Obesity Rates Fall for Many Young Kids in Federal Nutrition Program

THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2019 — Forty-one states and territories have seen drops in obesity rates among young children enrolled in a U.S. nutrition program, a new study shows.

“Improvements in national, state and caregiver guidance around nutrition and physical activity may be contributing to this decline in childhood obesity,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are moving in the right direction, and helping parents make healthy choices for their children is reducing the potential for complications posed by childhood obesity later in life,” he added in a CDC news release.

In the study, U.S. federal government researchers analyzed obesity trends from 2010 to 2016 among more than 12.4 million children, aged 2 to 4, in low-income families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC helps provide supplemental foods and nutrition education.

In 2009, WIC state agencies started providing food packages more in line with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This led to increased availability of healthier foods and beverages for WIC enrollees.

Between 2010 and 2016, obesity rates fell by more than 3% in seven WIC states and territories (New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, Virginia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico).

However, three states had increases in obesity: Alabama (0.5%), North Carolina (0.6%), and West Virginia (2.2%).

The study appears in the Nov. 21 issue of the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A previous study found that 34 of 56 WIC state/territory agencies had decreases in obesity rates between 2010 and 2014.

Currently, the WIC program also helps establish successful long-term breastfeeding, provides participants with a wider variety of foods, and offers WIC state agencies flexibility in food packages for participants with cultural food preferences.

Despite these declines in obesity among children enrolled in WIC, rates remained high in most states in 2016.

“While we have seen some progress, obesity prevalence among young children remains too high,” said Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.

“We must persist in our efforts to support healthy eating and physical activity for this positive trend to continue,” Petersen said in the release.

More information

Advice on preventing childhood obesity can be found at

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019 – Daily MedNews

A Parent’s Guide to Managing Kids’ Asthma During the Fall

SATURDAY, Oct. 12, 2019 — Fall can be a challenging time of the year for kids with asthma, an expert says.

“Although asthma can flare up for a number of reasons, a lot of people with allergies also have asthma, and asthma can be triggered by allergies. So the fall is a tough time for asthmatic sufferers,” said Dr. Gaurav Kumar, a pediatrician at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore.

While many kids do well with their asthma during the summer, problems often accompany the return to school.

“You go from taking these outdoor summer vacations to now being in a classroom again,” Kumar explained. “So now you’re in contact with people in closed spaces. And of course, what happens is germs are more likely to spread that way. So you could get colds from friends who have colds, and then that becomes a trigger for asthma.”

Parents need to make sure their child’s asthma is under control. If a child stopped taking preventive asthma medications regularly during the summer, they should resume daily use now, Kumar advised.

Children with asthma should have checkups at least once a year, and in some cases as often as three or four times a year.

“An asthma checkup is an opportunity for us to reassess how the year has gone and to make plans in anticipation of what might happen,” Kumar said in a LifeBridge Health news release.

A flu shot is also important, because kids with asthma are at high risk for serious flu-related complications. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu.

Flu vaccine is “very safe” in children with asthma and “will not cause any negative effects to trigger asthma attacks,” Kumar said.

More information

The American Lung Association offers advice for parents of children with asthma.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019 – Daily MedNews

Corus Harvests New Series and Fun Reboots for Fall Across Family Channels

This fall Corus Ent.’s YTV, TELETOON, and Treehouse are delivering unparalleled programming line-ups guaranteed to please both kids and parents across Canada, with a mix of brand new series and revivals of popular classics.

YTV Premieres:

Pop-culture phenomenon All That is returning for a new generation of kids. The sketch-comedy series premieres Friday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m. and showcases an all-new cast of young comedians, with original cast members such as Kel Mitchell, Josh Server and Lori Beth Denberg making special appearances. Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell serve as executive producers.

Then, the kids of Hunter Street return for Season 3 on Monday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. as they embark on mysterious journeys around Amsterdam and encounter puzzling clues, secret rooms and unexpected revelations.

After garnering numerous accolades in the international film festival circuit, Nelvana’s first-ever animated short film, The Most Magnificent Thing, makes its broadcast premiere on Friday, October 11 at 6 p.m., as part of YTV’s International Day of the Girl special programming. Adapted from Ashley Spires’ bestselling book published by Kids Can Press, The Most Magnificent Thing, the film features the voices of Alison Pill, Lilly Bartlam, Tony Daniels, and Whoopi Goldberg.

A new family has found a home on YTV. Moving in on Monday, October 14 at 5 p.m., The Casagrandes is a spinoff of the Emmy Award-winning The Loud House, and follows Lincoln Loud’s friend Ronnie Anne and her big, loving, multi-generational family. The new 2D-animated series highlights the culture, humor, and affection of growing up in a multi-generational Mexican-American family living together in the city. The voice cast includes Eugenio Derbez (Overboard), Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken) and Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch).

