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Is That Statin Doing You Any Good?

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many people who take cholesterol-lowering statins may not benefit from them, researchers say.

Drugs like atorvastatin (Lipitor) and fluvastatin (Lescol) provide little value to people without heart disease, new research shows. Yet these heart-healthy folks represent a sizable number of statin users.

While statins for people with heart disease isn’t controversial, their use in people without heart disease (known as “primary prevention”) is the subject of debate.

The use of statins for primary prevention “warrants more careful consideration,” concluded researchers led by Paula Byrne of the National University of Ireland Galway.

Used in this way, statins “may be an example of low value care and, in some cases, represent a waste of health care resources,” the study authors said.

Changes in clinical guidelines have increased the number of people eligible to take statins. In many countries, the majority of people taking the drugs do so for primary prevention.

For the study, Byrne’s team analyzed data from Ireland from 1987 through 2016. The investigators found that the proportion of adults older than 50 eligible for statins rose from 8% under 1987 guidelines to 61% under 2016 guidelines. That means a far greater number of lower-risk people became eligible for statin treatment.

The number of people who would need to be treated with statins to prevent one major cardiovascular event also increased substantially, from 40 at the lowest risk under 1987 guidelines to 400 at the lowest risk under 2016 guidelines.

As part of the study, the investigators also analyzed primary prevention data for people with an average age of 62 to 69, who were taking statins for one to five years.

Overall, there were significant reductions in death from any cause, cardiovascular deaths, and major coronary or cardiovascular events. However, when the baseline risk of developing heart disease was taken into account, most outcomes were not statistically significant, “raising uncertainty about the benefits of statins for primary prevention,” Byrne and her colleagues wrote.

The findings showed that none of the people classified as low or moderate risk in primary prevention would achieve acceptable levels of risk reduction to justify taking a daily statin. The results were published Oct. 16 in the BMJ.

“We need to assess and understand the evidence underlying these trends,” the study authors wrote in a journal news release.

Statins are one of the most commonly used medicines worldwide, with sales estimated to approach $ 1 trillion by 2020. But important clinical trial data on statins is not available for independent analysis, the researchers noted.

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Sources

SOURCE:BMJ, news release, Oct. 16, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Twins Are Becoming Less Common in U.S., for Good Reasons

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, OCT. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — No, you’re not seeing double as often these days: After decades of rising, twin births are declining in the United States.

Twin birth rates had been on the rise for 30 years, but dropped 4% between 2014 and 2018, health officials said in a new U.S. government study. That’s the lowest level in more than a decade. In 2018, there were 32.6 twins for every 1,000 U.S. births.

So what’s going on? Experts suspect the decline probably stems from improved techniques for assisted reproduction.

“We know from other sources that there have been improvements in fertility-enhancing therapies, in particular in reproductive technologies,” said Joyce Martin, an epidemiologist for the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With these new methods, fewer women are having more than one embryo implanted, she explained. It used to be that several embryos were implanted, leading to the surge in twins and triplets.

“So you’re seeing the decline among older moms, who are more likely to have these therapies, and among white moms, who are also more likely to have these therapies,” Martin said. She’s the lead author of the study published Oct. 3 in the CDC’s NCHS Data Brief.

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of twins born in the United States dropped about 2% a year, the study found. Nearly 124,000 twins were born last year.

Though twin birth rates fell by 10% or more for mothers starting at age 30, the decline was greatest among women 40 and older, and it was only seen in white women, the researchers found. Twin birth rates for black and Hispanic women were unchanged.

Despite these declines, the birth rate for twins is still way above what it was in 1980, when 1 in every 53 births was a twin.

Having twins can be problematic, Martin said. Many are born preterm, so they weigh less.

“Twins are seven times more likely to be born too early and three times more likely to die within the first year of life,” she said.

Continued

Martin predicts the twins’ birth rate will continue to decline as assisted reproductive technologies improve.

For the study, her team used data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System.

It revealed that twin births nationwide peaked in 2007 at nearly 139,000.

Between 2014 and 2018, the data showed significant declines in twin birth rates in 17 states and significant rises in three: Arizona, Oklahoma and Idaho.

In 2018, twin birth rates ranged from 24.9 per 1,000 in New Mexico to 36.4 in Michigan and Connecticut. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia had twin birth rates of 30 per 1,000 (3%) or more.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical health officer at the March of Dimes, agreed that better reproductive technology explains the trends.

“Fewer embryos transferred result in fewer multiple births,” he said. “I hope that one of the reasons is that we are getting to the point where a single embryo is transferred.”

Gupta said the decline in multiple births among older women is a positive development. He noted that women in their 30s and 40s are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

These problems, along with chronic health conditions such as obesity, can increase the risk to both mother and baby, Gupta said. To reduce the chances for a bad outcome, he recommends women should be in their best physical shape before they get pregnant.

