Category Archives: Patient Populations

Asthma is not more prevalent in the inner city, researchers say

asthmaFor decades, childhood asthma was linked to living in urban areas. This is not the case anymore, says researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Race, ethnicity and poverty are actually more closely associated with the lung disease than location in urban neighborhoods. Looking at data from 23,065 children across the United States, they found that self-reported asthma attacks were equally found between inner city areas and all others areas. Interestingly, researchers found that “black race, Puerto Rican ethnicity and poverty rather than residence in an urban area per se are the major risk factors for prevalent asthma.” For African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, higher risk of asthma may be genetic, says Corrine Keet, assistant professor of pediatrics. For the poor, it may be stresses such as exposure to mouse and cockroach allergens, cigarette smoke, a higher rate of pre-term births and more maternal stress, she said. It is unclear whether inner-city children who have asthma may suffer more severe symptoms as a result of allergens there. Another study is currently being conducted to determine this. How often do you counsel patients with asthma symptoms?  Are you in agreement with the latest findings?

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Substance in broccoli improves autism symptoms: study

green-broccoli-10059461A recent small study has shown interesting results for the treatment of behavioral and social symptoms in young men with autism. An extract of the chemical, sulphoraphane, which is found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, was shown to improve symptoms in two-thirds of patients in the study’s treatment group. Since it has been noted that young individuals with autism show improved social skills when experiencing a fever, this could mean that sulphoraphane produces the same sort of stress response without the associated negative side effects. As the men were being observed, staff and caregivers claimed that they could tell which patients were in the treatment group versus the placebo group. While this provided promising results for many involved, more research must be done to confirm results and explore other patient demographics. Based on your experience with your patients, which supplements, nutrients or lifestyle modifications have been efficacious in treating the symptoms of autism?

 

For additional information, go to Reuters.

 

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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.

medicine-100176550Chronic 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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Low vitamin D ‘boosts dementia risk’

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A 6 year research lead by Dr. David Llewellyn and his team at the University of Exeter Medical School, concluded that low levels of vitamin D in older people are linked to the risk of developing dementia. Vitamin D can be found in foods, such as oily fish, supplements, or exposure to sunlight, however elderly people have less efficient skin and must be supplement in other ways. The team found that in 1,169 subjects with sufficient levels of vitamin D, there is a 1 in 10 chance of developing dementia. In 70 subjects with deficiency, there was a 1 in 5 risk of getting dementia. They cannot say that low vitamin D causes dementia but it is worthwhile to continue studying the connection. What are your thoughts on the association of dementia risk with low vitamin D?

 For additional information, please see BBC News.

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Complementary and Integrative Health Practices in the Real World

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The Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Josephine Briggs, MD shares her thoughts on a recent publication in the journal Headache by Robert Cowan, MD. Both are trying to raise awareness of what patients visiting clinicians might be utilizing in terms of conventional and complementary approaches. There are more Evidence-Based resources available to conventional practitioners on CAM than ever before. What are your thoughts on Dr. Briggs commentary?

 

For additional information please see, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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Western moms lead the U.S. in breastfeeding, southeast lags

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Some states such as California, Oregon and Vermont have the highest rates of breastfeeding, but some southern states are still lagging behind. It is possible that the attitude toward breastfeeding and support is different based on the region of the country. Breastfeeding can help to fight against infections, diabetes, and leukemia in babies and is also be beneficial to mothers. How often do you educate pregnant patients and new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding?

 

For additional information, please see the Washington Post.

 

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Natural hormone shows “promise” in IVF, say scientists

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A single injection of the natural hormone, kisspeptin might replace the need for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in in-vitro fertilization. Ten of 53 women in a recent study gave birth, with 2 women giving birth to twins. The hCG triggers egg maturation but can overstimulate the ovaries, but kisspeptin is broken down more quickly resulting in less overstimulation. Five adverse effects reported were 2 ectopic pregnancy, 2 miscarriages, and 1 heterotopic pregnancy. How do you feel about the use of kisspeptin as an alternative to hCG therapy?

For additional information, please see Journal of Clinical Investigation.

 

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Phthalates are out of infants’ toys but a heavy dose is still in their food

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Phthalate is a chemical substance that is known to make plastic more pliable. It is foreign to our bodies and can have negative effects on reproductive system. A new study in the journal Environmental Health reported that despite minimizing exposure from infant toys we are still consuming twice the amount recommended by the Environmental Working Group.  What are your recommendations on minimizing phthalate exposure? Do you agree with the tips researchers provide?

For additional information, please see Washington Post.

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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

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Pheromones: a whole new meaning to ‘chemistry’

 

 

Blog 3-28 Was your first impression of someone ever influenced by their odor? Pheromones, a biological factor, play an important role in our sense of attraction. With that in mind, a bar in east London has brought a new scent to the growing dating market where people sniff t-shirts of others in order to determine if they are date-worthy. How do you feel about using science when it comes to the dating world?

For the article visit BBC

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