Monthly Archives: April 2015

Expecting Moms: Seen a Neurologist?

A question for all you soon-to-be mothers out there: Is your morning sickness getting to be too much, too early? If so, it may be time to call your neurologist.

Morning sickness within the first five weeks of gestation was found to be significantly tied to the likelihood of a child having a developmental delay, according to a recent (small) U.S. study.

If you have extreme symptoms, the children exposed to this condition were found to be more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with attention and sensory disorders, along with learning and language delays by age eight.

This study is still ongoing, with several theories for its findings, including one by Marlena Fejzo, an author in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. Fejzo says women who get symptoms very early often suffer from nutritional deficiency and dehydration, leading to the aforementioned problems.

A major indicator of the condition’s severity is that women lose 5 percent or more of their body weight from nausea and vomiting, she said.

In this article, Fejzo says that while the issue is definitely one to worry about if diagnosed, expecting mothers should not worry about it unless their symptoms are particularly severe. Otherwise, it is not something to alarm yourself with.

The Secret of Cereal

What’s the key to a longer life? Simple – cereal! It’s time to pick up a bowl of your favorite Cheerios and watch the years pile on!

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According to this CNN article, there’s much more than a plastic toy hidden inside: the key to a long life may also be buried in the box.

Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have been busy researching the impact of cereal fiber on diet for several years. These participants have found that those who report a diet rich in cereal fiber lived longer than those who choose less fiber. The subjects with higher fiber diets have a 19 percent reduction of death, compared to those who ate the least amount of cereal fiber.

Not only did this study conclude that those with high-fiber diets generally live longer, but they also had less of a risk of dying from cancer and diabetes. People who ate a lot of whole grains and dietary fiber had a 17 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

The scientists have concluded that cereal fiber is one “potentially protective component” of a healthy, premature death-preventing diet.

Of course this study will not prove to work with all cereals — such as everyone’s favorite, Lucky Charms — but cereals such as All-Bran, Kashi GoLean, Fiber One and Honey Bunches of Oats are great, healthy sources of fiber.

In order to eat your way to a longer life, make sure you look for cereal with more than 10 grams of cereal fiber.

Pop! Goes the Knuckle — but Why?

Ever wonder what makes that popping noise when you crack your knuckles? The answer is finally here! And even better, Live Science has a video so you can even see what’s happening when you crack your knuckles through a MRI scan.

This article says that by “using MRI to video-record knuckle cracking in action, researchers have discovered that the unsettling ‘pop’ made by cracking one’s knuckles results from the rapid creation of a cavity in the fluid inside the joints.”

Study researcher Greg Kawchuk, professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta in Canada, says it’s like forming a vacuum. “As the joint surfaces suddenly separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created, and that event is what’s associated with the sound.”

Kawchuk and his colleagues put together a study called “Pull my Finger,” after a new hypothesis arose having to do with the popping phenomenon we all experience.

Over the last few decades, researchers have speculated that pulling apart your finger joints creates or collapses bubbles in the joint fluid.

So far, there seems to be no worries about hurting oneself by continuing to crack your knuckles, other than potentially making those around you cringe at the sound.

Can’t Sleep? Try Being a Kid Again

Who needs sleeping pills when you have a box of crayons?

According to recent studies, coloring may work better than your normal dose of Advil P.M.!

Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford has created two “adult coloring books,” known as Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest for adults to use for relaxing and nostalgic purposes.

“It’s anti-technology,” Developmental Psychologist Dr. Cooper Lawrence said in a recent interview. “It’s a thing you can do that’s just about you. It’s not about your kids or your job, but just something for you to do to relax.”

Dr. Cooper says that coloring has been shown in various studies to help with sleep and sleep disorders such as minor insomnia and leg restlessness. Studies also show that coloring can help improve the memory of adults with Alzheimer’s.

