Thursday, August 04, 2011

How To Live Forever (your individual mileage may vary)

I read a very silly study conclusion today. Ready? 

Lifestyle doesn't matter. If you want to live a long healthy life, you only need to have the genes of the Ashkenazi Jews. There. Problem solved. 

This work, published this week in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society involved 477 Ashkenazi Jews aged 95 to 122 who were living independently. Three-quarters were women. 

Ashkenazi Jews? Um, Why?
This group was chosen because they are more ''genetically uniform than other populations, making it easier to spot gene differences". 

What Did The Study Do, Actually? 
They looked at the Ashkenazi group versus a control group who had the same lifestyle habits: 

  • height-weight ratio
  • smoking 
  • exercise level
  • and diet 

The comparison group came from 3164 people born about the same time as the centenarians and were examined between 1971 and 1975.

Some Notable Findings? 
1. 24% of those who were long-lived, drank alcohol daily, compared with 22% of the general population
2. 43% of those who were long lived exercised regularly compared with 57% of the general population.

Bottom Line?
Your genes are your tendency, not your destiny. I heard a popular radio personality quote this study today, to tell the listeners that they should blow off all this "health living" stuff because "it doesn't matter what you do ... it's all about your genes". 

This is obviously goofy AND dumbo. 

You might have genes that make you more susceptible to heart disease (or LESS susceptible), but you can certainly mess that up if you smoke, if you eat carcinogens, if you pig out on sugars all day every day. 

The idea that a person's lifespan is NOT affected by their lifestyle is uninformed by reality. 

The truth is in the middle. Your genes set your tendency, but your destiny determines your place within that window -- either toward the healthy side or toward the unhealthy side.  

Here is the link to the article:

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Defeating Diabetes is Easy. You just have to look like this guy.

How hard could it be, right? 

A new study just out in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism says that more muscle = more control over your Type 2 diabetes. Not eat well ... not be more active ... not avoid Ho Hos and you're intravenous Mountain Dew addiction. 

Just add muscle bulk. Hmmm.   

What Did This Study ... Study?
A whopping 13,644 adults took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III between 1988 and 1994. In this group, for every 10% increase in skeletal muscle index (SMI) -- the ratio of muscle mass to total body weight -- 
  1. there was an 11 % reduction in insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes
  2. there was a 12 % reduction in pre-diabetes

So ... you're saying that people can control their diabetes by adding bulky bulk. Wouldn't it be great if the discussion of these kinds of studies started by saying something like: 

"This really doesn't mean that much on it's own. And no one should think that muscle bulk has anything to do with diabetes control without also controlling other lifestyle factors. And the control of diabetes symptoms may be due to any of a hundred other things that happened while our budding weight lifters were grunting away over their sweaty barbells."


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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Can chewing more help you eat less?

You mean ... like a cow working her cud? 

A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who chew  40 times instead of a typical 15 times led to fewer calories consumed (by 12% -- which would lead to weight loss of ~ 25 pounds for the average person).

Plus, more chewing = lower blood levels of hormones that boost appetite (ghrelin) and an increase in others that signal fullness (CCK).  Less hunger, more fullness ... well, there go your calories. 

Here's Where It Gets Weird

The authors then said that these hormones may "represent useful targets for future obesity therapies," according to co-author Shuran Wang, because regulating their levels may help people control their appetite.
I get that these folks want to patent a miracle drug that pharmaceutical companies can buy from them. But what if these hormonal changes are not CAUSES of the changes, but the EFFECTS of a behavioral change? Doesn't that seem like the more reasonable, rationale, albeit less lucrative solution? 
Is It The Chewing? Really? 
No, of course not. This bovine behavior is not likely the magic key to battle your bulge. It is more likely to be the fact that, when you chew more, you take more time with your food. When you take  more time with your food, you allow your brain to "get the message" that you're full before you overrun that signal by inhaling your food. 
I think we need to develop a drug for enjoying your food, and another drug for returning to the family table, and another drug for slowing down when you eat.   
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Can chewing more help you eat less? | Reuters

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Colon Blow: Are These Cleanses Healthy?

It's like Roto-Rooter for your colon. And you can "get a visual" (eww) to see why that might make common sense. 

However, doctors are only now looking into whether or not colon blowing actually does anything besides support the spa industry. 

Colon Cleansing: What does it do ... actually? 
There's a tube that's ... well, it's shoved right up ... and then you get flushed ... up, like, in there ... like, a toilet of chemicals and water.  

And How's That Workin' For Ya?
I love the comments of Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family medicine physician at Georgetown University School of Medicine. "You shouldn't put things up there that really don't belong there. Imagine 60 liters of water going through your colon. The stress it puts on the system, and the hose, if not used correctly, could puncture the organ."
As for the home remedies, Mishori says there's no need for them. "We poop and pee for a reason. If you are a healthy person, the body does it for you."