YTV gets into the Halloween spirit with Best Scarepants Ever from October 21 to October 25 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Each day, tricksters will be in for a treat with two back-to-back spooky SpongeBob SquarePants episodes leading up to a new Halloween-themed episode on Friday, October 25 at 4 p.m.

YTV is available on a National Free Preview from October 1 to November 17. Please check local listings for additional details. For side-splitting, kid-friendly fun all day, every day, all Nickelodeon fan-favorite shows are available through the Nickelodeon Channel with Amazon Prime Video Channels.

Mao Mao, Heroes of Pure Heart

Mao Mao, Heroes of Pure Heart

TELETOON Premieres:

A brand new adventure begins with the animals of Pure Heart Valley on Friday, September 6 at 7:30 p.m. with the premiere of Mao Mao, Heroes of Pure Heart. The series follows the explosive loner and famous hero, Sheriff Mao Mao, the lovable oaf, Badgerclops, and the adorable sidekick, Adorabat, who work together to bring justice and peace to the people of the valley.

All aboard! Arriving on Monday, September 23 at 8 p.m., Infinity Train centers on Tulip (voiced by Ashley Johnson, Teen Titans Go!), a headstrong 12-year-old girl, who must use her wits to uncover the train’s many secrets – and hopefully return home. Tulip’s mind-bending journey will find her forging friendships with One-One, a robot with dueling personalities, and Atticus, the canine king of Corginia. With new surprises awaiting in every car, will Tulip ever find a way off the train? Created by Owen Dennis, Infinity Train is a wild adventure filled with puzzles and peril at every twisty turn of events.

Jinkies! The Mystery Inc. gang welcomes new members in the new series, Scooby-Doo! And Guess Who? premiering on Friday, October 4 at 8:30 p.m.. Faced with some of their toughest mysteries yet, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo will join forces with some of the biggest names in celebrity and pop culture including NBA superstar Chris Paul, recording artist Sia, Ricky Gervais, Kenan Thompson, Bill Nye, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mark Hamill, Steve Urkel (voiced by Jaleel White reprising his iconic role) Batman, Sherlock Holmes, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many more. Jump into the Mystery Mobile for all-new comedic mystery-solving adventures where the biggest mystery will be who’s teaming up with those “meddling kids!”

It’s time to check in to Hotel Transylvania again with Mavis and her pals Wendy, Pedro and Hank, who are back at the hotel causing mayhem and mischief under the watchful eye of her Aunt Lydia. Produced by Nelvana in association with Sony Pictures Animation, Season 2 of Hotel Transylvania: The Series premieres Saturday, October 12 at 4 p.m.

Then, the hilarious animated series Apple & Onion returns this fall with an all-star voice cast featuring YouTube star Timothy DeLaGhetto, The Great British Bake Off‘s Sue Perkins, and more as best friends Apple and Onion experience big city living with their menagerie of anthropomorphic food friends.

Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe

Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe

TREEHOUSE Premieres:

Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe blasts off on Saturday, September 7 at 12:40 p.m. Produced by Nelvana, the series follows Binky and his fellow P.U.R.S.T. agents (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) as they protect their human families from aliens, robots, and interstellar threats. It’s a pretty big job for these small pets, but this paw-some team is certified and ready for action.

Also from Nelvana, The Remarkable Mr. King, based on the Kids Can Press picture book series by Montreal author-illustrator Geneviève Côté, premieres Saturday, October 5 at 10:10 a.m. Mr. King is a well-meaning, short sighted little lion who thinks he should know everything, but sometimes his “big think” causes big snags and tangles. If Mr. King tries and fails, he tries again to make things right. Mr. King shows us how to turn mistakes into wins for everyone to share.

More family favorites round out the fall schedule, including Season 23 of Thomas & Friends pulling into Treehouse on Sunday, September 8 at 11:50 a.m., and Sesame Street celebrates 50 years and counting. The iconic series’ 50th season, premiering this fall, focuses on the power of possibilities, empowering kids to take safe risks and learn from their mistakes.

Blue and her crew are back in Blue’s Clues & You!. Premiering in November, beloved puppy Blue invites viewers to join her and the new live-action host, Broadway star Josh Dela Cruz, on a clue-led adventure to solve a daily puzzle. With each signature paw print, Blue identifies clues in her animated world that propel the story and inspires viewers to interact with the action. Blue’s Clues & You! is also available through the Nickelodeon Channel with Amazon Prime Video Channels.

