Saturday, February 17, 2018

Journal Watch February 2018

Medical cannabis significantly safer for elderly with chronic pain than Opioids: A new study found cannabis therapy is safe and efficacious for elderly patients who are seeking to address cancer symptoms, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other medical issues. After six months, more than 18 percent of patients surveyed had stopped using opioid analgesics or had reduced their dosage. The European Journal of Internal Medicine 

Pilot study in Kenya shows link between chronic pain and glutamate consumption: Preliminary research from a small pilot study carried out in Meru, in eastern Kenya, shows a link between chronic pain and consumption of glutamate, a common flavor enhancer found in Western and non-Western diets worldwide. Results demonstrated that when study participants cut monosodium glutamate from their diets, their symptoms improved. Nutrition 

Limited Evidence for Effect of Cranial Electrical Stimulation: Evidence for the effectiveness of cranial electrical stimulation (CES) is sparse, according to a review published online Feb. 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed evidence relating to the benefits and harms of CES for adults with chronic painful conditions, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. "Evidence is insufficient that CES has clinically important effects on fibromyalgia, headache, neuromusculoskeletal pain, degenerative joint pain, depression, or insomnia; low-strength evidence suggests modest benefit in patients with anxiety and depression," the authors write.

Stress-Reducing Techniques Can Reduce Seizure Frequency in Patients With Refractory Epilepsy: Learning techniques to help manage stress may help people with epilepsy reduce how often they have seizures, according to a study published in Neurology. 

Therapeutic Horseback Riding Can Help alleviate PTSD: For military veterans, therapeutic horseback riding (THR) may be a clinically effective intervention for relieving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study published online Jan. 19 in Military Medical Research.

Approved the first blood test to evaluate mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in adults
• Approved apalutamide (Erleada) for the treatment of patients with non-metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer.
• Expands approval of Imfinzi to reduce the risk of non small cell lung cancer progressing
• Expands treatment window for use of clot retrieval devices in certain stroke patients
• Approved marketing of clinical decision support software for altering providers of a potential stroke in patients

Poor fitness linked to weaker brain fiber, higher dementia riskScientists have more evidence that exercise improves brain health and could be a lifesaving ingredient that prevents Alzheimer's disease. A new study from UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute suggests that the lower the fitness level, the faster the deterioration of vital nerve fibers in the brain. This deterioration results in cognitive decline, including memory issues characteristic of dementia patients. "This research supports the hypothesis that improving people's fitness may improve their brain health and slow down the aging process," Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Climb stairs to lower blood pressure and strengthen leg muscles: A new study demonstrates that stair climbing not only lowers blood pressure but also builds leg strength, especially in postmenopausal women with estrogen deficiencies who are more susceptible to vascular and muscle problems. The study involved Korean postmenopausal women who trained four days a week, climbing 192 steps two to five times a day. North American Menopause Society 

Running helps brain stave off effects of chronic stress: The study finds that running mitigates the negative impacts chronic stress has on the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Can ultraviolet light fight the spread of influenza? Overhead far-UVC light, a type of ultraviolet light that is harmless to humans, effectively killed airborne flu virus, researchers have found. The lighting may offer a new weapon against the spread of flu virus in public spaces. Scientific Reports 

Rotating Night Shift Increases Odds of Type 2 Diabetes: Rotating shift work, which includes night shifts is associated with increased odds of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in Diabetes Care.

Drinking hot tea associated with a 5-fold increased risk for esophageal cancer for some: Consuming hot tea at high temperatures is associated with an increased risk for esophageal cancer in those who also drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, a new study finds. American College of Physicians

Eating Slower Tied to Lower Obesity Risk inType 2 Diabetes: Slower eating also found to be associated with reduced BMI, waist circumference. Eating speed can affect changes in obesity, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in BMJ Open.

 Vitamin D3 could help heal or prevent cardiovascular damage: A new study conducted suggests that a little more sunlight might help restore damage to your cardiovascular system. The study shows that Vitamin D3 -- which is made by the body naturally when skin is exposed to the sun -- can significantly restore the damage to the cardiovascular system caused by several diseases, including hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Vitamin D3 supplements are also available over-the-counter.

