The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 9 – Day of Life 192

Bioethics, Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Parenting
Here's another update for you from Craig DeLisi about his unborn child Anastasha, who has been diagnosed with anencephaly, for which there is no cure or treatment. Craig is now letting us know of how many days she's been alive, from the date of her conception. I hope you’ll join with me in keeping the DeLisis in your prayers. Here's the latest: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not…
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Recommendations for Adult Doses of Vitamin D Increasing

Children's Health, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
According to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Vitamin D doses recommended for routine supplementation in adults will continue to move higher. Many experts, including me, have long been calling for higher doses. Now new guidelines from Osteoporosis Canada recommend up to 1000 IU/day for adults under age of 50 and up to 2000 IU/day for adults over 50. The Institute of Medicine in the US is also expected to raise recommendations sometime soon. For now, the NMCD experts recommend 1000-2000 IU/day for most adults and 400 IU/day for most infants and children.
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Family Research Council Responds to British Fetal Pain Study, Says It’s Flawed

Bioethics, Children's Health, Woman's Health
According to a report from LifeNews, the Family Research Council has released a new report that refutes claims made recently by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) saying an unborn child is not able to feel pain before 24 weeks of development. FRC is concerned that detractors are using RCOG's study to uphold Britain's current legalization of abortions up to 24 weeks. The pro-life organization is also worried abortion advocates in the United States could also try to use this study to argue against Nebraska's new law that states an unborn baby can feel pain at 20 weeks and which, as a result, prohibits abortions from that point. Jeanne Monahan, the director of FRC's Center for Human Dignity, responded to the study saying it is seriously flawed and…
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New Flu Shot Guidelines Are Out For Children

Children's Health, Parenting
According to a report in HealthDay News, all children and adolescents 6 months of age and older should receive the annual trivalent influenza vaccine this flu season. The updated recommendations are from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP also says special efforts should be made to immunize anyone who falls into the following categories: all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children younger than 5 years of age; children with high-risk conditions such as asthma, diabetes and neurological disorders; health care workers; and pregnant women. These groups are most vulnerable to flu-related complications, the academy pointed out in a news release. Two influenza vaccines were recommended last year but only one trivalent vaccine is being made for the 2010-11 seasonal influenza vaccine schedule. In this year's…
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Losing Weight the Smartphone Way, With a Nutritionist in Your Pocket

Nutritional Health, Obesity
FOR most of us, the formula for losing weight is a simple one: eat less, exercise more. But humans are anything but simple, and the majority of Americans struggle endlessly with losing pounds and keeping them off. Consuming fewer calories is perhaps the most difficult part of the weight-loss equation; many dieters are daunted by the prospect of tabulating their daily intake. That’s why many experts and consumers are excited about the new weight-loss programs available for iPhone, BlackBerry and other smartphones. Here's a story from the New York Times on how to do it: "We really haven’t come up with one good weight-loss solution,” said Dr. James A. Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. “If we had, everyone would be using it.” The apps — which are simple,…
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Four Recommended Apps for Losing Weight

Nutritional Health, Obesity
Here are a few well-regarded weight-loss programs to consider, courtesy of a report in the New York Times. LOSEIT (iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone; free): Tell the app how much weight you want to lose and how many pounds per week you want to take off, and it calculates the amount of calories you can consume each day. LoseIt has a database of 40,000 food items and can also calculate how many calories your daily exercise burns up. CALORIE COUNTER by FatSecret (works on all platforms; free): This program works much like LoseIt. But one advantage is that when you enter your basic information, you can sync up with the FatSecret Web site. The site has forums where users can swap ideas about diets, recipes and working out. TAP &…
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Study Finds Strong Link Between Abortion and Premature Birth

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
The more we learn about the physical and emotional side effects of abortion, the more concerning it becomes. Now, LifeSiteNews.com is reporting on a new study out of McGill University in Montreal that has found a strong link between a past abortion and premature delivery in subsequent pregnancies. Dr. Ghislain Hardy, a third year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at McGill, and his team did a chart review of 17,916 women who delivered at Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill’s teaching hospital.  Of their sample, 13% had obtained one abortion and 5% had procured two or more. Dr. Hardy’s team found that women with one past abortion were 45% more likely to give birth before 32 weeks, 71% more likely to do so at less than 28 weeks, and more than 50% more…
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Women interested in preventing age-related weight gain should take up biking or walking

Obesity, Woman's Health
USA Today reports, "Women who want to prevent weight gain as they age should hop on a bike or take a brisk walk," discoveries that add "to mounting evidence of the importance of moderate to vigorous exercise for weight control." Those who participated in the Harvard study "gained an average of 20½ pounds over 16 years," but "those who regularly biked or walked briskly were less likely to gain as much." The "findings are based on the second Harvard Nurses' Health Study, which is tracking 116,608 female nurses who periodically fill out questionnaires about their health, weight, diet and behavior," the New York Times Vital Signs reports. The "new analysis, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at weight change and behavior from 1989 (when the nurses were 25 to…
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Weight loss may help reduce menopausal hot flashes in overweight or obese women

Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
CNN reports, "Overweight women who experience hot flashes -- the uncomfortable flushing and sweating spells that accompany menopause -- may be able to cool those symptoms by losing weight," according to a study published in the the Archives of Internal Medicine. HealthDay explained that study participants "were encouraged to exercise at least 200 minutes a week and reduce caloric intake to 1,200-1,500 calories per day." Meanwhile, matched controls "received monthly group education classes for the first four months." WebMD pointed out that participants all "had a BMI of 25 or higher" at the study's start. Six months later, "compared with those in the health education program, women who were in the weight loss program and were bothered by hot flashes had more than twice the odds of reporting a measurable improvement after…
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High cholesterol in youth may increase heart risks later in life

Children's Health, Heart Health, Parenting
For the last couple of years, I've been offering my adolescent patients the option of checking their lipid panels, especially if they are overweight or obese. Now, new research is showing the wisdom of this approach. The Wall Street Journal reports that research published in the Annals of Family Medicine suggests that even younger people should pay attention to their cholesterol levels, being that they may have an impact on health later in life. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that researchers "analyzed data from 3,258 men and women who have been tracked by the CARDIA , or Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults, study for the last 20 years and were ages 18 to 30 at the start of the study." The investigators "found that participants with…
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The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 8

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
Every Monday, I try to have an update for you from Craig DeLisi about his unborn child Anastasha, who has been diagnosed with anencephaly, for which there is no cure or treatment. I hope you’ll join with me in keeping the DeLisis in your prayers. And, per Craig's request at the end of this note, I hope you'll leave a comment with a verse you'd like to share with him and his family. Within a couple weeks of finding out that Anastasha had anencephaly, I read an awesome book called I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy, by Angie Smith. It is the story of her daughter Audrey, who , like Anastasha, was given a terminal prenatal diagnosis. Angie and her husband Todd chose to carry…
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U.K. bans doctor who linked autism to MMR vaccine

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
In past blogs, I've exposed what I consider to be the unethical and unscrupulous actions of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his so-called autism research. Here are just a few: Lancet formally retracts paper linking vaccine to autism U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux. Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism Wakefield's now disproven 1998 study supposedly linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism. Unfortunately, this led to a dramatic drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world -- causing who knows how many unnecessary childhood deaths. Since then, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism. And now, not only have the scientific methods of Wakefield been shown to…
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Alternative autism treatment , OSR#1, called into question by the FDA

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Parenting
The Chicago Tribune reports that a letter sent on June 17 by the FDA to retired Kentucky chemist Boyd Haley "details five violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act related to his product, OSR#1." According to the agency, the purported autism treatment "is NOT a harmless dietary supplement, as claimed, but a toxic unapproved drug that lacks adequate warnings about potential side effects, including hair loss and abnormalities of the pancreas." Environmental health expert Ellen Silbergeld believes the product "represents a clear example of endangerment of public health," especially because it has "no record of any therapeutic aspect" and is being marketed to children. An FDA spokeswoman confirmed that the agency had yet to receive any communication from Haley since the letter was sent. Parents who are considering…
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In autism a diet free of cereal grains and dairy products does not help

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Autism (and the autism spectrum disorders) are so very frustrating for parents just because there are so few therapies that have been shown to be helpful. Therefore, parents are left to try this or that and see what helps. Dietary manipulation is one that is frequently tried and yet has not been well studied. Now, USA Today reports that, according to a study presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research, "a popular autism diet free of cereal grains and dairy products did NOT improve symptoms in children." USA Today adds, "Fourteen children with autism, ages 2½ to 5½, completed the 18-week study. None had celiac disease, in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from gluten, or milk allergies." The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that…
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How Much Sunlight Is Equivalent to Vitamin D Supplementation?

Cancer, Mental Health
Readers of this blog are well aware than many (if not most) Americans have insufficient to deficient levels of vitamin D. Other than prescribing oral vitamin D or vitamin D-containing foods, we doctors were left with prescribing a little sunshine. But, we know that exposing your skin to unprotected UVA or UVB light can increase your risk of skin cancer. And, there has been controversy about exactly how much sunlight one might need to avoid vitamin D supplements. Now, I may have an answer for you. But, first a few basics. Vitamin D is essential for bone mineralization and may have a wide variety of other health benefits. Here are just a few I've blogged about: Vitamin D Supplementation and Cancer Prevention Vitamin D helps fend off flu and asthma…
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Breast-Fed Babies Know When to Say When — May Prevent Obesity Later

