When I was growing up there was a funny saying, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” Supposedly, that was a typical doctor’s advice. Now, it like the aspirin might be a good idea.
Among adults at high risk of liver cancer, those who took low-dose aspirin were less likely to develop the disease or to die from liver-related causes. The findings come from an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by a team led by investigators at the Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
“Rates of liver cancer and of mortality from liver disease are rising at an alarming pace in U.S. and European countries. Despite this, there remain no established treatments to prevent the development of liver cancer, or to reduce the risk of liver-related death,” said lead author Tracey Simon, MD, MPH, investigator in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at MGH. Continue reading
Breathing dirty air takes a heavy toll on gut bacteria, boosting risk of obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and other chronic illnesses, new University of Colorado Boulder (CU) research suggests.
The study, published online in the journal Environment International, is the first to link air pollution to changes in the structure and function of the human gut microbiome—the collection of trillions of microorganisms residing within us.
The gaseous pollutant ozone, which helps make up Denver’s infamous “brown cloud”—is particularly hazardous, the study found, with young adults exposed to higher levels of ozone showing less microbial diversity and more of certain species associated with obesity and disease.
“We know from previous research that air pollutants can have a whole host of adverse health effects,” said senior author Tanya Alderete, an assistant professor of integrative physiology, pointing to studies linking smog with Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and inflammatory bowel diseases. “The takeaway from this paper is that some of those effects might be due to changes in the gut.”
I know we are all in the throes of the coronavirus lockdowns and quarantines. Hope you can enjoy a lighter look at things. I know I am ready for one.
As a resident of the most trigger happy city in the country and the one with the strictest gun laws, I particularly enjoyed this one.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, rumors and misinformation about the virus seem to be spreading just as quickly, if not more quickly, than the virus itself. In the midst of a pandemic, false information can be dangerous and lead to panic, making it difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction.
Experts with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) weigh in on the most common myths about COVID-19:
MYTH: Vitamin C can help fight against the virus
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that can help boost the immune system and is found in many fruits and vegetables. However, research shows that for most people, taking vitamin C won’t even fight against the common cold.
“Studies show that vitamin C has no significant benefit in preventing or treating the common cold for most patients, and COVID-19 is not the common cold,” said Joyce Samuel, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and a pediatric nephrologist with UT Physicians. Continue reading
Here is some straightforward no nonsense information on the topic of the day – and tomorrow. Straight from a doctor.
All About Healthy Choices
We’ve all been told steps to take to minimize exposure to Covid-19
What has not been stated often enough are the ACTIVE STEPS one must take to strengthen the immune system prior to potential exposure to this disease?
Consider including these five essential components:
Get adequate sleep:
Approx. 6-9 hours of QUALITY sleep is required to repair and restore the body to maximal function from normal exposure to environmental toxins and physical activities of daily living.
Discover constructive methods to deal with stress. Activities that positively impact the way you FEEL inhibit damaging hormones from weakening immune function. Everyone has stress; learning to effectively CHANNEL it is the key to successfully managing it.
Don’t deprive yourself from foods you enjoy. These foods, however, should only be eaten AFTER a healthy, well balanced meal is consumed. Food provides both nutrition and INFORMATION…
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At the age of 80, I am interested in anything that might add a few to my remaining days. For that reason, this article in the Alumni Magazine of the University of Colorado piqued my interest.
In 1935 in upstate New York, a little-known animal husbandry researcher named Clive McKay looked into the rat cage in his lab and found an unexpected window into the Fountain of Youth.
Conventional wisdom at the time held that the more animals were fed, the better they’d fare. But McKay noticed something different: Long after the well-fed rats began to show signs of aging, those on a nutrient-dense but super-low-calorie diet retained a silky sheen to their fur, remained alert and agile and lacked the age-related health problems of their more gluttonous peers. In the end, the calorie-restricted mice also lived about 300 days longer — nearly a third of a lifetime in rat years.
Fast forward to 2020, and studies in everything from fruit flies and worms to monkeys and people have confirmed that sharply restricting calories (by 20-40 percent) while maintaining essential nutrients can fend off age-related diseases and, in some cases, extend lifespan. The problem: People like to eat, so almost no one is willing to do it. And it can be dangerous. Continue reading
Pandemic. Politics. An upending of life at a level that few Americans have ever experienced. And all of it amplified by social media.
The ever-shifting news has some people constantly checking their phones for updates – and others saying they’re ready to walk away from their feeds entirely.