Gupta advised women who are considering assisted reproduction to ask their doctor about single embryo implantation and other updated technology to improve their odds for a healthy outcome.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Joyce Martin, M.P.H., epidemiologist, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rahul Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical health officer, March of Dimes; CDC’sNCHS Data Brief, Oct. 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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What Are Some Good Sites Online to Get CBD Topicals?

Although seniors probably comprise the largest anti-marijuana age group, they are beginning to flock towards CBD. The non-intoxicating compound is used to treat medical conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, and PTSD, among other things. Although studies are encouraging, further research is required to prove the efficacy of the compound.

While oils, tinctures, and edibles are flying off the shelves in Western Europe and North America, CBD topicals are gaining a more significant foothold in the industry. Normally, they come in the form of lotions and creams that you rub on a specific part of the body. Proponents of CBD topicals suggest they get to work quickly, and you could rapidly feel the positive effects. 

How Do You Use CBD Topicals?

According to a 2019 report from the Arthritis Foundation, almost 80% of surveyed arthritis patients had already used CBD or were planning to do so. Of those who used the cannabinoids for arthritis symptoms, 55% chose CBD topicals which they applied to the joints. 

The effectiveness of NSAIDs and OTC pharmaceutical drugs for such conditions is open for debate. However, it is a fact that a significant proportion of people are allergic to these forms of medication. In contrast, some seniors say they apply CBD cream, walk away, and realize that they feel no pain. 

For the most part, applying CBD topicals to the joints twice a day is often sufficient. Individuals with conditions such as psoriasis and eczema also prefer CBD lotions and creams.

Are CBD Topicals Effective?

CBD appears to have science on its side. Creams and lotions could help tackle inflammation or pain at a specific site on the body, such as your joints. They are absorbed through the skin and interact with cells near the surface. The cannabidiol doesn’t enter the bloodstream and isn’t designed to ‘cure’ a systemic problem. However, those who use it often claim a diminished level of pain and inflammation in a specific area.  

Unlike OTC pain relief products, CBD topicals don’t ‘mask’ pain or inflammation. The skin contains a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors, part of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). These CBD receptors are located throughout the body and are associated with immune function, memory, pain sensation, appetite, and much more.

A study by Philpott, O’Brien, and McDougall, published in the journal Pain in December 2017, looked at CBD’s effectiveness on pain and inflammation in rats. The team discovered that when rats with osteoarthritis received prophylactic treatment with CBD, they experienced a cessation of pain.

As promising as some of the research into CBD’s effects on pain is, recent reviews suggest that further studies are required. With the Farm Bill of 2018 legalizing the growth of industrial hemp in the United States, scientists can finally conduct detailed research into cannabidiol. 

Best Practices for Using CBD Topicals

  • Decide Where to Apply the Cream/Lotion: The actual site of the pain is potentially different from where you think it is. For instance, is it tension in your neck that is causing your migraine, or is it emanating from your head? If you want to use a CBD topical to address general pain, apply it to ‘sore’ spots such as the shoulders, soles of the feet, joints, or temples.

  • Thorough Cleanse the Site: Unless you had a bath or shower five seconds ago, there are bacteria and contaminants on your skin. Clean, and then dry the area where you intend to apply the compound.

  • Apply Liberally: Don’t be afraid to use lots of CBD cream on the site if necessary. Some users add a second or even a third dose! However, we recommend trying a small amount first to see how it affects you. 

  • Clean Your Hands: Wash your hands before AND after applying the CBD topical. Some products have added ingredients such as mint or citrus, which can sting the eyes.

  • Don’t Expect Miracles: Regardless of what you have read about the healing powers of CBD, the cannabinoid affects everyone differently. If you have had crippling arthritis for 15 years, don’t expect CBD to ‘cure’ it! In most cases, users report a reduction in pain; a sensation which takes a while to appear.

Where is the Best Place to Purchase CBD Topicals?

The industry as a whole has a problem with a lack of regulation. It is wise to invest in reputable brands such as Premium Jane?? known for producing high-quality CBD topicals. The best products include organic CBD taken from the raw plant material. Make sure the brand in question has third-party lab reports and a significant online presence with a professional-looking website.

Most sellers offer tubs containing 2-4 ounces of cream or lotion. While it doesn’t seem like a lot, it is normal for a 2-oz container to last over a month! When compared to expensive pharmaceutical products with questionable benefits, CBD topicals suddenly seem like excellent value for money! 

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Fish Oil Supplements May Do Your Heart Good

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Millions of Americans pop a fish oil supplement each day, hoping to bolster their heart health. Now, research suggests they may be on the right track.

The most up-to-date review of data from 13 prior studies found daily omega-3 fish oil supplement use tied to a significant lowering of risk for heart attack, according to a team led by Dr. JoAnn Manson. She is a professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.

Daily use of the supplement — typically about 840 milligrams per day — was also linked to a lower overall risk of dying from heart disease, the review found.

