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Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

“Ups and Downs of Coffee Consumption”

Feb 28, 2021

We love our coffee, but is there a scientific verdict on its health effects? Can it add years to your life? Does it help protect from cardiovascular disease? Should you stop drinking coffee if you’re pregnant? Over half (55%) of the US population drinks coffee on a daily basis, at an average of about 2 cups per day. The U.S. spends $40 billion on coffee each year. But is all this coffee affecting our health or longevity? The American Academy of Pediatrics says caffeine has been linked to harmful effects on young people’s developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. People are bewildered by confusing medical reports related to coffee. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that moderate coffee consumption (3–4 cups per day) was associated with decreased risks of cardiovascular-specific and all-cause mortality. Other researchers found that, in any coffee-drinkers, there was a significant inverse association with the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, endometrial cancer, melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancer. Results showed that drinking 3–4 cups of coffee per day provided the best risk reduction for cardiovascular disease. Their analysis confirmed that coffee consumption had beneficial health impacts on longevity. Likewise, an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that the consumption of 2–5 standard cups of coffee per day was associated with reduced mortality in studies conducted throughout the world and across various demographics.

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“Common Drugs May Mimic Dementia”

Feb 21, 2021

Older people often take multiple medications, and this can spell trouble for dementia patients. Dementia is increasing at an alarming rate. Alzheimer disease and other dementias are notoriously challenging to treat. While some drugs may slow cognitive deterioration, none will reverse the condition. Approximately 6 million Americans have dementia and nearly a half-million new Alzheimer’s cases will be diagnosed annually. A 2020 report in The Lancet estimates that roughly 50 million people around the world live with dementia. Dementia, which is not technically a disease but a term for impaired ability to think, remember or make decisions, is one of the most feared impairments of old age. About 5% of those age 71 to 79 have dementia, and about 37% of those about 90 years old live with it. We now know that many common drugs may lead to side effects that mimic dementia symptoms, making it even more difficult to diagnose and treat. Last year, several physicians described dementia patients whose increasing levels of confusion appeared to have been caused by a litany of medications they’d been prescribed. The phenomenon, known as “medication fog,” may be a bigger problem than we had thought. An estimated 91% of people over the age of 65 take at least one prescribed medication, and 41% use five or more, which doctors refer to as “polypharmacy.”

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“Some Foods Not As Bad As Claimed”

Feb 14, 2021

We are constantly warned about eating harmful foods. However, many may not be as harmful as claimed. Some foods are best eaten in moderation rather than eliminated entirely from the diet. Fried Foods. In North America, 25-36% of adults consume foods, usually fried, from fast food restaurants every day. Moderation and variety with any food is the key to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Total fried food consumption of at least one serving per day was associated with a modestly higher but not significant risk of cardiovascular mortality. Over-consumption gets you into trouble so enjoy fried foods in moderation. Meat. The newly revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, recommend that we limit our intake of red and processed meats, stating they are “in and of themselves, associated with detrimental health outcomes.” What remains up for debate is the amount of red meat consumption that is considered safe. Some evidence suggests that moderate amounts of meat may offer health benefits. For 12 centuries, the consumption of meat was largely banned in Japan, for religious and health reasons. This changed in the period following World War II when intake of animal products began to increase. According to an article published in Nature in 2020, one of the reasons for Japan’s high rates of cerebrovascular mortality was that people were not getting enough cholesterol, which is an important part of building strong blood vessel walls.

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“Six Foods To Eat At Your Own Risk”

Feb 07, 2021

Moderation and variety with any food is the key to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. However, there are some foods to intentionally avoid at all costs. Certain foods that are unhealthy and it’s not always obvious which ones they are. So, here are six that need recognition. 1) Doughnuts. Some claim doughnuts are not intended for human consumption. One single glazed doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts packs a whopping 14 g of fat, which equals 22% of your recommended daily intake (RDA). Unbelievably, it would take the average person 70 minutes of walking at 3 miles per hour to burn off one glazed doughnut. 2) Processed deli meats. Preservatives are the main difference in processed versus unprocessed meats, with sodium levels being about 400 times higher in processed meats. Too much sodium is bad for you. Researchers of a meta-analysis found a moderate positive correlation between processed meat consumption and mortality—not only from cardiovascular disease but cancer as well.  To see the rest of the list, please download the complete article.

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“Tips To Increase Longevity”

Jan 31, 2021

According to the CDC, Americans have a shorter life expectancy than almost all other high-income countries. In 2016, the United States ranked 43rd among all nations’ life expectancies, with an average lifespan of 78.7 years. In 2019, the agency calculated that the average American has a life expectancy of 78.8 years. That falls short of comparable countries like Australia or France, whose residents can expect to live 82.6 years, and for the United Kingdom and Germany, about 81 years. But the future of the world’s health is not preordained. Experts say that the top three health drivers behind the future trajectory for early death will be metabolic factors—high blood pressure, high body mass index, and high blood sugar. Other top drivers of premature mortality will be tobacco and alcohol use, and air pollution. Admittedly, COVID-19 and its death toll dominated 2020 and may extend well into the future. Here are some tips to adopt for a longer life, based on the latest studies and expert opinions. Recommendations are to avoid meat and consume a diet composed of 90%-100% plants. However, I would personally have a difficult time following this course strenuously. Journalist Dan Buettner, who wrote the book, The Blue Zones Solution, found vegetarians in Loma Linda (a Blue Zone in California) often outlive their meat-eating peers by up to 8 years. Consider making olive oil a staple. Buettner found that taking in about 6 tablespoons of olive oil daily appears to cut the risk of premature mortality by 50%, which I personally have difficulty believing.

