Hello everyone!

I am so grateful to have been able to run this health website for almost a year. Thank you, dear loyal followers and readers, for having been part of it. It has been a great success and a steep learning curve! 🙂


I have recently moved to a smaller French-speaking town in Quebec (Trois-Rivieres) to start my residency in family medicine. I have quickly realized how very few health and well-being resources exist in French for people who do not speak English. Although I have studied medicine in English, I am fluent in French and will be doing my medical residency here, in Trois-Rivieres, in French. I consider it my duty to bridge this gap in lack of medical information available to French populations and thus, starting this week, I will be writing most of my entries on this website IN FRENCH! I am also hoping to bring my health events and workshops to smaller Quebec communities, mostly in French.

Moreover, this website will undergo a lot of interface changes over the next few weeks in order to adapt to a different language and make it even more practical and user-friendly. The website will also be renamed shortly.

I want to thank all of you for being part of this, and I hope that you have learned a thing or 2 about health & well-being. Until next time, au revoir 😉

FDA Calls for Less Salt in Processed Foods

Source: FDA Calls for Less Salt in Processed Foods – WebMD

Agency sets short- and long-term goals in effort to cut Americans’ risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants the food industry to cut back on the salt.

In draft voluntary guidelines issued Wednesday, the agency set both two-year and 10-year goals for lower sodium content in hundreds of processed and prepared foods. The aim is to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke among Americans, according to the FDA.
“Many Americans want to reduce sodium in their diets, but that’s hard to do when much of it is in everyday products we buy in stores and restaurants,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in an FDA statement.”Today’s announcement is about putting power back in the hands of consumers, so that they can better control how much salt is in the food they eat and improve their health,” she added. Continue reading

Mayo Clinic Minute: Less Salt Doesn’t Mean Less Flavor

Source: Mayo Clinic News Network

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a draft of voluntary guidelines encouraging food manufacturers, restaurants and food service operations to reduce sodium in prepared foods. The average American adult’s salt intake is approximately 3,400 milligrams per day, which is more than the 2,300 milligrams per day recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans .

The goal of the new guidelines is to make a difference in salt intake when dining out; however, as an executive chef from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program demonstrates, there are ways to reduce salt in your kitchen. Jeff Olsen has more in this Mayo Clinic Minute.

Mayo Clinic Minute: The Truth About Gluten

Source: Mayo Clinic News Network

May is Celiac Awareness Month, and the Celiac Disease Foundation wants to make the process of going gluten-free easier for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease. Mayo Clinic experts agree that people with celiac disease should not consume gluten. But, many people who don’t have celiac disease also go gluten-free, because it makes them feel better. Dr. Joseph Murray says for that group, gluten may not be the issue.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, reporter Vivien Williams discusses gluten with Dr. Murray.

Gluten-Free Diets Are Not Necessarily Healthier, Doctors Warn

Source: Gluten-Free Diets Are Not Necessarily Healthier, Doctors Warn

Some kids are following a gluten-free diet even though they do not have a medical condition that requires avoiding gluten, and this is worrying some doctors.

Gluten-free foods are not necessarily healthier. In fact, they can be higher in calories, and may not be enriched with vitamins and minerals that are important for children, said study co-author Dr. Eyad Almallouhi, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Continue reading

JGH/McGill Cardiovascular Imaging Symposium (FREE)

JGH/McGill Cardiovascular Imaging Symposium (FREE)

Saturday, Jun 4, 2016, 8:00 AM

Centre Mont-Royal
2200 Rue Mansfield, H3A 3H8 Montreal, QC

1 healthy lifestylers Attending

Registration is FREE and a meal is included ;)Under the theme:Meeting the Challenges of Tomorrow: Integrating New Technologies and Working with New UsersKeynote Speaker: Jae K. Oh, MD Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN, United States From Tamponade to Constrictive Pericarditis: Promoting a Simplified, Multimodality …

Check out this Meetup →

Fasting no longer necessary before cholesterol test, experts say

Source: Fasting no longer necessary before cholesterol test, experts say – Medical News Today

For the first time, a team of international experts recommends that most people do not need to fast before having their cholesterol and triglyceride levels tested.
[Cholesterol test]
Researchers say fasting before a cholesterol test is unnecessary.

