The lazy, hazy weeks of summer are fading away to the shortened days of autumn. As this change of seasons progresses, signified with the reemergence of school buses, the release of health and integrative medicine news continues to keep its year-round rapid pace.
In this blog, I’ve compiled what I consider August’s top media headlines in health, nutrigenomics, and medication updates for your skimming pleasure. These “Cliff Notes of Top Reads” provide you with excerpts in italics from the abstracts or articles with the most pertinent information. I still provided the full source reference if you desire more exercise for your smart brains!
Feel free to dip in your toe, skim over, or dive-into these news briefs as you enjoy the last splash of summer!
- IBD and Anxiety- Gut-Brain Connection Again
- Gut Bug and Oral Bugs Change with RA Treatment
- The Vagiome and Birth Outcomes
- Probiotics and Mood
- Early Hysterectomy & Cardiovascular Link
- Lower Levels of Infant Death Rates in US, CDC Says
- Selective Eating (SE) in Childhood Associated with Mood Issues
- Infectious Outbreak In NY Area
- New Law to Decrease Toxic Exposure to Many Workers
- Spirituality May Help Cancer Symptoms
- Depression-Heart Health Linked in Teens
- Music & Healing
- Too Many Ticks
- Multi-gene Testing in Cancer Risk Assessment
- E-Cigs Linked to Tobacco Use in Teens
- A Tribute to the Man With the Number One Health Website
- Grapefruit Seeds Effective for UTIs in Study
- Spice Up Your Food for Longevity
- Carbs and Depression
- Splenda and Toxins Found in Breastmilk (and my commentary)
- Coffee and Colon Health
- Alcohol and Cancer Risk
- A Fat Gene Found
- The Next Great GMO Debate
- Iodine and the Developing Brain
- FDA Approves the First 3D Printed Seizure Drug
- Mixed Results for Testosterone Therapy
- Genetically Engineered Pain Drugs, From Yeast Cells
- 100 Best Selling and Most Prescribed Drugs
- Resistant Head Lice
- Female Libido Pill Approved
- Tylenol and Glucose Readings
- 2 Studies Question Statins Efficacy In Prevention
The Microbiome & Health Head-to-Toe
I couldn’t help myself! Once again, the media headlines highlighted the microbial sweethearts that line our insides. Due to my obsession with our little buggy friends, I thought these deserved special attention beyond making the list of “Top Reads.” So, click here to learn more about these buggy honorable mentions and my commentary on why these critters of ours are driving health outcomes!
Early Hysterectomy & Cardiovascular Risk
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Hysterectomy is associated with an increased likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors and disease, especially among younger women, a new study suggests.
Lower Levels of Infant Mortality in US, But Still Behind Other Countries
Better stats for our little ones in the states, but still a way to go…
In 2013, 23,446 infants died in the United States, 208 fewer than in 2012, the researchers found. “Not long ago, we were around 28,000 to 30,000 deaths,” Mathews said. “There are still a lot of infant deaths, but that there are fewer means there have been positive changes.”
…Also in 2013, 36 percent of infant deaths were due to preterm-related causes, such as short gestation and low birth weight. Another 15 percent were due to sudden, unexpected infant death, including unspecified causes and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, the researchers said.
Mathews said that the U.S. still has higher infant mortality rates than other countries such as Sweden and Japan, where the rate is fewer than 3 deaths per 1,000 births. (Health Day, August 6, 2015)
Selective Eating (SE) in Childhood Associated with Mood Issues
Both moderate and severe levels of SE were associated with psychopathological symptoms (anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) both concurrently and prospectively. However, the severity of psychopathological symptoms worsened as SE became more severe. Impairment in family functioning was reported at both levels of SE, as was sensory sensitivity in domains outside of food and the experience of food aversion. (Pediatrics, August 3, 2015)
Infectious Outbreak in NY
Critters can be our friends or our foes; therefore, make sure you read about how to treat ’em right here. 🙂
Note that since this post, the outbreak has ceased.
THURSDAY, Aug. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) — As New York City health officials work to contain an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, health experts note that the elderly, smokers and those with respiratory conditions are most vulnerable to the potentially deadly bacteria. So far, 100 people have been infected and 10 have died in the current outbreak, which has been traced to cooling towers in a Bronx neighborhood, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Of those who died, all were older individuals with other medical conditions.
New Law To Decrease Toxic Exposure for 35,000 Workers
THURSDAY, Aug. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A new standard to significantly reduce American workers’ exposure to the lung disease-causing metal beryllium has been proposed by the federal government. The new rule would affect about 35,000 workers covered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and could prevent nearly 100 deaths and 50 serious illnesses a year.
Spirituality May Benefit Cancer Patients
Microbes do a lot, but can they effect spirituality? Not sure, but spirituality may effect our health!
