Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection

Cancer, Children's Health, Parenting
With summer fast approaching, it's time to remind your children and teens about the importance of sun protection. "Even one blistering sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer. As few as five sunburns can double your risk of skin cancer," Dr. Anjali Dahiya, a dermatologist at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a news release. Teenage girls need to be especially vigilant about sun protection. The potentially fatal skin cancer melanoma is the most common cancer in young women aged 25 to 29. Much of the sun-related skin damage in these young women occurred in their teens. "Sun exposure plays a significant role in the development of melanoma. Although more adults are using sunscreens during outdoor activities, many are unaware…
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Spanking your kid could hatch a bully? Don’t bet on it!

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Well, here we go again. The news media and liberal pundits are lauding a new study that claims "... even minor forms of corporal punishment, such as spanking, increase risk for increased child aggressive behavior." Could this be true? As Time Magazine reports, "Disciplining young children is what parents are supposed to do — most moms and dads have no trouble agreeing with that. But should the punishment include spanking? As many parents can attest, few disciplinary measures stop a child from misbehaving as quickly as a swift smack or two on the bottom." But, most of the news media ran a different direction: Disciplining young children is what parents are supposed to do — most moms and dads have no trouble agreeing with that. But should the punishment include spanking?…
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Belief in God Relieves Depression

Bioethics, Mental Health
I wanted you to read an excerpted from, "Belief in God Relieves Depression," an interesting article in the The Washington Times by Jennifer Harper: The "Big Man Upstairs" is getting accolades from mental health specialists who say they are finding that a belief in God plays a positive role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers. In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, "belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment," said the new research, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The operative term here is "caring," the researchers said. "The study found that those with…
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Bedside Economics and Healthcare Reform – A Christian Doctor’s Response

Bioethics, Medical Economics
My dear friend, Al Weir, MD, is an oncologist in Memphis, TN. He has served in Africa as a missionary and served with the Christian Medical Association. He's just written a wonderful devotional called, "Bedside Economics" It is based upon Psalm 106:3, "Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right." Al's writings alway provoke me to deep contemplation. None moreso than this one: It has provoked me to deep contemplation. He was an oncologist transplanted from the Caribbean to Canada where he worked in a small British Columbia city. We sat beside each other at a medical meeting and began to discuss the economics of healthcare in both his country and mine. In discussing a given treatment regimen, both effective and approved for use, he made…
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The Cat’s Out of the Bag on the True Costs of the Healthcare Reform Bill

Medical Economics
My friend, Congressman Doug Lamborn, sent me a just published report from the nonpartisan, independent actuaries at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their analysis of the newly enacted Democrat health care overhaul has shocked people on both sides of the aisle. Among its many troubling findings, the report concludes that national health care costs will increase significantly over the next decade under the new law. Here's a short summary of the report’s key findings produced by the Minority staff of the House Ways and Means Committee: Health Care Costs Increase:  “National health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion (0.9 percent) during calendar years 2010-2019.” [Page 4]  The actuaries found the law bends the cost curve…
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Should Kids take Fish Oil Supplements?

Children's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
All the talk about the benefits of omega-3s has parents asking whether CHILDREN should take fish oil supplements. Omega-3s are important for neurodevelopment ... and they're now showing up in many prenatal vitamins, infant formulas, and foods. Fish oil supplements for kids are often promoted as improving visual acuity, brain function, or intelligence. But, according to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, "there's no proof that omega-3 supplements make kids 'smarter'...or have any cognitive benefit in most kids." In fact, according to the NMCD, "... many of these claims will be removed ... due to pressure from the feds." The NCMD recommends this to physicians and healthcare professionals who care for kids: Tell parents that most kids don't need fish oil supplements. Instead, suggest that kids eat about 4 oz/week…
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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Protects Against Polyps

Cancer, Nutritional Health
Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) have been shown effective in treating high levels of triglycerides and in preventing primary and secondary cardiovascular disease. Now comes a new study showing that the fatty acid found in fish oil (EPA) has shown promise in the prevention of colorectal cancer in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. The study was a randomized study. Although the study was performed in patients with a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer, the benefits might also extend to non-inherited, or sporadic, colon cancer. Here are the details from  MedPage: An omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid significantly reduced both the number and size of rectal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, a randomized trial found. Six months of treatment with the free fatty acid formulation of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) led to…
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Vitamin D Supplementation and Cancer Prevention