In total, the 13 studies involved data on more than 120,000 adults, a sample size that is 64% larger than any other yet conducted, the researchers said.

Although the findings are encouraging, fish oil remains just one factor in heart health, Manson said in a school news release.

“Public health recommendations should focus on increasing fish consumption, having an overall heart-healthy diet, being physically active, and having other healthy lifestyle practices,” she said. However, “this study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may have a role in appropriate patients.”

Overall, Manson’s team concluded that people who took a fish oil supplement on a daily basis had an 8% drop in their risk for heart attack or death due to coronary heart disease.

The study couldn’t prove that fish oil supplements directly caused the improvements in heart health. After all, people who take the supplements might also be doing other things to boost their cardiovascular systems.

However, the researchers pointed out that there was a “dose-response” relationship in the findings: The more omega-3 fish oil a person took in each day, the greater their protection against heart disease.

As a practical matter, that could mean that “high-dose” supplementation — a daily regimen that exceeds the 840 mg threshold that’s the subject of most research — could be of even greater benefit than lower doses.

There was one exception to these trends, however: No evidence was found to indicate that omega-3 fish oil also helped to decrease stroke risk, the researchers reported.

Continued

Two experts in heart health agreed that the supplement may help the heart, but shouldn’t be viewed as a cure-all.

“Supplementation only mitigates the risk” for heart trouble, said Katrina Hartog, clinical nutritionist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “As always, addressing the main risk factors [for heart disease] may be of the greatest benefit to reduce risk of developing chronic disease.”

But she said the new data should reassure Americans that fish oil does help.

Dr. Guy Mintz directs cardiovascular health at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. Reviewing the new study, he said “there is nothing ‘fishy’ here: This study is enlightening and reinforces the need for supplemental treatment options for patients at increased risk for cardiovascular events.”

Just how might fish oil be working its magic? According to Mintz, “the mechanism of benefit is unknown but may be due to an anti-inflammatory effect and or anti-arrhythmic effect.”

He believes that the supplements may be most helpful for patients at known risk for heart disease.

Based on the new data review, “every physician should have a discussion with their patients at increased cardiovascular risk — including diabetic patients, patients with heart disease, or patients with stents and a history of coronary bypass — to see how the addition of omega-3 supplementation at an optimal dosage could further reduce their risk for future cardiac events,” Mintz said.

The new study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and was published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Katrina Hartog, M.P.H., R.D., clinical nutrition manager, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Guy L. Mintz, M.D., director of cardiovascular health & lipidology, Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.;  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, news release, Sept. 30, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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A Good Reason to Stop Squabbling at Home

TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 — Few families are able to escape squabbles completely, whether between spouses, children or other relatives.

But a Danish study that looked at nearly 10,000 men and women, aged 36 to 52, warns that stressful social relations can be more than just unpleasant — they can increase your overall risk of early death.

How can you live in better harmony? Though your approach might differ depending on whether the argument is with your spouse or with an uncle you see just once a year, some steps are the same.

Write out what you think the squabble is about, along with your views on the subject, so that you can articulate them clearly. Add how you would like to see the issue resolved. Offer your family member this same opportunity. Agree that you will each take time to respectfully listen to the other with the goal of reaching a solution or a compromise.

Make sure you both interpret any solution the same way. To move forward, it’s important that you accept the outcome and not harbor any feelings of resentment. If conflicts over specific issues happen again and again, look for a deeper, underlying cause.

Remember that arguments within a family, especially between kids and parents, are normal — no fighting often means issues aren’t being addressed, not that they don’t exist. Also, airing differences of opinion and respecting every voice, youngsters’ included, helps kids with their interpersonal development.

Finally, keep in mind that not every situation merits an escalation into an argument. In other words, choose your battles wisely.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on healthy ways to have family arguments.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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A Drink a Day Might Be Good for Diabetics’ Health, Study Suggests

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Chinese researchers may deserve a toast for their new findings that suggest light to moderate drinking may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.

The review found that people who had a bit of alcohol daily had lower levels of a type of blood fat called triglycerides. But alcohol didn’t seem to lower blood sugar levels in people who already had type 2 diabetes, the review found.

The research did show lower levels of insulin and improved insulin resistance in people who drank light to moderate amounts of alcohol, study lead author Yuling Chen said. Chen is a medical student at Southeast University in Nanjing, China.

That finding suggests that “light to moderate alcohol consumption might protect against type 2 diabetes,” Chen said.

But Chen cautioned that you can have too much of a good thing: “High alcohol consumption is reported to be a risk factor for diabetes.”

The authors said light to moderate drinking is about 20 grams of alcohol daily. That’s about 1.5 cans of beer, a large glass of wine (almost 7 ounces), or a generous shot (1.7 ounces) of distilled spirits.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people who drink alcohol do so in moderation — no more than one drink per day for adult women and no more than two drinks per day for adult men.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said those are the levels he recommends to his patients with type 2 diabetes.

