Coffee? Healthy Meat? Read more on my Saratoga.com blog.