Fasting is a problem for many patients, they explain, and note the latest research shows that cholesterol and triglyceride levels are similar whether people fast or not. Continue reading

Mediterranean diet linked to a healthier heart

Source: Mediterranean diet linked to a healthier heart – Medical News Today

Choosing to eat a Mediterranean diet is better for people with heart disease than avoiding the unhealthy contents of a so-called Western diet, says research published in the European Heart Journal.

A Mediterranean diet includes a high proportion of fruit, vegetables, fish, and unrefined foods. A Western diet contains refined grains, sweets, desserts, sugared drinks, and deep-fried food.

The new research shows that the Mediterranean diet can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease.

At the same time, it suggests that if people avoid the unhealthy aspects of a Western diet, they also avoid worsening their risk of cardiac problems.

Guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend frequent consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish, and other whole foods, say the authors of the current report. Continue reading

Patients are not customers

Source: Patients are not customers.  Here are 6 reasons why.

Recently I wrote about the problems with maintenance of certification requirements. One of the phrases I repeatedly read when I was researching the piece was “the patient as customer.”

Here’s a quote from the online journal produced by Accenture, the management consulting company:

Patients are less forgiving of poor service than they once were, and the bar keeps being raised higher because of the continually improving service quality offered by other kinds of companies with whom patients interact — overnight delivery services, online retailers, luxury auto dealerships and more. With these kinds of cross-sector comparisons now the norm, hospitals will have to venture beyond the traditional realm of merely providing world-class medical care. They must put in place the operations and processes to satisfy patients through differentiated experiences that engender greater loyalty. The key is to approach patients as customers, and to design the end-to-end patient experience accordingly.

Except for one thing. Patients are not customers. Continue reading

Take a FREE 2-week webinar course: Living Your Calling

13010797_10100900508645359_1318403916692274435_nMeet Rosanna Tomiuk, a well-known personal & business life coach, professional athlete and musician, who is offering for the first time a FREE course online on “Living Your Calling”. She is quite an amazing person and public speaker, and you will not be disappointed! 🙂

Here is the link: Living Your Calling course

What You’ll Learn In This Introductory Course

How to:

  • Identify your passions
  • Gain clarity around what your strengths are
  • Discover the ingredients to living your calling
  • Make room for what matters in your life
  • Overcome the challenges you’ll face in living your calling

Week 1 Contents: DISCOVERY

Week 1 contents will be released on April 25th and can be covered at your own pace. Watch the videos and then do the corresponding Activity Sheets. The focus of this week is Discovery!

Week 2 Contents: ACTION

Week 2 Contents will be released on May 2nd. Like Module 1, you can cover the contents at your own pace. The focus of this week is Action!


Tune in to CJAD 800AM radio station tonight at 10pm

Tune in to CJAD 800AM radio station tonight (around Montreal,QC) at 10pm for an interview with our own Ivan Rubio (psychotherapist and counselor at PAE and Optima Santé Globale Inc., and founder of Compass Orientation Services) who specializes on the topics of anxiety, depression and self-esteem.

He is the host at many of our upcoming mental health events/workshops and will explain more about those as well 🙂

I have known Ivan Rubio, as a friend and colleague, for almost 10 years and his dedication and passion for mental health are beyond imaginable!

Check out his facebook business page below. His website is coming up very soon!


12 Surprising Ways Sleep Makes You Happy, Healthy and Wealthy

Source: 12 Surprising Ways Sleep Makes You Happy, Healthy and Wealthy

Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. — Thomas Dekker

Are you struggling to control your weight?

Do you catch every cold going around?

Are you struggling to concentrate at work?

Is your sex drive slowly shrinking?

And are those bags under your eyes slowly enlarging?

Face it, you’re tired.

No, not tired, exhausted.

You’re one step away from overwhelm or burnout.

And if you’re honest, you know it’s impacting on your partner, your kids, your work and your health.

And it might just be killing you.

I used to be the same, but I finally understood why a good night’s sleep should be top of my, and your, to-do list.

Continue reading

What is the key to healthy aging? New gene study sheds light

Source: What is the key to healthy aging? New gene study sheds light – Medical News Today

A new study may bring us closer to unlocking the secret to healthy aging, after uncovering an array of genetic variants among healthy, elderly individuals that may protect against Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
[Happy older people in a circle]
Researchers have uncovered some of the secrets of healthy aging with their new gene study.

