“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.
“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.”
“Dementia And How To Help Prevent It”Dec 06, 2020
A new case of dementia is diagnosed every 70 seconds and there is currently no cure or treatments to prevent or cure it. The WHO estimates there are about 50 million people across the globe living with dementia, with nearly 10 million cases being added each year. Approximately 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older currently have the disease, and nearly two-thirds of those are women. It’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is expected to skyrocket as the US population ages. Over 16 million Americans care for people with Alzheimer’s (AD) or other dementias, without pay. Patients with diabetes have a three-fold higher risk for developing dementia, particularly women. Likewise, vascular disease has been shown to be associated with the development of dementia syndromes. Almost half of all dementia cases can be attributed to a small number of modifiable lifestyle risk factors, including smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Here are four simple ways that you can improve your brain health.
“The Multivitamin Myth”Nov 29, 2020
About one-third of Americans routinely take multivitamins in the belief that they contribute to good health. The real concern is that people are wasting money on multivitamins that would better benefit their health if spent elsewhere. As Will Rogers said, “It’s about spending money you don’t have for something you don’t need.” Most experts seriously doubt the “claimed benefits” of these multivitamin supplements and they have found the harmful potential of many of them, including multivitamins. Cases in point, new studies have linked heavy multivitamin use to fatal prostate cancer, increased breast tissue density (associated with breast cancer), and increased allergies and asthma in children. Cancer experts say multivitamins are far less effective than a good diet, exercise and not smoking, each of which can lower cancer risk by 20% to 30%. Research has shown that the best way to obtain the nutrients and minerals you need is through food. When vitamins and minerals have been studied independent of a food, they don’t have the same benefit. Still, U.S. adults who regularly take multivitamins self-reported 30% better overall health than people who don’t use the supplements. However, a comprehensive medical history—assessing dozens of physical and mental illnesses—revealed zero actual health differences between people who did or did not take multivitamins. So, the effect seems to be a placebo or all in their head. Prior studies have found little evidence to support any benefit from multivitamins for an array of health problems ranging from heart disease to cancer.
“Diet Drink Dilemma”Nov 22, 2020
Diet beverages are marketed as healthier, less harmful alternatives to their sugary soda counterparts. People drink diet sodas to help cut calories and to avoid the well-known downsides of too much real sugar. Soda is one of the most demonized junk foods in the United States, topping just about every list of things to avoid for a healthier life. But are these “healthier” alternatives really all they’re advertised to be? Sugary sodas are among the most aggressively marketed beverage products on the planet. Coke and Pepsi, for example, together spent about half a billion dollars to advertise their namesake products to US consumers in 2019. In 2020, the average American will drink about 149 liters of carbonated soft drinks—that’s nearly 40 gallons. Such high levels of consumption earned soda companies $133.7 billion, or an average of $404 from every US consumer in 2019. However, an excess of sugar-sweetened beverages can wreak havoc on health, and lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, gout, decreased bone health, and cavities, among other ill effects. Six sugar substitutes are included on the FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, and approved for use in food: aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k. The plant-derived sweetener stevia gets mixed reviews from the FDA. But are the artificially sweetened drinks safe?
“Interesting Facts About Aging”Nov 15, 2020
Overall, most of the myths surrounding age seem to center on inevitability. People believe that it is inevitable that they will gradually deteriorate into dust as their lives become increasingly unbearable, boring, passionless, and painful. But, admittedly, certain aspects of health do decline with age. Examples of aging-associated diseases are atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, cataracts, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease. The incidence of all of these diseases increases exponentially with age. Physiological changes occur with aging in all organ systems. The cardiac output decreases, blood pressure increases, and arteriosclerosis develops. The lungs show impaired gas exchange, a decrease in vital capacity and slower expiratory flow rates. When you reach your sixties, your skin turns drier and itchier and may look like crepe paper or tissue. Wrinkles, age spots, creases, and bruises become more noticeable. Your sweat glands also get less active. That means you might not sweat as much, but wounds on your skin may take longer to heal. Also, certain things can cause us to age faster. Hormone changes, environmental factors, genetics, and your diet all play a role in how quickly we age. Cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death of older adults, although death rates have dropped in the last 20 years. At what age are we considered “old?” A typical woman in the United States is old at age 73, and a typical man at age 70.