“A little alcohol can be good for you, and that’s no different in patients with type 2 diabetes,” he said.

One caveat, Zonszein said, is that people with type 1 diabetes and anyone with type 2 who is taking insulin or other medications that can cause low blood sugar levels must be more cautious with alcohol. It can sometimes lead to dangerously low levels of blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

But not all type 2 diabetes medications are a concern with alcohol. For example, he said, it’s OK to have a drink if you’re taking a commonly used type 2 diabetes drug called metformin.

Continued

Zonszein shared Chen’s concern about too much alcohol.

“Excessive drinking is a problem,” he said, noting that too much alcohol can raise triglycerides and lead to serious health concerns, such as pancreatitis.

For the new research, Chen and colleagues reviewed 10 previous randomized controlled trials on people with type 2 diabetes. Those studies had a total of 575 volunteers.

A number of factors related to diabetes and health were measured, including blood sugar control, insulin levels, insulin resistance, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Across the studies, researchers found a drop of nearly 9 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in average triglyceride levels. A normal triglyceride level is less than 150 mg/dL, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. A high level of triglycerides is associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

Researchers also saw decreases in insulin levels and in a measure called HOMA-IR that assesses insulin resistance. Chen said these findings suggest “relieved insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes patients.”

The authors are scheduled to present the findings Tuesday at a meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Barcelona, Spain. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Yuling Chen, medical student, Southeast University, Nanjing, China; Joel Zonszein, M.D., director, Clinical Diabetes Center, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Sept. 17, 2019, presentation, European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Barcelona, Spain

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Is Sex Good Medicine for Parkinson’s?

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Can sex help improve the health of a Parkinson’s patient?

It might — at least for some.

So claims a new two-year study that tracked the sexual habits and disease progression among 355 Parkinson’s patients.

“This is in line with data showing a close relationship between sexual health and general health, both in healthy individuals and in patients with chronic disease,” said the Italian-British study team, led by Dr. Marina Picillo. She’s an assistant professor at the University of Salerno’s Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Salerno, Italy.

Picillo and her colleagues concluded that early-stage male patients who are sexually active do experience “milder” disease progression and a less dramatic loss of motor skills and other disease symptoms, compared with those who don’t.

But there’s a hitch. The finding only appears to apply to men.

Why? The answer is not clear. But one factor may be that the investigation results were skewed, as twice as many men were enrolled as women (238 men versus 117 women).

Beyond that, the study authors pointed out that women experience different Parkinson’s symptoms from men. And women “are less prone to talk about sexual and genital issues due to societal attitudes,” wrote Picillo.

Even so, she and her research team said the findings warrant the attention of movement disorder specialists, who might view a patient’s sexual history as a tool to predict or even influence Parkinson’s disease progression.

If so, the finding could turn out to be big news for the roughly 1 million Americans the Parkinson’s Foundation estimates will be living with the disease by 2020.

For one, the neurodegenerative disease can be very debilitating, presenting symptoms such as uncontrollable tremors, trouble walking, rigidity and stooping, dizziness, balance issues and slowness.

There is also no known cure or prevention for Parkinson’s, and symptoms can be difficult to treat.

So the researchers set out to see if an active sex life might help.

Study participants were about 57 years old when first diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At the 2005-2006 study launch, all were classified with “early-stage” disease.

Continued

All underwent motor skill disability testing and mental health screenings before completing a health interview that asked about overall heart health; sleep habits; feelings of fatigue, pain, or apathy; stomach and urinary status; attention and memory skills; body weight changes, and respiratory condition.

Patients were also asked if they had sex and/or sexual dysfunction during the past year.

It turned out that the men said they were twice as sexually active as women: While about two-thirds of men said they were having sex, only one-third of women said the same.

At the same time, nearly half the men complained about erectile dysfunction and orgasm problems, and sexual activity did drop off somewhat for everyone during the two years of follow-up.

Still, Picillo’s team concluded that men who engaged in sexual activity displayed less severe motor disability and a better overall quality of life than those who did not. For women, no such luck.

Reacting to the findings, the University of Florida’s Dr. Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora stressed that “the association between active sexual life and improvement in motor and non-motor symptoms is important.” He is an associate professor of neurology and a Parkinson’s Foundation education expert.

“It is in line with the concept that improving sexual function increases pleasure, communication and satisfaction between couples, increases relationship intimacy, and reduces stress and [Parkinson’s] symptoms,” said Ramirez-Zamora.

At the same time, he noted that “hyper-sexuality” is a “well-established and common impulse control disorder” among Parkinson’s patients who take a class of drugs known as dopamine agonists, which include pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip).

Such drugs can help patients by activating a brain receptor that produces dopamine, which is known to help regulate movement. But it could also mean that the treatment — rather than sex — is what contributed to an improved quality of life.

So Ramirez-Zamora cautioned against drawing any firm conclusions on the role of sex in Parkinson’s progression, until more research is completed.