Very Low-Calorie Diet Prompts Brief Heart Function Drop: Very low-calorie diets (VLCD) can cause transient deterioration in heart function, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology's joint EuroCMR/SMCR meeting. "The metabolic improvements with a very low-calorie diet, such as a reduction in liver fat and reversal of diabetes, would be expected to improve heart function. Instead, heart function got worse in the first week before starting to improve.” 

Plant Based Milks: The nutritional differences and health benefits among various plant-based alternative milks are discussed in a review published in the January issue of the Journal of Food Science and Technology. Nutritionally, soy milk is the best alternative for replacing cow's milk. Almond milk also has a balanced nutrient profile and was found to have a better flavor than soy milk, but it has a lower nutrient density and total number of calories compared to cow's milk. Those who consume almond milk should take care to get appropriate quantities of various essential nutrients from other dietary sources. Rice milk and coconut milk cannot act as ideal alternatives to cow's milk due to limited nutrient diversity.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Not Found to Up Risk of Heart Disease: Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids is not associated with fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or major vascular events, according to a review published online Jan. 31 in JAMA Cardiology. This meta-analysis "provides no support for current recommendations for the use of such supplements in people with a history of coronary heart disease.”

Deep Brain Stimulation Shows Promise for Treating Alzheimer’s Disease: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of frontal lobe networks show promise for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Low-Intensity Electrical Brain Stimulation Improves Memory: Low-intensity electrical stimulation applied to a specific area can improve verbal short-term memory, according to a study published in Brain. “The most exciting finding of this research is that our memory for language information can be improved by directly stimulating this underexplored brain area.”

Medications to Treat Cardiovascular Risk Factors Do Not Impact Erectile Function: A study into the effects of cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-pressure lowering candesartan/HCTZ concludes that these medications do not negatively affect erectile function (ED). .“Previous research suggests that cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol increase the risk of ED, but there has been little research examining whether modifying these risk factors can impact its development.” Canadian Journal of Cardiology 

NICE Recommends Use of Paracetamol to Relievea Sore Throat Rather Than Antibiotics: The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidance recommending that patients with a sore throat, including pharyngitis and tonsillitis, should not be prescribed antibiotics. Instead doctors should help people to manage their symptoms with pain relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Evidence reviewed by NICE found most people will get better without antibiotics, usually experiencing symptoms for up to a week. 

Opioid cessation may be more successful when depression is treated: Opioid cessation in non-cancer pain may be more successful when depression is treated to remission, a new study shows. Science Daily

Greater Weight Loss With RYGB in Obese With T2DM at Three Years: For obese adults with type 2 diabetes, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery is associated with greater weight loss, lower hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and reduced cardiovascular risk compared with intensive medical diabetes and weight management (IMWM), according to a study published online Feb. 6 in Diabetes Care. 

Drug that treats psoriasis also reduces aortic vascular inflammation: An antibody used to treat the skin disease psoriasis is also effective at reducing aortic inflammation, a key marker of future risk of major cardiovascular events. Researchers led a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and found patients who took the drug ustekinumab had a 19 percent improvement in aortic inflammation, as measured and confirmed by imaging, when compared to the placebo group. American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in San Diego .

Risk Fracture Risk with Long term use of Inhaled Corticosteroids:
Long-term, high-dose use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) is associated with a modest increase in the risk of hip and upper extremity fractures in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published in the February issue of CHEST.

TBI Is Associated With Increased Dementia Risk for Decades After Injury:Traumatic brain injury (TBI) increases the risk of a dementia diagnosis for more than 30 years after a trauma, though the risk of dementia decreases over time, according to a study of164,334 individuals with TBI and matched control participants who did not have TBI. PLOS Medicine.

Severe and lingering symptoms occur in some after treatment for Lyme disease: In a study of 61 people treated for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, researchers conclude that fatigue, pain, insomnia and depression do indeed persist over long periods of time for some people, despite largely normal physical exams and clinical laboratory testing. Frontiers in Medicine 

Multiple chronic diseases leave patients with adversely high costs: Current strategies for treating patients with several chronic diseases are putting an unnecessary financial burden on countries' health systems and individuals, a global study has found. Experts say that the current clinical practice of tackling each disease in isolation may lead to the prescription of unnecessary medicines, resulting in patient expenses that are disproportionate to the number of conditions they have. BMJ Global Health

Hands over knife for pill cutting: Using your hands may be best for splitting an aspirin tablet, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Take a Break: Make Kissing Lips for Valentines Day

                                                  Happy Valentine’s Day! 

