girl with sled

What a year! I hope that you all are enjoying the end of this holiday season and are ready for a fantastic, healthy, and happy 2015.

I can’t believe it’s time for the last Top Reads in wellness, holistic health, nutrition, nutrigenomics, drug updates, and conventional, functional, and naturopathic medicine of 2014!

I’m sure many of you are still playing catch-up with work from the holiday break. Therefore, this is still your one-stop-skim-through-blog-shop of all the important headlines for the last month of 2014.

If you have more time to kill while standing in line returning your well-intentioned, yet unwanted items, you can check out the full source references listed below my summaries.

Before I give you the health news topics to cruise through for your learning pleasure, I wanted to first provide a little review of some of the most noteworthy topics in medicine of 2014!

Medscape’s 2014 Year in Medicine Review



This slide show reviews the most noteworthy headlines in medicine for 2014 including:

  • Ebola
  • Health spending
  • The First Baby Born To a Uterine Transplant Recipient
  • The Attack On White Crystals-Artificial Sweeteners and Salt
  • The Death of Robin Williams
  • A FDA Warning Against Morcellation for Hysterectomies
  • A New Secretary for the US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Digital Medicine
  • FDA Recalls- Including Halting Combination Prescription Pain Relievers With More Than 325 mg of Acetaminophen
  • The New Coding for ICD-10
  • …and more here

2014 Year in Medicine: News That Made a Difference. December 15, 2014.


Now it’s time for this month’s health and wellness topics.

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  • Coconut Oil for Stress Relief & Brain Health- Mouse Study
  • It’s the Sugar, Not the Salt That Hurts The Heart
  • Vitamin D Verified for COPD In Randomized Study
  • Chocolate, Stress…& Men!
  • Mediterranean Diet and Longevity
  • Avoiding Two Amino Acids Extend Rodents and Worms Lives-
  • Feeding the Gut with Fiber-licious Foods
  • The Gut-Skin-Candida Connection
  • The Gut-Stroke Connection
  • The Gut Microbe- Asthma Connection
  • The Gut-Brain Connection
  • Fish Oil Trial Linked to Its Delay in Symptoms of Psychosis



  • Celiac Symptoms Not All In Gut
  • An Association Between Blood Type and Diabetes Risk
  • The Risks of Unnecessary Antibiotics Is Not Well Understood
  • Diabetes Linked to Alzheimer’s Risk
  • Junk Food Kids Linked to Lower Academia Growth
  • Maternal Micronutrient Supplement Benefits Baby’s Outcomes
  • Lifestyle and Diet Effective in Men and Women for T2D
  • 44+ Studies Evaluating Cell Phone Risk- Yikes
  • GMO Contamination Found in Europe
  • Elderly Mortality Risks and States Ranking
  • Fat Linked to Cardiovascular Health
  • Leptin Links Obesity to High Blood Pressure
  • Why Rats Crave Glucose
  • Fading Out Antibiotic-Laden Meat In These Schools!
  • A Fast Food Chain with “Natural” Burgers?
  • Mindfulness Effect On Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Yoga Effects Cardiovascular Health Markers
  • A New Approach To Combating Viruses
  • Hugs for Immune Boosting Power
  • Lack of Sleep Really Does Make You Grumpy…And Worried
  • Eating At Home is Good For Your Health
  • Another Reason Not to Like BPA- High Blood Pressure!
  • A Review on Fluoride
  • British Regulator Urges Home Births for Uncomplicated Pregnancies
  • Integrative Medicine Shows Promise
  • A Study on Media Doctors- What Was Found Out?










  • Women, Aspirin, and Associated Risks
  • Statins and Cataracts
  • Low Blood Sugar Linked to Tramadol
  • PPIs and the Gut Microbiome
  • Varicella Vaccination in South Korea- Case Study
  • Influenza Vaccine Not as Effective As Suspected
  • Of Labels and Pregnancy



stress or relax











Coconut Oil for Stress & Brain- Mouse Study

An in vivo study with mice demonstrated virgin coconut oil (VCO) may have anti-stress and antioxidant effects. According to the study:

VCO was able to reduce immobility time and restore oxidative stress in mice post-swim test. Furthermore, mice treated with VCO were found to exhibit higher levels of brain antioxidants, lower levels of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine and reduced weight of the adrenal glands. Consequently, the serum cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose and corticosterone levels were also lower in VCO-treated mice. These results suggest the potential value of VCO as an antistress functional oil.