Animation Magazine

Feature-Length VR ‘Doctor Who: The Edge of Time’ Arrives This Fall

In a landmark year of digital Doctor Who entertainment, and following the recent reveal of The Runaway, an animated VR experience playing in Annecy’s immersive program next month, comes news of a cinematic, feature-length Doctor Who VR videogame set to debut in September.

Published by PlayStack and developed by Maze Theory for BBC Studios, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time will transport fans into a globally-beloved world of aliens, mystery and wonder, letting them embark on a brand-new and fully-interactive adventure, inspired by the show’s 55-year history and starring the Doctor’s current incarnation, played by Jodie Whittaker.

“VR is the perfect home for a truly immersive Doctor Who adventure. Fans and newcomers alike will be able to experience the universe of Doctor Who like never before, working with the Doctor and facing enemies new and old,” said Bradley Crooks, Head of Digital Entertainment & Games for BBC Studios. “Gaming is a key part of the future of Doctor Who and allows us to tell new and exciting stories beyond the TV screen.”

Armed with the iconic Sonic Screwdriver, players will solve mind-bending puzzles, grapple with classic monsters and encounter new horizons in a quest to find the Doctor and defeat a powerful force that threatens to destroy the fabric of reality. They will face the infamous Daleks and other known faces from the Doctor’s world plus some brand new never-before-seen monsters as they travel through stunning cinematic environments that truly bring the show to life!

The Doctor has been hurled through time to the end of the universe. A virus that threatens to rip apart reality itself has been unleashed. Players can pilot the TARDIS on a journey across worlds both familiar and strange to recover a series of powerful time crystals that can repair spacetime and ultimately, save the universe itself.

“Maze Theory is committed to re-defining storytelling through awesome, innovative and immersive experiences in virtual reality,” said Marcus Moresby, Creative Director, Maze Theory. “Doctor Who is an incredibly exciting and timeless franchise with a passionate and committed global fan base. We are looking to give them an entirely new experience; an opportunity to team-up with the Doctor and feel like they are in the show. This of course includes piloting the TARDIS, a dream come true for fans!”

PlayStack CEO Harvey Elliott said, “Virtual reality is unmatched in its ability to transport people to far flung worlds. PlayStack has always seen this as the central promise of the technology, and for us there’s no better place to take players than the iconic, eccentric, and deeply fascinating world of Doctor Who. We are delighted to be working with Maze Theory and the BBC Studios on this flagship VR project, and can’t wait for fans to experience the game for themselves.”

Developed by immersive entertainment studio Maze Theory, led by former Activision and PlayStation veterans, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time will launch on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus, HTC Vive and Vive Cosmos in September 2019.

Animation Magazine

Heart Attacks Fall One-Third Among Older Americans

BySteven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A groundbreaking new study holds heartening news for older Americans.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of seniors who suffered a heart attack or died from one dropped dramatically — evidence that campaigns to prevent heart attacks and improve patient care are paying off, Yale University researchers said.

The study of more than 4 million Medicare patients found that hospitalizations for heart attacks dropped 38 percent between 1995 and 2014. At the same time, deaths within 30 days of a heart attack reached an all-time low of 12 percent, down more than one-third since 1995.

“This is really amazing progress,” said lead researcher Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a professor of cardiology.

The study looked at Medicare patients because people 65 and older have the highest risk for heart attack, and account for as many as two-thirds of them, he said.

The turnaround stems from major efforts to change people’s lifestyles to reduce heart attacks, and also to improve care so more patients survive one, Krumholz said.

Since the 1990s, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology and other organizations have emphasized prevention.

The efforts have focused on lifestyle changes, including adoption of healthy eating habits and getting more exercise. They have also helped patients reduce their blood pressure and cholesterol, two key contributors to heart attack.

In-hospital care is also better now than it was in the 1990s, Krumholz said. Patients who arrive at the hospital with a heart attack are now treated within minutes, using procedures to open blocked arteries, rather than the hours it used to take, he noted.

And more patients are leaving the hospital with prescriptions for blood pressure drugs, aspirin and statins, which help prevent a repeat heart attack.

Though costs associated with heart attacks have increased, preventing them and improving survival ends up saving money on other health care costs, Krumholz added.

But the picture isn’t entirely rosy.

Some places have seen little or no change in heart attacks since the 1990s. These areas need special attention to improve care, Krumholz said.


In addition, the obesity epidemic, along with its associated increase in type 2 diabetes, threatens to undermine the reported gains, he added. That’s because obesity and diabetes are prime risk factors for heart attacks, raising blood pressure and damaging blood vessels.

“It’s not a time to rest on our laurels or become complacent,” Krumholz said. “We believe there are still improvements possible. We’d like to see heart attacks relegated to the history of medicine.”