So If The Procedures are Crap, What ISThe Best Way To Cleanse The Body?
Mishori responded, "Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get six to eight hours of sleep and see a doctor regularly. But no one wants to do that," she said with exasperation. "But they'll use a hose to flush themselves out! The use of these methods are unhealthy. And what's scary is we only examined the cases that were reported to hospitals and doctors. Imagine all the people who are using these products and methods and have side effects and never go to the hospital."
Love her. She's awesome. 
The researchers from Georgetown say there's no evidence any of these colon cleansing treatments work and, in fact, when used improperly can cause cramping, kidney failure and in some extreme cases, death.
Here's another negative opinion from a Mayo doc

ZERO Upside for Your Backside
According to the report released this week in the Journal of Family Practice, Mishori and her colleagues examined 20 studies published in medical literature over the last 10 years.
1. Little evidence of colon cleansing benefits
2. Side effects: cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and renal failure. And in some cases, ingredients in these remedies were toxic.

blog post adapted from this article: 
Colon cleansing: Not so healthy, analysis says – The Chart - Blogs

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What Happens To Your Kids When They Eat Hot Dogs?

I love hot dogs. Throw some onions on, some mustard, and maybe a little chili. 

That's why it hurts, huuuuurts I say, to read what that little projectile of yumminess is doing to us and our kids. The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way (check out the advice at the bottom). 

This article below is abstracted from the Cancer Prevention Coalition. 

Hot Dogs Can Contribute to Leukemia In Children
Peters et al. (reference below) studied the relationship between the intake of certain foods and the risk of leukemia in children from birth to age 10 in Los Angeles County between 1980 and 1987. The study found that children eating more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. A strong risk for childhood leukemia also existed for those children whose fathers' intake of hot dogs was 12 or more per month.

Hot Dogs Can Contribute to Brain Cancer
Researchers Sarusua and Savitz studied childhood cancer cases in Denver and found that children born to mothers who consumed hot dogs one or more times per week during pregnancy has approximately double the risk of developing brain tumors. Children who ate hot dogs one or more times per week were also at higher risk of brain cancer.

Bunin et al, also found that maternal consumption of hot dogs during pregnancy was associated with an excess risk of childhood brain tumors.

How Could This Happen?
Hot dogs contain nitrites which are used as preservatives, primarily to combat botulism. During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain.

Any Safe Options?
Not all hot dogs on the market contain nitrites. Because of modern refrigeration methods, nitrites are now used more for the red color they produce (which is associated with freshness) than for preservation. Nitrite-free hot dogs, while they taste the same as nitrite hot dogs, have a brownish color that has limited their popularity among consumers. When cooked, nitrite-free hot dogs are perfectly safe and healthy.

  1. Do not buy hot dogs containing nitrite. It is especially important that children and potential parents do not consume 12 or more of these hot dogs per month.
  2. Request that your supermarket have nitrite-free hot dogs available.
  3. Contact your local school board and find out whether children are being served nitrite hot dogs in the cafeteria, Request that they use only nitrite-free hot dogs.
  4. Write the FDA and express your concern that nitrite-hot dogs are not labeled for their cancer risk to children. You can mention CPC's petition on hot dogs, docket #: 95P 0112/CP1.
Cancer Prevention Coalition
c/o School of Public Health, M/C 922
University of Illinois at Chicago
2121 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612
Tel: (312) 996-2297, Fax: (312) 413-9898
1, Peters J, et al " Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA)" Cancer Causes & Control 5: 195-202, 1994.

2 Sarasua S, Savitz D. " Cured and broiled meat consumption in relation to childhood cancer: Denver, Colorado (United States),"Cancer Causes & Control 5:141-8, 1994.

3 Bunin GR, et al. "Maternal diet and risk of astrocytic glioma in children: a report from the children's cancer group (United States and Canada)," Cancer Causes & Control 5:177-87, 1994.

4. Lijinsky W, Epstein, S. "Nitrosamines as environmental carcinogens," Nature 225 (5227): 2112, 1970.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Audio: Placenta Hormone For Weight Loss? A Review of the HCG diet

On my radio program I speak w Dr Peiter Cohen about the HCG diet -- what it is, what it does, and whether it's worth it. 

Click Here To Get The Audio Clip

Dr Cohen is awesome -- you're going to love him. 

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Video: Migraines and The Epilepsy of Pain

Ever felt that knife sticking into the back of your eye? Ever wondered WHY this happens. I talk about both of those things, along with what's known about alternative therapies, in this segment. 

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