                          Trying making “kissing lips” for your favorite valentine.

Not interested in today’s activities, try the Take a Break Pinterest Board.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Life with Chronic conditions: Finding Peace in Wild Things

I found myself reading Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things” over and over again this week.

When despair for the world grows in me 
and I wake in the night at the least sound
 in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, 
I go and lie down where the wood drake 
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
 I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought 
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time 
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The line that resonated the most was “I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.” We spend an inordinate amount of time worrying over things we can’t control, may never happen or if they do happen, aren’t nearly as bad as we fear.

Given its deep winter here in Vermont, while I go for walks with my dog, I spend more time looking out the window watching the birds as they flit in and around the feeder, or the squirrels chasing one another , making tracks in the snow. The deer are forever coming to check and see if they missed an apple, even if it’s high in the tree. This is a far more peaceful and calming pursuit than watching television, reading a newspaper or trolling the Internet. Definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Take a Break: Graffiti a Masterpiece

A mustache on the Mona Lisa and different colors for Mondrain’s paintings  are just some of the ways to “graffiti” art masterpieces. Download a famous painting  and make it your own by changing colors, adding new designs, turning them into cartoons (just what is the Mona Lisa thinking) or whatever strikes your fancy. You can even color a few ones, cut them up and create a whole new different type of masterpiece.

Not interested in today’s activities, try the Take a Break Pinterest Board.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Life with Chronic conditions: Learning to be resilient

The link between disease, violence and trauma has been well established. This past week, there has been quite a bit of discussion from NPR’s article What do Asthma, Heart Disease and Cancer Have in Common? Maybe Childhood Trauma.

The good news is that in spite of what you might have experienced in your life, you can learn to be resilient-the ability to maintain a stable equilibrium regardless of the twist and turns life presents.

Developing resilience-things to consider

• Change what you can change recognizing that you are not your circumstances. You control your own fate by how you respond.

• Accept that the only constant in life is change.

• Recognize that events are not traumatic until we label them as such. The death of a close friend can be devastating. However, viewing it as having significant meaning-such as it helping to bring about a more effective treatment for a disease; you developed friendships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise-will be far more helpful than considering it a traumatizing experience that “I’ll never get over.” Unfortunately, social media, particularly Facebook is a wash in catch phrases to support the trauma aspects and not the “final gifts” perspective.

• Make connections and build social support networks. Identify who you can reach out to when you’re dealing with stressful experiences.

• Recognize how you respond to stress: What situations have you found to be most difficult? How did you deal with them? What worked? What didn’t? What has made you more hopeful about the future?

• Develop a source of spiritual and religious support.

• Develop a positive image of the future. Understand your purpose

• Have solid goals and a desire to achieve them

• Be empathetic and compassionate but don’t bow to peer pressure

• Stay flexible: Recognize that strong emotions are okay but also recognize you will need to let them go in order function. Take breaks when dealing with stressful situations in order to rest and recharge yourself. Ask for help if you need it.

• Do not identify as a victim but rather as thriver.

• Take care of yourself, practice self-compassion, relaxation.

 Try an on line free programs to help with building resilience- 27 Resilience Activities and Worksheets for Students and Adults

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Take a Break: Try 8 Brocades

   This is one of my favorite Qigong practices. If you are feeling stressed, a good way to relax. Just do what you can do.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Journal Watch January 2018

Does an exploding brain network cause chronic pain? New research reports that hyperreactive brain networks could play a part in the hypersensitivity of fibromyalgia. Scientific Reports

Loosing Weight Helps Lower Pain Levels: A study of 123 obese patients found that losing weight not only lowered pain levels in the knees and hips, but in unexpected areas such as the abdomen, arm, chest and jaw. Study participants who could reach the goal of losing 10% of their weight also reported better mental health, improved cognition and more energy. Men in particular showed improvements in their energy levels. The Journal of Pain

Interpersonal Touch to Reduce Pain: A study of 23 couples found that partner’s touch resulted in enhanced pain-reduction in comparison with others. Women with highly empathetic partners reported increased pain-reduction associates with that partner’s touch. Aeon