The findings come from the ongoing “Wellderly” study, in which researchers have so far applied whole genome sequencing to the DNA of more than 1,400 healthy individuals from the US aged 80-105 years.

Launched in 2007, the study aims to pinpoint certain genetic variants that may contribute to lifelong health.

“This study is exciting because it is the first large one using genetic sequencing to focus on health,” says Michael Snyder, PhD, chairman of the Department of Genetics at Stanford University in California, who was not involved with the research. Continue reading

Life expectancy depends on wealth and where you live

Source: Life expectancy depends on wealth and where you live – Medical News Today

How long a person in the US can expect to live may depend on where he or she lives, as well as income, says research published online by JAMA. Findings show that from 2001-2014, wealthier people, on the whole, could expect to live longer, but the odds varied according to location; and the gaps are getting wider.
[flag and stethoscope]
Where you live can impact how long you live.

Previous research has revealed a link between higher incomes and longevity, but the more complex picture is far from complete.

It remains unclear, for example, how the gaps between socioeconomic groups are changing over time, and what effect living in a specific place has on life expectancy.

The roles played by inequality, socioeconomic stress and differences in access to medicine are also subject to debate. Continue reading

What is a Cardiac Risk Calculator? What are the Best Heart Health Predictors?

Source: What is a Cardiac Risk Calculator? What are the Best Heart Health Predictors? – Medical News Today

There are three considerations about cardiac risk calculators. The first is that, whichever exact approach is taken, the idea is the same – to take measurements of cardiovascular health and analyze them for guidance on future potential heart problems and their prevention.

The second is that while the factors are common to whichever calculator is used, it is often one recommended by a doctor, validated for as much scientific accuracy as possible.

Health care professionals take the cardiac risk measurements and can help understand results and explain what to do about them to help avoid heart attack and stroke.

The third is that a prediction of future chances of heart problems is just that – a prediction. It is not supposed to be as scary or as certain as it might sound.

Risks can be put into perspective, and they would not be calculated unless there was something worthwhile that could be done to reduce them.

For some people, the predicted cardiac risk is so low that there would be no need to worry about further screening.

The reason why medicine has developed cardiovascular risk calculators is for the major effort to take on “the common risk factors fueling the epidemic of cardiovascular disease” Continue reading

Health, well-being no different for children raised in same-sex parent families

Source: Health, well-being no different for children raised in same-sex parent families – Medical News Today

Among stable families, the health and well-being of children raised by parents of the same sex are no different to that of children raised by parents of different sexes. This is the conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
[Two mothers with their son]
The health and well-being for children raised in same-sex parent families is no different to those raised in different-sex parent families.

The number of same-sex parents in the US has increased significantly in recent years. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, there are currently 594,000 same-sex couple households in the US, of whom around 27% have children.

Most studies investigating the health and well-being of children within same-sex parent families have found they fare just as well as children from families with different-sex parents. Continue reading

Cancer risk falls with higher levels of vitamin D

Source: Cancer risk falls with higher levels of vitamin D – Medical News Today

Researchers suggest improving people’s blood level of vitamin D could be an important tool for preventing cancer, after their study found that the risk of developing the disease rises as vitamin D levels fall.
Vitamin D written in sand
The study links low levels of vitamin D – produced by the body through exposure to sunshine – to higher risk of developing cancer.

In the journal PLOS One, researchers from the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine report how they analyzed the link between vitamin D and cancer to determine what blood level of vitamin D was required to effectively reduce cancer risk.

The study included all invasive cancers, excluding skin cancer. Continue reading

Eat fresh fruits daily to reduce your risk of cardiovascular death

Source: Eating fresh fruits daily may reduce your risk of cardiovascular death – Medical News Today

New research provides further evidence of the health benefits of fruit consumption, after finding that eating fresh fruits daily may lower the risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.
[Mixed fruits]
Eating fresh fruit every day can benefit heart health.

Dr. Huaidong Du, of the University of Oxford in the UK, and colleagues recently published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Under the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults who get less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily consume 1.5-2 cups of fruits each day, based on evidence that including fruits as part of a healthy diet reduces the risk of some chronic diseases. Continue reading

Doctors today: Young, broke and human

Source: Doctors today: Young, broke and human

“Oh, you’re my doctor? A woman?”