Dr. John Osborne, a volunteer expert with the American Heart Association, agreed.

“It is wonderful to celebrate these advances, but still one person in the U.S. dies of cardiovascular disease every 38 seconds, and it continues to be the greatest killer of Americans,” he said. “[These are] wonderful advances in the war against heart disease, but our war is still not finished.”

AHA spokesman Dr. Gregg Fonarow said much more remains to be done.

“The majority of the myocardial infarctions [heart attacks] still occurring could be prevented with better implementation of evidence-based primary and secondary prevention strategies,” Fonarow said.

The report was published online March 15 in JAMA Network Open.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Harlan Krumholz, M.D., professor of cardiology, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Gregg Fonarow, M.D., spokesman, American Heart Association and director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, Los Angeles; John Osborne, M.D., volunteer expert, American Heart Association; March 15, 2019, JAMA Network Open, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

‘Fall Back’: Tips for Navigating the Time Change

By E.J. Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The hour you “lost” with daylight savings time in the spring you “gain back” on Sunday, when clocks are set an hour back.

And every time shift takes a subtle toll on the human mind and body, experts say.

Still, “for most people, it is easier to stay up an hour later than to go to bed an hour earlier,” said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, who directs sleep medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “This is thought to be because for most of us our ‘internal clock’ is closer to a 25-hour cycle than a 24-hour cycle.”

He said the furthest you can comfortably shift your internal clock is about an hour a day, and “what sets [your] clock is the wake time more than the bedtime.”

Feinsilver said that to get back to a normal sleep rhythm, “set the alarm for your target time and get out of bed when it goes off, even if your night sleep was not perfect.

“For the time change, set the alarm for Monday — for most of us the Sunday morning wake-up is less critical — and enjoy the extra hour,” Feinsilver said.

A single night of imperfect sleep is easily gotten over — “it is when bad sleep becomes a habit we get into trouble,” he said. Feinsilver’s advice is to try to sleep a regular seven to eight hours — and “stick to a constant wake time.”

Triggers such as light, food and exercise are the cues that tell your body what time it is.

“Getting exposed to light early in the day wakes us up,” Feinsilver said. “This is harder in the winter when there is less and later light, but the autumn time shift helps a bit.”

Dr. Daniel Barone is a neurologist and sleep medicine expert at the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. He said that people shouldn’t expect that the extra hour of sleep they’ll get on Sunday will erase any accumulated “sleep debt.”


“We as a society sleep one hour less than we did 100 years ago, so we are still ‘behind the clock’ so to speak when it comes to being sleep-deprived,” Barone said.

He said the body’s sleep clock can be directly affected as autumn days grow shorter and people spend more time indoors. The body manufactures vitamin D via sunlight’s action on the skin, and too little vitamin D can affect sleep and emotions.

“When you’re not getting as much sunlight, it has an effect on your mood,” Barone said. For some people, this can even mean the onset of a kind of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Barone offered these tips for better sleep:

  • Switch to LED lightbulbs. They’re made to simulate sunlight and can help you maintain a healthy circadian rhythm as seasons change.
  • Cut out the evening nap. Dozing off after dinner sends confusing signals to your brain that can make bedtime later more challenging.
  • Try mindful meditation. It can cut stress and encourage healthy sleep.
  • Ban TVs, smartphones and laptops from the bedroom. The backlight display can disrupt sleep if used before lights-out.
  • Keep bedrooms dark. Light creeping in can send a wake-up signal to the brain.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, consult a sleep specialist for testing, Barone said.

“If you’re continually waking up in the night or you’re constantly waking up tired, a sleep test is definitely warranted,” he said.

“We should view sleep as something that’s sacred,” Barone said. “Our bodies are designed to get seven to nine hours. In this 24-hour society, a lot of times the amount of sleep we get suffers. We should focus on getting good-quality sleep and dealing with any problems that exist.”

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Steven Feinsilver, M.D., director, sleep medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Daniel Barone, M.D., neurologist and sleep medicine expert, Center for Sleep Medicine, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Don’t Fall for Venus Flytrap Claims, Experts Say

Oct. 25, 2018 — In December 2016, Matt Miller got an email with an unusual request.

Would Miller, who grows and sells Venus flytraps from his shop in Ashland, OR, be willing to sell the exotic plants to an Iowa company? The company was looking for up to 120 pounds of flytraps for use in a homeopathic supplement.

Miller fell in love with the carnivorous plant during a childhood trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and he wasn’t interested in selling them as a factory feedstock. He told the would-be buyer no.

“If we knew for a fact they were valuable health-wise, we might perhaps pursue that,” Miller says. “But for us, they’re like our friends and family, so I don’t want to see them ground up into a tincture.”

