According to new study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, consuming tea and citrus juices could correspond to a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. This was the first large-scale study to determine the role of flavanoids on ovarian cancer, and followed 172,000 patients over three decades. The research team found that women who consumed flavonols and flavanones, which are two sub-types of flavanoids, experienced much less of a risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. Since these flavanoids are found in tea and citrus juices and fruits, it is fairly easy to incorporate them to get the associated benefits. This was a promising find, as roughly 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year and it also happens to be the fifth leading cause of death from cancer among women. What other dietary sources of flavanoids do you recommend to your patients for health benefits?
On Monday, The Environmental Working Group launched a new program known as the Food Scores Database, which encompasses the nutritional values of over 80,000 foods you may find in your local supermarket. Each product has been rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most nutritious. The current push from consumers to know what is in packaged foods or how heavily processed they are, has helped to fuel this project. Also included, is product information from food companies and research conducted by The Environmental Working Group themselves, regarding pesticides, additives, preservatives, and dyes. Food Scores will soon be available as a phone app and allow consumers to scan product bar codes. Thus far, the scoring system has faced ridicule from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, but the founder of the environmental group trusts that the general public will both embrace and utilize this new program. As your patients become more health conscious, how do you teach them to evaluate the quality of their food? What other programs are available at this time to help consumers purchase healthier choices?
A new study has revealed at a healthy diet prior to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer will increase the odds of survival in the following years. A healthier diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and low in processed foods will help build immunity and reduce inflammation in the body. Both of these factors can be crucial when fighting the disease. In this observational study, women who consumed the healthiest diets were 27% less likely to die than those with the poorest diets. Those consuming the healthiest foods were also more likely to continue their good habits post-diagnosis and have access to better care. However, those with diabetes and a waist circumference over 34 inches, appeared to have lower survival rates. Before lifestyle recommendations can be standardized regarding prevention and increasing survival of ovarian cancer, randomized control trials should also be completed. Which lifestyle changes do you recommend in your practice for those looking to prevent ovarian cancer or better their prognosis?
For additional information on this study, go to Reuters.
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According to a new study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, practicing a single yoga pose for one to two minutes a day for multiple days a week can greatly improve spinal curvature. There are currently 25 recommended yoga poses for scoliosis from the National Scoliosis Foundation. One group of children, ages 10-18, experienced a 49.2% improvement from practicing the side plank pose on their weaker side four times a week. For some, especially children, this may be a great alternative or a helpful addition to the more unappealing treatments available, such as back braces or even surgery. On average, practicing this pose gave patients a 32% reduction in their spinal curvature. Larger studies must be conducted to confirm these findings, but this may be exciting news to the 2-3% of Americans who currently suffer from scoliosis. What other non-invasive therapies do you feel comfortable recommending to your patients with scoliosis?
For additional information, go to WebMD.
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As consumers continue to grow curious about the origins of their food, there has been a shift to support famers markets and purchase food grown locally. To support this change, the US Department of Agriculture will supply $52 million to help the businesses of local farmers and fund research on organic cultivation. There are now 8,268 farmers markets in the country, which is a 78% increase from 2008. Considering this growth, we can also see that restaurants and super markets have started to integrate local foods into their sales. Backing local food operations is not only a good investment for reducing health care costs, but it also helps the economy through providing more employment opportunities. A list of farmers markets in your area can be seen by visiting the USDA website. What are your typical recommendations in terms of purchasing food to your patients?
For years, exercise has been recognized as an effective way to prevent stress-induced depression, yet until now the mechanism had not been understood. It was initially believed that trained skeletal muscle produced a substance protective towards the brain. However, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shared their findings using mice models showing something different. Instead of generating a protective substance in the body, the exercised skeletal muscle produces an enzyme that helps to excrete damaging, stress-related substances from the blood. Depression remains to be a widely misunderstood disorder, but this research reinforces the importance of exercise in its treatment and could provide insight into novel therapies. What other non-pharmacological interventions do you recommend to patients who experience stress-induced depression?
For additional information, please visit ScienceDaily.
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NIH and VA address pain and related conditions in U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families: Research will focus on nondrug approaches.
Chronic pain and associated conditions have increasingly become a problem in the United States, especially in those who are currently serving or have served military time for our country. Thirteen research projects, which are to be funded $21.7 million within the next five years by the U.S. Veteran’s Affairs, National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and National Institute on Drug Abuse, will investigate non-pharmacological treatments for these conditions. Due to the current increase in opiate prescribing and abuse, alternative options are to be further explored. The research will investigate skills which can better manage symptoms of their conditions and prevent their progression. This is expected to help more appropriately treat these patients while driving down healthcare costs and curbing the overuse or misuse of opiate medications.
What do you think about the current opiate prescribing practices in this patient population? How do you currently manage patients with pain and related conditions?
For additional information, please visit NIH.
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Recognizing that they are a part of the obesity problem in the United States, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co, and Dr.Pepper Snapple Group have come to an agreement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to pledge to cut calories consumed by beverages by 20% by the year 2025. Their plan is to create smaller portion sizes, as well as promote water and non-calorie options more effectively. Due to a cap on sugary drink portions now in effect in New York, a soda ban in schools, and a possible tax on these soft drinks in San Francisco in the near future, this may be their attempt to stay appealing to customers. Since the peak of soda sales in 1998, the amount of calories consumed by Americans from sugary drinks has decreased by 23 percent due to an increased concern with our health. As the general population has become more conscious of disease states such as diabetes, they have started to opt for healthier options, including water and beverages that do not contain aspartame. Still, experts agree that more needs to be done in order to decrease obesity rates.
How do you feel about more aggressive government-instituted restrictions on these products? How comfortable would you be with instituting potential penalties on these companies if they cannot fulfill their promise by 2025?
To read more, please visit WSJ.
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