Who do you picture walking through the exam room door at your new doctor’s office? Is it the Norman Rockwell depiction of an older, jolly looking male? After residency, I was alarmed at how many patients commented on my age and gender:

“How old are you, 12?” or, “Oh, you’re my doctor? A woman?”

This got me thinking about misconceptions people have about doctors, and I thought I could share a few things many people may not know about their favorite neighborhood doctor. Continue reading

Decoding Food Expiration Dates

Source: Mayo Clinic News Network

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating across America. There are some common freshness codes stamped on items in stores, but the information can be confusing. 

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, dietitian Angie Murad decodes the dates and explains that most don’t have anything to do with expiration. Jeff Olsen reports. 

9 things doctors wished you didn’t keep in your home

Source: Life Hack Thursday: 9 things doctors wished you didn’t keep in your home | CTV News

The staff working in hospital emergency and trauma departments see a lot of injuries come through the doors every day, including those they know could have been avoided.

So what are some unexpected things commonly found in many homes that cause easily preventable injuries? We spoke to a few doctors and a registered nurse to find out.

Microwaveable soups

“You know those heatable soups that come in Styrofoam cups? I’ve seen a huge number of people get burned very badly from opening those,” says Toronto-area emergency room physician, Dr. Brett Belchetz. Continue reading

The Current Opioid Epidemic

Source: The opioid epidemic: It’s time to place blame where it belongs

The media is full of stories about the current opioid crisis. But unlike many national crises, such as the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis, the focus is on solutions and not blame. A few weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for prescribing opioids in chronic pain, Congress approved funding for prevention and treatment, and the US HHS released a “National Pain Strategy.”

So to fulfill my duty as an American, allow me to place blame for our current opioid crisis. Allow me to start with physicians. We overprescribe opioids, just as we overprescribe antibiotics. But it is generally well meaning; we don’t want our patients to experience pain. Healthy Living magazine recently published a heart-wrenching story of a woman whose life was nearly destroyed by two weeks of oxycodone prescribed by a well-meaning physician for arthritis. These physicians can best be described as innocent bystanders. But “pill mill” doctors who set up shop, accept cash as the only payment and are willing to prescribe to anyone for any ailment, real or feigned, are criminals and need to be stopped. They cast a long shadow on the work of every other physician trying to help patients. Continue reading

The Ideal Amount of Sleep for Each Age Group, According to the Experts

Source: The Ideal Amount of Sleep for Each Age Group, According to the Experts

It seems like a question that’s as old as time itself: “How much sleep do I really need?” The nonprofit National Sleep Foundation and a panel of 18 prominent medical scientists and researchers reviewed over 300 sleep studies to try and finally answer it.

The short answer is, of course, “it depends.” There’s no perfect sleep number that can fit every person, but The National Sleep Foundation’s major report—recently published in their own Sleep Health Journal—has revealed an updated list of sleep duration recommendations for all age groups. Continue reading

Mayo Clinic Minute: Mediterranean Diet Improves Bone Health

Source: Mayo Clinic News Network

Women who eat a Mediterranean diet are slightly less likely to fracture a hip, according to a new study.

Researchers examined whether diet quality affects bone health in postmenopausal women. Study results, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, show women who adhered to a Mediterranean diet were 0.29 percent less likely to fracture a hip than women who didn’t stick to the diet.

The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits and vegetables, and lower in red meats and dairy; however, it’s more than just a list of ingredients. In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Jeff Olsen talks to Dr. Donald Hensrud, director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, about the staples and subtleties that make up the Mediterranean diet.

Less than 3 percent of Americans have ‘healthy lifestyle’

Source: Less than 3 percent of Americans have ‘healthy lifestyle’ –

If living healthy was a class, the vast majority of us would be flunking, a study published recently in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings has found.

Just 2.7 percent of Americans have a “healthy lifestyle,” which researchers defined as hitting all four benchmarks of good health. They are: not smoking; getting regular, moderate exercise; eating a diet rich in vegetables and whole grains and low in saturated fat, and maintaining a low body fat. Continue reading

Cactus disease (paleo-induced mineral periostitis) | Radiology Case |

Source: Cactus disease (paleo-induced mineral periostitis) | Radiology Case |

Case Discussion:

Paleo-induced mineral periostitis (PiMP) is a recently recognised disease attributed to the so-called “paleo diet”. It most frequently involves the metacarpals and phalanges producing perpendicular periosteal projections (“spines”), an appearance that has lead to the alternative name of “cactus disease”. In severe cases the spines can tent the skin and present clinically, although the majority of cases are only detected radiographically after patients complain of hand pain, particularly when squeezing fruits (e.g. crushing goji berries).