Human-cultivated flytraps like the ones Miller sells aren’t rare. But while it may look like something from a distant tropical jungle, the plant’s natural habitat is a small stretch of the Atlantic coastal plain in North and South Carolina — and in at least one case, naturally occurring flytraps have been scooped up by poachers who hoped to sell them for their supposed medicinal properties.

A few seconds of searching online finds flytrap extract selling for around $ 25 an ounce and up. While the sellers’ legally mandated fine print may note that the products shouldn’t be used to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” the large print touts improved immune systems and positive effects against a variety of diseases, from cancer to herpes.

But the claims about this exotic plant’s medicinal benefits have been “way oversold,” says Don Levy, MD, an internist and expert in integrative medicine.

“It’s an intriguing, interesting thing that researchers ought to pursue to see if it has anything to it,” says Levy, medical director of the Osher Clinical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. But he adds, “No way I would prescribe it to anybody, and I prescribe things likes this or suggest them all the time. This would not make the list.”

Supplements like Venus flytrap extract don’t have to be approved by the FDA or any other agency. But the FDA does police marketing claims, and federal law requires product labels to include disclaimers noting that the product isn’t intended “to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease” and that the FDA hasn’t judged any claims made.

FDA Alert

One of the best-known products, Carnivora, is the subject of an ongoing FDA import alert, which claims the products are “unapproved drugs” that are mislabeled as “vitamins, nectar or juice” on external invoices, “but another invoice packed inside the shipping boxes identifies the true nature of the products.”

“Accompanying the drug shipment is a protocol which includes the dosage and treatment schedules. This document states that the drugs are ‘proven safe and effective in the treatment of cancer, chronic diseases and HIV infection in man.’ Fraudulent promotion by these means is evident,” the alert says

FDA spokesman Jeremy Kahn tells WebMD that dietary supplements are “one of the most challenging areas the FDA regulates.”

“This arena encompasses a vast array of products, and has a complex supply chain,” he says. And some cross the line from being marketed as simple health supplements to being classified as unregulated drugs that make exaggerated and unproven claims to treat disease.

Those claims “can lead patients to delay proper treatment and cause serious — and even fatal — injuries,” the FDA says.

Carnivora did not respond to requests for comment. The product’s website includes FDA-required language that statements about the product’s benefits “have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Individuals should seek advice concerning supplements and diets from physicians, health-care providers, and certified dieticians. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease in the United States.”

David Gorski, MD, managing editor of the Science-Based Medicine website, says doctors have dubbed that mandatory language the “quack Miranda warning.”

“They’re kind of meaningless,” says Gorski, a professor of surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. “ ‘It’ll boost your immune system’ — well, what the heck does that mean? It doesn’t really mean anything. For it to mean something, it would have to say how does it boost your immune system, what part of the immune system does it affect, that sort of thing. And of course, boosting the immune system can sometimes be a bad thing, because that’s what happens when you have autoimmune diseases.”

While the FDA disclaimer is posted at the bottom of its web page, Carnivora says its product “Selectively Responds to Abnormal Cells” with “No Harm to a Single Normal Cell.” The website also says former President Ronald Reagan and diet guru Robert Atkins were customers.

Other sellers have been hit with warning letters because their labels made improper health claims or failed to include ingredients, proper addresses, or ways to report a serious adverse event.

Plants That Need Protecting

Venus flytraps are easily grown in bulk around the country in operations like Miller’s. But their natural range is extremely small — a roughly 50-mile radius around Wilmington, NC, the same stretch of coast recently pummeled by Hurricane Florence. Scientists are trying to get the plants listed under the Endangered Species Act and notched a win in late 2017, when their petition got a favorable early review from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

State lawmakers made taking flytraps unlawfully a felony in 2014. A few months later, state game officer Fred Gorchess got a tip about suspicious activity around Holly Shelter state game reservation, a 64,000-acre preserve north of Wilmington. When Gorchess stopped a van coming out of the preserve, he found more than 900 flytraps hidden under a blanket in the back.

Gorchess says one of the men in the van told him the plants were going to be turned into medicine to fight cancer. “They were drying them out and grinding them up,” he says.

Three of the four men in the van pleaded guilty and got probation; a fourth fought the felony charge and lost, eventually serving 6 months in prison.

Big Claims, Little Evidence

One of the leading compounds touted in flytrap extract is plumbagin, a compound commonly found in plants that has been investigated as a possible weapon against inflammation and some types of cancer. But Levy says there are easier ways to get plumbagin — like walnuts.

