Kids Not So Stuck on Sugary Breakfast Cereals, Study Finds

Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
It turns out that when kids are given a choice of cereals, and there is fruit on hand, most will be happy with low-sugar fare. In other words, getting your kids to happily eat nutritious, low-sugar breakfast cereals may be child's play, researchers report. This was exactly what I predicted in my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, currently on sale here. The recent study finds that children will gladly chow down on low-sugar cereals if they're given a selection of choices at breakfast, and many compensate for any missing sweetness by opting for fruit instead. Here are the details from HealthDay News: The 5-to-12-year-olds in the study still ate about the same amount of calories regardless of whether they were allowed to choose from…
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Obama Admin Working to Rescind Conscience Rights on Abortion

Bioethics, Medical Economics
The Obama administration is still working to overturn conscience rights for medical professionals on abortion that were put in place at the tail end of the Bush administration. Here are the chilling details in a report from LifeNews: In 2008, the Bush administration issued a rule that prohibited recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and health care aides who refuse to take part in medical procedures to which they have religious or moral objections, such as abortion. The rule implemented existing conscience protection laws that ensure medical professionals cannot be denied employment because they do not want to assist in abortions. New information about the state of those protections and efforts to repeal them comes from legal papers the administration filed in a case the state of…
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Surgeon general issues new tobacco warnings

Cancer
Congrats to the new Surgeon General, for taking an even stronger stand on tobacco in her recent report, "How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease.: The Los Angeles Times and Orlando Sentinel write that the report has found that "ANY exposure" to tobacco smoke can cause immediate damage to the human body. "There is NO safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke," Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said. "Inhaling even the SMALLEST amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer." The report also finds almost NO difference between being a light smoker and a heavy smoker. "That's because of the inflammatory processes occur at very, very low doses," said cardiologist Dr. Stanton Glantz. The AP notes that the report "is the 30th issued by the nation's surgeons general…
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As Healthcare Reform Takes Hold, 74% of Physicians Will Retire or Seek Other Alternatives

Medical Economics
Healthcare reform, should it survive legal challenge, repeal, and/or non-funding, will usher in a new era of medicine in which physicians will, according to a report in Modern Medicine, "largely cease to operate as full-time, independent, private practitioners accepting third party payments. Instead, they will work as employees, as part-timers, as administrators, in cash-only 'concierge' practices, or they will walk away from medicine altogether." Here are the details from Modern Medicine: These are some of the findings of a new report commissioned by The Physicians Foundation entitled "Health Reform and the Decline of Physician Private Practice". The report outlines provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") and examines economic, demographic, and other forces impacting the way doctors structure their practices and deliver care. The report offers a…
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My Take on the new Vitamin D and Calcium Recommendations

General Health, Nutritional Health
You're likely hearing a fair bit of controversy over the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) new recommendations (RDA) for vitamin D and calcium. I first reported on this in my blog, "Institute of Medicine says megadoses of vitamin D, calcium unnecessary." The IOM calls for MORE vitamin D and LESS calcium ... but many experts say the vitamin D doses are still not high enough. Vitamin D The new RDA is: 400 IU for infants, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70, and 800 IU for over 70. But these RDAs are based ONLY on the amount needed to prevent bone problems, such as rickets, osteomalacia, osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures. Higher amounts of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of falls, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, etc. But the…
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Institute of Medicine says megadoses of vitamin D, calcium unnecessary

General Health, Nutritional Health
In a front-page article, the New York Times says, "The very high levels of vitamin D and calcium that are often recommended by doctors and testing laboratories – and can be achieved only by taking supplements – are unnecessary and could be harmful, an expert committee says" in a low-awaited report. The "group said most people have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their blood supplied by their diets and natural sources like sunshine." Dr. Clifford J. Rosen, "a member of the panel and an osteoporosis expert at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute," said, "For most people, taking extra calcium and vitamin D supplements is not indicated." The AP reports, "Long-awaited new dietary guidelines say there's no proof that megadoses prevent cancer or other ailments – sure to frustrate…
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Patient treated his bowel disease with parasitic worm eggs

