Natural Health Reviews - May 2005
May 2005 Issue
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Health Reviews Headlines
- Chromium Supplements Good for the Diabetic Heart
- Hair Dye Not to Blame for Bladder Or Breast Cancer
- More Exercise Equals Greater Benefits for Diabetics
- Studies Bolster Diet, Exercise For Breast Cancer Patients
- Having a Partner Helps Men with Prostate Cancer
- Think Twice Before Back Pain Surgery
- Elderly Might Not Benefit from Regular Aspirin
- Happy Marriage May Do a Woman's Heart Good
- Don't Think About It, Just Do It: Exercise Study
- Vitamin E May Protect Against Parkinson's
- Fear of Falling Keeps Some Middle-Agers Inactive
- Alcohol Harms Women's Brains Faster Than Men's
- Testosterone May Protect Against Atherosclerosis
- Need Help Cutting Back on Alcohol? Try Kudzu
- MRI Plus Mammogram Best for Screening High-Risk Women
- It's Never Too Early, To Think about Good Bone Health
- Virtual Reality May Speed Recovery After Stroke
- Low-fat Dairy Foods May Lower Diabetes Risk in Men
- Limit Portions of Farm-raised Salmon, Experts Say
- Acetaminophen Use Linked to Lung Disease
- Study Finds Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Aids Migraines
- Low-Fat, Veggie-Based Diet Lowers High Cholesterol
- Stretching, Strengthening Ease Chronic Back Pain
Health Reviews for June 2005
Here is our health reviews of historical news stories covered from the Natural Health Perspective.
Thursday, May 26
Chromium supplementation for type 2 diabetics leads to a shortening of a harmful heart rhythm, according to a new study.
"The heart rhythm disturbance known as a prolonged QT interval has been linked to fatal heart arrhythmias. ... Blood insulin levels decreased significantly after 3 months of chromium supplementation and this may be partly responsible for the QT interval shortening."
The most popular supplement is chromium picolinate. There is a very long confusing debate as to whether taking chromium picolinate is dangerous. But, there is little evidence that taking a chromium supplement is needed for non-diabetics who exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet.
Wednesday, May 25
There is no increased risk of breast or bladder cancer from using hair dye, according to a new JAMA study.
"Pooled data from 79 studies on hair dye use and cancer showed no increased likelihood of either cancer connected to using hair dye. 'In an analysis of 40 studies looking at blood cancer, the authors observed a 'borderline increase in the risk' of about 15 percent for people who had ever used hair dye. 'The evidence of a causal effect is too weak to represent a major public health concern.'"
Type 2 diabetics can significantly improve their health by walking at least three miles each day, according to a new study.
"The new study homes in on precisely how much exercise it takes to achieve specific improvements in blood sugar levels, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. ... They found that it took a minimum of walking about three miles per day for otherwise sedentary diabetics to see noteworthy improvement in their health as well as medical-related expenses over a 2-year period."
"On average, those who increased their aerobic activity by 38 minutes per day - walking about 2.2 miles or 4400 steps -- even if they didn't lose weight -- saw noteworthy reductions in blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. They also reduced their risk of coronary heart disease by more than 2-fold and annual medical costs by $288. The greatest improvements in health and medical costs accrued by walking upping physical activity by roughly 83 minutes per day -- walking 5.3 miles or 10,600 steps per day -- over the 2-year period."
Exercise has a positive effect on insulin levels.
Tuesday, May 24
Breast cancer patients who exercise reduce their risk of death by up to 50 percent compared with inactive women, according to a new JAMA study.
"Women who walked at a moderate pace for 3 to 5 hours weekly derived the maximum benefit ... Even women who walked at average pace just 1 hour per week, or the equivalent in other physical activity, reduced their risk of death by about 20 percent compared with inactive women. The researchers defined an average pace as 2 to 2.9 miles per hour. Those walking 3 to 5 hours weekly or the equivalent cut their risk by 50 percent. However, walking or engaging in other exercise more than 5 hours weekly offered no additional benefits."
I would exercise regularly in order to prevent cancer in the first place. But, if I ended up getting cancer anyway, I would exercise even more. It is a green prescription that helps to cure all that ails you. Not only can cancer patients use mind-body techniques to help them cope with their cancer, but they should be exercising more than ever. This study says walking 5 hours a week can make a big difference.