Migraine surgery produces 'dramatic improvements' in functioning, study finds: In addition to reducing headache frequency and severity, surgical treatment for migraine leads to significant improvements in everyday functioning and coping ability, according to a new study. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Study uncovers potential key to preventing back pain in runners: A new study examines what may cause chronic back pain in runners and the exercises to help prevent it. The study suggests that runners with weak deep core muscles are at higher risk of developing low back pain. And, unfortunately, most people's deep core muscles aren't nearly as strong as they should be. Exercises such as planks that focus on stabilizing the core, especially on unstable surfaces, are what's really going to make you a better runner. Journal of Biomechanics

Hot Yoga Is No Better Than Regular Yoga: Bikram yoga has attracted a loyal following due to its steamy classes, which involve 26 specific postures and breathing exercises, typically performed in a room heated to about 105 degrees. Proponents swear by the style’s ability to work up a sweat and promote flexibility, and past research has shown that it’s good for your vascular health — but a small study published Thursday in Experimental Physiology suggests it’s the physical practice of Bikram, not the sweltering heat, that’s good for you.

Available Evidence on Marijuana's Cardiovascular Effects Is Scant: The evidence examining associations between marijuana use and cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes is limited, according to a review published online Jan. 23 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

• Approved Lutathera for Some Gastro and Pancreatic Cancers
• Approves first treatment for breast cancer with a certain inherited genetic mutation
• Permits marketing of device to treat diabetic foot ulcers
• Clears stereotactic radiotherapy system for use in treating brest cancer
• Approves drug to treat dangerously low blood pressure

Exercise can Help Boost Memory: A new recommendation from the American Academy of Neurology suggests that exercise is indeed helpful for people with mild cognitive impairment. Neurology

No greater risk of reaction than for those without an allergy Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 2018

Thirty-year study shows women who breastfeed for 6 months or more reduce their diabetes risk In a long-term national study, breastfeeding for six months or longer cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women throughout their childbearing years, according to new research. JAMA Internal Medicine.

Hits, not concussions, cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy: New insights into the disease show head impact, not concussion, triggers CTE and pave way for early detection, prevention and treatment. Researchers have identified evidence of early Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) brain pathology after head impact -- even in the absence of signs of concussion. Early indicators of CTE pathology not only persisted long after injury but also spread through the brain, providing the best evidence to date that head impact, not concussion, causes CTE. Brain

Just one cigarette a day carries greater risk of heart disease and stroke than expected, warn expert No safe level of smoking exists; smokers should aim to quit instead of cutting down. Smoking just one cigarette a day has a much higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke than expected -- about half the risk of smoking 20 per day -- concludes a new review. BMJ 

Aerobic exercise may mildly delay, slightly improve Alzheimer's symptoms: Geriatrics experts have suggested that exercising can improve brain health in older adults. However, not all studies of exercise and older adults have proven the benefits of exercise. A team of researchers designed a study to learn whether exercise could delay or improve AD symptoms. They reviewed 19 studies that examined the effect of an exercise training program on cognitive function in older adults who were at risk for or diagnosed with AD. The research team concluded that this study may be the first to show that for older adults who are at risk for or who have AD, aerobic exercise may be more effective than other types of exercise in preserving the ability to think and make decisions. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Multidomain Lifestyle Intervention May Aid Cognition in APOE ε4 Carriers: A multidomain lifestyle intervention seems to be beneficial for cognition in older at-risk individuals, even among apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 carriers, according to a study published online Jan. 22 in JAMA Neurology

Cognitive Training Aids Memory in People With Mild Impairment: Cognitive training improves memory in older patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to a study published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 

Repeated Flu Vaccinations Help Prevent Severe Infection: Vaccination for influenza for multiple seasons is twice as effective in preventing severe influenza -- compared with non-severe influenza -- in older patients admitted to hospital, according to a study published in the Jan. 8 issue of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.


Best Diets for 2018: Your New Year's resolution diet should be based on a well-balanced eating plan that fits your lifestyle, rather than a weird fad replete with food restrictions. That's according to U.S. News & World Report's best diet rankings for 2018. The two diets that tied for the top spot -- the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet -- fit that bill because they feature real food and reasonable, flexible guidelines, experts said. 