Alternative Medicine
In the "I-can't-believe-it's-true" category, the Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported, "For several decades, researchers have argued that the growing incidence of autoimmune disease in the developed world is the result of improved sanitation, which limits our exposure to infectious diseases during childhood." And, "in the 1990s, Dr. Joel Weinstock, then at the University of Iowa and now at Tufts University, observed that the eradication of intestinal worms in the developed world was followed soon after by a rise in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which now affects as many as one million Americans." But, a 34-year-old Northern California man with ulcerative colitis may have found a way to treat his condition: "parasitic worms." He "hopped a plane to Thailand to see a parasitologist – and then gulped down 1,500 parasitic…
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MRI scans of the brain may help scientists better understand autism

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Bloomberg News reports that a MRI-based "method may help speed up detection and add to knowledge of" autism's "biological base," according to a paper in Autism Research. "'We, for the first time, are able to begin to really see what is going on in the brain in children who have autism,' said Janet Lainhart, an associate professor at the University of Utah, in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News. 'That is usually the beginning of major advances in recognition, treatment, and prevention.'" Indeed, "previous studies using different types of scans have been able to identify people with autism" but, said co-author Nicholas Lange of Harvard, "no one has looked at it [the brain] the way we have and no one has gotten these type of results," the CNN "The Chart"…
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New Guidelines for Diagnosing and Treating Food Allergies

General Health, Nutritional Health
This rather long post will be of primary interest to those treating and suffering with food allergies. Primarily, the new guidelines aim to standardize diagnosis and treatment of food allergy On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal reports in "Health Journal" that at present, pulmonologists, emergency physicians, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, pediatricians, and allergists diagnose and manage food allergies in a wide variety of ways. What's more, some tests on the market have not been scientifically validated, while the results of others are often misinterpreted. Such realities make it difficult to gauge the number of Americans suffering from food allergies. In fact, there are "wildly divergent estimates of food allergies that range from 1% to 10% of the US population," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Most likely, about…
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Friends May Be Key to Churchgoers’ Happiness

Mental Health
Regular churchgoers may lead more satisfying lives than stay-at-home folks because they create a network of close friends who provide important support, a new study suggests. Conducted at the University of Wisconsin, the researchers found that 28 percent of people who attend church weekly say they are "extremely satisfied" with life as opposed to only 20 percent who never attend services. But the satisfaction comes from more from participating in a religious congregation along with close friends, rather than a spiritual experience, the study found. Here are the details from HealthDay News: Regular churchgoers who have no close friends in their congregations are no more likely to be very satisfied with their lives than those who never attend church, according to the research. Study co-author Chaeyoon Lim said it's long been recognized…
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Aspirin more effective at preventing cancer deaths than previously thought

Cancer
In the advertisements for aspirin you see every day on TV and in magazines, they have for years called it a wonder drug. Now, more and more of us doctors are finding that is truly the case. In past blogs I've told you, "Low-dose aspirin reduces risk of developing and dying from colon cancer," and "Single Dose of Aspirin Effective in Relieving Migraine Pain." And, millions of people take 81 mg of aspirin every day for heart health. Now, a new study in The Lancet indicates that "aspirin may be much more effective than anyone knew at helping prevent cancer deaths." The stunning finding came while researchers were studying 25,000 people taking daily aspirin to prevent heart disease. It turns out aspirin was doing something else, reducing the death rate from…
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More Transparency at Abortion Clinics May Stop Butchers Like This

Bioethics, Children's Health, Woman's Health
A Philadelphia-area abortionist is facing eight murder charges today stemming from an investigation that began after the 2009 death of a 41 year-old woman. When authorities initiated their inspection of this "clinic," they discovered a "house of horrors." According to a report from CitizenLink, “A grand jury was convened in May 2010, as the clinic was being investigated for drug-related complaints." The jury’s findings were released two days ago. The Grand Jury report says “The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment—such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood…
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ObamaCare Repealed in the House

Health Headlines, Medical Economics
The House of Representatives resumed debate this morning on H.R. 2, legislation to repeal ObamaCare. A final vote came this evening, and it, as expected, passed easily with the new GOP majority in control. Also, in the "breaking news" category is a headline from American Spectator saying CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion. Haven't heard that from the liberal news media, have you? Unfortunately, Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid called today's vote "partisan grandstanding," and again said that he won't allow a vote to take place in the Senate. Reid is using the same tactics that resulted in this lousy law being rammed down the throats of the American taxpayer to begin with. Here are some interesting facts from my friend, Gary Bower, founder and…
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Ella Abortion Drug Falsely Called a “Contraceptive Pill”