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Many healthcare experts believe breast-fed babies are less likely to become overweight and obese in childhood and later in life -- but, we've never really understood why. Now, a new study in the journal Pediatrics is suggesting that cues which a breast-fed baby learns, that a bottle-fed infant doesn't learn, may help later on. Here's a report from HealthDay News with the details: Babies who are fed directly from the breast in early infancy tend to consume less later in infancy than their bottle-fed counterparts, new research suggests. This kind of self-regulation of food intake may help explain why past research has found that breast-feeding protects against obesity. "Infant self-regulation can indeed be affected by how the milk is delivered to the baby," said the study's lead author, Dr. Ruowei Li,…
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World’s first fully approved cannabis drug on sale in UK

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, Cancer, Mental Health
A medication called Sativex has become the first drug fully approved for multiple sclerosis that is made from natural cannabis according to a report in WebMD. Here are the details: The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the drug, an oral spray, earlier this year. The drug has been available in Canada on a limited basis since 2005 for the relief of neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain, and also to a small number of patients in Spain. It is expected to be approved more broadly in Spain later this year. Sativex is approved by prescription only for multiple sclerosis patients in the U.K. It targets the effects of spasticity, a symptom of multiple sclerosis caused by damage to nerves in the central nervous system. Loss of…
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Six months of breast milk best for babies

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Babies are less likely to develop a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection if they are exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months, according to a Dutch study, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), in the journal Pediatrics. The study supports the current recommendation that infants be breastfed exclusively for 6 months and support "current health-policy strategies that promote exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months in industrialized countries," the researchers conclude. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that breastfeeding is the optimal source of nutrition through the first year of life. The AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding for a minimum of four months but preferably for six months, and then gradually adding solid foods while continuing breastfeeding until at least the baby’s first birthday. Thereafter, breastfeeding can be continued for as long as both mother…
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Too Much Screen Time Can Threaten Attention Span

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Kids and young adults who overdo TV and video games are almost twice as likely to have a wide variety of attention span problems -- at least according to a study in the journal Pediatrics. Here are the details in a report from HealthDay News: Too much time spent watching television and playing video games can double the risk of attention problems in children and young adults, new research finds. The study is the latest of many to point out the ill effects of excessive screen time, whether at the computer or the television. Researcher Edward Swing, a graduate student at Iowa State University, compared participants who watched TV or played video games less than two hours a day -- the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics for children aged 2…
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Obesity associated with reduced sexual activity AND poorer health

Marriage and Family Health
Need a motivation for losing some more weight? Well, if you're married, here's a pretty good one. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported, "It is well known that obesity raises one's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer, among other health problems." But now, a European study reports that "obese men and women have more health issues related to sex than people of normal weight." That conclusion is based on a survey of "more than 5,500 women and 4,600 men in France regarding sexual behavior," according to the CNN "Paging Dr. Gupta" blog. "Of them, 411 women and 350 men were obese, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) of over 30." Investigators noted that "obesity was associated with…
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The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 7

Bioethics, Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Each Monday, we have all been graced with an update from from Craig DeLisi about his unborn child Anastasha, who has been diagnosed with anencephaly, for which there is no cure or treatment. I hope you’ll join with me in keeping the DeLisis in your prayers. One of the graces that I've enjoyed in the last two and a half months has been time spent teaching the children from God's Word. I've asked the Lord to direct me to passages that will speak to their hearts, especially in regards to Anastasha. A few nights ago we found ourselves in the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John. It’s a story that many of you know well. Probably the most well known healing in all of Scripture, the blind man. As he went…
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Using testosterone in men

Men's Health
There's a long-brewing controversy about using testosterone in older men. The interest in testosterone replacement is being fueled by several popular books and consumer ads about what is now called "low T." But, according to the doctors of pharmacology who write the Prescriber’s Letter (a publication I recommend highly to prescribers), experts disagree whether testosterone replacement is a fountain of youth ... or a misguided attempt to treat normal aging. The experts at Prescriber’s Letter have concluded that testosterone replacement MIGHT help improve energy, strength, bone density, and sexual function. But, unfortunately, there's no proof that it's safe for older men. Why? Well, at least one concern is that testosterone may increase the risk of prostate cancer ... similar to estrogen and breast cancer. As a result, I think physicians should…
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ADHD drugs have no long-term growth effects: study

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
When I wrote the medical sections for the book, Why ADHD Doesn't Mean Disaster, I discussed the fact that there had been concerns, in some circles, that ADHD medications may effect a child's growth -- although the risk of this effect (if real) was far less than the risks, for most children, particularly teens, of not utilizing the medications. Now, it will be easier for me to reassure my patients and their parents as a new study is reporting that neither attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) nor the medications used to treat it have a long-term impact on a child's growth. (By the way, my ADHD book, in both the soft cover and hard cover is currently on sale at my online bookstore.) Here are the details from a report in…
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Parents Beware: Cartoon Characters Sell Kids on Unhealthy Foods

