Colon cleansing supplement claims of improving overall health “have no basis in science,” expert says

Alternative Medicine, Nutritional Health
The Los Angeles Times  "Healthy Skeptic" column reports that "NuAge Colon Cleanse and Oxy-Powder makers say their products rid the body of toxins and help people lose weight." According to the "NuAge website ... the product contains 'muciligenic fibers,' but it doesn't provide any other information about ingredients or directions for use," while "Oxy-Powder, a supplement from Global Healing Center, takes a low-fiber approach to colon health." Indeed, the "lower digestive tract really does set a foundation for health and well-being, says Dr. John Inadomi, chairman of gastrointestinal medicine at UC San Francisco and chairman of the Clinical Practice and Quality Management Committee for the American Gastroenterological" Association. "But claims that colon cleansing supplements can somehow detoxify the colon and improve overall health 'have no basis in science,' he says."…
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Homeopathic Cobra Venom for Pain? Watch out!

General Health
According to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Cobroxin and Nyloxin are new homeopathic products used for chronic pain. They come as an oral spray and topical gel. The bad news is that these products contain a "5X homeopathic dilution" of cobra venom. This means that they contain a concentration of about 0.001% cobra venom. As I discuss in my chapter on "Homeopathy," in my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, although virtually all homeopathic products contain no detectable active ingredient (no even a single molecule), these two chronic pain products contain a small amount that could potentially have some effect. Preliminary research has evaluated cobra toxin given as an injection. But there is no reliable evidence about this homeopathic dose when taken orally or applied topically.…
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Listening to Mozart Won’t Make Your Child Smarter

Children's Health, Parenting
First we learned that DVDs intended for babies are not only not helpful to children, but may harm them. Now comes a study showing no evidence of the so-called 'Mozart Effect.' The study, reviewing over 40 studies done of the topic, was performed by Austrian researchers. HealthDay News has a report with the details: For years, research showing a link between listening to Mozart and increased brainpower spurred parents to expose their tots to the great composer. But now, a new Austrian review finds there's no evidence that listening to Mozart -- however glorious the music -- will do anything for anyone's cognitive powers. In particular, the findings debunked the myth of improved spatial task performance among Mozart listeners. University of Vienna psychologists examined more than 40 studies and unpublished…
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Drinking fewer sugary drinks lowers blood pressure

Heart Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that "there may be a link between drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and lowering blood pressure," according to a study published in the journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers followed "810 men and women age 25 to 70 who were part of a lifestyle intervention study and had prehypertension or stage I hypertension." The researchers found that "drinking one less serving, or 12 ounces, of sugar-sweetened beverages per day was associated with 1.8 drop in systolic blood pressure, and a 1.1 drop in diastolic blood pressure over 18 months." Reuters quotes one of the study authors as saying, "If you reduce your consumption by two servings, you would probably lower your blood pressure even more." The NPR "Shots" blog pointed out that "Americans…
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Ten minutes of brisk exercise triggers metabolic changes lasting for at least an hour

Heart Health, Men's Health, Woman's Health
The AP reports, "Ten minutes of brisk exercise triggers metabolic changes that last at least an hour," with more fit exercisers reaping a greater number of benefits. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital came to that conclusion after measuring "biochemical changes in the blood of a variety of people: the healthy middle-aged, some who became short of breath with exertion, and marathon runners." In a study of "70 healthy people put on a treadmill, the team found more than 20 metabolites that change during exercise, naturally produced compounds involved in burning calories and fat and improving blood-sugar control." As the Scientific American points out, "The virtues of exercise are myriad: better cardiovascular health, decreased risk for diabetes, boosted mood, and even perhaps a leaner physique. But aside from such macro links…
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Study: Working overtime increases heart risk

Heart Health, Men's Health, Mental Health, Woman's Health
People who regularly put in overtime and work 10 or 11-hour days increase their heart disease risk by nearly two-thirds, research suggests. The findings come from a study of 6,000 British civil servants, published online in the European Heart Journal. The bottom line, according to the researchers is, "... the findings highlighted the importance of work-life balance." If you're having trouble finding that balance, you may want to read my book 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy -- which is chock full of suggestions for measuring and balancing what I call "the four wheels of health:" physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual. Here are some of the details on the study from the BBC: After accounting for known heart risk factors such as smoking, doctors found those who…
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How much vitamin D is too much?