Antistress and antioxidant effects of virgin coconut oil in vivo. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. Jan 2015; 9(1): 39–42.


Vindicated- It’s the Sugar, Not the Salt

The wrong white crystals linked to heart disease:

Evidence from epidemiological studies and experimental trials in animals and humans suggests that added sugars, particularly fructose, may increase blood pressure and blood pressure variability, increase heart rate and myocardial oxygen demand, and contribute to inflammation, insulin resistance and broader metabolic dysfunction. Thus, while there is no argument that recommendations to reduce consumption of processed foods are highly appropriate and advisable, the arguments in this review are that the benefits of such recommendations might have less to do with sodium—minimally related to blood pressure and perhaps even inversely related to cardiovascular risk—and more to do with highly-refined carbohydrates. It is time for guideline committees to shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more-consequential food additive: sugar. A reduction in the intake of added sugars, particularly fructose, and specifically in the quantities and context of industrially-manufactured consumables, would help not only curb hypertension rates, but might also help address broader problems related to cardiometabolic disease.

DiNicolantonio, J, Lucan, S. The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease. Review. Open Heart. 2014;1: doi:10.1136/openhrt-2014-000167



Vitamin D Verified For COPD

A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D3 verses placebo was studied for its effect on COPD. The study included 240 subjects in 60 general practices and four Acute National Health Service Trust clinics in London, UK. Dosage of vitamin D given was 6 doses of 3mg (or 120,000 IU) administered bi-monthly over 1 year.


Vitamin D3 supplementation protected against moderate or severe exacerbation, but not upper respiratory infection, in patients with COPD with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of less than 50 nmol/L. Our findings suggest that correction of vitamin D deficiency in patients with COPD reduces the risk of moderate or severe exacerbation.

Vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (ViDiCO): a multicentre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.December 2014. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70255-3



Chocolate, Stress, & Men

An investigation of the acute effect of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate on measurements of reactivity of blood clotting factors related to psychosocial stress (measured by catecholamines in plasma) was assessed in 65 healthy mean:

In conclusion, our findings indicate that a single consumption of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate blunted the acute prothrombotic response to psychosocial stress, thereby perhaps mitigating the risk of acute coronary syndromes triggered by emotional stress.

Effects of dark chocolate consumption on the prothrombotic response to acute psychosocial stress in healthy men. Thromb Haemost. 2014 Dec 1;112(6):1151-8. doi: 10.1160/TH14-05-0450. Epub 2014 Sep 11.


Mediterranean Diet and Longevity via Telomere Length

Below is an excerpt from an abstract of a population, based cohort study on the association of adherence to the Mediterranean diet to a biomarker of aging, telomere length:

Participants 4676 disease-free women from nested case-control studies within the Nurses’ Health Study with telomere length measured who also completed food frequency questionnaires.

Conclusion In this large study, greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomeres. These results further support the benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet for promoting health and longevity.

Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses’ Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2014; 349 doi: (Published 02 December 2014)


Avoiding Two Amino Acids Extend Rodents, Flies and Worms Lives

The highlights from the study below explain how restricting sulfur amino acids modulated enzymatic pathways which caused an increase hydrogen sulfide production (H2S). This protected the liver from stress injury and was linked to longevity in rodents, flies, and worms. The authors believe this could play a role in the benefits received from dietary restriction:


  • Sulfur amino acid restriction is a key nutritional determinant of dietary restriction
  • Cysteine restriction enhances endogenous CGL activity and H2S production
  • Increased H2S is necessary and sufficient for DR-mediated stress resistance
  • Increased H2S is shared by DR regimens in yeast, worms, flies, and rodents

Endogenous Hydrogen Sulfide Production Is Essential for Dietary Restriction Benefits. Cell, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.048

Harvard School of Public Health. Molecular mechanism behind health benefits of dietary restriction identified. ScienceDaily. December 23, 2014.


Watch a Famous Doctor Discuss the Impact Of the Microbiome Below:


Read the Rest of December 2014’s Top Belly Bug News Here


Fish Oil Trial For Delaying Psychosis

A study presented at this year’s International Early Psychosis Conference in Tokyo, Japan (Nov 17-19) shows that people taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements–commonly found in fish oils–who are at high risk of developing psychosis can prevent the condition developing for approximately 7 years.