“It’s really the perfect recipe for anxiety and panic,” said licensed clinical psychologist Debra Kissen of Chicago. And stress, it should be noted, may be a factor in heart disease.
But Kissen, CEO of Light on Anxiety CBT (cognitive behavioral technology) Treatment Center, and others say anxiety can be managed – and social media, used properly, doesn’t have to send you on a mental-health spiral. It also can help you find balance. Continue reading
A review and analysis published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that eating walnuts could improve blood lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) without causing weight gain or increasing blood pressure.
Initially, when I was mostly concerned about getting my weight down, I found that serving size and portion size were key concepts. So, I started reading food labels. I recommend that practice to everyone who wants to live a healthy life starting with controlling food intake.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and drinks. FDA is requiring changes to the Nutrition Facts label based on updated scientific information, new nutrition research, and input from the public. This is the first major update to the label in over 20 years. The label’s refreshed design and updated information will make it easier for you to make informed food choices that contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits.
Serving Sizes Get Real
Servings per container and serving size information appear in large, bold font. Serving sizes have also been updated to better reflect the amount people typically eat and drink today. NOTE: The serving size is not a recommendation of how much to eat.
- The nutrition information listed on the Nutrition Facts label is usually based on one serving of the food; however some containers may also have information displayed per package.
- One package of food may contain more than one serving.
Learn more about serving sizes on the new Nutrition Facts label.
I hope these tickle your funny bone this Friday. I know I am certainly ready for some tickling. I think you have to keep your sense of humor in times like these.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can be useful in widely spread studies, but you need to be careful about relying too much on it personally. I posted on it previously and you can read Don’t get hung up on your BMI – Body Mass Index for more info.
Young Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian. Six foot two inches tall, 257 pounds, BMI 33. Not what most of us would call obese.
The following is from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter:
Having obesity increases risk for cardiovascular disease and other metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, but a normal BMI also does not guarantee good heart health. Here are tips based on what we know to date about metabolic health and weight: Continue reading
Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. Following is a super discussion of the relationship between body weight and heart health from Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
Excess body weight increases risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and many other illnesses. However, not everyone who is overweight or obese develops these illnesses; and simply having a “normal” body weight or body mass index (BMI)-a measure of body weight relative to height-is no guarantee of low risk. “The relationship between BMI and risk for CVD and death is complex,” says Edward Saltzman, MD, academic dean for education at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Elevated BMI does increase CVD risk, but risk is also impacted by things like body-fat percentage, waist circumference, age, duration of obesity, race, ethnicity, gender, and other genetic factors,” as well as lifestyle elements such as smoking and level of physical activity. Continue reading
Being distracted by technology during mealtime may decrease the amount of food a person eats, nutrition scientists suggest in a new study.
When 119 young adults consumed a meal while playing a simple computer game for 15 minutes, they ate significantly less than when they ate the same meal without distractions, said lead author Carli A. Liguori.
Liguori conducted the research while earning a master’s degree in food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Nutrition.
How many times and how many ways do we have to hear that keeping our weight under control and being physically active are good for us? Eat less; move more; live longer.
Weight loss, regular physical activity and other lifestyle changes are effective yet underused strategies that should be added to optimize management of atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), according to “Lifestyle and Risk Factor Modification for Reduction of Atrial Fibrillation,” a new Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association published in the Association’s flagship journal Circulation.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an abnormal heart rhythm that affects at least 2.7 million people in the United States and is increasing as the population grows older. In AF, the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, beat rapidly and erratically, interfering with proper movement of blood through the chambers, which can allow blood clots to form. Parts of these clots can break off and flow to the brain, causing an ischemic stroke. People who have AF have a five-fold greater risk of having a stroke compared to people without the condition.
To reduce stroke risk in their patients, health professionals use medications or procedures to regulate the heart rate, prevent abnormal heart rhythms (AF) and reduce blood clotting. Continue reading
Herewith another entry in our arsenal against that destroyer of lives – Alzheimer’s Disease, from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities collectively known as dementia. There is no known food or diet that can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s dementia, but diet may help delay onset and slow progression.
What sets Alzheimer’s apart from other forms of dementia is the excessive buildup of beta-amyloid protein fragments into plaques, as well as defective tau proteins that form tangles in the brain. These changes lead to the death of the nerve cells responsible for everything from memory to movement. There are currently no known dietary factors that can impact the formation of these plaques and tangles, but diet may act in other ways to influence Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.