Picillo and her team reported the findings recently in the European Journal of Neurology.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, M.D., associate professor, neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville; July 3, 2019,European Journal of Neurology

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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A Guide to Gift Shopping That’s Good for Your Health

TUESDAY, July 9, 2019 — Shopping for a gift for a friend or loved one? Instead of wracking your brain over which sweater to buy, keep in mind that gifts for good health are always the right size.

You can be extravagant with a gym membership or a state-of-the-art piece of home equipment, but there are also many choices that will fit even a frugal budget.

For the gadget lover, there’s wearable technology, from activity trackers and smartwatches to heart-rate monitors and GPS tracking devices, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests. Or what about a new app that works with a smartphone? Many are free, but there’s often a bells-and-whistles version you can buy for just a few dollars.

Consider a valued accessory for an activity that the recipient already enjoys, like a yoga mat or special yoga socks. You don’t have to be barefooted to feel grounded. Socks specially made for doing yoga provide the grip needed to hold poses and maintain balance during practice.

Everyone can use better balance, making training items like a foam roller, balance board or stability ball great choices. Many come in fun colors.

A powerful blender or juicer is great for making fast, high-energy breakfasts. But if an appliance isn’t in your budget, how about a reusable water bottle to carry their smoothie?

And if food is on the gift list, skip the donuts and put together a healthful basket of extra-virgin olive oil and flavored vinegars, nuts and dark chocolate, or a windowsill herb kit.

More information

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers tips on buying exercise equipment to help you make safe and smart gift choices.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Why Your Foot Calluses Might Be Good for You

WEDNESDAY, June 26, 2019 — Before you take a pumice stone to your foot calluses just because they’re unsightly, you might want to consider the idea that they are actually nature’s shoes.

That’s one of the messages from a new study suggesting that in certain ways, walking on callused feet can be better for you than the modern luxury of cushioned shoes.

Researchers found that calluses offer the foot protection while you’re walking around, without compromising tactile sensitivity — or the ability to feel the ground. That’s in contrast to cushioned shoes, which provide a thick layer of protection, but do interfere with the sense of connection to the ground.

Meanwhile, although thick-soled shoes do lessen the impact of each heel strike to the ground, they actually deliver more force into the knee joints.

No one, however, is advising people to forgo shoes — especially if they have medical conditions that make barefoot walking risky.

Study co-author Daniel Lieberman stressed that the study is about understanding a fundamental evolutionary question: How does modern footwear — a recent development in human history — differ from the natural “shoes” that humans wore for thousands of years?

“I’m not anti-shoe,” said Lieberman, who heads human evolutionary biology at Harvard University. “And I’m not telling people to run around barefoot.”

But, he added, you might consider taking a kinder view of the lowly callus.

“Calluses are normal, and they may have some benefits,” Lieberman said.

That comes with some big caveats, though: People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, should neither go barefoot nor let calluses build up, said Dr. Jane Andersen. She’s a podiatrist and chair of the communications committee for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

People with nerve damage or poor blood circulation to the feet — from diabetes or other medical conditions — should see a foot doctor regularly and, if needed, have calluses trimmed, Andersen said. Calluses can lead to ulcers in those cases.

People with nerve-damaged feet also need to wear shoes, she said. That reduced sensation means they may not notice any cuts or other injuries they’d get while walking barefoot.

Beyond that, Andersen noted, barefoot humans of the past were not running around on hot asphalt and other modern surfaces.

The findings, published June 26 in the journal Nature, are based on just over 100 adults from Kenya and the United States. Both groups included people who said they were barefoot more often than not, and people who wore shoes every day.

As expected, the barefoot crowd had thicker, harder calluses. Despite that, they showed no lack of sensitivity in the soles of their feet. In contrast, thick-soled shoes do compromise tactile sensitivity when you’re walking, the researchers said.

It’s not clear what the implication of that might be. But, Lieberman’s team points out, when your perception of a walking surface is dulled, that can affect gait and balance. So it raises the question of whether thick-cushioned shoes can contribute to falls in people at risk.

Lieberman stressed, however, that it’s simply a question. He said controlled studies would be needed to figure out the answer — for example, a trial that compares cushioned shoes to “minimal footwear” in older adults.

Minimal footwear refers to shoes with thinner, harder soles — like moccasins or sandals. According to Lieberman, they more closely approximate thick calluses, compared with cushiony soles.

In other tests, the researchers found that cushioned shoes lessen the impact of the heel striking the ground with each footstep, compared with walking barefoot or in thin-soled shoes. Thick calluses did not have that effect.

Yet cushioned shoes sent more force up into the joints with each step.

“The load is basically delivered to the knees,” Lieberman said.

Again, the consequences of that, if any, are unknown. But one question, Lieberman said, is whether modern footwear could be a contributing factor to knee arthritis.

According to Andersen, it’s an interesting question — but it would be challenging to study the way footwear choices over decades could affect arthritis risk.