Proponents of the paleo diet continue to deny that it causes PiMP, however a strong temporal association and correlation between length of diet and disease severity have proved scientifically robust; 2016 Cochrane Library metareview. Supportive archeological evidence from paleolithic human populations also exists including cave paintings in Argentina showing cactus hands 12,000 years ago (pictured above).

The European Society for Hand Models recently listed the paleo diet as a category 5 risk (alongside wood work, wicket keeping and thumb wrestling) after founding member Spike E. Hanzenfeat announced that his once “really really, ridiculously good looking hands” had been “internally shashlicked” within seven months of commencing the diet. A Broadway adaptation of his story entitled “The Stuff Fools Swallow” is expected in late 2017.

Increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 shows very promising outcomes – NEJM

Source: Have Tobacco 21 Laws Come of Age? — NEJM

On January 20, 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill passed with strong bipartisan support by his state legislature that would have raised New Jersey’s minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21. The veto is a setback in an otherwise accelerating movement toward dissemination of “Tobacco 21” laws as a new tool for reducing young people’s access to cigarettes and e-cigarettes. In 2013, only 8 U.S. localities had adopted Tobacco 21 laws. By March 2016, at least 125 localities and the state of Hawaii had done so, and California was on the cusp of following suit. In September 2015, the first federal Tobacco 21 legislation was introduced (Tobacco to 21 Act, S. 2100). Continue reading

The Spectacular Benefits Of Non-Exercise: How Little Movements Add Up To A Healthier Day

Source: The Spectacular Benefits Of Non-Exercise: How Little Movements Add Up To A Healthier Day | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

When I interview James Levine, appropriately enough it’s a walk-and-talk affair. Levine practically coined the phrase “sitting is the new smoking,” so a couch or table conversation would not have felt right. And Levine hates sitting still. He takes any opportunity to fit a little more movement into the day, even if it means putting aside modern conveniences. Levine is someone who wouldn’t buy a Roomba if he could push around an old Hoover instead.

It’s the middle of the day when we hustle around the Mayo Clinic campus, in Phoenix. The sun is bearing down and it’s a struggle to keep up with Levine’s pace. He reels off statistics about the obesity epidemic (now a global phenomenon), overeating, and how our lives are designed to reduce calorie expenditure. We’ve created a world where food is cheap and always available, but where our opportunity to spend the energy we get from eating it is limited, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t like going to the gym. Continue reading

Hydrogel: the future of ‘smart Band-Aids’

Source: Hydrogel: the future of ‘smart Band-Aids’ – Medical News Today

A Band-Aid may never be the[Stretchy hydrogel] same again; engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with the latest model of stick-on dressing: a sticky, stretchy, gel-like material that can incorporate temperature sensors, LED lights and other electronics, as well as tiny, drug-delivering reservoirs and channels.

The “smart wound dressing” releases medication as needed, in response to changes in skin temperature. It can even light up if the medication supply is running low.

The new dressing stretches with the body. Not only will it remain in place when the wearer bends the knee or the elbow, but its embedded structures and electronics also remain intact and functional when stretched.

The team that designed and created the new hydrogel dressing was led by Prof. Xuanhe Zhao, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Mechanical Engineering. Continue reading

WHEN you eat could be as important as WHAT you eat

Source: When you eat could be as important as what you eat – Medical News Today

Mitochondria – the tiny power centers inside cells that burn nutrients like sugar to make energy – are tightly controlled by the body’s biological or circadian clock. Consequently, there is an optimum time when sugar-burning is most efficient.
A man eating breakfast
In tests on mice, the researchers found the body clock controls the optimum times for sugar- and fat-burning in the body, suggesting when we eat may be as important as what we eat.