Children's Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Now that so many more people are taking vitamin D, some are asking how much vitamin D is too much. And, it’s important to note that vitamin D doses vary widely and toxicity is rare. Here are some guidelines recommended to healthcare professionals from the evidence-based experts at The Prescriber’s Letter: To prevent deficiency, recommend 1000 to 2000 IU/day of vitamin D for adults and 400 IU/day for infants and children. Most people will need supplements. We don't get much vitamin D from the sun these days due to sunscreens, staying indoors, etc. Diet usually isn't enough, either. Very few foods contain vitamin D ... and milk only contains only 100 IU per cup. Higher doses are needed to maintain adequate levels in some patients ... or to treat a…
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Adults may need up to twice the amount of vitamin D than is typically recommended

Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
Here’s news about a new guideline that will change something I do in practice. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported, "Older adults need up to twice the amount of vitamin D than is typically recommended, according to guidelines released Monday by the International Osteoporosis Foundation." The guidelines "urged adults, defined by this group as 65 and older, to aim for a 25-OHD blood level – the primary marker for vitamin D in the blood – of 75 nanomoles per liter. In our community, physicians have been aiming for a vitamin D level of 50. So, the new guideline will be a new practice for me. To reach that level, one would need an intake of 20 to 25 micrograms per day (or 800 to 1,000 international units) of…
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FDA warns against giving infants more than 400 IU of vitamin D

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported, "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ... warned parents about the dangers of giving infants more than 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D." Indeed, "supplementation is recommended for some infants, especially those being breastfed, because a deficiency can lead to bone problems, such as thinning, soft and misshapen bones." But, "overdoses ... can cause nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, frequent urination, constipation, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, muscle and joint aches, confusion and fatigue, as well as more serious consequences such as kidney disease." Notably, "many of the vitamin D supplements in stores use droppers that could allow anyone to accidentally give harmful amounts of the vitamin to a baby," according to the CNN "Paging Dr. Gupta" blog. Therefore,…
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No link between cell phone towers and children’s cancer

Cancer, Children's Health, Parenting
The AP reports that "children whose mothers lived close to a mobile phone tower while pregnant did not appear to be at any higher risk of cancer than children whose mothers lived farther away," according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Using a national birth registry, they identified 5,588 similar children without cancer." The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog wrote that "the team also gathered detailed data about all 81,781 cellphone towers that were operational in the country during that time, including each tower's location, height, output power, and how many antennas it had." The researchers found that, "in virtually every permutation of their calculations, there was no correlation between the cellphone towers and the cancer cases." Bloomberg News says that "the study is the largest of…
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Study on link between cell phone use and brain cancer inconclusive

Cancer, Men's Health, Woman's Health
The AP reports that "a major international study into the link between cell phone use and two types of brain cancer has proved inconclusive, according to a report due to be published" in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The data were "compiled by researchers in 13 countries including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan, but not the US." Scientists interviewed 12,848 participants, of which 5,150 had either meningioma or glioma tumors." The "10-year survey...found most cell phone use didn't increase the risk of developing meningioma -- a common and frequently benign tumor -- or glioma -- a rarer but deadlier form of cancer." The Washington Post "Post Tech" blog reported that the report "concluded there were 'suggestions' that heavy use could increase the risk of glioma, but 'biases and error prevent…
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Long-term harm seen with too much TV for toddlers