Monday, May 23
Men who are married fare better after treatment for prostate cancer than single men, according to new study.
This study found that "men with prostate cancer who were in a relationship had better mental health, were less distressed by urinary problems, and coped better with the nausea, fatigue and pain that accompanied cancer treatment."
"Men with partners may have 'built-in support systems' that help them cope with the psychological and physical stress of dealing with prostate cancer."
Surgery is no better than intensive rehabilitation and is nearly twice as expensive, for relieving chronic lower back pain, according to a new study.
The researchers concluded that there was no evidence that surgery offering spinal fusion was any better than physiotherapy, osteopathy, or chiropody in the treatment of chronic lower back pain.
For people over 70 years old, the benefits of aspirin may be offset by an increased risk of bleeding, according to a new report.
This was an entirely bogus study that used non-existent virtual participants or computer modeling that was apparently based upon what we know about aspirin. This was a type of review that basically concluded that almost nobody should be taking aspirin on a long term basis. The natural alternative, of course, is regular exercise.
Friday, May 20
Women in happy marriages are protected against metabolic syndrome, according to a new study.
"Women who were deemed 'maritally dissatisfied' based on a standard questionnaire were three times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome during the study period than women who were content in their marriages. The risk was also higher among women who were divorced or widowed."
Metabolic syndrome is basically borderline, or the precursor to, type 2 diabetes; a disease that eventually attacks the obese. But, simply being married is not necessarily a health boon, as other research has linked spousal discord to poorer health.
Thursday, May 19
Exercise: Just do it advises a new study.
Those adults who think about exercise first, before doing it, may actually end up talking themselves out of it. This study found that thinking about exercise can undermine your resolve for the average person.
Once you start getting results from exercise you will become addicted to it. But, avoiding negative self-talk will always be a problem, even when you like what exercise has done for you. Make appointments with yourself to exercise. And, simply do it on schedule.
Vitamin E from your diet helps to protect against Parkinson's disease, according to a new study.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Foods rich in the vitamin include nuts, seeds, wheat germ, spinach and other green leafy vegetables. Parkinson's is a chronic, irreversible neurodegenerative disease that affects 1 percent of people over the age of 65 worldwide. In the United States alone at least 500,000 people suffer from the illness. Actor Michael J. Fox and boxing legend Mohammed Ali are sufferers.
This study was not referring to the use of vitamin E supplements.
Tuesday, May 17
Many middle-aged people curtail their activity as a result of a fear of falling, according to a new study.
"People who said they were less active because of falling fears tended to be in poorer health and have worse social, emotional and physical functioning than adults with no fear of falling. Those who lived in poor neighborhoods were more likely to say they were worried about falling."
Another case of people spending too much time worrying about it, rather than just doing it.
Women develop alcoholic brain damage more rapidly than men, according to a new study.
"Women showed equal alcohol consumption in relation to body weight in the last year and developed equal brain volume reductions as men after a significantly shorter period of alcohol dependence than men."
Another negative to drinking alcohol: Brain damage.
Normal testosterone levels are protective against atherosclerosis in middle-aged men, according to a new study.
The researchers found that after taking into account age, blood pressure and other factors, the artery wall thickness increased as testosterone levels decreased.
People who took the herbal extract kudzu for one week made them more satisfied with less alcohol, according to a new study.
Kudzu is a Chinese herbal medicine. "The investigators found that when people received kudzu, they drank 1.5 fewer beers..., and took more, smaller sips to finish each drink. However, people said they felt no change in their desire to drink alcohol after trying kudzu for 7 days."
Here is a more natural way to help treat alcoholism.
Monday, May 16
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) along with mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer in high risk women, according to a new Lancet study.
"MRI picks up twice as many breast cancers as mammography in very high risk women based on genetic factors and family history." However, the procedure is not intended for general use. "It is much too expensive and there are far too many false positives. In a lower risk population the cost and morbidity per cancer detected would be unacceptably high."
According to this study, women with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at high risk for developing breast cancer. Hence, they are good candidates for taking a MRI in addition to a mammogram.
It's easy to dismiss osteoporosis as something to worry about in later years. "There is a saying that osteoporosis is a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences." Osteoporosis is one of the most prevalent diseases of aging. It is characterized by the deterioration of bone density. And, largely afflicts those over 50. Twice as many women as men are affected.
