Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Can Eating Peanut Butter Cut Breast Cancer Risk Later In Life?

In a study funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, researchers found that teenage girls that regularly consumed peanut butter, other nuts, beans and corn were at less of a risk of developing benign breast disease when they reached adulthood. The concern for benign breast disease is the risk of progression to breast cancer. The study followed teenage girls (ages 9-15 years) from 1996-2010, asking them to periodically answer diet questionnaires. Researchers found consumption of diet rich in nuts, beans and corn was associated with upto 68% reduction in risk of benign breast disease, and consumption of peanut butter was associated with 39% reduction in risk. What are your thoughts on this study? How do you educate your patients about this right now?

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A hearty breakfast good for diabetics?

A recent Israeli study presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona (Sept 25, 2013) reported that type 2 diabetics who ate a bigger breakfast had lowered blood sugars. Those in the big breakfast group consumed approximately 30% of daily calories for breakfast (consisting of more protein and fat) compared to 12.5% for those in the small breakfast group. Researchers found that over a 3 month period, patients who were in the large breakfast group had a reduction in blood glucose levels and blood pressure, reported less hunger, and cut back on daily diabetic medication. How often do you discuss breakfast with your patients? What are your typical breakfast foods recommendations for diabetics?

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Good for M-E-M-O-R-…?

536According to a recently published analysis from the Women’s Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging, higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were not shown to improve or maintain cognition. The study analyzed blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in women aged 65-80 taking postmenopausal hormone therapy. Study found no difference among the 6 years worth of cognitive assessment scores between women with high levels of DHA and EPA versus women with low levels. However, authors suggested that measuring omega-3 levels over a longer period of time may be necessary to show a link with cognition improvement. What are your thoughts about this research?  How often do you recommend fish oil and other natural products for cognition improvement?


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Acupuncture: another option in the treatment of moderate/severe depression

The new UK study published in the PLOS Medicine compared acupuncture, counseling and standard pharmacological treatment in patients with moderate to severe depression.  In the study, patients were randomly selected to receive either acupuncture or counseling (added to the traditional medication therapy) or the standard therapy alone. At the end of the study, the drop in depression scores was greater in acupuncture and counseling groups than in the group that received standard therapy.  Patients who received acupuncture did slightly better than those who received counseling. Additionally, the benefits were maintained for 3 months after the study completion. Would you consider recommending acupuncture for your moderate to severe depression patients? When do you currently recommend your patients to use acupuncture?

Please check PLOS Medicine for additional information.

Vitamin B Supplements May Guard Against Stroke.

medicine_2Some studies suggest that vitamin B supplements may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. However, a new review published in the journal Neurology discovered the opposite. Researchers analyzed the findings of 14 clinical trials which compared taking vitamin B supplement or very low-dose vitamin B versus placebo for six or more months. They discovered that vitamin B supplements may reduce the risk of stroke by 7 percent, but did not appear to reduce the severity of strokes or the risk of death from stroke. The researchers also found that folic acid may reduce the beneficial effect of vitamin B. How often do patients ask you about vitamin B supplements? Do you recommend vitamin B for other conditions?

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Copper bracelets/ magnetic devices don’t help patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

F0025340-Rheumatoid_arthritis_166x138Annual worldwide sales from copper bracelets/ magnetic devices used for the healing power in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) exceed 1 billion pounds. However, authors of a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE looked at 70 RA patients and found no real effect on pain and swelling in RA. Each person wore four different devices: standard magnetic wrist strap, a demagnetized wrist strap, a weakened wrist strap, and a copper bracelet over 5 months then blood samples were collected to measure inflammation. Researchers did not find any statistically significant differences between the four devices in terms of effects on pain, inflammation, physical function, disease activity, or medication use. Have you found any other complementary interventions to be effective for RA? What do you recommend to reduce pain and inflammation in your RA patients?

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CDC calls for urgent action to combat rise of drug resistant pathogens.

m_137_copyThe Center for Disease Control predicts that over 2 million people every year will get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria of which 23,000 will lead to death. A comprehensive analysis warns that antibiotic overuse is the main culprit thus advising people only to take antibiotics when absolutely necessary. The CDC believes increasing resistance is also due to antibiotic use in food and animals and cautions against those. The CDC reports an assessment of 18 bacteria- and antibiotic-related illnesses has been broken down into three categories: urgent, serious and concerning based on the pathogen’s clinical impact, transmissibility, current and projected incidence, and the availability of effective therapeutics. Addition of plant extracts have been shown to decrease antibiotic resistance. Have you ever suggested specific plants to reduce/prevent antibiotic resistance?

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Cilantro: This herb can purify water too.

161_2The cilantro plant might not only be tasty, but may also help to purify polluted water. Students, along with Professor Douglas Schauer of Ivy Tech Community College, were searching for a cheap and accessible way to filter ground water in Mexico. They dried and crushed numerous wild plants while conducting their research and found cilantro to be the most successful in absorbing heavy metals such as nickel and lead. These findings were presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society. Are there any herbs/natural products you use for their detoxification properties?

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Effects of red ginseng extract on sleep in healthy volunteers.

IMG_1237Researchers at Kwandong University studied the effects of red ginseng on sleep in 15 young healthy male volunteers. They discovered that red ginseng can reduce duration of wakefulness between sleep times, reduce lightest stage of non-REM and increase total sleep time. What are favorite recommendations to improve sleep?

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Image courtesy of [graur codrin]


Gel laundry capsule poisonings rise. #ipharm

Child_care_doctor2There has been a rise of poisoning in children biting into brightly colored liquid-gel laundry capsules. UK’s National Poisons Information Service survey found 1,486 poisoning cases between May 2009 and July 2012 which occurred mostly in children under the age of five. Ingesting liquid gel laundry capsule can burn children airway and cause breathing problems. The manufacturers of gel capsules have agreed to change their packaging to opaque boxes with child resistant openers and noticeable warnings. This problem is not limited to England since poison control centers in the US began receiving calls regarding this issue in 2012. How can we increase public awareness of this rising problem?

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Image courtesy of [Naypong] /