This was the main conclusion of a study by researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers say their findings may explain why people who sleep and eat out of phase with their body clocks are more likely to become overweight and obese and develop chronic diseases, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Continue reading

Refusal to immunize linked to outbreaks of measles and pertussis

Source: Refusal to immunize linked to outbreaks of measles and pertussis – Medical News Today

Amid increasing concern about measles and pertussis outbreaks in the US, a new study shows that having incomplete or no vaccination significantly increases the chance of infection. The findings are published in JAMA.
[child with rash and fever]
People who do not have MMR or DTaP vaccines run a higher risk of contracting several diseases.

The symptoms of measles include a fever, cough and the characteristic measles rash all over the body. It can also lead to ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, brain damage and even death.

Immunization can cause minor side effects, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge people to seek immunization rather than risk developing the disease. Continue reading

As measures of health, fitness and fatness matter more than weight

Source: As measures of health, fitness and fatness matter more than weight – LA Times

Researchers are nurturing a growing suspicion that body mass index, the height-weight calculation that distinguishes those with “normal healthy weight” from the overweight and obese, is not the whole picture when it comes to telling who is healthy and who is not. Two new studies drive that point home and underscore that BMI offers an incomplete picture of an individual’s health.

Fitness matters, as does fatness. And the BMI is an imperfect measure of both.

In one study published Monday, researchers found that in a group of more than 1.5 million Swedish military recruits, men who had poor physical fitness at age 18 were three times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in midlife than were those who had been highly fit on the cusp of adulthood. That effect was found independent of BMI, family history or socioeconomic status.

Continue reading

U.S. Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall

Source: U.S. Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall

Overall rates of cancer and deaths from cancer in the United States continue to decline, a newly released report says.

However, an increase in liver cancer deaths is cause for concern, the report authors noted. An increase in hepatitis C infections is likely a major reason for the increase, they said.

“The latest data show many cancer prevention programs are working and saving lives,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news release from the organizations that issued the report.

“But the growing burden of liver cancer is troublesome. We need to do more work promoting hepatitis testing, treatment, and vaccination,” Frieden added. Continue reading

E-cigarettes help smokers quit

Source: E-cigarettes helped up to 22,000 English smokers quit in 2014 – Medical News Today

Researchers from University College London have taken an in-depth look at smoking cessation data and the role of e-cigarettes. The findings trumpet the praises of e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting conventional cigarettes, although their trumpets are slightly more muted than those from other quarters.
[Man smoking an e-cigarette]
E-cigarettes divide the scientific community. Recent research delves into the data for answers.

Over the past few years, for better or worse, e-cigarettes have barely left the headlines.

As of early 2014, there were 466 brands and 7,764 unique flavors of e-cigarette products.

From 2003-2014, the sale of e-cigarettes has grown exponentially year on year. This surge has prompted much debate and investigation.

Health concerns over carcinogens and worries that e-cigarettes offer a newer, softer route into the world of tobacco smoking have dominated popular news. Continue reading

Drinking more water reduces sugar, sodium and saturated fat intake

Source: Drinking more water reduces sugar, sodium and saturated fat intake – Medical News Today

Based on the fact that about two thirds of our bodies are comprised of water, it may seem obvious that consuming water is important for our health. But a new study finds that by increasing plain water consumption, we can control our weight and reduce intakes of sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
Person filling up a glass with tap water
Drinking more water is associated with reduced intakes of sugar, sodium and saturated fat, researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, is led by Prof. Ruopeng An, from the University of Illinois.

Though most people meet their body’s fluid requirements by drinking plain water and other beverages, we also get some fluids through certain foods, such as soup broths, celery, tomatoes and melons. Continue reading

A little alcohol in pregnancy puts future generations at risk

Source: A little alcohol in pregnancy puts future generations at risk – Medical News Today

Even a small dose of alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of alcoholism in the next three generations, according to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
[pregnant woman with wine]
Drinking during pregnancy can have a lifelong impact on offspring.

Previous studies have shown that alcohol use and related disorders pose a significant threat to global health. Exposure to moderate amounts of alcohol in utero or during early life puts humans at greater risk for alcohol abuse in adolescence and adulthood.