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Using the likes of Shrek and Dora to market treats should be banned, researcher says. Why? Because popular cartoon characters are negatively influencing the taste preferences of very young children, and not in a positive way, a new study suggests.Here are the details from HealthDay News: -- Researchers found that the branding of American food product packaging with characters such as Dora the Explorer drives preschoolers to choose higher-calorie, less healthful foods over more nutritious options. "The bottom line is that when kids are presented with a choice of graham crackers, fruit snacks or carrots, and the only difference is that one package has a licensed character on it, they actually think that the food with the character tastes better," said study author Christina Roberto, a doctoral student working at the…
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Kids Like Cartoon-Branded Snacks Better

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
A new study is showing that children find foods taste better if the packages feature popular cartoon characters. Once simply the world's best-known cartoon, canine detective Scooby-Doo is now also a popular pitchman for pasta, cookies, "fruit" snacks, and other foods marketed to young children. And, SpongeBob SquarePants, Shrek, Dora the Explorer, and many other cartoon characters also do double duty selling junk food and sometimes healthy foods to kids, and this new research clearly shows why manufacturers use them. The study found that foods packaged with popular cartoon characters really do taste better – or at least they do to 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds. The effect was not as great with carrots as with less healthy fruit-flavored gummies and graham crackers, but more children said they preferred the taste of all three…
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Study: Elective Abortion More Than Triples Breast Cancer Risk

Bioethics, Cancer, Woman's Health
A study out of Sri Lanka has found that women who had abortions more than tripled their risk of breast cancer. The study focused on analyzing the association between the duration of breastfeeding and the risk of breast cancer.  But the researchers also reported other “significant” risk factors for breast cancer, such as passive smoking and being post-menopausal.  The highest of the reported risk factors was abortion. The study, entitled "Prolonged breastfeeding reduces risk of breast cancer in Sri Lankan women: A case-control study," was led by Malintha De Silva and colleagues from the University of Colombo. Here are some of the details from Life Site News: The researchers found that among women who breastfed for between 12-23 months there was a 66.3% risk reduction in comparison to those who had never…
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Prolonged Use of MP3 Players Harms Hearing

Children's Health, Parenting
Prolonged listening to MP3 players with ear buds at a loud volume leads to temporary and later irreversible loss, experts are now saying.  The bottom line? Keep your MP3 volume at a level where you can still hear conversation around you. In other words, if you can still hear what people are saying around you, you are at a safe level. Here are the details in a report from HealthDay News: People using MP3 players are leaving themselves open to temporary changes in hearing, which over time might result in permanent hearing loss, Belgian researchers suggest. Scientists already know that at work, exposure to harmful noise -- noise that is too loud or loud sounds that go on too long -- can eventually lead to hearing loss by damaging the…
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Historically black medical schools score highest in “social mission” rankings

Bioethics, Medical Economics
The Washington Post reports that "graduates of medical schools at historically black universities, such as Howard and Morehouse, are the most likely to practice the kind of medicine needed under the health-care overhaul, according to a study published" in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that "researchers scored all US medical schools on their ability to produce doctors who will work in primary care and in underserved communities." The study found that "most of the schools with the finest reputations scored abysmally on the 'social mission' criteria." Meanwhile, "historically black schools, such as Morehouse College and Meharry Medical College, scored the highest in social mission rankings." Bloomberg News reports that "the rankings are based on how many of the schools' graduates practice in…
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Clinicians doing Pap test too often on women

Cancer, Woman's Health
I find that most of my female patients either are not aware of or do not understand the national recommendations concerning pap smears. Now, there are reports that physicians are not using these new guidelines either. The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog is reporting, "Despite a near-unanimous consensus among authorities that Pap smear testing for cervical cancer should be conducted only every three years, most physicians apparently prefer to do it at shorter intervals." And, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, "if you add in HPV screening, which makes the assays even more sensitive, even fewer doctors adhere to the recommended guidelines." The Time magazine "Wellness" blog reported that researchers from the CDC and the National Cancer Institute "asked more than 1,200 primary care physicians ...…
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The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 6

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 4 Each Monday, I join each of you in anticipating our weekly update from from Craig and Tonya DeLisi about their unborn child Anastasha, who has been diagnosed, via ultrasound, with anencephaly. As readers of this series know, anencephaly has no cure or treatment. I hope you’ll join with me in keeping the DeLisis in your prayers. Here is this week's update from Craig: One thing that has surprised Tonya and I as we’ve walked through our grief during the last 2 months is how easily others are willing to share their own sorrows with us. Many people we know (friends, patients) and many total strangers seem very comfortable pouring out their pains to us in all kinds of settings (doctor's office, grocery…
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