Bioethics, Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health, Woman's Health
The ella® abortion drug has been billed by its distributor, the FDA, and abortion advocates as an improved "emergency contraceptive pill." It is available across the United States via prescription. Upon its release, Watson Pharmaceuticals, based in New Jersey, announced that ella® (ulipristal acetate) was available for women to obtain and use up to five days following unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. While the company maintain the drug works only as a "contraceptive agent," the fact of the matter is that five days is sufficient time for conception to take place and confer into existence the life of a unique human being who needs only a nine month pregnancy to be born. Here are the details from LifeNews: “ella® is the first truly new emergency contraceptive option for U.S. women since 1999. It has…
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Lower-Priced Resveratrol Supplements Pass Quality Tests While Some Higher-Priced Brands Flunk

Alternative Medicine, Medical Economics, Nutritional Health
Nature's Code ResveratrexConsumerLab.com has reported that tests of supplements containing resveratrol — a compound promoted as "life-extending" — revealed that two products provided only 43.4% and 86.7%, respectively, of their listed amounts of resveratrol. These two products were among the most expensive supplements of the ten products selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com. Surprisingly, ALL of the lower-priced products fared well in the tests. Results for all ten products are now published in ConsumerLab.com’s Review of Resveratrol Supplements. An additional nine products that passed the same testing through ConsumerLab.com’s Voluntary Certification Program are included in the report as well as one product similar to one that passed testing but sold under a different brand name. Resveratrol products have proliferated following reports in 2006 of life-extending and athletic endurance-enhancing effects of resveratrol…
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Tai Chi May Provide Arthritis Relief, But At What Spiritual Cost?

Alternative Medicine
Arthritis patients may gain physical and emotional relief from the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi, finds a new study, the largest of its kind. This study just confirms the finds of previous smaller studies, but raises the question: "Just because something works, does it always mean it's right to use it?" Let me explain -- first starting with a review of what Tai Chi is that comes from my book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely: Tai Chi, or Tai Chi Chuan, literally means “supreme ultimate power” and is part of traditional Chinese medicine. There are five major styles, with the yang form most commonly practiced in the West. As with Qigong, the purpose of the practice is to restore a balanced flow…
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Could your breastfed or premature infant be iron deficient?

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
Iron deficiency in babies and toddlers is getting increased attention. Studies have shown that up to 15 percent of babies and toddlers don't get enough iron. This can lead to long-term developmental problems, even in babies who aren't deficient enough to become anemic. New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend supplements for some babies, especially breastfed babies aged 4-6 months and preterm babies. When a supplement is needed, consider using a plain iron drop such as Fer-In-Sol or a combination product such as Poly Vi Sol with Iron for breastfed babies to provide both iron and vitamin D. Keep in mind that iron concentration can vary from product to product.
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New Practice Guideline Takes Aim at Pain of Childhood Immunizations

Children's Health, Parenting
Pain surrounding childhood immunizations can have long-term consequences, including preprocedural anxiety and needle fears in both the child and parent. Worse yet, these consequences can lead to avoiding immunizations altogether. As a result, Dr. Anna Taddio, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the "Help Eliminate Pain in Kids" panel (the HELPinKIDS panel), an interdisciplinary panel of experts from Canada, have developed an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for reducing pain associated with childhood immunizations. The panel believes that minimizing pain during childhood vaccination is important to help prevent these issues and there's a need for clear guidance to address this "important public health issue." So, they have published a summary of their guidelines in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Here are the details from Reuters Health: The HELPinKIDS…
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Untreated teens with ADHD at risk behind the wheel

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
Teenaged boys are more likely than any other drivers to have car accidents, and a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases their risk even further, a new study finds. Looking at more than 3,000 teenaged boys who had been in car accidents, a group of Canadian researchers found those who had been diagnosed with various forms of ADHD were more than a third likelier to be involved in a car accident than teenaged boys without ADHD. In my book, Why ADHD Doesn't Mean Disaster, I discuss how teens with ADHD who are not treated are far more likely to be involved in risky behavior than teens without ADHD. Signed copies of the book are on clearance sale now and are available in softcover and hardcover versions. Here are the details on…
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Fetal Pain Should Prompt Abortion Backers to Reconsider Their Position