Factors affecting teen drinking habits are varied and complex. They include the desire to engage in risk-taking and rebellious behavior, as well as the wish to impress and to sustain popularity among peers. Continue reading

Omega-3s could lower breast cancer risk in obese women, study suggests

Source: Omega-3s could lower breast cancer risk in obese women, study suggests – Medical News Today

A new study has suggested that obese women could experience a reduction in the risk of breast cancer through the administration of omega-3 fatty acids.
A doctor holding a fish oil capsule and a glass of water.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was found to reduce breast density in postmenopausal obese women.

The study took the form of an open-label, randomized clinical trial of 266 postmenopausal women with high breast density who were either a normal weight, overweight or obese. The findings are published in Cancer Prevention Research. Continue reading

Herbal remedies may be risky for cancer patients

Source: Herbal remedies may be risky for cancer patients – Medical News Today

Nettles, turmeric and camel milk are just a few of the herbs and foodstuffs used to boost health in the Middle East, as they have done throughout history. Cancer patients, however, may be endangering their health by supplementing chemotherapy with some of the herbs and spices, says a new report published in the journal Cancer.
Stinging nettles are a traditional herbal remedy.

Herbal medicine goes back a long way in the Middle East, and it continues to be popular as part of traditional medicine. Its heritage can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Continue reading

CDC: flu vaccine on track to be more effective this year

Source: CDC: flu vaccine on track to be more effective this year – Medical News Today
Preliminary estimates show this season’s flu vaccine is 59% effective – set to be the second most effective in the US since records began a decade ago.

The CDC say that this year’s flu shot is likely to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60%.

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conduct studies to find out how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness.

“This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60%,” says Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, commenting on this season’s estimate. Continue reading

Binge drinking in young adults raises risk of hypertension

Source: Binge drinking in young adults raises risk of hypertension – Medical News Today

New research, conducted at the University of Montreal in Canada, finds that binge drinking as a young adult might lay the foundation for hypertension later in life.
[Pouring brown liquor shots ]
Evidence of the negative consequences of binge drinking keeps mounting up.

Binge drinking is already known to harbor a number of negative health consequences. Despite this, it is surprisingly prevalent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define binge drinking as the consumption of four drinks or more (for women) and five or more (for men) in the space of 2 hours.

An estimated 1 in 6 American adults binge drink four times a month, consuming an average of eight drinks per session. Continue reading

Widely Used Heartburn Drugs Tied to Dementia Risk

Source: Widely Used Heartburn Drugs Tied to Dementia Risk

A popular class of heartburn medications might raise a senior’s risk of dementia, a new study suggests.

Called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), this group of drugs includes Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. They work by lowering the amount of acid produced by the stomach.

But German researchers found that people 75 or older who regularly take the medications had a 44 percent increased risk of dementia, compared with seniors not using the drugs. The study only found an association, however, and not a cause-and-effect link.

“To evaluate cause-and-effect relationships between long-term PPI use and possible effects on cognition in the elderly, randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed,” said corresponding author Britta Haenisch, from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn.

In the meantime, “Clinicians should follow guidelines for PPI prescription, to avoid overprescribing PPIs and inappropriate use,” Haenisch said. Continue reading

A Third of Adults Lack Regular, Refreshing Sleep

Source: A Third of Adults Lack Regular, Refreshing Sleep

One of every three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

About 35 percent of U.S. adults are sleeping less than seven hours a night, increasing their risk of a wide variety of health problems, CDC researchers reported on Feb. 18 in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night has been associated with increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress and death, the study authors said. Continue reading

Doctors worried about young people using medical marijuana

Source: Nova Scotia doctors worried about young people using medical marijuana – Nova Scotia – CBC News

Some Nova Scotia doctors are concerned young people are receiving prescriptions to smoke medical marijuana, despite the effects marijuana has on the developing brain.

Currently, there are no laws in Canada regarding the age at which people can receive prescriptions for marijuana and different organizations have different recommendations.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada says cannabis is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 25, while the Canadian Paediatric Society and Health Canada both recommend cannabis not be consumed by anyone under the age of 18.

Risks of youth cannabis use

The brain isn’t fully developed until 25 and frequent cannabis use can have serious consequences for youth. Continue reading

Immersive virtual reality helps patients with depression

Source: Immersive virtual reality helps patients with depression – Medical News Today

Virtual reality therapy could help treat depression by encouraging people to be easier on themselves and improve their chances of breaking the cycle of depression, says a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open.
[depressed man]
A virtual reality scenario could help patients to feel better about themselves.

