Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another FAIL in the search for Cure For The Common Cold

Americans spend billions on over-the-counter pills, drops, sprays and other concoctions to battle  runny noses, scratchy throats and nagging coughs. 

(please share this with anyone who is sniffling!) 
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We have been told that Echinacea helps your immune system fight infections. However, the largest study of more than 700 adults and children showed NO significant benefit. Zero.
Here is what they did
Dr. Bruce Barrett and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin used newspaper ads and posters to find volunteers with colds in the Madison, Wis., area. The participants (ages 12 to 80) were randomly assigned to get echinacea tablets, a dummy pill or no treatment at all. Those who got the herb took the equivalent of 10 grams of dried echinacea root the first day and 5 grams the next four days.
Twice a day, they graded their symptoms until their cold was gone. There was a trend toward a positive effect, but it was not statistically significant. 

Everyone wins even though nobody won
The people who love Echinacea point to the trend and say, "See!! Told you it helps." Everyone else point to the trend and say, "See!! Told you it doesn't DO anything." 
"It's not a compelling result in either direction," said Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, which follows research on herbal products. He said Barrett is on the group's advisory board.
The center's director, Dr. Josephine Briggs, said there are no plans to support more human research on echinacea.
"I think what we're seeing is pretty clear. If there's a benefit of echinacea, it's very modest, Briggs said.

Got a Cold? Here's what So what's a cold sufferer to do
First of all, "... don't go running to the doctor for antibiotics," according to Dr. Ann Falsey of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Antibiotics don't work against cold viruses and can have side effects.

Now. Here's what you SHOULD do
Rest, fluids, pain relievers and over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms are generally recommended. In other words, just treat the symptoms and let your body fight the cause. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When Doctors Make It Worse (and this happens all the time)

More is not better. In fact, more makes it worse in the case of drug interactions. 

(please share this with some Chronic Pill Taker you know)
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Think about it. How does one drug interact with a second drug inside your body? Hmm? 


You don't know, and neither do the docs who proscribe pill upon pill upon pill, according to a new study by a team at Thomson Reuters, and the University of Southern California.


More than half of older Americans taking an antidepressant for the first time were already taking another drug that could interact with it and cause side effects. 

"We found a concerning degree of potentially harmful drug combinations being prescribed to seniors," Dr. Tami Lee Mark of Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, said in a statement.

This has happened before
Other studies have found that older adults are often taking dangerous combinations of prescription drugs, but doctors are not getting the message, the researchers report in the American Journal for Geriatric Psychiatry.

They found more than 39,000 patients who started antidepressants between 2001 and 2006. "Twelve commonly reported antidepressant side effects were identified in the month after drug initiation," Mark's team writes.

More than 25 percent of the patients were prescribed antidepressants and another drug that could cause a major interaction. Another 36 percent had potential moderate interactions.

"The most common side effects were insomnia, somnolence and drowsiness, which occurred in 1,028 (2.6 percent) patients. The next most common side effect was dizziness, which was documented in 416 (1.1 percent) patients," the researchers report.

SOURCE: link.reuters.com/qyf72r The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry


For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Is YOUR city water over the Chromium 6 limit? Check the city list here.

Remember the Erin Brockovich movie, with Julia Roberts? At issue was that Chromium 6 had gotten into the water supply and was causing rampant cancer. 


(please forward to anyone drinks tap water)
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It turns out that many cities have this in their tap water!! Read the entire study by the Environmental Working Group


When you look at the city-list below, keep in mind that the maximum healthy amount in the water is 0.10 and the amount in Hinkley was 0.58. 



CityChromium-6 level (parts per billion)
Norman, Okla.12.90
Honolulu, Hawaii2.00
Riverside, Calif.1.69
Madison, Wisc.1.58
San Jose, Calif.1.34
Tallahassee, Fla.1.25
Omaha, Neb.1.07
Albuquerque, N.M.1.04
Pittsburgh, Penn.0.88
Bend, Ore.0.78
Salt Lake City, Utah0.30
Ann Arbor, Mich.0.21
Atlanta, Ga.0.20
Los Angeles, Calif.0.20
Bethesda, Md.0.19
Phoenix, Ariz.0.19
Washington, D.C.0.19
Chicago, Ill.0.18
Milwaukee, Wisc.0.18
Villanova, Penn.0.18
Sacramento, Calif.0.16
Louisville, Ky.0.14
Syracuse, N.Y.0.12
New Haven, Conn.0.08
Buffalo, N.Y.0.07
Las Vegas, Nev.0.06
New York, N.Y.0.06
Scottsdale, Ariz.0.05
Miami, Fla.0.04
Boston, Mass.0.03
Cinncinnati, Ohio0.03
Indianapolis, Ind.0.00
Plano, Texas0.00
Reno, Nev.0.00
San Antonio, Texas0.00


Chromium 6: It's in the water again : The Thin Green Line

Monday, December 20, 2010

You know that belly fat you can't shed? Here's a study showing how to beat that bulge back.

Need to open up a can of "Love Handles-B-Gone"? 


Well, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that becoming active at a young age, and then keeping it up, can indeed thwart your mid-life love handles!!


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Here's what they did in this study
Back in the mid-1980's, they included at 3,554 men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 into the study. Periodically, over the next 20 years, they reported on their physical activity levels.

How did the MEN do?
Men who were "habitually" highly active over that time put on about 6 fewer pounds, on average, than men who exercised consistently but at relatively low levels. They also saw their waistlines expand by about an inch less.
What about the WOMEN? 
And among women, the most active gained 1.5 fewer inches around the middle and 13 fewer pounds.

