Monthly Archives: March 2011

Report highlights potential dangers of complementary and alternative medicines for children

In my evidence-based book on alternative medicine, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, I wrote a cautionary chapter on the risks and dangers of many alternative therapies and natural medications in children in which we concluded, “In general, we believe that alternative medicine isinappropriate for children. The potential risks are too high. Until high-quality studies show clearlythat a particular alternative therapy is safe and effectivefor children, that therapy should be avoided.” Now a new report highlights the many potential dangers of complementary and alternative medicines for children. Continue reading

Parents continue to give OTC cough, cold treatments to young children despite FDA warnings

In a couple of past blogs, FDA: Skip OTC remedies to treat colds in young children and Cold medicines and children: a dangerous mix? I’ve warned parents about the dangers of using over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications in children. However, many parents have missed the memo. Continue reading

Chiropractic Care: an evidence-based evaluation

I’ve had several questions from readers about my views on chiropractic care. It’s a topic I reviewed for my evidence-based book, Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, that was co-published and endorsed by the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) as “medically reliable and biblically sound.”

Here’s an excerpt from our chapter on chiropractic care: Continue reading

Isoflavones reduce postmenopausal insomnia, hot flashes

In a past blog, Natural Medications (Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements) for Menopausal Symptoms, I discussed the data supporting a trial of isoflavones in women with menopausal symptoms. However, there was not a lot of data. Now, Medscape is reporting, “Isoflavones may reduce insomnia symptoms” in postmenopausal women, according to a small study in the journal Menopause. Continue reading

Diet soda consumption may be linked to increased heart attacks and strokes

I often have patients ask if I think diet sodas are a healthy substitute for regular soft drinks. I tell them, “NO!” The primary reason, that I’ve discussed with you in a past blog, is that diet soda consumption may weaken bones and lead to later osteopenia, osteoporosis, and/or bone fractures.

Now, I have another reason to add: Research presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference earlier this year suggest that diet soda consumption may be linked to increased heart risks. Continue reading

Taking low-dose aspirin and NSAIDs can be a challenge (Part 2)

In a previous blog, “Taking low-dose aspirin and NSAIDs can be a challenge – (Part 1),” I wrote:

  • I have many patients who are taking low-dose (81 mg) aspirin (ASA) daily and who wonder if they can take a Non-Steroidal Ant-Iinflammatory Drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) for pain or fever. I warn them that adding an NSAID increases their gastrointestinal (GI) risk … and can possibly increase their cardiovascular (CV) risk. Continue reading

Pointers for measuring your blood pressure at home

I’m a proponent of my patients monitoring their blood pressure at home. However, there are a couple of concerns when using a home monitoring device to measure blood pressure:

  • which arm to use, and
  • how long to wait before testing.

Recently, the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association have some guidance on the subject. Continue reading

Smoking pot hastens onset of mental illness

This headline is not a new one, but another study reminds us that smoking marijuana has been linked with an increased risk of mental illness. Now researchers are saying that when pot smokers do become mentally ill, the disease starts significantly earlier in life than it would if they didn’t smoke pot. Continue reading

Obesity has cut three to four years from US life expectancy

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I predicted that if the current obesity epidemic was not dealt with, that our children could become the first in American history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Why? Because kids who are overweight or obese can have their life shortened by eight to twenty years by a plethora of obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes).

Now USA Today reports, “Smoking, a declining habit, and obesity, a burgeoning problem, have cut three to four years off the increasing life expectancy of Americans, an international longevity comparison concludes.” Continue reading

Three lifestyle changes significantly reduce cancer rates

In two previous blogs (“Thirty percent of breast cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes” and “Three Healthy Habits Cut Breast Cancer Risk, Study Finds“) I’ve discussed the association between cancer risk and lifestyle choices. Continue reading

Elimination diet may benefit some young children with ADHD

In my book, Why ADHD Doesn’t Mean Disaster (currently on sale for $1.99 here), I discuss the possibility that certain diet changes may help SOME kids with ADHD. At the time, I took some grief for making this statement, which was based upon 25 years experience caring for these special kids (and NOT on a ton of data). However, now a new study is backing my contention.

