Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Cognitive benefits from laughter

HorseHow often do you laugh? Studies have shown laughter is beneficial in increasing blood flow to areas of the brain reducing stress and anxiety, but a new study presented at the recent Experimental Biology meeting found that humor showed beneficial effects in memory loss as well. The results of the EEG in seniors were tested for visual recognition, learning ability and recall memory tests showed improvements as well as reduced cortisol in their brains, believed to help avoid memory brain cell death. What are some strategies to help increase laughter in your life and for your patients?

For additional information, please visit Medical Daily

Image courtesy of [Tina Phillips]/


Weight loss: Is the secret in your bacteria?


Trial published by the Journal of Microbiology Ecology released information that may hint that management of gut microbiota may be the secret to managing weight. Shanghai researchers looked into gut microbiota and its connection to weight. Ninety three obese patients were placed on a dietary regime with whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods, and prebiotics for 9 weeks.  Patients were evaluated at the end of 9 weeks and then 14 weeks later demonstrating an average weight loss of 5kg. Researchers claim diet management improved insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and blood pressure. In addition to weight loss, what health benefits can potentially be gained from managing our natural flora?

For the article visit BBC

For the study visit the Journal of Microbiology Ecology

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Highly educated brains recover better from injury

BrainCan a higher education do more than get you a better salary? Results of a new study published in Neurology suggests that a higher education may help provide some cognitive protection from traumatic brain injury. The study found people with a college education were four times more likely to recover and return to work or school with no disability compared to those who did not finish high school. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, a few theories suggest that the brain can develop better coping strategies when knowledge expands with higher education. What are some of your favorite strategies in exercising your brain?

For additional information, please visit NBC

Image courtesy of [dream designs]/


FDA warns of Viagra in herbal supplement: tainted dietary supplements


FDA has released a warning about an herbal supplement by the name of S.W.A.G. or “sex with a grudge” because it has traces of generic Viagra. This product can be purchased online and advertised to “increase blood flow” and improve sexual health, unbeknownst to buyers however, this product can potentially be fatal. The manufacturer claims that there are no interactions seen similarly in medications such as Cialis, Viagra or Levitra but the FDA warns consumers that it may have severe interactions with nitrates. The FDA advises those using this product to immediately dispose of it and side effects such as dizziness, fainting, or heart attack/stroke may occur. How familiar are you with the mechanisms of reporting adverse effects and interactions related to herbal supplements?

For additional information visit

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Naps linked with higher risk of death

NapHow often do you nap during the day? Recent studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology have suggested that daytime napping might be a useful marker of underlying health risks. The European study found adults, ages 40-79, who napped for less than an hour a day were likely to die over a 13-year period and those who napped over an hour were at an even higher risk of death. The study notes that there are many factors that could contribute to the higher likelihood of death associated with naps such as sleep apnea, comorbid conditions, age, gender and BMI. What are some of the reasons why you or your patients nap during the day? What recommendations do you provide for getting a better night’s sleep? 

For additional information, please visit Fox News

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Are exercise cool-downs necessary?


The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy published a study to answer the question of how useful cool-down exercises in removing soreness post-workout. This randomized controlled trial evaluated whether or not warm-up or cool-down exercises helped reduce soreness post-workout in 52 adults. The study revealed that warm-up exercises reduce soreness over a 48 hour period after workout while cool-down exercises do not. What is your typical exercise routine? How do you counsel your patients about exercise?

For additional information, please visit NYT. To see the abstract of the original researchplease visit AJP

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In the severely obese, vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility

LazyThose with vitamin D deficiency, especially among New Englanders, are linked to a multitude of health risks. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that those who were obese and vitamin D deficient walked slower and were less physically active than their comparators who were not deficient.  The results of this study suggest that vitamin D status may contribute to the reduction of physical functioning, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle. What are some ways you encourage or increase physical activity in your patients? How does this study influence your recommendation of vitamin D?

For additional information, please visit Medical News Today

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Beans and Peas Lower Cholesterol


A recent six week trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal evaluated over 1,000 patients and shown that just one serving of legumes (peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils) can decrease one’s total LDL by 5 percent. A decrease by 5 percent leads to a 5-6 percent reduction in heart attack and other major cardiovascular events. What are your favorite recipes that incorporate legumes?

For additional information visit NYT

For the study visit CMAJ

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Study finds brain changes in young marijuana users

MarijuanaAs a growing number of states legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, the negative effects are beginning to surface in research. A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience scanned the brains of forty young adults from Boston University who smoked marijuana. Results of the brain scans revealed that among those who smoked more, a portion of their brain was structurally altered; the part that is involved with decision making, motivation, and emotional behavior. It is important that results of this small study cannot be generalized, however, it serves as a foundation for further research on marijuana smoking and potentially permanent cognitive abnormalities. How will the findings of this study influence the acceptance of recreational versus medical marijuana?  What recommendations would you give to your patient seeking marijuana?


For additional information, please visit The Boston Globe

Image courtesy of [Paul]/

New herb potential for treating rheumatoid arthritis


A Chinese herb by the name of Thunder God vine (tripterygium wilfordi) has been shown to provide better relief for rheumatoid arthritis compared to methotrexate. Annals of Rheumatic Disease published a 24-week open-label trial of 207 patientsconcluding that Thunder God vine is capable of modulating anti-inflammatory and immune effects. Authors state that the data favored the combination of both the vine and methotrexate claiming improved results. What natural products do you currently include in your rheumatoid arthritis treatment protocol?

For information on the research visit Annals of Rheumatic Disease

For the article visit MNT