Children's Health, Parenting
The more TV a toddler watches, the higher the likelihood they will do badly at school and have poor health at the age of 10, researchers warn. The study of 1,300 children by Michigan and Montreal universities found negative effects on older children rose with every hour of toddler TV. Performance at school was worse, while consumption of junk foods was higher. Here are the details from BBC News: The study, part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development Main Exposure, asked parents how much TV their children watched at 29 months (two years and five months) and 53 months (four years and five months). On average, the two-year-olds watched just under nine hours of TV per week, while for four-year-olds the average was just under 15 hours. But 11% of the two-year-olds…
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Nuts may help lower cholesterol levels

Heart Health, Nutritional Health
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that nuts may help lower cholesterol levels. HealthDay reported that investigators "pooled data on 583 men and women who had participated in 25 nut consumption trials." "Patients in the trials ate an average of 67 grams, or about 2.4 ounces, of nuts daily," WebMD reported. While MedPage Today reported that the researchers found that "eating an average of 67 grams of nuts a day (2.4 ounces) reduced total cholesterol by 5.9% and LDL cholesterol by 7.4%." The bottom line, a couple of ounces of nuts per day may be heart healthy and highly healthy.
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Take Vitamin D With Largest Meal

Nutritional Health
Taking your vitamin D supplement with the largest meal of the day may boost its absorption substantially, according to a new study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic. Here are details from WebMD: The researchers  instructed 17 men and women, average age 64, whose blood levels of vitamin D were borderline insufficient despite taking supplements, to take their supplements with the largest meal of the day. After two or three months, the study participants had about a 50% increase in blood levels of the vitamin, regardless of the dose they took. Researchers Guy B. Mulligan, MD, and Angelo Licata, MD, had noticed that patients typically report taking the supplement either on an empty stomach or with a light meal. Because the vitamin is fat-soluble, the researchers speculated that taking it…
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Is OJ as good a source of vitamin D as supplements?

Nutritional Health
A glass of orange juice may not only help the vitamin pill go down. A new study suggests that fortified varieties can also help the body's vitamin D levels go up - just as effectively as the supplement itself. The finding could bring a welcome addition to a very short list of sources for vitamin D, which is thought to help fend off an array of health problems including brittle bones, diabetes, and cancer. Here are details from Reuters Health: "A lot of people don't drink milk," which has been fortified with vitamin D since the 1930s, "but they do drink OJ in the morning," the study's study author, Dr. Michael Holick, of the Boston University School of Medicine, told Reuters Health. Simply adding a vitamin to a food does not guarantee its…
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Mothers with kids at home needed to fill out brief survey by Father’s Day

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Parenting
The headlines at MSNBC are no different that those carried by most news media this last month: “Children of lesbian parents do well.” These headlines are based on a study published in the journal Pediatrics. You can see a critique of the study here and a negative commentary on the study here. But, you may be wondering, “What can I do to counter the latest attack of political correctness?” How can I  respond to the recent Lesbians-Make-the-Best-Parents claims? The Ruth Institute has a great idea -- a way YOU can fight back against the absurd bias of academia and the media. First, let me the Ruth Institute make a long story short: The study that made the headlines in Fox News and MSNBC is small sample of politically interested, statistically…
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Lesbians are the “Best Parents Ever”? Eight reasons why the latest study doesn’t prove anything!

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Parenting
You’ve all seen the headlines by now: “Children of lesbian parents do well.” These headlines are based on a study published in the journal Pediatrics. Here’s a excellent critique of the study by Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute,  a project of the National Organization for Marriage: I actually read the study, which is my custom before commenting. I also read the letters to the editor on this study. Here are 8 reasons why this study does not prove anything about the functioning of the children of lesbians. The sample is extremely small: 78 children of lesbian mothers and 93 children in the control group. The sample of lesbian mothers is unlikely to be representative of the general population of lesbians. This is a sample of people who volunteered for the…
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Three Really Pernicious Messages behind the “Lesbians Make Better Parents” Story line

Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Parenting
Conservative researchers and bloggers are dealing with the sampling and reporting problems associated with a recent study purporting to show that the children of lesbians are doing just fine. Here’s a commentary on the study by Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage: The fact is, that the study claims that the children of lesbians are doing better in every dimension than the children in the general population. The underlying message of this story is NOT simply, “leave us alone to have kids the way we want.” Herewith, are the Three Really Pernicious Messages behind the “Lesbians Make Better Parents” Story line: Women are better parents than men. Therefore, two women are better for kids than a mother and a father. Men are unnecessary and…
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Single Dose of Aspirin Effective in Relieving Migraine Pain

Men's Health, Woman's Health
A single 1000-mg dose of aspirin is an effective treatment of acute migraine headaches for more than half of people who take it, and the addition of 10 mg of metoclopramide (Reglan) may reduce nausea, according to the findings of a literature review published by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Here are the details from MedScape: "Aspirin plus metoclopramide would seem to be a good first-line therapy for acute migraine attacks in this population," write Varo Kirthi, MD, and colleagues, with the Pain Research and the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, United Kingdom. The researchers selected 13 studies, including 4222 participants, that were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, or active-controlled; evaluated the use of aspirin to treat a single migraine headache episode; and included at…
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Certain Ankle Braces May Protect Girl Volleyball Players

Children's Health, Woman's Health
Many of you know that I served as a sports medicine physician much of my career, including a stint as a volunteer physician for the U.S. Olympic Committee. So, I was interested to hear that there's a new study showing that ankle braces help prevent ankle injuries in female high school volleyball players. Here are the details in a report from HealthDay News: The study included 957 high school varsity volleyball players (59.3 percent female, 40.7 percent male) who wore five different types of ankle braces (including rigid, semi-rigid, and non-rigid) for an entire season and 42 who didn't wear ankle braces. During the season, inversion ankle sprains were suffered by 9.3 percent of players with ankle braces and 9.5 percent of unbraced players. However, use of the braces was…
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Statins can reduce sex drive

Men's Health, Mental Health
I have heard from male readers that when they began taking the cholesterol reducing statin medications (such as Crestor, Lipitor, lovastatin, simvastatin, etc.), they have experienced decreased libido (sexual drive). Now, there is some research that may confirm this. One study, in 2009, concluded, "the present study suggests that statins may induce or worsen ED (erectile dysfunction) in accordance with other data." More recent research shows that statins may interfere with the production of cholesterol and that this may alter hormone synthesis, resulting in reduced testosterone levels, which may decrease the libido (sexual drive) in men on statins. For example, Italian researchers have reported a link between statin therapy and hypogonadism (reduced testosterone). So, if you're taking a statin and notice a decrease in your libido, DON'T STOP THE STATIN.…
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Larimore Monthly Prayer Letter – June 15, 2010

Family Newsletter
In this prayer letter: PRAISES: 1)  Hazel Creek novel 2) RELEASED IN MAY: Workplace Grace: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work 3) JUST RELEASED: TSI: The Influenza Bomb (a novel) 4) Our Trip to Italy 5) A New Venue for Ministry and Service for Barb and me PRAYER REQUESTS: 1)  Hazel Creek novel 2) New Book Releases EVENTS OF THE LAST TWO MONTHS EVENTS OIn this prayer letter: PRAISES: 1)  Hazel Creek novel 2) RELEASED IN MAY: Workplace Grace: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work 3) JUST RELEASED: TSI: The Influenza Bomb (a novel) 4) Our Trip to Italy 5) A New Venue for Ministry and Service for Barb and me PRAYER REQUESTS: 1)  Hazel Creek novel 2) New Book Releases EVENTS OF THE LAST TWO MONTHS EVENTS OF THE…
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Private Umbilical Cord Blood Banking: Smart Parenting or Waste of Money?