Glatter, R. Can Fish Oils Prevent Or Delay Development Of Psychosis? Forbes. November 16, 2014.




HiRes (2)

Celiac Symptoms Not Just In the Gut

“Classic” celiac disease symptoms are often thought of as gastrointestinal diarrhea and malabsorption symptoms. However, a new study from Italy studied 770 patients with Celiac disease who were diagnosed from January 1998 to December 2012. The clinical phenotypes were defined as: (1) Classical; (2) non-classical (other than gastrointestinal or symptoms other than diarrhea); (3) subclinical. Results below indicated that 79% of the disease onset was symptomatic and 21% was subclinical. This indicated that symptoms such as recurrent miscarriages, anemia, osteoporosis, liver function test abnormalities, GERD, all could be linked to celiac disease symptoms. Furthermore, autoimmune thyroiditis was shown to be in 26.3% of the population studied:

Results Disease onset was symptomatic in 610 patients (79%), while 160 celiacs showed a subclinical phenotype. In the symptomatic group the non-classical prevailed over the classical phenotype (66% vs 34%). Diarrhea was found in 27%, while other gastrointestinal manifestations were bloating (20%), aphthous stomatitis (18%), alternating bowel habit (15%), constipation (13%) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (12%). Extraintestinal manifestations included osteopenia/osteoporosis (52%), anemia (34%), cryptogenic hypertransaminasemia (29%) and recurrent miscarriages (12%). Positivity for IgA tissue transglutaminase antibodies was detected in 97%. Villous atrophy was found in 87%, while 13% had minor lesions consistent with potential celiac disease. A large proportion of patients showed autoimmune disorders, i.e. autoimmune thyroiditis (26.3%), dermatitis herpetiformis (4%) and diabetes mellitus type 1 (3%). Complicated celiac disease was very rare.

Conclusions Our study demonstrates that the clinical profile of celiac disease changed over time with an increasing rate of non-classical and subclinical phenotypes.

The changing clinical profile of celiac disease: a 15-year experience (1998-2012) in an Italian referral center. BMC Gastroenterology. 2014, 14:194 doi:10.1186/s12876-014-0194-x

Neumann, J. Celiac Disease Showing Up in Many Forms and at All Ages. Reuters Health Information. December 1, 2014.


An Association of Blood Type and Diabetes Risk

A study with 82,104 women were followed between 1990 and 2008 to determine if ABO blood type and Rhesus factor (+ or -) or a combination of the two (ABO x Rhesus) were linked to diabetes risk. The greatest risk was in B+ individuals and those with blood type O- had the lowest risk.


This study suggests that people with the O blood type have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. Therefore, blood group should be investigated in future clinical and epidemiological studies on diabetes, and further pathophysiological research is needed to determine why individuals with blood type O have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Diabetologia. People with blood groups A, B and AB at higher risk of type 2 diabetes than group O. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014.

Guy Fagherazzi et al. ABO and Rhesus blood groups and risk of type 2 diabetes: evidence from the large E3N cohort study. Diabetologia. December 2014 DOI: 10.1007/s00125-014-3472-9


The Risks of Unnecessary Antibiotics Is Not Well Understood in Small Sample Study

Communication material is not effective in educating patients on proper antibiotic use, a new study has found. Over prescription of antibiotics is a major factor driving one of the biggest public health concerns today: antibiotic resistance. In a first-of-its-kind study, the research suggests that public health educational materials may not address the misconceptions that shape why patients expect antibiotics, driving doctors to prescribe them more.

A. Broniatowski, E. Y. Klein, V. F. Reyna. Germs Are Germs, and Why Not Take a Risk? Patients’ Expectations for Prescribing Antibiotics in an Inner-City Emergency Department. Medical Decision Making. 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0272989X14553472

George Washington University. Patients don’t understand risks of unnecessary antibiotics, study shows. ScienceDaily. December 15, 2014.


Diabetes Linked to Alzheimer’s Risk

A prospective cohort study of 13, 351 of adults with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and the effect of glucose control was studied to determine the association between diabetes and cognitive decline. Cognitive decline was 19% greater in those with diabetes in midlife and higher in those with prediabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes also had larger cognitive declines.

Conclusion: Diabetes prevention and glucose control in midlife may protect against late-life cognitive decline.