“People generally wear all kinds of different shoes,” she said. “There are also many other factors that would affect arthritis risk.”

Plus, Andersen added, many people simply find minimalist shoes uncomfortable. “Even if wearing them for 30 years lowered your risk of knee arthritis, that’s 30 years of being uncomfortable,” she noted.

As for calluses, Andersen said that if they are not causing problems and you’re healthy, they can probably be left alone.

More information

The American Podiatric Medical Association has more on foot calluses and corns.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Having an Extra Finger Might Be A Good Thing

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Though rare, some children are born with an extra finger, a condition known as polydactyly.

Now, for the first time, a team of researchers set out to see whether having this extra appendage is somehow beneficial.

The answer is yes.

The bottom line: Having an additional finger significantly boosts a person’s ability to manipulate objects, so much so that they can execute movements with a single hand that would otherwise require two.

For the study, investigators at the University of Freiburg in Germany, Imperial College London in England and the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland focused on two patients, each of whom had an additional finger between their thumb and forefinger, on an otherwise normal hand.

“We wanted to know if the subjects have motor skills that go beyond people with five fingers, and how the brain is able to control the additional degrees of freedom,” explained study author Carsten Mehring, from the University of Freiburg.

The researchers conducted a series of brain scans and behavioral experiments designed to track how the two patients used their hands, and their brain activity while doing so.

In each case, the investigators found the extra finger had its own muscles, which enabled each person to move that finger separately from the other five fingers.

“Our subjects can use their extra fingers independently, similar to an additional thumb, either alone or together with the other five fingers, which makes manipulation extraordinarily versatile and skillful,” Mehring said in a university news release.

But the bonus does not just derive from the placement of the physical finger alone, as the team tracked much of the additional movement capacity to parts of the brain that control motor skills, unearthing neural networks that were specifically dedicated to control the extra finger.

According to researcher Etienne Burdet, from Imperial College London, “In a nutshell, it is amazing that the brain has enough capacity to do it without sacrificing elsewhere. That’s exactly what our subjects do.”

The findings were published June 3 in the journal Nature Communications.

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Sources

SOURCE: University of Freiburg, news release, June 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Good Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar Levels Can Prevent ‘Heart Block’

FRIDAY, May 24, 2019 — Keeping blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control might prevent a common heart rhythm disorder called “heart block.”

That’s the finding from a new study analyzing data on more than 6,000 people, aged 30 and older, in Finland.

In the study, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) researchers found that 58 of those people developed heart block over an average follow-up of 25 years.

Heart block, or atrioventricular block, occurs when electrical signals between the heart’s four chambers are disrupted. Often felt as a skipped beat, it can lead to the need for a pacemaker.

Every 10 millimeter increase in systolic blood pressure resulted in a 22% greater risk of heart block, and every millimeter increase in fasting blood sugar (glucose) resulted in a 19% greater risk, the findings showed.

The researchers estimated that 47% of the 58 heart block cases could have been prevented with ideal blood pressure and 11% with normal fasting glucose.

Other factors in the Finnish data associated with increased risk of heart block were older age, being male and having a history of heart attack or heart failure.

The study was published online May 24 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

The researchers noted that there has been little research on whether lifestyle changes can prevent heart block, probably because the condition is widely treated with pacemakers.

“It is perhaps precisely because pacemakers so successfully and immediately address cases of heart block that we have previously failed to devote more attention to prevention of this important disease,” study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus, a UCSF Health cardiologist, said in a university news release.

“In addition to the prevention and treatment of [heart attack] and heart failure, effective treatment of hypertension and maintenance of normal blood sugars may be useful prevention strategies,” he added.

“Given the prevalence of heart block in the adult male population, as well as the multiple risks associated with pacemakers, it would be worthwhile to pursue further research on this connection,” Marcus added.

“This new information also may help persuade hypertensive individuals to receive and continue their prescribed treatments,” he concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on heart block.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Why Using Pure CBD Tinctures Can Be Good For Pain

People suffering from chronic pain may be desperately searching for an effective medicine to alleviate their condition. If you’re dealing with recurrent pain such as migraines, arthritis, or even pain caused by cancer, you may want to explore using CBD tinctures to manage your symptoms. CBD may be an alternative to taking prescribed medications for a long period of time. Here’s why using CBD tinctures may be good for solving your pain.

What CBD tinctures are

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a natural compound that is found in hemp or cannabis plants. Hemp flowers that are rich in cannabidiol are first marinated in potent grain alcohol. Afterwards, the hemp flowers are boiled over low heat for a few hours. The end result is cannabidiol or CBD tincture.

Afterwards, the tincture is mixed with a palatable carrier oil such as peppermint so that it’s easy for consumers or patients to ingest it. Although the CBD tincture has a notably high cannabidiol content, it’s still a totally different preparation from a cannabis tincture.