"It's the maintenance of the physical activity that's the important thing," said lead researcher Dr. Arlene L. Hankinson, of Northwestern University in Chicago.
"It's not so much about achieving some dramatically high activity level, It's about maintaining a level of daily physical activity over time."
They say that the key to 90% of success is just showing up! Well this is true for activity as well. Apparently, research science has verified our common sense wisdom ... just be consistent.  And all THAT means is that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise -- like brisk walking -- on five days out of the week. 
That's it!! 
In fact, these researchers found that the men who consistently got 30 minutes of exercise on five days out of the week gained about 4 fewer pounds than their less-active counterparts. Women with that activity level gained about 10 fewer pounds than women who got less exercise.
For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Does lunch in front of a computer make us eat more?






The answer is YES, and here's why.


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Mindless, distracted eating creates overconsumption. 
For years, people have noticed how (in healthy cultures) their focus on the food itself helps to improve both the quality (it goes up) and the quantity (it goes down) of the food consumed. 


Now, researchers have found that those who ate lunch while playing a computer game ended up eating more later than those who'd had their lunch with no distractions.
Why Does Mindless Eating Lead To Overeating? 
Researchers say it has to do with memory. The computer users had a fuzzier memory of their lunch and felt less full afterward compared with the computer-free lunch group. 
"We think that memory for recent meals influences the amount of food that we select and then consume at a subsequent meal," researcher Jeffrey M. Brunstrom, of the University of Bristol in the UK. "When our memory is poor," he said, "then at a subsequent meal we tend to select and consume a greater amount of food."
This Is Not About Your Cookies
In fact, past research has shown that people eat more when they're in front of a TV instead of at the kitchen table. Think of it like the "popcorn effect". If you have a tub o' popcorn at a movie, you'll eat your way to the bottom before you know it because you're distracted by the film. 
"We know from several studies that distraction can increase the amount that people consume in a meal," Brunstrom said. "Here, we extend this finding to show that the effects of distraction last beyond a meal."
The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Worried about diabetes? You've GOT to read this research showing WHEN you should exercise in the morning

Great research. Listen to this.

(please share this with anyone who wonders why, oh why, can't they lose weight!!)
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A study published in the Journal of Physiology (you can read the study here) shows why it's important to exercise in the morning. Not just in the morning ... but before you eat!

Researchers in Belgium recruited 28 healthy, active young men and began stuffing them with a truly lousy diet, composed of 50 percent fat and 30 percent more calories than the men had been eating. 



They compared 3 groups

  1. Some of the men did not exercise at all. 
  2. The 2nd group exercised, but ate before working out. 
  3. The 3rd group also exercised (the calories expended in the two exercise groups were identical), but ate after breakfast. 

Here's what they were eating for breakfast:

  • One of the exercise groups ate a hefty, carbohydrate-rich breakfast before exercising and continued to ingest carbohydrates, in the form of something like a sports drink, throughout their workouts. 
  • The second exercise group worked out without eating first and drank only water during the training. They made up for their abstinence with breakfast later that morning, and the calories they ate were the same as those eaten by the other exercise group.

After 6 weeks, here's what they found
  1. The nonexercising group was, to no one’s surprise, super-sized, having packed on an average of more than six pounds. They developed insulin resistance, and had begun storing extra fat within and between their muscle cells. Both insulin resistance and fat-marbled muscles are metabolically unhealthy conditions that can be precursors of diabetes.
  2. The men who ate breakfast before exercising gained weight, too, although only about half as much as the non-exercisers. Like those sedentary big eaters, however, they had become more insulin-resistant and were storing a greater amount of fat in their muscles.
  3. Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. They also burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently. 
Here's the bottom line
Our current data,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate that exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state ....
So if you want to head off diabetes, try changing your routine a bit by exercising before you eat breakfast. Because, working out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating even a high-fat, high-calorie diet. It also helped the men avoid gaining weight.



For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Good News/Bad News: Heart Disease Deaths WAY down

When it comes to your heart, we're really good at treatment ... but have a long way to go at prevention. 

(please share this with anyone with a family history of heart disease)
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We have the best mechanics on Earth, who can unclog your pipes, tune up your valves, and keep your ticker ticking longer than ever.  
A Whopping 20% Decrease
Deaths from heart disease fell an amazing 28 percent between 1997 and 2007. For stroke? Deaths fell 45 percent in the same period. This is amazing news! 
So what's not to like about these data? 
The journal Circulation reported that the number of heart procedures performed in hospitals rose 27 percent during the same period.

"The mortality rate going down is good news; however, the fact that the burden of disease is so high indicates that we may have won a battle against mortality but have not won the war against heart disease and stroke," said Dr. Veronique Roger of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who led the study.

Cost Of The Disease
The team said the cost of treating heart disease and stroke topped $286 billion in 2007, a figure that includes both health costs and lost productivity at work. That outstrips the cost of treating cancer and benign tumors, which in 2008 was estimated to exceed $228 billion, the researchers said.

According to the report, 33.5 percent of U.S. adults 20 and older have high blood pressure, and while 80 percent known they have high blood pressure, less than half have it under control.

The team also found that 23.1 percent of men and 18.1 percent of women smoke; 5 percent of adults 20 and older have high cholesterol, and more than 67 percent of adults are overweight.

The Bottom Line
We need to educate people on the prevention of heart disease and stroke. Our goal should be to make heart surgery as exceptionally rare as it is exceptionally performed! 
Deaths from heart disease down 28 pct: AHA | Reuters

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Tonight

This is a pic of my car clock. No, I'm not coming home from a party; I'm not banished to the car for some marital reason; and I'm definitely not texting while driving.

I'm the dad, right? So I get to pick up my daughter from a school trip to the White House! Very cool.

Basically, she rode 5 hours over to D.C., stood in the frisk-line to be body cavity searched for another hour and a half, got a 10 min tour of the W.H., and is now riding another five hours (!) back home. Nice.

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