“When there isn’t a lot of lines of evidence, I find them kind of interesting and intriguing, but I wouldn’t recommend them to anybody,” Levy says. “Because there’s 100 other things I could recommend with the same minimal evidence.”

Gorski says that even if some of the compounds found in flytraps have medicinal benefits, they may not be present in the right amounts to have any benefit.

“The reason we purify drugs from natural products is because they’re usually not present in the plant or herb or whatever at a concentration high enough to be effective,” he says. The amount of any substance can vary, depending on how the plant is cultivated or where it’s grown.

The FDA says consumers should be wary of products that promise immediate results or sound too good to be true. Other red flags include a reliance on personal stories rather than published research, Gorski says.

“If they rely on testimonials instead of actual evidence and clinical trials, that’s a pretty good indication that they don’t have much in the way of actual evidence,” he says.

And while he’s a big fan of the flytraps, grower Miller flatly dismisses the claimed health benefits of his favorite plant.

“It’s just an unusual plant that draws attention, so people are just exploiting it to make money off it any way they can,” he says.


Matt Miller, owner,

FDA: “Health Fraud Awareness,” “Warning letter 02-Jun-08,” “Import Alert 66-63.”

Don Levy, MD, medical director, Osher Clinical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies.
David Gorski, MD, professor of surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “Petitions to Federally Protect Five Wildlife Species Move Forward to Next Review Phase.”

Jeremy Kahn, FDA spokesman.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture: “It’s a felony to steal Venus flytraps in North Carolina.”

Fred Gorchess, state game officer, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Journal of Neuroimmunology: “The attenuating effects of plumbagin on pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in LPS-activated BV-2 microglial cells.”

Cancer Letters: “Plumbagin induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through reactive oxygen species/c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathways in human melanoma A375.S2 cells.”

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Love Organics? Your Odds for Some Cancers May Fall

By Dennis Thompson


         HealthDay Reporter        

MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Paying extra for those pricey organic fruits and  vegetables might pay off: New research suggests eating them might help you dodge a cancer diagnosis.

People who consumed the most organic foods had a 25 percent lower cancer risk compared with those who ate the least, the study found.

Specifically, eating more organically grown foods was linked to a 34 percent reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, a 76 percent decreased risk for all lymphomas and an 86 percent reduced risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, said lead researcher Julia Baudry. She is a scientist with the Center for Research and Epidemiology and Statistics at the Sorbonne Paris Cite.

“If our findings are confirmed, organic food consumption may contribute to cancer prevention,” Baudry said, though the study did not prove they directly caused cancer risk to drop.

And people shouldn’t stop eating fruits and vegetables if they can’t afford more expensive organically grown options.

Filling your diet with fruits and vegetables is known to reduce your risk of chronic disease and cancer, regardless of whether or not they’re organic, Baudry and other experts said.

Mark Guinter, a postdoctoral fellow with the American Cancer Society, said, “More importantly than anything is making sure you consume your fruits and vegetables, avoid your red and processed meat, and eat whole grains. Those are established relationships with cancer, replicated in multiple populations.”

Guinter added that  “if people are interested in changing their diets or buying foods that are known to help prevent their cancer risk, those would certainly be avenues to take rather than simply buying organic.”

For this study, Baudry and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 69,000 people taking part in an ongoing French study of the associations between nutrition and health.

The participants all filled out questionnaires regarding their consumption of organic products. These included fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and fish, eggs, breads and other foods.

They also filled out annual questionnaires regarding the status of their health, including instances of cancer, and were followed for 4.5 years on average.


The researchers found an association between eating organic foods and lower cancer risk, even after taking into account other risk factors for cancer.

“We did consider a variety of factors that may be involved in the relationship,” Baudry said, “such as sociodemographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors, as well as family history of cancer, or healthier diet in terms of nutrients and food consumption. Controlling for these factors did not substantially modify the findings.”

Organic foods are grown without pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. Studies have shown that people who eat organic foods have lower levels of pesticide residue in their urine, she noted.

“Exposure to pesticide has been associated with higher cancer risk” in previous studies, Baudry said.

Specifically, Guinter said, this study supports results from a British study that also found an association between organic food consumption and lower risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“Whenever you see a result that’s replicated like that, you find it a little more believable. There’s good biologic plausibility behind it,” Guinter explained.

According to Dr. Frank Hu, chair of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, animal studies have shown that pesticides can increase DNA damage, which can increase risk of cancer. Chemicals also can disrupt the endocrine system.

But, Guinter and Hu said, there’s not enough human evidence yet upon which to base any new dietary recommendations.

People should eat right and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise to prevent cancer, Hu said. Cutting back on alcohol also will help.