Continue reading

Most ADHD Kids Have Multiple Conditions, Study Says

In my book, Why ADHD Doesn’t Mean Disaster (currently on sale for $1.99 here), I encourage parents to be very careful in choosing who evaluates their child for ADHD. In fact, I normally recommend the evaluation be done by a multi-displinary team, even if it means traveling to do so. Why? Because up to two-thirds of kids with ADHD face other struggles, such as learning disabilities, anxiety, and speech problems. Now another study is backing my contention. Continue reading

FDA: Skip OTC remedies to treat colds in young children

The Boston Globe reported that the Food and Drug Administration does not recommend giving children under age four “any sort of over-the-counter cold remedy” because of the possibility of “potentially life-threatening side effects.” Continue reading

Giving baby solid foods too early linked to obesity

Here’s another reason to consider breast feeding you baby … babies who are formula-fed and introduced to solid foods before they are 4 months old are more likely to be obese when they are three years old, researchers report. However, the timing of solid foods didn’t increase the odds of becoming obese in youngsters who were breast-fed. Here are the details from HealthDay News: Continue reading

Kids’ rising obesity rates due to bad habits, not genes: study

Poor eating and activity habits, NOT genetics, are the underlying causes for most cases of adolescent obesity, new research suggests. In other words, couch potatoes and sofa slugs are raised that way … NOT born that way. Continue reading

Moderate exercise delays age-related memory decline

Studies show, and my experience with my patients concurs, that people, as they age, fear memory loss, in general, and Alzheimer’s, in particular, even more than cancer. To date, there’s been little that’s been shown to be effective to prevent age-related memory decline … that is until now. To prevent the loss, you’ll need to get off your butt and begin exercising. Here are the details: Continue reading

Chilled caps may help cancer patients avoid extensive hair loss

In a recent blog, “Scalp cooling may help patients undergoing chemotherapy save their hair,” I told you about women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer who are trying to save their hair by wearing “a gel-filled helmet.” Several of you wanted more details on where to find one. Continue reading

What to do with the two vitamin D guidelines?

As we’ve discussed in a number of past blogs, many adults are deficient in vitamin D, placing them at elevated risk for fracture, frequent falls, and a slew of other medical problems including several types of cancer.

But what is the ideal way to prevent this deficiency? And does the method used matter in terms of health outcomes? As I’ve mentioned in the past Osteoporosis Canada recently reviewed these issues and offers bold new recommendations for vitamin D supplementation. But their recommendations are quite different from those offered by the Institute of Medicine. Continue reading

Americans have nothing to fear from Japan’s nuclear crisis — or don’t go buy potassium iodide tablets today

I’ve been sent a number of email notes from physicians in the U.S. advising their friends and patients to immediately buy potassium iodine tablets in case the radiation from Japan should be carried across the jet stream to the United States. I’m with the large number of experts saying that would be a waste of time and money. Continue reading

Power Balance admits no science behind wristbands

In a past blog, A Skeptical Look at Power Balance Products, I told you that I felt the Power Balance bracelet, that many of you were writing me about, was a marketing gimmick and a soon-to-be-passing fad. Shaquille O’Neal (a fellow LSU grad) disagrees with me. He swears by them. The Power Balance bracelet, he says, gives him a competitive edge on the court. It’s no gimmick, he says. It’s for real. But, of course, he’s paid a whopping lot of money to say that. Continue reading

Younger children with regular sleep schedules less likely to be obese, research suggests

If you hate enforcing bedtime with your kids, here’s another good reason why you should. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that younger children who get more regular sleep are less likely to be obese. Continue reading

ATTENTION: Daylight savings starts tomorrow — don’t let it disturb your sleep pattern

Well, technically this year’s DST (or what some countries call “Summertime”) begins on Sunday, Mar. 13, 2011, at 2 am. And while it may be time to “spring ahead’’ and move the clock up by one hour, that lost hour of sleep has many wishing it was “fall back’’ to bed instead. Continue reading

Unbelievable: Nearly half of Americans still suspect disproven vaccine-autism link

Despite overwhelming evidence that there is NO association between any vaccine in particular, or vaccines in general, and autism, just a slim majority of Americans – 52 percent – think vaccines don’t cause autism, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found. Conversely, 18 percent are convinced that vaccines, like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, can cause the disorder, and another 30 percent aren’t sure. Continue reading

Public health officials urged to hold national discussion on vaccine risks, benefits

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Michael Willrich, an associate professor of history at Brandeis University, writes , “Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly one in five Americans believes that vaccines cause autism—a disturbing fact that will probably hold true even after the publication, in a British medical journal, of a report thoroughly debunking the 1998 paper that began the vaccine-autism scare.” Continue reading

Commercially available prenatal tests will lead to more abortions

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” shot blog notes that a recent study in the British Medical Journal reported on “a simple blood test that was able to determine whether a fetus had Down syndrome”; and reports in Science Translational Medicine and Nature Precedings “demonstrated the technical ability to analyze thousands of genetic markers with as little as 10 milliliters of blood.” Continue reading

HCG diet discredited long ago

ABC News ran a major story on the so-called HCG (pregnancy hormone) diet last night. As a result, I’ve gotten a bunch of questions on the topic today.

Basically, proponents say this pregnancy hormone and fertility drug redistributes fat … decreases hunger … and improves mood in women. But there’s NO proof to these claims. Any weight loss is likely from the extremely low-calorie diet that’s used with HCG.

This diet was debunked by excellent research a long time ago. For the data, and more details, read my past blog on the HCG diet, “HCG injections and diet for weight loss discredited long ago.”