CBD tinctures have a very low level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is therefore not psychoactive. You won’t get high from taking a CBD tincture. On the other hand, cannabis tinctures contain all types of cannabinoids including THC. Cannabis tinctures may give you the feeling of euphoria or being high.

How CBD tinctures can help you

As CBD is not psychoactive, taking the Every Day Optimal CBD tinctures won’t alter your state of mind or affect how you think. What it does is boost your body’s endocannabinoid system so that it acts to take care of your body. For instance, when you take drops of a CBD tincture, it can affect your body by inhibiting it from absorbing the compound called anandamide, which manages pain. Because your body doesn’t easily absorb or consume anandamide after taking CBD, the level of anandamide increases in your bloodstream. The boost in anandamide will help you feel pain less.

Cannabidiol may likewise control inflammation that’s found in a person’s brain and nervous system. When inflammation is controlled, it can decrease your feelings of pain as well as other negative symptoms.

One advantage of taking CBD tinctures over traditional medications is that you won’t become dependent on CBD. Once your symptoms improve over time, you may taper off and stop taking the tincture. Your body likewise won’t get used to taking a CBD tincture, so there’s no need to continually increase the dosage you take over a prolonged period of time.

How CBD can address specific types of pain

 

Several researches have been conducted regarding how CBD can alleviate pain. Here are a few examples:

  • Arthritis pain

 

An estimated 50 million adults in the U.S. suffer from arthritis or related rheumatic diseases that trigger joint pain. Many adults have to deal with possibly debilitating joint pain on a regular basis.

Patients who suffer from arthritis experience stiffness and an inability to move their joints well. Over time, these symptoms may worsen and may cause more pain. What may make matters worse is that arthritis may be concomitant with other illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

If this is your situation, you may want to discuss trying out CBD tinctures with your physician in order to address your arthritis pain naturally. There are certain pain medications that may interfere with your heart condition or diabetes. CBD tinctures are a natural and effective alternative to typical pain medicines.

In one study, CBD was discovered to address pain and nerve damage found in rats suffering from osteoarthritis, with no noted side effects experienced by the rats. Human studies, however, need to be conducted to see how CBD affects arthritis. You may want to explore how taking CBD tinctures can alleviate your arthritis pain under the guidance of your doctor.

 

  • Chronic pain

 

In another study on the healing effects of cannabinoids, it was discovered that patients who were suffering from chronic pain and were given CBD experienced a clinically notable decrease in their pain symptoms. The same study likewise recorded that cannabidiol may help patients suffering from pain caused by multiple sclerosis muscle spasms.

If you suffer from chronic pain or multiple sclerosis, CBD tinctures may provide you with a safe and natural form of treatment.

Conclusion

 

CBD, like what’s found in tinctures, may do wonders to ease pain. However, more longitudinal studies need to be done with human patients. As of now, what’s known is that CBD tinctures are an effective alternative for addressing varied types of pain. The good news is that CBD tinctures are not addictive and cause fewer or milder side effects than those caused by stronger pain medications.

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Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Heart Guidelines Rarely Backed by Good Science

FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Precious few treatment guidelines for heart patients are supported by the best scientific evidence, a new study shows.

Less than one in 10 recommendations are based on results from multiple randomized controlled trials (considered the “gold standard”), and that percentage has actually dropped in the past decade, the researchers reported.

For the study, the investigators analyzed the evidence behind more than 6,300 treatment recommendations for managing heart-related conditions — such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol — from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (ACC/AHA).

The recommendations are categorized by the amount of evidence supporting them. Level A means evidence came from multiple randomized controlled trials. Level B means that evidence came from a single randomized controlled trial or observational studies. And level C means the recommendation is based only on expert opinion.

Only 8.5 percent of ACC/AHA recommendations relied on level A evidence, while 50 percent had level B data and 41.5 percent had level C data, the researchers found.

“In 2009, there was a call for improvement in the clinical research enterprise after [an] earlier study highlighted several deficiencies,” explained senior study author Dr. Renato Lopes, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Duke University.

“But really, despite some initiatives and a greater focus on conducting randomized controlled trials, the chasm between evidence and the need for evidence has not improved,” Lopes said in a Duke news release.

“As a matter of fact, the proportion of U.S. recommendations from cardiovascular guidelines supported by high-quality evidence actually decreased from 11 percent to 9 percent in the last decade,” Lopes noted.

The findings were published online March 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

According to study lead author Dr. Alexander Fanaroff, “Patients should have an expectation that the science behind the care they receive is solid and will result in improved outcomes. Progress in reducing cardiovascular mortality has decelerated over the past several years, so improving the evidence base for treatment guidelines could help forestall this trend.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, March 15, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Green Space Good for Your Child’s Mental Health

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Living near a park, forest or other green space may protect your children’s mental health later in life, a new Danish study suggests.

Children who grow up in these natural surroundings have up to a 55 percent lower risk of developing a mental disorder as an adult, researchers found.