“Basically, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, whether conventional or organic, can improve overall diet quality and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer,” said Hu, senior author of an editorial accompanying the new study.

The report was published online Oct. 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Julia Baudry, Ph.D., scientist, Center for Research and Epidemiology and Statistics, Sorbonne Paris Cite; Mark Guinter, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow,  American Cancer Society; Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., chair, nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; Oct. 22, 2018,JAMA Internal Medicine, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Study: Some ‘Gluten-Free’ Restaurants Fall Short

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) — If you’re gluten-sensitive, watch out: One-third of the “gluten-free” foods sold in U.S. restaurants actually contain trace levels of the substance, new research suggests.

The finding will be of particular concern to the 1 percent of Americans with the autoimmune disorder known as celiac disease. For them, even a minuscule amount of gluten — a protein in wheat and other grains — can damage the intestinal lining.

“As awareness of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet have increased in recent years, restaurants have sought to offer selections that are compatible with these restrictions,” said study author Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl. “But some establishments do a better job than others at preventing cross-contamination.”

And some gluten-free foods were riskier than others. For example, more than half of all purportedly gluten-free pastas and pizzas had gluten, according to the study.


“The fact that gluten was so often found in pizza suggests that sharing an oven with gluten-containing pizza is a prime setting for cross-contamination,” explained Lebwohl, of Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center. “Gluten-free pasta can be contaminated if prepared in a pot of water that was used to prepare gluten-containing pasta.”

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates packaged foods with gluten-free labeling, there’s no federal oversight of gluten-free claims in restaurants, said Lebwohl.

For the study, more than 800 investigators set out to assess the true gluten content of dishes listed as gluten-free on menus. Armed with portable gluten sensors, they tested for gluten levels that met or exceeded 20 parts per million, the standard cutoff for any gluten-free claim.

Based on more than 5,600 gluten tests over 18 months, the investigators determined that 27 percent of gluten-free breakfast meals actually contained gluten. At dinner time, this figure hit 34 percent. The rise could reflect a steady increase in gluten contamination risk as the day unfolds, the researchers said.

The concerns extend beyond the celiac community alone.

“There are also people who don’t have celiac disease but have symptoms triggered by gluten,” Lebwohl said. People with this problem — non-celiac gluten sensitivity — rely on gluten-free labeling and safe food preparation practices for prevention of uncomfortable symptoms, he noted. These can include constipation, bloating and nausea.


“These results underscore the need for education in food preparation at restaurants, and the need for diners to inquire about these precautions,” Lebwohl said.

Dietitian Lona Sandon agreed. Gluten contamination in restaurants has long “been a concern for those with celiac disease,” said Sandon, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She was not involved with the study.

“Restaurant kitchens are just not built to assure the prevention of gluten contamination,” Sandon said. A chef may easily set a gluten-free bun down on a cutting board that just had a wheat bun on it while trying to get food out quickly to the customer. Then again, staff may just not know what has gluten in it and what doesn’t, she added.

In the absence of federal enforcement at the restaurant level, it’s up to the person handling the gluten-free product to keep it from becoming contaminated, Sandon said.

The study is scheduled for presentation Monday at a meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, in Philadelphia. Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., M.S., director, clinical research, Celiac Disease Center, and director, quality improvement, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Columbia University, New York City; Lona Sandon, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., program director and associate professor, clinical nutrition, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; American College of Gastroenterology Scientific Meeting, Philadelphia, Oct. 8, 2018

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Dim the Lights to Help Your Child Fall Asleep

SUNDAY, July 29, 2018 — Exposure to bright light in the hour before bedtime can make it difficult for kids to fall asleep, family health experts warn.

As day changes to night, the body increases production of a sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. But exposure to artificial light from light bulbs or electronic devices can disrupt melatonin production, according to a news release from the Family Institute at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Recent research into the effects of light on preschool-age children found that youngsters are particularly sensitive to light exposure in the hour prior to bedtime.

“According to some researchers, evening light exposure, with its melatonin-suppressing effect, may increase the likelihood of sleep disturbances in preschool-age children,” the institute explained.

Reading bedtime stories in a brightly lit room can make it difficult for a child to fall asleep, the organization pointed out. And kids who walk into a brightly lit area to get a drink of water or tell their parents they heard a strange noise may also have trouble getting back to sleep.

Parents can help induce sleep by dimming lights in the child’s room and any areas they might walk into if they wake up, the institute suggested.

In addition, mobile electronic devices are a significant source of light exposure. As many as 90 percent of preschool-age youngsters use such devices, often during the hour before bedtime.

Research shows that melatonin remains suppressed for nearly an hour after the lights go off. The investigators suggested making the hour before their child’s bedtime a device-free period, or having the brightness on their handheld electronics set to the lowest level.

