Monthly Archives: December, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays! Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful break. See you all next year!


Best Diets by US News

It is that time of the year when US News evaluated again different diets and gave them star ratings according to their categories.  Have you experimented or recommended any of them?  What are your thoughts on the ratings?

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A new drug approach that could lead to cures for wide range of diseases

Researchers from Oregon Health Science University have developed a new technique  using drugs called “pharmacoperones” which could cure a wide range of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis and diabetes, that are caused by misfolded proteins.  The new drugs have the ability to enter cells and fix the misfolded proteins so they can be routed correctly, thus restoring their functionality. This technique was demonstrated in mice and researchers are planning human testing to see if they would have the same promising results. What do you think of this technique? Are you optimistic about it ?

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Wii Fit games improve HbA1c in patients with diabetes

According to a recent study conducted in 220 diabetic patients, playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus for half an hour a day over three months can improve health. Type 2 diabetic patients were randomized into a group that used the game and a control group. After 12 weeks, researchers found that patients in the intervention group had an improvement in HbA1c, lost weight as well as improved their blood glucose levels. How do you try to stay active during the holiday season? 

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Healthier food will only cost you $1.50 more!

In a multinational meta analysis that was published recently in BMJ, Harvard medical school researchers compared the cost of healthy vs. unhealthy diets in 27 studies from 10 countries. Price differences varied according to food groups from which meats/proteins had the largest price difference costing an average of $0.29 more per serving than less healthy options. Other categories such as grains, dairy, and snacks/sweets also cost more for healthier options, at $0.03, $0.004, and $0.12 respectively. On average, the study concluded that a day’s worth of healthiest diet cost about $1.50 more than the least healthiest. What do you think of this research? Are you surprised by the amount of difference?

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Avocado Shows New Potential

A recent study published in Nutrition Journal examined if consuming 1/2 an avocado either with lunch meals or post lunch meals would influence satiety and post-prandial rise in blood glucose levels. This randomized, single-blind cross-over study included 26 healthy but overweight adults between the ages of 40-51 years. Since avocados are about 70% water, they make an excellent addition to meals in terms of increasing meal volume as well as fiber intake. Both fiber and medium energy dense foods are thought to increase post meal satiety. Study participants received treatments one the same day of the week with a one week washout period in between. Results showed that the avocado addition to meals increased satiety by 26% with a 40% decrease in a desire to eat over a 3-5 hour post lunch period. In addition, blood sugar levels were significantly decreased over a 3 hour postprandial period. Although a longer study with more participants should be done for more conclusive results, this study shows a great benefit of incorporating avocado post meals as a simple dietary intervention. What are your favorite avocado recipes?

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Have You Checked Your Products for Triclosan?

The FDA has recently updated its patient sheet describing the use of triclosan, an antimicrobial found in the majority of consumer products. Since the 1970s triclosan has been added to many over the counter products including toothpastes, hand soap, body washes, furniture and even toys. Evidence links the use of triclosan to the existing problem of antibiotic resistance, as well as its potential endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic effects. The FDA is reporting that the addition of triclosan to hygiene products such as soaps is not more effective than using regular soap and water. Many companies are already making the shift to remove triclosan from their consumer products. How do you educate patients about triclosan in their products? What are your thoughts about this issue?

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Restaurant Calorie Counting

One of the requirements as listed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) asks restaurant chains with 20 or more locations across the U.S. to list calorie information on menus. Major cities across the U.S. have already fulfilled these requirements since 2009. Interestingly, Reuters Health reported today about a cross-sectional analysis (Journal of Public Health) indicating that only 1 in 3 diners actually make use of this information. This study was conducted in just over 4000 adults in the U.S. who ate out at restaurants either multiple times a week or on a monthly basis. Among the diners, women were reported to have higher rates of reading calorie information but no significant changes have been reported in terms of consumers purchasing more lower-calorie options. Seeing as obesity is a large contributor to chronic diseases, controlling portion sizes especially when eating out is quite important. Do you think that calorie-counting makes a big difference in weight management? How you counsel your patients on healthy eating as well as watching their caloric intake?

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Vitamins for HIV Health?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), preventing HIV progression could be as simple as taking a daily multivitamin. This randomized clinical trial looked at a 897 HIV-positive patients in Sub-Saharan Africa who had not yet started therapy with antiretroviral agents (ARTs)  between 2004-2009. Patients were either given multivitamin containing vitamins B, C & E in combination with Selenium, Selenium without a multivitamin or placebo. Although the results do not show a reduction in viral load, patients taking a multivitamin in combination with Selenium were significantly less likely to have an increased CD-4 count and were less susceptible to immune decline and morbidity. It is thought that the multivitamins are essential in maintaining a functioning immune system and that Selenium may have a role in preventing HIV replication. Although Botswana is a population in Sub-Saharan Africa with the highest rates of HIV infection and limited in resources, this study may have an impact on any population of HIV-positive patients who are naive to ART therapy. What do you think of these findings? Do you think that preventing micronutrient deficiencies will help in any population at risk for HIV?

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Energy Drinks Do Alter Heart Function

A study looking at the effect on heart contractility from energy drink consumption was released today via the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Teenagers and young adults have been warned about the risks of consuming drinks high in caffeine and taurine content related to the increased number of ER visits resulting from rapid rises in blood pressure, seizures and even death. Investigators from the University of Bonn, Germany have been studying the effect of the content of these drinks on 18 volunteers aged around 27 years. MRI reports done 1 hour post consumption of drinks high in caffeine and taurine content revealed significant strain on the heart’s ability to contract from the left ventricle.  It is well known that impairment of the heart’s ability to contract appropriately could lead to arrhythmias and even seizures. More studies are needed to determine the long-term impact that energy drinks have on the heart but these short-term findings are nothing short of concerning. Do you counsel your patients to watch their caffeine intake and to avoid unnecessary consumption of energy drinks? Do you think we need tighter regulations on energy drinks?

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