Cancer, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
Readers of this blog know that, in general, I'm in favor of healthcare professionals checking vitamin D levels as part of routine exams. I do this on all adolescents and adults. And, I've blogged more on the topic of vitamin D this year than any other topic. So, I'm trying to post less on the topic, but this and the next too blogs were too important not to mention to you. The subject of this blog is based upon an abstract of an amazing study titled “Vitamin D Supplementation and Cancer Prevention.” It is authored by Thomas L. Lenz, PharmD, and published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2009;3[5]:365-368): It is estimated that approximately 1 billion people worldwide have blood concentrations of vitamin D that are considered suboptimal. Much…
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Vitamin D helps fend off flu and asthma attacks

Children's Health, Parenting
In a recent study of Japanese schoolchildren, vitamin D supplements taken during the winter and early spring helped prevent seasonal flu and asthma attacks. Here's more on the study from Reuters Health: The idea for the study, study chief Dr. Mitsuyoshi Urashima, told Reuters Health, came from an earlier study looking at whether vitamin D could help prevent the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. The researchers in that study noticed that people taking vitamin D were three times less likely to report cold and flu symptoms. This led Urashima, of Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, and colleagues to randomly assign a group of 6- to 15-year-old children to take vitamin D3 supplements (1,200 international units daily) or inactive placebo during a cold and flu season. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is more…
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Increasing vitamin D levels may cut heart disease risk

Heart Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
I may have blogged more on vitamin D this year than any other topic. And, now, the Los Angeles Times is reporting, "Raising the amount of vitamin D in the blood appears to help some people -- at least those deficient in the vitamin -- reduce their risk of heart disease by about 30%." This is according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting. In the past, "researchers have been uncomfortable randomizing people with low vitamin D into a group that ... does not" receive treatment, because deficiency "can contribute to weaker bones and" has "been associated with increased risks of several diseases, including several types of cancer." The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the researchers reported that "patients who increased their vitamin D levels to 43 nanograms…
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Oral Medication May be more Effective than Topical for Killing Head Lice

Children's Health, Parenting
In a column I wrote for physicians nearly a decade ago, I discussed the growing use of oral medications, like ivermectin, for some topical skin infections. Now, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that in tough cases of head lice, Stromectol (ivermectin), which is "not approved for use in the US for head lice," eradicates the "parasites more effectively than" a lotion containing the insecticide malathion. According to a report in The Los Angeles Times, the researchers studied "812 people in 376 households in seven areas in the world," and found that in the "ivermectin group, 95% of the participants were lice-free after two weeks, compared with 85% of the malathion group." The Times adds, "Ivermectin is not approved for use in the US…
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Resistant Ringworm Common in Some Elementary Schools

Children's Health, Parenting
Treatment-resistant ringworm is common among urban elementary school children -- at least according to a new report from U.S. researchers. They studied 10,514 children in kindergarten through Grade 5 at 44 schools across the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area, and found that 6.6 percent of them were infected with the fungus (T. tonsurans) that causes ringworm, which can cause scaly, itchy scalps and hair loss. Here are the details from a HealthDay article: Infection rates varied by age and race. More than 18 percent of black children in kindergarten and the first grade were infected. That rate dropped to 7 percent by fifth grade. Infection rates were 1.6 percent for Hispanic children and 1.1 percent for white children. The reasons for the higher rate among black children aren't clear. The study is…
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Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements may be moving closer – thank goodness

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
Whenever I give talks on natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements), whether to healthcare professionals or laypersons, people seem shocked to learn that these substances are virtually unregulated in the United States. I've written about the many problems this causes healthcare professionals and consumers in my book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely. So, I was very happy to read an AP article reporting "Stricter government oversight of dietary supplements is moving closer, thanks to an agreement among senators to include guidelines in" the Dietary Supplement Safety Act. The report says that in a letter sent to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) outlined "four key areas of…
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Good News for those with Migraine Headaches

Men's Health, Woman's Health
Here's a good news story for those of us who suffer with migraine headaches. According to two new studies, migraine sufferers may be able to get sufficient relief without turning to prescription drugs. The studies, published in the latest issue of the journal Headache, conclude that naproxen (marketed over-the-counter [OTC] as Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) effectively decreased or eliminated pain and reduced migraine recurrence and migraine-associated symptoms to a degree defined as a "desirable outcome" of migraine therapy by the International Headache Society. Here are more details from Reuters Health: Migraine headache affects as many as 28 million Americans and costs the U.S. economy an estimated $24 billion every year. About three-quarters of people who suffer from migraines report more than one migraine a month. The symptoms --…
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Study Finds Unborn Babies Respond to Mother’s Mood