"Studies have found that any weight-bearing activity, from walking and yoga to gardening and weight-lifting, has positive effects on bone health."
It is too late to think about osteoporosis, once you got it. Just like lost of muscle mass, bone lost is a normal part of aging. If you ignore working on your health and manage to live long enough, you will end up hobbling along, all stooped over, using a walker. To prevent this from happening to you, you have to act early by regularly taking calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D supplements along with engaging in weight-bearing exercise. Exercise is probably the most important preventative factor. The good news is that both calcium and magnesium supplements have also recently been shown to help prevent colon cancer.
Playing virtual reality games encourages the human brain to reorganize to compensate, and this may have a beneficial effect on recovery of movement in stroke victims, according to a new study.
Playing Stepping Up/Down, Sharkbait, and Snowboarding seemed to normalize brain activity seen with movement. Motor function was significantly improved in patients in the virtual reality group compared with those who got standard rehabilitation.
Looking for a way to stimulate your brain in order to prevent age related dementia? Why not try virtual reality games?
Monday, May 9
Eating low-fat dairy foods, lowers the risk for men of getting type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
"Each serving-per-day increase in low-fat dairy intake cut the risk of diabetes by 12 percent, whereas intake of high-fat items had no significant effect."
If you are going to consume dairy, I would go for low fat (2 or 1% fat) or skim dairy.
Farm-raised salmon contains significantly more dioxin contamination than wild fish, according to a new study.
Farm-raised fish contain between 3 and 10 times more dioxin than wild salmon; as well as contain higher concentrations of other toxic chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxaphene and dieldrin. More than half of salmon sold in the world is raised on a farm. All salmon that is not specifically labeled wild should be assumed to have been raised on a farm.
Getting your Omega-3's does not have to be expensive, a can of sardines packed whole in spring water is probably the safest fatty fish to consume on a regular basis.
Thursday, May 5
Use of acetaminophen is associated with a asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a new study.
"The investigators found the prevalence of asthma was 6.9 percent and of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 11.8 percent using U.S. data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey III. In addition, 2.8 percent had both respiratory diseases. Of the group, about 4 percent of participants were daily users of acetaminophen as compared with 8.2 percent for aspirin and 2.5 percent for ibuprofen."
This negative of using non-inflammatory acetaminophen was not associated with either the use of aspirin or ibuprofen. Now you have a reason NOT to use acetaminophen on a regular basis.
Wednesday, May 4
Acupuncture and a sham version of the same thing both helped reduce the frequency of migraine headaches, according to a new JAMA study.
"The proportion of those who said their headaches were reduced by at least half was 51 percent in the acupuncture group, 53 percent in the sham treatment group and 15 percent among those waiting for treatment."
Thus, acupuncture is apparently effective due to the placebo effect according to this study. And, that other favorable studies were wrong because they used a faulty research design.
Tuesday, May 3
Plant-based low-fat diets lead to greater reductions in the bad form of cholesterol linked to cardiovascular disease than the typical convenience food low-fat diet does, according to a new study.
After four weeks, those who followed a vegetarian-style diet saw their total cholesterol fall by an average of 18 points and their LDL drop by 14. That compared with 9 and 7 points, respectively, among those who ate a refined grain-based low-fat diet.
This study suggests that the typical American has chosen to eat low-fat junk food rather than a desirable low-fat plant-based diet. If you really want to lower your cholesterol then you should opt for fruits, vegetables and whole grains rather than refined grain junk food.
Monday, May 2
A recent review analyzed 61 studies that evaluated exercise therapy for treatment of low back pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises were found to be more likely than other types of therapy to relieve chronic low back pain and improve function.
Individually designed exercise programs delivered through supervised home exercises with regular practitioner follow-up was the most effective therapy, with a mean of 18 points in improvement in pain scores. Stretching provided the largest reduction of pain, while strengthening exercises appeared to be most effective in improving function, compared with aerobic, coordination and mobilizing exercises.
Believe it or not, but strengthening your back by performing back strengthening exercises both cures and prevents back problems. You also need to exercise your stomach which compliments your back muscles. Pilates calls this core strength.
May 2005 Issue
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