Diabetes in Midlife and Cognitive Change Over 20 Years: A Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(11):785-793. doi:10.7326/M14-0737


Updated September 2013 365

Kids and Junk Food Lead to Lower Academia Growth In Study

Researchers found that the more frequently children reported eating fast food in fifth grade, the lower their growth in reading, math, and science test scores by the time they reached eighth grade.

Fast-Food Consumption Linked to Lower Test Score Gains in 8th Graders: The more children ate in 5th grade, the slower their academic growth by 8th grade. December 22, 2014. Ohio State University.


Maternal Micronutrient Supplement Reduces Preterm Birth and Low Birth Rate

In a study with 22,405 pregnancies who took multiple micronutrient group and 22,162 pregnancies given iron-folic acid:

In Bangladesh, daily maternal supplementation of multiple micronutrients compared to iron-folic acid before and after childbirth did not reduce all-cause infant mortality to age 6 months, but did result in significant reductions in preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a study.

JAMA. Maternal supplementation with multiple micronutrients compared with iron-folic acid. ScienceDaily. December 23, 2014.

Effect of Maternal Multiple Micronutrient vs Iron–Folic Acid Supplementation on Infant Mortality and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Rural Bangladesh. JAMA. 2014; 312 (24): 2649 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.16819


Lifestyle and Diet Effective In Men and Women For T2D

In a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials, men and women who received lifestyle interventions had a lower rate of progression to type 2 diabetes than those who received usual care:

Conclusions/interpretation-Our study emphasises the importance of preventive interventions in people with prediabetes and indicates no differences of beneficial preventive effects on the incidence of type 2 diabetes and weight gain between men and women.

Sex-specific differences in diabetes prevention: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. December 3, 2014.


44+ Studies Evaluating Cell Phone Risk- Yikes

I skimmed through a lot these referenced studies. There is lots of research on cell phones and health concerns!  Keep in mind a lot are association studies in animals, but some are convincing case controls that describe cellular mechanisms!!

Please use speaker phone to err on the side of caution.

Burrell, L. 44 Reasons Cell Phones Can Cause Cancer. Green Med Info. December 13, 2014.


GMO Contamination Found In Europe

A new study showed that GMO contamination of plants at four sites in Switzerland. This is despite cultivation and seed import bans of genetically modified oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.).

In total, 2787 plants were sampled. The presence of GT73 oilseed rape could be confirmed at all previously documented sampling locations and was additionally detected at one new sampling location within the Rhine port. Furthermore, we found the glufosinate-resistant GM events MS8xRF3, MS8 and RF3 (all traded as InVigor, Bayer) at five sampling locations in the Rhine port. To our knowledge, this is the first time that feral MS8xRF3, MS8 or RF3 plants were detected in Europe. Real-time PCR analyses of seeds showed outcrossing of GT73 into two non-GM oilseed rape plants, but no outcrossing of transgenes into related wild species was observed. We found no hybrids between oilseed rape and related species. GM plants most frequently occurred at unloading sites for ships, indicating that ship cargo traffic is the main entry pathway for GM oilseed rape. In the future, it will be of major interest to determine the source of GM oilseed rape seeds.

Unexpected Diversity of Feral Genetically Modified Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus L.) Despite a Cultivation and Import Ban in Switzerland. PLoS One. 2014; 9(12): e114477. Published online Dec 2, 2014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114477

BREAKING: Monsanto/Bayer’s GM Plants Contaminate Europe Despite Ban. Green Med Info. December 25, 2014.


Elderly Mortality Risks By States

The researchers examined a number of conditions that might be associated with premature mortality, including community and environmental characteristics, health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, and inactivity, and healthcare provider variables such as access to a physician.

The lowest premature mortality rate was in Hawaii, followed by Colorado, Connecticut, California, and Minnesota. Mississippi had the highest rate; in fact, death rates in seniors 65 to 74 years in Mississippi were 1.8 times those of seniors in Hawaii.

There was a significant correlation with premature death for social support and for rates of preventable hospitalizations, which are influenced by both the underlying health of seniors and available community resources, Dr Schenck reported.

Helwick, C. Preventable Death Among Seniors Varies by State. Medscape Medical News > Conference News. December 2, 2014.

Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Released December 2, 2014.