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
The more we learn about the unborn child, the more miraculous and amazing they seem to be. Now, a study out of Nagasaki, Japan, tells us that  unborn babies respond to their mother's mood while she is watching a movie, becoming quiet and still if the film is sad and very lively if the film is happy. Here's the story as told by LifeSiteNews.com: Dr. Kazuyuki Shinohara and colleagues in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior of Nagasaki University in Japan showed 10 pregnant volunteers a cheery 5-minute clip from the Julie Andrews musical The Sound of Music. Another 14 watched a tear-jerking 5 minutes from the 1979 Franco Zeffirelli film The Champ, in which a boy cries at the death of his father. Each clip was sandwiched between two…
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Premature baby ‘Tom Thumb’ born at 25 weeks weighing half a pound survives

Bioethics, Children's Health
German doctors have revealed photographs of the smallest premature baby boy to have survived against incredible odds after being born at 25 weeks weighing just over half a pound. To give you and idea of how incredible this is ... when I was in my medical training in the 1970's, we did not even try to resuscitate a 25 week old baby. We kept him or her warm and comfortable, but they died very quickly. Here's the story: The baby, who doctors dubbed "Tom Thumb" was less than the length of a sheet of A-4 paper and weighed a fraction over 9.7 ounces (275 grams) when he was born by Caesarean section 15 weeks prematurely at the University of Medicine at Göttingen in western Germany in June 2009. For 24 hours…
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Larimore Monthly Prayer Letter – April 17, 2010

Family Newsletter
This prayer letter will cover from April 15 through June 15 (It's a two-month prayer letter). PRAISES: Article in Revive Magazine – Mentored by a Milker of Cows Physician Resource Council COMING IN MAY: Workplace Grace: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work COMING IN JUNE: Time Scene Investigators: The Influenza Bomb Events of the last month: PRAYER REQUESTS: Hazel Creek novel Possible Movie or TV project Events of the next month Trip to Italy MONTHLY FAMILY NEWSLETTER PRAISES: 1) Article in Revive Magazine – Mentored by a Milker of Cows I've grateful that an article I had written about my dear friend and mentor, Bill Judge, has been published by Revive Magazine. The article is titled "Mentored By A Milker Of Cows." It’s the story of how this wise and…
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Mentored By A Milker Of Cows

Men's Health, Mental Health
I've written an article about my dear friend and mentor, Bill Judge, for Revive Magazine. It's called "Mentored By A Milker Of Cows." You can read the entire article here, but here's an excerpt to wet your appetite. If you like it, I hope you'll share it with friends: I knew I needed a mentor. I was busy with my career as a physician—too busy for my family. My priorities were out of whack. I needed someone who would encourage me and keep me on track. So I asked the pastors who came through the hospital, "Who's the one layperson you know in this area who looks most like Jesus?" When I heard the name Bill Judge multiple times, I said, "This is a guy I'd like to meet." I called…
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Praying for Our Unborn Children and Grandchildren

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Parenting
When Scott (our son) and his wife, Jennifer, were pregnant with their first child (Anna Kate), we were visiting with our dear friends, Boone and Peggy Powell, while volunteering together at Young Life's Crooked Creek Ranch out in the Rocky Mountains. One morning, over coffee, Peggy asked me, "Do you pray for that unborn grandchild?" I was embarrassed to have to tell her, "No." In fact, to my shame, I had not even thought about it. So, Peggy gave Barb and me a list of prayers we could lift up on a daily basis for Anna Kate. Subsequently, I prayed the same for Scott and Jennifer's second child, Sarah Elizabeth. Here are the prayers Peggy suggested and I hope you'll be able to use them as you pray for any…
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‘No child left on his or her fat behind’

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
Also, while in Kearney, Nebraska, this week, a reporter from the local paper came to one of my two talks on the topic of "Childhood Obesity: Practical Tips for Busy Families." I thought you'd be interested in seeing the article she wrote. You can see it here, or I've posted it below. By the way, if you'd like more tips on how to protect your family from the obesity threat, here are some resources I have for you: An autographed hard cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. On sale for $4.99 (while supplies last) An autographed soft cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. On sale for $4.99 (while supplies last) You can view the…
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TV Interview: Super Sized Kids and Childhood Obesity