Energy Drinks Can Negatively Impact Health of Youth: Over half of Canadian youth and young adults who have consumed energy drinks have experienced negative health effects as a result, including rapid heartbeat, nausea, and in rare cases, seizures, according to a new study. CMAJ

Vitamin D Protects Against Cold and Flu: A new global collaborative study has confirmed that vitamin D supplementation can help protect against acute respiratory infections. The study, a participant data meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials including more than 11,000 participants, has been published online in The BMJ. The investigators found that daily or weekly supplementation had the greatest benefit for individuals with the most significant vitamin D deficiency (blood levels below 10 mg/dl) — cutting their risk of respiratory infection in half — and that all participants experienced some beneficial effects from regular vitamin D supplementation. Administering occasional high doses of vitamin D did not produce significant benefits.

Diet rich in apples and tomatoes may help repair lungs of ex-smokers, study suggests Study also found that regular intake of tomatoes may also help slow the natural decline in lung function among all adults. The natural decline in lung function over a 10-year period was slower among former smokers with a diet high in tomatoes and fruits, especially apples, suggesting certain components in these foods might help restore lung damage caused by smoking. European Respiratory Journal,

Paleolithic diet healthier for overweight women: Overweight women after menopause who eat a Paleolithic diet can maintain weight loss in the long term. The levels of risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases also decrease.  Umeå universitet

Choose Omega-3s fromfish over flax for cancer prevention, study finds: Omega-3s from fish pack a stronger punch than flaxseed and other oils when it comes to cancer prevention, according to a new study. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

MIND diet may slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors: A diet created by researchers may help substantially slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors, according to preliminary research. The finding are significant because stroke survivors are twice as likely to develop dementia compared to the general population. The diet, known as the MIND diet, is short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke. American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference

Mediterranean Diet May Lower Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer: High adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer, according to a study published in the February issue of The Journal of Urology

Adherence to Mediterranean Diet Linked to Reduced Frailty: For community-dwelling older adults, greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of incident frailty, according to a review published online Jan. 11 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society a

Hysterectomy May Have Long-Term Health Risks: Women who undergo a hysterectomy are at greater risk for heart disease and other health issues -- even if they keep their ovaries, new research suggests. Menopause

First vaccine in the world developed against grass pollen allergy: Around 400 million people world-wide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis) – with the usual symptoms such as a runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. Medical researchers have now shown in a Phase II-b study with 180 patients in 11 European centers, that four injections of the synthetically manufactured vaccine BM32 in the first year and a top-up in the second year of treatment relieve the sufferers' symptoms by at least 25%. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 

Combo of BP, Cholesterol Meds Tied to Reduced Stroke Risk: For patients with intermediate risk of cardiovascular disease, combining antihypertensive therapy and statin medications is associated with a 44 percent reduction in stroke, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 

Guidelines of Care Developed for Skin Cancer Management: Guidelines of care have been developed for the management of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), according to two reports published online Jan. 10 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Broader Statin Use Improves Atherosclerotic CVD Prevention: Guidelines that recommend statins for more people for primary prevention of atherosclerosis are likely to prevent more atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events than guidelines that recommend fewer people take statins, according to a study published online Jan. 1 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Chronic Disease Care: Family Family helpers play key roles, but feel left out by providers : People with diabetes, heart failure and other chronic diseases often live independent lives, without a traditional 'caregiver.' But many of them have a family member or friend who plays a key supporting role in their health care. A new study finds that many of these 'health supporters' wish they could understand their loved one's condition better, or get more involved in helping them navigate a long-term illness. But it also reveals that many aren't getting the information or access from health providers that could help them do that better. Families, Systems and Health, 


Clean Air Act May BeSaving More Lives than Thought: The number of Americans who die each year from inhaling fine-particle pollutants has dropped dramatically since 1970, thanks to laws that originated from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That finding stems from an investigation, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers, into the impact of EPA rules enacted by the 1970 Clean Air Act and amendments added to it in 1990.

Odds of Post-Op Mortality Increase As Weekend Approaches: Mortality after elective surgery increases in graded manner as day of surgery approaches weekend. Medical Care

Walmart Launches Disposal Solution for Opioids, Rx Meds: Walmart is launching a first-of-its-kind opioid disposal solution in all company pharmacies, which is available at no cost, according to a press release from the company.