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“Worsening New COVID-19 Dangers and Concerns”

Jan 24, 2021

Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association, announced that COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S. We are now being informed that the coronavirus variant detected in South Africa poses a “significant re-infection risk” and raises concerns over vaccine effectiveness. Several new variants—each with a cluster of genetic mutations—have emerged in recent weeks, sparking fears over an increase in infectiousness as well as suggestions that the virus could begin to elude immune response, whether from prior infection or a vaccine. These new variants, detected from Britain, South Africa, and Brazil, have mutations to the virus’ spike protein, which is key in vaccination immunity. And it is one mutation in particular—known as E484K and present in the variants detected in South Africa and Brazil but not the one from Britain—that has experts particularly worried about immunity “escape.” Another variant found there—called 501Y.V2—was resistant to neutralizing antibodies built up from prior infection. In short, it resists “monoclonal antibodies,” which helped in the recovery of President Trump. The 501Y.V2 lineage is largely resistant to neutralizing antibodies elicited by infection with previously circulating lineages. In other words, the immune response is not working against this variant. Experts said, “This suggests that, despite the many people who have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 globally and are presumed to have accumulated some level of immunity, new variants such as 501Y.V2 pose a significant re-infection risk.” Also, this might additionally affect the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19.

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“Seafood Has Few Downsides”

Jan 10, 2021

Health experts often advise: “Eat more fish.” The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet. As a lean, readily available protein, fish is widely considered a healthy food choice that billions of people around the world rely on for nutrition. Seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, offers health benefits for the general population—including pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition to protein, fish provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12, and E, plus iron, selenium, zinc, and iodine. Fish are also good sources of vitamin D and phosphorus. The guidelines note that eating about 8 ounces of seafood per week is linked to fewer cardiac deaths among people with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease, based on scientific evidence. However, fish has also been the subject of public health advisories, due to the presence of contaminants that can be harmful to health. Seafood is the main source of human exposure to methylmercury, a powerful neurotoxin. In the United States, 82% of population-wide exposure to methylmercury comes from eating marine seafood and nearly 40% is from fresh and canned tuna. When ingested at high levels, this heavy metal can cause nerve damage in otherwise healthy adults, young children, and during fetal development. The fish with the highest mercury levels include king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, bigeye tuna, and tilefish. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that pregnant women eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish (the kind with lower mercury levels) per week and that adults, in general, eat at least 8 ounces per week.

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“Sleep Linked to Good Mental Health”

Jan 03, 2021

We sleep for 1/3 of our lifetimes or about 24.9 years. People who cannot sleep, die. Rats die after about 17 days of total sleep deprivation. A new study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that future lifestyle interventions targeting sleep quality may be most beneficial at improving mental health and wellbeing. Young adults should prioritize getting good quality sleep, but they also stress the importance of eating well and exercising often since “physical activity and diet” are secondary but still significant factors. The study ranked sleep, physical activity and diet as influencers of good mental health. Sleep, physical activity, and a healthy diet can be thought of as three pillars of health, which could contribute to promoting optimal well-being among young adults. Sleep quality outranked them all as the strongest predictor of good mental health. People who slept close to 10 hours per night reported fewer depressive symptoms, but not enough (<8 h) or too much sleep (>12 h) had people reporting more symptoms of depression. Eating moderate servings of raw fruit and veggies each day also correlated with better wellbeing. Some previous research suggests healthy behaviors such as eating well or exercising often can have a synergistic effect on wellbeing. Researchers have shown no adverse effect of nighttime exercise on sleep. In fact, exercise and sleep can be mutually beneficial. Disrupted sleep has been linked to poor mental health before, including depression and other mood disorders.

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“COVID-19 Claimed to Be Number One Cause of Death in America”

Dec 27, 2020

According to an editorial published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. Current daily mortality rates to show that COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S. Heart disease and cancer, which have been the leading causes of death for decades, cause approximately 1,700 and 1,600 deaths per day, respectively. But since November, the weekly average for daily COVID-19 deaths has tripled, from 826 to 2,430 deaths per day. One American is dying of COVID-19 every 40 seconds now. Steven Woolf, M.D., director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health, said “It’s a tragic milestone we could’ve prevented. Looking ahead offers the hope of the vaccine, but it’s not coming fast enough to save the people who are dying now.” Woolf also said, “It’s urgent for Americans to get serious about wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, or else we’re going to see more alarming numbers and COVID-19 will remain a leading cause of death for far too long.” Personally, I feel we have been given these directives to create a false sense of security.

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“Aging Partially Reversed Using Hyperbaric Oxygen”

Dec 20, 2020

In a first, scientists say they have partially reversed a cellular aging process in humans. Every time a cell inside your body replicates there is a shortening of telomeres, structures that ‘cap’ the tips of our chromosomes. Now, scientists in Israel say they have been able to reverse this process and extend the length of telomeres in a small study involving 26 patients. In this study, the researchers were able to show that the genetic changes provoked by hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has extended telomeres, and also had a potentially positive effect on the health of the tissues themselves. It is an impressive claim – and something many other researchers have attempted in the past without success. But of course, it is worth noting that this is a small sample size, and the results will need to be replicated before we can get too excited. Researcher Shair Efrati, a physician from the Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, said, “After the twin experiment was done by NASA, where one of the twins was sent out to the outer space and the other stayed on Earth, demonstrated a significant difference in their telomere length we have realized that changes in the outside environment may affect the core cellular changes that happen along with aging.”

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