Children's Health, Obesity, Parenting
Earlier this week I was in the Kearney, Nebraska area to speak twice on the topic of "Childhood Obesity: Practical Tips for Busy Families." The Two Rivers Public Health Department was my sponsor and packed a lot of fruitful activity into a long day (thanks to Terry Krohn and Heather Easton for all the hard work and wonderful hospitality). I thought you might be interested in seeing an interview I did with one of the local television stations. Just go here and click on the video camera icon in the upper left hand portion of the page. If you'd like more tips on how to protect your family from the obesity threat, here are some resources I have for you: An autographed hard cover edition of my book SuperSized Kids: How…
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Walking Plus Glucosamine Sulfate May Improve Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Alternative Medicine, Men's Health, Woman's Health
A 30-minute walk taken at least 3 days a week combined with glucosamine sulfate supplements may reduce symptoms of mild to moderate hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA), researchers report in a new study published online in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy. Here's are some of the details based upon a MedScape report: "Management of [OA] includes the use of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies," wrote Norman T. M. Ng, MD, from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues. "Although walking is commonly recommended for reducing pain and increasing physical function in people with OA, glucosamine sulphate has also been used to alleviate pain and slow the progression of OA." The main goal of this feasibility study was to evaluate the combined effects of a progressive walking program and glucosamine…
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Acupuncture may provide some relief from depression during pregnancy

Mental Health, Woman's Health
The New York Times reported in "Vital Signs" that, according to a new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, "acupuncture may provide some relief" from depression "during pregnancy." In an eight-week study of "150 depressed women who were 12 to 30 weeks pregnant," 52 of whom were randomized "to receive acupuncture specifically designed for depressive symptoms, 49 to regular acupuncture, and 49 to Swedish massage," Stanford researchers found that nearly "two-thirds of the women who had depression-specific acupuncture experienced a reduction in at least 50 percent of their symptoms, compared with just under half of the women treated with either massage or regular acupuncture." This might be an option many women would be interested as there are potential risks of using systemic medications (whether prescription, OTC, herbal, or supplements)…
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TENS judged to be ineffective for low-back pain

General Health
Lots of us doctors, and many physical therapists, utilize TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) for low back pain. Now a Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reports that, according to new guidelines published online in the journal Neurology, the "popular pain therapy using a portable device called TENS should not be used to treat chronic low-back pain." Wow, this will be a change for many of us. After reviewing studies and medical literature, researchers from the Kansas University Medical Center said that "the therapy is ineffective for low-back pain." HealthDay reported, "An exception was diabetic nerve pain, also known as diabetic neuropathy, which can cause symmetrical numbness, decreased sensation, and a feeling of burning, usually involving the legs, but sometimes affecting the hands." Study lead author Richard M. Dubinsky, MD, MPH,…
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Organic: What it actually means on different products

Children's Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
You see the word 'organic' more and more. But what does it actually say about what it’s on? Some consumers are more than willing to pay higher prices for organically grown food and other products. But is the extra dollar worth it? The answer may depend upon personal priorities. Here are tips for fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat, cosmetics, processed foods and cotton and coffee from a great report in the LA Times: By definition, organically grown foods are produced without most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. Livestock aren't given antibiotics or growth hormones. And organic farmers emphasize renewable resources and conservation of soil and water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the National Organic Program, says organic is a "production philosophy," adding that…
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Dealing With Those All-Too-Public Tantrums

Children's Health, Parenting
Parents often have a hard time figuring out what to do when their children decide to throw tantrums. It doesn't help matters that kids often have their meltdowns in public places -- the supermarket, the mall, the family restaurant. According to a report in HealthDay News, an expert is saying, "Don't let glares, stares tempt you to give into your child's meltdowns." So, just what should you do? Chuck Smith, a Kansas State University child development expert, has compiled tips to help parents deal with out-of-control youngsters. Here's his advice: Set rules and enforce them. "Many parents are concerned with the glare of onlookers, so they'll let their kids get away with things because of the threat," Smith said in a news release. "You can't let a child leverage your…
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Doctors Say Schools May Be Spreading Misinformation About Homosexuality

Children's Health, Parenting
The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) is sending a letter to school superintendents asking that they not tell students who may experience same-sex attractions to simply accept that they are homosexual. And, the group has launched a new web site with material for educators and students on the topic. According to a report on CitizenLink, the letter cites studies that "demonstrate most adolescents who initially experience same-sex attraction, or are sexually confused, no longer experience such attractions by age 25." The report says, "One such study shows as many as 26 percent of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation, yet only 2-3 percent of adults actually identify as homosexual. Therefore, the majority of sexually questioning youth ultimately adopt a heterosexual identity.  Many schools, however, tell such questioning students…
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“Fat dissolving” spa treatments do no such thing

Men's Health, Obesity, Woman's Health
So-called "fat dissolving treatments" offered by spas do NOT eliminate fat and the companies should stop saying so -- at least according to a press release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says the procedures are called by names such as lipodissolve, mesotherapy, lipozap, lipotherapy, or injection lipolysis -- and all involve unproven injections. The AP reports that "the Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on what are billed as fat-melting injections used in spas across the US, saying the drugs" have not "been cleared by federal scientists, as required by law." "We are concerned that these companies are misleading consumers," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. "It is important for anyone who is considering this voluntary…
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