MONDAY, Aug. 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Spiritual and religious beliefs may benefit cancer patients’ physical and mental health, researchers say. They conducted three reviews of all published studies on the topic, which included more than 44,000 patients. However, none of the studies were able to show a cause-and-effect relationship between spirituality and better outcomes, only an association between these factors.
Depression and Heart Issues Linked in Teens
The heart-head connection…
Teens with major depression or bipolar disorder are at high risk of early heart and blood vessel disease. For the first time, experts urge early monitoring and assertive intervention to reduce risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease among teens with major depression or bipolar disorder. (Science Daily, August 11, 2015)
Music & Healing
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Mozart, Madonna or Eminem: Whatever your taste, music may help you recover from a surgery, according to a new review of data on the subject.
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Lyme disease may be grossly under-reported in the United States. Government researchers say the tick-borne infection affects about 10 times as many Americans as previously indicated by confirmed case reports.
Usefulness of Multigene Testing in Cancer Assessment
The advent of next-generation sequencing has opened the door to broader evaluation of cancer risk genes without additional cost. For women with breast or ovarian cancer and at-risk relatives, multiplex testing for many cancer-risk genes provides a more comprehensive risk assessment. Many cancer genetics experts have again urged caution, characterizing the use of multigene testing in the clinical setting as premature. Yet thousands of women and their physicians are ignoring this advice, ordering a wide selection of multiplex tests daily. The train has left the station and is unlikely to return. It is therefore critical that we assess the clinical utility of such testing. (JAMA ONCOLOGY, commentary. August 13, 2015)
Association of E-Cigs and Tobacco Use Found in Teens
Among high school students in Los Angeles, those who had ever used e-cigarettes at baseline compared with nonusers were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year. Further research is needed to understand whether this association may be causal. (JAMA. 2015;314(7):700-707. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8950. )
The Number One Health Website Celebrates 18 Years
Grapefruit Seeds Reduces UTI in Study
Grapefruit is perhaps the most interesting anti-urinary infection agent we have yet stumbled upon in our research. A remarkable case study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine in 2005 titled, “The effectiveness of grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) seeds in treating urinary tract infections,” found that the seeds of the grapefruit were highly effective in killing antibiotic-resistant UTIs: (Green Med Info, August 4, 2015)
Men, Meat, & Making Babies
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Attention, men: Your favorite meats might be helping or harming your fertility, a new study suggests. While the research can’t prove cause and effect, it shows that men involved in fertility treatment who ate a lot of processed meats — bacon, sausage and the like — had poorer success, while those who ate more chicken or other poultry had better outcomes.
Spicing Up Your Life
TUESDAY, Aug. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Some like it hot, and a new study finds that folks who favor spicy foods might also have a lower risk of premature death.
Can Carbs Make You Depressed?
FRIDAY, Aug. 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Refined carbohydrates — such as those found in white bread, white rice and sodas — may harm more than the waistlines of older women. New research shows that eating too much of these highly processed foods might also raise their risk of depression.
Nonnutritive Sweetener in Breastmilk Found
Uh-oh, splenda in breastmilk….yikes!(GreenMedInfo, August 13, 2015)
Not convinced that could be an issue, here’s a 54 page “summary” of studies that review why it may be…precautionary principle applies here:
Breastfed Infants Exposed to Toxins, Study
Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the research reveals that the longer a baby is breastfed, the greater their exposure to a common class of industrial chemicals called perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs). (Medical News Today, August 22, 2015)
Note: Remember, babies are also getting many beneficial things from breastmilk that assist with baby’s health. Furthermore, women who are aware of harmful exposures can mitigate risk by various lifestyle support measures prior to conception and after.
Coffee and Colon Health
MONDAY, Aug. 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Colon cancer patients who regularly drink caffeinated coffee may be lowering their risk of tumor recurrence and death from the disease, new research suggests.
But researchers added that it’s premature to tell patients to drink coffee to reduce their risk of the cancer’s return.
To Drink for Your Heart But Increase the Risk for Cancer?
A study found an association between drinking and cancer risk. When the researchers adjusted for various factors, such as those who already had cancer, this prospective study reported that a few drinks may be good for your heart yet bad for cancer risk.
My belief is that with an association study there is always imperfections in extrapolating cause and effect. I think you have to consider SNPs, genetic predisposition, detoxification capacity, and gut microbes as some factors that modulate how one metabolizes alcohol.. (BMJ 2015;351:h4238)
Fat Gene Found
The implications of this will be interesting, can we manipulate our genes to be thin. If we can, how will that effect health?
Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Scientists have now revealed the mechanism underlying the genomic region most strongly associated with obesity. The findings uncover a genetic circuit that controls whether our bodies burn or store fat. Manipulating that genetic circuit may offer a new approach for obesity treatments. (Science Daily, August 19, 2015)
Study: NEJM. August 19, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa150221
The Next Great GMO Debate
Monsanto now thinks it has hit on an alternative to conventional genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. It can already kill bugs by getting them to eat leaves coated with specially designed RNA. And if the company succeeds in developing sprays that penetrate plant cells, as it’s attempting to, it could block certain plant genes, too. Imagine a spray that causes tomatoes to taste better or helps plants survive a drought. (MIT Technology News. August 7, 2015.)
