Author Archive: stephaniesilva1

Oil Pulling for Overall Health

A recent report by Time Warner Cable draws attention back to oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic remedy involving swishing teaspoonfuls of pure oil. The report discusses that by pulling out harmful bacteria, toxins and other organisms out of the oral cavity, oil pulling improves both oral and overall health. Some suggest that oil pulling helps with skin conditions such as acne as well as diabetes and asthma. The most effective oil pulling is done by placing around a tablespoon of cold pressed organic sesame or coconut oil into the mouth and swishing the oil around for 20 minutes and then spitting it out into the garbage.

What are your thoughts and experience with oil pulling? How often do you recommend oil pulling? What are some other benefits of oil pulling?

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Green Thumb Linked to Longer Life

According to a study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine,  older adults can cut their risk of heart attack and stroke and reduce their risk of death by as much as 30% by being generally active. Researchers followed 4,232 Swedish adults aged 60+ for 12 years and evaluated lifestyle parameters including range of daily life activities such as  gardening, home improvement, car maintenance, and blackberry picking. The study discovered that individuals who were more active on a daily basis had a much lower cardiovascular risk profile than individuals who were generally sedentary, irrespective of how much formal exercise they took. Authors suggested that these findings are important for older adults because it is difficult to achieve recommended exercise intensity level this population.

What are some other physical activities you recommend for older adults? How else can we promote and encourage active lifestyle to reduce risk of heart disease?

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Stroke Occurring In More Young People

brainAccording to a study published in The Lancet, stroke rates among young and middle-aged adults are growing on a global scale. Researchers analyzed data gathered between 1990 and 2010  and found that the number of strokes among people aged 20 to 64 increased 25% during that time and that this age group now accounts for almost one-third of the total number of strokes. Another study found that hemorrhagic, or bleeding strokes were the most common in low- and middle-income countries and was strongly responsible for stroke related disability and deaths.

How do we educate patients about this information? What preventive measures do you recommend to reverse this trend?

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Kids + Exercise = Better Grades?

According to a study published in the  British Journal of Sports Medicine, there is link between better performance scores in English, Math and Science and children who participate in daily vigorous exercise. The study evaluated nearly 5,000 11-year old students (specifically concentrating on intensity and duration of exercise) and discovered that the more intense the activity, the greater the impact on scores in all three subjects. Additionally, the link maintained at ages 13, 15, and 16. Researchers suggested that the findings could be explained by the fact that physical activity has positive impacts on brain structure and function, time on task in the classroom, and self-esteem.

What physical activities do you suggest children participate in? How do we educate our school systems to value and incorporate physical activity to improve academic performance?

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Breast Milk Bought Online Found to be Contaminated

A recent study performed at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio discovered high levels of harmful bacteria and contamination in breast milk purchased over the internet. The study analyzed 101 batches of milk that were purchased on milk sharing websites and found that 74% of the samples contained harmful disease-causing bacteria like E. coli, Streptococci and even Cytomegalovirus. Researchers determined those samples to be unsafe to give to infants, especially preemies. Although the FDA does not recommend feeding babies breast milk acquired via the Web, its sale is not regulated online.

How often do you counsel your patients who are new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding? What are some safer alternatives to purchasing breast milk online?

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Is Hand Sanitizer Harmful?

A recent report by CNN brings attention back to triclosan, the main antibacterial ingredient in nonalcoholic hand sanitizers. The report discusses that triclosan harms the immune and endocrine systems in addition to decreasing muscle strength in animal studies. Furthermore, triclosan does not offer protection against viruses or fungi and elicits antibiotic resistance. Researchers recommend washing hands with soap and water for about 24 seconds instead of using hand sanitizer for it is both safe and effective at removing bacteria and viruses.

How often do you use hand sanitizer? How often do you recommend the use soap and water instead? What are your thoughts on essential oil-based hand sanitizers?

Analysis of Herbal Products Reveals Adulteration is Frequent

herbsAccording to a study performed by the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario in Canada, DNA barcoding of herbal products revealed that contamination and substitution of plant species was common. Researchers randomly tested 44 herbal products from 12 different companies and discovered that 59% of the products contained plant species not listed on the labels. Additionally, researchers found that the products tested contained substitution for the plants listed on the label as well as fillers or contaminants. The substitutions and fillers pose serious health risks and side effects, compromising consumer safety. Researchers suggested that the herbal industry utilize DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products and restoring consumer confidence in such products. How well do you know the products that you routinely recommend?  How comfortable are you evaluating the quality of these products?

Please check BMJ  for more details.

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Can Depression in Pregnancy Negatively Impact Child in Later Life?

pregoAccording to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, teenagers are more likely to be depressed if their mothers were depressed while pregnant.  The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children followed the offspring of more than 8,000 mothers who had postnatal or antenatal depression. The risk of depression was determined to be about 1.3 times higher than normal at age 18 in those children. Researchers suggest treating depression in these pregnant females is important and that medical treatment during pregnancy could lower the risk of future mental health problems in the child. How do you feel about treating depressed pregnant  females with medication therapy? What other options do you suggest for the treatment of depression?


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Are Probiotics Good for Treating Colic in Infants?

babyAccording to a systematic review published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found that probiotics may not alleviate colic in infants. The study analyzed data from 12 studies (5 for treatment and 7 for prevention of colic) and found that the results were conflicting. Results also differed based on whether the infant was breast or formula fed. Researchers suggest that parents should consult with their pediatrician first since probiotics may not work for every child. What are your thoughts regarding the study results? What do you recommend for treatment of colic in infants?

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Are Meals Healthier After Restaurant Menu Changes?



According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, caloric and sodium content in main entrees at restaurants have remained the same despite claim of healthier menus. Researchers evaluated the nutritional content changes of 26,000 regular menu entrees from 213 popular U.S. restaurant chains and found that the average entree still contained around 700 calories and 1,500 milligrams of sodium. Even though restaurants are offering healthier menus, Americans are still unknowingly consuming high-calorie, high-sodium options. What do you recommend as healthy options when dining out?


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