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Showing posts from January, 2007

What are the Medical Journals Saying?

Medical Update - This weeks brief synopsis from Medical Journals:

(Antidepressants and Fracture)
1. Adults over age 50 who take SSRI antidepressants (like Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor and others) had twice the risk of bone fracture as those not on antidepressants. These patients had lower bone mineral density in the hips and spine. It was not recommended that patients stop taking their antidepressants. (Archives of Internal Medicine)

(Falls in the Elderly)
2. Falls are common in people over the age of 65 and lead to severe injuries and death. If a patient has had a fall within the last year, the chance of a future fall within one year is 50%. Falls are a treatable geriatric syndrome. Screening for fall risk is as easy as asking "Have you had any falls in the past year?" and watching a patient's gait. In patients who have fallen, treating the patient's risk factors for falls reduces falling by 30-40%. Falls can be reduced by physical therapy for gait and balance problems, home…

Nutrition for Dummies

We weren't born food dummies. We have been given such conflicting, erroneous, mind-numbing information from the "Experts" it is no wonder so many people are confused about what is the right thing to eat. Every day we read "New Scientific Studies Show...". From low-fat, to saturated-fat, to trans-fat, to low-carb, to high-fiber, to carrots are good, to carrots are bad, to potatoes raise the glycemic index....and on and on. The result of all of this nutritional advise and ever changing food pyramids is that the three leading health concerns in America (Heart disease, diabetes and obesity) are soaring.

If you have time to read Michael Pollen's fantastic article in 1/27/07 New York Times, Unhappy Meals, go for it. If you are too time challenged to read the full 12 pages, I will summarize here the high points for your reading pleasure. Forget the ever changing recommendations of the experts. Think simple:

1. Eat foods your great-great grandmother would recognize a…

Reflections from an Older Mom

This post is a reprint from 2005 issue of "San Francisco Medicine"

Something has dramatically changed in the appearance of parents from the 1960s and the parents of children in the 21st century. Looking around at the adults with kids at schools, parks and ballgames, I can't help but think, "Gee, is that the parent or the grandparent?" Most of the time, it is the parent. The older parent (gray-haired, donned in Dockers, holding a cup of Starbucks coffee) who is holding hands with a fourth grader or pushing a stroller seems to be the norm these days at least in the Bay Area.. Perhaps I am more aware of this phenomenon because I am one of these older parents. But I have an unusual perspective because I was also a "young mom" in 1969 when I had my first child, a daughter. There is a 26-year time lapse between my two children, as my son was born in 1995. My daughter is 35 and my son is 9. I feel distinctly qualified to give one perspective on being an old…

Cold Sores - aka Herpes Virus

What strange virus is usually contracted by the age of 12, can lay dormant for years and causes 10 days of misery whenever it emerges on the body?
Answer: It is the old fashoned "cold sore" also known as Herpes Simplex (HSV-1).

Almost everyone has experienced a cold sore or has seen this unappealing swelling on someone's lip. Here is a quick tutorial on HSV-1.

Herpes Simplex causes a small painful blister or cluster of tiny blisters and swelling on the skin. The common cold sore occurs on the lip but HSV-1 can also show up on the genitals or even the finger. Millions of people don't even know they have the virus until it rears its ugly head. Because the virus resides in the nerve root, the symptoms often start with a tingle or a dull ache in the affected spot. It multiplies rapidly and within hours the blister grows with swelling of the tissue around it. Over a 10 day period it drys out and looks crusted and ugly. HSV-1 is so common, it is easy to diagnose…

Be Informed-don't believe everything you read

When you read an article that says "Chromium helps maintain immunity", do you believe there is proven science to back up that claim? Think again! These "claims" about nutrients or dietary supplements are often included purely for marketing the product and to make you think the product has value. In 1994 a new law ruled that dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, botanicals and other ingredients) did NOT need to have scientific studies to prove effectiveness. "The marketing has been quite effective without studies" says Irwin Rosenberg, M.D., senior scientist at the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

So make sure you think twice when you see:

"Scientific Studies have shown". It may really mean that there were observations that have not been studied or proven by rigorous controlled randomized clinical trials.

"Includes glycemic, cardio balance and nutra multi". It …