Report highlights potential dangers of complementary and alternative medicines for children

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Parenting
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. (more…)
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Chiropractic Care: an evidence-based evaluation

Alternative Medicine, General Health
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: (more…)
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Isoflavones reduce postmenopausal insomnia, hot flashes

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Woman's Health
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. (more…)
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Diet soda consumption may be linked to increased heart attacks and strokes

Nutritional Health
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. (more…)
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Taking low-dose aspirin and NSAIDs can be a challenge (Part 2)

General Health, Heart Health
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. (more…)
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Pointers for measuring your blood pressure at home

Heart Health
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. (more…)
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Obesity has cut three to four years from US life expectancy

General Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity
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." (more…)
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Elimination diet may benefit some young children with ADHD

Children's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting
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. (more…)
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Most ADHD Kids Have Multiple Conditions, Study Says

Children's Health, Mental Health, Parenting
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. (more…)
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Giving baby solid foods too early linked to obesity

Children's Health, Nutritional Health, Obesity, Parenting
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: (more…)
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Moderate exercise delays age-related memory decline

Mental Health
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: (more…)
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What to do with the two vitamin D guidelines?

Nutritional Health
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. (more…)
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Americans have nothing to fear from Japan’s nuclear crisis — or don’t go buy potassium iodide tablets today

General Health, Health Headlines
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. (more…)
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Power Balance admits no science behind wristbands

Alternative Medicine, Mental Health
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. (more…)
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Unbelievable: Nearly half of Americans still suspect disproven vaccine-autism link

Children's Health, Parenting
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. (more…)
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Public health officials urged to hold national discussion on vaccine risks, benefits

Children's Health, Parenting
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.” (more…)
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Commercially available prenatal tests will lead to more abortions

Bioethics
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." (more…)
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HCG diet discredited long ago

Nutritional Health, Obesity
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."
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