The study, by Lameese Akacem and colleagues at the University of Colorado, Boulder, was published online recently in Physiological Reports.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more on children and sleep.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2018 – Daily MedNews

Ask a Stoner: What Cannabis Products Will Help Me Fall Asleep?

Dear Stoner: What kind of cannabis works best for sleeping — CBD or THC? Do edibles or oils work better than smoking? Trying to find a cheap route here.

Dear Diane: Cannabis and the many ways to consume it affect all of us differently, although certain strains, terpenes and cannabinoids have been shown to have some general characteristics that we can rely on. If you’re not interested in getting high, CBD oil and isolate can help induce sleep if dabbed or ingested, as can CBN (but CBN is much harder to find). Standard indica strains and concentrates with THC, or those with high amounts of CBD and some THC, can be excellent sleep aids and are very effective in small doses if your tolerance is low.

A variety of cannabis strains and products can help induce sleep.

A variety of cannabis strains and products can help induce sleep.

Tom Murphy

Edibles have been known to help relax the body more than smoking, but they take longer to kick in and the high can linger until after you wake up. Edibles can also be extremely strong if your body isn’t used to ingesting them. All of those options are going to cost money, too, so I’d suggest starting with smoking or vaporizing flower as the cheapest route, or edibles if you’d prefer not to smoke. Concentrates are the most effective, though.

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Toke of the Town

Brush Up on Fall Allergies Before Tackling the Leaves

SUNDAY, Nov. 26, 2017 — Fall yardwork can stir up allergies, but there are ways to reduce the risk of flare-ups, an ear, nose and throat specialist says.

“Know your triggers and avoid those triggers,” said Dr. Do-Yeon Cho, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“First, find out if you’re allergic to any seasonal pollens,” Cho said in a university news release. “Your ENT [ear, nose and throat specialist] or allergist can easily figure out allergic culprits by doing simple skin tests or blood work.”

Unlike sniffles caused by cold viruses, allergy-related itchy eyes and sneezes stem from an immune system reaction to certain substances.

If you have seasonal allergies, limit outdoor activities during that specific season. Wear a mask if doing yardwork. And change clothing and shower as soon as you get indoors because pollen and other allergens can cling to clothing, Cho advised.

The most common triggers for fall allergies? Pollen from weeds and mold spores, according to Cho.

“You may think of mold growing in your basement or bathroom, but mold spores also like wet spots outside with fall rain. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold,” he explained.

Different seasons pose particular allergy triggers. “Especially in the fall, smoke from fireplaces, candy ingredients, pine trees and wreaths could be triggers,” Cho warned.

Dust mites are another fall allergy trigger. They can become airborne when you dust at home or when the furnace is turned on for the first time in the fall, he said.

If you’re allergic to pollen, limit your outdoor activities when pollen counts are high, Cho suggested.

Also, use HEPA air filters during allergy season to reduce exposure to allergens. And it’s also a good idea to start taking allergy medication before pollen season begins, Cho said.

Cleanliness also is important in preventing allergic reactions.

“Bathe and shampoo daily before going to bed,” Cho said. “Wash bedding in hot, soapy water, and dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line.”

Over-the-counter medications, such as nasal steroid sprays and oral/nasal antihistamines, often help treat fall allergies.

“Nasal saline irrigations can also help maintain the health of your nose by improving clearance of mucous and allergens,” Cho said.

And when all else fails? “Allergy shots are another potential cure for certain allergies and can be useful in controlling allergy symptoms when avoidance measures and medications provide incomplete relief,” Cho advised.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on seasonal allergies.

©2017 HealthDay.

All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2017

Recommended for you – Daily MedNews

Turn Over a New Leaf This Fall — Start Exercising

SATURDAY, Oct. 28, 2017 — Did you spend the hot, sweltering days of summer sitting in front of an air conditioner? Then fall is a probably a good time for you to get up and get moving, medical experts say.

Why is now a good time?

If you start now, you’ll be well into your exercise program, which will help counter the overeating that typically occurs during the holiday season, according to UPMC Pinnacle, a health care system at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

In most of the United States, the fall means cooler temperatures and fewer bugs, which means ideal conditions for walking in local parks or going for hikes in state parks.

Having a dog can help motivate you to get out for regular walks. If a dog isn’t an option, find a human walking partner to help keep you motivated.

And you don’t need to limit yourself to walking. Other options include cycling, jogging — even dancing.

While watching TV, use exercise bands or light weights for some seated strength training, or do standing exercise routines.

If you haven’t exercised in a long time or have health issues or concerns, you should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

©2017 HealthDay.

All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2017

Recommended for you – Daily MedNews