Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Easter Candy Face-Offs

chocs00004With the holiday weekend fast approaching many people look forward to munching on traditional Easter treats. What are some of your favorites?  Are you familiar with the classic goodies that pose a health risk? What alternatives do you recommend to patients to encourage a healthy diet without disappointing their sweet tooth?

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/

For more information, please check US News.

Bill Gates Offers $100,000 for Next-Gen Condom

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is offering a $100,000 grant for the development of a next generation condom.  The condom will need to improve regular use while maintaining a high degree of pleasure.  Other important features include ease of use and characteristics that address cultural barriers. How often do you currently counsel your patients about their sexual behavior and assess their compliance with condoms? Do you agree with Bill and Melinda Gates that a more sophisticated condom is a key to prevention of various sexually transmitted diseases?

For more information please visit WebMD

Temporary Tattoos May Put You at Risk

FDA released a warning about temporary tattoos.  Temporary tattoos that use black pigment called “black henna” often utilize coal-tar hair dye with p-phenylenediamine (PPD) to extend the life of tattoo. PPD is known to cause skin reactions in people and by law is not allowed in cosmetic products that are applied to skin.  Have your patients ever consulted you about permanent or temporary tattoos? How often have you seen adverse effects related to body art?

For additional information, please see US Food and Drug Administration.

A Behavioral Weight-Loss Intervention in Persons with Serious Mental Illness

PR_030-_SI_-_07_06_12-128A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated the efficacy of weight-loss intervention in patients with serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia.  This population is generally overweight, with many of the commonly used medications causing weight gain.  Researchers in Maryland conducted a study of 291 obese patients with mental illness, randomizing one group to receive weight loss intervention therapies (i.e. individual and group weight management class, exercise, and dietary changes) with the control group to receive a traditional nutrition regimen.  The intervention group consistently lost weight over the 18-month trial period, showing that these patients can be successful in losing weight when lifestyle interventions are made.  In what other patient populations have you personally found behavioral modifications to be helpful in weight loss?


To view this article, please visit NEJM.

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Why Whole Foods decided to label genetically modified foods.

The FDA claims that there is no difference between organic and genetically modified foods, however, public health activists have questioned the long-term effects of GMOs. Walter Robb, the Texas-based chain’s co-chief executive, stated that he believes customers have a right to know what they are buying and Whole Foods has always supported this. He also mentions that every store selling food in the US is most likely selling some GMOs due to the prevalence of them as well as the  lack of labeling laws. In the past, companies have argued that GMO labeling would lead to an increase in grocery bills and frivolous law suits. What is your opinion on the labeling of GMOs?

For more information, please visit MercuryNews.

Image courtesy of [9comeback] /


Skim milk may not lower obesity risk among children

imagery_16_10_08_000185A study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood provides new evidence that children drinking skim milk or 1% milk weigh more than children drinking 2% or whole milk.  Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer conducted this study with data collected from 10,700 children.  This study also correlated the milk fat content to BMI, showing that children drinking a milk with a higher fat content had lower BMIs.  This study suggests that, although it is recommended that children switch from whole fat milk to low fat milk after the age of 2, this may not aid in preventing obesity.  What are some of the recommendations you make to parents of your pediatric patients to prevent obesity?


To read more, please visit Time.

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Using downward dogs to treat depression

A recent study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry compared over 100 studies to see how efficacious yoga is for different psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, and ADHD. The evidence suggests that yoga can be beneficial for sleeping problems, ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia, where yoga could be offered to patients as another useful, low-cost alternative. What other non-pharmacologic options do you suggest to your patients with mental health concerns?

For more information, please visit CNN.


Image courtesy of [Ambro] /


Antibacterial Soaps on Trial

soapA US court has recently allowed the Natural Resources Law Council to proceed with a lawsuit filed against the FDA regarding the regulation of triclosan.  Triclosan is an ingredient present in some antibacterial soaps and other widely used products, which is potentially thought to be carcinogenic.  There is some data showing that this chemical is found in the blood and urine of many humans.  Many groups have already been advocating for the FDA to ban triclosan, but have yet to be successful.  What chemicals/ingredients do you try to avoid when purchasing consumer goods?


For more information, please visit The Daily Green.

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Green Tea and Coffee May Cut Stroke Risk

IMG_0479_1Researchers followed 82,369 Japanese people without cardiovascular disease (CVD) for 13 years, assessing their green tea and coffee consumption and its effects on stroke incidence. The cohort study found that those who drank 2-3 cups a day of green tea reduced the risk of CVD and stroke by 14%, while those who drank 4 cups or more reduced this risk by 20%. Also, those who consumed coffee 3-6 times a week showed a 11% reduced risk of CVD and stroke, while those who drank coffee 1 cup or at least 2 cup a day reduced this risk by 20% and 19%, respectively. What other disease states have shown a benefit with green tea and coffee consumption?

For more information please see Stroke

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Breastfeeding may not ward off child obesity

teti_closeupA large, long-term trial published in this week’s issue of JAMA dispels previous research that showed breastfeeding may prevent childhood obesity. Investigators followed a group of nearly 14,000 breastfeeding mother-infant pairs in Belarus for a median of 11.5 years.  The group randomized to receive WHO/UNICEF breastfeeding promotion intervention was found to have breastfed significantly longer and more exclusively than those who received no intervention.  Researchers concluded there was no difference in obesity or insulin-like growth factor between the two groups, but that many health benefits of breastfeeding still remain.  What other conditions or diseases has breastfeeding been reported to prevent?

For more information, please see Reuters

Photo courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici/]