Adiposity and Cardiovascular Health

Increases in excess fat adversely affect multiple cardiometabolic risk markers even in lean young adults according to a new study. The study suggests that, even within the range of body-mass index considered to be healthy, there is no threshold below which a BMI increase does not adversely affect the metabolic profile of an individual.

Peter Würtz, et al. Metabolic Signatures of Adiposity in Young Adults: Mendelian Randomization Analysis and Effects of Weight Change. PLoS Medicine. 2014; 11 (12): e1001765 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001765

PLOS. Increased BMI in the normal range has a negative effect on cardiometabolic risk markers. ScienceDaily. December 10, 2014.


Leptin Links Obesity To High Blood Pressure

Leptin, the satiety signaling hormone, may be linked to obesity-induced high blood pressure:

The group showed that some obese people who were lacking the hormone leptin because of a genetic disorder had low blood pressure despite being very heavy. This was also the case for people lacking the gene for the leptin receptor in the brain, meaning that the brain was unable to respond to the hormone.

Modelling the human condition, Professor Cowley’s team in Australia showed that mice with normal leptin signalling developed an increase in blood pressure when they became obese on a high fat diet. These effects were not seen in mice that lacked leptin or where leptin was unable to work because of a defect or block on the leptin receptor.

University of Cambridge. Satiety hormone’ leptin links obesity to high blood pressure. ScienceDaily. December 4, 2014.


Why Rats Crave Glucose- Enzyme Linked To Increased Intake

The activity of an enzyme that regulates glucose found within a part of the brain (hypothalamic arcuate nucleus) was linked to glucose intake in rats. When this enzyme, glucokinase, was manipulated, it increased glucose ingestion. This indicated a taste-independent mechanism for the “sweet tooth”:

Together, our results suggest that glucokinase activity in the arcuate nucleus specifically regulates glucose intake and that appetite for glucose is an important driver of overall food intake. Arcuate nucleus glucokinase activation may represent a CNS mechanism that underlies the oft-described phenomena of the “sweet tooth” and carbohydrate craving.

Imperial College London. Brain mechanism that drives us to eat glucose discovered. ScienceDaily. Accessed December 8, 2014.

Syed Hussain, Errol Richardson, Yue Ma, Christopher Holton, Ivan De Backer, Niki Buckley, Waljit Dhillo, Gavin Bewick, Shuai Zhang, David Carling, Steve Bloom, James Gardiner. Glucokinase activity in the arcuate nucleus regulates glucose intake. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2014; DOI: 10.1172/JCI77172


Fading Out Antibiotic Meat In These Schools!

Dec 9 (Reuters) – Six of the largest U.S. school districts are switching to antibiotic-free chicken, officials said on Tuesday, pressuring the world’s top meat companies to adjust production practices in the latest push against drugs used on farms.

The move by districts in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade County and Orlando County is intended to protect children’s health amid concerns about the rise of so-called “superbugs,” bacteria that gain resistance to conventional medicines, school officials said.

Reuters. Big U.S. school districts plan switch to antibiotic-free chicken. December 10, 2014.


A Fast Food Chain With “Natural” Burgers?

Fast food has finally come to this: the “clean” burger.

Carl’s Jr., known for indulgent offerings targeting young guys and ads with racy gals, will become the first major fast-food chain to sell a “natural” burger when it rolls out the “All-Natural Burger” Dec. 17 at all 1,150 stores. The burger has no antibiotics, no steroids, no added hormones and comes from grass-fed, free-range cattle.

USA Today. Carl’s Jr. to roll out ‘natural’ burger. December 9, 2014.


Mindfulness Effect On Rheumatoid Arthritis

To see if mindfulness techniques had any impact on rheumatoid arthritis, 42 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and no previous experience with meditation were compared using an intervention group or a control group for eight weeks.

After the program ended, and again at two, four and six months later, the study team assessed participants’ number of tender and swollen joints, levels of C-reactive protein, and self-reported stiffness and pain on a scale of 1 to 100. On average, and throughout the follow-up period, morning stiffness, tenderness and pain scores were lower among those who had gone through MBSR, but not in the comparison group.

There were no differences, however, in objective measures of disease activity like C-reactive protein levels and number of swollen joints between the MBSR and comparison groups.

Lehman, S. Mindfulness Program May Improve Some Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms. Medscape (Reuters). December 1, 2014.