While someone could go pick up a kid’s coloring book, Dr. Cooper says the adult versions are better because they’re more intricate, and the illustrator has tried to make her coloring books feel as if you’re reminiscing on old games, such as iSpy and Where’s Waldo.

Basford’s coloring books are available on Amazon and they’re also currently on the bestseller’s list.

The Hidden Secret of Alcohol

Ever have those long days at work, where you can’t wait to get home and crack open a beer or uncork a bottle of wine?

Yes, these beverages can help your stress levels tremendously in moderation, but unfortunately, as we’ve learned, everything comes at a price. Alcohol’s price? Calories, calories, calories!

Not only are these drinks adding hundreds of calories to your daily intake, but according to integrative medicine specialist Dr. Pamela M. Peeke, author of the book “The Hunger Fix,” alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat.

She says that drinking puts a “pause” on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories and says, “Break me down first!” The result, she explains, is that whatever you recently ate gets stored as fat — typically in the form of the well-known “beer belly.”

Fortunately, for those who would like to keep indulging, a long-term study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and International Journal of Obesity has found that middle-aged and older women who drink approximately one drink a day gained less weight than those who do not drink. The study also found that those involved in the study were less likely to become obese.

In this CNN article, a few tips have been passed along in case you’re looking to lose or maintain weight while continuing to drink in moderation.

  1. Always eat while you drink. While it’s wise to factor in the calories of your drinks, this doesn’t mean you should skip out on getting the nutrition you need, especially because alcohol is loaded with carbohydrates. If you go out drinking without eating something, your blood sugar will likely go through the roof, causing a crash, in other words, binge eating. This is why you see all the cars piling up at McDonald’s or Waffle House at midnight or later. If you eat right while you’re drinking, it will curb the sudden craves later in the night.
  2. Keep it simple. If you’re wanting a strong drink, go James Bond style and get a plain martini. The fancy drinks like Long Island ice teas and margaritas are tasty, but all the extra sugar will make you want even more. Keep in mind that a shot of vodka is nearly 100 calories.
  3. Be classy and keep a two-drink max rule. Not only will this tip help you from going over your limit (hopefully), but this way you aren’t going to bed with several hundred to a thousand calories, most of which are fat in your body. Also, when you reach intoxication, you likely won’t be thinking about what a number that Big Mac will do on your body after taking in all the alcohol.
  4. Watch what you eat the morning after. Waking up with a hangover is the worst. Not only do you get a headache, the spins, or even worse, the stomach issues, but your body will want the richest source of energy it can find and you will likely turn to greasy food because all the carbs and grease can help settle your stomach.  Try something high in fiber to help flush out all the alcohol. And the most important cure – water, and lots of it! Try to drink a glass of water for every beverage you have while you’re out, then another glass before you go to bed.

The Truth about Tylenol

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Back pain? Let’s solve it with 400 milligrams of Tylenol! Headache? Another 400-600! Unfortunately, for those who experience these bits of discomfort, we aren’t seeing a change that works more than a placebo.

What’s worse, when we pop these “pain relievers,” we’re actually destroying our livers.

Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen, is an over the counter drug that’s been given to us to help lessen some physical pain we may be experiencing and to reduce fevers. But a New York Times article shows us that we aren’t getting the results we need, we’re just getting the placebo effect.

The article says Australian researchers looked over three random trials that compared the drug with a placebo for the relief of spinal pain and 10 trials that compared their use for easing the pain of osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen was given orally in doses between 3,000 and 4,000 milligrams a day, except for one study in which a dose of 1,000 milligrams was administered intravenously.

In the review, the researchers found evidence that Tylenol is ineffective in treating low back pain or disability. But it does in fact quadruple the risk of an abnormal liver function test.

The studies having to do with knee and hip arthritis found a clinically insignificant, short-term pain-relief effect for acetaminophen when compared with a placebo.

Instead of drugging your body, consider trying some more natural substances for pain relief, such as cranberry juice, peppermint, essential oils and ginger, just to name a few.