Author Archive: salilmanji

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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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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Herbal supplement shows promise for joint health

A study published in Nutrition Journal compared the use of a joint supplement with placebo in 100 men and women (aged 50-75) for relief from joint issues. All subjects agreed to avoid using NSAIDs and were given either the joint supplement Instaflex TM (containing glucosamine sulfate, methylsufonlylmethane (MSM), white willow bark extract, ginger root concentrate, boswella serrata extract, turmeric root extract, cayenne, and hyaluronic acid) or placebo for 8 weeks. The results favored the joint supplement showing significant improvements in joint paint severity, stiffness and physical function with improvement being the greatest for those experiencing knee pain. How often do your patients ask about supplements for joint health?

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Pregnant smokers may quit with exercise

A study published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors this month presents new insight into the baby brain of pregnant mothers. It has been thought that pregnant women would have a harder time quitting smoking due to their increased metabolism which may intensify triggers and withdrawal symptoms. This study set out to see if 20 minutes of mild-to-moderate intensity exercise would reduce the desire to smoke and withdrawal symptoms amongst pregnant women. Women included in the study were on average 25 years old, in their second trimester of pregnancy and smoked more than 5 cigarettes per day. They reported clear reductions in their desire to smoke post exercise as well as improvements in mood in relation to withdrawal symptoms. How do you counsel pregnant women attempting to quit smoking?

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Eating nuts linked to fewer deaths

A study published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at the lifespan of many nut-eaters. By observing around 120,000 men and women who regularly consumed nuts over 30 years, they hoped to evaluate the effect of nut consumption in relation to mortality. It was seen that eating nuts was associated with lower levels of cholesterol, insulin resistance, inflammation, hypertension and even colon cancer. The results also showed lowered death rates from heart disease and cancer. The study did not look at how nuts were prepared (salted, roasted, raw) before consumption but it would be wiser to chose options lower in sugar and salt. What are your thoughts on these new findings? Do you believe this research strengthens your current recommendations of switching  from a bag of chips to a handful of nuts?

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To treat or not to treat?

The CDC has posted new guidelines on limiting antibiotic use in children. The increase in antibiotic resistance is not news yet it seems that overuse of antibiotics continues. This report emphasizes the need for us to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections since taking antibiotics during a viral infection can worsen the problem. It is clear that we need to get better at developing strategies for prevention and enduring symptoms of infections in order to limit our use of antibiotics. What recommendations do you provide to the parents of your pediatric patients to limit their antibiotic use and stay healthy during this season?

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Focus on food not just vitamins

A panel of experts who assess current scientific evidence for preventative medications focused on vitamins and other dietary supplements in their recent review. According to the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), there is unclear evidence when taking nutrients (as vitamins or supplements) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and/or cancer. The report also advises against taking beta-carotene and vitamin E for the prevention of these two conditions due to lack of evidence. Instead, the panel suggests that a well-balanced diet would be more beneficial for the body, helping it to absorb nutrients in their most natural form. What are your thoughts on these recent recommendations? How do you counsel your patients to achieve this well-balanced diet?  For more information, click here