Yoga Effects Cardiovascular Health Markers

In a 37 randomized-control trial review, compared to non-exercisers, yoga showed improvement in body mass index, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high lipoprotein cholesterol. Significant changes in body weight, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and total cholesterol were also observed. There was not a significant difference between yoga and exercise:.

Conclusions There is promising evidence of yoga on improving cardio-metabolic health. Findings are limited by small trial sample sizes, heterogeneity, and moderate quality of RCTs.

The effectiveness of yoga in modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. December 15, 2014. doi: 10.1177/2047487314562741


A New Approach To Combating Viruses (And the Panic)

Summary: The recent international health crises due to viral infections has made one thing very clear: We need a new strategy to combat viral infections. Ebola has been in the international news daily for the past two months, while the US has had a recent upsurge of measles, enterovirus D68, and a new polio-like paralytic disease thought to be due to a viral infection. The fact that these viral-infection health crises exist in these modern times is prima facie evidence of the failure of current systems and the need—not for new treatments within the same model — for a new model better suited for international distribution, disease prevention, and broad-spectrum effectiveness. The multifaceted model presented here gives us four areas upon which we can focus our efforts: 1) targeting the virus directly, 2) blocking viral replication, 3) supporting immune function, and 4) supporting cellular and whole-body health. These are illustrated in the accompanying diagram and briefly described and exemplified in the four respective paragraphs that follow. These interventions have proven effectiveness, low cost, and international availability without the costs and adverse effects of current medical treatments.

The Proof is in the Panic: We Need a New Strategy against Viral Infections. Green Med Info. December 10, 2014.


Hugs Immune Boosting Power

Using a sample of 404 healthy adults, the role of perceived social support and received hugs were studied in relation to buffering against interpersonal stress-induced susceptibility to infectious disease:

Perceived support protected against the rise in infection risk associated with increasing frequency of conflict. A similar stress-buffering effect emerged for hugging, which explained 32% of the attenuating effect of support. Among infected participants, greater perceived support and more-frequent hugs each predicted less-severe illness signs. These data suggest that hugging may effectively convey social support.

Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness. Psychol Sci. 2014 Dec 19. pii: 0956797614559284


Lack of Sleep Really Does Make You Grumpy…And Worried

In a study of 100 unselected undergraduates, short sleep duration was associated with more rumination and delayed sleep timing was linked to more obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Higher levels of repetitive negative thinking (RNT; a perseverative and abstract focus on negative aspects of one’s experience) are associated with reduced sleep duration….Individuals who endorsed a preference for later sleep and activity times also reported more RNT. These findings suggest that RNT may be uniquely related to both sleep duration and timing.

Jacob A. Nota, Meredith E. Coles. Duration and Timing of Sleep are Associated with Repetitive Negative Thinking. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10608-014-9651-7

Springer Science+Business Media. Don’t worry, be happy: Just go to bed earlier. ScienceDaily. December 4, 2014.


Eating At Home Is Good For Your Health

Family meal


This was a cross-sectional study of 1,319 adults in a population-based survey conducted in 2008–2009. The sample was stratified into those who spent <1 hour/day, 1–2 hours/day, and >2 hours/day on food preparation and cleanup. Descriptive statistics and multivariable regression models examined differences between time-use groups. Analyses were conducted in 2011–2013.


The findings indicate that time might be an essential ingredient in the production of healthier eating habits among adults. Further research should investigate the determinants of spending time on food preparation.

Time Spent on Home Food Preparation and Indicators of Healthy Eating. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 47:6, 796 – 802. DOI:


Another Reason Not To Like BPA- Bad Blood Pressure!

In a randomized, crossover trial of 60 participants aged 60 years or older, researchers sought to determine if BPA concentration from consuming canned beverages was linked to an acute increase in blood pressure. The authors measured urinary BPA concentration, heart rate variability, and blood pressure. The subjects were provided either the same beverage in 2 glass bottles, 2 cans, or 1 can and 1 glass bottle at a time during their 3 visits to the study site. The researchers found:

The urinary BPA concentration increased after consuming canned beverages by >1600% compared with that after consuming glass bottled beverages. Systolic blood pressure adjusted for daily variance increased by ?4.5 mm?Hg after consuming 2 canned beverages compared with that after consuming 2 glass bottled beverages, and the difference was statistically significant. The parameters of the heart rate variability did not show statistically significant differences. The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.

