• Exercise to Boost Spine Muscles Can Ease Back Pain: A meta analysis of 29 clinical trials found that motor control exercise showed greater improvement, with less pain and disability, than those who did nothing. When comparing motor control exercise and other types of exercise after three to 12 months, similar improvements in the motor control group were seen. Cochrane Library
• Exercise Eases Low Back Pain: A review of 23 studies, including 31,000 people found that exercise, alone or with education, can prevent back pain. Exercise and education reduced the risk of a low back pain episode by 45 percent, and exercise alone reduced the risk of a low back pain episode by 35 percent and the risk of time off work due to back pain by 78 percent. They found no evidence that education alone, back belts or shoe inserts lowered the risk of back pain. JAMA Internal Medicine
• Ending Chronic Pain with New Drug Therapy: A brain region controlling whether we feel happy or sad, as well as addiction, is remodeled by chronic pain, reports a new study. And in a significant breakthrough, scientists have developed a new treatment that restores this region and dramatically lessens pain symptoms in an animal model. The new treatment combines two FDA-approved drugs: a Parkinson's drug, L-dopa, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. These drugs target affected brain circuits and completely eliminate chronic pain behavior. The key is administering the drugs together and shortly after an injury. Nature Neuroscience
COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
• Transcendental Meditation May Help Relieve PTSD: Transcendental meditation may help ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in some soldiers and seems to reduce their need for medication, a new study finds. Military Medicine
• Certain Yoga Positions May Impact Eye Pressure in Glaucoma Patients: Glaucoma patients may experience increased eye pressure as the result of performing several different head-down positions (e.g. downward facing dog, standing forward bend, plow and legs up the wall) while practicing yoga, according to a new study. PLOS ONE
• Music Therapy Increases Effectiveness of Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other chronic respiratory disorders who received music therapy in conjunction with standard rehabilitation saw an improvement in symptoms, psychological well-being and quality of life compared to patients receiving rehabilitation alone, according to a new study. Respiratory Medicine
• Approved Lesinurad to treat hyperuricemia associated with gout
• Orphan drug approval of Uptravi to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension
• Approved Fenix Fecal Continence Restoration System for patients who are not candidates for, or have previously failed, medical or other surgical options.
• Approved the Integra Omnigrat Dermal Rgeneration Matrix to treat diabetic foot ulcers.
• Not too Late for Flu Shot: Flu activity usually peaks in January or February, and flu can strike as late as May, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As long as the virus is circulating, it's not too late to receive a flu shot and protect yourself and others against this seasonal misery.
• Exercise May Lower Heart Disease Risk in Depressed People: Depressed people who weren't physically active had stiffer and more inflamed aortas -- the large artery carrying blood from the heart -- two signs of heart disease. But, in depressed people who exercised, aortic stiffening and inflammation were less common. Journal of the American College of Cardiology
• Bonding With Others May Be Crucial for Long Term Health: Social ties are as important to your long-term health as exercise and healthy eating, a new study suggests. Investigators analyzed data from four surveys of Americans who ranged from adolescents to seniors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
• Could High Dose Vitamin D Help Fight MS: High-dose vitamin D appears safe for people with multiple sclerosis, and it may help quiet the immune system hyperactivity that marks the disease, a small clinical trial finds. The current study shows only that high doses -- 10,400 IU a day -- reduce the proportion of certain immune-system cells that have been implicated in the MS disease process. Neurology
• Eating More Dark Chocolate Might Help You Avoid Pancreatic Cancer: Indiana University researchers found that increasing magnesium intake by 100 milligrams a day decreased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 24 percent. Science Daily
• Americans Still Consume Too Much Salt: More than 90 percent of children and 89 percent of adults consume more sodium than is recommended in the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new guidelines advise no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of salt a day -- about a teaspoon -- for most adults. Most of it comes from processed or restaurant food. MMWR
• New US Dietary Guidelines: Americans need to cut back on added sugars, saturated fats and salt if they want to eat a diet that can improve their health, according to the federal government's latest version of its Dietary Guidelines. Overall, the guidelines emphasize the adoption of a healthy eating pattern that fits into a person's lifestyle, rather than recommending specific amounts of different foods, such as vegetables or meats. "Americans can meet these recommendations by following simple advice: eat more unprocessed foods -- especially fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- and when removing unwanted sugar and fat from your diet, replace those foods with plant-based foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables. "
• DASH Diet Best Overall Eating Plan: For the sixth year in a row, a panel of health experts has named the heart-healthy DASH diet the best overall eating plan, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2016 Best Diets ranking. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was designed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels by limiting fats, red meat and sugar in favor of healthy grains, poultry, low-fat dairy and nuts.