Bioethics, Children's Health, Marriage and Family Health
In the past, I've blogged on the topic of fetal pain during abortion (Family Research Council Responds to British Fetal Pain Study, Says It’s Flawed). Although the science of whether and when the unborn child can feel pain remains uncertain, we still have a duty to avoid the possibility of inflicting undue suffering on an unborn child. To that end, I found this article by E. Christian Brugger to be though provoking and commend it to you: A much-discussed new law in the state of Nebraska has banned abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, citing the contested notion of fetal pain. Of course, everyone can agree that we have a duty not to cause pain to others without a just cause. Bioethicists endorse the relieving of pain as an expression of…
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“Mammography Saves Lives” Slogan Doesn’t Tell Full Story and May Mislead Many Women

Bioethics, Cancer, Medical Economics, Woman's Health
The current “Mammography Saves Lives” campaign in the United States and previous campaigns promoting screening for breast cancer are not providing balanced information, because they underreport, or don't mention at all, potential harms from the procedure, say critics. One expert says the advertising for a screening mammogram should say something like this: MAMMOGRAPY HAS BOTH BENEFITS AND HARMS … THAT’S WHY IT’S A PERSONAL DECISION. Screening mammography may help you avoid a cancer death or may lead you to be treated for cancer unnecessarily. But both are rare; most often mammography will do neither. That’s why screening is a choice. Women who want to do everything possible to avoid a breast cancer death should feel good about getting mammograms (every year if they wish). Women who don’t like the procedure or…
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Probiotics have health benefits in some children

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
The AP reports, "For years, companies have been making claims that their probiotic pills, yogurts, milks and juices help digestive health and the immune system. Some experts are still not so sure, however. In recent blogs about probiotics and kids, I've told you, “Friendly Bacteria (Probiotics) Help Calm Colicky Babies and May Help Constipated Babies” and "Probiotics may ease kids’ belly aches (especially IBS)." And now, a "leading medical group says there's some evidence that probiotics, or 'good' bacteria, may have limited benefits for certain illnesses in children." A new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) review published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that giving probiotics early to children with diarrhea from a viral infection, but who are otherwise healthy, can shorten the duration of illness. The Time "Healthland" blog reported, "The review also found that probiotics…
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The Gratitude Antidote

General Health, Mental Health
There are many ways to develop a positive attitude, but one easy way to begin is with the habit of giving thanks. Here's an excerpt on what I call "the gratitude antidote" from my book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy. (more…)
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Study says smoking marijuana may have long-lasting effects on brain development

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
USA Today reported, "Teenagers respond differently to drugs than adults, and early use may lead to long-lasting effects on brain development, according to new research." Staci Gruber, of Harvard Medical School, presented the study "at the Society for Neuroscience meeting, in San Diego," noting "people who start using marijuana at a young age have more cognitive shortfalls." Gruber "evaluated 29 non-smokers and 35 chronic marijuana smokers," and said she found that "while the smokers performed tasks quickly, they did not learn from their errors when corrected -- a hallmark that the part of the brain that governs executive function is impaired." Notably, "functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) backed that up." Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that "marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the…
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“Vaccines cause autism” theory now suspected to be fraud

Bioethics, Children's Health, Medical Economics, Parenting
In a recent blogs I've told you, "Autism and Childhood Vaccinations: The Myth is Finally Debunked" and "U.K. bans doctor who linked autism to MMR vaccine." But, even I was shocked when, while watching ABC World News last night, I saw a report suggesting, that the vaccine-autism link now appears to have been a deliberate fraud. Not only have untold children have been harmed because of this alleged fraud -- but autism research has actually been set back. My hope is that criminal charges will soon follow. Here are the details: ABC World News reported reported that many parents "know that vaccines protection their children from serious illness. But many still fear that the vaccines might cause autism because of all of the reports through the years." Now, there is…
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Probiotics may ease kids’ belly aches (especially IBS)

Children's Health, Parenting
In a past blog about probiotics, I told you, "Friendly Bacteria (Probiotics) Help Calm Colicky Babies and May Help Constipated Babies." Now, an Italian study is suggesting that a daily dose of "friendly bacteria" (probiotics) could provide relief for kids suffering from the cruel pain of a CHRONIC tummy ache. Here are the details from a report in Reuters Health: Yet little evidence exists to date for helpful medications or dietary changes, Dr. Ruggiero Francavilla of the University of Bari, in Italy, told Reuters Health in an e-mail. Given recent research hinting at the therapeutic value of probiotics for adults with stomach problems, particularly a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome that can cause pain and abnormal bowel movements, Francavilla and his team wanted to see if good bacteria might benefit…
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