In 2014, 6.6% of American adults experienced at least one bout of major depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines depression as a “period of 2 weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.” Continue reading

Gene study confirms ‘we are what we eat’

Source: Gene study confirms ‘we are what we eat’ – Medical News Today

A new study shows that the relationship between our genetic make-up and our metabolism – the chemistry of life that goes on inside our cells – is a two-way street. Not only do our genes regulate how the food we eat is broken down, but how our food is broken down regulates our genes.
Little girl eating an apple
The researchers suggest nearly all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat.

Providing new evidence to support the old adage “we are what we eat,” the study is published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

The authors – an international team led by Dr. Markus Ralser of the University of Cambridge and the Francis Crick Institute in London, both in the UK – conclude that nearly all of our genes may be influenced by the food we eat. Continue reading

As men age, their sperm contains more disease-causing mutations

Source: As men age, their sperm contains more disease-causing mutations – Medical News Today

For the first time, scientists have pinpointed the source of some severe disease-causing mutations in sperm-producing tubes inside the testicles of healthy men.
As a man ages, his sperm contains an increasing proportion of cells with selfish mutations, say the researchers.

spermAndrew Wilkie, Nuffield professor of pathology at the University of Oxford in the UK, and colleagues describe their findings in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors suggest their work should help us better understand how genetic diseases can arise in children born to parents who do not themselves have them.

Men are not born with ready-made sperm cells (in contrast, women are born with all their egg cells). Sperm production starts in puberty, in a tangle of spaghetti-like tubes – the seminiferous tubules – inside the testicles. Each testicle contains about 400 m of seminiferous tubules. Continue reading

Being lazy might shrink your brain

Source: Being lazy might shrink your brain – Medical News Today

Research carried out at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts shows a relationship between levels of fitness in middle age and brain volumes later in life. Those with poorer physical fitness had smaller brains 20 years later.
[Lazy man watching television]
A couch potato lifestyle may reduce brain size in later life.

Physical fitness can be challenging to achieve and maintain, but we all know it is something we must strive to do. Continue reading

A math test a day keeps the weight away, by activating brown fat

Source: A math test a day keeps the weight away, by activating brown fat – Medical News Today

The mild stress caused by anticipation of a math test can raise cortisol levels and stimulate brown fat to produce heat. The findings, which could have implications for treating obesity, are published in Experimental Physiology.
[overweight man looking worried]Can mild stress help burn calories?

Scientists previously thought that only babies and hibernating mammals had brown adipose tissue (BAT), or brown fat. But in 2009, small amounts were found in adults. We now know that most adults have 50-100 g, mainly stored in the neck, or supraclavicular region.

While white fat stores excess calories, brown fat burns energy and produces heat – over 300 times more heat than other body tissues. This suggests that it plays a role in human metabolism.

People with a lower body mass index (BMI) tend to have more brown fat, but whether or not this is a direct consequence remains uncertain.

This unique ability to rapidly generate heat and metabolize glucose has piqued the interest of scientists looking for ways to fight obesity. Continue reading

Concussion triples or quadruples risk of suicide

Source: Concussion triples or quadruples risk of suicide – Medical News Today

Concussion multiplies the long-term risk of suicide in adults, especially if it happens on the weekend, according to research published in the CMAJ.
[head injury]
Concussion symptoms abate quickly, but the long-term effects can be severe.

Suicide is the 10th most common cause of death in the US, with 41,149 cases in 2011, or 13 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is normally associated with a psychiatric illness, such as depression or substance abuse.

Concussion is the number one brain injury in adults, affecting around 4 million Americans each year. It is defined as “a transient disturbance of mental function caused by acute trauma.” Continue reading

Energy drinks: adverse heart reactions linked to more than two per day

Source: Energy drinks: adverse heart reactions linked to more than two per day – Medical News Today

Energy drinks have become an increasingly popular beverage of choice, particularly among young people. But a new study warns of the dangers of drinking more than two per day, citing palpitations, increased heart rate and chest pain.
energy drinks
Though drinking more than two energy drinks per day increases heart risks, adding alcohol slows down the breakdown of the caffeine, adding further dangers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 31% of 12-17-year-olds regularly consume energy drinks and 34% of 18-24-year-olds reach for the stimulant-infused drinks on a regular basis. Continue reading

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