Further, the protective effect grows stronger with more years spent living near nature, said lead researcher Kristine Engemann, a postdoctoral researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark.

“We found that association was stronger when we calculated a cumulative measure of green space from birth to age 10 compared to measuring green space at one single year,” Engemann said. “This indicates that the positive association builds up over time, and that being exposed to green space throughout childhood is important.”

For the study, Engemann and her colleagues gathered registry data on all Danish citizens, as well as data on all residents registered as suffering from a psychiatric disorder.

The investigators then used satellite data to assess the amount of green space near each person in the registry, from birth up to age 10.

Though the study could only show an association, the researchers found that high levels of green space present in childhood was linked to a lower risk of a wide spectrum of mental problems in adulthood, even after adjusting for other risk factors like financial and social status, the stress of urban living, and any family history of psychiatric disorders.

The psychiatric disorders most strongly associated with living near parks or forests were substance abuse disorders (52 percent decreased risk) — including cannabis (44 percent) and alcohol abuse (55 percent) — and neurotic or stress-related disorders (40 percent), Engemann said.

Her team also found that green space appeared to lower the risk of personality disorders, bipolar and mood disorders, and schizophrenia.

These results show that the urban environment is “an important environmental risk factor for mental health,” Engemann said.

“Ensuring access to green space and enhancing opportunities for a diverse range of uses, especially in densifying urban environments, could be an important tool for managing and minimizing the global burden of disease increasingly dominated by psychiatric disorders,” Engemann said.

Continued

The natural world appears to benefit both the body and the mind in growing children, Engemann said.

People raised in an urban setting “have been found to have higher neural activity linked to stress processing, which could lead to higher risk of psychiatric disorders in adults,” she noted.

“Green space is also known to enhance psychological restoration, affect brain structure through positive associations with amygdala integrity, and could mitigate negative effects from the socially dense and noisy city environment that heighten stress,” Engemann said. The amygdala is a region of the brain focused on emotions.

Neighborhood greenery can also decrease air pollution, bring neighbors closer together, and encourage people to be more physically active, she added.

The findings were published Feb. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kids regularly exposed to green space benefit from a wide array of sensual stimulation, touching and smelling and observing all the plants and animals and features there, explained Alice Honig. She’s a professor emerita of child development at Syracuse University in New York.

They also have a chance to burn off excess energy by running and playing, Honig added.

Children can benefit from these environments even if they live in a big city, said Honig, author of the book, “Experiencing Nature With Young Children.”

“Suppose you’re an urban parent who can’t afford a car. Find out where the closest parks and swimming pools and botanical gardens in your community are on a bus line or train line,” Honig recommended. “Even if you live in New York City, there are some pretty wild parks in the Bronx. I learned to ride a bike in one of those years ago.”

Schools should also be able to help parents find green spaces near them, Honig added.

Policymakers and local officials ought to keep these findings in mind when setting aside space for parks and other public features, Engemann said.

“For city planners, our results suggest that green space might contribute large health benefits across the population, and maintaining or even increasing green space in residential areas could potentially lead to significant health benefits,” she said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Kristine Engemann, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; Alice Honig, Ph.D., professor emerita, child development, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.; Feb. 25, 2019,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Physical Shows Trump is Obese But in Good Health

Feb. 15, 2019 — Details from President Donald Trump’s annual physical exam show him to be obese but in “very good health.”

The results released Thursday were based on a 4-hour examination supervised last Friday by physician to the president Dr. Sean Conley, CNN reported. Eleven specialists took part in the exam.

Last year the 72-year-old, 6-foot 3-inch Trump weighed 239 pounds, but in a year he has gained 4 pounds and is now 243 pounds. That puts him at a body mass index of 30.4, which crosses the 30 BMI clinical threshold for obesity.

“While BMI is not a perfect assessment of one’s health, when someone is clinically obese and has other risk factors, that significantly raises the concern for having heart problems,” CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained.

Trump had already been diagnosed with heart disease and he has increased his dose of the cholesterol medicine rosuvastatin, the report said. The president’s cholesterol levels showed a total cholesterol of 196 — HDL of 58, and LDL of 122. Last year, his total cholesterol was 223 — HDL cholesterol of 67, and LDL of 143, per Associated Press.

Trump’s blood pressure numbers have risen slightly — from 116/70 last year to 118/80 in last Friday’s test.

He received two vaccinations common for older people: the Pneumovax 23 vaccine, which protects against pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia, and the Shingrix vaccine, which protects against shingles.

After last year’s exam Trump was advised to lose 10 to 15 pounds through diet and exercise, but White House sources told CNN that he has only made minor lifestyle changes.

Trump’s meals still rely heavily on red meat and fried potatoes, although fish is now a component of some meals. He has not embarked on any exercise regimen.

“The President received a diet and exercise plan last year after his annual physical, but the President admits he has not followed it religiously,” Hogan Gidley, the principal deputy White House press secretary, told CNN.

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