“Tylenol Issues Poisoning Warnings”Nov 08, 2020
Each year, about 100 million Americans use Tylenol (acetaminophen) and it can be found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription products used by nearly one in four Americans every week, including Nyquil cold formula, Panadol, Excedrin pain tablets, and Sudafed sinus pills. This drug can be used very safely to treat minor aches, pains, and fevers in the short-term. However, over the past few decades, unintentional overdoses from acetaminophen have been on the rise in many nations. New research from Switzerland suggests a higher dose of acetaminophen makes it easier for people to accidentally poison themselves, and while this doesn’t often lead to death (we have an effective antidote), it can cause severe liver damage. In 2003, most over-the-counter (OTC) tablets in Switzerland contained roughly 500 milligrams of acetaminophen. But in 2003, the nation introduced a prescription-only tablet containing 1,000 mg of the drug, which quickly became popular and was associated with overdoses. Many people don’t realize that each pill of acetaminophen you swallow adds up in the body. This means taking just a few extra 1,000 milligram tablets can put you at risk of an overdose, easily exceeding the 4,000 recommended milligrams a day for adults. For that very reason, in 2008, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended limiting an adult dose to two tablets containing 325 mg of acetaminophen, with a boxed warning about how toxic byproducts form.
“Prevagen’s Improved Memory Claims are Misleading”Nov 01, 2020
In the absence of a simple answer to the complex problem of dementia and cognitive decline, unproven “brain boosters” like Prevagen continue to see widespread commercial success. So, we need an honest scientific interpretation of the evidence. Dementia refers to a loss of brain function that interferes with daily living and is beyond what can be attributed to normal aging. In 1906, German physician, Alois Alzheimer identified this debilitating dementia, which will claim one in 10 baby boomers. This results in annual costs of $148 billion. Women, African-Americans and Hispanics are at an increased risk, as are those with diabetes and heart disease. Fear of these dreaded diseases has created a $2 billion per year industry and the internet is abuzz with advertisements claiming to improve your brain function. Also known as “smart drugs” and “cognitive enhancers,” nootropics are any substances designed or purported to enhance cognition, including memory, attention, creativity, or overall intelligence.
“Is Exercise More Important Than Diet ?”Oct 18, 2020
Experts say that you can’t outrun your forks and the notion that moving more will translate to weight loss is a dangerous one. Do we need to unhitch exercise from our weight-management wagons? Also, is it how much we are eating or what we are eating? Over the years, studies have found that a high body mass index (BMI) is linked to higher rates of all-cause mortality. Obesity increases the risk of developing dozens of health problems. In the past four decades, obesity rates have doubled in more than 70 countries and steadily increased in almost every country across the world. In 2015, high BMI was found to be the cause of 4 million deaths globally, with more than two-thirds of those deaths due to cardiovascular disease. A recent study suggests that individuals who adhered to a Mediterranean diet, (which emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, unrefined grains, and fermented dairy products) and were overweight—but not obese—had the lowest rates of all-cause mortality. These studies suggest that a diet like this can lead to health benefits like reduced blood pressure, lower inflammation and lipid levels, and improved metabolism. Of course, there are a number of factors at play here. The authors note that overweight people appear to be less likely to exercise. Also, it’s unclear whether exercise is any more important than several other risk-lowering factors, like attaining a higher level of education, according to the results. One of the studies cited found that exercise capacity “is a more powerful predictor of mortality among men than other established risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” including BMI. Another study, which analyzed the health of over 334,000 individuals, found that twice as many deaths could be attributed to a lack of physical activity than those attributed to obesity.
“COVID-19 Distracts from Imminent Global Infectious-Disease Threat”Oct 11, 2020
According to the CDC, nearly 3 million Americans per year contract an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. Of those, roughly 35,000 die. Globally, approximately 700,000 die from these infections every year. The World Health Organization projects that, at current rates, around 10 million people could die from antibiotic-resistant infections annually by 2050. As bacteria become more resistant to antibiotics, the risk of catastrophic consequences increases. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality. Because of the over prescription of antibiotics, the overuse of them in livestock, and other factors, many different kinds of bacterial infections including strains of gonorrhea, tuberculosis, and salmonella have become extremely hard, sometimes even impossible, to treat. That’s because the tiny portion of bacteria that survive these antibiotics evolve and reproduce, developing resistance. Around the world, 230,000 die each year from antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis alone. It’s increasingly likely that bacterial infections will be very difficult to treat if not untreatable. A May review found that among about 2,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients worldwide, 72% received antibiotics even though only 8% had documented bacterial or fungal infections. Experts say that the superbug crisis (“nightmare bacteria”) has been simmering along and needs to be discussed more often.