Exposure to Bisphenol A From Drinking Canned Beverage Increases Blood Pressure. Randomized Crossover Trial Hypertension.December 8, 2014. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04261


A Review On Fluoride

Fluorine is the world’s 13th most abundant element and constitutes 0.08% of the Earth crust. It has the highest electronegativity of all elements. Fluoride is widely distributed in the environment, occurring in the air, soils, rocks, and water. Although fluoride is used industrially in a fluorine compound, the manufacture of ceramics, pesticides, aerosol propellants, refrigerants, glassware, and Teflon cookware, it is a generally unwanted byproduct of aluminium, fertilizer, and iron ore manufacture. The medicinal use of fluorides for the prevention of dental caries began in January 1945 when community water supplies in Grand Rapids, United States, were fluoridated to a level of 1?ppm as a dental caries prevention measure. However, water fluoridation remains a controversial public health measure. This paper reviews the human health effects of fluoride. The authors conclude that available evidence suggests that fluoride has a potential to cause major adverse human health problems, while having only a modest dental caries prevention effect. As part of efforts to reduce hazardous fluoride ingestion, the practice of artificial water fluoridation should be reconsidered globally, while industrial safety measures need to be tightened in order to reduce unethical discharge of fluoride compounds into the environment. Public health approaches for global dental caries reduction that do not involve systemic ingestion of fluoride are urgently needed.

Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention- Review Article. The Scientific World Journal. Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 293019, 10 pages.


British Regulator Urges Home Births For Uncomplicated Pregnancies

Women with uncomplicated pregnancies (about 45%) were more likely to have surgical intervention and suffer from an infection in a hospital setting verses a home setting, according to the British regulator. Hospital births were also more likely to end in cesarean sections or involve episiotomies, according to a 2011 Oxford University study. They were also associated with an increased amount of epidurals which increase the risk of a protracted birth as compared to home births.

Reversing a generation of guidance on childbirth, Britain’s national health service on Wednesday advised healthy women that it was safer to have their babies at home, or in a birth center, than in a hospital.

The risk of death or serious complications for babies was the same in all three settings, with one exception: In the case of first-time mothers, home birth slightly increased that risk. Nine in 1,000 cases would experience serious complications, compared with five in 1,000 for babies born in a hospital.

British Regulator Urges Home Births Over Hospitals for Uncomplicated Pregnancies. New York Times. December 3, 2014.


Integrative Medicine For Pain & Anxiety In Those with Cardiovascular Disease Shows Promise

In this study, of 57,295 hospital cardiovascular admissions from 7/2009 to 12/2012, 6,589 included integrative medicine (IM). Integrative medicine patients averaged a 46.5% decrease in pain and 54.8% decrease in anxiety. Females had a higher rate of receiving IM as compared to males and each additional year of age decreased the odds of receiving IM.

Conclusions- Cardiovascular inpatients reported statistically significant decreases in pain and anxiety following care with adjunctive IM interventions. This study underscores the potential for future practice-based research to investigate the best approach for incorporating these therapies into an acute care setting such that IM therapies are most appropriately provided to patient populations.

Jill R Johnson, Daniel J Crespin, Kristen H Griffin, Michael D Finch, Rachael L Rivard, Courtney J Baechler and Jeffery A Dusek. The effectiveness of integrative medicine interventions on pain and anxiety in cardiovascular inpatients: a practice-based research evaluation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014, 14:486 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-486


A Study on Media Doctors- What Was Found Out?

A prospective, observational study from mainstream television media was performed to “determine the quality of health recommendations and claims made on popular medical talk shows.”

Investigators randomly selected 40 episodes of two famous talk shows. Following, a group of experienced evidence reviewers independently searched for, and as a team evaluated for, supporting evidence of 80 randomly selected recommendations from each show.

Conclusions Recommendations made on medical talk shows often lack adequate information on specific benefits or the magnitude of the effects of these benefits. Approximately half of the recommendations have either no evidence or are contradicted by the best available evidence. Potential conflicts of interest are rarely addressed. The public should be skeptical about recommendations made on medical talk shows.

Televised medical talk shows—what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study. BMJ. 2014; 349 doi: (Published 17 December 2014)





Women, Aspirin, and Risk

UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS — A new analysis based on a randomized trial suggests that all healthy middle-aged and older women should not be taking low-dose aspirin for primary prevention of CVD or colorectal cancer, since the risk of major gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding outweighs the prevention benefits[1].

