Dr. Walt's Health Blog

Archives for the Month of April, 2012

Eighteen states now considering indoor tanning bans for teens

USA Today reports, “Eighteen states are considering measures banning the use of indoor tanning devices for those under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures,” while “five more are weighing increased regulation, such as requiring parental consent.

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Tanning-salon use contributes to high rate of melanoma deaths

The New York Times reports that in Idaho, “lawmakers and public health experts…are confronting a problem that they say has developed in one of its newer panoramas: suburban strip malls dotted with salons like Beach Club, Jamaca Me Tan, Planet Beach and Tan du Soleil.”

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Physicians “taking tougher stands” against vaccination refusals

USA Today reports that “many pediatricians … are taking tougher stands with parents who refuse vaccinations.”

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Exercise helps adults sleep better

The New York Times reports, “According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of adults ages 60 and over have trouble sleeping.”

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FDA warns of mercury in imported skin creams

CBS reports that the Food and Drug Administration has warned that some “skin creams, soaps and lotions that are manufactured overseas and sold in some US shops might contain toxic amounts of mercury.”

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Estrogen supplements may actually be linked to reduced breast cancer risk

USA Today reports, “For certain women, taking estrogen supplements for a few years close to menopause appears safe, and may reduce their risk of breast cancer, says a new study” published online in The Lancet Oncology.

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Studies: Children raised by lesbians not necessarily problem-free

Over the last few years, a few published studies have claimed that children raised by same-sex couples compare favorably to — and sometimes even better than — children raised by moms and dads on measures of self-esteem and academics. Those studies, in turn, have served as fodder for a media campaign that two loving parents are all children really need. Here are details that challenge that from a report in Citizen Link:

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FDA cites misleading statements from inhalable caffeine manufacturer

Bloomberg News reports that the FDA has cited Breathable Foods Inc. for placing misleading labels on canisters dispensing caffeine. According to Bloomberg, the FDA notes that the manufacturer describes its AeroShot Pure Energy inhaler as “breathable energy,” and so “encourages consumers to breathe the caffeine mist into their lungs instead of spraying it on their tongues to be swallowed.”

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Vitamin D linked to fewer stress fractures in girls

Reuters reports that according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, young women and girls consuming high levels of vitamin D were less likely to suffer from stress fractures than women who did not consume as much vitamin D.

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Coke, Pepsi change their practices in response to California law on caramel coloring

The AP reports that “Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are changing the way they make the caramel coloring used in their sodas as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens come with a cancer warning label.”

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Research shows benefits and risks to taking antidepressants during pregnancy

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Some women with depression who become pregnant face a troubling decision: whether to continue taking antidepressant medication to keep the depression at bay even though the medications may harm the fetus.”

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USA Today, Right to Life official debate ultrasound mandate

In an editorial this morning, USA Today says that “under laws enacted in Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina, the ultrasound screen must be turned so women can see the image.”

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Virginia governor signs bill requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortions

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell recently signed a bill making abdominal ultrasounds mandatory for women seeking abortions.

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Robot-assisted prostate surgeries yield few benefits, study says.

Reuters reports on a new study published in the Journal of Urology involving patients who underwent prostate surgery via robotic surgical equipment versus older surgical procedures.

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Desensitization therapy helps some children with milk allergies

The CNN “The Chart” blog reports, “Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Duke University are working on a treatment that may one day allow kids with allergies to safely eat the foods that cause them life-threatening reactions.”

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Yet another study shows social value of monogamy

When it comes to marriage and family structure, there’s a good reason nearly every modern society has encouraged monogamy as the accepted norm: Because it’s good for society.

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Sleep-disordered breathing in children associated with behavioral problems

The CBS Evening News reported, “You already know young children get cranky if they don’t get enough sleep, but a study” published online “in the journal Pediatrics found children who have trouble sleeping are more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems later on.”

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CSPI urges ban on caramel coloring in soft drinks due to alleged cancer risk

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reports, “In a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration, the consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest [CSPI] called on officials to ban the use of caramel coloring in popular soft drinks, citing a possible cancer risk.”

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Sedentary women more prone to early diabetes

Bloomberg News reported, “Women who sit for long periods each day have a greater risk of developing early signs of type 2 diabetes compared with men,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Trans fat consumption linked to stroke risk in women

Medscape reports, “Postmenopausal women whose diet is high in trans fats, found in fried foods and packaged products, are at higher risk for certain types of ischemic stroke,” according to research published in the Annals of Neurology.

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Study shows how marijuana clouds memory

Scientists studying mice say they better understand how marijuana impairs working memory, the ability to momentarily retain and utilize information needed for comprehension and learning.

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“Hazel Creek” character “interviewed”

Abbie Randolph, the main character in my new novel, Hazel Creek, was just featured in a fictional interview that I thought you might like to read. 

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Update on Vitamin D and calcium supplements for fracture and cancer prevention

Vitamin D and calcium supplementation may lower fracture risk and improve bone health in many individuals, but data regarding its effects on cancer are far from conclusive.

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Symptoms may say sinusitis, but scans usually disagree 



Infection and even inflammation were NOT reliably present in the scans of patients with classic sinusitis symptoms.

 Chronic sinusitis can be difficult to diagnose precisely and sometimes even more difficult to treat.

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”

Dr. Walt Mentioned in Reformed Seminary Newsletter

I had a nice mention in the Reformed Theological Seminary Newsletter that I thought you might like to see.

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New guidelines recommend NOT using antibiotics for sinus infections

These studies have seemed to surprise many of my patients, but most seem to accept it. The Boston Globe “Daily Dose” blog reports on Wednesday, “the Infectious Disease Society of America issued new guidelines … calling for a halt to antibiotic prescriptions for most sinus infections.”

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Ten foods provide half of sodium eaten in US

New figures from a US food survey detail that nine out of ten adults in the US consume more sodium than is recommended. See if these data hit home at your house.

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Selenium supplements raise risk for type 2 diabetes

Bloomberg News reports, “Supplements of selenium, a trace mineral that may help prevent some cancers, might increase the risk of type 2 diabetes if taken in large quantities, according to a review of existing studies” published in The Lancet.

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Airport scanning machines said to be safe

A report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general says the full-body scanners used by the TSA at airport security checkpoints emit an “extremely low dose” of radiation that is not harmful to passengers. 

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Citrus fruit consumption linked to reduced stroke risk in women

The ABC News “Medical Unit” blog reports, “Eating citrus fruits can be considered a marker of healthy living, and may lessen the risk of stroke, according to research published in the journal Stroke.”

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