A few years ago vitamin D was being touted as the latest and greatest miracle supplement. Low vitamin D levels were linked to all kinds of conditions—autoimmune diseases, heart disease, chronic pain, osteoporosis, some cancers, and more—so doctors started prescribing high-dose supplements.
Or people just bought vitamin D supplements at the store and dosed themselves. Sometimes way over the recommended upper limit of 4,000 IU/day.
Multiple research studies, however, have found little help from vitamin D supplements in treating or preventing most of these conditions.
Most recently is a well-done study out of Australia, published in last week’s Journal of … Continue reading
I’ve previously posted that Nexium and similar acid-reducing drugs, the PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), have been linked to an increased risk of heart attack .
Now, a new study has confirmed a connection between PPIs and dementia.
The patients receiving regular PPI medication…had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication…
The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia.
The study specifically looked at PPI use in patients age 75 and older, who are frequently taking several prescription medications.
This is an important study, because as the health news … Continue reading
A couple years ago my state, Washington, legalized pot.
It’s been a boon for tax revenue, for sure (almost $83 million in the first year). And the state reports that it has saved millions of dollars by freeing up law enforcement resources.
Judging from the lines in front of the pot stores (green crosses are everywhere!), pot is really popular here, across a wide range of ages.
But apart from its commercial success, and the fact that it’s given us more stoned drivers, the law concerns me because it seems to promote the idea that smoking pot … Continue reading
A friend and I were discussing the documentary That Sugar Film the other day and she asked me about the claim in the movie that artificial sweeteners were bad for you, too, because they actually made you eat more.
I couldn’t recall exactly what was said in the film, but decided to do a little research on my own to answer her question.
The FDA-approved artificial sweeteners are saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), neotame, sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame K (Sweet One) and stevia (Truvia).
Because they are “low-energy” sweeteners and don’t contain any calories, it seems a no brainer … Continue reading
It probably wasn’t the best idea to watch this documentary just a few days before one of the most sugar-laden holidays of the year.
On the other hand, I will definitely be more conscious about how much sugar I eat and will hopefully avoid a huge sugar hangover—that slightly sick, tired, yucky feeling I get after eating too many sweet foods.
That Sugar Film is one of several sugar documentaries that have come out recently that attempt to show us just how bad sugar is for our health.
Related story from Time: Sugar is definitely toxic, a new study says… Continue reading
Women who take common antidepressants while pregnant have a slightly higher risk of their children developing autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
This study was just released by JAMA Pediatrics.
Use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of ASD in children, even after considering maternal depression. Further research is needed to specifically assess the risk of ASD associated with antidepressant types and dosages during pregnancy.
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, include Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) and Sertraline (Zoloft).
They are by far the … Continue reading
If, like me, you’re interested in science and putting a little more “evidence-based” into your health, check out Is That a Fact?: Frauds, Quacks, and the Real Science of Everyday Life by Dr. Joe Schwarcz.
Dr. Schwarcz, a chemist as well as a radio host and a best-selling author, brings some much-needed attention to the overabundance of health information found on the internet and in the media.
As he says in the book’s introduction:
We suffer from information overload. Just Google a subject and within a second, you can be flooded with a million references.
The University of Google is
… Continue reading
Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it was going to classify red meat and processed meats (bacon, hots dogs, salami, pepperoni, etc.) as cancer causing agents.
I mentally thought about all the bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni pizzas, and pastrami sandwiches I have fed my son through the years. What kind of a mother am I? (In my defense, my son’s had WAY more fruit and vegetables than average.)
Thank heavens Dr. Aaron Carroll over at Healthcare Triage understood my pain and made this great video to reassure me that I am not the worst mother ever!
Every fall my house becomes a mine field of spider webs. When I go out the front door, I immediately step face-first into a big, black, eight-legged bug. Yuck.
Whether it’s spiders preparing for the winter, or fleas and mosquitoes enjoying the wetter but still warm late-summer days, insects are just more bothersome in the fall.
I remember in my childhood my mother used to carry around a huge can of Raid and practically spray it in our faces when she saw a wasp or fly or spider.
Um, that’s not a good idea.
A recent study published in Pediatrics… Continue reading
I’ve always been fascinated by the history of medicine and nursing. That’s why I have a degree in medical history as well as nursing.
So I was delighted when the folks at Fusion sent me this YouTube video with an invitation to put in on my blog:
The Doctor Who Jammed a Catheter Into His Heart
In just a couple minutes it tells the interesting tale of Dr. Werner Forssmann, who in 1929 had the crazy idea to thread a catheter through his arm and into his heart (he wasn’t allowed to experiment on … Continue reading