However, prophylactic therapy with low-dose aspirin might be warranted for women over age 65 with a low risk of GI bleeding. Thirty-two such women over age 65 would need to take low-dose aspirin (100 mg every second day) for 15 years to prevent one event—nonfatal MI, nonfatal stroke, death from CVD causes, or invasive colorectal cancer.

Busko, M. Risks Exceed CV, Cancer Gains from Primary-Prevention ASA: WHS. Heartwire. Medscape. December 11, 2014.


Statins and Cataracts

Statin therapy significantly elevates the risk of developing cataracts severe enough to warrant surgery, suggests analyses of two distinct cohorts, one from Canada and another from the US, that add to a hazy landscape of prior studies variously concluding for or against such a risk for the widely used drugs[1].

Stiles, S. Cataracts From Statins? More Signals Emerge in Analyses. Medscape Heartwire. December 10, 2014.


Low Blood Sugar Linked To Tramadol

Starting treatment with the opioid analgesic tramadol is associated with an increased risk for hypoglycemia requiring hospitalization, a new study suggests. “Although rare, tramadol-induced hypoglycemia is a potentially fatal, adverse event,” the researchers state.

Hughs, S. Pain Med Linked to Hypoglycemia. Medscape Medical News > Neurology. December 11, 2014.


PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) and Gut Microbiome

This study enrolled nine healthy human subjects and five subjects with clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Subjects were randomly assigned to a low (20 mg/day) or high (2× 20 mg/day) dose of PPI medication. Fecal samples were collected from the nine healthy subjects before, during, and after 28 days of PPI use. The healthy samples were compared to the CDI subjects to determine changes in the gut microbiome linked to PPI use.

Conclusion-While our observation of diminishing observed OTU counts during PPI therapy is a preliminary finding in a small cohort, our hypothesis that PPIs disrupt the healthy human gut microbiome is supported in this group. We conclude that decreases in observed species counts were reversible after cessation of PPI usage within 1 month. This finding may be a potential explanation for the association between prolonged PPI usage and CDI incidence.

Prolonged use of a proton pump inhibitor reduces microbial diversity: implications for Clostridium difficile susceptibility. Microbiome. 2014, 2:42. doi:10.1186/2049-2618-2-42


Varicella Vaccination In S Korea- Case Study

In 2005, the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine was mandated in South Korean for infants at 12 to 15 months of age. Despite near universal vaccine uptake (97% by 2011)[1], rather than see a reduced burden of chickenpox in South Korea as would be expected, no substantial decreases have been observed there nationwide. Quite to the contrary, the number of varicella patients reported to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) increased from 22.6 cases per 100,000 in 2006 to 71.6 cases per 100,000 in 2011.  


The Korean research team conducted a case-based study, a case-control study, and an immunogenicity and safety study, in order to identify the reasons for the failure of the vaccine. The results were reported as follows:

Read the study here

Ji, S. Chickenpox Vaccine When Mandated INCREASES Disease Outbreak, South Korean Study Finds. Green Med Info. December 28, 2014.


Influenza Vaccine Not As Effective As Suspected

The 2014 to 2015 influenza season could be more severe than most — with more hospitalizations and deaths — because the current vaccine looks to be less effective than expected against the dominant influenza strain in circulation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Influenza A(H3N2) viruses account for about 90% of infections, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a news conference today. The trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine contains this strain, which matches well to half of the A(H3N2) viruses identified so far. The other half, however, are antigenically different from the version of the A(H3N2) virus chosen for the vaccine.

“They’re different enough that protection may be lower than what we usually see,” said Dr Frieden. “It is possible we could have a flu season that is more severe than most.”

Lowes, R. Less Effective Vaccine May Mean More Severe Influenza Season. Medscape Medical News. December 04, 2014.


Of Labels and Pregnancy

Pregnant women take an average of three to five prescription drugs:

Labels for prescription drugs will more clearly spell out the risks for pregnant and breast-feeding women under final regulations issued today by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As part of this revamp, labels will no longer use letter categories to describe risk. The current categories are A, B, C, D, and X for pregnant women and A, B, and C for breast-feeding women.

Lowes, R. Drug Labels to Clarify Risks During Pregnancy and Lactation. Medscape Medical News. December 03, 2014