Iodine and Brain Development
Iodine supplementation for pregnant women in the UK is potentially cost saving. This finding also has implications for the 1·88 billion people in the 32 countries with iodine deficiency worldwide. Valuation of IQ points should consider non-earnings benefits—eg, health benefits associated with a higher IQ not germane to earnings. (The Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology. September 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(15)00212-0)
FDA Approves First 3D Printed Medicine
Spritam (levetiracetam) was developed with Aprecia’s proprietary ZipDose technology, which uses three-dimensional printing to create a porous formulation of the antiepileptic that disintegrates rapidly with a sip of liquid, even at a high dose of up to 1000 mg, the company explains in a news release. Three-dimensional printing has been used previously to manufacture medical devices, but the approval of Spritam (levetiracetam) marks the first time a drug product manufactured with this technology has been approved by the FDA, the company said. (Medscape, August 3, 2015)
Mixed Results for Testosterone In Men
There was no increased risk for cardiovascular disease with testosterone found in this trial, but there was also no change in sexual function. This is why a comprehensive and individualized approach for male hormonal health that analyzes all factors at play and risks would be helpful.
Study: JAMA, August 11, 2015. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2425744
Genetically Engineered Pain Drugs, From Yeast Cells
In this new study, the Stanford team reprogrammed the genetics of standard baker’s yeast — used for thousands of years to leaven bread — so that the organism’s fast-growing cells were able to convert sugar into the painkiller hydrocodone (found in Vicodin) in just three to five days. They report their feat in the Aug. 13 issue of the journal Science. (HealthDay, August 13, 2015)
100 Best-selling, Most Prescribed Branded Drugs Through June
Through June of this year, the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca) was the most prescribed branded drug in the United States, and the arthritis drug adalimumab (Humira, Abbott Laboratories) was the best-selling branded drug, according to the latest data from research firm IMS Health.
Rosuvastatin had about 21 million prescriptions, followed by asthma medication fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (Advair Diskus, GlaxoSmithKline), at about 13.6 million prescriptions; the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole (Nexium, AstraZeneca), at about 13.2 million prescriptions; the insulin glargine injection Lantus Solostar (sanofi-aventis), at about 11.2 million; and the attention-deficit drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse, Shire), at about 10.6 million.
Rounding out the top 10 most prescribed drugs for the period (in order) were the antiepileptic drug pregabalin (Lyrica, Pfizer), the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease medication tiotropium bromide (Spiriva Handihaler, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals), the diabetes drug sitagliptin (Januvia, Merck), the asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort, AstraZeneca), and the antipsychotic medication aripiprazole (Abilify, Otsuka Pharmaceutical) (Medscape, August 13, 2015)
Resistant Head Lice (Health Day, August 18, 2015)
For this study, Yoon and his fellow researchers developed molecular diagnostic tools to track American lice. Results are still coming in from several states evaluated so far. “We have found 100 percent resistance among 104 lice populations out of 109 we tested,” Yoon said. “It’s really alarming.”
In 25 states — including Arizona, California, the Carolinas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia — lice have what Yoon calls “knock-down resistant mutations” — a triple whammy of genetic alterations that render them immune to over-the-counter permethrin treatments. Lice in four states — New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Oregon — have developed partial resistance, the researchers found.
Female Libido Pill Approved
Flibanserin (Addyi) becomes the first FDA-approved drug designed to help women with low libido. But that approval also comes with significant restrictions because the drug can cause severely low blood pressure and loss of consciousness, the FDA warned. Addyi’s label will include a boxed warning saying the drug shouldn’t be taken while drinking alcohol, and shouldn’t be used with certain other drugs and by women with liver problems. (Health Day, August 18, 2015)
Acetaminophen can “falsely raise blood glucose”, why is that?
Acetaminophen falsely elevates continuous glucose monitor (CGM) readings by a large margin, according to a new report that quantifies and raises cautions about the phenomenon as the devices are used increasingly by patients. (Medscape, August 18, 2015)
2 Studies Question Statins Efficacy In Prevention
1. “We observed an increasing trend in statin use in both primary and secondary prevention, but didn’t find that high potency statin use was associated with vascular disease,” Johansen said. (Health Day, August 2015)
2. A large—and largely ignored–study involving nearly 26,000 military veterans shows that otherwise healthy people taking statin drugs for primary heart disease prevention had an 87% increased risk of new-onset diabetes over a 10-year period. (Holistic Primary Care, August 18, 2015)
My Own August News
Interested in a consult with me?
I’m beginning to take a few new clients this coming month.
images courtesy istockphoto.com