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
The promise of future cures from banking their child's cord blood allures many parents, but many experts call public banks a better option. Why? Here's an excellent report from ABC News to explain: The choices expectant parents make today go beyond whether to find out the gender of their unborn baby or whether he or she may potentially have a genetic disorder. Today, many parents must decide whether to store their baby's umbilical cord blood. Some are calling it a kind of biological insurance for your child's future. Cord blood provides a rich source of stem cells, primitive cells that have been used for cancer treatment for more than 20 years. Cord blood is marketed for two uses: as a treatment for diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell disease,…
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Cord Blood Banking: Read Between the Ads

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
Do the promises of private cord blood banks live up to reality for parents-to-be? According to the parents I see in practice, it's hard to ignore the ads for cord blood banks, offering a lifetime of protection for their children. And, if you're an expectant mom, there's information coming at you constantly from your doctor's office, magazines, online, and perhaps even your yoga class. Here's an excellent report from ABC News to help you sort out the fluff from the facts: Expectant mom Ursula Lyon, saw an ad during a yoga class. "I'm really early in my pregnancy so I am just getting to the stage where I'm exploring and trying to understand the things I need to prepare for," said Lyon. Some parents-to-be are sold on the advertising that…
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Experts Rebuke Claim that “A Fetus is Not a Person”

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A philosophy professor at Saint Mary's University (SMU) in Halifax is drawing rebuke from experts in bioethics, medicine, and philosophy for a column in which he advocates abortion based on the notion that “a fetus is not a person.” If pro-abortion advocates can show that the unborn child is not a person, argues Dr. Mark Mercer in an op-ed for the Ottawa Citizen, then a woman's reason for aborting him or her “cannot be outweighed by the fetus's right to life, for, not being a person, the fetus has no such right.” But according to bioethicist Dianne Irving, who ripped into Mercer's column in an essay of her own, Mercer's science is “grossly objectively erroneous” and his concept of “delayed personhood” is “deceptively achieved by means of using academically indefensible…
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Lack of sleep ‘linked to early death’

Men's Health, Woman's Health
#mce_temp_url#Better Sleepers Are ‘Successful Agers’ In a number of my health books (including 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, and God's Design for the Highly Healthy Teen), I discuss the growing number of studies showing that a good night's sleep (the right quantity and quality of sleep - not too much or too little) is associated with a wide range of good mental and physical health outcomes. Now comes a new study showing that getting less than six hours sleep a night can lead to an early grave. (You can find a list of my blogs on sleep at the bottom of this page) The UK and Italian researchers say that people regularly having too…
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New Study Says, “Check blood pressure at home, not MD’s office!”

Heart Health, Men's Health, Woman's Health
Think you need to go to the doctor's office to check your blood pressure? Think again. For years I've had my patients monitor their blood pressure at home. I do NOT rely solely upon blood pressure readings in the office. Now comes a new study saying the best way to predict your risk of stroke or heart attack due to high blood pressure is through systematic monitoring at home rather than periodic checks in the doctor's office. Here are more details from Reuters Health: "With home blood pressure monitoring you get a greater number of measurements and there is no white-coat effect," lead author Dr. Teemu Niiranen told Reuters Health, speaking of the tendency for anxiety to drive up blood pressure. "At home the patient is more relaxed and this…
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Obesity Drives GERD Symptoms in Kids

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my book SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat and on my SuperSized Kids Web site I write at some length about the many illnesses we doctors are now seeing in kids that are due to the tsunami of childhood overweight and obesity -- such as high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, joint disease, skin problems, and mental health issues -- all of which are increased by childhood obesity. Now we can add another: gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. In fact, the next generation of patients with GERD could come from the burgeoning epidemic of childhood obesity, according to a new study presented recently at a professional meeting of gastroenterologists. (BTW, you can learn more about my SuperSized Kids book by looking at the hyperlinks at…
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Obese kids more apt to be bullied, study confirms

Children's Health, Mental Health, Obesity, Parenting
In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I address the research showing that overweight or obese children are "50% to 100% more likely to bully or be bullied." Being overweight or obese doesn't just impact our kids physically, but emotionally. In fact, according to one study, "Severely obese kids have a terrible quality of life — similar to those suffering from terminal cancer." (you can learn more about my book in the links at the bottom of this blog) A new study has confirmed my concerns and shown that obese children in grades 3 through 6 are more apt to be bullied by their classmates than children who are trim, regardless of their gender, race, social skills, or academic achievement. The study was published in…
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