• Sugary Drinks Tied to Increase in Deep Belly Fat: People who drink sugary beverages every day tend to accumulate more deep belly fat over time, new research suggests. The study, of over 1,000 adults, found that those who downed at least one sugar-sweetened drink a day had a bigger increase in deep abdominal fat over the next six years. Circulation
• Green, Leafy Vegetables Each Day May Help Prevent Glaucoma: Eating green leafy vegetables daily may decrease the risk of glaucoma -- a serious eye disease -- by 20 percent or more over many years, a new study suggests. JAMA Ophthalmology
• Flavonoid-Rich Diet Tied to Lower Erectile Dysfunction Risk: A study involving 25,096 middle-aged and older men who have filled out regular health surveys since 1986 found that higher total fruit intake was associated with a 14 percent reduction in the risk of erectile dysfunction. Further, combining flavonoid-rich foods with exercise reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction by 21 percent. The benefits of flavonoids were found to be greatest in men younger than 70. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
• Diet and Exercise Benefit People with Heart Failure: Lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and regular exercise appear to improve heart function and exercise capacity in people with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF). JAMA
• Lower Vitamin D Doses May Be More Effective in Preventing Falls than High Doses in Elderly: Higher doses of vitamin D don't improve mobility for the elderly, and may actually raise the risk for falls among certain seniors. Individuals who took the lowest dose of vitamin D, at 800 IU daily, had less falls than those taking higher doses.. JAMA Internal Medicine
• Male Sexual Enhancement Supplements Often Ineffective, Possibly Harmful: There's no proof that over-the-counter sexual enhancement supplements for men work, and some are potentially dangerous, a new study reports. Some of the supposedly "natural" products have traces of phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors (PDE5Is), the medication found in prescription drugs -- such as Viagra -- used to treat impotence. One study found that 81 percent of tested samples of over-the-counter male sexual enhancement products bought in the United States and Asia contained PDE5Is. Journal of Sexual Medicine
• Researchers Retract Study that Claimed Nitroglycerin Might Boost Bone Density: Some authors of a published study that claimed the heart medicine nitroglycerin might boost bone density in older women have asked that the study be retracted, saying the lead researcher falsified data in the report. The research was first published in February 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The request for a retraction appeared online Dec. 28 on the journal's website. The investigation found that Dr. Sophie Jamal, formerly a researcher with Women's College Hospital in Toronto, fabricated the data for the study. Medline Plus
• Psych Therapies May Have Long Term Benefits for Irritable Bowel Patients: A meta analysis of 41 clinical trials have found that psychological therapies, such as relaxation and hypnosis, have short term and long term benefit for IBS patients. The analysis found several different psychological therapies -- including relaxation, hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy -- equally beneficial in helping people change the way they think. Regardless of the length of treatment, the researchers found the effects may last at least six to 12 months after treatment ends. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
• Statins May Reduce Heart Risks Linked to Sleep Apnea: A new discovery about the way sleep apnea may raise the risk of heart disease also suggests that taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs might reduce that risk, according to a new study. Science Translational Medicine
• Dementia Drug May Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Related Falls: A widely used dementia drug rivastigmine (Exelon) shows potential in reducing the risk of falls among Parkinson's patients, according to a double blind study. The Lancet Neurology
• Frozen as Good as Fresh for Fecal Transplants: A new clinical trial has shown that frozen stool samples work just as well as freshly donated samples when treating a tough C. difficile infection through a procedure called fecal transplantation. JAMA
• Heartburn Meds Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease: Heartburn medication- proton pump inhibitors- (Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid) may be linked to long-term kidney damage, a new study suggests. People who use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have a 20 percent to 50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease compared with nonusers. JAMA Internal Medicine
• Save Money On Meds: Consumer Reports provides six tips for finding the best prescription drug prices including: skip chain drugstores (Costco offered the lowest price); support independents; don’t always use your health insurance; always ask if this is your lowest price; seek a 90 day prescription; look online.
• Asthma May Be Linked to Shingles: Chances of getting painful skin condition 70 percent higher among people with respiratory condition, study finds. The finding builds on previous research that suggested a link between childhood asthma and shingles risk. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
• Cancer Deaths Down 23% Since 1991: "Cancer death rates are continuing to decline by about 1.5 percent per year," since peaking in 1991. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
• Doctor Patient Emails Can Help the chronically Ill: For people with chronic conditions, the ability to communicate with their doctor via email may improve their health, new research suggests. Online communications reduced need for phone calls and office visits for many. American Journal of Managed Care.